2010 Main Political Report
FRSO Sixth Congress
The world has changed, and the pace of change is accelerating. From the mountains of Colombia to the jungles of the Philippines to the streets of the Middle East, and in the cities and town across the United States and Europe, something new has come into being. The camp of resistance is growing and monopoly capitalism is in decline. The principal contradiction in the world today is between the peoples of the Third World(1) and imperialism. The U.S. is the principal imperialist power in the world today and as such it is the main danger to the world’s peoples.
Three years ago, we stated that we are “entering a new phase in the overall decline of U.S. imperialism.” Reality has confirmed that analysis. The economic crisis, which has plunged tens of millions into deeper poverty and brought untold suffering o the world’s peoples, has weakened the power and prestige of the imperialist countries and the capitalist system itself.
The “war on terror” launched by the Bush administration was a dramatic attempt by the rulers of the United States to counteract the long running decline of Wall Street’s empire, by using military means. It ended in a series of defeat and stalemates, causing the phrase “war on terror” to be quietly dropped from the Pentagon’s lexicon The result is that on every continent, the U.S. finds itself struggling to find the methods and forms to maintain its domination, in the context of a declining ability to do so.
The political authority of the United States inside international institutions and on the diplomatic front is increasingly being disputed. Today, the US is forced to acknowledge the existence of other surfacing powers – such as China, India, Russia and an alliance of progressive regimes in Latin America.
Throughout the era of imperialism (monopoly capitalism), where the world has been divided up by the advanced capitalist countries, there are four basic contradictions at play: 1) between imperialism and the peoples of the oppressed nations, 2) between the imperialist powers, 3) between the working class and the capitalists and 4) between socialism and capitalism. While this is a general description of things as they have been and are, it’s important to see what is new and developing in this overall context.
For example, while it is a constant that the contradictions among the “great powers” sharpen throughout the era of imperialism, in the framework of retaining or expanding their respective spheres of influence, the imperialist powers at times collude with each other to weaken the socialist counties (e.g. U.S./Japan hostility towards Democratic Korea ), to oppose national liberation movements in the Third World (e.g. U.S./European efforts to criminalize Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army), and to weaken the power of the working class in general (e.g. an aspect of many trade agreements).
One can make the point there is always contention within the environment of imperialist collusion, but at times this is a secondary aspect, for example, in the debates going on in U.S. and European military circles over Afghanistan.
The bottom line here is that while understanding the general features and contradictions of imperialism is extremely helpful in making sense out of things, it is vital to grasp the particulars that make up this general picture. This is the only way that it is possible to arrive at a correct estimate of the balance of forces on a world scale, the overall motion of the basic contradictions, and an understanding of how the international situation is likely to impact on the situation here in the U.S.
A final point here is that we approach our evaluation of the international situation in a partisan way – from the standpoint of working class internationalism. Setbacks and defeats for imperialism help working and oppressed people in the United States, as they weaken our common enemy, bringing us closer to the day when we are free from the rule of the rich and powerful.
Change and continuity
Since the emergence of the United States as an imperialist power, the essence of American foreign policy has always had a remarkable degree of consistency – the basic aim was, and is, to build an empire extending across the globe. The underlying motive of empire is to systematically exploit the labor and the loot the land and natural resource of others in order to enrich the monopoly capitalists who rule the United States.
That said, the election of Barack Obama means that there will be elements of continuity with past U.S. foreign policy as well as some important changes. Both elements are shaped by key events in the recent past.
Iraq and Afghanistan
The two key events to grasp are the decisions by the Bush administration to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. In both cases, overthrowing those countries’ independent governments, attempting to install puppet regimes, and then failing to suppress popular insurgencies which aim for liberation from occupation. No doubt there are many other important focal points of struggle in the world, ranging from Cuba to Nepal, but Iraq and Afghanistan have special significance.
Iraq and Afghanistan represent something where quantity adds up to a qualitative change. The U.S. is intervening in many places, directly and indirectly. But in Iraq and Afghanistan, imperialism, following the lead of the U.S., is undertaking large scale armed confrontations against the forces of national liberation.
