Category Archives: International

Llamado a anular el voto en las elecciones de Mexico de junio de 2015

LA COYUNTURA POLITICA Y LAS ELECCIONES INTERMEDIAS EN MEXICO

Convertir las elecciones en un referendum contra el régimen del PRI-PAN-PRD

Por Partido de Izquierda

Sección en Estados Unidos de Izquierda Internacional

En México el 7 de junio del presente año se llevarán a cabo elecciones de mitad de sexenio. Estas elecciones se llevan a cabo en medio de una gran crisis política y social producto de las acciones represivas del régimen en combinación con las redes del narcotráfico que lo han infiltrado o con las que se ha asociado. Los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos en Ayotzinapa se suman a los miles de desaparecidos y las decenas de miles de asesinados en los últimos años como resultado de la incorporación activa del ejército a la guerra contra las drogas orquestada por Estados Unidos. El PRI se encuentra nuevamente al frente del poder ejecutivo impulsando una renovada ofensiva neoliberal apoyada incondicionalmente por el PAN, y por el PRD en su giro a la derecha tras su adhesión al llamado Pacto por México.

Si bien, en lo económico vemos en México un incremento en la productividad industrial esta se da como resultado de la introducción reciente de medidas anti-obreras de flexibilización con una reforma laboral aprobada en los albores de la administración calderonista. Este aumento en la productividad se basa en una mayor explotación del trabajo asalariado que al no redituar en mejoras salariales conduce a incrementar aun más la concentración de la riqueza por parte de la burguesía nacional e internacional. A la vista están los resultados de tres décadas de políticas neoliberales en tanto un continuo proceso de privatización de empresas y bienes estatales y la entrega constante y sin tapujos de los recursos nacionales al imperialismo norteamericano y recientemente al imperialismo chino, impulsado por regímenes tanto priistas como panistas y más recientemente con el aval del PRD al Pacto por México. Dichas políticas neoliberales han producido en México, y en todos lados, una súper-concentración de riqueza en pocas manos, la profundización de planes de austeridad para los trabajadores, destrucción de los derechos laborales y legislaciones nacionales de carácter social obtenidas anteriormente con la lucha de las masas, fundamentalmente con la Revolución de 1910.

¿QUE HACER EL DIA DE LAS ELECCIONES?Dado que no hay nadie por quién votar, llamamos al repudio de las instituciones de la actual narco-democracia burguesa corrupta a todos los niveles. Concretamente son válidas todas las formas de repudio del proceso electoral en curso. Dado que no existe en estos momentos un movimiento de masas unificado alrededor de una formulación única, creemos que es prioritario que las organizaciones locales tomen la iniciativa. Nuestra propuesta concreta es un llamado a la movilización activa a las urnas y anular el voto. Los votos nulos sí se cuantifican y se reportan oficialmente y no cambian la proporción de los votos válidos, contrariamente a los que afirman que los votos nulos favorecen al PRI. El llamado al voto nulo es un referéndum contra el régimen.

Toda forma de rechazo al régimen es válida, desde Cheran con su autodeterminación basada en usos y costumbres tradicionales eligiendo a sus propias de autoridades comunales al margen del gobierno y de los partidos políticos del régimen, hasta la posible organización de un boicot activo en la ciudad de México que incluya foros, marchas pintadas, happenings, como medios para expresar el descontento contra el gobierno tripartidista PRI-PAN-PRD y sus satélites y paleros como el PVEM e incluyendo también la falsa opción de MORENA.

Y en los lugares en donde la maquinaria narco-política controla las vidas cotidianas de la población los llamamos a actuar con la más extrema cautela sin exponerse innecesariamente a las represalias violentas de las autoridades o de los carteles. Lo importante es sobrevivir y preparar las luchas que en el futuro permitan dar el vuelco a la situación para deshacernos de las lacras que nos oprimen.■

La infame guerra contra las drogas, orquestada desde hace más de cuatro décadas por el gobierno norteamericano bajo administraciones tanto demócratas como republicanas, ha producido un crecimiento geométrico de la violencia que alcanza ya niveles sin precedentes, de magnitudes catastróficas con decenas de miles de muertos y desaparecidos. Los gobiernos del PRI, PAN y PRD han pactado la gobernabilidad con las redes del narcotráfico, se han visto permeadas por estas, siendo co-responsables de sus atrocidades. Esta descomposición política quedo claramente expuesta en el emblemático caso de los 43 estudiantes normalistas de Ayotzinapa, desaparecidos en una acción conjunta de la policía, el ejército federal y los gobiernos locales estatal y municipal.

EL DESCONTENTO CRECE PERO NADIE SABE HACIA DONDE SE DIRIGE

En el último periodo hemos presenciado un enorme descontento social en ascenso ante la represión, la corrupción, la impunidad y recientemente ante las condiciones de súper explotación en el norte del país de los campesinos de San Quintin por parte de agro empresarios tanto mexicanos como norteamericanos, así como la re-emergencia de grupos guerrilleros y el surgimiento y vaivén de las auto defensas, que dada la composición social de clase media de su dirección han oscilado entre la confrontación y la negociación con el gobierno federal.

Las luchas del ultimo periodo en el movimiento estudiantil, desde el surgimiento de los Yo soy 132, hasta las masivas movilizaciones del Politécnico que consiguieron derrotar parte de la agenda neoliberal de privatización de la enseñanza superior y las actuales movilizaciones por la presentación de los estudiantes desaparecidos, son un signo de la disposición a la lucha y de repudio a los partidos del régimen. Lo mismo ha acontecido en el movimiento contra la degradación del trabajo de las enfermeras quienes organizaron un movimiento nacional de resistencia. Entre los trabajadores de la educación se viene de una derrota tras la imposición de la reforma educativa lo que ha mermado la capacidad de lucha de la CNTE, la corriente independiente y combativa dentro del Sindicato Nacional de Maestros, que por más de 30 años venía jugando un papel de dirección política y social dentro del movimiento de masas, contando con gran prestigio y respeto entre los trabajadores, los luchadores y el pueblo en general, la cual se ha mantenido al margen, o respondido de manera limitada, marginal y tibiamente ante el gran torbellino social y político que estremece el país.
Ahora la CNTE ha lanzado un llamado a una huelga nacional contra varios aspectos de la reforma educativa y llama a boicotear las elecciones del 7 de junio.

Ese rol histórico de la CNTE ha sido tomado muy parcialmente por el SME, Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas, el cual le ha estado apoyando la lucha por la presentación de los estudiantes desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa. Los trabajadores del SME que perdieron su trabajo luego de que el gobierno de Calderón disolviera la Compañia de Luz van a ser recontratados tras el acuerdo con el gobierno de crear una nueva empresa mixta, con fondos públicos y privados, que dará servicio en el Valle de México.

Definitivamente se observa también una creciente postura anti partidista en amplios sectores populares así como de luchadores sociales como respuesta a la evidenciada corrupción y abandono de todo compromiso social del PRI, PAN y PRD y de otras fuerzas menores también culpables de lo mismo, o políticamente incapaces de ofrecer alternativas políticas, tales como Morena, el PT o el Partido Verde Ecologista.

Desafortunadamente esta postura política anti-partido, aparentemente radical, no es solamente contraproducente sino que le termina haciéndole el juego al sistema porque para poder triunfar las masas necesitan de una organización política revolucionaria que plantee claramente la necesidad de destruir el sistema responsable por la situación actual, que plantee la extirpación de las raíces que causan la pobreza, la represión, la corrupción y la violencia sin sentido. Una organización política revolucionaria de las masas en lucha que se plantee tareas estratégicas orientadas a la destrucción del estado burgués y la construcción del socialismo. Nuestro partido, el Partido de Izquierda, a diferencia de las corrientes anarquistas no rechaza por principio la participación en las elecciones burguesas sino que consideramos estas como un terreno más de la lucha de clases, ciertamente no olvidamos que se trata del terreno privilegiado de la burguesía para simular que cuenta con mandato popular. Nuestra posición ante las elecciones, al igual que en toda otra lucha, se basa en lo que consideramos que es más adecuado en las condiciones existentes en determinado momento de la lucha de clases para favorecer el avance de las luchas obreras y populares. La otra consideración es el grado de desarrollo y capacidad de nuestra propia organización.


LAS PEORES ELECCIONES DE LA HISTORIA

En estas elecciones se renovaran 500 puestos de la cámara de diputados, 300 de los cuales son uninominales y 200 de representación proporcional o plurinominales y miembros de la cámara de senadores; hay además elecciones en 17 estados, en 9 de los cuales se disputan las gubernaturas, incluyendo Guerrero y Michoacán. En la actual coyuntura el sistema de partidos políticos ha caído a su más bajo nivel de credibilidad en décadas, no existen partidos políticos de trabajadores socialistas con registro.

Actualmente en México existen en total 10 partidos políticos con registro electoral, tres de los cuales participan por primera ocasión con un status condicional (MORENA, Encuentro Social y Partido Humanista). Históricamente el sistema electoral de México ha sido diseñado por el partido en el poder y más recientemente por los partidos hegemónicos, con el objetivo de mantenerse en el poder. Los nuevos partidos son creados y promovidos para fragmentar el voto de la oposición. El PRI tiene una larga trayectoria de construcción de partidos satélites para simular una diversidad política inexistente.

Los padres de los 43 estudiantes, estudiantes y maestros de Ayotzinapa, familiares y aliados cercanos han llamado a la ciudadanía a no participar de las elecciones, no boicotearlas o abstenerse, sino tan solo no participar. Grupos de “autodefensa legítima” de Michoacán llaman a no votar o si ven intimidados a votar de cierta manera, que lo hagan del modo que sea mas seguro para ellos. Por otro lado, distintas organizaciones en la izquierda llaman indistintamente a votar en blanco, a la abstención, al voto nulo, a boicotear, etc. Morena definitivamente llama a la participación electoral, en tanto que dicen que no votar es dejarle el paso libre a la derecha y al narco estado, olvidando convenientemente que los narco políticos responsables de la represión en Ayotzinapa son los mismos que hicieron la campaña presidencial de López Obrador en el 2012.

