The US Budget Crisis—Workers Get Downgraded

The budget crisis in the US is stunning in its political theatrics and in its indication of the direction the US state is headed. The deal has been settled in the halls of power that will greatly cut all basic government aid programs, particularly Medicare and Social Security while only slightly scaling back military spending. Medicare pays health care providers and provides key support to the health care industry along with paying for the medical care of the elderly, permanently disabled and other populations. Social Security gives a monthly check that elderly workers, the disabled, the mentally ill and orphans rely on for basic survival. Cutting these “entitlement programs”, social wage measures, means in effect they are refusing to invest state capital into the reproduction of a workforce. Much money will be cut to the states, further exacerbating their While the imperialist butchery of US imperialism continuing indefinitely it is clear that the bourgeoisie is seeking to liquidate a chunk of its human capital. Thus it is entirely convenient that the US regime has had this spectacle of open conflict between rival political factions both of whom are committed to restricting the consumption of their own national labor force and devoting all possible available resources to financial profit and imperialist warfare.

Standard and Poor's recent downgrade of the US states credit rating explicitly slapped the divided American bourgeoisie for its inability to reach a deal and lack of aggressive cuts to medicare. The cuts agreed to by the US Government were a little over half the $4 trillion that the S & P wanted. What was not on the table is cuts to the US military. While a few token cuts to the military were made in the last budget, these were spread out over the course of several years and the majority of them were in soldiers' pay and benefits.

While the loyal left opposition among the bourgeois political class attempts to paint the entire budget ceiling debacle as though it were a right-wing plot, it is the culmination of years of internecine strife that is motivated in large part by the crisis of capitalism as it impacts the US. From the Bretton Woods agreement to the present, the dollar has held on as the world's main trading and reserve currency. Today rivals of the US, like China and Russia, who are themselves holders of US debt, now howl about the failure of the Washington regime to back up its debts.

While the political expression of the left-wing of bourgeois political thought has not faltered or lost its unerring capacity for self-delusion. Much media talk has focused explicitly on the Tea Party court idiots role in the latest Washington power struggle. The idea that there is a “democracy” out there that “we citizens” are losing, that it is a vast right-wing conspiracy is a potent bourgeois lie. The open yet unspoken facts are that the regime has always been a bourgeois regime, has always defended bourgeois property and power while hypocritically robbing workers of their meagre personal property. The truth is that the constant austerity and warfare are the expressions of a capitalist crisis of profit accumulation meeting its own limits. The awareness of a crisis to which they have no answer has paralyzed the US bourgeoisie. As the conflict within the bourgeoisie intensifies the impulse to shoot its way out of the crisis will be a temptation too great for American capitalists to resist.

Whether it is the regime's official poverty figures, or the increase in homelessness or child hunger, the working class in the US is facing a long road of increasing hardships and must recover its consciousness under the weight of the most intensive and sustained bombardment of bourgeois anti-communist propaganda in the world. This can't wholly stop workers from taking up their own struggle, nor must it stop revolutionaries from participating in the struggles of the class and drawing out the lessons of past struggles and pointing the way forward.



These are correct and very useful for Mass awareness. But, at the time when we have not been able to convince other communists and the proletarian vanguard strata of the working population in each country to the correctness of our line, as it has become obvious in the recent uprisings around the globe, are we really in the position of "Mass Education"? How far do we think our voice is carried within the mass population of the proletariat? shouldn't we concentrate to convince other revolutionary communists and vanguards of the working class to the correctness of our line of proletarian revolution and the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat, first?

The article makes clear that the unremitting attack by the capitalist class remorselessly continues as it does across the world. The response by the workers is woefully inadequate and where they do mobilise such as Wisconsin and the recent Verizon strike they are then betrayed by the left of capital. This raises the question posed by Ahmad about how effective communists can be when we are so small.

As far as I can see there are no easy answers and no short cuts in building a Marxist organisation that has a real presence within the working class. As the article finishes by arguing that where we can then we must be intervening by producing materials, giving support by trying to draw other workers into the struggle etc. By doing this we can begin to win support, small in numbers to start with, and be part of the process of the working class developing a critical consciousness that sees the necessity of overthowing the capitalist state and replacing it by a network of workers councils.

To concentrate on the revoluttionary milieu in an attempt to unite it I think would be a mistake as there are simply to many political differences. Any organisational coming together would inevitably tear the organisation apart. It would be much better if in the course of the struggle different organisations came together in a spirit that recognises differences but are prepared to work together.

Is Dave wholly correct in thinking "there are simply too many political differences" for the revolutionar milieu to unite? Or is there some other more emotional reason? Who can say? Any way I totally agree with Dave that if the different organizations were able to work together in the real down- to -earth struggle, this might well solve whatever the problem is. In fact if only the real struggle would actually get going, in a big generalized manner, this would undoubtedly solve many of the difficulties of left communists, and we would all feel a lot better. As the Italian section of ICT was asking not so long ago: when are we going to start to fight?

Kinglear asks when are we going to fight? I don't think there is any easy answer to this question. On one level workers across the world fight back each and every day. In the UK there have been strikes by council workers in Southampton and Oxfordshire while in the USA we have seen the Vizeon strike and in other countries workers have been taking action. Unfortunately all these actions have been firmly under the leadership of the trade unions who will always sabotage these strikes by keeping them sectional and within the bounds of bourgeoise legality.

Will these struggles break free any time soon from the embrace of the left of capital? Again I think it's difficult to give a definate answer to this. It does depend on a combination of the numbers of workers that the communist left can influence also the level of suffering that workers will have to endure before turning away in a positive manner from the capitalist left towards the communist left.

On a personal level all I think we can do at the present is to present the case for communism wherever we can and whenever we can. What we do today will make a difference for the future. The old revolutionary mole is burrowing away and weakening the foundations of the capitalist left.