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RWG statement on dismissal of nurses

18 Apr

GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF NURSES! REINSTATE ALL FIRED NURSES NOW! ALL GOVERNMENT WORKERS STRIKE! FORWARD TO A GENERAL STRIKE!

Yesterday, the eve of the independence celebrations, the government through the Vice President and former army general announced the dismissal of all striking nurses. In an opaque statement the government tried to shift the blame to the workers who are justly and legally fighting for their rights. The main reason for the dismissal was that the government view the action as political hence the measures.

The nurses have been on strike for about a week now demanding better working conditions, payment of overdue allowances and a review of their salaries and all legal procedures relating to the strike were followed. The real reason for the dismissal is to instill fear in other civil servants especially teachers who are set to strike when schools open on May. In essence this is the logic of class warfare which must be met with equal force.

The post Mugabe military based coup government is intent on attacking workers to lay the basis for renewed investor confidence and protection of the interests of capitalists. They want to send a clear message that indeed Zimbabwe is open for business and they can guarantee massive profits for their masters. In contrast to the workers and poor masses living from hand to mouth, the bosses and their surrogates are living large and can afford to charter planes for routine medical checkups whilst the masses die due to lack of medicine, proper facilities and money.

The Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (RWG-Z) salutes the gallant nurses who are fighting a class war on behalf of other workers in government and generally against austerity and slave conditions. We salute the nurses union for remaining resolute in the face of such attacks and also support the call by the main trade union federation for a general strike. The nurses must be defended. We call on all nurses not to bow down to this intimidation and instead intensify the strike. Workers should support the picket lines to stop scab labour. All government workers must down tools in support of the nurses and send a clear message to the government. A general strike is now a must if the working class is to survive. We further call for:

-The immediate and unconditional reinstatement of all dismissed nurses!
-An all-out strike and solidarity action to defeat the government!
-Payment of all outstanding allowances and timely payment of allowances!
-The opening of all books of the medical services for public view!
-A living Wage! Workers fight for a living wage and better working conditions through mass action controlled by ordinary workers!
-Against the ever rising prices and inflation we demand a sliding scale of wages!
-Against unemployment and destitution we demand a sliding scale of working hours to provide decent jobs for all through massive public works programs to provide housing, education and medical care for all!
-Organise the unorganised! Form unions of the unemployed as fully affiliated unions!
-Workers take back your unions!
-Militant workers to form class struggle caucuses in the unions to fight for this program!
-The government must stop the attack on the vendors!
-Workers to 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!
-Workers to form workers defence guards for defence against state violence!
-A national strike committee to organise and plan for a general strike!
– For a workers government on the basis of the armed people to implement decisions that benefit the workers and the poor!
-Nationalisation of all companies without indemnification to the big shareholders under workers control!
-Land to be distributed to all poor peasants together with a state bank to provide inputs to all small farmers!
-A workers state that defends workers, peasants and the poor masses against the local and foreign capitalists!
-An African socialist revolution as part of the international revolution that alone can guarantee a better life for all!
-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 (Zimbabwe section of the Liaison Committee of Communists)

18 April 2018
Harare

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Fight Capitalist Reaction!For Mass Labor-Centered Assemblies and Mobilizations to Smash the Fascist KKK,Nazi and ‘Alt-Right’ Terror!

21 Aug

FEES MUST BE SMASHED!

29 Jun

FEES MUST BE SMASHED!
FIGHT FOR FREE, PROGRESSIVE, UNIVERSAL AND QUALITY EDUCATION!
On Monday the 26th of June 2017 medical students at the University of Zimbabwe staged a massive demonstration at the offices of the University Vice Chancellor protesting against a 100% increase in tuition fees. In response, the University management harassed, assaulted students using private security guards. As if that was not enough, about 600 medical students were evicted from the hall of residents and thrown into the street. The Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (RWG-Z) fully supports the struggle by medical students and all students against all forms of fees. Fees must be smashed and not fall.
This recent demonstration by the medical students puts back onto the limelight the historic and important struggle for free, quality, universal and progressive education in the service of human needs and not for the service of the callous capitalist system in its various manifestations. The call for free education from primary to tertiary level is not an abstract concept in Zimbabwe or the world over. From independence in 1980 and up to the early 1990s government greatly subsidised education up to tertiary or college levels with many the bureaucrats championing austerity measures being beneficiaries of subsidised education. This was a result of the social pressure exerted on the state soon after independence and also as a tactic by the government to build a political base as it struggled to gain a foothold on state monopoly. Education, health and other basic services became accessible to a majority of the poor people in direct contrast to the colonial period where such services were only available and subsidised to the white minority. In a limited way, the Stalinist and radical nationalist measures adopted by the government at independence went a long way in providing basic needs to the poor as well as showing the potential for a fully state controlled state in the interest of the poor masses.
All this was reversed from the early 1990s onwards as the ZANU-PF government embarked on an IMF/WB sponsored liberalisation of socio-economic life under the programme termed Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP).Under this economic plan and subsequent ones, the state was forced to open the industries and public institutions to private concerns and international competition resulting in job losses, unavailability and unaffordability of basic serves like education. Students from Early Child Development classes (preparatory stage) up to University/college are required to pay for their studies. This has resulted in a number of dropouts along the academic path as many cannot afford the fees demanded upfront. The economic crisis in the country since 2000 buttressed by the global recession of 2008 forced the government to attack students and the poor even more as the government embarks on a brutal austerity drive. The education sector is now in shambles owing to massive cuts in public spending and poor remuneration of staff demanded by imperialism.
The attacks on students can only be seen in the context of the general social and international context of austerity measures by states as they try to force on workers and the poor masses the cost of the economic crisis. As such the struggle by students for free education must be linked to the fight against austerity, dictatorship, capitalism and imperialism. Government does not implement austerity or anti poor measures out of stupidity but as a deliberate reaction to a need of the system they serve. They is nothing personal about capitalist brutality. Only a proper understanding of the causes of the attacks on education, jobs and other basic services can inform a correct response to the issues affecting the education sector and society at large.
The fight for free education remains urgent. Ordinary students must not wait for the initiative from elected leaders most of whom become compromised once elected. Neither should they rely on the initiative of oppositional political formations whose various Manifestos seek to deepen and entrench the assault on education. All the talk of being pro students is just but campaign rhetoric that will be easily dumped once elected into office. Apart from ordinary students forcing the leadership or taking independent initiative there is need for ideological clarity on the causes of the state of the education sector so that correct demands and strategies can be posed. As students would say “the struggle continues unabated!” These demands should be posed:

Reinstatement of all medical students into halls of residents!
For free, quality, universal and progressive education from primary to tertiary level!
Abolition of all fees at all levels of education and for all basic social services!
Public works to build schools, colleges and public infrastructure!
A living wage and good working conditions to all educational staff and all workers!
To provide education for all big and imperialist assets must be nationalised and put under workers control and self-management!
For a workers state that defends students, workers and peasants against the local and foreign capitalists!
For a workers and peasants’ government on the basis of the armed people to implement decisions that benefit the workers, students and the poor!
For an African socialist revolution as part of the international revolution that alone can guarantee a better life for all!
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!

 

 

29 June 2017, Harare Zimbabwe

Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (RWG-Z)

Atualizacao Greve Geral do dia 28-4(1) e a situacao no Brasil

27 May

A greve geral do dia 28-4 mostrou a disposição de luta da classe trabalhadora. Muitas categorias de trabalhadores apesar de não estarem organizados e com seus sindicatos ativos não saíram para trabalhar. O setor de transporte público mais uma vez foi importante para paralisar as grandes cidades. O funcionalismo público parou na sua maioria e os movimentos sociais bloquearam ruas e estradas.

A crise no Brasil se aprofunda e algumas semanas após a greve, denuncias de corrupção atingiram diretamente o presidente Michel Temer. Após as denuncias de corrupção na Petrobras, agora são alvos das investigações da PF, a corrupção envolvendo os empréstimos do BNDES (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social) para grandes empresas, em particular a JBS.

A JBS é uma empresa de frigoríficos que recebeu R$10 bi do governo, através do BNDES, em 2007/08. Enquanto fechava plantas e demitia trabalhadores durante o estouro da crise global do capitalismo em 2008, comprava plantas em vários países da America Latina e do mundo e se tornou a grande multinacional da carne. A burguesia e a mídia defensora da lava-jato já ameaçavam há bastante tempo com investigações no BNDES, assim como estavam fazendo com a Petrobras.

A burguesia que governou junto com o PT e apoiou o impeachment de Dilma, agora vê que não vai ficar de fora das investigações da lava-jato.

Com a divulgação do áudio feita pelo dono da JBS que gravou em conversas com o presidente Temer, o governo e o congresso pareciam paralisados. A mídia já especulava a renuncia do presidente, as vésperas de seu pronunciamento, um dia depois, onde negou todas as acusações e disse que permaneceria no cargo.

Após as denuncias do ultimo dia 17-5, tem a mídia contra ele, vários aliados já discutem a saída do governo e já são 15 pedidos de impeachment na câmara federal. Temer sabe que é muito difícil sua permanência na presidência e tentar encaminhar as proposta de reforma da previdência e trabalhista como única forma de se manter no poder.

A popularidade do governo é baixíssima, o grande descontentamento da população com a situação econômica, a greve geral do dia 28 e a manifestação em Brasília dia 24-5 chamada pelas centrais sindicais demonstra que os trabalhadores não estão dispostos a pagar o preço da crise. As denúncias contra Temer na lava-jato e os ataques da mídia demonstram que setores da burguesia também não acreditam mais que Temer tenha condições de seguir com as reformas e os ataques aos trabalhadores.

O estrondoso crescimento da JBS nos últimos 10 anos, eu só foi possível com recebimento de dinheiro público, foi parte, junto com os investimentos na Petrobras e as empreiteiras brasileiras, do projeto do PT de “conteúdo nacional” que o partido e seus aliados dizem que era um projeto de “ruptura com o imperialismo”, mas que na verdade era um projeto de ligação com o imperialismo chinês, e que o BNDES foi o exemplo para a criação do Banco dos BRICS. O dono da JBS, que fez as denúncias contra Temer em troca de um acordo com a justiça brasileira com total anistia e com permissão de morar nos EUA, está fazendo acordo também com a justiça americana (assim como as empreiteiras) e já se fala em migração da JBS do Brasil para os EUA(2) onde a empresa possui mais de 60 plantas frigoríficas.

Diante das denuncia que abalam fortemente o governo Teme e coloca quase como inevitável, o PT e boa parte da esquerda tem como palavras de ordem “Fora Temer” e eleições “Diretas Já!”. Com a grande crise que passa o país, a descredibilidade com as instituições do Estado e disputa entre setores da burguesia, o PT mais uma vez desvia a luta direta e organização independente dos trabalhadores, para uma saída por dentro do regime e alianças com a burguesia.

O PT se vê obrigado a se colocar a frente do movimento, como na Greve Geral e na Marcha a Brasília para na perder a credibilidade perante os trabalhadores e controlar o movimento de acordo com seus interesses, enquanto fazem acordo com parlamentares e partidos da burguesia para uma eventual substituição de Temer.

Setores de esquerda que se diziam oposição ao governo do PT também tem dado como saída o regime democrático burguês. O PSOL defende “Diretas Já!”. O PSTU, que desde o impeachment da Dilma chama “Eleições Gerais Já!”, agora tenta dizer que sua proposta é diferente da do PT, pois, a proposta do PSTU é por eleições para todos os cargos e não só para presidente (3). Outra saída por dentro do regime democrático burguês dá o MRT, com “Assembléia Constituinte”.

Todas essas organizações dizem que é preciso unidade. Declaram como o maior exemplo disso reuniões e acordos entre todas as centrais sindicais, como CUT (ligada ao PT) e outras centrais ligadas diretamente a burguesia como a Forca Sindical e UGT, que levou ao chamado a Greve Geral e a Marcha a Brasília. Desde o agravamento da crise no Brasil, nas jornadas de junho de 2013 foram chamados vários “Dias de Mobilização”, a primeira greve Geral dia 28-4 e a Marcha a Brasília. Agora, dizem que é preciso uma Greve Geral de 48h exigindo da CUT o chamamento, o qual até agora não se dispôs a chamar.

A esquerda tem participando ativamente dos acordos entre as burocracias das centrais sindicais e na base do movimento não tem ações para uma Frente Única onde participem não só as direções, mas também a base. Zé Maria, dirigente do PSTU, em um ato considerado radical na Marcha em Brasília, chamou os trabalhadores a enfrentar a policia e avançar a marcha contra ela. Para resistir à repressão e desafiar a burguesia e o Estado como numa greve geral, os trabalhadores precisam de organizações independentes e comitês de autodefesa.  Após os enfrentamentos em Brasília, o governo acionou as Forcas Armadas para proteger o palácio do governo (utilizando lei criada por Dilma), mostrando que a repressão é cada vez maior. Os trabalhadores não podem enfrentar as forcas de repressão com perspectiva de vitoria sem suas organizações e comitês independentes e estando atrelados e dependentes da burocracia sindical que estão fazendo acordos com a burguesia e agindo de acordo com seus interesses.

A classe trabalhadora brasileira precisa romper com suas direções reformistas e se organizar em comitês e em Frente Única onde a base participe e não apenas as direções, para avançar na luta e por uma Greve Geral indefinida que não apenas derrube o governo, mas que tome o poder da burguesia. Essa é a única saída que pode atender as demandas da classe, seus direitos e verdadeira democracia, diante da maior crise capitalista e dos ataques imperialistas. A organização independente dos trabalhadores é a única que pode combater a burguesia e o fascismo, e não a democracia burguesa, que ilude e aliena a classe trabalhadora e enfraquece a luta.

Pela Greve Geral por tempo indeterminado!

Por uma coordenação nacional de comitês de greve!

Pela formação de comitês de base por local de trabalho! Pela formação de comitês de autodefesa dos trabalhadores!

Pela expropriação da JBS e das grandes empreiteiras sob controle dos trabalhadores!

Pelo Partido Revolucionário! Pela Revolução Socialista!
•1 https://grupodetrabalhadoresrevolucionarios.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/greve-geral-do-dia-28-4/
•2 http://www.valor.com.br/agro/4973752/delacao-empurra-jbs-para-os-estados-unidos
•3 http://www.pstu.org.br/%E2%80%9Cdiretas-ja%E2%80%9D-do-pt-ou-%E2%80%9Celeicoes-gerais%E2%80%9D-qual-a-diferenca/

LCC vs. RCIT on immigration

26 May

In an apoplectic fit the RCIT defends the right of fascist emigration, gentrification, capital flight and underdevelopment of the semi-colonies. Yet they say our policy is social-chauvinist. They slip in the non-Marxist innovation of “imperialist and rich countries” throughout their diatribe, thinking themselves clever for having corralled the white-majority worker populations in New Zealand and the U.S. in with the world’s racists.

While we feel the CWG (Aotearoa/NZ) answer to the first of the RCIT’s polemics was sufficient, the charges and slanders which came with the second RCIT screed must also be answered. We post links below to the series of four articles starting with the Class Struggle article wherein our comrades made the distinction between the ‘democratic rights’ of capitalists and fascists to emigrate freely and the conditions of the laboring class internationally as regards our immigration rights.

In the mass movement the ‘Sin Fronteras’ and ‘Open the Borders’ demands are rarely given class context in the U.S.A. because it is accepted that the capitalist state controls the borders and therefore a capitalists’ control of immigration exists in the U.S.A.. We fight for the rights of workers internationally to cross borders not only to escape political and national and religious persecution but for the advancement of themselves as workers who are dictated by the free flow of capital to follow the flows of capital in order to commodify their labor power, i.e. ‘get a fuckin’ job.’

But because of the preferential immigration rules that allow capital extraordinary rights of entry, the comrades in NZ/Aotearoa made the clarification that under workers control of the borders fascists and capital would be excluded at the border. This set the RCIT into an apoplectic fit because it disturbed their bourgeois sensibilities. These we pointed out are the same bourgeois sensibilities that drove them to support the rights of capitalist political parties in Cuba and to stand alongside the capitalist restorationists in the former USSR. The RCIT claims we have no appreciation of the revolutionary potential of democratic demands, yet when the immigrants’ own movement raises such democratic demands, the RCIT does not perform the role of a revolutionary vanguard by attempting to forge united fronts raising demands that pose the question of which class should rule, but on the contrary seeks popular fronts with bourgeois forces around the democratic rights of citizens to freedom of movement! This means the betrayal of the oppressed workers who are arrested and/or trapped by the bourgeois state in the present, since what they need is a mobilized labor movement to force the state to let them in, and they need a workers movement fighting for socialism that scientifically understands the moment-to-moment social weight of the movement and its prospects for success. What the oppressed immigrants DO NOT NEED is a slogan for an abstract, bourgeois freedom for all!

