The IBRP

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mic
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Dec 22 2006 20:39

From Imperialism’s new world order

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The tendency towards decomposition, which the ICC’s apocalyptic vision detects everywhere, would indeed imply capitalist society were on the brink of breakdown if it were true. However, this is not the case and if the ICC were to examine the phenomena of contemporary society more dialectically this would be apparent. While, on the one hand, old structures are collapsing, new ones are arising. Germany, for example, could not be reunited without the collapse of German Democratic Republic and the collapse of the Russian bloc. The countries of Comecon could not join the EU without the dissolution of Comecon, etc. The process of collapse is at the same time one of reconstruction, decomposition is part of the process of re-composition. While the ICC does recognise that there is a tendency towards re-composition, they regard it as insignificant in the face of the predominant tendency towards decomposition and chaos. As mentioned above the ICC has failed to demonstrate how this tendency springs from the capitalist infrastructure. The difficulty it faces in doing this, springs from the fact that it is the tendency towards re-composition which springs from the forces of the capitalist infrastructure. In particular the continuing economic crisis, derived from reduced profitability of capital, is forcing weaker capitals into trading blocs, and these trading blocs are the skeletons on which future imperialist blocs are being built. These capitals realise their only hope of survival is in unity which can increase the size, efficiency and scale of operation of capital to the degree which is required for restoring profitability. Political structures required to oversee this necessarily follow as will military ones for its protection.

These are (some of) the differences about decomposition. I don't think the article has a too strong polemic tone. It's quite readable and understandable, and I cannot see where it fails to grasp reality.

mic
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Dec 22 2006 21:01

The following article also provides some useful background for the discussion, above all about economic crisis and decadence: Refining the Concept of Decadence

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Although the origin of crises can be traced to the very same contradictions as the origins of decadence they are distinct from it.[...]

Economic crises and decadence are dialectically linked but represent two concrete realities of capitalism today. The economic crisis appears when the accumulation mechanism is blocked and is accompanied by all the phenomena typical of the crisis (collapse of production, mass unemployment, wage cuts etc) These crisis have been a constant in capitalism and were around even before its decadent period. Economic crises therefore characterise the whole of capitalism’s historic existence. The decadence of capitalism obviously presupposes economic crises but these are expressed in all the phenomena we have attempted to identify in the present work (parasitism, search for extra-profits, the return of savage forms of exploitation of labour power, wars, etc.) Capitalism suffered crises before it entered its decadent phase but it has also experienced periods of economic development under decadence.

Leo
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Dec 22 2006 21:37

Those are good arguments Mic, and I would quite honestly be very interested in reading what the ICC would say in reply to that and I would be very interested in the discussion flowering from this conversation - of course as long as the discussion doesn't become a mere exchange of insults. Both the ICC and the IBRP writes about each other, but the arguments they make are meaningless for the most part unless they are directed at each other within a discussion.

Lurch
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Dec 22 2006 22:21

Agree with Leo's post. There's no doubt the two orgs (IBRP, ICC) have different appreciations on many aspects. Good to see IBRP crystalize some of these here vis-avis crisis/decadence/decomposition. It's what this thread's about.

What I haven't yet discovered in this interesting anaysis is why this valuable work of the IBRP's has to continue, "unfortunately" without the ICC.

That's the real discussion going on here, not so much the different analyses, appreciations, real, vital though they are. It's a question of attitude, of political comportment towards other proletarian organisations, even if these 'attitudes' do depart from real theoretical differences.

Talking of behaviour, it seems to me Revol68 is bursting to enlighten us with an insight. He said:

Quote:
"I'm loving this, our theoretical Marxists are still caught in that outdated binary of economic profit and "power". As if they aren't both sides of the same coin, as if the "law of value" has ever been autonomous from war, power struggles and politics, as if the state doesn't prop up various economically irrational institutions and organisations in order to maintain hegemony.

Remember comrades it isn't the crude economy that shapes society and history but the actual class struggle."

OK. Maybe. I'm not sure that this is quite how things have been approached but if you have a point to make, please elucidate, explain, concretize it in terms of the debate going on here, preferably with less scorn and more clarity.

ernie
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Dec 23 2006 10:34

Leo, in order to help your understanding of the differences between the IBRP's and ICC's analysis of the vital question of decadence you may find the following articles interesting.
There is the series The Theory of decadence at the heart of historical materialism, which were a response to the IBRP's apparent calling to question of decadence
http://en.internationalism.org/ir/118_decadence_i.html
http://en.internationalism.org/ir/119_decadence_ii.html
http://en.internationalism.org/ir/120_decadence_iii.html
http://en.internationalism.org/ir/121_decadence
http://en.internationalism.org/ir/123_decadence
We have not replied specifically to the article that Mic links to, but the general theoretical points will be dealt with in the series of articles we are doing on their theory of war and the crisis which has commenced in the present IR (which we have linked to already).
You may also find the following polemic with the IBRP on the question of decomposition useful: Understanding the decomposition of capitalism: Marxism at the roots of the concept of capitalism's decomposition
http://en.internationalism.org/ir/117_decompo.html
Hopefully you will find that these are articles that try to explain the theoretical and political differences over these questions without name calling (which is something the ICC and the IBRP do not engage in, we may say that the other is idealist, vulgar materialist, opportunist but these are established political concepts that have real meaning and are not meant as insults).

ernie
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Dec 23 2006 10:52

I agree with lurch that whilst it is important and fruitful that the IBRP and the ICC are discussing their appreciations of the question of decadence and decomposition on this thread, nevertheless:

Quote:
That's the real discussion going on here, not so much the different analyses, appreciations, real, vital though they are. It's a question of attitude, of political comportment towards other proletarian organisations, even if these 'attitudes' do depart from real theoretical differences.

Mic appears to be saying that the IBRP is open or at least would consider common work with the ICC, however it is not clear on what bases etc. And as Leo says there is a need to discuss these questions here. In order to help clarify this whole question it would be helpful if Mic could answer the question that Demogorgon303 posed

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I presume you conclude that Luxemburg and Lenin couldn't possible have worked together because of differing analyses of imperialism?

Leo
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Dec 23 2006 11:56
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Hopefully you will find that these are articles that try to explain the theoretical and political differences over these questions without name calling

Thanks for the articles, I'll take a look at them.

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which is something the ICC and the IBRP do not engage in, we may say that the other is idealist, vulgar materialist, opportunist but these are established political concepts that have real meaning and are not meant as insults

I think we both know that the "real meanings" of those political concepts are quite insulting, especially for members of organizations that see themselves as genuine left communists.

mic
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Dec 23 2006 15:48

Thanks for the links, Ernie. My attention focuses on the following sentence, in your article:

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In order to avoid brutal collapses and to assume the constraints of the war economy, state capitalism has cheated the law of value in a permanent way.

I see that, trying to demonstrate a Marxist foundation for your theory, you negate the applicability of the law of value, saying it can be cheated in a permanent way. I would say this way you are exactly negating a Marxist foundation for decomposition.

From The Economic Role of War in Capitalism's Decadent Phase:

Quote:
The idea that capitalism is surviving by cheating on the law of value is at root a rejection of the labour theory of value. While the use of credit, deficit financing and so on is a means of postponing the balancing of the books in value terms, but such "cheating" can only be effective in the short term. The ICC believes that by piling up mountains of paper debt, the system can be kept going in a way which is somehow evading the laws which govern capitalism. Stabilising capitalism through the credit system is the dream of Keynes. If the laws of capitalism could be so conveniently evaded, or "cheated", by the bourgeoisie they would not be laws at all and Marx's economic analysis to capitalist society would be wrong.

Apart from this, I've not been able to find any kind of "demonstration" in your last article, as a whole. It seems to me you list propositions which you believe are true. This is called a list of axioms. I don't want to be polemical. It is what I read.

mic
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Dec 23 2006 17:07

For understanding the IBRP analysis of imperialism and current crisis, the following article could be useful, and I'd like it to be discussed:

The roots of the war in Iraq

ernie
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Dec 23 2006 19:04

Mic

Would it be possible for you to reply to the question that Demogorgon303 and I have posed to you:

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I presume you conclude that Luxemburg and Lenin couldn't possible have worked together because of differing analyses of imperialism?

