Monday, 28 February 2011

Libya : People's power + vast oil reserves = ???

Interestingly enough, popular committees are running the eastern
cities of Libya and are attempting to coordinate their actions. That's
one of the many good things to come out of Gadaffi's downfall : people's
assemblies have become tools ready to be used by genuine ... people.
But to what extent will the new tribal chiefs, military officers, former ministers, jurists, imams and "intellectuals" that have recently come to prominence be ultimately accountable before and controlled by the popular assemblies in their respective localities ? And what about
Socialism in such an oil-rich country ?

For the time being, each city's local council is ensuring the arrival of food
and supplies, setting up communications, getting local electricty plants
to function normally and providing for their local defense needs by having army
units and anti-Gaddafi fighters organize themselves into a coherent
local defense militia.
Moreover, Socialism appears to be an accepted idea, as all citizens
are aware that they get their wealth from oil, and that the proceeds of
such wealth should come back to the people.
So despite all the flux of civil war, the citizens of Libya have got two
ideas clearly in mind : a) local government answerable to the people and
b) ownership of the billions of dollars of proceeds from oil.
They feel Gaddafi failed them on both a) and b). But, alas, once a new
pro-Western government comes into place, they will once again be
deprived from a) and b). But maybe that's why there is so much chaos in
Libya, as the people do have a pretty good idea of a) and b) and will
not be relinquishing their weapons soon.
Libya could become an interesting experiment in people's power. If, of course,
a new government and corrupt officials intent on stealing the oil wealth for themselves
(and foreign interests) don't step in and take charge. Let's see how the class
struggle unfolds in Libya.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Nationalistic game

The message has been scrambled. Can you help the
Nationalist/Anti-Imperialist head of state put the pieces back into
their proper sequence so that he can get the message out to the people ?

"to be convened over the coming months"
"yes, mistakes have been made,"
"the next meeting of the State Council and the proposed legislative
"we accept our part of responsibility for the mistakes"
"within the framework of the constitution"
"they will be severely punished, to the full extent of the law"
"orders were not carried out as they should have"
"and we acknowledge the seriousness of the mistakes"
"Foreign states are working behind the scenes to divide us"
"will strive to correct these mistakes"
"some high-ranking officials are guilty of corruption"
"More freedom will be granted and the legitimate demans of the masses
will be addressed"
"I would like all citizens to be patient"
"the people must not fall for these ploys mastermined by foreign
imperialist media"
"we must trust in the strength of our people, united, and to the
valiance of our armed forces, to weather this storm"
"and to return to their work duties knowing that they are helping build
a new, greater country"

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Social networks and "leaderless" revolutions

Leaderless Revolution sounds amazing. Sounds like Council Communism come
true : workers organize THEIR OWN revolution, self-manage their own
affairs, take over from the bosses and run the factories in the
interests of the Working Class. The dream of so many Revolutionary
Syndicalists (IWW, CGT, CNT, ...) come true.

