Archive for the Lenin Category

Hoax of the ‘fiscal cliff’: How Pentagon feasts while jobless crisis drains budget [Workers World]

Posted in "Obamacare", Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, George W. Bush, Lenin, Marx, Obama, Pentagon, Police on January 13, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Deirdre Griswold on January 7, 2013

On the day that the country was supposed to fall over the “fiscal cliff,” Congress finally voted for a bill on taxes and other measures that kept the government solvent for another two months. The Obama administration claimed victory over the Republican right wing.

However, even the liberals in the Democratic Party camp couldn’t claim that the vote resolved anything. While the Bush tax cuts for the rich were allowed to expire on those earning more than $400,000, it’s dubious how much more they will really pay, since they can avail themselves of many tax shelters and dodges. And even with these small increases, the rich in the U.S. still will pay the lowest income and estate taxes in any industrialized country.

The struggle goes on, with the deadline for adopting a budget now being put off until March. By voting late in the evening of Jan. 1 on taxes, the two capitalist parties have made sure that the Pentagon’s huge slice of the pie — estimated to be more than half of all government discretionary spending when veterans’ benefits and war debts are factored in — remains intact and the bond markets wouldn’t spin out of control.

Workers, of course, are rightfully relieved that the deal included keeping their extended unemployment benefits. But the ruling class agreed to that not because they care about the workers, who they laid off, but because the unemployed spend every penny of that check right away, greasing the wheels of trade and commerce. That’s unlike the very rich, who squirrel their money away in tax-sheltered offshore accounts. Cutting off the meager incomes of many of the unemployed could send the economy into another nosedive, and the politicians on all sides know that.

It would also alienate more workers and push them in the direction of greater struggle.

– Stealing from workers to pay for repression –

The compromise on taxes only postpones the issue of the budget. In March, it will all come to a head again. There will be another “cliff,” with the most blatant lackeys of the super-rich saying that the government will grind to a halt unless major spending cuts are made.

Of course, they could just vote to raise the debt ceiling and the government could then go on borrowing money, as it has been doing for decades. But they’re threatening not to do that.

So in March the same pressure will be on to find ways to steal funds from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs so vital to the masses, in order to pay for the real function of the capitalist state.

And what is the state’s real function? It is to protect the interests of the ruling class. In the U.S., this means having the most expensive military force in the world in order to defend global capitalists’ exploitation of resources and labor, from the Middle East to Africa, Asia, Latin America, wherever there are superprofits to be made.

And, on the domestic side, it means spending vast sums to run the world’s largest system of prisons, police, courts and the deliberately misnamed “homeland security” system. It takes lots of money to maintain a racist, anti-worker injustice system that controls 7.3 million men and women — who are behind bars, on probation or on parole. This system of mass incarceration is also a source of profit for the privately owned prison-industrial complex, but the financial burden of the system remains on the state. Millionaires profit from it, but workers’ taxes have to pay for it.

Repression is the basic function of the capitalist state, as explained by Marx and Lenin. The state enforces the rule of a very tiny minority of people, the capitalist class, over the vast majority, the working class.

And today, these workers increasingly cannot find work, not just here but all over the capitalist world. So the budget crisis is an inevitable outcome of this era of jobless recovery, when the ability of capitalism to expand has come to a dead end.

The budget crisis can only be understood in this context.

– Jobless capitalism behind budget crisis –

This ongoing, unsolvable unemployment crisis flows directly from the current stage of capitalism. Technology has replaced workers to an unprecedented degree. It has globalized the labor market as never before. So in this country alone, tens of millions are either unemployed or underemployed.

This drains the government Treasury . Fewer people working on the books means fewer taxes coming in — whether income taxes, payroll taxes or sales taxes.

This can be felt at all levels of government. Cities like Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, which were formerly vibrant centers of industry, are in crisis. States, counties, villages are cutting back services and laying off workers. The U.S. Postal Service, which goes back to the 19th century, is under attack, with branch offices shutting down and workers eliminated.

Now comes the next step: putting on the chopping block huge federal programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They are a prime target of the budget-cutters because that’s where the money is — since the ruling class won’t consider any meaningful cuts to the bloated military, the police/prison systems or the huge interest payments made to the banks. This interest reflects past deficits — mostly related, again, to the huge military budget.

The money deducted from workers’ wages for Social Security and Medicare is called “payroll taxes” and is meant to provide income security and health coverage in workers’ old age. In fact, this money is nothing more than deferred wages.

At the beginning of 2011, to counteract the recessionary effects of high unemployment, Congress passed a law that lowered the payroll tax by 2 percent in 2011 and 2012, adding an average of $1,000 to take-home pay for those years. It also reduced the moneys going into the Social Security fund at a time when it was under attack. In the deal signed this Jan. 1, the Social Security tax was returned to its original 6.2 percent rate, meaning that workers’ after-tax wages this year will be about $1,000 lower than last. That loss will be felt keenly in the working class. There’s no comparison with the few luxuries the rich might have to forego.

Whatever the plans of the bosses regarding cuts to Social Security and Medicare, they have to take into consideration that workers’ consciousness is changing as a result of the economic crisis. There is great anger among the people at the 1%, the hugely rich who grow even richer while workers are impoverished and youth have no futures. And polls show the people don’t want trillions spent on wars that enrich only the energy companies, the military-industrial complex and the banks.

