The Colombian president-elect Gustavo Petro said, on 19 June, that his government aimed to develop capitalism. Furthermore, he has called for a national agreement to calm down the defeated sectors of the bourgeoisie.
By PST – Colombia
What is the capitalist system?
It is a system based on the exploitation of workers. It is a lie that capitalists create jobs as a favour to workers. Money is not a seed that if sown produces leaves of banknotes. Capital can only increase if labour-power is used to transform raw materials. That is, it is the workers who produce wealth, not the capitalists.
In the capitalist system, the workers are not paid for everything they have produced, only the value of labour power (wages) is paid, while the surplus wealth is appropriated by the capitalists. This wealth is presented as the surplus value that is realised into profits when commodities are sold. The rate of profit has a secular tendency to fall and this is what produces the economic crises of overproduction that result in company closures, lay-offs, etc. Capitalists are not interested in the workers’ welfare, but only in their profits and if they have to kill or declare war, they do it, for that they have their government and their state.
The capitalist system is responsible for the fact that the existence of the human species is threatened by global warming nowadays. The capitalists are only interested in profit, not if its appropriation results in destroying nature and thus the human habitat.
The U.S. has always considered Colombia as its backyard, where dependent capitalism has been developed, subordinate to the plans imposed on it by imperialism, as part of the international division of labour. This capitalism has developed fundamentally by exporting raw materials extracted from the subsoil (coal, oil, and other minerals), and by producing foodstuffs that are today mainly controlled by transnational companies. In addition to this, there is the drug trafficking industry, which has allowed the Colombian bourgeoisie to make millions in profits.
What does developing capitalism mean?
Some may think that Petro’s proposal will bring more welfare to the Colombian people. But it will not. World capitalism is experiencing one of its worst crises and the only way out, that is, bringing the rate of profit back to higher levels, is the dispossession of the few rights achieved by the working class. That is shown by the raising of the retirement age, the increase in taxes and the abolition of the “social wage” allowed by the “welfare state” after capitalism was re-established in the so-called socialist countries.
The capitalists and above all the imperialists need to increase their multi-million profits even more. To achieve this, they are privatising health, education, recreation, and public services. The capitalists want to benefit from everything that is administered by the state and is a necessity for the population. As their governments control the state, they ensure the right to exploit these services through their multinationals.
Developing capitalism today means nothing more than continuing to privatise or hand over state enterprises to private capital, dispossessing poor peasants to allow multinationals to develop large industrial food plantations, as they have been doing in Colombia’s eastern plains. In short, developing capitalism means that a few – the capitalists – get richer at the expense of the sweat and tears of workers.
Is humanistic capitalism possible?
Some say that Petro wants capitalism with a humanistic face, more social and beneficent. Today that is impossible. After the defeat of the German fascist army in WWII, a large part of humanity expropriated the capitalists in 14 countries. Those countries, together with the Soviet Union, were an example, notwithstanding the Stalinist dictatorship, of what the workers’ revolution should do, and this led the bourgeoisie to think it’s “better lose the saddle than the horse,” that is, to give up a big slice of the cake so as not to be left without it.
They are “so-called” socialist countries because they only managed to collectivise the big means of production and run a state-planned economy. But this planning was done by bureaucrats who thought only of their privileges while the workers were not allowed the slightest democratic rights. These bureaucrats restored capitalism and became bourgeois. An example of this is the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. These “communist” bureaucrats are the big capitalists of these countries and they maintain their properties and privileges through the exploitation of the working class. But unfortunately some advocates of “progressivism” use Marxist language to claim this system of exploitation.
Socialism or barbarism
The only way to save humanity from extinction is to collectivise the ownership of the means of production to eliminate profit, plan the economy on a world level, to share all available work among the entire economically active population. It is an urgent necessity to put all the means of production, technology and scientific discoveries at the service of humanity and this can only be achieved by means of a socialist revolution, for which we need a leading revolutionary party, not only in Colombia but on a world scale, in order to lay the foundations of democratic scientific socialism for all workers.