24. Summation: Some general theses.

  1. The present era is the monopoly capitalist or imperialist stage of capitalism. Imperialism, in the modern sense, is capitalist-imperialism, the modern stage of capitalism.
  2. All capitalist ruling classes in this era function within the world imperialist system and seize all of the world’s wealth and resources they are able to. However:
    1. The bourgeoisie (including its alliance in some cases with a feudal landlord class) in most countries is far too weak internationally to exercise significant imperialist control over other countries, or to organize significant economic exploitation of them.
    2. In a few countries the ruling bourgeoisie is far stronger, and has quite a free hand to boss around other countries and/or to economically exploit them to a considerable degree. These are the countries we call imperialist countries.
  3. After World War II world imperialism underwent some major changes. One of these very important changes was the forced replacement (in part because of people’s rebellions) of most outright colonies which had been under the exclusive control of a single imperialist power with neocolonialism. Under this new arrangement, most countries in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia are now officially independent of their former colonial masters, but are still subject to foreign imperialist exploitation and political or military interference.
  4. An aspect of neocolonialism that still often goes underappreciated is that the neocolonies are now open to imperialist predation by more than one imperialist power, and actually by all imperialist powers at the present time.
  5. This change to neocolonialism and the exploitation of neocolonies by all the major imperialist countries required the construction of an imperialist system to regulate this joint exploitation of the world, and to create and/or impose rules for how these vicious wolves would prey on the sheep, without constantly coming into bloody conflict against each other. International agencies, such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization were set up to regulate this new imperialist system.
  6. Imperialism, even more so than capitalism in general, requires a strong military force to maintain it. The world imperialist system is also maintained by imperialist invasions and wars, when “necessary”. There are nearly always one or more such imperialist wars in progress.
  7. However, in contrast to the successes in setting up international economic organizations to regulate the world imperialist system, there have been much greater difficulties in trying to establish a fully functional international military force to keep the world imperialist system together. The contradictions between imperialist powers have prevented the U.N. from assuming that role, and U.N. “peace keeping” forces can only be used where all the Security Council members are in full agreement. NATO and similar military alliances also do not represent all the current imperialist powers, and there are contradictions within even NATO which prevents its employment in some cases. This inability to create a central military force to control the world imperialist system is further reason to conclude that this system is not at all the same as “ultra-imperialism” of the sort Kautsky envisioned.
  8. Thus since World War II the primary “world policeman” in the Western imperialist bloc, and now in the world imperialist system, has been the United States. This is, in a way, an adaptation in the new neocolonial circumstances, of the requirement in the colonial era in which each imperialist power had to maintain political and military control of its own colonies by means of its own military establishment.
  9. Because of its initial overwhelming advantage in military and economic might at the end of World War II, the U.S. obtained special benefits and privileges within this world imperialist system.
  10. However, all the major capitalist powers which were part of the Western bloc, or are now part of the world imperialist system, have a generally free hand (both formally and practically) to economically exploit the countries which the U.S. military (often with the very significant participation of other powers) keeps open for exploitation.
  11. This new imperialist system which was organized at the end of World War II did not at first cover the entire world. The socialist Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe were outside this imperialist system. And in 1949 the Chinese Revolution also removed China from the developing imperialist system.
  12. When the once socialist Soviet Union was captured by a newly arisen bourgeois state-capitalist class centered in the CPSU itself, it also soon became a new imperialist power. From that time on there were then two largely independent imperialist systems in the world, the Western imperialist bloc and the Soviet social-imperialist bloc.
  13. While Mao was still alive China was then the only major region of the world which remained outside the two imperialist spheres of control. And this was only possible to maintain even in China because of the vitally important Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which began in 1966, initiated and led by Mao.
  14. When the state-capitalist Soviet Union finally collapsed completely in 1989-1991, the Soviet social-imperialist bloc collapsed along with it. Russia and the other countries in this bloc shifted unevenly and to varying degrees into the other imperialist bloc, which became a single world imperialist system. Russia has had only extremely limited success in trying to at least keep the internal nations of the old Soviet Union together as a sort of bloc within the world imperialist system, much less in extending its influence beyond it.
