Thursday, September 21, 2017

Spanish state moves to crush vote on Catalan Independence Referendum

We have heard practically nothing of these developments in the US mass media. This development is part of the process of the resistance to capitalist austerity and crisis that also includes the weakening and potential fracturing of the nation state. In Catalonia, as in Scotland (the rise of the SNP prior to the referendum), it has been driven to a great extent by bourgeois nationalists amid growing anger and frustration of the working class at increased austerity and attacks on living standards. Then we have had the rise of completely new political formations and the crisis of the traditional parties, Communists and Socialists in Greece with the formation Syriza. The Socialists and Republicans in France (Macron's party was only formed some 14 months prior to his election) Podemos in Spain, formed in 2014 and of course here in the US the rise of Trump and the  chaos in the Republican and and Democratic parties with the possibilities of splits in both.

We saw with Syriza, the capitulation of the leadership to the Troika, the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, despite a referendum overwhelmingly voting to fight. There was no serious effort if one at all in that situation to call for a Europe-wide trade union and workers' response and resistance to  international bankers.  This is a report on the past few days response to the Spanish government's opposition to a proposed referendum on Catalonian independence that was scheduled on October 1st.  It is from In Defense of Marxism  and there are some short videos to be found at that site. This blog is not affiliated with In Defense of Marxism and shares this information for the interests of our readers. Admin.

Repression against Catalan independence referendum provokes mass mobilisation


The decision of the Catalan Parliament to convene an independence referendum on October 1st has been received with repressive measures by the Spanish state. These measures are increasing in intensity as the days go by, and reveal the profoundly undemocratic nature of the 1978 Constitution which was imposed in an agreement between the old Franco regime and the leaders of the workers’ parties in order to bring to an end the revolutionary crisis engulfing the country.

It is clear that the Spanish state and the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy cannot allow the referendum to go ahead. They have taken the necessary repressive measures to make sure it does not take place. So far they have suspended the validity of the law calling for the referendum, started criminal proceedings against the speakers of the Catalan Parliament for allowing that law to be discussed, indicted over 700 local mayors who have said they will collaborate in the organisation of the referendum (and threatened them with arrest if they don’t turn up), banned official publicity about the referendum, banned the broadcasting of such publicity and the broadcasting of any information regarding the organisation of the referendum, used  the police to seize referendum posters from print shops, seized posters and buckets of glue from activists fly-posting for the referendum, closed down the official referendum website, blocked access to mirror sites hosted abroad, intervened in the day to day running of the Catalan government finances, suspended referendum solidarity meetings outside Catalonia (in Madrid, Vitoria and Gijón), etc. They will also attempt to prevent the distribution of polling cards, call up letters for election agents, the opening of polling stations, the distribution of ballot boxes, etc.

What all of this proves is the undemocratic nature of the 1978 regime, which was based on the imposition of Franco’s Monarchy, the impunity of the crimes of the Franco regime and the principle of the indivisible unity of Spain guaranteed by the Armed Forces. Even posing the question of self-determination is a major threat to the whole edifice.

These repressive measures, however, risk provoking a massive movement in Catalonia which could go beyond the original intentions of the Catalan bourgeois nationalists who decided to go down the route of a unilateral referendum for their own narrow political calculations.

Yesterday and today, however, mark a turning point in both the campaign of repression and the people's’ mobilisation in response to it. In Terrassa, yesterday morning, the Civil Guard entered the premises of private mail company UNIPOST and seized 45,000 letters which were to be sent to call up polling station officials. The search was conducted without a warrant and in the process they also violated the privacy of the post. Hundreds gathered in protest. Later on a judge produced a court order to ex post facto legalise the search and seizure of mail. The protesters prevented the court secretary from delivering the order and the Civil Guard from leaving the premises for hours. Finally, the Catalan police was used to physically remove the protesters and allow the Civil Guard out with the 45,000 seized pieces of mail. These actions have severely dented the authority and legitimacy of the Catalan police (Mossos d’Esquadra) in the eyes of the pro-referendum movement and strengthened the idea that only mass mobilisation can guarantee the outcome of this struggle.

Later on in the day, the seizure of posters in Reus, Tarragona, after days of provocations on the part of the police against activists fly-posting for the referendum, brought about 1000 people out onto the streets at 11pm, shouting slogans, demonstrating. They picketed the hotel where the riot police (drafted in to town ahead of the referendum) are staying and covered the whole town with referendum posters.

This morning, the Spanish state upped the ante, by conducting early morning arrests of 9 high ranking officials of the Catalan government and entering the premises of Catalan government ministries (Conselleries). They are looking for proof of use of public funds for the organisation of the referendum (purchasing ballot boxes, sending out election agent call up letters, etc), and information which could lead to the seizure of the ballot boxes.

The arrests this morning, however, could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. At short notice thousands have gathered outside the Conselleria d’Economia (the Catalan Finance Ministry) to protest the arrests and searches, and have blockaded the Civil Guard inside. The mood is an extremely angry one and there are shouts of “general strike”. Officials and members of the Workers’ Commissions union (CCOO) have left their headquarters and blockaded the road outside, joining in the protests.

This latest move is correctly seen as a de facto suspension of Catalan self-rule, but one which has been implemented without even going through the legal formalities of consulting the Spanish parliament (where yesterday the government lost a vote on a motion of support for its actions). While support for outright  independence was until now just below 50%, support for the holding of a referendum has been for some time around 70 to 80%. The suppression of this basic democratic right is being met with mass civil disobedience and is already turning many who would not normally support independence into YES voters.

The mood has now completely changed. The holding of the referendum against all odds and the YES vote is seen by many as a gesture of rejection of the whole regime, the rotten Rajoy government and the whole edifice of the 1978 Spanish state.

The campaign of the anti-capitalist, pro-independence party CUP in fact is centered on the slogan “let’s break the regime”, and the left-wing nationalist ERC has distributed tens of thousands of posters with the slogan “Hello Republic”. Clearly, a growing number of people identify independence as a progressive break with the reactionary status quo. CUP leaders have made direct and clear appeals to the leaders of Podemos and United Left to take up this opportunity to bring down Rajoy and the whole of the 1978 regime.

A meeting in Madrid on Sunday was organised along these lines. The meeting had originally been closed down by the judge and had to be held in a different venue. At short notice, 100 people packed the small theatre and another 500 followed the meeting from outside. There were speakers from the Catalan left nationalist ERC, the Catalan anti-capitalist pro-independence CUP, but also significantly a few leading figures of the left-wing of IU and Podemos.

