Contribution to the debate on the world situation. Towards more crises, wars and revolutions
The world order that emerged from the peaceful coexistence between imperialism and the Stalinist bureaucracy collapsed over 30 years ago. United States imperialism, apparently victorious in that “cold war,” believed that it would quickly manage to build a new order behind its absolute hegemony. But reality turned out to be much more complex. Without its counterrevolutionary partner, in a few years, the globalization and neoliberalism that they managed to impose began to crack and chaos to set in.
We are witnessing a world in turmoil. An increasingly polarized world, which is headed towards more and worse crises; towards wars and disputes between old declining powers and new ones that are preparing to vie for their place; and to struggles, rebellions and revolutions in more and more places on the planet.
Those at the top can no longer govern as before, but those at the bottom fight with their arms shackled because they do not have a leadership that is up to the task. This has been preventing a conclusive definition between the two social classes that have been fighting for power for over a century, one consciously and the other unconsciously, without a leadership to lead them to victory.
Today, more than ever, the alternative for humanity is Socialism or Barbarism. This text, like all our activity, is at the service of continuing to advance in the construction of the only tool that can provide our class, the working class, with the necessary consciousness to face the final struggle for another society, in which people can live in harmony amongst ourselves and with nature: a revolutionary socialist party and international.
I. Capitalism in its deepest crisis
Capitalism is experiencing the worst crisis of its history, a systemic crisis greater than all the previous ones. Economic, political, ecological, health, ideological and world hegemony crises combine and feed back into a civilizational crisis with no possible way out within the margins of capitalism.
The global economic crisis that erupted in 2008 is the biggest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The world economy had not yet managed to recover from it when the Covid-19 pandemic paralyzed it and compounded its crisis, which then took another leap with the war in Ukraine. There is no recovery in sight; the IMF, the WTO and the OECD all see likely a new world recession, or something that will look very much like one, in 2023. Since the root of the crisis lies in the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, capitalism has no solution other than to increase exploitation.
The imperious pressure to try to recover profitability leads both traditional, extreme right and reformist governments to apply austerity against the working peoples, thus precipitating rebellions, revolutions and political crises of regimes in every region of the world. The inability of capitalist governments of all stripes to solve the problems of the masses leads to increasing polarization and recurring rebellions that prevent regimes from constituting any stability and perpetuate the political crises. This, in turn, is fueled by the ideological crisis that has been growing since the collapse of the Washington Consensus with the 2008 crisis, with capitalism being increasingly questioned on a mass scale.
The fact that the 2008 crisis had its epicenter in the US, together with the military and geopolitical weakening of that powerhouse since its defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and China’s economic and geopolitical growth, generate a crisis of world hegemony. This is deepening with a growing inter-imperialist dispute over a shrinking mass of profits, intensifying inter-imperialist friction and placing the possibility of a nuclear world war back on the table.
The desperation to regain profitability also continues to deepen the catastrophic ecological crisis. Despite the annual reports of the UN Climate Change Conferences themselves, which present an increasingly alarming picture of the probability of crossing a point of no return in global warming that would endanger the survival of the human species; despite the ecological disasters that are multiplying throughout the world with fires, droughts, floods and other extreme weather events; capitalism sustains its polluting, destructive, and greenhouse gas-emitting methods of production far beyond any plan that could reverse current destructive dynamic. Andite is unable to do anything else.
The Covid19 pandemic added another dimension to the systemic crisis of capitalism. On the one hand, it revealed that its productive mode generates lethal epidemics and pandemics. On the other hand, it demonstrated, with countless millions of deaths, the absolute incapacity of capitalism to deal with these pandemics. The health crisis did not end with the relative control of Covid19, whose causes remain intact, and is a permanent aspect of the crisis of the capitalist system.
Each dimension of the current systemic crisis demonstrates beyond a doubt the exhaustion of capitalism, which is no longer capable of developing productive forces or generating any progress for humanity. On the contrary, it perpetuates an unprecedented destruction of both nature and humanity, the two main sources of wealth. It does so by promoting the destruction of the environment, to the point of endangering its ability to sustain human life; it does so by generating pandemics that it is unable to control; it does so by deepening its dispute over profits that brings back the possibility of world wars and nuclear holocausts; it does so by taking us to the precipice of barbarism and extinction. At the same time, it is unable to stop or reverse its destructive dynamic, it cannot act against its imperative need to recover profitability above all else.
Those who predicted that the fall of the USSR capitalism would enable a new stage of expansion and development have been denied by harsh reality. Capitalism has nothing but misery and destruction to offer humanity. All reformism is utopian, all possibilism is a scam.
