No 1599 September 30th 2021
Stung diplomatic response from France (and Europe) to the deliberate insult and fast practice of the AUKUS arms deal and Anglo-Saxon anti-China alliance, signals a jump in the inter-imperialist conflict driven by cutthroat trade war. Such hostility, echoing pre-war tensions before World War I & II is rich confirmation of Leninist understanding of the Catastrophic nature of capitalist crisis and warnings of its plunge into World War III between capitalist rivals. Coming disaster will be on a far greater scale than the 20th century horrors as early shock-and-awe “warm-up” from Serbia to Syria via Afghanistan and Iraq has already indicated. But the treacherous Labourites at their conference pay no attention and neither do the fake-“Marxist” Trot entryists – and all of the “left” inside or out succumbs to flag-waving jingoism whipped-up by the ruling class for coming war. Leninism even more vital
Fiddling while Rome burns has got nothing on the dirty dealing antics of the Labourite reactionaries in their conference, oblivious to the onrushing collapse of the real imperialist world.
Catastrophic failure of monopoly capitalism has already seen far more burning and destruction than Nero managed (apocryphally anyway) – ie already blitzing at least half a dozen entire countries since the turn of the century – and is heading for unimaginable breakdown, chaos and war on a world scale as the staggeringly hostile diplomatic ruckus with French imperialism over the AUKUS US-Australian-British arms deal has just made even more clear (see below).
Such a burst of sudden open antagonism gives renewed urgency to Marxist analysis that world imperialism is hell bent on devastation and destruction as the only answer it can find to total breakdown – on an unstoppable path to World War III, everywhere.
So when is the need for an end to this stinking and degenerate system of privilege and ever-deepening inequality, repression, wastefulness and deadly planet threatening contempt for nature going to be tackled?
The question posed is the all-out class war to establish the firm rule of the working class, the only way in which a rational socialist society can be created by taking all production property into common ownership and planned development.
No such issues were raised by the Labourites whose preoccupation in Brighton was pathetic tinkering with the edges of austerity while bending the “selection rules” even further, to make sure that not even the hopeless posturing of the Labour “lefts” should ever get a hearing again, let alone any real struggle for socialism to take command.
Not that any of Corbynism and the fake-“left” entryism tailing behind, was ever going to mount a serious challenge to the rotten corruption, degenerate sleaze, inequality and gross exploitation of the foul imperialist system.
Such “left” reformism has only ever been part of the multi-layered propping up of the elaborate class collaboration confidence trick that constitutes “democracy”.
When it was accidentally elected to the leadership a few years back it dutifully and immediately capitulated to every establishment and media denunciation of any of its “principles” which remotely criticised imperialism let alone mounted any kind of real challenge to it.
Not least was its grovelling to the sinister and sick CIA/Zionist conspiracy to sabotage the faintest support for the heroic Palestinian people’s long struggle to get its stolen land back (all of it) with ludicrous accusations of “left anti-semitism” against any hint of anti-Zionism (a lying calumny aiming not only at this crucial issue but also at torpedoing wider popular support for all the “left”).
But that all reflects its continuing support for capitalism overall, combined with “condemnations” and denunciations of the upheaval and anti-Western “terrorism” which signals worldwide dismay with the decay and collapse of the imperialist system, and rebellious efforts to get its centuries-long tyrannical exploitation off its back.
Now so deep is the crisis that even such useless “left” Labour fakery is deemed too much, even after it has been knifed in the throat, so fearful is the ruling class of revolt inevitably stirring everywhere as the capitalist Catastrophe unfolds.
Hence the voting stitch-up and poisonous “repudiations” of Corbyn by the opportunist party bureaucrats and their treacherous class collaborating TUC henchmen behind the ultra-Blairite reaction Mark II under the wooden Keir Starmer, to keep things tied to calculatedly useless, castrated parliamentary opposition within the bourgeois “democracy” fraud, which has held the working class back for 150 years.
Their job is to put the boot in because the ruling class fears even half-hearted Corbynite “more reformism” posturings might ignite something far more explosive, so tinder dry is discontent at austerity, now “normalised” food bank and homelessness deprivation, the murderous Covid incompetence and its pocket-lining sleaze-larceny, general incompetence and Tory arrogance.
They really need not bother; neither the Corbynites nor the assorted Trot and crypto-Trot entryists around them are ever going to give workers any sense of the deadly slide of world imperialism into WW3 and certainly not of the need it imposes to build a revolutionary party, to lead the great upheavals coming as the crisis bites down harder.
The new tax rises and growing inflation are early signs of draconian cutbacks and penury that will make the past decade look like a teaparty.
To divert attention from this disaster the ruling class has been deliberately escalating backward chauvinism and “anti-foreigner” blamemongering, particularly with Brexit, and every kind of dogwhistle racist and jingoist signalling, including propping up the Union Jack behind the regular government Covid presentations.
Every part of the “left” has gone along with this reactionary nationalism, directly or indirectly.
The Labour Party hastened to wrap itself in the Union Jack and declare its “loyalty” and “patriotic credentials” fighting for “British jobs for British workers” as ex-PM Gordon Brown has just re-iterated despite his own pretence of “concern for the Third World”.
And while parts of the “left” notionally hold to “internationalist” principles they have either done the same, or tacitly accepted the same by continuing to bolster the thoroughly bourgeois Labour Party which long ago lost any claim to be a “bourgeois workers party” (with its tactical significance of being something to do with workers’ interests, and therefore justifying “entryism”) as spelled out in EPSR No1058 19-09-00 and Books Vol 10 Labour/TUC reformism is dead) for example:
But in the now vastly changed historical circumstances, are not such reminders that ‘Labour is still a workers party’ completely misleading and out of place? Labour is now the political party of first choice for serving the majority of British imperialist big business.
Far from ‘Hands Off Russia’, Labour and the TUC have played as big a reactionary role in Western governments’ imperialist leadership since 1945 in trying to achieve the nuclear counter-revolutionary destruction of the Soviet workers state and other anti-capitalist revolutionary movements.
Some have been on an even more overtly chauvinist path in their backing for Brexit, even when they correctly denounce Labour, with the Stalinist CPGB-ML going so far as to launch a deliberately nationalist party in its Workers Party of Britain popular front lashup with the clever but arch-opportunist George Galloway, gung-ho Spitfire-style roundels to the fore as its (somewhat dated) jingoist logo.
None of them come remotely close to exposing the deadly danger to the working class of such inflamed chauvinism, knowingly and cynically being used by the ruling class to drag the world into bitter and hate-filled confrontation.
So none of them have made any great shakes of the AUKUS row, other than the usual social-pacifist anti-arms trade uselessness.
But the significance of this latest upheaval goes far beyond any such routine “No to War” protesting which simply disarms workers anyway heading them away from the Leninist philosophical understanding of warmongering as the inevitable consequence of the production for production for private profit system and its overproduction crisis.
The belligerent manner of the arms and intelligence deal’s behind-the-back preparation and sudden announcement, contemptuously gazumping French (and European) imperialism’s prior sales, military alliance and intelligence arrangements (just as armsrace nasty in fact), brings to the surface the corrosive and cutthroat reality of the huge inter-imperialist trade war, the driving element of the vicious diplomatic skirmishing now unleashed.
As a gobsmacked bourgeois press made clear, this goes far beyond the 2002 Iraq war bitterness about “cheese eating surrender monkeys” and “freedom fries” insults (and hostility to Germany too) which already gave notice of the incurable conflicts under the surface within imperialism itself nearly two decades ago (along with prior anti-European anti-French and anti-German chauvinism over “mad beef” bans, Rover car sales etc):
The recall of the French ambassadors to Australia and the US – without precedent in two centuries of diplomacy between Paris and Washington – has plunged relations to depths unknown for decades.
Rifts over the Iraq war or Nato pale into insignificance. True, the French recalled their ambassador to Rome a couple of years ago, irked by the insults sent their way by the upstart Five Star leader Luigi di Maio, but that was a little warning to populists to stop encouraging the disruption of the yellow vest protests.
In another instance, France’s ambassador to Turkey was recalled after President Erdo?an questioned the mental health of Emmanuel Macron.
But froideur does not quite capture the red-hot anger in Paris, as Philippe Étienne and Jean-Pierre Thébault rack up some unexpected air miles on flights back to Paris. In diplomatic parlance, they have been recalled for consultations, and no date has yet been set for their return to their postings.
The Australians have expressed regret over the French decision, but have offered no apology.
European diplomats are bemused. They thought that with the advent of Joe Biden in the White House, the diplomatic experts were back in charge after the chaos, rudeness and unpredictability of Donald Trump – though at least Trump insulted his allies in the open on Twitter or to their face. “Joe Biden, it seems, uses one hand to greet you, and the other to stab you in the back. It is quite audacious,” said one.
Yet, in some American circles there seems to have been little comprehension of the offence caused. Asked what she thought of her administration’s transatlantic bridge-building at a Chatham House event on Friday, Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat House speaker, seemed oblivious to there being a problem. Sir Simon Fraser, a former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, captured the mood among many diplomats, saying on Twitter: “The Biden foreign policy team, which was seen as reassuringly professional and experienced, now look surprisingly clumsy and tin-eared in its miscommunication with its allies.”
Peter Ricketts, a former British ambassador to Paris, also warned that the rupture felt worse than at the time of the Iraq war.
He rightly pointed out that the French ambassador to London has not been withdrawn, an indication that the UK is seen as an accomplice in the six-month plot rather than a ringleader. Perhaps the French never expected anything better from “perfidious Albion”. One French source described the UK as a stowaway in the new alliance, and that the best way to underline Britain’s irrelevance was to leave the ambassador in situ.
The Foreign Office still believes the new foreign secretary, Liz Truss, will hold a bilateral meeting in New York next week with her French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian. As defence minister, Le Drian negotiated the submarines contract with Australia, and there is no one more aggrieved than him in Paris at present.
Embarrassed US state department officials initially claimed the French had been informed of the contract’s cancellation; unable to produce any supporting evidence, however, they weakly suggested that they thought it was for the Australians to inform the French. “They [the Australians] told us they would take care of dealing with the French,” one US official told the New York Times. This casts America in the role of a bystander that fortuitously happened to benefit from the French naval group’s inability to deliver a contract on time and to specification.
From the French perspective, this is simply not credible. The US talks to cancel the submarine contract went on for months in utmost secrecy. At the G7 meeting in Cornwall, Macron was given no hint that the Australians were about to scupper the deal. Three days later, the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, saw Macron and left him with the impression that Australia felt reassured that technical aspects of the contract including delays, cost overruns could be resolved.
Anthony Blinken, the ever-courteous US secretary of state, also remained silent on the issue when he met Le Drian in Paris on 25 June.
Finally, on 30 August, the French and Australian defence and foreign ministers held an annual consultation, ending with a long communiqué that included a reference to the importance of the future submarine programme.
The Aukus pact was announced the day before the EU was to unveil its long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy, and the week before Biden was due to speak to the UN general assembly, the Royal Ascot of diplomacy. If his China policy is about building a network of alliances against Beijing, the US president has a strange way of constructing those alliances.
France’s historic decision to recall its ambassadors to the US and Australia is far more than a diplomatic spat, analysts have warned.
The move, in protest at Canberra’s surprise decision to cancel an order for French-built submarines and its security pact with Washington and London, will affect France and Europe’s role in Nato and already strained relations with the UK.
French officials have accused Australia, the US and the UK of behaving in an underhand, duplicitous manner that has betrayed and humiliated France.
“This is far more than just a diplomatic spat, the withdrawal of ambassadors is the tip of the iceberg,” Peter Ricketts, a former permanent undersecretary at the Foreign Office and former UK ambassador to France, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“There is a deep sense of betrayal in France because this wasn’t just an arms contract, this was France setting up a strategic partnership with Australia and the Australians have now thrown that away and negotiated behind the backs of France with two Nato allies, the US and UK, to replace it with a completely different contract.
Prime minister Scott Morrison and French president Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace in June
“For the French this looks like a complete failure of trust between allies and calls into doubt what is Nato for. This puts a big rift down the middle of the Nato alliance … Britain needs a functioning Nato alliance.”
Ricketts added: “I think people underestimated the impact that this would have in France and how this would seem as a humiliation and betrayal in a year President Macron is running for election in a very tight race with the far right.”
The historic order to recall France’s ambassadors came directly from Macron. A spokesperson for the Elysée said the “seriousness” of the situation required the president’s response. “Beyond the question of the breach of a contract and its consequences, particularly in terms of jobs, there is what this decision says about the alliance strategy. [Such behaviour] is unacceptable between allies,” the Elysée said.
In an angry statement on Friday evening, the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said: “This exceptional decision is justified because of the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States.”
The French are furious at Australia’s decision to cancel a A$90bn (£48bn) contract it signed with the French company Naval Group in 2016 for a fleet of 12 state-of-the-art attack class submarines. That deal became bogged down in cost overruns, delays and design changes. Naval Group said the new deal that will see Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines built by the US and UK, instead of those from France, was a “great disappointment”.
Le Drian had already described the trilateral Aukus security pact – including the submarine deal – as a “stab in the back”.
“The abandoning of the ocean-class submarine project that linked Australia and France since 2016, and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States to launch studies on possible future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines, constitute unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners, the consequences of which affect the very conception we have of our alliances, our partnerships and the importance of the Indo-Pacific region for Europe,” he added.
France is also furious at what it sees as the dishonesty of statements coming out of Australia, whose the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said Canberra wanted nuclear submarines “with more autonomy and more discreet than the conventional submarines that France proposed”.
France says it altered the design of its nuclear submarines to diesel because that is what Australia wanted and ordered.
In terms of the Indo-Pacific partnership, France is a natural ally for Australia as it has overseas territories home to more than 1.6 million French citizens in the region. Paris also has a significant military presence there, with 8,000 soldiers and dozens of ships, including nuclear submarines, positioned in several bases.
Nathalie Goulet, an opposition member and vice-president of the French Sénat’s foreign affairs, defence and armed forces commission, said the situation was “very disturbing”.
“Someone should have warned before this breach of contract … I don’t understand this couldn’t have happened overnight,” she said.
It is the first time France has recalled a US ambassador; the two countries have been allies since the US war of independence. France also cancelled a gala due to be held on Friday to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Chesapeake Bay, a decisive event in the war, which ended with the French fleet’s victory over the British on 5 September 1781.
The UK had acted in an opportunistic manner, a French diplomatic source said on Friday.
“The UK accompanied this operation opportunistically,” the source told Reuters. “We do not need to consult in Paris with our ambassador to know what to think and what conclusions to draw from it.”
The whole US dominated world faces ever worsening crisis collapse.
Disintegration of the already bankrupt world-saturating dollar system, which reached Catastrophic credit breakdown in 2008, is now imminent as the incurable contradictions within the private profit system bring it closer to paralysis, unable overall to go forwards any further after 800 years of the bourgeoisie’s rise and rule (overturning the previous feudal order).
The dominant US ruling class (and its grovelling stooges like the British ruling class) are desperate, knowing that the 10+ years of banking system rescue by endless dollar “printing” was only ever a temporary stopgap and can go no further.
It has made things ten times worse.
World trade and exploitation must implode in a welter of inflationary chaos (already hitting fuel, gas, food, and more) and even greater financial breakdown than the global bank disaster after the Lehman Bros collapse.
Domestic turmoil, upheaval, riots, and “winters of discontent” are openly predicted everywhere, adding to the already seething and growing ferment of anti-Western rebelliousness throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia in both anti-imperialist “rogue state” upheavals, the eruptions of the “Arab Spring” which led on to revolts like the Houthis in Yemen, and in ever more widespread “jihadism” (the Sahel, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia etc) which cannot remain stuck in its sectarian and backward religious form forever, labelled “terrorism” by imperialism to justify its own blitzing and bloody repression.
The huge street turmoil in Latin America, like that seen in Colombia and Brazil, alleged “gang” war (with rebellious overtones) in the slums in earthquake and coup ruined Haiti, and the dogged resistance of “left” nationalism such as in Venezuela or Bolivia, are further reflections of the growing difficulties for imperialist world control.
And the greatest example of all, the continuing struggle of the Palestinian people against the monstrous landtheft occupation of their land by the 75 year Zionist-Jew occupation not only continues to show the world a dogged resilience that inspires the masses everywhere, defeating the occupation (see EPSR No 1594) but is on the verge of a new step forwards against the treachery which has held it back in the CIA-Zionist collaborating stoogery of the Palestinian Authority founded by the petty bourgeois Yasser Arafat:
Most Palestinians want president to resign..,reflecting anger over the death of an activist in custody and a crackdown on protests. The Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research found that 45 per cent wanted Hamas to lead them, while only 19 per cent chose Abbas’s secular Fatah. (AP)
Nizar Banat knew he was going to die. As he grew bolder calling out corrupt members of Fatah, the party which controls the Palestinian Authority, the death threats mounted. In May, his home near Hebron was attacked by masked gunmen on motorbikes, in an incident which left his children traumatised.
After that, the political activist decided it wasn’t safe to stay home. “He went to his cousin’s house in H2 [an area of Hebron city controlled by the Israeli military] because he hoped Fatah and the PA could not reach him there, but he knew they were coming for him,” said Jihan, Banat’s widow
...It was early morning on 24 June when Jihan received the news she dreaded. According to his two cousins, who witnessed the abduction, Nizar had been severely beaten but was still alive when he was dragged from the house by 14 men from the Palestinian security forces who were given Israeli permission to enter H2. There was no arrest warrant.
...The PA said his death was from natural causes. But according to an autopsy commissioned by his family, the activist died after suffering 42 injuries inflicted with metal pipes.
Distracted by the latest war in Gaza and a new government, Banat’s killing was barely noticed by Israel or the rest of the world. But for Palestinians, it has proven to be a profound turning point, laying bare both the authority’s complicity in Israeli occupation and the increasingly autocratic lengths Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah’s ageing and deeply unpopular leader, is willing to go to in order to crush dissent.
Representatives for Fatah and the Palestinian Authority did not respond to repeated requests for more information regarding the circumstances surrounding Banat’s death. Nor did they comment on the escalating brutality, including sexual violence, used by official forces and plainclothes Fatah loyalists to suppress protests and strikes which have ignited across the West Bank in the wake of his killing...
“Other people are critics of the PA, but no one was like Nizar. He was articulate: he could join the dots in a way others couldn’t, dismantling the PA’s lies with truth,” said Fadi Quran, a prominent human rights activist who has been arrested several times by both Israeli and Palestinian forces.
“The fact he used to be a member of Fatah himself also made him a threat.”
“He was their biggest weakness,” added Fares Bader, a young man also at the forefront of the new wave of demonstrations against the authority. “The PA wants to deter us and distract us, stop the popular momentum that has been building against it. But instead, killing Nizar has become a catalyst.”
Born to a working-class family, Banat studied at university in Jordan before returning to the West Bank, where he trained as a lawyer and met Jihan, with whom he had five children. He eventually ended up teaching Arabic, while Jihan worked at USAid until she lost her job when the Trump administration slashed funding.
Fiercely intelligent, the 43-year-old Banat was more interested in philosophy than politics, and wrote a book about the history of the Palestinian struggle.
But as the nature of Palestinian politics and governance changed, so did he. The authority was formed in 1994 as part of the Oslo peace accords with Israel as a five-year interim body designed to administer parts of the West Bank and coordinate with Israel on security matters. Its final status was never agreed, however, as talks stalled and the second intifada, or uprising, erupted. Abbas was elected to a four-year term in 2005 and has remained in charge ever since.
Under his watch a corrupt, repressive and ineffectual ruling class has emerged – one which is increasingly preoccupied by internal power struggles over who will succeed the 85-year-old president. Yet Abbas’ regime still enjoys strong support from Israel and western donors who see the authority as a better option than Hamas, the militant group in control of the Gaza Strip, and fear a power vacuum if the West Bank body collapsed...
Furious at an elite he saw as selling out the Palestinian cause for personal gain, over the last few years he attracted more than 100,000 followers on Facebook for videos in which he broke down the illegality of the Palestinian establishment’s actions and policies.
The activist was arrested several times under the authority’s draconian cybercrime laws and charged with offences such as treason and incitement...
Like so many others, at the beginning of 2021 Banat dared to hope for meaningful change when, in an effort to curry favour with the Biden administration, the authority announced the first elections for 15 years. He planned to stand as the head of the newly formed Freedom and Dignity List in the parliamentary poll slated for May.
“Nizar represented the hopes of a whole generation. We knew elections wouldn’t fix everything, but it would be a start at restoring legitimacy in the political system,” said Issa Khatib, another young activist in Ramallah. “Fatah miscalculated though. When they realised they were going to lose to Hamas, they cancelled [the elections]. That’s when everything kicked up a notch.”
“In H2 he should have been safer. But the PA coordinated with Israel so its forces could enter,” Amro said. “His death shows clearly Palestinians have two oppressors: Israel, and the PA. The PA are puppets … an authority without authority.
The authority eventually apologised for Banat’s death and promised an internal investigation. Over the last two months, however, peaceful protests in Ramallah calling for an independent inquiry have been met with eye-watering violence from authority officers as well as plainclothes Fatah supporters wielding sticks and iron bars.
Last weekend, about 30 civil society figures – among them the activist Fadi Quran, trade unionists, former political prisoners, journalists, poets and professors – were arrested. Some were charged with taking part in an illegal gathering, despite the fact that organisers must give notice of planned demonstrations in advance. Detainees spoke of overcrowded, unsanitary and humiliating conditions.
“Being shot at, arrested and beaten by Israelis doesn’t hurt as much as being attacked by your own people,” said a lawyer who was allegedly sexually assaulted by six Ramallah policemen as she was arrested during a protest in July and did not want her name published. At the station, she said she had to stop officers from trying to take young women away from the main holding cell.
“They psych up the men before they set them loose on us, tell them we are whores, steal photos from our phones. Everyone is a target, but they want to make women too afraid to even come outside.”
Public anger with the authority’s many failures is cresting. But rather than acknowledge any wrongdoing, the authority and Fatah appear to be doubling down on a playbook of repression and intimidation.
More revolt will emerge as country after country is driven into total penury or civil war horrors, like Lebanon, Haiti, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and almost certainly now Afghanistan, deliberately and viciously bankrupted by aid withdrawal and by the US blackmailing refusal to release Kabul’s central bank reserves in the wake of the Empire’s humiliating pullout and defeat by Taliban religious nationalism.
It leaves the already forgotten Afghan population facing penury and thousands of deaths this winter including all those the Empire and the West pretended to “care” about in waging its non-stop 20 year-long war of butchery and terror, in reality part of its cynical “might is right” world domination strategy, effectively used as a training ground for the military.
Communist revolutionary perspectives and leadership, must re-emerge in the world (if they are not already being debated in pockets) as these unstoppable spreading revolts are forced to get to grips with the real cause of their agony and desperation, imperialism’s domination.
And more too as all-out war is forced on by monopoly capitalism to get it off the hook, (the ruling class hopes), as it did in 1914 and 1939, blaming others for the problems in a frenzy of backward jingoism and scapegoating, winding up chauvinist hatred to divert attention from capitalism’s sole responsibility for the turmoil and forcing onto everyone else the “necessary” destruction of “surplus” capital to restore profitability.
Only class war by the world’s masses can resolve this mind-numbing impasse which is dragging the world into appalling slump disaster and war, by making the required revolutionary leap to the new form of society – planned socialism – that history is screaming out for, to stop the devastation and turmoil that is coming.
Of course a major component in the AUKUS row is anti-Chinese anti-communism which all the imperialist powers agree on.
The gross anti-Beijing anti-communist nazi-lie aggression and hypocrisy of the secretly plotted US-Australian and UK nuclear submarine arms and intelligence pact, full of Goebbels inversions and lying accusations of crimes and tyrannies which are actually those of Western colonialism (for centuries and all the way to the present day), is a further escalation on top of a years-long calculated campaign of filthy and outrageous nonsenses about non-existent “massacres” and “genocides”, “secret cyberwar” (when it is Western computer aggression like Zionist Pegasus spyware, Stuxnet sabotage and the tens of $billions poured into the USA’s NSA and British GCHQ surveillance and cyber-attack centres, which is the real threat), gross hypocrisy about “human rights and totalitarianism”, and artificially whipped-up anti-science blamemongering for the pandemic (to cover-up appalling Western incompetence and profiteering callousness).
Hatred of the Chinese workers state is visceral in the ruling class, because it is both a planned economy pointing the way forwards to socialism and because it is outcompeting imperialism across the board in economic success and worldwide influence, ramping up further the competition to ailing US monopoly dominance.
And while all kinds of doubts remain about Beijing’s revisionist philosophy, and the potentially excessive use of capitalist methods in the economy, it remains a workers state which has demonstrated the huge advantages of voluntarily disciplined collective society, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, particularly in successfully organising to control and contain the pandemic as well as aiding the world with genetic codes and vaccine provision.
Even its capitalist sector, ultimately with all the disadvantages of “free market” anarchic development as well as its “entrepreneurial energy”, does better because it is coordinated and directed overall by the workers state, which controls central banking, strategic planning and development of infrastructure which sustains the private companies.
Obviously imperialist hopes continue that China might completely capitulate eventually to Western “free market” influences, its revisionist leadership weaknesses bending to ideological, military, and economic pressure, just as the Gorbachevites* were pushed into finally liquidating the brilliant achievements of 73 years of Soviet workers state existence, (and not least among the petty bourgeoisie of the fake-“left” who deep down detest proletarian dictatorship authority, and many of whom have already long treacherously written China off as “just restored capitalism” (to justify their petty bourgeois defeatism and to allow them to join in with the Western hostility by pretending their “communist principles” forbid support)).[*see EPSR Book vol 13 on Gorbachevism].
In fact Beijing looks to be increasingly reining in the capitalist sector (of an overall planned economy) which has been used perfectly validly to rapidly accelerate economic progress in a large and partly undeveloped, partly still rural country.
More and more vigorously it is taking on the counter-revolutionary ideology of the “free market” and the potentially violent, deadly and fraudulent “democracy” and “national liberation” stunts which it has spawned, and colour-revolution attempts pushed by outside influences, not least in Hong Kong or Tibet, as well as clamping down on the more fatuous elements of vapid bourgeois consumerist “culture” and “celebrity” emptiness, and even insisting on education in Marxist principles in the Peoples Revolutionary Army, as well as loyalty to the communist state.
It is hard to call quite how far imperialism is willing to push this current aggression and particularly in the light of ever growing Chinese military strength for its own defence against the monstrous and threatening encirclement of its country by US military bases, missile launch areas on land and sea (and similar encirclement of Russia, still hated for its Soviet legacy despite Putin’s dire anti-communism and philistinism).
Much monitoring and analysis of the world balance of class forces has to continue – with the question posed as to whether Beijing will be such a hard-to-swallow target that it can ultimately stand clear of the turmoil to come once the inevitable Catastrophe driven destruction erupts fully.
That did not work for the Soviet Union in the end and it would be a disastrous mistake to count on it.
Comfortable revisionist complacency is a danger even now with revisionist world analysis still suggesting that somehow imperialism will ultimately be “contained” by “peace struggle” as long as “nobody rocks the boat”.
That was born from the philosophical retreats expressed in Stalin’s long-ago post-war misanalysis of imperialism as a system effectively “no longer able to expand” (see his Economic Problems 1952) and therefore “containable” by peace struggle and the “steady growth” of socialism or even simply of anti-imperialist nationalism, deemed virtually as good as communism however thuggish its protagonists (Saddamism, Assadism, Gaddafi etc etc).
It finds new expression in the museum-Stalinist analysis of the West’s retreat from Afghanistan, which places a heavy emphasis on the long-term “decline of imperialism” and growing incapability of keeping control, with the implication that this is a steady downward path, more or less as suggested by Stalin, conveniently making the need for revolutionary conflict less and less necessary.
Imperialism would eventually be so weakened and emaciated by competition with superior socialism production, it would more or less fold up was the implication (provided there was a vigilant eye kept on its “aggressive tendencies”).
But that was a disastrously mistaken view then leading onto to Soviet liquidation in 1989, and continues to be now, the exact opposite of Leninist understanding that the more the crisis intensifies the more imperialism is forced towards war as its only “solution”.
Certainly the Afghan pullout after 20 pointless years of killing, blitzing, destruction and torture is a major defeat for Washington and its stooges like the UK.
It tops off two decades of failure for Washington and the rottweiler Zionist-Jewish occupation of Palestine, to control and pacify the Middle East, from Syria to Iraq, the centrepiece to its “shock and awe” plans to re-establish or tighten world domination in a “New American Century”.
Certainly the Empire also faced defeats and setbacks for decades before that, including in Korea, in the Vietnam war and in Cuba etc. (though at enormous cost for the millions butchered) even before it began its “shock and awe” blitzkrieging revenge for the humiliation and shock of the 9/11 guerrilla war attack on New York 20 years ago.
But it was hardly a “paper tiger” in those wars as the Proletarian/Lalkarites like to suggest.
And it also continued to blitz, torture and bully the world throughout that time with a non-stop record of over 400 interventions, coups massacres, government overturns, assassinations and repression by a slew of locally installed and bribed tinpot fascist dictators, and by American forces in hundreds of military bases around the world.
The Moscow advice to “take it steadily” led to numerous disasters including the tragic loss of the entire Indonesian communist movement and its supporters in the grotesque Suharto coup massacres of 1965, taking out between one and three million hapless victims (see film The Act of Killing for example), and of course the appalling disaster of Chile in 1973, again following the philosophical line of “progress through parliament”, founded in Stalinist “permanent peaceful coexistence” and notions of “bad (Nazi) imperialism” and “good” imperialism which could be lived with, namely the wartime allies.
Nothing to do with Stalin??? But the revisionist perspectives that followed on his leadership were thoroughly founded in those set out in 1952 and by a Moscow leadership selected and trained by Stalin himself, including the Stalinists’ favourite blame bogeyman Kruschev, (EPSR Books Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics).
And Stalin had anyway already seen a string of disasters from Germany 1933 and Spain in 1936, to the advice to let Churchill’s vicious imperialism re-occupy Greece in 1945, abandoning a brilliant partisan-communist movement to eventual civil-war defeat.
And there is of course Stalin’s “recognition” of Israel’s founding by the United Nation’s 1947 decree, handing the indigenous people over to the colonising Zionist landtheft occupation founded in terror-gang ethnic cleansing and immediate outright war expelling hundreds of thousands and pushing across the “official” boundaries of the imperialists’ guilt-ridden “gift” of someone else’s country to the Jews.
Doubts about just how much of a threat the AUKUS deal will be to China anyway are voiced by some more sceptical voices from the bourgeois media:
Australia ordered £48bn-worth of diesel-powered ones from France and then changed its mind, reneging on the deal. It now wants nuclear-powered ones from the US and Britain.
Crewed submarines are approaching obsolescence, near useless in an age of “transparent” oceans and underwater drones. Like tanks, they drip with cost, inefficiency and a craving to fight outdated wars. But defence contracts have a corporate and political existence that transcends utility. If Australia seriously thinks China is a threat, it might as well have some new gold-plated weapons ready.
However, this particular equipment contract appears to have morphed into a new military alliance in the Asia-Pacific region. Johnson’s defence adviser, Stephen Lovegrove, declares it to be “a profound strategic shift”. Unless Downing Street is clueless, it was clearly intended to enrage China, which it duly has, as well as humiliate France, which it also has.
Boris Johnson protested that it was “not adversarial” toward China, but, when Theresa May asked if he seriously envisaged war over Taiwan, he refused to say no. “The United Kingdom remains determined to defend international law and that is … the strong advice we would give to the government in Beijing.” Is he just playing with words? In July he sent an aircraft carrier near a disputed region in the South China Sea, prompting warnings from Beijing. This would be merely a mouse trying to roar, were vast sums of public money not involved in sustaining Johnson’s vanity.
Pompous remarks made for political effect, like sudden alliances and needless snubs, have consequences. Western defence interests born of the cold war refused to let Nato redefine its purpose in the 1990s, with the demise of the Soviet Union. Which is how Britain got sucked into Afghanistan and Iraq, ostensibly to protect the US from the new threat of terrorism. High rhetoric and military chest-beating likewise fuelled the preliminaries to the first world war.
Britain has no conceivable reason for adopting an aggressive position in the Pacific. It is all arcane post-imperial nostalgia. If the US is mad enough to return to war in south-east Asia over Taiwan, it is nothing to do with Britain, any more than Vietnam was. France, too, claims concern for its citizens in the Pacific. Europe’s second-rank states seem unable ever to let go of their empires.
China’s emergence as a world economic power in the past quarter-century has been a politico-economic miracle. It was achieved by marrying the disciplines of capitalism to those of dictatorship. The west may not like some of its manifestations and is free to say so. They are not the west’s business. China does not fall under the west’s sovereignty.
With its newly powerful status, China has embraced military aggrandisement, sensitivity to criticism and a regional sphere of influence, all syndromes that should be familiar to the US. Time alone will tell where this leads. But for the west now to open a cold war with China must be beyond stupid, and for Britain especially fatuous.
So-called western diplomacy is currently a disaster area. It has failed to adjust to post-communist Russia, and its handling of the Muslim world has been ham-fisted and tragic. In Afghanistan the most expensive armies in the world have been sent packing by a fistful of AK-47s.
It is half a century since Harold Wilson formally withdrew Britain from “east of Suez”. Johnson clearly aches to return, to prove that he can somehow punch above his weight and put Britain back on the world stage after Brexit. Foreign policy so vacuously formulated is reckless. British diplomacy should now be concentrated on Europe, overwhelmingly so.
What Brexit did not alter was geography.
The disdainful tone for the government and its Empire pretensions is correct although Tory Simon Jenkins’ gets it wrong on workers state China “aggrandising” itself – as one of Beijing’s own commentators pointed out, it has no troops abroad, in contrast to the non-stop aggressions of the US Empire with hundreds of military or CIA bases throughout the world and even more interventions once special forces, covert operatives and bribed stooges are added to the picture.
Growing influence world wide for Beijing is not military or colonial but fair commercial and political exchange including huge aid and development cooperation; it has helped sustain the Cuba revolution for example, many African and Latin American countries and trades with many more areas of Europe like Greece and even rightwing Hungary.
Its vast Belt and Road initiatives are pushing development in many countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and along the Red Sea influencing Ethiopia, Somalia and others.
Taiwan, where Beijing does increasingly makes its military pressure felt is historically part of China anyway, occupied by the Japanese and then handed back to the Chinese in 1945 by the US (thereby effectively agreeing it to be Chinese), to sustain the Kuomintang bourgeoisie in the civil war against the Maoist communist revolution.
The anti-communist KMT drowned local island revolt in blood and then retreated there after their mainland defeat in 1949 establishing, not “democracy” as the Western world pretends, but a brutal bourgeois dictatorship (as also in South Korea) laughably “recognised” by Washington for two decades as “China” at the imperialist stooge United Nations.
The pretence of “elections” (carefully manipulated) was only gone through much later, to remove the worst of the repressive stench as the mainland grew in power and it became necessary to try and rein it in with “deals” and attempted influence.
Jenkins is right however that increasing British belligerence, like Johnson’s crassness is deliberate, completely in line with the British provocations around the Ireland protocol constantly needling the European Union and in fact the whole of Brexit.
Schoolboy contempt from Boris Johnson after recent talks with Biden in the US around the UN assembly, sneeringly and arrogantly using phrases in “Franglais” to lightmindedly dismiss the French and European concerns with an offhand “donnez-moi a break” can only inflame the tensions further, while his assertion of “being good friends” comes over like the smirking school bully putting his arms round a playground victim when the teacher appears round the corner.
So too an equally “friendly” protest from Canberra, dripping with caustic condescension:
Acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce said Australia did not have to prove its “affinity” and “affection” for the French, because “tens of thousands of Australians died on French soil” during both world wars.
..his first stint acting in Australia’s top job since returning to the Nationals leadership, Joyce said he understood the French government’s disappointment about the scrapped $90bn submarine deal, but Australia had nothing to prove.
“Australia doesn’t need to prove their affinity and their affection and their resolute desire to look after the liberty and the freedom and the equality of France,” he said.
As an account of historical reality this is as shallow and as bent as it gets: both the Great War and the Second World War (parts one and two) were giant conflicts between groups of imperialist powers, all robber gangsters as Lenin described them, in temporary alliances to fight for dominance of world colonial exploitation and markets, not for “honour” and “patriotism” and certainly not to “liberate” anybody like “plucky little Belgium” (itself a rampaging colonialist monster butchering tens of thousands in the Congo) or Poland later.
Such liberation as there was after 1945 was achieved overwhelmingly by the enormous multi-million sacrifices of the Red Army and the Soviet people, which took about 85% of the burden of the war against Nazism once it had turned eastwards with the aim of wiping out communism and colonising a new German Reich (empire).
In both 1914-18 and 1939-45 the imperialist powers were totally ruthless, looking out for their own imperialist positions to settle the world pecking order between themselves.
And there can be no “honour among thieves”; given half a chance any of them would have stolen France’s imperial possessions as well (and Britain pushed hard to reduce the French share of the Ottoman Empire in the secret treaties which divvied up the colonialists’ spoils after 1918 – creating many of the modern sectarian problems in Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and Syria in the process).
Britain and France doled out the Middle East and Germany’s African territories etc. But any of them, Germany, Austria, Russia, and Italy would equally have purloined their “possessions” including still British colonial Australia if there had been a different war outcome.
All of them were ready to throw millions of workers at each other in a welter of blood, mud and horrifying mechanised slaughter in the “Great War” in order to escape the mess their system had created by the late nineteenth century, and did so again in 1939-45 and are prepared to do so once more in coming unstoppable armageddon (while capitalism remains in charge) already warmed up with Serbia’s blitzing, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen etc etc.
It is this inter-imperialist jostling which gives the AUKUS spat far more significance than just (!) a stepping-up of the anti-communist hate-mongering and intimidation against China and some incidental fast practice over an arms deal.
Antagonisms between the capitalist powers were pointed to by Lenin as being fundamental and one of the major reasons the nascent Soviet Union was able to survive the giant onslaught mounted by 14 Western powers against the great 1917 Bolshevik communist Revolution, trying to throttle it at birth.
The competing interests and rivalries of the imperialists interfered with their ability to coordinate the onslaught – and did so again in the late 1930s, when clever Soviet diplomacy was able to pull off the Hitler-Stalin Pact in 1939, thereby forcing a wedge between Germany and the Western powers which had been in tacit support of Hitler, egging-on Nazi aggression during the 1930s, hoping to turn it on the Soviet Union.
By doing so they hoped to destroy communism and exhaust an ever more efficient and powerful German rival.
The pact bought enough time for the inter-imperialist antagonism to emerge first with the German attacks on Poland and Belgium and for the Soviet Union to move its industrial and war-matériel resources to the Urals, far from the imperialist onslaught which it knew would come eventually.
(That Stalin was then initially disbelieving of the June 1941 Barbarossa attack is a different issue, reflecting not misplaced trust in Hitler by a “fellow tyrant” as the poisonous Trotskyist line has it, declaring them to be both “just as bad as each other” – Hitler-Stalin Twin Stars as Trotsky himself put it in his world working class morale-sapping and counter-revolutionary pamphlet – but revisionist complacency and an underestimate of the intensity of the crisis.)
Conditions are obviously constantly evolving and exact parallels are not possible now, not least because the relentless and ever continuing concentration of capital in greater and ever more powerful monopoly combines has produced the overwhelming superiority of American financial, technological and military power.
It remains by far the greatest concentration of armed might on the planet and still sufficient to make rivals think twice about opposition.
But the pressures of the crisis nevertheless are undermining America with growing domestic upheaval as well pushing on the rest of the world and the shape of inter-imperialist conflict has been growing.
Exactly how alliances are shaping up for the next round is still unclear despite these latest events though it looks more and more likely that the historically established “anglo-Saxon” axis, already tied together with the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance (Canada and New Zealand the other two) could be on one side, and the European bourgeoisie the other:
The EU must learn the lessons of the abrupt end of the US-led mission in Afghanistan and acquire the “political will” to build up its own military force to deploy to future crises, the European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, has said.
In her annual state of the union speech in the European parliament in Strasbourg, Von der Leyen, a former German defence minister, said the withdrawal of the US-led mission in Afghanistan, and the subsequent collapse of President Ashraf Ghani’s administration, raised troubling questions.
“In the last weeks, there have been many discussions on expeditionary forces. On what type and how many we need: battlegroups or EU entry forces,” Von der Leyen said. “This is no doubt part of the debate – and I believe it will be part of the solution.”
But she said there was a more “fundamental” problem in the EU capitals. “You can have the most advanced forces in the world – but if you are never prepared to use them – of what use are they?” she said. “What has held us back until now is not just a shortfall of capacity – it is the lack of political will. And if we develop this political will, there is a lot that we can do at EU level.”
A lack of investment in defence by EU governments and concerns about the risk of undermining Nato, held in particular by the EU’s eastern member states, have been among the main obstacles to establishing a united European military wing. General government expenditure in the EU’s 27 member states on defence stood at 1.2% of GDP in 2019 compared with 3.4% in the US.
Von der Leyen said she was working with the Nato general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, on issuing a “new declaration” on EU-Nato relations by the end of the year. Six EU member states are not in the military alliance – Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden.
Von der Leyen said there would be crises where the EU’s own military force should operate independently from both the UN and Nato. “On the ground, our soldiers work side-by-side with police officers, lawyers and doctors, with humanitarian workers and human rights defenders, with teachers and engineers,” she said.
The idea of common defence, one attacked by some critics of the EU as evidence of nation building, has a long and tortured history.
Two EU battlegroups of 1,500 troops, which are supposed to be filled on a rotating basis by member states, were established in 2007 but they have never been deployed, in part due to being undermanned.
Beyond mustering the will and capacity to put boots on the ground, Von der Leyen said the EU’s intelligence services and other agencies needed to share information. She also suggested that to build up the EU’s defence sector, and ensure that equipment used by European armies was “interoperable”, VAT could be waived on purchases from local arms dealers.
A leaders’ summit dedicated to European defence will be convened by Von der Leyen and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in the first half of next year, when France holds the rolling presidency of the EU. “It is time for Europe to step up to the next level,” Von der Leyen said.
Germany’s current defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said: “Ursula Von der Leyen is right […]Real EU defence depends on the political will of member states. That’s why Germany and France must lead.”
The European Union has always been a defensive organisation, aiming to give a big enough market to the European monopolies to be able to grow and compete with America and Japan, and to some extent the other rising powers.
But that brings it more and more into conflict as the trade war intensifies, driven by the capitalist crisis, the greatest in all history which cannot be halted, reversed, regulated, or contained.
It will only relentlessly and inexorably tighten to breaking point.
No ruling class in history has ever simply abandoned the stage and neither will the American Empire dominated bourgeois system, ready to drag the entire world down.
Nothing will stop cataclysm except a necessary revolutionary resolution, involving the bitter class war to overturn bourgeois rule.
The battle for this Leninist perspective has been particularly hard to maintain in the complex conditions created by the overwhelming dominance of the “free world” by US imperialism following World War Two.
As a result of the consolidation of capitalism behind a single great power which extended and deepened capitalist penetration of the world on a hitherto unimaginable scale, the great instabilities in capitalism have been partially hidden by the sheer scale of its international monopoly development stretched out longer than ever before with new and ever more sophisticated credit mechanisms.
Repeated partial and regional crises have erupted, bankrupting whole regions or sectors (Latin America credit breakdowns, Euro hostilities and national bankruptcies, Russian rouble collapse, endless Japanese stagnation, Asian currency meltdown etc etc) but they have been “overcome”, primarily by the brute force of the Empire’s financial clout supplemented by its non-stop direct or covert military interventions.
It allowed imperialism to sustain for decades the brainwashed notion that it will always eventually ride over obstacles and difficulties, even if severe, like the Korean and Vietnam war defeats, bolstering defeatist and petty bourgeois reformist and revisionist perspectives that all that “revolution stuff” is either “old hat” or “anyway not going to happen in our lifetimes”, or perhaps be just something limited to a few specific nationalist struggles to be “solidarity-ised” in the best charity traditions.
Even since the great Catastrophe broke the surface in 2007-8 the “left” has still not grasped the severity of the economic breakdown underway and its intractable unsolvable reality; nearly all the swamp sees various struggles and wars in the world as separate issues, perhaps with a common link to imperialism’s domination and ruthlessness but not as a world struggle against a cataclysm on such a scale it is barely possible to comprehend.
But nervous signals keep emerging from the bourgeoisie, especially in Britain one of the weakest links in the imperialist order:
Britain faces ‘hard yards’ ahead as the economy’s recovery from the pandemic stalls, the Governor of the Bank of England warned last night.
In a downbeat speech Andrew Bailey cautioned that interest rates will have to rise to tame escalating prices – but stressed the economy is currently too weak to withstand such a move.
Mr Bailey argued Covid might have amplified the impact of other shocks, adding jokingly: ‘Either that or the gods really are against us.’
Inflation, or a rise in the cost of living, has been running away from the Bank’s target of 2 per cent recently as staffing shortages, supply chain blockages and red-hot energy prices have combined with soaring demand since lockdown ended.
The Bank conceded last week that inflation could rise above 4 per cent by the end of the year, potentially adding hundreds of pounds on to household bills and shopping baskets.
Economists had been relying on a strong economic recovery, lifting wages and getting unemployed workers back into jobs, to help balance rising prices.
But at the annual dinner of the Society of Professional Economists, Mr Bailey said: ‘The recovery has slowed and the economy has been buffeted by additional shocks.’ He said the switch from spending on goods, when people were locked down, to going out and splashing cash on restaurants and other experiences ‘has not taken place to date on the scale expected’.
He added: ‘Meanwhile, supply bottlenecks and labour shortages have weighed on output, and are continuing. Indeed the number of high profile supply bottlenecks appears to be increasing. I must say that when I heard that we were suffering a shortage of wind to generate power I was tempted to ask, “And when are the locusts due to arrive?”’
A slew of recent issues have added to inflation and damaged economic output. A shortage of staff – due to some on furlough, or being inadequately trained for in-demand roles such as lorry drivers – has meant some firms are having to spend much more on recruitment. And a jump in demand for a range of materials, from high-tech semiconductor chips to steel as manufacturing activity has resumed, has pushed up prices.
Supply shortages and shipping chaos has also caused energy and fuel prices to soar.
He confirmed that over the ‘medium-term’, interest rates will have to rise to tame inflation.
All these detailed “reasons” (deliberately) obscure the general picture of a systemic breakdown of which these are symptoms, not causes. Some other bourgeois commentaries are attempting a longer view about it if somewhat garbled:
Few dates in economic history classify as turning points but one of them was 15 August 1971 when Richard Nixon went on TV to announce that the US would no longer exchange dollars held by foreign governments for gold.
Nixon’s announcement 50 years ago this week had lasting ramifications. It was a statement to the world that the US was too weak to continue anchoring the global monetary system as it had done for the past quarter of a century. It would remain the world’s biggest and most important economy, but the days when it was uniquely dominant were at an end.
Shock waves from Washington’s decision to break the link with gold have rippled down the decades. The creation of the euro, the hollowing out of US manufacturing, the arrival of cryptocurrencies and the ability of central banks to print seemingly unlimited quantities of money can all be traced back to August 1971.
In truth, Nixon had little choice because the system of international economic management established at Bretton Woods in 1944 was breaking down. Under the agreement, currencies such as the pound, the French franc and the German mark were linked to the dollar at a fixed exchange rate. To ensure the stability of the system, the dollar was fixed to gold at a rate of $35 an ounce. Any country that built up a stock of dollars by running a trade surplus with the US could exchange them for gold.
...by 1971...confidence in the dollar had been knocked by rising US inflation and balance of payments deficits. Gold reserves held in the vault of Fort Knox were rapidly depleted and Nixon finally called time on the Bretton Woods system days after a French naval vessel arrived off Manhattan with orders from Georges Pompidou to repatriate the gold held by the Federal Reserve.
Nixon insisted that his decision to close the gold “window” was temporary, but it clearly wasn’t. It was as significant as Britain’s decision to break the pound’s link with gold 40 years earlier in August 1931. That signalled the end of the classic 19th-century gold standard. Nixon’s decision was evidence that time was up for its replacement.
Milton Friedman and other monetarist economists were delighted. They said the end of fixed exchange rates would usher in greater stability and low inflation because the value of currencies would be decided by the financial markets, introducing discipline that would keep governments honest.
Things didn’t quite work out. Without the dollar as the linchpin of the international system, the inflationary pressure that had been building in the late 1960s intensified. Oil trades in dollars, so one consequence of the devaluation of the US currency was that countries producing crude were receiving less for each barrel they pumped. Unsurprisingly, they raised their prices. Little more than two years after Nixon’s gold announcement the global economy was hit with a fourfold increase in the price of oil.
The US and other western countries struggled to cope.
Corporate profitability suffered, encouraging firms to move their production plants to parts of the world where labour costs were cheaper. By the time the US started to take draconian steps to curb inflation at the end of the 1970s, Deng Xiaoping was launching the reforms that would turn China from an economic backwater into an industrial superpower. Fifty years after the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, China has emerged as a bigger threat to the US than the Soviet Union ever was.
It may take longer for China’s currency to challenge the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency, and it may be that it never will. Investors know they can always get their money out of the US but with China they are not so sure.
...Foreign exchange markets can be wild and unpredictable places. Governments, as Carney pointed out, try to secure competitive advantage by manipulating their currencies and by protectionist trade policies.
One way of doing this is through quantitative easing, the process by which central banks create money though the purchase of bonds. Trillions of dollars, euros, pounds and yen pumped into the global economy over the past decade.
Classical economic theory would suggest that an increase in the money supply of this magnitude should lead to a sharp rise in inflation but that has not happened. At least not yet.
...trust in central banks is starting to wear a bit thin. In the circumstances, it is perhaps easy to understand why governments have decided to hold on to their remaining gold stocks.
The author should read Marx who explained 150 years ago in Capital why gold (which the dollar was fixed to) embodies real value and in fact what value is under capitalism, – the congealed socially necessary labour needed to produce a commodity, (including finding and digging out gold itself). Paper (or modern electronic credit) is only ever a token, open to excessive printing which has been pumping inflation into the world system for 50 years and even more since 2008. Such is the extent and interconnected complexity of the modern economy inflation has only previously emerged here and there (as described above).
But now it heralds dollar collapse and world Catastrophe.
A sense of that does filter through into the growing middle-class disquiet about nuclear weapons, global warming, plastic pollution, species extinction and water and resource depletion, though its well-meaningness never comes near to confronting the real issue of cynical corporate monopoly profiteering which will get on with its plundering come what may, lying, cheating and ignoring the most cataclysmic damage in order not to lose out to rival profiteers.
Hedge fund asset stripping continues ruthlessly cutting across all humanity and reason whatever points get made about planetary threats (all real enough).
The scarcely believable crassness and corruption of Brazil’s semi-fascist president Jair Bolsonaro makes the point, perversely and wilfully escalating the corporate profiteering destruction of the vital Amazon rain forest, trampling across science, indigenous peoples and environmental balance.
Ditto the Trumpites in America and the Republicans.
Ditto all capitalism.
And while the willingness of demonstrators to confront state forces and face prison and police hostility and violence is laudable, and potentially a significant threat to the establishment, the overall hostility of such movements to communism and the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat not only hamstrings their fight, but turns into an obstacle to the battle for revolutionary class war understanding.
Without confronting the need to overturn capitalism all these demonstrations and protests are at best going nowhere and mostly become part of the problem, yet more of single issue campaigns, like feminism, which capitalism adapts to and adopts, even presenting worldwide international TV festivals and the like with the “message”.
Pacifism and pacifist demonstrations never stopped war and neither will eco-pacifism.
From one opportunist Labourite this week, black-nationalist MP David Lammy, came the philistine sneer that “we don’t need Phds in Marxism”.
But we do, David, we do, effectively speaking, though not from bourgeois universities or the academics of the fake-“left” whose tedious gibberish, anti-communism and opportunism make such an easy anti-theory target but through the deep study and living polemic battle for revolutionary theory in a purpose built revolutionary party, getting to grips with the great works of Marx, Engels and Lenin and developing them further as the EPSR has done in hundreds of issues and its own books.
Back to the top