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Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The "Mothers of Ukraine" Fraud

This is an excerpt from a very useful article on the July and August 2014 Yalta conferences supporting Moscow's assaults on Ukraine.

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.... someone was present at the July Yalta conference from "Mothers of Ukraine". In his notes of the discussions at the conference which Brenner includes in his statement, he writes:

"Representative of the Co-ordination of the Movement 'Mothers of Ukraine': I would like to say to our international guests if you look at mothers who do not have food for their children you would make your draft statement not milder but more severe. Ukraine is destroyed."

We do not know for sure if the representative in question was Galina Zaporozhtseva, even though the latter is the sole public face of "Mothers of Ukraine" and pops up as its representative everywhere from the European Parliament in Brussels to Russian television studios in Moscow, dropping in on round-table discussions of the Izborsky Club while en route.

But it certainly is the case that the politics of "Mothers of Ukraine" are the politics of the former police officer and champion of the Berkut who set up the organization.

The first public appearance of Zaporozhtseva is to be found in an article published in Prokhanov's "Zavtra" in December 2013. The article quoted "colonel of the militia Galina Zaporozhtseva" in an article siding with the Berkut in its conflict with the Maidan protestors. (29)

Zaporozhtseva's television career began the following month, when "Novosti Novosty" channel interviewed "colonel of the militia Galina Zaporozhtseva" about the Maidan protests.

Zapozhtseva explained the 'real' causes of the unrest: "A massive number of terrorists from Syria and the Near East" had arrived in Ukraine, and it was their activities, carried out "behind the backs of students, youth, women and old men" which had resulted in the mayhem of the Maidan. (30)

Speaking for the first time on behalf of "Mothers of Ukraine" in a television interview in April of this year, Zaporozhtseva again defended the Berkut:

"Today scandalous practices are underway in relation to the colleagues of the Berkut who honorably fulfilled their professional duty. As a jurist I can categorically confirm that all actions of the Berkut, from 24th November onwards, were within the framework of the law concerning the militia.

"We also know, and have information about this, that the Berkut did not possess any weapons. All accusations which are now being fabricated against them – and I will insist on this – are intended to cover up the real criminals who opened fire on people." (31)

That is to say: The "Mothers of Ukraine" began life not as the mothers of Ukrainian soldiers but as the mothers of members of the Berkut who had shot and killed demonstrators during the Maidan protests. (Assuming that "Mothers of Ukraine" actually has any existence apart from Zaporozhtseva's media profile.)

The same month an appeal issued in the name of Zaporozhtseva and "Mothers of Ukraine" to "everyone who cares about the fate of our country" condemned the "state putsch" which had overthrown Yanukovich and the "bandits" who had seized control of Parliament.

"Armed thugs" were terrorizing "towns and villages throughout the country". A "foreign intervention" had taken place in the guise of a "western-Ukrainian nationalist movement" and its aim was "the genocide of the Slavs." (32)

The day after the 2nd May attack on anti-Maidan protestors in the Trade Union Building in Odessa Zaporozhtseva, now introduced as a "retired colonel of the militia", was interviewed at length on Russian television:

"I saw the true face of fascism. … There is no law, there is no state, it is pure fascism. There is an information blockade about what is happening in Ukraine. But Russia broadcasts information. What Russia says is true, pure truth. … In Ukraine fascism has risen again." (33)

In a subsequent television interview about events in Odessa Zaporozhtseva claimed that acts of cannibalism had taken place in the Trade Union Building:

"We are busy gathering information to hand over to international organisations. There are facts of cannibalism in the Trade Union Building in Odessa. … They were eating human flesh there, they were wandering around with napkins." (34)

In July Zaporozhtseva was again interviewed on Russian television. She took it as an opportunity to thank Russia for its role in helping refugees: "Let us call things by their names. This is a war. A war is underway. Thank you, Great Russia. This is the only country which is today accepting citizens of Ukraine." (35)....

Please enjoy the full article here:

http://www.workersliberty.org/node/23934

Borotba: a force for Moscow aggression and Russian chauvinism in Ukraine

Pictures and reports of a Moscow rally held in mid-June, which demanded that Putin send Russian troops into Ukraine and which was given full and favourable coverage by "Zavtra", confirm Borotba's involvement in the event – along with Russian nationalists such as Limonov's "Another Russia".

"Zavtra" reported:

"All speakers at the rally were unanimous in their demands on the President of Russia, Vladmimir Putin, to immediately take the most decisive steps to defend the inhabitants of the Donbas from genocide by the Kiev junta.

One of the speakers informed the meeting about the broad anti-fascist underground activity which had unfolded on the entire territory of Ukraine and existed in all the major cities.

The underground activity was conducted under rally but at the very centre of the stage. Information about the activity of Borotba in Lviv and Kiev in particular was provided." (49)

Anyone relying on Borotba's output as a source of information about Ukrainian politics would certainly end up with a very skewered view of reality.

They would know nothing of Russia's annexation of the Crimea. They would know nothing of the weaponry, munitions and fighters shipped into Ukraine from Russia. And they would believe that the Ukrainian military shot down the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 and then drove the BUK missile launcher away to hide the evidence. (50)

In the same vein, Borotba's "Chronicle of the Junta's War Against Its Own People" consists in large part of uncritical reproductions of even the most bizarre of statements issued by separatist military figures such as Strelkov-Girkin, Fedor Berezin and 'Abver', and of clips taken from Russian news programmes.

http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2014/07/23/popular-front-russian-nationalism

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hong Kong, some background (b)

From a 1992 speech by Jack Barnes:

.... Today, more and more toilers in China are being drawn out of the countryside and into factories, mines, and mills owned by the state and increasingly also by foreign and domestic capital. As this process unfolds, the breakdown of Stalinist apparatuses that we have seen in Europe and the former USSR will inevitably shake the deformed Chinese workers state as well.

It will take time, but class tensions and conflicts are already growing in China's cities and workplaces, as well as in the countryside. And when the day comes that a young and rapidly growing working class enters into combat in larger battalions, the Stalinists will find that their bloody suppression of the Tiananmen Square youth rebellion in 1989 cannot be endlessly repeated. The struggles that are coming, whatever their tempo and exact forms, will be larger and more explosive than anything in China since the revolution itself.

Many of you have probably read newspaper reports about the so-called Special Economic Zones in southern China, where much of the imperialist investment is concentrated. These zones are located in huge, and growing, population centers. The Shenzen and other Special Economic Zones in Guangdong [Canton] Province and the Pearl River Delta, around Hong Kong, are in an area with about 80 million people. Companies based in Hong Kong are estimated already to employ as many as 3 million factory workers in this region.

Among Deng Xiaoping's pithy sayings of late was one this past January, during a visit to Guangdong. In another twenty years, Deng said, the province would become the "Fifth Small Dragon" of Asia, joining Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong itself. Think of the depth of the political bankruptcy! The main spokesperson of a supposedly socialist country says the goal they are pursuing--and are well along the road to achieving--is to become more like Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

But that is the goal of the dominant wing of the bourgeois-minded bureaucratic caste in China. Desperately poor peasants are being drawn from the countryside and into the cities, where to survive they are forced to work long hours, under extreme speedup, for minimal wages in both state- and capitalist-owned factories. In the medium term, these conditions will permit a relatively rapid economic expansion.

The Japanese, U.S., and other capitalists investing in China think they have died and gone to heaven. They have most of the rights of capitalists, but the state "handles" the workers for them. The state, including the Communist Party and its functionaries, makes sure the workers do not get out of line on the job, do not strike--do not do much except work very hard, for very long hours, for very little pay. It seems like a dream!

Explosive conditions in China

Of course, the dream will not last. As capitalist exploitation increases throughout China, so do strikes, peasant protests, and attacks on bosses. A few weeks ago, for example, the New York Times ran an article headlined, "Capitalist-Style Layoffs Ignite Sabotage and Strikes in China." The home of a Chinese bank director, a "reformer," had been firebombed after he had fired numerous workers. In another case, a factory boss known for "Western-style management" had been run over by a truck, and workers at the plant rejected the government's proposal to honor him as a "martyr" for reform.

The article cited spreading wildcat strikes, sabotage, and smashing of machinery across China. The Times reporter noted that these "incidents suggest that opposition to fundamental changes is increasingly coming not only from octogenarian Communist hard-liners but also from many ordinary blue-collar workers."

Ignore the correspondent's imaginary bloc between angry workers and senile Stalinists. The resistance reported in the article is real, however. Workers in China will conduct more fights like these, and they will eventually link up with dissatisfied peasants and also win support from young people attracted to the working class as the force that can revitalize society. That will be the real bloc. It will be forged through enormous class battles, and as that happens growing numbers of fighters will be open to the ideas of the communist movement.

Preparing for what is coming in Asia

In preparing for what is coming in Asia, we should remember that there is a big difference between the position of United States imperialism in that part of the world and its position in Europe. In the wake of the U.S. victory in World War II, U.S. imperialism engineered the NATO alliance as the codification of its permanent European presence. Ever since the war, Washington has been the dominant "European" power.

As interimperialist conflict and class struggles intensify across capitalist Europe, as well as in Central and Eastern Europe, those battles take place with the reality of the U.S.-dominated NATO existing cheek and jowl with the European Community and various military alliances among the European ruling classes themselves. According to the interests of each national ruling class, there will be both shifting alliances with Washington and growing conflicts with it, as the U.S. rulers tenaciously hold on to their military foothold in Europe as part of maintaining their dominance in the world imperialist system.

