Snake bite: Health Care in Capitalist America kills

22 May

For free quality healthcare for all through socialized medicine!
Snakes Bite: Healthcare in Capitalist America Kills
In July of 2015, a San Diego man was bitten by a rattlesnake and racked up a $153,000 medical bill.[1] The cost for the antivenin was a whopping $83,000. In May of 2015, a
Missouri man that suffered a venomous snakebite died in his sleep, refusing to get treatment because he couldn’t afford the bill.
[2] These cases detail the enormous cost of healthcare in capitalist America and the life or death questions faced by the working class. The United States, the only major industrialized nation without universal healthcare, has the highest healthcare spending compared to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As summed up in a 2015 quasi-government report:
“Health care spending in the U.S. far exceeds that of other high-income countries, though spending growth has slowed in the U.S. and in most other countries in recent years. Even though the U.S. is the only country without a publicly financed universal health system, it still spends more public dollars on health care than all but two of the other countries. Americans have relatively few hospital admissions and physician visits, but are greater users of expensive technologies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. Available cross-national pricing data suggest that prices for health care are notably higher in the U.S., potentially explaining a large part of the higher health spending. In contrast, the U.S. devotes a relatively small share of its economy to social services, such as housing assistance, employment programs, disability benefits, and food security. Finally, despite its heavy investment in health care, the U.S. sees poorer results on several key health outcome measures such as life expectancy and the prevalence of chronic conditions. Mortality rates from cancer are low and have fallen more quickly in the U.S. than in other countries, but the reverse is true for mortality from ischemic heart disease.”
– Commonwealth Fund, “U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective”, October, 2015
With the 2016 election of Trump and the ushering in of social reaction, the ruling class is going all out to undo Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with the Trump/Ryan American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA guts protections for pre-existing conditions, cuts Medicaid and kills Medicaid expansion, defunds Planned Parenthood, and will cause millions of Americans to lose insurance. The L.A. Times called it a “tax cut for the rich.”[3] This continues the assault on decades of social gains, of labor and abortion rights.
Our position is that Obamacare was never going to be a viable method of providing quality and affordable health care for all. It was always a limited reform, being principally a benefit for insurance companies and these companies much prefer to make a higher rate of profit on fewer covered people paying higher premiums. This caused some companies to drop out of the insurance provider pools in most states. Obamacare never provided sufficient premium protection for chronic conditions, nor against soaring prescription costs. Socialized medicine would not permit any of these costs to go uncontrolled, as the firms would be worker-controlled. Profit would be removed from the equation and healthcare would be recognized as a human right.
The political question of universal healthcare has taken center-stage once again. John Conyers (D) has introduced H.R. 676 into the House, a “Medicare for All” bill. [4] This bill as written would create a single-payer universal healthcare system building on the existing Medicare system. It would leave the private health sector alone and would be financed through payroll and income taxes and “taxing the rich”. One problem with this bill is that by the time the Democratic and Republican parties got done with it in the House and Senate, even assuming it had any chance of passing, you can bet it would end up like a Dr. Frankenstein monster with the working-class paying a whole lot for a lot less than promised in the initial version of the bill.
Medicare is not free healthcare insurance. Workers pay for it throughout their lives in payroll taxes and despite that are best advised to buy supplemental insurance. And there are additional costs. A retired couple can expect to pay thousands of dollars on healthcare every year at a time when they are on a fixed income and their health is more at risk. See Med City News, “ Medicare Is Not Free, As Many Would Believe”..,
Medicare for all is also what Bernie Sanders says he will support in a “companion bill” to H.R. 676. Either way it would not most likely not be free and in a capitalist system where the drive to maximize the rate of profit rules, it would not be quality.
“Medicare for All” or “Single-Payer Universal” healthcare demands are all calls for a refurbished, for-profit, capitalist healthcare system. While liberal reformist demands can be supportable depending on the circumstances (and Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are defensible gains), we of the Communist Workers Group (CWG-USA) do not subordinate the working class political program of transitional demands for socialist revolution to liberal reformist demands. We always advance our Marxist program and we support even minimal demands, employing and teaching militant, class struggle methods, thus extending Medicare as a universal healthcare system is also a limited gain, a plus so long as labor and the oppressed build an independent workers’ movement for socialized medicine as part of a socialist program. But the devil is in the details and most reforms are partial wins or even a double-edged sword designed to buy class peace. And right now, the only “mass movement” raising the demand for “Medicare for All” is the movement by the Democratic Party hacks, the class collaborationist union bureaucrats and the fake-socialist misleaders like DSA trying get the Democrats back into office. The “struggle” for them is at the Democratic Party rallies, the “ moral suasion” pressure politics of street marches, political lobbying and the ballot box.
In contrast, what is necessary is for the working class to fight for our objective interests, and free, quality healthcare for all can only happen through the nationalization without compensation of the healthcare, pharmaceutical and medical technology industries under workers control . Quality in healthcare can only happen through production and services for social needs not profit. Only rational centralized-planning in a collectivized socialist economy can realize this.
Healthcare under a capitalist system, even a universal healthcare system, will still be driven by the laws of the capitalist system to maximize the rate of profit. Britain’s National Health Service public healthcare suffers from staff shortages and cuts (see The Guardian, “Staff shortages are threatening the NHS”, February 2017). The Canadian healthcare system, like the United States, has wait times due to rationing: “ In 1966, Canada implemented a single-payer health care system, which is also known as Medicare. Since then, as a country, Canadians have made a conscious decision to hold down costs. One of the ways they do that is by limiting supply, mostly for elective things, which can create wait times (PNHP, “5 Myths About Canada’s Health Care System“, June 2012).”
Scarcity and rationing can only be solved through rational planning by the working class, determining social needs and allocating resources to fulfill those needs. U.S. healthcare is also experiencing shortages of medical staff. [5] A planned economy would seek to train the next generation of medical workers. This ties into education and training, which is why free, quality education for all is necessary for quality healthcare also. Quality education can only come about by eliminating the poverty and exploitation in society, tearing down the racist economic segregation of the inner cities. This poverty is a permanent feature of an economy that feeds the military-industrial-complex the capitalists require to maintain their world empire. Feeding it to the tune of almost a Trillion dollars denies monies to every human need satisfying endeavor. Capital’s proposed remedy of privatizing everything is more religion than reason, having ceased to be progressive more than a century ago, their declining rate of profits drives competing imperialisms to world war.
Reformist Socialist Tag-Tails of the Democrats
Along with elections, healthcare is always a pretty good litmus test for Bolshevism vs. Menshevism in America among the ostensible socialist organizations. Socialist Alternative (Soc Alt) and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), for example, call for either “Medicare for All” or “Single-Payer Universal” healthcare. These are the same demands raised by the Democratic Party liberals for many years. Soc Alt and DSA abandon the
Marxist political program of free, quality healthcare for all and play the tag tail of the Democratic Party liberals. These “socialists” seek to be the best builders and most consistent advocates of the politics of the liberal bourgeoisie, be it healthcare or advocating a sub-living $15 poverty minimum wage.
The political method of these organizations, like most of what calls itself the “Left” in America, is to pressure the capitalist state for legislative reforms, notably trying to pressure the Democratic Party to the left. They are ‘ desperately seeking a progressive wing of the capitalist ruling class’ that doesn’t exist and that will never exist. This method is very well expressed by Noam Chomsky’s political children who like to quote Howard Zinn: “ The really critical thing isn’t who is sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in–in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating–those are the things that determine what happens.” That struggle gets the goods is true, but for Marxists, it also
does matter who is sitting in the White House, or rather, which social class holds state power. We don’t want anyone sitting in the White House and instead we seek to organize and mobilize the workers as a class-conscious class for itself to establish workers power. Endless protests, divorced from a perspective of a politically independent workers’ movement armed with an historic workers’ political program of transitional demands that build a bridge to the socialist revolution, are reducing socialist revolution to a form of “left” activists’ political lobbying for minimal demands, for mere reforms!
Soc Alt and Kshama Sawant, supporters of the capitalist Green Party (itself a pressure group on the Democrats), were cheerleaders and prominent builders of social imperialist Sanders’ campaign rallies, even at the same time denying that they formally advanced political support to his campaign for nomination. They are currently parroting Sanders and his call for “Medicare for All” and continue to cheer him (see Socialist Alternative, “ Democratic Leadership Under Pressure – Which Way Forward for the Left?
”) after even many of his supporters saw him for what he was, a bourgeois politician for the Democratic Party. Sanders recently toured the country with DNC Chair Perez on their unity tour to rebuild the Democrats for 2018 and also recently signed a pro-Israel Senate letter, thumbing his nose at the Palestinian struggle.