In Iraq, the independent, nationalist government of Saddam Hussein presented a direct challenge to the dominance of imperialist countries over the oil-rich Middle East. In Afghanistan, the US’s interest stems from the desire to occupy a strategic base in Central Asia, where there are large deposits of oil and gas, and to contain the rising influence of Russia, Iran and China.
The reason that there are still more than 100,000 troops in Iraq is because the puppet government put in place by the United States can not remain in power without them. The Bush administration said that the occupation of Iraq would be some sort of cake walk. Instead they found that the Iraqi people had the courage and capacity to wage an heroic struggle for national liberation. Time and time again the Bush administration’s agenda, domestic and international, floundered on setbacks in Iraq. While the people of Iraq have not yet achieved victory, time is not on the side of the U.S. occupation. (2)
In Afghanistan the story is the same. Using the events of September 11, 2001 as a pretext, the government of Afghanistan was overthrown in a military crusade. A puppet government was established in Kabul. And a popular insurgency took root to end the occupation.
Afghanistan and Iraq are critical because they both represent major set backs for U.S. imperialism. (3)
The large scale resistance that is being waged by the people of Afghanistan has increasingly confined foreign occupiers to the big population centers and has created an unending crisis in the occupation regime. It has left U.S. foreign policymakers and the Pentagon in a difficult situation, with no easy solutions.
The days of Bush, when U.S. policymakers could seriously debate invading Syria, or having Israel do it for them, are over, at least for now. The U.S. is not in a position to fight another major war. So Washington finds itself in a bind. Victory is impossible and defeat is unthinkable. The imperialists have picked up a rock only to drop it on their own feet.
While the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq do not, in and of themselves, settle the issue of the balance of forces on a world scale, they serve as indicators of the place of U.S. imperialism for the immediate period ahead.
There is a consensus among U.S. policymakers and in ruling-class think tanks that the crisis that has engulfed the capitalist world is of real importance and will weaken the power of imperialism.(4) Of course they do not put it in quite those terms, but when they speak of a decline of western “influence” and economic “threats,” that is exactly what they mean. On every level, from the military to the ideological, the capitalist crisis serves to limit their options.
On the ideological and political level, the model of privatization, free markets and no state intervention is basically dead. Governments that are propped up by one or another imperialist power find themselves under pressure from within and without. And in a practical sense, the centers of imperialism do not have endless resources and the capitalist crisis means they have less to work with – so when they pick and choose their fights, they do so from a weakened position. And, no foreseeable changes on the economic front will make for a qualitative change in this situation over the next few years.
McCain was defeated, and Barack Obama was elected in part because people rightfully wanted change, here at home and everywhere else. However, the place where the least change will be seen is in the sphere of how the United States relates to the rest of the world, especially the Third World. This is not because the corporate elite or the U.S. government is running on auto pilot, unable to consider any meaningful alternatives. The problem is much more fundamental. We live a capitalist county where the largest of corporations and a class that has the most wealth has the most power. So the framework which is used to analyze investment patterns, how issues of war and peace are decided and foreign policy serves those wealthy and corporate interests. There is never a real debate about ending U.S. domination abroad. The false idea projected by the ruling class is that everything from U.S. corporate investment to U.S. military bases abroad somehow benefits those who are dominated.
Because there is a consensus in the ruling class, for now, that Afghanistan cannot be “lost,” President Obama will continue to escalate the war there. Not only does Afghanistan have a strategic importance for the imperialist powers, the political impact of a defeat would be immense. And the strategic importance transcends the relative importance South Asia – i.e. there is a general view among the elite that the war in Afghanistan cannot end in defeat without endangering the U.S. position in the world.
Likewise the occupation of Iraq will continue. And the stakes are much higher than Afghanistan. The rulers of the United States cannot cede Iraq to Iraqi patriots or to some other power without endangering the U.S. domination of the Middle East as a whole – and its position as the leading imperial power.
There will be no significant change in the US occupation, although the rhetoric might be different from the Bush administration. Instead the US will continue to have its own military bases in Iraq and will use the puppet government army to oppress the Iraqi people. “End the US Occupation of Iraq” needs to continue to be an important demand of the anti-war movement in this period, regardless of the focus on Afghanistan and the President’s claim that he is starting to end the war.
