World Socialism Forum in Beijing witnesses clash of socialist ideas

(By the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist))

On behalf of the CPGB-ML, Comrades Harpal Brar and Ella Rule recently attended the Fourth World Socialism Forum, organised by the World Socialism Research Centre of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and the Centre for Contemporary World Studies of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC).

The theme of this year’s forum was ‘The current situation and the development trend of world socialism and leftist thoughts’. Held on 30-31 October at the conference hall of CASS, it hosted 91 participants, including 22 from abroad.

The general consensus at the symposium was that socialism, being a far superior system to capitalism, had a bright future – indeed, the only future for humanity; that capitalism, far from being the final destination, was merely a transitional stage in the long march of humanity from primitive communism to the higher stage of communism.

There was also general agreement that imperialism, especially US imperialism, was on the decline and that socialism was on the up again after the terrible reverses suffered in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR and east European socialist countries. It was pointed out that the latest economic crisis, while undermining the legitimacy of capitalism, had served to raise high the prestige of Marxism Leninism; and that the balance of power was definitely shifting away from US imperialism and other imperialist countries and towards the socialist countries and the Brics economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The only area in which US imperialism still reigns supreme is the military. In 2013, the US spent $633bn on the military, accounting for 5 percent of its GDP, 20 percent of its government budget, and 44 percent of global military spending. But even this colossal outlay is increasingly becoming a source of weakness, since the declining economic strength of the US will not be able to cope for very much longer with this huge military burden.

The present crisis, which began in 2007, marked the beginning of the end of US hegemony – economically, ideologically and politically. Even in the military field, despite its huge arsenal of the most sophisticated weapons ever seen, the US and its junior imperialist partners have lost in the battlefield in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan.

All in all, there was broad agreement that capitalism was a failed system, fully confirmed by the latest crisis of capitalism, which at the same time served to confirm the validity of socialism and of Marxism Leninism.

For all their generally positive reinforcement of socialism, one of the major weaknesses revealed at the symposium was a lack of clarity and agreement among the participants as to the cause of the demise of the USSR and east European socialist countries. Unless this question is satisfactorily dealt with, however, the working-class movement will not be equipped to make real progress.  Continue reading

Frantz Fanon and the Construction of the Colonial Subject: Defining ‘The Enemy’ in the Iraq War

(Published by Socialism and Democracy

The invasion of Iraq by the United States has been correctly seen by the left as an expression of US imperialism.1 In the period after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States was freed of the political and military constraints on its exercise of global power, such as they were, that the Soviet Union once offered.2 The United States has sought to make full use of this opportunity to demonstrate to allies, potential competitors (e.g., China), and ‘rogue states’ alike that it will not allow any state to challenge its position as the sole global superpower. In this context, the Iraq war represents an attempt to solidify the global hegemony of US-led neoliberalism. As a result, the left critique of the war, at least within the academy, has focused on the political-economic aspects of imperialism, emphasizing either the specific sectors of capital that have benefited from the war (such as oil companies and the military-industrial complex) or the significance of Middle Eastern oil for the United States and its competitors.

Unfortunately, the racialized nature of imperialism has received less attention. US policy elites have presented the Iraq war as benign: as an important step ensuring the spread of capitalist markets, democracy, human rights, and individual liberties to less fortunate regions.3 They see the US as bearing what was once called the ‘white man’s burden’ of bringing civilization to the darker corners of the world. In setting for itself this ‘civilizing’ mission, however, the US demonstrates just how ‘uncivilized’ it is. The ‘white man’s burden,’ in its 19th-century expression, involved extraordinary violence, at times reaching the level of genocide, against its supposed beneficiaries. A major component of this violence was the collection of cultural images and themes by which colonized people came to be known by the colonial power. The status of colonial subject, of being ‘known’ by the colonizer, simultaneously enforced and rationalized the colonial power’s dominance of indigenous populations, thereby giving imperialism a fundamental racial dimension.

Using the insights of Frantz Fanon, I will examine US discourse of ‘the enemy’ in its invasion and occupation of Iraq. Fanon’s theorization of global capitalism as both a racial and a class system is especially valuable for understanding the Iraq war in all its complexity. His theory’s grounding in the Algerian national liberation struggle4 gives it added relevance. Continue reading

Communists and the Struggle Against Imperialism

(By the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)) 

Only by returning to and uniting around the profound truths contained within the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao can the communist movement gain the strength it needs in the present era of crisis and war.

The most cursory glance at the contemporary international situation shows that imperialism’s inherent tendency to wage wars of aggression has not in any way disappeared. If anything it has become enhanced, notably after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of central and eastern Europe, since when we have seen numerous wars of colonial reconquest, such as those against Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya.

Moreover, faced with what is emerging as the gravest economic crisis in the history of capitalism, the pace and intensity of imperialism’s inexorable drive to war is increasing yet further. The imperialist powers are presently at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. They are also waging unofficial and proxy wars in Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries. They are abetting and bankrolling the Israeli zionists’ war against the Palestinian people. This year they have also waged war against the Ivory Coast. And the list continues.

Even with war already raging on so many fronts, a further war is now being prepared against Syria, the danger of which grows with each passing day. Syria, in turn, is seen as a stepping stone to an attack on Iran … and so on. Just as the wars of the 1930s, waged by the fascist powers against Spain, China, Korea, Albania and Ethiopia, paved the way for an attack on the socialist Soviet Union and an all-out world war, so today the imperialists’ ultimate target is the People’s Republic of China, a conflict which, if it came, would once again plunge the whole of humanity into the abyss of war.

Response of the communist movement to imperialist expansionism

Our party, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) has taken a consistent position on all this war-mongering activity of the imperialist powers – a position of absolute and implacable opposition to every aspect of all the wars prepared, instigated and waged by imperialism. And we have called for the victory of all those fighting against imperialism, irrespective of who they are, their social composition or the nature of their programme.

Sadly, this clear and straightforward position is far from universally accepted in the working-class or anti-war movements, whether in this country or elsewhere. Indeed, the scoundrels who dominate the leadership of the Stop the War Coalition have attempted to bureaucratically expel us for daring to express our unequivocal support for the government of Libya, whose overthrow was the objective of the vicious and predatory war waged by Nato and our own ruling class against the Libyan people. Such people are incorrigible counter-revolutionaries, heirs, in the main, to a bankrupt ideology, Trotskyism, which has betrayed and sabotaged every revolutionary movement to which it has come within sniffing distance since it first emerged as a discernible political trend in the 1920s. Continue reading

Marxism and Bourgeois Nationalism

(By Return to the Source)

Tripoli is burning. Thousands of black Libyans and African immigrants are rounded up by the NATO-backed rebels and thrown into prisons. Supporters of the ousted nationalist government wait with baited breath for the inevitable and bloody purge by the new rebel government. Libyan oil gushes out of Benghazi into the pipelines of Western energy companies. And militia groups, deputized by Interpol and the now-victorious National Transitional Council (NTC) government, hunt for Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and his family across the Libyan desert.

Now that NATO has won this asymmetrical imperialist war, at least in the short term, no one can reasonably say that the Libyan people are better off with the rebel government in power. For all of the flaws of Qaddafi’s government – and other nationalist governments like his – the Libyan people enjoyed the highest standard of living on the African continent, rising from the lowest standard of living in the world as of 1951. (1) The national and tribal governments had an amicable working relationship that allowed for decentralized planning and local decision-making. Moreover, Libya’s natural resources were controlled by a national government at-odds with Western energy corporations, and the wealth they generated was publicly owned and shared. (1) In other words, the Libyan nation exercised its inherent right to self-determination.

Qaddafi’s government wasn’t socialist; it was nationalist. The relations of production in Libya were capitalist in nature, but to deny that Qaddafi’s government was more progressive and objectively anti-imperialist ignores the brutal material reality that millions of Libyans are facing because of the NTC government.

As the West begins to re-calibrate its war machine and set its crosshairs on President Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, Marxist-Leninists need to understand their relationship with nationalist bourgeois states, like Qaddafi’s Libya. History has objectively proven those “leftists” who were cheerleaders for the fall of Qaddafi’s government in Libya or Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq wrong. Continue reading