Sunday, February 27, 2011


The International Socialist Organization of Zimbabwe (ISO-Z) condemns in the highest possible manner the arrest of the 52 comrades and demands their immediate release and dropping of the so called treason charges. 

The arrest by the ZANU controlled security machinery clearly exposes the fear of elements of the imperialist controlled Government of National Unity (GNU) and this must be seen as an attempt at pre-empting any action by the working people as a response to the growing exploitation and degeneration of the capitalist imperialist system that has ruined the lives of so many. ZANU is really afraid of the repetition here of events still rocking the middle east and promising to engulf the rest of Africa, that has seen Mubarak go and the imminent fall of Gaddafi. On its part the MDC is desperate to control any regime change agenda and is wary of mass protests which it knows will go beyond its neo-liberal capitalist agenda and demand an end to the capitalist system.

It’s obscene that the police could arrest people over a video session and claim that it was a meeting to plot the downfall of the falling coalition regime that has been seriously discredited in the eyes of the workers, students, peasants and the urban poor. But what is revealing is that the regime is so fearful to the extent of harassing groups bent on eliminating only the worst features of capitalism and therefore act as the left leg of the regime in its delicate attempt to manage the economy for both the US and Chinese imperialism.

The political alliance by the main political parties, out of political calculations, clearly fails to offer any respite to the masses in this country. ZANU (PF) working on behalf of emerging Chinese imperialism was forced into any alliance with the US/UK sponsored MDC party in order first to resolve the worst aspects of imperialism and therefore stall popular action by the masses as well as best prepare each party for exclusive rule. To all intents and purposes this alliance can be best described as a ZANU based coalition government with ZANU firmly in control of the security machinery, the judiciary, the SADC grouping and the emerging lucrative diamond industry. Hardliners in ZANU are calling for an end to this settlement  arguing that the original goals of using the MDC to stabilize the economy and decapacitating opposition have been achieved.

On its part the MDC is in a serious dilemma as witnessed by its ambivalence on the constitutional reform process which has been dominated by ZANU using its control of the security apparatus and better organizing skills. The call for elections has exposed the MDC which knows that any election that ZANU has to win will invariable be characterized by violence and rigging even in the presence of a SADC brokered roadmap on elections. With ZANU stalwarts now controlling about 30% of the commercial land and their conversion into a national elite it is impossible to imagine an electoral defeat for ZANU and all it has to do is adopt a scenario midway between the March 29 elections and the 27 June run off that will allow for minimum electoral reform coupled by less severe coercive measures.

This brief scenario exposes the inability of capitalism to resolve the crisis in favor of the working class and its allies in this age of global imperialist degeneration. The masses must organize and pose demands that go beyond salvaging the capitalist system and learn from the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt where the protests where controlled by groups seeking only regime change and giving room to imperialism to determine the nature of the end result which will invariably see the continuation of the inhuman economic exploitation.

The working class must adopt a revolutionary program that guides it towards the conquering of political power as a means to socialize the means of production and ensure a decent life for all. As ISO (Z) we pose the following demands as a means of resolving the national question in the context of the global economic crisis:

1) A sliding scale of wages and prices.
2) Price controls on all basic goods and services.
3) No to privatization of state companies and the nationalization of key sectors of the economy especially the banking sector in order to fund agriculture and mining.
4) Redistribution of all land to poor peasants without compensation.
5) Initiation of state projects to employ the unmployed.
6)Convening of a working peoples convention made up of delegates of workers commitees, peasants represantatives, students represantatives, neighborhood committees and the rank and file of the military to write a new constitution.
7) Creation of an armed workers government to fulfill the above demands as the national bourgeoisie can not defeat imperialism.
8) No to US led and Chinese imperialism that has ravaged the lives of the masses.
9) No to reformism, opportunism and sectarianism.
10) No to Stalinism and fake Trotskyism.
11) Build a revolutionary ISO (Z) as part of a revolutionary international.
12) For a strong revolutionary international center.
13) A revolution in Southern Africa and Africa as part of the international revolution.

ISO-Z National Executive Committee

25 FEBRUARY 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libya: Imperialist Hands Off!

The US and EU are planning a military intervention to protect their oil interests!

Libya is on a knife edge poised between victorious workers revolution that can defeat both the dictatorship and imperialism, and turn the Arab Revolution into socialist revolution in the whole region, and the counter-revolution that will halt, reverse and defeat the Arab Revolution and prevent the formation of a United Socialist States of North Africa and the Middle East. The outcome will depend on whether or not the international working class can stop the US and EU imperialists from invading Libya and imposing a new compliant national leadership.

The uprising of unemployed youth has won control of much of the country by sacrificing their lives in the thousands to the Gaddafi dicatorship. Not until the youth had stormed the military base in Benghazi and taken the airport did the Libyan army split and sections of it come over to the rebels. Even then the Generals and Ministers who defected did not take command of the situation and organise a national popular militia to defeat the regime. This tells us much of the old guard that is thoroughly discredited by its immersion in the dictatorship and which should not be trusted an inch. It has been left to the worker youth who armed themselves and the ranks of the military and other workers who have joined them to form local militias.

The gains of the revolution are entirely due to the sacrifice and martrydom of the unemployed working class youth. First in Tunisia to the West where youth laid down their lives to remove the Ben Ali dictatorship. And in Egypt to the East where the youth sufferred more than 1000 martyrs to remove Mubarak. Now the Libyan youth have lost 1000s of dead to seize the leadership of the Arab Revolution. They have led the furious fight that has brought down on them the military might of the Gaddafi regime.

Such was the ferocity of this repression, employing the special forces and foreign mercenaries, that its failure to intimidate and defeat the unemployed youth rebellion forced the military to split. The defection of the Generals who had long been cronies of Gaddafi was forced only by the rebellion of the rank and file soldiers who refused to fire on the masses and were in turn executed by the Gaddafi forces.

The young workers proved themselves to be the leaders of the workers' revolution and they alone must form the backbone of a national popular militia drawing on the workers, the poor farmers and the soldiers. The working class internationally must make the Libyan revolution its own revolution to prevent imperialism from intervening on the pretext of 'humanitarian disaster' to roll back the advance of the revolution and install a new regime that retains the oil wealth for imperialist super-exploitation.

In the last analysis, the violence of the reaction of the regime to prevent a revolution at all costs is the creation of imperialism and its subordination of the Arab countries to dictatorships to maintain its economic dominance. In Libya it is unquestionably oil that interests imperialism, and its current concern to stop a 'humanitarian disaster' is entirely motivated to prevent a revolution from coming to power and kicking out its oil companies and socialising Libyan oil for the benefit of the people.

We call on the ranks of the army, the airforce and navy who have defected to the opposition to take their place in the popular militia and turn over their weapons, planes and ships to the cause of the revolution.The terrorisation of Tripoli must end. Use the ships to bombard Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli! Use the planes to strafe the armed goons who are driving around in their SUVs murdering unarmed youth with impunity!

We call on the Arab revolution that is under way in Egypt and Tunisia, and is beginning to rise up in Algeria and in the Middle East, to immediately send material and military aid to the liberated part of Libya to strengthen the revolution against the regime's extreme repression, to complete the revolution and stop mass murder of workers on an even greater scale.

