Class Struggle 87 pdf
Monday, March 22, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The protests of March 4th were bigger than the September protests last year. The militancy of the mass occupations last November was a step forward from the September protests. It was a step in a direction of seriously shutting down the universities. Yet the biggest achievement so far was what the students did in Santa Cruz, where with great militancy and determination they completely shut down the university. They were, it appears the only campus where a determined strike committee was formed in a conscious effort to shut the university down.
The Highway occupation in Oakland involved more people as direct actions than the occupation of Wheeler Hall at University of California Berkeley. The level of militancy was high but the situation was not right to draw the thousands who supported the Wheeler occupiers into action. Those who supported the Wheeler occupation would have done the same but were corralled by the rallies to off campus sites.
In general things turned out to be roughly as we expected them to be. A lot of anger, a lot of frustration: and what is more important a lot of militancy and willingness to go beyond the limited goals of the organizers.
The good thing about March 4th is that the protests went beyond California and extended to other areas of the US. The best known university beyond California is Hunter in New York City where protesting students were confronting nasty cops, and the students claim that they also confronted the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) that was working with the police to stop the militancy of the students (http://takethecity.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/a-response-to-the-lies-of-march-4th/ ).
The student protests are catching fire around the world with many statements of solidarity coming from students and workers' organizations around the world. Despite the participation of many individual teachers and other workers this was a youth and student action, the unions were not as involved as they were last year; none had organized actual strikes. The union leaderships kept the workers to a large degree participating in pickets before and after working hours.
East Bay and Oakland
In the immediate Bay Area it was mainly marches and rallies. Real effective strike actions were prevented from happening by the reformist organizers and the Left. From UC Berkeley (UCB) busses took about 800 students to a futile rally with Democratic Party speakers and day of lobbying in Sacramento to convince the class enemy to give more money for education. The main left organization that divert strikers to Sacramento and into the hands of the Democratic Party was Revolutionary Workers Group/Speak Out Now) whose politics are not that different the ISO's politics. Our group concentrated its efforts in Richmond and the East Bay.
In Richmond we organized before March 4th a March on Chevron, the oil company with a refinery that ruins the health of thousands of workers and youth mostly black and Latino in Richmond. In the successful march in which young students from the middle school spoke, the united front raised the demand to expropriate Chevron under the democratic control of the workers and the working class community. The East Bay Outreach committee rejected this slogan as too radical. That was not the opinion of the police. The Richmond cops took no chance and they sent a strong contingent of cops to stop the multi-racial youth and the geriatric marchers from entering "private" property, i.e. Chevron!
The East Bay Committee played a critical role in the Bay Area. It is controlled by reformists and organizations with reformist orientation such as the Socialist Party, Solidarity (Usec) and Advance the Struggle who were against real strikes and occupations. Our constant struggle in this committee was against their reformist demands such as "tax the rich" which they modified (under our pressure) to "make the rich pay" after months of debates with our organization. But the main different was our insistence that we need to organize real strikes and occupations in UCB and Laney versus the reformists insistence on a day of marches and rallies. We know for sure that the East Bay Outreach Committee discouraged the students from UCB and Laney from doing occupations of buildings so that such occupations would not interfere with their planned rally in downtown Oakland. So while many students in UCB and Laney were in militant morning picket lines, everybody knew that 2-3 hours morning strike is not a serious strike and obviously the universities in the East Bay were not shut down.
Yet despite the acrimony between HWRS and the majority in the Oakland Outreach Committee, we think that they did an excellent job for what they planned to do: to have a strong working class rally in Oakland that combined strong contingents of working class people and youth from the high schools mixed with the marchers from UCB. It was indeed a good rally well organized and very democratic in which the principle of no platform for bourgeois politicians from the Democratic party s was upheld.
For good reasons some of the youth were frustrated because they wanted more than a rally. They wanted to disrupt the system and try to shut it down. So a number of them went to the freeway 880 and they shut it down for an hour or so before they were chased out by the cops with a number of arrests and one serious injury (from falling off an elevated road). We, of course, salute the youth and defend them unconditionally against any attempt by the state to prosecute them. The subsequent discussions revealed that many onlookers stuck in traffic cheered the activists who included university students, high school students and union teachers. But we clearly understand that spontaneous actions at the last minute cannot be as effective as statewide planned disruption of the capitalist system, even though they were done in frustration over the lack of effective actions by the East Bay Outreach Committee. To shut down the system effectively we need seriously planned massive picket lines which means scabs are not allowed to cross them, massive buildings occupations and actions by students and workers which includes actions such as on 880.
In San Francisco the situation was somewhat similar to the East Bay. In this area the dominant left organizations are the ISO and Socialist Organizer (Lambertists). Both organizations oppose militant actions to shut down the universities. San Francisco State University (SFSU) is the most radical university in the immediate Bay Area. While the Left stopped the students from organizing an effective strike and occupations, the students tried to stop scabs and were very militant on the picket lines as they attempted to really shut down the university. We need to bear in mind that in both UCB and SFSU have many entrances and that only well organized mass picketing or occupations can shut down these universities.
The frustration about the lack of a well organized strike, and the emphasis on marches and rallies was expressed by the student leader Anastasia Gomes who told the SF Chronicle that the students should have stayed and defended the strike instead of marching to San Francisco civic center. But the union bureaucrats with Alan Benjamin from Socialist Organizer made sure that the strike turned into a long march from the SFSU and other SF colleges to the rally orchestrated by the labor bureaucracy. While there were more than 5000 people at the rally the speakers mostly offered the usual standard reformist solutions by the Labor Council in San Francisco with the views of the union bureaucracy as advocated by Benjamin and company.
Indeed Socialist Organizer and other reformist organizations wanted to turn the March 4th protests into a campaign for the Democrats. They tell the masses that what we need is to get a proposition to overturn the 2/3 majority in the legislature to adopt a budget, so that the budget can pass by the simple majority of the Democrats. Sure, we support democratic reforms. But the massive attacks on workers and students have nothing to do with the problem of 2/3 majority. In fact the Democrats, including the liberal Democrats voted for the current budget that unleashed these massive attacks through budget cuts.
Without a doubt the most successful actions took place in UC Santa Cruz. This was the only place where the students shut down the university completely. Santa Cruz is known historically to host the most radical students and the students showed again that this reputation is not for nothing. They organized and came prepared to shut down the university. They were equipped properly to stop scabs and any traffic of students or cars into the university. The cops and the school administration could not stop the students. The administration had to concede defeat and closed the campus down for the day. We can all admire and learn from the determination and the collective action of the students. A strike is the basic tool of the students and the workers. It only works if it is organized well. It is the basic organ of class war, and to win we need to understand the power we are fighting against and tactically organize the strike accordingly. The Santa Cruz students have, however, an important advantage over many universities. There are only two roads by which students, workers and traffic can get into the university. The students shut them down tight and that was enough. Despite the logistical advantage, the students showed us that a determined strike committee enforcing its own discipline and centralization could mobilize a solid strike!
What is next
The movement is clearly at a cross road. It cannot continue as a protest movement for ever. The main argument of the majority of reformists and centrists is that the state has the money and the problem is that the capitalist state is greedy and the politicians want to give the money to Wall Street. From this logic it follows that protest movements like in the 1960's are sufficient, since all we need is to put pressure on the capitalist politicians to give the money to human needs instead of giving trillions of dollars to the bankers and their wars. This is a incorrect and a misleading understanding of American capitalism today.
