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Maoist Internationalist Movement

An electronic book version of: H.W. Edwards, Labor Aristocracy, Mass Base of Social Democracy (Stockholm: Aurora, 1978)

Published on MIM's Web site: January 1, 2005

Last proofread: December 29, 2004

Transcribed and introduced by a contributor

Read our first printed discussion of this book, from September, 1987 (4 megabytes, .pdf)

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"A vanguard party must be built among the vanguard" (p. 368).

It has been almost thirty-five years since H. W. Edwards wrote Labor Aristocracy, Mass Base of Social Democracy. I would like to be able to say that Edwards' arguments no longer arouse any interest among individuals calling themselves "Marxist." Unfortunately, the continuing lack of popularity of Edwards' line of thinking, in the united $nakes, is not surprising—in the context of Edwards' own arguments. Imperialist parasitism has both increased and widened since the early 1970s despite less income's going directly into some Amerikans' pockets. Most u.$. workers, particularly Euro-Amerikan (u.$. white) workers, not only benefit from imperialism as compared with Third World workers, but also benefit from capitalism. They are bourgeois workers and partake in capitalist and imperialist exploitation. The Maoist Internationalist Movement has studied this material basis in detail and concluded, among other things, that Euro-Amerikan workers' economic struggle is to the detriment of oppressed nationalities, and also that Euro-Amerikan workers, when they do support the revolution, will tend to play only an auxiliary role in the revolution. These points have a significant bearing on opportunism, revisionism, revolutionary strategy, and practice after the seizure of power.

Edwards' Labor Aristocracy, Mass Base of Social Democracy, while largely correct and still an embarrassing blow to various reformists and crypto-Trotskyists after almost thirty-five years, is pre-MIM. However, Edwards' book on the labor aristocracy continues to be important as a starting point. Edwards himself says that:

This text has merely started the work of marshalling facts; it is hoped that the job will be picked up and carried on. . . . These are a few questions in need of answers – answers still hidden under the bourgeoisie's manner of selecting its data. (pp. 365-366)

In this context, MIM could be said to have only updated Edwards' book, which focuses on u.$. workers; athough, there is evidence that most u.$. white workers were exploiters even in the early 1970s, which means that some of Edwards' conclusions are incorrect even for the early 1970s. In Labor Aristocracy, Mass Base of Social Democracy, Edwards argues, among other things, that u.$. workers get super-wages, or more than the value of their labor power, that they are sufficiently bribed with super-profits to prevent them from opposing imperialism in practice, and that super-profits form a "cushion" (p. 221) against u.$. workers' participation in the revolution. Obviously, MIM does not disagree with any of these things except that u.$. workers' "super-wages" actually include capitalist income, but it is not true that the majority of u.$. workers have a "long-run" contradiction with imperialists (pp. 362-363) except in the sense that u.$. workers may possibly be re-proletarianized in the future. The majority of u.$. "workers," particularly u.$. white workers, are exploiters; they do not have any fundamental contradiction with capitalists. The Euro-Amerikan working class is an exploitive labor aristocracy on a global scale, a scale at which exploitation must be investigated to be fully understood. Economically and politically, the Euro-Amerikan working class is hostile to the international proletariat and oppressed nationalities. The oppressor-nation Jane/John Doe has not been tricked into supporting monopoly capital. Their support for imperialist oppression and murder has a persistent material basis, one that will be destroyed along with imperialism.

I said that Edwards' book on the labor aristocracy continues to be important as a starting point. This is true in different senses. Edwards can be grouped together with other writers, such as Arghiri Emmanuel and Ranjit Sau, who have shown how the economic struggle of even exploited, but privileged, oppressor nationalities is detrimental to the lives and survival of Third World workers. Edwards even touches on "non-equivalent exchange" (p. 234). MIM, on the other hand, has focused on imperialist-country workers who are already exploiters. So, MIM has shown how the situation is even worse than Edwards imagines. At the same time, MIM has been generous to its critics by not talking as much about how even exploited oppressor nationalities have a stake in imperialism's existence. It is interesting that Edwards sees the majority of u.$. workers as being exploited to some degree, but still reaches the conclusion that they are the enemy of oppressed-nation workers.

