Anti-Capitalism

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Yes, anti-capitalism - and class politics!

The Occupy London protesters are debating whether they should be anti-capitalist or not. Workers' Liberty members have been active in the Occupy movement. Here is a contribution to the debate!

(For a downloadable/copyable version of this article as a leaflet, click here.)

It's great that Occupy London is discussing capitalism and anti-capitalism. As activists within the movement, this is our contribution.

• For working-class anti-capitalism
• Organise with and as workers
• For collective ownership and social provision — take over the banks!
• Fight for a workers' government

1. What sort of anti-capitalism?

Issues and Campaigns: 

Workers' Liberty at Occupy London

Workers’ Liberty members have been participating in the Occupy London protest camps (some staying semi-permanently and others visiting) at St. Paul's and Finsbury Square.

The atmosphere at the camps is incredibly febrile — all sorts of politics and perspectives are buzzing around, with impromptu meetings and discussions springing up all the time, and the daily General Assemblies taking in everything from how to liaise with trade unions to setting up “healing spaces”.

Workers’ Liberty members have been participating in the Occupy London protest camps.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Protests hit 719 cities

In reporting the recent occupy and protest movements that have sprung up across the world, the bourgeois media has focused most of its attention on developments here and in the US.

However, discontent has reared its head internationally, with unprecedented rebellion and protest erupting everywhere from Chile to Belgium to Mexico, to name but a few.

While the protests sweeping the globe are inevitably diverse in nature, there is one thing they all have in common: In every instance people are rebelling against a ruling class that is demanding the full burden of the financial crisis be imposed on the working class.

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Occupy, organise...fight for a workers' government

In Greece this spring, workers and students occupied Syntagma square in Athens and the space at the White Tower in Thessaloniki.

They were drawing inspiration from the Tahrir Square mobilisation in Egypt. Now their example, and Egypt’s, has spread worldwide, first with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the USA, and then on Saturday 15 October with similar demonstrations and occupations across the world.

The logic of the current protests in Athens, London and New York is to demand an end to all class inequality by reorganising not just the banking sector but society as a whole.

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Anti-austerity protesters "occupy" London

People are trying to establish a Zuccotti-Park-type protest camp outside St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Around 3,000 protestors gathered in front of St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Saturday 15 October as part of the global “Occupy” day of action against the global attempt by the capitalist class to make ordinary people pay for the financial crisis.

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Appeal to the young

Peter Kropotkin's classic appeal to educated young people to join the working-class movement rather than pursue a bourgeois career was written (in French) in 1880. For obvious reasons it reads as "dated" today, but the basic argument remains strong, and the text is of great historical interest because of its huge influence on the left in the late 19th century.

Peter Kropotkin's classic appeal to educated young people to join the working-class movement rather than pursue a bourgeois career.

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Socialist planning or a free market?

Martin Thomas debates David Marsland. Click here to download pdf.

Martin Thomas

The free market is a cruel and unequal system. In a whole epoch of human history, nonetheless, it played a progressive role. Now it is possible to do better.

I shall also look at the relevance of the experience of Stalinism to the question of socialist planning

Martin Thomas debates David Marsland

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Open letter to a direct-action militant

Direct actions of the kind undertaken on 26 March can create unnecessary divisions with the mass labour movement. Activists who meet in secret and undertake their actions without any accountability to labour movement organisations risk becoming an “elite”.

Comrade,

We are sympathetic to the direct action taken against banks, Fortnum & Mason, the Ritz Hotel and other locations throughout central London on Saturday 26 March. We will not join in with moralistic condemnations of your “violence”, nor will we go along with attempts to “disown” you or pretend you are not part of our movement. Indeed, some Workers’ Liberty members were involved in the direct actions which took place on Saturday.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Trade Unions: 

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Climate Camp shuts down...itself

The Camp for Climate Action, a network of direct-action environmentalists, whose main activity has been to organise a series of annual protest camps between 2006-2010, has dissolved itself. I was involved with the network for most of that time.

