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Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!
The Recession and Theories of Imperialism:It has to be Lenin!
By Ret Marut
t the Alliance for WorkersLiberty (AWL) Winter Schoolon 29 November 2009 LeoPanitch, editor of the Social-ist Register, an organiser of the Social-ist Project group in Toronto, and pro-fessor at York University spoke on theeconomic crisis.Panitch is a self-confessed neo-Kautskyian or ultra-imperialist theoristof imperialism as opposed to a Leninistone. These are the only two real con-tending theories to understand theworld today in terms of inter-imperialist rivalries as the internationaleconomic crisis unfolds.Briefly neo-Kautskyians believe that UShegemony over the world economyis unchallenged and basically unchal-
lengeable because all the world’s capital-
know what’s good for them in the long run.
Central to this construction was the idea thatthe giant multi-national corporations (US in themain) were eliminating contradictions betweenrival national capitals and rival imperialist na-tions and they were becoming global,rather than national capital. They have sup-posed created a stable alliance of all the majorpowers to exploit the Third World for their jointbenefit. In 1914 Karl Kautsky published an arti-cle on imperialism, which subsequently wastranslated into English and published in theUSA. He argued there could be a way out of wars among the imperialist powers, a solutionnow named "Ultra-imperialismus" or "super-imperialism", Imperialism and the War, Interna-tional Socialist Review, 15 (1914). It was a pre-cursor to the bombastic conclusion by the end-of-history man Francis Fukuyama, who again
trumpeted this in 1992, following the ‘fall of communism’. This
outlook has been rubbishedby sub-prime mortgage crises and banking/credit systemic failures and in its continu-ing unfolding, notably in Iceland, Greece andIreland of late. And now we await the spotlightfalling on Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Italy inWestern Europe, besides the critical trade defi-cits shown in eastern European states afterbeing cut adrift from the former Comecon alli-ance.
Lenin’s theory basically states that rival imperi-
alist powers can never solve their contradic-tions; their drive for profit and markets bringthem inevitably into economic conflict witheach other and these conflicts inevitablybring inter-imperialist wars. These in turn willferment revolutionary situations worldwidewhere the working class will be faced with thequestion of the taking of state power and willdo so leading to an unfolding world revolutionprovided they have an internationalist revolu-tionary leadership prepared to lead it to do that.We contend that the objective circumstances tofulfil this scenario are now unfolding rapidlybefore our eyes. Panitch shoots straight fromthe hip to his welcoming pro-imperialist audi-
ences in the AWL and elsewhere: “I don't think
that US hegemony has waned, and I don't thinkit's about to wane in the very near future, de-
spite the current financial crisis…In our view,
by contrast, we have been living through one of the most dynamic periods in the whole history
of capitalism.” www.workersliberty.org/
category/marxist-theory/economics. Touchingfaith, indeed, not shared by many leading capi-talists today.Martin Thomas of Workers Liberty takes the lineof Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's pro-imperialist neo- Kautskyite book
Marxism and imperialism
concludes withthe following defence of US imperialism:
“Stalinist imperialism (Russia in Eastern Europe
and Afghanistan, China in Tibet, etc.) was and isas much to be opposed as ordinary capitalistimperialism. And every capitalist class of anyclout, 'advanced' or otherwise, has imperialisticimpulses. Indonesia's domination of East Timor,or Serbia's drive to dominate Kosova, are asmuch to be opposed as the imperialist venturesof larger, richer states. Countries as India, SouthAfrica, Nigeria, Mexico, and Brazil, where theruling class has gained sufficienteconomic and/or military strengthto act as a big power in its region,have developed into 'sub-imperialist'
http://archive.workersliberty.org/publications/readings/2001/empire.htmlRobert Fisk had written a front pagescoop in
on the 6October (2009) that year: The De-mise of the Dollar, in which heclaimed that, over the next nineyears:
“Gulf Arabs are planning –
alongwith China, Russia, Japan and France
to end dollar dealings for oil, mov-ing instead to a basket of currenciesincluding the Japanese yen andChinese yuan, the euro, gold and anew, unified currency planned fornations in the Gulf Co-operationCouncil, including Saudi Arabia, Abu
Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/the-demise-of-the-dollar-1798175.htmlIn response to a query from a Socialist Fightsupporter on what he made of this, Panitchdelivered a sharp and angry rebuke to Fisk:
“this story is part of the
neo-con agenda in the
US to undermine Obama’s Healthcare Bill”.
Suggesting Fisk as a spokesman/dupe for theneo-cons was hard to swallow, but what did ithave to do with the Healthcare Bill (now Act)?We never got the answer and it took a momentto realise that he was making a straightforwardidentification of US labour and capital; if Ameri-can imperialism did not continue to exploitthe world as its hegemon it would not haveenough money to pay for the health of its workers. His logic was as chauvinist and reac-tionary as that!The plans of the imperialist rivals of the US maynot pan out in the way Fisk outlined but themain thrust of the story is undoubtedly correctand already emerging. Iran denominates its oilin euros and Saddam Hussein was about todo the same in 2003 but the US invaded to fore-stall the collapse of the dollar as an interna-tional currency then. According to the
All Eyeson Obama
blog on November 4, 2010:
“In September, China supported a Russian pro-
posal to start direct trading using the yuan andthe ruble rather than pricing their trade or tak-ing payment in U.S. dollars or other foreigncurrencies. China then negotiated a similar dealwith Brazil. And on the eve of the IMF meetings
The now-vulnerable Supercarrier USS George Washington. According
to Forbes online magazine: “advancements in anti
-ship missile tech-nologies may be rendering the mighty ships obsolete, with China
North Korea’s main military backer —
possessing some of the world’s
most potent technology. Chinese and Russian anti-ship missiles areworld-class. China may have the most advanced anti-ship missile pro-
gram in the world.” And China is building its own aircraft carriers now.