II. What People Can and Must Do
What the people can and must do about the global financial and economic crisis ranges from seeking relief, recovery and reforms within the imperialist-dominated world capitalist system to the most fundamental criticism of this system and raising the demand and undertaking the actions for revolutionary change towards socialism.
When I speak of reforms within the system, I do not mean harking back to the misappropriation of the term by the dishonest purveyors of “free market” capitalism who used it against the basic rights and interests of the working people in the industrial capitalist countries and in the less developed countries. At the moment, key bourgeois political and economic authorities are swinging back to the Keynesian general theory of equilibrium and the management of effective demand through fiscal measures.
As far as I am concerned, reforms within the framework of Marxist political economy can be undertaken to serve the immediate demands of the working people for employment, decent income, better working and living conditions and the availability of basic social services, even as the long term goal of the people’s revolutionary movement is to replace the system of monopoly capitalism with the socialist system.
To take an important phrase from the Communist Manifesto, the battle for democracy must be won whether the popular movement for socialism be in the imperialist countries or in the far less developed countries dominated by imperialism. The consciousness, organization and mobilization of the broad masses of the people must be raised to a level high enough to effect basic reforms immediately and social revolution in the long run.
In the industrial capitalist countries, the economic basis for socialism exists. But the monopoly bourgeoisie never gives up its political and economic power voluntarily. It uses its state power to impose fascist rule if the persuasive and deceptive role of the bourgeois political parties fails to mislead the people and stabilize the system. Thus, the battle for democracy must be won against the potential or actual rise of fascism and the use of imperialist war by the monopoly bourgeoisie to regiment the people. In this regard, we recall the Great Depression, the rise of fascism and World War II.
In the far less developed countries, where there are still large vestiges of feudalism, winning the battle for democracy involves not only upholding, defending and promoting the collective and individual rights of the people, especially civil and political liberties, but also addressing substantively the demand for national industrial development, the peasant clamor for land reform and engaging the peasant masses in the new democratic revolution led by the working class as the long term agent for socialist revolution and construction.
1. Information and Education Campaigns
Whatever significant degree of social change is called for in the short term or in the long run, the people must comprehend the problematic situation that they are in and the possible and necessary solutions that must be carried out with their conscious, organized and militant participation. In this regard, the working class parties and mass organizations of various exploited classes and sectors must engage in information and educational campaigns.
The current global financial and economic crisis cannot be comprehensively and profoundly understood by those who analyze it from the narrow viewpoint of those who wish to preserve the system of monopoly capitalism. They are like frogs in the well. Those who continue the Marxist and Leninist tradition of critiquing the political economy of capitalism and monopoly capitalism have a clear advantage as they have an overview of the inhuman and anti-labor character of the US and world capitalist system and the need to strive for the socialist system.
Research and analysis of the exploitative roots and development of the current global financial and economic crisis must be undertaken for the purpose of drawing up programs and declarations of political action. These must also take into account the impact and implications of the global financial and economic crisis on the global political crisis as manifested in the intensification of the major contradictions in the world.
The working class parties and mass organizations can add to their accumulated knowledge the analysis and advice of experts of political economy and international politics who truly understand the crisis comprehensively and profoundly. In this connection, there is now a rising demand for the Marxist critique of the capitalist political economy and the Leninist critique of monopoly capitalism and theory of state and revolution.
This is a time of discredit and embarrassment for those bourgeois economists who have followed the path of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, for those neoconservatives who believed in strengthening US global hegemony by spreading the “free market” and “liberalism” with the leverage of US military superiority and for those neo-Kautskyite globalists who peddle the notion of supra-imperialism as a benign industrializing force.
The crisis has served to negate in the most telling way all the prior propaganda done by the monopoly bourgeoisie to hype the dogma of the “free market” through the dominant mass media, the schools, the think tanks, political parties and the nongovernmental organizations bound by the rule of civility in obeisance to the bourgeois state and big business. The working class party, the mass organizations and the broad masses of the people must carry out information and education campaigns as counter-offensive to the ideological, political, economic and military offensives of imperialism and reaction.
Social investigation must be undertaken among the people in order to learn from them how they are being afflicted by the crisis, what are their most pressing demands and what they are capable of doing to confront the crisis and bring their social movement forward. The social investigation can be of varying scales, from the basic level of local communities and work places to the national level. The purpose of social investigation is for the working class parties and mass organizations to learn from the people what must be done in order to arouse, organize and mobilize them.
There are various forms and ways of carrying out campaigns of information and education. These include the conferences, forums and seminars where the political activists and the experts can learn from each other and the mass meetings and rallies for expressing protest and demands and spreading wide the demand for social change and gauging at every given time how many people are being drawn to the mass movement. The working class parties and mass organizations can avail of the electronic media as a cheap and fast way of generating and accelerating the campaign of information and education.