By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
July 21, 2017
[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap]t is difficult or even impossible to discuss and elaborate on the future of imperialism (monopoly capitalism) and socialism without understanding the laws of motion involved in social transformation and the trajectory of developments from the past to the present, especially at this time when imperialism is still dominant and socialism has still to resurge by taking advantage of the persistent economic and financial crises and aggressive wars that manifest the parasitic, violent, decadent and moribund character of imperialism.
At any rate, we are well past the time when a factotum of US imperialism could arrogantly claim that humankind cannot go beyond capitalism and liberal democracy and that the socialist cause is dead because of the restoration of capitalism in China, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and East Germany before the 20th century was over.
Since then, after boasting of itself as winner in the Cold War and sole superpower in a unipolar world, the US has hastened its own strategic decline by undermining itself with the high costs of the crisis-stricken neoliberal economic policy and the neoconservative policy of aggressive wars. In the early decades of the last century, a multipolar world has emerged, characterized by intensified inter-imperialist contradictions and sharpening struggle for a redivision of the world.
At the International Seminar on Mao Zedong Thought to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Comrade Mao Zedong in 1993, the Communist Party of the Philippines declared that we are still in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution, even as the former seems to reign without serious challenge and the latter has taken a strategic retreat as a result of the betrayal of socialism by the modern revisionists that started in earnest in the Soviet Union during the time of Khruschov.
Since the last decade of the 20th century, we have witnessed the overweening arrogance and yet self-defeating direction of the ideological, political, economic and military offensives undertaken by US imperialism and its NATO allies to attack the proletariat and the oppressed peoples and nations. Such offensives and their extremely harsh consequences have served to stress the point that there is no alternative to imperialism but socialism.
Part I. Marx and Engels in the Era of Free Competition Capitalism
Marx and Engels laid down the fundamental principles of Marxism in the fields of philosophy, political economy and social science. They surpassed the preceding level of knowledge in these fields by studying the reality of rapid changes due to the use of machines in large-scale commodity production in the era of free competition capitalism and by taking into account the vantage point and revolutionary potential of the industrial proletariat.
The philosophy of dialectical materialism teaches us that there is nothing immutable in the universe and that there is nothing permanent but change. The material world that exists objectively, independent of human consciousness, is governed by the laws of contradiction from the level of particles and subparticles to the most conspicuous formations and phenomena in nature and society.
Historical materialism is the application of dialectical materialism in the study of societies and the process of social transformation. It has shown the general sequence of the many millennia of classless but stone-age primitive communal societies and the slave, feudal, capitalist and socialist forms of societies characterized by literacy, existence of classes and metallurgy. The contradiction between the forces of production (people in production and the means of production) and the relations of production gives rise to a new and higher form of society.
In general, when evolution precedes revolution, the forces of production predetermine the relations of production. But in the process of revolution, the new relations of production can promote and accelerate the growth of productive forces and revolutionize both the mode of production and the social superstructure. Social transformations are cumulative but not unilinear. They tend to follow a zigzag course. There are also examples of societies retrogressing to an earlier form of society due to internal and external factors.
In the Marxist critique of the capitalist economy, the workers get wages that are only a small part of the new material values that they create and the rest which is called the surplus value is divided among the capitalist proprietor, the banks and landowner as profit, interest and rent, respectively. To maximize profit and to survive or prevail in inter-capitalist competition, the capitalist seeks to minimize and press down wages and to make up for fewer workers with labor-saving machines.
In effect, he limits and narrows the market because of the lessened employment and incomes or purchasing power of the workers. Thus, the crisis of overproduction occurs relative to the market. When the capitalists try to overcome the economic slump, they run to the bank for credit to tide them over the dire situation and eventually they cause a financial crisis when bankruptcies and production cutbacks occur due to the persistent stagnation or depression of demand.
The economic and financial crisis that arises from pressing down wages and investing more on the means of production allows the winning capitalist to beat his competitors. Thus, competition leads to concentration of capital and ultimately to monopolies. In the middle of the 19th century, there were already British monopolies benefitting from the so-called free trade in the expanding British colonial empire. In the last three quarters of the 19th century, monopolies emerged in several industrial capitalist countries.
In social science, Marx and Engels advanced the study of class struggle, which was started by the revolutionary democrats in the French revolution. They extended the study to that of the class struggle leading to the proletarian class dictatorship and supplanting the bourgeois class dictatorship. The proletarian class dictatorship or the working class state is the key to the entire theory and practice of scientific socialism. In contrast, utopian socialism is mere wishful thinking and relying on a few good hearts to establish communal enclaves
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels called for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of the proletarian class dictatorship. They also called for winning the struggle for democracy. The working class can assure itself of victory not only by strengthening itself but also by winning over the broad masses of the people in the struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Marx and Engels did their best to participate in the working class movement by founding the Communist League in 1847 and taking leading roles in the formation and work of the International Workingmen´s Association or the First International in 1864.
Marx studied the Paris Commune of 1871 as a great source of both positive and negative lessons by which to advance proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship. He lauded the working class of Paris for seizing state power and establishing the proletarian dictatorship and adopting revolutionary policies and actions. But he also criticized the failure to take the offensive against Versailles and to smash the bureaucratic and military machinery of the bourgeois state. The communards prematurely called for elections. They unwittingly allowed the bourgeoisie to exercise their influence in Paris and to even plot the massacre of the communards. At any rate, the Paris Commune has served as the prototype of the proletarian class dictatorship.
Part II. Lenin in the Era of Modern Imperialism and Proletarian Revolution
The great Lenin summed up Marxism, with its three basic components and its revolutionary essence. He upheld, defended and further developed what he inherited from Marx and Engels. He made his own outstanding contributions to Marxist philosophy, political economy and social science. He was inspired by the fact that Marxism had become the main trend in the working class movement in Europe by the last decade of the 19th century. He sharpened his theoretical knowledge by applying it in the revolutionary struggle against Tsarism and the bourgeoisie and criticizing the currents of opportunism, reformism and revisionism among the avowed revolutionaries in Russia and in the Second International.
In philosophy, Lenin combated petty bourgeois subjectivist idealism, which poses as third party philosophy between materialism and idealism or insists on the dualism of the natural and the supernatural, garbs idealism and metaphysics with empiricism or mechanical materialism and denies dialectical materialism. He maintained the scientific materialist position and pointed to the unity of opposites as the most fundamental law of material dialectics among the three laws of contradiction (unity of opposites, negation of the negation and quantitative change to qualitative change).
He elaborated on the law of uneven development to indicate that socialism can arise from the weakest link among the imperialist powers, such as Russia with a growing bourgeoisie in industrial islands surrounded by an ocean of medievalism and feudalism and using a military-feudal empire to exploit and oppress various nationalities. Where capitalism is more industrially developed and offers the economic and social conditions for socialism, the bourgeoisie is in a stronger position to resist and repress the working class movement and the socialist cause. The proletariat is likely to face the state terrorism and has to win the battle for democracy by overthrowing the bourgeois state. In a less advanced country like Russia, the bourgeois democratic stage of the revolution becomes more defined.
In political economy, Lenin studied the development of free competition capitalism to monopoly capitalism or modern imperialism and defined the latter as the highest and final stage of capitalism. This is decadent and moribund because it is prone to crises and wars. He described the five features of imperialism: the dominance of monopoly capital in the capitalist economy, the merger of bank capital with industrial capital becomes the basis of finance capital, the higher importance of the export of surplus capital than that of surplus commodities, the rise of international combines of monopoly capitalist corporations to share the world among them and the territorial division of the world among the strongest imperialist powers has been completed.
A substantial change in the balance of forces among the imperialists leads to an intensified struggle for the redivision of the world and the outbreak of a world war. He described the inter-imperialist war as the eve of socialist revolution and called on the proletariat and people to turn the imperialist war into revolutionary civil war. He opposed the European social democratic parties in the Second International for supporting the war effort and war budget of their respective countries and called them social chauvinists.
He successfully led the Bolshevik party and the soviets of workers, peasants and soldiers in overthrowing the Provisional Government headed by Kerensky in Petrograd on October 25, 1917 (November 7 in the Gregorian calendar). Thus, he established for the first time in history the first socialist state in one country covering one sixth of the face of the earth. He proclaimed all power to the soviets and the end of the inter-imperialist war. He consolidated immediately the power of the soviets by pursuing peace, nationalization of the land and revival of the economy.
After the Red Army won the Civil War against the White armies and the foreign military intervention, he decreed the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1922 in order to revive the economy as soon as possible from the dire conditions of war, scarcity of goods and the “war communism” of rationing by adopting methods of state capitalism and giving concessions to small and medium producers and traders. The Bolshevik-led government had earlier adopted the NEP in the course of the 10th Congress of the All Russia Communist Party in 1921.
Lenin directed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as a new framework of state existence. The Congress of Soviets ratified the Declaration and Treaty of Union of the Republics in 1922. After the death of Lenin in 1924, Stalin assumed the leadership of the Bolshevik party and the USSR and carried forward socialist revolution and construction. He ended the NEP in 1928 and proceeded with the implementation of a series of five-year plans to build socialist industry and the collectivization and mechanization of agriculture. He defeated opposition from the “Left” opportunists who pontificated that socialism was impossible in one country as well as the Right opportunists who demanded the prolongation of the NEP.
Under the leadership of Stalin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the USSR became a powerful industrial state by 1936. Through the Soviet Constitution, Stalin proclaimed the end of classes and the class struggle, except the one between the Soviet people and the imperialists. This formulation was erroneous because classes and class struggle continued to exist and needed to be handled correctly. In contrast to the Soviet Union, the industrial capitalist countries were beset by the Great Depression, social turmoil, the rise of fascism and the growing danger of an inter-imperialist war.
Stalin was ever loyal to Lenin and Leninism and adhered to Marxism-Leninism. His merits outweighed his demerits in building socialism. Comrade Mao would later rate him 70 per cent good in contrast to Krushchov’s total negation of him in 1956. In philosophy, he was sometimes overly focused on the interrelation of conflicting forces that were external to each other. In political economy, he prescribed the full correspondence of the mode of production and the superstructure. In social science, he prematurely declared the end of classes and class struggle in the Soviet Union.
In overstating that the Soviet society had become classless, he unwittingly obfuscated the need to enhance the proletarian revolutionary stand, viewpoint and method and the need to handle correctly the relations of classes among the people. He tended to deal with his critics and opponents with a heavy iron hand because they were easily cast as enemies of the people. But when World War II loomed and broke out, with Russia as the main target of Nazi Germany, he loosened up politically and returned the properties of the Orthodox Church for the sake of expanding and strengthening the Great Patriotic War against the fascist invasion.
By and large, Stalin was an outstanding communist leader and fighter. He excelled at fighting imperialism and fascism to uphold, defend and advance socialism in the Soviet Union, he succeeded in building the Soviet socialist economy from 1928 to 1940 and rebuilding it from 1945 to 1953, in developing the educational and cultural system of the working class, in inspiring the Soviet people to fight and defeat Nazi Germany and fascism, in promoting the international communist movement and in supporting communist-led forces to establish people’s democracies and socialist states (in Eastern Europe, East Germany, China and Korea) as well as movements for national liberation and in facing up to the US and its imperialist allies in the aftermath of World War II.
Part III. Modern Revisionism and the Restoration of Capitalism
Exactly when it could be said that one third of humanity were in socialist countries led by revolutionary parties of the proletariat and that the world was divided between the capitalist and socialist camps, Khrushchov delivered his “secret” speech against Stalin at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956, accusing him of promoting the personality cult, of using this to disregard collective leadership and resulting in the purges of communist cadres and entire masses. He enumerated 61 allegations of crimes, which were demonstrably false. The speech signaled the rise of modern revisionism in the CPSU and most of the ruling communist parties in Eastern Europe.
Modern revisionism may be described as an all-round ideological, political, economic and social line and practice by an avowedly communist ruling party claiming to be engaged in the creative application of Marxism-Leninism by undertaking so-called reforms that subvert a socialist society and restore capitalism. In contrast, the classical revisionists (the social democrats) behave as the tail of bourgeoisie in the bourgeois parliament. The modern revisionists are those at the center of executive power already in a position to junk socialism and restore capitalism. It is nurtured by a resurgent domestic bourgeoisie and encouraged by the international bourgeoisie.
Krushchov totally negated Stalin and his achievements and denigrated the CPSU and the Soviet proletariat and people for being subservient to his personality cult. He claimed that the proletariat had fulfilled its historic mission of building socialism, that the CPSU and socialist state were no longer of the proletariat but of the entire people, that the transition to socialism ought to be peaceful, that the superiority of socialism over capitalism would be proven through peaceful economic competition and that peaceful coexistence was the general line of the international communist movement.