This is where the ingenuity of capitalist democracy kicks in. This is what the two-party system is for — to dominate the discourse, frame the arguments and conceal what is really happening from the workers.

An across-the-board cut in all federal spending was mandated to begin on Jan. 1 if no budget deal was reached. It would have included the Pentagon along with all other departments.

But did anyone really believe they would cut the Pentagon? Didn’t we all know that both capitalist parties wouldn’t let that happen?

Of course, they had a contingency plan — one that both parties hoped would make them look good.

The Democrats succeed in having more appeal to the masses than the Republicans — the November vote reaffirmed that. The Democratic Party won the popular vote by a clear majority at all levels — for the presidency, the Senate and even the House. Although, taken altogether, Democrats running for the House got half a million more votes than Republicans, the widespread gerrymandering of election districts allowed the Republicans to maintain a majority of the House seats. It was a crooked election — but legal under U.S. law.

Having a divided Congress, however, is actually a convenient arrangement for both parties. It allows them to blame the other for all the problems and makes it seem that concessions are a necessary part of the process. If no concessions and no compromise, boom, you will fall over the cliff.

There is no cliff — it’s a phony crisis, as even capitalist liberals are pointing out. But they blame it solely on the Republicans for refusing (as of now) to raise the government’s debt ceiling or raise more in taxes from the rich. T hey leave out entirely a critique of the capitalist system, and they reduce it merely to a problem of government policy.

That’s like saying that a person who dies at 110 years of age did so because of this or that wrong medicine or procedure. No, the person died because his or her body was worn out. Any palliative measures would only have prolonged the dying.

Capitalism is a dying system — but one that still has enormous destructive power. Its once progressive side, the rapid development of the means of production under private ownership, has turned into an enormous obstacle to further human development and even to life on our planet.

The budget crisis in the U.S. is but one symptom of this, but one that rivets the workers’ attention because it so clearly impacts their lives in so many ways.

We need to get out our revolutionary message to them: Compromising with this or that capitalist party is no answer.

The most realistic and meaningful thing anyone can do right now is work to build an independent, fighting movement for complete social change, based in the class struggle of the workers and allied with all the most oppressed. This is the only way to break the grip of the capitalist class and restructure society on a planned, socialist basis, which will not just put a bandaid on poverty, racism and imperialist war, but can and will eliminate these evils entirely.

* This is adapted from a talk given by WW Editor Deirdre Griswold to a public forum sponsored by the New York Branch of Workers World Party on Jan. 4. *

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/01/07/hoax-of-the-fiscal-cliff-how-pentagon-feasts-while-jobless-crisis-drains-budget/

Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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In guise of exposing corruption, New York Times aims blow at China [Workers World]

Posted in Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Corruption, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Deng Xiaoping, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Pentagon, Premier Wen Jiabao, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Stalin, State Department, US imperialism, USA on November 4, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Fred Goldstein

Nov 2, 2012

= Crisis in China, Part 13 =

The New York Times has committed an act of journalistic aggression against China. On Oct. 25, it splashed across the top of the front page a three-column article, complete with color photos, claiming that relatives of Wen Jiabao have gotten extremely rich because of their relationship to the outgoing Chinese premier.

This blast of exposure comes just days before the opening of the Communist Party Congress, which is to preside over a once-in-a-decade change in the top party leadership.

The Times claims that the article, which supposedly documents the collective amassing of $2.7 billion by Wen’s relatives, has been worked on for a year and that now the story is “ready to go.”

There has been much speculation as to the motives of the Times, particularly whether the article was politically motivated on behalf of one faction or another in the Chinese leadership. Only subsequent information can reveal anything about such speculation.

It is ironic that the Times is trying to undermine Wen, who has been the most prominent of those in China’s top leadership promoting “reform and opening up.” Wen is also the harshest enemy of Bo Xilai, because Bo was trying to slow down the march along the capitalist road, promote the welfare of the workers and the peasants, and revive the socialist spirit and the culture of Mao Zedong. Wen denounced Bo and warned of a possible return to the Cultural Revolution.

The fact that the Times opened up an attack on Wen could also signify that it is trying to ally with forces further to the right than he — those who want to use the campaign against corruption to push further toward introducing capitalist political parties in China.

At this point speculation must be put aside and the world must await further clarification concerning this attack. But one thing stands out about the timing of the article and the prominence given to it, regardless of its accuracy: It is a flagrant act of imperialist intervention in the political process in China at a critical moment.

What also stands out is that it is the height of hypocrisy for the Times — a mouthpiece of U.S. capitalism and imperialism, which is the font of corruption at home and abroad on a monumental scale — to expose corruption in China. Washington, the State Department, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, the giant monopolies and banks — all bribe and corrupt officials at home and abroad in the quest for contracts, policy changes, special laws favoring corporations, arms sales, etc.

This is a case of a thief crying thief. And the last thing the workers and peasants of China need is for the corporate predators behind the New York Times to stand as a watchdog over the virtue of their country.

* Capitalism breeds corruption in China *

It is widely known both inside and outside China that ever since Deng Xiaoping opened up the door to capitalism and imperialist corporate penetration, under the slogan “socialism with Chinese characteristics” or so-called “market socialism,” the acquisitive bourgeois spirit has spread throughout China among sections of officialdom and the Communist Party.

