Monday, September 25, 2017

Don't forget, the NFL protests are not about the military or the anthem.

The protests are about this, not the anthem, not flags not the military.
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

A friend reminded me today about the treacherous nature of the ruling class in this country as the protests against racism and police brutality are gaining support. We have to be vigilant in not allowing the insidious efforts by the mass media and important and influential figures to make the football player protests about disrespecting the military or the flag, which after all, is merely a symbol the issue. This is an attempt to skirt the seriousness and righteousness of the original intent of Kaepernick’s actions.

Mentioning the military as if it is one single whole with no distinguishable parts is a trick. What role in the decision making process in the US military does the average soldier play? I’ll tell you, none.

The military is made up overwhelmingly of working class men and women. The officer caste is overwhelmingly made up of upper class men, the sons of the 1% and the super rich. The reason for this is that the working class cannot be trusted. We are not made of the same stuff.

Sports to be honest are a distraction, a conscious diversion and an escape from the reality of a highly stressful existence loaded with insecurity and at all times, anxiety about the future or even if there is a future.  Sure, we’re unified for an hour or so over which team will win. But it’s a very political event for the owners of the franchises, billionaire investors who are linked to others like them who sit on boards of corporations, own shares in them and all of them linked with the body politic in one way or another.

When the media revenue, the apparel, the booze that’s consumed and other revenue streams come in, it is a very lucrative game indeed. Football, unlike baseball, which is a more family oriented game, is a very lucrative venue for recruitment in to the military as well. It is a man’s game but like most sport events today, it is becoming harder for the average working class family to attend.

It is because the protests are gaining support that the issue of supporting the military and this nonsense idea that the motive is to disrespect the flag is being thrust forward. I see a restaurant owner in North Carolina is not showing any games until “all players show respect to our flag and our country,"  Killings of unarmed black folks by cops never caused him to stop showing games. The Fascists marching in his part of the world didn’t move him to action either nor apparently did the killing of nine black people by a white supremacists in a church in the state next door. The vicious attacks on workers wages and living standards don’t seem to rouse him either.

We have to reject this idea that these protests have anything to do with disrespecting flags or military forces. It’s about racism, and I mean institutionalized racism, not calling someone a nasty name, and in particular the disproportionate killings by security forces of black people. When we add to this the percentage of blacks (and people of color in general) in the prison industrial complex, this is what is being protested.

They are throwing the patriotism word around now too. What is patriotism? Patriotism is used to con workers in to fighting the wars and conflicts the ruling class instigates in their struggle to dominate the world’s markets and to silence criticism.  I’m sure Hitler and the National Socialists called on German workers to be patriotic and support the war when the “patriotic” thing to do was to resist it. The class war is the only war we need to involve ourselves in and in that war workers of other nations are our allies.

Sports have been used throughout history as a means of pacifying the masses and avoiding dissent. In Christopher Hill’s excellent book on the English Revolution he points out the importance of Sunday sports in the pacification of the masses during those revolutionary times.  For the Puritans, Sunday was for religious education, praying and Bible reading, so they opposed the Sunday sports as it kept folks from sermons. In medieval England and Catholic countries, Hill points out, there were more than 100 holy days a year where no work was done.

The Feudal aristocracy, the King and the Catholic hierarchy on the other hand were loathe to abolish sports as it kept the masses from congregating and sharing ideas about religion, politics life and inevitably the injustice of class society and what might be done about it. “The government feared that unoccupied men (Sunday was a no work day) would talk sedition, whether it was in the ale houses or in conventicles”  says Hill whereas sports, the Duke of Newcastle assured Charles11, “…will amuse the people’s thoughts and keep them in harmless action which will free your Majesty from faction and rebellion.” * (my added emphasis.) This is the major reason for sports today and it is a money- maker as well. What a deal.

It’s part of human culture to compete in some form of sport, it’s healthy and occurs in every culture. Capitalism as with all things, commodifies sport. The owners of teams, the owners of the media the owners of the apparel companies that make the clothing are not interested in sport as a healthy aspect of human culture; they are after profits. If sport wasn’t profitable they wouldn’t invest in it.

And it’s known that most of the venues in which teams play are paid for by the taxpayers of that community. They socialize the costs and privatize the profits. As Marx so eloquently put it:
 “a schoolmaster is a productive labourer when, in addition to belabouring the heads of his scholars, he works like a horse to enrich the school proprietor. That the latter has laid out his capital in a teaching factory, instead of in a sausage factory, does not alter the relation.”

Violent or peaceful protests

There is growing support as we can see. Dale Earnhardt Jr. the NASCAR driver tweeted "All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK"

This is true, and the protests are extremely mild given that we have seen black children, unarmed men and women shot, mowed down in the streets, chased down and shot and then guns planted on them. In other cases choked to death for selling cigarettes on the street despite cries of “I can’t breathe”. 

If peaceful protests works that would be good. But the smallest glimpse in to US history shows that they don’t accomplish much. It is not the oppressed that cause violence, it is the state that responds to protests, even peaceful ones with violence. If people begin to attain the objective, the state introduces violence in to the mix. It’s the same with strikes. And I add that to cut wages, to remove benefits, to lay people off, in other words to take away their means of subsistence is in itself an act of violence. When the sheriff knocks on someone’s door to remove them from their home, which is their shelter, on behalf of the moneylenders, that’s violence. But if the person who needs that home to live in resists and others gather to help them stay in it, further violence is inflicted on people including prison.

The state only supports protests that don’t actually change anything. It is not those who seek change that make the struggle for change violent, it is those opposing that change.

A study published in the Financial Times today, (Millions mired in poverty as US upturn passes them by.) reveals that over 50 million Americans live in districts that in a “deep ongoing recession”, with one in six Americans living in a zip code the study defines as a “distressed community”. Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana account for half of the population affected while in Mississippi, “….43 per cent of the population lives in a distressed community.”

Inequality is rampant. In Utah, “….47 per cent of the population lives in a prosperous zip code, compared with just 3.1 per cent of people in West Virginia.” The study claims.

The study reports that “22 per cent of the Texas population live in distressed communities, nearly twice the proportion as New York or California.”  and that,  Mortality rates in distressed areas are 25 per cent higher than in prosperous districts, and mortality rates from mental health disorders and substance abuse are 64 per cent higher.” The opioid addiction is another issue, a true catastrophe.

A friend and I were talking today about Trump voters. Many of them come from these communities. In some areas they voted for Obama twice but for millions in this country the decline in livings standards and in to abject poverty continues. The study adds that, “strikingly, three-quarters of counties that flipped from backing Barack Obama twice to supporting Mr Trump suffered both job and business losses over the five-year period”

People are desperate. There is a great opportunity for change and for some Trump was the only voice that hadn’t been tested and failed.

The obsession with sport is aimed at keeping us from discussing the tragedy that consumes the nation. All the talk of patriotism, the flag, and the obsession with North Korea, this is all a smoke screen. US capitalism is in an acute economic, political and social crisis. In this situation, both parties increase military spending even beyond what Trump was asking. There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal. le.

I thought of something I left out in my previous post about the NFL owners and mentioning Kraft in particular. Kraft has voiced his displeasure at Trump for being divisive and insulting the football players. Trump has called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. He has boasted about grabbing women’s genitals and doing whatever he wants to them because he’s famous. He’s supported Nazis and fascists. He’s mocked the disabled and said US workers are paid to much. He has, from what I understand, numerous legal; cases against him for sexual abuse. We don’t hear about that any more. And Kraft and the owners who are now speaking out said not a word about this. In fact, after all of this, Kraft donated $1 million to his inauguration.

It is natural that for black folks the issue of police violence, incarceration rates, and the general discrimination they face from institutionalized racism is a dominant theme. This does not mean they are not aware of issues facing all working class and poor Americans. What has to happen is that we must brush aside these smoke screens of patriotism and insulting the military and the flag, and join in the struggle against racism and police brutality as we widen this movement to draw in all sections of society that are feeling the strain and the pain of this war against all of us by US capitalism. It is not the little man in North Korea that is a threat to us; the threat is here at home.

* The Century of Revolution 1603-1714 Christopher Hill

Trump's Disgusting Attempt to use Pat Tlllman's name will Backfire

In his war against the NFL players and Kaepernick, The disgusting human being Trump has dragged out Pat Tillman as the hero to be emulated. We are republishing this post that we try to post every memorial Day as the mass media tries to shut Pat Tillman out of history books.

How stupid is Trump. Tillman was a hero, a real hero who learned from what he saw and changed his views. He was loved by Rumsfeld, another war criminal and mass murderer who wanted to use him as the poster boy to get young workers join up but he was not going to do that, just the opposite. I can't believe that Trump not knowing that  to raise Tillman would be a mistake and instead, that no one warned him on purpose. Tillman had become increasingly opposed to the Iraq War and Bush’s agenda and did not like what he saw. He had planned to meet Noam Chomsky. But stupid Trump doesn't read so how would he know?  As the title below suggests, it is my view that he was assassinated under authority from the highest military authorities and others in the US government.

After I saw this film I remember telling some of my co-workers if you want to feel proud of being an American, watch this film and see how the family of Pat Tillman deal with this. His mother in particular was incredible. See his brother at the funeral, we never saw that on the news, we just saw McCain spouting state department and US military brass lies. See the young Mormon guy who was next to him when he was shot between the eyes, what a brave guy. See his fathers response to the politician that approached him and refusing to shake his hand. I was in Iraq in the 70's and fantasized about having the ability to go there again and announce to the Iraq's that here was a family, and an individual who also describe themselves as Americans--we are not all the same.

