Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Election Candidates and Sinn Fein

Capitalism cannot solve the problems of the working class.This why a social revolution is historically necessary.The working class must achieve communist revolution.No amount of tinkering with the system can convert it into a system that satisfies the class interests of the working class. Reformism can never serve the class interests of the working class.Consequently the realisation of radical demands to the benefit the working class is impossible under capitalism. The claim that a programme of such demands is realisable under capitalism is a utopian claim. It constitutes an idealisation of capitalism and thereby its defence. It,therefore, promotes the sowing or reinforcing of illusions in capitalism. If such a programme is realisable then the struggle for communism is unnecessary.

The reason the recent austerity offensive against the working class has been mounted in Ireland and elsewhere by the capitalist class is because capitalism cannot meet the class needs of the modern worker. The recent global recession was an objective, not a subjective, event.

This means that it was not caused by capitalist greed, a nasty government or any other such subjective factor. It was due to the objective characteristics of the capitalist economic system that it broke out. This being so it follows that capitalism as an inherently obsolescent system must be replaced by a new objective system --communism. It is only by this dramatic revolutionary transformation of objectivity that the needs of the masses can be met. The only way that the inevitable problems manifested by the recession can be solved within capitalism (provisionally) is by an attack on the working class through strategies involving austerity. Radical demands advanced by the radical left, if realisable, would only deepen recessionary conditions thereby rendering working
class conditions even more severe. In that sense these radical demands, instead of benefiting the working class,would tend to worsen for the latter. This is because, as I have been arguing, capitalism cannot solve the problems of the working class.

Whats more the solutions to the problems of the working class cannot be solved within a nationalist framework.The solution,social revolution,is only achievable on a global basis beginning in the most advanced capitalist countries such as the U.S. Given this there can be no social revolution on the island of Ireland independently of Western Europe.

Even if the working class achieved concessions prior to the
global recession, that broke out in 2007/8, they would have contributed to the emergence of the economic and financial upheaval itself. This, as I have been arguing,is because capitalism cannot solve the problems of the working class.

In view of this the rhetoric by  Sinn Fein, the Anti Austerity Alliance and the People Before Profit Alliance featuring on  RTE's Prime Time programme amounts to nothing but illusion. Their election candidates showed no understanding of the need for revolution. Their rhetoric suggested that capitalism can be managed or reformed to the benefit of the working class by effectively taxing the rich and not the working class. Indeed the entire show confined itself to suggestions as to how to reform capitalism in one way or another. In that way the participants sought to effectively defend the capitalist system. Essentially all contributors were essentially advocating bourgeois politics. If the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers  Party are genuinely revolutionary they would have challenged RTE and its other contributors by advocating the need for revolution.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Vincent Browne and The People's Debate

I watched with interest the programme called The People's Debate on TV3 chaired by Vincent Browne on Wednesday night October 1st.

Not surprisingly each of the contributors, with one exception, based their comments on the assumption that all solutions to the problems of the Irish working class are solvable within the framework of capitalism.They do not see capitalism as the cause of the problems experienced by the Irish working class. They do not see that the only solution to the problems of the working class is social revolution involving the replacement of capitalist society with communist society.

Many, if not most, of the contributors, were advocating the reforming of capitalism in one way or another. They failed to make clear that the problem is not the way capitalism is structured but capitalism itself. It is an obsolescent system that cannot meet the needs of the working class.

People from the Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profits featured prominently on the show in suggesting capitalist solutions to working class problems. They want to save capitalism from itself. Both these organisations are fronts for The Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party respectively.Yet as radical socialist, even Marxist, parties, they support capitaltism while pretending to be against it.

Parties such as the SP, SWP and Sinn Fein are essentially no different from each other nor from Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fail. They are all bourgeois nationalist parties competing for power within the capitalist system. Reformism is still alive and well and embedded within the Irish working class movement.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Call For Nationalisation Is A Bourgeois Demand

State expenditure is largely unproductive expenditure. It thereby does not produce value. This means it constitutes a deduction as opposed to an increment in total surplus value. This involves a corresponding fall in the rate of accumulation of capital. The latter tends to ultimately manifest itself in the form of a fall off in industrial growth.

As valorisation becomes increasingly difficult capitalism is compelled to reduce state expenditure. To counteract this it engages in increasing privitisation of its assets --denationalisation. It becomes increasingly impossible, then, for the state to extend nationalisation. The government does not privatise its state assets because it enjoys hurting the working class. Because of the specific nature of the objective conditions it is forced to privatise.

Under these circumstances calls for nationalisation and increased state spending are utopian and idealistic.These calls fail to correspond with objective reality. These calls then amount to no more than the deception and misleadership of the working class. By reinforcing illusions in the working class concerning capitalism reformism obstructs the working class from moving towards a realistic programme of communist revolution.

Because of monopoly capitalism's growing limits it must seek to minimise the state. On the other hand with a few exceptions it needs to eliminate or cut welfarism and related spending. To achieve this it may even need to abolish the formal democracy obtaining in the West.

However savage cut-backs by the state can only lead to sharpened class struggle. Under these conditions the emergence of class consciousness may make itself felt among the working class leading to the birth of a communist movement. Under these circumstances reformism will grow less plausible and influential within the working class. In view of this it is reactionary for reformism to make calls for nationalisation and increased spending by the state.

Despite the 2008 financial crash there has been no visible shift by the working class to a class conscious political paradigm. The working class is still dominated by reformism in one form or another. Even the Greek working class, despite its militancy, is still imprisoned within reformist ideology. The working class of the world still supports the capitalist system in one form or another.

Privatisation programmes undertaken by capitalist states must be combatted by the working class fighting for the control and ownership of these state assets. This revolutionary seizure of state assets is only possible within the context of a sustained attack on the capitalist state itself. This entails a class struggle for the abolition of the state and the capitalist system. The seizure of state assets such as health care services is only possible within the framework of a revolutionary struggle to destroy the capitalist state. The proletarian seizure of health care will bear a popular democratic character. Health will no longer be based on profit nor on a political strategy designed to serve the class interests of capitalism.

Health care is simultaneously a necessary reproduction and repair of labour power.Much of nationalised health care forms part of the value of labour power. But much of it is unproductive too. This means it is a drain on surplus value. In that sense it directly contributes to the fall in the general rate of profit together with a corresponding decline in the economy.

Much of health care, whether private or public, serves to maintain the value of labour power by ensuring that the latter is preserved in a healthy condition. The health of the working class serves the interests of capital. This is because the health of the working class is of concern to the capitalist class with regard to the valorisation process. An unhealthy working class is not going to be as available for exploitation in the prodiction process.

Nationalisation was introduced as a strategy designed to help pacify the working class in the interests of capitalist stability. It was also designed to support the economy. But nationalisation has contributed to falling profitability which has interfered with the rate of capital accumulation. Because of this capitalism seeks to increasingly privatise health care especially in a period, such as this, when the profitability of capital is a growing problem.

Calls for the continuation and extension of health care nationalisation are bourgeois demands. Instead the call must be for the ownership and control of health care by the working class. This can only be achieved by the abolition of the state and its capitalist basis. Under these conditions the criterion of profitability no longer exists.

A part of the health service maintains the health of the active working class. Consequently it maintains and even increases the value of labour power which leads to a reduction in profit. Although the above is true it tends to be counteracted by health care maintaining and even improving the condition of labour power thereby maintaining and even increasing its capacity to provide labour within the production process. In that sense it cannot be simply regarded as unproductive activity. However the part of the health service that does not maintain and increase the present and future value of the working class is unproductive. This constitutes a direct deduction from surplus value and thereby contributes to the decline in economic growth. Clearly state health care, overall, tends to adversely affect the growth rate.

The nationalised section of health care is funded by the state effectively through taxation which is a revenue drawn from value. This is a deduction both from surplus value and the value accruing to the working class. It represents a transfer of value away from the consumption of the active working class and the accumulation of capital.

Education plays a similar role to health within capitalism. A part of it involves the training of labour power in the interests of the capitalist reproduction process. This heightens the value of labour power while improving the capacity of the worker to provide labour. The result is upskilling of labour power. Overall this aspect of education may more or less prove to neutral in ughrelation to capital accumulation. Research contributes to increasing the productivity of labour by promoting technological progress. However the residual part constitutes a deduction from surplus value without any change in the value of labour power. Much of this aspect of education is ideological. It is designed to maintain and even increase citizen support for the capitalist system through false consciousness. This feature of education obviously contributes to the contraction of growth.

The armed forces, the police and much of the state bureaucracy constitute significant deductions from surplus value. They constitute an unproductive expenditure. Thereby they lead to a fall in the rate of profit which further constrains the expansion of capital. This is why governments seek to reduce the cost of these state features.

State expenditure, as a whole, constitutes an enormous deduction from total surplus value. This largely unproductive spending involves an enormous contraction in the accumulation of capital. It is a deduction that has been growing significantly in the aftermath of the 2nd World War. In the present period of growing problems, regarding the accumulation of capital, there have been continuing feeble attempts to shrink the state or at least reduce the annual rate of state spending.

The contradiction is that burgeoning state spending was undertaken to compensate for the inherent limits of capital entailing mass unemployment and many other problems.Yet this spending paradoxically leads in turn to the reinforcement of these limits. Indeed much of the entire state constitutes a deduction from total surplus value because it constitutes unproductive expenditure. This is why there have been attempts, not very successfully, to shrink the size of the modern state. In this way capitalism is its own grave digger.

Capitalism, because of its growing limits, is decreasingly able to fund welfare and other expenditure. Capitalism is unable to meet the demands being made by left reformists such as the SP/SWP and other political organisations. Consequently reformism deceives and misleads the working class by suggesting that capitalism is manageable in such a way as to solve the problems of the working class.

If capitalism can solve the problems of the working class then it is superfluous and misleading for communists to call for social revolution.

Why Reform the Gardai in Ireland?

The whistle blower controversy concerning the Gardai is a non-issue concerning the class interests of the working class.

The gardai, as a security force, forms an essential arm of the Irish capitalist state. Consequently its function is to serve the class interests of the capitalist class --not the working class. Therefore calls for the improvement of this security force by "leftists" suggests that the Gardai in some way represents the class interests of the working class or is an apparatus of a state that stands independent of the capitalist class.

The Gardai can never serve the interests of the working class despite the degree to which it is reformed. Any reforms undertaken are, at most, made to deceive workers into believing that the Irish state exists to serve the interests of the wage worker.

The more a police force appears to serve the class interests of the working class the more successful it may be in fooling the working class.

All this stuff about misconduct within the Gardai has no real relevance for workers. At most its so called misconduct merely exposes the bourgeois nature of the force. Parliamentarians like Clare Daly, Mike Wallace and Ming Flanagan by tub thumping in relation to the Gardai are merely engaging in populism designed to fool the working class. Sinn Fein, not to be outdone, has been engaged in a similar exercise.

Calling for the resignation of Allen Shatter, as Justice Minister, is of no significance. It does not matter politically whether he resigns or not.He will be simply replaced by another politician from the parties in coalition government. By calling for his resignation the appearance is created that his replacement by another politician from a bourgeois party will make a difference.

The calling for the jailing of white collar crime is another issue that is not the business of the working class. Prisons are oppressive bourgeois institutions.

The only correct call, from the standpoint of the wage worker, is the call for the abolition of the Gardai.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Gerry Adams Arrest

Sinn Fein claim that the recent arrest of Gerry Adams by the PSNI had a political character designed to damage Sinn Fein. It claims that there is a dark element within the PSNI. It also slanders Dolores Price and Ivor Bell.

The above claims are a further reinforcement of the reactionary nature of this political party. Its claims suggest that the PSNI as a necessary part of the British imperialist state is non-political. As an organic part of the capitalist state the PSNI is of necessity political. When the latter intervenes in demonstrations organised by nationalists or loyalists it is acting politically. Ironically for Gerry Adams and the stalinist like Sinn Fein the six county police are only political when they arrest Gerry. It is not being political when they arrest a "dissident" Republican but when they arrest Gerry it is. The point is that when Sinn Fein opportunistically accepted the establishment of the PSNI it was, ipso facto, accepting the entire force. Sinn Fein cynically want to see the PSNI like the parson's egg.

The essential point is that Sinn Fein/IRA betrayed its core principles many years ago when it officially accepted the existence of political partition and its two reactionary states on both sides of the border. This means it accepts the validity of the imperialist domination of the island of Ireland.

Furthermore it is highly unlikely that the arrest of Gerry was undertaken without the consent of the British government. Sinn Fein knows this but seeks to reduce the arrest to the level of an aberration caused by a cabal within the police service. This is because Sinn Fein supports both British and Irish capitalism. And this is why its opportunist economic program in the South is based on the absurd assumption that economic and social problems are solvable within capitalism. This assumption and the programme built on it means that Sinn Fein is not an anti-capitalist formation. Neither is its success largely due to its performance. It is due largely to the recent world crash and the consequent exposure of Fianna Fail, the Green Party, Fine Gael and the Labour Party. Sinn Fein is inherently a bourgeois opportunist party.

The party's denigration of Dolours Price, Brendan Hughes and others is an indication as to the degree to which Sinn Fein has descended into the mire. Incidentally it is an indication of the journalistic cowardice to which Ed Moloney has descended as evidenced by his comments on the recent arrest of Gerry Adams. In the interview on American radio he effectively accepted that the interviews with Price and Hughes had a dubious character.

Concerning the abduction, killing and disappearance of Jean McConville by the IRA let me say this: If Gerry Adams was seriously suspected of being directly involved in her killing then why did the British government, the Irish government, Fianna Fail, the PDs, Fine Gael and the Labour party negotiate with him or support such negotiations leading to the GFA? The British and Irish governments were prepared to negotiate an agreement with a political leader who was understood to be a leading member of the IRA and thereby responsible for killings and bombings including the McConville killing.

Given the establishment of the GFA it makes no sense to punish individuals who were members of the IRA. It makes no sense to hound them on the question as to whether they were IRA members. This problem should have been sorted out during the GFA negotiations. I would have thought that secret diplomacy by the involved parties would have covered this. Again the opportunism of Sinn Fein/IRA is again exposed if there was no settlement concerning this in this regard. It is now being hoisted by its own petard.

Overall the McConville issue is being venally exploited by sections of the bourgeois media and the political establishment to damage Sinn Fein. The foregoing no more care about Mrs McConville than they do the victims of HSE incompetence. To conclude: The Adams arrest may have been carried out as part of a plan to get an agreement on past actions of individuals from both the Republican and Loyalist camps. Such an agreement might bring to an end the arrest, trial and imprisonment of activists for their previous actions. This makes me wonder whether these recent events were choreographed by Sinn Fein and the British government. Gerry looked well for a guy kept in detention for four days and subjected to continuous questioning especially as he had not eaten for the first two days of his detention.