The Libertarian Communist No.23 Summer 2013

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  • 7/28/2019 The Libertarian Communist No.23 Summer 2013


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    offercommentorwanttocontributesomethingelsetothediscussionthenpleasegetintouch.Ifanyarticlefocusesonaparticulargroupthenthatgrouphas,asamatterofcourse,therighttoreply.Sopleasegetintouchwithyourarticle,lettersandcomments.Youcandothisbycontactingusat [email protected] orwritingtoRayCarr,Flat1,99PrincessRoad,Branksome,Poole,Dorset,England,BH121BQ==================================================================================ContentsPage2: issue arising from LC 22Page:3Global Heating and Socialism: Stephen Shenfield providesananalysis of the likely consequences of globalheating, of responses under capitalism and how it might influence a socialist societyPage:7What we are up against: Joe Hopkins examines the political power structure in modern day America andthe rise of neo liberalist ideas.

    Page:12The problem is Capitalism not just neo liberalism: Ricardo Monde argues that we must not limit ourhorizons to fighting neoliberalism when the real problem is the system of capital itself

    Page:19Yes the present hour is very severe at least:: senttousbyChronos Publications. TranslatedfromFrenchthisisaleafletwritteninresponsetooneproducedbystrikingPeugot-CitroenworkersinAulnaynearParis.Ithighlightstheproblemoffightingredundancieswithoutconfrontingthesystemofcapital.Page:20Stephen Shenfield My inteview with Vladislav Bugera: from Stephens introduction:Vladislav Bugera,Doctor of Philosophical Sciences, currently lectures at the Ufa State Oil University of Technology inBashkortostan, although he began his intellectual and political career in Kiev during perestroika. He is a prolificwriter, with several books to his name as well as numerous articles, reviews, interviews, etc. Hardly any of thiswork has been translated into other languages.

    Page:24Anti State, Non Market :Directory of Groups

    Issue Arising from LC 22In the previous issue we included a comment from Laurens Otter regarding an article inIssue 21:The inherent unhealthiness of Hierarchical Sytems by Lyla Byrne; Laurenssaid that Lyla stated that it is wrong to say that capitalists are self interested, Lyla hascontacted us to say that this is not what she said in the article and that she has thereforebeen misrepresented by Laurens comments. Lyla intended to re-state her view via aletter/article in this issue but due to unforseen circumstances was not able to get the piece

    to us by the deadline. Lyla has asked to be able to respond to Laurens and make someadditional points in our next issue due out in October and this has been agreed to. It wasat Lylas request that we made this known at this point as there will be a time laspe beforeshe can make clear her position.

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    Global Heating and SocialismStephen D. Shenfield (Stefan)

    Scientific thinking about global heating

    Leaving aside the shrinking fringe of skepticswho still deny the growing reality of globalheating,1 two broad trends can be discerned in

    scientific thinking on this issue. There exists anofficially recognized mainstream, representedby the Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange (IPCC). Mainstream thinkingacknowledges that global heating will createserious problems and cause extensive damage,but does not view global heating as a possible

    threat to civilization or human survival or thebiosphere. Nevertheless, outside thismainstream there are a significant number ofindependent scientists who do discuss global

    heating in precisely such terms and are oftencriticised as alarmists or catastrophists.

    Why this divergence?

    Like the United Nations of which it is anoffshoot, the IPCC is not an academic but an

    intergovernmentalinstitution. It strives for aconsensus among national governments. Thisin itself makes for an extremely cautious

    lowest common denominator approach to theinterpretation of evidence.

    There is no reason to suspect serious bias inmost of the detailed studies on which the IPCCrelies. However, the process by which itassesses the results of these studies andaggregates them every few years into ageneral Assessment Reportis influenced bypolitical pressures to tone down conclusionsand avoid alarmism.2 What this means is that

    governments do not want to be placed in theposition of having to acknowledge a scientificassessment that would imply the urgency offar-reaching action that they and the

    business interests they represent are notprepared to take. An excessive reliance oncomputerised mathematical modeling creates a

    bias in the same direction, because it leads toa tendency to neglect effects that cannot asyet be measured and modeled.

    The most dangerous of these neglected effects

    is the release into the atmosphere ofmethanepreviously immobilised as methane clathrates(a lattice structure also known as fire ice) in

    the permafrost and on the continental shelf. Inmany places clathrates cap deposits of

    gaseous methane. All this methane mayescape into the atmosphere as permafrostthaws and as ocean temperatures rise.Methane is a very powerful and unstable

    greenhouse gas. It is also flammable andpoisonous.

    Methane is already being released on a

    substantial scale in the Arctic over the EastSiberian Arctic Shelf, for instance.3 We do notknow how much methane may be released inthe future, but we do know that it is a hugeamount. This opens up terrifying prospects ofseas erupting in fire and explosions, massdeath by suffocation, and runaway climate

    change ending in an uninhabitable hothouse

    resembling Venus.4 We do not know how greata rise in atmospheric temperature is requiredto trigger theseevents.

    All this helps explain why earlier forecasts ofthe situation at dates that are now in the pastproved to be too optimistic. Another reason isthat assumptions about the future trajectory ofgreenhouse gas emissions reflected politicallynave expectations about the speed of the shiftaway from hydrocarbons. Despite theeconomic recession, emissions have risen even

    higher than projected in the worst (businessas usual) IPCC scenario.

    The two trends in scientific thinking ask and tryto answer different questions. The mainstream

    asks what the climate will be like at round-number dates in the next few decades. Thefocus is currently on 2050 and 2100 that isthe upper limit of its vision. Independentscientists focus less on specific dates and viewclimate change in a very long historicalperspective stretching back millions of years.

    From this perspective they seek aholisticconception of the current climatic shift. Theyask what the climate will be when it againreaches a stable equilibrium, however long

    that may take. This is the crucial question forthe long-term future of our species, though itis out of synch with the mentality of politiciansand capitalists, whose indifference toward thelong term found expression in John MaynardKeynes witty observation: In the long run weare alldead.

    A focus on end states yields a clearer picturebecause there is much less uncertainty aboutwhatis going to happen than about exactly

    when it will happen. Thus:

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    -- We know that the last coral reef will soon bedead, even if we dont know exactly when.

    -- We can be almost certain that most of what

    remains of the Amazon rainforest is going toburn down in very dry summer weather, evenif we dont know which year it will happen.

    -- We know that the melting Himalayanglaciers will continue to generate floodsdownstream in Pakistan, northern India andwestern China, followed by permanent droughtonce they are gone, even if we dont knowexactly when this point will be reached. Themelting Andean glaciers will have a similar

    impact on the Pacific coastal strip of South


    -- We dont know how long it will be before the

    Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheetscollapse,5 but we know that when they do theocean will inundate many cities (London, NewYork, Washington, Kolkata, Shanghai, etc.) anddensely populated river deltas (the Nile,Ganges, Mekong, etc.).

    -- We dont know when the Sahara will firmlyestablish itself along the northern shores of the

    Mediterranean, when a new dust bowl will formin the western US or when the Gobi willswallow Beijing, but we can be fairly sure thatthese things are going to happen.

    A common view among independent scientists,based on climate history, is that often climatedoes notchange in the smooth continuousmanner suggested by the limited experience ofwritten history and assumed by currentmathematical models. According to thisconception, there are only a few stable

    equilibrium states in which the planetaryclimate can maintain itself relativelyunchanged over a long period.6 An equilibriumstate is not easily disturbed, but on occasion a

    sufficiently powerful disturbance will push theclimate system past a tipping point andtrigger abrupt climate change a sort of

    quantum leap (borrowing a term fromquantum physics) to a different equilibriumstate.7

    The climate changes now underway stronglysuggest that just such a quantum leap,triggered by greenhouse gas emissions, isabout to occur if, indeed, it has not already

    begun. James Lovelock believes, on the basisof climate history, that the new equilibrium

    state will be on average 5 degrees C. hotterthan now. If so, human survival will still bepossible in certain parts of the world in thepolar regions and in a few oases elsewhere

    where climatic conditions will remain relativelyfavorable. Feedback mechanisms will come intoplay that impede further global heating,though that possibility cannot be altogether

    excluded. However, it cannot be expected thatin the foreseeable future Earth will return to itscurrent interglacial equilibrium state.


    In light of current scientific thinking, it seems

    sensible to think about the prospects of global

    heating in terms of a range of possibilities.Some conceivable scenarios might be excludedfrom the range of possibilities, but only at the

    optimistic end. In other words, even in thebest plausible case global heating is going toget much worse than it is now and causeenormous destruction and misery. Droughts,fires, heatwaves, floods, hurricanes andharvest failures will grow more frequent andmore severe. Climate refugees will number inthe millions, then in the tens and hundreds ofmillions, and many of them will perish. These

    things will happen even in the most optimisticscenario.

    By contrast, I see no reason to exclude thepossibility of the worst conceivable outcomes

    even runaway climate change that eventuallytransforms Earth into a lifeless desert under anatmosphere swirling with poisonous gases.Some authors assure their readers (andthemselves?) that this will not happen, but Ihave not seen the assurance backed up by anycogent argument.

    On the basis of the foregoing, I suggest thefollowing set of scenarios:

    A. Optimistic. The tipping point is still someway off and thanks to expeditious and effectiveaction against global heating (plus luck?) it isnot reached. The climate restabilises in theinterglacial state within a couple of centuries.Most of the planetremains habitable.

    B. Middling. The tipping point is reached and

    transition occurs to the next hotter state.Human society survives in the polar regionsand in oases. The shift to a green economy8

    occurs before, during or soon after thistransition, allowing the climate to restabilise in

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    the new hot state and ensuring long-termhuman survival in parts of the planet.

    C1. Pessimistic: runaway climate change. The

    tipping point is reached, but greenhouse gasemissions, including massive releases ofmethane, are at such high levels that theclimate overshoots the next hotter equilibrium

    state and human survival becomes impossible.

    C2. Pessimistic: delayed runaway climate

    change. The tipping point is reached andtransition occurs to the next hotter state.Human society survives for the time being inthe polar regions and in oases. Some or all

    surviving societies, however, continue or revert

    to the use of hydrocarbon resources (such asArctic oil and gas deposits), subsequentlytriggering transition to a yet hotter state in

    which human survival is not possible.

    Green capitalism?

    There is a broad consensus amongenvironmentalists that the main actionrequired to combat global heating is tocomplete as soon as possible a shift that hasalready begun toward a green economy based

    on the use of renewable energy above all,solar power. I agree that rapid completion ofthis shift must be an essentialpartof anyaction program, but I doubt whether it will besufficient.

    A major consideration in this respect is howsoon we can realistically expect a greeneconomy to be fully established. Here I drawupon an excellent analysis of the political andeconomic prospects of the shift to renewableenergy sources that appears in the latest issue

    of the journalAufheben.9

    Many Marxist ecologists (myself included)have assumed that the continued exploitation

    of hydrocarbon resources, subject only totechnical constraints, is intrinsic to capitalism.Rapid greening of the economy is thereforecontingent on the near-term establishment ofworld socialism. If so, it is hard to drum upmuch hope for our survival on this planet.

    TheAufheben authors argue that this view ismistaken. Capitalism is not intrinsically tied toany specific source of energy. Indeed, theearliest industrial mills, in the 18th century, ran

    on a renewable energy source water power.A green faction has now established itself

    within the capitalist class and created analternative pole of capital accumulation. Thepresent situation is marked by competitionbetween the green capitalists and the

    hydrocarbon companies, both on the market interms of prices and in domestic and worldpolitics (on matters such as governmentsubsidies, planning regulations and tax

    incentives). This competition will be influencedby numerous economic, technological andpolitical factors, making it difficult to foreseeits course.

    In general I agree with this analysis, exceptthat I suspect that theAufhebenauthorsunderestimate how long and hard the struggle

    against the hydrocarbon interests will be. Afterall, several (perhaps ten) trillion dollars are atstake.10

    I would also put more emphasis upon oneparticular factor influencing the outcome of thestruggle the extent and intensity of popularresistance to fracking, shale oil and otherforms of hydrocarbon development. As the fullimplications of global heating strike home aprocess that has not yet even begun in manyparts of the world people will feel increasing

    anger as well as panic, hysteria, terror, angstand despair. To the extent that the anger isdirected against those responsible for theclimate crisis, it can do much to undermineand finally break their power although we

    can expect sustained attempts to channel allthese feelings into irrational and self-destructive forms like religious fanaticism.

    It seems to me reasonable to proceedfrom theworking assumption that the extraction ofhydrocarbons willbe halted, but that this will

    probably not happen until the second half ofthis century. Coming so late in the process ofglobal heating, the victory of green capital canbe expected to have only a modest and

    delayed impact on climate change(althoughthis may be the case even if it occurs earlier).The probability of the optimistic scenario mayrise, but only to a level that is still quite low;the probability of a pessimisticscenario willdecline, but not to anywhere near zero.

    We must therefore deal with the question:What else can be done to combat globalheating, in addition to switching to a greeneconomy? And here we must give some

    consideration to the range of options that goby the name of geoengineering.

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    Geoengineering literally, engineering theEarth is a newly coined term for purposive

    large-scale human intervention in the climatesystem.11

    Environmentalists have reacted with hostility to

    the very idea of geoengineering.12 This isunderstandable. Undoubtedly, it is risky tofiddle around with a system that remainspoorly understood. It would have been muchbetter had we managed to avoid the situationthat drives us to resort to such expedients.Hostility is also appropriate as a reaction to the

    promotion of geoengineering as the alternative

    to a green economy a gambit thathydrocarbon interests are starting to adopt asoutright denial of global heating loses

    credibility. But that is not relevant to thepresent argument.

    It is important to distinguish among differentgeoengineering schemes and assess each onits merits. Some seem harmless enough evenif not all that effective (making roofs morereflective by painting them white, geneticallyengineering crops and grasses with more

    reflective foliage). Others present cleardangers. Thus, doping the stratosphere withsulphate aerosols would cool the surface, but itwould also damage the ozone layer, disturb themonsoon cycle and change the colour of the

    sky from blue to a dull grayish white.Unfortunately, this scheme is the most likely tobe implemented, as it is relatively cheap anduses readily available technology.

    In my view, the most promising are space-based or moon-based schemes designed to

    deflect solar radiation away from the Earth that is, to act on Earths climate system fromthe outside instead of messing about with itsinternal functioning. One proposal is to place

    light-scattering material such as aluminiumthreads or small disks in Earth orbit or furtherout toward the sun. Adjustable mirrors wouldhave the advantage of greater flexibility. Theycould be built on the moon using locallyavailable glass. Some such system shouldsurely be within human capacity at our present

    level of technological development, at least ifassigned top priority by the worlds spaceagencies.

    Global heating and socialism

    While green capitalism might prove able tocope with the challenge posed by global

    heating, at least to the extent of ensuringhuman survival, world socialism could copebetter. A world socialist community could focushuman effort upon the problem much more

    effectively than a humanity still split into rivalstates and riven by class and other divisions. Itwould clearly make sense if space-basedgeoengineering projects were undertaken by asingle world space agency, and it is not verylikely that such an agency will be establishedunder capitalism even of the green variety.

    A socialist community would also be muchbetter placed than a profit-driven system tominimise the human suffering caused by global

    heating (though the suffering would still be ona massive scale). In socialism we would notface economic obstacles to the effectiveorganisation of relief for regions struck byextreme weather and harvest failure or to theresettlement of climate refugees.

    At the same time, we need to rethink our ideasabout socialism in the light of the climate

    crisis. How would a socialist worldadministration actually function underconditions of pervasive climate chaos, withcommunications constantly disrupted bysuperstorms? Would such conditions not

    require a decades-long emergency regime? Asa matter of practicality, could such a regimefunction with as much democratic massparticipation as we like to imagine?

    The concepts of abundance and free accessalso need to be reconsidered in light of global

    heating as well as the general environmentalcrisis. Under conditions of climate chaos,socialist society might find it a sufficientlytaxing task just to satisfy basic human needs

    (food, clean water, housing, health, etc.). True,substantial reserves can be freed up byeliminating the waste inherent in capitalism,but these will soon be depleted by increasinglyfrequent regional harvest failures. And evenifsociety does manage to keep all its memberssupplied with enough food, it may not be the

    kind of food that most of them would prefer toeat. It will be necessary to grow those cropswhich are most adaptable to chaotic weatherrather than those which are most appealing to


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    Under some conceivable scenarios, even ifhumanity survives in some form, socialismwould no longer be a viable option at all.Consider Scenario B, with humans surviving

    only in isolated pockets or oases. Socialism ona global scale perhaps anysociety on aglobal scale is extremely difficult to envisionin such a world.

    We are only just beginning to reassess thesocialist viewpoint in light of the reality ofglobal heating.14 To what extent socialism willremain relevant depends on this reassessment.











    What we are up against: Joe Hopkins

    The most viscous enemies of the working classin the United States are bourgeois

    representational democracy and the combined

    power of congress and the courts.

    Just prior to each election cycle a hidden

    primary is held by the corporate elite behindthe voters backs. It is through this informal
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    primary that the funders of the electioncampaigns determine which potentialcandidate to fund and in effect, purchase.Unless the potential candidate is a self funding

    millionaire or billionaire (who representscorporate interests ipso facto), the oneselected through the hidden primary becomes

    bought property. Many times, especially

    since the Citizens United Supreme Court caselegalizing anonymous corporate campaigncontributions to political campaigns (in theUS), corporate titans hedge their bets and fundboth candidates to be in a win-win situation.The winner of the election is like a prepaid giftcard! S/he will write and pass laws that

    strengthen corporations and weaken the

    position of labour making the working class asprecarious as possible. These corporatefriendly laws do not necessarily have to be

    labour laws. A reduction of what are termedentitlement programmesin the U.S in thename of austerity and fiscal responsibility, i.e.,debt reduction (the capitalist class beingresponsible for the deficit in the first place) is agood example of a law intended to weaken theworking class. Bourgeois democracy believes inthe rule of law, as determined by those whorule.

    Time takes its toll people die; memories dieaway. On magnetic tape and Celluloidphotographic film are preserved RichardNixons statements of 1956 that the Republican

    Party is not a conservative party but a forwardlooking, forward leaning party.There weresome truly progressive traits present in theRepublican Party expressed in 1964 as BarryGoldwater (AuH20) said of American militarysoldiers you dont have to be straight to shootstraight.That was a welcoming hand

    extended to gay people to join the military.Fast forward to today and the differencebetween then and now becomes pronounced.The Republican Party has always been more

    pro-business than their main competition inthe political sphere, the Democratic Partybrand of politicians, who historically hadfavoured the less well-to-do working class bypromoting labor unions.

    The Republican Party especially after World

    War 2 - possibly in an effort to assert theirpatriotism after two Democratic PartyPresidents in succession had presided over thewining of the war became more national

    defence orientated. This patriotism has tendedto morph into a pronounced form of

    nationalism through the intervening decades.The nationalist inclinations of the United Stateshad become evident even by the time DwightD Eisenhower leaving the oval office after

    two terms gave his last speech as President.Ike warned that the military industrial complexcould have vast diplomatic and politicalramifications. As it has infact turned out, the

    US military industrial complex has made theUS a global policeman. This is enormousinternational influence. The modern strain ofRepublicans has tended to embrace rather thanshow any wariness of this complex. Centrestage on all corporate mainstream media is thesacrosanct stature of the Pentagon military

    budget. In an effort to win those famously

    divided independent swingvoters, DemocratPresident Obama has proposed some cuts inmilitary spending but it is a presidential

    election cycle!

    Its hard to know what came first (its thechicken Vs. Egg conundrum) nationalism orneoliberalism; one thing is sure: neoliberalismhas a deep root sunk into nationalistic fervour.The basic tenets of neoliberalism are three: 1)cut taxes, 2) cut social spending, 3) privatiseand deregulate production and markets. These

    three ugly triplets tend historically to be joinedat the hip to social conservatism.This brings us to Willard Mitt Romneyschoice of Vice Presidential running mate PaulRyan.

    Itsgoingbankruptandwevegottofixit(Paul Ryan, speaking of Social Security)

    As congressman Dennis Kucinich recentlynoted in marking Social Securitys 77thanniversary, the trust fund currently enjoys a$2.7 trillion surplus and can be further

    strengthened by eliminating the loopholeallowing those making $110,100 or more toavoid paying their fair share. It makes onewonder how Paul Ryan, a very bright, well

    informed House member of over 11 yearsexperience, a self- described policy wonkandthe top republican on the House Budget

    Committee, could say such a thing. You canbet the bottom-most dollar in your 401-K thatRyan knew full well when he said the abovethat the Social Security trust fund had close to

    a $3 trillion surplus.

    Congressman Kucinich did not make hisstatement to educate Ryan to the truth of thematter. After the 2006 elections, Paul Ryan wassent back to Washington DC and won the top

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    spot on the Budget Committee, the Chairmanposition on that committee put a large staff ofeconomists to work for him and also gave Ryanaccess to the non-partisan Congressional

    Budget Office and the detailed analyses andeconomic information it has and provides toCommittee Chairs. Paul Ryan has accurateinformation about the Social Security trust

    fund at his fingertips. Dennis Kucinich wastrying to clear up the fog surrounding the truth the fog of war; the fog of class war. In warthe truth is the first casualty. Kucinich wassetting the record straight for us: the 99 percent. Ryans statement begs the question: whywould Ryan say such a thing that he knows to

    be false and can be easily refuted? The answer

    to this simple question is not so simple orshort and requires a romp through the last35 -40 years of U S political history.

    The decade of the 1970s saw the advent ofwhat came to be called think tanks; thesethink tanks were funded by a quasi-public-private partnership by which is meant theRepublican Party and major corporations. Thinktanks came to enlist ex-and sitting politiciansand experts from various sectors of theeconomy to generate policy proposals

    favouring business interests to be introducedto state and federal legislatures. The think tankadopted names of gravitas such as theManhattan Institute founded by AnthonyFischer; the Cato Institute, named for Marcus

    Porcius Cato The Elder, known in Rome as TheCensor, or his grandson (the most probable) ofthe same name, a Roman Stoic Philosopher;the Heritage Foundation; the BrookingsInstitution and others. All of these think tankshave a Public Relations (PR) office and releasePR (propaganda) to the corporate mainstream

    media. Think tanks generate talking points tosoften up the populace just as they generatepolicy proposals and what the AmericanLegislative Exchange Committee (ALEC) a

    think tank and lobbying shop with teeth callsmodel legislation.

    Think tanks also generate an ideology; thebusiness backed, Republican-backed thinktanks promote a conservative ideology. Thisfalls right in line with Paul Ryans thinking, and

    what Ryan said about Social Security goingbankrupt has been the mantra of the Rightfor more than a decade. Drew Weston, aneural-linguist and author ofThe Political

    Brain, found through fMRI that people aremore apt to believe that which they have heard

    before for no other reason than that they haveheard it before. Daniel Kahneman, Departmentof Psychology, Princeton University winner ofthe Nobel Prize in Economics, 2002 found the

    human perceptual system bifurcated intoSystem 1 Perception and Intuition: fast,parallel, automatic, effortless and associative,System 2 Reasoning: slow, serial, controlled,

    effortful, rule governed. People tend to useSystem 1 intuition, much of the time simplybecause thinking hard is, harder! So despitethe myth ofAmericanExceptionalism,manyAmericansarequitegullible,justlikemanypeoplewherevertheyhappentolive.

    To explain away the lying of a politician, in a

    fashion most politic, anything said that is foundnot to accord with truth can be chalked up todifferences in political philosophy. I know, Iknow it doesnt work for me (and probablynot you either)! Paul Ryan is neither aneconomist nor a philosopher; he is a political

    ideologist and follows the political ideology ofthe Republican Party conservative groupthink.

    Social spending programs such as SocialSecurity, Medicare and Medicaid are symptoms

    of the nanny state and the nanny staterobs the nation of its rugged individualism andpersonal responsibility so, Social Security iseither going bankrupt or Social Security ismorally bankrupting our nation, which is thesame thing (to him). See? Paul Ryan didnt lie;

    we misunderstood! Ideology is arepresentation of the imaginary relations of

    individuals to their real conditions of existence.Isnt this a form of insanity? Paul Ryansideology has no place for reality. In Ryansworld, slashing taxes for the fabulously

    wealthy (the job creators) and slashing thesocial safety net that had its start with FDRsNew Deal will unleash the wonderful powers ofthe free market, un-manacle the invisible

    hand, and usher in prosperity for all throughinvestment and the personal responsibility ofindividualism.

    That, under Ryan/Republican ideology is andabsolutely must be true because under thatideology Social Security is a collectivist scheme

    for the redistribution of wealth from onegeneration to the next and flies in the face of

    markets and individualism. The conservative(or) neoliberal supply-side mantra of trickledown prosperity dictates that all wealth needsto start on high at the top or how else

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    would it have a chance to trickle down into thepockets of our working-class blue-jeans at thebottom?

