INTENSIFY THE STRUGGLES OF THE PROLETARIAT AND PEOPLES
AGAINST IMPERIALISM AND REACTION
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples' Struggle
1 May 2010
On this glorious day of the international proletariat, we, the International League of Peoples' Struggle, join the workers and peoples of the world in celebrating their struggles, sacrifices and victories. It is of the greatest importance to raise the banner of proletarian unity and struggle against exploitation and oppression by imperialism and all reaction. Once again, we renew our resolve to dismantle the monopoly capitalist system and replace it with a just, democratic and peaceful new world in which socialism prevails.
Crisis of Global Capitalism Continues to Worsen
The enemies of the working class and the oppressed peoples do not cease to demonstrate their contempt for the masses with their lies and their violence. The mouthpieces of the monopoly bourgeoisie are busy proclaiming the end of the global economic and financial crisis, and celebrating the so-called beginnings of recovery. Not only is this claim of recovery patently false, it actually signals a heightened offensive against the workers and peoples of the world.
Bourgeois economists are prating about rising GDP figures, rallies in the stock market, the “stabilization” of the financial system, increasing bank profits and more business activity. In reality, the so-called recovery is artificial and temporary as it is solely reliant on trillions of dollars handed out by the state to the biggest banks and failing conglomerates as bailout money. This is the largest-ever simultaneous raid of public treasuries by the wealthiest stratum of the capitalist class which uses the money to rake in more profits from speculative investments.
Conditions in the real economy remain grim, especially in terms of rising unemployment and the dismal living conditions of the working masses. Tens of millions have lost their jobs or livelihoods since 2008 when the worst crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s erupted in the heartland of the global capitalist system. Millions more have been kept employed but on a part-time basis, with lower wages and ready to be axed at the bosses’ say so. In the US alone, millions of families are set to lose their homes in the coming year. The monopoly bourgeoisie is seizing on mass unemployment and profound social insecurity to cut costs, take back hard-won workers’ benefits and boost profits.
In the underdeveloped countries, the social consequences have been more devastating to those economies most deeply penetrated by international monopoly capital as foreign investments, credit, so-called aid, export revenues and remittances have fallen along with the economies of the advanced capitalist countries. Chronic economic depression is compounded by the multiple crises generated by the monopoly capitalist system including the food, water and ecological crises.
While the masses face a bleak future, the managers of finance oligarchy responsible for the crisis continue to raise their share of the loot. The top 25 managers of US hedge funds took home a record $25.33 billion in 2009 -- greater than the GDP of about 100 nations combined. They “earned” these obscene sums not from production but from mere speculation, specifically by correctly betting that the US government under Obama would shore up Wall Street at virtually any cost.
Obama certainly did not disappoint his financiers. Not only has he continued to funnel trillions to the finance sector, his administration has also scuttled any attempt to apply restraints on the predatory operations of finance capital, despite calls even from reform-minded bourgeois economists. He is generating the biggest kind of bubble in the form of public debt and is engaged in deficit spending that promotes monopoly profit-taking but not employment and economic recovery.
He has also indulged the military-industrial complex with the biggest war budget in US history since World War II, even adjusted for inflation. The US is building more bases and upgrading its military facilities all over the world to secure its control over strategic resources (such as oil and gas in West and Central Asia, and West and Central Africa); encircle potential rival powers, particularly China and Russia; and attack or intervene in regions where US interests are being challenged (such as in Latin America, Pakistan, Iran, and Korea.). It is also paying out billions to US monopoly firms to supply and service US bases overseas and “reconstruct” the civilian infrastructure destroyed by US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
All this generosity to the most parasitic and brutal fraction of the big bourgeoisie has resulted in the rapid increase in public deficits and debts in all the major economies. The Bank for International Settlements estimates that the debt-to-GDP ratios of the G-7 countries are likely to shoot up to between 150 and 300 percent within the next decade. Hence the executives of the monopoly bourgeoisie are preparing a new assault on the working masses in their own countries and against Third World peoples in order to squeeze out more surplus value.
