Monday, October 29, 2012

Capitalism. The class struggle: the phase through which it is passing.

Striking South African miners
When some of us socialists would discuss what we though was going to happen in the world we would use Trotsky's expression of the need to know the "phase through which we were passing. I have been thinking about this lately and trying to come to some conclusions.

I have over the past period had the position that we lived in a phase of a capitalist offensive in which the working class were being driven back. I am inclined to think this is still the case. However there are I feel signs that this phase may be coming to an end. The struggles in South Africa, the recent retreat forced on the Chinese elite, the mass movements in Europe, the Arab Spring,  the re-election of Chavez, the increasing decline of credibility of the bourgeois internationally through events such as the tax and other swindles in Greece and internationally, the phone hacking scandals in Britain, the recent child abuse scandals in Britain, the farce of the US elections . What will happen in the US in the immediate period i do not know. But in the medium and longer term there is no doubt in my mind that a massive explosion will erupt as the US bourgeois seeks to take the working class back to the 1930's. In fact sections of this class have openly stated that they are set on taking back all that was won in the 1930's and the 1960's.

Chinese protestors halt petrochemical plant
I have the impression that the capitalist offensive continues but that it is meeting increasing anger and opposition. Maybe another expression of Trotsky's is useful. Sometimes "the revolution needs the whip of the counter revolution." Maybe that is the phase through which we are passing, the whip of the counter revolution still dominant but increasingly coming close to the point where it will enrage the working class so much that it will drive it over the edge and the revolution will become the dominant phase, that is the working class will move onto the offensive internationally and this will become the dominant aspect of the period. When this happens then all the big ideas would once again be placed on the agenda, on in the mass consciousness of the working class once more, capitalism, socialism, and in this period increasingly the threat to life on earth as we know it due to the devastation of capitalism. 

To go back to Trotsky again. He wrote that the task of a revolutionary was to combine objective analysis with subjective action. So if what i write above about the objective situation has any truth to it what should our subjective action be. I think it should be to seek to build fighting mass action organizational structures, which would directly identify and take on through mass direct action the attacks of the capitalist offensive. I feel that such structures and struggles events are increasingly taking shape. 

I also feel that they are increasingly taking shape outside the existing mass traditional organizations of the working class and taking on mass violent tactics. I think these tactics of mass violence are inevitable given the refusal of the leaders of the old traditional organizations to lead. These old organizations are to a great extent discredited. 

However I do not think that such struggles will by pass entirely the older traditional organizations. So while giving our main emphasis to giving guidance to the mass movements on the streets and workplaces and helping these take organizational form we should do so in a non sectarian fashion. I think we should advocate and build for workers and peasants and students mass direct action committees in the workplaces and places of study. And also build united front structures around such issues as the repression which is increasing everywhere, see Pussy Riot, Bradley Manning, Assange etc. 

I feel these fighting mass direct action structures should lead the movement forward. i feel that the movements from below will tend to go in that direction. But I also feel that great movements from below are unlikely to leave old organizations untouched, most likely leading to splits in these organizations, and some of these possibly being able to be won to the more vibrant fighting new structures. I may be wrong on this. I probably am wrong on this and would appreciate some help in discussing this. Pasok and the SACP and the Irish Labor Party etc, do not seem to be bearing out what i say. In fact so far the very opposite is the case at least not for now. But what would be lost in at least putting forward at least a propaganda call for a united front between the new fighting forces and those forces in the old organizations with the proviso that they would have to come out openly against the capitalist offensive. 

Would these new fighting mass structure in the workplaces, the unions, the communities, the schools and colleges become the basis for a new workers parties, new workers parties? I think this is likely and that we should put forward this, not as our main emphasis but as part of general propaganda. The main emphasis I feel should be mass direct action taking on and defeating the capitalist offensive and in this way showing that victories can be won and the capitalist offensive halted and thrown back and a new workers offensive opened up.  

Within this process of building these new mass structures, these new united fronts we should I believe build revolutionary scientific socialist currents. In the last analysis I believe the working class still needs a mass revolutionary international based on the ideas of revolutionary socialism to end world capitalism. 

I know this is all a bit over simplified. Processes are a lot more complicated than this. However something to think about. 

The major problem in the revolution becoming dominant, in the working class decisively halting and throwing back the counter revolution is the role of the mass organizations of the working class and the lack of any clear alternative, that is the failure of the revolutionary left to put down any significant roots in the working class. The result is that the working class explodes in rage here and then there, but it cannot get a mass international channel organization structure through which to express itself. and so far the movement has not the impetus to overcome this crisis of leadership and so subsides again for a while. While those of us on the left are correct to direct attention to the terrible role of the leaders of the traditional organizations. We must also look at the beam in our own eye. Why is it that after all these decades we have not been able to lay down mass roots in the working class. Is it only because of the combination of Stalinism, Social Democracy, and the the economic growth of capitalism. Or is it also, and this is my opinion due to the mistakes of sectarianism, ultra leftism and opportunism which have been part of the lives of the revolutionary left over the past decades. I am interested in discussing all these ideas including this last one. 


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