May Day 2008 - Against Capitalism’s Onslaughts, International Class Struggle

We start here with our collective yearly May Day statement, published belatedly here. This English language version is produced by the Internationalist Workers Group, the North American affiliate of the IBRP

Another May Day surrounded by conflict: imperialist wars between capitalist rivals and class war, with the world’s rulers united against the working class and the poorest people on the planet.

Peace, prosperity and freedom - heavy sacrifices are demanded for these objectives in the form of blood, sweat, and a reduced quality of life. Not only are these ideals more distant with every passing year, but time reveals them for what they are: a cynical deception.

However, things cannot be otherwise since we are witnessing the effect of the crisis in the cycle of capital accumulation which has been with us now for more than thirty years. In fact the crisis is tightening its grip.

The financial cyclone unleashed by the collapse of sub-prime mortgages is one more demonstration, and the proof, that uncontrolled financial speculation - unleashed by capital to attempt to revive its accumulation process through the parasitic appropriation of surplus value extorted on a global scale - and the brutal plundering of entire sectors of the population (including small-scale capitalists), have done nothing but make the problem worse for the capitalist economy.

The intensification of exploitation, mounting job insecurity, declining wages, increased compulsory overtime and the return of forms of management over the workforce which remind us a great deal of the nineteenth century, allow individual capitalists to shamefully enrich themselves but they are not enough to secure a sufficiently high rate of profit to kick off a new cycle of accumulation. The bourgeoisie wants us to swallow all this with slogans like “the need for modernization”! By shifting production abroad, where wages are dramatically lower than in the advanced countries and relocating huge masses of migrant workers a little fresh air is being pumped into a rate of profit, which certainly needs a bit of 3 IBRP Statement oxygen, but in the end not a lot has changed.

Nevertheless all these things, whilst incapable of reviving the capitalist economy, create competition amongst the wage laborers of the entire planet that tends to lower wages.

Apart from a few significant episodes of class struggle, wars, increased exploitation, the destruction of the environment (to such an extent that it almost irreversibly threatens the biological basis of life on the planet), have yet to provoke an adequate response from workers.

The entire working class is paying for the process of break up and restructuring which began thirty years ago, and is still going on.

Forced by the odious blackmail of job insecurity, the working class is struggling to recover from the disappointment of having seen its belief in what it thought was “another possible world” (the fake socialism of the USSR) shattered. In short, workers have no class identity and succumb to the ruling capitalist ideology in all its variants: the most narrow regional separatism, classical nationalism, religious fundamentalism to end up with more or less traditional reformism. It’s a dark picture but there is a way out. This demands a real class struggle outside of and against any compromise with capitalism, a class struggle which does not stick to the usual union logic.

But a working class fight back, even if it is more violent and radical, will only end up back inside the framework of the system if it does not have the political guidance of its class party.

A party which is organized internationally and capable of politically unifying all the struggles of the various sectors of the world working class; which understands how to oppose capitalism’s permanent wars with the practice of revolutionary defeatism. To this end today’s scattered revolutionary activists need to concentrate their energies in preparing the ground for rebuilding the international party of the working class.

It is this task which inspires the activities of the IBRP and all its constituent organizations. As ever our slogan remains:

Workers of the world unite!

International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party