Launched April 11, 2002
  30 - 09 - 2008
No. 1337

 Franz & Jutta


¿Qué es la Lucha de Clases?
(Nuevo Video en Youtube)


21de septiembre de 2008.

El Dr. Franz . T. Lee, profesor sudafricano de la Universidad de Los Andes en Mérida, Venezuela, explica qué es la Lucha de Clases y su vigencia en el siglo XXI, en el marco de las sesiones del Círculo Bolivariano de Estudio "El Momoy" en Chiguará, municipio Sucre del estado Mérida en Venezuela. Cámara: Jutta Schmitt. Edición: Jesús Nery. Visítenos en:



Recent Visits -- Visitas Recientes

Momoy Manifiesto de, por y para la Revolución Bolivariana

Venezuela: Revolution from the Inside Out [2008] ~ Dr. Steve Ellner, José Sant Roz, Jutta Schmitt, and Christene DeJong (DVD - 2008)
5 Used & new from £7.20,k:Jutta Schmitt&page=1

***** The Current Crisis:
A Socialist Perspective

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin

**** GN logró nueva incautación de armamento de guerra en Falcón

**** Ejército de EE.UU. despliega unidad de combate dentro del país por posibles disturbios

**** Latinoamérica ha comenzado a desligarse de sistema bancario neoliberal

ABN 25/09/2008


Confirman identidades de dos detenidos en el Zulia
por caso de magnicidio

**** Ernst  Bloch: El gato siempre cae en sus cuatro patas, y quien no aprende a pensar cae en el ayer permanente

  Por:  Franz J.  T.  Lee.

**** Ernst Bloch:  The cat falls on its four paws, but s/he who has not learned to think falls into eternal yesterday

By Franz J. T. Lee.

**** Círculo Bolivariano de Estudios "El Momoy" ,

Chiguará, Edo.Mérida, Venezuela

*****  Bolivia: as the reactionary coup unfolds, action is needed!

By Jorge Martin  

**** Venezuela: ¿Cuál es la quintaesencia político-económica de la Espada de Damocles militar sobre la humanidad?

Por: Franz J. T. Lee.

**** Fotos: los aviones rusos en Palo Negro (+ Crónica de AP)

**** Bolivia expulsa al Embajador de EE.UU.

****** Venezuela expels US ambassador
**** Chávez expulsa al Embajador de EE.UU. al grito de "yanqui de mierda"

**** "Venezuela irá a combatir a Bolivia y otros países si derrocan algún Gobierno"

***** Chávez anuncia que hay varios detenidos por la presunta conspiración

***** The Current Crisis:
A Socialist Perspective

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin

'They say they won't intervene. But they will.' This is how Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary, responded to Paul O'Neill, the first Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, who openly criticized his predecessor's interventions in the face of what Rubin called 'the messy reality of global financial crises.'[1] The current dramatic conjuncture of financial crisis and state intervention has proven Rubin more correct than he could have imagined. But it also demonstrates why those, whether from the right or the left, who have only understood the era of neoliberalism ideologically – i.e. in terms of a hegemonic ideological determination to free markets from states – have had such a weak handle on discerning what really has been going on over the past quarter century. Clinging to this type of understanding will also get in the way of the thinking necessary to advance a socialist strategy in the wake of this crisis.[2]

Markets, States and American Empire

The fundamental relationship between capitalist states and financial markets cannot be understood in terms of how much or little regulation the former puts upon the latter. It needs to be understood in terms of the guarantee the state provides to property, above all in the form of the promise not to default on its bonds – which are themselves the foundation of financial markets' role in capital accumulation. But not all states are equally able, or trusted as willing (especially since the Russian Revolution), to honour this guarantee. The American state emerged in the 20th century as an entirely new kind of imperial state precisely because it took utmost responsibility for honouring this guarantee itself, while promoting a world order of independent nation states which the new empire would expect to behave as capitalist states. Since World War Two, the American state has been not just the dominant state in the capitalist world but the state responsible for overseeing the expansion of capitalism to its current global dimensions and for organizing the management of its economic contradictions. It has done this not through the displacement but through the penetration and integration of other states. This included their internationalization in the sense of their cooperation in taking responsibility for global accumulation within their borders and their cooperation in setting the international rules for trade and investment.

It was the credibility of the American state's guarantee to property which ensured that, even amidst the Great Depression and business hostility to the New Deal's union and welfare reforms, private funds were readily available as loans to all the new public agencies created in that era. This was also why whatever liquid foreign funds that could escape the capital controls of other states in that decade made their way to New York, and so much of the world's gold filled the vaults of Fort Knox. And it is this which helps explain why it fell to the American state to take responsibility for making international capitalism viable again after 1945, with the fixed exchange rate for its dollar established at Bretton Woods providing the sole global currency intermediary for gold. When it proved by the 1960s that those who held US dollar would have to suffer a devaluation of their funds through inflation, the fiction of a continuing gold standard was abandoned. The world's financial system was now explicitly based on the dollar as American-made 'fiat money', backed by an iron clad guarantee against default of US Treasury bonds which were now treated as 'good as gold'. Today's global financial order has been founded on this; and this is why US Treasury bonds are the fundamental basis from which calculations of value of all forms of financial instruments begin.

To be sure, the end of fixed exchange rates and a dollar nominally tied to gold now meant that it had to be accepted internationally that the returns to those who held US assets would reflect the fluctuating value of US dollars in currency markets. But the commitment by the Federal Reserve and Treasury to an anti-inflation priority via the founding act of neoliberalism – the 'Volcker shock 'of 1979 – assuaged that problem. (This 'defining-moment' of US-state intervention, like the current one, came in the run-up to a presidential election – i.e. before Reagan's election, and with bipartisan support and the support of industrial and well as financial capital in the US and abroad.) As the American state took the lead, by its example and its pressure on other states around the world, to give priority to low inflation as a much stronger and ongoing commitment than before, this bolstered finance capital's confidence in the substantive value of lending; and after the initial astronomical interest rates produced by the Volcker shock, this soon made an era of low interest rates possible. Throughout the neoliberal era, the enormous demand for US bonds and the low interest paid on them has rested on this foundation. This was reinforced by the defeat of American trade unionism; by the intense competition in financial markets domestically and internationally; by financial capital's pressures on firms to lower costs through restructuring if they are to justify more capital investment; by the reallocation of capital across sectors and especially the provision of venture capital to support new technologies in new leading sectors of capital accumulation; and by the 'Americanization of finance' in other states and the consequent access this provided the American state to global savings.

Deregulation was more a consequence than the main cause of the intense competition in financial markets and its attendant effects. By 1990, this competition had already led to banks scheming to escape the reserve requirements of the Basel bank regulations by creating 'Structured Investment Vehicles' to hold these and other risky derivative assets. It also led to the increased blurring of the lines between commercial and investment banking, insurance and real estate in the FIRE sector of the US economy. Competition in the financial sector fostered all kinds of innovations in financial instruments which allowed for high leveraging of the funds that could be accessed via low interest rates. This meant that there was an explosion in the effective money supply (this was highly ironic in terms of the monetarist theories that are usually thought to have founded neoliberalism). The competition to purchase assets with these funds replaced price inflation with the asset inflation that characterized the whole era. This was reinforced by the American state's readiness to throw further liquidity into the financial system whenever a specific asset bubble burst (while imposing austerity on economies in the South as the condition for the liquidity the IMF and World Bank provided to their financial markets at moments of crisis). All this was central to the uneven and often chaotic making of global capitalism over the past quarter century, to the crises that have punctuated it, and to the active role of the US state in containing them.

Meanwhile, the world beat a path to US financial markets not only because of the demand for Treasury bills, and not only because of Wall Street's linkages to US capital more generally, but also because of the depth and breadth of its financial markets – which had much to do with US financial capital's relation to the popular classes. The American Dream has always materially entailed promoting their integration into the circuits of financial capital, whether as independent commodity farmers, as workers whose paychecks were deposited with banks and whose pension savings were invested in the stock market, as consumers reliant on credit, and not least as heavily mortgaged home owners. It is the form that this incorporation of the mass of the American population took in the neoliberal context of competition, inequality and capital mobility, much more than the degree of supposed 'deregulation' of financial markets, that helps explain the dynamism and longevity of the finance-led neoliberal era. But it also helped trigger the current crisis – and the massive state intervention in response to it.

From 'Great Society' to sub-prime mortgages

The scale of the current crisis, which significantly has its roots in housing finance, cannot be understood apart from how the defeat of American trade unionism played out by the first years of the 21st century. Constrained in what they could get from their labour for two decades, workers were drawn into the logic of asset inflation in the age of neoliberal finance not only via the institutional investment of their pensions, but also via the one major asset they held in their own hands (or could aspire to hold) – their family home. It is significant that this went so far as the attempted integration via financial markets of poor African-American communities, so long the Achilles heel of working class integration into the American Dream. The roots of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, triggering the collapse of the mountain of repackaged and resold securitized derivative assets to hedge the risk involved in lending to poor people, lay in the way the anti-inflation commitment had since the 1970s ruled out the massive public expenditures that would have been required to even begin to address the crisis of inadequate housing in US cities.

As the 'Great Society' public expenditure programs of the 1960s ran up against the need to redeem the imperial state's anti-inflationary commitments, financial market became the mechanism for doing this. In 1977, the government sponsored mortgage companies, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the New Deal public housing corporation privatized by Lyndon Johnson in 1968 before the word neoliberalism was invented), were required by the Community Reinvestment Act to sustain home loans by banks in poor communities. This effectively initiated that portion of the open market in mortgage-backed securities that was directed towards securing private financing for housing for low income families. From modest beginnings this only really took off with the inflation of residential real estate values after the recession of the early 1990s and the Clinton Administration's embrace of neoliberalism leading to its reinforcement of a reliance on financial markets rather than public expenditures as the primary means of integrating working class, Black and Hispanic communities. The Bush Republicans' determination to open up competition to sell and trade mortgages and mortgage-backed securities to all comers was in turn reinforced by the Greenspan Fed's dramatic lowering of real interest to almost zero in response to the bursting of the bubble and to 9/11. But this was a policy that was only sustainable via the flow of global savings to the US, not least to the apparent Treasury-plated safety of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities as government sponsored enterprises.

It was this long chain of events that led to the massive funding of mortgages, the hedging and default derivatives based on this, the rating agencies AAA rating of them, and their spread onto the books of many foreign institutions. This included the world's biggest insurance company, AIG, and the great New York investment banks, whose own traditional business of corporate and government finance around the globe was now itself heavily mortgaged to the mortgages that had been sold in poor communities in the US and then resold many times over. The global attraction and strength of American finance was seen to be rooted in its depth and breadth at home, and this meant that when the crisis hit in the sub-prime security market at the heart of the empire, it immediately had implications for the banking systems of many other countries. The scale of the American government's intervention has certainly been a function of the consequent unraveling of the crisis throughout its integrated domestic financial system. Yet it is also important to understand this in terms of its imperial responsibilities as the state of global capital.

This is why it fell to the Fed to repeatedly pump billions of dollars via foreign central banks into inter-bank markets abroad, where banks balance their books through the overnight borrowing of dollars from other banks. And an important factor in the nationalizations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was the need to redeem the expectations of foreign investors (including the Japanese and Chinese central banks) that the US government would never default on its debt obligations. It is for this reason that even those foreign leaders who have opportunistically pronounced the end of American 'financial superpower status' have credited the US Treasury for 'acting not just in the US interests but also in the interests of other nations.'[3] The US was not being altruistic in doing this, since not to do it would have risked a run on the dollar. But this is precisely the point. The American state cannot act in the interests of American capitalism without also reflecting the logic of American capitalism's integration with global capitalism both economically and politically. This is why it is always misleading to portray the American state as merely representing its 'national interest' while ignoring the structural role it plays in the making and reproduction of global capitalism.

A century of crises

It might be thought that the exposure of the state's role in today's financial crisis would once and for all rid people of the illusion that capitalists don't want their states involved in their markets, or that capitalist states could ever be neutral and benign regulators in the public interest of markets. Unfortunately, the widespread call today for the American state to 'go back' to playing the role of such a regulator reveals that this illusion remains deeply engrained, and obscures an understanding of both the past and present history of the relationship between the state and finance in the US.

In October 1907, near the beginning of the 'American Century', and exactly a hundred years before the onset of the current financial crisis, the US experienced a financial crisis that for anyone living through it would have seemed as great as today's. Indeed, there were far more suicides in that crisis than in the current one, as 'Wall Street spent a cliff-hanging year' which spanned a stock market crash, an 11 per cent decline in GDP, and accelerating runs on the banks.[4] At the core of the crisis was the practice of trust companies to draw money from banks at exorbitant interest rates and, without the protection of sufficient cash reserves, lend out so much of it against stock and bond speculation that almost half of the bank loans in New York had questionable securities as their only collateral. When the trust companies were forced to call in some of their loans to stock market speculators, even interest rates which zoomed to well over 100 per cent on margin loans could not attract funds. European investors started withdrawing funds from the US.

Whereas European central banking had its roots in 'haute finance' far removed from the popular classes, US small farmers' dependence on credit had made them hostile to a central bank that they recognized would serve bankers' interests. In the absence of a central bank, both the US Treasury and Wall Street relied on JP Morgan to organize the bailout of 1907. As Henry Paulson did with Lehman's a century later, Morgan let the giant Knickerbocker Trust go under in spite of its holding $50 million of deposits for 17,000 depositors ('I've got to stop somewhere', Morgan said). This only fuelled the panic and triggered runs on other financial firms including the Trust Company of America (leading Morgan to pronounce that 'this is the place to stop the trouble'). Using $25 million put at his disposal by the Treasury, and calling together Wall Street's bank presidents to demand they put up another $25 million 'within ten or twelve minutes' (which they did), Morgan dispensed the liquidity that began to calm the markets.[5]

When the Federal Reserve was finally established in 1913, this was seen as Wilson's great Progressive victory over the unaccountable big financiers. (As Chernow's monumental biography of Morgan put it, 'From the ashes of 1907 arose the Federal Reserve System: everyone saw that thrilling rescues by corpulent old tycoons were a tenuous prop for the banking system.'[6] ) Yet the main elements of the Federal Reserve Bill had already been drafted by the Morgan and Rockefeller interests during the previous Taft administration; and although the Fed's corporatist and decentralized structure of regional federal reserve boards reflected the compromise the final Act made with populist pressures, its immediate effect was actually to cement the 'fusion of financial and government power.'[7] This was so both in the sense of the Fed's remit as the 'banker's bank' (that is, a largely passive regulator of bank credit and a lender of last resort) and also by virtue of the close ties between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the House of Morgan. William McAdoo, Wilson's Treasury Secretary, saw the Federal Reserve Act's provisions allowing US banks to establish foreign branches in terms of laying the basis for the US 'to become the dominant financial power of the world and to extend our trade to every part of the world.'[8]

In fact, in its early decades, the Fed actually was 'a loose and inexperienced body with minimal effectiveness even in its domestic functions.'[9] This was an important factor in the crash of 1929 and in the Fed's perverse role in contributing to the Great Depression. It was class pressures from below that produced FDR's union and welfare reforms. But the New Deal is misunderstood if it is simply seen in terms of a dichotomy of purpose and function between state and capitalist actors. The strongest evidence of this was in the area of financial regulation, which established a corporatist 'network of public and semi-public bodies, individual firms and professional groups' that existed in a symbiotic relationship with one another distanced from democratic pressures.[10] While the Morgan empire was brought low by an alliance of new financial competitors and the state, the New Deal's financial reforms, which were introduced before the union and welfare ones, protected the banks as a whole from hostile popular sentiments. They restrained competition and excesses of speculation not so much by curbing the power of finance but rather through the fortification of key financial institutions, especially the New York investment banks that were to grow ever more powerful through the remainder of the century. Despite the hostility of capitalists to FDR's union and welfare reforms, by the time World War Two began, the New Dealers had struck what they themselves called their 'grand truce' with business.[11] And even though the Treasury's Keynesian economists took the lead in rewriting the rules of international finance during World War Two (producing no little tension with Wall Street), a resilient US financial capital was not external to the constitution of the Bretton Woods order: it was embedded within it and determined its particular character.

In the postwar period, the New Deal regulatory structure acted an incubator for financial capital's growth and development. The strong position of Wall Street was institutionally crystallized via the 1951 Accord reached between the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. Whereas during the War the Fed 'had run the market for government securities with an iron fist' in terms of controlling bond prices that were set by the Treasury, the Fed now took up the position long advocated by University of Chicago economists and set to work successfully organizing Wall Street's bond dealers into a self-governing association that would ensure they had 'sufficient depth and breadth' to make 'a free market in government securities', and thus allow market forces to determine bond prices.[12] The Fed's Open Market Committee would then only intervene by 'leaning against the wind' to correct 'a disorderly situation' through its buying and selling Treasury bills. Lingering concerns that Keynesian commitments to the priority of full employment and fiscal deficits might prevail in the Treasury were thus allayed: the Accord was designed to ensure that 'forces seen as more radical' within any administration would find it difficult, at least without creating a crisis, to implement inflationary monetary policies.[13]

Profits in the financial sector were already growing faster than in industry in the 1950s. By the early 1960s, the securitization of commercial banking (selling saving certificates rather than relying on deposits) and the enormous expansion of investment banking (including Morgan Stanley's creation of the first viable computer model for analyzing financial risk) were already in train. With the development of the unregulated Euromarket in dollars and the international expansion of US MNCs, the playing field for American finance was far larger than New Deal regulations could contain. Both domestically and internationally, the baby had outgrown the incubator, which was in any case being buffeted by inflationary pressures stemming from union militancy and public expenditures on the Great Society programs and the Vietnam War. The bank crisis of 1966, the complaints by pension funds that fixed brokerage fees discriminated against workers' savings, the series of scandals that beset Wall Street, all foretold the end of the corporatist structure of brokers, investment banks and corporate managers that had dominated domestic capital markets since the New Deal, culminating in Wall Street's 'Big Bang' of 1975. Meanwhile, the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system, due to inflationary pressures on the dollar as well as the massive growth in international trade and investment, laid the foundation for the derivatives revolution by leading to a massive demand for hedging risk by trading futures and options in exchange and interest rates. The newly created Commodity Futures Trading Commission was quickly created less to regulate this new market than to facilitate its development.[14] It was not so much neoliberal ideology that broke the old system of financial regulations as it was the contradictions that had emerged within that system.

If there was going to be any serious alternative to giving financial capital its head by the 1970s, this would have required going well beyond the old regulations and capital controls, and introducing qualitatively new policies to undermine the social power of finance. This was recognized by those pushing for the more radical aspects of the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, and who could have never foretold where the compromises struck with the banks to secure their loans would lead. Where the socialist politics were stronger, the nationalization of the financial system was being forcefully advanced as a demand by the mid 1970s. The left of the British Labour Party were able to secure the passage of a conference resolution to nationalize the big banks and insurance companies in the City of London, albeit with no effect on a Labour Government that embraced one of the IMF's first structural adjustment programs. In France, the Programme Commun of the late 1970s led to the Mitterand Government's bank nationalizations, but this was carried through in a way that ensured that the structure and function of the banks were not changed in the process. In Canada, the directly elected local planning boards we proposed, which would draw on the surplus from a nationalized financial system to create jobs, were seen as the first step in a new strategy to get labour movements to think in ways that were not so cramped and defensive.[15] Such alternatives – strongly opposed by social democratic politicians who soon accommodated themselves to the dynamics of finance-led neoliberalism and the ideology of efficient free markets – were soon forgotten amidst the general defeat of labour movements and socialist politics that characterized the new era.

Financial capitalists took the lead as a social force in demanding the defeat of those domestic social forces they blamed for creating the inflationary pressures which undermined the value of their assets. The further growth of financial markets, increasingly characterized by competition, innovation and flexibility, was central to the resolution of the crisis of the 1970s. Perhaps the most important aspect of the new age of finance was the central role it played in disciplining and integrating labour. The industrial and political pressures from below that characterized the crisis of the 1970s could not have been countered and defeated without the discipline that a financial order built upon the mobility of capital placed upon firms. 'Shareholder value' was in many respects a euphemism for how the discipline imposed by the competition for global investment funds was transferred to the high wage proletariat of the advanced capitalist countries. New York and London's access to global savings simultaneously came to depend on the surplus extracted through the high rates of exploitation of the new working classes in 'emerging markets'. At the same time, the very constraints that the mobility of capital had on working class incomes in the rich countries had the effect of further integrating these workers into the realm of finance. This was most obvious in terms of their increasing debt loads amidst the universalization of the credit card. But it also pertained to how workers grew more attuned to financial markets, as they followed the stock exchanges and mutual funds that their pension funds were invested in, often cheered by rising stocks as firms were restructured without much thought to the layoffs involved in this.

Both the explosion of finance and the disciplining of labour were a necessary condition for the dramatic productive transformations that took place in the 'real economy' in this era. The leading role that finance came to play over the past quarter century, including the financialization of industrial corporations and the greatest growth in profits taking place in the financial sector, has often been viewed as undermining production and representing little else than speculation and a source of unsustainable bubbles. But this fails to account for why this era – a period that was longer than the 'golden age' – lasted so long. It also ignores the fact that this has been a period of remarkable capitalist dynamism, involving the deepening and expansion of capital, capitalist social relations and capitalist culture in general, including significant technological revolutions. This was especially the case for the US itself, where financial competition, innovation, flexibility and volatility accompanied the reconstitution of the American material base at home and its expansion abroad. Overall, the era of finance-led neoliberalism experienced a rate of growth of global GDP that compares favourably with most earlier periods over the last two centuries.[16]

It is, in any case, impossible to imagine the globalization of production without the type of financial intermediation in the circuits of capital that provides the means for hedging the kinds of risks associated with flexible exchange rates, interest rates variations across borders, uncertain transportation and commodity costs, etc. Moreover, as competition to access more mobile finance intensified, this imposed discipline on firms (and states) which forced restructuring within firms and reallocated capital across sectors, including via the provision of venture capital to the new information and bio-medical sectors which have become leading arenas of accumulation. At the same time, the very investment banks which have now been undone in the current crisis spread their tentacles abroad for three decades through their global role in M&A and IPO activity, during the course of which relationships between finance and production, including their legal and accounting frameworks, were radically changed around the world in ways that increasingly resembled American patterns. This was reinforced by the bilateral and multilateral international trade and investment treaties which were increasingly concerned with opening other societies up to New York's and London's financial, legal and accounting services.

The American state in crisis

The era of neoliberalism has been one long history of financial volatility with the American state leading the world's states in intervening in a series of financial crises. Almost as soon as he was appointed to succeed Volcker as head of the Fed, Greenspan immediately dropped buckets of liquidity on Wall Street in response to the 1987 stock market crash. In the wake of the Savings and Loan crisis, the public Resolution Trust Corporation was established to buy up bad real estate debt (this is the model being used for today's bail-out). In Clinton's first term Wall Street was saved from the consequences of bond defaults during the Mexican financial crisis in 1995 by Rubin's use of the Stabilization Exchange Fund (this Treasury kitty, established during the New Deal, has once again been called into service in today's crisis). During the Asian crisis two years later, Rubin and his Under-Secretary Summers flew to Seoul to dictate the terms of the IMF loan. And in 1998 (not long after the Japanese government nationalized one of the world's biggest banks), the head of the New York Federal Reserve summoned the CEO's of Wall Street's leading financial firms and told them they would not be allowed to leave the room (reminiscent of Morgan in 1907) until they agreed to take over the insolvent hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Management. These quick interventions by the Fed and Treasury, most of them without waiting upon Congressional pressures or approval, showed they were aware of the disastrous consequences which the failure to act quickly to contain each crisis could have on both the domestic and global financial system.

When the current financial crisis broke out in the summer of 2007, the newly appointed Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, could draw on his academic work as an economist at Princeton University on how the 1929 crash could have been prevented,[17] and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson could draw on his own illustrious career (like Rubin's) as a senior executive at Goldman Sachs. Both the Treasury and Federal Reserve staff worked closely with the Securities Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission under the rubric of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets that had been set up in 1988, and known on Wall Street as the 'Plunge Protection Team'. Through the fall of 2007 and into 2008, the US Treasury would organize, first, a consortium of international banks and investment funds, and then an overlapping consortium of mortgage companies, financial securitizers and investment funds, to try to get them to take concrete measures to calm the markets. The Federal Reserve acted as the world's central bank by repeatedly supplying other central banks with dollars to provide liquidity to their banking systems, while doing the same for Wall Street. In March 2008 the Treasury – after guaranteeing to the tune of $30 billion J.P Morgan Chase's takeover of Bear Stearns – issued its Blueprint for a Modernized Financial Regulatory Structure especially designed to extend the Fed's oversight powers over investment banks.

