Tag Archives: Capitalism

Neo-liberalism breeds state monopoly capitalism?

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By James O. Gibson

The spirit of enterprise was a key message in Margaret Thatcher’s campaigning; the late British PM championed entrepreneurship as the way to revive the British economy. In the process, Thatcher’s government made two fundamental changes the mindsets of ordinary British people:

If you work hard, you’ll get rich. If you’re poor, it’s your own fault.
Every man’s a capitalist and should aspire for more and more.
Because of these fundamental changes, the poor weren’t seen as unfortunates anymore, but people undeserved of the wealth enjoyed by a supposedly growing middle class. Through her policies and campaigns Thatcher reignited class warfare, however that’s a story for another article. In this post, I want to tell you how the neoliberal laissez-faire ideals breed doctrines very different from the intended outcomes. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan both promoted the idea of ordinary people being able to start up businesses and become rich inside an affluent host middle-rate taxpayers, however the policies they implemented had exactly the opposite effects. Whether you call it Thatcherism or Reagonomics, big businesses were empowered on an scale unprecedented since the industrial revolution as a result of tax cuts and widespread liberalization of some of the largest economies in the world (i.e. Britain and America). Tax cuts combined with continued deregulation of the Bank lead to the rise of new (and volatile) finance markets. Furthermore, hedge funds received increase interest as well as entirely new offerings in the increasingly complex finance sector.

After deregulation (started by Jimmy Carter) something very dangerous happened in America – the rise of the financial service sector. As crazy as it may seem, money in itself became a market. The finance markets became so complex that companies had to hire people with specialized knowledge in economics to be able to remain competitive against their rivals. This is still very true in the situation today. Every high-earning corporation has a dedicated team of finance specialists who are able to use their academic knowledge to increase profits for the business – obviously those economists will have to be paid a respectable amount. It gets worse though. There are investment firms who compromise entirely of these economists and finance specialists; exploiting trends in the market and ultimately making money out of money. Growth forever is impossible, and the rise of finance is likely a manifestation of that reality. We can’t build any more factories, as the workforce won’t be able to compete with cheap Asian labour. We can’t build any more shopping malls or call centers, since the demand isn’t growing as wages have stagnated. So if we can’t do any of this, how does the economy grow? Well the corporate elites had a solution, and that was to invest money in other ventures to make a profit – this can be scaled up and so we can create growth without the factories or shopping malls…

The investment firms also have shareholders though. It’s frightening to realize that there’s a chain of investors, investing in investors who are sometimes even investing in even more investors. The trading of assets has become extremely volatile in the process; the housing bubble being just one of the outcomes of this volatility. While the rise of finance markets (as a result of neo-liberalization) has made crises more frequent and more devastating, the rise has also created barriers for smaller businesses and ordinary people to actually embrace the supposed spirit of enterprise. The average Joe can’t afford to hire a team of financiers or make informed decisions in volatile markets. The average Joe also can’t compete with the huge corporate conglomerates which have been able to monopolize the markets because of tax cuts and deregulation. Okay, so Joe does get an extra £1000 a year from the same tax cuts, but the big corporations receive an extra £100 billion each. The amount of money given to the big businesses can be used to offset the amount of money given to the smaller businesses, thus allowing large companies to take hegemony over entire markets. These are state-financed corporate monopolies. So much for laissez-faire capitalism, eh?

Original: http://www.criticalproletariat.com/neoliberalism-breeds-state-monopoly-capitalism/

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The History of the Soviets

By Anton

The word ‘soviet’ is Russian for ‘council’, and these originated during the 1905 revolution in Russia. In 1905, the Russo-Japanese War increased the strain on Russian industrial production, the workers began to strike and rebel. They represented an autonomous workers movement, one that broke free from the government’s control over trade unions. Soviets sprang up throughout the industrial centers of Russia, usually organized on the factory level. The soviets disappeared after the Revolution of 1905, but re-emerged under Socialist leadership during the Revolution of 1917.

After the toppling of the tsar from power, soviets were once again organised under the provisional government to almost keep things together until the constituent assembly was elected.

At the beginning of the February Revolution of 1917, these soviets were under control of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and even the Mensheviks had a larger share of the elected representatives than the Bolsheviks. But as World War I continued, the Russian army met defeat after defeat, and the provisional government proved inadequate at establishing industrial peace, the Bolsheviks began to grow in support. By degrees, the Bolsheviks dominated with a leadership which demanded “all power to the soviets.”

The Bolsheviks promised the proletariat a state run by workers’ councils to overthrow the bourgeoisie’s main political body – the Provisional Government. In October 1917 (this actually happened in November, but the Julian calendar that was used in Russia at the time didn’t account for leap years, so was behind everyone who used the georgian calendar), the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government, giving all power to the Soviets. It is important to note that the Soviets were heavily dominated by The Bolsheviks, which meant the Bolsheviks had the support of the vast majority of the proletariat.

Organisation

With village and factory soviets as a base, there arose a vast pyramid of district, cantonal, county and regional soviets, each with its executive soviet. Over and above these stood the “All-Russian Soviet Congress,” which appointed an “All-Russian Central Executive Committee” of no more than 200 members, which in turn chooses the “Soviet of People’s Commissaries” — the Ministry. Beginning with a minimum of three and maximum of 50 members for smaller communities, the maximum for town soviets was fixed at 1,000 members. The soviet system was seen as an alternative to parliamentary systems for administering republican governments. The deputies were accountable and were able to be recalled by those who elected them.

John Reed (author of ‘Ten days that shook the world’) wrote:
“Until February 1918 anybody could vote for delegates to the Soviets. Even had the bourgeoisie organised and demanded representation in the Soviets, they would have been given it. For example, during the regime of the Provisional Government there was bourgeois representation in the Petrograd Soviet – a delegate of the Union of Professional Men which comprised doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc”.

Leon Trotsky wrote in Terrorism and Communism (1920) that “In Petrograd, in November 1917, we also elected a Commune (Town Council) on the basis of the most “democratic” voting, without limitations for the bourgeoisie. These elections, being boycotted by the bourgeoisie parties, gave us a crushing majority. The “democratically” elected Council voluntarily submitted to the Petrograd Soviet…the Soviet Government placed no obstacle in the way of the bourgeois parties; and if the Cadets, the SRs and the Mensheviks, who had their press which was openly calling for the overthrow of the Soviet Government, boycotted the elections, it was only because at that time they still hoped soon to make an end of us with the help of armed force…If the Petrograd bourgeoisie had not boycotted the municipal elections, its representatives would have entered the Petrograd Council. They would have remained there up to the first Social Revolutionary and Cadet rising, after which…they would probably have been arrested if they did not leave the Council in good time, as at a certain moment did the bourgeois members of the Paris Commune.”

Unfortunately, due to the majority of parties support for the counter revolution, all opposition parties had to be banned. The Left SRs and Left internationalist Mensheviks were allowed to run for the soviets, and many of these people later joined the Bolsheviks, in fact the left SRs entered a coalition with the Bolsheviks from the start of Soviet rule. The ban on opposition parties, as well as general poverty due to a world war, a civil war and the fact that 14 foreign armies had invaded, ultimately lead to the Thermidorian reaction taking over the Bolshevik party, and Stalin and his bureaucratic clique ruled with an iron fist, crushing all autonomous workers organisations.

Capitalism is in a crisis, and the light at the end of a tunnel is an oncoming train. We must seize control of our workplaces, public places and town halls and turn them into forums to decide our collective future. Our workplaces must no longer belong to the few, but to the people who work there; most importantly, we should fight to get representatives of the proletariat into parliament, to increase class consciousness and to gain concessions from the bourgeoise; we must form a SPD-like mass party and form militias. It is only when the majority of the proletariat is class conscious that we can topple the bourgeois state and form soviets and workers committees, because the fruits of our labour should belong to us, not to a small elite.

Stupidity in capitalism

Say you want to help starving African children, what do you do? The Christians pray to a higher power, but we logical people know that won’t help at all, don’t we? So we realise that praying will not help. We must donate money to provide food and clean water.

But this only serves as a temporary solution. To truly help, we must rebuild society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. To end hunger, poverty, malnutrition, we need socialism

Daily Headline – 15/05/13

France back in recession

French flagFrance is back in a recession, the second time in 4 years as Socialist Party leader and President Francois Hollande comes under further criticism.

The capitalists would have you believe that a successful country is not one with the best/highest standards of living but one with the highest GDP. It is under such a guise that Socialism is deemed a failure.

Pseudo-Socialist parties and leaders don’t help the cause by going along with capitalism under a red banner, making the left look like failures.

This is the problem in France, they have a quasi Socialist government integrated into a capitalist Europe and European Union. France implements policies that try to improve conditions for the working class and make a fairer society and as a result ‘business confidence’ takes a big knock, the economy stumbles and the electorate think the ruling party are useless and vote them out only to return the previous lot of incompetent politicians.
So the never-ending cycle continues.

So what’s the answer?

Well that depends if you want the short-term or the long-term answer.

In the short term, stick with Hollande and the Socialists and screw ‘business confidence’. Maybe if we ignore the markets, they’ll go away!

In the long term capitalism must come to an end for real positive change to take place and it can’t be restricted to one country, stick with the European Union and together a socialist Europe will lead to real, genuine prosperity.

The Robin Hood Tax – Latest

Courtesy of The Robin Hood Tax CampaignRobin Hood Tax

OSBORNE — DROP THE LEGAL CHALLENGE

RHT logoJust a few months ago we were delighted to share the good news with you: eleven countries in Europe pledged to introduce Robin Hood Taxes — netting a combined whopping £30 billion. It’s hard to believe, but those taxes are now under threat from our government.

These taxes were the result of European leaders listening to the millions of ordinary people demanding the banks pay their fair share. George Osborne tried to block progress at every turn but European leaders fought on and we got the right result. But after losing the moral and practical arguments George Osborne is resorting to a desperate legal challenge to try and block these countries from introducing their own taxes.

We need to act fast to stop this dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham move and ensure these countries can introduce Robin Hood Taxes. Osborne tried to sneak this one unnoticed late on a Friday afternoon. But by speaking up and standing together we can send a clear message – we know what’s happening and we won’t let them get away with it.

Can you sign the petition to stop this uncalled for legal challenge?

Make no mistake this is not about defending British interests in Europe — it’s about defending the interests of this Government’s friends in the City of London. This legal challenge should be seen for what it is: a desperate last-ditch effort to protect the obscene profitability of our bloated financial sector.

In the UK, and across Europe we all paid to bail out the banks. And millions of us are still feeling the pain. These proposed financial transaction taxes are small but significant steps in ensuring the banks begin to pay their fair share. And that £30 billion would provide vital funds that can pay for doctors and nurses, help people in the poorest countries or fight climate change.

Not only is this wrong but it’s breathtakingly hypocritical. The City of London could be hit by the tax if, for example, a British firm trades with branches of French or German banks based in London. This is the exact same mechanism as the UK’s very own stamp duty on shares which nets the UK £3 billion a year.

Support for this tax is overwhelming: world leaders, faith leaders, economists, Nobel prize winners all cheered the lead taken by European countries. Don’t let George Osborne wreck this progress.

Yours,

Robin Hood

Radical democracy

Democracy.

The word democracy comes from te Greek words ‘demos’ and ‘kratia’- rule by the people. Are we ruled by the people? Do we have a say in what our state does?

We are not a democracy, we are a country ran by the rich! A member of parliament gets £66,000 a year, a second home payed for, a grocery allowance- is this fair? This is capitalism: the rich rule, while the poor get to decide which rich man to vote in every four or five years.

So how do we fix this problem? What we require is a Workers state (my friend Leon will disagree with me here!) ran through real democracy, that will genuinely represent the interests of the people. Here is what I propose:

1) Local decisions decided through direct, participatory democracy.

2) Delegates to be elected to represent the area at a regional/national level.

3) Delegates to be revocable through majority vote and accountable.

4) No delegate to receive more than the average wage of a skilled worker, or receive any special privileges.

Since all delegates will be proletarian, not bourgeois like today, they will serve proletarian class interests. If a delegate does not do what he/she said they would do, they can be voted out.
Anyone could become a delegate with enough popular support, it wont be left for the Etonians and public schoolers like it is under capitalism.

The leadership has failed. Even so, the leadership can and must be recreated from the masses and out of the masses. The masses are the decisive element, they are the rock on which the final victory of the revolution will be built.

Rosa Luxemburg

Daily Headline – 02/05/13

Clegg misses the bloody obvious

Nick Clegg Deputy PMThe UK’s Deputy PM and leader of the Liberal Democrat party Nick Clegg in relation to the polarisation of UK politics has said:

“(it is) an observable trend every time any country in the developed world goes through difficult times”

He is talking about the rise in popularity of UKIP which, in his opinion, is pulling the Conservatives further to the right, not that much notice of what ‘calamity’ Clegg says should be taken (not that anyone does ever since he abandoned the students over tuition fees and subsequently screwed us over with no real choice in the electoral reform referendum) as he also says that Ed Miliband (the leader of the Labour party) is moving Labour to the left (what a joke!).

So the UK is becoming politically polarised and only Clegg and his Lib Dems will stay in the middle ground. He has completely ignored WHY there are “difficult times” “every time”!

Thanks Nick! You hold the middle ground and we’ll continue to go up and down like a yo-yo as you clueless ponces are eternally bewildered at the constant failings of capitalism.