Thursday, September 17, 2015


Image result for greek oxi

The "Popular Unity" is a Greek Tragedy 

There is no electoral solution because electing parliamentarians will not prevent the keys to banks, factories, ports and airports being turned over to the privatizers of the capitalist Troika or to Chinese imperialist firms. The decision to strip Greece of its assets was not made in a Greek parliament but was made by European central bankers and any decision to fight them and save these assets will not be made in any parliament but by the workers themselves armed and organized in the streets against both the Golden Dawn and NATO. This is the only way these assets can be saved when our social class is confronted by the fascists and threat of NATO military intervention combined. And what happens to Greeks today will happen to the other PIIGS nations (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and Spain) tomorrow.

Reformists always promise their next new model government power formula will be 'different this time.' As the world crisis of capitalism stumbles into its eighth year facing collapsed European Central Bank (ECB) world growth forecasts through all of 2017, SYRIZA has at last split, with 25 deputies breaking from the Tsipras group and forming the new "Popular Unity Party," the LAE. Twenty five delegates makes LAE the 3rd largest party and forces Tsipras to call Parliamentary elections. Soon many of these delegates will be out of work, of course, and they deserve this. Fate works that way in politics as well as in drama.

We think this split was very late and it was only coincidentally a split from the popular front SYRIZA had made last January with the ANEL party nationalists. Late and a lame split too. To think that a 'last year's SYRIZA' political re-configuration, consciously sold as such even in the aftermath of the OXI ("NO!") referendum vote, will answer the needs of the oppressed and desperate Greek masses is for Marxists a tragic failure of imagination.

It was last year's SYRIZA that put the masses up to staking everything on parliamentary elections and closed up shop on the Popular Assemblies. This is the essence of Kautskyism. It sees parliamentarism as the highest expression of democracy and suppresses the criticism of this view made by Marx and Engels themselves. These ‘vanguard representatives' turned out to be as useless as they were helpless when called upon to act and stop the parliamentary betrayal that utterly contradicted the OXI referendum.

The whole conduct of the "left" players around former government Minister Lafazanis and the very name they have taken, sometimes styled as the Popular Unity Front (!), suggests that they are seeking another popular front in spite of recent history and the history of all popular fronts including Allende's, from whom they have learned the wrong lesson, i.e., that this time will be different and they will find the ‘peaceful road to socialism.’ And in fact they have called for a popular front, the ‘OXI front’, to the international cheers of every Kautskyite and otherwise rotten group on the left!  

Promises, promises, from both sides of the mouth!

Some, such as the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), were already buried in SYRIZA and will automatically continue as entrists in the LAE. Others, like the RCIT, who must seem like our favorite whipping boys, see the LAE's intention to form a popular front and advocate revolutionists do entry work in it anyway! They say struggle to "...make LAE an activists' party." Just now (9/15) LAE is polling between 2 and 3%. The RCIT calls for a critical support vote for the new-last-year's-SYRIZA, as if the masses experience with these very delegates does not exist, or matter if it does.

Greece is facing the crisis brought to it by the EU and the imperialists. The EU and German imperialism are in trouble and they will impose a diktat of this kind in each of the PIIGS. The pressure of history will be felt directly by the workers to take the struggle outside parliament because they voted NO and it made no difference.

We are not the sectarians who reject electoral politics out of hand. But a revolutionary party in Greece would stand as tribunes of the people on a transitional program beginning with an action program; not entry in the LAE, but organizing the masses into workers councils.

Those who want to give critical support to a handful of LAE MP’s abandon the Leninist method of using critical support to expose the reformists in front of their electoral base. The LAE has no more of an electoral base than ANTARSYA and will undoubtedly seek out popular front partners and has said as much.

The RCIT would have you believe that yesterday’s SYRIZA party bureaucrats, reformists to the core, were the OXI movement vanguard of the working class, and because these workers still have illusions in the parliament this justifies calling for critical support and entry too! But the mass support turns out not to exist because the masses have seen through their act.

In the RCIT prescription there is no accounting for the masses’ experience in the last year. None of these ex-SYRIZA parliamentary delegates are guilty of bringing the masses to this impasse apparently and none of them will be held accountable.

They are projecting a ‘vanguard’ which never rejected the popular front idea and only belatedly broke with SYRIZA. And then only when it was too late. The third memorandum was passed over their essentially toothless objections.

We call for revolutionists to accompany the workers to the polls to make plain that no electoral solution can exist. And that there is not a moment too lose for the building of workers councils and workers militias to prepare to defeat the fascist danger.

Transitional Program or 21st Century Socialism?

We say the hallmark of 21st Century Socialism is when the workers take over the factory the 21st Century Socialist police come in and give it back to the boss. Variously, it can be defined as an ANC popular front government massacring striking miners at Marikana and not a few farm workers in the strike waves that followed, the PT in Brazil breaking up land occupations and the PSUV serving the Bolivarian Bourgeoisie in Venezuela by protecting capitalist firms from expropriation by the masses. Anyone who is not a World Social Forum sycophant knows these things happen and we warn that the Greek workers are going to find out soon.

We agree with the dock workers of Piraeus who say Greece is the experiment and that the ECB and German imperialism are set to strip all the assets and swipe all the treasuries of the countries on the European periphery.

In Jacobin of August 21st Stathis Kouvelakis former member of the central committee of SYRIZA and Left Platform founding member of LAE stated, “…The front will also struggle for an unitary internationalist struggle around common objectives at the European and international level and will support exiting NATO, breaking the existing agreements between Greece and Israel, and radically opposing imperialist wars and interventions. This transitional program is situated in a perspective of a socialism of the 21st century.” It is a novelty unsupportable by history to make any equation between any known transitional program and the project of “21st Century Socialism.” These are known quantities to Marxists and are based on wholly different methods.

The first task of a transitional program is to stop the privatizations and to do this with workplace occupations and armed pickets to prevent the turning over of the keys and the deeds to the imperialist bankers and firms. Out of these workplace occupations the immediate task will be to reorganize the Popular Assemblies nationwide and to organize them to take on ever increasing self-government tasks.

What LAE opposes is any transitional program worthy of the name as it would call for workers to power and a planned economy, whereas this LAE program calls for a decentralized economy. And is the LAE preparing the working class for the conquest of power? Do these parliamentarists even contemplate the seizure of power by the working class per se? We think the answer is no.

What are LAE deputies likely to do in a new parliament? Already it is evident that it is not just German imperialism but also China and Russia (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, {SCO}) are competing to strip Greece’s assets. While the LAE and the KKE want to break from German imperialism and the EU, they are opening a road to the Russia/China bloc. Their historical links to the 21st Century Socialism movement predisposes them to seeing Russia and China as “progressive nations,” not as imperialist rivals to the U.S.-led imperialist bloc.

Sowing illusions in this bloc as saviors from rapine European banks is conning the workers with the program of 21st Century Socialism, which will turn out to be just as fatal as it is in Venezuela or South Africa. A different group of capitalists will be stealing everything the Greek workers make for generations to come. Already it is obvious that the record of the Chinese SCO/BRICS partners has been to insist upon the fulfillment of promises made by the previous Greek government to give them ownership and control of the port of Piraeus, and this is proceeding and meeting resistance from the workers self-activity alone.

We will march with the Greek workers on the 19th in their mobilizations with the demand that the workers' organizations initiate workers councils that defend themselves and fight for a workers’ government. Revolutionists must stop by the polls on the 20th as proof positive that we march into every battle with our class, if only to warn the masses of their lemming-like march over the precipice.

We make no endorsement, nor do we call for any critical support vote; this election is the work of and the result of acquiescence to the Troika’s agenda. This election is held for the bourgeoisie to dispense with SYRIZA and LAE alike. This is no time for electoral politics and indeed there is no electoral solution! We go to the polls and say to the supporters of the LAE that there is no time to delay the building of the workers councils and workers militia because the lemmings are going to parliament while the fascists are preparing the abyss.

The LAE’s economic program is essentially Keynesian. State capitalist interventions, albeit presented with allusions to 'workers’ control,' and limited nationalizations and plans to renegotiate part of Greece’s debt altogether are nothing more than another parliamentarian trap.

For the workers the only road to socialism is through their own action committees, their own councils and defense guards embracing the refugees, crushing the fascists and breaking with NATO. Internationalist anti-fascist unity, anti-imperialist mobilization and solidarity with immigrants and the revolutionary upsurge across MENA, and in particular the Palestinian cause, create an opening for permanent revolution to unite the workers of MENA and Europe and turn the tide against the proliferation of proxy wars between the two imperialist blocs, against the theocrats, Islamists, Zionists and the overarching military domination of the US imperialist bourgeoisie.

There is no anti-imperialist united front possible with any national bourgeoisie. We must show the masses that their victory requires a break from their own national bourgeoisie both in program and in organization.

Victory is only possible when the workers build their own revolutionary party and international based on the method of the 1938 Transitional Program.

Liaison Committee of Communists (LCC) 09/15/2015

Is a China meltdown the end of capitalism?

Massive chemical explosion in China is a metaphor for an economic 'meltdown'

The global ruling classes are beginning to panic about the slowing down of China. Will a China ‘meltdown’ mean a new ‘Great Depression’ and even the end of capitalism? This question has been debated furiously throughout the history of capitalism each time crises led to depression and war. Since the early 20th century capitalism has destroyed the productive forces to survive. Each crisis brought deeper depressions, more destructive wars, and abortive revolutions. The question posed again and again was: socialism or barbarism?

Today, as we face another ‘Great’ depression and the threat of a Third World War, the question is posed again: is this the end for capitalism? We argue that since WW1 capitalism was ripe for socialist revolution. But capitalism can always stagger on like a violent drunkard to another economic crisis and world war, unless there is a Marxist party leading the world’s workers to its overthrow. This time we know the crisis is terminal because the survival of capitalism means certain ecological disaster: Socialism or Disaster!

We have been there before!

Marxists know that capitalism was objectively ripe for revolution at the turn of the 20th century. Capitalism had ceased to function as national markets competing with one another. Rival nations now exported capital to other countries to counter falling profits. This led to the epoch of imperialism characterised by monopoly state capitalism that competed for the world market by means of diplomatic, trade and military wars.

Not only was monopoly capitalism destructive compared with its progressive 19th century phase, it was holding back the huge productive potential of socialism. Objectively capitalism was ripe for overthrow as its worsening crises sparked revolutionary uprisings. However, rotten imperialism would not fall over by itself. It had to be pushed over by the class conscious proletariat led by a Marxist vanguard party.

This was proved in the Russian revolution which ended the First Imperialist War when the warring imperialist powers buried their differences to invade the new Soviet Union to smash the revolution. They were defeated by the Red Army under Trotsky but the revolution was contained in Russia and failed to spark a victorious world revolution. In the other imperialist countries ripe for revolution, the Marxist parties had degenerated into tame bourgeois tools bought off by colonial super-profits.

The reason was not the ‘objective’ factor of backward workers in every country who did not spontaneously throw out their treacherous leaders and rise to revolution. It was the missing ‘subjective’ factor of the revolutionary party necessary to break then away from petty bourgeois misleaders. Only in Russia had a Marxist vanguard party - the Bolsheviks - become strong enough to build a mass vanguard of the proletariat and win over the reformist majority in the soviets to form a Workers Government.

But even after the bosses and their lackeys ganged up on the Soviet Union and suppressed revolutions elsewhere, the capitalists hadn’t removed the threat of revolution. To smash the workers movement in Europe and America they used fascist mobs and mercenaries like the Pinkertons to kill the workers leaders and smash their organisations. Again fascism failed to destroy the working class in the great depression and once more the imperialists went to war driving their workers to the fronts to slaughter one another.

The defence of the USSR led to victory in the Second Imperialist war at a cost of 30 million dead. But again the worldwide spontaneous worker uprisings never led to world revolution. What was missing was the Marxist international capable of mobilising the power of the world’s workers. The post war revolutions were led by Stalinist bureaucracies on the back of the Soviet Union and formed a bloc of Soviet states. They were not Marxist revolutions based on a class conscious proletariat. They could not create a world revolution, and under pressure from global imperialism in crisis, restored capitalism in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The return of Russia and China to global capitalism changes nothing. Because they have become new capitalist imperialist powers they cannot prevent the current crisis from deepening. They too are subject to crises as we explain below. The crisis this time will be even more destructive as it will go beyond depression and war and threaten human extinction. For that reason we can state in advance that this crisis is terminal. Depressions and wars can no longer buy capitalism more time.

Because we have been there before, we know that the international proletariat can overthrow capitalism only when it becomes conscious that the alternative is socialism or barbarism. Socialism means survival. Capitalism means death.

The China Crisis is the key

What is a structural crisis of capitalism? For Marxists crises are interruptions in capital accumulation caused by the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (LTRPF). It assumes the law of value (LOV) which holds that the value of commodities is determined by the "socially necessary labour time" (SNLT) required to produce them. This includes the commodity labour power that creates more value than its own value (v) as surplus value (s). Increasing the rate of surplus value (s/v) has historically caused an increase in the composition of capital invested in plant, machinery and raw materials that do not contribute to new value, constant capital (c) relative to the value of labor power which does create new value, hence variable capital (v).

Since c increases relative to v, the LTRPF results from the inability of total capital invested to extract sufficient surplus value to make a profit (p= s/c+v). The crisis therefore can only be solved by destroying sufficient c and v to restore the rate of profit. This is the market solution of orthodox economists like Wolf Richter to end the structural recession. Thus China’s rising cost of labor; i.e. declining rate of productivity (exploitation) causes a decline in investment and output. A slowdown in GDP is a problem because it means China is not producing enough s/c+v to return a profit on its huge surplus of capital stock. Hence the market solution is to wipe out much surplus capital and devalue c, plant, raw materials and v, wages, to increase productivity to return a profit on capital.