In Asia, on the other hand, Washington still has to bring its power to bear under conditions more comparable to the 1920s and 1930s. U.S. forces intervene militarily in the region, of course, and some 100,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, Korea, and aboard warships afloat in the Pacific. But U.S. imperialism is not integrated as the dominant force in any Asian military alliance with other powers. That makes U.S. armed intervention in Asia less "legitimate" and thus more explosive, and the reactions to such aggression across the region will be explosive as well.

The United States ruling class is armed to the teeth and will not back off being the world's top cop--with the world's mightiest conventional and strategic nuclear arsenal in its holster. Washington is and will remain both an Atlantic and a Pacific power, and it will react to defend U.S. capitalist interests wherever, and by whomever, those interests are endangered. But it will pay the consequences.

http://www.themilitant.com/2000/6418/641870.html

Hong Kong: some background

Useful 1997 article from The Militant:

Hong Kong Is China! Millions celebrate end of British colonial rule  

BY BRIAN TAYLOR

For weeks, hundreds of millions of people across China - at the beginning of the school day, on the radio, through the television set, and in the workplace - have counted down the days to July 1. That is the day Hong Kong reverts to Chinese sovereignty after more than 150 years of British colonial rule.

"Recovering Hong Kong is a time for our nation to rejoice," said Wang Xiuxhen, a 60-year-old Shanghai resident. "Chinese people will be ruled by Chinese people, not foreigners... We can't allow colonialism anymore."

"Everyone I know cares about it because it's a moment in history when China can be proud" for "taking back something that was forcefully stolen from us," remarked Wang Zhining, a student in China.

Lin Ruimin, a 45-year-old electrician in Shanghai said, "Now we can go see Hong Kong. I want to go. I certainly want my children to go. After July 1 it will be much easier to go."

Even businesses people in Hong Kong are awaiting the transition. Ong Chin Huat, the society editor for Hong Kong Tatler magazine said, "Everyone I know is doing a party of some sort."

Hong Kong is a small island-city of 6.3 million people. At the end of June its last British governor, Christopher Patten, will be leaving for good. Ten thousand Chinese troops will move into Hong Kong to secure the transition. The region is to be granted a high degree of autonomy, but with Beijing in charge of defense and foreign affairs. Tung Chee-hwa, from one of Hong Kong's richest shipping families, is slated to head the Hong Kong government for the next five years.

British prime minister Anthony Blair and U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright, both of whom will be in Hong Kong June 30, say they will boycott the midnight swearing in ceremony for the new government.

Meanwhile, U.S. president William Clinton's decision to renew China's "most-favored nation" (MFN) trade status - essentially normal trade relations - sparked another round in what has become an annual debate about what approach to take to Beijing.

In 1949, Chinese workers and peasants overthrew the imperialist-backed regime of Chiang Kai-shek, wrested control from the landlords and capitalists, and opened the door to the establishment of a workers state in the world's most populous country. The U.S. rulers are divided on how to best go about penetrating the Chinese market and attempting to restore capitalist domination.

House minority leader Richard Gephardt, a Democrat from Missouri, was in the forefront of opposing Clinton's proposal. He said U.S. policy under the Clinton administration has been "far too weak when it comes to China." He and others argue for a harsher stance toward Beijing, on the pretext of human rights concerns.

In a 259-173 vote, the House of Representatives turned down a motion to not grant Beijing the MFN status on June 24. The White House had pushed for this vote to take place before the Hong Kong transition.

At the same time, Washington has stepped up its propaganda depicting China as a military threat. There are 100,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Asia, and now Washington is pushing Tokyo to join in a project called the Theater Missile Defense Project (TMD). This would be a joint U.S./Japanese government operation to develop an anti-missile system using spy satellites, advanced land or sea-based anti-missile systems, and an array of other arms upgrades, capable of being deployed to limited areas or "theaters."

Tokyo has been hesitant to sign on, however. The project would be considered a provocation by Beijing, which is a nuclear power, and by Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, French companies recently closed a $2 billion deal with the Chinese government for 30 Airbus planes. Paris and Beijing signed a joint declaration shortly after stating, "The time has come for France and China to [build] a long- term global partnership aimed at moving French-Chinese relations to a new phase of development."

British capitalists are looking to remain in Hong Kong. Among them is Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd. This 165-year- old company has maintained a low profile in recent months, as its roots lie in the British empire's military forcing of illegal opium sales into China. The Opium Wars - two trade wars in the mid-1800s launched in the interests of British capital - forced the legalization of opium in China, through the military defeat of China and seizure of the territory known as Hong Kong from the Chinese regime.

With the end of colonial rule in Hong Kong, and the Portuguese colony of Macao following suit in 1999, the next question posed is when Beijing will set a date for reunification with Taiwan.

A large island province off the coast of mainland China, Taiwan was seized by the forces of Chiang Kai-shek in 1949, as they fled the victorious Chinese revolution.  
 

http://www.themilitant.com/1997/6125/6125_1.html

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Democrats: anti-working class to the core

The excerpt below is from a 2004 election postmortem article by Argiris Malapanis in The Militant: "Middle class contempt for workers fuels liberal panic over election results."
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.... Working people are deeply fearful of what the future has in store for them, and rightly so. They know they are working longer and harder and earning less than they did 10 years ago. The problem is that they have never lived through the kind of depression conditions that are developing in the world. Most think they'll be better off managing their own savings than trusting the government to give them a pension some time in the future. And on the second part of that they are correct.

Failure of liberalism
This reaction has a lot to do with the failure of liberalism, which uses demagogy to convince working people they are better off with the Democratic Party.
The majority of working people know what happened during the eight years of the Clinton administration. Health care grew more expensive. The number of people without any medical coverage was 40 million by the end of Clinton's second term, 2 million more than when he took office. And that happened during the longest post-World War II upturn of the business cycle. Even though the number of the uninsured increased to 45 million and medical costs continued to rise under Bush's watch, Kerry's promises to improve health care by pointing to the Clinton legacy rang hollow.
Above all, it was Clinton's Democratic administration that took the first real step toward gutting the social wage, something that even Ronald Reagan wouldn't touch in the 1980s: it carried out Clinton's campaign promise to "end welfare as we know it."
Leading the bipartisan assault against half a century of social gains by working people, in 1996 Clinton signed the "welfare reform" bill adopted by Congress. The legislation eliminated federally guaranteed Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and cut off food stamps and Medicaid to many working people. In doing so, Clinton opened the battle by the ruling class to take back concessions codified in the Social Security Act, which was pushed through Congress in 1935 under the pressure of rising labor struggles.
AFDC meant that aid would be given as a right to families with dependent children, that is, to families without parents who were breadwinners. Organizations of widows of miners who had died on the job because of lack of safety resulting from the bosses' profit drive were among those who demanded it. AFDC also came to cover the families of soldiers who went to war and were killed or came back maimed and unable to work.
Working people won the concessions included in the Social Security Act—which encompassed guaranteed pension, disability, and unemployment benefit floors, as well as AFDC—through hard-fought battles in the 1930s. In the wake of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, these gains were consolidated and extended with the addition of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and cost-of-living protections. Workers fought for such minimal lifetime security to keep their class from being torn apart by the ravages of capitalism. The working class struggled to entrench these measures as universal social rights, with automatic funding not reviewed in annual budgets, and without any degrading "means testing." Far from being the "dole," these entitlements represent a small part of the social wealth that workers and farmers produce through their labor. These benefits are a social wage that, together with the hourly wages paid directly by employers, make up the basic living standards of working people. Very broad sections of the middle classes depend on them as well.
The late senator Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat who voted against the 1996 bill, warned of its consequences at the time of its passage. The law was "the first step in dismantling the social contract that has been in place in the United States since at least the 1930s," Moynihan said. "Do not doubt that Social Security itself, which is to say insured retired benefits, will be next."
This step by the Clinton administration undermined working-class solidarity by reinforcing the dog-eat-dog reality of capitalism and the notion that those without may be taken care of by charity.
Republicans now play on this record of liberalism. Bush is poised to build on the Clinton legacy by pushing for "reform" of Social Security pensions....

Resentment for ‘cognitive elite’ 
The liberal panic over the outcome of November 2 also showed the utter contempt for the working class by middle-class liberals.

An article in the November 4 New York Times was one of many shedding light on the attitudes of many liberals toward the results of the election. It was titled, “Blue City (Disconsolate, Even) Bewildered by a Red America.” The headline was referring to the colors used to designate areas where the Democrats won (blue), and those where the Republicans prevailed (red). The reporter interviewed New Yorkers he ran into at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center, mostly professionals or business people.

“I am saddened by what I feel is the obtuseness and shortsightedness of a good part of the country—the heartland,” Zito Joseph, a 63-year-old retired psychiatrist, told the Times. “This kind of redneck shoot-from-the-hip mentality and a very concrete interpretation of religion is prevalent in Bush country.”

His fellow dog walker Roberta Kimmel Cohn chimed in that New Yorkers were not as fooled by Bush’s statements as other Americans might be. “New Yorkers are savvy,” she said. “We have street smarts. Whereas people in the Midwest are more influenced by what their friends say.”

“Do you know how I described New York to my European friends?” Beverly Camhe, a film producer, told the Times. “New York is an island off the coast of Europe.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, liberals and social democrats had similar reactions, showing a hardening of bourgeois anti-Americanism after the U.S. elections. The British tabloid Daily Mirror, for example, ran a photo of Bush on the entire front page of its November 4 issue with the headline, “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?”