Not incidentally, such demands that neither rally the workers as a class for themselves nor say which class should control the borders is a great disservice of miseducation to radicalizing youth.

First of their slanders is against the working class itself. We are told that in white majority countries when the workers finally gain state power they will employ social-chauvinist policies at the borders. This ignores the transformation of consciousness the class will need to go through in order to win control of the borders, i.e. the state and the economy. Racism as an ideological tool of the ruling class will lose its hegemony as internationalist socialist consciousness replaces it in the course of the actual class struggle. In the real class struggle the various ethnicities, populations and genders will have to defeat their phobias and unite in action. This has always been the understanding of our movement and it is not negated by an orthodox Leninist understanding of the rights of nations to self-determination. Maybe the RCIT confuses the workers state with the Labor Party in government or the Workers party in government or even the ANC in bourgeois parliamentary government. But truth be told, the workers control of the borders requires the defeat of the capitalist class. This is not a policy or demand that can be enforced or realized under a capitalist state. So our slogan For Workers Control of the Borders is qualified with the clear and bold demand that fascists and monarchs in flight and capital are banned and the demands we raise specify the defense of migrant workers to all labor and political rights.

Yet even in the run up to workers seizing the borders from the capitalists we raise transitional demands to stop the preferential treatment provided the gusanos and Marielitos who run from the revolution and the ‘migrant’ capitalists who want to assert their ‘democratic rights’ where migrant labor is criminalized, super-exploited and oppressed.

We do not support an open border for migrants such as Nguyen Kao Ky, the Shah of Iran, Ivan Demjanjuk or any Somoza or Battista or Mobutu. We are not happy at all with the presence of nazi war criminals in the U.S. and we are just as sure workers are right to not want them in New Zealand. We watch as a firm owned by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law sold U.S. Green Cards, a form of work-residence legalization, for the price of $500,000 in Shanghai. We object, but we feel the RCIT is fine with this, finding no conflict with their democratic abstraction of ‘no borders,’ having said as much in their polemic with Class Struggle.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/in-beijing-ballroom-kushner-family-flogs-500000-investor-visa-to-wealthy-chinese-20170506-gvzn58.html

For the RCIT, we are objecting to the immigration of Chinese, like the pre-World War One Socialist Party. But not only is this not remotely like the our true position, which is nothing like the racist national chauvinism they charge, but it is an immense digression from the plight of the real oppressed, the Muslim refugees banned by bourgeois states, in the first place the U.S.A., and the mass deportations threatened against Mexican and Haitian workers right now!

Right at the moment when we are engaged in fighting these racist exclusions, the RCIT slanders us with supporting them!

Capital is always seeking cheap labor and especially skilled cheap labor and will displace populations without any regard for the native economies they destroy. This rule goes for internal displacements within states as well as internationally, i.e., across borders. The importation of rich capitalists from Shanghai, for instance, just as from London, drives up rents and drives workers from home neighborhoods be it in Auckland, San Francisco or New York. This is called gentrification and we have at times been able to organize tenants and neighbors to fight it. What the RCIT does not understand is that the program of revolutionary Marxism does NOT take an agnostic position on any of this, never mind substituting a one-size-fits-all democratic abstraction of “open borders” for a categorical promise to oppressed nations NOT TO CONTINUE with Capital’s project of underdevelopment of their countries when workers take power. But the RCIT plays fast and loose with Lenin to support their slander.

Look at the RCIT method of falsification! “The Bolsheviks continued such a Marxist approach and expressed it on numerous occasions. In 1915, Lenin again wrote that his party unambiguously opposed any support for restrictions on immigration. He concluded that all socialists “who are not against any restrictions of immigration … are in reality jingoes“.”

