Let’s stand against imperialist war and capitalist catastrophe
As it is known, there have been important divisions in the world socialist movement regarding the attitude to be taken against the Ukraine War. Now, new joint efforts are developing in line with these poltical divisions. In this context, we present to our readers one of the congress documents of Partido Obrero, one of the most important revolutionary Marxist forces in Argentina, an important country for the world class movement, which deals with the revolutionary responses to the imperialist war and capitalist crisis.
To be remembered, PO also translated SEP's "Why We Left ISL" document into Spanish and presented it to Argentine readers.
We will continue to present our readers the answers produced by the international revolutionary movement and the new steps that revolutionary Marxists will take together in order to meet the needs of processes of the imperialist crisis, wars and rising class struggle around the world.
Let’s stand against imperialist war and capitalist catastrophe
Internatonal appeal from the XXVIII Congress of the Partido Obrero.
For the unity of the workers all over the world. Down with imperialism, capitalist governments, and restorationist regimes. For workers’ governments and socialism. For a workers’ and revolutionary international.
To the working class of Argentina and the world:
The war in Ukraine has marked a new turning point in the development of the world crisis.
Different from the recent past, the imperialist war is today unfolding in the heart of Europe. The Russian invasion of Ukraine – which has put the prospect of a third world war, including nuclear confrontations on the international agenda – not only reflects the insoluble character of capitalist antagonisms. It also confirms, above all, the deadly decay of the ruling regime.
Zelensky’s government’s attempt to enlist Ukraine into NATO – as part of the military encirclement that imperialism has mounted against Russia – triggered the ongoing war. This is because at the heart of this war lies the pretension of the main imperialist powers, grouped in NATO, to economically and financially colonise the entire former Soviet space. This is what the US and the European Union have already achieved in Ukraine itself when in 2014 they displaced a reactionary pro-Russian government and anointed a government that not only is reactionary but also an IMF puppet.
The role of imperialism in the very development of the conflict – pushing economic sanctions against Russia, providing billions of dollars in heavy weaponry to the Ukrainian army, and, above all, conditioning the general course of the fighting and the peace negotiations – is what confirms that, in this war, Ukraine is not fighting for its national liberation but acting as a NATO pawn.
On the other side of the trench, Russia, through its reactionary invasion of Ukraine, is not only seeking to prevent NATO’s relentless advance into Eastern Europe. By extolling and vindicating Tsar Peter the Great, Putin is also trying to regain what he considers “lost ground of his own.”
As a military power, Russia acts as an oppressor state not only of its people but also of many peoples and countries, especially those surrounding it. This was evident in Russia’s war against Chechnya at the beginning of this century and, more recently, with Putin and the Russian military’s collaboration in suppressing the popular uprisings in Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2020 and 2021.
The very development of the war itself has made clearer what was evident from the start: the main enemies of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples are in their respective countries.
On the one hand, the main enemy of the Ukrainian people is the Zelensky government, which acts to reinforce its colonialist aspirations, such as the US and European imperialism. On the other hand, the enemy of the Russian people is Putin, who, far from leading an anti-imperialist struggle, operates as a general representative of the interests of the Russian capitalist oligarchy and its militarist expansionism.
Ultimately, facing this war means thoroughly developing the struggle to overthrow the governments that drive it, establishing workers’ governments, and advancing the fraternisation of the peoples, first and foremost in Ukraine and Russia.
In opposition to the dismemberment and division of Ukraine between the competing powers, we demand the right to self-determination of the various peoples and nations as part of a united and socialist Ukraine, within the framework of a European federation of socialist republics, including Russia.
War on war!
The imperialist colonising offensive is not limited to the former Soviet space. China is, in fact, its main target. US imperialism, which is concerned about the extraordinary development and growth of China during the last 20 years, has been targeting the Asian giant for more than five years.
But the war in Ukraine confirms neither imperialism’s colonisation of the former workers’ states – to the detriment of the capitalist oligarchies and restorationist bureaucracies in those countries – nor China’s attempt to impose itself on the USA as the world’s hegemonic power can be concluded on peaceful terms.
It is this fundamental clash that puts the perspective of a third world war on the agenda. That is why the military budgets of the imperialist countries and powers have grown during the whole last period, which has intensified even more thanks to this war.
US imperialism has created a new military alliance in Asia, with Australia and the UK (AUKUS). It aims to encircle the South China Sea. Recently, on his Japan tour, Biden pledged to intervene militarily if Beijing “attacked” Taiwan. China and Russia, which have also increased their defence spending, responded by conducting a joint nuclear bomber exercise near Japan.
Biden has proposed the highest military budget in US history for 2023, and the UK is heading the same way. Germany, in a historic turnaround since the Second World War, is moving ahead with its rearmament, and Japan’s ruling party intends to take the same course. Italy, France, and Spain are increasing their military budgets to meet NATO requirements. Sweden and Finland are preparing to join imperialism’s military organisation and Turkey, another great Eurasian military power, is using this request to strengthen its annihilation policy against the Kurdish people.
In the arms race, all the “cracks” are closing: between the American Republicans and Democrats, between the renegades of the European Union, like Britain, and its supporters, between the rightists, like Macron, and the ‘progressives’ of the PS and Podemos in Spain. All the main political forces in North America and Europe, from right to ‘left’, are showing themselves to be faithful representatives of imperialist capital.
The arms race foreshadows the times ahead. It would be foolhardy trying to predict when a new world conflagration will break out, or what the major powers’ alignments will be. The EU’s current alignment with the US in the Ukraine conflict is not definitive; a regime change in Russia, for example, could open up a fundamental struggle between the powers over who gets to exploit the colonisation of the former Soviet space. Be that as it may, even if truces are established between the warring actors in the immediate future, it is clear that they would be precarious compromises and that the general trend points to a major clash in military terms.
The struggle to win the working class, especially that of the imperialist countries, to the fight against imperialist wars and armament is a question of the first order. It is necessary to oppose armament and pro-imperialist chauvinism with the working class’ international unity, the struggle for NATO’s dissolution, the expulsion of US and European imperialism, and the Russian troops’ withdrawal from Ukraine, the overthrow of the capitalist and restorationist governments, and workers’ governments.
The colonising policy pursued by imperialism, escalating from trade and currency war to military war, is how capital seeks to overcome its inherent crisis. Through the plundering of new markets for its exclusive domination and usufruct, imperialist capital seeks to circumvent the fall in its profit rate.
It is precisely the fall in the capitalist profit rate and the general picture of commodity and capital overproduction that explains why the unbridled monetary issuance – launched by the main imperialist powers in 2008 and on a larger scale in 2020 – has not reversed the “strike” of productive investments. On the contrary, capital chose to take refuge in financial speculation.
Now, as a result of all this, we are witnessing a gigantic liquidation of fictitious capital and a high international inflationary process. The war outbreak not only increased commodity prices, fuelling global inflation but also triggered a gigantic food and energy crisis, which threatens to cut off supplies to entire countries and produce an extraordinary humanitarian crisis.
In the context of an investment strike, the increase in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve and the one planned by the European Union – promoted to contain inflationary indices – are already slowing down economic growth and will end up producing a new recession, with its consequent wave of layoffs and company closures.
China, far from being able to function as a locomotive to prevent the world economy from falling into recession, is itself in crisis, with a gigantic real estate bubble and strongly affected by the economic slowdown generated by the repressive confinements of the Chinese CP, with its “Covid zero” policy.
The capitalist bankruptcy once again shows the currency and validity of the transitional programme. The systematic rise in the cost of living poses the struggle for the wage sliding scale. The threat of mass lay-offs and factory closures raises the struggle for the opening of the capitalists’ accounting books and the workers’ need to occupy the factories and put them into production. The unemployment rate is on the rise and demands a struggle for unemployment insurance and the distribution of working hours without any wage reductions. The economy’s general disorganisation poses the struggle for the expropriation of the banks, the energy and cereal octopuses, and general workers’ control.
This transitional programme unites the struggle for the urgent demands of the working masses against capital and its state with the fight for the self-government of the working class.
A decomposing regime
The acute process of the capitalist regime’s decomposition is not only exposed by its warlike tendencies, which increasingly replace the productive forces aimed at the progress of humanity with the destructive forces of the arms industry. Environmental depredation, which calls into question the prospect of the planet Earth’s devastation, is also an unmistakable expression of capitalism’s rotten character.
Capital, to maximise its profits, uses the most polluting and predatory methods against nature. Floods, droughts, fires, or the melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice are a concrete expression of global warming progress, driven by the unbridled emission of polluting gases. Environmental depredation threatens to generate new epidemics and pandemics.
Environmental regulations are systematically violated by the capitalists and the crisis itself intensifies the capitalist pressures for their definitive repeal.
The environmental struggle necessarily entails a struggle to put an end to the capitalist system of production. Only economic planning, under the leadership of the working class, can reorganise the productive process based on the protection of nature and the planet.
Capitalist decomposition was also exposed by the pandemic: the national states were proved incapable of giving a coordinated response to the health crisis and the laboratories that monopolised the patents on vaccines put capitalist profit above the lives of millions of people.
During the first two years of the pandemic, the ten richest men in the world doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to over $1.5 trillion. At the same time, 99% of humanity saw their incomes deteriorate and 160 million people were pushed into extreme poverty.
Thus, the defence of people’s health and life has also proved to be incompatible with capitalism. The fight for the expropriation of pharmaceutical laboratories and monopolies and the strengthening of public health systems, which guarantee access to health for the whole population, are demands which are still extremely relevant today and which can only be carried forward by workers governments.
The struggle of the peoples
The acute process of capitalism’s decomposition – because of which social and environmental crises, repressive violence, and violence against women and diversity are intensifying – is the terrain in which popular rebellions are flourishing. And it is also the terrain in which the combative intervention of the working class begins to emerge.
Popular rebellions and workers’ struggles are breaking out in all corners of the world. The popular rebellion that broke out in the United States amid the pandemic, against racism and police violence, preceded the important process of strikes and unionisation that is now developing, involving the world’s leading proletariat. In the main imperial power, a very important women’s movement is also developing against the reactionary attempt to abolish the right to abortion.
In Europe, faced with the rising cost of living, the enormous European proletariat began to awaken, with strikes in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The working class also played a huge role in the popular rebellion in Belarus. In Asia, the recent popular rebellion in Sri Lanka was preceded by the rebellions of the peoples of Lebanon, Kazakhstan, and Thailand, and by the great workers’ strikes in Indonesia and India.
The food crisis invokes the Arab Spring ghost, which is already haunting North Africa. This is confirmed by the general strike of Tunisian workers against the rising cost of living and the government’s privatisation offensive.
The entire Latin American subcontinent – hit by the sovereign debt crisis, the social collapse, and the financial-monetarist adjustments – has been showered with popular rebellions in the last few years: in Ecuador and Chile in 2019, in Bolivia, Peru, and Guatemala in 2020, in Paraguay and Colombia in 2021. Currently, Ecuador is once again moved by the militant mobilisation of peasants and workers of indigenous nationalities.
In most Latin American countries, after the failure of right-wing governments, center-left or capitalist nationalist political forces have taken political power or are preparing to do so. In many cases, they have succeeded in channelling popular rebellions through bourgeois institutions.
These forces – led by Gabriel Boric in Chile, by Pedro Castillo in Peru, by Arce in Bolivia, by Gustavo Petro in Colombia, by AMLO in Mexico, by the Fernandezes in Argentina, or by Lula Da Silva in Brazil – are incapable of breaking with imperialism and satisfying the great popular demands. They even represent a devalued version of the already frustrating experience of bourgeois nationalism that emerged in Latin America at the beginning of this century.
It is once again confirmed that national and social emancipation of the Latin American countries is a task entirely reserved for the workers and peasants of the subcontinent, who, by breaking with imperialism and setting up workers’ governments, will proceed to found a Federation of Socialist Republics of Latin America.
For a workers’ International
The convulsive epoch into which humanity has entered – marked by imperialist war, capitalist collapse, and popular rebellions – offers the revolutionary left a renewed opportunity to postulate itself as a powerful alternative.
However, the crisis itself has also highlighted the difficulties that workers and revolutionaries face in meeting this challenge. The fact is that most of the world left – subjectively oppressed by the political and ideological conquest achieved by imperialism of large popular sectors – has gone over to the capitalist side with arms and baggage.
This is evidenced by the war in Ukraine, where independent politics, which points out that the ‘main enemy’ of each people is its own country, has been a minority expression within the world left’s spectrum. A very large section of the left has objectively stood in NATO’s camp, in the name of supporting the “Ukrainian resistance”. And another sector has placed itself in the camp of Putin’s government.
The political capitulation of most of the left had been anticipated by a long process of adaptation to the regime, through political and organisational opportunism. The integration of the left into the so-called ‘broad’ parties, such as the NPA in France or the Psol in Brazil, meant their political dissolution into labels led by cliques with mere electoral appetites and in favour of class collaboration.
But the period of wars, crises, and rebellions in which we are immersed cannot be dealt with by electoral apparatuses or propaganda groups. On the contrary, it demands the setting up of working-class fighting parties in every country and a revolutionary International to fight – through agitation, propaganda and organisation – for workers’ governments and socialism. The re-founding of the Fourth International is more urgent than ever.
The Argentine Worker’s Party, which tirelessly works for the independent political structuring of the proletariat as preparatory work in the struggle for the government of the working class, defends all practical agreements with the forces present when it is a question of promoting the struggle of the masses. This is confirmed by our role in the picket, trade union, women’s, and youth movements in Argentina.
From these conceptions, the Workers’ Party 28th Congress calls on the organisations of the workers’ movement, the popular movements of struggle, and the revolutionary left throughout the world to launch an international campaign against imperialist war, capitalist barbarism, and its governments.
The specific content of this international campaign is summed up in the following slogans: down with pro-imperialist armament, for the dissolution of NATO, for the expulsion of US and European imperialism and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, down with the war governments, for the international unity of the workers. For a common struggle to make the capitalists pay for the crisis. For workers’ governments and socialism.
A campaign of this kind will be the propitious framework to develop polemics and to advance a political clarification within the revolutionary vanguard. Only from such a process can a real workers’, socialist and revolutionary International emerge. The International is destined to bury capitalism.
Worker’s Party 06/19/22