These contradictions of capitalism have intensified dramatically in the recent past and have opened a new historical period - a period of comprehensive existential crisis of the capitalist system itself. At the beginning of the 1990s, the ruling class could cover up the susceptibility of the crisis of their system because of the historical defeats of the proletariat, caused by the destruction of the Stalinist degenerated workers' states (the former USSR, Eastern Europe and China). But already at the beginning of the 2000s, the contradictions of capitalist globalisation and imperialist war against terror lead to a growing global political destabilisation. There was a pre-revolutionary development that eventually turned in the late 2000s into a new historical period of revolutionary character. The current crisis is therefore not a coincidence, but a lawful necessity of doomed capitalism.
The vulnerability to crisis of capitalism has turned into its open decline. The phase of slowing the growth dynamics of the capitalist world economy has been replaced by open stagnation (on the whole there is no growth) of the productive forces.
The increasingly unbearable inner contradictions of capitalism mean that this system immediately and directly undermines the foundations of the continued existence of human civilisation.
We can say without exaggeration that the declining capitalism has never before to such an extent put humanity before the alternative socialism or barbarism. Because in the present historical period three lines of development meet together:
* First, capitalism has never before developed the productive forces on such a high level. The basis for the establishment of worldwide socialism is greater than ever;
* Second, capitalism has never before produced in its history to such an extent dangerous destructive forces;
* Third, capitalism is in a historically deep crisis, the contradictions have accumulated so much that the system as a whole is in a declining curve of development.
As a result, enormous dangers threaten humanity including impoverishment, (nuclear) wars, and environmental disasters. The alternative "socialism or barbarism" – formulated by the revolutionary Rosa Luxembourg - expresses what threats humanity faces: there is a danger of a historical retrogression, of social regression through natural disasters, wars right up to nuclear war, by famine, etc caused by capitalism.
It follows that it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule in an unchanged form. To exploit the working class and oppressed masses even more, they must replace their previous political regime by a more open and more brutal one. Therefore, democratic rights are systematically undermined or even abolished. The expansion of the police state, Bonapartist structures (the state apparatus is less and less subject to formal democratic control by Parliament) to coup d’états are increasingly on the agenda.
The downfall of capitalism expresses itself inevitably in the accelerated decline of the supremacy of U.S. imperialism. After their defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. administration now announces "America's Pacific Century" (Hillary Clinton), in other words, the struggle for supremacy in Asia.
At the same time the new imperialist superpower China is experiencing a dramatic rise. Beijing now controls 10% of world industrial production and is the world's fifth-largest foreign investor. This creates an intensification of rivalries between the great powers.
It is the same in Europe where the crisis of capitalism on the one hand increases the rivalry between states and even jeopardizes the unity of the EU. On the other hand, this increases the necessity of an imperialist confederation of states in Europe under the leadership of one or two major powers (like Germany and France). These driving forces pulling in opposite direction ensure that even in Europe there will be unavoidable sharp revolutionary breaks.
To maintain their power in the face of the death agony of capitalism, the capitalist class must resort to the means and methods that constantly provoke new clashes between the classes and – even if the bourgeoisie is successful – undermine their system of rule in the long-term. Therein lays the guarantee for the fundamental and long-lasting instability in the world situation.
Given this historical crisis of the system the ruling class of the corporate masters, bankers and their politicians tries to save their profits and their power by any means. Leaning itself on the billions-strong body of workers and oppressed, they are hoping to lift themselves like a kind of Baron Munchhausen at their expense out of the quagmire. The price of this desperate and ruthless struggle for the preservation of power and privilege has to be paid by us – the workers and oppressed. Therefore, poverty and the misery of the oppressed classes exacerbate beyond the usual level.
As inevitable as the decline of capitalism and its severe fever convulsions is, so is the resistance, the class struggle against it. Therefore, there is an increase of mass protests, spontaneous uprisings and revolutionary upheavals. This revolutionary unrest has gripped not only the working class and the lower layers, but also increasingly the middle classes. The new period differs from its predecessors not by the fact that it did not see revolutionary situations in different countries. But in the present historical period, revolutionary developments occur more frequently and can spread easily and quickly like wildfire to other countries or entire regions. The Arab revolution since January 2011, the revolutionary process in Greece, the August uprising of the poor in Britain or the world-wide Occupation movement, etc. - all these developments within a short time verify the assessment of the Bolshevik-Communists that the historical crisis of capitalism has opened a revolutionary period. The actuality of the revolution is on the agenda. Not only in one or another country, but worldwide.
The peculiarity of the revolutionary period of history is not that there is a linear radicalisation of the masses, a permanent revolutionary situation, or a constant leftward movement of the masses. Rather, the characteristics of the world situation is that the foundation of capitalism has lost its relative equilibrium, which causes sharp crises, disasters, wars, steep turns, and is thus provoking sudden upheavals and lack of any stability.
If we say that the declining capitalism has never before to such an extent posed humanity before the alternative “Socialism or Barbarism”, this leads also to another conclusion: never before has the working class suffered to such an extent from the lack of a revolutionary combat party that can show the way to socialism.
The ruling class could not hold on to power until now because of their strength and not because of the lack of combat readiness of the working class. The cause lies rather in the fact that the proletariat and the oppressed are lacking a revolutionary leadership. Instead, at the head of the labour movement, there exist reformist bureaucracies which betray and sell the struggle of the masses by their policies in order to enrich themselves. Either they execute the orders as a direct stooge of the capitalist class, or they help them as indirect henchmen by leading the proletariat with a strategy in the struggle which must inevitably end in defeat.
The likely extensive nature of the current historical period also follows from this. Due to the lack of a revolutionary combat party on the basis of a Bolshevik programme, the proletariat and the masses will rather first suffer painful experiences and bitter defeats. The task is to draw the necessary lessons of this experience and to forge such a party in the fire of the battles.
The masses get exhausted in the longer run and lose faith in the possibility of victory. At the same time, the ruling class upgrades its arsenal for a decisive counterattack and prepares the creation of open or semi-open dictatorships. Against the background of a deep economic and social crisis in the case of a continued failure of the labour movement the strengthening of the rabid nationalism and fascism is inevitable. The main question of the class struggle in the revolutionary period is: crush or get crushed. Only the timely construction of a revolutionary workers party based on a Bolshevik, thus a consistently revolutionary programme, can ensure that the resolute struggle of the masses ends with a victory - that is, the proletarian seizure of power – and not with a heavy defeat.