    In the name of fiscal responsibility Paul Ryanis in fact in charge of wealth distribution:upward. His Roadmap for Americas Future a neoliberal plan for America was an all-

    encompassing plan to slash the social spendingprograms of the nation and radically reducethe federal governments role in protectingcitizens from many of lifes unforeseenmisfortunes. The Roadmap ended Medicareand replaced it with a voucher program soseniors could buy private health insurance; it

    ended Medicaid and substituted, in the name

    of States Rights, fixed blocked grants to thestates to provide health services to the poor inways the state saw fit. The Roadmap backed

    away from Ryans previous proposal of takinghalf of payroll taxes to invest in private sectorSocial Security accounts and reduced it to athird to be put into private accounts. The

    conservative intellectuals (an oxymoron) ideologues all at National Reviewand theHeritage Foundation who do not run for publicoffice in open elections, loved the Roadmap.With the 2008 midterm and Presidential

    elections coming up, the Roadmap found justeight co-sponsors in the whole House.

    In 2010, shortly after Republican Scott Brownwon the late Ted Kennedys Senate seat in

    Massachusetts an election ideologicallyclaimed to be the result of the new Tea Partymovements power rather than the DemocraticPartys failure to fund their candidates electioncampaign and taking the long-held Kennedyseat and his districts voters loyalty forgranted Ryan offered his Roadmap for

    Americas Futureas an alternative toPresident Obamas budget.

    Peter Orszag, the Budget Director at the time,

    analysed Ryans plan point by point and foundthe Medicare Voucher program as Ryan hadproposed it would not keep pace with risingmedical costs and was not keyed to inflation,so seniors would have to pay thousands ofdollars more out of their own pockets forhealth care; that the partial privatizing ofSocial Security would providelargetaxbenefitstoupper-incomehouseholdswhileshiftingtheburden


    confrontation with Orszag (and by proxyObama) boosted Ryans stature in the eyes ofhis Party. It was estimated that the channelling

    of one third of payroll taxes into private SocialSecurity accounts would generate $2 trillion forthe Wall Street banksters which probablyhelped Ryans standing in his party too.

    The neoliberal ideology should be in its deaththroes Whats good for business is good forAmerica? thats Americas position according

    to both mainstream political parties in the U.S.But Americas problems are not Apples


    Roberto (Robert) Michels in his book PoliticalParties, reports that elected leaders of political

    parties tend to always develop personal specialinterests that radically diverge from theinterests of those who elected them. Paul Ryanand Willard Mitt Romney are just two more

    prime examples. Baine Capital, RomneysHedge Fund, prospered extremely well duringthe economic slump that has proved so dire

    and protracted for the working class. Financialcapital rules over the real productive economyof manufacturing; over labour; over us; even

    the mainstream media have dropped the terminvestmentsand substituted the truth of theword bets, when speaking of volumes tradedon the stock exchange.

    Paul Ryan, the fiscal hawk, promoter ofpersonal responsibility, is partially responsiblefor $5 trillion being added to the national debt

    (that Obama inherited along with the financialcrisis) by voting for George Bushs 2000 and2003 tax cuts for the wealthy, the costlyMedicare Part D, two off the books(unpaidfor) wars, the multi-billion dollar bank bailoutcalled TARP; Ryan supported them all. PaulRyan and Dick Cheney share similar

    predilections; Cheney privatized war to thebenefit of private corporations such asBlackwater, Haliburton, Kerr-McGee, Brown &Root, et al. Ryan is trying to privatize Federal

    social spending programs so that the dollarsand savings of seniors will flow into theaccounts of Wall Street banksters, speculators,and the for profit insurance industry. Paul Ryanrejected organized PLEAS from his own bluecollar working-class constituents in Janesville,

    Wisconsin to oppose the trade and economicpolicies that endangered both the local GM andParker Pen manufacturing plants theJanesville GM was turning out 1,000 sport-

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    utility vehicles per day; Ryan turned a deaf ear.Theyve both been closed and shuttered.

    Paul Ryans personal fortune has been

    substantially enlarged during his Congressionaltenure, now estimated to be as much as $7.8million. The One Percent are doing ratherbetter than us 99 percent, it would seem. Ryan

    bought a house during the housing collapse alarge Georgian Revival with six bedroom andeight bathrooms that is listed on the NationalRegister of Historic Places it is the mostdesirable house on the most desirable street intown. The dry and cynical irony is that duringthe deepest and longest recession since the

    Great Depression, Paul Ryan established

    himself on the estate of Parker Pens formerCEO.

    The two political parties in the U.S are merelythe left and right of the Capitalist Party. TheRepublican Party merely want to crush theworking-class more quickly than do theDemocratic Party. All the talk about taxes andthe public support programmes is nothing butKabooki Theatre.

    The capitalism market system commodifies

    everything through the necessity of marketexchange rates. This happened in England in1834 with the abolition of the SpeenhamlandLaw and act of settlement that made up themajor part of the Speenhamland System. In

    the U.S the working class, from the beginningnever had even these pretend protections.Labour power in the U.S has always been acommodity. Taxes are essential to corporationsas they go to the maintenance of the state andits infrastructure that is also essential tocorporations. In the long-run workers dont pay

    taxes; they just act as transfer agents andtaxes are merely a reduction of the workerswages put toward maintaining capitalistoperations. The working-class then has to

    struggle to recoup the reduction of their wageand here is where the capitalist class make aprofit on the tax transfer scheme. The workersstruggle takes time and while the strugglecontinues the rate of their exploitation isgreater. Looking over periods of low prices, lowtaxes and low wages we find the general

    conditions of the workers unchanged fromtimes of high prices, high taxes and highwages.

    Pierre Bourdieu, a professor of Sociology atThe College De France before he died in 2002

    found what he called the invariant principles

    of the logicof fieldswhich boils down to thefact that if a particular fieldis subsumed orsubordinated under a general system its

    internal structure and method of operationconforms to the overarching system. Thecapitalist world system is controlling worldpolitics. It doesnt matter that Im writing

    about the political parties in the U.S - its thesame wherever you are reading this, the U.SDemocrats = U.K Labour; U.S Republicans =U.K Tory; U.K British National Party =Americas First Party; etc; mutatis mutandis.

    Our political leadersdo not give a hoot for

    the conditions of the world or the majority of

    its population they care about power and thelever of power much money. Thats how it isin a capitalist for-profit world. As the Anti

    State, Non Market Sector of Communists wemust iron out our differences and get busyexposing what lies behind the political andmedia obfuscations to the great mass of peoplewho take at face value the system of social lifeas presented.

    Daniel Kahneman has shown that thinking hardis harder our group must show the general

    population that there is a problem importantenough to think hard about and that theproblem can be overcome by replacing theCapitalist Market System with .Non MarketSocialism.Political parties are formed around andrepresent class interests. The differences

    amongst groups in the Anti State, Non Market(ASNM) sector focuses to an extent on whetherinstitutions that have developed withincapitalism can be used by a conscious majority

    to bring about a free communist society, themajor institution in this is of course parliament.The majority of groups would reject that it canplay any role at all, a few such as the Socialist

    Labour Party (SLP) and Workers InternationalIndustrial Union (WIIU) favour a dual policy ofindustrial and political organisation whilst the

    Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB), theWorld Socialist Party U.S (WPUS) and itscompanion parties in the World SocialistMovement are probably alone in seeingparliament or similar institutions as being themain tool for a revolutionary movement. TheWSM claims that it has represented the

    working class consistently and unabatedly foralmost 110 years and that voting for any partywhose aim is to seek to reform capitalism is

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    12 The Libertarian Communist Issue 23 Summer 2013

    voting against the interests of the immensemajority as capitalism cannot be reformed infavour of the majority. Of course in the currentsituation you are unlikely, when/if voting in any

    election to have the opportunity to vote for acandidate of the WSM and in this case you areurged to write socialism across you ballotpaper. This means you can cast your vote for

    revolution rather than for capitalism or anyattempt to reform it. The differencessurrounding if, how or to what extentparliament can be used as a weapon foremancipation is likely to continue in our sectorfor some time to come and such a discussionhas to take place on the basis of experience

    and understanding rather than dogma.