Trump is getting desperate. Don't let the US war machine eradicate Tillman from history and don't let the pig Trump defile his name. From: all of us at Facts For Working People

The Tillman Story: Was He Assassinated?
by Richard Mellor

Afscme Local 444, retired

I wrote this five years ago  after seeing this film. This Memorial Day let's not let them airbrush Pat Tillman from History. We owe it to Tillman to remember him and give him the place in history he deserves. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bush, they all loved him. They used him. But Tillman was not a person that could be bought off easily. He was a leader. He came from strong family; above all, he had principles and a person who has principles can change their views when the objective facts demand it.

If the reader hasn't seen this film you should. You might not draw the same conclusions as this writer when it comes to the issue of who fired the shot that killed him. But you will come to admire him for what he was-----a heroic figure. We don't need the spin doctors picking hero's for us.

The Tillman Story
Most Americans would know who Pat Tillman was and why he is so controversial, but for those readers abroad that might be hearing the name for the first time, he was a young professional football star, who, along with his brother, gave up a multi-million dollar sports future and enlisted in the US army. The Bush Administration and the capitalist media made Tillman the poster boy for their propaganda machine, he was a popular, modest figure respected by those that knew him; a perfect example of what a real patriotic American should be; having him be a spokesperson for their murderous foreign policy was a gift from above. Tillman, on the other hand, never explained his reason for enlisting keeping his views private. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.

The official US government explanation for Tillman’s death was that he was killed in action, dying amid a hail of gunfire defending his troops against Taliban militia. But from the beginning things didn’t seem right. The Tillman Story describes the now famous cover up that came to light only through the dogged persistence of Tillman’s mother and family. Much of it is already known but this powerful documentary directed by Amir Bar Lev strengthens my belief that Tillman was probably assassinated although the film doesn’t draw this conclusion, or, in my recollection even suggest it.

After his death the government continued to use him, as it did when he was alive; as war propaganda. The media spread the government’s line and there were memorials held and events honoring Tillman as a war hero, from his former college team Arizona, to a huge memorial a month after his death in San Jose's Municipal Rose Garden.

But, as the film shows, Tillman’s mother and entire family weren’t buying it. The film describes how it comes to light that the US destroyed all his belongings, even his clothes were burned; and more importantly his diary. Why would the military burn the diary of a war hero? His fellow Army rangers were instructed not to talk to anyone about the details of his death. One of them, Russell Baer, attended his funeral and initially went along with the lies as instructed by his superiors. It is Baer and another Ranger, Bryan O’Neal, who stood out for me as honest and brave people who helped get the truth out there.

O’Neil was standing next to Tillman when he was shot by his own troops in what the US government describes now as “friendly fire” or Fratricide. Baer also explains how so many of the young people that joined did it to get an education or to “blow things up and shoot guns”. Initially, Tillman’s mother believed that it was simply terrified young men shooting wildly in panic after being attacked, but given the evidence it was more like gross negligence she explains.

But I cannot help drawing the conclusion from the detailed description of the events that day that those that shot Tillman knew who they were shooting at. Tillman was shot, sniper style with a bullet to the Head. At one point, O'neil describes Tillman standing up shouting “I’m Pat Tillman”. At this point the assailants (this was a half of the troop that were a half mile behind Tillman’s section) had moved to within 40 yards of Tillman and O’Neil, they had purposefully moved closer which doesn't sound like a frantic, uncontrollable melee. O’Neil said that he started to pray and Tillman told him to stop praying and deal with the here and now or words to that effect. O’Neil described it as Tillman preventing him from going in to some “La la land”, O’Neil, described as a devout Mormon, commands a lot of respect in this documentary.

This raises another issue, Tillman’s politics and his religious views, or lack of them There is a clip from his funeral that shows Tillman’s youngest brother getting up to speak right after the preferred war hero, John McCain. I have never seen this shown in the thousands of hours of media coverage. He’s dressed in a tee shirt and has a beer in his hand that he takes a quick swig from. He cusses a fair bit which is the only “official” reason the film got an R rating, but it was more likely to reduce attendance by young people. He counters McCain’s previous remarks that his brother is “with God” because Pat "wasn’t religious”. “He isn’t with God—he’s fuckin’ dead” he adds.

Tillman was no idiot. He read political literature and was interested in Chomsky. He was also an atheist. In one scene a military investigator claims in a radio interview that the reason Tillman’s family won’t give up on the case is that they’re atheists and that they don’t understand about duty. What scum these people are. Imagine how they treat their adversaries in foreign lands.

I am sickened by patriotism and all the phony nationalism that accompanies their propaganda efforts to get support for wars that no worker benefits from. But throughout this film I felt such admiration and respect for Pat Tillman and his family. I was transfixed as I watched the family, including Tillman’s wife, at an Arizona game honoring Pat. His mother was looking around at all the flag waving and circus atmosphere surrounding her son’s death and you could see she was sad and sickened by it.

Due to the Tillman’s family persistence, at one point, Tillman’s father wrote a letter to military bigwigs recounting all the lies the family had been told and concluded it with ”Fuck You” and “Fuck Yours” the government was forced to address the issue and held a congressional investigation where the mass murderer Donald Rumsfeld and the generals were dragged before Congress. Prior to this, they had made a retired three star general the fall guy but the Tillman’s wouldn’t have it. As the father said about the military, “You don’t piss unless you’re told to” and are we to believe this cover up didn’t go to the top? The documentary reveals that a memo from Gen Stanley McCrystal had been sent to the entire chain of command informing them of the real sequence of events long before these thugs admitted it.

I don’t subscribe to the view that all that happens is the result of a conspiracy. But apart from the description of the events of that day that strengthen for me, the possibility that he was murdered, we should consider the threat the Tillman represented to them. They had hung their hopes on this “All American” white football star being the front man for their foreign policy. But after returning from Iraq, Tillman was disillusioned with this foreign policy. He didn’t like what he saw and he was not a person who was afraid to speak his mind. Tillman was an honest, dedicated and independent thinker from a family that treasured such qualities; this comes across quite clearly in this film. The opportunity to return to football was there after his Iraq tours but he committed for three years and he believed in fulfilling his commitment.

Who knows what was in his diaries and we can only guess what he said privately to his fellow Army Rangers or the extent of his influence among them. There is not a shadow of a doubt that on returning to the civilian life, Tillman would not play the role they had mapped out for him; he was a real threat.

The weakness in the movie for me is the weakness all of these expose type films have; there is no alternative put forward. In response to the Congressional hearings Tillman’s mother said that she felt there was not “much else that could be done”. Her husband refused to talk to a Congressman so disgusted he was at the whole charade; “None of these actors are held responsible” he says. Tillman’s brother said that his mother “Hit the ball out of the park but the government kept moving the fence back.”

Because no alternative is even hinted at, the need to build a mass party of the working class as opposed to the two Wall Street parties for example, this film can re-enforce the mistaken view that we have to overcome in this country that there is nothing that we can do; that you “Can’t fight City Hall”. It can have a demoralizing effect as the control exercised by an “all powerful” state and its flunkies seem insurmountable. It would have been good had someone mentioned that given the lies around Tillman’s death, we can only imagine the lies and propaganda about the need to go to war in the first place. It would have been nice to have some mention that these wars were not about democracy or hunting terrorists or freedom, but a struggle for control of the world’s resources; they are wars conducted in the interests of US corporations

Perhaps, others will argue, a documentary would not get any distribution at all were this the case, or would not even me made,  but I would like to think this seed could have been sown in some form or fashion

Nevertheless, this is a very powerful indictment of the US government and the politicians in Washington. It exposes the rotten ruthless nature of US capitalism.  After watching it I wanted to meet the Tillman’s and shake their hands. Their actions alone are an encouragement to us all that it is better to fight than to not and it does show that their actions forced the mighty US government machine to defend itself. Unfortunately, no one will pay for the murder of their son.

See this movie and take the kids. The Tillman Story

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kaepernick's Persistence and Pressure from Below Forces Owners to Act


By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, Retired

We can see that Colin Kaepernick’s persistence is paying off. More players are joining him as are other groups including some cops. Today, September 24th, more actions are being taken with some teams not coming out of the locker room at all for the national anthem and in London England, Ravens and Jaguars players locked arms or kneeled in support of Kaepernick and protesting racism and police brutality. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan knelt arm-in-arm with his players.

This all comes two days after Trump called on team owners to “fire” players that participate in the protests calling them  "son of a bitch" players. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell responded attacking Trump’s "divisive comments", revealing an an "unfortunate lack of respect" for the NFL and contributions players make to their communities.

And now Robert Kraft, another billionaire team owner worth $6.2 billion and so-called friend of Trump, has joined the fray. Kraft said he is, "deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President.” He goes on to say that,  “There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics.” These team owners as I pointed out last week are all billionaires and Roger Goodell made $34.1 million in the 2014 calender year according to NFL tax returns, and remember, for 50 years, the NFL was tax exempt as a “nonprofit trade group,”. 

So what’s happening here? 

It’s good this is happening but we have to not lose sight of why it is and who were dealing with here. Kraft says that nothing is more divisive than politics and no greater unifier than sports. So unity is important to these people is it? Well, politics is even more important to them, they just say it’s not important when they’re talking to us.  Kraft didn’t give Trump $1 million towards his inaugural for nothing; he wanted something in return and he’s not getting it. They thought they might be able control this moron, control what comes out of his mouth but it appears they can’t. Trump is becoming a liability for business and capitalism. For them, there is no friendship except money friendship.
You're costing us money Donald and I'm richer than you

Neither Kraft, nor any of them called for unity against police abuse when Rodney king was beaten or when Trayvon Martin and other innocent people were murdered. No keeping the players in the locker room then to support protests and the BLM movement. No encouraging players to support workers on strike or the teachers whose livelihoods have been savaged. They never encouraged sports figures to support low waged stadium workers. No, they call for unity when their interests are threatened, when their system is threatened which is what these protests can lead to.

They want to head it off because it can interfere with money making. That’s why the
former presidents, all smiling and laughing together, joined through Twitterland by the Predator in Chief Trump, basically called for unity after Hurricane Harvey at a televised football game. We are all one is the mantra. They didn’t put a face on those responsible for the disaster being worse that it should, the home builders the lobbyists that bribe the politicians to ensure no legislation or regulations are passed that interferes with profits. Bush lives in Texas, he knows intimately why the disaster was such a  disaster. He is part of the cause. We do not want unity with them.

They cannot blame the system, they can’t point to the killers, those responsible for the death and destruction because they defend the system, it is "their" system and no ruling class commits class suicide. They must convince us we are all in this together, they are afraid things could get out of hand.   Class solidarity changes things this is why the big guns of the bourgeois are beginning to turn. It is the movement and movements from below that are forcing these activities from the top.

The anger from Harvey and Irma is not yet done. The like of Kraft and his class are aware that in US society there is much anger, from Flint and other communities that have poison water. There is anger about the environment, the poverty in society, the health care crisis, homelessness, education, a savaging of wages, benefits and right on the job and sports events that a working or middle class family cannot afford to go to even though it is our taxes that pay for the arenas. The daily mass shootings, sometimes of entire families and the opioid addiction are all related to the crisis in US society, a crisis of capitalism.

Every day and waking hour filled with sports, not where we participate as part of human culture bus as spectators watching millionaire athletes play, wholly owned subsidiaries of corporations who our children are encouraged to emulate and see as heroes. We participate mostly through their media and live if we can afford it. It is a very profitable venture but more importantly keeps us out of politics, acts as a diversion from politics and discussions about our lives and society that might lead to real unity not with the 1% and the billionaire owners of sports teams but with teach other, workers whose labor creates the wealth in society.

They use racism and racial tension to keep people apart and undermine working class unity, it is the most prominent tool in their arsenal for that here in the US. They don’t want it to get out of hand if they can help it. However, they will resort to open race war if need be, but we have the numbers and the cause, that’s why fighting racism and all such socially constructed divisions, and building a united working class direct action movement is so important. We should not underestimate the cunning and violent nature of the US ruling class. We need only look at the condition and history of the native peoples as proof of that.

The disproportionate killing of black folks by cops in the streets is not new, it’s been ongoing, its simply been brought to the public eye due to cell phone cameras. These billionaires and politicians now crying crocodile tears about the right to protest and American values know all about it and have remained silent all along.

It is the refusal of the black population to remain silent and to protest not through ineffective candlelight vigils but through mass action that is putting pressure on. It is the numerous actions and movements springing up in the US around racism and the unleashing of the generalized anger that exists beneath the surface of US society that they’re worried about.

Let’s not be fooled, unity is a good thing but what is more important is with whom and about what. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Capitalism: The Economic Reason For Madness.

I wanted to do an introduction to this excellent piece by Michael Roberts. Roberts explains here how society, or more accurately, the capitalist mode of production works and the complexities and contradictions that arise from this. The crises, the booms, slumps insecurity etc. Wars, starvation, death by diseases we cured long ago and of course climate change, are all a product of the crisis of capitalism.  As workers it is not necessary that we understand all the complexities and aspects of capitalist production as Michael Roberts does. We have an understanding of the system in a way that many "experts" don't as we experience the system at work daily in the workplace where the surplus value Roberts writes about here is extracted from us.

With time and access to information, many of us could and would understand many issues more fully including what Roberts explains here so clearly in a way a worker interested in probing these ideas can understand. But even then, we can't all be experts in everything.

I urge working people to read this, think about it, read it again and discuss it. We have weekly discussions around this blog as we have stated before. If you would like to discuss this subject and it's relevance to our lives, contact us.

Years ago before I became overtly political, If I heard an academic or  professor give a lecture and couldn't follow any of it I would draw that conclusion that she was brilliant. What does this say about me? I'm not an idiot. Today I have a different view; if you can't explain the general processes of an issue to me, and most thinking workers, then the weakness is yours.

Understanding how capitalism actually works, why it is the cause of and cannot solve the tragic crises affecting humanity begins with understanding the general processes at work, processes outlined here by Michael Roberts and being grounded there. Our experiences in the workplace are a plus in that regard. Once we understand this, then the building of the subjective factor, the revolutionary current within the working class, rooted in the working class, is the next step toward real freedom. Richard Mellor

Another great piece form Michael Roberts

Capital.150 part two: the economic reason for madness

The evening session of the first day of Capital.150 was about how the class struggle would ‘map out’ in the 21st century.  Was Marx’s Capital still relevant in explaining where the hotspots for class battles would be concentrated?

Professor David Harvey made the first contribution.  David Harvey (DH) is probably the most well-known Marxist scholar in the world.  A renowned academic geographer with many awards, DH has become the leading expert on Marx’s Capital and its modern relevance through many books and presentations.  His website contains lectures on each chapter of Marx’s Capital and youtube is full of his presentations.

At this session, he presented his view of how class struggle, or ‘anti-capitalist’ struggle as he preferred to call it, is to be found in modern capitalism.  A video of this session will soon be available but you can get the gist of what DH said from previous video presentations – the latest of which is here (his recent LSE lecture) or here on his website.  DH’s thesis is also expounded in his latest book, Marx, Capital and the madness of economic reason.

DH started with saying that capital is ‘value in motion’ – and it is a circuit of capital starting with money, then going into the production of surplus value; and then, just as important, onto the realisation of that value through sale on the market (circulation); and then onto the distribution of that realised value between sections of capitalists (industrial, landlords and finance) and to workers in wages, taxes to government.

DH likens this circuit to the geographical circuit of the planet’s water cycle – from atmosphere to sea to land and back.  But the circuit of capital is not a simple cycle like that, but a spiral. It must continually accumulate and circulate and distribute ever more or it will reverse into a ‘bad infinity’ (to use a Hegelian term), spiralling down.

DH’s argues that Volume One of Capital only deals with the production part of the circuit (the production of value and surplus value).  Volume Two deals with the realisation and circulation of capital between sectors in its reproduction, while Volume 3 deals with the distribution of that value.  And while Marx gives a great analysis of the production part, his later volumes are not complete and have been scratched together by Engels.  And thus Marx’s analysis falls short of explaining developments in modern capitalism.

You see, as DH put at his LSE lecture, production is “just a small sliver of value in motion”.  The more crucial points of breakdown and class struggle are now to be found outside the traditional battle between workers and capitalists in the workplace or point of production.  Yes, that still goes on but the class struggle is much more to be found in battles in the sphere of circulation (here I think DH means, for example, consumers fighting price-gouging by greedy pharma companies, the manipulation of people’s ‘wants, needs and desires’ in what they buy and think they need); and in distribution in battles over unaffordable rents with landlords or unrepayable debts like Greece or student debt.  These are the new and more important areas of ‘anti-capitalist’ struggle outside the remit of Volume One of Capital.  They are in communities and streets and not in the workplace. To quote DH again, the big fights are elsewhere “from the process of production”.

There are two things here: first, the theoretical and empirical basis for DH’s conclusions; and second, whether class struggle is now to be found (mainly) outside the confines of Volume One. DH provides a theoretical base to his class struggle thesis by arguing that crises under capitalism are at least as likely, if not more so, to be found in a breakdown in circulation or realisation (as DH claims Marx argued in Volume 2) than in the production of surplus value.  And crises are more likely now to happen in finance and over debt due to financialisation (from Volume 3).

Well, as Carchedi showed in his paper (see my post Part One), behind financial crises lies the crises in the production of surplus value, to be found in Marx’s law of general accumulation (from Volume One) and his law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (this law is actually found in Volume 3 – thus disputing DH’s claim that Volume 3 is all about ‘distribution’).

In my view, Volumes One, Two and Three link together to give us a theory of crises under capitalism based on the drive for profit and the accumulation of surplus value in capital which falls apart at regular and recurring intervals because of the operation of Marx’s la of profitability. As Paul Mattick Snr put it back in the 1970s, “Although it first appears in the process of circulation, the real crisis cannot be understood as a problem of circulation or of realisation, but only as a disruption of the process of reproduction as a whole, which is constituted by production and circulation together. And, as the process of reproduction depends on the accumulation of capital, and therefore on the mass of surplus value that makes accumulation possible, it is within the sphere of production that the decisive factors (though not the only factors) of the passage from the possibility of crisis to an actual crisis are to be found … The crisis characteristic of capital thus originates neither in production nor in circulation taken separately, but in the difficulties that arise from the tendency of the profit rate to fall inherent in accumulation and governed by the law of value.”[i]

When you put it like that, two weaknesses spring out from DH’s schema.  First, he makes no mention of the Marx’s law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. He did not mention it in his presentation nor does he in his latest book.  DH has already made it clear why in debates with me and others: he thinks the law is irrelevant and even wrong; and moreover (adopting the view of Michael Heinrich – also at Capital.150 – that Marx actually dropped it himself).  And yet there is the law clearly expressed in Volume 3 and offering a coherent theory of regular and recurrent crises of capital that can be tested (and many scholars have done so).

