The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Can you do layout? Help out by laying out pamphlets and study packs to mail to prisoners. help out
[Economics]
expand

Good Enough for the Lumpen, not Good Enough for CA C.O.s

Recently the Governor of California lowered the excessive and unnecessary amount of money that federal capitalist workers received. I don't know the intimate details, I just know that instead of being payed $20 and $35 an hour, they were paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Outrage and hiss fits all around. You can't do that Governador, how will we overeat, overspend and hoard. Now there's a problem.

I remember a few years back an uneducated, because I'm a guard and you're a prisoner, bourgeois pig was debating me over how he should treat prisoners. His main argument is what they all believe, "you did what you did to get yourself in prison." I wouldn't be in prison if I and people similarly situated like me had opportunities to strive to be my best, instead of being oppressed and repressed and suppressed at every turn and door I (we) enter. The so-called crime or activity which got me in prison, would not be a crime in a socialist society because I would not have to seek other alternatives of financial gain to survive. That would be my counterargument.

Then this defender of capitalist mentality, "dog eat dog," comes with "you should get a job, even if it's at a fast food restaurant." They only pay minimum wage. That's not enough to survive on, to educate myself, to save for my future children's survival. I'm only working to get up to work all over, with nothing to show for what I've done. It's like an artist selling his paintings, her art, her time, skill and energy, his life sweat and blood, just to be able to pay for the supplies that was used to produce the painting, the art. "Working for minimum wage is better than nothing" was his curtain call.

Now a few years later when the shoe is on the other foot, now minimum wage is not better than nothing. Now it's a slap in their face. It's alright for the lower working class, it's enough for the proletariat to be paid and have to survive off of minimum wage, but not the middle class. It's too small, not enough for the bourgeois. That's one of the many faces of capitalism. Rise, rebel, revolt, revolution. All power to the people.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
This article correctly points out the dual standards of the petty-bourgeoisie but we do not agree with the author that workers earning minimum wage in Amerika are part of the proletariat. Even minimum wage is more than the value of the labor Amerikan workers expend. We will not deny that jobs like those in fast food restaurants are alienating and they do not provide opportunities to advance. And in a consumerist economy where what you own is who you are, they also make it very hard for Amerikans to compete with the wealthier petty bourgeoisie.

The proposal by Schwarzenegger (which surprise, surprise, never happened) would have taken the average California state worker from the top 0.88% richest people in the world to the top 12.23% richest (ignoring that they would actually be reimbursed the difference later under the proposal). As MIM demonstrated with extensive research and publications like MIM Theory 1 and 10, Amerikan citizens are part of the global petty bourgeoisie and so do not have an economic interest in ending imperialism. Even those working minimum wage jobs might protest and demand more money, but that's because they see that they can expect more because most of their peers in Amerika are getting it.

chain
[Economics] [Theory] [United Front] [ULK Issue 17]
expand

Lumpen United Front: Its Basis and Development

United Front in Prison

The basis for unity among lumpen is class. The lumpen are the disenfranchised who derive from the economically depressed areas - the Barrios and ghetto projects - and are for the most part oppressed nations people. The lumpen are known to the oppressor nation as the 'criminal element' which is code word for persyn of color. The lumpen usually come from a lumpen organization that the oppressors call a 'gang,' or survive as some type of parasitic hustler. Although we do make choices, often times in imperialist society our choice to engage in crime is a logical one due to the national oppression we endure.

As communists it is our job to fully understand the laws of social development, and the lumpen are an essential part of these laws today, especially here in the imperialist stronghold. In Marx’s theory of ‘social relations of production’ lies the question of ownership, that is what ‘class’ owns the tools and what ‘class’ uses the tools. In this imperialist society the lumpen neither own nor use the tools. We are excluded from production and live under the heel of capitalist relations of production. The propertied class has monopolized the productive forces. The lumpen play a crucial role in Amerika in the creation of new productive forces that will come into contradiction with the decaying social relations of production. The current economic crisis is helping to streamline this process.

The lumpen is a class, regardless of what nationality one comes from; we all have similar relations to the tools of society and the distribution of society’s wealth. It is a group that experiences the same oppression and is fighting the same imperialist monster.

It is understood that as national oppression exists it is thus only natural for there to also be national liberation struggles to combat the unevenness in this society, and for revolutionary national struggles to work to bring safety to the people who live in a constant police state in areas of the oppressed nations. This is the correct stance in the face of any oppression. But we can't get caught playing the same dog-eat-dog game that the imperialists play on us and our fellow lumpen. We need an Aztlán Liberation Front that is in unity with the lumpen.

The lumpen in Amerika must begin to realize that we are a class and lumpen fighting lumpen does nothing to liberate any oppressed nation. On the contrary, lumpen-on-lumpen crime will only strengthen the imperialist vice grip on our necks! This is why unity amongst the lumpen is the first step to liberation of all oppressed nations in the United $tates. We don't have to agree on everything, but we must have unity and work together with the full realization that we are up against not just the same monster but one that happens to run the world militarily.

It is essential for the lumpen to come together in a united front in order for liberation to ever be a reality on these shores. Without the critical element of the united front, liberation struggles of any kind are simply idle talk and will not produce. The function of the united front for the oppressed nations and ULK should be 1) to practice peoples' power within the prison system and thoroughly politicize the U.$. prison system, and 2) to practice peoples' power within the Barrios and ghetto projects out in society and thoroughly politicize these oppressed nation areas. These functions should be done with the idea of preparing these grounds for future insurrection.

Lumpen Unite with the International Proletariat!

The basis for unity between the lumpen and the international proletariat is again class-based. The lumpen are connected to the international proletariat by their common oppression by the imperialists and their popular resistance to this oppression. What we must keep in mind is the imperialists think and act on a global scale so we must do the same. Just as many have used the saying "don't show up at a gun battle with a knife," we don't want to show up with a "not in my backyard" mentality when the imperialists show up with an international colonization mentality. We must think of the big picture and on a grand scale of things. Of course we must first work in a particular area, as MIM(Prisons) works primarily with the prison population, to start from one area and eventually expand to include larger or multiple fronts of struggle. All our efforts should be with the intention of chipping away at imperialism.

Regardless of one's oppressed nation, it really is the same struggle against the same opponent. Currently this is seen unabashed by the imperialists' mega-prison system housing millions of Brown, Black, Red and Yellow people. It is seen in people of color hunted down in urban communities by the police and shot dead as if there were safaris in the inner cities. It is seen in the unequal treatment that has been festering in Amerika for over 500 years, the lynching of the body and the lynching of the mind. Therefore, it is not just understandable or justified but damn right necessary for these oppressed peoples to struggle for national liberation. Until New Democracy is achieved, as Mao spoke of, and we finally achieve equality for all in all aspects, the oppressed nations should continue to struggle for self-determination.

As communists we should always maintain focus on our goal of international communism rather than degenerating to simply Brown capitalism or Black capitalism, etc. This is why our unity must be with the international proletariat in mind as this will be our moral compass. Some may say or think "If I can liberate my people in this or that country why would I care about countries in another part of the world?" Well, as I've said before, we are all up against the same monster that cannot be defeated by one group of people, and even if one could somehow liberate one group of people, the imperialists worldwide would smash this isolated nation. We saw it happen in Grenada.

When Marx and Engels put together the theory of communism, it was with internationalism in mind as they saw even back then that the bourgeoisie would not sit back and allow the people to begin liberating themselves. We must always work in unity with the international proletariat in order to rise from lumpen to true revolutionary. Only then will we liberate our people.

La Lucha Continua!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade did a good job of stressing the importance of internationalism in the united front, and in particular pointing out that the international proletariat must be our moral compass. The question we need to ask though is to what degree the imperialist country lumpen's interests are united with the international proletariat, and therefore how they fit into the united front as a class. What this comrade wrote about the need to support everyone's national liberation is true for any oppressed nation in the world, but we face particular challenges due to our material conditions.

MIM(Prisons) sees the lumpen in the United $tates as a bourgeoisified lumpen, in that the whole country benefits from imperialism in the form of basic needs like food, clean water, electricity, etc. as well as in the form of cheap consumer goods. The latter allows the lumpen to own small amounts of capital, creating a spectrum of wealth where a minority in the lumpen organizations are at the level of national bourgeoisie due to their relations to production, distribution and ownership. Even for the relatively poor majority of the lumpen class, a combination of state welfare and the drug game have allowed for access to the material benefits of imperialism the proletariat do not have.

We are watching closely the efforts of the white nation to take away welfare and local drug markets from the lumpen, as well as jobs from the undocumented. Even if these trends are successful, we see compradors among the lumpen and a popular desire for and belief in the Amerikan dream. While the lumpen are a class forced into criminality, there is a class consciousness and culture that derives from this criminality that is individualistic and parasitic. As this comrade alludes to, there is a transformation that must occur to replace the lumpen mentality (in particular its capitalistic elements) with a proletarian one. No national liberation struggles can succeed in this country without tackling this great challenge.

In addition, a growing lumpen class due to imperialist crisis will also touch the white nation. As we wrote about in ULK 14, a declassed white population is the makings of fascist foot soldiers. History has shown this to be the case for oppressor nations. So we agree with the author's alternating use of lumpen and oppressed nations in most cases, but disagree when s/he says the lumpen have the same interests regardless of nationality. Only if the oppressor nation lets go of its white privilege would this be true. This is an even stronger reason why a thesis that the lumpen in general in the U.$. are a progressive force does not hold true.

chain
[Economics] [Theory] [New Afrikan Maoist Party]
expand

NAMP response to MIM(Prisons) criticism

Resolution on Criticisms of NAMP's Line Related to UFD

This resolution is being passed by Our Party to publicly announce what Our line is on a few questions raised by MIM(Prisons) and members of their study group, and to address their criticisms on what they think Our line is. We challenge MIM(Prisons) to print this resolution in their Under Lock & Key newsletter to let the people decide for themselves what Our line really is, instead of blasting Us in a one-sided debate.

