quinta-feira, 25 de outubro de 2018

The Precarious Future of the Nation-State (2)

The industrial revolution develops new political structures - extensive colonization of the entire planet, the diversified domination of the bourgeoisie through parliamentary systems or dictatorships, always with the widespread use of war, violence against workers and colonized peoples. 

From an economic point of view, the liberal capitalism produces cartels, imperialism, and develops economic and political functions’ fusion formulas through state capitalism and fascism.
Westerners present themselves as the builders of history, the only ones capable of defining the future, and therefore the carriers of universality.

B - Imperialism and its limits
  8 - The Industrial Revolution
  9 - The construction of imperialism
10 - Mature imperialism
11 - The Two Great Wars and the Dawn of Keynesianism
12 - State Capitalism and Fascism

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8- The Industrial Revolution
The group of several profound alterations at the production level (spinning machine, steam engines, and channel construction, among others), work and technology, was called Industrial Revolution and ran for a century, from the second half of the XVIII century[1], the starting epoch for the first cycle defined by Kondratiev[2] to characterize the capitalist carousel, with expansion periods and others of contraction of the economic activity, with marked effects on social welfare and in the ambit of politics and military conflict. 

Returning to England, the Industrial Revolution and the salaried labour were leading workers to greatly precarious living and to a strong collective consciousness of their condition. In the north of the country they decided to elect, outside the legal framework, deputies to the Parliament, to represent them; and when, in 1819, 100,000 workers assembled in Manchester, the state, through cavalry, intervened to establish the power of
the richest classes in what came to be called the Peterloo massacre. 

From the above episodes result unforgettable and structural teachings to shape the relationship between labour and capital, between the multitude and the institutions that represent the interests of capital. 

·             The power of capitalism was making a mark of its anti-social character, a constant that has been maintained, almost two centuries having passed; that is to say, whenever the interests of capital are at stake, the political classes invariably show that those are the interests they must defend, regardless of what or who gets hurt – workers, the public purse, the environment. 

·             The state would not henceforth cease to be the collective capitalist that creates the hierarchy and politically organizes and aggregates the strategic primacy of the interests of capital; and, as such, the dedicated shepherd and repressor of the multitude. Peterloo may also mean how illusory it is to imagine the state as a benefactor of the multitude; even when it increases the minimum wages or opens a school it only incurs on those costs to ensure the smooth continuity of profit maximization. 

·             Finally, the need for an autonomous struggle of  the workers against the state institutions, as well as for democratic decision and organization structures, in parallel to those of the capitalists and the political classes, became clear. It became evident that it is not possible to extinguish capitalism by the natural evolution of its own structures, as it later came to be admitted (Bernstein and Hilferding); and that the replacement of private capitalists by large monopolistic institutions (Hilferding) or by the state itself (Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Varga, and Stalin) does not change the precariousness of the dispossessed.

9 - The construction of imperialism
England was to become, in the mid-nineteenth century, the dominant nation-state. Internally, the English model combined a creative legislative power of the bourgeoisie, in line with a monarch without pretensions of returning to absolutism, still very present in continental Europe. This union was materialized in a bipartisan hegemonic block – still in existence today in the country – that developed colonial expansionism and military power, mainly through the dominion of the seas, following Trafalgar and Waterloo, with the consequent defeat of the French attempts to reach global hegemony. This hegemony included a repressive state in what workforce management is concerned. 

In turn, the entry into industrial capitalism generates the workers’ autonomous struggle for working time reduction and political rights; the appearance of the Communist Party Manifest in 1848 reflects its autonomy as a social class, in an internationalist logic, with a refusal of nationalism and defending the appropriation of the privately owned production means. The first practical application of this autonomy, in 1871, was to be ephemeral, with the Paris Commune which, among other measures, approved the reduction of working hours; equality between the sexes; the abolition of the death sentence; the election of judges; free, laic and mandatory education; that nationality could not be taken into account; the abolition of the regular army; transforming churches into debate places... In order to overthrow the Commune, the French government having been chased away to Versailles by the insurgents, made an armistice with the Prussians that had defeated it and the latter liberated imprisoned French soldiers; then they jointly launched an offensive against the communards: by the end of the repression there were 80000 dead, mostly executed, and this number was not larger because an epidemic was feared. 

The English political model, because of its success, inspired other bourgeoisies, interested in sharing global markets or seeking to maximize their space in Europe, especially for the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian multinational mosaics, aiming at their dismantling and commercial advantages. To this purpose, the correspondence principle "every nation with its state" made its appearance and was applied in Eastern Europe, first to Greece and then to Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, while at the same time it favoured Italian unification. 

This period, begun with the revolts of 1845/8 in Europe, corresponded to changes towards liberal monarchies, with the evident preponderance of the respective bourgeoisie; and to attempts to establish nation-states or the access to elementary rights of citizenship and democracy in Hungary, Italy, amongst Czech, Polish and German, the latter integrated into an archaic German Confederation. 

The new wave of technological innovations in the second half of the nineteenth century (steam ships and trains, steel, telegraph, machine tools and others) promoted great advances in productivity and demanded higher qualifications from the workers, as well as huge volumes of capital, generators of the creation of conglomerates and monopolies, which gave rise to the second Kondratiev wave. 

The wave’s declining phase develops once the construction surge of large railway infrastructures or channels ends and, as a result, depression appears with a major financial crisis, with a drop in investment, reduction of loans and lowering of interest rates, a period ranging from the mid-1870s to 1896. This would result in the creation of cartels and the large concentration of capital that would favour the emergence of new oil-based activities in chemistry and heavy metallurgy, with steam energy overtaking the hydraulic one, with the replacement of iron by steel and the construction of wastewater networks. 

The third Kondratiev wave starts in the late nineteenth century as the recovery from the above mentioned financial crisis. The golden age of imperialism debuts, until World War I, which is followed by a new depression period that effectively ends only with the unbridled production of weapons within the context of World War II; this, despite the Keynesian policies (avant la lettre) implemented in the United States and Nazi Germany, which we will discuss later. 

Industrial cartels intertwine with financial capital and take on enormous relevance, bellying Adam Smith's lyrical ideas about perfect competition. This concentration of capital, in order to reproduce itself, requires the mobilization of the respective States and political classes to defend its interests, against the whole of workers, and to favour foreign markets’ disputes. A very concentrated, aggressive capitalism arises, with rival national groups in tight competition for the allocation of politically fragile or "unowned" territories, and with the respective states acting as agents of those cartels, their national champions. This fierce struggle has few participants at the top: in Europe, England, France, and Germany which, having emerged as the winner of the war with France a few years earlier and possessing an enormous industrial strength and great population, aspired to have colonial territories in Africa and access to its resources, in addition to the US and a surprising Japan that, in a few decades, changed from feudal structures to a very aggressive imperialism, disputing with the western powers the fragile China, and humiliating Russia with a military defeat in 1905. The next places in the hierarchy are taken by, in Europe, several mid-powers such as Russia, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, followed by nation states of lesser size but with colonial possessions, such as Spain, dispossessed by the US on the turn of the century of its American and the East domains, and Portugal. 

It is in this context that the Berlin Conference for the allocation of Africa, being the only space on the planet that the imperialist powers had not yet fully occupied, is held. The dominant elements are the three great European powers. The Congo was handed over to a company whose shareholder was the king of Belgium, under whose orders a genocide was carried out among the peoples of the region (2 to 15 million people, the number is not well known) tied to forced labour and slavery for the enrichment of the "civilized" monarch; as the victims had black skin and little understanding of finances, they never reached the notoriety of the Jews murdered by the Nazis. A few years later, the United States seized the Spanish colonies in America and the Pacific, reducing Spain to a residual colonial space in North Africa; and, during the same period the wars between the English and the Boers were being waged for the domination of South Africa. By the end of this repartition only Liberia, free of the formal tutelage of the USA since 1847, Libya, subtracted from the Ottomans by Italy – late comer to colonial allocation – and Ethiopia, which was also occupied by Mussolini's Italy, but only in 1936, had escaped. 

The Portuguese case is special. It possessed colonial territories but did not have an industrial development that fomented its intensive exploitation; and that, to the great powers, was a waste, an object of covetousness and collusion. The episode of the pink map evidenced a Portugal that wanted to bite more than it could chew but managed to keep its colonies – extended inland – benefiting from the rivalries of the great powers

From a technological point of view, Kondratiev's third wave includes electric motors and power tools, the electrification of factory and domestic buildings, internal combustion engines and cars, radio and telephony, aluminium metallurgy, the so-called scientific management and mass production. These technologies and work methods also had an impact on the qualification of work for which it was no longer enough to only have experience but, above all, required of the workers a higher education. This led to a greater organizational capacity by the workers, with a reflection on the number of adhesions to unions and an increase of those, as well as to the parties based on the working classes, especially the German SPD, which came to degenerate markedly after the First World War until it reached, in the present, a dedicated role in the implementation of the neoliberal and anti-social 2010 Agenda, carried out by Gerhard Schroeder, which Merkel, gratefully, inherited. 

As far as manufacturing work is concerned, Taylor has studied and applied (1911) specialization and production segmentation logics to achieve greater productivity and thereby increase profits; while at Bethlehem Steel, where he worked, productivity increased fourfold, wages increased from € 1.15 to € 1.85 a day. On the one hand, this segmentation removed power from the skilled workers, increased the number of the unqualified, and created the figure of the supervisor, the bureaucrat who watched over the progress of production. Taylor, while knowing the strategic importance of the bureaucrat from an administrative point of view and his relevance as custodian of the interests of capital, did not disguise his contempt for the bureaucrat is "so stupid and phlegmatic that his mind was more like an ox’s." 

The method allowed better paying the workers, shorter working hours, longer rest periods and working conditions that avoided strikes and disruption of the capital-producing machine. It aimed to harmonize the interests of the capitalists with those of the workers, through a greater rationalization of the productive process, with the limitation of the tasks to repetitive acts that made the workers mere tools, with difficulties in understanding the productive process, infantilized, thus extending and reinforcing the role of hierarchies within the company. Taylor, had no difficulty in saying that his method "made any kind of labour problem or strike impossible", which, however, did not prevent strong reactions from workers (e.g. Renault's strike in 1912) during an epoch of great labour unrest, also in the USA[3]

Almost in parallel, Henry Ford (1913) - who was unaware of Taylor's existence - generated the mass production of the same product that would make it relatively cheap, especially if associated with the "rationalization" of work defended by Taylor; the latter was proposing changes at the production level and Ford was moving forward with conditions for market enlargement and consumption increase[4], and this interaction naturally increased profits and grew the accumulated capital. Ford understood that the tens of thousands of workers of his factories, benefiting from better wages, would become consumers of their own products; a reality that in neoliberal capitalism only happens through advertising infestation and recourse to debt, always in step with austerity. Mass production was corresponded to by mass consumption, at the same time that a mass of men were forced to go to war in the name of their homelands.

10 - Mature imperialism
The whole period extending from the last quarter of the nineteenth century and, in particular, the two world wars, up to 1945, corresponds to what Hilferding and, later, Lenin called imperialism; the former in the sense of financial capital and the latter interpreting it as the interpenetration of banks and industry. After the revolution of 1917, Lenin focused on the struggle for survival of the new regime against the armies of the Western powers, in the context of World War I, against subsequent external interventions aimed at destroying the Soviet state, juggling civil war and the revolts of the nations included in the inheritance of the tsarist state and also in the nullification of any social and political opposition to the Bolshevik party. And, on the other hand, the fact that the planned revolution of the Western workers was not generalized, or victorious, led to the isolation of the country. 

The next period, the 1920s and 1930s, are years of depression, of development of the nationalist and fascist perversions, accompanied by a strong distrust and hostility towards the USSR, where the hostility of the great powers came to be interpreted as imperialism. Later, already in the post-war period, with the transition to a bipolar world, where the USSR constituted one of those poles, Baran and Sweezy establish a relationship between imperialism and the hegemonic character of the US, embodied by its multinationals. For his part, Mandel says that production and consumption are commanded by multinationals linked to the nation-state from which they emanate, even if they maintain branches in other countries. 

One of the characteristics of this period between the two Great Wars was that capital essentially had a national basis, with each of the more advanced countries holding large corporations, their conglomerates and groups, their financial system, in addition to its own currency, militarized borders and points of collection of customs duties, as protective instruments of the hunting grounds of such large national companies. This defence from outside goods’ intrusion converged with exacerbated nationalisms and fascism, defenders of maximum self-sufficiency, which marked the policy in most European countries. 

This large concentration of capital nullified the fiction of competitive, egalitarian capitalism and, on the contrary, generated monopoly profits, the advantages of controlling markets and prices in general, the ability to impose labour prices and influence the political class that, for its part, assumed, as determinants of performance, the interests of large companies. Once again, the unity between capitalists and the state in the control and definition of national politics, in the face of external competition practiced by other nation-states where the model was the same, was reinforced; and this was all the more facilitated because the political weight of the nobility and the large landowners had been reduced, since industry was the dominant activity, integrated with national finance. 

Resistance to the imperialist model in the more advanced countries came from the working classes, whose high point in the defence of systemic changes was in the 1920s, before and in response to the fascist drifts; and that because internationalism, the denial of country loyalties, and the primacy of the people of the same condition as poor and exploited, had suffered a setback when workers sought to kill other workers in the trenches of the 1914/18 war. 

We understand imperialism as the geopolitical, aggressive, and warlike formula centred on the role of the dominant nation-states, in which an intimate interplay between the state apparatus managed by a political class, on the one hand, is manifested; and with cartels of national origin, on the other, which we can designate as national champions. From this national communion, conflicts and frequent wars against the competition and  amongst the various nation-states result, vying for the appropriation of resources and markets, in which there is no escape for the  dominated peoples (colonized or not) who have nothing to gain from these disputes and conflicts. As we will explain in the following text, this model is no longer dominant today.

11 - The Two Great Wars and the Dawn of Keynesianism
Technological evolution at the beginning of the twentieth century was so fast that, in the case of armaments, it evolved considerably in its fire and death efficacy, widening the inequalities between the great powers and those of lesser importance, to say nothing of its overwhelming superiority over the subjugated peoples of the colonial periphery, as was observed, for example, in the war the English made on the Zulus. The aristocratic states, in the 1914/18 war, did not hesitate to send hundreds of thousands of soldiers to true carnage, replicating the tactics of the Franco-Prussian war ... about forty years earlier, when the technology was much less deadly. In the Second World War, for example, in the invasion of Poland, the German panzer came to face… soldiers on horseback. It must be said, in honour of the bravery of the generals, that, at that time, they always remained in the rear, observing their soldiers' exposure to the fire of the enemy, offering their bodies in defence of the ... homeland.
In the Second War chapter, destruction and death was far superior, especially because it was associated with practices of ethnic-cultural genocide by the Nazis (victimizing Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals) or the politicians (reaching anarchists and communists); but also in the context of the suicidal practices of the Japanese kamikaze or of the two US savage experiments of atomic bomb dropping on civilian populations.

Later war situations remained more localized but, as a whole, they gained duration, and it can be said that the sound of shots constitutes the constant "music" that has echoed on the planet since World War II. After the era of colonization, with the independences dragging on until the middle of the 70's, the appropriation of wealth no longer has the goal of colonial conquest of territory but that of the control of its resources, through businesses, maintaining a formally sovereign local government dominated by military or civil gangs of bloodthirsty looters. 

The failure of the 1848 Revolution had, in Germany, enormous consequences. In England and France, power became consolidated around a bourgeoisie that merged aristocracy with the former, the latter having been much weakened subsequently to 1789, in France, in spite of the monarchical restoration finished in Sedan. The burgeoning industrialization of Germany took place in parallel with the development of a good education system and with the pioneering act of having created a social security; not because Bismarck was a humanist but because there was a need for skilled workers (technical education was born in Germany) who would not often miss work due to sickness or would feel attracted by the economic or political claims.

These very modern characteristics coexisted with the power of the state handed over to Prussian hegemony, and the King of Prussia was proclaimed Kaiser (Caesar, emperor) of Germany at Versailles, by Bismarck’s recommendation, following the victory in the Franco-Prussian war. Power in Germany was dominated by a militaristic aristocracy that had deep roots in time, the Teutonic Order, which had been the protagonist of a long struggle to expel and submit Slavs and Baltics and which, in the process of Prussian hegemony, overcame the liberal Hanseatic cities, having such a vast and diversified list of princes, counts... late heirs of Charlemagne’s Holy Roman-German Empire. This hatred and contempt against the Slavs run deep in the German aristocracy but also in intellectuals, such as Marx; and it was applied in a genocidal way in the sequence of the Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941. 

The defeat in 1918 – with the capitulation, the Versailles humiliation, the loss of territories, population, and the loss of the colonial empire –  overturned the monarchy and the power of the aristocracy, generating years of political crisis, brutal inflation, unemployment and poverty, which eventually led Hitler to power, on the basis of a revanchist program against the dictates of Versailles, the return to a strong state, with the adoption of a genocidal theory of purification of the Aryan race and occupation of territory where non-Aryans lived, in addition to the persecution of all of those who would not see themselves reflected in the fascist program. The military aristocracy was very sensitive to the humiliations of 1918, feeling betrayed by the capitulation of the Kaiser and, although it despised a paltry painter (of little merit, to add insult to injury) such as Hitler without pedigree or proper education, did not hesitate to collude up with him, against the dictates of Versailles, demanding only of the Chancellor the slaughter of the SA, the Nazi party’s private troops, which the arrogant and aristocratic militarists despised. 

The importance of the State, in the German tradition, is evidenced by a program which came to be conceptualized shortly afterwards by Keynes, with the result that this type of economic policies would later be called Keynesian. In the German case they contemplated the use of large public funds in support of enterprises, investment and reduction of the massive unemployment and, also, a public infrastructure building program linked to the production of weapons; a program with many similarities to the one carried out in the USA, the New Deal. This program had as fundamental pieces the konzern (conglomerates of companies) having at the top the minister von Schacht, a man connected with the banks. All this was associated with a policy of low salaries and paternalistic militarization of labour, animated by nationalist, racist and hygienist propaganda, with broad traces derived from the Italian experiment with Mussolini, who had also served as a model for Salazar’s regime. This action of the state also extended to leisure, sports and culture, as part of an unequivocal preparation for war. 

Economic policy with a strong commitment by the state to the viability of capitalism had common traits in the German and United States cases, starting with the structural causes of deep economic depression; Germany with unemployment and hyperinflation and the United States following the break-up of the stock market in 1929. Their labour policies, however, were distinct, since in the USA a minimum wage and support for the unemployed and the elderly were created, with the government supporting the trade unions’ role, as a way of integrating them into a negotiating and conservative logic, in the view of the most powerful entrepreneurs. However, in both Germany and the US, the improvement in the economic situation had its real leverage in the production of armaments; regardless of it having stalled in Germany with the end of the war, it continued to anchor American prosperity later on[5] through conflicts where they participated directly or by proxy, or with the creation of a privileged market - the NATO countries. 

12 - State Capitalism and Fascism
The trough of Kondratiev’s third wave corresponds to the beginning of the depression that was consolidated at the end of World War I and would last until the arms race, reinforced in the US and Germany with public construction works, reversed the trend. This led to the autocratic closure, the reaction to the Russian revolution, the management of capital by the social-democratic parties (in the vain hope of a natural and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism) as the result of the concentration of means in the great cartels; which, actually, came to favour the formation of fascist regimes. These have proliferated in the countries of the European periphery, economic back-waters and lacking established pluralist political regimes, such as Portugal, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Romania... Apart from Italy, a country marked by the difference between the North and the South, and the industrialized Germany. 

Fascism precisely corresponds to a fusion between the powers of the state and the capitalists, on a much higher level than that of the typical liberal powers; the political power is marked by a messianic character that demands the adhesion of the whole people, a military discipline in the workplace and an exacerbated nationalist fervour, of affirmation of the putative greatness of the race. Fascism is collectivistic, centred on a charismatic leader, around whom the whole nation must unite, searching self-sufficiency, which requires protectionism and conquest of territories and peoples considered less worthy – the Slavs for the Nazis, the Ethiopians for the Italians, the "uncivilized" people of the Portuguese empire. The pursuit of self-sufficiency that generates the greatness of the motherland calls for battles of production, sacrifice, and the brutal crushing of any whimsy of detour, protest, or claim; and hence the existence of a secret police with full and arbitrary powers. The nation identifies itself with the regime and with its single party, without admitting party diversity. If patriotism, as it grows with the edification of the nation-state, has become one of its constituent props, fascism becomes obligatory and sacrificial. 

For Marx, as for Bakhunin – in spite of their differences – the liberation of the workers from capitalism would be done by themselves, without distinction of nationality, with the collective appropriation of the means of production and the disappearance of the collective capitalist called the State. This inescapable utopia, disregarded by common reactionaries and torpedoed by Trotsko-Stalinism at all times, is well evidenced in a phrase of António Negri in a recent interview - Rousseau said that the greatest criminal ever born was the one who said, first of all: "This is mine". But there was an even greater criminal, Romulus, who said, "This is my border." They are the same, property and frontier.
In the 1920s and 1930s, a state capitalism developed in Russia as a degeneration of the 1917 revolution, with all the political, economic, social and cultural decisions, emanating from the top of a party that confused itself with the state apparatus; a danger already enunciated by Bakhunin in the context of his disagreements with Marx's supporters. The various hierarchical spheres of the party constituted (and still constitute today, in China or in Cuba) an elite, a caste or a class the bureaucrats who believe they have a unique capacity to interpret reality and problems and, simultaneously, the power to define the means, the ways of their application, and to measure its effects on the plebs. In this way, a constituent power is established at all times, the power of an enlightened elite that takes charge of despising or punishing any criticism or alternative coming from the population or emanating from the very bosom of the same party-state.

A difference to the current political classes of the market democracies is that, in these, there is a more frequent rotation between the gangs that constitute them and that periodically rehearse spectacles for eventual and cosmetic change (elections); in such cases, the political classes are engaged in concerting the interests of national private groups, multinationals and the financial system, in the exercise of a power delegated by them. In both cases the population is forced to strive to place a substantial part of the product of its labor in the hands of the caste, so that it may carry out the measures they see fit, within the context of its unsurpassed and self-imputed wisdom; regardless of this caste being a group of parties or single one, a party-state, and making less or greater use of muscular coercion.

According to Lenin (Que Faire?), workers cannot understand what goes beyond union issues because, at the time, the wealth extracted from colonial exploitation would divert workers from the revolution. And therefore the need for a body of revolutionaries, intellectualized, a vast bureaucracy capable of leading a dictatorship of the proletariat and carrying out the historical mission of the... proletariat which, in the concrete case of Russia had been hard hit by the World War I, by the civil war that followed it, by the massacres of Kronstadt or in the midst of the Makhnovists revolt. In 1920, the same Lenin (Imperialism, Supreme State of Capitalism) considered that the skilled workers were the true agents of the bourgeoisie within the workers' movement... at a time when throughout Europe a strong and violent struggle of workers against the capital was raging. What was valued, in this logic, was... the institution of the party, a caste of bureaucrats to replace the workers as an inspired revolutionary subject. Hence the emergence as communism transition models of state capitalism, socialism, transitions to socialism, market socialism (NEP), socialist market economies (Vietnamese or Laotian models)... as ways to perpetuate and legitimizing repressive and corrupt bureaucrats. The only useful function of these party bureaucracies was to discredit revolution amongst the workers, favoring capitalism, the issuer of a "there is no alternative", as is very visible today.

The warring communism, with the enormous supply difficulties it created, promoted militarized centralization, with the co-optation of tsarist army officers, the dissolution of committees of soldiers, and the establishment of the sinister role of political commissars; Trotsky clearly defined this centralization by saying that "in a proletarian state militarization is the self-organization of the working class".[6] The nationalization of industry and, in 1932, of agrarian property, increased the economic activity centred on party-state decisions, far beyond those functions typical of states - military functions, secret services, police, concentration camps, education, health...  and the importance of the Plan continued to grow, a Plan which as a rule, was fulfilled only in propaganda, not in reality, for example, through Stakanov's impossible work capacity.

In the USSR, where the initial internationalism was forgotten in the name of defending the "socialist homeland", nothing was done beyond following the nationalist penchant of the socialist-democratic parties of the more western countries, well present during World War I, with decades of slaughter and exile ordered by Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin; a nationalism which is also central to fascist regimes. In 1935, the Communist International adopted the principle of the popular fronts, subscribing to Stalin's policy, considering the USSR to be the heir of the Russian empire[7]. Later, within the Communist parties, the internationalism that was still part of its rhetoric was replaced by "international solidarity", proposed by the Italian CP at the Berlin Conference in 1976 and following the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Peoples’ solidarity and, especially, that of the workers was forgotten and the relevance of the nation-states was raised even with a paternalistic suzerainty based in Moscow; all this directed and carried out by the rigid and sectarian hierarchies of the communist parties.

