Category: Labor
A Masterpiece of Human Intelligence: Quotes from Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” (1867)
| May 29, 2017 | 12:58 pm | Analysis, class struggle, Economy, Karl Marx, Labor | No comments

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Masterpiece of Human Intelligence: Quotes from Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” (1867)

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/05/a-masterpiece-of-human-intelligence.html
On the occasion of the 150 years since the publication of “Das Kapital” (The Capital)- the most significant book for the world’s working class- we remember some basic thoughts written by Karl Marx. 
The commodity is first of all, an external object, a thing which through its qualities satisfies human needs of whatever kind. The nature of these needs, whether they arise, for example, from the stomach, or the imagination, makes no difference. Nor does it matter here how the thing satisfies man’s need, whether directly as a means of subsistence, i.e. an object of consumption, or indirectly as a means of production
  • Vol. I, Ch. 1, Section 1, pg. 41.
Every commodity is compelled to chose some other commodity for its equivalent.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 1, Section 3, pg. 65.
The whole mystery of commodities, all the magic and necromancy that surrounds the products of labor as long as they take the form of commodities, vanishes therefore, so soon as we come to other forms of production.
  • Vol. I, ch.1, section 4.
A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood.Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 1, Section 4, pg. 81.
The religious world is but the reflex of the real world.
    • Vol. I, Ch. 1, Section 4, pg. 91.
Money is a crystal formed of necessity in the course of the exchanges, whereby different products of labour are practically equated to one another and thus by practice converted into commodities.
    • Vol. I, Ch. 2, pg. 99.
Capital is money, capital is commodities. … By virtue of it being value, it has acquired the occult ability to add value to itself. It brings forth living offspring, or, at the least, lays golden eggs.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 4, pp. 171–172.
As capitalist, he is only capital personified. His soul is the soul of capital. But capital has one single life impulse, the tendency to create value and surplus-value, to make its constant factor, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus-labour. Capital is dead labor,that vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.

  • Vol. I, Ch. 10, Section 1, p. 257.
If this labourer were in possession of his own means of production, and was satisfied to live as a labourer, he need not work beyond beyond the time necessary for the reproduction of his means of subsistence, say 8 hours a day.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 11, pg. 336.
The directing motive, the end and aim of capitalist production, is to extract the greatest possible amount of surplus value, and consequently to exploit labor-power to the greatest possible extent.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 13, pg. 363.
Unlimited exploitation of cheap labour-power is the sole foundation of their power to compete.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 15, Section 8, pg. 520.
Capitalist production, therefore, develops technology, and the combining together of various processes into a social whole, only by sapping the original sources of all wealth — the soil and the labourer.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 15 (last sentence), pg. 556.
In capitalist society spare time is acquired for one class by converting the whole life-time of the masses into labour-time.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 17, Section IV, pg. 581.
One capitalist always kills many.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 32, p. 836.
The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralisation of the means of production and socialisation of labour at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.
  • Vol. I, Ch. 32, p. 837.
We have just seen that, apart from money-capital, circulating capital is only another name for commodity-capital. But to the extent that labour power circulates in the market,it is not capital, no form of commodity-capital. It is not capital at all; the labourer is not a capitalist, although he brings a commodity to market, namely his own skin.
  • Vol. II, Ch. X, p. 211.
But simultaneously with the development of capitalist production the credit system also develops. The money-capital which the capitalist cannot as yet employ in his own business is employed by others, who pay him interest for its use.
  • Vol. II, Ch. XVII, p. 325.
Since property here exists in the form of stock, its movement and transfer become purely a result of gambling on the stock exchange, where the little fish are swallowed by the sharks and the lambs by the stock exchange wolves.
  • Vol. III, Ch. XXVII, The Role of Credit, p. 440.
“Just as the savage must wrestle with Nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilised man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production. With his development this realm of physical necessity expands as a result of his wants; but, at the same time, the forces of production which satisfy these wants also increase. Freedom in this field can only consist in socialised man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favourable to, and worthy of, their human nature. But it nonetheless still remains a realm of necessity. Beyond it begins that development of human energy which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom forth only with this realm of necessity as its basis. The shortening of the working-day is its basic prerequisite”.
– Vol. III.
Statements by the WFTU and PAME: Solidarity with the bus drivers’ strike in Sydney

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Statements by the WFTU and PAME: Solidarity with the bus drivers’ strike in Sydney

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/05/statements-by-wftu-and-pame-solidarity.html
The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 92 million workers in the 5 continents, expresses its solidarity with Sydney bus drivers who are on strike as a response to the government’s announcement for a privatization program of bus services in the city’s south and inner west.
The privatization plan was announced, despite the fact that the government assured the bus drivers in writing that the bus route will not be privatized. According to the strikers, the privatization will cost the job of 1,200 drivers, will reduce the bus routes and stops and will adversely affect the quality of service and the maintenance of the buses.
The WFTU stands by the side of the strikers and calls the people of Australia to support them in this struggle. We condemn the Industrial Relations Commission which announced the strike illegal, ordering the drivers to work normally. The right for strike is an non-negotiable workers’ right and the bourgeoisie cannot disarm the trade union movement from this.


The Urban Transport Secretariat of PAME (All Workers Militant Front) that represents the class trade union movement of Greece, and the bus drivers of Athens, expresses its support to the bus drivers of Sydney, Australia, who are on strike against Privatizations.
The attack of the Capital against the workers escalates on global level. Transport sector is on the front line of this attack.
Our struggles and solidarity among the workers is necessary for the counterattack of the working class against the offensive of the Governments and the Capitalists.
The Urban Transport Secretariat of PAME expresses its solidarity with the workers in buses of Sydney​.
D. Koutsoumbas: “The austerity memorandums must be thrown in the trashbin of history”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

D. Koutsoumbas: “The austerity memorandums must be thrown in the trashbin of history”

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/05/koutsoumbas-austerity-memorandums-must.html

“Popular uprising everywhere. The memorandums of austerity must be thrown in the trashbin of history” said among other things the Secretary General of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Dimitris Koutsoumbas who attended the large strike demonstration in Athens on May 17. Talking to journalists, Secretary Koutsoumbas made the following statement:

 
“Actually, class war is now in progress, it is a marathon, not a rifle shot in the air. Class war must be a daily and lasting one. The harsh antipeople measures, the 4th memorandum along with the previous memorandums (of austerity) must be thrown in the trashbin of History and for that the only responsible are the Greek people, the labor-popular movement. 

For that reason, our call is: Popular uprising everywhere, not a day or hour must be gone; the struggle doesn’t end today or tomorrow but continues. 

The KKE, the class forces, the militant movement, PAME, the Social Alliace will be present, every day, everywhere, in the streets and in the Parliament, in industries, in the cities and the villages. This is a lasting struggle, (which) must lead to the overthrow of this rotten and corrupt system, of its government, for disengagement from the EU, with a social and economic plan which will have in its epicenter the working man, the ever-expanding needs of our people”.
Within the framework of the 24h General Strike numerous demonstrations, organised by PAME, took place in Greece’s large cities. In Athens, thousands of people- workers, unemployed, self-employed, pensioners, students- gathered at Kotzia Square and marched in the city center. A respective militant demonstration took place in Thessaloniki.
 
New PAME-organised protests against the new austerity memorandum will be held on Thursday evening in the country’s major cities.


Info: 902.gr / Translation: In Defense of Communism.


Demonstration in Athens, May 17, 2017.
Demonstration in Thessaloniki, May 17, 2017.
People Rise Up: Greece’s Labour movement prepares for national General Strike on May 17

Monday, May 15, 2017

People Rise Up: Greece’s Labour movement prepares for national General Strike on May 17

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/05/people-rise-up-greeces-labour-movement.html
A nationwide General Strike is scheduled to take place on May 17, 2017 with rallies and demonstrations in Athens-Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Patras and all major cities of the country.
On the occasion of the General Strike, the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) calls the people to rise up against the new harsh measures imposed by the bailout agreement of the SYRIZA coalition government and the creditors (EU-IMF). More specifically, the PAME statement writes:
All together, workers, Unemployed, self-employed, scientists, small farmers, young workers, we must stop the continuous destruction of our lives.
We must demand the recovery of all our losses
We must fight for new demands, based on our contemporary needs
The new Agreement-4th Memorandum of the SYRIZA Government-Capital-EU is:
  • Further destruction of the branch level Collective Contracts. Further attack on the already cut National Minimum Wage and the division between young and older workers. They destroy our wages
  • Liberalization of massive layoffs and legalization of Lock Out
  • New brutal taxation to the people which will cost additional 1.5 salaries every year in taxes.
  • New pension cuts! They steal from the pensioners up to 2 pensions every year.
  • They abolish Sunday as a day off from work. They turn the workers into slaves of the multinationals, who will work 7 days a week. They take us back into the dark ages.
  • They cut whatever rights and benefits were left, as the unemployment benefit. With more than 1.000.000 unemployed and less than 1/10 of them receiving any financial support from the unemployment agency, they cut further €1.5 million a year from unemployment funding.
  • More cuts are imposed to a series of benefits that existed to support the most vulnerable and poor workers.
  • New privatizations are imposed in state companies in Electricity, Gas, Water, Oil. This will also lead to higher costs for the workers.
  • They open the door for auctioning off and foreclosures of people’s homes etc
  • Under the demand of the “big investors”, they want to block trade union action. To block the foundation and activity of unions, to stop the organization of struggles.
  • We must stop the new attack against our lives
  • The new measures are the 4th Memorandum, which will burden the working class. It includes new privileges and funding to the big business groups, new misery for the workers.
We can see clearly what is the meaning of the so called “fair development”. It is growth and development for the benefit of the capitalists, that is built over the destruction of the workers’-people’s rights. Development based on extreme exploitation. Growth which means huge profits for the few, poverty for the many.
For these profits the SYRIZA Government, also, promotes the participation of Greece to the geopolitical bloodbath that we witness in our region. Their goal of “geostrategic upgrade” of Greece is why they participate in the imperialist interventions and wars.
We demand no participation in the imperialist plans
The workers, the unemployed, the young workers, we demand the recovery of our losses, our contemporary needs.
We condemn the unified line of the political parties (social democratic, liberal, centrist, etc) that supported the 3rd Memorandum., who support the policy of the monopolies and the exploitative system. They are responsible for our situation.
We take the responsibility for the organizations and success of the General Strike in our hands.
We overcome the obstacles and the undermining of the forces of class collaboration, the trade union forces controlled by the Government and the employers. We overcome the ETUC members in Greece (GSEE-ADEDY), who are the most stable ally of the capitalists.
We have the right on our side!
We have the power!
May 17 – National General Strike
May 18 Demonstrations and Rallies in All Greek Cities.
ATHENS, Kotzia square at 10.00 am.
THESSALONIKI, Venizelos’ statue at 10.30 am.
PIRAEUS, Karaiskaki square at 10.00 am.
May Day 2017: Unite and fight!

Source: CP Canada website

Unite and fight for jobs, democracy, sovereignty, equality and socialism!

We celebrate May Day 2017 in the shadow of the Trump war machine which has moved the whole planet into extreme danger of extinction due to nuclear war and/or climate change.  According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, it took just 100 days in office for the Trump administration to move the Doomsday Clock to 2 and a half minutes to midnight.  The world hasn’t been this close to Doomsday since 1953, at the height of the Cold War when the US openly campaigned for war with the USSR.  Is this the end of history that capitalism’s triumphant spokesman Fukuyama proclaimed in the 1990s?

For the last 25 years, capitalism has had the upper hand, and the ability to demonstrate its self-proclaimed ‘superiority’. Its enormous wealth and capacity could have been put to the service of the world’s exploited and impoverished billions with health care, education, jobs, development, peace and disarmament, and action to reduce the effects of climate change. In fact this is socialist Cuba’s contribution over the past 25 years, despite the US embargo.

But capitalism did what capitalism always does – seek out new places and new ways to exploit and to profit from the misery of the many, for the benefit of the richest corporations and the wealthiest few. This is the nature and the purpose of capitalism:  the exploitation of one human being and one class by another, for the private profit and benefit of the ruling class at the expense of the working people, the youth, women, immigrants, Indigenous Peoples. It is incapable of addressing the needs of the people, or the needs of the planet, because its purpose is to ruthlessly exploit both.

As a result austerity has been introduced across the capitalist world, and wages, pensions and living standards have fallen in all the advanced capitalist countries, including in Europe and North America, while unemployment – and the growth of the ultra-right and its policies of xenophobia, racism, and misogyny – has surged.  In the developing countries, hunger, debt, dependence, and capitalist globalization, and threats of invasion and ‘regime change’ are the reality of capitalism’s self-proclaimed ‘superiority’ over national sovereignty, independence and socialism.

We see the outcome of this dictatorship of the most powerful corporations in the US today: the ultra-right in control of the White House, the Congress and Senate, and the judiciary.  With an agenda to match: corporate tax cuts, deregulation, free-trade benefiting the most powerful US corporations, militarization funded by massive cuts to social security, and war with the two-pronged objective of leveling all resistance to US corporate power and profits inside and outside the US borders.  This means war on the labour and peoples’ movements at home, war and subjugation on nations and states around the world, and war on the planet itself.

This is an agenda of global destruction that the Canadian government should strongly oppose.

But the Liberals have tiptoed around the Trump administration, supporting illegal US airstrikes on Syria and Afghanistan, threats to invade and overthrow the DPRK (North Korea), and any country that resists the US global corporate agenda. The Liberals have promised to double Canada’s military budget in order to pay NATO 2% of GDP as demanded by Trump, or in lieu of payment, to send Canadian troops wherever Trump decides to make war next.

And, instead of pulling out of NAFTA and exposing the US administration’s reactionary and job-destroying agenda on trade, the Liberals are supporting a renegotiation of NAFTA that will wreak havoc on Canadian jobs, manufacturing and agriculture, on resource development, on universal public Medicare, on labour and democratic rights, on sovereignty and independence.  This is the moment when Trudeau should have said NO.

NO to NAFTA – NO to war

Canada is at a crossroads. In one direction, the Liberals’ team-up with the Trump administration will escalate Canada’s complete integration into the US war economy and politics.  This would mean Canada would lose its manufacturing and industrial sector and revert to a source of natural resources and a market for US value-added goods and services.  We will see a further drop in wages, pensions and living standards, where even minimum wages are not guaranteed.  We will also lose Medicare and universal social programs, our labour, civil, social and democratic rights, along with what remains of our sovereignty and independence.  In return, we become a completely integrated part of the US war machine, spending $40 billion a year on war (and rising).

For corporate Canada and their political parties this may seem like a good way to go. For working people it’s a fast-forward freeway to disaster.

It’s deeply regrettable that the NDP and Greens both support US airstrikes on Syria and renegotiation of NAFTA, while also claiming  to represent the interests of working people.

It’s also disturbing that the outgoing CLC leadership has taken the same position, when NAFTA was widely panned and opposed as the corporate agenda on steroids.

In 1988, just a few months of campaigning by a broad-based coalition of labour and the democratic people’s movements nearly derailed the first free trade deal between Canada and the US.  This powerful movement against capitalist globalization succeeded in derailing both the MAI and the FTAA, and came close to blocking NAFTA.

Similarly, massive anti-war and anti-globalization protests took place around the globe during the same period, mobilizing public opinion against nuclear weapons, and for political solutions to global problems.

The Women’s March of 5 million women globally including 200,000 women in Canada, along with the struggles of Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, and mobilizations for climate justice, show the way forward today.

The struggle of the youth and minimum wage workers to win $15 and Fairness, and the response of the labour movement in Quebec to make $15 a universal bargaining demand, is the way forward.  The response of some unions in BC and Ontario to make $15 a basic bargaining demand, and to win it after striking on it, is the way forward.  It’s a political and economic fight that the CLC should adopt at its May convention.

The fight to pull out of NAFTA and adopt a trade policy that’s multi-lateral and mutually beneficial, creating value-added jobs, building  sustainable primary and secondary industry and manufacturing, will need the CLC to bring the labour movement and its allies into the streets, to oppose capitalist corporate globalization supported by both Trump and the Big Business parties in Canada.

Mass mobilizations are also needed to get Canada out of NATO, to bring Canadian troops home, and to adopt a foreign policy of peace and disarmament.

Workers in Canada can show their solidarity and support for workers’ struggles globally by standing shoulder to shoulder in opposition to austerity and war, capitalist globalization, Islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia, reaction and fascism.  They can stand with Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Palestine, and all those countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa fighting for their right to self-determination and independence from US interference, including those who choose a socialist path of development.

Working people, youth, women, the unemployed and labour must use their united might to oppose compromise with US war-mongers and the reactionary, fascist-supported administration of Trump’s government of oilmen, generals and bankers.

A People’s Agenda for Canada

Labour and its partners must unite and fight for a People’s Agenda for Canada, organizing mass mobilizations to campaign for:

  • Fair trade, not NAFTA – multi-lateral trade with all countries that is beneficial to all parties, and includes long term credits for developing and socialist countries;
  • A foreign policy of peace and disarmament – Get out of NATO and NORAD, Cut military spending by 75%, bring home Canadian troops involved in foreign wars;
  • Fight Climate Change – nationalize natural and energy resources; close the tar sands and guarantee jobs in public development of new energy sources such as solar, wind, thermal, and renewable energy;
  •  Create Jobs – invest in a national housing program to build affordable social housing across Canada; invest in value-added manufacturing, including a Canadian car and urban and inter-urban mass rapid transit; agricultural implements industry; machine tool industry; ship-building; expand social programs;
  •  Raise wages and incomes – raise the minimum wage to $20; substantially increase pensions and drop the age for a full pension and OAS to 60; introduce a guaranteed annual income at a living wage; increase EI to 90% of former earnings and expand to cover all job seekers including part-time and first-time job seekers   Enact universal pay and employment equity; repeal the Temporary Foreign Workers Act;
  • Expand immigration and refugee acceptance and re-settlement; scrap the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement;
  • Expand universal social programs and Medicare, and introduce a system of universally accessible, affordable, quality public childcare;
  • Eliminate tuition fees and make post-secondary education accessible to all;
  • Protect and expand civil, social, labour and democratic rights.  Enforce and enact anti-hate laws.

Another world is possible – and urgent! 

In this centenary year of the victory of the Great October Revolution, which opened the door to socialism and workers’ power around the world, we recall the historic struggle of the working class in Russia to create a society free of exploitation and oppression, a society of equality and justice, where working people were in the driver’s seat and corporations, greedy landowners and landlords were put out of business, and war-mongers and profiteers sent packing.  With 100 years of both heroic and painful experience of war and fascism, and the overthrow of the socialist states in Europe, we know that socialism represents the future, and capitalism is the past.  There is no other rung on the ladder of human development between capitalism and socialism.  The time has come – is overdue – for working people to take control of our own destiny, to establish working class political power.