He adopted and carried out “reform” policies and measures to dismantle the socialist economy. He decentralized the economic ministries and sabotaged central economic planning. He promoted factory egoism, made individual enterprises responsible for their cost and profit accounting and gave the managers the power to hire and fire workers. In agriculture, he undermined the state and collective farms by enlarging the private plots and the free market and caused the reemergence of kulaks in large numbers; he put the machine and tractor stations under the ownership of individual collective farms and made these responsible for their own cost and profit accounting. He also caused the planting of the wrong crop on the wrong kind of soil.
Khruschov was held responsible for economic failure and was replaced by Brezhnev as the CPSU General Secretary in 1964 until 1982. The latter posed as someone engaged in re-Stalinization of the economy by recentralizing certain ministries and enterprises needed to assure the federal state with funds and to ensure the production of weapons in accordance with Brezhnev’s policy of engaging in the arms race with the US and gaining parity in military strength. Many of the reforms undertaken by Khruschov persisted to favor the bureaucrat bourgeoisie in collusion with the private bourgeoisie as criminal partner in corrupt practices. Thus, Brezhnevism was called Khuschovism without Krushchov.
In external relations, Khrushchov prated much about the general line of peaceful coexistence, seeking detente with the US and ending the Cold War. But he was quite vicious in withdrawing assistance from China as a result of the ideological debate between the CPC and the CPSU, with the former taking the Marxist-Leninist stand against the latter’s modern revisionism. He deployed missiles in Cuba in 1961 only to withdraw these quickly upon warning by the US. He avoided giving concrete support to the Vietnamese people’s struggle for national liberation. In comparison, Brezhnev adopted an aggressive policy, earning criticism as a social imperialist (socialist in word and imperialist in deed) by invading Czechoslovakia in 1968, attacking Zhenbao island in the Wusuli River and deploying a million troops along the Sino-Soviet border.
The series of short-time general secretaries of the CPSU that followed Brezhnev did not change the revisionist Krushchov-Brezhnev continuum. Gorbachov and his teammates, including Yeltsin as collaborator and seeming rival, found this as a convenient ground for ideas, policies and measures for the rapid and full restoration of capitalism and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Gorbachov engineered the scarcity of consumer goods and encouraged the creation of 500,000 phoney cooperatives to enable backdoor sales to consumers who had grown tired of queuing at state-owned stores, while the Russian Mafia (the criminal bourgeoisie) waited for the big prize of privatizing state monopoly assets.
No self-respecting leader or ruling party of a state would put into question the life of that state by calling for a referendum on it. But Gorbachov did so. On a seemingly different track, Yeltsin separated Russia from the Soviet Union only to form a Confederation of Independent States (CIS) and lay aside the results of the referendum called by Gorbachov to decide the life of the Soviet Union, even as the majority of the Soviet people voted for continued existence of the Soviet Union. Thus, the Soviet Union was dissolved on December 25, 1991.
Mao knew much about the CPSU and Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin and the scourge of modern revisionism from the long-running relationship between the CPSU and the Chinese Communist Party, the Moscow meetings of communist and workers’ parties in 1957 and 1960, the study and training of thousands upon thousands of Chinese students and workers in the Soviet union in the 1950s and the Soviet withdrawal of assistance to China in 1959. As a matter of principle, the CPC took exception to the complete negation of Stalin by Krushchov and stood for Marxism-Leninism against modern revisionism.
Part IV. Maoist Theory and Practice Against Imperialism and Revisionism
The great Mao further developed the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism and made greatly significant contributions in philosophy, political economy and social science. It can be said that Maoism is the third stage in the development of the theory and practice of proletarian revolution after the earlier stages of Marxism and Leninism. At the time of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), Mao Zedong Thought was described as the guide to revolutionary action in the context of imperialism heading for total collapse and socialism winning total victory in the world.
But consequent to the successful Dengist coup and defeat of the proletarian revolutionaries in 1976 after the death of Mao and the restoration of capitalism in China itself and the full restoration of capitalism of revisionist-ruled societies in the years of 1989 to 1991, the socialist cause has taken a strategic retreat. To be circumspect and to reflect the current strategic situation we can say that we are still in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Indeed, imperialism is still dominant and socialism still needs to resurge. The stage of Maoism can extend to the period of new victories of socialism over imperialism and all reaction in various countries.
