Announcing the October 1997 issue of Communist Voice:
revolutionary strategy in Mexico, Chinese CP 15th Congress,
more on dependency theory, deadly smog in Southeast Asia,
postmodernism is recycled nonsense,
two tactics with respect to coalition work, and more

The fifteenth issue of CV, vol. 3, #4 (Oct. 25, 1997, 60 pages of text)
contains the following articles:

(Titles are linked to the full text of the article. For articles without links, the text can be found at TOC15-alt.html, which, however, is only partially formatted.)

A brief indication of what these articles are about:

Capitalist pollution in SOUTHEAST ASIA

. "During the summer and early autumn of this year the skies of much of Southeast Asia were filled with a deadly build-up of air pollution. This was a repetition, on a larger and more severe scale, of a pollution problem which has been mounting in the region for a number of years and which is going to take much more to solve than the too little and too late cooperation of several ASEAN countries plus Australia to fight forest and peat fires which occurred in late September and October. According to the director-general of the World Wide Fund for Nature this year's episode was `not just an environmental disaster but a tremendous health problem being imposed on millions' (as indeed it was). But imposed by whom or what? We'll see below that it's obviously capitalist industrialization and development which are at root of the problem. . . .Thus the question of industrializing and tilling the soil on the basis of a new social system is raised. "

CHINA: a congress of capitalists

. "The Communist Party of China held its 15th Congress in mid-September. This was a congress of capitalists. . . . It was a congress of state-capitalist bureaucrats striving to find new sources of capital so they can better compete in world trade with other capitalist powers. The main decisions taken at this congress involved the rapid transition from state-capitalist forms of ownership to private-market forms,. . . Leaders of the CPC freely recognize that this will maintain the class divisions that already exist in China, and in fact that these class divisions will be intensified. It was a congress upholding and extending the sacred banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, whose most famous slogan is `It is glorious to get rich!'. . . . .

. "Some critics of the present-day Chinese regime harken back to the days of Mao. But Maoism doesn't provide an answer either. The Chinese economic and political system under Mao was first patterned after the Soviet revisionist model. In fact, Mao never had a clear analysis of what was wrong with Soviet state capitalism, so the Cultural Revolution didn't solve the problem and collapsed. Then, in the last few years of his life, Mao veered rightward again. There is much more in common between Deng's views and Mao's than the Maoists would like to admit. "

As PRI totters: Mexico in transition

. "The political system in Mexico is changing. . . . The growing impoverishment of the masses by capitalist development has led to constant demonstrations; there was the Zapatista rebellion and other peasant revolts; and there has been a mass ferment throughout Mexico.

. "The July 6 elections show that the PRI system of rule is breaking up. They also verify what the `Communist Voice' has pointed out previously: the PRI unfortunately isn't going to be overthrown in a social revolution, but in a liberalization of the bourgeois system. Mexico is in transition. But it is going from one form of bourgeois rule--the one-party PRI system--to another, and not a revolutionary regime. . . .

. "If we have opposed revolutionary play-acting about what the present transition in Mexico means, it is only to help the Mexican workers and peasants formulate better tactics in dealing with it. if we have pointed to the fact that bourgeois politics will dominate this transition, it is not to tell the workers to help the bourgeoisie, but to help them recognize the bourgeois interests they must fight. . . The bourgeoisie dreams of renovating capitalist Mexico so it can continue to exploit the masses forever, but the workers must use the political crisis to gain as much freedom as possible and to rebuild a revolutionary, socialist movement. . . . "It is unlikely that the PRI will exit graciously from power; it's even possible that part of PRI will rebel. . . . In any case, there will be a period of struggle against PRI's repressive apparatus, and even bloody episodes are a possibility. The transition from PRI rule has only begun. "

The July 6 elections and the socialist movement in Mexico

. "Two different perspectives for building the socialist movement in Mexico have been debated by the Communist Voice and the Chicago Workers' Voice. The CWV holds that the socialist movement is simply the most militant wing of the democratic movement. The CWV's Anita holds that the activists should push `the democratic demands to their revolutionary limits', and this will be `the process of gathering forces and building organization for a socialist revolution in Mexico'. She pictures the overthrow of PRI's hegemony in revolutionary colors, and says that this revolution has a `dual nature' (both democratic and socialistic) that means that it may well go on from the overthrow of PRI hegemony to a socialist regime. I have held that such a strategy amounts to giving a socialist coloration to the replacement of PRI rule by a more democratic bourgeois regime. Whatever we might wish, what is imminent in Mexico today is not a social revolution, but a democratization of the bourgeois regime. The activists should push for the furthest democratization possible, but they must also build a distinct class movement for socialist revolution. If the activists simply form a left-wing of the struggle for democratization, they will end up subordinated to bourgeois politics. "

