The following statement is reprinted from the International Communist Seminar in Brussels, 2-4 May, 1999. The list of organizations who signed it are at the end of the document.
Imperialism means war! For a world-wide anti-imperialist front!
International Communist Seminar, Brussels, 2-4 May 1999
Ever since it has existed, imperialism has bred and unleashed wars.
Imperialism arose when, in a few countries, capitalism developed to the stage of monopoly capital and finance capital, i.e. the merger between the large industrial and banking corporations. The imperialist powers divide and re-divide the world in their conquest for prime commodities, cheap labour, new markets and new areas for the export of capital.
These arise from the pursuit for maximum profit by the monopoly bourgeoisie within the imperialist countries, from the contradictions among imperialist countries and from their interventions against the countries and peoples that they oppress and exploit.
Under conditions of economic crisis, inter-imperialist competition grows and can sharpen to the point of causing the breaking up of international combines and the realignment of monopolies, which can lead to big wars.
World War I, the first inter-imperialist war, an unjust and criminal war, was preceded by a crisis of overproduction. Ten million people died, but the war led to the October Revolution in Russia and the establishment of the first socialist state in one-sixth of the world.
World War II also was partly an inter-imperialist war, although the fascists aimed at the destruction of the Soviet Union as well. The latter suffered 23 million dead. The outcome of the war saw the emergence of several socialist countries and people’s democracies in one-third of the world. With almost one-fourth of humanity, China was a strategic loss for the world capitalist system.
During the Cold War, the US waged the most brutal wars of aggression against Korea, Vietnam and the rest of Indochina, and it conducted bloody counterrevolutionary campaigns in Asia, Africa and Latin America with a total death toll running into millions, comparable in magnitude to a world war.
On the eve of the third millennium, we are confronted with the imperialist desire to enforce its barbaric and inhuman " new world order " on all peoples.
The existence of the Soviet Union posed an enormous obstacle in the way of imperialism, an obstacle against which the latter showed all its warlike and destructive nature. The full restoration of capitalism in the former Soviet-bloc countries has resulted in the destruction of productive forces, unleashed the most hideous forms of exploitation and allowed US imperialism and Nato to launch a war of aggression in Europe.
Upon the collapse of the Berlin wall, US imperialism immediately tried to impose its new world order. The war of aggression against Iraq was the first NATO war, camouflaged under the UN banner. As early as 1991, NATO military interventions began in Yugoslavia, in order to dismember this country.
Today, the criminal and barbarous bombings against the Yugoslav defence forces, infrastructure, factories and cities show that NATO is stepping into the shoes of the fascist coalition led by Hitler’s Germany. This war of massive destruction waged by NATO against the Yugoslav people has brought modern warfare in all its horror to the centre of Europe.
The tendencies that led to the First and the Second World Wars are again visible.
Capitalism needs to exploit the mineral resources of the entire planet at minimal cost. Even with a low oil price of 10 dollars a barrel, in 1998 the ten main oil multinationals in the world amassed profits of 35 billion dollar. 70% of the world gas reserves are concentrated in the Caspian Sea area and in the Middle East. In the former USSR Asian republics, big investments in the large energetic resources (oil and gas) are fomenting competition by the main transnational oil companies. In an effort to win the " pipelines war ", US imperialism has been fomenting real wars against all forces that get in their way, in Kurdistan, Chechenya, Afghanistan, Tadjikistan, Georgia, the Middle East…
Imperialism wants to overthrow all governments that refuse to capitulate, it aims at dividing the countries that resist. Imperialism is waging and preparing wars against all countries that seek to escape imperialist domination, among others against China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Yugoslavia and Byelorussia. But also against Russia, in case genuine communists should come to power.
Imperialism sweeps aside national sovereignty and independence and openly interferes in the internal affairs of other countries, arrogantly invoking " democracy, freedom, the self-determination of peoples, peace, multi-partyism, free elections and human rights ".
To impose their international economic dictatorship, the multinationals want to prevent or destroy the international solidarity of the working class and the anti-imperialist unity of the oppressed peoples. They spread and use racism, reactionary nationalism, separatism, religious fanaticism, irrationalism, mysticism, ethnicism and fascism to divide, fragment and stultify popular forces, so as to plunge them into barbaric killings and destroy any capacity to resist imperialism and capitalism.
Imperialism is the negation of democracy, reaction on all fronts ; imperialism means war. Fascisation and fascism are expressions of the inevitable degeneration of bourgeois democracy in the era of imperialism. At the present moment, the imperialist countries still retain some of the outward forms of bourgeois democracy, whilst precipitating the fascisation of the regime, generalised surveillance of the population and terrorist violence against popular revolts.