Most serious analysts thought the worst was over, but by the summer of 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose reserve requirements had been lowered in the previous years to a quarter of that of the banks, were also being undone by the crisis. And by September so were the great New York investment banks. The problem they all faced was that there was no market for a great proportion of the mortgage-backed assets on their books. When the sub-prime mortgage phenomenon was reaching its peak in 2005 Greenspan was claiming that 'where once more-marginal applicants would simply have been denied credit, lenders are now able to quite efficiently judge the risk posed by individual applicants and to price that risk appropriately.'[18] But financial capital's risk evaluation equations unraveled in the crisis of 2007-8. And as they did, so did financial markets' ability to judge the worth of financial institutions balance sheets. Banks became very reluctant to give each other even the shortest term credits. Without such inter-bank credit, any financial system will collapse. The unprecedented scale of interventions in September 2008 can only be understood in this context. They have involved pumping additional hundred of billions of dollars into the world's inter-bank markets; the nationalizations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG (the world largest insurance company); the seizure and fire sale of Washington Mutual (to prevent the largest bank failure in US history); a blanket guarantee on the $3.4 trillion in mutual funds deposits; a ban on short-selling of financial stocks; and Paulson's $700 billion TARP ('troubled asset relief program') bailout to take on toxic mortgage assets.

Amidst the transformation in the course of a week of New York's investment banks through a dramatic series of bankruptcies and takeovers, the Treasury undertook to buy virtually all the illiquid assets on the balance sheets of financial institutions in the US, including those of foreign owned firms. We now know that Bernanke had warned Paulson a year before that this might be necessary, and Paulson had agreed: “I knew he was right theoretically,” he said. “But I also had, and we both did, some hope that, with all the liquidity out there from investors, that after a certain decline that we would reach a bottom.”[19] Yet the private market has no secure bottom without the state. The Fed and Treasury needed to act not only as lender of last resort, but also, by taking responsibility for buying and trying to sell all those securities that couldn't find a value or market in the current crisis, as market maker of last resort.[20]

Is it over? This is the question on most people's minds today. But what does this question mean? The way this question is posed, especially on the left, usually conflates three distinct questions. First, is the Paulson program going to end the crisis? Second, does this crisis, and both the state and the popular reaction to it, spell the end of neoliberalism? Third, are we witnessing the end of US hegemony?

There is no way of knowing how far this most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression might still have to go. On the one hand, despite the condition of the (no longer) 'Big Three' in the US auto sector, the overall health of US non-financial corporations going into the crisis – as seen in their relatively strong profits, cash flow and low debt – has been an important stabilizing factor, not least in limiting the fall in the stock market. The growth of US exports at close to double-digit levels annually over the past five years reflects not only the decline in the dollar but the capacity of American corporations to take advantage of this. That said, the seizing up of inter-bank and commercial paper markets even after Paulson's program was announced leaves big questions about whether it will work. And even if it does, unwinding such a deep financial and housing crisis is going to take a long time. As of now, foreclosures are still rising, housing starts and house prices are still falling, and the financial markets have not yet calmed. Moreover, it is has been clear for over a year that the US economy will fall into – or already is in – a recession.

The immediate problem in this respect is where consumer demand will come from. Credit is obviously going to be harder to obtain, especially for low income groups, and with the end of housing price inflation closing off the possibility of secondary mortgages, and especially reinforcing concerns about retirement alongside the devaluation of pension assets and even company cutbacks of benefits, most workers will be not only less able to spend, but also inclined to try to save rather than spend. To the extent that a great deal of US consumption in the neoliberal era was also spurred on by the enormous appetites of the rich, this is obviously also going to now be restrained. Fiscal stimulus programs are unlikely to be enough to compensate for this, especially given the nervousness over the impact of the bailouts on the fiscal deficit, the size of the US public debt and the value of dollar, and hence over whether low interest rates can be maintained. To the extent that global growth through the neoliberal era was dependent on credit-based mass consumption in the US, the impact of this being cut back will have global implications, including on US exports. This is why the current recession is likely to be deeper and longer than the last significant one in the early 1990s, and maybe even than the severe recession with which neoliberalism was launched in the early 1980s.

Yet when it comes to the question of whether this crisis spells the end of neoliberalism, it is more important than ever to distinguish between the understanding of neoliberalism as an ideologically-driven strategy to free markets from states on the one hand, and on the other a materially-driven form of social rule which has involved the liberalization of markets through state intervention and management. While it will now be hard politicians and even economists to uncritically defend free markets and further deregulation, it is not obvious – as exemplified by the concentration by both candidates on tax and spending cuts in the first presidential debate of 2008 – that the essence of neoliberal ideology has been decisively undermined, as it was not by the Savings and Loan crisis at the end of the 1980s, the Asian and LCTM crises at the end of the 1990s, or the Enron and other scandals at the beginning of the century. On the more substantive definition of neoliberalism as a form of social rule, there clearly is going to be more regulation. But it is by no means yet clear how different it will be from the Sarbanes-Oxley type of corporate regulation passed at the beginning of the century to deal with 'Enronitis'.[21] Nevertheless, it is possible that a new form of social rule within capitalism may emerge to succeed neoliberalism. But given how far subordinate social forces need to go to reorganize effectively, it is most likely that the proximate alternatives to neoliberalism will either be a form of authoritarian capitalism or a new form of reformist social rule that would reflect only a weak class realignment.

But whatever the answers to the questions concerning the extent of the crisis or the future of neoliberalism, this does not resolve the question of 'is it over?' as it pertains to the end of US hegemony. Just how deeply integrated global capitalism has become by the 21st century has been obvious from the way the crisis in the heartland of empire has affected the rest of the globe, quickly putting facile notions of decoupling to rest. The financial ministries, central banks and regulatory bodies of the advanced capitalist states at the centre of the system have cooperated very closely in the current crisis. That said, the tensions that earlier existed in this decade over Iraq have obviously been brought back to mind by this crisis. European criticisms of the Bush administration's inadequate supervision of finance, including that US leaders ignored their pleas for more regulation during the last G8 meetings, may seem hypocritical in light of how far they opened their economies to the Americanization of their financial systems. But it is nevertheless significant in terms of their expectation that the US play its imperial role in a less irresponsible or incompetent manner.

This is reminiscent of the criticisms that were raised during the 1970s, which was an important factor in producing the policy turn in Washington that led to the Volcker shock as the founding moment of neoliberalism. US hegemony was not really challenged then; the US was being asked to act responsibly to defeat inflation and validate the dollar as the global currency and thus live up to its role as global leader. With the economic integration and expansion of the EU and the emergence of the Euro, many would like to think that Europe has the capacity to replace the US in this respect. But, as Peter Gowan insightfully puts it, 'this is not realistic. Much of the European financial system is itself in a mess, having followed the Wall Street lead towards the cliff of insolvency. The Eurozone government bond markets remain fragmented and there is no cohesive financial or political direction for the Eurozone, leave alone a consensus for rebuilding the Eurozone as a challenger to the dollar through a political confrontation with the United States.'[22]

If and when the Chinese state will develop such capacities to assume the mantle of hegemonic leadership of the capitalist world, remains to be seen. But for the interim, a sober article in China's business newspaper, the Oriental Morning Post, reflects a better understanding of the real world than some of those among who look to China as an alternative hegemon:

Bad news keeps coming from Wall Street. Again, the decline of U.S. hegemony became a hot topic of debate. Complaining or even cursing a world of hegemony brings excitement to us. However, faced with a decline of U.S.hegemony, the power vacuum could also be painful. We do not like hegemony, but have we ever thought about this problem when we mocked its decline... at present the world's financial system does not exist in isolation. It is the result of long-term historical evolution, closely associated with a country's strength, its openness, the development of globalization, and the existing global economic, political patterns. The relationship can be described as 'the whole body moving when pulling one hair'... The subprime crisis has affected many foreign enterprises, banks, and individuals which in itself is again a true portrayal of the power of the United States... Therefore, the world's problems are not merely whether or not the United States are declining, but whether any other country, including those seemingly solid allies of the United States , will help bear the load the U.S. would lighten.[23]

For the time being, what is clear is that no other state in the world – not only today, but perhaps ever – could have experienced such a profound financial crisis, and such a enormous increase in the public debt without an immediate outflow of capital, a run on its currency and the collapse of its stock market. That this has not happened reflects the widespread appreciation among capitalists that they sink or swim with Wall Street and Washington. D.C. But it also reflects the continuing material underpinnings of the empire. Those who dwell on the fact the American share of global GDP has been halved since World War Two not only underplay the continuing global weight of the American economy in the world economy, but fail to understand, as American policy makers certainly did at the time, that the diffusion of capitalism was an essential condition for the health of the American economy itself. Had the US tried to hold on to its postwar share of global GNP, this would have stopped capitalism's globalizing tendencies in its tracks. This remains the case today. Not only is the US economy still the largest by far, it also hosts the most important new high-tech arenas of capital accumulation, and leads the world by far in research and development, while American MNCs directly and indirectly account for so large a proportion of world-wide employment, production and trade.

Moreover, in spite of the New York investment banks having come undone in this crisis, the functions of American investment banking are going to continue. Philip Augar (the author of the perceptive inside account of the investment banking industry, The Greed Merchants), while affirming that 'the eight days between Sunday September 14 and Sunday September 21, 2008... [were] part of the most catastrophic shift among investment banks since the event that created them, the Glass Steagall Act of 1933', goes on to argue that is likely that investment banks will exist as recognisable entities within their new organisations and investment banking as an industry will emerge with enhanced validity... While they are licking their wounds, the investment banks may well eschew some of the more esoteric structured finance products that have caused them such problems and refocus on what they used to regard as their core business. While we may have seen the death of the investment bank I would be very surprised if we have seen the death of investment banking as an industry.[24]

Indeed, the financial restructuring and re-regulation that is already going on as a result of the crisis is in good part a matter of establishing the institutional conditions for this, above all through the further concentration of financial capital via completing the integration of commercial and investment banking. The repeal of Glass-Steagall at the end of the last century was more a recognition of how far this had already gone than an initiation of it; and the Treasury's Blueprint for a Modernized Financial Regulatory Structure, announced in March 2008 but two years in preparation, was designed to create the regulatory framework for seeing that integration through. There is no little irony in the fact that whereas the crisis of the 1930s led to the distancing of investment banking from access to common bank deposits, the long-term solutions being advanced to the insolvencies of investment bankers today is to give them exactly this access.

It ain't over until it's made over

The massive outrage against bailing out Wall Street today is rooted in a tradition of populist resentment against New York bankers which has persisted alongside the ever increasing integration of the 'common man' into capitalist financial relationships. American political and economic elites have had to accommodate to – and at the same time overcome – this populist political culture. This could be seen at work this September when Henry Paulson declared before the House Financial Services Committee, as he tried to get his TARP plan through Congress, that 'the American people are angry about executive compensation and rightfully so.'[25] This was rather rich given that he had been Wall Street's highest paid CEO, receiving $38.3m in salary, stock and options in the year before joining the Treasury, plus a mid-year $18.7 bonus on his departure as well as an estimated $200 million tax break against the sale of his almost $500 million share holding in Goldman Sachs (as was required to avoid conflict of interest in his new job).[26] The accommodation to the culture of populism is also seen at work in both McCain's and Obama's campaign rhetoric against greed and speculation, while Wall Street investment banks are among their largest campaign contributors and supply some of their key advisers.

