Imperialism and Exploitation Today

 

Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism

 

 

By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

The following document is an excerpt of the book “THE GREAT ROBBERY OF THE SOUTH” which the RCIT has published recently. It has been written by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the RCIT. It has been published as the final chapter of the book in which the author summarizes the main findings of his study. You can find more details about the book and how to order it on our website www.great-robberyof-the-south.net

 

 

 

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In this final chapter we want to summarize the main results of our study. In order to emphasize more clearly the most important conclusions, we will structure this summary in the form of thesis.

 

 

 

1.            Marxism is the scientific doctrine of the working class to guide them in achieving liberation from exploitation and oppression. Hence it is the task of Marxists to study and internalize the method and fundamental doctrines of Marxism as it was elaborated by the revolutionary workers movement and its most outstanding theoreticians including Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. Furthermore, the Marxist method becomes a dead doctrine if it is not constantly enriched by studying new developments in the class society and if it is not continuously developed on the basis of the genuine method of materialist dialectics. Finally, Marxism exists and breathes as the unity of theory and practice, knowledge and action. The purpose of advancement of Marxist theory is to serve as a guide for action. In order to achieve this Marxist theory must fuse with the revolutionary working class movement. The embodiment of such a unity of theory and practice is and can only be the collective of communist men and women who fuse Marxist knowledge and action into a collective program and politics – in other words, into the formation of the revolutionary workers party and its pre-party formations. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) is dedicated to the task of building such a party.

 

2.            An important issue for the advancement of the revolutionary working class movement and the Marxist theory is the issue of the relationship between the imperialist countries and the semi-colonial world. The reason for this is that there have been important changes in this relationship in recent decades. Never before has such a big share of the world capitalist value been produced in the South. Never before have the imperialist monopolies been so dependent on the super-exploitation of the semi-colonial world. Never before has migrant labor from the semi-colonial world played such a significant role for the capitalist value production in the imperialist countries. Never before has a huge majority of the world working class lived in the South – outside of the old imperialist metropolises. Therefore a correct understanding of the nature of imperialism as well as of the program of permanent revolution, which includes the tactics of consistent anti-imperialism, is essential for any revolutionary organization today. A correct understanding of the consequences of the shift of the world proletariat towards the South is also just as important for the building of the revolutionary party and the new working class International.

 

3.            Lenin's theory of imperialism is essential for understanding today’s world. Lenin emphasized that the epoch of imperialism is the epoch of capitalism in decline. It is characterized by the increasing dominance of the economy by monopolies and of world politics by a few Great Powers. As a result of this the world is divided between oppressing and oppressed nations. Super-exploitation of the oppressed countries by the imperialist monopolies is an essential feature of imperialism. Likewise is the bribery of the upper strata of the proletariat in the imperialist countries by the monopolies out of the extra profits from this super-exploitation. Trotsky and the Fourth International upheld Lenin’s theory of imperialism thoroughly.

 

4.            The essence of Lenin’s theory concerning the relation between the imperialist and the oppressed countries is still valid despite the fact that today nearly all countries of the South are formally independent. They are – what Lenin called – ‘semi-colonies’, i.e. countries which are formally independent but which are nevertheless nationally oppressed and super-exploited by the imperialist monopolies and powers. These semi-colonies occupy a subordinated position in the world economy and politics. In order to politically characterize a specific country in the world, it is therefore not sufficient to declare that it is capitalist and ruled by a capitalist class. Neither is it sufficient to describe the specific political regime of the given country (dictatorship, theocracy, bourgeois democracy, left-wing Bonapartism etc.). One must rather start with the class characterization and this includes its position in the imperialist world order, i.e. is it an imperialist-capitalist or a semi-colonial capitalist country. The semi-colonial national bourgeoisie therefore is – as Trotsky said – only to a certain degree a ruling class. It is at the same time to a certain degree also an oppressed class.

 

5.            Various centrist currents like the SWP/IST and the CWI understand imperialism as aggressive, expansionist politics. This means that they divorce a specific form of politics from its economic foundation – monopoly capital. This was always wrong. It is, however, particularly wrong in the present period of globalization where the global dominance of monopolies is massively growing. (“Globalization = Monopolization + Internationalization”). Today the biggest 147 corporation’s control 40% of the world economy. These monopolies are closely connected with the imperialist states which give them the necessary political and military weight to enforce their interests around the world.

 

6.            Contrary to the claims of various revisionists who thought that capitalism was in a phase of economic upswing in the 1990s and 2000s, in reality the opposite was the case. Capitalism has tended towards stagnation since the early 1970s and this turned into a period of decline since 2007/08. The background for this is the increasing structural over-accumulation of capital and the related tendency of the profit rate to fall. It is increasingly difficult for the capitalists to invest their capital profitably so they move more and more of their capital into the sphere of speculation, etc. As a result, the rate of accumulation of productive capital is slowing down more and more.

 

7.            Of course this tendency towards stagnation and decline must not be understood as a gradual, one-way process. It is rather a dialectical process since the capitalist economy proceeds in economic cycles. In addition to this, even the epoch of imperialism knows longer phases of upswing. But all in all and over the long run capitalism is in decline and the average rate of profit tends to fall – a fact which becomes also evident if one looks at the development of world capitalism in the past four decades.

 

8.            Against this background of declining and increasingly parasitic capitalism, the monopolies are doing everything in their power to increase their profits. They use their power to modify the effects of the law of value and to appropriate a higher share of surplus value at the cost of the capitalists that do not obtain monopoly positions. They sharpen the rivalry against each other. But most importantly, the monopolies increase the exploitation of the working class and the super-exploitation of the semi-colonial countries.

 

9.            This drive of monopoly capital to increase the super-exploitation of the semi-colonial world led to a massive export of capital which created a shift of the production, and hence the working class, to the South. As a result, the production of capitalist values increasingly came from the South. Such a shift is a confirmation of Lenin’s and Trotsky’s understanding of imperialism.

 

10.          The degree of this shift of capitalist value production to the South is massively distorted and underestimated in the official figures produced by bourgeois economists. There are a few reasons for this. First, the category “Gross Domestic Product” (GDP) confuses real and fictional values. Given that the financial sector, which creates no value, is mainly based in the rich imperialist countries, the GDP figures of the North are artificially inflated and hence lower than the share of the South in the World GDP in the official statistics. Second, there is a massive swindle contained in the GDP figures since a substantial portion of the value created in the South is appropriated in the North via the market price on which the commodity is sold in the North. Therefore, a substantial portion of the value created in the South appears in the official GDP figures as created in the North. Third, we have the massive super-exploitation of the workers in the South and the appropriation of extra profits by the monopoly capitalists in the North. Again, these profits are often counted as part of the Northern GDP but in reality are produced by the workers in the South.

 

11.          This massive growth of the global working class was mostly due to the growth of the proletariat outside of the old imperialist metropolises. The process of industrialization has necessarily led to a massive shift of the weight of the proletariat from the imperialist metropolises towards the poorer countries. A hundred years ago – at the time of Lenin and Trotsky – the proletariat in the colonial and semi-colonial world was still quite small. This has changed dramatically in recent decades. As a result the huge majority of the world working class today lives outside of the old imperialist metropolises. ¾ of the wage laborers and 83.5% of all industrial workers live and work in the semi-colonial countries and emerging imperialist China. (In in the year 1950 only 34% of the global industrial workers were living in the South and in 1980 this share was about 50%.)

 

12.          In reality, the actual shift of the proletariat towards the semi-colonial and emerging imperialist countries is even bigger than official statistics indicate. This is the case for several reasons:

 

i) The bourgeois category "wage earners" includes not only workers. Generally one can say that in the rich imperialist countries a considerable minority of wage earners are not part of the working class, but are part of the salaried middle class (supervisory personnel, police, lower-grade manager, etc.). In the poorer countries the salaried middle class is much smaller.

 

ii) Moreover, we have to take into account the labor aristocracy. This uppermost part of the working class, which is bribed by the bourgeoisie with various privileges, represents a much bigger sector of the working class in the imperialist countries than in the semi-colonial proletariat.

 

iii) Furthermore, the proletariat in the poorer countries is larger in size than the actual numbers in the official statistics indicate. A considerable part of the workers in these countries are formally accounted not as wage earners, but as formally self-employed due to the large informal sector. However, in fact, they are part of the working class.

 

In short, the proportion of semi-colonial countries and emerging imperialist China in the world working class could even be as high as 80%. We can therefore conclude that today the heart of the world proletariat is in the South and in particular in Asia (where 60% of the global industrial workforce is living).

 

13.          An important consequence of this is that the process of the World Revolution is not one in which the first line is focused on and decided in the old imperialist countries. Rather, the proletariat in the semi-colonial world and emerging imperialist China will play a decisive role. The Arab revolution underlines our thesis of the increasing importance of the semi-colonial proletariat.

 

14.          The RCIT concludes from this that the international workers organizations must pay particular attention to the South. The huge weight of the Southern proletariat must be reflected in their massive participation not only in the international workers organizations but also in their leaderships. The questions of particular importance for the Southern working class – the super-exploitation, national liberation struggles against imperialism, etc. – must take a central place in the organizations’ propagandistic and practical work. It follows that the struggle for political and organizational independence of the working class focuses particularly on the broad mass of the working class – i.e. its lower and middle layers. It must reflect the growing significance of the proletarians of the poorer countries, of women, migrants, etc. They must strive to attract and organize them and also to represent them in their own ranks and leadership structures. The future revolutionary communist world party, therefore, has a strong semi-colonial, young, female, migrant face or it fails in its task.

 

15.          Faced with the stagnation and decline of capitalism, the capitalists have waged a vicious offensive against the global working class on all continents in the last decades. Both in the rich, imperialist countries and in the poorer, semi-colonial countries the capitalists increased the rate of exploitation – this means that they obtained a higher profit by increasing the rate of surplus value (i.e. the proportion of non-paid labor time appropriated by the capitalist in relation to the paid labor time received by the workers in the form of wages). The capitalists were able to succeed in this not only by raising the productivity of the workers, but also and increasingly, by prolonging the working day and by depressing the wages. This later method – depressing the wages below the value of labor power – was mentioned by Marx but has been largely ignored by Marxists since then. The increasing of the rate of exploitation took place in the past decades in all regions but, particularly in the semi-colonial world and China. It particularly affected the lower and middle strata of the proletariat. These developments are reflected in the declining wage share, the growing précarisation of labor and rising unemployment, and the growing poverty and inequality in income.

 

16.          One of the most important ways for the monopolies to counter their declining rates of profits is super-exploitation in the capitalistically less developed countries. These foreign markets provide monopoly capital with:

 

i) Exploitation of cheaper labour force via the export of capital,

 

ii) Additional markets for their commodities and

 

iii) Access to raw material.

 

17.          The colonial and semi-colonial markets offer monopoly capital several methods in which it can obtain an extra profit. They are chiefly:

 

i) Capital export as productive investment

 

ii) Capital export as money capital (loans, currency reserves, speculation etc.)

 

iii) Value transfer via unequal exchange

 

iv) Value transfer via migration

 

18.          Surplus value is the share of the capitalist exchange value which is not paid by the capitalists for wages or for machinery, raw materials, etc. but which they appropriate. If the monopolies export capital and invest in factories in the semi-colonial countries, they can extract an extra-profit. They can employ cheaper labor forces but still sell the commodities at the average market price in the imperialist countries. Or they sell the commodities at a market price below the average price in the semi-colonial countries. The imperialist monopolies repatriate the major part of these extra-profits from the semi-colonies to their parent company. According to the World Bank, the transnational corporations repatriated between 2/3 and 4/5 of their profits in the years 1990 to 2006.

 

19.          Capital export becomes increasingly important for the imperialist countries. Between 1/7 and 1/5 of their accumulated capital moves into other countries in their desire for higher profits. As a result, the share of foreign capital in the total social capital in the semi-colonial regions has risen dramatically in the last two decades. Imperialist capital is now directly responsible for between 1/10 and 1/8 of capital accumulation in semi-colonial Asia, 1/6 and 1/4 in Africa and Latin America and 1/9 and 1/5 in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

 

20.          Marx referredto foreign trade as an important source for capital to counteract the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. The basis for this is that given the lower level of development of productive forces, capital in the (semi-)colonial countries has a higher organic composition, i.e. the share of human labour is higher relative to constant capital. As a consequence they produce relatively more surplus value and hence a higher average rate of profit. However, when the commodities of the (imperialist) more developed countries and the commodities of the (semi-colonial) less developed countries are exchanged at the world market, the law of value enables imperialist capital to gain an extra profit from an unequal exchange. It’s cheaper commodities (because of the higher productivity) beat the more expensive commodities from the semi-colonial countries, force the latter to sell their commodities below its value, etc. Therefore, the stronger (imperialist) capital can sell its commodities above its production price and still remain cheaper on the world market than the less competitive (semi-colonial) capital. The latter is forced to sell its commodities below its production price and often still remains more expensive on the world market than its imperialist rivals. As a result, the stronger (imperialist) capital successfully appropriates a part of the surplus value which is created by the weaker (semi-colonial) capital. This means that unequal exchange provides an important basis for a massive transfer of value from the capitalistically less to the capitalistically more developed countries.

