Revolution or War n°24

(May 2023)

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Faced with The Threat of World War, The Working Class Must Respond with The Mass Strike!

This number 24 of our journal has been conceived as a “special issue on class struggle and revolutionary intervention”. In previous issues, we have already intervened on the significance of the imperialist war in Ukraine and the step it represents in the march to the generalized war in which capitalism in crisis is taking us. The new factor in the situation in recent months is that the proletarian struggles are developing and asserting themselves internationally. We have therefore decided to focus this issue on these. And on the first experiences of intervention by communist groups – those who are destined to fight both for the political leadership of these class confrontations and for the communist party of tomorrow.

Faced with The Threat of World War, The Working Class Must Respond with The Mass Strike!

A widespread proletarian revolt can end the war in Ukraine and slow down the march to WW3. A global proletarian revolution is the only way to permanently remove the prospect of a civilization-ending nuclear holocaust, as well as eventually create a worldwide framework to deal with other existential threats such as climate change.

The war in Ukraine has had a profound impact on the global economy and the geopolitical situation. It was the occasion for the West to launch an economic war against Russia, by imposing sanctions on it and excluding it from the SWIFT messaging system, which financial institutions use for encrypted communication and international money transfers. The goal of these sanctions was to cause a financial collapse in Russia, and create political instability leading to possible regime change. That policy, spearheaded by the US, failed but an unintended consequence has been to accelerate the process of formation of a bloc of countries that are willing to buy and sell fossil fuels in currencies other than the dollar. States that are willing to do so include traditional allies of the US, including Turkey, India, and Saudi Arabia. US diplomacy towards its allies and semi-colonial countries has involved using coercive means to pressure them to denounce Russia and join in the sanctions [1]. Russia, on the other hand, has not insisted that African countries take its side in the war in Ukraine. It has presented itself as an anti-colonial power fighting against US hegemony for a multi-polar world in which African states would stand to benefit. This has enabled Russia and China to expand their influence in Africa and the so-called “Global South” in general, which Josep Borell [2] referred to as a Jungle in contrast to the civilized Garden that is the EU, at the expense of the West. There is an obvious incentive to countries wanting to shield themselves from US (and Western) sanctions, which are to a significant extent enabled by the leverage over the global economy the USD provides. Hence, the status of the USD as the international reserve currency is a stake in inter-imperialist competition.

Besides losing some of the influence it had over other countries when it had uncontested supremacy in the decades following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the US bourgeoisie risks losing the leverage afforded to it by the status of the USD as the global reserve currency. We see now that countries like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are already selling their oil in non-dollar currencies and Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell its oil in other currencies as well. Oil is still the most important resource for modern industry and crude oil is the single most traded commodity in the world. The fact that crude oil has for decades been traded nearly exclusively in USD, together with the pivotal role of that resource in the global economy, has enabled the US to engage in a monetary policy that would be ruinous for any “normal” country.

Now that is slowly coming to an end. At the same time, we see a dire economic situation developing in the West, where inflation, recession, and fragility of financial institutions are evident. In an attempt to bring inflation under control, central banks have increased interest rates. However, this has increased the burden of the massive debt, which in the US has skyrocketed to 30.93 trillion and where debt to GDP ratio has been increasing steadily since the year 2000. However, if this raising of interest rates in an attempt to control inflation results in a chain reaction of bankruptcies of massive financial institutions, central banks have no response other than additional rounds of quantitative easing to prevent a complete collapse of the financial system, further increasing the debt burden. With the erosion of the USD’s status as global reserve currency, the ability to engage in quantitative easing policies while avoiding the worst consequences of doing so will be coming to an end. In other words, the global economic situation currently is worse than “stagflation” (instead of inflation on top of economic stagnation, we have recession and inflation) and the prospects for the future seem dire. The development of this economic crisis only exacerbates militaristic tendencies that are already being expressed around the world.

So what can we say based on the above? The US-led Western Bloc, itself far from free of internal contradictions and antagonisms, is in relative decline and an alliance between Russia and China poses a serious threat to US dominance. China is the largest manufacturer of industrial goods. Russia is the biggest exporter of raw material; it also has a very developed military industrial complex and large nuclear arsenal. Leading US politicians have said that China’s economic rise is a threat to the US and that the US should contain China to prevent it from overtaking the US. This geopolitical dynamic is setting up a situation of a seemingly inevitable inter-imperialist clash, with catastrophic consequences for humanity, as the growing strength of the China-led bloc runs into the policy of containment pursued by the West.

At least the clash would be inevitable if the proletariat were not a historical subject that can intervene in the international situation and completely turn it upside down.

We start by revolting against the immediate material consequences of the drive to war, which are increases in the cost of living due to sky-rocketing food, energy, and rent prices. The only effective way to revolt against these conditions is by generalizing our strikes beyond sectoral and corporate confines. In this, we will inevitably be confronted with the unions who will try to maintain control over the situation by keeping strikes isolated by company or sector. The consequences of the march to war and the economic crisis do not just impact workers in this or that particular workplace, but all workers in every workplace. Therefore, there is an objective basis for generalizing the strikes into a mass strike. However, going from objective possibility to actuality will require the effective intervention of the political vanguard in the struggles and the capacity of the combative workers involved in the struggles to begin to take charge of coordinating and spreading them. One of our tasks as the political vanguard is to gather the combative workers into the NWBCW committees, which we conceive as struggle committees set up in anticipation of the development of mass struggle, to enable the political vanguard’s intervention in the struggles and to favour the capacity of the factory vanguard to take charge of coordinating and generalizing the struggles. Once the struggles take on a mass form, new forms of organization will emerge such as workers councils and mass assemblies, but for now the task for the political vanguard is to fan the flames of the mass strike through their activity in the NWBCW committees, gathering combative workers around themselves and intervening in local strikes to push for generalization.

The development of historical events cannot be allowed to proceed according to the logic of capitalism and inter-imperialist rivalries. The ruling class, to impose its murderous solution to the contradictions of its historically outdated system, will have to contend with the international proletariat, which is already starting to revolt against its worsening condition. Only the decisive and radical intervention of the proletariat can prevent a generalized imperialist war that is ruinous for everyone.

A proletarian revolt of sufficient scale will force the bourgeoisie to agree on a truce in the arena of imperialist rivalries, to better be able to confront its biggest enemy: the proletariat, first at home front and then internationally. Then, the significance of the mass strike will extend beyond opposing the war by opposing the sacrifices required for it to be waged. The necessary historical outcome of the mass strike — the proletarian insurrection — will begin to be concretely posed, as the class war intensifies and as the bourgeoisie loses its capacity to rule. The proletarian vanguard, hopefully strengthened by the whole preceding period of class struggle and collective re-appropriation of the communist program, will intervene with orientations that correspond to the moment and that show the way forward, as we are attempting to do already. A revolutionary outcome from this historical tempest will depend on the communist vanguard effectively assuming the leadership of the mass movement of the working class.

The Editorial Team, April 2023



[1. Western Allies Pressure African Countries to Condemn Russia, Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy (

[2The UE "foreign minister"