Sunday, October 05, 2008

On Workers Asset Liquidation Committees Today


On October 1, 2008 I commented in an entry entitled Fantastic Musings On The Financial Meltdown- Are We Prepared To Lead The Struggle For State Power that one of our demand today, a transitional demand if you will, should be to call for the establishment of workers committees to liquidate the assets of bankrupt companies and distribute them to the workers. I have taken a little heat from a couple of comrades over my formulation. I purposefully placed this demand in the context of the need for us to take a more aggressively agitational approach during this period, an exceptional time of capitalist economic chaos when we can get a hearing from working people looking for SOME way out of this nightmare.

The gist of the criticism of my position was that I was “defeatist” in that what is called for today is workers control of the companies. Under a workers government, which by the way is not going to spring forth today, that is the correct demand. Under capitalist conditions with no realistic prospect of a workers government on the horizon- and here I intend to be humorous- workers, take the money and run. Fast.

Look, our whole reason for existence as socialists is that we believe that this capitalist/imperialist system is fundamentally flawed and that it needs to be replaced by a more equitable society based, at the start, on socialist economic planning in the spirit of social solidarity rather than greed. No serious reader of this space should disagree with that general premise. The point is how to get that message out in a way that people can relate to. We, rightly, had (and have) not interest in bailouts, rescues or other remedies that would put a bandage on this broken down financial system. We call for a big NO vote on that issue. Again there should be no dispute on this. But hear me out.

Whether we socialists have developed a propaganda circle mentality or not, as I noted in the above-mentioned previous entry, we still need to deal with today’s social reality as we shift gears and become more agitational in our work as OUR political prospects brighten. The demand for workers committees to take control of liquidation of assets is directly counterposed to what is happening today as larger financial institutions are gobbling up smaller companies at fire sale prices. That is leaving untold workers without jobs, pensions, personal assets, etc. So companies fail- those things happen by hook or by crook under capitalism- we are in no position today to affect that. We ARE in a position to speak on behalf of those who suffer the consequences of this crisis in order to see that they get some minimal relief. Moreover this demand, and here is the real historic point, lets working people get to take things, even if in a negative way, into their own hands. That is worth raising the slogan for by itself.

Lastly, we have no interest in the imperialists’ capitalist nationalization schemes. This, essentially, is what the Freddie Mae and Fannie Mae deals were about. We socialists have all sorts of positions on nationalizations, when we support or call for them as well as, and under what conditions we defend them, depending of who is doing the nationalization and for what purposes. A quick review of recent history, as always, tells the tale. The Cuban Revolution’s nationalizations (and expropriations) of, mainly, American properties, we supported with both hands. Right? The same is true with any such efforts with the oil under Chavez in Venezuela. And we, moreover, defend those actions against attempts by the imperialists to take them back. No question. We neither supported nor called for the nationalizations of the (bankrupt) coal industrial under capitalist control state in Great Britain after World War II. We did, however, defend against Prime Minister Thatcher’s bloody attempts to de-nationalize these mines in the 1980’s. That will give a flavor of what a correct policy should be. Once again this position calls forth not the need for capitalist nationalizations but, in effect, the need to create workers committees to liquidate assets rather than to solidify the capitalists in their current strategies to save THEIR system.

1 comment:

  1. I think the term state capitalist best describes the bailout.

    I like your idea,