II. The ideology of imperialism in the current stage
5. The characterization of the stage in course, effectuated by official and semi-official academia, as a 'globalization' (referring to capital) adorns the capitalist restoration of the former worker states with a progressive historical character. The globalization of capital, however, is a phenomenon which reached its historic apogee a long time ago with the complete formation of the world market and the emergence of imperialism. It expresses the decline of capitalism, not its ascent. The historical regression that has a point of culmination in the capitalist restoration now in course, had its beginnings in the bureaucratic counterrevolution, which was nothing more than the expression of the pressure of the world capitalist economy upon "socialism" isolated in "one" or various historically backward countries. 'Globalization' as restoration of capital where it had been expropriated does not constitute an advance but rather a historical step backwards, and conveys, on the one hand, the loss of historic and social gains in those countries as well as on an international level. 'Globalization' is the ideological expression of the destruction of socialism as a perspective, which was an historic conquest of the proletariat during two centuries of class struggle.
It adjudicates the transitory victory of capital over the non-capitalist social regimes led by a bureaucracy, to a capacity of capital for indefinitely revolutionizing the productive forces. This hides, on the one hand, the inner contradictory character of capital and, on the other, its historically conditioned character; the fact that the advance of science and technology, driven by capitalism, not as a conscious social aim, but rather due to the necessity of increasing the exploitation of another's labor, strengthens its contradictions and makes them ever more explosive.
The euphemism 'globalizing' makes an attempt to place an equal sign between the liquidation of the pre-capitalist economic forms carried out by world capital in the historic epoch of its ascent (liberalism) and the destruction of the state-owned property and of the planned economy in the stage of monopoly capital in disintegration.
It presents the capitalist unification of the world market as a perspective still to be completed, and not as a reality which has exhausted its historical possibilities and which breeds explosive economic crises, greater social catastrophes and even more destructive wars.
‘Globalization’ denies that capitalist restoration has a transitory character, whose outcome will be determined by the unfolding of the present world crisis.
6. In the same way 'globalization' as an ideological fiction has the aim of covering up the whole set of dislocating tendencies proper to world capital. For example, the incredible extension of fictitious capital (indebtedness both public and private, of investors and consumers, financial and speculative), which far exceeds capital in its material form and which leads state budgets to ruin. The development of fictitious capital under the form of an unprecedented extension of the capital markets constitutes a powerful means of additional economic confiscation of the workers, of the intermediate social strata, and of whole states.
The so-called outsourcing or sub-contracting, another characteristic of the much touted globalization, does not represent a new historical phase of industrialization pushed forward by the drive for the international division of labor, but rather a parasitical development of the big capitalist cartels, which substitute the industrialization of the backward countries with the implanting of maquiladoras (giant sweat shops) and assembly plants, in order to exploit cheap manpower and to loot the resources of the nations involved.
The end result of these tendencies as a whole is the chronic overproduction of goods and capital, the tendency towards economic depression, the generalization (this indeed global) of deflation on an international scale and the highest and most permanent level of workers unemployment in the history of capitalism. The so-called globalization 'globs' together all forms of capital as 'global' capital, but hides, in this way, its specific historical phase, that is the exceptional level reached by its parasitical and rent-income based development.
7. Capitalist development in the last few decades has reinforced the contradiction between the world-wide character of the development of the productive forces and of the market, on the one hand, and the national character of capital, the monopolies and the States. That is, that there has been an accentuation of capitalist anarchy.
The reinforcement of the nationalization of capital unmasks the non-neutral character of such apologetic expressions as 'transnational,' 'multinationals,' or 'globalization.' The nationalization of capital is made manifest in a special way by the supremacy acquired by US capital, above all in investment banking.
The European Union has failed in its attempt to create specifically European capital in opposition to US and Japanese capital and even in reference to the national capital of the respective European states, that is, the French, the Italian, the German and even the Greek. The national atomization of monopoly capital in Europe has not been overcome either by the creation of a Central Bank nor by a sole currency; the latter has exacerbated the contradictions in its national economies, as a consequence of its accentuated inequalities of development. The attempt to establish its own reserve currency, in competition with the dollar, is a distinguishing manifestation of the national rivalries of capital and constitutes a constant source of international clashes, diplomatic confrontations and even wars through interposition (within and without European frontiers). The coalition formed between various economic cartels of different nationalities has, almost unanimously, a transitory character. It is the manifestation of the clash of some national blocs against others, which disintegrate in turn with each manifestation of the general economic crisis. The national states are more than ever tools of the monopolies in struggle for supremacy over the world market. This phenomena has accentuated with the policy of 'free commerce,' which deprives the weakest nations of the possibility of protecting themselves through measures of a political nature and leaves them at the mercy of arbitration among the few more powerful nations, especially the United States.
8. The formation of the European Union has not been a lineal historical process. It has represented, in different stages, the attempts at survival and adaptation of the European imperialist bourgeoisie to the changing conditions of the world crisis. Under similar denominations, it has represented different social and political phenomena.
Whether to contain social revolution in the post-war; whether as a framework permitting the reestablishment of the old national states exhausted by two world wars, as the only concrete forms of the political domination of capital; whether to solve the crisis of overproduction through the partial elimination of commercial barriers; whether as a political method to unify the offensive against the workers after the end of the post-war 'boom' and the start of the present stage of crisis; whether to organize the struggle with US capital in the context of this same world crisis; whether as an attempt, finally, of the most powerful states, especially Germany, to adapt themselves to the collapse of the USSR and of East Europe and to annex the new markets of the East and Russia. European imperialism has mounted a series of "corridors" (transport, roadways, pipelines), with the purpose of connecting western Europe with the Caucasus and even with central Asia, passing through the countries comprising the peninsula of the Balkans.
Under the pressure of the world economic crisis and of the struggles of the workers, however, the centrifugal tendencies tend to predominate more and more over the centripetal. The utilization of national rivalries by US finance capital tends to fracture the European Union. The growth of this inter-imperialist struggle conditions the world political crisis as a whole. From the Balkans, Russia and the Caucasus to the Far East, Iraq and Palestine, the crisis, the national confrontations and the wars express, more and more, the growing opposition between European capital and states, which are also divided amongst themselves, and those of the US. The manifestations of a tendency towards the dislocation of the European Union has been accentuated, sowing confusion among those who consider it irreversible and augur it infinite progress.
9. The centrifugal tendencies and the growing clashes with US imperialism has affected the rhythms of development of the political crises, with a special impact on the old continent. This overall tendency condemns to ridicule those who argue in favor of completing the development of imperialist Europe with a "more democratic construction." The penetration of European monopolies in the Eastern countries has reinforced the imperialist tendency of the EU, sharpens competition among the international cartels, and accentuates the growing social dissolution of the Balkans and the East and strengthens the offensive of capital and its States against the conditions of the proletariat in the West.
The economic crisis that provoked the bursting of the US financial bubble in the early part of 2002 has manifested itself most acutely in the European Union, especially in the tendency towards economic depression affecting Germany, France and Italy. The loss of positions of these countries in the world market, for the benefit of US capital, has given rise to an acute tension between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, because European capital cannot deal with international competition without severely curtailing the social and labor gains of the masses. The attack against social security and health has opened up a stage of violent class conflicts in Europe. The 'space' for a 'democratic construction,' that is, within the imperialist framework, grows smaller all the time. Idealized by its apologists as a way of overcoming the limits imposed by national frontiers on the development of the productive forces, the European Union has rapidly shown itself to be a brake against that development. In a certain sense, explodes the attempt to fit in a single institutional mold the sharp inequalities in capitalist development that characterize the EU. The IV International denounces the imperialist character of the European Union and of its purpose of Eastern expansion; emphasizes that imperialism poses a tendency towards political reaction and not towards democracy; points out that it has failed in its attempt to overcome the historical stumbling block of national frontiers in the development of productive forces, and even more so, that it has created additional stumbling blocks that have to do with its historic artificiality; and clearly underlines the fact that the imperialist tendency and the tendency to accentuate its contradictions lead to an intensification of the class struggle inside Europe. This set of factors reinforces the tendency towards serious political crises in the European countries and even towards the posing of the question of power. The IV International inscribes within this framework the political crisis of April 2001 in France, when a political liquidation of the traditional parties of the right and left wings took place, in combination with huge mass mobilizations, especially of the youth. Laid bare, in this crisis, was the depletion of imperialist democracy. On this basis the IV International denounces the reactionary character of the slogan for a democratic and social European Union, and puts forward the total validity of the union of the European proletariat for the expropriation of capital and the establishment of the United Socialist States of Europe.
10. The world economic phase initiated around the time of the seventies is not only to be distinguished from that which took place in the post-war by an inversion of the tendency of the general curve of development of production. It is characterized, above all, by the cyclic recessions of explosive characteristics which combine with financial crises of unusual amplitude, as a consequence of the bursting of the speculative 'bubbles,' of the extraordinary indebtedness of the States, and that of individual capital and consumers, with which the priming of economic 'recovery' is being attempted. The financial collapses over the period of 1997 to 2001 bring to a close the extraordinary speculative cycle initiated with the 'euphoria' sparked by the dissolution of the USSR.
The world economy, as a whole, is characterized by the tendency towards greater financial crises and deflation. World politics, in turn, is conditioned by these tendencies of the economy.
11. The war of the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Caucasus, Palestine and various African countries has inaugurated a stage of imperialist wars of international scope, which completely refutes the universalist pretensions of 'globalization,' its idyllic character, that is, as purely 'economic' and 'pacific,' or the 'naturalness' of the supremacy of capitalism in the present historical stage. The 'practical' and ideological collapse of 'globalization' is expressed in the resurgence of its formally opposed expressions, such as 'clash of civilizations,' the need for 'national constructions' or the term 'international terrorism' as a world war which does not present itself as a confrontation between states.
This new wave of war is but the preliminary stage of a new period of massacres. That is, apart from anything else, an eminent expression of the quagmire of capital. It does not involve simply a commercial rivalry over oil and the raw material markets of Central Asia. It is an irrefutable manifestation of the fact that capitalist restoration is a process of violence and wars. Its guiding thread is the struggle for economic and political conquest of the space left by the dissolution of the Soviet Union and for control over the capitalist restoration in China. The hegemony over the capitalist restoration by any one of the blocs in dispute would decisively break the equilibrium of the relationship of forces among the various imperialist powers. The struggle for the conquest of the eastern markets of Europe and Asia tends to transform itself, for this reason, into an inter-imperialist struggle without parallel in history. This inter-imperialist struggle, the expression of an enormous crisis in the relations between the classes within each of the states, will come to augment the crisis and the struggles between the classes in all nations, including the semi-colonies.
From an overall historical point of view, the present stage forms part of a whole epoch, that starts with WWI and the revolutions following it, fundamentally the revolution of October of 1917. The mortal contradictions of this epoch, between the imperialist wars and revolution, found no way out in the course of WWII. On the one hand, the victory of the Red Army over Nazism, the Chinese Revolution, the extension of the USSR towards the east of Europe and various revolutions in the colonies placed a limit on the solution based in the restoration of capital in the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the defeat of the revolution in Europe, the re-establishment of capitalism hit hard by war and the prolongation of the domination of the counterrevolutionary bureaucracy in the worker states blocked the historic way out for the socialist revolution on an international scale.
In the last phase, the political revolutions, the fall of the bureaucracy and the world capitalist crisis trashed 'peaceful coexistence' or the 'convergence of systems.' The current historical period poses the alternative between the complete restoration of capitalism through the barbarism of wars and social degradation for the masses, or the definite victory of the socialist revolution, which is likely to be reinforced by the disasters occasioned by the capitalist restoration and which, therefore, could find more than ever fertile ground within the imperialist nations. The reformists and the centrists have been too quick to judge as cancelled the epoch of wars and revolutions and to pontificate the aurora of an "infinite peace."