American capitalism is in a steep decline as expressed by a world crisis that will not be replaced any time soon by an extended or robust period of boom. It is true that the capitalist system always has its priorities and it always favors the bankers and their wars. But the money that goes to the bankers and war is not American money, since the US has the biggest debts in its history as the US is losing its competiveness to countries like China. Chinese imperialism is on a rise. It (and other powers like Japan) finance Wall Street debts to reign in the recession in hope of preventing it from turning into a full blown depression. Because of the rising relentless competition between the imperialist powers American imperialism must inflict an historical defeat on the American working class to gain back its superiority and to maintain profitability. The US has lost its manufacturing base without which it cannot remain the top dog, particularly since its main rival (China) has the advantage from the super-exploitation of its own labor that the US national production does not have.
To compete in this race to stay the top imperialist dog the ruling class must enforce brutal attacks on the students and workers. This is why HWRS keeps on telling the activists that to defeat the attacks we must have an indefinite general strike by students, teachers and state workers who absorbed the worst attacks (15% cut in salary and benefits and it is going to get worse). This is the objective reality and it requires a massive response against the attacks by the bosses and their state. Yet we must recognize a major factor. To organize such a strike the union bureaucracy must be ousted and replaced by democratic rank-and-file bodies and delegates of state workers, teachers, the oppressed and students' bodies. Only such coordinated bodies can organize a sustained general strike. Without this a sustained or even one day general strike is not possible.
But the great response of anger and determination shows that we can shut down the universities if the reformists and the Left are removed from standing in the students' way. To shut down the universities we need, of course, the workers' and faculties' support. If there is no official union approval the rank-and-file must organize their own strike committees with the students. We know that the workers will not cross a firm picket lines even if their union does not call a strike.
We have the forces to shut down the universities and keep them shut indefinitely until the basic demands are met. But first we need to agree that this is what we want. Our forces must be united. That means no busses to Sacramento that will weaken the strike and divert it into a rally to pressure the Democrats -- a totally defeatist strategy. It also means A STRIKE IS A STRIKE IN WHICH THE UNIVERSITIES ARE SHUT DOWN. We cannot shut them down if we divert thousands of students to marches and rallies outside the universities. Doing it means that we will not have the forces to shut them down: eventually most students will realize that the movement is only channeling their anger into protests; they will become demoralized and the movement will decline. High school students should be mobilized to either strike and occupy their own schools or join the strikes at the local colleges which they hope some day to attend. In the event that solid strikes can not be mobilized at all the schools contingents should converge on the campuses that the state wide strike committee designates as priorities.
SO UNITY WITH THE DETERMINATION TO SHUT THEM DOWN IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT FOR A FUTURE SUCCESS. It will have to be centralized and de-centralized. What do we mean? We need elected bodies of delegates from each university, union, and high school to coordinate the state-wide strike and ensure that it is done right. By de-centralized we mean that we need local creativity. In a real militant and powerful strike each university needs to take the local conditions into consideration. For example, we saw that in Santa Cruz there are only two entrances. So blocking them with massive pickets may be enough. But in places like UCB and SFSU there are many entrances and areas through which scabs can walk in. So shutting the universities down depends on how much mass picketing the students will have. It may be necessary to use a creative combination of picketing and occupations of key buildings that guarantee that classes are not functioning.
We must bear in mind that many students and workers went to work and to classes because they did not see that March 4th was about a serious strike to shut down the universities until the demands are met. When it becomes clear that this is what we are seriously doing, many of the hesitators and the cynics will join us. And finally, HWRS insist that only an indefinite strike could force concessions from the ruling class. Those who say that we cannot pull together are giving up in advance. If we remain a small minority on this, we tell the students and workers: Don't believe the reformists and the Left. One day of action at a time will lead eventually to a defeat. The ruling class uses it as safety valve to release anger. But if we remain a minority we are willing to go through a "test". If the majority wants to build for just another day of actions, lets make this day a test of our strength by shutting them down for real.
HWRS think that we need few powerful demands for a broad united front that will draw hundreds of thousands students and workers who will be willing to participate in a general strike until the demands are met. We need demands that can unite the many students and workers who are determined to shut the schools down until the demands are met. We all agree on basic powerful demands. They can be adopted as we suggest or iin the way the delegates of students and workers resolve to make them.
Down the regents the watchdogs of the capitalist state!
Open the universities to the working class!
For open admission and free tuition!
Student, faculty, staff, parent, and working class community control over the entire public education system, from preK-12 through graduate school and adult education!
No layoffs and furloughs in the universities and the state!
Rehire all laid off staff and faculty!
Restore the budget cuts in the state!
Stop all layoffs of state workers and all the attacks on the unions and the oppressed!
Down with Race to the Top and privatization schemes!
Make Education, Full Employment and Health Care basic rights!
HWRS believes that demands like these can unite and energize the movement. It should always be made clear, however, that even these basic demands cannot be won by electoral or legislative means. In fact, even an indefinite strike in the universities can only fully win its demands when it becomes the launching pad for a general strike by all workers in the state. What we need is to mobilize a massive general strike in which faculty, staff and students unite to occupy the schools, and then create democratic general assemblies under whose authority the institutions are reopened and administered. Such a demonstration of the power of direct action would serve as a catalyst for government workers in the strangled social service programs, and private sector workers in failing industries, to do the same. When workers and students come together to forge organs of direct democracy and to challenge the bosses' control of our institutions and economy, the government of the bankers and speculators is exposed as both vulnerable and unnecessary. Only a revitalized and democratic workers movement linked to the students, the oppressed, and the unemployed can build the democratic rank and file organizations necessary to oust the capitalist system and form a workers' government.
Dave Dov Winter HWRS
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Feb 12: NUMMI union leaders orchestrated an event with Democratic politicians and other unions tops from the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, CWA, and AFSCME who gathered in Fremont, CA (Trumka appeared via video) to put the final nail in the coffin of the NUMMI worker's fight to save their jobs and ultimately to sell out up to 50,000 jobs in California. These sell out union mis-leaders came together to prove to the capitalist politicians they still intend to deliver votes despite layoffs and plant closures!
These dues sucking hacks paraded the capitalist politicians on stage while they chased union militants from the parking lot for calling for militant actions such as plant occupations. The back room deal making UAW tops have canceled membership meetings and instead put on this show to prove to the politicians that they can still be counted on to keep a lid on the workers anger about the piss-ass severance pay 14k-40k for years of work.
Then they wrap themselves in the American flag and turn this fight into a chauvinist movement of the "victimized" American workers facing down the "mean" Japanese of Toyota who "lost their way" with out saying one word about GM who ran the factory for decades before their failed joint venture with Toyota went south. Not one word about the failed bail out of the auto industry. Not one word about the methods which built the UAW in the first place such as factory occupations. Not one word about Nationalization of the industry under workers control. Instead they turn what should be industrial working class battle for jobs into a consumer boycott of Toyota products.
Right now the only way to save the plant is a full on labor battle using the only power we still have, the power to seize the factory and mobilize labor nationwide and internationally for solidarity actions. But these clowns in their khaki pants and UAW polo shirts have no plan to win. It is totally disingenuous to argue that a boycott can win in a period when workers can't afford cars in the first place. Those who can afford cars do not respect picket lines (in front of dealerships or factories) and those who do respect picket lines cannot afford cars!
To no surprise fake socialist leader BL of the mis-named Voz de Trabajadors, American section of the Morenoite LIT (Workers International League - a Latin American current that claims to be Trotskyist), have tail ended the bureaucracy with a promise to support this consumer boycott project in any way they can* (maybe they should change their name to Voz de la Buracracia). Some one should tell the Morenoite International we have enough reformists and renegade Trotskyists in the USA you could have kept this lot of poorly trained reformists and sent us some real communists instead (but alas your organization is buried so deep up the kazoo of the bureaucracy that you don't know up from down in the class struggle) and real communists run from your organization as fast as they can.
Counter to the rotten no win strategy of the LIT and the UAW (United Auto Workers) the militants of the HWRS point to the factory occupations in Argentina in 2001, the Chicago Republic Windows and Doors action in 2008, and the massive factory occupations which consolidated the power of the UAW in the 1930's.