  15. After Mao’s death in 1976 a rising new bourgeoisie within the CCP, and led by the notorious capitalist-roader and traitor to the proletariat Deng Xiaoping, seized control of the Party and the state.
  16. Though originally exclusively a state-capitalist bourgeoisie, this new Chinese ruling class decided to move to a considerable degree toward the Western private monopoly capitalist model. This it called a “reform”, and an “opening up” to foreign investment and joining the world capitalist market.
  17. As the economic transformation of China from socialism back to capitalism was completed, China began to show some early signs of its rising new imperialist nature. It began to export capital, and then greatly expanded this, finding special opportunities in the “vacuum” in Africa (which the established imperialist countries had been largely ignoring) and in Latin America and even Europe, in part because of the international financial crisis, thus taking advantage of the weaknesses of the other imperialist powers. And China began working feverishly to expand its military might for the eventual purpose of protecting and expanding its ever-growing foreign economic assets.
  18. In the new millennium China’s imperialist export of capital has been multiplying extremely rapidly, and China is also beginning to demonstrate its rapidly growing political and military might. With its announced program of “going out” it has now arrived as a fully fledged new imperialist power.
  19. Since the 1949 proletarian revolution in China, the ruling class in China (originally representing the proletariat, but since the coup after Mao’s death a new ruling class representing the bureaucratic national bourgeoisie centered in the CCP itself) has been largely politically independent of foreign imperialist controls.
  20. The uneven development of capitalism and imperialism has already led to the very noticeable relative decline of the U.S., Japan and Europe, while Chinese economic, political and military power has been expanding rapidly.
  21. In addition, the still-developing world overproduction crisis has already harmed the U.S., Japan and Europe quite seriously. While China too has been somewhat harmed by the world economic crisis, this has been much less so than elsewhere because of China’s much greater ability to further expand government and consumer debt. This difference will very likely continue at least for some time.
  22. Thus, on the world imperialist scene, China is continuing to rise and grow stronger, while the U.S. and its allies are in decline. This is leading toward intensified inter-imperialist economic, political and military contention.
  23. Even the present world imperialist system itself appears to have a serious division developing within it. It may well be once again starting to divide into two semi-independent and contending/conflicting imperialist blocs.
  24. Capitalist-imperialism is a system filled with serious and ever-worsening internal problems and contradictions. But many view world imperialism as being all-powerful and destined to last forever. Similarly, it is difficult for many to see other imperialist powers grow into serious challengers or opponents of U.S. domination within the world imperialist system. But the crises and contradictions of the system, which have especially surfaced in the last decade, reveal even deeper crises and the vulnerabilities of the US’ domination and of the world system as a whole. The same vulnerabilities which lead to inter-imperialist rivalries and blocs, also lead to the very real possibilities of revolution in countries around the world, including inside imperialist countries themselves!
  25. A huge and continuing obstacle to the growth of revolutionary forces is the problem that many of these developing forces narrow their horizons and get caught up in turning their opposition to one imperialist power into support for another. While the twisted path toward revolution always requires tactical flexibility and temporary alliances, it is essential for revolutionary forces to never adopt “main danger” strategies, or choosing the “lesser of two evils”, which downplay or make optional the independence of revolutionary forces. Many times, once-revolutionary forces have become mere appendages to one side or the other in (direct or proxy) inter-imperialist struggles—and have even attempted to join the system, against its challengers. It is vitally important to maintain our revolutionary political independence.
  26. For many, internationalism is just a slogan, an educational mission punctuated by occasional solidarity demonstrations. But revolutionary internationalists place a high priority on internationalist communist work to spur the development of joint and fraternal internationalist campaigns among the proletariat and revolutionary people, across borders and worldwide, in defiance of imperialist and proxy-imperialist divisions, with special defiance of racism and xenophobia. For this reason, internationalism is essential in building the revolutionary forces to bring imperialism—the entire world imperialist system—to an end, and to begin the work of a new world.
  27. For the working people and poor of the world the hope of the future is not to be found in either of the two developing imperialist blocs, or in vainly attempting to support one of them against the other. On the contrary, our task is to build an international revolutionary force in all lands to overthrow the world capitalist-imperialist system as a whole! World imperialism is in growing crisis and ever more serious disarray, and the material conditions for world revolution are developing rapidly. Let us imbue the masses with the revolutionary spirit necessary to free the world from the perpetual horrors of capitalist-imperialism!

[End of Part 4 (of 4)]


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