Every project that has proposed to radicalize democracy, curb neoliberalism, redistribute wealth, or in any way improve conditions for the masses without destroying capitalism has ended in bitter failure. All the self-proclaimed progressive and nationalist governments ended up applying the same recipes of austerity as the neoliberal governments. Broad left projects like Syriza or Podemos, and radical figures like Boric and Pedro Castillo, likewise became administrators of austerity when they rose to government.
Not only is it impossible to implement great changes in favor of the masses within capitalism: even the most moderate measures are not tolerated by a system that collapses if exploitation is not intensified with austerity and repression. There is no margin for a Keynesian orientation, as some suggested during the pandemic, nor for reformist concessions.
For the same reason, the projects of the right and extreme right that manage to govern also fail and fall. Because they also are unable to meet the expectations for changes and solutions that they generate.
Today, no partial or substantive solution to the problems faced by the masses is possible without defeating the bourgeois class and its states. Capitalism must be destroyed and power must be seized to build a socialist society in which the working masses determine their destiny democratically.
II. Frictions between imperialist powers grow
The relative weakening of the main world power, the United States, the growth of China as an economic and military power, and the intensification of the global dispute over surplus value since the 2008 crisis, have been deepening a dynamic of growing inter-imperialist friction and conflicts.
For US imperialism, the fall of the USSR meant the possibility of becoming the only global superpower. However, it also left it alone in the position of absorbing the effects of the global class struggle, which caused it a rapid erosion. The stagnation of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s, and their subsequent defeat, has weakened them considerably on a global scale. Sub-imperialist powers achieved a greater margin to operate at the regional level and China began to emerge as a competitor on a global scale.
The US remained, and remains today, clearly the main imperialist power in the world. But the eagerness of others to occupy the spaces left by its relative weakening and the determination of the US to preserve and recover its hegemony generate a growing inter-imperialist friction.
The war in Ukraine is the most recent and acute example of this dynamic. Russia, the main power in the region of Eastern Europe, intends to recover the ground it lost after the dissolution of the USSR, while the US and NATO intend to maintain the ground they have gained and expand their own sphere of influence. This tension generated a particular situation in the region after Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, in turn unleashing the resistance of the Ukrainian people. NATO provides military aid to the Zelensky government, but avoids getting directly involved. Both the danger of the situation, which threatens to escalate into a greater conflict between nuclear powers, as well as the definition of both Russia and NATO to avoid crossing certain red lines that would escalate the conflict in a way that, at least for now, does not seem to suit them, are evident.
However, on a global scale, the most important conflict is between the US and China. The Asian giant already competes with the US economically. China long ago surpassed the US as the main trading partner of the European Union, Africa and South America. In recent years, it has even made progress in challenging leadership in the most technologically advanced sectors of production, which has led to the so-called “tariff war” between the two countries.
China is also pursuing a strategy to develop as a world power. The New Silk Road project involves colossal investments in infrastructure in dozens of countries, free trade agreements, millions in loan agreements that cede ports and other factors of sovereignty to China, and the establishment of the first Chinese military bases abroad.
On the other hand, the US does not want to give up any position and, since Biden’s inauguration, has been aggressive in its attempt to re-establish itself as the world’s hegemonic power after a period of relative retreat during the Trump Administration.
China’s nearest expansion plans involve the recovery of Taiwan and the establishment of its control in the South China Sea. This in particular and the above in general intensify China’s friction with the US and its allies. The recent visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan is a sign of the United State’s current aggressiveness. Nonetheless, the reluctance of the US to take effective action against China’s advance, and China’s refusal to openly support Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, are signs that, for now, it is not in either’s interest to escalate the conflict.
Some sectors of the left ignore or minimize the intensification of global inter-imperialist friction, leaving themselves poorly armed to respond to the conflicts that break out. Others exaggerate the inter-imperialist conflict, as if we were already at the beginning of a third world war or witnessing its irreversible imminence, generally at the service of a campist orientation, considering one imperialist camp less bad than another. Or raising a mistaken defeatism in regional conflicts like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which ends up benefiting Russian imperialism.
The reality is that an imminent or short-term world war is not the most likely hypothesis today. What there is, is a growing intensification of tensions between the imperialist factions. None of the powers yet sees itself in a position to face a global conflict. Nor are the existing blocs and alliances firm, as the war in Ukraine has shown. The contradictions between the US and the European Union, which has its own commercial and political relations with both Russia and China, show that the NATO allies do not have entirely the same interests. Even within Europe there are conflicting interests, as Brexit made clear. Likewise, China, which had been developing its collaboration with Russia, has taken a relative distance since the invasion of Ukraine.
Nonetheless, although a global escalation is not convenient for anyone today, the real struggle over surplus value in the midst of the crisis creates a dynamic towards growing conflict. Although the immediate perspective does not seem to be towards an open military confrontation between the different world powers, we cannot rule out that the dynamic may move in that direction in the future. And we do have to expect general instability to prevail and more local or regional wars and conflicts to be likely.