We call on the workers in the imperialist countries to take immediate steps to oppose the military intervention in whatever form in Libya. Imperialism is the No 1 enemy of the Libyan people. Gaddafi is a creature of imperialism. His 1969 revolution had the guise of a national socialist liberation but in reality it installed a national bourgeois crony capitalist regime to serve imperialism.

All those who on the left who gave support to Gaddafi in the name of Communism or Trotskyism and were responsible for disarming the Libyan people in their long resistance to Gaddafi must be exposed and condemned.  They share a large part of the blame for the failure to build a revolutionary workers party in Libya and the others states of the region to play a leading role in the Arab Revolution.

Imperialist hands off Libya!

No to sanctions!

No to aerial overflights!

No to cynical US, EU and UN military invasion in the name of 'human rights' which are always sacrificed in the interest of the oil monopolies!

For international workers support of the Libyan revolution!
For material and military aid to the revolutionary working class fighters!

For strikes and mutinies to stop any imperialist intervention that will only take over the counter-revolution from Gaddafi and defeat the revolution in Libya and stop it from setting an example for all the world's workers to follow!

For an international revolutionary party to coordinate the struggles of workers, youth, poor farmers and street vendors in every country!

Forward to the Socialist Revolution in Libya that socialises crony capitalist and imperialist property and creates a genuine socialist plan based on a democratic national assembly of working peoples' committees and militias!

Forward to a Socialist United States of North Africa and the Middle East!

Statement of the Liaison Committee of CWG (NZ) and HWRS (USA) 
24 February 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

US: Make the banks, finance houses and the corporate elite pay!

From Wisconsin & Oakland to Detroit, New York and Cairo Same crisis same fight!

Across the nation the states and localities are incapable of meeting their obligations. The elite and their pit-bull, the Tea-Partiers, have targeted the last bastion of union strength, the public workers unions. Today the front line is in Wisconsin but workers know the same crisis in Wisconsin effects us all. The Democrats led by Obama, no less then the Republicans, are bent on destroying the gains made by unionized workers. From the ongoing furloughs effecting 65,000 state workers in California (enforced by labors choice Governor Brown), to the freeze on federal workers’ pay in the 2012 budget proposal, the Democrats stand firmly on the side of austerity for the workers and the poor and for bail outs and tax breaks for the bankers and corporate elite.

Today Arne Duncan announced the only way to save the Detroit schools is to close half of them and increase class size to over 60 students per class; and this, after bailing out GM in a deal that forced down autoworkers’ wages. The attack in Wisconsin today, the furloughs we still suffer across the nation and Governor Brown’s proposed 10% cuts in wages, are all part of the corporate elite’s need to enforce the crisis on the backs of the great majority while the top 1% and their well paid lackeys enjoy bloated stock portfolios, and shiver at the thought that the American workers might learn from the Egyptian workers currently forming unions, occupying factories and throwing out their bosses.

Today big capital moves freely across borders, moving funds from the industrialized world to the neo-colonial world where production at the lowest wages possible, inflates Wall Streets profits, leaves the local workers in Dickensian conditions all the while abandoning the industrial and manufacturing base in the “first world”; which previously afforded the working class the means to view itself as “middle class”. The “free-market” today can no longer afford both the profits demanded by the owners of capital and the comforts the misnamed “middle class” has come to expect: a job-with benefits, a vacation, a semblance of health care, a defined pension, half-way decent schools, affordable public higher education, affordable gasoline and home heating oil. The tendency of the rate of profit to decline (the law of diminishing returns) has put the squeeze on the corporate bottom line and they, in turn, have “no choice”- their fiduciary responsibility is to the bottom line and the next quarterly statement.

Union leaderships tie workers to the bosses’ political parties!

Since the onset of the crisis we have heard the public workers unions’ leaders set the tone calling on their membership to “share the pain”. Today in Wisconsin we hear the echo of the “share the pain” jargon as the union leaders beg for understanding in the media, “…we are willing to concede on wages…” their real message is “…just let us keep the right to take members dues, give funding to the Democrats and prevent the workers from taking strike actions, which might upset the status-quo”. These union leaders are entrenched and committed to the lie that there is no money, that cuts are inevitable and that labor has to make concessions even after pouring millions of dollars and volunteer hours into the election of Democrats each election cycle. Just a few weeks ago, SEIU 1000 president Yvonne Walker, speaking on KQED, said she supports Brown’s proposed pay cut for the 65,000 workers still without a contract. This is no surprise, as it would subject workers in other state unions to the same rotten deal she sold her own members.

Selling out private and public sector workers alike is the task taken on by the CA AFL-CIO leaders. Autoworkers will remember when they came down to the NUMMI plant in Hayward during the firing ceremony for 5,000 workers to assure the Democratic politicians, also in attendance, that capital could abandon labor without fear of labor abandoning the Democratic Party. Workers need our own political party one willing to fight, by any and all means, for a workers government committed to human need not to preserving corporate profit.

Fake “tax the rich” and tax reform scam leave control in the hands of the rich!

Today these same labor leaders are joining with the Democrats again, this time to misdirect our union members into a feckless campaign to advance so-called tax reform instead of mobilizing for what we really need to do to fight back: organize widespread, prolonged strikes and build for long overdue independent political action.

Labor leaders and fake socialists like Alan Benjamin of Socialist Organizer, and Connie Ford of the SF Labor council have joined forces with the Democrats to demobilize the working class by directing us into useless plans to solve the capitalist crisis on Wall Street’s behalf by campaigning for so-called “progressive taxation.” What this amounts to is the working class telling the capitalist politicians how to administer the collapsing system that is victimizing us all, instead of working to replace it with an economy based on human need not quarterly profits.

Calls for “tax the rich” foster the illusion that the social problems of our country (not to mention the global economic crisis) can be solved by getting wealthy people to pump more tax dollars into government coffers. This begs the question, whose government, and whose interests does it serve? Do the “tax the rich” proponents really expect us to believe that governments controlled by the plutocracy will spend increased tax dollars on meeting the needs of workers, the poor, and the oppressed? If that were what they wanted to do, they could do it without increasing their own taxes, by calling a halt to their ruinously expensive criminal military adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan; ending aid to Israel and other repressive foreign governments; and ending the billions of dollars spent annually on various forms of corporate welfare.

Of course “tax the rich” reform is not going to be enough. This worldwide economic collapse is much deeper than even the most liberal Keynesians will admit. If the capitalist class could dig themselves out of this hole by simply spending public funds to put people to work, they would. But today it is so hard for the capitalists to make a buck in the market, they have replaced productive activity with what they call “financial services,” which basically means gambling on speculative bubbles for profit. Equities, real estate, and commodities all have gone through their bubbles as capital chases from one popped balloon to the next super inflated sector.

The capitalist class has abandoned the social contract, which read something like this: “Allow us (the capitalists) to own the capital and invest it productively, according to the dictates of the market, and (Adam Smith willing) there will be work for everyone, profit will abound, bankers and bakers will all be happy, and the invisible hand of the ‘free market’ will keep the boat of the economy afloat.” Well, that was fine for a short period but today there is too much paper capital seeking a diminishing volume of profit, leading to the cannibalism of the speculators. Seeking paper profits based on inflated values of a non-productive economy, western capital has no choice but to collapse the historic gains of the working class, because workers cannot eat, wear, or live on paper profits.

