The rise of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the decline of American imperialism

 

As we now know, American imperialism invaded Iraq under false pretences in 2003; and was on the whole supported by most of the US working class. Came the banking bailout in 2008, accompanied by massive job and housing losses, this support has largely been withdrawn, as seen by the growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the US there are today 3 million more unemployed since Obama came along; with 47 million qualifying as poor, and not everyone qualifies for unemployment pay. Millions are excluded from the National Health Insurance. It is said that American society today, has not been more unequal since the Great Depression. House prices in the US have increased by 160% over a 14 year period since 1997, having increased by 56% between 2007 and 2011, yet wages have either stagnated or been cut over this period. Many of the banks who were making huge profits from the artificially higher house prices, had to be bailed out when millions of workers and lower middle class defaulted on their mortgage repayments. Millions not only lost their homes, but still had to repay outstanding debts, as well as facing cuts in education and welfare benefits. The state seized part of workers’ pensions to bail out the banks who had been overcharging the masses. At the same time millions of workers were tossed out into the streets.

 

The deeper stagnation of the US and world economy since 1997 meant that while there was no meaningful increase in wealth production, the only way the monopoly capitalists could continue to make profits was through increased parasitism, through artificially higher housing, food, transport and electricity prices, through greater exploitation, through reducing the amount that had served to reproduce labour power itself, that is, through massive attacks on the living standards that workers had won over centuries. This planned execution through hunger and starvation of millions in the US and around the world is a reflection of the barbarism of the current phase of monopoly capitalism and indeed is what is fuelling the flames of revolution in the US and on a global scale.

 

Bailing out of the big international banks has spread to all the major imperialist countries (Britain, France, Germany, Japan, etc); all these have been stabbing their native working classes in the back, by closing down factories of every description, and have moved them to China over the last decades. All this while hypocritically brainwashing us into believing that they are concerned by the lack of human [read: workers’] rights in China. The battering which workers are being subjected to internationally, gives rise to resentments which have been mostly neutralised, up to now, by various pro-capitalist-imperialist agencies, by brutal military dictatorships on the one hand and from within the workers’ movement on the other, among which feature prominently so-called ‘communist’ parties eg in Syria there are 2 such parties. There are also those who pose as being on the left of the stalinist parties, many of whom land up supporting either the puppet dictators of imperialism or on the other hand, supporting, directly or indirectly, the forces of imperialism. The working class has begun to cast aside the pro-capitalist agencies. To pose the uprisings of the masses as being an ‘Arab Spring’ is to deliberately fudge and confuse what is a world phenomenon. The rise of the Occupy Wall street movement is clear evidence of this and its existence means that the balance of forces for the working class has begun to shift in its favour. This is because this bastion of imperialist reaction has started to crack.

 

Universal suffrage (parliamentarianism) has been exposed as of no use to the working class internationally; the capitalist state in the eyes of workers are squarely on the side of the ruling class everywhere. The police, the army, professors at universities, labour union leaderships, NGO’s bankrolled by capitalist funds, an assortment of pro-capitalist political parties, numerous capitalist funded think tanks of every description; all of these in tow to the capitalist-imperialist agenda.

 

The international significance of the Occupy Wall Street movement

 

The idea of the 1% as opposed to the 99% was born in North America where the working class has till very recently been duped into believing that the slaughtering that their ruling classes have visited on populations around the world, and in which they themselves have been maimed and slaughtered, was done in the name of ‘democracy’, whereas it was always benefiting mainly the 1%. With the bailing out of the biggest banks (which have a stranglehold over most of the world resources) and not of the working class; the blinkers have finally been removed from the eyes of the North American worker, on whom their ruling class depends. The financial muscle of these banks have given them controlling influence over governments and economies worldwide.

The upper middle class have always been an intrinsic part of the 1%. They constitute the top echelons of the banks, the mining houses, the business corporations generally. They include the generals and top layers in the army.

 

Now there is a waning support for this behemoth of reaction from its working class, without which the 1%, with its insatiable appetite for accumulating wealth, cannot ride roughshod over whole populations like they have been up to now. At work in the North American psyche as a completely new phenomenon is a growing hostility towards its ruling classes, as a direct result of the bank bailout from public funds while millions more have been dumped in poverty. That the tentacles of the major international banks with its power to rape economies worldwide, has hit a massive crisis; with the direct consequence that puppet regimes have been forced to put populations under increased pressure to contribute to the bailout of these banks. These banks are the biggest shareholders in all energy sources, be it oil, coal, gas, nuclear; food in all forms, etc. They, therefore, as part of the strategy to maintain their domination worldwide are ultimately behind the rise in prices, which are bankrupting the rest of us.