The Obama administration has for instance frozen discretionary social spending, laid off thousands of teachers and public sector employees, and is getting ready to further whittle down Medicare and Social Security. Leaders of the Group of 20 are now talking about “deficit containment” and “returning to a normal policy stance” even amidst an ocean of unemployed and dispossessed masses. By this they mean withdrawing stimulus measures, imposing fiscal austerity and new taxes in order to raise revenues needed to cover the bailouts handed over to the finance oligarchy. This translates to wholesale job cuts particularly in the public sector, and slashing education, health, housing and other social and welfare programs. This is what all this talk of “recovery” means for the working masses.
The International Monetary Fund is again stepping in to impose devastating austerity measures and wage cuts not just in debt-stricken Third World countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America but now also in Eastern Europe and the less advanced capitalist countries such as Greece. In countries that have managed to steer clear of the IMF by relying on private capital markets, international finance capital still issues decrees through ratings agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor. Countries that refuse to reduce their fiscal deficits through cutbacks in social services, lay-offs and more regressive taxes are punished by poor ratings and higher interest rates.
Even then, there remains the threat of widespread defaults and financial meltdown in the near future. In fact, these are inevitable because the response of the ruling class to the crisis -- intensified exploitation of the working masses, over-accumulation of capital, debt-driven spending, and financialization -- actually aggravates the basic conditions which lead to crises. The expected bursting of the public debt bubble will have far worse consequences than the bursting of previous bubbles.
While continuing to rave about the free market masquerade of monopoly capitalism, the US is now desperately carrying out a protectionist policy and trying to reduce its external deficits through cutting imports and more aggressive export promotion. Obama recently launched the National Export Initiative which aims to double US exports in five years. The US can therefore be expected to become even more aggressive in prying open foreign markets, enforcing its “property rights” overseas while restricting the entry of imports. This is sure to exacerbate trade frictions between the US and its commercial competitors as well as intensify inter-imperialist rivalry for plundering the Third World.
In the face of the economic crisis and challenges to its hegemony, US imperialism is escalating militarism, state terrorism and wars of aggression. The biggest armed conflicts and greatest instability are happening in regions where US intervention is most extensive – West, Central and South Asia, and West and Central Africa. These are also the regions with the greatest concentration of strategic resources, foremost of which is oil, the control of which is an explicit aim of US military policy since the 1950s.
The US occupation of Iraq has entered its seventh year with no end in sight, contrary to Obama’s promise to end US combat mission in Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010. The US is ramping up its war in Afghanistan by sending 30,000 additional troops plus tens of thousands of private contractors, using the country as a laboratory for new US weaponry and combat tactics, such as the use of drone attacks. It has entered into a new nuclear agreement with India to support the latter’s military upgrading and keep the Pakistan-China alliance in check.
The US continues to use the US-Zionist alliance to terrorize the entire Middle East and to seize the oil and other natural resources. US support for Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people has resulted in the most atrocious war crimes and human rights violations by Israeli Zionism and in the humanitarian crisis such as that in Gaza.
In Africa, the US has fortified its military presence by creating the African Command or Africom, and has increased arms sales, military aid and training provided to a number of African countries, particularly in the oil- and mineral-rich countries.
The US has also recently sealed a deal to use seven military bases in Colombia for 10 years to use as its staging ground for intervention within the country and expand its “expeditionary warfare capability” throughout the region, particularly against “anti-US governments” identified by the Pentagon such as Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia. In Honduras, the US-inspired coup d'etat that deposed elected President Manuel Zelaya will mark its one-year anniversary on June 28, 2010 as rumours of other possible coups spread in Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela (and possibly in other countries that have rejected the increasingly discredited Washington Consensus). Hugo Chavez, in particular, is the object of vitriolic propaganda in the monopoly capitalist media – which is possibly a precursor to and justification for destabilization or even direct aggression against Venezuela. Even the recent humanitarian disaster in Haiti is used by the US to extend direct military control over the Haitian people and their economy.
In the whole East Asia, the US continues to apply on China a policy of engagement and containment and is increasingly exerting economic and political pressures. It is exerting more of such pressures on Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In the Philippines, the continued presence of US troops and military facilities and the continued supply of military aid underwrite the government’s vicious counter-insurgency program which targets both armed and unarmed civilians alike and props up the corrupt and fascist puppet Arroyo government.
US military aggression and intervention throughout the world is resulting in massive civilian deaths, destruction of vital infrastructure, trampling of national cultures, pillaging of natural resources, massive displacement and other gross human rights violations, spread of hunger and disease.
