Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wobbly Times number 50

Now that healthcare reform is on its way to passing in the USA, what should workers there be doing?

Looking at the history of reforming the capitalist system, one can say that our rulers wouldn't have Social Security to loot (and many of them are agitating to pillage this 'entitlement'), if reform hadn't happened and we wouldn't have Social Security to live on, if it hadn't happened. Same with Medicare, passed in '65.

The question is, "Why did they 'happen'?"

At least three reasons come to mind. One is that they happened because enough workers wanted them, agitated and organised for them to happen and that made our rulers anxious. Some of our rulers, in turn, thought, if we grant them access to this small bit of their surplus value, they'll go away and watch TV. But, not all our rulers wanted to give workers these pieces of the surplus value. So, there was a fight in Congress where our rulers' polytricksters roost. The Democrats represented the rulers who wanted to co:opt workers and the Republicans represented rulers who wanted to tell workers to go jump in the lake or face police repression, if they dared direct action to get the things they want.

The class struggle is between the workers and our rulers over control and ownership of the socially produced wealth, wealth produced by the working class in conjunction with Nature. We win some of these battles and we lose some. Even when we win, we lose in terms of liberal co:optation.

So, what to do?

Please the liberals and go watch TV?

Anger the conservatives and go burn a flag?


We got some control and ownership over our surplus value with Social Security and Medicare. We got it by being conscious that we needed it and organising, agitating and educating to get it. The historical lesson is to organise and the class conscious lesson is to organise to take it ALL. After all, we produce the wealth, we should control and socially own it all. Workers are ENTITLED TO ALL THE WEALTH THEY PRODUCE!

Now, some will say that we're incapable of organising as a class. I assure you that those who say that aren't our rulers because our rulers in the employing class have got us organised as a class--to work for them, to produce wealth for them. We need to organise as a class for ourselves. To the degree that we are organised class consciously (even if that consciousness is dim-witted leftism), to that degree we will have the power to get what we deserve, EVERYTHING!

My advice: Keep your eyes on the prize, workers and you'll never be steered off course by liberal reform. Get wise and organise as a class and you'll have the power to defeat any attempt by reactionaries to put you in what they consider to be your place: cowering at their feet.
Now, contrast what I have said with what Fidel Castro says about health care reform in the USA:


Barack Obama is a zealous believer in the imperialist capitalist
system imposed by the United States to the world. 'God bless the
United States,' is the final phrase of his speeches.

Some events hurt the sensitivity of the world public which
sympathized with the victory of the African-American over the
far-right candidate in that country. On the basis of one of the
deepest economic crises the world has known, and on the pain brought
on by the young Americans who lost their lives or were injured or
maimed in the genocidal wars of conquest unleashed by his predecessor,
he won with the vote of the majority of the 50% of Americans who cast
a vote in that democratic nation.

Out of an elementary sense of ethic, Obama should have
refrained from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize when he had already
decided on sending forty thousand troops to an absurd war in the heart
of Asia.

The warmongering policy and the plundering of natural
resources, as well as the unequal terms of trade of the current
administration toward the poor countries of the Third World are no
different from those of his predecessors, most of them from the
far-right, --with few exceptions throughout the past century.

The antidemocratic document imposed at the Copenhagen
Summit on the international community, which had given credit to his
promise to cooperate in the struggle against climate change, was
another one of those events that disappointed many people around the
world. The United States, the largest producer of greenhouse-gas
emissions, was not willing to make the necessary sacrifices despite
the flattering previous words of its president.

The list of contradictions would be endless between the
ideas defended by the Cuban nation for five decades with great
sacrifices and the selfish policies of that colossal empire.

Still, we don't feel any animosity toward Obama, much less
toward the American people. We feel that the Healthcare Reform has
been a significant battle and a success of his administration.
However, it is really amazing that 234 years after the Declaration of
Independence proclaimed in Philadelphia in the year 1776, which drew
inspiration from the ideas of the great French encyclopedists, the
government of that country has approved medical care for the
overwhelming majority of its citizens, something that Cuba
accomplished for its entire population half a century ago despite the
cruel and inhuman blockade imposed --and still in force-- by the
mightiest country that has ever existed. In the past, it was only
after almost a century of independence and following a bloody war,
that Abraham Lincoln could obtain the legal emancipation of the

On the other hand, I can't help but think of a world where
over one-third of the population have no access to medical care or the
basic medicines required to ensure health. And this situation will be
aggravated as climate change, and water and food shortage worsen in a
globalized world where the population grows, the forests disappear,
the arable land decreases, the air is more polluted, and the human
species inhabiting it 'which emerged less than 200 thousand years
back, that is, 3.5 billion years after the first forms of life on the
planet'is running the real risk of annihilation.

Even conceding that the Health Reform comes as a success
to the Obama administration, the current President of the United
States cannot ignore that climate change poses a threat to health, and
worse still, to the very existence of every nation in the world, as
the rise in temperature 'beyond critical limits which are already in
sight' melts down the water of the glaciers, and the tens of millions
of cubic meters contained in the enormous ice caps of the Antarctic,
Greenland and Siberia melt down within a few decades leaving under
water every port facility in the world and lands where a large part of
the world population lives, works and eats today.

Obama, the leaders of the wealthy nations and their
allies, as well as their scientists and sophisticated research centers
are aware of this; they cannot ignore it.

I understand the satisfaction expressed in the
presidential speech and his recognition of the contribution made by
the members of Congress and the administration to make possible the
miracle of the Health Reform, which strengthens the government's
position vis-a-vis political lobbyists and mercenaries that curtail
the authority of the administration. It would be worse if those
responsible for tortures, murders on contract and genocide were in
charge of the US government again. As a man unquestionably smart and
sufficiently well informed, Obama knows there is no exaggeration in my
words. I hope the foolish remarks he sometimes makes about Cuba do not
cloud his mind.

In the aftermath of his success in this battle for the
right of every American to healthcare, 12 million immigrants, most of
them Latin American, Haitian and from other Caribbean countries are
demanding the legalization of their presence in the United States
where they do the hardest work and the American society cannot do
without them, but where they are arrested, separated from their
families and sent back to their countries.

The overwhelming majority migrated to America escaping the
tyrannies imposed by the United States on the countries of the region
and the dire poverty these have endured as a result of the plundering
of their resources and the unequal terms of trade. Their family
remittances make up a high percentage of the GDP of these countries'
economies. Now, they expect an act of basic justice. If the Cubans
have been singled out with an Adjustment Act which promotes brain
drain and the enticement of their educated youths, why are such brutal
methods applied to the illegal immigrants from Latin America and the

The devastating earthquake that battered Haiti 'the
poorest nation in Latin America, hammered by an unprecedented natural
catastrophe that took the lives of more than 200 thousand people' and
the terrible economic damage that a similar phenomenon brought on
Chile are eloquent proof of the dangers looming over the so-called
civilization and of the need for dramatic measures that can give the
human species the hope to survive.

The Cold War failed to benefit the people of the world.
The huge economic, technological and scientific power of the United
States would be unable to survive the tragedy hovering on the planet.
President Obama should look up in a computer the relevant data and
talk to his most outstanding scientists; then, he will see how far his
country is of being the model it promotes for humanity.

As an African-American, he suffered the offense of
discrimination, according to his own narrative in the book 'Dreams
From My Father.' He was acquainted with the poverty of tens of
millions of Americans; educated in that country and as a successful
professional he has enjoyed the privileges of the rich middle class
and ended up idealizing the social system where the economic crisis,
the lives of Americans uselessly sacrificed and his undisputable
political talent gave him political victory.

Yet, to the most intractable right-wing Obama is an
extremist; and they threaten to continue fighting in the Senate to
neutralize the effects of the Health Reform and to openly boycott it
in several States of the Union by declaring it an unconstitutional

The problems of our times are much more serious.

The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other
international financial institutions strictly controlled by the United
States the creators of tax havens and the culprits of the financial
chaos in the planet-- allow the bailout of the big American banks by
their government every time one of the frequent and increasingly
intense crises of the system hits that country.

The United States Federal Reserve capriciously mints the
hard currency that pays for the wars of conquest, the profits of the
Military Industrial Complex, the military bases distributed around the
world, and the large investments used by the transnational companies
to control the economy of many countries worldwide. Nixon unilaterally
suspended the gold standard while the vaults of the New York banks
keep seven thousand tons of gold, little over 25% of the world
reserves in that metal, a figure that at the end of World War II was
in excess of 80%. It is said that the US public debt exceeds 10
trillion dollars, which is more than 70% of its GDP and stands like a
burden for the new generations. This is said when the truth is that
the world economy is the one paying that debt with the huge amounts of
US dollars spent in purchasing goods and services, the same dollars
that the large transnationals of that country use to buy a
considerable portion of the world riches and to sustain that nation?s
consumer society.

Anyone understands that such a system is unsustainable and
also why the wealthiest sectors in the United States and their allies
in the world advocate a system that can only be sustained with
ignorance, deception and the conditioned reflexes created in the world
public through the monopoly over the mass media, including the main
networks of the Internet.

Today, the structure is crumbling with the accelerated
advance of climate change and its disastrous consequences which are
placing humanity face to face with an exceptional dilemma.

The wars between powers seem no longer a possible solution
to the great contradictions as they were until the second half of the
20th century. Still, they have had such an impact on the elements that
make human survival possible, that they could prematurely put an end
to the existence of the current intelligent species that populates our

A few days ago I expressed my firm belief that, in light
of the scientific knowledge prevailing today, the human beings will
have to solve their problems on planet Earth since they will never be
able to cover the distance separating the Sun from its closest star
located four light-years away, 'one light-year equals 187,500 miles
per second, as our high school students know' provided a planet similar
to our beautiful Earth existed around that sun.

The United States invests huge amounts of money to confirm
the presence of water on planet Mars, or if there was or is any
elementary form of life there. No one knows what for, if not out of
mere scientific curiosity. Millions of species are disappearing from
our planet at a faster pace and its enormous water sources are
constantly being poisoned.

The new laws of science 'following Einstein's formulas on
energy and matter, and the big-bang theory as the origin of the
millions of constellations and infinite stars and/or other
theories 'have given rise to deep changes in such basic concepts as
space and time, which draw the attention of and are subjected to
analysis by theologians. One of them, our Brazilian friend Friar
Betto, deals with the subject in his book 'The Work of the Artist: A
Holistic Vision of Universe,' presented in the recent International
Book Fair held in Havana.

The advancement of science in the past one hundred years
has had an impact on the traditional approaches that prevailed through
thousands of years in social sciences and even in Philosophy and

The most honest thinkers are paying significant attention
to the new knowledge but we know absolutely nothing of how President
Obama feels about the compatibility of consumer societies with

In the meantime, it is worthwhile meditating about these
subjects now and then; this will certainly not prevent human beings
from dreaming and from taking things with due serenity and steely
nerves, but it is the duty of at least those who chose to become
politicians and who sustain the noble and unwavering objective of a
human society where justice and solidarity prevail.

Fidel Castro Ruz
March 24, 2010
6:40 PM

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wobbly Times number 49

Capital is a social relation. Just as Slavery was a social relation between master and slave, so Capital is a social relation between the employing class and the working class. As long as the slave is forced to work for his master, Slavery will exist: the master will own the wealth which his slaves produce. And, so as long as the workers are forced by necessity to sell their skills and time to the employing class, Capital will exist and the employing class will own and control the wealth produced by the workers.

He who owns the product of labour, rules. He who owns the lion's share of the wealth produced in a society rules. Political power = the ownership of the wealth produced by the working class in class societies dominated by Capital. Whether these socieities are dominated by Capital from outside their political borders or inside by their own ruling classes makes little difference to the daily lives of wage-slaves.

He who owns the collective product of labour also owns the natural resources of a country, for workers cannot be employed to create wealth outside of Nature. Even finance capitalists depend on Nature to make wealth. Houses and other buildings are built on land from materials which come from natural resources. Without natural resources, nothing is worth being financed.

What workers of Africa need to do is to realise that they will never be free as long as wage-slavery exists. As Brother Malcolm X once observed, the lives of those who became "house niggers" for their slave masters had it easier than those who toiled on as "field niggers"; but they all remained slaves for the master, their owner and the owner of the wealth they created through their labour. Will African workers allow themselves to be divided into hard toiling wage-slaves while others in their class become white collar, 'middle class' wage-slaves for their masters in the employing, capitalist class?
Obviously, a lot of them are doing just that. Really, it's pity that this is so. Are you one of them? Are you satisfied watching the majority of African workers living a low standards of living?

And finally, does it really matter whether your bosses have black skin, white skin, yellow skin or brown skin? Do they not remain your masters? Do you not remain the producers of wealth and as wage-slaves, the producers of your masters' politcal power over you?

What is needed for freedom to prevail is for the workers to own the wealth they produce. What is needed is a free association of producers who hold common ownership over the collective product of their labour. What is needed is social ownership and democratic management of the means of production by a society-wide association of producer-consumers.