Monday, October 20, 2008

Agents of Influence

"If conservative Republicans are right and the $700 billion financial-sector rescue plan signals America's slide into socialism, you'd think Seth Dellinger would be celebrating. ... To Mr. Dellinger, 32, capitalism's crisis may be socialism's opportunity. He's making the case to anyone who will listen that the U.S. should adopt a Cuban-style government before the Bush administration and Congress empty the treasury in order to keep workers from storming the barricades. 'What they're trying to do, above all, is prevent millions of workers from lining up outside banks all over the country, because they know they'll have to send troops and cops,' says Mr. Dellinger. 'That kind of scenario could unfold quicker than people think.' ... The topsy-turvy Wall Street rescue, which failed in the House on Monday then passed the Senate on Wednesday, and finally won House approval on Friday has done what neither Presidential candidate has yet been able to do: bring left and right together, albeit in opposition to the plan and from very different positions. ... 'Today you are being asked to choose between bread and freedom,' Rep. McCotter scolded his fellow lawmakers. 'I suggest that the people on Main Street have said they prefer their feedeom, and I am with them.' ... 'This is not socialism,' says Sam Webb, national chairman of the Communist Party USA. 'Bailing out the biggest financial corporations in the country is a far cry from what we have in mind when we think about socialism.' ... The left wing faces fissures of its own. The Socialist Workers [SW], Mr. Dellinger's Party, considers itself the true heir of Marx and Lenin and seeks to emulate the Cuban model of Fidel Castro. It argues that the Socialist Party is laboring under the false impression that capitalism can be reformed, and the [SW] members scorn the American Communist Party as a cross between closet Stalinists and closet Democrats. The Way Far Left agrees on one thing: The Wall Street rescue plan won't help the working class. 'It poses the urgent need for a revolution in this country, a socialist revolution that will throw the billionaire ruling families out of power and replace them with a workers and farmers government,' [SW] Party presidential candidate Roger Calero said in a statement distributed this week. ... Dellinger explained that in recent decades the capitalists have found their profits from the exploitation of workers shrinking. 'So they've turned to gambling on Wall Street to make a faster buck", Michael Phillips at the WSJ, 4 October 2008.
"Amongst the worst tragedies of the Soviet collectivization was the Ukraine famine of 1932-33, which took six million lives as Joseph Stalin practised forced appropriation of crops and imposed very low prices for agricultural products in favor of industrialization. Interference with the pricing mechanism and Stalinism in the form of very low prices for agricultural products also caused famines in India in 1965 and China in 1969, with a human death toll well into the millions. Monetary policy as practised by the US [Fed] for the past decade is but a form of financial Stalinism, forcing ridiculously low or negative interest rates, with catastrophic results that are now plaguing the world. Fed policy had disabled the price mechanism in capital markets and set off uncontrolled credit expansion at the expense of capital productivity and creditworthiness, pushing housing, food, and energy prices to prohibitive levels, and triggering food and energy riots in vulnerable countries. ... Last, but not least, the long-term inflationary consequences may turn out to be even more dramatic. All these consequences are real and were in part predictable. ... It would appear that Bernanke has read a great deal about the Great Depression of 1929-1933 and perhaps very little, or nothing, about the German hyperinflation of 1920-1923. ... Therefore, Bernanke is determined not to let that mistake happen again. Consequently, his response to the financial crisis has been a blind and aggressive monetary policy in form of negative interest rates, massive liquidity injection, and massive bailouts. ... The Fed has arguably created the most uncertain and unstable economic environment in US history. ... Interest rate setting by central banks has long been repudiated by monetary economists; it creates distortion between the market and natural interest rates, and triggers a self-cumulative inflationary process", my emphasis, Hossein Askari and Noureddine Krichene (A&K) at, 10 October 2008.

"Demonstrators clashed with police while trying to force their way into the Royal Exchange building during a demonstration Friday against the British government's bank bailout. ... About several hundred people, mostly students and Socialist Worker Party activisits, turned out for the late-afternoon protest against the government's $86 billion plan to partly nationalize major banks, while guaranteeing an additional $431 billion of bank loans. 'Whose money" Our money!" chanted the protesters, some of whom carried placards reading 'Why should we pay for their crisis?", Houston Chronicle, 11 October 2008.

Yes, as Lenin said, "War is the cradle of revolution". Lenin also said, "The way to crush the bourgeoise is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation" and "The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency". Comrade Dellinger (CD) sounds like Pat Buchanan. CD has much to learn. He should heed Alexander Kerensky who said, "no enemies to the left". CD, do you not realize Comrades: Paulson, Bernanke and Buffett are amongst our most effective agents of influence? You worry about the working class's temporary discomfort. I say, it's a small price to pay to hasten the revolution. Again CD we look to Lenin's wisdom, "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs", my 10 January 2008 post,

Yes, we need a WSA, worker-student alliance. Anyone remember the 1970s? Has Mark Rudd an opportunity here? Leon Trotsky said, "The old principle he who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced with a new one: who does not obey shall not eat". Let's go to New York's Union Square and see if we can find Troskyites debating Stalinists, Leninsts or Maoists about the bailout. Great fun! What does Webb know about socialism anyway? Let's see if we can have Castro weigh in on this. I'm on the SW side in this left-wing intramural spat. CD, while I applaud your enthusiam, I remind you as a true heir of Lenin, that the bailout will bring Communism closer. Do you think our leading socialists like Warren Buffet are unaware of this? They follow Stalin's injunction, "Break eggs? I can help break eggs". Stalin did. about 20 million of them!

I agree with A&K.

Why indeed. I conclude the British Labor Party sold out the revolution and aligned itself with the capitalist oppressors. Hence it is not a fit heir to carry the torch of Marxism-Leninism. Go Socialist Workers!


Printfaster said...

It does matter. I is not 3 million, but 7 to 9 million that died in the Ukraine famine.

Institutional death is the trademark of the 20th century. We dare not belittle any of it. I cannot imagine how much more gentle death there will be in the 21st century. Every death at the hands of benevolent institutions is to be fought to be avoided, and fought to be recorded. No one is to be missed, whether it is kulak, Jew, christian, or Chinese dissident.

To forget them is to dishonor ourselves.

printfaster said...

OK, now that I got that out of my system, down to economics and Ben B.

The one thing that points to Weimar and not USA 30s is the trade imbalance. The US monetary base is dependent on foreigners sequestering dollar/treasuries in their vaults. As soon as confidence is lowered. or foreign banks come under stress, the hidden dollars will cascade into the money supply.

The big problem is that the US is not devaluing the currency early, and trying to delay it. Most hyperinflations are triggered by this delay and pentup imbalance. Perhaps Argentina of the 60s and 70s is a better model for a dollar and dollar debt collapse.

People point to the collapse of debt as deflationary, but what is far more inflationary, is the resulting refusal to issue fresh debt. It essentially says that the dollar and dollar debt should be much cheaper than current prices. Kind of what we are seeing with the housing crisis where homes ain't selling. They are not hitting a bid, and neither is dollar debt and the dollar.

Independent Accountant said...

I am aware that most estimates of 1933-35 Ukraine deaths as a result of Stalin's policies are in the 8-12 million range, having read Robert Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow, 1987. I did not think the number was critical to the point raised. Conquest believes as many as 14.5 million may have been killed in the Ukraine.

Prinfaster said...

You are absolutely right about the number not critical. I just do not want to forget any who were lost in the last century.

I have seen estimates as high as 25 million for the USSR/Ukraine starvation. My statement is that we owe an accounting to all who died. I neither wish to exaggerate nor belittle the number that died. I would like to see people refer to the number as something like: At least blank and perhaps as many as blank" to be the standard catchphrase. And I want both numbers to be supportable and widely accepted. People are not buckets of soylent green.

Anonymous said...

'Today you are being asked to choose between bread and freedom,' Rep. McCotter scolded his fellow lawmakers. 'I suggest that the people on Main Street have said they prefer their...

Excuse the vernacular, but I would have said:

"Today we are being pumped full of shit. My fellow lawmakers, you should be required to wear nascar style uniforms so we can indentify by corporate logo who you actually work for."

Independent Accountant said...

Should I infer from your statement that you believe Congress is for sale? For shame. How can you think such a thing?