May 1st and Mexico and the July 6th elections

. This article is reprinted from the Chicago Workers' Voice Theoretical Journal #13. It provides some interesting news about developments in Mexico, but fails to clearly assess the overall meaning of the July 6 national elections. It is critiqued in "The July 6 elections and the socialist movement on Mexico".

Postmodernist philosophy is old subjectivist wine in new bottles

. "Postmodernism has produced diverse offshoots and projects. It poses as a radical challenge to the capitalist establishment, but in reality its philosophy undermines resistance to the ruling class. Its essence is a subjective idealism which attacks human reason itself and the materialist world view of science, reserving particular vehemence for Marxist revolutionary theory. Its logic prevents a coherent analysis of the natural world and especially of capitalist social reality and undermines revolutionary theoretical and political struggle against capitalism. Pomo claims to be a radical opponent of the `totalizing' critiques it sees embodied in rationalism and Marxism, but its own positions imply a complete (`total') destruction of all but the most fragmentary opposition of the oppressed class, the proletariat, to the capitalist exploiters. In the end, only `deconstructive' word-play is considered resistance. "

Dependency theory and the fight against imperialism (against the theories of Samir Amin and Andre Gunder Frank), part II

. "Dependency theory recognizes that the imperialist system continues to exist after the liberation of most all the colonies, but it gives a wrong picture of what the imperialist system looks like.Dependency theorists believe that they have the most radical critique of world imperialism because they deny that the subordinate countries are undergoing `real' economic development or that there is a national bourgeoisie in the underdeveloped countries. The more radical one was, the more firmly one was supposed to deny that there could be `development' in the dependent world. However, the dramatic changes in the Third World economies since World War II refute this point of view. Forced to admit that the economies weren't standing still in the Third World, dependency theorists such as Andre Gunder Frank and Amin talk of `growth without development'.

. "Far from being a radical break with capitalist theorizing, this denial of the existing development is based on a glorified vision of capitalism, as something which brings prosperity, equality, and social peace. . . . They believe that they can disprove the existence of development by pointing out that the gap between the rich and poor countries was not being overcome. ...They are upset by East Asian industrialization and try to prove that it is exceptional, rather than welcoming it as adding to the potential world strength of the proletariat, because they fear that Asian development disproves their dogmas of `growth without development'. "

Part one dealt with such points, as well as with dependency theory's denial of the Marxist theory of the revolution, of the distinction between bourgeois-democratic and socialist revolutions, of the role of the proletariat, etc. Part two deals with their failure to recognize the state-capitalist nature of the revisionist countries, the point of view of a state official which comes out clearly in Amin's work, the belief that political action can repeal the law of value even though capitalism still exists, the denigration of the right to self-determination, and their slighting of the environmental issues.

Detroit Workers' Voice #16

. DWV was distributed at the Labor Day march in Detroit and at local workplaces. One article was on the UPS strike: "settlement trades small gains for maintaining art-timers' misery: UPS workers wage major contract battle". This strike was a major event in the workers' movement that has encouraged workers across the country. Issues such as job security resonated with wide sections of the working class and make the strike very popular. But the provisions of the contract make it clear that it wasn't really the great breakthrough claimed by the Teamster leadership."The major lesson of the strike is that it shows workers are getting restive, fed up with years of corporate downsizing and wage cuts while corporate profits and executives' salaries were soaring. . . . But nothing turns around by itself. . . Struggle is needed. Let's build up our own trend of militant struggle independent of the weak-kneed union leadership. "

. The article "Courts and government agencies are tools of the rich" dealt with the latest development in the struggle of the Detroit newspaper workers. "The AFL-CIO union leaders said that the newspaper workers didn't have to stop production at the newspaper plants, but could rely on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the courts to force the `Detroit News' and `Free Press" to come to an agreement. Strikers and supporters had blockaded the Sterling Heights newspaper plant in September 1995, but the union leaders called off these actions. . . .When an administrative law judge of the NLRB finally ruled in favor of the workers earlier this year, the union leaders said that now things would be fine and everyone would get their jobs back.