In the struggles ahead, working people will build socialism anew, learning from the experiences of the past and building for the future.  The struggle continues, more urgent than ever.

Labor Day Parade Held in Moscow With Thousands of Participants
| May 1, 2017 | 8:26 pm | Labor, political struggle, Russia | No comments
Labor Day Parade Held in Moscow With Thousands of Participants

Labor Day Parade Held in Moscow With Thousands of Participants

© Sputnik/ Maksim Blinov
Russia

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https://sputniknews.com/russia/201705011053164966-labor-day-parade-moscow/

Mass demonstrations devoted to Labor Day celebrations are held in Moscow, with thousands of trade union representatives, students, senior citizens and representatives of various political parties and movements participating, a Sputnik correspondent reported Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A parade to mark May Day was held in Moscow center at the Red Square, with city’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin marching in front of the column. According to the Interior Ministry, about 130,000 people took part in a demonstration there.”Dozens of new enterprises, technology parks, tens of thousands of new jobs have been created, real wages are slowly increasing, new houses, kindergartens, schools, hospitals, traffic hubs, underground station are constructed, the Moscow Central Circle was launched last year. Moscow is developing, Moscow is in a good mood, in a combative mood. We will succeed!” Sobyanin said.

This year the demonstration is held under slogan “For decent jobs, wages, life!.” People are carrying flowers, balloons and banners reading “For peace and stability,” “For development and well-being,” “Decent price for labor.”

The celebrations are held in other Russian cities as well.

May 1 is an International Workers’ Day, also known as Labor Day, which is celebrated in many countries.

PAME expresses solidarity with the General Strike of the workers of Brazil on April 28

Thursday, April 27, 2017

PAME expresses solidarity with the General Strike of the workers of Brazil on April 28

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/04/pame-expresses-solidarity-with-general.html
The All Workers Militant Front (PAME) that represents the class trade union movement of Greece, expresses its solidarity with the working class and the unions of Brazil, the CTB and the friends and affiliates of WFTU in Brazil, for the General Strike of April 28
The workers of Brazil are going on General Strike on April 28 against the antiworkers’ reforms planned by the Temer Government on Social Security and labour legislation. The General Strike of April 28, which has been prepared systematically by the class trade unions of Brazil for weeks, aims to be the biggest strike action since the great General Strike of 1917.
PAME expresses its class solidarity with the General Strike of the workers of Brazil, in their fight for workers’ rights against the antiworkers’ policies that serve the capital.
* * * 
Nationwide General Strike slated for April 28 in Brazil.
Sao Paulo, Brazil – Labor unions, progressive political parties and social movements across Brazil have called for a general strike of all workers to protest the neoliberal anti-worker policies being imposed by right-wing politicians including the new president Michel Temer. Temer was put in office only after the illegal removal of progressive President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party.
“Teachers in Brazil face many of the same challenges that we do in Chicago. They face closings of neighborhood schools, cuts in teachers’ pension benefits as well as cuts to students in need. But a general strike to protest. Wow!” said CTU Executive Board Member Natasha Carlsen. “We are not there yet, but by organizing students, teachers and parents and applying class struggle methods we will get there.”
The call for a general strike follows protests and strikes by more than a million people on March 15. In Sao Paulo, the CTB president, Adilson Araujo, was one of those who used the microphone on the crowded Paulista Avenue saying, “Brazil woke up earlier today, willing to give a response to this illegitimate government which tries to impose at all costs an extreme neoliberal agenda.”
“All the unions are organizing for the General Strike. We had a meeting with every union in every sector. We are all united. We are striking to win back workers’ rights, win back our pensions and stop outsourcing,” said Campinas General Secretary for the CTB Paulo Jose Nobre, “Brazilian President Michel Temer is making an unprecedented attack on us. He wants us to work more hours and get paid less. He wants us to work more years for our pension and have less rights as workers.”