Category: Eurocommunism
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST BULLETIN #1

Monday, January 23, 2017

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST BULLETIN #1

23 January 2017.
https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/01/international-communist-bulletin-1.html
THE COMMUNIST PARTY, ITALY HELDS ITS SECOND NATIONAL CONGRESS. 
(Source: ICP) 
 
ROME – Italian communists gathered in the capital city of Rome for the Second National Congress of the Communist Party, Italy (PC). Communist Party, Italy (PC)  was founded in 2009 with the aim to be a leading Marxist-Leninist organisation of the peninsula and since then has defined itself with the ideas of Italian partisan and communist leader Pietro Secchia. On Sunday 22nd January, Italian communists gathered in the capital city of Rome for the Second National Congress of the Communist Party, Italy (PC).
 
The congress was attended by hundreds of Italian communists, along with the representatives of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the Workers’ Communist Party of Russia-Communist Party of the Soviet Union (RKRP-KPSS) and the Communist Party of Albania (PKS) as well as official delegations from the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, the Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Communist Youth Front (Fronte della Gioventù Comunista). The congress thus opened with the commemoration of Fidel Castro, the founder and leader of the Cuban Revolution who passed away a couple of months ago, and the victims of the recent series of earthquakes in Central Italy. 
In his speech, the First Secretary (Segretario Nazionale) of the PC, Marco Rizzo pointed out the failures of the opportunist “left” across Europe, of which SYRIZA had already become an epitome. He also criticised the alliances forged by “eurocommunists” in Italy, as well as the “so-called anti-system forces” such as comedian Beppe Grillo’s “Five Star Movement” and reactionary rightists such as Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni whose stance is “merely fluff, just to get a few more votes”. His criticism was picked up by the delegation of the KKE, who emphasised that the shortcomings of the “left-wing forces” that rose to power in Greece, Cyprus and Portugal showed that “the bourgeois state can’t be dismantled by electing a supposedly left-wing government in a capitalist framework” and that “such forces have thus executed policies which only served to save the capitalist system”.
Notably, both the present and former leaders of the Communist Youth Front spoke at the Congress. The former leader of the Communist Youth Front and member of the Central Committee of the PC, Alessandro Mustillo, underlined the “practical” needs of the party, whereas the current leader, Lorenzo Lang, emphasised on the cooperation between the PC and the Communist Youth Front.
The Communist Party (Turkey), along with the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE), the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia (NKPJ), the Union of Revolutionary Communists of France (URCF), the Pole of the Communist Rebirth in France (PRCF), the Socialist Labour Party of Croatia (SRP), the Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism (PADS) and the Communist Party of Sweden (SKP), has hailed the Congress of the PC. 
* * * 
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF TURKEY COMES BACK TO POLITICAL SCENE.
ISTANBUL- After a three-year break, today, the Communist Party of Turkey, or TKP is back to the political scene through a historical assembly in İstanbul with the participation of thousands of communists from all over Turkey and central committee members of several communist and worker’s parties of the World.
The political crisis in 2014 that led to division and suspension of the TKP came to the conclusion today through the will of thousands of communists. Following the appeal of the seven members of the TKP on December 27, 2016, and the declaration of the committee responsible for the continuity of the TKP, which was formed in 2014, thousands of communists from all over the country gathered in İstanbul. The historical assembly started with the speech of Yaşar Çelik, one of the seven members of the TKP who made the appeal for today’s assembly. 
 
Giorgos Marinos, the member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), read the congratulatory statement of the KKE.
 
“In April 2016, while saluting you, we had stated that your party should take over the name that it deserves and it was the time to struggle as the Communist Party of Turkey, as the TKP, among its own people, and within the International Communist Movement. We salute this decision of the communists of Turkey and congratulate them,” said the statement. Marinos, underlining the strong relation between the TKP and the KKE that has been lasting for several years, also stated that ‘The relation between the TKP and the KKE is an example of an internationalist relation that is built up under very complicated conditions.  This relation is experienced by the guidance of the class interests, the union of the working classes of the two countries, the struggle for overthrowing the capitalism and building socialism-communism. The same thing is valid for our youth organizations the KG [Communist Youth] and KNE [Communist Youth of Greece].’
 
After the speech of Marinos, Alberto Gonzalez Casals took the floor on behalf of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). Casals mentioned the importance of the return of the TKP to the political scene. Following the speech of Casals, İbrahim Bulut, the member of the committee responsible for the continuity of the TKP made a speech on behalf of the committee. He stated that, despite several problems, the committee has carried on the mission that it had undertaken with patience and honor.
 
“The committee, with the sense of responsibility, made an appeal in July 2016, considering the need for the Communist Party of Turkey of our country and the struggle for socialism, for the return of the TKP to the political scene. This appeal is welcome enthusiastically and supported by numerous comrades,” Bulut said.  Bulut explained and summarized the process since then and stated that the people who gather today show the will for the return of the TKP to the political scene. He said that the committee would be happy to delegate its responsibilities and powers that it has been shouldering for more than two and a half years to the council formed in the assembly.
 
Kaya Güvenç, another member of the council, following the speech of Bulut, stated that, along with the testimony of the committee, it is possible and legitimate for the assembly to take decisions.
 
Güvenç submitted the proposal to the TKP members in the assembly that the central committee members of the Communist Party (KP), Turkey form the central will of the TKP and these comrades take on the task of the Central Committee of the TKP until a congress to be organized in 2017. Following the approval of the proposal by the members of the TKP, Kemal Okuyan, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the KP,  was invited to take the floor on behalf of the Central Committee of the TKP.
 
Okuyan started his speech by the question of ‘What is the use of a communist party?’ and underlined the irreconcilability of the interests of the working class and the bourgeoisie, stating that the TKP has always abstained from that. Kemal Okuyan mentioned that a communist party ‘is the party that focuses on overthrowing the capitalist rule; the wise woman, the vanguard, the facilitator of this process’.
 
Drawing from the Soviet  and Cuban revolutions, which started with the leadership of parties and movements with limited number of people and overthrew the capitalist rule,  and contrasting them with the German Social Democratic Party at the beginning of the 20th century, which then attained high election scores but was no more a threat for the capitalist system,  Kemal Okuyan underlined the importance of sticking with the ultimate target of overthrowing capitalism.
 
34 communist and worker’s parties of the World sent support messages to the TKP.
 
* * * 
POLISH COMMUNIST LEADER MARIAN INDELAK DIED AT 90.
 
WARSAW- One of the founders and activist of the Communist Party of Poland, Marian Indelak passed away at the age of 90.
On 16th of January, Marian Indelak – one of the founders and activist of the Communist Party of Poland, persecuted for his political beliefs, passed away.
Marian Indelak was born on 25th of January 1927 in Dąbrowa Górnicza. Indelak started his political activism as a teenager, during the Second World War. He was working in F. Dzierzynski Foundry (now Bank Foundry) in Dąbrowa Górnicza. Marian Indelak was a member of the Combat Youth Movement, Polish Workers’ Party and Polish United Workers’ Party.
In 1990 he was among the founders of the Union of Polish Communists “Proletariat” and in 2002 of the Communist Party of Poland. For many years he was the secretary and treasurer of the CC and member of the editorial board of “Brzask” periodical.
Persecuted for communist activity. He was among four activists sentenced on 31st of March 2016 for his work in the periodical. He died several days before his 90th birthday and next court hearing on further proceedings during his trial.
The funeral for Marian Indelak took place on 20th of January in Dąbrowa Górnicza.
* * * 

WFTU FOR THE PLUNDERING OF THE EMPLOYEES PROVIDENT FUND IN SRI LANKA.

 
COLOMBO- On 19th January, 2017 , the Inter Company Employees Union held a giant Protest in Colombo, the Capital city of Sri Lanka, against the Ranil- Mithree bourgeois government for putting the Employees Provident Fund, the largest Social Security Fund in Sri Lanka, to danger and allowing the culprits to loot the money from the Fund. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is the Trustee of this Fund but it has neglected its duty to protect the Money belong to People.
During last several months, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has directed to buy treasury bonds from third party and the lost made by this irrational investment was nearly Rs. 15 000 millions. The EPF money had used to buy Treasury Bonds from the secondary market even there are provisions to buy bonds directly from the Central Bank.
The Union urged the government to take immediate steps to recover the lost from the culprits.
The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 92 million workers, supports the struggles for the protection of the right of Social Security and the safeguarding of the Employees Provident Fund in order to be utilized in favor of the workers.
A World in Shambles: An Interview With C.J. Polychroniou

 

http://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/03/01/2017/world-shambles-interview-cj-polychroniou

Interviewed by Marcus Rolle and Alexandra Boutros – 3rd January 2017

A World in Shambles: An Interview With C.J. Polychroniou

“We live in ominously dangerous times” stated the opening line of an article by C.J. Polychroniou (with Lily Sage) titled “A New Economic System for a World in Rapid Disintegration,” which was recently published in Truthout. And while the aforementioned piece was mainly a scathing critique of global neoliberal capitalism and a call for a new system of economic and social organization, its underlying thesis was that the world system is breaking down and that contemporary societies are in disarray.

Is the (Western) world in shambles? We interviewed C.J. Polychroniou about the current world situation, with emphasis on developments in Europe and the United States, and sought his views on a host of pertinent political, economic and social issues, including the rise of the far right and the capitulation of the left.

Marcus Rolle and Alexandra Boutri: Let’s start by asking — what exactly do you have in mind when you say, “We live in ominously dangerous times?”

C.J. Polychroniou: We live in a period of great global complexity, confusion and uncertainty. It should be beyond dispute that we are in the midst of a whirlpool of events and developments that are eroding our capability to manage human affairs in a way that is conducive to the attainment of a political and economic order based on stability, justice and sustainability. Indeed, the contemporary world is fraught with perils and challenges that will test severely humanity’s ability to maintain a steady course towards anything resembling a civilized life.

For starters, we have been witnessing the gradual erosion of socio-economic gains in much of the advanced industrialized world since at least the early 1980s, along with the rollback of the social state, while a tiny percentage of the population is amazingly wealthy beyond imagination that compromises democracy, subverts the “common good” and promotes a culture of dog-eat-dog world.

The pitfalls of massive economic inequality were identified even by ancient scholars, such as Aristotle, and yet we are still allowing the rich and powerful not only to dictate the nature of society we live in but also to impose conditions that make it seem as if there is no alternative to the dominance of a system in which the interests of big business have primacy over social needs.

In this context, the political system known as representative democracy has fallen completely into the hands of a moneyed oligarchy which controls humanity’s future. Democracy no longer exists. The main function of the citizenry in so-called “democratic” societies is to elect periodically the officials who are going to manage a system designed to serve the interests of a plutocracy and of global capitalism. The “common good” is dead, and in its place we have atomized, segmented societies in which the weak, the poor and powerless are left at the mercy of the gods.

I contend that the above features capture rather accurately the political culture and socio-economic landscape of “late capitalism.” Nonetheless, the prospects for radical social change do not appear promising in light of the huge absence of unified ideological gestalts guiding social and political action. What we may see emerge in the years ahead is an even harsher and more authoritarian form of capitalism.

Then, there is the global warming phenomenon, which threatens to lead to the collapse of much of civilized life if it continues unabated. The extent to which the contemporary world is capable of addressing the effects of global climate change — frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought, rising sea levels, waves of mass migration — is indeed very much in doubt. Moreover, it is also unclear if a transition to clean energy sources suffices at this point in order to contain the further rising of temperatures. To be sure, global climate change will produce in the not-too-distant future major economic disasters, social upheavals and political instability.

If the climate change crisis is not enough to make one convinced that we live in ominously dangerous times, add to the above picture the ever-present threat of nuclear weapons. In fact, the threat of a nuclear war or the possibility of nuclear attacks is more pronounced in today’s global environment than any other time since the dawn of the atomic age. A multi-polar world with nuclear weapons is a far more unstable environment than a bipolar world with nuclear weapons, particularly if we take into account the growing presence and influence of non-state actors, such as extreme terrorist organizations, and the spread of irrational and/or fundamentalist thinking, which has emerged as the new plague in many countries around the world, including first and foremost the United States.

What is the state of the Left in today’s Europe?

Since the collapse of Soviet communism, the European Left has been in a state of complete disarray, although the crisis of Europe’s Left dates back to the 1970s — i.e., long before the collapse of “actually existing socialism.”  But let’s be clear. What do we mean today by the term European Left? The European Socialist and Social Democratic parties abandoned long ago any pretext to being “socialistic” and, in fact, have become advocates of austerity and staunch supporters of free-market capitalism. There are some communist parties still around, but most of them are completely marginalized and lack political influence.

Only in Greece do you have a communist party that still carries some influence inside the labor movement, but it is essentially a Stalinist party and has actually worked hard to maintain political stability and thus the status quo. Nonetheless, until very recently, the Greek Communist Party was far more popular than the Coalition of the Radical Left, popularly known as Syriza, which has been in government since January 2015, thanks to the terrible financial and economic crisis that broke out in early 2010 and has since converted the country to a German/European protectorate.

There are, of course, grassroots movements and parties of the radical Left to be found in virtually every European country, but they lack mass popular support. The rise of Syriza in Greece was seen as representing a new dawn for the European Left, but its complete sellout to the euro masters and its actual conversion to a neoliberal and thoroughly corrupt political party has actually been one of the biggest setbacks for progressive forces throughout the continent.

You were expressing strong reservations about Syriza, in fact through these pages, long before its rise to power. What actually went wrong with the Greek Radical Left?

Syriza was a loose organization of various leftist groups (old-fashioned euro communists, anarcho-communists, Maoists and even social democrats), and its appeal was confined mainly to the intellectual class. It lacked a cohesive ideological worldview and, in fact, [it] was difficult to pinpoint its stance on a variety of crucial issues due to the many political factions that it represented.

Naturally, the great majority of the Greek voters saw Syriza as being nothing more than a movement of political clowns, with Alexis Tsipras at its helm. However, a close look around Syriza’s core leadership would have revealed a group of people who were simply political opportunists, people hungry for power. To me, therefore, it was obvious that, in the event that Syriza came to power, two things would happen: first, a split between radicals and opportunists, and second, the capitulation of the opportunists (Alexis Tsipras and his gang) to the domestic economic elite and the euromasters. And this is precisely what has happened.

After five years of brutal austerity and the sharpest decline of the standard of living in any postwar European country, the Greek people voted into power Syriza, believing that its leader, Alexis Tsipras, would carry through with his pre-election promises of ending austerity and subsequently re-boosting the economy, tearing into pieces the EU/IMF bailout agreements, and forc[ing] the cancellation of a major portion of the debt. But shortly after coming to power, the opportunists realized that the option was either complete surrender to the capitalist forces or stepping down from power. They opted for the former, just so they could stay in power, even if it meant completing the carry out of the neoliberal agenda of the European Union and the IMF as part of the financial bailout of the country.

Syriza has been in power for nearly two years now, and, during this time, it has shoved the neoliberal agenda down the throat of the Greek people with more forcefulness and determination than any previous government. It agreed to a new, far more brutal and humiliating bailout plan, and is now overseeing the complete privatization of the economy and the further deterioration of the standard of living, thereby fulfilling the long-held view of the European neoliberal masters that Greek wages and the nation’s standard of living should not be above those found in nearby Balkan countries like Bulgaria and Romania. Any public official or government minister standing in the way to the implementation of the neoliberal agenda was either isolated or pushed out of the government. Indeed, one of Tsipras’ most pronounced traits as prime minister of Greece is the ease with which he is selling out his former comrades.

To secure his goals and aims, i.e., the sellout of the country, he even ended up recruiting as his lackeys academics from abroad, such as the president of the (allegedly progressive) Levy Institute, Dimitri Papadimitriou, and his wife, Rania Antonopoulos, who is currently serving as the Greek Alternate Minister for Combatting Unemployment. Shortly after having accepted the position of Minister of Economy and Development as a result of a recent cabinet reshuffle, Papadimitriou — when asked about his research as an economist in which he challenged the European dogmas of austerity and neoliberalism and advocated the introduction of a “parallel” currency for the deeply ailing Greek economy — replied by saying that, “until last week I was an academic, and academics may say … things. But when the time comes to implement a program, then they realize that some things may have been wrong!”

Of course, the Greek media had a feast over the amazing opportunism and the hypocrisy of this man, but his reaction has been rather typical among pseudo-progressives and social democrats all throughout modern history. Unsurprisingly, Papadimitriou also went on to say that Greeks, Spaniards and Italians live beyond their means, thereby displaying his obedience to the EU and IMF masters, and that one of the major comparative advantages that Greece now enjoys is that it is a country with “cheap labor.”

What has been happening in Greece may represent an extreme example because of the actual state of the economy, but it is quite representative of the state of politics of contemporary European Left. That is, a Left without political convictions and values, a Machiavellian Left that prefers to serve the Masters of Mankind than seek to reorganize society from below.

What is your explanation for the rise of Donald Trump, and do you actually see a future in “Trumpism”?

Understanding the phenomenon of Donald Trump demands that we look beyond the individual himself and, instead, into the way US society has evolved over the last few decades. Millions of Americans have seen their livelihoods either entirely collapse or be threatened by economic forces which they neither understand or control. For example, they (and Donald Trump) blame Mexico and China for the loss of American jobs, but no one is taking the trouble to point out to them that the bulk of the products that China, for example, exports to the United States are being produced by US or multinational corporations who opted to move their operations outside the US in order to take advantage of cheap labor opportunities. In the meantime, wages in the US have remained stagnant over the course of the last 25 years for the great majority of the population, while the economy has grown considerably. But the economic gains end up almost exclusively in the hands of a tiny corporate and financial elite, which also controls the political agenda.

“Trumpism” and disingenuous populism represent the future of American politics, especially since the economic policies that the Trump administration will implement will surely further deteriorate the state of inequality in this country and thus do nothing to ameliorate anger and anxiety about the future, which were the driving forces that sent so many people into Donald Trump’s arms.

Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for concision. Reprinted with permission from Truthout.

Kostas Papadakis (KKE MEP)- No trust in any bourgeois government, any bourgeois class, any imperialist alliance

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kostas Papadakis (KKE MEP)- No trust in any bourgeois government, any bourgeois class, any imperialist alliance

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2016/12/kostas-papadakis-kke-mep-no-trust-in.html
Source: inter.kke.gr.
 
Kostas Papadakis, member of the CC and MEP, in the introductory speech of the KKE at the international seminar of the KKE’s delegation to the European Parliament stressed the following:
Dear comrades,
Our seminar today aims to shed light on contemporary, complex and serious (for the workers) developments, through the prism of  Leninist thought, as this was exemplified 100 years ago in the work “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe”. With the utilization of other works that also analyze the constituent elements of imperialism, as the highest stage of capitalism.
Today, we see new inter-state unions next to the old ones, like NATO and the EU. Unions are emerging in Eurasia, Latin America, Asia that supposedly aim to unite the peoples and economic life of entire continents. The problems are serious, because apart from the mutated parties that bear the “communist” title and follow the social-democratic path, there are CPs that are trying, struggling but detach this development from its economic base and salute it, adopting the ideological construct of the so-called “multi-polar world”.
At the same time, we can observe processes in the EU, which is an advanced form of reactionary alliance between capitalist states in Europe. It is inside this framework that we must evaluate the developments around the Brexit, where the increasing discontent of the people was trapped in the current of bourgeois euroscepticism. There is an attempt by far-right and fascist forces to utilize this trend, which is developing in many EU countries. And this is happening at a time when the “left” parties and parties that are vehicles for opportunism and are connected to the current of so-called “Eurocommunism» have been addressing vain appeals and struggling for the “democratization” of the EU for decades, the “return to its foundation principles” which it is allegedly not following now,  its “humanization”, its transformation into a “Europe of the peoples”, where “national independence and sovereignty will be respected». Equally dangerous-in our opinion- are views that, using various arguments, retreat from the struggle to overthrow capitalism at a national level, directly rejecting the Leninist view regarding the potential for the revolution to be victorious in one country, something which is also analyzed in this specific work of Lenin.
In our estimation, this occurs because a number of opportunist positions and analyses that in essence understand imperialism chiefly as a foreign policy, as a foreign external invasion and domination of a weaker bourgeois state by a stronger one today continue to have a strong influence in the ranks of the international communist movement. These analyses often highlight existing imperialist military offensives and interventions of the most powerful capitalist states, the penetration of foreign monopolies in order to exploit and control the market of a country or a wider region, but in a way detached from the unequal relations that are an integral feature of the capitalist system and from the  socio-economic content of imperialism, as the final highest stage of capitalism.
These views restrict the labour movement to making a superficial condemnation of the imperialist interventions and at the same time they mistakenly promote the possibility of the social alliance of the working class with bourgeois forces, with the aim of overcoming the backwardness of capitalist development in the country and fully acquiring its national independence. In this way, the goal of enhancing the position of a capitalist country inside the imperialist system, a goal that leads to class collaboration, is advanced as being “anti-imperialist” and presented as a radical goal for the struggle against imperialist dependency, even more so as step or stage towards socialism.
For this reason, it is particularly important to project the Leninist position on imperialism, as the reactionary era of capitalism which is decaying and dying, with unified features for all the states of the international imperialist system, whether they are weaker or stronger at any given moment.
These unified features are related to the dominance of the monopolies, of the powerful stock companies and the sharpening of the capitalist competition, the formation of finance capital, the increase of the importance of the export of capital in relation to the export of commodities, the struggle for the redivision of the markets and territories amongst the imperialist states and international monopoly groups.
The dominance of the monopolies, of the powerful stock companies leads to the distancing and separation of capitalist ownership from the management and organization of capitalist production and constitutes the economic basis for the intensification of the parasitic role of the bourgeois class in each capitalist state. Dangerous parasites profit on a daily basis from the buying and selling of the shares of capitalist businesses, without any other relationship with the specific businesses.
Parasitism, the sharpening of the basic contradiction between the social character of production and the capitalist appropriation of its results characterize all the capitalist states, regardless of their position in the international imperialist system.
At the same time, the strengthening of the trend for capital exports accelerates capitalism’s development in countries to which these capital exports are destined.  It also contributes, together with the speed of technological developments, to the rapid change of the correlation of forces between states in the international imperialist system, according to the law of uneven development.
Lenin highlighted in his writings at the beginning of the 20th century that a small group of states possessed the leading position in the global market thanks to the trusts, cartel and inter-state relations between creditor states and debtor states. He shed light on the increase of strength achieved by these specific states, which play the role of the creditor, the usurer, the rentier (Rentnerstaat) in relation to the debtor states. He also focused on the group of strong states that possessed colonies in his era. Following the Leninist method, we must examine the contemporary changes in the positions of the states in the international imperialist system. Today about 200 states have acquired their political independence. The unequal relations between capitalist states are inherent in capitalism and the constant changes in the correlation of forces amongst the states are a result of the impact of the law of uneven development. Consequently, the safeguarding of equal relations between bourgeois states, on the terrain of capitalism, even in the framework of an interstate alliance, like the EU or any other capitalist inter-state union, cannot be a goal of struggle for the communists.
A web of unequal relations of interdependence amongst all the capitalist states has been formed in the contemporary imperialist system. Creditor states of the 20th century have today been transformed into debtor states (e.g. the current large state debts of the USA, France and Italy), while China is today a creditor state. The change in the correlation of forces between Britain and India from the 20th to the 21st century is the most characteristic example.
Today the USA remains the strongest power in the imperialist world, as the strength of each bourgeois class is a sum of its military, economic and political power. However, there is a continuation of the trend for changes in the correlation of forces, with the reduction of the share of the USA and Eurozone in the Gross World Product and the increase of the share of China and other countries. This is a development connected to the creation of new inter-state unions of capitalist countries, such as e.g. the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, S. Africa).
It is inside this framework that the communists must examine the development of the imperialist alliances, the unequal inter-state relations, the existing imperialist military, political and economic dependencies, as well as the intensification of imperialist interventions, the expansion of local wars and the danger of a new generalized imperialist war.
Otherwise, any predictions will be unsound, as they will not be based on the relationship between the economy and politics. Otherwise, there is the real danger that the communist movement will in the end serve the interests of one of the competing imperialist centres instead of utilizing the inter-imperialist contradictions for the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie.
It is through this prism that we must examine such major agreements, like the TTIP with EU, which is designed the cover 50% of the current global production and 30% of global trade. The TTIP in essence constitutes the Euro-Atlantic response to the rise of powerful capitalist economies like China and India in Asia, as well as the BRICS countries as a whole. Significant sections of the French and German bourgeois classes are reacting against this development, because they understand that the American proposal is a “Trojan Horse” in order to ensure US economic hegemony in Europe. At the same time, this coexists with ambitions of European monopolies to more decisively penetrate the US market, not to impose “pro-people specifications and health and safety standards that do not exist in the USA” as bourgeois and opportunist forces like the ELP claim but to maximize their profitability. Indicative of this is the recent acquisition of the emblematic US company Monsanto, in the field of genetically modified crops, by the German monopoly Bayer. In this way the economic war is intensifying, not only between Russia and the Euro-Atlantic countries, but also inside the Euro-Atlantic bloc, between the USA and Germany, with the emergence of scandals related to “Siemens”, VW, Deutsche Bank, Apple.
In these conditions, the criticism of social-democratic and other opportunist forces regarding such agreements, which will allegedly remove the “reins” from the monopolies, will impede “viable” and “sustainable” development, will infringe the sovereignty of each state, conceals the essence: That the TTIP and every other such capitalist agreement and alliance is not a deviation but a clear confirmation of the exploitative character of the capitalist system. As Lenin wrote in this specific work about those who championed the humanization of the imperialists “To think that it is possible means coming down to the level of some snivelling parson who every Sunday preaches to the rich on the lofty principles of Christianity and advises them to give the poor, well, if not millions, at least several hundred rubles yearly.”
Of course, such agreements, as well as the discussion about a “multipolar world”, “the reformation of the UN” etc, which, whether consciously or not, foster the illusion amongst the people concerning a new “peaceful” world, where the possibility of a world war has receded, due to the deepening of economic cooperation, major economic agreements, of multi-national monopolies.
For this reason, the Leninist criticism of the theory of “ultra-imperialism” acquires particular significance. A series of contemporary theoretical and political analyses are in essence returning to the core of Kautsky’s opportunist viewpoint (e.g. globalization, empire), invoking certain existent contemporary trends.
They advance the expansion of the strength of companies with a multinational stock composition, the larger growth rate of world trade, the widening of the interdependencies between the capitalist states as contemporary features of a new historical stage of capitalism in relation to imperialism.
In reality, all these phenomena reflect the general trend for the internationalization of production, investments, the movement of capital inside the framework of the global capitalist market. However, this tendency cannot negate the impact of the law of uneven development nor can it reverse the fact that the basic part of the social reproduction of capital is carried on the terrain of the nation-state formation of the capitalist economy. The inter-imperialist contradictions are sharpening in the context of this objective and contradictory movement of the capitalist economy.
The law of uneven developments results in the change of the material conditions on whose basis the alliances between the capitalist states, especially in the era of monopoly capitalism, are formed.
Lenin very aptly highlighted this specific conclusion by examining the economic content of the slogan for the “United States of Europe». He stressed that in the conditions of capitalism the United States of Europe would either be reactionary or unrealizable, as it would amount to a permanent agreement for the division of the colonies and markets amongst the major European bourgeois states. He explained that a temporary agreement between the European states would be possible so that they could suffocate socialism in Europe together and protect the looted colonies and markets that they control against the USA and Japan.
There is now a great deal of evidence that demonstrates the correctness of Lenin’s assessments. The imperialist alliances are inter-state alliances that express the common interests of the bourgeois classes of their member-states. The common interests are related to expanding their monopolies, buttressing their competitiveness in the international imperialist system in conditions of sharpening competition, as well as confronting the labour movement and neutralizing the revolutionary communist parties in a unified way.
However, the common aims of the monopolies of the various states of an imperialist alliance cannot negate the unevenness and nation-state organization which are the foundations for capitalist accumulation. They cannot negate the competition and contradictions inside each imperialist alliance and also amongst the various imperialist alliances and axes. The realignments in the international correlation of forces also lead to changes in the composition and structure of the imperialist alliances. Imperialist alliances and the sudden exacerbation of inter-imperialist contradictions, which lead to the breaking of alliances, are two side of the same coin.
A very characteristic example is the EU, which today is an advanced form of alliance between the capitalist states in Europe and has undergone various stages in its development.
Dear comrades,
In the current difficult and complex conditions, as the inter-imperialist contradictions are sharpening over raw material, energy, the transport routes for commodities and market shares, the danger of a generalized imperialist war is also increasing. The communists must disperse the illusions about an allegedly “peaceful multipolar world” and even more  to struggle decisively and methodically so that the working class does not align with the bourgeoisie of its own country, so that it is not trapped into choosing to align with one of the competing imperialist alliances. In our estimation, the constant efforts for the daily political and economic struggles not to be detached from the main revolutionary political task are a prerequisite for the achievement of this aim. The goal of working class power must not be pushed to the margins by another “transitional” political goal on the terrain of capitalism (e.g. the change of the bourgeois government).The revolutionary strategic orientation must remain stable both when the movement is on an upward trend or in retreat, without watering it down in the name of the outbreak of the economic crisis, the rise of the fascist current, the danger of or waging of an imperialist war.
Dear comrades,
The communists must educate the people and orient the labour movement so that they place no trust in any bourgeois government, bourgeois class or imperialist alliance. Only then can they utilize the inter-imperialist contradictions to the benefit of the historic mission of the working class and respond to the sudden intensification of the class struggle.
To this end, it is important to repeatedly highlight that no imperialist alliances are permanent and stable and that at the same time they are inherently reactionary. In the conditions when the EU and Eurozone were established, for example, their existence as a progressive phenomenon was even adopted by CPs. Even today there exists similar confusion and mistaken positions that do not expose the reactionary character of the EU and the role of uneven development inside it.
It is also particularly important for it to be understood that all the bourgeois classes of every imperialist alliance are jointly responsible for the escalation of the offensive against the working class.
Consequently, the aim of conflict and rupture with the EU and every capitalist inter-state union must be constantly advanced as features of the struggle for the overthrow of the monopolies’ power, which (workers’ power) is a precondition for the disengagement of a country from every imperialist alliance to work in favor of the people.
By following this strategy and over the course of its implementation, the revolutionary labour movement will be able to utilize fissures in the imperialist EU and NATO in order to truly destabilize bourgeois power in each member-state and the cohesion of the reactionary anti-people EU as a whole,.
A key issue is that each CP must form a revolutionary strategy in its own country and fight against opportunism which pushes it into becoming the political “tail” of the bourgeois class, against illusions about the “humanization” of the political line of the imperialist alliances (e.g. those fostered by the Party of the European Left regarding the EU).In this direction, each CP must strengthen its bonds with the working class and the popular strata, with the aim of mobilizing them for their immediate needs and as well to awaken their political class consciousness. In this sense the class struggle, economic-ideological-political, is unified whatever the correlation of forces between the opposing classes, whether it is favourable or unfavourable as is the case today in Greece and at a global level. So, the struggle for exclusively free public modern infrastructure and health services, for the recovery of the losses the people suffered during the deep crisis, for the abolition of the anti-worker laws must be conducted integrated into a line of rupture with the EU, capital and its power, for workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, which will lead to a full disengagement from the EU and NATO, will socialize the monopolies and the concentrated means of production in general.
At the same time, it is important to strengthen the coordination of the struggle at a European and international level, based on the contemporary needs and rights of the working class. The interventions of the “Initiative of Communist and Worker’s Parties of Europe” for the condemnation of the imperialist plans at the EU and NATO summits, to denounce the imperialist interventions in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Israel’s attacks against the Palestinian people, to condemn the imperialist plans at the NATO and EU summits as well as the plan to partition Cyprus, pave the way in this direction. It is important to denounce the deepening of the militarization of the EU via the “European Defense Community” and “its global strategy”, the creation of the Euro-army; to develop activity to deal with the dangers of a general imperialist war that the sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions in many corners of our planet is creating.
Dear comrades,
A century has passed since Lenin wrote “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” and “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism», which continue to be powerful resources for the communists in understanding the contemporary world and also for our implacable struggle to overthrow capitalist barbarity and to construct the socialist-communist society.
The downward spiral of European opportunism has no end

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The downward spiral of European opportunism has no end

 http://communismgr.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-downward-spiral-of-european.html
The downward spiral of European opportunism has no end.
Comment published on ‘Rizospastis’ (24/9/2016), 
Source: inter.kke.gr.
 
It is well-known that European capital and its union, the EU, have acquired for many years now its “leftwing chorus”. Various parties are playing this role, parties that call themselves “progressive” and “leftwing” even some parties that keep a “communist” title, having for many decades now been assimilated into the opportunist, social-democratic current of “Eurocommunism”. 

The latter, such as, for example the French Communist Party (PCF) have for many years been divorced from Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, have even abandoned the historic symbols of the communist movement and in the name of the “left’ have become the “tail” of social-democracy and also whitewash the capitalist system and the imperialist unions of the EU and NATO. However, they keep the “communist” name and in this way, apart from their misleading activity in their own countries, even participate in the International Meetings of the CPs, seeking to play a similar role. If we can judge from the events of the recent festival of “L’Humanite”, the newspaper of the PCF, the downward spiral has no end.
How else could we refer to the fact that G. Katrougalos, Minister of Labour of the SYRIZA-ANEL government, was invited to speak at this festival? In other words, the person who has massacred, through the 3rd memorandum agreed between the SYRIZA-ANEL government with the imperialist organizations, workers’ rights, salaries and pensions and now aims to restrict the right to strike was invited to the festival of this “communist” party to talk about “neoliberal policies”. The same man who the workers and pensioners at a recent mobilization of PAME depicted as being a modern… “scissor hands”.
 
This is the person the “communists”, now in name only, of France decided to invite. Of course this was no accident if one takes into account that for the discussion that took place next door, they had invited General Dominique Trinquard, a head of military missions of the UN and NATO, to speak about international developments and “our common European home”. Yes, you read correctly, NATO, the imperialist organization that massacred and continues to massacre the peoples. This might sound irrational to communists in Greece, as well as to communists in many countries all over the world. However, it is not strange for a party that fully supported the recent imperialist interventions of NATO in LIbya and of the EU in the Central African Republic.
 
The words of Lenin are relevant today, when he said that the struggle against imperialism is inextricably linked to the struggle against opportunism.
The Disintegration of Bourgeois Democracy

Σάββατο, 3 Σεπτεμβρίου 2016

The Disintegration of Bourgeois Democracy

 http://communismgr.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-disintegration-of-bourgeois.html
The Disintegration of Bourgeois Democracy.
By Charles Andrews*.
The ruling class of the United States has enjoyed widespread popular belief in a myth for almost our entire history, the myth that we live in a democratic republic. Under the rule of law, competition between different opinions and interests results in “the intellectual and industrial progress of the people.”1
We were taught elements of the myth in high school civics class – election of public officials by vote of the people; checks and balances between separate legislative, executive, and judicial powers; the gradual expansion of rights to the entire population; and so on. Some people are cynical about it, and most people surmise that exceptional things happen behind closed doors. Yet no coherent alternative explanation of how society is governed rivaled it.
Bourgeois democracy was both a myth and a genuine practice in the governance of capitalism. Political leaders and the Establishment took care in public to follow the rules. Action in violation of them was usually done behind the scenes.2
This year highlights a change that has been underway for several decades. The smooth operation of bourgeois democracy has become more difficult. A brief list of events around the presidency since 1960 charts the disintegration.
• In 1960 John F. Kennedy won a close presidential election. Ballot stuffing in Illinois was crucial to his victory. The machine headed by mayor Daley of Chicago made sure that fake votes there outweighed the real votes from downstate. Neither Kennedy’s opponent, Richard Nixon, nor the Establishment as a whole challenged the vote fraud, and most people did not even know about it.

• In 1963 a part of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assassinated Kennedy. The entire ruling class mobilized for a cover-up under the banner of the Warren Commission. The only political figure to challenge the lone-assassin story was Jim Garrison, a district attorney in Louisiana. He fought by judicial means, ironically putting faith in bourgeois democracy. A large part of the public did not accept the Oswald theory, but their disbelief was passive and scattered among several fake stories, such as that the Mafia was the main force behind the assassination.
• In 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern, desperate to find a vice-presidential running mate on his doomed ticket, finally got assent from Missouri senator Thomas Eagleton. It turned out that Eagleton molested young boys.3 Neither the press nor any politicians said a word in public. A sorrowful explanation was given that Eagleton suffered bouts of depression, and he withdrew.
• The victor, Richard Nixon, apparently believed that the president has personal power above that of the ruling class of which he is merely the most prominent public member. He shook down corporations, which was outrageous behavior to the big bourgeoisie. They brought him down in 1974 with the Watergate scandal. It turned on Nixon’s secret tape recorder in the Oval Office. A former staff employee in the White House, Alexander Butterfield, revealed the tapes during testimony to Congress.4 That was enough for the full machinery of the ruling class and its media to drive Nixon out of office. The reality was turned into its opposite for the public: checks and balances work; we got a reformed, more democratic government out of Nixon’s transgression.
Bourgeois Rule Comes into the Open
In all these events, the actual governance of the country went on behind the scenes. The ruling class, whatever its internal battles, united to maintain the myth of bourgeois democracy. Then things began to change.
The public saw it happen sixteen years ago. Al Gore won the presidential vote in 2000, but the Bush camp would not accept defeat. An extended, public legal brawl ensued over who won Florida. The Supreme Court halted the vote count on a Saturday afternoon, then settled the matter with a clearly illegal ruling. The president was chosen that year by five to four – not by a five to four ratio of the voters, but by the decision of nine persons.
One justice wrote as openly as he dared about the damage that the court did to the myth of bourgeois democracy: “The political implications of this case for the country are momentous. … Above all, in this highly politicized matter, the appearance of a split decision runs the risk of undermining the public’s confidence in the Court itself. That confidence is a public treasure. It is … a vitally necessary ingredient of … the rule of law itself.”5
Candidate Gore himself did not rock the boat. Suppose he had gone on television during the legal battle and asked Americans to light a candle one evening in their window or on their lawn as a gesture of support for a full count of the votes. That would have brought the masses into things, but the situation was too volatile for a member of the ruling class to do that.
(Instead, Democratic Party operatives to this day vent their rage – not on the Bush camp for breaking the norms of constitutional rule, not on the Supreme Court, but on alleged “spoiler” Ralph Nader. The facts in Florida show that the charge is likely false and certainly unproved. For example, a CNN exit poll found that Nader took one percent of the votes from both Gore and Bush, while thirteen percent of registered Democrats voted for Bush.6)
The three major candidates of the presidential primary season this year demonstrate that the rot of bourgeois democracy has proceeded much further.
Donald Trump is a con man, a cheat, a liar from the gutter, and a demagogue. Cynics might observe that so are a lot of other public figures. The difference is that Trump is at the level of the huckster who stars in his own nighttime television commercials. He promises you the secret to riches in real estate, hooks you for $39.95, and always has the next level of seminar to sell you. Trump University did the same thing, ruining the lives of victims who paid thousands of dollars under the relentless assault of Trump’s boiler room salesmen.7
So far as we know, Trump started with no significant backing from the capitalist class. His first known meeting with a big mogul was in December 2015 with Sheldon Adelson, a casino owner and front man for gangsters. Yet from the summer of 2015 the media inflated Trump into a major candidate. The Establishment let him drag public discourse to a new low right until he became the Republican nominee.
Sixty years ago Walter Kronkite and CBS News would never have covered a man like Trump, nor would the other two television networks of that time. The Establishment would have swatted him down with a flick of its collective wrist. The ruling class was more unified then. The chief executive of CBS and the publishers of The New York Times and the Washington Post held regular chats with Allen Dulles, head of the CIA.8 Trump simply could not have broken into the circle.
Hillary Clinton is the Establishment candidate of the trio, yet she has severe problems that might well have ruled out her candidacy back then. (The fact that she is a woman is hailed as a breakthrough, although dozens of women long ago became premier of their country, among them Golda Meir in Israel, Margaret Thatcher in Britain, and Indira Gandhi in India.) For one thing, the private email server that Clinton maintained while she was secretary of state will dog her from day one of her presidency. Already, news coverage has begun to move beyond the issue of classified emails. The Clintons receive bribes at the Clinton Foundation in return for exercising their influence on U.S. government decisions to the benefit of a foreign capitalist or government. The private email setup facilitated the scheme. The fact that the Clintons can foist a president Hillary on the Democratic Party is more evidence of the decay of bourgeois democracy.
The funding of the Clinton campaign primarily by bankers and other capitalists is not new in politics, but public knowledge of it this year is remarkable. Bernie Sanders hammered home the contrast between Clinton’s $200,000-plus speeches to Goldman Sachs and the average contribution of $27 to his campaign. As recently as 2008, Barack Obama easily buried the fact that Wall Street financiers provided the core of his funds. They and the Pritzker hotel and real estate family hand-picked him. Obama rose from a minor office in Illinois to the U.S. Senate, gave the keynote speech at the 2004 national Democratic convention, and ran for president before he had served a full term as senator. It was odd, to say the least, but little public scrutiny was given to those who helped it happen. By contrast, before the closing bell of the Democratic convention this summer, the New York Times published an account of how rich contributors, after they had to lie low during the primaries, flocked to Philadelphia and networked with each other and the Clinton camp in luxury hotel suites.9
Everyone knows that Bernie Sanders is a breakthrough candidate. He unleashed mass sentiment of class against class not seen since the 1930s. Sometimes he drew the lines as boldly as Franklin D. Roosevelt did at his height in 1936. Sanders, bringing popular anger at capitalism and our worsening fate into the open, confirmed for many that the United States today does not have a government for the people, let alone by the people and of the people.
Instead of bourgeois democracy, Sanders promotes social democracy, the essence of which we will examine in a moment. A print in woodcut style issued by the Poster Syndicate of San Francisco and pasted on freeway pillars sums up the arc of the Sanders movement in a slogan: Tax the Rich So We Don’t Have to Eat Them. (This was not an official Sanders slogan.) During Sanders’ ascending phase the emphasis was on taxing the rich. Yes, let us do that so we can fund guaranteed, improved Medicare for All and free college for everyone. Then came the inevitable denouement. The Democratic Party’s super-delegates, rigged caucuses, and general Clinton favoritism took the nomination from him. Events demonstrated that we cannot get what we need under this regime – we do have to eat the rich. That is, overthrow capitalism, take their property in our wealth, and replace exploitation with socialism. This reality deflated the campaign, since Sanders made it clear, “I don’t believe government should own the means of production.”10
Why the Disintegration of Bourgeois Democracy?
Liberal intellectuals sneer at Marxism. They charge that it explains history with a false, reductionist principle, namely, that each person and group acts in society according to the financial gain or cost at stake. One can learn a lot by following the money, but that is not what historical materialism is about. It looks among other things at the processes of economic life and how they change over time. Why has bourgeois democracy started to disintegrate? A big part of the answer lies in the changing way that capitalists get profit.
Capitalist businesses can get profit in two different ways. The profits of one category of capital are all or largely the surplus value produced by their own workforce. The automobile corporations during their growth decades are an example. They and their suppliers made huge profits because they employed millions of workers across the industrial Midwest and the entire country.11
The alternative way to seize profit is by capturing surplus value from other capitalists. This category of capitals obtains far more profit than their comparatively few employees produce. It is done in various ways. Finance capital comes to mind first: investment banks, hedge funds, and wheeler-dealers who get huge profits create little to no surplus value. They are parasites on the first category of capital.
Another variety of these capitals are extreme technological monopolies that sit on top of so-called value chains. Apple Corporation has about 115,000 employees, a small number for its operating income of about $70 billion. Each employee did not produce $600,000 of surplus value. Rather, Apple is able to dictate terms to suppliers in China and around the world who survive on much smaller margins. Hundreds of thousands of non-Apple workers produce that surplus value.
Although capitalist economies have always had both types of capitals – the solid producers that do their part in the exploitation of workers and the parasites that feed on other capital – the progress of capitalist accumulation during the last fifty years has altered the ratio. Capitals have had to turn more to the second category, which has grown at the expense of the first category.
One “measure of financialization is the share of all corporate profits that the finance, insurance and real estate sector (FIRE) captured. Its share fluctuated around a mild uptrend from 1950 to 1980. Then in 1984 the percentage of profits taken by the FIRE sector began a steep increase until it reached an amazing high of more than 45 percent in 2001.”12
Similarly, the technical and economic character of leading industries is summed up in the change from “Detroit” to “Silicon Valley.” Detroit was a sprawling complex that employed millions of workers. Silicon Valley is a handful of hothouses in San Jose, California and several other cities.
We cannot go here into what happened when capital accumulation completed its massive, industrial phase and entered into a so-called high-tech economy marked by the stagnation and decline of real wages, the erosion of job security, the rapidly escalating price of college, and dimming retirement prospects for the great majority of working people. (See this writer’s The Hollow Colossus.) Suffice to say that financial capital and other varieties of the second category grew because opportunities for vigorous growth of the first category shrank.
This transformation increased tension and struggle within the capitalist class, too. It is not easy for outside capital to break into finance. Existing large capitals in finance have greater power to maintain themselves than in most industries. Modern technologies, too, are notable for a childhood of breakneck development and then a shakeout to a few winners. It happens more quickly than it did 150 years ago, and frequently one firm dominates its field almost absolutely (Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook).
Each capital is compelled to concentrate more on its own gain and be less respectful of the common class interest – with consequences for the media industry and for the scramble to get government contracts, favorable regulation, and subsidies.
Inequality of income and the disappearance of relative mass prosperity eat away at a variety of public and semi-public institutions, too. The income of the chief executive and a small circle around him swells to multiples of ten or twenty times the average wage of the employees instead of four or five times. Scramble for the top position undermines the mission of hospitals, school districts, colleges, museums, symphony orchestras, and so on.
The relative economic decline of U.S. imperialism also closes a field of dreams for the top echelons of government and society. Previously, projects to take over and exploit dominated areas all over the world brought loot that was shared among corporations, law firms, foundations, and so on. But the United States empire is not growing the way it did. The U.S. has had to turn toward purely military measures instead of initiatives like the Marshall Plan in postwar Europe and Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress in Latin America. Back then the Ford Foundation provided cover for government maneuvers in the common class interest. By contrast, today the Clinton Foundation partially privatizes foreign policy, extracting bribes from ambitious local interests around the world in return for government decisions that might not be in the best interest of U.S. imperialism as a whole.
This account of the causes of the disintegration of bourgeois democracy is hardly complete. It is worth more study.
What Is the Socialist Path?
Whatever the historical bargain was, capitalism today has nothing more to offer. What are we to do? Setting aside the tactical matter of how to participate in the 2016 election, the question is whether capitalism can be reformed, or must it be overthrown.

The classic debate between reform and rεvolution has gone on for 150 years. However, the terms have changed. It used to be, do we set a goal of revolution and organize for it, or shall big reforms be our goal? The latter, reformist view held that an extended series of gains would gradually and peacefully transform capitalism into a mixed economy and then socialism. A variant of the position said the reforms are all that count. If we have good wages, social security in retirement, guaranteed healthcare and the other components of a secure life, who cares whether it is under capitalism or socialism? The revolutionary retort was that gains under capitalism are fragile, are never as far-reaching as they need to be, and that capitalism is wracked by recurrent crises and generates one social evil after another. This opposition has typically been reflected in two kinds of parties, social democratic and communist.

The reformist path is no longer available. The last big legislative gains for working people in the United States were won in the 1970s: a package of consumer protections, workplace safety legislation, and freedom of information laws that are deservedly called the Nader reforms, after the great democrat with a small d, Ralph Nader. Nonetheless, the real median wage peaked in 1973. Mass struggle has continued, but the goal has been to stop takeaways and slow down the relentless erosion of our wages and conditions of life.
The left wing of the Sanders movement has begun to explore a social democratic party. Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report recently observed, “There will be a number of new party start-ups and rivalries that will be sorted out in the usual, messy manner, but the general social democratic project will appeal to constituencies left of the corporate Democrats. … At a statewide gathering of Democrats in Long Beach, California, members of the party’s Progressive Caucus cheer when a speaker (me) predicts that a new, social democratic party will emerge from the tumult of 2016.”13 Its method would be the legislative path. Therefore, electoral majorities must be put together. Typically, social democrats thunder about militant, mass struggle, “street heat” and so on, all funneled into legislative goals and campaigns for elective office.
Yes, such a party might emerge. In the past social democratic parties could win reforms. European parties did it in the middle of the twentieth century. That was a way to defuse the possibility of socialist revolution. Today, though, capitalism will not grant significant reforms; its process of accumulation does not have the capacity for them. Now the duty of the social democratic party is to carry on the degradation of working people even as it spreads both false hopes and fear among them. A recent example is the Syriza party in Greece, which savagely administers pension cuts, repeals labor legislation, and privatizes the Piraeus port and other public assets.
Communists will elect some legislators if possible; it is another channel to speak to people. But to think that we will get major reforms through legislation is to live in the past. The only way is to organize for the overthrow of capitalism.
Comparison of Historical Experience
What is the socialist path? We should sharpen the question. What is the difference between the communist path and the social-democratic path?
In search of answers it is good to study and compare historical experience. The accompanying chart lists several countries that went socialist and several that, despite large communist parties, did not go socialist.
Tsarist Russia had no bourgeois democracy, only a pretend parliament, the Duma. It became the first socialist country in the world. The Soviet Union destroyed feudal exploitation and capitalism and built a socialist economy. China, after the crumbling of its millennial dynastic system of agrarian rule and after the death of the bourgeois democratic revolutionary Sun Yat-sen, found a different path to revolution and renewing the whole society – a twenty-two year people’s war against the Kuomintang regime and Japanese fascist invasion. Both communist parties understood that the existing state and economic system had to be destroyed. The liberated people built a socialist economy, starting from where they were. Cuba, one of the most dominated countries under United States imperialism and the barbarities of its client Batista, also found its distinctive way to the same end.
None of these communist movements were lured into an electoral path to socialism. The idea of such a thing in their countries was ludicrous and easy to reject. They did, however, need to overcome the defeatist Menshevik-Trotskyite view that a successful revolution could do no more than help a humane capitalism to develop in their largely pre-industrial societies.
On the other side, parliamentary democracy did exist in Weimar Germany from the end of World War One (and the defeat of a revolutionary uprising in 1918) to 1933. The German monopoly capitalists, locked in desperate contention with British, French, and U.S. imperialism over petroleum, raw materials and markets, saw the Communist Party increase its votes in November 1932 while the Nazi total fell. The ruling class handed state power to Hitler. He crushed the communist movement with comparative ease.
Bourgeois democracy also existed in France and Italy after World War Two. As a result of the struggle against fascism, large Communist Parties headed armed partisan movements at the end of the war. The Communists laid down their arms, became mass electoral parties, and even took cabinet posts responsible for administration of capitalist government. The parties helped win reforms while they gradually lost all aspiration for socialism. Italy and France gave birth to so-called Euro-communism, which was a way station to minimal influence even as a social-democratic party.
Chile chose president Salvador Allende in an election that all sides concede was legitimate – with the support of the Communist Party of Chile. Allende attempted gradual socialist transformation of the economy. He thought it could be done without breaking up the old state machine, without the only alternative, a dictatorship of the proletariat. He did not get far before the local capitalists and the U.S. imperialists could not take it any longer. Who cared that Allende had won the election fair and square? They called in military officers who could be trusted to disregard the constitution. The disloyal sector of the armed forces carried out a bloody coup in 1973. Allende shot himself in his presidential office rather than accept exile.14
Where will the United States go on the chart? Its economy and political culture are closer to the countries in the right column than to the ones in the left column. The paradox, though, is that the U.S. – hollowed out by deep problems of capitalist accumulation, the closing of the era of major reforms, and the disintegration of bourgeois democracy – has moved and continues to approach the conditions of tsarist Russia and old China. The most developed becomes the most rotten!
The path to socialist revolution in the U.S. will be something new in history. Nonetheless, it will be in the category defined by basic truths about the state and revolution. The challenge is to carry on class struggle so that every battle strengthens communism. A growing communist trend will, unlike hardy but small groups, cross the threshold of social relevance. The goal is not a party that gets millions of votes. Communists put forward their program and methods of action. They win the adherence of the people in tumultuous times. Together with the people they carry through the climactic struggles. They go on to construct a society where no one is poor, none are the rich, and everyone has good work creating a new world for humanity and nature.
Notes
1. The phrase is inscribed on the facade of a public auditorium in Oakland, California. The building is closed while city officials and developers negotiate how to privatize the asset.
2. The “Establishment” is the overlapping circles of big capitalists, top corporate executives, major political figures in public and operatives behind the scenes, media owners, and the most listened-to policy intellectuals who serve them. See the books of William Domhoff.
3. This writer heard it from a credible source in the state.
4. Fred Thompson, the committee staff person who questioned Butterfield, went on to become a prominent right-wing public figure and senator from Tennessee.
5. Justice Breyer, 531 U.S., No. 00–949, Dec. 12, 2000, pp. 1, 15.
6. Tony Schinella, “Debunking The Myth: Ralph Nader didn’t cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000,” February 25, 2004.
7. Ian Tuttle, “Yes, Trump University Was a Massive Scam,” National Review, February 26, 2016.
8. Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers, New York, Henry Holt, 2013, p. 125.
9. Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick, “After Lying Low, Deep-Pocketed Clinton Donors Return to the Fore,” New York Times, July 28, 2016.
10. “Senator Bernie Sanders on Democratic Socialism in the United States: Prepared Remarks,” November 19, 2015.
11. The automotive oligopolies got monopoly profits, too; small sweatshops are unable to retain a big chunk of the surplus value produced in their operations. Without debating the size and significance of the matter, we note that both sides of this transfer are capitals who exploit their “own” workers for most if not all their profit.
12. Charles Andrews, The Hollow Colossus, Needle Press, 2015, p. 67.
13. Glen Ford, “Sanders Supporters Need to Split or Get Off the Pot,” Black Agenda Report, June 22, 2016.
14. Greg Garcia, Jr., “9/11/73: The ‘Chilean Way’ to Socialism Hits a Dead End,” student thesis, Western Oregon University, 2012, p. 32f.
Charles Andrews is the author of several titles on political economy. His new book is ‘The Hollow Colossus’.
Syriza

Revolução e Democracia

Blog sobre temas de Política, Economia e História.

terça-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2015

Syriza: a salvação do capitalismo | Syriza: saving capitalism

O «terramoto» das eleições gregas

   

Segundo os media europeus, com a eleição do Syriza vinha aí um terramoto na Grécia e até mesmo na Europa. O Syriza foi sistematicamente chamado pelos jornais portugueses (e não só) como «extrema-esquerda». Não era só o espectro de ser de esquerda que se perfilava no horizonte; ainda para mais era «extrema»! Agora, sim, a troika e a «austeridade» iriam ser arrumadas para o caixote do lixo. Agora, sim, o Syriza iria mostrar como se arrancava um povo das fauces sugadoras da troika.

Tremenda ilusão. Em que muitos caíram. Excepto as Bolsas europeias que não se incomodaram nada com os planos gregos de «renegociação da dívida» do ministro das finanças Yanis Varoufakis (YV), e do seu plano de troca de dívida por dois tipos de títulos obrigacionistas ([1]): um deles, a pagar só quando a economia grega viesse a crescer; o outro, a pagar modicamente e perpetuamente.

As Bolsas – logo, o grande capital – não se incomodaram por duas boas razões: porque o Syriza não nacionalizou os bancos nem previa tal no seu programa; porque sabiam que por debaixo da capa de «extrema-esquerda» o Syriza era uma nova reincarnação social-democrata.

 

Derrota total no primeiro embate

   

Logo no primeiro embate com o Eurogrupo (EG) o Syriza mostrou a sua fibra. Derrota e recuo em toda a linha ([2-4]). A corrupta oligarquia grega (lá como cá ligada ao Império), tem vindo a mamar os resgates ao mesmo tempo que mantém o investimento no mínimo e descapitaliza a banca. Desde Dezembro de 2014 que 20 biliões de euros (mil milhões de euros) voaram dos bancos gregos para a Suíça e outras paragens. Com os cofres do Estado vazios, os pagamentos de funcionários públicos ameaçados, e sem controlar a banca, o Syriza foi forçado a pedir um novo empréstimo. Na primeira reunião com o EG na passada 6.ª feira, 20 de Fevereiro, YV pediu, para tal, a extensão por mais seis meses de um resgate anterior. Em troca dessa extensão Atenas comprometia-se a: manter um saldo orçamental positivo, mas abaixo da meta exigida pela troika; não tomar medidas unilaterais que impedissem o cumprimento de metas fiscais do EG (como, por exemplo, suspender privatizações); pedir a «renegociação da dívida» com vista ao crescimento económico; abandonar a proposta de perdão da dívida, com alargamento do prazo de pagamento e descida de taxas de juro.

Em suma, YV avançou com uma proposta que recuava das promessas do Syriza, designadamente no que se referia à suspensão das privatizações e à exigência de perdão parcial da dívida. Dívida essa que economistas destacados das mais diversas persuasões políticas (incluindo o keynesiano e prémio Nobel Paul Krugman) já disseram ser impagável. O que, aliás, é fácil de ver; não é preciso ter o prémio Nobel.

Para não alarmar os seus votantes, o Syriza afirmou a 20 de Fevereiro que a Grécia «deixou para trás a austeridade, o memorando e a troika» ([3]).

Pois apesar do recuo, a Alemanha – o pivot do Império na Europa, que mais tem lucrado com a UE e a zona euro ([5]) — não aceitou o plano YV. Nem a Alemanha nem… os seus lacaios neoliberais, com especial destaque para os ministros das finanças português e espanhol. O EG apenas concedeu mais quatro meses de resgate, com YV a comprometer-se com todas as exigências da troika (sob o eufemismo de «honrar as obrigações financeiras com os seus credores») incluindo «o firme compromisso com o processo de reformas estruturais»; isto é, de continuar a desmantelar os direitos dos trabalhadores e benefícios sociais. Afinal o Syriza não tinha deixado para trás a austeridade, o memorando e a troika. A derrota de YV foi tão monumental que W. Schäuble (ministro das finanças alemão) comentou sarcasticamente que agora se ia ver como é que o Syriza se ia explicar ao povo grego. O Governo grego, para não perder o apoio dos seus votantes, veio dizer a 23/2 que concorda com 70% (?) das medidas de resgate e que não iria mudar a lei laboral nem a lei sobre o crédito mal parado. Veio também anunciar aquelas medidas que os governos capitalistas também anunciam quando querem mostrar obra: melhorar a colecta de impostos e combater a corrupção. Detalhes sem importância que não escondem o essencial: a derrota imposta pelo grande capital, personificado na Alemanha. Uma Alemanha que também já disse ao Syriza que se recusava a discutir o assunto das reparações de guerra decorrentes da ocupação nazi e a devolução de empréstimos gregos à Alemanha depois da 2.ª guerra mundial.

A desilusão com o Syriza (para aqueles que alimentavam ilusões) é total. Um herói anti-fascista grego, Manolis Glezos de 92 anos, anunciou ontem o seu desvinculamento do Syriza, pedindo desculpa ao povo grego «por ter participado na ilusão» que levou o Syriza ao poder e apelou à acção «antes que seja tarde».

 

O sem-saída do reformismo

   

Varoufakis é a face exemplar de uma certa corrente hodierna de «esquerda» que chega a reclamar-se de marxista, quando não é mais do que defensora de um Marx inócuo, não revolucionário. Uma corrente positivista («não interessa a teoria, só interessam as observações subjectivamente percebidas»), social-democrata, defensora do capitalismo. Logo, por definição, não de esquerda.

Na Grécia, esta corrente chama-se Syriza. Em Espanha, chama-se Podemos. Em Portugal, chama-se Tempo de Avançar. A pobreza teórica reflecte-se no ecletismo de todas estas organizações: mantas de retalhos de diversas proveniências. O Syriza, por exemplo, é uma aliança de sociais-democratas, de socialistas democráticos, de eco-socialistas, de patriotas de esquerda, de feministas, de verdes de esquerda, de maoístas, de trotskistas, de eurocomunistas e de eurocépticos. O Tempo de Avançar é uma coligação do Livre, Renovadores Comunistas, Manifesto 3D, Fórum Manifesto, e Movimento Cidadania e Intervenção, onde pululam as mesmas «ideias».

Todas estas correntes são semeadoras de ilusões reformistas. O que são estas ilusões reformistas e porque razão não funcionam foram já por nós discutidas no artigo: A ilusão de uma saída reformista da crise. No fundo, o que está a acontecer com o Syriza é a confirmação do que já aí dizíamos.

Vale a pena analisar o discurso de YV. O que YV diz é também o que dizem muitos reformistas da nossa praça, incluindo a actual direcção do PCP. Isto é, o que diz YV tem claras repercussões na análise a que a esquerda deverá proceder em Portugal.

Varoufakis fez uma apresentação das suas ideias no 6.o Festival Subversivo de Zagreb, em 2013. O Festival Subversivo, de subversivo não tem muito. Na edição deste ano participarão Slavoj Žižek (eurocomunista de posições sociais-democratas), Alexis Tsipras (eurocomunista), Oliver Stone (budista, votante de Obama mas crítico da política estrangeira dos EUA) e David Harvey (crítico do neoliberalismo e divulgador de O Capital). Um Festival da esquerda… baixa. Daquela que não incomoda o capitalismo, antes pelo contrário. Serve para desviar possíveis aderentes daquela que incomoda.

A versão transcrita da apresentação de YV em Zagreb tem como título: «Confissões de um marxista irregular no meio de uma crise europeia repugnante» (Confessions of an erratic Marxist in the midst of a repugnant European crisis). Portanto, YV não é um marxista; é, sim, um marxista irregular, isto é, de vez em quando. YV coloca a questão sobre se a esquerda deve utilizar a crise para desmantelar uma UE baseada em políticas neoliberais, ou se deve aceitar que não está preparada para uma mudança radical e lutar por estabilizar o capitalismo europeu. Responde, dizendo que, por muito que repugne aos «radicais» (designação vaga que serve para tudo; até Hitler era um radical) o «dever histórico» da esquerda nesta conjuntura é estabilizar o capitalismo, «salvar o capitalismo europeu dele mesmo e dos inábeis gestores da inevitável crise da zona euro». Estão a ver? Os capitalistas não sabem ser capitalistas. É preciso salvá-los de si próprios, da sua incompetência como capitalistas. Para tal, existe a «esquerda», que por definição é anti-capitalista, mas cujo «dever histórico» nesta conjuntura é salvá-los! A «esquerda» que, como todos sabem, é competentemente capitalista.

Na sua argumentação YV cita Marx dizendo que certas coisas que Marx disse estão certas. O pior é a teoria que subjaz à análise marxista que, para YV, é demasiado determinista. YV gosta mais dos «espíritos animais» de Keynes e coisas do género. Sobre a leitura idiossincrática que YV faz de Marx ver Yanis Varoufakis: more erratic than Marxist.

Mas se YV não gosta da teoria de Marx, vejamos ao menos a sua prática. Logo que foi ministro, YV afirmou que a Grécia não sofreria um «acidente financeiro» nem seria forçada a deixar a zona euro (embora, segundo YV, não devesse ter entrado). Disse também que a Grécia não deixaria de pagar a dívida ao FMI e aos investidores privados. E que a economia de Grécia podia crescer suficientemente depressa para sair da dívida; crescimento a construir a nível europeu, devendo ser lançado sob hegemonia alemã um programa de reactivação de toda a economia europeia como o New Deal de Roosevelt e o plano Marshall dos anos cinquenta! Que sonhador, este reformista!

Quanto aos bancos gregos, YV não se mostrou muito preocupado, apesar dos biliões de euros que saíram do país e continuam a sair. YV afirmou ainda que o novo governo não alteraria as privatizações em curso e que a Grécia deveria manter-se um destino atractivo para o investimento estrangeiro. Sigamos a análise de [6]:

«Que tipo de programa é este? Na verdade é difícil dizê-lo. No que concerne à dívida, reflecte sem dúvida a realidade inescapável de que a dívida grega é impagável […] Tudo o mais parece sobretudo uma colecção de frases para a galeria, sem muita coerência, para ser suave. Que crescimento há que construir a nível pan-europeu? Como é isso de lançar um programa de investimentos em toda a Europa? Vai o governo grego convencer Merkel, Hollande e Rajoy, ou vai esperar que Podemos ganhe as eleições para ter um aliado? YV diz que os investimentos privados na Grécia se reactivarão logo que se alivie o peso da dívida. Ai, sim? Primeiro, há que ver se ocorre esse alívio mas, supondo que ocorre, por que artes mágicas vão reactivar-se esses investimentos? Será porque os salários gregos serão “atractivos” (ou seja, quanto mais baixos melhor) para os agora chamados investidores, aliás capitalistas de outros tempos? Vai o Syriza intentar o avanço nessa direcção? Irão os investimentos fluir para a Grécia porque o novo governo os brindará com segurança e garantia de que o capital será respeitado e não sofrerá beliscadura sob a forma de impostos, nacionalizações ou regulamentos? Mas, quem possui a dívida grega, não são precisamente esses capitalistas? Não lhes soará mal qualquer “quitação”, qualquer redução da dívida, que não seria outra coisa que a perda parcial ou total do seu capital?»

Sobre o desdém de YV pela teoria, diz o autor de [6] (ênfases nossos): «YV em Zagreb disse que em nenhuma das suas intervenções políticas ou económicas de anos recentes se guiou por modelos económicos que, a seu ver, são absolutamente irrelevantes para entender o capitalismo real que hoje existe. A frase tem que se lhe diga, porque se não se tem um modelo, é impossível fazer-se uma ideia de como se desenvolvem os fenómenos sobre os quais se quer actuar. Será possível navegar de Barcelona a Londres sem nenhum mapa que mostre os itinerários possíveis? Será possível entender um circuito electrónico com díodos, condensadores e transístores sem ter na mente esquemas de como funcionam essas coisas?»

De facto, não é possível ter uma prática consistentemente correcta sem uma teoria correcta. É certo que uma teoria correcta não é suficiente para uma prática correcta. (Podemos saber muito de díodos, condensadores e transístores e aqui e além cometer erros de compreensão do funcionamento de um circuito electrónico.) Mas uma teoria correcta é, contudo, uma condição necessária.

O autor de [6] conclui assim: «“O das barbas”, como Varoufakis chama às vezes a Marx, passou toda a sua vida investigando planos e esquemas teóricos […] para formar com eles um modelo geral da economia capitalista. O modelo geral está certamente incompleto, os esquemas não nos permitiram predizer, por exemplo, que os EUA se converteriam no principal país do sistema capitalista mundial na segunda metade do séc. XX, que revoluções anticapitalistas teriam lugar na Rússia e na China (e fracassariam) e que os computadores e a Internet mudariam por completo a aparência do mundo. Porém, os esquemas de Marx, abstractos em extremo como são, permitem entender porque razão o capitalismo é fonte continua de desigualdade social, porque razão está condenado a crises, uma e outra vez, e porque razão as tentativas bem ou mal intencionadas de regulá-lo ou “salvá-lo” só conduzem ao fracasso ou a converter a quem os protagonizam em parte desse grupo de gestores de alto gabarito que em Espanha são frequentemente chamados hoje de “a casta”. Eliminar o capitalismo é certamente difícil e muitos estarão de acordo com Varoufakis de que “a esquerda” não está preparada para isso. Mas afirmar que do que se trata hoje é precisamente de salvar o capitalismo, não é isso negar tudo o que de importante esteve alguma vez por trás dessa nebulosa ideia de “a esquerda”? […]»

Quanto a nós, desde o início do presente blog que temos defendido que Portugal tem de ser salvo da incivilização do capitalismo. E temos procurado fundamentar as medidas que se impõem numa alternativa de esquerda (ver artigos anteriores). Incluindo a nacionalização da banca, não contemplada pelo Syriza. Esta e outras medidas anticapitalistas, que implicam sair do euro e, possivelmente, da UE, impor-se-ão quando o povo compreender e se alçar na luta por uma solução de esquerda. Uma solução rumo ao socialismo. Naturalmente, com uma organização à altura da tarefa. «Atalhos» reformistas só adiarão ainda mais essa compreensão e disponibilidade para a luta.

The Greek elections «earthquake»

   

The election of Syriza was, according to the European media, an earthquake for Greece and even for Europe. Syriza was systematically coined by the Portuguese (and others) newspapers as being from “extreme left-wing”. Thus, not only the specter of “left-wing” emerged in the horizon; it was furthermore an “extreme” specter. Now, at last, troika and “austerity” would be swept away to the dust bin. Now, at last, Syriza would show how to pull out a country from the sucking troika snouts.

Tremendous delusion. With many falling for it. Except the European stock-markets which didn’t bother at all with the Greek plans to “renegotiate the debt” of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (YV), and of his plan to swap debt by two types of bonds ([1]): one, to be paid when the Greek economy would grow; the other, to be paid perpetually in modest shares.

The stock markets – therefore, the big capital – didn’t bother for two good reasons: because Syriza neither nationalize the banks nor put forward that intent in its program; because they knew that under the “extreme left-wing” cloak Syriza was just a new reincarnation of social-democracy.

 

Total defeat at the first clash

   

In its first clash with the Eurogroup (EG) Syriza has showed its fiber. Pull back and defeat on the whole frontline ([2-4]). The corrupt Greek oligarchy (there as here attached to the Empire) has been sucking bailouts and at the same time keeping the investment to a minimum and decapitalizing the banks. Twenty billion euros have flown out of the Greek banks to Switzerland and other places, since December 2014. With empty State vaults, threatened payments to civil servants, and without any control on the banks, Syriza was forced to beg for a new loan. In its first meeting with the EG last Friday, February 20, YV asked, for that purpose, an extension of a previous bailout for a further six months time. In exchange, Athens proposed the following compromise: to maintain a positive budgetary balance, although below the target set by the troika; not undertaking measures that would impair the attainment of EG fiscal goals (e.g., suspension of privatizations); to apply for a “renegotiation of the debt” having in view the economic growth; to abandon the proposal of a debt write-off, and instead apply to a widening of the maturity time span and the lowering of the interest rate.