Edwards' book is also a starting point in the sense that its mistakes need to be learned from. Rather than spell out, line by line, where and how MIM would disagree with the text, I will just say that Edwards' most important mistakes have to do with Edwards' own underestimation of Euro-Amerikan workers' parasitism; Edwards' confused view of the Communist Party of China circa 1970 as being vanguard, but possibly not vanguard due to having a mistaken idea about the class structure of another country, namely the united $tates (e.g., chapter 34 and ch. 42); and Edwards' implicit repudiation of Black nationalism involving the Black national bourgeoisie (e.g., p. 234 and p. 326).

While important, none of this should detract from what is useful in Edwards' book. MIM continues to come across so-called communists and so-called Marxists who do not understand what the "wage" part of "wage-workers" means, much less "rate of surplus value." They can't even imagine how to begin calculating imperialist parasitism—a consequence of which is an (often opportunist) failure to understand how typical imperialist-country standards of living, and poverty in Third World countries (for instance, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand) are related. Edwards can, even though Edwards does not emphasize labor value theory as much as MIM. Labor Aristocracy, Mass Base of Social Democracy is one of numerous works MIM has learned and drawn from. Readers who do not want to bother with reading MIM's own analyses are free to reinvent the wheel of calculating u.$. imperialist parasitism. H. W. Edwards' Labor Aristocracy, Mass Base of Social Democracy is one place to start.

Be sure to sure to check out past reviews of H. W. Edwards, including "H. W. Edwards: MIM Must-Read Review," in MIM Theory no. 13 (pp. 121-122).

December 28, 2004

"White proletarian myths : A collection of useful facts and arguments refuting common myths about an alleged white proletariat in the majority-exploiter countries such as the U$A"

Transcriber's note: This book was transcribed and marked up for MIM's Web site. I apologize in advance for any typos. I would have liked to transcribe this book with the aid of a scanner and optical character recognition software, but this was not feasible for a variety of reasons. It was necessary to retype the book from scratch. I have distinguished and corrected typos and spelling errors in the original book in a way that is self-explanatory. Thsi[is] is an [e]xample. Any remaining typos should be assumed to be my own. Of course, I encourage readers to get the bound version of the book. Not only would it be useful as a fallback in case of a typo, it is significantly easier to read printed text. Be sure to check out MIM's own printed literature, including MIM Theory. Changes from the original text: The spacing of some table labels was changed. In "Table of Contents" and "List of Tables," dots were added and removed. Some effort was made to preserve the layout of the original text, but this was not a priority. Line breaks in the middles of words were removed. All emphases are in original. How this electronic book works: Clicking on a reference note number will open up a separate window at the location of the reference note. Clicking on another reference note number, while this window is still open, will display the corresponding reference note, but in the same window for reference notes. You may want to tile the main text window and the reference notes window horizontally. While moving within the text (for example, by clicking on a chapter or page number in a footnote), remember that you can press the Backspace button if you want to go back to where you were before in the text. To download parts of this e-book for easy access later, right-click on the links below, and click on "Save as." Altogether, the e-book is a little bit larger than 1 megabyte. How to make this e-book more readable: This e-book might be more readable for you with the fonts larger or smaller. Go to your Web browser's View menu and then the Text Size or Zoom submenu. You may also want to enable ClearType (

Preface, table of contents, introduction   [HTML, 55 KB] (this Web page)
"Section A: Background"   [HTML, 130 KB]
"Section B: Imperialist Parasitism"   [HTML, 98 KB]
"Section C: The Western Left"   [HTML, 393 KB]
"Section D: Social Democracy, Racism"   [HTML, 226 KB]
"Appendices"   [HTML, 100 KB]
"Reference Notes"   [HTML, 52 KB]


[Front cover]

book front cover

[Inside of front cover]

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[— i —]

Labor Aristocracy,
Mass Base
Social Democracy

[— ii —]

[Blank page]

[— iii —]

H.W. Edwards



[Publisher's logo graphic with text: "AURORA : edition"]

[— iv —]

© AURORA, Stockholm 1978

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any way without the written permission of the author or the publisher (Aurora, Box 22049, S-10422 Stockholm, Sweden) [Address is out of date —Transcriber].

