I. The world we live in

 

To tread the path of revolution, we must assess the political world situation correctly and all the tasks that are in front of us. Without a political compass, an understanding of the chaos of decaying capitalism is impossible. The programme of the Bolshevik-Communists shall act as such a compass.


Reformists of various shades (left Social Democrats, ATTAC, Bolivarian movement, Stalinism, etc.) claim that the neoliberal policies are the cause of the worst crisis of capitalism since 1929. It is characteristic for non-revolutionary currents, that they consider a certain form of the system as the problem and not the system itself. As a solution, they propose therefore a reform of the economic and fiscal policy through the regulation of financial markets and a state-directed investment policy. But this is an illusion. The cause of the crisis lies not in a neoliberal (financial market-oriented) government policy, but in the inevitable internal contradictions of capitalism. Capitalism is a murderous beast that cannot be converted into a vegetarian lapdog.


Capitalism is in a period of decline. It breaks down because it is corrupted by its own contradictions. This decomposition leads to the discharge of these tensions by economic, political, social and military explosions.


The deeper development behind this is: the productive forces (manpower, machinery and equipment etc., and their products) are so far advanced that they collide with increasing severity with the ever-narrowing limits of the capitalist mode of production. Private ownership of the means of production enables the capitalists in their enterprises to guide production for the sole purpose of increasing profits. Any capitalist therefore has - regardless of his personality - the goal of making profit for him- or herself and not to work for the prosperity of the whole society. Otherwise he or she will not remain a capitalist.


The entrepreneurs – who are in constant competition with each other – have the goal to increase their profit mainly due to the saving of costs. The most effective way is to save at the cost of us, the workers: increasing work stress and work hours, they also try to increase their profit by raising the productivity of each individual worker by increased use of machinery.


A growing mass of capital, therefore, co-exists with a – in relation to it – decreasing use of human labour. Thus, the dependence of the workers on the capitalists and thus their exploitation increases. Instead of using the increased productivity for the increase of the overall prosperity of all people, it is used against the working masses. This increased productivity leads the majority of humanity under the conditions of capitalism not towards a better life but towards growing unemployment and exploitation. It becomes more and more difficult to sell an ever increasing amount of commodities profitably (overproduction). And the accumulated capital can be less and less profitably invested (over-accumulation). The profit grows in proportion to the wages of the workers (increasing the rate of surplus value), but it decreases in proportion to total capital employed (tendency of the profit rate to fall). In short, the capitalist has to pay an ever greater proportion of its expenditures for more machines, land, raw materials etc., tries to reduce the cost of our wages, and ultimately he or she faces a declining rate of profit. Although the capitalists are trying to escape this by outsourcing more and more factories to countries with particularly low wage conditions (the so-called Third World, i.e. the semi-colonial countries), this cannot stop in the long run the falling of the rate of profit. Therefore, ever-increasing amounts of capital move from the area of production into the realm of speculation and the debt-business. The inevitable results are ever-tougher economic crises, speculative bubbles as well as government and corporate bankruptcies. Capitalism is a moribund economic system, because its essence, its whole logic is pushing for a rupture of its internal contradictions.


Another expression of the inner contradictions of the capitalist mode of production is the increasingly obvious fact that the productive forces have reached the limits of nation-states. Globalisation shows that the modern productive forces can develop only in an international context.


On the top of the – by increasingly sharp contradictions marked – class society rises, like an octopus, a monstrous state apparatus, which manages in the interests of the capitalist class its political business and oppresses the proletariat (the working class) and the popular masses. This state machine - a true Leviathan of the bourgeoisie (a beast of the ruling class) - is merged with capital in many ways. Notwithstanding the liberal myth the state in the imperialist countries controls 40-50% of annual national income (through taxes, etc.) and manages this in the interests of the capitalists. The dramatically increasing national debt is in reality a tremendous source of income (via Interest, etc.) for financial capital (banks, stock exchange, etc.). At the same time the direct repression apparatus (military, police, justice, private security companies, etc.) is getting bigger and bigger. In the U.S., for example, the ratio of wage earners and armed men (army, state or private security officials) is already at 25:1. In Egypt there are 2.5 million armed security forces, compared with 26 million employees. In short: Capitalism in the 21st Century is state-monopoly capitalism. The state monitors the society, regulates the economy and distributes the tax revenue. The state under capitalism is the instrument of the capitalists, so it is their apparatus, and they must utilise it today more than ever to control and suppress.