In philosophy, Mao elaborated on the unity of opposites as the fundamental law of the universe. Contradictions exist everywhere, but they differ in accordance with different nature of different things and processes. There is at once unity and struggle, and it is the struggle that impels things to move and change. In a simple kind of contradiction, the principal aspect determines the character of the temporary unity or balance of the opposites. But the secondary aspect has the potential to become the principal aspect by overpowering it. In a complex set of contradictions, the principal contradiction must be determined because its resolution facilitates that of the other contradictions.
Mao declares that social practice is the source of knowledge and includes production, class struggle and scientific experiment. He describes as rising in a series of waves the advance of perceptual and rational knowledge and theory and practice. Mao’s penetrating analysis of the unity of opposites stresses the principle of self-reliance in the revolutionary struggle. External causes are the condition of change and internal causes are the basis of change and that external causes become operative through internal causes. In a suitable temperature, an egg changes into a chicken, but no amount of temperature can change a stone into a chicken.
In political economy, Mao comprehended the Marxist critique of capitalism and the Leninist critique of monopoly capitalism. He critiqued the building of the socialist economy in the Soviet Union and he drew lessons from it. He put forward the line that agriculture is the base of the economy, heavy and basic industry is the lead factor and light industry is the bridge between the two. Revolutionization of the relations of production enhances the forces of production. Revolutionization of the superstructure enhances the mode of production.
As the bridge between agriculture and heavy and basic industry, light industry serves immediately the consumption and production needs of the people, especially the peasant masses, instead of increasing their burden as a result of overaccumulation and overinvestment in heavy and basic industries. Leadership in the factories was constituted by the representatives of the Party, the workers and the experts. They took turns in working on the bench to keep high their proletarian class stand, know the conditions and needs of the workers and sustain their close relations with the workers.
In social science, Mao made great contributions to the development and victory of the new democratic and socialist stages of the Chinese revolution. He developed further Lenin’s teachings on building the Party as the advanced detachment of the working class. He elaborated on the strategy and tactics of protracted people’s war by which the revolutionary forces could accumulate strength in the countryside until they could seize power in the cities. Upon the basic completion of the new democratic revolution through the seizure of political power, the revolutionary party of the proletariat is in the lead and at the core of the people’s democratic republic and ensures that the people’s army under proletarian revolutionary leadership is the main component of the socialist state.
Thus, the socialist revolution began in China even as transition measures had to be undertaken in order to complete the land reform and other bourgeois democratic reforms, carry out agricultural cooperation and to socialize the economy. Socialist construction could also begin with the state taking over the commanding heights of the economy such as the strategic industries, the main sources of raw materials and the system of transport and communications. After the basic socialization of the entire economy, the Right opportunists under Soviet revisionist influence demanded prolongation of the transition measures.
But Mao prevailed by launching the Great Leap Forward from 1959 to 1961 in order to establish the communes and socialist industry. This came on time to overcome the imperialist blockade, the Soviet withdrawal of economic cooperation and the natural calamities. By 1962 China was producing bumper crops in agriculture and building major heavy and light industries. Mao called for a socialist education movement to counter the attacks on his line during and after the Great Leap Forward. Capitalist roaders in the Party and State leadership sabotaged the movement to render it ineffective.
Ultimately, Mao put forward in 1966 the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through the GPCR in order to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate the socialist system. The struggle to consolidate socialism is envisioned as taking a historical epoch, entailing a series of cultural revolutions. The GPCR won one victory after another from 1966 to 1976 under the leadership of Mao even as it was constantly being undermined and sabotaged by the revisionists headed by Liu Shaochi and Deng Xiaoping. However after the death of Mao, Deng and his associates made a coup in 1976 and started to roll back the gains of the GPCR.
The GPCR scored great achievements in socialist revolution and construction. But all of these were negated by those who have restored and maintained capitalism. Even the GDP of China had an average annual rate of growth of 10 percent from 1966 to 1976. But this rate would be brought down by the obvious falsification of downside figures by the capitalist roaders after 1976. The Dengist bourgeois counterrevolution and capitalist restoration in China have proven conclusively that Mao was correct in posing the problem of modern revisionism and putting forward the theory of continuing revolution under the proletarian dictatorship through the GPCR.
The defeat of the GPCR does not mean the invalidation or permanent death of its principles and methods but these can be studied further, developed and propagated to answer the taunt that there is no alternative to capitalism. The lasting value of GPCR is that it posed and answered the question whether socialism can be consolidated and capitalist restoration can be prevented. Lessons can be learned from the victories and defeat of the GPCR. The main attack came from the revisionists but the Marxist-Leninists also committed certain errors. As in the study of the victory and defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871, questions can be raised and answered and the tasks of the proletarian revolutionaries can be better defined in a continuing study of the GPCR.
