Franz J.T. Lee, April, 2009
What is the supreme question in this era of global depression and recession?
be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? ... "
(William Shakespeare, Hamlet.)
To try to answer the major question of our age, we need not summarize all the thousand fold major expressions of the big crash over the last few months, neither the current 'swine flu' nor the coming 'Spanish Flu.' What is not clear is that the workers of the world have an emancipatory duty to humanity to topple capitalism here and now at its most dangerous but weakest historical moment, at its objective, material collapse, to prevent a coming age of terrorist barbarism, of world fascism beyond imagination. Where should we begin? For America, for Venezuela, could the young Marx, so often cited by President Chavez, give us some revolutionary advice how to achieve a working class consciousness?
Let us look at some events and figures which confirm this inexorable historic tendency.
A while ago, in a commentary "Coming Workers' Riots in the Metropolis," we described the deplorable situation of the autoworkers of Chrysler, General Motors and of other North American corporate giants. The workers are beginning to see that while they are being told to fasten their belts, to take more pay and job cuts, the billionaires are getting fat bailouts, taken mainly from their taxpayers' money. They learn to see the master-slave relation.
Consequently, they feel being cheated and betrayed by their opulent bosses, by their imposed trade unions which have consigned them to poverty wages. Also, now already they feel economically discriminated by the Obama administration itself. They also complain that fraternity is only valid for ruling class elites and privileged corporate members of the industrial military complex, and that the Democratic party has given them nothing. In this way the seeds of social discontent, mass upheavals, class consciousness and struggles are beginning to germinate, not only in the USA but across the globe. In this way proletarian internationalism and international proletarianism out of vital necessity appear on the horizon of workers' local, national and regional struggles. Due to common class interests and struggles, eventually the General Motors autoworkers of Detroit will meet their colleagues of Opel in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
Certainly, nowadays the divine mills of concentration, monopolization, competition, merging, centralization, outsourcing, corruption and bankruptcy are grinding at breath taking speed. The contemporary situation has become so perverse: financial titans like the Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of America Corp. or Citigroup Inc. are not fearing the specter of global communism or of proletarian class struggle, rather they shiver at just the idea of capitalist State nationalization. Now the capitalists not only favor 'fraternity' but also 'unity', as the Club of Rome suggest a while ago, that is, a unitary World State.
workers of the world, also unite! Jobless and homeless, now you
really have nothing to lose anymore except your exploitative,
dominating and discriminating chains. Not only your real chains, but
also your mental, religious and ideological chains of illusion and
For example, just take notice who all are interested in constructing the very economic foundations of a global fascist, authoritarian and totalitarian Leviathan: some members of Congress, former U.S. Federal Reserve Board chief Alan Greenspan, Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman; and also former Fed vice-chairman Alan Blinder, a professor at Princeton University. De facto, economically the U.S. government is already the sole owner of many giant corporations.
All this will not help.
This is the first truly globalized depression; the previous limited one of 1929 already cost Europe and other places tens of millions of lives, decades of fascist horror and terror, including a brutal nuclear world war. This one in its destructive magnitude will be worse.
In how far this concerns the workers of the world? The world recession has already ransacked our savings, is cutting our salaries, our social benefits for which we fought ever since the dawn of industrialization.
At this moment, all over 'tent cities' in the USA are sprouting up; Global Research reports: "housing prices accelerated on the downside indicating bigger adjustments dead-ahead. Trend-lines are steeper now than ever before--nearly perpendicular. Housing prices are not falling, they're crashing and crashing hard. Now that the foreclosure moratorium has ended, Notices of Default (NOD) have spiked to an all-time high."
As mentioned, if this continues in the USA and elsewhere we will soon not only have jobless but also homeless working classes. President Obama can do nothing to stop this collapse of capitalism. This is not a one man job, only the emancipatory, creative efforts of billions can still save humanity in this dreadful era.
This Labor Day, this May Day 2009 ... which will only be celebrated in September in the USA ... is being ushered in under the following ominous 'writings on the wall of woe':
"Market analysts predict there will be 5 MILLION MORE FORECLOSURES BETWEEN NOW AND 2011. It's a disaster bigger than Katrina. Soaring unemployment and rising foreclosures ensure that hundreds of banks and financial institutions will be forced into bankruptcy. 40 percent of delinquent homeowners have already vacated their homes."
Yes, for the world proletariat it is 'to be or not to be', is 'to take arms against a sea of troubles'. 'It is the best of times, it is the worst of times', it is the dawn of global class struggles, is to convert capitalist collapse into socialist emancipation. Surely, the 'Age of Aquarius' is also dawning on the galactic horizon.
The historic essence of proletarian international class struggle is based on the scientific recognition that currently we are experiencing a "global economic crisis of a systemic and structural nature". This was confirmed by the recent summit conference held in Cumana, Venezuela.
In the Declaration of Cumana, Venezuela, of April 23rd 2009, signed by ALBA Member Countries, the Heads of State and Government of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, inter alia, propose to hold a thorough debate on:
"Capitalism is leading humanity and the planet to extinction. What we are experiencing is a global economic crisis of a systemic and structural nature, not another cyclic crisis. Those who think that with a taxpayer money injection and some regulatory measures this crisis will end are wrong. The financial system is in crisis because it trades bonds with six times the real value of the assets and services produced and rendered in the world, this is not a 'system regulation failure', but a integrating part of the capitalist system that speculates with all assets and values with a view to obtain the maximum profit possible. Until now, the economic crisis has generated over 100 million additional hungry persons and has slashed over 50 million jobs, and these figures show an upward trend."
( http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4390 )
Obviously, passing across the liberal competitive, the classical imperialist and the modern corporate stages of production and destruction, of hundreds of millions of human victims, now the capitalist Moloch ... following its ìnexorable systemic and structural dialectical tendential economic laws of development ... has completely globalized itself as world depression. Why more than ever workers' class struggle is imperative? What is its socialist philosophic quintessence?
What can we learn from the student, the young Marx? Dedicated to the workers of the world, who have forgotten their past theoretical grandeur and heritage, allow us to quote extensively from a short Marxist document, just as renowned as the famous "Manifesto of the Communist Party".
The young Marx, having just become a scientific socialist in 1843, explained to us the revolutionary genesis in his "A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Introduction". This is one of the most quoted writings of Marx, but also one most cited out of context.
Together with the 'Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach' it concerns oscillating proletarian natural scientific revolutionary praxis and social philosophic emancipatory theory; in a nut shell, the dialectical leap from utopian to scientific socialism, to the negation of capitalism, by means of proletarian class struggle.
Marx explained the revolutionary essence of his early writing, the starting point of all social critique and change, as follows:
" For Germany, the criticism of religion has been essentially completed, and the criticism of religion is the prerequisite of all criticism."
The whole text, which we quote below, concerns the problem of the mental blockage of religion and ideology which impedes the acquisition of a proletarian class consciousness. From this vantage point the following famous Marx quotes become relevant for global class education and struggle. In this spirit he explains the basics of how to understanding the world out of itself:
"The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society."
Only as such the following quotations, not divorced from their socialist critique and context, can now be understood. For example, here is a philosophic jewel, a complete quote urgently to be studied and applied in its historical context:
" The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism of the weapon, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But, for man, the root is man himself.".
We suggest that our Bolivarian comrades study this creative Marxist document very carefully, in order to apply scientifically our Declaration of Cumana to American reality, and also to enrich our current 'Misión Lectura", to interpret and change the world into a better place to live in, for billions of human beings and existences.
Finally, as a Labor Day message, what should be the current proletarian task of world revolution in Venezuela, America and elsewhere?
"It is, therefore, the task of history, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to establish the truth of this world. It is the immediate task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked. Thus, the criticism of Heaven turns into the criticism of Earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law, and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics."