Relevance and vitality of Marxist thought and the tasks of Communist and workers parties in neoliberal era
'The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.’
- Marx, German Ideology (1845)
A long time has passed after Karl Marx wrote his last words. This year, the working class and progressive forces throughout the worldare celebrating the bicentenary of Karl Marx and 150 years of the publication of the first volume of Capital. Ruling classes in different countries and their associates are continuously saying that, Marxism is 'old’, 'dead’, 'irrelevant’, and 'wrong’.But, from this the question arises, why the wealthy and powerful are spending so much money and time combating a so-called dead’ idea? The answer is simple. It is not dead at all.In fact, since Marxism reveals the truth about their Capitalism, they must do everything necessary to hide these facts from the mass of the people -especially the workers and youth.The propagandas and efforts carried out by the present-day bourgeois intellectuals to weaken the strong influence of Marxism over the mass people, are nothing but 'the ruling idea’s, which are coming from 'the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships’ as Marx stated.
If we just look back to the year 2008, we can easily understand the continuing relevance and vitality of Marxist thought. That year saw a global financial crisis which engulfed the capitalist system the world over. Even after nearly a decade, the global capitalist economy has not fully recovered from this crisis. This crisis brought out the astonishing contemporarily of Marx to the bourgeois thinkers and economists, but most of them were hesitant to acknowledge the persistence of Marx’s analysis of capitalism. All the major issues dominating the contemporary period, whether it is the impact of globalization, the unprecedented rise in
inequalities and the environmental crisis - all these were foreseen by Marx in general a century and half ago.
Marx explained the entire dynamics of capitalism, the extraction of surplus value from labor, the accumulation of capital and wealth in the hands of the owners of the means of production, the growing inequality, the crisis of over production and the systemic faults in the capitalist system which leads to recurrent crisis.The development of capitalism since the days of Marx have not invalidated the theory of dynamics of capitalism spelt out by Marx.Its further development into the monopoly stage and the globalised finance capital of today can be analyzed and understood using the scientific method adopted by Marx. It was using Marx’s theoretical approach that Lenin analyzed the rise of monopoly capitalism and imperialism in the early years of the 20th century.
At present time the international finance capital, which is originating in the advanced capitalist nations is no longer national in its form. The multinational banks and financial corporations carry on global operations now. International finance capital is globally mobile and fluid. A globally integrated market where the finance capital will have unfettered freedom of movement is the demand of the multinational monopolies. This is the force that drives the process of neoliberal globalization at this moment.
Roughly 500 largest international super monopolies in banks, industry, and commerce are now controlling the finance capital and ruling the global economy. Approximately twenty states constitute the political and military power base of this international finance capital. With contradictions among themselves, the major imperialist powers have formed a bloc under the leadership of the US, which ensures that any challenge to neoliberal globalization and the hegemony of international finance capital is eliminated. They sought to impose its hegemony on the entire world not only by economy, but also by military, political and cultural means.
In this neoliberal era, private corporations now have a more flexible relationship with the state. They can call for state intervention when they are in crisis, thus allowing multinational companies to socialize their losses while privatizing their profits. Capitalists achieve far greater security of privilege when a business is held as private property. Accompanied by this deceptive idea of neoliberalism, a worldwide process of privatization of state owned enterprises and government institutions and monopolization set in.
Global capitalism is trying even today to emerge from its financial crisis of 2008 by shifting the burden of the crisis on to the people of the so-called “Third World” countries. International agencies like IMF, World Bank and the WTO are the handmaidens of this effort. Before and after the crisis, international monopolies invaded the economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America, appropriating their labor, raw material bases, state institutions, lucrative industries, and subjugating their markets in an unprecedented plundering raid. The increasing superexploitation have resulted in the barbaric IMF programs, programs of debt repayment, land grabbing and increasing poverty and discrimination. Garments workers of Bangladesh are one of the worst sufferers of the super exploitation by international finance capital. They are working with lowest possible wages and poor working environment which results in increasing number of deaths in workplaces.
With this type of political and economic development in our present neoliberal era, we can see there has been a growth in virulent forms of racism, fundamentalism, xenophobia and sectarian chauvinism around the world including in the so called ‘civilized1 west. The recent period has seen the rise of the ISIS and other extremist forces in West Asia, Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan,Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria and North Africa, Hindu revivalist groups in India, Buddhist chauvinist groups in Sri Lanka and Myanmar and extreme rightwing neo-Nazi parties in Europe and America.
In Western Europe and North America so called 'War on Terror’ has become a convenient cover for racist agitation against migrant communities from the Middle East, the Indian Sub-continent and East Africa.This has come to be known as Islamophobia and is primarily a variety of racism. It has largely replaced anticommunism as the central phobia in the US itself, and is likely to continue to perform this role, since the US has failed to create a new, relatively stable imperialist world order. Let us not forget that, The Islamist groups who as anticommunist jihadis, had proved “useful” for the US in Afghanistan during cold war, became the enemies of the US following the fall of Soviet Union to secure “freedom, democracy and capitalism” after fall of Soviet Union. On the other hand, USand its allies’ interventions have further destabilized the Middle East, Central Asia and areas stretching into the Indian subcontinent and Africa.
Moreover, constant increase of mass production instead of planned satisfaction of the need of the masses and ruthless overexploitation of the limited natural resources by the international finance capital are causing systemic and all round destruction of the vital unity of humanity and nature. The environmental
destruction has reached a point where irreversible damage has occurred to global material cycles and global ecological balance. For example, Bangladesh Government have signed a treaty with Indiato install a coal based power plant near Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest of the world, which will surely damage the ecological balance and destroy the forest.
Karl Marx would not have been surprised at this dire state of affairs affecting the world today. He had given the working class and the other working people the scientific theory which could be the guide to action on how to transcend capitalism and build a new socialist society free from class exploitation and social oppression. Understanding this situation we need to fully expose and vigorously oppose the deceptive approaches, programs and policies of Imperialist globalization and Neoliberalismworldwideand fight against the reactionary rightist forces and their ideology.
At this point of history, we, the Communist and Workers parties and the followers of Marx all over the world, must raise our voice to stop inhumane imperialist design, to dismantle imperialist military alliances and to withdraw overseas imperialist military bases and troop deployments. Beside this, we have to fight for freedom of speech, freedom of expression and opinion. We need to promotesecular democratic values, social justice, peace, gender equality, secular democratic values. We have to strengthenclass struggle everywhere to establish a socioeconomic, political order in our respective countries which will ensure freedom from foreign domination and domestic exploitation and oppression so that interethnic, inter-religious and inter-faith equality can also be ensured and promoted.We also need to strengthen our solidarity; enhance our capacities to carry out both independent and coordinated action programs.
Besides that, in our respective countries, we need to build up and strengthen the party of working class in a way so that they have organic contact with the masses. The party, the mass organizations need to be employed and used adequately and efficiently for this purpose. The ability to work under all situations and to be able to rapidly adjust and change the method of work in accordance with the changes in the situation is also very important. The party should be steadfast in ideology, principles and goals of the party under all circumstances, as well should be able to make proper tactical maneuvers in accordance with concrete situations that emerge.
Marx’s philosophy is based on a combination of dialectics and materialism and it is by the dialectical materialist approach that Marx arrived at a scientific
understanding of how human history unfolds.Marx expounded how the mode of production in society changes to a new mode which leads to a transformation from the old to a new society. After society became divided into classes, it is the class struggle which has propelled change. From Marx’s works we can become conscious about the fact that, history of human civilization has continuously been moving from man being an 'object of history' towards man being a 'subject of history'. Humanity is in motion towards the building of a 'free society of free individuals'. It is not simply a utopia. There is evidence from history on one hand and form a close and in depth analysis of the existing dynamics of socio-economic reality of all nations that though in a zigzag way and amidst many bumps and hurdles, events are moving in this direction.
The lefts and progressives forces of the world are today blessed with the privilege of being able to be engaged in the 'grand process of this historic and epic construction of ‘civilization’. What can be more humanistic, progressive and glorious a task than this! It is the lefts and progressives of today who are historically entrusted to carry on this taskon the basis of Marxism. What can be more 'youthful' for young women or men of this time than to be one of the human army or architects who will dedicate their life as conscious vanguards of this glorious task! The cause of communism is worth working for and dying for. Long live socialism and communism!