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

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Red State Irony

by Neill Herring

The last four or five decades have seen extraordinary economic and population growth in the southern states of the United States, continuing historic developments that started during the Second World War and were later stimulated by the end of legal racial segregation. One national effect of those changes has been a continual shift in the center of economic growth for the whole country to the southern and western states, away from the Northeast and the Midwest “rust belt.”

The character of the exploitation of labor in the South has changed as investment patterns have displaced large populations from manufacturing and extractive employment. The continuing breakdown of the caste-like remnants of post-Reconstruction labor “markets” has removed hundreds of thousands of workers from home- and institution-based domestic service, as well as various manual occupations, and forced them into other employment. This new “New South” has been widely celebrated, even as regional wage rates still trail other sections of the country (and while the South shares the national upward redistribution of wealth). What is different now from the pattern in the 1950s is that realizing a return on investment by the sweating-it-out of workers is nothing like the obvious low-cost option it was then.

Marx says there are two sources of economic wealth: that produced by human labor; and the wealth that can be taken by that labor from the earth itself, from land, air, and water. As the rate of the exploitation of the former has continued to increase, exploitation of the latter has also risen, particularly in the South. 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

Developments in Socialist Countries: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

6.1   In present-day realities, when the international correlation of class forces has moved in favour of imperialism, the existing socialist countries have embarked on a course of economic reforms to meet the challenges posed by international finance capital-led and driven globalization. With liberalization sucking all countries of the world into its vortex, these reforms are based on the integration of their economies with the international market. The manner in which these countries are meeting those challenges, in this period of transition, is an issue that requires serious examination.

6.2   Is this process of reforms resulting in the negation of socialism as measured by the people’s ownership of the means of production and the social appropriation of surplus as against the individual appropriation of it? In all these countries, negative tendencies have surfaced during the reform process like rapid widening of economic inequalities, corruption, nepotism etc. These have not only been noted by the ruling Communist parties themselves but visible efforts are there to tackle, contain and correct them. The main question that arises is: is this process of reforms leading to the emergence of an exploitative capitalist class that develops the potential to lead and succeed in a counter revolution in the future? Or, whether this process of correlation of these forces under current reforms, in today’s world realities, will lead to the consolidation and further strengthening of socialism? Continue reading

Who Needs an Editor? Not Fidel…

by Sabina Becker

…but the unnamed snotball who wrote this for the Canadian Press? Oh yes.

Look, CP presstitute-person, whoever you are, hiding behind your tradition of unsigned editorial cowardice…I understand that you may not like Fidel Castro, but it’s still a fact that he is FAR more popular in all the Americas than Harpo is up here. And the reason for his popularity, not that it matters to the likes of you, is simple: He has kept mafias and monopolies from dominating Cuba. In other words, he stands for Cuban sovereignty. Or, to put it another way: He kicks Stephen Harper’s sweater-vested ass.

Obviously our silly scribes up here in the no-longer-so-great North have no idea how popular the Cuban Revolution actually still is. They seem to think that it was only popular for the time it took to drive out Fulgencio Batista. And that once Fidel revealed himself to be a Marxist-Leninist, it all went downhill.

WRONG. Continue reading

Sample Resolutions from the XXI Congress of the Communist Party of India

Resolution on Agriculture and Farmers’ Plight  

The 21st Congress of the CPI expresses its anguish and deep concern over the anti-people measures pursued by the Government in the centre and the states as well across the country with regards to agriculture sector and farmers community.

While Indian agriculture scenario is becoming gloomy day by day and around 70% of the population engaged in this sector are facing severe economic crisis resulting in the incidents of suicides committed by more than 2.5 lakh farmers, the governments are mostly reluctant to address the genuine problem rather becoming rhetoric and mostly undertaking the measures which lead to more pauperization. Continue reading

PFLP Will Not Participate in Any Re-Configured Palestinian Authority Government Under Fayyad

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine stated on April 9, 2012 that it will not participate in any way in a new or rearranged Palestinian Authority government under Salam Fayyad. The Front said that any such configuration laks legitimacy, has not been given confidence by the Legislative Council nor does it enjoy a national consensus of national and Islamic forces.

The Front said that any such attempt would only be an obstacle in the path of meaningful national unity and reconciliation and only exacerbate the national crisis. The Front once again reiterated that the Palestinian Authority must cease all forms of security coordination with the occupation.

It said that the governments of the status quo – whether in Gaza or Ramallah – are not sufficient to confront the dangers to the Palestinian people, their land and cause, and urged national unity to confront the occupation and its plans to confiscate Palestinian land and liquidate Palestinian rights.

*note: Available here on the PFLP website.