Where is Europe going?
1. Europe is being transformed rapidly into a crucial battlefield of an international class warfare.
The persistent, six months long, struggle of the Gillets Jaunes in France, the workers revolt in Hungary against the “slavery law” introduced by the far right nationalist Orban’s regime, the mass unrest and demonstrations in Serbia, Albania, Romania, and all over the Balkans, are the prelude to a new tide of social confrontations and political upheavals in the European Continent.
The driving force for the new upsurge of the masses in Europe and beyond, as the revolutionary upheavals in Algeria, Sudan, Haiti etc. demonstrate, it is the global capitalist crisis. It remains not only insoluble, more than a decade now from its eruption, but also it is entering into a new explosive phase. All the extra-ordinary measures used in the last recent period (“stimulus” packages, “Quantitative Easing etc) are exhausted and even they had produced more gigantic speculative bubbles than those that burst in 2007-2008 plunging the world economy into a Third Great Depression. Even the IMF warns that world economy is facing ,in 2019-2020, a “synchronized global slowdown”.
The most conscious and stronger sector of the capitalist class, at the center of world capitalism, the US, admits the impasse of its system and the threat to its sustainability.
In his 2019 State of the Union address last January, US President Donald Trump found necessary to warn for the “danger of Socialism” arising, for the first time, “from within America”, no more from the demised Soviet Union.
Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the biggest hedge fund in the world, answering the weird but revealing question by the US Congress “Are you a capitalist or a socialist?” stressed: “I am a capitalist but capitalism is broken”! At the Milken’s Institute annual gathering in Los Angeles, at the end of April 2019, Alan Schwartz of Guggenheim Associates warned that “what’s really is coming is class warfare. Throughout centuries what we’ve seen when the masses think the elites have too much, one of two things happens: legislation to redistribute the wealth…or revolution to distribute property”( Financial Times May 2, 2019).
The capitalists pose again the dilemma either to make concessions or to face the growing danger of a social revolution. But they know the depth of the crisis makes concessions very limited, short lived, and inefficient to repel the danger. At the same article on the Milken Institute gathering, “another financial services executive, who donated toHillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign in 2016, told to the Financial Times: “I’d pay 5 per cent more in tax to make the world a slightly less scary place”.
Any possible, always problematic “concession” by the ruling classes has as an aim to make the world, not secure for capitalist interests but only, in a very short term, “slightly less scary” for them…
2. The imperialist European Union is extremely vulnerable to the impact to this new sharpening of the global crisis and to the fire and fury of the trade war launched by Trump’s America against China, and the EU itself, especially Germany.
Mario Draghi, the outgoing Chairman of the European Central Bank, the same person who became famous by his declaration in 2012 that he will do “whatever it takes to save the euro”, in a recent statement after an ECB meeting admitted the strategic impasse facing the Central bank of the EU by saying: “in a dark room we can move only by small steps”.
The EU is facing its version of “ Japanification”: a protracted growth slump in a deadly combination with deflation.
All wounds opened more than ten years ago remain and start to be aggravated: the European banking and debt crisis, the eurozone crisis, the post Brexit chaos, the clicking Italian time bomb, the non– integration of the Western Balkans, the growing unbalances and ruptures between North and South, Central/Eastern and Western Europe, even in its German-French axis of the entire European capitalist integration project.
3. Combined and in interaction with the dire economic situation are new political regime crises (Britain, France, Spain, Italy etc) and geopolitical risks.
Europe is at the doors of the Middle East volcano, with the danger of war now expanding from Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and the Aegean to the Balkans as a result of imperialist antagonisms and conflicting local bourgeois interests on the newly found gas deposits and the energy transfer lines to Europe.
In the Eastern borders of Europe, as well as in the fragmented, impoverished Balkans reduced to a bunch of EU protectorates and NATO military bases, the policy of encirclement and isolation towards Russia pursued by imperialism and the subsequent standoff between the two create dangerous conditions that threaten war and catastrophe, far beyond the hybrid war that is already going on in the Donbass region.
4. The ruling classes of Europe, defending their antagonistic capitalist and imperialist interests proved totally unable to unify economically and politically the Continent. This is the historical task of the European working class to avoid to being buried underby the ruins of the European capitalist integration project.
Now the capitalists will try again to impose new crashing burdens on an already exhausted and impoverished population, which has to fight for its life into a new round of social conflicts. There is no solution in a disintegrating imperialist EU, which cannot be “reformed” or “democratized” as liberals and reformists claim.
