Syria & Iraq Capitalism’s Crisis

The Middle East is ablaze. Millions have fled the bombings and invasions of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya and thousands more risk death fleeing the chaos. Reactionary and murderous groups like ISIS have filled a vacuum, shocking the world by targeting people least responsible for the struggles of people in Syria, and Iraq.

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Iraqi military helmets discarded during the defeat from Mosul

They have filled a vacuum left by the collapse of the secular left, exploited the chaos of intervention and fury at Imperialism. Often these ideas have gained support and d funding from the tyrannical Saudi regime, and been tacitly supported by the corrupt undemocratic Erdogan of Turkey, both states which are backed to the hilt by the West’s governments. The Bombs that will fall will kill Syrians, and be a propaganda coup for ISIS, Driving desperate people into there arms. Missiles will be accompanied by crocodile tears from our leaders. Whether it’s Paris or Raqqua all Cameron and Co will be thinking about is an opportunity to strengthen Their hands in a game of class war. Increase his security state and divide the working class with racism against refugees and Muslims. The situation is dire the entering of Russia into the conflict on a larger scale has cemented this as a proxy war. The world is being divided into separate opposing blocs of capitalist countries, on one side the USA, NATO and their allies face, China and Russia, both playing a game of posturing, increasingly ramping up tensions and actual conflicts like in the east of Ukraine. This is a high stakes game, not for Putin and Obama but for us, the working class. It’ll be us sent to die in wars for profit; it’s us who are killed in the terrorist attacks that spew out of the anarchy. It’s them who escape all blame. The real divide in society isn’t between us and Mulsims, or the Chinese. It’s us and the rich, the politicians the war mongers and profiteers. Only a society that breaks down artificial barriers like the Sykes–Picot border, that puts food education and shelter above profit will deliver us from the hell in the middle east that is a socialist world.

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Who are we?

We are a small group of like-minded people convinced that:

1. The Capitalist system is threatening our very existence.

2. Communism is necessary in response to this existential threat.

3. With advanced technology, building a Socialist system is technically more feasible than it ever has been.

4. However, the Left as it currently exists is not fit for purpose. It is for the most part irreverent and ineffectual; the way things currently are, a Socialist Revolution is almost politically inconceivable. We propose the modest response of openly admitting this inadequacy and through frank open discussion and critically engaging with the ideas and history of the Left ask ourselves: what is to be done?

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The Impending Catastrophe

We are fast facing an unparalleled and cataclysmic series of events which more and more openly throw into question our very existence as we know it. Every other Hollywood film seems to be about the end of the world; there’s open talk about World War 3 everywhere – as a species we are essentially sleep walking to our doom with no alternative raising its head. The onset of global warming and the destruction left in its wake, the terminal decline of precious resources, China’s challenge to the global political and economic domination by US Imperialism, the scramble for resources and proxy wars potentially developing into wars of global involvement, the profound refugee crisis and population movements rising sea levels and wars will cause. Automation threatening massive economic restructuring with further development of precariousness and atomisation of the working class, increase in population ‘surplus’ to capital’s requirements, potential semi-annihilation of the middle classes etc. More than ever we must stand up and bring this system to an end.

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The chaos in the Middle East has caused thousands to flea and risk death.

Instead? 

This crisis ridden system is grounded in the exploitation of the workers by the capitalists for the incessant production of profits; profits which override all concerns for humanity and the environment. Where the capitalists have complete monopoly over the means of reproducing our existence and the workers are forced to sell their labour to survive, socially produced wealth is more and more concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite. This is not an aberration, this is the normal and proper functioning of the capitalist system. We demand social appropriation and direct control over social wealth. In Engels‘ words,

“Take the control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole – that is, for the common account, according to a common plan, and with the participation of all members of society.

What’s going on?

How exactly are we supposed to go about bringing this system to an end then? The technology necessary to build a Socialist society is available today and progressively becoming more and more advanced as time goes by. It is perfectly conceivable that by using modern robotics, cybernetic communicative technologies, 3D printing, smartphones, etc. we can massively reduce the work week, make the basic necessities in life available to all and collectively and democratically plan and control the production and distribution of social wealth. The concept of ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism’, of a democratic society of super abundance is possible.

But Capitalism works in the opposite direction. Intuitively productivity increases should lessen the burden of labour in terms of intensity and shorten of the workday. In fact, as Marx explained in Capital, advanced machinery is used as a weapon against the worker; it increases the working day and increases intensity of work. For the production of profits no sacrifice is too great.

All this being so, how are we supposed to overthrow the Capitalist system and build a Communist society? Short answer is: we’re not quite sure. One thing we are sure of is that whatever the Left is doing, it doesn’t appear to be working. The workers movement has been on the descent roughly since the 70’s with the development of so called ‘Neo-Liberalism’, the Socialist organisations are unable to mobilise around their programmes anyone but their small memberships, membership which remain low due to high turn over.

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We would tentatively suggest that this is due to a series of issues both internal and external to the Left as it exists; internal issues like bureaucratic top down party regimes (authoritarianism), unity based around dogmatic adherence to historical/theoretical narratives, tactical considerations rather than programme (dogmatism, sectarianism), the treatment of female survivors of abuse, ineffective activism, substitutionalism for the class, work within and around the Imperialist Labour Party, etc.

We don’t know what to do about this situation. We do not wish to perpetuate the problem by forming an irrelevant sect ourselves. We know something must change and through open, critical and non-dogmatic discussion we hope to begin to address the problem.

Without admitting the problems of the Left today, we will never be able overcome them.