02.06.2018 Author: Christopher Black

Capitalism and Democracy: Where Is The Left?


The elections in Italy have pulled the veil back from the face of capitalist democracy and shown it to be a sham, a con game run by capital, with the stronger capitalists ever plotting the demise of the smaller ones and all of them plotting to stab the working majority in the back while fleecing their pockets to make, through systemised theft, something called profit.

Except in the socialist nations, working people have no say whatsoever in the control of the economy and their well-being. They are forced instead to play an insulting game in which various parties of capital offer them candidates to choose from, in what are called “elections,” but which in fact are selections, that is, a system of appointing, through the illusion of the popular will, pre-selected candidates of capital to carry out capital’s agenda while candidates that represent the interests of the majority who have to work for a living are not permitted to be heard or are marginalised and ridiculed.

In Italy the real socialist left, the Italian Communist Party, has been reformed and performed modestly in the elections but its recent reappearance in the swamp of populist, liberal and right wing parties was too late to prevent the sad charade that is taking place with the 5 Star Movement making a coalition deal with the right wing Northern League party to form a government only to have their nominee of finance minister blocked by the intervention of Germany, resulting in a fracturing of the coalition, and cries of Berlin tyranny when it is the tyranny if German and Italian capital working together that has produced this mess. The Italian press are pretending to be shocked by this German intervention, made so directly and openly in thwarting the so-called democratic will of the people while the Germans complain about the irresponsible Italians threatening the euro, the EU and German capital’s control of Europe.

Meanwhile in France President Macron, the messenger boy for French and German capital, and selected by them against the will of the working people, is trying to force through what are termed politely “reforms,’ a euphemism for all out class war against working people by capital to make their lives poorer, more difficult, more miserable in order to enrich the rich. When one person steals something from a citizen it is called robbery but when the entire citizenry is robbed by a few, the word used is not robbery but “labour flexibility.” And it is always the working men and women who have to be more “flexible,” never the capitalists. Again, in France, the series of strikes by unions to try to protect themselves from this robbery are hobbled by still weak political support from the French left. To defeat the “reforms” a general strike is necessary to bring down the Macron government as some labour leaders have called for, a revolutionary development if it took place but there is no strong organised political organisation to effectively organise and maintain such an action. The French Communist Party has joined in marches and adds its support to the struggle but it is not the powerful force it once was since it discredited itself by joining government of capital in the past with the good intentions of having a say at the table, but only succeeded in giving ground to capital to carry out “austerity,” the word they use all the time for the deliberate impoverishment of the people.

In Britain, whose working class has been devastated for 40 years by the combined austerity assault of the Tories and so-called Labour Party, the majority vote to leave the European Union is being thwarted at every step by the very people that arranged the vote under pressure from British and foreign capital that benefits from Britain remaining in the EU while free speech is trampled on. Canada, whose working class, usually mislabelled a “middle class,” has suffered increasing cuts to services and a degradation of living standards since the fall of the USSR, is embroiled in the scandal of the government decision to use tax payers money to build a pipeline for an American oil company that takes Canadian oil out of the ground for next to nothing and wants it shipped to ports on the west coast to sell to China. Canadians will not benefit from this project whatsoever and oppose it but the party in power sees their role as agents for American oil instead of the people they were elected by.

The American political system, always a spectacle, has descended into a cartoon democracy in which there is no real choice for the people and when they participate in that charade and choose one of the two candidates for leader forced on them, each as corrupt and criminal as the other, are insultingly told their “choice” was arranged by Russia, while 45 % of them according the United Way, live in real poverty in a country where they have to pay for everything.

We can go on like this with all the capitalist democracies but the point is that all these games are designed to enrich one class at the expense of the other. And what is the response in the former socialist states in Europe and the USSR, in the former social democratic countries turned into neo-liberal cesspools, as people wallow in the mess the capitalists have brought them in the wake of their false promises and illusions but to move towards fascism or its bedfellow, monarchy.

But where is the Left to re-establish the socialist movement in the face of the universal repression and carry on the struggle for social, economic and political justice that can only exist under socialism. Jose Saramago, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, author most famously of Blindness, and member of the Portuguese Communist Party, stated in 2004 or so that, “The left has no fucking idea of the world it’s living in.” The statement was a deliberate challenge to all the workers parties the world over, including his own, that went unanswered then and remains unanswered. The question is not of ideology, good intentions, or correct analysis of the situation for the good intentions are there among many, as is the analysis, and Marx has never been more right than today. It is more a matter of daring to take action, to take steps to enter into the situation in a serious way. I don’t have the answers to this, but it has to be asked, again; what are we doing in the face of the sustained war on working people that has become a war of scorched earth? In Cuba we are present, commandante, in China, North Korea, in Venezuela, in Vietnam. Yes, but where are the rest of us? And we are told, “We are weak?” But why are we weak? Or, “We are growing.” Very good, but why aren’t we growing more quickly? “They control the media.” Yes, they do. So where is ours? “They are jailing and murdering us.” Why do we let them? In other words, why are too many of us sitting doing nothing when real and difficult but necessary work needs to be done? Where are you my friends? Where is the Left?

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”