World Perspectives 2016: Chapter IV.3. Counterrevolutionary Offensive: Imperialist Wars Abroad – Repression and Racism Within

Note of the Editorial Board: The following document is an extensive study of the present state of the world economy and the global class struggle. It contains 55 figures, 9 tables and one diagram. The figures can only be viewed in the pdf version of the document here for technical reasons.

 

 

 

 

80.          In several documents released in the recent months, the RCIT has analyzed the accelerating drive towards war of the imperialist states – particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. We have pointed out the intensification of the imperialists’ military intervention in the South: the US, UK and France in Iraq, the same plus Germany and Russia in Syria, the US in Afghanistan and France and now Germany too in Mali. We have analyzed the close relationship between increased militarization abroad and the increasing repression and chauvinism within Europe. In particular, we want to draw attention to our document from early December 2015 “Increasing Instability and Militarization in the European Union.[1] Hence, here we limit ourselves to quoting from our summarizing theses in the latter document:

 

“The last few months have inaugurated a new political phase in Europe of increasing disequilibrium, one characterized by accelerating political and social polarization between the classes around the issues of: (i) refugees and racism, (ii) imperialist wars and terrorism, and (iii) the neo-liberal governmental policy of austerity. This political phase is marked by an anti-democratic impetus in the direction of increasing chauvinism and militarism by certain sectors of the ruling class which manifests itself both in domestic repression and foreign policy. However, there is both mass resistance against this trend as well as divisions within the bourgeoisie on specific issues. Hence, we characterize this new phase as an ‘interim phase.’

 

“The background for the accelerating political and social class polarization inside the EU are a number of crucial developments which have intensified the political crisis of capitalism in 2015:

 

i) The continuation of economic stagnation and the approach of yet another great recession in the near future;

 

ii) The intensification of the political crisis of the ruling class as reflected in the strengthening of forces outside of the bourgeois mainstream – both of right-wing racist forces (Le Pen in France, Lega Nord in Italy, Strache in Austria, AfD in Germany, PiS in Poland) as well as left-reformist and left-populist formations (Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, Bloco de Esquerda and PCP in Portugal, SYRIZA in Greece, Podemos in Spain);

 

iii) The arrival in Europe of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and other places, fleeing war and hunger, has brought the consequences of the misery caused by the imperialist world (dis)order back home to the perpetrators;

 

iv) The destabilizing effects of the Syrian civil war as well those of other wars on dictatorships (Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, etc.) throughout the entire region of the Maghreb and Mashreq (North Africa and Middle East) has increasingly been undermining the conditions necessary for the profitable exploitation of these regions by imperialist monopoly capital; [2]

 

v) The accelerating rivalry between the Great Powers reflected in the intensified military intervention of Russian as well as French and British imperialism in Syria;

 

vi) The terrorist attack of Daesh in Paris on 13 November – a barbarous act against workers and youth which socialists unequivocally condemn – has demonstrated that Europe cannot escape the consequences of the civil wars in the Middle East; [3]

 

vii) The ever-deepening alienation of significant sectors of Europe’s population – in particular migrants and progressive sectors of the working class – from the ruling class’ political system. This has been reflected in broad-based opposition to the bourgeoisie’s austerity policy (Portugal’s election, OXI in Greece, mass support for Corbyn in UK), the spontaneous mass solidarity with the refugees as well as the rejection of Islamophobia by broad sectors of the popular masses. The mass pro-refugee movement is of particular importance, since it emerged completely spontaneously and independent of any bourgeois party.

 

“These contradictory developments culminated in the autumn of 2015 with the Paris attacks which symbolically ushered in a new political phase for Europe. These developments have provoked splits and divisions among the ruling classes in Europe. As we indicated above, the characteristic element of the present phase is a drive of the European bourgeoisie towards increasing repression and expansion of the repressive state apparatus and towards more military interventions in the Maghreb and Mashreq. However, at the same time the ruling class is not at all certain, and certainly not united about the future course to be taken. It is even more divided on the question of how to deal with the refugees reaching Europe.

 

“These developments and the confusion of the ruling bourgeoisie classes about how to deal with them go hand in hand with a process of polarization, politization and mobilization of substantial sectors of the popular masses. While some are rallying behind racist parties, others are becoming more politically conscious, adopting anti-racist and anti-imperialist convictions. Consequently, the political phase which was opened in the autumn of 2015 will be characterized by political instability and sharp political confrontations. This being the case, it is incumbent upon Socialists to mobilize the workers’ movement and all organizations of the oppressed and rally them against the intensifying attacks on democratic rights. Most importantly, this is both vital and possible because the current leaderships of the working movement and migrant organizations – mostly reformists or petty-bourgeois nationalists and Islamists – are undermining the struggle or openly betraying it. Therefore, the Bolshevik-Communists of the RCIT declare that the crucial task before us remains to advance the formation of a revolutionary leadership, i.e., the founding of new revolutionary parties on the respective national levels as well as the establishment of a new Workers’ International.

 

81.          At this point we only want to add the following remark. We re-emphasize our thesis of the strategic dilemma for the European bourgeoisie: on the one hand, a sector of monopoly capital is aware that they need migrants and refugees since the latter – mostly relatively young and male – are a welcome source of cheap labor that can enable the capitalists to increase their depressed rate of profit. On the other hand, another sector of the ruling class wants to seriously reduce the flow of refugees or even entirely stop it since it wants to use chauvinism in order to split and distract the working class as well as because it fears the politically destabilizing effects of the refugees’ presence. The recent racist hysteria in Germany and other European countries after the events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve strongly underlined the latter tendency. [4] At the same time, various think tanks of the monopoly capitalists emphasize the need for more migrants and refugees as labor force. The Bank of England recently published a study which concluded that the reduction of the size of the labor force might be the most important factor for a decline of economic growth until the year 2050 (see Figure 48). The McKinsey Global Institute reaches similar conclusions, forecasting a decline from 1.7% to 0.3% in per annum growth in employment for the 20 most important imperialist and semi-colonial countries over the next 50 years. [5] The declining rate of growth of the working-age population is certainly not the cause for capitalism’s stagnation from a Marxist point of view; rather such predictions of the bourgeoisie primarily reflect the desire of the capitalists to counter the falling rate of profit by raising absolute surplus value via cheaper migrant labor forces.

 

Figure 48. Growth of Global Population and Labor Supply 1960–2050 (in percent) [6]

 

82.          Finally, the advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the looming collapse of the pro-imperialist collaborationist government underline the failure of the US/NATO occupation. After one and a half decades of war and occupation, the imperialists have not succeeded in pacifying the country. Instead rather face the same forces, which they drove from power, returning amid widespread popular support.

 



[1] RCIT: Increasing Instability and Militarization in the European Union. On the Tasks of Revolutionaries in the New Political Phase which has Opened in Europe after the Terrorist Attack in Paris, 08.12.2015, in: Revolutionary Communism, No. 45, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/militarism-in-eu/. For the RCIT’s statement on terrorist attack in Paris see: RCIT: Terror in Paris is the Result of Imperialist Terror in the Middle East! Stop France’s and other Imperialist Powers’ Warmongering! No Mobilization of the Army inside France! Defend the Muslim Peoples against Chauvinist Hatemongering and State Repression! 14.11.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/terror-in-paris/; Almedina Gunić: Nach den Verhaftungen von Öko-Aktivisten in Frankreich: Stoppt endlich den Ausnahmezustand! 3.12.2015, http://www.rkob.net/international/europa/fr-cop21/; For the RCIT’s latest statement on Syria and Mali see:

RCIT Britain: Britain: Stop Cameron’s War Drive against the Syrian People! Against US, Russia’s and France’s Military Intervention! Down with the Assad Dictatorship! Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution! Expel All Pro-War Labour MP’s from the Party! 2.12.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-war-in-syria/; RCIT Germany: Deutschland: Stoppt die Entsendung von Bundeswehr-Soldaten nach Mali! Nein zur Unterstützung für Hollandes Kriegspolitik! Solidarität mit dem Widerstand gegen die Besatzer! Keine Bundeswehr-Einheiten nach Syrien und Irak! 27.11.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/home/deutsch/bundeswehr-nach-mali/; RCIT: Great Powers Aim to Liquidate the Syrian Revolution! Mobilize for International Solidarity with the Syrian Liberation Struggle against the Assad Dictatorship! Stop the US, Russian and French Air Strikes! No to Daesh/IS-Terrorism! 18.11.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/great-powers-syria/; RCIT: Defend the Syrian Revolution against Russian Imperialism! Stop the US, UK and French Air Strikes! Smash the Assad Dictatorship! 9.10.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-syria-against-russia/; See also the statements of the RCIT on the refugee “crisis” in 2015: RCIT: Throw Open the Gates of Europe to Refugees! Long live International Solidarity of the Workers and Poor! Down with the Imperialist Fortress EU! Advance the Arab Revolution to Build Workers and Peasant Republics! 15.9.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/refugees-are-welcome/; RCIT: Europe / North Africa: Storm the Gates of Rome! Open Borders for Refugees! Stop the Imperialist EU-War against Refugees! No to the Preparations for an Imperialist Aggression against Libya! 22.5.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/eu-war-against-refugees/

[2] It is hardly surprising that most imperialist think tanks rank the political instability in the Middle East as the biggest immediate concern for the U.S. See e.g. Uri Friedman: The Global Conflicts to Watch in 2016. Concerns about the Middle East, and especially Syria, have displaced other threats, The Atlantic, Center for Preventive Action / Council on Foreign Relations, December 18, 2015, http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2015/12/global-conflicts-watch-2016/124608/?oref=d-skybox

[3] The Atlantic Council, a think tank close to the US administration, gives a voice to the growing fear of the ruling class against unrest and uprisings from the workers and oppressed. It has recently published a fictional booklet which speculates about a future world where, in the year 2049, the “Federation Alliance of Socialist, Communist, and Islamic State Members (F.A.S.C.I.S.M.)”[sic] organizes terrorist attacks against the citizens of the freedom-loving U.S.! (August Cole (Ed.): War Stories from the Future, The Atlantic Council Art of Future Warfare Project, 2015, p. 70)

[4] See on this Almedina Gunić: Deutschland: Köln – Heuchler der Stunde. Über die sexuellen Übergriffe zu Silvester und die darauffolgende Welle an Rassismus und Sexismus, 9.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/home/deutsch/koeln-heuchelei/

[5] McKinsey Global Institute: Global growth: Can productivity save the day in an aging world? January 2015, p. 34

[6] Lukasz Rachel and Thomas D Smith: Secular drivers of the global real interest rate, Bank of England, Staff Working Paper No. 571, December 2015, p.14