    By: Mordacious MouseYou can tell the mouse stuff he should and needs to know at:[email protected])==============================

    The Problem is Capitalism, not justNeoliberalism: Ricardo Monde

    The death of Margaret Thatcher, earlier thisyear brings into focus the discussion onneoliberalism; Thatcher in Britain and Ronald

    Reaganin the United States of America wereseen at the forefront of the so-calledNeoliberalist revolution, or if you prefer theearly culprits of that concept. The problem with

    the developing opposition to neoliberalism,which remains to this day was that what cameto be defined as anti capitalism focused mostof its attention on neoliberalism and tended tocampaign against that and in favour of a moreregulated capitalism rather than opposing thecapital system itself. In this situation

    neoliberalism is virtually seen as capitalismrather than just a particular form of it andamongst the most fundamental policiesassociated with it are: 1) a consolidation of the

    power of the capitlist class via deliberatepolicies such as rising unemployment, aprocess of deindustrialisation and cuts in thepublic sector; thus weakening the base of

    organised labour: 2) a decreasing role for thestate: 3) deregulation, especially in thefinancial sector: 4) wage restriant leading to

    increased exploitation of the working-class andthe problem of underconsumption whichhelped pave the way for the most recent

    economic crisis. These policies are inter-related(1)

    Some of the above arguments are questionable

    in themselves but more to the point even ifone was to accept them they focus on surfaceappearances. Neoliberalism was a response tothe economic crisis of the mid 1970s, so this in

    itself points to the problem being the capitalsystem rather than a specific form of itespecially if you look historically at capitalismand crisis. In addition is the point that the

    proponents of the analysis that focuses onneoliberalism are arguing that ideology canplay a dominant role over the economic needsof capital.

    Consolidating capitalist class power

    Harvey:20011, pp.130-32 as he did in 2005put forward the notion that during the period1973-1982 capitalist class power wasweakened in relation to "labour and othersocial movements"especially in the U.S.A andthat in response to this leading corporations

    and individual capitalists set about adoptingradical political and economic policies to re-empower capital via de-industrialisation andrising unemployment which weakened labour.

    There is little doubt that there was a movefrom the early 1980s to adopt policies in

    response to the recession which broke out inthe middle 1970s but this is hardly surprising.However it is not a cast iron case that risingunemployment and the decline of employment

    in manufacturing industry were all to do withneoiberal policies. In the U.S.A unemploymentrose from 3.4 in 1969 to 5.8 per cent in 1979,having reached a high of 8.3 in 1975. In the

    years 1982/3 it stood at 9.5 per cent and by1992 when neoliberalism should have beenhaving an impact it was 7.3 per cent.

    Regarding Britain between 1969 and 1979 it

    rose from 2.9 to 5.0 per cent, having stood at6.2 per cent in 1977. Unemployment in Britaindid rise steeply during the 1980s reaching 12.5in 1983, fell in the late 1980s and rose again inthe early 1990s up to 1993. (2) Sounemployment was a issue prior to neoliberalpolicies. In Britain employment in

    manufacturing industry had started to fallconsiderably in the period 1966-1979 thereforepredating neoliberalism, although it did

    continue to fall sharply after 1979 [see forexample, Bain:1986:238]. In Britain,

    monetarist policies predated Thatcher, beingintroduced by the Labour Government prior to

    1979. That 1974-9 government had anincomes policy initially with the co-operation ofthe unions but in the latter stages without such

    mailto:[email protected]:[email protected]
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    13 The Libertarian Communist Issue 23 Summer 2013

    co-operation. The better organised sections ofworkers had to initiate a series of bitterindustrial struggles in order to maintain theirliving standards in a period of a substantial rise

    in the cost of living, leading eventually to theso-called Winter of Discontent and the electionof a Conservative Government under MargaretThatcher in 1979. So the working-class in

    Britain were hardly having a good time evenprior to 1979 [See, Kessler and Bayliss,1998:27-9]

    The Role of the state in the capitalsystem.

    [Harvey, ibid:p.132 and 197] argues that the

    neoliberal agenda offered a radical critique onwhat functions the state should perform.However Harvey has a conception of socialism

    as a system which merely regulates capitalism.In such a system the state is seen as having apivotal role and as intervening between labourand capital. The state would act to providebasic needs, manage the production of anysurplus to provide for a fairer distribution ofwealth and bring capital under control bybringing the commanding heights of theeconomy into public ownership and ensure that

    workers rights both at work and in the marketplace were protected [ibid:224]. Similarly[Wolff 2008 and 2010] argues that stateagencies should co-ordinate enterpriseproductive decision making and calls on the

    U.S government to place a duty on financialinstitutions to have a form of employeerepresentation on their boards. The like ofworker-directors would, Wolff argues, makedifferent decisions to board members who areelected soley by shareholders, this would, heclaims, tend to de-prioritise the profit

    motivation as the rationale of the enterprise.

    So, it would seem, in the opinion of Harvey,that capitalism of the 1960s up to the mid

    1970s was moving in a socialist direction andthis was brought to a halt by the so-calledneoliberal revolution. Wolff seems to see thestate as having a vital role in moving towards aform of"market socialism"The definition ofsocialism advocated by theorists such asHarvey and Wolff is not acceptable to the anti-

    state, non market (ASNM) sector as therewould be an increased role for the state andthe continued existence of the market, albeit ina regulated form. One point about that

    definition is that the term socialism wouldsurely refer to a form of social ownership which

    does not fit in either with a society basedlargely on state ownership or one based on amixture of private and state ownership. If whatpeople such as Harvey and Wolff want is a

    regulated form of capitalism why not refer to itas just that rather than confusing people bycalling it socialism? To move away from thedefinition point a further aspect needs

    discussion: namely do we have a variety ofchoices about how to run a system based oncapital so that ideological considerations cantake priority over the dominant economic lawsof the system?

    Historically there have been two variants in

    trying to run the capitalist system; the free

    market and state intervention and we haveseen moves from one to the other and backagain [Kilman,2012:185]. The depression of

    the 1930s was seen as being caused by thefree market system and so the cure seemed tobe state intervention and regulation. Thislasted (probably with the help of World War 2)to the mid 1970s when recession began to setin and was attributed to an overload of stateintervention which was strangling the freeenterprise system. So the late 1970s and early80s saw support for what are seen as

    neoiberalist policies endorsed by the likes ofThatcher and Reagan. In the present climatemany are calling for and, following the crisis,we have infact seen a return to some form ofstate intervention and regulation as the free

    market, especially in the financial sector, wasseen as having a fundamental role in thatcrisis. However the point is that just as thefree market solution cannot and does notoperate without the state; so state regulationdoes not do away with the so-called "free"market.

    There are a number of instances whereideology has had to take second place toeconomic priorities. In the early 1980s as

    neoliberalism began to take hold in Britain andthe U.S.A France took a different approachwith the election of a so-called "socialist"President, Francois Mitterrand in 1981. Usingopposing polices to those of Thatcher andReagan, Mitterrand tried to stimulate theeconomy by massive investment in public

    works and state enterprises, nationalisation ofprivate companies, a 10 per cent increase inthe minimum wage, a reduction of the workingweek to 39 hours, an increase in paid holidays

    to 5 weeks and a solidarity tax on wealth. Themeasures were not successful, the financial

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    markets refused to assist the policies, Frenchcapital moved abroad, unemploymentincreased further and the franc had to bedevalued three times. By 1983 the government

    changed to neoliberalist policies andconcetrated on trying to control inflation[Mattick:2011:73].

    In more recent times Henry Paulson, TreasurySecretay to George W Bush and no supporterof government intevention had to use theTroubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) whenpanic threatened to break out following thecollaspe of Lehman Brothers in the most recentcrisis [Kilman:op.cit:183]

    The state exists not to curb but to support thecapitalist system and [Mattick:op.cit:74]indicateshow it was the policy of the U.S

    government to engineer an easing of credit inthe early 1990s that stimulated the stockmarket and then the real estate sector. Herethe role of the state was to involve itself in theeconomy to serve private enterprise not to, inany way, to confront it. Military spending aidedcorporate capital and the mounting interest onstate debt went into the coffers of privatebanks. The Federal Reserve opened up the

    possibility of a flourishing financial sector andthen the consumer spending that began topower the global economy. Of course the wholething was to crash in the turmoil of 2007.

    The most extreme example of ideology havingto be put to one side due to economiccircumstances was the case of Chile followingthe military take over after the overthrow ofthe Allende government in 1973. Fired up bythe neoliberalist rhetoric of Milton Friedman themilitary regime carried out radical cuts in

    public spending and a massive privatisationprogram but when these policies backfired andthe economy faced near collaspe withunemployment increasing from 3 to 20 per

    cent the military government had to changecourse. In 1982 with hyperinflation, a vastincrease in debt and unemployment rising to30 per cent, despite having the force of apolice state the Pinochet regime had to ignoreideology and nationalise many privatecompanies which had only recently been

    created [ibid:91].

    The above account shows that the main role ofthe state is to uphold and support the system

    of capital, even if that means saving it fromitself. Having said that, Mattick [ibid:82]

    makes the valid point that what governmentscan do in a depresion is limited because theproblem is not consumer demand but the lackof profitability which halts business expansion.

    Therefore the role of any government is limitedto alleviating the suffering caused and creatingthe infrastructure for future profitableproduction. Mattick refers to a comment by

    Martin Janicke who commented that the mainservice the state can offer to industrialcapitalism is to act as a scapegoat: while it isthe entrepreneurs and managers who makethe decisions the state must take the blame forthe failure of the economy [ibid].

    The point is that capitalism is similar to an

    uncontrollable juggernaut which all politicalparties claim to be able to run effectively butnone have been successful for any length of

    time. This does not alter the point that thestate's main role is to support the system thebest it can. As we have seen, depending on thecircumstances, the state fullfills this role byeither allowing a fair amount of autonomy forthe market system or increased regulation.Intervention and regulation have very little todo with making the system fairer or upholdingthe rights of labour or whatever, these may at

    times be by products where the main motive issupporting the capital system itself. Thedepression in the 1930 in the U.S and the NewDeal period is one such example.

    To nail this point Kilman [op.cit:181] notedhow in the U.S.A the response to the 2007/8crisis was a series of bailouts, nationalistionsand near nationalisation via purchasing amajority of stock in the companies concerned.More than 700 banks and General Motors andChrysler also became partly government

    owned. Such a large bout of governmentintervention, Kilman suggests, was: "a newmanifestation of state capitalism", not in thesense of a system such as the former Soviet

    Union but in terms of a new global form of thecapital system marked by permanent stateinvolvement which begun with the New Deal inthe U.S.A in the 1930s.(4) Kilman continues:

    "ThepurposeoftheNewDeal,justlikethepurposeofthe latest government intervention, was to save thecapitalistsystemfromitself"

    The bailouts were criticised by the liberal andleft wing of capitalism as purely making therich richer while those at the bottom end of thecrisis received little help, however as Kilman

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    notes this is missing the point, the bailouts andinterventions were all about saving the system,not helping individual members or certaincorporations [ibid].

    Regulation, Deregulation and the 2007/8crisis

    A convential view of the recent economciccrisis is based on the assumption that there isa 'real economy'which is based on realproductive activity, producing and distributinggoods and services for profit which is stable,works well and is the best we can hope for anda financial superstructure errected at the top

    which if allowed to run out of control it is likely

    to unravel and bring the real economy downwith it. A critique of neoliberalism is that it ledto a deregulation of financial markets, which

    eventually did get out of control, creating adebt crisis that brought the whole systemtumbling down with it. This deregulation, it isargued, encouraged companies to invest alarger share of their profits in finance and lessin productive capital assests and this led toweak economic growth [see Matick,op.cit:21-2

    and Kilman, op.cit:5] As Mattick, [op.cit:8],suggests, greed, co-orporate irresponsibility

    and the deregulation of markets, were,according to the convential view, responsiblefor the 2007/8 crisis and it was largely afinancial one.

    It is of course nonesensical to argue thatfinance is in anway seperate from theproduction of goods and services for profit aswithout the functioning of adequate financeincluding the credit system the so-called "realeconomy" could not function. But what aboutthe arguments concerning greed and

    deregulation? Greed is easily dismissed sincegreed is an ever present feature of the capitalsystem, indeed we are told when all seems tobe running smoothly that "greed is good". But

    what about deregulation, especially in thefinancial markets, did this make a majorcontribution to the crisis and would regulationavoid a repeat of 2007/8.

    Firstly was there a financialisation of theeconomy? An argument from some on the left

    was that in the early 1980s the rate of profitincreased via the increased exploitation of theworking-class but this did not lead to a rise inthe rate of accumulation due to a

    financialisation of the system as companiesfailed to invest enough in the productive

    process favouring the financial sector instead

    [for a discussion of this see Kilman,op.cit:4and 49-50]. This is open to debate and Kilman[ibid:6] disputes this trend and suggests that,

    in the case of the U.S anyway, corporationsrate of profit did not recover from the early1980s and a rate of profit more in line withMarx's concept of surplus value continued on

    its downward trend. Furthermore, he adds, theview that capitalism opened on a newexpansionary road from the early 1980s, basedon neoliberal policies is incorrect, suggestingthat the turning point was the 1970s as thatwas the point that a long period of stagnationcan be traced to [ibid:48]. Regarding the share

    of profits reinvested in the productive process,

    Kilman suggests that in the period 1981-2001a larger share went in this direction than wasthe case in the period 1947-80.

    One problem with regulation is that any newregulations are designed to deal with what has

    just gone wrong and it is unlikely that they willbe effective in the future as the circumstancesare unlikely to be identical. A second point isthat those effected by the regulations will finda way around them. This much is admittedeven by those who favour them. Joseph

    Stiglitz, the author ofHow to Prevent the NextWall Street Crisis,has suggested that anyreforms to the financial sector are by no meansfoolproof as people operating in that sector willeventually figure how to deal with them


    It is not only financial institutions that areexpert at avoiding regulations.

    {Bakan:2005:74-5] notes how in the U.S.A thegarment industry reguarly get around the FairLabour Standards Act (FLSA). He describes

    how in a ten story building in ManhattanGarment District fire had broken out in abasement storage closet. The fire exits wereeither locked or blocked by stored supplies, the

    sprinkler systems in the building were turnedoff and there were no exit signs or fireextinguishers. Despite the (FLSA) and itsinjunction against them sweatshops still existin America. Whilst they were supposed to havebeen banned from the USA in 1938 it isestimated that 65 per cent of all apparel

    operations in New York City are sweatshops.Fifty thousand workers, forty five hundredfactories out of seven thousand and theworkers receive $1 or $2 a hour. The Southern

    end of Los Angeles has America's and perhapsthe world's largest concentration of garment

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    sweatshops, staffed by 160,000 workers manyof them illegal and therefore powerlessimmigrants. A U.S Deparment of Labor Surveyestimates that the overall compliance with the

    minimum wage, overtime and Child Laborrequirments of FLSA is 33 per cent meaningthat 67 per cent of the garment industry fail toobey the law. Bakan adds that non compliance

    is not unique to the garment industry,corporate illegalities are rife throughout theeconomy. Many major corporations engage inillegl practices and some are constantoffenders with records that many criminalswould envy [ibid:The point about regulation isthat to be effective, it has to be policed and

    policing regulations costs money and it is not a

    priority for the profit system.

    So any regulations introduced in the financial

    sector or elsewhere are hardly likely to preventanother crisis for a system that has beenlittered with crisis since its inception. It is alsofairly debatable, to say the least, that the lastcrisis was simply due to problems in thefinance sector when it seems very probablethat the capital system still had fundamentalproblems unresolved from the crisis of the mid1970s. It is therefore the case that

    concentrating on neoliberalism and arguingthat a regulated capitalist system is betterthan an unregulated one is little better thanclaiming that one political party rather thananother has the answers to running the system

    successfully. Before concluding we have onemore aspect to deal with the theory thatunderconsumptionism, another item linked toneoliberalism was also a factor in the 2007/8economic crisis.

    The theory of underconsumption.

