[lbo-talk] Workers of Europe unite, you've only Euro chains to lose

c b cb31450 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 22 11:11:10 PST 2011

Marv Gandall

Maybe some of our European friends on the list will answer more fully. If Canada's social democratic party is any guide - and this would also apply to the Democratic base in the US, as well - they do not "support" the cutbacks as such, but grudgingly bow to their leaders' rationale that the right wing will cut even more deeply and attack the very foundations of their social gains and institutions, ie. lesser evilism. The parallel is trade union majorities who accept concessions in pay, benefits, and work rules as as a means of staving off what they fear will be a worse alternative (layoffs).

^^^^^^ CB: I can see that dynamic, but if the left had large enough majorities in the working class, it wouldn't have to worry about worse cuts from the right-wing, because the right-wing couldn't get elected.

What would be the worse cuts ? I guess we'll find out with the Financial Dictators in Italy and Greece.

In the US large numbers of the working class have a Tea Party or Reaganite mentality, supporting government cuts because supposedly to them the first priority is to balance the budget and reduce the debt ( when Dems are in office, not Republicans - smiles). The working class right-wing's fundamental motive is white supremacy here. At any rate , not all the working class votes Democrat or lesser evil. They vote for the greater evil. So, is it true that a lot of the working class in some of Europe's countries votes for right-wing parties, as in France in the last election ?

A fundamental problem would seem to be that the vast majority of the working class don't think socialism is an alternative to capitalism.


The social democratic and trade union leaders, for their part, especially since globalization and tech change eroded the power of the organized working class, view the relationship of forces as adverse, fear the bond markets, and are consequently reluctant to mobilize their followers in any deep and sustained confrontation with international capital.

^^^ CB: Ok but the relationship of forces wouldn't be adverse if 90% of the working class was against austerity and other neo-liberal assaults.


Perhaps racism plays a part amongst trade union followers of the right-wing parties in France, Italy, Hungary, Austria, etc., but I don't think this is true of the majority. The trade unions are more racially and ethnically heterogeneous than they used to be.

^^^^^^^^ CB: There has to be a very big minority of the working class who potentially vote right-wing, otherwise, there would be no possibility of right wing parties getting elected and therefore no pressure on the "lesser evils" to do small evil to avoid big evil.


You started by saying there have been giant and varied protests in the EU countries, which would suggest a "substantial majority" are not as passive and accepting of austerity as you go on to say.

^^^^ CB: If there were a substantial majority protesting, why would the Soc Dems have to cave to the austerity demands of finance capital ? That was my original point. I see these giant demos, but the Soc Dem government leaders ignore them and impose austerity. I infer from that that there must be a huge mass of the working class who are not joining the protests and who vote right wing parties.


And as the threats of the Portugese social democratic leader (admittedly now from the safety of opposition) to use the "nuclear threat" of a full and unilateral default indicate, the growing mass protest from below is placing pressure on these left-centre leaderships to adapt. But that is also true of many bourgeois politicians and pundits to their right who have concluded it is in the political and economic interests of the system to halt or slow down the austerity drive and to restore economic growth and social order

^^^^^^^ CB: That's good news. I was waiting for such a turnaround. What is the percentage of "people of color" in the Portugese population. They had the first African slaves, Brazil, and may have immigrant influx earlier.

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