. "But what happened? On August 14, U. S. District Court Judge John Corbett O'Meara refused the NLRB request for a injunction against the company. . . .

. "Was this because O'Meara is a particularly bad judge appointed by Reagan or Bush? Actually, he is a Clinton appointee, and considered a `good pick' by the union's lawyers. . . . But the legal system is neither impartial, nor designed to help strikers. . . . It's up to the rank-and-file to prepare itself for militant action, and to build up its own organizations of struggle. No illusions in the AFL-CIO leaders, the courts and all the capitalist agencies! It's time to return to the class struggle. "

. The article "Conviction of racist killer cop overturned" dealt with the Malice Green case. "On July 31, Walter Budzyn, one of the two white Detroit cops who beat the black, unemployed steel worker Malice Green to death in 1992, was granted the right to a new trial by the Michigan State Supreme Court. . . . The court's decision. . . is an outrage.

. "The police, as servants of the rich, have never needed much of an excuse to carry out atrocities against the Afro-American and Latino masses. . . . Just a couple of weeks ago, the savage beatings of Haitian immigrants Abner Louima and Patrick Antoine by New York City police made the national news. . . .

. "Nor are such atrocities restricted to New York and Detroit. . . . For example, recently Marine snipers mobilized into stopping drugs from entering the Texas border gunned down a 15- year-old Mexican-American youth who had merely been grazing goats near his farm.

. "The workers and poor have never been able to rely on the capitalist courts for justice. Here in Detroit, were it not for the mass protests following Malice Green's murder, the authorities would have swept the issue under the rug as usual. "

Two tactics on coalition work in the working class movement:-

How the Chicago Workers' Voice group deals with the WPAEN: The working class movement minus anti-revisionism

. Recently the Chicago Workers' Voice (CWV) group and Jack Hill in particular has been promoting a new coalition called the Working People's Action and Education network (WPAEN)which is supposedly trying to build a militant workers' trend which stands up to the trade union bureaucrats. But this claim is exaggerated, as is even shown by Jack's description of their vacillations concerning the role of the trade union leaderships. Nevertheless, Jack regards Marxist work in the coalition as prettifying its stands, rather than as promoting Marxist views inside it while seeking to strengthen the practical struggle. Even Jack's co-worker in CWV Jake accuses him of not having "realistic expectations" about the WPAEN which Jake considers to be dominated by "left social-democratic" and "centrist" politics and activists who "have been around for a longtime and have held these same views all the while."

. Jack's willingness to close its eyes about the real stands of the WPAEN is part of his abandonment of anti-revisionist politics. He hopes that this or that militant-looking left grouping will serve as a substitute for building up the Marxist-Leninist trend. First he had illusions in the Chicago Staley Workers Solidarity Committee, and he believed that the workers' movement would be revived through such solidarity groups. He now has similar illusions about the WPAEN.

. Meanwhile the CWV's Jake, while more realistic about the WPAEN, holds erroneously that one should stand aside from groups that don't explicitly stands for revolutionary socialism. He too is unable to formulate the tasks of communist work in broader coalitions.

A comment (on Jack Hill and the WPAEN)

. This comment by Jake is reprinted from the CWV Theoretical Journal, and it critiques Jack Hill's views about the WPAEN as unrealistic.

Introducing the Working People's Action and Education Network (WPAEN)

. This article is reprinted from the CWVTJ, and it gives Jack Hill's description of this Chicago coalition and of his work within it.

Cuba: socialist or state-capitalist--excepts from an Internet debate

. This article reproduces excerpts from some recent Internet debates about the nature of the Cuban regime. The Castroists hold that the Cuban regime is socialist so long as the economic system differs in any way from the market capitalism of the U. S. They refuse to recognize that capitalism can arise within the state- sector itself and that such a thing as an overall state-capitalist system can exist. Thus is isn't important for them whether the workers run things in Cuba, and it is conceivable to them that a tyrant could run socialist society on behalf of the workers while politically repressing them. The supporters of the "Communist Voice" opposed this by putting forward a consistent anti- revisionist analysis of Cuba, focusing on its economic and social structure. This analysis is opposed to that of either Maoism or any shade of Trotskyism.

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