The meeting expressed full support for the October 1st referendum, not only as a clear stance in defence of democratic rights, but also as a way of striking a blow against the 1978 regime. The CUP representative stated that “the working class of Madrid and the working class of Barcelona are united not because they are both Spanish, but rather, because they are both working class”.

Alberto Arregui, from the Federal Committee of United Left, said that “this is our struggle, not just yours”, and stressed that one could not be neutral using the argument that this was “a struggle between two bourgeoisies”. He used also Connolly’s quote “if you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain”, to point out the need to unite the struggle for national freedom with the struggle for socialism.

At the end of the rally, those present sang l’Estaca, the Catalan song of the resistance against Franco. It talks of “me pulling from here, and you pulling from there, so that we together bring down the stake we are all tied to”. This is the real spirit of internationalism and solidarity. The Catalan challenge has thrown the regime into crisis, and rather than watching events unfold, the Spanish left should take advantage to create a revolutionary crisis throughout the country.

Unfortunately, so far, Podemos and United Left (IU) have had an extremely timid (cowardly even) position of abstract support for self-determination for Catalonia but opposition to the October 1st referendum (as “it has no guarantees”). Catalan people can see that in practice this means NO support for self-determination, as it is clear to everyone that Rajoy (and beyond him the Spanish ruling class) is determined not to concede a referendum.

They have now taken a clear stance in defence of democratic rights and against the state’s repression (though they have not yet made any clear statement of support for the referendum itself), and called for an Assembly of Members of Parliament and Mayors which will take place on Saturday in Zaragoza. The idea is reminiscent of the Assembly of Parliamentarians convened by Catalan national bourgeois politician Cambó in 1917. Mobilising institutional support against Rajoy is not a bad idea in itself. However, in 1917 the initiative was accompanied by a call for a revolutionary general strike issued by the trade unions!

Furthermore, the political line of this appeal is self-defeating, as the idea is to issue a manifesto calling on the Rajoy government to negotiate with Catalonia and convene a legal mutually agreed referendum. Instead of using this crisis to push for the overthrow of the regime, they want to find a negotiated settlement to an issue which only has a revolutionary solution.

Elected representatives themselves cannot resolve this situation. IU and Podemos should really be calling for mass demonstrations in every town and city across Spain in defence of the referendum, for democratic rights and against the government and the regime.

Despite the opposition to the October 1st referendum on the part of Podemos and IU leaders (“if I were a Catalan I would not vote on October 1st” they said), the ranks of their organisations in Catalonia, in an internal vote, have voted clearly in favour of participation. In direct opposition to the national leadership of Podemos, the Catalan general secretary of the organisation, Albano Dante-Fachin, has come out clearly in support of the referendum, and has been backed by two thirds of the members.

There were always three different factors which were to determine the outcome of the October 1st challenge. One was how far the Spanish state was prepared to go to suppress the referendum. We now know the answer. They will stop at nothing. Two was how far the Catalan government, led by bourgeois nationalists, was prepared to go in breaking the law. In reality what they wished was to go as far as they could and then back down and say “we have tried”. We have already seen signs of their lack of resolve (they have allowed the Catalan police to be used to repress the referendum, they have complied with the summons given to local mayors and they have even appealed to the Spanish Constitutional Court whose rulings they had already declared they didn’t recognise).

At the same time, they cannot back down before a certain degree of repression is exercised, as then they would be completely discredited amongst their own ranks. But there was a third unknown element, which was how much this situation would provoke a mass movement from below. We have now seen the first signs of that. The next hours and days will be crucial. It is not ruled out that the Spanish state repression will provoke a massive movement, which is already acquiring certain insurrectional features, which goes much further than what the Catalan bourgeois leaders expected nor wished for.

Therein lies the only progressive solution to this crisis. Increasingly the people are coming to the realisation that the October 1st referendum will only happen if they themselves make it happen through mass mobilisation and mass civil disobedience.

Referendum Defence Committees should be set up in every town, city, neighbourhood, school, university and workplace, to take up all the concrete tasks of organising the referendum and defending it against repression. Above all, the role of the working class is crucial in this.

The duty of the leadership of United Left and Podemos across Spain is to organise practical solidarity in defence of democratic rights, through mass mobilisations in every town and city. The only way to cut across the poison of bourgeois nationalism (Spanish and Catalan) is to show to the Catalan people that the Spanish workers and their organisations are on their side and not that of the reactionary Spanish ruling class trampling on their rights.

The duty of the leadership of the CUP is to go further in the direction they have already taken, to stress that only mass mobilisation can guarantee the outcome of this struggle and to dispel any illusions people might have in the leaders of the Catalan bourgeois party PDeCAT. A common front in defence of the right of self-determination (and its exercise in the October 1st referendum) and at the same time in opposition to capitalist austerity, home evictions and cuts, would command today an overwhelming majority in Catalonia and would become a powerful point of attraction for the rest of Spain.

The struggle for a Catalan Republic is a progressive one, which in the conditions of Spain has revolutionary implications, as it can only be achieved through a mass mobilisation of the workers and youth and a clear break with the 1978 regime.

Global Economy: The end of QE

by Michael Roberts

It’s an historic day in global central bank monetary policy since the end of the Great Recession.  The US Federal Reserve Bank feels sufficiently confident about the state of the US economy and, for that matter the rest of the major economies, to announce that it has not only ended quantitative easing (QE)  but that it is now going to reverse the process into quantitative tightening.

QE was the policy of pumping money (by creating bank reserves) into the financial sector by buying government and corporate bonds (and even shares) in order to create enough cash in the banks to lend onto households and companies and keep interest rates (the cost of borrowing) to near zero (or even below in some countries).  QE was the key monetary policy of the financial authorities in the major economies, particularly in the light of little fiscal or government spending as a second or alternative weapon.  Fiscal austerity was applied (with varying degrees of success) while monetary policy was ‘eased’.

But QE was really a failure.  It did not lead to a revival of economic growth or business investment.  Growth of GDP per head and investment in the major economies continue to languish well below pre-crisis rates.  As I have argued in this blog, that is because profitability in capitalist sector remains below pre-crisis levels and well below the peaks of the late 1990s.

What QE did do was fuel a new speculative bubble in financial assets, with stock and bond markets hitting ever new heights.  As a result, the very rich who own most of these assets became much richer (and inequality of income and wealth has risen even further).  And the very large companies, the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) in the US, became flush with cash and doubled-up on borrowing even more at near zero rates so that they could buy up their own shares and drive up the stock price, hand out big dividends to shareholders and use funds to buy up even more companies.

But now eight years after QE was launched in the US, followed by the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and eventually the European Central Bank, the US Fed is preparing to reverse the policy.  It has announced that it will start selling off its huge stock of bonds ($4.5trn or 25% of US GDP at the last count) over the next few years.  The sell-off will be gradual and the Fed is cautious about the impact on the financial sector and the wider economy.  And it should be.

Financial markets won’t like it.  The drug of cheap (virtually interest-free) money is being slowly withdrawn.  The plan is to avoid ‘cold turkey’, but even so the stock and bond markets are likely to sell off as the supply of free money begins to fall back.  More important is what will happen to the productive sectors of the US economy and, for that matter, to the global economy, as this cheap money slowly declines.

The Fed sounds confident.  As Janet Yellen, the head of the Fed put it in the press conference yesterday: “The basic message here is US economic performance has been good; the labour market has strengthened substantially.  The American people should feel the steps we have taken to normalise monetary policy are ones we feel are well justified given the very substantial progress we have seen in the economy.”

This confidence is being increasingly backed up by the mainstream economic forecasters. 
For example, Gavyn Davies, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs and now columnist at the FT, reports that his Fulcrum ‘nowcast’ activity measures reveals the “growth rate in the world economy is being maintained at the firmest rate recorded since the early days of the recovery in 2010. The growth rate throughout 2017 has been well above trend for both the advanced and emerging economies, and the acceleration has been more synchronised among the major blocs than at any time since before the Great Financial Crash.”  He has the advanced economies growing at 2.7% and the world economy at 4.1%, with the US growth rate now around 3%.  This all sounds good.

And yet the long-term forecasts of the Fed policy makers for economic growth and inflation remain low.  Indeed, there are some important caveats to this seeming confidence.  First, there is little sign of any recovery in business investment.

Second, far from profits in the productive sectors racing ahead, overall non-financial corporate profits in the US are falling.

And equally important, as the recent Bank for International Settlements quarterly review has highlighted, corporate debt is very high and rising, while the number of ‘zombie’ companies (those hardly able to meet their debt payments) are at record levels (16% in the US).  At $8.6 trillion, US corporate debt levels are 30% higher today than at their prior peak in September 2008.  At 45.3%, the ratio of corporate debt to GDP is at historic highs, having recently surpassed levels preceding the last two recessions.  That suggests that increased costs of debt servicing from rising interest rates driven by the Fed’s ‘normalisation’ policy could tip things over, unless profitability recovers for the wider corporate sector.

As the BIS summed it up, “Even accounting for the large cash balances outstanding, leverage conditions in the United States are the highest since the beginning of the millennium and similar to those of the early 1990s, when corporate debt ratios reflected the legacy of the leveraged buyout boom of the late 1980s.  Taken together, this suggests that, in the event of a slowdown or an upward adjustment in interest rates, high debt service payments and default risk could pose challenges to corporates, and thereby create headwinds for GDP growth.”

And this is just at a time when the US Fed has decided to hike its short-term policy interest rate and cut back on the lifeline of cheap money to the banks.  As I have pointed out before, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Fed did something similar in 1937, reversing its policy of cheap credit when it thought the depression was over.  That led to a new slump in production in 1938 that only the second world war ended.  The risk of repeat remains.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Houston, Racism, Climate Change and Class Unity

Here's what a working class woman in Houston had to say:

“This has been bad but it’s not going to get better, it’ll only get worse. We all talk about how close we are to the refineries but for us there is no hope, we will die with this poisonous air … I’ve been around for a few years and no one has listened to us. We are just the little people.”

I didn't watch the video of the five former presidents telling US workers to send money for victims of the Hurricanes.  The horrendous consequences that will follow due to pollution, disease and the destruction made worse by the conscious placing of profit ahead of human safety and the environment by politicians legislators and the corporate bosses is what they are covering up.

The former presidents, all smiling and laughing together, joined through Twitterland by the Predator in Chief Trump, don't put a face on those responsible for the disaster being worse that it should be because they too are responsible. They cannot blame the system because they defend the system, it is "their" system and no ruling class commits class suicide. They must convince us we are all in this together, they afraid things could get out of hand. And when we see we can rely on ourselves our neighbors to help us in these times then we might go too far, recognize that we can govern society too. This is why the five presidents, united in their aims, spoke to the nation at the NFL game.  Bush lives in Texas. Does he know about this you think:

"Last year the National Association of Home Builders boasted of its prowess at stopping codes for 2018 that it didn’t like. “Only 6 percent of the proposals that NAHB opposed made it through the committee hearings intact,” the association wrote on its blog. The homebuilders demonstrated their power again this year, when President Donald Trump reversed an Obama initiative restricting federally funded building projects in flood plains. “This is a huge victory for NAHB and its members,” the association blogged."
Liars and con men: All having a good time.

None of these presidents made announcements at nationally televised sports venues telling us we're all one and should unite against measures like those above and that we have to confront the forces promoting them. Of course not, they never opposed them themselves. They are they forces at the national level. Now they want us to pay.

There is potential at times like these for anger among the millions of ordinary working people to manifest itself through a united movement in opposition to the class oppression that is felt every day in one way or another, housing, work, health care education basic social needs.

As I mention in the video  there are faces to the guilty in the case of Texas, the heads of an organization that has bribed cajoled and done whatever they could to ensure that no curbs, no regulation was placed on the right of capitalists to go anywhere, do whatever they want build whatever they want  unhindered, free from regulations, unions, anything that curbs their rapacious appetites for profit.

Here's a few more posts about this that we had up on here lately:
Houston Catastrophe Market Driven. But Let's Not Talk About That.

Harvey-Texas-Louisiana: Capitalism's Addiction to Profit is to Blame! 

Harvey - The Trade Unions must Act. The Arsonists Must Pay.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bitcoin: Blockchains and the crypto craze

by Michael Roberts

The cryptocurrency craze seems to have taken a dive in recent weeks since the Chinese authorities clamped down on speculation in the bitcoin market. The history of financial markets is littered with asset price bubbles, from tulips in the early-1600s to more recent examples, such as internet stocks in the late-1990s and US house prices before 2008. This looks like another.  The ascent of the virtual currency bitcoin, which recently neared $5,000 and has risen about 350% this year, has now turned round, dropping back to $3000, if still hugely above its initial start.  But it may be heading for a reckoning now.

Bitcoin aims at reducing transaction costs in internet payments and completely eliminating the need for financial intermediaries ie banks. But so far its main use has been for speculation. So is bitcoin, the digital currency that operates on the internet, just a speculative scam, another Ponzi-scheme, or is there more to the rise of all these cryptocurrencies, as they are called?

Money in modern capitalism is no longer just a commodity like gold but instead is a ‘fiat currency’, either in coin or notes, or now mostly in credits in banks.  Such fiat currencies are accepted because they are printed and backed by governments and central banks and subject to regulation and ‘fiat’.  The vast majority of fiat money is no longer in coin or notes but in deposits or claims on banks. In the UK, notes and coin are just 2.1% of the £2.2 trillion total money supply.

The driver of bitcoin and other rival crypto currencies has been the internet and growth of internet-based trading and transactions.  The internet has generated a requirement for low-cost, anonymous and rapidly verifiable transactions to be used for online barter and fast settling money has emerged as a consequence.

Cryptocurrencies aim to eliminate the need for financial intermediaries by offering direct peer-to-peer (P2P) online payments. The main technological innovation behind cryptocurrencies has been the blockchain, a ‘ledger’ containing all transactions for every single unit of currency. It differs from existing (physical or digital) ledgers in that it is decentralized, i.e., there is no central authority verifying the validity of transactions. Instead, it employs verification based on cryptographic proof, where various members of the network verify “blocks” of transactions approximately every 10 minutes. The incentive for this is compensation in the form of newly “minted” cryptocurrency for the first member to provide the verification.

By far the most widely known cryptocurrency is bitcoin, conceived by an anonymous and mysterious programmer Satoshi Nakamoto just nine years ago.  Bitcoin is not localized to a particular region or country, nor is it intended for use in a particular virtual economy. Because of its decentralized nature, its circulation is largely beyond the reach of direct regulation or monetary policy and oversight that has traditionally been enforced in some manner with localized private monies and e-money.

The blockchain’s main innovation is a public transaction record of integrity without central authority. Blockchain technology offers everyone the opportunity to participate in secure contracts over time, but without being able to avoid a record of what was agreed at that time.  So a blockchain is a transaction database based on a mutual distributed cryptographic ledger shared among all in a system. Fraud is prevented through block validation. The blockchain does not require a central authority or trusted third party to coordinate interactions or validate transactions. A full copy of the blockchain contains every transaction ever executed, making information on the value belonging to every active address (account) accessible at any point in history.

Now for technology enthusiasts and also for those who want to build a world out of the control of state machines and regulatory authorities, this all sounds exciting.  Maybe communities and people can make transactions without the diktats of corrupt governments and control their incomes and wealth away from the authorities – it might even be the embryo of a post-capitalist world without states.

But is this new technology of blockchains and cryptocurrencies really going to offer such a utopian new world?  Like any technology it depends on whether it reduces labour time and raises the productivity of things and services (use values) or, under capitalism, whether it will be another weapon for increasing value and surplus-value.  Can technology in of itself, even a technology that apparently is outside the control of any company or government, really break people free from the law of value?

I think not.  For a start, bitcoin is limited to people with internet connections. That means billions are excluded from the process, even though mobile banking has grown in the villages and towns of ‘emerging economies’.  So far it is almost impossible to buy anything much with bitcoin.  Globally, bitcoin transactions are at about three per second compared to Visa credit at 9000 a second.  And setting up a ‘wallet’ to conduct transactions in bitcoin on the internet is still a difficult procedure.
More decisively, the question is whether bitcoin actually meets the criteria for money in modern economies.  Money serves three functions under capitalism, where things and services are produced as commodities to sell on a market.  Money has to be accepted as a medium of exchange. It must be a unit of account with a fair degree of stability so that we can compare the costs of goods and services over time and between merchants. And it should also be a store of value that stays reasonably stable over time.  If hyperinflation or spiralling deflation sets in, then a national currency soon loses its role as ‘trust’ in the currency disappears.  There are many examples in history of a national currency being replaced by another or by gold (even cigarettes) when ‘trust’ in its stability is lost.

The issue of trust is brought to a head with bitcoin as it relies on “miners”, or members that contribute computational power to solve a complex cryptographic problem and verify the transactions that have occurred over a short period of time (10 minutes). These transactions are then published as a block, and the miner who had first published the proof receives a reward (currently 25 bitcoins). The maximum block size is 1MB, which corresponds to approximately seven transactions per second. In order to ensure that blocks are published approximately every 10 minutes, the network automatically adjusts the difficulty of the cryptographic problem to be solved.

Bitcoin mining requires specialized equipment, as well as substantial electricity costs and miners thus have to balance their technology and energy investment.  That means increasingly bitcoin could only work as alternative replacement global currency if miners became large operations.  And that means large companies down the road, ones in the hands of capitalist entities, who may well eventually be able to control the bitcoin market.  Also if bitcoin were to become as viable tender to pay tax to government, it would then require some form of price relationship with the existing fiat money supply.  So governments will still be there.

Indeed, the most startling obstacle to bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency taking over is the energy consumption involved.  Bitcoin mining is already consuming energy for computer power more than the annual consumption of Ireland.  Temperatures near computer miner centres have rocketed.  Maybe this heat could be ecologically used but the non-profitability of such energy recycling may well ‘block’ such blockchain expansion.

Capitalism is not ignoring blockchain technology.  Indeed, like every other innovation, it seeks to bring it under its control.  Mutual distributed ledgers (MDLs) in blockchain technology provide an electronic public transaction record of integrity without central ownership. The ability to have a globally available, verifiable and untamperable source of data provides anyone wishing to provide trusted third-party services, i.e., most financial services firms, the ability to do so cheaply and robustly.  Indeed, that is the road that large banks and other financial institutions are going for.  They are much more interested in developing blockchain technology to save costs and control internet transactions.

As one critic of blockchain points out: “First, we’re not convinced blockchain can ever be successfully delinked from a coupon or token pay-off component without compromising the security of the system. Second, we’re not convinced the economics of blockchain work out for anything but a few high-intensity use cases. Third, blockchain is always going to be more expensive than a central clearer because a multiple of agents have to do the processing job rather than just one, which makes it a premium clearing service — especially if delinked from an equity coupon — not a cheaper one.”  Kaminska, I., 2015, “On the potential of closed system blockchains,” FT Alphaville.

All this suggests that blockchain technology will be incorporated into the drive for value not need if it becomes widely applied.  Cryptocurrencies will become part of cryptofinance, not the medium of a new world of free and autonomous transactions. More probably, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will remain on the micro-periphery of the spectrum of digital moneys, just as Esperanto has done as a universal global language against the might of imperialist English, Spanish and Chinese.