The Camp for Climate Action, a network of direct-action environmentalists whose main activity has been to organise a series of annual protest camps between 2006-2010, has dissolved itself.

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New revolutions need clarity not confusionism

Hardt and Negri’s musings on the recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East (Guardian, 25 February 2011) are a studied exercise in rapacity. Having mapped the road to nowhere for the anti-capitalist movement a decade ago, these confusionists now seem intent on misdirecting the great revolutionaries who’ve topped dictators.

Read the rest of the article here.

The revolutions in the Middle East may have removed the political figureheads, but they have not smashed the state. The armies and the bureaucrats remain in place in Egypt and Tunisia; and socio-economic relations are far from overturned.

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Around the world: 

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New revolutions need clarity, not confusionism

Hardt and Negri’s musings on the recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East (Guardian, 25 February 2011) are a studied exercise in rapacity. Having mapped the road to nowhere for the anti-capitalist movement a decade ago, these confusionists now seem intent on misdirecting the great revolutionaries who’ve topped dictators.

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Around the world: 

Running scared... to the PR spivs

We know that web-based organisations like Wikileaks and UK Uncut are doing a great job, but it is still gratifying to read that corporate Britain is running scared as a result. The question is, will it make the tax dodgers clean up their act. PR Week gives us some clues, but it’s not good news! The report reveals:

“One senior agency source told PR Week that boardrooms across the UK were fearful of web-based organisations such as Wikileaks and UKUncut. ‘A lot of corporate Britain is running scared’, said the source”.

Corporate Britain is running scared from web-based organisations like Wikileaks and UK Uncut.

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Does socialism make sense in the 21st century? A discussion. Part Two.

Click here for part one.


The subjective case for socialism

B: But why should I want socialism? Capitalism has, despite the terrible events of the 20th century, and not denying them either, learned a great deal.

A dialogue

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Taming the beast by "consultation"?

Cable
Lib-Dem Vince Cable, Business Secretary in the coalition government, has described capitalism as a ravening beast... and proposed to tame it by severe tut-tutting.

Lib-Dem Vince Cable, Business Secretary in the coalition government, has described capitalism as a ravening beast... and proposed to tame it by severe tut-tutting.

"Markets are often irrational or rigged", declared Cable at the Lib Dem conference on 21 September. He will "shine a harsh ligh into the murky world of corporate behaviour...

"Why do directors sometimes forget their wider duties when a fat cheque is waved before them? Capitalism takes no prisoners and kills competition where it can..."

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Tony Benn: the time to organise resistance to this government of millionaires is now!

Author: 

Tony Benn and 73 others

We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight

We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight.

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Markets: mad or just drunk?

When bourgeois apologists talk about the marvellous qualities of the free market as a regulator of economic life, remember what "the market" means in real life!

On 30 June 2009 the world oil price suddenly surged, alarmingly. According to the Financial Times, market experts thought some dramatic turn in world politics must be behind the surge, and it "prompted concerns about the impact of rising energy prices on the weak economic recovery".

When bourgeois apologists talk about the marvellous qualities of the free market as a regulator of economic life, remember what "the market" means in real life!

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Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution

Twenty-one hours a week - the right to work less

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has published a report calling for a large reduction on the working week – to around 21 hours. The report, 21 hours is worth a read, as it marshals evidence against the long hours culture of advanced capitalism and because it puts a number of good human and ecological arguments in favour of a much shorter working week.

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Permanent revolution: a Provo-IRA socialist revolution?

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

INTRODUCTION
The evolution of the Provisional IRA-Sinn Fein movement into just another constitutional-nationalist party has evoked only a discreet, and yet very eloquent, silence from those on the international"revolutionary left" who had spent decades weaving "socialist" fantasies around the communal war which the provisional IRA-SF was waging in the Six Counties.

