Sat, 27 May 2006 18:12:57 -0700

On the Rule of Law, Human Rights, &t.

by Li'l Joe

The so-called rule of law is nothing but rules put in place by the dominant class' political representatives.

The dominant classes in society are the ones in possession of the major productive forces. Predicated upon this are the economic foundations upon which political, religious and other social institutions are based, and cultures expressed.

With the triumph of capitalist commodity production there is an extended diversification of production, thus manifold divisions of labor. Capitalist's compete, both economically, within each division of labor and between them, and politically for control of the State. Correspondingly, politics is competitive. Democracy is therefore the mediation by which this political conflict is regulated. Democracy is the means that determine which faction of capitalists will win political control of government, and thereby management of the state, and for how long. Thus, bourgeois politicians inevitably create Constitutional governments that state general rules governing political factions. Conditions of production and appropriation engender democracy as the means by which capitalists compete for political control of the state, and management of society. Capitalist domination of government is inevitably corrupt.

The capitalist class, as owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor, are the dominant class not only in the economic relations of production, but in society, whereas the proletariat is subordinate and dominated both in production and in politics. The proletarians are subjected to these Constitutional frameworks and the laws legislated against them by the political factions of capital, but these working classes had no part in the writing of these Constitutions.

In democratic capitalist society the "rule of law" is determined by the faction in political power that has the authority to remove laws from the books, as well as to legislate the new laws.

The ruling class ideologists - including politicians in government, teachers or professors in schools, college and university philosophers, and even theologians and preachers in religious organizations/schools, present the material interests, rules, and governance of the capitalist mode of production and politics as 'natural', or ideal, even 'the will of god'.

Ancient and feudal modes of production were based in agriculture, whether worked by slaves, peasants, serfs or some transitional form involving a mix of these. The dominating propertied classes were in most cases represented by kings, which in many cases were represented by religious institutions and said to have monopoly on political power by some form of divine right.

In Europe in the 16th century, in an age of opening world trade, the merchants and industrial classes emerged as a social power, and challenged the feudal powers, and their ideologists. Corresponding to the growing power of money, political struggle of the rising bourgeoisie challenged the ancient and feudal regimes, and thus generated ideologists and philosophers that challenged the divine rights of kings as well as the secular power of lords.

The doctrines of "natural rights" arose in the 16th century, along with bourgeois encouragements in science and technology in connection with commodity production and the world-markets. This was what is called "The Renaissance."

The Renaissance took hold in the commercial centers in Italy, and in England and Holland . There, republican ideas flourished, arguments based on Nature and natural rights - thus from nature all men are born equal and without social rank - as opposed to the theologico-political claims of divine rights of nobles and kings.

It was called a renaissance, because it was a revival in the Italian city-state's of republican forms of the democratic ideals appropriated from Athens and the Roman Republic, as well as a rediscovery of the ancient Greco-Ionian scientists and materialist philosophers, in opposition to Plato and Aristotle, that had, respectively merged in feudal Church theology, as the Church hierarchy came from and was part and parcel of the feudal hierarchy of rank. The revival of these ideas were re-stated in modern bourgeois fashion, which corresponded to the rise of the republican bourgeoisie in the Italian city states, in the Netherlands, and the English Revolution of the 17th century.

Into the 18th century, the Enlightenment emerged from the Renaissance with the emergence of the bourgeoisie, particularly in France. These Enlightenment philosophers developed the idea of natural rights into specific categories of 'human rights'.

The Renaissance idea that all men are by nature born equal, in Nature in any case, was advanced upon by the Enlightenment to state that men are not only born equal, but free. Thus, the American colonies "Declaration of Independence" declared inalienable rights of man in typical fashion as "self-eviden", as though axiomatic and in need of no argument; that all men are born free.

The American Declaration borrowed heavily from the French Enlightenment, but wasn't in any sense radical, since slavery was part and parcel of the new American economy, and slaves had no rights. It wasn't until the bourgeois democratic revolution in France, decades later, that the ideas of the Enlightenment were given full actualization, and written in the French Revolution's Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens.

Yet, these ideas were but the ideological consciousness of the bourgeois class, whose interests advance corresponding to the growth of the productive forces, and advances in science in the service of competitive capitalist commodity production by competitive wage-workers. Society remains comprised into classes of owners who don't work and workers who don't own.

