The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left
| January 17, 2017 | 7:29 pm | Analysis, Greece, political struggle, Syriza | No comments

$22.10$95.00

Utterly corrupt corporate and government elites bankrupted Greece twice over. First, by profligate deficit spending benefitting only themselves; second, by agreeing to an IMF “bailout” of the Greek economy, devastating ordinary Greek citizens who were already enduring government-induced poverty, unemployment, and hunger. Finally, in response to dire “austerity” measures, the people of Greece stood up, electing, from their own historic roots of resistance, Syriza—the Coalition of the Radical Left. For those who caught the Syriza wave, there was, writes Helena Sheehan, a minute of “precarious hope.”

A seasoned activist and participant-observer, Helena Sheehan adroitly places us at the center of the whirlwind beginnings of Syriza, its jubilant victory at the polls, and finally at Syriza’s surrender to the very austerity measures it once vowed to annihilate. Along the way, she takes time to meet many Greeks in tavernas, on the street, and in government offices, engage in debates, and compare Greece to her own economically blighted country, Ireland. Beginning as a strong Syriza supporter, Sheehan sees Syriza transformed from a horizon of hope to a vortex of despair. But out of the dust of defeat, she draws questions radiating optimism. Just how did what was possibly the most intelligent, effective instrument of the Greek left self-destruct? And what are the consequences for the Greek people, for the international left, for all of us driven to work for a better world? The Syriza Wave is a page-turning blend of political reportage, personal reflection, and astute analysis.

Deeply grounded in philosophy and Marxist theory, Sheehan shows in plain language that the leadership of SYRIZA proved vacuous in theory and opportunist in practice. Her intellectual and political honesty will be a benchmark in the debate in the coming years.

—Costas Lapavitsas, Professor of Economics at University of London, and Syriza MP from January to August 2015

Helena Sheehan brings the dramatic rollercoaster of Syriza’s growth, election and capitulation to vivid life. Simultaneously participant and observer, ‘insider’ in left politics and ‘outsider’ in Greece, she is uniquely positioned to put this drama in the essential context of rising movements elsewhere in Europe. The Syriza Wave captures the sentiment of those of us on the European left politically and emotionally invested in the struggles of the Greek people, holding the belief that the wall of authoritarian neo-liberalism could be breached at its weakest point, our hope for victory and the crushing reality of defeat. It is a unique and valuable contribution for all those seeking to learn lessons from the crashing Syriza wave.

—Paul Murphy TD, Member of Irish Parliament (Anti-Austerity Alliance)

Engaging both head and heart, Helena Sheehan has opened a window on one of the most extraordinary political stories of our time: the stellar rise to power of Greece’s radical left party and its rapid and devastating fall from grace…. Such is Sheehan’s narrative skill—coupled with her direct participation in so many of the key moments—that you feel you are actually there, in the square, the conference hall, the occupation. The essential debates are explored and recounted, and diverse political views are brought to bear. Sheehan has her own perspective, but she engages across the left, with respect and warmth, situating these developments in a wider context, both historically and geographically. Crucially, Sheehan frames the questions to challenge the movement in going forward: how to advance the left within an ever more powerful global capitalism. This is essential reading and highly recommended.

—Kate Hudson, author, The New European Left, General Secretary of CND, National Secretary of Left Unity

For those of us who lived and followed the Greek political and economic crisis since 2008, Helena Sheehan’s book represents a much needed and also much dreaded revisiting of the events that led to the rise and subsequent capitulation of Syriza. Reliving the moments of hope and the moment of crushing defeat, the book constitutes both a personal reflection and a serious political attempt to find ways of understanding this history of the present, to reflect on its gains and losses, and crucially to find ways to survive in the post-2015 Greek political landscape.

—Eugenia Siapera, author, Understanding New Media, Lecturer in Social Media, Dublin City University and Aristotle University Thessaloniki

Helena Sheehan is Professor Emerita at Dublin City University, where she taught history of ideas and media studies. She is also the author of several books, including Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical History and Irish Television Drama: A Society and Its Stories, as well as magazine articles on politics, culture, and philosophy.

Stinging criticism by composer Mikis Theodorakis against Greek PM Tsipras
| January 17, 2017 | 7:24 pm | Cuba, Fidel Castro, Greece, Mikis Theodorakis, Syriza | No comments

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1179988/stinging-criticism-by-composer-mikis-theodorakis-against-greek-pm-tsipras
Sunday, 04 December 2016 21:35
UPD:22:23

Icon/ΤΖΑΜΑΡΟΣ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΩΤΗΣ

Tsipras (right), whose popularity is collapsing, as far as opinion polls over the last few months are concerned, was the only European head of government to travel to Cuba for the Castro memorial service.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was again the target of stinging criticism over the weekend, although this time the source of ridicule was none other than well-known Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, a nonagenarian leftist “icon” in the country.

