INTER-IMPERIALIST RIVALRY

ROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY VIEWPOINT

In the decades since the defeat of the first communist revolutions, the major imperialist powers have sharpened their attacks on each other. This rivalry between imperialists underlies and drives world events and will do so until the working class, under communist leadership, again takes the world stage to fight exploitation and racism and make revolution.

Capitalism

Capitalist society is an unstable tension between two great opposed social classes: the tiny capitalist class that owns everything important and runs the government and the huge international working class, whose members survive by selling their labor to a capitalist for a wage. Capitalists and workers constantly struggle over wage and social benefits versus profits; they are locked together in a class society until revolution destroys the bosses. This fundamental tension between unity and conflict in a class society is a contradiction, a unity of opposites that is by its very nature unstable.

Contradictions don’t stay the same. They drive development, turn one thing into another, and get resolved. The contradiction in our class society gets on the side of unity in boss-worker relations, if workers are willing to take the class struggle only so far, if our unified ability to struggle is blunted and diverted by racist ideology or other pro-boss ideas. In that case capitalist society continues with all its horrors, because workers, however reluctantly, still accept capitalism because they feel they simply aren’t strong enough to “fight city hall” or have no vision of an alternative to the capitalist snake pit.

The contradiction can get resolved on the side of the workers, on the side of conflict in boss-worker relations, with revolution to abolish the class of bosses, the racist divisions among the workers, and the entire exploitative system.

Today, unity between the two opposed classes prevails and capitalism continues despite its constant wars, racism, financial crises, and all our efforts for change. But conflict between the two classes will re-emerge and sharpen. Workers with communist leadership can resolve the contradiction in favor of the working class and all humanity by abolishing capital itself and its many harsh conditions including poverty, racism, brutality, and war for profit, as our predecessors did for many decades in the Russian and Chinese revolutions.

Communist Revolution: Resolve the Contradiction

Communist revolution means that we workers form a new kind of government and use our new state power to abolish the capitalist class, the wage-and-profit system, and all aspects of racism, from material differences to ideology. Revolution abolishes capitalists and transforms the working class from the slaves to a wage into the creative producers of all social value building a new society of egalitarian communist sharing where all can contribute mightily to each other.

It may seem that capitalism will go on forever and survive every crisis. But the secret of class contradiction is that its resolution depends mainly not on the capitalist class but on us, the working class. The capitalist class is dominant now, but the working class, and only our class, does have the ability to break their grip and transform society. We do have a future without capitalism, “a world to win.” We will have to pass through the fires of war and revolution to get there. We will have to make conflict with the bosses primary over unity with them. But if we succeed in winning millions of workers to this communist vision, we will have that future.

Imperialist Bosses Fight among Themselves

Right now we are a long way from our revolutionary goal because the working class is weak and disarmed, having lost much of its communist leadership and party organization when the Soviet and Chinese revolutions turned back to capitalism. The basic overall contradiction in capitalist society—bosses v. workers—has temporarily faded as the main thing driving world events. Now, the battle among the imperialists for profit and power (using workers for cannon fodder in their wars) has become the main contradiction in the world. Capitalists always compete (GM fights Ford). But what is really determining events now is the contradiction between the major capitalist countries (Ford/U.S. fight Toyota/Japan). That is inter-imperialist rivalry. Major capitalist powers became imperialists over 100 years ago as they extended their power and control far beyond their own national borders seeking profits, markets, and sites for investment, dividing up the entire world into competing spheres of interest. They used to call these zones their colonies and empires (British, French, Japanese, or Russian). Now imperialists dominate whole economies and governments without making them into colonies, but it’s the same thing: the biggest capitalists use their corporations, armies, and governments to win away from other capitalists as much of the world’s resources, markets, and labor as they can. Workers won’t remain quiet forever, but for now, the battle among imperialists conditions all world events.

Inter-Imperialist Rivalry Means World War

Imperialists try to limit their conflicts to economics and politics (e.g., through the UN and bilateral negotiations), but military conflict—all-out war to resolve their differences and redivide the world—is on the rise. The many wars being fought today mean that the major imperialists are more and more resorting to military means to secure their empires. It is likely that there will be a world-wide war with major groups of imperialists and their allies on opposing sides, just as happened in the 20th century. Such a third world war would end with yet another capitalist “new world order” if we workers fail to rearm ourselves with the international revolutionary communist party, PLP. But, if workers build the PLP internationally, a third world war will also see another great wave of the communist revolutionary movement, ending capitalism altogether. The end of the story of inter-imperialist rivalry therefore depends on us, on the working class rising again, restoring the primacy of that main contradiction in capitalist class society—workers’ conflict with bosses—and resolving it by revolution.

The World of Imperialism—and How to Change It

The U.S. has been top dog among imperialists since they came out stronger than the others after World War II, and since communist anti-imperialism ended with Russia and China’s return to capitalism. By 1999 the U.S. ruling class faced the fact that they were declining relative to their major rivals. The bipartisan Hart-Rudman Commission that year foresaw a 9/11-type attack and advised the ruling class to use it to build patriotism and support for permanent war and a centralized police state. The U.S. military budget, with 700 bases in 130 countries, is still more than that of the rest of the world combined. But though still top dog militarily, the U.S. is weakening rapidly, its military forces stretched thin without a draft and its economic power being challenged throughout the globe by the EU, China, Russia, Japan, and lesser opponents including Iran and Venezuela. The EU and NATO are no longer automatic supporters of U.S. imperialism. China and Russia have formed an alliance called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which in 2001 linked them to four Central Asian states (and more in line to join), challenging U.S. and its allies’ power in the oil-rich region. Capitalist states including Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, India, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, and Pakistan, can now try to play one imperialist power or alliance off against another to their own advantage. Venezuela is beginning to sell more oil to China instead of to the U.S., and the EU, Japan, and China are rapidly increasing investment in South America at the expense of U.S. market share. Not so long ago, the U.S. might already have invaded Venezuela or changed its regime as they used to do all over South America as they did in Chile in 1973, for example, but they simply cannot take military action yet against Iran or Venezuela because they are too weak. Australia withdrew its tiny military support of the U.S. in Iraq and is growing ever more closely tied to China economically. South Africa has increased ties to China and India at the expense of the U.S. and the EU. Pakistan no longer automatically dances to the tune of the U.S. military. Saudi Arabia refuses to help out the U.S. by increasing oil supplies. This brief glance yields the same picture as our look at the major imperialists: an unstable, shifting, dangerous moment in history, when the U.S. is being driven back and will have to take desperate drastic action to stay on top.

The capitalist future is bleak, especially for the international working class, which suffers the brunt of war, racism, and economic crisis. So we return to the burning need of the moment. We must strengthen the working class side of the class contradiction by joining and building the PLP, fighting racism, struggling against the bosses, and heating the class struggle to a white hot intensity so that we can overthrow capitalism and create a communist world that meets the needs of our class.

Contact the Progressive Labor Party at desafio.challenge@gmail.com,

http://www.plp.org

PO Box 808, Brooklyn, NY 11202

718.630.9440.

3 thoughts on “INTER-IMPERIALIST RIVALRY

  1. Thoughts for your Consideration
    The way you started this issue of Communism Now is exactly the right thing to be doing and it has inspired me to offer some of the considerable thought I have given over the last decade to what a revolutionary Party might do in North America programmatically and structurally to prepare for the final struggle and some of this may be worthy of your consideration. To begin with, when I say North America I am speaking of the USA, Canada and Mexico.
    (1) A Communist Party such as PLP should focus its limited forces here in North America because that is
    (a) Where it can have the greatest impact in practical terms.
    (b) Foreigners don’t care what we think for the most part and that is the simple truth.
    (c) This is class war and in any war the victorious side will be the side that can marshal overwhelming force and concentrate that force against a weaker enemy position.
    (d) Does this mean the Party should not get involved in any foreign conflict? No, of course it does not. Even in the early shaky days of the Soviet Republic, before Lenin and the new Government moved from Petrograd to Moscow, he gave Bela Kun suitcases full of cash and valuables along with a large team of hitters to take back to Budapest and get things started. When Bela Kun seemed about to be overwhelmed two years later Lenin would have sent the Red Army if it had been practical (deployable). When Kun escaped Budapest for Russia his remnant Army joined with the Russian Red Army in the assault on White Crimea. (See Chapter 13 of the ABC’s of Communism, Bolshevism 2012 by typing that into your browser.)
    Every Left Party in the USA has had someone walk in from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, etc. and often these Parties have been able to field meaningful support.
    However, for the most part no one in China, Cuba, Vietnam, Korea, let alone in the rest of the world really cares what we gringos, of whatever Party, think about anything.

    (2) This is an excellent way to start off this issue – I mean the clear statement of Communist Principles. At the same time I would be remiss if I did not suggest that you might consider changing focus of Challenge away from the traditional way the Left press operates in the USA. Take a look at the newspapers (on line now for the most part) of the so-called Left Parties (Parties that consider themselves communist – of course, we do not, but that is not the point) and you will see in any given week they cover exactly the same stuff and pretty much say the same thing. This despite the fact that most of this coverage is about happenings in other countries where no one cares what these US parties think and at any rate these US parties cannot influence events there in the slightest.
    (3) What can be done is to focus on what Communism means to the citizens of North America. What it could mean anyway. What could be done is to show what has been done where communists have been able to put their ideas to work. For example, if one wanted to look at the Soviet Union one could be writing about Magnetic Mountain (Magnitogorsk) where an outstanding book “Magnetic Mountain, Stalinism as a Civilization” describes great accomplishments by workers against adverse odds. (See Chapter 15 of ABC’s for more on this.) One could focus on what communists did in the USA in the so-called Civil Rights movement which is almost completely unknown to North Americans. One could focus on what communist heroes like Steve Nelson and Norman Bethune did in Spain and later in China. (See Chapter 16 in ABC’s.)
    North Americans will be far more impacted by this than they will be by constant commentary on Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Iran, etc.
    (4) There are great struggles going on in all of the Mexican maquiladora towns of workers against US corporations and some US unions including everyone from the Teamsters to Unite Here have been propagandizing their members about these struggles and the working conditions in these factories and why this is what US capitalists have in mind for us, for over a decade! Challenge could be reviewing the old struggles and the new ones in every issue.
    (5) And why not start a daily on-line newspaper. The Daily Worker (I have one or two reserved domains with this name you could have) for example reborn and covering daily working class struggles that citizens in Canada, the USA and Mexico could actually travel to and get involved in.
    (6) –And why not create sports gun clubs where workers can develop the skills they will eventually need in marksmanship and small unit tactics?
    (7) These are just small changes but they could quantitatively accumulated create a qualitative change in the press situation that could be instrumental in the struggle to seize state power.

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    • Thank you for your kind words. It is always reaffirming and reassuring to hear objective members of the Left recognize that we’re the force for communist revolution in the world. Now, we have hit a very large disagreement. We understand how the bosses use nationalism to divide the working class, including the ultra-leftist 3rd world posturing against “gringoism”. Like all forms of ultra-leftism, it appears progressive to stand against the most reactionary imperialist power in human history, but this is anti-dialectical. There is the appearance and the essence, and “gringo” should be treated like a racial epithet. It obscures the class analysis of the struggles within the international proletariat by reinforcing the boundaries the bosses have drawn over the body of the working class.

      PLP is organizing in continents other than North America, and those comrades in those countries listen to each other and learn from each other’s experiences. Those comrades do not dismiss comrades from Mexico or the US because they aren’t from their geopolitical neck of the woods. NO. We know that an international, united, working class, under the leadership of PLP is needed to defeat capitalism.

      As far as your other suggestions, revolution is a process. The internet is a terrible place to discuss revolutionary strategy in particular. There is nothing to say other than, what makes you think workers aren’t honing their skills now?

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  2. Well these were just thoughts for your consideration. I am sure you know better than I what is best for your Party and you have your own way of doing things. Nothing wrong with that. We had our chance and we blew it. So perhaps you will fare better doing it your way. I just wanted to say Good Luck! This wordpress gravatar thing is too user unfriendly for an Old Bolshevik Gringo like me so I won’t be making any more comments. Not that anyone will care. Again, good luck.

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