During the GPCR, the ideological debate between the CPC and the CPSU intensified. New Communist Parties were formed to uphold Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and to oppose Soviet modern revisionism. The Central Committees of Marxist-Leninist parties sent permanent and occasional delegations to Beijing. But eventually by 1974 in its foreign policy and diplomatic relations, China veered towards the Right when it defined three worlds: the first world of the two superpowers, the US and Soviet Union, the second world of less developed capitalist countries and the underdeveloped countries in Asia, African and Latin America. The proletarian revolutionaries continued to consider the many countries of the third world as the mainstay for an international united front with socialist countries against any of the two superpowers. But the Chinese modern revisionists laid stress on rapprochement with the US to lay the ground for alliance with the US and integration in the world capitalist system.
Part V. The Future of Imperialism and Socialism
After the foregoing analysis of the past and current situation of imperialism and the socialist cause, we can now try to predict their probable course and future. Imperialism or monopoly capitalism is a dying system of greed and terror beneficial only to a few at the expense of the proletariat and the people who create the social wealth but are exploited and oppressed. Such a system cannot last forever. Socialism is the only alternative. Because of the ever-worsening crisis and destructiveness of imperialism, the objective conditions have become favorable for the advance of the subjective forces of the anti-imperialist, democratic and socialist movement.
Following the full restoration of capitalism in revisionist-ruled countries and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US appeared as the winner in the bipolar world of the Cold War and as the sole superpower in the capitalist world for an indefinitely long time. Since then, some people have even imagined that imperialism is forever and that history cannot go beyond capitalism and liberal democracy. However, instead of the promised economic bonanza and so-called peace dividends resulting from the full restoration of capitalism in revisionist-ruled countries, the US imperialists have carried out ideological, political, economic and military offensives aimed at further aggrandizing themselves but in fact resulting in extremely high and self-debilitating costs and inciting the people to resist the escalation of exploitation, state terrorism and wars of aggression.
The US originally adopted the neoliberal economic policy as early as 1979 to solve the problem of stagflation. Reagan proceeded to carry out the policy by concentrating on the production of high tech military goods and outsourcing the production of consumer goods in the 1980s. This undermined employment in the manufacture of consumer goods and the US turned from being the biggest creditor to being the biggest debtor, indebted mainly to Japan, China and other economies in East Asia. US policymakers calculated that subcontracting sweatshop operations to China would keep it in the world capitalist system. And production of high-technology and capital intensive goods and war materiel by the military-industrial complex and financialization of the US economy would maintain the US as the No. 1 economic power.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US became more aggressive in the Middle East (Iraq), Central Asia (Afghanistan) and Eastern Europe (Yugoslavia). The trend would continue from the regime of Bush the elder to that of Clinton in the 1990s. The latter regime estimated that the US could stay as the No. 1 economic and military power by being ahead in information technology, financialization of the economy and stepping up military production. The high tech boom went bust at the start of the 21st century and signaled the end of the unipolar world with the US as the unchallenged sole superpower. Bush aggravated the US and global economic and financial crisis by undertaking loose credit and other measures that ultimately led to the mortgage meltdown of 2006-2008.
Bush took advantage of the 9/11 events to declare a perpetual global war on terror, apply the neoconservative policy of aggression using high-tech military weapons, further step up war production and practically boast of this as military Keynesianism to pump prime the economy. When the US unleashed its war of aggression against Iraq on the false pretext that this held nuclear and chemical weapons of mass destruction, China and Russia appeared to support or at least condone the aggressive actions of the US against Iraq. But they could not miss the dangers of US expansionism to them and noticed how the US was undermining itself with the extremely high costs of aggression and the soaring US public debt. Thus, they became more determined to strengthen the BRICS economic bloc for the purpose of economic development independent of the US and the multilateral agencies it controls; and form the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for the purpose of collective security.
A multipolar world has arisen to replace the US-dominated unipolar world. This is the result of China and Russia joining the ranks of the capitalist powers, changing the balance of forces in the world capitalist system and ending the status of the US as the unchallenged sole superpower. All the capitalist and imperialist powers are beset now by socio-economic and political crisis and are escalating their economic competition and political rivalry. Inter-imperialist contradictions are intensifying. The imperialist powers are driven to redivide the world. In the process, they aggravate the crisis and further engage in wars. Wars are going on in around 50 countries today. They have grown in number since 1968 and have been caused by imperialism and domestic reaction.
In the face of the ever-worsening crisis of monopoly capitalism and the spread of wars, we can confidently say that imperialism is doomed and that we are on the eve of a worldwide upsurge of the socialist revolution. We are in transition from a world dominated by imperialism to one in which socialism would resurge and become more established than ever before. The objective conditions for advancing the anti-imperialist, democratic and socialist movements are favorable. But the subjective forces of the revolution must take advantage of such conditions and wage fierce anti-imperialist and class struggle against the exploitative and oppressive classes.
As a result of the temporary defeat and strategic retreat of the socialist cause, the imperialists have carried out a policy of doing everything to exploit the proletariat and broad masses of the people and to extract superprofits. They have adopted unprecedentedly higher technology for civil and military production and for communications and transport. The result is a severe contradiction between the means of production and the people in production and between the forces of social production and the capitalist relations of private appropriation. It is the root cause of the recurrent and cumulative economic and financial crisis and the outbreak of aggressive wars. After the monopoly capitalists benefit from said technology, the proletariat and people take their turn in wielding it to carry out socialist revolution and construction. The high social character of high technology production suits socialism rather than monopoly capitalism.
The recurrence of the crisis of overproduction and the propensity of the imperialist power to engage in state terrorism and launch wars of aggression generate social turmoil and goad the people to engage in anti-imperialist and democratic struggles and grasp socialism as the only lasting alternative to capitalism. Anyone who says now that history cannot go beyond capitalism and liberal democracy would be considered a nut case. The people’s demand is to get rid of capitalism.
The calls for studying and applying the revolutionary principles and accomplishments of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao are resounding. The imperialist propaganda against these revolutionary thinkers and leaders, especially against Mao and Stalin who accomplished the most in actual socialist revolution and construction, has failed to discourage the proletariat and the people. The entire range of the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through cultural revolution provide answers to questions about the future of imperialism and socialism, even as the worsening conditions of crises and wars push the people to resist the imperialists and reactionaries and take the revolutionary road to socialism.
The subjective forces needed to engage in revolutionary mass struggles against imperialism and domestic reaction are the revolutionary party of the proletariat, the mass organizations of the toiling masses of workers and peasants and the urban petty bourgeoisie, the self-defense units of mass organizations and offensive armed units of the people’s army and the organs of political power. These subjective forces can arise and develop only if there is a determined core of proletarian revolutionaries who adhere to the line that there can be no revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory and neither can there be a successful revolution without arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people and building the people’s army under the firm leadership of a revolutionary party of the proletariat to smash the military and bureaucratic machinery of the bourgeois state.
The revolutionary party of the proletariat must take the ideological line of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This grasps the fundamental principles of repudiating capitalism and embracing the socialist cause, the experience and lessons of socialist revolution and construction in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution and the theory and practice of cultural revolution to combat modern revisionism, prevent capitalist restoration and consolidate the socialist system. Such a party must have the correct general political line based on the concrete conditions and demands of the people. To be able to lead the people in political struggles, it must arouse, organize and mobilize the masses to pursue the aims and purposes of the revolution. Such a party must follow the principle of democratic centralism. It must make the best possible and necessary decisions on the basis of democratic discussion, promptly concentrate the will of the collective and the masses, and carry out resolutely the decisions.
At the rate that imperialism is discrediting itself and offending the people with its recurrent and worsening crisis, state terrorism and wars of aggression in the early decades of the 21st century, we are confident that the revolutionary anti-imperialist, democratic and socialist movements will thrive and become far more successful than those of the 20th century. There is plenty of time allowance for socialism to prevail over capitalism in several countries in the current century. When the time comes that socialism is dominant on a global scale as a result of the defeat and end of imperialism, the way would become wide open for reaching the stage of communism on the basis of the achievements of socialist revolution and construction.
(in alphabetical order according to the first name of author)
Armando Liwanag, Stand for Socialism against Modern Revisionism (Utrecht: Center for Social Studies, 1992)
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005)
A Companion to Marx’s Capital (London: Verso, 2010)
The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capital (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010)
The New Imperialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003)
Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism (London: Profile Books, 2014)
The Ways of the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016)
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