By Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson Emeritus, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
July 20, 2022

Introduction

Lenin described monopoly capitalism or imperialism as the highest and final stage of the development of capitalism. This stage was reached by several countries towards the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century after free competition capitalism went through spasmodic cycles of the crisis of overproduction and overaccumulation of capital, proletarianization of the peasant masses, consolidation of national markets and colonial expansion.

Lenin defined five features of imperialism as follows: 1. monopolies are dominant in the economy and society, 2. bank capital has merged with industrial capiatl to form the finance oligarchy, 3. the export of surplus capital has acquired pronounced importance over the export of commodities, 4. the world economy is divided among the blocs of capitalist trusts, cartels and syndicates and 5. the division of the globe among the biggest monopoly capitalist powers has been completed.

Upon the change of the balance of forces among the imperialist powers, after a certain period of relative stability, what follows is the struggle for a redivision of the world and blocs of imperialist powers engage in war to obtain more economic territory as sources of cheap raw materials and labor, markets and fields of investments in colonies, semicolonies, dependent countries and spheres of influence.

In their wars to redivide the world, such as those in the first half of the 20th century, the imperialist powers engaged in the unprecedented mass destruction of human lives, properties and social infrastructure of their enemies. But the wars of aggression waged after World War II by the US singly or in combination with imperialist allies against the oppressed peoples and nations in underdeveloped countries have involved the death of 25 to 30 million people and the cost of more than USD 10 trillion.

The proletariat and the people of the world suffer the most in the wars of the imperialist powers among themselves and against underdeveloped countries. But they can take advantage of the crisis and the war and rise up against their imperialist and reactionary oppressors and exploiters. In this regard, Lenin called on the proletariat and the people to turn the imperialist war into a revolutionary civil war during World War I. And he described the world era then as one of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution.

I. World War I & II and the Advances of National and Social Liberation

More than 30 countries declared war in the World War I from 1914 to 1918. The Allies (Serbia, Russia, France, Britain, Italy and the United States) were against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire). The war came about as a result of the rise of modern imperialism and the unprecedentedly severe crisis of the world capitalist system which exacerbated the contradictions among the capitalist powers.

At the weakest point of the chain of imperialist powers, the Tsarist rule in the Russian empire came to an end with the Kerensky government taking over in February 1917 and continuing to offend the people by refusing to withdraw from the war and failing to respond to the people’s demand for bread, land and freedom. The Bolsheviks led by Lenin took power in October 2017 with the support of the soviets of workers, peasants and soldiers and realized the Great October Socialist Revolution.

The total number of military and civilian death and wounded casualties in World War I was about 40 to 50 million, among the biggest casualties in the history of mankind. The Triple Entente (also known as the Allies) lost about 6 million military personnel while the Central Powers lost about 4 million. Trench warfare and artillery were used. Chemical weapons were also used to some extent. Some 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing and were presumed dead.
World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the mobilization of the great capitalist powers and most countries of the world, which formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis powers. More than 100 million personnel came from more than 30 countries, which mobilized their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the war. Aircraft was a major weapon in the conflict and was used in the strategic bombing of population centers. For the first time in the history of mankind, the US dropped nuclear weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
So far, the deadliest inter-imperialist was has been World War II. It was caused by a protracted global depression, which started with the Great Depression in 1929 in the US. It resulted in 70 to 85 million fatalities, mostly civilians. Tens of millions of people died due to genocides (including the anti-communist massacres, the Holocaust and the atom bombing of Hiorshioma and Nagasaki), starvation, massacres, and disease. Civilian deaths totaled 50–55 million.
Military deaths from all causes were 21–25 million, including the deaths of about 5 million prisoners of war. More than half of the total number of casualties are accounted for by the dead in China and the Soviet Union. Recent historical scholarship shows that nearly 27 million people died in the Soviet Union and that more than 20 million people died in China.
As a result of World War II, the proletariat and people in several countries, such as those in Eastern Europe and East Asia, including China and the Democratic People’ of Korea, rose up to turn the imperialist war into a revolutionary war and establishred socialist states. The strategic counter-offensive of the Soviet Union against the fascists enabled the Allies as well as several socialist revolutions to win victory.
The national liberation movements became far stronger than ever before in Asia, Africa and Latin Ameria. The victories of the Chinese revolution 1949 and and the Korean War against the US aggression in 1951 to 1953 marked a new high in the people’s struggle for national liberatiom and the world proletarian-socialist revolution.
II. The Cold War and Revisionist Betrayal of the Proletarian Revolution

US came out of World War II the strongest imperialist power and sought to lead the so-called free world against communism. It bewailed the so-called Iron Curtain but it could not reverse the victory of the Soviet counter-offensive against fascism in Eastern Europe. It did not have enough strength to stop the advance and victory of the Chinese revolution in 1949. The US war of aggression against Korea was frustrated. The Vietnamese people won their signal victory for national liberation against US imperialism in 1975 despite heavy bombardments and the use of Agent Orange.

As a winner in the war, without being devastated by its enemies, the US wanted to enjoy postwar prosperity. It also conceived of the Marshall Plan for Europe and a similar plan for Japan in order to consolidate and expand the US economic dominance in the world capitalist system. It decided as early as in 1947 to announce the Truman Doctrine and to wage the Cold War in order to whip up anti-communist propaganda on a global scale. At the same time, whenever possible to its advantage, it engaged in engaged in acts of subversion, intervention and aggression under the pretext of saving democracy.

In 1949 the Soviet Union broke the nuclear monopoly that the US had established with the success of the Manhattan Project and the 1945 atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also in 1949, the US and its allies formed the NATO military alliance under the policy of containment against Soviet influence. The Soviet Union responded by forming the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Major crises arose between the US and Soviet Union as rival superpower but were able to avoid a direct war between them obviously because of the fear of mutually assured destruction in a direct war between two nuclear powers.

By 1956 one third of humankind was governed by communist and workers’ parties. But it was also in this year that the Khrushchov ruling clique took power in the Soviet Union and began to propagate and apply its line of modern revisionism. It proclaimed that the proletariat had fulfilled its historic mission of building socialism and called for bourgeois populism (a state of the people and party of the people) and bourgeois pacifism (peaceful road to socialism, peaceful economic competition and peaceful co-existence as the general line of the international communist movement).

It decentralized and autonomized the cost-and-profit accounting of industrial enterprises and agricultural collectives and state farms. It dissolved the workers’ councils and restore the hire-and-fire power of the bureaucrats. It opened wide the space for bureaucratic corruption. It expanded the private plots at the expense of the collective and state farms. The free market so-called was expanded for the benefit of rich peasants and merchants. The latter traded not only farm products but also manufactures in collusion with corrupt managers of state enterprises and criminal syndicates.

Brezhnev replaced Khrushchov in order to recentralize the ministries that the latter had decentralized in order to ensure that resources were available for social imperialist purposes. By then a criminal oligarchy had gained control over the Soviet economy in collaboration with the Soviet high bureaucracy. While cultivating connections with the oligarchs, US imperialism promoted the rise of anti-communist forces in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 drained resources from the Soviet Union. Thus, the ground was set for the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 and the rush of the oligarchs to privatize the social wealth that had been created by the Soviet proletariat and peasants.

Since the 1960s, Chairman Mao and the Communist Parry of China put forward a proposal for the general line of the international communist movement, opposing Soviet modern revisionism and stressing proletarian class struggle as the key to revolutionary advance. Eventually in 1966. Mao put forward the theory and practice of continuing revolution through proletarian cultural revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat in order to combat modern revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism.

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was definitely victorious from 1966 to 1971. But subsequently it went through twists and turns in the next five years and became increasingly subordinated to the diplomatic line of playing off US imperialism against Soviet social imperialism. Deng Xiaoping and other capitalist roaders were rehabilitated and were enabled by a combine of Rightists and Centrists to split the ranks of the Left and super-impose on the line of the GPCR the general line of capitalist-oriented reforms and opening up to the US and world capitalist system on the line of the GPCR.

After his October 1976 coup, Deng Xiaoping made himself paramount leader, arrested and imprisoned the leaders of the GPCR at every level and proceeded to carry out his capitalist counterrevolution. By 1978 he openly condemned the GPCR as a complete catastrophe, denied the average annual growth rate of 9 to 10 per cent from 1966 to 1976, ordered the dismantling of the people’s communes in favor of the household responsibility system, the privatization of assets in rural and urban enterprises, the redundant payment for the war bonds previously redeemed from the bourgeoisie, liberalization of foreign investments, private construction, sweatshop consumer manufacturing and other capitalist-oriented reforms and measures for integration in the US and world capitalist system.

III. Context of the Current US-NATO Proxy War Against Russia

Ukraine was one of the three core republics of the Soviet Union that agreed with and signed the Minsk Agreement in 1991. This agreement dissolved the Soviet Union with the avowed aims of ending the Cold War, bringing Russia to the European fold and realizing peace and its dividends in reciprocation to the reunification of Germany and the assurances and promises of the US, NATO and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) not to recruit the former member-states of the Warsaw Pact into the NATO.

The US gloated over the collapse of the Soviet and over having become the sole superpower and acknowledged winner in the Cold War. It unleashed a global anti-communist and anti-socialist ideological, political, economic and cultural offensive on the premise that history had ended with “liberal democracy” and monopoly capitalism and the death of the revolutionary cause of socialism . Bush the senior proclaimed a new world order and escalated the US war of aggression against Iraq.

The anti-communist American strategist Brezhinski was beside himself writing about the sure strategic success of the US in his global chessboard. The neoconservative policy of using the full spectrum of US power, especially its superior military technology was intended to obtain further economic territory and geopolitical hegemony. Subsequently, every US president was inspired to propagate neoliberalism and support state terrorism or fascism and wage wars of aggression whenever necessary to keep or expand US global hegemony.

Contrary to its assurances in the 1991 Minsk Agreement, the US pushed NATO expansion by emboldening and making former Warsaw Pact members to join the NATO. The US and NATO chopped up and destroyed Yugoslavia, gathered 14 former Warsaw Pact countries and encircled the USSR more tightly than ever before. They built missile and anti-missile systems aimed at Russia, instigated trouble in former Soviet republics such as Georgia and Chechnya and launched so-called color revolutions to promote Russophobia and destabilize the areas bordering Russia.

In the particular case of Ukraine, taking into account its long history and important role in the Soviet Union, the US promoted and encouraged the Orange revolution from November 2004 onward before pushing more strongly for Ukraine membership in the NATO. By 2013 the US and NATO were instigating the fascist Bandera party, the National Socialist Party of Ukraine, to stage the Maidan protests until these reached a bloody coup that toppled the duly-elected pro-Russian government of Victor Yanukovich in 2014.

Since the coup, the US and NATO had gained decisive influence in Ukraine through the pro-US and pro-EU big comprador type of oligarchs and the anti-Russian, chauvinist and fascist Ukrainian groups. The American strategist and diplomat Victoria Nuland, admitted publicly that the US had spent USD 5 billion to change the situation in Ukraine in favor of the US. The Ukraine was a prize catch to the US because of its key role in the former Soviet Union and because Moscow is quite close geographically. It is the strategic estimate and aim of the US to use Ukraine in weakening and degrading Russia and preventing it from developing economic and political relations with the EU independent of the US.

From 2014 to 2022 Ukrainian fascists oppressed their compatriots of Russian nationality and prohibited them from speaking Russian. The Russians were 22 per cent of the entire population of Ukraine in 2014. But by 2024 they were reduced to 17 percent because 3.7 million of the Russians had been forced into exile. Discrimination and massacres had targeted Russians in cities. But the Russians are in the majority in the region of Donbass. Since 2014, the people of the region had been subjected to military attacks by the fascist authorities of Kiev. The people of the Donbass region fought back and they established the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk under the principle of national self-determination.

As a result of the struggle of the Russian majority in Donbass, the Minsk Agreement II was forged in 2015. It recognized the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as autonomous governments and stipulated a ceasefire and a line of ceasefire which Ukrainian forces could not cross and where the carrying of heavy artillery and other weapons was forbidden. Despite the Minx Agreement II, the Ukraine authorities and fascists continued to attack the Donbass region.

In 2021 it became evident that Kiev had a blitzkrieg plan against the Donbass region and that the US and NATO were promising and delivering military assistance. In preceding years, Ukraine’s military forces had been placed under the command and control of NATO and military bases and surveillance posts had been established along the border with Russia. Because of these, since December 2021, Putin had formally demanded further security guarantees from the US and NATO. They refused.

Thus, Russia recognized the two people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and entered into a treaty of friendship, mutual security and defense with them. Kiev’s blitzkrieg against Donbass to provoke Russia was pre-empted by Russia with the special military operations that were launched after Kiev deployed against Donbass the 120,000 troops for its own blitzkrieg. Russia made a feint to attack Kiev but announced that its goal was to destroy military sites in Ukraine and that it had no intention to occupy Ukraine and attack civilians and civilian infrastructures.

The US and NATO wanted to terrorize Russia and make it stricken with fear that it can be overrun and crushed in a world war or nuclear war should this become imminent or happen. Thus, Putin had to announce a signal of maximum alert to Russia’s nuclear forces. In ideological terms, it looks stupid that the US should want to destroy a fellow capitalist power. But of course, imperialist powers are capable of seeking to destroy each other as proven in World War I and II.

Russia has become monopoly capitalist and is itself very happy to join the Council of Europe and receive investments from the US and EU. At the expense of the Russian proletariat and people, the Russian oligarchs have invested in the US and EU and bought properties here in order to stash away what they have stolen from the Russian people. But US imperialism knows no limits for its drive to maintain and advance its global hegemony.

IV. The Worsening of Inter-imperialist Contradictions

The crisis of overproduction and overaccumulation of capital in the world capitalist system has been deepened and aggravated by the adoption of higher technology and has not been lessened by socialist countries becoming capitalist in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China. The addition of two new imperialist powers to the traditional ones headed by the US has intensified inter-imperialist contradictions. China and Russia have joined up as a bloc to compete economically and contend politically with the traditional imperialist powers.

After becoming the main partner of the US in promoting the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization for decades since 1978, China is now regarded by the US as its chief economic competitor and chief political rival. The US accuses China of having taken unfair advantage of its two-tiered economy of state and private monopoly capitalism, having used economic and financial policies against the US, having used its export surpluses from the US market to challenge US hegemony and having stolen higher technology from US companies and research institutes.

In fact, the US has only itself to blame for its conspicuous continued strategic decline, which it has become keenly aware of it since the financial meltdown of 2006-08 and the protraction of global depression up to now. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US has spent more than USD 10 trillion in what have been called the ceaseless wars of aggression under the neoconservative policy and the so-called global war on terror launched after 9-11. It has organized Islamic jihadist groups like Al Qaida and Islamic State only to junk them eventually and to extend the label of “terrorist” to the communists in a grievous perversion of international law.

The US has wrongly expected China to remain a supplier of cheap consumer manufactures to the US and other markets and refrain from any economic and military rise that began to worry the US since the presidency of Obama. By outsourcing consumer manufacturing to China, the US weakened its own manufacturing which had employed most American workers. It put excessive emphasis on the war production by the US military-industrial complex, on the maintenance of more than 800 overseas military bases and on the ceaseless US military interventions and wars of aggression.

The US has been obsessed with expanding the NATO, encircling Russia as well as China, implicating European allies and running down whatever remains of past Soviet influence in the Middle East, as in Syria. It has chosen to re-ignite war in Europe by using Ukraine as the agent provocateur and proxy against Russia on the calculation that it can determine and control the results of war between Ukraine and Russia. As revealed by Biden, the US wants to degrade Russia economically and militarily through an attritive war and economic sanctions. But the Russia-Ukraine war has served to solidify the strategic relations of Russia and China.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was formed in 2001, appeared as a mild response to the military juggernaut of the US and NATO. And the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which was formed in 2009, also appeared as a minor response to the 2008 financial meltdown. Together with the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road initiative, the SCO and BRICS emerge as bulwarks of China, Russia and other countries against the unilateralism and bellicosity of US imperialism. Thus, the sanctions instigated by the US against Russia have been effectively frustrated by the counter-sanctions initiated by Russia.

So far, the US has avoided using its own forces or any proxy to provoke an armed conflict with China obviously because of China’s preparedness against war and constant pleading for amicable diplomatic and economic relations with the US. At any rate, since the time of Trump, the US has raised the tariff walls against imports from China and has taken steps to stop technology transfer to China. In dealing with China and Russia, the US has thrown away its long-avowed neoliberalism and adopted protectionism through its trade war against China and exchange of sanctions with Russia.

China’s excessive claims of more than 90 per cent of the South China Sea and the building of artificial islands and militarization of these by China in the West Philippine Sea have alerted the US and other countries to join up for the freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific oceanic route and have prompted the formation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) of the US, Japan, Australia and India. The promotion of the Indo-Pacific route is an attempt to counter the Belt and Road Initiative of China and its related initiatives involving the ASEAN..

V. The Role of the Proletariat and the People

To know their role and the tasks that they must perform, the proletariat and people of the world must pay attention to the intensifying inter-imperialist contradictions which aggravate exploitation and oppression in the imperialist and non-imperialist countries and which bring to the fore the danger of a third world war and the probable use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (biological and chemical) as well as the daily accelerated plunder and destruction of the environment.

In the imperialist countries, the proletariat and people must resolutely and militantly fight against the monopoly bourgeoisie and stand for democracy and socialism against fascism and imperialist wars of aggression. They must build and accumulate the strength of the revolutionary party of the proletariat and the broad mass movement in order to win the struggle for democracy and socialism and defeat the rise of fascism and imperialist war.

In the lesser capitalist countries, the proletariat and people must also fight to prevent the ruling class and state from being swayed by the imperialist powers to join their military alliance and wars of aggression. In countries where the governments are already assertive of their national independence and their socialist programs and aspirations, the proletariat and people must take a strong and active stand against the imperialist powers and the wars of aggression that they launch.

In the underdeveloped countries of the world, the oppressed peoples and nations must wage revolutionary struggles for national and social liberation. They must take advantage of the crisis of the world capitalist system and the inter-imperialist contradictions in order to defeat the imperialist powers and reactionary classes exploiting and oppressing them and to build a people’s democratic system and socialism under the revolutionary leadership of the proletariat and its party.###

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