Tuesday, December 23, 2008
OBAMA: US imperialism’s fresh black face
The crisis of the world capitalist system
The crisis of the imperialist capitalist world economy has become global. The recession with price inflation and loss of jobs is already here. Billions of dollars evaporate as banks and share markets collapse. The failures of banks and investment funds are merely the symptom of a bankrupt system. All the fictitious capital represented by shares, futures, currency in circulation in the computers of the bourgeois state, banks, investment funds, corporations, amounts to fourteen trillion dollars that has no value. US dollars are not backed up by real commodities or assets; they are backed by the U.S. state treasury and the military. Real value can only be produced by human labour, the labour of the productive working class.
The capitalist crisis appears in order to destroy the productive forces and wealth so that the profit rate can be restored. $4 trillion dollars over five years spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as the profits of the US military-industrial monopolies. $140 billion dollars for Exxon –not counting the other imperialist oil or the vultures of Halliburton, Cheney Co – thanks to the "war for oil"!
The masses of the world are already paying for the crisis, through the actions of the reformers. In the U.S., the working class was betrayed by the union bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO and suffers losses to their wages, pensions and many other past gains won by workers. The mass anti-imperialist struggle that arose in the streets against the war, and for immigrant rights, was diverted into votes for Obama and the Democratic Party by the reformist left which sows illusions that there is a "democratic" and "pacifist" imperialism. In Europe the union bureaucracies betray the working class with social pacts.
In Latin America, it is the phoney "Bolivarian revolution" that has diverted and contained the revolutionary and anti-imperialist struggles that have arisen in the new century. The reformists have not yet managed to extinguish the fire of revolution and wars against imperialism, as in Bolivia, Colombia or the Middle East. But they seek to contain them in anti-imperialist “united fronts” such as Chavez and Morales in Latin America, or the Islamic Hamas and Hezbollah in the Middle East.
The crisis reveals that the capitalist imperialist system is rotten and bankrupt before the eyes of billions of exploited around the globe. The system that oppresses the masses has lost all legitimacy in the eyes of millions of wage slaves. The government of the murderer Bush and the “Republicrat” regime and the imperialist powers in Europe and Japan that are fighting the war in Afghanistan and all imperialist monopolies profiting from the war, appear before the masses as what they truly are: genocidal murderers of more than one million Iraqis, more than half a million Afghans, 10s of thousands of Palestinians, and the jailers of thousands of political prisoners around the globe. The veil had been torn away, showing that the world is dominated by the US, European and Japanese imperialists, claiming to be "democrats" but in essence capitalist dictators.
The apologists of capitalism had promoted years of economic expansion, with several "centres of production" working together in a “harmonious” global economy. When the crisis erupted, the parasitic capitalists were totally unprepared. Bewildered, the bourgeois cried “everyone for himself”. This only served to deepen their unmasking before the working class. The masses of the world can see that today, without any veils to hide behind, "the king is naked". The declining imperialist system only survives by exploiting the masses and threatening the entire human civilization. Today, it is clearer than ever, that for the exploited and oppressed peoples of the world to live, the capitalist system should die.
The US imperialists support the election of Obama to try to hide the hideous face of a rotten capitalist system of capitalism from the masses of the world. Its purpose is to put a new black face on the rotten corpse to re-legitimate US “democracy” in the eyes of the U.S. and world working masses. So, get ready for new wars and counter-offensives against the masses by the imperialist parasites, led by their new fresh black-faced Obama.
The victory of Obama is a fraud against the U.S. working masses
The result of the US election on November 4 put the seal on the ruling class expropriation of the anti-imperialist struggle of the U.S. working class. This was achieved through the “democratic” imposition of a fraud against the masses. The election of Obama is a trap for all the exploited of the world. We no longer see the real face of the warmongering imperialist capitalism facing a major crisis. Instead we see Obama who holds out to the masses the promise of “change” and “we can”.
In this way US imperialism tries to make the working class believe that the imperialist butchers can be "good" and that this rotten capitalist system can be "cleaned up”. It is like the mass murderer turning up to the funeral of his victims dressed as a choir boy! Obama, with a new government, is sweet talking the U.S. working class’ out of its crisis of confidence in capitalism – damping down the fires of an growing consciousness that Wall St exists only by exploiting Main St and sending its sons and daughters to die in imperialist wars. But there is no such thing as “clean”, “peaceful” and “democratic” capitalism.