The ownership of the means of production and the division of the world into nation-states competing with each other is an insurmountable barrier of capitalist production. This too inhibits and slows the development of productive forces.


These contradictions lead to an accelerated process of monopolisation. Fewer and growing corporations dominate the global market. Today's top 500 multinational corporations control the 53 percent of the world economy. A corporation such as the IT monopolist Apple has today more available funds than the government of the world's richest country - the United States. A tiny minority of super rich - 147 billionaires - owns more than the aggregate income of half of humanity.


A similar process takes place at the state level. We are witnessing an intensification of competition between nation states (or alliances of nation-states like the EU). The dominant nation-states - the imperialist countries (like USA, the richer EU countries, China, Japan, Russia, etc.) - subdue and plunder the comparatively weaker nation-states - the semi-colonies (Africa, Middle East, Latin America, South Asia, etc.). Alone in the years 1995-2010 the imperialist monopoly capital squeezed officially more than 6.500 billion U.S. dollars out of the semi-colonial countries. At the same time the Great Powers increasingly undertake direct and indirect wars for the submission of semi-colonial peoples.


Linked to that through the rivalry between the imperialist states (first and foremost among the great powers, the U.S., EU, Japan and the new imperialist power China) the Great Powers double and triple their military efforts to prepare for upcoming regional and world wars (including nuclear war).


Already, they lead directly or indirectly colonial wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon, etc.) to expand their spheres of influence and security.

The capitalists can acquire the enormous social wealth that has been created by the working people through their labour or which arises from the conditions of nature. How? Because of the capitalists’ ownership of the means of production - factories, infrastructure, land - and due to their control over the state. The working class (also called the proletariat) is hence the class of wage labourers who live by selling their labour power and don’t own any means of production. They are exploited by the capitalist class. The resulting extorted surplus labour forms the basis for their profits and the incomes of the middle layers, whose existence is necessary for the maintenance of the capitalist system. (police, army, smaller managers, sectors of the teachers and intellectuals etc.) Inside the working class there exists top layers (labour aristocracy), which receive certain privileges from the capitalist class. On the other hand there are various lower strata which are particularly oppressed and often super-exploited (migrants, women etc.)

For the broad masses the consequences of the capitalist crisis therefore are poverty, war and misery. Every day 100,000 people die of hunger or its consequences. More than 210 million people are now officially unemployed. Half the world's population lives in poverty and must survive on less than $ 2 per day. Even in the richest country, the U.S., a third of the population live at or below the poverty line. And this is not the case because all the poor have no jobs. Many of them indeed have jobs and are still desperately poor - this is the reality for the majority of these people.


It is not only the working class, but also the petty bourgeoisie, who is affected by this misery. This is especially true for the small peasants who cultivate their own land (often as a family business). But this is barely enough to ensure their existence and they have the additional burdens of paying rent, rising prices for seeds and declining revenue from their manufactured goods. Even if it is the working class, which is in the fight against the oppression taking the leadership role, it is still necessary to have a close alliance with the peasantry in the liberation struggle.


Increasingly, capitalism puts the existence of human civilisation itself in danger. By global warming, climate change, the expansion of unsafe nuclear power plants, the destruction of rain forests more and more dangerous disasters are provoked. Whole strips of land will soon become uninhabitable.

The dominance of monopolies and the Great Powers is typical of the era in which we live - the era of imperialism. This intensifies especially in the current historical period. Similarly, now the crisis and the contradictions, which are characteristic for the imperialist epoch, are exacerbated.

 


 

Back to: Introduction

Chapter 2: A new historical period of revolutionary character