Time for something new …
Conception of the Revolutionary Perspective Project (PRP)
The Revolutionary Perspective Project (PRP) was founded in early 2009 and is an association of people from different areas of the (radical) left. The experience of the members extends into the autonomous and anti-fascist movement and the anti-racist and internationalist work. We have organized ourselves together and try to address social contradictions with practical actions to advocate for a revolutionary perspective and to show alternatives to the current capitalist system. Below we outline some aspects of our content and practical orientation.
Capitalism today – a little stocktaking
For an absolute majority of humanity, capitalism has nothing to offer. Neither for the millions of people who go hungry every day, nor for the workers and workers who are affected by wage cuts, layoffs, poor working conditions and daily torment of wage labor. Not for the masses of unemployed due to capitalist mode of production which are harassed with cuts off by government. Not for those who struggle to survive with precarious jobs and temporary work and despite that the money is never enough. Not for the youth and young adults who feel their situation at school and university as a burden and do not want to learn for the economy. Not for those who lead a miserable life in the ghetto, living in the suburbs and are excluded from society. Not for the many women with the wage and domestic work doubly burdened by wage or other dependent. Not for the many refugees and migrants, which are made illegal, threatened with deportation, and constantly experience racial exclusion. For all of these – and many more – the current situation has nothing to offer. Responsible therefore are not just wrong decisions of politicians and businessman, but a system which forces the mass of people to sale their work force. Or to rely on state benefits because their own work force is not needed. It is life as a working class.
The supposed „golden years“ of capitalism are history. For a brief period after the 2nd World War, the period of the so-called economic miracle promised in parts of the Western world growing prosperity, full employment and an extensive welfare state by capitalism. Even for workers in the metropoles the standard of living rose. The destruction after the war and the resumption of world trade meant a huge investment area for capital. What started with mass production, rising real wages, mass consumption and seemingly boundless markets encounters now to its limits. The so-called phase of Fordism led to a huge increase in productivity due to the assembly lines and because of the decomposition of operations into small units of a previously unimaginable rapid process of production. New markets were opened up and also the workers‘ households were provided with cars, refrigerators, televisions, etc. The expansion of markets into new areas has led to almost full employment, and allowed the workers and unions, not at least concerning political competition with the Soviet Union, the enforcement of some wage increases. Focus should not be forgotten that the increased productivity was related to a change in work organization and led many workers to serious physical and psychological stresses. Even at that time e.g. Single parents, pensioners, housewives or migrant workers were excluded. Today, the markets are largely saturated; the advent of microelectronics has again increased productivity in unknown degree and made a lot of people in the production process redundant. The internationalization of production and financial markets has intensified the competition further. The capital is no longer able to compensate for wage increases through increased production, the basis for social partnership with trade unions seems to be a thing of the past and the historic situation of the „economic miracle“ is over. Today the harsh winds of capitalism are blowing even in the industrial centers.
Given the unprecedented levels of material wealth, which was possible by modern technology, the devastating impact of the capital is apparent once more. For each technical progress turns back for the working people into its opposite: instead of facilitating work and more leisure time, it means mass dismissal for some, harder and longer hours to work for the others although productivity has reached a level that would allow people worldwide to live a life without material hardship. But the fatal logic of capital is just the contrary. Capitalism turns any society prosperity in private wealth, bases on the primacy of economic exploitation and focuses solely on profits. Social relations are reduced to commodity relations and people to their roles as workers and consumers. The human needs and with them the whole living conditions are subordinated the requirements of the capitalist mode of production.
The advocates of civil society and market economy thinking glorify capitalism to the most natural thing in the world. As a free and peaceful system, considering there are no alternatives anyway, they move him into brilliant light. If you switch the position to follow social rather than economic interests, the glamour drips off. The global disaster is not to be overlooked. The threat of natural disasters and pollution are like a ticking time bomb and human development could not be more destructive. The social consequences caused by the havoc of capitalism (crises, unemployment and war) as well as continuous exploitation leave its mark on the world. Capitalism is an intolerable situation that is not naturally, but a man-made system – it is to be abolished by man too!
The simple thing is hard to do …
Work has lost its (almost) exclusive center within the factories as well as the conditions of labor have changed: expansions of the so-called services, advanced precarious employment, long-term unemployment and other social processes must be considered in a timely analysis. The increasing differentiation within the working class (different wages, different working conditions, decollectivization of work processes etc.) and the expansion of flexible employment relations (e.g. “Scheinselbständigkeit”) have aggravated the organizing situation and the emergence of a common position. The specific circumstances in relation to income, education and consumer behavior differ, sometimes considerably. Many of the working class are also socially disciplined, adapted to the conditions of bourgeois society and corrupt nationalist. Also forms of oppression such as racism and sexism play a crucial role in the social constitution and impede efforts of emancipation.
But it is not only the external social conditions that provide us with difficulties. The left is in a dilemma. This varies from reformist approaches to the renewal of capitalism and correct, but sky-high promises of all „for social revolution“ and „Luxury for All“, which are not redeemed in the near future. As long as we are not able to fill this gap in credibility, we will not have great effect into wide parts of society, creating the basis for change. That the theoretical analysis is one thing and effective practice (which is more than symbolic politics) is the other, we know. A contradiction can be resolved, not just as long as the revolutionary left has only marginal influence. The Left in this country, however, rarely leaves her confined environment of the „scene“, therefore it is difficult to test and develop the capacity to intervene into society. Much of the radical left not even try it once – instead they are more engaged with the care of their own „scene“ and subculture. Any practical action degenerates to simulate more revolutionary policy, which lacks any social base resp. movement. A sensible combination of current political issues with an anti-capitalist objective is rare. But a radical left which is not visible in social conflicts will lose its credibility and is limited to writing lyrics and masterful teaching and gets lost in sectarian circles. That we want no blind action and participation in all sorts of protests should be clear. Strategic considerations must be made where an intervention makes sense and where not.
We think that a revolutionary left without class struggles and social movements does not get further! Class struggle? A term that has been banned in this country as far as possible from the vocabulary and sounds somewhat dusty. We believe it is however necessary to establish a clear relation to the working class. As class struggles, we understand all disputes about the value of labor power. We believe not only in the classical sense fighting for the length of the working day, wages or working conditions. The value of labor power is determined by the cost of its reproduction. Thus, we are also fighting for social services, education, rents, prices of commodities, power and energy costs or the development of citizenship. The fighting outside the employment relationship, known since the „New Left“ as ’social struggles‘ is an important field of class struggle.
In a class-struggle approach, we are confronted with some problems that are not just be dismissed by the hand. First, it is obvious that the mere awareness of the class situation still says nothing about the degree of revolutionary consciousness. Conflicts between capital and labor rarely leave the scope of interest representation within the existing conditions. Many unions, especially in Germany, now take a central objective function in the integration of workers in the capital relation, although they are also a first step towards their organization. Demands, such as for example for a „fair wage“ can by no means leave the wage form behind them and accept the subordination of labor to capital. The specific form of wage labor as a seemingly (in all societies) natural type of work obscures a revolutionary conquest. Concepts, such as that of wages, suggest generally that the total value of work done will be rewarded and not only the value of labor power, as is the case in capitalism. A similar problem we take, for example if Capital appears as the only conceivable form of property to its increase in employment. Or the idea that soil as a source of wealth is given as if no (on the contrary) work is needed to give it its value form. Many false ideas that ground in capitalist society and there will be no support of the wage-earning class. The mystification of social relations is guided by numerous diffuse ideologies that claim to explain the world, but contribute to nothing more than infatuation.
Despite the problems above we see in social and class struggles the main criteria for a revolutionary left. Even if certain demands and expectations lead in the wrong direction and we often not agree with certain forms of demonstrations, strikes and other protest we believe this to be the only chance for broad knowledge and experience. In social conflicts – whether in factories, office, school and university or “on the street” – there is the opportunity to interact with others, to identify common elements and to gain new impetus consciousness. The breaks in the totality of capitalist practice caused by collective action may open space for thoughts about the views of everyday consciousness and the limits of the system and may create new possibilities for action. The very concept of class can be some typical lines of division as between „German“ and „foreign“ workers, between „productive“ and „unproductive“. Concerning the apparent omnipotence of capital ratio which has penetrated even the structures of thought, the radical Left should not surrender. The challenge is to decompose the reified consciousness and build up a counterweight by practical intervention and continuous anchoring a revolutionary position.
This includes radicalizing current political claims and getting them an anti-capitalist orientation if they point out in a progressive direction. Because first of all, it is understandable and legitimate for reformist demands are made, constituting a tangible improvement. The various battles get a new perspective on the quality and organized class struggle if they are to one another in content. If they recognize their common situation, resist the temptation and leave the pre-integration of reformist progressive forms of conflict within capitalism, they can become the expression of a rebellion for a different future. We do not say that the salaried class is necessarily revolutionary, but there is the historic opportunity that it ceases to reproduce the capital ratio, throws it away and as a class cancels itself. The ruling class and the beneficiaries of capitalism have been well established in this and are unlikely to help with that problem.
International solidarity in global capitalism
Capitalism has established itself as a global system, and penetrated even the last areas of the world market economy. The economic imbalance could well be much bigger. The capital imposed comparatively great prosperity to some countries and pushes others into dependence and poverty. What began in colonial times with the plundering of natural resources and slavery finds its way into other forms of progress. To force the opening of new markets to gain access to raw materials or to improve the geo-strategic position in global competition, especially the most powerful countries intervene through trade agreements, structural adjustment programs and other measures in the state policies of other countries. But some former colonial countries are on the way to regional power. Where the usual imperialist blackmail is not enough, war will come. A permanent state of war now determined the daily life in capitalism. Besides the U.S. and other NATO countries it is mainly the European Union, with Germany and France as a guide that goes with setting up a military intervention in the large and lucrative business of war and established itself as an economic, political and military bloc. In times of crises of overproduction and the high degree of saturation on the capital markets war seems to be a solution.
Thus we can understand the resistance, which is directed against imperialism, war and occupation. But the basis of communist politics we see solidarity with revolutionary and progressive movements in all parts of the world. It is not about to support any kind of resistance unconditionally. The example of political Islam, we see that not every anti-imperialist movement is automatically progressive. We should judge the movements according to how their class position looks like and what their perspective is societal. This includes also bearing some Even if we as communists reject the construct of nation state, national liberation movements may therefore be progressive and imply social and political development.
Internationalism means for us but above all the practical solidarity with social and class struggles around the world. Especially in times of global competition exchange and networking across borders may develop a way of effective action against the long braid of the networked world capital. Some strikes and blockades e.g. simultaneously from ports in several countries provide a taste of what power an international class struggle could develop. In addition, the struggles in other countries are always inspiring, encouraging, and groundbreaking for our policy in this country.
And last but not least international solidarity is a consistent response to racism, nationalism and warmongering. This includes the solidarity and support for refugees and migrants fleeing the effects of the system and come in search of a better life in the industrial centers. Our policy is therefore an anti-racist, anti-militarist and internationalist, which is aimed at statesless and classless society.
Criticism is not criticism
We must not be subject to error, to have leased the concept of anti-capitalism to ourselves – that also reactionary tendencies and even fascist organizations do flirt with it should be known. They try to biologise the conditions in capitalism, and blame certain groups of people for it. They make out, for example, Jews as a culprit. Their inability to understand capitalism as a whole social relationship system is reflected in the fact that they face a supposedly good and honest manufacturing industry as „capital-creating“ and a supposedly evil and abstract money business as „rapacious capital.“ They criticize only the financial capital – which they associate anti-Semitic in their obsession with Jews – and are not able to establish the connection to the industrial production, without which no recovery of money would be possible. But this supposed anti-capitalism is reflected not only in anti-Semitism, immigrants and Muslims have always been used as scapegoats too. The greatest danger of the pseudo-critique of capitalism is that they and their ethnic, nationalist and anti-Semitic slogans always find connection with parts of protest movements. Not that this necessarily condone the murderous policies of the Nazis, but some statements and claims supplying links to the false „anti-capitalism“ in society. The chatter of „foreign locusts“ that suck German companies, a plate-criticism of the financial transaction or the location invoked nationalism in many places are examples. However, we see no reason to engage in general no longer fights where you will come up with such slogans, but for fear of getting our hands dirty. On the contrary, it is the task of the left to roll back reactionary positions and broaden an emancipatory critique of capitalism.
Together we are the future!
We aim our political practice to all who fight against the poor living conditions and want the best of our ability to offer concrete options. We believe in the power of extra-parliamentary movements and see ourselves as part of organized anti-capitalist structures. The apparent lack of alternatives has a revolutionary process of building counter-power to be met. We think that with well-intentioned appeals to government and politics no fundamentally change can be made. The State shall establish the general framework for capitalism as a whole. Even if he makes restrictions here and there to capital groups, the state does this in the overall capitalist interests. All the bourgeois parties and the whole parliamentarianism do move on that basis. The bourgeois state power is directly related to the functioning of capital recovery and is therefore no hope for a different society.
We have to evaluate the different experiences of the struggles to make a learning process possible and take this back to the movements to make a further development of anti-capitalist politics possible. A central question is how an antagonistic policy can look like and how we can attain by the level of theoretical abstraction to concrete practice that interferes with real struggles and gains weight. We want to intervene in the (yet) limited resources in social and class struggles. Therefore it is essential to build up strong organization. Only when we unite on the basis of shared principles, we can develop an effective practice and address the aforementioned activities. We do not as a messianic savior and defender of truth only occur even with our point straight to the point. Our aim is to encourage the various social struggles within a communication process for a class struggle and revolutionary perspective that advocate and promote organization.
We think, however, that the revolutionary left must and should enter into alliances. First, because no one can say that we have found the ultimate way out of capitalism and partly because it is necessary to develop broad appeal. Starting with actions against Nazi marches, of protests against war and militarism, to labor disputes and disputes over social participation: The radical left is currently rare in the brace position to those battles alone. Create alliances (also with reformist forces) in the current situation improve basis for its own act and often represent a necessity to achieve noticeable results. Excessive slip radical and fundamental rejection of alliances fail to recognize the social conditions and the strength of the radical left. Without broad and mass movements, there will be no change.
Let’s be realistic – try the impossible
We are concerned with not less than the fundamental transformation of social relations on a global scale. A very ambitious and currently utopian-sounding goal that will be reached in the near future is difficult. The global disaster of capitalism make of it but a necessity. We think that is that life has to offer. Needs rather than profits are at the heart of society, and are subject to each according to his / her ability to live and work. The means of production must be associated; all of life – from the operation of the district to global planning – must be organized on a democratic basis. Education, science and technology must be used for human progress instead of perfection of exploitation and oppression. That and more are prerequisites for a better life for all. Boastful words correctly. Given the devastating impact of the capitalist system, it is necessary, however, the limited and modest-border views and hopes, which are found in many people to drive further. It goes without saying that the real existing socialism it is not a point of reference for the future. For us it is important to question the historical and current practice and left the diverse and contradictory history of the communist and socialist revolutionary movements not to be viewed purely affirmative nor to damn clumsy. Rather, we should learn from it and making it work for today. The ideological loss of legitimacy of capitalism, which is now clearly in times of crisis, must follow the practical negation. Thus the experiences of past social and class struggles are irreplaceable.
The fact that we are not alone shows us progressive and revolutionary struggles around the globe. The domination of capital has some cracks, and the systemic crises deepen them further. We want to spread an anti-capitalist practice, create organization and carry the fight for a communist society into movements and conflicts. We do not wait for better days, we start today!
Paper is patient and lines like this have no consequences if they do not recover themselves real social protests. As Marx said: „Communism is the real movement which abolishes the existing state”.