World Perspectives 2021-22: Entering a Pre-Revolutionary Global Situation

Theses of the International Executive Committee of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 22 August 2021, www.thecommunists.net

 

Note of the Editorial Board: The following document contains 11 tables and 2 figures . The figures can only be viewed in the pdf version of the document below for technical reasons.

 

 

Download
RevCom_NS#61 (WP 2021-22)_WEB.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.1 MB

 

 

 

Contents

 

 

 

Introduction

 

I.             Great Depression, its Genesis and its Relevance for the COVID Counterrevolution

 

II.           Peculiar Features of the Crisis and Prospects of the Capitalist World Economy

 

III.          Acceleration of the Cold War between the Imperialist Great Powers

 

IV.          The COVID Counterrevolution Enters a New Phase

 

V.           A New Global Wave of Mass Struggles

 

VI.          Entering a Pre-Revolutionary World Situation of Accelerating Polarization between Classes and States

 

 

 

List of Tables and Figures

 

Table 1. World Industrial Production Volume, Percentage Changes (2018-2020)

 

Table 2. World Merchandise Trade, Percentage Changes (2018-2020)

 

Table 3. The Beginning of the Great Depression: World Trade and Industrial Production from March 2019 to May 2020 (Month-by-Month)

 

Table 4. China: Industrial Profits, January 2019 – April 2020 (Jan-Apr 2019 = 100)

 

Table 5. Projections for World GDP Growth, 2019-2023 (Based on Market Exchange Rates)

 

Table 6. General Government Fiscal Balance and Gross Debt, 2018-21 (Percent of GDP)

 

Table 7. U.S. Economy: Percent Change from Preceding Period in Real GDP, January – June 2021 (in Percent)

 

Table 8. Top 10 Countries by Share of Global Manufacturing Output in 2019

 

Table 9. Top 5 Countries with the Ranking of Fortune Global 500 Companies (2020)

 

Table 10. World Nuclear Forces, 2020

 

Table 11. The World’s 5 Top Exporters of Weapons, 2016-20

 

 

Figure 1. World Rate of Return on Capital 1950-2019

 

Figure 2. Global Growth of GDP and GDP Per Capita 1871-2021

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

Introduction

 

 

 

1.            There are periods in history which are dominated by relatively pacific and organic developments. There are periods which are marked by important changes, but one can recognize their historic relevance only later. And then, there are periods in which every militant – regardless of the number of years of political activity – feels and knows that we are living in the midst of historic upheavals. Such periods existed in 1914-1923, in 1968, or in 1989-91. There can be no doubt that the current phase we are enduring has a similar historic significance.

 

2.            The document at hand will not cover all areas of world politics or all countries. We rather will focus on the most important developments, on the axes of world development, on those contradictions and struggles which will shape the period ahead. It is crucial for revolutionaries to understand these dynamics and contradictions as they constitute the background for the evolving struggle between the states and between the classes. Naturally, such an analysis of the world situation is not an end in itself. Marxists theoretical work should be a “guide to action”, as Engels once wrote. [1] Theoretical work must inform the practice and the practice shall fertilize the theory. Trotsky’s thoughtful remark has lost nothing in validity: The strength of Marxism is in the unity of scientific theory with revolutionary struggle. On these two rails, the education of the communist youth should progress. The study of Marxism outside the revolutionary struggle can create bookworms but not revolutionaries. Participation in the revolutionary struggle without the study of Marxism is unavoidably full of danger, uncertainty, half-blindness. To study Marxism as a Marxist is possible only by participating in the life and struggle of the class; revolutionary theory is verified by practice, and practice is clarified by theory. Only the truths of Marxism that are conquered in struggle enter the mind and the blood.” [2]

 

 

 

I. The Great Depression, its Genesis and its Relevance for the COVID Counterrevolution

 

 

 

3.            In the first two chapters we will focus on two issues. First, we shall clarify again when exactly did the Great Depression begin and what have been their causes. This is, as we will see, an important question not only from an economic scientific point of view but also, and in particular, a question of huge political and ideological significance. Secondly, we shall analyze the present state of the crisis and the prospects of the capitalist world economy. This shall allow us to get an understanding of the objective conditions for the global class struggles in the next 1-2 years.

 

4.            In early March 2019, the RCIT published a World Perspectives document in which we warned that a new recession of the capitalist world economy is looming. (We have also drawn attention to the looming next great recession. In fact, it seems that this recession is about to begin now. [3]) A few months later, in October 2019, it was clear to us that indeed such a recession had definitely begun. We analyzed the state of the capitalist world economy in more detail in a study in which we concluded – as expressed in the title of this document – “Another Great Recession of the Capitalist World Economy Has Begun”. [4]

 

5.            We explained that the beginning of a new period of actual deep crisis was a profound development. This was even more the case as this development went hand in hand, and not by accident, with a global wave of popular uprisings – from Hong Kong to Chile – and the dramatic acceleration of the tensions between the imperialist Great Powers (the Global Trade War). All these events, taken together, profoundly shattered the bourgeois order and opened a pre-revolutionary world situation. (This situation was brought to an abrupt end in spring 2020 by the global shock of the – apparently ‘coming out of nowhere’ – COVID Counterrevolution.) At that time – in autumn 2019 – we were nearly alone in stating the onset of the Great Depression. However, it soon became clear that an increasing number of bourgeois economists and policy analysists got more and more nervous.

 

6.            When the ruling class launched the COVID Counterrevolution all over the world in the period between late January and mid-March 2020 (with China as the pioneer of this policy), we emphasized that this was a political response of the bourgeoisie motivated by its fear to lose control in a situation of acute crisis of their system.

 

7.            As it is well-known, mainstream bourgeois economists and most political forces – from the left to the right – still argue that the current recession has been caused by the global shutdown in spring 2020. Objectively, this position serves two goals. First, it allows the defenders of the capitalist order to suggest that it is not their profit-driven system which is responsible for the depression but that it was rather provoked by an extraordinary, non-economic and unforeseeable cause (the pandemic and the Lockdown policy). Secondly, this position serves as an argument of the supporters of the COVID Counterrevolution to refute the Marxist characterization of this attack as a political response of governments to an ongoing economic depression (in combination with the associated global wave of popular uprisings and the accelerating tensions between the Great Powers) which started already 6-9 months before. At the time, when we published our analysis of the beginning recession in October 2019, we had to derive our conclusions from the limited amount of statistical material available. Today, nearly two years later, much more economic statistics exist in order to verify this issue. These newly available materials fully confirm that correctness of the Marxist analysis!

 

8.            The renowned Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) in the Netherlands, which studies are regularly used by the European Union or leading economic institutions like J.P. Morgan, publishes an overview of the development of global industrial production and world trade on a monthly basis. Their statistics reveal the process when the capitalist world economy entered recession in the course of 2019. In Table 1 and 2 we see that world merchandise trade had declined by 2019 (-0,3% in volumes and -2,5% in US-Dollar prices). World industrial production – which is the main sector producing value under the conditions of capitalist mode of production – was nearly stagnant in 2019 (+0,6%) if one takes the year as a whole. If one looks at the regions separately, we can see that the economies of all old imperialist powers (North America, Western Europe and Japan), as well as of Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East had stumbled into crisis already in 2019. It was only China and Russia which had not entered recession while South and South-East Asia was nearly stagnant.

 

 

 

Table 1. World Industrial Production Volume, Percentage Changes (2018-2020) [5]

 

                                                                                               2018                      2019                      2020

 

World                                                                                    3.0                          0.6                          -4.5

 

Advanced economies                                                         2.2                          -0.8                        -6.6

 

                Euro Area                                                            1.0                          -1.5                        -8.7

 

                United States                                                     3.2                          -0.8                        -7.2

 

                United Kingdom                                               1.0                          -1.2                        -8.5

 

                Japan                                                                    1.0                          -2.6                        -10.1

 

                Advanced Asia excl Japan                               2.1                          -0.7                        3.0

 

                Other advanced economies                          3.6                          1.4                          -3.3

 

Emerging economies                                                         3.9                          2.0                          -2.3

 

                China                                                                   6.2                          5.7                          2.0

 

                Emerging Asia excl China                              4.6                          0.5                          -5.3

 

Eastern Europe / CIS                                                      3.4                          3.1                          -2.5

 

Latin America                                                                   -2.1                         -5.0                        -8.9

 

Africa and Middle East                                                   1.0                          -3.5                        -9.6

 

 

 

Table 2. World Merchandise Trade, Percentage Changes (2018-2020) [6]

 

                                                                               2018                      2019                       2020

 

Volumes                                                              3.4                          -0.3                         -5.4

 

Prices / unit values in USD                             6.2                          -2.5                         -2.2

 

 

 

9.            A more detailed look at the course of development during the period March 2019 till May 2020 – by comparing figures on a monthly basis – reveals that the recession started in summer and autumn 2019. Table 3 shows the development of global industrial production and world merchandise trade in that period month by month. We see that since the period March-May 2019 both industrial production as well as trade had declined. With a few exceptions, every month figures are lower than the months before. By April 2020 – when nearly all governments had imposed drastic lockdowns – the economic decline accelerated and turned into a massive collapse.

 

 

 

Table 3. The Beginning of the Great Depression: World Trade and Industrial Production from March 2019 to May 2020 (Month-by-Month) [7]

 

March – December 2019                                                                                                                January – May 2020

 

03           04           05           06           07           08           09           10           11           12           01           02           03           04           05

 

World Industrial Production (Volume, excl. Construction, 2010=100)

 

Production weighted, seasonally adjusted

 

126.7     126.1     126.2     125.4      125.5     125.3     125.2     124.9     125.5      126.0     120.3     120.8     120.8     110.2      111.2

 

Import weighted, seasonally adjusted

 

122.2     122.1     122.3     121.6      121.6     121.2     121.3     121.0     121.0      121.2     118.5     118.6     116.0     103.0      105.8

 

World Trade (2010=100)

 

World Trade in Volumes

 

125.3     124.6     125.8     123.5      125.1     125.3     124.3     124.9     123.5      123.6     121.1     121.3     118.7     104.9      104.6

 

World Trade in Prices (in US-Dollar)

 

100.6     100.6     99.9        100.1      99.6        98.4        98.3        98.3        98.4        98.9        99.4        97.7        95.2        91.1        92.6

 

 

 

10.          Our argument is further strengthened by the fact that while China had not actually entered a recession in the course of 2019, it was clearly heading towards such. In Table 4 we see that profits of its industrial enterprises were declining by 10.1% in the period between May–August and September-December 2019, i.e. clearly before the Lockdown policy started. As it is well known among Marxists (and even the smarter category of bourgeois economists acknowledges this), profits always decline before the actual start of a recession.

