This article by Jose Maria Sison is “prompted by the unprecedented scale and intensity of the people’s mass protests which have been breaking out in all continents since last year.” The author traces developments that have led to the mass protests that took up many current burning issues. Sison asserts that “the current wave of mass protests signals the transition to a new era of unprecedented anti-imperialist and anti-fascist resistance by the peoples of the world and the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution.”
IN TRANSITION TO THE RESURGENCE OF THE WORLD PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION
By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
March 15, 2020
This article is prompted by the unprecedented scale and intensity of the people’s mass protests which have been breaking out in all continents since last year. These have come in the wake of the rise of proto-fascist regimes in the US, Brazil, India, Philippines, Turkey and elsewhere. They are directed against imperialism and all reaction, especially against neoliberalism and fascism.
I wish to trace certain developments in recent history and current circumstances that have led to worldwide mass protests taking up the current burning issues of neoliberalism, fascism, austerity measures, gender discrimination, oppression of indigenous peoples, wars of aggression and environmental destruction.
I daresay that the current wave of mass protests signals the transition to a new era of unprecedented anti-imperialist and anti-fascist resistance by the peoples of the world and the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution. I am confident that the transition will be accomplished by the intensified revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and peoples of the world.
I. Advances of the Proletarian Revolution Soon After World War II
As a consequence of the struggle against the fascist powers in World War II, several socialist countries and newly-independent countries arose. It could be said by the early 1950s that one-third of humankind was under the governance of communist and workers’ parties. National liberation movements grew strong in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
However, the US emerged as the strongest imperialist power. It launched the Cold War since 1947 and unleashed propaganda campaigns of anticommunism, touting “free enterprise” as the guarantee to democracy. It violently opposed the people’s movements for national liberation, democracy and socialism. It waged wars of aggression in Korea from 1950 to 1953 and in Vietnam and the rest of Indochina from 1955 onwards.
The Korean people and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) fought and stalemated US imperialism. And the Vietnamese and the rest of the Indochinese people inflicted on the US its first categorical defeat in 1975. All the while, China was engaged in socialist revolution and construction and stood as a bulwark against US imperialism.
Meanwhile in the Soviet Union, modern revisionism rose to power and totally negated Stalin in 1956. It overthrew the state of the working class and allowed the bourgeoisie and the factors of capitalism to grow within socialist society. It pushed reformist and pacifist lines under Khrushchov and then social-imperialism under Brezhnev.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) opposed the modern revisionist line of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in the international communist and workers’ movement. It also opposed within China the blatant Rightists as well as the home-grown and Soviet- influenced revisionists. It prevailed over a number of anti-socialist elements before, during and after the Great Leap Forward but there were those who persisted.
Recognizing the crucial importance of upholding Marxist-Leninist theory and practice, Mao carried out the socialist education movement to cleanse politics, economy, organization, and ideology from 1962 to 1966. But this did not suffice. And thus the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) was carried out from 1966 to 1976 on the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through cultural revolution in order to combat revisionism, prevent capitalist restoration and consolidate socialism.
The CPC thought in 1969 that the victory of the GPCR and defeat of the revisionist capitalist-roaders in China would pave the way for imperialism to head for total collapse and socialism to march towards world victory. But Mao cautioned that it would take 50 to 100 years to defeat imperialism and pave the way for the world victory of socialism.
II. Monopoly Bourgeoisie Inflicts Major Defeats on the Proletariat
In fact, the GPCR went through twists and turns and ups and down. It may be said that while Mao was alive the CPC under his leadership prevailed over the revisionists from 1966-1976. But soon after his death in 1976, the capitalist roaders led by Deng Xiaoping successfully carried out a counterrevolutionary coup against the proletarian revolutionaries and the socialist state of the working class.
Consequently, the Dengist counterrevolution carried out the restoration of capitalism in China through capitalist reforms and opening up to the US and world capitalist system. It was able to suppress the mass protests at Tien An Men in Beijing and in scores of other cities in China in 1989 against inflation and corruption. And it became even more determined to strengthen capitalism in China.
