Posts Tagged ‘capitalism’

Why you’re wrong about communism: 7 huge misconceptions about it (and capitalism)

February 9, 2014

Most of what Americans think they know about capitalism and communism is total nonsense. Here’s a clearer picture

Why you're wrong about communism: 7 huge misconceptions about it (and capitalism)Karl Marx, Gordon Gecko

As the commentary around the recent deaths of Nelson Mandela, Amiri Baraka and Pete Seeger made abundantly clear, most of what Americans think they know about capitalism and communism is arrant nonsense. This is not surprising, given our country’s history of Red Scares designed to impress that anti-capitalism is tantamount to treason. In 2014, though, we are too far removed from the Cold War-era threat of thermonuclear annihilation to continue without taking stock of the hype we’ve been made, despite Harry Allen’s famous injunction, to believe. So, here are seven bogus claims people make about communism and capitalism.

1. Only communist economies rely on state violence.

Obviously, no private equity baron worth his weight in leveraged buyouts will ever part willingly with his fortune, and any attempt to achieve economic justice (like taxation) will encounter stiff opposition from the ownership class. But state violence (like taxation) is inherent in every set of property rights a government can conceivably adopt – including those that allowed the aforementioned hypothetical baron to amass said fortune.

In capitalism, competing ownership claims are settled by the state’s willingness to use violence to exclude all but one claimant. If I lay claim to one of David Koch’s mansions, libertarian that he is, he’s going to rely on big government and its guns to set me right. He owns that mansion because the state says he does and threatens to imprison anyone who disagrees. Where there isn’t a state, whoever has the most violent power determines who gets the stuff, be that a warlord, a knight, the mafia or a gang of cowboys in the Wild West. Either by vigilantes or the state, property rights rely on violence.

Continues >>

Chomsky: The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracy

August 18, 2013

The MIT professor lays out how the majority of U.S. policies are opposed to what wide swaths of the public want

Chomsky: The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracyNoam Chomsky (Credit: AP/Nader Daoud)
The following is a transcript of a recent speech delivered Noam Chomsky in Bonn, Germany, at DW Global Media Forum, Bonn, Germany. It was previously published at Alternet.

I’d like to comment on topics that I think should regularly be on the front pages but are not — and in many crucial cases are scarcely mentioned at all or are presented in ways that seem to me deceptive because they’re framed almost reflexively in terms of doctrines of the powerful.

In these comments I’ll focus primarily on the United States for several reasons: One, it’s the most important country in terms of its power and influence. Second, it’s the most advanced – not in its inherent character, but in the sense that because of its power, other societies tend to move in that direction. The third reason is just that I know it better. But I think what I say generalizes much more widely – at least to my knowledge, obviously there are some variations. So I’ll be concerned then with tendencies in American society and what they portend for the world, given American power.

American power is diminishing, as it has been in fact since its peak in 1945, but it’s still incomparable. And it’s dangerous. Obama’s remarkable global terror campaign and the limited, pathetic reaction to it in the West is one shocking example. And it is a campaign of international terrorism – by far the most extreme in the world. Those who harbor any doubts on that should read the report issued by Stanford University and New York University, and actually I’ll return to even more serious examples than international terrorism.

Continues >>

President Morales Blames Capitalism for Global Warming

April 22, 2010

Environment News Service,

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia, April 20, 2010 (ENS) – Bolivian President Evo Morales said capitalism is to blame for global warming and the accelerated deterioration of the planetary ecosystem in a speech today opening an international conference on climate change and the “rights of Mother Earth.”

More than 20,000 indigenous, environmental and civil society delegates from 129 countries were in attendance as President Morales welcomed them to the conference at a soccer stadium in the village of Tiquipaya on the outskirts of the city of Cochabamba.

Continues >>

Tariq Ali: On Obama and American Empire

August 23, 2009

Kasama, Aug 21, 2009

Posted by Mike E

Tariq Ali has been a fixture of the radical British left for over forty years — when he emerged as a prominent figure within the Trotskyist movement. Now widely respected as a novelist and political commentor — he speaks here on the meaning of Obama’s victory and questions connected to the war encroaching on Pakistan. This talk was given at the Marxism 2009  conference in Britain.