We need to carry out the most precise analyzes and characterizations possible of the current situation of the inter-imperialist dispute in order to develop the most appropriate policy and orientation to intervene and build our organizations in the current situation.
III: One year of war in Ukraine
The casualties caused by the Russian army’s invasion are counted in tens of thousands and millions have been displaced. The destruction of the country’s infrastructure amounts to billions of dollars. The war has deepened the economic and social crisis at the international level by provoking an increase in the prices of food and fuel, as well as contributing to the growth of the arms race in imperialist countries, to levels unprecedented in the last decades, reintroducing uncertainty about a possible nuclear outcome with unpredictable consequences if Putin’s constant threats in this regard were to be carried out in the future.
Russia’s territorial integrity was not under threat when Putin decided to invade Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine to subjugate it and to bring it back into its regional sphere of influence. Russia believed that it would achieve its objectives in a few days and that this would strengthen it not only regionally but in its relationship as a strategic partner of the emerging Chinese imperialism. But he did not take into account the fierce and heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people. Putin was unable to reach Kiev, remove Zelensky and prop up its own puppet government. He has been bogged down in a quagmire for a year now and still does not manage to completely control any region. He has suffered the loss of tens of thousands of men and a significant amount of weaponry. This forced him to recruit hundreds of thousands of new soldiers, to involve Belarus in the conflict and to receive material aid from Iran.
Before the invasion, NATO was weakened and the role of the US as the hegemonic imperialist power was being questioned. Now, though not overcoming their crisis, NATO and the US are stronger. Putin gave them an excuse to rearm militarily, to add countries to the alliance and to recover part of the political authority that the US had lost among its allies.
To elaborate a correct policy it is necessary to understand the two processes that are combined in this conflict: the just defense by the Ukrainian people of their sovereignty and territorial integrity and, at the same time, the growing inter-imperialist dispute which, though present long before the invasion, has dangerously intensified since it began.
Much of the left has failed the test in this conflict and ended up aligning itself with Russian imperialism. The traditional campist left was joined by various currents identified with Trotskyism, who, with multiple arguments and focusing exclusively on the denunciation of NATO, refuse to support the Ukrainian resistance and its right to self-determination, thus placing themselves in Putin’s trench.
During this year of war, there has not been an open military confrontation between NATO and Russia. That is why the slogan of revolutionary defeatism raised by various sectors is completely mistaken and ends up benefiting Putin. What we have seen so far is a war on Ukrainian territory provoked by the imperialist aspirations of Russia against a semi-colonial country, in addition to the exploitation of this situation by the US to strengthen its presence in Ukraine, Eastern Europe and internationally. So far none of the wings of imperialism seem willing to cross certain limits and make the conflict evolve into a global confrontation. That is why the US and Europe are reticent, rationing military aid and not setting foot in Ukraine, Russia is not advancing on NATO member countries and China, besides some statements, has not been directly involved in the war. However, they are playing with fire, putting humanity on the brink of a holocaust.
Regarding the US and European economic and military aid to Zelensky’s government, it is important for us to be as objective as possible. It began late, once it had become clear that the resistance of the Ukrainian working people had prevented any hasty negotiations, and it was important in sustaining the defense of the Ukrainian army’s positions. At the same time, it allowed Western imperialism to cynically pose as “defender of a just cause”. But at no time has it served to define the war in favor of Ukraine. They have never sent state-of-the-art, long-range weaponry, nor will they do so.
The ISL has never joined in the demand for arms from Western imperialism and we oppose the arms race that has been unleashed in the world, but have also not supported the actions of boycotting the shipment of arms to Ukraine promoted by Putin’s friends.
From the very beginning we have supported the right of the Ukrainian people to defend themselves against the invasion of their territory with all the means at their disposal. We have demanded the unconditional withdrawal of the Russian army, the dissolution of NATO and the withdrawal of Western imperialism from all of Eastern Europe. And on that base, we have raised a policy independent of Zelensky and warned against the colonialist intentions of NATO forces.
We stand for peace, but without annexations by Russia, and for the right to self-determination of the Ukrainian regions that request it, as long as it can be exercised freely, without the boot of the Russian oligarchy on their necks.
The comprehensiveness of this policy is based on the teachings of Leninism, it takes into account the combination of tasks that is posed, and it is meant to be raised among the working class and the youth of all countries, imperialist or dependent, in struggle against the bourgeoisie and the campist forces.
To support the Ukrainian resistance means to stand for the defeat of Russia in this conflict. Campists state that if Ukraine triumphs the US and NATO will be strengthened. The question we revolutionaries must ask ourselves is what would strengthen our class more, especially the working class of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and the whole region. We have no doubt: the defeat and expulsion of the Russian army by the Ukrainian resistance would invigorate the working class, liberate forces and could very possibly become the beginning of a revolutionary process in the whole region. In Ukraine, a victorious end to the war would provoke the workers to confront with renewed strength the anti-worker reforms that the Zelensky government took advantage of the war to implement. In Russia and Belarus the possibility of the revolutionary fall of the authoritarian governments of Putin and Lukashenko could open, which would provoke a social and political upheaval in chain reaction. While a Russian victory would strengthen the repressive regimes and governments that today crush any expression of resistance.
The possibilities of advancing in the construction of revolutionary alternatives in Eastern Europe are also intimately linked to the evolution of the war. We must push for the broadest unity of action against the war and in support of the Ukrainian resistance, at the same time strongly delimiting ourselves from NATO and Western imperialism.
Unfortunately, the claudicating orientation of the campists towards Russian imperialism and the confusions of their circumstantial allies have been preventing the formation of a mass movement behind a correct policy, and this plays in favor of the continuity of the war. This obliges us to redouble our initiatives and develop a permanent campaign to achieve the greatest possible visibility of our proposals.
IV. Polarization, regime crisis and space for the Left
We are witnessing an increasingly socially and politically polarized world with divided and confrontational societies. The crisis has deteriorated all regimes and traditional bourgeois and conciliatory parties. The masses increasingly see the possibility of resolving their issues through direct action, and not the mechanisms of the established institutions. We are witnessing a period of great social convulsions, strikes, rebellions and revolutions.
The enormous dimension of the crisis we are witnessing and the failure of nationalist, populist and center-left governments, which in the first years of the new century had aroused great expectations in the mass movement, have opened the door to the growth of conservative and right-wing forces in practically all countries. The mass media has been playing a very important role in this development.
The right-wing in power has also been unable to make progress in stabilizing the economic situation and applying the program they propose. In most cases they failed in the face of the resistance of the working people. This allowed, in some cases, for the old center-left forces to return to government without the same expectation on the part of the mass movement as previously, and in other cases, for new forms of the same type of government to emerge. This alternation of a new bipartisanship, not based on solid bourgeois or social-democratic parties as in the past, but rather on coalitions with little structure and social control, is part of the current stage we are experiencing.
The crisis of democracy, which is being discussed in ever wider circles of Western academia, reflects the erosion of bourgeois democratic regimes and traditional parties after decades of frustrations and deterioration of the living standards of the masses. Although dominant imperialism continues in general to bet on bourgeois democracy, because it still considers it the most effective maneuver to channel the mobilization and upheavals of the masses, the growing disbelief for institutional mechanisms forces them to appeal more and more to repression and authoritarianism.
The crisis of the mechanisms of domination is opening wider spaces to dispute for influence in layers of the masses. The extreme right is taking advantage of this to position itself among the most conservative and backward sectors of the mass movement. We revolutionary socialists have to boldly deploy all the initiatives, orientations and tactics within our reach to begin to capitalize the space that also exists for the extreme left, and will tend to enlarge with the worsening of the crisis. To capitalize it, besides being at the vanguard of the struggles, we must raise deep rooted proposals, not only against the governments but also against the regimes, the treacherous leaderships and make propaganda in favor of the system for which we are fighting and the need to regroup the revolutionaries.
We cannot lose sight of the fact that, at the same time, there is a great number of new capitalist states, with billions of people, where bourgeois democracy never became institutionalized. In others it was abandoned long ago. China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria and dozens of Arab and African countries have authoritarian regimes and very little margin to grant democratic freedoms and stay in power. That is why they unleash brutal repressions when the mass movement rises up against them. In the processes of mobilization taking place in some of these countries we must participate actively and not give in to the campism that always seeks to discredit mass actions and justify repression “so as not to play into the hands of imperialism”. Supporting genuine expressions of discontent with a policy that differentiates itself from both the right and imperialism as well as from authoritarian capitalist governments in left-wing garb is crucial to contest the vanguard and mass layers in these places. An example of how we should act in relation to these processes was the successful international Campaign and Caravan for the freedom of political prisoners in Nicaragua that we promoted from the ISL, which allowed us to demonstrate in deeds that Ortega and his regime have nothing to do with the left and socialism. That Campaign was decisive in achieving the subsequent release of political prisoners. Another example is the development of our group in Ukraine based on a correct position in the face of the invasion and the different imperialist wings.
V. Advances and limitations of the far right
As a political expression of the world-wide social polarization, in many countries not only right-wing forces but also far-right forces are growing. The depth of the crisis that capitalism is in and the retreat of the traditional two-party systems allow them to appear as a political-electoral alternative to middle class, poor and even working class sectors. In different variants, their discourse combines neoliberal, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim, racist, anti-gender rights, environmental disaster denial, populist and pro “freedom”, pro natives of the country and youth positions.
The defeats of Trump and Bolsonaro have weakened this sector globally, but, in turn, they have shown a significant social base and links to religious, judicial and military sectors. It is a non-transitory political phenomenon that is here to stay. In Europe, they have a presence in all parliaments and govern in several countries, like Italy, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. Already in a counter-revolutionary state, the Zionist ultra-right has also won in Israel.
On all continents, reformism exaggerates the strength of the right and the ultra-right in order to try to justify its strategy of class conciliation under the eternal excuse of the “lesser evil.” Its traps are political and electoral pacts and/or support for bourgeois governments, which should not be confused with the necessary unity in action to promote mobilizations against neo-fascists and more extremist forces.
The propaganda that the only thing advancing in the world is the right wing and fascism is also fed by pessimist sectors of the Marxist left, which, due to this unbalanced vision of reality, end up falling into the opportunism of what is “possible” or into testimonial sectarianism.
We revolutionaries must question any overestimation of the ultra-right, without committing the opposite mistake of minimizing it. On the contrary, its evolution must be followed with great attention, since it constitutes a current and potential danger.
Despite some elements in common, the current ultra-right forces differ from classical fascism and Nazism in that they have so far acted within the limits of bourgeois-democratic institutionality. And there are still no important sectors of the imperialist bourgeoisie that have decided to use the extreme right to attack the working class and the people with methods of civil war. However, in several countries violent direct actions are growing, promoted by the reactionary discourse of this sector or directly organized by them, for example against migrants or the radical left.
Also, some governments of the right and even of the “center-left,” as the economic crisis reduces to a minimum the margins for concessions, in order to impose their austerity plans, adopt an authoritarian course and increase their repressive and military budgets, sometimes even with dictatorial traits. Consequently, there will be harsher confrontations with the mass movement and at the same time, together with the economic-social demands, it is necessary to maintain the defense of democratic rights, liberties and guarantees. Wherever the youth organizes to culturally confront the neo-fascist gangs, our youth have to participate.
VI. The rebellion advances and spreads. Strengths and weaknesses of the rise. The strategic role of the working class.
For several years, we have been witnessing a sustained rise in the class struggle at the international level. At the current juncture, the highest point is being led by the impoverished masses of Peru and the working class in France and the United Kingdom. But since 2018 we have seen general strikes, mass mobilizations, semi-insurrections and rebellions in a large number of countries. This, and not the growth of the right wing, is what is most dynamic about the world situation.
2018 saw the eruption of the yellow vests in France, the youth rebellion in Nicaragua, women’s struggles began to flood the streets and an uprising in Sudan greeted 2019, a year in which the rise took a spectacular leap: Chile and Lebanon rose and mobilizations became massive in Hong Kong, Iraq, Ecuador, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras.
In 2020, although the onset of the pandemic partially slowed down the rise, it did not prevent huge mobilizations in the US following the assassination of George Floyd, which reactivated the Black Lives Matter movement on an international level. In Belarus, an uprising against electoral fraud put the dictator Lukachenko against the ropes, there were new revolts in Lebanon and Iraq, general strikes in India, Myanmar and protests in Iran, Algeria, Bolivia and the Fora Bolsonaro movement took to the streets in Brazil.
In 2021 the rebellion spread to Colombia, there were large mobilizations in Cuba, Paraguay, Russia, and 2022 started with an uprising in Kazakhstan, the organization of a massive resistance of the Ukrainian working people to face the Russian invasion, national strikes in Ecuador and Panama, a semi-insurrection in Sri Lanka, and ended with strikes in Europe and the revolution that still continues in Peru.
Although the epicenter of the rise has been Latin America and the Middle East, there have been processes and rebellions in all latitudes, evidencing that we are going through a new world stage. The strike wave in the United Kingdom is also very important, since it shows a qualitative change after a couple of decades conditioned by the defeat of Margaret Thatcher to the heroic struggle of the miners; as well as the mobilization process in France against the pension reform.
The most important contradiction continues to be the absence of revolutionary leaderships with sufficient accumulation in the workers’ movement to influence the outcome of the struggles and semi-insurrections that have been developing. This is the basic explanation of why the majority of these processes do not achieve categorical victories, are diverted by the mechanisms of democratic reaction or defeated by state repression.