By 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and its satellite revisionist-ruled states in Eastern Europe disintegrated. The bourgeoisie took full control of all the countries in the Soviet bloc. US imperialism became the sole superpower. And its ideologues and publicists proclaimed the death of socialism and the end of history with the supposed permanence of capitalism and liberal democracy.
Further the US proceeded to propagate and impose on the world the policy regime of neoliberal globalization and unleash wars of aggression in the Middle East (in Iraq, Libya), and Syria), in Central Asia (Afghanistan) and in the countries near or adjoining Russia (former Yugoslavia, Georgia and Ukraine). It sought to expand NATO to the borders of Russia. It overestimated its role and its capabilities as sole superpower and continued to adopt and implement policies that appeared to advance its interests but which in fact aggravated the problems that had caused its strategic decline since the middle of the 1970s.
As a result of the reconstruction of the capitalist countries ruined in World War II, the US had become afflicted by stagflation. This was the offshoot of the crisis of overproduction in the US and the world capitalist system. In trying to solve the problem of stagflation, the US adopted neoliberalism and favored the military-industrial complex to strengthen the US military as well to sell weapons to the oil-producing countries.
But ultimately, neoliberalism never solved the crisis of overproduction which had been the root cause of stagflation. The increased production of the military-industrial complex was profitable within the US economy and in sales to oil-producing countries. But it was counterproductive and unprofitable in the failure of the wars of aggression to expand stable economic territory for US imperialism abroad.
Under the neoliberal policy regime, the dogma is to accelerate the centralization and accumulation of capital in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie supposedly in order to create more jobs. Thus, the monopoly bourgeoisie is favored by tax cutbacks, wage freezes, erosion of social benefits, privatization of profitable public assets, antisocial and anti-environmental deregulation and denationalization of the economies of client-states.
The money supply and interest rates are either expanded or contracted to prevent inflation or stagnation but always favoring the monopoly bourgeoisie by expanding the public debt and subjecting the working class to further austerity measures and reduction of real wages. At the same time, legal and political measures have been undertaken by the monopoly bourgeoisie to attack job security and curtail trade union and other democratic rights.
III. US-China Collaboration in Neoliberal Globalization
The US was in need of expanding its market due to the recurrent and worsening crisis of overproduction. Thus, it took in China as its main partner in neoliberal globalization by conceding to it low technology for sweatshop consumer manufacturing and a big consumer market in the US and elsewhere. The US thought that it could concentrate on manufacturing the big items (especially by the military-industrial complex) and on financializing the US economy.
The export income of China swelled. Before the end of the 1980s the US became the biggest debtor from being the biggest creditor at the beginning of the decade. But in the aftermath of the nationwide mass protests against inflation and corruption in China in 1989, China pleaded to the US to loosen up on the restrictions on foreign investments and technology transfer.
The US agreed on the condition that China privatized the state-owned enterprises, desisted from providing state subsidies to enterprises, opened itself further to foreign investments and entered the World Trade Organization (WTO). China concurred but actually continued to use state planning and state-owned enterprises and copy without permission foreign technology in order to achieve its own strategic economic and security goals.
The US-China economic and trade partnership seemed to be going well, especially after China entered the WTO in 2001. The US and other imperialist powers were pleased that every time there was a major global financial and economic crisis the growth of China’s GDP served to compensate for the stagnant growth of the world economy. It took 10 more years from the financial crash of 2008 before the US started to accuse China of unfair economic practices in their relationship.
The crash caused a global depression which would protract up to now. It has adversely affected China’s economy. The growth rate has slowed down. China suffered in 2015 a stock market crash that wiped out 30 per cent of stock values. Foreign investors transferred their plants to other countries with cheaper labor in the Asian mainland. The huge mountain of unpaid debts by Chinese local governments and corporations and high ratio of public debt to GDP became exposed even while China deployed capital for its Belt Road Initiative (BRI).
