People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 48

November 29, 2009



'Wage Offensive Struggles against Rule of Capital'

N S Arjun


THE 11th international meeting of communist and workers parties began with a stirring call from the leadership to convert the ongoing defensive struggles against neo-liberal policies into offensive struggles against the rule of capital. Irrespective of the intensity of the crisis, capitalism does not automatically collapse and it needs to be overthrown. It was also asserted that socialism is the alternative.


The proceedings of the inaugural session began on November 20, 2009 in New Delhi with rendering of revolutionary songs including Internationale by the cultural troupe Parcham and singer Sumangla. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and head, international department, Sitaram Yechury presented the theme of the meeting 'The international capitalist crisis, the workers and peoples' struggle, the alternatives and the role of the communist and working class movement'. He began saying that no matter what the intensity of the crisis, capitalism cannot collapse by itself until an alternative emerges to it. In fact, as Marx had pointed out there is a possibility of it emerging stronger if there is no alternative. In this context he hoped the discussions in the present meeting would help the process of strengthening such a political alternative to capitalism.


Yechury debunked the propaganda that this capitalist crisis is a result of 'greed' of some individuals and quoted Marx who said such crises are inherent to the dynamics of the capitalist system that is based on human exploitation. He also asserted that no amount of tinkering with the system would save it from its ultimate demise. The present efforts undertaken by the governments would only postpone this eventuality but can never prevent it.


The different phases of capitalism are determined by the unfolding of fundamental laws of capitalist development and attendant levels of capital accumulation and importantly within the political conjuncture where this is happening. He cited how in the immediate post-war period, imperialism resorted to State intervention to manage capitalism and thereby meet the threat of socialism at a time when the balance of class forces favoured socialism. This allowed capitalism to go through an unprecedented boom which led to massive levels of capital accumulation eventually through the internationalisation of finance capital. This set the stage for the emergence of a new � the current � phase of imperialism that is marked by imperialism's quest for profit maximisation aided by colossal levels of capital accumulation. Making an analysis of contemporary imperialism, Yechury explained how intensified exploitation through new attacks and reordering of world for increased profits is being undertaken through neo-liberalism. The structural conditionalities imposed by the IMF and World Bank while disbursing loans ensured compliance to neo-liberal reforms. The WTO is also similarly used, especially in the current Doha round negotiations, for further prising open the markets of the world for imperialist profit maximisation.


Yechury warned that a much graver systemic crisis is impending apart from the periodical crisis that will continuously erupt under neo-liberal globalisation. The USA in order to maintain the stability of its currency is accumulating a massive current account deficit vis-a-vis other capitalist economies, mainly because dollar is the stable medium of wealth holding. As of October 16, 2009 the total deficit of the US economy reached a massive $1.42 trillion while in 2008 it was $706 billion. This, Yechury felt, is not an inherently stable situation because if those holding dollars decide to shift to some other currency due to its weakness, then the plunge in the dollar's standing and consequently of the US economy and would send the entire capitalist system into a profound crisis. The indications of such an impending crisis are already available with the dollar losing nearly 11 per cent of its value in recent months, he said. And the US to deal with this slide is pressurising other countries to revalue their currencies, particularly China and other Asian economies which hold huge reserves of dollars. This, it hopes, would cushion its burgeoning current account deficit. But, for these economies it may mean an economic slump and sharp deflation. This would bring the entire global capitalist system to the brink of a major crisis, felt Yechury. He underlined that irrespective of how the current crisis is overcome, a major systemic crisis for world capitalism is in the offing.


The USA would seek to thwart such a crisis by intensifying exploitation through its accompanying political and military might. The ongoing military offensive is bound to continue and intensify in order to delay the onset of the imminent crisis to world capitalism. This would be accompanied by an intense ideological war against communism. The current monopolisation of the sphere of human intellectual activity and the control over dissemination of information through the corporate media are deployed in the ideological offensive against any critique or alternative to capitalism, he said. This is complemented by the cultural hegemony of globalisation which seeks to divorce people from their actual realities of day-to-day life, diverting them from pressing problems of poverty and misery.


At the same time, Yechury drew attention to the rising resistance to such growing imperialist hegemonic efforts. He however noted that much of the struggles launched by the working class and the exploited sections have been defensive in nature, i.e. defending their existing rights from greater encroachment by neo-liberalism. He called for converting these defensive struggles into offensive struggles against the rule of capital. Clear cut alternatives are instruments for mobilising people for these struggles. He ended by saying that irrespective of the intensity of the crisis, capitalism does not automatically collapse. It needs to be overthrown. He debunked the claims of no alternative to capitalism and asserted that socialism is the alternative.


Pallab Sengupta, secretary of international department of CPI, in his welcome address thanked the working group of communist and workers parties for chosing to hold this meeting for the first time in Asia, in New Delhi, which has always been a centre of political activity. He mentioned about the volatile international situation where people at large have become victims of imperialist aggression, occupation, subjugation as well as the unprecedented economic crisis which is jeopardising the lives of common people. The crisis demonstrates the sharpening of the main contradiction of capitalism between its social nature of production and individual capitalist appropriation. Debunking the campaign that there is no alternative to capitalism, he mentioned about the increasing struggles of the people against the capitalist system. New ways and means are being devised to intensify the struggle for change, for a better world order. �There is an alternative to capitalism� is the battle cry world over, he said. Sengupta concluded by stressing that the present situation demands the best coordination and unity in actions of the communist and workers parties of the world.


The general secretaries of both the CPI(M) and the CPI, Prakash Karat and  A B Bardhan along with leaders from the Portuguese Communist Party, Communist Party of Greece, Communist Party of Russian Federation, Communist Party of Brazil, Lebanese Communist Party were present on the dais.