“Ignorance and bloodlust have a long tradition in the United States, especially in the red states,” said novelist Jane Smiley, in a post-election essay. “The history of the last four years shows that red state types…prefer to be ignorant…. They are virtually unteachable.”

The middle-class left had a similar stance. “Bush won the election by triumphing in areas in the South where racism, political reaction and the legacy of slavery are the strongest,” said an article in the November 11 issue of Workers World, the weekly newspaper of the Workers World Party. This is a Stalinist group that ran its own feeble presidential campaign, gaining ballot status for its candidates in three states (Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State). Bush “won the states in the Southwest and Great Plains area dominated by mine owners, millionaire land owners, agribusiness, cattle barons and oil monopolies,” the article said. “But in the large and middle-sized cities…in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast—Bush’s reactionary agenda was rejected across the board.”

Most professionals, Hollywood entertainers and producers, newspaper columnists, novelists and other writers, television newscasters, and university professors in the United States today are liberals. These are among the social layers that Kerry appealed to. They include former radicals who three or four decades ago were Maoists, or belonged to the Weather Underground or other groups on the “left.” Many of these people today live in apartment buildings or housing complexes with security guards. As capitalism’s economic crisis marches on, they become more fearful of losing their privileges and their contempt for workers increases. This “Bell Curve” bias of aging radicals and middle-class liberals is resented more and more by working people.

The Bell Curve is a book by Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein that was released in 1994. Its publication caused a scandal in the bourgeoisie. The reason for the scandal? In the debate around the book, both supporters and critics, liberals and conservatives alike, were forced to acknowledge that capitalist society necessitates maintaining a class hierarchy—which is a product of social relations, not a biological fact—that permanently denies equality to the majority of human beings, those who work for living.

The book’s purpose was to provide a rationalization for better-off layers of professionals and the middle class—those the authors call “the cognitive elite”—as to why they deserve to be richer and more comfortable than the great majority of humanity; it’s because they are supposedly smarter. It was aimed at middle-class liberals, in particular. “Quit denying it!” was the message of the authors. “You deserve to be better off. It’s necessary, especially in this computerized and hi-tech world we’re living in.”

The book was also a warning sign that even if layers of workers would be taken in by such ideological rationalizations for a while, deepening social polarization and impoverishment was leading to inevitable class battles. Ultimately The Bell Curve sounded the trumpet of these coming class confrontations, of a future civil war. It was written to give courage to those who are determined to defend their better living standards against those who produce all the wealth, along with nature—the toiling masses of humanity.

It is these attitudes of the “cognitive elite” that a majority of working people resent. Most workers do get the signals right. They know what’s being said when Kerry implies he is smarter than Bush....


Is there an industrial proletariat in the U.S. today?

Are industrial workers becoming irrelevant?

(Reply to a Reader column)
 
BY MAURICE WILLIAMS  

Is it true that the working class in Europe and the United States is getting smaller, as bourgeois economists and professors often claim? What's the difference between "productive" and "unproductive" workers? asks Ernesto Oleinik from Stockholm in a letter to the editor that appeared in the October 26 Militant. "Are only those workers that produce surplus value 'productive'?"

The questions are welcome.

The working class is made up of those of us who are basically propertyless and who sell our labor power to a boss in exchange for wages—an income that on average equals our means of subsistence. In the United States, Sweden, and other imperialist countries the working class is the overwhelming majority of the population—from meat packers to farm laborers to casino workers (like the 10,000 who are on strike today in Atlantic City, New Jersey).

In contrast, the capitalist class is the tiny handful of billionaire families who own the factories, mines, most of the land, and other means of production. The middle classes are made up mostly of professionals and small and medium businesspeople. Working farmers are small property owners, but are exploited producers and an ally of workers.

Despite the self-serving "theories" of bourgeois "experts," it's not true that the working class is dwindling. To the contrary, as Jack Barnes, the national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, explains in The Changing Face of U.S. Politics, since World War II there has been "a massive increase in the size of the American working class, both in absolute terms and in relation to other classes." Our ranks continue to be swelled by the workings of capitalism and imperialism, which drive farmers off the land—especially in semicolonial countries—and into the cities. This process has fueled immigration into all the imperialist countries.

"Productive" is not a scientific term. Most workers, not just factory workers, have socially useful jobs. The one truly unproductive class is the bourgeoisie.

Industrial workers include factory workers, miners, transportation workers, and others involved in industrial production. Through our labor, we add value to raw materials and unfinished goods. The capitalist pays us a portion of that value in wages. The rest of the wealth that we produce is surplus value—which the boss pockets as profit, as Karl Marx, one of the founders of scientific socialism, explains in Wage Labor and Capital. Workers not directly involved in production receive wages, paid by the capitalist from the pool of surplus value produced by our class.

Industrial workers have always been a minority of the working class. In the imperialist countries, the number of service and clerical workers has sharply increased since World War II, and the relative size of the industrial working class has declined. At the end of the 1960s almost 29 percent of U.S. workers had factory jobs; today, 18 percent.

Since 1969, the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has fallen by 2 million—in large part because of speedup and automation. But the overall number of workers in the labor force has increased by 46 million. According to a September report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. labor force is 147.5 million—one of the largest working classes in the world.

The labor power in industries producing raw materials and manufacturing semifinished products or goods ready for the market—as well as in transportation, construction, and agriculture—is the main source of surplus value. Without these industries the entire economy stops, Barnes notes. In fact, the labor power of industrial workers and the surplus value we create is the source of the international power of the U.S. economy, the source of the American capitalists' exports of goods and capital.

This is why "the industrial workers who are a minority of the American working class, have such fundamental strength, such potential power" well beyond their relative numerical size, Barnes explains. "This also demonstrates the fakery of numerous academic theories about the 'post-industrial society' and the 'service-based economy.'" These "theories" that industrial workers and even the working class are disappearing—and thus becoming irrelevant—are simply rationalizations for accepting the capitalist status quo. And for refusing to join workers on the production line who are resisting the bosses' offensive and are offering hope for humanity in doing so.

Because industrial workers are the source of most of the rulers' surplus value, they are "the ultimate enemy that the rulers must defeat if the entire economic and social crisis of their system is to be turned around," Barnes points out. Today, one aspect of the bosses' assault is their use of bankruptcies to undermine the unions and squeeze more out of the hides of workers at coal mines, the largest U.S. airlines, and other industries.

Nonetheless, the social character of the industrial workplace, the large concentration of workers, and the extremely high division of labor are factors that give workers in industry an awareness of their collective power. Union-organizing battles like the one by the Co-Op miners in Utah, the farm workers' fight for a union contract in North Carolina, and others are examples of the resistance bubbling throughout the country. To reverse their declining profit rates, the rulers will have to take on and defeat the industrial workers. The decisive battles, however, lie ahead.  
 
 

http://www.themilitant.com/2004/6842/684236.html

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Workers World Party leader in Ukraine to support 300 years of Great Russian chauvinism

Workers World Party leader Greg Butterfield is known for his Tumblr F*** Yeah Marxism-Leninism. It is a page infamous for its indiscriminate and  unconditional support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Like Workers World Party itself, Butterfield has spent the last year promoting the Moscow catspaw Borotba as a supposedly working class, socialist organization.

Butterfield and his party have gone from purely literary opposition to the struggle of the oppressed Ukrainian nationality for national sovereignty. Butterfield is now on the ground in Crimea.

I'm sure he will not be visiting any members of the oppressed Tartar nationality while there. Instead, he will carry out the party line of calling for the defeat of an oppressed nationality.

Butterfield's article:
Meet Borotba http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/09/23/meet-borotba/

2004: a Socialist candidate for Senate in N.Y. debated Green, Libertarian opponents

Green and libertarian branches of bourgeois politics usually receive some interest and attention as the US begins preparing a new electoral season.

This debate in 2004 certainly covered a wide range of issues still pertinent today.

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Socialist candidate for Senate in N.Y.
debates Green, Libertarian opponents
(front page)
 
BY MICHAEL ITALIE  

NEW PALTZ, New York—Martín Koppel, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Senate in New York, took part in a debate here October 11 with opponents David McReynolds of the Green Party and Donald Silberger of the Libertarians.
The three candidates took part in a similar debate two days later as part of Hofstra University's Day of Dialogue on the U.S. elections. That campus is located in Hempstead, Long Island.

Students Against Empire at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz sponsored the debate on that campus, 75 miles of north of New York City. About 120 people, mostly students, attended.

The candidates of the two main capitalist parties, Democrat Charles Schumer, the incumbent, and Republican Howard Mills, as well as Conservative Party candidate Marilyn O'Grady, declined to participate. Jim Gordon, a reporter for the New Paltz Times and other local newspapers, chaired the event.

McReynolds was introduced as an enrolled Democrat and former Socialist Party candidate for president. "Since Schumer is certain to win in this election you really can vote for what you believe," McReynolds said in his opening remarks, arguing for a protest vote for his campaign. This is in line with the Green Party approach in the elections nationally, which is to try to help the Democrats by not running candidates in "swing states," where the contest between the Democrats and Republicans is close. The Greens have split, with one group backing Ralph Nader, who is running as an "independent," and the other supporting David Cobb, the Greens' candidate for president.

