Marxist economist Mick Brooks on the World Crisis

January 6th, 2017  / Author: Barbara Davis

A video interview with Marxist economist Mick Brooks speaking about the world crisis. Made by TANIT member and host of the Speakers’ Corners Show Heiko Khoo.

The crisis and the coming battles

January 4th, 2017  / Author: Barbara Davis

Text of a speech delivered at the national conference of the Cadres, Engineer and Services Workers Union, affiliated to the Belgian socialist confederation of trade unions, on October 21, 2010 at Blankenberge, by Stephen Bouquin, Professor of Sociology at the University of Evry in France and a leading activist of Sp.a Rood the left tendency of the Flemish Socialist Party.

Dear comrades, dear friends,

We are currently facing a difficult and complex situation. Many trade union and leftist militants are puzzled and some get discouraged. We feel that our certainties are not worth much anymore. We feel confused and that we no longer have a hold on events. In these tumultuous times it is important to stay on track and especially in the right direction. A conference is a great opportunity to do that. It allows us to examine the situation in which we find ourselves. A conference allows us to outline future perspectives, to agree on objectives and on the actions to be taken. I am very pleased to be able to make a contribution to your conference. It is truly a pleasure and an honor.

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Wars in Africa since 1989 15. Slavery, colonisation and plunder

January 2nd, 2017  / Author: Barbara Davis

When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land.

They said: “Let us pray”. We closed our eyes.

When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.1

Desmond Tutu

Africa is a seething cauldron of desperation. Hunger, disease, plunder and tyranny are generating wars and perpetual flows of refugees. But the wars are no longer between different nation-states. In the 1990s, people in many countries have had to rely on armed gangs to ‘protect’ them against other armed gangs. The central machinery of state has crumbled and lost control. In practice, many governments have become gangs just like any other.

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Indian independence (part 3) – Role of the Communist Party of India during Partition

December 30th, 2016  / Author: Barbara Davis
In his previous article Jamil has shown that, far from standing for a unified secular democratic India, the bourgeois leaders of the independence movement based themselves on communalist appeals to the Muslims (Muslim League) and Hindus (Congress). This led directly to the catastrophe of partition.

Could the Communist Party of India (CPI) have made a decisive difference? Here Jamil shows they had their own organisational weaknesses. Above all they were prisoners of the policies imposed by Stalin on the international communist movement. In backward and colonial countries, Stalin decreed, the movement had to go through two stages – democracy, then socialism. In Russia this had actually been the policy of the Mensheviks, successfully overcome by the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. Jamil has demonstrated that, in India as everywhere else, the ‘progressive national bourgeoisie’ was a myth. Yet this was the non-existent class the CPI proposed to march behind in a ‘Popular Front’.

 

The policies imposed on the international communist movement by Stalin were normally reformist, indeed counter-revolutionary. But occasionally he lurched into an ultra-left phase as in 1947-48, called the ‘Zhdanov offensive.’ In lurching from right to left, a drunk will at one point be found upright. That is the significance of the correct perception of what was happening in India by the Moscow commentators Dyakov and Zhukov.In the 1940s the Communist Party of India (CPI) was a prisoner of the policies imposed by Stalin on the international communist movement. In backward and colonial countries, Stalin decreed, the movement had to go through two stages – democracy, then socialism. This proved disastrous for the workers of the whole of the Indian subcontinent.

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Public v Private

December 28th, 2016  / Author: Barbara Davis

The threat by Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin in the US, to end collective bargaining arrangements with public sector workers in that state is the nastiest move yet by the ‘free market’ Republicans as a response to the slump in US capitalism.  The governor is trying to portray the very victims of the banking collapse and the subsequent Great Recession as the villains.  For him, the crisis was not the fault of reckless bankers, a corrupt financial sector and their grotesquely overpaid executives, but the fault of teachers, health workers, refuse cleaners and other public servants who are paid too much!

The governor not only wants public sector workers to take huge cuts in their pay and conditions but also to lose their rights even to negotiate with their employers.  In a policy designed to divide workers in the private sector from those working in the public sector, he deliberately excludes the police and firefighters from his draconian laws.  He knows there is too much sympathy for them.  But he gambles that other public sector workers will be seen as ‘fat cats’ who are paid more and have better conditions than workers in the private sector and so should ‘suffer more’ under these programmes of ‘fiscal austerity’.

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The economic crisis and the poor countries

December 26th, 2016  / Author: Barbara Davis

The Great Depression: then and now

The 1920s were good years for the world economy. They were years of boom. Boom and speculation go together like strawberries and cream, and there was speculation aplenty as well. In such a period of ‘irrational exuberance’ the illusion spreads that the good times will go on for ever. Sound familiar? On the eve of the great 1929 stock exchange collapse, a journalist asked a speculator how so much money was being made on the market. This was the reply: “One investor buys General Motors at $100″ (he meant a GM share) “sells to another at $150, who sells it to a third at $200. Everyone makes money”. This seems pure magic, but for a while it can work. In a ‘bull market’ as in 1925-29 nearly all share prices go up and up. Over those years US industrial shares trebled in price! We all know what happened next.

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The Iraq War 17. A strategy for world dominance

December 24th, 2016  / Author: Barbara Davis

God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to stri­ke at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Mid­dle East.1

George W. Bush, June 2003

In March 2003, the United States and the ”Coalition of the Willing” inva­ded Iraq. Five years later, at least one hundred thousand people, but may­be up to a million, had died and many more had been injured.2 Over four million people had become refugees, half of them in Iraq and half outside. Little remains of what was once one of the most prosperous and develo­ped countries of the Middle East. Those parts of Iraq that are not control­led by the US army are run by sectarian gangs.

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The accumulation of capital

December 22nd, 2016  / Author: Barbara Davis

This is not yet another attempt to repeat Marx’s analysis. This has been done thousands of times, including by the present author (See Brooks, Sewell and Woods-What is Marxism?). At best surveys of that kind will take the reader back to Capital which is, of course, the definitive treatment.

Neither is it an attempt to ‘prove’ the labour theory of value, as Marxists have been challenged to do over and over again. It is intended rather to show the dramatic effects that the operation of the law of value has on working people’s lives.

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PAKISTAN CONFERENCE OF ‘REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE’ THE LEFT-WING MOVEMENT IN THE PAKISTAN PEOPLES PARTY (PPP) Held: March 25 & 26 2011 in Rawalpindi

December 20th, 2016  / Author: Barbara Davis

Our Congress took place in the biggest hall in Rawalpindi, the Liaquat auditorium. This is located exactly at the place where Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s ex-prime minister and chairperson of the Peoples Party, was assassinated. 700 Comrades registered for both days.

The comrades came from all over the country, from Karachi to Kashmir, Pakhtoonkhwa to Baluchistan and from the Gilgit and Baltistan. The workers who participated in the conference came from all walks of life including the Steel Mills, Port Qasim, Pakistan International Airlines, Paramedical, Railways, Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Capital Development Authority, Banking and various other private sector areas. Also represented at the Conference were youth, students and lawyers organizations: Peoples Students’ Federation, the Pakhtoonkhwa Students’ Federation, JKNSF, JKPSF, the Peoples Lawyers’ Forum and the Peoples Youth Organization.

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Globalisation & Imperialism

December 18th, 2016  / Author: Barbara Davis

This article was written by  Mick Brooks in 2006 but remains a valuable explanation of Marxist theory in opposition to a new trend in the theoretical defence of capitalism.

The dominant idea of contemporary bourgeois thinking is that increasing international integration of economic activity, or “globalisation” will lead to prosperity and peace for all. But globalisation is not a concept that helps us understand the world around us. It is an ideological construct used to trumpet capitalist victory – to conceal the crisis-ridden nature of the system and its perpetual failure to meet the needs of the world’s working class.

Contrary to popular usage by the media and various political and economic commentators, ‘Globalisation’ is not an objective or neutral term which simply describes the contemporary world economy.

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