Friday, 22 January 2010

Capitalist Fraudsters

Letter from this weeks Socialist

In January last year when reporting the Madoff scandal the socialist posed the question of how many more fraudsters like him were going to be exposed like him. Since then we've seen the downfall of England Cricket Board backer Alan Stanford, and a report by accountancy firm, BDO, a massive increase in reported fraud.

This year reported fraud has reached £2bn a year, the financial sector alone accounting for £1.34bn a 70% increase on last year - but around 90% of the largest frauds aren't even reported at all. The fraudsters, have been using the wealth they've been able to con from greedy bankers to emulate their opulent lifestyles.

We need to take over the banks and run them democratically under workers control to use the wealth to benefit the majority of the population, not just the opulent lifestyles of a few.

Iain Dalton

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Note on the Approach of Marxists to the Police

Some time ago now, there was a short polemic published on the Socialist Party in relation to the police and the state (Marxism and the State: An Exchange). The protagonist of the debate, a by then ex member of the Socialist Party had criticised the Socialist Party for its position in relation to the police, regarding that he believed the police were reactionary through and through and therefore Marxists shouldn't make appeals to them.
As the reply admitted, the police are often used to crush the workers movement and are used by the state as a tool for repression. Thus some people come to a position that the police are 'one reactionary mass'. But this is only one side of the situation. Any institution is made of human material and such peoples opinions, beliefs etc change over time. Of course, the impact of their day to day activities is important, but so is the wider world.
As people may be aware, the 1918-19 British Police Strikes were led by Socialists within the police force - now it may be objected that this was a unusual situation - but the reply in the polemic gives several others - such as Emil Eichorn taking over the Berlin police without arguement and the paralysis of the police during the May 1968 events in France. (Also, the 1917 overthrow of the Tsar was conveyed by a very excited Kharkov police chief, as Trotsky notes in The History of the Russian Revolution, chapter 8)
I'd like to add one more, in his book German Revolution 1917-1923, Pierre Broue points out that "... the Communists stepped up their propaganda work towards non-proletarian layers affected by the crisis, in particular officers and policeman."(pg729)
This was in 1923, during the hyper-inflation crisis, when if anything people were turning towards the nationalists in Germany (the Communists experienced growth too, but at a somewhat slower pace). Why approach the police? Because they aren't seperate from the class contradictions that tear through societies.