Chapter B - The General Crisis of Capitalist Society

1. The general crisis of capitalism which began with World War I and the 1917 October Revolution in Russia pushes the fundamental contradiction of our era, the contradiction between capitalism and socialism, toward its resolution. It is an all-around crisis of the imperialist world system which will remain with it until its downfall. In the transition to the new millennium, the process of corrosion and decay of the economic, political and ideological forces of the capitalist social system intensifies in an all-round way. The factors for a new historical phase of transformation are increasing. A new resurgence of the struggle for socialism is the only alternative to sinking into capitalist barbarism.

2. With the working class as the carrier of the most progressive mode of production, capitalism has produced the force capable of transforming society and of overcoming capitalism. The progressing transformation of the economic structure of capitalism turns an increasing part of the workers from specialized hands of the machines into versatilely trained supervisors and directors of the complicated process of production. This process has long since not worked any more without the exploitation of the creative power and the initiative of the working class.
But the working class is obstructed in its free development. The system of capitalist exploitation prevents the working class from universally satisfying its material, social and cultural needs. In the process of the internationalization of the capitalist mode of production and through its joint struggle against multinational monopoly capital, an international working class has emerged. Organized on a worldwide scale, the male and female workers of the multinational corporations are the leading force in the international struggle for a liberated society without capitalist exploitation and oppression.

3. The unbounded expansion of production comes into more and more vehement contradiction with the shrinking market. This contradiction cannot be resolved in the capitalist profit economy. By necessity, it bursts out in cyclical overproduction crises. Subsequent to World War II and due to the regulation by the state, the classic crisis cycle in capitalist economy has changed: the economic crisis is directly preceded by a stage of fluctuating stagnation, in which the contradictions are artificially kept in tension. Though this can delay the outbreak of an economic crisis, it cannot prevent it.

4. Since the seventies, moreover, with each step ahead in the development of the capitalist mode of production, enormous structural crises have emerged in the process of the reproduction of capital; each time, more productive forces and capital were destroyed. The main results have been the development of growing mass unemployment and underemployment as lasting phenomena, general lowering of the wage level by price inflation, wage reduction, increasing speedup, reduction of welfare benefits and constantly rising taxes for the masses.
The monopoly bourgeoisie shifts the emerging manifestations of the crisis also onto the non-mono­ poly bourgeoisie. As a result, tens of thousands of small-scale producers are ruined each year while the concentration and centralization of the big enterprises have assumed a worldwide dimension.

5. Since the 1990s, a new international structural crisis succeeded the structural crisis which was based on the introduction of microelectronics and auto­ mation. This new structural crisis became the most powerful pacemaker of the crisis of overproduction. Its core is the new organization of the international capitalist mode of production under the leadership of the biggest international monopolies. International competition has adopted the form of a battle of annihilation among the monopolies. This combines with an enormous increase of exploitation of the wage- and salary-earning workforce through the flexibilization of working hours and the universal introduction of team work.
The internationalization of the capitalist mode of production internationalizes the crises, too. This makes regulation based on the national state more complex, more expensive and, at the same time, less effective. It has generated a crisis for the state's finances and entails the gradual dismantling of the state's social welfare system. The contradiction between the rule of the monopolies organized on the basis of the national state and the internationalization of the capitalist mode of production comes to a head in a most extreme way.
The international chemical, food and trading corporations and the big banks dominate the world agricultural markets. The use of genetic engineering and biotechnology deepens the chronic agricultural crisis. In the developing countries, the mass destruction of hundreds of millions of livelihoods of small and ­ middle peasants entails hunger and malnutrition, migration from the country-side on a mass scale and an increasing army of migrant workers.

6. The bourgeois family system has the task of ensuring the production and reproduction of human life in capitalist society. It serves as a policing agency of the ruling monopolies over the life of the masses. Due to the mass-scale involvement of women in public production and in interrelation to other mani­ festations of the general crisis of capitalism, the bourgeois family system has gone into a chronic crisis. This calls into question the viability of the capitalist system and provides the social basis for a new upswing of the struggle for the liberation of women.

7. Imperialism is inseparably connected with colonialism. With the old colonial system smashed by the upswing of the national and social liberation struggle of the masses in the oppressed countries after World War II, the imperialists were forced to release most of the former colonies into political independence. But it is the socialist way to national and social liberation alone that leads to success.
The imperialists utilized the economic backwardness of the developing countries, which was a result of colonial oppression and exploitation. Thus, they succeeded in making countries oriented towards capitalism economically dependent and integrating them into their neocolonial system. Competition for markets, cheap labor power, raw-material areas and spheres of influence forces the imperialists to constantly intensify the exploitation and oppression of the neocolonial countries. The law-based result is the crisis of neocolonialism. It is accompanied by a chronic debt crisis.
The international capitalist crisis management of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank merely shifts new burdens and so-called adjustment programs onto the shoulders of the peoples and is doomed to failure, because it inevitably evokes the resistance of the working class and the oppressed peoples. It is the material basis for a new upswing of the struggle for national and social liberation in the developing countries.

8. The political essence of imperialism is the striving for world hegemony. The unrestrained ­ power politics of imperialism requires the militarization of the economy, state and society. With the military-
industrial complex, state-monopoly capitalism ensures its position of political power at home and abroad.
As an imperialist superpower, the USA arrogates to itself the role of world police against the national and social liberation of the oppressed peoples and classes. Their aggressive claim to sole hegemony sharpens the general danger of war.
German imperialism today founds its worldwide political influence mainly on clever economic penetration. This is most advanced among the countries of the European Union and is reflected in the single ­ currency.
As an ally of the United States and within the NATO framework, Germany has extended its influence in the political and military field, thereby getting increasingly into rivalry with its imperialist allies. German imperialism underscores its interests in political power not only by participating in international military actions under the hypocritical banner of humanitarian aid activities of the UN, but also by taking part in wars of aggression within the framework of the new NATO strategy. The struggle for imperialist goals, however, leads inevitably to armed conflicts and can provoke the outbreak of a nuclear World War III, if the peoples, under the leadership of the international proletariat, do not prevent it. As long as there is imperialism, there will be wars and the danger of war.

9. Due to the monopolies' greed for profit, the scientific-technical progress in utilizing nature and its laws results in an unscrupulous overexploitation of the natural environment. The deformation and contamination of soil, water, air, flora and fauna have assumed the dimension of an international environmental crisis which, meanwhile, has started to turn into a devastating global environmental catastrophe. Such a catastrophe would irretrievably destroy the unity of man and nature. Its main factors are the increasing greenhouse effect, the increasing destruction of the vital ozone layer, regional environmental catastrophes of increasing frequency and the destruction of the tropical rain forest. Also, there is the growing danger of nuclear contamination. This development can be stopped and reversed only by an internationally organized active resistance.

10. The monopoly capitalists, as an infinitely small stratum of the bourgeoisie, command the state apparatus, the essential instrument of ­ power to maintain their rule and to suppress the exploited masses. The monopolies manipulate public opinion via the modern mass media and bourgeois mass culture. The monopoly capitalists use bourgeois parliamentarism to disguise their dictatorship. By means of the bourgeois parties as their social main bases and by means of their apparatus to deceive the people, they try to bind the masses to the capitalist system. For
the masses, bourgeois democracy means mainly deception, but also terror, as is shown by the increasing ­ fascization of the state apparatus.
For the economic and political rise of new German imperialism, bourgeois democracy proved to be the best-suited form of rule. When monopoly capital is faced with the revolutionary storm of the working class and its power is so shaken that it can no longer exercise its rule by the methods of bourgeois demo­ cracy, it will try to cast aside the remnants of bourgeois democracy and establish the naked terrorist dictatorship as its system of rule.

11. In order to prevent the international advance of new German imperialism during the long-lasting boom from being endangered by labor struggles, the monopoly capitalists pursued a policy of cooperation, especially between the Rightist leaders of the SPD and trade unions and the associations of the capitalists. This policy of "reforms from above" was a paralyzing poison against the revolutionization of the working class. Since the turn to the dismantling of social reforms in the early 1980s, however, state-monopoly capitalism has been accompanied by a latent political crisis breaking out more and more frequently and infuriating the masses against the dictatorship of the monopolies.

12. In its blatantly reactionary forms, bourgeois ideology is decreasingly capable of exerting influence on the masses. In order to corrode the class consciousness of the working class, or rather, to prevent it from advancing, the ruling forces have developed step by step an entire system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking in society. It aims at disorientating, disorganizing and demoralizing the proletarian class struggle and, politically, has become a main element of monopoly power.
The petty-bourgeois mode of thinking seemingly assumes a critical attitude towards the social situation, at the same time defending capitalism against any social alternative. According to their ability to successfully deal with the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking and its various shades, contents and forms and to adopt the proletarian mode of thinking, the masses are capable of deciding in favor of the way of proletarian class struggle.

Literature

Literaturtipp An ever increasing number of local and regional ecological catastrophes plague humanity. They are symptoms of an environmental crisis which is in the process of transforming at an accelerated pace into a global environmental catastrophe. New Publication: CATASTROPHE ALERT! What Is To Be Done Against the Willful Destruction of the Unity of Humanity and Nature?

Read More…