Editorial #1 January 2002

Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 16, 2011

Finally it’s out, the theoretical journal of Folkmakt: Riff-Raff. Our aim with this journal is to publish longer articles to give our contribution to the discussion on a revolutionary socialist strategy, whose absolute fundament is the independent struggle and organization of the working class.

The main article in this issue, »Fragile Prosperity? Fragile Social Peace?», we have borrowed from the American journal Collective Action Notes #16-17/2000. Here the author is discussing the class struggle, which is quite common among socialists, from a not so common point of view – the workers’ own. Without this perspective you miss the essence of the class struggle, that is the experiences of the living and fighting workers, a struggle that taken together is the class struggle of the workers.

He is, of course, not the first one to have this perspective, but it is way too common among lefties and left oriented intellectuals to see both the working class and the class struggle as abstract categories in public statistics. It is not very often that we can speak out ourselves, as workers; not very often that our perspectives are presented. Still, it’s us paying for the party.

From this perspective the author analyses the present evolution of the capitalist system and also the view of the traditional left. For example, he is discussing the so-called globalization, the supposed farewell to the industrial society (capitalism itself to some) and with this the exit of the working class. Two areas have been chosen, mainly from the American experiences: the auto and the prison industry.

However, we must use, in our analysis of both the class struggle and capitalism as a system, all levels of abstraction, from a compilation of our own individual experiences to the most abstract Capital in general.

We publish this article because we think that it stresses not only interesting but necessary perspectives that are obviously disregarded by the Swedish Left. Even though the article mainly deals with American experiences it is possible to apply it to our Swedish conditions. What is thought-provoking, apart from the proletarian perspective, is the de-demonizing of »globalization», »de-industrialization» and the prison industry. For a while globalization has been hot stuff and its opponents have manifested themselves at various summits, for example Prague, Seattle and last summer in Gothenburg and Genua. What is positive about these backpacking »politicos», despite their fuzzy view of what the problem is about (capitalism itself, to the few, the speculation hysteria and that the nation states and the UN has resigned to the globalized (finance) capital, to the many) is that they put some sort of an anti-capitalism on the agenda. At many times confused and not yet socialism, but still. The protests also indicates a disappearing respect for private property (reclaim the city, smashed windows) and the monopoly of violence of the state (the police) among more and more people. Also indicated by the increased repression from the state, by for example live bullets into an escaping crowd, causing a young man mortal wounds, and the extraordinarily long sentences for the people arrested. This is why propaganda for the proletarian socialist struggle is more topical and applicable than for years. The most fundamental and consistent propaganda is, however, the real struggle of the working class for its own interests. But, as you know, theory and action are tightly tied together.

So, what is of real interest, what has real potential, is what is going on between the summits, in the gray workdays. This, often low intensity, class war – now hidden, now open – is the real communist movement. This is what has to be analyzed. Here is where we must be!

In a longer Introduction we draw some sketches on the contemporary Swedish conditions, with some retrospectives. We also write about the wave of privatization in the social sector, with Stockholm as an example, a tendency sweeping all over the world, indicating a new round of capitalist re-organisation and with it a new composition of and conditions for the class struggle. Finally, we also publish the Castoriadis article »What really matters», an article referred to in the »Fragile...» article.

What we, for reasons of time, don’t deal with are the present major occurrences: the war in Afghanistan and the »awakened» class struggle in Argentina. With the US war against Afghanistan capitalism really displays its ugly face, where Afghan lives aren’t worth shit. The terror attacks against the WTC on September 11 last autumn we see, like all capitalist acts of war, as attacks against the working class, which can be illustrated by the supposed hundreds of missing (killed) illegal Colombians working as cleaners and kitchen workers. No matter who are behind this attack – most probably people around bin Laden and the al-Quaida network – it is no attack against imperialism. It is an attack against a rival imperialist power. Multimillionaire bin Laden fights for his economical and political interests against the American capital behind its political character mask, George W Bush. This is why it is counter-productive and, above all, dangerous to invite Islamic mullahs to the demonstrations against the war with slogans like »Against American Imperialism». We are against all imperialism, not just the American kind!

The crisis in Argentina too, with its political satire starring five presidents within a fortnight, is an expression of the capitalist crisis. The one thing that can label itself as a solution of the problem is if the struggle spreads throughout all of Latin-America, and from there to the rest of the world, in other words, the generalization of the struggle. This, and no national so-called solution, can turn this capitalist system of shit upside down.