Category: Marxism-Leninism Today (MLToday.com)
A Painful Anniversary

A Painful Anniversary

– from Zoltan Zigedy is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/

Exactly ten years ago this past April 7, I posted an article on Marxism-Leninism Today entitled Tabloid Political Economy: The Coming Depression (for those who missed it, it is reproduced below). It was my first and only attempt at economic prognostication, always a challenging and risky venture. The “Tabloid” in the article’s title was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the headline in the April, 2007 issue of a now defunct supermarket tabloid, Weekly World News. Featured between Virgin Mary Slaps Boy and Jews Invented Pizzoh was the shrill admonition: Surviving the Next Great Depression! It’s Coming This Summer!

It didn’t come in the summer of 2007.
In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued to climb seemingly with no limit, reaching a new peak in the fall of 2007. The pundits continued to extol the virtues of unbridled capitalism.
While the folks at WWN built their case on scant evidence (“Skyrocketing gas prices, escalating war, crashing housing prices, calamitous weather and freefalling stock prices…”), there were many other good reasons to take their prediction seriously, reasons which I offered in my article. Unfortunately, the print edition did not survive to see the collapse that rocked the foundations of the global capitalist economy the following year. Nonetheless, the zany supermarket tabloid proved to be far more prescient than the Nobel laureates, academics, and popular pundits who postured as learned economists yet never saw the collapse coming.
Ten Years On

The global economy never fully recovered from the crash of 2008. Instead, it has stumbled along from one setback to another, with economic growth only marginally topping population growth. When both the enormous loss of wealth from the crash and the obscenely unequal distribution of the wealth recovered since the crash are configured, it is fair to say that the vast majority of the world’s population have seen little or no recovery. In fact, the casualties from the crash continue to pile up.

The US economy is neither healthy nor without serious symptoms. Despite the market euphoria that surprisingly accompanied the Trump election, the Atlanta Federal Reserve has lowered its growth expectations for the first quarter to .5% from an earlier forecast of 3%. Other projections have similarly dropped.
For three months in a row, since January, durable goods orders (excluding volatile transportation orders) have dropped. Industrial production fell .1% in January and was unchanged in February. Factory output dropped .4% in March from February and was only up .8% from a year earlier.
Bank loan growth has slowed.
Retail sales slowed by .3% in February and .2% in March. Inflation, as a measure of consumer demand, dropped .3% in March. Retail stores are closing in unprecedented numbers and retail employment growth has slowed.
Sales of new cars– the principal driver of consumption growth since the crash– has fallen for three straight months. Auto dealers are now offering buyer incentives that are greater than the labor costs of production (labor costs are less than $2500 per car, on average). Incentives account for 10.5% of average sticker price ($31, 435). Yet the average car sits for over 70 days on the lot.
Used car prices were down 8% in February, another sign of declining demand. And auto loan defaults are on the rise.
The US trade gap– the difference between imports and exports– reached a 5-year high in February.
In stark human terms, the US economy is failing working people. Between January 2016 and January 2017, average hourly earnings slipped .1% and the hours of the average workweek dropped .3%. This calculates to a .4% loss in real average earnings for those twelve months.
With reduced earnings, more and more workers are drawing on their retirement savings: 20% of 401(k)s have been reduced through self-loans.
Not surprisingly, household debt in 2016 grew the most in a decade. Unlike in the lead-up to the crash, mortgage debt is growing modestly, still below the explosive growth rate of that time. Instead, the growth in debt is in credit cards, auto loans, and student loans. Auto loan debt has reached $1.2 trillion, while student debt has risen to $1.3 trillion.
Student debt is particularly crippling. There are 42 million outstanding loans. The average student loan debt jumped from $26,300 in 2013 to $30,650 in 2016. Defaults went from 3.6 million in 2015 to 4.2 million in 2016.
And senior citizens are saddled with growing debt as well. In 1998, 30% of people 65 and older were in debt. In 2012, the percentage of seniors in debt reached 43.3. Growing debt comes in the wake of the collapse of net worth since 2005, when it topped $300,000 among those 55 to 64. By 2013, average net worth within that group dropped to $168,900 (even below the net worth of $175,300 reached in 1989).
Talking heads and media “experts” hail the job market. But they seldom delve deeply into its performance. Put simply, capitalists are hiring additional workers, rather than purchasing labor-saving equipment, because labor is cheap and flexible. The failure of organized labor to defend or advance labor’s relative position has served as a disincentive for capitalist investment in new technologies and equipment. They see no need to do so, when labor power can be used on demand, with no restrictions, and at low costs.
That trend is clearly reflected in the most recent period’s historically poor growth in productivity, among the lowest periods of productivity growth since the Second World War. Contrary to the widespread hawking of the idea that most workers are in danger of being replaced by robots, corporations are showing little interest in the introduction of new or old technologies. They are spending very little on equipment. While the technology may be there, capitalists have shown little need for it, given low labor costs.
As Shawn Sprague shows in a recent BLS paper, since 2009 the growth of aggregate hours-worked has grown more quickly than the growth of non-farm business output. This fact demonstrates that US capitalists feel little pressure to “save” labor while restoring profits during the so-called “recovery.” Rather than having existing workers work more hours, they are hiring more workers at low wages and contingently. Profits rebounded nicely because the working class had been slammed by the downturn, rendering the employment costs so low that there was no need to invest in labor-saving equipment.
This harsh truth has been ignored by economists and labor leaders alike because it shows the complete bankruptcy of class collaboration as an approach to social justice for workers.
US capitalists have enjoyed a decade of low labor costs, no pressure to invest retained earnings, and high profits (corporate after-tax profits dipped in 2015, but came back smartly in 2016). By securing labor power at low costs, they have foregone the purchase of labor-saving instruments and achieved modest growth by expanding employment. Today, capital is profoundly afraid that, with reduced unemployment, competition for labor power will drive up the costs of labor and erode profits. The Trump tax change package, favorable to corporations and the repatriation of profits, is one ruling class response to this anticipated problem.
Despite the return of an overheated housing market with escalating prices (lagging new construction is fueling demand), no systemic accumulation crisis comparable to that of 2007-2008 appears on the immediate horizon. Instead, the post-collapse era of stagnation and deteriorating living standards continues for the working class. As the shrinking income and mounting debt of working people erodes aggregate consumption, the possibility of a business cycle contraction grows more and more likely. The long, tepid expansion transferred nearly all its gains to the wealthy few, leaving little but debt or asset cannibalization for the majority. With declining retail sales, especially auto sales, and the growing weight of personal debt, the likelihood of further consumption growth is in doubt.
A business cycle contraction will only further weaken the position of working people, setting them up for a further dose of sacrifice and pain.
Isn’t it time to get off the capitalist roller coaster?
Zoltan Zigedy

 

“Trump will be a disaster for the US working class” – Interview with Zoltan Zigedy

Friday, February 3, 2017

“Trump will be a disaster for the US working class” – Interview with Zoltan Zigedy

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/02/trump-will-be-disaster-for-us-working.html

On the occasion of the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency and the recent anti-Trump demonstrations throughout the United States, we asked from the US-based blogger and activist Zoltan Zigedy* to share his views. 