In an “open letter” addressed to Tsipras and posted on Theodorakis’ website, the latter takes aim directly at the Greek prime minister’s visit, presence and statements in Havana last week, where he travelled to pay homage to the late Fidel Castro. This time, however, criticism against Tsipras was aimed from a distinctly leftwing angle.

Tsipras, whose popularity is collapsing, as far as opinion polls over the last few months are concerned, was the only European head of government to travel to Cuba for the Castro memorial service.

“Comrade Alexis, I have to hand it to you, you are crafty; the craftiest bloke in Greece since 450 BC until today; because you do as you please without considering anyone. You use your personal (corporate) jet, fill it with friends and head off for Cuba, leaving the bill, 300,000 USD, left to be paid by the suckers, who get paid 300 euros a month, at best,” was the beginning of the uncharacteristically harsh reaction towards Tsipras, whom Theodarakis once praised.

“You speak from the Plaza de la Revolucion, where Fidel spoke as a genuine and tough revolutionary … you act the part of revolutionary and when you return (to Greece), you again become what you were, a child that runs the errands of Merkel, Obama and Juncker, the ones who you pilloried in Havana…”

Trump’s Cat Among European Pigeons
21:03 17.01.2017(updated 21:04 17.01.2017)
Finian Cunningham
Incoming US President Donald Trump threw a cat among the European pigeons this week after he said that the EU was heading for breakup and that he didn’t care much if that were to happen. In interviews with British and German newspapers, Trump said a whole lot more too. He described Britain’s decision to split from the EU as a “great” move, and that more countries would follow the Brexit; he called German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door immigration policy a “disaster”; and on the NATO military alliance, the new president said it was “obsolete”. The following day, EU leaders were huffing and puffing with rage and exasperation that Trump should dare be so disrespectful. “Trump’s NATO, EU comments spark fury, fear across Europe,” reported the Washington Times. Germany’s Merkel and French President Francois Hollande told Trump to mind his own business. EU foreign policy chief Federica Morgherini claimed that European states followed their own independent course and did not need Washington anyway. Former French prime minister Manuel Valls, always prone to histrionics, even went as far as decrying Trump for “declaring war on Europe”. The hilarious thing is that Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, and the EU leaders have been for months claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the one who is secretly plotting the breakup of the European bloc and the transatlantic alliance. But after all this rabid scaremongering against Russia, it is an American president, Donald Trump, who is publicly declaring that the days are numbered for the transatlantic status quo. Russia did indeed welcome Trump’s comments about NATO being “obsolete”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “NATO is truly a relic of the past… its entire structure is dedicated to the idea of confrontation; of course, it can hardly be called a modern structure that meets the ideas of stability, sustainable development and security.” Moscow also said that it welcomed the opportunity to normalize relations with Washington as Trump has indicated. He has intimated that he is prepared to lift economic sanctions that Washington imposed on Russia since 2014 over the Ukraine conflict. Despite their pretentious bluster, the truth is that European leaders of all political shades have been absolute lackeys to Washington for the past several decades. Not one European state has dared to stand up to American foreign policy misconduct. In reaction to Trump’s latest broadsides, European leaders are piously claiming to be independent from Washington. Nothing could be further from the truth about the current and past crop of European politicians. Germany’s deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel hit back at Trump’s savaging of Merkel’s “disastrous” immigration policies. He said that the real cause of the refugee crisis in Europe was America’s military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. Well, yes, that is true. But if Sigmar Gabriel knew that was the real cause, then why hasn’t Germany – the most powerful EU member – stood up to Washington to oppose its relentless warmongering. The fact is that the EU has gone along with each and every US-led war around the world over the past 25 years. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya among others. Look at Syria, for instance. The EU has imposed economic sanctions on that forsaken country, in line with Washington’s agenda for regime change, thus exacerbating the exodus of refugees. If the EU had some independent backbone, as it likes to pretend, then it should have firmly opposed the US-led covert intervention in Syria. But it didn’t. The EU is fully complicit. The pernicious role of Britain has to be acknowledged here. No other member of the EU has been such an avid cheerleader for NATO and American atlanticist sway over European affairs. Britain has loyally followed the US into foreign wars, thereby dragging Europe into such follies. If Britain had not been a member of the EU, perhaps the bloc might have had more critical foreign policy, one that was more critical of Washington’s lawless depredations. Ironically now, Britain is leaving the EU after 43 years of membership. But it bequeaths a legacy of subservience to Washington that all remaining EU members find themselves bound by. Perhaps the clearest example of European servility to US foreign policy is its acquiescence to Russophobia and the hostile expansion of US-led military forces along Russia’s borders. European governments have colluded with Washington to meddle in the affairs of Georgia and Ukraine and then seek to cover up the tracks of conflict by blaming Russia for the unrest. Moreover, the EU slavishly followed Washington’s lead to slap economic sanctions on Russia. Those sanctions have caused minimal disruption to America’s economy, but they have wreaked havoc on European farmers, workers and businesses. The incumbent European governments are pathetic. Special mention must be given to French President Hollande, the most unpopular leader ever. To illustrate the puppet status, recall the Mistral helicopter-ship deal worth about $2 billion with Russia. Hollande axed the contract and hence hundreds of French jobs because the Americans instructed him to do so, allegedly to maintain a unified sanctions policy on Moscow. Europe is facing several key national elections this year, in the Netherlands, France and Germany. As with other EU countries there is a popular revolt against the status quo. The mainstream media paint the opposition parties as extremist and racist. The media also claim that Russia is covertly subverting European democracies. This is just scapegoating. Closer to the truth is that ordinary EU citizens are fed up with governments that are in hock to a foreign power – Washington. The atlanticist “alliance” has been nothing but a euphemism for Washington to dominate politically, financially and militarily over Europe. To the point where Europe has trashed its historic links and natural relations with Russia. After decades of kowtowing to Washington, there is now a new US president who is snubbing the “loyal Europeans” and showing disregard for atlanticism. Trump’s comment that he trusts Vladimir Putin equally with Angela Merkel is surely a sharp putdown to Europeans who have allowed his predecessors to dictate disastrous policies for the EU. Under Trump, the US may well move to cancel its sanctions on Russia. What will European lackeys do then? Keep their own futile anti-Russian sanctions that are wrecking their economies, or sheepishly repeal the sanctions because the Americans have done so? But by then it will be too late for the EU. The European Union is already teetering on implosion because for decades its leaders had no courage or vision to serve the interests of their citizens instead of Uncle Sam’s atlanticist designs. Trump’s indifference towards European subservience and the NATO project is a potentially promising new direction to a more balanced international configuration, especially with regard to restoring relations with Russia. It may not work out, of course. Trump has plenty of enemies at home among the Washington establishment who see atlanticist domination of Europe and antagonism towards Russia as a cornerstone of US global hegemonic ambitions. Nevertheless, Trump’s skepticism towards the EU and NATO is setting the cat among the European pigeons. Because it is exposing them as impotent flunkies who have ruined their countries by prostrating themselves as pathetic dependents on American patronage. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201701171049695966-trump-europe-nato/

