Matters of Concern to the Polity

Absence of Political Power Has Become Immediate for Everyone

– Pauline Easton –

This issue of TML Monthly illustrates above all else the absence of political power which has become immediate for everyone. The resistance movement of the peoples and their fight for rights, peace and justice is fundamentally directed at providing this problem with solutions. This is crucial if we are to avert the dangers which lie ahead as the United States, Britain, Canada and the big powers of Old Europe spread anarchy and violence at ever faster rates in their frenzy to control the productive powers the world over.

The productive powers have expanded exponentially as a result of the scientific and technical revolution, beyond the control of the productive forces themselves. The government of Canada has integrated the country's economy with that of the United States which is feeding a war machine on an unprecedented scale. 

Along with the U.S. and its NATO allies, the government of Canada has become a government of police powers. This is not synonymous with a police state or military rule. Law can be legitimate when seen to adhere to accepted due process. Police powers, on the other hand, cannot be made legitimate because their source is arbitrariness, and they are based on impunity. The usurpation of the public domain by narrow private interests that issue fiats through governments of police powers means that rules, regulations and arrangements are imposed on society in a manner that ratchets up the level of anarchy and violence in an alarming way.  

All attempts by these narrow private interests to claim that police powers are a legitimate form of government because they are aimed at having an equitable society or greening the economy or creating a world which "shares our values" and thus defends peace merely serve to deepen the people's growing collective consciousness of their absence of political power and that they must solve the problem of sorting out the crisis in a manner that favours them.

A government of police powers is no longer concerned with legitimacy previously conferred by a liberal democratic process whereby the prerogative powers of the executive and courts were kept in check when laws were adopted by duly elected legislatures. Such laws imposed limits on the unfettered use of the prerogative powers by providing an aim which was said to be upholding the public good. 

This due process has been steadily first eroded and now destroyed as a result of the neo-liberal anti-social offensive which gave rise to a system of cartel party rule whose main function is to politicize private interests and depoliticize the people. In other words, narrow private interests directly take over the functions of the state, privatizing what were public functions, imposing outsourcing, mercenaries and numerous pay-the-rich government contracts. The people are marginalized to such an extent they are treated as disposable.

The narrow private interests which have usurped positions of privilege and power in their own interests do not concern themselves with the consequences to the social and natural environment. The vast human productive powers have escaped their grasp. The anti-human factor/anti-social consciousness drives the narrow private interests to destroy what they cannot control. The wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and others are wars of destruction. They are not politics through other means which are subsequently settled through peace agreements. For these narrow private interests, everything is disposable -- not just the workers and people, along with nature and the liberal democratic institutions, but even private property itself. Meanwhile, everything is fraud. Self-serving decrees and practices criminalize protest, dissent and speech in the name of high ideals, all of it presented as legal and thus above reproach.

While law can be legitimate when passed by duly elected legislatures, police powers cannot be made legitimate. They are by nature arbitrary. Once dictate prevails, governments of impunity take over. The fact is that the absence of political power has become immediate for everyone. Not only are the working class and the people left to fend for themselves but even rival political parties, politicians and levels of government within a country are deprived of a say. Relations between countries internationally are profoundly affected as well.

Now more than ever, the liquidation of institutions and ways of life under capitalist civil society has become the order of the day for ruling elites in the U.S., Canada, Britain and western European countries. This entails the destruction of forms which provide people with cohesion and link them to a political process. The target of attack is a coherent world outlook which upholds the independent interests of the working class and people and any collective consciousness capable of effectively upholding the cause of peace, freedom and democracy.

It means the working class and people have to take up their own independent politics by providing themselves with an outlook which goes to their advantage and line of march which affirms the rights of all by virtue of being human.

The neo-liberal anti-social offensive is creating havoc for the people. It has negated the existence of a society which is responsible for the well-being of its members and it is trying to negate the very existence of the working class as a class with its own aim and political program, consciousness and organization. Everything is being done to deprive the people of the ability to deal with the unfolding reality, particularly by depriving them of an outlook which can guide them to find their bearings, and to think and exercise judgment on the basis of standards they themselves establish consistent with the demands of the times.

We are not just dealing with social relations between one class and another but with the ensemble of human relations between humans and humans and humans and nature and what they reveal. It is the productive powers created by humans along with the huge development of science and technology which are the source of relations between humans and humans and humans and nature which indicate that there is no society outside of them. These powers have now exceeded the limits of any hitherto known forms. What is needed is not their destruction, as is occurring under the neo-liberal anti-social offensive, but for the people to bring them under their control, for the benefit of the people.

Marx brought out that we all exist in conditions of slavery, blocked from exercising our will, which is a fundamental contradiction in society. Saying that the whole of society splits into two it is necessary to underscore that the whole of society is integral to itself. It is not an external force at work which splits society in two. The contradiction develops within the whole. In this respect, while the supreme power is based on the antagonistic contradiction within society itself, society is nonetheless whole and integral. When the whole of society splits in two what emerges is that one part becomes superior -- not to the other part but superior to the whole. The split is not the workers on one side and capitalists on the other. The working class and the capitalist class remain in an antagonistic contradiction entangled in the whole. It is not two different worlds or two camps outside of the context of the whole which is there, independent of their will. What splits is the alien human productive powers created by humans that develop to the point where they are out of the control of not just the working class and people but of the capitalists themselves.

Our aim is not to reorder the civil society which came into being on the basis of private property and to maintain the property relations in which the rich become richer and the poor poorer. That society was replaced at the time of the Great October Revolution which created a workers' power and a socialist civil society which put the people and their well-being at the centre of its concerns. 

Today the world is witnessing the absence of political power in an all-round way, nationally and internationally. The liberal democratic institutions which ruling elites think they can preserve  have become anachronistic, inconsistent with the demands of the times. They no longer function and are being deliberately destroyed by governments of police powers, governments of impunity. Today, private property is destroying itself, superseded by the developments of science and technology which are beyond the control of arrangements which come out of the past. This happens independent of anyone's will. Just like the U.S. Civil War destroyed the system of slave labour in favour of the system of wage slavery, today's methods of dispossession used nationally and  internationally in an attempt to control rival factions and force entire countries to submit to the U.S. striving to dominate the world, are even destroying private property itself. The defence of private property was the very premise of the current institutions which are supposed to regulate relations between one and all domestically and internationally.

The transformations of the process of production as a result of the scientific and technical revolution and the mania of private property to assert control over the productive powers which have escaped its grasp, have given rise to a new situation in which the human productive forces can no longer control their own productive powers. What is required today is the work to transform the whole of society into another whole -- a whole of human society fit for the human species.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 7 - July 17, 2022

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