* * * 
 
Q: Generally speaking, how do you think Trump’s Presidency will affect the U.S. working class?
 
ZZ: Thank you for inviting me to discuss these questions with you. While the views are mine, they benefit from extensive discussions with my comrades at  Marxism-Leninism Today. We believe that the election of Donald Trump reflects a multi-faceted crisis of growing inequality and insecurity, of systemic economic instability, and of the two-party electoral charade. Unfortunately, the broad US left– a potential counterforce to the crisis– is ideologically immature and organizationally splintered. Because of its failure, other forces have leaped in to address the crisis. We see Trump’s right-wing populism as such an attempt to offer an alternative.
 
In our view, the Trump phenomenon is very much akin to the radical right-wing populist parties that have emerged in Europe, where a similar bankruptcy of existing “left” parties has driven many desperate workers towards demagogues and false friends.

Trump will be a disaster for the US working class. He has surrounded himself with a cabal of counselors, advisors, and cabinet members who count as the most rapacious and anti-worker elements in the upper echelons of capitalism. The idea of a worker-friendly bourgeois billionaire and his billionaire colleagues as a savior to working people is an absurdity. The corporate leaders recently called to the White House to meet Trump have all left with a confident smile. In the short run, Trump, a master at public relations, will secure some moral points with gestures in the direction of workers, but that will fade quickly.

We are confident that Trump will fail to pull the US out of its deepening crisis.
 
Q: On Trump’s inauguration day, as well as in the following days, we saw numerous mass demonstrations throughout the States against him. How do you evaluate this “anti-Trump movement”? Is it a temporary reaction without any class characteristics or it could possibly have further development in the future?
 
ZZ: The anti-Trump movement is complex and contradictory. On the one hand, it has produced demonstrations and marches unprecedented in size. It has brought many people with no previous engagement with activism into the streets. The movement has shown some resilience and sustained passion.
 
On the other hand, it has yet to surface any advanced positions. It has drawn mainly from the white, urban middle strata. It’s leadership has been moderate and centrist. And it has lacked working class leadership and the embrace of working class issues.
 
Some see the not-so-hidden hand of the Democratic Party and its enormous resources actively hijacking the anti-Trump movement.
 
Still others sense a whiff of Maidan and the Color Revolutions in the anti-Trump mainstream media hysteria, the activities of George Soros, and the intervention of US security services in recent politics.
 
Nonetheless, the mass actions offer an occasion to engage those new to or returning to activist politics. Like the earlier “anti-globalization” movement, the Occupy Movement, and other movements hostile to organization and ideology, it is up to Marxist-Leninists, our friends, and allies to liberate as much of this political development as we can from opportunism or hijacking.
 
Q: Do you think that the US labor movement needs a strong Communist Party and how the existence of such a vanguard party can be achieved?
 
ZZ: We believe that a strong, revolutionary Communist Party is vital, essential to restoring class struggle unionism to the US labor movement. The purging of Communists from the labor movement during the McCarthy period left the working class movement in the US harnessed to class collaboration, a yoke that the movement has not cast off to this day.
 
The absence of an authentic, revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party is felt in every arena of struggle, on every political moment. We believe that only a militant Communist Party can deliver working people from the labor misleaders and from the “Scylla and Charybdis” of two party tyranny, as our Greek comrades so aptly say.  
 
The legacy of McCarthyism and the lure of “American Exceptionalism” have infected the left with opportunism, making the task of building a new, militant Communist Party a formidable task.
 
We look to create a pole of resistance to the reformist, opportunist left that vacillates on US imperialism and its wars, on class struggle unionism, on not-for-profit health care, on the two-party system, and, of course, on socialism.
 
At the same time, we are seeking unity-of-action with individuals and some organizations of a Marxist-Leninist orientation. While differences exist and surely will further surface in the future, we feel that practice and dialogue will determine the next steps in founding a revolutionary vanguard party in the US.
 
While we see this as a pre-party period, we recognize the urgency of providing our working class with a beacon for its liberation. We are optimistic that we are on that path.
 
* “Zoltan Zigedy” is the nom de plume of Pittsburgh-based writer Greg Godels who serves on the editorial board of Marxism-Leninism Today where many of his articles appear. You can read his personal blog here.
 
IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNISM ©.
On the Death of Fidel Castro

http://mltoday.com/article/2597-jose-fidel/90-frontpage-stories

From the  Editors of  Marxism-Leninism Today:

Like many around the world we mourn the death of Fidel Castro. We  express our condolences to Raul Castro and the rest of Fidel’s family, the Cuban people and the Communist Party of Cuba.

However, with that mourning comes a celebration of a life well lived in the service of humanity.

Bertoldt Brecht wrote:

There are those that struggle for a day, and they are good.
There are those that struggle for a year, and they are better.
There are those that struggle for many years, and they are better still.
But there are those that struggle all their lives.
These are the indispensable ones.

Fidel Castro was one of the indispensables ones. While there are those, as in Miami, celebrating his death, those “celebrations” amount to just “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The leader of the Cuban Revolution accomplished his work and passed away naturally after retiring.

Castro led the first socialist revolution in the Americas, which evolved from a struggle to defeat the U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. The armed revolt against the dictatorship was itself a fight for national liberation struggle against U.S. domination.Fidel Castro led the Cuban people in creating a socialist society with the means of production in the hands of the working class and farmers. Cuba became the first country in the Western Hemisphere to have a 100 percent literacy rate, free education and healthcare for all.

The Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro himself irked U.S imperialism for having lost control of that island nation and they attempted to thwart the socialist project through subversion, and actual invasion and an economic embargo that is still in place.. They attempted to destroy the revolution by getting rid of its leader. The US through the the CIA orchestrated over 600 plots and attempts to murder him.

Perhaps the time that Fidel Castro’s revolutionary leadership was most tested was with the counter-revolutionary defeat of the socialist camp in Europe.With the implementation of glasnost and perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced bourgeois ideas and bourgeois relations of production, thus opening the door to pro-capitalist elements and the counter-revolutionary overthrow of socialism. This counter-revolution spread through the other European socialist states.

Many communist leaders, both in the socialist and capitalist countries, left their Marxism-Leninism behind,  becoming social-democrats. Others became outright proponents of capitalism.

The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, an economic organization of member-states that worked for the economic integration of socialist countries, of which Cuba was a member was disbanded.  With that, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost its most important trading partners.