But the crypto craze may well continue for a while longer, along with the spiralling international stock and bond markets globally, as capital searches for higher returns from financial speculation.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Resignation of Rhode Island Branch of Socialist Alternative. Some observations from Facts For Working People Blog.

3 to 4 million protest on the women's marches
We very much appreciate the resignation statement of the former Rhode Island branch of Socialist Alternative in which they explain why they decided to leave that organization and the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) to which it is affiliated.

We appreciate both the content of the statement and also its non-sectarian tone. Thank you Comrades.

The founders of Facts For Working People Blog, are former members of the Committee For a Workers International (CWI) of which Socialist Alternative is presently the US Section. We were expelled from the US section of the CWI and from the CWI in 1996 when the US section was called Labor Militant. Below are our observations based on our experience in that organization, and our experience in relation to our expulsion from that organization and based on our political work since.These experiences have led us to look critically at our past work, to look critically at the work of all self-styled revolutionary groups and draw conclusions from this. We have concluded that as revolutionaries, it is crucial that we change, and we consider we have changed, our way of working in several areas. 

We consider the last two decades of our political work to have been the most fruitful period of our political lives. We have had to think about the many basic ideas and methods of our work and have been forced, thankfully, to consider these, make judgements, draw conclusions and, we hope, learn lessons. We have also taken note of the approach and methods of the many self-styled revolutionary groups and drawn conclusions in this area also.  Being expelled from the CWI was in a way the best thing that ever happened to us. It unshackled our thinking. We wish to share our experiences and conclusions with the RI Comrades and with the readers of our Blog. In doing so we would like to emphasize that we remain committed to what we consider the task of tasks in this period of history. That is, contributing to the building of a mass revolutionary international leadership of the working class which would be capable of overthrowing capitalism.

Having said this,  we would like to offer the following observations. 

You state the following reasons for your resignation from the SA/CWI.
1. SA's decision to endorse Sanders in the 2016 election.
2. SA's approach to the Democratic Party and DSA. 
3. SA's approach to identity politics and special oppression.
4. SA's position on International issues. 
5. Serious problems you have had with the SA's leadership and you give examples. 

Your setting out of these reasons so clearly is a great help. We would like to respond to them individually. But before doing so we would like to make a few points in relation to our thoughts concerning the building of revolutionary currents and organizations. 

Regardless of what they say, most revolutionary groups such as the CWI, expect unity on just about every detail and punish in one way or another, or exclude, those who do not toe the line. We have concluded that this approach is incorrect and not only incorrect, but damaging to the struggle to end capitalism. We have concluded that while there has to be unity on such fundamental issues as the need to end capitalism and the need to work to assist the international working class to come to power and build a democratic socialist world, it is idealistic to imagine that there can be unity on all issues at all times in a healthy revolutionary organization. To expect this is in fact a reactionary viewpoint.

Let us see what some of the founding leaders of the revolutionary movement had to say on this.  Engels said that the law of the internal life of the revolutionary party is struggle. Trotsky said that the healthy period of Bolshevism was the time of factions and even factions within factions. Lenin would get enraged when members who had differences would not write these down and circulate them for discussion and debate and so would not help clarify the organization’s ideas. Marx, as the First International took shape, was involved nonstop in debate with all sorts of groupings inside the First International. Rosa Luxembourg stated: "Self criticism, cruel unsparing criticism that goes to the very root of the evil, is life and breath for the revolutionary movement". 
Stack this up against the approach of the CWI and all the self styled revolutionary groups today. It is a different world. 

It is true the Bolsheviks banned factions during the civil war. We have doubts if this decision was correct. But this happened at the height of a ferocious military conflict and no left group today is in anything like the same universe as the Bolsheviks were at that time. 

We keep the following in mind. It will take a revolutionary organization of tens of millions in the US and hundreds of millions internationally to carry through the world revolution. It is utterly impossible to imagine such forces assembling and being built without differences, debate, discussion, continual exchange of views and without the recognition that there has to be factions, that there will be factions, to express the different views. Such a concept is utterly foreign to the CWI/SA and in fact to all self styled revolutionary organizations. Along with the CWI/SA's bad politics, especially the tendency towards opportunism which is rooted in its approach, and which was expressed in their relationship to Sanders and earlier in their role in the short lived Labor Party Advocates, it is utterly un Marxist, utterly un dialectical, utterly inorganic, to imagine as the CWI/SA leadership and the leaders of all the self-styled revolutionary organizations do, that they can become semi mass organizations never mind mass organizations with their present bureaucratic centralist approach. 

The bigger organizations like the CWI become, if they become bigger, the greater will be the diversity of opinions. But because these organizations cannot tolerate different views, the present state of affairs where we see split after split, resignation after resignation, expulsion after expulsion, bureaucratic repression, public condemnation and slander, all will continue. 

This does not mean that a split in a revolutionary movement or organization is never justified. At certain times it could be justified. But the issue is that groups like the CWI do not see that the building of a mass revolutionary international will only happen with great majestic struggles over ideas, over perspectives, over program, over strategy, over tactics; the cut and thrust of real life------the cut and thrust of the great challenging contradictory dialectic. Not the dead hand of bureaucratic centralism that dominates the internal life of groups like the CWI and SA. 

We could go on with this, but we will leave it here except to say that one thing to be considered is how come the British section of the CWI led a struggle like the anti-poll tax in Britain where18 million people refused to pay the tax and where hundreds went to jail; a struggle that brought down Thatcher, and yet they came out of it in crisis, never mind failing to build a large revolutionary force! Even a large anti capitalist force!  Of course there was the collapse of Stalinism which was not anticipated by the CWI, but this was not all. There was also the fear the CWI leadership had that it would lose control and also their misunderstanding of how a mass revolutionary force can be built, will inevitably be built if it is to be built at all. They want to build it block by block one at a time, top down under the direction of the chief of construction, that is the dominant figure in the British section. The madness of it. They do not even consider what will happen when this person, now in his seventies is no longer around. This approach is shared to a greater or lesser degree by all self-styled revolutionary organizations.

Any organization that has the same person heading it (generally a male figure) for decades, and this is the case with most of the self-styled left groupings, cannot be a healthy organization. The presently leading figure in the CWI has headed that organization for over half a century. This is a reflection of a mistaken approach.

But to go directly to the resignation statement of the RI Comrades. In doing so we approach it not with what is the usual sectarian view of immediately seeking to find where we disagree, like a terrier seeking to find its prey and pounce on it, shaking it up in the air in 'triumph'. Strutting with chest out proud that some difference has been found. We have a very different approach. We seek to see where we agree and proceed from this point. We are pleased when we find agreement. We then seek to identify if there are areas we think need clarification and more discussion. And also as part of this process we seek to identify if there are areas where there might be disagreement, and if there are, can we live with this disagreement, and if so how? 

So now to the resignation statement of the RI Comrades.

On the first reason the RI Comrades give for resigning from the SA, that organization’s relationship to Sanders. We feel there is total agreement between us. We published a number of pieces on our Blog and a number of fliers to do with this issue. You can read one here . There are many more on our Blog. At the time we were reaching out to the youth to whom we had access and were putting out our ideas mainly through this blog.  We were struggling to find a name for ourselves, hence the name on that flier. This name did not last.  We were discussing with a number of youth around the Sanders campaign and thought correctly, that when the penny dropped and Sanders supported Clinton as we explained he would, many of these youth would be seeking an alternative. Having a sense of proportion we did not consider there was any possibility of any significant numbers of such activists joining the left sectarian groups, or for that matter grouping themselves around our Blog.  

We considered the possibility that some of them might turn to the Greens with its somewhat of a national presence and with it recently having adopted an eco-socialist plank in its platform. We were in the main incorrect on this. We made a limited initiative around the Green Party for a little time, mainly through discussing ideas on their sites and we were able to increase the audience for our ideas, increase our little core of comrades somewhat, around our Blog and our associated Think Tank out of which has come our weekly conference calls.

But we were mistaken in thinking that there was a possibility that any substantial numbers of Sanders supporters when they saw his supporting of Clinton would go to the Greens. We did not fully see the serious weakness, in fact the conscious obstruction of the leadership of the Green Party, its right wing character as it refused to put forward its eco socialist plank and its fear of growth. In this, the leadership of the Green party has something in common with the sectarian organizations. A fear of growth in case they might lose control. The same can be said of the heads of organized labor. They too prize their control of their organizations over all else, in their case organizing the unorganized. 

We did not see the rise of the DSA. How it would to a small extent appear to many young people as an organization through which to fight. We think it is important to openly state where we make or made mistakes. Otherwise we cannot learn. Mistakes are inevitable. But if honestly recognized and discussed they can lead to improvements in ideas and ways of working. If the inevitable mistakes are not recognized openly, success in our struggle is impossible.  

On the RI Comrades second reason for resigning from the SA/CWI------SA's approach to the Democratic Party and the DSA.

On the Democratic Party we are in complete agreement. We do not have to dwell on this point. 

On the DSA we believe we are also in agreement. We see the growth of the DSA as a positive development. However we also see that it faces a very troubled future. It has attracted many very good and sincere mostly young people. But it has a wide variety of opinions within it, and most importantly no clear strategic vision for ending capitalism. This will lead to many serious crises in the future. These will not be avoided, in fact they will be made worse, by the decentralized nature of the DSA. The future of the DSA will also be complicated by the myriad of sectarian groups and sectarian and ambitious individuals of all shapes and sizes who are hovering in or around it like vultures. We think it is important to contribute in the effort to help the membership of the DSA in clarifying ideas. But we do so with some humility. The DSA has grown to over 20,000 members; a growth like this inevitably presents problems. We recognize that this membership is of a varied nature. But nonetheless, any serious revolutionary grouping has to start by asking why the DSA has had this growth and seek to learn from this while at the same time assisting in the clarification of ideas. 

Whether this is best done by joining the DSA or by working in united fronts with local DSA branches is we believe a tactical issue which is also influenced by what resources revolutionary socialists have and the different situations that exist in different areas. 

Something to be taken into consideration in relation to this is that DSA has its no 'democratic centralist grouping' rule. That is that no 'democratic centralist' group can have membership. Those of us around the Facts For Working People Blog and Think Tank and conference calls have been discussing the issue of what is known as democratic centralism for some time now, totally separate from any thought of the DSA.  In our opinion this term has become inseparable from Stalinism and left sectarianism and we no longer use it. It no longer clarifies. It only confuses. We think if we tie the term democratic centralism to our banner then it will be impossible to convince people that we are neither Stalinists or left sectarians. This will put an unnecessary obstacle in front of our work of campaigning for socialism. 

But more important, if we use the term democratic centralism we ourselves will not thoroughly discuss and clarify our thinking on internal organizational questions. So we reject the term democratic centralism, what is known as democratic centralism and what is practiced under the name of democratic centralism, whether by Stalinists, left sectarians or so called Trotskyist or Maoist groups.

In our opinion the method of organizing known as democratic centralism has shown itself to be an unsuccessful method of organizing. 

Further, in relation to where we feel we have full agreement with the RI comrades on the Democratic Party we have many articles and commentaries on the Democrats, the trade union leadership and the relationship between them if Comrades wish to check the labels on the right of the blog.  Check DemocratsTeam Concept , unions, and Labor  

On the RI Comrades third reason for resigning from the SA/CWI - identity politics and special oppression. We feel that this is an area where we would find it very helpful for us to have further discussion and clarification. The RI comrades’ statement where these issues are dealt with has made us all think more. We thank the Comrades. 

The RI comrades state in relation to the SA/CWI position: "At every turn, white supremacy and anti blackness are subordinated to an analysis of class as mere derivatives." We believe that those of us around FFWP do not do this. The Comrades' statement also explains that the SA/CWI position is that "fighting classism is the best - and indeed the ONLY WAY (RI comrades' emphasis) to eradicate racism." We are not exactly sure of the RI comrades thinking around this sentence. We would like to explore it more. In this context we would like to share our experience in Northern Ireland where some of our FFWP people did political work.  It was not race but religion and gender but much more overtly religion, that was the basis for special oppression and the tool used to divide and rule.

A personal experience of one of the founders of Facts For Working People blog is useful here. This Comrade was from a Protestant Orange Order background on the border of Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. He took the lead in building the civil rights movement in the town of Strabane. The Northern Ireland civil rights movement was inspired by the civil rights movement in the US. In Northern Ireland it was in opposition to the discrimination against the Catholic population. This Comrade, as well as leading in building the civil rights movement in Strabane also led in the building of the Young Socialists organization in Strabane. He was also a member of the Young Socialists and the Labor party in Derry the second biggest city in Northern Ireland. 