Stepping back and looking at the U.S. relationship with the Third World, in general there is a striking continuity with the policies of the Bush administration, with some important nuances. On way to put this is that there will be more carrots, and less sticks, but sticks in general will be the main thing. For example the U.S. is on a collision course with Iran, and “talks” or diplomacy will not change this. It is a question of balance of forces in the Middle East and what needs to be done strategically to maintain U.S. domination. Another examples is Colombia, where the Pentagon is expanding its presence.
Of course the U.S. or its surrogates don’t have an unending supply of sticks with which to beat others, meaning that given the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be very hard to launch and handle a war of a similar or greater scale.
Many welcome the emphasis that the administration has placed on diplomacy and “talking things out.” Diplomacy is simply another method to obtain things, and it is self-evident that in places such as Afghanistan or Somalia, the U.S relies on force and will continue to do so. Force can be used to compel and money can purchase ‘friends.’ For the United States, the goal of diplomacy is to maintain an empire. The Bush administration played with the idea of overthrowing the anti-imperialist government of Syria. The current administration’s talks with Syria have the goal of splitting that country off from the other progressive and anti-imperialist forces in the region. The goal of maintaining U.S. influence over the region is the same as Bush’s or Clinton’s, or depending how far on wants to go back, Eisenhower’s or Truman’s.
U.S. military strategy is being reshaped. Gone is the cornerstone of fighting two conventional wars at the same time. The main stress is now on counter-insurgency. The formulation being used in the Pentagon is that we deal with the current situation while preparing for the future. And the future includes maintaining a big navy, for purposes of “force projection” and maintaining access to shipping lanes.
“Multilateralism” is in vogue and it is simply a way of describing collusion between the imperialist powers. The U.S. has had long periods of going it alone and long periods of acting in concert with other imperial powers – depending on time place and conditions. Contention is absolute and collusion is relative.
It is not helpful to describe agreements that provide for U.S domination of Third World as “multilateralism.” For example the Pentagon’s Proliferation Security Initiative, which allows for the boarding ships to hunt for “weapons of mass destruction,” is in the main a mechanism to project U.S. power. It is also used to interfere with the ships of, or leased by, Democratic Korea.
Concerning the Obama administration’s policy towards the socialist countries, it seems likely that there will be a return towards the policy of “peaceful evolution” which means relying on economic ties, along with political and cultural relations to help create a climate for the destabilization, and eventual overthrow of socialist governments. The exceptions being the contradiction with Democratic Korea, which has its own dynamics and China, where the U.S. hopes for and promotes “peaceful evolution” while actively preparing for a military confrontation in the decades to come.
The economic crisis has also increased economic tensions between the United States and China. The United States has stepped up its scape-goating of China, in an attempt to blame China for the high unemployment in the United States.
Europe and Japan, competing centers of Imperialism
Bush’s post 9-11 offensive was mainly aimed at the Third World but also included radically stepping up contention with Europe. As the offensive ended with defeat and exhaustion, the U.S. has returned to a more multilateral model.(5)
The other side of the issue is developments in Europe and Japan. Here the center of gravity is also opting for a multilateral approach. For example, European complicity in the occupation of Afghanistan will not stop anytime soon.
European economic integration is facing new challenges created by the economic crisis. There are growing tensions within the Euro-zone. Those countries hardest hit by economic crisis, such as Spain, are running large government budget deficits and need lower interest rates and a cheaper Euro to help stimulate their economy. At the same time Germany and others less affected by the crisis want smaller government budget deficits, higher interest rates and a strong Euro.
Many of the new members of the European Union in Eastern Europe are being hit hard from a fall in their exports to western Europe, falling remittances from workers who moved to western Europe, and tighter credit from western European banks. The IMF and western European countries are forcing harsh austerity measures on eastern European countries, in contrast to the deficit spending in the west. This is leading to growing protests and opposition to capitalism among the people.
It is not likely that the Euro can seriously compete with the dollar on a world scale in the period ahead. The issue is not the valuation of respective currencies, but rather that the U.S. is able to sell its debt with Treasury Bonds. Europe as a whole cannot. Instead this falls to all the respective individual central European banks, which have widely different polices, rates of maturing and uneven liquidity. This means that the Euro will not replace the dollar as the world currency any time soon and the prospect of an integrated, unitary European economy now appears to be a more distant goal than it seemed three years ago.