And that brings me to the second weakness: crises are regular and recurrent but DH’s thesis offers no explanation for this regularity.  Moreover, this regularity can be found going back 150 years since Capital was first published (and even before) without the modern role of finance or the modern manipulation of ‘wants, needs and desires’.  Does this not offer a different explanation from DH’s?

For example, DH wants to tell us that crises occur because wages are squeezed down to the limit, as they have been in the neo-liberal period after the 1970s (thus a realisation of, not a production of, surplus value problem).  But was the first simultaneous slump in post-war capitalism in 1974-5 due to low wages?  On the contrary, most analysts (including Marxists) at the time argued that wages were ‘squeezing’ profits and that caused the slump.  And most Marxists agree that this was a profitability crisis, as was the ensuing slump in 1980-2.  And moreover, I have shown that when ‘social wages’ (benefits etc) are taken into account, wage share in the neo-liberal period did not fall that much, at least until the early 2000s.

Carchedi’s paper shows too that slumps have never been a result of a realisation problem (wages and government spending were always rising before each (recurrent) slump in the post-war period, including the Great Recession in 2008-9.  The credit crunch and the euro debt crisis were the result of falling profitability and the switch to financial assets to raise profits, eventually leading to a financial crisis – and thus were the consequence of a crisis in the profitability of production not in its distribution.

DH reckoned capitalism worked well in the 1950s because wages were high and unions strong, presumably creating effective demand.  The alternative scenario is that capitalism had a golden age because profitability was high after the war and capital could thus make concessions to maintain production and accumulation.  When profitability started to fall in most of the major economies after the mid-1960s, the class battle intensified (in the workplace) and, after the defeat of labour, we entered the neo-liberal period.

That brings me to my paper, as I was the other contributor in this session (Capital.150 presentation).  Here I argued that the production of surplus value and the accumulation of capital remain central to Marx’s explanation of capitalism and its contradictions that lead to recurrent crises.  As Marx put it: “The profit of the capitalist class has to exist before it can be distributed.”  It is not “a small sliver of value in motion” but the largest, both conceptually for Marx and also quantitatively, because in any capitalist economy, 80% of gross output is made up of means of production and intermediate goods compared to consumption.

As Engels explained, Marx’s great discovery was the existence of surplus value as the specific driver of the capitalist accumulation and labour’s immiseration.  For Marx, the production of surplus-value comes first and is logically paramount, before circulation and distribution.  Production and circulation are not considered by Marx as having the same explanatory power in the analysis of capitalism. Marx is clear that production is more fundamental than circulation.  As Marx says, it is the production of surplus value that is the defining character of the capitalist mode of production, not how that surplus value it is circulated or distributed at the surface level.

In Volume One, Marx shows that the accumulation of capital takes the form of expanding investment in the means of production and technology while regularly shedding labour into a reserve army and thus keeping the labour content of value to a minimum.  This leads to a rising organic composition of capital (the value of means of production rises relative to the value of labour power).  But that very rise creates a tendency for the profitability of capital to fall over time, because value is only created by labour power.

Over history, the rate of profit in capitalism should therefore fall (despite counteracting factors).  This fall will periodically lead to slumps in production and slumps will devalue and destroy capital and thus revive profitability for a while.  Thus we have recurrent and regular cycles of boom and slump. But there is no permanent escape for capital.  The capitalist mode of production is transient because it cannot escape from the inexorable decline in profitability due to the increasingly difficult task of producing enough surplus value.

In this sense, Capital is not so much about the ‘madness of economic reason’ but about the ‘economic reason for madness’.


In my paper, I concentrated on Britain in the 150 years after Marx published Capital.  I showed from Bank of England statistics how the overall rate of profit of British capital has fallen – not in a straight line because there were periods when the counteracting factors (a rising rate of surplus value and falling cost of technology) operated against the general tendency.

Indeed, these periods, in my view, provide crucial indicators for mapping out the intensity of the class struggle.  I found, using the profitability data with the strikes data available for Britain, that whenever profitability was falling in a period when the labour movement was strong and confident then the class struggles (measured in the number of strikes) reached peaks.  This was the case in Britain both prior and just after the First World War and again in the 1970s.

However, when the labour movement was defeated and weak and profitability was rising (partly as a result), as in the neo-liberal period; or when profitability was falling or low in the depressions of the 1930s and now, then the class struggle in the workplace was low too.  In ‘recovery’ periods when profitability picked from lows and unions reformed (1890s and 1950s), strikes were also low but gradually rose.

Thus class struggle in the workplace was at its height when capitalist profitability started falling, but the labour movement was strong after a period of recovery.  Then the best objective conditions for revolutionary change were in place.

This analysis puts the class struggle in the workplace at the centre of capitalism because it is about the struggle over the division of value between surplus value and labour’s share, as Marx intended with the publication of Volume One.  This is not to deny that capitalism creates inequalities, conflicts and battles outside the workplace over rents, debt, taxes, the urban environment and pollution etc that DH focuses on, nor that the struggle does not enter the political plane through elections etc.

But none of these iniquities of capitalism can be ended without control of the means of production by working people and the ending of the capitalist mode of production (namely, production for profit of the few not the need of the many).  And the working-class as a working class, not workers as consumers or debtors, remains the agency of change from capitalism to socialism.  The working class (by any definition) remains the largest social force in society and globally (even defined narrowly as industrial) it has never been larger – way larger than when Marx published Capital.

‘Accumulation by dispossession’ (Accumulation by dispossession) or ‘profit from alienation’ i.e. cheating, fraud, price gouging; speculation against currencies etc, that DH puts forward as the main driver of class struggle now, has existed in many class societies before capitalism, and is thus part of capitalism too. But Marx’s Capital makes it clear that the heart of the class struggle under capitalism is the battle over the production of value, unique to capital.  What happens to value is key and, in this sense, the health of any capitalist economy can be measured by the level and direction of the profitability of capital.

Capitalism has an irreversible contradiction in its ability to extract enough surplus value that brings capitalism into recurrent crises.  These cannot be resolved by higher wages, more government spending or more state regulation of finance, as alternative economic theories argue.  DH told us in the session that capitalism was saved in 2008 by Keynesian-type government spending measures in China.  China ran up huge debts to do this and then had to export excess money capital abroad.  This thesis suggests that Keynesian policies might work to avoid slumps (at least for a while) and thus there may be method in this madness of economic reason.  I don’t agree and I explain why in my paper.  I’ll deal with China in a future post, but in the meantime you can read what I had to say on China here.

[i]
Economic Crisis and Crisis Theory. Paul Mattick 1974, https://www.marxists.org/archive/mattick-paul/1974/crisis/ch02.htm

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Global Economy: The end of QE

by Michael Roberts

It’s an historic day in global central bank monetary policy since the end of the Great Recession.  The US Federal Reserve Bank feels sufficiently confident about the state of the US economy and, for that matter the rest of the major economies, to announce that it has not only ended quantitative easing (QE)  but that it is now going to reverse the process into quantitative tightening.

QE was the policy of pumping money (by creating bank reserves) into the financial sector by buying government and corporate bonds (and even shares) in order to create enough cash in the banks to lend onto households and companies and keep interest rates (the cost of borrowing) to near zero (or even below in some countries).  QE was the key monetary policy of the financial authorities in the major economies, particularly in the light of little fiscal or government spending as a second or alternative weapon.  Fiscal austerity was applied (with varying degrees of success) while monetary policy was ‘eased’.

But QE was really a failure.  It did not lead to a revival of economic growth or business investment.  Growth of GDP per head and investment in the major economies continue to languish well below pre-crisis rates.  As I have argued in this blog, that is because profitability in capitalist sector remains below pre-crisis levels and well below the peaks of the late 1990s.

What QE did do was fuel a new speculative bubble in financial assets, with stock and bond markets hitting ever new heights.  As a result, the very rich who own most of these assets became much richer (and inequality of income and wealth has risen even further).  And the very large companies, the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) in the US, became flush with cash and doubled-up on borrowing even more at near zero rates so that they could buy up their own shares and drive up the stock price, hand out big dividends to shareholders and use funds to buy up even more companies.

But now eight years after QE was launched in the US, followed by the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and eventually the European Central Bank, the US Fed is preparing to reverse the policy.  It has announced that it will start selling off its huge stock of bonds ($4.5trn or 25% of US GDP at the last count) over the next few years.  The sell-off will be gradual and the Fed is cautious about the impact on the financial sector and the wider economy.  And it should be.

Financial markets won’t like it.  The drug of cheap (virtually interest-free) money is being slowly withdrawn.  The plan is to avoid ‘cold turkey’, but even so the stock and bond markets are likely to sell off as the supply of free money begins to fall back.  More important is what will happen to the productive sectors of the US economy and, for that matter, to the global economy, as this cheap money slowly declines.

The Fed sounds confident.  As Janet Yellen, the head of the Fed put it in the press conference yesterday: “The basic message here is US economic performance has been good; the labour market has strengthened substantially.  The American people should feel the steps we have taken to normalise monetary policy are ones we feel are well justified given the very substantial progress we have seen in the economy.”

