Revolution or War n°6

Biannual - September 2016

PDF - 1 Mb

[Warning: Most of the articles of this issue have been translated by French speaking comrades and they could not be corrected, nor verified, by a native English speaking one. Therefore, we apologize for their possible "heavy" and difficult readability and if the reader finds any political confusion or mistake, we call him/her to refer to the French version]

HomeVersion imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

Communiqué of the IGCL after the attacks in Nice France and the Attempt of Military Coup in Turkey: Explosions to All Directions and at all levels of World Capitalism’s Contradictions (July 16th 2016).

The attack in Nice (84 dead) the day before yesterday and the military coup in Turkey last night (apparently defeated at the time of writing) are the last outward signs, after the British Brexit three weeks ago, of the exacerbation of capitalism’s contradictions and their open eruption in various events of major importance. Apparently, ’the coup [in Turkey], along with Islamic State attacks, Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and other developments gave a sense of events spinning out of control’ (The Guardian [1], July 16th 2016). We would be facing an irrational chaos in front which ’we’ should be powerlessness.

Yet, it is not the case. All these events are the product, direct or indirect, of the dynamic and the rules of capitalism in crisis and, at their turn, become additional factors for this historical crisis. As such, they are the latest expression of the new period that the attacks against Charlie Hebdo January 2015 in Paris, and above all the reaction of the ruling class on this occasion (state of emergency still effective today, street demonstration of January 11th behind the main heads of state, relaunching of the military interventions in Iraq and Syria) had announced.

Imperialism and War Dictate the Decisions of the Capitalist Class

The incapability to overcome the 2008 crisis and its consequences provokes that the historical crisis of capitalism hits directly its centre and the most experienced fractions of the world bourgeoisie. In first place, the maintenance of the open crisis within the very great powers of North America and Western Europe and the collapse of the myth of a possible economic relief coming from the so-called emerging countries, such as China or Brazil, makes the economic and imperialist rivalries more acute and critical: each national capital is more and more ’distraught’ for its own survival. Thus the imperialist rivalries and wars become the main factor, besides the attacks against the working class, which dictates the conduct and the decisions of each national capital. The United States in retreat at all levels, economic and imperialist, is the main warmonger because its military force remains its main efficient tool, if not the only one [2]. But it goes the same with all the other national bourgeoisies, whether they are great, medium or small ones.

The Acuteness of the Capitalist Contradictions: Main Cause for the Brexit and the Military Coup in Turkey

Even though we don’t have, at the time we are writing, the information and the necessary distance for making a precise analysis of the Turkish military coup, there is no doubt that the orientation of the country foreign policy is one of its stakes; whatever is the consciousness of its protagonists: “The military does not want to become engaged on the ground in Syria (...). And it wants to step up the fight against the PKK.” (idem [3]). Even defeated, the military coup in Turkey is a major event because the place and the geostrategic role of the country, it is the second army of NATO after the USA, which shows that the time for clear choices comes closer and even begins to impose itself: lining up besides the United States which supports the Kurdish enemy; or rather finding support beside powers offering a more favourable alternative. For the specialists of the bourgeoisie, the imperialist dimension of the event is beyond any doubt: ’Whatever new reality emerges in Ankara this weekend, it is not good news for the United States and its NATO allies’ (Washington Post, K. DeYoung, July 15th 2016 – 11.15pm). The difference between Obama who ’call[s] to support President Erdogan’ and Merkel who ’condemns the putsch but takes distance with Erdogan’ (Le Monde, July 16th 2016) provides an indication of the stakes and contradictions of the foreign policy of Turkey that explains, at least partly, the military coup of last night.

Still more important and full of significances and consequences for the course of the historical events and the stakes of the period opened up from 2015 is the case of the British bourgeoisie and its break with the European Union. Whether it has been wanted or not by the whole English ruling class, the Brexit [4] indicates, even more than the Turkish example, that the time is well and truly for clear-cut and definitive choices in front the historical stakes. The English bourgeoisie is the most experienced in the world and it can be surprising that it appeared as particularly disorientated the days which followed the referendum result. It is quite possible that some of its fractions had not hoped making that leap – to exit of the European Union – today. Even that it may be contrary to some immediate economic interests.

Even so, some weeks after, it clearly appears that the English bourgeoisie, with the new T. May’s government, is going to fully assume the exit from the EU and that it displays an attitude of defiance, and even of provocation, vis-a-vis this one. The Boris Johnson’s appointment as Minister who seemed yet politically dead after his denying for being Prime Minister, is one of its expression. This means that the basic historical tendency of English imperialism, of opposition to a continental Europe gathered today around the main German power and its historical lining up beside the North American imperialism, has just imposed itself definitively precisely because the present contradictory conditions of today. The process leading to generalized imperialist war and passing through an increasing imperialist polarization has imposed itself, may be sooner than expected, to British capitalism and whatever is the consciousness of the English bourgeois politicians themselves. It forced them to definitively choose the United States to the detriment of the European Union in the inescapable course of the imperialist rivalries driving to a 3rd World War… if the revolutionary class, the proletariat, doesn’t succeed to oppose and to bring down capitalism.

