In two articles;
Themes concerning imperialism
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1945/50, despite beingwrong in 1916, and that this theory of imperialism, although correct from 1916 to1945/50, has now been replaced by ultra-imperialism Hillel Ticktin’s Theory of Declineis somewhat different to these and needsseparate consideration.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
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 -- for example 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?
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 of imperialism 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.
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 Trotsky’s 1938Transitional Programme was specificallyaimed. The mass bombing of the cities byboth Stalin and imperialism were directedspecifically at this – Ted Crawford of Revolutionary History claims they are aboutto publish proof that the working class areaswere specifically targeted in these
Have Kautsky and Gramsci replaced Lenin; is ultra-imperialism the new world order?
Reply to Comrade Sharpe, Gerry Downing