This confidence is being increasingly backed up by the mainstream economic forecasters. 
For example, Gavyn Davies, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs and now columnist at the FT, reports that his Fulcrum ‘nowcast’ activity measures reveals the “growth rate in the world economy is being maintained at the firmest rate recorded since the early days of the recovery in 2010. The growth rate throughout 2017 has been well above trend for both the advanced and emerging economies, and the acceleration has been more synchronised among the major blocs than at any time since before the Great Financial Crash.”  He has the advanced economies growing at 2.7% and the world economy at 4.1%, with the US growth rate now around 3%.  This all sounds good.

And yet the long-term forecasts of the Fed policy makers for economic growth and inflation remain low.  Indeed, there are some important caveats to this seeming confidence.  First, there is little sign of any recovery in business investment.

Second, far from profits in the productive sectors racing ahead, overall non-financial corporate profits in the US are falling.

And equally important, as the recent Bank for International Settlements quarterly review has highlighted, corporate debt is very high and rising, while the number of ‘zombie’ companies (those hardly able to meet their debt payments) are at record levels (16% in the US).  At $8.6 trillion, US corporate debt levels are 30% higher today than at their prior peak in September 2008.  At 45.3%, the ratio of corporate debt to GDP is at historic highs, having recently surpassed levels preceding the last two recessions.  That suggests that increased costs of debt servicing from rising interest rates driven by the Fed’s ‘normalisation’ policy could tip things over, unless profitability recovers for the wider corporate sector.


As the BIS summed it up, “Even accounting for the large cash balances outstanding, leverage conditions in the United States are the highest since the beginning of the millennium and similar to those of the early 1990s, when corporate debt ratios reflected the legacy of the leveraged buyout boom of the late 1980s.  Taken together, this suggests that, in the event of a slowdown or an upward adjustment in interest rates, high debt service payments and default risk could pose challenges to corporates, and thereby create headwinds for GDP growth.”

And this is just at a time when the US Fed has decided to hike its short-term policy interest rate and cut back on the lifeline of cheap money to the banks.  As I have pointed out before, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Fed did something similar in 1937, reversing its policy of cheap credit when it thought the depression was over.  That led to a new slump in production in 1938 that only the second world war ended.  The risk of repeat remains.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Houston, Racism, Climate Change and Class Unity



Here's what a working class woman in Houston had to say:

“This has been bad but it’s not going to get better, it’ll only get worse. We all talk about how close we are to the refineries but for us there is no hope, we will die with this poisonous air … I’ve been around for a few years and no one has listened to us. We are just the little people.”

I didn't watch the video of the five former presidents telling US workers to send money for victims of the Hurricanes.  The horrendous consequences that will follow due to pollution, disease and the destruction made worse by the conscious placing of profit ahead of human safety and the environment by politicians legislators and the corporate bosses is what they are covering up.

The former presidents, all smiling and laughing together, joined through Twitterland by the Predator in Chief Trump, don't put a face on those responsible for the disaster being worse that it should be because they too are responsible. They cannot blame the system because they defend the system, it is "their" system and no ruling class commits class suicide. They must convince us we are all in this together, they afraid things could get out of hand. And when we see we can rely on ourselves our neighbors to help us in these times then we might go too far, recognize that we can govern society too. This is why the five presidents, united in their aims, spoke to the nation at the NFL game.  Bush lives in Texas. Does he know about this you think:

"Last year the National Association of Home Builders boasted of its prowess at stopping codes for 2018 that it didn’t like. “Only 6 percent of the proposals that NAHB opposed made it through the committee hearings intact,” the association wrote on its blog. The homebuilders demonstrated their power again this year, when President Donald Trump reversed an Obama initiative restricting federally funded building projects in flood plains. “This is a huge victory for NAHB and its members,” the association blogged."
 
Liars and con men: All having a good time.

None of these presidents made announcements at nationally televised sports venues telling us we're all one and should unite against measures like those above and that we have to confront the forces promoting them. Of course not, they never opposed them themselves. They are they forces at the national level. Now they want us to pay.

There is potential at times like these for anger among the millions of ordinary working people to manifest itself through a united movement in opposition to the class oppression that is felt every day in one way or another, housing, work, health care education basic social needs.

As I mention in the video  there are faces to the guilty in the case of Texas, the heads of an organization that has bribed cajoled and done whatever they could to ensure that no curbs, no regulation was placed on the right of capitalists to go anywhere, do whatever they want build whatever they want  unhindered, free from regulations, unions, anything that curbs their rapacious appetites for profit.

Here's a few more posts about this that we had up on here lately:
 
Houston Catastrophe Market Driven. But Let's Not Talk About That.

Harvey-Texas-Louisiana: Capitalism's Addiction to Profit is to Blame! 

Harvey - The Trade Unions must Act. The Arsonists Must Pay.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bitcoin: Blockchains and the crypto craze

by Michael Roberts

The cryptocurrency craze seems to have taken a dive in recent weeks since the Chinese authorities clamped down on speculation in the bitcoin market. The history of financial markets is littered with asset price bubbles, from tulips in the early-1600s to more recent examples, such as internet stocks in the late-1990s and US house prices before 2008. This looks like another.  The ascent of the virtual currency bitcoin, which recently neared $5,000 and has risen about 350% this year, has now turned round, dropping back to $3000, if still hugely above its initial start.  But it may be heading for a reckoning now.



Bitcoin aims at reducing transaction costs in internet payments and completely eliminating the need for financial intermediaries ie banks. But so far its main use has been for speculation. So is bitcoin, the digital currency that operates on the internet, just a speculative scam, another Ponzi-scheme, or is there more to the rise of all these cryptocurrencies, as they are called?

Money in modern capitalism is no longer just a commodity like gold but instead is a ‘fiat currency’, either in coin or notes, or now mostly in credits in banks.  Such fiat currencies are accepted because they are printed and backed by governments and central banks and subject to regulation and ‘fiat’.  The vast majority of fiat money is no longer in coin or notes but in deposits or claims on banks. In the UK, notes and coin are just 2.1% of the £2.2 trillion total money supply.

The driver of bitcoin and other rival crypto currencies has been the internet and growth of internet-based trading and transactions.  The internet has generated a requirement for low-cost, anonymous and rapidly verifiable transactions to be used for online barter and fast settling money has emerged as a consequence.

Cryptocurrencies aim to eliminate the need for financial intermediaries by offering direct peer-to-peer (P2P) online payments. The main technological innovation behind cryptocurrencies has been the blockchain, a ‘ledger’ containing all transactions for every single unit of currency. It differs from existing (physical or digital) ledgers in that it is decentralized, i.e., there is no central authority verifying the validity of transactions. Instead, it employs verification based on cryptographic proof, where various members of the network verify “blocks” of transactions approximately every 10 minutes. The incentive for this is compensation in the form of newly “minted” cryptocurrency for the first member to provide the verification.

By far the most widely known cryptocurrency is bitcoin, conceived by an anonymous and mysterious programmer Satoshi Nakamoto just nine years ago.  Bitcoin is not localized to a particular region or country, nor is it intended for use in a particular virtual economy. Because of its decentralized nature, its circulation is largely beyond the reach of direct regulation or monetary policy and oversight that has traditionally been enforced in some manner with localized private monies and e-money.

The blockchain’s main innovation is a public transaction record of integrity without central authority. Blockchain technology offers everyone the opportunity to participate in secure contracts over time, but without being able to avoid a record of what was agreed at that time.  So a blockchain is a transaction database based on a mutual distributed cryptographic ledger shared among all in a system. Fraud is prevented through block validation. The blockchain does not require a central authority or trusted third party to coordinate interactions or validate transactions. A full copy of the blockchain contains every transaction ever executed, making information on the value belonging to every active address (account) accessible at any point in history.

Now for technology enthusiasts and also for those who want to build a world out of the control of state machines and regulatory authorities, this all sounds exciting.  Maybe communities and people can make transactions without the diktats of corrupt governments and control their incomes and wealth away from the authorities – it might even be the embryo of a post-capitalist world without states.

But is this new technology of blockchains and cryptocurrencies really going to offer such a utopian new world?  Like any technology it depends on whether it reduces labour time and raises the productivity of things and services (use values) or, under capitalism, whether it will be another weapon for increasing value and surplus-value.  Can technology in of itself, even a technology that apparently is outside the control of any company or government, really break people free from the law of value?

I think not.  For a start, bitcoin is limited to people with internet connections. That means billions are excluded from the process, even though mobile banking has grown in the villages and towns of ‘emerging economies’.  So far it is almost impossible to buy anything much with bitcoin.  Globally, bitcoin transactions are at about three per second compared to Visa credit at 9000 a second.  And setting up a ‘wallet’ to conduct transactions in bitcoin on the internet is still a difficult procedure.
More decisively, the question is whether bitcoin actually meets the criteria for money in modern economies.  Money serves three functions under capitalism, where things and services are produced as commodities to sell on a market.  Money has to be accepted as a medium of exchange. It must be a unit of account with a fair degree of stability so that we can compare the costs of goods and services over time and between merchants. And it should also be a store of value that stays reasonably stable over time.  If hyperinflation or spiralling deflation sets in, then a national currency soon loses its role as ‘trust’ in the currency disappears.  There are many examples in history of a national currency being replaced by another or by gold (even cigarettes) when ‘trust’ in its stability is lost.

The issue of trust is brought to a head with bitcoin as it relies on “miners”, or members that contribute computational power to solve a complex cryptographic problem and verify the transactions that have occurred over a short period of time (10 minutes). These transactions are then published as a block, and the miner who had first published the proof receives a reward (currently 25 bitcoins). The maximum block size is 1MB, which corresponds to approximately seven transactions per second. In order to ensure that blocks are published approximately every 10 minutes, the network automatically adjusts the difficulty of the cryptographic problem to be solved.

Bitcoin mining requires specialized equipment, as well as substantial electricity costs and miners thus have to balance their technology and energy investment.  That means increasingly bitcoin could only work as alternative replacement global currency if miners became large operations.  And that means large companies down the road, ones in the hands of capitalist entities, who may well eventually be able to control the bitcoin market.  Also if bitcoin were to become as viable tender to pay tax to government, it would then require some form of price relationship with the existing fiat money supply.  So governments will still be there.

Indeed, the most startling obstacle to bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency taking over is the energy consumption involved.  Bitcoin mining is already consuming energy for computer power more than the annual consumption of Ireland.  Temperatures near computer miner centres have rocketed.  Maybe this heat could be ecologically used but the non-profitability of such energy recycling may well ‘block’ such blockchain expansion.

Capitalism is not ignoring blockchain technology.  Indeed, like every other innovation, it seeks to bring it under its control.  Mutual distributed ledgers (MDLs) in blockchain technology provide an electronic public transaction record of integrity without central ownership. The ability to have a globally available, verifiable and untamperable source of data provides anyone wishing to provide trusted third-party services, i.e., most financial services firms, the ability to do so cheaply and robustly.  Indeed, that is the road that large banks and other financial institutions are going for.  They are much more interested in developing blockchain technology to save costs and control internet transactions.

As one critic of blockchain points out: “First, we’re not convinced blockchain can ever be successfully delinked from a coupon or token pay-off component without compromising the security of the system. Second, we’re not convinced the economics of blockchain work out for anything but a few high-intensity use cases. Third, blockchain is always going to be more expensive than a central clearer because a multiple of agents have to do the processing job rather than just one, which makes it a premium clearing service — especially if delinked from an equity coupon — not a cheaper one.”  Kaminska, I., 2015, “On the potential of closed system blockchains,” FT Alphaville.

All this suggests that blockchain technology will be incorporated into the drive for value not need if it becomes widely applied.  Cryptocurrencies will become part of cryptofinance, not the medium of a new world of free and autonomous transactions. More probably, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will remain on the micro-periphery of the spectrum of digital moneys, just as Esperanto has done as a universal global language against the might of imperialist English, Spanish and Chinese.

But the crypto craze may well continue for a while longer, along with the spiralling international stock and bond markets globally, as capital searches for higher returns from financial speculation.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Resignation of Rhode Island Branch of Socialist Alternative. Some observations from Facts For Working People Blog.


3 to 4 million protest on the women's marches
We very much appreciate the resignation statement of the former Rhode Island branch of Socialist Alternative in which they explain why they decided to leave that organization and the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) to which it is affiliated.

We appreciate both the content of the statement and also its non-sectarian tone. Thank you Comrades.

The founders of Facts For Working People Blog, are former members of the Committee For a Workers International (CWI) of which Socialist Alternative is presently the US Section. We were expelled from the US section of the CWI and from the CWI in 1996 when the US section was called Labor Militant. Below are our observations based on our experience in that organization, and our experience in relation to our expulsion from that organization and based on our political work since.These experiences have led us to look critically at our past work, to look critically at the work of all self-styled revolutionary groups and draw conclusions from this. We have concluded that as revolutionaries, it is crucial that we change, and we consider we have changed, our way of working in several areas. 

We consider the last two decades of our political work to have been the most fruitful period of our political lives. We have had to think about the many basic ideas and methods of our work and have been forced, thankfully, to consider these, make judgements, draw conclusions and, we hope, learn lessons. We have also taken note of the approach and methods of the many self-styled revolutionary groups and drawn conclusions in this area also.  Being expelled from the CWI was in a way the best thing that ever happened to us. It unshackled our thinking. We wish to share our experiences and conclusions with the RI Comrades and with the readers of our Blog. In doing so we would like to emphasize that we remain committed to what we consider the task of tasks in this period of history. That is, contributing to the building of a mass revolutionary international leadership of the working class which would be capable of overthrowing capitalism.

Having said this,  we would like to offer the following observations. 

You state the following reasons for your resignation from the SA/CWI.
1. SA's decision to endorse Sanders in the 2016 election.
2. SA's approach to the Democratic Party and DSA. 
3. SA's approach to identity politics and special oppression.
4. SA's position on International issues. 
5. Serious problems you have had with the SA's leadership and you give examples. 

Your setting out of these reasons so clearly is a great help. We would like to respond to them individually. But before doing so we would like to make a few points in relation to our thoughts concerning the building of revolutionary currents and organizations. 

Regardless of what they say, most revolutionary groups such as the CWI, expect unity on just about every detail and punish in one way or another, or exclude, those who do not toe the line. We have concluded that this approach is incorrect and not only incorrect, but damaging to the struggle to end capitalism. We have concluded that while there has to be unity on such fundamental issues as the need to end capitalism and the need to work to assist the international working class to come to power and build a democratic socialist world, it is idealistic to imagine that there can be unity on all issues at all times in a healthy revolutionary organization. To expect this is in fact a reactionary viewpoint.

Let us see what some of the founding leaders of the revolutionary movement had to say on this.  Engels said that the law of the internal life of the revolutionary party is struggle. Trotsky said that the healthy period of Bolshevism was the time of factions and even factions within factions. Lenin would get enraged when members who had differences would not write these down and circulate them for discussion and debate and so would not help clarify the organization’s ideas. Marx, as the First International took shape, was involved nonstop in debate with all sorts of groupings inside the First International. Rosa Luxembourg stated: "Self criticism, cruel unsparing criticism that goes to the very root of the evil, is life and breath for the revolutionary movement". 
Stack this up against the approach of the CWI and all the self styled revolutionary groups today. It is a different world. 

It is true the Bolsheviks banned factions during the civil war. We have doubts if this decision was correct. But this happened at the height of a ferocious military conflict and no left group today is in anything like the same universe as the Bolsheviks were at that time. 

We keep the following in mind. It will take a revolutionary organization of tens of millions in the US and hundreds of millions internationally to carry through the world revolution. It is utterly impossible to imagine such forces assembling and being built without differences, debate, discussion, continual exchange of views and without the recognition that there has to be factions, that there will be factions, to express the different views. Such a concept is utterly foreign to the CWI/SA and in fact to all self styled revolutionary organizations. Along with the CWI/SA's bad politics, especially the tendency towards opportunism which is rooted in its approach, and which was expressed in their relationship to Sanders and earlier in their role in the short lived Labor Party Advocates, it is utterly un Marxist, utterly un dialectical, utterly inorganic, to imagine as the CWI/SA leadership and the leaders of all the self-styled revolutionary organizations do, that they can become semi mass organizations never mind mass organizations with their present bureaucratic centralist approach. 

The bigger organizations like the CWI become, if they become bigger, the greater will be the diversity of opinions. But because these organizations cannot tolerate different views, the present state of affairs where we see split after split, resignation after resignation, expulsion after expulsion, bureaucratic repression, public condemnation and slander, all will continue. 

This does not mean that a split in a revolutionary movement or organization is never justified. At certain times it could be justified. But the issue is that groups like the CWI do not see that the building of a mass revolutionary international will only happen with great majestic struggles over ideas, over perspectives, over program, over strategy, over tactics; the cut and thrust of real life------the cut and thrust of the great challenging contradictory dialectic. Not the dead hand of bureaucratic centralism that dominates the internal life of groups like the CWI and SA. 

We could go on with this, but we will leave it here except to say that one thing to be considered is how come the British section of the CWI led a struggle like the anti-poll tax in Britain where18 million people refused to pay the tax and where hundreds went to jail; a struggle that brought down Thatcher, and yet they came out of it in crisis, never mind failing to build a large revolutionary force! Even a large anti capitalist force!  Of course there was the collapse of Stalinism which was not anticipated by the CWI, but this was not all. There was also the fear the CWI leadership had that it would lose control and also their misunderstanding of how a mass revolutionary force can be built, will inevitably be built if it is to be built at all. They want to build it block by block one at a time, top down under the direction of the chief of construction, that is the dominant figure in the British section. The madness of it. They do not even consider what will happen when this person, now in his seventies is no longer around. This approach is shared to a greater or lesser degree by all self-styled revolutionary organizations.

Any organization that has the same person heading it (generally a male figure) for decades, and this is the case with most of the self-styled left groupings, cannot be a healthy organization. The presently leading figure in the CWI has headed that organization for over half a century. This is a reflection of a mistaken approach.

But to go directly to the resignation statement of the RI Comrades. In doing so we approach it not with what is the usual sectarian view of immediately seeking to find where we disagree, like a terrier seeking to find its prey and pounce on it, shaking it up in the air in 'triumph'. Strutting with chest out proud that some difference has been found. We have a very different approach. We seek to see where we agree and proceed from this point. We are pleased when we find agreement. We then seek to identify if there are areas we think need clarification and more discussion. And also as part of this process we seek to identify if there are areas where there might be disagreement, and if there are, can we live with this disagreement, and if so how? 

So now to the resignation statement of the RI Comrades.

On the first reason the RI Comrades give for resigning from the SA, that organization’s relationship to Sanders. We feel there is total agreement between us. We published a number of pieces on our Blog and a number of fliers to do with this issue. You can read one here . There are many more on our Blog. At the time we were reaching out to the youth to whom we had access and were putting out our ideas mainly through this blog.  We were struggling to find a name for ourselves, hence the name on that flier. This name did not last.  We were discussing with a number of youth around the Sanders campaign and thought correctly, that when the penny dropped and Sanders supported Clinton as we explained he would, many of these youth would be seeking an alternative. Having a sense of proportion we did not consider there was any possibility of any significant numbers of such activists joining the left sectarian groups, or for that matter grouping themselves around our Blog.  

We considered the possibility that some of them might turn to the Greens with its somewhat of a national presence and with it recently having adopted an eco-socialist plank in its platform. We were in the main incorrect on this. We made a limited initiative around the Green Party for a little time, mainly through discussing ideas on their sites and we were able to increase the audience for our ideas, increase our little core of comrades somewhat, around our Blog and our associated Think Tank out of which has come our weekly conference calls.

But we were mistaken in thinking that there was a possibility that any substantial numbers of Sanders supporters when they saw his supporting of Clinton would go to the Greens. We did not fully see the serious weakness, in fact the conscious obstruction of the leadership of the Green Party, its right wing character as it refused to put forward its eco socialist plank and its fear of growth. In this, the leadership of the Green party has something in common with the sectarian organizations. A fear of growth in case they might lose control. The same can be said of the heads of organized labor. They too prize their control of their organizations over all else, in their case organizing the unorganized. 

We did not see the rise of the DSA. How it would to a small extent appear to many young people as an organization through which to fight. We think it is important to openly state where we make or made mistakes. Otherwise we cannot learn. Mistakes are inevitable. But if honestly recognized and discussed they can lead to improvements in ideas and ways of working. If the inevitable mistakes are not recognized openly, success in our struggle is impossible.  

On the RI Comrades second reason for resigning from the SA/CWI------SA's approach to the Democratic Party and the DSA.

On the Democratic Party we are in complete agreement. We do not have to dwell on this point. 

On the DSA we believe we are also in agreement. We see the growth of the DSA as a positive development. However we also see that it faces a very troubled future. It has attracted many very good and sincere mostly young people. But it has a wide variety of opinions within it, and most importantly no clear strategic vision for ending capitalism. This will lead to many serious crises in the future. These will not be avoided, in fact they will be made worse, by the decentralized nature of the DSA. The future of the DSA will also be complicated by the myriad of sectarian groups and sectarian and ambitious individuals of all shapes and sizes who are hovering in or around it like vultures. We think it is important to contribute in the effort to help the membership of the DSA in clarifying ideas. But we do so with some humility. The DSA has grown to over 20,000 members; a growth like this inevitably presents problems. We recognize that this membership is of a varied nature. But nonetheless, any serious revolutionary grouping has to start by asking why the DSA has had this growth and seek to learn from this while at the same time assisting in the clarification of ideas. 

Whether this is best done by joining the DSA or by working in united fronts with local DSA branches is we believe a tactical issue which is also influenced by what resources revolutionary socialists have and the different situations that exist in different areas. 

Something to be taken into consideration in relation to this is that DSA has its no 'democratic centralist grouping' rule. That is that no 'democratic centralist' group can have membership. Those of us around the Facts For Working People Blog and Think Tank and conference calls have been discussing the issue of what is known as democratic centralism for some time now, totally separate from any thought of the DSA.  In our opinion this term has become inseparable from Stalinism and left sectarianism and we no longer use it. It no longer clarifies. It only confuses. We think if we tie the term democratic centralism to our banner then it will be impossible to convince people that we are neither Stalinists or left sectarians. This will put an unnecessary obstacle in front of our work of campaigning for socialism. 

But more important, if we use the term democratic centralism we ourselves will not thoroughly discuss and clarify our thinking on internal organizational questions. So we reject the term democratic centralism, what is known as democratic centralism and what is practiced under the name of democratic centralism, whether by Stalinists, left sectarians or so called Trotskyist or Maoist groups.

In our opinion the method of organizing known as democratic centralism has shown itself to be an unsuccessful method of organizing. 

Further, in relation to where we feel we have full agreement with the RI comrades on the Democratic Party we have many articles and commentaries on the Democrats, the trade union leadership and the relationship between them if Comrades wish to check the labels on the right of the blog.  Check DemocratsTeam Concept , unions, and Labor  

On the RI Comrades third reason for resigning from the SA/CWI - identity politics and special oppression. We feel that this is an area where we would find it very helpful for us to have further discussion and clarification. The RI comrades’ statement where these issues are dealt with has made us all think more. We thank the Comrades. 

The RI comrades state in relation to the SA/CWI position: "At every turn, white supremacy and anti blackness are subordinated to an analysis of class as mere derivatives." We believe that those of us around FFWP do not do this. The Comrades' statement also explains that the SA/CWI position is that "fighting classism is the best - and indeed the ONLY WAY (RI comrades' emphasis) to eradicate racism." We are not exactly sure of the RI comrades thinking around this sentence. We would like to explore it more. In this context we would like to share our experience in Northern Ireland where some of our FFWP people did political work.  It was not race but religion and gender but much more overtly religion, that was the basis for special oppression and the tool used to divide and rule.

A personal experience of one of the founders of Facts For Working People blog is useful here. This Comrade was from a Protestant Orange Order background on the border of Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. He took the lead in building the civil rights movement in the town of Strabane. The Northern Ireland civil rights movement was inspired by the civil rights movement in the US. In Northern Ireland it was in opposition to the discrimination against the Catholic population. This Comrade, as well as leading in building the civil rights movement in Strabane also led in the building of the Young Socialists organization in Strabane. He was also a member of the Young Socialists and the Labor party in Derry the second biggest city in Northern Ireland. 

In 1969 there was an uprising in the Catholic area of that city of Derry. The Bogside Uprising. For more details Google "Battle of the Bogside 1969".  This comrade physically took part in that uprising against the Protestant and British state. A body was formed to organize that uprising called the Bogside Citizens Defense Association (The Bogside was the name of that Catholic area of the city) This present FFWP comrade was the only person from a Protestant background who was on that defense committee, political people are well aware that this could have cost him his life. 
We make this point not to boast but to try to show that we do not retreat from the defense of oppressed minorities, just confining ourselves to repeating phrases about class unity.  

After the 30 year war of the IRA there is now a peace agreement in Northern Ireland. But Northern Ireland is more divided along sectarian lines than ever and unless there is a socialist revolution in England, Scotland, Wales and Southern Ireland which engulfs the North of Ireland there will most likely be a new war in the future and most likely ethnic (religious) 'cleansing' and a new Protestant statelet. As long as capitalism lasts, the problem of sectarianism and discrimination against the Catholics and against women in Northern Ireland will continue. We also believe that here in the US as long as capitalism exists the US will be a vicious racist and sexist society.

We agree very much with the RI Comrades' statement that "Violence against people of color is often counter productive from the perspective of capital". We used to put it this way in the North of Ireland: British imperialism bases itself on sectarianism and divide and rule and the special oppression of the Catholics in the North. They cannot rule without this. But what we explain is that while British imperialism cannot rule without divide and rule, without sectarianism, they want sectarianism to simmer, not boil over. When it threatens to boil over, in most circumstances they take action to get it back to the simmering level. Here in the US, the ruling class is now looking at the danger of an explosion of the oppressed minorities in race and gender and worry that Trump will cause the whole racist situation to boil over and seriously damage their cities and industries and institutions. As well as this having negative affects for them at home it would further undermine their diminishing authority around the world. 

There is a book by a bourgeois writer that draws a balance sheet of the economic cost to US capitalism of the uprisings in the African American communities in the US in 1968. US imperialism is aware of this. They do not want it repeated-----at least at this stage. It would be different if they were faced with a mass revolutionary movement of the working class challenging for power. Then they would turn to drown this revolutionary threat in a racist blood bath and to hell with the immediate economic consequences as their hold on power would be threatened. Defeating the threat of losing power would be their first priority. So they would seek to unleash the nightmare of a racist civil war.

One of the many problems US imperialism is faced with at the moment is it does not have a conscious, astute bourgeois in the White House at a time when there is a general economic, political, social, environmental and military crises of US capitalism. Having what is close to an idiot, a totally self-serving moron in the White House, destabilizes their system further.  Amongst other things, they are worried with the racist Predator in Chief that they might not be able to keep the racism simmering. It might boil over. So they make a few "concessions". The racist statues for example; at least take a few down and make some gestures to take more down. They are hesitating on DACA as Trump threatens to take it away while at the same time blaming Republicans for failing to make it work and giving six months for them to come up with something. It is not inconceivable that he could make a deal with the Democrats to “legalize” DACA as a major section of the bourgeois, especially the high tech sector, strongly opposes taking it away. US capitalism is also fearful of an uprising of the 800,000 people covered by DACA and their supporters. 

They are also worried if their racist pot boils over, their misogynist pot boils over, their repression of gender orientation boils over, that this will weaken their military where approximately 40% are either minorities or women or transgender.

To draw further on the experience of Northern Ireland. British imperialism and its Northern Protestant state had to make some concessions over the past years to end what had degenerated into an open sectarian thirty-year military conflict. It is very similar to how US imperialism had to make some concessions to the 1960's black revolt, put in place a few anti racist laws and develop a Black and Latino petit bourgeois and leadership. As we face the consequences of their destruction of the environment and their climate change, it is worth noting that the mayor of Houston is African American and the mayor off Miami is Latino. Whatever the color of the skin of whoever is in some position of power in the US, US capitalism is still, and always will be, a vicious racist state and society. 

