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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

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!

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