First printing of the first edition.
Printed by the Aurora press, Stockholm 1978.

ISBN 91 7252 013 2

[— v —]


The publishers wish to apologize to the author and the readers for the inconvenient amount of typing errors. We hope, however, that most of them can easily be passed over, and list below only those that might possibly disturb the understanding of the text. Count "+" indications from and including the top text line of the page, and "-" from the bottom.

        Page and line                 Should be

        17,   -10: world-wise         world-wide
        37,   -15: but 1928           by 1928
        122,  +18 & 19: was used as   were used as the totals,
                   the total,
        142,   -2: 3.897...3.803      3,897...3,803
        171,   -2: as one             as noted one
        171,  -16: Table 22, Page     Table 22, Page 163
        182,   -7: would by           would be
        182,  -14: which increasing   while increasing
        185,  -20: stated             states
        211,  +10: much widely        much more widely
        216,  +15: or real Marxism    of real Marxism
        231,   +9: certain lines      "certain lines
        346,   +3: branched           breached
        360,  +19: slaving            slaying
        395,  -18: we precisely       we got precisely

[— vi —]

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[— vii —]

D e d i c a t i on

This book is a tribute to and a token of love for my beloved young comrades in Ghana, and for their contemporaries everywhere in Black Africa.

[— viii —]

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[— ix —]


Seven years have passed since this book was completed. No one can accuse me of rushing into print with it! Its contents, therefore, have been put to that acid test: time. I think, on the whole, they passed the test.

However, it is only natural that some factors on the scenes which I was describing should have changed. What sorts of changes? Have they affected my conclusions? How?

In the "background" section of the book, starting on Page 9, I set forth the Western Left's miscalculations and underestimations of imperialist parasitism insofar as they related to its inability to build the great working class Unified Front which they saw as the answer to fascism. Today, through Chinese experience, I see further light on this subject. If the USSR-directed United Front failed, it was because it was not – certainly, not in practice – based on the "dialectical policy of both unity and struggle."* "Struggle" within whatever developed of that United Front was kept in abeyance and then dropped. This adds a bit of additional depth to my explanations as to why Social Democracy devoured the "real Left," and not, as the latter planned, vice versa.

Time has also vindicated my analysis of Scandinavian realities. An article in NEWSWEEK for August 22, 1977, reported the rapid erosion of the antiseptic wall of "exceptionalism" between Scandinavia and the rest of Western Europe: 12% of inflation, balance of payments deficits, foreign borrowing, devalued currency, loss of competitive "edge" in European markets; threat of unemployment while taxes continue rising beyond wage gains; and, above all – yes! – "race riots" between Swedes and Turks in Swedish streets. Time has begun filling in the outline of my own diagnosis of Sweden as no exception to European capitalism.

* CHINA TODAY, London, Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding. Jan./Feb. 1978, Page 5.

— x —

As to the nature of class collaboration, since 1971 the "Sweetness and Light" phase ("all buddies together") is becoming harder and harder for imperialist rulers to sustain. Thank to the divisive role and confusion-sowing effect of modern Social Democracy in the form of Social Imperialism (notably in Africa), "middle men" are beginning to take actions which, in proletarian hands, could be decisive for revolution.

On Page 125, I refer to "abnormally cheap" prices for staples "such as tea, coffee, sugar, tobacco and others." Today, in the United States at least, some of these have advanced notably in price.

At first, this development brought forth anguished screams from the monopolies ruling the West, especially those in the U.S.; lately, these screams have diminished notably in volume: an adaptation has been accomplished; a "middle level absorbent" has been created. Once again, imperialism has had to make a new division of its loot. Some of the system's Frankenstein monsters – the imperialist-spawned ruling class elites in neo-colonies (especially in "Arab" and certain Latin American countries) – have learned in a good school, are now applying their lessons.