The HWRS brought this message to the workers of NUMMI:
Organize a Rank and File Occupation Committee to Occupy the NUMMI Plant!The bosses are about to lay off all NUMMI workers with severance pay that will not last very long. The question is, to whom does the NUMMI plant belong: to the brutal capitalists of Toyota and GM, who made huge profits off the workers' sweat and blood, or to the workers themselves, who are the ones who produce the cars? The workers at Republic Windows and Doors workers showed us the way: When a company wants to cut its losses and run, it can be stopped only if the workers occupy the plant. Workers have also occupied many abandoned factories in Argentina and elsewhere, in some cases turning them into productive factories run by and for the workers themselves.
The UAW rank-and-file had a long tradition of sit-ins and factory occupations in the 1930s. But today, the union bureaucrats only collaborate with the capitalists and their government, as they collect their fat paychecks and leave the workers out in the cold and on the streets.
Trumka did not and will not lift a finger to save a single job. He is just coming to town to make few militant noises and leave the workers with nowhere to turn on April 1st. He has the power to call for and initiate massive strikes and walkouts in solidarity with NUMMI workers, which is also the only way to stop future massive layoffs and plant closures. But he proposes to do exactly nothing to save your jobs. The UAW bureaucracy is not any better. They just recently forced GM workers to accept massive concessions, which include closures of many GM plants and layoffs in the thousands. If NUMMI workers take action, they will not be alone.
Only the rank-and-file workers can change the situation. We need to set up a rank-and-file occupation committee as soon as possible, so that we can make a plan to occupy the plant before everybody is too demoralized and it's too late.
NUMMI Belongs to the Workers, Not the Capitalists!
Form Rank-And-File Action Committees to Occupy the Plant!
Occupy the Plant and Refuse to Leave Until All Jobs are Saved!
Nationalize Toyota Without Compensation
and Run It Under Workers' Control!
and Run It Under Workers' Control!
And that is why the UAW hacks chased us out of the worker's hall yesterday!
Humanist Workers for Revolutionary Socialism Feb 13, 2010
Down with the Regime!
Iran is now the prize in a major confrontation between the two main imperialist blocs. On the one side is the US and its allies, Israel, France and Great Britain. On the other side is China and Russia along with its allies in the SCO - India, Pakistan and Iran. In the middle balanced between the two main blocs are France, Germany and increasingly Japan where the new JDP is challenging US domination and looking towards China. Let us define each of these players and see what their stakes in Iran are.
The US sees Iran as a dangerous, unreliable state that can tip the balance of power in Central Asia. Not only is it a major supplier of oil and gas, it sits on the border of this resource rich region and the main routes for oil and gas out of central Asia.
The US and its NATO allies (with France and Germany largely absent) are occupying Afghanistan and spreading the war against "terror" into Pakistan. To the West is its client state in Iraq and its main ally in the region, Israel. The US bloc needs to control Iran to ensure control of Eurasian oil and gas.
The Russia China bloc
The China Russia bloc controls Eurasia (as territories that were formerly parts of the USSR and Communist China). Despite some headway by the US in winning these states away from Russia and China, it has suffered a reversal in recent years and is making little headway to gain access to oil and gas. Both Russia and China have major agreements with these countries for energy supply
Meanwhile the Nabucco pipeline is still an expensive pipedream.
Not only that China is actively pursuing oil and gas fields and or building projecting pipelines in Iraq, Iran and Pakistan under nose of the US. China is even opening a huge copper mine in Afghanistan.
Iran is being singled out as a potential nuclear threat while Israel and India neither of which agreed to nuclear non-proliferation are tolerated if not actively supported, only because its regime is hostile to the US and aligned with Russia and China.
The Islamic regime in Iran is the only powerful Islamic state that is not in the US camp. Ahmadinejad is clearly aligned to Russia and China economically and politically. This extends to the Bolivarian ALBA regimes in Latin America led by Chavez. Chavez sees Iran as a key ally in the fight against US imperialism which is increasingly tied to China and Russia.
Down with the Islamic regime
While Israel is targeting the Ahmadinejad regime and is keen to bomb Iran's nuclear sites, the US under Obama has preferred to discuss closing down the nuclear program under threat of more severe economic sanctions. Thus the US has backed Mousavi's opposition to change the Islamic regime through elections. The huge protests in July in response to the probably rigged elections were led by Mousavi and his supporters. Some workers organisations got involved also. A minority of workers and students began to challenge not only the Ahmadinejad regime but the Islamic regime set up in 1979 itself. The left in Iran backed the protests for democracy and some went further and called for workers to fight for socialism. With the suppression of the protests this wave of struggle retreated.
The recent upsurge of struggle in December has taken a significant shift to the left. Mousavi is no longer the leader. The main demands have shifted from democratic demands (cite them) towards socialist demands. So not only do we have a situation where the two imperialist blocs are gearing up in Iran for a showdown to control Eurasia, the working class is showing signs of rising up against both wings of the bourgeoisie, pro-China and pro-US. The problem is that the reformist left is backing the Ahmadinejad regime as part of the Bolivarian bloc linked to China and offering workers hope that China can come to the rescue of the Iranian economy and meet the needs of the working class.
The Bolivarians illusions in China
Now that Obama has revealed himself as just another ruling class bomber surging in Afghanistan, spreading the war to Pakistan and on to Yemen and Africa, who else can offer any hope to the Bolivarians that imperialism can be reformed? Chavez and Castro as looking to China to come to the rescue. China offers a solution because it is a rising power with the economic weight to displace the hated Yankee imperialism. What is more as an ex-workers state that retains a strong centralised Communist Party, China can break all the rules and become the model for 21st century socialism. All it needs is for workers to assert themselves and push the Chinese regime to the left. This is the position of the Chavez supporter James Petras. Petras even argues that China is becoming imperialist. But it is a funny kind of imperialism that can be controlled by workers reclaiming political power in China.
We can see where the Bolivarians and Castroists look for the solution in China. China restored capitalism but with 'socialist' characteristics. These include a willingness to form political and economic alliances with semi-colonial ruling classes who pass themselves off as populist. Thus the left populist Bolivarians, Chavez and Morales, the centrist Bolivarians Lula, and the right wing Kirchner, all benefit from strategic alliances with China. It does not take much imagination to see how Iran can also benefit from its strategic alliance with China and Russia.
The ALBA dreams becomes the 5th International
This is where the reformist left that backs Chavez and his proposed 5th International come in to contain the masses behind the populist regimes. Chavez wants to retain the China-Russia-Bolivarian and Cuba bloc intact including the Iran Islamic regime. For Chavez this is possible. For him the Islamic regime is dictatorial only because it is under attack from US imperialism and the economic boycott it has suffered. The people pay the price of this economic blockade with cuts to living standards, and their protests are met with police and para-military force. Chavez argues that the regime can adopt the path of the CCP which while using force to suppress strikes and riots, is trying to meet popular demands by infrastructural spending.
China's road to socialism then represents a model of what is possible for both semi-colonies like the ALBA countries and Iran, Pakistan etc and for isolated 'socialist' states like Cuba and North Korea, to meet at the point of 21st century socialism.
Thus the left of the Bolivarian movement in Iran, the Woodites who are cheerleaders for Chavez in Venezuela are calling to pressure the Ahmadinejad regime to the left with a 'constituent assembly' to unite all progressive classes in Iran behind a democratic or popular front that is anti US but pro-China. The left Bolivarians serve to tie workers to the democratic and popular fronts of the nationalist populist regimes. As those regimes move right, like that of Lula in Brazil, the left Bolivarians like Chavez explain this is because of the demands of Yankee imperialism. China's economic expansion allows capitalism to be reformed and will allow its own regime and all those of its strategic partners, including Iran, to move to the left.