Castro to US – Cuba will stay communist

August 3, 2009

Times Online, Aug 3, 2009

Tim Reid in Washington

Raul Castro at National Assembly meeting


Raul Castro speaking at the Cuban National Assembly

Raúl Castro, the Cuban President, vowed to a standing ovation in parliament yesterday that the country would never give up communism, in what appeared to be a direct response to the Obama Administration’s calls for reform.

Mr Castro, the younger brother of the ailing Fidel Castro, also defended impending austerity measures amid a sharp economic downturn in the country. He announced that Cuba would cut spending on education and healthcare and called state spending “simply unsustainable”.

The Government would reorganise rural schools and scrutinise its free healthcare system in search of ways to save money, he said.

Nevertheless, the political ideology of the regime was not in question, Mr Castro declared.

“I wasn’t elected President to return capitalism to Cuba, or to surrender the revolution,” he said, referring to the armed uprising led by his brother that toppled the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista half a century ago. “I was elected President to defend, build and perfect socialism, not destroy it,” he said.

President Obama has been trying to engineer a thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba. Hillary Clinton, his Secretary of State, said recently that Washington wanted to see economic and social reforms in Cuba before the Washington Administration would do more to improve bilateral relations.

Mr Castro reiterated his willingness to improve relations with America and acknowledged “a decline in the aggressiveness and anti-Cuban rhetoric” since Mr Obama took power in January.

The Cuban President made an unusual mention of the mortality of his 82-year-old brother Fidel, something top officials in Cuba almost never do in public.

He scoffed at those who thought that Cuba’s political system would crumble after “the death of Fidel and of all of us”.

He added: “If that’s how they think, they are doomed to failure.”

Socialism has failed. Now capitalism is bankrupt. So what comes next?

April 11, 2009

Whatever ideological logo we adopt, the shift from free market to public action needs to be bigger than politicians grasp

The 20th century is well behind us, but we have not yet learned to live in the 21st, or at least to think in a way that fits it. That should not be as difficult as it seems, because the basic idea that dominated economics and politics in the last century has patently disappeared down the plughole of history. This was the way of thinking about modern industrial economies, or for that matter any economies, in terms of two mutually exclusive opposites: capitalism or socialism.

We have lived through two practical attempts to realise these in their pure form: the centrally state-planned economies of the Soviet type and the totally unrestricted and uncontrolled free-market capitalist economy. The first broke down in the 1980s, and the European communist political systems with it. The second is breaking down before our eyes in the greatest crisis of global capitalism since the 1930s. In some ways it is a greater crisis than in the 1930s, because the globalisation of the economy was not then as far advanced as it is today, and the crisis did not affect the planned economy of the Soviet Union. We don’t yet know how grave and lasting the consequences of the present world crisis will be, but they certainly mark the end of the sort of free-market capitalism that captured the world and its governments in the years since Margaret Thatcher and President Reagan.

Impotence therefore faces both those who believe in what amounts to a pure, stateless, market capitalism, a sort of international bourgeois anarchism, and those who believe in a planned socialism uncontaminated by private profit-seeking. Both are bankrupt. The future, like the present and the past, belongs to mixed economies in which public and private are braided together in one way or another. But how? That is the problem for everybody today, but especially for people on the left.

Continued >>

The return of Marx

February 17, 2009

The ideas of Karl Marx–that class society creates great wealth for the few at the expense of the many–ring truer every day. Brian Jones examines Marx’s revolutionary ideas in this first of three articles.

IN THE last 150 years of U.S. history, you can’t point to a generation whose most active, radical layers have not been drawn to the ideas of Karl Marx.

Columnist: Brian Jones

Brian Jones Brian Jones is a teacher, actor and activist in New York City. His commentary and writing have been featured on GritTV, and the International Socialist Review. Jones has also lent his voice to several audiobooks, including Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival, Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s Voices of a People’s History of the United States and Zinn’s one-man play Marx in Soho (forthcoming from Haymarket Books).