They discovered what a whip they hold in their position inside neo-colonies as buffer against colonial revolution. Accordingly, they have begun raising formerly ridiculously low primary product prices. Oil, coffee and sugar are harbingers.

In so doing, these neo-colonial elites have reduced the manue[eu]verability of their own major customers (the big Western imperialist powers) vis-a-vis those customers' internal problems; namely, the amount of swag available for the monopolists' "crumb factory," "at home."

Imperialism's anguished screams died down when they realized that they were being held to ransom by people of their own ilk. The ruling class fully understands that primary product price rises in the hands of people's governments would signal the start of collapse for them. Instead, the actual price rises merely, thus far, open avenues for incredible benefits to internal neo-colonial oppressors. These buffer elites in neo-colonies become richer and more powerful; they move into the U.S.¬

— xi —

economy, buying up banks, real estate and other assets. The monopolists sigh in relief: this is a ploy they understand – they believe they will "get to" these upstarts later. Once again, the brunt of super-exploitation can continue being absorbed by the proletariat and peasantry of the Third World.

And this happens mainly because the world – especially the Western – Left continues to overlook, ignore and even deny Lenin's warning about the primacy of parasitism in the makeup of Western imperialism.

The writer sees this development as evidence of how, in the absence of clarity on a key factor in the world situation, a good thing is turning into a bad thing.

My Chapter on "'Reformism' and Racism in U.S." (Pages 247 ff.) describes certain phenomena which were beginning in England (P. 252); these are now full-blown racist "blossoms," outspoken, outright, undisguised.* Furthermore, to the not-unexpected slobberings of the Margaret Thatchers and Enoch Powells are, this time, added the definitely unexpected blessings of at least one section of the quondam "real Left:" the Finsbury Communists actually beat both Conservative leaders to the punch in denouncing immigration into England of "foreign nationals," that is, in effect, of blacks. Social Democracy develops according to inexorable law.

On Page 276, the Chapter on "Racism as the Least Common Denominator of Social Democracy" touches briefly on Social Democratic ideology in Latin America: that much touted "democratic path" to (alleged) socialism. Events in Chile, which occurred after completion of my manuscript, should leave no doubt about the validity of "socialism" so achieved.

But such lessons are always paid for in blood; the blood of revolutionaries who misjudge the nature of imperialism. That this happened in a land whose value to imperialism is that of inexhaustible well for super-profits should give particular pause: here, indeed, was a case where imperialism's parasitism was¬

* See LONDON TIMES, February 20, 1978: "Face reality or keep quiet, Mr. Powell tells politicians. 'The only way is a positive outflow' of New Commonwealth immigrants".

— xii —

invisible to its own greatest victims. The latter, rather, dreamed that the Colossus would yield as much of its powerfully entrenched advantages as "the people's will" requested. Such are the results of being lulled by Revisionism's fairy-tales!

My chapter on "Racism – Major Tactical Ideological Factor in Imperialism's Superstructure" comments briefly (Page 282) on why socialism had, to 1970, been unable to "overtake and surpass" its vaunted U.S. rival: it forgot that the amazing productivity of American labor was mainly a product of imperialist parasitism which allowed that country's monopolies to invest in more "R & D" (Research and Development) than any other power.

"Socialism," I stated then, "...does not, ... will not, ... cannot super-exploit. When it starts trying to, it is no longer socialism."

This remark now seems to me a prophetic spotlight on the present role of Social Imperialism in Africa and elsewhere (Indonesia, for example).

In my discussion of racism in Eastern Europe (Pages 309 ff.), it will undoubtedly be noticed that I did not specify my sources of information. "I was told...", etc. This was made mandatory by the February 24, 1966, military coupe in Ghana, following which many known Ghanaian supporters of the fallen Nkrumah regime were under constant, strict surveillance. To have used their names – even to use them now – would have, and could still, place them in jeopardy.

On Page 367, I touched upon "the demise of imperialism;" now, it is time to amplify those remarks. U.S. imperialism is being challenged by other imperialisms; many of these challenges will inevitably cut into American super-profits. Still, it is not yet the ruling class which will suffer; rather, a section of the American labor aristocracy, studied in such detail in my pages, will be called upon to cough up some of its earlier gains.

Nonetheless, in 1978, as staple prices rise, the U.S. labor aristocracy – grumbling as it does so – still has the money to pay the increased prices for its luxuries – and pay it does.

All the same, these price hikes are signs. First, as labor aristocracies begin to suffer cut-backs, a possibility exists for¬

— xiii —

new allies for colonial revolution. However, this is true only if attention is paid to that contradiction among the world's peoples which my book examines.

The Western labor aristocracies have shown that they intend to defend their present position to the death: this has given rise, in the U.S., to Hell's Angels, storm troopers on motorcycles; and of outright, self-proclaimed Nazi groups, forming, drilling, meeting secretly in the dead of night in "cowboy" cafes in the valleys of California, and no doubt elsewhere. Such omninous developments auger a different conclusion to anti-colonial struggles than revolutionaries wish.

Yet, knowing something means having the potential to apply knowledge. It strikes me as exceedingly important that this particular development receive intense scrutiny with the aim of testing tactics and strategy by Western Leftists who genuinely wish to act in a revolutionary manner.

If not, imperialism can totter on indefinitely, sucking the blood and marrow of its neo-colonies; it cannot be expected to fall of its own weight.

My remarks on Page 369 about what I thought unity within the world working class ought to embody should evoke loud screams among the Sweetness and Light Brigades of the "left." All the same, I stand by them: leadership for world revolution does not reside in the West. The most that Western revolutionaries can or should expect is to play a supportive role in the central struggles of colonial peoples to destroy colonialism and neo-colonialism. That is, the well from which imperialism draws its major super-profits must be destroyed. Their source remains the same as ever: the qualitatively greater, and still increasing, misery of Third World peoples.

If this book does nothing else but bring sharply into the limelight the parasitic nature of imperialism and the real size and role of that parasitism's major outgrowth, the Western labor aristocracy, it will, in the author's opinion, have served a valuable purpose. Let the controversies rage; they are the milk wherein clarity can be achieved.

— xiv —

Revolutions have never been made out of wishes. Rather, they are rooted in hard, cold and usually dreary facts. It is only by facing all the facts in any situation that a realistic and workable solution can be reached.

I would, therefore, be pleased if this book could become the basis for far more extensive and detailed investigation into the nature of super-exploitation, including exact measurement of the very real, very substantial benefits it still brings – as well as those it has already brought – to Western workers.

I wish this, not (as critics will leap to say in order to avoid – as before – facing unpleasant realities) to show that "imperialism is not so bad." Rather, I want my facts to reveal the full extent of its real badness. It is necessary to face the fact that we cannot hope for imperialism's spontaneous demise; we must understand and measure the true extent of its disease and how that affects us. We have to look boldy and clearly at the remnants of vitality upon which it can still draw.

I consider it a hindrance to basic change that a decisive section of the world proletariat can allow itself to enjoy, and will defend to the death, privileges which (a) hide its own exploitation and (b) derive from the blood, sweat and tears of proletarian brothers and sisters in the Third World.

[— xv —]

T A B L E   O F   C O N T E N T S
Errata .................................................. v Preface ................................................. ix Table of Contents ....................................... xv List of Tables .......................................... xviii Introduction ............................................ 1 SECTION A: BACKGROUND ................................... 7 Chapter I Political Mothballs or Pertinent Politics? 9 II Social Democracy Defined ................. 16 III The Origins of Social Democracy: Lenin's Analysis ................................. 27 IV The Methods of Social Democracy .......... 32 V The Theoretical Pretensions of Social Democracy ................................ 36 VI Marxist Predictions about Social Democracy in the 1930s ............................. 43 VII Why the Predictions Failed ............... 47 VIII Social Democracy and the Scandinavian Myth ..................................... 55 SECTION B: IMPERIALIST PARASITISM IN TODAY'S WORLD 67 Chapter IX Monopoly and "Capital Exports" ........... 69 X Intereffect of Monopoly on Imperialist Parasitism ............................... 75 XI Monopoly's Parasitic Methods of Expansion 82 XII Mechanisms of Monopolist Hegemony ........ 90 XIII Imperialist Parasitism and Economic Analyses on the Left .............................. 97 XIV Class Collaboration and Fascism .......... 104 SECTION C: THE WESTERN LEFT AND SOCIAL DEMOCRACY ............................. 111 Chapter XV Imperialist Parasitism and the Western Working Classes .......................... 113 XVI The Anatomy of Imperialist Bribery ....... 124 XVII The Source of Imperialist Bribery ........ 135