Nuestro partido, el Partido de Izquierda, reconoce que en estas elecciones no existe ninguna fuerza política en la izquierda u obrera por la cual se deba llamar a votar. El que hacer ante una situación como esta (abstenerse, boicotear las elecciones, votar en blanco, etc.), depende únicamente del estadio de la lucha de clases y de la voluntad de las organizaciones de masas de la clase trabajadora de orquestar una respuesta organizada. Si el llamado contra la participación electoral continúa y se convierte en un clamor amplio, enfilado en un movimiento social, nuestra organización acompañaría esta experiencia, dando todo el apoyo posible, y llamando a otros a ser parte de un boicot nacional. En tales circunstancias las elecciones podrían darles a los luchadores la oportunidad de hacer un recuento de la magnitud de su fuerza y poder plantearse nuevas tareas que conduzcan a la organización revolucionaria de las masas y de su vanguardia.

Si ninguno de los partidos políticos que gobiernan sirve, si todos son corruptos, asesinos, narcos, lacayos de la burguesía y del imperialismo norteamericano y no hacen sino beneficiarse ellos mismos y no hacen mas que profundizar los problemas políticos y sociales del pueblo mexicano, entonces, es necesario que se vayan ya… ¡que se vayan todos! Pugnamos por un nuevo movimiento, con líderes reconocidos y electos que se plantee la lucha por la toma del poder y comience, sin más dilaciones, una etapa nueva en los destinos de México. Apoyamos la lucha de los comuneros de Cheran, quienes han establecido mecanismos democráticos para decidir entre todos como, cuando y con quien van a regir su vida social. Desafortunadamente no existe por ahora un movimiento para seguir este ejemplo y extender una lucha como esta a nivel nacional. Por esta razón es que planteamos que en las presentes elecciones se deben convertir en referéndum de rechazo a todos los partidos del régimen del gobierno mexicano y que esto se realice de manera coordinada con otros localmente y continuar con las posibles acciones a seguir, más allá de las elecciones de junio en tanto planes estratégicos para la resolución de esta crisis. El Partido de Izquierda llama a movilizarse a las urnas a anular el voto como forma de rechazo activo, la cantidad de votos nulos que deberán ser dados a conocer reflejarán de manera aproximada la magnitud de las fuerzas con las que contamos.

Por otra parte, el Partido de Izquierda también hace un llamado a la reflexión sobre la superficial generalización de que todo partido es un partido corrupto, asesino y narco, los partidos del régimen sí lo son, pero no todo partido es un partido del régimen. Los partidos son organizaciones políticas que representan clases sociales, sectores de la población, etc. En estos momentos los partidos obreros en México son muy débiles y no se les permite acceder a las contiendas electorales con el propósito de aislarlos e impedir que lleguen a amplios sectores de masas con su programa, sus ideas de justicia social y propuestas organizativas, para avanzar en las tareas históricas de emancipación de los trabajadores y terminar con la explotación capitalista y todas sus secuelas, por la construcción de un México y un mundo socialista. La formación de partidos y organizaciones políticas de obreros, campesinos, de la juventud y trabajadores en general, con política y objetivos revolucionarios, es absolutamente esencial –y la clave– para la resolución de la crisis que enfrentamos.

PRI-PAN-PRD: REGIMEN TRIPARTIDISTA

PRI, PAN y PRD son los partidos dominantes del régimen. Fueron firmantes del Pacto por México que fue negociada en secreto antes de la toma de posesión de Peña Nieto. El Pacto por México es un salto cualitativo en el avance de la agenda neoliberal. Abre las puertas a la privatización de todo lo que se encuentra en el dominio público, desde la educación hasta el petróleo y los recursos eléctricos. Estos tres partidos mantienen un pacto de no agresión y se escudan mutuamente. Peña Nieto protege al PRD por la masacre de Ayotzinapa, el PRD guarda silencio debido ante las revelaciones de corrupción en el PRI. (La oposición ha estado notablemente tranquila en el tema ((de la corrupción)) ya que, sospechan los expertos, muchos tienen esqueletos en sus armarios”. – semanario inglés The Economist). En siete municipios de Michoacán hay una alianza electoral del PRI, PAN y PRD, “para evitar” la infiltración del crimen organizado. La incorporación del PRD al régimen tiene como objetivo el prevenir que surja una verdadera fuerza de izquierda obrera y socialista que represente auténticamente los intereses de los explotados y los oprimidos. El desgaste del PRD en esa función es lo que explica el surgimiento de Morena, un aparato político alrededor de López Obrador, excandidato presidencial del PRD.■

 

Partidos políticos con status electoral en México

PRI
Partido Revolucionario Institucional

Partido burgués hegemónico de México desde hace más de 70 años. Sus métodos de gobierno tradicionales se basaron en el clientelismo y la represión. En los últimos 30 años el PRI ha transformado su corrupto y demagógico nacionalismo burgués en un servilismo sin repujo ante el FMI y al neoliberalismo más pro imperialista coronándose con la firma del tratado de libre comercio NAFTA. Cuando la burbuja neoliberal estalló en 1994, el PRI se precipitó en una crisis que culminaría con la pérdida de las elecciones presidenciales del año 2000. Sin embargo el PRI logró mantener una presencia a nivel de las gubernaturas y desde esa base lanzó su recuperación electoral a partir de las elecciones del 2006 en las que el PAN ya daba muestras de desgaste. El PRI recuperó la presidencia en el 2012 con Peña Nieto tras la debacle de los gobiernos de Fox-Calderón.


PAN
Partido Acción Nacional

Partido de la burguesía conservadora, ultra católica y opositor tradicional de México desde los años 30´s Ganó las elecciones presidenciales en el 2000 y el 2006. Sus gobiernos no hicieron más que continuar con la misma agenda neoliberal del PRI y en alianza con él, aunque de manera menos efectiva, pero además con un giro más pro-imperialista. Su acatamiento de la guerra contra las drogas resultó en una debacle con decenas de miles de muertos, desaparecidos y la ocupación de espacios políticos por el narcotráfico y por criminales en colusión con los principales partidos políticos. El PAN al reducir hasta lo más mínimo la función pública del gobierno creó un vacío político que fue ocupado por las redes de narcotraficantes que penetraron en los aparatos de gobierno como forma de controlar territorialmente sus líneas de distribución y sus plazas.


PRD
Partido de la Revolución Democrática

Partido surgido alrededor del movimiento que presentó a Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas para presidente en el año 1988. El PRI se vio obligado a efectuar un fraude electoral colosal para imponer a Salinas de Gortari en la presidencia, con la connivencia confesada del mismo Cárdenas. La izquierda socialista que se pretendía independiente desapareció literalmente al ser absorbida por el PRD (Partido por la Revolución Democrática). La totalidad del PSUM (Partido Socialista Unificado de México – Proveniente del Partido Comunista), PMT (Partido Mexicano de los Trabajadores – Proveniente de sectores nacionalistas de las luchas de los ferrocarrileros en los 50’s y los estudiantes en los 60’s), y la mayoría de la dirección del PRT (Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores – Organización trotskista del Secretariado Unificado), así como de varias corrientes maoístas adhirieron a esta nueva formación política burguesa de recambio. A lo largo de los años al PRD se incorporaron todo tipo de políticos arribistas provenientes del PRI como el ex gobernador de Guerrero y responsable de la represión de los estudiantes de Ayotzinapa en el año 2012 y el 2015. Mucha de esta pseudo izquierda ha decidido ahora irse detrás de MORENA pero otros que provienen del estalinismo se mantienen en sus filas, como Pablo Gómez el ultimo secretario general del PSUM. Al PRD han renunciado varios de sus presidentes históricos incluyendo Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. El seudo izquierdista PRD ha concretado alianzas electorales con el PAN en contiendas locales y estatales.


PT
Partido del Trabajo

Formado por ex miembros prominentes del PRI que ahora repudian su neoliberalismo pero que fueron participes del fraude contra el PRD en los 80s.


PVEM
Partido Verde Ecologista de México

Es un partido palero del PRI. Es creado artificialmente con el fin de contrarrestar votos a la oposición y que viola sistemáticamente las leyes electorales con toda impunidad.


Movimiento Ciudadano

Antes se llamaba Convergencia. Formado por ex priístas cercanos al PRD (Dante Delgado Renauro, ex gobernador de Veracruz por el PRI) adhirieron a las campañas presidenciales de Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas (2000) y López Obrador del PRD (2006 y 2012). La mitad de sus diputados se fueron a MORENA, dicen ser los socialdemócratas más consistentes.


PANAL
Nueva Alianza

Fundada por la corrupta dirigente del SNTE Elba Ester Gordillo que está actualmente en la cárcel pero solamente porque representaba un obstáculo para la reforma educativa de Peña Nieto.