IV. Growing Conflict between US and Chinese Imperialism
Trump started in 2018 to accuse China of maintaining a two-tiered economy of state monopoly capitalism and private monopoly capitalism, stealing US technology, providing state subsidies to economic enterprises, manipulating finance and the currency, adopting Chinese brands on products previously patented by US and other foreign companies and using stolen technology to build the military might of China.
By this time, US imperialism was already strained by its stagnant economy, the loss of competitiveness of US products, the extreme cost of overseas US military bases and endless wars of aggressions and the rapid rise of its public debt. The wars of aggression cost at least USD 6 trillion and failed to expand and stabilize the US economic territory abroad. The US strategic decline accelerated and became more conspicuous.
Consequent to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the winner in the Cold War and as sole superpower. But it actually continued to decline as a result of the high costs of its military bases overseas and its wars of aggression and its investment, trade and technological concessions to China. The US is still the No. 1 imperialist power but has declined to being one among several imperialist powers in a multipolar world.
China has risen as the main economic competitor and political rival of the US. It has become so ambitious as to design and implement the Belt and Road Initiative in order to make a radical departure from the pattern of maritime global trade which the Western colonial powers had established since the 16th century. But China also has serious economic problems, especially its sitting on a mountain of bad debts by local governments and corporations, the high ratio of public debt to GDP and the onerous terms of Chinese foreign loans which are vulnerable to debtors’ default and revolt.
In the Philippines and other Southeast Asia countries, the peoples are confronted with the extraterritorial claims of China over the 90 per cent of the South China Sea in violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. But in other regions of the world, certain governments that assert national independence and the socialist cause have taken advantage of inter-imperialist contradictions and availed of China’s cooperation in order to counter sanctions and acts of aggression instigated by the US and its traditional imperialist allies.
V. Intensification of Contradictions Due to Crisis of World Capitalist System
We see today the intensification of all major contradictions in the world capitalist system, such as those between labor and capital, those between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations, those between the imperialist powers and states that assert national independence and the socialist cause and those among the imperialist powers.
The intensification of contradictions between labor and capital within imperialist countries and among imperialist powers is due to the worsening crisis of overproduction relative to the drastically reduced income of the working class in imperialist countries and in the rest of the world capitalist system. The workers have become restless and rebellious due to unemployment, low income, rising prices of basic commodities, austerity measures, the curtailment of their democratic rights and the rise of chauvinism, racism and fascism.
Among the imperialist powers, the US and China have emerged as the two main contenders in the struggle for a redivision of the world. Each tries to have its own alliance with other imperialist powers. The traditional alliance of the US, Europe and Japan is still operative in such multilateral agencies like the IMF, World Bank and WTO and in NATO and other military alliances. Ranged against the traditional imperialist powers are China and Russia which have broadened their alliance in BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS Development Bank, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Fund.
Since so many decades ago when they developed nuclear weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery systems, the major imperialist powers have so far avoided direct wars of aggression against each other by undertaking proxy wars despite the frequent US wars of aggression against underdeveloped countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. They have developed the neocolonial ways and means of shifting the burden of crisis to the underdeveloped countries. They engage in a struggle for a redivision of the world but so far they have not directly warred on each other to acquire or expand their sources of cheap labor and raw materials, markets, fields of investment and spheres of influence.
They make the oppressed peoples and nations of the underdeveloped countries suffer the main brunt of the recurrent and worsening economic and financial crisis of the world capitalist system even as they make them the main source of superprofits through a higher rate of exploitation. Currently they continue the policy of neoliberal globalization for the purpose. To suppress the people’s resistance to oppression and exploitation, they provide their client-states with the means of state terrorism and fascist rule by the bureaucratic comprador bourgeoisie. They also use their respective client-states for proxy wars and counterrevolutionary wars for maintaining their economic territory or for redividing the world.
Despite their attempts to shift the burden of crisis to the oppressed peoples and nations, the imperialist powers are driven to extract higher profits from their own working class under the neoliberal policy regime. To suppress the resistance of the proletariat and people to oppression and exploitation in both the developed and underdeveloped countries, they have enacted so-called anti-terrorist laws and are increasingly prone to the use of state terrorism and sponsor fascist organizations and movements to counter the growing revolutionary movement of the proletariat.
In the underdeveloped countries, US imperialism and its puppet regimes are unleashing the worst forms of aggression and state terrorism against the people in order to perpetuate the neoliberal policy of unbridled greed. Since the end of World War II, the wars of aggression and campaigns of terror unleashed by US have resulted in 20 to 30 million killed in Korea, Indochina, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries.
But US imperialism has also suffered outstanding defeats, such in north Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and other Indochinese countries. It has been unable to stop the decolonization of colonies and semi-colonies which is still an ongoing process. The proletariat and people have persevered in protracted people’s war in the Philippines, India, Kurdistan, Turkey, Palestine, Peru, Colombia and elsewhere. The spread of arms where US imperialism have unleashed wars of aggression, such as in the Middle East and Africa, can open the way to the rise of more armed revolutionary movements.
There are effective governments like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela and Syria that assert national independence and the socialist cause. They enjoy the support of the people, stand up against US imperialism and take advantage of the contradictions among the imperialist powers in order to counter sanctions, military blockade and aggression. The people and revolutionary forces led by the proletariat can strengthen themselves in the course of anti-imperialist struggles.
VI. Mass Protests Signify Transition to the Resurgence of World Proletarian Revolution
Since last year, we have seen the unprecedented rise and spread of gigantic anti-imperialist mass protests occurring in both the underdeveloped and developed countries. These signify the transition to the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution. They are a manifestation of the grave crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling systems and the inability of the imperialist powers and their puppet states to rule in the old way.
The massive and sustained mass protests in various countries of Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa bring to the surface the deep-seated detestation of the people for the extreme oppression and exploitation that they have suffered. The proletariat and people of the world are fighting back. We are definitely in transition to a great resurgence of anti-imperialist struggles and the world proletarian revolution.
The broad masses of the people are rising up against the worst forms of imperialist oppression and exploitation, such as neoliberalism, austerity measures, gender discrimination, racism, oppression of indigenous peoples, fascism, wars of aggression and environmental destruction. The starting points or inciting moments for the mass protests may be concrete issues of wide variability but they always rise up to the level of protests against imperialism and all reaction.
In the last 50 years, we have seen imperialism, neocolonialism, modern revisionism, neoliberalism and neoconservatism attack and put down the proletariat and people of the world. Now, the people are resisting as never before and generating new revolutionary forces, including parties of the proletariat and mass organizations. These will ultimately result in the spread of armed revolutionary movements and the rise of socialist states and people’s democracies with a socialist perspective.
The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces are gratified that they have persevered in the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war and with a socialist perspective in the last more than 50 years. Loyal to the just revolutionary cause, they have waged revolutionary struggle resolutely and militantly and have fought even more fiercely against the counterrevolutionary campaigns of the enemy. They have been inspired by the revolutionary victories of national liberation movements and socialism abroad and have become ever more determined to contribute to the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution.
They take pride in being referred to as one of the torch bearers of the anti-imperialist struggles of the peoples of the world and the world proletarian revolution. Their revolutionary will and fighting spirit are more than ever higher as their revolutionary struggles are now in concert with the resurgent mass struggles of the proletariat and people on a global scale. We foresee that in the next fifty years the crisis-stricken world capitalist system will continue to break down and give way to the rise of anti-imperialist and socialist states and societies.
Long live the proletariat and peoples of the world!
Down with the imperialist powers and all reaction!
Long live the anti-imperialist and socialist cause!
Victory for the world proletarian-socialist revolution!