However, Castro maintained a staunch defence of Marxism-Leninism and the socialist system. Being a committed Marxist-Leninist, Castro was a committed anti-imperialist and led Cuba in that direction. This was an anti-imperialism that was not just words, but action. Cuba has a long list of political, military and material support for countries fighting against imperialism.  The military defence of Angola against the US-backed intervention, the support for Puerto Rican independence, and the support for the countries of Latin America to free themselves from US control comprise just a short list of the examples of Cuba’s anti-imperialism under the leadership of Fidel Castro.

While he will be missed, especially by the peoples of the world fighting for social justice and the new socialist world, his life’s work will endure as a lasting memory of  one of humanity’s indispensable persons.

Insurrection in the Heartland

http://mltoday.com/article/2602-insurrection-in-the-heartland/90-frontpage-stories

By Zoltan Zigedy
Nov. 20, 2016The 2016 US Presidential elections produced a surprising result and a glaring contradiction. Donald Trump will guide the affairs of the most powerful country in the world. And that same person, a rapacious billionaire, enjoyed the votes of a substantial portion of the US working class.

In a rational society, the two thoughts — democratic ascension to power by a tyrannical, vulgar, unsparing capitalist bully and the consent, even support of a desperate working class — could not come together. But the US is not an idealized rational society.

The US, from the time of its founding by wealthy merchants and lawyers, is a state with institutional features meant to dampen or eviscerate any potential electoral movement that might challenge the rich and powerful. The “separation of powers” between three modes of governance, the balanced tension between states’ power and federal power, the bizarre “Electoral College,” and the evolved two-party system virtually assure a republic nearly immune to radical change or electoral insurgency.

Major democratic advances (the ending of slavery, women’s suffrage, desegregation, etc.) have been won on the battlefield and the streets and not in the voting booth. And the ownership of both of the two major parties by monopoly capital virtually guarantees that working people have a minor voice in affairs of the state.

The fate of this election hinged on US states that were battered by the flight of capital to cheap foreign labor markets and the resulting de-industrialization. The ease of capital movement, lower labor and other costs, and advances in logistics caught US workers in the scissors between job loss and radical cuts in pay and benefits. Add the effects of the 2007-2008 economic collapse, and the industrial core of the US working class was devastated.

Social scientists have well documented the dramatic rise in suicides, alcoholism, and drug abuse plaguing the working class over the last decade. What is unique about this moment is that white workers have also felt the brunt of capital’s abandonment of US manufacturing. In the past, the corporate policy of “last hired, first fired” and other racist barriers have insulated white workers from the harshest effects of policies and crises. Because minorities and women were on the workplace margins, they inordinately absorbed the shocks.

But today, white advantages have deteriorated in the face of twenty-first century corporate hyper-exploitation. With the threat of Communism (temporarily) abated, global capitalism doesn’t need to buy the white working class with privilege as often as it did in the past. Consequently, the economic pains of corporate pillage are felt by many white workers as well.

Predictably, white workers responded in different and contradictory ways. Many returned to old patterns of scapegoating, blaming African Americans, women, and immigrants for job losses and declining economic growth.

Still others blamed the elites of both parties and their policies for allowing, even encouraging the destruction of US manufacturing, the exiting of jobs, and the destruction of Midwestern communities.

Of course some embraced both responses.

Alienated white workers voted in large numbers twice for Obama– the Obama of “hope and change.” It was not racial tolerance that drove all of them to vote for Obama, but the desire for a break from the neglect of the Bush years.

We now know from the election data that many of the same predominantly white communities voted for Trump in 2016. Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, formerly industrial strongholds, all showed a 10-point or more turnaround in favor of Trump from 2012 to 2016. It was not all racial intolerance that drove so many white workers to vote for Trump, but the desire for change, in this instance, from the neglect of the Obama years. Exit polls show that voters wanted someone who “can bring needed change.”

This strange brew of legitimate anger, ignorant racism, and years of endless war and media-stoked xenophobia was exploited by Trump. With more voters opting out of what they see as inconsequential elections every year, the 2016 election was a contest fueled by anger, fear, and disappointment with the insipid choices offered by the bankrupt two-party system.

The failure of traditional institutions to address the pain and hardships endured by workers must be added to that volatile mix. Organized religion, organized labor, and, of course, the political party that workers identify with — the Democratic Party — have offered workers little beyond a cold shoulder.

After Shock

Worldwide, equity markets reminded us that the capitalist class owns both major US parties. Despite capital’s strong vocal and financial support for Hillary Clinton, stocks rebounded from a pre-election eight-day decline with record-breaking peaks in the US. Investors are confident that President Trump will not wander too far from the reservation; he will cater to the interests of capital first and foremost.

With the pollsters, pundits, and consultants in disarray, the day-after brought widespread paralysis followed by a right and left reaction. Racists and immigrant-bashers emerged from their crevices and loudly proclaimed a new day. To their surprise, lynch mobs did not form in a country that largely rejects crude, violent racism, but remains deaf to institutional patterns of oppression.

Anti-Trump rallies sprang up spontaneously on many campuses throughout the US. While they passionately rejected Trump’s ethnic and gender vulgarity, they have yet to advance many demands, or hints of a common program, though they have sought to force university administrations and a few cities to make campuses “sanctuaries” for diversity.

There will be many other opportunities in the months to come for a fight-back to take shape and for the left to offer leadership as the Trump agenda unfolds. To be sure, the Democratic Party operatives will work diligently to deflect this energy from core economic issues of inequality that anger the working class toward the social liberalism that occupies urban elites.

Missing from the analyses of most commentators is any recognition of the secular trend in US two-party politics towards dysfunctionality. Trump and Clinton are only the latest instantiation of this festering neglect of race and class, a neglect producing greater and greater social fissures with every electoral cycle.

It is only the left, essentially the Marxist-Leninist left that grasps the unique intersection of race and class arising at this moment. It offers the only analysis that explains the historical role of racism and xenophobia in solving capitalism’s problems through war and division and that can lead people through the minefield laid by the cynical Trump candidacy.

In the last instance, it is as the Greek Communists remind, commenting on the two-party system on the occasion of the Trump election: “The people will stop being trapped between ‘Scylla and Charybdis’ when they chart their own course, for rupture with and the overthrow of the system which creates poverty, crises, wars.…”

This article first appeared in the Morning Star (UK)

The Meaning of the 2016 US Presidential Election

The Meaning of the 2016 US Presidential Election

http://mltoday.com/article/2586-the-meaning-of-the-2016-us-presidential-election/90-frontpage-stories

By the Editors, Marxism-Leninism Today

November 15, 2016

To date, much of the liberal and left commentary has focused on President-elect Donald Trump, and the danger that his ascension to the White House portends.

While that is a matter of great and serious concern, it should not overshadow the meaning of the election — what the election says about the two-party system and the mood of the electorate. Without a class analysis, without an understanding of what the vote expresses and a diagnosis of the condition of the institutions of succession, future results will be even more disappointing.