To meet the needs of workers and ordinary people, and maintain a healthy economy, the resources of our society must be put to work producing real goods and services, not paper profits from gambling. But capitalism is no longer capable of investing in industrial production in developed countries, because workers’ relatively high standard of living in those countries means more profit can be made elsewhere. 
Thus, the only way to direct our resources back into providing real goods and services is to take capital out of the hands of the speculators. This is the historic task of labor – one which the leaders of the labor have abandoned. Instead, they convene a conference with the likes of Lenny Goldberg, executive director of the California Tax Reform Association, who favor Brown’s austerity fake “tax reform” and increasing the collection of the sales tax from online retailers – a regressive measure, as sales taxes are charged at a flat rate to all purchasers regardless of their income.

Abandoning the class struggle, the SF Labor Council instead joins with the other labor tops to misdirect workers into putting their efforts behind Brown’s tax and cut plan, this is a strategy of defeat!

Where are the labor leaders who embrace the fight for an indefinite general strike, instead of carrying water for the Democrats?

Where are the leaders willing to fight to nationalize the banks and major industries under workers’ control?

Where are the leaders who will mobilize the masses for full employment under the demand “30 hours work for 40 hours pay”?

Where are the leaders who remind the workers of their historic task, link our struggles to the students, the unemployed, the elderly the homeless, both across the nation and the world?

Obviously, they are not in the top ranks of the SF Labor Council, the California AFL-CIO, or the Change to Win leadership. Those folks are too busy celebrating their unholy alliance with Jerry the Butcher to get down to the barricades and wage a real struggle. For labor to win we must revitalize our unions with new leadership ready to fight for the historical interests of the working class, forge an independent fighting workers party preparing to take economic and political power by engaging in internationalist solidarity and class struggle methods!

February 2011 •

• Labor Donated

Monday, February 14, 2011

Egypt: Egyptian masses throw out Mubarak

As part of the world capitalist crisis is the revolutionary wave of democracy in Arab countries, whose turning point was the revolution in Tunisia in January this year. Nearly a month later, in Egypt the masses have just thrown down the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. This is a triumph of the masses, a partial victory, but a win nonetheless. It is clear that the protests will continue and increase in many other countries whose dictators have less political margins to suppress.

In Egypt, after 18 days of resistance, and more than 300 deaths by state repression, Mubarak had to resign handing the Army the task of carrying out the "democratic transition." But it is the same army that sustained Mubarak for 30 years and and other dictators such as Sadat and Nasser for 50 years in total. The army supported and ensured the implementation of all business plans that led to extreme poverty for the vast majority of the population, concentrating wealth in a tiny bourgeois minority. In short, this is a bourgeois army whose officer corps is more than just a military bureaucracy, it is socially bourgeois-imperialist. Yet it has a base of soldiers and noncommissioned officers with close ties to the poor people, which ultimately prevented the generals and imperialism from using it to repress the people because they knew they risked a mutiny of the base, and with the destruction of the army, a revolution.

Bourgeois analysts insist that open democratic processes in the Maghreb and Egypt are as important as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. That is totally wrong in principle because bourgeois imperialism wanted democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to bring about a faster restoration of capitailsm to capture their markets. In the Arab countries imperialism already controls them and their markets, factories and service companies. If today the U.S. and European governments are forced to reposition themselves, and so blatantly stop supporting dictatorships, is it entirely due to the class struggle, the struggle of the workers and oppressed in the Arab countries. And therein lies the contradiction about the situation because the class struggle forced the Egyptian bourgeoisie to give more freedom when it is forced to make fewer concessions. Neither the bourgeoisie or imperialism care about democracy in Arab countries.

So the Egyptian army cannot secure any democratic transition, because the bourgeoisie and officers are acutely aware that the underlying problem is not the regime, but the social conditions of the masses, and that the democratic revolution opens doors even wider to the struggles of workers, peasants and popular social achievements, as part of a global capitalist crisis. Certainly Egypt is in a revolutionary situation objectively as Lenin pointed out when he said that the ruling class cannot go on ruling in the same way and the masses will no longer suffer more of the same situation. Moreover, such a democratic transition is more complex because European and American imperialism will seek by all means that future Egyptian governments guarantee the existence of genocidal state of Israel, and repression and confinement of Palestinians in Gaza.

In this political and social framework that explains the democratic revolution or rebellion in Egypt, hence a faction of the bourgeoisie or imperialism now raises the need for a Constituent Assembly, limited to constitutional reforms, they say, for holding "free and fair" elections. They are more Catholic than the Pope, and even some 'Marxists' are raising the slogan of a Constituent Assembly to Egypt. The problem with raising this slogan is that the demand does not spell out which class is going to take state power. But the reality makes it clear that it is the pro-imperialist military who are driving the process so that a Constituent Assembly will be neither free nor sovereign. And on the other hand the working class has no strong political parties that can mobilise participation in a Constituent Assembly.

But Mubarak's resignation was due to a rising mobilization that was reinforced when the working class began increasingly to participate from the unions and autonomously, with strikes and demonstrations, taking up the great days of strikes 2009. Not only was the determining fact the mobilisation of the working class but this is the only guarantee of continuing the positive and open democratic process.

In the new stage opened in this revolutionary process with Mubarak's resignation, the central policy of revolutionary socialists should be to explain patiently that is the working class that must rule, that only the working class in alliance with the rural poor, can ensure a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly to give a new constitution for Egypt, favorable to the interests of the exploited. The struggle to ensure the freedoms and democratic guarantees should not go against the struggle for workers government and socialism, or vice versa. Both issues are intimately linked.

On the basis of these unions and farmer organizations, ane the militant labor and farmer leaders who have emerged from the revolutionary process, any principled Marxist group or party in Egypt should raise the slogans:

For a Government of Workers, Farmers and Oppressed People!
No trust in the military, political, religious or secular, bourgeois!
Free all political prisoners!
Immediate wage increases! Work for All!
Committees of Struggle, self-organization and self defence!
No recognition of the State of Israel! Zionists out of Palestine!
Break all political and military pacts with imperialism! 

In the process of this social and open democratic struggle Marxists must build the Revolutionary Workers Party, taking advantage of all loopholes that the new balance of power provides. Without the building of a revolutionary leadership the working class cannot rule or defeat the counter-revolution to destroy the bourgeois state, expropriate the bourgeoisie and expand the revolution to all the Arab countries. In other words, without socialism there is no solution to the suffering of the Arab proleteriat that now leads the world proletariat. And for that, there is no shortcut: we must build a revolutionary workers party and the International.

Long live the struggle of Egyptian and Arab masses against the "democratic" military!
For a Workers and Farmers Government!
Long live the revolution of the Arab workers and peasants and the creation of a Socialist Federation of Arab Republic

Communist Workers League

Republished with permission. Translation by CWG.


