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The Anti-Water Alliance Is A Bourgeois Movement.

category national | bin tax / household tax / water tax | opinion/analysis author Tuesday October 14, 2014 11:40author by Paddy Hackett Report this post to the editors

One Issue Campaigns Are Not A challenge To Capitalism

Single issue demands such as the movement against water rates hold back the class struggle by suggesting that capitalism can continue in the absence of these charges or taxes. This is because such demands are not embedded in a programme of an interlinked series of demands that challenges the capitalist system.


Wages as the price of labour power is a flexible form. It can fluctuate above and below its value. However on average its price corresponds to the value of labour power. In periods of prosperity when there is accelerated accumulation of capital it tends to rise above its value. During downturns the price of labour power tends to fall below its value. Overall it tends on average to coincide with the value of labour power. The wage struggle which tends to be strongest in an upswing is a factor in determining its price.

Now there are periods in which wages increase without correspondingly diminishing surplus value. This happens in upswings when there have been increases in productivity. Otherwise when wages rise surplus value is correspondingly decreased. If relative wages improve for the working class there may come a time when because of the consequent fall in the general rate of profit investment correspondingly falls off leading to a corresponding fall in employment. Under these conditions wage rise tend to slow down and even stop.

Wages can never rise to such an extent that it leads to an end to the surplus value production. Under these conditions capitalism would cease to exist thereby leading to the abolition of the wage form itself. Capital accumulation is the independent variable while wage is the dependent variable. It is capital that ultimately regulates wages --not the reverse. Wages is an effect not a cause. However there are those under the illusion that capitalism can be abolished by an offensive wage struggle that successfully raises wages to such degree that it brings the existence of surplus value to an end thereby bringing capitalism to an end.

The working class engage in defensive and offensive wage struggles to prevent the price of labour power relentlessy falling below its value. However it can never be turned into a revolutionary struggle to overturn capitalism. Because no matter how successful the wage struggle is its success only leads to growing unemployment and consequently the eventual end to rising wages. It is a struggle whose limits are contained within capitalist parameters. Wage struggles may be an indication of growing class consciousness and rebelliousness among the working class. However they can never serve as a form of revolutionary struggle. Nevertheless they are a form of class struggle. Furthermore they can be broader than strike action assuming a more political character in order to make their struggle for a wage increase more effective.

However beside wage struggles strike action can have a political character. Striking work can have a revolutionary character. Such strike action if strong and widespread enough can form part part of a strategy to overthrow capitalism. These are political strikes. Syndicalism views the sustained general strike as a key weapon in the overthrowal of capitalism. Political strikes can have more defined targets such as a fight for a reduction in certain taxes.

It is clear that generally strikes are an inherent part of the class struggle at its most local and defensive to its most universal and offensive. Strike action is a significant and important component of the class struggle at all levels. However it must be stressed that wage struggles in themselves can never effect the abolition of capitalism. The wage form is a capitalist social relation of production. This is the trade unions that lead wage struggles represent a narrow form of struggle that accepts the "boundaries of capitalism".

State Spending

The struggle against the cutbacks against state spending that benefits the working class form a legitimate part of the class struggle. It is a struggle to defend the current living standards of the working class. Such struggles must be conducted in the context of a revolutionary challenge to capitalism. This entails the combination of agitation and propaganda within the working class.

However struggles to socially expand the state suggests that the problems of the working class can be solved within capitalism --within a restructured capitalism. Such struggles dont form a challenge to capitalism and instead demonstrate support for the capitalist state. Parties such as the Socialist Party and the SWP are guilty of this and are thereby pro-capitalist. The point is that capitalism cannot solve the problems of the working class. If it could then communism would not be a historical necessity. There, then, would be no need for social revolution. Consequently calls for the expansion of the capitalist state are reactionary by nature because they create and generate illusions in capitalism. They pave the way for future defeats of the working class. The task is the abolition of the capitalist state not its expansion. Even the ruling class was to meet such demands as more state housing for impoverished layers of the working class this would mean more state borrowing and consequently more taxation imposed on the working class or cutbacks in other areas that adversely affect the living standards of the working class. Ultimately the working class would have essentially gained nothing. The upshot would have been merely the redistribution of wealth among the working class. This is because contemporary capitalism cannot expand the state sector due to its inability to produce sufficient surplus value. It needs to shrink the state as opposed to expanding it in order to redistribute surplus value towards the capitalist class. In that way it hopes that the scale of the accumulation of capital will increase.

The call for the abolition of water rates is a populist demand when presented on its own. Even if water rates are abolished the government will draw this revenue from other sources that adversely impact on the working class. Consequently the campaign to abolish water rates will have been just a waste of proletarian energy even if successful. Just the creation of another illusion. The fight against water rates must form part of a unified programme against capitalism and its state. This means that demands such as the abolition of water rates do not have a dislocated character. These demands must be organically linked together. In this way the fight against capitalism has a centralised as opposed to a fragmented form that culminates in the dissipation of the energy of the working class and thereby abject failure. The Anti Austerity Alliance fought the South West bye election opportunistically on the single issue of the water charge. The communist programme is an "interlinked system" as opposed to a thinly disguised collection of isolated demands. In this way no illusions in capitalism are promoted. The task of the communist is to present particular demands in the immediate struggles of the masses within the context of the fight of the programme as a whole. This will mean agitation within a particular struggle for a demand whilst making propaganda for this programme as a whole

On the other hand single issue demands such as the movement against water rates hold back the class struggle by suggesting that capitalism can continue in the absence of these charges or taxes. This is because such demands are not embedded in a programme of an interlinked series of demands that challenges the capitalist system.

A little of the above draws on the Manifesto of the LRCI.

Related Link: http://paddy-hackett.blogspot.com
author by fredpublication date Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good luck going toe to toe matching propaganda with the capitalists Paddy!!
They own/control all the newspapers, most of the main internet sites and the state broadcaster
(and pretty much every other broadcaster on the sky EPG. They got rid of Press TV and RT is under pressure.)

Western capitalist military exceptionalist propaganda permeates everything in society. Every episode in every tv series, every video game, every advertisement, every blockbuster movie. Even the very use of language in every newspaper article and most of the books printed. We are immersed daily from dawn to dusk in a veritable bath of propaganda. How can you hope to match that Paddy?

Like I say, best of luck there. I believe it's just not possible to have either revolution or for that matter anything even approaching real democracy as long as the propaganda is so all pervasive and strongly controlled by the capitalist / militaristic elites. In fact these days, it's hard to even have a conversation about this kind of thing without being quickly slapped down by one of your brainwashed fellow slaves as a "conspiracy nutter" or some similar witty epithet. After a certain time we begin to repeat and reinforce the propaganda memes amongst ourselves. We become our own jailers and the lies become the fabric of our very own Orwellian false reality. You could probably even refer to it as "the matrix"

So Paddy (or is it neo?) are you "the one"? ;-)

I jest, but the reality is grim. Our environment which sustains us and our very lives are at stake here and it's actually not funny at all.
Now I don't have much time for disinformation jockeys like Alex Jones but the term "Prison planet" often seems rather apt.

author by KMpublication date Tue Oct 14, 2014 14:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Paddy never had a connection with ordinary day to day struggles of workers.

He is totally divirced from the reality of class struggle and how engaging in that battle wins you an audience for your ideas.

Time to reform the Revolutionary Trotskyist Group .

author by Luke Eastwoodpublication date Tue Oct 14, 2014 21:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Most people who were there at the water march would probably not want to read your article, it's too high-brow and as previous comment suggested - the not very real world analysis of a theoretical dissident. Most people know that Capitalism is only serving a small minority, but they don't expect to bring the system crashing down. They will settle for what they can actually achieve instead of dreaming about a non-capitalist world. |t would be great if the whole system was gone, but how do you get rid of it? What do you replace it with - anarchy?

author by Larry Lightpublication date Wed Oct 15, 2014 03:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Fourth International, like the First, Second and Third that preceded it, has run its course. It seems that polemicists can't catch the attention of the general public. Maybe it's time to consider a Fifth International? For such a new enterprise to gain clout with the punters, the small scale farmers and low income wage earners, the language of its vociferous promoters would have to avoid split infinitives, hair splitting and sectional ideological splits. Splittists end up as tiny mutual admiration clubs, generating loud noise and getting a deafening response from a bored public.

author by fredpublication date Wed Oct 15, 2014 13:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

some info on 4th international for those who don't know what this is:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_International

What are your views on this Paddy?

author by KMpublication date Wed Oct 15, 2014 15:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Paddy founded the Revolutionary Trotskyist Group, now lost in the mists of time. It had 3 or 4 members. Amazon has a copy of their paper on sale.

Workers' Action Unknown Binding – January 1, 1981
by Revolutionary Trotskyist Group (Author)
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Product Details
Unknown Binding
Publisher: Revolutionary Trotskyist Group (January 1, 1981)
ASIN: B009A6RMFQ
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Related Link: http://www.amazon.com/Workers-Action-Revolutionary-Trotskyist-Group/dp/B009A6RMFQ
author by fredpublication date Wed Oct 15, 2014 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's not that I disagree with Paddy about the need to usurp capitalism before it's too late
if the ecosystem and the human race are to survive at all longer term in a dignified way.

I'm just pointing out that they control the means of propaganda as well as the means of production
with an iron fist at the moment, and that makes educating the masses about the true nature of capitalism
as a system an extremely difficult if not hopeless task for small groups of revolutionaries. And those small groups
squabbling amongst themselves and undermining each other seems all the more stupid and frustrating in the face of this.

The people are getting some information leaking out through the internet but even that is liberally mixed up with misinformation
and disinformation, (often planted by the paid agents of capitalism) which helps to discredit anything embarrassing that may emerge. Of course they can rely on a loyal media to ignore, spin or attenuate damaging facts and stories too.

It's not that a communist system working in the best interests of the people and the environment instead of serving the greed of the 1% as is currently the case for capitalism is not a more desirable state of affairs. It just seems a distant fantasy at this moment in time.

author by Larry Lightpublication date Wed Oct 15, 2014 23:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

@ KM

That's useful footnote stuff for the curious. I call it political archaeology, the slow digging up of shards and other relics from a long lost political miniculture.

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