The answer is not financial regulation but overthrowing capitalism

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The answer is not financial regulation but overthrowing capitalism
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: The answer is not financial regulation but overthrowing capitalism. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

At last an article about

At last an article about economics that's easy to understand - by which I mean that even I can get it without too much effort. This is not to say that there is no place for complex articles: this site after all is doubtless visited by people who have a much better grasp of economics than do I. But I think the ICC has sometimes to consider the nature of it's audience, and it's increasing potential audience as the crisis heats up. What I'm thinking about here is the Verizon article which was put in the hands of striking workers, with the hope of a discussion about the role of the unions emerging from this. As the "how to intervene in the class struggle" thread reveals, elsewhere on this site, this went a bit wrong, as tbe workers were not at the stage where they could accept the ICC's analysis of the unions.

In fact I regard the Verizon article as excellent, both in it's analysis, insights, and the conclusions it draws for future actions by workers. But it's target audience is clearly not striking, possibly youngish workers, in the heat of a strike. For one thing it's too long, and it's also written in a genre (is that the right word?) not guaranteed to capture the attention of workers, who have a lot on their minds. I think this question - of how left communists communicate and intervene directly with workers is important and needs consideration. And I expect you consider it all the time!

I submit this humbly, knowing how stretched ICC forces are, and I hope I'm not going to be accused of elitism. I also realize that really this post belongs on the "how to intervene site" but here it is!

A very good article. Although

A very good article. Although I have some issues with certain formulations, such as "captialism is destined to disappear," (at what time scale?), this article does an excellent job refuting the various claims that capitalist states will find a real solution to the current crisis. Its pretty clear the entire system is only being kept aloft by states' willingness to continue to pretend that the system is workable, i.e. China's willingness to keep buying U.S. debt. Of course, as the politics surrounding the Eurozone crisis shows that willingness is receding. Curious as to what lessons the various Euro bourgeoisies' learned from the U.S. financial crisis? Many in the U.S. admitted that it was a mistake to let Lehman Brothers' fail, but nevertheless it seems that it was never written in stone that a deal would be reached to bail Greece out. Moreover, the deal that was reached, much larger than the U.S. TARP deal, would seem to be much worse off for the banks. They are taking a 50-50 haircut, whereas the U.S. banks got dollar for dollar. Is this a domestic political consideration?

What comes next? Alternating cylces of recession and inflation, as the article argues?

was Engels wrong?

 As Frederick Engels wrote more than a century ago: “bourgeois society is faced with a dilemma: transition to socialism or a relapse into barbarism”.


Has Engels actually got this right?  Is "socialism or barbarism" as Luxemburg later phrased it a dilemma for the bourgeoisie, as Engels claims  or not more exactly the great overwhelming  question facing humanity and more particularly the working class? After all, it is the working class alone that can make the transition to socialism, and the bourgeoisie won't be helping, just look what they did to the Commune! 

For the bourgeoisie the question of a transition to socialism, which requires that capitalism be abolished and replaced by a more advanced form of society, is either an absurd idea not worthy of consideration - for do they not generally  believe in the eternity of capitalism? - or a dangerous idea spread by lunatic fanatics bent on the pointless destruction of all that capitalism has achieved, and will continue to achieve through its inevitable and future progress if left to it's own market  devices. 

The actual real dilemma facing bourgeois society especially since 1914 is how to keep going given the falling rate of profit and saturated markets.  The bourgeois solution is not socialism, not even the phony socialism of state capitalism, but the all out destruction offered by highly organised and technically advanced world wars with the tempting solace of a richly profitable period of reconstruction for the victors should there be any at the cessation of hostilities.  This is the choice that bourgeois society faces. Socialism doesn't come into it. It isn't socialism or barbarism for them.  But capitalism or nihilism.  Exploitation or nothingness. 

But this harsh reality which we understand only too well today,   was not so apparent to the Second  International of which Engels was an important part, despite the lesson of the Commune.  Perhaps Engels thought somewhere deep down, or momentarily on occasion, that a peaceful transition to socialism might be possible.  Isn't this what the SPGB still think today? Didn't Kautsky think this?  

Didn't it take Luxemburg in her struggle against Kautsky, and  through her analysis of the Mass Strike - where she began to appreciate the essential role of class consciousness as the real and irreplaceable revolutionary force motivating the proletariat, and that when Marx had written  that the emancipation of the working class was something the class had to do for itself, not something others could do for it, that these were not idle words but meant what they said - wasn't it  Luxemburg  who began to grasp the way things stood for the proletariat?  Wasnt  she among the first to grasp the enormity of the mind-change involved in proletarian revolution? That the lesson of the Commune about not being able to use bourgeois forms for proletarian purposes was a significant insight and gain. Not just theoretical.  That the class consciousness of the proletariat was a new manifestation which tore away the lies and deceit of ideological blindness and paved the way for a society of exhilaratingly new social structures. Almost beyond  our comprehension now.  But within our grasp. 



Pavel wrote:
The key to this future is in the hands of the working class, of its struggles uniting workers, the unemployed, the retired and young people in precarious jobs.