European unity is following the lead of Germany, the largest economy on the continent. Popular resistance to European integration, for example, votes to reject joining the European Union, are a good thing for both the peoples of Europe and the peoples of the Third World, as such resistance tends to weaken imperialism.
Britain is somewhat different, insofar as it is historically and at the present time much more attached to U.S.
There are some other trends in Europe worth noting. One is that the class struggle continues at a high level; for workers in the United States it is something we can learn from. Another is that racism and national oppression directed at national minorities from former colonial positions is on the rise (for example, the oppression of the Algerian national minority in France).
In Asia, Japan has attached itself to U.S. imperialism, playing a similar role to Britain. It shared strategic objectives with the United States to contain China and destroy socialist Korea. In the 1980s Japan’s rise as an economic power fueled an ambition to create an Asian capitalist bloc and have the Japanese yen be a major international currency like the U.S. dollar.
However the aftermath of the stock and real estate boom created an economic crisis in Japan in the 1990s with similarities to the crisis in the United States today. Japan spent more than ten years in economic stagnation, followed by a weak recovery based on exports. Japan’s economic weakness and China’s growing economy is affecting both Japan’s and the U.S. desires to dominate the rest of Asia.
Former Socialist countries, the USSR and in Eastern Europe
For the people of the former Soviet Union, the collapse of socialism has been a disaster. Gorbachev opened the door not to “reformed socialism,” but to plunder by native gangsters and their foreign sponsors. The collective wealth produced by the Soviet people was stolen in the largest privatization in history. The result: Nothing but misery for workers and farmers. Millions of workers went unpaid, lost their pensions and have been robbed of their life savings. Throughout the former Soviet Union, life expectancy is declining.
The destruction of the USSR paved the way for a great scramble among the imperialists to loot the land, labor and resources of one-sixth of the globe. Of particular importance are moves to seize energy resources in the Caspian basin and central Asia. The intervention in Afghanistan and the conflict with Iran are key elements of this strategy.
The results of the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union, as well as the socialist counties of Eastern Europe, such as Albania, Poland and Yugoslavia, are vivid examples of a simple truth – capitalism is a failed system that cannot meet the political, economic or social aspirations of the vast majority of people.
From the standpoint of understanding the international situation there are some important developments that need to be noted, especially in some of the more developed former socialist countries like Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic.
In the case of Russia, the continuing political rise of Vladimir Putin is the reflection of changes in Russia’s economic base. In Russia today, there is a rising capitalist class that has both comprador and national aspects. This means that Russia has some capacity to act independently of the main imperialist centers.
As for Poland and the Czech Republic, their rulers have shown some capacity to utilize contradictions among the respective imperialist powers.
In all the former socialist counties, construction of a Marxist-Leninist movement and new Communist Parties that fight for the re-establishment of socialism is an extremely positive development. In the face of serious difficulties and, at times, heavy repression, they are standing firm. We owe them our support and solidarity.
Imperialism means national oppression. Third world countries face famine, poverty, war, epidemics, environmental destruction, restructuring and dismantlement. On a world scale, the main form of national oppression today is neocolonialism. Recognizing this fact, it should be stated that one of the particular features of U.S. imperialism has been the reversion to what resembles the earlier form of direct colonial rule, as with the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Objectively, the countries of the Third World are at the center of the revolutionary process and the gains made over the past period are remarkable.
The peoples of the Middle East are standing up to imperialism, Zionism and reaction of all kinds. Because of the region’s strategic importance to western imperialism, developments here can lead to a shift in the balance of forces on a world scale.
The powerful and determined struggle of the Palestinian people has swept away repeated attempts to impose solutions that come up short of complete liberation. We support the Palestinian people in their fight to regain their homeland, including the right of return, and to create a democratic, secular state in all of historic Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.
We expect there will be some differences between the current administration and the former on the issue of Palestine. A “two state solution” will now have a lot more emphasis, as there is a consensus among U.S. policymakers that if this does not happen sooner, it will be impossible later. This means there will be more contradictions between the administration and the forces that dream of a “greater Israel.”