We have numerous statements and commentaries on this issue on our blog. We do not believe we will have any serious disagreement with the RI comrades on this but it is in our opinion an issue which would be useful for us to explore further.

In closing on this point. We would again like to emphasize that under no conditions do we subordinate the fight against racism sexism etc., to the class struggle. This is an accusation used by much of the petite bourgeois left and left academia. These people do not see that the struggle that is subordinated above all others and that they assist in subordinating, is the need to pursue, to bring to the fore, the struggle of the working class against capitalism. This struggle is practically never mentioned in US society and unfortunately practically never mentioned amongst the left petite bourgeois and academia. 

We stand with Malcolm X when he said: “You cannot have capitalism without racism.” We then proceed on from that. This statement by Malcom X if it means anything, means you cannot eliminate racism, and we would include sexism something which Malcom X did not address in the main, without eliminating capitalism. And we would proceed further. The only force that can end capitalism and therefore racism and sexism, is the united working class with a revolutionary leadership. Therefore we must at all times fight racism and sexism, and at no time subordinate the fight against racism and sexism to the fight of the working class over wages conditions etc. 

Our thinking is that we should seek to fight racism and sexism in a manner that takes into account building working class unity, uniting the working class, as this is the only force that can in the last analysis overthrow capitalism which is necessary if racism and sexism is to be ended. And of course in this way, and simultaneously, the working class will be capable of emancipating itself. 

We do not think it is an accident that so much of the struggle of left academia, of the African American and Latino petit bourgeois and bourgeois, never mention Malcom X except to stress his nationalism. Never mention Martin Luther King, except on occasion to point to his non-violence. Both Malcom X and Martin Luther King before they were assassinated were talking about ending capitalism, were talking about socialism, about "the unity of the oppressed” (Malcolm X), about "the need for some sort of democratic socialism in the US" (Martin Luther King) and Martin Luther King was organizing his "Poor Peoples " march on Washington. And he was moving to oppose US imperialism and its savagery in Vietnam. 

This evolution of ideas and methods of these leaders toward these conclusions was the reason the bourgeois had these leaders assassinated when they did. No, the evolution of these leaders towards a united movement of all the oppressed, towards the need unite all poor people, towards the need to end capitalism and imperialism does not fit into the approach of most of the petite bourgeois leaderships of the various groupings and individuals opposing in one way or another racism and sexism at this time.  

Here are links to a few pieces we have written or statements we have made on this subject.  We feel it would be very useful for all if we had further discussion and clarification on this subject with the RI Comrades and all who are involved in fighting racism and sexism.  


On the RI comrades fourth reason for resigning from the CWI, the international issues, from what we see in the resignation statement we have full agreement. One of the many potholes the SA got itself into with its opportunist support for Sanders was his position on Zionism and on US imperialism. They staggered about and waffled on Sander's position on these issues. It would be interesting to see what position the CWI group in Israel has on Zionism and Sanders. We hear that it may be different from the position of the CWI. See an article on our Blog by Roger Silverman, the first secretary of the CWI and another Comrade whom the CWI could not tolerate because he was a critical and independent thinker. 

On the RI comrades fifth reason for resignation-------SA/CWI's leadership and internal life------ we have complete agreement. We have had a similar experience to the RI comrades. We have tried to draw general conclusions from this experience. We have concluded that it is not only a question of petty ambitious individuals running that organization, though this is the case in the CWI, and their selection and promotion of people in the leaderships of its various sections who are similar to themselves, petty ambitious people who will do what they are told and who will repress others in their sections who will not do what they are told. 

The CWI is an organization which selects those most unfit, those most incapable, to lead its sections, and either crushes or drives out those most fit those most capable. The most fit, the most capable, meaning those with the strongest, deepest roots in the working class and those most willing to critically assess the ideas and methods of the organization and put forward their views-----these comrades are either driven out, or "re-educated."

It is the case that the leadership of the CWI is dominated by people who have petty individual ambitions. But Comrades of the FFWP do not believe this is the only factor involved.  There is also the false method, the false understanding of the CWI leadership of how the internal life of a revolutionary organization has to take shape. As we have already explained, the method of the CWI is to build its organization from the top down one block on top of another, crushing any different views by fair means or foul,  driving out any independent thinkers, seeking at all times to have unity under the command of the top few leaders, usually male.  The CWI and SA shares this false method with all the self styled revolutionary organizations.   

Finally: This statement from FFWP is not a statement set in stone. Unlike the old methods of the CWI where a statement, a document, from the leadership was holy writ and had to be accepted and if later events showed it was incorrect it was buried and anybody who tried to dig it up and discuss it was acted against. Comrades of the FFWP share this statement with all who are interested and in the course of discussion if there is any change of opinion of any FFWP comrade this will be shared openly on our Blog.  
In relation to leadership. FFWP Comrades believe there needs to be a leadership, one way or another there will always be a leadership, but we reject the false method where all decisions are made in advance by the leadership and then by fair means or foul these decisions are imposed on the membership, as is the practice of the SA/CWI and all of the self styled revolutionary left organizations. We also believe that there has to be more emphasis on building a collective and diverse leadership. 

We believe a revolutionary organization is essential. We hesitate to use the word a centralized organization as this has so many negative connotations given how it has been and is used by Stalinism and the left sectarian organizations. But we oppose the undemocratic decentralization and consensus methods of organization. We seek a short phrase with which to describe the type of internal life of a revolutionary organization that we seek to help build. We would more prefer some term such as a democratic unified organization. Or perhaps a unified democratic organization. We are exploring this and would welcome help in developing a precise formulation. 

Settling on a precise formulation for organization is difficult.  We are dealing with a complicated issue both historically and at the present time, and one in which all things are in a continual process of change and development, it is difficult to adequately describe such a complicated and continually moving phenomenon using a two or three word term. Perhaps all that is possible is to state the principles which we believe should govern organization. We believe in an organization with full open discussion, decisions made by majority with minority opinion having the right to be heard and to organize as factions to better present their opinion. But with the policies of the organization being decided by the majority of the organization. We do not believe in the undemocratic methods of decentralization or consensus. 

The method of the CWI/SA is that the leadership is the teacher of the membership. We reject this method; we reject the cult of the leader. We believe that revolutionaries  who play leading roles, in fact all revolutionaries have to harness their ego to the needs of the movement.  This is not the case in groups like the CWI. The CWI leadership sees that the membership's role is to carry out the policies of the leadership, policies which the membership never have a real genuine role in formulating. The CWI and all the self-styled revolutionary left organizations when they have the resources, also have a full-time apparatus that assists them in this, very much like the staffers in the trade union movement. 

We are not against a full time apparatus by any means but it is how their role is understood, and related to this how the leadership sees its role. We are for leadership but we are for a dialectical interaction between the leadership and the membership. A dialectical relationship which would not be fixed but would be influenced by the phase through which the organization was passing at any given time. The situation where a tiny organization exists which has no influence on the mass consciousness, on the working class, would be very different than if there was a mass organization such as the Bolsheviks were in the 1917 October days faced with taking power

There are articles on many subjects pinned to the top of our Blog. On the right side of our Blog there are many labels on many different subjects. Our Blog represents a body of work, our high tech library, which seeks to explain the process of our thinking over the past years. Please feel free to have a look at any subject of interest and also feel free to raise any issue. We can say we no longer hold to every detail of our thinking on all issues, even more than that on occasion. But that is the beauty of the method of being determined to always face up to and openly acknowledge the evolution of our views and where we were wrong and why we were wrong, that is, show the evolution of our ideas. We reject the method of the CWI where every meeting is to congratulate itself on how correct it has been on everything and take bureaucratic action against any suggestion to the contrary. 

Comrades, we are very enthused by the statement of the RI Comrades and the steps they are taking. Many thousands of people have gone through the CWI and other sectarian self styled organizations and found them wanting and have either retreated into fighting on a local basis, or even given up fighting capitalism, or given up trying to build an international revolutionary current/organization. The statement from the RI Comrades shows that they are taking none of these roads. They are committed to continuing the fight, to learning the lessons from their experiences so far and building on a healthy basis. 

Speaking for the FFWP this is very inspiring. We appeal to all the many people who have gone through revolutionary organizations and found them wanting, to the many people who are in revolutionary organizations and find them wanting, to continue the fight but to do so in collaboration with those of us who have found the methods of the existing organizations incorrect and work together to build a revolutionary movement with a healthy culture.  FFWP Comrades seek to assist in the building of an international revolutionary movement with a healthy culture. We hope that we can discuss with the RI Comrades and other Comrades workers and youth who are opposed to capitalism to this end.  

We seek to discuss with and collaborate with the many people who consider themselves revolutionary socialists but who see the false methods of the existing self styled revolutionary groups. It is a staggering fact, it is a staggering condemnation of all the self styled revolutionary groups, that there are many, many, more people who consider themselves revolutionary socialists outside these organizations than there are inside them. There is something wrong with all these organizations. Something new has to be built. Something which learns the lessons from the past, from the mistakes of the past. Something with a healthy culture. 

We very much wish to continue discussion on this issue both with the RI Comrades and any other Comrades and workers and youth who are prepared to fight capitalism. 

Please get in touch, we can be contacted through the e mail on this blog we_know_whats_up@yahoo.com or through the blog’s Facebook page at:  

http://www.facebook.com/FactsForWorkingPeople  

September 2017