"The SWP ticket is the working-class alternative to all capitalist parties in these elections, including the Greens and Libertarians," said Koppel in his opening statement. The problems working people face—from declining wages to imperialist wars—are rooted in the system of capitalism, he said, which is based on the rule of a tiny minority of billionaire families that run the country off the wealth produced by the vast majority.

"The ruling class today is on an offensive against working people. Through attacks on our wages, job conditions, and living standards the bosses are trying to increase their profits," Koppel stated.

"Whether George Bush or John Kerry is elected they will enforce that system. Others such as Ralph Nader, the Greens, and Libertarians justify that system, or say it isn't working right and needs to be reformed.

"Our starting point is the interests of working people around the world," Koppel said. "Two billion people have no access to electricity. We support the efforts of semicolonial countries to acquire and develop the energy sources they need for economic and social advances, including through the use of nuclear power. We point to the need and ability of workers to organize unions to resist the bosses' offensive on our wages and working conditions."

The Libertarian party candidate, Donald Silberger, is an associate professor of mathematics at the SUNY campus. He said his central demand is to end the government's "war on drugs." Silberger warned against governments that "send out an army of officials to steal our property and put us in prison." His campaign flyer calls for "limited government, lower taxes, [and] opposition to endless wars, foreign and domestic."

After the opening statements, organizers of the debate presented a list of nine prepared questions to the candidates. No direct participation was solicited from the audience. Members of the audience were asked to write down their questions and hand them to the moderator.

"Should the United States have invaded Iraq?" was the first question.

The U.S. invasion was an imperialist war against the interests of workers and farmers both in Iraq and the United States, answered Koppel. He called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Korea, Haiti, Colombia, and Guantánamo, Cuba. "The war in and occupation of Iraq is bipartisan," said the SWP candidate. "In the presidential debates Kerry says he will wage a more effective war. This is not a policy option. There will be no peace as long as capitalism and imperialism—the root of the problem—exists."

The Libertarian candidate said there are U.S. forces in 135 countries and that they "should all come home." But he disagreed with Koppel, saying, "It is not capitalism that must be overpowered, but Empire. We need defense, not offense."

McReynolds said he was too for "the unconditional and immediate U.S. withdrawal" from Iraq. But, he added, "The SWP does not grasp the irrational character of war in the 20th century. World War I, World War II, Vietnam made no economic sense." He concluded that capitalism is only one factor in understanding the cause of war.

Koppel responded that imperialist competition for markets and resources is the source of imperialist wars. "This is not irrational or incomprehensible," he said. "In the first and second world wars Washington was fighting to become the dominant power. For example, the war in the Pacific in World War II was over which imperialist power—Washington or Tokyo—was going to control and exploit China."

Opposing views on whether capitalism is the root cause of the problems working people face came up again over the question of the USA Patriot Act and the death penalty. McReynolds and Silberger called for repeal of the Patriot Act because of its attacks on civil liberties, and for the abolition of the death penalty. Koppel said these measures are part of the employers' offensive against workers' rights to drive up their profits. "The death penalty is a weapon of terror by the capitalists against working people and it should be abolished," said Koppel.

McReynolds disagreed with the SWP candidate. "The death penalty is not a class issue; it's a human issue," he said, receiving some applause.

After Koppel spoke out against the Democrats and Republicans as the twin parties of capitalism and exploitation, McReynolds countered, "You're criticizing the wrong people, none of us here is for Kerry or Bush." The Green Party leader then said if he lived in New Jersey he would vote for Róger Calero, SWP candidate for president, and that in New York he is voting for Ralph Nader for president "because Kerry will win in New York."

"I am also a socialist," McReynolds said.

"Nader and the Green Party are also pro-capitalist," said Koppel. "Nader criticizes 'corporate abuse' and proposes liberal reforms to make capitalism more 'humane.' The SWP campaign proposes a revolutionary course by working people to overturn capitalist rule and join the struggle for socialism."

Koppel also took issue with the self-designation by McReynolds as a socialist. In the debate between the same three candidates at Hofstra University, Koppel said, "My opponent is a social democrat, not a socialist. For decades, social democracy has had a record of upholding capitalist rule and imperialism. These kind of people, these kind of statements, give a bad name to socialism." Schumer is a capitalist politician to the right of Ariel Sharon, Koppel noted. McReynolds and the Greens give Schumer and his party, the Democrats, backhanded support by their approach of only running where the Democrats are assured a victory.

"I am not a social democrat," McReynolds retorted at Hofstra. "I am a democratic socialist." He pointed to imperialist Sweden as a positive example of "socialism."

At New Paltz, the Libertarian candidate dismissed the idea of "class struggle" between workers and bosses. "I don't see any capitalists. I don't see any workers—it's a myth. We shouldn't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs," he said.

Koppel pointed to Cuba as a country where working people made a revolution and took power out of the hands of the capitalists and opened the fight for socialism in the Americas. "The U.S. government has maintained an economic embargo against Cuba for more than 40 years in order to undermine and eventually destroy the example of a society based on human needs, not profits for the few," he said.

"The SWP simplifies the world," McReynolds responded. "For the first 20 years of the embargo its purpose was to crush Cuba. But now it has become a reflection of voting patterns in Florida. Without the Cuban vote in Miami, there would be no embargo."

Silberger said, "If the U.S. wanted to crush Cuba, it would be a walk in the park. There's no point to an invasion, that's why one hasn't occurred."

"The foreign policy of the mightiest imperialist power on earth isn't dictated by a few wealthy Cuban businessmen in Miami," Koppel replied. "The rulers of this country have tried everything to overturn the Cuban Revolution, but they have failed," the socialist candidate continued. "The Cuban people and their leadership cannot be bought, intimidated, or defeated." He said it isn't Cuba's economic weight, but its political example, that Washington fears. "Cuba has sent 15,000 doctors to Venezuela to go to working-class and rural neighborhoods, where there is the most need but where other doctors won't go," said the SWP candidate. As with its selfless aid to other countries oppressed by imperialism, he said, "Cuba is setting an example of internationalist solidarity."

During the day prior to the debate, and a week earlier, socialists campaigned at the SUNY New Paltz campus. Five students subscribed to the Militant through these activities. In addition, students bought more than two dozen books and pamphlets like those featured on the facing page, and hundreds took campaign literature.

That week, Koppel was also joined by Dorothy Kolis, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress in New York's 16th C.D., and other supporters of the SWP ticket in campaigning at the SUNY Albany campus as well as at other schools in New York City. On October 12, Koppel, Willie Cotton, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress in the 15th C.D., and Kolis met with workers during lunch break at a coffee shop at the Hunts Point Meat Market in the Bronx. Two meat packers signed up to subscribe to the Militant following the discussion with the socialist candidates.

http://www.themilitant.com/2004/6839/683904.html

"The Establishment" by Owen Jones: a call for some reforms

Excerpt:

.... Jones focuses on ideas and ideological conflicts. The old Establishment that dominated Britain after 1945 was defined by a mix of Tory paternalism and social democracy. The crisis of the 1970s was an opportunity for neo-liberal ideologues to transform the Establishment into one devoted to the dictats of the free-market, a rejection of the state as a protector of the citizenry (although it continued to promote the Establishment's interests), media scapegoating of the poor, and foreign policy defined by Atlanticism, the special relationship with the USA.

The new Establishment was forged in the early years of the Thatcher governments. It consists of the financial institutions of the City of London, the political elite in Westminster and Whitehall and the owners and controllers of the media. There is a revolving door of personnel between these institutions. The police as a whole (not just its senior officers) are also part of this Establishment, but in recent years have been sidelined by the drive to privatise and cut its state functions.

Although Jones admits the ruling bloc potentially has competing interests, overall the Establishment is presented as a monolith. A more subtle understanding of the British state and society would have looked at the competing sectors of capital and their relationship to other important powerful groups. But for Jones the Establishment appears as a single-minded conspiracy with no room for internal conflict.

For instance the 2009 MPs' expenses scandal is used to show the self-serving mentality of the new Establishment. But this example actually undermines the idea it is self-serving unity. Jones ignores how the Commons' repeated attempts to stop the release of the information on expenses was undermined by the Lords, the Information Commission and the High Court. Eventually, a full list of MPs' claims was leaked to (that organ of popular justice) The Daily Telegraph, which remorselessly ran with the story. And the Metropolitan Police refused to investigate the leak because, they argued, a prosecution would not be in the public interest. All of these institutions support the existing free-market order, but have their own institutional position and interests within that order. Jones' overarching concept of The Establishment adds nothing to our understanding of how these institutions work.

Another example. Jones describes how BBC Radio 4 Today Programme journalist Andrew Gilligan exposed some of Blair's shoddy propaganda over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in 2003. For Jones Gilligan was acting against the Establishment. But if the Establishment exists Gilligan and his associates (The Telegraph, Boris Johnson, The London Evening Standard) are part of it! It is true, parts of the state and media turned on Gilligan and the BBC, but the story is best understood as division and competition within sections of the state and media.

Not all capitalist institutional actions are reducible to the " interests of capitalism" . There is a long and important Marxist theoretical tradition in understanding how capitalism works and how its interests are articulated via the state, the media and other institutions. All of that is entirely ignored in this book.

This lack of theoretical ballast is clear in the book's conclusion, where Jones outlines his political programme.

Jones calls for a " democratic revolution" against the Establishment. But this gradiose idea turns out to be a series of limited reforms for a nicer capitalism, including putting MPs on the average wage, renationalisation of the power companies with compensation for their owners, keeping the bailed-out banks in state hands with a remit to lend to manufacturing industry and small business and more redistributive taxation policy.

