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1 May 1999

By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines

Contribution to the Brussels Seminar On the Theme Imperialism Means War

The choice of theme for this seminar is highly significant and urgent. Imperialism means war. It is necessary for us to comprehend the nature and history of imperialism as the source of war and confront the current reality of a worsening new world disorder and the spreading scourge of war.

The point is to arouse, organize and mobilize the people against war and necessarily against imperialism which is the cause of war. The way to oppose and defeat imperialism is to wage all forms of revolutionary struggle for national liberation, people’s democracy and socialism.

As long as it exists, imperialism breeds and unleashes wars. These arise from the impulses of the monopoly bourgeoisie within the imperialist countries, from the contradictions among the imperialist countries and from their interventions and aggressions against the countries and peoples that they oppress and exploit.

To deny or obfuscate the aggressive nature of imperialism and the corresponding need for revolution against it is to condone imperialist war. Both classical and modern revisionists have played the special role of drumming up pacifism only to promote imperialism and war. Today in Europe, social-democratic and "green" parties in ruling coalitions that have previously taken pride in depicting themselves as pacifist are actively supporting the US and NATO war of aggression against Yugoslavia.

There are also the phrasemongers of "civil society" who are financed by the imperialists to gloss over the oppressive nature of the monopoly bourgeois state and the aggressive nature of imperialism. Their role as special agents of imperialism is to whip up a bias against the anti-imperialist struggles of the people, to spread the notion of collaborating with the imperialist and local reactionary states and monopoly firms as a way of promoting so-called civility and to rationalize the interventions and aggressions of imperialist powers against weaker countries in order to further oppress and exploit the people.

We are still in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Imperialism or monopoly capitalism is the highest and final stage of capitalism. It is parasitic, destructive and moribund. It is proven by the increasingly worse crises of monopoly capitalism and interimperialist world wars and by the ensuing rise of proletarian revolution and socialist states against imperialism in the 20th century.

The epochal struggle between the forces of imperialism and those of socialism is far from finished. Capitalism is not the end of history. As a new thing in the history of mankind, socialism has to go through twists and turns and ups and downs. The revolutionary parties of the proletariat have to learn their lessons well from both positive and negative experiences in order to resurge and prevail over imperialism.

The revisionist betrayal of socialism and the success of monopoly capitalism in neocolonialism have set back the people of the world to a situation comparable to that period before World War I, when there was as yet no powerful socialist state to oppose imperialism. The temporary success of the US-led imperialist alliance in the Cold War and the exacerbation of oppression and exploitation are precisely the reasons for the proletariat and the rest of the people to make revolution even more resolutely and more militantly than ever before. Only the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and the people can put an end to the daily violence of exploitation and to the outbreaks of imperialist war.

I.  Imperialism as the Source of War

In its evolution from free competition capitalism in the 19th century, monopoly capitalism or modern imperialism in the 20th century has not only persisted in extracting surplus value from the proletariat but has relentlessly increased the rate of exploitation in both imperialist and client countries. Having gained dominance in industrial capitalist society and having merged industrial and bank capital to form a finance oligarchy, the monopoly bourgeoisie has throughout the century pushed the concentration and centralization of capital at the expense of the proletariat and the people of the world.

It has ceaselessly sought to raise the organic composition of capital by accumulating constant capital for the instruments of production at the expense of variable capital for wages. On top of using productive capital for reproduction and further accumulation, it has used distinctly financial transactions to accelerate the exploitation of the proletariat and people, submerge them in indebtedness and draw superprofits from the parasitic practice of international usury.

In sharp contrast to the laissez faire doctrine raised by the rising industrial bourgeoisie in most of the 19th century against the mercantilist doctrine of the trading monopolies, the monopoly bourgeoisie has taken full control over the bourgeois state and used it as an instrument to keep the proletariat in subjugation, to appropriate public resources for private profit, to protect national industry and invoke free trade to subjugate other countries and nations and to launch wars of intervention and aggression in order to divide and redivide the world.

Whatever is the policy shift or fashionable language of imperialism at a given period, be it "free market" or "state intervention", the monopoly bourgeoisie somehow uses the state to preserve and enlarge its class interest. As its own necessity dictates, the monopoly bourgeoisie resorts to state monopoly capitalism and fascism.

The use of finance capital to stimulate production and circulation of goods and, more importantly, to draw profits from distinctly financial transactions has made the monopoly bourgeoisie an increasingly parasitic class. At any rate, the monopoly firms proceed to higher levels of competition, technology and production. These lead to the crisis of overproduction upon the contraction of the market resulting from the reduction of the wage fund in the effort of the monopoly bourgeoisie to counter the tendency of profit rates to fall upon the expansion of production.

The crisis of overproduction further leads to the destruction of the forces of production, through production cutbacks, mass unemployment and bankruptcies of firms losing in the competition, the intensification of class struggle between the monopoly bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the absorption of the weaker or bankrupt firms by the stronger firms, use of the state funds to bail out the monopolies, the intensification of interimperialist contradictions and, in the worst situation, the outbreak of world war.

In trying to resolve the contradictions within the imperialist countries, the monopoly bourgeoisie resorts to the export of surplus goods and surplus capital to the weaker capitalist countries and to the underdeveloped countries. It thereby seeks to extract superprofits from abroad in order to make up for and countervail the falling rate of profit within its domestic economy.