Las masas egipcias tiraron abajo a Mubarak

Como parte de la crisis capitalista mundial se está dando una oleada revolucionaria democrática en los países árabes, cuyo punto de inflexión fue la revolución en Túnez en enero de este año. Casi un mes después, en Egipto las masas acaban de tiran abajo la dictadura de Hosni Mubarak. Se trata de un triunfo de las masas, de un triunfo parcial, pero de un triunfo al fin. Es indudable que las movilizaciones continuarán y aumentarán en muchos otros países cuyos dictadores tendrán menos margenes políticos para reprimir.

En Egipto, después de 18 días de resistencia, y más de 300 muertos por la represión estatal, Mubarak tuvo que renunciar cediéndole al Ejército la tarea de llevar adelante la "transición democrática". Pero se trata del mismo Ejército que sostuvo a Mubarak durante 30 años, y anteriormente a otros dictadores como Sadat y Nasser por más de 50 años en total. Y fueron los que apoyaron y garantizaron la aplicación de todos los planes económicos que llevaron a la pobreza extrema a la inmensa mayoría de la población, concentrando la riqueza en una ínfima minoría burguesa. En definitiva, se trata de un ejército burgués cuyo cuerpo de oficiales es más que una mera burocracia militar, es socialmente burgués-imperialista, pero con una base de soldados y suboficiales ligados estrechamente al pueblo pobre, lo que en definitiva impidió la represión pues la plana mayor, y el imperialismo, sabía que se corría el riesgo de una ruptura de sus estamentos bajos, y una verdadera revolución junto a la propia destrucción del ejército.

Los analistas burgueses insisten que estos procesos democráticos abiertos en el Magreb y en Egipto son tan importantes como la caída del Muro de Berlín de 1989. Lo que es totalmente falso, en principio porque el imperialismo quería la democracia burguesa en el Este Europeo y en la ex-URSS para lograr restaurar el capitalismo más rápido y capturar sus mercados, pero en los países árabes el imperialismo ya tiene el control de ellos; ya tienen sus mercados, sus fábricas y empresas de servicios. Si hoy los gobiernos norteamericanos y europeos se ven obligados a reposicionarse, y dejar de apoyar tan descaradamente a las dictaduras, se debe a la lucha de clases, a la lucha de los obreros y trabajadores de los países árabes. Y allí está el punto contradictorio de la situación porque la lucha de clases obligó a la burguesía egipcia a dar mayores libertades cuando menos concesiones puede dar. Ni a la burguesía ni al imperialismo les interesa la democracia en los países árabes.

Por eso el Ejército egipcio no puede ser garante de ninguna transición democrática, porque la burguesía y los oficiales son extremadamente conscientes de que el problema de fondo no es de régimen sino de condiciones sociales de vida de las masas, y que ésta revolución democrática abre las puertas aún más a las luchas obreras, campesinas y populares por conquistas sociales, en el marco de una crisis capitalista mundial. Ciertamente que Egipto está en una situación revolucionaria objetiva como señalaba Lenin cuando decía que ella se daba cuando los de arriba no pueden seguir viviendo como hasta entonces y los de abajo no quieren seguir padeciendo más de la misma situación. Por otra parte, tal transición democrática se complejiza porque el imperialismo norteamericano y europeo buscará por todos los medios que los futuros gobiernos egipcios garanticen la existencia del Estado genocida de Israel, y la represión y el confinamiento de los palestinos en Gaza.

En ese marco político y social es que se da esta revolución o rebelión democrática en Egipto, de allí que ninguna fracción burguesa ni el imperialismo plantea la necesidad de una Asamblea Constituyente, todos se limitan a las reformas constitucionales, dicen, para realizar elecciones libres y justas. Aunque no faltan algunos más papistas que el Papa, incluso algunos diciéndose marxistas, que plantean la consigna de Asamblea Constituyente para Egipto. El problema que tiene el levantar esta consigna es que los que la plantean no dicen quién es el que la va a llevar adelante desde el Estado, porque la realidad, no los esquemas sino la realidad, indica que son los militares -pro-imperialistas- los que conducen el proceso, entonces, de realizarse dicha Asamblea Constituyente no será ni libre ni soberana. Y, por otra parte la clase obrera no tiene fuertes partidos ya no para gobernar, sino hasta para participar con alguna trascendencia en una Asamblea Constituyente.

Sin embargo la renuncia de Mubarak se debió a que las movilizaciones no se desactivaban, y más aún, se debió a que la clase obrera comenzaba cada vez más a participar desde los sindicatos y autónomamente, con huelgas y movilizaciones, retomando las grandes jornadas de huelgas del 2009. No sólo fue determinante la clase obrera sino que sigue siendo la única alternativa positiva y democrática al proceso abierto.

En la nueva etapa que se abrió, en este proceso revolucionario con la renuncia de Mubarak, el eje central de la política de los socialistas revolucionarios debe estar en explicar pacientemente que es la clase obrera la que debe gobernar, que sólo la clase obrera en alianza con los campesinos pobres, puede garantizar una Asamblea Constituyente libre y soberana que dé una nueva constitución a Egipto, favorable a los intereses de los explotados. La lucha por garantizar las libertades y las garantías democráticas no debe ir en contra de la lucha por el gobierno obrero y el socialismo, ni al revés. Ambas cuestiones están íntimamente ligadas.

Sobre la base de estos sindicatos y organizaciones campesinas, y de los líderes obreros y campesinos combativos surgidos del proceso revolucionario, es que todo grupo o partido marxista principista en Egipto debe levantar las consignas: "Por un Gobierno Obrero, Campesino y Popular"; "Ninguna confianza en los militares, los políticos burgueses laicos o religiosos"; "Libertad a los presos políticos"; "Por aumentos de salarios"; "Trabajo para todos"; "Comités de Lucha, auto-organización y piquetes de autodefensa"; "Por el desconocimiento del Estado de Israel"; "Fuera sionistas de Palestina"; "Ruptura de todos los pactos políticos y militares con el imperialismo".

En el proceso de esta lucha social y democrática abierta es que los marxistas deben construir el Partido Obrero Revolucionario, aprovechando todos los resquicios legales que la nueva relación de fuerzas brinda; pues sin construir una dirección revolucionaria la clase obrera no podrá gobernar -o enfrentar con éxito la represión que se prepara-, destruir al Estado burgués, expropiar a la burguesía y expandir la revolución a los países árabes que están en la misma o peor situación. En otras palabras, sin Socialismo no hay solución a los padecimientos y los problemas más importantes que tiene el proletariado árabe y mundial. Y para eso, no hay atajos: hay que construir el partido obrero revolucionario y la Internacional.

Viva la lucha de las masas egipcias y árabes– Abajo los "demócratas" militares

Por un Gobierno Obrero y Campesino

Viva la revolución de las masas obreras y campesinas árabes y la conformación de una Federación Socialista de Repúblicas Árabes

Liga Comunista de los Trabajadores


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Zizek is NOT the vanguard in Egypt

Typical of liberal intellectuals, Zizek thinks that the great historic events such as the revolution in Egypt are cultural events, sparked by great ideas, in particular the ones that he himself propagates, or that other historic figures embody in their exceptional capacity to 'seize the time' and lead the masses to liberation.

