G20 Summit: A Symbol for Global Capitalism and its Crisis

Imperialist Leaders Maneuver amid Accelerating Rivalry between the Great Powers and Mass Protests on the Streets


Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 10.07.2017, www.thecommunists.net




1.            The G20 Summit in Germany's port city of Hamburg and the events surrounding it represent an accurate picture of the present world situation. During their 7-8 July meeting, the imperialist leaders desperately negotiated behind closed doors in an attempt to reach a compromise that would bridge the gaps between their conflicting interests. While they succeeded in doing so for issues on which they share common interests, they glaringly failed to do so for other matters. At the same time as the conference was being held, militant mass demonstrations on the streets of Hamburg reflected popular outrage towards the arrogant "leaders" of the world.


2.            We are living in a world of drastic upheavals. Among other things, this is reflected in the fact that, for the first time in the history of such summits, the imperialist leaders of the world’s biggest powers were forced to formally admit in their official communiqué issued at the end of their negotiations that they failed to reach an agreement on the issue of climate change. US President Donald Trump – in contrast to all other heads of states – insisted that the world's biggest imperialist power, as well as its second-largest emitter of carbon, will formally leave the so-called Paris Climate Accord. The significance of this is that the US will now see itself free to increase its greenhouse gas emissions which, to a large extent, are responsible for a large portion of global warming. Furthermore, in the recent G20 summit, the Great Powers could only thinly conceal their profound disagreement on the issue of global trade. Again, in particular it was Donald Trump who adhered to his chauvinist-protectionist "America First" policy.


3.            Of course, behind this lack of consensus there are no ideological differences between the various parties, arising from the adherence of one side or another to some more “progressive” goals. Rather, while still the biggest power, albeit a rapidly declining one, US imperialism is both in a position to take a more aggressive protectionist stand against its rivals, as well as simultaneously being forced to do so. The other imperialist powers – like the European Union, China, Russia or Japan – are by no means more progressive than the North American aging giant.


4.            On issues where the interests of the imperialists coincided, they were able to make "progress" – to the detriment of the oppressed peoples. Trump and Putin, together with their respective foreign ministers, held a long meeting where seem to have reached a significant amount of agreement on how to liquidate the popular uprising in Syria. They formally agreed to impose a cease-fire and to create a "de-escalation zone" in the regions of Deraa, Quneitra and Suweida. US Secretary of State Tillerson emphasized the joint reactionary interests of these two imperialist powers in smashing the armed popular struggle against the Assad dictatorship and pacifying the country by a settlement imposed by the Great Powers (in the template of the so-called "Astana-Deal"). Reporting on the meeting of the world's two biggest robbers, Tillerson said: “And I would tell you that, by and large, our objectives are exactly the same. How we get there, we each have a view. But there’s a lot more commonality to that than there are differences. So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps.” Tillerson even openly admired Russia's aggressive support for the Assad's barbaric war which has claimed the lives until now of at least half a million persons: “Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach,”[!] said the former CEO of ExxonMobile, US Secretary of State (New York Times: U.S., Russia and Jordan Reach Deal for Cease-Fire in Part of Syria, 7.7.2017)


5.            The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and its sections in the Middle East restate their support for the ongoing Syrian Revolution. We call upon all activists around the world to continue their solidarity work with the workers and peasants of Syria in their heroic fight against the Assad regime and encourage them reject any counter-revolutionary settlement initiative like the Astana Deal. We similarly express our support for the right of national self-determination for all oppressed peoples – including the Kurdish people in Turkey and Syria. Long live the socialist revolution!


6.            The G20 summit also approved German chancellor Merkel's misnamed "Partnership for Africa" initiative. While ostensibly designed to aid the impoverished African peoples, this initiative in fact only serves the interests of the imperialist monopolies by letting them buy up Africa's raw materials, while they avoid paying taxes to the governments of these nations, and instead repatriate their huge profits back to their home countries. Furthermore, the initiative openly serves the imperialist agenda – in particularly that of the European Union – by strengthening its political and military grip on northern and central Africa in order to put down armed resistance and to prevent millions of Africans migrating to Europe (see, e.g., the French president Macron’s recent initiative to create a 5,000 soldier-strong regional anti-terror force for the Sahel region).


7.            The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and its Zimbabwean section condemn the imperialist "Partnership for Africa." We once again emphasize our solidarity with the popular resistance against imperialist exploitation and oppression on the African continent. We support popular uprisings against reactionary dictatorships and austerity attacks. Likewise, the RCIT calls upon the working class and the oppressed of Africa to expropriate the imperialist monopolies and expel the troops of the Great Powers along with their local auxiliaries. For a socialist federation of Black Africa!


8.            The G20 summit also impressively demonstrated the wide-spread popular outrage against the imperialist leaders who are destroying the social and ecological living conditions of humanity. For three days more than 100,000 people protested in the streets of Hamburg, expressing the rejection of the agenda of the Great Powers by the workers and oppressed around the world. These protests were also a vivid demonstration that the world-wide popular struggle against the attacks of the ruling class around have not receded – contrary to various predictions of doomsayers among the reformist and centrist left.


9.            The brutal attacks against the demonstrators by a force of German police numbering 21,000 cops equipped with numerous anti-riot water cannon vehicles – and including at one point the presence of special police units openly wearing machine guns on the streets – showed once more that the state apparatus is a tool of repression in the service of the ruling capitalist class.


10.          Naturally, such a positive evaluation of the mass protests against the G20 summit should not allow us to ignore some obvious weaknesses in its organization. Among them was the counter-productive role of some sectors of the so-called Black Block anarchists who senselessly attacked and, in several instances, even set alight small shops and ordinary cars. It was also very problematic that a large contingent of the Kurdish PKK/YPG marched at the head of the huge demonstration of 100,000 on Saturday. This sent a very wrong signal to the world and in particular to the Syrian people given the utterly reactionary role of the petty-bourgeois Stalinist-nationalist YPG as foot soldiers of US imperialism in their offensive to conquer northern Syria. All these weaknesses reflect the still influential role of Stalinist and anarchist forces among the so-called "left" in Germany.


11.          In the light of the mass protests against the G20 summit, the RCIT reemphasizes the conclusions of its "Urgent Call for Revolutionary Unity" as well as other programmatic documents: We call upon all organizations and activists honestly striving towards the creation of a new Revolutionary World Party to join forces on a joint programmatic basis. The RCIT is committed to serious discussions and the closest possible collaboration with all forces who share such an outlook.




International Secretariat




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For the RCIT analysis of the current world situation and the acceleration of capitalism's contradictions, we refer readers to our numerous articles and documents accessed on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/. In particular we refer readers to the following documents:


RCIT: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 18 December 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/


RCIT: Theses on Capitalism and Class Struggle in Black Africa, 13 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/africa-theses/


RCIT: Syria: Condemn the Reactionary Astana Deal! The so-called "De-Escalation Zones" are a First Step towards the Partition of Syria and a Conspiracy by the Great Powers to Defeat the Revolution, 7 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/astana-deal/


Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/


RCIT: Urgent Call for Unity and a Joint Struggle on a Revolutionary Platform. An Open Letter to All Authentic Revolutionaries for an International Conference on the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution to Advance the Building of a Revolutionary World Party, 09.01.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/urgent-call-revolutionary-unity-1/


Michael Pröbsting: The Meaning, Consequences and Lessons of Trump‘s Victory. On the Lessons of the US Presidential Election Outcome and the Perspectives for the Domestic and International Class Struggle, 24.November 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/meaning-of-trump/