On the 1st October 2013 the US Federal government went into partial shutdown, apparently due to a failure to pass a new budget. 800 000 federal employees were sent home and a further 1.3 million were ordered to work without any guarantee that they would be paid.
The US economy is in deep crisis
Wages of male workers in the US have not increased since 1962, which reflects the deep state of crisis in the US economy. Much of the manufacturing industry has shut down and the work sent, by US corporations, to slave labour in China. Even the small industrial base that there is, the military industrial complex, in under severe pressure. The military budget for 2013 was cut by $46 bn. Even the multi-trillion dollar wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were financed through loans. The military budget will have cuts of $500 bn over the next 10 years. Thus the US economy is based mainly on the service sector, ie through pure parasitism on the extraction of surplus product (profits) from the rest of the world. The rate of plunder by US corporations and banks around the world is coming under threat due to the global rebellion of the masses.
Thus there are signs that the US imperialist empire, much like the Roman empire in its last days, is about to implode. The Roman empire, in its last days, was no longer based on expansion of production, but on the naked theft and destruction of the productive forces in its outer conquered lands. There are over 3000 US military bases around the world that oversee the theft and plunder and destruction by US banks and corporations. The wars in the DRC and the Central African Republic are examples of the destruction of the productive forces as imperialism rakes in the wealth of the land.
Since 1917 the debt ceiling for maximum borrowing has had to be raised 72 times. So what is different now? The destruction of real production in the USA has led to a situation where, even if taxes on the worker is raised and massive cuts take place in social expenditure, there will not be enough funds available to cover the debt payments to the banks that the US government is controlled by. The US state has to borrow just to pay off the interest on the debt; it has to borrow just to pay the military expenses. So if the debt ceiling is not raised, the US government will default on its debt to the banks. Rather than not pay the banks, the US government prefers to put workers on short time (furlough), ie send them home without pay.
The 1% is divided as to how to maintain control over the masses
The mass media has portrayed the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans as being over the ‘Affordable Health care’ plan- supposedly the Republicans want to remove state funding for it and make the worker pay its full cost, while the Democrats want the state to pay a portion of the health care plan. The main beneficiaries of the health care plan are the health insurance companies who are owned by the same banks that control the US regime. So there is no difference in allegiance between the Democrats and Republicans- both are loyal servants of big capital. So why the fight?
There is a real difference over tactics as to how best control the masses- the Democrats reflect that faction of big capital that says: The US military budget is the size of all the other military budgets of all the other countries in the world, put together. They say, there is no serious competitor anywhere in the world. The US military budget is 6 times the size of the next country, China and the EU is even much smaller than that of China. To the Democrats, the major threat is from the US masses themselves, and thus there is a need to make a show of some benefits and to make the cuts in social expenses more gradual. The Democrats favour a bigger cut in the military expenses.
The Republican faction of the imperialist bourgeoisie, on the other hand, say that the US regime has always been able to deal with any threat through brute force and thus the military budget needs to be sustained and expanded so that the repressive forces are at the ready to smash any threat whenever and wherever it raises its head. The Republicans therefore, are for a more accelerated cut of social expenditure, relying on the repressive apparatus to be ready to crack down on any resistance.
The Democrats do not hold the key
The biggest industry in the world, if not the second biggest, is the military industrial complex. The military industry is the core of modern capitalism. Deep cuts in military expenditure will leave the capitalists in this sector very unhappy. No capitalist will want a fall in profits. Cuts in military expenses will also put more pressure on rank and file soldiers and increase the chances of a revolt against the regime. Already there is deep disquiet in the military as demonstrated by Manning and Snowden revolting against the very essence of US imperialism. The families of the soldiers who died in Iraq feel abandoned- they only received $12 000 as a ‘thank you’ once the body arrived back home. Many veterans marched in the streets as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement and threw their war medals away. A slower cut in social expenses will not hide that no new jobs are being created in the US- it only, at best, attempts to postpone the coming revolt of the masses.
The Republicans also have no answer
On the other hand, sustaining the military and accelerating social cuts will lead to increasing revolts against the state. No state can control only through force. They need a base in the population to sustain its existence. There is no artificial divide between the US military and the rest of the population. The soldiers have families and these families will be hit by accelerated cuts. Thus in the case of a widespread revolt, the rank and file soldier will be torn between the command of the generals and loyalty to his/her family. The army may split if used against the masses. The myth of the American dream will, ironically, lead to the soldier to revolt against the generals and the 1%- this is not what America stands for, he/she will say.
A pre-revolutionary situation is developing in the USA
A split in the ruling class is one of the conditions for a revolutionary situation to develop; a second condition is the loss of trust of the masses in the apparatus and its leading parties- polls put blame on Republicans at 19% , blame on the Democrats as being at 16%, but blame on them both at 46% of the population. Thus a huge section of the masses are breaking from both of the main parties and do not trust them. Whatever step is taken- a temporary agreement or even no agreement, will lead to greater mass revolt. The basis is there for a much greater and deeper revolt than the Occupy Wall Street movement. Already, 80% or more of the masses have said no to any imperialist invasion anywhere- they are the ones who threatened the regime if they dared attack Syria. The masses are asking who benefitted from the trillions borrowed for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars- certainly not them, so why should they support any other war in their name.
But if the masses rise up against the regime, however heroic they may be, without a revolutionary working class party, the struggle will eventually be defeated. Thus the main tasks to advance the struggle for Socialism are as follows:
· The formation of a revolutionary working class party in the USA and immediate steps to build links with the workers in all the countries plundered by US imperialism
· This means steps towards the setting up of a revolutionary International
· The setting up of workers committees in workplaces, mines, farms and factories- electing delegates, subject to instant recall, irrespective of being permanent or part-time, local or immigrant
· For a determined struggle for the expulsion of the current union bureaucracy, breaking the unions from the Democratic party
· The formation of an Occupy White House movement.
We remember, in 1963 Martin Luther King turned the mass revolt against the system, from a fight against the White House, to a peace march to the Lincoln monument. The time has come to bury these decades of betrayal, let all workers and rank and file soldiers join hands to fundamentally change this system. Forward to working class power! Forward to Socialism!
Workers International Vanguard Party WIVP, 1st Floor, Community House, 41 Salt River rd, Salt River, 7925 South Africa ph or sms 27 822020617 email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.workersinternational.org.za ; we are also on facebook