The “Advanced Theory of Permanent Revolution”: A Provo Socialist Revolution? A socratic dialogue on Maexism, the Marxists and Ireland — [1986]

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Capitalist says sorry

Author: 

Martin Thomas

"It's a little hard to exercise compassion, connection, and love when the market is very unforgiving", says The Remorseful Boss.

This was Jerry Levin, former head of AOL Time Warner. He retired from that job in 2002 and now runs the Moonview addiction rehab centre in (where else?) California, which markets itself as "a place to revel in the wonder of you".

Yes, he told TV on 4 January, "it's a little late" for him to say sorry about "not treating employee fears with enough compassion".

"It's a little hard to exercise compassion, connection, and love when the market is very unforgiving", says The Remorseful Boss.

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The origins of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty: the thirteen basic questions

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

The origins of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty: the thirteen questions
(This is an expanded version of the text in Workers Liberty 3/26)

The political tendency now organised as AWL originates from Workers’ Fight, a small Trotskyist group formed in 1966. Why, and how?

Workers’ Fight came into existence as a distinct tendency in response to two linked “crises”.

In 2009, Sean Matgamna, a founder of the AWL political tendency, marked 50 years in revolutionary politics. In this article, he discusses the background to the decision by him and two comrades to launch the Workers’ Fight group, forerunner of the AWL, in 1966.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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23% say capitalism needs to be replaced by a new system

A new BBC World Service global poll across 27 countries found only 11% of people saying that capitalism works well and that greater regulation is not a good idea.

In only two countries did the poll find more than one in five feel that capitalism works well as it stands — the US (25%) and Pakistan (21%).

51% opted for the idea that free market capitalism has problems but they can be fixed through regulation and reform.

A new BBC World Service global poll across 27 countries found only 11% of people saying that capitalism works well.

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Who are Workers’ Climate Action?

Author: 

Bob Sutton

Workers Climate Action is a network of socialists, anarchists, environmentalists and trade unionists seeking to build a mass working-class response to climate change.

Workers Climate Action is a network of socialists, anarchists, environmentalists and trade unionists seeking to build a mass working-class response to climate change.

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letter: Making trouble in the UK?

Author: 

Sheila Cohen
Sometimes great minds think alike — or at least minds focussed on spreading the word about working-class struggle. The timing of Martin Donohue’s tribute (Solidarity 3/154) to the US Labor Notes publication A Troublemaker’s Handbook (TMH) coincides almost exactly with the National Shop Stewards’ Network’s latest conference in London on 27 June, where as NSSN Education and Publications officer I issued an appeal for a British “Troublemaker’s Handbook” — with the rather less snazzy (provisional) title Tips and Victories.

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Engineering construction: Solidarity can change the world!

At 8am on Friday 26 June Unite rep Tony Fields said to the meeting of 400 maintenance engineers at Stanlow oil refinery, “Well, that’s it, lads. It’s done, we’ve won. What do you want to do? Go back today or go back on Monday when the Lindsey refinery workers go back?”

We’ll go back Monday, they said. And that was it.

“That’s what happens when you get solidarity”, one worker said.

And indeed it is.

At 8am on Friday 26 June Unite rep Tony Fields said to the meeting of 400 maintenance engineers at Stanlow oil refinery, “Well, that’s it, lads. It’s done, we’ve won. What do you want to do? Go back today or go back on Monday when the Lindsey refinery workers go back?”

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Death of G20 protester: witness statements

In response to the death of the protester at the G20 demonstrations yesterday, up to 600 people assembled at the Bank of England on 2 April. They want to call for an independent public inquiry. (A further demonstration has been called around this idea for Saturday 4 April (see events column on this website). The assembly was a collective gathering to mark his death.

Demonstrators are demanding answers. Part of that process is gathering together statements from witnesses. The following is a press release from the group co-ordinating this effort:

Witness statements, campaign planned

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