In the capitalist conditions of production, the "rights of man and citizens" became the "rights of citizens with property rights", natural equality was actualized as equality before the law, in place of the right to life came the right to compete.

Thus, the co-existence of wealth at one end of bourgeois society and poverty of the proletariat at other end is understood as winners and losers. The rationale for this is that the bourgeois are smart, enterprising and competitive whereas the proletarians are lazy and lack initiative, although the talented and energetic among them rise into the bourgeoisie.

19th century bourgeois ideological domination in the social and natural sciences claimed that this was "natural".

The doctrine of "natural right" has thus come full circle, initiated as an attack on social stratification it is now used as a justification of social stratification. As the philosophical justification of this new class emerged the ruthless bourgeois ideology of "survival of the fittest", and so-called "positive" economic calculation as opposed to "normative" economic social policy.

In American bourgeois ideology its bourgeois conditions of production is to say a society of winners and losers - the 'winners' being the capitalists and the 'losers' everyone else. In America pragmatism is the dominant bourgeois philosophy; it is an anti-philosophy philosophy.

American bourgeois conditions of production and corresponding relations of production are present in the culture as "natural". Equality means 'equal opportunity', and thus in society those who are "rich" are rewarded for their efforts. Those others, who are poor, are 'without excuse'. Politicians, preachers, teachers, theologians tell them to 'stop whining' and 'complaining', and to 'do for self'.

Capitalist competitive commodity production by competitive wage-workers is considered natural rather than socially determined, and that "survival of the fittest", and "selfishness" are regarded as operations of natural law. But, if this is so, then it follows from nature that everything is permissible.

Why, then, are man-made - i.e. artificial - political laws? If everything is permissible, what is the basis for preventing someone from among the poor from rising to reach his or her full potential by becoming a bank robber, or shooting his or her landlord when he or she comes to pick up the rent, or the Electricity company agent when he or she comes to turn off one's electricity or gas for lack of payment? Why is such behavior against the law of society if these behaviors are consistent with the 'laws of nature of survival of the fittest'?

Ah ha! There's the rub. It is because bankers, landlords and the capitalist owners of the Electricity Company have politicians in office that they pay to legislate the illegality of this, or any other human behavior that conflicts with their interests as owners. It's as simple as that. These particulars are only given as examples, to show - in American parlance, how the 'rule of law' "works". That is, how in these cases 'the rule of law' serves the material interests of the property owners against those of the property-less.

For certain, bourgeois conditions of production, competitive capitalist commodity production and appropriation by competitive wage-workers is a condition of war of all against all. In competition, one capitalist kills others, and absorbs its labor market and production for more than before. But, this competition continues, until at last only the biggest of the bourgeois of a particular branch of industry remains.

However, left to its own mini interests in a war of all against all capitalists' commodity production generates anarchy in the economy. They find it in their interests to bring into production an appearance of an outside force, seemingly neutral: the State appropriated to set up rules governing competition, and to regulate behavior among competitors.

Here again emerges the myth of the 'rule of law'. I say myth, because in reality, the different capitalists operate illegally behind the scenes, bribing or otherwise rewarding politicians to legislate in their respective interests.

The only real 'common interests' that capitalist's have are their relations of production, property owners against the property-less working classes, the rich against the poor. But, every class struggle is a political struggle, that their collective class property presents general interests which dominate the whole of society, their bought and paid for politicians legislating the politically correct laws.

With the higher stages of developments in the productive forces capital becomes social property, shares and stocks are however dominated by the big 'capitalist' owners. There arose interlocking directorates, and hired professionals now manage production and appropriation.

Social capital, however exists within the framework of a capitalists division of labor, or 'branch of industry'. It is the responsibility of these professionals to buy political favors, finance campaigns, lobby (bribe) law makers and break those laws if they can get away with it. In the United States today, for instance, the domestic industrial capitalists operate through the Democratic Party, and transnational and finance capital operate through the Republican Party.

Capitalist politics are inherently corrupt, whether in the United States or China, Britain or Nigeria, France or Zimbabwe.