The dangers of the 'Chinese road to socialism'
China is no longer a deformed workers state. It is now a capitalist state. But there is nothing progressive about it. China has been able to use its legacy as a workers state to escape being trapped as a semi-colony of the US or Japan. Now it is embarking on its own imperialist expansion in an alliance with Russia. This means that the Bolivarian dream of a more democratic, progressive capitalism in China is doomed as a pipedream. China is no more progressive than any other imperialist power. It super-exploits its own millions of workers as well as those in the semi-colonies where it invests in mines, oil and gas fields and does deals to 'develop' the economies of these countries.
So in Iran, there is no way that workers will benefit from the Islamic regimes alliance with China and Russia. They will not see any more wealth staying in Iran or being distributed to the masses in the form of jobs, living wages or social welfare. On the contrary, while they live in hope that one or other imperialist power will rescue them in the name of democracy, or socialism, they will suffer the same fate as workers throughout the twentieth century that is to die from overexploitation, or in the wars that will be fought over control of Iran's raw materials and labor power.
Transitional Program for Iran
Iran is up for grabs by both imperialist blocs. The stakes are so high war is likely. This will be a proxy war between the two blocs. An attack by the US, Israel or both will inevitably draw in Russia and China to defend their interests, not only in Iran but in Central Asia as a whole. So what must be the attitude of revolutionaries to such a proxy war?
A Transitional program for Iran poses democratic demands to defend Iran from all imperialist intervention by means of independent working class struggle. The basic democratic rights such as freedom of speech and association cannot be subordinated to any bloc with the regime against imperialism. Parliament is the democratic dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Only the working class can defend Iran from both US imperialism and Chinese imperialism. And it can only do this by means of armed struggle to take power and smash the capitalist state. This means we have to mobilise workers independently of the state for self-defence and to win over the ranks of the military.
For workers councils and workers militias armed and supported by rank and file military councils.
In relation to the US bloc we are for the defence of Iran, and for the defeat of the US bloc. To the extent that China or Russia intervenes directly we are for their defeat also. We have no objection to Iran using whatever military arms or material provided by Russia or China. But we make clear that these countries provide military assistance only to advance their imperialist interests in Iran.
However we do not give any political support to the regime. The national bourgeois cannot win independence from imperialism. It fears the working class will expropriate its property so it manoeuvres between the different imperialisms to make better deals with one or other imperialism.
For now the US bloc is blockading Iran and China promises better deals. The Iran Islamic regime gains popular support in its confrontation with the US bloc. This will intensify in any war. But we must fight all attempts by the regime to manipulate popular support by claiming the US is 'fascist' while China is a 'socialist' or a 'progressive' capitalist power. They are both reactionary imperialists. Even in the short term there will be nothing 'progressive' for the workers and peasants of Iran from the bloc with China and Russia. Only socialism based on a workers state and socialist plan can meet the needs of workers and peasants.
Hands off Iran! It is necessary to demand independence for Iran from both imperialist blocs and the particular imperialist states that have interests or designs in Iran. We are for the expropriation of imperialist property under workers control. This includes China's investments in the oil and gas fields and pipelines. Nationalise the land, distribute the land to the tillers; nationalise the banks fund the development of agriculture.
And as no fraction of the national bourgeoisie can be trusted to lead let alone win any anti-imperialist struggle, we call for the end of the Islamic Regime of '79 that came to power on the backs of the workers and then massacred them only to continue to do deals with imperialism!
For a Workers and Peasants Government! Expropriate the factories of the multinationals and the national bourgeoisie! For nationalisations under workers control of all capitalist property and for a national plan to organise production for need and not profit!
Workers and Popular Committees to Power!
Haiti's long history of imperialist oppression
The sickening hypocrisy of the US and European powers in their response to the latest calamity in Haiti has a long history that goes back to the French revolution.
Haiti became the first Black Republic in 1804 and is has paid the price ever since for having the temerity to fight a war of independence against France to free itself from slavery. Napoleon granted the slaves their freedom only to retract his edict when lobbied by the French slaveowning bourgeoisie.
Until recently Haiti was still paying reparations to France for the value of the slaves freed by its liberation war! The price of that liberation was not only the sucking of Haiti's lifeblood for centuries it was an ongoing economic blocade by the European powers and the US which forced most of the liberated slaves to live a life of subsistence as small croppers on the former slave plantations, subject to poverty and immiseration.
Even the great leader of the Bolivarian revolution, Simon Bolivar who having accepted the of hospitality and aid of Haitian Black Republic as he prepared for a new campaign in 1815, refused to include Haiti in his plans for a United States of Latin America. Bolivar, himself as mixed blood bourgeois was reluctant to abolish slavery and did not envisage his revolution going all the way to black republics.
Bolivar as a bourgeois nationalist shared the fear of European slaveowning classes that Haiti would spark slave rebellions throughout the Caribbean and wider afield and that the slaves would not stop at their freedom but demand freedom from capitalist exploitation as well. It is that fear that turned Haiti into a quarantined 'failed state' fated to live as an isolated backwater under frequent US occupation. It still dominates the thinking of US imperialism today in the fear that the Cuban revolution is still contageous and might spread to Haiti if not permanently occupied by a motley band of Sepoy troops serving the interest of the US.
Since the early 20th century Haiti has been constantly invaded by US troops backing reactionary regimes such as the notorious Papa Doc Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude who ruled with armed gangs of Tonton Macoutes. When the son's brutality became an embarrassment to even the US well used to backing Latin American dicators, he was forced out of office in 1986. The populist priest Aristide was elected President in 1991 but ousted by a US backed military coup that same year. Another US military occupation followed and Aristide returned in 1994 to complete his term of office. Aristide was relected in 2000 but fell out with the US and its neoliberal policies and was forced out of the country in 2004 by a US/French coup. Since 2004 Haiti has been occupied by a multinational military force.
What Haiti's history shows is that there is nothing 'natural' about the huge loss of life in the recent earthquake. Millions have died in Haiti as a result of the deliberate colonial policies of the European powers and the US. The loss of lives in the war of independence was minimal compared with that lost to successive blockades, famines, hurricanes all accompanied by the usual bourgeois hypocritical blaming of the usual suspects: economic backwardness, slave mentality, crime ridden slums, black rebellion, drug-running gangs etc.
And just as this latest catastrophe has nothing to do with nature and everything to do with colonialism and capitalism, the the historic slaveowners are turning up once more as the purported saviours. Of all saviors the US navy arrives with the fleet that has historically supressed rebellions and popular national revolutions in Latin America under the US Monroe Doctrine that states that the US can rule wherever its business interests are found. And as usual, the US navy turns up to prepare the ground for the carpet bagging businessmen always looking for an opportunity to profit from the poverty of the decendents of slaves. And there is no way that the populist Aristide could do anything to change the fate of Haiti, he has already exhausted the US patience. While the US claims it is not staging another military take-over, this is exactly what is happening, and after a polite pause we will see another US regime put in place.
Why is the US interested in a tiny devastated state?
Haiti is a few miles from Cuba and since the fall of the Duvaliers, the US has been determined to stop it becoming another Cuba or Nicaragua threatening US hegemony in its own 'backyard'. When Aristide was elected in 1991 the US stepped in with a military coup as it had done many times in Latin America and the Caribbean. When Aristide was re-elected in 2000 it was only because he promised the US not to attack its imperialist oppression and super-exploitation of the Island.
But after 9-11 Aristide aligned himself with opposition to Bush's global 'war on terror' and increasingly with Chavez and Castro. Aristide survived another 3 years only because the US was pre-occupied in Afghanistan and Iraq. By the time he was overthrown and exiled by the combined US-French coup of 2004, Aristide was part of the growing Bolivarian populist tide rising in Latin America and the Caribbean.