We need to take some time and analyze the weaknesses of the rise and discuss how we counteract them. In most of the most acute processes, the working class did not participate with force and in an organized manner. The semi-insurrections have a popular composition, where workers intervene but individually and not through their union organizations. These, mostly controlled by pro-bourgeois and conciliatory bureaucracies, work from the beginning to prevent the working class from becoming a protagonist. Up to now we have not witnessed significant overpowering of the old labor leaders and the general strikes and mobilizations that they are forced to call are used to decompress and not to deepen the struggle. Since the working class is not the vanguard, the emergence of democratic organizations and the coordination of the different sectors in struggle is not facilitated either.
The rebellion shaking Peru has all these weaknesses. However, it has already been going on for two months and they have not been able to stop it. The peasant masses, the native peoples, the youth and the poor are leading a true revolution. While the illegitimate government of Dina Boluarte together with the corrupt Congress deepen the repression, sectors of the right, the center-left and the bureaucracy of the CGTP unite in calling for an anticipation of the elections to divert the rebellion towards the ballot boxes. The stick and the carrot to try to keep a dead regime and a collapsed system on its feet.
In Peru, the slogan of the Constituent Assembly is very deeply felt in the mass movement, as it was in the Chilean rebellion. But we have to alert the mass movement that without first defeating the government and dismantling the institutionality set up by Fujimorism, something that can only be achieved by deepening the mobilization, a constituent election can be transformed into a trap, as happened in Chile. That is why this slogan cannot be the center of the revolutionaries’ politics. What is central is the continuity of the mobilization and the demand to the central workers’ union to call a general strike until the government falls and the call for the organizations of the sectors in struggle to take power. Only in this way will it be possible to take the most urgent measures in favor of the popular majorities and call for a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly to reorganize the country on new bases.
We have to draw conclusions from the processes in which we are participating. To make precise and objective analyses, the only way to have correct policies to intervene and build our organizations by winning the best fighters for our organizational methods and our program.
Capitalists are not currently strong enough to inflict historic defeats on the struggles that are developing and although the problems of leadership of our class and the popular sectors do not allow those struggles to resolve the capitalist crisis in their favor, they will continue to fight against the attacks on living standards and growing authoritarianism. That is why the perspective we visualize is towards a deepening of the upswing, with more strikes, mobilizations and recurrent rebellions
Our challenge is to take advantage of this new stage in each country to train our younger cadres, to insert ourselves socially and politically in the working class and the most dynamic sectors of the mass movement and to take leaps in our construction, being aware that we are only at the beginning of a process that will tend to deepen and will give us multiple opportunities to advance.
Only if we advance in the construction of strong revolutionary socialist organizations and manage to lead sectors of our class in this stage will we be able to transform ourselves into an objective factor that will counteract the weaknesses of the processes, help the workers’ movement to play the strategic role that is needed and to contest power in the coming rebellions and revolutions that will take place. Only in this way will we get the pre-revolutionary situation we are in to not end up retrating, to become revolutionary and allow us to change history.
VII. Ecosocialism as a contribution to the revolution
The socio-environmental catastrophe provoked by the matrix of production, consumption and the private-monopolistic property regime of capitalism presents us with possibly one of the most imposing challenges of our historical time: to activate a true rescue operation of our civilization, snatching from capital and the imperialist bourgeoisie all the levers of the economy and reorganizing everything on new bases. Far from all the scientifically irrefutable recommendations on the need to begin an urgent post-fossil energy transition, the world is witnessing a leap in petro-dependence and re-carbonization. The war in Ukraine, by limiting supply, only encouraged investment in the most damaging forms of energy production and increased global warming. The major corporations are deploying a renewed offensive of extractivist imperialism on a global scale: mega-mining, agribusiness and even cementing in the world’s major urban enclaves. The irrationality of capital, fueled by the law of profit, is responsible for the extreme weather events that we see from Australia and South Asia, to Western Europe, South America or the Caribbean with dire consequences for the poor masses.
At the same time, we are in a tough ideological struggle in the face of this scenario. The right-wing denialists are straightforwardly absurd in their proposals. However, they play a confusing role that we have to fight. The variants of green capitalism propose to “incentivize” polluting capitalists themselves for an ecological reconversion: a reactionary utopia. Another unsustainable chimera is spread by reformism: the Green New Deal promoted by the left wing of the Democrats in the US, as a kind of green Keynesianism, which in the end fosters the false idea that the disaster can be reversed without affecting the private property of the big hydrocarbon monopolies, coexisting with polluting capital: a complete lie.
There are also debates in the marxist left, from currents of a closed dogmatism that refuse to assume the need to rethink programmatic measures and enrich the heritage of revolutionary socialism, to green revisionism, which romanticizes new subjects and postpones the working class as the articulating axis and the world revolutionary party for action as a strategy. With certain influence among activists, there are two authors who contribute elements of analysis and at the same time propose solutions we do not share: Kohei Saito’s “degressive communism” or Andreas Malm’s logic of sabotage and civil resistance, opposed to expropriation, democratic planning and the dismantling of the bourgeois state.
On the other hand, activism is growing. It gained international strength in 2018 with the well-known climate strikes, and has had important regional expressions around the world, where even, albeit incipiently, organic sectors of the working class begin to play a role with their own methods. Until now, the predominant actor has been and currently is the youth, along with extended and growing sympathy in other layers of the mass movement. Our responsibility as revolutionary and internationalist socialists consists in being the best militant activists of these struggles, linking ourselves to the best of their vanguard, intervening in international, regional and national events on the subject, putting forward our anti-systemic, revolutionary, ecosocialist and internationalist way out, trying to recruit the best elements for the construction of the ISL and its sections. In this strategic path, the tactic of building a powerful ecosocialist current of ideas and militant action in the socio-environmental movement, as an organization of the ISL and its national sections, is a hypothesis of intervention and construction that we will have to explore according to the specific conditions in each country or region.
Our programmatic axes propose to expropriate the polluters; industrial, energetic and professional reconversion of the workers themselves, for a production matrix that aims to ensure values of necessary social use, with workers’ control of production, national, regional and international democratic planning, abolishing private property, national borders and betting on the strategy of collaboration without imperialist asymmetries among the peoples of the world. The social-cultural re-education of mass consumption, not because of an “ethic of deprivation” but for the conscious and non-alienated enjoyment of all the wealth produced by the working class, will be a task to be faced in the framework of a global social revolution along with the support of technological innovation for these purposes, and not to replace human labor for private profitability. Marx said that capitalism had fractured the metabolism between civilization and nature by depleting the two main sources of wealth creation: labor and ecosystems. Our strategic task is to restore this dialectic under a different social rationality, with a different human and universal logic: world socialism with democracy and awareness of the physical limits of nature.
VIII. Gender: ebb in the wave, struggles and debates
From 2015 to 2019, with inequalities by country and region, there was a true wave of the feminist movement on a global scale and, to a lesser extent, of the LGBT movement. Among others, its main drivers were the mobilization against gender-based violence and the right to legal abortion, the latter advance having been conquered in Argentina, Ireland and other countries.
The dynamic of this wave is not powerful anymore, rather there is a kind of ebb. Some achievements of the struggle, the pandemic and the reactionary conservative counter-offensive have led to the current impasse. This does not imply that processes of struggle do not emerge, but they do not reach the magnitude and radicalization of the previous period.
The highest point of the latest period has been the process of mobilization of women in Iran against the mandatory use of the Islamic veil, initiated after the assassination of Mahsa Amini by the religious police, which, in turn, detonated the accumulated popular discontent in a full blown rebellion against the theocratic and capitalist dictatorial regime of the mullahs.
The curtailment of abortion rights in the US is part of a reactionary political-religious counter-offensive. Thus, we are in a struggle between cutting rights versus defending or expanding them. In order to reverse its systemic crisis, capitalism attacks all rights: economic-social, labor and union, pension, human, democratic and civil, environmental rights, and also the rights of women and LGBT and non-binary people. There are struggles as a response. It is key to intervene in those struggles since there is a radical youth vanguard that takes part in them, which quickly has its experience with the institutions and parties of the system, breaks with them and is open to revolutionary ideas. Among the main competing organizations and ideologies we can point out:
● Reformism of all kinds, whose apparatuses still maintain relative influence and whose orientation is to slow down and divert the progressive processes of struggle and organization towards institutional ways.
● “Radical” feminism, or radfem, which places as its main enemy the patriarchy and men/males, outside the social class structure, thus being functional to capitalism.
● Identity politics, which, by giving political and organizational priority to existing differences (race, gender, migrants, etc.), lead to divisionism and weaken struggles. It is the most anti-party revolutionary current.
● Mandelism, which proposes an “autonomous” feminist movement and considers the labor movement in similar rank to the LGBT, environmental or anti-racist movements, diluting the leading role of social class.
Faced with these erroneous positions, we raise a militant socialist and revolutionary feminism. Patriarchal oppression is intrinsic to capitalist exploitation, since unpaid domestic work yields economic benefits to the bourgeoisie. We also avoid sectarian abstentionism in the face of these struggles: with over 40% of workers being women, plus other LGBT people, who suffer greater unemployment, precariousness and lower incomes, gender issues are part of the daily life of the working class itself.
IX. The importance of the youth
The youth is particularly affected by the crisis of capitalism in all its expressions. Unemployment among young people worldwide far exceeds, often doubling, that of the general population. They are the most affected by precarious work and instability. Austerity policies also restrict access to public education and degrade its quality. Throughout the world the proportion of young people who neither study nor work is growing, and they are also criminalized, persecuted and frequently murdered by the repressive apparatuses of the bourgeois states. Capitalism offers nothing to the youth, it leaves them without opportunities, without a life project, without hope and without a future.
It is no coincidence that it is the youth who most easily and frequently come to the conclusion that they have nothing to lose, stand at the forefront of the rebellions and revolutions that sweep the world and raise the most radical positions. The youth is the vanguard of the rise of the class struggle in recent years. They raised and held the front line of the rebellions in Chile and Colombia; they were at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter rebellion in the US and of the uprisings in Latin America, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq; they are today at the head of the general strikes and mass mobilizations in France and the insurrection in Peru; and in general they are at the forefront of all the processes of mobilization, rebellions and revolutions, as well as among the most active and militant layers in the labor movement, in the strikes and in the processes of trade union leadership renewal.
More prominently, the youth is the driving force behind movements and struggles in defense of the environment, women’s rights and the LGBT movement, issues that concern and move young people in particular. Although in these years there have been no major student movements, the defense and struggle for public education is also an important and sensitive issue for young people.
Because of all this, the youth has always been, and is even more so in this situation of systemic crisis of capitalism and rise of class struggle, a strategic sector for the construction of revolutionary parties. Only by engaging the radicalized youth that makes up the vanguard of the mobilization processes and winning them to the strategic exit of the world socialist revolution will we be able to build our parties and our International with the best of the vanguard of the world class struggle.
X. Let us build parties with mass influence and a pole of international regroupment
The dynamics of the capitalist crisis presents us with the conclusion that the only possibility of interrupting this accelerated course towards barbarism and extinction to which the current ruling class is leading us is with the triumph of the world socialist revolution. The masses are doing their part; year after year rebellions and revolutions are taking place in all regions of the world. But in none, until now, has there been a revolutionary organization with the accumulation, influence, capacity and intention to contest and win the leadership of these processes to lead them towards socialist revolution. This remains the biggest of all problems.
We have seen all attempts to combat or evade this problem fail. The autonomist theories that flourished after the fall of the USSR, that said that the world could be changed without taking power, have been repeatedly refuted by reality. Whenever power has remained in the hands of the bourgeoisie, the latter has used it to crush every movement that has challenged it.
Some question the validity of building revolutionary parties by questioning whether their strategic objective is possible. If the revolution is not possible, an organization whose existence is based on leading it is useless. If the only objective is to fight for democratic and social improvements within the capitalist system, it is better to limit oneself to building broad parties with a program limited to those demands.
We maintain that this perspective is mistaken, pessimistic, possibilist and reformist. The only thing preventing the triumph of the socialist revolution at present is the absence of revolutionary organizations structured in the workers’ movement and with sufficient influence to contest the leadership of the revolutionary processes that effectively take place one after the other and will undoubtedly continue to take place. Consequently, our strategic task is to build these revolutionary, Leninist organizations based on the training of professional cadres and a democratic and centralized regime for the struggle for power.
Since we do not intend to build testimonial sects but to gain mass influence and recruit the best of the vanguard, we have to be open to participating in certain broad anti-capitalist experiences when these manage to capture the sympathy of important sectors of workers and youth who turn to the left. That is why, without ever losing our political and organizational independence, we are part of the left wing of the PSOL in Brazil. But we cannot confuse these or other tactics, such as the FITU in Argentina, with our strategy, which involves the construction of Bolshevik parties. These tactics are useful insofar as they help us to build the revolutionary party. Experience shows that they do not last forever. We have to be prepared for when they cease to be progressive and reality forces us to delimit ourselves.
All our organizations, from the largest to the smallest, must have an orientation to build themselves in the most dynamic sectors of the working class and pay particular importance to the industrial proletariat. Both to be a national reference to the vanguard, as well as to have influence in periods of rising class struggle and even more when there are rebellions such as those we are witnessing in some countries and it is fundamental to lead sectors of our class. The work and growth in the youth, which is key for the formation of cadres, has to be at the strategic service of increasingly structuring ourselves in the working class.
A fundamental tool for building our national groups and parties has been the existence and dynamism that our International Socialist League has been acquiring. At the same time, the growth we are achieving at an international level shows that there are increasingly favorable conditions in the world for advancing in the regroupment of revolutionaries.
The strength of the ISL lies in its project, which attempts to unite in the same organization comrades coming from different traditions, not only on principled programmatic bases, but also and fundamentally on a healthy method of mutual respect, without impositions of any kind, and deeply democratic, to try to advance towards a new tradition that surpasses the existing ones.
Propagandizing the ISL project in each of our countries and strongly promoting international campaigns and initiatives that emerge from it can not only allow us to transform our world regrouping into a pole of attraction, but also help us in a qualitative way to take new leaps in our construction.