A Future That Works

A Future That Works
NO2aTory/Liberal coalition - Vote with your feet for an alternative to a neo-liberal economy and neo-conservative state Yes2aLeftFront and a Red/Green Left Alliance

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Red Pepper Forum



  1. The Boat that Rocked 'Red Pepper Forum'

    I could be very suspicious and think that the spooks got to the management, maybe we were getting to near to the truth and MI5/Special Branch have been working behind the seen, or maybe that’s just conspiracy theory rubbish. The neo-liberals and neo-cons will not win in the end the left will prevail fight on comrades

    from a Rock n Rolla


  2. Red Pepper forums


  3. There's unity in the air


    Struggle to reclaim the Labour Party


  4. What is to be done?


  5. The Ed Miliband effect


  6. Workers of Britain, unite!


  7. Sorry folks, it looks like the Red Pepper Forum have taken these links of the web.


  9. Is Imperialism the Final Stage of Capitalism?

    « on: Fri 28 Aug 2009 16:31 »

    At the beginning of the twentieth century capitalism was in a crisis of overproduction and finance capital with the imperialist capitalist nations in a state of conflict and war over resources and markets. At the beginning of the twenty-first century capitalism was in a crisis of overproduction and finance capital and at war over resources and markets. Add to economic stagnation the crisis of the global ecology from capitalisms pursuit of profits from cheap labour and resources. Marx said capitalism cannot be reformed and Lenin saw social democracy as the first (reformist) stage of the social revolution with the second a socialist (revolutionary) stage of the social revolution to replace the capitalist mode of production.

    In order to solve the contradictions within the capitalist mode of production have we now reached the stage where as Hans Magnus Ezensberger said capitalist (neo-liberal free market) economic policies on the environment, raw materials, energy and labour will put an end to liberal illusions as the capitalist elite resort to the use of a fascist (neo-conservative) authoritarian state to support the capitalist system. And that the ability of the people to see the connection between the capitalist mode of production and the general crisis depends on the degree of politicization and organization of the working class. Lenin saw that socialism was only possible if the proletariat had been prepared for the socialist revolution by the struggle for democracy and that without democracy socialism wasn’t possible. A socialist economy must be organized in a way that doesn’t alienate humanity from nature. Is the choice we face between socialism or barbarism?

    « Reply #1 on: Fri 28 Aug 2009 18:07 »

    No Solution under Capitalism

    There is now no doubt that the ecological crisis of the planet has reached a new stage, one which demands urgent solutions without which the lives of millions of people along with many plant and animal species, will be endangered. While the environmentalists and the Green Party have placed these issues at the top of the public agenda, their solutions, set within a capitalist framework, utopian. Jane Kelly and Phil Ward argue that socialists have to engage with these issues and show how only socialist answers can overcome the crisis of ecology faced by the planet.


    « Reply #2 on: Fri 28 Aug 2009 18:53 »

    Imperialism is inherent to capitalism; the USA’s imperialism is more nakedly promoted than at any time since the end of the nineteenth century. The USA’s war machine has been put into motion with a globalized empire presented as the solution to the USA’s economic problems. The most important factors behind this are the fall of the Soviet Union and stagnation of the American and global economy. With its ‘Naked Imperialism War’ for resources such as oil and gas from Iraq and through Afghanistan from the former Soviet states of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

    The USA and British’s corporations hope to have control over production and profits from the oil and gas reserves in these countries. This is the real imperialist reason for these wars not freedom and democracy any more than British went to India or Africa to bring Christianity to the heathen natives but for natural resources and profit through economic expansion this is the same process that Marx and Lenin wrote about over a hundred years ago the technology has changed but the basic principle is the same international finance capital and multinational capitalism, globalization is just the modern name given to capitalist imperialism in the fight for limited resources for exploitation.

  10. wolfysmith
    « Reply #4 on: Sat 29 Aug 2009 15:38 »

    Point 1

    Marx and Lenin both saw how during the rise of industrial capitalism European powers took colonies so they could control trade and for providing essential raw materials, and export surplus labour and capital. The more developed capitalist countries exploit the less developed regions. At the beginning of the 20th century the division of the world by Britain, France and Germany was an important feature in how the worlds markets were divided up by the banks and industrialists. The Bank of England financed insurance companies such as Lloyds of London to protect the shipping trade in the West Indies, which was the base for British control of world trade and the regulation of the money market. This trade facilitated the expansion of financial institutions. These financed the development of the railways, docks, mines and plantations, a consortium of banks determined the price of gold in London making sterling the international currency just as the dollar is today. This was how the industrial revolution was financed and Rosa Luxembourg called this the ‘original stage of capitalism’.

  11. British banks financed trade across the globe, and building infrastructures like railways in India. The German and French Banks invested their money in Russia to develop its armament factories and railways. Banks became the means of extended world trade with the purchase and sale of slaves financing mines, industry, transport construction, and paying for industrial revolution. Banks supplied money for the export of capital. Large banks could supply individuals, institutions and states to financing large projects. The financial institutions had links with each another through family links like the Rothschild’s on interconnected boards of directors. In this way finance capital became the power behind the capitalist state and the drive for economic expansion, Lenin called this the highest stage of capitalism.

    The USA has emerged as the major global power since 1945 with the expansion of its financial and political control of the global economy through the IMF and World Bank and backed up by its military power, which allows it to control the Middle East, South America and much of Asia.

    Marx identified accumulation by dispossession as central to primitive accumulation of capital, such as the displacement of peasant and indigenous populations, and the proletarianisation of the petty bourgeoisie, the swallowing up of small businesses by larger ones, bringing things as ‘commodities’ into the market.

  12. The Imperialist monopoly stage that we see today with privatisations and marketization enforced by the IMF and the World Bank constitutes the higher phase of this accumulation, the primary force of this accumulation is enforced by international finance capital, with the USA exploiting resources of the developing economies such as South Africa, Argentina and Mexico, the IMF and World Bank force cuts in welfare and privatisations.

    American Imperialism is doing today what British Imperialism did at the end of the 19th century ‘the robbery that made the first accumulation of capital possible must be repeated to keep capitalist accumulation expanding. After the world economic crisis of 1970’s, accumulation by dispossession has become critical to global capitalism. Asset stripping through mergers and acquisitions, asset destruction through inflation, indebtedness of whole populations, corporate fraud, the appropriation of pension funds and credit and stock accumulations are central features of 21st century capitalism. Financial speculation is a contemporary method of accumulation by dispossession such as hedge funds, futures and bonds.

    Welfare capitalism existed from 1945 up to the mid 1970’s creating full employment, and economic growth that allowed the democracies of the developed world to become more egalitarian and share the wealth more equitably including welfare provisions for the casualties of market economies. John Maynard Keynes warned that the free-market would destabilise capitalism. The global economy is now in a recession from the slump in American property prices and repossessions.

  13. The strategy of the capitalist elite across the globe has formed the basis of 21st century global capitalism, dictated by the IMF and World Bank, integrating the structure of global finance capital. The capitalist elite have advocated the free market, creating increased profits and wealth for the minority. Whilst global capitalism has increased poverty and insecurity for the mass of the world’s population, the richest 5 percent of people in the world owning one-third of the world’s wealth, equal to that of the poorest 80 percent of the world’s population.

    Globalization in the 21st century is a return to the 19th century pre-Keynesian economics which will lead to deeper and longer periods of economic and social crises within the global economy, as it uses up more and more of the planets resources in the search for profit as expansion eventually lead to economic stagnation. Globalized capitalism is ultimately unsustainable and incompatible with environmental conservation or the needs of humanity. Capitalism needs to be replaced by a system of society that produces to satisfy human need a society that values the environment, not driven by the motive of profit and greed. The only solution is socialism, and a socialist revolution that replaces capitalism. Lenin saw how the bourgeoisie democracies and an advanced labour movement lay the foundation for a proletarian revolution and a democracy of the people, which replaces the dictatorship of capital over the proletariat. Lenin said ‘The aim of bourgeois policy is to assist the economic struggle of the proletariat; the aim of the socialist is to compel the economic struggle to aid the socialist movement and contribute to the success of the revolutionary workers’ party’.

    The concessions made by capitalism, in the ‘Golden Age’ of welfare capitalism and Keynesian economics were only a temporary tactic of the capitalist state in order to prevent proletarian revolution, With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the capitalist elite has felt safe to accelerate its attack on the living standards of working people in the social democratic states of the developed world and intensify the exploitation of the people and resources of the developing world.

  14. Point 2

    I have always considered myself a Marxist even when I joined the Labour Party Young Socialists in the late 1960’s which I left in the late 1970’s and rejoined in the early 1990’s only to leave again after 1997. In the 1970’s as a mechanical engineering apprentice I was impressed by the communist AUEW shop stewards I knew so it seemed logical to me to join the CPB. My personal interpretation of Marxist-Leninism is a mixture of theory, Labour Party and labour movement experiences, along with a internationalist, ecological perspective as an Oxfam activist, which all comes into the mix and may appear confused and chaotic rather than strictly adhering to an orthodox Marxist-Leninist line.

    I also believe ultimately that the capitalist and state elite will not relinquish their position or the capitalist system willingly and therefore at some point the social-democratic road comes to a halt and the road is either towards a neo-conservative and fascist state or socialism and if its to be socialism we will have to fight for it both politically and economically, hopefully without bloodshed but that will depend I think on the balance of strength/will between the people and the capitalist state.

  15. wolfysmith
    « Reply #5 on: Sun 30 Aug 2009 14:44 »

    Global capitalism was already uses resources at a rate beyond the capacity of the Earth to regenerate by 1980 and by the end of the 20th century it would have required 1.2 planet Earths to sustain the level of consumption (Mathis Wackernagel, et.al) which will lead to ecological and economic collapse from the capitalist mode of production. Today most environmentalists believe technology cannot solve the crisis of overproduction from capitalist expansion and only a new mode of production can solve the ecological crisis.

    Free market capitalist theory believes the market will correct itself by the pricing mechanism according to supply and demand, but commodity production is driven by the drive for profit from capital accumulation. Which Marx expressed in the equation C-M-C, C represents a commodity defined by its Use-Value sold for M its monetary value. When the C is sold for M and bought for its use the cycle of exchange is completed.

    Marx’s general formula for the capitalist mode of production is M-C-M’ where M’ represents M+m where m represents its surplus value from the exploitation of labour and materials. Compared to the original closed cycle this creates an open cycle of growth in pursuit of the profit from the Surplus-Value as M-C-M’ becomes M-C-M’’ and then M-C-M’’’ expanding exponentially.

  16. Green-Capitalism sees a Global Keynesianism with international regulation to control capitalist expansion and protecting the environment and providing for social welfare by means of the Kyoto Protocol and the measures proposed in the Rio and Johannesburg Earth Summits. But this doesn’t solve the basic contradiction of the capitalist mode of production and without strict controls and enforcement capitalist production will seek to maximize profits from continuous expansion of commodity production.

    This will if not stopped inevitably lead to ecological and economic decline, resulting in continual wars over the worlds resources, such as the War-on-Terror which is in reality a war for control of the Earth's finite resources and known as the ‘Empire of Barbarism’ (Monthly Review December 2004)

    What is needed is capitalism to be replaced by a socialist mode of production based on eco-socialist communalism as expressed by William Morris. Marx noted that the new socialist mode of production ‘starts with self-government of the communities’ (Marx and Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 24. p 519). A social revolution that puts human needs such as clean air, water, food, shelter, health care, education and the need for sustainable production that protects the environment before profit and capital accumulation, the alternative is barbarism, ecological disaster and extinction.

  17. wolfysmith
    « Reply #6 on: Sun 30 Aug 2009 18:43 »

    Empire of Barbarism

    Today the world is facing what de Silva feared-a barbarism emanating from a single powerful country, the United States, which has adopted a doctrine of preemptive (or preventative) war, and is threatening to destabilize the entire globe. In the late twentieth century the further growth of monopoly capital (as explained most cogently in Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy's Monopoly Capital and Harry Magdoff's Age of Imperialism) led to a heavy reliance, particularly for the United States as the hegemonic state of the world system, on military spending and imperialist intervention. With the waning of the Cold War this dependence of the imperial superpower on the most barbaric means of advancing its interests and controlling the system has only increased. The continuing decline of U.S. economic hegemony, occurring alongside deepening economic stagnation in capitalism as a whole, has led the United States to turn increasingly to extraeconomic means of maintaining its position: putting its huge war machine in motion in order to prop up its faltering hegemony over the world economy. The “Global War on Terror” is a manifestation of this latest lethal phase of U.S. imperialism, which began with the 1991 Gulf War made possible by the breaking up of the Soviet bloc and the emergence of the United States as the sole superpower.

    Empire of Barbarism by John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark

  18. wolfysmith
    « Reply #7 on: Sun 30 Aug 2009 18:49 »

    Marx saw exploitation under capitalism as frequently occurring under conditions that were barbaric, or that reflected the predatory nature of bourgeois civilization. Referring to the degradation and pollution of life that ensued with the rise of capitalism, he wrote in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844: “The crudest modes (and instruments) of human labour reappear [under capitalism]; for example, the tread-mill used by Roman slaves has become the mode of production and mode of existence of many English workers.” In his 1847 speech on Wages Marx metaphorically referred to the use of the treadmill in modern capitalist production (and prison systems) as a disease. “The treadmill,” he observed, had reemerged “again within civilisation. Barbarism reappears, but created in the lap of civilisation itself and belonging to it; hence leprous barbarism, barbarism as leprosy of civilisation.”


    « Reply #8 on: Sun 30 Aug 2009 20:01 »

    Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844:

  19. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #10 on: Mon 31 Aug 2009 15:18 »

    Free Radical, as you say we cannot predict the future. But by trying to understand the social, political, economic, and environmental forces at work make educated guesses at the probable outcomes and to try and influence the probabilities. Capitalism cannot solve the problems of inequality, poverty and overproduction along with an ecological crisis that threatens the existence of our species on this planet. By its very nature capitalism has created the problem of overproduction without solving the problems of poverty. With over 800 million people malnourished and 40 million dying from hunger every year and 2 billion without access to clean water. On a planet that according to anti-poverty NGO’s has sufficient food and materials to provide for the basic human needs of every person on Earth. It’s inevitable that there will be conflicts over resources as socialists we need to see that between the choice of a fascist barbarism maintaining globalized capitalism and the socialist alternative that we are part of the solution. I believe as a Marxist this involves supporting neo-Keynesian strategies for controlling global capitalism such as Earth Summits and technological initiatives such as wind and wave energy to reduce CO2 emissions, reforestation, and public ownership of water, oil, gas and electricity also promoting public transport to reduce car use. I think socialists should support fairtrade as a more equitable and socially responsible form of consumerism which supports worker co-operatives and democracy in communities in the developing world. Like the Communist Party supporting socialist/social-democratic against neo-conservatives and neo-liberals in Britain or Europe making Keynesian political and economic policy part of the social democratic strategy leading towards socialist revolution. This is where social-democrats, socialist and communist strategy diverge as social-democrats believe capitalism can be reformed and socialists believe it has to be replaced in the same way that bourgeoisie capitalism replaced feudalism. Marxists don’t see the outcome as inevitable an that is why the CPB is a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party.

  20. Free Radical
    « Reply #11 on: Mon 31 Aug 2009 16:37 »

    Thanks Wolfy.

    I think the weakest point of a socialist, or indeed a Marxist analysis, is the almost complete failure in practice of alternative models to capitalism. There are plenty of 'pre-capitalist' societies of course, but it is hard to think of examples of capitalism being overthrown that have not led to tyranny or collapse, or both. Therefore, though I would perhaps like to believe it, when you say that socialism can overcome the downside of capitalism (and we should remember there is also an upside - for some at least, not just capitalists), then people are entitled to say 'how do you know?' It's important to judge by the record, and the record is not good.

    It's not that I disagree with much of your aspiration, but it's the method that seems so problematic to me - Marxism-Leninism and vanguardism. But I guess we will have to agree to differ on this, since I think we understand where we each stand. I have felt for a long time that some of the failings of attempts to transform capitalism stemmed from this method itself, rather than from circumstances or individuals.

    For me it's the old adage - 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions.' We deal with systems that are so complex (people are for a start), that there are always unintended and unforeseeable consequences to interventions - some for good some for ill. I would like to see Marx reintegrated into intelligent debate, but abandoning what I see as some outdated, if not failed, concepts such as Leninism and vanguardism. I'm not a Marxist as such, but I think it's very important to re-examine Marxism and reinterpret it for today.

    But I suspect that on Marxist Leninist vanguardism we will have to agree to differ.

  21. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #12 on: Mon 31 Aug 2009 19:03 »

    Free Radical,

    As you say we will have to agree to differ on Marxism-Leninism and vanguardism, but as socialists or social-democrats we agree on a lot of what is wrong with modern capitalism. This is why we need to unite on the issues we agree on and I think the need to find a way of effectively counteracting the neo-conservative/neo-liberal offensive against any Keynesian or neo- Keynesian alternative. Whether this leads to socialism or not will be for the future today we are faced with the prospect of the return of a right-wing conservative government in Britain that may make Margaret Thatcher’s Tories look like social-democrats and globally we face an eco-logical disaster that neo-conservative/neo-liberal theories of market capitalism cannot tackle. Lenin believed that socialism needed the revolution to spread to Germany and the rest of Europe and that it couldn’t succeed on its own in Russia. As the revolution failed to materialise in the rest of Europe after the First World War the Soviet Union was isolated and operated on a program of war communism and under Stalin stifled the democratic workers councils, co-operatives and labour unions. Jozef Tito successfully broke away from Stalin. Nikita Khrushchev started to reform the Soviet system after Stalin’s death until he was replaced by Brezhnev and Alexander Dubček who fought in Tito’s partisans against the fascist tried to follow a similar model of socialism to Yugoslavia in Czechoslovakia in the 1960’s until the Soviet Union led by Brezhnev stopped Dubček from following Tito’s model of worker co-operatives. Fidel Castro has successfully led Cuba which has evolved into a successful model of eco-socialism against the odds stacked against it by the economic blockade imposed by the USA. I think considering the conditions under which actual socialism had existed, it managed to provide full employment, free health care and higher education and social welfare for people which have been taken away since its collapse. A process which is now being implemented in the advanced capitalist states now that the capitalism no longer has a socialist alternative model to worry about and has come to believe capitalism is the only model for a social-political-economy. Capitalism has in the past managed to find new ways to return to economic growth, but I suspect cannot adapt to into a no-growth social-political-economy. This is where I believe a Marxist theory of socialist-ecology will come to the fore.

    Will a Marxist vanguard party leads this socialist revolution, we will have to see

  22. Free Radical
    « Reply #13 on: Mon 31 Aug 2009 21:16 »

    The problem is that I would fear a revolution led by a Marxist-Leninist vanguardist party, for the very good reason that, historically, the fellow socialists, anarchists and liberals, often ended up in prison or dead... I'm sorry to say it, because you do not sound like the sort of person to shoot fellow socialists, but the whole history of socialist revolutions should give us pause to stop and ponder. As an old comrade, Staf Cottman, once said to me 'revolutions always consume the revolutionaries.' The Russian Revolution, and the Chinese, consumed the party cadres as much as other groups.

    It's why I say that I am concerned about the method itself - vanguardism and Leninism.

    It was not just Stalin that stifled democracy in the Soviet Union of course, it was Lenin, and Trotsky. It was a cumulative process that merely culminated in Stalin, who I see as a logical product of such a system, and of course his times too - but for me the problems of 'democratic centralism' and vanguardism are inescapable. Perhaps such a conversation might be continued on the democratic centralism thread...

    Cuba is in many ways inspiring, but personally I would not wish to live under such political restrictions.

    I know we have wondered off imperialism...

  23. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #14 on: Tue 01 Sep 2009 14:57 »

    Your right to express concerns regarding socialist democracy and vanguardism, in a revolutionary situation a Marxist-Leninist party has to have leadership and discipline which then has to relinquish once the revolutionary period is completed. At that point a lot depends on the character/intellect of those leading the party. My personal belief is that Lenin who had spent many years studying Marxist theory made the decisions which he felt was necessary in the revolutionary period, many which he regretted at the end of his life. Trotsky was very authoritarian and capable of making the kind of decision required in a revolutionary situation. I think Stalin had the least intellectual understanding of Marxism but had ruthless political skills similar to President Nixon and Prime Minister Thatcher and Blair. This is a problem if the social-democratic parties cannot change the nature of capitalism via the parliamentary road which I believe is the case. Putting Cuba in perspective with neighbouring countries, its people have better health, education and life expectancy and I would suspect the people had better health and educational chances in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia than under the current regimes.

    Back to imperialism and capitalism, The Marxist theoretician Ernest Mandel predicted in the early 1960’s that the long period of accelerated economic growth wasn’t sustainable, at the time Bourgeois capitalist economists believed Keynesian economics had solved the problems of boom and bust inherent within capitalism. By the 1970’s the global economy was experiencing stagflation as economic growth faltered, partly due to the cost of the Vietnam war which was damaging the economy of the USA and escalating world oil prices. The recession of the 1980’s made deeper than necessary by the policies of Reagan and Thatcher in order to weaken the labour movement and put an end to the post war social-democratic consensus. This period led to a revived interest in the long wave theories of Marxist economist Kondratiev, especially in relationship to the problem of economic and environmental sustainability of capitalist consumption in the long period of growth after 1945. Today many eco-socialists believe that by 2050 there will not be enough raw materials left to sustain the continued accumulation of capital required for the capitalist system to continue and that wars over resources will intensify.

  24. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #15 on: Tue 01 Sep 2009 15:05 »

    Theory of Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kondratiev (1892 - 1938)

  25. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #16 on: Tue 01 Sep 2009 18:12 »

    World's poor left high and dry

    Human greed and stupidity are causing drought around the world.


  26. Free Radical
    « Reply #17 on: Tue 01 Sep 2009 20:30 »


    Stalin's poor understanding of Marxism is unlikely to be the cause of the Soviet Union's continued descent into a kind of mad tyranny - not merely a rational tyranny, which would be bad enough. How do you respond to the suggestion that democratic centralism and vanguardism might play a role in this?

    Revolutions are very problematic. Power is often diffused between different institutions and classes (France pre 1789 was perhaps unusual in the degree of concentration of power in the monarchy?). But a revolution creates a highly fluid situation. Power can easily be concentrated more and more at the top. It happened in very different revolutions - England, France, Russia, China. Add to that a party whose intention is to establish a 'dictatorship' (of the 'proletariat' albeit) and emphatically to lead the masses, then it is little wonder in my mind how you end up with tyranny. Who would wish for that?

    Guy Debord's interesting thesis appears to have been that only the bourgeois revolutions were genuine revolutions, founded upon changed economic relations and means of production. He thought (if I read him correctly) that the socialist revolutions were not really revolutions at all, but a kind of mirror to the bourgeois revolutions before them - with a new bureaucratic class in power rather than the bourgeoisie, but the same aspirations to production of goods... and the same relation to the 'spectacle'. It's quite interesting but I've only just begun to try to assimilate what he is saying.

    "Today many eco-socialist believe that by 2050 there will not be enough raw materials left to sustain the continued accumulation of capital required for the capitalist system to continue and that wars over resources will intensify."

    As to this prediction - who can say? Not I. It is extremely difficult to see five years ahead, let alone 41... The point is I suppose that capitalist economies do not merely grow, they evolve, and they evolve very dramatically. I have no idea whether such assertions might be true and it's hard to see how anyone can know.

    What I think we can say, with Malthus, is that population cannot grow in an unlimited way for ever. Some factor will be limiting eventually. If, like China, humans can take steps to limit population (quite draconian steps of course) then there will not necessarily be a population crash - it would be unusual for a species to consciously limit its own growth, but we are an unusual species.

