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[en anglais] Shocks within the Imperialist System and the Tasks of Revolutionary Communists

June 5, 2023

The transformations of the imperialist system since the collapse of the USSR and the emergence of China, the wars in the Balkans, then in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, the civil wars and sometimes genocidal wars as in Rwanda, the major world economic crises which occur almost every ten years, then the pandemic and its consequences, all reveal a profound reorganization of the economic structures of capitalism as well as a reconfiguration of social classes and inter-imperialist relations of power on an international scale. The reactions, uprisings, and sometimes insurrections have mobilized significant sectors of the proletariat, whole sections of the working classes, even if these protests, which have overthrown both civilian governments and military dictatorships, – including during the Arab Spring sequence – have not been able to go beyond forms of counter-power. These objective factors of instability in the system could converge and lead to real social revolutions. This makes it essential to strengthen the « subjective » factor in the working class, by building leaderships and revolutionary parties capable of understanding, linking up with, and intervening in these political and social disputes, with the aim of seizing opportunities and transforming revolts into social revolutions. These social revolutions would not only overthrow a dictator or a regime but also put an end to the dictatorship of capital and establish a situation of dual power leading to a government of the workers.

This upsurge in the fighting spirit of the working class is, for the moment, a response to the proletariat’s delay in warding off both the social collapse of its material conditions and the sometimes irreversible devastation of ecosystems. The bloody reorganization of capitalism and imperialism, of which the Russian imperialist aggression in Ukraine is one manifestation, opens up the possibility of a new cycle of direct confrontation between the leading imperialist power, the United States, and its rivals, such as China. It is this possibility, in our opinion, that makes this conference so important: at a time when the drumbeat of war is becoming more insistent and military budgets are furiously swelling, and at a time when revolts of the working classes are erupting all over the world, it is important that revolutionary and internationalist groups, despite the modesty of their forces, seek the means for the independent intervention by the working class.

Determining Social Camp or Social Class: An Important Choice but Just a Precondition

Denouncing the Russian aggression, demanding the withdrawal of its troops, and recognizing Ukraine are prerequisites for defining a class position in this war. But they are not enough to build a class perspective. The denunciation of U.S. maneuvers, of the escalation of Western financial and military support for the Zelensky regime, of the growing presence of NATO troops, of the militarization of national budgets, and our opposition to the propaganda which opposes a supposedly « democratic » camp to a dictatorial one, are part of the necessary positions required to outline a proletarian camp, that is not aligned with any of the imperialist camps present. However, we need to turn our attention beyond this. An independent class policy, perceptible on an international scale, is certainly insufficient today. Yet this is the only way forward, for the best way to end a war is to mobilize the working class to overthrow its exploiters in Russia, Ukraine, and internationally. These remarks – and the discussions to be held between us – are not yet a program for the working class and youth, but they could help to lay the foundation for a regroupment against this situation of war and its possible extensions. Here too, more than a year after the start of the war in Ukraine, it has to be said that the international initiatives of revolutionary communists are still only at the stage of projects.

 Rebuilding Internationalism

The difficulty of having an accurate understanding of the social and political reactions of the workers in Ukraine and Russia prevents us, for now, from having a definite policy, let alone one for intervention. This raises all the more emphatically the need for a coordination of the revolutionary movement for exchanges, as well as collaboration and joint elaboration. And it is in this area that we could take concrete and useful steps for our class, not just by working within the contradictions of a situation but by creating opportunities.

The social awakening observed in part in Europe – in Britain, France, and even Germany – with significant movements, was triggered by inter-imperialist competition, inflation, and restrictions in the public sector. It gave rise to unprecedented social experiments which could make it possible for revolutionary groups to pursue a common policy. In Latin America, particularly in Argentina, with its sizable revolutionary minorities and likely forthcoming economic collapse, it is possible to imagine a political intervention by the working class on a larger scale. The underground movements in China and elsewhere underline the difficulties but also the potential of the situation. But this necessary combativeness will not be enough, and of this, we are all convinced: spontaneous movements, however large and deep they may be, cannot lead to revolutionary transformations of society without the intervention of political organizations which clearly pose the question not only of a revolution or political solutions that remain within the terrain of bourgeois institutions but of a social revolution by means of working class organs of power. Of course, revolutionary organizations are far from being in a position to propose such a policy, even where the spontaneous movement has gone very far, as in Iran. But that’s no reason to give up, and that’s what makes it necessary to exchange experiences and discuss different understandings of the situation, with all the groups around the same table, without any claim to hegemony, simply because developing a policy and, even more so, implementing it, requires both a global and a precise knowledge of the situation, which no single group or international grouping has on its own.

The risks of a generalization of the war initiated in Ukraine and the question of the political intervention by the working class give the theme of the conference real relevance and the possibility of being fruitful. The profound transformations of the world market, of the system of production, of classes, of the flow of labor power, of the balance of power between imperialist nations, of the decline of some and the emergence of new ones, often give rise to different assessments among us – hence the need and even the necessity to discuss them. It seems to us important to tackle, in a second phase, the question of the first steps to engage towards a common framework for exchanging information and militant experience, a necessary condition for establishing the bonds of trust that are indispensable to the construction, tomorrow, of a new International.

Regrouping the Revolutionaries

The working class has never been so numerous in the world, with the emergence of a large proletariat in China, India, and the so-called emerging countries. Questions relating to the forms of bourgeois democracy – the need for a constituent assembly, for example – should no longer be automatically put forward as a « political outlet » as soon as a profound social movement puts an autonomous intervention of the working class in the political field on the agenda. The question of the Workers’ United Front, which ranges from activity within the trade union – its simplest form – to the attitude to adopt towards the declining reformist organizations, will certainly have to be a subject of discussion. Not to mention the open question of how to assess the conditions which may make it possible for the national liberation and anti-colonial struggles to open up revolutionary prospects for workers.

All this should be part of the discussions between us, but it is important to put in place a framework that will enable us to emerge from the relative ignorance in which we all find ourselves about the precise situation in a great many countries.

The challenge before us is to build militant relationships, based on concrete exchanges and the trust built up between groups that are sometimes « competitors » at the national level. Without denying our differences and our divergences, but rather by acknowledging them, it is possible to present our debates and our joint or separate projects in a responsible way to workers who are aware of them. A campaign against imperialist militarism, which is not just propaganda, is difficult to put in place. Yet it is urgently required. We could consider the establishment of an annual conference, where we would exchange our militant experiences (our modest victories but also our failures), where we would submit our respective elaborations to the criticism of our comrades, and where little by little we could begin to contemplate collaboration, on the basis of verified experiences. It is a modest prospect, but with the time we have left running out, it would still be a great leap forward.






La contribution du NPA à la conférence de Milan de juillet 2023 en différentes langues