Monday, December 5, 2011

There a Real Alternative

Internationalists Communists Klasbatalo havin't any organisational links with the Internationalist Communist Tendency and we still have not so well-defined divergencies with some of their political positions. Nevertheless we've reprinted this very good article because it's important for our class.

There a Real Alternative

There’s one thing about the present crisis: the idea that there must be a better alternative capitalism is gaining ground. Day by day, as daily life becomes more and more gruelling, the need to find that alternative is becoming a practical necessity. Yes, the technological means and infrastructure exist to make another world possible, a world where everybody can make a contribution to society, where no human being is in a position to exploit another and where nobody need go hungry or without a roof over their head. But we should be under no illusion that such momentous — dare we say it, revolutionary, change — can be tolerated, much less introduced by any of the existing political and legal set-ups that comprise even the most ‘democratic’ capitalist state.

In fact, one of the things this crisis is highlighting is that parliamentary democracy has nothing at all to do with giving workers a say in how they live and work. Quite the opposite.

All over the advanced capitalist world parliaments and congresses, upper houses and lower houses, are passing austerity programmes, slashing health care, cutting pensions, reducing social security payments, loosening employment protection laws all of which mean sacrifices for the majority of wage workers for the sake of bailing out a system openly based on making profit. Under capitalism the well-being of the majority of people is incidental to that prime purpose. To any rational observer this is ludicrous.

Our “Democracy” Workers can run things differently.

They carry the seeds of a new society within them every time they decide on collective action. In real independent struggles we organise from the bottom. Mass meetings elect strike committees to coordinate the strike and link up with others in the same boat. The committee is responsible to the mass meeting and can be immediately recalled by it. Committee members can be replaced if necessary.

Compare this to capitalism’s offer of a vote every 5 or so years for one or other party backed by the millions of capitalist money.

Our system would be based on delegates from local level going to regional level and electing delegates to go to higher bodies beyond that.

These are not like MPs who are “representatives”. In fact MPs don’t even represent the voters who elect them but only themselves or their parties. And they cannot be removed for years. A delegate system is entirely different. At every level the delegates can be quickly recalled if they fail to carry out their mandates.

This would be more “democratic” than the current set up. But that is only half the story. You cannot have real “democracy” without economic equality. At the same time as setting up a new political structure we have also got to get rid of the inequalities which capitalism needs to survive. Working people will have to take over the running of their own firms and run them for the community producing for the general good of all.At the same time money as a system of accounting will have to abolished and everything will be freely distributed according to need. This does not mean it would be shared out evenly so that we would have meaningful work for all without drudgery and wage slavery.

Such a world would be organised according to the original motto of Karl Marx “from each according to their ability; to each according to their need.” This is his original vision of communism — a world without classes, nations and states. It has nothing do with the nightmare that emerged in the USSR.

Some will argue that “human nature” will prevent us arriving at such a society.This forgets that human nature is not a static factor. It is fixed by the kind of society you live in. We have had 300 years of capitalist competition, war and greed but it can be shaken off. Revolutions have always altered people’s perceptions. They allow to “get rid of the muck of ages” (Karl Marx). The next one will be no different.

True, our alternative will not come to about overnight. It will have to be fought for politically. This is why we need an international revolutionary organisation which will coordinate our scattered struggles and challenge the capitalist power structure everywhere. This is not a government in waiting (we have no “leaders”) to put yet another set of exploiters in charge but a fighting organisation which leads the onslaught on capital.

We are committed to finding ways to work with other like-minded working class organisations in order to reach the wider working class. If you agree with the principles outlined here help to turn it into reality by joining in the fight. We have a world to win.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The international Sovereign Depts Crisis

Internationalists Communists Klasbatalo havin't any organisational links with the Internationalist Communist Tendency and don't agree with all its political positions. As well we've reprinted this article because it's important for our class.

Internationalists Communists Klasbatalo

2011 August


The international Sovereign Depts Crisis

After the sub-prime crisis it is now the turn of sovereign debt. Bourgeois analysts have rushed to condemn the present serious situation as market madness. Actually the real madness is the entire global capitalist system which is agonisingly debating its own incurable contradictions. The so-called markets are nothing but a dozen or so international banks and financial centres. They speculatively “administer” something like 600 thousand billion dollars a year, equal to 12 times global GDP. This is a mass of fictitious capital which moves every day to the four corners of the earth in search of an immediate economic advantage with the aim of generating more capital to reinvest in other speculative activities like a sort of chain letter where you can see the chain. Money in itself cannot produce more money (except fictitious it should be noted) unless it is productively invested through the wage labour-capital relationship. Speculation, whatever form it takes, does not produce new value but represents only the transfer of value that has already been produced.

This phenomenon is not new to capitalism but it has grown exponentially in the last few decades simply because real production is facing a crisis of profitability which makes it difficult for the accumulation mechanism to operate. What has been universally defined as a financial crisis is really an economic crisis whose origins lie in the increasing difficulty of capitalism to survive with an ever lower rate of profit which is less and less remunerative for investment. The profits crisis has prompted an ever- increasing amount of capital to detach itself from production in search of the false prospect of valorisation through speculation, shifting the problem from the productive to the speculative sector. This in turn — after causing a series of burst financial bubbles — has returned to the world of real production, worsening the very precarious condition which launched the perverse speculative mechanism in the first place. This is the context in which the crisis of sovereign debt was born and raised and which, with different levels of intensity, engulfs all the major capitalist states.

Sovereign debt, or rather public debt — in other words the debt that the state contracts with national and foreign subscribers in order to finance it own activities — is so much greater the more the state has to intervene to support the national economy. In the last few decades, besides the normal financing of public affairs, sovereign debt has had to provide for the failures which the progressive decline in the rate of profit has wrought on enterprises in both the private and public sphere. When the crisis then broke out in the financial sphere the public debt had to shoulder the burden of restoring the health of the banks and institutions directly involved in the crisis. It meant a sort of nationalisation of finance way beyond state support for some of the giants of private enterprise like the engineering section of the motor manufacturers.