MORENA
Movimiento Regeneración Nacional

Es el principal de los tres partidos con registro condicionado. Es una formación de ex perredistas que se agruparon como facción al interior del PRD no como una corriente partidista sino como un supuesto movimiento ciudadano. Consiguieron la nominación de López Obrador como candidato presidencial del PRD por segunda ocasión. Rompieron con el PRD tras de la derrota de López Obrador frente a Peña Nieto en las elecciones presidenciales del 2012 y formaron un partido político aparte. La dirección del partido es una maquinaria controlada por López Obrador y un reducido número de dirigentes. Se proclaman anti-neoliberales pero no les impide declararse amigos de Carlos Slim, magnate de telecomunicaciones. No repudian al PRI que existía antes de Salina de Gortari, ya que López Obrador era miembro del PRI en esos tiempos. Morena aspira a representar el proyecto nacionalista burgués original abandonado por el PRI primero y luego por el PRD, supuestamente reivindican el Juarismo, la revolución mexicana y el cardenismo. No es una organización que se plantee llevar a cabo cambios revolucionarios e incluso elude identificarse como socialdemócrata porque quiere atraer el apoyo de sectores de la burguesía supuestamente anti-neoliberal. Es un partido con una ideología pequeñoburguesa inconsistente llena de frases vacías (Por el Bien de México era el nombre de la coalición alrededor de López Obrador). 200 de las 300 candidaturas plurinominales de MORENA de definieron por una tómbola. .http://www.elfinanciero.com.mx/nacional/tombola-de-morena-hace-candidatos-a-amas-de-casa-y-fans-de-amlo.html AMLO sugirió a los candidatos de Morena cómo gastar sus recursos: “Van a tener cada diputado, cada candidato 20 mil pesos. Como se dice coloquialmente: ya se rayaron. Les alcanza para 50 mil volantes. Nos estamos tomando la foto con los candidatos, es un retrato, un volante a media carta, la foto, ¿qué tienen que decir los volantes? Limpiemos de corrupción a México. Morena la esperanza de México. Eso es todo. Casa por casa”. http://aristeguinoticias.com/2402/mexico/elige-morena-candidatos-por-tombola-amlo-dice-que-no-aceptara-traidores-y-que-la-tercera-es-la-vencida/


Partido Humanista
y
Partido Encuentro Social
 

Encuentro Social esta formado por ex dirigentes del PAN y PRD cercanos a Convergencia (ahora Movimiento Ciudadano) en el 2007 aliado del PAN y Nueva Alianza. Estos dos partidos obtuvieron su registro provisional recientemente condicionado a los resultados electorales. Afirman que no son ni de derecha ni de izquierda.

 

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The War on Drugs: A Labyrinth Without Exit

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By Anastasia Gómez

Mexico is now looking  into  “a deep dark hole that leads to nowhere.” In a real war for the control over narco criminal enterprises, where the drug cartels and the governments of both Mexico and United States play leading roles, the entire population suffers from the horrors of war on a daily basis.

The talk about narco-corridos, narco-trucks, narco-fosas, narco-ranchos1, etc. has become commonplace and no one is shocked by it anymore. The daily news reports of hangings, burnings, corpses littering the large avenues, reports of those missing and abducted, narco-funded churches, military troops guarding different cities, new discoveries of drug plantations or huge drug shipments aren’t news to anyone either.

Nor is anybody surprised by the daily clashes of narcos against narcos, narcos against military, military against policemen, policemen against politicians, politicians against drug traffickers, and a range of possible variants involving even more recently formed paramilitary forces. This is a war that has already gone beyond the framework of drug trafficking and has turned into a mafia war, where crime cartels have expanded their criminal activities to include theft, extortion, abduction, trafficking of people, (mainly Central American immigrants), to name only a few. Moreover, these criminal activities are not confined to the actions of capos, politicians, corrupt security forces, producers, distributors and thugs, but is a phenomenon that has become increasingly integrated into the economic structures of the country.

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Uprising of the Masses in North Africa & the Arabic World

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UPRISING OF THE MASSES IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE ARABIC PEOPLE
THE SOLUTION: SECULAR GOVERNMENTS OF WORKERS AND THE OPPRESSED

EDITORIAL
The recent uprisings and massive protests, in some cases with insurrectional characteristics that started in Tunisia, continued in Algeria, Yemen, Morocco, Jordan and caused the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt, the most important country in the region, do not seem to have an end in sight, geographically or politically. Currently Gadhafi is causing a bloodbath in Libya in his attempt to hold on to power.

Different analysts have speculated that these social explosions are a product of the economic crisis in Europe, particularly in France, England, Belgium and Italy. And they are correct in that the intensification of poverty, unemployment and lack of housing in the region have acted as an impetus to the present situation. However their analysis is incomplete. Equally important is the political/ideological and cultural development in the region.

The persistence of corrupt dictatorial governments, which have sold out the people and resources of the Middle East to allow for the growth of US, European, and Israeli colonialism coupled with the Western aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Western support for Israeli policy in Gaza and Palestine, have created mass frustration. These are some of the issues that have a deep impact on the consciousness of the masses and are as important as the economic causes. The governments of Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, and many others, have built their regimes on the armed forces and on a continuous struggle against Fundamentalist Islamism which all of them see as an immediate and substantial danger.

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The Imperialist Titanic

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Europeans know splendor like they know decadence (and its consequences), but even throughout several different generations of experience, they have not always learned from their history. Will they learn this time? There has been anger, confusion, rebellion, xenophobia and impotence. Will anything good emerge from this?

By Nicolás Barros

 

The situation in Europe is far from good. Europeans have routinely trashed and irrationally exploited the environment for centuries. More recently there has been a lack of  investment in new and improved technologies and manufacturing plants;  instead  there has been only pushes  to spend on useless and unnecessary construction, to withhold  capital from increasing manufacturing capacity, and  even at times to invest capital in manufacturing outside of Europe. After all this, the chickens are coming home to roost.

The European Union is a thing of the past; it has drowned. It is the subject of much speculation and conjecture as to how it may continue to splinter, but there is no argument over the grim circumstances of its current status. England began its retreat before finishing its entrance. The country’s political and financial leadership is alarmed by the inevitable slide of its financial market under the domination of Zurich. With the dismantling of its former industrial power, England will simply be converted into a semi-colony of France, Germany and India.

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Venezuela, Ecuador AND Bolivia

Por Pili Rosales

The names Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Rafael Correa have become synonymous with controversy. Right wing, conservative and moderate political pundits and political actors from the ruling class and middle class vilify them while moderates, liberals and self-styled leftists have installed the three of them on altars as highly anticipated messiahs. Despite the differences in the political paths they followed to leadership, their different national circumstances and their own styles of speaking, these three figureheads have many peculiarities and points in common. Paradoxically, all three proclaim the urgency of promoting “liberation democracies” in Latin America while simultaneously working to increase the strength and centrality of their own power. Even considering their differences Hugo, Rafael and Evo share one major thing in common, their populist politics within the limiting framework of bourgeoisie nationalism.

While in many ways their visions coincide, the three emerged into their respective political arenas and work in different national contexts, which influences their independent projects. When Chavez was elected as president of Venezuela for the first time in 1999, the progressive sectors there and the worldwide left had high expectations for him. Chavez fashioned his campaign on an agenda of Latin American unity and anti-imperialist and anti-oligarchic rhetoric that resonated with the oppressed, sectors of the middle class and most of the working class. These people constituted the 60% of the popular vote, which legitimized his campaign against the failure of the old bipartisanship.

Chavez’s opposition in Venezuela is diverse: Important sectors of the bourgeoisie, the middle class, students and even some privileged sectors of workers. However the attacks of the “escualidos” (the most right wing and reactionary opposition to Chavez in the country) launching racist and class biased attacks against him and his supporters, have until now fueled the red waves of Chavistas to respond bravely after each incident with slogans like “¡Nos quieren tumbar a nuestro Negro, pero no los vamos a dejar!” (They want us to take our negro down, but we will not let that happen!)

Since taking office in 2006, Morales in Bolivia and Correa in Ecuador have declared their support for Chavez and his proposals for the continent. Their elections had been similar to that of Chavez in Venezuela, in terms of creating a legitimate response and resistance to a decade of destructive neo-liberal attacks on workers and the indigenous populace in South America. In both countries, there has been a rebirth of strong national independence movements that include indigenous groups, who are also part of the working class. The clearest example of that conjecture is the miners in Bolivia.

Morales has promoted the self-employed and small producers on the margins of the national and international bourgeoisie, mainly the cocaleros (coca leaf farmers) proclaiming them as an example of unique “Andean capitalism”.The exaltation of the Aymaran president Evo and his indigenous roots contrasts with the collapse of his support and popularity among the indigenous peoples, like the miners, who seem to be organizing opposition to him, when Morales has failed to follow through on his promises.

On the other hand, Correa is a leftist politician educated abroad, whose speeches are high-minded, challenging, and emotional but attuned to the rhythm of bourgeois society in Ecuador. Unlike the Chavez and Morales in Venezuela and Bolivia, Correa came to power without a political party like the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia or like the coalition of parties in Venezuela. His political rise happened with the support of the Patria Altiva y Soberana alliance, PAIS, where he led a participatory process that incorporated major commonly ignored social issues including environmental conservation.

In the case of both Morales and Correa, the euphoria generated by their electoral success was pronounced. Around both of them debate emerged within the left as to whether or not they lead bourgeois governments and about how they responded to workers’ struggles. The leftist debaters did not want to duplicate the virulent and xenophobic attacks of the reactionary right.

Both presidents, like Chavez, have facilitated the re-distribution of wealth and have granted benefits to communities that previously had none, staying strictly within the limits of the bourgeois order of the capitalist world. This explains their commitment to elections and referendums. Their progressive measures have won them denunciations as “communists, leftists and socialists” among the right wing, ruling class and US imperialist opposition. On the other hand, forces on the left ignore the impact of their programs and focus on the charismatic charm of these populist leaders. There is no denying that these measures have contributed to improving the lives of down-trodden sectors of society but it is also true that all these actions are still only “band-aid solutions” and remain within boundaries that respect bourgeois property rights and institutions.

 

What is Chavismo?

Chavismo emerged as a reaction against neo-liberalism in the 90’s and was one of the first voices of protest against US imperialism after a decade in which the US declared absolute victory over communism. Chavez’s defiance of the United States quickly enhanced his popularity. Simultaneously, he was able to increase social welfare benefits thanks to an oil boom. New measurable improvements are now rare due to the severe impact of the US and European economic crises which have affected Venezuela directly and harshly.