Neither is there is a solution into a regression to the limits of the bourgeois Nation State, in conditions of advanced internationalization and integration of the economy. It will aggravate enromously the sufferings of the masses, while the political life will be poisoned with the strengthening of the far right demagogues and the fascists.
We call all the workers and popular masses in the EU to open their own socialist way out from this dead end of the capitalist system:
Neither bourgeois ‘Europeanism’ nor nationalist “Euroskepticism” but proletarian internationalism!
Down with the imperialist EU and NATO, for workers power and the socialist unification of the Balkans and of the European Continent, from Lisbon to Vladivostok!
Down with all the parties serving capitalist exploitation and imperialism!
5. The traditional bourgeois political system of governance, with the Right/Center |Right and Social Democracy/ Center Left alternating into power, is discredited by the barbaric measures of “austerity” imposed by both on the popular masses. The result is the threatening rise of the Far Right, including of openly fascist formations, trying to demagogically exploit and disorient social despair towards their ultra-reactionary aims.
The Far Right and the fascists use the wave of desperate migrants from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa as scapegoats to disorient popular anger from the real culprits of their disastrous condition, the capitalists, by fomenting xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia against the victims themselves of imperialist plunder and wars.
“Fortress Europe” was built by liberal capitalism at the first place. It is raising walls against the refugees condemning them to drowning in the Aegean and the Mediterranean or to being prisoners in new concentration camps called “hot spots”.
At the same time, although using the so-called “migrant or refugee crisis” as a scapegoat, it condemns its own citizens to social misery.
The parties and governments that had imposed the burden of the crisis on the popular masses, the culprits for the rise of the Far Right, are now calling for support in the elections against the monster of Frankenstein that they had produced in the first place.
The Social Democrat Frans Tiemmermans, candidate for president to the incoming European Commission has called, with the support of European social democracy and Syriza in Greece and for a “progressive alliance from Macron to Tsipras” !!
This is a recipe for disaster. The “logic of the lesser evil” disarms the people, and leads finally to the greatest evil.
All the past experiences, for example, in Spain in 1936-39, or in Greece after the Second World War or now, with Syriza capitulating to the EU, the IMF and the Greek
capitalists in 2015 prove it again and again.
The political independence of the working class from all bourgeois parties and the capitalist State is a precondition to become the leading force of all pauperized masses in a struggle for a socialist way out from the crisis, a struggle for power.
The Far Right and fascism have to be fought primarily with the methods of class struggle, by mobilization of the working class and by direct action in the streets, not by voting the political representatives of capitalism, which in its decay generates fascist barbarism. The working class movement is the only force able to block the way to Le Pen, Salvini, Gauland, Strache, Wilders, Orban or the Nazis of the “Golden Dawn”. Our battle cry is
For a United Front of the workers’ and popular organizations to smash
fascism in every neighborhood, town, country!
¡No pasarán! – They shall not pass!”.
6. The crucial task in front of the working class, and the impoverished masses, is to prepare themselves for the battles to come, with the necessary revolutionary political orientation, program, and organization.
The necessary prerequisite for this preparation and a catalyst for the launching of a workers and popular counter-offensive in the new period is the reorganization and political re-arming of the workers vanguard and of the scattered revolutionary left.
The historical challenges of our times of global crisis condemns to failure all middle of the road “solutions”. Vacillations between opportunism and sectarianism, condemns centrism in the far left to paralysis and disintegration. It is seen clearly in the dire situation of the far left in both sides of the Atlantic (self-dissolution of the ISO in the US, split in the CWI from its sections in Ireland, Belgium and Greece, inability of the shrinking “broad party” NPA in France even to intervene in the European Elections, internal, not declared split of the coalition of Antarsya in Greece etc.)
For the failure, so far, of the far left to win the space lost by the traditional capitalist and reformist parties is usually blamed the “conservativism” of the masses, particularly after the blows received the last decade, the retreats, the betrayals by party and trade union bureaucracies, or by the brutal State repression and imperialist aggression as in the Middle East and the Balkans.
This one-sided “interpretation” forgets that it is precisely the conservative character of mass consciousness (as Trotsky explains in his History of the Russian Revolution), the lack of an automatic adaptation to rapid changes in the objective situation, the cause of sharp shocks and sudden ruptures in consciousness mobilizing in unexpected eruption of mass movements that usually the police misunderstand as the result of hidden activities of conspirators, agitators and foreign agents.
The breaks in mass consciousness by the shocks of the dramatic change of objective conditions are openings permitting a proper political intervention by the revolutionary vanguard able to advance the mass movement forward winning the right to lead it until victory.
It is not a linear process. The vanguard has to learn from the masses, critically elaborating these experiences to advance the proper programmatic policies and slogans in every phase of the class struggle. In the History of the Russian Revolution, the Bolshevik leader stressed that in 1917 the crucial difference between the Bolsheviks and the other political parties, the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries, was that the Bolsheviks could learn from the masses, grasp the changes in the situation, in the mass consciousness, in the tempo of developments, and accordingly, not to adapt to the limitations of the mass consciousness but to elaborate their revolutionary policies for peace, bread and land. Their opponents, on the contrary, tried only to impose from above on the masses their preconceived schemata preaching their program of class collaboration and chauvinism.
This lesson from the 1917 Russian Revolution acquires an urgent actuality today, as successive gigantic tides of mobilization of the masses erupt, driven by the global capitalist crisis , first in 2010-2013, and then in 2018-2019.
The mass movements of the last decade were and are very heterogeneous.Various sectors of the subaltern classes are put in motion, a heterogeneous population with diverse, if not conflicting interests, expressing different experiences and levels of consciousness, but unified by resistance to a common process of brutal destitution, of abrupt proletarianization and rapid pauperization.
All mass movements against the dramatic degradation of living conditions, although starting from a particular social problem or a partial economic demand, for ex. against the rise of the price of bread(Sudan) or of the fuel taxes(France) or for the abortion right (Argentina) rapidly take a directly political character clashing violently with the dominant general trends of global capitalism as a historically declining system in profound, structural, universal crisis.
The heterogeneous population in struggle is composed by popular strata of subaltern classes. The working class, unemployed or in precarious jobs is an important part of the mass movements usually and easily classified as petty bourgeois, “populist”, even reactionary, if not fascist, as in the case of the ‘Gilets Jaunes”.
The working class is not absent at all in theses movements. What is absent is the political hegemony of the working class at the head of the pauperized masses as the condition of possibility for victory.
This hegemony, a crucial task for a revolutionary combat party, cannot be win if the working class is prevented by labor bureaucracies and their centrist satellites to develop itself and act politically as a universal class, in the sense given by Marx: a class which cannot emancipate itself without fighting for universal human emancipation from all forms of exploitation, oppression, and humiliation of a human being by a human being, world communism.
The working class has to supersede the limits of a “spontaneous trade union consciousness” (Lenin) of the immediate relations between employer and wage earner. A real proletarian revolutionary politics has to follow faithfully the “categorical imperative” formulated by Marx: “to overthrow all conditions in which a human being is a debased, enslaved, forsaken, contemptible being”.
This statement by Marx is a guideline and a warning to avoid both an abstract “workerist” universalism as well as the dissolution of the role of the working class into a fragmented myriad of particularist social movements>; into a sheer “single issue” movimentism, a protest activism for “rights” within a reformed political-juridical framework, without the overthrow of capitalism and the abolition of classes
and class barbarism, outside of the working class and the class struggle as a whole. Our struggle is for a classless, Stateless society , where “the free development of each would be the condition for the free development of all” ( Communist Manifesto).
8. From this concrete universalist vantage point we have to advance and concretize in every particular conjuncture, place and time, a program for social emancipation, for a socialist way out from today’ s catastrophic conditions. The general lines of such a revolutionary program should be
End the “austerity” measures of social cannibalism!
Jobs, wages, shelter and a life of dignity for all popular strata, with free education, health, and free all social services!
Cancel the debt to the financial sharks!
Nationalize the banks and all strategic sectors of the economy, without compensation for the big capital, under workers’ control!
For a democratic planning of production according to social needs of the absolute majority of the population, not for the profit of a few !
Abolition of the repressive capitalist State machine! All power to the councils of workers, urban and countryside poor!
For the Commune and a Socialist Federation of Communes in our region, in the Balkans, in Europe, all over the world!
9. To take our destinies into our hands, in today’s conditions, we have to develop an international network of militant fighters; an open, frank, and comradely dialogue with all revolutionary, emancipatory forces coming from different political traditions in our troubled epoch, on perspectives, program and organization; plans of common action in solidarity on regional, continental and international scales on all burning political, and social economic issues of today, as well as against imperialist war, the huge geopolitical risks, climate change and environment dangers of extinction of all life on the planet.
On the basis of common actions, of a constant discussion, by sharing experiences of struggle, we could advance towards the most crucial and urgent political task in the preparation for international socialist revolution:
to build combat, workers revolutionary parties without bureaucrats
to build a new revolutionary International!
The Secretariat of the Balkan Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky”
The Secretariat of the RedMed web network