Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

August 30, 2010

The Communist Party face to face with the Capitalist Crisis, International Communist Review, issue 1






http://www.iccr.gr/site/en/issue1/the-communist-party-face-to-face-with-the-capitalist-crisis.html


Characterisation of the Crisis and Changes in the Model of World Domination

The tendency of the profit rate to fall, as Marx explained, is the weak point of capitalism, to the extent that profit is the aim, the motive and the finality of capital. Its effective fall, conditioned by the rise in the organic composition of capital, is at the end of the day the cause of the paralysis of the process of accumulation of capital, sharpening the basic contradiction of capitalism between the social character of the process of production and the private, capitalist form of appropriation of its results.

The crisis is the consequence of the huge increase in productivity of the labour force, of human labour exploited in factories and fields, which in turn produces an increase in capital, in surplus-value and in commodities, capital which cannot be re-accumulated at a suitable rate of profit.

The problem is not the abundance of unsold commodities, but the abundance of commodities unsold at a given rate of profit. The cause of the crisis is in no way a crisis of under-consumption. The working class exists for capitalism as producer of value, not as consumer.

Pursuing higher profits or the maintenance of the average profit rate, on the other hand a tendency for the profit rate to fall occurs because the real limit of capitalist production is capital itself. To overcome these inherent limits to the capitalist mode of production, the following lines of action have been adopted in the last decades.

* Political intervention to organise the valorization cycle at world level:

A) Producing and realising surplus value on a world scale through a boundless increase in productivity. Extending capitalist production relations to the entire world.

B) Territories and markets are annexed, the price of labour force, agricultural products and raw materials becomes cheaper, etc.

* The increase in productivity has been accompanied by a lowering of wages – devaluing the price of labour force as a commodity. To compensate for this there has been an exaggerated increase in fictitious capital and in credit. Financial and speculative capital have soared to face up to the stagnation of the profit rate while parasitism increases as a result of capitalist development in its imperialist phase.

The crises of overproduction of capital as of commodities, exclusive to capitalism, make the irrationality of the system violently explicit. The present crisis has struck capital with a violence difficult to measure and to dominate, revealing the historic limits and the caducity of capitalism.

In this sense, in the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Athens from 18 to 20 November 2005, on the subject “Current tendencies of capitalism and their economic, social and political impact. The Communist alternative”, our party gave the following warning in its contribution:

“The risk of a world economic collapse is increasing each day. The global economy demonstrates that, in spite of the high concentration of capital, profits represent an ever decreasing percentage of the millions bandied by the big transnational companies. The operations of financial engineering, with the aim of “doctoring” the accounts of the results of the big firms, are everyday practice to try to cover up the situation, but they can in no case slow it down. Capital is encountering ever greater difficulties in completing its cycle of increased reproduction. Extremely high levels of speculation and having recourse to financialization not only cannot solve the problem, but complicate even more the panorama.”

Other factors linked to the crisis of overproduction interact dialectically and come in conflict in their turn with the limits of capitalism and the production of surplus-value and capital. Among these:

- The oil production peak and its consequences for models of production, transport, urbanism, life etc. The International Energy Agency declares that the developing countries could increase their demand by 47% to 121 million barrels daily in 2030 and that the oil companies and the producing countries will have to spend around

100 000 million dollars annually (76.500 million euros) to develop new sources in order to keep up this pace.

- Climate change, perhaps already out of control for the system of production of surplus-value and which affects ecosystems and peoples’ conditions of life and work of negatively. The earth has lost in just over a quarter of a century practically a third of its biological wealth and its resources and at the present pace humanity will need two planets by 2030 to maintain its lifestyle, as the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) has warned.

- The food catastrophe, which condemns millions of human beings to death by exhaustion due to lack of nourishment. According to the FAO, the number of undernourished people rose from 850 to 925 millions, as a result of the rise in the price of foodstuffs in the period 2.007 – 2008,. The price of foodstuffs increased by 12 % between 2005 and 2006, by 24% in 2007 and by nearly 50 % between January and July 2008.

The capitalist crisis will not be overcome by reformist means or Keynesian recipes. Only by means of increasing exploitation, plunder and drastic restriction of all democratic rights can the capitalist system overcome the crisis. Marx and Engels, in The Communist Manifesto asked themselves “How does the bourgeoisie get over these crises?” and they replied “On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.”

Either the bourgeoisie will consolidate its exit from the crisis by toughening capitalist dictatorship and introducing growing levels of violence to guarantee the process of accumulation of capital, or the great majorities of working people will opt for a solution in terms of a popular counter-offensive which will benefit the social majority and not the plutocracy.

Modern society is built in tune with the contradiction labour/capital in the sense that all the contradictions existing in society come up against the increase in the value of capital. The food crisis, the energy crisis, the environmental crisis, the hydrologic crisis, gender discrimination through patriarchal hierarchy, the destruction of the land, urban speculation, racial and ethnic discrimination, famines and pandemics, etc. All the struggles generated in these fields must be directed against the power of monopolies, in the perspective of revolutionary overcoming of capitalism.

The consequences of the capitalist crisis are daily worsening for the working class and other popular sectors. The constant increase in unemployment, the redundancies planned by the employers to eliminate the sectors of the working class with most rights, the systematic theft of indemnities and outstanding payments, the non-payment of over-hours, the lowering of wages, etc. are all on the agenda.

In inter-annual terms, the Spanish economy has experienced a contraction of 4,2% of GDP in the last year, with a rate of -1,1% in the second semester of 2009, according to the data of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. All the productive sectors registered negative growth rates in comparison with the same period of the year before. The Aim of Stability fixed for the period of 2010 – 2012, foresees a negative growth of 3,6 % for 2009, coinciding with the figures of the Spanish government.

The Spanish working class is being harshly hit. Full-time employment has fallen by 7,1 % in one year. According to a recent document issued by the experts of the Ministry of Finance, 63 % of Spanish wage-earners receive a gross monthly income of less than 1 100 euros (16,7 million wage-earners). Between 1999 and 2006, net profits of Spanish firms increased by 73%, more than double the average of the EU-15 33,2 %) or of the euro zone (36,6 %), whereas in the same period labour costs in Spain increased by only 3,7%, five times less than in the EU-15 (18,2%). According to forecasts of the National Employment Institute, unemployment will be about 25 % at the end of 2009.

The economic data confirm that there is a direct relation between unemployment, temporary jobs and wage levels. Geographically, the data make it clear that communities with a rate of unemployment higher than the national average are also those where temporary contracts and low wage-earners (around 1.000 euros) are most prevalent.

Young workers suffer particularly from this situation, with uncontrolled work-days and very low wages. More than 60% of work contracts imposed on young people are temporary, while their wages are 30 % below average, with the result that in 2008 only 21´% of young people could lead an independent economic life. In many cases, working women come to the aid of the deteriorating family economy by accepting jobs in the black sector with infinitesimal wages and no kind of labour protection.

The financial oligarchy expropriates working-class families who cannot pay their mortgages – which affects the immigrant sector of the class in particular – and is making a multi-million business of slowly re-appropriating houses that cannot be paid by their owners. In the year 2008, more than 58.686 mortgage embargos were registered, more than double the number of the previous exercise and three times as many as those counted in 2006. This number is higher than the total of the years 2004 – 2007 and the trend was getting worse in the first semester of 2009. Many workers are incapable of paying mortgage dues which frequently represent more than 50% of their wage incomes. These roughly 60 000 homes which have passed out of the hands of working people into those of capital in one year are the equivalent of the ownership of a city of 250 000 inhabitants. It will be in the second semester of 2009 that the real estate disaster will strike popular sectors even harder, in a country with more unsold houses than the United States.

The dictatorship of capital expresses itself in its true dimension. The police state is taking shape day by day, with changes in the law and harassment and repression of the people in every struggle. Bourgeois “freedom” is being converted into a museum-piece and is giving way to repression, fascism and anticommunism.

The conditions described form a scenario where it is essential to raise the socialist alternative in face of a capitalism which is at death’s door, enlarging the consciousness and the organised struggle of the working class and of growing sectors of working people.


THE PARTY NECESSARY FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF SOCIALISM. ITS LEADING ROLE

The crisis offers a unique opportunity which affects the governability of capitalism and its state ; political power becomes more vulnerable. The capacity to decide what to produce, how and for whom is weakened. Conflicts appear between different fractions of the bourgeoisie, which will be more or less decisive depending on the capacity of the working class and its allies to intervene in the class struggle, and to try to transform the economic crisis into a political crisis which will pave the way for the revolutionary overcoming of capitalism.

A period is beginning when we will have to try to break down the apparently invincible totalitarianism in which the dominating class plunges the working majority, questioning capitalism head-on. A moment in which the main task of the Communist Party consists in organizing and watching fractures so that the working class can take new steps in terms of counter-offensive.

The working class must play a decisive role in the social conflict, joining forces where its interests are concerned with the broad masses which, mobilised by secondary contradictions or by partial demands, must incline the relation of forces in favour of socialism.

In the present scenario where the class struggle is becoming sharper, it is urgent to rebuild the labour and trade union movement in a class sense and the impetus of popular struggles; this is the demand of a Communist Party which assumes a vanguard role and boosts and orientates the organised struggle of the working class and of all working people who are faced with increased exploitation as well as the infinity of problems imposed by capitalism on the great majority.

The choice between socialism and barbarity is the challenge facing mankind today. As communist and worker parties we must trace the strategic lines which will allow the working class to weaken the power of monopolies, open up spaces of counter-power and weaken the imperialist blocs, in favour of the working class, of sovereignty and of oppressed peoples.

The leading role of the Communist Party must bring a strategic perspective to working class and popular struggles, build unity of the working class and give an impetus to its organised struggle by offering an alternative of popular and socialist power in the face of the power of monopolies and the dictatorship of capital.

The working class demands an alliance with the broad popular masses affected by the impositions of monopoly capitalism. So that a majority alternative to the oligarchy can be built. This is a prerequisite for the hegemony to be won in a Leninist sense; thus, the ideological struggle becomes very important.

