Tuesday, August 31, 2010

South Africa: Prepare for an indefinite General Strike!

Prepare for Power!
We reprint the call of the South African WIVL to prepare for an indefinite general strike in South Africa. We have major differences with the WIVLs politics and its ultra-left objectivist perspectives, in particular its syndicalism which does not tell South African workers that a general strike is a political strike that must take state power or suffer defeat. For this reason it is not enough to talk about the need for workers power in the abstract. A call for a general strike must be accompanied by a call for the formation of national strike committees and defence committees such as the WIVL makes. But the purpose of these workers organs arising out of a general strike must be spelt out. It is to take state power and replace the capitalist regime with a workers and poor farmers government. The general strike does not take power by some objective, automatic process. Without the intervention of a revolutionary party and a program for a revolutionary seizure of power, the general strike will be defeated and the counter-revolution imposed on the masses. Preparation for a general strike must be also be the preparation for power! With this important proviso we endorse its call for the preparation for a general strike and for workers occupations.

The Imperialist attack on the public sector strike is an attack on the whole working class 

The state does not want to move from its 7% wage offer because it is spearheading the general attack by the imperialists to lower all the wages of the workers; the wage settlement in the public sector will set a precedent for the entire working class. The imperialists, who are the ones that really control the economy (the mines, the banks, motor sector companies, the food monopolies, etc), want to lower the wages and conditions of the entire working class.  Last year, when Zuma unilaterally declared that public sector wage increase this year would be 7%, not a single SACP or Cosatu leader raised any objection; in other words, they agreed with this sentiment. 

All over the world, the trade union and Stalinist leaders have led the masses into defeat: In Greece, they have had 8 general stayaways this year alone, but the KKE, the Greek Communist Party and the union leaders refuse to remove the government that has handed over the tax income from import and export and the state lottery, directly into the hands of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase; in Spain, France, Germany, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, etc the union leaders have allowed millions of workers to be dismissed and have allowed, despite the willingness of the masses to fight, wages and conditions of workers to be cut. We have a chance to change the pattern of defeats of the working class; already there are trends in the working class around the world, turning to open resistance, building their own fighting organizations, going over the heads of the traditional leaderships, breaking with the bourgeois parties and taking the revolutionary road. 

The industrial workers in Bolivia are demanding that their union federation break from supporting the Bolivarian bourgeois government of Morales, that their union leadership be expelled and that the path be taken of class resistance against the government; the working class in Kyrgyzstan organized themselves, disarmed the police and overran the government building; the workers and small peasants of Madagascar expelled the US puppet Ravalomanana and the army came over to the side of the working class, kicking out their generals and openly claiming that they were with the masses; the metal workers of Tonghua and Linzhou occupied their factory and the main highways, stopping the planned retrenchment of 20 000 of the 25 000 workers in a privatization exercise by the Chinese government.

The ANC-SACP government is an agent of imperialism

The  ANC-SACP government has committed to spend over 4 years, R320bn, just in interest payments, to the international banks, for the electricity scam; in addition to this the international banks and their agents will gain R1 trillion (R1000 bn) from the scam electricity ‘build’ scheme. The first payment from any state revenue is handed by the ANC-SACP government, to the international banks (the imperialists); one of the main imperialist gangsters, that has bankrupted Greece through high rates of interest, JP Morgan Chase, is based within the office of Eskom to oversee the loans. Money that could and should have gone to hospitals for free and adequate health care, for free, liberatory education, for adequate housing, for a living wage for the public sector employees, is going into the coffers of the international gangsters, the imperialists. It is a lie to say that the increase of 1.6% to pay 8,6% will mean less employees, less services; the state has long been cutting down on teachers, health expenses, on housing- all they are doing is continuing the trend of being an absolute servant of imperialism, at the expense of hunger, death and starvation of the masses. The money for the increase is a tiny fraction of what imperialism gets every year; besides the Eskom scam, the imperialists, like Anglo American, Old Mutual, Liberty Life, Rembrandt, Sanlam, repatriate over R200 bn per annum to the imperialist centres; it has been the conscious policy of the state to increase the tax burden of the working class and the lower middle class and decrease the taxes of the rich, the capitalists and the upper middle class.

The world capitalist economy is in stagnation; the lack of productive growth, overall, means that the capitalists increasingly cut workers benefits and conditions, to increase their levels of profit; the imperialists increasingly turn to speculation in food, energy, housing prices, to artificially drive up prices and thereby increase profits. The ANC-SACP and Cosatu leaders are all working together with the imperialists to put the burden of the capitalist crisis onto the backs of the working class. The Cosatu leaders have failed to carry out the workers’ mandate for a general strike against the high price of electricity. The ANC-SACP leader Gwede Mantashe has promised to turn the battle into a defeat like the British miners strike of the 1980’s. The recent SACP CEC meeting of 27-29 Aug 2010 was already a meeting of the government (a significant part of cabinet) and Cosatu leaders. For the first time, 13 days into the strike, the SACP has verbally come out in ‘support’ of the strike, hardly a vanguard role.

Turn Thursday 2nd September into the start of an indefinite general strike

The municipal workers are already taking solidarity action, region by region; the mine workers, chemical, energy, paper, and now the commercial and catering workers have all indicated they will come out on Thursday 2nd September, on a solidarity strike; Gauteng and Eastern Cape are poised to come out on regional strikes as well; workers have forced the Cosatu CEC to make the unprecedented call for all sectors to come out on solidarity strikes on the 2nd September; such notice will lay the basis for the start of an indefinite general strike. However, the focus of the Cosatu and SACP leaders are on negotiations with the government, with the SACP spearheading the betrayal of the strike. The SACP does not come out in support of solidarity strikes; they do not even condemn the brutality of the police against strikers; the pictures of male policemen on top of a female Nehawu striker leaves them cold; we will expose below just how the SACP plans to betray the strike.

Steps to take to ensure that there is a total shutdown on Thursday 2nd September:

  1. Do not trust the Cosatu and SACP leaders; any proposed settlement must be discussed in mass meetings of strikers;
  2. Depend on your own strike structures; this means setting up strike committees at every workplace, in the towns and cities, irrespective of union affiliation, or whether the workplace is unionized or not, including workers that are unionized and workers that are not unionized; In very industrial area or street where workplaces are situated, such strike committees need to be set up; strike committees should be set up in every working class area, uniting employed workers with the unemployed, local and immigrant workers; in the areas we stay, soldiers should form part of the strike committees; at area and regional and national level we should ensure that delegates of employed, unemployed, students, soldiers, immigrant workers all join together in our common strike committees to give direction to the strike of 2nd September and to prepare to take the strike beyond Thursday, indefinitely. There should be regular mass meetings of strikers so that delegates can be subject to instant recall. At all schools we need to call for urgent joint parent teacher student meetings to give support to the strike of 2nd September and beyond, and to take over the schools and to run education programmes on imperialism, how it functions and how the state acts as its agent.
  3. In particular we call on workers in CEPPWAWU, Giwusa, Ocgawu to form a united front to take over the entire petroleum sector, including Sasol; we call on all the mineworkers to form a united front to take over all the mines; we call on all workers in the commercial and catering sector to form an united front to take over all the supermarkets; we call for all transport workers to take over their transport and provide it for free to the strikers to move about
  4. Workers should ensure that the action of Thursday 2nd September is of the form of an occupation of the workplaces, not a stayaway. Stayaways are part of the tradition of the SACP and designed to protect the capitalists from workers taking over the factories and to turn workers militancy merely into a pressure tool so that the system of exploitation is not challenged and the way opened for the ANC-SACP to take the lead of a negotiated sellout that incorporates the leadership into the capitalist apparatus while the masses remain in chains.
  5. Due to actions of the state in the strike with its harsh, fascistic crackdown on strikers, preparation for the strike of Thursday 2nd September must include workers right to form self-defence committees, supported by the soldiers. We call on the soldiers to take up their place alongside the workers, with the same call as the soldiers of Madagascar: “We are with the masses, we are the people, we support their demands”.
  6. We call for all strikers to hold regional summits and a national summit of delegates of workers, unemployed, students, soldiers, immigrants to plan and direct the unfolding general strike. We should invite delegates from workers and poor peasants from Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Swaziland, Lesotho to participate in the regional and national worker summits. We call to invite worker delegates from the entire Southern African region, plundered daily by (mainly) French and US-UK imperialism.
 Proposed demands for the general strike:

  1. 8.6% increase, R1000 housing allowance; equalization of medical aid benefits;
  2. limit the salaries of managers. MP’s and government ministers to that of an average skilled worker;
  3. the right of instant recall of any representative, be they councilor, MP, Minister
  4. equal pay for equal work (including immigrant workers)
  5. share all the work among all who can work, without loss of pay;
  6. wages should increase when prices increase;
  7. Expropriate all imperialist assets, the mines and banks, without compensation, place them under workers control;
  8. Expropriate the entire food sector, from the farms, to the food manufacturers to the giant retailers, without compensation, and place them under workers control;
  9. expropriate the private health care sector, without compensation, place under workers control; this will open the doors to free quality health care for all;
  10. renationalize, without compensation, all sectors that have been privatized, including the coal, iron ore and steel sectors;
  11. Down with the brutal, antiworker regimes of Swaziland and Lesotho; we call on all workers in Zimbabwe, in Swaziland and Lesotho to join in the general strike; for the setting up of strike committees in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho, which are nothing but slave camps for imperialism; the very same imperialism that keeps the working class in South Africa in chains; Down with the anti-worker regimes across Africa.

For a general strike, not a stayaway; beware of a sellout by the SACP and Cosatu leaders

At the heart of the call for stayaways is the Stalinist notion of a 2-stage revolution- fighting for democracy first (a period of capitalism) and then at some distant future to begin the fight for workers to take power; in other words, the first stage involves putting into power a capitalist government, that opens up a period of capitalism, apparently extending (deepening) the democratic demands, and at some undefined moment the workers fight to take power; in other words workers should not take power now but depend on the black capitalists of the ANC to drive the process of a ‘developmental’ state; that is, the means of production (mines, banks, farms) should remain in the hands of the imperialists, like Anglo American and a few shares handed out to the black bourgeoisie as their junior partners; the bottom line is that we are asked by the SACP to put the struggle for democratic demands into the hands of the black middle and capitalist class of the ANC. Why the SACP calls stayaways is that they do not want the working class to take over the factories and mines as we still, according to them, need a period of capitalism. They use workers as pressure tools to beg from imperialism to allow them to be the new managers to control the working class.

Why the SACP promotes stayaways is to atomise and isolate the strikers so that it is easier for the leadership to sellout the struggle; a stayaway opens workers to victimization as they are now isolated individuals instead of being a united mass; a stayway demobilizes that masses instead of posing a united stance against the capitalists; a stayaway opens the door for scab labour to be used by the bosses; a strike is a contest for power- a strike/occupation would confront the bosses with a united mass at each workplace- the question of the who the real power is is placed on the agenda- ie the power of the workers who produce the wealth, or the parasitic capitalists who rule through the brute force of state power; if workers stay at home it gives the bosses strength; they have the capacity to wait out the strike. 

A stayaway is a self-imposed lockout, a pacifist tactic, always tipping the struggle ultimately in the favour of the capitalists and therefore the imperialists. A general strike/occupation immediately poses the question of strike and factory committees; from here grows the basis for workers power. That is why the SACP so violently opposes real strikes and at best will only support stayaways to tire out the masses and then reach a settlement that keeps the working class in various levels of slavery.

Has the past 16 years provided houses for all? The ANC-SACP have maintained the level of homelessness that has allowed the banks to push up house prices by the highest percentage in the world (about 400% over the past 5 years). They do not support mass action to fight the electricity price increase but support only ‘negotiation’- see where that has left us? As a result of the SACP the banks have increased their customers by over 2 million and they fleece us with high bank fees every month.

In the current public sector strike they blame the strikers for abandoning patients; but they forget that the years of collapse and privatization of the public health system has abandoned patients every day; the private hospitals, always half empty, abandon patients every day because they do not have the money; the private hospitals are making a huge profit as strike-breakers but the SACP are silent on this; instead they now want the National Health Insurance (NHI) to become part of the strike settlement.  

This must be opposed at all costs. The NHI will tax workers a further 10% (?) and workers may be able to go to private clinics; after the few hours or perhaps a day or so, when the credit runs out, the patient will be abandoned; the private clinics will just hike their fees like they always do, and rake in billions extra profits; under the guise of  ‘health for all’, it will really be further privatization of health care; the SACP are acting in the service of the imperialist banks that own the private hospital groups. A similar scheme in the USA has excluded 36 million workers from health care benefits but the monopolies have entrenched their control over health. 

The SACP does not condemn the police brutality; under such conditions it can only mean that they support the actions of the state against the strikers and that they support the strike-breaking actions of the state in the schools and hospitals.The main concern of the SACP is the capitalist notion of tying the increase to ‘enhanced productivity. 

What is even more damning is that the SACP favours a ‘moratorium’ on the salary levels in the upper levels of government; in other words, the SACP supports the current R1,6 million packages that the ministers get; this is nothing but the upper layer of the SACP clinging to their capitalist privileges and BMW’s. 

The SACP talks about a ‘People’s bank’ but this is just a vague phrase to disguise the reality: the capitalist banks will be left untouched; the construction companies, the cement, the brick manufacturers, the best land, are all in the hands of the imperialists; all housing is really hostage to the imperialist banks; this is just another phrase to allow another section of the ANC-SACP to become instant millionaires over the backs of the masses. Any serious effort at housing would nationalize the construction and housing sector as well as the banks.

In the most recent strikes: in the municipal strikes the ANC could not even equalize all the wages of the workers in this sector- workers had to strike against the government to force this basic demand- which has not been achieved; in the transport strike, the ANC opposed the equalization of maternity benefits of managers and workers- this demand has not been achieved; in the current strike, the ANC cannot even grant a minimal increase of 8.6% nor even equalize the medical aid benefits. In all cases the might of the police has been used to bash the strikers.

In short, the ANC-SACP has become the instrument of holding back the struggle for even the most basic democratic demands of the masses. At the same time, the only reliable force to drive these basic demands is the working class! That is why the centre of the indefinite general strike has to be the achievement of the basic democratic demands which can only be accomplished by the working class in power- no other class will stand up for this.
  • Break with the pacifism of the SACP and Cosatu leaders!   
  • Break with the bourgeoisie! Break with the ANC-SACP! 
  • Beware of the CDL (Conference of the Democratic left) which is made up of the SACP leaders who try to build a false ‘anti-capitalist’ party as a new means of controlling the masses for imperialism! Forward to working class power!   
  • Forward to an internationalist, revolutionary working class party! 
  • Forward to an organizing committee for the refounding of the Fourth International! Forward to the federation of Socialist, Workers states of Southern Africa!