DSA has been growing dramatically, riding the momentum of a renewed interest in socialism and the popularity of the Sanders’ campaign. That well-meaning workers and youth subjectively wanting to fight for socialism are joining DSA is undeniable. The leadership of DSA, which is where it counts politically, are little better than the left flank of the Democratic Party. “Democratic”, as in Democratic Party, is a very appropriate title for DSA, but they miss the mark by a wide margin on the “Socialists” part. DSA has their origins in the Cold War anti-communist, social imperialism of the Socialist Party (who supported the U.S. in the Vietnam War), which split eventually into the DSA led by Michael Harrington in the early 1970s. Part of the social democratic Socialist International, the political step-child of the Second International, DSA has been entrenched in the Democratic Party from the start, supporting Mondale, Jackson, Kerry, Sanders and Obama through the decades of exploitation, war, racism and poverty. DSA never let such things as imperialist bombings by Democratic Party administrations (Clinton, Obama) or cutting welfare (Clinton) interrupt their support for the Democrats. Harrington quite clearly stated his politics and those of the DSA: “ I share an immediate program with liberals in this country because the best liberalism leads toward socialism…. I want to be on the left wing of the possible (New York Times, “Michael Harrington, Socialist and Author, Is Dead
”, August 1989).” Harrington saw that “the left wing of realism is found today in the Democratic Party (Newsletter of the Democratic Left, March 1973, p. 5).”
Today you can see the DSA in action as they organize what are Democratic Party electoral rallies. For example, in Iowa City and in five other Iowa cities, DSA and “Our Revolution” organized a “Medicare for All” rally on May 20th with a whole slew of local and state Democratic Party politicians as speakers. This is the first thing that the sellout labor bureaucrats do in every labor struggle. Find a Democratic Party politician to stand on stage and tell workers and youth to vote in the next election. This is DSA’s method for winning healthcare reform that takes a flight from political reality and into fantasyland. Even if the Democratic Party were to support such reforms as Medicare for All, they cannot even defend social gains they do support such as abortion and labor rights, much less advance new significant reforms. Right-wing social reaction cannot be fought through the Democratic Party. The trade union bureaucracy has been playing this game for decades and it has resulted in the labor movement being brought to the brink.
DSA serves to prop up working class illusions in the Democratic Party of U.S. imperialism; the party of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, and the current MENA wars; a political party of exploitation, war, poverty and racism. DSA is providing a left cover for a political party of the ruling capitalist class under the banner of ‘socialism’ and are a political obstacle to building a class struggle workers’ movement and a class conscious working class. DSA bolsters illusions in electoral politics, reinforces pro-capitalist ideology within the workers’ movement and promotes liberal bourgeois reformist politics at the expense of a working class political program that points the way towards workers rule.
Revolutionary Marxism draws a political picket line between the working class and the capitalist parties: Democrats, Republicans, Greens. And just like the labor bureaucracy which has supported the Democrats for decades, what can be said for a ‘socialist’ (or labor) leadership that does not even recognize who the enemy social class is and who the enemy political parties are? A leadership that supports such political parties, who sides with the enemy social class? And to top it off, in the midst of a class war that the working class is losing?!!!
Karl Marx’s International Workingman’s Association, the First International, was very clear on the question of working class independence from capitalist parties:
“Against the collective power of the propertied classes the working class cannot act, as a class, except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to, all old parties formed by the propertied classes.”
– International Workingmen’s Association, Hague Congress, “Resolution on the establishment of working-class parties
”, July 1872
“However, our politics must be working-class politics. The workers’ party must never be the tagtail of any bourgeois party; it must be independent and have its goal and its own policy. ”
– International Workingmen’s Association, “ Apropos Of Working-Class Political Action”, September 1871
It is a common understanding among leftists that the Democratic Party is the ‘graveyard of social and class struggles’, that that is where social movements go to die. Last year, trade unionists in Portland Oregon IUPAT (Painters) Local 10 passed a resolution calling for “the labor movement to break from the Democratic Party, and build a class- struggle workers party.”
These trade unionists represent a class-conscious section of the working class, standing for a politically independent workers movement as opposed to those fake-socialist misleaders, the “tagtails” of the Democrats like DSA , who say “we are not a separate party” (from the Democrats) and who seek to “strengthen the [Democratic] party’s left wing, represented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. ” (DSA, “Aren’t you a party that’s in competition with the Democratic Party for votes and support?
”)
For a class struggle workers movement!
Social Security and other gains that came out of the 1930’s were a product of social and class struggles, not a gift from Roosevelt’s New Deal. The militant organizing drives and labor struggles such as the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strike, the Toledo Autolite strike and the San Francisco Longshoremen’s general strike, were all led by ostensible Reds. Militant class struggle is what forced the capitalist ruling class to make concessions. 1937 saw over 1000 sit-down strikes across the U.S. in the wake of the famous Flint plant occupation by auto-workers. Medicare and Medicaid were passed during the period of colonial/semi-colonial social revolutions (China, Cuba, Vietnam), the social struggles of the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war protests against the U.S. imperialist Vietnam War prosecuted by the Democratic Party Johnson administration. The U.S. ruling class was caught in their contradiction of waging an anti-communist Cold War in the name of so-called democracy, while poverty and Jim Crow segregation existed at home. They at least had to go through the motions of prettifying racist capitalist America with a minimal social safety net and abolishing formal, legal segregation.
European social democracy existed as an anti-communist bulwark post-WW II against the bureaucratically degenerated Soviet and Eastern European workers’ states. Social democracy was propped up by European Capital through the super-exploitation and plunder of their colonies and semi-colonies. It was also a product of class struggles and of a class conscious working class that were organized into working class parties, albeit bourgeois workers’ parties with pro-capitalist, class-collaborationist leaderships. The Democratic Party in America serves the same role as social democracy, but as an outright capitalist party. A poor substitute even for decrepit social democracy. The American working class, divided by racism and a “pull up by your bootstraps” false bourgeois ideology of social advancement, never developed an advanced class consciousness. The U.S. never had a mass working class party and stands as the only major industrialized country without universal healthcare. Even Canada, which has a universal healthcare system, had a workers party, if just barely, in the New Democratic Party (NDP).
The ruling class is not going to grant any significant reforms now absent mass working class struggle. World capitalism has not recovered from the 2007-08 crash and Capital is still seeking to restore their lost rate of profit and they are doing that partially through attacking the social gains of the past and by waging war on the working class. Given the dearth of working class leadership and the absence of class struggle in the United States, they can do this without the unnecessary overhead of social democracy. The time is long overdue for the working class and oppressed to start building the fighting organizations of the working class: the factory, worksite and trade union committees, the workers and oppressed assemblies and the labor, black and brown self-defense guards. And above all to build the working-class political party based on an historic class struggle workers political program of transitional demands that mobilizes the working class to cross the bridge from today’s demands for such things as healthcare, jobs, education and housing to the whole program of the socialist revolution.
“The revolutionaries always consider that the reforms and acquisitions are only a by-product of the revolutionary struggle. If we say that we will only demand what they can give, the ruling class will give only one-tenth or none of what we demand. When we demand more and can impose our demands, the capitalists are compelled to give the maximum. The more extended and militant the spirit of the workers, the more is demanded and won. They are not sterile slogans; they are means of pressure on the bourgeoisie, and will give the greatest possible material results immediately.”
– Leon Trotsky, “The Political Backwardness of American Workers
“, May 1940
Defend Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security!
ACA Stinks, but ‘Nothing Care’ Stinks Worse! Nationalize the Healthcare, Pharmaceutical & Medical Technology Industries Under Workers Control with No Compensation to the Major Shareholders!
For Free Quality Healthcare for All Through Socialized Medicine to Include Free Abortion on Demand and Full Reproductive Services! For Free Quality Education for All to Train and Educate the Next Generation of Healthcare Workers!
Build a Class Struggle Workers Movement!
For Labor Political Strikes and General Strikes to Win Workers’ Demands!
For a Rational, Centrally-Planned, Collectivized Socialist Economy Under Workers Control with Production for Social Needs, Not Profit!
Break with All Capitalist Parties: Democrats, Republicans and Greens! Build a Fighting, Multi-Racial, Internationalist, Workers/Labor Party to Fight for a Workers Government Based on Workers Councils and a Workers Militia! For Workers Rule!
For World Socialism, the Last, Best and Only Hope for Humanity’s Future!
[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/07/20/this-153000-rattlesnake-bite-is-everything-wrong-with-american-health-care/?utm_term=.c053c7b9ba6d
[2] http://kfor.com/2015/05/27/man-dies-from-snake-bite-after-saying-he-couldnt-afford-hospital-bill/
[3] http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-obamacare-repeal-20170504-story.html
[4] http://www.pnhp.org/hr676
[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/03/03/u-s-faces-90000-doctor-shortage-by-2025-medical-school-association-warns/
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/02/nursing-shortage/459741/