Briefly, Syriza put forward a proposal that stepped back on all Syriza promises, namely on the suspension of privatizations and the demand for a partial debt write-off. A debt that prominent economists of various political persuasions (including the Keynesian and Nobel prize Paul Krugman) have already told to be impossible to pay. An observation easy to arrive at; surely not demanding a Nobel prize.

In order not to alarm its voters, Syriza stated in February, 20, that Greece “had left behind the austerity, the memorandum and the troika” ([3]).

Well, notwithstanding the pull back, Germany – The Empire pivot in Europe, the country that has most profited with the EU and the Eurozone ([5]) – did not accept YV’s plan. Neither Germany nor… its neoliberal lackeys with special mention going to the Portuguese and Spanish Finance Ministers. The EG only granted a further four months of bailout, with YV yielding to all troika demands (under the euphemism of “to honor the financial commitments with its creditors”) including the “firm compromise with the process of structural reforms”; that is, to go on dismantling workers’ rights and social benefits. After all, Syriza had not left behind the austerity, the memorandum and the troika. The defeat of Syriza was as monumental as to trigger the sarcastic comment of W. Schäuble (German Finance Minister) that now one would see as how Syriza would explain to the Greek people what had happened. The Greek government caring not lose the support of its voters came out with a statement on February, 23, that it agreed with 70% (?) of the bailout measures and that it would not change labor and defaulting debt laws. It also announced such measures as capitalist governments use to announce when they want to show some work: to improve tax collecting and fight corruption. Unimportant details that do not hide the essential: the defeat imposed by the big capital, personified by Germany. Germany that also told Syriza that it refused to discuss the matter of war reparations related to the Nazi occupation and paying back Greek loans to Germany contracted after the Second World War.

The delusion with Syriza (for those who entertained illusions) is complete. A Greek antifascist hero, the 92-year old Manolis Glezos, announced yesterday that he severed ties with Syriza asking for forgiveness to the Greek people “for participating in the illusion” that propelled Syriza to the power, at the same time appealing to action “before it is too late”.

 

The reformist dead-end

   

Varoufakis is the exemplary face of a today’s specific “left-wing” current that claims to be Marxist when it is nothing else than a defender of a sanitized non-revolutionary Marx. A positivist current (“don’t bother with theory, only subjectively perceived observations are important), social-democrat, supportive of capitalism. Hence, a non-left current by definition.

This current is called Syriza in Greece. It is called Podemos in Spain. And in Portugal is called Tempo de Avançar. The theoretical poverty is reflected by the eclecticism of all these organizations: patchwork quilts of various sources. Syriza, for instance, is an alliance of social-democrats, democratic socialists, eco-socialists, left-wing patriots, feminists, left-wing greens, Maoists, Trotskyites, Eurocommunists and Eurosceptics. The Tempo de Avançar is a coalition of Free, Communist Renewal, Manifest 3D, Forum Manifest, Citizen and Intervention Movement, small parties where the same “ideas” swarm freely.

All these currents are spreaders of reformist delusions. What these delusions are and why they cannot work have been already discussed by us in the article “A ilusão de uma saída reformista da crise“. What is happening with Syriza is after all a confirmation of what we said in that article.

Varoufakis discourse is worth analyzing. What YV has to say is also what our home-made reformists have to say, including the present leadership of the PCP. Thus, what YV has to say has clear repercussions on the analysis that the Portuguese left must carry through.

Varoufakis made a presentation of his ideas at the 6th Subversive Festival of Zagreb in 2013. The Subversive Festival has not that much of subversive ness. This year’s edition counts among its participants Slavoj Žižek (Eurocommunist with social-democratic positions), Alexis Tsipras (Eurocommunist), Oliver Stone (Buddhist, a voter on Obama but critical of US foreign policy) and David Harvey (critic of neo-liberalism and divulger of Capital). A Festival of the Left… of the low kind. Of that kind that doesn’t bother capitalism — quite the opposite. It is of service to deviate possible adherents of the Left that truly bothers.

The written version of YV presentation at Zagreb is entitled “Confessions of an erratic Marxist in the midst of a repugnant European crisis”. Thus, YV is not a Marxist; he is an erratic Marxist, i. e., from time to time. YV raises the question of whether the Left must use the crisis to dismantle an EU based on neo-liberal policies, or instead accept that it is not ready for a radical change and struggle to stabilize the European capitalism. He answers by saying that though it is repugnant to “radicals” (vague designation suiting everything; even Hitler was a radical), the “historical duty” of the Left at the present particular juncture is to stabilize capitalism, “to save European capitalism from itself and from the inane handlers of the Eurozone’s inevitable crisis”. See? Capitalists do not know how to be capitalists. They have to be saved from themselves, from their incompetence as capitalists. For that purpose, there is the “Left”, which by definition is anticapitalist but whose “historical duty” at this particular juncture is to save them! The “Left” that as you all know is competently capitalist.

YV does quote Marx in his line of argument, admitting that some things that Marx said are correct. Unfortunately, for YV, the theory underlying Marx’s analyses is too much deterministic. Keynes’ “animal spirits” and that sort of things is more to the liking of YV. On YV idiosyncratic reading of Marx we recommend Yanis Varoufakis: more erratic than Marxist.

But if YV doesn’t like Marx’s theory, let us at least take a look of what sort his practice is. As soon he became Minister of Finance YV stated that Greece would not suffer a “financial accident” nor would be forced to leave the Eurozone (though, according to YV, it shouldn’t have entered either). He also said that Greece wouldn’t back from paying the debt to IMF and to private investors. And, furthermore, that Greek economy would be able to grow at a sufficiently high rate to escape from the debt burden. A growth rate to be handled at pan-European level, on the premise that a program for the reactivation of the whole European economy should be launched under German hegemony, such as Roosevelt’s New Deal or the Marshall Plan of the fifties! What a dreamer, this reformist!

In what concerns the Greek banks, YV didn’t show much preoccupation, though billions of euros have left the country and continue to flow away. YV also said that the new government would not change the running privatization process and that Greece should be kept as an attractive destination for direct foreign investment. Let us now follow the analysis of [6]:

“What sort of program is this one? Truly, it is difficult to say. In what concerns the debt, it reflects no doubt the inescapable reality that the Greek debt cannot be paid […] Everything else looks more as a collection of sentences for the gallery of populism, without much coherence, to put it leniently. What growth is there to be built at a pan-European level? What is that thing of launching an investment program for the whole Europe? Is the Greek government going to convince Merkel, Hollande and Rajoy, or is it going to wait that Podemos wins the elections in order to have an ally? YV says that private investments in Greece will be reactivated as soon as the debt burden is relieved. Really? First, the relief has to be seen, but supposing it does occur, which magic wand will reactivate the investments? Will that take place because Greek salaries will become “attractive” (i. e., the lower the better) for the newly-called investors, in fact the capitalists of other times? Is Syriza going to intent an advance on that direction? Will the investments flow to Greece because the new government will gift them with assurances and guaranties that capital will be respected and will not suffer any pinch on taxes, nationalizations and regulations? But those that own Greek debt aren’t they precisely those capitalists? Wouldn’t it sound weird to their ears any “discharge”, any debt relief, amounting to no other thing than the partial or total loss of their capital?”

On YV’s disdain for theory, says the author of [6] (our emphases): “YV told in Zagreb that in none of his political or economic interventions of recent years was he guided by economic models, which to his looking are absolutely irrelevant to understand the real capitalism that exists today. This assertion begs a remark, because if one does not have a model, one is denied the possibility of an idea on how phenomena unfold, in order to act upon. Is it possible to sail from Barcelona to London with no map showing the possible itineraries? Is it possible to understand an electronic circuit with diodes, capacitors and transistors without having in the mind models on how such things work?”

As a matter of fact, it is not possible to have a consistently correct practice without a correct theory. True, a correct theory is not sufficient to have a correct practice. (We may know a lot about diodes, capacitors and transistors and here and there fail on interpreting how an electronic circuit works.) But a correct theory is nevertheless a necessary condition.

The author of [6] concludes as follows: “”The bearded one” as Varoufakis sometimes calls Marx passed is whole life investigating plans and theoretical outlines […] to form with them a general model of the capitalist economy. The general model is surely incomplete, the outlines didn’t allow us to predict, e.g., that the US would become in the second half of the 20th century the main country of the world capitalist system, that anticapitalist revolutions would take place in Russia and China (and would fail), and that computers and Internet would completely change the appearance of the world. However, Marx’s theoretical outlines, abstract in extreme as they are, allow us to understand why capitalism is a continuous source of social inequality, why it is doomed to crises one time and another, and why the attempts to “save it” or adjust it, be they good or bad intended, can only lead to failure or to convert their protagonists in members of the high-level managers group often named in today’s Spain as the “casta”. Eliminating capitalism is certainly difficult and many will agree with Varoufakis that “the Left” is not prepared for it. But stating that the real issue today is precisely saving capitalism isn’t that denying everything of importance lying behind the cloudy idea of “the Left”? […]”

As to us, we have since the beginning of this blog defended that Portugal has to be saved from the uncivilization of capitalism. And we have attempted to provide sound justifications to the needed measures of a left alternative (see our previous articles). One of them being the nationalization of the banks, not contemplated by Syriza. This and other anticapitalist measures implying exiting the euro and, possibly, the EU, will impose by themselves when the people understand and rise in the struggle for a left solution. A solution on the way to socialism. Quite naturally, with an organization up to the task. Reformist “shortcuts” will only postpone further away that understanding and commitment to the struggle.

Referências/References

[1] JN 4/2/2015, Bolsas aprovam plano grego mas próximos dias são cruciais.

[2] JN 20/2/2015, Vão todos a jogo mas no fim quem ganha é a Alemanha.

[3] JN 21/2/2015, Grécia diz que «deixou para trás a austeridade, o memorando e a troika»

[4] JN 23/2/2015

[5] Eugénio Rosa, A União Europeia e o Euro Serviram para Enriquecer a Alemanha, 31 de Janeiro de 2015, http://www.eugeniorosa.com/Sites/eugeniorosa.com/Documentos/2015/4-2015-AlemanhaUE.pdf

[6] José A. Tapia, Salvar el capitalismo, o las confesiones del ministro de finanzas griego, Rebelión, 13/2/2015, http://rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=195383.