Revolution or War n° 2

(September 2014)

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Ukraine, Middle East, Africa... Steps towards Generalized Imperialist War

Ukraine, Israel, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Central African Republic, the list of the murderous local wars gets longer and inexorably intensifies itself since a few months. Capitalism – in particular the great powers, i.e. the great ’democracies’ – multiplies bloody wars and sows death by hundreds of thousand whose most victims are civilian, women, children, elderlies, heads of family; or young men often forced to enlist in such or such army when it is not simply in local militias manipulated and sustained by such or such imperialist power.

The language utilized by the media and above all by the states and the ruling class frees from diplomatic language and increasingly takes warlike accents. ’Experience has taught us that having talks with Putin is to waste time’ (Le Monde, July 26th 2014, translated by us). Or even British Prime Minister Cameron sends a letter to NATO in which he considers that ’the NATO allies (...) should agree how we can sustain a robust presence in eastern Europe (...), to make clear to Russia that neither NATO nor its members will be intimidated. (…) Equipment and supplies should be pre-positioned in key locations and called for an enhanced NATO Response Force [because] it is clear that Russia views NATO as an adversary (BBC, August 2nd 2014 – BBC News). ’European Peace Is At Stake’ according to German Foreign Minister Steinmeier (Der Spiegel, July 28th). The celebrations of the June 1944 Allied Normandy landings in France and the ones for the 1914 August declaration of war have been the occasion for parallels with the situation of today, in particular between the imperialist policy led by the Nazi Germany up to 1939 with the Russian one of Putin today.

This warlike discourse comes along with ceaseless and renewed campaigns against terrorism and the lack of democracy in some countries (the acknowledged dictatorship as Syria or North Korea, either still the ’tough democracies’ as Putin’s Russia or still China). For instance, ’British defense Minister Michael Fallon has accused Russia of sponsored terrorism’ (Der Spiegel, July 22nd) after the destruction of the Malaysian flight in Ukraine. Between the so-called western allies, the same accusations, softer, are regularly sowed – the anti-democratic violence of the North-American state and of its secrete services, the European ’complacency’ denounced by the Americans towards terrorism, anti-Semitism or still towards autocracies like Putin’s: ’Anti-Semitism Rises in Europe Amid Israel-Gaza Conflict’ the New York Times runs as headline on August 1st.

But above all, all states, small or big, but all forced to develop imperialist policies, increasingly arm themselves. The visible reduction in the official figures of the expenses of armament for 2013 would mainly be due ’to the American withdrawals of Iraq and Afghanistan’ and would correspond not at all to a reduction in the policies of armament and militarism whose growth actually doubled since 2004! ’Peking – which could compete with Washington on the military plan by 2050, according to the annual report of the international Institute of strategic studies spent 7,4 % more in 2013 (that is 188 billion dollars according to the estimation of SIPRI) and the territorial disputes with China incited some of its neighbors to increase the credits granted to the militaries. Japan worries regarding the growing military power of China, adding to the nationalist policy of the Japanese government, brought Tokyo to terminate the long-time and progressive decline of its military expenditures’, underlined Sam Perlo-Freeman (from the SIPRI [1] quoted by Les Echos, April 14th 2014).

Capitalism’s Dynamic Leading to Generalized Imperialist War

Everything indicates that the capitalist world prepares itself for the multiplication and the worsening of the imperialist rivalries both at local level as well as at global scale. Everything indicates that the bourgeoisie prepares for wars and, in the end, for generalized imperialist war. And if we doubted it, more and more ideologists and bourgeois strategists express themselves on the subject with less and less restraint up to the point that the New York Times did not hesitate to publish an article to be vomited on the subject :

’The continuing slowness of economic growth in high-income economies has prompted soul-searching among economists. They have looked to weak demand, rising inequality, Chinese competition, over-regulation, inadequate infrastructure and an exhaustion of new technological ideas as possible culprits. An additional explanation of slow growth is now receiving attention, however. It is the persistence and expectation of peace. The world just hasn’t had that much warfare lately, at least not by historical standards. Some of the recent headlines about Iraq or South Sudan make our world sound like a very bloody place, but today’s casualties pale in light of the tens of millions of people killed in the two world wars in the first half of the 20th century.’ (Tyler Cowen, New York Times, June 13th 2014, we underline).

Generalized imperialist war, the 3rd World War, is the solution for the ’enlightened’ capitalists. Things are clearly said. Capitalist class’s cynicism has no limit.