 

 

 

Table 4. China: Industrial Profits, January 2019 – April 2020 (Jan-Apr 2019 = 100) [8]

 

Date                                       Profits

 

Jan-Apr 2019                     100,0

 

May-Aug 2019                  100,8

 

Sep-Dec 2019                     90,9

 

Jan-Apr 2020                       69,2

 

 

 

11.          Let us conclude that from summer 2019 onwards, the capitalist class all over the globe experienced the unmistakable signs of a looming respectively onsetting recession of the world economy. Combined with the accelerating tensions between the Great Powers and the massive spread of popular uprisings, there can be no doubt that fear of social explosions and revolutionary upheavals were spreading in the ranks of the ruling class. It is no surprise that it was exactly at that time that several bourgeois institutes published studies about the development of mass struggles and civil wars in the current historic period (we reported about several of these). [9] It does not need an Einstein to understand that the ruling class – faced with such explosive developments and increasingly becoming aware of these – was desperately looking for a pretext to strike a pre-emptive counterrevolution (as we characterized the Lockdown offensive in spring 2020). It is only the reformist and centrist left which foolishly ignores such context in order to justify their opportunistic clinging to the coattails of the liberal bourgeoise and the labor bureaucracy and to follow their policy of COVID Counterrevolution!

 

II. Peculiar Features of the Crisis and Prospects of the Capitalist World Economy

 

 

 

12.          What are the prospects of the capitalist world economy? In the past 6 months mainstream bourgeois economists and global capitalist institutions (like the IMF, the World Bank, etc.) have spread optimism and talked about the beginning of a new upswing. They present the economic collapse of last year as a short-term, exceptional phenomenon which has been converted by now in a new and massive business upswing. In Table 5 we present projections which the IMF respectively the World Bank have published in the latest updates of their analysis of the world economy (in June resp. July 2021). They show that bourgeois economists expect – after last year’s economic slump (the worst since 1929) – a strong upswing of the business cycle.

 

 

 

Table 5. Projections for World GDP Growth, 2019-2023 (Based on Market Exchange Rates) [10]

 

                                               2019      2020      2021      2022      2023

 

IMF                                        2.4%      -3.6%     6.0%      4.6%      -

 

World Bank                         2.5%      -3.5%     5.6%      4.3%      3.1%

 

 

 

13.          We think that these economists are basically wrong and blended by their ideological attachment to the capitalist profit-system. While it is not possible to make a concrete prediction of the course of the business cycle, one of the following developments seems to us far more likely:

 

a) either the world economy will experience a second slump (similar to the run of the recession in 1980-82);

 

b) or there will be a rather stagnant pseudo-upswing (similar to the development after the Great Recession in 2008-09).

 

14.          Let us start with noting an important feature of the current depression which has been crucial for its actual course. As mentioned above, the business cycle headed already in 2019 towards recession which began in summer/autumn that year. However, the global shutdown in spring 2020, i.e. a political decision of the governments, “artificially” accelerated the slump dramatically. As the figures above demonstrate, both production as well as trade experienced a gigantic crash when the lockdowns started. In response, governments pumped gigantic sums of money into the economy in order to halt the slump (more on this below). As a result, it is not surprising that the extremely sharp drop in the first half of 2020 was followed by a relatively sharp upswing. In short, the extreme zig-zag nature of the slump last year has been strongly influenced by the political decision to launch the COVID Counterrevolution. However, it would be foolish to assume that such a course of upswing could be continued for long. Bourgeois politics can not overcome the laws of the capitalist economy. It is rather the latter laws which determine bourgeois politics!

 

15.          As mentioned, the governments in the imperialist states spent gigantic sums in order to halt the slump and to revive the economy (the governments of semi-colonial countries do not have the necessary financial resources). In Table 6 we see that fiscal deficits and public debt (as a share of GDP) in the imperialist countries literally exploded within a single year. In the U.S. accumulated public debt increased in 2020 by nearly a quarter, the same in the UK. In China, public debt increased from 2018 to 2021 by a third. Such massive intervention of governments in the economy is another demonstration that the so-called era of neoliberalism is long over – contrary to the claims of many reformist and centrist forces (which continue maiking such claims in order to justify their popular-front orientation to a sector of the bourgeoisie). In fact, as we have pointed out since the Great Recession in 2008/09, the ruling classes increasingly turn towards Keynesian, state-capitalist policy.

 

 

 

Table 6. General Government Fiscal Balance and Gross Debt, 2018-21 (Percent of GDP) [11]

 

                                                               Overall Fiscal Balance                                       Gross Debt

 

                                               2018      2019      2020      2021                      2018      2019      2020      2021

 

World                                   -3,0%     -3,7%     -10,3%   -8,8%                     82,3%    83,7%    98,7%    98,8%

 

United States                     -5,4%     -5,7%     -14,7%   -13,3%                   106,6%  108,2%  133,6%  134,5%

 

Euro Area                            -0,5%     -0,6%     -7,2%     -7,9%                     85,8%    84,0%    98,0%    100,1%

 

Japan                                    -2,7%     -3,1%     -10,7%   -9,2%                    232,5%  235,5%  254,6%  256,5%

 

United Kingdom               -2,2%     -2,3%     -13,5%   -11,7%                   85,8%    85,2%    103,7%  107,0%

 

China                                   -4,7%     -6,3%     -11,2%   -8,3%                     53,8%    57,1%    66,3%    70,3%

 

 

 

16.          Naturally, such a dramatic increase of public debt will have massive consequences in the long run. It will limit the room for governments for future state-capitalist intervention. It will force governments to attract financial capital (to cover the debts) via rising interest rates, which in turn will further reduce the motivation of capitalists to invest in production as they will put their money in unproductive spheres (like treasury bonds).

 

17.          The basic reason why we see no reason for confidence in a strong business upswing is that the main cause of the Great Depression has been the crisis of profit and capital accumulation. As we have dealt repeatedly with the actual relevance of Marx’ law of the Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall, we will not go into detail at this point. [12] Below we reprint a graph published by the renowned Marxist economist Michael Roberts. (Figure 1) As readers can see, the is a clear long-term tendency of the profit rate to fall.

 

 

 

Figure 1. World Rate of Return on Capital 1950-2019 [13]

 

 

 

Legend: G20 are the 20 “most important” states including all Great Powers (U.S., China, EU, Japan and Russia) as well as other states (like South Korea, India, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey). G7 are the old imperialist Great Powers (U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan). EM are the so-called Emerging Markets which includes China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, Turkey and similar countries.

 

 

 

18.          As the profit rate tends to fall, it becomes less and less attractive for capital to invest in production. As a result, both production as well as the accumulation of capital experience low growth rates or outright stagnation. Let us demonstrate this with a graph published by the World Bank. In Figure 2 we see the long-term decline of the growth rates of global output since the 1950s. Each recession is deeper than the previous (with the exception of 1990-91) and the upswing phase of the cycle tends to be lower than the one before.

 

 

 

Figure 2. Global Growth of GDP and GDP Per Capita 1871-2021 [14]

 

 

 

 

 

19.          Hence, while massive state-capitalist intervention has enabled a short-term bounce back of production after the unprecedented slump in the first half of 2020, there is no basis for a long-term upswing. As a matter of fact, more critical bourgeois economists are becoming aware of this danger. Let us demonstrate this with a few examples. Growth in the U.S. in the first half of 2021 was driven by massive increase of private consumption. At the same time, capitalists are unwilling to invest in the expansion of the production apparatus. In fact, Gross Private Domestic Investment in the U.S. even declined in the same period. (See Table 7)

 

 

 

Table 7. U.S. Economy: Percent Change from Preceding Period in Real GDP, January – June 2021 (in Percent) [15]

 

Seasonally adjusted at annual rates

 

                                                                                                               Q1 2021                               Q2 2021

 

Gross Domestic Product                                                                 6.3%                                      6.5%

 

Personal Consumption Expenditures                                        11.4%                                    11.8%

 

Gross Private Domestic Investment                                           -2.3%                                     -3.5%

 

 

 

20.          What does this mean? It means that increasing demand of American consumers (financed by gigantic debt programs of the Biden Administration resp. the Trump Administration before) is not served via an expansion of the domestic production capacity but rather via imports from abroad (mainly from China). A bourgeois economist comments: “American factory capacity can’t begin to meet the demand created by about $5 trillion of consumer stimulus, and American consumers turned to China’s robust supply chain for consumer electronics and just about everything else. The United States needs Chinese imports, and it also needs China to reinvest its export earnings in American capital markets (…) America’s dependence on Chinese imports is stunning. Americans spend about $2 trillion a year on consumer durables and $500 billion on apparel, so their imports from China account for roughly a fifth of total spending on these items. [16] This development contributed to the fact that China’s position in the world market has continued to rise. In the past two years, China’s net foreign asset position rose by a trillion dollars!

 

21.          According to a Bloomberg survey, the leading monopolies in the U.S. have massively reduced their productive investments. Capital expenditures “for the Industrials subsector of the S&P 500 Index will be about 30% below the 2019 level, the analysts’ project, and will still be 20% below the 2019 high water mark in 2022.” As we pointed out above, this is a long-term phenomenon of decaying capitalism. “After adjusting for inflation using the Producer Price Index for capital goods, US equipment orders are 30% below the 1999 peak and 20% below the 2008 peak. Overall, capital goods orders have fallen to levels last seen in 1995.” A U.S. economist rightly relates this development with the crisis of profits. “Part of the problem is that US industrial companies aren’t making enough money. Return on Assets for the sector is expected to fall to 2.75% this year, compared to 5.5% in 2019, and rise only slightly to 3.5% in 2022, according to the Bloomberg data. [17]

 

22.          Mainstream bourgeois economists put some hope in China to act again as a locomotive for the capitalist world economy (as it was the case to a certain degree after the recession in 2008/09). It is true that China has growth rates above the global average since the restoration of capitalism three decades ago. This is basically because this restoration took place under conditions of relative protection by a strong capitalist state which prevented domestic instability as well as subordination to foreign capital (as it has been the case in Eastern Europe and Russia during the 1990s). Hence, China has experienced a process of primitive accumulation of capital for an extended period. As we have pointed out somewhere else, China’s dynamic long-term growth rates are not exceptional in the history of modern capitalism. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam have experienced similar growth rates. [18] Nevertheless, China’s economic growth has declined compared with past years – albeit they are still higher than those in other countries.

 

23.          A number of supporters of the Lockdown policy have claimed that China experiences economic growth because of its draconic imposition of mass curfews. We have always refuted such claims. As said before, China has higher growth rates because it is in a different cycle of capital accumulation. Nevertheless, China has experienced a substantial reduction in growth like all other economies. This has become even more evident in the past weeks as economists dramatically reduce growth projections for China’s economy. “JPMorgan reduced its quarter-on-quarter growth estimate for the third three months of the year to 2.0% from 4.3%, and trimmed its full-year forecast to 8.9% from 9.1%. Morgan Stanley lowered its quarterly forecast to 1.6%, while Goldman cut its estimate to 2.3% from 5.8% and to 8.3% versus 8.6% for the full year. "Recent developments point at further downside risks to already soft 3Q growth forecasts, related to the spread of the Delta variant, a series of regulatory changes in new economy sectors, and erosion of market confidence," JPMorgan's analysts said.” [19] Let us note in passing that if economists reduce their growth projections for the third quarter in 2021 by half or more, it seems to us very optimistic to keep more or less the projections for the year as a whole. Anyway, it is sufficient to note at this point that the very optimistic projections of mainstream bourgeois economists about a strong and sustainable upswing of the business cycle increasingly go up in smoke.

 

24.          As mentioned above, it is not possible to predict the exact course of the business cycle in the next 6-12 months. It is not only economic but also political factors which will determine if there will be a second slump or rather a stagnant “upswing”. This might be also influenced by the question if the ruling class in major capitalist countries will impose again draconic Lockdowns (which might trigger another slump) or not. Other possible political events which could provoke such a new slump could be a sudden rupture in world trade as a result of a deterioration of the Cold War between the U.S. and China or a military escalation – e.g. in the Black Sea or the South China Sea – which could shatter global stock markets. In short, we don’t know the exact course of the world economy in the next 6-12 months. But we know it will be much less smoothly than the bourgeois economists hope (or pray) for.

 

III. Acceleration of the Cold War between the Imperialist Great Powers

 

25.          The inter-imperialist rivalry between the Great Powers (U.S., China [20], EU, Russia [21] and Japan) is one of the key features of the current historic period. While the U.S. was the absolute hegemon in the imperialist camp after 1945 for many decades, this is no longer the case. In the economic, political and military sphere, no Great Power is strong enough to dominate all others. (See for this Table 8, 9, 10 and 11 at the end of this chapter to illustrate this point). As a result, every Great Power is jockeying to increase its influence at the cost of its rivals. The RCIT has published several theoretical studies on this issue as well as numerous statements and articles which cover ongoing developments. [22] Hence, we will limit ourselves at this point to a summary of the most important features of the current developments.

 

26.          The last seven months – since the beginning of the Biden Administration – have fully confirmed our analysis that the acceleration of the Cold War between the U.S. and China has not been a product of a “crazy president” Trump. It was rather caused by the fundamental antagonism between a hegemonic power in decline and a new, emerging power. Surely, the tone of the White House has changed (this was without doubt a severe blow to the business of comedians!). But the substance of the inter-imperialist rivalry remained in place. Hardly any of the punitive tariffs which characterized the Global Trade War has been abolished. (This could not prevent the fact that China, once more, has a large trade surplus as U.S. capitalists produce much too little in their own country to meet the demand from American consumers!) Likewise, the U.S. continues to send its navy to provocative navigations top the South China Sea. And Britain, the ever-loyal servant of Washington, sends its navy for similar trips which resulted recently in a shooting incident in the Black Sea with Russian forces. [23]

 

27.          It is evident that both sides have finally recognized that the Cold War is here to stay. It can not be removed by nice diplomacy. Hence both Washington as well as Beijing are systemically advancing the process of so-called “decoupling”. Such decoupling does not affect so much the exchange of commodities but rather the access to high-technology products. Washington tries to stop Beijing from acquiring valuable elements of computer technology (which are important to fully utilize the new 5G technologies which is currently dominated by the Chinese corporation Huawei). Beijing, in turn, cracks down on Chinese monopolies (Jack’s Ma Ant Group, Didi, Tencent, etc.) in order to prevent Western powers to have access to their data information (which is crucial for advancing Artificial Intelligence). [24]

 

28.          At the same time, all sides are updating their military forces and expanding their alliances. The U.S. has formed the so-called “Quad” (with Japan, India and Australia) in order to contain China [25], it sends regularly the navy, sometimes jointly with allied forces, to so-called “Freedom of Navigation Operations” (which basically means sending war ships to maritime zones controlled or claimed by Beijing or Moscow [26]), Russia has invented so-called hypersonic missiles [27], China currently builds hundreds of silos for new nuclear missiles [28], Iran has signed a 25-year cooperation agreement with China [29] and is joining now the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (a political-military alliance led by China and Russia) [30], China, Russia and Iran did hold joint maritime exercises in the Indian Ocean earlier this year and will do so again in the Gulf at the end of this year [31], etc.

 

29.          Western European imperialism is in a sandwich position given the acceleration of the Cold War between the U.S. and China. It is not strong enough to play the role of an independent, dominating player. First of all, the European Great Powers are not fully united. UK just left the EU and rather leans to the U.S. than to Brussels. Germany and France – the leadings powers of the EU – are much closer but they always have to negotiate and compromise among themselves and with others (like Spain or Italy) before they can take a definite position on issues of world politics. Furthermore, they lack the military power to seriously deal with Russia and China (this is even more true for Japan). Western European monopolies are eager to have access to the Chinese market and they also want to make deals with Russia. Hence the EU is not enthusiastic to follow Washington’s lead in the Cold War. On the other hand, they need the U.S. in order to make pressure and to enforce concessions from the Eastern rivals. U.S. President Biden recently dropped his opposition to the “North Stream 2” pipeline between Germany and Russia in the hope to get Europe’s support against China. As we explained in the past, the EU – this means first and foremost Berlin and Paris – must make a decisive step forward in building a pan-European state formation in order to become an independent Great Power in the world arena. If they do not succeed in this, the EU will either splinter or they will take a rather subordinated position to another Great Power.

 

30.          Japan’s position among the Great Powers is still marked by the geopolitical conditions resulting from its defeat in World War II. While it is a very strong economic power, it’s military is rather small and is not allowed (by its constitution) to join any foreign operations. It’s military defense still strongly depends on the U.S. It tries to become a more “self-confident”, aggressive Great Power since some years but until now it remains trapped in its “pacifist” constitution. The current government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga tries to tackle this problem by joining the Cold War policy of Washington against China and Russia (e.g. Tokyo announced for the first time that it would come to Taiwan’s aid in the event of a Chinese invasion [32]; tensions with Moscow have recently accelerated concerning Russia’s control over the Southern Kurils. [33])

 

31.          The acceleration of rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers is not only caused by the decay of capitalism and the decline of the U.S. respectively the rise of new powers. It has also profound domestic reasons. The ruling class of all capitalist powers inevitable face – as a result of the deepening crisis of the capitalist social formation – an erosion of their social and political class basis (sectors of the petty bourgeoisie and urban middle layers, labor aristocracy, backward sectors of the masses, etc.). As we have pointed out repeatedly this crisis-ridden development has been a crucial factor for the decision to stir and instrumentalize public fear of the COVID pandemic and to launch a gigantic anti-democratic offensive in order to expand the police and surveillance apparatus. Chauvinism – stirring public sentiment against foreign rivals (as well as against migrants and minorities at home) – is another ideological instrument of the ruling class in order to counteract the loss of their social and political class basis. This is, by the way, why the RCIT speaks about Chauvinist State Bonapartism as the political model towards which most ruling class are increasingly shifting. As a result, we see rising chauvinism in Western countries against China and Russia “which do not share our democratic ideals”, “who spy on us and interfere in our elections”, etc. At the same time, China’s (and Russia’s) public is bombarded with patriotic propaganda, references to the incompetent and hypercritical nature of the West, etc. In fact, of course, this is a shouting match between two robbers, one worse than the other! However, what is important for Marxists to bear in mind, is that such a political and ideological domestic climate creates massive public pressure on each government not to appear as weak and appeasing against “the foreign enemy”. In short, in addition to real conflicts about spheres of influence, the ruling classes of all Great Powers have also strong domestic reasons to accelerate the inter-imperialist Cold War.

 

32.          It is the combination of these developments – a social formation in decay, a global economy in depression, a destabilized political world order, accelerating rivalry between the Great Powers, ruling classes loosing domestic support and building chauvinist state bonapartism, a simultaneous process of ideological cold warmongering by all Great Powers – which makes armed conflicts and the outbreak of a war increasingly likely. The recent shooting incident in the Black Sea and the following threats by the Kremlin (“Next time we will hit the target”) is a sign of things to come in the next years. At one point, there will be an armed clash. This does not necessarily mean that all sides are actively planning for a world war. But it is a matter of fact that all sides are increasing their military preparations, the number of their war-games, etc. and are preparing for such a confrontation. It is a matter of fact that leading U.S. Generals like James G. Stavridis are publicly speculating about a war with China in 2034, 2026 or even in 2024. [34] It is a matter of fact that Wu Qian, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of National Defense, warned that the declaration of independence by Taiwan “means war”, i.e. war with a country with which the U.S. and Japan have close relations. [35] Let us bring to mind that World War I was also not planned by all sides. Some wanted the war but others – despite armament and militarization for years – had hoped to delay it and rather stumbled into the war in summer 1914. [36]

 

33.          Against this background, the analysis of the class character of all Great Powers is not only a theoretical task for Marxists but a most paramount political obligation with practical consequences. Those who deny the imperialist nature of any of these Great Powers open the door to side with them, i.e. to become social-imperialist servants of the bourgeoisie of this or that country. In other words, failure to recognize the imperialist character of all Great Powers lands any “socialist” force in the camp of the class enemy!

 

34.          There exist numerous examples proofing this point. Various reformist, (post-)Stalinist and left-populist forces have served in governments of European imperialist powers and, thus, demonstrated their profound social-patriotic character. This was the case, for example, with the French PCF which was part of the Jospin government 1997-2002 and which lent support to the Holland government 2012-17. The same was the case in Greece where SYRIZA led the government in 2015-19. And in Spain PODEMOS, IU and the PCE are currently part of the social democratic Sanchez government. [37] While the Stalinist JCP has never been part of a Japanese government, its social-patriotic support for Japan’s territorial claims against neighboring countries like China and South Korea is well known and reveals their reactionary nature. [38] Many Stalinist, Bolivarian and centrist forces are advocates of Russia and China respectively side with them, in conflicts with Western powers, i.e. they are social-patriotic supporters of the Eastern powers. The two latest joint statements about the Cold War, signed by dozens of Stalinist parties from all continents, show that pro-Eastern social-imperialism is a highly influential current within the international workers and popular movements. [39]

 

35.          The RCIT repeats that revolutionaries have to oppose all imperialist Great Powers – those in the West as well as those in the East. They are obliged to denounce all forms of militarism, chauvinism as well as sanctions and punitive tariffs. They must not lend support in any way to their own ruling class or to rivaling imperialist powers. Based on the communists’ famous principle “the main enemy is at home“, revolutionaries aim to utilize any conflict in order to weaken and eventually overthrow the ruling class. Socialists have to support the liberation struggles of oppressed people against Great Powers resp. their proxies – against the uprisings both against Western as well as against Eastern powers. Following from this, authentic Marxists must energetically fight against the influence of those “progressive” forces which support in any way their own or any other imperialist Great Power. The struggle to build a Revolutionary World Party is inseparable from the international struggle against all Great Powers and for the support of all struggles of the oppressed peoples.

 

 

 

Table 8. Top 10 Countries by Share of Global Manufacturing Output in 2019 [40]

 

                                                Share in Global Manufacturing Output

 

China                                    28.7%

 

U.S.                                        16.8%

 

Japan                                      7.5%

 

Germany                               5.3%

 

India                                       3.1%

 

South Korea                         3.0%

 

Italy                                        2.1%

 

France                                   1.9%

 

UK                                          1.8%

 

Indonesia                             1.6%

 

 

 

Table 9. Top 5 Countries with the Ranking of Fortune Global 500 Companies (2020) [41]

 

Rank                     Country                                                               Companies                          Share(in%)

 

1                             China (without Taiwan)                                   124                                         24.8%

 

2                             United States                                                     121                                         24.2%

 

3                             Japan                                                                    53                                           10.6%

 

4                             France                                                                  31                                           6.2%

 

5                             Germany                                                             27                                           5.4%

 

 

 

Table 10. World Nuclear Forces, 2020 [42]

 

Country                                Deployed Warheads        Other Warheads               Total Inventory

 

USA                                      1,800                                     3,750                                     5,550

 

Russia                                  1,625                                     4,630                                     6,255

 

UK                                         120                                        105                                        225

 

France                                  280                                        10                                           290

 

China                                                                               350                                        350

 

 

 

Table 11. The World’s 5 Top Exporters of Weapons, 2016-20 [43]

 

Rank                      Exporter                               Global Share (%)

 

1                             U.S.                                       37%

 

2                             Russia                                  20%

 

3                             France                                  8.2%

 

4                             Germany                             5.5%

 

5                             China                                   5.2%

 

 

 

IV. The COVID Counterrevolution Enters a New Phase

 

36.          We have emphasized numerous times that the COVID Counterrevolution is one of the most important events in modern history. It represents a gigantic reactionary attack of the ruling class all over the world against fundamental democratic rights of the popular masses and an attempt to build and expand a chauvinist-bonapartist state. The RCIT [44] and our Argentinean comrades in Convergencia Socialista [45] (with whom we have recently fused) have a long and proud record of opposing this reactionary offensive from the very beginning in January-March 2020. We have placed this event on the same level with the beginning of World War I in 1914 which was a similar sudden and gigantic counterrevolutionary strike. The beginning of this war – similar to the COVID Counterrevolution – caused devastating confusion in the consciousness of workers and popular masses and provoked a massive betrayal of the bureaucratic leaders and the so-called left.

 

37.          As we have elaborated in our works the character and the development of the COVID Counterrevolution in much detail, we will refrain from dealing with this issue extensively at this place. Let us just note, in summary, that it should be clear by now to everyone that while the pandemic is not a “hoax” but a reality, its danger is deliberately exaggerated by the ruling class. Furthermore, the fact that 80-90% of the dead are elder than 70 years old shows that the pandemic represents a danger mainly for the old people (and those with pre-existing disease). However, it is not particular dangerous for the mass of the population. The monopoly bourgeoisie is deliberately instrumentalizing the pandemic in order to politically justify a historic shift in the society characterized by unprecedented attacks on democratic rights and social gains and the formation of a chauvinist-bonapartist state. Furthermore, the “fight against the pandemic” provides extraordinary business opportunities for various sectors (pharma, biotech, IT, security, etc.) – something which the monopoly capital desperately needs in times of economic depression! And indeed, 2020 was the year in which the world’s 500 richest people added $1.8 trillion to their combined net worth! [46]

 

38.          In our new Manifesto, the RCIT characterized the current offensive of the ruling class with its focus on the “Green Pass” and compulsory vaccinations as a new stage in the COVID Counterrevolution. [47] This does not mean that the methods of mass curfews will not be longer used by governments as one can currently see in the favorite countries of the Zero-COVIDiots – China, Australia and New Zealand. However, as we predicted already in spring 2020, the ruling class strives towards a more permanent regime of control and surveillance. This model, which the ruling class in many countries try to impose currently, is the “Green Pass” regime of which compulsory vaccinations is a necessary – and highly profitable for big pharma – component.

 

39.          At this point, we will not repeat our comprehensive analysis and programmatic response to the “Green Pass” regime and refer reader to our above-mentioned Manifesto. Here, we will limit ourselves only to a few observations. We are a political organization, not a team of medical experts. We call the organizations of the working class and the oppressed to fight for the best conditions to allow the most optimal medical response in order to reduce and finally eliminate the pandemic. As a political organization we will demask the obvious lies of the ruling class disguised as “medical science” (like “if people only would get vaccinated, people would get back personal freedom” or that such “mass vaccination could eliminate the pandemic soon”). Another myth, which the ruling media are spreading, is the slogan that “people should trust science”. Of course, science is great … but many scientists are paid or dependent on big pharma and/or the state machinery. Hence, a critical look at the analysis of scientists is not only legitimate but a prerequisite for any serious, let alone Marxist, approach. Of course, at the same time, socialists must also warn against reactionary obscurantists who try to exploit wide-spread mistrust against governmental policy. However, in most countries it is not obscurantism which is the main danger but the propagandists of those in power – big pharma and bonapartism with their complacent servants also known as “medical experts”!

 

40.          We repeat that we are neither against vaccination in principal nor in the case of COVID. All people who want to be vaccinated should be able to do so on a free basis. However, it is important to point out that the policy of mass vaccination is not only politically dangerous as it is part of the bonapartist Green Pass regime. It also becomes increasingly clear that the vaccinations currently in circulation do not reduce (or do so only for a limited period) the spreading of the infection. This is evident from countries which have vaccinated a large part of the population (e.g. Israel, England, Chile, Island). It has been demonstrated that large numbers of those infected recently had been already vaccinated. Hence, the policy of mass vaccination does not eliminate the pandemic but rather provokes a faster mutation of the virus which consequently becomes more and more dangerous. Objectively, deliberately or not, the push of big pharma to quickly impose not very effective vaccines does not eliminate the pandemic but worsen the danger of the virus to which the answer of the governments and big pharma is … more vaccination. It is a vicious cycle!

 

41.          Let us briefly add at this point that our warning about the profit-driven background of the compulsory vaccination policy has been also fully confirmed by the recently leaked treaty of the pharma giant Pfizer with states. It has been revealed that governments all over the world have signed treaties with Pfizer which, on one hand, guarantee this corporation not only high prices per unit. The governments also acknowledge that “Pfizer’s efforts to develop and manufacture the product” are “subject to significant risks and uncertainties.” If it turns out that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine bears any risks, the corporation faces no consequences. Governments must “indemnify, defend and hold harmless Pfizer … from and against any and all suits, claims, actions, demands, losses, damages, liabilities, settlements, penalties, fines, costs and expenses … arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the Vaccine.” Furthermore, in the event that a drug or other treatment comes out that can prevent, treat or cure COVID-19, the agreement stands, and the country must follow through with their vaccine order. In short, the pharma corporations make gigantic, risk-free and long-term profits. It is hardly surprising that these treaties should have remained secret for 10 years (and in the case of Israel even 30 years)! [48]

 

42.          Hence, governments have a very strong incentive to push for compulsory vaccination. On one hand, mass vaccination is a necessary requirement to impose the “Green Pass” control and surveillance system. And, on the other hand, governments are obligated by long-term oppressive contract to use the vaccination of this or that pharma corporation. For these reasons, it is only logical that all these governments discredit and suppress any alternative drug or treatment against COVID.

 

43.          The “Green Pass” system is crucial for the ruling class as it allows a refinement and individualization of the police and surveillance system and makes the chauvinist-bonapartist state more practical. The Lockdowns can be imposed in specific situations, but they are, in itself, not a sustainable form of regime. The “Green Pass” system allows a more sustainable form of control of the population.

 

44.          We demand that governments immediately scrap the long-term oppressive contracts with big pharma! All pharma corporations must be nationalized under workers control and expropriated without compensation. We call for the mobilization of massive financial resources and the development of a social plan to find and produce the best possible medical treatment against the virus. This should include the testing and elaborating of vaccines but also of alternative drugs.

 

45.          It is highly encouraging that mass protests against the “Green Pass” regime and compulsory vaccination have started in several countries. The most important protest movement exists in France where several hundred of thousands march every weekend – and this in the midst of the summer holiday period which has always been a politically dead period. (Already Trotsky made jokes about the French who would never start a mass struggle during the holy summer period but wait for autumn!). While this movement is a deeply spontaneous and popular, the treason of the reformist left and the labor bureaucracy – which all have supported the bonapartist Lockdown policy from the first minute in March 2020! – has resulted in the situation that right-wing forces (in particular Philippot’s «Patriotes») could play an influential role. However, the deep character of the mass protests is pushing the bureaucrats of trade unions and parties like Mélenchon’s LFI to increasingly denounce the Green Pass policy and to join the protests. This is obviously a highly welcome development which revolutionaries have to encourage by promoting the united front tactic of calling reformist mass organizations to join the struggle.

 

46.          It is remarkable how little the so-called “left-wing” parties have publicly taken a position on this issue of the “Green Pass” regime and compulsory vaccination. Some have expressed support (like Altamira’s PO(T) in Argentina) while other have taken a critical stance (like Gabriel Solano from the “official” PO in Argentina). But in general, it is evident that the reformist and centrist left is in a cul-de-sac. Neary all of them have shared the official state propaganda of the pandemic as the “worst danger ever to civilization” and support the Lockdown policy (usually combined with economic demands like full wages paid during quarantines). The most reactionary sectors of the Lockdown Left even joined the notorious “ZeroCOVID” campaign calling for “indefinite Lockdowns until the virus is completely eliminated”. However, the “Green Pass” regime is an obvious and provocative attack on democratic rights – and one which is definitely here to stay (in opposite to the supposedly only short-term and temporary Lockdowns). We can therefore expect that a number of reformist and centrist leftists will – at least verbally and hesitantly – oppose the “Green Pass” regime. We see already in France that a number of those leftists are now forced to join the demonstrations.

 

47.          However, we consider it as likely that the second phase of the COVID Counterrevolution (the Green Pass” phase, one could say) will accelerate the inner contradictions, tensions, and crisis among a number of these reformist and centrist organizations. They are in a cul-de-sac. If the pandemic is as worse as they themselves have claimed since one and a half years, why not support all possible desperate measures in order to allow the survival of humanity?! If it is such a dangerous pandemic, why should one oppose the elimination of all risks (like bringing people in contact with unvaccinated)?! Why not continuing to wear masks, keep social distancing, banning large assemblies of people etc. just to make sure that we will not all be killed by the virus?! And if vaccination is the only answer (which most of them believe) why not forcing people to get a shot (or better as several shots!)?! One can see the contradictions in the case of the “Trotskyist” FT with the PTS in Argentina as the largest section. The latter has supported the lockdown policy since spring 2020 – only adding the demand for full wages paid during quarantine. It has cancelled all major rallies and demonstrations in this period claiming that this would be necessary because of the pandemic! Its German section hysterically denounced recently the UEFA for allowing people to follow football games of the European Championship in stadiums as this would undermine the necessary “social-distancing” and, hence, “destroy our successes against the pandemic”. [49] However, its French section has now come under pressure to support the mass movement against the “Green Pass” regime. The rest of their international obviously feels uncomfortable about this and does not promote much the new position of their French comrades!

 

48.          Revolutionaries should support every progressive step of reformist and centrist left-wing parties. If they oppose the “Green Pass” regime, we should call for joint activities without demanding that they first would have to renounce their support for the Lockdown policy. Nevertheless, it is important to explain to such comrades the inner contradictions of their positions and the necessary and clear link between the first and the second stage of the COVID Counterrevolution, between the Lockdown policy and banning of mass assemblies, between the “Green Pass” policy and the policy of compulsory vaccination. All healthy elements of these parties must break with the policy of social-bonapartism which has marked these organizations since spring 2020!

 

49.          Finally, we want to point out a noteworthy feature of the current development of the COVID Counterrevolution which has a historic parallel. As a global phenomenon, this reactionary offensive is not implemented only by a specific type of government but by various ones. Lockdowns, Green Pass, compulsory vaccination, etc. have been imposed by Stalinist-capitalist regimes (e.g. China, Vietnam), monarchies and dictatorships (e.g. Saudi Arabia,. UAE, Egypt), bonapartist regimes with elements of parliamentarism (e.g. Russia, Philippines, Iran, various states in Africa and Southeast Asia), reactionary right-wing governments (e.g. India, Australia, Hungary), bourgeois liberal governments (e.g. France, Germany, Italy, U.S. under Biden) as well as “left-wing” – in reality bourgeois popular front – governments (e.g. Spain, South Africa). There is a strong similarity to World War I. At that time, all Great Powers – irrespective of the specific political physiognomy of their governments – joined the imperialist slaughter: absolutist monarchies (like Russia and Japan), monarchies with elements of parliamentarism (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy), bourgeois democratic governments with social democrats as ministers in its ranks (Britain, France) and liberal governments (e.g. U.S.). Hence, supporting the imperialist war was not a specific feature of only one political current but of nearly all – from the right to the “left”.

 

50.          There is also another interesting parallel. The pioneer of the Green Pass policy with its necessary component of compulsory vaccination – at least among the Western “democratic” countries – is the French government of President Macron, i.e. a bourgeois-liberal figure, not a right-wing populist. It is interesting to recall that the German government – which was the driving force for provoking the war in July/August 1914 – was headed by Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. Like Macron, he was not by a right-wing chauvinist but rather a liberal who built good connections with leaders of the social democratic party (which was crucial to win their support for the war). [50] He was finally overthrown in summer 1917 and replaced by the arch-reactionary chauvinists Paul von Hindenburg und Erich Ludendorff. In other words, history has demonstrated that it does not need the right-wing, ultra-reactionary forces to launch counterrevolutionary attacks of historic proportions. This can be also done by “moderate”, liberal representatives of the bourgeoisie. In fact, such people have the advantage that they appear as more innocent and integrative and, hence, can more easily confuse the masses and win over the reformist camp.

 

51.          In conclusion, we shall summarize some crucial slogans which the RCIT considers as central in the current period concerning the COVID issue.

 

Massive expansion of the public health sector under workers and popular control!

 

Get back control over our body and data!

 

Bring down the “Green Plan” Plan – a gigantic attack on democracy!

 

Let the people choose themselves: free vaccination for those who wish – no vaccination for those who don’t want to!

 

Down with all emergency powers for the state in connection with the pandemic!

 

No to all restrictions on the right of people to assembly!

 

Force the governments to immediately scrap the deals with big pharma!

 

Nationalization of all pharma corporations under workers control without compensation!

 

For a public plan to produce the best possible medical treatment against the virus (including vaccines as well as alternative drugs)!

 

Full financial support for vulnerable groups if they wish so (e.g. leave of absence with full wages, comprehensive social and financial support for those who wish to isolate themselves, etc.).

 

Prepare for a popular uprising against the COVID regimes!

 

For an emergency government of the workers and popular masses!

 

In addition, we strongly advocate joint actions with other workers and popular forces on limited goals. For example, joint activities against the Green Pass policy despite disagreements on the issue of vaccinations are legitimate.

 

V.           A New Global Wave of Mass Struggles

 

52.          We have pointed out in our analysis of the development of the world situation that the combination of the beginning of the Great Depression, the acceleration of the Great Power rivalry and the global wave of popular uprisings had opened a new stage in autumn 2019. We characterized this world situation as pre-revolutionary. This situation ended in spring 2020 with the onset of the global COVID Counterrevolution. However, already a few months later we saw that the popular masses had begun to recover from the shock and started to fight again. [51] The Black Live Matters Uprising in the U.S. in summer 2020 played a particularly important role in this shift as it provoked a pre-revolutionary situation in the biggest imperialist state. [52]

 

53.          In this document we will not deal in detail with the class struggle in individual countries and refer readers to the respective statements and articles. At this point we rather want to focus on a characterization of the general dynamic of the global class struggle and discuss the most important conclusions for the revolutionary perspectives.

 

54.          In general, it is very likely that mobilizations against the COVID Counterrevolution will increase in number in the very near future. Other class struggle events may develop less fast but with even more gravity. We could see more national liberation struggles as the acceleration of the Great Power rivalry opens more space for the struggle of oppressed peoples. Furthermore, the Greater Depression will inevitably provoke a new wave of hunger revolts. It will also create the basis for future revolutionary upheavals. Finally, the huge environmental crisis might provoke an unprecedented wave of catastrophes leading to mass migration and the violent intervention of the repression apparatus on a completely new scale. This, in consequence, will provoke new mass struggles.

 

55.          Climate change, global warming, and the collapse of the mining of raw materials will open an age in which barbarism is palpable. Today’s generation of children and youth understand the urgency of saving planet earth as even the most radical reforms implemented within the capitalist system cannot avoid an increase of more than 2 degrees in general temperature. Such drastic changes in the climate did already happen in the history of the planet. The result was always the extinction of most species at that time. No one should have any illusions: It is the capitalist mode of production which has provoked the destructive process at the first place. The way the capitalist class system operates does not allow the rescue of humanity from the environmental apocalypse – even if it would go through a radical reform (which is an illusion in itself). As the capitalist world is heading towards an environmental collapse at a breathtaking pace, the clock is ticking for socialists all over the world to build a revolutionary world party. A successful socialist world revolution is the only way to avoid the destruction of our planet. For now, the struggle to stop the environmental collapse seems to be less front and center than many other mobilizations. Nevertheless, authentic Marxists will need to prepare and adapt. More than ever before, the future world party for socialism will be a party of the revolutionary youth.

 

56.          In Asia, we saw a number of highly important class struggle. The most crucial event (at least in the time of writing of this document as we are living in such tumultuous times!) is the victorious guerilla war of the Afghan people against the U.S./NATO occupiers and their puppet regime. Naturally, we have no illusions about the reactionary leadership of the Taliban and we lend no political support to them. But from a Marxist point of view, the last 20 years did not see a battle between the ideologies of “Islamism” and “liberalism” (as the pro-Western idiots and their “left-wing” parroters claim), but a class war between Western imperialist powers and their local puppets against the popular masses (composed mostly of workers, poor peasants, urban petty bourgeoisie, etc.). In such a national liberation war, Marxists could not but support the military struggle of the Afghan resistance as we have done since 2001.  [53]

 

57.          While it is still too early to make detailed prognoses about future developments, it is evident that this is a historic victory for several reasons. First, recent events in Afghanistan represent a successful liberation war of a relatively small people in an extremely poor, “backward” country against the most powerful Western imperialists. We see already that this victory is received enthusiastically by warring parties of oppressed people (e.g. in Gaza, Syria, etc.) Secondly, this victory delivers an extraordinary severe blow for the imperialist West – and in particular for the U.S. Only a few months ago, Biden announced “America is back!” Today, everyone can see that America is not back but rather backtracking! As we have already noted in a statement, this defeat weakens the U.S. role as a global leading power. It massively undermines the trust of allies in support by Washington in critical hours. Taiwan, Saudi-Arabia, even Israel might think now twice before they start a war with rivals. And even European powers might view their global policy in a new light now. Furthermore, there can be no doubt that Beijing and Moscow can not but be encouraged by such a public humiliation of the former “world policeman”!

 

58.          India – the second largest country in the world – saw a general strike of more than 250 million workers in November 2020. At the same time, a gigantic peasant mass struggle – the Dilli Chalo Uprising – began which lasted for several months and which has severely weakened the right-wing Modi government. [54]5

 

59.          Burma-Myanmar – a country strategically located between China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos – has seen one of the most important current uprising as a result of the military coup on 1st February. The heroic resilience of the popular masses and the extraordinary brutality of the dictatorship has resulted in a militarization of the uprising and its transformation into a civil war. Burma-Myanmar is about to become the Syria of South-East Asia. The intervention of imperialist Great Powers – Russia and China with economic, military and diplomatic support for the regime, the U.S. and EU with sanctions against the regime – means that this uprising can soon have regional and global consequences. Naturally, revolutionaries fully support this popular uprising and oppose all forms of imperialist interference. [55]

 

60.          However, there has been also an important defeat in the class struggle in Asia. The Stalinist-capitalist regime in China seems to have succeeded in crushing the pro-democracy uprising in Hong Kong. They utilized skillfully the pandemic in order to paralyze the mass protests and then to clamp down on the activists. Many have been arrested or were forced to flee the country. [56]

 

61.          The Middle East – the epicenter of the global class struggle in the past decade – continues to experience a number of important mass struggle. It is no accident that authentic revolutionaries made support for these struggles a key criterion to politically judge each and every socialist tendency. One of the two most important struggles in the region is the ongoing national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people against the Zionist oppressor. It is of utmost relevance not only because is a strategically crucial struggle which is going on since many decades but also because it has entered a new phase with the victorious defense of Gaza in the fourth war in June 2021 and the simultaneous beginning of the Third Intifada. Add to this that the decline of the U.S. imperialism also weakens its strategic ally in the region – the Zionist Apartheid state. (At the same time, this process also strengthens the most racist, fascist forces within Israel.) [57]

 

62.          This dynamic has to result, in one way or another, in new uprisings and wars. This can be another Gaza war, an Israeli war against Hezbollah or even an Israeli attack against Iran. [58] Each of these scenarios has explosive consequences for the whole region and can destabilize Israel itself as well as various Arab regimes. Naturally, in each of such conflicts, the RCIT will side with the oppressed people resp. semi-colonial countries and call for the defeat of the Zionist aggressor. [59]

 

63.          The second crucial liberation struggle in the Middle East is the ongoing Syrian Revolution against the tyranny of Assad backed by Russian imperialism and Iranian militias. More than 10 years after the beginning, the Syrian masses are continuing their struggle despite being cornered in the liberated areas in the Northwest of the country. However, the recent uprising in the region of Daraa in the South is a sign that the revolutionary energies are still present even among the poplar masses which are forced to live under the rotten dictatorship. Supporting this liberation struggle and calling for its linking with other struggles in the region is a litmus test for authentic Marxists. [60]

 

64.          The latest uprising in Iran, in particularly in the south where the Arab minority is living, as well as the strike of the oil workers have shown that the situation in this country is far from stable. This is even more the case as this has been already the third uprising in the past 3.5 years. The peculiar nature of the Iranian state – a reactionary capitalist Mullah regime which is also a prison house of national minorities (only a narrow majority of the population is Persian) – as well as the unavoidable economic and ecological problems in the wake of the Great Depression and the climate crisis make similar uprisings in the coming years very likely. [61]

 

65.          The legitimate national war of defense of the Yemeni people against the reactionary Saudi-led aggression is continuing since more than six years. Despite massive military and technological superiority (plus Western support), Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have proven unable to defeat the Houthi-led national resistance. Revolutionaries continue to support this struggle without lending any political support to the petty-bourgeois Islamist Houthis or their Iranian backers. [62]

 

66.          Other countries have also seen a revival of mass protests after setbacks as a result of the COVID Counterrevolution. Among these are Iraq and Lebanon and, to a lesser degree, Algeria. [63] Both the struggles in Iraq as well as in Lebanon are of regional importance. Iraq – itself an ethnically and religious diverse country – connects the Shia-dominated Iran with Syria and other parts of the (mostly Sunni) Arab world. In addition, there are still several thousand U.S. troops stationed albeit they are coming regularly under fire by militias.

 

67.          The corrupted political system in Lebanon is totally discredited; its capitalist economy is bankrupt and financially dependent on foreign financial assistance. Furthermore, it is a religious diverse country which experienced a long civil war in the 1970s and 1980s (plus an Israeli as well as a Syrian invasion). Given the fact that it is a neighbor of Syria (where a revolutionary process is still ongoing) as well as of Israel (with which it has regularly military tensions), the popular uprising in Lebanon could have dramatic consequences. If the people don’t overthrow the government in order to impose a workers and peasant government, the conflict could transform into a civil war along political-“religious” lines with regional consequences. The Sunni minority, which dominates the second largest city Tripoli – the epicenter of the mass protests in the recent period – could join the revolutionary masses in Syria. Hezbollah legitimately defended Lebanon against the Zionist aggressor in 2006 but has played an arch-reactionary role in Syria where it supports Assad. Which role will they play in a situation of collapse of Lebanon? If Israel decides to intervene in such a scenario this would further complicate the picture.

 

68.          There have also been a number of important struggles – particularly led by the youth – in Tunisia. The protests were mostly directed against economic misery, unemployment and police brutality. [64] However, recently President Kais Saied has initiated a coup with the backing of the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. His goal is to repeat the Egyptian scenario where General Sisi built a dictatorship after the coup in July 2013. While Saied aims at dissolving the parliament and suppressing all potential opponents, the struggle is still not decided. [65]

 

69.          Like in other continents, the class struggle in Latin America has also experienced a new upswing in the recent period. Colombia went through one of the biggest rebellions in its history, directed against the corrupt and neoliberal government of Iván Duque. The masses formed popular assemblies and also self-defense units in order to fight back against the brutal police. In Cali, one of the main economic and industrial centers of Colombia, the people were even able to create a local dual power situation. However, due to the strong repression and the pacifying policy of reformist forces, the struggle has ebbed in the recent period. [66]

 

70.          Chile, which was a center of the Latin American class struggle in 2019, has again seen a number of important mobilizations in the recent period. Among these have been strikes of miners as well as dockers – strategic sectors of the country’s proletariat. In addition, youth has waged repeated battles against the police – an ultra-reactionary force in the tradition of the Pinochet dictatorship. Furthermore, several elections reflect an important shift to the left in the consciousness of the masses as they resulted in important defeats for the right-wing forces and a strengthening of reformist and independent left-wing forces. A candidate of the Communist Party, a Stalinist force but still a party associated with the left-wing resistance against the dictatorship, became the new mayor of the capital city Santiago. And another leader of this party is currently leading in the polls for the next Presidential elections – an unprecedented development. [67]

 

71.          Cuba saw the first popular rebellion against the Stalinist-capitalist regime since nearly two decades. It was a reaction both to the conditions of dictatorship as well as to the consequences of the austerity policy which the Díaz Canel government imposed at the beginning of 2020. [68] Similar to other flash points of world politics (e.g. the Syrian Revolution, the Libyan Revolution in 2011, the mass protests in Hong Kong, the oppression of the Muslim Uyghurs in China), this is an issue where significant sectors of the Stalinist, populist and centrist left join the camp of counterrevolution while various centrists take a stance of cautious support for reform of the regime (instead of revolution).

 

72.          In Brazil we have seen a revival of the mass protests against the reactionary government of Bolsonaro. This is highly welcome development since such protests ebbed as a consequence of the demobilizing politics of the reformist bureaucracy under the pretext of the pandemic. The main danger is that these protests remain under control of the bureaucracy of PT, CUT and their allies which want to utilize them as subordinated support for Lula’s campaign for the presidential election next year. Since Lula and the PT are determined to continue their popular front with key forces of the bourgeoisie (like the MDB), this means that the project of the reformist bureaucrats is to transform the protests into an instrument for a popular front with similarities to Biden’s Democratic Party. Hence, it is urgent to fight within this mass movement for class independence and for a rupture with all openly capitalist forces. [69]

 

73.          While the class struggle in Argentina has not reached similar proportions like in the countries mentioned above, the incoming election in autumn will be an important test for the bourgeois populist (the Kirchnerist “left”) as well as for centrist forces (FITu and others). Electoral success or loss can have important repercussions within these forces. Since Argentina is home of the largest and most influential self-proclaimed Trotskyist forces in the world, this election can also have significant consequences for the international organizations of which some Argentinean parties are the “mother” section. Convergencia Socialista (the Argentinean section of the RCIT) participates in this election as part of the FITu alliance with their own candidates and with their independent program. Our comrades will call to vote for FITu as it represents – in contrast to Peronist populism – the independence of the working class from bourgeoise forces. [70]

 

74.          The most important class struggle event in recent times in Sub-Sahara Africa has been the week-long hunger revolt in South Africa. While it initially reflected rather the power struggle within the government party ANC (between the dominating faction of President Ramaphosa and the faction of former President Zuma who is now in jail), it soon became a wide-spread revolt of the poor black masses. Large sectors of the labor bureaucracy sided with the party of law and order and denounced these protests. Most centrists took a passive position of “understanding” the protests but without any active strategy to transform such protests into an organized uprising. Nevertheless, this has been the largest popular uprising in South Africa since the (formal) end of the Apartheid in 1994; it is a harbinger for future mass struggles! [71]

 

75.          Nigeria, the second key country of Black Africa, has seen an important intensification of the resistance struggle (partly in the form of armed actions) of the oppressed nationalities in the South, in particular of the Indigenous People of Biafra. Recent arrests of leaders of their independence movements have resulted in a certain setback and demoralization. However, it is clear that the oppression will provoke new resentments and insurrections. This is even more the case as the Northern-dominated Buhari government and ultra-reactionary Fulani-based forces (most importantly Boko Haram and ISWAP) are instigating chauvinist campaigns against the Southern people in order to, on the one hand, expand their influence and powers against the masses and other factions of the ruling class. On the other hand, they do so to divert public attention from the deep social and political crisis of Nigerian capitalism. The ongoing strike of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is testament to this. [72]

 

76.          Ethiopia currently resembles the African version of the Austro-Hungary Empire in the late 19th century. It is Africa’s second-largest country with a population of 110 million people, but it is deeply divided as reactionary political factions instigate tensions between its numerous ethnical and tribal groups (about 90 individual languages are spoken). The last few months saw a devastating civil war as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the army to attack Tigray whose regional leadership played a dominating role in the country until recently. The result has been mass killings, systematic rape of women, massive destruction, and hundreds of thousands of refugees. As the regional forces of Tigray managed to wage a highly skilful and effective guerrilla struggle, they recently managed to expel the army from their region. However, it seems that the government tries to outdo their defeats with more chauvinist hatred and warmongering. [73]

 

77.          The leaderships of both camps in the Ethiopian civil war have played a leading role in the so-called African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a pro-imperialist force which has occupied Somalia since 2007. The task of this mission was to bring this strategically located country (at the Horn of Africa) under control of the Great Powers. However, the occupation forces face a massive popular resistance led by the petty-bourgeois Al-Shabaab forces. Despite numerical and military superiority as well as support by U.S. and French special forces, they have not succeeded to crush this resistance forces. [74]

 

78.          The focus of the class struggle in Western Europe in autumn 2019 were France and Spain (Catalunya). The COVID Counterrevolution resulted in a setback. However, since then, many countries experienced spontaneous, row and often confused protests against the anti-democratic bonapartist attacks of governments under the cover of the pandemic. Partly these protests were dominated by right-wing forces but partly they were authentic spontaneous and democratic-progressive protests. In other cases, these demonstrations were so large that reactionary forces simply couldn’t dominate it and simply got lost within the masses.

 

79.          As mentioned above, France is currently the European country with the most important mass movement with hundreds of thousands of people in the streets every weekend – and this in the midst of the holiday period! President Macron is in an awkward situation. He is highly unpopular, and the Presidential election is approaching (April 2022). If he retreats from his “Green Pass” plan he has the image of a loser; if he sticks to his plan, he remains widely despised. Add to this the pressure not only of the extreme right-wing forces around Le Pen’s RN but also the threats from sectors of the repression apparatus which have launched two “Open Letters” in the last few months in which they threaten implicitly with a military coup. If the current protest movement continues until September/October this could provoke a radical transformation and open a (pre-)revolutionary situation. Authentic revolutionaries have participated in the anti-Green Pass protest since the very beginning and call workers and popular organizations to join the movement and to give it a clear character of class independence.

 

VI.          Entering a Pre-Revolutionary World Situation of Accelerating Polarization between Classes and States

 

80.          In summary, we can characterize the world situation as one of accelerating polarization between classes and states. The whole system runs on an inclined plane as capitalism is in irreversible decay. In such a historic period the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the working class, between the oppressors and the oppressed, between the Great Powers and between states in general, can not but accelerate and become more explosive. On penalty of ruin, the ruling class has to advance its reactionary, anti-democratic attacks in order to keep the situation under control. On penalty of ruin, the imperialists must try to keep or to expand their sphere of influence at the cost of their rivals. On penalty of ruin, the oppressed masses – faced with increasing misery, national oppression, heat waves, lack of water, etc. – must fight their rulers, resist the occupiers, flee their countries and storm the imperialist fortresses, etc. The whole situation is characterized by the impossibility to remain as it is. All sides must strive to change it and to fundamentally transform the current political and social conditions. It is such impossibility of an unaltered world order which gives the current situation a highly volatile, explosive, pre-revolutionary character.

 

81.          However, it is important to recognize that this polarization takes place on both sides – in the camp of the oppressed as well as in the camp of the oppressors. What we see is an increase of the class struggle and popular uprisings of the masses and, at the same time, an advance of the counter-revolutionary efforts of the ruling class. In fact, these two developments influence each other. The masses rebel to an important degree because they are provoked by the reactionary attacks of the bourgeoisie. And, at the same, the ruling class fears the class struggle from below and therefore expands the chauvinist-bonapartist state, prepares for or carries out coup d'états, etc. In that sense we can speak about a global pre-revolutionary world situation interwoven with counterrevolutionary attacks.

 

82.          As we have pointed out in our documents, the state of the class struggle is characterized by the advanced state of the masses and the backward state of its official leadership. Many reformist, populist and centrist “left-wing” parties support the camp of counterrevolution and one or the other imperialist Great Power. Others go not that far but take a “neutral” position in important class struggles or refuse to draw clear conclusions on crucial world events. It is no accident that under such conditions, other forces, which seem to take a clear stance, have been able to take a leading position (e.g. nationalist and Islamist forces).

 

83.          We repeat what we have stressed on numerous occasions and, most recently, in our documents “Open Letter: Prepare for a New Era of Storm and Stress! [75] and “War and Intifada in Palestine: A Turning Point in the World Situation”: [76] The urgent task for authentic revolutionaries is to join forces and to advance the building of a Revolutionary World Party. It is impossible to build such a party without joining the liberation struggles of the masses as they take place today (and not to boycott them with the excuse of the “backward leadership” or “consciousness”), to apply the united front tactic (and not to refuse collaboration with other, non-revolutionary, forces because they do not accept our program), and to energetically advance collaboration with sincere, left-ward moving forces.

 

84.          As we have outlined in this document, we are living in a period full of explosive contradiction and massive class struggles. We have no doubt that the number of such events will increase in the years ahead. We will see even more ruptures and revolutionary upheavals of historic dimensions than we did in the past years. Many of such uprisings will have a (relatively) spontaneous character and will be characterized by various forms of self-organization (popular assemblies, neighborhood committees, self-defense units, etc.). However, the spontaneous character of this process results also in its limitations. In order to overcome such limitations, a highly organized form, a collective of revolutionary cadres, is necessary to fulfil the objectively necessary tasks: the coordination and collaboration of various progressive movements, fusing these in a joint revolutionary struggle; using electoral platforms as a tribune for revolutionary politics but keeping the focus on mobilizations on the streets; politically fighting reformist, petty-bourgeois, respectively all other non-revolutionary forces in the movements but combining this with the united front tactic; supporting and leading of self-organized structures like self-defense units and similar organs of the masses; developing of concrete revolutionary action programs as a guide for the struggle of the vanguard; organizing and deciding on the correct moment to take up the armed insurrection; fighting for a worker's and popular government based on councils of the workers and oppressed. All these steps are crucial in the revolutionary struggle for socialism and none of these can happen without an organized revolutionary vanguard. Revolutionary uprisings happen, successful revolutions, however, are organized.

 

85.          The true character of politics is shown in its practice. Each and every clash between classes (be it of revolutionary or reactionary nature) is a practical test for all political forces who claim to be Marxist. This is even more true in the current pre-revolutionary world situation as the contradictions are more explosive and the potential loss resp. the potential gain is more significant for the oppressed classes. The decisive practical test can and will change the character of various political forces. Authentic Marxists challenge non-revolutionary leaderships of progressive movements but implement tactics of practical collaboration where it is possible. We take into account that in tumultuous times, progressive organizations can and do change. This makes it important to implement tactics like the anti-imperialist united front as well as the worker's united front. Electoral blocks, joint self-defense units and similar forms of practical collaboration must go hand in hand with advocating a consistent revolutionary program. The pre-revolutionary world situation means that while the forces of authentic Marxists might be limited today, their possibilities for growth are plentiful.

 

86.          Comrades, brothers and sisters, the task before us is huge. We have to win the vanguard of the workers and oppressed and to organize them in a revolutionary party nationally and internationally. Without such a party, it will be impossible to organize the international socialist revolution – the only way to liberate humanity from the misery of capitalism! The RCIT calls all revolutionaries to join us in this great task!

 

 

 



[1] Friedrich Engels: Letter to Friedrich Adolph Sorge, 29 November 1886, in: MECW Vol. 47, p. 532

[2] Leon Trotsky: To the Spanish Youth, in: Leon Trotsky: The Spanish Revolution (1931-39), Pathfinder Press, New York 1973, p. 180

[3] RCIT: World Perspectives 2019: Heading Towards a Volcanic Political Eruption. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 2 March 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2019/.

[4] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Another Great Recession of the Capitalist World Economy Has Begun. The economic crisis is an important factor in the current dramatic shift in the world situation, 19 October 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/another-great-recession-of-the-capitalist-world-economy-hasbegun/; Other articles which analyzed the Great Depression by the same author: No, the Corona Virus is not the Main Cause of the Global Economic Slump! Bourgeois Media Officially Recognize the Beginning of another Great Recession, 3 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/corona-virus-is-not-themain-cause-of-global-economic-slump/; The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-covid-19-global-counterrevolution/; The Next Looming Great Recession. Observations on the Latest Stock Market Slump and the Structural Crisis of the Capitalist World Economy, 12 October 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-next-looming-great-recession/; see also Chapter “Another Great Recession has begun“ in RCIT: World Perspectives 2020: A Pre-Revolutionary Global Situation. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 8 February 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2020/

[5] Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis: CPB World Trade Monitor May, 23 July 2021, p. 5

[6] Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis: CPB World Trade Monitor May (23 July 2021), p. 3

[7] Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis: CPB World Trade Monitor May (23 July 2021), Excel File

[8] World Bank: Global Economic Prospects, June 2020, p. 11 (Excel File for the Box on China)

[9] See e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Interesting Assessments of the Global Class Struggle by a Bourgeois Think Tank, 21 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/interesting-assessments-of-the-global-class-struggle-by-a-bourgeois-think-tank/, by the same author: Confirmation by the Class Enemy. A new IMF report discusses the global class struggle and its relationship to the COVID-19 crisis, 14 October 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/confirmation-by-the-class-enemy-imf-report-on-global-class-struggle-and-covid-19-crisis/; A Powerful Confirmation. A bourgeois study on the revolutionary character of the current historic period, 12 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/confirmation-of-revolutionary-character-of-historic-period/

[10] IMF: World Economic Outlook Update, July 2021, p. 6; World Bank: Global Economic Prospects, June 2021, p. 4.

[11] IMF: World Economic Outlook Update, July 2021, p. 21

[12] See on this e.g. See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019, Chapter I, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/; by the same author: The Catastrophic Failure of the Theory of “Catastrophism”. On the Marxist Theory of Capitalist Breakdown and its Misinterpretation by the Partido Obrero (Argentina) and its “Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International”, RCIT Pamphlet, May 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-catastrophic-failure-of-the-theory-of-catastrophism/; World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, RCIT Books, Vienna 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2018/; The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/great-robbery-of-the-south/; World economy – heading to a new upswing? (2009), in: Fifth International, Volume 3, No. 3, Autumn 2009, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-economy-crisis-2009/; Imperialism, Globalization and the Decline of Capitalism (2008), in: Richard Brenner, Michael Pröbsting, Keith Spencer: The Credit Crunch - A Marxist Analysis, London 2008, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-and-globalization/; RCIT: Advancing Counterrevolution and Acceleration of Class Contradictions Mark the Opening of a New Political Phase. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries (January 2016), Chapter II and III, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 46, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2016/.

[13] Michael Roberts: Profits call the tune, 17 June 2021, https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2021/06/17/profits-call-the-tune-2/. Other Marxist economists like Guglielmo Carchedi, Alan Freeman and Andrew Kliman arrive at the same conclusion in their works.

[14] World Bank: Global Economic Prospects, June 2020, p. 14

[15] Bureau of Economic Analysis: National Income and Product Accounts, 29 July 2021

[16] David P. Goldman: Will China bail out Biden? Asia Times, 31 July 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/will-china-bail-out-biden/

[17] David P. Goldman: US quits CapEx as inflation squeezes margins, Asia Times, 24 July 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/us-quits-capex-as-inflation-squeezes-margins/

[18] See Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019, pp. 112-115, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/

[19] Marc Jones: Wall Street investment banks cut China growth forecasts, 9 August 2020, https://www.reuters.com/world/china/wall-street-investment-banks-cut-china-forecasts-2021-08-09/

[20] The RCIT has published numerous documents about capitalism in China and its transformation into a Great Power. See on this e.g. our book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/. See also by the same author an essay published in the second edition of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism (edited by Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope), Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2020, https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-91206-6_179-1; China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power (2012), in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4; How is it possible that some Marxists still Doubt that China has Become Capitalist? (A Critique of the PTS/FT), An analysis of the capitalist character of China’s State-Owned Enterprises and its political consequences, 18 September 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/pts-ft-and-chinese-imperialism-2/; Unable to See the Wood for the Trees (PTS/FT and China). Eclectic empiricism and the failure of the PTS/FT to recognize the imperialist character of China, 13 August 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/pts-ft-and-chinese-imperialism/. See many more RCIT documents at a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/.

[21] The RCIT has published numerous documents about capitalism in Russia and its rise to an imperialist power. See on this e.g. several pamphlets by Michael Pröbsting: The Peculiar Features of Russian Imperialism. A Study of Russia’s Monopolies, Capital Export and Super-Exploitation in the Light of Marxist Theory, 10 August 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-peculiar-features-of-russian-imperialism/; Russia and China: Neither Capitalist nor Great Powers? A Reply to the PO/CRFI and their Revisionist Whitewashing of Chinese and Russian imperialism, 28 November 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/russia-and-china-neither-capitalist-nor-great-powers-reply-to-po-crfi/; The Catastrophic Failure of the Theory of “Catastrophism”. On the Marxist Theory of Capitalist Breakdown and its Misinterpretation by the Partido Obrero (Argentina) and its “Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International”, 27 May 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-catastrophic-failure-of-the-theory-of-catastrophism/; Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power. On the Understanding and Misunderstanding of Today’s Inter-Imperialist Rivalry in the Light of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism. Another Reply to Our Critics Who Deny Russia’s Imperialist Character, August 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-theory-and-russia/; Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, 18 March 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 21, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-russia/. See various other RCIT documents on this issue at a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/

[22] The RCIT has dealt on numerous occasions with the inter-imperialist rivalry of the Great Powers. Various works on this issue can be foundat this sub-page: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/. See also our numerous documents on the Global Trade War which have been collected at a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-global-trade-war/. Our latest pamphlet on the Cold War between the Great Powers is by Michael Pröbsting: “A Really Good Quarrel”. US-China Alaska Meeting: The Inter-Imperialist Cold War Continues, 23 March 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/us-china-alaska-meeting-shows-continuation-of-inter-imperialist-cold-war/.

[23] For the RCIT’s analysis of the skirmish in the Black Sea see the following documents: RCIT: Russia Fires Warning Shots against UK Warship in the Black Sea. Down with Cold Warmongering! No support for any imperialist Great Power – neither UK, US nor Russia! 24 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/russia-fires-warning-shots-against-uk-warship-in-black-sea/; Michael Pröbsting: “Next Time We Will Bomb the Target”. Shooting incident in Black Sea between UK and Russia shows that capitalism in decay is stumbling towards war, 24 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/russia-uk-next-time-we-will-bomb-the-target/; Laurence Humphries: Skirmish in Black Sea: Imperialist Patriotism in the UK, 27 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/imperialist-patriotism-in-uk-on-skirmish-in-black-sea/; Michael Pröbsting: Examples of Pro-Russian Social-Imperialism. British Stalinism and the misnamed “World Socialist Web Site” on the shooting incident in the Black Sea between UK and Russia, 28 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/examples-of-pro-russian-social-imperialism/

[24] Data information is sometimes called the “gold of the 21st century” as it is decisive to advance algorithm which, in turn, are the basis for Artificial Intelligence. China has a huge advantage to its rivals as it has a “natural” basis for a gigantic pool of data information. First, it has the largest population in the world of whom many have smart phones. Secondly, data protection is a foreign word in a country ruled for three decades by a highly effective Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship.

[25] See on this e.g. Vijay Prashad: Biden continues conflict with China through the Quad, March 16, 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/03/biden-continues-conflict-with-china-through-the-quad/; Xie Wenting and Zhang Hongpei: Quad cannot replicate NATO, given internal divergence and China’s economic clout, 12 March 2021, https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202103/1218189.shtml; Mahima Duggal: No, the Quad won’t be an ‘Asian NATO’, March 27, 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/03/no-the-quad-wont-be-an-asian-nato/; Richard Javad Heydarian: Quad summit next step towards an Asian NATO, March 13, 2021 https://asiatimes.com/2021/03/quad-summit-next-step-towards-an-asian-nato/; Michael Tkacik and Erik Lenhart: The Quad’s continuing maturation, April 5, 2021 https://asiatimes.com/2021/04/the-quads-continuing-maturation/

[26] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: “Maritime Freedom” – A Keyword of the U.S./NATO Warmongers. A leading representative of the U.S. Navy outlines a militaristic strategy against Russia and China, 5 July 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/maritime-freedom-a-keyword-of-the-u-s-nato-warmongers/

[27] See on this e.g. Dave Makichuk: Putin, DARPA and the great hypersonic challenge, July 11, 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/is-cold-war-axiom-the-answer-to-the-hypersonic-threat/; Stephen Bryen: Race is on for hypersonic weapon supremacy, January 6, 2021 https://asiatimes.com/2021/01/race-is-on-for-hypersonic-weapon-supremacy/

[28] See on this e.g. Huizhong Wu snd Jon Gambrell: U.S. warns China is building more nuclear missile silos, 2021-07-30 https://apnews.com/article/technology-europe-business-science-china-79388639f73d8c8835001982bcb016d6; Dave Makichuk: Sat photos reveal ‘incredible’ ICBM silo expansion in China, July 1, 2021 https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/sat-photos-reveal-incredible-icbm-silo-expansion/

[29] Shahir Shahidsaless: Iran-China deal: A strategic card to push back against US dominance, 14 April 2021 https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/iran-china-deal-strategic-card-push-back-against-us-dominance; Reuters: Iran, China sign 25-year cooperation agreement, 27 March 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-china/iran-china-sign-25-year-cooperation-agreement-idUSKBN2BJ0AD

[30] MK Bhadrakumar: Russia, China circle wagons pulling in Iran, 17 August 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/08/russia-china-circle-wagons-pulling-in-iran/; Pepe Escobar: Raisi era will move Iran closer to Russia and China, 22 June 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/06/raisi-era-will-move-iran-closer-to-russia-and-china/;

[31] Jared Szuba: Iran, Russia, China to conduct joint naval exercise in Indian Ocean, 9 February 2021, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2021/02/iran-russia-china-naval-drill.html, Iran, Russia and China to hold joint drills in Gulf in late 2021, early 2022, 23 August 2021, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iran-russia-china-joint-naval-exercise-gulf

[32] See on this e.g. Ben Dooley: Japan Calls for ‘Sense of Crisis’ Over China-Taiwan Tensions, New York Times, July 13, 2021 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/13/world/asia/japan-taiwan-china-us.html; Jagannath Panda: Japan’s new defense white paper sharpens aim at China, July 15, 2021 https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/japans-new-defense-white-paper-sharpens-aim-at-china/; Bertil Lintner: How far would Japan really go to defend Taiwan? 19 July 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/how-far-would-japan-really-go-to-defend-taiwan/   

[33] See on this e.g. Julian Ryall and Maria Siow: Japan-Russia islands dispute: fears tensions are dragging in US and China as jets scramble, 11 Aug, 2021, https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3144546/japan-russia-islands-dispute-fears-tensions-are-dragging-us-and?utm_source=rss_feed; Aditya Pareek: Japan should think carefully about antagonizing Russia, August 2, 2021, https://asiatimes.com/2021/08/japan-should-think-carefully-about-antagonizing-russia/

[34] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: “Maritime Freedom” – A Keyword of the U.S./NATO Warmongers.

[35] Global Times (Editorial): ‘Taiwan independence’ means war not empty threat, 29 January 2021, https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202101/1214369.shtml

[36] There exists a myriad of literature about the origins of World War One. See e.g. James Joll: The Origins of the First World War, Longman, New York 1984; Gerd Hardach: First World War, 1914-1918, Penguin Books, New York 1987; John Godfrey: Capitalism at War: Industrial Policy and Bureaucracy in France, 1914-1918, Berg Publishers, Leamington Spa 1987; Fritz Klein (Ed.): Deutschland im ersten Weltkrieg, Vol. 1-3, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1968; Fritz Fischer: Germany’s Aims In The First World War, W. W. Norton & Company, 1967; Christopher M. Clark: The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, Allen Lane, London 2012; Sean McMeekin: July 1914: Countdown to War, Basic Books, New York 2013; Karl-Heinz Schlarp: Ursachen und Entstehung des Ersten Weltkrieges im Lichte der sowjetischen Geschichtsschreibung, Alfred Metzner Verlag, Hamburg 1971; Die deutschen Dokumente zum Kriegsausbruch. Vollständige Sammlung der von Karl Kautsky zusammengestellten amtlichen Aktenstücke mit einigen Ergänzungen; Im Auftrage des Auswärtigen Amtes nach gemeinsamer Durchsicht mit Karl Kautsky herausgegeben von Graf Max Montgelas und Prof. Walter Schücking, Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft für Politik und Geschichte m.b.H., Charlottenburg 1919, Vol. 1-5

[37] See on this e.g. Chapter 13 in the above-mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South; see also by the same author: France: “Communist” Party fails to Vote in Parliament against Imperialist War in Iraq! 15.1.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/french-pcf-iraq-war/; The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution; COVID-19 and the Lockdown Left: The Example of PODEMOS and Stalinism in Spain, 24 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-lockdown-left-podemos-and-stalinism-in-spain/; France: “Communist” Party fails to Vote in Parliament against Imperialist War in Iraq! 15.1.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/french-pcf-iraq-war/; RCIT: Down with France’s Colonial War in Mali! Solidarity with the Resistance! Let’s transform Mali into another Afghanistan for imperialism! 19.1.2013, https://rcitarchive.wordpress.com/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/no-to-france-s-war-in-mali/

[38] See on this e.g. For a critique of the social-patriotic policy of the JCP see e.g. Chapter XXIII in the above-mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry.

[39] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Servants of Two Masters. Stalinism and the New Cold War between Imperialist Great Powers in East and West, 10 July 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/servants-of-two-masters-stalinism-and-new-cold-war/

[40] Felix Richter: These are the top 10 manufacturing countries in the world, World Economic Forum, 25.2.2020, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/02/countries-manufacturing-trade-exports-economics/; output measured on a value-added basis in current U.S. dollars.

[41] Fortune Global 500, August 2020, https://fortune.com/global500/ (the figures for the share are our calculation).

[42] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: SIPRI Yearbook 2021. Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, Summary, p. 17

[43] Ibid, p. 15