Britain is militarizing the Falklands/Malvinas at full speed. Argentina is building its largest military base in Ushuaia and its senate is preparing to create a new crime of opinion: doubting or belittling Argentina’s claims to sovereignty over the islands. And in case the increase in tension was not enough, Chile is unilaterally extending its southern borders, calling into question the already tense balance in the control of the Mar de Hoces/Drake Passage that separates South America from Antarctica. Why are this dance of positions and this apparently gratuitous increase in tension as well as the most crass nationalism happening right now?
The US is speeding up its chaotic evacuation of Kabul amid an apocalyptic chorus from its own allies. The European and American press comes daily full of articles and editorials about the “end of the American era” fed by bombastic declarations about “the debacle”. But what does the “end of the American era” mean: the end of the US as a global imperialist power capable of acting alone anywhere in the world? The end of US economic, military and ideological hegemony?
The map of world conflict is turned on its head. The US leaves Afghanistan to confront “new challenges”. The first: Russia… but also the EU’s “strategic sovereignty” aspirations. Meanwhile, the US military encirclement of China generates fears of war in Taiwan and configures the Falklands/Malvinas and the Magellan Passage as a new hot spot in the midst of an unprecedented naval deployment since the 81 war and with a surprising official announcement: Beijing and the Casa Rosada are preparing the first exercises of the Chinese army in South America.
World War III is a forthright and conscious scenario that is already in the plans of the great powers. The horizon dates for which these powers are preparing their armies are official and vary between 2027 and 2034. In any case, outlines of military blocs and coordinated strategies are beginning to take shape, rendering the imperialist balance increasingly volatile and violent.
Biden wants to encircle China and Russia with a ring not only of alliances but of wars and hotspots. But the U.S. has a weak spot: the Middle East. And it inflames the war on Europe’s border. Imperialism cannot be self-contained
From Argentina to the South China Sea, via Europe and the Mediterranean, the Biden administration is stepping on the gas in its imperialist policy, which is taking an even more warmongering turn than that of its predecessor.
With the new year, the EU-China agreement, the African single market, the new British mission in the China Sea and the convertibility of the Cuban peso are launched.
The trade agreement between the EU and Great Britain is more a truce than a new stage. In Spain, the debate on the royal discourse reveals that the petty bourgeois revolt is being diluted without losing an ounce of reactionarism.
There are thousands of strikes and a multitude of local struggles, but a good part of them are a response to the global phenomena of the moment, such as the effects of the covid pandemic on health and education systems. Let’s see some samples of the class response at the global level and the reaction of the unions trying to control them.
Since the last imperialist world war, capitalistic contradictions have never crushed and sacrificed so many lives and imposed so much misery. But never either have there been such broad material bases for overcoming capitalist society and organizing society into abundance and freedom.
We are witnessing globally the development of the class struggle, the first consequences of the “green deal”, transformations in the forms of competition and trade conflict and fundamental cultural changes.
On both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, the consequences of the crisis are increasingly devastating. Impoverishment, inequality… and a burning war belt.
The reactions and expectations of the powers on all continents make it quite clear that no relaxation of imperialist tensions can be expected if Biden is finally inaugurated as President of the United States.
The street battles in Italy, the wave of Islamist violence in France and Germany and the debates on 5G have one element in common: they show, under different forms, the impotence of the European states to stop, on their own territory, the offensive of their competitors and rivals.
No one has the slightest expectation that in the coming years, with Biden or Trump, even the most dangerous and genocidal tendencies that we see today will ease up. The opposite is true. The outlook for workers is worse, whoever wins, as long as the workers’ struggles don’t spread even further.
If we accept that whatever supposed “balance” between an “acceptable” number of deaths by Covid and the monetary costs of a new confinement is humanitarian and sensible, what will stop them from using the same cost-benefit morality to justify war?
Russia, Turkey, Iran, Israel, USA, France, Germany and even Italy and Spain, play different roles and weave unthinkable alliances. The criminal and impudent game of imperialism is unfolding with one leg in the Caucasus and the other in the Maghreb.
75th assembly of the UN. Digital screens with the messages of the heads of state. And after the messages, the map of a world in which the division into antagonistic blocks and therefore the prospect of a new series of wars becomes explicit and closer.