Some of that is okay or okayish. And the agencies of the " democratic revolution" are two small campaigning groups (UK Uncut and the New Economics Foundation) and the People's Assembly Against Austerity. Could such an incremental programme, pushed forward by well-meaning, small and medium-sized, activist groups really shift the balance in British politics to the left?

Jones tells us nothing, indeed deliberately does not try to tell us anything, about how to reverse the defeats the working-class has suffered since the 1970s.

http://www.workersliberty.org/node/23848

Monday, September 22, 2014

26K demand end to Moscow's war on Ukraine

Thousands of Muscovites marched through the streets of the capital Sunday to protest what they see as Russia's role in fueling the Ukraine conflict.

As in Moscow's past protests, statistics of the event varied greatly among different sources. Moscow police estimated that some 5,000 protesters had taken part in the protest, while Russia's Union of Observers said that more than 26,000 people had in fact taken to the streets. Organizers had hoped up to 50,000 people would turn out to protest Russia's policies towards Ukraine, which they described as "irresponsible and aggressive."

Marching through the city center, demonstrators chanted slogans such as "no to war!" and "glory to Ukraine!" under the watchful eyes of hundreds of police officers. Others bellowed "Russia without Putin!," the mantra of the anti-Kremlin protests of 2011 and 2012. No violent incidents were reported during the protest.

Muscovites of all ages marched from Pushkin Square to Sakharov Avenue, parading in a sea of Russian and Ukrainian flags. Members of opposition parties such as PRP-Parnas, Yabloko and blogger Alexey Navalny's Progress Party also waved banners featuring their parties' respective colors during the demonstration.

The anti-war protesters were greeted by a striking banner unfurled on a building opposite Pushkin Square that read "March of Traitors" and depicted the faces of prominent figures of the protest movement, including those of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya and rock singer Andrei Makarevich.

Dozens of other demonstrators gathered in central Moscow to stage a counter-protest in support of Russia's stance on the Ukrainian crisis. Passersby flung wads of fake American dollar bills at the anti-war protestors, a gesture apparently meant to shift the blame for the Ukrainian crisis onto the West.  

Sunday's event served as a continuation of the last Peace March held ahead of Russia's annexation of Crimea in March, according to its organizers.

Activists in more than 30 cities around the world, including Kiev, St. Petersburg, Paris and New York, also staged protests against the Russian government's approach to the crisis in Ukraine on Sunday, coinciding with the United Nations' International Day of Peace. Similar protests in the Russian cities of Saratov, Perm, Petrozavodsk, Syktyvkar, Barnaul and Yekaterinburg each attracted dozens of protesters, Gazeta.ru reported.

According to opposition politician Ilya Ponomaryov, the protest in his native city of Novosibirsk, which local authorities had not sanctioned, was promptly broken up by police.

In Moscow, Thousands March for 'Peace in Ukraine' http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/507473.html

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Moscow’s war in Ukraine opposed by 95% of Russians


Moscow's war in Ukraine
unpopular inside Russia
 
BY JOHN STUDER  

The Sept. 5 cease-fire between Kiev and Moscow in parts of eastern Ukraine occupied by Russian troops and separatist paramilitary units continues to hold. At the same time, some 1,000 Russian troops remain in eastern Ukraine and there has been sporadic fighting around both the Ukrainian-government held airport in Donetsk and approaches to the city of Mariupol.
Most people in Ukraine, including in the east, are staunchly opposed to the Russian government-backed separatists or a return to economic and political domination by Moscow.

Moscow's intervention in Ukraine is also unpopular in Russia. A recent poll by the pro-Kremlin Fund of Social Opinions reported that only 5 percent of people in Russia support Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Recently there has been an uptick in strikes and other labor actions in Russia. Miners, metal workers and municipal and state workers have launched spontaneous strikes, mainly seeking unpaid wages. Members of the Interregional Union of Health Workers in the city of Ufa declared a hunger strike Sept. 9 to protest low pay. "There are now slightly more than one new strike every working day," the Moscow Center for Social-Labor Rights reported Sept. 8.

Attempting to reinforce the shaky truce, the Ukrainian government voted to defer a trade pact with the European Union until the beginning of 2016. President Petro Poroshenko also introduced draft laws that would grant amnesty to most separatist combatants and special self-governance status for occupied districts in Donbass for a three-year period.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a conference in Kiev Sept. 13 that the government's most important achievement over the last six months was adoption of two "austerity" packages, cutting public spending by more than 10 percent, hiking housing bills and taxes, and looking to sell state-owned coal mines to private interests.

Meanwhile, Washington and other imperialist governments have moved to impose more sanctions on Russian energy firms, cutting off aid to new oil and gas exploration. The imperialist sanctions are exacerbating an economic crisis that has come down hardest on working people. The ruble fell to an all-time low against the dollar Sept. 16. That day Opel car company, the European arm of General Motors, laid off 500 workers and cut production in its St. Petersburg plant from two shifts to one.  
 

http://www.themilitant.com/2014/7834/783453.html

Ukraine solidarity: Thousands march in Moscow anti-war demo

NB: Workers in Russia protest Moscow's war on Ukraine.

(Defenders of 300 years of Great Russian chauvinism will quickly demur that these protesters are paid dupes and fifth columnists of the IMF, John McCain, Victoria Nuland, USAID, NATO, and the "neocon" conspiracy. )

http://m.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29300213

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Marxist view of ISIS


Excerpt:

.... Islamic State is not at heart a religious movement, despite its call for an Islamist Caliphate. It is a sectarian political movement whose goal is to take advantage of capitalist disorder to seize territory and economic control.

Islamic State's brutality, oppression of women and contempt for human dignity close down political space for working people to organize and fight.

What is most important for working people is not who or what we are against; it's what we're for. In the fight against the Islamic State that means backing all efforts by the Kurdish fighters to defeat them and establish an independent nation in Iraqi Kurdistan. And supporting all struggles by workers and farmers, including against imperialist war.
 

http://www.themilitant.com/2014/7834/783420.html

Oppose US war moves in Iraq, Syria!

Excerpt from editorial in new issue of The Militant:

....U.S. war moves in response to the advance of reactionary Islamic State forces are not designed to aid the toiling majority who live there, contrary to Washington's pretenses. Like all previous military actions in the region, Washington's current campaign is designed to defend the economic and political interests of the U.S. rulers and the local oppressors beholden to them.

At the same time, working people the world over should back the oppressed Kurdish people's fight to repel Islamic State forces and their struggle for a sovereign nation in Iraqi Kurdistan.

When the victorious powers of London and Paris carved up the Middle East following World War I, they denied the Kurds a homeland. Standing against their struggle today are the imperialist powers of America and Europe, as well as the Turkish, Arab and Persian rulers of the Middle East.
....

http://www.themilitant.com/2014/7834/783420.html

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long shadow of Stalinism still effects development of revolutionary working class leadership

Salient points that still hold up as an explanation for the leadership contradictions our class faces today, as much as when this editorial on the "Bush doctrine" was written in 2004.

.... Because of Stalinist betrayals from North Africa to the Mideast and Southeast Asia, there is a complete absence of revolutionary working-class organizations in these countries. The political vacuum thus created has been filled by bourgeois nationalist organizations—like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, or the National Salvation Front in Algeria—that have nothing to do with defending the interests of working people.

At the same time, the claims by Republicans or Democrats that Washington stands for bringing democracy and freedom to the world are bogus. It is true that compared to living under the Saddam Hussein regime, there is more space for working people to defend their interests in Iraq today, and elsewhere in the Mideast. Revolutionists need to take full advantage of this. But class-conscious workers don't therefore support democratic imperialism. The broad trends toward secularism, for women's rights, and in opposition to capital punishment and torture around the world that the Militant has described, for example, are the results of struggles by working people, students, and middle-class layers in the semicolonial world and internationally. They are products of the anticolonial revolutions of the last century, not imperialist benevolence. Washington and its allies will wield them as long as they serve to advance imperialist interests—but only so far.

U.S. imperialism's biggest enemy is the economic catastrophe capitalism is leading humanity toward and the resistance to its effects by workers and farmers. Only by joining this resistance and offering a working-class alternative to the parties of capitalism, such as that presented by the Socialist Workers Party ticket in the 2004 elections, can we defeat the "Bush agenda" and the program of Kerry too.

http://www.themilitant.com/2004/6836/683620.html

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chechnya: a long history of struggle for self-determination

Another useful 2004 article on national self-determination from The Militant.

-

Chechnya: a long history of struggle
for self-determination
 
BY MICHAEL ITALIE  

Moscow's brutal ending of the Beslan hostage crisis, leaving more than 330 dead, has put a spotlight again on the Chechen people's struggle for self-determination. The toilers of this mountainous region on the Caucasus have resisted national oppression for decades.

The Chechens' fight for national self-determination began with the struggle against tsarist occupation forces in the 19th century, culminating in liberation as a result of the Russian Revolution of October 1917, which was led by the Bolsheviks. With the degeneration of the revolution in the late 1920s and early 1930s, however, the regime of Joseph Stalin re-imposed Great Russian chauvinism, which has continued until today. The Chechens' fight for national self-determination picked up steam again after the fracturing of the Stalinist regimes in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe at the dawn of the 1990s.

