FFWP Conference call covered a number of issues.
The crises of US imperialism, and imperialism in general is reflected on a number of fronts: Economic, political, military, and environmental. We discussed how the world economy was still going ahead but at a slow speed. How a new recession, possibly even a slump would strike in the years ahead, with the plunging of stock markets, failures of banks, soaring unemployment, increasing attacks on wages and conditions. How when such a development took place in the future this would dramatically exacerbate the crises on all the other fronts. This was important to be kept in mind. US and world imperialism were already in crisis and this when the world economy was still growing. A new recession or slump would make all crises worse, would exacerbate all existing tensions, would further increase fragmentation. (See Michael Roberts’ The Global Debt Mountain)
The political crisis especially of US imperialism worsens by the day. Trump in the White House staggers from one blunder to the other. Weakening the institutions of US imperialism, undermining its influence abroad. The more strategic sections of the US capitalist class want rid of him but they cannot see how to do this without further weakening their institutions and political parties especially the Republican Party. However it is possible that things will get so bad they may decide to get rid of him and ride out the weakening of their institutions. The decades when US capitalism was relatively politically stable with its two capitalist party monopoly is ending. New splits, new parties, new formations, new crises, new instability lies ahead.
If the trade union leaders would lead and build a Labor Party this could fill the vacuum that is opening up. But they will not do so until they have no choice in the sense of their positions being threatened. The beginnings of serious tensions in the trade union bureaucracy are just beginning to be slightly apparent at the moment. No politicians of either capitalist party are being invited to the coming AFL-CIO conference in an effort to postpone conflict. Breaking from tradition by not inviting political figures from one of the two capitalist parties is not a shift to the left but a move to put off any debate and to try to maintain the present status quo. Leaders of some unions such as most of the building trades are with Trump while others especially the public sector unions are very opposed to Trump. But union members, whether they voted for trump or not, are very volatile politically, and the union leadership will go to great lengths to avoid any open debate. These tensions will only worsen and at some stage the trade union bureaucracy or a section of the trade union bureaucracy, will have to take some independent political action.
The political crisis in the White House is spilling over into US imperialism’s military. Trumps insulting behavior when he called the widow of the soldier killed in Niger has blown up. He could not remember the soldier’s name and would not even say to the bereaved widow that “your husband’ has been killed. Just kept repeating “your guy”. Then he has his general Kelly come out and justify his remarks and insult the African American congresswoman with the whiff of racism in his words and this has made things even worse. This will reverberate back into the military where 40% are now either minorities or women. And of course it will also increase the knowledge that Trump is a serial sexual predator. This will not be good for morale in the military rank and file with its large proportion of minorities and women. The issues of why US imperialism has soldiers and some 800 military installations in over 140 countries will also increasingly come up. (See: America’s War-Fighting Footprint in Africa)
On the environmental front US imperialism gets further into trouble, gets the planet further into trouble. Puerto Rico is in a catastrophic crisis. The full effects of Harvey are still to be felt in Texas where where many toxins were spread in the floods. Then there have been the fires in California. Puerto Rico is being treated very differently from Texas. Trump goes and throws paper towels at people in Puerto Rico. Less people have electricity on the island today than yesterday. A fraction of the number of people has gone to Puerto Rico to get electricity going again as went to Texas. On top of this the affects of climate change increase throughout the planet. The recent huge storm in Ireland coming on top of Harvey, Irma, and Maria is an example. This further undermines Trump and his climate change deniers and will weaken them politically. .
There are a few things that help Trump cling on in the White House as well as the fear of the more strategic section of the capitalist class that bringing him down will damage their institutions. He is filling cabinet posts with the most backward elements that help the bottom line of the various industrial sectors by deregulating. And along with that the super rich want their tax cut. But things cannot go on as they are. At some stage there will be a break in the situation.
The conference call discussed China where the so-called Communist Party is presently having its conference. The Chinese leader Xi stressed strengthening the state sector. It seems he is worried that the private sector, which includes over one third of the world’s billionaires, can get too much power and increasingly create instability. In his opening speech he stressed again and again “safety” and “security.” This is in line with the regimes increasing clamping down on protest. But this will not stop opposition to the regime. In 1993 there were 8,700 what are described as “mass group incidents” that is demonstrations of one kind or another. In 2010 there was a huge increase to 180,000. The new and huge and relatively new Chinese working class will rise to its feet in the future. This will be an event of world significance. There was also more talk than at any other Party conference about the environment. On this issue also the regime fears serious opposition.
