Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Obama Administration Is Not Clueless

There are so many pundits and journalists who are willing to carry the water for the Obama Administration. They report to their viewers, listeners, and readers that nobody knows for sure what effect the Obama Stimulus Plan is going to have, and if there is a further downturn that it would just be an unintended consequence of this youthful inexperienced team. I do not buy this narrative. Not one bit of it. This team is composed of the far left fringe of the Democratic Party. The end results they want, and the means they use to get them are not new at all. Karl Marx spoke at length about this in March of 1850 to an audience of members the Communist League in London.

Karl Marx described the political parties in Germany, what is the desired end result, what is not possible to do directly, and what is possible to do.

Since the defeat of the German and French revolutionary parties in July 1849, almost all the members of the Central Committee have reassembled in London: they have replenished their numbers with new revolutionary forces and set about reorganizing the League with renewed zeal.

This reorganization can only be achieved by an emissary, and the Central Committee considers it most important to dispatch the emissary at this very moment, when a new revolution is imminent, that is, when the workers' party must go into battle with the maximum degree of organization, unity and independence, so that it is not exploited and taken in tow by the bourgeoisie as in 1848.

This democratic party, which is far more dangerous for the workers than were the liberals earlier, is composed of three elements: 1) The most progressive elements of the big bourgeoisie, who pursue the goal of the immediate and complete overthrow of feudalism and absolutism. 2) The constitutional-democratic petty bourgeois, whose main aim during the previous movement was the formation of a more or less democratic federal state; 3) The republican petty bourgeois, whose ideal is to abolish the pressure exerted by big capital on small capital, by the big bourgeoisie on the petty bourgeoisie. The representatives of this faction were the members of the democratic congresses and committees, the leaders of the democratic associations and the editors of the democratic newspapers.

The relationship of the revolutionary workers' party to the petty-bourgeois democrats is this: it cooperates with them against the party which they aim to overthrow; it opposes them wherever they wish to secure their own position.

As far as the workers are concerned one thing, above all, is definite: they are to remain wage labourers as before. However, the democratic petty bourgeois want better wages and security for the workers, and hope to achieve this by an extension of state employment and by welfare measures; in short, they hope to bribe the workers with a more or less disguised form of alms and to break their revolutionary strength by temporarily rendering their situation tolerable. But these demands can in no way satisfy the party of the proletariat. While the democratic petty bourgeois want to bring the revolution to an end as quickly as possible, achieving at most the aims already mentioned, it is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent until all the more or less propertied classes have been driven from their ruling positions, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far - not only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world - that competition between the proletarians of these countries ceases and at least the decisive forces of production are concentrated in the hands of the workers. Our concern cannot simply be to modify private property, but to abolish it, not to hush up class antagonisms but to abolish classes, not to improve the existing society but to found a new one.

We have seen how the next upsurge will bring the democrats to power and how they will be forced to propose more or less socialistic measures. it will be asked what measures the workers are to propose in reply. At the beginning, of course, the workers cannot propose any directly communist measures. But the following courses of action are possible:

1. They can force the democrats to make inroads into as many areas of the existing social order as possible, so as to disturb its regular functioning and so that the petty-bourgeois democrats compromise themselves; furthermore, the workers can force the concentration of as many productive forces as possible - means of transport, factories, railways, etc. - in the hands of the state.

2. They must drive the proposals of the democrats to their logical extreme (the democrats will in any case act in a reformist and not a revolutionary manner) and transform these proposals into direct attacks on private property. If, for instance, the petty bourgeoisie propose the purchase of the railways and factories, the workers must demand that these railways and factories simply be confiscated by the state without compensation as the property of reactionaries. If the democrats propose a proportional tax, then the workers must demand a progressive tax; if the democrats themselves propose a moderate progressive tax, then the workers must insist on a tax whose rates rise so steeply that big capital is ruined by it; if the democrats demand the regulation of the state debt, then the workers must demand national bankruptcy.

The way I see it, the Congress leadership and White House are akin to the revolutionary workers' party. The editors of democratic newspapers, CEOs of green economy small businesses, and rank and file members of the Democratic Party are akin to the petty-bourgeois democrats. They have been useful idiots to help overthrow the GOP, but they will be turned on wherever they wish to secure their position of power.

That speech that Karl Marx gave in London about 159 years ago in London is very similar to speeches today in Washington, DC.


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