Revolutionary Worker, Vol 1, No 3, May 2017

11 May

Volume 1, Number 3, May 2017

Reply to RCIT on workers control of borders

1 May

RCIT is an international tendency which proclaims itself as “Bolshevik-Communist”. It published a critical reaction to our recent article on migration. Their response titled “The Slogan of “Workers” Immigration Control: A Concession to Social-Chauvinism” is available on their website here. The RCIT argue for the ‘open borders’ slogan claiming this is the Marxist slogan. As we will show below is was not a slogan supported by Marx, Lenin or Trotsky. The article the RCIT reacted to titled “For workers control of migration” was published by CWGANZ here, and in the paper Class Struggle. In our reply, we will show how our differences in method must give rise to differences in political program, including that on migration and borders.
Our differences in Method

Our differences in Method (how to analyse and understand capitalism and the class struggle) explain why RCIT and CWG differ on the slogan ‘open the borders’ in relation to migration. The RCIT claims that workers must defend bourgeois (capitalist) democracy in general, while we say that workers only defend bourgeois democracy when its advances the workers’ struggle. This difference has a history.

In 1991, the RCIT (then part of the League for a Revolutionary Communist International – (LRCI)) defended bourgeois democracy in the Soviet Union and sided with the fast-track capitalist revivalist President Yeltsin, against the resistance of the Stalinist bureaucracy. While the LRCI viewed the Soviet Union as a ‘degenerate workers’ state’, they failed to unconditionally defend the main gain of the 1917 revolution, workers’ property, from the restoration of capitalism.

The LRCI rejected Trotsky’s demand for workers’ unconditional defence of the Soviet Union against capitalist restoration across the whole Soviet Union which meant reviving armed workers’ soviets against imperialism and its agent Yeltsin, siding with the bureaucracy if it defended workers’ property, yet overthrowing it as a reactionary caste that would inevitably side with imperialism against the workers’ political revolution. Instead the LRCI backed the Yeltsin faction’s bourgeois demands for breaking up the SU, against the armed resistance of a section of the bureaucracy, reintroducing capitalism, banning the Communist Party and restoring workers’ parties on a program of social democracy.

The comrades of the CWG(US), then the LTT, which was in a fraternal relationship with the LRCI, confronted the leadership with a Marxist critique of this betrayal. The leadership, just days before the next Congress, broke off relations and prevented any appeal to Congress to attend and debate this vital question. The CWG(ANZ) (then Workers Power A/NZ) split from the LRCI in 1995 in opposition to this betrayal. We explained the roots of the betrayal as ‘social imperialism’, the view that bourgeois democracy was the only road to defending workers’ property in a Degenerated Workers State. We considered that this was a deviation from Marxism and Trotskyism resulting from the pressure of public opinion in the imperialist countries (the LRCI centre was in Britain) similar to the WW2 capitulation of petty bourgeois opposition in the Fourth International to Stalinophobia (anti-Stalinism). We called this a failure of Marxist method symptomatic of groups that vacillate between Marxism and bourgeois ideology, i.e. centrism.

In other words, the LRCI rejected Trotsky’s warning that that bourgeois democracy was a cover for the restoration of capitalism. Instead, they supported the restoration of capitalism through “democratic”, meaning ‘bourgeois democratic’, means. They failed to defend workers’ property! So, we have a principled difference going back to 1991 which results from the LRCI breaking with Trotsky’s ‘unconditional defence of the Soviet Union’. Trotsky said that if revolutionaries could not defend the Soviet Union unconditionally (meaning defend it despite the Stalinist regime) then they could not defend anything! How true this proved to be!
Consequences of the betrayal of Workers Property

When the RCIT comrades who were expelled from the LRCI (by then the League for a Fifth International (L5I)) around 2011, they approached us for discussions. We entered into an exchange of documents but failed to find agreement because the RCIT leadership refused to recognise the LRCI’s historic betrayal of workers’ property.

We could never fuse which a tendency that could not defend the historic gains of workers’ property and which actively participated in a popular front with Yeltsin (bourgeois democratic restorationists) that destroyed those gains.

In our discussions, we found that this non-Trotskyist adaptation to social imperialism continued to blight the RCIT method wherever conditions brought about a revolutionary crisis. The RCIT always put up the defence of bourgeois democracy against Stalinists or military juntas as a necessary means of advancing the working-class struggle for socialism.

In Yugoslavia in 1995, in the imperialist military intervention against Stalinist Serbia the LRCI did not defend Serbia against NATO but instead called for the defeat of both! Why? – the pressure of bourgeois public opinion. British public opinion was hostile toward Serbia and sympathetic to the bourgeois democratic right of Bosnia to independence. The LRCI in effect opted for the defeat of Serbia at the hands of imperialism. This was a replay of the Yeltsin betrayal. The breakup of Bosnia-Herzegovina, supported by US and NATO powers was lauded as a victory for ‘bourgeois democracy’ against the reactionary Titoist/Stalinist leadership of Milosevic in Serbia, and any prospect for political revolution to form a united socialist Yugoslavia was aborted. In 1999, the second NATO war against Serbia was to defend the bourgeois national right of Kosovo to secede from Serbia to create a US protectorate. As a result, Serbian, Bosnian, Kosovan (and Croatian) workers and peasants went to war against one another in the name of rival national chauvinisms that led to vicious ethnic cleansing to create new borders/frontiers.

Again, the LRCI (and RCIT) failed to defend workers’ property in the former Yugoslavia and in the process contributed to the formation of a reactionary breakup of a workers’ state and the creation of a number of new national borders/frontiers! But even if Serbia was no longer a Degenerate Workers’ State of any kind, the war between Serbia and Bosnia had been created by imperialist intervention to break-up Yugoslavia to smash the remains of workers’ property. NATO bombs on Serbia could not advance the self-determination of Bosnia. The result was the restoration of capitalism throughout the former Yugoslavia: a defeat for all workers. The breakup of Yugoslavia followed the same pattern as the breakup of the Soviet Union. For the LRCI the defeat of ‘workers’ property’ was not an historic defeat for workers but a mere reactionary phase in an otherwise revolutionary period in the march of bourgeois democracy.

In Egypt and Thailand in 2011/12, the right-wing bourgeois regimes were defended by the RCIT against military coups. Why? Because the RCIT thought it was necessary for workers to defend bourgeois democracy against military coups to create the preconditions for socialism. In both cases, we argued for an independent workers’ fight based on workers’ councils and militias on the grounds that bourgeois ‘democratic’ governments were popular fronts tying the hands of workers and so making coups possible.

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood regime was elected on a reactionary constitution written by the army to halt the revolution. In Thailand, the government thrown out of power by the military was a patronising, corrupt regime duping the masses. In neither case could workers advance their struggle by defending ‘bourgeois democracy’ when in practice such governments were suppressing the class independence of workers.

In Brazil in 2015, the RCIT stretched the concepts of ‘coup’, and ‘fascism’, to describe the right-wing use of a reactionary constitution to impeach Dilma and sideline Lula in the 2018 elections. Although the RCIT recognised that the Workers Party-led government was a popular front (and that its bourgeois partners including Temer were complicit in the ‘coup’) it called for defence of the popular front Government against the ‘coup’.

As stated already, our position was, and is, that we do not defend bourgeois democracy unless workers can advance this as workers’ democracy. The RCIT position is to make bourgeois democracy a fetish, or a necessary step towards, if not substitute for, workers’ democracy. In every revolutionary crisis where bourgeois governments are deposed by a military coup, or threat of a coup, the RCIT resorts to defence of bourgeois democracy. Yet the whole epoch of imperialism from Berlin 1919 to Brazil 2015 proves that bourgeois democracy is bankrupt and counter-revolutionary and that any advance on the road to revolution requires the proletariat to be organised independently of bourgeois democracy to fight for workers’ democracy, workers’ power, and workers’ governments.
How is all this related “open borders”?

The slogan ‘open the borders’ is a bourgeois democratic demand. ‘Open borders’ needs a specific historical concretisation as an international working class united front, to open borders to worker migrants and shut them to the bosses. Opening borders to workers and oppressed, stopping deportations, and at the same time preventing bourgeois and counter-revolutionaries immigrating, that is what we mean by worker control of borders.

The ‘Open the borders’ slogan by itself is an appeal to bourgeois ‘human rights’ and does not challenge the popular front of chauvinist workers with bourgeois liberals and pacifists to regulate the borders – that is, bourgeois democracy. The bosses already have ‘open borders’ for capital, but regulate borders for the movement of variable capital (workers), and have special channels (lanes) through the borders for capitalists (e.g. ‘business migrants’ in Aotearoa/NZ; APEC business lane etc.). The existing capitalist ‘democratic’ control of the borders is the policy of the ruling class. It is ‘democratic’ because capitalist parties and bourgeois workers’ parties pass legislation to regulate the borders. Liberals and pacifists are concerned about the plight of refugees. They want to rescue refugees and ‘open the borders’ to invite refugees into join them in (the mythologically) ‘safe’ democratic capitalist countries. Bourgeois pacifists freely give an invitation to cross the capitalists’ borders and to be wage slaves with citizenship – democratic capitalist rights. They also give refuge to the class enemy, petty bourgeois or bourgeois who want to establish businesses to exploit the working class.

Aotearoa/NZ has long had a racist “white NZ” policy which gives preference to migrants from the old British Empire, in particular Britain, while keeping out “brown” workers from the semi-colonial world. In A/NZ the most blatant example is the influx of white South African “kith and kin” after 1994. They number in the thousands and congregate in the more affluent suburbs of cities, compared with the relatively few black or brown faces from Africa. Only recently has the back-door been opened to Asian, Philippino, South Asian and Middle Eastern migrants, most of whom end up as low-paid wage workers or ‘self-employed’.

Revolutionaries want a class based immigration policy that opens the borders to the oppressed but keeps the oppressors out. We are not social chauvinists. Our policy does not start at home. Workers’ control of borders is a consequence of the degeneration of the Fourth International and the failure of revolutions to remove the causes that force workers to flee from oppression at home to live and find work. As internationalists, we act to protect the lives of workers and oppressed in whatever country they are living in from imperialist and national oppression (i.e. the national liberation wars in MENA), those who flee imperialist invasions in semi-colonies and counter-revolutions everywhere, and from wars to restore capitalism in degenerated workers’ states including the DPRK today.

Revolutionaries would empower workers and other oppressed people to defend themselves from imperialism and its client states, by providing material aid and heavy weapons (e.g. surface to air missiles-(SAMs). They would form international brigades to fight alongside oppressed workers in military fronts, maintaining their political independence and not making concessions to any national, cultural and religious beliefs. Revolutionaries would smash the bourgeois aid agencies that pen working class refugees, into “camps” and throw them into the arms of criminal gangs who prey on them. Provide worker’s aid, including the means of self-defence from fascist attacks! Smash the refugee camps and provide liveable accommodation! Down with bourgeois democracy and Up with workers’ democracy! Down with imperialism that creates the crisis most refugees are trying to escape! Revolutionaries don’t just call for Imperialism out of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, (MENA): but also arm the revolutionaries!
Marx, Lenin and Trotsky

Marxist analysis of the international class war that creates refugees recognise imperialist wars, imperialist exploitation of crops, and raw materials as the motor causes of famine and hardship that drive migration. As Marx argued over Ireland (see below), imperialism creates the influx of migration from less-developed semi-colonies to imperialist centres. Refugees are not the problem. Imperialism is the problem that needs a revolutionary working class ready to overthrow it.

The “open the borders” demand in the abstract is a reactionary utopia because it fails to provide transitional demands that are capable of mobilising workers to fight for a Workers’ Government. It cannot meet the needs of workers under capitalism, and in a workers’ state it will not be possible under the dictatorship of the proletariat. There is no way that “open borders” would survive in a Workers’ State because bosses, fascists, mercenaries, all enemies of the socialist revolution, would not be free to cross borders. Borders exist as a mechanism of control – the only question is which class benefits from that control; today it’s capitalist control, for capitalist benefit.

Marx’s answer to Irish workers driving down the wages of English workers was not to appeal to the bourgeois state to open or close the borders, but to confront English chauvinism directly by campaigning for English workers to fight to improve the conditions for Irish migrant workers and to unite with them in the fight for Irish Independence from English (British) imperialism:

“But the English bourgeoisie has also much more important interests in the present economy of Ireland. Owing to the constantly increasing concentration of leaseholds, Ireland constantly sends her own surplus to the English labour market, and thus forces down wages and lowers the material and moral position of the English working class.

And most important of all! Every industrial and commercial centre in England now possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker he regards himself as a member of the ruling nation and consequently he becomes a tool of the English aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself. He cherishes religious, social, and national prejudices against the Irish worker. His attitude towards him is much the same as that of the “poor whites” to the Negroes in the former slave states of the U.S.A. The Irishman pays him back with interest in his own money. He sees in the English worker both the accomplice and the stupid tool of the English rulers in Ireland.

This antagonism is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short, by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes. This antagonism is the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organisation. It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power. And the latter is quite aware of this.

But the evil does not stop here. It continues across the ocean. The antagonism between Englishmen and Irishmen is the hidden basis of the conflict between the United States and England. It makes any honest and serious co-operation between the working classes of the two countries impossible. It enables the governments of both countries, whenever they think fit, to break the edge off the social conflict by their mutual bullying, and, in case of need, by war between the two countries.

England, the metropolis of capital, the power which has up to now ruled the world market, is at present the most important country for the workers’ revolution, and moreover the only country in which the material conditions for this revolution have reached a certain degree of maturity. It is consequently the most important object of the International Working Men’s Association to hasten the social revolution in England. The sole means of hastening it is to make Ireland independent. Hence it is the task of the International everywhere to put the conflict between England and Ireland in the foreground, and everywhere to side openly with Ireland. It is the special task of the Central Council in London to make the English workers realise that for them the national emancipation of Ireland is not a question of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiment but the first condition of their own social emancipation.”
Letter of Karl Marx to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt, 9 April 1870
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1870/letters/70_04_09.htm

For Marx, then, the unity of workers across national borders had nothing to do with ‘opening the borders’ but the unity of the oppressed against the oppressor in destroying the oppressor state. The demand of ‘worker control’ of borders could not be implemented until after the socialist revolution. This position was also adopted by Lenin and Trotsky.

Lenin opposed the slogan “open frontiers” which is the same thing as “open borders” until it was possible under world socialism. He claimed that the “open the frontier” demand was an adaptation to “imperialist economism” the cult of bourgeois reforms in the imperialist heartlands paid for by colonial super-profits – akin to its twin, ‘social imperialism’, meaning ‘democratic’ imperialism abroad, socialism at home.

“The method of socialist revolution under the slogan “Down with frontiers” is all muddled up. We have not succeeded in publishing the article in which I called this view “Imperialist Economism”.[3] What does the “method” of socialist revolution under the slogan “Down with frontiers” mean? We maintain that the state is necessary, and a state presupposes frontiers. The state, of course, may hold a bourgeois government, but we need the Soviets. But even Soviets are confronted with the question of frontiers. What does “Down with frontiers” mean? It is the beginning of anarchy…The “method” of socialist revolution under the slogan “Down with frontiers” is simply a mess. When the time is ripe for socialist revolution, when it finally occurs, it will spread to other countries. We shall help it along, but in what manner, we do not know… Only when the socialist revolution has become a reality, and not a method, will the slogan “Down with frontiers” be a correct slogan. Then we shall say: Comrades, come to us…” https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/7thconf/29d.htm

Trotsky was opposed to the free movement of migrants into the Soviet Union while it was still a healthy Workers State. Of course, he led the Red Army against imperialism and their proxies invading the workers’ state. But he also supported the regulated, planned settlement of Japanese and Korean peasants in Siberia as part of the overall development of the Soviet Union.

“When resolving the question of Japanese immigration to the Soviet Far East we must take into account the intense interest the Japanese public is showing in this matter. However, in view of the danger of Japanese colonization in the Far East, every step we take will have to be cautious and gradual. It is premature at this time to fix the number of Japanese immigrants who are to be allowed into the USSR, but, in any case, Japanese immigration should not be large. It should be strictly regulated and should result in the breaking up of Japanese-controlled resources by means of a special agency set up for that purpose. The Japanese colonists should be settled in a checkerboard fashion, being alternated with a reinforcement of colonization from central Russia. The land that is parceled out should be acceptable to the Japanese peasants and should be suited to the peculiarities of Japanese agriculture. There are areas of land suitable for the Japanese colonists in the vicinity of Khabarovsk and further south, but not in the Siberian interior. We must not allow Korean immigration into these regions under the pretense that it is Japanese. The question of Korean immigration must be examined separately. The Koreans can be granted land that is considerably farther into the depths of Siberia.” http://www.geocities.ws/CapitolHill/Congress/1602/textosmarxistas/trottext/china/ch02.html

The Soviet Union as a Workers’ State facing imperialist encirclement had to defend its borders from hostile imperialist invasion, their mercenary armies and agent provocateurs. This was the Bolshevik application of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Workers’ State to control the frontiers to admit pro-soviet workers and peasants and deny entry to, or expel, bourgeois counter-revolutionaries. Of course, this policy has nothing in common with Stalin’s Menshevik/bureaucratic policy of deportations of revolutionaries and forced population transfers, which could only be stopped by the overthrow of the Stalinist bureaucracy by means of political revolution.

We are back to the basic disagreement between Trotsky’s transitional method that empowers workers to develop as a class conscious revolutionary force, and the RCIT’s Menshevik method that blocks the self-development of workers by imposing the defence of reactionary bourgeois slogans and popular fronts as a necessary step to ‘prepare’ workers for socialism.

The RCIT’s democratic capitalist demand to “open borders” without specific class actions does not develop the consciousness of the working class or help build a new revolutionary communist international. While the response of most workers in Europe to the influx of Syria refugees was welcoming and inclusive, to throw up the “muddled” slogan “open the borders” as an abstract demand would indeed lead to “anarchy”. It would substitute bourgeois “human rights” for proletarian democracy and fail to advance the consciousness of workers in action. We need to consider how workers would control the borders, not as an abstract bourgeois right which suppresses the class line, but to advance the international proletarian revolution.
Menshevik vs Bolshevik Method

The RCIT criticism of the slogan ‘worker control’ is a vote of “no confidence” in the working class – they believe workers’ in the “oppressor countries” would be unable to control the borders for the benefit of the international working class. RCIT assumed social chauvinist workers would close the borders to migrant workers because they are ‘not ready’ to fight for worker control. When it comes to the crunch they have no confidence in Marxism, Communism and International revolutionary politics. This is typical of centrists who opportunistically adapt to social imperialism.

