[Marxism] Treason, stratagems and spoils

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 13 08:08:17 MDT 2009

Treason, Stratagems and Spoils
by Stephen Fleischman | March 9, 2009 - 2:26pm Share

Capitalism has hit the wall.

We're facing a world-wide economic collapse. Where is Trotsky now that 
we really need him!

It was Leon Trotsky, an original Bolshevik, who said that socialism (or 
communism) couldn't succeed in one country. There had to be world 

"Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains."

There was a deep disagreement between Trotsky and V. I. Lenin, a fellow 
Bolshevik, on this point. Lenin believed that socialism (or communism) 
could be achieved in one country, Russia, which was in a shambles at the 
end of World War I.

Lenin prevailed. Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown. The Bolsheviks 
(majority) defeated the Mensheviks (minority) and Alexander Kerensky 
(Labour Party) and the Soviet Union was born. But socialism didn't last 
long. After Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin seized power. He made himself 
dictator and all the "old Bolsheviks" were tried, convicted and 
"eliminated" resulting from the rigged treason trials held in the 
mid-1930s. Trotsky fled. He was found in Mexico with an ax in his head 
in 1940.

So much for socialism (or communism) in one country.

Now we're confronting a new situation. The entire world is in economic 

Obama now has a stimulus package of $787 billion with which he is trying 
to re-inflate the economic bubble that just burst. He's trying to put 
into effect a faux New Deal with a faux WPA, with government taking the 
reins and repairing the infrastructure with shovel-ready projects to 
create jobs.

Vladimir Putin, former KGB agent in the Soviet Union, now Prime Minister 
of a capitalist Russia, warned Obama not to go socialist. That's like 
telling the Pope not to go Catholic.

Don't listen to Putin, Mr. Obama!

The contradictions of capitalism have come home to roost.

Stop throwing money at all those financial institutions big enough to 
fail. It's only paper. It will do no good.

Nationalize the banks and keep the banksters from ripping off the taxpayers.

Contradiction Number One, you can't make money with money. You can only 
create wealth by producing something of real value like food, clothing 
or shelter.

Money is a medium of exchange, defined in Wikipedia as "an intermediary 
used in trade to avoid the inconveniences of a pure barter system."

Only God's gifts of nature (the land and everything beneath it and above 
it) and man's labor can create value or wealth. The gifts of nature 
should belong to everyone--not a privileged few.

The economic system of the US has been left with paper while the real 
value and the wealth of this country have taken flight. The captains of 
industry have off-shored a good part of our manufacturing base, our 
wealth, to other nations. They are outsourcing skilled labor and they 
are also using the H-1B visa to allow US employers to bring foreign 
workers into the United States and employ them at wages US workers 
couldn't live on.

So our country is hollowed out.

Why have they done this?

The answer is simple. Profits. Move your plants to where labor is cheapest.

But there is always a hitch. Contradiction Number Two. Profits are 
derived from the surplus value extracted from the worker in the process 
of production. You need a working class to exploit and the working class 
must be able to reproduce itself. Yes, you capitalists hate'em but you 

Just about everybody knows about this Marxist theory--certainly workers 
who are the victims of it and economists who have studied it and 
societies who live under it. At this late stage in its development, the 
contradictions of capitalism are bringing the system to the beginning of 
its end. Marx's analysis got it right.

But you never hear the "M" word spoken in polite capitalist society or 
in its impolite punditocracy. Stark Verboten!

So where does that leave us?

With Barack Obama and his $787 billion stimulus package.

There are a number of things that Obama can do to jolt the US and the 
world economies back into some kind of life.

Everybody knows that Bush's wars, now Obama's wars, are unmitigated 
catastrophes. So why are they still going on? Save the $40 billion or 
more a month going down the rat hole for something more rational like 
single-payer universal health insurance.

Take the costs of providing health care to workers off the backs of 
business and industry.

Take Cindy Sheehan's advice and end the Iraq and Afghan wars now. Not in 
sixteen months or nineteen months but now! Get all of our troops out of 
there. Leave no forces behind as back-up support for the Iraqi 
government and to prevent a return of al-Qaida. Those are just poor 
excuses to keep a foot in the door of empire.

Four thousand plus American soldier deaths and more than 31 thousand 
wounded should never have happened. Cindy Sheehan's son, Casey, should 
be alive today.

Furthermore, Obama should cut the defense (war) budget in half and close 
down most of those 700 plus military bases around the world. We can no 
longer afford to be an imperialist power. We could use that money to 
rebuild the wrecks we now call public schools.

Still dreaming? Well, let's get real.

Ending the wars? Cutting the defense budget?

"Barack Obama's election campaign pocketed $870,165 from 
defense-contractor sources, 34% more than the $647,313 in contributions 
McCain's campaign received from the same sector."
--Time Magazine

Single-payer universal health insurance?

"Obama's campaign collected $18.7 million from the health insurance 
industry sector, compared to the $7.3 million that his opponent, 
Republican Sen. John McCain, got."

The Wall Street Journal reported last week (3-5-09) that Physicians for 
a National Health Program, a group of doctors that claim 15,000 members 
who support a single-payer system, had planned to demonstrate outside 
the White House over what they said was the exclusion of single-payer 
advocates from Obama's Forum on Health Reform held that day.

More than a hundred participants including members of Congress, health 
insurance lobbyists and representatives of other special interest groups 
related to health issues attended.

The demonstration was called off, when, at the last minute, the Forum 
admitted two advocates of the single-payer plan, the head of the 
physicians group and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) who backs a 
Medicare-for-All bill in Congress, H.R. 676. A spokesman for the 
physician's group called it a "small but important victory."

"Health-care reform is no longer just a moral imperative--it's a fiscal 
imperative," Obama said, master of the cliche and the platitude. He was 
for a single-payer plan before he was against it.

No way would he now allow single-payer through the gate. He has hinted 
at other plans for Medicare, like squeezing what he can out of it. So 
geezers beware before you get busted.

"The man who has no music in himself
Nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds is fit for treason, 
stratagems and spoils:
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted."
-- Shakespeare

It seems that we are all merchants of Venice now.
About author

Stephen Fleischman, writer-producer-director of documentaries, spent 
thirty years in Network News at CBS and ABC. His memoir is now in print. 
See www.amahchewahwah.com, e-mail stevefl at ca.rr.com.

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