In 1969 there was an uprising in the Catholic area of that city of Derry. The Bogside Uprising. For more details Google "Battle of the Bogside 1969".  This comrade physically took part in that uprising against the Protestant and British state. A body was formed to organize that uprising called the Bogside Citizens Defense Association (The Bogside was the name of that Catholic area of the city) This present FFWP comrade was the only person from a Protestant background who was on that defense committee, political people are well aware that this could have cost him his life. 
We make this point not to boast but to try to show that we do not retreat from the defense of oppressed minorities, just confining ourselves to repeating phrases about class unity.  

After the 30 year war of the IRA there is now a peace agreement in Northern Ireland. But Northern Ireland is more divided along sectarian lines than ever and unless there is a socialist revolution in England, Scotland, Wales and Southern Ireland which engulfs the North of Ireland there will most likely be a new war in the future and most likely ethnic (religious) 'cleansing' and a new Protestant statelet. As long as capitalism lasts, the problem of sectarianism and discrimination against the Catholics and against women in Northern Ireland will continue. We also believe that here in the US as long as capitalism exists the US will be a vicious racist and sexist society.

We agree very much with the RI Comrades' statement that "Violence against people of color is often counter productive from the perspective of capital". We used to put it this way in the North of Ireland: British imperialism bases itself on sectarianism and divide and rule and the special oppression of the Catholics in the North. They cannot rule without this. But what we explain is that while British imperialism cannot rule without divide and rule, without sectarianism, they want sectarianism to simmer, not boil over. When it threatens to boil over, in most circumstances they take action to get it back to the simmering level. Here in the US, the ruling class is now looking at the danger of an explosion of the oppressed minorities in race and gender and worry that Trump will cause the whole racist situation to boil over and seriously damage their cities and industries and institutions. As well as this having negative affects for them at home it would further undermine their diminishing authority around the world. 

There is a book by a bourgeois writer that draws a balance sheet of the economic cost to US capitalism of the uprisings in the African American communities in the US in 1968. US imperialism is aware of this. They do not want it repeated-----at least at this stage. It would be different if they were faced with a mass revolutionary movement of the working class challenging for power. Then they would turn to drown this revolutionary threat in a racist blood bath and to hell with the immediate economic consequences as their hold on power would be threatened. Defeating the threat of losing power would be their first priority. So they would seek to unleash the nightmare of a racist civil war.

One of the many problems US imperialism is faced with at the moment is it does not have a conscious, astute bourgeois in the White House at a time when there is a general economic, political, social, environmental and military crises of US capitalism. Having what is close to an idiot, a totally self-serving moron in the White House, destabilizes their system further.  Amongst other things, they are worried with the racist Predator in Chief that they might not be able to keep the racism simmering. It might boil over. So they make a few "concessions". The racist statues for example; at least take a few down and make some gestures to take more down. They are hesitating on DACA as Trump threatens to take it away while at the same time blaming Republicans for failing to make it work and giving six months for them to come up with something. It is not inconceivable that he could make a deal with the Democrats to “legalize” DACA as a major section of the bourgeois, especially the high tech sector, strongly opposes taking it away. US capitalism is also fearful of an uprising of the 800,000 people covered by DACA and their supporters. 

They are also worried if their racist pot boils over, their misogynist pot boils over, their repression of gender orientation boils over, that this will weaken their military where approximately 40% are either minorities or women or transgender.

To draw further on the experience of Northern Ireland. British imperialism and its Northern Protestant state had to make some concessions over the past years to end what had degenerated into an open sectarian thirty-year military conflict. It is very similar to how US imperialism had to make some concessions to the 1960's black revolt, put in place a few anti racist laws and develop a Black and Latino petit bourgeois and leadership. As we face the consequences of their destruction of the environment and their climate change, it is worth noting that the mayor of Houston is African American and the mayor off Miami is Latino. Whatever the color of the skin of whoever is in some position of power in the US, US capitalism is still, and always will be, a vicious racist state and society. 

We have numerous statements and commentaries on this issue on our blog. We do not believe we will have any serious disagreement with the RI comrades on this but it is in our opinion an issue which would be useful for us to explore further.

In closing on this point. We would again like to emphasize that under no conditions do we subordinate the fight against racism sexism etc., to the class struggle. This is an accusation used by much of the petite bourgeois left and left academia. These people do not see that the struggle that is subordinated above all others and that they assist in subordinating, is the need to pursue, to bring to the fore, the struggle of the working class against capitalism. This struggle is practically never mentioned in US society and unfortunately practically never mentioned amongst the left petite bourgeois and academia. 

We stand with Malcolm X when he said: “You cannot have capitalism without racism.” We then proceed on from that. This statement by Malcom X if it means anything, means you cannot eliminate racism, and we would include sexism something which Malcom X did not address in the main, without eliminating capitalism. And we would proceed further. The only force that can end capitalism and therefore racism and sexism, is the united working class with a revolutionary leadership. Therefore we must at all times fight racism and sexism, and at no time subordinate the fight against racism and sexism to the fight of the working class over wages conditions etc. 

Our thinking is that we should seek to fight racism and sexism in a manner that takes into account building working class unity, uniting the working class, as this is the only force that can in the last analysis overthrow capitalism which is necessary if racism and sexism is to be ended. And of course in this way, and simultaneously, the working class will be capable of emancipating itself. 

We do not think it is an accident that so much of the struggle of left academia, of the African American and Latino petit bourgeois and bourgeois, never mention Malcom X except to stress his nationalism. Never mention Martin Luther King, except on occasion to point to his non-violence. Both Malcom X and Martin Luther King before they were assassinated were talking about ending capitalism, were talking about socialism, about "the unity of the oppressed” (Malcolm X), about "the need for some sort of democratic socialism in the US" (Martin Luther King) and Martin Luther King was organizing his "Poor Peoples " march on Washington. And he was moving to oppose US imperialism and its savagery in Vietnam. 

This evolution of ideas and methods of these leaders toward these conclusions was the reason the bourgeois had these leaders assassinated when they did. No, the evolution of these leaders towards a united movement of all the oppressed, towards the need unite all poor people, towards the need to end capitalism and imperialism does not fit into the approach of most of the petite bourgeois leaderships of the various groupings and individuals opposing in one way or another racism and sexism at this time.  

Here are links to a few pieces we have written or statements we have made on this subject.  We feel it would be very useful for all if we had further discussion and clarification on this subject with the RI Comrades and all who are involved in fighting racism and sexism.  

