Friday, April 12, 2013

Class Struggle From Above Guarantees Historical Regression (The Sustained Class-Struggle from Above Shows No Limits and No Constraints: Every Social Right Is Denied and Every Economic Resource Is Subject to Large-Scale, Long-Term Pillage)

Is it possible that you've been thinking that the class war (or class struggle, according to Karl Marx) always originates from the lower classes?

Take a moment to reflect.

Unfortunately the ruling classes, especially of the imperial countries, have taken Karl Marx’s dictum that ‘class struggle is the motor force of history’ in a much more consequential manner than the labor movement and its bureaucratic officials.  They are better students of Marx.
Taking up class struggle from above and the outside as their main strategic weapon, the ruling classes have launched the most comprehensive, intensive assault on the working class in modern history.  They have reversed decades of social legislation and wage and employment gains.  They have dramatically lowered living standards and established a new framework to perpetuate and deepen the transfer of wealth for decades to come.
Those, namely labor and the left, who refused to recognize class struggle as the central pivot for political action, have been struck dead on the head.  The sustained class-struggle from above shows no limits and no constraints: every social right is denied and every economic resource is subject to large-scale, long-term pillage.

A new radical ruling class ideology has emerged proclaiming that everything of value should be taken and will be taken and relegates the peons to eat crow.
Despite being confronted by this new extremist ideology and practice, the practioners of class struggle from below continue to engage in the same methods appropriate to other ‘pragmatic’, ‘consensual’ times of limited struggles with incremental gains or losses.  The failure to recognize the radical changes is structural and congenital. The labor movement refuses to face new class/realities, ones they had failed to anticipate and a reality they have categorically rejected.

‘Class struggle’ according to the most up-to-date speeches of the ‘labor bureaucrats’ was superseded by ‘modern pragmatic understandings of the common interests of labor and capital’.
What is radical and dramatic is the massive entry of decisive new social class actors. They include  the rise of non-elected officials to decisive positions of power, forming the “Troika” (the European Central Bank, the IMF, the EU), the equivalent of imperial viceroys, engaged in pillaging the economies of debtor countries;  a mass of unemployed  youth representing over 50% of  workers under 25 years of age; a large sector of low-paid temporary workers not covered by social or labor legislation; a majority of downwardly mobile middle classes, especially among public sector employees and professionals – in the process of being ‘proletarianized’ – losing job tenures, pension benefits, facing rising retirement ages; bankrupt small business people (‘petty bourgeois’) facing unemployment, loss of assets and savings; and downwardly-mobile skilled and semi-skilled workers facing firings, cuts in salaries and wages as well as social benefits.
The deteriorating conditions of these social classes cannot be altered by workplace trade union activity or by ‘collective bargaining’ – only a political solution - a change of political regime – can shift economic resources from debt payments to productive job-creating investments.  The so-called ‘Eurozone’ is, in reality, a mini-empire of tributary vassals and imperial states – reforming empires has been historically demonstrated to be a futile enterprise.
The political class, as currently constituted which supports or operates as opposition within the imperial framework, is organically incapable of reversing the changes resulting from the ruling class offensive.  The historical legacy of the ruling class offensive and the emergence of new systemic ‘fault lines’ demands new political movements reflecting the weight of the new dispossessed  classes: the specific demands of the downwardly-mobile  middle class, businesspeople and workers; the desperate demand for jobs by the vast army of unemployed youth with no future.  What is to be done?  Clearly parliamentary dissent and electoral politics provide no answers to those millions losing homes, to those losing businesses.
There are tens of millions who have never known any employment.  Only action directed at mobilizing the unemployed to paralyze the circulation of goods and services; only collective action directed at preventing foreclosures of mortgage holding households; only demands for public works to provide jobs; only factory occupations can save jobs; only worker takeovers and running of factories can provide alternatives and build support for regime change, a political revolution and a break with the tributary empire.
In the short run there can only be international solidarity among the workers in the vassal states:  the workers in the imperial states – the U.S. , Germany , the Nordic states and the UK are still bound and tied to their respected ruling classes. The future lies in building bridges within and between the millions of exploited, excluded and dispossessed who have lost everything and have finally recognized that only via the class struggle can they recover their humanity and a dignified standard of living.
(James Petras has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.)

Laughing my ass off (right!) at this little bit of humor this morning. You start out thinking that it isn't that funny . . . and then you're looking for tissues to wipe the tears off your face. And it doesn't stop, thank goodness, as I really needed a laugh.

Happy Tax Saturday!

Love you,


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