Now look at Lenin in the original:

“In our struggle for true internationalism & against “jingo-socialism” we always quote in our press the example of the opportunist leaders of the S.P. in America, who are in favor of restrictions of the immigration of Chinese and Japanese workers (especially after the Congress of Stuttgart, 1907, & against the decisions of Stuttgart). We think that one can not be internationalist & be at the same time in favor of such restrictions. And we assert that Socialists in America, especially English Socialists, belonging to the ruling, and oppressing nation, who are not against any restrictions of immigration, against the possession of colonies (Hawaii) and for the entire freedom of colonies, that such Socialists are in reality jingoes.” https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/nov/09.htm

Notice how Lenin qualifies where RCIT omits. Lenin says, “And we assert that Socialists in America, especially English Socialists, belonging to the ruling, and oppressing nation, who are not against any restrictions of immigration, against the possession of colonies (Hawaii) and for the entire freedom of colonies, that such Socialists are in reality jingoes.”” This the RCIT reduces to “He concluded that all socialists “who are not against any restrictions of immigration … are in reality jingoes“.

We maintain what ought to be obvious to those who do not edit Lenin for their own purposes that he is speaking of colonial masses and not our class enemies. He is speaking in a historical moment before industrial underdevelopment took root in what were then colonies of empires, not in the present of ‘neoliberal’ globalism. The borders of today are the borders of the capitalist ruling classes of today. In the present we fight for truly international unions that defend their members on both sides of any given borders and demand “Same Contract! Same Fight! Same Rights! Same expiration date!” We have done so in our past organizational forms dating back over forty years! In this way we fight underdevelopment (NAFTA and TPPA!) as well as the suppression of wages on either side of the border as a result of pressures by the bosses to migrate. And this is true whether we are speaking of Operating Room-qualified medical workers or Electricians or Farm workers.

The RCIT position would additionally abandon the Marxist demand for (workers government) control of foreign trade in favor of fortifying the capitalists’ “democratic right” to free motion of Capital! In perpetuity, i.e., in idealist, class-consideration-free “democracy.” Clearly, when we do raise “Open All Borders” we are speaking for the working class, not for some hypothetical non-white speculators of other “peoples.”

Build anti-racist class struggle caucuses in the unions based on the transitional program!

End attacks on undocumented workers! Free all detained undocumented workers! End the ICE deportation raids! Revive the underground railroad and organize labor defense guards to protect immigrant workers, families and youth! Full employment and citizenship rights for all workers! End super-exploitation through working class solidarity across borders, we demand: Same work, same contract, same wages and working conditions! When we said, Open all the borders we explained that workers are trapped in contrast to Capital which crosses borders at the click of a mouse; we defend the right of all workers to cross the borders and seek work and establish their homes without restrictions and arrests or deportation. We were not implying that Capital’s “democratic rights” would be afforded superior bourgeois rights!

Full labour rights for working migrants, students and tourists.
• Expropriate any businesses that exploit migrants under workers’ control (no compensation to the capitalists).
• For full democratic rights for all workers – including the right to vote from the first pay.
• For working class control of immigration! Workers ban on fascists.
• Ban business migrants and capitalist investors.
• Open the borders to political refugees.

 

CWG-A/NZ:

Aotearoa/NZ: For Workers’ Control of Migration

RCIT:

The Slogan of “Workers’” Immigration Control: A Concession to Social-Chauvinism

CWG-A/NZ:

Worker or Capitalist control of borders? Reply to RCIT

RCIT:

A Social-Chauvinist Defence of the Indefensible

 

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

Radical Political Economy

Blog hub of the Union for Radical Political Economics

Class War In America

The politics of socioeconomic class

La Bataille socialiste

libertarian marxist blog (mostly in french) since 2007

Michael Roberts Blog

blogging from a marxist economist

revolutionaryprogramme

For debate and discussion about the political content of the programme for a revolutionary workers’ party in Ireland.

Fortune Rera's blog

Literary works of comrade Tigwe

Socialist Fight

Liaison Committee for the Fourth International

Communist Workers Group (CWG-USA)

Where organizing workers for revolution is our only agenda.

The Fat Pastor

Love God. Live Well. Do Good.

RWG Zimbabwe

Official blog of the Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe(RWG-Z)