[Marxism] What other world is possible?
João Paulo Monteiro
jpmonteiro at mail.telepac.pt
Mon Mar 22 23:41:27 MST 2004
I think we are living in decisive times, not so much for what is
happening at the surface of world political events but for what may (or
may not) be happening on the forge where the instruments for conscient
transformative intervention take shape. Left to itself, the whirling of
brute facts and passions may take us anywhere according to the laws of
chaos and statistic chance. But if you have a solid theory that really
catches the will and the imagination of the masses in revolt, then it
can became a "material fact" of first importance and serve as an
effective lever to "change it" (the world), as the old man said.
I am a classical marxist, like most of us here. We are fortunate enough
to have had the most powerful intellectual tools bequested to us,
demanding only the amount of effort necessary to read and undertand
them. But we still have lots of homework to do, if we really want to
break new ground for our times. For three years I have been mostly
thinking about a transitional program, at a global level. This effort
requires some clues on a theory for the transition to communism and some
clues on a theory of imperialism and accumulation on a world scale. It
can't be taken ready made out of the hat just like that.
Now, I don't want to sound as if I'm claiming to have discovered any
gold field but I do think I may have an edge of some months over any
other similar effort that I am aware of. And time may be precious.
Either way, I have no intention of claiming the gold for myself. Indeed,
this is one instance I would be very happy to be crushed in a gold rush
stampede. Because this is the rush we need the most right now.
The alter-globalization movement is at a crossroad. From where it stands
now, it can easily sink into compromise and irrelevance, for which it
only has to follow the lead of ATTAC, the brazilian PT and other
like-minded sycophants at the helm of the WSF. To preserve the movement
for the possibility of its constitution into a radical alternative we
need to act, with bold ideas and a set of clear and comprehensive
strategic aims. And we need to do it now, with the constitution of a
"Porto Alegre left" on the next WSF, based on a political platform.
So here are my ideas for such a platform.
1. Free, unrestricted movement in the whole world for people who are
looking for better conditions on which to make their offer of work; the
immigrant workers will have full associative freedom and the same civic
and economic rights as the autochtonous ones, as well as the option of
adopting the nationality of the host country after a certain period of
2. Abolition of all protectionist trade barriers in the imperialist
countries (roughly, the countries affiliated to the OECD); the
peripheral countries and regions will be allowed to keep the customs
barriers and other non-tariff regulations that prove to be useful and
adequate for assuring their food self-reliance, the prossecution of
their strategy of industrialization and the consolidation of an
autonomous service sector.
3. The foreign direct investments of the great transnational
corporations will be subject to approval by the public authority of the
host countries or regions, which will be given only in case they can
combine harmoniously, in a subordinated form, with the development plan
that these countries or regions have democratically decided to pursue;
if these investments are made in peripheral nations they will depend on
formal agreements that implie technology transfers, restrictions to
profit repatriation (with effective accountancy fiscalization) and
modalities for their redemption by the host country.
4. Immediate end to all public subventions of fiscal exemptions to
agricultural or industrial exports from the countries of the OECD;
subsidies to agricultural production will be canceled wherever they can
be proved responsible for a dumping effect, harming the local production
of poor countries.
5. Immediate cancellation of all public and semi-public debt of the
peripheral countries; interdiction of all remunerated lowns, of public
or private origin, to peripheral public authorities.
6. End of bank secrecy and of all tax havens.
7. Prohibition of all speculative currency transactions; severe
restrictions and heavy taxation on all speculative movements in the
stock markets, particularly agravated in the case of international
8. Collective contracts and public social security for all workers;
prohibition of sackings and lay-offs in companies with solid annual
results - the prevaricators will be subject to public expropriation.
9. Legal maximum schedule of work of 30 hours weekly, without loss of
pay, in all the countries of the OECD; programs of professional training
and sharing of jobs for all long-term unemployed; creation of agencies
for vocational orientation for the enrichment of leisure time,
privileging solidarity work and education in view of an informed
participation in democratic processes of political and economic
decision-making at all levels.
10. Democratic control in the management of all big and middle
capitalist corporations, by representative organisms of the workers,
consummers and any public interest that may be affected by its activity
(ecology, patrimony, public health, etc.); immediate public
expropriation of any corporation that repeatedly employs harmful
practices or abuses of its monopolistic position.
11. Fiscal systems recentered on the direct tax on revenue, with a
progressive scale; effective combat on tax evasion.
12. Guaranteed minimal revenue for all adult population, at a level that
assures survival and the satisfaction of the most elementary socially
13. Public services of quality, on a national or regional base, in the
distribution of power, water, basic sanitation, telecommunications,
health, education, banking, insurances, radio-television, written press,
edition, culture and spectacles, Internet, post offices, housing,
transports, distribution and commerce of essential consummable goods.
14. Radical reform and restructuring of the banking sector, with the
annullation of all standing own house mortgages and small consummer
15. Abolition of all patents and the patrimonial content of intellectual
property rights; the creators and innovators will be remunerated by
public funds, in proportion to the public interest aroused by their
16. Restrictive regulation to the use of trade marks and severe
limitations (in content and amplitude of the campaigns) to commercial
advertising, which must limit itself to offering reliable information on
the products, emphacizing its distinguishing characteristics in an
honest and sober form.
17. Radical democratization of the mass media, removing them from the
control of the giant capitalist corporations (as well as from the
dependence of commercial advertising) and entrusting them to the
responsibility of groups of associated professionals, local
colectivities or democratic public authorities; all the regions and
communities of the world should have equal access to adequate means for
the exercise of the right to inform and to be informed, in an honest and
professional way, with quality and respect for their proper identity and
cultural sensibilities; global massification of the use of the Internet.
18. Immediate extinction of the I.M.F., the World Bank, the Bank of
International Settlements, the W.T.O., G7(8), O.E.C.D., N.A.T.O.,
Security Council of the U.N. and other formal or informal, world-wide or
regional imperialist directorates.
19. Prohibition and desactivation of all weapons of mass destruction
(nuclear, chemical and biological), of all ballistic and cruise
missiles, all military satellites, armored terrestrial vehicles,
long-range artillery, as well as of all war aviation and navy; a giant
program for the conversion of military industry to socially usefull
20. Desmantling of all international agencies of spying and security
either private or state-run, politico-military or commercial with
publication of all their secret reports and memoranda.
21. Creation, with a global scope (U.N. or similar) and supported by
substantial contributions by the richest countries, of a great public
agency responsible for financing development projects in the peripheral
countries and regions; States from the less developed nations will be
encouraged to pursue a strategy of solidarity and progressive
integration, at a regional level, based in an autonomous, self-centered
and centripetal process of accumulation of wealth and fixation of
22. Creation of a global system of guarantee of prices for the
international commerce of raw materials and untransformed agricultural
23. Gigantic international public effort of investigation for (renewable
and non-pollutant) alternatives to fossil fuels as sources of energy,
with democratic debate and decision on its findings.
24. Creation of a massive world-wide service of public health/sanitary
education and another one of elementary schooling and vocational
25. Prohibition of all forms of oppression and descrimination against
women, followed by positive measures for the promotion of their social
and economic status.
26. Democratic agrarian reform, assuring the access to the land for the
peasants who wish to remain so, with associative options, technical
support and efficient financing, thus guaranteeing everywhere food
security and self-sufficiency at a national and/or regional level, with
the preservation of biodiversity and the integrity of the natural
My full essay is at:
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6446/What.world.html but it would
need thorough editting.
A much better version on my own mother language (portuguese) is at:
I hope this will deserve a debate here, because this is indeed our world
and our struggle.
João Paulo Monteiro
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