This is the historic methodology of Menshevism which substitutes petty bourgeois intellectuals for the proletarian party and defaults from Bolshevism to the defence of bourgeois democracy in the imperialist countries and the semi-colonies. That is why the RCIT calls for “open the borders” in the imperialist countries but in the semi-colonies the oppressed masses can take control of the borders as part of their independence struggle. In its Theses on… Black Africa it raises the ‘revolutionary’ demand that “white and Chinese settlers” who do not “support African liberation struggle” be deported, and the borders closed to “influx of such settlers”.

“16. Revolutionaries in Africa strongly oppose the rising chauvinism fostered by reactionary forces among the ruling class and the middle layers against migrants. Such counter-revolutionary hatred has even led, for example, to pogroms against Nigerian and Zimbabwe migrants in South Africa. Revolutionaries call for international unity among the workers and oppressed irrespective of their national and ethnic origin. However, a different issue is the problem of the white and Chinese settlers who have come as local representatives of imperialist powers. In such cases, revolutionaries call these settlers either to break with “their” colonial power and to support the African liberation struggle, or to leave the country. Likewise they defend the right of African states to block the influx of such settlers.” (Our emphasis)

‘Theses on Capitalism and Class Struggle in Black Africa’ (Part 4) https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/africa-theses/part-4/

So, for the RCIT the ‘open borders’ slogan really amounts to opening imperialist borders to semi-colonial workers and closing the semi-colonial borders to imperialist ‘settlers’ both as reforms within the existing global capitalist economy facing a terminal crisis! This is an opportunist adaptation to petty bourgeois humanism in the imperialist countries, and to petty bourgeois popular fronts in the semi-colonies. And a 21st century expression of 20th century ‘imperialist economism’, bourgeois democracy in the oppressor countries paid for by the workers and poor farmers in the oppressed countries. As if proving our point, the Brazilian section of the RCIT forwarded to us an article on the new immigration law in Brazil which accords equal citizenship status to migrants as to Brazilian nationals. Does this prove that ‘open borders’ is not a utopian demand but rather evidence that bourgeois democracy is capable of allowing the free movement of workers to match the free movement of capital across borders? And this in a semi-colonial country that the RCIT claims has been subjected to a ruling class ‘coup’!

Of course, we defend bourgeois rights where they advance the interests of workers internationally, but we don’t pretend that such rights can be won or defended by any means other than independent working class struggle. By making a fetish of bourgeois democracy, the RCIT has betrayed its claim to its very name. The task of Bolsheviks is to develop workers’ consciousness – not trap it in the non-historical abstraction of “open borders” that is premised on the ideology of the bourgeois citizen. When workers have broken from bourgeois ideology and formed a consciousness of a “class for itself”, they will be capable of taking power and taking control of borders. We must say now, and openly, that this is part of the dictatorship of the proletariat: that is, after the revolution we will exercise the class power of the workers’ states for the maximum benefit of the international proletariat.

That is why our article included the demand: “Open the borders to political refugees”.

We should have been more specific and said “refugees from imperialist and national oppression” to exclude the right of bosses and ‘settler colonists’ like racist British fleeing Asian and African migration; white settler ‘kith and kin’ fleeing Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe or the end of Apartheid in South Africa; Chinese petty bourgeois fleeing CCP rule; US corporate bosses fleeing Trump; etc. That is, to make the ‘open borders’ a concrete demand specifying the necessity for workers to organise independently of the bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy to fight for asylum for all oppressed workers and farmers who reach our shores.

But it should be obvious to ‘Bolshevik-Communists’ that such concrete demands are transitional demands to advance workers’ struggle for ‘worker control’ under capitalism but which cannot be realised short of socialist revolution.

So, the article concluded:

“In a socialist world planned migration would send skilled migrants to develop the poor nations, to educate and to build health services and infrastructure to improve living standards. For this to happen we need a new communist international and a Transitional Program for socialism to unite the worlds’ workers into one revolutionary force”.

It is clear that the workers’ control we advocate is one based on working class independence and not that of the labour bureaucracy’s subservience to national chauvinism. It means workers’ power and international socialism, and the smashing of chauvinist currents in the working class. Not as in the current situation whereby capitalists control migration to extract and exploit skilled labour from poorer countries within the rich countries and incite the unemployed to blame ‘foreign’ migrant workers for their wage-slavery. It is a clear choice between workers’ or capitalists’ control of migration and borders: we urge all revolutionaries to stand in solidarity with workers: advance to worker control’!

The RCIT places democratic demands on capitalism, and calls conferences centred in the midst of imperialist privilege paid for by centuries of super-exploitation and super-profits. And as the global crisis intensifies the flow of political refugees and economic migrants into the EU, it should be obvious that the ‘borders can only be opened’ in the interest of workers and oppressed by means of ‘worker control’. As the far right and openly fascist parties grow to mobilise workers to oppose migration, we have to draw a strong class line for “workers control of the borders and against capitalist control of borders.”

For revolutionary communist internationalists building sections in the semi-colonies to counter the tendency towards social imperialism in the imperialist countries. It was social imperialism that led to the fatal degeneration of the Fourth International after 1940! Build a new World Party of Socialism that empowers cadre from the semi-colonies to overcome the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the world proletariat! Provide workers’ aid and practical support to the most advanced (class conscious) workers in independent workers’ organisations from the least economically developed states! Meet and hold congresses in the semi-colonies! Exchange cadres so that leaders in the imperialist countries have direct experience of the semi-colonies!

Down with Mensheviks who substitute the petty bourgeois intelligentsia for the proletariat!

For an independent workers’ movement based on workers’ councils and workers’ militias to overthrow the capitalist state and create a revolutionary Workers’ Government!

For Worker Control of the Borders to open them to the oppressed and close them to the oppressors!

For a New World Party of Socialism that represents the most oppressed workers to solve the Crisis of Revolutionary Leadership!

For the Working Class to live, capitalism and imperialism must die!
References

Historical Differences with the RCIT http://www.cwgusa.org/?p=1815

Egypt http://www.cwgusa.org/?p=804

Thailand http://www.cwgusa.org/?p=1006

Brazil http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=RCIT https://livingmarxism.blog/2015/04/04/russia-china-and-the-unfinished-permanent-revolution/

RCIT critique of Worker Control of migration http://thecommunists.us10.listmanage.com/track/click?u=5eae708609f498218096cf23b&id=d9c00ae6e7&e=403879ee53

CWG article on Worker Control of Migration http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2017/03/aotearoanz-for-workers-control-of.html

Marx on Irish workers in England https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1870/letters/70_04_09.htm

Lenin on ‘Down with Frontiers’ https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/7thconf/29d.htm

Trotsky on Japanese and Korean Migrants http://www.geocities.ws/CapitolHill/Congress/1602/textosmarxistas/trottext/china/ch02.html

Brazil’s new immigration law https://translate.google.com.br/translate?hl=pt-BR&sl=pt&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.diariodocentrodomundo.com.br%2Fo-que-muda-com-nova-lei-de-migracao-e-por-que-extrema-direita-esta-histerica%2F

CWG(ANZ) 30 April, 2017

LCC May Day Statement 2017

26 Apr

Liaison Committee of Communists (LCC): MAY DAY 2017
May Day: Workers of the World Unite!
Smash Capitalist Imperialism & Stop its Drive to a Third World War!
The world is in the throes of a crisis of overproduction of capital caused by the falling rate of profit. It is exacerbated by the rise of China and Russia as rival imperialist powers to the declining US led bloc. We regard the crisis as proof of the self-destruction of capitalism in its death throes. It can only get worse as it destroys masses of accumulated capital and drives down the costs of labor which in past crises has always led to imperialist wars. Today the severity of the crisis is compounded by the fast approaching capitalist-fuelled climate catastrophe and the end of the human species. This crisis can only end in the destruction of a Third World War and climate catastrophe, or as the World Socialist Revolution. To stop the drive to imperialist war, ecological collapse and the end of humanity, imperialism must die!
Imperialism’s war on workers
For imperialism to survive it must make the masses pay for its crisis. This means attacking their livelihood and their lives! This is shown by the huge downward pressure on the masses living standards and attacks on their rights, their historic gains, and their very existence. It takes many forms:
1. An expanding reserve army of unemployed from Asia, Africa and Latin America where most of the working population is in the informal economy. Everywhere casualising contracts such as ‘zero hours’ are targeting especially black, female and young low-paid or no-paid workers. In Europe and the US today up to half of youth are unemployed.
2. Attacks on indigenous peoples’ struggles to survive and defend their natural resources from outright theft and plunder as we see from the Amazon to Australia, from the Zimbabwe diamond mines to the West Papuan independence struggle and the US First Nation peoples’ stands against fracking and capitalist climate catastrophe.
3. Rising flows of migrant workers denied basic rights to life as in the case of African migrants deported by the ANC from South Africa, dying by the thousands trying to reach Europe, and trapped in concentration camps in Australia, Greece and France. And the millions of political refugees fleeing invasions and wars.
4. Attacks on trade unions to break them so that workers are super-exploited and killed in unsafe conditions as in Bangladesh and Argentina; attacks by the bureaucratic thugs of the state, killer cops on the union ranks everywhere such as miners of Las Heras, Argentina, and Bolivia, and the massacre at Marikana.
5. Vicious austerity measures imposed everywhere that destroy state welfare support for the working class in health, education, housing and social benefits driving workers into poverty ridden slums, early death or suicide as in the UK and Greece, driving down wages and restoring 19th century labour conditions.
6. Rising fascist movements among petty bourgeois and lumpen elements that ferment divisions in the working class over jobs, housing, etc., that lead to ethnic, religious, xenophobic attacks in Europe and elsewhere which prepare the masses as cannon fodder for countless proxy wars from South Sudan to Ukraine.
7. Imperialist invasions and occupations leading to proxy wars that pit workers of one or other nation, nationality, ethnicity or religion, and gender to fight one another. The proxy wars are most extreme in Africa (South Sudan) MENA (Syria, Iraq, Yemen) and Eurasia (Ukraine). They prepare the road to the Third World War.
By driving the proletariat into poverty and dividing it against itself as hostile factions, and in numerous wars, the imperialists and their national bourgeois agents desperately force down the costs of labour in the hope of restoring their profits. But so far they have not succeeded. The resistance is kicking back everywhere.
The proletariat fights to survive
For the international proletariat, the way out of the crisis is to resist all the imperialist attacks on every front in every country and build a revolutionary communist international to overthrow the rotten capitalist imperialist system. There is no lack of will and capacity to fightback by the world’s workers. Every day makes thousands martyrs of our class. We can see the spontaneous resistance taking many forms in the struggle for jobs, social and economic rights and the defence of basic human rights, from opposition to cop killers from Ferguson to Baltimore, from the fascists in the Donbas, from the dictator al Assad and Islamic State in Aleppo, from ANC police thugs in Marikana, and from popular front betrayals in Brazil, South Africa and Greece.
Yet, inevitably – whether this resistance is in the form of the fight against austerity, casualisation (the “gig economy”) , for the rights of indigenous, blacks, women, of migrant workers, for the rights of unions, and opposition to proxy wars, invasions and occupations – spontaneous resistance is everywhere trapped by the false friends of the working class; the labour bureaucracy in the unions, the reformist left parties, and most treacherously the self-proclaimed communists and fake Trotskyists who betray the proletariat by covering for the open agents of the bourgeoisie in the ranks of the working class itself. To mobilise and organise a united world proletariat, first the working class must be freed from its treacherous bureaucratic misleaders who suck militant workers into fatal political alliances with the bourgeoisie under the banner of the popular front (from the ANC in South Africa, the PT in Brazil, the PSUV in Venezuela, to Syriza in Greece, the Green Party wannabes internationally) that ties their hands as the crisis deepens and the fascist gangs and paramilitaries are unleashed by the bosses to try to smash the international revolutionary proletariat and stop it carrying out its historic task of overthrowing the capitalist system.
For a revolutionary program and party!
To bring an end to the capitalist imperialist crisis which now threatens the destruction of humanity and nature we need a socialist revolution. That needs a revolutionary
transitional program of demands that are raised to meet the immediate urgent needs of workers for jobs, housing, education, health, etc., fought for by workers, for the workers.
These fights bring workers up against the power of the bosses state and its repressive forces, that denies migrants rights, kills militant workers, bans unions, jails or kills protesters, and incites workers to kill one another in pogroms and wars. This proves the need for workers to build their own class power based upon their organs independent of the bureaucracy and bourgeoisie – councils, militias, and most of all an international Leninist/Trotskyist party that provides the leadership to the revolutionary proletariat.
The revolutionary party has to be everywhere that workers are resisting the crisis, challenging all the bosses’ agents at every point, and helping to organise workers into their own organs of workers power and breaking out of the popular front with the bourgeoisie. Our aim must be to name, expose and kick all these class traitors out of the class and to create a new leadership of class fighters who are won to the program of permanent revolution, capable of turning strike action into political general strikes, and then into victorious insurrections to overthrow the capitalist state and impose a Government of the workers and all the oppressed!
Workers of the World Unite!
For a new World Party of Revolution!
For Workers Councils and Militias!
For Workers Council Governments!
For a World Socialist Revolution and a Communist Future!

Civil servants strike statement

5 Mar

RWG-Z STATEMENT ON THE 6 MARCH 2017 CIVIL SERVANTS STRIKE

NO RETURNING TO WORK UNTIL BONUSES ARE PAID!
GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF UNIONS AND WORKERS!
FIGHT FOR A LIVING WAGE!
FIGHT FOR BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS!
FORM WORKPLACE BASED AND NATIONAL STRIKE COMMITEES!
BUILD WORKERS DEFENSE GUARDS!
PREPARE FOR AN ALL OUT STRIKE!
FOR A NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF WORKERS IN STRUGGLE!

The Apex council, representing all civil servants, issued a statement declaring that if government fails to pay their bonuses on time and in cash all workers will go on strike starting Monday the 6th of March 2017.The workers are also demanding that government stops meddling in workers affairs and also respect the joint negotiating forum between workers and the government. This comes as junior doctors are in the third week of their strike over bonuses, a decent wage and better working conditions with the nurses and senior doctors also threatening to go on strike over the same issues. Recent talks with government representatives yielded nothing as government was only trying to buy time whilst doing all it can to divide workers and weaken the unions ahead of a showdown over a living wage and better working conditions. The government through the minister of labour is busy trying to divide the public sector workers by conducting a nefarious “consultation” with the workers behind the backs of the unions. This is unacceptable and an affront to the workers struggle and interests.
As the Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (RWG-Z) we fully support the call by the civil service workers unions to go on strike. This was long overdue. Nothing can be won by talking to an authoritarian and anti-workers government that serves imperialism, local capitalists and bosses in the party. This can only be the beginning of a protracted and robust mass action that will win workers their bonuses, a living wage and better working conditions. But for this to happen workers need to be organised and clear in their demands. The battle cannot be left to the trade union leadership alone. Workers on the ground must come up with workplace based strike committees which coordinate with other workplaces and the unions in order to be able to turn this strike into an all-out general strike capable of conquering the demands of the workers and manned by accountable and recallable representatives. Workers must be prepared against the inevitable treachery of the labour bureaucracy which is prone to betrayals and cowardice.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing an economic downturn ever since the dawn of the new millennium. This was made worse by the 2008 great recession which made a bad situation worse. After an initial stabilisation following the Government of National Unity (GNU) of 2009 the situation got worse after the 2013 general elections won by the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe. Industries have closed en masse resulting in massive unemployment and growth of the informal sector. This has led to fissures within the ruling party on how best to resolve the crisis of capitalism and a backward semi colonial state, being seen also in the opposition parties and civil society. One faction in ZANU-PF is advocating for rapprochement with western imperialism, opening up the business space and introducing a raft of democratic rights as a solution to the crisis with another advocating the deepening of relations with Chinese imperialism, instituting protectionist measures and tightening the ruling party’s grip on dissent.
The great recession of 2008 caused by a crisis of profitability resulted in an acute crisis of global capitalism with the major imperialist economies forced to bail out banks and firms. The cost of the bailout has been forced on the shoulders of the working and oppressed masses through vicious austerity measures. This attempt has however failed to resolve the crisis. Even the so called emerging economies like Brazil and India have also been hit hard. The situation in semi colonial countries like Zimbabwe is worse as they face the double burden of imperialist domination and capitalist recession resulting in a vicious spiral of economic downturn. As a reaction to the failure of the austerity measures a section of bourgeoisie politicians and strategists is now proposing and implementing protectionist and neo Keynesian measures to try and ease the effects of the crisis. This, however, is bound to fail as well because the fundamental dynamic of a historic fall in profitability cannot be addressed by these superficial measures.
As in other countries, the bosses and elites in Zimbabwe have been forced to force the burden of paying for the crisis on the shoulders of the poor and workers. The working class has essentially saved the economy from imploding through slave wages and a massive attack on their working conditions. The destruction of social services initiated in the early 1990s has been intensified despite occasional election time and populist pro poor rhetoric by the anti-workers regime which is supported in essence by the whole spectrum of mainstream opposition parties and groups. The unemployment rate of above 90% has created a pressure point for forcing those still in work to accept slave wages and going for months without pay despite bosses and senior managers awarding themselves obscene pay rises on a regular basis. In the public service sector the workers have been attacked and victimised left, right and centre with the latest being the non-payment of the 2016 bonuses by now.
Clearly, the balance of force in class terms is in favour of the bosses and imperialism against workers and the poor masses. The 2015 Supreme Court ruling on the dismissal of workers on three moths notice dealt a big blow to the workers with over 3000 losing their jobs and many living in perpetual fear and confusion. This is on the back of the decimation of the labour movement through its co-option by the major MDC-T party and the general deceptive nature of labour leaders especially in times of crisis. The splits in the union federations along partisan and opportunistic lines has made a bad situation worse. The umbrella body that represents the civil servants, the Apex council, is no exception to the opportunistic bickering and side shows at the grim expense of workers. Government has taken advantage of the situation by going directly to workers in an attempt to divide the unionised against non-unionised workers as well as set up workers against their unions. The blame has to be put squarely on the labour bureaucracy which is prostrating itself to the government and bosses for selfish reasons.
The strike action forced on the leadership by events and workers is a welcome move that has the potential to shift the balance of forces decisively. What is needed is not a symbolic one off action but a protracted strike that forces the government to pay bonuses, improve working conditions and improve salaries. The momentum created by the on-going junior doctors’ strike and threats by the nurses and senior doctors is an advantage to the civil servants. Only militant and solid action can win results. The examples of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers of steadfast industrial action should guide the government workers. It is also important that other unions and bodies of the poor masses offer solidarity to the workers as they embark on a historic job action reminiscent of the late 90s.
For this to be successful workers should move to build  workplace strike committees, with elected leaders who can be recalled immediately, that are coordinated at the national level to safeguard against betrayals and also able to coordinate and mobilise the strike. Relying on the union leadership is dangerous and can only lead to bitter defeats and frustration. The strike committees would also safeguard the workers against the manipulations and threats likely to come from the union leaders. It is likely that the government, faced with a life and death situation, will unleash the forces of violence on the workers. This must be defeated by building defence guards to protect striking workers against hired agents of the labour bureaucracy and the state machinery. Public sector workers should call for a national conference of all workers in struggle in order to build solidarity between public sector workers and other unions as well as other organisations of the oppressed. We urge all workers to come out in full force on Monday the 6th of March 2017 and be part of the great awakening of the working class against imperialist exploitation, capitalism and dictatorship.

