What Do the Panama Papers Reveal?

Commentary by Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 4.4.2016, www.thecommunists.net


Germany’s newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have revealed a massive global web of capitalist corruption and tax evasion. The journalists investigated 11.5 million (!) leaked internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world, revealing its activities for the past four decades (hence the name The Panama Papers.) In short, this shady law firm is connected with 214,488 offshore entities which helped corporations, politicians, celebrities, etc. to hide their fortunes.


According to the journalists, the documents link at least 12 current and former heads of state and 143 other politicians to illicit financial transactions. Among them are British Prime Minister Cameron’s father, closest friends of Russia’s president Putin, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, relatives of the Spanish king, Iceland’s Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson, Argentina’s right-wing president Macri, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, two cousins of Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad, former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, and many more. Among this global gang of capitalist politicians are also at least eight current or former members of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, including the current President Xi whose family members own numerous offshore companies.


In addition, the leak has revealed that numerous banks dominating the global financial system like UBS and HSBC have been complicit in directing clients, who want keep their finances under wraps, to shell companies (the files list nearly 15,600 such shell companies!).


According to the expert Gabriel Zucman, approximately 6,600 billion US Dollars (that’s 6.6 trillion dollars!) are parked in these phony offshore companies! Nearly a third of this astronomical sum is alleged to be in Switzerland, in the very heart of Europe!


In short, this leak proves once more that not only is capitalism thoroughly corrupt in all countries around the world, it cannot be otherwise. It demonstrates how hypocritical all Western statesmen are when they denounce corruption as the specific problem of poor countries, and how it is responsible for their backwardness. In reality, not only are the leaders and bankers in the rich imperialist countries at least as corrupt as their African colleagues, but it is precisely the former who are establishing and protecting the system of off-shore companies.


The Panama Papers also shows that, as long as banks are private property, they cannot be controlled. This can only be stopped when the working class nationalizes the banks under its control.


Similarly, we see that all states are ruled by corrupt politicians. This can only be remedied under a socialist system in which all political representatives earn only an average wage and are accountable to and immediately recallable by the popular masses; or in other words, under the rule of the workers and oppressed – one based on popular councils and militias which suppress the capitalist class and their counterrevolutionary armed forces.


Last but not least, the Panama Papers demonstrate the shallowness of the preposterous assertions of various pro-Russian/Chinese social imperialists who claim that in some way Assad, Qaddafi, Xi or Putin are progressive or anti-imperialist. It is also a blow to those fantasists who still call China a “deformed workers’ state” when China has in fact become an imperialist country ruled by millionaires who serving an even richer capitalist class.


It is vital that Marxist revolutionaries use this valuable investigation in their propaganda and agitation to help the working class and oppressed better understand the corrupt mechanism of global capitalism. In this way it will also be easier to explain the urgent need to expropriate the superrich and their corporations and banks, something which can only be achieved by means of a socialist revolution.


The Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have published the details of this scandal on this websites:





About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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