This was true of the abolitionist movement (Marxist immigrants even fought with the Northern Army in the Civil War), the early pioneers of our labor movement, the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) who passed through Socialist and Communist Parties in the first half of the 20th century, and of the many thousands who joined the Black Panther Party and other parties that declared themselves against capitalism and in favor of socialism in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Millions of people around the world have sought, from the Marxist tradition, a way to win a different kind of society free of poverty, oppression and war. That rather hopeful premise–that a different kind of world is actually possible–goes a long way toward explaining how it could be that the only book that can compete (in terms of paid sales) with the Bible is the Communist Manifesto.

It was that project–the fight for a better world–that motivated Marx. At his funeral, Marx’s lifelong collaborator and closest friend, Frederick Engels, said of him:

Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being…Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival.

The global economic crisis has provoked renewed interest in the ideas of Karl Marx. (Eric Ruder | SW)

But when you try to go out and learn something about Marx, you will quickly discover that it is precisely this tenacious revolutionism that is discarded by mainstream treatments of him. “Marx had good ideas,” they want you to believe, “but don’t try to put them into practice.” Or, as another twist on the same idea: “He was good at analyzing the problems of capitalism, but obviously wrong about the solution.”

Time magazine recently published a feature article, “Rethinking Marx” (interestingly, it was available only in Britain), with essentially the same thesis:

Marx’s utopian predictions about revolution and the triumph of socialism were dead wrong; indeed, many of the policies carried out in his name in the 20th century brought misery to millions in countries ranging from Russia to China, and including large chunks of Africa.

Yet…if you leave aside the prophetic, prescriptive parts of Marx’s writings, there’s a trenchant diagnosis of the underlying problems of a market economy that is surprisingly relevant even today…He was moved by glaring inequalities between rich and poor that are more topical than ever today…

In short, Marx painted a picture of the capitalism’s excesses, but forget trying to replace it. Replacing capitalism, Time magazine warns, leads straight to Stalin’s prison labor camps. Time wants us to “leave aside the prescriptive parts,” which is like going to the doctor for a diagnosis, but not for a cure.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

MARX HAD a peculiar problem: People formed groups under his name–but Marx actually had fundamental disagreements with their ideas. “I, at least,” Marx was fond of joking, “am not a Marxist…God save me from my friends!”

In hindsight, it’s not too hard to see that figures like Stalin and Mao were precisely the sort Marx had in mind.

So what were Marx’s real ideas?

Let’s start with what Marx actually said about capitalism–the diagnosis. Of course, the occasion for Time magazine’s feature article–and this talk–is the current global economic crisis.

The free market, touted as the best way to run the world, is currently in free fall. Not only is the market apparently “broken” as an instrument for spreading wealth, it seems apparent to millions (if not billions at this point) that it was never intended to spread wealth in the first place.

New York Gov. David Paterson is making cuts in education and health care to fill a budget hole (for 2009-2010) of about $15 billion. He’s planning to cut funding for Head Start, Medicare and food stamps, for example.

Meanwhile, total Wall Street bonuses for 2008 ended up totaling $18.4 billion. Merrill Lynch alone handed out $4 billion in bonuses to top executives before going belly up. We could easily spend a whole evening imagining the miracles we could work if that kind of money were directed to social needs.

People who were hailed for decades as geniuses and heroes, are today exposed as frauds, liars and thieves. But none of the gurus of free-market capitalism were praised to the heavens like Alan Greenspan. Greenspan was the former head of the Federal Reserve, and he was one of those who supported getting rid of the regulations on Wall Street so that the free market could work its magic.

In his recent congressional testimony, though, he admitted that he found a “flaw” in his free-market model.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?

ALAN GREENSPAN: That is–precisely. No, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.

This should be called “The Madoff Defense”: Your honor, with all due respect, my house of cards did stand for almost 40 years.

Yes, Greenspan found a flaw. Shocking.