The Election

Donald Trump won the US presidential election by winning enough popular votes in several key US states to enable him to accumulate the most votes in the Electoral College, the peculiar US institution devised as a bulwark against too much direct democracy. Trump did not garner the votes of most citizens, most “eligible” voters, or even most voters; that victory belonged to his opponent. Of course winning the Electoral College and not the popular vote is not an entirely uncommon outcome. Trump’s party — the Republican Party — kept its majority in both houses of Congress.

The general election leaves the Democratic Party in disarray, just as the primaries created disarray among the Republicans.

Trump represents right-wing populism, not fascism. Right-wing populism, a contradictory ideology, combines attacks on socially oppressed groups with distorted forms of anti-elitism based on scapegoating. Trump’s populism represented an amalgam of white racism, anti-immigrant xenophobia, isolationism, anti-intellectualism, American nationalism, nostalgia for a golden past (Make America Great Again!) and hostility to “establishment” elites.

He campaigned as a right-wing populist. Now a key question is: will he seek to govern as one?

Though the Trump movement has certainly attracted fascistic elements of the so-called “alt-right” (a phrase which refers to the Internet presence of far right ideologies, including white supremacism, Islamophobia, and anti-feminism) and could conceivably morph in a fascist direction, as of now it lacks, except in embryonic form, most of the classic elements associated with fascism: anti-democratic terrorism, attacks on unions and an independent judiciary, attacks on the rights of free press and free assembly, anti-Semitism, and anti-Communism.

And of course, unlike Germany in the early 1930s, as of now there is no existential political crisis in which the US ruling class feels threatened enough by revolution to turn away from normal bourgeois democratic methods of rule. The internal governance of the two monopoly parties is in disarray, not monopoly capital’s  grip on state power.

Right-wing populism has a long and essentially racist history—from the Know Nothing Party in the 19th century, to rightwing populists like Tom Watson at the turn of the 20th century to Huey Long in the 1930s and George Wallace in the 1960s. Make no mistake this is populism, but not the left-wing populism of Bernie Sanders but the right-wing populism of George Wallace. It is driven by the preposterous idea that government social programs benefit African-Americans and other minorities more than whites and the pernicious idea that minorities are criminals who refuse to work.

Trump’s victory was a surprise when measured by the historically reliable indicators of electoral success: money and media. Clinton had an uncommon advantage in fundraising and spending. With the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, the door opened to largely unrestricted campaign contributions, a decision widely and correctly condemned by liberals and the left. Consequently, 57% of super PAC donations were made from 60 billionaires and millionaires.

It is important to note that nearly 85% of those super PAC contributions went to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, a fact that should have identified her clearly as the candidate of the rich and powerful. Similarly, the media showed a clear bias for Clinton. Nearly every major newspaper endorsed her. And Wikileaks revealed the widespread collusion between media figures and political operatives working in her favor. Like most of monopoly capital, most of the vast news and entertainment empires favored Hillary Clinton.

Among the big losers in the November 8 US federal elections were the commentators, the media, the electoral consultants, the pollsters, and the two major political parties. With Donald Trump winning the presidential election, the multi-billion dollar election-industry failed to produce the desired and expected results that most of the rich and powerful had financed. Trump won in spite of the decided, but not decisive advantages enjoyed by his opponent: enormous corporate campaign contributions, an aggressively pro-Clinton media, a polished Clinton campaign machine, the support of a reasonably popular incumbent President, and favorable party demographics.

The Democrats lost because they refused to address the issues that mattered most to the electorate. By nearly twice the number of the next most popular trait, voters sought a candidate who “can bring needed change”. Instead, Clinton offered experience and continuity.

Voter participation this year continued the historic decline that  had been briefly interrupted by the turn-out for Obama. This decline shows the long-term disillusionment with the two-party system. In 2016 voter participation for eligible voters was 57 percent. In 2012 it was 58.6 percent and 61.8 percent in 2008.

Moreover, this was the first presidential election since the 1965 without a Voting Rights Act (gutted by the US Supreme Court in 2013) . Consequently, countless number of African-Americans and other minorities were effectively disenfranchised by various devices designed to suppress their vote.

The two-party system is effective in channeling discontent away from true political independence. In spite of a great deal of dissatisfaction with the status quo, “the establishment,” and the economy, most of this discontent paid heed to Trump’s demagogic promises and scapegoating. Jill Stein and the Green Party, representing an extension of Bernie Sanders’s reformist program, received only one percent of the vote.

Nearly three-fourths (70%) of the electorate were “dissatisfied” or “angry” with how the government was working. Clinton was identified closely with the upper echelons of aloof federal government for over two decades. Indeed, no public figure was more closely associated with distant government than Hillary Clinton.

Voters (62%) thought the economy was “not so good” or “poor”. Clinton hailed the “recovery” after the 2007-8 collapse, citing misleading employment figures that masked the loss of good-paying jobs, benefits, and homes — the pain and insecurity of working people.

Thus, Trump’s victory was fueled by a great disillusionment with neo-liberalism (free trade, open borders and “regime change” wars abroad) felt by workers in rural areas, in the South, and in the Midwest’s former industrial and mining areas. These were the folks who experienced the loss of 50 percent of mining jobs and over 30 percent of industrial jobs in the past quarter century. These working people experienced the loss of 11 million jobs and 12 million homes while seeing the banks benefit from $1 trillion in government bailouts after the economic crash of 2008. What made Trump different from his rivals in the Republican primaries and from Hillary Clinton was his rejection of this neo-liberalism.

The Democratic Party failure is demonstrated clearly by the electoral returns. For example, a Democratic Party stronghold like Luzerne County in Eastern Pennsylvania accounted for 40% of the state’s margin for Trump. In 2012, President Obama won the county by a 5% margin; in 2016, the results swung, giving Trump a 20% margin. Luzerne County is a predominately white working class area. Hunger for change, dissatisfaction, anger, and economic distress were overwhelming factors in the swing.

Three key states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — voted Democratic from 1988 (1992, Pennsylvania) through Obama’s two terms ending in 2012. All exhibited a double digit or greater turnaround from Obama’s last Presidential run. All were de-industrialized regions neglected by successive administrations, regional and local governments.

Undoubtedly, racism, misogyny, and xenophobia — fear-driven nativism — were factors in these results. The Trump campaign tolerated, even encouraged open expressions of derision for vulnerable groups from the physically disabled to Muslims. Trump’s public language was the contemptuous private language of the country club and the board room. His policies exploit fear of the ‘other’. Emboldened by the electoral results, organized and outspoken racists have crawled out from their hiding places. They must resolutely be driven back.

Yet it would be a mistake not to see the economic distress, frustration, and anti-elitist anger as the central force in the Democratic Party defeat. Many key, if not most, predominantly white, working class areas that abandoned the Democrats in 2016 backed Obama in 2008 and 2012. And they backed Obama, not necessarily from racial identity, but from a thirst for change. They voted for Trump — a corrupted, wind bag businessman — for the same reason.

