By Jose Maria Sison
Communist Party of the Philippines
June 9, 2019
I wish to express warmest greetings of comradeship and international solidarity to Comrade Gabi Fechtner and to all the youth in the mass education that she is conducting on the occasion of the Whitsun Youth Festival.
Your topic of discussion, What Is Imperialism?, is of great importance and relevance to the life and struggles of the proletariat and people in Germany and elsewhere in the entire world. Let me give you a few basic points about imperialism in order to describe it in accordance with the teachings of Lenin on imperialism. I am sure that Comrade Gabi will update you on imperialism until the current century.
Imperialism is monopoly capitalism, the highest and final stage of capitalism. It has gained dominance in the industrial capitalist economies, definitely since the late years of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. It is an economic system in which bank capital and industrial capital have merged to bring forth the financial oligarchy, the most parasitic part of the bourgeoisie.
The export of surplus capital has gained importance over the export of commodities from the imperialist countries. Loan agreements and direct investments by monopoly corporations in less developed and underdeveloped countries give them the leverage to dominate these countries and extract superprofits.
The monopoly corporations engage in combinations such as cartels and syndicates in order to dominate several countries. The imperialist countries have completed their domination over all other countries as sources of cheap labor and raw materials, markets and fields of investments and as dependent countries, semi-colonies, colonies or spheres of influence.
The imperialist countries engage in economic competition and political rivalry and in alliances against each other. Thus, they tend to outgrow any given balance of forces among them and tend to struggle for a redivision of the world. It is in the very nature of monopoly capitalism to be stricken and upset by economic and financial crisis and to be prone to the use of aggressive wars.
Monopoly capitalism is moribund because the extraction of surplus value from the proletariat is faster than ever before and the crisis of overproduction arises more severely than ever before. The monopoly bourgeoisie uses finance capital to revive the depressed or stagnant economy and bail out the failing companies. But the use of financial credit results in bigger economic and financial crises. These cause further destruction of productive forces and inflict intolerable suffering on the proletariat and people of the world.
Monopoly capitalism is aggressive. The imperialist powers deliberately use war production as a vital part of their economies and launches wars of aggression in order to expand economic territory and geopolitical hegemony. They have used their war capabilities to engage in the two inter-imperialist wars of the 20th century and wars of aggression against underdeveloped countries.
And from the time of the Cold War to the present US imperialism continues to wage wars of aggression and threaten the very existence of humankind with nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and with the accelerated plunder and ruination of the environment.
In this current message, I can only mention briefly the current balance of imperialist powers since the end of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union in 1991. The traditional alliance of the US, the European Union and Japan is arrayed against the tandem of new imperialist powers, China and Russia. The inter-imperialist contradictions are intensifying because of the entry of two new imperialist powers. There is the danger that the imperialist crisis will worsen and produce several fascist governments that are willing to start an inter-imperialist war. However, there is still an interweaving of inter-imperialist collaborations and debates in the UN, multilateral agencies and bilateral arrangements.
The US tries to rally the old Atlantic alliance against Russia but the latter is avoiding sustained clashes despite provocations instigated mainly by the US in the Ukraine, on the borders of Russia and elsewhere. At the moment, the US and China are conspicuous with their trade war and exchange of complaints over a wide range of economic, technological and security issues. But China is deliberately speaking against war, despite its rapid development of strategic weapons, its expansionist claims over 90 per cent of the South China Sea and its Belt and Road Initiative which is aimed at creating a new center of world trade and of course despite the strategic aim of the US to upset the Chinese economy and the BRI initiative of China.
The burden of the crisis of imperialism continues to be shifted to the proletariat and peoples of both imperialist countries and the underdeveloped countries. The wars of aggression instigated by US imperialism are still mainly directed against underdeveloped countries or are in the form of inter-imperialist proxy wars and avoid being wars of aggression directly among the imperialist powers, although there are already increasing cases of direct collision. Up to now, those who suffer most are the oppressed peoples and nations in the battle grounds in the underdeveloped and poor but resource-rich countries.
The study of imperialism is necessary and urgent. We must understand its evil character and workings in order to be resolute and effective in carrying out the anti-imperialist and democratic struggle and in bringing about the victory of national liberation, democracy and socialism on a global scale. The global victory of socialism is premised on the global defeat of imperialism. But in achieving this goal, we must advance in stages and in various countries.
It is high time to unite all anti-imperialist, democratic and progressive forces and build the International Anti-Imperialist United Front against imperialist plunder, state terrorism, fascistization, fascism, foreign military intervention, subversion and wars of aggression – for democracy and freedom, national and social liberation and socialism.