Sunday, 26 June 2011

Greece And The Media

There was a very good piece on Al Jazeera about the role of the media in portraying the situation in Greece as though it was all the fault of lazy Greek workers.

As the film shows, in fact, the average Greek worker retires aged 61, which is older than the average in Germany or Britain. The average Greek worker also works more hours per week than in Britain. And, in reality, of course, everyone has known that the problems in Greece were not due to lazy Greek workers, or over paid Greek workers. A look at Greece shows that the majority of people certainly cannot be described as affluent. The real problem in Greece, similar to in much of Europe, is that at a time when Asian economies are out-competing much of the West, the lack of investment, and consequent lack of competitiveness of economies like Greece becomes even more obvious. The lack of competitiveness is not the responsibility of the workers, but a result of lack of investment, and an economy that has not been structured to meet the needs of Global Capitalist Competition. That now cannot be done by Greece alone. It will require an EU wide solution.


Marxist Ferri said...

One liberal can never recognise the inextricable contradictions of Capital and Wage-labour, as pointed out by Marx in the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.

In order not to come across personal cognitive dissonance, they stick at pointing out airy-fairy 'cosmetic problems' such as 'laziness', cultural differences and other investor-friendly fancies; which definitely do not shine a light on how Financial Capital is attempting anything to raise surplus value in the imperial centres (austerity, privatisation et cetera) and in the peripheries..especially here in South Asia.

Thanks for posting this article,!

Marxist Greetings

Davide Ferri

vngelis said...

In 1929 certain journalists blamed certain black spots on the sun, now they blame Greece for what is about to happen next. The new US domino theory doesn't start in Vietnam but Greece, but that is the excuse... hence the focus on Greece.

The Economist headlines
Print editionJune 25th 2011
If Greece goes...

The opportunity for Europe's leaders to avoid disaster is shrinking
fast: leader


Within now the print edition there is another piece ' what will happen
if America defaults?'

Now how can a hair of a dogs bollock ie Greece be on the front cover
and the USA on the inside cover?


Boffy said...

I'd suggest because Greece is actually bankrupt, and everyone kinows the current bail-out is only to buy time. The US, on the other hand is far from bankrupt. Even if it deoes not agree to raise its debt ceiling on time, and so goes into a technical default, everyone knows that sooner or later the debt ceiling will be raised, and the payments on the debt will be made.

The fact, that it will continue to repay the interest and Capital by printing, and thereby debasing its currency, is another matter.

vngelis said...

Greece is bankrupt by the same accounting standards that America is, unless of course you have different accounting standards for what a bankruptcy means. The issue though remains, the hairs on a dog cannot be responsible for an earthquake unless of course you are the imperialist media, where you write, or say anything, like they did to justify the Iraq invasion.

Boffy said...

No, Greece clearly is NOT bankrupt by the same accounting standards that the US is!!! The international Capital Markets will not lend to Greece. That is not because it is having a temporary liquidity problem, but because it is insolvent. The US is NOT insolvent. Not only are the Capital Markets prepared to lend to it, but in recent weeks they have increased their willingness to lend to it, which is why the Yield on the 10 Year Treasury has continued to fall!

What both have in common is that they both have Current Account Deficits, and large Budget Deficits. But, there is a huge difference between a multi-millionaire who spend more than they earn, and a paauper who does so. The former can make up the deficit out of their wealth, the latter cannot.

The US not only has vast accumulated wealth within the US, but it has huge assets in overseas investments. Greece does not. Greece cannot cover its debts by selling assets, the US if pushed could. Moreover, although Greece is dependent upon imports, it has very little in the way of world beating export industries. The US, does have world beating export industries in high value production. Its main problem - as with Britain, and which goes back to the policies pursued in the 1980's - is that it has not restructured Capital sufficiently into those world beating areas. But, the US economy could via a number of means rapidly eliminate its trade deficit. And, although the US is currently reliant on China for a large proportion of its borrowing, a still larger amount is owed to US citizens, and indeed to the Federal Reserve - due to Quantitative Easing.

If the US really DID default then it clearly would be a much more significant event than if Greece does. The point is that Greece will default, whereas the US will not! And clearly small events CAN have consequences far in excess of the actual event itself. Lehman's is a good example of that, though, of course, it is necessary to point to the udnerlying conditions, which allowed that small event to have much larger consequences.

vngelis said...

As long as you believe that the US isn't bankrupt we are all
Hence when I argued you have different accounting standards you proved it. If ones annual GDP is less than than the debt then technically one is bankrupt. America went from the worlds creditor nation to the worlds debtor. The fact that you can service a debt due to historical reasons for now does not mean much, for Britain also historically had the role the US has now, but went bankrupt because of world wars.

America is now bankrupt because of its wars some of which have lasted more than WW2 and it isn't making money on those wars as it did with WW2.

You cant in theory print yourself out of debt as you create the conditions for total default. Why should your bondholders hold dollars if you just keep printing more?

Greece has E600 billion is Swiss bank accounts and Germany has never settled its war reparations due to its volumnous bankruptcies over the last century (at least 4). So Greece could easily settle its foreign debts of E350billion if it wanted to.

Greece has defaulted already the issue is why the media gives it so much emphasis. Its a side issue to divert from the real issue, of the US financial crisis which hasn't gone away.

Boffy said...

I thought you understood basic Accountancy and Economics! You are clearly not bankrupt simply because your annual expenditure is greater than annual income. Being bankrupt involves having debts that you have no means of repaying, and that your creditors, therefore, demand repayment of their loans! Greece is incapable of repaying even the interest on its loans, and its Creditors have refused to lend it more money. That is why it has had to be bailed out by the EU, and ECB, and IMF!!!

By contrast, the US is not only able to repay its debts out of its assets, but its creditors far from being unprepared to lend have shown even greater willingness to do so, demand for its Bonds pushing down the yield on the 10 year below 3% recently. They are not worried about getting such a low yield, or about being paid back in devalued currency, precisely because they prefer to invest in a country that is NOT going to go bankrupt.

I don't know where you get the figure of 500 bn Euros in Swiss banks. According to the report here its 24 bn Swiss Francs! But, then you seem to have a very lax attitude towards facts as opposed to lavish claims, and catastrophism.

It clearly is possible for large economies like the US to deal with debt by printing money, because Governments have been doing it going back to Moses.

Boffy said...

I didn't have time to answer your point fully earlier. Firstly, if your definition of banruptcy were correct then pretty much everyone with a mortgage would be bankrupt, as the mortgage debt is larger than income. Moreover, pretty much every limited company would be bankrupt, because the issued share Capital constitutes a Liability, representing a debt owed to shareholders, and the Capital Value of nearly every company is larger than its annual income. But, of course, none of these instances are examples of bankruptcy precisely because the debts are matched on the other side of the Balance Sheet by assets.

But, even on your own weird definition of bankruptcy your argument falls down because the US debt is NOT larger than its annual income. By the end of this year it will have reched only around 70% of GDP, and of course, the interest payments on that, which is all it really has to cover out of income are only a fraction of that.

There have been economies where debt has been much larger than GDP. For the UK it reached 250% between 1750-1800. But, that certainly didn't mean that Britain was bankrupt at that time!

And as I pointed out in a previous comment the biggest creditor to the US Government is the US Federal Reserve, which is hardly likely to sue for bankruptcy is it?

vngelis said...

The talk about $600 billion is all the rage in Greece itself. Reference to it is made here

You then argue that a bailout has occurred when its an accounting trick. No money has actually gone to Greece or been received by Greece. Money has left Greece in wages and pensions cuts. According to Greek economists Greece borrowed E90billion and has paid back E600 billion since 1985. It now owes E350billion so for every EE1billion borrowed it has to pay back x10.

You then go on to argue that Greece cannot repay back its debt. Who said so? The IMF ECB and Brussels. China and Russia offerred at least E200 billion, but Papandreou said no money must be received from BRIC countries.

America doesn't simply have debt it has debt accrued on future financial tricks like CDS's which are based on printing money by the Fed Reserve. The fact that history hasn't caught up with it at this moment in time doesn't imply that it wont. You now argue a company can be 'healthy' as long as a bank continues to service the debt indefinitely. Did you miss the so-called credit crunch?

Boffy said...

The trouble with the Internet is that it allows people to make unsubstantiated claims to suit their own perspective, which then get picked up by others and repeated as though they were validated data. Its rather like the way Intelligence Agencies shared information about WMD. I looked at the sources you quoted, and the sources they used. There is not a shred of substantiation for any of those claims.

You say no bail-out has occurred! That no money has gone to Greece. Nonsense. had the EU and IMF not bailed out Greece it would not have even had the money to pay the wages of State Capitalist employees. No one doubts that Greek workers have faced cuts in wages etc., and the savings from that have gone to cover the interest on the debt, but that is not at all the same as saying that no money came in, which added to the debt! By the way that additional bail-out support means that the actual total debt is closer to 500 billion euros than the 300 it was in 2010.

200 billion from Russia and China would not cover the debt, and they were not offering to give this money away! They would have held Greece hostage for payment the same as any other Creditor.

The US does not have liability for CDS's. US banks do, and that is not the same as the US State. However, it is true that its likely that should US banks be hit as a result the State would step in to support them again. That is why they do not want Greece to go into an unplanned default. But, the liability on those CDS's is tiny compared to the size of the US deficit overall. It would not at all mean bankruptcy for the US in the way that Greece is currently bankrupt.

I said nothing about companies being healthy so long as Banks are prepared to service the debt indefinitely. I pointed out that your weird (and wrong) definition of bankruptcy would mean that anyone who had debt larger than annual income would be bankrupt, and that includes most people with mortgages, as well as most limited companies. It would be so because your definition only looks at the Liabilities side of the Balance Sheet without looking at the Asset side.

Boffy said...

If you want to know the Greeks real feeelings about the support the Chinese were offering, the Cablegate disclosures give a good idea. In actual fact its not up to the Greek Government whether China or any otehr country buys its bonds, ebcause they are traded on the open market.

China and other similar economies have an interest in trying to prevent a disordely default by Greece and otehr PIIGS, because Europe is a major trading partner, because China already has large amounts of European debt on its books which would become worth much less if not worthless, and because it has an interest in not seeing the Euro fall to low levels, which would undermine China's competitiveness.

vngelis said...

The Committee on Odious Debt in Greece which has created study circles regarding the size and nature of the Greek debt and has found that in 2010 Greek govt receipts were E55b and wages were E23b and that interest on the IMF imposed debt were E27b. Pensions and salaries therefore are fictionally used to increase the banksters appettites for higher interest payments for countries which have very small personal indebtedness like the Greeks who own property at around 80%. So because they haven't had western style mortgage the banksters have sought to ensure the State itself becomes indebted by artificiall created debt.

Now on the issue of Assets which are mostly property based everyone knows that if the banks offloaded property it would crash the market and actual assets are overvalued, hence banks have even given grace periods now for up to 3-4 years for those who don't even pay their mortgages as if they foreclosed, they would make the situation worse than it is.

Russia and China haven't simply offerred to buy up bonds but to buy up sectors of the economy with real prices instead of the firesale of the IMF whereby one of the conditions is that one cannot sell to the BRIC countries.