Ironically, the Democratic Party very likely would have better addressed the issues pressing upon these voters with the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary election opponent. But elites in the corporately owned Democratic Party covertly blocked an insurgent, modestly social democratic victory that might have paved the way to the Presidency. We know, thanks to leaked documents, that the Democratic National Committee worked tirelessly to undermine  Sanders’ candidacy. We already knew that the system was stacked structurally against insurgency with its undemocratic “at-large” delegate system. Sanders didn’t lose the nomination, it was stolen.

Trump

Trump shrewdly exploited voter dissatisfaction, pain, and anger. He made wild, often contradictory promises targeting constituencies ignored or demeaned by elites and the media. He stoked the ugly sentiments of xenophobia and racism, while taunting, to great effect, powerful and self-satisfied leaders of the Republican Party. Trump used his histrionics and outrageousness to draw free media attention and separate himself from the vapid conformity of mainstream politicians. His approach mimicked the equally demagogic buffoonery of the former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Politics as vulgar entertainment.

Conservatives, like everyone, are uncertain of what to expect from the renegade, Trump, a born-again politician with no policy track record. The divisions within the Republican Party are deep, so locating Donald Trump is critical for Republicans who hope to bridge the differences. One prominent conservative, National Review editor Reihan Salam, writing in The Wall Street Journal, depicts Trump in the “anti-elitist”, “pro-government” Republican tradition, a tradition that he identifies with Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon.

Salam makes note of the “hybrid” nature of all four candidates, how they pragmatically (or opportunistically) combine libertarian doctrine with some defense of New Deal policies. Regardless of how accurate that observation may be, all three Republican Presidents re-defined the Republican Party and re-aligned its support. Nixon and Reagan successfully won over disgruntled Democrats, as has Trump. Nixon exploited President Johnson’s unpopular war and racial fears and Reagan gained from Carter’s betrayal of the most progressive platform since the war as well as the economic stagnation of the late 1970s. Trump similarly exploited Democratic Party failings.

Increasingly, in the besieged two-party system, the mantra of “change” and the posture of “outsider” drives outcomes.

Monopoly capital, while voting with its cash for Hillary Clinton, has tried to quickly repair its relations with Donald Trump. Global equity markets were initially roiled with news of the Trump victory, but quickly settled and rebounded smartly in the aftermath. US stocks set new highs following the election. Trump, like Clinton, will ultimately serve the interests of the corporations. However uncertain they are about the details of his program, they are confident that Trump will be no class maverick.

Market reactions to the Trump victory suggest that investors see a shift from the eight years of monetary policies to fiscal stimulation (Trump promises one trillion dollars invested in infrastructure over 5 years). They see a retreat from global trade and a focus on domestic growth with accompanying inflation.

The Left and the Labor Movement

The 2016 election season brought forth an impressive left insurgency in the spring Democratic primary, centering around Bernie Sanders. Millions of voters — many of whom were quite young — worked passionately to re-direct the corporate-minded Democratic Party.

While, after Clinton’s nomination, many were shepherded back into the Democratic Party fold by the Party’s cry of impending doom, still others saw clearly the corruption and corporate-complicity of the Democratic leadership. They recognized the impossibility of securing real change through the vehicle of the Democratic Party. They give hope to the emergence of a truly independent movement, one that understands the need to replace capitalism with people’s power — socialism. This election could well mark an important step in that direction.

Nevertheless, social democrats and liberals are already busy trying to “rejuvenate” the Democratic Party, keeping masses of people from even considering the possibility of a breakaway from the two-party system.

Democratic Party operatives are working feverishly to channel the anti-Trump sentiment into nothing more than a fresh campaign of uncritical support for Democrats. Their liberal allies are attacking the Electoral College, even proposing secession in California, and urging Electoral College electors to cast their tradition-bound votes for Clinton — anything, but addressing the profound social justice failings that cost the election for the Democrats. They assiduously avoid any remedies to the inequalities, declining living standards, and indebtedness that plague working people. Instead, they rail against Trump’s personal failings and vulgarity, but make no demands on his administration.

As for US labor leaders, they are hoping that Trump will stick to his pledge to overthrow trade deals, build a virtual trade wall against corporate competition from abroad, and spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure construction projects. They demand little more, hoping that Trump will aid corporations that will, in turn, pass on some crumbs. They have learned little from the Democratic Party fiasco.

For the people, this election marks a further deterioration, a deepening crisis, of the US two-party system. The distance between the interests of the masses and the actions of elected public officials are, today, virtually unbridgeable. The working class loses again, as it would have if the Democratic Party candidate had won.

Nonetheless, there is an anger — often misdirected, but understandable — that can serve as a spark for a genuine challenge to the rich and powerful, a movement for socialism.

US Trotskyism: Behind the Socialist Masquerade

Friday, October 14, 2016

US Trotskyism: Behind the Socialist Masquerade

 https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2016/10/us-trotskyism-behind-socialist.html
Behind the Socialist Masquerade.
By Zoltan Zigedy / Source: Marxism-Leninism Today.
 
Ashley Smith recently wrote an essay (Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution) ostensibly about Syria and imperialism but more properly understood as a rekindling and re-statement of anti-Communist “leftism.”