All the crap about 'the rule of law', and 'investigations' into 'corruption', 'bribes', 'scandals' &t. are just so many red herrings to focus the attention of the working classes and the poor, who are outside the State and by the State dominated by the collective interests of the capitalist class, into Tabloid issues related to this or that individual, whether corporate insider trading or some politicians getting money.

Although the capitalists compete, nevertheless they combine in common interests relative to those of other divisions or industries, and these combine as a class to promote their common interests, both internationally against foreign competitors, and domestically against the property-less proletarians, whom they employ as individuals selling their labor power, and exploit as a class of social labor.

The capitalist politicians are therefore placed in Parliaments, and governments to legislate relations of production in the interests of capital, and therefore to the disadvantages of labor.

Nevertheless, there are workers who run around talking about how they believe in the 'rule of law'. Particularly in the United States, where there has never been a glaring national conflict between wage labor politically organized as a class for-itself, fighting the capitalist class that is the State as its political representative.

When in America workers in one region rise in rebellion, such as the Great miners strike in Appalachia, or the Great Detroit Rebellion, the workers in other regions fail to recognize these as economic based social uprisings as their representative in class combat.

The workers in rebellion have come to an understanding of themselves in collective uprising as having the power of saying: "fuck the rule of law". They're right, of course.

However, the capitalists cannot tolerate such a rebellion to spread out of hand, so it's State sends in it's troops to ruthlessly, and brutally suppress the rebellion. The vicious repression and Fallujah-like violent suppression of worker and Black rebellions in the United States is the brutal reality of what constitute the rule of law.

However, American workers nationally, and White workers in particular, given their socialization and education concerning the bourgeois 'rule of law', have become acculturated into believing in the 'ideals' of bourgeois democracy, including the 'idea' of 'the rule of law'. Thus, rather than logically siding with the workers in insurrection, or Black poor in the inner-city slums, they side with the State! These fools actually approve the government sending in troops to brutally repress these 'lawless miners' or 'rioting Blacks' to "restore law and order".

The American working class is far removed from being a class-conscious proletariat, and consequently do not understand that what dominates America are bourgeois class interests, which is the basis of bourgeois law and bourgeois order! Thus, American workers as a class have not yet to realize the government at present is arrayed against them, and thus that they have no obligation to recognize, and certainly not to obey any law that was legislated by the Democrats &/or Republicans, decrees of their President, or rulings of the Courts.

This can change! But, only in proportion as the American workers have ceased to think of themselves as individualists in a war of all against all, in pragmatic hostility to theory, by becoming a class-for-itself by the praxis of engaging the capitalists in national strikes, and political battles to win State Power.

The "human rights" rhetoric in the American Declaration of Independence" - which in actuality was a declaration of war, is just that, rhetoric and a declaration of war. This Declaration had to be presented in flowery rhetoric about its objectives being "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" as a means of hoodwinking the American lower classes to go to war on behalf of he wealthy classes.

In other words, for a contemporary example, take the flowery rhetoric of 'freedom' and 'democracy' that the American politicians, press and media saturated Americans with as the stated objective of the US military invasion and occupation (colonization) of Iraq. Ostensibly fighting for high ideals of freedom and democracy, the war was/is really all about oil, controlling the oil flow upon which American capitalist's rival's in Europe and East Asia are dependent.

Not all American colonials were hoodwinked, however. Many stayed out of the war, and many more fought on the side of the British. The African slaves in America in particular, to whom the British offered freedom, supported the British. Free Africans, as well as those who escaped from slave plantations actually joined the British army. As would be repeated by the Union Army in the American Civil War, following the Emancipation Proclamation, where the British Army gained control in slaveholding territories the slaves were freed.

So, notwithstanding the rhetoric about 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness', it was the African slaves who were escaping to join the ranks of the British who were the actual individual's who were the one's fighting for their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness by fighting against the American colonials. Whereas, American colonials, contrary to their rhetoric fought to retain slavery by saying African slaves were not included in the "human rights" of man because Africans were less that human.

Moreover, not only regarding African slaves; but also, ultimately, the property-less poor Whites were also excluded from the human rights category by the US Constitution. It took a bloody revolt on the part of these workers and farmers to force the wealthy classes to acknowledge them -- not with abstract rhetoric about them having rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but concretely through the First Ten Amendments to the constitution, also called the "Bill of Rights".

As in the case in the Declaration of War against the British, the American ruling classes, that is their politicians and official (so-called 'mainstream') presses mealy mouth rhetoric and subterfuge about "human rights", used to manipulate gullible Americans into supporting American capitalist's opposition to countries whose governments American imperialism cannot dominate.

Thus, although "human rights" has never existed in America; nor anywhere else for that matter, the American State, or rather its political representatives, along with the press and media, and also by setting up "human rights" organizations and "NGOs", use human rights rhetoric to denounce governments with which America is in conflict as in violation of the "human rights" of these countries citizens! Such countries, for example, include, e.g. Vietnam, China, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

That said, the actual idea of human rights is a valid undertaking. No one in their right mind is opposed to human beings having legal protections; of everyone having rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in a democratic and open society.

But, to be brutally realistic (this has nothing to do with philosophical 'realism'; but, from the standpoints of the materialist conception of history) it is but acknowledged that the ideas of universal human rights - to life, liberty and happiness - cannot be actualized in a society based in either private or state capitalist commodity production by wageworkers, where it is only the wealthy and the rich that enjoy comforts and leisure and conspicuous consumption, whereas the wageworkers live in worry and debt from paycheck to paycheck, and the poor unemployed live in squalor and poverty.

To live in a world in which the protection and advancement of human felicity is the universal norm, capitalist commodity production must be abolished, and the extremes of wealth and poverty eliminated by the working classes transferring the productive forces from the private possessions of the wealthy few to the public property of the working classes and toiling masses, all over the world.

Thus, under proletarian conditions of social production everyone has at once an obligation to work. But, having abolished capitalist commodity production and wage labor, labor on behalf of everyone and not on behalf of capitalists or the state. That is, as the precondition to rights to life, liberty and felicity based on social labor individual producers having the right to life and liberty defined as free and equal access to quality food, clothing, shelter, medical care, cultural amenities and so on.

In a socialist society of associated producers, poverty and crime will have been eliminated by the abolition of competitive capitalist commodity production by competitive wage labor, and therefore, there will no longer be any society of winners and losers.

Thus, putting an end to the war of all against all, along with the abolition of poverty and crime, classes and class struggles, &t., there will cease to be any need for any states. Thus, with the withering away of the State, in direct proportion to which associated producers govern society, there will be no need for political assemblies and governments. Custom and mutual respect will have displaced "the rule of law".

To achieve these ends and objectives, the worker's must first win the promise of democracy, by first becoming the dominant political power in society - the majority in Assemblies, Parliaments &t.

Here, I am talking about workers winning elections to seats in the popular assemblies, the so-called lower house. I am not speaking of Upper Chambers or Houses of Lords, or national President, where we cannot achieve any more than a minority.

As, in the English Revolution of 1640, in which the House of Commons as Parliament, in which the political representatives of the bourgeois were at the same time representative of the masses, abolished the House of Lords and Monarchy, so with the French 3rd Estate in the French Revolution by becoming the National Constituent Assembly of Citizens abolished the Estates-General system; but, thereby thus became the government. What is needed today, following these historically validated examples, is that the workers political representatives, drawn from the ranks of the working class itself, similarly become the dominate party in the lower houses, all over the world winning the battle of democracy.

In the United States, the winning of the battle of democracy would mean defeating the Democrats, as well as the Republicans in contests for the House of Representatives. The American workers respect winners, not losers. Workers can win seats in the House of Representatives, wherein these members of Congress would legislate a working class agenda.

The workers, by trade unionists, labor party members, and even as independents, in an alliance with Greens, by taking of the House of Representatives would expose the Democrats for what they are, and force the Democrats and Republicans to merge into a single Party of capital, concentrated in the Senate and the office of the president.

This is a necessary praxis in working class consciousness, for so long as trade unionists regard the Democratic Party as 'their' party, the working class remains slaves bound to the party of capital.

The Senate, the President and the Courts will of course block every significant piece of labor legislation coming from the House of Representatives. The so-called rule of law will be exposed for exactly what it is, partisan. It will inevitably be demonstrated to the workers that it is necessary to abolish the Senate and the Presidency, and fire the sitting judges.

Thus, deprived of the fašades of 'democracy', and their 'rule of law', a Presidential declaration of a state of emergency and of martial law, or a military coup in the Pentagon, will, in either case, throw the country into another Civil War.

In the previous civil war, it was the Confederate States representing chattel slavery, ideologically based on the skin color of the slaves, whereas in the next civil war it is the representatives of the capitalist class whose mode of production is based on wage slavery. So long as the American trade unions are butlers of the Democratic Party, their mentality cannot rise beyond the thinking of a political butler.

When, therefore, for example, Democratic Party members of Congress representing the material interest's of the domestic steel industrialists, by slapping tariffs on steel imports from Japan, &t., they do so ostensibly in the interests of "fair trade", arguing their position vis-Ó-vis Republicans in Congress, saying that "fair trade", as the ideological basis for tariffs, is "all about saving jobs of American workers in the steel industry". The steel owners accuse their international competitors of "dumping". Similarly in the garment industry vis-Ó-vis China's garment industry. When Democratic Party members of Congress, or ideologists on CNN &t., denounce China's garment industries as "sweat shops", and for "violations of human rights", ostensibly in the interests of Chinese workers as well as jobs for American workers in garment industries, those whom these Democrats are truly representing are the interests of capitalists in the American garment industry. Also, Chinese garment industries are competing with those of America, both internationally, and in the United States as well.

Regarding Sudan: American politicians, and ideologists, accuse Chinese capital operating in Sudan, as turning a 'blind eye' to Sudan's "human rights violations". Yet, the British and American politicians, pundits and "human rights networks" are silent when it comes to Dutch/Shell, Texaco &t. exploiting Nigerian wageworker and ruining their natural environment. In fact, the entire operation of British and American capitalists in the Niger Delta has deprived the indigenous people there of their "rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness"!

Moreover, the British government ordered the Nigerian government to "restore law and order" to the Niger Delta, to launch an armed attack on Delta "rebels". This came to pass. Villages were bombed. The British and American politicians and media said nothing about this being a "violation of human rights" of the Ijaw people.

The so-call "human rights advocates", in or with regard to Zimbabwe, so determined to denounce the violation of "human rights" of White planter capitalists as being 'violated' by the Africans retaking lands taken from them are silent when it comes to violating the "rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness", thus in fact by their silence endorsing the bombing of Ijaw villages.

US/British opposition to China entering Africa, in particular Sudan and Nigeria, has more to do with the Chinese interrupting the plans of the American and British States than with the ideology of "human rights". The Chinese are disrupting the British/American strategy, regarding their political objective of controlling the oil supplies that feed industries of Japan, and the European Union.

British and American politicians, media, and "human rights" organizations are angry because the Chinese cannot be manipulated by rhetoric from the West about nonexistent "human rights" being violated in Sudan and Nigeria.

Just a couple weeks ago, Mexican trade unionists in the steel industries, engaging in a strike, were shot down, killed by soldiers and cops in the interests of capital, against labor. American capitalists are heavily invested in Mexico. So, the hypocrisy is exposed! There was no outcry in America by American politicians, or media pundits.

American politicians no more give a damn about rates of employment &/or wages of American workers in America-based steel industries than they do workers in Mexican steel industries. The workers must protect themselves, and not look to governments of capitalists to do it for them.

By means of its considerable wealth, the capitalist's exercise political rule by corrupting politicians in power; but, by a disciplined cadre of trade union financed workers running for office, the capitalist's political agents can and will be defeated in the United States. This financial and social base will enable workers in Congress to stand by their class principles. Workers, without this base, the same as any other politician, will inevitably be corrupted, or defeated by lack of funds and organizational capacity.

The Labor party, having displaced the Democratic Party in the so-called "Blue States", based in industry and thus the industrial proletariat, wouldn't take long to defeat the "Red States". The majority of the rank and file of the American military is working class; the House of Representatives will have both mandate and authority to call upon these rank and file soldiers, and even officers, to come over to the side of the democratically elected members of the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives, based financially in the working class, must become the government. Only then, having legislated human rights to food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education and dignity, can these proletarian interests be legislated and enforced as the 'rule of law'.

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