This is a fundamental question, because it is still not clear whether you are saying that despite our differences over the question of the foundations of decadence and imperialism, you think that there can be common work between us. It is not a question of discussing it elsewhere, several comrades have posed this question to you not simply the ICC.

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Devrim
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Dec 23 2006 19:18

The ICC's question is a relevant one I think. We did some joint work with them early this year on a Mayday leaflet: http://en.internationalism.org/files/en/May_Day_eng+turk_A4.pdf
This does not mean that we are in agreement with all of their politics.
When I met them in London this year, and when our other comrades met them in the US there were intense disagreements.

However, I hope to keep the dialouge with them open, and I hope that we will do another leaflet with them for Turkish workers on the Mayday march in London in a few months.

We would like the same level of co-operation with the IBRP, and are pleased with our recent dialogues with them.

Devrim

ernie
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Dec 23 2006 19:20

Mic

Yes state capitalism is the means that capitalism has developed to try and cheat the law of value in a permanent way. However, this does not mean that the ICC does not think that despite this cheating capitalism is being dragged ever deeper in economic crisis. Capitalism has tried to cheat the law of value with state capitalism but this has not stopped the law of value reacting upon this cheating and bitting the ruling class in the arse.
Has the ICC denied the existence of the development of the economic crisis of capitalism since 1968? Has it denied the recessions that have taken place? Has it said that capitalism is stable? Has it rejected the marxist analysis of the decadence of capitalism? Or has it shown consistently over the past 30 years (or 40 if you included the analysis made by Internacionalismo in the 1960's) that capitalism is sinking deeper into economic crisis? It is not the ICC who say that capitalism is sinking into ever worsening decomposition, which obviously includes the exacerbation of the crisis and is threatening the very existence of humanity, whilst the IBRP say that decadent capitalism can go on and on for centuries?

ernie
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Dec 23 2006 19:46

Leo

Yes the concepts of vulgar materialism, opportunism, idealism etc can be seen as insulting, however that does not negate their importance. The main question is the intent with which they are used. If it is to try to convince another proletarian organisation that they are being effected by the impact of bourgeois ideology, a weakening of their use of the marxist method etc in order to try to strengthen the proletarian nature of that organisation against such, how can that be wrong or insulting? Surely it would be insulting to leave a fellow proletarian organisation to sink?
For years the IBRP have accused us of being idealist, or even being non-marxist, outside of the proletarian milieu, and having no role to play in the formation of the future party: we do not see this as an insult. It is wrong, but then our task is to show why we are not idealist, that we are marxist and do have a role to play.
Such concepts only become insulting if one see oneself as in competition with other groups or when they are made with no content.
We do not only use these concepts in relations to our organisations, they play a very important role in our permanent internal struggle against the ever present pressure of bourgeois ideology. We have not hesitated to say that we have seen expressions of opportunism, vulgar materialism etc within our own ranks. This is not an insult, but part of the armory to defend our organisation.

mic
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Dec 23 2006 22:09

To Lurch and Ernie:

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We're open to collaborations and our history is a clear sign of it. You pointed to a number of examples.

I think it's a sane praxis to evaluate them in each single case, and certainly their impact and fruitfullness is function of the common basis shared among collaborating partners.

It's quite clear, for me. You know the appropriate channels to make a concrete proposal.

I wrote that we've to go on with our work, unfortunately without the ICC. In fact, because of our different methods, our analysis are often diverging, and never converging. It's a matter of facts. This distance doesn't mean we won't ever collaborate in future on some single topics, if conditions arise.

Devrim, it's normal we need to discuss more in depth before producing a joint leaflet or something else, I'm sure you agree. But I'm certainly hoping for it!