 

There exists today, a fundamentally changed world political situation and the ground is ripe for dumping the old Stalinist collaborators with imperialism and their puppet dictators, all over the world, but this time launching revolutionary working class-controlled parties. The American eagle, which has always represented the ruling classes only, has had its wings clipped and it now depends on the US workers to show their latent capacity to the world to build a revolutionary working class party, such as the world has not seen since October 1917. The power, and at once the possibilities for US workers and thus for workers the world over to create genuine revolutionary working class parties is shown in that the US 1% could not send troops on its own to Libya, or Egypt or Syria. Insofar as Syria is concerned, the world working classes should take note that the adjacent countries, namely, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, including all the members of the Arab League, whatever the public utterances by its political leaderships, are condoning the slaughter by the Assad regime; since, while the people are prepared to fight, proper armament to match what is being used against them, will not be forthcoming from these capitalist-imperialist puppets. Thus it follows that the working class in the region should be at the forefront of sending armed worker brigades to assist the Syrian masses to overthrow the Assad regime, while dispersing any imperialist attempt to hijack the struggle of the masses through the SNC or any other agency they may try to set up. This would mean a fight against their own regimes as well. There thus also exists in these countries the possibility of working class revolutions taking place- such possibilities for the working class taking power also exists in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and elsewhere.

 

In the US the American dream is built on the nightmare of those who have fought the wars of the 1%. Already those who have served in active combat are between 7% and 30% less likely to get employment than the rest of the US soldiers. At present out of every 3 homeless adults in that country, one is a war veteran, who has lost friends and colleagues on the battlefield and is probably himself/herself maimed, if not physically, then psychologically. Out of the 21 million war veterans 800 000 are unemployed and 1.4 million live below the poverty line. An even more stark statistic is that of war veterans between the ages of 18 to 24, 37.9% are unemployed. Most of the war vets have never been to college and thus are more prone to unemployment and are more likely to get the lower paid jobs. There needs to be the realization that the US military is the biggest terror apparatus in the world and that it is indeed under the control of the 1%. Such realization is starting and this is an important new factor in the world balance of forces.

 

By 2009 up to 20% of US companies were cutting wages and reducing working hours. Millions were sent home on ‘furloughs’ (unpaid leave). The average working week dropped from 34 hours in 2001 to about 33 hours by 2009. Under these trying times, the very banks that were bailed out, made fantastic profits, the highest in history. Slowly, the realization of who the real enemy was (the capitalist class), dawned on the war veterans and the working class in general. Thus the Occupy Wall street movement was born, as an expression of class hatred to the US imperialist class and the capitalist system in general. It is this phenomenon that is still spreading around the globe.

 

A deep political crisis faces the political elite in the USA- it’s base is fractured. The Occupy Wall Street movement represents a movement which includes many war veterans, that have identified the 1%, the imperialist capitalist class in the USA as their class enemy. At this time both Republicans and Democrats are rejected by most of the working class. The ground is more ripe than it has ever been for the working class in the US to overthrow its ruling class.

 

It is the mortal fear of the US working class that constrains US imperialism from directly intervening anywhere in the world. This is why imperialism uses its fascist jackboot, the Zionist state to threaten Iran, and is not able to directly threaten with military invasion. (We think that imperialism’s threats against Iran is to help prop up the Iranian regime internally from its own working class and to help isolate the support of the masses for the revolt against the Assad regime- but that is the subject of another article.) Even in Israel, the recent occupation of open spaces by hundreds of thousands of the youth demanding cheap housing, shows that the base of the Zionist pillar of reaction is beginning to shatter, a fact denied by the fake left. The prospect of the Palestinian working class and broader masses uniting with the disaffected Jewish youth and working class in Israel who face increasing cuts in their standard of living, spells the death knell (mortal blow) that could mean the end of the Zionist state. The overthrow of the Zionist regime by the broader, united masses in the whole region would be a major blow against world-imperialism-capitalism- such are the prospects that flow from the new world balance of forces.

 

The weakness of US imperialism helps to open up possibilities for the working class all over the world in its struggle to topple capitalist regimes, as the unfolding revolutionary uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Malawi, Bolivia, Chile, demonstrate. US imperialism has to depend on their allies in France and Britain- but even they are constrained by revolts on home soil. Imperialism is more dependent on co-opting forces like the Muslim Brotherhood, the various Stalinist parties and those who pose left but march right.

 

But as the crisis continues, even these vestiges of left and Stalinist and pro-imperialist forces, will become more exposed and thus less capable of playing their counter-revolutionary role.

 

Syria shows how the fake left, the Stalinists, the pro-imperialist forces, the imperialist forces work together to attempt to strangle the masses. It is not a sign of the strength of imperialism, but rather of their desperation.

 

The situation calls out for the refining of the transitional programme for the concrete conditions of today, the basis for the refounding of the Fourth International.

 

24.3.2012

 

Part 1.