Here we see clearly the exact nature of these particular regimes: they are bourgeois nationalist regimes with populist hot sauce, in an era of the global crisis of capitalism and unstable relationships between countries. This situation, the actions and the personas of the leaders, in no way resemble Cardenas in 1930s Mexico nor Peron in post-World War II Argentina. This is populism in a time of crisis, confronting an imperialism that does not resemble ascendant US imperialism at the end of the World War II. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador are facing the emergence of Brazil as an imperialist power that dominates their natural resources as well as their imports and exports. The three governments have done little or nothing to confront the regional influence of Brazil and instead see it as an ally, so much so that Chavez has called former Brazilian Prime Minister Lula his “big brother.”

It is undeniable that the Chavez’s government has implemented programs that benefit the poor, especially in the areas of housing and food. Despite the now more frequent blackouts and an economic crisis that undermines the promises of the celebrated “socialism of the 21st century”, the “red shirts”, Chavez’s followers, still listen with almost religious adulation to the Sunday program “Hello President”. On the show Hugo Chávez answers calls, makes fun of the “escuálidos”, expropriates some properties and punishes government officials who he accuses of distorting his political agenda.

A Populism Mispronounced Socialism of the 21st Century

“Socialism of the 21st century” is nothing more than populism and pure reverence built on the backs of those that are excluded from the distribution of the taxes and the democratic networks.The love-hate relationship that Chávez, Morales and Correa have with leftists and progressives of theworld perfectly fills a void in the existing political community.

These South American governments have carried out social programs such as assistance to families without incomes, returned land to indigenous communities, health and education programs, subsidized basic food staples, made nationalizations and expropriations and investments in infrastructure as a way of responding to the current political crisis and at the same time fortifying their own respective positions of power.

Obviously, in spite of the fact that are branded as socialists and speak of the establishment of a “Socialism of the 21st century” or even of ”Andean and Bolivariano” socialism, real socialism does not exist there yet.  Even if nationalizations, some expropriations and other measures have taken place in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, the bourgeoisie continues to own and control the majority of the means of production. Actually, a larger and more extensive number of these actions and measures happened in Mexico when the Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI) was in power. No one thought at the time that the PRI was a revolutionary regime or that its actions were socialist.

The nationalizations in these three countries have only been the state’s small participatory steps in the income stream without touching the interests and the proprietary rights of the imperialist petroleum companies that continue exploiting the resources of these countries. There have not been expropriations nor has the working class gained power. Instead, the income of the state has increased and the state has attempted, with limited success, to gain greater administrative control.

These leaders have maintained the contradiction of remaining independent while advancing social reforms without upsetting the capitalist state. However this has cost them dearly. The gasolinazo in Bolivia may at first seem surprising, but it should have been expected. Morales has been playing with fire for years. He wanted to please everyone and eventually he had to take sides, and he chose the side with the most power. Correa made the same kind of choice when he ordered the suppression of demonstrations of indigenous people. Even without the economic stability that Venezuela had for a short period, both Bolivia and Ecuador built bourgeois/petit-bourgeois nationalist regimes. They are trying to preserve their independence from imperialism while giving concessions to the impoverished masses, yet without disrupting the capitalist structures of both countries.

The timing is bad for the populist politics of Hugo, Evo and Rafael in this period of world crisis.  Their politics seem silly in a world where a wild and voracious capitalist system does not allow them the room to maneuver that they had until now. Meanwhile the “revolutionary” measures of these governments are used to promote the personality cults of these leaders and to build more extensive bureaucracies without generating worker’s power. “Socialism of the 21st century” is fake… a parody, not even of socialism but of populism.

 

 

 

brazil gdp

BRAZIL: Born to be Empire

South-American-Experts1
By Gino Pepi

There is no doubt Brazil is an emerging imperialist power. It dominates the Latin America economy, exports capital, is a major factor in markets around the world, is expanding its military capacity and intervenes politically to assert its growing influence, gaining on the decaying US Empire.

In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), Brazil’s economy is the largest in Latin American and the second largest in the continental Americas, after the USA. In relation to the world’s few growing economic powers, Brazil is among the top four. Brazil economically and politically dominates South America and is the main competitor of the USA in the Americas. It is clear that President Obama’s March, 2011 visit to Brazil was not to take post Carnival samba lessons, but to open discussions with an equal to preserve the economic and political position of the USA. Obama was late on both counts.

Only the Brazilian ruling class – no other is in a similar position – can take the initiative to resist the growing tendency of the US, through its present military/political offensive, to undermine the last vestiges of relative independence of the other national bourgeoisies on the North and South American continents.

Brazil has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Its economy is growing at a time when most other global capitalists are in decline and crisis. Brazil has had an average annual GDP growth rate of over 5 percent since the early 2000s. Brazil’s GDP was estimated as at least US $800 billion in 2009 and has increased since then. It will soon move from being the eighth to fifth largest national economy in the world, even though this would give only a distorted and diminished picture of its overall power.

The Miami Herald of October 7, 2010 says, “The IMF (International Monetary Fund) forecast(s) … Brazil’s economy is expected to chug along at 7.5 percent this year (2010) before slowing to 4.1 percent growth in 2011 … Meanwhile, the IMF predicts 2.6 percent growth this year for the United States — a weak performance coming after a recession — and 2.3 percent growth in 2011 … Growth is expected to be even slower in the Euro Zone where the IMF forecasts the average economic growth among the 16 nations that use the Euro as their currency will be 1.7 percent this year and 1.5 percent next year.”

Brazil is the largest and fastest growing producer and distributor of most of the important market commodities in the world. These include iron ore, several important industrial minerals and industrial diamonds, soybeans, corn, chicken, beef, orange juice, coffee, sugar and tobacco.

Brazil is the first country to bring together the ten largest car assembly companies inside its national borders. Brazil also has the world’s third largest aircraft manufacturer, Embraer, which supplies most of US regional airlines with mid-size air transport – on that line is not third, but first in the world – and is expanding rapidly into military aircraft production. It ranks fourth in terms of world military weapons and vehicle production.

Brazil has an increasing capacity for space exploration, internal based missile launch sites and has been part of the construction team of the International Space Station. Part of Obama’s visit to Brazil was to discuss US use of its missile launch sites.

With its huge bio-fuels (ethanol) industry, Brazil has the “greenest” economy in the world; while at the same time it is the source of the rise of agricultural commodities in the world’s markets.

Its offshore petroleum industry is so large, that it has to hire most of its oil platform welders from other countries like the United States. Petrobras (the nationalized oil company) has a recent gross product of US $67 billion. 150 miles off the Brazilian coast, Petrobras has plans to build offshore platforms that will reach 20,000 feet down to the sea floor just to start drilling.

Anywhere in South America you stop for gasoline or natural gas fuel, you’ll most likely be at a Petrobras station. Soon, Petrobras will unify the oil production capacity of Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela with that of Brazil to become a major oil conglomerate – totaling ~11% of US oil imports, almost as much as Saudi Arabia. Brazil plays a leading role in natural gas extraction and distribution in Bolivia and Ecuador. It plays a similar role in the hydroelectric industry of Paraguay.  It is also a major partner with Venezuela in the exploitation of the natural resources potential of the Orinoco river basin.

Most of its iron ore exports go to China. North of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is building a huge shipping port complex, with Chinese financing, to speed delivery of this commodity to China. In February of 2011, US National Public Radio reported that Brazil is building a cross-country railroad system, to cross to Columbia’s Pacific coast to further increase its shipping capacity to China.

Brazilian exports have tripled since 2003 on rising world demand for everything it produces. Brazil, once the world’s largest emerging-market debtor, became a net foreign creditor for the first time in 2011 as international reserves swelled to a record $171.6 billion from $37.6 billion at the start of 2003. Brazil is the sole capital exporter in Latin America.

Brazil expanded into all this, in part, by building Mercosur in the early 1990s with partners Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Brazil created this trading block before the USA created NAFTA. The New York Times, The Washington Post and the McClatchy newspaper group have reported that in every year since the founding of Mercosur, Brazil has lead serious attempts to expand it.  However its development as an imperialist power comes from long history of military conquests and treaty deals.

Brazil has made Venezuela a soon to be full Mercosur partner, most other countries in South and Central America to be associate partners, attempted to expand the trading block to include South Africa and almost concluded a deal to ally the European Union (EU) in a joint Mercosur trade block.

Mercosur is now the third largest trade block in the world behind the EU and NAFTA and has played the major role in stopping the USA in its attempt to fulfill its goals for completing a trade block in South and Central America, the Free Trade of the Americas Act.

Brazil is an outspoken critic of US foreign policy, mostly in preserving its own influence in other Latin America countries and thus “defending” its pawns against the US pac-man geopolitical game. For example it opposed the US policy in relation to the 2009 coup in Honduras, defends Argentina’s claim to the Malvinas, collaborated with Turkey on attempting to negotiate a deal with Iran on its nuclear program and is fighting to become the next permanent member to the UN Security Council. Everything it does is to consolidate its dominant role in the region and expand elsewhere.

Brazil is a major military force in the Americas. The Brazilian military, a longtime a participant in UN “peacekeeping” forces, lead the UN forces into Haiti, in August of 2003. As of 2010 there are about 11,000 US troops and 11,000 other foreign troops and police in Haiti of which Brazil supplies about half and Brazilian generals command all of those forces. Brazil has major capacity for the manufacture of land, air and naval vehicles and weaponry and last but not least, it is also building its own nuclear submarine fleet, in co-operation with France who is also trading Brazil the technology and engineering know how to continue to expand this nuclear fleet on its own.

IMPERIALISTS WITH FEET OF CLAY

The total sum of all the above leaves no doubt that the Brazilian ruling class has already become an imperialist force in the world and gets stronger every day. However this spectacle of economic might exists side by side with wealth for a few and poverty for many. Is an imperialist martial power, stomping through the world on feet of clay.

