beyond props for capital

by Allan Armstrong

Neo-liberalism and neo-Keynesianism – two options for capitalism

In the face of the deepening economic crisis enveloping the US and world economy, Alan Greenspan, former Chair of the US Federal Reserve and prime architect of Republican neo-liberalism was summonsed to a Congressional hearing on October 23rd 2008.  Asked to account for the failures of the ‘free market’ he shamefacedly admitted, “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

Greenspan’s embarrassed admission highlighted the fact that unregulated ‘free market’ capitalism does not bring continued economic growth and prosperity in its wake.  For every upturn, there is a downturn.  Therefore, even before the final demise of the ailing Bush Presidency, his Republican administration, and the following Democrat President Obama, have been forced to adopt a programme of massive government bail-outs of failed companies, first banks, followed by key industries, such as Chrysler. Continue reading “beyond props for capital”

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the positions of the workers’ communist party of bosnia and herzegovina

Introduction by Chris Kane

The revolutionary communist movement in the former Yugoslavia has produced some of the most pioneering Marxists: Anton Cilliga, the critic of Stalinist state-capitalism, and the dissident Marxist humanists of the Praxis group in the League of Communists of Yugoslavia who produced figures such as Gajo Petrovic and Mihailo Markovic.  They developed an emancipatory school of communism closely identified with workers self-management, de-alienation and the importance of Marx’s early humanist writings.   Many of these ideas have been lost to West European communism and the insular British left: and with the wars in Yugoslavia the tradition appeared defeated.  But in Bosnia communists are reviving: the internationalist Workers’ Communist Party was founded in 2000.  These comrades have drawn a number of lessons from the experience of state-socialism, which is of particular relevance to our own situation in the UK today.  The Bosnian communists are clear that:

Nationalization of the means of production cannot bring freedom for the working class. State-owned enterprises are under the control of the state, in other words, under control of the ruling party. Exploitation remains. Only socialization of the means of production can produce real changes in the position of the working class. Social ownership is connected with socialist self-management (government).”  They take a clear stand against Parliamentarianism, stating that:  “The political system of socialism will be based on self-government at all levels of social organization. We do not accept a system of parliamentary democracy because it is based on partocracy – rule of the powerful parties and their leaders.” We republish below the basic goals of the Workers’ Communist Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Continue reading “the positions of the workers’ communist party of bosnia and herzegovina”

fictitious capital and credit schemes

This talk given by Michael Egoavil at the Left Forum 2009 panel “Marx’s ‘Capital’ and the Economic Crisis” argues against the demand for state ownership of banks. Michael can be reached at michaelegoavil@gmail.com.

Today I’m going to be discussing Marx’s theory of fictitious capital and its relation to real capital accumulation. Along the way I’m going to focus on Marx’s seldom-read analysis of a French bank known as the Credit Mobilier, in which this theory played a fundamental role. I’ll conclude with some thoughts on how this relates to socialist politics today.

In the third volume of Capital, Marx discusses what he calls “fictitious capital” – what we know as “securities.” Essentially these are titles to streams of income, which are treated as commodities and bought and sold on financial markets. There are significant differences between types of securities. Some represent corporate debts, as with bonds, some represent consumer debts, as with mortgage backed securities, and others represent capital investments, as with shares of stock. But the common aspect of all these different securities is that they all give their owners a right to a stream of income, hopefully leaving them with more money than they started off with. The security owner therefore looks upon his security as capital. Continue reading “fictitious capital and credit schemes”

the commune’s pamphlets: reprints now available

More copies of our pamphlet series, many of which had sold out, are now available. The text of each of  the seven pamphlets is online (see the list of subjects below), but you can also order paper copies – £1 +50p postage per copy.

communestall

Write to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to place your order. We take payment by cheque (addressed to ‘The Commune’, at The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London EC1V 4PY) or by transfer to Co-op account S/C 089299, A/C 65317440. Continue reading “the commune’s pamphlets: reprints now available”

kherson occupation: a requiem for nationalisation

A key feature of working class resistance to the recession has been a welcome revival of workers occupations In the USA, Ireland, Scotland, England and France we have seen workers occupy their workplaces to prevent closures and job cuts. One of the first and most militant occupations has been in Ukraine in the city of Kherson. Just as in the UK, the demand for nationalisation has been raised by sections of the labour movement in Ukraine. Unsurprisingly in a country which is living with the legacy of totalitarian state-socialism, where for decades the state was the universal capitalist of the whole economy, this slogan has caused some controversy. An article which has sparked debate on this question was published by comrades of the Union of Revolutionary Socialists, and The Commune is pleased to publish a translation this analysis by these Ukrainian and Russian Marxists.

Chris Kane

Continue reading “kherson occupation: a requiem for nationalisation”

notes from the visteon rally – enfield

By Joe Thorne

At 2pm last Tuesday, 565 workers at three sites of Visteon, a car component manufacturer tied to Ford, were given six minutes notice of redundancy.  They did not get their last week’s pay, though it turned out that the Friday before around four or five hundred quid had been deposited in each of their accounts in place of redundancy pay.  The same night, Belfast workers occupied their factory demanding jobs or proper compensation.  And the next morning,1st April, appropriately just before midday, workers at Enfield standing around outside, waiting to collect their things, decided to seize the moment and take over their site too. A side door was either found open or broken down, and the occupation begun. Continue reading “notes from the visteon rally – enfield”

texts for 13th april reading group

The next of The Commune’s London reading group series on ‘communism from below’ is to take place on Monday 13th April. The subject of the discussion, taking place from 6:30pm at the Old Red Lion, near Angel tube, is “workers’ self-government vs. state socialism”.

We will be looking at the questions
– To what extent is it possible to use the existing state’s structures to force ‘socialist’ reforms?
– Should we refuse to make any demands on bourgeois governments?
– What arguments could be made for and against the slogan “nationalisation under workers’ control”?
– Does William Paul’s “industrial executive committee” reflect our idea of working-class power?
– How can self-managed workplaces relate to the needs of society as a whole?
– Does the idea of a “workers’ party” imply an elite counterposed to grassroots activism and workplace democracy, and does it really allow a broader programme of social revolution?

The suggested reading material is:

– William Paul – The State: Its Origins and Function, Chapter 11
– Marx – Critique of the Gotha Programme
– Hal Draper – The Two Souls of Socialism

All are welcome to come and take part in the discussion. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more info.