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Political Report to the United Front Against Austerity: Page 3 of 9

Break Out of the Three-Step Process of Depression, Dictatorship, World War

Another word for austerity was and still is deflation, and Erlekenz was right to say that if you want to stop fascism you must “put an end to deflation, this immense destruction of labor, economic value, and capital.” No polemics against fascist ideology, no matter how brilliant, would do the job. No denunciation of fascist crimes, however graphic, could win the argument against the hunger and despair coming from unemployment.

In the 1930s, and they are relevant because we are now in a similar depression, the world was caught in a three step process of economic depression, totalitarian dictatorship, and world war. The totalitarian dictatorship grew out of the collapse of representative government and also of older authoritarian regimes. And the world war grew out of depression scarcity as reflected through the inner dynamics of the totalitarian governments.

The three phases are never neatly divided, but it ought to be clear today that we are well into a depression, with forms of totalitarian rule multiplying all around us, and clear rumblings of new international conflicts soon to come. So what do we do?

We must deal with depression levels of unemployment before the totalitarian dictatorship is fully realized, since under those conditions organized political action may become virtually impossible. We need to make sure that we supplement whatever we and our organizations have been doing so far with a high priority struggle for economic recovery and the creation of 30 to 40 million good jobs. Otherwise, nothing else will matter.

But the crisis around us appears in outrageous, excruciating, heart-rending, and terrifying forms every day. Americans are being intimidated, starved, looted, exploited, abandoned, expropriated, harassed, beaten, jailed, framed-up, and simply murdered by Wall Street and its captive politicians, intelligence agencies, and police. We need to denounce these situations and focus public attention on them. But, if we tried to organize around each of these situations in its own terms, our limited forces would be dispersed and lost in the swirling currents of political and social chaos and breakdown. We need to proceed from a strategy of our own.

Attack the Weak Point on Wall Street’s Death Star

Responding to enemy attacks is not a strategy – in fact, it amounts to letting the enemy impose his will on us. Our task is to determine the single most vulnerable point in the enemy’s deployment, and concentrate all our efforts there. We need to find and attack the weak point on Wall Street’s Death Star.
Wall Street is determined to dismantle the economic rights of the American people, and reduce them to paupers. Two thirds to three quarters to four fifths of the American people – across all divisions of race, gender, age, geography, and other factors – want to maintain their hard-won economic rights. Surely this is the vulnerable point in the deployment of Republicans and Democrats as they strive to carry out the Wall Street program.

The obvious need therefore is to create a national and international mass movement to oppose austerity, break the power of Wall Street, and carry out the revolutionary economic reforms which alone can usher ran a broad-based recovery and full employment.

But, all around us, the opposite seems to be happening. Today, radical or anti-establishment politics of all stripes appears as a shambles in this country. We need to survey the wreckage briefly in order to remind ourselves what has failed and what we must not imitate.

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