In 2008, 22.6% or 34.9 million Brazilians lived below the official national poverty line. Brazil has one of the highest disparity rates of poverty versus wealth in the world. The richest 10% of Brazilians control 42.7% of the nation’s income, while the poorest 10% have less than 1.2%. Brazil’s poverty rate is clearly displayed by the urban slums surrounding its cities, the favelas, where one half of Brazil’s poor live.

In the favelas the poverty rate increases with the number of dependents in the household, 52% of the populace is not connected to potable water distribution, 68% have no garbage collection and 78% are not connected to sanitary sewage disposal or septic tanks.

Add to that 25% do not have electricity and 74% live in households where the head of the household has less than four years of schooling. These appalling conditions are the subtext for high rates of criminal activity, inequality and the frustrating inability of the poor to develop their human potential. For women this all goes double. Brazilian military is now stamping out criminal control of these areas and the government is planning to urbanize and integrate the favelas.

For the rural poor the conditions are the same or worse. In the countryside they struggle for land, particularly under utilized but arable and potentially productive land, which leads to the murder of organizers of all sectors of the landless and at times reaches the level of small civil wars. Add these conditions to the racial discrimination against the indigenous populace and against the descendents of the four million slaves brought to Brazil from Africa. Although slavery was abolished in Brazil over a hundred years ago, access to education, land, health care, rights to their land titles and employment are still problems for slave descendents. Racism is a big part of the Brazilian economic miracle.

The working class and its union organizations are active in all sectors and parts of the Brazilian economy and politics. The Central Única dos Trabalhadores (Unified Workers’ Central, known by the acronym CUT), is the main union confederation in Brazil. The CUT was formed in 1983 based on the auto and metal workers unions organized in the manufacturing suburbs around Sao Paulo. It is the main base of the Workers’ Party (PT).

The CUT is the largest and most powerful trade union federation in Brazil and Latin America, representing over 7.4 million workers in all sectors of the Brazilian economy. It is the fifth largest trade union confederation in the world. It faces ongoing obstacles to union organizing because of Brazilian laws curtailing workers’ rights to organize.

It is from the CUT and the PT from which Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), a former metal workers union leader and leader of the CUT, rose from impoverished shoeshine boy to be an extremely popular prime minister and world figure. The workers that formed the CUT paid with their blood, sweat and tears to be a large component of the forces that overthrew the Brazilian military dictatorship.

Lula and the PT however lead a government of class conciliation designed to introduce just enough reforms to win the critical loyalty of the Brazilian working class for the imperialist project of the ruling class. In this way the working class of Brazil advances its own living standard at the cost of the workers and oppressed of all the other countries Brazil already or will in the future dominate.

It is the same process by which the trade unions in the USA and the British Labour Party for example won their roles in their national political systems as labor aristocrats or privileged workers. The PT and the CUT are following the same or similar paths in Brazil.

It was with the consent of the Brazilian bourgeoisie that Lula led the government and chose his successor, the first woman prime minister of Brazil, Dilma Roussef. Lula held office from 2003 to 2010, leading a government that made some small steps to solve the poverty problems of Brazil. As Lula was formally leaving his elected office he established a research institute to facilitate Brazilian investments in Africa.

 

 

 

soybean-field

Argentina: Tango & Rock ’n Roll

 

By Nicolás Barros

In the next few years the international economic and political situation will continue to benefit Argentina. However, there has been no new investment in productive infrastructure in the country. The country’s largest businesses understand the current situation. It favors them, and – aside from some minor criticism – they strongly support the Kirshner (CFK) government. The working class along with other oppressed sectors of the masses have staged a number of struggles and raised their demands. However, this has not resulted in a substantial political challenge to the government and regime mostly because within the working class there is no structure and leadership willing to confront them. There are alarming signs surrounding the actions of the sinister Peronist union bureaucracy (essentially the Hugo Moyano led CGT), the Armed Forces, the police and security forces, which remain violent, ruthless and powerful mafia like organizations.

The international economy continues to favor Argentina. The worldwide destruction of the environment has resulted in the depletion of resources such as raw materials, potable drinking water, arable land, fossil fuels, in atmospheric pollution, desertification, pollution from untreated sewage flowing into open waters, etc. In contrast to this worldwide situation, Argentina has a great advantage in terms of abundant unused natural resources.

First, food production in Argentina is a major asset. The country has a population of only 40 million and its resources could feed up to 560 million.

Secondly, there is a large reserve of skilled labor, another capacity accumulated at a relatively low cost. This is still the case despite the decrease of skilled labor that characterized Argentina after the 1970’s and the decades of general impoverishment that followed.

Thirdly, the balance of imports and exports is under control. Since 2001 the foreign debt has grown vegetatively. In order to normalize relations in the financial markets, the Kirchner administration negotiated an exchange of foreign debt for state issued bonds, which managed to extend the timeline of payments. In the process: unpaid interest was capitalized, and capital was reduced. Interest rates, contractual obligations, type of currency for payments and the mass of debt remained about the same. The end result is a debt that, provided there is a growing economy and no new indebtedness, can be paid. It won’t be a legitimate or beneficial debt, just a debt that is payable within its current terms.

It is important to mention that in recent months several provinces in Argentina, among them Buenos Aires, Neuquén, Cordoba, Rio Negro, Chubut and the city of Buenos Aires, have each received loans in amounts of between 85 and 450 million US dollars, with interest rates between 9.75% and 15.25%, which will be applied to current expenses. Although these are still low figures, the tendency is disturbing.

The only source of foreign income for the country is its trade surplus. The Kirchner administration uses these resources for:

a. The maintenance of a fund to protect itself against foreign exchange risks. Foreign exchange reserves are close to 60 billion US dollars, and are used in part to stabilize the value of the peso, the domestic currency, assuring a supply of enough resources in case of a surge in the demand for dollars. This is the policy advocated for decades by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), even more so after the collapse of Iceland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

b. The repayment of the foreign debt and payments of capital and interest on public foreign debt.

c. The remission of royalties, utilities, the flight of capital and payments for the license over trade names or products registered with foreign owners; repatriation of utilities (earnings after taxes) obtained by subsidiaries of transnational corporations; and payment of dividends to actionists outside of the country.

Many corporations are subsidiaries that send payments to their parent company abroad for credits they received, however many of these or similar transactions are fraudulent maneuvers used to send money out of the country.

d. Subsidizing national and international businesses and other economic sectors. The state provides subventions to a variety of entities, from private corporations like General Motors or FIAT, to entire economic sectors like oil, energy and transportation. A fourth aspect of the Argentinean economy is actually its weakest: the lack of productive investment. Although scarce investment in capital goods is a global phenomenon (except for Brazil, Russia, India and China), that does not make it any less harmful for several reasons:

1) The over utilization of existing capacity produces inflation. When existing factories, in the absence of expansion projects or adequate maintenance, are working at the limit of their capacity, the entrepreneurs react to their own decision not to increase investment and production with price increases.

 2) The trade surplus based on the production of finished commodities has deepened economic dependence by requiring higher imports of intermediate goods (materials that become part of another product) to sustain consumption. Some agricultural necessities are imported. For example in the automotive industry, 60% of parts used on the assembly line are imported. In the auto parts industry many of the components also come from abroad. This is repeated to a greater or lesser degree in electronics, chemicals, agricultural machinery, appliances, medicines and so on.

3) The maintenance cost also increases with the gradual obsolescence of capital goods, plant facilities, machinery, etc.

4) The difference obtained by the growth of sectoral productivity of exportable items does not return as physical capital goods.

5) Social training of workers is degraded as successive generations abandon formal education and, most importantly, are not engaged in formal, permanent employment at a young age. In this way they lose contact with changing work methods and practices that qualify the workers and influence their culture.

6) It results in environmental deterioration

7) It increases stress on the resources of the extractive industry, both renewable and non-renewable. It results in the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species and forests as a sub product of the activity of industries like mining, petroleum, chemical, agriculture and forestry. It causes pollution of the coasts and watercourses, increases the emission of greenhouse gases due to intensive farming and the amount of monocultures production. Tragically, indigenous peoples are murdered by the destruction of the ecosystems that sustain them.

Despite the lack of investment, the economic situation is still relatively beneficial and, together with the social stability reached by the policies of the Kirchners, are the main reasons why the government has such strong support from the bourgeoisie. Even the arbitrary actions related to trade issues by Guillermo Moreno*, Interior Commerce Minister, or the reactions of Hugo Moyano**, leader of the CGT, howling against judicial problems of his own making, or the suggestions of price control, or the relationship with Hugo Chávez, do not become major issues and do not diminish the main contention point: business profits have been maintained and have even increased year after year. Even in the critical years of 2008 and 2009 the Argentinean bourgeoisie clearly maintained their profits.

In general the working class also has a favorable disposition towards the current government. It is true that opinions differ from sector to sector, but the most favorable opinions are found among the most exploited. The urban petite bourgeoisie is fragmented between those who are fiercely anti-Kirchner and others who have more recently come to support the government. The reason for this is tangible: unemployment remains stable, neither increasing nor decreasing, and underemployment shows only a vegetative growth. (Watch out if it grows like zucchini though!) While inflation is an important adverse factor, the cycle of negotiations of collective bargaining agreements and wage increases helps to keep the calm, particularly among the privileged sectors of the organized labor movement, those who have salaries above $5000 Argentinean pesos. For them, the main demands are tax brackets set to avoid their payment of income tax and to continue their access to good consumer credit.

From the perspective of other parts of the working class and the oppressed masses, the situation is more complex. There have been a number of important union struggles, such as those involving food processors (Kraft), oil workers, teachers, railroad and subway workers, state employees in Cordoba, together with struggles for land and housing, and protests against police brutality, etc. but none of these struggles has been able to advance beyond an elementary level. There is not a single force, more or less organized, within the working class movement (mainly industrial) that is capable of channeling sectoral demands into a broader political struggle to challenge the regime. Despite all this, these recent struggles and their results have enriched the experience of the workers, paving the way for a renewed and more militant struggle in 2011.

The most striking social consequences of the existing inequality are to be found in the conditions of extreme poverty suffered by the original ethnic population, aliens in their own land, vastly reduced in numbers, their habitats, and subsistence sustaining ecosystems stolen, and prominent only as the basis for the statistics reporting rates of death due to malnourishment.

The small towns of the interior have been reduced to ghostly railway stations and just too many old good memories. Future archaeological excavations of these places would reveal geological layer after layer of accumulated misery. They reveal the oppression of the indigenous Araucanians/Mapuches, Wichis, Tufas, of the ethnic populations of the Bolivians, Paraguayans, Peruvians, etc. and also the special oppression of women whose work is inadequately compensated and whose needs are greater, all of which is nailed to a crucifix that Argentineans pay for with their taxes.

Although Kirchnerism appears to be strong, it represents only the progressive leg of the three-legged governing coalition formed with the reactionary Peronist union bureaucracy, the same characters who once were, literally, executioners of progressive forces, and with elected Peronist officials, including the cuasi-mafioso Mayors of greater Buenos Aires and the semi-feudal governors of the interior provinces. The unprincipled arrangement cementing this government has proven to be very useful (but not without contradictions) in the process leading to a gradual return to a state of a more or less peaceful normalcy after the social revolt of 2001. To this effect the government counted on the full support of all the right wing political currents in the opposition, including the ancient Union Civica Radical; the so-called Federal Peronism; PRO, the party of Mauricio Macri, Mayor of Buenos Aires; the Civic Coalition, etc. All these forces attempted to organize an alternative to Kirchnerism, but never achieved their goal.

Another defining aspect of Argentina is its position as a country dependent on imperialism, which the current government has been unable to change. This can be illustrated by the participation of Argentina in the military forces invading Haiti. Argentina has collaborated as a supporting player in the invasion and genocide of the Haitian people under the military leadership of the USA, France and Brazil. We also have to point to the complete alignment of the government with the emerging Brazilian empire, which already, through its businesses, controls two thirds of the Argentinean economy.

We see two warning signals for Argentina in the immediate future: first the Peronist union bureaucracy and secondly the state security apparatus and its mirror in the armed forces. In the first case it is not only about the CGT as the key institution that helped the government to sail through a smooth transition, but about the leadership at the helm today – the set of unions in the CGT led by Hugo Moyano- that portray themselves as the political and ideological heirs of Peron’s legacy: my only heir is the people.

The Moyano-led unions have candidates for deputy governor, mayors, representatives, senators, councilmen and officials in the three branches of government and are establishing a new national structure called the Peronist National Trade Union Current (Corriente Nacional Sindical Peronista or CNSP).

The other warning signal is coming from the police, security and armed forces. They have gradually permeated all layers of society. They organize crime and drug trafficking, something particularly dangerous in poor neighborhoods and marginalized sectors of society. They also get involved in the coordination of private security, the “patovicas” (night club guards), or with “barras bravas” (hooligans around soccer teams) or other similar layers of repressive bodies and get involved in running of illegal gambling, prostitution rings, etc. This is a caste-like layer of society that constantly generates semiautonomous sectors seeking new businesses. It is also a tool of social control and a source of political pressure to be afraid of.

The country will most likely move in the direction of greater struggles and conflicts. Sooner or later the situation in other parts of the world will reach Argentina, the pending contradictions within the regime will explode into the open and rumblings will again be heard in the streets.

The electoral season this year could turn into a catalyst to amplify the struggles. It could offer a political opportunity for large sectors of the masses to express their disgust with the promises of the current pseudo progressive government and its sinister right-wing opposition. For this to happen, it would be necessary to build an electoral front between the left, which still remains a marginal force, and a very weak center left This would be a highly visible response to the need for political representation of important and advanced sectors of the working class and oppressed masses.

On the agenda for the near future, we see the need for building of mass rank-and-file union organizations combined with a sustained political struggle against the union bureaucracy. The fight to weaken and dismantle the omnipresent police and security forces will also be high on the list. Add to this the struggle to stop the attacks against indigenous peoples and the destruction of the environment, not to mention the long overdue battles of the agrarian revolution. All of these issues will be resolved as part of the historic struggle for a socialist transformation of Argentina and world society.

 

japan nuclear

The Main Threat is the Anarchy of Capitalist Production JAPAN´S NUCLEAR CATASTROPHE

The Main Threat is the Anarchy of Capitalist Production

JAPAN´S NUCLEAR CATASTROPHE

Por Carlos Petroni

In the hands of capitalists: Japan and the World as we know it approaches its end.Under capitalism, nuclear energy is collective suicide. The disaster at the Fukushima nuclear complex is currently demonstrating this: six reactors are seriously damaged and emitting clouds of radiation and leaking radioactive water that threatens the lives of millions. Fukushima is thse active reminder of Chernobyl (Pripyat, Ukraine), Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania, USA) and dozens of other “nuclear accidents.”

Fukushima is an obsolete nuclear plant dating from the 1960s. Built like a giant Russian roulette wheel on known earthquake fault lines, it is just a short distance from the ocean with its potential for tsunamis and in the midst of millions of people.

Now, in the wake of this disaster, the facts are emerging that the Japanese government, along with domestic and foreign companies, have not reported previous accidents at this plant and have been negligent about necessary maintenance. They built and expanded the plant exclusively for the potential profits of its capitalist owners.

Nature, in her powerful manner, exposed in one day the fragility of nuclear technology, further weakened by cost cutting and the taking of unnecessary risks, all mainly to be used to provide electric power to big Japanese industries. It also exposed the dangers of a technology whose operators lack the resources, know-how or ability to repair damage in the case of an “accident” like at the Fukushima nuclear complex.

There is nothing that science or the Japanese government can do to resolve this catastrophe. Once the plant melts down, all we can do is watch hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of deaths and economic destruction of the country. Meanwhile the Japanese working class and the rest of the world watches and waits in shock as the bourgeoisie of Japan and the rest of the world shows its indifference via inconsequential criticism and ineffective symbolic actions.

As a result of this catastrophe, Germany has decided to close its seven most obsolete nuclear power plants and the French government has harshly criticized the Japanese for allowing the circumstances that made this crisis possible. U.S. imperialism is attempting to hide its own potential nuclear disasters. Even “progressive” Hugo Chavez must now freeze his plans for the construction and development of nuclear power plants because it was  ”discovered,” during the planning and construction stage, that the planned facilities have all the potential dangers unleashed in the Japanese Fukushima tragedy.

All of this is evidence of the criminal intentions of the international bourgeoisie. They shed false tears now and wait patiently for enough time to pass for us the public to forget this new mass murder. This has happened before, at Chernobyl (Ukraine) and Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania, USA) and in many other instances. Soon they will return, if they can, to operating in the same way.

Capitalism must guarantee sufficient profits to the energy industry in order for them to build and operate the nuclear power plants. Everything else is subservient to this profit margin, including lives, homes, jobs and safety for all the inhabitants of the planet. In order to guarantee these profits regulations are weakened, loopholes are found, accidents are hidden, inferior materials are used, maintenance costs are cut, and workers salaries are curtailed.

The plant operators economize on technological research related to handling disasters, plants are kept operating beyond their initial life expectancy, and nuclear waste disposal is left to chance and political maneuvering. It has been undeniably demonstrated, most recently in Japan, that the specific areas where these plants are built and operated are under constant risk of nuclear genocide.

Governments collaborate with business to expand business profits by turning a deaf ear to the complaints of scientists and researchers, by not implementing existing laws or watering them down, and by extending permits to keep plants open beyond their original life expectancy. Companies have reached the point where they do not even inform their governments, much less the public, when disasters occur. This is how we arrived at the situation where the Japanese Prime Minister heard about the latest explosion in the reactors at Fukushima through the public media. Such is the impunity felt by these businesses.

Like during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or the devastating tsunami in Asia in 2004 that left more than 300,000 people dead in a dozen countries, the coastal defenses, advanced warnings of the path of the disasters, evacuation plans and immediate assistance to victims simply did not exist or evaporated in the early stages. Governments were missing beforehand in prevention efforts. As a result they were overwhelmed and inadequate in their relief efforts and other assistance.

In Japan, this nuclear disaster has exposed these failures of the bourgeoisie government. An ocean with a record of earthquakes, seaquakes and tsunamis, sent towering 30 foot waves over hundreds of kilometers of land that should not have been inhabited.  The tsunami smashed through concrete and steel protective barriers and other infrastructure as if they were made of paper and flooded nuclear and petrochemical plants that should never have been built where they were.

Of course, this situation is not limited to nuclear plants. This happens in all industries. Do you recall Bhopal and the petrochemical disaster of Union Carbide in 1984 in India? Do you remember the oil spill in Alaska and more recently the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as well as hundreds of other catastrophes that have occurred in the last decade alone? The airplanes that crash, the trains that derail, buses and rail vehicles that crash because regulations have been eliminated or maintenance has been cut back, the industrial plants that have been used beyond life expancy all are examples of every way profits have been prioritized over safety.

 Bhopal Disaster: Between 6,000 and 8,000 people died in the immediate aftermath and more than 12,000 have died of related illnesses. Today the effects of that toxic cloud that affected 600,000 people is still impacting 150,000 of their lives.

The disaster at Fukushima is massive and deadly, is at the level of a capitalist genocide and as a result, it shakes the conscience of the world. However capitalism and the bourgeoisie apply the same practices, to a greater or lesser extent, in all these disasters. In the end, the numbers may be bigger or smaller, but the result is always multiple deaths and the gradual death of our planet.

The growth of consumption, above all in the industrialized world and by the dominant and privileged social classes, is putting excessive pressure on natural resources and creating extreme exploitation that upsets nature’s balance and aggravates her response. Thus, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes strike at human society in ways it has not previously experienced. This destiny could be avoided through global planning around resources and geographical location. It is necessary to eliminate unnecessary consumption and the anarchy of capitalist production.

Capitalism, as a world system, is exhausted. Capitalism is living through a period of its mortal agony and for this reason has become a lot more dangerous. It has mobilized all its defenses in order to survive the inevitable, by reinforcing the strength of its political states, cutting the democratic benefits of the masses, and increasing the devastation of natural resources, both non-renewable and those that are renewable that it does not know how to grow sustainably. It is time to end capitalism or it will put an end to the planet and to human civilization as we know it.

The people of the world see their own reflection in the mirror of Africa (mutilated resources, the violations wrought by wars and invasions, tribal struggles, and illnesses and pandemics that are liquidating national states one after the other). We can also see our reflection in the devastating tragedy under way in Japan which is causing Japan as we know it to disappear and become a ruin of its former self. This is the future of all of us in the hands of the capitalists.l

OccupiedAztlan

The Theft of Mexican Territories, US Imperialism is born

OccupiedAztlan

The Theft of Mexican Territories,

US Imperialism is born

By Jorge Suárez

Monroe Doctrine: “America for Americans.” Americans means citizens of the USA, of course.

Manifest Destiny: the ideology that the US is destined to extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast; attacking and destroying the indigenous people of this land and stealing the Mexican territories was just part of the process.

1817-1829 – The colonization of Texas by settlers from the US began during the Mexican war of independence and at the expense of and against the wishes of those to the East (1817).

1821 – After independence, Mexico suffers widespread economic destruction and a commercial blockade enforced by defeated Spain. The US begins to weave its plans of conquest.

1823 – The US recognizes Mexico’s independence in exchange for agreements allowing further expansion of the USA.

1824 – Fall of the self proclaimed emperor Iturbide in Mexico and proclamation of the Federal Republic.

1824-1829 – Guadalupe Victory; First President of Mexico

1825 – Mexican Congress authorizes the settlement of US colonizers (mainly English or Anglo-Saxons) in the state of Texas. These 300 slave-owning families were originally allowed to establish themselves in a specific limited area, but quickly expanded their plantations taking up ever more Mexican land. This soon turned into a full-scale invasion with the creation of landholders owning huge areas, alarming the Mexican government with the rapid escalation.

1825 – Mexico abolishes slavery.

1829 – Mexico expedites the decree of abolition. The Mexican government (under President Vicente Guerrero) attempts to implement the decree abolishing slavery effective in Texas and tries to stop US colonization there. The USA itself would not abolish slavery until 1865, as part of the conclusion of the US Civil War.

1830 – President Anastasio Bustamante prohibits the entry of more US colonizers and expels the US ambassador Poinsett for interfering in the internal affairs of Mexico. The same ambassador was involved later in “buying” Texas from Mexico.

1835 – The independence and the subsequent US annexation of Texas is on the horizon. Mexico votes in a new constitution and becomes consumed with political chaos due to division between contending political forces there. The Texas colonizers form a militia and stage an armed uprising against the government of Santa Ana under the pretext that the federal system had become too centralized.

The Conservative Party/Centralists (feudal landlords, upper clergy, older existing military caste) battles politically with the Liberal Party/Federalists (the rising bourgeoisie of liberal landlords, public officials, younger military officers, and advanced intellectuals).

The colonizers’ militia is financed directly by the US with weapons, money, ammunition and even gunboats, while the US publicly claims neutrality.

1836 – The US government militarily defeats the Mexican army in the battle of the Rio San Jacinto, proclaiming Texas as an “independent” country. Mexico does not recognize the independence of Texas.

1838-1839 – First French intervention in Mexico (War of the Pastries). This intervention helps the North Americans in their plans for annexation.

1843 – The Mexican government declares that they consider the annexation of Texas an act of war against Mexico.

1845 – Texas annexed as a US state.

1846 – President Polk sends troops toward the Mexican territory and declares war on Mexico through the first armed conflicts with Mexican troops.

1847 – The US occupies the territories of “Alta California” and “Nuevo Mexico.” These territories are now known as the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and California. In March of 1847 the US invades Mexico through the Port of Vera Cruz and on September 14th they occupy Mexico City.

1848 – February, with the US flag waving in the Zocalo (main square) of Mexico City, the US forces Mexico to sign the “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” by which the US appropriates more than a million square miles of Mexican territory.

To conceal this historic theft of Mexican territory and portray it for history as an economic transaction, the US pays Mexico the insignificant sum of 15 million dollars. The land stolen from Mexico constitutes almost one third of the current USA and more than half of what was then Mexico. US history books claim the territories were “transferred.”

1848 – 1855 – The California Gold Rush helps complete the Westward expansion. At the time the US concern was to repopulate that vast territory with US settlers. The Gold Rush helped solve this problem. 300,000 people come to California during these years from other parts of the US and other countries.

1862 – 1867 – The Second French intervention in Mexico sees the installation of Emperor Maximillian from France under the reign and with the support of Napoleon III.

1865 – Slavery is abolished in the USA at the conclusion of the US Civil War (1861-1865) between the North and the slavery-supporting South (the Confederacy), which included Texas. The maintenance of slavery in Texas was one of the key factors in the previous theft of Mexican lands. Texas had been a key state in the decision of the South to secede from the US, separating themselves from the Northern states.

1867 – The French invasion is defeated on Cinco de Mayo (The Battle of May 5th), but the war with France continues for several more years. The US celebrates this French defeat as a victory against European imperialism, notwithstanding its own conquest under the Monroe Doctrine still being enforced. For Mexicanos, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration sponsored by Budweiser, but rather the beginning of a period of re-composition of their country that continues to this day.l

An anti-austerity march in London

The Fall of Rome, Constantinople and the Holy Empire: Brussels Trembles

By Nicolás Barros

 

Europe is not transiting smoothly through what appears to be its final decline.

The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are acting as its official gravediggers. Germany and

France are benefiting in the short run while the rest of Europe is hurting and sinking deeper into crisis. The past centuries of environmental destruction in Europe, as well as globally, are taking their toll on the environment and natural resources. Workers and the population at large are watching the degradation of their living standard before their eyes, as they lose the global position of privilege that they historically held as a product of semi-colonial exploitation in other parts of the world.

After World War II and the creation of the European Union, the European bourgeoisie thought that they would be reborn as a global empire, overcoming past defeats; however, the barbarians are already at the gates. The fascism of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco in the 20th century foreshadowed this decline, and had shown the barbaric extent to which the ruling class, terrified by the ghosts of Marx and Engels, would go to try to save itself.

Europe and the United States are two empires, both in historical retreat, both have passed their peak and now both are in precipitous decline. However, they will not necessarily disappear quickly of their own accord or in a linear way.

The outstanding feature of Europe is that it is the home of all the original capitalist powers, each having run its full course from dominance to descent, succeeding each other in history as the most prominent at a regional or global scale (this includes Austria, Hungary, Portugal, Russia, Holland, Spain, France, Germany, England, and Belgium).

Aside from the economic and political relevance of each individual country, Europe consists of nation-states consolidated by centuries of historical power and cultural dominance, built upon structures of production more advanced than those in other parts of the world. Also important is the strong secular tradition of Europe. The current regional confederation was born and consolidated as a defensive mechanism against both the emergence and the consequences of the fall of the surrounding worker states.

The current precipitous fall of both Europe and the United States is partially due to the emergence of China, India and Brazil. The new emerging empires will not be like the old ones and as a result of their internal contradictions they will be much less stable.

It is important to highlight that there has been no quantitative growth in the global productive apparatus as a whole (in terms of means of production and exchange) and what we have seen as a result of the movement of the centers of production from their previous locations in Europe and the US to new areas, including continental Asia and Latin America (in principle).

Europe is a net exporter of capital. Some of the enormous profits obtained by European companies have ended up invested in companies outside of the European Union. Thus some German and French productivity does not return to those countries (at least not as capital assets) while in the rest of Europe this capital simply does not exist. Therefore future productivity will fall irreparably along with this decline in investment. In each country this will manifest itself in a different way.

The issue of regional debt is completely irrational. Italy owes 1.4 trillion US dollars, 115.8% of its Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) to France, which is Italy’s main creditor! Spain’s total debt is 1.1 trillion US dollars, with the following amounts owed to these countries: 238 billion to Germany, 220 billion to France and 114 billion dollars to England.

Germany took a different economic path than its neighbors, responding to stagnation with anti-inflation measures, which have only deepened its recession. This was done even though the country has a fiscal deficit of only 3% of their GDP and currently a 12% unemployment rate. Germany has raised sales taxes from 16% to 19% and progressively increased the retirement age from 60 to 65 years since 2006.

If we take into account that two thirds of the economic growth of Germany between 2000 and 2008 was due to exports, we can understand why it is the world’s second largest exporter, which allows it to maintain a commercial market surplus. One way this is demonstrated is that 40% of its sales are to other European countries, nine times greater than its sales to China.

The European Union has collectively lowered the price of exports in order to be competitive in the new economic climate, which in turn has stopped the growth of its industrial apparatus of manufacturing and distribution. This has allowed for its control over the centrifugal European markets. The German government utilizes a market strategy that severely limits domestic consumption by freezing salaries in Germany. As a result, the German economy grew very little, only 14%, between 1995 and 2010. It had the smallest and slowest growth rate in Europe for that period except for Italy. It exported the capital of its multinational corporations instead of re-investing it in its domestic economy.

The Greek case is paradigmatic. It had already received a second loan installment of 10.5 billion US dollars, which it used only to build up a currency fund for the purpose of preventing an attack from major global investors in sovereign debt. From those loans, not a single cent went to addressing any of the problems of the Greek population. The problems of the Greek economy “are being resolved” by meeting the demands of their creditors, including the lowering of the fiscal deficit from the current 13.6% to 8.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2011. The Greek Parliament approved an initiative to sell the state owned railroad system (OSE), the nickel production company named Larco, the state gas industry (DEPA), Athens International Airport, 20% of the assets of the telecommunication company of the Balkans (OTE) and all public lands (including several islands). The recipe followed was, mass worker layoffs (private and public), raising the retirement age and privatizations, etc. Sound familiar?