The practice of using party or government positions for personal gain is prevalent, from the local to the highest levels. This has bred cynicism and alienation and gone a long way to erode the socialist spirit that prevailed in China until the death of Mao.

Demonstrations against various forms of corruption or the results of corruption have spread throughout China — especially demonstrations against government officials making land deals with developers at the expense of the peasants.

Under Deng and his successors, capitalist market relations were elevated to become the principal means of stimulating economic development. Socialist social relations were sacrificed to market-driven development of the productive forces in the name of “modernization.” Even the great state-owned enterprises and state economic planning exist within the framework of capitalist market mechanisms.

Legitimatizing capitalism, exploitation and profit-seeking leads inevitably to corruption.

* Want to root out corruption? Return to socialist road *

The road to rooting out corruption in China lies along the path of restoring the early socialist traditions of the Chinese Revolution. This is hardly a prescription the New York Times would advocate.

During the early period of the Chinese Revolution, and especially during the Cultural Revolution, whatever its excesses may have been, the quest for personal wealth was frowned upon, and the collectivist, egalitarian, anti-bureaucratic spirit animated the Maoist sections of the party and had a great following among the masses.

During the Cultural Revolution, the Paris Commune model was revived with the direct leadership of the masses in politics and administration. Government officials were subject to recall. Salaries were limited. Party members and officials were to participate in the life of the masses. The workers were empowered politically, while the peasants had been organized into communes early in the revolution.

With regard to corruption, Russian revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin in 1917 followed the Paris Commune model. No party member, no matter his or her status, could receive a salary higher than that of the highest-paid worker. It was called the law of the maximum. It was later removed by Stalin. Under Lenin limited privileges were granted to experts on a provisional basis, until such time as the workers could develop sufficient expertise on their own. This was also later reversed.

For years moderate and right-wing elements within the CPC have used the argument that “modernization” requires having capitalists and capitalism, with all its “efficiencies” and expertise. But they were held in check by Mao and the forces around him on the left.

This argument is a rationalization for allowing the rise of privileged elements. The workers and peasants can achieve miracles of modernization and socialist construction if they are given the opportunity. That would put China in a much stronger position vis-a-vis capitalist restoration, counterrevolution and imperialism. This subject requires much more extended analysis at a future time.

But for now, suffice it to say that the New York Times is the greatest champion of further capitalist reform and further imperialist penetration in China. The last thing it would want to see is a mass campaign to restore the socialist spirit in China, with the empowerment of the workers and peasants, which is the true way to root out corruption at all levels.

This gratuitous blast against corruption involving Wen Jiabao, even if every word is true, is carried out in the service of undermining China’s socialist heritage and promoting the further development of capitalism.

Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End.” More information is available at http://www.lowwagecapitalism.com. The author can be reached at fgoldstein@workers.org.

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2012/11/02/in-guise-of-exposing-corruption-new-york-times-aims-blow-at-china/

“Treat the seven important ideological trends correctly and make innovations in our social sciences independently” – What is ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’? [Xinhua]

Posted in CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Economic crisis & decline, Engels, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Marx, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, U.K., US imperialism, USA on September 28, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Excellent article — with the caveat that it is badly edited, i.e. it is a 2-person interview but at times it’s unclear to whom the various statements should be attributed to. – Zuo Shou

An Interview with Professor Cheng Enfu

Interviewer: Liang Weiguo, Chinese Social Sciences Net (CSSN)

BEIJING, Sept. 11 (Xinhuanet) — [Introduction to the Interviewee] Cheng Enfu, born in Shanghai in 1950, is a professor, PhD candidate supervisor, and representative to the Eleventh National People’s Congress, as well as the director of the Marxist Academy, an affliliate of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

In May 2004, Prof. Cheng gave a lecture in a study meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee presided by Hu Jintao, general secretary. In February 2002, he presented a report on how to reform in a theoretical symposium presided by Jiang Zemin, former general secretary. He has been seen as “one of the representatives of the fourth generation of China’s economists” and “one of the most creative economists in China” by some influential newspapers in China and Japan.

Prof. Cheng is also a member (academician) of CASS, member of the CASS Academic Division Presidium, director of the Academic Division of Marxism Study in CASS, chairman of the World Association of Political Economy (a global academic community), chairman of the Chinese Society for Studies of Foreign Economics, president of the Institute for Studies of Regularities in China’s Economy, and an “Expert of the Marxism Discipline Appraisal Group in the Academic Degree Commission” of the State Council. He enjoys a State Council Special Allowance.

It is the premise of a firm political belief to keep ideologically sober. What ideological trends are there in the ideological realm in China today? What are their key ideas? How to understand and treat them? How to develop the philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics and Chinese style? Liang Weiguo, CSSN reporter, had an interview with Prof. Cheng Enfu recently for the answers to the questions.

* To Resist the negative effects of Neoliberalism on reform *

Interviewer: It is a must to identify the true and the false through comparisons among various ideologies if we want to get clear on what are Marxism, socialism with Chinese characteristics and the socialist core value system. Director Cheng, what ideological trends are there in our society today?

Cheng Enfu: In fact, there are seven important ideological trends in the ideological realm in China today: Neoliberalism, Democratic Socialism, the New Left, Eclectic Marxism, traditional Marxism, Revivalism and Innovative Marxism. By ideological trend, I use it as a neutral concept and various studies of Marxism can also be seen as ideological trends.

In the 1870s, the UK suffered from a serious economic crisis. T.H. Green firstly created a theory which maintained the tradition of UK’s liberalism and implemented state intervention to bring the role of state into full play. After the 1890s, many radical intellectuals — who called themselves “collectivists” — within and outside the Liberal Party contended to build an equal and cooperative new society. “Neoliberalism” was the popular word which represented the theory they held. Could you please give us your understanding of “Neoliberalism”?

Neoliberalism is the ideology, economic theory and policy proposal of the monopolizing capitalist classes. Its theories and policies can be summerized as “four de- or -izations”.

Firstly, Neoliberalism stands for de-regulation of economy. It believes that planning of economy and regulation of distribution by state would ruin economic freedom and kill the enthusiasm of the “economic man”. Only by letting the market run freely can we have the best result.

Secondly, Neoliberalism stands for the privatization of economy. It contends that privatization would become the basis on which the role of market could be brought into full play, and private enterprises are the most efficient ones, and the public resources should be privatized. Neoliberalism tends to reduce public sectors, state-owned sectors and institutions to the minimum, or none.

Thirdly, Neoliberalism stands for the liberalization of economy. It claims that free choice should be the most essential principle of economic and political activities. We should have the right to possess personal property and carry out free trade, consumption and employment. But it denies the free flow of the labor force. The nature of its liberalization of economy is to protect the unfair economic globalization dominated by the US and the unjust old international economic order.

Fourthly, Neoliberalism stands for the personalization of welfare. It stands against building a welfare state and improving the welfare of the laborers. And that is a typical feature of Neoliberalism. However, it has not been clearly stated in the academic circles both in and outside China.

Zhang Weiying and Yao Yang, professors of Peking University, are leading figures of China’s Neoliberalism.

* The diversification of guiding ideologies advocated by Democratic Socialism *

The concept of Democratic Socialism was first put forward in the book “The Preconditions of Socialism” by Eduard Bernstein in 1899. In June 1951, the Socialist International passed the declaration “Aims and Tasks of Democratic Socialism” as its principles when it was founded. It clearly set “Democratic Socialism” as its program and standed openly against the scientific socialism of Marxism. How should we understand Democratic Socialism?

Democratic Socialism is the term to describe the ideological systems of social democratic parties, socialist parties, labor parties and Socialist International. A capitalist reformist ideology has become prevalent in the Western societies since the beginning of the twentieth century. It originates from the right wing of the Socialist International and Bernstein is the founder of the basic thought of “Democratic Socialism”. Nowadays, Democratic Socialism is regarded not only as a theory, but also as a form of practice. The social democratic parties have long been ruling ones or ruling in turns in many western capitalist nations, which generates a profound influence on the changes in the world today.

Firstly, Democratic Socialism is against holding Marxism as the only guiding ideology, proposing a pluralism of world-views and guiding ideologies for the diversity of socialist thoughts and origins. Secondly, Democratic Socialism advocates the multi-party system of the capital class. Social parties under different titles wipe out the working-class nature of their parties and are against the principle of democratic centralism. Thirdly, Democratic Socialism holds that socialism can be realized without changing capitalist private ownership by claiming that the principal structure of the means of production ownership is not the criterion for judging the nature of a society. Fourthly, Democratic Socialism gives up the goal of communism, and proposes to fight for a system with social justice, liberty, democracy and world peace through the bourgeois’ rationality and ethic principles, such as freedom, equality, justice and mutual assistance, etc.

Xie Tao, professor of the Renmin University of China, and Xin Ziling, professor of the National Defense University, are the leading figures of the ideological trend.

* The New Left may easily run to an extreme for its theoretical immaturity *

Since the early 1960s, those who support revolution among college students and young people in China, Japan and US began to form the New Left. When we have a scan on the ideologies of China today, we can see the ideological pattern coming into existence in the mid- 1990s has evolved into a two-side confrontation: one side is liberalism talking to itself and the other the stern New Left. Could you give us more information about the New Left?

The New Left is an loose group of intellectuals, who try to influence academia and politics by catching the eye of the public through their articles in journals or on the internet. Many in the New Left have overseas study experience and some are still living abroad.

The important theoretical battle-field of the New Left is the website “Utopia” (wuyou zhi xiang). Han Deqiang, professor of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is the leading figure.

* A correct attitude towards Eclectic Marxism *

Engels’ “Anti-Duhring,” “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy,” and Lenin’s “Materialism and Empirio-criticism” are the essence of the philosophy of Marxism. It is necessary to carefully read them for the reason that it can help us systematically master the fundamental principles of Marxist philosophy and set up a Marxist scientific world-view and life philosophy. We often hear the saying “eclectic Marxism” in our daily life. Could you give us some information about the concept?

The Eclectic Marxism is an ideological trend in China. It is an idea and methodology that doesn’t differentiate the principal and secondary contraditions and juxtapose them, and mechanically mixes totally opposite viewpoints without principle. Some of the eclecticists speak highly of the basic theories of the Western Economics, regarding selfishness as the human nature and fully supporting the hypothesis of economic man for egoism. It also believes that human beings’ selfishness could lead to social collaboration and an increase of public welfare. It lays one-side emphasis on efficiency and completely neglects justice.

