Saturday, 26 July 2014

After Obama, What Next? - Part 7

Just as the bourgeoisie as a whole needed the support of workers to defeat the landed aristocracy, so the tiny numbers of the big industrial capitalists are unable to defeat the much larger number of small and medium capitalists, and those that share their outlook, without the support of workers.

The British Liberal Party reflected that compromise, and the de facto alliance between these industrial capitalists and workers, and the US Democrats reflect it also. For a time, parties like the Labour Party and European social-democratic parties appeared to represent something different, but in reality, all they represented was a greater strength of the interests of workers within that compromise. In respect of the Labour Party, its commitment to the maintenance of capitalism, as the basis of furthering the interests of workers was never in doubt, and the interests of workers were always subordinate to those of big capital.

That is now simply more manifest, in the policies and actions of European social-democratic parties in general, and this was facilitated by the split in the international labour movement, into the Second and Third Internationals. There is then no real substantive difference between these parties and the US Democrats. They are all bourgeois workers parties, in the sense that they are parties with a bourgeois ideology, specifically geared to the interests of big industrial capital, that depend upon the support and activism of workers in order to win elections.

Ultimately, big industrial capital requires the election of these social-democratic parties, or for the social-democratic wings of conservative parties to be strong enough to represent its interests, as against a reversion to more primitive forms of capital. The economic power of big capital can usually outweigh the measures undertaken by conservative governments to benefit small capital, but, at times, the measures undertaken by those governments fundamentally threaten big capital. The austerity measures undertaken in the UK and parts of Europe, and advocated by the Tea Party in the US, have weakened the economic recovery after 2008. The US bore most of the cost of undertaking the required fiscal stimulus, therefore. But, the other consequence has been to strengthen conservative forces in Europe, even more, as a result of the resulting economic weakness.

Not only has this strengthened right-wing populism, but it has strengthened nationalistic tendencies, thereby undermining progress towards a single European state, which is a fundamental requirement of big industrial capital. If it is to be achieved, big industrial capital will require social-democratic governments across the dominant states of the EU, it will require co-ordinated fiscal expansion across the EU, to boost economic activity and employment, so as to undermine the tendency towards economic nationalism, and thereby create the material conditions to swing public opinion behind the need for greater political integration and the creation of a single federal state. Either that, or as happened in the US, it will be brought about forcibly by war.

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