Sunday, December 22, 2013
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Friday, December 13, 2013
Rajesh Tyagi/ 8.12.2013
The leader of black bourgeois nationalism, life time servant of capital, Nelson Mandela, is dead, leaving behind a shameful legacy of all sorts of compromises and capitulation to imperialism, alongside betrayal of the liberation struggle of toiling masses. Needless to say, that this legacy is equally shared with Mandela by bourgeois leaders of all backward and ex-colonial countries- from Nehru to Gaddafi.
Mandela’s death is being used by the ANC, to attempt to reclaim its lost credibility by chanting the history of struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa where workers and youth in the cities and towns, fought heroically against the brutal regime and its heavily armed security forces, and scores were killed or imprisoned.
Mandela and the ANC under him, however, never sought imperialism’s defeat, but rather its patronage, offering itself as nodal agency between the oppressive ruling class and the masses of black workers and oppressed.
Mandela, pressed his skills and courage to the demeaning service of capital and voluntarily accepted its servility. Behind the veil of dismantling the Apartheid regime, always stood his real-politik of defending capitalism and protecting the property and wealth of the country’s capitalist rulers and of transnational corporate investors.
Expressing their gratitude to the leader of “black capitalism”, for the invaluable service Mandela rendered to the national and international ruling elite, top imperialist leaders have sung praises for Mandela. US President Barack Obama, head of the criminal regime of world imperialism that has turned whole countries like Afghanistan and Iraq into living hell for people, has termed the ANC leader as “one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth”. George Bush, the principal mentor of modern US war machine, infamous for innumerable war crimes, including indiscriminate carpet bombings and savage torture of prisoners, has described Mandela as “one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time.” British right-wing Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron has called Mandela “a hero of our time” and ordered the flag at 10 Downing Street to be flown at half mast. Big Corporates like Bill Gates, have joined the mourning.
These heads of the US and Western Capitalism, who had remained unfazed as black youth and workers were being shot in the streets, hanged on the gallows, jailed by the thousands, tortured in police cells and tear-gassed and clubbed while protesting in schools, universities, factories and mines, are mourning the death of Mandela. The very same imperialist governments that yesterday had turned a cold shoulder to the most genuine and legitimate struggle in history, are paying homages to the leader of black capitalism.
These leaders and the governments under them, always stood in staunch defence of the big Western capitalists who have continued to make a fortune from the cheap black labour, during and after apartheid in South Africa.
Thatcher and Reagan were particular in their praise of the Pretoria regime as a loyal Western ally. President Reagan told CBS in 1981 that he supported South Africa because “it was a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals”.
Thatcher and Reagan were particular in their praise of the Pretoria regime as a loyal Western ally. President Reagan told CBS in 1981 that he supported South Africa because “it was a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals”.
Big corporate, Shell, Consolidated Goldfields, Caltex, Mobil, Honeywell, IBM, Ford, GM, Westinghouse, Pilkington, BP, Blue Circle, Cadbury Schweppes and dozens alike, have made their fortunes from extreme exploitation of black labour. While these profits continued to be minced, Western businesses and governments turned a blind eye to the oppression of black South Africans. The same governments are paying homage to the leader of black capitalism, who made it possible for them to continue the exploitation and oppression in South Africa till his death.
Death of Mandela, for us, however, is an occasion to draw a balance sheet on the role and character of the bourgeois nationalist movements, like that of ANC, all of which have become props of world capitalism, offering the countries under them as cheap labour and raw material platforms to it.
Founded in 1912, the ANC is one of the oldest of these movements, having drawn its inspiration from Indian National Congress. It has played pivotal role in the negotiated end of the apartheid regime in South Africa and for the last about two decades has been the country’s ruling party.
After coming to power, the leadership of the ANC, far from making any effort for realizing the aspirations of the workers and toilers, betrayed them and exploited their sacrifices to reinforce its own integration into the ranks of the imperialist and national capitalist rulers.
Nearly 20 years after the end of Apartheid, South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. Grotesque levels of exploitation and poverty afflict most of the population, with just over 50 percent living below the official poverty line. Officially, unemployment stands at 25 percent of the workforce, but the real figure is far higher. South Africa has the largest population infected with HIV/AIDS in the world, with up to 6.4 million people, or 12 percent of total population, including 450,000 children affected. Official data shows that only 28 percent of those infected are able to afford and receive medical aid. Life expectancy is 58 years, among the lowest in the world.