UFD is an outgrowth of various affiliated mass organizations Our Party has attempted to jump start. Initially, UFD was a subdivision of the New Afrikan Ujamaa Dynasty, as one will learn from reading the original edition of Blueprint for Ujamaa Dynasty. Since MIM(Prisons) abruptly withdrew their financial and administrative support of Our efforts to jump start UFD as a mass organization, the revised edition of Blueprint for Ujamaa Dynasty was unable to be completed on schedule. So, the public isn't aware that the New Afrikan Ujamaa Dynasty has been absorbed by UFD, which now stands for the Ujamaa Fraternal Dynasty. UFD is now a New Afrikan nationalist fraternity and the vanguard of the Movement for Ujamaa Dynasty, and it's divided into a General Nduguship (primarily for progressive elements of the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie) and a Field Division (primarily for ex-lumpens who haven't necessarily reached a revolutionary phase in their political development, but have given up their criminal lifestyle).

"Without revolutionary practice, revolutionary theory means shit!" Our Party hasn't liquidated itself at all into UFD, nor have We watered down Our politics. We are Maoists. But We are New Afrikan Maoists. And We uphold the three cardinal questions of MIM(Prisons) [editor's note: NAMP was not aware of MIM(Prisons)'s new cardinal points adopted around the same time as this resolution], going so far as to recognizing that the New Afrikan worker is a labor aristocracy and that most New Afrikans, including the lumpen, are bourgeois. No, Our class analysis hasn't changed either. So, what's all this criticism about over Our line? Well, part of it is Our fault for not being very clear Ourselves to articulate what amounts to a new strategic positioning. We admit, We knew where We wanted to go but didn't really know how to get there. The vision was clear but painting it was murky. We wanted to remain true to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, but the context We are operating in isn't compatible to what We know to be true. We can't force square pegs into round holes. Revolutionaries must make revolution, but We must do so within concrete, objective reality.

Marx provided Us with the theoretical foundation, but he didn't bring about revolution. Does this mean his theoretical work wasn't correct? Absolutely not. He advanced human knowledge in relations to Our theoretical understanding of the development of things, including human history in Our struggle for economic, social, and political freedom. Lenin came along and applied Marxism to formulate even more advanced revolutionary theory according to the concrete conditions he was faced with. So too did Mao. But each were in a unique position. They had Marxism and the lessons of failed revolutionary struggles to work from. And they grew to political maturity during a revolutionary period within their respective countries. So, the concrete conditions gave their theory basis to advance the concrete revolutionary struggle of the time to socialist victory.

What are the concrete conditions We are faced with? There's no question We have available to Us the most advanced theory of revolution paid for in the blood and failure of many hundreds of thousands of Marxist revolutionaries. Our problem is that imperialism is winning worldwide not only in terms of economic and political dominance, but also in the conversation of what is and what is not a valid economic and political paradigm. Currently, Islamic Fundamentalism, in all its warped ideas and distortions is, nevertheless, doing more against imperialism than the Maoist camp worldwide. To that extent, We applaud Islamic Fundamentalists for fighting the imperialist snake that cloaks itself in the rhetoric of democracy and freedom. But We prefer Marxism.

Yet the concrete conditions We face as New Afrikan Maoists in imperialist America — indeed, as Maoists period — gives Our theory very little basis to advance the concrete revolutionary struggle of the proletarian camp. We are surrounded by enemies. Even the lumpen, as MIM(Prisons) admits, are parasites. But they argue that the lumpen "benefit less from imperialism, and more importantly face extreme oppression under imperialism." Well, they would be repressed under socialism too if they refused to give up their criminal ways. Lumpens are outlaws antagonistic to any system. Granted, imperialism is less amicable to reforming the lumpen than socialism would be. Under socialism, the lumpen would be given greater opportunities to reform themselves. But We're not living under socialism but imperialism, so lumpenism, like bourgeois subjectivism among the petty bourgeoisie, will be a great impediment to advancing Maoism in this country. With the lumpen, however, lumpenism plus bourgeois subjectivism are a double wammy.

MIM(Prisons) and its study group members aren't seeing the forest through the trees. Taken as a whole, We must conclude that the lumpen is not only more reactionary than the petty bourgeoisie but are manifestly less able to contribute to concrete revolutionary struggle against real oppression. For one, they're either locked down or under some form of law enforcement supervisions. Most are under-educated and lack discipline, and the prison system under imperialism isn't conducive to their rehabilitation, much less their politicization. This is why 7 out of 10 lumpens released from prison come back, and that not one who is released, in Our experience, stays active in revolutionary work or can be effective doing so. The imperialists are too powerful, and We're trying to fight them through propaganda and theoretical work. Are We serious?!

No, this is NOT to say We can't win against them nor that all lumpens are worthless. Firstly, Our Party was founded by ex-lumpens who MIM helped reach political maturity. Secondly, no enemy is undefeatable when you have the power of truth on your side. But having truth on your side won't guarantee people will recognize it just because you say so.

MIM(Prisons) and its study group members are caught up in ultra-leftism of another brand. Wake up and smell the coffee. This isn't 1917 nor 1949 in underdeveloped countries with weak capitalist governments. This is 2010 and capitalism has reached its highest stage of imperialism, which has strong imperialist governments worldwide. We better do as Lenin and Mao, both of whom were sharply criticized for moving away from what was considered the 'right doctrine' by developing new, practical approaches to apply revolutionary theory to their unique circumstances.

One thing MIM(Prisons) ignores about New Afrikans is that 1) We are an oppressed domestic colony of the United States, and 2) Our benefit from the super-profits flowing into this country is incidental to Our domestic neo-colonial status (the operative word being "domestic"). Just being in this country gives Us incidental access to its stolen wealth. MIM(Prisons) acts like the Catholic Church which tries to make people feel guilty about being human with sexual urges. This may not be the best analogy, but the point is that MIM(Prisons) makes it seem like everything is gravy between white Americans and New Afrikans. This smacks of the mainstream conservative argument that race doesn't matter anymore or isn't such a big deal like before. See, this is an ultra-leftist position trying to fit the square peg of the New Afrikan labor aristocracy into the round hole of the white labor aristocracy. Because MIM(Prisons), in its dogmatic adherence to the now defunct MIM's line on the labor aristocracy as straight up enemies of the international proletariat, can't strategically cope with an oppressed New Afrikan labor aristocracy vis-a-vis a dominant white labor aristocracy. It's easier for MIM(Prisons), the only active Maoist cell We know of coming out of MIM, and which only concerns itself with the prison movement, to write off any possible struggle to mobilize the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie against U.S. imperialism.

It's really sad MIM(Prisons) would so shamelessly distort the fact that New Afrikan people in this country, from lumpen to national bourgeoisie, as a whole still must contend with white supremacy and racist discrimination, both institutionally and blatantly. Everything from housing, employment, health care, government assistance, mental health, incarceration, education, sports, entertainment, etc. New Afrikan people face white supremacist/ racial discriminatory factors. And We know this. Call this identity politics, if you like, but racism is still very real in this country and will lead, during an economic and political breakdown, to full blown fascism. Just look how Muslims and migrant workers are treated.

We never said the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie is a revolutionary class within the context of socialist revolution — We're not too sure We can say the lumpen is. What We did say, and repeat here publicly and clearly, We hold the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie to be the most revolutionary class within the context of the bourgeois nationalist phase of the New Afrikan revolution. And We think this bourgeois nationalist phase strategically will heighten the contradiction between white America and New Afrikans while negating Our bourgeoisification.

Let's be real here. New Afrikans as a whole, due to white supremacy and racist discrimination manifested in neo-colonial practices, are locked out of major control over their own economic wealth by white America — albeit a part of super-profits. The point is, there's no way for white America to increase the New Afrikan share of the "pie" without weakening their own economic and political hegemony. There can be no increased super-exploitation of the Third World to "include" New Afrikans fully into the labor aristocracy elite. For one, other imperialist countries won't allow it. And two, the Third World would hate America more. The inevitable consequence of any New Afrikan bourgeois nationalist revolution would be 1) the heightening of the contradiction between white America and New Afrikans (clearly this is in accord with the principal contradiction in the world today being between oppressor and oppressed nations, unless MIM(Prisons) can conclusively prove how New Afrikans are no longer an oppressed nationality); 2) negate the bourgeoisification of New Afrikans as they become more radicalized as a whole; and 3) give Our Party the concrete basis to advance Our revolutionary line among a more receptive, radicalized nation of New Afrikan people.

We want to make revolution, not sit around doing propaganda and theoretical work until somehow a revolutionary period suddenly occurs. We must realize the imperialists apply their own science in theory and in practice to prevent revolutionary crises and maintain their dominance. We can't counter this through propaganda and theoretical work alone. We must figure out concrete, practical ways to heighten the principal contradiction. In this day and age, the role of the vanguard isn't just to thrash out line questions, do political agitation, and develop cadres, because We're not faced with the same concrete conditions Lenin and Mao, even Marx, were faced with that justified and enhanced their need to do this type of work. Right now We're preaching to the choir. This isn't about pragmatism, right opportunism, nor revisionism. This is about making revolution and not allowing Our bigger enemy to keep dictating the terms of Our fight.

In conclusion, Our Party hasn't forgotten our duty. MIM(Prisons) and its study group members should refrain from ad hominem arguments and demagoguery, and trying to pigeonhole Us by misrepresenting Our position on the questions We've addressed. Our support of UFD has nothing to do with any bourgeois subjectivism. The size of Our cadre or the resources available to Us is only part of the equation. The biggest is whether We can do something like what We're doing with UFD to advance both the concrete and theoretical revolutionary struggle of New Afrikan Maoism without losing Our way. We see no manifest danger that Our Party will degenerate into revisionism, right opportunism, or pragmatism. UFD isn't under Our Party leadership, so We're very much able to promote Our line and to criticize UFD if it deviates from the path of challenging U.S. imperialism via New Afrikan bourgeois nationalist revolution without "scaring" people from it.

And so that it is clear, We encourage Our cadre to join the ranks of UFD on its terms, not to secretly radicalize it. Again, We support its aim and purpose to the extent it challenges U.S. imperialism and can more effectively build independent institutions that serve the oppressed. Being that membership in Our Party is anonymous for security reasons, We see very little conflict in Our cadre joining the ranks of UFD. This is a strategic question, not a line question. There are practical benefits to Our cadre joining UFD as there are in them getting a job working for a bourgeois business. Besides being devoted to advocating New Afrikan nationalism and struggling against gang violence, drugs, sexism, criminality, poor education, unfair criminal justice practices, lack of prison reform, etc., UFD is devoted to building a financial and business network by which 1) business minded members of UFD can receive financial, technical, and marketing support from every other member of UFD who benefit from their investments; and 2) these businesses and investors can partner up, using their collective leveraging power to set up larger, corporate ventures on a distributive and productive scale to compete for hundreds of billions of dollars. Our cadre who are members of UFD will benefit from UFD's economic success, thereby allowing them to contribute more to the work of Our full-time Party workers. Everyone in Our Party has a purpose, and WE all can fulfill Our vanguard role, too.

For the record, We support MIM(Prisons)'s work and believe We were wrong to expect them to neglect their work to support Our strategy. That was right opportunism. And We no longer seek their aid in anything other than debating with Us publicly and privately to help Us further thrash out Our own line. We must develop Our own self-sufficiency, which We are slowly doing. MIM(Prisons)'s withdrawal of their support wasn't necessarily a set back, but rather a needed lesson. You can't hold a child's hand forever and expect them to blossom on their own. We owe MIM(Prisons) much and publicly pledge to repay them. And We encourage Our incarcerated cadre and supporters to participate in MIM(Prisons)'s study groups.

Let this not be Our final word on the matters discussed herein. We invite further criticisms, questions, comments and suggestions. But let Us all be objective here.

NAMP Central Committee
September 2010


MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome the response from NAMP on our criticisms, as we don't like one-sided debates either. As we pointed out, we had no official documents from NAMP to refer to in regard to their political line as it has developed in recent years. The fact that this is the first public document we've seen from NAMP in years we'll leave as evidence of our position that NAMP liquidated the vanguard to develop a petty bourgeois mass organization.

For the most part, this response substantiates the points made in our original self-criticism. While accepting the labor aristocracy thesis, NAMP attacks the lumpen from a petty bourgeois position, then turns around and supports outright organizing on behalf of the economic interests of an exploiter nation. Organizing New Afrika around economic nationalism certainly offers historical advantages to organizing a European nation against U.$. imperialism, as MIM opposed in their opening piece in MIM Theory 14: United Front. Still, we would rather organize New Afrika as an oppressed nation around issues of oppression that are very real, life and death questions for the New Afrikan lumpen, or those facing even worse conditions in Africa.

In their discussion of racism, NAMP argues vehemently that the New Afrikan nation has interests opposed to imperialism because it is oppressed. Yet, when it comes to the lumpen, NAMP gives us the tautology that could be summarized as, "the lumpen can't be effective revolutionaries because they face oppression" such as high recidivism rates, poor educational opportunities, state supervision and prison. Of course, that very oppression is behind our position that the lumpen are potential allies of the proletariat.

To better demonstrate our differences, let's first understand what the lumpen class is. They are an excess population, something that Marx said was unique to the capitalist mode of production. They have no role to play in reproducing society; they are forbidden from playing a productive role in society. To talk about the lumpen as being criminal-minded first, rather than recognizing the origins of their class and therefore their class consciousness is backwards. The lumpen were not born as anti-social individuals, they were attacked first, usually because of national oppression from the white power structure. They turn around and fight the system in self-defense. So it's not just that the lumpen will be given more opportunities under socialism, the lumpen will cease to exist once the mode of production changes to meet humyn need. Those individuals who refuse to reform of course will be repressed.

We agree that the lumpen are bourgeoisified in the United $tates, just like everyone else is. And in China it was the lumpen who were often the hardest to reform, because their whole attitude is based on blatant parasitism — getting something for nothing. It is important to note that the lumpen in imperialist countries are not the same as the lumpen Marx, Lenin and Mao talked about. We can't just mechanically apply definitions about the lumpen, just like we can't mechanically assume that the workers in imperialist countries are the same proletariat they were back in Marx's day. For Marx, the lumpen were living among the proletariat, but were not of the proletariat class. That led to a different consciousness that made them tough allies, and they were a small minority. In the U$ we're talking about whole communities, ghettos, that are lumpen/petty bourgeois. There is a group consciousness there that is tied to national oppression. In imperialist countries there are many other attitudes among the lumpen in addition to parasitism, most importantly among the oppressed nations, that differentiate them from the petty bourgeoisie in progressive ways. We disagree with NAMP's assertion that lumpenism compounds bourgeois subjectivism, and say that in imperialist countries it actually plays a role in combating it.

One result of their exclusion and oppression is that the lumpen exists on the periphery of bourgeois society. It is on the periphery where there is room to move. We see advantages in freedom and security among the lumpen that don't exist among the petty bourgeoisie. Yes, prisoners are under extreme state control, limiting their ability to organize. But so are the proletariat of the Third World. In fact, this argument from NAMP is nothing new. "The oppressed are too uneducated and face too much repression to rise up in arms," has been the petty bourgeois line since Marx's day.

The strength of the state, in a country where spies far outnumber communists, is a daunting barrier that we acknowledge as much as anyone. But the Amerikkkan prison system has laid the ground work for building schools for developing revolutionary theory. The intelligentsia among the lumpen, which is concentrated behind steel and concrete, is one unique aspect of the lumpen in the United $tates that is in our favor. It is this group that is the basis of MIM(Prisons)'s existence and work.

It is curious that NAMP claims we ignore that New Afrikans are an oppressed domestic colony, as we have always pushed that line regarding all internal semi-colonies to the point of being accused of racism by many white prisoners. We counter NAMP's economic organizing strategy, with a strategy of organizing against oppression. On their second point in that paragraph we do think there is a difference in positions. In our minds it is highly debatable to claim that New Afrikans benefit from super-profits only incidentally to their oppression. Our general line is that integration was about 50% successful since the time of the Black Power movement. We hope to refine this analysis in future publications and welcome any contributions to this research from NAMP. We recognize the neo-colonial significance of Barack Obama to New Afrikans, and criticized those who thought this was somehow changing things for oppressed people inside or outside the United $tates.

We have never argued that the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie cannot be an ally in the anti-imperialist struggle, and here we challenge NAMP for misrepresenting our line. We do make two criticisms of them on this issue, one is regarding what points we should organize New Afrikans around, and the second is the relationship of the proletarian vanguard to other classes in the New Afrikan nationalist movement. NAMP's mistakes lie in organizing the petty bourgeoisie in an imperialist country around their economic interests, and doing so in the name of a supposed proletarian party, or its mass organization.

NAMP praises the anti-imperialism of the national bourgeoisie in the Muslim world, but would do well to compare the situation here to there. New Afrika has no land, nor natural resources, nor influence over currency markets. And despite having over 1 million citizens who are legally slaves, there is little exploitation of New Afrika to fight over. In other words, economically speaking, New Afrika has little to lose and much to gain from imperialism. Imperialism provides the petty bourgeoisie in the United $tates with their current income levels and living standards far above most of the world. We fail to see any bubbling of a revolutionary situation there. And certainly, if there was, it would not be based on economism, but on questions like voting rights, state repression and mass imprisonment.

In the original self-criticism we clarified our position on New Democracy for the internal semi-colonies. When NAMP actually addresses the question of New Afrika as an exploiter nation, the crux of their argument in favor of organizing the petty bourgeoisie is that the United $tates cannot buy off New Afrikans. As was demonstrated in our Case Study on the U.$. Housing Market Decline, more than half of New Afrikans are already bought off (at least materially speaking) with super-profits. What NAMP needs to address to be consistent is how New Afrika went from proletarian to petty bourgeois in recent generations, and their line that now it is impossible for the economic gap between New Afrikan and white Amerika to be closed.

If we assume for a minute that NAMP's economics are correct though, then we ask what application of United Front theory calls for the abandonment of proletarian politics to organize other classes? NAMP wants to claim that they still exist as a vanguard upholding Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and that there is no danger of revisionism in their strategy. They propose that it is okay to secretly join mass organizations and hide one's politics. Yet for all their stress on the importance of practice, where is NAMP's practice as a vanguard? Where is NAMP's practice independent of their organizing of the petty bourgeoisie to build economic independence? How is this not liquidationism?

NAMP's "we're preaching to the choir" line is typical of liquidationists and those who put numbers in command. They think we need to reach as many people as we can and get them on the streets first, then we can work out the details of what it is that we're doing. Reaching new people is great, but as MIM often said, "Revolutionary practice without the right theory is worse than shit." It should be clear to anyone reading this debate that not even the choir is clearly on the side of the preacher in either of our cases and there is much ideological struggle and development to be done before there will be any question of making revolution in the United $tates.

chain
[Theory] [Economics] [United Front] [ULK Issue 17]
expand

Building United Front, Surrounded by Enemies: Case Study of the U.$. Housing Market Decline

foreclosed McMansion
Typical Amerikan homes provide luxury most people can only dream of, while home values far above the actual cost of materials and labor lace the owners' pockets with super-profits.

United Front is the theory of uniting different groups across class lines for a common goal or interest, while maintaining independence where those groups disagree. The application of united front theory is about recognizing different contradictions in society and utilizing them in the interests of the international proletariat. The primary united front is the Anti-Imperialist United Front, which is made up of the majority of the world's people whose material interests lie in defeating imperialism. This is a strategic united front based on the principal contradiction.

In this article we will address a couple of contemporary issues in the United $tates and analyze their potential for united front work. We'll see that many of the big conflicts in a First World country are between the enemy classes, but that does not always mean we sit on the sidelines. Some forms of united front are tactical and require fast action based on thorough knowledge. To successfully navigate the potential for united front in the First World that serves the interests of the Third World proletariat we must first have a correct analysis of our conditions. The first section of this article provides a quick background to get us started.

Land, Housing and the Settler Nation

One of the arguments made against the labor aristocracy thesis is that corporations have no interest in sacrificing profit to pay First World workers more, and there is no corporate conspiracy to enforce such a policy. This is based in the theory of free market capitalism, or only reading the beginning chapters of Marx's Capital and treating that as an accurate model of reality in all places for all time. As a class, capitalists do depend on the labor aristocracy, not just politically, but economically as consumers and cogs in their growing pyramid scheme of finance capital. And there is at least one place where the U.$. imperialists can exert their will as a class (more and more these days) - it's called the U.$. government. The promotion of home ownership by the feds is one of the biggest examples of the imperialists consciously building a labor aristocracy within the heart of the empire.

Home ownership has been a staple of Amerikan wealth since the settlers stole this land from the First Nations and built their homesteads on it. The net worth of Amerikan families compared to First Nations and those descended from slaves in the U.$. is one legacy of this form of primitive accumulation. While land ownership among the earliest European invaders was 100% (that's why they came to the Americas), by the 1775 War of Independence, land ownership was still at 70% for the Euro-Amerikan nation.(1) Arghiri Emmanuel pointed out that Amerikan wages were able to stay so high in this early period of capitalist development, even as land ownership ceased to be universal, because the abundant "free" land stolen from the First Nations provided a fallback plan for European settlers.(2) This primitive accumulation through genocide was the basis for wealth that the Amerikan labor aristocracy enjoyed as industrialization transformed more of the settlers into wage laborers.

Following the inter-imperialist struggles of WWI, the United $tates became the dominant imperialist power. The influx of wealth that came with this allowed for the integration of southern and eastern European immigrants into the white nation leading up to the Great Depression.(1) From 1900 to 1950, home ownership rates in the United $tates averaged about 45%, with the lowest rates in the Black Belt South and the highest in European dominated northwest states.(3) After the economic recovery that came with the spoils of WWII, the United $tates embarked on the suburbanization of Amerika with numerous incentives from the federal government to bring home ownership above 60% again.

Since 1960, home ownership has stayed above 60% for U.$. citizens as a whole.(4) This rate was above 70% for white Amerikans in recent years, but the census does not have comparable statistics by race going back very far. Blacks and Latinos are just under 50% for rates of home ownership, even though national oppression has ensured that they currently face foreclosure disproportionately.

Emmanuel's theories in Unequal Exchange demonstrate how the significantly higher incomes of people in the First World actually transfer wealth to the imperialist countries from the Third World, reinforcing their economic advantage. Similarly, the oppressor nation has equity and is able to increase wealth in ways that the internal semi-colonies have not been able to do despite access to exploiter level jobs. All of this fits with the general trend of capitalism, which is the accumulation of capital. The more you have, the more you tend to get.

Collapse of the U.$. Housing Market

The left wing of white nationalism (whether self-described anarchists, socialists, Maoists or Democrats) has been saying that the increase in home foreclosures is an indication of the heightening contradictions between the Amerikan proletariat and the capitalists. These people defend the stolen land that was the foundation of wealth for settler Amerika, and the modern home ownership pyramid scheme that is the foundation of the Amerikan dream today.

Not only have millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure in recent years, but fear-mongers point out that the “2008 sub-prime mortgage market resulted in the disappearance of $13 trillion in American household wealth between mid-2007 and March 2009... on average, U.S. households lost one quarter of their wealth in that period."(5) Such alarmists ignore that Amerikans gained $10 trillion from 2006 to 2007 to reach an all-time high, and that net worth of the country's citizens has generally gone up at increasing rates since WWII.(6) The bigger ups and downs in all financial markets are certainly signs of crisis, but to act like Amerikans are being sunk to Third World conditions in 2010 is ludicrous. If only these activists would cry so loud for those who really have had to live in Third World conditions for their whole lives and for generations!

Most, if not all, of the loss in Amerikans' net worth is accounted for by stock portfolios and values of homes (which are bought and sold like stocks these days); in other words losses in finance capital. Traditionally, the petty bourgeoisie in Marxism was not exploited, nor did it significantly exploit others. To claim that those who reap profits from investments of finance capital are anything less than petty bourgeoisie is a rejection of Marxist definitions. With home ownership around 68% in recent years, that is a solid two thirds of people in the United $tates who fall squarely into the category of petty bourgeoisie or higher, including 50% of Blacks and Latinos (minimum). This group is 210 million people, or only 3% of the world's population in 2010, yet they hold more net wealth than the total market capitalization of all publicly traded companies in the world.(7)

Our critics point to the great wealth inequalities within the United $tates as reason to organize Amerikans for revolution. So let's just look at the bottom 80% of Amerikans, who owned 15% (a mere scrap from the table if you will) of the net wealth in the United $tates in 2007 (and this was a 15-year low for them).(8) While their share has decreased a few percentage points since 1983, total net worth in the United $tates has increased by almost 5 times. Therefore the lowest 80% of Amerikans went from about $2.2 trillion in net worth in 1983 to almost $10 trillion in 2007. (Two trillion dollars could eliminate world hunger for the next 66 years, until 2076.(9)) "Middle class" Amerika has assets that are greater than the GDP of China,(10) the world's industrial powerhouse representing about 20% of the world's population. That's comparing just the Amerikan "middle class" and "poor" to the whole nation of China, including its well-developed capitalist class.

Since the proletariat, by definition, has negligible net worth in the form of assets, let's look at their income.(11) Income generally increases proportionately with net worth across the globe.(12) Almost half of the world's population lives on less than $1000 per year. That is 3.14 billion people living on less than $3 trillion in a year.(13) Now before we condemn Amerikans' huge assets, let's make sure that they just aren't better at saving and investing their money than the proletariat. In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifty percent accounted for only 7.2% of consumption.(13) A conservative estimate leaves us with Amerikans, on average, consuming at least 27 times the average persyn in the poorest half of the world.(14) So money management skills cannot explain Amerika's huge net worth.

A just, sustainable humyn society requires the Amerikan labor aristocracy to be brought down to consumer levels much closer to the Third World. But this little exercise demonstrates that this is far from happening, despite the alarmists' cries.

Ultimately, the contradiction we're describing is between the labor aristocracy and the imperialists. The imperialists, in particular finance capital, are a dynamic, opportunist class. In contrast, the labor aristocracy benefits from stability of the status quo. The finance capitalists were able to make quick profits by selling the labor aristocracy short, so Amerikans are pissed. While perhaps pushing the labor aristocracy towards fascism, the finance capitalists are also undercutting the consumerism of Amerikans that their system depends on so much. What we are witnessing is an internal contradiction in the imperialist system playing out. Both groups control trillions of dollars in super-profits from the Third World, and the Anti-Imperialist United Front has no interest in one of them getting more than the other. We need to keep sitting this one out.

Migration to the United $tates

As discussed above, high wages and ballooning housing values reinforce themselves in our current economic system, making the rich richer. However, neither could be maintained without erecting a border outside of which these two things cannot flow. Therefore, keeping wages and housing values high is directly linked to the battle over increasing repression of migrant laborers within U.$. borders. The contradiction in this struggle is between oppressed nations who are trying to gain access to jobs in the United $tates and the oppressor nation that is trying to keep them out. This challenge to imperialist country privilege indicates that the battle for migrant rights is part of the anti-imperialist struggle.

While Third World people and some Amerikan youth faced Amerikan labor aristocrats on the streets, it was the U.$. District Court that put in place an injunction on most of the provisions of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 (SB1070), in light of a lawsuit filed by the U.$. Department of Justice (DOJ) against the state of Arizona. The DOJ held that immigration was under federal jurisdiction, and that they had a plan for the whole country to balance its various interests related to immigration that Arizona would not be allowed to mess up.

The interest of the bourgeois internationalists is in having free access to markets and labor, not to mention international relations. This camp includes the federal government and their finance capitalist backers as well as smaller businesses that only operate in the United $tates, but depend on migrant labor. Their conflict is with other bourgeois interests and the bourgeoisified majority of Amerikans whose position of privilege stems from the elitism of who is allowed to enter their fortress of jewels.

There is effectively a united front between the internationalism of the mass resistance to SB1070 on both sides of the Mexican border and the U.$. government acting on behalf of bourgeois internationalism. And for now, it is the imperialists who are really throwing a wrench in the works for Amerikans, even though the contradiction at its base is between oppressed nations and the oppressor nation.

A majority of Amerikans in a number of polls supported SB1070 or a similar law. The highest percentage listed in one article, 79%, did not agree that "illegal aliens are entitled to the same rights and basic freedoms as U.S. citizens."(15) This is the definition of Amerikan chauvinism. At best, one fifth of U.$. citizens don't think they deserve more than other humyn beings by virtue of being born in the United $tates. This is why we even keep an eye on the imperialists for glimmers of internationalism in the First World.

With Latinos, we can see how quickly this consciousness develops by tracking the percentage of coconuts in the population over time. A Latino Decisions poll found that 12% of second-generation Latino voters in Arizona supported SB1070. By the fourth generation it had increased to 30% supporting the coconut position.(16) Amerikanism is an insidious disease that has claimed significant portions of the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates.

Unite All Who Can Be United

While many dogmatists still criticize Mao for allying the Chinese Communists with the national bourgeoisie, we can take united front theory even further and come up with examples of progressive forces allying with the government of the imperialist superpower of the world against an oppressor nation. This goes to show that we cannot let ultra-left ideas of purity prevent us from allying with those who might help our cause.

The rightist errors in applying united front theory happen when we have incorrect lines elsewhere. Not recognizing a united front as working with an enemy class, or becoming convinced that other contradictions have been resolved, and not just pushed to a secondary position, are the main forms of rightism to guard against. Mao had to fight much rightism from other communists who thought the communists and national bourgeois forces should merge into one, where inevitably the reactionary bourgeoisie would lead because of their relative power. Rightism in the United $tates looks like people getting caught up with legislative battles over migrant rights. Without national liberation, there is no freedom for oppressed nations under imperialism. The imperialists will always oppose that, just as the Nationalists fought the Communists in civil war once the Japanese were forced out.

We do not seek unity for the sake of unity. We seek unity that utilizes all the forces possible to tackle the principal contradiction, or battles that push the principal contradiction forward. When we find strategic unity with others, the united front also provides a basis for unity-criticism-unity, which advances the struggle and deepens the unity of revolutionaries and all oppressed people for a better future.

chain
[Economics] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 10]
expand

Talk of Early Releases with Economic Crisis

prisoner release
In ULK 8 we focused on the economics of u$ prisons, touching on the likelihood of current economic trends cutting into the bloated government budgets for prisons. While the topic continues to attract a lot of attention, a report on the recently approved budgets for fiscal year 2010 proves to be a bit of a mixed bag.

Since staffing accounts for 75-80% of "corrections" budgets, staff reductions, pay reductions and closing facilities are the most effective and widespread means of cutting costs. But cutting food, health and programming are also widespread in the new budgets.

Overall, spending is going to go down next year, bucking a quarter-century trend. The report had data from 33 states, and 22 of them are reducing their prison budgets. Since then, the biggest prison state, California, has passed a budget cutting $1.2 billion from the department of corrections (one of the largest percentage cuts across the country). (2) California is also in the interesting position of facing legal pressure to reduce its prison population. Building Serve the People programs to support comrades after release from prison is a more pressing task than ever.

However, MIM(Prisons) is not convinced that this trend will continue, significantly cutting the amerikan imprisonment craze, as some think. This is based on our analysis of the u$ prison system being about social control and not about making money. If unemployment goes up, we predict that amerika will continue to push the strategy of paying one sector of society to imprison and rule over another.

As we have explained in ULK9, there are no profits to be made in operating prisons. Like all military and oppressive forces of the state, these are completely non-productive, parasitic operations. Unlike a capitalist industry that tends to minimize labor costs relative to other capital costs, these parasitic operations are set up to distribute fat paychecks to those most loyal to the imperialist system. Hence spending 80% of the budget on staffing.

To put the numbers in some perspective, the $52 billion spent in 2008 on state prisons in the united $tates is equivalent to the the Gross Domestic Product of Afghanistan and Nepal combined, for the same year. (3) That's over 50 million people who must run two whole countries on the same amount of resources provided to the 430,000 amerikans employed in "corrections" to run a population of 2.3 million prisoners. (4)

notes:
(1) Scott-Hayward, Christine S. The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Rethinking Policies and Practices. July 2009. http://www.vera.org
(2) Office of the Governor. 7/28/2009
Corrections and Rehabilitation Budget Detail
(3) CIA World Factbook.
(4) Bureau of Labor Statistics.

chain
[Middle East] [Economics] [Spanish] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 16]
expand

La Privatización de la Guerra: El Imperialismo da su Último Suspiro

por MIM(Prisiones)
Mayo 2009
públicado en ULK panfleto #8

Halliburton, KBR, y Blackwater (quien recientemente fue marcado "Xe") han llegado a ser nombres populares en los años recientes y por lo general con las connotaciones negativas. Hay mucho que decir sobre la corrupción que está detallada en los libros citados más abajo, y también demostrarémos unos paralelos al Complejo Industrial de Prisiones en este y en otros artículos. La pregunta más considerable para los contra-imperialistas, es ¿qué significa esta corrupción para el desarrollo y el mantenimiento del imperialismo?

Los libros repasados para complementar este artículo describen las ambas partes del militar imperialista estadounidense moderno. Por una parte el ejército estatal que está comprando a la juventud americana con la cultura del centro comercial a lo cual están acostumbrados y que está mantenido por el trabajo barato del obrero del Tercer Mundo. Por otra parte tiene contratistas armados, usados para las operaciones más élites, quienes ganan sueldos más altos que los de los soldados estadounidenses. Cuando los mercenarios vienen Tercer Mundo, ganan aun más en proporción de lo que ganaban antes de hacerse mercenarios. Todo combinado, los contratistas llegaron a superar en número al personal militar terrestre estadounidense en Iraq. (Chatterjeem p. xvi) Las historias de Halliburton, KBR y Blackwater deletrean una clara tendencia: le está costando más que nunca al imperialismo para poder sostener los niveles de personal necesario para mantener la hegemonía mundial.

Un Microcosmos de la Economía Mundial

En el libro Halliburton's Army, Pratap Chatterjee reporta que los sueldos para contratistas en Iraq son relacionados explícitamente según sus nacionalidades. Esta imagen es muy significativa a los quien afirman que los americanos merecen sueldos más altos porque son más productivos. Aquí tenemos gente que viene de todas partes del mundo para trabajar en los mismos sitios y los tipos de pago son comparables a los que ganan en sus naciones respectivas (usualmente ganan más en Iraq). Esta norma todavía resonaban cierto en casos comunes donde la persona común del Tercer Mundo tenía más experiencia, más conocimiento, o era más hábil que la persona del Primer Mundo. Contratistas estadounidenses quienes estaban desempleados y desesperados por conseguir trabajo empezaron con sueldos desde $80,000 anuales más gastos de subsistencia para supervisar a filipinos que ganaron $200-$1,000 por mes. Un americano afirmó haber realizado $130,000 al año para trabajar sólo un día por semana. En Bagram, los basureros afganos se pagaron $10 por cada jornada de 12 horas. Mientras que los indios ganaban $600 al mes más alojamiento y comida por trabajar en los restaurantes de comida rápida en las base. Los filipinos quienes construyeron las prisiones en Guantánamo fueron mantenidos sí mismos en prisiones horribles, y recibieron $2.50 cada hora por trabajar 12 horas peligrosas diariamente sin equipo de seguridad. Los abusos de parte de los contratistas llegaron a ser tan notoria que La India, El Nepal, y las Filipinas lo prohibieron que sus ciudadanos trabajar en Iraq. (Chatterjee)

Con 35,000 de los 47,000 empleados de Halliburton en Iraq siendo procedentes del Tercer Mundo (Chatterjee, p. 142), y los sueldos comparables siendo pagados por la nacionalidad, se ve una réplica de la economía mundial que la mayoría de los habitantes del Primer Mundo defienden, incluso muchos de los llamados "marxistas." Alrededor del 25% de los empleados ganaban salarios del nivel explotador mientras que los demás eran obreros del Tercer Mundo (en su mayoría inmigrantes) haciendo todo el trabajo duro y peligroso para salarios por debajo del valor promedio del trabajo. Según los izquierdistas de la nación opresora, Halliburton no emplearía a los americanos con sueldos de $80,000 más las gastas si no los estuviese explotándoselos. Estos pseudo-marxistas piensan que un americano quien firma un cheque produce diez veces más de valor que un filipino que hace la construcción o la preparación de comida. En la escala mundial existen las fronteras y los océanos que de alguna manera le hacen esta mera misma situación aun más agradable a la nación opresora.

La Conexión del Prisión

Mientras los vínculos de Halliburton y Blackwater con el gobierno federal han estado en cuestión durante mucho tiempo, el contratista 39o más grande del gobierno es su propio Industrias de Prisiones Federales – FPI o UNICOR. (Wright, p.111) Como el labor del Tercer Mundo detrás de Halliburton y KBR, el autor Ian Urbina afirma que el militar estadounidense no podría hacer lo que hace sin la inmensa cantidad y diversidad de productos el FPI provee con el trabajo de presos a los cual les pagan entre $0.23 – $1.15 por hora (suma a $400 millones en ventas al Departamento de Defensa en el 2002). Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) estableció la compañía usando legislación que forzó al Departamento de Defensa comprar los productos del FPI, aunque sus precios no eran los más bajos. (Wright, p. 113) Esta táctica de parte de FDR mantuvo el dinero en circulación dentro del estado para seguir financiando sus objetivos represivos, en vez de permitir que el dinero de impuestos regrese a manos del sector privado en la forma de ganancias.

Esto valida, sobre todo, el patrón general que MIM(Prisiones) ha visto: aún la industria la más grande en el país impulsada por el trabajo de presos es un subsidio para la represión del Estado y no una fuente de enriquecimiento individual. Sin embargo reconocemos que el militar estadounidense no está ahorrando dinero por comprar los productos de FPI – las industrias del sector privado tienen la capacidad de ofrecer sus productos tan barato o aún más barato que FPI. Entonces no estamos de acuerdo con las implicaciones que hace Urbina que el trabajo de presos es esencial para las operaciones del militar.

Una relación interesante entre el Complejo Industrial del Militar y el Complejo Industrial de Prisiones se encuentra en las contribuciones de más de $500,000 de parte del dueño de Blackwater Erik Prince al Ministerios del Compañerismo en Prisiones – PFM. PFM es una organización cristiana evangélica que envía más de 50.000 voluntarios en las prisiones de EE.UU. (Wright, p.130) Mientras MIM(Prisiones) queda impedido de mandar correspondencia a presos por todos partes de los Estados Unidos porque mantiene que la revolución es necesaria para acabar el aprieto de los opresos, el fundador de Compañerismo en Prisiones, Chuck Colson, citó a Thomas Jefferson para implicar que la revolución cristiana es necesaria en los Estados Unidos. (Scahill, p. 95) Más de 1,800 facilidades le han otorgado acceso al PFM para que funcione sus programas dentro de las prisiones, los cual han registrado más de 20000 personas.

Americanos Queremosynopodemos

Blackwater está reclutando a ex agentes de la CIA ocupados en todo el mundo como mercenarios, sobornándoles con cheques de pago al nivel de los E.E.U.U. El resultado de esto debería ayudar a demostrar a nuestros críticos la importancia de la compra de toda una nación. El nacionalismo americano provee una defensa mucho más poderosa para el imperialismo de lo que ningún ejército mercenario podría proveer. Aunque la mayor parte de estos mercenarios están impregnadas de la ideología fascista lo cual conduce al militarismo imperialista, las posibilidades de conflictos de intereses son significativamente más grandes.

La globalización del ejército imperialista es un signo de debilidad, no de fuerza cada vez mayor. Pronto no habrá absolutamente ningún manera de que su ejército pueda crecer (excepto con los robots).

Soldados Americanos del Siglo 21

Desde la Guerra Civil hasta la Guerra Fría, el ejército nacional de los EE.UU. no fue reclutado por el motivo de ganancia. Sin embargo, mientras que el nacionalismo estadounidense proporcionó una base sólida para el militarismo imperialista, que siguen aumentando las demandas de la nación parásita eventualmente socavó la voluntad de los soldados a luchar y morir por su nación. Podrían emplear a los mexicanos para hacer sus quehaceres domésticos y trabajo manual, mientras los asiáticos del este están siendo contratado para hacer su producción industrial, no podían simplemente contratar a alguien para manejar el trabajo sucio de luchar en sus guerras de saqueo imperialista? O parafraseando a Chatterjee, los soldados estadounidenses pasaron de pelar sus propias papas en tiendas de campaña que han establecido sí mismos a tener obreros del Tercer Mundo sirviéndoles buffet de todo lo que puedan comer para la cena. Sabes, para que lo haga sentir más como estén en sus casas.

Funcionarios del departamento de relaciones públicas del militar estadounidense explican de la necesidad de proveer tal conforts de criatura como necesario para mantener un ejército completamente voluntario en el siglo 21. (Chatterjee, p.10) Pero la pregunta de por qué una conscripción no es viable es la misma pregunta de americanos quienes no teniendo ganas de entregar a sus vidas cómodas, lo cual atrae la amenaza de un movimiento de resistencia contra la conscripción que da alimento al anti-imperialismo.

Un solado reportó,

"No es una exageración que tengo un estilo de vida mejor aquí en la base en Iraq de lo que tendría allá en los Estados Unidos. Tenemos lavandería gratis, viviendas de tipo apartamento con aire acondicionado y electricidad sin límite también agua caliente, hay varios distribuidores americanos de comida rápida, salones, internet gratis, cafés y un enorme PX... helados de Baskins Robbins... y una vez a la semana nos sirven bistec y langosta... noche de karaoke, y varios tipos de equipos deportivos..."

y concluye con lo siguiente,

"y aun solo a unos cientos metros fuera de la cerca, los niños pequeños andan pidiendo de lo que sea: comida, agua embotellada... la realidad es muy, muy, muy chocante. Somos verdaderamente una cultura de consentidos y mimados." (Chatterjee, p.11)

Esta no es una realización rara para los americanos consentidos que concluyan cuando están enviados a la guerra en el Tercer Mundo. Pero como este soldado señala, varios están allí por la misma razón de que reciben mejores condiciones materialistas en Iraq. Y pues no están exactamente convirtiéndose al internacionalismo en multitud a pesar del dosis de realidad.

Lejos de pelar papas en efecto, Chatterjee describe lo que se encuentra en el comedor típico: helados, barras de panqueque, colitas de langosta y varias comidas elaboradas de día de fiesta, todo esto es gratis para los soldados. Otras facilidades en las bases estadounidenses más grandes contienen un centro comercial pequeño ("minimall") con tiendas como Burger King, KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, y Green Beans Coffee. El continua dándole una descripción del "Scorpion's Den". Uno está presentado de un inmediato con casi completa oscuridad, el trasfondo de música de un teatro despejado de cien asientos, el suave luz de las computadoras portátiles, y el parpadeo de luces de los videojuegos... También hay palomitas de maíz gratis, caja tras caja de agua embotellada... y una máquina de helados "Dipping Dots." Entonces hay el "Sandbox" donde "docenas de soldados se sientan reclinados en sillones de cuero falso, entreteniéndose con video juegos de guerra o programas como Guitar Hero y mirando la película de Star Trek." (Chatterjee, p. 6–7)

Vemos esto como una nueva etapa en la historia de reclutamiento militar de parte de las naciones opresoras. Las fuerzas ocupantes brutales de los poderes colonizadores en el Tercer Mundo hace más de cien años actuaban directamente en sus intereses propios. Eran similar a los conquistadores y colonizadores de Norte América de hace varios siglos anteriores, cuando los americanos robaron la tierra que ahora ocupan. La unidad nacionalista que subsecuentemente crearon con sus riquezas y tierra robada, proveía por más de cien años de relativamente exitosos conscripciones forzados al militar. Hoy día, sin embargo, a los americanos les gusta imaginarse que su prosperidad no fue construida detrás del genocidio y la esclavitud. En combinación con sus vidas cómodas, la idea de ir a guerra frecuentemente les parece no sólo desagradable sino innecesario. En otras palabras, su amnesia histórica quizás ayudara a socavar a la nación opresora, ya que algunos no comprenden de lo necesario para mantener sus posiciones de privilegio.

Al comienzo del siglo 21, Halliburton tuvo que doblar los sueldos de la gente para convencerlos a que les vayan a Iraq, no como soldados sino como contratistas civil. Pero aún así, ¿vale la pena arriesgar la vida cuando la vida en el hogar es tan cómodo? La alianza americana al imperialismo estadounidense se demuestra en la política, pero cuando tiene que ver con ir a guerra, sus acciones caerán un poco corto de la meta hasta que realmente empiezan a ver que su riqueza materialista comienza a disminuir, lo cual ocurrirá cuando al Tercer Mundo empieza a cerrar los caminos hacia la explotación como lo han hecho en el pasado.

El Complejo Industrial Militar no va a ser parado de por contribuyentes americanos. Los que están impidiéndolo son los combatientes de resistencia quienes han asegurado que los que van a Iraq sólo son los que realmente necesitan estar allá. Desafortunadamente, ese incluye muchas nacionales del Tercer Mundo, algunos de quien están detenidos como presos mientras se fuerzan trabajar por poca paga o sin paga bajo las condiciones la más horrible. Más y más aprenderá la locura de tratar de trabajar por los imperialistas. No hay ningún futuro para las naciones del Tercer Mundo dentro del sistema imperialista, sólo en la resistencia a él.

Los debates sobre el envío de más tropas o la racionalización de los militar estadounidense son debates sobre la optimización imperialismo estadounidense. Lo interesante para nosotros es que la lucha parece ser tan grave, ya que ni plan está resultando viable.

En nuestra crítica sobre la economía de prisiones y la aristocracia del trabajo por lo general, señalamos a los burócratas con sueldos exorbitantes como una parte significante del problema. Pero MIM(Prisiones) no es libertario en su ideología. En todo caso, la experiencia parece mostrar un mayor grado de apropiación indebida de los fondos cuando los servicios se subcontratan. La causa de la corrupción es por motivo de lucro, si la posesión es pública o privada. Este es por qué la nacionalización de las industrias o de bancos no se detiene la explotación, ni tampoco señala un avanzo hacia el socialismo.

Notas:
(1) Chatterjee, Pratap. Halliburton's Army. Nation Books, 2009.
(2) Scahill, Jeremy. Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Nation Books, 2008.
(3) Wright, Paul and Tara Herivel. Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration. New Press, 2007.

chain
[Economics] [Organizing] [Texas]
expand

Prisons Used as Political Tools in Rural Communities

In the prison system, people upstate in rural areas send applications for prisoners to be sent up to the towns. If you live in a rural area upstate and your economic structure has been wiped out you need to have another industry. Now you have prisons. The benefit is that you get money for every person shipped to your state, but you also gain greater political power and shift the political power from the cities to the rural areas because every prisoner who goes into these rural areas is counted as a citizen in the county in which they are incarcerated. So big cities may lose two assemblymen because you and your crew are in jail upstate.

This is why all these rural areas want these prisons built in their communities. Prisoners are a population that they don't have to deal with and will never be heard, but they count as a part of representation in the government giving rural areas greater political power.

That's why these small hick towns have 3 or 4 penitentiaries where they have a population of Blacks and Latinos in their towns when in fact no Blacks or Latinos live within the town, but within the prison. Like the town of Tennessee Colony in Texas which has 4 units: Coffield, Beto, Gurney, and Michaels Unit. In most of these towns and cities most of the prison workers in the unit are related going back 4 to 5 generations: husbands and wives working together, brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, and so on. With this in mind you can picture the tight knit community in these units where "if you touch my mother or sister, I can do anything to you, and there's nothing you can do about it, because everyone on the unit will cover for me."

What most prisoners don't know is that they hold more power and rights than they know. If every prisoner who is from a big city put in for hardships to be at units close to their home, these hick towns could lose all of their political power. And these hick town units with populations of 5,000 would not have any power in their wardens. But there is a catch, once your application is in for a hardship. They are out to get you, and place loads of bogus cases on you, so you have to remain on the Unit 12 months case free before you can be shipped.

What we as prisoners must do is know our enemy when we go out and battle against them. We must be clean and can't have any contraband in our cells, or on our persons when we file law suits against them. And make sure the cameras get playback when they do search you or your cell to show them planting stuff on you or in your cell.

chain
[Middle East] [Economics] [ULK Issue 8]
expand

The Privatization of War: Imperialism Gasps its Last Breaths

profit recruiting
Halliburton, KBR and Blackwater (recently rebranded as "Xe") have all become household names in recent years, and generally with negative connotations. There is much to be said about their corruption that is detailed in the books cited below, and we will draw some parallels to the Prison Industrial Complex in this and other articles. But the bigger question for anti-imperialists is what this signifies for the development and maintenance of imperialism.

The books reviewed for this article describe the two sides of the modern imperialist military of the united $tates. On the one hand you have the state-run military that is buying off amerikan youth with the mall culture they are accustomed to, run by cheap Third World labor. On the other, you have armed contractors, often used for more elite operations, increasing salaries of u$ soldiers by 100% and probably moreso for mercenaries from the Third World. All combined, contractors came to outnumber u$ military personnel on the ground in Iraq. (Chatterjee, p. xvi) The stories of Halliburton/KBR and Blackwater spell out a clear trend: it is costing more than ever for imperialism to keep the personnel levels it needs to maintain global hegemony.

A microcosm of global economy

In Halliburton's Army, Pratap Chatterjee reports that wages for contractors in Iraq are tied explicitly to nationality. This picture is very telling for those who claim that amerikans deserve higher wages because they are more productive. Here you have people coming from all over the world to work on the same site and the pay rates are comparable to what they'd get in their home countries (usually they make more in Iraq). This rule still rang true in the common cases where the Third World persyn had more skills or knowledge than the First Worlder. Contractors from the united $tates who were unemployed and desperate for work started at $80,000 a year plus living expenses to supervise Filipinos who made $200- $1000 per month. One amerikan reported making $130,000 a year to work only 1 day per week. In Bagram, Afghan trash collectors were paid $10 for a 12 hour day, while Indians made $600 a month plus room and board working in fast food restaurants on the base. Filipinos who built the prisons in Guantanamo were kept in horrible prisons themselves, and paid $2.50 an hour for dangerous 12 hour days with no safety equipment. Abuses by contractors got so notorious that India, Nepal and the Philippines all made it illegal for their citizens to work in Iraq. (Chatterjee)

With 35,000 of 47,000 Halliburton employees in Iraq coming from the Third World (Chatterjee, p.142), and comparable wages being paid by nationality, you see a replica of the global economy that most First Worlders defend, even many so-called "Marxists." About 25% of the employees were making exploiter level wages, while the rest were Third World (mostly migrant) workers doing all the hard and dangerous work, for wages below the average value of labor. According to the oppressor nation left, Halliburton wouldn't employ the amerikans at $80,000 plus expenses if they weren't exploiting them. These pseudo-marxists think that an amerikan signing a check produces 10 times more value than a Filipino doing construction work or food preparation. On the global scale there are borders and oceans that somehow make this very same situation even more palatable to the oppressor nation.

The Prison Connection

While Halliburton's and Blackwater's ties to the federal government have long been in question, the government's 39th largest contractor is its very own Federal Prisons Industries (FPI) or UNICOR. (Wright, p. 111) Like the Third World labor behind Halliburton/KBR, author Ian Urbina asserts that the u$ military could not do what it does without the vast amount and diversity of products that FPI provides with prison labor that is paid $0.23 to $1.15 an hour (amounting to $400 million in sales to the Department of Defense in 2002). Franklin D. Roosevelt set up the company using legislation that forced the Department of Defense to purchase from FPI, even when their prices were not the lowest. (Wright, p.113) This move by FDR kept money circulating within the state to further fund its repressive aims, rather than allowing tax money to return to private hands in the form of profit.

This validates the overall patterns that MIM(Prisons) has seen; even the biggest prison labor-powered industry in the country is a subsidy for state repression, not a source of private profit. However we do recognize that the U$ military is not saving money by buying products from FPI - private industries can offer products for as cheap or cheaper. And so we don't agree with Urbina's implication that prison labor is essential to military operations.

Another interesting relationship between the military industrial complex and the prison industrial complex is found in Blackwater owner Erik Prince's $500,000-plus in contributions to the Prison Fellowship Ministries(PFM). PFM is an evangelical Christian organization that sends more than 50,000 volunteers into u$ prisons. (Wright, p.130) While MIM(Prisons) is kept from sending mail to prisoners all over the u$ for saying that revolution is necessary to end the plight of the oppressed, Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson has cited Thomas Jefferson to imply that Christian revolution is necessary in the united $tates. (Scahill, p. 95) Over 1800 facilities have granted PFM access to run programs inside the prisons that have enrolled over 20,000 people. Once again, we demonstrate that censorship of Maoist literature is about politics and not security.

Wannabe amerikans

Blackwater is busy recruiting former CIA operatives around the world as mercenaries, bribing them with u$-level paychecks. The outcome of this should help demonstrate to our critics the importance of the buying off of a whole nation. Amerikan nationalism provides a much stronger defense for imperialism than a mercenary army. Even if most of these mercenaries are steeped in fascist ideology that is conducive to imperialist militarism, the chances of conflicts of interests developing are significantly greater.

The globalization of the imperialist army is a sign of weakness, not of growing strength. Soon there will be absolutely no way for their army to grow (except with robots).

21st Century Amerikan soldiers

From the Civil War to the Cold War, the u$ national military was not recruited through profit motives. However, while amerikan nationalism provided a strong base for imperialist militarism, the continued increase in demands of the parasitic nation eventually undercut their willingness to fight and die for their nation. They could hire Mexicans to do their housework and manual labor, while hiring East Asians to do their industrial production, couldn't they just hire someone to handle the dirty work of fighting their wars for imperialist plunder? Or to paraphrase Chatterjee, amerikan soldiers went from peeling their own potatoes in tents that they set up themselves to having Third World workers serve them all you can eat dinner buffets. You know, to make it feel more like home.

U$ military public relations explains the need to provide such creature comforts as necessary to maintain an all volunteer army in the 21st century. (Chatterjee, p. 10) But the question of why a draft is not viable is the same question of amerikans not being willing to give up their cush lifestyles, which brings the threat of a draft resistance movement that feeds into anti-imperialism.

One soldier reported,

"It is no exaggeration that I live a higher lifestyle here on a base in Iraq than [I would] in the United States. We have free laundry, apartment-like housing with unlimited, free A/C and electricity, hot water, various American fast-food outlets, lounges, free Internet, coffee shops, and a large PX... Baskin Robbins ice cream... once a week we get steak and lobster... karaoke night, all kinds of sports teams..."

And he goes on to conclude,

"Yet just a few hundred meteres outside the fence, little kids are begging for anything: food, bottled water... The reality is very, very, very shocking. We are truly a pampered and spoiled culture." (Chatterjee, p. 11)

This is not a unique realization for spoiled amerikans to make when sent to war in the Third World. But as this soldier also points out, many are there for the very reason that they get better material conditions in Iraq. So they aren't exactly converting to internationalism in droves, despite the dose of reality.

Far from peeling potatoes indeed, Chatterjee describes the typical dining area with ice cream, waffle bars, lobster tails and elaborate holiday dinners, all free to soldiers. Other facilities on big u$ bases include a "mini mall" with stores like Burger King, KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Green Beans Coffee. He goes on to describe the "Scorpions Den": "one is greeted by almost pitch darkness, the background music from a one-hundred-seater open theater, the soft glow of laptops, and the flickering lights of video games... There are also free popcorn, boxes and boxes of bottled water... and a Dipping Dots ice cream machine." Then there is the "Sandbox" where "Dozens of soldiers sit slumped into fake leather armchairs, playing war games or programs like Guitar Hero and watching a Star Trek movie." (Chatterjee, p.6-7)

We see this as a new stage in the history of military recruitment by the oppressor nations. The brutal occupation forces of colonial powers in the Third World more than a century ago acted in their own direct interest. They were similar to the Conquistadors and settlers of North America centuries earlier, when amerikans stole the land they now occupy. The national unity they subsequently built on their stolen land and wealth, provided for over a hundred years of relatively successful forced military drafts. Today, however, amerikans like to pretend that their prosperity is not built on genocide and slavery. Combined with their very comfortable lives, the idea of going to war often seems not just unappealing, but unnecessary. In other words, historical amnesia may help undercut the oppressor nation as some don't understand what it takes to maintain their positions of privilege.

In the beginning of the 21st century, Halliburton had to double people's salaries to get them to go to Iraq as civilian contractors, not soldiers. But even then, is it worth risking your life when life at home is so comfortable? Amerikans allegiance to u$ imperialism is demonstrated in their politics, but when it comes to going to war, their actions will fall a bit short until they really start to see their material wealth start to diminish, which will happen once the Third World begins shutting of the paths of exploitation as it has in the past.

The military industrial complex will not be stopped by amerikan taxpayers. It is being stopped by resistance fighters who have ensured that only those who really need to be there are going to Iraq. Unfortunately, that includes many Third World nationals, some of whom are being held as prisoners while being forced to work for little to no pay under the most horrible conditions. More and more will learn the folly of trying to work for the imperialists. There is no future for the Third World nations within the imperialist system, only in resistance to it.

The debates about sending more troops or streamlining the u$ military are debates about optimizing u$ imperialism. The interesting part to us is that the struggle appears to be so acute as neither plan is proving viable.

In our criticisms of the prison economy and the labor aristocracy in general, we point to overpaid bureaucrats as a significant part of the problem. But MIM(Prisons) is not Libertarian. If anything, experience seems to show a greater degree of misappropriation of funds when services are contracted out. The cause of corruption is the profit motive, whether ownership is private or public. This is why nationalizing industries or banks does not stop exploitation, nor does it signal a move towards socialism.

notes:
(1) Chatterjee, Pratap. Halliburton's Army. Nation Books, 2009.
(2) Scahill, Jeremy. Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Nation Books, 2008.
(3) Wright, Paul and Tara Herivel. Prison Profiteers: Who makes money from mass incarceration. New Press, 2007.