  27. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #18 on: Wed 02 Sep 2009 15:50 »

    Free Radical, Hopefully this will address your questions

    In the Russian election to the Duma in 1917 out of 800 seats the Social Revolutionary Party had 410 seats, the Bolsheviks had 175 seats, and the Mensheviks had 16 seats. The Bolsheviks were popular in the urban areas with the proletarian working class in the countryside and villages the Social Revolutionaries had most influence.

    In 1917 Lenin published his Theses on the Constituent Assembly arguing that the Peoples Soviets were the highest democratic body as they represented the will of the people, the intention of (establish a 'dictatorship' of the 'proletariat') means the workers control the means of production as opposed to a 'dictatorship' of capital' which means the capitalist elite control the means of production. The problem hear is a misinterpretation of the language of the 19th century which gives the impression that what is intended is a dictatorship over the people. Having said this it is true that the leadership and party bureaucrats stifled the democratic workers councils (soviets) thereby destroying the socialist democracy and creating a dictatorship by the party.

    ‘democratic centralism and vanguardism’ Not sure but neo-liberal/neo-conservative governance by capital with privatization of water, gas, electricity reinstates the dictatorship of capital undermining even the concept of bourgeoisie democracy

    Lenin went into hospital in 1922 and was paralyzed down his right side, Lenin realised Stalin was taking over the party and wrote to Trotsky for support at the Central Committee meeting to decision on foreign trade against the position of Stalin.

    ‘socialist revolutions ……. mirror to the bourgeois revolutions’

    It’s true that the Soviet Union promoted maximization of production through technological progress as its primary goal creating the same problems of alienation and environmental disasters as occurred under capitalist industrialisation. Whereas Marx saw technological progress as liberating humanity from the alienation of labour under capitalism by reducing the hours needed to work and therefore giving people more time for creative and cultural pursuits such as art, music and reading. Whereas under capitalism automated production processes have made the workers subservient to the machine working longer hours or to be unemployed, in either case alienated form society or nature.

    As you say according to Malthusian theory population growth as the main threat, whereas today we can see in the developed world when people no longer need to large families to produce offspring to provide for their old age and work the land population growth stabilizes, in Cuba after the revolution its population stabilized as living standards and the status of women improved. Therefore the main threat comes from overproduction of consumer goods for there surplus-value. Like you I am no expert regarding the earth resources ‘many eco-socialist believe that by 2050 there will not be enough raw materials left to sustain the continued accumulation of capital’ I assume when organizations like Oxfam, Christian Aid and War on Want say the world has the capacity to provide for all the basic needs of humanity and when the Club of Rome, Brundtland Report and UN recognize the limitations of growth and growing inequality that has occurred under neo-liberal free market capitalism they have some idea what they are talking about.

  28. wolfysmith
    « Reply #19 on: Wed 02 Sep 2009 16:21 »

    Our solutions to climate change won't work, and if we want to ward off disaster we need massive immediate action to change the way we live.

    Change the system, not the climate!


    Kyoto: climate of fear


    Food, poverty and ecology: Cuba & Venezuela lead the way


  29. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #20 on: Wed 02 Sep 2009 18:19 »

    We need to think in terms of ecological models for our cities with community based centres. Nye Bevan when he was the Labour Parties Minister of Health and Housing believed that the council estates should be modelled on a village community.

    ‘when we are making our housing plans, we must see that in the middle of our housing villages there will be old people’s homes, so that they can take an interest in the full life of the community’

    ‘They have to be planned. Not only have we to plan the houses, but to plan the welfare.’

    His model of social housing as a community with local shops and amenities for families and the aged along with allotments for people of the community to grow food for themselves, rather than the high density housing that followed in the 1950’s under the Tories. And today we have a move away from community centres in favour of out of town shopping. With planning dictated by property developers and multi-national supermarkets rather than the local community and their elected councillors.

    Bourgeoisie democracy is just 'an illusion' not democracy but the dictatorship of finance capital (Lenin 1916).

  30. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #21 on: Thu 03 Sep 2009 16:29 »

    The capitalist world has plundered the colonial nations which has financed development in the imperialist world leaving the colonial world underdeveloped. Engels noted in the Dialectics of Nature that Cuba was a prime example of this exploitation by a European capitalist state as a colony of Spain its forests were burnt providing land and ashes for fertilizer for the coffee, Banana and sugar plantations. From 1812 to 1959 Cuba’s forest area shrank from 85% to just 14% as its resources continued to be plundered by the USA. Since the communist revolution reforestation has taken the area back to 21.5%. And Cuba is developing alternative energy supplies to oil from sugar cane residue, wind farms, micro hydroelectricity and solar energy. It produces 4.3 million tonnes of sugar cane residue which can be used to reduce oil consumption by 700,000 tonnes per year. The Cuban political system and its participatory democracy allows local communities to implement humanist environmental polices since Fidel Castro made his commitment to an eco-socialist alternative economic development at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

    The UN economist Richard Kozul-Wright has said that the planet needs a Climate ‘Marshall Plan’ for development to be ecologically sustainable. He estimates this would cost £300 Billion (0.1% of the worlds GDP) which is nothing in comparison to the Trillions found to save the international banking system.

    Planet needs climate 'Marshall Plan'


  31. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #22 on: Thu 03 Sep 2009 19:50 »

    Oliver Stone: 'The truth about Hugo Chávez'

    Oliver Stone's record of a trip to Venezuela to meet the president, Hugo Chávez.



  32. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #23 on: Yesterday at 14:08 »

    Capitalist imperialism ‘globalization’ is driven by its dynamics for capital accumulation which requires it to expend exponentially with the consequential disintegration of the earth's ecological system and therefore as a consequence human society. Capitalism is based on humanity and nature being a source of exploitation which supports the lifestyle of the capitalist elite and bourgeoisie. Capitalist imperialism in the 21st century is lead by the USA, Britain and the European Union and maintained by imperialist military occupations which enforced the dominance of the developed capitalist states and multi-nationals over the people and resources of the planet.

    I see this as supporting the proposition stated by Rosa Luxembourg one hundred years ago that the choice is between socialism. The capitalist mode of production cannot be reformed and only a socialist mode of production based on Use-Value as opposed to the exchange-Value and Surplus-Value for capital accumulation and profit can be ecologically sustainable.

  33. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #24 on: Yesterday at 14:57 »

    Or neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism lead to Fascist Barbarism


  34. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #25 on: Today at 15:53 »

    Tracy Chapman The Times They Are A-Changin

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance wont come again
    And dont speak too soon
    For the wheels still in spin
    And theres no tellin who
    That its namin.
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin.


  35. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #26 on: Today at 16:11 »

    A Planetary Defeat: The Failure of Global Environmental Reform by John Bellamy Foster

    ‘Globalization of capitalism was to supplant local control, countries were to be encouraged to exploit their natural resources to the fullest, public goods were to be opened up to relentless privatization, and environmental regulations were to be geared to the lowest common denominator in order to not interfere with free trade.’

    ‘As conceived by the centres of world capital, development could only be sustained by pursuing the neo-liberal agenda of opening up whole countries and every single sphere of economic activity to market forces.’

    ‘however, only served to deepen the economic stagnation or decline of most third world countries and to reinforce a growing gap between rich and poor countries—along with accelerated destruction of the environment.’


  36. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #27 on: Today at 20:05 »

    Eco-crime set to rise, agency warns

    'Globalisation is creating new opportunities......such as logging and the wildlife trade. Profits are high, while the risks of being caught and the penalties are low'


  37. Brigg57
    « Reply #28 on: Today at 08:54 »


    on the decentralism thread you say – “How I see it’s the dynamics for capital accumulation which requires it to expend exponentially with the consequential disintegration of the earth's ecological system that makes this the final stage. I may be wrong but as a Marxist it seems to ties in with Lenin and Luxemburg’s theory of capitalist imperialism”

    So - is it Lenin’s or Luxemburg’s theory of imperialism which fits the ecological problems, possibly crisis, we face? The two are incompatible, and both heavily criticised each other for putting forward a wrong theory. Luxemburg’s is a theory of capitalism destroying non-capitalist markets, and thereby reaching its limits; it’s derived from her arguments on the disproportionalities within capital accumulation. Lenin’s theory is one of war caused by the overproduction of capital in its home base and its search for superprofits to overcome that overproduction in non-capitalist countries.

    I don’t feel that the CPB, any more than any other socialist party, is doing anybody a favour by recycling a mish-mash of theoretical arguments from long ago. When I was a boy, one shipyard worker was telling me how he had cut his teeth on Lenin’s Imperialism at the age of 16; the CP trained its people well in those days.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think that the CP is worth looking at – their site carries some good and (relatively) non-sectarian accounts of what’s happening on the Left. Also anything – even Alasdair darling – is more realistic than the British Constituytion stuff being served up on Red pepper at the moment, where democracy is served up as though it has nothing to do with any sort of social-economic reality. But a socialist politics is needed which is relevant to today, and developing that politics in an effective manner is far more important than any unity between impotent left-wing groups form Green left to SWP – tying a lot of dead cats together by the tail is going to end you with one long row of dead cats. We need to develop a live politics, not a caterwauling which resembles the Egyptian Book of the Dead, because that’s what all this talk of unity, unity on the basis of the old politics comes across as to me.

  38. wolfysmith
    « Reply #29 on: Today at 18:55 »

    Primarily I would say that the search for cheap labour and material and new markets ‘Lenin’s theory’ in the search for super-profits which leads to war caused by the overproduction of capital in the developed capitalist states leads to the expansion of overproduction in underdeveloped world. And capitalism destroys the non-capitalist social cultures of indigenous peoples in its pursuit of profits from the expansion of the capitalist system on a global scale which will eventually reach a point at which the planet can no longer support further exploitation of nature and human labour for profit. This can be considered a ‘recycling a mish-mash of theoretical arguments from long ago’ or it can be considered as re assessing the theoretical arguments of Marxists like Luxembourg and Lenin in the light of the 21st century and as Modern astrophysics take Einstein’s theories of relativity and Quantum mechanics and try to find the link between the to theories of advanced physics and not rejecting either but rather realising that they have as yet to find a unified theory which bridges the two existing theories that have been built from the previous theories of Isaac Newton, James Joule and James Watt. Modern Marxist such as John Bellamy Foster, Joel Kovel and David Harvey take the theories of Karl Marx, Vladimir Illich Lenin and Rosa Luxembourg and find a unified theory of Marxism. I would argue that ‘socialist politics …..is relevant to today’ and in order to developing an effective left politics the most important issue is a left-wing unity of the Green left through to socialists and communist parties so that we cease being impotent otherwise how are we to break the old politics of the conservatives, liberals and Labour parties that are all now tied to neo-conservative and neo-liberal social, political and economic theories of how society should be constructed and governed, I would say we need this left unity and a Marxist theory of the social construction of society to counteract neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism.

    The capitalist elite started the fight back against the advance of socialism and social-democracy with the theories of Friedman and Chicago school of economics forming the World Economic Forum in 1971. This formed the basis for the Reagan and Thatcherite conservative free-market attack on welfare capitalism and Keynesian economics, as well as unity the left needs a Marxist theoretical base to counter the theories of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism and I would propose that the crisis of global capitalism is such that a neo- Keynesian theory isn’t enough to solve the problems we face and we need both a Marxist methodology and united left. Re: Is Imperialism the Final Stage of Capitalism?

  39. Brigg57
    « Reply #30 on: Today at 19:03 »

    that looks like a cut-and-paste job to me.

    So, leaving aside astrophysics, which theory was developed - Lenin's or Luxemburg's? The two are incompatible as noted in my last post.

  40. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #31 on: Today at 19:53 »

    ‘cut-and-paste’ it is but it is the drive for profit that pushes capitalism to expand and this creates the conflict within the capitalist system both between people, companies and nation states and with the natural world doesn’t that make a connection between Lenin and Luxembourg, I know they criticised each others theories and back to the astrophysics Einstein’s criticised the theories of Quantum mechanics in defence of relativity but today both theories are considered the works of shear genius and accepted even though they contradict each other. Einstein had to invent a constant to make his theory work Quantum mechanics doesn’t need this mathematical fix but both are considered to be valid theories of physics. So I am sure Lenin and Luxembourg can equally be valid Marxist theories of capitalist imperialism.

  41. Brigg57
    « Reply #32 on: Yesterday at 20:17 »

    let me say again - the CPB is lucky to have you as a member. You don't run away from an argument, or start blaming these forums for not getting your own way. the forums are big - they can take recruitment drives, action alerts, and dialogue. Unlike most blogs or the listening meetings organised by new Labour, dialogue is possible here.

    Yes, I agree with you - capital has a drive to accumulate (the search for profit is a manifestation of that) whihc comes into conflict with the needs of people, and that drive lies behind a lot of the destructive forces of war etc. The ecological problems I try to keep an open mind about; I've yet to read anything really convincing whihc shows the necessary link between capitalism and nature. This is weak-minded me, not ecology.

    But Lenin and Luxemburg can't be equated in the way that you're doing. I don't know enough about EinsteinvPlanck, but will check it out. Lenin and Luxembourg were operating within a theoretical model whihc is itself leaky, and lenin was very confused about how it applied (he mixed together hilfferding, the German Social Democrat, and Hobson, the British reformist). I am a quibbler, and I think that criticism of the greats is a must if we're to move forward. I feel that you, and the CPB, are recycling old theories; David Harvey and Joel Kovel (I know Harvey's work quite well, and have a lot of time for him; only smatterings of Kovel) are themselves not above criticism.

    I don't agree that imperialism is the last stage; but another day. politically, we're both anti-imperialist, which is what counts.

  42. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #33 on: Today at 12:05 »

    You are right when you say we should query the analysis of Lenin, Luxembourg, Kovel and Harvey. This is what all Marxists and socialists should do as has been said before on these forums Marx said he wasn’t a Marxist, but those of use who follow his methodology and try and adapt it to the social developments of our time may call ourselves Marxist. And as a Marxist I would say my commitment is to the world, humanity and myself.
    Harvey says in ‘Spaces of Global capitalism towards a theory of uneven geographical development’ Dialectics which stress the internal relations are perpetually negotiating the relation between the particular and the universal, between the abstract and the concrete……in Marxist theory there is no such thing as abstract labour outside the multiple concrete activities of production and exchange in which it arises. And that the concrete is a concentration of different determinations that cannot be reduced to a particular manifestation of the abstract. He goes on to say Dialectics avoid the more mechanistic and reductionist views in social theory and allows open fluidity of its approach, he says what follows is a dialectical way of assembling the abstract and concrete. He says much social theory ignores spatiality or treats it as a mere container of social processes. For Harvey spatiality is an active part of the social process and a relative and active part of the social framework and actions.

    He argues that this allows us to understand the process in which capital accumulation creates different forms of spatiality through the organization of the financial markets within cyberspace ‘allowing a theory of production of space and spatiality’ as a precondition of a general theory of uneven geographical development and socio-ecological system and the relationships created within the process of capital accumulation, social struggle and environmental transformation into a general theory of uneven geographic development of capitalism.

    He argues this theory has an evolving structure of dialectical integration of theoretical work and historical geographical materialism that combines the abstractions of capital accumulation with the material effects on people and the environment across the globe.

  43. I am no expert on Lenin although I have read quite a lot on Lenin and found Neil Harding’s two volumes on Lenin’s Political Thought, Theory and Practice in the Democratic Revolution and Theory and Practice in the Socialist Revolution helpful in interpreting his theories on the state and revolution and Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism. I’ve tried to read The Accumulation of capital by Luxembourg but must admit I gave up on it so my understanding of her theories is weak. Having said that I believe from reading the likes of Harvey, Kovel, and Eric Toussaint's ‘Your money or your Life the tyranny of global finance the basic concepts of Marxist thinking that run through the various writings seam complementary rather than contradictory, which has lead me to the conclusion that Imperialism is the highest and final stage of capitalism. As to when it will eventually fall is another matter the Roman Empire didn’t implode in a few decades but ratter went into a social and economic collapse over several centuries which lead to a long period of barbarism not that the Roman Empire wasn’t barbaric in the same way that capitalist imperialism is barbaric.

    I apologise for this being a long winded reply to the statement that I and the CPB are recycling old Marxist theories but is the only way I could explain my belief that Marxism is still the most comprehensive theory of capitalism and how socialism should replace it if we want human civilization to progress rather than disintegrate into a new barbarism.

    As you say we are both politically anti-imperialist, which is what counts and that the Red Pepper forums allows dialogue between the left, although I still believe left unity is important if we are to move forward and that this should include all socialist and social-democratic groups who are willing to be involved, LRC/Labour, Greens, Socialists and Communists.

    Re: Einstein/Planck: see Maxwell electromagnetic waves

  44. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #34 on: Today at 17:52 »

    Lack of basic health care in poor countries means that every minute a mother dies needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth, at this year’s UN General Assembly on 23 September, Gordon Brown has a real chance to change this by supporting free public health care for mothers and children in a number of poor countries:

    Making health care free for mothers and children in developing countries means a lot to me because…*


    Climate change costs lives

    Fill in your details to get regular updates on how you can help, plus more exclusive videos and stories about Oxfam’s climate change work.



  45. wolfysmith
    « Reply #35 on: Today at 18:01 »


    ‘as a socialist I believe like Nye Bevan that Health Care should be freely available to all according to need not ability to pay.’

    Thank you for telling Gordon Brown why it’s important to you that he delivers free health care for mothers and babies.

    « Reply #36 on: Today at 19:18 »

    Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, Oxfam and the Co-op

    As part of our support for The Wave, The Co-operative is providing subsidised transport for Co-operative Members and Oxfam supporters


  46. Kondratiev's Revenge

    « Reply #5 on: Sun 17 May 2009 11:31 »

    The peaks in Kondratiev cycle of the Price Index can be seen occurring in 1814, 1864, and 1918; between the peaks are two Kondratiev troughs in prices in 1841 and in 1893.
    The three cycles from 1800 showed plateaus ending in 1818, 1871, and 1929. The vortices that followed this fall from plateau occurred in 1830, 1878 and 1932.

    After 1945 democratic governments in the developed world followed Keynesian economic policies which use fiscal and monetary economic stimuli, this began with the New Deal in the mid 1930’s in the USA. Fiscal stimuli mean government expenditures on public works and monetary stimuli means increasing the level of money supply, government runs a deficit and this puts extra money into the economy than is taken in taxes. The Federal Reserve in the USA and Bank of England in Britain have recently increased the amount of money in circulation through government borrowing to stimulate economic growth.

    It can be seen that the Reduced Price peaked in 1981, whereas the raw Price Index plot rises throughout the 1970's to 1990's. There is a peak in the Reduced Price in 1981; which means that the economy has actually been in a down-wave despite rising prices. The economy has received economic stimulus throughout the down-wave from deficit spending from Reagan through to the Bush governments and through growth in Money supply from the 1990's.
    In 1992 there was a Kondratiev trough for Reduced Price and followed by a long plateau and a Kondratiev peaks before the sharp drop in Reduced Price to a vortex. Based on previous cycles the Deflationary growth peaks should occur about twenty years after the Kondratiev peak. The first two Deflationary growth peaks were in 1836 and 1881 occurred close to the ends of down wave on the stock markets in 1835 and 1881. If the year 2000 stock peak ends with a second precipitous drop, or fall from plateau as in 1929 this should drop into a vortex. The Kondratiev cycle would then indicates a further down-wave with a second trough with another fall from plateau to come.

  47. This means as deflation has not yet occurred, if the world’s governments increase economic stimuli as they did in the 1940's this may reduced the real fall in price after inflation is taken into account. The reductions in the Federal Funds rate and administrations tax cut so far have failed to stimulation the economy enough to prevent a depression. The monetary economic stimulus on its own will not be sufficient. Government Fiscal policies with public building programmes such a building social housing are required to stimulate employment and create a demand for goods if a deep depression is to be avoided.

    Kondratiev’s cycle shows down-wave in the stock market ended with a fall from plateau similar to 1929 for 2000 and that a large drop in Reduced Prices could be about to occur and the vortex is still ahead and the Kondratiev trough. Prices could then fall dramatically this would indicate that a severe Depression may be on its way.

    Therefore the stock market peak in 2000 could be equivalent to 1929, if so the cycle is due for a fall off the plateau and that the reduced price should peak. The trend in reduced price began to fall early in 2001 reduced price had fallen to the lowest level since the 1981 down-wave. Action by the US Federal Reserve was able to push the economy back up by cutting interest rate in 1998. But since 2001 the reduced price has continued to fall.

    The most recent Kondratiev down wave occurred from 1981-87 with a recession, and incorporated contained a stock market shock.

  48. The 1980's fall to price plateau and the 1940's trough showed different characteristics from similar periods in past cycles. In 1873 and 1929 a lack of economic stimulation and a resultant deflationary pressure prices resulted in an economic depression. Hopefully like the 1940's and 1980's the governments economic action will prevent the fall from plateau like in 1929-32 being repeated. In the last phase it was the end of an inflationary period in 1981 that saw the Kondratiev peak, after this date interest rates began to fall.

    The economic stimulation in the 1940,s and in the 1980’s/1990’s avoided full depression and the resulted in upward movement of the stock markets therefore recent fall’s towards plateau and trough period shows that economic demand management of the market can reduce the deflationary effect on the market.

    The 1980's fall to Kondratiev plateau was so different from previous falls. Stimulation fell parallel with the price in 1864-66. In the 1918-22 price fall to plateau stimulation peaked in 1919, giving the brief post-war prosperity and upward movement in stock markets, before the deflationary period started, with stimulation continuing until 1921. In the 1981-87 fall to a plateau Reagan and Thatcher deliberately cut back stimulation using high interest rates to begin the process of the fall to a Kondratiev plateau and then cut interest rates to preventing the 1980’s recession becoming a full depression and engineered an upward movement on the stock markets after 1982.

  49. The higher level of stimulation in the Keynesian period made a significant difference to the economic outcome. A massive stimulation was effectively used in the late 1940's period producing the long boom period (known as the thirty golden years);

    Reagan and Thatcher were both ideologically apposed to governments running up deficits but both had to resort to running up government deficits by the mid 1980’s. Economic and political realities of deflationary political policies followed in the early 1980,s could not be ignored as easily in a democracy as in fascist state such as Chile or Argentina in the 1970’s when they introduced free market economics which resulting in extreme poverty.

    The financial stimulation by the USA, Britain and the other G8 countries plus the latest interest rate cuts would indicate that the World Bank, IMF and G8 leaders see a possibility of an economic depression similar to that of the 1930’s if action to stimulate economic activity is not taken. Financial stimulus alone will not be enough and governments will have to invest in building projects in order to generate enough economic activity thorough public works.

  50. Soviet socialism along with Keynesian welfare capitalism show that there is an alternative to extreme poverty and inequality that is the results of free market capitalism. It also demonstrates that the capitalist elite only make concessions to ordinary people when the fears of the socialist alternative forces social and economic concessions which will then be removed once that threat has been removed as has occurred over the last 30 years.
    The financial stimulation by the USA, Britain and the other G8 countries plus the latest interest rate cuts would indicate that the World Bank, IMF and G8 leaders see a possibility of an economic depression similar to that of the 1930’s if action to stimulate economic activity is not taken. Financial stimulus alone will not be enough and governments will have to invest in building projects in order to generate enough economic activity thorough public works.
    Socialism in the Soviet Union along with Keynesian welfare capitalism shows there is an alternative to free market capitalism and extreme poverty and inequality that is the results.
    It also demonstrates that the capitalist elite only make concessions to the people when they fear the socialist alternative forcing social and economic concessions which they are now removing.

  51. The forth economic cycle began during the Second World War with the ‘up-wave’ which lasted up to the 1970s. A Financial and commodity crisis in the 1970’s ended the first ‘expansionary period’ and by 1973 the economy had ‘Peak’ and the economic ‘down-wave’ or phase of decline started ‘Reaganomics’ and ‘Thatcherite’ policy marked the end of ‘welfare capitalism’ and ‘social democracy’. The 1990’s saw a decrease in the rate of return on capital. Financial speculation on the stock market in the late 1990s and the mortgage market have occurred as technological progress in manufacturing no longer gives the level of return that the capitalist elite expect.