This is a variation on the petty bourgeois infatuation with great leaders sucking up the will of the masses and projecting it like a halo. But great historical events like revolutions are not the acts of superior individuals, reducing the masses to mere amplifiers. Great historical events are enactments of the masses mobilised behind great ideas, yes, but ideas that express their urgently felt needs such as liberty, equality, fraternity, the call signs of the French Revolution, or land, bread and peace the famous rallying cries of the Russian Revolution in 1917.

But the call signs of the bourgeoisie are far from universal. Liberty, equality, fraternity, became the property of the bourgeoisie and was denied to all others. Napoleon notoriously reversed his emancipation of the Haitian slaves. The material conditions for the realisation of these ideas do not exist in capitalist society. One class exploits another and so renders it unfree. So while liberal intellectuals see themselves are the carriers of these noble principles they cannot change the material conditions sufficient to realise them.

The Bolsheviks succeeded in revolutionising these social conditions by overthrowing both the Tsarist aristocracy and the weak bourgeosie that were barriers to change, and making a socialist revolution. For the first time in history the promise of the French Revolution was fulfilled universally, if briefly, in the Soviet Union. But this did not happen as Zizek thinks because the genius Lenin was able to momentarily substitute for the working class and 'seize the time'.

Lenin was not an isolated intellectual but a leader of a revolutionary Marxist party that built its program for Russia on the lessons of all previous victories and defeats of the working class right back to the Paris Commune of 1871. The ideas were drawn from those lessons, but they were not capable of magically transforming the material reality. They could only operate in conditions where the working class could actively intervene to transform the social relations.

These conditions arose out of the crisis of capitalism during the First World War, and the suffering of the masses of Russia at war with Germany. The only class that could rescue the universal promise of the French Revolution and make this real for all, was the starving working class. Because it was workers who produced the main wealth, its alone was the universal class with the capacity to lead the poor peasant producers, to fulfill the bourgeois revolution as a socialist revolution that would open the way to a classless society.

In Egypt, the realisation of the principles of the French revolution - Liberty, Equality, Fraternity - cannot be won unless the working class driven by the need for Liberty, Bread and Land, becomes conscious of its role as the universal class and leads a popular revolution that takes power and socialises capitalist property. For this to happen, the working class has to grasp its historic mission and overthrow not only both US imperialism and its Israel outpost, but also the Egyptian bourgeoisie. It does not need 'great men' or 'great women' who stand above the crowd acting out its 'will', it needs to form councils and militias united in a democratic commune, and elect leaders with the task of taking the revolution to victory, in the same way that the Bolsheviks were elected by the majority of the workers to lead the Russian revolution to victory.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Class Struggle 92 Nov 2010-Jan 2011

Class Struggle 92 November 2010
-January 2011


Feb. 2, 2011

The Mubarak regime is collapsing!  The counter-revolutionary thugs, the remnants of the regime, the NPD stalwarts, and out of uniform state security have attacked the people as a last ditch attempt to crush the revolution.  The Army has as yet refused to defend the people. The working class must take leadership and form up workers militias linked to the neighborhoods committees and rank-and-file soldiers to defend the revolution. The masses are under bloody attack!

The final drive to run out Mubarak will be in the next hours or days.

Mubarak has shown he will ask the troops to fire on the people! We must win the conscript base of the army to the revolution now! The Generals have shown they will not defend the masses from the thugs. It is time for them to go!

It is time now for the masses to call upon the troops to convene rank-and-file soldiers committees to elect their own officers who will give orders to defend the masses and defend the revolution.  These committees must link to the neighborhood committees, to arm the people and set up new organizations of popular democracy.





Liaison Committee of CWG(NZ) & HWRS(US)

TONGA: The National Democratic Revolution stalls

Protests of ordinary Tongans at the inequity of nobles’ wealth and mass poverty built up to riots in June 2006 when the King reneged on reforms. This has forced the rulers into constitutional change to keep a lid on the movement for democracy. In the recent election the rule by a feudal king and system of lords who self select a parliament has had a face-lift and more seats were elected by commoners (17), than the nobles (9), total =26. The King still gets the power of veto, including the power to sack the government! The Nobles can still bloc with Commoner MPs to keep control of parliament. So what has changed?

Constitutional reform is the legal surface appearance of the ruling class, under which the capitalism maintains its exploitative class relations. Tonga is a tiny Pacific state, dominated by not only the US via its regional allies, Australia and NZ, but increasingly influenced by China. The Tongan economy is capitalist which uses more traditional labour forms based on the family to produce exports of agricultural goods - fish, coconut, vanilla. Yet Tonga's main income is from the thousands of Tongan workers who live offshore, in countries like Australia, U.S. (west coast) and New Zealand, and who send some of their wages home. The Tongan working class is the main export of Tonga, and its strength is outside Tonga. The IMF and World Bank consider Tonga a poor country; 40% population lives below their "poverty line"; and at high risk of failing to pay government debt.

The newly elected government of Tonga may represent a change from a capitalist feudal semi-colony to a capitalist parliamentary democracy (an elected time-limited dictatorship), but it remains a capitalist semi-colony. Semi - as in having the appearance of independence, while a colony in terms of the ruling class acting as a compradors or agents of imperialism, and dependence on a division of labour which sees Tonga export of basic items/raw materials to imperialist or other intermediate countries and a dependence on the import of capital goods (machines etc) and consumer goods from those imperialist or intermediate countries.

The new parliament which includes more 'commoners' is no threat to the rule of capitalism within the constitution. The King and nobles as the capitalist ruling class retain the ability to control parliament and prevent any popular democratic challenge to their class privileges, and the subservience of Tonga to imperialism.

Thus while Akilisi Pohiva and the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands (DPFI) won all 12 of the 12 seats which they contested, 5 independent candidates won the other 5 of the 17 general election seats, and 9 nobles were voted in by 54 nobles. See Matangi Tonga.
The DPFI were never going to rule alone, since they only had 12 possible candidates in a government of 26 members. Even had the DPFI been able to unite all the commoners to get Pohiva elected, he has committed to working within the constitution. However, since Pohiva has long been a thorn in the backsides of the King and nobles, the nobles bought the loyalty of the 5 so-called ‘independent’ commoner MPs to elect Lord Tuivakanō as Prime Minister by a vote of 14 against12 for Pohiva.

Whoever is ruler of Tonga, as such they can only manage capitalism on behalf of a few local owners and the many international capitalist interests. Their ability to manage capitalism and to meet the needs of the working people who voted for them comes second to keeping the King and Nobles in the wealth to which they are accustomed, and continuing to export unemployed workers to Australia and NZ as a reserve army of workers in those countries to be returned home when they are no longer needed.

Thus to keep the profits of international capitalism flowing, ‘democracy’ in Tonga limited as it is, is nothing more than a taro leaf covering the nakedness of the hypocrisy of the ruling class. The economic conditions which leave the masses impoverished and their sons and daughters migrant workers will continue. Wages and conditions will be cut in Tonga to balance the books for international capitalism, and force the next generation to migrate to low paid jobs in Australia and NZ.

Evens if the DPFI had won all 17 commoner seats and a majority for ‘democracy’ it would be forced to rule on behalf of the ruling class and imperialism and expose ‘democracy’ as a fraud before its own supporters. There is no freedom under capitalist rule. Democratic capitalism in Tonga will be as bad as 'feudal capitalism'. Only socialism will bring true democracy and end Tonga’s servitude to imperialism.

For a socialist Tonga as a member of a Socialist Federation of the Pacific!

Aotearoa: No TPPA! Break down imperialist borders!

Already NZ, Singapore, Chile have set up and signed off what they called the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Now the USA has moved to join and fast-track this agreement. John Key is overjoyed with the promise of blood for butter. What is behind the US deals with these Pacific nations, and what of the opposition to the TPPA? How do we organise a working class solution to US imperialist trade war?

It is significant that the USA is joining in the discussion. As the world's largest economy the US needs to protect its interests. We predict that the USA would try to use the TPPA to contain the expanding imperialist force that is China. Since China has emerged from the cold-war and used party control of workers property to control development. China has harnessed foreign capitalist investment and kept enough capitalist profit in China, to emerge as an imperialist power. That is China is now investing its own capital internationally. The resources of the Pacific region are of interest to imperialist powers, as US investments wane China emerges.

Already the largest export destination of Australia's exports is now China (from previously being the US).

US imperialism wants to limit China's trade and investments, and protect its own. The US will push its own military and security agenda. NZ govt is following US agenda with Security laws going through parliament.

The TPPA is an economic tool to push "free trade" agreements, similar to other FTAs but under today's imperialist conditions. Similar, since all "free trade" within capitalism means that imperialist will super-exploit the colonies/semi-colonies for cheap labour and raw materials. Under today's conditions the rate of profit for capitalism continues to fall, as shown in the 'financial crisis', which was a symptom of the falling rate of profit in capitalist production. The TPPA looks to open new opportunities for capitalist expansion and to restore their profits e.g. to force govt privatisations and allow monopoly firms to strip resources.

NZ and Australian economies have not been hit by the capitalists' crisis as much as European and US economies because of expanding China has created a huge demand for raw material exports to China. China has passed the US as Australia's biggest trading partner. NZs recent FTA with China has continued to open up trade between NZ and China to which NZ supplies raw materials - wood, steel, coal, milk powder, wool, etc.

The NZ state is openly subordinated to Australian, US and Chinese imperialism and becomes a mere manager for foreign investment, and the force for social control - defending capitalist property and imperialist interests.

The Trades Union bureaucracy won’t stop the TPPA

Who will stop the TPPA? Not the trade union bureaucracy! The so-called TU mobilisation against the TPPA is not about fighting imperialism but dragging workers into the bosses’ agenda of exploiting the economic nationalism that links the ruling class from right to liberal left and the union bureaucracy to negotiate best terms with US and China.

Where has there been any discussion in the unions over what position to take on the TPPA? The CTU leadership is simply taking the longstanding position of economic protectionism to protect NZ jobs and of course the top union officials’ jobs. This is an ‘economic nationalism’ that claims that each nation should retain its economic sovereignty and thus to ensure that all classes benefit as a result. It is a strictly a utopian reformist program. It fits well with the national populist program of the left bureaucracy in the unions which sees China as a progressive force allied to the Bolivarian regimes in Latin America, much as the Green Left in Australia does.

It ignores the reality that NZ is a weak and declining semi-colony, subordinated to Australia and the US and increasingly China. The race to the bottom won't be stopped by joining forces with nationalist organisations that promote reforms to protect NZ’s so-called sovereignty in the face of global capitalist crisis. Despite and because of nationalist policies endorsed by the union bureaucracy, no political party can impose this through parliament.

The pathetically weak ‘centre-left’ Labour Party, and the rightward moving Greens are all in sucking up to the weak NZ bourgeoisie to negotiate the terms of 'our' national sovereignty which barely exists. There are already virtually no limits to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in NZ, capital flows in and out without any borders. Attempts to stop FDI appeals to national chauvinism as the recent opposition to Chinese buying farmland showed, and in the racism and discrimination directed at migrant workers. The real danger is that this nationalism and racism morphs into fascism and becomes the basis of uniting rightwing workers with a bankrupt middle class behind the NACTs wars against Islamic ‘terror’ (already happening in Afghanistan) and Chinese ‘communism’.

So the only way to stop the attacks which the TPPA means for workers is to reject any campaign based on the program of the nationalist bosses which is to rally the unions, labourites and left academics like Kelsey into a cross-class, legalistic, ultimately parliamentary opposition. That's a popular front and makes workers servile to a weak fraction of the national bourgeoisie which barely exists.

Class Struggle to stop the TPPA

Rather we fight FTAs by working class methods, we oppose privatisation by calling for nationalisation by mobilising union fight backs, occupations etc i.e. ‘socialisation’! That's what we mean by a workers united front.

That means that the content of what is 'national' is not defined by the bosses or their agents, but by the working class. Of course most of the working class are infused with nationalism and in a semi-colony like NZ much of that is directed at imperialist countries that profit from our labour.

But 'nationalism' is a barrier to uniting workers across borders in a proletarian ‘internationalism’. The defence of 'nationalism' that is based on resentment towards foreign ownership has to be put on a class footing otherwise it becomes the basis for fascism. So nationalisation of a company for example must always be done not the basis of 'nationalism' to defend NZ jobs etc., but an internationalism that recognises that most firms are already multinational and that defence of workers’ rights and living standards demands the expropriation of imperialist and national companies without compensation and under workers control. So we must demand the socialisation of multinational firms by building a campaign among workers in all countries where this firm operates.

The approach of the rank and file in the unions should be to mount industrial action to get rid of this NACT government and to put demands on Labour to adopt policies that meet the needs of workers. Our purpose is to expose the failure of reformist social democracy to fulfil those demands. We do not support new reformist parties on the left putting pressure on Labour. We support rank and file unionists putting up candidates on a program to deliver what workers want. Not just minimal demands for jobs, wages, houses etc paid for by a transaction tax, or even the Greens’ capital gains tax. Parliament cannot meet these demands.

A new Workers’ Party would use parliament only as ‘sounding board’ to expose its bankruptcy and to mobilise workers to organise independently of parliament and the state. Instead of locking workers into parliamentary legislation for minimum wages, etc., workers need to revive the unions as democratic, fighting unions to impose their demands in the workplace. To do this, it is necessary for strikes, occupations of workplaces facing closure and sackings, occupations of vacant state houses, the occupation of state SOEs under threat of privatisation, and the expropriation of the banks and formation of one state bank, all under workers control. That is, a new Workers’ Party must raise not just a minimum program for immediate reforms, but a transitional program which maps out the road to socialism.

Within the unions it is the job of revolutionaries to raise these demands in a transitional form and explain that to get them we have to take power and what that means and how to do it. The first principle of a transitional program is that it must be international and geared to the current world situation. Isolated actions (even on a pan Pacific basis) around FTAs are part of a much bigger struggle against a global capitalist crisis and mounting inter-imperialist rivalry. The TPPA is really about the US reclaiming the Pacific to prevent China from making further inroads.

So what is behind the TPPA is the growing rivalry between the US and China. NZ workers have to reject NZ nationalism as nothing more than pulling workers into a reactionary nationalism to go to war as an ally of the US in the coming fight with China. Workers have to refuse to fight in such wars and reject the NZ national bourgeoisie and its subservience to the US (all the current political parties), break from their agents in the unions (the bureaucracy), and join forces internationally with workers in all of the Pacific countries and in particular, China and the US.

The real issue for workers is not to oppose free trade as such, (or FDI which already exists since capital doesn’t recognise borders, or even against privatisation by ‘foreign’ firms), on the basis of protection of NZ jobs and living standards, but rather the fight for class independence and proletarian internationalism. Opposing the TPPA then has to be by working class methods, mobilising the unions to stop privatisation, resisting all of the NACTs attacks on workers, defeating the NACTs, putting demands on Labour to expose it by raising a working class program, reviving the unions, building strike actions and strike committees and defense committees to prepare for a general strike and for a Workers’ Government.
Therefore revolutionaries in the unions should be opposed to the TPPA as one of many measures sucking NZ workers into a national alliance with the US to fight China. We put forward a workers international program to defend jobs, wages and rights, and to advance workers organisations to do it, in particular to break from their own bourgeoisies and their agents, everywhere in the Pacific without borders, especially China and the USA. 

For a Socialist Federation of Pacific Republics!

A New Left Reformist Party?

What is going on here? Are McCarten, Bradford and Harawira going to found a New Left Party? What happened to the New Labour Party that morphed into the Alliance? Will a new NLP be based in the unions? It looks like Unite Union national secretary McCarten had a new party in mind when he stood as a candidate in Mana. Only the unions have the base to put up candidates to the left of Labour but most unions support Labour. Yet McCarten wasn’t nominated by his union base, he nominated himself. What’s the bet that a NLP will also be founded without any attempt to form a mass base?

McCarten can probably rely on the Unite membership base, but Bradford and Harawira are not currently involved in unions. Will a New Left Party go down the same parliamentary road as the old New Labour Party trying to push Labour to the left? The New Labour Party failed, and so will a New Left Party. McCarten got around 3.5% of the Mana vote. We don’t give critical support to another attempt to create a New Labour Party that says NZ capitalism can be reformed. It will become the tail of the Labour parliamentary dog. We want a workers’ party with a socialist program that only uses parliament only as a forum and a sounding board to expose it as a sham and to raise the banner of the socialist revolution.

Recycling 19th century reformist illusions

The Labour left on The Standard blog is pushing for a ‘new economy.’ What’s new? Touting 19th century Fabian solutions for the 21st century? How are these different from the Fabianism that was the ideology of parliamentary socialism in Britain? Trotsky identified Fabian intellectuals as the ideologists of the British Labour Party in the 1930s. In NZ Fabianism arrived in NZ in the 1890s. W.P. Reeves was a Fabian. State management of the economy was necessary in a young colony since the market was hardly formed. The land had to be converted into private property via state dispossession. The biggest theft of Maori land occurred under the watch of the Liberal Party Fabians. Workers had to be regulated into a labour market via the Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act, later called ‘Labour’s leg-iron’ by Harry Holland. It was W.P. Reeves’ baby. The colonial capitalists ‘pork-barrelled’ (insider-traded) the economy by electing themselves as legislators. Reeves got a road put into his farm (inspiring the notorious labour rat FP Walsh who became the biggest dairy farmer 50 years later).

The Reevesites used the state to establish a national capitalist class through state protection and insulation - a tradition picked up by the NZ Keynesian W.B. Sutch during the 30s depression. Sutch was the intellectual grunt behind state intervention first in the Reform Government of Coates, and then the first Labour Government of Savage and Fraser. He had a second go as head of Trade and Industry during the Second Labour Govt of 1957-60.

The Lange Fourth Labour Govt facing a deep crisis that had built up during the 1970s, rejected Keynesianism for the neo-liberal market reforms in the 1980s. NZ’s economy was deregulated and bought out by Australian and US multinationals. It suited the MNCs but not the working class whose living standards plummeted. Only now facing a new global crisis of capitalism is Labour turning back towards weak-kneed Keynesian type policies to manage the economy. It is being egged on by its coterie of left intellectuals who have revived their state socialism brand as Fabian lectures.

Today, the NZ state acts openly for international capitalism and no significant economic sovereignty survives. In a hundred years NZ has gone from infant capitalist colony to a clapped- out capitalist semi-colony. Instead of becoming a state of Australia in 1901 when the other states federated, NZ struck out (in both senses) on its own because the Liberals under Seddon and the social imperialist Fabians had visions of NZ capitalism as a little England with its own Pacific empire. Of course these were infantile delusions, so that today far from being a minor imperialist power lording it over tiny Pacific fiefdoms, NZ is virtually a colony of Australia without the benefits of Federation over 100 years. Catching up with Australia is therefore impossible and futile.

NZs future therefore is more like that of the historic Latin American semi-colonies of the US and European powers. If you want a current model to revive economic nationalism look to the Bolivarian states in Latin America and see that none of these states can evade subservience to the big foreign powers. What we see in Latin America is a contemporary Fabianism, or a managed national capitalism, that has failed to escape US domination, but switched from US subservience to Chinese subservience.

Illusions of the NZ Bolivarian Left

It’s not surprising then to find that McCarten is a strong ally of the Australian Green left which pins its hopes for socialism on the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez advocates a 21st century socialism that is not tainted by that of the 20th century. Yet this ‘socialism’ is no different from the state socialism of the Fabians of the 20th century. It is essentially no different from the Alternative Economic Strategy of the CTU. The AES which is a predicable wish-list of reforms that sees workers taking a larger share in the ‘productivity’ of their labour. From this rising share of wages would come more jobs, education, health and public housing. This is also the broad reformist program of Bradford and Harawira addressing the needs of working people and of Maori.

They make no mention that this increased income share going to workers is the result of rising exploitation and that workers are entitled to all, not just a larger share of the value they produce. So the differences on the left of Labour are not over reforms as such but how far those reforms go and how they can be implemented. Those who identify with the Bolivarian left are pushing for more mass involvement in politics so that more major reforms are possible. They point to the success of Chavez and Morales in Latin America who have been elected to power on big popular majorities.

What they don’t say is that the populist policies of these leaders of sharing the wealth that workers produce, serves to justify the right of capitalists to expropriate their profits from workers’ labour. Workers become subordinated to popular fronts which are dominated by bosses and prevented from organising independently to overthrow these regimes. The irony is that Chavez now talks about 21st socialism as being similar to Chinese ‘market socialism’ when China is now the new imperialist power that is in strategic alliances with the Bolivarians to contain the masses so it can extract its super-profits.

We need a World Party of Socialism

Economic independence will not come from belated attempts at economic nationalism by a rump fraction of the national bourgeoisie that exploits xenophobia to keep the working masses under the control of a section of the national bourgeoisie, the ‘boli-bourgeoisies’, but the opposite. Instead of the race to the bottom where isolationism and protectionism leads inexorably to wars over diminishing resources, real independence from the dominance of the US or China today will only come by workers in every country uniting to overthrow their ruling classes and building international alliances to plan production on a global scale to provide for the needs of the masses without destroying the planet.

NZ at the beginning of the 21st century is a semi-colony of Australia and the US, and increasingly China. Economic nationalism is a reactionary utopia (or as we say these days a dystopia) because to even begin to realise it, workers have to voluntarily submit themselves to slavery, poverty and misery. The time has come for workers to organise independently of the state, and its parliamentary road, and build a mass Workers Socialist Party, affiliated to a new world party of socialism.

Tunisia: When is a Revolution a Revolution?

Are the huge protests that spread from Tunisia to Algeria, Egypt and Yemen part of a revolution, or not?  The short answer is yes, and I'll explain why.

Revolutions must overturn existing social relations to qualify as revolutions. Any change in the personel of the ruling class by force is a coup rather than a revolution because there is no change in the class that rules.

Revolutions strictly mean transfers of power which allow one class to replace another class as the ruling class. These may be protracted and wax and wane as revolutionary advances meet counter-revolutionary reactions, but in the end we have to have a point at which we say a revolution was completed or defeated. What decides this point is the historic weight of the respective contesting classes.

The great revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries were therefore bourgeois revolutions in which that class came to supplant a declining feudal ruling class which was being displaced by the rise of capitalist production. Bourgeoise democracy was the product of that revolution. Individual citizens won rights of representation, legal equality etc etc if they were capitalist property owners. This was extended to workers eventually as sellers of the commodity labour power. Women eventually got the suffrage as they became economically more independent.

However, revolutions often take many years to complete and may may become redundant when ovetaken by other revolutions. For example, the American revolution was a revolution to establish an American bourgeoisie independent of Britain. But it didnt succeed in establishing the complete dominance of capitalist social relations until it eliminated the pre-capitalist social relations of slavery and united the federation after the Civil War, and then defeated the resistance of the indigenous nations as it pushed the frontier to the West Coast.

Once the European powers and the US had united their nations and their economies had outgrown their national territories, they expanded to become imperialist states. That is, they dominated all the other nations in varying degrees, subordinating them to a divison of labour in which their raw materials were exchanged for manufactured commodities. This economic dependence, or backwardness, meant that they were incapable of completing their bourgeois revolutions and achieving national independence without a total break with imperialism.

Thus the bourgeosies of the colonies, or even weak imperialisms such as Tsarist Russia, did not have an economic base to allow them to win wars of national independence. These bourgeoisies remained agents of imperialism while the task of completing the bourgeois revolution passed onto those classes who were superexploited by both imperialism and their national bourgeoisies. By the 20th century the complete the bourgeois national revolution it was necessary for the exploited classes to make socialist revolutions. Those classes when taking power did not hand power to a bourgeoisie to rule society, but pressed on to create workers states and socialist societies.

The proof of this was in the fact that it took socialist revolutions to break from imperialism, in Russia, China and Cuba. The Russian bourgeoisie remained tied to imperialism so it was necessary for the workers and peasants to overthrow them with a socialist revolution in order to break from imperialism. Lead by revolutionary socialists with a program for socialism, the goals of the bourgeois, or national democratic, revolution were achieved by the socialist revolution. Lenin called this the 'uninterrupted' revolution, while Trotsky called it the 'pemanent' revolution. China and Cuba followed a similar course. These examples allow us to understand the logic of the current incomplete colonial revolutions of which Tunisia is one of many.

The current uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Yemen are a re-activation of historically incomplete colonial revolutions. These colonial revolutions are bourgeois revolutions since their purpose is to elminate barriers to the full development of capitalist social relations. They must break from imperialism, unify the nation, replace pre-capitalist relations with bourgeois market relations (or subordinate them) and create a capitalist market for the production of commodities. These revolutions may take take decades to complete and remain incomplete until reactivated to become socialist revolutions as we have already seen.

Tunisia’s national revolution against France was incomplete and the exploited and oppressed classes are now rising up again under the whip of imperialist crisis which imposes terrible austerity on their lives. At the moment their goal is bourgeois ‘democracy’ i.e. removing a 'corrupt' capitalist class. They have yet to see that this will be insufficient. The examples of the USSR, China and Cuba appear to be irrelevant or worse as models for completing their bourgeois revolution. For that we have to thank imperialism that stranged these socialist revolutions over many decades, and Stalinism for putting its boot on the workers necks.

Today the failure of socialist revolutions is blamed on the socialists themselves, and not the success of the capitalist counter-revolutionary by imperialism to isolate, weaken and destroy these revolutions. Bourgeois apologists say that no attempt to win national independence by means of a socialist revolution has succeeded without sacrificing bourgeois democracy. But of course that is exactly what socialist revolution is intended to do, to replace bourgeois democracy with workers democracy. Insofar as this does not happen it is not the fault of the revolution as claimed by bourgeois apologists, but of the bourgeois counter-revolution. 

If we take the Russian revolution as a single case of a socialist revolution that ended up as a Stalinist counter-revolution, we can show that this was not the necessary outcome of the revolution, but of the counter-revolution. The Russian masses were isolated from the global working class and while they made a socialist revolution and were victorious over the invading white armies, they succumbed to the same fate as many colonial revolutions, though in this case the bureaucracy rather than the national bourgeoisie became a Bonapartist caste balancing between imperialism and the Soviet working class.

In other words the bourgeois revolution succeeded as a socialist revolution in Russia in overthrowing an imperialist Tsarist regime and a weak cowardly bourgeoisie, but failed ultimately because did not spread outside Russia and become and international revolution capable of overturning the power of international capital. The same happened in China, Vietnam etc. Cuba is well on the way to restoring capitalism. The DPRK is an stagnant autarky.

So far then, socialist revolutions in the 20th century have failed to survive because the revolutionary class was defeated by overwhelming force of the counter-revolutionary class.  The advances of the socialist revolutions are now forgotten and the counter-revolutionary defeats attributed to the socialist revolution itself. So speaking about 20th century revolutions we can say that revolutions defeated by counter-revolutionary violence destroy in the process not only the socialist revolution, but also the struggle for national democratic goals, proving that the international bourgeoisie can only pretend to advance bourgeois democracy in the imperialist countries by suppressing it in the neo-colonies or semi-colonies.

The question then of future revolutions, specifically those of North Africa at the moment, is a matter of the strength and international unity of the workers and poor farmers as a revolutionary force against the total class strength of the imperialist powers. The more the working class is united and able to exercise its power to halt production (as we see happening in Egypt) the weaker will the capitalist power be and the more it must resort to open reaction to stay in power.

However, the lessons of these socialist revolutions will remerge more clearly when the the barriers to national liberation become obvioius.  The sooner that the new generation of Arab fighters can see through all the imperialist ploys to pretend they can create a bourgeois democratic state, or the Islamics can create a clerical state, and fight for a popular workers and peasants socialist government, the better. They will break from the treacherous national bourgeoisie which keeps the nation tied to imperialism, and break the power of the armed forces by winning the ordinary soldiers who are workers and the peasants in uniform over to the side of the working masses.

We are at another critical point in history like 1917 when the balance of class forces is being put to the test. In these historic crisis situations, it is the socialist revolution that represents the democracy class rule of the vast majority in the future, and the bourgeois counter-revolutionary forces that represent the tiny privileged democracy of the past i.e. the defrence of capitalist property and the right to exploit the producing classes. What is necessary for this to happen is a new revolutionary leadership that understands the lessons of history and guides the exploited classes to the seizure of state power and the creation of Workers and Farmers Governments, and Federations of Socialist Republics everywhere.