Contribution of the Workers’ Party of Belgium (WPB)

Contribution of the Workers’ Party of Belgium (WPB)

“ Dangers and potentialities of the international situation.
The imperialist strategy and the energy issue, the peoples’ struggle and the experience of Latin America, the prospect of socialism.”

Fifteen years have passed since the tragic counter-revolutions of 1989-1991, events that dramatically changed the correlation of forces in the world.
Today, not much is left of the erstwhile triumphalism of imperialism. It has failed in its plan to totally liquidate socialism and the communist movement. Its economic dominance has shrunk. It has not succeeded in installing its absolute military dominance on the entire planet. To the contrary, the objective perspectives for the revolutionary movement for national independence and socialism are becoming clearer.

1.      While the US economy remains the world’s strongest, several factors are rendering it more fragile(1) .

•    It is more and more dependent on goods produced in the Third World. In 1973, almost all goods consumed in the US were produced there as well. In 2004, the US manufacturing industry assures no more than half of the production needed in the US, and Third World imports count for more than one fourth. This is the reason of the huge trade deficit of the USA.
•    As long as the US can lean on their international status of superpower, they can compensate for this deficit by an annual provision of foreign capitals. For 2005, this is estimated to have been between 700 and 800 billion dollar, or more than 6% of the country’s GDP (2) .
•    Also the profits of US companies are to an increasing extent coming from abroad. The last years, the proportion of foreign profits reached almost 20%.

 

2.      Six years ago, here in Lisbon, the European Union formulated “a new strategic objective for the coming decade: to become the most competitive and the most dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world” (3). In order to surpass the US economy, the Europe of the managers imposed the dismantling of the social achievements. The flexibilisation of the job market, with the prolongation of the professional career, the privatisation of services and other similar policies constitute the key measures. But these policies are met by the workers with growing resistance. The European Union is also confronted with a delay in achieving its own objectives. New strategies are put into motion in order to increase the competitive power of the big monopolies, in the process of course intensifying the exploitation of the labour force and leading us even more towards an americanization of the society..

Several new members of the EU, formerly socialist countries, are now living through the bitter experience of the new order of the monopolies, with unbearable living and working conditions and deteriorating health and education services. Class struggle is advancing all over Europe. So many people, older but also young people, are again aspiring for socialism.

All this is highly disturbing for the big bourgeoisie. Rightist forces are pushing fascisation. Thanks to the mobilisation of communist and democratic forces, a strongly anticommunist draft resolution did not pass at the Council of Europe, in January 2006. But the struggle has to be strengthened. The prohibition of the Communist Youth Union (KSM) of the Czech Republic is a threat to all of us.

3.      The growth – sometimes spectacular – in Third World countries, and the South-South cooperation are shaking the imperialist economic dominance.

 

3.  1      Latin America is of crucial importance to the North American market. In order to submit the continent, Washington tried to impose ALCA. But, so far, its attempts have globally been in vain. Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia reply with ALBA. Other countries are eager to follow suit. An anti-imperialist current is taking the upper hand, and our Latin American comrades will certainly tell us more about it!
3.  2      In Asia, Washington’s economic dominance is crumbling.

•    By developing commercial relations with China, the Western powers and Japan hoped to gain control over its economy. Parallel to this, they hoped to impose bourgeois parliamentarism with the purpose of removing the CPC from power. The 2002 annual report of the US Congress commission on the economic relations with China says so explicitly. But it has to admit the failure of this policy(4).  The 2005 report of this same Commission concludes that “on balance, the trends in the U.S.(5) China relationship have negative implications for the long-term economic and security interests of the United States”.  China is already the major economic partner of countries traditionally linked to the US, such as South Korea. On 10 August 2006, the Congressional Research Service published a report with the title “Is China a Threat to the U.S. Economy?". The reply of the report is dual. On the one hand, "China’s economic reforms and growth have benefited (or could benefit) the U.S. economy....", but on the other hand, “… some Members of Congress perceive China as a threat, or potential threat, to the U.S. economy.... Analysts project that in the near future, China will replace the United States as the world’s largest economy and exporter. In this context, China’s economic rise is viewed as America’s decline.” (6)

•    Meanwhile, China and the 10 ASEAN countries are pursuing their efforts at creating, by 2015, a free trade association, for an area of 1.8 billion inhabitants and a GDP of over 2000 billion dollar.

3.  3      Last week-end, the Chinese-African summit ended, with the conclusion of important agreements on trade and economic cooperation.

All these developments contribute, beyond doubt, to the weakening of the economic and political dominance, not only of the US, but also of the European Union and Japan.

4.      The importance of the Third World for the world economy is increasing also to the degree that the oil reserves and the reserves of other natural resources are rapidly diminishing. World petroleum reserves would amount to some 1200 billion barrels. According to certain experts, the first effects of a shortage would be felt by 2040. But other studies indicate that as early as 2018, production would no longer be able to follow demand.(7)
Objectively, the Third World countries have a lot of leverage at their disposal!

5.      Their growing economic dependence forces the US to reinforce its dominance on the rest of the world by all means, particularly by military means. Today’s US military budget surpasses the total military budget of the rest of the world taken together. Washington and its NATO allies are responsible for more than 3/4 of the world military budget!(8)

John Pike, director of the independent research group ‘GlobalSecurity.org’, declares: “Much of the spending has little to do with fighting the war on terrorism.” Rather, argues Pike, the spending for new ships, jets, missiles and other armaments is "aimed at the [supposed] threat that dare not speak its name: China.”(9)  Pike fails to cite the millions of dollars spent for the maintenance and renewal of the US nuclear arsenal…
Although less under pressure than the US, the European countries are also augmenting their military preparedness, within and outside NATO. If the 2003 invasion of Iraq underscored the contradictions between certain European countries and the US, their military collaboration now appears to get strengthened, as is the case in Afghanistan. They are forced to do so because of their need to confront the increasing power of the Third World.