With the onset of the 'great recession' in 2007 and the election of Obama in 2008, the US attitude towards the Bolivarians hardened. What was formerly a growing alliance of populist regimes had developed into a bloc now aligned to the US 'axis of evil' in the 'war on terror', in particular, Iran and the DPRK. Even this was more an ideological standoff than a political and ultimately economic threat. Venezuela was dependent on the US oil market and Cuba was rapidly moving to restore capitalism on Island. However, in the years when the US was pre-occupied fighting in the Middle East and Asia, the Bolivarian/Castro bloc was increasingly turning to China as it main political and economic backer.
The urgency with which the US has now invaded Haiti with 20,000 troops and its clear determination to occupy and control Haiti cannot be seen as a mere response to the longstanding threat of Cuba and the Bolivarians. The military intervention in Haiti has to be seen as a response to a much larger threat, the growing power of China globally and in Latin America, where it is China that is becoming the main rival contesting the US sphere of interest in its own backyard. US policy in Latin America today is shaped by the reality that it is China that has become the backer of the Bolivarian regimes, and that it is China that is most likely to benefit from the restoration of capitalism in Cuba.
Imperialist Crisis and War
The response of the reformist left to the US intervention in Haiti is to call for the US and France to 'forgive the debt' and pour in 'humanitarian aid'. This is to ignore the history of Haiti as an impoverished colony and semi-colony, and to ignore the current escalation of military confrontation between the two major imperialist blocs - the US bloc and the China-Russia bloc. The reformist left thinks that this confrontation is being driven unilaterally by a US imperialist elite, and that this imperialist 'policy' of coups and military occupations can be 'reformed' by the relatively 'progressive' China-Russia bloc so that global wealth can be redistributed in the form of transfers from rich to poor countries including much increased 'humanitarian aid'.
Today, the only reason that it is possible to promote such reformist illusions is that in the face of a global recession that saw a big slowdown in global production and growth, China was able to continue expanding so that its demand for raw materials and commodities, as well as its investment of surplus capital in many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, revived the hopes of reformists everywhere that capitalism still had a future as long as China and not the US was the dominant power.
But this is a delusion. China as an emerging imperialist power backed by its main ally Russia, is not 'progressive'. Its restoration of capitalism and rapid capital accumulation was only possible by the state capitalist super-exploitation of its many millions of workers. Its expansion as a rising global power is on the basis of the super-exploitation of global workers. The investments that China makes in Sudan, Bolivia or Iran are not 'gifts' but hardnosed grabs for raw materials and commodities and labor power. As its interests become a threat to the US bloc China will continue to arm its allies and develop its own military to defend those interests.
Haiti is on the Caribbean back doorstep of US imperialism. The Honduras coup which overthrew Zelaya last year, the rapid expansion of US bases in Colombia and overflights of Venezuela, and the military occupation of Haiti, are all part of a global response of US imperialism to the rising challenge by a rapidly expanding imperialist China. This means that Haiti is caught up in an inevitable drive towards inter-imperialist war in which the workers of the world must not take sides, but must turn their guns on all the imperialist powers and fight to break with every imperialist state!
Workers to Power!
The state in Haiti collapsed the government has been shown for what it really is, a puppet for imperialism. Having turned over control of the nation to US military these leaders have shown the people that the national bourgeoisie has nothing to offer the impoverished masses now in refugee camps. As a class it does little productive investment to build the wealth of the nation, it exists as a subservient parasite to imperialism enjoying the gravy from the bosses' plate while leaving the worked over bones for the people. In this crisis they huddle in a run-down police station and are incapable of lifting Haiti out of misery and up to even the poverty Aristide promised!
But in response to the earthquake survivors organized rescue, self help and distribution of goods. Community defense quickly developed and provided protection for the week and a sense of solidarity and equality in the disaster. While the military was shooting "looters" it was these committees which organized fair distribution of the aid that was allowed to get through.
For Worker, Trade Union and refugee mass assemblies to plan and direct all aid, reconstruction and self-defense!
No confidence in Aristide, the Bolivarians or Castroites!
For Caribbean workers from Guadeloupe to Cuba to unite to make a political revolution in Cuba to run out the capitalist restorationists and initiate revolution against all imperialist powers in the Caribbean!
No confidence in China as a 'progressive' capitalist power. China is now an imperialist regime leading the China-Russia bloc competing with the US for global hegemony!
Imperialist parasites hands off Haiti! US troops and Marines Out of Haiti and the Rest of the World!
End the military occupation! UN sepoy troops Out!
Defeat the US/UN occupation troops! For armed workers and poor peasants militias!
For the mobilisation of US and French workers to strike against the military occupation of Haiti! Dockworkers maritime workers and truckers expedite humanitarian aid and stop military cargo!
'Forgiving Debt' blames Haiti when Haiti has been super-exploited for centuries!
Workers mobilise to make France and the US pay full reparations for the economic damage inflicted over centuries!
'Humanitarian aid' is only a tiny fraction of the value expropriated from Haiti over centuries! Workers of Cuba, Venezuela, and of the US and Canada, emergency aid to rebuild Haiti!
For workers solidarity missions and international defence committees to rebuild Haiti!
For a Workers and Peasants Government in Haiti and Hispaniola!
For a Socialist Federation of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego!
New Zealand is facing a worsening world crisis of capitalism. The end of the recession is a myth as capital has not returned to profitability. Despite being bailed out to the tune of Trillions by workers, we are headed for a global recession. Big capital has to attack workers much harder to force concessions to restore its profits. In NZ we can see this National Government, supported in power by the extreme right ACT and petty bourgeois Maori Party, making attack after attack on working class living standards and political rights to boost profits. Unemployment is up, public servants under siege, bosses are locking out workers, GST is going up to 15%, the minimum wage is declining in real terms, ACT wants youth rates to be restored. The bosses have got cuts to their ACC contributions in preparation for privatisation, tax cuts, law changes to give them access to mining in national parks, toll roads, Auckland city is being handed over to bosses to grab land, water, transport, the port etc. Both Health and Education are being privatised under the form of PPPs (public, private partnerships).
As we warned before the 2008 election, National in power in a world crisis has to make the working class pay for the bosses crisis. How do we fight back? The most pressing task for workers is to organise to revive rank and file democracy in the unions as a platform for resistance the bosses offensive. Only strike action by a united working class can stop the bosses plan to turn NZ into a quarry of cheap raw materials and cheap labor for international capital.
The NZ Council of Trade Unions conference was in October last year. As far as leading working people in a struggle for better lives it may as well not exist. We could call it Dead Fed because all it does is push for changes in labour law to make it easier for the union officials to keep the membership of the unions contained within the bosses' law. Thus the CTU president (Helen Kelly) says the four areas unions need to get better in are 1) Make collective bargaining more accessible 2) Make union membership more available 3) Developing union leadership 4)Better resourcing for unions. She forgot to add: get out and get support for Labour to win the next election.
It's not as if the CTU is that important for the bosses' any more. Union coverage of the whole workforce is at 22%, but mostly in the state sector: only 9% of private sector workers are union members. But what they cannot count on is that in a crisis when workers are under attack and youth unemployment is around 30%, youth rates likely to be re-introduced to hold down wages, the minimum wage increased by 50cents and hour, the 90 day fire at will likely to become 180 days etc, then workers may blow the lid off the industrial law and do what the bosses are now doing with impunity – breaking the law by locking out workers. For every threatened lockout we need a wildcat strike. Lockouts are the bosses locking workers out of the workplace very often in breach of the law. A wildcat is a workers strike or occupation that is not controlled by the bureaucracy and does not confine itself to the labour law. Because the bosses' know such fights are coming as their crisis deepens, the CTU is preparing itself for the role of strike-breaker.
There is another way and that is to revive the unions as fighting, democratic organs of the working class. Some hopeful signs are there. Unite! union has begun to mobilise non-unionised workers. We need to develop this fight. We need to fight to gain more than collective agreements that give members something more than a negotiation system and union apparatus. For example instead of just a union financed publicity campaign to get a referendum to get parliament to raise the minimum wage; fight now for every union to raise the bottom wage rate in every collective agreement to $15 an hour, now! -And increasing to $16 on the day GST increasing - if/when that kick was to happen. But the only way to make this a widespread working class movement is to unite all sectors of the working class, particularly employed with unemployed around a decent minimum wage and benefit. But to do this we need to take back the unions from the bureaucracy and impose rank and file democracy. We need to aim for a new Red Fed.
A Red Fed
Back in the early 20 century a number of militant unions broke out of the Industrial, Conciliation and Arbitration Act (IC&A) which was the equivalent of today's ERA (Employment Relations Act). They took wildcat strike action between 1908 and 1913 and became known as the Red Fed. The unions were mainly those in mining and transport the most concentrated work forces in the colonial economy. This federation was based on rank and file union democracy and fought the 1912 Waihi strike and the 1913 General Strike. They rightly indentified the bosses' employment law as a "leg iron" on the working class, and deliberately worked outside of that law. This scared the shit out of the ruling class who had to call out the farmers as special police 'Cossacks' as well as the army to fight the unionsed working class on the picket lines. The union bureaucracy moved to form the Labour Party to divert the militant working class into parliament where they could be contained and pacified.
Since that time the NZ working class struggle has been repeatedly mislead into the ruling class’ parliamentary circus by union leaders / Labour party promises. Both the official union leaderships and the Labour Party have undermined the independence of the working class from the state by tying workers into a “better deal” from a labour government. This has effectively dis-armed working people from the experience of taking independent action to force the bosses to meet our needs.
We want the development of rank and file workers, ordinary members becoming union activists, for participation and democracy in the unions, and for solidarity in practice – on the picket lines. Not just solidarity in words at conference sing-a-longs. What sort of leadership does the CTU develop? – by their current example they produce candidates for the Labour Party and vote gatherers for the Labour Party (or any other Parliamentary Pack that promises to maintain basic democratic rights for unions to co-exist within capitalism). The CTU is the life support system of the Labour Party and so long as it runs the unions workers will be forced to keep voting for a Party that constantly betrays the working class. It is the CTU that backs the Labour Party, and argues for working people to support it as a "lesser evil" to the National Party.
We say union resources should be based on the membership – and accountable / responsible to the membership. Take the resources straight from the employer by fighting for more from collective agreements. The danger of handouts (with strings attached) from government training schemes or education allowances is the strings attached – and the impact if the money was cut. Democratic unions must be based on maximum independence from the ruling class and their government.
All of these directions from the CTU extend and protect the interests of unions – without necessarily doing anything at all for the workers - membership! It takes the fight of ordinary union members to put the working class solidarity into the unions.
Stop ACC cuts
We want to stop the capitalist cuts to ACC, but ask the Union leadership how and they reply - by electing the Labour Party! This is what the officials endorsements / backing of a publicity campaign and token protests amounts to. Publicity that "it was better under Labour". Really the quality of service ACC provided was getting lowered under the Labour government as well, when ACC like every Public Service (social wages) had been getting a thousand tiny cuts. The Labour government was still trying to restore profitability to the capitalist class by effectively lowering ACC premiums.
Dump National Standards
The capitalist attacks on education (less education – more achieving "national standards") the union leadership is not talking about fighting these: only talking about a time of trialing of them. Teachers are trained to learn the needs of the kids in the classroom and to teach according to the most relevant educational goals. We say dump national standards! Real union leadership is going to have to come from ordinary teachers - union members – demand mass stopwork meetings to debate national standards - and to vote on industrial action to boycott / ban any work about testing or reporting for National's Standards.
Again the Labour Party as government was little better than the National standards party, they had already forced teachers into more testing and less education through the NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) system. The leaderships of education unions need to measure the amount of time wasted of testing and marking and to guard against this being expanded – and in fact fight to roll back the losses of educational contact time (and preparation time).
Jobs for All
Rather than fighting for full employment and jobs for all; in the last CTU conference, they big noted the redundancy protection legislation, a pathetic measure from the Labour Party. While the Labour Party argues with the National government over the percentage of unemployment – the union leaders have with no plan to end unemployment.
We say reduce the working week with no loss of pay (4 days work). Introduce penal rates for anti-social hours and for more than 32hrs worked. This would take international working class solidarity to achieve these goals – improving wages and conditions internationally, and realistically it would take working class control of production to keep: Socialism!
Since the Trade Union Federation (TUF) unions reunited with the other unions in the Council of Trade Unions this united trade union leadership has been unable to offer any real leadership for workers in struggle. These leaders of the working class point to the Parliamentary Labour Party as the solution to all working class struggles. They offer no leadership but the Labour Party.
The CTU is as rotten as the Labour Party that they continue to support. Rotten since they both are parasites on the working class, giving as little to workers as they are forced to, while keeping their real role for the bosses – as the brakes on working class struggle.
MUNZ Back in Labour Fold
The Maritime Union NZ is back in the parliamentary paddock/ sheep pen. They have renewed their affiliation to the Labour Party, with a conference remit extending MUNZ parliamentary blinkers to any other 'left' ally for Labour. MUNZ members should know well enough that pickets and direct action win fights to protect workers – not courts or circus acts at the beehive. It is the lack of leadership from union officials to take direct action in solidarity of workers in struggle, which leaves parliament looking like the only option.
The union movement might have re-united in the CTU, but only to be the union rump of the Labour Party and to continue to mislead workers into the parliament. That is, voting fodder for the Labour Party and its parliamentary illusion of reforming capitalism. The false hope that it is possible to reform capitalism; to put some 'better' rules on capitalism, to stop those naughty finance capitalists. The leadership of the working class as represented by the union leadership has shown that once again it only works to reform capitalism when capitalism cannot be reformed accept as a result of militant struggle when bosses are forced to make concessions to stay in power.
A revived Red Fed would create the working class base for the formation of a new workers party based on Trade Union militants and workers councils that would contest the Labour Party in as many seats as possible and under MMP challenge Labour from inside parliament as well as outside. As the NZ economy reverts back towards a giant farm and mine the only unions that will have any real power are those that run transport and communications. They rather than service workers can bring the country to a halt. But much work needs to be done to unionise this workforce as it has been turned into a subcontracted workforce where workers are forced to compete with one another. MUNZ members have gone along with this subcontracting as much as any union. The rot has to be reversed starting with rank and file democracy!
Marx pulled apart the workings of capitalism and described the economic forces within capitalism that drive it into crises, wars and attacks on the working class. We cannot reform this capitalist beast: we need to overthrow it by taking control – for workers control of all production including the financial system (we might still need some way of accounting). Revolutionaries fight for such as program inside the unions and any working class party that emerges from the struggles ahead. We call this a Transitional Program of immediate demands such as freedom of expression and assembly (against Search and Surveillance etc) through demands such as jobs for all on a living wage with a sliding scale so that hours are reduced without loss of pay until all those who want to work, can work (30 hour week to start). But capitalism cannot do this, so the fight for such basic needs to survive brings workers up against the need to take power and form a workers government to plan production for human need and not profit.
- Form worker activists networks as a left wing within the unions.
- For a Red Federation of Labour.
- Turn lockouts into strikes, and strikes into occupations of worksites, and set up workers control of each worksite, through elected ( and recallable) worksite leaders.
- For Workers Councils: local councils of workers to run the towns and cities. Made up of representatives elected (and recallable) by the local worksites.
- For a Workers Government to plan a socialist economy. (Only by the above three demands being met can a real workers government be formed – ie. not through a vote every 3 yrs).
- For a socialist federation of the Pacific.
- For world socialism.
Taxing the poor and Bene bashing
We learn that over 34 thousand beneficiaries are not getting the ‘Temporary Additional Support’ they are entitled to under current law. http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2010/02/winz-rips-off-its-clients.html
WINZ is being run to take away benefits not provide entitlements. This is part of the NACTMP government’s welfare cuts to cut social spending as a drain on bosses taxes and profits, and the privatisation of welfare provision to Maori where so-called Not For Profit jails and social services will further cut social spending. The reason for this is that NZ is now fully part of the global capitalist economy and the cost of labor must not be higher than other low wage countries. If wages (including the social payments from the state) are not cut bosses will not invest in NZ and jobs will be lost, so they say.
But there are some social provisions such as public health and education where state funding cannot be replaced completely or overnight by the private sector. National Standards will lead to privatisation of education and similarly new private health clinics will do the same in health. But in the transition taxes will still be needed to pay for them and to subsidise the private sector. So the NACTMP government is going to make the workers pay out of their taxes instead of the bosses. That is the point of raising GST which is a 2.5% increase in the cost of living for all workers because they have to spend all of their income to live, compared to a much smaller share of the income of the rich who can save, invest to make profits, speculate in land and other commodities and make capital gains which this NACTMP will not tax in its budget.
But this is a bosses way of looking at “who pays”. It assumes that workers, bosses and landlords, each get a share of the national income, in the form of wages, profits and rents, and that politics is all about who gets what share, and is it a fair share? This inevitably comes down to taxes as these are the main way that incomes are redistributed. ACT and dry Nationals support a low flat tax and one law for all so we are all treated fairly as equals. Wet Nationals, Labour and the Maori Party argue that we are not all equals as some start life richer than others. Therefore taxing the rich at some higher level is fair to create equal opportunity. When the right ruled in the 1980s and 1990s they fell short of imposing a flat tax, but they won acceptance from Labour that equal opportunity was not a right but a responsibility based on work i.e. workfare.
Revolutionaries reject all these arguments. The working class creates the wealth so profits and rents are a deduction from the value of its total labour. Therefore the ACT position covers up the fact that profits and rents are appropriated from workers. Wages reflect part of the value of labour retained by workers to enable them work and prepare their children to work. State welfare is public provision of a social wage to subsidies the wage. It doesn’t matter how the distribution of taxes fall, they are all paid for out of the expropriated value of the working class. Therefore taxing the rich obscures the fact that these taxes are already paid for by workers. We oppose making workers pay higher taxes and we oppose forcing them to work for welfare. The answer is not to tax the rich but to expropriate their profits and their property which is nothing but the accumulated stolen dead labour of past generations of workers.
That’s why revolutionaries do not say “tax the rich” but rather “expropriate the expropriators”.
From Class Struggle 87 Jan-Feb 2010
Saturday, March 06, 2010
We acknowledge receipt of the Majority reply to the Minority on China. We note that the FLTI Majority document 'In defence of Marxism' talks about the Minority not as comrades but "these people", "academic chatterboxes", "petty bourgeois servants of Obama" etc. We think that all this crude abusive language is defensive on your part because you cannot convince readers by your arguments that China is a semi-colony owned by Wall St. so you must label us revisionist enemies of the working class.
But that means you must slander us since you cannot prove we are Obamaists from our politics let alone our program. On the contrary the SCI in supporting the PFP to oppose the picket of Nancy Pelosi has chosen to side with Usec, PFP and Obama rather than the Minority. You cannot claim ignorance since the reactionary, dogmatic and arrogant position you took on this picket was explained to you several times.
The FLTI majority is no longer democratic centralist international but bureaucratic centralist. The bureaucratic nature of the SCI was demonstrated a number of times. For example, The SCI never convened a meetings of the IEC, which should happen at least once between Congresses. In addition to that, the SCI kept on changing its own composition, which is a violation of basic democracy in a democratic centralist international. The IEC is the highest body in between Congresses and in a healthy democratic international only the IEC has the authority to change the secretariat. Yet the SCI kept changing the membership of the SCI to fit the factional needs of the majority. By doing it the SCI ceased to represent the FLTI but it represented in a bureaucratic way only the majority. Further proof of this is that the SCI failed to produce an IWO that carries both Majority and Minority positions on China.
Marxists must look at China and ask "what is it"? We can agree it is no longer a deformed workers state. Beyond that, "what China is", has to be decided by the Marxist analysis of reality, not by preconceived theories or perspectives. Otherwise how can we pretend to be an embryonic Marxist revolutionary international?
We agree with you that Lenin's theory says that in the imperialist epoch the world is already divided. It can only be redivided by means of war. You then draw the conclusion that China cannot be a new imperialist power since it has not redivided the world by means of war. Lenin never meant to be dogmatic on the re-division of world. The latest crisis is bringing down all the small imperialist forces in Europe. We are clearly seeing a further decline of small imperialist countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece. China is clearly occupying their places and taking territories that were occupied by other old European countries. We have seen in the past that deep crisis can easily force a change in the order of the imperialist pack. This is what happened in depression of the 1930s that ended with the US taking charge of the imperialist pack.
But for you the question of China was already decided during WW1 -either workers state or semi-colony. Any reality today must conform with the world as it was in WW1. WW2 is just a continuation with some redivision that does not change anything fundamental. Indeed, you say that the restoration of the workers states is really the delayed conclusion of WW2.
It is true that a new imperialism can only arise at the expense of existing imperialisms (and by means of war) but you overlook the fact that the October revolution 'divided' the SU (and subsequently the Deformed Workers States including China) from imperialism by means of war (civil wars and WW1 and WW2). Not as new imperialisms, but as workers states. Of course Lenin did not foresee the restoration of capitalism in the SU and the consequences that might have for imperialism. For him the revolution in the East would intervene, and as part of the international revolution boost the SU.
Trotsky predicted that without a political revolution restoration would result from the stagnation of the bureaucratic rule of the workers states. But there is nothing in Trotsky to say that the re-integration of restored workers states into the capitalist world economy would inevitably make them semi-colonies divided and oppressed by imperialism.
What Lenin could not have foreseen, and what Trotsky would not have excluded was that restoration need not reduce the former workers states to semi-colonies; that the bureaucracy could make the transition to a national bourgeoisie without losing its independence. (Trotsky argued that restoration of capitalism in the SU would make Stalin's regime a "fascist" regime. He did not speculate beyond that.)
China was not defeated in a world war, invaded, occupied and turned into a lackey (like France, Germany and Japan - Germany still has 70 US bases in it). Restoration was forced on the bureaucracy by stagnation and imperialist pressure, but the bureaucracy had to defeat the resistance of the working class. The bureaucracy took responsibility for this counter-revolutionary defeat and as the result was able to convert itself into a new national bourgeoisie without military defeat or occupation.
We can see then, that China emerged from a DWS and was re-incorporated into the global capitalist economy not by means of imperialist war, invasion, occupation and partition but by internal counter-revolution. This has nothing to do with China's 'exceptional' circumstances, and everything to do with its transition from a DWS to restored capitalism. Certain features of the DWS carry over to Chinese capitalism, not as 'Chinese characteristics' but as the characteristics of 'state property' which Trotsky recognised would take the form of state capitalist property.
In fact Trotsky in The Revolution Betrayed said that in regard to capitalist restoration that:
“In the sphere of industry, denationalization would begin with the light industries and those producing food. The planning principle would be converted for the transitional period into a series of compromises between state power and individual “corporations” – potential proprietors, that is, among the Soviet captains of industry, the émigré former proprietors and foreign capitalists.” http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/revbet/ch09.htm
This is roughly what the situation is today in China. The heavy industry remained in the state hands and it is slowly being dismantled and given to private corporations primarily Chinese capitalists.
These are the 'exceptional' circumstances that allowed the new bourgeoisie to 'inherit' as state property the means of production of the former DWS as the basis of its political 'independence' from imperialism.
For the Majority this 'independence' is temporary and must lead to semi-colonial domination unless there is a socialist revolution. The theory is decided and the program follows; defend China from imperialism, overthrow the Red bourgeoisie!
How temporary is temporary? The FLTI agrees that capitalism in China was restored between 1989 and 1992. It says in 2008 that China was still poised between a semi-colony and socialist revolution. Now when the Minority affirms that China retained its 'independence' in 1992, the Majority says it lost it in 1979 when the Special Economic Zones were created, and when the Chinese banks went bankrupt in 1991 and were rescued by Wall St. That in fact, China is owned by Wall St and that Chinese workers are in a pre-revolutionary situation today confronting the Red Mandarins, and "Obama's" Red Army, who are the junior partners of Wall St.
Except the Majority's description of Chinese reality in the last 30 years is a fantasy. For the Majority the facts of China's rapid rise as an capitalist industrial economy, soon to be second only to the US, is an illusion, as China is really no more than a branch of the US domestic economy. The material basis of China's 'independence' evaporated sometime between 1979 and today and China's army, its banks, its factories etc are now part of the US global regime.
The Minority never said that China did not invite FDI to create capitalist export manufacturing. It was a strategy of the Chinese bureaucracy on the road to restoration to create a material base of its transition and its new class 'independence'. Thus the Special Economic Zones did not give US imperialism ownership of China's economy. China processes manufactures and supplies raw material and labor, but the majority of the profits do not go to foreign investors.
In exchange, China has won markets, foreign exchange, and technology transfer. Nor did China's banks go bust and get taken over in 1991. China's big banks are state owned. The state always has more than 50% ownership of each bank, in addition 25% ownership can be in private Chinese hands. Foreign banks cannot have more than 25% ownership of a Chinese bank, and in no case does a single foreign bank have anywhere near 25% ownership. Thus, foreign banks are mainly advisors and administrators of funds and have no significant role independent of China's banks. Therefore, more and more of China's rapid growth is the result of Chinese capital accumulation to the point that over-accumulation has required the export of finance capital.
Why, if the US exports finance capital to China, is it not the case that China exports finance capital to other countries? What are the 'exceptional' circumstances that makes capital accumulation in China a proxy for US capital? The Majority tries to limit 'finance' capital to the US, calling China's FDI 'commercial' capital. It defines finance capital as 'parasitic' without realising that this is already part of the definition of finance capital. That is, finance capital is not just capital that is invested in 'usury' or loans to productive capital, but is a built-in component of productive capital since industrial capital is fused with banking capital. Chinese FDI is no less parasitic than US FDI.
Imperialist 'parasitism' is the extraction of super-profits due to monopoly prices which include unequal exchange of value i.e. appropriating unpaid values of commodities including labor-power. This appropriated unpaid value is called super profits or 'rent'. Imperialism replaces competitive capitalism, and shifts the competition from the market to competition between imperialist corporations and imperialist states. This does not mean that new technology is unimportant. Instead of allocating capital on the basis of prices of production (i.e high tech labor productivity) monopolies buy up or suppress new technology as part of their rent-seeking. That is, new technology reduces the price of production and therefore increases the potential rent.
Therefore, FDI by both US in China and by China in many other countries, is the export of finance capital (banking capital fused with industrial capital) to gain rent. The US gains rent through unpaid value of Chinese labor-power and unpaid value of Chinese or other Asian raw materials, machine goods etc which they buy to produce the finished commodities. But US (plus Japan etc) FDI does not own more than a small minority share of the productive capacity of the Chinese economy which is typical for cross ownership between imperialist powers.
Chinese capital (state owned and private) which owns the big majority of finance capital in China reaps the same rents when investing finance capital in loans for oil and other raw materials, loans to build infrastructure, investments in ownership of foreign corporations, etc in semi-colonies and other imperialist powers. China does this precisely to gain ownership and control of the production of these commodities to increase superprofits (i.e. the unpaid value component, or rent).
We conclude that to describe China as merely a semi-colony today ignores the reality that China is a major capitalist industrial power expanding rapidly into the global economy. It is not a US sock puppet subordinated to a US imposed division of labor.
Some of the fake Trotskyists are stuck inside historical schemas and explain China's expansion as some mysterious aspect of a surviving Deformed Workers State. We, on the other hand recognise it as capitalism, and the expanded reproduction of Chinese capitalism can only take one form - imperialism.
Does this put us outside the pale of Marxism? Well only if it means we think Chinese imperialism is progressive. You slander us to suggest that we side with US imperialism alongside the Bolivarians, Maoists, Stalinists, Castroists. This is cheap demagogy to bolster your historic schema.
We clearly say over and over again that China is as reactionary as US imperialism. US imperialism is still hegemonic and its defence of its global interests must bring it into collision with an ascendant China. This is why we changed our position of China's dual character in which we could defend it from a direct US attack, to that of an rapidly emerging imperialist rival that could not be defended in any situation. That is why we are for the defeat of both China and US.
How is this different from the Majority? The majority must argue that the defence of China in a war with the US must be won by the Chinese working class fighting US imperialism in a military alliance with Red Mandarins who will use the war to instil Chinese chauvinism in the name of the Fifth international and with the support of the Bolivarian regimes. This could lead to the defeat of the Chinese working class by the Red Mandarins in the name of “socialism” and the Fifth International.
We say wakeup and call for the Chinese workers in a confrontation with the US to turn their guns on their own ruling class, and in every proxy war between the US and China, we say call for the independent struggle of workers and poor peasants led by a revolutionary party for the socialist revolution.
We call on the Majority to reconsider its method of dogmatically reproducing an historical schema based on the world in WW1. Yet have seen no willingness to even consider the theoretical arguments put forward by the Minority. Instead the argument that China has made the transition from DWS to imperialist state is denounced as 'Cliffite', 'Mandelist', cheerleading for Stalinism, Bolivarianism etc etc. The only development of the Majority position since July 2009, is the hysterical escalation in the political characterisation of the Minority from unconscious Stalinists to open enemies of the working class. The logic of such a characterisation is that the Majority must expel the Minority to defend its indefensible 'defense' of Marxism.
The Minority will not be publishing the official Majority document on China in its national papers. We have not published our own Minority document in our national papers.They are fully displayed in good English on our websites. It is the responsibility of the SCI to publish an IWO containing the debate as a duty to the international working class. We will undertake to print and distribute this IWO internationally.
Because the debate over China has revealed fundamental differences in method, in our understanding of imperialism, and in programmatic differences that put us on opposing sides in a war involving the US and China, the CWG and HWRS are breaking from the FLTI and its international center and forming a Liaison Committee to defend the fundamental principles and program contained in the 23 points document of the FLT.
A formal document which puts the position of the Liaison Committee will be written in due course. In it we will defend the 23 points except the existing characterisation of China.We will clarify our understanding of the 23 points and explain them in the context of the world situation in which China plays a significant role. We don’t think that our break with the majority is confined to China. China is rather a symptom that reflects the break of the majority from Marxism and its dialectic method. We explain the majority method in the document The SCI’s Rejection of Dialectics Is Taking the FLTI into the Centrist Swamp which is available at the HWRS website http://www.humanistsforrevolutionarysocialism.org/IFLT_Documents/Critique_of_FLTI.pdf.
In the document we showed the centrist zigzag of the FLTI majority leadership the SCI from ulra-leftism (China is in a revolutionary situation, drop the demand for the Labor party in the US and instead call for a general strike in the entire US, etc.) to opportunism (uncritical alliance with pacifist JRCL-RMF to create a “bridge” to China). We think that the majority is reverting to the old Morenoite method from which the majority leadership originated. This is ultimately what we are breaking from.
Communist Workers Group and Humanist Workers for Revolutionary Socialism