But there are limits to the expansion of capital and extraction of superprofits from abroad because, in the first place, imperialism prevents the emergence and growth of industrial capitalism and potential competitors in most countries of the world. The uneven development of countries becomes more pronounced under imperialism, with capital increasingly concentrated in the imperialist countries.

Under old-style colonialism, the export of surplus goods rather than the export of surplus capital was more important. Under imperialism, the export of surplus capital gains more importance. In turn, loan capital and direct investments for quick profit-taking gains importance rather than for the comprehensive and well-balanced development of other countries. The export of surplus capital is not aimed at spreading productive capital but at financing the export of surplus goods from the imperialists, whetting the appetite of the local exploiting classes for the consumption of imported goods and, most importantly, drawing superprofits from some amount of direct investments for the purpose of market penetration and from increasing amounts of loans that are incurred by the client states for covering their chronic trade and budgetary deficits.

Through the export of surplus capital, the imperialists convert the overwhelming majority of countries into their debt vassals. Under the auspices of the IMF, World Bank and WTO, the client states have thus far become more financially and economically subjugated than they were before World War II, despite the claims of these states to national sovereignty and independence. The practice of international usury exposes most starkly the parasitic and decadent character of imperialism. It is at the core of the phenomenon called neocolonialism.

Crushed by heavy debt burden, the client countries regress farther into underdevelopment. They have to ceaselessly beg for new loans to pay the interest on old loans. The levels of debt service rise but still the accumulated debt continues to rise. The client countries plunge to lower levels of austerity, poverty and misery, as we can see in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet-bloc countries. Eventually, the global market for the surplus goods and surplus capital from the imperialists contracts and puts the imperialists themselves in a more severe crisis.

Monopoly firms form international combines to arrange production and the market and to maximize profits at the expense of the proletariat and the people. But the competition among the monopoly firms also never ceases. It brings about the crisis of overproduction from one cycle of boom and bust to another. So long as imperialism persists, so will this crisis proceed from one level of severity to another. Under conditions of economic crisis, interimperialist competition sharpens and can sharpen to the point of causing the breakup of international combines and the realignment of monopolies and lead to wars, such as World War I and II.

But imperialism will not collapse on its own accord, even if interimperialist wars occur. The crisis of overproduction and interimperialist wars can only provide the favorable objective conditions for the subjective forces of the revolution to take advantage of in order to grow in strength through struggle and overthrow the imperialists and local reactionaries. Only the armed revolution of the proletariat and the people can destroy the power of imperialism and reaction.

There are those who claim that monopolies which have been rechristened as multinational or transnational firms have lost their national character and national basing. There can be nothing farther from the truth. To deny the national character and national basing of the monopolies amounts to saying that imperialism has disappeared. It is anti-Leninist to obscure the national and ultranational rapacity of any imperialist power.

The Bretton Woods agreements, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and now the World Trade Organization (WTO), the regional banks and regional trade agreements and capital mergers across borders must be seen as reflective of a balance of strength at a given period and not as the indivisible unity of monopoly capitalism, no matter how much higher has been the level of imperialist unity against the proletariat and the people since World War II.

To this day, each imperialist country has its own set of monopoly firms and banks, its flagship corporations, with most of the capital in the hands of its own monopoly bourgeoisie and its own state, with most management personnel recruited from among its own nationals and with its principal headquarters and main plants on its own homeground. The imperialist powers have their respective national interests and have contradictions among themselves. They use such international organizations of states as the Group of 7, the OECD, IMF, World Bank and WTO and so on to arrive at common economic policies at the expense of client-states and, most of all, the proletariat and the people.

In the era of imperialism since the end of the 19th century, the entire world has become the economic territory of monopoly capitalism. There is no part of the world that is not somehow a field of investment, market, source of raw materials or position of strength for the imperialist countries. Surpassing the mercantilistic thrust of old-type colonialism, which had promoted the commodity system of production, but which had left so much of the world still in the realm of the natural economy of self-sufficiency, modern imperialism has blanketed the entire globe with the commodity system of production.

At the beginning of the 20th century, no part of the world fell beyond the tentacles of colonial and imperialist powers. Beyond the homegrounds of these powers were countries that were either colonies, semicolonies or dependent countries. It would entail war for any imperialist power or group of imperialist powers to redivide the world according to their growing economic and military power.

Wars have occurred because the crisis of overproduction constricts the market for the growing imperialist powers and generates within the imperialist countries the economic and political forces and currents that demand expansion and war. The real motivations for war are misrepresented when the imperialist warmakers and warmongers express these in terms of "civilizing" mission, Christianity, democracy, human rights, humanitarianism or peacekeeping.

World War I (1914-1918) broke out as the first interimperialist war between the Allies (Great Britain, France, Russia and US) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey). This was preceded by the crisis of overproduction and by jostling for economic territory in various parts of the world. Such latecomers in the colonial game as Germany, Japan and the United States had persisted in pushing over the old and weakened colonial powers and trying to erect their own colonial domain since the waning years of the 19th century. Their imperialist drive and ambitions upset the old balance of power.