German communist leader Herbert Mies died at 87 – Statement by the KKE

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

German communist leader Herbert Mies died at 87 – Statement by the KKE

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/01/german-communist-leader-herbert-mies.html
A leading figure of the German communist movement, Herbert Mies, died  on 14 January 2017 in his hometown of Mannheim at the age of 87. Mies joined the Communist Party of Germany in 1945. He was elected chairman of the (West) German Communist Party (DKP) in 1973. He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1985/1986. Mies resigned from his position as party chairman in October 1989.
 
Responding to the news of Herbert Mies’ death, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued the following statement:
 
“With sadness the CC of the KKE was informed about the death of comrade Herbert Mies who was a leading figure of the international and German communist movement, being President of the German CP from 1973 to 1989.
 
For a whole life, until his 87 years, comrade Mies consistently served the working class of Germany, the people of his country. In his youth, he opposed fascism and faced decisively the difficult circumstances of illegality and persecution of the next period. He excelled in the International Communist Movement and was awarded the Lenin Prize.

He was a militant opponent of capitalism and anticommunism. A consistent defender of proletarian internationalism, of the German Democratic Republic and the Soviet Union, of the achievements of socialism.
 
Until the end of his life he stood on the side of the German Communist Party.
 
The Greek communists will remember his internationalist action and solidarity.
 
The CC of the KKE expresses its warm condolences to the CC of the German Communist Party, to the German communists and his family.
 
Source: 902.gr / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
IT’S CAPITALISM, STUPID: Just eight men own same wealth as half the world
| January 17, 2017 | 6:42 pm | Analysis, class struggle, Economy, Vietnam | No comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

IT’S CAPITALISM, STUPID: Just eight men own same wealth as half the world

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/01/its-capitalism-stupid-just-eight-men.html

According to the latest report published by Oxfam eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. Oxfam’s report ‘An economy for the 99%’, shows that the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had been feared.

More specifically:

  • Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world.
  • Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs – a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.
  • The incomes of the poorest 10% of people increased by less than $3 a year between 1988 and 2011, while the incomes of the richest 1% increased 182 times as much.
  • A FTSE-100 CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 people in working in garment factories in Bangladesh.
  • In the US, new research by economist Thomas Piketty shows that over the last 30 years the growth in the incomes of the bottom 50% has been zero, whereas incomes of the top 1% have grown 300%.
  • In Vietnam, the country’s richest man earns more in a day than the poorest person earns in 10 years.

Oxfam’s overall conclusions are misleading – CAPITALISM IS THE ACTUAL SOURCE OF INEQUALITY.