Smith, an ideologue of the International Socialist Organization, unveils his true target when he inveighs against the “Stalinists”: “Stalinist groups like the Workers World Party, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization…”
Not content with these examples, Smith, in McCarthy-like fashion, feels the necessity to name further names. He sees the UK’s Stop the War coalition as also duped by the Stalinists, along with the US United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC). Jill Stein of the Green Party and her Vice Presidential partner, Ajamu Baraka, are similarly infected with the “Stalinist” virus.
Laughably, he ominously links the recent bold, fact-finding mission to Syria organized by the US Peace Council to the “American Communist Party,” an association meant to conjure up the specter of Stalin; but it is an untenable association with a moribund CPUSA that has long distanced itself from “Stalinism” and the Soviet legacy with a fervor equal to the US Trotskyist groups.
Without re-visiting the old ideological wars (Trotsky has been dead for 76 years, Stalin for 63 years, and the Soviet Union for 25 years), it is nonetheless useful to point out a common characteristic shared by US Trotskyist organizations: they invariable live and breathe anti-Communism. Since the Cold War began, they traded on their distance from the “enemies” of Western Imperialism. The grip that these groups often had on middle class youth was predicated on the denial of Red connections.
For a university student, the McCarthyite stigma of Communism could be evaded by joining an anti-Communist organization that proclaimed that its anti-Communism was even more radical than Communism!US Trotskyism is part of the “Yes, but…” left. Yes, Communism, Stalinism, Maoism, Marxism-Leninism, etc. etc. are bad, but we’re not like that! Like you, we’re against them, too! We’re the unthreatening, friendly advocates for change…
In the Cold War period and after, this was a safe tactic to appear radical without poking the bear of repression. Of course it didn’t always fool those entrusted with thwarting even the most lame rejection of capitalism. Communists victimized by Cold War repression often joked that a US socialist was someone without the guts to be a Communist. The easy assimilation of much of the Trotskyist intellectual apparatus into the anti-Communist hierarchy and the subsequent entry of many into ruling circles certainly underscores the opportunism of this tactic.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, US Trotskyism has been in crisis. With the departure of a foil of sheer evil, the appeal of anti-Communist radicalism has lost its punch. Apart from the intellectual Neanderthals serving Eastern European reaction (sponsored by the New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, and a few other inveterate anti-Communist organs), the epithet “Stalinist!” means little in current discourse.
Ashley Smith hopes to revive its relevance for the twenty-first century. He sets out to buttress Trotskyism as a thin and tortured alternative to the anti-imperialism of the “Stalinists.” As with his Cold War predecessors, Smith hopes to trade on distancing Trotskyism from the rivals or antagonists of US and European Imperialism. In the absence of a Soviet Union, capitalist Russia will suffice as the source of evil.
And Syria’s Assad will play the role of the bloodthirsty despot– a mini-Stalin– in this Trotskyist fantasy. Smith offers an unvarnished choice: “Which side are you on? Do you support the popular struggle against dictatorship and for democracy? Or are you with Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime, his imperial backer Russia, his regional ally Iran and Iran’s proxies like Hezbollah from Lebanon?”
It is breathtaking how simplistically, but presumptuously Smith characterizes the Syrian tragedy. It is equally astonishing to recognize how wrong he gets it. To be so blind to sources of information apart from Western reporters in Beirut, Amman, and Ankara, to rely principally upon a London-based, unfiltered, and non-independent anecdote collector like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and to credit US and European sponsored “revolutionaries” implies an indifference to the pursuit of truth.
Whatever grievances Syrians may have had against Assad, it is hardly credible to hail an armed struggle that began literally weeks after the alleged peaceful demonstrations that Smith praises. No insurrection has ever proceeded so swiftly and effectively against security services and a modern army without outside assistance. We now know from revelations exposed by the US media’s fixation on the Benghazi fiasco that the CIA was vigorously engaged in shipping weaponry to Syria from stockpiles snatched from its Libyan venture. We know that regimes on the Arabian Peninsula were equally vigorous in supplying military equipment and recruiting volunteers.
Even US and Western European sources concede that the most numerous and most effective anti-Assad fighters are not democrats or reformists, but radical fundamentalists driven by religious fervor and feudal ideology, hardly the idealistic revolutionaries portrayed by Smith. In fact, US and European advisors complain of the difficulties of vetting anti-Assad forces sufficiently credible to receive advanced weapons. The few recipients of US supplied anti-tank missiles have displayed a troubling propensity to pass them on to the worst of the worse jihadist.
Smith shows an enormous conceit, from his secure perch, joining Western politicians in intuiting the sentiment of the Syrian people. Cavalierly dismissing the Syrian elections, he– along with the Western media– somehow divines that most Syrians hate Assad and that the opposition overflows with democratic, progressive sentiment. Where we have evidence of an independent vote– for example, the May, 2014 national election vote of Syrian refugees in Lebanon– the Washington Post’s rabid anti-Assad reporter, Liz Sly, conceded that uncoerced refugees supported Assad.
One has to notice that, unlike previous chapters of the so-called “Arab Spring,” there are no embedded Western reporters recording the march of democracy or the defeat of tyranny. Cannot CNN find any democrats in the Syrian opposition? Are there no freedom-loving fighters for NBC reporters to interview?Of course the Assad regime’s invitation to allow Western reporters goes cynically unaccepted. To find on-the-spot reporting from Syrian battle zones, one has to turn to Lizzie Phelan, an independent UK journalist whose frequent front line footage appears most often on RT (her recent 20-minute cab ride through Aleppo gives a decidedly different picture of the city from that rendered by Western media reporting a Syrian “Stalingrad” from afar).
Smith does not hesitate to embrace the Libyan debacle as a pro-democracy revolution as well. One would think that the disastrous destabilization of Libya would serve as a sobering tonic for Smith’s fantasies. As with Syria, the pro-democracy revolutionaries were largely a figment of the imagination of US and European politicians and journalists, a group that our erstwhile “socialist” seems happy to join. But that is not just my opinion or the opinion of other “Stalinists.” On Wednesday, September 14, the UK parliament’s cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee released a report on the UK’s 2011 intervention in Libya. According to The Wall Street Journal, the committee found that the engagement was “based on ‘serious erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding’… [and] failed to identify that the rebels included a significant Islamist element and that the [Gadhafi] threat to civilians was overstated.” (my italics) It is striking that the UK government can shed its illusions, but Ashley Smith clings to his.
It is no accident that Ashley Smith’s long essay makes only a passing mention of workers or class. Like most US Trotskyist organizations, ISO draws support significantly from the petty-bourgeoisie. Thus, the question of workers and their fate never arises in his argument. There is no notice taken of the Syrian General Federation of Trade Unions, a supporter of Assad, an opponent of class collaboration, a leader in Arab trade unionism, and a pillar of the class struggle trade unionism of the World Federation of Trade Unions. There is no attention to either the opinions of workers or the effect of a violent insurrection upon the working class. These issues are of little count for one who calls for all to “collaborate with Syrian revolutionaries” who exist only in the minds of political romantics.
Rather than concern himself with the fate of Syria’s working class, Smith prefers to repeat the US and European media’s obsession with civilian-targeted barrel bombs and poison gasses, claims that have defied objective verification. But he exceeds Western fear-mongering by attributing the entire UN estimate of 400,000 deaths in the war to “Assad’s massacre.” Recently, a delegation organized by the US Peace Council visited Syria and met with a number of Syrians, their organizations, and even oppositionists. They left the US with the notion that Syrians should decide the fate of Syria. They returned with the same notion, but even more strongly felt.
But, in addition, they returned with the view that events in Syria are far more complicated than the simplistic picture presented by the US State Department. They returned with the idea that peace in Syria would not be secured through the intervention of foreign powers or by supporting media-manufactured fantasies. Unfortunately, many on the left like Ashley Smith and some in the more conservative peace groups do not want to hear the Peace Council report, preferring to embrace the self-serving constructions of the regime-changers.
On the Upcoming Centennial of 1917: CP Portugal

On the Upcoming Centennial of 1917: CP Portugal

http://mltoday.com/article/2550-on-the-upcoming-centennial-of-1917-cp-portugal/91
Portuguese Communist Party (PCP): Centennial of the October Revolution – Socialism, necessary today and for the future

September 18, 2016.

The year 2017 marks the centennial of the October 1917 Socialist Revolution.

The October Revolution is the major event in the historical process of emancipation of the exploited, the oppressed, the workers and the peoples, a process which has been marked by important revolutionary events from the days of primitive society, through slavery, feudalism and capitalism.