The militarisation of international relations, the arms race and the sharp contradictions among the imperialist powers produce and reproduce violence and war, increase instability and create the risk of generalised military conflicts.
Fighting the US superpower
US imperialism is the only imperialist superpower that possesses a military strategy to impose its hegemony on a world scale.
The US want to remain the only superpower, as is stipulated in the Pentagon project for the fiscal years 1994-1999 : " America must keep the other States from challenging our hegemony and from seeking to reverse the established order in the political and economic fields. " The US defence budget is as high as 262 billion dollar, representing 37% of world military expenses. This is 3,5 times the defence budget of Russia, and 17,5 times the combined defence budget of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, People's Democratic Republic of Korea and Cuba. Clinton has just decided to augment this annual military budget with 110 billion dollar over 6 years.
Since the final downfall of the socialist bloc, all previous limitations on imperialism’s exercising its power of violence have vanished. Since then we have seen the horrendous Gulf War, the US invasion of Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and now Yugoslavia. US imperialism has committed atrocities and flagrant terrorist attacks in Libya, in Afghanistan and in the Sudan, and is deeply involved in conflicts in Central Africa.
The US is strengthening its bilateral and multilateral alliances, like NATO in Europe and the US-Japan strategic partnership in East Asia. The US strategic objective is to control both sides of the Mediterranean and all flanks of Russia in order to control oil reserves on a wider scale and keep its own NATO allies subordinate to its hegemony. By enlarging NATO with the inclusion of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, and expanding it to the border of Russia, the US lays the ground for more and bigger wars across Central and Eastern Europe and within Russia. The Caucasus and the former Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union are coveted by the US for their oil resources and oil passage to the Mediterranean.
For the dissolution of the aggressive NATO pact
Today, through NATO, US imperialism is enlarging its military dominance in a number of countries, in Europe and outside Europe. Including the so-called " Partnership for Peace ", NATO already embraces 44 countries. NATO has also " treaties of association" and " area of co-operation " with countries in the Caucasus, Eastern Africa, etc.
NATO is an aggressive pact created in 1949 with the aim of provoking a counter-revolutionary war against the Soviet Union and the socialist countries. The defense efforts of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, the development of the world peace movement and the war of resistance waged by the Korean people, with the support of Soviet aid and Chinese volunteers, caused this plan to fail. NATO then resorted to political and psychological warfare, which led to counter-revolutionary riots in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968, the prelude to the " peaceful " counter-revolution of 1989.
As soon as capitalism had been completely restored in the Soviet Union, NATO launched wars of aggression, demonstrating its permanent aggressive character, not only against the socialist countries, but against all countries maintaining their independence against imperialism.
The sole reason for the existence of NATO, today as much as yesterday, is to protect and enlarge the regions of imperialist exploitation.
The expansion of NATO on three continents may be at the origin of a third World War. Its expansion into Eastern Europe, the acquisition of military bases in Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are direct war preparations against Russia for the control of resources around the Caspian Sea. The alliance between Turkey and Israel paves the way for new NATO wars for the control of Middle East oil. The links between NATO and certain Asian republics bordering China prepare for NATO aggressions against that country.
The first NATO manoeuvres in Africa, held in June 1998 in Kenya, were to prepare for military interventions against the anti-imperialist countries of Africa. The United States and France have adopted a policy of training African troops for rapid intervention under the former’s control. These mercenary troops will in fact act as an extension of NATO and Eurocorps troops.
Within NATO, we see a growing competition between the US and Europe under German hegemony. According to a report by Gen. Klaus Naumann, Germany wants to become a " medium continental power with interests all over the world ". He stated that " Germany’s military interventions have not to be limited to Europe ", mentioning an area " from Morocco to the Indian Ocean ".
The European economic and political integration also has a military dimension, that of restructuring and strengthening of the military West European Union under German hegemony. The WEU is envisaged to become the European wing of NATO.
Within NATO, Germany has already been challenging US domination by unilateral actions, such as the speedy reunification of Germany, the recognition of Croatian and Slovenian independence and the push to expand NATO eastward.
In the whole world, the danger of imperialist war is growing
The imperialist embargo and military aggression against Iraq in the Gulf War of 1991, under the auspices of the UN, were a criminal effort to control the oil supply of the region and to submit a resistant people, government and leader. The embargo has already killed as many as 1,5 million people, and the imperialist terror still continues, with incessant air strikes, a new war of aggression in December 1998 and the continuous mass murder of the embargo.
While there has been more and more severe economic competition between the US and Japan, they have consolidated their military alliance over the Asia-Pacific region for their common interest. The new security guidelines signed in 1997 under the US-Japan Security Treaty provide that the Japanese Self-Defence Forces should extend logistical support to the US Armed Forces, even outside the Japanese territory.
The US has also maintained and strengthened bilateral security agreements with other countries in the region. The Pentagon’s East-Asian Strategy Report for 1998 stresses the US commitment to maintain 100,000 troops in the region. The purpose is to maintain all-round US hegemony in the region.
The US threatens the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and prepares for a war of aggression. The US has prepared for this purpose the operational plan " 5027 ", and wants to establish a " Theatre Missile Defence System " as the core of an Asian version of NATO. The US imperialists have stationed 40,000 troops in South Korea, augmenting the 1 million soldiers of the South Korean puppet army. They have also stationed the most up-to-date weapons of mass destruction, including 1000 nuclear warheads, in South Korea.
The US maintains a dual policy towards China. One aspect is to ‘engage’ China and induce it to become further influenced by US imperialism, the other aspect is to ‘contain’ China’s growing industrial and military might, by means of the US-Japan strategic partnership. ‘Containing’ China is also done under the guise of protecting South Korea and Taiwan, the Chinese province still under US control.
The US maintains military bases in the region for rapid deployment in the Asia-Pacific region and for war against Russia on its Far East side.
The Indian Subcontinent is of immense importance for the control of the Indian Ocean and for the containment of China. In their quest for neo-colonial control, the imperialists are not interested in solving problems on the subcontinent, such as the Kashmir problem ; they rather want it to remain a bone of contention between India and Pakistan, so that they can play it up according to their needs.
The presence of 100.000 US troops in the region is also aimed at countering revolutionary movements.
The war in the Congo is the first big African war, involving more than a dozen African countries. This war is closely linked with the one raging in Angola, where UNITA, a CIA creation still being supported by American lobby groups, has launched an offensive against government forces.
The experience of popular resistance to 40 years of economic blockade and US warfare against Cuba will certainly prove useful to other peoples who will have to resist imperialist wars.
In Latin America, US imperialism continues to support State terrorism and fascist paramilitary groups against the people’s resistance. The example of Colombia shows how far US imperialism is willing to go in this dirty war, killing more than 4000 members of the Patriotic Union and the Communist Party.
As the Panama Canal treaty is coming to an end this year, US imperialism wants to intensify the creation of a system of support bases on the Latin American continent. Under the pretext of supporting the Latin American armies in their fight against the guerrilla, or under the pretext of fighting the drugs trade, the United States is trying more and more to subordinate national armed forces, and to increase their military presence in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana.
Imperialism is the eve of socialist revolution
The anger of the working class and the oppressed peoples in the world against the barbarous imperialist wars is great.
The communists firmly support the resistance of the world proletariat and of the peoples who refuse the dictates of imperialism and who face barbarous and cowardly military interventions : the heroic resistance of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Congo, Libya ; the extraordinary resistance of Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Vietnam and Laos, who advance their revolutions in extremely adverse conditions.
As the US and other imperialist powers threaten the national sovereignty and independence of China, the communists of the world support the Chinese people, just as they support the people of Cuba, People's Democratic Republic of Korea, Libya, Iraq, Yugoslavia and other countries which are the targets of blockades, intervention and aggression by the US and other imperialist powers.
Only socialist revolution can put an end to the warlike, aggressive and inhuman system that is imperialism.
By sharpening all contradictions of capitalism, imperialism clearly shows the necessity of socialist revolution. Under imperialism, the enormous productive forces can only be kept within the obsolete framework of private property by means of oppression, terror and war. Today, the new technology revolution gives human labour a phenomenal productivity. But with the production being undertaken with the single aim of assuring maximum profits for the owners of the means of production, the immense majority of humanity becomes " superfluous " and is being plunged in unbearable physical and intellectual misery. Imperialism denies a large part of humanity the most elemental human right, the right to life.
Only socialist revolution can put the unlimited productive capacities of human labour at the service of a harmonious development of all humanity. Only socialist revolution can allow the workers to escape the barbarism of imperialist wars.
The danger of a third World War can only be averted by a general offensive of workers and oppressed peoples against capitalism and imperialism.
We, communists, have the responsibility to defend peace and to mobilise and organise the masses for that defence. But to defend peace is tantamount to fighting imperialism and monopoly capitalism and to encouraging and leading the growing class struggle for the overthrow of the big bourgeoisie and the establishment of a socialist society.