    The rising phase ended from 1973 with a ‘primary recession’ until 1983 and a long ‘Plateau’ until about 2000, with the declining ‘secondary recession’ occurring since 2005 with the fall from the’ Plateau’ into the ‘vortex’ and ‘depression’.

    In the declining phase of the 1970s, the new-conservatives proposed free-market capitalism as a solution to stagflation. Antony Crosland the Secretary of State in 1973 said ‘the party is over’ with the end of the Keynesian boom. The primary recession started with the collapse of the international finance system and falling rates of profit. In the 1980’s and 1990’s stock market speculation on fictitious capital and the property market stimulating increase demand for consumer goods but today we see the level of debt reaching the point at which personal borrowing can no longer sustain the capitalist economy at the ‘Plateau’ as the forth economic cycle of capitalism descends into the ‘vortex’.

  52. In 1973 the Labour secretary for state Anthony Crosland said ‘the part’s over’ this was a reference to the fact that the long period of boom that followed the Second World War was at an end and the capitalist world economy was entering a primary resection. This started with an international crisis of finance capital along with the falling rate of profit and approaches the ‘critical zone’. At this point the rate of profit made on capital investments have reached the point of ‘Critical Threshold’ At this point it dos not mater how much capital is invested in the production process the rate of profit has fell bellow the general rates of return on capital. In Britain in the 1970’s there was a better return on capital investment in finance than could be achieved from manufacturing consumer goods.

    Marx noted within capitalism the ‘tendency of the rate of profit to fall’ as this happens it
    approaches the ‘critical zone’ and descends into the ‘vortex’. Development of new technologies has in previous periods of crisis increased the rate of profit above the ‘critical zone’. Another way that capital has solved the problem of a falling rate of profit is to obtain a supply of cheap labour or materials from less developed areas of the world by moving production through imperialist expansion of finance capital and multinational corporations.
    The critical point in the expansion of capitalism will be reached when imperialist expansion can no longer solve the contradiction of capital, labour and nature. As the capitalist mode of productions is based on exploitation of labour, material resources and nature, the rate of return has declines from eight percent in the 1880’s to four percent by the year 2000 with peaks and troughs that have followed the general economic cyclical of the capitalist market in line with the rate of capital accumulation. Capitalist production has expanded in pursuit of profits by the use of new technologies cheaper labour and materials. Within this occur the cyclical crisis of capitalism, resulting in price inflation, over production, lack of demand ending in an economic downturn and unemployment and a financial crisis. Imperialist wars and new technology have in the past enabled a new phase of expansion to occur. Today we see the possibility that further expansion through globalisation and exploitation of labour and the world’s resources may have reached the limits for capitalist expansion and accumulation.
    With the global ecological and financial crisis capitalism would appear to be on the edge of what could be the final ‘vortex’. If so the next stage of human development will be either socialism or the destruction of civilization and descent into war and barbarism. Capitalism threatens the earth’s ability to support human society and life itself.

    F Ibrahim ‘Capitalism – ‘The Edge of a Vortex’ Communist Review No. 51, Autumn 2008,

    M A. Alexander ‘The Kondratiev Cycle Revisited: Part One, Current Position in Cycle’
    M. A. Alexander. ‘The Kondratiev Cycle Revisited Part Two, Economic Implications’

  53. Brigg57
    « Reply #6 on: Sun 17 May 2009 12:10 »

    The Kondratiev cycle is only one among several explanations of the events described here. It needs to be defended theoretically against the other explanations, because it is no more valid than any other. In fact, it seems less valid, as it depends on a highly schematic approach which merely describes the trade cycles of a capitalist economy without ever satisfactorily explaining those cycles. Ernest Mandel gave a very full account of the Kondratiev version of history in his book Late Capitalism back in 1975, but again failed to give a sound theoretical basis for preferring the Kondratiev approach to any other. What was p[resented was a very detailed account of the trade cycle in history

    Marx's law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall is a complex law, not the simplification presented here of a vortex into which capitalist society would fall. He described it as the most important law working within capitalism, and the least easy to understand. he never, anywhere, presented it in its full complexity, because he died. Volume III of Capital, which does present the law, was gathered together by Engels from manuscript notes which were never revised by Marx, and presented in a very schematic form which in itself obscures rather than clarifies when read in the context of that whole section. Conventional economists were able to make hay with that volume (especially over the solution to the transformation problem presented there).

  54. What is presented here is another version of the end of capitalism. This belongs to eschatology rather than analysis. The last stage of capitalism has been presented to us for more than a century now. A major crisis such as that of the 30s, or the crisis now (whose length and nature is still not fully understood by anyone, the more arrogant among the intellectual Left or the best of the conventional economists) is presented to us as the last crisis without any evidence. Stuart hall wrote 50 years ago that he had been told over and over again that capitalism was in its final crisis, in its death throes, and that he had ceased to believe. I think that Marx was too serious an economist to left to epigone such as this.
    The poet Robert Lowell once wrote that in his youth, he had expected society to collapse at any moment. Instead, he did.

  55. wolfysmith
    « Reply #7 on: Mon 18 May 2009 20:07 »

    Capitalism at the Edge of a Vortex

    The economic cycle is a useful tool for analyzing the economic mechanism of capitalism. It shows how profit, prices or unemployment vary over time, in order to explore the process of capitalist production the relationship between the quantity of capital investment, the rate of and actual profit. Capital is defined by its use for making a profit. The third variable is profit.

    If Capital X is operating at point B total investment is £1000 with a rate of profit of 20% resulting in a profit of £200. If, in the operating point moves to B1 on the same EP Curve the investment doubles but profits remain the same therefore the rate of profit has dropped by 50%. However, if the operating point moves to B2 (RP = 16% and I = £1875) at EP2 profits increase to £300 despite the rate of profit falling from 20% to 16%. The capital investment has been increased by a rate higher than the drop in the rate of profit. An 87% increase in I compared with 20% drop in profit. Profits decline if the operating point moves to a lower-profit EP Curve.

    If the operating points of a capital move year by year joining the operating points an operating Characteristic Curve produces the economic footprint of capital.

    When the Characteristic Curve crosses the EP Curve from a low to a high EP Curve profits increase, profits fall as the operating point moves from a high to low EP Curve, when capital accumulation reaches a Critical Point. Capital cannot accumulate fast enough to compensate for the drop in the rate of profit and Profits begin to fall. This is known as the critical zone of capital and is at the edge of the Vortex.

    All industry and economies have an operating characteristic curve and economic footprint. These characteristic curve and economic footprint are determined by the level of economic development wage levels and capital accumulation. As capitalism develops a higher capital accumulation the economic footprint moves towards the critical zone.

    In the actual economy the capital footprint fluctuates along with the economy cycle. The British economic footprint was approaching its Critical Zone in the non-financial sector of the UK economy (1965-79). Capital Investment increased from 1965 to 1973, the increase in capital investment was enough to ensure increased profits as the Characteristic Curve

  56. crossed the EP Curve upwards despite the rate of profit actually falling during 1965-66, 1969-70 and again in 1972-73 as the drop in the rate of profit occurred the increase in capital investment was higher than the drop in the rate of profit ensuring increased profits: 10.2% increase in investment compared with 9.6% drop in the rate of profit (1965-66), 11.7% compared with 7.6% (1969-70) and 18.5% compared with 10.2% (1972-73). In 1973-74 although capital investment rose by £28.8 Billion (25.6%) but the drop in the rate of profit was 27.5%. Therefore profits fell as the characteristic curve crossed the critical zone Capitalism, production-for-profit was under threat. Capitalism had reached the edge of a vortex. In 1975 the rate of profit dropped again (9.5%) but the increase in capital investment was high enough (£34.3bn or 24.2%) to ensure increased profits. The economy was pulled out of the critical zone but the economic and political climate had changed. It was the end of the post war era of social democracy and the beginning of the anti-trade union laws, privatisation, deregulation, free market neo-liberalism and neo-conservativism.

    The crises of capitalism since the 70s are more than just the normal economic cycle. The crisis today is caused by the fall in rate of profit to a critical point where profits are falling as well, hovering about the critical zone, with the Characteristic Curve moving from one EP Curve to another lower EP Curve. Very high losses in parts of the economy in result in bankruptcies and closures. If this continues economic activity will gradually come to the point where production-for-profit is no longer possible. Government action needs to be taken to pull the economy out of the critical zone.

  57. When profits tumble and the economy enters the critical zone, the trajectory of the characteristic curve is such that further profit losses are likely unless action is taken to initiate a recovery. For recovery to take place the movement into the critical zone must first be halted and the operating point moved out and into the comfort zone (shaded area in Figure 5). The operating point may be made to move:
    • to the right (capital injection),
    • to the left (the removal of unprofitable capital),
    • upwards (Instant increase in the rate of profit)

    In practice of course, a combination of all three will probably take place.

    An increase in capital investment sufficiently by government an international finance capital is required so that profits can be maintained and increased even though the rate of profit is falling. If the economy is operating at point A along line X-Y and the rate of capital accumulation doesn’t changed, the operating point moves to apoint B1 on a lower EP Curve. If profits are to be maintained the operating point moves to B2 on the EP Curve This means an injection of new capital ∆B. If the operating point slips to point C1, capital investment has to increase by ∆C to take the operating point to C2 to maintain profits. For point D1 an additional capital injection of ∆D is required etc. For each drop in the rate of profit, the additional investment required to keep the amount of profit constant progressively gets larger. If profits are to increase, even larger amounts of capital investments are required. When the financial markets can no longer converting enough assets into capital, the market requires investment by the government.

  58. Since the 1970s this has been done by:
    • Contracting Out,
    • Privatisation, turning public services into commodities,
    • Creating of entry points for private operators to tap into’ publicly funded enterprises such as the NHS, schools and colleges and council services.
    • Public Finance Initiative/Public Private Partnership (PFI/PPP) with guaranteed profits for private capital.

    Removing unprofitable capital:
    Capital with a low rate of profit is removed, so the average rate of profit increase by.
    • Writing off capital made obsolete as a result of technological advance.
    • Increasing turnover and effectively reducing total capital
    • Merger by which capital is reduced as a result of ‘rationalisation’.
    • Writing off large amounts of capital that normally takes place following any period of stagnation, recession or crisis.
    • The removal of unprofitable capital from production for profit, through nationalisation. Certain investment, such as transport and energy are essential to the overall running of the capitalist system. When unprofitable they are taken into public ownership but kept in operation with public subsidies .
    • Exporting unprofitable capital to more profitable parts of the world.
    • The destruction caused by war brings with it ‘re-construction’ and increase demand for weapons increasing the profits of the armament industry.
    • Chasing ever more miniscule rate of profit differentials through sophisticated mathematically-modelled of speculative business plans and financial products, a process which invariably ends in spectacular failures (sub-prime mortgages is just one example).

  59. If capital is operating on the threshold of the critical zone, at point A along the Characteristic Curve X-Y, then increase in capital accumulation will move the operating point to a lower EP contour and profits fall. This can be avoided if the rate of profit is moved up from point A to point A1 on X1-Y1. Even with the same rate of decline in the rate of profit and same level of capital accumulation (X-Y and X1-Y1 have the same Slope) profits increase and the critical zone is shifted along the line.

    Edge of the Vortex

    The actions above may take capital out of the critical zone as the Characteristic Curve is move away from the critical zone, but the tendency of the rate of profit to fall continues, maintaining downward pressure on the Characteristic Curve. Therefore the measures taken to lift the economy out of the critical zone have to intensify with more drastic measures taken each year. Failure to maintain and intensify measures taken by governments and international finance capital will mean capital moves back into the critical zone. Capitalism is therefore precariously on the edge of a vortex. The cost of maintaining profit is lower wages, weaker trade unions, insecurity, loss of liberty, poverty and war. This is why the capitalist economic system has required the neo-conservative and neo-liberal policies adopted by governments since the economy crossed the critical threshold in 1973-74.The policies of the Conservative and Labour governments since 1974 have been designed to keep Britain out of the critical zone.

