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Marxist think tanks find no capitalist exit from world crisis

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dcsmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 04:04 PM
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Three Marxist think tanks met in Brussels from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 for an international conference called The Crisis and Beyond. They met both to characterize the nature of the crises on the world and its people, and to suggest paths for their resolution.

Almost all conference speakers shared the analysis that the current crisis is not simply a financial crisis or a housing crisis, but a capitalist crisis of overproduction. They considered this a structural crisisthat is, it will not go away with a cyclical upswing or recovery. Many also discussed a food crisis threatening widespread hunger. Some argued that an environmental crisis raised an urgent threat to life on the planet. None saw a way out of the crisis that continued the capitalist system as is.

The three groups were the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, which is close to the German Left Party that made gains in the recent national election; the Trans-National Institute, which has offices in Southeast Asia and other parts of the global South; and the strongly anti-imperialist World Forum on Alternatives. The WFA is led by Egyptian Marxist Samir Amin and Belgian liberation theologist Franois Houtart, who the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recently awarded the 2009 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. Houtart was a senior adviser to U.N. General Assembly President Miguel DEscoto, who last June organized the G-192the Group of 192 U.N. countriesto challenge the G-20, the worlds largest capitalist countries.

Many of the 45 participants were professional economists who had also worked with movement organizationssome in workers parties, some with the World Social Forumand most had solid academic and/or movement reputations. Among the participants were Susan George, who wrote A Fate Worse than Debt; Pedro Pez, an economic adviser to the Ecuadoran government led by Rafael Correa; Zimbabwean economist Samson Moyo, who is president of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa; and economist Wen Tiejun, dean of the School of Agriculture & Rural Development, Renmin University of China.

Most of the RLF invitees were Germans or from other countries of the North, including two from the former USSR. The other groups were mostly from the South. Jennifer Cox of the Poor Peoples Human Rights Campaign, based in Philadelphia, was one of two people currently organizing in the United States who were there. Some U.S. citizens living abroad also attended.

Capitalist logic should be replaced

In a three-page statement summarizing three days of discussions, the group stated:

Global capitalism has dragged the world into a severe crisis. The crisis is accompanied by the ongoing plundering of the planets natural and energy resources, foremost in the South, imminent climate collapse, food crises with its devastating results like resulting hunger, poverty and migration. Moreover, the world faces growing social inequalities and deepening class division, along with the growing power of transnationals , wars and a tendency to authoritarian solutions. All of these various forms of crises are the consequences of a logic shaped by capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism, (neo)colonialism, militarization and the exploitation of humans and nature. This logic should be replaced or the globe and humankind will face further pervasive conflicts.

It is time for radical interventions. This means designing a vision connected to concrete projects of change with a clear perspective of transformation to solidarity societies. The most important goals are: rescuing the earth, stopping warfare, overcoming starvation and poverty, and achieving social equality and full emancipation.

While everyone was concerned about threats to the environment, the threats were seen from different angles. Some Marxists from the imperialist countries saw environmental destruction as the most urgent crisis that placed the world on the brink of destruction. Others from countries of the South, who were equally concerned about desertification on the one hand and flooding on the other, also raised the problem that the imperialists would try to use environmental rules to restrict their regions attempt to industrialize.

An environmental conference in Copenhagen this December puts a challenge before Marxist activists to thoroughly analyze, not only to defend the environment but to make this a part of the overall class struggle, taking into account the needs of those most oppressed and striving for worldwide equality. There is no way this can be done within the imperialist system.

The question of finding new alternatives reflected the continuing weight on Marxist revolutionaries from the historic setback to socialism with the defeat of the Soviet Union 20 years ago. While everyone asserted there could be no capitalist exit from the crisis, the final document avoided a simple cry for socialism or communism as a goal. Yet the document describes as a possible goal a wonderful solidarity society, which could only be obtained if a political change removed the capitalist ruling class.

Catalinotto, invited by the WFA, represented the International Action Center at this conference, at which he also found great interest in Marxist literature from the U.S. movement, especially Fred Goldsteins Low Wage Capitalism.

Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


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