However, "lederless" does mean "rudderless". I mean, workers
demonstrating for bread and an end to a promised lifetime of
humiliation, powerlessness and misery, are conscious of who their enemy
is : the bourgeoisie. But they also need to be aware of their own
strength, of their capacity to organize by themselves and of their
ability to REPLACE THE BOURGEOISIE. Such a degree of class consciousness
emerges from the class struggle, is primarily fostered by union activity
empowering people in the workplace to say f*** you to the boss, and
necessitates organizing from the bottom-up throughout a whole nation.
Workers assemble, debate, get info from other localities, debate, call
for regional assemblies, debate, draw up proposals, debate, send these
proposals to the regional assemblies, etc.
Twitter can immensely assist in this task, by making the flow of
information bi-directional. A clear picture of what is going on and the
contributions of each region can rapidly enable workers to form a
picture of the global situation and further their local debates. How
many tanks ? How many weapons ? Which local lackey has fled ? Which
factories are in revolt ? What are the international reactions ? Who is
trying to betray the revolution ?
So social networks are forging the demise of Capitalism (I'm not
kidding). They are the main force driving the increased social
inter-connectedness of workers as opposed to the Capitalist forces
striving to individualize, separate, monitor, transform each worker into
an interchangeable automaton. Marx knew that the social organization
necessary for Capitalism was at the same time the ultimate limit of that
mode of production. Capitalism brings together billions of individuals,
interconnects them through production, and yet limits their dealings
with each other by mediating them through market forces. That is a
contradiction. No man is an island anymore. By providing a means for
workers to communicate INSTANTLY the world over, Capitalism is extending
the process of bringing together disparate producers into a single
factory that meant that workers became suddenly aware of their potential
in the late 19th century. The whole world has been brought into a single
factory, with manufacturing in China, retail in California, accountancy
in Bangalore, advertising in London, ... But now, workers can
communicate with each other, something Marx would have found wonderful
in the extreme.
Soon twitting will be used for precisely that purpose : to galvanize a
revolution, to bring re-enforcements where they are needed, to relay
calls for workers' councils, to express the rage and frustration of
millions, to re-kindle hope, to help a factory restart production under
workers' management, to thwart secret dealings by the bosses and the
army, to indicate which army units are defecting, where weapons are to
be found, to organize the mass encirclement of Army barracks by hundreds
of thousands of civilians...
The only card THEY can play is always the same : Nationalism. Listen to
US, trust in US, obey US. OUR trump cards are of course CLASS and

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

bye bye dictators

The struggle is global and increasingly so. What has happened on the
streets of Athens, Paris, Dhaka, Cairo, Tunis, Shanghai, is a global
reaction to the increased exploitation of labour by capitalism since
2007. And the dawning realization that THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE for the
working class, especially not cozy retreat into NAtionalism and
Keynesianism in the face of bare-faced corruption and whole-scale
plunder by the elites. The working class, on a global basis, is now very
much conscious of the fact that the elite intend to pummel it into
obedience through the threat of mass unemployment. The reserve army of
Capitalism has become the most potent weapon to keep the rabble in line,
and people the world over are being pushed back to accept wages that can
barely enable the reproduction of labour power. In every industrial park
around the world, you will hear workers openly state that THEY have got
the upper hand and that WE are divided, fearful, angry, but that events
are coming to a head.
Bangladesh, China, USA, Indonesia, Europe, India : workers are bitterly
resentful and lament the fact that their unions are led by bureaucracies
that are part and parcel of the establishment. Following the Tunisian
example, workers are setting themselves alight in front of workplaces
all over the globe.
They are not stupid, they do not equate "free and fair elections" with
emancipation, even though they welcome the end of feared dictators with
trepidation. But there is something more in their thirst for "democracy"
than simply casting a ballot and cheering tanks on the streets.
NAtionalism is not going to solve unemployment, AND THEY KNOW IT,
although they recognize NAtionalist politicians as taking steps in teh
right direction by curbing the power of the corrupt elites linked to the
interests of transnationals.
But again, the global working class is not stupid, and if anything, is
more aware than ever of the fact that those who rule it are self-serving
I'm not going to start preaching again about self-management and
workers' councils, but ultimately, THAT is the only possible outcome
that can really destroy the foundations of Capitalism (wage labour and
division at the production level). It will take a renewed bout of
experimentation, what with the 60-70s so far behind us, and the 2010s so
menacingly full of heightened control over the workforce and decreased
levels of unionizing.

Well, Leonardo Kosloff seems to have it spot on with his calls for

>>"the issue of making the
struggle a bit more “scientific” (sorry if that sounds “bombastic”),
with more “independent
research” and no indoctrination. So, for instance, I want to question
the views
a lot of people on the left have about monopoly capital and other
versions of 3rd
wordlist Marxist nationalism, not because I am for a US invasion of Cuba
to end
the Castroist dictatorship, or whatever people wanna call it, but, on
contrary, because keeping ourselves illusioned about post-capitalism in
abstract ideological propagandistic struggle helps neither Cubans nor
the left
here to understand “what is to be done”.