 

21.          The monopolies can appropriate an extra profit via capital export as money capital (loans, currency reserves, speculation, etc.) This form of super-exploitation has gained huge proportions in the past decades. Between 1980 and 2002 the semi-colonial countries have repaid eight times what they owed in 1980! Nevertheless, by 2002 their amount of still existing debts has increased to $2,400 billion, more than four times of what they owed in 1980! The semi-colonies lost – by paying for the debts to the imperialist sharks – about 1/27 of their annual national product in the 1980s and this loss rose to 1/16 of their annual output in the period 1997-2006.

 

22.          In addition, the semi-colonial world loses by the deterioration of the terms of trade, i.e. the prices of commodities which they export in relation to the prices of commodities which they import. In the period 1957-2000, the terms of trade worsened for the non-oil producing developing countries by more than a third. According to Augustín Papic, an invisible transfer from the semi-colonial to the imperialist countries due to the negative development (for the South) of terms of trade took place in the 1990s which resulted in a loss of about 200 billion US-Dollars a year. At the same time, the imperialist countries become increasingly dependent from the so-called Third World in agriculture and raw materials.

 

23.          Just as the monopoly capital extracts surplus profits from the semi-colonial world, there is also an appropriation of extra profits through migration. Imperialist capital draws profit by paying the migrant workers below the value of their labour force in several ways:

 

i) The capitalists can exploit the migrants often with no or only limited costs for their education since the migrants are often educated in their home country.

 

ii) The capitalists often have to pay either no or only reduced costs for the pension and social security of the migrants since they have limited access to social services and when they get old they often go back to their home country.

 

iii) The capitalists usually pay the migrants a wage which is substantially lower than the wage for the workers from the ruling nation. To achieve this they utilize various forms of national oppression (lack of rights if they are not citizens of the imperialist country, discrimination of the migrant’s mother language, various forms of social discrimination, etc.). These forms of oppression are not only valid for first generation migrants but also for migrants of the second and third generation.

 

For these reasons the RCIT defines the migrants as in their huge majority “a nationally oppressed layer of super-exploited labour force.

 

24.          It is very difficult to calculate the full extent of the imperialist plundering of the semi-colonial world. Eastern German and UN economists estimated in the late 1980s and the early 1990s that the semi-colonial world was robbed by about 20-25% of their annual output. In all likelihood this share is higher today, as a very provisional and rough estimate shows.

 

i) Net transfers of financial resources from the semi-colonial countries to the North was about $1 trillion, which is the equivalent of 5% of these countries annual GDP in 2010.

 

ii) There are illicit flows out of the Developing Countries of about more than US$1 trillion annually.

 

iii) We take the estimation of about $200 billion a year loss by the “invisible transfer” for the 1990s which was a share of the semi-colonial GDP of about 3.3%. We calculate a similar share for now because we lack more actual assessments. But we note briefly that this is certainly a serious underestimation because since the 1990s the role of globalised production chains of multinational corporations has significantly increased and hence their opportunities to manipulate price setting and by this hiding the true value transfer from the South.

 

iv) Concerning the loss for the semi-colonial countries by migration we take the same proportion of their total loss as the UN did in their calculation of 1992. This was US$250 billion in 1990 which amounted to about 10-12% of the developing countries annual national income. We estimate the same proportion for today. Again this is certainly an underestimation given the huge increase of migration since then.

 

v) We shall also add the various other forms of values transferred to the imperialist monopolies, which are mentioned above (loss by currency exchange, royalties for patents etc.), that are some additional hundreds of billions of US-Dollars.

 

If we add these various figures we can calculate that the imperialist robbery of the semi-colonial world has certainly increased since the early 1990s. It can be estimated that the value transfer from the semi-colonial world to the North is at least about 30% of the semi-colonial annual GDP, if not rather more.

 

And this calculation is not complete since:

 

i) We have not integrated the huge profits which the capitalists make by migrant labor in the imperialist countries themselves.

 

ii) We have not integrated the extra profits which are hidden via pricing through which the profits appear as being created in the North while the surplus value is in fact produced via super-exploitation in the South.

 

iii) And we have not integrated the profits of the imperialist monopolies appropriated abroad which are not transferred back.

 

Despite the lack of precise calculations we can definitely say that imperialist plundering of the semi-colonies plays a very important role to the disadvantage of the so-called Third World and to the advantage of the imperialist monopolies.

 

25.          While, of course, specific pre-conditions which facilitated the development of capitalism existed already in Western Europe, the systematic plundering of the colonies in the 16th to 18th century played a huge role for the formation of capitalism – the phase of the primitive accumulation. It was the emergence of imperialism and the systematic exploitation of the South which hindered the latter from developing its productive forces in a similar way as it happened in Western Europe and the USA. This imperialist dominance led to a distorted economic development of the colonial world.

 

26.          Various centrist currents reject openly or by implication the Leninist Theory of Imperialism. What these centrist criticisms have in common is that they deny implicitly or explicitly the fundamental contradictions of the imperialist epoch of which the super-exploitation of the semi-colonial world by monopoly capital is one of the prime features. Related to this is their open or implied ignorance of the existence of the labor aristocracy as a top layer of the proletariat which is bribed by the monopolies. Centrism denies or ignores these essential features of imperialism because clear recognition of these would oblige them to openly struggle against all political, ideological and organizational currents related to the labor aristocracy. It would also oblige them to openly struggle against their own imperialist powers with all the consequences including defending all semi-colonies attacked by their imperialist power and calling for the defeat of the latter. Centrism is not capable of such a consistent internationalist position. The reason is that it reflects in one or another form a petty-bourgeois class viewpoint, or more precisely, the pressure of the labor bureaucracy and the labor aristocracy as well as the progressive intelligentsia which adapts to the capitalist class and its state. Therefore, they usually ignore the lower and oppressed strata of the proletariat. For the same reason they usually negate openly or secretively the need to smash the capitalist state and the necessary violent character of the armed uprising and the socialist revolution in general. This is why the Bolshevik Party wrote in its Programme of 1919 that “the ‘centrist’ movement is also a bourgeois distortion of socialism”.

 

27.          One of the essential pillars of the revisionist rejection of the Leninist Theory of Imperialism is their refusal to understand the so-called Third World countries as dependent semi-colonial nations. Organizations like the SWP/IST, the CWI, the IMT or the CMR/IMRT refuse to characterise the countries of the South as “semi-colonies”. They argue that the relationship between the imperialist states and the South has fundamentally changed since the times of Lenin and Trotsky so that their theoretical model is no longer accurate today. Some claim that Lenin and Trotsky only dealt with colonies, but not with formally independent semi-colonies. However, the founders of the Third and Fourth International not only wrote extensively about the semi-colonial countries but also emphasised that the semi-colonies, in essence, are similarly exploited and oppressed by imperialism as colonies are. Certainly, the form of super-exploitation changed but not the essence. In fact, given the capitalist industrialization of the South, the semi-colonies' global share of capitalist value production is growing and their super-exploitation by the imperialists is increasing.

 

28.          Centrists like the CWI, IMT or the SWP/IST claim that countries like Argentina or Iraq are not semi-colonies but “semi-industrialized capitalist countries” or even some form of imperialist country. Another category used by centrists for Southern countries like Turkey, Brazil, Iran and others is “sub-imperialist”. All these concepts are revisionist distortions of the central idea of the Third and the Fourth International’s concept to understand the imperialist world as divided in oppressor and oppressed nations based on a relationship of super-exploitation. They ignore that the so-called “sub-imperialist” countries are super-exploited by monopoly capital. They ignore that economic inequality between the imperialist and the semi-colonial countries, as well as super-exploitation, is today higher than any time before. Related to this, these centrists ignore the still existing national question of the semi-colonial countries caused by the imperialist subjugation.

 

29.          Many centrist groups like the CWI, IMT or the SWP/IST either openly reject or implicitly ignore the Leninist conception of the Labor Aristocracy. This is a major failure because the labour aristocracy is one of the most important social pillars of monopoly capital in the imperialist countries. It is the main social basis for reformism and the labour bureaucracy. Lenin, Trotsky and the Communist International were of the opinion that the economic basis of the labour aristocracy is the super-exploitation of these oppressed nations by the imperialist monopolies and the extra profits which monopoly capital can acquire by this. From these extra profits the monopolies can bribe the upper, aristocratic sectors of the working class and, particularly, the labour bureaucracy in the imperialist countries. Such ignorance by the centrists is often combined with an opportunistic overstatement of the progressive character of the labour aristocracy.

 

30.          Such tendencies are also often combined with an underestimation of the importance of the middle and lower strata of the working class and of the nationally oppressed layers. We call such an approach “Aristocratism”. It can lead to a denial of the systematic nature of national oppression and economic super-exploitation of the migrants in the imperialist countries (as it is the case with the left-centrist LFI). A much more reactionary conclusion, which resulted from a wrong understanding of the questions of the labor aristocracy and the character of the migrant’s oppression, was the shameful support of many British left-reformists and centrists – like the Stalinist CPB, the CWI, the IMT etc. – for the chauvinist strike “British Jobs for British Workers” in 2009. At that time British workers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery wanted to stop the hiring of migrant workers – a social-chauvinist campaign which Marxist revolutionaries correctly condemned sharply.

 

31.          One of the most important questions today is the emergence of China as a new imperialist power in the late 2000s. The main reasons for China’s successful development into an imperialist power were:

 

i) The continuing existence of a strong, centralized Stalinist bureaucracy which could suppress the working class and ensure its super-exploitation.

 

ii) The historic defeat of China’s working class in 1989 when the bureaucracy bloodily crushed the mass uprising at the Tiananmen Square and in the whole country.

 

iii) The decline of US imperialism which opened the space for new powers.

 

32.          This continuing existence of a strong, centralized Stalinist bureaucracy and the historic defeat of China’s working class in 1989 enabled the new capitalist ruling class to subjugate the majority of the massively growing proletariat to super-exploitation. Based on this, the capitalists – both Chinese and foreign – could extract a massive surplus value for capital accumulation. While foreign imperialist monopolies profited from this super-exploitation of the working class, it was the Chinese bourgeoisie that was the main beneficiary. As a result Chinese capital developed monopolies which play an important role not only on the domestic market but increasingly also on the world market. Today China’s monopolies are amongst the most important capital exporters. China is not only an emerging economic power, but also a political and military power. It already has the second biggest military budget. In addition it is the fifth biggest nuclear power and the sixth-biggest arms-exporting country.

 

33.          There should be no illusions about a peaceful settlement of the inner-imperialist rivalry of the Great Powers. An imperialist war between the great powers USA (and/or Japan) and China is increasingly becoming nearly unavoidable in the coming decade. Both powers need control over Eastern Asia which is central for world capitalist value production as well as trade. For this reason it is nearly inevitable that imperialist powers will try to influence and exploit conflicts and wars (e.g. conflicts in the South China (or East) Sea, Libya, Syria, Iran).

 

34.          The RCIT considers the USA as well as China as imperialist powers. In a military conflict between the two (or between Japan and China), we Bolshevik-Communists will reject taking the side of one of the two rivaling imperialist powers. It would be a war of the respective ruling classes to increase their hegemony and super-exploitation of the semi-colonial countries. The correct tactic in such a conflict therefore is the revolutionary defeatism where workers in both camps raise the slogan “The main enemy is at home” and strive to turn the imperialist war into a civil war against their own ruling class.

 

35.          In a conflict between an imperialist power and a semi-colonial country in the South China (or East) Sea, Marxists have to analyze every war concretely. They have to work out if the imperialist drive to subjugate a given (semi-)colonial nation is the dominant aspect in the war or if a national defense struggle is subordinated to a proxy war for an imperialist power. From this follows if the Bolshevik-Communists take a revolutionary defeatist or a revolutionary defensist position concerning the struggle of the (semi-)colonial nation.

 

36.          Trotsky’s concept of Permanent Revolution is based on the dialectical concept that the revolution can not be divided schematically into stages which are separated from each other. This does not mean that there are not different stages in the development of the revolution. This is, of course, the case. But in all stages of the revolution it is one and the same class which must lead the struggle in order to win the democratic as well as economic goals of the revolution: the working class. Naturally the working class must seek allies amongst the peasantry and the urban petty bourgeoisie. But it is the proletariat and only the proletariat which can lead the struggle to victory. From this follows that in all stages of the revolution the strategic goal is to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat and not power for any other class. While temporary blocs with sectors of the bourgeoisie can not be excluded it would criminal for the working class to subordinate its goals and interests in order not to wreck a potential alliance with such bourgeois forces. It would be even more criminal to support the taking power of power by bourgeois forces. Every sector of the semi-colonial bourgeoisie will look for a compromise with imperialism and betray the working class and the popular masses. The theory of permanent revolution assumes that if the revolution is not continued up to the socialist seizure of power, it will inevitably end with the victory of the ruling class and a counter-revolution. Similarly, the theory of Permanent Revolution considers that the revolution can not last victoriously in a single country (as Stalin claimed), but must be spread internationally. The modern economy, especially in the age of global capitalism, makes all countries dependent on the international exchange of goods, technology and knowledge. Moreover, sooner or later the imperialist powers would not tolerate a victorious revolution in a single country. Marxists therefore support the strategy of permanent revolution not because it is more radical or "exciting", but because it represents the only realistic way to overcome the capitalist system and establish a truly socialist society. The Program of Permanent Revolution in the semi-colonial countries contains numerous social, democratic and anti-imperialist demands and combines them with the question of power. This can be seen in the RCIT Program.