    The argument here is that one of the mainpolicies of neoliberalism was the depression ofwages, thus wokers had too little money to

    spend and this led to a lack of demand whichwas only cured by debt eventually leading to acrisis. For example [Harvey,op;cit:107] arguesthat workers spending power is a vital sourceof effective demand and the policies of wagerestraint increased the possibility of a crisiscaused by underconsumption. He also argued

    that many regard the crisis of the 1930s ashaving the same cause which is why there wasmuch support for policies that would increaseworking-class spending power. In a similar vien

    Foster and Magdoff of Monthly Review [2008]argued that the economic stagnation of the

    1970s led to the emergence of a financialisedcapitalism where demand was stimulated via

    "asset bubbles"but such a financialised growthpattern was unable to create substantial

    economic prosperity and was in the long rununstatinable. Furthermore, in the U.S anyway,the stagnation of the 1970s caused capital tolaunch a class war on the working class which

    was aimed at a reduced share for wages andsalaries as a percentage of National Income soas to reduce labour costs and raise profits.Kilman [op.cit:153-5] casts doubt on theanalysis of Foster and Magdoff who by usingU.S government data conclude that wages andsalaries fell from 53 per cent of Gross

    Domestic Product (GDP) in 1970 to 46 per cent

    in 2007. Instead of focusing on wages andsalaries alone, Kilaman argues, it is better tolook at the total compensation that workers

    receive. Total compensation would include, ontop of wages and salaries, health andretirement benefits that many employers payand the portion of Social Security and Medicaretaxes that employers pay on their workers'behalf. These non wage parts of totalcompensation are today of greater significanceowing to an ageing population, the fact thatworkers live longer after retirement and rising

    health costs. On top of this the governmentpays, especially in the case of the workingclass, a variety of social benefits. Between1970-2007 the share of wages and salaries asa percentage of GDP and National Income (NI)

    fell by 7.5 and 7.6 respectively. But includingthe total compensation package means thatworkers share of NI fell by only 3.0 per centand when net social benefits are included itrose by 0.1 per cent. The working-class werenot well off in the mid 1970s and since thentheir income has risen very slowly but the fact

    they are struggling is not due to a decliningshare of the NI as this did not take place. (4)

    Underconsumption theorists claim that a fall in

    workers income will have a negative effect ondemand as working people tend to spend moreof their income on goods and services and thishas an adverse effect on the economy andeventually leads to a crisis. However thisleaves out productive consumption demand the demand created by businesses as they

    invest in factories, offices etc and machinery,software and other necessary equipment.However the claim by underconsuptionisttheorists is that the investment demand

    between companies cannot make up for a lackof demand from consumers as in the long-run

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    Capitalismis aneconomicmechanismrather than aform of property ownership, a mechanism which isfact compatible with various different forms ofownership".(4)

    This is vital to understand as it emphasisesthat it is the system of capital that needs to be

    opposed rather than just individual capitalistsor institutional forms taken by enterprises suchas private or state owned. One capitalist maybe a complete and utter bastard, whilst

    another gives away a substantial amount ofmoney to charity and other worthwhile causes.Either way the system still operates along the

    path of value expansion, and will continuealong its destructive course. Such an

    understanding should arise, in theory, fromexperience, grappling with a problem, in the

    endless list of single issue campaigns, andhitting a brick wall: nothing changes soscientifically you have to ask,what is theunderlying problem? Why are things the way

    they are? Why is there no fundamentalchange?

    This is the problem with struggling againstsuch a concept as neoliberalism you aredealing not with the source of the problem

    which is the system of capital but just aparticular form of it. Have a successfulcampaign against it and achieve a return to aregulated form of the same system and you

    will be facing more or less the same problemsand as that form runs into a crisis you arelikely to be back to the start. Brings into mindrunning about like something short of a head.

    Another point made by Kilman [op.cit:6-7] Isthat if you really believe that the economiccrisis, (and to that we could add a host ofother problems, most importantly the future ofthe planet itself), can be solved by defeatingneoliberalism then the political implications ofthat is that there is no need to combat

    capitalism itself. The main damage this type ofreformism does is that it convinces manythousands of peope that something can bedone within the confines of the system thus

    meaning that they fail to examine the systemitself. The question that then needs to beanswered, in the case under review is why if asystem of regulated capital was so good did wecome to land up with the deregulated version?Take a look at history and the moves back and

    forth from one to the other for an answer.

    Notes1) MostoftheanalysisinthisarticleisbasedontheU.S.A.Apartfromthefactthattheeconomiccrisiswhichhasmuch

    influenceonthesubjectfirstmanifesteditselfthere,threeofthemostrecentinfluentialbookswhichhavefocusedontherole of neoliberalism in the crisis from one perspective oranother have mainly focused their attention on the U.S.Atheyare:Harvey:2011,Mattick2011andKilman:2012.ThisarticleleansheavilyonKilman'sanalysisfollowedcloselybyMattick's book. They both come as highly recomendedreadinginstudyingthe2007/8crisis:seethereferencesforfulldetails2)ThefiguresforunemploymentaretakenfromBamberandLansburyEdited:International and Com parative IndustrialRelations,1987:241,(tableA5Unemployment)AndKesslerandBayliss,Contemporary Industrial Relations,1998:43,(Table3.3unemployment1979-96InternationalComparisons).3) In this respect Kilman cites the work of RayaDunayevskaya: 2000, Marxism and Freedom From 1776until today,6thedition.Amherst,NY:Humanitybooks4) FormoreinformationseeKilman:155-60.5)The discussion ondemand for private consumptionandinvestment consumption is a long and complex one. ForfurtherdiscussionseeKilman:160-806)Forexamplehis:A Companion to Marx's Capital, Verso,2010 isa very useful guide toVol 1 with many interstingdiscussionpoints.7)Adam Buick: The end of "neoliberalism"? Pages13 and22,SocialistStandard,November2008


    George Sayers Bain Edited: Industrial Relation in Britain1986Blackwell,Oxford

    Joel Bakan:The Corporation, The Pathological Pursuit ofProfitandPower:2005ConstableandRobinson,London

    Greg J. Bamber and Russell D. Lansbury Editied:International and Comparative Industrial Relations: 1987AllenandUnwin,London

    SidKesslerandFredByliss: Contemporary British IndustrialRelations: 1998Macmillan,LondonDavid Harvey: The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis ofCapitalism: 2011ProfileBooks,LondonAndrew Kilman: The Failure of Capitalist Production:Underlying Causes of the Great Recession:2012 PlutoPress,London

    PaulMattick: Business As Usual:TheEconomicCrisisandtheFailureofCapitalism:2011Reaktion,London

    ArticlesAdamBuick:The End of "Neoliberalism",SocialistStandardNovember2008John Bellamy and Fred Magdoff: Financial Implosion and

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    20 The Libertarian Communist Issue 23 Summer 2013

    activity. In this context, the simple struggle foremployment cannot mobilise on a long-termbasis; on the contary it tends to disarm us. Toenlarge the perspective, you must at the same

    time struggle for the means of survival and toassert that work has been made obsolete andthat the means of emancipation are alreadythere. To break with Capitalism, one must link

    the demand for simple means of survival (forexample, to demand a better imcome for theunemployed or the upholding of a qualityhealth system for all), to the suppression ofwork. Only such a project will be able to bringtogether and radicalise the different forms ofstruggle against the management of crisis.

    Only such a project will open a field of

    possibilities for the future.Fraternally, a wage earner from the Groupe ExpressRoularta, Paris, 1st May 2013.May Day for the abolition of work.Translated from French on the 1st of May 2013 inLondon



    Introduction to My Interview withVladislav Bugera: Stephen Shenfield

    It was Mark Twain who first said: The report

    of my death was an exaggeration. I haveoften been reminded of his sardonic remarkupon hearing or reading categorical assertions

    that no one in the Soviet Union (or Russia orthe post-Soviet states) still really believes incommunism/Marxism. Why then did I keeprunning into such true believers? There haveperhaps not been very many of them, at leastsince Khrushchevs time, and perhaps theirnumbers declined over time, but they never

    disappeared. I should emphasize that I amtalking not about believers in the regime (trulyan extremely rare phenomenon) but aboutbelievers in the ideas to which the regime

    formally adhered often bitterly hostile to theregime, but in the name of those ideas. To takea very important example, people of this kind

    upheld the ideal of socialist internationalism inpreference to the official Soviet patriotism,which they perceived as a form of Russiannationalism. The conditions of the 1990s led

    people to associate the weakening of socialprovision with Western influence, therebystrengthening political forces that combinedsocialist slogans with nationalist or even fascist

    appeals (the so-called red-brown synthesis)And yet the socialist internationalist tendencynever disappeared. Conditions may now favourits resurgence, inasmuch as recent years haveseen the rise to predominance of a traditionalright wing that combines capitalist withnationalist values. So I think it is relevant to

    examine the experience and ideas of a

    representative of this tendency. VladislavBugera, Doctor of Philosophical Sciences,currently lectures at the Ufa State Oil

    University of Technology in Bashkortostan,although he began his intellectual and politicalcareer in Kiev during perestroika. (1) He is aprolific writer, with several books to his name(2) as well as numerous articles, reviews,interviews, etc. Hardly any of this work hasbeen translated into other languages. Why do Icall Bugera a post-Marxist? He says that he isnot a Marxist, and it is true that some aspects

    of his thought notably, the primary emphasisthat he gives to managerial power are notrecognizably Marxist. However, Marxism servesas his starting point and its influence on hiswork is clearly enormous. Thus post-Marxist

    seems reasonable to me. I thought it might bemost effective to introduce Bugera to thereader by the following interview which Iconducted. The translation is mine.



    SS -- Vladislav, now you live and work in Ufa,but you graduated in 1993 from Kiev StateUniversity and got your doctorate in 2006 from

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    Moscow State University. Where are youoriginally from? Ufa, Kiev?

    VB-- I was born in Ufa in 1971, but my fatherwas from Kiev. My mother was from a peasant

    family in Kursk Province. My paternalgrandfather worked as a baker in Kiev. Hewent through World War One and fought in the

    civil war as a cavalryman with Petlyura [aUkrainian nationalist leader]. The Sovietauthorities forgave him for that, but he wasarrested at the end of 1937. He was incautiousenough to write down his thoughts about theHolodomor (man-made famine of the early1930s) and the Stalin regime in a diary, andthen to read out what he had written to his

    best friend. Well, the best friend informed on

    him. He was shot at the beginning of 1938 onthe most astonishing charge: in 1922 he had

    supposedly been recruited by Polishintelligence, to whom he had conveyed in 1932information about the amount of breadproduced annually at the bakery where heworked and about the moods of the workers atthis bakery. As he had been a Petlyurite, hewas also charged with participating in a

    pogrom against Jews in Berdichev. In the1990s my family obtained access to certaindocuments from my grandfathers case. They

    showed that he had confessed very quickly tothe main charge (under torture, evidently) butto the very end denied taking part in apogrom. The secret police told his wife, mygrandmother, that he had been sentenced to

    ten years without the right ofcorrespondence; in 1947 she received a noticethat he had died in camp from tuberculosis.

    Such deceptions were common practice at thetime. My grandmother actively soughtgrandfathers rehabilitation and succeededtoward the end of the 1950s. At the same

    time, by the way, her brother was serving inthe secret police. I even remember meetinghim, shortly before he died. I also remember

    his wife, Grandmother Raya.

    SS-- But his superiors must have known hewas related to a spy.

    VB -- In Ukraine no one was surprised by suchsituations, for instance, that a Petlyurite shouldbe related to a Chekist, husband of a Jewess.Thats the sort of political cocktail that was

    mixed there during the civil war. Grandfathersarrest was one of the heaviest blows to strike

    my father in his life, but it was far from thelast. He lived through the Nazi occupation ofKiev together with his mother, mygrandmother. My mother also lived through itwith her mother, my other grandmother. She

    remembers the Germans very well. Theneighbours denounced her mother to theGermans as a communist. She was pregnant atthe time.

    SS -- She was shot?VB -- No, the Germans in her village sparedher. They were not SS, just Wehrmacht,ordinary soldiers, not especially cruel unlessthey had orders to be.In 1943 my father managed to join the Red

    Army. He was severely wounded, but continuedservice and was not discharged until 1950.That was quite common at the beginning of theCold War. Then he studied in Moscow, met my

    mother there, and went to plow the VirginLands in northern Kazakhstan. After longwanderings my family finally settled down inUfa. My father taught political economy in thesame Oil Institute where I work now, exceptnow its been upgraded to a university.

    SS-- So you are Ukrainian on your fathersside and Russian on your mothers.

    VB - Im sure that the mixing of nationsmakes for less sickness in our life. In the

    countries of which I have experience, ALLpolitical camps are infected by xenophobia, leftas well as right. Not only in Russia andUkraine. In 2002 I won a Soros grant and was

    able to spend two weeks in Budapest,attending a course at the Central EuropeanUniversity. There was an electoral struggle

    between the socialists and the right-wing partyof Viktor Orban (prime minister of Hungaryfrom 1998 to 2002 [SS]). Though I didnt readHungarian, I could see from the caricatures on

    placards carried by Orbans supporters thatthey accused the socialists of serving the

    world Jewish conspiracy. But I heard that thesocialists were spreading rumours that Orbanwas placing Gypsies in power, even that he

    himself was a Gypsy. Both sides wereexploiting ethnic hatreds.

    To get back to my parents, their lifeexperience made them into convincedinternationalists. Father embarked upon a deepstudy not only of political economy but also of

    Marxist philosophy. He kept a lookout fororiginal, freethinking philosophers andeconomists and bought their books, building upa rich and diverse library of scholarly andartistic literature. Without his upbringing andhis library I would not have become a left-wing

    activist or written my books and articles. Thechildren in my family were brought up in amulticultural spirit. From childhood we wereencouraged to take an interest in Russian,

    Ukrainian, and Jewish literature and music. My

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    father loved Yiddish songs and the books ofSholom Aleichem.

    SS -- He knew and taught you Yiddish?

    VB-- Well no, but excellent Russian

    translations of Sholom Aleichem wereavailable. I do read Ukrainian fluently andspeak it tolerably well, having lived for longperiods in Kiev with my father. In general,that is how I became an internationalist. Frommy school years, I too was interested in

    materialist philosophy and political economy. Iread Marx and Engels for my own pleasure, notbecause I was forced to. Moreover, I wastaught from childhood to think independently

    and not dogmatically. As a result, my basicpolitical and theoretical views began to takeshape while I was still at school. I gave themclear formulation as a student. That includesmy conception of computerization as anecessary precondition for a classless society,my theory of the three types of relations of

    management and ownership, and also certainideas of mine in the field of dialectics that Ihave not so far published but that underlie mymethods of investigation.

    In 1988, soon after my father died, I enteredthe philosophy faculty of Kiev State University.Now they call it Kiev National University. I first

    got involved in politics in 1989. By the way, forfive years I studied in the same group asVyacheslav Kirilenko, who is now leader of thepro-presidential fraction in the Ukrainian

    parliament. I was against him, of course. Heand his friends in the nationalist UkrainianStudents Union spread a rumor among thestudents that I was a homosexual. Even then

    that was the sort of method the Ukrainiandemocrats used to fight their opponents.

    SS -- Did you belong to any organization atthat time?

    VB -- I helped to set up the Fatherland Forum.We were against the Ukrainian nationalists and

    the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Some ofus were immature internationalists like myself;others were moderate Russian nationalists orself-styled Soviet patriots. I left at the very

    start of 1991, when I saw that the organizationwas shifting more and more toward a moreextreme, right-wing variety of Russiannationalism.

    In opposing the Ukrainian nationalists I wasnot motivated by Russian nationalism, even in

    the form of Soviet patriotism. My goal wasfor the workers to forget national divisions andfight for a society without nations, states, orstate borders. I already understood very well

    that by drawing working people into the

    struggle to carve up the USSR the capitalistclass was smothering their class struggle andenhancing its own power over them. Later in1991 I joined the Union of Working People of

    Ukraine for Socialist Perestroika (STU). I wason its Kiev City Committee. It had links with afaction in the Central Committee of theCommunist Party of Ukraine that wanted to

    preserve the Soviet Union.

    SS- What was your reaction to the putschattempt in August 1991?

    VB - At the time I was in the process oforganizing a small student group in oppositionto the Ukrainian nationalists. I had already

    publicized it a little in the press and washoping to register it officially as a politicalorganization. Then suddenly I see that inMoscow a State Committee for the State ofEmergency (GKChP) has seized power! I wasafraid what might happen to my comrades andmyself. I assumed that the putsch would

    succeed and expected the suppression of allinformal political organizations, separatist ornot. So what did I do? In the name of mygroup I sent off a telegram in support of the

    putsch to the GKChP, with copies to the USSRand Ukrainian Supreme Soviets. Later thisstupid telegram even found its way into a

    published collection of documents about theputsch. A couple of days later, when I saw thatthe putsch was failing, I sent off a secondtelegram condemning the coup. Well, I was

    young and nave. I could think up theories, butlacked the life experience to handle realsituations. I still feel ashamed when I think ofthose stupid telegrams.

    SS- Still, you were afraid. Fear is a poorcounsellor, as they say.

    VB - It was an irrational fear. Why would theputschists have taken notice of us? They had

    more important things to worry about.After the attempted putsch I realized tha