Shaheed Mahomed,Workers International Vanguard League. South African section of
International Leninist Trotskyist Fraction.
ph 0822020617, ph [27] 21 4476777, fax 0865486048
workersinternational@gmail.com  web www.workersinternational.org.za

Affiliated to the International Leninist Trotskyist Fraction integrated by
Liga Trotskista Internacionalista , (LTI) de Bolivia
Fraccion Trotskista , (FT) de Brasil
Partido Obrero Internactionaista- CI (POI-CI) , de Chile
Liga Obrera Internacionalista- CI (LOI-CI) Argentina
Liga Trotskista Internacionalista- (LTI)Peru
Workers International Vanguard League (WIVL) South Africa
Internationalist Revolutionary League-FI Zimbabwe

Monday, August 30, 2010

Class Struggle 90 July-August 2010

Exposing and Ending the Wage System!
Review of ‘Exposing Right Wing Lies’.

The Question and Answer booklet by Mike Treen of the  Unite union is an antidote to the dominant capitalist statistics or “right wing lies”, which the National – Act parties use to justify attacking the working class. 

Below we will deal with a few examples of his arguments. Treen’s booklet keeps the debate within the bounds of capitalism.  He deals in half-truths to answer the two important questions on the cover – “Who is to blame for the economic crisis and what are the solutions?” and so offers no solution but that of reforming capitalism. We need to go further and apply the Marxist analysis to expose the capitalist economic forces behind the crisis, and the working class answer to capitalist crisis.

This pamphlet is aimed at union members who may be confused by the NACTs attack on workers and sticks to the Trade Union level of consciousness which sees capitalism as a class divided society because the bosses do not pay the full value of wages.  Marx, however rejected the wages system itself as a class division based on capitalist ownership and exploitation of wage labour. Treen’s booklet unfortunately adds to the confusion. It does not challenge the wage system.

This is par for the course for Treen who is National Director of the Unite union, and was for years a member of the former Socialist Action League (now Communist League) and is a longstanding member of the Cuban Solidarity Committee. More recently Treen has visited Venezuela and Bolivia representing Unite union and is publicly supportive of the Bolivarian Revolution led by President Hugo Chavez. This pamphlet therefore reflects Treen’s political positions and is consistent with the Council of Trade Unions Alternative Economic Strategy.

Treen reponds to the 'rightwing lies' with his 'reformist halftruths' and we reply with Marxist truths. We have stated all positions in our own language. 

First, the rightwing lies saying increasing minimum wages will increase prices. 

Treen's half truth says wages have been lagging behind prices and inflation. In spite of increasing efficiency and productivity by 80%.
Marxists explain this by the fact that the lag in wages reflects the growing rate of exploitation of workers with increased productivity. Wages decline relative to profits. Prices are broadly based on the labour time that went into the goods – the minimum socially necessary labour. Workers therefore have in interest in replacing capitalism with socialism.     

So the Right lies that increasing minimum wages will increase inflation.   

Treen's half truth responds that the workers share of the total NZ Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) has dropped by 10% (while capitalists share has increased).  Marxists say that inflation is driven by forces in the capitalist market. Inflation is used to devalue wages. The real value of wages is forced up only by the organised strength of workers through strikes and occupations.

The Right also lies that increasing minimum wages will increase unemployment.  

Treen's half truth says that minimum wage increases have gone hand in hand with increased employment.
Marxists say that unemployment is endemic to capitalism because the capitalist class keeps a permanent “reserve army” of the unemployed to force workers to compete for jobs driving down their wages. Youth are forced into the reserve army by casualisation, restoring youth rates etc. The solution is to fight for jobs for all by sharing the work on a living wage.   

The Right says that Rogernomics part I (under Labour) worked (privatising, rail, road maintenance printing, power, telecoms, commercialising TV, Coal, etc).

Treen says that Rogernomics failed (1980s and 1990s) the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. There was no increase in economic growth or general incomes (except for the rich) with Rogernomics. Labour effectively outlawed political strikes. They sold capitalists whole sections of the economy to run – for profit (not for social good).
Marxists say that the “free-market” ideas of Roger Douglas were designed to open up NZ to the global market allowing international capital to buy up cheap public and private assets and restore its falling profits. State assets such a transport, electricity, telecoms etc; were subsidies to capitalism while NZ was a protected economy. Deregulation meant they were restructured and sold off to reduce the drain of taxes on capitalist profits. Workers have a class interest in expropriating all state and private assets under a Workers Government.  
The Right says that Rogernomics part II (under National) cut welfare; reduced spending on education, housing, health, and reigned in union power to balance the budget

Treen points out that take home wages fell by 25% in real terms (1982 to 2008).  The National government’s Employment Contracts Act (ECA) in 1991 attacked union organisation and cut benefits (social wages). 
Marxists explain that all these measures were attempts to restore capitalist profits, with the costs passed on to the working class. Organised workers are a threat to capitalists, because if workers strike we can stop profits flowing to the capitalist class. Strong unions are schools for revolution and threaten the class rule of capitalists. 

The Right says that the ECA would make a “free” labour market.  

Treen says that the ECA was an attack on organised workers (unions). Membership has dropped from 720 thousand to 350 thousand. (CTU) Union leaders failed to fight the when workers were calling for a General Strike.  
Marxists say that unions are allowed to exist by capitalism only to the extent they can control the working class. If union leaders do not fight effectively for workers then they need to be replaced. However unions without a Marxist analysis of capitalism will not end this rotten capitalist system.       

The Right says that workers are rewarded for hard work.  

Treen says not true.   Because of the loss in real wages – working families have increased their hours of work and level of debt has taken cut real wages back 20 years.
Marxists say "hard work" is an excuse made by the capitalist class to increase the rate of exploitation making workers produce more profits for capitalism at reduced labour costs (wages).We demand jobs for all by sharing work on a living wage!       

The Right blames unemployed as “bludgers”. John Key says, “slackers”. 

Treen says that National cut all benefits: unemployment, DPB, invalid, sickness. And National Super was cut by pushing the age of eligibility back from 60 to 65yrs. 
Marxists point out that this is an inevitable feature of capitalism which creates a reserve army of unemployed made up disproportionately of women, youth, ethnic minorities and migrant workers. Benefits have to be lower than the minimum wage to force people to compete for jobs. It is in the interest of all workers to unite to fight and overthrow capitalism.    
The Right says that GST is a fair tax

Treen says not fair. The richest paid as little as 6% of their income in GST, while the poorest paid between 9-14% of their income as GST (getting into debt to survive at rates above the 12.5% GST). 
Marxists say there can be no ‘fair tax’ (as there is no ‘fair wage’) since all taxes come out of the value produced by productive workers. The demand to tax the rich, or employers cannot prevent exploitation at the point of production.  We have to end the exploitative 'wage system'.  
The Right says lower taxes on the rich will “boost investment and economic growth”. 

Treen says there is no evidence for the impact of tax cuts on growth. In fact growth and productivity have sometimes been highest when top tax rate was highest. 
Marxists say that all taxes originate from surplus value and bosses will try to stop paying taxes which are a drain on their 'profits'.  A workers revolution is needed to create a planned (socialist) economy where production can be used and developed to meet the needs of all. (Not this chaotic capitalist investment for profits system).    
The Right says that social inequality reflects ability. 

Treen say rubbish, inequality is caused by inequal incomes.  Inequality causes rising rates of suicide, crime and drug abuse. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their book The spirit level – Why more Equal societies nearly always do better show income inequality is not a good thing.
Marxists say that inequality under capitalism results from capitalists owning the means of production and workers having to work to produce profits in order to survive. Inequality therefore cannot be overcome by redistributing income from capitalists to workers and workers have to unite to overthrow capitalism and create a classless society.

The Right attacks Labours 1999 – 2008 record as failing to complete the Rogernomics agenda.  

Treen rejects that and says that Labour never challenged the fundamental policies introduced by Rogernomics under Labour and National. Labour only minimally tinkered with the economy.
Marxists explain that the Labour Party is a mixture of capitalists and workers representatives who only want to reform capitalism – a bourgeois-workers party.  They do not organise to overthrow this rotten system so have to be replaced by a real labour party. 
The right says that it is necessary to cut health, welfare and education spending to reduce the drain of high taxes on profit. 

Treen says that the welfare state was a reform necessary to bring more social equality. The cuts to welfare to pay for tax cuts are unfair and unions need to fight to defend and extend the welfare state. 
Marxists say that the Welfare state was a reform of capitalism designed to save the rotten capitalist system. The Welfare state is a wage paid socially to the working class as a whole (through the labour of health and education workers etc) to supplement the wage paid directly by the employers. We defend the social wage in the knowledge that it is no more than the redistribution of the value produced by workers via taxes in the form of a social wage.
The Rights says that the economy is undergoing a “fragile recovery”.   

Treen says that the economy is grim and that the long term solution is a democratic plan, with “community control and workers in management” developing the CTU's Alternative Economic Strategy (AES).
Marxists say that crises are inevitable in the anarchic capitalist world economy. Only workers organised and able to make a revolution can take control of banks and the whole economy, and plan it for the social good. Let's take a closer look at this AES.   

Alternative Economic Strategy

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) Alternative Economic Strategy is based on the delusion of “an economy that works for everyone", as if such a thing could exist under the capitalist system. The current focus of the CTU is on increasing productivity (which for Marxists is the rate of exploitation) so that workers can bargain to retain some greater share of the increased value they produce. 

This aligns the union leaderships with the capitalist class as collaborating in the rise of productivity of the working class to restore (falling) profits. Marx very clearly described how the profits for capitalism will fall, and continue to fall. Moreover, the higher the level of productivity, the greater would be the tendency for the rate of profit to fall because machines do not produce value. The bosses try to recoup their falling profits by cutting real wages and conditions and attacking the social wage funded by taxes.

The latest capitalist crisis was the direct result of such a tendency for falling profits. When ordinary capitalist production was not returning a ‘good’ profit margin, finance capitalism poured capital into dodgy and convoluted home loans. The value of these was artificially raised by speculation (and lies) way above the real labour value in construction. As wages were cut and jobs lost the banks found that workers couldn’t pay their inflated mortgages. The real price of housing was way below this ‘fictitious’ value and the result was the sub-prime crash.

There is a little reporting about the cost to the section of the working class who had taken home loans and have now lost their home to mortgage sales and are left with a debt burden which will continue to suck a cut from their wages into the profits of finance capitalists. The efforts of the capitalists to restore profits are mostly attacks on the working class, and so it is in workers interests to fightback.

The NACTs have continually used the latest capitalist crisis as an excuse to launch a capitalist range of attacks on the working class. National’s new employment law is permission for bosses to ‘Fire at will’ in their attack on the working class. It is worse than the Employment Contracts Act of 1991 because the weakness of the unions today makes it extremely difficult for workers to avoid signing onto a 90 Day ‘trial period’.

The NACTs would like to dispense with the unions to discipline workers from fighting back. But the two headed attacks on wages and the social wage (Health, Education, Housing and Welfare) means that workers will resist. That is why the CTU has responded to the Labour ‘reforms’ with a call to go to the ‘streets’. It has to demonstrate its utility to the NACT bosses that it can control the workers fightback and steer it into support for the Labour Party. Treen is a national leader of the Unite Union which has successfully recruited unorganised youth.
While Unite is leading the fightback against the 90 Days Fire at Will, picketing workplaces that are sacking young workers under this law, unlesss this is seen as a first step towards challenging the bosses’ class rule over all of society, it becomes no more than pressure on governments to reform workplace relations, and holds back the new wave of militancy within the dead end of parliament.

The only real power workers have is our ability to stop the flow of profits for the capitalist class by taking strike action.  We don’t mean token strikes with media stunts and ineffective pickets. We mean a strike (reinforced by picketing) that really does stop production and/or distribution of commodities and stops capitalists’ profits.

It is the potential of unionised working to organise effective strikes and pickets which scares the capitalist class. All the past gains of working people have been fought for and won only with the backing of strike action (real or threatened). As Trotsky said in the classic work on Trade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay to break with the state, take control of the unions into the hands of the rank and file and turn the unions into organs of workers power to fight for a Workers Government and socialist society!


Smash NACTs Austerity Attack!

How to defeat NACTs austerity attack

The NACT governments new package of labour reforms is designed to improve 'productivity' and 'create jobs' says John Key. This is the neo-liberal language for increased exploitation of workers under worse conditions to restore profits. Under the new law workers will have fewer rights than they had under the ECA in the 1990s. This is why the CTU has been forced to call for street protests. However, like the social democrats in Greece and Spain, where the EU is imposing tough austerity measures, the CTU will use street protests to try to pressure the Labour Party to the left and defeat the NACTs at the next election. But Labour will not challenge capitalism and imperialism. Its purpose has always been to reconcile workers to capitalism. We say that the working class must organise independently of the Labour Party and fight for a revolutionary party and program to socialise the economy and plan production for need and not profit.

US-China Military Rivalry Threatens Global War

In recent weeks China and the US have taken more hostile stands militarily. This is expressed in China's opposition to the current joint US-South Korea military exercises in the Yellow Sea. The US has also intervened in the dispute between China and Vietnam over Islands in the South China Sea. This military standoff represents a deeper falling out politically as China has refused to concede to the full sanctions on Iran demanded by the US, and now stands to gain as the EU cuts off all investment. War preparations against Iran continue meanwhile. China has also taken a clear stand for an independent Afghanistan against a permanent US base in the heart of central Asia. China is likely to back Pakistan in any fallout with the US over support for the Taliban. China also stands to gain from Pakistan's influence over the Pashtun which leads to a moderate Pashtun state or Pashtun control of Afghanistan.

Behind the political fall-out is the growing economic rivalry between the US the hegemonic imperialist power on the wane, and a rapidly growing China which is now the US main rival in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This rivalry has intensified with the onset of a global recession in 2007 which saw the US, EU and Japanese economies go into recession, while China continued to grow rapidly. The global capitalist crisis continues to deepen and threatens to slide into a double-dip recession or depression. It will widen the gap between the US and China and push the US into a more aggressive projection of its military power in Asia where it is determined to create a permanent base in Afghanistan, in Africa where Africom now mobilises US and African forces in many countries, and in Latin America were the US stage the coup in Honduras, has 7 new bases in Colombia, and renewed its occupation of Haiti. In all of these new expanding US military fronts, the US is using its military superiority with the main objective of pushing back China's expanding economic power.
The inter-imperialist rivalry between the two imperialist poles, the US bloc and the China bloc, explains the current military escalation in East Asia. China's economy continues to grow at almost 10%. US investments in China continue to grow. US firms rely on the China market to avoid bankruptcy. General Motors is contracting in the US but expanding in  China. Apple is now taking advantage of the growing Chinese middle class. China is now outstripping Japan as the No 2 world economy. At this rate it could catch up with the US within two decades or less. Thus the US is trapped in its relations with China. Without its investments in China the US would be in a deep depression. So the US strategy with China is to increase its economic share of China's labor power, resources and market. Yet China is now powering away from the US accumulating more capital from its FDI proportionately than the US. China against its image of projecting 'soft power' is making tough deals in the semi-colonial countries and raking in superprofits.

Thus the mixed motives of the US towards China's dynamic economy means that the US wants to similtaneously dominate China's economy short of any all-out direct military confrontation. Its current tactics are to push China back, but not so far as to force a serious breakdown in relations. Instead the US uses the big stick to make Japan backdown on evicting the US base from Okinawa, and to allow more US bases in Japan. Then there is the re-awakening of the Korean war which has been halted only by an armistice since 1953, the Cheonan incident and the South Seas conflict with Vietnam. All of this is the result of a policy in which the US attempts to both profit from and yet contain China. The further away from China the more the US is prepared to stoke up its client regimes to confront China. As we discuss below this opens up the immediate prospect of proxy wars on every contient. What is the likely outcome of this bipolar scenario? 

 Wikileaks: Release Brad Manning - War Hero

The release of the Afghanistan 'war logs' that blew the secrecy surrounding the inhuman war in Afghanistan have been traced by the Pentagon to Bradley Manning - bradass87 - (photo above) an intelligence officer based in Iraq. The logs that expose the ongoing conduct of a brutal, murderous war against the people of Afghanistan are likely to fuel a new wave of anti-war opinion against the war.

While Wikileaks role in facilitating the publication of the logs is to be welcomed, the real hero of this scandal is bradass87 who was arrested in May and has spend two months in jail in Kuwait. We say the workers of the world must demand the immediate release of Brad Manning as a war hero!

US: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill proves Capitalism unfit to Rule!

During the OPEC oil embargo of 1973-74, war criminal Henry Kissinger is reputed to have quipped, "Oil is too important to be left to the control of the Arabs". We have a different perspective: Oil is too dangerous to be left to the control of the capitalists!

As we go to press in late June 2010, the oil spill (read: gush) into the Gulf of Mexico from British Petroleum‘s exploded oil rig Deepwater Horizon has already become the worst oil spill disaster in world history, far exceeding the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and even the 1979 Ixtoc disaster off the coast of Mexico – and there is no end in sight.

Since April 20, when the actions of BP and its contractors set off the initial explosion that sank the oil rig – the deepest offshore oil drilling operation in the U.S., if not in the world –  tens if not hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil have gushed out each day into the Gulf of Mexico, and onto the coastlines of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. In Florida, the oil has reached the pristine white beaches, many of the tourists are gone, and many thousands have lost their jobs. The same coastal areas of the Gulf that were pounded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and left to rot by the Bush administration, have been hit hardest by the oil spill, and have been left to rot by Obama, the Democratic 'environmental' President.

Aoteaoroa/NZ:  Education 'reforms' Pave way for Privatisation

The NACT Government has introduced a large number of education cuts, alongside moves towards privatisation, National Standards, and targeted cash injections to support its assessment focused agenda. To justify this, it has created a “crisis” which does not exist. The NZEI teachers’ union is strongly opposed to National Standards and has conducted protests and campaigns but stopped short of striking or an outright refusal, instead calling for a trial. The education cuts are part of an assault on the welfare state including health, benefits and social services, designed to make the working class pay for the international capitalist crisis, and to make private providers rich at our expense. Assessments of students and teachers paves the way for rewarding the well performing schools and teachers at the expense of the failing schools opening the way for the privatisation of education. These attacks on public provision of universal, compulsory education funded by taxation has to be resisted by mobilising teachers unions alongside parents and students

Class Struggle 90 July-August 2010 pdf

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Aotearoa/NZ: Education ‘Reforms’ pave way for privatisation

The NACT Government has introduced a large number of education cuts, alongside moves towards privatisation, National Standards, and targeted cash injections to support its assessment focused agenda. To justify this, it has created a “crisis” which does not exist. The NZEI teachers’ union is strongly opposed to National Standards and has conducted protests and campaigns but stopped short of striking or an outright refusal, instead calling for a trial. The education cuts are part of an assault on the welfare state including health, benefits and social services, designed to make the working class pay for the international capitalist crisis, and to make private providers rich at our expense. Assessments of students and teachers paves the way for rewarding the well performing schools and teachers at the expense of the failing schools opening the way for the privatisation of education. These attacks on public provision of universal, compulsory education funded by taxation has to be resisted by mobilising teachers unions alongside parents and students.

Early Childhood Education 

The cuts to Early Childhood Education, where instead of 100 % funding for qualified teachers, there is now only 80%, is an absolutely shameful and short sighted attack upon the most vulnerable members of society. 

 The cuts affect 2,000 centres caring for 93,000 children. $285 million will be cut over the next four years. Centres are losing between $20,000 to $80,000 per year, and are faced with the choice of either cutting staff or raising fees. The majority are raising fees by up to $40 per week. These cuts will hurt low income families the most, especially the one in four families living in poverty, most of whom are beneficiaries.  There is no way these families of can afford a fee increase, so they will be forced to withdraw their children. More than a quarter of affected centres are planning to leave the 20 free hours per week scheme and half are considering reducing staff to student ratios. 

Early childhood education (ECE) is the foundation of all other learning and numerous studies have shown how it is linked to higher achievement and quality of life for an entire lifetime. However it is a very long time before any profits can be made out of children attending ECE. In fact capitalists have an interest in shifting the costs of ECE to ‘user pays’. This may be why it is already the Cinderella of the teaching profession with centres operating already on stretched budgets.  While the NZEI has achieved pay parity for kindergarten and primary teachers this does not necessarily apply to private centres, and non -qualified staff, like teaching assistants in primary schools, are paid poverty wages scarcely above the minimum wage.

Some have argued that a grandmother type of figure can care for the young just as well as a qualified teacher. However surveys have shown that the presence of an educated qualified teacher or carer with their wider vocabulary, theoretical knowledge and practical skills, enriches the learning environment of children at all ages, and enhances their development and learning.

 Whilst quality ECE from age three onwards produces excellent results, some studies have indicated that the attachment needs of babies up to age two or three are better met by consistent committed care by a known adult.  Achieving this would need more funding not less, for example by reducing adult to child ratios considerably at centres, increasing funds for professional home based care, extending paid parental leave, increasing the domestic purposes benefit, and increasing funding to parent co-operatives such as play centres. The low pay or no pay of workers at this level, and up through the education sector, are an example of the non-valuing of women’s work in general, particularly caring and mothering work, which has generally been done for free, despite the high skill and commitment level that it demands.

A society with a genuine commitment to equality in education would begin at pre-school level, with free early childhood education for all, and more funding for Kohanga Reo’s and centres for Pacifica children.  Instead ECE funding cuts may be forcing some of these centres to close. Cutting costs at the pre-school level, where much future crime could be prevented, goes hand in hand with increased spending on prisons, which like schools, are to be run as public private partnerships, where massive public spending will end up as private profit. It is therefore hypocritical for the NACTs to claim they have the interests of children at heart!