The conquest of socialism, like every revolutionary process, is not something that occurs from one day to the other. Nor will it follow a straight path or be the result of a spontaneous struggle process. The rise of the political struggle of the working class demands, in addition to certain objective socio-economic conditions which create a revolutionary scenario, some subjective conditions which require the intervention and the politico-ideological orientation of the Communist Party.

In the conditions of the class struggle in Spain and keeping in mind the present relationship of forces that means precisely to create a social and political front which corresponds to and expresses the yearning for change of the masses, bringing together working-class and popular struggles against capitalism in crisis in the perspective of socialism.


THE WORKING CLASS NEEDS A PARTY OF A LENINIST TYPE

The solution to the present capitalist expresses itself in terms of socialism or barbarity. What has happened since the triumph of the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union and in the other European socialist countries, with the increase in imperialist violence in every field (wars, armaments, espionage, repression…), the increased exploitation of the working class, the continuing decline of labour and social rights and the absolute incapacity of capitalism to respond to the great problems of mankind, fully confirm the thesis that this is the era of socialist revolution.

Two decades have been sufficient to prove that those who have put Marxism-Leninism aside have in fact embraced the line of integration in the system, of complete reformism and, in some cases, of the most rabid anti-communism

The abandon of Marxism-Leninism was not only a formal question. It brought with it the complete destruction of certain communist parties which eliminated democratic centralism in order to become electoral machines of a social-democratic type, dismantling the Leninist structure, destroying the revolutionary character of communist militancy and renouncing the dictatorship of the proletariat and at the same time the conquest of political power, sharing essentially the imperialist criticisms of socialist countries.

The facts have confirmed that the working class needs a structure capable of organising and leading the struggle for socialism. A party structure, based on the principles of democratic centralism, which will be capable of combining in a correct way the different forms of struggle in function of the changing conditions of the class struggle. A structure capable of endowing the labour and popular movement with a power strategy based on a rigorous, scientific analysis of reality. A class structure, organised in a party, conscious that the class struggle in each country is part of the struggle of the working class world wide and that as a result raises the flag of proletarian internationalism.

The period in which in our country the right-wing ″euro-communist ″ tendency predominated resulted in a historic defeat for the working class. Today the bad habits and the deviations generated during that period must be definitively rejected, which implies recovering the teachings and the revolutionary spirit of the Bolshevik Party and analysing in a detailed way and defending the experiences of socialist construction during the 20th century.


THE REVOLUTION IS NOT THE RESULT OF A GRADUAL PROCESS OF REFORMS, IT IS THE VICTORIOUS STRUGGLE FOR POWER AND THE HISTORIC VICTORY OVER CAPITALISM IN CRISIS.

The Communist Party, through democratic centralism, must give an impulse to a political intervention which unites and leads the working class, which, in turn, must bring together a whole front of class alliance with different popular social strata confronted with monopoly capitalism. The broad participation of the masses in the class struggle brings with it an extraordinary experience. The role of communists is to make sure that the process of working class and popular struggle fractures and weakens the power of the dominating classes in the perspective of the socialist revolution.

In Spain the capitalist superstructure was crowned by the Bourbon monarchy, imposed on the people by fascism as the greatest example of the power of the oligarchy and the landowners. The revisionist thesis defended in Spain by reformism according to which, in the conditions of a parliamentary monarchy, socialism is reduced to a mere struggle for deepening democracy through a process of reforms, depending on the struggle of the working class in a bourgeois-democratic framework, forgetting that Franco’s dictatorship as well as the present parliamentary monarchy are two concrete historical forms of dictatorship of capital, rejects the Marxist theory of the state and withdraws the working class from its revolutionary objective.

However, in the present conditions of capitalist crisis, while the working class struggle tends to grow, republican aspirations are also progressing in broad sectors of the people. As in other moments of the history of our country, the republican demand is progressively changing into the alternative of power for the popular classes. In the last years, important advances have been achieved in this sense, from commemorating and defending the historic experience of the 2nd Republic to fighting openly for the 3rd Republic.

The necessary working class and popular counter-offensive, for the PCPE, must imply a process of intensification of the mass struggle to win a constituent process orientated towards the proclamation of this 3rd Republic and the derogation of the 1978 constitution; an alternative whose main aim, for the communists, is to make of the working class of the peoples of Spain a national class in power. As a result, this process must be launched on the basis of the interests of the proletariat and its allies, which, in the present conditions, for the PCPE, must contain certain openly socialist elements.

The strategy towards workers’ power, towards socialism, means refusing any compromise with imperialism, as much in its military expression, with the leaving of NATO, as with the incorporation of Spain in that imperialist pole which is the European Union.

The Socialist Revolution is not an illusion, it is not the result of a gradual process of reforms. The historic debate between reform and revolution is once again in full force. The reconstruction of the international communist movement in Marxist-Leninist keystones, as at other moments throughout the history of the struggle of the working class, will be a determining factor in giving an impetus to the revolutionary process and the triumph of socialism in the 21st century, which will be the century either of the triumphant proletarian revolution or of barbarity.

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