Socialism: The Only Practical Alternative to Contemporary Capitalism
256 Pages
English
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Socialism: The Only Practical Alternative to Contemporary Capitalism

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256 Pages
English

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Since the end of World War II, global capitalism, spearheaded by US financial interests and backed by the most lethal military force that has ever been assembled, has consolidated its power over the world economy. In the past decades, especially, transnational corporations have tightened their control over national governments and international institutions. The imposition of free trade policies and the increasing privatization of social services have facilitated the accumulation of fabulous wealth for the owners of capital at the expense of working people and the environment worldwide. Contemporary capitalism now dominates every major sector of the world economy. The social and environmental costs of contemporary capitalism are prohibitive. The global megatrends of rising inequality and absolute poverty, political instability, and global climate change�all compounded and accelerated by this predatory mode of production�are adversely affecting the lives and threatening the future of every inhabitant of nations and the entire world. In view of these megatrends and the current global economic crisis, the conclusion that contemporary capitalism does not serve the interests of the vast majority of the people on the planet and is both economically and environmentally unsustainable, is self-evident. History offers harsh lessons. The political violence of the 20th century, which resulted in an estimated 200 million deaths and untold economic and environmental destruction, cautions us to work for socialism in the 21st century with every means at our disposal except violence. Facing the awful power and willingness of capitalism to coerce and corrupt, we must find ways to make soft power prevail. Clearly, a revolution is in order�it is time to place the socialist alternative on the national and world agenda.

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Published 27 June 2012
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EAN13 9789956727346
Language English
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SOCIALISM
SOCIA L I S M The Only Practical Alternative to Contemporary Capitalism
Tatah Mentan
SOCIALISM The Only Practical Alternative to Contemporary Capitalism Tatah MentanL a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.com www.langaarpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookcollective.com
ISBN: 995672789X ©Tatah Mentan 2012
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
Table of Contents Acknowledgement……………………………………………..vPreface…………………………………………………………. viiForeword……………………………………………………….xvii Part One: Prologue Chapter 1: Introduction………………………………………… 3 Part Two: Understanding the Stakes in Our Contemporary World Chapter 2: World Capitalism…………………………………… 33 Chapter 3: Planning and Development…………………………. 47 Part Three: Towards Socialist Freedom Chapter 4: Democratic Socialist Theory and Practice…………… 75 Chapter 5: Strategy: The Role of the Party and the State……….. 83 Chapter 6: Transitional Strategy: Strengthening Public Provision and Democratic Control over Production………………………….. 89 Chapter 7: U.S. Imperialism, Islamic Fundamentalism and Need for another Way……………………………………………………. 103 Chapter 8: Towards a Vision of Democratic Production and Social Provision……………………………………………………….. 111 Chapter 9: Socialist Internationalism versus Capitalist Globalization…………………………………………………… 123
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Chapter 10: Contemporary Capitalism and the Revolutionary Working Class Movement………………………………………. 141 Part Four: Looking Behind To Look AheadEpilogue Chapter 11: The Promise of Socialism………………………….. 169 Chapter 12: The Music of the Future…………………………….179
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Acknowledgement I am heartily thankful to numerous scholars whose ideas have been used in this book. Their inspiring and incisive ideas and support from the initial to the final level enabled me to develop an understanding of the subject of Socialism as the only viable alternative to rampaging capitalist imperialism, today sanitized as globalization. Some have featured in my bibliography. Those who have not featured in the bibliography should not feel left out intentionally. Three names readily spring to my mind. I am thinking of Samir Amin (our visiting teaching at the Yaounde International Higher School of Journalism in 1974), James Petras and William Robinson. Their ideas litter the entire book and I have virtually become an intellectual clone of them. All those named and unmentioned remain intellectual treasures to me. Lastly, I offer my regards and blessings to all of those who supported me in any respect during the completion of this essay. One of them stands out distinct. He is Dr. Sammy Ngum who drags me out of my slumber whenever I have nothing to show him as my research work for his brutal computer surgery. Tatah Mentan, Minnesota, USA, May 2012.
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Preface An ideology based on inequality, injustice, exploitation, militarism, and imperial wars eventually selfdestructs or gets pushed. Growing evidence in America and Europe shows systemic unaddressed problems too grave to ignore. They remain so despite millions without jobs, savings, homes or futures. Imagine nations governed by leaders letting crisis conditions fester. Imagine voters reelecting them despite demanding change. One day, perhaps, rage will replace apathy in America and around the world. The latest loss of jobs report alone provides incentive enough to rise against it. On May 4, 2012, the Labour Department reported 115,000 new jobs in America. It had overstated the true number. Official figures belie the dire state of things. At most, twothirds the headline total were created. Even that’s in doubt. Most were lowpay, parttime, or temp positions with few or no benefits. Decades ago, workers would have avoided them in America. Today, there’s no choice. The report also showed economic decline. Expect much worse ahead. In 2008, Main Street Americans experienced Depression. It rages today. Poverty’s at record levels. Real unemployment approaches 1930s numbers. Dire conditions are worsening. Announced job cuts are increasing. Hiring plans are down. Compared to year ago levels, they’re off 80%. Income is stagnant for those lucky to have work. The private diffusion index measuring growth fell sharply month overmonth. The unemployment rate decline reflects discouraged workers dropping out. They want jobs but can’t find them. The Labour Department considers them nonpersons. They’re not counted to make official figures look better. Moreover, the broad based Household Survey showed employment dropping 169,000. It was the second consecutive monthly decline. The Labour Department uses a “population and payroll concept adjusted” calculation. Doing so tries to compare monthly payroll and household figures. The measure plunged
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495,000 in April after dropping 418,000 in March. The calculation represented the largest backtoback decline since late 2009. At 63.6%, America’s labour force hit its lowest level since September 1981. Since then, population totals grew from 229 million to about 312 million today. The state of the nation today reflects lots of people facing few jobs, and no policy to create them. The employment/population ratio stands at 58.4%. Alone, it represents a shocking testimony to failure. So do other data. Longterm unemployment remains near record levels. Credit deleveraging continues. Housing’s in its worst ever depression. Prices keep falling. Inventories of unsold homes are huge. Foreclosures are at epidemic levels. State and local downsizing continues. Personal income suffers. Conditions are bad and worsening. The situation is worse elsewhere. Why? Predatory capitalism has failed mankind. Neoliberal globalization or contemporary capitalism (Mentan2012), which began after World War II and has expanded exponentially since the 1980s, has produced dramatic inequality between and within nations, fostered continuing militarism, and contributed the lion’s share to the looming crisis of climate change. The very idea of somehow combating what appeared to be an irresistible force has been a daunting enterprise, to say the least. Until now it is clear that neoliberal globalization does not serve the needs of a majority of the world’s population, and, as economic metapolicy, is simply not sustainable. The question of combating globalization is rapidly becoming the question of what will follow the meltdown of the neoliberal global economic system. The purpose of this book therefore is to add some proposals for organization in Socialism to its basis of common ownership, democratic control and production solely for needs as a strategy of combating the rapacious globalization. The fact of the matter is that the ravages of contemporary world capitalism have continued unhindered unleashing death, hunger and avoidable disease among mankind. The market system continues to feed on its diet of misery. Now in a phase of world slump, it prevents society using its powers to solve problems. Around the planet, violence also continues with
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fratricidal wars with their cocktail of teeming masses of refugees and dismembered families. Even in Russia and Eastern Europe, where greater political freedoms now exist, the collapse of state capitalist regimes has brought only the chaos of an economic freeforall in which workers will continue to be exploited. None of these events comes as a surprise to socialists. Again we emphasize that nothing short of the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by world socialism can solve the problems facing the overwhelming majority of the world’s population. Is Marxism Dead? Every so oftenusually after a period of economic instability and crisis that has given way to stabilization and growth, some talking head comes along and declares that Marxism is dead and capitalism is the final form of human fulfilment. As the late socialist author Daniel Singer (2002: xxvi) aptly put it, “The purpose of our pundits and preachers is to doom as impossible a radical, fundamental transformation of existing society”.The most common theme is that socialism has failed to make inroads, especially in the United States, due to the prosperity and social mobility that even the lowliest members of society can experience. “On the reefs of roast beef and apple pie,” wrote the German writer Werner Sombart in his famous 1906 book,Why Is There No Socialism in the United States?“socialistic Utopias of every sort are sent to their doom” (1962: 277). The Depression years of the 1930s made these ideas harder to swallow, but variations on the argument were dusted off and refurbished during the economic boom after the Second World War. Daniel Bell’sThe End of Ideologytold us that postwar Western prosperity and the rise of Stalinism signalled “the exhaustion of the nineteenth century ideologies, particularly Marxism, as intellectual systems that could claim truth for their views of the world” (Ibid: 16).Writers on the left, too, like GermanAmerican radical philosopher Herbert Marcuse(1972), could ask, “Why should the ix