There are other emblematic examples like the country of Romania. Political leaders there propagandized for the need to enter the European Union as a mechanism to overcome Romanian backwardness. Not withstanding that the remittances that workers outside the country send back to Romania are the fourth largest part of its Gross Domestic Product, similar to the situation when Nicolai Ceausescu was in power. Adding injury to insult is the situation that Romanian seasonal migratory workers are detained, beaten, jailed and deported from the surrounding “sister” European Union nations of Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium.

Behind the debacle of the Euro Zone and the massive bailouts for Greece, Spain and Portugal is actually the rescue of the European banks that hold the huge debts owed by these three countries and by Italy, which only owes 3 trillion dollars. When one speaks of a European setback this includes the loss of the dominance of its commercial enterprises and above all its industrial power. This does not impede the gross concentration of wealth of many European multinationals, which continue to be global leaders in their lines of industry. Yet, every year this concentration diminishes. Of the 50 largest corporations in the world, 22 are European. Ten of these belong to the industrial sector while the remaining 12 belong to the financial, insurance and distribution sectors.

Another crucial issue is that European natural resources are substantially depleted. Asia, Latin America and even the United States have much larger reserves of natural resources than Europe. Without a source of cheap labor and available natural resources the future is inescapably dim, again not necessarily in a linear way. Europe is being confronted by the growing cost of preventing environmental disasters in vulnerable ecosystems after centuries of uncontrolled human destruction such as pollution of potable water, pasture lands made non-arable, and unsafe disposal of solid and liquid human waste as well as waste from industrial and nuclear plants.

All of the current rehabilitation efforts do not even begin to transform the careless processes that created this destruction. The costs would be enormous just to create partial and localized solutions to some of the most pressing concrete environmental problems. Centuries of mining, mainly of coal and non-metal minerals, have created a serious degradation of the natural landscape, destroying forests, hills, grasslands, etc.

A sector of the bourgeoisie and some of its political allies have been working, since the middle of the last century, to consolidate a transnational capitalist ruling class throughout Europe. This group believed that the American model was a clear indicator of the effectiveness of this plan. History has shown the flaws in this plan. Europe, unlike the United States, cannot carry out that design due to its different stage of development. The unique characteristics of this period in capitalism do not, in any way, support this desire.

The great European arrogance has led to a situation where only France and Germany can maintain their imperial domination, supported by the oppression of other states. The rest of the European countries are on their way to becoming semi-colonies (some clearly already are) of France and Germany or at least are considering that sooner or later they will abandon the European Union. The rest of the countries see an irresistible necessity to break away from the European Union soon, more specifically from Germany and France.

In short, what has the European Union, along with the associated individual governments, done to mitigate the problems? It has at all costs lowered costs (at least since 2006), increased the layoffs of public employees, outsourced companies to Asia and the Pacific, and increased the permanent reserve army of labor by 15% in some countries and by 25% in others. A classic measure used to serve this purpose has been the expansion in every way no permanent lifetime employment: contracting out some activities of the companies or sub-contracting to third parties, reducing hours of work to one third full-time or increasing part time work, paying piecework rates, establishing false but legal employment arrangements (like false front companies), pseudo-cooperatives, etc. Today, the main European countries have included on their menu of operations these different measures that were in part copied from the USA and in the past only utilized in semi-colonial countries.

Salary cuts have been applied to public employees in Romania, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria and Lithuania. Job security has decreased to unprecedented levels. 45% of workers in Spain between the ages of 25 and 29 have only short-term employment contracts. At the same time, labor conditions have worsened, workplace abuse and workplace accidents have increased, and salaries continue to decrease. From 1980 to the present, the working class share of the wealth that they produced has decreased from 70% to 58%; in Spain it is only 54.5%, while percentages in Italy, Luxemburg, Ireland and Finland are even lower. This decline happened during times of economic growth both globally and in the European Union.

Another problem for the workforce is that people can’t make their mortgage payments because of rising interest rates, layoffs or decreased income, all of which are becoming the norm in Ireland, Hungary, Belgium, Poland and Spain. The anti-crisis formulas always include the increase in the workweek to 60 hours. Great Britain, Hungary, Estonia, and Spain are some of the countries that have already opted for this solution.

The French and German plans have exploded; there will soon no longer be a European Union, only a heterogeneous amalgamation of countries in a state of confrontation, some maintaining their current role as semi-colonies while others are in transition to that status and still others will simply distance themselves from the European Union. Regimes like those in Italy, Poland, Belgium and the Balkans are still frozen in the past, and have not been able to effectively respond in any way to this crisis.

The new Russian bourgeoisie, born simultaneously with the new Chinese bourgeoisie during this late stage of capitalism, is particularly vicious, shows no restraint and has a uniquely immoral and cynical conscience about taking advantage of the era it finds itself in. Born in and sitting on the remnants of the cadaver of the most important revolution in history, these opportunists see themselves propelled by a new “Manifest Destiny” that supposedly justifies their imperial ambitions. They keep watch on the movements of the French-German axis, which they respect, and respond by acting accordingly, like the well-behaved children that they are.

Turkey is also in a good position in relation to Europe. The country has abundant natural and energy resources and a history with traditions built on the conjoined Maghreb, Arab and Persian bourgeoisie. Of course, there are internal problems. The future of the European economic diaspora will also be an event that will influence Turkish reality.

It is possible that Europe and the United States could form a bloc after the crisis, even though this would definitely be to the detriment of US imperialism. However, an alliance between the European Union and Russia would put the US at an even greater disadvantage and would raise the spectre of a more brutal inter-imperialist competition.

The social superstructure can only reflect the regression, in this case the shift to the right, of the political spectrum. A shift that involves social and political issues like sexism connected to gender violence, xenophobia and the growth of the ultra-right wing, as well as the suppression of the left, both in its electoral actions and in its structural integration into the struggles of the working class and the oppressed instead.

The growing importance of fundamentalist churches in defining the bourgeois agenda is another variable that is spreading all over Europe with greater or lesser degrees of renewed virulence. This is seen especially in relation to social issues such as abortion, divorce and issues of the full spectrum of the queer community. These are signs of fundamentalist church political actions with a renewed strategy in order to influence bourgeois governments and regimes by pushing them to the right.

In every European country there are new ultra-right wing political parties emerging and growing. In some cases they already have a strong electoral presence while others are gaining influence. In the Netherlands there is the PVV (Liberty Party), in Denmark, the Party of the Dane People, in England, the English Defense League (EDL) and in Hungary the Jobbik, etc.

Germany has built right wing citizen’s armies twice before in history. Could what is coming be a repetition of the past, possibly a 4th Reich? In the November 2010 elections in Austria, the ultra-right Freedom Party (FPO) won 15% of the April, 2010 vote for its candidate for president and 27% of the vote in the 2011 Vienna municipal elections. This probably has to do with the widespread fear within the middle class of Turkish immigrants, who represent 16% of the population and 25% of elementary and high school students.

The events taking place in North Africa and the Middle East will also have an immediate impact on Europe, where the large numbers of immigrants from those countries could use the tactics learned from the North African struggles to fight the oppression that they are victims of in Europe. The previous struggles of immigrants in Europe surely had an influence on the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. Now the European immigrants may reproduce them in the near future. New contingents of immigrants may also look towards Europe’s shores and contribute to creating important political movements.

In economic terms there will also be consequences. In the short run this will result in an increased price of oil, an essential commodity that comes in large quantities from North African and Middle Eastern states. It could be replaced quickly by oil from Russia and the former Soviet block countries or even Latin America. In terms of commerce we will see serious challenges to some European imports of industrial and intermediate goods if the changes lead to new international realignments.

Europe has many possible future scenarios. We may not know exactly what will happen, but none of the foreseeable options will maintain or strengthen the current European Union. Confrontations will be inevitable and will come with the violence that always occurs with inter-imperialist confrontations that have to do with gaining hegemony over the markets or making others pay for self-created crises.

The key to the situation, of course, is in the hands of the working class movement. From within the productive apparatus it could emerge as the backbone and muscle of a wider movement for social change, connected to their co-workers, the immigrants and other super-exploited sectors of society. Such a movement should raise a program proposing to make the still formidable industrial apparatus work for the actual needs of the working class and the oppressed instead of for the convenience of the big multinationals. Although workers have represented an important source of resistance, they have not yet succeeded in moving past addressing the issues of economic gains (such as union struggles around working conditions and wages) and advancing to represent a political challenge to the regime.

A program for such a political challenge in Europe should be based on concepts like:

l Full employment and jobs for all, including immigrants, at union wages.

l The right to political and union organization for all unemployed workers and immigrants, including the right of immigrants to vote and run for office.

l Compulsory repayment of financial capital from large companies to maintain job producing and environmentally sound investments which have been transferred from manufacturing to financial services or shifted to outsourcing of jobs. Increasing corporate taxes and maintenance of capital to maintain jobs and services and funding for public services.

l Massive investment under community and workers control in projects related to the treatment of industrial, hospital, home and radioactive waste and rehabilitation of environmental disaster areas.

l Full rights and social benefits to all minorities and immigrant communities including the preservation of their languages and cultures. Eliminate all forms of racism, racial discrimination, gender discrimination and discrimination based on sexual preference and orientation.

l Full funding for free education and training for youth from pre-school, for apprenticeships and to graduate school levels.

l Immediate repatriation to countries for all military invasions made anywhere in the world.

l Drastic reduction of budget allocations for security and military spending.

l Support for a Socialist Confederation of Europe, based on national self-determination.