  60. Margaret Thatcher made profit-making respectable ‘Greed is good’, privatisation was used by the Conservative government, and for New-Labour profit-making became a must. ‘It don’t mean a thing if it don’t make a mint’ was the Blair motto, Public services were transformed into commodities, patients and students into customers.

    The 1980s and 90s under the conservatives personal debt went up, there was growing inequality, a move from manufacturing and privatisation programme, with a the attack on the welfare state and deregulation of the finance institutions, and the assault on labour unions along with changes in taxation that favoured the wealthy. ‘In the 1980s, a total of £60 billion of state assts were sold off to the private sector at well bellow the true market value.

    The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) was revitalised and under New-Labour as privatisation was re-branded as Public Private Partnership (PPP), Up to 1997 only 17 PFI contracts were signed at a capital value of £2.95bn. From 1997 to 2007 550 PPP contracts were signed with a total capital value of £51bn.

    The question for those who believe in regulated capitalism is how a system that’s survival depended on deregulation be regulated? For workers and the labour unions long-term real improvement in wages and conditions are no longer possible. For the environmental movement, the hope that capitalism can be reformed in an eco-friendly way are doomed to failure. The system that can’t solve the financial crisis of capitalism can solve the ecological crisis. Keynesian welfare capitalism lost out to neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism because it could not rescue capitalism from the critical zone.

    From Fawzi Ibrahim’s article in the Communist Review:
    Capitalism – the Edge of a Vortex

  61. Brigg57
    « Reply #8 on: Mon 18 May 2009 20:26 »

    I thought the first long extract was stuff and nonsense.

    Instead of answering me, you poduce another long article whihc is more of the same - chiliastic stuff and nonsense.

    At least the Judeo-Christian chiliasm had a bit of excitement about it. Read the Book of Revelation - boy, is that scary.

    But this is mathematical hocus-pocus with a bit of historical info brought out of thin air and stuck in.

    Wouldn't it be better to engage in dialogue rather than produce long extracts, one after the other, to be answered presumably by long extracts from opposing texts, as though they are self-explanatory and all must bow before their authority?

    I take Marx too seriously to bow before the authority of this chiliasm dressed up in verbal-mathematical graphs.

    If you believe in it, engage in a dialogue.

  62. wolfysmith
    « Reply #9 on: Tue 19 May 2009 15:22 »

    I am a self taught ‘Marxist’ trying to understand the mechanisms of capitalism and how to bring about a fairer socialist society. Have always considered my self a Marxist and eco-socialist, am an ex-Labour Party/Co-operative Party member recently joined the Communist Party and believe that the left in Britain must find a way to work together as the GUE/NGL left group do in Europe. This is why the electoral alliance No2EU for the European Election is an important step, although I personally believe it would have been better if it had formally been part of the GUE/NGL or Party of the European Left but at least the CPB, Socialist Party and Alliance for Green Socialism have come together. Sorry if I have gone off the point as I started to say I am trying to get a better understanding of the social, political and economic mechanisms at work within capitalist society through reading Marxist Leninist theory so that the forces of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism can be counteracted.

    I hope that helps you see where I am coming from.

  63. Brigg57
    « Reply #10 on: Tue 19 May 2009 20:04 »

    I respect where you're coming from. We all come from different directions.

    I'm not trying to belittle you; you're evidently a committed socialist; so am I as it happens.

    I do hope that you see where I'm coming from in my comments. Reading and understanding the works of Marx and Lenin is just the start if you're serious about them; you need to take as gospel Marx's comment, "doubt everything". He described that as the motto to rule his life. That means not reading them in a biblical manner, but in a critical manner. That's hard, as the analysis presented is cogent and hangs together, and is often used biblically because biblical language is so persuasive. But it's also necessary if your socialism is at all serious.

    I always looked on Marxism as a weapon against the existing order, an order which is profoundly unjust and potentially lethal to those living within it - us. We need to look at that order with fresh eyes - always - and that means taking the critical apparatus left by Marx (and a rich Marxist tradition) and constantly testing it in the most critical manner possible. Otherwise, it becomes dogma, and we become as ineffective, or worse counter-productive.

    I hope you understand.

  64. wolfysmith
    « Reply #11 on: Wed 20 May 2009 18:41 »

    I agree with the comment "doubt everything" by Marx. I hope and try to read it in a critical manner and know some of what I have written has been regarded as no Marxist by some traditionalists. Again I agree Marxism is a tool not a religion and as socialists we have to engage no Marxists and Greens. My own perspective is that the economic growth that the capitalist mode of production dictates is unsustainable and that the key to a sustainable and equitable future is eco-socialism.

    This should give you an insight to where I am going:

    Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Thoughts on Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism: Lenin (1917), Cuban Eco-Agriculture, Further thoughts on the Political Ecology of Marx and Marxist media theory & Oxfam’s campaign that international news coverage remains on our TV screens

    Hopefully it isn’t dogma which as you say is counter-productive or as John Lennon said ‘’You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow’’

  65. willp
    « Reply #12 on: Thu 21 May 2009 16:05 »

    It's worth reading "The gods that failed: how blind faith in markets has cost us our future", by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson (paperback, 326 pages, ISBN 978-1-847-92030-0, Bodley Head, 2008, £12.99.)

    In this brilliant book, Larry Elliott, the economics editor of the Guardian, and Dan Atkinson, the economics editor of the Mail on Sunday, explain why the economy is in such a mess.

    Previously, strong unions, progressive taxation, managed trade and controls on capital and immigration produced higher living standards for the majority. As the authors note, “A fifth factor, immigration controls, also contributed to rising real incomes of blue-collar workers.” Now the opposite policies are producing stagnant or falling incomes, massive debts, tepid growth, and soaring income inequality and economic insecurity. Workers are subjected to material losses and moral uplift. GB plc is not a decent industrial company but a dodgy hedge fund.

    Elliott and Atkinson blame what they call the twelve gods of globalisation - communication, financialization, privatisation, liberalisation, competition, and their partners speculation, recklessness, greed, arrogance, oligarchy and excess. They show how the Labour party, the European Commission, the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the International Court of Justice have all embraced these gods. As the authors note, bodies like the EU “far from being essential in order to exercise some sort of control over large companies … look rather more like being essential to the simplification of large companies’ dealings with political authorities.”

  66. The present crisis arose because US companies promoted enormous ‘ninja’ loans to those with No Income, No Job or Assets. So US household debt is now three times the economy’s annual output, the highest proportion since 1929. Two million insolvent borrowers means insolvent lenders, builders and hedge funds. Every previous crash in the US housing market has led to a full-blown recession and this one will too, largely because the US economy has relied not on increased production but on growing debt. Its productivity has grown less since 1973 than it did in 1947-73 and it created no more jobs between 2000 and 2005 than anywhere else.

    Elliott and Atkinson show how the Treasury, its Financial Services Authority, and the Bank of England all failed in the Northern Rock debacle which signalled the start of the crisis in Britain. Their answer was to nationalise the losses and privatise the profits. The authors sum up finance capitalists’ plight, “They have to borrow money from the public purse because their system does not work.”

  67. Instead, Elliott and Atkinson urge a New Populism focusing on a real-world agenda of jobs, living standards and security in retirement. Its aims should be to subordinate finance to industry, establish personal and social security (mainly by providing high-quality pensions), enhance democracy, curb the semi-detached super-rich, strengthen the professions, value social stability above market efficiency or shareholder value, and reaffirm the liberty of the person.

    They urge protection for our industries, tighter controls on lending and credit, splitting retail from investment banking, smaller banks, proper vetting of all financial products, higher taxes on hedge funds and private equity partners, and deregulation for smaller businesses and the self-employed.

    This is a bold set of proposals, whose implementation would go a long way towards saving industry and rebuilding Britain. Those who worship the twelve gods would, of course, fiercely resist, and it would take the strength of the organised working class to make this New Populism work – but we could do it.

  68. wolfysmith
    « Reply #13 on: Thu 21 May 2009 18:03 »

    Isn’t this just a form of neo-Keynesianism, designed to save a failing system of free market capitalism? plus nationalist protectionism.

  69. willp
    « Reply #14 on: Mon 25 May 2009 12:22 »

    Wolfy, it seems to me to go well beyond 'free market capitalism'.
    And protecting your economy seems to make better sense than not protecting it, which means letting it be sold off, dismantled and wrecked, as we are experiencing.
    There's nothing wrong with workers' nationalism, meaning that the British working class, who are the vast majority, act for their own interests, overriding the interests of that tiny corrupt minority, the capitalist class. Every other working class could do likewise.

  70. wolfysmith
    « Reply #15 on: Mon 25 May 2009 20:22 »

    Unfortunately I think working class nationalism only leads fascism not to international socialism. It will always be reactionary and appeal to the prejudices of xenophobic racists,
    I will leave that to New-Labour, Conservatives, UKIP and the BNP as it’s not a place I wish to go.

  71. willp
    « Reply #16 on: Tue 26 May 2009 13:38 »
    You can think 'unfortunately' whatever nonsense you like - you're the one ending up allying with the forces of reaction, with the employers who run the EU.

  72. wolfysmith
    « Reply #17 on: Tue 26 May 2009 15:10 »

    We will have to differ on this one, I see it as taking concrete action the same as being an activist for Oxfam. Whilst I understand the inability of capitalism to reform it is necessary to show solidarity with all the people of the world whether an unemployed British worker or an exploited worker in Africa, Asia, South America or the USA. It’s all part of the struggle against the exploitative nature of globalized finance capital in its pursuit of profits. The left must unite against the forces of global capitalism. Concrete action requires both industrial and political action of the labour movement and the progressive social movements. That is were a Marxist understanding of the development of capitalism to its final imperialist stage is important. Let’s hope that we can unite the broad left in the common cause of saving humanity and the environment from the barbarism of global exploitation. I know we are in broad agreement over the Cuban revolution and the fight is with the neo-conservatives and neo-liberals of multi-national finance capital and all its political institution IMF, World Bank, WTO, World Economic Forum etc. socialists have to adapt to the conditions existing at any particular time, to further the cause of social revolution and development from capitalism towards a socialist society.

  73. Free Radical
    « Reply #18 on: Tue 26 May 2009 23:43 »

    Sadly the very un-bourgeois democracies of the Soviet Union did not do terribly well on the environment either - but I'm not quite sure what we can blame that on?

    I agree with you on international solidarity by the way.

  74. willp
    « Reply #19 on: Wed 27 May 2009 16:09 »

    Wolfy, you write, " the fight is with the neo-conservatives and neo-liberals of multi-national finance capital and all its political institution IMF, World Bank, WTO, World Economic Forum etc."
    Why isn't the fight also with 'the neo-conservatives and neo-liberals of multi-national finance capital' in the EU too? Or don't you think there are any there?
    Or do you fear being labelled as a nationalist for allying with the mass of the British people against the EU ? The EU, incidentally, is not foreign (pace the humorous Brigg) it is very much led by the British state.

  75. Editor
    « Reply #20 on: Wed 27 May 2009 19:54 »

    I don't have endless amounts of patience or time and insults and pointless bickering on the forum is counter productive and extremely disheartening for everyone. So can we call a halt to this now, please.

    To remind everyone once again:

    Discuss the issue and not individuals. Discuss what someone has said, not the person concerned. No personal attacks, direct or indirect, in posts or in private messages.

    No trolling. Trolling is defined as baiting or provoking another poster with rude, disrespectful or condescending remarks. Trolling also includes posting comments that de-rail thread topics.

    Treat others as you would be treated. Personal aggression, condescension, rudeness, racism, bigotry and sexism are not welcome here and may lead to you being banned.

  76. willp
    « Reply #21 on: Mon 01 Jun 2009 13:25 »

    Fair enough - and what about banning those who make unwarranted accusations of racism?