The war launched by the Bush administration and the oil cartel after the Twin Towers in 9-11-2001, was supported and sustained by both Republicans and Democrats. Together they voted for Bush's budget and war to destroy Afghanistan and Iraq and spark genocide in those two nations. Together they voted for the "Patriot Act" which marked a fierce attack on democratic freedoms of workers within the United States and outside the U.S. Together they voted for the tough anti-immigration laws. Then, recently, both voted to make the working class pay for the bailout of the major banks and financial institutions with nearly a trillion dollars. Thus they both collaborated in a massive attack on the US working class, cutting its living standards and removing its most basic democratic freedoms.
The “Republicrat” wars for oil have failed to smash the anti-imperialist resistance
The reason why US imperialism needs a fresh black face to sell itself as peace-loving and democratic is that it has failed to win its genocidal wars for oil in the Middle East. The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have failed to overcome the indomitable strength of Afghan and Iraqi resistance, and the heroic resistance of Palestinians of South Lebanon that humiliated and defeated the genocidal Zionist army of Israel backed by imperialism. This opened the danger of a Vietnam-type scenario developing which might arouse a strong anti-war movement in the proleteriat.
The failure of these costly wars was blamed on the Bush administration. To divert the awakening anti-war consciousness of the American working class a new face for US imperialism was needed. After 40 years of the black bourgeoisie expropriating the struggles of the masses of exploited blacks, U.S. imperialism brings one of their representatives to re-legitimate Yankee regime in the eyes of the American masses and to clean the blood on its hands.
Today the most politically advanced section of the US working class is made up of superexploited immigrant workers of Latin American origin. In the 1960s and 1970s the vanguard was made up of the black labour movement. But US imperialism is very capable of dividing and ruling. While the vast majority of African-Americans were condemned to wage slavery, unemployment and poverty, a small minority were co-opted as a privileged black bourgeoisie. No doubt today US imperialism is busy co-opting a small segment of Latinos as a new bourgeoisie to play the same role of containing the masses. Meanwhile Obama's victory serves this purpose as is clear from the fact that while more than 90% of blacks voted for him, a big majority of Latinos also voted for him.
Obama is the mask of "democracy", "civil rights" and "solidarity with the poor and minorities" in the United States. Behind this mask US imperialism will launch a fierce offensive against the masses and exploited peoples of the world to make us pay for the bankruptcy of the capitalist imperialist system. Using this democratic front, US imperialism will make alliances with the “progressive” national bourgeoisies to win advantages against its imperialist rivals at the expense of the poor masses as in Bolivia and the Middle East. Like its “democratic” mask at home, these alliances with “progressive” national leaders are temporary masks designed to contain the masses so that US imperialism can and its allies can prepare their counter-offensive.
Obama tries to defend US world dominance facing the global crisis
Unlike Bush whose regime has lost its legitimacy before US and world workers, Obama has the prestige and authority to defend and extend US dominance over its rivals and the world working class. The imperialist bourgeoisies are in a panic facing the crisis and the crisis of legitimacy of the capitalist system. Bush, whose genocidal regime is exposed before the masses, says “we must save the system”. Sarkozy, representative of one of the most reactionary bourgeoisies in history, says: “we must rebuild a new form of capitalism” to stop a “revolution on a global scale." Immediately, he was applauded and congratulated by Chavez and other "Bolivarian" parrots, who are working with Sarkosy as junior partners in the business of looting Latin America. In this way the “democratic” imperialists try to make the masses believe that the problem is “neo-liberalism” and not the rotten imperialist capitalist system. So, against "neo-liberalism", "comrade" Sarkozy and the "Bolivarians” want to build "another capitalism", to "renew", "re-found” etc., capitalism based on state management of the market, and at the same time to "refound on new bases" the IMF, the G-7, the G-8, the G-20, the World Bank, etc.
Of course this is a deception of the workers. The imperialist states are not “refounding” capitalism when they "nationalize" bankrupt banks and businesses. This is nothing more than the old scam of nationalising the losses of finance capital paid for by the masses, whiles at the same time guaranteeing that the monopolies and parasites continue to expropriate the labour of the working masses –socialism for the bosses, capitalism for the workers.