So-called“free market reforms” have assured that those at the top, including the old white elite and the new black leaders of ANC and its Trade Unions, have accumulated immense wealth. A tiny minority that now includes a layer of ANC, ex-Stalinist, and trade union leaders, has amassed enormous personal wealth. The country now has the highest number of Trillionaires among all African states, with 14 individuals now in this category, up from two a decade earlier. Those sitting at the top of the capitalist pyramid, like Cyril Ramaphosa, the leader of the National Union of Mineworkers and secretary general of the ANC, having worth USD 275 million alone, have become the sole beneficiaries of the policy of “Black Economic Empowerment” inaugurated and supervised by the ANC.
The African historian Achille Mbembe has rightly described the ANC as a party “consumed by corruption and greed, brutal internecine battles for power and a deadly combination of predatory instincts and intellectual vacuity.”
Right from the beginning of his political career in 1943, when he joined the ANC, Mandela remained a hostile opponent of Marxism. He was opposed to program of any independent organisation of the working class, and instead advocated the idea of subordinating the working class to national bourgeois and its party, ANC. Mandela was instrumental in opposing the mass strike by working class of Johannesburg, in 1950, by organising strike breakers and through physical violence. As successful strike demonstrated the political strength of working class, Mandela retreated under compulsion.
Later, after doubly assuring himself of political impotence and incapacity of Stalinists, ANC under Mandela developed close ties with Stalinist SACP. In their turn, the South African Stalinists, following the Menshevik “two stage” theory of Stalin, argued that South Africa, like other backward countries, will have to first pass through a period of “democratic” capitalist development, under the leadership of the national bourgeoisie, before it could rise up to struggle for socialism. This was exactly in line with bourgeois program of ANC. Neither Mandela nor the ANC, nor even the SACP ever placed socialism on the agenda in South Africa. Socialism, for the SACP, at best, was something that awaited South Africa several decades after the supposed “first stage” of the revolution- the national democratic revolution, was completed.
Having close proximity with Stalinists in South Africa, Mandela consciously rejected the program of Fourth International under Trotsky, that unambiguously proposed ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ as a pre-condition for any genuine revolution in South Africa, including its national liberation. Narrating his encounter with the South African Trotskyist Isaac Tabata, in 1948, Mandela, the leader of black bourgeois and by then an ally of Stalinists, told his biographer Anthony Samson, “It was difficult for me to cope with his arguments. I didn’t want to continue arguing with the fellow because he was demolishing me just like that”.
The ANC leader utilised the Stalinists as a means to subordinate the South African working class to the bourgeois nationalist platform of ANC and its capitalist program. The ANC’s Freedom Charter, adopted in 1956, was drafted by a member of the CP, Rusty Bernstein. Warding off any misconception on that count in advance, Mandela clarified in one of his article, that the Charter was “by no means a blue-print for a socialist state”.Referring to the call for the nationalisation of the banks, gold mines and land, in the Charter, Mandela reaffirmed his commitment to the national and international bourgeois that these measures would be capitalist in character:“The breaking up and democratisation of these monopolies will open up fresh fields for the development of a prosperous non-European bourgeois class. For the first time in the history of this country the non-European bourgeoisie will have the opportunity to own, in their own name and right, mills and factories, and trade and private enterprise will boom and flourish as never before.”
The social and economic disaster, so evident now in South Africa, is no less than an indictment of Mandela’s role in preserving capitalist rule and of his program of nurturing a “non-European bourgeoisie.” Stalinist SACP through its own demagogy about revolution and class struggle and its alliance with ANC, made it possible for the ANC to fool the masses of workers and toilers and to draw support for its bourgeois regime.
Starting in the 1960s, the ANC, in alliance with the Stalinist South African Communist Party, employed the rhetoric of revolution and class struggle, but Mandela’s perspective of empowering and enriching an aspiring black bourgeoisie remained at the helm of its program.
Before being sentenced to life by the court in Rivonia Trial in 1964, rejecting allegations of him being a communist, Mandela, told the court during his trial, “The realisation of the Freedom Charter would open up fresh fields for a prosperous African population of all classes, including the middle class. The ANC has never at any period of its history advocated a revolutionary change in the economic structure of the country, nor has it, to the best of my recollection, ever condemned capitalist society.”