  77. Direct Action

    « Reply #15 on: Sat 16 May 2009 16:25 »

    As an Oxfam campaigner I take concrete action on the issue of climate change campaign as is the duty of all socialists, communists and progressives on the left whether by writing about EU reforms end over-production and the practice of dumping sugar on the world market, debt cancellation, clean energy or to the Chancellor of the Exchequer over the Millennium Development Goals. I would argue that as a socialist and Marxist whilst I understand the inability for capitalism to be reformed it is necessary to show solidarity with all the people of the world whether they be an unemployed British worker or an exploited worker in Africa, Asia, South America or the USA. It is all part of the struggle against capitalism. As such Oxfam Campaigns are an important part of the struggle against the exploitative nature of globalized finance capital in its pursuit of profits at the expense of the natural world and humanity. I would say that the differences between the green left and the red left is a broader understanding of how the social, political and economic world operates and that we will only achieve an equitable and sustainable world when the green and red left unite against the forces of global capitalism.

    Concrete action requires both industrial action of the labour movement and the progressive social movements. But we need to see it as a whole and not as single issues. That is were the Marxist understanding of the development of capitalism to its final imperialist stage is important. Without this capitalism will lead us to the destruction of the eco-system that supports human life on earth.

  78. Mike777
    « Reply #16 on: Sat 16 May 2009 18:26 »

    I agree with you wolfy, and much of the purpose of setting up this board was to try and 'unite' the red and green left.

  79. Wolfysmith
    « Reply #17 on: Sun 17 May 2009 19:07 »Mike777,

    Let’s hope that we can unite the broad left red and green in the common cause of saving humanity and the environment from the barbarism of global exploitation. Not a small order on both counts I fear.

  80. wolfysmith
    « Reply #18 on: Sat 13 Jun 2009 18:25 »

    Mass Action Needed to Change the Political Climate
    Statement issued by Communist Party Political Committee: from the website: http://www.communist-party.org.uk/

    'The swing to the Tories and the extreme right in the European and local elections was based on massive working class abstention', leading trade union official Graham Stevenson told the Communist Party's political committee on Wednesday evening (June 10).

    'Workers and their families do not believe that the Labour government or party is defending jobs, incomes or public services - while the capitalist class sees no further use for the New Labour clique now that the Tories are electable again', he suggested.

    Mr Stevenson paid tribute to the No2EU - Yes to Democracy campaign which 'fought to bring anti-big business, anti-fascist, pro-worker and pro-public services policies to millions of people'. 'While there were weaknesses in the campaign and the vote was less than brilliant, this was a splendid initiative which showed how different sections of the left and the labour movement can come together in militant, fighting unity', declared the newly-elected European Transport Workers Federation president.

  81. But Mr Stevenson also warned against an over-emphasis on electoral politics, especially as the state and capitalist monopoly mass media are 'ruthless in their efforts to blot out left-wing alternatives to the pro-capitalist parties'. He called for an upsurge in industrial and mass action to defend jobs, manufacturing industry and public services in the run-up to the General Election.

    'The re-instatement of victimised Linamar convenor Rob Williams, in the face of united support for strike action on the part of the workforce and their union, shows how the labour movement can use its strength', he declared. 'A huge grass roots campaign for the demands of the People's Charter would also help create a more favourable political climate in which to force a change of Labour policies and keep out the Tories'.
    The Communist Party of Britain's executive committee will be considering its strategy for elections and alliances at an extended meeting on July 11.

  82. CPB political committee statement: Mass Action Needed to Change the Political Climate

    Mass Action Needed to Change the Political Climate
    Statement issued by Communist Party Political Committee: from the website: http://www.communist-party.org.uk/

    'The swing to the Tories and the extreme right in the European and local elections was based on massive working class abstention', leading trade union official Graham Stevenson told the Communist Party's political committee on Wednesday evening (June 10).

    'Workers and their families do not believe that the Labour government or party is defending jobs, incomes or public services - while the capitalist class sees no further use for the New Labour clique now that the Tories are electable again', he suggested.

    Mr Stevenson paid tribute to the No2EU - Yes to Democracy campaign which 'fought to bring anti-big business, anti-fascist, pro-worker and pro-public services policies to millions of people'. 'While there were weaknesses in the campaign and the vote was less than brilliant, this was a splendid initiative which showed how different sections of the left and the labour movement can come together in militant, fighting unity', declared the newly-elected European Transport Workers Federation president.

  83. But Mr Stevenson also warned against an over-emphasis on electoral politics, especially as the state and capitalist monopoly mass media are 'ruthless in their efforts to blot out left-wing alternatives to the pro-capitalist parties'. He called for an upsurge in industrial and mass action to defend jobs, manufacturing industry and public services in the run-up to the General Election.

    'The re-instatement of victimised Linamar convenor Rob Williams, in the face of united support for strike action on the part of the workforce and their union, shows how the labour movement can use its strength', he declared. 'A huge grass roots campaign for the demands of the People's Charter would also help create a more favourable political climate in which to force a change of Labour policies and keep out the Tories'.
    The Communist Party of Britain's executive committee will be considering its strategy for elections and alliances at an extended meeting on July 11.

  84. Is Cuba’s revolution still relevant for the left?

    « Reply #65 on: Sun 17 May 2009 10:30 »

    Socialism has given Cuban self determine rather than having conditions dictated by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and large global companies or the USA. Cuba, rather than foreign companies and institutions, make the decisions that affect their lives.

    Social equity is a clearly a high priority for the Cuban government. Living standards may be low by the standards of the developed world, but despite being the second poorest country in the Americas, there is no hunger and housing is generally free, if a bit dilapidated. Cubans are one of the most educated populations in the world; and there is universal free health care.

    Cuban agriculture shows a sustainable model for the global economy. Cuban people eat better and are healthier than in the past. Things may not be perfect but compared to other Latin American countries; Cuba does not have the hunger, destitution, and suffering that are common in countries with higher rates of GDP, This is because Cuba is a socialist society providing social benefits along eco-socialist production which abolishes the alienation and estrangement between labour and nature that exists within capitalist society.

    Marx wrote ‘Self-estrangement of man, from himself and from nature, appears in the relation in which he places himself.’ ‘Thus through estranged labour man not only creates his relationship to the object and to the act of production’……’his own production as the loss of his reality…as a loss of his reality…domination of the person who does not produce over production and the product’.
    (Marx, 1981, p71)

    ‘Alienated labour of alienated man, of estranged labour of estranged life, of estranged man’

    (Marx, 1981, p72)

    Marx wrote ‘Association applied to land, shares the economic advantage……equality……the intimate ties of man with the earth, since the earth ceases to be an object of huckstering, and through free labour and free enjoyment becomes true personal property of man’ (Marx, 1981 p58,59)

    The economic value of labour determined from its use-value ‘from each according to abilities, to each according to need’. (Marx)

  85. Marxist ecological analysis

    Human beings are estranged materially within capitalist society from the natural world that supports life, separation of the industrialized life in towns and cities from agricultural life and the countryside within advanced capitalist society. A Marxist analysis shows that capitalist accumulation creates separation of workers from nature as property as the contradiction of capitalism. A Marxist critique of the political economy of capitalism shows that the profit motive and commodification of life is the dictatorship of capital accumulation as a product of the exchange value as opposed to use value and anti-democratic.
    Marx, K. (1981) ‘Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 Progress Publishers Moscow, Lawrence & Wishhart London

    This is the success that Cuban socialism represents to Red and Green Socialism

  86. Brigg57
    « Reply #66 on: Sun 17 May 2009 11:31 »

    don't you think it's important not to sound like a Bible-thumper if you want people to take Marxism seriously.
    "In the beginning was the Word, and Yea, the Word was made Flesh, and the Flesh saith, Behold, in the land of Cuba a king will be born, who will lead his people to the land of Milk and Honey known to us all as SOCIALISM, and verily, verily, I say unto thee, the clouds shall open and the Lord shall appear in His throne dressed in the Victorian style and with a Big White Beard, and on His right Hand shall sit St Lenin the Baptist, and on His left shall sit St Fidel with a Tommy Gun in his Hand. And, Yea, the Lord's only Son St Che shall give His life for the cause of economically unestranged Man, that all shall see and live".
    I regard the 1844 Manuscripts as so much 19th century philosophical gush toilet paper, to be 'left to the mice'(Marx, Preface to 1859 Critique). As the quote shows, this seems to have been Marx's view too.
    I'd rather not make Marx, Lenin, Che or Cuba a fetish of divinity or of Satan. The heroism of the Cuban revolution is undoubted, there is a need to support the commitment to equity and justice which the Cuban govt. practises, and its defence against the strength of the US is a necessity. No need to create a myth about those things. There have been grave civil rights abuses, but anyone who wants to end them must demand an end to the US tactics of blockade and subversion which have brought them about. There are now moves to bring this about - I don't know how successful they'll be.
    Burma as well as Cuba has taken the right of self-determination into its own hands. The Munster commune of 1534 practised a very vigorous communism of equity, and was a total nightmare to live in. Taking the right of self-determination or practising equity isn’t enough in itself to bring about any sort of socialist society. I doubt that such a society can be built in just one country, never mind one island. Defend Cuba – very much so; worship it – not at all.

  87. wolfysmith
    « Reply #67 on: Wed 20 May 2009 19:19 »

    It seams my style of writing and thought process comes across a bit too ideological. I know Cuban socialism isn’t perfect in the same way that Tito’s Yugoslavia wasn’t but as an example of actual socialism I think they both have been a fair attempt at it. Both had to come to terms with a form of market socialism. I think if it hadn’t been for interference by the west after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the cold war Yugoslavia (not the Soviets best friend) was a fair example like Cuba of actual socialism by people led by a popular communist party.

  88. Johnnywas
    « Reply #68 on: Wed 20 May 2009 20:08 »

    i don't think cuba and yugolsavia are comparable. Socialism in yugoslavia was distinct from elswehere in Eastern Europe because the government accepted the need for greater pluralism and occasionally made efforts in that direction both in the economy and in society. however it was however overshadowed by the Soviet Union and was ultimately unable to accomodate genuine political diversity. Whereas the Cuban Government has much more freedom to set its own course and has decided rather than to extend toleration to continue to repress political opposition. its efforts to extend the market are about propping the government not finding a route towards a more democratic socialism.

    i expect that within the next twenty years the countries with the lowest income inequality and those which provide the greatest support to the less well off will be democracies with strong socialist traditions and free trade unions.


  89. willp
    « Reply #71 on: Thu 21 May 2009 15:27 »

    In this furious polemic, it might be worth mentioning Cuba's medical outreach programme which has restored sight to thousands of blind people.
    I find that if we look at the facts, quite often it helps us to understand the politics.

  90. wolfysmith
    « Reply #72 on: Thu 21 May 2009 15:43 »

    The Cuban and Yugoslavian models of socialism reflect the different character of each state and peoples levels of development. Both formed their own distinct form of socialism, one relevant to central Europe and one to a Caribbean island. Both models evolved a system of state / co-operative production and worker democracy.

    If the people of Cuba had a referendum on Cuban socialism they would probable vote for a western style democracy but if the people of the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union could choose between the former socialist state with free education, health care and full employment and the capitalist free market form of multi-party democracy it would be interesting to see which way they would vote.

  91. Johnnywas
    « Reply #73 on: Thu 21 May 2009 20:27 »


    you're probably right

    I don't know whether the Cuban people would vote for the Communist party. it may be that as was the case in Serbia they would vote to keep the status quo.

    of course that is unlikely to be forever. experience suggests that multi party systems tend to produce party changes in the long run.

    in that case the proper concern of socialists should be to provide the Cuban people with clear alternatives to mass privatisation and unemployment of the type that occured in Eastern Europe in the 1990s. and to make instead the case for collectives, co-operatives and a strong welfare state. i think that case is a strong and the Cuban people have the lessons of the 1990s to learn from.

    a communist party which committed itself to human rights and democracy would be equiped to face that challenge. and it would not be alone. many cuban dissidents are also committed to a mixed economy with strong welfare.

    it not actually a choice between universal medical care and democracy - thats a false choice - the Cuban people should demand both.