6.      But after having declared total victory over Baghdad in 2003, Bush now has to admit a certain resemblance with the Têt offensive in Viet Nam… Washington’s troops are getting stuck in Iraq, as NATO troops are in Afghanistan…

Iraq gives an idea of the measure of bestiality that imperialism is ready to deploy in order to impose its dominance. According to public health experts from the US and from Baghdad University, some 655,000 Iraqi civilians died between March 2003 and July 2006 as a consequence of the war.(10)

At the same time, Iraq is showing that a people that wants to be free, can defeat the most powerful aggressor in the world. Bush and the puppet government in Baghdad try to justify their dirty war by accusing “the terrorists” of blind massacres. A report of 3 August 2006 by the Intelligence Agency of the US Defence Department, the DIA, refutes such lies: “70% of the bomb attacks in the month of July 2006 were directed against the American-led military force. 20% struck Iraqi security forces. And 10%of the blasts struck civilians”, for which the resistance has always denied responsibility. A senior Defence Department official told the New York Times: “The insurgency has more public support and is demonstrably more capable in numbers of people active.” (11)

Israeli attack against Lebanon completely failed. This victory of the forces of resistance, including the Lebanese PC, is a major defeat for Washington and Tel Aviv, which had prepared this attack for a long time. The Zionist defeat in Lebanon reinforced Iraqi resistance, in its turn.
More than 3052 allied soldiers have already lost their lives, among them at least 2813 US soldiers. Nearly 45,000 other US soldiers got seriously injured.

The spectre of a defeat is haunting the US superpower.
But never shall imperialism abandon its ambition to rule the world, whatever it takes. The preparation for the production of mini-nukes in the US is an indication of the latter’s orientation toward even more massive and destructive terror.

7.      The necessity and the possibility of a victorious struggle against imperialism and monopoly power are growing. Two tasks seem essential to us.

 

•    One the one hand, to strengthen the world united front against imperialism. If it is true that you need weapons in order to defend your independence – as reality proves – this by itself is not sufficient. You also need friends, allies, a broad united front. In the South, there is an increasing tendency toward cooperation, in various forms. The recent summit of the 118 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana was a real success. Socialist Cuba does an excellent job in forming an anti-imperialist axis with Hugo Chávez’ Venezuela, Evo Morales’ Bolivia and other countries such as Lula’s Brazil and Belarus. China has done well to consolidate and enlarge the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, to prepare for the free trade association with the 10 ASEAN countries, and to conclude cooperation agreements with numerous countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Fortunately, such initiatives are multiplying. They all show that the unity of the countries that wish to maintain their independence and their people’s right to decide on their future, is really making progress. This unity is a serious obstacle to the hegemonist plans of the US and to the projects of the other imperialist powers.
We, in Europe, in North America and in the rest of the world, must intensify our anti-imperialist work for the defence of peace and democracy, among others by emphasizing the development of the World Peace Council.

•    On the other hand, the facts also show that in the absence of communist parties that are truly revolutionary, based on scientific socialism, internationalist and solidly linked to the broad masses, a lasting success of the popular struggles cannot be guaranteed. If our communist movement is advancing – and I speak in particular of my own party – we are lagging behind if compared to the actual needs of the situation. Our parties will not easily overcome their weaknesses if they rest isolated. We are confronted with the anachronism that while the communist movement was the first in the world to organize itself internationally, today we generally do not reach beyond the stage of useful but informal exchanges. For several years now, numerous arguments have been advanced for organizing a more structural cooperation and coordination among our communist parties. The absence of such unity is causing a waste of efforts and a great loss of efficacy. It also impedes us from learning faster from our respective successes and failures.

I hope, comrades, that during these days we can make progress on this matter. For the situation of the peoples and the toiling masses calls more than ever for another society, a socialist society – which, by the way, the general crisis of the capitalist system is rendering ever more possible.

Baudouin Deckers, General Secretary

 

[1] All data from a study by Henri Houben, Études Marxistes nr. 73/2006, Brussels.

[2] Council of Economic
Advisers (2006), The Annual Report, in Economic Report of the President, Washington, February 2006, p.125.

[3] CONSEIL EUROPÉEN DE LISBONNE, Conclusions
de la Présidence, 23 ET 24 MARS 2000, point 5, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/fr/ec/00100-r1.f0.htm

 

[4] “U.S.-China Economic
and Security Review Commission”, 2002, Executive Summary, http://www.uscc.gov/researchpapers/2000_2003/reports/excsum02.htm

[5] “U.S.-China Economic
and Security Review Commission”, 2005, Executive Summary,  http://www.uscc.gov/annual_report/2005/annual_report_full_05.pdf

[6] CRS Report for Congress, "Is China a Threat to the U.S. Economy?", August 10, 2006

http://www.capitaltocapital.net/pdfs/congressionalresearchservice_china.pdf

 

[7] Resource
Depletion: Modelling and forecasting oil production - Michael Smith, Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, http://www.odac-info.org/

[8] "Bush pushes to increase
defence spending. Jump of 7% would top rest of world's military budgets",
Eric Rosenberg, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/02/2006, Page 17, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/02/12/MNG41H78RK1.DTL

[9] Ibid.

[10] According to the medical journal
The Lancet. (AFP, 11 October 2006)

[11] NYT, 17/08/2006, “Bombs Aimed at G.I.’s in Iraq Are Increasing”,
by Michael r. Gordon, Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker,
http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/08/17/world/middleeast/17military.html 

 

 

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