War Accelerates the Tendency to Imperialist Bi-Polarization

Generalized war as a new journalist’s fantasy ? Economists’ wild imagining ? Even an abstract hypothesis among others ? Not at all ! Its process is already underway and the present wars reveal it by the clarification and the definition of the various powers’ imperialist linings up it provokes. It is not these conflicts one should look at in themselves but precisely at the lines of imperialist fracture which now are appearing, here and there, at the surface of this ocean of conflicts and diplomatic events of any kind. It is the rivalries and the linings up between the greatest imperialist powers we must look at to understand to what disaster capitalism drives the world if the revolutionary proletariat lets it do.

The fulfillment and the final realization of the tendency two imperialist bi-polarization around to main poles is the indispensable condition for the start of capitalist holocaust. Yet this tendency is already at work since some time now and it expresses itself more and more clearly on the occasion of every new murderous conflict. This appeared in broad daylight during the German-French-Russian refusal to support the American-British military intervention against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003. Since then, this tendency towards imperialist polarization around two big poles, United-States on one side, the European Union under Germany leadership on the other, kept up despite NATO preservation, the diplomatic declarations between the supposed ’allied’ which come with it, and its opposition to countries like Russia and even China. The various local wars of the last months are at the same time the product of this tendency and one of its accelerating factor. Let’s see.

The various wars in Middle East, from Iraq to Israel-Gaza, through Syria, and hardly further Afghanistan, have revealed the weakening of the American imperialist strength despite its still overwhelming military superiority. Up to Israel which allowed itself military adventures without United-States’ backing [2] ! France, Russia, and, more and more now, barely tactful Germany, play their historical links and their present local allies – Qatar, Lebanon for the first one, Syria for the second, Turkey, Iran (?) for the third – to come back into the imperialist game of this region from which they had been almost excluded, and undermine even more the American influence. For instance, the German-French initiatives for holding July 26th a conference in Paris in order to obtain a ceasefire in Gaza express this new European ’dynamism’ even though they still remain conscious of their present means [3]. Meanwhile the populations are struck, bruised, driven into death, misery, exile, terror...

In Africa where blood and fights spread to the bigger central part of the continent, from East to West, from Sudan to Nigeria, passing by Mali, Central African Republic, etc., France plays the role of gendarme for Europe against the Chinese presence and... the American one – despite, one more time, the common speeches against Islamic terrorism and for democracy as it could have appeared with the diplomatic and logistic US support to the French military intervention in Mali. ’Europe can’t leave France on its own in Africa’ said German Foreign Minister Steinmeier (Der Spiegel, January 28th 2014) and Germany actually participates to the French military intervention in Africa.

In Asia, the growing tensions in the China Sea instigated at the same time by the North Korea’s provocations and the China’s territorial and maritime claims have provoked several military incidents with Japan and South Korea and worried the other neighbors such as Vietnam. All have launched into militarist policies which make military expenses explode. The imperialist linings up in this region of the world take shape quite clearly. The Chinese imperialist dynamism forces Japan and South Korea – without forgetting Taiwan – to respond on the military level and to gather every time more to the United-States while the ’strategical triangle Russia-China-India strengthens. The rapprochement [present according to us] between Russia and China which has been confirmed during President Putin’s last visit to China, consolidates an important reorientation of the international strategic landscape. (…) The growing entente between the two neighbours has been motivated in great part by the English-American policy of economical and military confrontation which become more and more aggressive (…). Moreover, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) which took place May 21st in Shanghai, offered a counter-weight to the NATO and United-States policy which openly aims at surrounding both Russia and China’ (Web Site of capitalist press of Solidarité et progrès [4], May 27th 2014).

Ukraine, Epicenter of the Imperialist Rivalries and Linings up Escalation

But above all, it is in Ukraine where the fundamental stakes of the world imperialist situation crystallize. An imperialist game has been played by three main actors in Ukraine since the USSR’s end: on one hand, the United-States carried on their imperialist objective in the region aiming at controlling Russia and maintaining it isolated from Europe, indeed in conflict with it. For that, they pushed the pro-western Ukrainian leaders to the overbid by promising them their entry to NATO – as they had done with Georgia for instance. On the other hand, Russia, one more time, could not accept that Ukraine at its turn become a NATO member or that it become a state associated with the European Union. This possibility was unthinkable for the Russian bourgeoisie for the fact its main maritime military base of the Black Sea - thus coming out onto the Mediterranean Sea – belonged to Ukraine (Crimea) and for the fact it can’t accept even few control on its gaz exportations which a large part passes by Ukraine (the other by the Baltic Sea with to Germany) [5].

