Revolution or War n°5

(February 2016)

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Economic Crisis and Wars Feed off Each Other and Announce the Class War

Since January 2015 and the attacks in Paris against the journal Charlie Hebdo, terrorist attacks have multiplied all across the world, on all continents, Africa, Asia, in Canada and the United States, until hitting once more Paris and Europe on November 13th even more violently. The local wars have not ceased and now see the main imperialist powers, the United States, France, Great Britain, Russia and Germany, all intervening military and directly, a major first, in Syria and Iraq; each one defending its own interests at the risk of provoking military incidents amongst them. Is this not what began to happen with the downing of the Russian warplane by the important NATO member Turkey? Since then, the calls for national unity to lead the war against terrorism have invaded the official discourses while the states, particularly the European ones such as France and Belgium, declared a state of emergency and adopted means of repression which forbid street demonstrations and any opposition to national unity; every important social protest equated to terrorism or supposedly supporting it. The climate of permanent war and repression that the passing of the American Patriot Act created in North America after the September 11th 2001 attacks, and which prevails in many countries around the globe, as in China and Russia, has set in also in Western Europe. This feeling is worsened by the exodus of millions of migrants in appalling conditions, in particular towards Europe, provoked by capitalist military conflicts and misery. Such massive displacements have not occurred in the ’old continent’ since 1945.

In parallel, the capitalist economy is unable to ’restart’ despite the official discourses and a gigantic general debt which, too, has multiplied since 2008. The myth of the emergent countries, and above all China, saving the capitalist economy has collapsed. In its place, bourgeois propaganda has tried to substitute a so-call American recovery as the saviour and heralding a renewal. But the reality of the data of the American growth have quickly dampened the enthusiasm since the financial sector is passing through new speculative bubbles which are just begging to explode as in 2008 – the falls in the stock markets, Chinese in particular, are one of its expressions. Except that this time, the economic and human harm will exceed by far that of 2008, itself already dramatic. And above all because the recourse to massive creation of money (or liquidity) by the states and the central banks, what they call today Quantitative Easing, has reached such levels that it no doubt has exhausted all its ’economic virtues’.

The Economic Dead End of Capitalism Pushes to War

Today crisis and war combine more and more directly. Nevertheless, it remains that it is capitalism’s economic dead end, the contradiction between the productive forces and the capitalist relations of production, the former exceeding the limits of the latter, which finally determine the infernal dynamic which would lead capitalism to a generalized 3rd World War if the revolutionary proletariat doesn’t succeed to break this mechanic.

At the height of the 2008 crisis, the massive introduction of liquidity, that is the creation of money, by the central banks and the support of the banks’ bad debts, had enabled the prevention of a sudden and brutal blockage of the economy like happened in 1929. The result was an explosion of already high public debt. While this policy, which is typical of state capitalism, has succeeded to avoid the generalized brutal collapse – but not without dramatic consequences for the populations and for some countries such as Greece for instance –, they did not succeed to revive the economy. ’The truth is that the world economy is [today] in recession, not a cyclical one but a structural one, and that the desire to make the monetary policy a universal remedy, smash into the wall of the real economy while being accompanied by a maximum of risk for financial stability’ (Patrick Artus and M.P. Virard, La folie des banques centrales, Fayard, dec. 2015, The Madness of the Central Banks, translated by us from French). The flood of money injected into the markets did not make it to the productive sector because of weak profits but to the financial and speculative sector which offers much greater returns, and so creates various bubbles which are now set to explode again. Yet, the level of debt, the low interest rates fixed by the central banks with some of them negative, the massive utilization of the money creation and the assets purchases by these same banks, which did not succeed to revive the capitalist economy, will this time render ineffective any recourse to Quantitative Easing faced with new crashes [1]. Today, the drug-addict who was starved of money in 2008 and to whom it had been necessary to inject a massive dose of liquidities, cannot go without it and any announcement of a small rise in the interest rates – as has attempted to do the Fed, the American central bank – provokes worry and even panic in the markets. At the economic level, the dead end is there and the economic competition, around oil or still the currency war, gives way to imperialist rivalries – the defence of the dollar becoming, ultimately, more an imperialist stake than an economic one for the American ruling class. Faced with this dead end, there is no outcome for capital but the course towards war...

The European Union decision to allow France not to respect the limit of a budget deficit of 3% in the name of war against terrorism highlights another hidden aspect of the Quantitative Easing (QE) policies. It is an important step for Germany. Until recently fiercely opposed to surpassing this limit, the debate rages amongst the German bourgeoisie. It is worth to notice that the countries where QE has been definitively in place since 2008, the United States [2] and Great Britain for instance, have respectively dedicated 3.5% and 2% of their GDP in 2014 for military expenses. Germany only 1.2% [3]. If France did not dedicate 2.2% of its GDP to military expenses, ’it would almost be within the [UE] Stability Pact’, that is a 3% deficit (Libération, Nov. 21st 2014). The putting in place by the US and UK of QE policies since 2008 enabled them to develop their respective war efforts. It is this path the European bourgeoisies, who are the most conscious of the historical stakes, seem to have decided to engage in and which is possible thanks to the new monetary policy of the European Central Bank initiated in 2014.

Economic crisis and wars feeding off each other more and more directly, plunge the capitalist world, and with it the whole of humanity, into an infernal spiral, into a descent into the abyss whose bottom nobody can see. There is only one real and possible alternative, far from ’utopias’ and mystifications of any kind: the destruction of capitalist society, with it of commodities, exploitation, social classes, states, by the proletariat’s revolutionary action and by the exercise of its class dictatorship. This historical social force, constituted by the great majority of the salaried of the world, which produces the essential of the social wealth, is at the same time the exploited and revolutionary class. As such, and whatever is the reality and the power of its immediate opposition to capitalism, to the crisis and wars, to increased misery and exploitation, the proletariat bears within itself the destruction of capital and the revolutionary perspective of communism.

Crisis and Wars Force the Bourgeoisie to Declare Class War

Certainly the proletariat has not succeeded, to date, to force a withdrawal of the attacks against its living and working conditions. Its struggles of resistance – even though real – remain insufficient in number and for the most part confined within the legal limits and the divisions imposed by the states and their unions. The result is that many doubt the vitality of the ’class struggle’ all the more due to the silence, and even censorship, of the media when it comes to working class struggles that do develop.

Yet it suffices to look at what the enemy capitalist class does to conclude that it leads a resolute class struggle against the workers and salaried of each country. Crisis and wars combine to such a point, the events of 2015 are its product and its aggravating factors, that they compel the ruling class to now declare a genuine class war: crisis and increasing wars require a greater exploitation of the labour force, of the world proletariat; crisis and wars require a greater ideological and political submission hence the calls for national unity in the name of war against terrorism and the defence of democracy; crisis and wars require a greater social discipline hence the institution of means of repression and other emergency measures prohibiting public gatherings and demonstrations, and condemning any ’deviant’ discourse at once qualified as being terrorist.

Finally, last fundamental historical element, ultimately decisive, which obliges the capitalist class to politically and physically defeat the world working class: the dynamic inherent to the relation between crisis and war bears in itself the perspective of a 3rd generalized World War opposing directly the main great powers. From the point of view of capital, its crisis, the crisis of overproduction, cannot be ’overcome’ without a massive destruction of productive forces, factories, infrastructure, and of the living labour force, that is the proletariat. The financial and stock market crisis and the local imperialist wars, even though they don’t cease to increase and result in atrocities, don’t suffice to ’resolve’ the excess of productive forces as the 2nd World War succeeded to do, thereby allowing the ’Thirty Glorious’ years of reconstruction. Yet, the present weakness of the proletarian resistance and the submission of the great masses to bourgeois ideology are not enough to guarantee against the risk that the revolutionary class will rise up and generalize its fights against the capitalist state faced with the open perspective of generalized war and the sacrifices that its economic and political preparation would require. The ruling class is obliged to impose such a defeat so that terror and total submission would reign within the proletarian ranks and masses.

Crises and war feed off each into a dizzying spiral that only the proletariat can break. The crisis can only provoke still more violent attacks against its living and working conditions; and the need for war provoke even stronger ideological and political attacks. We are at the beginning of massive confrontations between the classes due to the imperious necessity of capital. The outcome – ’historical’ working class defeat or generalization of the struggles enabling a significant spreading of class consciousness within the working masses, and with it of the influence and action of the communist groups – depends on the proletariat’s capacity to break with the spiral driving to generalized war by opening the revolutionary path. From today, the communist groups must foresee the terrain and the terms of the battle between the classes which is coming so that they can stand at its political forefront according to its development. As weak and dispersed as they may be today, they nevertheless remain one essential factor of the confrontation to come and the main factor of consciousness if the path to the revolutionary destruction of capitalism is opened by the proletariat.

The IGCL, February 2nd 2016.



[2. ’After September 11th 2001, [A. Greenspan, Chairman of the FED of that time...] made it so that the real rates became negative (inflation rates higher than the interest rates) because, it is a tradition in the United States, when the country ’enters a war’, they don’t need to raise taxes to finance it but they rely on the wallets of investors and consumers’ (P. Artus et M .P. Virard, la folie des banques centrales, translated by us).

[3. China 2.1 % (but no one gives credit to the data provided by this country), Russia 4.5 %.