For the top imperialist countries the costs of war and arms expenditure have done the rest. One example above all the rest is the American situation. For years the crisis of the falling rate of profit has continued within the mechanism of the valorisation of capital. It has favoured the flight to speculation and determined the bursting of the financial bubble which has burned billions and billions of dollars, forcing the state into a hasty and costly intervention which has dried up its financial reserves and brought it to the brink of collapse. Its sovereign debt has reached 14.5 thousand billion dollars equal to 102% of GDP. According to some American analysts the debt is really greater and would be equal to 140% of GDP if it were not for a statistical calculation which does not include the amount of bonds acquired by insurance funds and the individual states. With these sort of numbers the US could never have entered into the parameters of the Maastricht agreement, or if it had already been inside it would have ended up worse than Greece, Portugal or Spain. If we added on the debts of individual states, which amount to 11% of GDP, and included the debts of families and firms the picture we end up with is catastrophic. The state of Minnesota has declared itself bankrupt. It is no longer capable of ensuring social services and cannot pay state employees. It is waiting for the Federal Government to intervene with finance which has not yet arrived. Another forty states are almost in the same condition. The wonder is that the reclassification of US bonds has only happened now and not before and then only by Standard and Poor, whilst Moody’s continue to grant Triple A status. In this regard the protest of the US Treasury over a presumed error of 2000 billion in the calculation appears ridiculous if not embarrassing. Furthermore, the weakness of American bonds quoted in dollars has unleashed a planetary currency war with the Euro at the head that puts the already shaky European economy at risk. China — with $1,250 billion in its monetary reserves — is crying that it is a scandal. It reproves the US Government for living beyond its means, of not doing enough to put things right. It threatens the possibility of diversifying its foreign exchange holdings (which it began to do some years back) and calls for a new international currency as substitute for the dollar, if only in the form of a basket of more trustworthy currencies.

So what are the remedies for getting out of the crisis? The usual ones, with a few differences. In 1929 the financial means existed to set up a mechanism to support demand, but today this is no longer possible. The financial means no longer exist, states are heavily loaded with debt and the only way that capitalism can keep going is by a further degradation of labour power. Let’s give a general example, again from the USA, where the biggest social carnage in modern history is being organised. With a social fabric where real unemployment has already reached 16% (official figures say 9.8% but these are absolutely false because they don’t take into account people who are not signing on and do not include anyone who has worked even a few weeks in a year), where 50 million live in absolute poverty — and 90% of them survive on handouts from charities — the axe is coming down on public spending. The bi-partisan plan proposed, or imposed, by Obama foresees an assault on social care and welfare benefits, a further overhaul of the relation between capital and labour, drastic reductions in public spending, partial tax increases which would only hit income from wages and not from financial returns and rents, and deep cuts to anything associated with state intervention. No more social state, only taxes and cuts which means more unemployment and an increase in both absolute and relative poverty. It also means greater exploitation in the workplace with an accompanying reduction in real wages, first of all in those sectors exposed to international competition and then everywhere else. Getting a job is difficult and there is no guarantee of keeping it when you do. The retirement age has increased and cuts in medical care will follow. The proposals underline how Obama’s plans for reforming the health system — which exist only on paper — are now being aborted whilst huge spending cuts are envisaged for the already inadequate Medicare and Medicaid. More or less the same recipe that has been imposed on Greece in order to receive the subsidies from the ECB and which the other European countries are being obliged to adopt in order to survive this second wave of the international crisis. This is as much as capitalism can concede in its period of historical decline. The paradox is that while the development of the productive forces could easily allow more goods and better services for everyone, within the framework of capitalism this is transformed into a crisis of the rate of profit which not only does not allow social well-being from the wealth produced, but triggers economic crises with their devastating consequences weighing down on the shoulders of those who produce the wealth, the proletariat. This is without taking into account the danger of wars that are no longer limited to strategic areas for raw materials, but more general warfare for the survival of this or that imperialism, never mind the environmental devastation and unlicensed predation of the planet’s resources.

If this is the outlook, it is more than ever the hour of the world revolutionary party, of class revolt against the crisis of capital, against the inevitable politics of tears and blood, for the creation of a society without classes, without capital and without the cursed economic laws linked to the logic of profit. A retro idea? No! This is the only solution to the devastating consequences of an outdated economic and social system which, in order to survive in its own contradictions, is forced to feed off the international proletariat. This is the only practical way out of the whole historical arc of capitalist productive relations.


Internationalist Communist Tendency

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In front of the growing working class danger, the bourgeoisie opposes the democratic poison

Here is a very good text from our comrades of the Fraction of the International Communist Left.

Warning from FICL : the translations into English we do, are made by comrades whose knowledge of this language is very relative. Thus, besides the lack of easiness for the reading, our English texts may present some mistakes and confusions which aren't political but "technical".

It is now obvious for all, workers as well as bourgeois and capitalist governments, that the international proletariat is rising up and revolting massively against the class consequences of the capitalist economical crisis. From the struggles of the last fall in the main Western Europe countries - just to mention these ones -, to the working class movements in the Arab countries, up to the Spanish "Indignous" movement and the massive and persistent rejection of the austerity measures in Greece, the international working class refuses to pay for the crisis and to accept without fighting back the dramatical misery that capitalism attempts to impose everywhere.

Facing this situation, the ruling class leads at the international level a wide offensive against the working class by speeding up its "democratic" mystification campaign. Today, it exerts it permanently and in a more concentrated manner than it did these last years. It develops it in all possible manners and at different levels which correspond to the intensity and the immediate conditions of the classes struggle. In particular, the present campaigns which are essentially based on lie and distortion of reality, aim at make believe that :

-the "democratic revolution" is the only fight to lead (Tunisia, Egypt, Arab countries...) ;

-the present struggles in the "democratic" countries are actually struggles "for more democracy" whether it is at the level of their form as well as their goal and content (the organisation "democracia real ya !" - "real democracy now !" - in the movement of the Spanish "indignados" obviously looks at taking the leadership of the workers fight to derail it towards the bourgeois ground of the "real democracy" - sic ! ).

All the fractions of the bourgeoisie, from the extreme-Left to the extreme-Right, are engaged - each one at its level - and share the tasks in this political offensive against the working class. The fraction of the Left and extreme-Left (stalinists, leftists, anarchists...) have for specific role to poison the working class within its very struggles by attempting to transform these ones into dead-end and mortal traps.

Today, the working class is clearly and increasingly responding to the attacks. It more and more raises the question of challenging the very existence of capitalism and of the social class which benefits of it. That is why the bourgeoisie strives to persuade the workers to direct their anger and readiness to fight towards "democratic reforms", indeed "democratic revolutions".

Democracy today, as long as capitalism does live, as long as the social classes do exist, is the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, is the most efficient form of its class power. Fighting for this, is fighting to maintain capitalism, is fighting to the benefit of the enemy. On the contrary, the workers must take back the slogan of one banner seen at the June 15th demonstration in Greece (see Note) : "You got the disease, we got the solution : REVOLUTION".

The political vanguard organizations of the working class, particularly the ones of the Communist Left, have the great responsibility of warning their class, of preventing it against the danger and to divert it from this trap of an illusory quest for a "real" and "pure" democracy in capitalism. This illusion is mortal and it is consciously put forwards by the ruling class. These political vanguard organizations must, today as never, push the proletarian fight towards the only goal which has any sense : capitalism's destruction and the setting up of a society without exploitation and without classes.

The Fraction of the International Communist Left , June 19th, 2011.

"… shouting in defense of “democracy in general” is actually defense of the bourgeoisie and their privileges as exploiters.

(…) Marxists have always maintained that the more developed, the “purer" democracy is, the more naked, acute and merciless the class struggle becomes, and the “purer” the capitalist oppression and bourgeois dictatorship"". (Thesison Bourgeois Democracy and Dictatorship of Proletariat – 1st Congress of the International Communist – March 1919)


It matters to note that the stubborn and increasing refusal of the proletariat in Greece to suffer the brutal and dramatical austerity measures set up by Papandreou's socialist government, has compelled this one to a cabinet reshuffle in some emergency the very day of the June 15th demonstration. In particular, significant is the replacement of the Minister of economy. The international praises about his economical management were unanimous. The substitute, on the contrary, would have more “political” qualities. Besides the need for the Greek bourgeoisie to get a government team more united and a larger support from within the State apparatus and from the whole ruling class, while dissensions begun to appear in its ranks, this episode reveals that the true turmoil which has affected the international bourgeoisie, governments, politicians, medias, financial circles, etc. was not so much due to the financial risks – Greece's insolvency and the no-repayment of its debt -, thus of economical level in itself, but well to a political risk : the difficulty, indeed the impossibility, to make accept by the proletariat austerity and thus the perspective of an aggravation of the classes confrontation.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spain - The "indignados" on the streets, for now lacking real proletarian anger

Internationalists Communists Klasbatalo havin't any organisational links with the Internationalist Communist Tendency and don't agree with all its political positions. As well we've reprinted this article because it's important for our class.

Internationalists Communists Klasbatalo

June 2011


The movement of young Spaniards, the “indignados” (1), emerged suddenly, but not unexpectedly from the seemingly flat calm of European society. From the day it burst on the scene (15 May, hence the name “15-M”), its ranks have quickly swelled, attracting thousands and thousands of people onto the streets, and even going beyond national borders. (2) Despite the important and heavy presence of minority political forces of the institutional left, the mobilisation has been largely spontaneous and built through word of mouth and social networking pages rather than through party manifestos.

According to the manifesto of the movement “Real Democracy, Now!” the prime mover of these events, the young people in the streets seem, largely, to want greater democracy and social equality (3). To many there is an obvious similarity between the Spanish 15-M movement and the Italian “grillini”.(4) It is obvious even to its boss Beppe. He wasn’t slow to arrive in the square in Barcelona, pointing out the similarities of their demands — against the party oligarchies, for the exclusion of those accused of corruption from the electoral list and for a participatory democracy — with his. On this level it should also be noted that the main beneficiary of the movement may be the Izquierda Unida, (5) which is severely handicapped by the current electoral system.

But it is very doubtful that such a description of the movement explains everything. If amongst the various banners in the Puerta del Sol a large black one, stood out proclaiming “The crisis is capitalism”, none of the various postings on the net spoke of it. And few people have correctly understood the social pressures that have led so many young people to take to the streets (or rather squares) across the country. Looking at the most recent figures, we find that in Spain the number of unemployed in March grew by 34,406 compared to February, reaching 4.3 million people (according to the sanitised figures of the Ministry of Labour). In the services sector alone nearly 15,000 jobs have been lost in a month, and in February, the Spanish unemployment rate was already 20.5%, the highest figure in the European Union. If you look at youth unemployment, this affects 44.6% of young people under 25 years. The Spanish government hopes to keep the state debt below 74.3% of the current figure in 2012, provided, however, they are able to drastically reduce government spending and the budget deficit, which is currently 11.4%. Whoever is elected in local elections these days, in particular, will have to deal with budgets already deep in the red. Municipalities and regions account for about half of total public expenditure. In all, there 5200 local and regional entities whose debt is around €26 billion, to which we should add about €4 billion advanced to drug companies supplying state hospitals.

The movement, in fact, appears a lot more varied than the descriptions usually given. It is marked by a deep social malaise with its roots in the particular characteristics of the Spanish production system and more generally in the rampant crisis of global capitalism, that has hit the Spanish economy so hard. The real growing evil is capitalism itself, as the young Spaniards in Madrid correctly wrote. This evil growth, parasitic on the overwhelmingly proletarian of the population, certainly cannot be cured through injections of democratic illusions and equal opportunities. The deeper social aspirations that young people are trying to bring to the streets are basically legitimate, and we must support them by participating actively in the demonstrations and encouraging the expansion of the protests. Communists, however, should make it clear that the hope for social equality and a real participation in “democracy” cannot be obtained “Ya!” [“Now!”],without a radical and complete overthrow of the current social system. It is obvious that the rich banker or industrialist will never really on be the same level as a worker or an unemployed youngster whilst the former control of the means of production and the latter can at most hope to find a job where they will be exploited according to “market” conditions.

In any case, we proletarians don’t care about the fate of the system that nourishes itself on our exploitation. Instead we want to throw acid on the roots of this evil growth, we want to strike at it in the very heart of its productive system, looking in every area for solidarity between the workers who work and the many that have lost jobs or have never found them. In Spain and elsewhere, the aim should be to expand and radicalise this social conflict on class lines, to revolutionise the whole of society from the bottom up and build a new one that meets human needs and not those of profit. In Spain and elsewhere, the aim should be to build a revolutionary vanguard, which can unify and give political guidance in this deep social malaise. Otherwise, the plaza (square) has served only as an outlet to contain “popular” indignation, without being able to put forward a class perspective, without leaving a new and more widespread awareness of the conflicting interests in play, without outlining any prospect of broader aims to finally get rid of this system of production which is behind all the current social instability.

Battaglia Comunista #6, June 2011

Internationalist Communist Tendency

(1)Indignados = “angry ones”

(2)At midnight on May 21, 25,000 people gathered in the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, at the heart of the protest were young Spaniards, breaking the ban on demonstrations before the impending elections. At the same time, some 10,000 people demonstrated in Barcelona’s Plaza de Catalunya, and thousands more crowded into the streets of all major cities in Spain.

(3) In short, there are many proposals for more democratic reforms: the abolition of several laws that are held to be unfair; including the electoral law, a referendum to confirm all the most important laws, abolition of the monarchy, complete separation between the State and the Church, removal of state funding for religious institutions, separation and no interference between politics and the judiciary; measures against corruption and the excessive power of the ruling “caste”, which includes opening of the electoral rolls, exclusion of those accused of corruption from public office, reform of the financing of political parties, cutting pensions annuities, administrative decentralization, with more involvement of regions, provinces, and municipalities in the management of budgets, more direct democracy through the web and telecommunication networks. The other driving force is the struggle against social inequality: tax reform in favour of lower income, taxation of financial income, nationalisation of banks bailed out with state funding, the limits on job insecurity, the minimum wage. Finally, environmental and pacifist demands: immediate closure of all nuclear power plants and support for alternative energy, increased public transport and a decrease in private car use, cycle lanes and free tickets for the unemployed, and no reduction in military spending to intervene in any war scenario.