Now, it turns out that about 160 years ago, Marx also found a flaw with capitalism. The flaw is related to what makes capitalism so dynamic in the first place, which is the fact that

[t]he bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society…All fixed, fast-frozen relations…are swept away…before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air…

Capitalism is driven forward by relentless competition, and in an incredibly short time (historically speaking), this new system has generated an immense output of wealth:

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together…machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation…what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labor?

But the flaw is that all of production is unplanned. So the system has released this relentless innovative energy, but it’s out of human control, and every so many years, there’s a crisis.

Modern bourgeois society…a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells…It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on trial, each time more threateningly…

There was a time, long ago, when people starved because there was not enough food. Food was under-produced. Along comes capitalism, and people starve because there’s too much food!

There’s also too many cars, too many TVs, too many basketballs…capitalism’s competitive production for profit, means there’s too many of everything, and inevitably therefore, a crisis.

In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity–the epidemic of overproduction. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilization, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce.

And to what do we owe the honor of our current economic catastrophe? Too many houses!

Not too many houses to house people. Not too many for the millions of homeless. Only too many to be sold at a profit. So houses must sit empty, people must be thrown out of work (2 million people were laid off in just the last four months), stores, factories and offices must be closed, it seems that a “universal war of devastation” is taking place–all so that the free market can repair itself.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BUT EVEN without this flaw, even without overproduction, in “ordinary” times, even in a boom, great wealth and great poverty are two sides of the same capitalist coin.

How did rich people become rich, anyway? Are they rich because they’re so thrifty? Are they just more hardworking? No, it’s not just that some happen to be rich and others by chance are poor. Under capitalism, people are rich because others are poor. They’re rich because they exploit our labor–but it’s not obvious how that happens.

In ancient Egypt, if you were a slave, they said to you, “Good morning, you’re going to build that pyramid over there until you die. And no, we’re not going to give you anything in return. Get started.” If you were a peasant in the Middle Ages, the king would send a tax collector who would say, “Oh, what a wonderful crop you’ve grown! We’ll take half. Good job.”

It’s obvious that they’re stealing from you in those systems. In capitalism, however, it’s not as obvious.

Capitalists buy and then sell things to make a profit. But it’s not just a question of marking up the price in between. You couldn’t build a whole society on just marking up everything. All the markups would cancel each other out. Wealth has to be created somehow.

The capitalists buy a lot of things–raw materials, machinery, buildings and labor. Then they turn around a sell a product, hopefully for more than they paid for all of those ingredients. The trick is that one of those ingredients is different from the others, one of them is special: labor.

As Paul D’Amato put it in The Meaning of Marxism:

It is, Marx noted, a “good piece of luck” that labor’s use is greater than “what the capitalist pays for that use.” The value of labor power–that is, wages–is less than the value of output that this labor can produce. Put another way, workers produce enough value to cover the cost of their wages…in just part of the working day. The labor performed for the rest of the working day does not have to be paid for–it is “surplus labor,” which produces “surplus value,” and therefore when the product is sold, this unpaid portion goes into the pocket of the capitalists.

That our wages are calculated as an hourly payment hides the fact that for part of every working day, the boss is actually getting something for nothing. Ultimately, that’s why capitalism creates such disparities of wealth–it’s a system where a few people exploit the labor of many.

For a moment, though, leave aside the exploitation. Leave aside the endemic poverty, leave aside the cyclical crises. There remains the fact that capitalism perverts human nature. Marx called this perversion “alienation.”

What does this mean? Keep in mind that creative, social labor is what makes us human in the first place–work, in other words. Under capitalism, however, we don’t have any real control over our work. So the very thing that makes us human, is the thing this system takes from us. In Marx’s words:

What constitutes the alienation of labor?

Firstly, the fact that labor is external to the worker–i.e., does not belong to his essential being; that he, therefore, does not confirm himself in his work, but denies himself, feels miserable and not happy, does not develop free mental and physical energy, but mortifies his flesh and ruins his mind. Hence, the worker feels himself only when he is not working; when he is working, he does not feel himself. He is at home when he is not working, and not at home when he is working. His labor is, therefore, not voluntary but forced, it is forced labor. It is, therefore, not the satisfaction of a need but a mere means to satisfy needs outside itself. Its alien character is clearly demonstrated by the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, it is shunned like the plague.

Imagine a bird that hates to fly, or a fish that loathes nothing more than swimming, and you have an idea of just what kind of alienated creatures we are, living under a system that makes us hate working.

That’s a super-brief sketch of what Marx had to say about capitalism’s crises, about surplus value and about alienation.

NEXT: How Marx became a Marxist

Understanding Imperialism

December 12, 2008

“I will never apologise for the United States.

I don’t care what the facts are.”

George Bush the First in 1988 when a US missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf shot down an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people.

“We think the price is worth it.”

Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State, in December 1996 when it was reported that UN sanctions had killed 576,000 Iraqi children under the age of five.

Today, in the name of “freedom” and “democracy” – hope-laden words – as many as 250,000 Iraqis lie dead, Iraqis and Afghanis live with the brutality of military occupation by the US and it allies and over 20,000 US soldiers are dead or maimed.

In a world where facts are irrelevant, and language is used as if we are living in a never-ending mad hatter’s party, the protests of millions keep alive some sense of human sanity. However, if we are to not just protest, but begin to challenge the source of the barbarity, we need to understand what we are up against.

The idea that Bush is a homicidal maniac surrounded by greedy bastards is appealing. But it implies we just need well-intentioned politicians and business people. As the Indian writer and activist Arundati Roy  said: “It’s true that [George Bush the Second] is a dangerous, almost suicidal pilot, but the machine he handles is far more dangerous than the man himself.”

Understanding that machine provides us with the tools we need to disable it.

Capitalism breeds war

Two Russian revolutionaries – Lenin and Nikolai Bukharin – explained why war is an inevitable result of capitalism when they analysed the causes of World War I.

Capitalism is a system of competition, but there is an inbuilt contradiction: successful companies buy up those that go broke, getting ever bigger. Lenin wrote: “Marx had proved that free competition gives rise to the concentration of production, which, in turn, at a certain stage of development, leads to monopoly.” Ever-bigger capitalist corporations combine in cartels to keep rivals out of the market. Just think of OPEC, the modern cartel of oil exporting states. Their website sums it up: “OPEC’s mission is to … ensure the stabilisation of oil prices in order to secure … a steady income to producers and a fair return on capital to those investing in the petroleum industry.”

By the twentieth century, giant corporations had developed interests extending beyond the borders of their national state. They struggle to out-compete each other in an increasingly integrated world market (called globalisation today). Microsoft, Shell, Nike, BHP-Billiton are typical.

However, contrary to many anti-globalisation theories today, we are not just confronted with marauding multinational corporations. National states have to control “spheres of influence” in order to maximise access to raw materials, markets for goods and investment, trade routes and the like for their multinational corporations. They may use economic and political means, but “the mutual relations of those states – [are] in the final analysis the relations between their military forces”.

Lenin and Bukharin concluded that imperialism – the competition between powerful nations to dominate areas of the globe – defines modern capitalism and this makes war inevitable.

Twentieth century imperialism

As Lenin and Bukharin predicted, World War I did not end the drive to war; it only laid the basis for a further re-division of the world between the major powers. World War II was an imperialist war, not a war for democracy. “War for democracy” – sounds eerily familiar doesn’t it? That’s because the machine was the same – only the drivers were different.

The war ended with a new re-partitioning of the world – by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill. The Cold War after 1945 was a stand-off between two new superpowers, the Stalinist USSR and the US. The massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction by both sides were justified by the lies that capitalism was defending freedom from the tyranny of communism, and conversely, that the “workers’ states” – which were in reality state-run capitalist states – were a bastion against vile capitalism. It finally ended when this madness brought on the collapse of the USSR’s imperialist bloc between 1989 and 1991.

However, the inbuilt contradictions of capitalism gave rise to a new balance of power. The lunacy of wasting billions of dollars on more than enough nuclear weapons to blow the earth away sustained the longest economic boom ever. Germany and Japan, forbidden to re-arm, gained an economic advantage, riding on the back of the boom to modernise their economies without the burden of military spending. By the end of the long boom in the mid-1970s, the US was no longer the supreme economic power it had been.

The dominance of the US ruling class rested more on military than economic might. Increasingly they needed to send a message to other rising powers such as China, Japan or a united Europe that the US could and would take on any states that challenged its status as the world’s superpower. But the defeat in Vietnam undermined US confidence.

When Saddam Hussein, their former bully boy in the Middle East, looked too independent, they seized the opportunity, not to rid the world of the “new Hitler” as they proclaimed in 1991, but to strike a blow for their future. “Humanitarian” interventions in places such as the Balkans and Somalia were used to put the “Vietnam syndrome” behind them. And they bamboozled even some on the left into believing US might could be humane.

The War of Terror

The supposed “war on terror” is nothing more than the US ruling class’s drive to shore up their empire. Saddam and Al Qaeda are just a convenient pretext for US military bases in the strategic Middle East and Afghanistan, a corridor for supplies of natural gas and oil from Central Asia.

But much more than control of that strategic commodity is at stake. It is about an increasingly belligerent capitalist class who rely on military might to prevent a challenge to their power. Bases in Afghanistan complete the encirclement of China, a potential rival. And the wars demonstrate the barbarity the US is willing to unleash.

Nuclear war – the logic of imperialism

Bush’s drive towards a nuclear strike against Iran is, from the point of view of the US rulers, not madness, but the most reliable way to ensure they remain top imperialist dog.

Australia, as a middle-ranking power, allies itself with the US as a central part of its own imperialist drive to dominate the area regarded as “our own backyard”. Howard and Australia’s capitalists want to go down the nuclear road because it gives them an entry into the nuclear imperialist club. Even if Australian capitalists are only minor players, they’re increasingly flexing their muscles on “their” block. And they have enough uranium to make themselves indispensable to that club.

During the Cold War even many on the left argued that nuclear weapons threatened all of humanity, so at least some capitalists could be anti-war allies. But capitalists take risks all the time. Short term gain far outweighs long term risks, and certainly wins out over humanitarianism.

How can we stop war?

Once we recognise that wars are inevitable in capitalist society, it follows that we can’t rely on parliamentary parties that want to run this system. The US Democrats, in the midst of a massive anti-war campaign, ran a pro-war candidate for President in 2004. The ALP government enthusiastically sent troops to the Persian Gulf in 1991. Even the Greens, who use anti-war rhetoric, don’t consistently campaign to mobilise demonstrations against war, and they actually support the use of imperialist Australian troops to interfere in states in “our neighbourhood”. The German Greens campaigned for years against war and the nuclear industry. Once in government, they attacked anti-nuke campaigners and sent troops to bomb the Balkans in the mid 1990s.

To end the wars we will have to build a movement that mobilises the strength of the mass of people to demonstrate, strike and organise so that governments and bosses know they will have no peace while they occupy, bomb or exploit other countries. That movement needs to be implacably opposed to imperialism, fighting every deployment of imperialist troops, whatever the “justification”.

The Washington meeting

November 16, 2008

Reflections by Comrade Fidel

Granma, Nov 15, 2008

According to recent statements, some supportive governments do not cease to say they want to facilitate transition in Cuba. What kind of transition? Transition to capitalism, the only system they have absolute faith in. They do not say a word about the merits of our people, which for almost half a century of harsh economic sanctions and aggressions, has defended a revolutionary cause that together with its morale and patriotism, has given it the strength to put up a resistance.

They seem to forget that after laying down lives and making sacrifices in defense of sovereignty and justice, Cuba cannot be expected to end up on the side of capitalism.

They ingratiate themselves with the United States hoping that it will help them face their own economic problems injecting huge amounts of paper money to their shaky economies which maintain unequal and abusive terms of trade with the emerging nations.