When the uprisings in Sharpville, Soweto and the other black townships disrupted the apartheid state, making impossible for it to hold further, the white ruling elite, led by the Anglo-American Corporation, engaged black bourgeois leaders in negotiations for a peaceful end to apartheid and a formal transfer of power to black bourgeois, with the aim of quelling the revolutionary challenge from workers and toilers and preserving their wealth and property from wrath of the revolution.
During mid-1980s, engulfed in a wave of mass strikes and revolts by workers and youth across South Africa’s cities and towns, the government, first imposed martial law in 1985, but failed. Alarmed at the revolutionary threat, in a bid to suppress the insurrectionary struggles being waged by working class and black youth, the government, opened up dialogue with Mandela finding in him the best hope for diffusion of the revolutionary situation. Mandela was courted by the leading corporate executives from jail.
The talks, led to a negotiated settlement between ANC and the government that took off with Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990.
In August 1990 Mandela ordered the cessation of armed struggle, that signified its further willingness to accommodate with imperialism. Young ANC supporters condemned the shameful move as a sell-out and surrender, scores of them, angry at beheading the armed struggle, at a time when the government was unleashing death squads against militants across the country. They confronted Mandela with placards “Mandela, give us arms” and “You are acting like a sheep while the people are dying”.
The conditions negotiated by Mandela were, however, entirely consistent with his long-standing politics. He had always supported private enterprise and a bourgeois parliamentary set-up, with only rider that black bourgeois is not excluded from participating in them.
Implicit in the settlement, was an assurance from ANC that the property, wealth, and commercial interests of both the white elite and international finance capital would be protected. The negotiations, even included a secret commitment by ANC, as Anthony Samson explained,“to reduce the deficit, keep the high interest rates and to keep the economy open for international investments”. In return, access to an IMF loan of $850 million, was promised, if required.
Late 1993, came the capitulation by the ANC to the Constitution dictated by the imperialists, that secured property rights and extraordinary dominance of banks giving the central bank, and the South African Reserve Bank, complete insulation from impending political change, coupled with a pledge to prepay the apartheid debt of $25 billion, which ANC had been demanding to write off for decades, This capitulation loomed heavily on the back of toiling masses of South Africa.
The multi-party elections that followed in 1994, resulted in the ANC taking to power with a clear sweep of 62 percent of the total vote. Mandela continued to head the government for the next five years, until 1999.
Repelling all genuine aspirations of the toiling masses for a change in their living conditions, as the government under Mandela took to power, Mandela declared, “We must rid ourselves of (the culture of entitlement that leads to) the expectation that the government must promptly deliver, whatever it is, that we demand”. On the contrary, Mandela warned the workers, to tighten their belts” and get ready to accept low wages so that investment would flow.
As Mandela took over Presidency of South Africa, exchange controls were relaxed to great extent, permitting the foreign investors to invest and take away the proceeds, more freely than ever. Mandela got so much popular among billionaire investors, that when he left office in 1999, big investors relisted from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to London, New York, and Australia creating a situation of ‘capital flight’ on Johannesburg stock exchange.
Seeking to attract investments, while competing with other low wage countries on African continent and outside, the ANC regime under Mandela, had continued to push the real wages lower and lower since then, sinking them to the lowest during the recent global capitalist crisis. This in turn, has triggered enormous social tensions.
Retreating from the program of ANC, for nationalisation of banks and mines, shamefaced Mandela told his interviewer that “nationalisation is not on the agenda of Reconstruction and Development. Two years later, even this weak reformist ‘Reconstruction and Development’ Program, was substituted with a crude neoliberal “Growth, Employment and Redistribution”program, drawn straight from the World Bank recipe book.
The wealthy citizens of Sandton, a virtually all-white posh suburb of Johannesburg, erected a statue in Mandela’s honour at their local shopping centre.
Toiling masses however are left in lurch, battling for access to basic necessities -water and electricity, decent housing, clinics for better medical care, and better schools, recreational facilities, and even garbage disposal.
Oblivious to the woes of workers and toilers, Mandela remained friendly with billionaires in SA. Even the Guardian,that termed Mandela as great democratic leader, was forced to recognize in its obituary, Mandela’s “attachment to the glamour of the very rich.” The newspaper writes: “Money was dazzling. Once freed, he holidayed at the Irish businessman Sir Tony O’Reilly’s Caribbean island and gave the go-ahead for his takeover of South Africa’s biggest newspaper group, in anticipation of his‘magic money’ providing black empowerment in the media. He allowed the casino king, Sol Kerzner, to host the wedding of his daughter Zinzi. He borrowed rich men’s houses and flew around South Africa in their aircrafts.”
Since coming to power of ANC, a new black bourgeoisie started to emerge quickly, under rampant cronyism, while ANC leaders continued to move into mansions in posh “golf and country estates”. Disparities between white and black have since paved way to more widened inequalities between black rich and poor. George Soros , a Hungarian-American business magnate and investor, proudly claimed before Davos Economic Forum in 2001, “South Africa is in the hands of international capital.”
Much trumpeted and promised wealth redistribution, remained the worst casualty of pro-investor and pro-corporate policies of ANC regime, comparable only with Brazil and Namibia, and the inequality has continued to rise in huge proportions under Mandela. Today, South Africa tops on the list of richest men in the world, as also on the list of poorest in the world. After two decades of ANC rule, South Africa is home to extreme poverty, illiteracy, inequality, diseases and depravity.
As workers revolted against the degraded living conditions, no different from the apartheid state, the government under ANC, flanked on the left by the Stalinist SACP, did not hesitate from organising mass murder of workers at Lonmin platinum mines on August 16 last year. The brutal repression of Marikana strikers that finds its echo in Soweto and Sharpville mayhem committed by the white racist state, had left 34 dead and dozens wounded.
In 1935, Leon Trotsky, in a letter to his followers in South Africa, warned of “the inability of the ANC to achieve the realization of even its own demands because of its superficial, conciliatory policy.”
This warning stands vindicated. The ANC’s trajectory, like that of all the other bourgeois nationalist and national liberation movements in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East- Indian National Congress to ANC and from Sandinistas to the PLO- has upheld the fundamental perspective advanced by Trotsky in his theory of Permanent Revolution.
Trotsky’s perspective propounded that the bourgeoisie in the oppressed countries, tied to imperialism and fearful of the working class, is organically incapable of carrying out the struggle for democracy and an end to imperialist domination. Those tasks can be realized only by the working class, leading the oppressed masses, seizing power into its own hands and going over to a socialist revolution as part of the struggle of the international working class to put an end to capitalism on a global scale.
Notwithstanding all criminal misdeeds of Mandela, for which, the ANC and its Stalinist and trade union allies are deeply hated by the working class, the death of Mandela, coincides with ever mounting social and political tensions in South Africa, having their roots in most genuine aspirations of toiling masses, touching their zenith. Driven by the general crisis of world capitalism, there are growing indications of a resurgence of the class struggle in South Africa. Since Marikana massacre, South African workers stand in direct conflict with the ANC government, the big business, global banks and corporations that it represents.
These spiralling social tensions are bound to result in volcanic eruption of revolt of working and toiling masses in South Africa, sooner than later. Our task is to arm the South African proletariat with a program of socialist revolution and integrate its struggle for liberation from the yoke of capitalism with that of the international proletariat for complete wiping out of capitalism from the face of the earth.
Also check: http://workersocialist.blogspot.in/2012/09/marikana-massacre-completely-exposes.html
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
From the Communist Workers Group (USA) December 6, 2013
Since “independence” in 1980 the ZANU-PF and its predecessors have made Zimbabwe safe for imperialist exploitation. The Program of Permanent Revolution is confirmed in the negative results of the national revolution, which gained for the national bourgeois forces the role of administrator over and champion of a capitalist economy which can neither support its people nor gain its independence from the dictates of the world market. They are playthings of imperialism; they cannot avoid the economic and military ravages intertwined with the inter-imperialist struggle over Africa’s resources. The ZANU-PF regime has not always been a favorite with the former colonizers and they are tolerated in the breach because the cost of overthrowing them was judged to be too steep by the Blair and Mbeki regimes. Sanctions imposed at that time impacted the lives of the working masses and ordinary poor. By design they did not interfere with the profits of the giant extraction companies.
In the epoch of imperialism there is no national program for the liberation of the semi-colonial countries and their people. The pan-Africanist vision also has not liberated Africa. While touted from many corners of the continent by liberation fighters turned capitalist state administrators, it serves as an ideological and organizational roadblock to the African workers revolution in particular and the world revolution by extension.
The tasks of the bourgeois revolution, the completion of the agricultural reform, national independence and democracy have not been completed by the ZANU-PF. How could they be with their political program? A layer of veterans has become a new ruling class. Their privilege derives from and is maintained by the counter-revolution from within the anti-imperialist revolution, and is just a cost of doing business for the imperialists.
Had these tasks been completed Zimbabwe would be able to feed its people and would not be trapped into mono-cropping for the world market. The starving of the masses fills the prisons for want of bread and democracy. Yet in the prisons hundreds have died because the state cannot find the funds to feed the inmates but one meal a day. The capitalist system is the crime and the prisons are the result! We say tear down the prisons! Complete the agricultural reform by uniting agricultural workers under the leadership of the working class to seize Capital’s assets, plan and implement a rational production of food to meet the needs of the people.
Had these tasks been completed the resources of the state would prevent the epidemic (reportedly 100,000 victims) of waterborne disease, and cholera would not be a threat today. Yet by subordinating the national revolution to imperialism, the mineral wealth of the nation keeps the miners and their families living in poverty without clean and safe water supplies.
We hear Anglo American tooting its own horn for having donated a preposterous $100,000 to the Red Cross and showcase plumbing projects to fight cholera. The fake concern of these imperialists is notable on two accounts. Capital proclaims its beneficial role as a big investor, yet the historic impoverishment of the nation is the product. We say complete the revolution! Expropriate the assets of foreign capital! Make the imperialists pay!
Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Impala Platinum drain the nation’s wealth by keeping the miners wages at the starvation minimum wage of $227 a month. The Chamber of Mines is fighting the union’s demands for $800 for diamond miners, $700 for platinum miners and $573 for gold miners. The impasse in negotiations last week (Nov 26) will once again put the ZANU-PF to the test as the state arbitrator adjudicates on the dispute in January. We say no faith in the state arbitrators! VICTORY TO THE MINERS IN THEIR FIGHT FOR A LIVING WAGE! TO WIN AGAINST THE INTERNATIONAL CORPORATIONS UNITED STRIKES ACROSS SOUTHERN AFRICA ARE NEEDED!
In Bloomberg.com we read, ‘‘The union believes that it’s fair and just for each sub-sector to remunerate its employees at rates that are proportional to its performance…” We say union leaders who tie labor costs to the price of the ore workers extract from the ground are not committed to the workers but to the market and its dictates! The LCC demands a living wage for all! For wage and price committees tied to mass assemblies of workers, the unemployed, agricultural labor and students! We must reject wages being determined by the wild fluctuations in the price of the ore workers mine. Imperialism has extracted its profit and super-profits when the ore was selling at high prices, yet they did not raise wages then, and now the labor fakers tier the wage demands referencing the imperialists excuses about the fall in demand! Repatriate the stolen super-profits! Expropriate the Expropriators!
We have noticed a big increase of the Chinese influence in Zimbabwe and it is not limited to the economic sphere. The 98 million dollar loan to build the Harare military base signals a long-term partnership with the ZANU-PF regime. It will garrison forces aimed squarely at the working class, as Zimbabwe is not the imperialist proxy of choice for enforcement on the continent. For the present we don’t see Zimbabwe making military moves against its neighbors. This base will constitute the security of the state at the expense of the masses who will have to pay back the loan. And the Atlantic Monthly raises the question about what it represents about future projections of Chinese military power onto the continent. We well remember that imperialists have made Africa their battleground in both inter-imperialist world wars and we see Africom as an early placeholder for US imperialism and its NATO allies.
The Marikana example is an object lesson in the need of the working class to organize self defense of its ranks and its struggles. We know the ANC colluded with the mine owners against the Marikana miners and shot them down in cold blood. The ZANU-PF is no better and we must warn the workers against faith in the state and prepare the masses to defend their strikes, to arm the people and disarm the police. As Trotsky observed in his history of the Russian Revolution, “The way to the soldier’s rifle leads through the revolver taken from the Pharaoh.” 
From the belly of the imperialist beast and on behalf of the vanguard workers of the USA we salute this second congress of the Revolutionary Workers Group! We salute the programmatic conquests that have resulted in the formation of the RWG. The RWG is the ripe fruit of the battle against Cliffism and its surrender to the Popular Front and entry into the MDC. We would wish to caution vanguard fighters everywhere of the Cliff/Schachtman tendency’s history of reducing class struggle to economism. Recently, these willing class collaborators (the ISO-Z) tried to hitch their failed economist project to the unsullied standard of the RWG which proudly defended the transitional method against a fake unity of the working class and its vanguard around the minimum program of reformism.
The RWG likewise rejected the schematicism and target fixation of the FLTI which refuses to recognize Chinese imperialism though it stares workers in their face anywhere they care to look and particularity in the southern hemisphere. The RWG has successfully defended the revolutionary position on the August 1991 coup and counter-coup in the former USSR and has done so against the considerable pressure from the backslider RCIT whose break from the method of Cliffism is incomplete as demonstrated by their support for Yeltsin faction and their objectively pro-imperialist position in support of the Bosnian breakaway state and the NATO bombing of Serbia.
We salute the RWG for raising the banner in Africa for solidarity with the Revolutionary fighters in Syria and in solidarity with the deepening Arab revolution against the misguided calls for retreat to bourgeois parliamentarism and the Constituent Assembly while trade unionists on strike in Egypt are daily fighting the military regime and while the order of the day across MENA is to organize workers councils and militia.
We are united in our internationalist vision and resolved upon the tasks of building a revolutionary workers’ international. The very survival of humanity depends on our victory. Capitalism, the impending inter-imperialist conflict over resources and markets and the devastation of climate change will devastate the billions in the semi-colonial world whose infrastructure is least prepared to adapt. The impact of drought driven by climate change on the Syrian economy has driven the people to revolt and we will see case after similar case as the comprador bourgeoisie seek to keep the cork in the bottle. Hurricanes, typhoons, natural disasters combined with capitalist lack of planning and the anarchy of production that gave us Fukushima cries out for the formation of a planned world economy. Our tasks are monumental but our program of class independence and the dialectical method of the transitional program guide us to build our fighting party to lead the workers to victory.
All power to the working class!
Victory to the Zimbabwe miners! Justice for Marikana!
For the united socialist state of Southern Africa!
Monday, December 09, 2013
Our position of giving critical support for the Labour Party is to vote for it to put it in government to prove to workers that no Labour-led Government however left-wing will be able to legislate to meet the demands and needs of workers. Social Democracy sows illusions in a peaceful, egalitarian, environmentally friendly capitalism. There is no such animal. Capitalism is brutal, barbaric and destructive especially in the epoch of imperialism. Already we see that Cunliffe’s promises of reforms are hedged around with financial constraints imposed not by ‘neo-liberalism’, but by capitalism itself. Will Labour challenge NZs status as an economic semi-colony of the US and China in its position on the TPPA, Oil and Coal and asset sales, GCSB and TICS, SkyCity casino capitalism, and ‘disaster capitalism’ in Christchurch. Will Labour recognise the role that the working class plays in creating the nation’s wealth and stand up and fight for the unions and workers by implementing full employment, a living wage, welfare rights, pensions etc? Right now the Labour Party represents Capital’s profits expropriated from Labour. What is needed is a revolutionary socialist party that will socialise capitalist property under the ownership and control of the working class and create a planned socialist society.
TPPA and the coming US/CHINA war
To implement a sustainable economic policy, NZ would have to regain its economic sovereignty over the ownership and control of its resources. The TPPA is the most dangerous threat to such a national strategy. The TPPA is a tool of recolonisation by US to keep China out of the Pacific. Extending the power of crisis-ridden US imperialism into whole Pacific to recolonise Pacific and to simultaneously block Chinas bid for a regional TPA, and also gain more access to China’s internal market. That’s why it’s the US state taking over every other Pacific state as a means of taking over the Chinese state. It’s a showdown of the two giants of capitalism as the US declines and China rises. .
The US is in decline as its economic power wanes and its dollar ceases to be the only world currency. This is because a currency propped up by oil is being challenged by the Yuan which is based on China’s expanding productive capacity. The US wants to grab onto China to halt its decline. It has done so with one hand – the offshoring of manufacturing to Asia. But to grab with two hands it has to break into China’s economic sovereignty, especially the dominance of its SOEs.
Its strategy is to restrict China’s growth while at the same time sharing in it. By blocking China from the TPPA it puts China at a disadvantage. Yet the US corporations in those states that already have TPAs with China can piggyback into China on equal terms. Both US and Japan are big producers inside China within the free trade zones, but they want to extend into the state sector, especially in privatising the SOEs.
The Labour Party’s position so far is to take credit for the TPPA! It is acting as a US lackey in a US imperialist drive against its No 1 trading partner, China! Its position is that it will not agree to an agreement that is secret. Its position should be that it will reserve the right to unilaterally leave a TPPA that is signed in secret. Otherwise the Labour Party is signing away what is left of NZs national sovereignty and signing up the NZ working class to a war between the US and China in the near future!
Carbon, Assets and Climate Collapse
Oil drilling and coal mining is a litmus test of Labour’s economic and climate change policy. Will it go with the NACT line of the global capitalist economy wherever it pushes profits in NZ, or will it opt for a state-managed sustainable economic growth such as that of the Greens? Labour is torn internally between short-term jobs driven growth and longer-term sustainable growth. It is trying to suppress this conflict in its position on oil drilling by opposing it until it is proven safe. But just as like its position opposing mining on conservation land, this evades the larger issue of climate change. There is no way that burning carbon can protect jobs now let alone in the future. The NACTs rip, shit and bust quarry mentality destroys jobs as well as the environment. On the other hand the Greens reforms don’t have the social support to win. The issue of global warming is now one of human survival where capitalism as a system is destroying our future. Labour needs to rally its working class base to take control of the issue and make stopping climate collapse the heart of its economic development program.
A real Labour Party would recognise that climate collapse is a crisis many times more life threatening than the depression of the 1930s. What it needs is an emergency program to meet this crisis. First and foremost, the ownership and control of energy production should be socialised under workers control with no compensation to the owners of privatised state assets. These assets should then be developed into 100% renewables (hydro, solar, wind, biomass etc). Energy efficiency and conservation should be the criteria for all industrial and agricultural production. State producer boards should plan and regulate the major industries on the basis of sustainability as well as health and safety. Problems with key industries such as a ‘dirty dairying’ would be regulated and state subsidies would become the basis of state shareholdings or cooperatives. The imperative of sustainability would bring a slow socialisation of the economy with the workers and independent producers along with the state sharing in the true costs and benefits of production.
GCSB and TICS
These laws are major challenges to NZ’s economic sovereignty which means increasing dominance by imperialist US and China. Yet Labour has always bought into spying on behalf of its imperialist masters. From the SIS ‘reds under the bed’ on behalf of the UK and US to the GCSB and the ‘war against terror’ justifying the US global rule of terror. State spying serves only the rule of capital. Specifically the great powers use spying to advance their economic and political interests over their rivals. Loewenstein in Guardian updates NSAs latest global spy network of which NZ is a ‘US team player’. So the Labour Party’s demand that NZs spy role be subject to an inquiry does not challenge the assumption that secret state spying is necessary. If a true Labour Party is to represent the interests of Labour against Capital here is what its policy should be.
First, a true Labour Party would challenge the view that the interests of Labour and Capital can be reconciled - crony capitalism is not an aberration but the norm. It would reject an official inquiry and set up an independent workers inquiry into spying. Second, it would abolish all state spying on its citizens, close down its installations, refuse to participate in spy networks with other states, and instead set up a public Tribunal where any accusations of spying could be heard. The decisions of the Inquiry and the Tribunal would be made by delegates elected to represent the views of workers, women, youth, indigenous, social and environmental groups that comprise the broad labour movement.
SkyCity and Casino Capitalism
Symptomatic of how decadent the NZ capitalist class is, is Skycity. The NACTs are so cynical that they will pay out of workers taxes for Skycity to build its ‘entertainment’ precinct in Auckland to fleece tourists and workers all, on the promise of ‘more jobs’. On the basis of this cost-benefit analysis, all the costs fall on the workers and all the benefits go to the parasites.