For its part, the European Union under Germany leadership above all aimed at making Ukraine to be under its ’economical control’, thus political too, through associating it to the EU. And to oppose American policy up to the point that, even before the conflict starts, the American State Department Official, Victoria Nuland, let herself cry out ’Fuck the European Union!’ (February 7th 2014). Indeed for Germany, ’We have always maintained contacts with Moscow and continue to do so because we need them (…) the political, economic and societal links between Europe and our Russian neighbor are far tighter’ than the US’s ones (Steinmeier, Der Spiegel, July 28th 2014). If the United-States have certainly taken an important part in the riots and events of the Maidan Place in Kiev which saw the former President Yanukovich resigning, they afterwards have been practically excluded from the discussions and negotiations between the different Ukrainian and Russian parties. It is under the aegis of the European Union, of Germany and its closed allies, that the installation of the new power and the problem of Crimea annexation by Russia have been discussed and defined. ’In the last two weeks, I haven’t taken my eye off the Ukraine crisis for a single second. The foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany reached agreement on the path to a ceasefire at the beginning of July in Berlin’ (Steinmeier, Der Spiegel, July 18th) – the important fact here is not that the ceasefire is, still at the time we write, a failure but the fact... the US (and with them Great-Britain) have been excluded of this meeting and that the German Minister cries it out so loudly.

Much to the annoyance of the United-States which didn’t stop, since then, to outbid with threats against Russia, to push to war and to pressure the Europeans in order to drive a wedge between these ones and Russia. Following the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine, calls are growing in Washington for tough sanctions against Moscow. Many European governments are still hesitating, paving the way for the next big trans-Atlantic row(Der Spiegel, July 22nd 2014).

For American imperialism, the stake is very important: to avoid a strengthening of Germany’s weight, and the main countries of the EU around this one, in all Europe as well as on the world scale; and to avoid seeing an obvious reaffirmation of the Berlin-Moscow-Paris axis which appeared in 2003 during the Iraq war. The affirmation of the European power and its attraction towards countries like Ukraine as well as Russia would mean to the whole world that Europe around Germany is a quite credible imperialist alternative to the American domination and a new step in its dynamic of historical weakening it knows since 20 years now.

What ever is the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine, this one will have marked a new step – doubtless as significant as the German-French 2003 opposition to the war in Iraq – of the tendency towards imperialist bi-polarization that the perspective of generalized imperialist war inescapably imposes.

To the measure of what reveals the Ukrainian conflict, can we understand the significance of the diplomatic and of the less and less hushed campaigns between the US (supported by Great-Britain) and the Europeans. Still a few years ago, the spying affairs were dealt in silence, behind the scenes. Today the German (and European) bourgeoisie has taken the occasion of the NSA spying of the personal phones of government members – up to Merkel was under phone tapping! – to denounce publicly the American practices. It went up to the expulsion of the CIA chief of the Berlin American Embassy on July 10th; a practice never seen before between supposed NATO allies and which belongs to the Cold War practices. This affair is the occasion to revive even more the anti-American campaigns in Europe. There too, Germany took the lead of this crusade as well as it has maintained, with the support of its main European partners, Juncker’s appointment as President of the European Commission despite the British blackmail and threat to quit the EU.

For their part, the United-States and their British ally are not outdone to fustigate the ’Munich’ spirit and the Europeans’ indulgence with the dictatorships, Putin, terrorism and islamism. ’Europe has become the main financial windfall to Al-Qaeda, according to the New York Times. In an investigation published July 29th, the newspaper points out that, since 2008, Al-Qaeda would have received 125 millions dollars (93 millions Euros) thanks to the ransoms’(Le Monde, July 30th 2014, translated by us). Either still to highlight, and by the way charging a record fine, the participation of European, Swiss and French banks in particular, to the commercial activities of ’enemy’ countries as the Sudan, Iran and Cuba subjected to American embargo.

In short, every ’side’ as soon as the occasion appears, develops and refines its ideological and nationalist themes to entail the populations and, particularly, the working class behind the defense of ’’its’ state and ’its’ nation.