  92. wolfysmith
    « Reply #74 on: Fri 22 May 2009 14:36 »

    Cuba has health, education and social welfare systems and a democracy with universal suffrage 16 years without a multi-party system. If we look at Jamaica, Haiti or the so called democracy of the USA the question for socialists is not a Liberal/social democracy which offers wealth and power for a minority, with some benefits for the middle class and insecurity and poverty for many. True democracy is not the people voting for political parties that govern in the interest of an elite minority class but a democracy that represents the people that ensures the wealth of society benefits all the people. The question for socialists is how to achieve a democratic socialist society based on social ownership rather than a bourgeois democracy and capitalist economy.

  93. Free Radical
    « Reply #75 on: Fri 22 May 2009 15:37 »

    WolfySmith, Do you think that the people can not be trusted with a free vote? Or be trusted to form other political parties?

  94. wolfysmith
    « Reply #76 on: Sat 23 May 2009 14:58 »

    Free Radical,

    It’s the case that I 'DON’T' trust bourgeois democracy. Hear in Britain we have a multi-party democracy, that didn’t prevent Thatcherism. In fact the majority voted against the Tories but were split between the Liberal, Social Democrats and Labour parties. Today the WTO, World Bank, IMF and EU all insist that what ever government we democratically elect privatisation and marketization are a requirement of Health, Education and all other public services putting market forces before human need. In Werrington Peterborough the council had a consultation period with local residents over plans by the Howard Property Group to build a 75,000 sq ft Tesco supermarket. (Planning Application No: 08/00286/FUL)The local residents campaigned against it and it was rejected by the Peterborough City Council. The Howard Property Group put in new modified plans and appealed against the council decision. The new plans (Planning Application Ref No: 08/01471/FUL) to build a 75,000 sq ft Tesco supermarket with some concessions on height (overall height of the building being reduced by 2 meters) plus extra car parking and for the local Library, community sports centre and secondary school. This proposal was accepted by the Peterborough Council even though the original reason for rejection was size and scale of the proposal and impact on the local community. (The new Tesco superstore would double the retail space) The public inquiry into the first application is to be held in June 2009. The Howard Property Group and Tesco’s get their 75,000 sq ft supermarket either way against the expressed wishes of the people of Werrington. That’s the dictatorship of capital over the will of the people. Only social ownership and co-operative production plus community, regional and national and international democracy of the people represents true democracy, but the capitalist elite and the bourgeois political parties don’t want that it’s much too radical and dangerous. Viva La Revolution

  95. Free Radical
    « Reply #81 on: Sat 30 May 2009 17:36 »


    Whilst I have much sympathy for the points you rightly make about Cuba - the US blockade, the constant threat of CIA backed counterrevolution or assasination, the brutality of the Batista regime - I think I must take issue with your final sentences in response to IAmLegion - '...if you’re really concerned about the curbs on civil liberties, as opposed to using it as a stick with which to beat a progressive regime, then you’ll want an end to attempts by the US Right and Cuban émigrés to undermine and overthrow the regime. Then your criticism will be treated as more than a propaganda exercise, part of an atmosphere which has led to the very poverty and curbs on civil liberties of which you complain.'

    I suppose the question is, to what are those curbs on civil liberties to be attributed? And to what degree should we absolve the regime itself of responsibility for such curbs on liberty? I know that you truly value civil liberties and fundamental rights. And I am not sure how far we should ever go in justifying their restriction.

  96. Wolfysmith

    You say that you don't trust 'bourgeois democracy' which you equate with multi-party democracy. This raises many questions of course that are maybe better addressed on the 'Dictatorship of the proletariat' or the 'On democracy' threads.

    But I suppose my question remains - do you trust the people to make a free choice? Other questions are of couse ones like - who controls the party in a one-party state? And when was a dictatorship of the proletariat anything other, in practice, than the dictatorship of the party, the central committee and the dictator himself?

  97. If you can really honestly sell a dictatorship of the proletariat to the masses, good luck. But I won't follow you. (And doubtless I'll be considered bourgeois for saying this).

    I think one enormous problem, to which the left appears generally quite blind, is the frightening degree to which the masses appear manipulable, and the disturbing gap between the humanistic and Enlightenment principles upon which socialism is based (a literary culture more than anything) and the way that people actually live in a consumer capitalist society... mythically, as McLuhan pointed out. And I think we should have Adorno's warning ringing in our ears that mass culture and Enlightenment values appear to lend themselves rather more easily to fascism than to socialism.

  98. wolfysmith
    « Reply #87 on: Sun 31 May 2009 15:50 »

    Bourgeois democracy in practice is a multi-party system and as you rightly say the masses appear manipulable this is a fact understood by Marxist theorists on the media ‘The power of the media is thus portrayed as that of renewing, amplifying and extending the existing predispositions that constitute the dominant culture’ (Curran et al. 1982), yes it is true that the Soviet Union became a dictatorship of the party over the proletariat and control was top down, and this has created a problem for socialists. Lenin tried to solve this problem with the introduction of the New Economic Plan (NEP) with the introduction of worker co-operatives as a more responsive form of social ownership. We have to find a way of creating a democracy that is truly ‘proletarian’ or democracy of the people, bottom up rather than top down ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ is a misunderstood and mis represented term. What worries me is not ‘trust in the people’ is the dictatorship of capital and the market and its lack of true democratic accountability which is being eroded by privatization and marketization of health care, education, water, gas, electricity and rail. For this reason both Cuba may not be utopia the same as Yugoslavia wasn’t but they have both been good attempts at actual socialism. The people of Cuba are better of than most of their neighbours. They are not having their health care and education systems accountability eroded to market forces and capital.

  99. Marxist-Leninism and eco-socialism both give an insight into to contradictions within the capitalist mode of production and the limits to economic growth that is at the root course of the crisis of capitalism as the rate of return diminishes and capitalisms requirement for exponential expansion of the market in a finite world. A socialist mode of production must satisfy both human need and an ecological balance that guaranties the survival of the human species within sustainable development. Production will have to be both planned and democratic in order to work and be socially acceptable. This is the challenge that has faced Cuban socialist society and will face the whole of humanity. The capitalist market system cannot be adapted to become ecological as this is in contradiction with the pursuit of profit; this is ultimately the relevance of the Cuban example for socialism and humanity and probably more relevant now than fifty years ago because of the ecological and economic problem facing humanity as globalized finance capitalism as a system has failed and a finite planet means exponential growth for economic gain is no longer sustainable.

  100. Free Radical
    « Reply #88 on: Sun 31 May 2009 16:24 »


    Yes the masses (all of us) appear manipulable. However that doesn't mean that we need to trust someone else to deliver us. I think some Marxists tried to get around the problem of the masses not understanding what is really good for them with the doctrine of 'false consciousness' which I find quite pernicious. Who, after all is the guarantor of 'true consciousness' and how would we ever know when we had reached this nirvhana? It's a variant, it seems, of a perennial problem of the uncertain relationship of our perception to 'reality' that you can trace back a long way.

    The relationship that you refer to between economic and social relations and the kind of democracy you have, is a very interesting question of course. I'm not sure that Lenin created the NEP out of any concern for democracy, but rather a concern for economic collapse due to the rigidity of a planning system and the failure of people to conform with socialist production.

    Your other point about capitalism and ecology is another important one. It is not at all clear to me that it is axiomatic that capitalism can not adapt to ecological concerns. Growth does not necessarily entail depletion of non-renewable resources it seems to me (I'm interested in responses to this)... I think we need to think very carefully about what adaptation a capitalist society is truly capable of.

  101. wolfysmith
    « Reply #89 on: Sun 31 May 2009 18:34 »

    Free Radical

    It is true the NEP addressed economic concerns but it was also part of Lenin’s strategy for the transition from the social democratic revolution to the socialist revolution in Russia. He wrote that ‘In order to establish a socialist society a system of workers control and co-operatives production is required democratic control of production and social ownership of the means of production evolves into true equality and the abolition of class’ (p38) On Soviet Socialist Democracy by VI Lenin and the book Lenin’s last struggle by Moshe Lewin is a good reference point regarding the contradiction within the Soviet Union between the struggle for a proletarian democracy and the dictatorship of the party in the final years of Lenin’s life.

  102. I think the economic down-turn as well as exposing the social divisions of the capitalist mode of production has also exposed the destructive nature of the capitalist production profits are obtain from the supply of cheap labour and materials from the less developed areas of the world moving production through global finance capital and multinational corporations. The critical point in the expansion of capitalism will be reached when its imperialist expansion can no longer solve the contradiction of capital, labour, nature and as Marxist-Leninist’s have note the ‘tendency of the rate of profit to fall’ the rate of return has declines from eight percent in the 1880’s to four percent by the year 2000. Today we have over production, lack of demand, economic downturn, unemployment and a financial crisis within the capitalist system which is on the edge of what is called the ‘vortex’ from which the economy falls into a depression. The only solution to the economic crisis for capitalism is cheaper labour and materials and economic expansion. For this reason it is probable that the capitalist mode of production has reached its limit in a finite material world and the Marxist-Leninism theory that imperialism is the final stage of capitalism holds true for the crisis of international finance capital and the ecological crisis of over production from capitalisms exploitation of humanity and nature in its pursuit of surplus-value. Capital is dependent on the use and appropriation of labour-value to create added-value from human labour transforming nature. As the economic activity of capital degrades nature costs raise therefore profits are reduced, this demands a new rationality of labour, nature and the alienation of labour from nature.

    You can hear Joel Kovel explain the crisis of capitalist production at Regime of Money: http://vodpod.com/watch/338436-regime-of-mone

  103. Brigg57
    « Reply #90 on: Sun 31 May 2009 21:33 »

    Wolfy, NEP was the response to the inability of war communism as an economic strategy; it called for a return to the market in agriculture, encouraging the kulak class. Moshe Lewin (a fine historian) in Lenin's Last Struggle, says the opposite of what you're saying. he argues that the new Bolshevik state was suspended in a void, lacking both a proletariat and an economic infrastructure . NEP was an attempt to rectify this situation, but the tendency of NEP was to destroy socialism (see pp.16-17). He was certainly aware of bureaucratisation in the party, which is why he appointed a committee to investigate its spread - the committee was headed by Stalin, who became Gen Sec of the party in Apr, 1922. The other thing Lenin did in march, 1921, apart from introduce NEP, was to abolish all party factions - hitherto the party had been the only site of any sort of debate, with Communists opposed to the leadership able to form factions against its policies - Bukharin's Left Communists, Osinsky's Democratic Centralists, and Kollontai's Workers Opposition. Lenin ended that right - temporarily. Like dictatorships, temporary bans have a funny habit of becoming permanent. Lewin's book is a document of Lenin's inability to prevent the party form becoming a monster.

  104. You can't have your cake and eat it. previously, when you were putting forward the arguments in which neo-liberal and neo-conservative are mingled up with the falling rate of profit, I criticised them as confused - I was even unkind enough to say that they were hocus-pocus. You ignored this and kept going. When I asked you to answer it, you fairly said that you were only just learning the stuff. This is fair enough, but why do you keep putting this out if you’ve not understood it properly yet? I would have thought that the best way of understanding something critically is through dialogue, rather than issuing proclamations.

    please, this is intended in the kindest manner.

  105. wolfysmith
    « Reply #94 on: Mon 01 Jun 2009 16:03 »

    What you say regarding the NEP and the return of the market in agriculture is true and we have seen similar use of the market in Yugoslavian and Cuban socialism. I think war communism was a major part of the problem leading to the bureaucratisation in the party that Moshe Lewin refers too. As I have said I am no expert on these subjects but can see the link in the crisis of a globalized capitalist system and poverty and exploitation of the environment and humanity, and therefore conclude that something has to change and I believe that the only viable solution to the crisis is a socialist social and economic system. How that will be achieved I don’t know, but I am convinced capitalism is incapable of reform.

    The question then is who has the will to do something and change things, Not our politicians that’s for sure. I think we have to look to the labour movement which has been the force for social change in the past along with the NGO’s and social movements. We need to look at the actual examples of socialism in practice in order to learn from past mistakes and successes. We cannot ignore Lenin, Tito and Castro, all were popular and successful. I hope that Cuba can succeed now that Castro has had to stand down only time will tell.


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