The Left Keynesians on The Daily Blog can see a ‘Great Depression’ coming when the China ‘meltdown’ hits the red line. The solution is more state intervention to boost consumption and stimulate investment in production. Yet since 2008 the major capitalist states have intervened to bailout the banks rather than boost consumption by creating jobs and raising productivity. Nevertheless, left Keynesians all over the world still have illusions in China as the state capitalist saviour of the global economy leading the BRICS nations as the ‘progressive alternative’ to US led ‘neo-liberalism’.

For Marxist economists like Michael Roberts capitalist crisis cannot be resolved by state intervention as that postpones the destruction of surplus capital. The crisis of falling profits has not been fixed by the market or state intervention, ultimately because workers have refused to submit to the greater exploitation necessary to restore the rate of profit. 

The structural crisis since 2008 is therefore a Long Depression because the conditions for a return to acceptable profits in production have not been created. This can only mean that to resolve capitalism’s crisis, further attacks on workers jobs, wages and living standards must follow. Only by increasing the rate of exploitation (s/c+v) will capitalists create the conditions to reinvest in production to accumulate capital.

China’s decade-long burst of expansion is succumbing to a crisis caused by the LTPRF. The sum of surplus value it can pump out of its workers at home and in its 'trading partners' is insufficient to realise a profit on its stock of surplus capital. This proves beyond doubt that China is a capitalist economy. State intervention can only postpone briefly the need to devalue or destroy surplus capital.

As explained above, the LTRPF results from the law of value (LOV) which states that ‘socially necessary labor time’ determines the value of commodities. China cannot evade the global LOV or the LTPRF. Already we see China devaluing the Yuan to boost its declining exports. And it is embarking on a massive restructuring of old inefficient plant and technology combined with a drive to cuts wages and conditions. At the same time it is ramping up its military spending and alliances.

There is every sign that China too, despite its large state sector, must embark on depression and war to solve its crisis. Chinese imperialism can only survive at the expense of attacking its workers and those of its trading partners. This creates the conditions for international solidarity between the workers in China and its trading partners including the BRICS who refuse to pay for capitalism’s crisis. Such class solidarity demands a program and a party that can lead resistance to the deepening austerity and open the road to a socialist solution to end capitalism’s terminal crisis.

Transitional Program for workers power

Capitalism can survive only by destroying social value and the ecology to sustain it by means of depressions and wars. This means inter-imperialist rivalry to grab what is left before the ecology collapses. The increasing tension between the two big blocs of imperialist powers led by the US and China already causes many proxy wars any of which can break out into a spiralling Third World War.

The task of the Marxist Party with a Transitional Program is to guide the working class in struggle from the urgent immediate demands to stop paying for the bosses’ crisis stating clearly in advance that this will require a struggle for power that must end in either a workers revolution or capitalist counter-revolution. The program is therefore summed up as ‘preparing for power’.

We must resist being dragged into a proxy wars that are breaking out everywhere and in a Third World War. We resist wars by opposing drafts, and calling for soldiers to refuse to fight.We must resist all attacks on our jobs, wages and living standards. We will learn quickly that this means workers taking control of production through strikes and occupations.

To do this we need to organise strike committees and to defend occupations with armed pickets. Movements to stop ecological destruction will also require mass pickets and strikes.This will pose the question of who rules the state and society. Will it be the working masses or the tiny ruling class and its mercenaries? The state forces will attempt to smash strikes, occupations and pickets to destroy revolution at all costs.

This struggle for power can be resolved only by a revolutionary seizure of power or a fascist counter-revolution. We are for the victorious revolution and a Workers Government! A Workers Government based on workers councils and militias will have the power to act quickly to stop capitalist destruction of the world economy and ecology. The market will be replaced by democratic plans that uses workers control over production, distribution and exchange to plan production for our basic needs including the survival of species threatened with extinction; replacing carbon extraction with renewable energy; closing down nuclear plants; etc.

None of this will be possible unless the revolution is global. The world-wide proletariat needs to overcome the divisions between nations, employed and unemployed, between ethnicities, cultures and religions etc., which are all created by the bosses to divide and rule us. We need to link local, national and international struggles to defeat the power of the imperialist ruling classes. There can be no such thing as socialism in one country in a capitalist world!
In every country there needs to be a Marxist party that is part of a world party of socialism to raise the red flag of Marxism and the Transitional Program for world socialist revolution!

Our best hope is that the Chinese crisis of falling profits will meet with the resistance of the 1 billion workers which, as the vanguard of the multi-billion workers of the world, will lead the fight for an international socialist revolution to stop the destruction of our civilisation and ecology and rescue humans and many other species from imminent extinction!