We call for an end to all U.S. aid to Israel. Israel is a creation of U.S. and British imperialism – it is a dagger that the U.S. wields against the Arab peoples. The 2006 defeat of Israel by the Lebanese resistance demonstrated the underlying weakness of the Zionist state and the power of the Arab peoples. It also showed that the patriotic and progressive forces of Lebanon are an extremely important factor in the in building the camp of resistance to imperialism and Zionism.
Whatever weakens Israel or U.S. support for Israel strengthens the hand of the people of Palestine, the Arab peoples and ultimately the world’s peoples.
Over the past decade, there has been a steady radicalization of the masses of Arab peoples. With a few notable exceptions, the vast majority of governments in the Middle East are western-dominated and hated by the people they rule. The protracted struggle in Palestine will further destabilize the puppet governments which are unable and unwilling to confront Israel.
The ongoing efforts of the Iraqi national liberation movement to win freedom from the U.S.-led occupation are of vital importance for the Iraqi people, the people of the Middle East and the world’s people.
In evaluating the situation in the Middle East, Iran is of real importance. U.S. threats of war against Iran must be taken seriously, even as the U.S. military is stretched to its limits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Increasing political, economic and military strength, especially compared to its besieged neighbors, allows Iran to be relatively independent of U.S. domination. We uphold Iran’s right to develop its nuclear capacity, and oppose the U.S-Israeli nuclear monopoly in the Middle East. Moreover, while the role of Iran in Iraq is complicated, and we cannot support any policies that undermine the unity of the patriotic Iraqi national resistance, nonetheless Iran makes it objectively more difficult for the U.S. to unilaterally control the situation in Iraq and stabilize its illegal occupation.
Should the U.S. or Israel widen their war on the people of the Middle East, whether by attacking Iran or any other enemies of imperialism, the U.S. anti-war movement will need to orient itself towards whatever the principal contradiction is at that time, focusing on the battlefront that most strongly serves to weaken U.S. imperialism.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America and the Caribbean have long suffered under the yoke of U.S. imperialism. Since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, U.S. rulers have viewed this region as their own backyard. Neocolonialism is the main form of national oppression in Latin America today, and the U.S. does not hesitate to use political and military means to dominate the peoples of Latin America.
The exploitation and expropriation of wealth is the fundamental objective of imperialism. Economic instruments of imperialism include neocolonial structural adjustment projects, privatization and the massive debt foisted upon most developing nations and administered by U.S.-dominated multi-lateral financial institutions, like the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
In Latin America, the policies of looting and theft are codified in international, bilateral and trilateral free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, AFTA and others. Agriculture, public health, social services, public education, workers’ rights and the environment all come under heavy fire from these agreements. In the end, thousands are left impoverished and unemployed, while U.S. companies laugh all the way to the bank – tax-free. Imperialist domination further impoverishes the peasantry and pushes small farmers off the land.
The U.S. has dominated Haiti through both military and economic policies for almost a century. The 2010 earthquake merely provided the U.S. with an excuse to increase it’s foothold in the poorest part of Latin America. The U.S. efforts are focused on maintaining its control over Haiti and propping up its puppet government rather than on offering meaningful humanitarian relief.
The contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations is intensifying across Latin America, where the great masses of people are unable to live in the old way and the rulers are unable to rule in the old way. Colombia is at the leading edge of this process, where armed revolution is meeting armed counter-revolution on the battlefield. The war in Colombia is of vital importance to the imperialists – around 1,000 U.S current and former military personnel are engaged in combat there and the U.S. is now talking about setting up more military bases. A victory for Colombia’s national liberation movement will be an incredible blow to U.S. imperialism.
Moreover, a profound revolutionary process is taking place in the northern part of South America. This includes the progressive and patriotic governments of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and that of Evo Morales in Bolivia. The elections of social democratic or left-leaning governments of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the FMLN of El Salvador amount to a rejection of the U.S. and reflect the dissatisfaction of the masses of people. The spread of this process to Central America pulled Honduran President Mel Zelaya to the left, until he was overthrown in a right wing coup in June 2009.
