Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Capitalism has arrived at a situation in this new century where it seems to have no simple means of getting out of its dilemmas. Problems cannot be solved by parroting the speeches about continuous economic growth of the promoters of monopoly capitalism which Cowen, Harney and Lenihan have been going on with until just a month ago. The fluctuations of the capitalist economy have booms, but they are followed by increasingly deeper depressions. The attainable limits of the possible real growth have already been reached. Nature cannot sustain even the present volumes of production and consumption, to say nothing of their increase.

Global Monopoly Capitalism, as an ideology, today, is based on a destructive utopia of continuous economic growth. But, in reality, the growth of production stops and slows down. This is what happens, also, to profits. New, extended markets cannot not be created, because the decreasing profits of large corporations in a period of economic decline will lead to forced reductions in production costs, especially by way of cheap labour and wage reductions. The average national income may rise at regional levels, but, owing to the growing income disparities, the real purchasing power will weaken in the industrialised countries of the capitalist heartlands and will not generally grow sufficiently in developing countries to give more than a small relative improvement in their economic situation. Raw materials, too, are, obviously, a limited quantity and will be subject to increasingly vicious Trade Wars and aggressive military interventions such as we have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.

Privatisation and competitive bidding of the public sector services will not, in fact, lead to free competition, but, to its opposite; capitalist monopoly economy. Particularly in the circumstances of the European Union with its concentrated ownership, where labour costs are pushed down in the name of supranational stabilisation. And once again, the purchasing power of wage earners weakens while unearned incomes of stock options and bank credit manipulations increase exponentially. Financiers, by means of stock-market coups and “ corporate raiding ” allocate themselves massive profits and huge personal increases in wealth without producing anything. They then proclaim themselves Kings of the market without any authority whatsoever. The question must be asked – what gives these financial sharks the right to make inordinate profits on the backs of ordinary workers and the impoverished populations of the so-called Third World? What gives them the right to control the world’s credit and money circulation? What has happened to democracy and the public interest during this process? Are these financiers the New Gods on Mt Olympus with Divine rights? We thought that “Divine Rights” had been abolished by the French Revolution of the 18th Century!

Turning society into private business units means, among other things, that in its production activities such a society needs mainly younger and highly educated people. For the rest of the population there hardly is any use. On the other hand, children, sick and old people don’t make good consumers, and so, once again, capitalism leads to destructive, anti-people policies and increasing social tensions. We are warned of “pension time-bombs” and “unaffordable” public services. Such a system, inevitably, produces an increasingly anti-human society. The EU integration process, including the present Lisbon Treaty proposals, means more active endeavours in just such a direction. Neo-liberal, free-market fetishism is proclaimed as the basic mode of production of the entire European Union. More privatisation, in Health, Education and social provision, domestic water charges, asset stripping of public utilites and land-grabs for private use to be given free rein. Dogmatic social atomisation the preferred agenda. Real economy, however, is based on work, raw materials and saving, not on speculative money and wastefulness. Essentially, production for actual needs, not goods for sale and profit. Recent experiences in eastern Europe and in the so-called Third World show that capitalist financing actually causes even more misery. Economy and money are two different things. Capitalism sees only money. Economy must serve human needs first; money must be seen as the worthless paper it is, in fact, and its domination of human affairs must be ended to make way for a truly civilized and democratically ruled society. That’s what Socialism means.

The trend of the capitalist world economy is permanently downhill, towards instability and dissolution. The USA is currently the center of such instability with its artificially induced credit crisis. Experimentation by Russia with capitalism has come to a miserable end in spite of the billions of dollars allocated there. It might now be a question of a turning point in the world history. Temporary rises in world capitalism might occur, but the basic direction is downwards. Anyway it is quite evident that the last, almost two decades, after the collapsing of the East European socialist economies, has been worse for humanity than the Cold War era. The arrogant and arbitrary foreign politics of one superpower does not give people anything but still more serious problems.

The reasons for the worst social problems, especially in the third world are not due to the growth of population or to lack of basic resources. Rational intellectual and honest criteria will show that the reason is the undemocratic rule of global monopoly capitalism. The world’s most important and often disastrous decisions are made by the capitalist monopoly headquarters. The democratic representation systems no longer have real political power. Especially in America, the leading monopoly economy, Big-Business and the Government are, for the most part, one and the same. The US Government is organised primarily to support and back the industrialists and the bankers, while the majority of citizens unknowingly support the system themselves by indulging in the widespread consumerism without thought of the future. Centralising worldwide capitalism, e.g. globalisation, creates neither richness nor welfare. The rich become even richer, but wealth differences grow both regionally and between social classes. The result is social disorder and rising tension domestically and internationally. Economic growth based on capitalist exploitation spoils earth, water and air, yet the highest percentage of this growth is concentrated in the hands of only a few people. The Earth doesn't recover so easily. Species necessary for life on Earth are being destroyed with accelerating speed.

Life-style and entertainment-oriented people, the whole spectrum of wasteful capitalist “showbiz”, especially in the developed industrialised countries, combine to close peoples' eyes and distract them. They fail to see or deliberately ignore the consequences of monopoly capitalist rule and financial control of the world economy, the harsh contradictions and worsening economic and political circumstances for the world of this “woeful system” as Pope Paul VI described it, years ago, in a speech to the UN General Assembly.


There are, however, real alternatives. Establishing a functional region-based democracy is nothing but a logical application and, as such, fully possible. In this system, the upper level of representation has to be accountable for its doings to the lower level of representation. A real democracy can be realised only by giving priority to the power of the grass roots, community oriented representation. At present, for instance, in most European “democracies”, the situation is exactly the opposite. The power triangle is there standing on its apex. The proposed Lisbon Treaty is a blatant attempt to consolidate unelected, bureaucratic power in the European Union accompanied by increasing militarisation of the Union, restrictions on civil liberties under the false-flag “war against terrorism”, deification of the so-called “free market” and unbridled power for the asset-stripping, Corporate marauders of the “free movement of capital”.

Efforts continue to be made to change the European Union into a centrally planned federal state. It is, and will be a totalitarian state, nothing less than the 4th Reich, in fact. The Lisbon Treaty amendments will disestablish the previous basis of the Union and install the same legal regime as was proposed in the rejected “Constitution”. We already have heard of proposals for restricting the freedom of speech and the right to strike, extended detention without trial for so-called “terrorist” offences, such offences not being defined by any legal code but, by mere police “suspicion”. Invasions of privacy in monitoring phone calls and e-mails, CCTV surveillance in all the main city and town centres and in public and commercial buildings. Demands are being made by Solana for complete personal details of everyone travelling between EU states and entry and exit at EU borders; who you are, where you are going, why are you going there, whom you are visiting. This shows that the intentions of the bureaucracy are profoundly undemocratic and basically fascist in content. Europe and the whole world is sliding into a new fascist-capitalist dictatorship. The fact that in some parts of the world shop shelves are groaning with goods and entertainment offerings galore, does not change anything. Bread and circuses of routine banality. On the other hand, millions of people in the world are lacking even basic essentials such as food, water and shelter.

The alternative is socialist democracy in which democracy is realised at a higher level. The classicists of socialism forecast that the first endeavour at socialism would, most likely, founder. It is a question of such fundamental change both in social structures and in the minds of individual people that setbacks are quite natural. And correspondingly, bourgeois democracy suffered several defeats before the eventual definitive victory over the feudal system.

Socialism, the Left forces generally and virtually politics as a whole, including the related theory formation, suffered a serious setback along with the political defeats in the 1980’s and the resurgence of bullying, socially regressive capitalism of the Reagan/Thatcher variety. Weak, demoralised leadership in Social Democracy cowered before the ranting Social-Darwinism of Thatcher and her ilk.

The mere neo-liberalist right-wing politics, even as a concept, on its own is an impossibility. Loudly proclaiming the non-existence of “society” yet having no status except as a socio-political force attempting to dominate the same society, this anti-people, modern manifestation of fascism succeeded in seducing a minority of people into believing its lies and acting accordingly and intimidating the majority by sustained attacks on the defenders of working people at ground level, the Trade Unions. Despite 11 years now of Blair/Brown “Labour” Government in neighboring Britain, Thatcher’s vicious anti-trade union legislation of 1982 has not been repealed. So much for “representing” the people. We now can see clearly where this anti-people philosophy has ended up; in disgrace and widespread financial fraud leading to the collapse of the entire system of lies and deception. A fake economy for a bunch of fakers. Yet, while we, the victims, suffer the consequences these reprobates try desperately to cling on to their power bases in the financial sphere, helped by the same unscrupulous politicians who were their cheerleaders in the greatest fraud against the people in history. The Somali Pirates have stolen an oil tanker. The Free Market Pirates have stolen a whole world.


It is no wonder that sales of the works of Karl Marx, the founder of scientific socialism, the true analysis of monopoly capitalism and its inevitable fate, are exceeding all expectations of the publishers in Germany, the country of his birth and where Social Democracy was founded. 1,500 people from all strands of the Left turned up earlier this month for a weekend conference on Marxism in the centre of Dublin. A new Left Party (Die Linke) emerged in Germany last year. A new Socialist Party was founded in the United States this month.

Sooner or later, the era of capitalism will be over. What will follow depends on ourselves. If we do nothing, the consequences will certainly be disastrous. On the other hand, solutions can be found to everything if we work together on a collective, rather than individual basis. In the history of philosophy of science, the Socialist theory of society and political economy, still represents the culmination of development of the philosophy of science in Europe and the world. A human being cannot exist without society. On the other hand, a society cannot exist without individuals. This is one form of simple and practical understanding of the real world. Socialism recognises that a human being has both individual and social responsibility. Other scientific traditions are built either upon religion-oriented idealism or spiritless mechanical materialism. They remove responsibility from the individual and place it in some unreal world of invisible phantoms. The positivist science of today does not see even the most apparent things. Life is not formed only on the basis of narrow-minded simplistic laws of reason and consequence.

The anti-capitalism struggle must continue. This struggle is a necessity for humanity and nature at a critical juncture in our relationship with the Planet which is our only home. Working for a better world is meaningful in spite of the, up till recently, apparent supremacy of the capitalist ideology of market fetishism. This ideology has now run its course and is publicly discredited. Real grounds for socialist vision and optimism do exist, being based on the actual needs of the human race in its entirety, not the false ones promoted by the rampant consumerism of the market, as more people are having their eyes opened daily and the system thrashes out its massive contradictions in vulgar public scenes of moral degeneration and naked malfeasance. We have not yet arrived at a truly revolutionary situation but, if Social Democracy does not take the lead in this struggle it will be by-passed by other forces. Chasing after a meaningless “centrism” and ignoring the social base from which Labour and European Social Democracy arose has proved disastrous not only in the past but, now, in the present, which has allowed right-wing governments to re-establish in France, Germany and Italy, for example, and Fianna Fáil to rule the roost here in Ireland for far too long.

The basis of the traditional West European welfare states has been the strong Labour movement, in which various Left forces had a role. At those times parliaments, too, worked. Results were achieved through organized political actions of the people themselves. The same means are available also today. It is only a question of getting them started on a new, purposeful, realistic road to a future of genuine equality of opportunity, fair sharing of the world’s wealth, ever expanding democracy and a sustained, efficient and guaranteed level of Public Service and Public Enterprise.

FearFeasa Mac Léinn

Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 26 Samhain/November 2008.

1 comment:

FearFeasaMacLéinn said...

The spectactular image of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD which destroyed the City of Pompeii was created for the BBC/Discovery Channel
movie "Pompeii, the Last Day".

You can see the original, clear of text here: