"It is obligatory for a Marxist to count on European revolution if a revolutionary situation exists. It is the ABC of Marxism that the tactics of the socialist proletariat cannot be the same both when there is a revolutionary situation and when there is no revolutionary situation." V.I. Lenin (298 )
In the last section, we examined the dialectical relationship between the expansion of labor aristocracy employment and the profit crisis to come. We showed that the revisionists without MIM's labor aristocracy thesis are on-board with the imperialists on the possibilities of "post-industrial capitalism," mainly because they fail to recognize that parasitism brings limited geographical political stability at the cost of the reduction of surplus-value extraction.
Again and again the CPUSA and others bash the foreign workers and back up Thurmond and Perot and then wonder why there is no communist movement in the United $tates. The flatterers tell the workers here how advanced they are and hide the truth of parasitism so as not to be unpopular. In contrast, we at MIM tell the bitter truth about the economy in the imperialist countries at the cost of our feel-good nationalist credentials with oppressor nation people. We have strategic confidence in main force for revolution in the Third World and do not require an imperialist country majority on our side for that confidence.
As we have shown already, the only thing that the CPUSA and other social-democrats can reap is the Buchananite movement. This is a consequence of a wrong scientific analysis of the class structure, which itself is a product of the class structure and its representatives called the labor bureaucracy. The same strategy and tactics applied where the class structure is one thing results in one kind of communist movement. In another situation with a different class structure, the same strategy and tactics unleash fascism.
The bottom-line for us in both our party work and united front work is no support for inter-imperialist rivalry and protectionism. This may be easy for our party members, but how do we tell those with more limited unity that we no longer foment inter-imperialist rivalry through protectionism, because it is dangerous and leads to fascist populist movements?
While Lenin thought the Amerikan and English communists had fairly accurate views of their societies' class structures, Lenin believed that the communists of Amerika and England are inclined to sectarianism. "In countries were there are NO Social-Democratic workers' parties, NO Social-Democratic members of parliament, and NO systematic and steadfast Social-Democratic policy either at elections or in the press, etc.--in such countries, Marx and Engels taught the socialists to rid themselves AT ALL COST of narrow sectarianism, and TO JOIN with the working-class movement so as TO SHAKE UP the proletariat POLITICALLY."(299)
As MIM has emphasized in its propagation of materialism, it is no good to find fault and never find or unleash anything worth supporting. "We can (and must) begin to build socialism, not with abstract human material, or with human material specially prepared by us, but with the human material bequeathed to us by capitalism. True, it is not easy matter, but no other approach to this task is serious enough to warrant discussion."(300)
After decrying the "narrow-minded, selfish, case-hardened, covetous, and petty-bourgeois 'labour aristocracy' imperialist-minded, and imperialist-corrupted" in all italics and admitting it is much worse in the imperialist countries than in semi-imperialist Russia, Lenin still insists communists "work wherever the masses are to be found,"(301) including their reactionary trade unions. Almost as a maneuver to test discipline of the COMINTERN and against sectarianism, Lenin forced this on the English and U.$. comrades against the wishes of what he admitted was the majority of his fine revolutionary friends in those societies. Some think that MIM must disagree with this idea that comrades must work everywhere, but it has always been MIM's practice. If we could win a Congress seat, we would fight for it. If we find a comrade has a particular idea of a particular reactionary organization or movement to infiltrate, we do not oppose it. We only oppose those who go to the labor-aristocracy and recycle the demands of the petty-bourgeoisie. No, we can and must go everywhere to prepare the all-round dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, but we must maintain proletarian internationalist aims and principles. In Lenin's own estimate at the time, the anarchist people expressing repulsion at the labor aristocracy in the IWW and similar U.$. organizations are making errors that "will be a thousand times easier"(302) to fight than those still tied up with the labor aristocracy. For MIM, this is a reminder of how we have more in common with J. Sakai and similar anarchists than the various so-called communists not breaking with the labor aristocracy.
Lenin never says in his critique of ultra-leftism that we must pander to the labor aristocracy, only that we must struggle with the backward workers in order to avoid sectarianism.
"Crispien went on to speak of high wages. The position in Germany, he said, is that the workers are quite well off compared with the workers in Russia or in general, in the East of Europe. A revolution, as he sees it, can be made only if it does not worsen the workers' conditions 'too much'. Is it permissible, in a Communist Party, to speak in a tone like this, I ask? This is the language of counter-revolution. . . . The workers' victory cannot be achieved without sacrifices, without a temporary deterioration of their conditions. We must tell the workers the very opposite of what Crispien has said. If, in desiring to prepare the workers for the dictatorship, one tells them that their conditions will not be worsened 'too much', one is losing sight of the main thing, namely, that it was by helping their 'own' bourgeoisie to conquer and strangle the whole world by imperialist methods, with the aim of thereby ensuring better pay for themselves, that the labor aristocracy developed. If the German workers now want to work for the revolution they must make sacrifices, and not be afraid to do so. . . .
"To tell the workers in the handful of rich countries where life is easier, thanks to imperialist pillage, that they must be afraid of 'too great' impoverishment, is counter-revolutionary. It is the reverse that they should be told. The labour aristocracy that is afraid of sacrifices, afraid of 'too great' impoverishment during the revolutionary struggle, cannot belong to the Party. Otherwise, the dictatorship is impossible, especially in West-European countries."(303)
Hence, we must imagine what we would do at a meeting of a reactionary union discussing NAFTA or GATT. Many of our critics would go and fly the flag. We would go and put forward internationalist demands. In particular, what does a positive reform look like at this historical moment of imperialism? Some said for example that the United $tates should not join NAFTA, because free trade means the abolition or non-enforcement of laws protecting the environment. In 1991, under GATT, Mexico fought the United $tates and won the right to sell tuna to the United $tates that Mexican fishers obtained while killing dolphins in their nets. The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act had banned tuna fishing that could endanger dolphins. For reasons of this sort, MIM was told we should oppose GATT and NAFTA and take up economic nationalism.(304) The reasoning is that it is easier to fight for progressive laws inside one country.
MIM believes that kind of reasoning leads to more wars. If Mexico or other Third World countries can go to socialism and protect their nascent industries, that is one thing, and we should do everything possible to support whatever economic relationship they want to the imperialist countries. Asking an imperialist country to take up economic nationalism is another thing. Instead, we should aim our economic demands to be sure they have an internationalist spin.
In the European Union, Loukas Tsoukalis says that the membership of some countries has meant a rising of environmental regulation in order to be part of the club.(305) Thus, we see no reason to take a fatalistic approach to struggle in multi-lateral situations.
MIM does not want Mexico to shoulder the burden of losing its tuna fishing business. We want the imperialist countries to hand over the nets and technology to make it possible to fish without killing the dolphins. That is the general formula for environmental demands when they concern the Third World. If the imperialist countries want higher environmental standards, and they should, let them pay for it. Already they do this within the European Union where some countries pay for the use of less-polluting production techniques by poorer countries. If the whole world lived U.$. living standards, the species would probably die instantly from pollution, so it is clear the U.$. people owe the world for their system. "It is epic hypocrisy for Americans to scold the poor for destroying nature while U.S. companies are still free to dump toxic wastes from American consumption in poor countries. If they intend to reform the world, America and other advanced nations have to take care of their own mess first."(306) The bourgeois economists think their free trade is more efficient? Well, let them use those efficiency gains to improve the environment and inequality between the Third World and imperialist countries.
It is no longer progressive to fight for "30 for 40" in the imperialist countries, because those workers are not exploited. However, the demand for a global minimum wage is still entirely progressive and does not increase the existing world war by encouraging imperialist country nationalism. It is the only way to keep imperialists from playing one country off against another into ever lower wages. Professor Voradvidh of Thailand has it right: "'We need a GATT on labor conditions and on the minimum wage, we need a standard on the minimum conditions for work and a higher standard for children.'"(307)
We communists and our allies in the united front should push for it and ask for WTO enforcement. Unions seeking to obtain wages higher than minimum wage should get to go before the WTO. Countries that use death squads against union organizers would be kicked out of GATT. In order to make sure these reforms do not result in a decrease in developing country employment, we should also push for currency reform.