(4)Beppe Grillo is an Italian alternative comedian who, on the premise that the Italian political establishment was already beyond a joke has started up his one political movement known as “Five Stars” (Cinque Stelle). He is the patron (boss) referred to in the next sentence.

(5)The United Left (Izquierda Unida, IU) is a political coalition that was organized in 1986 as several political organisations opposed Spain joining NATO. It was formed by a number groups of leftists, greens, left-wing socialists and republicans, but was dominated by the Communist Party of Spain (PCE). It replaced the latter in the polls and got 9% at its height but has since declined.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Canadian elections: Down with the Electoral Circus Long Live the Struggle of the Proletariat

On May 2 the Canadian parliamentary circus will stage its umpteenth performance for the election of a new federal government.

The various parties of the bourgeoisie are falling over each other to participate in this charade once more and to convince workers that in voting for them they will improve their lot!

Meanwhile the living conditions of the proletarian class continue to deteriorate including job cuts, as with the announced closure in 2012 of the Electrolux appliance factory located in the town of L'Assomption, Quebec. The attacks against the social gains (Note 1 of ICK)won through hard struggles of workers, continue across Canada, as in the last budget of the Quebec finance minister Raymond Bachand . The tuition fees for this province's universities, which are historically the lowest in North America will increase $ 325 per year from 2012 onwards in order to reach the Canadian average, from $ 2,168 (current levels) to $ 3,793 per annum! Contributions to the Quebec Pension Plan were also increased, thereby increasing the pressure on proletarian incomes, and an increased penalty from 0.5% to 0.6% for those retiring before age 65 was introduced.

In Toronto, the largest Canadian city, the mayor newly elected in 2010, Rob Ford, wants to privatize much of the waste collection, the Toronto Housing Corporation and “anything that is not written in stone”, ie much of the city's public works. The goal is to reduce the working conditions of the proletariat who work in the public services as much as possible.

The Conservative government's latest budget in March of this year introduced a planned increase in contributions to employment insurance, a cut in taxes for large companies, a freeze in operating expenses of Crown corporations like the CBC and Canada Post to prevent any wage increase for employees, etc...

This is just a foretaste of what awaits the Canadian working class, because the effects of the capitalist crisis which continues to intensify, requiring the bourgeoisie to increase its exploitation by attacking its conditions of life and work, including slashing gains previously granted to maintain social peace. The proletariat can only answer back with struggle – not through elections.

Contrary to the myth propagated by the ruling class, its media monopoly, bourgeois institutions (schools, churches, etc ...) the reformist parties and trade unions [Note 2 of ICK], elections do not represent any expression of “popular will” . The orientation of public policy is determined by the interests of large capitalist groups for whom the bourgeois state is a servant.

The elections are used only to mystify the proletariat into believing that the ballot may help to “change things”. They perpetuate the democratic illusions that all “citizens” are equal and that the state is a neutral institution politely obeying little pieces of paper deposited in the ballot box; and therefore that there is no need of class struggle. These illusions, which are a major obstacle to the resumption of the class struggle, help to maintain the powerful myth that democratic institutions can be used to advance the interests of the proletariat, whereas in reality they are in the exclusive service of the ruling class and are used to suppress the proletarian struggle.

One aspect of these elections (the fourth in seven years!) is the campaign initiated by the reformist left, which calls for no votes for for the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in power since January 2006, and which would be particularly dangerous and reactionary. Without doubt the party is deeply reactionary and anti-worker, but how is it different from the other bourgeois parties? The Liberal Party of Canada has been the main party of the bourgeoisie since Canadian Confederation in 1867 and has consistently attacked the rights and interests of the proletariat, especially with the War Measures Act in 1970 under the pretext of quelling an apprehended insurrection in Quebec. The Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, has promised he will continue the imperialist intervention in Afghanistan if re-elected! When it he was in power in the 90s, the Liberal Party brutally Unemployment Insurance and diverted funds for this program to offset the federal deficit! The New Democratic Party (still paper members of the reformist Second International) focuses its rhetoric on support to families and improved health care for seniors. The regionalist bourgeois nationalist Bloc Québécois, speaks only of “Quebec's interests”, as if workers and employers in Quebec had similar interests! As for the Green Party of Canada, it simply proposes to humanize the management of the environment within capitalism, when it is precisely capitalism which is responsible for the continuing deterioration of the environment. All this reveals a little more clearly the false alternatives presented to us by the electoral circus and demonstrates the fallacy of the “Anybody But Harper” campaign which fits perfectly in the defense of the capitalist system of exploitation by putting forward a “lesser evil” to the Conservative Party. Like the Conservatives, the promoters of this campaign are class enemies of the proletariat.

All parties represented in the Canadian Parliament voted unanimously in favor of imperialist intervention in Libya on the pretext of “protecting the life of Libyan civilians”! The Green Party is in favor of a “rapid and sustained diplomatic intervention in Libya to prevent the situation from degenerating into civil war.” “We must not lose sight of our priority – to prevent the deaths of countless innocent Libyan civilians,” reported Ellen Michelson, the Green spokesperson for Peace and Security. “Diplomatic efforts must counterbalance the military presence to ensure the maximum to avoid loss of life and structural damage.” All this verbiage is a thinly disguised support for imperialist war against Libya coated in “humanitarian concerns”. The elections divert attention away from the immediate interests of proletarians, but they also divert attention from ongoing imperialist interventions.

The party of the reformist left and the petit-bourgeois in Quebec, Quebec Solidarity participates fully in the campaign against the Conservatives. It denounces the right wing politics vigorously pursued by this party and its obsession with security, common to all bourgeois governments, and insists that the policy of the Harper government would run “counter to widely held values in the Quebec population: social justice, defense of the French language and culture, equality between women and men, development of a green Quebec, human rights, international solidarity, democracy”(1). This typical petty-bourgeois nationalist phraseology makes no mention of the working class and the class struggle and spreads the illusions of a possible “better” world under the yoke of capital!

And as for the Conservatives' obsession with security, it is important to remember the system of security certificates which allows immigrants who are not Canadian citizens to be detained without charge or trial under the pretext of “terrorism.” The call not to vote for the Conservative Party is simply support for a fraction of the ruling class, regarded as more “enlightened”, against another that is more reactionary. The proletariat has absolutely no interest in marching off to enlist in this campaign to keep the class domination of the bourgeoisie intact .

