Seven Left Myths About Capitalism

by G.B. Taylor

Occupy Wall Street has renewed hope for a left political renaissance by challenging economic inequality and the neoliberal discourse that legitimated it, and reintroducing the word capitalism to political debate. The “greed” of the “1%,” counterpoised to the hardworking, rule-abiding 99%, has emerged as the dominant political frame of OWS. Rhetorically powerful, the slogan’s elegant simplicity conceals as much as it reveals. The language of “corruption,” the betrayal of Main Street by parasitic Wall Street bankers, and nationalist appeals to “take America back” all express a deep confusion as to the nature of the current crisis. This often results in a highly personalized moral critique of capitalism rather than a systemic one.

The crisis wracking capitalism today cannot be understood as simply the evil actions of greedy bankers and the 1%. In fact, as Max Weber pointed out, unlike the ostentatious opulence of earlier economic forms like feudalism, capitalism actually has tendencies which check greed – for example how intra-capitalist competition forces firms to save and reinvest. Thus the logic of states wielding coercive external power in human form as armies and police is quite different from that of capitalism, wherein power is more difficult to pinpoint or assign personal agency to. Conflating these two modes of power leads to very different political demands and outcomes. Capitalist power acts not only or even primarily on us from outside, but through us, as worker and capitalist alike are caught up in an impersonal competitive imperative that would quickly bankrupt any turncoat bankers or CEOs who might suddenly take Occupy’s message to heart. Continue reading

Students-Labour-Environmentalists Unite for “Quebec Spring”

by Marianne Breton Fontaine and Johan Boyden, based on a presentation given by Marianne, leader of the YCL in Quebec, to YCL student activists

After almost eighty days of protest, the Québec student strike is entering a record 11 weeks. After 250,000 students and their allies from community and labour groups flooded downtown Montreal with a river of people on March 22, another enormous demonstration was held on Earth Day, April 22.

Close to 300,000 people were in the street ‑ students, environmentalists, labour activists and others from diverse backgrounds. The rally, linked explicitly with the student struggle, showed the unprecedented mounting public anger against with the Charest Liberals and strong support for pro‑people and pro‑nature policies and a “Québec spring.”

Making History

The Québec student strike is one of the longest student protests in North American history and has seen some of the biggest mobilizations in Canadian history. Continue reading

Capitalism: A Ghost Story

by Arundhati Roy

Rockefeller to Mandela, Vedanta to Anna Hazare…. How long can the cardinals of corporate gospel buy up our protests?

CORBIS (FROM OUTLOOK, MARCH 26, 2012)

Antilla the Hun Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey home on Altamont Road. Its bright lights, say the neighbours, have stolen the night.

Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I had read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27-storey-high wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t worked. Continue reading

Communists Condemn Austerity Budget in Ontario

People’s Voice

The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) has condemned the Ontario Budget, delivered March 27, as a massive attack on working people and the poor that will destroy tens of thousands of jobs, drive down wages, pensions, incomes and living standards. Combined with the austerity measures in the federal budget, it could push the province into another deep economic recession.

Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) leader Elizabeth Rowley

The Executive of the CPC (Ontario) also warned that the threat of legislated wage controls is a dangerous attack on free collective bargaining and on civil and democratic rights.

“There’s not much air between the Liberals and Tories when it comes to bashing workers and the poor, and restricting their rights. They both unerringly deliver the goods to Big Business, the banks and financial sector, and transnational corporations like Vale, US Steel, Caterpillar, Rio Tinto ‑ the source of the crisis in Ontario” said CPC (Ontario) leader Elizabeth Rowley. “Everything that falls in the way of bigger and bigger corporate profits is under acute attack.” Continue reading

Some Developing Countries: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Latin America 

7.1   The emergence of popular governments riding the wave of massive popular upsurge against imperialism and its neo-liberal offensive in Latin America has been popularly described as a ‘pink tide – turn to the Left’.

7.2   Many countries in Latin America are ruled by either Left-wing or progressive governments after winning democratic elections. Left-wing coalitions, including Communist parties, that have emerged in these countries are providing an alternative to imperialist globalization and neo-liberalism within capitalism. This experience is in direct contrast with the armed struggles that are continuing in countries like Peru and Colombia, demonstrating once again the futility of Left-adventurism. USA has set-up seven military bases in Colombia, mainly targeting Venezuela, by using a right-wing reactionary regime, under the pretext of ‘protecting democracy’ from ‘Left-wing’ militancy. Continue reading

Unsustainability of Neo-Liberal Globalization and the Capitalist Crisis: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

3.1   Such unfolding of imperialist globalization is, as we had analysed in our Party resolutions, unsustainable. Further, the 14th Congress resolution understanding that was reiterated in our Party Programme establishes the validity of Marx’s analysis of capitalism as a system that can never be either exploitation-free, or crisis-free. No amount of reform of capitalism can eliminate either or both of these fundamental characteristics as these are inextricably located in the very production process of capitalism generating its basic contradiction – between its social nature of production and individual nature of appropriation. This, in itself, negates all illusions spread by social democracy of reforming capitalism to have a ‘human face’.

 

3.2   The character and composition of labour – manual or mental (intellectual) – makes little difference to this process of exploitation. This exposes the fallacy of the argument that since the character of the working class (manual labour) has significantly altered in modern times from that of Marx’s time, and also, as the proportion of manual labour has significantly declined since Marx’s time, Marx’s analysis is no longer valid. As long as labour power produces in the capitalist production process, it is exploited and that is the source of surplus value and hence profit – the raison d’tre of capitalism. Continue reading