Tens of millions died in World War I. British imperialism, prominently supported by US imperialism, led the pack of winners. But the war led to the establishment of the first socialist state in one-sixth of the world, at the weakest link in the chain of imperialist powers. The victory of the Bolsheviks also served to arouse the national and democratic aspirations of the oppressed peoples and nations. From the beginning, the imperialists hated the proletarian revolutionaries. They instigated civil war, unleashed an interventionist war against the proletarian state and imposed an economic blockade against it all the way.

World War II (1939-1945) broke out essentially as an interimperialist war even as the Soviet Union joined the Allies against the worse side of imperialism, the Axis powers. Before and during the war, the fascists set as their special mission the destruction of the communist parties and the Soviet Union. The world war came from the concatenation of the Great Depression, the intensified contradictions among the imperialist powers and the rise of fascism. Again tens of millions of people died in the war.

The Soviet Union suffered more than 20 million dead as it bore the main brunt of the war offensive of Nazi Germany. But it carried out the strategic counterattack that broke the backbone of the Axis Powers. China also suffered more than ten million dead, as it became the main arena as well as the main graveyard of Japanese aggression in the Far East. The scale of the war was unprecedented in the entire history of mankind.

As in World War I, US imperialism took advantage of its geographic position and profited tremendously by engaging in war production, for a while supplying both sides of the war and later joining in the fray late in the day to pick up the lion’s share in the spoils of war. It emerged as the strongest imperialist power after World War II, pushing aside British imperialism to a secondary waning position.

To preempt a Soviet offensive on Japan, US imperialism dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki even as Japan was already poised to surrender. The atom bombing of the civilian population was in fact the signal act for the beginning of the Cold War, which would be declared only much later. The US was terrified by the demonstrated strength of the Soviet Union and by the advancing forces of socialism and national liberation movements in Europe and Asia.

The outcome of World War II was worse for the entire world capitalist system than World War I. Several socialist countries and people’s democracies arose in one-third of the world. With one-fourth of humanity, China became the biggest loss for the world capitalist system. A great wave of national liberation movements emerged and tended to take the road of new-democratic revolution in the continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The Cold War ran for most of the second half of the 20th century. In Europe especially, a strategic stalemate existed between the US and the Soviet Union with both sides avoiding a world war, especially after the latter developed its own nuclear weapons. For half a century, there was neither a hot world war among imperialist powers nor one between the imperialist powers and the socialist countries. But in fact the Cold War involved a series of wars of aggression launched by US imperialism and its local reactionary allies in various countries.

The US waged the most brutal wars of aggression against Korea, Vietnam and the rest of Indochina where the death toll for the people ran into many millions. It conducted anticommunist campaigns of suppression in Asia, Africa and Latin America from the late ‘40s onward and instigated massacres, of which the biggest was of more than one million people in Indonesia in 1965. In the 70s and 80s, it systematically carried out counterrevolutionary wars under the doctrine of low-intensity conflict in Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Afghanistan. The total death toll in the Cold War ran into millions, comparable in magnitude to a world war. Thus, the Cold War was practically World War III.

The wars unleashed by monopoly capitalism have made the 20th the bloodiest century in the entire history of mankind. And under conditions of imperialist domination, the people of the world in their billions have suffered excruciating oppression and exploitation. Even in the socialist and anti-imperialist countries, the people have suffered US economic blockade and the threats and acts of intervention. And yet the "civil society" propaganda of the imperialists and their special agents focus on depicting the armed revolutions of the proletariat and the people, as the source of war and "uncivility".

To override its contradictions with its imperialist allies, especially after the economic reconstruction of West Germany and Japan in the course of the Cold War, the US incurred high trade and budgetary deficits and heavy public borrowing in order to accommodate its allies in the US and world capitalist market, engage in war production and maintain US military bases and forces overseas and spend for military and space research and development. As the Soviet Union further turned away from socialism to state monopoly capitalism and social imperialism, the Cold War became an interimperialist struggle between the US-led imperialist alliance and Soviet social-imperialism.

To win the Cold War, the US and other traditional imperialist powers used the full power of the state and state monopoly capitalism. In the name of an anticommunist crusade, they used tremendous amounts of social wealth to defeat the Soviet Union. However, the Soviet Union was defeated principally due to the internal factors of modern revisionism, the rise of the new bourgeoisie, social degeneration and wastage of resources in the arms race. The US and its imperialist allies did not defeat the Soviet Union in a shooting war but rendered its highly developed military power impotent by inducing the new bourgeoisie within the Soviet Union to degrade the Soviet economy under the guise of reforms and integrate it fully into the world capitalist system.

The victory of US imperialism and the traditional imperialist powers in the Cold War is a Pyrrhic kind of victory. US imperialism carries over from the Cold War certain fatal weaknesses which it can try to overcome only by coming into serious contradictions with its own imperialist allies. It continues to suffer the effect of the high costs incurred in waging the Cold War. The crisis of the world capitalist system has gone from bad to worse. All basic contradictions in the world capitalist system, such as between the proletariat and the monopoly bourgeoisie, between the imperialist countries and the oppressed peoples and among the imperialists, are intensifying and have ushered in a new world disorder.

II. The Trend Towards More and Bigger Wars

In the last decade of the 20th century, the trend towards more and bigger wars is well established. This is most glaringly exposed by the series of wars of aggression against Iraq and against Yugoslavia. Social and political turbulence is rising from year to year, contrary to previous propaganda of the imperialists and their camp followers that the end of the Cold War would yield a "peace dividend", like ensuring global economic growth and promoting human rights, democratization and civil society.