Some far left militants, like the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party, launched a campaign to boycott the federal elections of 2011 (2). This is a democratic campaign to boycott elections. Its proponents do not appeal to the workers to boycott the elections to make hasten the rupture with democratic illusions and for the return to class struggle, but because these elections are not democratic enough! They say their boycott campaign will serve to expose the “non-democratic” nature of these elections and to call for a struggle for “popular democracy” and “people's power” ; apparently this struggle consist in... beginning “the discussion on how to create true equality and true democracy”! Since they want to reinforce illusions in democracy, it is natural that they do not talk about the division of “people” into opposing classes and they hide the fact that “real equality” can only come after the revolution, the destruction of the bourgeois state and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a necessary step to dismantle capitalism and move to a communist society without classes.

For these elections, like all others, the only position that corresponds to the interests of the proletariat is revolutionary abstentionism, position supported by the Communist Left since the early twenties (3).

The strength of the proletariat, whose exploitation gives life to all of bourgeois society, lies solely in its collective action, organized and conducted on a class basis. The electoral arena, by definition interclassist, where each isolated proletarian will separately file his ballot alongside those of individuals of all other classes, is a phony terrain that serves only the ruling class. On the one hand because the bourgeoisie has established and maintains a huge and multifaceted apparatus (media, political parties, various institutions ...) of anti-proletarian propaganda and forming of “public opinion”; and secondly because the parliament and the whole democratic political system are far removed from the real centers of power in capitalist society: their main function is to deflect the discontent into the maze of harmless alternations between bourgeois politicians from the right and the left.

To defend themselves against exploitation and repression, to fight against the bourgeois politics, to express solidarity with the proletariat of other countries, the working class will have to abandon its democratic, legalistic and pacifist illusions, and come in open confrontation with the exploiting class.

The proletarian struggle does not pass through the electoral circus and bourgeois democratic institutions, it fights them! Proletarians have nothing to gain by participating in bourgeois elections where capitalism is always the winner!

The only solution for the proletariat in Canada and around the world is the resumption of the class struggle to defend its exclusive class interests continuing on to the overthrow of the capitalist system under the leadership direction of the political class party.

No to the electoral circus!

Down with capitalism, down with imperialism!

For the return of the class struggle, for the restoration of the international class party, for the international communist revolution!




International Communist Party

April, 15th 2011

1- Note of ICK :The supposed "social gains hard-won by the working class"are in fact rather economic and political transformations, that is an international trend in state capitalism, created by agencies totally bourgeois : unions, parties Stalinists and social democrats in order to maintain capitalism, that real gains for the working class.

2-Note of ICK : We view the trade unions as organizations bound by a thousand and one ties to the state by laws, subsidies and dialogue. To change the trade union leadership or to attempt to transform the unions is impossible, inasmuch as their links to the state are organic. This includes the rejection of red or anarchist trade unions.

Internationalists Communists Klasbatalo havin't any organisational links with the International Communist Party and don't agree with all its political positions. As well we've reprinted this pamphlet because it's important for our class.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The "Mass Strike" today and tomorrow

We publish this text from the International Communist Bulletin of February 2011, organ of the Fraction of the International Communist Left.

Internationalist Communists - Klasbatalo

"Political and economic strikes, mass strikes and partial strikes, demonstrative strikes and fighting strikes, general strikes of individual branches of industry and general strikes in individual towns, peaceful wage struggles and street massacres, barricade fighting – all these run through one another, run side by side, cross one another, flow in and over one another – it is a ceaselessly moving, changing sea of phenomena. And the law of motion of these phenomena is clear: it does not lie in the mass strike itself nor in its technical details, but in the political and social proportions of the forces of the revolution"
(Rosa Luxemburg , The Mass Strike, 1906).

The present world situation illustrates the analisis that Rosa Luxemburg made on the "Mass Strike" in the period of the 1905 Russian Revolution. Obviously, we aren't on the eve of the Revolution. But the proletarian struggles increase almost everywhere around the planet, in capitalism's "central" countries as well as in the "peripherical" ones, and take various forms : isolated strikes or full sector of the economy as well as general strikes which spread in a city or in a whole country ; spontaneous strikes (without unions call) or "wildcat" as well as long strikes that the great unions have more and more difficulties to control ; demonstrations of proletarian young students whose perspectives of future collapse as well as public sector and big industries workers who see their living conditions worsening. In more than an occasion, the "economical" struggle of resistance are transformed in "political" struggles against the government or, at least, against the most representative figures of the capital's interests (even though, of course, these political struggles are still caught, controlled and led by the Left forces of the capital itself)... Furthermore the struggles develop every time more simultaneously ; they carry in themselves a strong tendency to spread, to seek solidarity and thus to become every time more determined and militant (Note). Thus the conditions which have created this struggle climate aren't temporary : the continuation of capitalism's fall in the worse crisis of its history enables us to foresee a long period, of many years, of this tendency to the rise of the proletariat's class struggle, a true international "mass strike".

Of course, in every country, the proletariat's struggles confront more and more fiercely to the different obstacles the capitalist State sets up ; in first the unions. For the moment, the majority of the strikes and the "Days of struggle" in countries like France and Spain are organized by the great unions in order to let off steam the growing discontent of the workers and, at the same time, to confine it in a framework which doesn't really enable to stop the capital's attacks against their living conditions. Nevertheless, these Days still are an expression of the growing discontent and combativity of the proletarians and of the bourgeoisie's need to anticipate on the spontaneous and out of control explosions. Futhermore, the proletariat begins to be conscious of itself as a class, to feel the need to overcome the sector barriers in which the unions enclose it, to seek solidarity and to become aware of the need to take control of its struggle outside the unions.

Then come the political parties of capital, particularly the parties and other organizations of the "capital's Left". As we could see in Greece since the beginning of past year, and as we now see in Tunisia and Egypt, the proletariat's anger (and of other exploited classes) can break out at any moment, in any country ; it is enough with an additional pinch of injustice (a youth's murder by police, rising prices of first necessity products...) for coming out onto a situation of spontaneous demonstrations and of generalized revolt which drive to open confrontations with the State repression forces. Then, the true role of "Left" parties of the bourgeoisie, as the "Socialdemocrats", the "Left Democrats" or all kind of stalinists, appear in all its cruelty and all its extent. Through the "change" of leaders, their role is to give back credit to the capitalist State to keep alive amongt the proletarians the harmful illusion that it does exist "solutions to capitalism's crisis" and "solutions to their problems". Nevertheless, if much workers still keep on illusions on the Left parties of capital, the actions of the latters - which appear more and more openly in favor of capital's interests and against the workers – carry in themselves a process of decline of their image, a process of growing consciouness within the working class that they are ennemy forces.

