As we all know, there is no political "Left" in this country to speak of, and what little remains of what once were vibrant Leftist policy and economic criticism is rigorously excluded from the Public Square. You never, ever hear a real Leftist or Socialist argument in the popular press and media, and you hardly ever see it in alternative media, either. It's as if it never was...
In Europe, the situation is somewhat different in that the governments in Europe are nearly all some version of Social Democracy, even when the ruling party is Conservative. However, the Greek crisis has exposed the strains those governments are under, especially given the stranglehold the European Central Bank and through it the Vampire Squids of Global Finance have over the Euro, and thus over the nations of the European Union.
The Greek People rise up -- as have many Europeans -- against the swindlers, but they find, more and more, that their governments, their supposedly liberal, socialist, leftist governments, align themselves with the Vampires and not with the People, and this is happening everywhere in Europe. Just like here, the working class, the masses, are to be forced into poverty to pay off the gambling debts of the banksters, and any opposition is to be met with state violence.
The International Committee for the Fourth International has produced a manifesto regarding this situation that is a startling critique given the general centrist/rightist blather we see and hear all the time. I will append just the final portion of it here, but the whole thing is worth taking a look at and pondering well. Not only does the Committee examine what is really happening and why, they propose concrete actions to thwart and ultimately overcome the Vampires in our midst.
What a concept.
Here's the end of the manifesto. But read it all...
For a socialist program
7. Finance capital and social democracy ram through cuts not because of their strength, but due to the absence of working class parties. Popular opposition is perplexed and paralyzed by the lies of the trade unions and the ex-left. The struggle against the bourgeoisie’s plans to impoverish Europe entails a break with all forms of Stalinism and opportunism.
The ex-left has created a fog of lies around socialism, in an attempt to isolate the workers from an understanding of their own political heritage. To lay out positions around which workers can develop a socialist opposition to social cuts, the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) makes the following demands:
• No sackings or loss of purchasing power
Claims by finance capital and its agents in the social democracy and ex-left that there is no money are lies. The money has been plundered from the working class through decades of austerity and deindustrialization. Funds must go not to the profit interests of capital, but to the social needs of the workers.
• Nationalize the banks
The most elementary defense of working class interests requires public control of the banks. In private hands, the banks ruin countries at will, hold up lending to create high interest rates according to their political needs, starve industry of funds, and supervise a universal downward spiral in living standards in the name of “competitiveness.” To fulfill its function—providing funds to develop production and trade—the financial industry must be taken out of the hands of private interests and placed at the disposal of the workers.
• No confidence in the ex-left. For revolutionary socialism
The obsolescence of the principle of private property in the commanding centers of the economy shows the necessity of socialism. However, workers will be bound hand and foot to the diktat of the banks so long as they do not break with social democracy, the unions, and their ex-left apologists. There is no alternative to building revolutionary socialist parties to struggle for power. The nationalization of the banks and large industry will serve the interests of the masses only if state power is in the hands of the working class. Workers can have no more confidence in a government of the financial oligarchy than in individual oligarchs.
• For the United Socialist States of Europe
Rising tensions inside Europe and discussions of a possible breakup of the euro underline the bankruptcy of the EU project. They threaten a disastrous Balkanization of Europe, which would lay the basis for trade war between European economic blocs and ultimately for war itself. European workers must respond with an international struggle for a united European government of workers’ states, as a step towards establishing world socialism.
• Not a penny for war
Foreign wars, such as the NATO war in Afghanistan, foment a toxic political atmosphere, dividing the workers with far-right nationalism and anti-immigrant hatred. In addition to producing repeated atrocities, these wars drain desperately needed social resources. Opposing them is essential to establishing the unity of the European working class and its political solidarity with workers of Islamic countries and the United States.
Build the International Committee of the Fourth International
8. The political and economic situation in Europe places in stark relief the depth of the crisis of leadership in the working class. In every country, the fate of the workers is in the hands of reactionary petty-bourgeois organizations acting consciously in the interests of the financial aristocracy. Regardless of their demagogic rhetoric, every one of the old organizations—led by ex-Stalinists, ex-socialists, ex-Marxists, ex-radicals, and even ex-reformists—function politically as agents of the corporations, the banks and the bourgeois state. Not one of them is independent of the bourgeois state. PASOK, Syriza, the various socialist parties, and practitioners of pseudo-left theatrics like the NPA in France are politically corrupt to the bone. To call them “opportunist” would be almost a compliment, for that term—signifying the subordination of long-term revolutionary interests to short-term reformist objectives—belongs to another historical period. Characteristic of these present-day organizations is not only the rejection of a revolutionary program, but even any defense of the most elemental needs of the working class. As long as the working class remains under the political control of these petty-bourgeois organizations, which function as nothing other than the “left” flank of the capitalist political establishment, it will suffer defeat after defeat.
Therefore, the most urgent task confronting the working class—in Greece, in Europe and throughout the world—is the building of a new revolutionary political party, based on the principles of international socialism. The International Committee of the Fourth International is the only political organization that seeks to organize and unify the working class in the struggle against capitalist exploitation, poverty and war. Notwithstanding all the difficult problems that confront the modern working class, it remains the essential and decisive revolutionary force on the planet. The present world crisis will compel ever greater masses of workers, in every part of the globe, to enter into struggle against capitalism. The ICFI is convinced that a new period of revolutionary struggles is now beginning. It has created the World Socialist Web Site as a political organ to report on, unify and provide political leadership to the struggles of the working class. The International Committee embodies a colossal political experience, derived from its many decades of struggle in defense of Marxist and Trotskyist principles.
The ICFI calls on the most politically conscious workers, intellectuals and youth to fight for the perspective elaborated in this statement and to join the ICFI.
March 17, 2010
The History of the Internationale Pt 1
The History of the Internationale Pt 2
Alistair Hulett's version of The Internationale as interpreted by Alex Thiel: