In 2016, there is huge potential to build genuine socialism in the world. The reason why this had not happen is not because workers don’t want an alternative. Capitalist supporters keep claiming that their system is superior, but their propaganda is losing value each year. From the sands of Africa to the jungles of Latin America, the working class is fighting back. What is lacking today is a leadership who wants to push the movements towards socialism. We had some high profiel leaders in the past, but all of them never made the step towards genuine socialism. This stalled the workers movement and strengthen the propaganda that; There Is No Alternative!
Socialism is not social democracy as some might think. Most social democratic parties have turned their backs on their working class voters and now embrace the free market and its right-wing ideals. Social democrats in Europe may still call themselves socialist in their names or constitutions, but their actions over the last 30 years has not been socialist at all. Bernie Sanders in the USA is a classic social democrat, an old senator from the American state of Vermont. His struggle against the billionaires echo the days, when social democracy stood up against income inequality and capitalist exploitation!
For the first time, there is a true struggle between the traditional capitalist wing of the Democratic Party USA and a rebellious social democratic senator. The Democrats have always been pro-capitalist and supportive of free market politics. However because of the unfair voting system in the USA, the two party system ment that leftists choose Democrats and rightists choose Republicans, although both parties are in fact right-wing when it comes to economics!
Liberalism is seen as a leftist ideology in the United States of America. This is totally alien to the rest of the world, were liberals have a right-wing look. Liberals in Germany and the Netherlands always rejected the ideals of government regulations, while christian democrats and social democrats supported them. The reason why Americans see liberalism as a leftist ideal is because most liberals support individual freedoms, which conservatives oppose. On the question of government support for the social weak, the liberals tend to agree more then conservatives. Meaning that the Democratic Party often supports some regulations and social security systems over the die-hard anti-welfare position of the present-day Republican Party!
In Britain the struggle for socialism is fought inside the Labour Party. This social democratic party was seen as a workers party, until Tony Blair introduced New Labour in the mid 1990’s. Labour had already moved to the right-wing, after it expelled all members of the Militant Tendency, a revolutionary socialist faction of the party. The right-wing leadership claimed that Militant was a ”hostile party inside a party”. Revolutionary socialists disagree and claim that a workers party that claims to fight for socialism, is to have a socialist direction. But Labour leaders around Neil Kinnock rejected these arguments and expelled all who rejected the new ”modern” course. With the elections of Tony Blair, the Labour Party ended its transformation into a fully capitalist party, supporting American imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq!
However many Labour members were unhappy about the rightist course of their party. After 20 years of New Labour a new generation elected Jeremy Corbyn as new leader. This man still claims to be a socialist and willing to restore the Labour Party as a workers party. However Corbyn has always been a minority in a establishment party that loved the fruits of supporting British imperialism. Labour ministers enjoyed high salaries and good social contacts with business leaders and other corrupt members of capitalist society. Corbyn is not loved by the elected members of Labour in parliament, because he stands up for socialism which they rejected 30 years ago!
There is potential for socialism in Great Britain and Jeremy Corbyn can play a huge role if he unites the working class for socialism. But if he is unable to remove the corrupt right-wing from the Labour Party, then he will fail and strengthen the capitalist opposition against his position. Corbyn has already made some bad choices which weakened him, if more are made it could led to a full defeat. Many workers in Britain want a change of society, but if the leadership of trade unions and the Labour Party do not fight for socialism, then the momentum is lost and disillusion steps in. This is what led to the massive right-wing propaganda wave of the 1990’s. Capitalism claimed to have won the ideological battle and many agreed with this. Had trade unionists rejected the lies and stayed strong, the capitalist attacks on workers would have been deflected!
The collapse of stalinism also fueled a move to the right-wing by alomost all political parties. Liberals who used to be moderate right, now became fully supportive of austerity and major neoliberal (neoconservative) politics. Christian democrats who stood on modest pragmatism also embraced the austerity mood of the 1990’s. Finally the social democrats all agreed that capitalism was the only working system and most abandoned their quest for socialism. The communist parties all sufferd a major ideological defeat, with the collapse of the USSR in December 1991. Stalinist communists always claimed that Moscow was the capital of the workers states and the bastion of socialism. Two years after the East German government opened the Berlin Wall, the Czarist banner replaced the Soviet banner on the Kremlin tower, signalling the victory of capitalism over ”communism” as the western media said!
Disillusion and defeat was felt in all parties that once claimed to be Marxist-Leninist. Classic stalinists claimed that the collapse was due to the works of Micheal Gorbachev and that his actions led to the return of capitalism. In reality it was Joseph Stalin who lay the seeds for the collapse, at birth of the Soviet-Union. Stalinism was a product of degeneration, a product that grew out of the civil war when the communist party replaced the soviets (workers councils). What was once a war time necessity, became a monster that slaughtered all original Bolsheviks and replaced them with a caste of bureaucrats who enjoyed a privileged life!
Other communist parties made sure that all critics of Stalin were expelled and so by 1930, all parties were purged of critical thinkers. Turning the whole Communist Internationale into a propaganda machine for the Stalinist monolith ruling from Moscow. With the collapse of this monster, capitalism took back what it lost in 1917. State bureaucrats embraced the new ”freedom” to exploit and made fortunes at the expense of Russian workers. However there was deep hatred towards the Russian government and by 1999, most Russians rejected their president!
For socialism to work in Russia and the former Soviet-Union, a workers party is needed. The problem is that socialism is seen as a thing of the past in these nations. Misguided by Stalinist lies for 70 years, many still think that socialism is what ruled back in Soviet days. This is still propagandized by not only the capitalist parties, but also by the communist parties in the former USSR. Workers have a very mismatched view of socialism and with a lying media, it is very difficult to tell them the true meaning of our ideals. Struggles against the brutal capitalist system are happening, but leaders lack the experience and ideological framework to understand how to move on. Strikes and demonstrations are also violently ended by police forces, who serve the ruling class!
There have been leaders who claimed to fight for socialism. Charismatic males with good intentions, but who lacked a Marxist understanding. Two of these leaders were Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. Chavez was an army officer, who tried a coup against Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Pérez, who had betrayed his principals and was corrupt. The coup failed, but Hugo Chavez became very popular for resisting the corruption and inequality in Venezuela. In 1999, he won the presidential elections, becoming the first true leftist president!
Evo Morales is still president of Bolivia as of 2016. He has his origins in cocalero activism and became popular among the native Americans. Although loved by the natives, Morales is hated by the capitalist class who are based around the descendants of Spanish imperialists. These people make up only 30% of the population, but have ruled Bolivia since the nation was named after Simon Bolivar. The victory of Evo Morales in the 2005 presidential elections was a huge step for the indigenous people. Like Hugo Chavez, Morales claimed to fight for socialism, but remained vage about how to reach it. His Movement for Socialism served only as a vehicle for his ideals, much like the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)!
Capitalism was challenged by the governments of Chavez and Morales. They rejected the Washington Consensus and stood on anti-imperialism. But because they did not understand how to build socialism, their nations never actually moved away from capitalism. Some companies were nationalized in Venezuela, but workers never took control. Instead bureaucratic state bosses replaced their old capitalist boss, in nationalized enterprises. These state managers sometimes had no clue how to run a business. Workers also realized that they benefited little as they were still forced to work to compete with others!
Today the right-wing of Venezuela has won the parliamentary elections, because the united socialist party failed to move towards genuine socialism. Under leadership of Nicolas Maduro, the party of the late Hugo Chavez stagnated and was unable to end the economic crisis that hit Venezuela. Capitalist forces now control parlement, although the presidency is still under PSUV control, but for how long? Soon new presidential elections will drive Maduro out of office, opening the nation to the greed of capitalist barbarism once again. This can be prevented if workers build a party for themselves. However just as in the former USSR, socialism has been discredited by the mistakes and failures of people like Chavez and Maduro. People who had good intentions, but were able to move beyond the capitalist system!
In Africa, most political forces who once claimed to fight for a socialist style economy have all betrayed their leftist principals. From the MLPA in Angola to the ANC in South Africa, they all moved to the side of capitalism. In Mozambique, the FRELIMO government has erased all references to socialism from its history books, as if the People’s Republic of Mozambique (1975-1990) was never a nation that claimed to be socialist. The history of the FRELIMO is now told as a nationalist struggle for independence against colonialism. But they fail to mention that the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) once fought for a society not capitalistic. However top-down style of government soon led to mismanagement and corruption. The civil war with the anticommunist RENAMO, also worked against the national liberation movement. In 1990 with the collapse of stalinism, the FRELIMO surrendered to the IMF and changed the name of the nation to Republic of Mozambique, dropping all references to Marxist socialism!
Capitalist forces claim that these former liberation movements understood that socialism failed and that capitalism is the only alternative. There Is No Alternative is what many must have thought after right-wing forces took control of all major Stalinist nations in the world. It is ironic that although all former African socialists have embraced capitalism, they still rule most African nations. The ANC, the MLPA, the FRELIMO, the Party of the Revolution in Tanzania, all these groups used to believe in a socialist future. But their top-down style of ruling and dogmatic believe in their on right, led to economic downfall. Also the civil wars in Angola and Mozambique aided the restoration of capitalism. With fall of stalinism in eyesight and their economies in ruins, the governments ask for capitalist aid. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank told the Africans they had to obey the Washington Consensus and reject Marxist thinking forever. They all agreed and revolutionary idealism disappeared very quickly. Capitalist inequality now rules Africa!
Africa has huge potential for socialism. However it is difficult to build parties of the working class in nations who are not free. Angola and Mozambique tolerant opposition parties as long as they do not became too dangerous for the ex-Stalinist rulers. If a workers party would win enough support, the corrupt regimes would use police and army to crush strikes and demonstrations. Still the actions of youth in Burkina Faso show that mass revolt can lead to the downfall of a dictator. In 2014, the youth of this very poor African nation were able to bring down the man who killed Thomas Sankara in 1987. After their dictator fled, the military toke over and even a section of the regiment of presidential security tried a coup. Burkina Faso is still ruled by the people who supported the old dictator once. It shows that the demonstrations and strikes did not changed anything fundamental, because the leadership are unable to build a socialist alternative. They lack revolutionary thinking and experience, which soon leads to disillusion and exhaustion!
European workers face austerity cuts and cruel right-wing politics led by liberal, conservative and social democratic governments. Populists use Muslim refugees from Syria as scapegoats to split the working class. The hatred against refugees is growing as the capitalist media is portraying all male Syrians as potential rapists. Nationalists abuse the feeling of insecurity and deep rejection of austerity to shift the blame on people, who have nothing to do with the rise in poverty and inequality. In Greece, the traitors of SYRIZA are still hailed as the lesser evil by their supporters. But many workers are not accepting the austerity plans of the government. Major strikes are happening and SYRIZA is no longer seen as a workers party. But the sectarian position of the Communist Party of Greece is preventing a united front of leftist forces for a socialist Greece. The stalinists reject any coalition in which they are not in command!
Although revolutionary socialists were not able to win major support. We play a role in directing people towards genuine socialism. It is true that social democratic betrayal and Stalinist history makes it difficult to argue for a socialist transformation. Many Europeans are raised with the believes that socialism does not work and that capitalism is the only way. This is what their political leaders were told to do by the ruling class of Europe. Economics are only given from a capitalist point of view. Alternative economic models are not learned in high schools. Only those who wish to specialize themselves in the fields of economics can understand that capitalism is unfair. But most young workers will never see beyond the capitalist viewpoint they were given at middle and high school!
But with Bernie Sanders in the USA and other leftist formations winning support, there is a potential to move towards socialism. If the leaders of these movements learn that capitalism cannot be reformed or made social, then socialism will be seen as a possibility. We point out that socialism is not BIG GOVERNMENT or top-down centralism. Socialism is a system that gives maximum wealth to all of society, not just a minority who owns the means of production. This is the task of Revolutionary Socialist Media, to fight for a world that is unified under democratic revolutionary socialism!