After thousands of years of societies in which the socio-economic systems have been based on the exploitation of man by man, the October Revolution began a new epoch in the History of Humankind, the epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism. It was the first revolution that, through far-reaching democratic transformations in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres, and by ensuring social progress and justice, and corresponding to the yearnings of the workers and the peoples, undertook the edification of a society without exploiters, nor exploited people.

1
In our times, after the course of the Twentieth Century and 100 years after the October Revolution, when the capitalist system, with its exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature and the tragic consequences which it entails, is afflicted by its worsening structural crisis, it has become even more evident that capitalism is responsible for the growing problems and dangers confronting Humankind. The reality of the world today proves the importance and scope of the October Revolution’s goals, and affirms socialism as a requirement of today and for the future.

2
To commemorate the centennial of the October Revolution means to assert it as the most advanced achievement in the milennia-long process of the liberation of Humankind from all forms of exploitation and oppression.

To commemorate this centennial is to expose the nature of capitalism, with its dramatic social scourges and the threats which it poses for the life of the peoples and even for Humankind’s survival. It is to highlight the relevance and the validity of socialism, to reaffirm the need and the possibility of a revolutionary overcoming of capitalism, by socialism and communism.

To commemorate this centennial is to value the role of the working class, of workers and peoples, in the transformation of society. It is to underscore the strength that results from their unity, organization and struggle. It is to reaffirm that the success of the resistance against the current offensive by big capital and imperialism, and the achievement of their social and national emancipation, lies in their own hands.

To commemorate the October Revolution is to pay tribute to those who made it and to assert socialism’s great political, economic, social, cultural, scientific, technological and civilizational achievements in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its immense contribution to the advancement of the emancipation struggle of the workers and the peoples.

To commemorate this centennial means to make good use of the teachings of the, previously unheard of, processes of building socialism in the Soviet Union and in other countries, of the successes and defeats, of the advances and retreats, of all the long struggle that preceded them, as important experiences that enrich and inspire the ongoing struggle for socialism and communism.

To commemorate the October Revolution is to, on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, take the initiative and oppose the ideological offensive against socialism and communism, stressing the roots and the role of anti-communism and anti-Sovietism, as tools of capital in the class struggle.

The October Revolution and the subsequent historical experience of building socialism should not be marked as historically dated, fixated events from the past, but rather as the source of important teachings, and an example of transformations and achievements which are reflected and are updated in the revolutionary praxis of today, and which project into the future.

To commemorate the October Revolution is to assert that the future does not belong to capitalism, it belongs to socialism and communism.

3
On November 7th, 1917 (October the 25th according to the old Russian calendar), the Russian proletariat, with the Bolshevik Party’s vanguard role, guided by a revolutionary theory, with the notable contribution of Lenin, took its future into its own hands. It rose to power and launched, in a victorious revolution, the foundations of a new society, in a country that had been ravaged by imperialist war (World War I), and with a people that suffered exploitation, repression, hunger and illiteracy.

The revolution embodied the yearnings of the millennia-long struggle of the exploited and the oppressed, from the slave revolts of Antiquity, to the peasant revolts of the Middle Ages, the French Revolution of 1789 – which was part and parcel of the defeat of feudalism and the advent of capitalism – to the working-class insurrections of the 19th Century.

The October Revolution had, as historical harbingers, from which it drew important lessons, the 1871 Paris Commune – the first, albeit short-lived, historical experience of the conquest and exercise of power by the proletariat, clearly superior also in terms of political democracy; the 1905 Russian Revolution – the first great popular revolution with an organized role of the working class and working people; and the February 1917 Revolution, which marked the end of Czarist power, already with a tested working class and a Party that was organizationally and ideologically prepared to assume the leadership of the struggle of the working and popular masses in taking power.

The October Revolution undertook the task of putting an end to all forms of social and national exploitation and oppression, and significantly adopted, as its first measures, the decrees on peace and on the abolition of latifundio property of the land.

The October Revolution was an inspiring revolutionary undertaking which, resisting and overcoming complex situations and difficulties – boycotts, sabotage, intervention by imperialist powers, civil war, economic blockade, treason – and, in an irregular and bumpy process, transformed into reality the aspirations and dreams of the workers, the exploited, the oppressed, those who were discriminated against, paving the way for the construction of a society hitherto unknown to Humankind.

The Socialist Revolution transformed the old and backward Russia of the Czars into a highly developed country, capable of containing, as it did for decades, imperialism’s goal of world-wide domination.

The USSR, in a historically short time span, achieved significant industrial and agricultural development, eradicated illiteracy and generalized access to education and sports , did away with unemployment, ensured public healthcare and social protection, guaranteed and promoted the rights of women, children, young people and the elderly, expanded the impact of vanguard artistic movements and of the forms of cultural creation and fruition, achieved high scientific and technological standards, putting into practice forms of democratic participation of the workers and the masses of the people, undertook to solve the complex issue of oppressed nationalities, raised the values of friendship, of solidarity, of peace and cooperation between the peoples.

The Soviet Union was the first country in the world to put into practice, or develop like no other, fundamental social rights, such as the right to work, the 8-hour maximum working day, paid holidays, the equality of rights of men and women in the family, in society and at work, maternity rights and protection, the right to a home, free medical care, a universal and free social security and free education. The Soviet Union scored pioneering achievements for Humankind, such as putting the first artificial satellite into Space – Sputnik – and the first man in Space – cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The Soviet Union, the Soviet people under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, achieved successes and conquests of major international impact, that stimulated the struggle of the workers and the peoples of the whole world.
Under the impact of the victory of the October Revolution, numerous Communist Parties were created all over the world, the international Communist movement arose, the workers’ movement and its ideals became stronger, the ideals of Marxism-Leninism propagated among the masses – as happened in Portugal, where on March 6, 1921, the Portuguese Communist Party was founded.

The USSR, the Soviet people, the Red Army, gave a decisive contribution towards the victory over Nazi-fascism in World War II, in a heroic struggle that cost over twenty million lives.

After the victory over Nazi-fascism, and due to its example and enormous prestige, to the strength of the ideals of socialism which it projected, and to its solidarity and activity in international affairs, the USSR gave major support to the peoples who chose, and fought for, the edification of socialist societies, to the struggle for and achievement, by millions of workers, of rights and freedoms in capitalist countries and to the dynamic of struggle of the national liberation movement, the downfall of colonialism and the achievement of independence for numerous peoples and nations that had, for centuries, been subjected to colonial yoke.

The Soviet Union stood in solidarity with the Portuguese Communists and people in their struggle against the fascist dictatorship in Portugal, and with the April [1974] Revolution – an achievement of the Portuguese people, an assertion of freedom, social emancipation and national independence.