In the Trotsky-Stalinist scholasticism, an intentional confusion that has prevailed from the earliest times is the consideration of nationalization, of state control, as a natural and optimized way of freedom from capitalism, while formulas such as self-management, collective property, community, with the absence of hierarchies and impositions of a central and authoritarian state... forcefully capitalist, were relegated to oblivion. Since there is no autonomy at the base, the whole decision rests at the highest levels of a state that is very centralized in the decision process, authoritarian, carried out by an omnipotent bureaucracy that is largely confused with the party that uses planning as a programmatic and, simultaneously, control instrument of all economic activity. This intentional confusion is still present today in what still exists of Trotsko-Stalinism and contaminates many people who, not subscribing to it, have not freed themselves of its influence and take the intervention of the State, in general, as the elixir for the well-being and reduction of the role of capitalism in today's societies. In the Portuguese case, the 1975 nationalizations were seen as a decisive step in the march towards socialism although, in reality, it was the transmission of losses from decolonization, the under-investment of the fascism era, and even the costs of capitalization or restructuring of companies - paid with tax money, with IMF interventions, with great loss of purchasing power; and that were gradually privatized, from the 80s on, based on an agreement between the Cavaco government and the then PS opposition’s leader, Vítor Constâncio. In short, a business between the two factions of the Portuguese party-state, the PSD/PS or the PS/PSD, according to the conjuncture.

 (To be continued) 

 The first chapter can be read here:

 Soon, the last two chapters

This and other texts:

[1] The first factory can be symbolically designated as with having arisen in Cromford, England in 1771
[2] The Kondratiev waves or cycles are constituted by periods of expansion and periods of depression of the economic activity that are related to the limitations, contradictions and political and social disasters inherent in capitalism, as well as to the changes introduced by the technological innovations. Thus, four cycles are considered: 1790/1848, 1848/1890, 1890/1945, 1946/2008
Out of curiosity, it should be noted that Kondratiev based his conclusions on statistical data and complex and long calculations. However spreading the idea of cycles in capitalism did not fit into the early twentieth-century thesis that capitalism was in a terminal stage (recall Lenin's "Imperialism-Supreme State of Capitalism" text that still has believers ... a century later). Because the calculations did not coincide with the political speculation, a criminal named Trotsky took care of inventing numbers that contradicted Kondratiev's study and suited political expediency, and then his twin brother Stalin would eventually have Kondratiev assassinated as a heretic of "socialist" dogma.
[3] Lenin understood Taylorism in an economistic way. He argued that it would be a good way to increase productivity, but he minimized the violence of the pressure exerted on the workers, relegated to atomized tasks, thus making it difficult to understand the productive process, which would be tasked only to the managers ... who would come to be the dominant group in the CPSU and in the USSR, the state capitalism that they deployed having had the results that are known. The Kronstadt massacre, the crushing of the Makhno rebellion, the application of the NEP and the Labor Code of 1922, made any logic of workers' control fade away, rendering state’s instruments the soviets, factory committees and trade unions.
[4] Mass production lowered the price of the celebrated Ford T from $ 900 to $ 350, which was about 20 percent of a Ford employee's annual income. It is worth asking how many workers today can afford to buy a new car ... with 20% of their annual income.
[5] US specialization is seen as weighing on the global economy through the production of weaponry, computer technology and its correlate of information control, cereal production, and the reactionary ideology emanating from Hollywood.
[6] On the constitution of state capitalism we use elements from the "History of the Soviet Union" by Carlos Taibo.
[7] The basis for this change are found in J. Stalin's "Marxism and the National Question" (1934), which revisits Otto Bauer's ideas from the beginning of the century and is the subject of an immediate theoretical development by Henri Lefèbvre "Nationalism Against Nations "(1937). This theoretical model, after 80 years, remains alive in the PCP, with its "left patriotic politics" or in the Greek KKE that does not hide its admiration for Stalin.

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