Because the other factor of the world situation and of its course is definitively the exploited and revolutionary class, the international proletariat. Obviously the proletarians have nothing to win, and all to lose, in choosing between Erdogan and the military in Turkey. They rather should draw their inspiration from the massive strikes of the city of Bursa in the car industry (May 2015): it is the better mean to defend at best their class interests. As well, it is the more likely that the reluctances of a good part of the political apparatus of the English bourgeoisie to adopt the Brexit from now on are due to its consciousness that the whole proletariat in the UK is not ready to accept with no fight back the political and economic implications, that is sacrifices and greater submission, that the Brexit implies. The English ruling class takes a risk when it sets itself openly so soon so much ’anti-European’ and ’pro-American’. Doing so, it discloses its meaning to the greatest number: the future generalized war. This is another fundamental contradiction, political and historical this one: the world bourgeoisie confronted with the crisis and the war at the same time, can’t play on one of the two elements to confront and ideologically enlist the proletariat, whether in the name of peace or in the name of prosperity supposedly to happen, while it is forced to attack it every time harder.

Great Britain, France and Western Europe at the Core of the World Capitalism’s Contradictions

After having been postponed to the peripheral countries during decades for their main consequences, all the contradictions of capitalism come back to directly strike its historical core. Western Europe, particularly the old colonial powers as France and Great Britain, finds itself at the epicentre of the historical storm which comes and whose first gusts of wind make themselves felt: crisis and wars feed one another while the working class tends to oppose to capital, to its crisis, and while some of its more combative and conscious fractions begin to raise the necessity for destroying capitalism – as the working class just showed it in France during the struggle against ’the labour law El Khomri’.

The English and French bourgeoisies, historically declining, feel and live even more directly and hardly the open explosion of all these contradictions because these ones have an immediate impact on their capacity to remain the minimum player, even of second order (in relation to the USA, Germany and still, at a lesser degree, China and Russia), on the imperialist scene. And this while, unlike other players as the United States for instance, the weight of the traditions and the experiences of struggle of their respective proletariat, as the European proletariat, continues to represent a danger and an obstacle.

There can’t be a greater contrast between a society as the French society, divided internally by the rise of populism of the National Front of Marine Le Pen, the labour conflicts [the Spanish journalist refers to the four months of workers’ struggle and demonstrations, violently repressed, against the Labour Law] and the bitter conflicts within the Left and the Right, and the seriousness of the terrorist challenge that it confronts. This fierceness of jihadism against France comes from its external heritage – colonial power in all the region, from Morocco to Syria – but also from the problems of integration of the Muslim minority and the situation of the country as emblem of secularism [laïcisme] and republican values’ (El País, José Ignacio Torreblanca, July 16th 2016, we underline in bold and we translate it).

Actually, the French bourgeoisie is, because its history as old declining imperialist power, particularly exposed to the explosion of capitalism’s contradictions. Hardly competing with its direct rivals at the economic level, obliged to line up at best as lieutenant of Germany at the imperialist level, it attempts with great difficulties to maintain its rank and to limit the lost of historical influence by its military interventions in Africa and Middle East. But historically, it is also confronted to a working class which, even though it has suffered important setbacks all along the last decades, has kept a certain combativity and a particular experience coming from the 1968 massive strike which remains in all the workers memories.

For the French bourgeoisie too, crisis and war present directly and concretely to it, no doubt still more directly than for its European colleagues and in a particular acute manner, and they weaken its ideological and political capacity to confront the proletariat. It is surely what explains the violence, unheard since a long time, of the repression of the demonstrations and the strikes of late spring. At its turn, this violent repression became a factor of ’political radicalization’ amongst large strata of the proletariat of this country.

The Historical Role of the Minorities of Combative and Conscious Proletarians and the International Communist Party

If the period opened up in 2015 imposes to the ruling classes economic, political, imperialist choices, each time more clear-cut, it goes the same for the working class, its most combative and experienced fractions and its revolutionary political minorities. For the ones as for the other, the ’happy medium is less and less appropriate’ today at the risk of serious failures. The consciousness that capitalism is not reformable and that it leads to more misery, sacrifices and wars, starts spreading again in the workers ranks. This is the main lesson that we can draw from the working class struggle in France of this Spring. The return in the workers consciousnesses, as confuse they may be, of the need of capitalism’s destruction and the possibility of another society becomes a factor which determines the willingness and the determination in the struggle as well as the means and the immediate slogans to put forwards. The fact that the war, as the crisis, become a concrete fact affecting the working class masses, inescapably accompanied by a growing repression, highlights to the eyes and the consciousnesses of the greater number the essentially political dimension of the class fight. Because, in the new situation of today, this latter confront directly and immediately to the capitalist state apparatus. At this level too, the bursting of capitalism’s contradictions exposes clearly the antagonisms of classes in all their dimensions and, in particular, in the relation of the revolutionary proletariat with the state of the capitalist class.

For the most combative and determined fractions of proletarians, the time is up to regroup in the factories, the workplaces, and if it is not possible, in the struggle or action committees between companies and workplaces. It matters to take the lead of the class fights, to organize them – strikes and street demonstrations – so that they assume the political confrontation with the forces of the bourgeois state ’within the workers milieu’, Left parties and unions, and fight for the control and leadership of their struggle while operating the opposition to massive and particularly violent repression of the state. Because the response and the confrontation with the violence of the bourgeois state becomes a central, direct and concrete matter for the great masses of the proletariat, included and above all in the so-called ’democratic’ countries. As well, they must not hesitate to contact the revolutionary and communist political groups and to rely on their political positions; as well as to discuss with them for regrouping the revolutionary energies around the communist program and the slogans of workers insurrection, of destruction of capitalism and dictatorship of the proletariat. Only these ones provide the means and the method for the fights of the period which has opened up.

For the communist minorities, it is time to end up with the hesitations in regards with the revolutionary capacity of the proletariat in front of the stakes of the new situation. The lost of confidence in the revolutionary perspective which has affected the whole working class since the collapse of Stalinism has favoured and has resulted in a lost of confidence in the revolutionary capacity of the proletariat amongst the revolutionary and communist militants and organizations. The organizations of the Communist Left have also suffered up to become today dispersed and still more isolated from the great masses of the class. Moreover, they are divided between the forces which work more or less resolutely for the regroupment and the constitution of the world party of tomorrow and the forces, often more numerous, which turn their back to this fight and join more or less explicitly the anti-party milieu belonging to the councilism or economist trend – to refer to anti-political and anti-organization currents experienced by the working class movement history.

The first ones, struggling for the party, are themselves often hesitating and timorous – politically of course – to engage firmly in this fight for the party and the regroupment through the means of political confrontations and debates with other organizations and currents. Very often, not always, they lack of confidence, determination and political conviction in regards to their role and to what they historically represent – ’be realistic, we are nothing and so small’ are we often answered as if being small and weak should change something to the historical problems. The seconds turn their back to the political dimension of the class fight and its implications for the class as a whole as well as for the communists: for one part by falling into the ’democratic’ traps and illusions put forwards by the bourgeoisie as, for instance, by falling into the fetishism of the general assembly (after the apology of the ideology of the ’indignados’ in Spain, we have witnessed it again with the organization of the ’nuit debout’ [Up All Night] in Paris); on the other part, by thinking that the groups of the Communist Left, their tradition and their fight for the party belong to the past and that it matters to break free of them.

There too, time is not to question on the necessity for revolutionary regroupment and communist organizations; and still less the party. As the citizen and republican ideology of the ’nuit debout’ had taken a back seat from May in France behind the strikes and the confrontations to the state and its police, for the revolutionaries and the communists the time is not to keep turning over the supposed failures of the past but to the determined struggle so that to assume the historical political fight of the proletariat whose main and indispensable tool is the communist organization.

’We need to create a movement which unites all those who can see the problems we are talking about here. This movement (or party) has to have at its head a clear vision of the society we want. We would call it a communist programme. (…) At the moment there are many groups and individuals around the world who recognise this but we are either too scattered, or too divided, to take a lead in forming such a united movement. Some object to it on principle declaring that the spontaneous movement will take care of itself. We wish we could share their confidence. We think responsible revolutionaries should re-examine their differences, asking ourselves if the things that we thought divided us now do so in the light of this new period in working class struggle. We should emphasise not the little we disagree on but the much that we agree on. We should seek to work together in common struggles not simply to recruit this or that individual to our own organisation, but to widen the consciousness of what a real working class struggle means. In the face of the obstacles we have outlined above it would be suicidal not to.’ (Editorial of Revolutionary Perspectives #59, journal of the ICT in Great Britain, 2011).

The International Group of the Communist Left (Revolution or War), July 16th 2016.

www.igcl.org. Write to intleftcom@gmail.com

Home


Notes:

[1. The English newspaper quotes a specialist, Kemal Kirisci, director of the Turkey Project at Brookings.

[2. « The American economy, far from having overcome this devastating crisis it had itself provoked, survives to its evils by rejecting their negative effects to the four corners of the world market. It is in permanent war on different international fronts, from Africa to Middle East, even though the Obama administration prefers to act indirectly by utilizing the soft poweer and the financing to political forces which participates to the different civil wars it has itself provoked. It fights on the financial markets to enable the dollar to carry on being the ruling currency and a reassuring refuge for speculation. But despite the disbursement of 3300 billions dollars at the service of the banks, the capital does not go to real economy which has difficulties to recover. Speculation is still there, the public debt rises up (130%), the federal deficit is 15 000 billions dollars, the unemployment is at least the double of the official number (6.2) and the risk of bursting of new speculative bubbles is on the agenda’ (translated by us from Italian of the article of the ICT on its web site which has just been published : http://www.leftcom.org/it/articles/2016-07-15/considerazioni-sui-fatti-di-dallas).

[3. The Guardian quotes ’Stephen Flanagan who served in the Obama administration’s National Security Council and is now an analyst for the Rand corporation’.