The proletarian struggles are indeed also confronted, more and more directly, with the repression forces of the capitalist State - judicial aparatus, police, army - which are constantly reinforced. In Mexico, the massive lay-off of 40 000 workers of the electric sector in the late 2009, had been preceded by the brutal occupation of the work places by the federal and anti-riot police ; in the "democratic" Spain of Socialist Zapatero, the December 2010 "wildcat" strike of the air controllers has been broken by the airport control by the army. Increasingly, workers demonstrations end up in violent confrontations with the police (Greece, Great-Britain, India, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt...) which, far from what the bourgeois medias hurl at us, are everytime less the product of "direct actions" of "small radical groups" and more and more due to the anti-riot police. In the last, this aspect is a clear sign of the conflict sharpening of the two antagonistic classes of the society : on one part, it is the intensification of the fierce attacks of the capitalist class against the living and working conditions of the proletarians as well as the preparation of this class and of its State to confront the exploited's resistance ; on the other part, it is a clear sign that the working class's attempts to resist and to engage in the struggle against capital are becoming more determined and wider.

Finally, all this climate of increasing classes struggle is methodically and knowingly distorted by the capital's medias, press, radio, TV, without forgetting Internet. Never so many means of information have existed as today... but at the same time never has the ruling class used as today these means to avoid the proletariat to get a clear idea of the present stakes ; to avoid each worker become conscious that, everywhere, his class brothers rise up and fight exactly for the same reasons as the ones he is himself outraged (unemployment, direct and undirect attacks at work, constant worsening of the living conditions for his family, increasing exploitation and oppression) ; to avoid that everyone be aware these struggles are his and that these ones carry on spreading in all continents ; actually to avoid the proletarians recognize themselves as a class with the same interests and the same goals : fighting capitalist exploitation.

At first place, there's the greatest censorship possible - at national scale as well as world wide - on the proletarian struggles. For instance, everybody has been informed, up to nausea, of the assassination attempt against the democrat US congress woman in Phoenix. But, except the readers of the militant press, how many workers have been informed of the strikes in the United-States of the past year in which thousands of proletarians of different sectors participate to ? Then, if they can't completely hide them anymore because their wideness, the bourgeois medias distort in any ways the class struggles by presenting them as essentially "local" or "national", or as "selfish and irresponsible reactions which oppose to the adjustments capitalism judges necessary and profitable to the whole population" ("cuts in the State spendings" or "streamligning of enterprises" which supposedly make indispensable lowering salaries, massive redudancies or pension cuts) ; or by presenting them as "small extremist groups'" actions or as responses to "corrupted" governments that it is enough to change to bring back calm. The height of cynism is the frequent affirmation according to which the workers on struggle are "privileged" who, "selfishly", pretend to keep their living conditions at the expense of the rest of the population !

The conditions are present for the continuation of the classes struggle development

In this situation, the medias try by all means to hide or to minimize the struggles, or even to lose the fact that they obey to the same fundamental causes. Since this makes more difficult workers' growing consciousness that they have common interests and aims, the simultaneous sudden appearance of wide struggle movements in all continents become even mor significant.

Two important historical facts are at the basis of this situation. Firstly, the generalized attacks and every time more brutal and direct against the living and working conditions that the workers and the other exploited classes suffer from the capitalist class because the inexorable collapse of the capitalist system in its worse fall in economical crisis of its history. It is more and more obvious that all the efforts of the bourgeoisie of all countries and of all sectors to "save itself" and to "recover" from the crisis, have their foundation in the exploitation, up to the last drop, of the working force by all undirect and direct means it has at its disposal. For instance, the "funds transfer" from the State - at first rank the first world power – to "save" the great banks and the great industries actually consists in making pay this "rescue" by the workers through the explosion of unemployment, taxes rises and direct and undirect salaries cuts). And this happens in all countries around the world, as well as in the great capitalist powers as in the smallest and weakest. This capital's generalized charge against the proletariat is at the basis of the simultaneous and sudden appearance of a multitude of seats of resistance struggles at the world level.

Moreover, it is increasingly obvious that the supposed "end of the 2010 recession" is clearly appearing for what it is : a lie and, for the least, an illusion. In order to justify this, the bourgeois medias look for make believe that it is because the slown down of the "recovery" in the United-States or because the responsibility of many European countries whose public finances are collapsing. According to the economical area where they belong to, the medias warn against the growing "risks" of a new and next "economical" relapse whose cause would be the "responsibility" of the other one area. Behind this mediatical war, we find the sharpening of the commercial and financial war between the different "blocs" of the national bourgeoisies (at first even though not only, around the United-States and Great-Britain against the Euro-zone).

But, at this Russian roulette to which the world capitalist forces play, there is an additional element for the worsening of the crisis : inflation. We'll see in the next months a period of generalized rise of the prices, firstly of the energy and first necessity products ; it is already the spark which have launched many of the recent revolts (Tunisa, Algeria, Egypt, Chile...).

All in all, the crisis sharpening and, with it, of the material conditions don't but provoke the multiplication of the exploited's resistance struggles which not only tend to maintain themselves but also to become everytime wider and deeper.

There is a second fact also of historical meaning, which manifests itself at international scale and during an extended period, what Rosa Luxemburg called the "masses strike" ; it is what we can perceive today in the proletariat's willingness to defend itself and to struggle ; it means the existence at the same time of "objective" factors and of "subjective" ones which are in favor of the spreading and the deepening of the proletariat's fight against capitalism.

For one part, we can notice a tendency towards "contagion", it means to the appearance of a tendency to the international extension of the struggles. Since the struggles in France, the workers of other European countries (Great-Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium...) have also embarked on the battle with the consciousness that the capital's attacks are the same everywhere. More recently, the social movement which has inflamed Tunisia during a month, has served as an example and as a detonator to the massive demonstrations which have shaken up the other countries in North Africa for the same reasons : the increase of the first necessity products price. At the same time, and again despite the obstacles that the bourgeoisie sets up - in particular the union control whose one task is to maintain the demands and the workers struggles divided -, we too see in the struggle the beginnings of solidarity expressions between workers of different sectors (even at the international scale), which means that the basis for a future unification of the demands and the goals of the struggles do exist.

What is also striking in the present struggles, it the anger and the combativity which don't stop growing. The action of the police forces of the capitalist State whose aim is to "dissuade", it means to terrorize and to repress the struggles, has become its opposite in various occasions : a stimulus pushing the workers to go out in the street in order to protest massively against the governments. The exceptional situation of the violent and massive revolts in Greece, more than a year ago, tends now to reproduce itself in various countries : Great-Britain, Tunisia, India, Egypt...

We also have to note the existence of tendency towards "politicization" of the struggles in the sense that the demonstrations in front of the worsening of the economical conditions give way every time more to open opposition to the State and to its more distinguished representations. Obviously, the bourgeois parties of "opposition" take over and take advantage of this "politicization". Nevertheless, they express a tendency amongst the proletarians to take consciousness that the response to give to the worsening of their living conditions is not simply at the factory or sector level, it means at the local and "economical" one, but that it has to be more "general", more "global" and thus too "political".