With a U.S. military base in Honduras, the U.S. government was no bystander to the coup. Although the U.S. has not intervened with its military, it has given support to right wing forces. The U.S. government has clearly stood with the Honduran oligarchy and used the coup in Honduras to send a chilling message to leftist governments throughout the region.
Progressive forces in the U.S. have a special responsibility to support the progressive and revolutionary forces in Mexico. The southwest part of the United States – Aztlan – was formerly Northern Mexico. A distinct Chicano nation has developed in this region and there is a relationship between what takes place in Mexico and the developments in the Southwest. One indication of this is the inspiration many Chicano youth took from the uprising in Chiapas. Revolutionary struggle in Mexico weakens U.S imperialism, and will contribute to shaping the Chicano national movement (and other movements as well).
Finally, note must be made of socialist Cuba – which is a beacon of liberation to people through out the hemisphere. Socialist Cuba has built a health care system that is the envy of nations across the globe; thousands of Cuban doctors travel to Africa, Asia, and Latin America to provide free services to the poor and needy. Cuba has eliminated unemployment and created a superb educational system that eradicated illiteracy. Today Cuba is leading the charge in sustainable development and agriculture. All of this was done while under the most intense pressure of the U.S. blockade.
Africa is the poorest continent. It was conquered, divided and stripped of great amounts of its natural resources by imperialism. Now Africa faces an AIDS crisis affecting tens of millions, while Western drug corporations plot how to make more profits. In past decades, Africans waged many victorious national liberation struggles. Unfortunately, comprador forces allied with neocolonialism seized power in a number of countries, thus reaping the fruit of many of these heroic struggles.
With the aim of grabbing the resources, land and labor of the African peoples, the United States is utilizing domestic proxies, direct intervention, regional “security” agreements and military assistance programs. About 15% of the oil coming to the U.S. is from sub-Saharan Africa. This amount could well go up another 10% over the next decade, particularly as more fields producing low-sulfur oil are opened up. Africa has huge mineral reserves, including copper, bauxite and uranium. The U.S. is moving to strengthen its control of key shipping and communications lines – for example those that pass by the Horn of Africa.
In 2007, the United Stated formed a military command to focus on Africa (AFRICOM). Teaming up with its proxy, Ethiopia, the U.S. is waging a war on the people of Somalia. We support the patriotic people of Somalia who are fighting to free their country from foreign domination.
Sudan is another target of U.S. intervention, where Washington is interfering in the internal affairs of that country, and cynically using the turbulence in the Darfur region to weaken a government it opposes. We opposes sanctions on the Sudan.
In Zimbabwe there has been an ongoing attempt by the west, headed up by the U.S. and Britain, to bring down that country’s progressive government, and end the national democratic process that is taking place there. We are against any sanctions on Zimbabwe and support the revolutionary measures adopted by its government, such as land reform.
Nearly every region of the continent has been ravaged by war. In general, the basis for these conflicts can be found in the legacy of colonialism and the ongoing maneuvers of the western powers, especially the U.S., France and Britain. We are opposed to western military intervention under any guise, including that of “peace keeping.”
Asia is a focal point of the four major contradictions in the world. Thus, of anywhere in the world, Marxism is the most alive in Asia today. There are more communists here than in the rest of the world combined. There are huge mass movements of communists in India and Bangladesh numbering in the tens of millions. There is also a growing armed struggle led by communists in India. The outcome of great struggle taking place in Nepal, where communists led an overthrow of a reactionary monarchy and continued to struggle for a national democratic revolution, has implications for Asia and the world as a whole.
In the Plilippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines holds substantial liberated areas and is leading the masses of people in a national democratic revolution with a socialist orientation. Locked in a direct confrontation with the U.S. and its puppets, advances in the revolutionary process here are of real importance for Asia as a whole. The Philippines were the first big base of operations for the U.S. empire in Asia, the point from where the U.S. projected its power. Victories won by the revolutionary movement in the Philippines affect the balance of forces in the region, and set back U.S. imperialism’s plans to build an anti-China alliance.
There are also more socialist countries in Asia than anywhere else. China, Laos, Vietnam, Korea all espouse Marxism-Leninism and see themselves on the road to communism. Taken as whole, Asia is a weak link in the chain of imperialism.