In order for US imperialism to remain the dominant power it has to use Obama’s victory to try to re-legitimate not only itself, but also the capitalist system as a whole before the masses of the world. Obama thus gives a veneer of legitimacy to all the imperialist states and their client states. The leaders of those countries that supported Bush lost the support of their people. Today they rush to be photographed hugging the "African American", "democratic" and "pacifist" Obama to regain popular legitimacy. All of the reactionary leaders including Sarkozy, Putin, Castro, Chavez, Morales, Kirchner, Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah etc., have greeted the victory of Obama and offered him their support, helping to strengthen the illusions of the masses of the world in their executioners.
Yet Obama must first and foremost legitimate US imperialism. Because to retain its dominance US imperialism must make the exploited pay the costs of the global crisis of capitalism. And to do that it is necessary to increase their offensive against its imperialist rivals, in particular against France, to make its rivals shift the cost of the crisis on to their own workers. In this way Obama will attempt to revive US nationalism to unite the workers and the imperialist bourgeoisie against the workers of the other imperialist and semi-colonial countries, so that the nation is united in new trade wars and new wars of occupation.
And last but not least, to rebuild its legitimacy with the masses in the US and around the world, it is necessary for US imperialism to guarantee the world financial system against the most serious crisis since the 1930s. Obama will take the world stage with a world “New Deal” in which US finance capital will use the US state institutions to stabilise the global economy and retain its dominant imperialist rule. So today in the midst of the crisis, it is even clearer than in the previous short growth cycle, that far from being in "decline" or "losing its hegemony," the United States remains the dominant imperial power.
The masses around the world are already paying for the crisis
The masses of the world are already paying the crisis as the US and EU goes into a deep recession with 100s of thousands of jobs lost, homes foreclosed and pensions wiped out. 1 in 10 persons in the US is on food stamps. In these countries we can not rule out that deep recession will be combined with price inflation (stagflation) produced by the printing of tens of billions of dollars to pay for the imperialist state bailouts of finance capital. But in the semi-colonial nations, it is almost certain that looming recession will cause massive galloping inflation. In countries like Chile that is absolutely dependent on oil imports, or Venezuela, which imports most of the food it consumes, this will cause rapid cost of living increases.
For sure, imperialism can only solve its crisis in its own interests by stepping up the levels of plunder and looting of the resources and cheap labour of the semi-colonial and colonial nations. Now that U.S. and the imperialist powers are in a recession, the demand for gas, oil, minerals, and agricultural commodities is drastically reduced. Thus, in just a few weeks and months, the prices of these raw materials have almost halved. Oil decreased from US$140 to US$70 a barrel; soybeans fell from about US$700 per ton last March, to around US$300 today. The collapse of mineral prices has hit Bolivia, Peru, causing a big drop in mining production, and hence loss of jobs and wages, and fuelling the revolutionary unrest of the masses. In Argentina, the capitalists have already launched a brutal attack on workers to save their falling profits by massive sackings and suspensions in industry, and by the devaluation of the peso and the resulting price inflation that is destroying workers living standards.
The “Bolivarians” make the workers kneel before “democratic” imperialism
The balance of power between the imperialist powers has been thrown into disarray by the global crisis. Each imperialist power wants to solve its crisis by making its rivals pay for it. Disputes over control of markets, spheres of influence, and the sources of cheap raw materials and slave labour are intensifying. Under these conditions, Latin America is no longer exclusively a "backyard" of US imperialism. French, German, Spanish and Japanese imperialism, along with their national bourgeois junior partners, compete with the US and one another to extend their spheres of interest in the subcontinent.
They can do this only because the imperialists and their national bourgeois allies in Latin America have been supported by the actions of the treacherous reformist leaders grouped together in the World Social Forum who have suppressed the anti-imperialist and revolutionary struggles of the masses of the continent and contained them by means of popular front regimes. These reformist leaders have acted to subordinate the working classes and poor farmers to the “democratic" imperialists and the “Bolivarian” bourgeoisie. Thus, the reformist leaders subordinated the revolutionary upsurge of 2003-2005 in Bolivia to the government of Morales who then used the army to kill members of the miners’ vanguard and enter into a series of pacts with the fascists of the landowning and mine-owning bourgeoisie.
