The crackdown on protests in Kazakhstan has become internationalized: Russian paratroopers and Armenian, Tajik and Kyrgyz troops under CSTO mandate have entered the country to tackle demonstrators. Russian agencies speak of a joint action to confront “terrorists” and “bandits”, American ones of an attempt by Putin to “expand his influence”. Both render invisible the reality: from last Sunday to today, the Kazakh state has collapsed in the face of a mass strike that spread throughout the country, but which nevertheless is far from the level of workers’ self-organization that we have seen in Iran.
The group of fewer than four hundred bureaucrats and military officers who sit atop Chinese power held a meeting yesterday that heralded a “historic declaration.” The final text, encoded into the bureaucracy’s ledger was interpreted by nearly every media this morning as a play by Xi to stay in power. In reality that’s just the surface: the Plenum ideologically culminates an underlying movement that has been underway for months which disciplines economic power, refocuses and represses mass culture, and centralizes the bureaucratic apparatus in preparation for a war economy.
From the Maghreb to Bosnia via the Horn of Africa and Syria, a loop of simmering armed conflict is reactivating around Europe as the bulk of the U.S. imperialist effort shifts to Asia.
The elections in Virginia and New Jersey, the outcome of COP26 and the Chinese economic situation join the already long list of elements warning us that the danger of a war between the two great world powers may materialize before November 2022.
Tension between the U.S., Britain and China in the Taiwan Strait has been at its highest point since the 1950s. A formal declaration of independence, which the ruling party in Formosa is threatening to make at any moment, would be enough to trigger a war in Taiwan directly pitting the two great imperialist powers against each other with disastrous consequences. It sounds crazy, but nevertheless, there are underlying reasons that could push the U.S. to take a step with no turning back.
Right now there are workers from half a dozen companies camped out in permanent and open assembly, incorporating workers from sectors that remain in apparent normality. Everything points to the fact that we may be in the first moments of a mass strike, spontaneously self-organized and centralized in an open assembly of workers at Zhanaozen.
83% of Japanese people reject holding the Tokyo Olympics. And yet the Suga government and the IOC are determined to stick with an event that is dangerous for public health and most likely financially ruinous.
The new wave of struggles involves more workers in a single assembly movement than the mass strike which swept through Iran’s petrochemical sector, steel mills and power plants last August. Organized at first through Telegram groups, workers tended to centralize the struggles from the first moment, organizing themselves in general village and city assemblies and then in assemblies between centers and localities, permanently connected. To this day, the workers have defeated both the companies’ attempts to divide the workforces and the threats of repression.
The week kicked off with US bombing raids on pro-Iranian militia bases in Iraq. According to the US it was a defensive attack aimed at containing the increasingly sophisticated drone attacks on its bases and interests in Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan. In other words, the message was directed at Iran, not toward the Iraqi state. The answer came tonight: the US forces in Syria were bombed by militias. The Americans apparently responded immediately. The military escalation is undeniable. But why is it erupting now – is it self-contained or could it end in a new generalized war in the region?
Whilst recounting the “conflict” in national terms and with national subjects, the media do not even consider the absurdity of one country threatening its neighbor with a general strike of its own in retaliation.And yet it is the most revealing thing about how much is going on these days [this article was originally published in December 2017]. Telling because the threat is real for Israel and because Palestinian workers haven’t exactly embraced it with enthusiasm either. To understand Israel/Palestine let’s do a bit of history and for once, from the perspective of the workers.
Israel and Hamas are back on the brink of war in Gaza. The dead are still counted by the dozens due to the crossed bombardments. Outbreaks of pogroms and civil violence appear riding the nationalist wave, and imperialisms near and far are trying to gain positions.
The US has acknowledged the Armenian genocide. From Bosnia to Azerbaijan via Turkey and Armenia, the declaration seems to have opened the cesspool of nationalist narratives, myths and delusions. But what was the Armenian Genocide? Who were the perpetrators? Why has the mere acknowledgement of its existence generated an international political earthquake? What does the Biden administration intend to do now?
Last Thursday was the closing ceremony of the two sessions 2021, the most important Chinese political event/ceremonial of the year. At its center lay the global crisis of capitalism. In its outlook was militarism, war and the green deal. The good news: Chinese strategists do not expect an armed confrontation with the US before 2027. The bad news: the burden on the Chinese working class has already begun.
For the first time since the nineties a peace process seems to be moving forward in Palestine. It is being driven by Egyptian diplomacy and neither Israel nor the United States are directly involved. Its main rivals are Iran and Hezbollah, the Shiite Islamist state-party that the Tehran regime supports in Lebanon and Syria. The centerpiece, and also the most fragile party in the negotiations, is Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, supported by Turkey and Qatar and in simultaneous war against Israel, the Palestinian National Authority led by the PLO… and Egypt itself.
Indian workers have already made it clear that they will not let the unions hold them back when their lives and basic needs depend on the continuation of the struggles.
The Chinese bureaucracy has set its goals for 2025 and 2035 this week. They will shape the imperialist crisis and conflict throughout the world.
We are facing an armed negotiation in which the different and contradictory imperialist interests of the coastal countries increase their pressure to the edge of an armed conflict. Of course, none of them has any intention of openly initiating it. All would prefer to see their interests flourish with no other violence than that of threat and imposition by the facts. But they are not playing alone. And if tension escalates, the turnaround will be little less than impossible.
A crown of conflicts is exploding around China at the worst possible time. They point out, in case it needs to be emphasized even more, that the United States is willing to use the military threat to “encourage” the movement of capital, modify the global trade map and accelerate the renationalization of productive chains.
The collapse of Saudi Arabia has gone virtually unnoticed by the international press. The impact, however, is enormous. In the Arab world, comparisons are rife with the collapse of Russia and its model of state capitalism in the early 1990s, with Prince Salman playing the role of an increasgly powerless Gorbachev, racking up imperialist defeats, economic disasters and internal enemies.