University and Adult Education

Restrictions on university entrance are reversing a trend which has seen large numbers of New Zealanders gaining tertiary education. Unemployed and beneficiaries were amongst those benefitting from university education. Even so, some groups still have low university attendance, such as Pacific Island students.  There are few Pacific language early childhood education centres available, and Pacific Island students are channelled into non-academic NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) exams at secondary schools so the schools can achieve higher pass rates.

5% of university funding is now linked to performance, and National has warned that this is just the start. John Key has made grumbling noises about the poor investment that interest free loans make; and the government restricts loans to those with a good pass rate.

The cutting of the Training Incentive Allowance has stopped many single parents from being able to get qualifications which would take them out of poverty and into professional occupations. Others have gone to extreme lengths to try to study under starvation conditions.
National does not really want beneficiaries to have higher education. Instead it prefers them to do short cheap training courses so that they can quickly be put on the labour market offering their skills to employers for low pay.

The cuts to Adult Community Education have meant the loss of a very cheap cost effective service to immigrants for English as a second language classes, literacy classes, and other classes which enrich people’s lives and provide social cohesion. The PPTA, to whom many of the teachers belonged, campaigned against this.

National Standards

The Government is determined to impose National Standards on primary schools despite almost universal resistance from teachers, academics, and international evidence. To justify this, National would have us believe that education is in crisis, rather than their capitalist system, and that national standards are needed to ‘pull up the tail’ of those failing in the current system. That is, to close underperforming schools or force them into private hands where the focus will be to train cheap, compliant wage-workers!

 In fact, New Zealand does not have a crisis in education, and is doing very well by international standards.  As John Hattie put it in recent radio discussion with Charmaine Pountney and Gordon Dryden: “Where is the problem we are solving?” Where there is a problem, the reason is poverty which affects about twenty to twenty five percent of students.

Notwithstanding more funding being allocated to lower decile schools (in low SES working class areas), these schools have far too little funding; and sometimes lack cultural relevance.

According to Charmaine Pountney, former principal of Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, what is lacking is a commitment to equality.  The Child Poverty Action Group has explained at length how poverty affects children’s ability to learn, from lack of food, books, clothing, ability to pay for uniforms, school trips and cultural activities etc. An immediate answer would be to raise benefits and wages; re-introduce a universal child benefit, and provide more education resources where they are needed.

The NACTs answer to this manufactured crisis is ‘National Standards’. This involves requiring every child from age six, every year, to sit tests which measure’s the child’s literacy and numeracy against a “standard” which is deliberately set higher than the current national average, and higher than is needed for the child to succeed perfectly well at NCEA later on. This is a bit like deliberately setting benefits below the level of needs, which the government has been doing since 1991. Just as a beneficiary cannot live on benefits that are deliberately set too low, so a child cannot possibly succeed in a test where the pass mark is deliberately set above their developmental level.

This scandalous and cruel assault upon young children’s self esteem, where children are labelled as failures from age six,  is deemed by National to be the way to “bring up the tail” of the children who are currently performing below the average.  In fact, results of similar national testing overseas, and a whole barrage of educational experts and teachers in New Zealand, show that they do not improve learning at all.

Academics John Hattie,  Martin Thrupp, Terry Crooks, Lester Flockton, wrote an open letter to Education Minister Anne Tolley, asking her not to introduce National Standards.  They are not against assessments, but point out that we already have these. They talk about the international failures of these kinds of tests, the dangers of publicising results (eg having been used as league tables overseas) and the impoverishment of the culture of teaching and learning. They point out that some of our most remarkable adults have had unremarkable school achievements. They are even willing to work with Anne Tolley to devise better national tests which focus upon a child’s progress.

Charmaine Pountney said in the radio discussion, that class hegemony was maintained by national standards which will be fine those already achieving well but make no difference to students in lower decile schools. She said that that the tests wrongly focus on “outcomes not incomes”, and “output not input”.

According to John Hattie only 50% of infants who would have passed PAT tests (Progressive Achievement Tests), would pass National Standards, and only 35% of year 8 students would. The tests are thus unfair, and “out of kilter with existing assessment tools”. Children who are well on track to pass NCEA (National Certificate of Education) at secondary schools and well within current norms, are deemed ‘failing’, and said to be below the National Standard which is deemed to be ‘aspirational’.

This is disputed by teachers who say it is grossly unfair to judge today’s students by tomorrow’s standards (Education Aotearoa p 20-21). Jan Tinetti, Principal of Merivale School in the Bay of Plenty which has a 98% Maori roll, describes the standards as Eurocentric and “almost middle class.”. “They miss a lot of what is aspirational for my kids...they miss the cultural richness.” (Education Aotearoa. p 19)

National Standards run counter to learning through play which is vital for younger children in particular, and discourage creativity, imagination, or other subjects, while the focus is simply on passing tests in literacy and numeracy. Parental support for National Standards is dropping after the first test results have come out.

An article in the Independent  entitled “My little Boy’s Class Struggle”- also on the NZEI website- describes the difficulties faced by a 6 year old child who left behind a nurturing, warm, creative classroom environment in Ireland, to face a classroom focused almost entirely on passing tests in Australia. There was no more fun, no more cuddles, no more school plays.
Children in Australia face increasing pressures with a big national test at age eleven, and miss out on the arts.

Teachers and Unions Resistance against National Testing

In New Zealand the primary teachers’ union, the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI ) strongly opposes National Standards, and is conducting a campaign against it. It has a facebook page NZEI-Te-Riu-Roa.

 Some teachers are trying to protect their students from the tests because of the hurt they can cause. Professional development has been inadequate and therefore abandoned, or refused because of opposition to national standards. Principals are refusing to waste school’s budgets on training courses on it. Most teachers are either not implementing or struggling with the process (Education Aotearoa, Winter 2010, 20-21)

Recent surveys (have indicated that more than a quarter of teachers do not understand the tests, and that around 40% do not feel prepared for them.

NZEI organised a bus trip from Kaitaia from the Bluff to protest the National Standards, with rallies in all the major centers, and a petition which they took to parliament. They have issued thousands of postcards, and have set up   websites and facebook pages. They have also set up a group called “Project Orange” for community supporters to join to oppose the standards.

Teachers and principals (who are both in the same union although the principals are also in a Principals Federation) are united against national standards, with school boards (technically their employers) reluctantly behind the principals, but the School Trustees Association has  been telephoning teachers with warnings about their resistance to the standards. Anne Tolley, backed by the media, has tried to portray teachers as failing in their duties by publically criticising the standards; and generally portraying them as hostile and disobedient. Teachers have responded that they are not bound by the confidentiality of public servants, but by their professional duties as teachers.

But the NZEI is not calling for an out and out refusal of the standards, but only for a trial of them. Nor have they called for stop work meetings or strike action over the issue. A strike would be illegal, which is the excuse used by union officials not to take action. NZEI is also engaged in wage negotiations as their collective contract comes up for renewal.

The Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) say National Standards could have ”disastrous effects upon students and teachers”, and could lead to league tables that wrongly label schools as failures. They say it would be “most unwise” to ignore the international evidence against them.

However the PPTA is not very supportive of the NZEI. PPTA members are opposed to pay parity with primary teachers and resent primary teachers achieving pay increases on the PPTA’s coat tails, as they see it. This disunity weakens both unions, which as public sector unions with high union membership, could have some impact.

Teachers in Australia voted to boycott the then Minister of Education Julia Gillard’s league tables being published on the website “My School” which forced her to take them down.