On the RI comrades fourth reason for resigning from the CWI, the international issues, from what we see in the resignation statement we have full agreement. One of the many potholes the SA got itself into with its opportunist support for Sanders was his position on Zionism and on US imperialism. They staggered about and waffled on Sander's position on these issues. It would be interesting to see what position the CWI group in Israel has on Zionism and Sanders. We hear that it may be different from the position of the CWI. See an article on our Blog by Roger Silverman, the first secretary of the CWI and another Comrade whom the CWI could not tolerate because he was a critical and independent thinker. 

On the RI comrades fifth reason for resignation-------SA/CWI's leadership and internal life------ we have complete agreement. We have had a similar experience to the RI comrades. We have tried to draw general conclusions from this experience. We have concluded that it is not only a question of petty ambitious individuals running that organization, though this is the case in the CWI, and their selection and promotion of people in the leaderships of its various sections who are similar to themselves, petty ambitious people who will do what they are told and who will repress others in their sections who will not do what they are told. 

The CWI is an organization which selects those most unfit, those most incapable, to lead its sections, and either crushes or drives out those most fit those most capable. The most fit, the most capable, meaning those with the strongest, deepest roots in the working class and those most willing to critically assess the ideas and methods of the organization and put forward their views-----these comrades are either driven out, or "re-educated."

It is the case that the leadership of the CWI is dominated by people who have petty individual ambitions. But Comrades of the FFWP do not believe this is the only factor involved.  There is also the false method, the false understanding of the CWI leadership of how the internal life of a revolutionary organization has to take shape. As we have already explained, the method of the CWI is to build its organization from the top down one block on top of another, crushing any different views by fair means or foul,  driving out any independent thinkers, seeking at all times to have unity under the command of the top few leaders, usually male.  The CWI and SA shares this false method with all the self styled revolutionary organizations.   

Finally: This statement from FFWP is not a statement set in stone. Unlike the old methods of the CWI where a statement, a document, from the leadership was holy writ and had to be accepted and if later events showed it was incorrect it was buried and anybody who tried to dig it up and discuss it was acted against. Comrades of the FFWP share this statement with all who are interested and in the course of discussion if there is any change of opinion of any FFWP comrade this will be shared openly on our Blog.  
In relation to leadership. FFWP Comrades believe there needs to be a leadership, one way or another there will always be a leadership, but we reject the false method where all decisions are made in advance by the leadership and then by fair means or foul these decisions are imposed on the membership, as is the practice of the SA/CWI and all of the self styled revolutionary left organizations. We also believe that there has to be more emphasis on building a collective and diverse leadership. 

We believe a revolutionary organization is essential. We hesitate to use the word a centralized organization as this has so many negative connotations given how it has been and is used by Stalinism and the left sectarian organizations. But we oppose the undemocratic decentralization and consensus methods of organization. We seek a short phrase with which to describe the type of internal life of a revolutionary organization that we seek to help build. We would more prefer some term such as a democratic unified organization. Or perhaps a unified democratic organization. We are exploring this and would welcome help in developing a precise formulation. 

Settling on a precise formulation for organization is difficult.  We are dealing with a complicated issue both historically and at the present time, and one in which all things are in a continual process of change and development, it is difficult to adequately describe such a complicated and continually moving phenomenon using a two or three word term. Perhaps all that is possible is to state the principles which we believe should govern organization. We believe in an organization with full open discussion, decisions made by majority with minority opinion having the right to be heard and to organize as factions to better present their opinion. But with the policies of the organization being decided by the majority of the organization. We do not believe in the undemocratic methods of decentralization or consensus. 

The method of the CWI/SA is that the leadership is the teacher of the membership. We reject this method; we reject the cult of the leader. We believe that revolutionaries  who play leading roles, in fact all revolutionaries have to harness their ego to the needs of the movement.  This is not the case in groups like the CWI. The CWI leadership sees that the membership's role is to carry out the policies of the leadership, policies which the membership never have a real genuine role in formulating. The CWI and all the self-styled revolutionary left organizations when they have the resources, also have a full-time apparatus that assists them in this, very much like the staffers in the trade union movement. 

We are not against a full time apparatus by any means but it is how their role is understood, and related to this how the leadership sees its role. We are for leadership but we are for a dialectical interaction between the leadership and the membership. A dialectical relationship which would not be fixed but would be influenced by the phase through which the organization was passing at any given time. The situation where a tiny organization exists which has no influence on the mass consciousness, on the working class, would be very different than if there was a mass organization such as the Bolsheviks were in the 1917 October days faced with taking power

There are articles on many subjects pinned to the top of our Blog. On the right side of our Blog there are many labels on many different subjects. Our Blog represents a body of work, our high tech library, which seeks to explain the process of our thinking over the past years. Please feel free to have a look at any subject of interest and also feel free to raise any issue. We can say we no longer hold to every detail of our thinking on all issues, even more than that on occasion. But that is the beauty of the method of being determined to always face up to and openly acknowledge the evolution of our views and where we were wrong and why we were wrong, that is, show the evolution of our ideas. We reject the method of the CWI where every meeting is to congratulate itself on how correct it has been on everything and take bureaucratic action against any suggestion to the contrary. 

Comrades, we are very enthused by the statement of the RI Comrades and the steps they are taking. Many thousands of people have gone through the CWI and other sectarian self styled organizations and found them wanting and have either retreated into fighting on a local basis, or even given up fighting capitalism, or given up trying to build an international revolutionary current/organization. The statement from the RI Comrades shows that they are taking none of these roads. They are committed to continuing the fight, to learning the lessons from their experiences so far and building on a healthy basis. 

Speaking for the FFWP this is very inspiring. We appeal to all the many people who have gone through revolutionary organizations and found them wanting, to the many people who are in revolutionary organizations and find them wanting, to continue the fight but to do so in collaboration with those of us who have found the methods of the existing organizations incorrect and work together to build a revolutionary movement with a healthy culture.  FFWP Comrades seek to assist in the building of an international revolutionary movement with a healthy culture. We hope that we can discuss with the RI Comrades and other Comrades workers and youth who are opposed to capitalism to this end.  

We seek to discuss with and collaborate with the many people who consider themselves revolutionary socialists but who see the false methods of the existing self styled revolutionary groups. It is a staggering fact, it is a staggering condemnation of all the self styled revolutionary groups, that there are many, many, more people who consider themselves revolutionary socialists outside these organizations than there are inside them. There is something wrong with all these organizations. Something new has to be built. Something which learns the lessons from the past, from the mistakes of the past. Something with a healthy culture. 

We very much wish to continue discussion on this issue both with the RI Comrades and any other Comrades and workers and youth who are prepared to fight capitalism. 

Please get in touch, we can be contacted through the e mail on this blog or through the blog’s Facebook page at:  

September 2017