Monday, May 21, 2012

As workers confront global capitalist offensive, socialists must not repeat past mistakes

Greek workers and youth pushing back
One of the weaknesses of the socialist left, including the CWI of which I was a member, was its rigid adherence to its perspectives when they were no longer correct. We were far too unconditional as far as perspectives were concerned. More speculation would have been helpful.

Events in Greece are moving so fast that socialists must avoid such rigidity, such a bunker mentality if we are to avoid mistakes we have made in the past.  As one friend pointed out: Is it too far fetched to envisage as one possible course of events, developments in Greece to follow the path along the lines of Spain in the 1930's?  I would like to comment on this point taking into account developments here in the US.

The US bourgeois are and have taken millions off the voting registers. In Michigan they have moved a law which allows the state governor to remove the power from local elected city officials and replace these with emergency managers with absolute power to break all contracts and make any and all cuts. Half of the black population in that state now live under these dictators. It sounds like the technocrats they want to put in power in the European states. Then there are the developments of the armed bodies of men and women fronts. Every city in the last years has built up large forces of cops with full body armor. They are usually kept in the background but are increasingly wheeled out and when they are they are extremely sinister in their appearance and power.

Maybe we are underestimating and also overestimating the big bourgeois. They are intent in taking back all the gains made in the 1930's and 1960's. They are not wavering on this. A veritable counter revolution is at work in the US and internationally. They are encouraged in their pursuit of this by the collapse of Stalinism and the craven role of the labor leaders as well as the failure of the left in all forms to so far provide a fighting mass international alternative.

The international counter offensive of the bourgeois continues and is coming up against the mass opposition of the working class in Europe and elsewhere. But this does not mean that the bourgeois is backing off. It is making  serious efforts to carry through their counter revolution and to do so they are getting increasingly close to wielding the big stick. They slaughtered and carried out genocide in Latin America and other former colonial countries in the past are they now moving this up their agenda in the advanced capitalist countries. When I say we may be underestimating the bourgeois I mean we may not see how determinedly they are prepared to move in this direction. When I say we may be overestimating the bourgeois I mean they might not see the effects such steps will have on the workers and peasants of the world and so not seeing this overplay their hand and make huge mistakes.

In essence, the factor that the most underestimated is the power of the working class. Here in the US as they step up further their counter offensive they are in danger of sparking off a mass movement from below. They have already had the Occupy Movement, the movement to defend women's rights, the movement against racism, the movement against foreclosures, millions mobilized against the taking away of trade union rights,  the cry of opposition to the attacks on the post office. Some of these have thrown back the counter offensive and shown the potential for a mass movement here.

But and in reference to my friends point: are the US bourgeois so blind and arrogant and overconfident, including refusing to see that they are so overstretched internationally, that they will continue to move on with their counteroffensive?  I think this is most likely. I also think that they will be doing so in the face of a new world economic collapse which will further discredit capitalism. In this situation the fighting on the streets is unlikely to be confined to the small groups of activists in the Occupy Movement. Greece can become more of a world phenomenon. The working class can get involved en masse as they are threatened with losing their homes and jobs and the entire "American dream" goes down the drain. 

In this situation the post 9/11 state apparatus and so called security system can be called into action with its huge surveillance system and its enormously increased armed bodies of men and women and its private armed bodies of men and women which count tens of millions in their ranks. On the other side the US working class are armed to the teeth. Not politically but literally. Enormous confusion and conflict could evolve on the streets and workplaces. The repression from the top would evoke explosive upheaval from below like the 1930's, the 1960's, both the movement against the Vietnam war and the explosion of the cities when MLK and Malcolm X were assassinated by the state. This can take the stage again. There will be a lot of big fancy SUV's for sale if this scenario were to take the stage.

The likelihood in such a situation is that the wing of the bourgeois that is making such profits now, the Chinese elite, the forces of top world capitalism, will try and pull back from such a confrontation. But the needs of their system will keep pushing them back into it. It is a brutal system and in the last analysis if it sees no alternative will rule openly by the sword if it can. 

On a related point. I see where Obama made a lot of studies on Afghanistan when he came into power. None could get the agreement of the top military and the military industrial complex that wanted to stay and fight it out forever.  Nor could any of these studies show a way for the US to "win." So apparently Obama called a meeting and excluded all the top military and decided to go ahead with the pull-down in the next one to two years. Obama is taking a risky road excluding the US military industrial  complex. Kennedy was also moving against continuing US involvement in SE Asia when he was assassinated by a wing of the US state. What would happen in US cities if Obama was assassinated. Now with the instant communication of the social media and along with this the unprecedented stupidity and reactionary position of the labor leaders it could take some time for a movement to take some organized and conscious form. 

Explosive events of an unprecedented nature lie ahead. A mass fighting united front type working class international along the lines of the first international pledged to end capitalism and to represent the interests of the working class is what is needed. And for this to succeed it is crucial to build within such a United Front a revolutionary socialist current, a Marxist current to act as the cutting edge of this mass organization.


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