The sole superpower is more arrogant than ever before in herding its imperialist allies towards war and in imposing itself on client countries. It is quick to make and carry out military threats. The weapons it uses against other countries include political interference in internal affairs, withholding of loans and supplies, reduction of market accommodations and military pressure, intervention and aggression, including use of high-tech military weaponry. It demonizes as "rogue" states those states that defend their national independence and thereby seeks to intimidate all client countries to stay under the sway of neocolonialism.

The US and its imperialist allies practice terrorism at the level of state-to-state relations and at the level of confronting the proletarian revolutionary parties and anti-imperialist mass movements. They tack the label "terrorist" on all anti-imperialist forces and thus rationalize all sorts of barbarities that they inflict upon them. The fevered language of imperialism reflects the intensifying contradictions in the world and their own propensity, together with their local reactionary puppets, to use brute force against the people.

The shift in stress of imperialist policy from Keynesian to neoliberal fits in with the US scheme to recover from the heavy cost incurred in order to win the Cold War. Under the pretext of promoting the "free market", US monopoly capitalism accelerates the rate of exploitation and the appropriation of state resources, takes advantage of its imperialist allies in so many ways and withdraws from the underdeveloped countries the false promise of development.

Originally, the neoliberal shift of stress in economic policy was aimed at countering the phenomenon of stagflation, which was blamed on supposedly rising wage levels and big government spending. However, the policymakers underplayed as factors of stagflation the cost-push effect of high military spending in the arms race, the US war of aggression in Indochina, the US deployment of military forces abroad and the growing global crisis of overproduction from the reconstruction and competitiveness of Japan and West Germany.

To this day, the US and its imperialist allies acclaim neoliberalism as their common policy stress. The naked common interest of the monopolies is to squeeze more profits from the proletariat, cut back on social benefits, enjoy tax deductions and exemptions and grab state assets and funds. These are done under the rationale of fighting inflation and making more capital available to the monopoly firms for the purpose of economic growth and job generation.

The result is rapid concentration and centralization of capital in the hands of the monopolies, the inflation of assets in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie, the chronic mass unemployment and stagnant growth rates, averaging between two and three percent for all the OECD countries in the last ten years.

Relative to the European Union and Japan, which have lower growth and profit rates and openly high rates of unemployment, the US has the most buoyant and strongest economy. But in fact, the relatively high US growth rate is largely accounted for by the inflation of monopoly assets and by the flow of investments from Japan and Western Europe. What the US presents as full employment is characterized by replacement of regular jobs with part-time jobs.

So far, the US is able to hold its No. 1 economic position but this is at the expense of its imperialist allies. It has revived its manufacturing capacity for export and has therefore cut down the global market for its imperialist allies. However, it has failed to reduce its trade deficit and colossal foreign debt. It maintains a high level of military spending and consumption through foreign borrowing. Thus, it retains its title as the world’s No. 1 debtor.

The aggravation of exploitative relations under the flag of neoliberalism and the adoption of higher technology in social production are an explosive combination in the imperialist countries. This spells the chronic global crisis of overproduction and stagnation. Productivity in all types of goods is so high and yet concentration of both productive and finance capital by the monopoly bourgeoisie is so fast. Thus, effective demand in the global market has shrunk.

The crisis of overproduction in all types of goods, industrial and agricultural, intensifies interimperialist competition. Despite paeans to "free trade" and the WTO, there is growing protectionism under various guises among the imperialist countries. Frictions among them are increasing over the issue of dumping various types of goods. Thus, the trend grows towards cutthroat competition in the face of the shrinking global market.

Even as the US strives to preserve its No.1 position as economic and military superpower, interimperialist competition is intensifying and leading to multipolarization. The European Union is a form of consolidation in competition with the US. Japan is also consolidating itself to be competitive with the US, especially in East Asia. Everyone of the three global centers of capitalism is trying to consolidate its domestic and regional markets and penetrate those of the others.

The dozen or so "emergent markets", all clients previously favored with inflows of foreign investments from the imperialist countries have been sinking since 1997. They are stricken by a global crisis of overproduction in all their export specialties. Contrary to the expectations of the imperialists, they have ceased to be the expanding market for imperialist goods in exchange for their export income from their export specialties.

This is true in the case of South Korea, Taiwan and Brazil ( which produce and export cars, home appliances and steel), China and Southeast Asia (semiconductors, garments, shoes and toys) and Russia and Mexico (oil and gas). Plant overcapacity, upper-class overconsumption and dwindling export incomes have led to huge trade deficits and default on loan payments. Their bank defaults have caused one global wave of financial crisis after another since 1997.

All countries which in the past had built an industrial foundation or some basic industries either under the banner of socialism or bourgeois nationalism have been stricken by the global crisis of overproduction, have shut down industrial plants, have disemployed vast numbers of workers and are now crushed by heavy debt burdens. All of them are economically depressed.

They are sinking in the direction of raw-material exporting countries which have become depressed since the late ‘70s when the crisis of overproduction hit the raw materials. It must be recalled that the imperialists had derailed in the 60s and 70s the demand of the underdeveloped countries for development by directing foreign loans mainly to programs of building infrastructure and enhancing raw-material production. Now, even the few countries that have tried to become "emergent markets", mostly in the style of China and Southeast Asia, find themselves in dire economic straits due to the global glut in consumer semimanufactures for export to the imperialist counties.

Under the conditions of rapidly worsening economic crisis of the world capitalist system, the consequent political crisis is spawning all kinds of counterrevolutionary forces and generating all kinds of counterrevolutionary violence. It must be remembered from history that the impulse for war in an imperialist country passes from economic crisis to political crisis.

In the imperialist countries, the monopoly bourgeoisie anticipates the intensification of the class struggle. Thus, it pushes antilabor, antiwelfare and so-called antiterrorist legislation, encourages nationalist, fascist and racist propaganda and groups and increases spending for military and police forces at the expense of social welfare and social services.

The US is strengthening its bilateral and multilateral alliances, like the NATO in Europe and the US-Japan strategic partnership in East Asia. The US also uses the OSCE as a framework for manipulating European states and involving them in imperialist acts of intervention and aggression. Whenever possible, the US uses the UN Security Council to legitimize its wars of aggression. It has taken advantage of its role of sole superpower and its possession of high-tech weaponry and has launched a series of major wars of aggression.

In carrying out under UN flag the wars of aggression against Iraq, it has succeeded in tightening its control of the oil resources and oil income of client countries in the Middle East. It stirs up troubles in the Balkans in order to gain more ground from its bases in Western Europe and Turkey. After conceding Croatia and Slovenia to German influence, it has taken control over Bosnia, Macedonia and Albania under the guise of fighting Yugoslavia. It is already proclaiming that its current war of aggression against Yugoslavia over the question of Kosovo is decisive in converting all the Balkan states into US and NATO protectorates.

US strategic objective is to control both sides of the Mediterranean and all flanks of Russia in order to control oil resources on a wider scale and keep its own NATO allies subordinate to its hegemony. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the subordination of Russia to the West have enabled the US and the NATO to launch wars of aggression in Europe. The US is carried away by the arrogance that it can launch a war of aggression with impunity and subjugate any country.

By enlarging the NATO (with the inclusion of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) and expanding it to the borders of Russia, the US lays the ground for US involvement in more and bigger wars across Central and Eastern Europe and within Russia. By having used the forces of NATO for aggression in the Middle East and the Balkans, the US has agitated a broad array of Russian political forces to threats posed by US intervention and aggression. The Caucasus and the former Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union continue as areas of internecine warfare and the US has interest in their oil resources and oil passage to the Mediterranean.

In the meantime, the US has a pliant partner in Yeltsin, the chief political representative of the criminal new bourgeoisie that gorges on public assets and pockets every inflow of IMF bailout funds. Yeltsin and his pack serve the US strategic policy of further weakening Russia economically and socially and thereby letting the high-tech weapons system of Russia deteriorate.

Russia has become so desperate that it is subject to two trends: one is increasing subservience to the Western imperialist powers and the other is polarization between the criminal new bourgeoisie and a broad array of opposition on an immediate basis as well as between the opposite currents of military fascism and proletarian revolution on a longer basis.

Beneath the success at continuous expansion, the US is germinating future problems with its own major imperialist allies. By pushing Germany and Japan to participate and share the costs in wars of aggression and intervention, it is practically encouraging them to strengthen themselves militarily and follow their own imperialist impulses.

In many respects, the economies of China and Russia are complementary. This can be the basis for a political and military strategic partnership. Russia is threatened by the NATO in Europe and by the US-Japan security partnership in the Far East. So is China threatened by the US-Japan security partnership. However, the US can also play off one country against the other or either one of these two can play off one against the US. Farther in the political horizon, Russia can also play off the European Union against the US just as China can play off Japan against the US.

The US maintains a dual policy towards China. One aspect is to "engage" China and induce it to degrade itself further into a US neocolony and throw away the signboard of socialism and the communist party as the Soviet Union had done. The other aspect is to "contain" China with the US-Japan strategic partnership and possibly to manipulate the India-Pakistan contradiction in order to keep it pre-occupied on another flank.

At present, the prevalent strategic position of the US towards China is to "engage" it even as certain sections of US officialdom conjure illusions of China’s growing industrial and military might and claim that China would become the No. 1 enemy of the US in the 21st century. But within China, economic and social conditions continue to deteriorate in a profound way and social contradictions are generating political instability. There are the contradictions between one section of the new bourgeoisie that still wants to retain the signboard of socialism and the communist party and another section that wants to get rid of these.

China has in fact been weakened economically and socially by its capitalist-oriented reforms and full-scale restoration of capitalism, by its concentration on the semimanufacture of low value-added consumer goods for export and on prolonged splurges of private construction and by the ongoing dismantling of its state-owned industrial foundation. The growing weakness of China is an open invitation to Japan and the Western imperialist powers to intervene in its internal affairs.

The deep-seated instability of China spawned by the restoration of capitalism has been exposed since 1989 by the mass uprisings not only in Beijing but in more than 80 cities and by recurrent peasant uprisings and workers strikes in the 90s. While it has a strong preference for a gradual "democratization" of China, as in Russia, US imperialism is also prepared for aggressive action against China. In this regard, the US-Japan security partnership has been further strengthened as the supposed protector of Taiwan and South Korea, as the counter to China and North Korea, as the guard at the back of Russia, as guarantor of peace and security for "free trade" and "democracy" against revolutionary movements in East Asia and as base for rapid deployment forces to the Middle East.

