“The broad masses detest and want to change the system in which the imperialist powers and their agents engage in unbridled exploitation under the policies of neocolonialism and neoliberalism, in state terrorism and all forms of oppression, in counterrevolutionary wars and aggression, in the use of weapons of mass destruction, in threats of nuclear war and in the relentless destruction of the environment.”
Editor’s note: This global situationer is Part I of the Chairperson’s Report to the Fifth International Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, which was held in Manila in November 2014. We repost it here as part of our broader effort to encourage further study and discussion of the global situation and trends among activists of mass movements in various countries. The full text of the report may be accessed on the josemariasison.org website.
The neoliberal economic policy of unbridled profit-taking and rapid accumulation of finance capital continues to govern the world capitalist system. Since the adoption of the policy in 1980, it has brought about a series of worsening economic and financial crises leading to the crisis of 2008 and the now prolonged global depression. In the name of a mythical free market, the states and the monopoly firms have carried out the policies of wage squeeze, social welfare cutbacks, investment and trade liberalization, privatization of state assets, deregulation of social and environmental protection and denationalization of underdeveloped economies.
The combination of profit maximization and use of higher technology has relentlessly raised the organic composition of capital, increasing constant capital and decreasing the variable capital for wages, pushed the overaccumulation and overvaluation of the assets of a few, hastened the recurrence and worsening of the crisis of overproduction, overplayed the role of finance capital and generated one big financial bubble after another that inevitably bursts to the detriment of the real economy, employment and the people.
The adoption of higher technology for private profit has speeded up the overconcentration of capital in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie in a few countries, the recurrence and aggravation of economic and financial crises, the plunder of human and natural resources, the degradation of the environment and the most extravagant forms of up scale consumerism.
It has produced for the imperialist powers, especially the US, the most powerful weapons of indoctrination, police surveillance and state terrorism and worst of all the weapons of mass destruction. Some of these weapons have been unleashed in recent wars of aggression to massacre the people and destroy social infrastructure. The most destructive weapons are kept in reserve for effecting a balance of terror among the imperialist powers and threatening the very existence of humankind.
The US is conspicuously in general decline and is losing its position as No. 1 imperialist power because it is being undermined by its complementary policies of neoliberalism and neoconservatism and by the growth of other capitalist powers. Neoliberalism has never solved the problem of stagflation, caused by the crisis of monopoly capitalism and excessive spending on war production and wars of aggression. The neoconservative policy of full spectrum dominance, especially with the use of high tech military weaponry, has guaranteed the misallocation of US resources.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the full restoration of capitalism in revisionist-ruled countries, the US has boasted of being the sole superpower and of having supposedly ensured the death of the socialist cause and the end of history in capitalism. It has proceeded to unleash wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Libya, to engage in blockades, military intervention and war provocations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and to instigate counterrevolutionary wars in Syria, Ukraine and other countries. In the meantime, it has gone for the financialization of its economy, built up its high tech military production and reduced its manufacture of consumer goods.
In reacting to the economic and financial crisis that started in 2008, the US has relied excessively on public debt and quantitative easing or printing money, bailing out the banks and the big corporations in the military-industrial complex and keeping public money away from the revival of production and employment. Thus, the US economy has declined and has generated socio-economic and political turmoil in the US and throughout the world.
The living conditions of the working class and people of color have severely deteriorated due to unemployment, reduced real incomes, rising costs of basic necessities, homelessness, racial discrimination, religious bigotry, state terrorism and wars of aggression. The economic and social malaise that afflicts the US has spread to the other global centers of capitalism as much as the current prolonged economic and financial crisis has spread from the US.
With the US as the world’s largest consumer market in stagnation, China has had to close down many of its sweat shops or reduce their production and has engaged in public borrowing to a far greater extent than the US in order to spend for public and private construction. The more developed countries in the European Union are also suffering from high public debt, slump of exports and austerity measures. The less developed countries of the EU like Greece, Spain and Portugal are reeling from high public debt, austerity measures and severe unemployment. Japan has continued to stagnate since 1990. Russia is hard hit by the fall of oil income and sanctions. China and Russia are being pushed to combine and make their economies complement each other in the face of US maneuvers to keep them subordinated. Thus, inter-imperialist contradictions are surfacing.
We focus the principal attention on the US because it is the most bellicose power and is the biggest destabilizing factor in the world. It has a war-driven economy, with the military industrial complex always pushing the government to spend more for war production and wars of aggression. It is determined, together with the NATO and Zionist Israel, to weaken and bring down any regime that supports the struggle of the Palestinian people and the cause of national independence of the the Arab peoples. It is responsible for training, arming and using the Daesh (Islamic State) to attack Syria. But since the Daesh engaged in the sensational beheading of Western journalists, the US and other Western powers have pretended to move against it. At any rate, Russia has become the key force in bombing and destroying the positions of the Daesh in Syria.
