Announcing the January 1998 issue of Communist Voice:
East Asia crash, dirty war in Mexico,
"Revolution from Above" denies Soviet economic collapse,
demise of the big Canadian strikes, debating planning,
& what happened to dependency theory

The sixteenth issue of CV, vol. 4, #1 (Jan. 20, 1997, 44 pages)
contains the following articles:

(Titles are linked to the full text of the article. For articles without links, the text can be found at TOC16-alt.html, which, however, is only partially formatted.)

About these articles:


The crash in EAST ASIA -- what it means to the working class

. "Market meltdown!" "Financial panic!" "Looming disaster!" For the past few months the headlines have been full of news about the economic crisis in East Asia. And the capitalist soothsayers are busy trying to predict what effect this crisis will have on the economy of the U.S.and the world. But what does it mean to the working class? Should workers be concerned if some real estate tycoons lose a few million dollars on their speculations? Is it any concern of ours-- aside from amusement--if a few stockbrokers dive out of windows?

. Unfortunately, the capitalists are determined to make it our business. Especially for East Asian workers the crisis means layoffs and lack of work--usually with no social safety net. But capitalist development in East Asia has also provided the forces that will eventually build a new socialist movement there--the millions and millions of proletarians being pulled into the boom-bust cycle of capitalist development. When these workers come to realize that capitalism means nothing but continual crisis--and that the revisionist regimes too (China, Vietnam, North Korea, etc. ) have nothing to do with real socialism--this will shake up the workers' movement all over the world.

Down with the dirty war against the peasant movement in Mexico

. On December 22, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, a paramilitary gang went into the village of Acteal in the municipality of Chenalho and murdered in cold blood as many people as they could. This is an atrocity just as horrendous as the massacres, now in the news, of villages in Algeria. How can such things be happening when Mexico is supposed to be in a process of democratization?

Cracks in PRI unionism in Mexico

. The Party of the Institutionalized Revolution (PRI) has ruled Mexico not just by manipulating elections, but by establishing a corporative system of co-optation and control. Special attention was paid to subordinating mass organizations to the state and the party. Through corrupt deals, strong-arm tactics, murder, and even military suppression of strikes, the PRI subordinated almost all of the Mexican trade unions to itself. Today, as PRI's rule totters, its domination over the unions is beginning to loosen. The formation of the National Union of Workers (UNT) is one sign of the cracks developing in PRI unionism. But the UNT itself is dominated by union leaders with a long tradition of PRI-style unionism. This is one sign of the danger that PRI unionism will not be replaced by truly independent unionism but by a new, some what slicker reformism such as American-style business-unionism.

Kotz and Weir's "Revolution from Above" denies
the economic collapse of Soviet state-capitalism

. The world-wide collapse of most state-capitalist regimes that called themselves "communist" has demonstrated their inner corruption. The Soviet and Eastern European regimes weren't overthrown by foreign invasions, but were cast off by their own people. But surprising as it may seem, there are many who think it is revolutionary to close their eyes to the lessons of the collapse of these revisionist (fake Marxist) regimes. These regimes may have died, but this hasn't resulted in an automatic collapse of revisionist and reformist ideas around the world. Not only former followers of these regimes, but many reformists around the world deny the reality of this economic collapse of revisionism. For example, many cling all the harder to Cuba as a model of socialism, even as Castro implements one Western capitalist method after another (failing to realize that it is quite possible to oppose U. S. savagery against Cuba without defending Castroism). Others try to prove that the fallen regimes really weren't so bad.

. One of the more interesting examples of this closing of one's eyes to reality is Kotz and Weir's recent book "Revolution from Above". They deny that there the demise of the Soviet Union had anything to do with an economic collapse. Instead they hold that one fine morning the bulk of the "Soviet communist elite" decided to give up an otherwise flourishing system in order to seek their fortunes in market capitalism, while the masses of the people supposedly still wanted something like the old economic system.

What happened to the big Canadian strikes?

. In the closing months of last year, Canadian working people were stirring. The teachers strike in the province of Ontario was the largest teachers strike in North America ever, while the postal workers went out on a national strike. The teachers strike met with massive public support and threatened the Conservative "commonsense revolution" of anti-worker premier Mike Harris of Ontario with utter disaster. The postal workers' strike took place at a time when the national government of Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien could no longer use the excuse of a government deficit to impose social cutbacks (with the politicians on the verge of a debate over how to deal with the expected government surplus), and might have put a spoke in the wheel of the bourgeoisie's plans to continue cutbacks. Yet despite their importance and the solid support of the rank-and-file strikers, both strikes had disappointing results: they were called off by the union leaders under government pressure. In both cases, the union leaders said they weren't really ending the struggle, but just changing its form. In both cases, the struggle has since fizzled out.

. These strikes hold a serious lesson for workers everywhere. They show that we need not just militancy, but to build an independent workers' movement that is free form the reformism of the pro- capitalist labor leaders. Two articles from Detroit Workers' Voice support these strikes, and a third article discusses how the postal strike ended.

Management intimidation campaign at Highland Park post office

. All across the US, postal management is piling up the workload on post workers. It's no exaggeration to say that a carrier's workload has doubled in the last couple of years. In order to accomplish this, management has continually invented new "standard", violated the existing rules and regulations, and imposed this on the workers with intimidation. This article from Detroit Workers' Voice deals with one such incident from a Detroit area post office. Since this article first appeared in DWV, the letter carrier involved has defeated the particular unjust disciplinary charges discussed, but the overall intimidation campaign in the post office has continued.

Correspondence: planning in a revolutionary society

. This debate revolves around the question of the role of organization, centering on the issue of whether having the entire population plan and direct production requires having an administrative apparatus to direct production. Joseph Green holds that it does and this position was also the view of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. On the other hand, J. P. Monteiro of the Portuguese journal Workers' Policy holds that any administrative body is necessarily repressive and leads to the development of class divisions, capitalism, and a state.

Correspondence: Dependency theory--where did it go wrong?

. A reader from the San Francisco Bay Area writes that: "Like Marxism, Dependency Theory was an activist project that didn't just analyze. But in becoming political actors and advisors, there was an irony, that the best way for a country to be more like the metropolis was to actually join the ranks of exploiting countries, at least on a regional level. I think that the strategies of Dependency Theory jump from that approach (develop into a core country), to flirting with different kinds of supposedly cooperative trade groupings like the `socialist' bloc (develop in an alternative world market), to outright prettifying the imperialist system by putting forth fantasies of more equitable north-south relations, mainly through the goodwill of or pressure on the imperialist powers (develop through reforming imperialism. ) It jumps among these strategies depending on the size and economic strengths and potentials of the particular country. With the lack of a real alternative market, it was unfortunately the latter strategy that was left for the majority of the smaller third world countries, which was no strategy at all. "

. This exchange focuses on views on how dependency theory ended up in such a fix, and what relation dependency theory has to Marxism.

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