Wang Dongjing, professor of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, is the leading figure.

* We should pay attention to the traditional Marxism *

Marxism originated in Western Europe in the 1840s when capitalism has undergone a long development over there. Nowadays, at the moment when we are facing the serious challenges from globalization, what is the inspiration behind the spread and development of Marxism in China in modern time and today? And what is the hard lesson that we could learn from it?

We have to pay attention to the ideological trend of traditional Marxism in China. The positive side of the traditional Marxism is that it forcefully criticized some wrong ideological trends, especially Neoliberalism, Democratic Socialism and Eclectic Marxism. Some of the criticisms, however, are overdone and they are fond of “Great Criticism” (da pipan) and getting serious in terms of lines and principles (shanggangshangxian). Some senior scholars have done more than enough criticism but produced little innovation, due to not following the new resources both from home and abroad. It is wrong of them to approve the key practices during the Cultural Revolution.

The typical media of traditional Marxism is “maoflag net”. Li Cunrui, ex-director of National Statistics Bureau, is the leading figure of the traditional Marxism.

* Revivalism trying to govern the country through such traditions as Confucianism, Buddhism and Taosim [sic] *

Revivalism means to restore the ancient systems, customs and ideas in an attempt to achieve cultural identification or cultural recreation. So how should we view Revivalism? And how should we deal with it?

Revivalism, also called the worship of ancient classics and styles, advocates governing the country with the ideas from such traditions as Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Jiang Qing is regarded as the most eloquent grassroot figure in the mainland. He published Political Confucianism (Sanlian Publishing House, 2003). Deng Xiaojun published Confucianism and Democracy (Sichuan People’s Publishing House, 1995).

* Innovative Marxism promoting the practical development of Marxism *

In October 1938, at the Sixth Party Plenum, Mao Zedong criticized dogmatism and called on the whole Party to lauch a learning campaign, asking all communists with research ability, especially the high-rank cadres of the Party, should study theory, history and current affairs and carry on the precious heritages “from Confucius to Sun Yat-sen,” so as to sinicize Marxism. During the process, Innovative Marxism played an important role. Could you give us more information?

The first leading figures of Innovative Marxism is Liu Guoguang, Special Adviser and former Vice-president of CASS. Me and Fang Keli, chairman of the History of Chinese Philosophy Society, are also the leading figures. In terms of general theory and guiding principles, Innovative Marxism in the academic circle is to keep in high accord with the CPC Central Committee and emphasizes making innovations independently in the teaching and studies in the social sciences in China, stands against rigidly following the “foreign”, “indigeneous” and “Marxist” dogmas. The social sciences in China should advocate the following academic principles and thinking ways: “the world conditions are regarded as background, the national conditions as ground, Marxism as body with the West ideas as references, ancient Chinese learning as our root, so as to synthesize and innovate.” We should take Marxism, Leninism and their sinicized versions as the principal and the dominant to modernize the social sciences in China through innovations, rather than “connecting our trains with international ones by following foreign dogmas” or “return to the ancient by following indigeneous dogmas.”

The journals such as Marxism Study, Review of International Thought (English) and Review of Political Economy in the World, edited by me, are the representative media of Innovative Marxism. Digest of Marxism and the website Academy of Marxism (myy.cass.cn) also reflect the latest theoretical trends of Innovative Marxism.

(Source:Cssn.cn)

(Disclaimer: This article only represents the author’s viewpoint. It does not necessarily represent the editorial opinion of Xinhuanet.)

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-09/11/c_131857971.htm

Cubans Stage a Colorful Parade with Socialist Flavor / Over Three Million Cubans Attend May Day Marches [Prensa Latina]

Posted in Cuba, Fidel Castro, Havana, Lenin, Marx on May 3, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Por Roberto Hernandez

Havana, May 1 (Prensa Latina) Hundreds of thousands of workers, employees and students marched on Tuesday in Havana bearing the colors of the Cuban flag to commemorate International Workers’ Day with socialism as a course [sic].

A huge piece of fabric with the phrase “Preserve and improve socialism” led the popular march at the Jose Marti Revolution Square, in the presence of President Raul Castro and labor leaders, representatives from the Communist Party, the State, the government and political and social organizations.

The parade, which started at 07:29 hours, local time (11:29 GMT), was led by a bloc of health workers from the capital, the flagship sector of Cuba’s international cooperation, currently present in 66 countries.

Several people bore the flags of the nations in which the Cuban medical brigades work, with representation in every continent.

Giant Cuban flags, posters allegorical to the celebration and with the colors blue, red and white were the protagonists of the parade, held simultaneously in other cities of the country.

Grouped into 23 blocs, union members, many of whom with models representing their respective areas, such as dolls dressed as nurses, taxis, computers, picks and shovels marched in front of the monument to Cuban National Hero Jose Marti.

They carried pictures of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and world revolutionaries like Karl Marx and Vladimir Ilich Lenin.

There were also prominent banners with images of the Cuban antiterrorists Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, who were arrested more than 13 years ago in the United States, and with demands for their release and immediate return home.

For nearly one and a half hour, participants chanted slogans in favor of the Revolution, socialism and the leadership of Fidel Castro and Raul Castro.

In an area of the rostrum were 1,900 union leaders representing 209 organizations from 117 countries, who saw hundreds of thousands of people marching in Havana on behalf of the entire Cuban population.

Article link: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=502475&Itemid=1
+++

Havana, May 2 (Prensa Latina) More than three million people marched in the 15 Cuban provinces in the celebrations on Workers International Day, in support of socialism and the updating of the island”s socio-economic model.

[Absolutely awesome photo not replicated here; see original article – Zuo Shou]

More than 500,000 citizens attended the May Day march at the Havana’s Revolution Square in 23 blocs, led by health workers, according to information quoted by Granma newspaper on Wednesday.

President Raul Castro presided over the patriotic march, in which almost 2,000 representatives from union and solidarity organizations from 117 countries also participated in the parade.

About 400,000 people attended the march in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Camaguey, more than 200,000 marchers in Pinar del Rio (west) and Holguin (east), and dozens of thousands of people took the streets in Artemisa, Ciego de Avila, Cienfuegos, Granma, Guantanamo, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Mayabeque, and Sancti Spiritus.

Article link: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=502752&Itemid=1

OWS vs. fraudulent capitalist democracy [Workers World]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Egypt, FBI, Lenin, Pentagon, Police, Police brutality, Police State, USA, USSR, Wall Street on December 27, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Fred Goldstein
Published Dec 19, 2011

The police campaign to wipe out the Occupy Wall Street movement across the country should drive home a truth that has long been experienced by oppressed communities, workers on strike, fighters for civil rights, immigrant workers and many others. The regime of capitalist democracy in the United States has a violently repressive character — side-by-side with its controlled “democratic” institutions.

This latest wave of police assaults demonstrates in particular the profound fear among the “1%” of an attempt by any genuine grassroots movement to establish even the most rudimentary network of popular democratic forums outside the framework of the corrupt political system — especially when they are directed against the rich.

In city after city there has been harsh, violent police suppression of Occupy Wall Street sites. Batons, pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, bicycles, horses and helicopters have been used by battalions of cops dispatched by mayors in a nationally coordinated effort to destroy peaceful occupations of public spaces. More than 5,000 people have been arrested and hundreds injured, pepper sprayed or gassed in police assaults.

Tents, sleeping bags, personal belongings, kitchens, medical stations and libraries have all been illegally confiscated and/or destroyed. Even the capitalist media have been put behind barricades and prevented from covering the brutality brought down on occupiers. In the style of the Pentagon during its wars, embedded reporters approved by the city and the cops are sometimes allowed coverage — but from afar and only in the aftermath of the attacks.

* OWS stronger than ever *

To be sure, OWS has not been defeated by a long shot. Police repression has failed to halt the movement. In fact, OWS has only expanded, both in the number of active locations and in its many targets.

OWS has invaded housing auctions, protested and stopped foreclosures, defended immigrant workers, engaged in union and strike support, showed the connection between banking and the prison-industrial complex, showed solidarity with the Egyptian revolution, and engaged in many other areas of solidarity. And of course it has continued its campaign against the banks and other symbols of the “1%.”

In places, the OWS movement has reoccupied areas cleared by police. In most places, it has kept General Assemblies (GAs) going. It has camped on streets and met in parks. It holds meetings, workshops, teach-ins, marches, demonstrations and direct action across the country.

But with all the movement’s resiliency, a major political question must not be lost sight of. Why has this powerful ruling class, with all the force it has available to it — the FBI, Homeland Security, the National Guard, state and local police forces — been seized by a wave of fear when confronted by unarmed, peaceful groups who are doing nothing more than setting up camps in public spaces and discussing politics? Why have the democratic rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech been trampled under police boots using the completely manufactured pretext of protecting public health and safety?

* Establishment fears popular democracy *

The reason is that the OWS movement burst onto the scene with an indictment of the rich and with the creation of a nucleus for a popular form of grassroots democracy outside the framework of the top-down, completely controlled and orchestrated political system that prevails in the U.S.

The prevailing system has been an un­obstructed vehicle for the millionaires and billionaires to completely control the poli­ti­cal, economic and social agenda of the country — to pile up trillions of dollars while impoverishing the people, to throw people out of their homes, to lay off workers, to break unions, to set the cops on the oppressed communities, to build the high-school-to-jail pipeline, to superexploit and deport undocumented workers at will and — above all — to shut an entire generation out of the labor force or condemn them to low-paying, low-skilled jobs without a future.

The OWS movement has declared that enough is enough! The occupations are a rebuttal to the sham of the elections and the two capitalist political parties. The General Assemblies, the open exposures of the domination of the rich 1%, and above all the open invitation to the masses of people to witness or participate in the deliberations, for free, at any time of day, on their lunch hours, before or after work, without any restriction, is a bold challenge to the fraudulent “democracy” rigged up by the millionaires and billionaires who control Congress.

In other words, in addition to trying to stop agitation against the “1%,” which is really shorthand for the rulers of this country, the establishment is afraid of the very form of the protest as much it wants to silence the content. OWS is counterpoising an elementary form of popular democracy to the democracy that serves the rich in this country.

* Lenin on capitalist ‘democracy’ *

In this connection, it is worthwhile to recall some key passages written by V.I. Lenin, the leader of the world’s first successful socialist revolution, which occurred in October 1917 in Russia.

The revolution was vilified by the world capitalist press from day one. And in 1918, Karl Kautsky, a former socialist leader who turned against the revolution, wrote a slanderous pamphlet attacking the right of the workers and peasants to defend their victory from what amounted to the “1%” of Russia – the capitalists and landlords who had exploited and oppressed the people mercilessly. Kautsky did this in the name of defending “democracy,” without saying democracy for which class: the oppressed who had taken power, or the oppressors who had been ousted?

Lenin, in his pamphlet, “The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky,” described the state under capitalist democracy:

“Take the structure of the state. … Under bourgeois democracy the capitalists, by thousands of tricks which are the more artful and effective the more ‘pure’ democracy is developed — drive the people away from administrative work, from freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, etc. … The working people are barred from participation in bourgeois parliaments (they never decide important questions under bourgeois democracy, which are decided by the stock exchange and the banks) by thousands of obstacles, and the workers know and feel, see and realize perfectly well that the bourgeois parliaments are institutions alien to them, instruments for the oppression of the workers by the bourgeoisie, institutions of a hostile class, of the exploiting minority.” (Emphases in original.)

Lenin went on to show how under capitalism the rich control the state bureaucracy. They have all the connections and privileges. They own the great buildings and mansions. Freedom of the press is pure hypocrisy because the rich own the printing presses, the publishing houses, the paper supplies.

Wherein is this any different from so-called “democracy” under present-day U.S. capitalism? The bosses own and control radio and television, the newspapers, the magazines and the educational institutions.

They own all the meeting halls, stadiums and even the smallest gathering places. This all costs money — unlike the occupations set up by OWS. No workers ever get to have nightly talk shows on prime-time television, with the right to invite their own guests and to expose the evils inflicted on the people by the rich.

The two capitalist parties are wholly bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists. This can be seen in all the pro-big business legislation passed, year after year. T he Congress is notoriously a millionaires’ club.

The workers and the poor are shut out of the electoral process by extreme, obstructive ballot requirements, by lack of access to publicity, by lack of funds for significant campaign organization. All of this is reserved for the Republicans and Democrats — each serving the rich in the long run, despite their different styles.

Lenin continued: “Take the fundamental laws of modern states, take their administration, take freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, or ‘equality of all citizens before the law,’ and you will see at every turn evidence of the hypocrisy of bourgeois democracy with which every honest and class-conscious worker is familiar. There is not a single state, however democratic, which has no loopholes or reservations in its constitution guaranteeing the bourgeoisie the possibility of dispatching troops against the workers, of proclaiming martial law, and so forth, in case of a ‘violation of public order,’ and actually in case the exploited class ‘violates’ its position of slavery and tries to behave in a non-slavish manner.”

The occupations have been attacked so furiously by the ruling class precisely because they hold the potential to become centers of genuinely popular democracy. They very quickly became magnets of attraction for workers, the unemployed, students and youth who have been shut out by the system. They have already spread to the campuses and have the potential to expand into the oppressed communities, e.g, “Occupy the Hood,” or into factories and working-class neighborhoods.

As such, they have the potential to go far beyond their modest beginnings and beyond what anyone intended or could foresee. In the midst of a gigantic, unsolvable and deepening capitalist economic crisis, the occupations, especially in the giant urban centers, could take on a truly mass character.

The ruling class fears the embryo of a rival authority that is inherent in the form of the General Assembly, open to the masses with the freedom to denounce and expose the rich and the capacity to launch actions that challenge the rule of the “1%” – the capitalist class.

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2011/us/ows_1222/

New data on global corporate control confirms Lenin’s ‘Imperialism’ [Workers World]

Posted in Lenin, Switzerland on November 7, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Deirdre Griswold
Published Oct 27, 2011

Researchers in Zurich, Switzerland, have used a powerful computer database to analyze which transnational companies dominate the world economy. Their findings, called “The network of global corporate control,” appeared this summer at arxiv.org, an online publisher of scientific material.

Using information from the financial database ORBIS, which provided them with data on “37 million economic actors, both physical persons and firms located in 194 countries, and roughly 13 million directed and weighted ownership links (equity relations),” the team of scientists from ETH Zurich, headed by Stefania Vitali, used a new mathematical analysis to tease out the structures linking transnational corporations to their subsidiaries and to each other.

The result? Out of this vast number of corporate actors, in 2007 “a mere 147 companies controlled nearly 40 percent of the monetary value of all transnational corporations,” wrote Rachel Ehrenberg in an article summarizing the group’s findings. (“Financial world dominated by a few,” Science News, Sept. 24)

The authors say their work is the first attempt ever made to plot the myriad connections among the transnationals, defined as companies that have at least 10 percent of their wealth in more than one country. They describe the structure that emerged as resembling a “bowtie,” with lots of corporate entities in the periphery but a small group at the center controlling the flow of wealth.

While the global capitalist economy today is vastly larger and more complex than a century ago when V.I. Lenin wrote his groundbreaking book “Imperialism,” this attempt by mathematicians to penetrate the murky world of corporate and finance capital confirms what the leader of the Russian Revolution wrote in 1916.

Lenin showed how even then the big banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions of Europe and the United States had grown to dominate over all other forms of capital. He used the data then available to show that they had formed giant cartels that divided up the world markets into “spheres of influence.”

Written during World War I, the book explained what drove capitalist nations to half-exterminate each other in the struggle for superprofits around the world. The message was clear: War and exploitation will continue as long as there is capitalism.

There is no such message in these recent findings. Rather, the research is directed at capitalist governments and multinational institutions that the authors hope will shape better policies.

However, coming at a time when the capitalist system is in a deepening crisis of overproduction that is being felt all over the world, this study dispels the theory that capitalism has somehow become more democratic because, for example, millions of people have to rely on pensions that invest in mutual funds.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement says, only a tiny number of the world’s people really control the wealth. They are really much less than 1 percent and are concentrated in the major imperialist countries.

The top 50 control-holders in the world are listed in a table at the end of the study. Twenty-four of them are from the U.S. Most of their names are obscure: FMR Corp., The Capital Group and State Street are among the largest. But behind these names are many of the same old ruling-class families that have picked presidents and secretaries of state for generations to ensure that the U.S. government puts their class interests before anything else.

In the recent period, this has meant getting their hands on trillions of dollars in government bailout money when the markets turned sour, even as millions of workers lose their jobs and homes.

Lenin called imperialism “the highest and last stage of capitalism.” How much longer will such a horrible system be allowed to endure?

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2011/us/new_data_1102/

“Occupy Wall Street leaps to new level” – with huge labor-supported march [Workers.org]

Posted in Lenin, Police brutality, Police State, Wall Street on October 9, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Tony Murphy
New York
Published Oct 6, 2011

Oct. 6 — The police have once again proved to their bosses at JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs that they can be relied upon to bust heads to protect Wall Street.

A police riot last night, in which protesters against Wall Street were clubbed and arrested, must be added to the long list of reasons the New York Police Department should be shut down. These include spying on the Muslim community and occupying Black and Latino/a communities.

Just three nights ago, New York cops shot and killed a homeless person outside the New Providence Residence, a substance abuse shelter for women. The reason? She had a knife, they said.

Once again the ongoing police attacks on righteous protests against corporate greed and unemployment must be condemned.

It would be a mistake for the latest police attack to obscure the monumental tipping point solidified yesterday by the Occupy Wall Street movement. It decisively expanded its power and influence by marching with thousands of workers from major unions.

Students from at least a hundred college campuses around the country walked out of class to protest continuing tuition hikes, even as tens of thousands of people were marching in the streets of New York against austerity and Wall Street criminals.

This moment might best be described by the famous statement attributed to V. I. Lenin, leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution: “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

– A dialectical turning point –

This quote is not just a clever description that happens to fit the moment. It is a perfect Marxist explanation of the unfolding occupy movement. It is an explanation of the way true change happens, according to the laws of dialectics.

Dialectics is an academic-sounding word meaning the science of change — or more accurately, the science of development.

One of the laws of dialectics is that everything is in a constant state of change, even if it looks like it’s standing still. The change becomes visible when a qualitative point is reached.

This is true of any inanimate object — even if it’s just sitting there, it may be rusting or decomposing — and it’s also true of society.

In other words, while it has seemed for a long time that things were getting worse and worse under capitalism with no relief in sight, in actuality things were bubbling under the surface until they erupted into the political landscape we see now.

Just this Sept. 17, Occupy Wall Street was an encampment of maybe a hundred people sleeping in New York’s Zucotti Square, with no formal demands and vague leadership.

Today the movement has spread like wildfire, with occupations or Wall Street-focused protests in more than 160 U.S. cities. Chicago’s occupation has just completed its second week. Thousands are expected to march today in Los Angeles. Occupy Madison, Wis., home of the gigantic pro-union demonstrations this spring, begins today.

Probably the most dynamic feature of the occupy movement has been its rapid embrace by so many sectors of society. Students, unions, community groups, people of color, LGBTQ people, the unemployed — thousands have been activated to protest.

Yesterday, members in New York City of 15 of the country’s largest unions — as well as students who walked out of classes at New York University, the City University system, Columbia University and the New School — joined the huge “March in Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.”

Earlier this week, the Transport Workers Union took a bold stand, filing suit against the NYPD’s commandeering of city buses to ferry masses of arrested protesters. This police practice includes ordering passengers off buses — as if public transportation hasn’t been cut back enough.

In Boston yesterday, Northeastern University students blocked Atlantic Avenue and held a standoff with police. Three buses carrying several hundred nurses from the Massachusetts Nurses Association joined the protest.

Hundreds of State University students in many upstate New York campuses walked out of class.

The last four years’ acceleration of layoffs, foreclosures and looting of pensions came after decades of layoffs, cutbacks, the growth of the prison-industrial complex and the destruction of the socialist camp. This period of reaction could not go on indefinitely.

It was literally only a matter of time before the people rose up again. While it might be tempting to compare this movement with that for civil rights in the 1950s, which inspired the student, Black, gay and women’s liberation uprisings of the late 1960s and early 1970s — the last time this country saw a sustained movement that challenged the status quo — the crucial difference this time is the unemployment crisis.

On Sept. 29 a CEO association called Business Roundtable released the results of a survey of 140 executives. Of those surveyed, the number planning job cuts had more than doubled since the second quarter.

The capitalist crisis has created a movement for which the capitalists have no solution. The eruption of protest nevertheless demands a solution. And this has put the question of socialist revolution squarely on the table.

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2011/us/ows_1013/