Finally, we must underline the fact that, with the acceleration of these struggle movements, does accelerate too the development of political proletarians vanguard minorities who look to go beyond the immediat struggles, who reflect on the defeats' causes, who seek to gather and organize in order to prepare in the best conditions the struggles of tomorrow, to make them that they'll be no defeated or taken over by the capital's forces and that they go towards the "true change" which is capitalism's destruction ; all in all, minorities who look for a revolutionary alternative and a revolutionary commitment. For instance, the defeat of the French mobilisations against the attack on the pensions system has left a multitude of small workers' "assemblies" where they, with members of various political organizations, discuss on the perspectives of organization and of struggle. A similar mood exists elsewhere. This reflects in the increase of correspondances, of discussions and contacts of the revolutionary groups.

By regrouping their forces, the communists will be able to fully play their role in the class.

This open situation that we define as the "mass strike", makes even more essential and urgent the intervention of the revolutionary minorities within their class, in particular the one of the groups and militants of the Communist Left.

Of course, one aspect of the ideological campaigns of the bourgeoisie against the proletarians (to which do participate even groups which declare themselves "revolutionaries" as the anarchists for instance), is to sow workers' distrust towards the truly revolutionary and communist political groups in order they see them as "external", "foreign" and even "dangerous" to working class's eyes. It is why we don't stop insisting on the fact that the revolutionary groups, in particular the ones of Communist Left are an entire part of the working class itself, the one which is "the most conscious and the most determined" ; that they simply are - as the Communist Manifesto said in 1847 - the ones who "point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality" ; they are "on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement" ; and their goals are : "formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat".

In this sense, it is firstly indispensable that, in this period, the revolutionary minorities put forward the common interests of the class which lie in the struggles which appear everywhere. Their task is not only to "spread information", nor to simply call for the struggle, but above all to boost the tendencies towards extension and unification of the struggles beyond any sectorial or national division that bourgeoisie tries to impose. They have to underline their common nature as parts of a movement of the whole working class, of a movement whose cuases and historical goals – the destruction of the Capitalist State and the seizure of power by the proletariat at the international scale - are the same.

At the same time, it is indispensable that the revolutionaries assume their task of passing on the legacy of the experiences of the past struggles which are in their hands as well as the revolutionary theory - marxism - in such a way that the proletarians can benefit for their present fights. Through this, not only revolutionaires contribute to increase the capacity of the whole proletariat to give up the mystificiations and the traps the bourgeoisie opposes to each struggle but above all they contribute decisively to the growing class consciousness of the proletariat for its revolutionary interests and goals and for the need and possibility for realizing them.

Finally, the revolutionaries have also the imperious task of transmitting all the accumulated experience of the class about the organisation and particularly about the one of the revolutionary period of the beginning of Century 20th ; the experience which led to the triumph of the proletarian revolution in Russia and to the international revolutionary wave which cracked the capitalist edifice and threated to put it down for ever.

Today, and even more tomorrow, the arising of vanguard proletarians looking for revolutionary coherence, for revolutionary militant commitment and for revolutionary organisation, imposes particularly to the present groups and militants of the Communist Left the major responsibility to clear the path which leads to the settting up of the new world communist party. On this way, the present communist forces must firstly overcome their political and organisational dispersion which characterize them and have to engage firmly, from today, in a process of getting closer and of "regroupment". They have to do so if they want to be up to the situation and to assume the responsibility for which the proletariat made them appear.

January 2011

Fraction of the International Communist Left

Note : Long is the list, it begins with the main European countries, of the workers fights which had developed these last two years and their number isn't but increasing in all continents with capitalism's economical dead-end. For a more precise following of the workers struggles around the world, we refer our readers to the international presses of the Internationalist Communist Tendency and of the ICC.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

An update on events in Wisconsin

Internationalists Communists Klasbatalo havin't any organisational links with the Internationalist Communist Tendency and don't agree with all its political positions. As well we've reprinted this pamphlet because it's important for our class.


In an 18-1 vote on the evening of March 9th, the Wisconsin State Senate passed a bill eliminating collective bargaining rights for state sector workers. This was done without the required quorum numbers because the bill ending collective bargaining rights was removed from the larger austerity budget bill. Both bills are now set to pass. Collective bargaining will come to an end by the end of the week when the governor signs the new bill into law. The austerity part of Senate Bill 11 will be passed separately in short order. This is an assault on every worker in the state and is a spearhead in the struggle of employers to drive down labor costs nationwide. This represents a stepping up of the factional fighting between the two factions of the bourgeoisie in power, Democratic and Republican. The destruction of the unions in the public sector will destroy funding for the rival Democratic Party’s election campaigns.

For workers this means nothing less than a huge pay cut, a massive attack on social services and the outright layoff of slightly more than 20,000 workers as their jobs get privatized or eliminated. Already there are 4,000 unfilled positions in the state civil service that will never be filled. Many state workers nearing retirement have started retiring en masse before the austerity measures come into effect.

The root of this crisis is found in the falling tax revenues to the states. The fall in tax revenues is two-fold. First, the Federal government has refused to give aid to the states in favor of maintaining endless war spending. Second, the states tax structures do not allow for increases on taxes for the wealthy and thus rely on payroll taxes from workers paychecks, property taxes on workers homes, lotteries to sucker the poor into buying lottery tickets and punitive sales taxes that affect the poorest first. Thus the crisis hit the state revenues that were primarily based on taxing workers due to the loss of workers property and incomes. The US has a religion based on the “right” to private property, which properly understood means the right of the capitalist class to fleece workers of their wealth and property. Capitalist economic crises are not acts of nature that must be accepted the way one accepts the fact that a tornado has touched down wiping out a small town. There is a cause and the cause is in the fall in profit rates of capitalism worldwide. It is a crisis exacerbated by the drive to generalized imperialist war.

The Teachers’ Union, WEAC, has told teachers to keep going to work and save their picketing for the weekend. The teachers union aim to prevent another wildcat walkout of public school teachers. The student walkout from the High Schools and Colleges was the product of the efforts of the students and contributed greatly to the strikes. The regional union federation, the South Central Labor Federation has unions have formally given the okay to the possibility of a general strike with their 97 member unions, while the union leaders attempt to contain the desire of workers to go on strike with peaceful protests. Tens of thousands of workers have packed the streets for over three weeks now. The first protest started with about 20,000 and the numbers grew until the protests had 50,000 to 100,000 workers protesting. As the bill ending collective bargaining passed workers chanted slogans demanding a general strike. The “cooler” heads attempting to maintain control of the situation have succeeded in deflecting this sentiment. While the backbone of the protests has been teachers and students, there is enormous solidarity from every sector of workers in the state. Huge contingents from private sector unions have come out in support. A protest movement has subsequently spread around the US, ostensibly against collective bargaining of union and state employer, but underlying this is the recognition by workers that they cannot afford any more austerity.