This should not be reduced to hypocrisy. In the absence of a traditional bureaucracy in the American state, leading corporate lawyers and financiers have moved between Wall Street and Washington ever since the age of the 'robber barons' in the late 19th century. Taking time off from the private firm to engage in public service has been called the 'institutional schizophrenia' that links these Wall Street figures as 'double agents' to the state. While acting in one sphere to squeeze through every regulatory loophole, they act in the other to introduce new regulations as 'a tool for the efficient management of the social order in the public interest.'[27] It is partly for this reason that the long history of popular protest and discontent triggered by financial scandals and crises in the US, far from undermining the institutional and regulatory basis of financial expansion, have repeatedly been pacified through the processes of further 'codification, institutionalization and juridification.'[28] And far from buckling under the pressure of popular disapproval, financial elites have proved very adept at not only responding to these pressures but also using them to create new regulatory frameworks that have laid the foundations for the further growth of financial capital as a class fraction and as a lucrative business.

This is not a matter of simple manipulation of the masses. Most people have a (however contradictory) interest in the daily functioning and reproduction of financial capitalism because of their current dependence on it: from access to their wages and salaries via their bank accounts, to buying goods and services on credit, to paying their bills, to realizing their savings – and even to keeping the roofs over their heads. This is why, in acknowledging before the Congressional hearings on his TARP plan to save the financial system that Wall Street's exorbitant compensation schemes are 'a serious problem', Paulson is also appealing to people's sense of their own immediate interests when he adds that 'we must find a way to address this in legislation without undermining the effectiveness of the program.'[29] Significantly, both the criticisms and the reform proposals now coming from outside the Wall Street-Washington elite reflect this contradiction. The attacks on the Fed's irresponsibility in allowing sub-prime mortgages to flourish poses the question of what should have been said to those who wanted access to the home-ownership dream given that the possibility of adequate public housing was (and remains) nowhere on the political agenda. No less problematic, especially in terms of the kind of funding that would be required for this, is the opposition to Paulson's TARP program in terms of protecting the taxpayer, presented in a pervasive populist language with neoliberal overtones. It was this definition of the problem in the wake of Enron that led to the shaming and convictions of the usual suspects, while Bush and Republican congressmen were elected and reelected.

At the same time, many of the criticisms and proposed reforms today often display an astonishing naiveté about the systemic nature of the relationship between state and capital. This was seen when an otherwise excellent and informative article in the New Labour Forum founded its case for reform on the claim that 'Government is necessary to make business act responsibly. Without it, capitalism becomes anarchy. In the case of the financial industry, government failed to do its job, for two reasons – ideology and influence-peddling.'[30] It is this perspective that also perhaps explains why most of the reform proposals being advanced are so modest, in spite of the extent of the crisis and the popular outrage. This is exemplified by those proposals advanced by one of the US left's leading analysts of financial markets:

The first target for reform should be the outrageous salaries drawn by the top executives at financial firms... While we don't want a chain reaction of banking collapses on Wall Street, the public should get something in exchange for Bernanke's generosity. Specifically, he can demand a cap on executive compensation (all compensation) of $2 million a year, in exchange for getting bailed out... The financial sector performs an incredibly important function in allocating savings to those who want to invest in businesses, buy homes or borrow money for other purposes... The best way to bring the sector into line is with a modest financial transactions tax... [on] options, futures, credit default swaps, etc...[31]

This is a perfect example of thinking inside the box: explicitly endorsing two million dollar salaries and the practices of deriving state revenues from the very things that are identified as the problem. Indeed, even proposals for stringent regulations to prohibit financial imprudence mostly fail to identify the problem as systemic within capitalism. At best, the problem is reduced to the system of neoliberal thought, as though it was nothing but Hayek or Friedman, rather than a long history of contradictory, uneven and contested capitalist development that led the world to 21st century Wall Street.

The scale of the crisis and the popular outrage today provide a historic opening for the renewal of the kind of radical politics that advances a systemic alternative to capitalism. It would be a tragedy if a far more ambitious goal than making financial capital more prudent did not now come back on the agenda. In terms of immediate reforms and the mobilizations needed to win them – and given that we are in a situation when public debt is the only safe debt – this should start with demands for vast programs to provide for collective services and infrastructures that not only compensate for those that have atrophied but meet new definitions of basic human needs and come to terms with today's ecological challenges.

Such reforms would soon come up against the limits posed by the reproduction of capitalism. This is why it is so important to raise not merely the regulation of finance but the transformation and democratization of the whole financial system. This would have to involve not only capital controls in relation to international finance but also controls over domestic investment, since the point of taking control over finance is to transform the uses to which it is now put. And it would also require much more than this in terms of the democratization of both the broader economy and the state. It is highly significant that the last time the nationalization of the financial system was seriously raised, at least in the advanced capitalist countries, was in response to the 1970s crisis by those elements on the left who recognized that the only way to overcome the contradictions of the Keynesian welfare state in a positive manner was to take the financial system into public control.[32] Their proposals were derided as Neanderthal not only by neoliberals but also by social democrats and post-modernists.

We are still paying for their defeat. It is now necessary to build on their proposals and make them relevant in the current conjuncture. Of course, without rebuilding popular class forces through new movements and parties this will fall on empty ground. But crucial to this rebuilding is to get people to think ambitiously again. However deep the crisis and however widespread the outrage, this will require hard and committed work by a great many activists. The type of facile analysis that focuses on 'it's all over' – whether in terms of the end of neoliberalism, the decline of the American empire, or even the next great crisis of capitalism – is not much use here insofar as it is offered without any clear socialist strategic implications. It ain't over till it's made over. •

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin teach political economy at York University.


1. Robert Rubin, In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Washington to Wall Street, New York, 2003, p. 297.

2. Some the main themes in this paper are also taken up in M. Konings and L. Panitch, 'US Financial Power in Crisis', forthcoming Historical Materialism, 16, 2008, esp. pp. 31-2, and even more fully in many of the chapters in L. Panitch and M. Konings, eds., American Empire and the Political Economy of International Finance, London, Palgrave, 2008.

3. German Finance Minister Peer Sienbrück, in Bertrand Benoit, 'US "will lose financial superpower status"', Financial Times, Sept. 25, 2008.

4. Ron Chernow, The House of Morgan, New York: Simon & Schuster 1990, p. 121; C.A.E. Goodhart, The New York Money Market and the Finance of Trade, 1969, p. 116; Paul Studenski and Herman E. Krooss, Financial History of the United States, 1965, p. 252; and Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, p. 159.

5. Chernow, pp. 123-5.

6. Ibid, p.128.

7. Murray N. Rothbard, 'The Origins of the Federal Reserve', The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, 2:3, Fall 1999. See also J. Livingston, Origins of the Federal Reserve System. Money, class and corporate capitalism, 1890-1913, Ithaca,: Cornell University Press, 1986.

8. Cited in John J. Broesamle, William Gibbs McAdoo: A Passion for Change, 1863-1917, Port Washington, N.Y: Kennikat Press, 1973, p. 129.

9. Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century, London: Verso, 1994, p. 272.

10. Michael Moran, The Politics of the Financial Services Revolution, New York: Macmillan, 1991, p. 29.

11. Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform: New Deal liberalism in recession and war, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.1995), pp. 89-90.

12. This and the following quotation are from Robert Herzel and Ralph F. Leach, 'After the Accord: Reminiscences on the Birth of the Modern Fed' in Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Economic Quraterly, 87:1, Winter 2001, pp. 57-63. Leach, who later became a leading J.P. Morgan executive, was at the time of the Accord the Chief of the Government Planning Section at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

13. Gerald A. Epstein and Juliet B. Schor, 'The Federal Reserve-Treasury Accord and the Construction of the Postwar Monetary Regime in the United States', Social Concept 1995, p. 27. See also, Edwin Dickens 'US Monetary Policy in the 1950s: A Radical Political Economy Approach', Review of Radical Political Economics, 27:4, 1995, and his 'Bank Influence and the Failure of US Monetary Policy during the 1953-54 Recession', International review of Applied Economics, 12:2, 1998.

14. Dick Bryan and Michael Rafferty, Capitalism with Derivatives: A Political Economy of Financial Derivatives, Capital and Class, London, Palgrave, 2006. See also Leo Melamed on the markets: twenty years of financial history as seen by the man who revolutionized the markets, New York: Wiley, 1992, esp. pp. 43, 77-8.

15. 'A Socialist Alternative to Unemployment', Canadian Dimension, 20:1, March 1986.

16. Angus Maddison, The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective Paris: OECD, 2001, p. 265.

17. See Ben Bernanke, Essays on the Great Depression, Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press. 2000.

18. Speech by Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve System's Fourth Annual Community Affairs Research Conference, Washington, D.C. April 8, 2005.

19. 'A Professor and a Banker Bury Old Dogma on Markets', New York Times, Sept. 20, 2008.

20. Willem Buiter, 'The Fed as the Market Maker of Last Resort: better late than never', Financial Times, March 12, 2008.

21. See Susanne Soederberg, 'A Critique of the Diagnosis and Cure for "Enronitis": The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Neoliberal Governance of Coporate America', Critical Sociology, 34:5, 2008.

22. Peter Gowan, 'The Dollar Wall Street Regime and the Crisis in its Heartland', the Austrian Journal of Development Studies, Special Edition, 1/2009.

23. Ding Gang, 'Who Is to Carry the Burden of the U.S.?' (Translated by Warren Wang) Oriental Morning Post, September 19, 2008.

24. Philip Augar, 'Do not exaggerate investment banking's death' Financial Times, Sept. 22, 2008. See also The Greed Merchants: How the Investment Banks Played the Free Market Game, London, Penguin 2006.

25. 'Paulson Gives Way on CEO Pay', New York Times, Sept. 24, 2008.

26. 'Wall Street man', The Guardian, Sept, 26, 2008.

27. Robert G. Gordon, '“The Ideal and the Actual in the Law”: Fantasies and Practices of New York City Lawyers, 1870-1910', in Gerard W. Gawalt, The New High Priests: Lawyers in Post-Civil War America, Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1984, esp. pp.53, 58, 65-66.

28. Moran. The Politics of the Financial Services Revolution, p. 13.

29. 'Paulson Gives Way on CEO Pay', New York Times, Sept. 24, 2008, italics added.

30. John Atlas, Peter Dreier and Gregory Squires, 'Foreclosing on the Free Market: How to Remedy the Subprime Catastrophe', New Labour Forum, Fall 2008.

31. Dean Baker, 'Big Banks Go Bust: Time to Reform Wall Street', truthout, Sept. 15, 2008,

32. The best popularly written example of this, and still worth reading today, is Richard Minns, Take over the City: The case for public ownership of financial institutions, London, Pluto 1982.


**** GN logró nueva incautación de armamento de guerra en Falcón

Prensa Web YVKE, ABN, VTV.- Efectivos de la Guardia Nacional Bolivariana (GNB) incautaron armamento de guerra este sábado en una finca ubicada en el sector Tacurata, municipio Falcón, estado Falcón.

El general de brigada de la GNB y jefe del Comando Regional número 4 (Core 4), Luis Alfonso Bohórquez, en un contacto telefónico con Venezolana de Televisión, señaló que el armamento se logró incautar "con base en una información de inteligencia que se ha venido manejando, donde se logró inmediatamente la captura de un ciudadano de nacionalidad venezolana y dos personas colombianas".

Detalló que dos fusiles automáticos M16 calibre 5.56, una subametralladora HK calibre 9 milímetros, una escopeta calibre 12 milímetros automática de cinco tiros, dos teléfonos satelitales, un radio UHF y 250 cartuchos de diferentes calibres, se encuentran entre el arsenal decomisado.

Igualmente, Bohórquez expresó que realizan las entrevistas de rigor para recopilar información valiosa y así proceder a otras detenciones y otras incautaciones, "inclusive, están en ejecución otros allanamientos".

Indicó también que luego de esta gran incautación han contactado a las autoridades de Dirección de Inteligencia Militar y de la Disip, a fin de ampliar la información en relación con el tipo de armamento que incautaron para poder coordinar con el Ministerio Público y así adelantar informaciones que aportan las tres personas detenidas.

Bohórquez señaló que las investigaciones y todos los procedimientos de inteligencia siguen en la búsqueda de información relacionada con el caso del magnicidio y con los otros hallazgos en varios estados del país e indicó que tratan de manejar las averiguaciones de la manera más rápida posible "para poder detener a los presuntos autores de estos hechos".

Héctor Escalante

**** Ejército de EE.UU. despliega unidad de combate dentro del país por posibles disturbios

 (IAR Noticias) 28-Septiembre-08

 Es notable que el despliegue de tropas de combate de EE.UU. “como una fuerza federal disponible para emergencias y desastres naturales o causados por humanos” – en la formulación de Army Times – coincida con el estallido de la mayor emergencia económica y desastre financiero desde la Gran Depresión de los años treinta.

Por Bill Van Auken -WSWS (*)
Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

Por primera vez en la historia, los militares de EE.UU. están desplegando una unidad de combate del Ejército en servicio activo regular para uso a tiempo completo dentro del país a fin de encarar emergencias, incluidos potenciales disturbios civiles.

Desde el 1º de octubre, el Equipo de Combate de la Primera Brigada de la Tercera División será colocado bajo el comando del Ejército Norte de EE.UU., el componente del ejército del Comando Norte (NorthCom) del Pentágono, que fue creado después de los ataques terroristas del 11 de septiembre de 2001 con la misión declarada de defender la “patria” y ayudar a autoridades federales, estatales y locales.

La unidad – conocida como “Raiders” [asaltantes] – es una de las de más “selectas” del Ejército. Ha pasado casi tres de los últimos cinco años en Iraq, dirigiendo el asalto contra Bagdad en 2003 y realizando combates casa por casa en la represión de la resistencia en la ciudad de Ramadi. Fue el primer equipo de combate de brigada enviado tres veces a Iraq.

Aunque se han utilizado previamente unidades en servicio activo en tareas temporales, como ser las tropas con equipo de combate desplegadas en Nueva Orleans, que fue colocada efectivamente bajo la ley marcial después del huracán Katrina, esto marca la primera vez en que una unidad de combate del Ejército recibe tareas específicas en las que suelo estadounidense constituye su “zona de combate.”

Los pronunciamientos oficiales del Pentágono subrayaron el papel de unidades especializadas en una reacción potencial a un ataque terrorista dentro de EE.UU. El general George Casey, jefe del Estado Mayor del Ejército, asistió la semana pasada a un ejercicio de entrenamiento de unos 250 miembros de la unidad en Fort Stewart, Georgia. El centro del ejercicio, según la oficina de asuntos públicos del Ejército, fue como los soldados “podrían volar misiones de búsqueda y rescate, extraer víctimas y descontaminar a gente después de un catastrófico ataque nuclear en la región vital de la nación.”

“Estamos en guerra contra una red extremista global que no desaparece,” dijo Casey a los soldados. “Espero que no tengamos que usarla, pero necesitamos la capacidad de hacerlo.”

Sin embargo, la misión asignada a los casi 4.000 soldados del Equipo de Combate de la Primera Brigada no es sólo rescatar a víctimas de ataques terroristas. Un artículo que apareció este mes en Army Times (“Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1” [Recorridos de brigada por el interior comienzan el 1º de octubre]), una publicación que es ampliamente leída por los militares, pinta un cuadro diferente y mucho más siniestro.

“Se podrá recurrir a ellos para ayudar en casos de descontento social y control de multitudes,” informa el periódico. Cita al comandante de la unidad, coronel Robert Cloutier, diciendo que los soldados están siendo entrenados en el uso del “primer paquete no-letal que jamás haya presentado el Ejército.” Las armas, informa la publicación, están “destinadas a someter a individuos revoltosos o peligrosos sin matarlos.” El equipo incluye “beanbag bullets”[Cartuchos en los que tras la pólvora se inserta un taco separador y una cantidad de perdigones esféricos envueltos en un saquete de tela y con una falsa ojiva plástica que les proporciona protección aerodinámica], escudos y porras y equipos para erigir bloques de ruta.

Parece que como parte del entrenamiento para su despliegue dentro de EE.UU., se ha ordenado a los soldados que prueben parte de este equipo no-letal los unos sobre los otros.

“Fui el primero en la brigada al que le aplicaron el Taser [porra de electrochoque]”, dijo Cloutier al Army Times. Describió los efectos del arma como “el peor calambre muscular de tu vida – multiplicado por 10 en todo tu cuerpo.”

La observación del coronel sugiere que, en preparación para sus deberes en el “frente interior”, soldados rasos también son sometidos rutinariamente al Taser. El efecto y el propósito embrutecedor de un ejercicio de entrenamiento tan macabro es insensibilizar a los soldados contra la conmiseración por el dolor y el sufrimiento que se les puede pedir que inflijan a la población civil utilizando esas mismas armas “no-letales.”

Según funcionarios militares citados por el Army Times, el despliegue de tropas regulares del Ejército en EE.UU., iniciado con el Primer Equipo de Combate de Brigada, se hará permanente. Diferentes unidades serán rotadas en la tarea sobre una base anual.

En una entrevista en línea con periodistas durante este mes, se preguntó a oficiales sobre las implicaciones del nuevo despliegue para la Ley Posse Comitatus, el estatuto legal de 230 años de antigüedad que prohíbe el uso de fuerzas militares de EE.UU. para propósitos de mantenimiento del orden dentro del propio EE.UU.

El coronel Lou Volger, jefe de operaciones futuras de NorthCom, trató de minimizar cualquier rol de mantenimiento del orden, pero agregó: “Nos integraremos con el mantenimiento del orden para comprender la situación y asegurar que sepamos de cualesquiera amenazas.”

Volger reconoció lo obvio: que el Equipo de Combate de Brigada es una fuerza militar, mientras intentaba descartar la probabilidad de que tendría algún rol militar. “Incluye fuerzas para seguridad,” dijo “pero eso es realmente – lo llaman fuerzas de seguridad, pero eso es realmente sólo para establecer nuestra propia marca y asegurar que podamos operar y mantener nuestras propias bases.”

El teniente coronel James Shores, otro oficial de NorthCom, se sumó a la conversación: “Digamos que incluso si hubiera un escenario que se desarrollara hacia un cierto disturbio civil – incluso en ese momento se necesitaría una directiva presidencial para incluso llegar cerca de algo como lo que usted está sugiriendo.”

Sea lo que sea que se requiera para provocar una tal intervención, es obvio que el coronel Cloutier y sus soldados se están preparando para ello con su entrenamiento práctico en el uso de medios “no-letales” de represión.

A pesar de la extrema susceptibilidad de los mandamases militares respecto al tema, la realidad es que la intervención de militares en asuntos interiores ha aumentado fuertemente durante el período reciente bajo condiciones en las que su participación en dos guerras de estilo colonial en el exterior les ha dado un papel mucho más destacado en la vida política estadounidense.

El gobierno de Bush ha trabajado para derribar todas las barreras para el uso de los militares en la represión interior. Por consiguiente, incluyó en la ley de gastos del Pentágono para 2007 una medida para enmendar la Ley Posse Comitatus a fin de allanar el camino para el despliegue en el interior de los militares en casos de desastres naturales, ataque terrorista u “otras condiciones en las que el presidente determine que ha ocurrido violencia interior hasta tal punto que funcionarios estatales no puedan mantener el orden público.”

La cláusula otorga al presidente amplios nuevos poderes para imponer la ley marcial declarando una “emergencia pública” prácticamente por cualquier motivo, permitiéndole desplegar tropas en cualquier sitio de EE.UU. y tomar el control de unidades de la Guardia Nacional basadas en los Estados sin el consentimiento de los gobernadores estatales a fin de “reprimir el desorden público.”

La estipulación fue posteriormente revocada por el Congreso como parte de la legislación de gastos militares para 2008, pero la intención sigue existiendo. Considerando los amplios poderes reivindicados por la Casa Blanca en nombre del “comandante en jefe” en una guerra global contra el terror – poderes para suspender el habeas corpus, realizar un espionaje interior generalizado y torturas – no hay motivos para creer que respetaría restricciones legales contra el uso de la fuerza militar en el interior.

Es notable que el despliegue de tropas de combate de EE.UU. “como una fuerza federal disponible para emergencias y desastres naturales o causados por humanos” – en la formulación de Army Times – coincida con el estallido de la mayor emergencia económica y desastre financiero desde la Gran Depresión de los años treinta.

Justificado como una reacción ante amenazas terroristas, la verdadera fuente de los crecientes preparativos para el uso de fuerza militar estadounidense dentro de las fronteras de EE.UU. no proviene de los eventos del 11 de septiembre de 2001 o del peligro de que se repitan. Más bien, la movilización interior de las fuerzas armadas es una reacción del establishment gobernante de EE.UU. a la creciente amenaza para la estabilidad política.

Bajo condiciones de una profundización de la crisis económica, el abismo social sin precedentes que separa a la gente trabajadora del país de la elite poseedora de una riqueza obscena se hace insostenible dentro del marco político existente.


(*)WSWS: World Socialist Web Site

**** Latinoamérica ha comenzado a desligarse de sistema bancario neoliberal

ABN 25/09/2008

Caracas, 25 Sep. ABN.- Con las iniciativas del Banco de la Alternativa Bolivariana para los pueblos de nuestra América (Alba) y del Banco del Sur Latinoamérica ha comenzado a desligarse del sistema bancario neoliberal, que recién ha entrado en una profunda crisis.

Así lo señaló este jueves Michel Chossudovsky, profesor de Economía de la Universidad de Ottawa, Canadá, durante su participación en las deliberaciones de la VII Cumbre Social por la Unión Latinoamericana y Caribeña que se realiza en Caracas.

'Estas dos iniciativas representan una forma de desligarse del control financiero de Wall Street (sistema financiero estadounidense) para implementar una política macroeconómica fuera del marco neoliberal', puntualizó Chossudovsky.

El catedrático canadiense recordó que desde la década de 1980 en la región surgieron gobiernos que se alinearon a las condiciones impuestas por el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), situación que ha cambiado con la llegada de nuevos liderazgos que ahora defienden la soberanía de sus países a través de estas iniciativas.

'Desde los años 80 en Latinoamérica se han establecido gobiernos que han seguido las condiciones del Fondo Monetario Internacional, hasta ahora cuando nuevos liderazgos se han pronunciado contra el neoliberalismo para mantener la soberanía de sus pueblos', expuso.

En ese sentido, Chossudovsky enfatizó que los bancos del Alba y del Sur son fundamentales para mantener la soberanía en el campo de políticas monetarias y la elaboración de planes de Gobierno propios de la región, sin que el sistema estadounidense y neoliberal imponga ningún tipo de condiciones.

Asimismo, resaltó que durante la Asamblea General de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) que se celebra en Nueva York, Estados Unidos, los líderes latinoamericanos han coincidido en expresar las políticas neoliberales que han empobrecido la región.

'En consenso, los presidentes latinoamericanos han coincidido en la Asamblea General de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas y han manifestado que el neoliberalismo es la causa del empobrecimiento de la región', manifestó.

Al mismo tiempo, consideró que la influencia negativa del neoliberalismo ha sido tal que cualquier falla en el sistema bancario de Estados Unidos repercute en todo el mundo.

Chossudovsky estimó que sectores de poder, representantes del neoliberalismo y de Wall Street, buscarán desestabilizar las iniciativas de los bancos del Alba y del Sur en su afán por mantener la hegemonía.


Confirman identidades de dos detenidos en el Zulia
por caso de magnicidio

Caracas.- Mario Isea, diputado al Parlamento, dijo que las autoridades habían confirmado las identidades de las dos personas detenidas en el Zulia por el caso del presunto magnicidio.

Hernán José Rincón Hernández y Otto Francisco Conde Cohen fueron detenidos con un cañón, armas cortas y granadas, que presuntamente iban a ser utilizadas para dar muerte al presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez.

El diputado manifestó que en los teléfonos celulares de los detenidos fueron encontrados los números de teléfonos personales de Manuel Rosales, aspirante a la Alcaldía de Maracaibo, y Pablo Pérez, aspirante a la Gobernación del estado Zulia, ambos candidatos por el partido Un Nuevo Tiempo.

"Por ello, ahora entiendo tanto interés en no publicitar este hallazgo, porque los hilos conducen a otras pesquisas e investigaciones a los conspiradores, a los que protegen a los políticos, y a los que convierten al Zulia en un territorio del hampa organizada y del narcotráfico", manifestó Isea.

Isea, quien preside la Comisión Especial, dio los nombres de los dos detenidos, Hernán José Rincón Hernández y Otto Francisco Conde Cohen, y dijo que era muy seguro que digan ahora que son "dos hermanitos de la caridad o invisibles para los ojos de algunos diputados de este parlamento que cada día se comprometen más con una campaña antipatriótica".

Informó que Rincón Hernández, se dedica a la venta de armamento sofisticado, armas largas de asalto y combate y que entre sus mejores clientes figuran las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia y que su fachada de actividad cotidiana, es una venta de carros usados.

"El otro quien lo acompañaba, José Francisco Conde Cohen, tenía en su celular los números de estos dos zulianos muy connotados".

Uno de los detenidos por el caso del lanzacohetes "gustav" es chavista reconocido. La prueba fehaciente es que el dia de ayer miercoles cuando procedieron a "detenerlo" en el allanamiento murio su progenitoria de un infarto. Hoy en Panorama en la sección de los obituarios (pagina7) PDVSA lamenta el fallecimiento de Carmen Cecilia de Conde, progenitora de Omar Conde, quien es empleado de la Gerencia de Gas Asociado. Igualmente, el general Martinez Mendoza lamenta el fallecimiento de la señora, madre de Omaira Conde, empleada de la Division de Ingenieria de Corpozulia. Es decir, el supuesto autor, Otto Conde, es del sector oficialista, al igual que su familia.

La tercera es la señora en cuestión pueden revizar en el link:

25/09/2008 Su esposo: Algimiro Conde. Sus padres: Evangelista Cohen (Dif.) y María Cepeda de Cohen (Dif.). Sus hijos: Oraida, Omaira, Oscar, Omar, Orlando y Otto. Sus hermanos: María, Lucía, Luis, Emirse; nietos, bisnietos, primos, sobrinos y demás familiares.


Ernst  Bloch: El gato siempre cae en sus cuatro patas, y quien no aprende a pensar cae en el ayer permanente

  Por:  Franz J.  T.  Lee.

Hace pocos meses, el 18 de junio de 2008, en un artículo titulado "Venezuela: la juventud, los estudiantes, la educación y el marxismo", nos recordaba que "¡la juventud, los sueños diurnos juveniles anticipatorios (forman) el principio concreto, utópico de la esperanza (Ernst Bloch)!".  En su obra, "Marx als Denker der Revolution" (Marx como el teórico de la revolución), Bloch (reconocido ampliamente como el padre del movimiento estudiantil de 1968 en Europa y otras partes) hizo énfasis en que "la juventud está impulsada por un tenue presentimiento del futuro," de algo que está adelante, del acarminado amanecer sobre el rojo horizonte humano.  Ya sospecha lo que no quiere, sin embargo, "todavía no" sabe lo que hay que hacer, lo que hay que pensar, cómo aventurarse más allá de este valle de lágrimas capitalista y terrorista.

Ya en 1974, en vísperas del surgimiento del fascismo global, el filósofo de la anticipación conceptual, de la fantasía juvenil y de la imaginación fresca nos advertía de la posible llegada de un "Adiós a la Utopía" global.

En este momento histórico y ominoso, en "la oscuridad del momento fluyente" (Bloch), al pie del faro, podemos imaginar qué premoniciones de un futuro apocalíptico puede percibir la verdadera juventud por medio de su antena 'exvolucionaria', por medio de sus facultades 'transhistóricas'.  Actualmente la esperanza y la utopía tropiezan con tiempos difíciles, que no son los más iluminados ni tampoco los más oscuros.  Ya da la impresión que el fascismo global está en camino para despedazar todos los sueños diurnos utópicos juveniles de las utopías sociales, religiosas, burguesas y socialistas con siglos de antigüedad.  En la globalización, la Madre Utopía, al igual que la Madre Naturaleza, parece estar totalmente tapada con un oscuro velo de luto.

Sin embargo, desde hace décadas, junto a la juventud, que va desde la adolescencia singular hasta la plural acumulación de juventud (tercera edad), ¿de qué estamos discutiendo en nuestras clases universitarias, en nuestras reuniones con el pueblo llano, con los trabajadores y campesinos de Mérida y otras partes, dentro de nuestros proyectos de reparación de calles, construcción de acueductos, casas, sindicatos, un partido socialista, el socialismo del siglo XXI, inventando medidas y mecanismos de defensa contra los escuadrones de la muerte, sabotaje y golpes de estado, sobre la solidaridad continental y la revolución y emancipación mundial permanente?

En el artículo mencionado arriba resumí la contradictoria situación local, regional y global como sigue:

"Muchos de nosotros todavía creemos en mitos coloniales y ficciones religiosas, bailamos en el Titanic imperialista que está hundiéndose y merendando sobre un rugiente volcán corporativista, globalizado que ya está en erupción, que ha sido golpeado por una poderosa partícula liberada del micro-mundo.  De manera similar, poderosos terremotos generados por el proyecto HAARP en Alaska, utilizando la tecnología de Tesla, en reacción encadenada están sacudiendo ahora las bases mismas de la existencia humana; las sequías y las hambrunas nos expulsan de la existencia.  El billete verde está en agonía, ya no confía en Dios; los precios petroleros llegan a niveles récord, millones mueren de hambre, se está lanzando una terrible guerra mundial, muchos de nosotros ya no sentimos nada, no vemos nada, no pensamos nada..."

Ahora bien, según el filósofo marxista de la esperanza, Ernst Bloch, ¿en qué y en las manos y mentes de quién debe ubicarse el sano optimismo, con el fin de que todavía tengamos una posibilidad real de materialización global?

Bloch nos recuerda que la Esperanza no es Confianza, no es triunfalismo.  No es segura una promisoria victoria socialista en Venezuela, ni en las próximas elecciones ni en la construcción de un partido socialista.  El serpentino camino hacia la emancipación está plagado de todo tipo de peligros.  El experimento llamado revolución bolivariana, el experimento Hombre-Mujer, el experimentum mundi, puede fracasar, precisamente porque la misma vida en el planeta es un experimento.

El verdadero crimen atroz contra la humanidad, cometido por arrogantes y racistas gobernantes, tiene su quintaesencia en esta destrucción global de la existencia humana.

Sin embargo, Bloch nos asegura que no se ha ganado nada todavía, pero también que nada se ha perdido todavía.  ¡Por lo tanto, en el zeitgeist (espíritu de nuestra era), en la gigantesca batalla contra la barbarie global el presidente Chávez con esperanza pone el énfasis en que no nos queda más alternativa que vencer!  Bloch llama a esto sano optimismo militante.

En lo que Marx definió como una 'época de revolución social', Bloch identifica tres fuerzas revolucionarias principales: Tiempos de Cambios Sociales Radicales, Inmensa Productividad y Creatividad Humana y Juventud Fogosa.

Sin dudas no sólo estamos experimentando una era de dramáticas contradicciones y convulsiones sociales, el mismo viejo orden mundial se está haciendo pedazos.  Un modo de producción de ganancias se ha convertido en un modo de destrucción humana.

La tecnología industrial y militar, alturas 'divinas', creadoras; dioses-hombre se están volviendo micro, meso y macro-invasores y vándalos científicos.  En un sentido bíblico, usando la genética muy pronto crearán una nueva especie de sexys robots femeninos con interfaz de Miss Universo de sus propias costillas radioactivas.

En cuanto a la fogosa juventud revolucionaria, lejos están los dorados sesentas.  Globalmente Murdoch está dando la nota juvenil.  Los medios masivos locales y nacionales echan más leña al fuego y sufrimiento de la conciencia adolescente ya controlada.  La educación capitalista y la socialización burguesa infiltran a millones de cerebros inocentes, provocando letargo científico e inercia ideológica.  En Venezuela y en grandes regiones de América Latina, como en muchos países del sur, en pleno siglo XXI, el "opio del pueblo" todavía causa un caos en las mentes y en las almas de la juventud manipulada y adoctrinada.  A propósito, es importante resaltar que la famosa frase "el opio del pueblo" fue acuñada por Charles Kingsley, canónigo de la Iglesia de Inglaterra.  En aquellos días, durante la primera mitad del siglo XIX, era la comidilla del día en Londres.  De allí la sacó Marx.  La definición original formulada por Marx era que la religión era "el suspiro de la criatura oprimida", "el corazón de un mundo sin corazón".

Aunque ya no tenemos mucho tiempo, la revolución mundial es una época por sí misma, en la era de la descomposición del capitalismo.  En su obra "El Imperialismo, fase superior del capitalismo", Lenin ya nos advirtió que este hecho; asimismo en 1938 en el Programa Transitorio de la Cuarta Internacional, Trotsky hizo referencia a la agonía del capitalismo.

Comparado con las revoluciones francesa, norteamericana e industrial, hasta el auge del capitalismo liberal, en verdad el imperialismo corporativo actual se ha vuelto senil, obsoleto y redundante...  en una palabra, mortal.

Hace pocos días, el 15 de septiembre, durante el congreso fundacional del movimiento juvenil del Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) celebrado en el estado Bolívar, el presidente Chávez subrayó la necesidad de hacer la revolución bolivariana a toda costa.  Enfatizó que si realmente queremos la paz en Venezuela, entonces será mejor que nos preparemos para la guerra contra las invasiones extranjeras y los golpes militares internos.  Dentro de este contexto, la juventud revolucionaria debe jugar un papel central.

El mensaje anticipatorio y emancipatorio de Bloch desde el futuro en el pasado y en el presente es que para un partido socialista de vanguardia es indispensable la teoría revolucionaria y que pensar es aventurarse más allá.  En relación a la práxis y a teoría emancipatoria él reiteró lo siguiente:

 El gato siempre cae en sus cuatro patas, el ser humano que no haya aprendido a pensar por sí mismo cae en el olvido del ayer permanente.
(Traducido por Jesús Nery Barrios.)

Ernst Bloch: Revolution, Youth and Hope

Ernst Bloch:  The cat falls on its four paws, but s/he who has not learned to think falls into eternal yesterday

By Franz J. T. Lee

A few months ago, on June 18, 2008, in an article "Venezuela: Youth, Students, Education and Marxism", I reminded us that  "youth itself, youthful anticipatory daydreams, (form) the concrete, utopian principle of hope (Ernst Bloch)!"  In his work, "Marx als Denker der Revolution" (Marx as the Theoretician of Revolution), Bloch (widely seen as the father of the 1968 student movement in Europe and elsewhere) emphasized that "Youth is driven by a dim presentiment of things to come," of something ahead, of the crimson dawn on the red human horizon. It suspects already what it does not want, however, it does "not yet" know what is to be done, what is to be thought, how to venture beyond this capitalist, terrorist vale of tears.

Already in 1974, at the eve of global fascism, the philosopher of conceptual anticipation, of juvenile fantasy and of youthful imagination has warned us of the possible coming of a global “Farewell to Utopia".

At this ominous historic moment, in "the darkness of the fleeting moment" (Bloch), at the foot of the light house, we could imagine what premonition of apocalyptic events to come, real true youthfulness should perceive via its  'exvolutionary' antenna, across its 'transhistorical' faculties. Currently hope and utopìa are falling on  severe times, on neither the best enlightened nor the worst obscure times. It really seems that global fascism is on its way to shatter all youthful, utopian daydreams of century-old social, religious, bourgeois and socialist utopias. In globalization, Mother Utopia, like Mother Nature, seems to be totally draped in a dark mourning veil.

Nonetheless, since decades, with the youth, ranging from singular adolescence to plural accumulation of youthfulness (to old age), about what are we discussing in our university classes? In our meetings with the common folks, with the workers and peasants of Mérida State and elsewhere?  Within our projects of repairing streets, of constructing water pipe-lines, homes, workers' organizations, a socialist party, socialism in the 21st century? Inventing defense measures and mechanisms against death squads, sabotage and coups? About continental solidarity and permanent world revolution and emancipation?

In the article mentioned above, I summarized our local, regional and global contradictory state of affairs as follows:
"Many of us are still believing in colonial myths and religious fabrications, are dancing on the sinking imperialist Titanic and are picnicking on a rumbling, already erupting, globalized, corporate volcano, that has been struck by a powerful particle liberated from the nether world. Similarly, mighty earthquakes generated by HAARP in Alaska, using Tesla technology, in chain reaction are now shaking the very foundations of human existence; droughts and famine drive us out of existence. The greenback is in agony, it does not trust in God anymore; oil prices are reaching record heights, millions die of hunger, a terrible world war is being launched, many of us feel nothing, see nothing, think nothing. ...".

Now, according to the Marxist philosopher of hope, Ernst Bloch, in what and in the hands and minds of whom can fundable, sound optimism still be placed, in order to still have a real possibility of global materialization?

Bloch reminds us that Hope is not Confidence, is not triumphalism. Nothing is sure about a hopeful socialist victory in Venezuela, not in coming elections, not in the construction of a socialist party. The serpentine road towards emancipation is besieged with all kinds of dangers. The experiment Bolivarian Revolution, the Experiment (Wo)man, experimentum mundi, all could fail, precisely because planetary life itself is an experiment.

The real heinous crime against humanity, committed by arrogant, racist rulers has its quintessence in this global destruction of planetary existence.

However, Bloch assures us that nothing has been won as yet, but also, not all is lost as yet. Hence, in the zeitgeist (spirit of our era), in the gigantic battle against global barbarism, President Chávez hopefully is still stressing that we do not have any alternative, we have to be victorious! Bloch calls this sound, militant optimism.

In what Marx has defined as an 'epoch of social revolution', Bloch identifies three major revolutionary forces:  Times of Radical Social Change, Immense Human Productivity and Creativity and Fiery Youth.

Beyond doubt we are not only experiencing an era of dramatic social contradictions and convulsions, the very old world order is ripping itself apart. A mode of profit production has become a mode of human destruction.

Industrial and military technology has reached 'divine', creative heights; men-gods are becoming micro-, meso- and macro-cosmic scientific invaders and vandals. Genetically, in a biblical sense, soon they will create a new species of sexy female robots with a Miss Universe interface from their very own radio-active ribs.

As far as the fiery revolutionary youth is concerned, gone are the golden sixties. Globally, Murdoch is playing the juvenile tune. The local and national mass media throw some more oil onto the already burning, suffering of the controlled teenage conscience. Capitalist education and bourgeois socialization infiltrate millions of innocent brains, causing scientific lethargy and ideological inertia.  In Venezuela and in great parts of Latin America, like in many countries of the South, as late as in the 21st century, the "opium of the people" is still playing havoc with the minds and souls of the manipulated and indoctrinated youth. By the way, it is important to note, the famous phrase "opium of the people" was coined by Charles Kingsley, Canon of the Church of England. In those days, in the first half of the 19th century it was the talk of the town in London. There Marx picked it up. The original definitions formulated by Marx were that religion is "the sigh of the oppressed creature", is  "the heart of a heartless world".

Although we do not have much time anymore, world revolution is an epoch in itself, in the era of the decay of capitalism. In "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism", Lenin already made us aware of this fact, also, in 1938, in the Transitional Program of the Fourth International, Trotsky made reference to the agony of capitalism.

Compared to the French, American and Industrial Revolutions, to the heyday of liberal capitalism, really current corporate imperialism has become senile, obsolete and redundant ... in a word, mortal.

A few days ago, on September 15,  at the foundation congress of the youth movement of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), held in Bolivar State, President Chávez underlined the necessity of making the Bolivarian Revolution at all costs. He stressed that if we really want peace in Venezuela, then  we better start to prepare ourselves for war against foreign invasions and internal military coups. Within this context the revolutionary youth has to play a central role.

The anticipatory and emancipatory message of Bloch from the future in the past, and in the present, is that for a socialist vanguard party, revolutionary theory is indispensable and that thinking is venturing beyond. With reference to emancipatory praxis and theory he reiterated the following:

The cat falls onto its four paws, the human being who has not learned to think for himself, falls into the oblivion of eternal yesterday.

Círculo Bolivariano de Estudios "El Momoy" , Chiguará, Edo.Mérida, Venezuela

Círculo Bolivariano de Estudios "El Momoy", Chiguará, Edo.Mérida, Venezuela

Nosotros, miembros del CBE "El Momoy", ante la situación que atraviesa la hermana República de Bolivia y en plena solidaridad con su pueblo, declaramos:
1. Rechazamos de la manera más contundente la arremetida cobarde de la oligarquía fascista y racista en contra de los pueblos originarios, los campesinos, mineros y trabajadores en general que hasta el momento ha dado un saldo de numerosos muertos y heridos;
2. asimismo rechazamos la intervención e intromisión del Imperio Yanqui y sus lacayos criollos nazifascistas en el proceso de cambios estructurales que está llevando a cabo el gobierno del presidente constitucional y legítimo de Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, en beneficio de la gran mayoría del pueblo boliviano históricamente excluido de una vida digna y humana;
3. hacemos un llamado a todas las fuerzas progresistas, a los pueblos latinoamericanos y del mundo en general a sumarse a acciones solidarias y efectivas en pro de la liberación definitiva del pueblo boliviano del yugo oligárquico e imperialista,
4. rechazamos los intentos de fragmentación de nuestra región por medio del separatismo artificialmente inducido, fomentado y financiado por el nefasto gobierno de los EE.UU. de Norteamérica para dividirnos y dominarnos tal y como ha pasado con la ex Yugoslavia en Europa Oriental;
5. en este sentido protestamos la presencia del consulado de Kosovo en Santa Cruz de La Sierra que funiona como una de las puntas de lanza de acciones desestabilizadoras con el fin de conducir a la secesión de un conjunto de departamentos conocidos como la "Media Luna" y a la lucha fratricida entre hermanos bolivianos;
6. en la certeza de que el caso Bolivia es el espejo en el que nos vemos los demás países del continente latinoamericano alertamos a las clases trabajadoras, campesinas y a los pueblos indígenas de Latinoamérica a no dejarnos someter y dividir por este nuevo intento de reconquista de nuestro continente por el capital coroporativo-transnacional, y a emprender de una vez por todas la lucha de clases anticapitalista.
¡Sólo la lucha de clases mundial-revolucionaria anticapitalista nos llevará a la emancipación humana!

Chiguará, 14 de Septiembre de 2008
Carlos Ernesto Chávez
Rafaela Fernández
Otto Fernández
Jutta Schmitt
Franz J. T. Lee
José Rondón
José Manuel Durán
Jose Antonio Velásquez Montaño
Genith Hurtado


*****  Bolivia: as the reactionary coup unfolds, action is needed!

By Jorge Martin  

Friday, 12 September 2008

The situation in Bolivia remains one of confrontation between the oligarchy, backed by U.S. imperialism on the one side, and the masses who support the Evo Morales government on the other. Tuesday, September 9th, marked a high point in the reactionary offensive of the oligarchy in Santa Cruz and the other departments in the East of the country, where they control the regional prefects. (see Renewed offensive of the oligarchy – time to strike back!).

On Thursday, September 11, 9 people were killed and 50 were injured in clashes in the department of Pando. A group of peasants was travelling to Cobija, the department capital, to attend a mass meeting called to organise the resistance against the right wing offensive. They were intercepted by a group of employees of the regional prefect, travelling in a car belonging to the road maintenance service, and armed with assault rifles. As a result of the subsequent clashes, 9 people died. This is the highest death toll in the recent violence so far.

Meanwhile, in Santa Cruz, armed gangs of the fascist Union Juvenil Cruceñista (UJC) attempted for the second night to take over the main public squares in the 300,000-strong working class neighbourhood of Plan 3000. Throughout the night there were running battles, but the UJC was repelled by the people of Plan 3000. Comrades present report that although the people in the neighbourhood heavily outnumber the UJC thugs, the problem is that the UJC are heavily armed with tear gas grenades, bullet proof vests, assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, etc.

We have also received reports from Santa Cruz that local MAS leaders dissuaded the workers and peasants of San Julian (the department's second largest city and a stronghold of the MAS) from marching to the capital Santa Cruz to counter the fascist gangs. The argument was that "we should not fall for provocations", "what the prefects want is for people to die so they can have their martyrs", etc. published a full report of all the public buildings taken over by reaction in the last few days:

  • In Santa Cruz, the offices of the Agrarian Reform Institute, telecommunications company Entel, Tax Revenue, Graco, Caja Nacional de Salud, the state oil company Yacimientos, Terminal Bimodal, Education Department, Labour Directorate, Forestry Commission, Almacenes Bolivianos, Migration Office and the Import Duty.

  • In Cobija also Import Duty, Agrarian Reform, Roads, Forrestry and the airport

  • In Beni the airport, AASANA, post office Ecobol, Entel, Migration and other airports

  • In Tarija, Digecco, Agrarian Reform, Tax Office, Hydrocarbons, Migration and Import Duty.

  • In Sucre, Entel and Tax Office

In most of the cases, police and army units that were protecting these building were overrun by the violent gangs of fascists, because they were under strict orders not to shoot and not to use violence to protect them.

The mood in factories and peasant communities throughout the country is one of rage and at the same time impotence, as the oligarchy is allowed to attack government offices, social organisation offices, airports, gas fields, border crossing points, etc., with no response by the government. They are seething with discontent, but no lead is being given. A number of mass organisations in El Alto, Cochabamaba and other parts of the country are calling on the government to declare a state of siege and use its powers against this "slow motion" coup. A national march on La Paz is being planned, to being on September 16th, but that might be too late.

The government's inaction, and even in some cases its stopping of the initiative of the masses, could have the effect of demoralising the workers and peasants who support it.

The government's inaction and the threat of a military coup

Vice-president Alvaro García Linera correctly characterised what is happening in the country as a "civic bosses' coup" and called on Bolivians to remain vigilant to "defend democracy and national unity". The problem is that he did not explain how the Bolivian masses are supposed to "defend democracy". As we have seen in the massacre in Pando and the clashes in Plan 3000, the unarmed masses can do little against the heavily armed gangs of fascists.

Once again, government ministers are calling for respect for the rule of law, for the judges to implement the laws and the prosecutors to prosecute those who break them. But these are just words when the oligarchy is tearing up the law in defence of their interests.

To add to the confusion, at the same time that several government ministers rightly blamed the deaths and the violence on the prefects of Santa Cruz, Pando, Beni and Tarija and the civic committees, others called again for negotiations, and a meeting with the prefect of Tarija has been set up for today, Friday, even putting a government plane at his disposal so that he can go to the capital La Paz.

In Beni, the regional army command has signed a truce with the regional prefect. The agreement involved the army withdrawing from the public institutions they were protecting (!!), while the prefect agrees not to take them over.

This situation of constant zig-zags by the government is creating the feeling that power is slipping away from its hands. This is very dangerous. Amongst the military officers, many of whom are opposed to the government anyway, there is already talk of the need for a coup to restore law and order. From their point of view, the institution of the military has been humiliated, having been over-run by civilians, while carrying out their duties loyally. How can they continue to obey a government that seems to be giving up ruling the country? This is probably what many think already.

That a military coup is being discussed is also clear from Hugo Chávez's statement on Thursday night. After revealing that a coup plot had been uncovered in Venezuela and making an appeal for mass mobilisations, he said that in solidarity with the Bolivian people and government he was also expelling the US ambassador in Venezuela and recalling the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington. He then added a warning to the Bolivian military. He said: "Any movement by the oligarchy, the yanquis, or the army to overthrow the Bolivian government or kill Evo Morales, would give us carte blanche to intervene and support any armed movement to restore the people in power".

A plan of struggle is needed

Today, the national enlarged meeting of the COB (its national leadership and representatives from all regions and unions) is taking place in La Paz, and they will report back on their decisions at similar meetings in all departments tomorrow. This is a crucial meeting.

In the present situation, a clear plan of struggle is needed. The COB should organise for an indefinite general strike, the holding of cabildos abiertos (mass meetings) in all cities and towns, the setting up of Popular Assemblies (committees of action), the creation of self-defence organisations based on these assemblies, call for and implement the immediate arrest of all those involved in the violent and illegal activities of the last few days, and mobilize to expropriate of the property of the oligarchy.

The onslaught of the oligarchy can only be stopped by the action of the masses in the streets, but they must be armed. 35 years ago, a few days before the military coup in Chile, a million workers marched in Santiago, demanding weapons to defend against the coup that everybody knew was coming. Salvador Allende believed until the very last minute that the army and the oligarchy were going to respect the democratic institutionality. As a result, he was assassinated along with thousands of workers, peasants and youth. The country was plunged into decades of ferocious dictatorship. That should be a powerful lesson.