We demand a sliding scale of wages and prices and employment for all who can work; working conditions should improve for all workers!
We demand the introduction of state projects to employ all the unemployed; the government must stop the attack on the vendors!
Land must be distributed to all poor peasants together with a state bank to provide inputs to all small farmers!
Build councils of unemployed workers to fight for the unemployed and all workers!
To provide jobs for all big and imperialist assets must be nationalised and put under workers control and self-management!
Workers form strike committees to lead the resistance to the growing attacks on the wages and working conditions of the poor and the livelihood of the majority poor!
We call for free and quality health care, Housing and Education for all!
Workers form workers defence guards for defence against state violence!
For a workers state that defends workers, peasants and the poor masses against the local and foreign capitalists!
No to dictatorship and state persecution of activists!
For a workers and peasants’ government on the basis of the armed people to implement decisions that benefit the workers and the poor as part of a Socialist federation of Southern Africa!
For a new WORLD PARTY of socialist revolution based on the TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM of 1938 to lead the revolution to end capitalism and open the road to socialism!
Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (RWG-Z)
5 March 2017 Harare, Zimbabwe

SMASH STATE BRUTALITY AND PERSECUTION!BUILD ACTION AND DEFENSE COMMITTEES!

7 Sep

The police and the judiciary, on behalf of the evil and anti-poor ZANU-PF government are brutalising and persecuting the democracy fighters and the poor who are fighting for a better life and a an accountable way of government. The past two months have witnessed a growing number of protests by civic groups, trade unions and opposition political parties(as well as counter protests by the youths aligned to the ruling party in its defence).The protests have mainly been against dictatorship, corruption and poverty. These concerns have united all the anti-government forces, including sections of the ruling party, with the resultant proposed solution being the resignation of the president (and the party) to pave way for new elections (under a “neutral” National Transitional Authority, NTA).In scenes reminiscent of the colonial era, the police has reacted with extreme and ruthless violence towards anyone excising the democratic right to protest and assemble. As we speak over fifty people have been severely beaten by the police with some in life threatening conditions. Apart from using tear gas and baton sticks, the regime also used water cannons to disperse crowds resulting in many injuries and the loss of life by an infant.

 

Many activists and fighters have been arrested by the state on trumped up charges of public violence and attempting to topple the government. As we speak over two hundred fighters are languishing in jails with some like Linda Musariri clocking two months. The judiciary, working under executive instructions, has been denying bail to most of the activists and employing delaying tactics in order to frustrate and harass the comrades. Now the farmer judges and prosecutors are under clear instructions to set an example to anyone who will dare confront this thuggish regime. One comrade collapsed in court due to lack of food and medical attention for those beaten (comrade Ostallos has been denied medical attention to injuries inflicted by beatings at the ZANU-PF HQ).The prison services has joined the bandwagon of state brutality denying inmates food from outside (a deliberate plan to starve and kill them) and medication for those suffering from chronic ailments. Of the more than seventy comrades arrested during the demonstration calling for electoral reforms, only ten were given bail. This group included security guards who were caught in the cross and the old. As for the rest the regime is intent on sending a clear message that it will not reform itself out of power. The harsh tone of the chief government prosecutor betrays a cannibalistic appetite to devour the comrades and instil fear in everyone.

The months of July and August have been very decisive in re-awakening the spirit of self-activity in the masses, albeit in sporadic actions. Prior to July, groups like the Occupy Movement of Zimbabwe, Tajamuka, vendors association and the main reformist opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai, MDCT-T has been holding marches, sit-ins and protests demanding an end to corruption and against the introduction of bond notes (a local currency pegged to the US dollar).It was only with the massive protests by cross border, against a ban on importing household goods, informal traders at the country’s main border post that things started to change. This was soon followed with riots by commuter bus drivers and conductors against rampant police corruption on the roads and a growing number of road blocks. Soon to follow was the massive strike by all civil servants against the failure by government to pay them on time. The protests by cross borders, riots by commuter bus drivers and conductors and more importantly the on-going (at the time) strike by civil servants ensured the “success” of the first national shutdown on the 6th of July.

 

The subsequent shutdowns, without the critical involvement of labour, were mere propaganda stunts. Ever since the first shutdown, who’s so called success was attributed wrongly(and deliberately) and for political purposes to pastor Evan Mawire of Thisflag online campaign, we have been witnessing protests and marches on a very regular basis (at least two per week) mainly by the Tajamuka outfit, a conglomeration of youth members from political parties and civic groups. The MDC-T, sensing the danger of being swept aside, quickly organised its youths to action under the MyZimbabwe label and it was during the maiden demonstration by this outfit that the youths and police fought running battles forcing businesses to a standstill. Unlike other previous campaigns which were calling for the resignation of Mugabe, this group (in order to snatch the initiative) demanded that the regime should be forced to leave power now as 2018 (time for the next elections) was a long time away. Soon after the demonstration the state went around arresting leading members of the party and other democracy activists.

 

The mega demonstration by most opposition political parties, scheduled two days after the one by MDC-T youths, was brutally attacked by the police despite legal authority to hold the demo. This was when a large number of party and social activists were arrested and beaten. In the meantime the government, through a police officer, has gazetted a ban on demonstrations In Harare for two weeks up to the 16th of September. Tajamuka, NAVUZ (the vendors association) and the MDCT-T youth group have vowed to go ahead with demonstrations despite the ban. The protests and industrial actions have shaken the regime and there is no consensus on how to deal with them. The moderate and imperialist leaning faction headed by the other vice president, Mnangagwa is suggesting that there should be dialogue to resolve issues being raised by the protestors whilst the hard-line comprador capitalist faction headed by Mugabe’s wife (read Mugabe) prefers to crush the protests which are threatening its power, accumulation of wealth and the interests of the imperialist powers especially Chinese and Russian. Mugabe has lashed at the judiciary for being lenient with protestors and allowing demonstrations to take place and it’s not surprising that the judiciary has convicted Maengahama and two other comrades on the he basis of a politically motivated murder case. The state clearly knows what is at stake as evidenced by its serious strategists (Charamba, Jonathan Moyo and Chinamasa) who are calling for decisive action against the poor and workers of this country. It is time that the working people take stock of the situation on the ground and draw relevant lessons from the previous actions in search of a commensurate response to the attacks and provocations by the government on behalf of its imperialist handlers.

 

It’s time the organised bodies of workers,students,urban poor, informal workers, small scale traders, poor farmers and youths come together and spearhead the anti-government protests. The message should go beyond being against poverty and dictatorship to include the real cause of poverty and dictatorship which is capitalism, historically expressed in austerity measures being imposed by imperialist and semi-colonial states alike. The political parties, and their surrogates, are only interested in changing the political playing fields and ensure that their chances of getting into power are enhanced. It is incumbent upon the working poor to affirm that austerity, poverty and dictatorship can only be defeated in the workplaces, the streets, townships and colleges and not through electoral reforms and voting. Clearly the question should not be about which party will rule but which class will prevail. The protests against the government should move beyond the reformist and miss-leading superficial demands towards demands that conquer a better life for workers and the poor through the abolition of the capitalist system which breeds poverty, inequality and dictatorship (overt as in semi colonial states like Zimbabwe and Covert as in imperialist states like USA where an election is reduced to a choice between two candidates imposed by big capital).