If you need an example, I was with a young Italian group (GLP) which collaborated with the PCInt for a number of years, before we eventually dissolved the group and joined the PCInt. Not only we signed common statements, we carried on concrete common work in working places, schools, street demonstrations. At the same time, we used to discuss with the comrades of PCInt, very animately and for hours, about a number of important issues on which we didn't agree.

ernie
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Dec 23 2006 22:30

Hi Mic

Far too many questions are posed in my post on the crisis to enable clarification to take place so I will narrow it down to two;
1. Do you think that our position on state capitalism permanently cheating the law of value means that we do not see the deepening of the crisis?
2. We would certainly agree with your point that

Quote:
The decadence of capitalism doesn’t mechanically lead to socialism. It is a methodological error to foresee the natural end of capitalism and the arrival of socialism without revolutionary action by the proletariat. Socialism isn’t the natural outcome of capitalist decadence but the fruit of the victorious struggle of the proletariat guided by its international, and internationalist, party.

Refining the concept of decadence
(though we would not have the same vision of the role of the party may be (that is another discussion).
You also say that we cannot predict when decadence will terminate, which is true (here I think I misunderstood the beginning our your conclusion to mean that capitalism can go on for centuries).
The article does analysis wars such as those in Africa, the Balkans etc, as being purely destructive (if I understand correctly) rather than serving as the means for destroy value. Nevertheless, you see our position that decomposing could destroy humanity through social and environmental catastrophe as being apocalyptic. Does this mean that you see decadent capitalism as being somehow able to avoid the accentuating contradictions of decaying capitalism leading the contending classes to their mutual destruction?
Question 2 is a bit long, but I hope this post poses the main questions better than the other post.

I hope everyone has a good festive season.

Ernie

mic
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Dec 23 2006 22:41

Ernie, you wrote:

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the IBRP say that decadent capitalism can go on and on for centuries.

If one could predict the date of the fall of capitalism, then probably our work as communists won't be so useful, and you and I would better do something else right now. Right?

Precisely, IBRP says that:

Quote:
Thus the precondition for the opening of these new cycles is the destruction of huge masses of capital. In the new cycle a technical composition of capital can be assembled in which the constant element ends up more swollen in relation to variable capital. [...]

The overcoming of crises, like the opening of new cycles of accumulation, doesn’t turn back history or the system to its origins.

That is the new cycle doesn’t start off again from the steam engine, nor from the individual enterprise working in a regime of free competition. The degree of concentration, in relation to its new average organic composition, doesn’t decrease but increases in its turn, and later on even the monopolistic control of markets on the part of the largest capitals tends to extend it even further. This is no less than the fundamental precondition for the parasitic appropriation of surplus value. Thus taking on greater dimensions it must necessarily sharpen its forms and extend its tentacles of activity, as we shall see below, over the production and circulation of commodities in all the phases of the valorisation and circulation of capital.

But this being an activity which demands increasing quantities of surplus value by necessity means a greater degree of exploitation of labour power. It is here that the introduction of ever more advanced technology into production and the simultaneous extension of the productive base for the benefit of limited sectors of society even including some segments of the proletariat corresponds to a general worsening of the living and working conditions of the proletariat and similar social strata, i.e. the majority of society. In the same way the extension of monopoly and the relative limitation of competition and of imperialist conflict between, and within, certain areas doesn’t mean the end of imperialist rivalry in general, but its extension to every area of the planet, as well as its intensification.

From: Refining the Concept of Decadence

The question you didn't answer is: if the law of value can be cheated as you argue, what kind of law can explain the dynamics of the capitalistic system? I would infer that the whole analysis of Marx is not valid anymore, because its preconditions are not valid anymore, they can be cheated.

bastarx
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Dec 24 2006 03:03
Demogorgon303 wrote:
Iraq, as some people have already mentioned, is a classic case in point. All the oil companies were against it. In Britain, they all tried to strong arm Blair into staying out of it and completely failed.

I hadn't heard that before. It seems surprising given how close the Bush administration is to the oil industry. Any sources, Demogorgon?

baboon
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Jan 6 2007 14:11

Peter, I read the same thing about the oil companies in the US lobbying against the war before it started. I don't have any source but it's obvious really. One thing the oil companies need is medium and long term stability and their bosses were intelligent enough to see the strong possibility of a more or less permanent instability arising from the Iraq war. Against the position of the IBRP (and leftism's also, to be fair) this wasn't a war for oil and if it wasn't clear to the IBRP at the beginning of the war, it should be now.
The official cost of the war, released by the US State Department at the end of last year, put it at over half a trillion dollars (five hundred billion). Everyone knows that this is an underestimate and that these astronomical costs will go on rising (add the carnage,instability, destruction and deaths and I would say a good, scientific word to describe this within an overall framework is decompostion). The US could have secured long term oil sources from Iraq for peanuts, nothing, compared to the amounts it is spending and will spend (and the chaos it's spreading). It has been reported - again I have no source - that Saddam approached the US administration 3 seperate times in the early part of the decade desperate for a deal, but was rebuffed each time. This fits in with the way that Saddam was suckered into the first Gulf War in 1991, when the US advised him it would be OK to sieze some of Kuwait's oil fields and when he fell into their trap, attacked him for doing so (source: US ambassador to Iraq 1990).
The main point to remember, and this is where the analysis of the decomposition of capitalism becomes crucial for the working class, is that this dying system is irrational. The aim of the US in invading Iraq is far and away strategic, Full Spectrum Dominance, as Wolfowitz called it in the early 90s when helping to lay out the long term plans for US imperialism. That's not to say that oil isn't a factor, but only within the overidding factor of the imperatives of US imperialism.

petey
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Jan 6 2007 17:46
baboon wrote:
One thing the oil companies need is medium and long term stability and their bosses were intelligent enough to see the strong possibility of a more or less permanent instability arising from the Iraq war. Against the position of the IBRP (and leftism's also, to be fair) this wasn't a war for oil ... The US could have secured long term oil sources from Iraq for peanuts, nothing, compared to the amounts it is spending and will spend (and the chaos it's spreading). It has been reported - again I have no source - that Saddam approached the US administration 3 seperate times in the early part of the decade desperate for a deal, but was rebuffed each time.

i second this. saddam was only too happy to sell the oil to US companies, but the US govt refused to OK it. the war has never been about oil. i've speculated that the roots of it are psychological: that george jr. wanted to go where george sr. didn't, to outdo dad. neocon imperialist theorizing (trotskyism of another color) provides a sugar coating for those who don't want to be so crude.

mic
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Jan 6 2007 23:52

Baboon, IBRP is not saying the war in Iraq is simply a war to "secure long term oil sources". I read this as an oversimplification, as I don't want to consider it a falsification.

The following document, which I've already linked, should be read carefully before pretending to explain the positions of IBRP to others:

The roots of the war in Iraq

Quote:
Only the USA prints dollars and transfers them to those countries which have to buy raw-materials -- above all oil -- on the different international markets, not from the USA. In return the USA receives in exchange a flood of international currency with which it can buy concrete commodities on the international markets.

Quote:
The area of the euro is one of the greatest oil importers in the world, and at the same time the Middle East imports 45% of its imports from Europe. Why, then, should they keep the price of oil in dollars when they have to change the currency in order to buy from Europe? This is not only a problem of Saudi Arabia but of almost all oil-exporting countries. They have started to look again at the denomination of the price of oil, or at least that part destined for Europe, in Euro. In October 2000 the Iraqi government was the first to take the historical decision to denominate the oil price in Euro, as a result the valuation of the euro showed that the decision had been a good one since it was translated into an increase of around 30% of the flow of goods and services in the area of oil for food managed by the UN.

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Demogorgon303
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Jan 7 2007 18:20
Peter wrote:
I hadn't heard that before. It seems surprising given how close the Bush administration is to the oil industry. Any sources, Demogorgon?

Sorry for late response, I've been busy with Xmas etc. This surfaces every now and again in the press, but here's a quote from a concrete source: Who Runs This Place (The Anatomy of Britain in the 21st Century) by Anthony Sampson, page 307.

"But the two oil companies [BP and Shell], for all their corporate power, could not in the end wield a decisive influence over British foreign policy. As Britain prepared for war in Iraq, both Browne and Watts were deeply worried about the consequences for their business, for much of their oil still depended on Arab countries, and they dreaded a return to the instability of the 1970s. Yet they could not prevent Blair going ahead."

The interest in oil springs as much from its long-term strategic value (i.e. in powering the military machine) as from its immediate economic necessity. But a quick look at the geography of Iraq also shows its strategic importance - it borders on Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

America's wet dream is a compliant puppet Iraqi government that would give it an obedient replacement for the increasingly unstable and recalcitrant Israeli and Saudi regimes. Along with Afghanistan, it would have virtually encased Iran and enabled the US to exert military and political pressure across the Middle East and Asia. The border with Turkey is important because, it can form a bullwark against EU (especially Germany) from expanding into the Middle East. Turkey's awareness that the US war was partly an effort to contain its own ambitions in Kurdistan was shown by its refusal to participate in the US war.

petey
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Jan 9 2007 14:30
Demogorgon303 wrote:
a bullwark against EU (especially Germany) from expanding into the Middle East.

??

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Alf
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Jan 9 2007 14:38

Germany has always rivalled the US for influence in Turkey and Iran in particular. France is the old colonial power in Syria and Lebanon and is currently playing a 'peacekeeping' role in the latter. France, Britain and others play their own games towards the Palestinians. For example.

petey
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Jan 9 2007 15:07

by "border with Turkey" i asumed you meant the iraq-turkey border, and by "expansion" i understand territorial matters. so the influence in turkey isn't then part of the question, as events have already progressed further east, and expansion isn't the issue. yes germany already has influence in turkey, but apart fromt he US it's france that has the iranian influence. i just can't conjure an image of a german exerting "pressure" in tehran.

why conflate EU with this? are slovenians going to be twisting arms?

baboon
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Jan 9 2007 17:14

The IBRP's analysis was overwhelmingly that the war in Iraq is about oil - revenue and US control of it. This still appears to be the case re Mic's post.
In Revolutionary Persopectives, no. 23, page 8, after talking about the need for the US for oil trade in dollars, US control over gas and oil lines, the IBRP say: "this is the heart of imperialist competition in the 21st century". That is clear. The price of oil was the determining feature in the first Gulf War of 1991 according to the IBRP. Without repeating every dot and comma of its analysis, the general position of the IBRP is that the war in Iraq was meant to make its rivals pay for the crisis through US control of oil production and exchange throughout the Middle East. The IBRP's position that the development of US imperialism from the late 80s was determined by economic benefit and cornering raw materials, particularly oil, was extensively developed in the IBRP's press and advertising prior to the CWO's (part of the IBRP) London meeting, 15.10.05. At the time of the 1991 war (when the Euro didn't exist)the CWO said: "(the war)is really about oil and who controls it. Without cheap oil profits will fall. Western capitalism's profits are threatened and it's for this reason AND NO OTHER (my emphasis) that the US is preparing a bloodbath in the Middle East" (CWO leaflet). That seems fairly clear, totally wrong, but clear. But during the same meeting, the CWO also said, in the face of ICC and other questioning, that localised wars like Iraq were of little use to capitalist accumulation.
At a public meeting of the IBRP in Paris, October 2004, there were similar contradictions where the IRBP said that the prime cause of the war in Iraq was "geo-strategic". When this clarification was welcomed by the ICC, the conclusion to this meeting relegated geo-strategic back behind the control of oil and its exchange, saying in the summing-up that the "geo-strategic" factor was a "misunderstanding" by the ICC and others at the meeting. The IBRP then published the expose to this meeting on its website in French. It reads in part: "While black gold figures in Washington's Iraqi calculations, it is more a question of perpetuating US hegemony - and in this sense of making guarantees for the future - rather than inflating Exxon's coffers". This is a clear statement of the primacy of geo-strategic considerations and one that the ICC and myself would fully agree with. But now Mic backtracks on that. The IBRP position has changed since the first Gulf War, but what is it now? The IBRP are fully aware of the decomposition of international relations but obscure this with an economic rationale which doesn't exist. They did it for the war in ex-Yugoslavia, which it saw as a war over profitable markets and it's done the same for various other wars, including South American skirmishes. It clings desperately to the bankrupt idea, an idea which for 15 years has been flying in the face of reality, which sees a rational economic explantion as the determinant to imperialist rivalries. Now, to back this outdate idea up, it uses the "explanation" of the euro v the dollar.
The idea that the euro nations could present a monolithic bloc against US imperialism is laughable from the point of view of any serious analysis of the international situation over the last twenty years at least. The overwhlming military superiority of the USA today is as much as a cause of the dollar's status as its effect.
The wars in the Gulf, essentially laid out in the long-term planning of US administrations in the early 90s, are, in the main, down to geo-strategic considerations, ie, the ability of the USA to militarily maintain and reinforce its position as the world's only superpower. Where's the economic gain the Gulf wars, ex-Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Somalia, when will it come about - 3050?
The reasons for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan - a key strategic area for imperialism long before oil was discovered - and growing tensions over Lebanon, which has no economic resources whatsoever, are the collapse of the Russian bloc, unbridled military competition and a descent into decomposition.
The idea that a bloc made up of countries with the euro as a currency could present a coherent and unified challenge to US imperialism by dint of its currency is a vulgar and superficial attempt to analyse imperialism today. Moreover it is one that goes against many specific articles on wars around the globe analysed in detail in the IBRP's press, ie in a framework where they are forced to look at the real world.

Just to note a disagreement with one aspect of Dem's 7.1st post on here. While there have been differences between the US and Israel (part of the problems for the US) I think he tends to overestimate them. There was tight collusion between the two over Lebanon. The other recent disturbing development was both PM Olmert's and new US defence secretary Gates' statements, within 24 hours of each other I think, that Israel possessed nuclear weapons. No suprise at all here, but no "slips of the tongues" either. The warning to Iran is that the use of nuclear weapons by Israel, with US approval, is on the table.

bastarx
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Jan 10 2007 02:35
newyawka wrote:
i second this. saddam was only too happy to sell the oil to US companies, but the US govt refused to OK it. the war has never been about oil. i've speculated that the roots of it are psychological: that george jr. wanted to go where george sr. didn't, to outdo dad. neocon imperialist theorizing (trotskyism of another color) provides a sugar coating for those who don't want to be so crude.

The bourgeoisie must be really decomposed if they allowed Dubya's father issues to cause a trillion dollar war.

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Alf
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Jan 10 2007 07:02

I seem to recall, Revol, that when I used the same post on two threads (by accident, I think,but no matter)you dubbed me a fucking twat-cunt, or words to that effect.

mic
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Jan 10 2007 09:56

It's not our position that changed, Baboon... It was a different war, and it had some different reasons. We respect reality. It was you to write in your post that euro didn't exist yet. True. But lots of other things changed into the world. Have you noticed China is emerging as an imperialistic power? Have you noticed Russia is regaining influence over some of the states of the former USSR? You call this decomposition. I call this imperialism. I don't want to say clear blocks already exist, where interests are perfectly uniform and coherent. Such blocks probably never existed, anyway.

But one thing hasn't changed. It is the capitalistic nature of our society, and capital is in search for profits. We start from here. A more detailed analysis about Iraq is in the doc I already linked.

Ah, Iran... Have you heard that, apparently, "57 per cent of Iran’s income from oil exports was now received in euros"? Just for your information.

From the Times: Iran turns from dollar to euro in oil sales

petey
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Jan 10 2007 14:32
Peter wrote:
The bourgeoisie must be really decomposed if they allowed Dubya's father issues to cause a trillion dollar war.

i'd say "absolutely", but the boozhwah isn't the only player here, as i don't see economically-disadvantaged-authority-figure-fellating-zionist-christians as boozhwah, and they're his natural constituency. he wasn't elected in 2000, remember; god put him in office. but insofar as the political levers are pulled by boozhwah, then, absolutely.

baboon
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Jan 12 2007 17:42

Mic's last post shows the IBRP's incoherence on imperialism. Certainly Mic "things change" in relation to imperialism and no marxist analysis on the international situation would ever envisage the status quo ante being maintained. The point however is to have a method that is capable of taking into account, accomodating and, as much as possible, predicting the nature of such changes within an overall framework. Mic's scattered elements of his last post shows the lack of a coherent overall analysis at the level of imperialism. Having said that, the clarification made by the IBRP over the last 18 years in relation to its original position of Iraq being a "war for oil" can only be welcomed, even if it was brought about by events smacking it in the face and it remains the case that they are desperate not to agree with the ICC. But instead of being buffeted around by the reality of events, or falling for popularist chimeras, any marxist analysis worth its salt should be able to draw the general lines of march. In this respect I would like to see, in the context of the strengthening of the weak forces of the communist left, the IBRP more explicit in its undoubted agreements with the ICC.
The ICC's analysis of the decomposition of capitalism provides, in the face of unfolding reality, and has provided, such an analysis of the general lines of march, or in this case the descent of imperialism.
The western bloc, which existed from 1945ish to 1989 was never a bloc of "uniform" interests as Mic says. But it was rather a necessity for lesser imperialisms to shelter under the US nuclear umbrella in the face of the threat of Russian imperialism. While there were flashpoints during this period that could have led to war, Cuba 1962, Afghanistan 1980, NATO's "forward defence" 1980, the "spheres of influence" of the Cold War held sway, particularly given a working class that wasn't ready to be mobilised for generalised war. The collapse of the Russian bloc in 1989 disintegrated the cement of fear that held the western bloc together and we are now in an imperialist configuration of each against all. That is the primordial reason for the US led war against Iraq, Afghanistan and its growing military presence in East Africa, Central Asia, etc. The USA will not allow any rival superpower to emerge.
China isn't "emerging as an imperialist power" Mic, it has been one for nearly a century. It was imperialist when it supported the US in taking over the war against Vietnam and its Russian backer after the former withdrew (a fact that underlines the real calamity that would face US imperialism if it was forced to withdraw from Iraq now). China today, though tied up economically with the dollar, is creating new spheres of influence outside of S.E. Asia and itself buys Iranian oil at privilged prices. It is coming up against US, French and British interests in Africa and Latin America and has been discretely arming Taleban.
Russia too is taking advantage of the weakening of the US, supporting Iran, re-establishing its imperialist pretensions and supporting Hezbollah. Britain, staunch US ally, has its own business in Iran and has been supplying military equipment to Hezbollah via Lebanon.
There is no contradiction between imperialism and decomposition. In fact the only way to understand the former is through the latter.
I did read about 57% of Iran's oil being paid in euros Mic. What does that mean? In the face of an Israeli/US strike against Iran (a tad more explicit after Bush's speech two days ago) does that mean that the euro countries will rush, arms in hand, to defend their investments in Iran? Is that what you are suggesting, because I don't think so. Will an anti-US bloc emerge and headed by whom? I think not. Will they attempt to undermine the US? Yes, that's already happening and its explicit in the analysis of decomposition. And this is why the US will be forced to strike out and make the situation even more unstable.
The euro countries are nowhere near a homogenous bloc but, on the contrary, fragmented, competitive national units that are severely tested by any major move of the economically, politically and above all militarily dominant USA. None of the former's military power, even in the unlikely event of being put together, can anywhere approach the military domination of the US. Within the framework of decomposition we have seen since 1990, year in year out, Britain (which is not even in the euro zone), France, Germany, Spain, Italy, vieing with each other and with the US on the imperialist arena. We are witnessing the most important events of our lifetimes so far: the descent of world imperialism into a downward spiral of war, irrationality and chaos. This is an essential question for the working class and one that can't be made up by reacting blindly to events.