THE political struggle has a logic all its own. A man may be an adept at walking the tight-rope. He may strain every nerve in doing so, and be entirely successful in avoiding a fall either to one side of the arena or the other. But in the class struggle man cannot walk the tight rope. The more he tries, the more obvious it becomes that he is on one side and not the other.
Something like this has happened to Trotsky in his History of the Russian Revolution. For all his pretensions that it is “an honest study of the facts, determination of their real connections,” his book is none the less—or all the more—a bulky, three-volume pamphlet against Leninism, and above all against Lenin’s Party. It would indeed be strange were matters otherwise, when a man fought Lenin’s Party, off and on, from 1903 to 1917, and again from 1927 (to take only the date of his formal expulsion) up to the present day.
The Central Committee of the PCP met on February 18 and 19, assessing the international situation, the national social and political situation and the development of the mass struggle. In the context of implementing the decisions and guidelines of the 20th Congress, it assessed aspects of the Party’s activity, political initiative and strengthening. It debated and defined the goals and the main guidelines for the local elections, confirming the CDU [alliance] and its project of work, honesty and competence.
I. Intervention, struggle, alternative
The national situation is conditioned by external and internal factors that reveal the country’s economic vulnerability, the risks arising from it and the unpredictability of its future evolution. Among them, international factors, relating to the inauguration of the new US Administration and its political, economic and trade implications; to the European Union’s ever more powerful mechanisms of domination, or the new “financing” rules announced by the ECB; or to the elements of instability and continuing war in various parts of the world.
“Globalization” is a slippery term: 1. Sometimes it is used as a description of the quantitative changes in the global economy that emerged in the 1980s. 2. Sometimes it is used to express a set of policy prescriptions that gained traction in that same period. 3. Sometimes it is used to name a theory positing a new era, epoch, or stage of capitalism, a qualitative change in the way that contemporary capitalism functions.
And sometimes the word is used in all three senses:
- In the 1980s and early 1990s, global trade began to expand at a rate greater than its historic average. Revolutionary changes in logistics– containerization, transportation, inventory control, and information transfer– dropped the cost of transportation and shipping dramatically. Political changes unified the global market with the integration of the PRC economy and the breakup of the socialist economic community. Many emerging nations joined the global market when the socialist development model lost its sponsors. Similarly, capital flows expanded with the removal of political and Cold War obstacles.
Marxist philosopher Thomas Metscher in conversation with Milena Rampoldi.
Milena Rampoldi: How did you come to Marxism? What does Marxism mean to you today, after your long career?
Thomas Metscher: That is a long story. I came to Marxism differently to many others of my social class and generation. I was lucky to have had a middle-class anti-fascist father. In contrast to what was the norm in the German lower middle-class, my father was a politically conscious opponent of Hitler at the end of the war. He openly welcomed the Red Army as liberators. He hated Hitler and fascism, as he despised every form of militarism. I was brought up in this spirit. He taught me to see anti-Semitism as Germany’s great historic crime. His thinking was in keeping with Lessing’s Nathan the Wise, which he often quoted from. He was left-wing, but bourgeois left-wing, not socialist. He was guided by Tucholsky, Ossietzky, the magazine Die Weltbühne, the great realist literature of the nineteenth century, especially Tolstoy, Fontane, Galsworthy, the modern writer Leonhard Frank, whom he taught me to love, Heinrich and Thomas Mann, also Bertolt Brecht.
Since the military build-up leading to the First World War, petroleum production has been the figurative, if not literal, motor for economic growth. Modern machines of war demonstrated the future. The imperialist powers recognized the crucial role of motorized vehicles, airplanes, and naval vessels and their thirst for oil in modern warfare, as well as anticipating the many important peacetime uses to come. At the same time, these same powers foresaw that securing sources of crude oil would be an essential, if not the essential, key to achieving and maintaining a dominant position in the global economy.
“In a time of uncertainties, but also of hope, let us live up to the demands that we must face, basing ourselves in the present, but thinking about the future!”
Comrade delegates, dear guests, members of the international delegations, institutional and diplomatic representatives. We convey to all the greetings of the Portuguese Communist Party.