The government of Russian president Vladimir Putin, however, like his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, is attempting to paint the struggle of the 1.5 million Chechens with the brush of "terrorism." Referring to the 53-hour crisis that began September 1 in the small town of the southern republic of North Ossetia, Putin's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said September 10 that Chechen leader Shamil Basayev "was in direct control of that operation." Moscow is also trying to link the school takeover to "international terrorism." Lavrov stated that "the information that there were Arabs has been confirmed," without offering evidence for his claims, reported the Associated Press.

In the midst of the takeover, former Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov distanced himself from the attack. At the same time, he pointed to Moscow's military domination by calling "upon the world to condemn the policy that has made such tragedies not only possible but unavoidable."

Not backing down from the government's justification for its course in Chechnya, Lavrov shot back that Maskhadov's statement "is a direct encouragement of terrorism, if not evidence that he was in control of all that."

Against similar charges of "terrorism" and "betrayal of the motherland," the Chechen people have fought for generations.

The tsarist government annexed the Caucasus in 1783 and began Russian colonization in order to better control the region. Organized resistance in Chechnya was led by national hero Imam Shamil in face of an invasion of Russian troops in 1830, finally going down to defeat with the 1859 incorporation of the territory into the empire of Tsar Alexander II.

Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin described the Russian empire as a "prison house of nations." Under tsarist rule the peoples of the Caucasus, the Baltic region, Ukrainians, Jews, and others were denied the most basic rights of language, religion, and control of cultural, economic, and political affairs. Great Russian chauvinism was the ideological whip used by the imperial rulers.  
 
Russian revolution and its degeneration

Following the victory of the Russian Revolution of October 1917, the Bolshevik Party headed by Lenin championed the right to national self-determination of peoples who had been oppressed under the tsarist empire, forging a genuinely voluntary federation of workers and farmers republics.

One of the very first actions of the Bolshevik-led government was to proclaim the right of all the subject peoples within the confines of the old tsarist empire to "free self-determination up to and including the right to secede." Finland, Estonia, and other states acted on this pledge, establishing their independence.

The Soviet government declared null and void all the tsar's colonial treaties and signed new treaties with China, India, and other countries that, among other provisions, canceled debts owed to the tsarist regime.

A few years later, at the 1920 Baku Congress of the Peoples of the East, leaders of the Communist International joined with other revolutionary fighters—from inside the borders of the old tsarist empire and beyond—in calling on all Muslim toilers in the region to join in a "holy war for the liberation of all humanity from the yoke of capitalist and imperialist slavery, for the ending of all forms of exploitation of man by man!"

The bureaucratic caste that began to emerge in the early 1920s, with Joseph Stalin as its foremost figure, pushed to reverse this course. In 1922 Lenin opened a political battle against this counterrevolution. But Stalin's reactionary policies prevailed following Lenin's death, reversing the Bolsheviks' program and course of action. In the 1930s, the Stalinist apparatus increasingly relied on Great Russian chauvinism to reassert Moscow's dominance over the tsar's former colonial possessions and other oppressed nationalities. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics reemerged as a prison house of nations inherited from tsarism and imperialism.

While Chechnya formally maintained its autonomy within the USSR, the reality was the opposite. During World War II the Stalin regime carried out deportations and brutal repression of oppressed nationalities who were charged as "collaborators" with the Nazi invaders. Under a decree issued by Stalin, the Crimean Tatars were "banished" from their native land for "betrayal of the motherland." Beginning in February 1944 hundreds of thousands of Chechens were forcibly taken from their homes and deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan on similar charges. They were not allowed to return until 1957.

The bureaucratic regimes in the Soviet Union, and those imposed on other countries of Eastern Europe where capitalist social relations had been overturned after World War II, served as reliable instruments for the transmission of capitalist values.

These regimes disintegrated in 1989-91 under the accumulated weight of the social and economic crisis generated by decades of bureaucratic misrule and the pressure of the deepening downturn of the capitalist system worldwide. As this process unfolded, the oppression of national groupings through the use of police repression and military force began to weaken.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Dzhokhar Dudayev, a former senior official in the Soviet air force, declared Chechnya's independence from Russia. Fearing the example this set for other oppressed nationalities, the government of Russian president Boris Yeltsin responded with military incursions, which were repelled by Chechen forces.  
 
Two full-scale wars
Since 1994, the Chechen people have fought two full-scale Russian invasions of their land aimed at restoring Moscow's domination. Yeltsin justified the bloody onslaught by raising the specter of "Islamic fanaticism" in Chechnya. Rebels there humiliated the Russian military in the 1994-96 war. At that time an invasion force of tens of thousands of Russian troops was dispatched to crush the independence movement. More than 30,000 people were killed and dozens of cities and villages were devastated, including the capital city of Grozny. But the Chechen resistance remained undefeated in a war that was unpopular from the outset among broad layers of working people and others in Russia. Chechen women blocking the way of Russian tanks on the road leading to Grozny, seen on television around the world, captured the heroic determination of the Chechen people's refusal to submit to Moscow's domination.

The Communist Party of Russia, representing the interests of one of the competing factions of the bureaucratic caste that shattered in 1991, voiced support for Yeltsin's assault on Chechnya.

In 1999 then prime minister Vladimir Putin, under the pretext of the bombing of an apartment complex and other unexplained explosions in Moscow, ordered another invasion of Chechnya. Putin built his popularity as a champion of the military offensive against "Islamic terrorists." He was elected president in 2000. Revealing some of the arrogance of the ruling caste in Russia toward the lives of working people, after one year of war Putin offered that civilian casualties in the war "could be counted on one's fingers." At that point, Russian forces had already driven 200,000 from their homes and depopulated Grozny.

The Putin government claimed victory in the war in early 2002, and most of Chechnya is dominated by Russian troops and pro-Moscow forces. But the Russian government has been unable to put down the Chechen independence struggle, whose fighters continue to control a large portion of the mountainous southern region and regularly skirmish with Russian forces and their local henchmen.  

http://www.themilitant.com/2004/6835/683552.html

Self-determination for Chechnya

A 2004 editorial from The Militant. Today Moscow seeks through military and paramilitary means to prevent national self-determination struggles of Ukraine and the Crimean Tartars, among others.

-

.... The independence struggle in Chechnya is a just one. If successful, it will strengthen the working class in Russia and the region. The revolutionary workers movement has always championed the right of oppressed nations to self-determination as a precondition to building genuine unity on the basis of equality among all the toilers.

There is an especially bitter irony to the Kremlin's anti-Islamic crusade that has reached its sharpest point in Chechnya over the last decade. One of the very first decrees the workers and farmers government in Russia issued in December 1917, just after the triumph of the Bolshevik-led revolution, was an "Appeal to all toiling Muslims of Russia and the East."

Without lending an iota of credence to any notion that Islam or other religious beliefs or institutions are progressive, the Soviet Republic declared: "All you whose mosques and shrines have been destroyed, whose beliefs and customs have been trampled on by the czars and the Russian oppressors! Henceforth your beliefs and customs, your national and cultural institutions are declared free and inviolable. Build your national life freely and without hindrance. It is your right. Know that your rights—like those of all the peoples of Russia—are defended by the full force of the revolution and its organs, the soviets of workers', soldiers', and peasants' deputies."

A few years later, at the 1920 Baku Congress of the Peoples of the East, leaders of the Communist International joined with other revolutionary fighters—from inside the borders of the former czarist empire and beyond—in calling on all Muslim toilers in the region to join in a "holy war for the liberation of all humanity from the yoke of capitalist and imperialist slavery, for the ending of all forms of exploitation of man by man!"

More than eight decades later, we can confidently say that for militant workers around the world, reaffirming this clear pledge by the Bolsheviks to oppressed and exploited toilers who are Muslim, or who hail from parts of the world where the Islamic religion predominates, is not a remote or external matter. The campaigns against "Islamo-fascism"—from the Silk Road, to the Middle East, northern Africa and the imperialist world—which are part of capitalism's "antiterrorism" drive, are a case in point.

The Chechens and other oppressed peoples in the Caucasus will continue to resist the Great Russian chauvinism that was reimposed on them by the regime of Joseph Stalin with the degeneration of the Russian Revolution, and that continues to this day. Working people should back the Chechens' just struggle for national self-determination.
 

http://www.themilitant.com/2004/6834/683420.html

Monday, September 15, 2014

When Kerry was the lesser evil and Bush was turning the U.S. into a "snake pit of fascism" - 2004


New York protests target 'Bush agenda,'
push election of Democrat John Kerry

(front page)
 
BY PAUL PEDERSON
AND ANGEL LARISCY  
NEW YORK—Carrying placards reading "Defend America, Dump Bush," "Bush Lies, Who Dies?" and signs with the photo of the Republican president and the inscription "Darn Good Liar," throngs of protesters filled the streets of Midtown Manhattan August 29.
"Say No to the Bush Agenda," was the theme of the march, organized to help the campaign of Democratic presidential contender John Kerry. United for Peace and Justice, a coalition that organized large peace demonstrations before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, sponsored the action. Beginning at noon, the march wound slowly to an end around 5:00 p.m. at Union Square Park, where ushers instructed demonstrators through a loudspeaker to disperse.

Organizers decided to forego a closing rally even though they had obtained a permit for one on the West Side Highway on the southern tip of Manhattan, where refurbished piers by the Hudson River provide adequate facilities for such an event. United for Peace and Justice spokespeople stated they would not organize a rally after the city administration and the courts denied their requests to hold one in Central Park.

There is a more plausible reason for their decision, however, which organizers did not touch on: the leadership of the Democratic Party did not want to have anything to do with such a rally, a stance that apparently kept well-known entertainers and all major Democratic Party figures away from the protest.  
 
Top Democrats oppose protests

The action "has got top Democrats in a major fret," said an article in the August 28 Kansas City Star, headlined "Not Only GOP Fears New York Protests." GOP, or Grand Old Party, is a common reference to the Republicans.

"Please," said Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, "let the Republicans have a great time, let them speak, let them go to their big corporate parties. If they can link us to a bunch of lawbreakers, they think people will not pay attention to the promises they've broken." McAuliffe added that the Democratic Party had nothing to do with any of the New York demonstrations.

A press conference at the beginning of the march featured a handful of low-ranking Democrats, a few labor officials, and peace group representatives. Actor Danny Glover and actress Rosie Pérez were the only artists present. Congressmen Charles Rangel of Harlem and Major Owens of Brooklyn, Jesse Jackson, and four members of the New York City Council were the only Democratic Party politicians at the press conference.

"Wake up America," declared Major Owens. "Because if you don't Bush will be reelected, and our country will be heading to the snake pit of fascism."

While relatively few signs at the demonstration promoted the false view that the Bush administration is "fascist," a number of marchers shared the point by Owens that the majority of voters in the United States would be at fault if Bush wins a second term. "Fool America once, shame on Bush," said a placard, the theme of which was repeated in other signs. "Fool America again and again and again and again, shame on America."

The widely circulated sign "Darn good liar" carried a similar message: Bush is succeeding in fooling the majority of voters.

"We're here today because we're really happy that the Republicans have only two months left," said filmmaker Michael Moore, in a dispirited presentation. Moore's so-called documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has been widely used to promote the Kerry campaign. "To borrow an idea from Congressman Rangel, I think we should bring back the draft," Moore told the press. "But only for the sons of politicians and of owners of the Fortune 500 corporations," he remarked, in one of his trademark attempts at being funny that fall flat for most people.

Jesse Jackson, the featured speaker, concluded the press conference. While criticizing the way the Bush administration invaded Iraq and calling for bringing back the troops, he demanded that Washington intervene in the Sudan, which he had just visited. "We have a moral obligation to use our strength," he said, calling for a U.S. arms embargo against Sudan and military intervention to "disarm the Janjaweed," a militia that has carried out bloody attacks on the civilian population in that country.

Jackson went on to criticize the Bush administration for not spending enough money on "homeland defense."

"If Bush had given millionaires an $83,000 tax cut instead of $88,000, our ports could be secured from the threat of biological attack," he said. He also said the Republican administration was not putting enough police on the streets.  
 
American nationalism

American nationalism was in full display at the action. Many protesters held U.S. flags or signs that said "I am a true patriot" or "Dissent is patriotic." United for Peace and Justice sold T-shirts that read, "This is what a true patriot looks like."

One contingent at the end of the march carried nearly 1,000 coffins draped in U.S. flags, to symbolize the number of soldiers who have been killed in Iraq since the spring of 2003.

"The officers in my unit let me know it was something they didn't like," said Bryan Crowe, a Marine who spent five months in Iraq, of the reaction to his anti-war views. Crowe, a member of a group called Iraq Veterans Against the War, which had a contingent of about a dozen at the march, said he got some heat from his superiors after he spoke at an antiwar rally and was interviewed by a reporter. "Nothing really happened to me like on paper. More an intimidation thing.… I got some phone calls. I was asked to explain myself and I told them I didn't have to explain myself, it's my First Amendment right."

Crowe said it wasn't accurate to say half the U.S. troops in Iraq suffer from low morale, a statement made by two speakers at the press conference. "I don't think anyone's happy to be there, or as many people support the war as the media makes it out," Crowe said. "But even though I was against the war when I was sent there, I still had a job to do. Being miserable and not paying attention can cause you to lose your life, so I stayed on point." Crowe, a registered Green, said he wasn't sure electing Kerry will make a difference in Iraq.

Only one or two soldiers have deserted the U.S. military so far because of opposition to the Anglo-American assault on Iraq.

At several points, small groups of rightist counterdemonstrators lined side streets along the march route. At the intersection of 27th Street and 7th Avenue, the pro-Bush hecklers chanted "U.S.A!, U.S.A!" Protesters countered them by repeating the same chant, though more loudly, stealing the rightists' thunder.  
 
'Anything to get Bush out'
"I just want to beat Bush," said Anna Odem, a psychologist from Manhattan, in a comment reflecting the views most protesters who were interviewed expressed. "Anything just to get Bush out. He's destroyed most of what we stand for as a country. It's time to get Bush out."

Many of the demonstrators were from the middle classes, like Odem. A good portion were students or other youth.

A number of signs peddled conspiracy theories blaming Bush and the "neoconservative cabal" around him for covering up the truth about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. "Expose the 9-11 coverup" was a sign held by many demonstrators. A group held a large banner reading "The Bush regime engineered 9-11." Protesters from that contingent passed out leaflets claiming that the Bush administration knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and helped orchestrate them.

Low-level, personalized attacks on Bush, including the false assertion that he is "stupid," were not uncommon, reflecting the coarsening discourse of bourgeois politics. "A village in Texas is missing its idiot; send him home," said a placard, for example, held by a number of protesters.

Estimates of the march size varied. The free dailies Metro and AM New York, and an unofficial police count reported by the Daily News, put the figure at more than 120,000. Organizers said that about 400,000 took part. The New York Times said reports of half a million protesters were "at best, a rough estimate."

The action was largely peaceful. Protesters marched slowly and patiently. While there was a heavy police presence around Madison Square Garden, site of the Republican convention, and along the demonstration route, relatively few arrests were made. According to the Daily News, cops arrested about 240 people that day, including 50 bikers who allegedly tried to crash the parade. Arrests were also made when a group called Black Bloc, self-described as anarchist, torched a papier-mâché dragon's head mounted on a rickshaw in front of Madison Square Garden.

Many more people were arrested the next two days, after the Republican convention started. About 1,000 people were arrested August 31, most while trying to block traffic. About 200 supporters of the War Resisters League were rounded up and arrested that day for a march up a sidewalk toward Madison Square Garden, for which the pacifist group said it had obtained a permit. Cops also arrested about 150 people gathered on sidewalks near the convention site who refused to heed police orders to disperse. According to the Washington Post, this brought to 1,600 the total number of those apprehended since August 26 during protest activities.  
 
Little enthusiasm for Kerry

A relatively small number of marchers wore buttons and T-shirts endorsing Kerry. The only pro-Kerry chant Militant reporters heard was "Bush is scary, vote Kerry." Not much enthusiasm for Kerry was on display, especially among younger protesters, a number of whom told Militant reporters they dislike the Democratic nominee's pro-war record and considered the action a peace rally.

"I don't think it's appropriate to wear John Kerry buttons to this rally since this is an antiwar march and Kerry is not opposed to the war," said Gil Wasserman, for example, 17, a high school student from Brooklyn. Wasserman said, however, he felt Kerry is the only realistic alternative to Bush in the elections.

Santiago Santos, a maintenance worker in a building in Queens who is a member of Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, was marching with a sign that said Bush, with an arrow pointed in one direction, and verdad (truth, in Spanish) with an arrow pointed in the other. "I hope Kerry will be better for the economy," said Santos. "It's a choice between a bad one and a halfway bad one. A little less bad."

The demonstration was billed in part as a peace march. Organizers distributed a large number of signs held by demonstrators calling for Washington to bring the troops home from Iraq. But relatively few chants expressed opposition to the war in Iraq, although this was the view held by all protesters the Militant interviewed.

Partly because of this reality, the Democratic Party cannot claim many of the protesters as its own or be assured they will even go to the polls to cast a vote for Kerry. Militant reporters observed a number of activists with Democratic National Committee T-shirts trying to sign up volunteers to help the Kerry campaign at the end of the march and getting the cold shoulder from most protesters.  
 
Bourgeois 'third' party campaigns

Supporters of the "third-party" campaigns of the Greens and Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo also took part in the march. While presenting themselves as "independent" alternatives to the two-party system of American capitalism, the banners of these contingents and comments by participants made it clear these are pro-capitalist campaigns aimed at pressuring the Democratic Party and attempting to nudge it a little to the left.

Green Party supporters marched with signs for their presidential candidates, David Cobb and Patricia LaMarche.

Cobb and LaMarche "believe very much that George Bush is an enormous threat to the United States," said Lynn Serpe, a New Yorker who was marching with the Greens contingent. "So the Greens are offering an alternative to the two-party system.… But, in swing states we say to Green supporters: if you can't vote Green, we understand, it's a tough election year."

Another contingent marched in support of the Nader/Camejo ticket behind a large banner that read "Impeach Bush/Cheney." A few hundred people marching with the campus-based group International Socialist Organization also carried placards supporting the Nader/Camejo ticket.

"I was a petitioner in Maryland," said Joe Schroeder, 20, a student at the Baltimore Community College who supports the Nader campaign. "We are 500 signatures short so I'm going through the list to find the valid ones. "It was tough," Schroeder said of the petitioning effort. He said that a Nader petitioner was attacked and three Republican supporters came out and defended him. "There are a lot of Democratic Party supporters in Baltimore."

Supporters of the Socialist Workers Party 2004 presidential ticket of Róger Calero for president and Arrin Hawkins for vice president, marched behind a banner reading, "It's not who you're against; it's what you're for. Vote Socialist Workers in 2004!" Many teams of SWP campaigners worked the crowd.