In Venezuela the anti-imperialist struggle of the working class has been co-opted by Chavez government which enters into agreements with imperialism over the shares of the oil revenue. Argentine strangled the revolution of 2001, subordinating the working class to Kirchner, supported by Fidel Castro, Chavez and all those in the World Social Forum. In the US, as we said above, the process of subordination to US imperialism is that of the "democratic" Obama, Clinton and company.
The reformist left welcomes Obama's victory as a “progressive” step in the struggle of workers and exploited Americans. But it’s a stab in the back against the proletariat. The anti-war pickets, the May Day strikes for migrant workers, the strike against the war by the ILWU, the mass mobilizations to end the war in Iraq, all of this self-action by the working class, has been sold out to a black faced bourgeois politician!
Today, internationally, the renegades of Trotskyism, joining the chorus of Chavez, Fidel Castro, Morales, Mandela etc "salute the American people" that according to them, brought the "defeat for Bush and the neo-conservatives of the Republican Party." Thus, in sowing illusions in “democratic” imperialism, they prevent the revolutionary uprisings of the Latin American masses joining forces with the struggle of US workers against the war and for the rights of immigrant workers who are a real bond of flesh and blood that can unite into a single battalion the workers of North, Central and South America. These counter-revolutionary treacherous Trotskyists are providing the left leg of the popular fronts that sacrifices the mass struggles in Bolivia and Colombia, and prepares the ultimate betrayal in Latin America, the capitalist restoration in Cuba.
The heroic resistance of the masses begins the counter-offensive
Despite the electoral victory of Obama to re-legitimate US imperialism, this does not decide anything. The bourgeoisie have not yet translated their electoral victory into a defeat of workers in the streets or the workplaces. The struggle against the bosses’ offensive will not be decided in the polls but in the struggles in defence of jobs, wages and workers rights.
Disarmed and with their hands tied by the treacherous leaders of the popular front, the masses of the world have begun a resistance to the attacks which have already created the first pre-revolutionary situations. Thus, we saw uprisings for bread in Burma, Georgia, Pakistan, Haiti, and so on. Since then there has been the huge general strike in Belgium, the strike of German metalworkers for wages and the mobilisations of millions of workers and students in Italy against the imperialist government of Berlusconi. Now in Greece a revolutionary situation opens with mobilisations, occupations, sackings of police stations and generalised strikes. Who can doubt that there, in the hands and the working classes of the imperialist countries, is the key to a success of the revolutionary upheavals in the semi-colonial world!
Thus the working class of the European powers must unite their ranks with their class brothers and sisters of the former state workers from Eastern Europe. The workers of the former USSR oppressed by French and German imperialism, or by the Russian bourgeoisie itself allied to France and Germany, need to raise among their own demands the return to the dictatorship of the proletariat of the October Revolution of 1917.
Meanwhile in Peru working masses have started an uprising of street mobilisations, semi-insurrections, and clashes against the police and the army in Moqueagua, Tacna, Cajamarca and Moyabamba, to bring down the pro-imperialist regime of Alan García. Here is the renewal of the struggle to reopen the road to the Latin American revolution, temporally suppressed in Bolivia, Venezuela and other countries by the "Bolivarian revolution"!
For all of the proletarian uprisings that are now breaking out, the first and most urgent task is to break with the bourgeoisie, in other words, end subservience to the “democratic” imperialists like Obama, and with their servants, the “Bolivarian” bourgeoisie and its treacherous left wing of fake Trotskyists who have become reformists.
The FLT fights for an international conference to unite the healthy forces of Trotskyism and revolutionary workers groups. To do this, we have advanced 23 programmatic points to sum up the revolutionary tasks facing the world crisis and the offensive against the working masses that spells out the clear differences between revolutionaries, centrists and reformists. This would be a new Zimmerwald that will bring together the forces necessary to build a new international on the program and legacy of the founding program of the Fourth International of 1938.
Secretariat of Coordination and International Action (SCAI) of the FLT
Translated, Edited and Abridged by Communist Workers Group