Revolution or War n°8

(Biannual - September 2017)

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Capitalism is Crisis and War. Only the International Proletariat can Oppose it by Destroying Capitalism

The succession of various unheard of events and upheavals that trouble the capitalist world since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris on January 2015 (to set an arbitrary temporal point of reference) is the expression of capitalism’s contradictions and the dead-end in which it brings the whole of humanity. Also, more directly, it is the product of the 2008 economic crisis and the incapacity of world capitalism to provide even a temporary response that could “seriously revive the economy”. All these contradictions lead inescapably to generalized imperialist war, if this process is not interrupted by the revolutionary struggle of the international proletariat. Increasingly, they compel the different ruling classes to struggle desperately, and therefore with tenfold rage, to defend their economic and imperialist interests against their rivals and their own proletariat. Crisis and war now combine directly, feeding off one another, to the point that today the international proletariat has to pay directly, at the level of its living and working conditions, both for the capitalist crisis and the preparation for the imperialist war – when it does not already suffer it on its flesh.

Except as a result of an “accident” – what F. Engels called contingency, which the revolutionary theory of the proletariat does not oppose to the historical law ruling the societies of classes – capitalism is not in a condition to launch a generalized imperialist war. Not only because the imperialist polarizations are not yet defined, but above all because the international proletariat, passive, weakened, disorientated at the political and ideological levels though it may be – to date does not adhere to any war-mongering ideologies, such as anti-fascism 1930s.

Certainly, an “accident” is always possible. The missile launches and the nuclear tests of North Korea and the American reactions and threats – likewise the military “incidents” in the China Sea – are a real danger, which expresses well that capitalism is war, as Lenin said. The risks of a military slip between North Korea and the USA are the result of the imperialist antagonisms in the region, particularly between China and the USA. Kim Jong-un’s “paranoia” and Trump’s “narcissism” – the contingency – are not because of their supposed madness, but the product (and an aggravating factor) of the level reached by capitalism’s contradictions. Nevertheless, the slip is not the most likely. A military confrontation, indeed a nuclear one, with Korea, with the bloody and dramatic consequences, would put the ruling class as a whole in a situation of historical weakness with respect to the revolutionary proletariat, because the latter is not historically “defeated”, and the rest of the world population. It would brutally and suddenly expose the even more barbaric future of capital and the absolute necessity of destroying it. However fractions of the bourgeoisie, including around the “unpredictable” Trump, do “think” and attempt to more or less ensure their management of the events, even though their dynamic escapes them.

To open up the path to generalized war in a way that best suits its best interests, capitalism must intensify its aggression against the proletariat, not only at the economic but also at the political level, to be able to impose on it a bloody historical defeat, because only the international proletariat, as both exploited and revolutionary class, can bring down capitalism. In this sense, the shake-up of the traditional political apparatus of the French bourgeoisie, which has occurred with Macron’s election, means firstly the setting up of a directly anti-working class device of the bourgeois political forces. Indeed, the rise of a new so-called “radical” left around Melenchon and the France Insoumise is the other striking fact of this upheaval. Far from limiting itself to an opposition on the bourgeois democratic terrain, like the anti-Trump and anti-racist (and other “antifa”) oppositions in the United States, Melenchon positions himself on the social terrain, the one of the working class struggle, “against the social coup d’État” of the government. In so doing, he attempts to mark out and lock down in advance the scope of the working class reactions to the bourgeois terrain, for the defence of the “Social Republic”, as he says ; and thereby to sabotage them “from the inside”, alongside the unions. No doubt that this model will be applied elsewhere: Die Link, Podemos, Democratic Socialists for America, etc.

It is against these political forces of the left with a “radical” language, on this first front line, that the political confrontation between the classes will mainly take place in the massive confrontations that the ruling class prepares and will provoke; that they already provoke. The class fight is above all a political fight, in which the most militant minorities of proletarians and the communists must resolutely stand at the vanguard.

The IGCL, September 5th, 2017