Hence there is an agenda for a public default to weaken the Euro for the interests of a weakened $. This is the only logical explanation as to the attention of the media, none other.

Boffy said...

Your figures do not add up. Firstly, no one forced the Greek state to take on this debt. Greece was a politically independent state. There is an argument for saying the debt is odious because of the conditions surrounding it being accumulated. But, to say it is IMF "imposed" debt is ridiculous.

You quote the Government revenue of E55b and wages of E23b. I'll accept your figures for now until I check them. But, even these figures show the problem. Government Expenditure covers far more than just wages. It includes all of the material, and other costs involved in providing Public Services. But a much larger sum will be paid out in Benefits, Pensions etc. In terms of interest payments, much o the accumulated debt will be at relatively low rates of interest, because it was run up before the credit Crunch, and before the downgrading of Greek debt. The problem for Greece is in part that it issued short term debt, rather than long-term debt. Its problem, therefore, was not the interest on the debt it had accumulated, but not being able to borrow on Capital markets to replace that debt as it fell due other than at very high rates.

As with much of your writing, it is couched in terms of pretty ridiculous conspiracy theories rather than looking at the actual facts. Its more like an edition of the Keiser Report.

You also have a tendency to misrepresent what people have said in order to slide around answering the actual point at issue. The examples I gave involving bankruptcy were only to show that your weird definition is wrong. Clearly, if property prices collapse - as I beleive they will - then many people will find themselves technically bankrupt. the point is that here and now they are not. But, also even then there would be many pople whose mortgage debt was greater than their annual income, but not greater than their assets, and so who would NOT be bankrupt. Moreover, a limited Company that has little in the way of property assets, but has say £1 million in issued Share Capital, would be bankrupt according to you if its annual income was less than £1 million. But, clearly it is not, if its other assets, equipment etc. are worth more than the £1 million it owes to its shareholders. Virtually every limited company is in that position.

You say the IMF has said Greece cannot sell to BRIC countries. Can you provide a reliable source for this? Your claim that there is an agenda for a Public default is the weirdest thing I have heard even you claim. Pretty much everyone realises that in the past few weeks the IMF, EU, and pretty much everyone else has been doing everything they could to AVOID a default. Indeed, if it happened, and the Euro was depreciated, the cosnequences would be the very opposite of what you claim is the reason behind it. It would mean that the policy of devaluing the dollar, which has been pursued by the Fed - what Brazil describes as a currency war - would have been undermined. It would mean that European Capital was given a competitive advantage, and that the US (and due to the peg China) would then have to engage in even greater money printing to drive the dollar down!!!

vngelis said...

The IMF imposed debt has been what has been occurring in the last twenty months. After the cuts the size of the deficit has increased not decreased, so the argument that cuts were necessary to reduce the deficit are false, much like the lies the Greek govt peddles that pensions wouldn't be paid unless Greeks accept round after round of bailout, which in reality is a shifting of money from south to prop up the north.

So when you argue what I write is conspiracy stuff, one could quite easily respond what you argue is Brussels talk, that Greeks need the bailouts to survive. Greece has been around for 5,000 years, it doesn't need the EU, IMF or ECB. They need it. If they didn't they would allow it to default, but as night follows day you cant get blood out of a stone and default becomes an inevitably event, which it has as it hasn't been announced.

What I write is based on actually reporting from Greece and what is written in the media or on the square in Athens over the last 6 weeks. Cyprus has created a tax free zone with Israel around the ocean and has given it over to companies to exploit for oil. Many such oil deposits have been found in Greece but no such deals are allowed as Greek politicians are embedded to the Anglo-American order, with the Europeans in second place. So they are geopolitically at the crossroads torn between a rock and a hard place. When they signed gas deals with Russia on Brussels request the then PM was hounded out of office and the first thing Papandreou did after talking with the IMF when in opposition, was to cut the Burkghas oil deal.

Why is the IMF in the Euro? To influence the course of events? Or is it there to bailout countries and help them in a bind? This seems to be your line of arguement.

Boffy said...

I notice that having failed to provide any reliable source for your claims that there were e600 billion in Greek Bank deposits in Switzerland, you have now also failed to provide any evidence to support your assertion that the IMF had banned Greece from accepting bids from BRIC countries in the privatisation of its industries. Instead you wander off on to another unrelated subject rather than deal with the point at issue.

The debt that Greece has incurred in the last 20 months has not been IMF imposed. Greece is a sovereign state. It could have defaulted in the way Iceland has done, and indeed in the way many have suggested it should do. It chose not to do so, and instead to remain within the EU, and to seek a bail-out from the EU, and IMF when it could no longer borrow in Capital Markets.

Quite right that the austerity measures have caused the deficit to increase rather than diminish. I argued more than a year ago that that would be the consequence of such a policy, just as I have argued that similar policies in Ireland, and in Britain will have that result. Its is why, besides being opposed to the austerity measures, as a socialist, because they attempt to impose the cost of the crisis on to workers, I have argued against them!!!

So when you claim that I am arguing the line of Brussels, you simply, once again misrepresent what I have said rather than dealing with the issue. But, it is quite clear that on any reasonable basis, Greece DOES need the bail-outs here and now. Yes, it has been around for 5,000 years, so what are you saying that the Greek workers should accept going back to the kind of standard of living they had 5,000 years ago, 1,000 years ago, or even a hundred years ago before they were part of a modern global capitalist economy??? Because that would be the consequence of the kind of Stalinist economic autarchical solution you seem to be proposing. Simply defaulting, or even confiscating all of the property in Greece would not change the basic economic fact that currently as an economy Greece consumes more than it produces. That is why it had to borrow in the first place. With very few, if any major industries that are globally competitive, its options for surviving within that global Capitalist economy, even under a healthy Workers State would be extremely limited, and would necessarily entail a reduction in workers living standards from current levels.

Quite right that Greece defaulting is at some point inevitable, but the whole point is on what terms. Capital – of which Greek Capital is wholly intertwined – seeks to shift the current debt out of private hands and into the hands of State institutions. It may hope then to get EU workers to bear the cost of that via a further bail-out of EU banks, and further austerity. But, it is likely it will not. The option I put forward over a year ago, is now increasingly being taken up within the EU. It is for the Greek debt to be simply written off – hence technically not a default – and for either some version of Brady Bonds, or dependent upon whether Germany and others can push through some form of political and fiscal union, the issuing of EU Bonds to cover the debt written off, and to restructure EU capital, also providing the resources for the kind of investment in EU economies required for a growth strategy.

Boffy said...

As for your latest piece of conspiracy theory, what evidence do you have for your assertion that Greece is not allowed to develop oil deposits??? With oil back over $100 a barrel I am sure there are plenty of oil companies including from within the Anglo-American axis you seem to think is manipulating everything, who would be happy to make large profits from getting it out of the ground?

The IMF's job as an international State body of capitalism is to try to facilitate the smoothing out of contradictions within the global Capitalist economy. Providing liquidity where needed is part of that function. You may have noticed that the IMF always has a European head, and, in fact, the IMF's position has been no more nor less fiscally conservative in relation to Greece and other PIIG economies than has the EU's. It was Greece, and the EU's decision to involve the IMF in the bail-out process, specifically to spread the risk.

The task for socialists in relation to Greece under current conditions is clear. We argue that the workers should not bear the cost of the crisis that was not of their making. We should argue for workers in Greece to occupy services, and businesses threatened with closure, and for them to place them under Workers Control, whilst continuing their operation. We should argue for the Greek State to legally transfer the ownership of those enterprises/services to their workers to run as Worker owned Co-ops, as the workers in Argentina have done at Zanon etc.

Under current conditions a socialist revolution in Greece looks unlikely. Were it to occur, it would not provide any immediate solutions to the economic problems of Greek workers. It would probably also, be quickly suppressed by a Colonel's Coup with support from EU Capital. If not, it would quickly be undermined by the isolation it would face. It, therefore, in the absence of any supporting revolutions in the rest of Europe, would represent an Ultra-Left adventure, and we should advise the Greek workers against it for those reasons, in the same way that Lenin argued against the adventure of the July Days, and that Marx argued against the Insurrection of the Paris Workers in 1870. We need to push instead for the building up of an independent workers movement in Greece, based upon the building up of independent Greek worker owned property, and independent forms of Worker Democracy, and Workers State functions. We need to attempt to build that whilst establishing links between Greek and other EU workers, particularly in the building up of EU wide worker owned Co-operative property, and the kind of socialistic social relations that can be built upon that material base.

In coming months, as similar struggles erupt across Southern Europe in response to austerity, rising living costs, higher unemployment and so on, we should attempt to draw the links of workers shared experience. Then the question of EU wide social revolution does become one that can be placed on the table.

vngelis said...

The report on the E600hillion was in Der Speigel and all over the Greek media. Now if I have to quantify everything I say with an imperialist news source to satisfy your non-conspiratorial desires, then is it wrong when I state that you are a Brussels acolyte?

If you sit to read the Memorandum of Understanding between Greece and the IMF it states Greece cannot do business with certain countries.

You then go on to say that one has to accept the existence of E500 a month for all in order to not go back to the 19th century or forwards to economic autarchy, therefore we should remain pawns of the transnational corporations?
On E500 a month and by the same toke we wont be back in the 19th century?

You then go on to argue that the role of the IMF is to smooth oout globasl contradictions of capitalism? What do you mean? The surface on a formica kitchen top is fitted badly and a workman comes along and evens it out? So its a global reformist organisation? That is exactly what Papandreou said. In one way you are right. No job no food no life, problem solved, drop dead. Contradiction resolved. You then argue the IMF is fiscally conservative. What by imposing depression economics in alsmot every country it has gone into, from Argentina to Tunisia to Greece to name but 3 of the 400 odd countries it has been involved in? The IMF is pure looting operation trying to collect money in the shortest possible time for US banksters. The fact that a European is at the head of it is as relevant that an American is at the head of NATO. So what? Both are US operations have been since their inception.

Boffy said...

You say the Swiss Bank story came from Der Spiegel. Your link was only to a blog, and I've chased the other links in it, which do not go back to any reliable source. Even in the link you give it only talks about Spiegel being the "alleged" source of this information. I've been to Spiegel and searched for the story, and can find nothing. If you have a link to the story in Spiegel please provide it.

But, to be honest, even if Spiegel DId run such a story, I'd be very doubtful. Spiegel is a bit loike the Daily Mail in Britain. It has been running nationalistic stories about Germans having to bail out Greeks, and so it would of course, have an interest in saying that Greeks could bail theselves out.

There seems very little reason why Greek Capitalists would have such a large amount simply sitting idle in Swiss Bank accounts. capitalists make money by productively investing their money, not leaving it sitting in a bank vault. e600 bn is a hell of a lot of anyone's money to be left just sitting earning no profits.

Boffy said...

Yes, of course it is wrong for you to refer to me as a Brussels acolyte, and for the same reason that it is wrong for you to simply make statements about e600 bn sitting in Swiss Bank Accounts. If you are going to make such a claim you should be able to substantiate it. In neither case can you substantiate the claim you have made!!! Is Brussels, for example, arguing for the greek workers to occupy their factories and palces of work, and to establish Worker Owned Co-ops? Is Brussels arguing that the Greek workers should demand that the Greek State sign over ownership of the means of production to them? But, that IS what I have been arguing.

I do not demand that you provide an Imperialist news media source for the extravagant claims, and conspiracy theories you perpetrate, but I do ask that you provide the very least a marxist would be expected to provide, which is some reliable source for the claims you make rather than simply relying on tittle-tattle, or an expectation that we accept what you say without proof!

Boffy said...

You say the Memorandum Of Understanding between Greece and the IMF precludes Greece doing business with various countries. I have no desire to spend time trying to verify this. If this is the case, please provide the exct quote you are referring to, and a link to the source.

You then go on to say that I have said something about the need to live on e500 a month! Where have I said any such thing??? Please provide the quote of where I said that!

Boffy said...

The IMF's job, clearly is to try to smooth out contradictions in the global Capitalist economy, just as that is the role of the State within the national economy. Its function clearly is not as crude as to simply try to get the money back for Creditors in the soonest possible time, because its role has frewquently been to organise a rescheduling of debt, which implies a lengthening in the time by which debt is repaid. It is far more concerned with trying to ensure that money is repaid rather than that there are unplanned defaults, and with trying to avoid dislocations and crises within the global economy resulting from them!

In fact, the largest creditors of Greece are European Governments, and banks, not the US, so your Conspiracy theory, that the IMF's role is to simply get money for the US bankers is clearly flawed.

What do you think fiscally Conservative means, if not that it tends to impose fiscal austerity on those economies to whom it lends money???

Boffy said...

I also just wanted to comment on the AWL piece you cited. That the Greek workers should adopt reformist demands such as "Tax The Rich", is understandable, because the working-class is always susceptible to being dominated by such bourgeois ideas. The job of a Marxist is to explain to them why such demands can provide them with no solution to their problems.

It is not permissible then for an organisation that claims to be Marxist to not only fail to challenge these bouregois ideas, but rather to promote them itself. These demands for taxing the rich, are not Marxist demands, but Fabian, Liberal demands. As marx pointed out by focussing on the realm of Distribution, they hide from the workers the fact that the real reason for inequality in wealth, income and power resides in the sphere of Production, and can only be resolved there by transforming ownership of the means of production.

As marx says in the Critique of the Gotha Programme,criticising these bouregois ideas put forward by the Lassalleans,

"Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves. The latter distribution, however, is a feature of the mode of production itself. The capitalist mode of production, for example, rests on the fact that the material conditions of production are in the hands of nonworkers in the form of property in capital and land, while the masses are only owners of the personal condition of production, of labor power. If the elements of production are so distributed, then the present-day distribution of the means of consumption results automatically. If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one. Vulgar socialism (and from it in turn a section of the democrats) has taken over from the bourgeois economists the consideration and treatment of distribution as independent of the mode of production and hence the presentation of socialism as turning principally on distribution. After the real relation has long been made clear, why retrogress again?"

If we take your assertion of the e600bn then, we would have to assume that it had been put there in order to be safe from taxation or confiscation. So it in no way can in reality provide a solution for Greek workers to their immediate problems, because the Swiss Banks would not hand it over.

Moreover, any such move to heavily tax, or confiscate it would result in the kind of reaction from Capital, that Marx describes in his arguments with Weston, about challenges to its profits and income. That is, it would be likely not only to keep these funds secure, but would quickly disinvest from Greece itself. The consequence could then easily be a very rapid deterioration even from here in the condition of the Greek economy, with workers being thrown out of work in their tens of thousands with a subsequent effect on wages and living standards.

It would then be necessary for workers to take over the factories themselves etc. Now, of course, I beleive that IS what the Greek workers should be doing, but why wait to demand that until you have further wrecked the Greek economy with a series of bourgeois reformist demands for higher taxes? As Marx says, why regress to those bouregois policies, when we already know that the solution lies in the workers taking over the means of production thesmelves, which is what we should suggest they do now?

vngelis said...

I notice that having failed to provide any reliable source for your claims that there were e600 billion in Greek Bank deposits in Switzerland... is what you wrote.
I then provided you with a link to Der Spiegel and you stated it doesn't exist or its not up to the standard of reporting you expect.
It appears you aren't interest in any dialogue but in point scoring. If you had set conditions beforehand, that only reporting from certain imperialist media sources you accept but not others as I see not a jolt of difference between the owners of the Daily Mail, the Guardian or Murdoch, indeed I see corporate lies, unity and fraud, then I may not have bothered to inform you of the Der Spiegel piece.
You then go on to say that because you say workers power in the abstract that absolves you from being an IMF-Brussels acolyte. As if the 2nd International didn't also support workers power on paper but when push came to shove supported its own imperialist side in a capitalist bloodbath.

You also said that I said you said that Greek workers on E500 a month will be going back to the 19th century. They will be if you understood my meaning if they remain within the orbit of the IMF and they dont throw them out. You have a crass reformist view of the IMF, by first staing it had a european head thus making it ...european and then by stating it is like the state trying to even out the contradictions of capital!!! How can you even out the contradictions of capitalism when you crush economic activity? Is that what the IMF did in Argentina and Tunisia? Or where they exceptions to the rule? Russia 1997?
As for the AWL I dont have the time of day for zionists, I only used them for the Der Speigel piece...
You seem to be talking about factories in Greece as if there are many left. Its difficult to occupy empty buildings that has more to do with squatting. Taxing imports, restoring your national currency and leaving the EU are priorities for any movement worth its salt. All else is pure globalism...

Boffy said...

But, you did not provide a link to Der Spiegel!!! You provided a link to the Eurotrib blog, where as I pointed out one of the commenst even there talks only about Spiegel being the "alleged" source of this information. I am still waiting for you to provide a link to the actual article in Spiegel!!! As for the AWL link you provide, they talk about it, but also do not provide a link to the Spiegel article, referring only to Spiegel of 7th February. I have gone to that ediction and can find no referecne to it. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, I'm only asking for an actual link to it, which is not unreasonable from sopmeone who is quoting this as a primary source.

The only standards I have set is that you provide reliable sources for your information, which is not unreasonable, and should not need to have been stated. I think its you that is trying to point score. If you think that all Capitalist media are liars, which I can beleive given your Conspiracy Theory mentality, then I wonder why, indeed you did quote information from Spiegel as though it was a reliable source.

Your statement about arguing for Workers Power in the abstract, is yet more meaningless attempts at point scoring. What is abstract about here and now in a real situation arguing for workes to occupy the workpalces, and establish worker owned Co-ops, and workers control???

I said nothing about Greek workers on e500 a month, and now having been unable to come up with any quote where I have said that, just as you have been able to provide any direct links or proof for your other extravagant claims, you go off on to a diversion about this e500 a month, and 19th century living standards, which again I made no comment about. That is not serious argument, it is simply point scoring and arguing for the sake of arguing.

What is reformist about having a view of the IMF as a global Capitalist State institution, whose role is the same as that performed by the nation state? I fail to see what is reformist about that it is wholly consistent with marx's view of the State, Lenin's view of the State, and is indeed the view of most Marxists today in relation to such bodies!

As for the demands you put forward, together with your view in which pretty much the whole world is reduced to mere colonies of the US, we see what your politics really are. They are not Marxist at all, but reactionary Nationalism, combine that with your blog arguing for support for Immigration Controls, and I think we see what you really are - a National Socialist.

Boffy said...

Anyone who doubts the nature of your National Socialist politics, should examine the Nationalism of your arguments put forward here, including your reactionary opposition to globalism, your support for racist demands such as Import Controls (Taxes), and read your blog here, which cherry picks and distorts quotes from various Marxists to support your reactionary demands for Immigration Controls. Indeed, I would have thought that any sensible person would be very wary of anyone who has an entire blog devoted to arguing for Immigration Controls, let alone someone who claims to be a Marxist!

vngelis said...

Listen the Der Spiegel piece I saw in the Greek press but because you dont speak Greek there is no reason for me to provide a link to it. So I found the AWL piece, but this has appeared on a Guardian blog site
It makes reference to the article in Der Spiegel which is also German.

Greece has woken up to debtocracy

Helianthe's comment11 July 2011 12:00PM

LibbyCC 11 July 2011 11:09AM

It was Der Spiegel in an article on 07/02/2011 about corruption in Greece that reported that $600 billion dollars are deposited by rich Greeks in Swiss bank accounts. Some communist conspiracy !

... I cannot imagine this to be true

Your complaints to Der Spiegel please.

I recall that in response, the PM of Greece asked Swiss banks to provide data. This was never seriously pursued of course because the emphasis was quickly shifted towards th low hanging fruit: austerity for the poor and sale of assets.

vngelis said...

When you argue that Greece leaving the EU or going against capital would include a boycott of Greece, Zimbabwe style and that this would reduce the Greeks to penury I answered you that being stuck in the EU-IMF orbit that is happening right now and the future looks bleak for all, let alone those made redundant today. Hence the 500Euro wages is what all perceive to be the govt ultimate agenda with a return to the 19th century in terms of labour standards.
You then asserted that we are in a world boom and growth, yet we see depression economics spreading in southern europe.

You then argue that the EU isn't a colony of the USA but totally indepenedent as you argued about the soverign nature of Greece AFTER the IMF arrived.

You then go onto to a blog site which isn't written by me indeed has nothing written by myself but just what classical marxists have written on the subject and you call me a nazi. This indeed does show your globalism as that is what the Greek media call the Greeks protesting on the squares in their millions...

Boffy said...

This is all nonsense and evasion. How do you know I don't speak Greek. In fact, I was aware of the Greek newspaper article, anyway, but it only speaks of Der Spiegel being the source. You then provide a link not to Spiegel, but to a comment by an individual on the Guardian's website! Yet again not a direct quote from Spiegel or a link to it.

But, in any case you previously claimed you HAD provided a link to Spiegel! In fact, every time I have asked you to provide a link to original source data to substantiate any of the claims you make, such as your claim about the IMF preventing Greece from dealing with various countries, you have failed to do so.

In fact, I have provided an original source here, which estimates the amount of hidden assets in Swiss Bank Accounts, and on that basis concludes that Greeks have approximately e24 billion in accounts there.

Yes, the future for Greeks looks bleak, but compared with the situation they would face if they Left the EU, and certainly if they adopted the kind of measures you propose, that is likely to be a lesser evil.

In fact, the latest analysis is coming around to the conclusion that what is likely to happen is some kind of partial default on the debt agreed to by the EU and IMF. That is becoming more necessary as other economies are pulled in such as Italy. There is talk now of increasing the EFSM to e2 trillion for this eventuality. If that happens and an EU finance Minister is established along with the issuing of EU Bonds, or some solution along the lines of issuing Brady Bonds to cover Greek debt, then it will be accompanied with the idea of a Marshall Plan to bring about growth in Southern Europe.

Your argument that there is a global recession because there is an economic crisis in Southern Europe is typical of your totally ludicrous approach to facts. Southern Europe is NOT the world. The economies of Southern Europe apart from Spain represent only a small fraction of even the EU economy let alone the globe.

But the EU IS independent of the US, and certainly not its Colony, as any person resident on Planet Earth can plainly see!!! In fact, I have NOT argued that Greece has retained its sovereignty. On the contrary I have pointed out that it has been turned into a Protectorate of the EU. But, it is subordinate to the EU, NOT the US, or the IMF.

You then object to me referring to your website devoted to arguing in favour of Immigration Controls, and claim that nothing on it is written by you. But, it IS YOUR website!!! I call you a National Socialist because of the nature of that site, and because of your thoroughly reactionary, nationalist politics set out in your demands for Import Controls and so on, and your nationalistic opposition to globalism. You seem unaware that from onwards, Marxists have seen the creation of a global market as one of the most revolutionary and progressive things achieved by Capitalism!

vngelis said...

Here is the piece and how it appeared in the Greek press referring to E600billion in Swiss bank accounts which doesn't imply its all tax evasion but it certainly means that.

It refers to a piece in Der Speigel as reported in Deuche Welle news service. What you are now saying is this must be fake as I cant find it in Der Spiegel. It could well be but taking into account we dont know what is in Swiss bank accounts and the source you provided is by the Swiss ministry of finance which would seek to minimist the amounts, then the issue should be one of union demands for foreign banksters to open their books on greek deposits...

vngelis said...

Why you like globalism and I dont.

You then argue for workers control without leaving the EU or control of the economy without import controls. When I said you are a Brussels acolyte and that the 2nd International also argued for workers power whilst supporting its own imperialist governments you act as if that wasn't a historic tendency in the labour movement when it was and is. Its called bourgeois labour.

You dont like the articles by classical marxists on immigration not because they wrote them but because they dont fit in with your world view that progress comes via barbarism, in other words we have to support collapsing societies in order to have something better when in reality its through the struggle against collapse we get something better not the other way round....

Boffy said...

So you now admit that you cannot find the article in Der Spiegel that you have referred to, and which you previously claimed you had provided a link to! You now admit that we do not know how much is in Swiss Bank Accounts, and so your claim about the e600 bn is shown to be baseless, like most of your other extravgant claims.

The link I provided was not to the Swiss Ministry of Finance, but to a private financial analysis company, which had an interest in properly identifying the true extent of such deposits, because it was advising its clients on how much Swiss Banks might be liable in response to new OECD regulations on disclosing them for tax purposes!

But, the point is that I have also previously pointed out that its unlikely that this figure is accurate, because no rational group of Capitalists would keep that amount of money simply sitting in a deposit account earning virtually no interest. Capital self expands by making profits from productive investment. Even allowing for the payment of tax - which Capital is usually able to avoid, and Greek Capital has been particularly adept at that, assisted by the incompetence of the Greek State in collecting it - it would have been in the interests of Greek Capitalists to have actively invested such a large sum of money, and paid the tax. As one contributor to the original blog you cited stated, it is likely that this figure of e600bn is, in fact, the total value of Greek transactions passing through Swiss Banks, not the amount actually deposited there. But, that is a quite different matter.

Finally, as I pointed out, even were this money to be actually there it does not help your argument for paying off the debt, through taxing or confiscating it, because in a modern economy, before any Greek Government could make moves to get to it, it would have been transferred eletronically, and such a move would also cause Capital already invested in Greece to disinvest, sending the economy even further into crisis.

Boffy said...

Once again you make connections between two things without providing any logical connection between the two. Your countryman Aristotle would be ashamed. The percentage of people in all developed economies employed in manufacturing today is much lower than it was in the 1970's. That is no different from the fact that the perentage of people employed in agriculture in these countries fell in the twentieth century compared with the 19th Century. Its called progress!!!

Rising productivity of labour meant that fewer people were needed in agriculture to meet basic needs, whereas the expansion of needs meant more people were required in manufactruring industry. As productivity there rose, and demand for service provision expanded, so a further shift has occurred. Yes, that has been accompanied in the West in the last 30 years with a process of de-industrialisation, and with a process of industrialisation in China and other previously less developed economies. I see that, as marx did as wholly progressive, because it means that in those countries we now have also the basis for Socialism, a developed level of means of production, and a large working-class. Your opposition to such a movement shows you are no Marxist.

In what way is workers ownership and control impossible without leaving the EU? There are thousands of Workers Co-ops in Britain, and even more throughout the EU! I said nothing about control of the economy, which would be impossible without a socialist revolution, and in such a small economy as Greece, practically impossible even then. Socialism is impossible in one country, particularly one as small as Greece. That is why every Marxist would agree that your plans for autarchy are thoroughly reactionary, and based not on Marxism, but on National Socialism.

What does the Second Internal's support for WWI, and the history of social imperialism have to do with any of this??? In 1914, in the face of an actual event the 2nd International collapsed into social imperialism. Here and now, in actual event, far from doing so, I am arguing for workers in Greece to occupy their factories, and set up worker co-ops, to establish their own forms of democracy, their own militia etc., and for them to be supported by workers internationally in doing that. Your position is a weird kind of Stalinist amalgam, but without even any kind of attempt to connect two separate things together. In fact, it is your nationalism that is far closer to the position of the Second International than is my advocacy of independent workers action in Greece!!

I don't like your website arguing for Immigration Controls, because every Marxist believes that they are reactionary, nationalist demands which divide the working-class, and shift rthe responsibility for capitalist crisis on to foreigners, and away ffrom Capital. They are most commonly used by racists and fascists. That a marxist for some specific reason, in some specific instance might quote any of the sources you have listed is understandable, though, they would put such quotes in the appropriate context. That someone would devote an entire website to justifying Immigration Controls, is highly suspect, and that suspiciion is heightened when you tried to evade even responsibility for it! Putting that together with the rest of your reactionary ideas, your advancement of nationalistic positions in general, and the demagogic style of your argument can only make any reasonable peson with any reasonable experience in the Labour Movement highly suspicious, let alone critical of your politics.

vngelis said...

The chart you provide with the E24b is attributed to the Swiss Ministry of Finance as far as I can recall when I looked at its source. But the issue is neither here nor there. The E600b is quoted frequently in the Greek media as fact. It may be a lie. It may be double that taking into account Greek shipowners own the majority of container ships from East to West. So your point about me using false date whilst you use official data says what? That the levels of Greek tax evasion are minimal. That is all one can understand from your point.

You then argue that as people are no longer employed in agriculture as they were in the 19th century so they are no longer employed in manufacturing hence the inevitable rise of ...progress. Alongside the invention of the Tatlin machine gun we also had WW1 and we also after had WW2 and the rise of the atom bomb. Both show a rise in progress in the military sphere, no doubt. But if this type of progress is in the wrong hands we have its opposite, ie barbarism.
You miss out on the barbarism, embelish it and deduce from that that if the EU unites currencies, nations and peoples against their will that this is an inevitable rise in ...progress. Hitler did just that in WW2. Was that progress as well? He tried to unify imperialism and failed. The Americans took his role with Bretton Woods, the Marshall Plan and the IMF. Or didn't they? Is it just my imagination therefore when I state that because of too much progress the USA is now back to stamps and 47 million are on them. This must surely be even in your janndiced world view a sign of regression. Or is progress a linear process. It just marches on ahead and we should be pround to have de-industrialisation in Greece and open borders in goods, capital and labour (essential hallmarks of globalistion). If that is the case, no one should be on the streets, as 2 million were recently against ALL political parties, they should indeed be sitting in the Greek cafe versions of ...Kensington.

Your aversion to classical marxist texts are from what they say, not what has been selected by myself or your generalised concept that 'all marxists' oppose immigration controls. The Bolsheviks certainly didn't. Their epigones certainly did. But we werent discussing my site. We can discuss it on a seperate thread...

Boffy said...

I think you are now clearly just being abstruse, and arguing nonsense for the sake of it. The link I provided was to a private Financial Company Helvea S.A. as anyone who takes the trouble to look can see, but obviously as we have found you are not interested in facts.

No levels of Greek tax evasion are not minimal, but a Greek ship owner will want to have their money invested in shipping or other productive assets not sitting unproductively in a swiss bank account! Either way it is not available to pay of the Greek debt so it is irrelevant.

On progress Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and every other major Marxist I can think of disagrees with you!!! They all beleived that this development even under the regime of Capitalism was progressive, and far from barbarism. On the contrary they saw it as a necessary precondiiton for Socialism.

But, just as you blatantly lied when you said you had provided a link to the article in Spiegel, and then had to admit that you could njot find it, so you lie about this, and in your otehr unsubstantiated claim that I beleive that progress is only possible through barbarism.

Who says uniting people in Europe against their will is progressive? Where have I said any such thing?

In Marx's time the consequences of Capitalism in creating unemployment, poverty and starvation were even more stark than today. It did not stop him criticising the Moral Socialists like Sismondi who adopted the position you put forward now, nor did it stop Lenin criticising the narodniks for adopting that position. Both saw the development of the productive forces and creation of a world market as historically progressive developments.

ALL Marxists oppose Immigration Controls under Capitalism for the reasons I have given. But, for someone to devote an entire website to supporting Immigration Controls tells us a lot about the politics of that person. Combine it with your other reactionary nationalist politics, and tells us that you are a National Socialist, or that you are a petit-bourgeois dilletante simply amusing yourself with arguing for the sake of arguing, and therefore prepared to put forward any old crap.

Marxist Ferri said...

Hi C.des,

Interesting discussion, I followed it all, in all its genuinity. I would first of all suggest to 'lower the tones', in order not to impoverish the conversation.

In general, I would agree with Marx and Boffy on the progressive role of Capitalism.
Yet, nobody knows how the process of abolition of 'contradictions' can occur in terms of praxis.
There's no universal method insofar as it variates and evolves through to the development of productive forces of each country; and ok, National Socialism can even be a provisional 'tactic' in some cases.

On the other hand, taking it as a 'guiding principle' or regarding it as a strategy without more 'universalistic aims' is substantially ridiculous, anti-modernist, anti-historical and anti-Marxist.

Marx certainly welcomed tactical 'compromises' at nation-level too, as shown in the 1850 address and the Civil war in France, while considering Capitalism as a progressive and important force; whose surplus has to be taxed and whose life power be made impossible.
However, he always emphasised internationalism, unlike the humbug of Stalinism.

At the same time, we should remark what Marx had to say about the absurdity of the stagist theory, so much loved by the Maoists and a great part of the Leninists.
In fact, for Marx, Socialism without Capitalism was 'difficult', not impossible, though still within the framework of 'internationalism':

"Now what application to Russia can my critic make of this historical sketch? Only this: If Russia is tending to become a capitalist nation after the example of the Western European countries, and during the last years she has been taking a lot of trouble in this direction--she will not succeed without having first transformed a good part of her peasants into proletarians; and after that, once taken to the bosom of the capitalist regime, she will experience its pitiless laws like other profane peoples. That is all. But that is not enough for my critic. He feels himself obliged to metamorphose my historical sketch of the genesis of capitalism in Western Europe into an historico-philosophic theory of the marche generale [general path] imposed by fate upon every people, whatever the historic circumstances in which it finds itself, in order that it may ultimately arrive at the form of economy which will ensure, together with the greatest expansion of the productive powers of social labour, the most complete development of man. But I beg his pardon. (He is both honouring and shaming me too much.)"

Furthermore, in regard to the specific dialectical development of Tsarist Russia, both Marx and Engels bluntly point out:

"Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina, though greatly undermined, yet a form of primeaval common ownership of land, pass directly to the higher form of Communist common ownership? Or, on the contrary, must it first pass through the same process of dissolution such as constitutes the historical evolution of the West? The only answer to that possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development."

Enjoyed sharing this with you
Marxist greetings from India! Ferri

seanysean said...

With respect, I don't see what the last comment has to do with Greek debt or its portrayal in the media. Please enlighten me.

vngelis said...

You placed a previous blog piece on Global Meltdown Imminent and I answered the point that the worlds media pays attention to Greece not for any economic reasons as there are none of any worldwide importance, but in order to put pressure on the Euro as a whole, using its weakest link, Greece. That is what the point of your piece was allegedly to be about. You have ignored what I have written and you have sideissued the topic focusing instead on what Der Speigel is alleged to have written as reported in the Greek media by Deutsche Welle in the link I gave you. You then went on to say that I made unsubstantiated allegations regarding the size of Greek deposits in Switzerland. Your link uses as a reference for this on p11 the Swiss Federal Dept of Finance Helves Estimates where the figure of 24billion appears. So is this a govt source or not? Or am I reading the wrong source?

We aren't living in Marx's time and imperialism now dominates. Marxists have never supported total open borders, indeed the Bolsheviks asked for revolutionaries to leave Russia and aid the revolution in their own respective countries, they also set up the monopoly of foreign trade controlling imports and exports.
Now if you believe small countries which aren't imperialist have to support the abolition of immigration controls then this goes against the history of the Left as the experience of Cuba demonstrates.

Boffy said...

The blog I wrote about Imminent Global meltdown was written specifically in relation to an item that had just appeared on CNBC saying that EU Finance Ministers had lost patience with Greece, and were not going to make available the bail-out funds needed. As it happens they did agree to do that, but the issue has not gone away as a further payment will be needed in a few weeks time. You claimed that the world media was focussing on Greece, in order to put pressure on the Euro, whilst ignoring the debt crisis in the US. Firstly, I don't know which papers you read or business channels you watch, but it is rather clear that there has been plenty of coverage of the crisis over the debt ceiling in the US.

But, for you to say that the issue of Greece defaulting is not a serious problem shows that you have no understanding of the basic issues at stake whatsoever. If Greece defaulted on its debt in an unplanned manner i.e. stopped paying the due interest on its loans, with the possibility that only a proportion of the Capital lent would also be repaid – currently thought to be up to around a 30% haircut – then all of the Banks that had lent that money would themselves face a severe crisis. Two-thirds of Greece's debt is in fact owed to Greek Banks, as last week's Bank Stress Tests showed. The first banks to go bust, would then be Greek banks, with a consequent effect on all of the Greek workers, businesses etc. with money deposited in those banks, and dependent themselves on those banks for day to day lending, long term loans, mortgages etc. The other third of the debt is owed to mostly European Banks, again mostly in Germany and France. Again a default would have a significant knock-on effect to those Banks. Given the need for all these banks to have sufficient Core 1 Capital Asset Ratios, and given that most economists believe that these Banks are already under capitalised, such a credit event would have serious consequences.

In addition, although Greek banks account for two-thirds of this debt, those banks themselves are highly dependent on investment within them, and loans to them by other European Banks. Consequently, if those Greek Banks went bust due to a default, that would have a knock-on effect to all of those European Banks that have invested in, and lent to them. It would also mean that Ireland, and Portugal would also conclude that if Greece was defaulting, they may as well too, and so the combined consequences would be that much greater. In short, the kind of cascade effect that occurred with the Lehman's collapse would be set in place, but on a much larger scale, because credit markets would completely seize up as no one would know where counter-party risk resided, so all lenders would simply stop lending for fear that they would not be repaid. That would make the events of 2008, and the subsequent recession look like a small blip. The consequences for workers throughout the globe, would be dire, and in places like Greece, particularly so.

Boffy said...

Actually, the point of the piece above was not to be about what you claim, but was to demonstrate that the economic problems of Greece were nothing to do with lazy Greek workers, or over generous welfare, or retirement facilities – because none of those things are true – but, are in fact, due to the basic lack of competitiveness of the Greek economy, compounded by other factors such as its laxity in collecting taxes, and compounded by the fact that it suffers the downsides of being in the Euro, without the benefits that should come from being in a Monetary and Economic Union, via a single cost of borrowing, and a single Fiscal Policy able to counterbalance economic weakness with fiscal stimulus.

For you to say that I have side issued that discussion by focussing on the e600 bn, you claim to be in Swiss Bank accounts is a bit rich, given that it was you that raised that issue, and you that has continued to argue that point without providing any evidence to support the claim other than tittle-tattle. You continue to say that the link I gave is to a Swiss Government source despite the fact that I have pointed out that Helvea SA is a private financial company, as can be seen by looking at the document I have linked to!!! If you doubt that a link to their website is provided here.

Boffy said...

Your argument in relation to Immigration and Import Controls is just silly, and demonstrates the way in which you either seem incapable of differentiating between completely different situations and conditions or phenomenon, or else that in order to be slippery, and move from one argument to another you deliberately conflate two separate and different things. In this instance you do not seem able to know the difference between a Capitalist State and A Workers State!!! The argument, which Marxists have always made is that we are opposed to the introduction of Immigration controls or Import Controls by Capitalist States, because they entail tying the working-class to the bourgeoisie on the basis of a shared national interest. They shift the responsibility for Capitalist Crises away from Capitalism itself, and on to foreigners. They are reactionary, and facilitate reactionary forces such as the racists and fascists. But, of course, the situation stands completely differently as regards a Workers State!!!!!!!

In 1917, even after the February Revolution, Lenin and the Bolsheviks were arguing the need to adopt the position of Revolutionary Defeatism in regards to Russia. However, after the October Revolution that position changed, and, of course they became in favour of “Defencism”, precisely because it was then a matter of defending the Workers State! Where a Workers State finds itself encircled by hostile Capitalist forces, of course, it will adopt all sorts of measures to defend itself, and its economy against those forces including the introduction of a Monopoly of Foreign Trade, and control over its borders. But, that has absolutely nothing to do with advocating such policies under Capitalism!!! And, in fact, when a series of such Workers States exists the Marxist position would be to argue for free movement across borders between them, for free trade amongst them to the extent that market relations continued, and for the gradual coming together of their economies on a planned basis, the introduction of policies to encourage greater specialisation to benefit from natural advantages, and from economies of scale etc.

But, as Comrade Ferri has pointed out that is totally different from a Stalinist policy of National Socialism, which seeks to put forward the reactionary idea that Socialism could be built in a single country, or that a single country under either Socialism or Capitalism could simply cut itself off from the global Capitalist economy! Its not clear from your argument as to whether you see Greece as in some way equivalent to Cuba, but clearly it is not. Whatever its current economic weakness and problems, Greece is, and has been for a long time fully integrated into EU Imperialism. It has, in fact, engaged several times in the past in its own Imperialist Wars against Turkey, for example, and is engaged in a dispute with Turkey now over oil deposits.

If you really cannot distinguish between such basic categories as Workers State versus Capitalist State, then it is not surprising that you fail to understand what is going on.

vngelis said...

Your arguments about the EU are like Mandelsons a close friend of Osborne and the Rothschilds and Greek shipowners...

Boffy said...

No, they are not, and when someone attempts to use the Stalinist tactic of the amalgam, opposing a position not by rational argument, but by trying to connect it to some hate figure, you know that they have lost the argument itself. You also know a lot about the politics, and lack of principles of the person using the amalgam.

vngelis said...

You argued that marxist texts on immigration are selected by myself to prove a point yet they weren't written by myself. I selected the parts which refer to immigration, that in itself isn't a crime, the crime is that revisionists allege Marx said things he didn't.

You then state all marxists opposed immigration controls throughout history when they didn't. The marxism you refer to is the marxism of the 2nd International not that of Lenin-Trotsky. That is the difference.

In order to prove otherwise you have to furnish the quotes.

Boffy said...

No I don't. I pointed out that your quotes were highly selective. I also pointed out that quoting Lenin and Trotsky on what was appropriate in the context of a Workers State, is not at all the same as attempting to use that to argue for a similar policy to be adopted by a Capitalist State.

But, oh look, you didn't bother to actually deal with the argument presented!

vngelis said...

Lenins quote against Open Borders was prior to the Russian Revolution.
So your latest argument is that workers have no interest in their country being overun by mass immigration? So the Palestinians should have accepted the arrival of europeans who stole their land and made them homeless?
Your arguments are being aired in weekly worker with Douglas comments on the loss of the Thames Valley train contract to Bombardier in the letters page under the thread Crack Regiment.
So despite capitalists having borders, regulations regarding hours worked etc. we should argue the abolition of all regulations to not appear conservative or nationalist?

Boffy said...

Dave Douglass and others are arguing a Stalinist position. I am talking about the Marxist position.

Boffy said...

Moreover, anyone who reads Lenin's actual text here, will see that it has absolutely nothing, zilch, nada to do with marxists supporting Immigration Controls!!!

The context of Lenin's argument is about the right of nations (particularly oppressed nations) to self-determination! He is saying that for now we cannot deny oppressed people the right to self-determination by saying we are against national frontiers. Even so, his position set out in all of his writings on the National Question, which also deals with your point about Palestine, is that Marxists within the oppressed nation - here he is talking about Poland - should, because we are internationalists, because we are in favour of workers untiy across borders, stress the right to unite, rather than to secede.

There are discussions to be had on this issue in respect of specific instances, but it is the fact that you devote an entire website to trying to argue for Immigration Controls, which tells us a great deal about the reactionary, National Socialist politics you defend.

A cursory reading of some of the other quotes you provide from marx and Engels in relation to the US - it was Marx and Engels after all who declared that workers have no nation - shows that even the texts you cite do not have anything to do with advocating Immigration Controls.

vngelis said...

You state Douglass argues a stalinist position implying what precisely? Which stalinists and when? For the Greek ones are all open borders and have been for two decades now. Indeed their position is that every new immigrant that arrives should be given travel documents to leave Greece and go to N Europe, a point highlighted by Keith Vaz today. So the role of the Left is to argue for open borders under capitalism? No need, capitalism does it better and smarter. Small nations have issues with mass immigration as they can be overrun and turfed out. You dont see this as a problem as you haven't experienced it or you might consider it natural as the British Empire was a master at divide and rule and shipping people from one place to the other. Marx recognised this fact when he stated,

"The purpose of this importation (of workers my note) is the same as that of the importation of Indian COOLlES to Jamaica, namely, perpetuation of oslavery."
Marx A Warning

Over the last decade the far left in Britain started off with around 100,000 votes combined electorally. A decade later after the mass arrival of immigrants from all over the world its combined electorla votes have dropped to around 30,000 or even less whilst the combined votes of the far right BNP reached 1 million. The Open Border policies from mainstream Labour to its appendage the Far Left led to what precisely? A mass rise of the far right. You have contributed in this by abstaining from the issues that affect workers directly in their daily lives. Marx created the First International precisely to undercut the ability of the capitalist class to use one worker against another into a race to the bottom. The Left today supports globalisation and a beggar they neighbour approach not only between nations but within them.

Boffy said...

The Stalinist position like that of Social-Democracy, and like the National Socialist position you adopt is to tie the workers of any particular nation to that of their ruling class, by suggesting to those that workers that their is a single "National Interest" as against foreign Capital and workers. The logical conclusion to that was the lining up of the workers behind their bourgeoisie in 1914 to defend those shared national interests.

It has been represented over the last 50 years by the Stalinist ideas about "National Roads" to Socialism, which again seek to build a Popular Front between the workers and bosses around nationalist demands for Import Controls, Immigration Controls, workers co-operation with bosses through various forms of Corporatist planning bodies etc.

Capitalism clearly does not do "Open Borders" better and more efficienty, which is why most developed economies have stringent Immigration Controls, which force large numbers of people to take the "illegal" route, and thereby place themselves in a position where they are left defenceless.

Once again you quote Marx, without providing a link to the whole of what he said. In fact, just as your Lenin quote turned out to have nothing to do with Immigration, but was merely a crude attempt on your part ot snatch a sentence and pervert its meaning to what you wanted to argue, so to with Marx's quote.

If we read the whole of what he wrote, Here, we see that Marx says nothing about Immigration Controls. On the contrary, his position is consistent with that I have argued here. The response of Marx and the International was to contact the German and Belgian Labour Movements, and to seek their assistance in joining with the British workers in defeating the British bosses. That is what marxists propose today, rather than your National Socialist approach of joining with those British bosses to blaem foreigners for the problems of British Capitalism, and which necessarily then act to divide British workers from those foreign workers.

Moreover, your argument in today's world is utopian, and reformist. The reality is that if Capitalism is unable to find workers prepared to work at a sufficiently low level of wages, it has an easy solution. It simply relocates its operations to an economy where it can. The consequence of that is actually worse for the workers in the country which loses that Capital, because now the taxes paid go to some foreign state. The ancillary demand for products, and the creation of employment that goes with that activity now goes to stimulating employment and Capital accumulation in the country that Capital has located to, with a consequent epressive effect on the economy and workers living standards in the economy it has left. Suggesting as the Stalinists, and you do that this can be stopped by agreement between workers and bosses is reformist nonsense. It can only be stopped when Capitalism is overthrown, and workers have control over that investment.

Boffy said...

I defend the right of very small nations to exercise the right of self-determination by controlling their borders by Immigration Controls if they choose. I take it given the strength with which you put this argument forward that to be consistent you also defend the right of Israel to do that??? However, the fact I defend the right of such states to do that, does not mean that as a Marxist I support such a policy, any more than defending the right of self-determination, means it is a demand that Marxists should advance. Our job as both Marx and Lenin argued is to unite workers across borders, not separate them.

Labour most certainly did NOT have an "Open Borders" policy, as the Immigration Controls, and treatment of Asylum Seekers showed. If you mean the free movmeent of Labour within the EU then that is the logical conclusion of being within a larger state. What is the logical conclusion of your argument? It is that workers from Yorkshire should not have free movemenbt to Lancashire, that workers from Crete should not have free movemnt to Athens. It is a thoroughly reactionary position that would take workes back to the kind of restrictions on them of feudalism.

On the fall in the vote of the Far left and rise of the BNP, your argument is facile. The 100,000 votes was hardly stellar to begin with. It does indeed, reflect the fact that the Far Left has no immediate solutions to workers problems. But, those who have put forward the positions you advocate have done even worse!!! As for the BNP, a million votes was hardly a mass rise. It represented just 5% of the vote. In fact, even that has now collapsed.

Boffy said...

Incidentally, I taje it, given your support for Immigration Controls, that you would then, at a time of rising unemployment in Britain, support their introduction by the British Government, and the concomitant of telling you, and the tens of thousands of your compatriots who have moved to Britain, to go back home!!!!

The same would of course apply to all other countries, with the effect that Greece would experience a mass influx not of foreign workers driving down its wages, but of Greek workers!!!

In fact, given that you are so concerned about this matter that you set up a website purely nto argue for Immigration Controls, I am very surprised that just as a matter of principle that you Left Greece for Britain in the first place. Surely, to be consistent you should be arguing that Greeks stay in Greece, and so on. That would line you up with your co-thinkers in the BNP.

vngelis said...

You state the Labour Party has supported immigration controls and stringent rules on the movement of labour. We must obviously be living in different countries, for the last decade has seen the largest movement ever. You then argue controls should not exist, and states should not have borders. Lenin specifically argued against this position calling it utopian. The argument is clear for all to see. One should argue for that once workers power has been achieved. You then state the EU hasn't opened the borders internally or Labour hasn't agreed to this signing its opening up, or that Labour demanded the extension of the EU as far as to the borders of Afghanistan. Maybe once more we live in different countries.
Israel isn't a state but a US airbase and as such in my mind has not right to exist, in yours it probably has as you support the right of countries and small nations being overrun by mass movements of peoples, confusing Marx's internationalism with the importation of coolies the world over.
If you assume I chose to come to the UK as a 14 month old baby, then indeed you provide the old thatcherite concept to all, that individual rights are above all, the rights of the migrant above that of unionised workers, the right of movement above the right of nations etc.
You then say the BNP only got 5% of the vote, but if added with the UKIP party in another election they got 25% of the votes (EU election). An overwhelming majorit of British people is against mass immigration, the globalist left alongside the large transnational corporations is for it, as their social existence is based on professions which are regulated and controlled. They haven't seen much competition in the workplace so they like the cheap services, from house cleaning, to restaurants, to plumbing etc.
Marxism was based on analysing the concrete conditions workers found themselves in the here and now and defending their gains, not opening them up to the billion or so who are unemployed the world over and dividing a plate of food or weekly wages among thousands. Those who cannot defend todays gains cannot fight to extend them either.

Boffy said...

The LP HAS supported stringent Immigration Controls, which is why they introduced the points system, for instance, similar to that in Australia. The movement over the last decade has been within the EU. Given that the EU is a single market, and a proto state, as I said that is no different than people from Yorkshire taking up jobs in Lancashire, or people from Crete taking up jobs in Athens.

Where did I say that State's should not have borders. I have said no such thing. Once again you just make things up as you go along!

You claimed that Lenin had supported Immigration Controls, and quoted a single sentence out of context. In fact, the article had nothing to do with Immigration Controls whatsoever, and you have not provided any quotes from him that do call for Immigration Controls!

What Lenin argued in the piece you cited was that after a Workers State had been established - then the workers of that country should call for the workers of other countries to seek to unite their countries with it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Immigration Controls!

As for your next diatribe it has as much basis as this latter. Where exactly did I say anything about the EU NOT opening borders, about the LP not signing something to do with that, or the demanding of opening borders up to Afghanistan? Please provide the actual quotes of where I said that!

Israel clearly is a State, and whether you feel it has a right to exist or not, the fact is it does exist, and so you should defend its right to all those things like Immigration Controls you support for other states. If israel as a sovereign State chooses to invite the US or other states to locate troops thir that is its right as a sovereign state, just as it was the right of Cuba to invite the USSR to station troops etc. there. Your are not even consistent in your reactionary Nationalism.

You have avoided the question on your own status. You could choose to return to Greece, along with all your compatriots, here and in other countries. What consequecne do you think that would have for Greece? It is you that is agreeing with Thatcher and worse in your reactionary Nationalism that calls for the rights of workers to be undermined through Immigration Controls. There is no contradiction between those rights, and the need to build strong international Trade Union links, and organisation to demand that all workers be paid Trade Rates of pay. But, I repeat, would you then argue against workers in a high unemployment area such as the North-East being free to move to another part of the UK in order to take up jobs? That is the logic of your nationalist argument.

Your arguments defending the BNP and UKIP I think show us the real reactionary nature of your politics. They only got that vote, because it was a very small vote. In the last General Election the combined vote of the BNP and UKIP was derisory. The facts speak against you.

Actually Marxism was based on explaining to workers why it was not possible to defend gains within the confines of Capitalism, and on showing them the need fo building international workers solidarity. Your reactionary nationalist politics are the exact opposite. You line workers up alongside their own bosses against foreigners, and in your ridiculous, and frankly hysterically racist Anti-Americanism you let those same nationali Capitalist classes off the hook, by blaming everything on US capitalism.

vngelis said...

In the last election 2010 the combined votes of Ukip BNP and English Democrats was 1.5million. The far left dropped to 40,000 down by over 50% in a decade whilst the rise in the opposite side has been immense. Again as a true globalist you downplay the figures claiming other things related to reality.

You then said I left Greece for Britain and then done the usual flipflopping and stated why dont I go back, which is BNP style arguements. Politics is reduced to individual choices or to put it more preceisely a game of what each person has to gain on an individual basis, which is the way you view mass immigration. Not how it affect the class or sections of the class but how it affects individuals, which is why I described you as a subscriber to the thatherite view of individual rights, the rights of Eddie Shah above the print workers, the right of the scab miner above the ones on strike, the right of individual worker that undercuts pay against those who want to maintain pay.
You then state that the EU is a single state or a proto state in formation due to its single market nature, without stating of course since when did the nations of Europe vote for this? Since when did they vote to become an administrative regions of the EU or agree to the Bolkenstein directive which institutionalises in law what mass immigration has been doing within the EU, ie undercutting each nations wages or minimum wages. When British workers protested against the importation of labour over the Total oilfields which side where you on? Those protesting or the multinational oil corporation, like Mandelson has been for the best part of a decade? Because the EU exists what does that mean in practice? Workers have lost the right to campaign for its break up its dissolution and to want an exit from it and a return to national currencies? Or is it because you have a national currency which is a form of monetary control (ie protectionism that dreaded word in the era of globalisation) that no one else should have that right as it is only assigned to a few?
You then go on to say that Greek bosses only want to employ Greek workers not foreigners when the reality is the exact opposite in both Britain and Greece. They prefer workers from other countries as a) they dont know the language very well b) they dont know their rights c) they are difficult to unionise as most of them from E Europe are officially anti-communists d) America has is made up of immigrants and in its 200 year history hasn't even created a single national Labour party

Boffy said...

I note that you continue to big up the fascist, and neo-fascist BNP, UKIP and English Democrats. Given your own National Socialist politics that is not surprising. It is one thing to point out the appallingly low vote of the Far Left, and to put the claims of the Far Left, that they are building an alternative to Labour, in context, by contrasting it with the vote of the BNP, it is another to exaggerate the vote and importance of the fascists as you do. The 1.5 million votes they secured in total, amounted to little more than 5% of the total vote. None of their candidates were elected, and indeed, the vast majority of BNP Councillors, who stood in the Local Elections held the same day, were swept decisively from office.

As an Internationalist, which is fundamental to Marxism, I, of course, have no interest in welcoming any support for reactionary nationalists, and indeed DO have an interest in promoting Internationalism, and opposing reactionary nationalists views held by workers. Obviously National Socialists like yourself have an interest in doing the opposite.

I didn't suggest you go back to Greece. I am totally opposed to workers being put in that position. That is the whole point. I was suggesting to you that the logic of your position was that, that is the choice you should make, or that at least you should welcome those such as the BNP, who wish to force such a course of action, on workers! It is not at all a matter of me arguing what the rights of individuals should be, though, I like Marx am happy to promote individual rights as well as class rights. The right of free movement of workers is not an individual right. It is a class right, just as Capital already has the class right of free movement. But, what you are promoting, is not class rights, but National rights, the rights of Capitalist states to take action in defence of Capital, as against Labour. In doing so you tie workers to Capital.

Your comments in regard to Eddie Shah, and the Miners are not just ridiculous, but disgusting. As, the Secretary of the local TUC Miners Support Committee during the '84 Strike, as someone who spent every day of the dispute on a Miners Picket line, and often more than one, who organised mass pickets of collieries and local power stations with the local NUM, and who was President of the local TUC during many other disputes, where we gave solidarity and support to many workers, I think I can hardly be accused of being on the wrong side of the barricades. You, on the other hand continually ask workers to line up with their own national bosses.

You are right that the people of Europe have not been given a vote on the formation of an EU State. They have not been given a vote on the formation of most states. The exceptions would probably be Norway. That does not change the fact that these states exist. I am in favour of an open debate over the creation of a Federal EU State. I am in favour of arguing that workers need an EU wide Party, and Trades Unions. I am in favour of arguing for consistent democracy throughout Europe, which would mean that the EU Parliament should have full legislative powers. I am in favour of the convening of an EU wide Constitutional Assembly to discuss what the Constitution of this state should be, and I am in favour of raising within this context the demand for a Socialist United States of Europe. But, that does not change the fact that as Lenin and Trotsky said, if the Capitalists were themselves to bring about a United States of Europe, it would be a progressive development, because it would be a step in the direction of breaking down national borders, and thereby uniting workers in a single European state.

Boffy said...

The workers at LOR were not campaigning about Total oilfields, but about construction work at their Lincolnshire refinery. If you are going to comment on these things the least you could do would be to check some basic facts. My position on the dispute was quite clear, and stated here in a number of posts at the time. I was on the side of the workers, despite the reactionary slogans that some of them were raising. But, you fail to mention that, the Socialist Party who had activists working at LOR, were active in the strike whilst opposing those reactionary slogans too. As a result, they were able to win the workers over to dropping those reactionary nationalist slogans and demands, and to focus their attention on opposing Total, uniting the British and Italian workers. You, of course, could not have achieved that. You would have been supporting the BNP's advocacy of those reactionary nationalistic demands, which could only have acted to divide the British and Italian workers. Of course, what the nationalistic demands would amount to was British Construction workers throwing in their lot with inefficient British Construction Capitalists, who wanted to oppose competition from foreign contractors in order to prop up the profits of those British Capitalists. That is the reality of your reactionary Nationalist politics.

Workers have not lost the ability to campaign for leaving the EU at all. They are completely free to do so. National Socialist organisations such as “No2EU” essentially did just that during the last Euro elections. Workers rejected their proposals overwhelmingly, just as they rejected the similar National Socialist politics of the British Stalinists and their fellow travellers in advocating these positions for the last 40 years. When British workers voted in a referendum in 1974 on staying in the EEC they voted overwhelmingly to do so. Moreover, on what basis would Marxists want them to do so. Both Lenin and Trotsky, and other Marxists argued that a United States of Europe would be a very progressive development, precisely because it would help to break down the national divisions that could act to divide workers, and divert them from class struggle against their own bosses. Their only concern was that remaining divisions between national Capitals would mean that Capital itself would not be capable of bringing such a progressive development about!

Actually, I'm on record as saying that I think it would have been preferable for Britain to have been in the Euro rather than keeping the pound. I continue to believe that for the reasons set out above, in relation to the progressive nature of a single European State, and what it would mean for building a single European Labour Movement.

You then say that I go on to say that Greek bosses only want to employ Greek workers! Exactly where did I say this????? I've said no such thing. You seem to have a habit of just making things up as you go along. This is not, by far, the first time you have accused me of saying something I have never said. Despite the fact that I have asked you to justify any of these statements by providing a quote, you continually fail to do so, and instead write another comment simply putting forward another unsubstantiated claim that I have said something I've never said. That is like your repeated citation of other claims for which you can provide no substantiation, and your failure to accept that you were wrong when your claim is disproved – your claim over the IMF preventing Greece developing its oil reserves, or doing business with China is a good example. That is in addition to your blatant misquoting of Lenin in relation to Immigration Controls, where you snatched a sentence completely out of context, and which had absolutely nothing to do with Immigration Controls.

No one can take anything you say seriously. I certainly don't.

vngelis said...

Lenins view on the United States on Europe under capitalism would be that it would be reactionary or an unrealisable event. You now argue that it is a progressive development. One saw its last manifestation when it was united under the German heel. You now argue that the Brussels version is both anti-racist and progressive due to the fact that it has pioneered the mass movement of peoples within the EU. So you are by default an ardent supporter of the Bolkenstein directive, which is one of the cornerstones of the 'new' Europe. You then go on to say that you defended the miners 25 years ago. So did Bliar once stand on CND platforms, but that didn't stop him launching wars in Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan. One event doesn't preclude another.

As one can see in D Douglass last letter to Weekly Worker the majority of the far left voted AGAINST a resolution which condemned the closure of the Bombardier train making operation in Britain as to them nothing has closed essentially as work has gone into the EU and therefore with a warped logic taken a step further if Greece for instance disintigrates totally but Germany experiences a boom, its no loss to the EU as one regions gained another collapsed.

You called the far right votes derisory, but as I pointed out they were 1.5 million. Derisory are politics which ignore what the mass of workers feel. 76% in a recent survey stated they fell mass immigration was too much. You have argued both that it hasn't happened in the last decade and if it has it is progressive. For whom and for which class? Certainly not the working class which has seen it wages bolted to the floor in a whole set of trades.
You then say there was no dispute with Total Oil fields by British workers. Wasn't the construction work on their fields? Wasn't this an attempt to implement the Bolkenstein directive in practice? Or does the Bolkenstein directive not exist? For the 3 European countries with the highest opposition to mass migration in todays survey, Russia, Belgium and Britain funnily are the ones where the left in areas of where there was industry have now gone over to the ...far right. How is this to be explained? When the far left states openly the borders are closed, no immigrants have arrived and there is no issue at all it is no wonder their non-derisory combined vote is around 40K.
You then go on to state No2EU are also nazis, when you openly support the EU and its expansion presumabely to the borders of Afganistan, as Bliar did?

Boffy said...

Once again you give us Stalinist lies rather than an honest account of history. The Stalinist version of history in which Lenin opposed the idea of a United States of Europe is based solely on Lenin's 1915 article. But, as Trotsky pointed out in replying to those lies, the truth of the matter was easily seen by the fact that in 1923, not just Lenin, but the Comintern itself adopted the slogan of the United States of Europe!!! Trotsky deals with these lies comprehensively in The Third International After Lenin. he also sets out the Marxist position in arguing for the United States of Europe in his article, Is The Time ripe For The Slogan “The United States Of Europe?”

In fact a look at Lenin's 1915, article shows again how baseless your parroting of Stalinist lies is. Lenin says,

“It would be quite wrong to object to such a presentation of the question within the limits of a political appraisal of this slogan—e.g., to argue that it obscures or weakens, etc., the slogan of a socialist revolution. Political changes of a truly democratic nature, and especially political revolutions, can under no circumstances whatsoever either obscure or weaken the slogan of a socialist revolution. On the contrary, they always bring it closer, extend its basis, and draw new sections of the petty bourgeoisie and the semi-proletarian masses into the socialist struggle. On the other hand, political revolutions are inevitable in the course of the socialist revolution, which should not be regarded as a single act, but as a period of turbulent political and economic upheavals, the most intense class struggle, civil war, revolutions, and counter-revolutions.

But while the slogan of a republican United States of Europe—if accompanied by the revolutionary overthrow of the three most reactionary monarchies in Europe, headed by the Russian—is quite invulnerable as a political slogan, there still remains the highly important question of its economic content and significance. From the standpoint of the economic conditions of imperialism—i.e., the export of capital arid the division of the world by the “advanced” and “civilised” colonial powers—a United States of Europe, under capitalism, is either impossible or reactionary.”
So Lenin says that as a political slogan the United States of Europe is “invulnerable”!!! His objection as was Trotsky's at the time was on grounds of the economics existing at the time, essentially to do with the conflicting interests of competing Colonial European powers. But, the whole point was that the conditions of 1915 had changed even by 1923. They had changed even more by the post-war period when those European powers were no longer the owners of vast Colonial possessions. The economic basis of the objections had disappeared, and it could hardly be said that the venture of a United States of Europe was “utopian” for the reasons Lenin had set out in 1915, when, in fact, those very same Capitalist powers HAD begun to create that very thing!!!

The CPGB some time ago gave a comprehensive dismantling of the argument that you and other Stalinists have put forward. It can be found here

Boffy said...

You then say that I have argued that it is anti-racist etc. because it has “pioneered the mass movement of peoples within the EU.” But, again this is another of your lies. I have said no such thing. I have said that the establishment of the EU is progressive because it objectively lays the basis for the creation of a unified Labour Movement across Europe. That is undeniable, just as the establishment of a single British State created the basis of a single British Labour Movement. I do not have to be a supporter of the vicious methods used by Cromwell, or prior British Kings to bring that unification about to recognise that the result is historically progressive!!! Indeed, had Nazi Germany actually to have created a single European State, that too would have been historically progressive, but, of course, Marxists would not in any way have supported the methods of achieving it. As the fascist regime inevitably crumbled, Marxists would, of course, defend the right of nations to self-determination, should they seek it, just as today we would defend the right of Scotland to do that. But, our primary duty would be to point out that such a step would be reactionary, a step in the wrong direction, in breaking up an existing single state, and a single working-class movement.

You follow it with another lame attempt at a Stalinist amalgam, you say this, so by implication this other. But, there is nothing in my recognition of the historically progressive nature of a single European State that thereby makes me a supporter of some Capitalist initiative. Marx recognised that Capitalism was progressive, but it did not make him a supporter of Capitalism, or a supporter of any of its particular initiatives!!! It only made him a defender of its progressive nature as against reactionary alternatives. For Marxists as internationalists, those who argue in favour of the Capitalist Nation State, as an alternative to a larger Capitalist federation, are arguing from a reactionary standpoint. Our alternative to both is Socialism, and as Lenin points out in his 1915 article, and as Trotsky points out in his 1923 article, the slogan for a United States of Europe is a transitional demand, a reform on the road to our goal of a United Socialist States of Europe, and then the World.

Your comments on my support for the Miners and Blair's support for CND are just another crude attempt at using the amalgam. The fact that Blair supported CND did not prevent him launching those wars. But, nor did his support for CND mean he was bound to launch those wars either! Nor is there any connection then that Blair did that, and your implication that in supporting the Miners 25 years ago now, I MUST like Blair, now adopt some other position!!! I don't. My position in relation to supporting the Miners would be exactly the same today as it was then. It is the same in every other dispute where workers confront their bosses, as my position over the LOR dispute demonstrated.

You then completely distort the position of the CPGB and others in relation to the Bombardier dispute as can be seen by anyone who reads the articles and letters in relation to it. Voting against the resolution because of the nationalistic content of it, was not at all the same as not supporting the workers. The CPGB and otehrs on the left who opposed that resolution DO support the workers at Bombardier. But, quite correctly as with the LOR dispute they are not prepared to go along with nationalistic demands and sentiments in doing so. The position has nothing whatsoever with adopting your kind of nationalistic, non-class position. It is not a matter of saying the work has remained within the EU at all. It is a matter of saying that workers should not allow themselves to be divided along sectional lines. We should not demand that work remain in Yorkshire at the expense of work in Lancashire, we do not say close their factory rather than ours, we say we the workers should stand together and fight against closures as a class.