In an increasing number of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet bloc, the social and political turbulence has taken the form of coups and countercoups, mass uprisings, internecine warfare among reactionary forces, recurrent civil wars of varying s and protracted people’s wars.

Outbreaks of counterrevolutionary violence are still predominant. Conflicting reactionary forces invoke the slogans of ethnocentrism and religion. Some pedants call these the "war of civilizations". But in fact, the social strife is always preceded and caused by economic and social devastation inflicted by the foreign monopoly firms and by such multilateral agencies of imperialism as the IMF, World Bank and WTO.

As a result of economic and social devastation wrought by imperialism and in the absence of any strong revolutionary party of the proletariat or revolutionary movement, the local reactionaries compete for local power by resorting to chauvinistic, religious and other reactionary slogans, either upon the instigation of the imperialists or upon their own initiative. The chain of events leading to the big massacre in Rwanda in 1994 as well as that leading to the breakup of Yugoslavia, to the more complex communal strife in Bosnia and further on to the current US and NATO war of aggression on Yugoslavia started with the economic and social crisis generated by imperialism.

The collapse of the so-called emergent markets has caused social turbulence and the downfall of Suharto in Indonesia. Now, the US-directed military forces manipulate ethnic and religious differences and instigate communal strife in order to draw away the people’s wrath from US imperialism and from Suharto and his henchmen, prolong the role of the military fascists as social arbiters and preempt the advance of the people’s revolutionary movement.

Imperialism is responsible for the sequence of economic devastation and political turmoil, either in instances when it appears to have no "vital interest" in the non-oil raw materials of a client country and seems not to care enough to intervene or in those instances when it grandiloquently claims humanitarian interest and intervenes brazenly and aggressively because of more obvious extraterritorial interests. Imperialism is responsible for the abject economic and social conditions preceding the political turmoil that led to the massacre of more than one million people in Rwanda, more than 250,000 people in Bosnia and so many deaths in internecine warfare elsewhere.

There are revolutionary armed struggles that are anti-imperialist and democratic in varying degrees, such as those overthrowing long-running despots like Mobutu of the Congo and Suharto of Indonesia, and there are protracted people’s wars along the line of the new-democratic revolution, with a socialist perspective, under the leadership of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties. These revolutionary armed struggles of the people are of great importance in overriding the senseless armed conflicts where only the reactionary forces vie for power and in contributing to the defeat of imperialism and the victory of the world proletarian revolution.

III. The People’s Struggle Against War

The worsening crisis of the world capitalist system and the intolerable oppression and exploitation impel the proletariat and people of the world to struggle against imperialism and therefore against war in the industrial capitalist countries, in former socialist countries, in countries with anti-imperialist governments and in so many depressed raw-material exporting countries.

In all major imperialist countries, like the United States, Japan, Germany, France and Britain, the class struggle between the proletariat and the monopoly bourgeoisie is steadily coming to the surface. Workers strikes are occurring in key industries and some entire industrial lines. Occasionally, there are general strikes.

What is currently significant about these strikes is that they constitute a breakthrough. They must be seen against a backdrop of the erosion of the trade union movement from decade to decade since the late 50s, and the predominance of the labor aristocracy in what has remained of the movement. Now there is a growing desire among the workers to form militant unions that are genuinely in their class interest.

The West European workers have been running ahead of the American and Japanese workers in launching strikes. The most frequent and widespread strikes and mass protests are in the lesser industrial capitalist countries, such as Spain, Greece and Portugal, because of the higher rates of unemployment and worse social conditions. So far, American workers have launched more strikes than their Japanese counterparts. They have reacted more strongly against mass layoffs and plant closures and being pushed into part-time jobs.

But the Japanese workers are poised to break out of the clutches of the discredited labor aristocracy and company paternalism. Japan is the major imperialist power hit hardest by the crisis. In nearby South Korea, the workers have launched large and sustained general strikes because of the abrupt plant closures and mass unemployment.

The social disaster is so grave that the US, Japan and their South Korean puppets have been frustrated in their scheme to use South Korea for baiting North Korea and take advantage of the natural calamities in the latter.

In the industrial capitalist countries, conditions are favorable for building Marxist-Leninist parties, progressive trade unions, other basic mass organizations and solidarity organizations in support of other peoples. The proletariat and people have growing contempt and hatred for the monopoly bourgeoisie, the labor aristocracy, the entire array of conservative and pseudoprogressive parties and the currents of revisionism and reformism.

The unemployed, the women, the youth and the migrant workers join up with the workers still on the job in mass protest actions. They take up common issues affecting every aspect of their social life. Together with the proletariat, they fight for the immediate improvement of social conditions as well as for the strategic aim of building socialism. They also stand in solidarity with the peoples who are struggling for national liberation, people’s democracy and socialism against imperialist domination, economic blockade, intervention and aggression.

Throughout the world, the workers are rising up against the so-called labor flexibility policy which robs them of job security, hard-won employment benefits and all basic democratic rights. This policy is at the base of the neoliberal policy regime which encourages the monopoly capitalists aided by the state to inflict the most brutal forms of exploitation on the workers.

The workers have therefore fought back with strikes in the imperialist countries and in the industrial enclaves in the client countries. There is growing consciousness among them of the need for a genuine and strong trade union movement against the efforts of the monopoly bourgeoisie to outrightly destroy unions or to coopt them in schemes of collaboration with big business and the counterrevolutionary state.

The revisionist betrayal of socialism has set back the historical advance of mankind. The full restoration of capitalism in the former Soviet-bloc countries has resulted in the destruction of productive forces, unleashed the most hideous forms of exploitation and has allowed US imperialism and the NATO to launch a war of aggression in Europe. Both industry and agriculture are further being devastated under the auspices of Western imperialism and the new bourgeoisie. This comes on top of the decades of revisionist betrayal, bureaucratic corruption and economic stagnation since the late ‘70s.

Mass discontent and disgust are rising, taking the form of general strikes and broad mass protest actions. Some parties and groups strive to uphold the Marxist-Leninist position and to lead the mass struggles of the people. They are under the test of learning from historical experience, applying the revolutionary legacy of Lenin and Stalin and waging the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and the people.

In Russia, the rapacity of the criminal new bourgeoisie is boundless. After privatizing the most profitable enterprises, this kind of bourgeoisie continues to use state agencies and state resources to further enrich itself. But it evades taxation and payment for goods and services delivered by state agencies and by the remaining state enterprises. The state has become bankrupt and is unable to pay the wages of government workers. Private companies are also delinquent in payment of wages. Thus, general strikes and mass protests have broken out frequently and on a wide scale.

Having returned fully to capitalism, Russia has reassumed the traditional role of a weak imperialist power similar to its role in the period before WW1. In an all-round way, it is in a desperate situation. Genuine communists are now faced with the challenge of leading the proletariat and the people against the new monopoly bourgeoisie and taking the revolutionary road amidst the cacophony of the nationalists, revisionists and liberals.

The proletariat and the people hate the new bourgeoisie as well as the US and German imperialists and the IMF and other multilateral agencies and the NATO for coming to the borders of Russia and launching the war of aggression against Yugoslavia. In mass protests, they cry out: "First, Iraq, second, Yugoslavia and third, Russia!"

In China, struggles are mounting against shutdowns and production cutbacks in state enterprises, the deteriorating wage conditions in sweatshops, delayed payments for deliveries of the peasants’ produce and proliferating special levies reminiscent of Guomindang rule. Keynesian pump-priming through public works are now being undertaken but cannot solve the bust in the long-favored low-value semimanufacturing-for-export and private construction.

A few proletarian revolutionaries are striving to build a revolutionary communist party in order to promote the legacy of Mao and lead the people on the revolutionary road in order to override the growing struggle between the blatantly anticommunist section of the new bourgeoisie and the revisionist section that continues to carry the signboard of socialism and the communist party. Revolutionary mass organizations and institutions are being developed discreetly even as revolutionary groups are maintained within the discredited ruling party and state.

In posing the dual policy of "engagement" and "containment" with regard to China, the US is pursuing the objective of promoting capitalism and in due course causing the overthrow of the ruling communist party and the reunification of Taiwan with China under US auspices. Insofar as the US and other imperialist powers threaten the national sovereignty and independence of China, the people of the world can and should support the Chinese people, just as they support the people of Cuba, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Yugoslavia and other countries which are the target of blockades, intervention and aggression by the US and other imperialist powers.

There is a broad range of anti-imperialist forces in the world today. This includes Marxist-Leninist and other revolutionary parties, mass organizations, mass movements, institutions and some governments that stand for national independence. These forces wage various forms of struggle. There is a positive interaction between the broad anti-imperialist struggle and the revolutionary struggle for people’s democracy and socialism

A significant number of armed revolutionary movements for national liberation and democracy are persevering and growing in strength in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Some of these are led by Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties, as in the Philippines, India, Nepal, Peru and Turkey. They take the general line of national-democratic revolution, with a socialist perspective. Others are led by non-Maoist parties, as in Colombia, Mexico, North Kurdistan, Eelam and several other countries. They are revolutionary to the extent that they fight imperialism and reaction. Beyond the Cold War, all of these signify the continuation of revolutionary struggle against the continuing oppression and exploitation by the imperialists and local reactionaries.

These armed revolutionary movements play the highly significant role of striving to answer the central question of revolution, which is the armed seizure of political power. They inflict real blows on the imperialists and the local reactionaries and inspire the proletariat and people in other countries to prepare for armed revolution.

The weakest links in the chain of imperialist domination are in the semicolonial and semifeudal countries. These have the overwhelming majority of the people of the world and have large peasant populations. In most of these countries, it is possible to wage protracted people’s war along the line of the new-democratic revolution. The devastation being wrought by imperialism in its current crisis has made the ground fertile for protracted people’s war.

In this regard, together with other parties, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties have come together through a seminar last December in order to uphold the theory and practice of the revolutionary proletariat, promote protracted people’s war in semicolonial and semifeudal countries and to gather support for their revolutionary struggles for national liberation and democracy. The Declaration on Mao and People’s War issued by the seminar points out the important role of protracted people’s war in the semicolonial and semifeudal countries and its dialectical interaction with the revolutionary struggles in other countries.

Upon its distinct initiative, the proletariat in the industrial capitalist countries wages class struggle to weaken imperialism and prepare for armed revolution. They can take advantage of the defeats and weakening of the imperialists abroad. Ultimately, for socialism to triumph over capitalism on a global scale, the proletariat in the imperialist countries must defeat the monopoly bourgeoisie.

It is highly significant and urgent to promote in semicolonial and semifeudal countries the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside to build and accumulate armed strength for a protracted period of time until it becomes possible to seize power in the cities. This line is at present and for a long time to come the soonest possible way to deliver the lethal blows of armed revolution against imperialism and build Red political power in the localities before the nationwide seizure of political power.

The global influence of Mao’s theory and practice of people’s war was at a high plateau from the victory of the Chinese revolution to the end of the Vietnam war and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. But such influence would be countered by strong revisionist influence, the notion of Soviet assistance as the decisive factor and various petty-bourgeois notions of quick military victory, even as the longest lasting armed revolutionary movements, whether Maoist or non-Maoist, have made extensive use of the countryside in practice.

Ironically, when the influence of Mao’s strategic line of protracted people’s war was being denigrated by revisionist and petty-bourgeois radicals, the US imperialists were succeeding in the use of some kind of rural mass base, ethnocentric or religious, to fight city-based Soviet-supported regimes as in Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Afghanistan. Whereas the Kennedy line of "special war", using counterguerrilla warfare, previously failed in the Vietnam war, Reagan would succeed with the doctrine of low-intensity conflict.

In contrast, it is well proven in the case of the Philippines that when a revolutionary party of the proletariat correctly applies the strategic line of protracted people’s war, the imperialists and local reactionaries fail in their efforts to copy and turn the tactics of people’s war against the people’s army. Anticommunist NGOs, renegades hired as psy-war agents, paramilitary units, armed religious cults and projects designed to pit one community against another have been frustrated by the armed revolutionary movement.

Mao’s theory and practice of people’s war is a powerful weapon of the world proletarian revolution, when correctly applied in semicolonial and semifeudal countries. As more parties of the proletariat adopt and carry out the strategic line of protracted people’s war in such countries, the imperialist powers and their client regimes will find themselves in a steadily losing course.

In countries where the strategic line of protracted people’s war is applicable, the high-tech weaponry of the US is impotent, as proven in the Vietnam war. And if more peoples wage revolutionary war along this line, the imperialists and the local reactionaries would be at a loss as to how to cope with close-in fighting and ceaseless hemorrhaging. With their cowardly method of striking from a distance, they will never have enough cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs to target the shacks of the peasants and the people’s army.

In the arsenal of the proletariat and the people, protracted people’s war is the indispensable weapon for making imperialism a losing enterprise. It can cut the ground from under the feet of the imperialists even before they launch a war of aggression or a world war. It can do so on a far wider scale when the imperialists wage a world war or a big war in one or two regions of the world.

In the history of the Bolsheviks, the workers first seized power in city uprisings. But the war proceeded to the countryside among the peasants in the civil war and in the anti-interventionist war. In the Chinese revolution, however, power was first seized in the countryside over a protracted period of time.

Does it mean then that revolutionary war in the countryside is possible only in countries where the peasants constitute the majority of the population? In countries where the peasants constitute a significant portion of the population but are no longer a majority, a combination or a sequence of armed city uprisings and rural warfare is possible. In some former socialist countries, whose industries have broken down and are being subjected to compradorization and refeudalization, the proletarian revolution can start the possibilities of rural warfare in conjunction with workers’ uprisings. Even in some industrial capitalist countries, under conditions of interimperialist war, some form of rural warfare is possible as in World War II.

To fight imperialism and war and advance the world proletarian revolution, it takes more than waging protracted people’s war in semicolonial and semifeudal countries. Advancing the world proletarian revolution in different parts of the world, under different conditions, takes various forms of revolutionary struggle.

At this time, when there is yet no socialist country as the industrial bulwark for the world proletarian revolution, it is of utmost importance to develop the revolutionary movement in both the former socialist countries and in the imperialist countries. Protracted people’s wars and other forms of revolutionary struggles in the client countries help the proletariat and people in the imperialist countries to develop their revolutionary movement.

India is a semicolonial and semifeudal but has some amount of basic industries like the Russia of 1917. Unlike India, the Philippines has no basic industries. For the Philippine revolution to pass from the national democratic to the socialist stage, there must be other peoples winning the revolution in their own countries with whom the Filipino people can cooperate in order to establish their own industrial foundation and preempt any imperialist economic blockade.

By waging protracted people’s war along the new-democratic line, the Communist Party of the Philippines is now among the Marxist-Leninist parties at the forefront of the struggle against imperialism and reaction. Being at the forefront is something to be proud of but it involves heavy responsibilities, great risks and sacrifices.

Filipino communists hope that in a relatively short period of time so many more peoples take the road of armed revolution. They regard the current period as one of transition from a temporary trough to a new and higher level in the struggle of the proletariat and the people.

We are optimistic that the broad anti-imperialist movement and the world proletarian revolution will resurge and make great strides forward in the 21st century because we see in the last decade of the 20th century the violent, destructive, parasitic and moribund character of imperialism. The Marxist-Leninist parties and the proletariat and peoples of the world must resolutely and militantly prepare for another big round in the epochal struggle between capitalism and socialism. #


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