This article referenced in:
chain
[Economics] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Financial Crisis: Capitalism is an irrational economic system

Amerikan financial leaders were taken by surprise with the recent financial meltdown in Amerika and around the world. Even those who predicted the credit crisis did not expect the far reaching consequences. In fact on October 23, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan told congress he was "shocked" at the situation and admitted that capitalism was not working as well as he thought it would. Greenspan went so far as to say he was "partially wrong" to think the free market could regulate itself. Greenspan was the chair of the Federal Reserve for over 18 years.

In reality the capitalists know perfectly well that the free market does not work. The regulation of financial markets (or any government regulation) contradicts the fundamental principals of free market capitalism, but they are happy to regulate when it works in their financial interests. Some people are complaining that the government is introducing "socialist" practices with this regulation. But the capitalist government of Amerika knows very well what it's doing - it is preserving capitalism, not promoting socialism. The inevitable crises of capitalism expose weaknesses in the system. To preserve that system, the capitalists need to shore up the economy. If that requires regulation, they will have no problem doing it.

Marx taught us a couple musts of a capitalist economy: capital must circulate and capital must accumulate. These two musts conflict with each other. Accumulation led to imperialism and the limits that imperialism put on circulation led to the crises of the 1930s in the capitalist world.



John Keynes represented the path to saving capitalism during the Great Depression. A path that John McCain and Joe the plumber would call socialism today, but a path that was developed by Keynes and implemented by the Roosevelt administration that was explicitly in opposition to socialism, which existed at the time in the Soviet Union.



Marx did predict this crisis - not directly because he could not know our specific conditions today. But to the extent that he correctly predicted that capitalism will always face crises, Marx was once again right about capitalism. In basic terms, Marx said that capitalism is not rational and so the capitalists are going to overproduce as a part of competition because they can not know the exact size of the market, nor can they rationally apportion that market to the producers.

Lenin expanded on Marx's theories explaining that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. One of the definitive characteristics of imperialism described by Lenin was the rise of finance capital. Like all capital, finance capital could not just sit still. So markets were created that didn't actually sell material goods but sold money itself or promises of money in various forms. Not only was this the haven for the imperialists with ever-concentrating capital, but increasingly, the oppressor nation became involved in these markets as ways of getting their share of global super-profits, while helping the imperialists manage these massive economic games. 



In the 1930s, there was anti-capitalist pressure from a socialist Soviet Union that was expanding its economy at record rates while the capitalist world crumbled. Meanwhile fascism exerted its own pressures on the future of capitalism in Europe unleashing unbridled violence to advance their own economic prosperity. In response, the idea that government was responsible for a nation's economic welfare and had the right to interfere in economics became prominent among the bourgeoisie for the first time.



The success of the New Deal was built on shattered post-WWII Europe and Japan, which the united $tates could use as an outlet for its own expanding production. Without these consumer nations, an army of people ready to work at home and new access to labor and resources of dozens of former European colonies, the New Deal policies would not have succeeded as they did in bringing a thriving u$-led capitalism to life.



Compared to the New Deal days, the u$ economy may be too top heavy this time. With most amerikans working in finance, law enforcement, state bureaucracies, advertisement/sales and other service industries, we have a country of parasites. There is no surplus value and little surplus population to fall back on. And we'll probably see a fascist revolution in this country before we see large numbers of amerikans taking up public works jobs that they currently force on Mexicans and other oppressed peoples.



Today the united $tates is no longer a rising economy, it is at the top and it is top heavy. With the former socialist countries having been incorporated back into the capitalist economy in the later decades of the 20th century, there are no new markets to break into. And with a large population that does not produce close to enough to sustain itself, being cut off from Third World labor and resources would be disastrous for the u$ economy.



While Keynes held that government intervention was necessary to keep a capitalist economy expanding, he did not recognize the limits on capitalist expansion recognized by Marx and Lenin. These limits make it harder and harder for capitalism to recover with time as accumulation becomes more extreme. Without imperialist war and massive loss of life, this accumulation remained a barrier to recovering from the Great Depression.



The Keynesians, increasingly the majority of capitalists during this economic crisis, say that the only way to stop the irrational banks is regulation - capitalism can not regulate itself because of the drive for profit, and the lack of information about competitors. We must distinguish this system of capitalism from socialism, which is characterized by nationalization of industry and finance, but more importantly, is controlled by a dictatorship of the proletariat working in the interests of the vast majority of the people. Any nationalization done under capitalism is controlled by a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie working in the interests of the few. In China, after Mao died, the bourgeoisie took power and began running the government for the profit of a few. They left industries nationalized and this fooled some people into thinking China was still socialist. But as the recent actions of the Amerikan government demonstrate, nationalization is not synonymous with socialism.

Although we should not confuse capitalist regulation with socialism, it is interesting to note that there are reports of a big upsurge in sales of Karl Marx's book Capital, as well as visits to his grave as people around the world seek an explanation for the financial crisis. While capitalism is making big profits for the imperialists and their labor aristocrats, those people benefiting have little interest in questioning the system. But in a time of crises some people are apparently inspired to think a little harder about what capitalism means. We don't anticipate this leading to a global upsurge in support for communism. Even with the current economic crisis, the workers in imperialist countries are still benefiting from the exploitation of the Third World. And so their economic interests are still tied up with capitalism.

True to the interests of the Amerikan citizens, what is considered progressive radio in the u$ can't stop crying about mortgages, car payments and kids having to go to community college. They completely ignore that most people in the world have never owned a car, a house or had a chance to get a college education. Joe the plumber, McCain's example of anti-Obama working people in Amerika, did a press event where he announced he was scared of Obama trying to take the country to socialism. Joe the plumber is in the richest 3.89% globally, that's why he's scared of wealth redistribution. When things get really bad, Joe the plumber is going to be fighting for national socialism so that at least he doesn't have to share with other nations.


For those labor aristocrats who want a more rational economic system, we encourage them to study communism. But we won't lie to them and tell them that fighting for communism is fighting for their economic interests. This will just foster reactionary nationalism, or fascism. And it is times of economic crisis when we need to be most wary of fascist upsurges in countries where the workers are benefiting from the exploitation of oppressed nations.

In general, times of capitalist crisis are times of opportunity for the international proletariat. While it is clear that it will take a lot more than the latest crisis to move the imperialist country citizens into the ranks of the proletariat and form a mass base for revolution, the revolutionary movements in Third World countries can take advantage of imperialist weaknesses. The relative strength of imperialism at this point in time may pull it through, but certainly the current crisis may allow our comrades in the Third World to gain some ground in the fight for liberation. The imperialists are doing what they can to shore up smaller countries hit hardest by economic collapse by providing IMF loans (Iceland, Hungary, Ukraine). But these loans are provided strategically and will not prevent the suffering and exploitation of Third World people, which existed before this economic crisis and will continue after it until the people rise up and put an end to this system of imperialism.

Notes: See MIM Theory 1 and 10 for further elaboration on why the Amerikan citizens are part of the labor aristocracy and not the proletariat.

This article referenced in:
chain
[Prison Labor] [Economics] [California]
expand

"News and Letters" misses the boat on labor aristocracy

Greetings and respects to all. Thanks you guys for the free newsletter you sent me. I found it to be very interesting and insightful. However I couldn't help but to notice the enormous amount of support you guys give to the various labor unions here in the United States. And also in other First World nations. Do you guys not consider these labor unions part of the 'Labor Aristocracy?" To be a bit more specific on this term, please allow me to directly quote from our comrades Theory Journal #1 "White Proletariat?" By the way, when I say "our comrades" I'm speaking about the Maoist Internationalist Movement. Anyhow, "The labor aristocracy comprises the elite workers in the world who the capitalist class have bribed with profits obtained from other workers. Lenin said that imperialism gives the bourgeoisie enough super-profits to 'devote a part (and not a small one at that!) to bribe their own workers, to create something like an alliance…between the workers of a given nation and capitalists.." "There is the tendency of the bourgeoisie and the opportunists to convert a handful of very rich and privileged nations into 'eternal' parasites on the body of mankind to 'rest on the laurels' of the exploitation of negros, first world nations, etc., keeping them in subjection with the aid of the excellent weapons of extermination provided by modern militarism." "Lenin believed there was a growing labor aristocracy which owed its position to the workers exploited and super-exploited abroad."

A perfect example of one such union that's filled with these parasites is the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). This particular "labor union" through the exploitation of minorities in this state has quickly risen to become one of California's largest and most powerful unions around. Through the bribing of government officials they've been able to consolidate power at the very highest levels. That unfortunately has cost us minorities very dearly. Because now they are able to pass even more stringent laws aimed at us. Thus keeping their "cash cow" well fed. And us and our communities oppressed.

Another union that comes to mind is the AFL-CIO. This particular union has a very unsavory past, to say the very least. From Guatemala to Chile, they have helped to oppress our brothers and sisters. Or did they not play a very significant role in bringing down the "Allende Government in Chile!?! Or did they not provide assistance to the United Fruit company in Guatemala when they were trying to smash the indigenous led union!?! Their foreign policy speaks for itself. Of course I could go on and on about these labor unions. But I'll go ahead and stop here. I hope to get some feedback from you guys on this topic. Once again, thanks for the newsletter.

MIM responds: This comrade's analysis of "News and Letters" position on unions is right on. The only point we disagree with is where s/he writes that the CCPOA "through the exploitation of minorities in this state, has quickly risen to become one of California's largest and most powerful unions around." Presumably the minorities in this state referenced are prisoners. The current economics of prisons don't (yet) support this statement. Prisons in California don't yet make a profit off of prisoners; they are still greatly subsidized by the state. And so it is not the CCPOA doing the exploiting, though the use of them as an example remains correct as they are definitely benefiting from exploitation of Third World peoples as those superprofits are brought home and the state of California uses them to build more prisons and pay high wages to CCPOA workers.

chain