 

37.          The epoch of imperialism is an epoch of enormous sharpening of contradictions between the classes and states. This is why it is an epoch which is marked by conflicts – including wars – between imperialist powers and semi-colonial countries and also between rivalling imperialist powers. However, Marxists don’t put all wars in the same box. There are wars and there are wars. There are wars between rival oppressors and there are wars between oppressors and oppressed. Hence, there are reactionary, unjust wars and progressive, just wars.

 

38.          Marxists are therefore never against war in principle but distinguish between wars which serve the interests of the oppressed classes and those which only serve the ruling classes. Wars between imperialist ruling classes or between reactionary ruling classes pursuing their anti-people interests are reactionary, unjust wars. The working class must oppose both camps and fight for the transformation of the imperialist war into a revolutionary civil war against the ruling classes. In wars between imperialist ruling classes and semi-colonial people or between reactionary ruling classes and oppressed classes or nationalities, such wars are unjust from the point of view of the imperialist/reactionary camp, but are just wars from the point of view of the semi-colonial and oppressed people’s camp.

 

39.          Based on these principles, Marxists took a defeatist position in World War I in both imperialist camps. During World War II, the Marxists – in the person of Trotsky and the Fourth International – took a similar position in the war between imperialist Germany and Japan on one hand and imperialist Britain, France and USA on the other hand. (In regard to the war between imperialist Germany and the degenerated workers state, the USSR, as well as the Chinese war against Japan or the Uprising in India against British imperialism, the Fourth International called for the defense of the non-imperialist camp.) Equally, Marxists would take such a position of revolutionary defeatism on both sides were there a war between imperialist Japan and/or USA on one side and imperialist China on the other side.

 

40.          The revolutionary workers movement has a strong tradition of anti-imperialism. For example, the Communist International and the French Communist Party rallied their forces in the 1920s in support for the Riffians' struggle until “Moroccan soil was completely liberated” from both Spanish and French imperialists. Leon Trotsky and the Fourth International continued this revolutionary anti-imperialism. They supported the struggle of the Chinese people against Japanese imperialism in the 1930s and 1940s despite the fact that it was led by the reactionary general Chiang Kai-shek. In the last decades revolutionaries continued to uphold such a consistent Marxist anti-imperialism. In the war between semi-colonial Argentina and British imperialism on the Malvinas islands in 1982, we called for the defeat of British imperialism and the victory of Argentina, without giving any political support for the reactionary military dictatorship in Buenos Aires. In the Gulf Wars in 1991 and 2003 we Bolshevik-Communists called for the defense of Iraq against the imperialist attack without giving any political support to the Saddam Hussein regime. Similarly, we stand on the side of the Afghan resistance against the imperialist occupiers since 2001 despite being led by the reactionary Taliban forces. Similarly, we supported the Hezbollah-led resistance in Lebanon in 2006 and the Hamas-led resistance in Gaza in 2008/09 and 2012 against Israel. We also call for the defeat of the French and EU military forces in Mali and for the military victory of the Islamist rebels.

 

41.          We reject the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine because it can only exist as long as the expulsion of the Palestinians continues to exist. Hence we reject a "two-state solution". This would deny the Palestinians the right of return to their homeland. Likewise, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza only would be reduced to a Bantustan, a dependent de-facto colony of the much richer and more powerful Israel. The State of Israel must be destroyed and be replaced by a secular, workers' and peasant republic in the whole of Palestine – from the river to the sea. In this state, the Palestinians and all those Jews, who accept the elimination of their privileges in the apartheid state of Israel, can live together equally and peacefully.

 

42.          The basis of revolutionary anti-imperialism is the struggle for class independence of the proletariat from all petty-bourgeois and bourgeois influence and domination. For this it is necessary to fight with the masses against all their present-day leaders who serve the ruling class in one way or another. These misleaders can be the stooges of the bourgeoisie within the ranks of the workers movement – i.e. the reformist bureaucracy in the trade unions, in social democratic, ex-Stalinist and Stalinist parties. In the semi-colonial world these misleaders are often open petty-bourgeois or bourgeois forces (nationalists, Islamists etc.). Such a struggle for class independence includes the application of the united front tactic. Revolutionaries take into account that the masses still have illusions in non-revolutionary forces. When the revolutionaries advocate calls to advance the class struggle – with the formation of action councils, mass demonstrations, occupations, strikes, general strikes etc. – they direct these calls not only to the broad masses of the workers but also to the mass organizations of the class (including their leaderships). The leadership of these organizations must be actively addressed for joint actions. Given the extreme minority status of the revolutionary forces, they must seek to participate in mass struggles led by reformists and intervene in these struggles with practical initiatives, a sharp and independent propaganda profile including explaining and warning of the treacherous role of the non-revolutionary leaderships and by putting demands on these leaderships. In doing this the revolutionaries must not give the impression that they themselves believe in the good intentions of the reformist leaders, but that they want to help the masses to make their own experience. The goal of such a united front tactic, as it was developed by the Communist International under Lenin and Trotsky, is to break the influence of the non-revolutionary forces amongst the masses and to rally them under the leadership of a Bolshevik party.

 

43.          In the semi-colonial countries this approach also includes the anti-imperialist united front tactic. This tactic usually focuses on the terrain of minimum or democratic demands – like the struggle against imperialist domination, for national independence and unity, for democracy and democratic rights, against the domination of the domestic industries and markets by imperialist monopolies, etc. Revolutionaries seek to draw into such a united front not only the workers' organizations but also those of the petit-bourgeoisie (the peasantry, the small urban property holders, the professionals etc.) and even sections of the national bourgeoisie itself, where ever the latter is compelled to resist imperialism by the pressure of the masses. We have, however, no illusions that such sections of the bourgeoisie will consistently fight for any democratic goals – as the labor bureaucracy will not fight consistently for any working class demand.

 

44.          It happens repeatedly that imperialist powers try to interfere in national or democratic liberation struggles in the semi-colonial world. While sectarian “anti-imperialists” mechanistically always make a minus where the bourgeoisie in their country makes a plus, the Marxists approach such wars and uprisings from an internationalist and independent working class perspective. We support those uprisings and civil wars which are favorable for the advance of the working class struggle, organizations and consciousness. We fight against those forces whose triumph is a direct and immediate threat for the working class struggle. For the same reason we oppose all forms of imperialist attack since the strengthening of imperialism automatically means a disadvantage for the working class. This leads necessarily to the application of a combined, dialectical approach of military tactics. In World War Two we could already see this when the Fourth International had to combine defensist and defeatist tactics. Such combined, dual military tactics also had to be applied in the Bosnia War 1992-95 or the Kosova War 1999. It is even more important today (Libya 2011, Syria) and will be so in the future. Given the increasing inner-imperialist rivalry – particularly if one takes the rise of emerging Chinese imperialism into account – we will see more and more cases where imperialist forces try to interfere and exploit civil wars in the semi-colonial world.

 

45.          The Stalinist and ex-Stalinist parties in Europe – most of them are united in the European Left Party (ELP) – played a double role in imperialist wars in the past decades. On one hand they participated in the anti-war movement in order to raise their profile but also to spread pacifist ideas and to contain anti-imperialist voices. However, while many rank and file members of these parties honestly participated in these anti-war activities, the leaders of the Communist Parties had a different and cynical calculation. For them anti-war activities were manoeuvres to boost their weight in the bourgeois political establishment. Where they could enter the capitalist government, they became active supporters of the imperialist war on terror. For example, the Parti Communiste Français (PCF) was part of the Jospin government in France 1997-2002 which actively participated in the NATO wars against Serbia in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2001. In Italy the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista of Fausto Bertinotti joined the neoliberal government of Prodi and supported the Italian participation in the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan. Such is the “principled opposition” of the “Communist” Parties against imperialist wars and occupations. It is only logical that they collaborated and praised the Iraqi Communist Party, which supported the US occupation of Iraq. It is also no accident that the PCF and the Front de Gauche of Jean-Luc Mélenchonsupport the French military intervention in Mali since January 2013.

 

46.          Another example of the social-imperialist policy of the European Left Party is their position on the Zionist Apartheid state Israel. In their official statements they naturally oppose war and occupation. But they support – in classic Stalinist tradition – the existence of the colonial settler state Israel and endorse a Palestinian state only in the West Bank and Gaza alongside of the much more powerful and richer Israel. The ELP’s recognition of the Apartheid state Israel’s “right to exist” leads it to a refusal to support the Palestinian resistance. Worse, important ELP parties like the German LINKE repeatedly state that they are in “Solidarity with Israel”. They forbid their members of parliament to even support a boycott campaign against Israel or to participate in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

 

47.          What nearly all centrists in the imperialist countries have in common is a platonic “Anti-Imperialism”. This means a social-pacifist or even social-imperialist capitulation to the pressure of their imperialist bourgeoisie transmitted via the labour bureaucracy and the left-liberal intelligentsia – covered by a formal opposition to imperialism and wars in words. They adapt to the imperialist pressure of their own bourgeoisie by failing to call and work for the defeat of their own ruling class, by failing to call and work for the victory of the oppressed people in the semi-colonial world against their own imperialism.

 

48.          Usually, the centrist justify their failure in defending the semi-colonial people by referring to the bourgeois, reactionary or even dictatorial nature of the regime in these countries respectively the leadership of such resistance movements (e.g. Islamists). Thus they ignore that the attitude of Marxist revolutionaries towards a war must not be derived from superficial appearances on the level of the political superstructure but must instead focus on the objective character of the classes involved. It is important but not decisive for the formulation of the correct revolutionary tactic, if a given regime has a more democratic or a more fascistic character, if it is religious or secular, if it uses a more progressive rhetoric or not – what is decisive is its class character, i.e. which classes does it rest on and the which classes do its action serve and respectively strike against.

 

49.          The Malvinas War in 1982 between British imperialism and semi-colonial Argentina showed the inability of the major forces of centrism in Britain (like the CWI or the SWP/IST) to call for the defeat of their own ruling class and for the military victory of Argentina. Instead they either took a neutral position or even supported the “right of national self-determination” of the 1,800 British colonial settlers on the Malvinas. Similarly, these organizations took a neutral, social-pacifist position during the imperialist attack on Iraq in 1991. The CWI openly continued such a social-pacifist position since the beginning of the imperialist “War on Terror”. Their leaders explicitly rejected any support for the military struggle of the people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Mali under the leadership of petty-bourgeois Islamist forces. Their political adaption to the labor bureaucracy in the imperialist heartlands even goes so far that they advertise a program of “Socialist Zionism”: they refuse to call for the smashing of the Israeli settler state and instead call for “a socialist Palestine side-on-side with a socialist Israel”.

 

50.          The opportunism of the SWP/IST expressed itself in its combination of a platonic anti-imperialism (i.e. half-heartily opposing the imperialist war without calling for the victory of the military resistance of the oppressed people) with a popular-frontist alliance with the Muslim small bourgeoisie in Britain where they formed the RESPECT party during the 2000s. In Germany, their opportunism even goes so far that they have integrated themselves into the LINKE party bureaucracy. They have a number of positions in the regional and central leadership and in the parliamentary apparatus as well as two deputies in the federal parliament – Christine Buchholz and Nicole Gohlke. These deputies subordinate themselves to the pro-Zionist decisions of the LINKE leadership mentioned above and don’t even dare to vote against them inside the party leadership.

 

51.          The CMR/IRMT group supports a formally “left-wing” version of such a centrist platonic anti-imperialism. They claim that conflicts between imperialism and semi-colonies are about an “abstract question of territorial integrity”. They deny that there exists a national question. They wrongly counter-pose class issues and democratic issues as if the working class has no interest in tackling the democratic questions! Based on their denial of an exploitive and oppressive relationship between the imperialist and the semi-colonial countries, the CMR/IRMT justifies their refusal to defend the semi-colonial countries against imperialist attacks. Not surprisingly, they collaborate closely with such extreme right-wing centrist forces like the British AWL whose historic leader, Sean Matgamna, publicly stated that one could hardly criticise the arch-reactionary Zionist Apartheid state Israel if it would attack Iran!

 

52.          The perspectives of the imperialist subjugation of the semi-colonial world and the class struggle have to be seen in the context of the world historic period we are in. 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: the political revolution in the Stalinist states were defeated and turned into democratic counter-revolutions and the restoration of capitalism. But already at the beginning of the 2000s, the contradictions of capitalist globalisation and imperialist war against terror led to a growing global political destabilisation. There was a pre-revolutionary development that eventually turned in the late 2000s into a new world historic revolutionary period. The current crisis is therefore not a coincidence, but a lawful necessity of doomed capitalism. The vulnerability of capitalism to crisis has turned into its open decline.

 

53.          We consider the present period as one of a historic crisis of the capitalist system. It is a period where the inner contradictions of this system are posed in such a sharp way that they unavoidably provoke pre-revolutionary and revolutionary as well as counter-revolutionary situations. In other words, the aggravation of the class contradictions will pose the question of power – which class rules in the society – more often than in the past periods. The present period is therefore one in which the destruction of capitalism and the historical leap forward towards socialism is on the agenda. Even bourgeois strategists foresee an increasingly unstable world in which the economic contradictions sharpen, in which the US’s hegemony declines while imperialist China is rising and where, hence, political and military conflict increase (See e.g. US’s National Intelligence Council recent report “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds”.)

 

54.          In the next decades capitalist value production and the working class will grow rather in the South than in the North. According to a recent Hays/Oxford Economics Report the global labor force is expected to grow by 932 million workers between 2010 and 2030. While the labor force in the old imperialist countries will stagnate, all of the labor force growth is expected to come from the South. Interestingly, China will not play a significant role in this growth but rather it will be in other countries of the South. The ten countries in which the biggest increase of workers is forecasted are: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Congo, Philippines, Egypt and Tanzania. This means that the central weight of the working class will be shifted even more to the South than it already is. A World Bank Report from 2007 forecasts that by 2030 out of a global labor force of 4.144 million, 3.684 million (or 88.9%) will work in the South and only 459 million (or 11.1%) in the old imperialist countries. The labor aristocracy will only form a small part amongst the world working class. In 2030 about 85.6% of the global labor forces are forecasted to be unskilled. If we bear in mind that the labor aristocracy is again only a minority amongst the skilled workers, it becomes obvious that this bribed, privileged layer will be only a very small minority amongst the future proletariat. However, as long as the revolutionary workers vanguard does not successfully push back the bureaucracy and the aristocratic elements, the labor aristocracy will still have substantial influence inside the official workers movement.

 

55.          As a result from this growth of value producers in the South, capitalist value production will shift to the South too. We do not only think about China, but also other countries like India, Brazil and those capitalist semi-colonies which Goldman Sachs calls the “Next Eleven”: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam.

 

56.          Given this further shift of capitalist value producers and value production to the South, the imperialist monopolies – the multinational corporations, the financial institutions etc. – will become even more dependent on appropriating a substantial share of surplus from the semi-colonial world. In other words, to stem the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, the monopolies must increase their super-exploitation of the South.

 

57.          The single most important world’s region which will gain in importance is Asia. This is not only for the obvious fact that it is the most populous continent but also because it is the continent with the most significant growth in capitalist value production as well as labor forces. A reflection of this development is the fact that 25% of the world's crude and half the world's merchant tonnage currently pass through the waters of the South China Sea alone. Additionally, it is the continent which saw the emergence of a new imperialist power – China. Therefore, the old imperialist powers all increasingly focus their attention to increase their influence in Asia and to counter the rise of China. Japanese imperialism will increase its military expenditures in the future in order to stop China’s growth as a power and to defeat relatively independent states like North Korea.

 

58.          The second most important region is the Middle East and North Africa. The main reasons are on one hand that this region is home to 3/5 of the world-wide oil reserves and more than 2/5 of the world-wide gas reserves. In addition 4 of the 6 biggest oil exporters are from this region. Naturally neither the region’s reserves nor the imperialists desire to get access to them will change in the foreseeable future. At the same time the region is also home to a growing and young proletariat which started the Arab Revolution in spring 2011. Despite the unfinished character of the revolution and the various setbacks, the working class and the poor have already experienced their power to overthrow ruling dictatorships. This is an experience which no one can rob them and on which they will build for their future struggles.

 

59.          Another important feature will be the rising importance of super-exploited migrant workers for the imperialist economies in Western Europe, North America and Australia. Given the stagnation of capital accumulation in these countries as well as the superannuation of the native population, the only possibility for the monopoly capitalists to get new, young and cheap labor forces are additional imports of migrants. The consequences of these developments will be a growing multinational composition of the working class in the imperialist countries and an increasing influence of non-aristocratic layers who are coming from the South and who face additional oppression. The mass demonstrations of Latino migrant workers on May Day in the USA and the prominent role of migrant workers and youth in the anti-war mobilizations in Europe are an indication of the future important and progressive role of migrant workers in the class struggle.

 

60.          At the same time we also have to expect growing racist and social-chauvinist tendencies by bourgeois forces in the imperialist countries – including by the labor bureaucracy and their shrinking aristocratic basis inside the workers movement. These forms of chauvinism include, of course, the open reactionary right-wing racism which praises the superiority of their own nation or of the “white race”. It also includes the finely woven forms of liberal chauvinism which praises the superiority of the imperialist “democratic” aristocratic civilization and the liberal values which have to be taught to the “backward” migrants “in the interest of their own enlightenment”. Islamophobia is one of the results of this bourgeois-liberal current. Increasing calls for immigration control and discrimination of migrants at the domestic labor market will be another result. The program of the Bolsheviks-Communists – struggle for complete equality and self-determination on all levels, against any privileges and aristocratism in the domestic workers movement, for revolutionary integration – will therefore become even more important in the coming period.

 

61.          What will be the result of the developments that the capitalist world economy is in decline, the value production increasingly shifts to the South and therefore the imperialist Great Powers not only increase their rivalry but also become increasingly dependent on the capitalist production and the raw materials from the South? The only possible conclusion from this is an intensification of the tendencies we already saw in the last decade: more imperialist interventions and wars in the South as well as an increasing rivalry between the Great Powers leading to more armament. These two tendencies are related to each other. Faced with their decline each imperialist Great Power – the USA, Germany/France/EU, China, Russia and Japan – have to struggle more to increase or even just to keep their share in the world market as well as their place in the world political hierarchy. This is why they are forced to be even more aggressive against each other and against the semi-colonial countries. This is why the “war against terror” – or whatever will be the code name for imperialist aggression – will continue. It will however continue not only from the side of the USA, but increasingly also by the other Great Powers.

 

62.          The consistent anti-imperialist struggle – supporting a military victory of the semi-colonial country and calling for the defeat of the imperialist power on the basis of a socialist program for class independence – will be of decisive importance in the coming period. In conflicts between imperialist powers – as we see it in East Asia between Japan and China (and at some point unavoidably also the U.S.) – Bolshevik-Communists will stand for revolutionary defeatism on both sides, i.e. call for the defeat of both sides and for the transformation of the imperialist war into a civil war. This will be probably be very contentious in the workers movement since many Stalinist, Bolivarians and centrists look to imperialist China as a progressive alternative to Western imperialism and will support it in such conflicts.

 

63.          Given the dramatic decline of the USA, the rise of China (and to a certain degree Russia) and the strong will (and lesser unified ability) of the European Union to play a growing global role, there will be more conflicts and wars in the semi-colonial world where Great Powers support – veiled or openly – different sides. While such conflicts can degenerate into proxy wars, this will often not be the case. The revolutionary civil wars of the Libyan and Syrian popular masses since 2011 against reactionary dictatorships are examples of conflicts where imperialist powers supported different sides (or even had a limited military intervention like in Libya 2011). This, however, does not rob the rebellions of their character as authentic democratic revolutions. It will be an important task for revolutionaries to analyze each such conflict concretely and intervene with a correct revolutionary tactic. The dual military tactic in cases of limited imperialist interventions – where revolutionaries continue to support the progressive side in a given war but oppose sharply the intervention of imperialist powers on their side – will be an important instrument in such cases.

 

64.          It is however necessary to fully understand the contradictory nature of these developments. The world capitalist production’s shift to the South forces the imperialists to increase their reactionary drive to subjugate the semi-colonial countries. This is why we can speak about a tendency towards colonialization. In order to stabilize economic exploitation in a period of growing instability, the imperialists must enforce their control over the semi-colonies via political and military means. They must put the gun to the heads of the semi-colonies. (e.g. the US occupation wars in Afghanistan and Iraq). However, at the same time there is also another, contrary, tendency: The combination of the shift of the capitalist production to the South and the increasing rivalry between the Great Powers has the effect that they allow the bourgeoisie in the semi-colonial countries a certain room to maneuver. The bourgeoisie of a given semi-colonial country can look for support from Great Power B if Great Power A puts more pressure on it. We have already seen in the past years that various Latin American and African countries have looked increasingly for trade agreements and foreign direct investments from China to counter the pressure from the USA. These two tendencies might look to some as a formal contradiction. But in reality it is a dialectical contradiction, born out of the essence of the contradictions in imperialist capitalism itself. They are just two sides of the same coin. The imperialists are forced – because of the economic shift to the South and the increasing rivalry between themselves – to increase their attempts for more subjugation of the semi-colonies. But the same shift leads to a contrary dynamic – more room to maneuver for the semi-colonial bourgeoisie. These contradictory tendencies will lead towards more zigzags, sharp turns and massive instability in the relationship between the imperialist and the semi-colonial countries.

 

65.          We have outlined that the massive amount of accumulated capital, the development of the productive forces, etc. requires a world market, which is the reason for globalization. A retreat to relative isolation – as there was such a tendency amongst the US ruling class in the 1920s and 1930 – is impossible today. However, the same process of globalization which creates improved conditions for profits and extra-profit also creates at the same time enormous contradictions and crisis. Furthermore, capitalism rests – and will rest as long as it exists – on national states. Without them the capitalist ruling classes can neither organise their domestic basis for exploitation nor posses a strong arm for support on the world market. The increasing rivalry between the Great Powers is undermining this globalization. The monopolies need a market as big as possible. But at the same time they need absolute dominance, unrestricted access for themselves but maximum possible restriction for their competitors. As a result there will be a tendency towards forms of protectionism and regionalisation. Each Great Power will try to form a regional bloc around it and restrict access for the other Powers. By definition, this must result in numerous conflicts and eventual wars.

 

66.          In the semi-colonial world, these global developments could lead to situations where the ruling class of a given semi-colonial country restricts the imports or foreign investment from this or that imperialist country. The nationalization of companies of the Spanish oil multinational corporation Repsol in Argentina under the bourgeois Peronist government of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in 2012 is an example for this. Revolutionary Marxists differentiate between the class character of imperialist and semi-colonial countries and hence between the imperialist and the semi-colonial bourgeoisie. This has important consequences for Marxists in the case of conflicts including wars between the two, as we have demonstrated. Such a differentiation is therefore also necessary in the case of protectionist measures. Bolshevik-Communists strongly oppose any form of protectionist measures (including for migrant labor forces!) by the imperialist ruling class. This is particularly true for the massive import restrictions for goods from semi-colonial countries (e.g. in the agricultural sector). On the other hand, we support import control of commodities from and nationalization of imperialist companies by the ruling class of semi-colonial countries. Of course, such a support by the workers movement must be critical for two reasons: first the semi-colonial bourgeoisie will try to utilize such steps as much as possible for their own interests and not for the working class. And, secondly, we strongly reject the bourgeois-reformist illusions that a capitalist semi-colonial country could prosper for any longer period outside of the world market.

 

67.          Nevertheless we support such steps because, first, they weaken the main enemy of the oppressed people – the imperialist powers. This in turn is not only important for the proletariat in the South, but also for the workers in the imperialist countries themselves. And, secondly, they imply the potential for struggles against imperialism which the working class in the semi-colonies can utilize to strengthen its independent organizations, to strengthen its links with allied petty-bourgeois classes and layers and, finally, to turn in a better, more powerful position against its own domestic bourgeoisie.

 

68.          The decline of the world economy, the sharp and abrupt changes, the political and military crisis, etc. – all this will unavoidably provoke massive class struggles on a global scale. However, these struggles can only lead to a lasting solution if they culminate in a world-wide socialist revolution. The working class will learn in the coming struggles and gain massive experience. However, there are huge obstacles for the working class struggle. The biggest obstacles of all are the corrupt labor bureaucracies, the reactionary clerical leaders and the bourgeois-populist parties. In addition to this the vanguard of the working class is faced with various forms of revisionist concepts which sound revolutionary but, in reality, are just centrist distortions of authentic Marxism. In this context, the application of the united front tactic, including the anti-imperialist united front tactic, towards these manifold bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaderships will be of central importance in order to break the workers away from these misleaderships.

 

69.          The working class can not arrive spontaneously at a revolutionary consciousness. To transmit the revolutionary program into the working class and to fight against the treacherous leaderships, a communist organization is the necessary pre-condition. Such a communist combat organization is the collective of revolutionary workers and those coming from other classes, but who break with their class origins and dedicate themselves completely to the struggle for working class liberation. The RCIT is dedicated to build a revolutionary International which understands the programmatic and practical lessons of the new historic period. Such a new International must fight for a Transitional Program which combines daily economic demands and the issues of democratic and national liberation with the strategy for working class power in the enterprises and the state.

 

70.          The RCIT summarized the lessons of the class struggles and the political developments in the past decades in its programme “The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto”. Based on this program we are fighting for the formation of a revolutionary Fifth Workers International. We know that success or failure to build such a revolutionary combat party will decide the fate of humanity. We want to fight together for this goal with all revolutionary-minded workers and activists. Join us in this struggle! Join the RCIT!

 

 

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