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Minority Imperialism New

Minority Imperialism New

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Published by Gerald J Downing

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Published by: Gerald J Downing on Aug 27, 2009
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08/18/2013

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In two articles;
Themes concerninimperialism
and
What is Imperialism today? 
comrade Phil Sharpe sets out the views of the TT majority on modern imperialism. Hedefends the AWL/Iranian ex-HKS positionthat Kautsky’s theory of ultra-imperialismhas triumphed post 1945/50, despite beingwrong in 1916, and that this theory oimperialism, although correct from 1916 to1945/50, has now been replaced by ultra-imperialism Hillel Ticktin’s Theory of Declineis somewhat different to these and needsseparate consideration. Comrade MikeMacnair’s position is for the immediatewithdrawal of troops from Iraq whereaswithin the AWL and amongst others viewsrange from agreement with this Macnairiteposition to outright defence of imperialismas progressive in certain instances and oncertain things. As comrade Phil Hearsenoted in
The Activist - Volume 9, Number 8 
,November 1995
,
Some organisations with origins in theTrotskyist movement (for example comradesfrom the HKS tradition in Iran and the AWL inBritain) have concluded ...that a series of countries have become “sub-imperialist”,relays of imperialist powers or small imperialistpowers themselves, and thus there are nodemocratic and national tasks to solve. Theconclusion these comrades have drawn is thatthe revolution is simply now a socialistrevolution, analogous to that in the imperialistcountries. One other consequence of this isthat these organisations have been loath totake an unambiguously anti-imperialistposition in the case of wars between thesecountries and big imperialist states -- foexample over the Malvinas and Iraq (and theAWL supported the war against Serbia in1999). The logic has been -- why take sidesbetween big gangsters and small gangsters,when there is no fundamental differencebetween them? 
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Comrade Sharpe's position was decisivelydefeated in the HOPI launch conference on8 December 2007 by the combinedintervention of Fischerite CPGBers, theCommunist Students, the PR’s Stuart King,Iranian the TT’s Gerry Downing. and other Middle Eastern socialists. Ultra imperialismis a forthright rejection of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution, which cruciallydepends on the Leninist analysis oimperialism both of which are the onlyconsistent modern theoretical opposition toimperialism.Perry Anderson sums up his view of thepresent epoch thus,
Left to its own devices, the outcome of suchanarchy [of capitalist competition] can only bea mutually destructive war, of the kind Lenindescribed in 1916. Kautsky, by contrast,abstracted the clashing interests and thedynamics of the concrete states of that time,coming to the conclusion that the future of thesystem -for the sake of in its own interests-lies in the emergence of mechanisms of international capitalist coordination capable of transcending such conflicts, or what he called‘ultra-imperialism’. This was a prospect Leninrejected as utopian. The second half of thecentury produced a solution that both thinkersfailed to envisage, but one that Gramsciglimpsed intuitively. For in due course itbecame clear that the question of coordinationcould be satisfactorily worked out only by theexistence of a superordinate power, capable of imposing discipline on the system as a whole,in the common interest of all parties. Such‘imposition’ cannot be a by-product of bruteforce. It must also correspond to a genuineability of persuasion -ideally, in the shape of aleadership that can offer the most advancedmodel of production and culture of the day, asa target of imitation for everybody else. That isthe definition of hegemony, as a generalunification of the camp of capital.
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Developments since the end of WWII 
Firstly let us briefly outline thedevelopments since the end of WWII. Thisfinished with an alliance between Stalinismand Imperialism to strangle the post war revolutions which they all knew wereinevitable and to which Trotskys 1938Transitional Programme was specificallyaimed. The mass bombing of the cities byboth Stalin and imperialism were directedspecifically at this Ted Crawford oRevolutionary History claims they are aboutto publish proof that the working class areaswere specifically targeted in these
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Have Kautsky and Gramsci replaced Lenin; is ultra-imperialism the new world order?
Reply to Comrade Sharpe, Gerry Downing
 
