Manifesto for Revolutionary Liberation: Chapter VII. The Semi-Colonial South

 

 

 

The increasing shift of capitalist production from the old imperialist metropolises (the US, Western Europe and Japan) to the semi-colonial world as well as China has resulted in a decisive shift of the center of the world proletariat to the South. Given the fact that the huge majority of the international working class lives in the South, and that the contradictions of world capitalism also appear in their sharpest forms there, it is most likely that the world revolution will start and initially be focused in the semi-colonial world or emerging imperialist countries like China.

 

Therefore, every revolutionary international organization must put an emphasis on studying the problems of the class struggle of these regions and must build sections primarily there. Conversely, it must avoid any centeredness on the US or Western Europe, something which is so typical of many centrist tendencies.

 

The following sections are intended to provide a brief overview of the main issues of the revolutionary strategy in different parts of the world. They should help revolutionaries to concretize the revolutionary program in their own regions. This is all the more important since the crucial task in the present period is to intensify uncompromising propaganda for a working class and socialist program, to advance independent self-organization of the working class and, most importantly, the formation of revolutionary parties as sections of a new Workers’ International.

 

 

 

The Middle East and North Africa

 

The Arab Revolution, which spread like wildfire in 2011 and overthrew a number of dictators, subsequently suffered a number of defeats. The most important of these was the July 2013 military coup in Egypt. The emergence of the reactionary force of Daesh/IS reflects and, to a large degree, is a product of the period of retreat currently being experienced by the Arab Revolution.

 

However, the Arab Revolution is ongoing and certainly has been not decisively defeated as is clearly attested to by the Syrian Revolution, the heroic Palestinian resistance against Zionist aggression in 2012 and 2014, the Yemeni defensive war against Saudi aggression, the continuing popular struggles in Egypt and Libya, the defeat of the July 2016 military coup in Turkey, and the vital as ever Kurdish liberation struggle.

 

The crucial tasks for revolutionaries in the coming period are:

 

* To support the ongoing popular struggles which currently center mostly on democratic demands and to participate in the formation of workers and popular militias;

 

* To defend the Arab Revolution against the intensifying military aggression of the Great Powers;

 

* To advocate the united front tactic towards all forces (including various Islamists) that are engaged in the popular struggles against the dictatorships as well as against the imperialist Great Powers and their local lackeys, while at the same time giving no political support to such forces.

 

 

 

Latin America

 

In the late 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium, a number of progressive bourgeois-populist and popular-front governments came to power on the backdrop of a massive increase of the class struggle (e.g., Argentinazo 2001/02, Bolivia 2003-05, etc.). These governments tried to utilize the boom in prices of raw materials on the world market, along with the emergence of China as an imperialist counterbalance to the traditional US domination of the continent. However, all these governments were both unwilling and incapable of breaking with capitalism and, therefore, when the raw material price boom collapsed, they entered a deep crisis.

 

Currently Latin America is experiencing a phase of a reactionary offensive by the ruling class in which the latter is attempting to annihilate social and democratic achievements of the popular masses. The most prominent examples of such reactionary offensives are the institutional coup d’état against the PT-led government in Brazil in 2016; Macri’s electoral victory in Argentina; the all out attack of the right-wing opposition on the Maduro government in Venezuela; and the capitalist restoration in Cuba under Castro leadership. However, this reactionary offensive inevitably provokes mass struggles, as we have witnessed, for example, in the anti-coup mobilizations in Brazil, the heroic struggle of Mexican teachers which even resulted in dual power situations in several regions of the country, and mass strikes in Argentina.

 

The crucial tasks for revolutionaries in the coming period are:

 

* To participate in the mass struggles against the reactionary offensives of the ruling classes;

 

* To defend democratic rights and social achievements against the reactionary offensive of the ruling class (including, for example, the defense of popular front governments against a coup d’état or imperialist intervention, while at the same time giving no political support to these governments);

 

* To advance the independent organization of the working class and to break the workers’ and popular organizations away from the popular frontist parties and governments.

 

 

 

Asia

 

Home to 60% of the world’s population and the location of crucial imperialist Great Powers (China, Japan, Russia), smaller imperialist states (South Korea, Australia) as well as important semi-colonies (e.g., India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia), Asia will be the most important single continent in the future world revolutionary process.

 

The region’s working class and oppressed have experienced both important upswings of the class struggle (in India, for example, the September 2015 general strike in which 150 million workers participated; women’s mass campaign and protests against gang rape; the Naxalite-led peasant struggles) as well as serious defeats (for example, the smashing of independent Tamil Eelam in 2009 by the Sri Lankan regime and the 2014 military coup in Thailand). In addition to the inter-imperialist rivalry in East Asia (the US and Japan vs. China), in the present period the class struggle is focused along two main axes:

 

a) Fundamental democratic and economic issues (struggles against dictatorships, for national liberation, and against poverty, etc.)

 

b) Against imperialist aggression and occupation (e.g., the US war in Afghanistan and Northwest Pakistan, the US vs. North Korea, and China vs. Vietnam)

 

The crucial tasks for revolutionaries in the coming period are:

 

* To support all struggles of the workers and oppressed in defense of their democratic and social rights (including supporting peasant demands for land as well as the popular resistance against ecologically disastrous project, with the aim of  deepening the alliance between the workers and the poor peasants);

 

* To defend oppressed peoples against imperialist aggression while at the same time giving no political support to non-revolutionary leaderships;

 

* To break the hold of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois political forces over the mass of the working class, poor peasantry and urban poor.

 

 

 

Sub-Sahara Africa

 

Sub-Sahara Africa is the continent with the world’s fastest growing economy and population. It is a chief object of desire for the imperialist Great Powers – in particular the US, EU and China. The combined existence of disgraceful living conditions for the popular masses, brutal oppression by corrupt dictatorships, increasing interference by the Great Powers, limited industrialization and the growth of the working class – all these factors inevitably pave the road for future political and social upheavals.

 

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the continent has witnessed a tremendous increase of strikes and mass demonstrations since 2011. The heroic miners’ strike in Marikana (South Africa) in 2012, the democratic popular uprising in Burkina Faso (2014), Burundi (2015) and the regular mass protests against the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe unmistakably attest to the flammability of the situation in this region. Furthermore, NUMSA’s political break with the popular front ANC government opens the door to the formation of a new mass workers’ party in South Africa.

 

The crucial tasks for revolutionaries in the coming period are:

 

* To support all struggles of the workers and oppressed against poverty and dictatorships as well as abetting peasant struggles and popular struggles against ecologically disastrous projects;

 

* To support the popular resistance against super-exploitation by multi-national corporations and against intervention by Great Powers and their local lackeys;

 

* To advance the struggle for the political independence of the working class (e.g., independence of the trade unions from the state, new workers’ parties, etc.).