In the UK, national testing happens at age six and age eleven. Lessons are increasingly structured, with every single reading lesson requiring an assessment.  Teachers unions have refused to implement the tests in 2011.

There are important lessons here. The education unions must unite in an all out opposition to the cuts in education and to National Standards as deliberate moves to attack the foundations of publicly funded, secular, universal and compulsory education. Strike action by the combined teachers unions supported by other unions would send a clear message that they are prepared to put their professional standards and the rights of children to the test in a showdown with this NACT government.

Ultimately to realise our education needs, along with all our other needs to food shelter, health as well as meaningful work and social equality, we need a program to end capitalism and plan for a socialist society.

(to be continued)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Imperialismo: Tira as mãos do Irã!

Abaixo o Regime! 
Imperialistas disputam o Irã 

 O Irã é hoje o prêmio em uma grande confrontação entre os dois principais blocos imperialistas. Por um lado é os E.U.A e seus aliados, Israel, França e Grã-Bretanha. Pelo outro lado  é a China e a Rússia, juntamente com seus aliados na  SCO - Índia, Paquistão e Irã. No meio equilibrada entre os dois blocos principais estão a França, a Alemanha e cada vez mais o Japão, onde o novo  JDP está desafiando a dominação dos E.U.A olhando  para a China. 
 Vamos definir cada um destes jogadores e ver o que o que está em jogo com relação ao Irã.
Os E.U.A vêem o Irã como um Estado perigoso e não confiável que pode fazer pender a balança de poder na Ásia Central. Não só é é um importante fornecedor de petróleo e gás; situa-se na fronteira desta região rica nesses recurso, além  ser das principais rotas esses produtos, gás e petróleo, vindo, da    Ásia Central.
Os E.U.A e seus aliados da OTAN ( França e Alemanha praticamente ausentes) estão ocupando o Afeganistão e espalhando a guerra contra o "terror" no Paquistão. Para o Ocidente  ocupado no Iraque e seu principal aliado no na região, Israel. O bloco E.U. precisa controlar o Irã assegurar o controlo do petróleo e gás da Eurásia. 
O bloco da Rússia China 
O bloco China - Rússia controla a Eurásia ( assim como territórios que antes eram partes da URSS e China comunista ). Apesar de alguns progressos dos os E.U. em ganhar estes estados fora influencia da Rússia e da China, esse processo sofreu uma reversão nos últimos anos e está fazendo pouco progresso para ter acesso ao petróleo e gás. Tanto a Rússia e a China têm principais acordos com estes países para o fornecimento de energia. Entretanto, o gasoduto Nabucco ainda é um caro gasoduto.
Não só isso, a China está buscando ativamente  petróleo e campos de  gás  e / ou construindo e projetando  gasodutos  no Iraque, no Irão e no Paquistão sob o nariz de os E.U.. A China está mesmo a abrir uma mina de cobre enorme no Afeganistão, e fortalecer a sua defesa militar na fronteira com o Afeganistão. 
Recentemente, a China adicionou um longo gasoduto da  Ásia Central para a China. A China fez acordos com os países da Ásia Central  para fornecimento de  gás , enquanto os E.U. está   realizando uma longa e até agora não vitoriosa guerra no Afeganistão. Segundo o New York Times: "O ambicioso projeto percorre  1.140 milhas em três nações da Ásia Central  até a fronteira com a China, ligando o Turcomenistão à região chinesa de Xinjiang. Uma vez no interior da China,  se conecta com um gasoduto que pode levar o combustível até mais a leste. " 
 O Irã está sendo apontado como uma potencial ameaça nuclear, enquanto Israel e Índia, nenhum dos quais adeptos do acordo de nuclear não-proliferação nuclear, são tolerados,  se não,  ativamente apoiados. apenas porque o seu regime (do Irã) é hostil aos E.U. e alinhado com a Rússia e a China. O regime islâmico no Irã é o único poderoso Estado  islâmico que não está no campo dos E.U.. Ahmadinejad é claramente alinhado com a Rússia e a China economicamente e politicamente. 
 Esse alinhamento estende-se aos regimes bolivarianos ALBA na América América liderada por Chávez. Chávez vê o Irã como um aliado-chave na luta contra o imperialismo americano. que é cada vez mais vinculados a China e a Rússia. 
 Abaixo com o regime islâmico

 Enquanto Israel está atacando o regime de Ahmadinejad e está ansioso para bombardear instalações nucleares do Irã,  os E.U.A sob o governo Obama preferiu discutir o fechamento do programa nuclear com a ameaça de sanções econômicas mais graves.
Dessa forma os E.U. apoiaram a oposição na figura de   Moussavi  para alterar o regime islâmico através de eleições. As grandes manifestações ocorreram julho, em resposta à provável fraudes nas eleições e  eram lideradas por Moussavi e os seus apoiadores. Algumas organizações de trabalhadores  se envolveram também. Uma minoria de trabalhadores e estudantes começaram a  contestar não só o regime de Ahmadinejad, mas o regime islâmico estabelecido em 1979 em seu conjunto. 
A esquerda no Irã apoiou os protestos pela democracia ,e outros foram ainda  mais longe, e apelaram  aos trabalhadores para lutar pelo socialismo. Com a repressão dos protestos esta onda de lutas recuou.

 O recente recrudescimento da luta em dezembro teve uma mudança significativa 
para a esquerda. Moussavi não era mais o líder. As principais exigências  se deslocaram  das demandas democráticas  para reivindicações socialistas. Assim não só temos uma situação onde os dois blocos imperialistas estão se preparando  no Irã para um confronto com a intenção de controlar a Eurásia. A classe operária está mostrando sinais de que se erguem contra ambas as alas da burguesia, pro-China e pró-EUA. O problema é que a esquerda reformista dá o apoio ao regime de Ahmadinejad, como parte do bloco bolivariano ligada à China e oferecendo aos trabalhadores uma esperança ilusória de que a China pode vir ao salvamento da economia iraniana e satisfazer as necessidades da classe trabalhadora.

As ilusões bolivarianas quanto á China

Agora que Obama revelou-se como apenas um bombardeiro da classe dominante atuando no Afeganistão, espalhando a guerra até Paquistão e abrangendo o Iêmen e África, quem  mais pode oferecer alguma esperança aos bolivarianos que o imperialismo pode ser reformado? Chávez e Castro estão buscando  a China para vir para o resgate. China oferece uma solução, porque é uma potência em ascensão com o peso econômico para substituir o imperialismo ianque odiado. O que é mais como um  ex-estado operário  que mantém uma forte centralização do Partido Comunista, a China pode quebrar todas as regras e se tornar o modelo para o socialismo do século 21.  Tudo que é preciso é que os trabalhadores reivindiquem-se e empurrem regime chinês para a esquerda. Esta é a posição de James Petras,do defensor Chávez, que sustenta que a China se tornará a imperialista a menos que os trabalhadores pressionem o PCC para a esquerda.

 Podemos perceber por que os bolivarianos e  castristas  procuram a solução na China. A China restaurou o capitalismo, mas com  características 'socialista'.Isto  inclui  a vontade de formar alianças políticas e econômicas com classes dominantes semi-coloniais que se fazem passar por populistas. Assim esquerda populista, os bolivarianos , Chávez e Morales, os centristas Bolivarianos Lula, e o mais à  direita Kirchner, todos se benefícia a partir de estratégicas alianças com a China. Não é preciso muita imaginação para ver como o Irã também podem se beneficiar de sua aliança estratégica com a China e a Rússia.

Os sonhos da ALBA de uma V Internacional 

 Isto é de onde a esquerda reformista que apóia Chávez e sua  proposta da V Internacionais vêm para conter as massas por detrás dos regimes populistas. Chávez quer reter a China-Rússia-Cuba e o bloco bolivariano  intacto, incluindo o regime islâmico do Irã. Para Chávez, isso é possível. Para ele o regime islâmico é ditatorial   apenas porque ele está sob ataque do imperialismo dos E.U.A  e devido ao boicote econômico que sofreu. As pessoas pagam o preço do bloqueio econômico, com redução nos padrões de vida, e seus protestos se defrontam  com a polícia e para-militares. Chávez argumenta que o regime pode adotar o caminho do CCP(Partido Comunista Chinês), que enquanto usar a força para suprimir as greves e motins, está tentando atender às demandas populares com despesas de infra-estrutura. O caminho da China da estrada para  o socialismo, então, representa um modelo do que é possível para tanto as semi-colônias, como os países da ALBA e do Irã, Paquistão, etc, e para  Estados "socialista" como Cuba e Coréia do Norte, para se encontrar o ponto de socialismo do século 21.
 Assim, a esquerda do movimento bolivariano no Irã, os quais são entusiastas apoiadores de Chávez, na Venezuela estão pedindo para pressionar o regime Ahmadinejad  para a esquerda com uma "Assembléia Constituinte" para unir todos as classes progressivas no Irã por trás de uma frente democrática e popular que seria anti E.U,  mas pró-China. Os esquerda bolivarianos  servem para vincular os trabalhadores a frentes democráticas e populares dos regimes populistas nacionalistas. assim que esses  regimes se movem para a direita, como o de Lula no Brasil, a esquerda Bolivariana como Chávez explicam que  isso é por causa das exigências do imperialismo Yankee. A expansão econômica da China permite que o capitalismo pode ser reformado
e permitirá que o seu regime  e de todos os dos seus parceiros estratégicos, incluindo o Irão,  moverem-se para a esquerda.
Os perigos da "estrada chinesa para o socialismo"

 A China já não é um estado operário-degenerado. 
É agora um Estado capitalista. Mas não há nada de progressista nisso. A China tem sido capaz de utilizar o seu legado como um Estado-operário para escapar de ser preso na armadilha de ser uma semi-colônia dos E.U. ou do Japão. Agora está a embarcar em sua própria expansão  imperialista  em uma aliança com a Rússia. Isso significa que o sonho bolivariano  de um capitalismo mais democrático, progressista na China está  condenado como um sonho irreal. A  China não é mais progressista do que qualquer outra nação imperialista.  Super-explora os seus próprios milhões de trabalhadores, assim  como aqueles nas  semi-colônias, onde investe em minas, petróleo e gás e oferece acordos para "desenvolver" as economias desses países. 

Assim, no Irã, não há nenhuma maneira de que os trabalhadores possam se beneficiar do regime islâmico ter  aliança com a China e a Rússia. Eles não vão ver mais riquezas permanecendo no Irã ou  sendo distribuído para as massas na forma de empregos, salários melhores ou bem-estar social. Pelo contrário, enquanto eles vivem na esperança que uma ou outra potência imperialista irá resgatá-los em nome de democracia ou socialismo,  eles sofrerão o mesmo destino dos trabalhadores ao longo do século XX que estão a morrer de super-exploração, ou nas guerras que serão travadas pelo controle das matérias-primas do Irã e pela força de trabalho.
Programa de Transição para o Irã

 O Irã está em jogo por ambos os blocos imperialistas. As apostas são tão altas que a guerra é provável. Isto pode começar como uma guerra por  entre os dois blocos se Israel ataca o Irã. Mas tal fto não deixaria de chamar a Rússia e China para defender seus interesses, não apenas no Irã, mas na Ásia Central como um todo. Então, qual  deve ser a atitude de revolucionários com uma tal  ameaça de  guerra?

 Um programa de transição para o Irã coloca exigências democráticas para defender o Irã de todas as intervenções imperialistas, por meio de lutas classe independentes da classe operária.  Os direitos básicos democráticos  como a liberdade de expressão e associação não pode estar subordinados a qualquer bloco com o regime contra imperialismo. O Parlamento é a ditadura democrática da burguesia. Somente a classe operária pode defender  o Irã tanto do imperialismo americano como do  imperialismo chinês. E só pode fazer isso por meio de luta armada para tomar o poder e destruir o Estado capitalista. Isso significa que temos que mobilizar os trabalhadores,de forma independente do estado, para a  auto-defesa e para conquistar as bases das forças armadas.
Pelos conselhos operários e milícias armadas e apoiadas pela base dos conselhos militares.

 Em relação ao bloco E.U. somos a favor da defesa do Irã, e pela derrota do bloco E.U. Na medida em que a China ou a Rússia intervirem estamos diretamente pela sua derrota também. Nós não temos nenhuma objeção ao Irã usando qualquer que seja  armas militares de  material fornecido pela Rússia ou China. Mas nós deixar claro que esses países oferecem ajuda militar só avançar seus interesses imperialistas no Irã. ».
No entanto nós não damos qualquer apoio político ao regime.  A burguesia nacional não é capaz de conquistar independência dos imperialismos estadunidense ou chinês.  A burguesia iraniana teme que a classe operária exproprie suas propriedades então manobra entre os diferentes imperialismos com  o objetivo de negociar com um ou outro.
 Fazemos um chamado às milícias operárias  a romper com exército e tomar controle das armas no intuito de transformar a luta anti-imperialista em uma revolução socialista!
 Por enquanto o bloco EUA está bloqueando promessas de negócios melhores entre Irã e China. O  regime iraniano ganha apoio popular em seu confronto com o bloco EUA. Isto será intensificado em qualquer guerra.  Mas temos que lutar contra todas as tentativas  de manipular apoio popular declarando que os Estados Unidos seja "fascista" enquanto a China é "socialista" ou um "poder progressivo capitalista". Eles são ambos reacionários imperialistas. Mesmo a curto prazo não haverá nada "progressivo" para os operários e camponeses do Irã dos blocos com China e Rússia. Somente o socialismo baseado num estado operário e socialista pode alcançar as necessidades dos trabalhadores e camponeses.
 Tirem as mãos do Irã! É necessário exigir a independência do Irã de ambos blocos imperilsitas e em especial estados imperialistas que tenham interesses ou  projetos no Irã.  Mas temos consciência que tal independência não pode ser concretizada com qualquer setor da burguesia iraniana. Somente  o poder da classe operária por meio da revolução socialista pode garantir a  real independência.
 Nós somos pela expropriação das propriedades dos imperialistas sob controle dos operários. Isto inclui investimentos chineses em petróleo  e campos de gás e gasodutos. Nacionalizar as terras, distribuir as terras aos camponeses; nacionalizar os bancos e garantir o desenvolvimento da agricultura.
 E como nenhum setor da burguesia nacional  pode ser confiável pode ser a liderar e vencer qualquer luta anti-imperialista, nós chamamos  pelo fim do regime islâmico de 1979 que que chegou ao poder com o apoio dos trabalhadores e depois os massacrou somente para continuar os negócios com o imperialismo!
 Por um governo operário e camponês! Pela expropriação das fábricas das multinacionais! Pela nacionalização sob controle dos trabalahdores de todas as propiedades capitalistas e por um plano nacional para organizar a produção para as necessidades e não para o lucro!
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