 

In order to win the working poor should organise themselves in workplaces, colleges, townships and the streets and be prepared to defend themselves against police and state brutality and take UNITED ACTION to defend themselves both physically in the streets and legally the comrades who are in detention. While others may want to pray for the demonstrators and arrested we must organise, train and mobilise worker led defence guards. To be able to financially sustain worker’s lawyers and families an international campaign to publicise the cases of the arrested  as well as demand that labour take the lead to free all political  and class struggle prisoners must be taken. As such we must fight for:

 

-An immediate end to police brutality and persecution by the state, the release of all political prisoners and withdrawal of the conviction against Maengahama and fellow comrades!

-For workers and oppressed self-defence from capitalist state repression!

-Free quality health care for all! For clinics in every township. For socialised medical care under the control of medical service providers, nurses and doctors.

-For free quality education for all! From pre-school and 24 hour day care through primary, secondary college and university. For social education run by students, teachers and parents.

-For jobs for all! Full unionisation of the workforce. For contracts that provide living wages and benefits. For safe workplaces with health and safety protections that eliminate speed ups and provide for personal protection and safe work practices. Share the work: Thirty hours work for forty hours pay!

-For workers council control over prices and wages.

-For easy credit terms with highly regulated no-usurious rates for small businesses, informal industries and street vendors.

-Land for the landless.

-Open books of the corporations and business of the capitalist and imperialist companies which do not provide benefits the masses require.

-Nationalisation of industries owned by imperialism and the native capitalists who do not provide the needs of the masses.

-For workers control of nationalised industries.

-For a Congress of all the fighting groups to call for the formation of action and defence committees.

-Coordination of action and defence committees to prepare for united actions culminating in an indefinite general strike to end ZANU-PF rule and open the road for workers and poor farmers’ government.

-For the workers and poor farmers’ government that expropriates the expropriators.

-For the revolutionary workers party that fights for socialist revolution internationally building the world party of socialist revolution.

-For regional alliances of workers states that make socialist revolution permanent.

 

07 September 2016, Harare.

REVOLUTIONARY WORKERS GROUP OF ZIMBABWE (RWG-ZIM)

SECTION OF THE LIASON COMMITTEE OF COMMUNISTS (LCC) IN ZIMBABWE

 

 

ZIMBABWE IN TURMOIL:SMASH CAPITALISM TO DEFEAT AUSTERITY

18 Aug

ZIMBABWE IN TURMOIL: SMASH CAPITALISM TO DEFEAT AUSTERITY!

 

The months of July and August have witnessed a growing number of protests in Zimbabwe. Both in terms of the number and groups of people participating in the protests a well as the rate at which these have been held. Such regular protests where probably last witnessed in the late 1990s save for the fact that only now we have seen a large and unprecedented number of the middle class participating. What has been the real nature of these protests and the objectives? Who are the leaders of these actions and have the intended objectives been achieved? These and some of the coincidental issues are some of the areas that this article seeks to explore and answer.

 

The public sector workers, early in July, staged a major stay away for three days that forced the state to back down on some of it measures. This was a result of the failure by the government to pay salaries on time and yet demanding a lot from the same workers. Previously, informal cross border traders had staged a major blockade and protest at the countries’ major border post. Commuter drivers and conductors clashed with the police in the eastern suburbs of Harare over a large number of road blocks and corruption on the roads. Also there had been groups such as the radical Tajamuka, Occupy Movement which had staged sporadic but publicised protests against corruption and government policies. The main opposition party the MDC-T also held marches across the country trying to force the state to institute electoral and political change. Other citizens notably a Baptist pastor, Evan Mawarire, initiated social media based campaigns aimed at forcing the government to curb corruption and demanding that Mugabe steps down.

 

All these actions and protest can only be correctly understood in the context of the international and national political economy. Globally, since 2008 we have been living in one of the most severe economic crisis dubbed the great recession that has affected the profitability of major industrial nations and recently the so called emerging nations such as Brazil and South Africa. Naturally this has by and large affected the vulnerable and dependent economies of semi colonial countries like Zimbabwe which depend on the major imperialist countries for trade and aid. This economic downturn lead most developed states to adopt austerity measures which attacked the working and living conditions of the poor and workers. In Zimbabwe the current economic crisis has its roots in the austerity measures forced on the government by the IMF since the early 1990s and which were made worse by the sanctions imposed on the country by the major western imperialist nations trying to force the ZANU-PF government to reverse the land reform programme it had embarked on in 2000.Ever since the country has hovered between a recession and sluggish growth resulting in untold suffering for the poor.

 

In spite of occasional left rhetoric, the ZANU-PF government has administered a brutal attack on the worker and the poor in society. This has resulted in workers working in difficult conditions and receiving meagre salaries. Economically the workers are at a receiving end with the 2015 landmark Supreme court ruling allowing employers to retrench workers on notice being the most recent and aggressive expression of the attacks. The majority of the able bodied people who are self-employed are not faring any better due to constant harassment from the state. Politically the workers and the poor have not fared any better. The unions are in a very sorry state with the leaders compromised by the mainstream reformist political dynamics as well as bribes by bosses. All of the major political parties’ programme are anti -workers and this has resulted in general apathy.

 

As a result of this all of the recent protest have not been led by workers and the general poor. The workers and the poor have been used as cannon fodder in the interests of the elite and the middle class that focuses on superficial political issues and misplaced economic agendas. All major political parties are agreed that Mugabe and his party have failed and must leave office. These have been joined by the emerging so called citizen movement comprising of the Tajamuka, #thisflag and others whose core focus Is the political and corruption issues. In all these initiatives the workers are not in direct or independent control and their real interests are not being promoted. The civil servants have promised to strike come month end over the continued delays by the state to pay salaries on time. All the major opposition parties are muting staging a “mega” demonstration against the ZANU-PF government with the emergent cyber based activist groups calling for a national shutdown on 31st August.

 

For workers and the poor to benefit from the current wave of protests there is an urgent need for an independent and active workers and poor people’s platform that utilises the methods of the working people. We have similar fake lefts who cry about the corrupt politicians but ignore or downplay the structural crisis of capitalism. They sound militant but they create illusions in a regulated and a capitalism run under a higher morality. Workers need to learn from South Africa where the popular front of the ANC/SACP/COSATU has spearheaded the attacks on the workers and poor in that country. Zimbabwe is an integral part of southern Africa and any initiative by workers and the poor should learn from and inform the struggles in the sub region

 

Thus when the masses are mobilized against corruption the underlying message is that, “if we could get rid of the corrupt politicians the economy would run just fine.” This is the message from Kiev to Brasilia to Harare.  We have to place the blame for corruption on the impunity the capitalist state allows its lackeys to operate under.   This is the price the capitalist class allows its enforcers (police, fixers, & politicians) to extract from the fringes of the state coffers.

 

 

A revolutionary worker’s government based on the popular organizations of the poor, the peasants, and workers would maintain a policy of immediate recall that would eliminate corruption by oversight of the economy by a worker’s militia deputized to enforce the worker’s planned economy by workers’ assemblies.  The planned economy will assure production based on social need not profit for a few and the imperialist overlords.  When the worker’s plan is enforced transparency will eliminate corruption.

 

To win the workers’ economy we fight for:

 

Free Quality Health Care for All!  For clinics in every township. For socialized medical care under the control of medical service providers: nurses, staffers, & doctors.

 

Free Quality Education for All!  From pre-school and 24-hour day care through elementary, secondary school, college, university. For social education run by students, educators and parents councils.

 

For Jobs for All!  For full unionization of the work force.  For contracts that provide living wages and benefits. For safe job sites with health and safety protections that eliminate speedups and provide for personal protection and safe work practices.  Share the work.  Thirty hours work for forty hours pay!

 

For workers council control over prices and wages.

 

For easy credit terms with highly regulated non usurious rates for small businesses, cottage industries and street vendors.

 

Land for the landless!

 

Open the books of the corporations and businesses of the capitalists and imperialist companies which do not provide the benefits the masses require.

 

Nationalization of industries owned by imperialism and native capitalists who do not provide the needs of the masses.

 

For workers control of nationalized industries.

 

For popular assemblies to establish workers led militia to expropriate the commanding heights of the economy and enforce the workers plan.

 

For the workers and poor farmers government that expropriates the expropriators.

 

For the revolutionary workers party that fights for socialist revolution internationally building the world party of socialist revolution.

 

For regional alliances of workers states that make socialist revolution permanent.

 

 

18 August 2016

Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (RWG-ZIM, LCC in Zimbabwe)

 

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