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Capitalism is Facing a Showdown By Malcolm Martin, Guest Commentator

The world economy is teetering, that is very clear to all. The important thing for people to realize is that it will collapse. It is going to stop working all together and relatively soon. When it happens your bank will disappear and your currency will be worthless, your grocery store will become an empty shell, your gas station will run dry, your lights will go out, your cell phone will stop working...

The process of economic breakdown may involve a relatively slow devolution or unwinding. Or the system may succumb to a shot in the back of head, some event that brings it down suddenly and with a bang. The present rulers of the economy will be sorely tempted to a draconian measure to save their bacon. For instance, a war could be launched with an attack on Iran by the U.S. or its proxies in Israel. Such a war would conceal the systemic economic failure and allow for the rationing and repression they must rely on to function awhile longer.

The present public relations campaign touting "recovery", part of that being Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's performance in Jackson Hole, was a delaying device. It is meant to allow the men in charge time to prepare and position themselves as best they can for the most reasonable outcome. We should understand what they know: there will be no economic recovery! There is simply no rational economic reason for one to occur.

The capitalist economic system is experiencing a completely natural life cycle. From the time of the collapse of feudalism and its birth in the Industrial Revolution, capitalism was always destined to become a dominant global force. Globalization will be a historic marker as the zenith of its existence. But globalization robbed the system of the only thing that kept its fatal internal contradictions at bay—-growth. Capitalism has conquered the planet, it has nowhere else to feed. The time of its death is now at hand.

Skirmishes around the world are signs the two most powerful groups that capitalism creates are beginning to engage in a final battle for power. Marx called them the bourgeoisie, the ruling class, and the proletariat, the working class. It can be most simply described as the clash between the haves and the have nots, the wealthy and the people who must work to live.

The showdown has always been inevitable and it must destroy one class or the other. Then on the ruins of the old system, the class that prevails will reorganize society along the lines of their dictates. If the bourgeoisie remains on top it will not mean the restoration of capitalism to health and stability. It will mean the depopulation of the planet and the enslavement of man in a world described in the dystopian literature of Orwell, Huxley, and Atwood.

Workers, united across all artificial boundaries created by capitalism, whether nation, race, sex, or religion are the only hope now. This is the only force capable of staying the hand of the bourgeoisie and insuring the human experiment “shall not perish from the earth”, to borrow Lincoln’s phraseology. But right now there is admittedly no US political party or other formation which expresses the destiny of the working class to power and socialism. Since capitalism grew into a dominant planetary force it has been able to provide the people of the United States with several powerful incentives to buy into the program. Five percent of the world’s population is invited to consume 30% of the world’s resources by way of imperialism. Then the white majority is invited to enjoy a disproportionate share of that material wealth by way of racism. An especially comfortable place is provided to politicians, intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats, and entertainers in the narrow strata of society Marx called the petty bourgeois.

Class consciousness can develop very quickly in a people though! It is on the rise in the US right now in the reaction to the Wall Street bailouts and the banker’s coup that is underway. It will accelerate as the material cocoon provided by the world’s dominant economy wears thin.

Now as capitalism enters its final stage, a nearly seamless political transition to fascism is well underway in the United States. The mass media, the electoral machinery, and both major political parties are under corporate control. The trappings of bourgeois democracy are a hindrance on profits and so they are being shredded. The Constitution and its Bill of Rights are being rendered meaningless by plans for perpetual war, by presidential signing statements and the theory of the unitary executive, extraordinary rendition, government surveillance programs and the like. It is irrelevant that George W. Bush used to be the President and now Barack Obama is.

Programs based on bourgeois democratic principles like the public schools, Social Security, and Medicare are, literally and figuratively, on borrowed time. Separate and parallel Internet and military forces are being constructed along with internment camps and the legal construct for a martial law declaration. Blackwater or Xe is the growing private military force of the ruling class, protecting them in Baghdad despite their horrific crimes and patrolling the streets of New Orleans and Detroit for them now. Because there are too many sons and daughters of the working class in the US military it can not be trusted by the bourgeoisie when the order is given to attack the American people. Likely the two militaries will one day face each other in combat.

Under these developments, the people of the world are struggling with a marked escalation of the class war. Maybe no one has a firm grip on “what is to be done?”, to borrow Lenin’s phraseology. But it is for sure a time to reject fatalism, defeatism, nihilism and any other current which involves the people in rolling over to die quietly.

If Karl Marx was right, we have reached the end times not of humanity but of the capitalist economic system. It is a time when the working class was, through its collective discipline and might, supposed to conduct and win a war with the bourgeoisie and establish its rule. Then the building of socialism was to commence. War, racism and poverty would be banished in the ensuing years along with all of capitalism’s pathological influences on man.

What are the prospects for this scenario? However likely or remote, the idea should not be given up on because the other choices are too horrific to passively accept—the Orwellian state, bands of survivalists roaming a scorched landscape, the extinction of the human being. Guest Commentator Malcolm Martin is an inner-city public school teacher for nearly 30 years in Miami, an elected member of his local teachers union executive board and the father of four.  Click here to contact Mr. Martin.


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September10 , 2009
Issue 341

is published every Thursday

Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield
Peter Gamble
Est. April 5, 2002
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