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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Is the French Communist Party Back?

by Zoltan Zigedy

After years of retreat and opportunism and consequent loss of support and influence, the French Communist Party (PCF) is showing signs of life. Aligned with smaller parties in the Left Front (Front de Gauche, FG), the PCF has rallied around the presidential candidacy of Jean Melenchon for the forthcoming first round of French elections. The latest polls show Melenchon with over 14% of the prospective voters, ahead of all other candidates excepting Hollande (PS) and Sarkozy (UMP).

This once dynamic party succumbed to the allure of reformism, anti-Sovietism, and compromise with its embrace of the so-called “Euro-Communist” stance in the seventies. With over half a million members immediately after World War II, and garnering more votes than any other party at that time, the PCF was poised to become the dominant force in French politics, if not the first CP to launch a Western European country onto the road to socialism. 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

Pan-Americanism and Socialist Internationalism: A Critical Reading of “If America Should Go Communist”

by Rick Gunderman

In 1934, disgraced Russian revolutionary Lev (Leon) Trotsky published If America Should Go Communist.

Trotsky’s role and status in the international communist movement is controversial, and his farcical view of Soviet history and the obvious detachment from dialectical materialism comes out swinging in most of his works. This one is no exception.

Ideological Flaws and Contraditions in If America Should Go Communist

Trotsky strongly opposed Mao’s theory of the “bloc of four classes” as a means to achieve success in China (which it did), but in If America Should Go Communist he gleefully suggests that the American capitalists could be brought into the socialist revolution “by showing that support of the soviets alone offers them the prospect of salvation” (which never happened). Continue reading

The Period of Transition and World Capitalism Today: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

5.1   The 14th Congress resolution On Certain Ideological Issues had concluded that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe negates neither Marxism-Leninism nor the ideal of socialism. Further, these reverses cannot erase the fact that socialism made a decisive contribution in uplifting the levels of quality of human civilization to hitherto unknown higher levels. [21]

5.2   Despite the unprecedented and path-breaking advances made by socialism in the 20th century, it must be borne in mind that all socialist revolutions barring a few (not all) in East Europe took place in relatively backward capitalistically developed countries. The socialist countries removed one-third of the world market from capitalism. This, however, did not substantially affect either the levels of advances already made by world capitalism in developing the productive forces, or in capitalism’s capacity to further develop the productive forces on the basis of scientific and technological advances. This permitted world capitalism to overcome the setbacks caused by socialist revolutions in the 20th century to develop the productive forces and further expand the capitalist market. Given the then existing correlation of class forces internationally, imperialism achieved the expansion of the capitalist market through neo-colonialism. Continue reading

The Politics and Ideology of Imperialist Globalisation: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

4.1   Following the shift in favour of imperialism in the international correlation of class forces, USA has embarked to consolidate its global hegemony by achieving its three declared objectives.

4.2   The first seeks the dissolution of the remaining socialist countries; the second, to render impotent either through defeat or co-option, third world nationalism, which materialized the Non-Aligned Movement following the decolonisation process; and, finally, the establishment of an unequivocal and unambiguous military and economic superiority over the world in general and particularly over perceived competitors.

4.3   This new world order is designed to operate in all spheres. [15] This, on the one hand, led to unleashing unilateral wars and the military occupation of Iraq. On the other hand, it led to the strengthening of the US military machine. [16] At the same time, the NATO, whose need for existence should have simply disappeared with the end of the Cold War, was further strengthened as imperialism’s global war machine.  Continue reading

More Distortions About North Korea

by Rick Gunderman

A curiosity about capitalist ideology is its claim to have fully advanced the movement for the freedom to learn, to express, and to speak.

By all appearances, it has. Those who have grown up in a capitalist society are told ad nauseum that they grow up in a “free country” (often a qualifier for the concurrent claim to be the “best country”) where constraints upon pursuing information are only reasonably limited, if at all.

In their renowned work on the political economy of the mass media, Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman categorically challenge this view. Through numerous examples, including the attempted assassination of the pope and the Indochinese Wars, the authors show how the news media has five “filters” to censor certain information. Continue reading