The Proletariat and Peoples of World Resist
The worsening conditions of global economic and financial crisis and the escalation of imperialist plunder and wars of aggression are inciting the proletariat and peoples of the world to wage various forms of struggle.
Workers of the world are confronted not only by individual capitalist bosses extracting surplus value in particular workplaces. The monopoly bourgeoisie is attacking the working masses by using the entire coercive apparatus of the state in the imperialist countries and in the imperialist-dominated countries. The workers and peoples of the world are aware that they cannot simply bargain for higher wages and benefits. They are desirous of wresting political power from their oppressors and use state power to uphold their rights and interests.
In various countries, large-scale protests mainly against governments’ responses to the crisis are breaking out and catching international attention. Greece was recently rocked and brought to a standstill by strikes and other forms of actions that oppose government plans to cut down on social spending and raise taxes to address foreign debt and mounting deficit. Farmers’ tractors were used to block roads; ferries were left tied up at the ports; hospitals, schools and other public services were shut down; and even news broadcasts were suspended as hundreds of thousands joined militant protests. The workers and people of Greece are saying “no” to government efforts to make them pay for decades of misuse of government funds for political patronage, corruption and consumption through debt financing.
In France, hundreds of thousands also joined protests against the Sarkozy regime’s plan to overhaul the national pension system by cutting pension and raising the retirement age in an attempt to solve the country’s deficit. Organizers of the protests also raised demands for job security, better working conditions and higher wages. In all countries of Europe, especially in Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Greece and Spain, the level of social discontent and protest is rising because of the increasing rate of unemployment, the erosion of social benefits and the deterioration of living conditions.
In the US, the workers and immigrants undertook strikes and protest rallies. Hundreds of thousands of students and faculty launched protests against cuts in the education budget and increases in tuition. They were expressing outrage at the Obama regime’s policy of bailing out banks and huge corporations and of pouring money into the war in Iraq and Afghanistan to the detriment of education and other social services.
Despite US imperialism’s sabotage attempts, the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and North Korea are vocal in asserting national sovereignty and opposing imperialism’s dictates to their countries and the world. Their popular leaders declare that their countries are waging revolution for socialism. Their governments have been able to cushion the worst effects of the current crisis on the workers and peoples, and have even improved the standard of living in their respective countries. They are now mobilizing workers and peoples to change the socio-economic structures. Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia are active in encouraging their fellow Latin American countries to enhance economic cooperation in that region.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, the armed resistance of the workers and peoples against direct US colonial rule and for national liberation are dealing severe military and political blows on the military might of US imperialism. The imposition by force of US-backed puppet governments in these countries has only intensified the workers and peoples’ anger at US imperialism.
The armed resistance in these countries is encouraging the American workers and peoples’ condemnation of their government’s continuing war of aggression. It is also showing to the workers and peoples of the world that US military might can be resisted and put to shame, and that direct US occupation and colonial rule must be opposed at all costs.
There are proletarian parties in Asia, Latin America and Asia that are waging or are preparing to wage revolutionary armed struggle. The workers and peoples of the Philippines, India, Turkey, Congo, Niger Delta, Peru and Colombia are waging people’s wars for national liberation and democracy. They are persevering in the face of various campaigns of suppression by regimes that are supported by US imperialism under the pretext of the latter’s so-called “global war on terror.” In the Philippines, the revolutionary movement is aiming for a qualitative leap from strategic defensive to strategic stalemate in five years, by taking advantage of the intensifying global and national crises and building on current strengths and experiences.
In India and Nepal, revolutionary armed movements led by proletarian revolutionary parties continue to advance with the support of the workers and peoples in these countries. The revolutionary movement in India is steadily gaining strength, forcing the prime minister to say that “We are losing the war with the Maoists”. After overthrowing the monarchy and achieving great successes in the legal militant struggles and elections, the revolutionary movement in Nepal is now gearing for the seizure of state power to defend national independence and build socialism.
After two decades of blabbering about the “end of history,” the imperialists and their paid propagandists are being put to shame by the perseverance of ordinary workers and people in revolutionary struggle in order to collectively and militantly make history, and to put an end to such a backward and moribund system as imperialism.
All the struggles of the workers and peoples against imperialism and reaction are contributory to the relentless advance towards a new and better world of national independence, democracy, development, social justice and peace. We call on the workers and peoples of the world to intensify their struggles against imperialist plunder and wars of aggression and open the way to socialism!