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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 11/5/19

The Fall of the Neoliberal Order is Drastically Accelerating

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For the last half century, the capitalist world has existed in a turbo-charged, exaggerated form that leads it towards boom and bust in even more extreme ways than it was in the past. This uniquely unsustainable stage of capitalism, called neoliberalism, has vindicated the following assessment in Joseph Stalin's The Foundations of Leninism : "Lenin called imperialism 'moribund capitalism.' Why? Because imperialism carries the contradictions of capitalism to their last bounds, to the extreme limit, beyond which revolution begins."

With the anti-colonial and anti-capitalist protests in Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, and other parts of the Third World, just such a revolution is now happening. Technically, the revolution that imperialism provoked began long ago; during what can be considered the first wave of anti-capitalist revolutions, which spanned from the French revolution of 1789 to the Paris Commune of 1871, major reactions began to happen in response to the contradictions of capitalism. The second wave, which spanned from the Russian revolution of 1917 to the Sandinista revolution of 1979, numerous countries and regions were successfully turned socialist or decolonized.

The third wave of revolution is going to be defined by the global worker-peasant response to the catastrophe of neoliberalism, which has driven hundreds of millions of people into poverty as worldwide inequality has skyrocketed in the last several decades. And in appropriate parallel with the fact that the Haitian uprising of 1791 was the first successful anti-colonialist revolution, this coming new series of revolutions is arguably beginning in Haiti. The West has weaponized neoliberalism to effectively recolonize Haiti, with Haitians suffering under brutal austerity policies. So now Hatians are in the streets to shut down their unjust society and force through a new government.

These events are part of a worldwide unraveling of the neoliberal order, one that's going to leave the world dramatically reshaped. Neoliberalism is unsustainable by nature, and it's inevitably going to continue on a path of collapse that started with the Great Recession. It's facilitated such obscene inequality, created such instability within financial markets, done so much to exacerbate the collapse of the U.S. empire, and done so much damage to the climate that there's no possible way it can return the world to the stability of the 20th century. Neoliberalism has been a mad dash by the global elite for maximum profits, one that's perfectly fulfilled all the classic warnings about capitalism: Karl Marx' prediction that capitalism will eventually consume itself, Karl Kautsky's prediction about the future being either socialism or barbarism, and Lenin's prediction about the extreme contradictions of imperialist capitalism leading to revolution.

These communist teachings help us make sense of a world that seems increasingly bleak and chaotic. The 21st century's catastrophes are symptoms of a process of collapse that objective thinkers have long foreseen would happen under capitalism. Once you understand the Marxist analysis of neoliberalism and its unraveling, you can also understand the Marxist solutions to the crisis of neoliberalism.

Marxism is the idea that society needs to transition away from capitalism and towards a new classless, stateless system, which is called communism. The practical way to make this transition, as articulated by Marxism-Leninism, is for communists to seize control of the governments they live under so that they can make the proletariat rather than the bourgeoisie into the shapers of policy. This middle step, the one where the proletariat takes control of the state apparatus as a defense against attacks from the world's remaining capitalists, is one that's already been reached in China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, the DPRK, and perhaps next Venezuela or Bolivia.

How do we get the capitalist countries to the same point as these nations? By getting people involved in communist organizing through educating them about the class dynamics of our neoliberal crises. In The Foundations of Leninism, Stalin went on to write that there are three main contradictions in the functioning of imperialist capitalism, ones that we communists should mention as we try to get the victims of neoliberalism on our side.

He described the first of these contradictions as the one between what he called labor and capital-by which he meant the discrepancy between the work that proletarians can put into improving their living conditions, and the reality that imperialist capitalism will always keep them under the domination of society's ruling institutions.

In what today would be a perfect assessment of society under neoliberalism, he wrote that "Imperialism is the omnipotence of the monopolist trusts and syndicates, of the banks and the financial oligarchy, in the industrial countries." People can work hard, but most of them will never make it out of the underclass, and trying to make things better by voting in bourgeois elections will never bring fundamental change. Therefore, the only option of the proletariat is to overthrow the system. Under neoliberalism, this contradiction gets ever more glaring as income inequality gets more and more extreme.

The second contradiction is the one of "the various financial groups and imperialist Powers in their struggle for sources of raw materials, for foreign territory." Stalin observed that amid imperialism, different corporations and capitalist nations inevitably enter into conflict over who gets to exploit what. One can see parallels to today in the rivalry between Russia's capitalist oligarchs and the Western capitalists, and in the competition between Chinese companies and American ones.

Amid neoliberalism and the decline of the U.S. empire, this dynamic of capitalist competition is leading to resurgent socialism in both the Western nations and inRussia. And the Chinese Communist Party, with its strategic incorporation of capitalist markets, has taken advantage of this dynamic to strengthen China's economy and ultimately further the cause of Chinese socialism. The West, of course, is being further weakened by this process of China's economic rise.

The third contradiction is the one that appears when the imperialist nations subjugate and exploit the countries that have been colonized. So many empires have fallen because the people of the conquered countries have rebelled, and the American empire is once again showing this. The increasingly successful Palestinian rebellion against America's crucial foreign policy ally Israel, the loss of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia to the forces of socialist anti-colonialism, and the rebellions against the neo-colonialist regimes in Iraq, Chile, Haiti, Ecuador, and elsewhere are weakening the U.S. empire.

The catalyst for Venezuela and Bolivia's embrace of socialism, as well as the cause of the current protests throughout U.S.-aligned Third World nations, has been the rise of neoliberalism in these countries. The proletarians throughout these places have been prompted by the extreme contradictions of imperialism to carry out revolution.

The unraveling of neoliberalism shows just how unstable capitalism is. Capitalism hasn't been in existence for half as long as the Roman empire did, and throughout most of capitalism's history there's been a steady pattern of uprisings from the people it's colonized and subjugated. The U.S. empire, which is capitalism's greatest epicenter for exerting imperial control, hasn't been able to last a little over a hundred years as a global empire before beginning to fall into disarray. And neoliberalism, despite the image of utopian invincibility that its adherents have cultivated around it, hasn't lasted half a century before provoking a third wave of revolutions.

 

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution.

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5 people are discussing this page, with 14 comments  Post Comment


Lew Weingarth

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Great article, thanks for your service.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 1:22:41 PM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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This is a short recapitulation of capitalism we know. It presents liberal capitalism in dark light, which it deserves. However, the escape from liberal capitalism based on Marxism is entirely wrong. It has proved that it does not work. Moreover, the elite has supported Marxism to make sure that nothing can replace capitalism. And they succeeded in it.

Capitalism can be a much better social system than today and socialism is an unavoidable replacement. Socialism will not come by revolutionary force but by the evolutionary improvement of capitalism. Socialism will be based on equal human rights and the market economy. It will be a significantly better system and more productive than capitalism can be, so that it will send capitalism down in history.

I wrote about it here.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 2:38:55 PM

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John Zwiebel

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An interesting perspective.

I would encourage you to not use the term marxism so prolifically. And I don't see how the rich support Marx. And one can talk about marxist doctrine without saying "Marx". All this is just an attempt to help you sell your thesis not to say you're wrong.

It seems pretty obvious to me that Sanders, Gabbard and Warren are already following your prescription. Medicare for All, Free College, Affordable housing are all universal goals that "the people" want. The problem is convincing them that they can, indeed have these things without the world falling apart and without complete abandonment of Capitalism. And every time someone brings up Marx, or Communism and quite often Socialism (although I think that once voters equate Social Security etc with Socialism they'll be more accepting of the label) voters have a Pavlovian Response that has been instilled in them for over 150 years and they reject anyone who talks about these labels or whom the Republicans apply these labels to. Of course, this labeling has no basis in fact, but that's the point isn't it.

As someone who actually enjoyed working the 60+ hours/week in my tech job, I see a problem with your prescription to pay people more for working fewer hours. Perhaps for a job as a janitor or cashier this might work, but in tech the problem is called the "mythical man-month". The job can't be done by two people, it takes one, with a lot of dedication, to figure it out. If you try to divide it up, then there has to be negotiation on how to divide it and who will be responsible for it, which then requires a manager because someone has to keep track of who's doing what.

To be sure, I may be talking about a special kind of attention to a special kind of problem. But I don't see you giving it any attention at all and thereby your entire premise starts to fall apart. Not totally, but just enough that it can be rejected.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 8:50:33 PM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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Thank you for your response. I cannot see where the problem is? The division of work already exists, and it changes frequently following the demands of the market. I was in computer technology and can say that every tech problem has a solution.

As society develops, the changes in the division of labour will be more significant and faster, and we need to prepare ourselves for it. I wrote about it in my book Humanism, but in this article, I put the weight on justice.

The historical example of Black Death showed that one-third loss of work power increased demand for workers, which increased their salaries 2-3 times within one year. It went on expenses of the owners of the land. The wages of well-paid servicemen, of course, did not grow that much, if any.

The point is it brought justice to society, which developed the economy and the nation economically prospered.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 10:05:38 PM

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John Zwiebel

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I was talking about two different problems.


1) the labels you use are too easily attacked.


2) the kind of job that can be done by more people working fewer hours. I did post that Microsoft Experiment that suggests I'm wrong, but I still maintain that mythical man-month idea because I've seen it in operation. Several additional people were placed on the project I was working on, and most of them did nothing, while the few who knew what was needed carried the load. I'm not trying to say this is universal, only that you don't address it in your paper.


WRT the Black Death, I've heard some predictions that mankind will be extinct by 2030 (Guy McPherson), while others (NatGeo if I recall correctly) suggest that 3B people will starve by 2050. Perhaps you need a better example. :-) No one wants to think of themself being the one who is eliminated so that survivors can reap a better income.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 10:57:06 PM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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1. I can defend any attack on my labels.

2. You are talking about a specific management problem not related to my article.

3. The point is shortening work hours by 1/3 will result in the same wages increase as Black Death did after killing 1/3 of the European population in the 14th century.

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019 at 12:37:29 AM

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John Zwiebel

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Well, this Microsoft Experiment seems to contradict my point. I note though they did not hire more people. And in my case, and that of the people I worked most closely with, this change would just give me more opportunity to work from home. (Something I did for the last two years of work.)


But it can be looked at in a way that supports your thesis.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 9:40:40 PM

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Peter Frank

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Super great article. Thank you.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 5:32:40 PM

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John Zwiebel

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And here Robert Reich explains how UBI is inevitable. Something that you ignore in your article.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 9:22:30 PM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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Shorter work hours are enough to create a just distribution of salaries and to create a just economy and just society.

UBI is not necessary for these purposes even though I believe it will be accepted in a distant future.

Right now, UBI is a big deception created by the rich to make the impression they care about people. After a lot of useless talks, the conclusion will come that UBI is a good idea, but there is no money for it:-)

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 10:17:58 PM

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John Zwiebel

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Who are the "rich" who are creating the deception. Name names. There's no money for anything, until the Treasury prints it. But if your point is that no one understands money, then I agree.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 at 10:48:05 PM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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In the article The Conspiracy of the World Exposed I gave the answer to your questions.

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019 at 12:40:05 AM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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I agree that the liberal order declines the quality of social life but there is nothing that might replace it and bring benefits to society. This is because authorities have prevented good ideas from ever. All we can do is trying to regulate the existing policy which requires a lot of struggles and the result cannot bring enough satisfaction to people.

My philosophy based on equal human rights presented in two simple meassures can change it from the foundation. The first one is shorter work hours presented in the link above and the second is democratic anarchy.

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019 at 11:44:57 AM

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Becky Comstock

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A mere thirty years ago, and yet the author appears to want to return to that past:

On Nov. 9, 1989, large crowds of German citizens from both East and West Berlin approached the Berlin Wall. At several border crossing points, East Berliners began shouting at the armed communist guards, demanding they open the gates and shove aside barbed wire obstacles.

The confused guards yielded and disappeared. The gleeful crowds from the communist East and the free West mingled and mixed, occasionally waving at television cameras. Young men whacked at the wall's hideous concrete with pick axes and sledge hammers, then passed the tools to other eager hands.....

.....The Kremlin couldn't spin the dramatic photographs and video of Nov. 9. The palpable joy overwhelmed the jailers and their propagandists, and even stunned to silence their usually vocal Marxist sympathizers in the West. Middle-aged fraus laughing at the wall's mounting rubble as teenagers danced beneath abandoned guard towers visibly and undeniably signaled the collapse of the Soviet Union's Eastern European empire.

In its first "post-wall" issue, the German magazine Der Spiegel described the breach of the Berlin Wall with a short headline: "Das Volk Siegt" (the people win, the nation is victorious).

That is certainly true. A majority of Germans locked in the Stalinist eastern sector never lost hope, at least not entirely. A majority of Germans in the NATO-protected west didn't lose hope, either -- nor, despite harsh repression, did Poles (Solidarity movement, 1980), Hungarians (revolt, 1956), Czechs and Slovaks (Prague Spring, 1968) and the other nations enslaved by communism......

......Nov. 9, 1989, was a victory for freedom, but it would not have been possible without America and American perseverance. America carried the burden of leadership; American soldiers bore the brunt of defending freedom. American leadership and active defense kept hope alive -- the hope that empowered Eastern Europe's oppressed.

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 10, 2019 at 4:22:05 PM

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