Yet the Labour Party does not challenge Casino Capitalism at its heart, the global financial capitalist class that parasitically lives off the working class driving down their wages to increase their profits and then cynically exploiting their poverty by encouraging them to gamble. After all this is a metaphor for the way global capitalism in crisis works: stagnation of real growth combined with massive speculative booms parasitic on growth. Labour needs to declare its intention to revoke NACTs corrupt deal with SkyCity and ultimately to revoke its casino licence.
If Labour is serious about going back to its working class roots then its role in ChCh is a test of that. Labour voted for the sacking of CERA which imposed a rip, shit and bust rebuild similar to the sacking of ECAN to boost the profits of Canterbury dairy farmers. Has Labour had a change of heart? Cunliffe announced Labour’s decision to set up KiwiAssure attached to Kiwibank. Will this meet the need for a state insurer of disasters? Not if KiwiAssure is just another insurance Co like Kiwibank is just another bank. KiwiAssure needs to be a comprehensive no fault insurer of disasters and funded on the model of ACC Otherwise Labour is filling a gap rather than coming to grips with the larger question of the NACTs ‘disaster capitalism’ model in Christchurch. Where is the workers’ alternative based on a return to democracy and a comprehensive plan for the rebuild? Unless Labour steps up with major proposals it will have abdicated any leadership of its historic constituency in Christchurch.
Pensions pensioned off?
ACTs neoliberal pension policy was adopted by Labour just before the 2011 election! The retirement age should come down to 60 not go up to 67.The generational argument is a red herring (making Labour’s red rather fishy) Society is more productive every year, yet the proportion of the increase that goes to labour decreases. The result is that capital creams it while workers are expected to work longer for lower wages and low pension (if they survive). The Labour Party should take a stand on principles not affordability (neo-liberal bullshit about balancing the budget while taxes on capital decrease). Labour produces the wealth. The working lifespan should decrease as productivity rises. Taxes on the rising share of capital should increase. The state can easily fund a living pension for a longer retirement from age 60. The irony is that a Labour Government led by Cunliffe who has spoken of renouncing neo-liberalism, has adopted the ACT policy of increasing the age of retirement so that workers work more productively and longer for a diminishing share of the wealth they produce.
From Welfare to Workfare
The Cunliffe Govt appeals to the memory of the Labour Party of Mickey Savage of the 1930s. That government was under such pressure from unemployed and destitute farmers that it responded with a social security package as a right of citizenship. It recognised that it was the capitalist economy and not an 'underclass' that was to be blamed for unemployment and poverty. The Blairite 4th Labour Government retreated to the neo-liberal view of social security as a personal responsibility that has to be earned. Labour has remained silent on the NACTs slashing of welfare since failing to restore Ruthless Richardson's benefit cuts of 1991, all the way to Paula Bennett's abusive workfare reforms today. While David Shearer was briefly Labour leader he displayed this underclass prejudice with his reference to the 'beneficiary on the roof'. Will a Cunliffe-led Labour Party break with this neo-liberal workfare history?
A true Labour Party would return to the social welfare as a right of Savage’s day and abolish all workfare measures introduced since the 1970s. First, it would implement full employment and job creation by public works. Free health, education and housing would be paid for by a 100% capital gains tax on all property and assets. It would create a UBI based on a living wage and administered by the unions as a right whether one is working or not. Even outright capitalists like Gareth Morgan argue that a living UBI is more profitable for bosses than growing inequality and poverty. These measures would help to recognise the working class as the creators of wealth and shift the blame for NZs economic recolonisation by the US and China off the ‘’underclass’ and back onto the decadent, parasitic and rapacious capitalist class that is destroying Aotearoa.
Revolutionary Labour Party
Is the Labour Party capable of standing up for Labour against Capital? It is the very nature of the party that it has the main contradiction between Capital and Labour running through it. Capital is devoted to exploiting workers for profits, while Labour (not the Party!) is devoted to securing a share of the value it produces as a living wage. But such is the crisis of capitalism today all attempts at reconciling these objectives will fail. Profits must drive down living standards and destroy jobs and lives. Labour to live must challenge Capital’s right to rule by socialising all the essential resources that are necessary for life and for the survival of the species. The Labour Party will split sooner or later into those who defend Capital, and those who are defend Labour.