This coming Saturday March 12th, Farmers are driving their tractors in a convoy to the state capitol to protest in solidarity with the unions and against cuts to rural schools and social services. The cuts in the state insurance program, “BadgerCare” will result in huge numbers of the poor losing their access to medical care. This will seriously impact farmers who have to purchase their own insurance, thus it is that they depend heavily on the state subsidized insurance program of BadgerCare which allows people to purchase health insurance out of their own pockets at a rate lower than that offered by the private insurance companies.

State social services will be privatized. Every form or social service could end up being sold off to private companies to “administer”, or properly understood—fleece. All the public school students in the state stand to lose $500 in funding per school year, per pupil. Charter schools will be expanded to further fleece public coffers at the hands of private corporations that are now taking over the public schools nationwide. There is no data suggesting that charter schools perform any differently than public schools so it is not a question of better schooling, rather it is a question of capitalist theft of public revenues in the name of “free enterprise” and “competition”. This represents the downsizing and deskilling of the workforce and a huge attack on wages.

State run electrical power plants stand to be turned over in “no bid” contracts to private companies as a payback to the supporters of the current faction of the bourgeoisie in power. This includes one nuclear power plant and several other coal burning power plants around the state. Funds for wastewater treatment will be cut, and groundwater will not be tested for biological and manmade toxins as in the past.

Despite the assertions of the typical capitalist moron, Governor Walker, that he wouldn’t negotiate, he was conducting negotiations with the state Democratic Party over the extent of the collective bargaining issue as the release of his recent emails to the runaway Democratic caucus show. To give an idea of the stupidity and arrogance of a typical American bourgeois, Walker honestly believes that God himself (you see God in the US is a right-wing hyper-calvinist) is telling him what to do.

The Democrats and their union apparatus were perfectly willing to throw workers under the bus and maintain a shred of collective bargaining, just enough to keep funding their election coffers and keep turning out the vote for them during election campaigns. What has not been debated is the austerity budget that the unions accepted from the beginning of the current struggle, if only they were to be allowed to retain the structure of collective bargaining of labor contracts with state employees. The contracts set the standard for all state sector workers, represented and non-represented, amounting to some 175,000 workers statewide most of whom aren’t represented by unions at all, but are very much impacted by the contract bargaining process.

The unions themselves have accepted “furlough days” in the form of a month of rolling layoffs per employee per year. In itself this was a huge pay cut for state sector workers who saw no defense from the unions or their masters the Democratic Party when they were in power in the state last year. Last fall two Democratic legislators joined with the Republicans to shelve the contract until Walker and the Republicans could take power.

The unions last fall were offering the state a 3% cut in pay, and a $100 million in benefits giveaways. This was not enough for the state who wanted a pay cut of at least 8% and $136 million in benefits giveaways. Some state workers could see a pay cut of up to 20% once the higher contributions to pensions and benefits are included in the pay cuts. This will hit the public school teachers particularly hard. The usual course of action would’ve been for the incoming Republican government to go back to the table with the unions and negotiate a bigger set of cuts and concessions. The governor didn’t do this, but rather went ahead with the aim of destroying collective bargaining and attacking his political rivals and state sector workers in one sweeping bill that was meant initially to be passed in a week long session without any debate or input from the public. Only the protests delayed the bill allowing people to see what was in this 144 page legal document.

Now the mood is one of anger, and talk of a general strike. The union leaders don’t want this, but votes will come up in the union locals and there could be a mass strike anyway. A mass strike is the only response left for workers in the state.

A huge amount of politicization has occurred in the space of a month. Workers who took no notice of things beyond their daily lives now are engaged and trying to shape events the only way they know how. This involves a deep degree of illusions held in the Democratic Party and the unions. It is easy to have illusions in the unions as few workers are in unions or have any idea of how they function even when they are members of a union. The unions themselves can’t mobilize the numbers of workers who have taken to the streets. Public sector employees unions don’t have the numbers or the impact to put 100,000 people in the streets. This was a response from the workers themselves and one that cannot be ignored regardless of union and Democratic Party control. Now that the bill has passed the flagging spirits of the protesting workers and students have been fired up by a sense of anger and betrayal.

Collective bargaining agreements with state employees, in Wisconsin, were put in place primarily to avoid strikes and keep the government functioning. The 1971 state law allowing for it was put in place in the wake of the massive nationwide strike of US postal workers in that year. Technically the tradeoff for not being allowed the same right to go on strike as workers in the private sector was a collective bargaining process. These state labor peace treaties have now become an obstacle for the capitalist class in power as they attempt to lower labor costs as much as possible.

Unions have deflected talk of defending workers with rhetoric about an attack on the “middle class”. This middle class democracy talk is a false flag put up for workers to rally around. It is not about a mythical middle class rather it is about attacking the last stronghold of stability in the workforce. For the political party bosses Governor Walker is a sacrificial lamb, a rich buffoon put up to do their dirty work and then to be cast aside when they are done with him. This was the same purpose that Senator Joe McCarthy once unwittingly served. When the bourgeoisie was done with his hysterical anti-communist rhetoric, once he started accusing the army and President Eisenhower of being communist, they censured him and pushed him aside. Governor Walker’s political career is most likely going to end as the result of this. The Republican Party itself sees this as the means to cut out their rivals funding source in the unions so they can secure the White House in the next presidential election. This is why killing collective bargaining took precedence over the budget bill which has not yet been passed and which didn’t actually need to be resolved until the 30th of June, the date that marks the end of the current funding cycle for the state. Thus the budget “crisis” wasn’t in any way as pressing of a crisis as the rulers claimed.

A new period is opening up in the US and revolutionaries have to be prepared to step forward. They cannot dismiss this simply as a Democratic Party sideshow but they must try to be present and make themselves heard at a time when workers are becoming more politically conscious of a need to fight and willing to do so. That the very words “general strike” are now being spoken in the land of labor peace is an extraordinary thing. Ninety-seven union locals in the state will be meeting to decide what their next step is and the leaders will not want to go on strike, rather they would prefer to buckle down with legal challenges and peaceful protests and find a way to make defeat acceptable.

The very fact that this has lasted for over three weeks, where workers marched in nasty, sloppy, freezing weather of late-winter to defend their interests the only way they know how. Defending their interests has of yet, only involved taking over the State Capitol building to protest. The unions and their Democratic Party handlers will lead this to exhaustion and defeat, unless workers can impose their own wills on the situation through a mass strike. There must be a strike and workers must make this a demand in the workplaces, among their co-workers and at local union meetings.

Capitalism has in two hundred years gone from being a progressive force against feudal order to being a class bent on promoting the collective suicide of the entire human race. Even if this leads to a defeat for workers in the present, it will not be the end of struggles against capitalist austerity here in the US but the beginning.


Internationalist Communist Tendency