Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Workers Party

30’s Depression Haunts Bourgeoisie, But Fear of 80’s Freaks Them Out!

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 4, No. 18, November 5, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The U.S. monopoly capitalists are cornered like rats in a steel birdcage. Blocked from exporting inflation and crisis to the third and second world countries, the “chickens are coming home to roost” in the heart of the U.S. superpower.

Blocked by 3rd and 2nd Worlds, U.S. Cornered

The imperialists are paralyzed with fear about investing in the third world with revolutions like the ones in Iran and Nicaragua kicking them out. Third world movements like OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and the coffee-producing countries are demanding a fairer price for their resources, refusing to let the U.S. cheat them with bloated dollars. They’ve busted the U.S. monopoly on raw materials like oil, loosening their super- power stranglehold on Japan, Germany and other second world countries, West Germany and Japan are threatening to move closer to the Soviet Union if the U.S. continues to let the dollar sink and keeps on trying to invade the home markets of these countries. The balance of naked political power in the world today is avalanching against the U.S. The U.S. bourgeoisie have no where to turn in the face of this irreversible tide.

Against this desperate backdrop, the U.S. bourgeoisie is frantic that their rule won’t last through the next decade. There’s been a rash of articles in the press trying to sum up the Depression of the 30’s and how they got out of that crisis. Felix Rohatyn, a “genius” for the capitalists to gauge the economy, and Fortune magazine (voice of the Rockefeller empire) have both thrown out a call for a common plan to save their lousy hides: cut social services, hike military spending, step up “productivity” and most important, “reindustrialize America”.

Productivity means squeezing more from workers with layoffs, speedups, harassment and worse health and safety conditions. Wiping out social programs like welfare, social security and unemployment insurance means making workers pay as the capitalists try to slow down inflation–while they pump more money into the military, the real source of inflation.

But the monopoly capitalists can’t keep pouring money into the wasteful, non-productive defense industry alone. With the U.S. people deeply cynical about imperialist wars of aggression abroad after Vietnam and Watergate, there’s little opportunity for the bourgeoisie to use the tanks, aircraft and other weapons that billions in taxes goes to produce.

More important, with skyrocketing inflation, cuts in-services and crackdowns under the banner of “productivity”, workers anger can explode into a revolutionary blaze. The monopoly capitalists have to keep some basic U.S. industries like railroads or steel going so the economy won’t come to a screeching halt and so the standard of living of the masses won’t nosedive like a lead football (which would slap awake the people’s rage at the capitalist system as never before).

“Reindustrialize America” Through State Monopoly Capitalism

That’s where “reindustrializing America” comes in. The bourgeoisie has to get a few productive sectors going to temporarily stabilize the economy and prolong their rule. But to get industries like steel going means big money from private investors. And the big banks, insurance companies and corporations prefer to invest in fast-profit, low-risk speculation on city bonds, gold and silver and money exchange rather than in more risky, long-term investments in steel or railroads.

The monopoly capitalists are stuck. And the only way for them to slip out according to Rohatyn, is to “do what F.D.R. did”–massive infusion of funds through state monopoly capitalism.

State monopoly capitalism is monopoly capitalism based on private ownership and merged with state political power. Only if the Federal government guarantees profits through government subsidies, tax breaks, government contracts, government facilities, machinery and research, and so on would private investors have the guts to put money into basic industries. But the catch in this seemingly easy way out for the bourgeoisie is that they can’t agree on which industry will get a boost first, which of the monopolies will get a share of the loot. For the government to pump money into some of the industries would mean other industries and monopolies will automatically get iced out.

Bourgeoisie At Each Others Throats

As Rohatyn puts it, the bourgeoisie needs “an integrated, rational economic strategy to face the future. At present, the various aspects of such a strategy are approached piecemeal or ignored. They are ground to dust between an Administration unable to convince and a Congress unwilling to act.” He’s talking about half-steps like Carter’s energy program, a watered down version of a plan proposed by Nelson Rockefeller years ago, when he was the Vice President. The program asks for over $200 billion in tax money for energy research, the fruits of which would go straight to Exxon. Other oil monopolists either get a piece of the action too or else get swallowed. They had to block the bill in Congress.

Getting themselves together is the number one item on the bourgeoisie’s agenda today.

Rohatyn’s plan is political not economic in essence. He needs to pull a workable coalition of the bourgeoisie and its agents together. Only through an agreed upon state monopoly capitalist plan, could private monopoly invest and get varied sectors of the economy going. Thus the political plan for the bourgeoisie is to form a “bipartisan commission” made up of “representatives of business and labor, government and academia.” They would have a year to maneuver, make deals and paste together a recommendation “to the President and the Congress a national economic strategy for the next 20 years.” “A complete program,” Rohaytn continues, “recommended by a prestigious bipartisan group including business and labor could then be put to the Congress with the political support that such a coalition would produce.”

Next 5 Years Life or Death For the Bourgeoisie

The best thing that Roosevelt is remembered for by the monopoly capitalists is that he was able to pull together such a coalition to get them out of the Great Depression. But it took Roosevelt at least four years to do it, and that was with the support of the sell-out “Communist” Party, U.S.A. The economic crisis today is a whole lot deeper and the masses’ illusions in the capitalist system are only skin-deep and rapidly evaporating. With oppression under the criminal rule of the bourgeoisie more all-rounded and vicious, the masses rage, once unleashed, will make the mass outpouring of the 1930’s look like a picnic. Whether the capitalists will be able to “do what F.D.R. did” in the next five years is a matter of life and death for them.