Third World currencies are all radically undervalued, because of the politics of comprador government. To remove the influence of politics and speculation, we like the suggestion of one economist from India--Arjun Makhijani--who says we should peg currencies to a basket of goods needed for daily living in each country. That basket of goods should be the same price in each country no matter what currency it is purchased in.
Such a currency reform combined with a minimum wage boost carried out globally would do much to spur the most possible out of capitalism. Third World purchasing power would increase drastically. That would spur Third World industry and make possible cheaper imports of whatever equipment was necessary. The labor aristocracy would suffer higher prices of its Third World imports, but it is already under the impression that the imports from the Third World do not matter to them anyway, so let them prove it by going along. The other benefits to the labor aristocracy is that the combined currency reform and minimum wage would hugely boost global employment. The unused capacity of imperialist countries would be quickly taken up with the orders from the Third World. As a result, the "middle classes" of imperialism would see a decrease in living standard from higher import prices, but they would see an elimination of unemployment and overcapacity. The imperialists should be happy to see increased demand and a disappearance of over-capacity, perhaps for a few decades.
The major loser in a WTO-enforced minimum wage, a WTO-enforced union negotiating regulation, a WTO-enforced environmentalism, a WTO-enforced tax on financial asset income and a WTO/IMF-enforced currency reform would be the comprador elites of the Third World. Their power would be sidestepped in one fell swoop by the imperialists who would take away their power to set currency rates and wages. On the other hand, the comprador elites would receive a major windfall themselves in exchange: their holdings of local currency would suddenly be worth much more in goods from the imperialist countries. This would also undercut the value of shipping capital out of the country to deposit in Swiss bank accounts. The compradors would be able to enjoy their bourgeois lifestyles without sending their money out of the country. We suspect that at least a portion of the elite would go over to becoming a regular and strong national bourgeoisie involved in expanding production.
The imperialist countries through the use of GATT have the power to impose global conditions. It also means they can be targeted as enemy simultaneously. This is not something we communists should fear. It means we can take down the system in one fell swoop. In the past, Lenin derided economism for talking about economic concessions from individual capitalists only and never rising to the political level and making demands of the capitalist class a whole. In the imperialist countries, Lenin called it "imperialist economism," and today we still see that most so-called communists would prefer to fight it out at the individual company and individual country level.
Meanwhile, the Clinton administration is already trying to fool the international proletariat that it is doing something about the real goals of the international proletariat. "The Administration has sought establish a framework for multilateral discussion on how best to promote core labor standards: freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, nondiscrimination in the workplace, prohibition of forced labor, and elimination of exploitative child labor."(308)
The GATT is building the muscle of our proletarian internationalist movement and we should thank the imperialists for this chance to exercise our muscles as proletarian internationalists. As of now, the influence of parties like MIM is weak, so our movement is so weak that it wants to go back to economic nationalism. That is the mistake we face, one leading to fascism and inter-imperialist war. Instigating inter-imperialist war should be a last resort, as a threat when the WTO or the like imposes more government control on oppressed nations in a new form of outright colonialism. There is a need for international conferences on just this subject to discuss subjects like picking off one imperialist country or another to form a bloc with in order to undercut new global colonial arrangements. MIM has its own opinions on the subject, but questions of blocs and alliances should be decided by the Maoist majority of the Third World and we imperialist country comrades should be careful to collect information and not boast overly about our possibilities of overthrowing the governments and thereby leading Third World comrades to count on something not real.
The damage of the wrong analysis of the class structure is also evident when we look at the movements of the most oppressed, because nationalism of oppressed nations is applied internationalism as Mao said. The Black Panthers proved that the correct analysis of the labor aristocracy does the most to advance the movement here in the imperialist countries. The difference between the pro-labor aristocracy line and imperialist assimilationism is non-existent at this time. Movements to stir up imperialist country economic nationalism have the disadvantage of dragging along a portion of the internal semi-colonies. This bring us to the next question--the future of the communist movement.
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