Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An appreciation from Germany

We have received an election statement from the Wine and Cheese Appreciation Society of Greater London. Yes, but read on. This is the name of the London section of a German political group and their statement can be found here on the site of this group (it's the article beginning with quote from Douglas Adams).

It is a bit of an essay on political philosophy but it makes some good points about the role of state, government and elections under capitalism. For instance, on the populist demands to "Make the Rich Pay" put forward by left-of-Labour groups and others, they make the point that this assumes the continuation of the rich, who are to be allowed to continue exploiting us but whose profits will then be taxed to pay for social reforms:
Even fringe left-wing parties like Respect bow to the dictates of 'realism' and respect private property through their demands of "taxation on the big corporations and the wealthy to fund public services" – a demand which requires big corporations to make the kind of profits which can then be taxed.
They have singled out Respect but it applies equally to the Trotskyists of TUSC in this election and, of course, to our own independent Trotskyist opponent here in Vauxhall who says:
The Government gave £1 trillion to the banks. We want it back! Anticapitalists say take over the banks, who are making giant profits again, and raise taxes on the rich. Spend the money on a massive programme of public works -- creating three million jobs, a million new affordable homes and a national repair and improve programme for council flats and houses.
We think the Wine and Cheese society might be over-estimating the extent to which these leftist groups (or anyone else, for that matter) really believe this to be possible. It's probably more of a cynical ploy to try to win a following. Still, there's a need to analyse what they say as if they really meant it. In this vein the Appreciation Society go on:
Left-wing parties for instance claim that mass poverty was unnecessary and within capitalism the problem could be solved quickly once they were in power and could tax the rich appropriately. Thus poverty was not a necessity of the mode of production which the state fosters for its own sake. Instead poverty was an unnecessary result of the wrong people in management.
Good point. Hence their general conclusion about all political parties that "the common feature of all these political parties is their affirmation of the basic principles of the capitalist economy". However, in a footnote, we are exempted from this:
The Socialist Party of Great Britian is a notable exception to this rule. The SPGB "claims that there can be no state in a socialist society" and "that socialism will, and must, be a wageless, moneyless, worldwide society of common (not state) ownership". The SPGB "seeks election to facilitate the elimination of capitalism by the vast majority of socialists, not to govern capitalism." ( Leaving aside for the moment of whether this is a good strategy or not, it is clear from their party programme that the SPGB does not affirm the basic principles of the capitalist economy.
It's nice to be appreciated.

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