The increase in hospitalizations, the ongoing strikes and the failure of the Oxford vaccine are not isolated events. What is coming next? An increasingly clear increase in all of these contradictions, with states and media trying to push back the reality of the pandemic and its consequences and making workers’ struggles even more brazenly invisible. And on the horizon, the pressing need for self-centralization and extension of the struggles.
Global confrontation between the two powers emerging as bloc leaders has already begun. Workers from all over the world are already the victims, who are paying in deaths on not a few sides, in [[precarization]] and unemployment on all sides, the needs of a capital to which the world has become too small. Another sign that, just as it is not in its interests to have a homeland, neither is it in its interests to link up with any bloc.
Between now and the end of the year, the crisis is going to arise all over the world in all its harshness. The first signs are already here.
National capital of Argentina, Turkey or South Africa, semicolonial economies triumphantly presented as “emerging” for years, are coming out of a decade in which they have lost weight in global capital, to enter a new and dangerous phase of crisis.
Underneath all this ideological unhinged charivari there is a materiality that can be summed up in two terms: incompetence and incapacity. Incompetence both of the bourgeoisie and it’s theorists to imagine a progressive future, and of the petty bourgeoisie to find a way of articulating its interests capable of dragging the rest of the social whole, that is, to organize and create what they themselves call a people.
The acceleration in imperialist movements and tensions that we are seeing still has a potential counterweight in the development of the workers’ response.
With the epidemic on the rise but silenced, August is turning into the prologue to a global and drastic wave of attacks on the living, working and retirement conditions of workers around the world that is set for September. By October, it is more than likely that the pandemic and war will be in the foreground as well.
The imperialist conflict between the U.S. and China is accelerating with each blow of the crisis. Both powers are pushing towards the formation of «close blocs» that are strategically and economically very much aligned with those national capitals with which they are most integrated, leading to a wider fracture by reorganizing trade out of them and with it the international division of labor and the technological standards of the industries most capable of placing capital today. We are in the first steps of a deep fracture in the world market, which can only strengthen the tendencies towards crisis… and war.
Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia and of course Russia, the US and the EU are all playing at establishing faits accomplis, using diplomacy as a form of disinformation warfare. Disinformation that is primarily aimed at the general population. We live in a mixture of generalized information blockade – in Spain, for example, the danger of war has not even merited a brief appearance on the television news – and intoxication. Breaking this lie and half-truth-powered blockade by opening up conversations about “what is going on” with co-workers, neighbours and friends is today a crucial task in order to be able to respond.
Imperialism is not an adventure game taking place in exotic landscapes and control rooms where the level of abstraction makes hunger and blood invisible. It is the daily life of our lives and the threat it poses to us. It is the universal day-to-day life of a capital that cannot find enough markets to give free rein to accumulation and destroys the capacities it organizes socially, the main one of them being us, labor power.
The agony of the EU, the possible nuclearization of a Turkey increasingly at odds with the US and the EU, and the militarization of the US-China conflict were the main red lights of the imperialist conflict this week.
The U.S. is focusing its imperialist strategy on weakening China. Its consequences are both global and often unexpected.
Three highlights of this week: Covid is still around and the “reopenings” are proving to be more dangerous than what they told us; the alleged return to “business as usual” is a disaster pushing towards ever more serious conflicts between national capitals; and strikes and struggles are spreading and gaining strength as the only counterweight to the anti-human and warmongering tendencies of global capital.
The imperialist conflict enters new phases with a surprising synchrony and speed. What we have witnessed this week in the Mediterranean, between the two Koreas, in Hawaii between China and the US and between India and China shares a troubling element: despite the fact that they are more or less obviously trade negotiations, in all of them the main theme is the immediate threat of war.
Tensions fueled by the pandemic have accelerated the dismantling of the network of multilateral international organizations. The alleged global nature of large companies and financial groups is also disappearing. The national bourgeoisies and bureaucracies are “re-nationalizing” and “decoupling” themselves, putting an end to the framework that had been promoted by the Anglo-Saxon powers during the last century, from the League of Nations to the WTO, the UN system and the “international capital funds”.
We are experiencing a general clarion call throughout the world that threatens to produce a proliferation of armed conflicts.
“Decoupling” is the new slogan running through think-tanks, chancelleries and economic ministries. It means a reduction in the interdependence between national capitals. But the reality is that not only capitals will become “decoupled”, but also the institutional system and the balances between classes will.
What we are seeing, from China to Brazil to Turkey, is an initial phase in the development of militarism. The political weight of the military reappears as a resource and a safeguard against the internal conflicts of the bourgeoisie (Brazil) but above all as a way of ensuring a viable medium-term strategic perspective (China) in a context where the centrality of the imperialist conflict shifts from the commercial and the placement of capital to the military (Turkey).
The only things de-escalating are the lockouts and security measures. All dangers are escalating instead: dangers of epidemic resurgence, of being unemployed, of marching off to war…
The false trade truce between the US and China, the impasse in the conflict within the EU, the endless struggle between the state and Bolsonaro and between the military and pro-US economists within the Brazilian government, the failure of the craziest military adventures… are all moments of relief in the context of a tension that keeps growing. The whole thing can only end in fragmentation and open conflict. The only force that can restrain and reach a certain level of development, stop the process that points towards the generalization of war, the workers’ struggles, despite coming up all over the world, are still on a local level. It is more urgent than ever to contribute to their development. And there are no shortcuts.
A new phase of economic recession and political crisis is beginning worldwide. All the contradictions of the system have accelerated with the pandemic and the ability of capital to recover will depend on its ability to impose a massive transfer of income from labor to capital in each country. The losses and needs of capital are even more brutal than in 2009. But unlike ten years ago, we are entering this new phase with a working class that has mobilized under an almost universal program of demands and that in not a few cases has been strong enough to overcome the unions and twist the arms of companies and governments. But this was not even the first act. It has been the overture.
We are living through an acceleration of chaos whose scale has only begun to show in the media when the UN has begun to warn that the coming famine will affect more than 136 million people.
The post-confinement world is beginning to take shape. On the one hand, the tendencies shown by capital outline a world of war economy and exaltation of sacrifice; on the other hand, the world wave of workers’ struggles presents a world that imposes life by orienting production to satisfy people’s needs. On this struggle, which can only be understood as a class struggle, depends the immediate future and the destiny of the whole Humanity.
It is impossible to “play down” both the situation we are living in and the challenges and responsibilities that will follow from it. After the slaughter, comes the biggest attack since the end of world war two on the living conditions and basic needs of the workers. The worldwide wave of strikes and struggles that we are experiencing must serve as an accumulation of the forces needed to confront the post-epidemic world.
Is it inevitable that we will be poorer after confinement? No. If it were, Bolsonaro, Botin, the CEO of Michelin and so many others, would have us already working and with a “solidarity” cut in salaries.
We are in the middle of the most synchronous and geographically widespread wave of strikes and struggles in the last century. It shows to what extent universal, human needs can only be defended by the workers as a class, because only to the workers do they present themselves as their immediate and direct objective throughout the world. And what is no less important, it shows that we workers are capable of affirming a global alternative when we break with the subordination of our demands to companies’ profits, in other words, when we break with the discourse that unions have been hammering out for years and that they continue to repeat today
The pandemic has suddenly raised the level of contradictions in the system to the point of exposing at least two fundamental truths: the radical antagonism between human needs and capitalism, and that workers are the only political subject capable of representing and asserting these universal interests throughout the world,
The covid-19 pandemic is exposing the permanent disaster that capitalism is today and the extent to which its imperatives are antagonistic to the most basic human needs.
From the Sanders and the Sánchez to the Trumps and Putins, all ideological variants, all national capitals, have the same needs and lead us to the same place. It is not with them but against them that the only possible alternative can be affirmed.
The most dangerous and constant enemies of human needs and life are within each country and are neither the viruses that come “from outside” nor the armies of neighboring countries.
The speed at which the trends towards recession and war are developing, the violence of the attacks on the living conditions of millions of workers around the world, still do not correlate with the level of response achieved by workers’ struggles so far this year.
The pockets of war are expanding, the global arsenals are widening and the tensions between powers are worsening at the pace of the difficulties of global capital. And do they expect us to close ranks with “our” national capital, which reserves more misery and militarism for us every day?
A strange and false “peace” built on the temporary impotence of its protagonists, who have every intention of blowing it up. Behind the fog, both war and crisis continue to rage.
We’re entering a critical time. The forces and tensions driving the spread of war in the Mediterranean and North Africa are constantly unfolding, while European workers are close to suffering -thanks to the trade unions- the first serious defeats in the fight for their pensions.
From the perspective of the bourgeoisie, this has been the week of the definitive acceptance of Trump in one hand and Green New Deal in the other. But from the workers’ perspective, however, the focus can only be on France.
Putting ourselves firmly on our own ground today means moving from discussing pension mechanisms to demanding pensions according to the needs of everyone as well as rejecting trade union representation and parades in order to start organising strike assemblies and coordinating them among themselves.
This week demonstrates that we cannot trust the ability of imperialisms to stand still on the edge of the abyss of open warfare, and how the trade unions are bringing all workers to the brink of dismantling the pension system.
In just three days, this week has given us the clues not only to the year that is beginning, but to the historical period in which we are living. Where the workers accept to follow the democratic revolt of the petty bourgeoisie, the latter, unable to assert itself, will end up framing them for the imperialist conflict and war. And yet, be it in Iran, Turkey, China, America or Europe, where the workers are affirming themselves through their own struggles and slogans, the infernal machinery of war grinds to a halt.
We need concrete slogans to advance the struggles, but also to form political groups to accelerate the development of a class programme and party.
In addition to the path of crisis and trade warr, there is now an industrial and transport reconversion -the “green new deal”- and its immediate consequence: a new global impulse towards imperialist conflict.
The week of COP25, NATO and the pension reform in France shows that all the “exits” that capitalism is capable of undertaking today are to create more misery or bring us even closer to war.
The scenario that is being drawn is that of a generalization of the frictions between states feeding internal “civil conflicts”, generally led by sectors of the discontented or drifting petty bourgeoisie (Hong Kong, Catalonia, Chile, Lebanon…). For the workers this means that the “popular revolts” are becoming increasingly mined land.
Tendencies towards confrontation and inter-imperialist conflict are inextricably woven with the strategies to deal with the crisis of the bourgeoisie all over the world.
This week ends with impossible balancing acts in Bolivia and Spain, as well as a new progress in the mobilizations on class demands in France… Before which Macron yields as soon as they gain massiveness and visibility.
The unraveling of the Bolivian situation warn of what is to come in South America. Meanwhile, in Europe, the crisis is fuelling inter-imperialist tensions, putting NATO in the spotlight. And the most important thing of the week: the struggle of the Chatillon railroaders achieved a historic success by getting rid of the union police’s yoke.
The week has been marked by the impact… and the global political stalemate of the revolts.
South America and Syria have been the two main scenarios of a week in which both the path of Brexit seems to be cleared out and the recession is flashing its teeth more violently than announced.
We arrived at this weekend with a Brexit agreement pending approval by the British parliament, a Turkish truce awaiting reciprocation by the PKK-YPG and a call for a general strike in Catalonia which, in the lack of common interests between nationalism and the workers, has become a lockout.
This week’s big picture is the beginning of a real general offensive… not on the Syrian-Turkish border, but all over the world. A recession is coming and every national capital wants to arrive with the best possible cards. That means with the greatest capacities both to face its external rivals, and to increase our exploitation in absolute terms.
As scheduled, this week was a stroll of commemorations: from the Catalan independentist petty bourgeoisie to the Chinese state bourgeoisie. The economic and political reality, but also the class struggle, have imposed on them, however, a very different everyday.
This week started with the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, the first sign of a crisis that is already plunging into recession; the trade war took over the universal postal system – a historic jewel of rising capitalism; it showed the inanity and immorality of the new ideologies of “sacred ecological union” with the bourgeoisie; it exacerbated the battle of the bourgeois factions in the United States; and it made clear the immediate limits that unions and the left impose on the only struggles that can offer a perspective of overcoming the morass that is unfolding before our eyes.
We are starting a new section: a weekly news report that puts into perspective the short term and its relationship with the interests and mobilizations of workers around the world.