"People take this campaign very seriously," said Raúl, a worker at a meatpacking plant in San Francisco who was campaigning with the socialists at Union Square Park. "Some say it is utopian for Róger to run. 'He's Nicaraguan, not born in the United States,' they say. But when I explain that the campaign is part of organizing a working-class movement, for a working-class alternative to the parties of capitalism that goes beyond the elections, many people began to understand and appreciate it."

The socialists held a forum featuring SWP candidates the night before the August 29 march and an open house at their Garment District SWP campaign center, just a few blocks from the march route, after the demonstration. About two dozen people who first met the socialists at the protests took part in these campaign activities.

http://www.themilitant.com/2004/6833/683302.html

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Moscow's invasion of Ukraine spurs Russia's anti-war movement

.... Lev Shlosberg, publisher of Pskovskaya Gubernia in western Russia, was brutally attacked and hospitalized after he began investigations into the deaths of dozens of soldiers from Pskov, Russia, who were sent to Ukraine.

The paper printed a recorded conversation between Russian troops in Ukraine in which a soldier says that 80 Russian troops were killed by shelling Aug. 20.

The body of Anton Tumanov, 20, was delivered Aug. 20 to his mother, Elena Tumanova, in Kozmodemyansk, Russia. He was killed in battle in Snizhne, Ukraine, east of Donetsk.

Tumanov joined the Russian army in June, after searching for months for a job. He worked temporary jobs in construction and at a car plant in Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod, but couldn't find steady work, his mother told Novaya Gazeta.

"'God forbid, they'll send you to Ukraine,' I told him," Tumanova said. "He told me the army wouldn't be sent to Ukraine."

Members of his unit, the 18th Motor Rifle Brigade, formation 27777, were sent to Ukraine disguised as Ukraine separatists, Tumanov's fellow soldiers told his mother. Tumanov was one of 120 killed and 450 wounded Aug. 12.

"No to war in Ukraine!" and "Let us not allow Afghanistan 2.0!" read the signs carried by veterans of the Russian war in Afghanistan in Bryansk, near the border with Belarus.

"How will we look the Ukrainians in the eyes if the war ends tomorrow," said Vladimir Barabanov, who served in Afghanistan from 1986 to 1988 and is head of the Bezhitsky district Afghanistan veterans' organization.

The Russian Anti-War Movement, formed in Moscow in late August, issued a statement Sept. 6 pointing to the growing number of soldiers who have died in Ukraine "that the government takes pains to cover up" and urging the soldiers' mothers to speak out.

"This bloody war is not being waged for the 'Russian world,' as the Kremlin propagandists try to convince us," the group said. "It is being waged to punish the people of Ukraine who rose up against Yanukovych the thief." Viktor Yanukovych, former pro-Moscow president of Ukraine, was brought down in February by mass demonstrations and street battles, known as the Maidan, the name of the square in Kiev where the actions were centered.

Putin sees czarist continuity

Moscow's intervention in Ukraine has been backed by both ultra-right and petty-bourgeois leftists, ranging from Marie Le Pen's National Front in France to the Workers World Party in the U.S. At the same time, Putin has made it clear that he sees his actions in Ukraine in continuity with the imperial invasions and wars of Russia's czarist rulers.

In a speech to the Seliger 2014 10th National Youth Forum in Tver, Russia, Aug. 29, the Russian president attacked V.I. Lenin and the Bolshevik Party for the overthrow of the czar and leading the workers, farmers and soldiers to power in 1917. "In the First World War, the Bolsheviks wished to see their Fatherland defeated," Putin said. "And while the heroic Russian soldiers shed their blood on the fronts in World War I, some were shaking Russia from within and shook it to the point that Russia as a state collapsed. … This was a complete betrayal of national interests."

Tatars active in politics in Crimea have faced harassment since the peninsula was forcibly annexed by Moscow in March. Most Crimean Tatars, who, as an entire people were rounded up by the regime of Joseph Stalin and deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia in Russia in the 1940s, are strong opponents of Moscow's occupation.

Leaders of the Tatar Mejlis (council) have been special targets of the Russian secret police and Crimean authorities. Moscow banned former Mejlis central leader Mustafa Dzhemilev from entering his Crimean homeland for five years in April. About 100 Tatars who blocked roads in May protesting Moscow's refusal to allow Dzhemilev into the country were slapped with fines. Some now face criminal investigations for "extremist behavior."

On Sept. 4, 15 riot and local cops showed up at the homes of several families in the Nizhnegorsk district, claiming they were searching for weapons and drugs, but only confiscating books and religious literature.

Since Russia took over, Crimean authorities have also searched schools, looking for titles on a list of more than 2,000 books that are banned in Russia.

On Sept. 9 a half dozen plainclothes cops entered the boarding school for gifted students in Tankove, heading straight for the library. They seized three books and wandered around the school demanding that all Crimean Tatar national symbols be taken down.

That same day 30-40 students gathered on the steps of the Crimean Industrial Pedagogical University and sang the Ukraine national anthem in protest against the appearance of the speaker of the Moscow-imposed Crimea State Council.  
 
 

http://www.themilitant.com/2014/7833/783303.html

The material basis of alienation

Capitalist system dehumanizes
and alienates workers

 
Below is an excerpt from The Marxist Theory of Alienation by Ernest Mandel and George Novack. In the book Mandel (1923-1995), a European leader of the Fourth International, and Novack (1905-1992), a leader of the Socialist Workers Party in the United States, explained that alienation is not an eternal condition of humanity, but rather a product of social relations under capitalism that can be overcome with the rise of a working-class fight for power. Copyright © 1970 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.
BY GEORGE NOVACK

--

It is necessary to analyze the economic foundations of capitalist society in order to bring out its characteristic processes of alienation.

(1) Capitalism emerges as a distinct and separate economic formation by wrenching away working people from precapitalist conditions of production. Before capitalism could be established, the mass of direct producers had to be separated from the material means of production and transformed into propertyless proletarians. The processes of expropriation whereby the peasants were uprooted from the land and the social elements fashioned for the wage labor required for capitalist exploitation in Western Europe were summarized by Marx in Chapter XIX of Capital.

(2) However, the alienation of the producers only begins with the primary accumulation of capital; it is continually reproduced on an ever-extended scale once capital takes over industry. Even before he physically engages in the productive process, the wage-worker finds his labor taken away from him by the stipulations of the labor contract. The worker agrees to hand over his labor power to the capitalist in return for the payment of the prevailing wage. The employer is then free to use and exploit this labor as he pleases.

(3) During the productive process, by virtue of the peculiar divisions of labor in capitalist enterprise, all the knowledge, will and direction is concentrated in the capitalist and his superintendents. The worker is converted into a mere physical accessory factor of production. "The capitalist represents the unity and will of the social working body" while the workers who make up that body are "dehumanized" and degraded to the status of things. The plan, the process, and the aim of capitalist production all confront the workers as alien, hostile, dominating powers. The auto workers on the assembly line can testify to the truth of this fact.

(4) At the end of the industrial process the product which is its result does not belong to the workers who made it but to the capitalist who owns it. In this way the product of labor is torn from the workers and goes into the market to be sold.

(5) The capitalist market, which is the totality of commodities and money in their circulation, likewise confronts the working class—whether as sellers of their labor power or as buyers of commodities—as an alien power. Its laws of operation dictate how much they shall get for their labor power, whether it is saleable at all, what their living standards shall be.

The world market is the ultimate arbiter of capitalist society. It not only rules over the wage-slaves; it is greater than the most powerful group of capitalists. The overriding laws of the market dominate all classes like uncontrollable forces of nature which bring weal or woe regardless of anyone's plans or intentions.

(6) In addition to the fundamental antagonism between the exploiters and the exploited, the competition characteristic of capitalism's economic activities pits the members of both classes against one another. The capitalists strive to get the better of their rivals so that the bigger and more efficient devour the smaller and less productive.

The workers who go into the labor market to sell their labor power are compelled to buck one another for available jobs. In the shop and factory they are often obliged to compete against one another under the goad of piece-work.

Both capitalists and workers try to mitigate the consequences of their competition by combination. The capitalists set up trusts and monopolies; the workers organize into trade unions. But however much these opposing forms of class organization modify and restrict competition, they cannot abolish it. The competitiveness eliminated from a monopolized industry springs up more violently in the struggles between one aggregation of capital and another. The workers in one craft, category or country are pitted, contrary to their will, against the workers of another.

These economic circumstances generate unbridled individualism, egotism, and self-seeking throughout bourgeois society. The members of this society, whatever their status, have to live in an atmosphere of mutual hostility rather than of solidarity.

Thus the real basis of the forms of alienation within capitalist society is found in the contradictory relations of its mode of production and in the class antagonisms arising from them. …

These internal social antagonisms are not everlasting. They do not spring from any intrinsic and inescapable evil in the nature of mankind as a species. They were generated by specific historico-social conditions which have been uncovered and can be explained.

Now that humanity has acquired superiority over nature through triumphs of technology and science, the next great step is to gain collective control over the blind forces of society. There is only one conscious agency in present-day life strong enough and strategically placed to shoulder and carry through this imperative task, says Marxism. That is the force of alienated labor incorporated in the industrial working class.

The material means for liberating mankind can be brought into existence only through the world socialist revolution which will concentrate political and economic power in the hands of the working people.  
 

http://www.themilitant.com/2014/7833/783349.html