05 November 2019

The inherent contradictions of neoliberal-corporate accumulation are accentuating the world over without any let up. And the recessionary trends that came to prominence since the 2008 meltdown a decade ago have now been characterised as the most prolonged during the entire post-war neo-colonial phase of imperialism. While the extra-ordinary profit and wealth concentration arising from super-exploitation and forced reduction in wages, speculation in stock and financial markets and direct channelling of public funds to corporate coffers have become the hallmark of economic trends everywhere, real economic  growth rate as reported by neoliberal centres including the Bretton Woods as well as academic experts is declining.  Negative GDP growth forecasts on major imperialist powers such as US, China, Japan and EU by IMF, OECD and ratings by imperialist-based credit rating agencies such as Standard and Poor’s Moody’s are now available in the public domain.  Recently, this crisis has gripped the financial and stock markets too as corporate financiers now find it even difficult to extract surplus from the stagnating real economy. As a consequence, inequality, poverty, unemployment, corruption and environmental catastrophe linked with corporate plunder of nature have assumed horrific proportions.

This mounting economic crisis, in the absence of a revolutionary intervention from the ranks of the proletariat and oppressed, has yielded a firm basis to the financial oligarchs and their political representatives to resort to a well-defined far-right shift in politics that is now visible from the Americas to Asia. Thus the neo-fascist regimes in power and the dominant far-right forces in various countries have strengthened further giving rise to many reactionary political trends. A conspicuous example is Europe where the neo-fascist parties have further strengthened their position both in EU and in the European parliament.

Of particular significance is the ongoing attempt on the part of the neo-fascists to organise themselves in to a pan-European fascist power-bloc against workers, immigrants and refugees.  In continuation of this and especially as part of their anti-communist offensive, in the second week of September, these parties have moved a Resolution in European Parliament equating Communism with the “monster of fascism”. This is to be viewed in the context of the emergence of what is called a “new history writing” or revision of history that is now widely prevalent among far-right research centres and neoliberal academics all over the world. A similar malicious intervention is now visible among the Indian saffron fascists to whitewash their betrayal of independence struggle and all historical misdeeds committed by them in the yesteryears. Underlying this ‘historical revisionism’ is an effort to impart a neoliberal legitimacy to fascism in general. At the same time, progressive sections exposing these heinous fascist moves are not rare. For instance, Italy witnessed one of the biggest people’s protests against the EU resolution against Communism and legitimisation of fascism.

Emergence of this far-right and chauvinistic trend has bred political instabilities too. For instance, the Brexit political project connected with the far-right sections of the financial oligarchy in UK has led to an utter failure of the British state itself which totally lacks even a proper plan to implement the departure process from EU. As its manifestation, Boris Johnson’s latest attempt to hold a new vote in British parliament on the Brexit divorce deal was totally rejected by the Speaker of the House of Commons.  Meanwhile efforts to extend US-led NATO forces to the peripheries of Europe including Greece are also there even as the move to develop a pan-European military force on the part of EU quite independent of NATO is in full swing.

Political turbulence and instabilities are mounting elsewhere too. While US imperialist machinations against the Maduro govt. in Venezuela is unabatedly continuing, Bolsanoro in Brazil, an outright junior partner of Trump today, is engaged in destroying Amazon forests and extermination of indigenous tribes by unleashing corporate agribusiness and mining mafia over them backed by state machinery. In US, the centre of global neoliberal order, Trump is facing an official impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats for soliciting Ukraine interference against his rival Biden in the forthcoming 2020 presidential election. While new evidences of Trump’s alleged involvement related to this forthcoming, White House already declared its non-cooperation with the House’s Enquiry.

West Asian political situation interlinked with imperialist interests has become more complex and explosive. Followed by the British capture of Iranian oil tanker in the strait of Gibraltar and Iran’s capture of British oil tanker in Persian Gulf, a few days back, another missile attack on an Iranian ship (though none has taken its responsibility so far) has worsened the situation further. In the meanwhile, Houthi attacks on two major oil installations in Saudi Arabia as retaliation for the incessant Saudi bombing of Yemen have further escalated the tension there. According to an estimate made by UNDP in April 2019, the number of civilian deaths in Yemen due to US backed Saudi airstrikes since 2015 will reach 233000 by the end of 2019.

During the first week of September, Trump administration had abruptly cancelled its so called peace talks with the Afghan Taliban that was going on Qatar nearly a year. In continuation of the renewed military offensive in Afghanistan by the US-led coalition following the September 11, 2001 event, at present 14000 US and thousands of NATO forces are stationed in Afghanistan. It was the mounting economic crises in the US and EU which have imparted a heavy burden on the exchequer that prompted Trump to have direct negotiation with Taliban bypassing even the puppet Afghan regime.  It was in continuation of this that Trump made a rapid about-turn on Syria by pulling out the US forces from there giving a free hand to Turkey to deal with the Syrian democratic forces including its core, the YPG and giving the field free for the resurgence of the IS on the one hand, and indirectly giving enough space for Russia’s role as a power broker in the region on the other. Turkish war codenamed “Operation Peace Spring” is primarily directed against YPG with a view to exterminate the national liberation movement of the Kurdish people(see, the ICOR Appeal), and,  according to latest report, Turkish troops have intensified artillery strikes around Kobane, the YPG stronghold.  In the context of US imperialism’s abrupt withdrawal of troops paving the way for the Turkish offensive has resulted in widespread international condemnation. 

Coming to the Asia-Pacific, North Korea recently has ruled out resumption of talks with Trump regime calling it absolutely ‘sickening’. This was in the context of Washington’s suggestion to continue the bilateral talks in Stockholm.  And challenging the US, North Korea has tested another ballistic missile with a range of more than 12000 KMs having its potential reach in almost all US cities. The 5 month-long Protest Movement in Hong Kong is continuing without any let up. Eruption of widespread protests was in the context of the Extradition Bill moved by the pro-Beijing Hong Kong regime that subjects both visitors and residents to Chinese jurisdiction thereby undermining the autonomy of the region based on the ‘one country two systems’ principle. Though the Extradition Bill was withdrawn, the movement with the support from CIA and such other US funding agencies as National Endowment for Democracy are unabatedly continuing. However, Trump administration is very cautiously refraining from any official comments on Hong Kong for fear of a derailment of all the US efforts to make a favourable trade deal with China.

Another development of particular importance is the Trade Ministers’ Summit in Bangkok during the past week representing 10 ASEAN countries together with China, Japan, Australia, India, New Zealand and South Korea to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), one of the biggest Free Trade Agreements in history. The meeting is in accordance with the WTO provisions that uphold regional trade agreements as “gateway”’ to global integration of market for goods and services and for international capital investment led by MNCs. According to the logic of neo-liberalism today, the biggest gainers from RCEP will be China and Japan, the leading imperialist powers of the region, whereas the other countries including India will be at the receiving end as dumping grounds or  net importers from the imperialist powers of the region.

Amidst these imperialist offensives, the most encouraging development of the present time is the emergence of Climate Action as the biggest global social movement today. Inspired by the Swedish teenager climate activist Greta Thunberg, September 2019 witnessed largest demonstrations in recent times.  On September 20 and 27, led by millions of children and youth climate strike took place across more than 2000 cities in 150 countries of the world. This has once again reinvigorated the climate issue getting unparalleled international attention on which so many reports have already been there. 

At the same time, workers and oppressed peoples with their simmering discontent are rising up in different parts of the world. Among them the most advanced one is that from Ecuador led by workers, peasants and youth against the IMF-imposed package composed of stringent austerity measures against people and investor-friendly policies for corporate monopolies. Since October 2, 2019, this movement led by CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) has reached insurrectionary proportions forcing Moreno, the Ecuadorian president, to evacuate his presidential palace in Quito. As the general strike called by the workers has spread further, defying the presidential order, military and police forces have started sympathising with the workers and their families. Now Ecuador is in state of political and social turmoil. Similarly, for the first time since

Pinochet’s military dictatorship during 1973-90, Chile is facing the biggest people’s upsurge forcing its right-wing president Sebastian Pinera to admit that his country was “at war”. 

Today Iraq is witnessing a big mass movement against the ruling regime, and more than a hundred people have already been killed and around 7000 wounded seriously. In Tunisia, following the fractured results of the latest parliament election, street fights between security forces and people are going on there. While several countries of EU are experiencing a shift towards the far right, and as communist parties as well as trade unions are facing even ban in many countries like Estonia, Latvia, Poland, etc., re-election of Antonio Costa, leader of the centre-left Socialist Party in Portugal who pursues a welfare-oriented policy is a positive trend. People’s movements against neoliberal and austerity policies are emerging in Indonesia, Poland and elsewhere too. 

Of course, while neo-fascist and far-right forces of various hues are on the offensive at a global level, workers and oppressed peoples, the world over are also coming up against the ruling system and neoliberal policies in various ways. However, communist and revolutionary forces having a people’s alternative capable of resisting and overcoming the system are yet to come to the centre-stage of world-politics.

Of course, even though no socialist countries are there, and in spite of virulent propaganda backed by such post-modern prognoses as ‘end of ideology’ and ‘end of history’ are in full swing, for imperialists and their lackeys, Communism continues as the biggest threat as is evident from their ongoing anti-communist campaign all over the world-an aspect to be seriously noted by revolutionary forces. Revolutionary intervention as necessitated by the concrete realities of each nation and coordinated international action by Marxist-Leninist forces are the need of the hour. n

International Department, CPI(ML) Red Star

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Kabeer Katlat

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.