THE CRISIS HAS RAISED THE STAKES
Those who blame capitalism for the crisis, fall into two categories. There are those who tell us we must use the very institutions of capitalist civilization to fight it: its parties and elections, its unions and NGO’s: all will be well when the bad politicians and union-bosses are replaced by good ones, and when the state increasingly intervenes in the economy until it has replaced the private sector. Of course that is the more “radical” version of this scheme; the fiery red as opposed to the pale pink of those who merely advocate the perfect symbiosis between state and private capital as the best of all possible worlds. What all of them have in common is their desire to fix and improve capitalism, their belief that what is needed are better, more unselfish leaders, more state-regulation, the creation of more money. Their critique of capitalism is a positive one. The future they envision is still that of a commodity economy with money, banks, prisons, etc, but all a bit more humane.
In contrast to this outlook, which characterizes the left generally, more and more voices express a negative critique of capitalism. They do not believe capitalism can be made better, or that it can gradually evolve into something else. It can only get worse, lead to more devastation and misery. For them the root of the problem is not bad leaders or a lack of regulation. The root is capitalism itself, its very foundation: the value-form, which turns everything and everyone into a commodity, whose fate is determined by the market. They want a revolution that puts humans in control of their fate. A revolution that uproots capitalism, that comes from below and sweeps away all the building blocks of capitalist society, all the national, ethnic, racial, religious, boundaries that divide us; a revolution in which the self-organization of the working masses in struggle broadens into the self-organization of a society in which things are produced for human needs, not for profit.
This revolution starts from below, with young people in Athens deciding in general assemblies to take back the streets, with workers in China and Korea fighting off the police, with workers in France proclaiming their refusal to accept responsibility for the crisis, with unemployed construction workers in Cleveland entering vacant homes and making them livable for homeless families…In all these examples, laws were broken. Cracks appeared. These cracks will multiply. More important than what is immediately lost, or gained in these struggles, is that they are steps in the development of the consciousness of the necessity and the possibility of revolution. In this process, pro-revolutionaries, those who see that the dynamic of these acts of resistance implies the uprooting of capitalism, are an important component. The clear articulation of the negative critique of capitalism becomes a potent accelerating factor when it is felt in the practical struggle. Pro-revolutionaries must participate in this struggle. Their understanding of the past – the defeats, the pitfalls of the struggle -- and of the potential for the future, leads them to speak out.
But too often those pro-revolutionaries don’t take that responsibility seriously enough. They too suffer the alienation produced by capitalism. Too often they are “selling” themselves, individually or as an organization. They lose themselves in petty squabbles far removed from the actual reality, in rivalry and in competition. This has to stop.
In light of the stakes raised by the present crisis, Internationalist Perspective launched an appeal to all those who share the negative critique of capitalism and thus the same internationalist revolutionary outlook: abandon sectarianism, stop competing, recognize that you share the same goal, recognize that nobody has a patent on the truth, recognize that if you are to really play a revolutionary role, you will need more clarity than you have now; recognize that this clarity requires you to reexamine your dogmas, realize that only by discussing fraternally and working together, can the pro-revolutionary voice become stronger.
To discuss with us the state of capitalism’s crisis, the potential for resistance to it, IP’s appeal and the reactions to it, and more generally the question, “What to do?,” we invite you to come to a
at: TRS suites, 44 East 32nd Street (between Park and Madison), Manhattan.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 7 PM.
Other groups who share our negative critique of capitalism are invited to present their views and there will be ample time for general discussion.