The US has relentlessly pushed the expansion of the NATO to the borders of Russia, has instigated and assisted so-called color revolutions to pressure Russia and has financed so-called nongovernmental “civil society” organizations to subvert Russia. Most recently, it has directed, funded and armed the neofascist forces in Ukraine in order to seize power and launch a war against the Russian-speaking people there. In response, the people in Novorossiya and Crimea have fought back and established people’s republics. The people of Crimea have reintegrated themselves with Russia.
The US and its NATO allies, including a reluctant Germany which has interest in energy supply from Russia, have imposed sanctions on Russia and suspended it from the G-8. Russia has promoted a Eurasian economic bloc and undertaken its own counter-sanctions. It has strengthened its economic and security relations with China. It supplies China with energy and some industrial equipment and China in turn supplies it with manufactures and food products and makes investments in infrastructure building and consumer manufacturing. The two countries have vowed to cooperate in realizing China´s initiatives of the new Silk Road and economic belt (SREB) and the maritime silk road (MSR) from Chinese ports across the Indian Ocean to Africa and the Mediterranean – all of which are driven by China´s need to export its production overcapacity, especially in such areas as steel production and consumer goods.
The US has been offended by the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a security alliance to counter the US-NATO alliance as well as the establishment of the BRICS economic bloc to counter the worst economic, trade and financial impositions of the US. It has become even more offended by the establishment of the BRICS Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. It regards all these as challenges to the US-controlled global financial system. But some close US allies like the United Kingdom are among the first to join the AIIB.
China’s economy and military capabilities have grown in collaboration with the US and other capitalist powers. China espouses multipolarity in world affairs and has become wary of the detrimental consequences of the crisis within the US and the world capitalist system. Thus, it has adopted measures in its national self-interest. The US maintains its dual policy of engagement and containment towards China but in recent years it has engaged in more containment measures in the face of China’s big power ambitions, closeness to Russia and claim over the entire South China Sea. Thus, despite the annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the US has pushed the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and the strategic pivot to East Asia.
The addition of China and Russia to the top circle of capitalist powers has resulted in the intensification of economic competition and political rivalry. In this new developing global context, the US is desperately trying to retain and assert its position as the No. 1 imperialist power. Any significant move of the US to revive its manufacturing power , tighten its control of the sources of energy and other raw materials and use its multilateral and trade agreements for such purpose will upset the existing balance of the capitalist powers.
Foreign monopoly capitalism and the feudal and semifeudal forms of exploitation generate mass unemployment, widespread poverty and underdevelopment. These are perpetuated and aggravated by the nexus of neocolonial and neoliberal policies for the benefit of the multinational firms, the local compradors and landlords and the corrupt bureaucrats. Under the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization, the economic and social crisis has recurred more often and more gravely in underdeveloped countries.
The problems of mass unemployment and poverty afflict not only the underdeveloped countries but also the long acknowledged developed countries. At the moment, China and the European Union are conspicuously in a similar state of crisis and stagnation as the US. These dismal conditions result from the capitalist system of exploitation, aggravated by the neoliberal economic policy and the use of high technology to press down wages and lay off workers, thus effectively constricting the market and causing the crisis of overproduction.
The finance capitalist device of rapidly expanding money supply and credit to buoy up the economy has served to favour the financial markets and generated financial bubbles that keep on bursting and causing worse financial and economic crisis. The public debt bubbles are expected to have the most disastrous results when they burst. The austerity measures being used to reduce public deficits and hold down the public debt are relentlessly making the people suffer.
Under current circumstances, the proletariat and oppressed nations and peoples of the world need to struggle more resolutely, more militantly and more self-reliantly than ever before within their respective national borders for greater freedom, democracy and socialism against the imperialist powers and the local reactionary forces. The escalating plunder and wars unleashed by the imperialist powers inflict terrible suffering on the people but at the same time incite and drive them to resist and engage in revolutionary struggles to overthrow the unjust system and establish the just system.
The broad masses detest and want to change the system in which the imperialist powers and their agents engage in unbridled exploitation under the policies of neocolonialism and neoliberalism, in state terrorism and all forms of oppression, in counterrevolutionary wars and aggression, in the use of weapons of mass destruction, in threats of nuclear war and in the relentless destruction of the environment. The social degradation of the working people and the political turmoil are generating the growing resistance of the people. The unbridled attacks on the people are the prelude to their revolutionary rising.
The revolutionary parties of the proletariat and the revolutionary mass movement of workers, peasants, youth, women, professionals and cultural activists keep on developing in both the industrial capitalist countries and in the underdeveloped countries. Among these revolutionary forces, those in the Philippines are demonstrating that they can preserve themselves and further gain strength in waging a protracted people’s war in an archipelagic country that has long been a stronghold of US imperialism and its big comprador-landlord agents.
Even as the revolutionary forces and people of the world must struggle more resolutely than ever before within their respective national borders, they must continue to communicate with each other, learn from each other, hold meetings bilaterally and multilaterally and reach agreements of unity, cooperation and coordination.
The imperialist powers are ultra-national and global forces of exploitation, oppression and war. It is therefore necessary to strengthen further the international workers’ movement and the anti-imperialist and democratic solidarity of the peoples of the world. It is imperative for the International League of Peoples’ Struggle to develop these further.