Corporations and State Merging to Save Private Property
As the majority of humanity strives to change the economic system to align with the revolution in the means of production that is eliminating labor, the ruling or capitalist class is maneuvering to make sure it holds on to its privilege and private property even beyond the end of capitalism itself. This is expressed by the merging of the State and the corporations, the naked domination of the corporations and their interests.
The State is the organized representative of the interests of the dominant class who own and control the corporations. It uses force and political power to maintain the ruling class’s dominance over the exploited class – most of humanity – through the use of armies and police, as well as through law, custom, and media propaganda.
The corporations use the State apparatus to guarantee their interests and their profits, whatever it takes. The relationship between capitalist and worker that is the basis of capitalism is disappearing, but the class of billionaires who own and run the corporations as private property intend to guarantee that they retain their power, wealth, and privilege under whatever new form the economic system takes. The State is rapidly moving to grant corporations, which extract wealth from society for the owning class, unlimited rights and powers. The recent Supreme Court decision to grant corporations unlimited power to buy and influence elections right up until election day, which been met with wide public outrage, is rightly seen as an enormous step toward naked corporate control of the political process and the dismantling of whatever is left of bourgeois democracy.
As workers are replaced by automation, with outsourcing to countries with virtual slave labor as an interim step in the process, capitalist relations are being broken and destroyed. A constantly growing mass of workers no longer have a place or stake in the capitalist system. This new class of thrown-out workers cannot get what they need from the old economic system. Their struggle for the necessities of life brings them directly up against the oppressive and violent reality of the State. The State is reorganizing to protect private property under these new conditions of workerless production.
The financial crisis and meltdown which hit in full force in 2008 was a result of this epochal process, the crisis of the antagonism between capitalism and the new labor-replacing means of production. The enormous expansion of the financial sector profited from money making money, in various speculative Ponzi-scheme type transactions. The financial bailout was one of the greatest transfers of money and wealth from the working to the owning class in the history of the world. When the house of cards collapsed, the government, under the pretense of reform, guaranteed that the remedy would be in the interests of the corporations and the ruling class who owned and profited from them. Trillions of dollars were directly funneled from the coffers of government into the pockets of the corporations. Individuals with close ties to the financial sector were brought into the government to oversee this crisis and the bailout of the banks, financial institutions, and corporations, not of the suffering people. The government, on the executive side, was loaded up with former executives of such major players in the looting as Goldman Sachs.
There are 400 billionaires in the U.S. on one side of this deepening class divide and on the other millions of families losing their homes through foreclosures, facing lost jobs and the end of their unemployment benefits, students unable to bear the cost of rising tuitions and crushing debt obligations of higher education, hungry children, unemployed and incarcerated youth, and the destitute and homeless millions.
The militarization of the police and the police murders of unarmed people, especially our youth (as in the recent murder of unarmed and handcuffed Oscar Grant in Oakland, California) plays out in the streets of the poor neighborhoods of our cities, as well as in the impoverished rural areas, as it does in the slums and dusty streets of Iraq and Afghanistan. Increasingly, the military is outsourced and corporatized, with the supplying of armies and even the fighting of these wars being carried out by private, for-profit corporations, with former and future executives of such behemoths as Halliburton and its subsidiaries in the highest circles of government. These same corporations are also in the prison business, profiting from the incarceration of the criminals of poverty, the victims of the chemical warfare against our youth that is the plague of drugs and the War on Drugs, and the criminalized immigrant workers.
Privatization of the most basic necessities of life, such as health care, utilities, and water is wiping out whatever was held in common for the common good. Eighty thousand households in Detroit have had their water cut off, as corporations move to squeeze the last drop of profit from privatized water. Those without these basics necessities – housing, food, water, heat, healthcare, education – have no choice but to fight for these things as a right, and not something sold for money that they can no longer earn.
To shore up the collapsing system, the government is taking over and nationalizing key sections of the economy in the interests of the ruling class. This is in a sense socializing in the interest of private property, rather than for the good of the people: at the people’s expense, but profiting the capitalist class. The fight around nationalization at this stage is the demand that nationalization be done in the interest of the people. The question of nationalization is the battleground. Independent political power for our class, toward the transformation of society and socialization of the means of production, must be the outcome.
The people’s scattered struggles for what we need to survive and thrive are the first steps toward a conscious understanding that these necessities and what produces them must be publicly owned, by the people and for the people; and that this can happen only in a cooperative, communist society.
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011