Evo Morales and Garcia Linera have correctly identified the threat as a "civic bosses coup", but now they should act accordingly. They received the support of 67% of the vote in the recall referendum on August 10th. More than 2 million Bolivians support them and the idea of a fundamental transformation in the country. The oligarchy is only a minority, but they have economic power, weapons, links to the military and support from imperialism. But even with all of these things in their favour, they can only control the streets and appear strong because of the inaction of the government and the leaders of the mass movement.

If Evo Morales were to issue an appeal to the workers and peasants to come out in the streets to smash the counter-revolutionary conspiracy, the coup plotters would flee,  nothing could stop the mobilized masses. He should give immediate orders to arrest the coup conspirators. If the police and the army refuse to obey these orders, he should appeal to the rank and file soldiers to put their officers under arrest, distribute arms to the workers and peasants and carry out the arrests themselves. He should issue a decree for the immediate expropriation of the property of the coup plotters and appeal directly to the mass organisations of workers and peasants to carry it out. And if the government is not prepared to do so, then the COB and the CONALCAM must take the initiative.

The situation is very dangerous. This is no time for words or negotiations. This is the time for action, to put an end once and for all to the power of the oligarchy. There is no time to waste.

No coups in Bolivia or Venezuela!

No to U.S. interference!

Defend the Bolivian and Bolivarian revolutions!

Smash the counter-revolutionary oligarchy!

Forward to socialism!


**** Fotos: los aviones rusos en Palo Negro (+ Crónica de AP)

09:44 PM | 11 SEP 2008 | 36 COMENTARIOS | 3,460 VIEWS

Estas imágenes, difundidas por la Agencia AFP (Alveiro Bolivar), muestran a los 2 bombarderos rusos TU-160 en la Base
 Aérea Libertador en Palo Negro (Aragua). Las imágenes han sido tomadas esta mañana.


**** Venezuela: ¿Cuál es la quintaesencia político-económica de la Espada de Damocles militar sobre la humanidad?

Según la página DEBKAfile, confirmado luego por Venezuela, dos bombarderos estratégicos supersónicos rusos Tu-160 aterrizaron en Venezuela;  así como también que el crucero misilístico 'Pedro el Grande', de propulsión nuclear, estaba en camino al país.  Ellos participarán en ejercicios y vuelos en aguas internacionales del Caribe, frente a las costas de Venezuela.  El 9 de septiembre, fuentes militares rusas informaron que el avión de guerra turbopropulsado TU-142, de reconocimiento marítimo y antisubmarinos (clasificado por la OTAN como Oso F u Oso J), que puede volar 6.500 km, es decir, desde Venezuela hasta las costas de EE.UU., también estará basado en un aeródromo militar venezolano."

Mientras tanto el Presidente de EE.UU. George W. Bush ha cancelado el tratado civil nuclear con la Federación Rusa.  En el Medio Oriente, en el baluarte imperialista del fascismo corporativo global, los ministros de Israel están reunidos de emergencia por el futuro inmediato de Irán a medida que el Tío Sam continua de manera codiciosa amontonando su poderío naval y aéreo en aguas del Golfo Pérsico.

Al mismo tiempo, a lo lejos la 'Sexta Flota' norteamericana se dirige hacia las costas de Georgia.  Paquistán está cortando las líneas de suministros a las tropas de la OTAN en Afganistán e Indonesia, previendo el inminente peligro, ha entrando en pánico y simplemente se ha retirad de la OPEP.

En nuestras latitudes, Brasil se está poniendo nervioso por el acercamiento de la 'Cuarta Flota' de Estados Unidos.  Sin embargo, Argentina y Brasil están considerando no efectuar más sus transacciones comerciales bilaterales en débiles dólares de EE.UU., una moneda sólo está respaldada por la cruda, abierta violencia y terrorismo internacionales.

Como lo diría el famoso filósofo alemán Immanuel Kant: las cosas  realmente están cambiando hasta ser reconocibles en su totalidad.  Las luchas de clases locales, nacionales e internacionales están separando los lobos de las ovejas, las ovejas de los chivos, al amo del esclavo.  Incluso el tradicional Partido Comunista de Venezuela (PCV) está siendo atrapado en este caos internacional, a pesar de un sinnúmero de amargas lecciones históricas, ya que también ahora da la bienvenida a la colaboración, el consenso y las alianzas de clase.  Esta negación de la lucha de clase permanente de los trabajadores del mundo nos ciega, no nos permite ver lo que nos marcan los fenómenos belicosos internacionales arriba mencionados: Venezuela, cuidado con una posible inscripción orwelliana sobre la pared acerca de las futuras y devastadoras guerras nucleares.

¿Cuál es la quintaesencia político-económica general de esta Espada de Damocles que pende sobre la humanidad?

·         Simplemente que las campanas están doblando por la historia de la clase dominante, el proceso de explotación y el trabajo explotador, por la producción.  Nació hace unos pocos milenios, su autodestrucción está llegando a su apogeo, y ahora está mereciendo perecer en el olvido galáctico.  Ningún salvador de lo alto puede aun detener su rápido deterioro.

·         Cientos de marxistas ya han explicado todo el proceso en detalle, qué es el proceso de Trabajo, cómo se transforma en capital, y cuáles son las leyes tendenciales del desarrollo del capital y el capitalismo.  Para entender la historia, para comprender lo que pasa actualmente, hay que entender quiénes somos, qué es realmente la vida sobre el planeta Tierra, hay que sentir el peligro inmediato de la extinción humana, es ver quiénes son los verdaderos  arrogantes criminales de guerra.

·         Para saber qué nos ha llevado a esta crisis internacional es conocer cuáles son los cinco pilares de nuestra existencia laboral transhistórica: la explotación económica, la dominación política, la discriminación social, el genocidio masivo y la alienación humana.  Estos son los nombres de todos los barcos de guerra que navegan por los siete mares.  En la defensa de las economías de guerra, de los grandes negocios, de la producción de armas de destrucción masiva, tenemos el actual e inmenso problema mundial.  Está empeorando a cada minuto, a medida que el capital (incluyendo al dólar de EE.UU.) se desvanece en la nada, destruido por sus propias contradicciones, corrupción, fusiones, competencia, centralización y monopolización: en una palabra, por el fascismo.

·         Dentro del fascismo mundial, los trabajadores del mundo nunca se pueden emancipar a sí mismos.  La especie humana ha verificado científicamente que puede crear cosas nuevas jamás vistas.  A billones de nosotros se nos prohibió mostrar nuestras novedades, nuestras brillantes habilidades y facultades emancipatorias, con las cuales nunca se soñó antes.  Por siglos millones de sapientes flores latinoamericanas y venezolanas nacieron para brotar sin ser vistas, para desperdiciar su dulzura emancipatoria en el aire desértico del capitalismo.

Es ahora o nunca, o bien creamos el socialismo científico, filosófico y sapiente o nos desvanecemos en la barbarie fascista eterna.

**** Bolivia expulsa al Embajador de EE.UU.

El presidente Evo Morales declaró hoy persona no grata al embajador de Estados Unidos Philip Goldberg, a quien le pidió salir del país tras acusarlo de alentar la ola de protestas destada por opositores a su gobierno que han degenerado en violencia.

****** Venezuela expels US ambassador

Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, has expelled
the US ambassador [AFP]

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, has ordered the US ambassador to leave the country amid a series of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between Bolivia and the US.

The US had ordered the expulsion of the Bolivian ambassador earlier on Thursday after Washington's envoy to Bolivia was expelled by Evo Morales, the president.

Chavez, who gave Patrick Duddy 72 hours to leave, added that he was also recalling his ambassador from Washington.

"That's enough ... from you, Yankees," Chavez said on Thursday, using an expletive.

The Venezuelan president also warned that he would halt oil supplies to the US if it attacked Venezuela.

Jennifer Rahimi, a US embassy spokeswoman in Caracas said: "We saw the speech and we're investigating, but we haven't seen anything official.''

Morales expelled Phillip Goldberg, the US ambassador, from La Paz on Wednesday, accusing him of instigating violent protests in the Andean nation.

On Thursday, at least eight people were killed in Bolivia during continuing protests, led by rebel state governors demanding greater autonomy and opposing Morales' plans to give more land to the poor.

"The ambassador of the United States is conspiring against democracy and wants Bolivia to break apart," said Morales, who is a fierce critic of US policy.

Russian bombers

Tensions between the US and Venezuela had already risen after Russian sent two strategic bombers to Venezuela for military exercises.

Chavez said the aircraft had arrived to counter US influence in the region.
Russia has sent two strategic bombers to
Venezuela [EPA]
On Thursday, the US said it was monitoring the situation.

"It is something that we will watch very closely, as we have with the movements of other military assets for the stated purpose of this joint exercise," said Sean McCormack, a state department spokesman, on Thursday.

The Russian move is reported to be Moscow's first strategic deployment in the Western hemisphere since the end of the Cold War and comes amid increased tensions between Russia and the US over the recent conflict with Georgia.

Moscow remains angry that US used military vessels to carry aid to Georgia during Russia's recent military intervention there.

However, Russia insists that the deployment is part of a training exercise and that the bombers will return to Russia within days.

**** Chávez expulsa al Embajador de EE.UU. al grito de "yanqui de mierda"

El Presidente Hugo Chávez acaba de ordenar la expulsión del Embajador de EE.UU. de Venezuela, tras insultar a ese país con el calificativo de "yanquis de mierda" que ha repetido en varias ocasiones

**** "Venezuela irá a combatir a Bolivia y otros países si derrocan algún Gobierno"

Hugo Chávez ha advertido hoy que, si se derroca a algún "Gobierno nuestro", Venezuela tendrá luz verde para "efectuar operaciones militares de cualquier tipo en esos países y restituir el poder al pueblo"

***** Chávez anuncia que hay varios detenidos por la presunta conspiración

EFE - hace 1 hora 11 minutos

Caracas, 11 sep (EFE).- El presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, anunció hoy que "hay varios detenidos" por el presunto complot de militares contra él denunciado el miércoles, sin revelar el número ni las identidades.

"Hay varios detenidos, y el ministro de Defensa ha ordenado abrir una averiguación a través de la Fiscalía militar", dijo Chávez en un acto con simpatizantes en Caracas.

Chávez ordenó pasar su intervención en cadena nacional de radio y televisión así como la grabación en la que supuestamente tres militares de alto rango retirados hablan sobre el complot.

La decisión de emitir en cadena la transmisión obedeció, según Chávez, a que los medios privados de comunicación no recogieron en sus ediciones de hoy la información sobre el supuesto complot.

El presidente reiteró que los planes para matarlo o derrocarlo han sido planificados por Estados Unidos y cuenta con la colaboración de sectores acomodados venezolanos a los que llama "pitiyanquis", en referencia a defensores de los intereses de EEUU.

"Detrás de la conspiración está la oposición política y detrás los 'pitiyanquis' y la oligarquía, y detrás el imperio norteamericano", dijo el gobernante.

El ministro de Defensa, Gustavo Rangel, anunció una rueda de prensa para hoy en la que se presume que podría ofrecer detalles de las detenciones.

Chávez agregó que el complot forma parte de una "ofensiva estadounidense continental" frente a la que se opondrá con todas sus fuerzas.

"Estamos activados. No crea el imperio que van a hacer de nuevo lo que le hicieron a Chile un día como hoy. No lo van a lograr", dijo Chávez, que recordó a Salvador Allende como el "presidente-mártir".

Allende murió el 11 de septiembre de 1973 en Santiago de Chile durante el golpe militar que encabezó ese mismo día Augusto Pinochet.

El gobernante venezolano señaló que hoy habló de estos asuntos con su homólogo de Bolivia, Evo Morales, y de Brasil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

"Quieren detener nuestra revolución y con ello golpear todos los procesos de cambio que están en marcha en nuestro continente", según Chávez.

El gobernante Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) anunció hoy que denunciará el caso ante la Fiscalía General de la República para que se abra una investigación.

La presidenta de la Asamblea Nacional (AN), Cilia Flores, informó de que una delegación de la cámara viajará hoy para denunciar ante el Mercosur el supuesto complot ante ese organismo, con sede en Montevideo.

Añadió que serán enviadas las grabaciones a la próxima reunión de la Unión Interparlamentaria Mundial.

Franz & Jutta




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