Boffy said...

You then go on to show your true colours with your continued support for the BNP and Far Right. Now it seems that you want Marxists to forget about defending basic principles, and to simply acquiesce, and tail reactionary ideas held by workers, rather than trying to win workers away from those reactionary ideas!!! In that case you might as well tell Marxists to forget about arguing for Socialism at all. Clearly, that is what you have done, and have now gone over wholly to supporting Nationalism and fascism, if that wasn't in reality your true politics to begin with.

I have not said that large scale immigration has not occurred in the last decade. I have said that what has occurred in large scale movements within the EU. In fact, there have been large scale movements of British workers into other EU countries too. Yes, I like all other Marxists going back to Marx see the right of free movement of workers as progressive, along with all the other rights that have been won, and which did not exist under feudalism. Yes, that is progressive for the working-class as a class, because it means it can no longer be imprisoned by Capital in one place. The answer to low wages, is not Nationalism, and restricting the movement of workers, thereby dividing one with another, and encouraging their identification with the bosses of their own country, but initially Trade Union struggle to defend wages, the building of European Trade Union organisation, the establishment of a European Workers Party, to fight for common wages, and benefits across Europe, but recognising the limitation of such economic struggle, the establishment of worker owned property across Europe, as a precursor to the replacement of Capitalist property via socialist revolution. The illogic of your position can be seen by simply looking at it from the other side. Why would workers move from one part of Europe to another? Because they can get higher wages elsewhere. In seeking to remove the right of those workers to do that, what is it that you are doing? It is condemning those workers to have to remain the captives of their own Capitalists, and to continue being paid their existing low wages. How is that in the interests of the working class?

You would have thought that having been picked up on it, you would have had the intelligence to at least do some basic research on the background to the LOR dispute. No, the construction work was NOT on Total oilfields, it was on the Total Oil REFINERY at Immingham. I thought you claimed to be a journalist, I wouldn't pay much attention to any stories you might write if this is the standard of your research.

Boffy said...

Where has the Left in Britain, Russia or Belgium gone over to the Far Right? What is your proof for that? The Stalinists in Russia were always National Socialists, the same as regards the Stalinists in Britain. But, I would not say they have gone over to the Far Right! The clear implication of your argument is that the Left SHOULD go over to the far Right, as you see the failure to base themselves on all kinds of Nationalistic, and racist policies as the reason for the poor showing of the sects. But, of course, the real reason for the poor showing of the sects is not that – which is seen by the derisory vote the Far Right receives, and by the fact that workers continue to vote in their millions for the mass workers parties such as the LP – is both their sectarianism towards the mass workers parties, and their failure to offer realistic policies that can immediately meet the needs of workers.

I didn't say “No2EU” were Nazis, I said they were National Socialists, a term that Trotsky used to describe Stalinism. It is an accurate statement of what this trend actually amounts to. But, actually the more you write to defend the Far Right, the more I am coming to the conclusion that you actually are a Nazi rather than just a National Socialist. There are very few Stalinists I know of, who have your fervour for arguing in favour of Immigration Controls, of apparently welcoming the votes of the BNP, and of glorifying the reactionary ideas on immigration you refer to in various surveys. All of that, I think tells us what you really are.

The good thing is that your arguments in favour of all this reactionary crap are so obviously, and appallingly bad, that in laying them out you help to undermine that vile and pernicious ideology.

vngelis said...

Greece has experienced large waves of immigration which are primarily of non-EU origin. You have asserted this is the only type of immigration that has occurred ie of EU origin. Not so.
Mass immigration into Britain as well hasn't been just EU based. So when bourgeois govt have polls and an everwhelming majority are against this mass migration one has to see why. You consider them all reactionary as they dont support your EU positions of creating a so-called EU proto-state, when they aren't creating anything of the sort, but an imperialist dictatorship based on monopolies modelled on what Germany did during WW2, when they took over the central banks of each european country, looted their gold reserves and ensured their economies served the interests of a centralised state. In the sense that centralisation occurred this was progressive, but centralisation whose outcome is world war and conquest, it becomes reactionary. You leave out the reactionary content of the EU=abolition of nation states, national languages, culture, history and its replacement with a Pol Pot meets Adolf Hitler approach to everything, year zero when it comes to history, and dictat when it comes to economic policy. The project under capitalism is doomed to fail, not because I say so, but because it is unrealisable, you cannot replace 27 nation states overnight without their agreement or with peoples support from below. You will get severe anti-EU sentiment and anti-mass migration which is what has occurred.
You then argue that workers move within the EU where wages are higher and by implication that is a good thing. It would apply if more and more jobs were constantly being created, but they aren't. Workers move where wages are higher at the same time as where they can replace local domestic labour at higher rates of pay. Pay in any field hasn't increased due to mass migration and if it had it would overturn a law of supply and demand, namely more workers chasing fewer jobs reduce wages not increase them, unless you assume that a capitalist faced with 30 workers willing to do the same job, will increase the price paid for their labour and not drop it.
Each EU country had either war/revolution/civil war to create its nation states. They voted for their states with struggle in some countries spanning 100 years. Now you argue they can lose them without a referendum or a vote. Why? Who decided? When the EU wanted Europe to ratify Maastricht they had repeated votes for the same issue. That isn't democracy. Its dictat. Those who decide for you without you, should then not be concerned if people end up on the streets and they take action against all elected politicians and the choices they made. They never asked the people, so they have no choice in the matter as to how/when the people react. The EU is a top down entity. It has no legitimacy in the 27 nations. Never will. Neither has the Euro. So its break up will be a welcome event. A progressive outcome of a reactionary attempt at uniting capitalism.
You seem to portray myself as a stalinist. There are no stalinists left anywhere apart probably from India or Nepal. All the others are pro-EU globalists. Even the KKE which is allegedly hardline has your position on immigration. There only concern is about how to give visas immigrants and send them up north, a totally reactionary position which reduces the role of communists into gangmasters and essentially to reduce labour rates up north.
The poll I referred to was the IPSOS-MORI poll on 5th August, was published in most of the daily press, yesterday. You didn't see it?

Boffy said...

You began by talking about mass immigration into Britain, and argued the LP had not introduced tight non-EU Immigration Controls. You were wrong. So now, you try to swivel off to talk about Immigration into Greece. I doubt your facts on this are any more beleivable than any of the other unsubstantiated claims you've made. But, some sourced facts to back up your claims would always be nice to see.

I don't consider workers who have reactionary ideas about immigration to be necessarily themselves reactionary. Either way the job of a Marxist is to counter those reactionary views. You clearly welcome those views, which is no surprise given your obvious support for organisations such as the BNP that promote them. You say that an EU proto state is not what is being formed, and then in your mindless, unsubstantiated rant that follows contradict yourself. You say they are copying what Germany did, including measures which “served the interests of a centralised state”. But, if that is what they are doing then they ARE establishing a State aren't they??? You seem to have no conception that the whole perspective of Marxism is that when such historically progressive developments occur, our function is not to oppose them, but to try to fight for the interests of the workers within that process, and to drive it on to its logical conclusion!!!

To compare the EU with Hitler and Pol Pot, simply demonstartes that you clearly have no grip on reality. In fact, there are quite a few EU measures that fund cultural initiatives in relation to languages, heritage etc. It is by far less oppressive in that respect than was the creation of the various nation states themselves. Your comments on World War etc. are illiterate. Both World Wars occurred before any attempt to establish a European State. In large part those Wars were a function of the division of Europe into nation states, long after the development of the productive forces had made those nation states obsolete. That is why Lenin, Trotsky and the Comintern adopted the slogan of the United States of Europe in 1923. The reality is that there IS mass support for the EU, as every referendum and poll on the matter has demonstrated. There is opposition to various policies or developments within that process, but that is understandable given that its development has been done by largely bureaucratic means, and because even within a nation state such divisions, and opposition arises. That is exactly where the role of Marxists comes in to intervene in those disputes, and to push for socialist solutions based on consistent democracy, and fighting for the interests of workers.

It is a good thing if workers can move to where they can make a better living. I would have thought any Marxist would agree with that proposition! You also do not seem to understand basic propositions of Marxism, and indeed, most schools of economics. The reality is that increased population, by immigration or natural growth, creates additional demand, which creates additional jobs. But, even were that not the case, why do you blame immigrants for that failure of Capitalism. What next. If there were no immigrants to blame for the crisis of Capitalism, who would you blame then. Your argument is just as logically applied, and has been applied to women. Do you believe that just as immigrants take jobs, that women take jobs that could have gone to men, and that would then be your excuse for why Capitalism creates unemployment? After you had excluded immigrants and women from the workforce, who would you scapegoat then rather than placing the blame where it belongs – with Capitalism? Your arguments are not those of a socialist, but given your support for the BNP and other neo-fascists, why would anyone be surprised by that?

Boffy said...

The reality is that under Capitalism, if Capital cannot find workers to employ at the wages it is prepared to pay to make a profit, it will not employ anyone, or it will quickly find alternatives, as Marx showed in his argument with Weston. It will introduce labour saving machinery, to do the work, or it will simply move the work overseas to where it can find labour at a low enough price. All you do by placing the blame on immigration for unemployment or low wages, is to let Capital off the hook.

If workers in any of the EU states wanted to vote to leave the could organise a campaign for the right to do so. None of them are interested in doing so. If any of them voted to leave I would defend their right to do so, but as a Marxist I would obviously argue that they do not do so, and that instead they continue to build a European working-class and labour Movement, and focus their attention on their real enemy – Capital.

Your argument on Maastricht makes no sense. Why does continuing to win a majority for a particular proposal not constitute democracy? A fundamental aspect of democracy IS that having lost a vote, you are free to continue to try to win support for your proposal. On your basis, when a proposal to win votes for Women was lost, for example, it would mean that was it, you had to just accept it, and not try again!!!

As for the EU being a top down entity, anyone would think that this was NOT true about the Capitalist Nation State. Anyone would think reading your diatribe that the Capitalist nation states were paragons of democratic virtue!!! But, your argument again isn't even consistent in its idiocy. Having chosen the EU to attack, you seem to have forgotten that only days ago, you were telling us that the EU along with all of its component states, and every other country on the planet were in any case all mere colonies of US Imperialism!!!!

You say I portray you as a Stalinist. No that would be an insult to Stalinists. I felt originally that the arguments you were putting forward were based on the kind of National Socialist politics of the Stalinists, but it has become ever more clear as your posts have continued, and with your obvious support for fascist groups like the BNP, that you are some kind of fascist. That explains your concern to attack ordinary workers as immigrants rather than Capital. It explains your infatuation with the Capitalist nation state. Or, as I said previously you are just some dilletante troll prepared to pump out any kind of crap for the purpose of amusing yourself with pointless argument. Either way, I have little interest in wasting my time in further responses to the bullshit you write. You do a better job on your own of undermining the arguments you support than any reply could seek to achieve.