Showing posts with label anti-imperialism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anti-imperialism. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fight War Not Wars

The monster of war has raised its ugly head again, or at least the escalation of a civil war by the threatened intervention of the UK/US. The American, British and French governments, on the hollow pretext of stopping the use of chemical weapons will  launched a massive air attack on Syria. The victims of similar past campaigns in Serbia, in Iraq and in Libya are forgotten. It again exposes the futility of the United Nations to avert war.

Many people's gut reaction is simply that war is crazy. Socialists share this anti-war sentiment. but like a voice crying in the wilderness, we also maintain that capitalism and war are inseparable.The weakness of the anti-war movement is that the majority want nothing more than a return to capitalist "peace" rather than the overthrow of the system that causes war. Speaker after speaker sees the immediate situation of open conflict as the problem, the simple solution of which is to simply pull back the troops. It doesn't go beyond that to examine the fact that if states have weapons and armies, they are there to be used. It fails to look at how conflict is actually continuous in the present world. It simply adopts a simple moralist position, "War is bad”. Capitalist states are not moral entities, and their ruling classes do not react to attempts at moral persuasion.

Anti-war protesters lose sight of the fact that we live in an economic system which drives its actors to battle against one another, in order to secure trade routes, natural resources and capital investments. This conflict is continual, the only variation being in the intensity of the conflict and the badges on the uniforms. Whether a war in society is within a nation or between nations, the causes of these wars are of a similar nature. While the circumstances surrounding each war may remain peculiar to the time and place (the extent of dictatorship/democracy or ideas on religions etc), the pattern seems to be repeated all over the world.  The owning class of one nation possesses something which that of another nation, or groups within a nation would like to possess. These could be land,  markets, or a natural resources like oil and gas.  And where a conflict occurs within a country, outside influences are often brought to bear. If resources are up for grabs, the capitalist grabbing class join the fray to see what share of the spoils they can win.

 Some on the Left focus on the role of American imperialism as if the American government had some choice in pursuing an imperialist policy, that its actions result from some mysteriously gung-ho national characteristic, rather than from the dictates of capitalist economy. If the US declines as an imperialist power, others will readily and gladly take its place.

The Socialist Party  loudly proclaim our adherence to "no war, but the class war" as a means for bringing this ongoing horror to an end. The consent of the ruled (us!) is essential to the continued functioning of capitalism (in both its state-capitalist and private-capitalist forms). Our consent, or our resistance, is part of our rulers’ profit-and-loss estimates. We can make this particular militaristic adventure too difficult or too expensive for our rulers.

 But as long as we, all of us, consent to the capitalist system as a whole, in other words, so long as we resist only this particular imperialist intervention, then there will be more and more bloodshed. We must deal with causes, not just symptoms. The socialist does not take sides in ruling class quarrels.

Let the workers unite to control of the machinery of government, including the armed forces. In that way alone will they be able to usher in a system of society wherein universal solidarity of interests will abolish all war, be it between classes or nations. Only socialists can claim to be the true anti-war campaigners. Our fellow workers around the world participate in anti-war campaigns, which call for the end of military wars, but few make that connection, as socialists do, to the wider society and particularly, to its mode of production and guiding ideology which promote competition among all sections of society. In campaigning solely for an end to military wars, which are but a bloody climax to the wider commercial war, there can be no hope of addressing the problems of human society today as a whole. Our message as always is that workers have the choice of roads, a choice which all humanity must make. One road is the road of blood and tears, of capitalism and war. The other is the road to socialism  and by ending the exploitation of man by man can we strike at the roots of war.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Anti-Imperialism = Anti-Socialism

The concept of 'anti-imperialism' is rooted in nationalism, since it assumes that there is something unnatural about one 'country' exploiting the resources of another 'country'. All nations were created through an imperialist process that involved the homogenisation of an area under a particular local elite, and that involved the explotation of wage differences creaming off of surplus. Look at how industrial Italy dominated south, agrarian Italy.

Was the struggle by the US southern states anti-imperialist? Would the southern USA workers and slaves have been better off exploited by their local ruling class?

An anti-imperial analysis seems to get in the way of a class analysis too much -- especially since a useful class analysis should be rooted in immediate experience and struggle, not worked out using an economist's slide-rule.

 'Anti-Imperialism' is anti-socialist because it leads us to support smaller controlling elites, or ignore the damage they do, in favour of just concentrating on the USA or European powers, etc.

The concept of 'anti-imperialism' comes from Lenin's immediate political needs during the USSR's war against France and Britain in 1918-24, during which any defeat for the imperial powers was good for the USSR -- and thus the working class, of course -- and so the Bolsheviks championed nationalists in  Asia, Africa and elsewhere. Similarly, later during the Cold War the USSR supported local nationalisms in order to oppose US hegemony.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Imperialism: Plague on both houses

The Left-wing have just not been interested in any criticism of what has become a dogma in their circles: that socialists are duty-bound to support struggles for "national liberation". The "revolutionary" Left simply "trot" out the old anti-imperialism position of supporting the weaker country against imperialist aggression which refuses any real class analysis of war.

Lenin wrote a pamphlet which he entitled Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In it he argued that, through a process which had been completed by the turn of the century, capitalism had changed its character. Industrial capital and bank capital had merged into finance capital, and competitive capitalism had given way to monopoly capitalism in which trusts, cartels and other monopolistic arrangements had come to dominate production. Faced with falling profits from investments at home, these monopolies were under economic pressure to export capital and invest it in the economically backward parts of the world where higher than normal profits could be made. Hence, Lenin went on, the struggle by the most advanced industrial countries to secure colonies where such "super-profits" could be made. When, after 1917, Lenin became the head of the Bolshevik regime in Russia the theory was expanded to argue that the imperialist countries were exploiting the whole population of the backward areas they controlled and that even a section of the working class in the imperialist countries benefited from the super—profits made from the imperialist exploitation of these countries in the form of social reforms and higher wages, Lenin argued that imperialism was in part a conscious strategy to buy off the working classes in the imperialist countries. His evidence consists of one quote from arch-imperialist Cecil Rhodes , and one from Engels to the effect that the workers of England "merrily share the feast" of its colonies.

Firstly his analysis is out of date when applied to the current situation. Perhaps more importantly Lenin's theory of imperialism Lenin's theory of imperialism pitted the working class of undeveloped countries against that of the developed ones. It led to upholding national interest against class interest. Lenin's position was not a mistake. The “labour aristocracy” theory had the political purpose of enabling the Bolsheviks to argue for the workers in the colonies to form united fronts with their local ruling classes against Imperialism. This in turn had the aim of dividing the working class internationally, and turning it into cannon fodder for capitalist war. Lenin's expanded theory made the struggle in the world not one between an international working class and an international capitalist class, but between imperialist and anti—imperialist states. The international class struggle which socialism preached was replaced by a doctrine which preached an international struggle between states.