There is no doubt that Oxfam’s statistics are reliable and a valuable source. However, the conclusions made by Oxfam about the reasons of extreme global inequality- and the needed solution to the problem- consist a misleading message to the people. The misleading message is that the capitalist system can be improved and change towards a… “human economy that benefits everyone, not just the privileged few”. 

Oxfam points out some actual issues, such as the tax dodging by corporate companies which drive down the wages of the workers in order to maximize profit, the use of tax heavens etc. However, the heart of the problem cannot be found in theories such as the “super-charged shareholder capitalism” or “casinocapitalism”. The heart of inequality the capitalist system itself- the capitalist mode of production is the root of all problems. 

When Oxfam refers to the need for the creation of a “human economy”, it hides the simple fact that, within Capitalism, an economy for the majority, for the working people, for the masses, isn’t possible. It is also quite hypocritical from the side of Oxfam to keep calling on business leaders to play their part in building a human economy – the only part the bourgeoisie can play in Capitalism is the role of the oppressor.

The only solution for humanity lies on the total overthrow of the capitalist system. The working people, the masses in every country, must not have illusions about a supposed “human economy” within Capitalism, because Capitalism cannot be humanized. The only way out of the misery and the huge inequalities is the struggle against the capitalist exploitative system, for a new society, where the people will be the real masters of the wealth they produce.

IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNISM ©.

Posted by In Defense of Communism

USA / Donald Trump government: Priority in serving the general interests of the capital

Monday, January 16, 2017

USA / Donald Trump government: Priority in serving the general interests of the capital

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/01/usa-donald-trump-government-priority-in.html
Article published on ‘Rizospastis’ Sunday Edition, 15 January 2017 / Translation: In Defense of Communism.


The priorities of the government of the newly-elected U.S. President, Donald Trump, who takes office on January 20th, do not differ from those of the outgoing President Barack Obama because- despite the existing differences in their declarations- their common denominator is to safeguard the general interests of the bourgeoisie. That doesn’t negate a multilevel intra-bourgeois confrontation for the way through which this will be achieved more effectively, especially in a period when the inter-imperialist antagonism is exacerbated, with an estimated relative loss of U.S. leadership in the international capitalist economy and given the difficulties for a more impetuous capitalist recovery. More specifically Trump promotes a different mix of management with stronger elements of protectionism, an issue which however creates difficulties in international trade, which in turn displeases other parts of the (U.S) capital. 

Last Wednesday, Donald Trump gave his first press conference after his electoral victory, offering a foretaste of the new tactics and the fronts of a possible collision. In the background, of course, is the peak of the confrontation between the intelligence agencies (inside and outside the U.S), especially after the publication of a controversial 35 pages-long “report” written by the British former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, currently owner of the “stratetic advice company” named Orbis Business Intelligence. The report claimed that the Russian intelligence services keep the new President under control because of intelligence information regarding financial and sexual activities. These informations were denounced by Trump as “vile and fabricated lies”, giving him rise to criticize part of the bourgeois media, such as CNN.
 
In any case, the “war” between secret services isn’t expected to settle down soon, as it reflects intra-bourgeois contrasts. It is characteristic that on Thursday night, the Inspector General of the U.S. federal Justice Department announced an inquiry regarding the decision of the outgoing FBI Director James Comey to re-open, shortly before the election, the investigation about the e-mails of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. 
 
Review of inter-state agreements.
 
Trump also seemed taking a position regarding a possible conflict with competing forces, such as China, thus bringing back to the fore his campaign promises and intentions to renegotiate trade agreements. This is a fact which, of course, will influence international developments and which, obviously, creates concern to staffs and other imperialist centers, combined with the developments such as the bazaar for Britain’s disengagement from the EU (Brexit) and the Eurozone’s cohesion itself. Trump has already warned for the U.S. withdrawal from the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP), something which inevitably mean new big bazaars and sharpening of the confrontation between competing monopolies that will seek the biggest piece from the “pie” of the new opportunities. It is not clear which power will gain more from a new negotiation, nor it is certain that the U.S. will be that power. Some analysts believe that the possible withdrawal of the U.S. from the TPP will leave an open door to Beijing, in order to push forward for China’s benefit the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership” (RCEP) which began in 2012. 
 
In his interview, Trump “shook his finger” to China which, as he said, “makes billions of dollars by taking advantage of U.S. weaknesses”. That happened while, a few days ago, he had announced, after his meeting with the 52 years-old Chinese business magnate (owner of the e-commerce firm “Alibaba”) Jack Ma, the latter’s plans to create “one million jobs in the U.S.”. 
 
Respectively, regarding the so-called “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement” (TTIP), Trump has said that he will seek hard renegotiation in defense of the U.S. companies. 
 
In relation to Russia, Trump seems to keep a more conciliatory stance, despite the wild war between intelligence services which has targeted him for this choice. It is characteristic that he described as a “plus” the fact that the Russian President Vladimir Putin “likes” him, because, as he explained, this could contribute to the restoration of the bilateral relations which, as he said, are “terrible” today. One must point out that Trump’s choice to compromise with the Russians is not a matter of preference but an issue of interest, as he may use a possible bridge with Moscow in order to exacerbate the pressure towards Beijing. Nonetheless, during their confirmation hearings at the Senate, the proposed Trump’s ministers, Rex Tillerson for the Department of State and James Mattis for the Department of Defense, marked Russia as a “threat”.

A significant part of the press conference was also dedicated to the need, as Trump pointed out, for the U.S better defense towards cyberattacks, which, for the first time he admitted, have been unleashed “from Russia, China and many other countries”. It is interesting that he appointed the former New York Governor Rudolph Giuliani in the new position of the cybersecurity adviser, responsible for private sector’s cybersecurity. That means a very positive action for the monopolies operating in the field of cybersecurity, such as Giuliani’s company “Giuliani Partners”.

Trump clarified once again that he will immediately proceed to the construction of the wall in the southern borders of the USA with Mexico, despite “the friendship and respect” for the people and the government of the neighboring country. He (Trump) tried to show consistency with his central electoral campaign promises, taking into account his objective to present himself as the “antisystemic president” who wants to “make America great again” and to create in the long term a “movement” which will resonate in the middle and lower social strata. 

Promises for better healthcare and employment.


As it has been seen, it is in the immediate priorities of Trump to withdraw and replace the reforms promoted by the outgoing President Barack Obama (Obamacare), in order to benefit specific monopolies of pharmaceutical groups and parts of the diagnostic medical centers’ “industry”. 

Trump claims that he will replace Obamacare with a “cheaper and better” system. Chances are that he will attempt to redistribute the “pie” in favor of the monopolies operating in the sectors of Health and Insurance.

Furthermore, Donald Trump repeated his promises for the “rescue” and the creation of new jobs, thus “throwing down the gauntlet” to those industries which didn’t correspond strongly to his efforts to prevent the transfer of factories abroad, such as in Mexico. He managed to highlight his recent agreements with industries, such as the automobile company “Ford” and the air-conditioning manufacturer “Carrier” that withdrew their plans for transfering their factories in Mexico and he threatened with very heavy imposts or “border taxes” those industries which will resist the pressures for keeping job positions in the US, such as the automotive “General Motors” corporation which doesn’t seem to “give in”.

It becomes obvious that the choice of Trump, like the one of Obama previously as the first black President, serves the specific needs of the capital in every given time. However, the billionaire businessman has managed more effectively to manipulate the popular strata which had no benefit from the slight capitalist recovery after the outbreak of the 2008 capitalist crisis. The fact of the absence of a strong Communist Party with a revolutionary strategy and a class-based orientation undoubtedly contriubutes to the overal entrapment of popular forces. 

Rizospastis, 15/1/2017, p.30.

Communist Party of Mexico- The class character of interstate unions in America

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Communist Party of Mexico- The class character of interstate unions in America

Class character of interstate unions in America.
By Pável Blanco Cabrera & Angel Chávez Mancilla*.
Source: International Communist Review, Issue 6, 2015.
A class approach that puts aside populist criteria is necessary, and this is done on a scientific basis, using the Marxist method of analysing reality, considering the degree of development of capitalism, the process of concentration and centralization in the imperialist phase, emphasizing what is general, without neglecting the peculiarities, and avoiding to place the part above the all. Marxist doctrine establishes the mutual connection between the phenomena of nature and society rather than analyse them in isolation. As V.S. Molodtsov noted “to deny the interdependence of phenomena goes against the possibility of knowledge as a single whole, as opposed to metaphysics Marxism-Leninism developed a truly scientific method of knowledge and transformation of reality. This method requires, first of all, considering all the phenomena of nature and society in mutual connection and interdependence“[1].
These features of Marxist-Leninist analysis are not always followed and dogmatic approaches remain, for example, with regard to the study of imperialism. For example, the relationships of economic dependences are considered fixed, immovable. In addition it neglects an essential quality of imperialism, that Lenin clarified, that it is monopoly capitalism, beating away free competition[2]; five traits are expressed in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, and they only cling to one, dodging other traits of critical importance. This leads to distortions in the analysis of contemporary interstate unions and the anti-imperialist struggle itself, strictly limiting it to the conception of weak countries versus foreign powers, or economic subordination relations, without considering that capital is developing and there are constant changes, and interdependence phenomena.
Since the beginning of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Canada, USA , Mexico) in 1994, interstate unions are being promoted in America, bilateral, multilateral and even those of continental character, with economic, trade, customs, immigration, regional integration, police and military collaboration.
Latin America is not an exclusive “backyard ” of US monopolies, though its economic and political interests are still dominant, there is an increasingly growing presence of capitals from the European Union, China, and even the coordinated presence of monopolies of South America, and monopolies of each the countries involved, which are benefitted and who will occupy key places in the economic areas in which they participate.
Approaches on the class character of these interstate unions are plagued by confusion, because perceptions are mechanically supported by previous elaborations, dogmatically, as corresponding to a different time of development of capitalism rather that in its imperialist stage, and even to historical analogies such as colonial domination. This leads to ambiguity in strategic development by several communist and workers’ parties, and to the marsh in the class struggle, tasks and allies are mistaken, and promoting class collaboration, ideological misrepresentation, postponing the historic goal that was already mapped out in 1848 in the program for the communists which Marx and Engels wrote.
A first issue, is the way the Leninist theory of imperialism is assumed. Reductively it is focused as a relation of domination, and not the highest and final stage of capitalism, as monopoly capitalism. Imperialism is thus identified with “Yankee imperialism”, as a new colonial power, and maintains that the first task of the Communists is to fight for national independence, a task in which a spectrum of cross-class alliances is designed and the bourgeoisie is divided between “national” and “pro-imperialist”; by anti-imperialist sectors they mean anti-American, not necessarily antimonopoly because that would be involving many “national” monopolies, with which opposition platforms are forged against “foreign” monopolies. It is clear to the Communists, that regardless of nationality, whether they hold a higher or lower place, any monopoly is an essential component of the international imperialist system.
The main conclusion of this misperception is that Latin American countries are dependent, neo-colonies of American imperialism, and this conclusion is signed by a significant number of communist and labour parties of the region, and shared by reformist, opportunistic, and even political expressions of the bourgeoisie, not only at national scale but regional and seeking a continental character, plus it is no coincidence that these formations[3] have correspondence with projects or mechanisms of some interstate unions, claiming its alternative nature to the American imperialist centre.
It is assumed that the dominant role of the US is static, without considering the inter-imperialist contradictions and intense battle between sharks to occupy the top of the pyramid. True, today in America the monopolies from US are dominant, but they are not as much as 50, 25 or even 10 years ago, because every time they are losing ground to competitors on the rise of other nationalities. Leninist law of uneven development is checked.
When influencing the strategy and tactics, the opportunist character that contains class struggle manifests itself for it sections capital, considering that the national capital must be protected from abroad and leads to loss of class independence of the workers, placing them at the tail of the bourgeoisie.
Let us take the case of NAFTA, against which the Communists have been fighting since 1994, and even before, when it was a project proposed by the government of George Bush. Overall popular class forces, including us[4], subscribed that Mexico being a dependent country the free trade area meant that Mexico went from being a semi colony into a process of direct annexation by the United States. The struggle perspective stood with the flag of national independence and sovereignty and conceived a broad front with part of the bourgeoisie of the country. If you see the resolutions, declarations issued by PCM then you will find that we had more concern for the future of the industrial manufacturing, textiles, agriculture, small industry, bourgeois facing foreseeable ruin, and you will notice very little reference to the situation of Mexican, Canadian, American and migrant working class. More than two decades later the assessment that history provides allows us to confirm that this approach was wrong, because not only the American monopolies made huge profits, but also Canadian and Mexican monopolies, which strengthened and absorbed the weaker ones in the USA, in the field of telephony, America Movil, and in the mining branch, Industrial Minera Mexico, both dominant Mexican monopolies that plunder, export capital to and exploit workers of the in the US and in Latin America, and have a multifaceted character as they have expanded their investments from telephony to the press, and in general communication services, food, pharmaceuticals, etc. In the case of Industrial Minera Mexico it absorbed several monopolies in the mining and metal-mechanical branch in the US, Peru and Chile. Other instructive examples are the monopoly of the Mexican Bimbo, the food industry, which already dominates the sector in Spain and ventures into China; Construction monopoly ICA, in competition with Brazilian Odebrecht dispute monopoly control of the sector in building roads, bridges and infrastructure; a sobering example is the state monopoly Pemex also locks in that direction, it expanded its line of control in ports and shipyards in Spain. They are not exceptions, you could list other, and check that regardless of nationality monopolies increased their profits, advanced concentrating and centralizing in their field and expanding to others, likewise workers, regardless of nationality, are exploited, impoverished, and are affected by the measures taken by the interstate unions – in this case the NAFTA, to affect their labour rights, reducing them to ashes, devaluing the work and sharpening the capital / labour contradiction, in addition to other measures such as privatization and cutting public sectors of education, health, etc. But not only in the case of NAFTA, Plan Puebla-Panama, bilateral treaties, tried and failed in the FTAA, but also in agreements with the EU, and even in the “alternative” called as MERCOSUR, UNASUR and ALBA, where monopolies of these countries have consolidated as dominant in important branches of agriculture, construction, energy, and also concatenated with blocks, which in the inter dispute with the US, as the case of the BRICS, consider them strategic partners climbing the imperialist pyramid.
Is it correct to speak of Mexico as a dependent and semicolonial country when it ranks 11th in the gross world product? When monopolies are consolidated after a long process of concentration and centralization? According to our findings, set out in the program adopted by the V Congress of the PCM, Mexico is a country of average development in which capitalist relations are fully consolidated, intermediate in the imperialist pyramid, with interdependent relationships that ensure the development of monopolies.
As the Communist Party of Greece states: “History has shown that monopoly as a result of the concentration of capital, as a fundamental law of the present stage of capitalism is a general trend worldwide and can coexist with forms of pre-capitalist economy and property.[5]” That is, in Mexico there are characteristics of economic backwardness, though it is not dominant, as is usually intense and growing capitalist development; there are relationships of dependence and interdependence, stronger with the US economy, and growing with the European Union. We reiterate, there are very strong, dominant Mexican monopolies.
We are convinced of the fight against interstate unions, because these are unfavourable to the people and the working class, and that it has to start from a rigorous class analysis, otherwise, if wrong analyses and perceptions prevail, a wrong strategy will lead to the delay of antimonopoly, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist objectives.
Among the ideological components of non-class analysis we find the following:
a) Placing the fundamental contradiction as dependence / independence and erroneously displacing the essence of the era which is capital / labour antagonism.
b) Overideologizing the independence and anti-colonialist struggle of the nineteenth century, looking to extract out poetry of the past, and not from the future[6]. The action and the program of Hidalgo, Bolivar, Juarez, San Martin, Sucre, etc., corresponding to a particular time, two centuries ago, when the rising bourgeoisie found in favour of their class interests the need to form their States freeing them from the colonial domination of the Spanish crown, moving immediately to establish domination of the bourgeois class over the exploited and oppressed. Recognizing the revolutionary-democratic struggles and characterizing these as progressive in its time, is downright insufficient wanting to find in the programs of old the flags that workers must now take up to achieve their emancipation. Concepts such as “Monroeism vs bolivarianism” for example, contribute to conceal that at the time the antagonist is socialism vs. capitalism, and the same applies to projects of “Gran Colombia”, etc, etc, today raised by political forces that do not fight against monopolies, but on behalf of those of their respective nationalities.
c) By placing independence as the immediate objective and broad cross-class alliances as the political subject to obtain it, intermediate stages are set, and although those who advocate them may adhere to the socialist-communist goal, they only do so formally for siding with any specific section of the bourgeoisie contributes to the prolongation of capitalist society.
d) Categories such as neoliberalism, globalization, multipolarity, which provide space to the improvement and “humanization” of capitalism, managing it differently, hiding the class conflict in international relations and leading the working class and peoples to take sides in the inter dispute by a block opposite to the US, a more “friendly” one.
e) When considering imperialism as a metropolis, the class struggle in each country is left aside, for the sake of “national unity”, to focus on the struggle against foreign domination.
Another important issue is the following. There is a consensus among the opportunist forces that interstate agreements promoted by the US imperialist centre must be fought in favour of national sections of the bourgeoisie. However when these intergovernmental agreements are with other imperialist centres the position changes, they are presented as the passage of a unipolar to a multipolar world, wording which hides the need to fight for a new world, where other social relationships exist, where workers’ power imposes new conditions favourable to the peoples in open dispute against imperialism. The same is true when the State Union is e.g. MERCOSUR, UNASUR and ALBA-TCP. The equation is simple, the sum of capitalist economies results in an inter-block and cannot result in a popular alliance opposed to monopolies. Where is the alternative there? Let us go to the case of ALBA-TCP that arouses expectations; the presence of Cuba, qualitatively, the economic weight, due to the difficulties it had as a result of the imperialist blockade, has no decisive economic weight relative to the other participating countries that are qualitatively capitalist countries. The ALBA-TCP also recommends capital investment in Latin America itself; true, the Bolivarian political processes of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, arouses expectation on the course they can take; but until today, in the Venezuelan case, after 16 years, the bottom line is that the capitalist structure remains intact and monopolies still dominate. Just as wrong is “socialism of the XXI century” (market socialism, bourgeois state, multi-class party, defence of private property and profits of monopolies), as thinking that these processes have a nature distinct of the capitalist one.
ALBA actually functions as a supranational structure just as the EU, and has established an economic base in capitalist relations of production that leads them to undertake joint economic projects as the development of monopoly enterprises with state investment from member countries of ALBA, and private investment to a lesser extent, as are the so called grand-national projects and grand-national companies that have raised venture in mining and metallurgy of aluminum, iron and steel. The boost they propose to give the cement industry with the construction of a cement plant with portland type production capacity of 1,000,000 tons / year, in the departments of Oruro and Potosi with the participation of Cuba and Venezuela is also significant, as it makes clear that the expropriation of CEMEX[7] in Venezuela responds to capitalist economic interests such as the creation of a cement monopoly.[8]
Although the ALBA declares that “The concept of grand-national companies emerged in opposition to transnational companies, therefore, its economic dynamics will be directed to favour the production of goods and services to satisfy human needs” and believes that opposes the logic of capital accumulation, the reality is that economic cooperation does not change the basis of the economic system, so the Grannacional projects are actually a way to develop the industrialization of the countries participating in the ALBA which will lead to the development and strengthening of monopolies, consolidating the ALBA as an imperialist bloc.[9]
Let us recall that Lenin in Imperialism, Highest Stage of Capitalism, warned that “the monopolies have never pursued as an end, nor have resulted, in providing benefits to consumers or, at least, make available to the state a part of employer benefits, rather they have served for the State to bailout private industry, which has come almost to bankruptcy”, in this case the states of the ALBA alliance are seeking to encourage monopolies.
Another example that interstate alliances are of inter-imperialist nature is that for example the special ALBA 2014 Communiqué on states affected by transnational interests does not pronounce against the power of monopolies in general but against those most closely linked to US capital, promoting indirectly with the Southern Observatory on Investment and Transnationals that monopolies that exploit workers in the region respond to the interests of the ALBA, i.e. the exploitation of the working class of the ALBA countries enrich the grand-national companies.[10]
The economic alliance takes ALBA to close military links to defend their economic interests, as NATO is the armed wing of the member countries of the EU, which is why it counts with a defence and sovereignty committee composed of the defence ministers of the member countries seeking “popular joint comprehensive defence strategy and to establish a school of dignity and sovereignty of the armed forces” behind the popular sovereignty and integral defence is the defence of monopoly interests.
Appreciated in their economic characteristics, interstate agreements in the Americas, without exception, have a capitalist class nature and cannot be presented as alternatives to the working class and peoples.
In the fight against them, i.e. in the struggle against the international imperialist system Communists must always specify the antimonopoly and anti-capitalist content and take into account that the struggle is national in form and international for its content. That is, to put a current example, part of the anti-imperialist struggle for the Mexican proletariat is fighting the monopoly Industrial Minera Mexico that now exploits the Peruvian and American proletariat through the Southern Cooper Company. Of very little use it is to break with NAFTA if it is to benefit the monopolies of national origin. Fighting interstate agreements, in our conception and strategic analysis, is linked to the struggle for socialism and workers’ and people’s power, i.e. with a clear anti-monopoly and anti-capitalist vision.
The overthrow of capitalism, of monopoly power is the basic condition to break the plundering of peoples and the exploitation of the proletariat, to forge relations of equality among peoples and ensuring development with socialism-communism will bring welfare of the working class and popular sectors.
NOTES:
[1] V.S. Molodotsov; Marxist dialectics and the mutual connection and interdependence of nature and society phenomena, in Dialectic Materialism; Science Academy of the USSR, under the editing of  V. P. Tchertkov, V. S. Molodtsov, D.M. Trochin, K.V. Moroz, F.I. Kalochin, etc; Moscow 1954.
[2] Let us remember that the features that Lenin assigns to imperialism are the follwing: “(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopoly capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.”
Lenin, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism, LCW Volume 22
[3] For example the Conference of Organizations and Political Parties of Latin America (COPPAL), the forum of Sao Paulo, which has strong ties with the Left European Party, and that to a great extent are functional for the collaboration of Latin American capitals with European, fundamentally between the MERCOSUR-EU agreements. Organizations that in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s of the XX century, led armed struggles in Central America and that have evolved towards social-democracy, and not as a degeneration, rather a logical result of its class origin and its program, are also inscribed in this analysis. It is in general the position denominated as left, concept that the PCM does not use for it does not express with clarity the class position and it does cloud ideologically, for it misleads, as for left today is also understood liberal formations, socialdemocrats and even capitalist options of neokeynesian management.
[4] The Communist Party of Mexico kept from 1994 and until the year 1999 a platform of struggle against NAFTA baseed on the misleading position that it was an anticolonial struggle for independence to break chains of imperialist domination, from 1999 the focus of struggle acquired a class character, and the rupture with monopolies that exploited the working class not only of Mexico, but also of USA and Canada. It was however until the IV Congress in the year 2010, when the position of rupture with NAFTA and any inter-state agreement was linked with the struggle for socialism-communism and for workers and people’s power.
[5] The Leninist approach of KKE on imperialism and the imperialist pyramid. Written Contribution of KKE to the 9th International Conference “Lenin and the contemporary world”
[6] As Marx well emphasized in the 18th Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte
[7] Mexican monopoly expropriated by the bolivarian government of Venezuela, ¿Do we the working class communist have to choose between the monopoly of the mexican bourgeoisie, or the monopoly of southamerican monopoly? For none, for our duty is to propose the socialization of the means of production and change.
[10] Approved communiqué of the XIV Political Council of ALBA, New York, September 26, 2014.
 
* Pável Blanco Cabrera is the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico and Angel Chávez Mancilla is Responsible for the Ideology Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico, Director of El Machete.