Often, an argument is given against this perspective of generalized war: no potential rival is able to military compete with the American forces. Globally it is correct. And it is an element which is still lacking to the European countries and particularly to Germany. But it is also a dynamic, active, factor which explains why the latter also aims at establishing a lasting alliance with Russia and France for each one being equipped with nuclear weapons and considerable military forces. Besides, let’s bet that Germany - quite as Japan - would not last long to catch up its delay at that level once the political, specially ’national, conditions be fulfilled. Thus this argument which deprives nothing of the reality of capitalist and imperialist contradictions leading to the imperialist war, has however to be relativized : ’Collectively, Europe spends $270 billions on defense annually, second only to the United States. Our European Allies possess peer or near-peer capabilities in several areas of joint warfare, including tactical fighter operations, surface warfare, and special operations. Nowhere else in the world does there exist a comparable pool of interoperable, proven, and combat-ready allies to deploy with U.S. forces’ according to General P. Breedlove, April 1st to the UC Congress [6]).

The March towards Generalized War is it thus Opened ? Inescapable ?

The warlike course seems to have become obvious for the bourgeoisie. As it had self-convinced that nothing could prevent it. As if the massive and deliberate censorship on the workers struggles – as weak as they are, they are not less a reality – in reaction to the crisis and to the sacrifices imposed to the workers themselves, had succeeded to erase this reality for its own eyes and consciousness. Thus, forced and stimulated by the gravity of the economical dead-end and the exacerbation of the economical and imperialist rivalries, the ruling class confronts, - the process is already underway – the international proletariat both at the level of the economical crisis and at the level of war. That is unprecedented in Capitalism’s history !

But even if the proletariat seems today far from reacting at the level of the attacks and of the historical stakes, it does remain the only force capable of opposing itself to the effects of the crisis and to the perspective of war by confronting Capitalism, both as an exploited class and as a revolutionary class, by paving the way to the overthrow of its state by insurrection and the setting up of its own class dictatorship, by destroying from top to bottom the capitalist mode of production, wage-labour and exploitation, up to the coming of a classless society, with no money, nor commodities and without war: communism (we say it one more time: it is the opposite of stalinism and of what leftists of any kind do propose).

As long as the proletariat won’t let itself imposed those sacrifices without reaction, as long as it won’t let itself massively led to warlike conflicts, then the bourgeoisie won’t be free to launch the holocaust. So, while the workers mobilization in the ex-Yugoslavia, yesterday torned apart by war – in Bosnia in particular – carries on since February against the crisis consequences and with the slogan ’down all nationalisms’, the fact is that ’in the western Ukraine, demonstrations and riots have broke out against the war and militarism. Demonstrators say they don’t want to die or see dying their children for the Kiev oligarchs’ interests’ (quoted by the Letter ’nous sommes les oiseaux de la tempête’ from the KRAS-AIT, July 31st 2014). This can’t but encourage the revolutionaries and the conscious proletarians to take confidence in the working class’ revolting and revolutionary capacities.

Jonas/RL, 3 August 2014.

(Published on : 9 September 2014)



[1. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (

[2. For a particular following of this conflict, we refer our readers to the Internationalist Communist Tendency (ICT) article : The Ongoing Barbarism of Two Nationalisms: Hamas and Israel exploit their mutual weaknesses to revive their national agendas within the increasingly critical Middle East region.

[3. ’In the Middle East, Europeans cannot act as though we can replace the US. We can make a contribution to discussion with people there about the necessary conditions for a ceasefire and, hopefully, a return at some point to negotiations over a two-state solution. But the US and the Arab neighbors remain central actors in all peace efforts. We will support them according to our possibilities. Even if the first efforts toward a ceasefire have not yet been successful, the focus is still on breaking through the military logic(Steinmeier, Der Spiegel, July 18th 2014)

[5. We refer our reader to the ICT article, Ukraine’s Crisis – Local Players and Imperialist Games, on the Web Site of this organization for the very dynamic of the events there and for the class political statement which warns the working class against any support to the bourgeois nationalist sides present there. Only political ’disagreement’ of second-class but related with two distinct approaches and methods of analysis between the two historical currents linked to the ICT (ex-IBRP) and the ’historical’ ICC current, with the comrades on this article: it goes not as far as us on the growing affirmation of the European imperialist pole around Germany and it doesn’t mention the dynamic towards generalized war.

[6. See quoted by, August 9th.