There was a discussion on the conference call on the nature of the Chinese regime and economy That is now the worlds largest and most profitable auto market. It was raised was the economy any different from when the US economy had a large state sector in the past which served the private capitalist sector. It was also raised was it the case that the economy had gone some way towards a large capitalist sector but that was it the state sector that still not dominant. This issue was left for further discussion. It was agreed that whatever about the actual nature of the economy that China was imperialist as is shown by it expanding of its reach out into Africa, Central Asia, South East Asia and the South China Sea. It was also raised that Xi and those at the top of the regime did not want events, either economic or political and especially in terms of class struggle to get out of their control. They were trying to control the Internet with its 100’s of millions of participants in China.
There was a brief mention of North Korea and it was felt that it was unlikely that US imperialism would go to war against that regime. China has said that if North Korea starts a war it will stand aside but that if US imperialism starts a war it will not stand aside. This as well as the destruction that would result in the entire region not to mention the possibility of a nuclear conflict and its effects world wide would it was felt stop a war at least at this stage. But our conference call was cautious as there are times when accidental factors such as the moron in the White House can get out of control.
The Conference Call then discussed Syria. It was agreed that Comrades should oppose the regime. There was then some discussion about the various forces fighting the regime. It was agreed that that we should not support oppositions that were supported by US Imperialism, Russian imperialism, Iranian imperialism. One Comrade spoke of there being other organizations, which opposed the regime and were not supported by or collaborated with imperialism. It was agreed that more information should be sought and more discussion should be held on such groups. It was also raised that there are times with regard to crises within a nation state that the working class has been decimated or weakened to the point that it is unable to play any significant role and that the situation will not be remedied to any degree without the intervention of the regional or international working class. It was also mentioned that given the record of the left in general where it had paid insufficient attention to the special oppression of women that any support for any group would have to consider the approach of any such group to women and gender oppression.
It was raised that there will be many such conflicts as in Syria, There are many conflicts such as Syria as the old world order of the cold war and after the end of the cold war recedes into the past. And that more thought should be directed to what positions should be taken in such cases. It was pointed out that Lenin had written material on the repression of Islamic groups under Tsarism and these writings could be helpful.
There was mention of the recent events related to the special oppression of women. How over the course of the conference calls it had been stressed that on every call we discuss events concerning the special oppression of women. Also related to this the idea of the whip of the counter-revolution. As the special oppression of women increases with the war especially of Trump and the Republican Party against women but also as the vicious behavior of such people as the Hollywood capitalist Weinstein and other people in power become exposed then this is being responded to by greater struggles of women and others against this oppression. The size of the women's marches against Trump at the time of his inauguration was mentioned. It was also mentioned that in the past, insufficient attention had been paid by left forces to fight against the special oppression of women and this had to change. FFWP conference calls have made this a permanent topic for discussion on all FFWP conference calls.
Finally there was a short discussion on the nature of the self styled revolutionary socialist groups. How FFWP saw itself as a working peoples' Think Tank which seeks to help build a revolutionary socialist current with a healthy internal culture. An essential part of this was looking at past work and past mistakes and this especially included looking at and openly explaining our own past mistakes. That unless people were prepared to openly and honestly admit to mistakes, including their own mistakes, it would be hard to see anything fruitful coming out of discussions with such groups or individuals..
We appeal to all Comrades who agree on the need to be part of the organizing of a mass international movement of the working class to overthrow capitalism to contact us. We believe that an international organization of tens of millions will be needed to end US capitalism. We believe that an international organization of hundreds of millions will be needed to overthrow world capitalism and open up the road to the collective power and the collective brain of the working class building a new society. None of the present self styled revolutionary groups with their left sectarianism, their ultra leftism their at times opportunism and especially with their internal culture can bring together such forces. FFWP seeks be part of such mass international organizations and also to work with others to build within such forces an international revolutionary current with a healthy democratic internal culture, a culture that includes the right to, the inevitability of, in fact where different views exist, the desirability of, factions and factional rights so that issues can be clarified.
Please contact FFWP at: firstname.lastname@example.org if this approach appears reasonable. FFWP is a current, a Think Tank within which revolutionary socialist ideas and work can be discussed and which seeks to build a revolutionary current with a healthy democratic approach to clarifying ideas and acting against capitalism.