Note should be made of U.S. efforts to provoke a second Korean war. While the strength of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and the patriotic movements in the south of the peninsula constrain the U.S., ongoing provocations, such as the fabrication of a “nuclear crisis” and war preparations (troop redeployments, deployment of advanced weapons, agreements with other countries to seize north Korean shipping vessels) constitute serious danger to peace on the Korean Peninsula.
In a similar vein, we understand that when the Pentagon speaks of a “regional competitor” in Asia, it means the People’s Republic of China. We support the efforts of the Chinese people to achieve reunification with the Taiwan province and oppose U.S. efforts to threaten China with “missile defense,” a system of military bases aimed at encirclement and subversion.
The growing international influence of China is also posing a challenge to U.S. imperialism. China has growing economic and political relationships with many countries of the Third World in Asia, Africa and Latin America. China has been able to unite with other Third World countries in international forums on trade and the environment to challenge the hegemony of U.S. and other other imperialist powers. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is a military alliance that includes Russia, China, and other Central Asian countries presents a direct challenge to the expansion of NATO in Central Asia.
Finally, the growing struggle of Afghani people to win national independence and liberate their country from U.S. and NATO control has made real strides forward. The U.S. is expanding its military attacks to Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan. There is growing opposition by the Pakistani people to their government’s cooperation with U.S. imperialism.
China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Korea are countries where the proletariat has established power. These countries are an important factor in the world revolutionary process. Whatever strengths or weakness the respective socialist countries have, we count ourselves in the ranks of those who hold that actual existing socialism is a good thing.
A quick compare and contrast demonstrates that socialism has been extremely positive for the Third World. Those countries that overthrew imperialism and its local servants, established New Democracy, and transitioned to socialism under the leadership of the working class and its Party have improved the lives of their own people and inspired millions more.
For example, Cuba’s infant mortality rate ranks far above that of Mexico or El Salvador, and many major U.S. cities. On issues of equality, heath care, education, culture, housing, and food the people of the socialist countries fare better.
In the cases of Korea and Vietnam, the mass destruction of U.S. wars attempted to send those nations “back to the Stone Age.” However, due to the victories against U.S. imperialism, they have fared well compared with similar Asian nations.
However, socialist countries also face major contradictions, from external and internal sources, including those stemming from market reforms and the opening of the economies to the world market. In spite of this, the socialist countries have demonstrated in practice the bright future in store for humanity.
(1) Third World is a reference to the developing countries that are oppressed by imperialism.
(2) From 2003 to 2008, a powerful national resistance movement emerged in Iraq and that seemed to be relatively close to victory. The U.S. responded by instigating sectarian warfare, both openly and covertly. The divide-and-rule tactics of the U.S. and Al Qaeda’s sectarian actions served the same purpose: to fracture the resistance and create an opening for the occupation. The result was the creation of large pro-puppet militias like the ‘Sons of Iraq’ in areas where the resistance was the strongest. Nonetheless, the Iraqi resistance was never defeated and continues to wage armed struggle against the occupation.
(3) Defense Secretary Gates acknowledged as much, stating “We are unlikely to repeat another Iraq or Afghanistan anytime soon – that is, forced regime change followed by nation-building under fire,” in a speech at National Defense University, September 2008.”Nation building” is a code word for creating a stable puppet government.
(4) According to USA TODAY, February 25 2009: Leon Panetta told reporters that his agency was producing, at the request of the Obama administration, a new “economic intelligence brief” and distributing it to key policymakers. Reflecting the comments of the director of national intelligence, who called the economic crisis a serious national security threat, the new brief will focus on global economic issues, Panetta says. “It will cover overseas developments, economic, political, leadership developments,” he says. “Obviously, the implications in terms of the U.S. economy will be analyzed as well.” The first EIB was sent out today to “key players” in the administration.
(5) As we noted in our 2004 Main Political Report, while the contradiction between the U.S. and Europe has its own dynamics, at its core is a struggle of rivals to re-divide the world for their respective benefit. Given the setbacks the U.S. has met with in the Middle East and elsewhere, we can expect that those in the U.S. ruling class who favor a more “multilateral” approach of “let’s get together and share the spoils” will make their voices heard.