[— xvi —]

Chapter XVIII  The Modern Labor Aristocracy: Definition
               and Size .................................   150
          XIX  The Modern Labor Aristocracy: More of
               Its Size .................................   159
           XX  The Mode of Life of the U.S. Working
               Class ....................................   167
          XXI  The Entire Outlook of the Modern Labor
               Aristocracy "at home" ....................   177
         XXII  The Labor Aristocracy's Entire Outlook
               "Abroad" .................................   194
        XXIII  The Modern Labor Aristocracy: Summary
               and Conclusions ..........................   207
         XXIV  Effect on Western Marxists of Wrong
               Estimate of Labor Aristocracy ............   215
          XXV  Relationship between Western and Colonial
               Workers ..................................   227
         XXVI  Early Marxists Illusions about International
               Working-Class Relations ..................   232
       XXVIII  "Reformism" and Racism in the United
               States ...................................   247
         XXIX  The "Carriers" of Social Democracy in
               Colonies .................................   260
          XXX  Who Is to Lead in the Colonies? ..........   265

           ANTI-COMMUNISM ...............................   271

 Chapter XXXI  Racism as the Least Common Denominator
               of Social Democracy ......................   273
        XXXII  Racism -- Major Tactical Ideological
               Factor of Imperialism's Superstructure ...   279
       XXXIII  The Black Stereotype and the Colonialist
               Mentality ................................   287
        XXXIV  Western Marxist Underestimation or
               Repudiation of Color's Role ..............   293
         XXXV  The Black Stereotype and "Student Incidents"
               in Eastern Europe ........................   304
        XXXVI  The Black Stereotype and Eastern European
               Socialism in Africa ......................   309
       XXXVII  The Black Stereotype and the Soviet Union    315
      XXXVIII  Some Disclaimers and a Summary of
               Racism's Effects Today ...................   322

[— xvii —]

Chapter XXXIX  Anti-Communism and Racism ................   329
           XL  Anti-Communism -- Major Strategic
               Ideological Pillar of Imperialism ........   337
          XLI  Anti-Communism, Racism and Social
               Democracy ................................   348
         XLII  And So -- What? ..........................   362

APPENDICES                                                  371

   Appendix I  Imperialist Parasitism
                         -- A. The Black Man's Burden ...   373
                         -- B. "T" and "U" ..............   377
                         -- C. Coal and Oil .............   379

           II  Japanese and West German Penetration of
               Africa ...................................   383
          III  Western Marxist Ideological Poverty,
               Imperialist Parasitism and the Western
               Working Class ............................   394
           IV  Why Was Patrice Lumumba Assassinated?        400
            V  The U.S. Working Class ...................   403
           VI  France -- Accident or Inevitability? .....   406

REFERENCE NOTES .........................................   409

[— xviii —]

L I S T   O F   T A B L E S
Table TITLE In On No. Chapter Page 1. Net Outflow, U.S. Capital, Private and Government IX 71 2. Trends in U.S. Dividend Payments X 82 3. American Corporations Worth One Billion Dollars or More X 82 4. International Average per Capita Income X 83 5. Relationship of Productively Employed U.S. Population to Total XV 114 6. The Middle Classes (1870, 1940) XV 117 7. The U.S. Labor Force (1870, 1940) XV 119 8. The Working Classes in the United States XV 120 9. Trends in the U.S. Working Class XV 122 10. Comparative International Vital Statistics XVII 136 11. U.S. Vital Statistics, Negro and White XVII 138 12a Comparative Vital Statitics, South African and American Non-White XVII 138 12b ditto " 139 13. The U.S. Electorate XVIII 154 14. U.S. Presidential Elections of 1960 XVIII 154 15. Average per Capita Annual Income by Area (1959) XVIII 155 16. Union Members as Percent of U.S. Population XVIII 156 17. Membership of Five U.S. Sports Clubs XVIII 157 18. Historical Trend of U.S. Church Member- ship as Percentage of Total Population XVIII 157 19. Top Wage Earners among U.S. Workers XIX 160 20. U.S. Minimum Income Distribution XIX 161 21. Trends and Comparisons in U.S. Family Affluence XIX 162 22. Relation of Consumer Spending to Size and Renumeration of Labor XIX 163 23. U.S. per Capita Meat Consumption and Income Distribution XIX 164 24. Trends in Total U.S. Consumer Credit XX 167

[— xix —]

Table                     TITLE                    In       On
 No.                                             Chapter   Page

 25.  Electrical Appliance and Car Ownership        XX      169
 26a  Trends in Retail Sales                        XX      170
 26b  ditto                                         "       171
 27.  Wages and Purchasing Power                    XX      172
 28.  Political Dissension among the American
      Electorate                                   XXI      178
 29.  Trends in U.S. Work Stoppages                XXI      182
 30.  "Labor's Increased Militancy"                XXI      184
 31.  Relationship between Color and Super-
      Exploitation                               XXXII      283
 32.  Number of Communists in Capitalist
      Countries of Asia, Africa and Latin
      America                                    XXXIX      331


 33.  New Industrial Enterprises in Africa          II      383
 34.  New Mining or Mineral Activities              II      384
 35.  New Activities in Infrastructure              II      385
 36.  New Ventures in Agriculture                   II      385
 37.  New Ventures in Aid to Africa                 II      386
 38.  New Loans to African Countries                II      386
 39.  New Technical Deals in Africa                 II      387
 40.  Reported Trade Imbalances in Africa           II      388
 41.  New Political Dealings in Africa              II      391
 42.  New Socialist Activities in Africa            II      392
 43.  New Cultural Activities in Africa             II      392

[— xx —]

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[— 3 —]


The theme of this book is that Social Democracy, for all that it developed what Lenin called a "petty bourgeois ideology", only came into its own with, and will die only with the destruction of, the Western labour aristocracy, whose continued existence forms its material basis, and whose needs it serves.

Lenin had first exposed and documented imperialism's chief characteristic as its parasitism.1 He had shown that such parasitism consists primarily in the production of a ceaseless stream of super-profits which, once capitalism has developed into imperialism, become indispensable; and which the ruling class then, as its own "life insurance", shares with "its own" working class, creating among them "a labour aristocracy".

Without apology, this text subscribes to that entire analysis and holds it – if possible – truer today than in Lenin's time (in however varied new forms and however diversifiedly now expressed). But it was precisely this feature of the system which, in a kind of "Freudian" economic "loss of memory", virtually all Marxists "forgot".

For example, a number of eminent Marxists in the 30s made blatantly wrong predictions among Social Democracy: Georgi Dimitroff, of Reichstag Fire Trial fame, who subsequently became first President of the Bulgarian Socialist Republic; R. Palme Dutt, Indian author of Fascism and Social Revolution, leading figure of the British Communist Party; and Palmiro Togliatti, late head of the Italian Communist Party. All these had publicly proclaimed in the mid-30s the early "revolutionarisation" of Europe's Social Democratic masses under the guidance of Communists specifically dedicated to that purpose. This illusion-ridden vision is still around, still bedazzling those who claim to be "the real Marxists"; only now, instead of "the general crisis" alone and¬

— 4 —

glittering in its generality, it takes the form of the May 1968 events in France, most recent manifestation that capitalism is, indeed, in a general crisis which it cannot cure.