conflagrations for precisely this reason. Andwhen revolutions did break out Stalin usedTogliatti in Italy and Churchill in Greece andHo Chi Min in Vietnam, etc to crush theserevolutions. Stalinists entered governmentsin six European countries to preventrevolutions, even collaborating with thedefeated fascists in Italy and murdering theBordegists within his own ranks whowanted to make revolution. Marshall Aidreplaced the Stalinists as the economies of Germany, Italy, etc and Japan were revived.The Asian Tigers, Taiwan, South Korea,Hong Kong and Malaysia were assisted todevelop their economies likewise to preventthe spread of communism and the USfought two bloody wars in Korea andVietnam to prevent this. The destruction of the economies of its main rivals duringWWII and the collaboration with Stalinism toprevent revolutions Stalin, Khrushchevand Brezhnev fought only to maintainpeaceful co-existence and the status quo –is therefore the secret of the lack of inter-imperialist rivalries during the Cold War. Butwar was only barely averted in crises likethe Berlin airlift, the six day war and theCuban Missile Crises and we do not knowhow other imperialist countries might havelined up if one did develop. ComradeSharpe says,
For example, those that consider that theperiod of globalisation represents the renewalof inter-imperialist antagonisms have difficultyexplaining in what sense the various nationalforms of capital would gain an advantage byundermining the formation of global capital.How would economic progress be made byrestricting capital to the struggle betweenantagonistic national parts? Hence, merely tosuggest that American capital is decliningrelative to European and Japanese capitaldoes not provide a causal mechanism thatexplains the revival of inter-imperialistantagonisms.
Comrade Sharpe does not understand thedynamic of world imperialism. Hisarguments equally apply to WWI and WWII.Are we to understand that these conflictshappened because the protagonists werestupid? No, the capitalist lives incompetition with all other capitalists, theythink they will succeed by economicallydefeating their rivals by fair means or fouland if a whole national section thinks it isgoing down the pan (as the US is today)and they have a big army and potentialallies they will fight even to the extent of aworldwide conflagration, as they are nowdoing, just as other capitalists in the samesituation have done twice in the twentiethcentury. He or she must sell their goods onthe world market, they must seek to securetheir markets to maximise their profits andbankrupt their rivals. The alternative to this,the reformist ultra imperialism theory,suggests they are about to evolve a globalplanned economy in the near future, andthe law of the jungle can be rationallypoliced. This is nonsense.The Cold War ended in the late 1980s andin that period, some thirty four odd years,there were no serious inter-imperialistclashes and certainly no apparent danger of a rerun of WWI and WWII betweenimperialist powers. Neither in the almosttwenty years since then there has been anyapparent serious danger of WWIII. Lenin’sanalysis of imperialism pre-1945 wascorrect in that inter-imperialist rivalries wereto the fore, various power blocks andempires operated closed markets in theiown colonies or sphere of influence andthese trade rivalries led to the two worldwars. But post 1945 Gramsci rules andLenin must take a back seat.
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We beg todisagree. Between the Great Depression,which begun in 1873, and 1939international incidents from Morocco (1905and 1912) to the Germans invasion of theSudetenland in 1938 threatened war between great powers and there were realwar between these big powers; theSpanish-American war of 1898, the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 and the Japaneseinvasion of Manchuria in 1931 and Chinaproper in 1937 until the two great worldwideconflagrations; sixty six years of intenseinter-imperialist rivalries leading to wars.This despite the Russian Revolution in1917, which all farsighted bourgeoispoliticians knew heightened the danger of world revolution, which all the imperialistsshould have been united in forestalling if they could act logically enough to sort outtheir differences.However by the end of WWII the US wasthe sole and unchallenged world imperialistpower and all the rest were dependent onher both economically (Marshall Aid) andmilitarily against the Soviet Union andChina. On Kautskyite analyses these latter fifty five years are qualitatively different to
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the preceding sixty five, the danger of WWIII has now gone forever, imperialismhas now become ultra or super imperialism.This means that all the imperialist powershave ganged up together to exploit the thirdworld and their own working classesthrough the mechanism of trans-nationalcorporations under the hegemonicleadership of the US. Kautsky has thereforebeen provedright in the longrun becauseeven with theending of theCold War wehave not seenany serious re-emergence of inter-imperialistrivalries oncethe threat from the Soviet Unionand China has vanished. The post 9/11world order is following the path of the restof history post 1945, argues the realists andthe liberals. Marxists would point to severalprocesses that are advancing strongly andare undermining that world order. Far froma new world order as proclaimed by GeorgeBush senior after the 1990-91 Gulf War weare seeing an ending of world ordeimposed by the US and a new worlddisorder opening up. We will look are whatfactors are contribution to this.Let uslook at the economic decline of theUS in relation to the rest of the world. From50% of worlds gross domesticproduct (GDP, the total market value of allthe goods and services produced within theborders of a nation in a year) in 1945 USGDP had fallen to less than half of that by1980. Since then the offensives of Regan,Clinton and Bush against the US workingclass has succeeded in largely halting thatdecline but the biggest trade loser has beenthe EU, as we see from figure 1 below. Itshows the changing relative GDP positionssince 1980. This is the driving force behindthe European Union project, still the world’slargest trading block and potentially its mostpowerful imperialist power but still toodivided by all manner of historical, politicaland linguistic difficulties to act in concertagainst NAFTA or even China. If we takeWTOstatesticson world trade flows in 2007,as quoted by the Financial Times of July 302008 in reporting the collapse of the DohaRound of trade talks, the European Unionaccounts for $b10,883 (Europe as a whole$b11,824), Asia: $b7,326 (China: $b2,174,Japan: $b1,324) and NAFTA $b4,558 of which the US: $b3,180. We further note thatin these statistics that Brazil accounts for only $b288, India for $b362 and Russia for $b578. Furthermore South Africa has onlyabout 17% of Africa’s trade from other WTOstatistics and theFT here givesAfrica as a wholea value of only$b777. The notionthat any of thesefour are now oare about tobecome imperialistpowers in theimmediate futureis clearly wrong, though we could argue thatRussia’s nuclear armaments gives itpotential to exploit other inter imperialistrivalries for its economic advantage andallow it to regain great power/imperialiststatus in the future. However a powerfulcase can be made for China now being animperialist power. Note that GDP can onlybe compared roughly with trade flows and,of course, if we took GDP per head of population as a measure of wealth(however unequally distributed) Chinawould fall to the bottom of advancednations, not to mention what would happento India’s place.
US Inequality 
The US is the most unequal of the world’sadvanced countries. A new study justreleased, entitled ‘The Measure of America,’commissioned by the Oxfam charity andseveral foundations, and published byColumbia University Press, usinggovernment figures, shows the dramaticdecline of American society relative to other advanced industrialized countries and themounting social disparities within the US.This is Whistleblower’s (an online blogger)account of that report,
The three social scientists who prepared thestudy constructed an American HumanDevelopment Index which includes bothmedian income figures and data relating tohealth, life expectancy and ‘access toknowledge(school enrolment and theproportion of the population with college andprofessional degrees.) The result is a broader 
 
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Figure 1

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