The USSR and the socialist system were an often decisive factor for achievements and advances that were, for the first time ever, won by the workers and peoples in their world-wide struggle for emancipation.

4
The disappearance of the USSR and the defeats of socialism in eastern Europe, the causes of which were analyzed by the 13th, 14th and 18th PCP Congresses, had an undeniable and profound negative impact on the world balance of forces, on the consciousness of the masses and on the development of the struggle for socialism. An enormous regression occurred, in the political, economic, social and cultural conditions of the peoples of those countries and for other peoples of the world.

The world’s evolution following the defeats of socialism thus highlighted, even further, the importance of socialism’s historical achievements and the civilizational advances associated with it, and underscored the superiority of the new social system in solving the problems and in materializing the aspirations of the peoples.

The nature of capitalism did not change, and the need for its revolutionary overcoming persists. The Twentieth Century was not that of the “demise of Communism”, but the Century in which Communism was born as a new and superior society.

5
The current world situation reveals the exploitative, aggressive and predatory nature of capitalism.
Submerged in its structural crisis, capitalism has nothing more to offer the peoples than further accumulation, centralization and concentration of wealth, heightened exploitation, more social inequality and injustice, attacks against social and labour rights, the denial of democratic rights and freedoms, the plunder and destruction of resources, interferences and aggressions against national sovereignty, militarism and war which are being taken to all corners of the world in its imperialist stage.

Millions of workers are driven to unemployment, precariousness, the most violent forms of exploitation. Millions of human beings are deprived of their fundamental rights, and left to poverty, hunger, undernourishment and subjected to child labour, slave labour and all kinds of trafficking. Millions of human beings are the victims of imperialist aggressions and are fleeing war and destruction. Entire peoples are doomed to underdevelopment, dependence, national oppression.

Capitalism, by its own nature, cannot overcome its irreconcilable contradictions – namely between capital and labour, between the social character of production and its private appropriation – and embarks on an inexorable concentration of capital, with productive disorder. Hungry for the appropriation and concentration of capital, capitalism not only does not give answers to the problems of Humankind as, with the capitalist appropriation and instrumentalization of the immense potential opened up by labour, by scientific and technological progress and development, it increases social injustice, contradictions and inequality.

Capitalism is a system that permanently clashes with the needs, the interests and the aspirations of workers and peoples.
More than ever, socialism emerges with redoubled relevance as a requirement of the process of emancipation of the workers and the peoples.

6
The PCP raises as a goal for the Portuguese people the building of a socialist society, based on the reality and experience of the Portuguese Revolution, and critically assimilating the world revolutionary experience.

In proposing its Programme «An Advanced Democracy – The values of April in the future of Portugal», the PCP considers that the materialization of this project – an economic, social, political and cultural democracy – is a process of profound transformation and development of Portuguese society. However, as the Programme states, «the liquidation of capitalist exploitation is a historical task that can only be achieved with the socialist revolution».

The PCP reiterates the need to cover with determination all the necessary phases and stages that are necessary to achieve that supreme goal. Today’s battles to protect, restore and win rights, for a break with right-wing policies and to achieve a patriotic and left-wing policy, are part and parcel of the struggle for an advanced democracy, in the same way that the latter is part and parcel of the struggle for socialism.

In its Programme, the PCP «states as fundamental goals of the socialist revolution in Portugal the abolition of exploitation of man by man, the creation of a society without antagonistic classes, inspired by humanist values, democracy understood as complementary in its economic, social, political and cultural aspects, the permanent and creative participation of the masses of the people in all aspects of national life, the constant raising of the material and spiritual well-being of the workers and the people in general, doing away with discriminations, inequality, social scourges and injustice, materializing the equality of rights for men and women in life and ensuring the participation of young people in the country’s life, as a dynamic and creative social force».

And it adds that «in the framework of the essential goals, the socialist system in Portugal will inevitably assume specificities and originalities that will result, not just from the country’s objective reality, but also from the concrete forms that the class struggle will take on until then, as well the economic, social, cultural and political evolution and the reality of the international affairs».

Faithful to its ideals of liberation, we celebrate the centennial of the October Revolution, whose values grew profound roots and are a demand for today, which project into the future as goals, experiences and aspirations for the future of Portugal and of Humankind.

7
The Central Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party decides that the commemorations of the Centennial of the October Revolution will take place under the slogan «Centennial of the October Revolution – Socialism, necessary today and for the future». The programme of these commemorations will be revealed in a Public Session to be held on November 7 of the current year.

The programme of commemorations will take place throughout 2017, with a high point in the Meeting of November 7 – Centennial day – and will end on December 9, with an event with a strong cultural component.

The programme of the commemorations, which will begin in January, with an event coinciding with the anniversary of the liberation by the Red Army of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, will mark important historical events with significant relation to the October Revolution, and will encompass initiatives and activities that will express multiple facets, events, dimensions and aspects of the October Revolution and of the process of building socalism, and will expose the nature of capitalism and its disastrous and ruinous repercussions for Humankind, asserting socialism as a necessary thing, today and for the future.

Among other initiatives, we highlight: the holding of a series of debates and other topical activities, namely a Seminar on «Socialism – necessary today and for the future»; an important expression in the 2017 Avante! Festival, namely with a major exhibition; an initiative on May 9 (Victory Day) on the issues of Peace; a specific treatment in the pages of Avante!, O Militante, and on the Internet, with the creation of a dedicated site; the publication of information materials, namely an exhibition in print for wide circulation, leaflets and posters; on an editorial level, the re-edition of works on the October Revolution and the construction of socialism, namely by Lenin and Álvaro Cunhal, promoting their study, as well as specific editions for the centennial; the promotion of initiatives and activities specifically geared toward young people; the promotion of cultural (cinema, theater, music, literature, visual arts, etc.) and scientific initiatives.

The programme of the commemorations, in its scale, scope and contents, must express the importance and the political and ideological significance of this event for the struggle of the workers and the peoples in defence of their rights and sovereignty, confronting imperialism’s offensive and for progressive and revolutionary transformations, for socialism.

So that the commemorations may take on the necessary scale and repercussion, their programme must be prepared as of now, with guidelines and initiatives integrated within the Party’s overall activity.

The Central Committee calls on all those who stand for peace, justice and social progress, and who fight for a society of freedom and plenty – in which the State and policies are entirely at the service of the well-being and the happiness of human beings – to join in these commemorations.

***
Achieved through different paths and stages, Socialism is becoming with increasing clarity, the goal of the peoples, a prospect and pre-requisite for a future of full human liberation and fulfillment.

The PCP reaffirms that «over a shorter or longer historical period, through the struggle for the social and national emancipation of workers and peoples, it is the replacement of capitalism by socialism which, in the 21st century, continues to be the real possibility and the most solid prospect for the evolution of Humankind».

The PCP reaffirms its unshakable commitment to fight so that socialism may become a reality in the future of the Portuguese people.

Via In Defense of Communism