If, however, the parasitism of imperialism of which Lenin spoke is recalled and analysed in its current – vastly expanded – forms, it reveals as so much poppycock all talk of any "world-shaking" role by the current Western proletariat; and it also thumbs its nose at any attempts to discuss "neo-capitalism" or "neo-imperialism": the vigorous manhood of the system Lenin so accurately examined2 has merely yielded to the same system's old age, with clear evidence of senility now setting in.

That is, analysis – such as this text hopes to offer – based on Lenin's major work on imperialism clearly reveals that the imperialist system cannot, and will not, survive the achievement of genuine (meaning economic) freedom by colonial peoples on a scale broad enough to create a massive dent in ruling class super-profits, and to destroy unequal exchange. This is the meaning of Indonesia, Brazil et al and Vietnam: the imperialists know what they are about, and those who want "in" on that knowledge need only watch imperialist and revisionist maneuvers in and affecting the mis-named "Third World".

So, in the end, both in the 30s and now in reference to France, Italy, Germany and elsewhere, the Social Democratic masses do not become "revolutionised". Rather, the Social Democratic "machine" gobbles up – ideologically, at least – the self-styled Communists, including Palme Dutt and Togliatti in their day, and the "New Left" and plenty of "mighty Maoists" in ours.

The cited wrong forecasts (then and now) make it obvious that something must be missing from these Marxists' estimates of Social Democracy. In Africa, this proved to be a serious matter; an investigation had to be started.

Basically, the conclusion reached was that the Marxists in question had never carried far enough their own first study of Social Democracy. For reasons which it is hoped the body of the text will clarify, they preferred to rest on Lenin's 1916 analysis, which defined Social Democracy merely as "the principal social¬

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(not military) prop of the bourgeoisie".3 They ignored the fact that Lenin, pioneer analyst, necessarily generalised.

Had they, however, applied his generalisations to the phenomenon as it developed in their own epochs, they would have discovered, as we hope to do in the text, the inner "secrets" of Social Democracy which might have enabled them to deal with it more adequately.

But because they did not pursue the subject further than, at the latest, 1940, they began losing their original understanding of the system as a whole; and then, of all its parts. They were not prepared for what really happened; could not adjust to reality, explain it or find the proper political response to it among workers they were supposed to be leading. Rather, they entirely misjudged the developmental direction of those whom collectively they defined as "the working class in the main capitalist countries", and continued talking of as "the proletariat". Furthermore, they cast the latter as "hero" in their annual doom prophecies, whereby the entire imperialist system, as a result of its undeniable general crisis, was imminently to collapse.

When the system defied them, as it still does again and again, "recovering" from each "paralytic stroke" delivered by the advance of its own inner contradictions; when Western workers refuse to live up to the "poverty-stricken" and "revolutionised" image built up for them, and fail to support the struggles for freedom of their "class brothers in colonies", these Marxists respond by urging the election of "Communists" to parliament. And when such elections actually occur in some countries – or when some Western cities actually elect "Communists" to "power" for decades (Waldeck Rochet, for instance) – instead of socialism, as promised, the result has been only to keep the great monopolies and their administrations precisely from folding up.

Why? What has been wrong? Has Marx been disproved, now at last? What happened to capitalism's "grave-diggers"?

Answers to these questions have existed all along – in Lenin's cited work.2 There, Lenin had provided criteria, to some of which it is possible to apply current statistics. Restudying these would have revealed the direction in which the West was really moving, powered precisely by the system's parasitism.

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Social Democrats and racists have a big stake in concealing the spread of parasitism. But Marxists have an even bigger one in exposing it.

A re-analysis of Social Democracy, therefore,

a) clarifies the phenomenon itself;

b) reveals in detail why the Marxists of the 30s were unable to make correct predictions about it;

c) confirms, from an entirely different approach, the Chinese diagnosis of today's main contradictions,4 main center of revolution, and main direction of current history; but

d) casts considerable doubt on a recent Chinese contention that the Western metropoles today, particularly as exemplified in the May 1968 events in France, are either "on the verge of revolution", or that the Western proletariat is as yet any main agent "shaking" the moribund system.

To such re-analysis the text now turns.