This is the only way they can ensure the multimillion profits of Wall Street and the US banks. The non renewable natural resources of the planet and its ecology are not even mentioned. There is no claim for the end of the arms race and the banning of the potential and probable use of weapons of mass destruction.

None of the participants in the conclave hurriedly convened by the sitting President of the United States has said a word about the absence of over 150 nations facing the same problems or even worse. These will not have the right to speak on the international financial order as the pro tempore President of the UN General Assembly Miguel D’Escoto had proposed, even when they include most of the countries from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

The G-20 meeting will open in Washington tomorrow. Bush is delighted. He has stated that a new international financial order will result from the meeting and that the institutions set up at Bretton Woods should be more transparent, accountable and effective. It’s as much as he would admit. Referring to Cuba’s prosperity in the past, he said that it had once been full of sugarcane fields. By the way, he failed to mention that it was manually cut and that, for over half a century, the empire has deprived us from our quota. Also that this action was taken when the word socialism had yet to be spoken in our country, although we had certainly proclaimed: Homeland or Death!

Many seem to dream that after a simple change of leadership in the empire, this would be more tolerant and less hostile. Apparently, contempt for the incumbent ruler makes some entertain illusions about a probable change in the system.

The innermost ideas of the citizen who will take over the issue are yet unknown. It would be extremely naïve to believe that the good will of a smart person could change what is the result of centuries of selfishness and vested interests.

Let’s watch attentively what everyone says in that major financial conclave. There will be plenty of news. We shall all be a bit better informed.

Fidel Castro Ruz
November 14, 2008


October 1, 2008

George Barnsby, Oct 1, 2008

I’ve been accused in the past of neglecting the dire financial
position that has been developing for some years now. This is because I regard the blind monster of Capitalism uncontrollable, moving one day favourably and the next day unfavourably, but always with two main defects.

Its tendency to move in slumps and booms and its tendency to produce unacceptable wealth at one end of the scale and poverty and starvation at the other. Thus I believe with Marx and Lenin that the only thing to do with capitalism is to destroy it and this Communists attempted to do in the last century but world imperialism was too strong for it. The Soviet Union was destroyed by a coup against Gorbachev a particularly horrible form of capitalism was introduced which impoverished the working people of Russia and its wealth given to oligarchs who usually moved abroad to escape the righteous wrath of the Russian people. All this has resulted in the present financial scandal where the very existence of capitalism is at stake and the only possible solution is Socialism which has revived in South America under Hugo Chaves, Evo Morales, an indigenous leader and others who are able to challenge US capitalism which could be in the process of disintegrating.

One of the bitterest critics of Bush and his Neo-Cons. has been the
film maker Michael Moore and, as I explain to my critics, I am not in a position to pronounce on the seriousness of the position in the US, but Moore is and last night I wrote a long piece which criticised the Democratic Party saying that they handed an election to Bush which he had not won; that they gave him the votes to invade Iraq and now have been cowered into accepting the crime of the century which he believes is paying the 700 billion dollar bail out American capitalism.

But tomorrow is another day and what these masters of the world did not realise was that the American people had decided that it was time to revolt.

Millions of phone calls and emails hit Congressmen telling them to oppose the crime of the century and allow bankers and monopoly business men 700 billion dollars paid for by ordinary people who also risked losing their homes because they couldn’t pay their mortgages. So the right wing of the Republican Party joined with the left-wing of the Democratic Party 228 votes to 205 to stop the thievery. The Democrats who voted for the give-away were influenced by the fact that their stock based pensions are retirement funds would be at risk if they didn’t give the rich their handouts. But this indeed happened as the Dow Jones showed the largest, single-day drop in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. Americans lost 1.2 trillion dollars in the stock market. Its a financial Pearl Harbour! The sky is falling! And as we all go to bed, we don’t know what else Capitalism will throw at us tomorrow and how much more nationalisation and other Socialist measures will be forced on Democrats and reluctant Republicans alike.

Michael promises to give his solutions tomorrow, so don’t fail to log on to for the latest news.

%d bloggers like this: