Alongside other crises, the Covid pandemic is contributing to growing uncertainty in the capitalist world. Together with economic devastation, including an assault on the wages and conditions of the working class, proxy wars are multiplying and becoming more intense, with the threat of increasingly generalised wars on the horizon. In the meantime, the major imperialist powers, calculating the significance of these wars, are defining their tactical-strategic objectives in a kaleidoscope of oscillating alliances. They are as comfortable today in these economic and military pacts with yesterday’s enemies as if they had been allies all along.
A case in point is the China-Iran agreements which are part of the Chinese mega-imperialist project, the New Silk Road.
The Covid pandemic has produced one of the most devastating economic crises to date. It has infected half the world, produced over four million deaths and brought incalculable disaster to all social sectors. As usual, it is the workers of the world who have suffered most from the crisis. The major international bourgeoisies have deployed billions to contain the damage. The largest portion is aimed at restarting the productive apparatus which creates surplus value, the only “vaccine” capable of reviving afflicted “capital”. Part of the remaining input is directed towards infrastructure, to financial recovery, and to health care which was already in a precarious condition due to cuts suffered in previous years, and was thus completely unprepared for the pandemic.
Meanwhile, for the large pharmaceutical companies producing vaccines, huge opportunities have opened up for the creation of both legal and illegal businesses, which will hardly be reflected in the statistics. Some crumbs will also go to businesses in the most affected sectors such as retail, catering and the more or less advanced service sector. Even wage workers are due to get a bit of the “recovery” treatment but only from the last remaining crumb. In the EU (and elsewhere), the various governments are allocating funds for workers and have implemented temporary regulations (preventing lay-offs, extending furloughs, unemployment benefits, etc. ... obviously only for a limited period) with a double purpose. The first, and most immediate, involves implementing a series of economic and administrative initiatives, all of a “fixed term” and non-structural character, aimed at containing a generalised malaise which, so far, the various ruling classes have managed to keep under control. The presentation of the current crisis as an “accident” caused by a virus which affects everything and everyone, disconnected from capitalist malfunctioning, means that the economic and political sphere can avoid direct responsibility. There is certainly some truth in the capitalists’ narrative of the pandemic, but it fails to mention that they were already aware that the preconditions existed for what turned out to be the Covid crisis. By October 2019 researchers had already raised the alarm about the possibility of a pandemic along the lines of previous ones, if not something worse: from the "Spanish" to the “Asian” flu, from Ebola to SARS, just to name the most important. Not only had nothing been done to prevent such outbreaks but, in the last decade, in almost all the advanced countries, spending on health care and drug research has been reduced enormously. In Italy, expenditure on medical and paramedical personnel has been cut by €10 billion, with hospitals even being closed down in the most remote areas. The public health service is giving way to privatised health care. However, this is nothing compared to the atavistic conditions of public health on the capitalist periphery or in ‘developing’ countries, such as India and Brazil, where the poorest social classes are dying like flies with no hope of even getting oxygen to breathe, never mind being included in a vaccination programme capable at least of stemming the irrepressible “haemorrhage” of deaths. Thus, the damage wreaked by the new pandemic is adding to the economic disaster caused by the sub-prime crisis, which has never been completely overcome, and is giving rise to a social and economic disaster of planetary proportions.
Another element in the capitalists’ strategy is maintaining social peace. As the “recovery” of production and profits, based on a savage increase in exploitation of the workforce: increased pace of production, redundancies, lengthening of the working week for the same pay and no chance of contractual increases, capitalists everywhere fear that the streets will fill up with demonstrators who, after two years of Covid-imposed sacrifices, find the weight of the post-Covid, supposed economic recovery, entirely on their shoulders. The few financial crumbs that today are now being granted to workers are no more than the attempt to give the illusion of (temporary) help to those who will have to bear the weight of the disruption to the capitalist economy. They must not be allowed to get in the way of the increased extortion of surplus value which is fundamental to any exit strategy from this global capitalist crisis.
A New Chapter
Within this framework a new chapter has opened, one concerning shifting international imperialist relations and, specifically, the strategic agreement between China and Iran. As the first to emerge from the pandemic crisis, China has an advantage in the process of “recovery” of the world economy. Possibly, but not certainly, recovery can happen quietly and peacefully for the state which is best placed to withstand international competition in all globalised capitalist markets. Macro-economic data for China (April 2021) show an 18.5% rise in GDP in the first quarter of 2021. In the same period, the US, with a huge outlay of financial capital, recorded a 6.5% increase in GDP. Both have posted an impressive increase in their overall deficits compared to the previous year. Thus, China is in the imperialist front row in the race to give substance to their economic recovery. To this end, on 27 March 2021, China signed a 25-year agreement with Iran providing for investment in strategic, structural and infrastructural sectors. In fact, a series of Chinese investments is projected, starting with an initial amount of $400 billion. The sectors highlighted include gas and oil, high technology, information technology for civil and military applications, national security and industrial equipment. A breakdown of the overall figure reveals that the bulk of the funding ($280 billion) will go to the energy sector, with the remaining $120 billion will target large infrastructure projects, such as the construction of roads and highways, airports, ports and railways. The “quid pro quo” in this exchange provides that Iran will supply China with gas and oil for the next 25 years on an uninterrupted basis, and at favourable prices. The signing of this historic contract comes in the wake of growing commercial and mutual assistance relations between China and Iran which reflect a long-term perspective. Thus China has already committed itself to increase the amount of trade between the two countries to $600 billion and has sent 250,000 doses of its Sinopharm vaccine to Tehran “free of charge”.
Iranian President Rouhani could only declare that China is the best possible partner and that American sanctions can be lifted with Beijing’s negotiating help. On 21 December 2020, China had already committed itself to support Iran on the nuclear issue, declaring that the withdrawal of the American government from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is in clear contradiction with international law. Furthermore, Beijing has declared itself in favour of all the initiatives aimed at achieving peace in the Middle East, while Trump’s “evil” American administration did exactly the opposite, causing tensions and instability throughout the area. This is a sort of explicit warning to the new Biden administration to review the question of Iran and adopt a softer policy. Biden is taking this into consideration, but only to pit Russia against China, and not due to pressure from Beijing. Playing the Iranian card may be the best chance of containing Chinese expansion in the Persian Gulf.
The Financial Agreement
The intense inter-imperialist friction between China and the US, aggravated by the pandemic, does not end here. In addition to the implicit challenge to the US on the Iranian nuclear issue, the 27 March agreement threatens more interference in the Middle East, not just concerning oil, but also on critical economic and political issues for the countries in the area, from Lebanon to Iraq, from the Palestinian question to Syria (now a Russian fiefdom) and on to the age-old Kurdish problem, via the new financial strategy of Beijing.
It is no secret that China intends to wage war on the dollar. After invading the world with its cheap goods, thanks to the bestial exploitation of its immense proletariat in the manufacturing sector and, recently, also in the more technological one of telephony (Huawei) and microcomputers (Lenovo), in aerospace (they have reached Mars) and, more generally in the application of advanced technology, as in video surveillance (Dahua). Now the aim is to transform the yuan into a currency capable of acting as a medium of exchange between commodities in larger areas and in areas which are more easily subject to financial blackmail. Once this first level is achieved then the yuan could aspire to become a safe haven for speculation capable of skimming surplus value from the international money markets and turning it into stock market assets.
According to the well-informed Al-Araby Al-Jadeed1 and the no less prestigious Wall Steet Journal, China and Iran intend to set up a joint banking institution with the aim of weakening the dollar’s presence in the areas where the two partners trade and operate on the oil market. The ambitious project is still under construction, but the determination to bring it into being is strong. If it succeeds the yuan will gradually become a currency of international significance or, at least, in common use in countries under embargo by American foreign policy, or whose political relations with Washington are not the best. Only under these conditions could Beijing also compete with the dollar as a reserve currency in foreign exchange and as an object of monetary speculation. The starting point is still very low. In fact, according to the IMF, the yuan’s share of foreign exchange reserve assets is only 2%, compared to 62% for the dollar. If the Chinese currency is to determine the exchange rate between commodities within its areas of influence, mentioned above, the first of the two projects (a 25 year alliance between the two countries) must become an operational reality. If that goes through, according to Morgan Stanley, the yuan would reach 10% of global foreign exchange reserves within 10 years.
Meanwhile, the project of a common bank (obviously mainly with Chinese financial capital) is already underway and trade between the two countries is increasing as the rival imperialism (US) prepares to take the appropriate counter-moves or to reach a compromise on the nuclear issue. As for oil, Iranian oil companies are selling oil “clandestinely” to China at a price of about $5 less than the world market per barrel. In March 2021, the total volume of Iranian oil exports to China reached the impressive figure of 27 million barrels, up from just 2.4 million barrels just two years earlier. In return, China exports food, military equipment and non-combustible raw materials to Iran.
Nevertheless, Beijing is still trying to maintain good relations with the Gulf Emirates, an important ally to have in terms of both oil supplies (the Iranian one is not enough and the Russian one is risky), and from a strategic perspective linked to the construction of the New Silk Road which needs safe, reliable harbours for its commercial dealings.
The New Silk Road
Building a trade route to transport and sell the enormous mass of goods China produces to the Asian republics and beyond, passing through the Middle East and all the way to Europe, would allow Beijing to realise huge profits containing an enormous amount of surplus value. The Belt and Road project is a response to the urgent need to both get out of the crisis, and also be in the best position vis-a-vis imperialist competitors.
In reality, there is not one Silk Road but two, even three, if air transport is taken into account. The first is the land route which crosses the former Soviet Asian republics to reach Europe as far as Barcelona, via Berlin. Along the way, Chinese logistics need supply areas, storage hubs, repair workshops, staff (who can be found on site and to be exploited in Shenzhen style, i.e. from 10 to 12 hours a day for 6 days a week at starvation wages) capable of solving all the problems that such an enterprise requires. In addition, it should be emphasised that all this can only be completed thanks to agreements with the most important countries it crosses. It’s no accident that Chinese diplomacy moved quickly to establish the “Economic corridor” (CPEC) treaty with Pakistan and the “New Land Bridge” with Germany, facilitated by the endorsement of Kazakhstan and Russia. The estimated cost of modernising this essential infrastructure is around $1.8 trillion dollars.
A high-speed railway line that will connect Beijing to Berlin by way of the Central Asian capitals is also underway. Overall, 68 countries are projected to be directly or indirectly involved. According to COBOR studies the total cost will be equivalent to 12 times the cost of the Marshall Plan.
The second route is the maritime one running from the South China Sea to reach the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. In this case, the new “caravanserai” will be hospitable ports (obviously for a fee) unless they are already under Chinese control as is the case with the Pakistani port of Gwadar and the Greek port of Piraeus. Other candidates are Doha in Qatar or elsewhere in the United Emirates and, as terminals in Europe, the Italian ports of Genoa, Venice and Trieste would in turn become hubs for Northern Europe. In addition, Spain may be willing to grant the port of Barcelona. In the unlikely event that the Silk Road ends up on British or Scandinavian coasts, yuan diplomacy would be able to go further. Another of China’s moves to establish a network of accessible ports backed by government endorsements as part of the wider strategy to realise its mega project, is to enter the Horn of Africa, more precisely Djibouti. From there it can guard the entrance to the Red Sea, the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aqaba. This area is one of the world’s busiest oil and merchant shipping routes and as such is of absolute strategic importance since it connects the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal. The US has had a military base in Djibouti since 2002. It exists alongside the armed presence of Saudi Arabia, Italy, France and Turkey. Beijing has recently been granted permission to install its own military base with 10,000 men, effectively opposing all the existing forces and in open competition with the USA.
The same pattern goes for the air route where, instead of seaports, airports are being made available for the project as the intrusive imperialist presence of China is having to be accepted.
From an operational point of view, China has already made the first important moves. In addition to freight transport itself, a further objective is to provide finance in Europe, in the form of investments and loans, for the modernisation of ports, roads and highways as well as fast and efficient railway networks with modern technologies. Another ploy, depending on the liquidity of the yuan, is to shell out large amounts of cash to get hold of private companies or a minority share in the management of troubled state-owned enterprises. For example, in Germany (Duisburg) a freight terminal has been set up for containers coming weekly from China via 25 special trains. When Greece was on the verge of bankruptcy COSCO, a Chinese import-export financial group, leased the port of Piraeus for a billion dollars. It did the same for the Spanish ports of Bilbao and Valencia: the first on the Atlantic Ocean, the second on the Mediterranean; for Zeebrugge in Belgium and, as already mentioned, China is also interested in the Italian ports of Genoa, Venice and Trieste, and already has a 49% share in Vado Ligure.
The Financial Trap
Even before Biden began the process of US rapprochement with Europe, and abandoned the attempt to monopolise the energy supplies of the old continent, Chinese imperialism was playing the financial card. Apart from the management of ports, airports and the construction of infrastructure for its New Silk Road, Beijing is also offering finance in order to gain more leverage in this economically strategic area.
Some Eastern European states (including Poland, Serbia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic) are obvious examples. They have contracted debts with Chinese banks in order to build new infrastructure which, in retrospect, place them within the Chinese New Silk Road project. Financial leverage works because it gives the illusion that these debts are harbingers of fabulous future earnings. There are no guarantees here but, nevertheless, participating in big Chinese business is seen as an excellent investment.
But when things go badly, or the indebted companies fail to produce sufficient profit, their debts become the opportunity for Chinese banks to take over part or all of the structures, becoming co-owners or sole owners. For the time being at least, trade only operates in favour of Beijing. The railway cargo containers arriving in Germany (Duisburg) from China before being moved on to the other states, including the aforementioned indebted ones, come back empty. In these conditions it is easy for indebted companies to go bankrupt or get into serious economic difficulties. This is where Chinese finance comes into play by engulfing the weakest companies, increasing exploitation of the proletariat and clamping down on resistance within this logistic web that the Beijing “spider” is busily weaving . The voracity of Chinese capital has struck several times in the same way. Sri Lanka, for example, was recently forced to sell its companies that had unpaid debts with Chinese banks. Malaysia and Pakistan are on the border of the network and it will not be long before the Beijing “spider” comes to engulf the management and ownership of their logistical infrastructures.
It goes without saying that the complex web that Chinese imperialism is weaving, investing trillions of dollars for which it expects some return, presages a fait accompli that its imperialist competitors will be forced to accept. Given the gravity of the crisis which is accelerating the formation of new alliances, this does not constitute a particularly positive scenario. Ultimately it could lead either to direct confrontation or a proxy war between the opposing players on the world imperialist chessboard.
The Silk Road and the Oscillations of the Major Imperialist Powers
The other unknown is the response of the various imperialist powers to China’s strategy for exiting the pandemic. However the Covid crisis pans out, the world economy will be severely devastated, more than it is now and, in terms of the imperialist balance of power, the Silk Road will encounter substantial opposition not only from the USA, but also partly from Russia, from Western Europe (in particular from France and Britain) as well as those countries with a much lower imperialist weight, but which are within Washington’s politico-economic orbit.
These rivalries always play out in the same theatres of confrontation but they are now widening and becoming more intense. The crisis is fuelling competition between international capitals, leading to further economic concentration and financial centralisation, which will only intensify proxy wars, both old and new. This involves the consolidation of some alliances and the dissolution of others. It also drives the frenzied hunt for raw materials, above all oil, either through the use of force or through contracts based on political blackmail simply disguised as fair deals. After the disaster of the Trump administration, Biden’s government wants to lead the revival of NATO for US strategic purposes. Thus he is rebuilding “good” relations with Europe, in an attempt to draw Germany, France and Italy away from reliance on Russian gas and oil. It is a repeat of the Cold War friction between USSR and the US, but with greater intensity due to the current crisis which, despite the enormous deployment of financial capital by central banks, shows no sign of ending. And as always, the aim is to hold on to the dollar’s hegemonic role in order to sustain both the huge public deficit and the debts of the private sector in the US. Biden has thus turned up the pressure on Russia over the crisis with Ukraine, and over the construction of Nord Stream 2, which connects Russia’s energy supplies to Germany. At the same time, the US is sanctioning China, for its Silk Road mega project, and its economic and commercial dominance but above all, for its declared aim of posing the yuan as a competitor of the dollar, at least in the countries that its great trade route crosses, where it can exert political and financial influence.
The contradictory foreign policy of the US towards Iran and its continuing sanctions over the nuclear issue should also not be forgotten. Sanctioning Tehran means eliminating an oil competitor, and disrupting the Asian ambitions of its allies such as Russia and China. Russia and Turkey have come to an agreement in Libya, so the Western powers, America through the UN, France and Italy with their President (Macron) and Prime Minister (Draghi) respectively, rushed to Tripoli to the court of the newborn, but extremely frail, Libyan government, in order not to lose the energy privileges they previously acquired under Gaddafi. In addition, tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean see Turkey, Russia, Greece, Egypt and Israel manoeuvring over the oil resources in the waters between Cyprus and Crete. Meanwhile Russia is fighting its “pipeline war” to keep Europe dependent on its energy sources. What’s more, Putin is on the verge of open war against Ukraine for control of the Donbas, to protect its gas routes to Central Europe. Moscow is continuing its strenuous defence of its Syrian ally to retain commercial and military viability in the Mediterranean, and establish strategic agreements with Iran to expand in the Middle East and the southern Persian Gulf, whilst making agreements and alliances of convenience (Turkish Stream) with the “enemy Erdoğan”, and partially embarking on a collision course with Chinese interests.
On a different imperialist front, but still between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, the recent Israeli sabotage of the electricity grid of the Iranian nuclear plant at Natanz, as the New York Times reported, took place with American cover. The same goes for the bombing of an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea by Mossad. This shows that the de facto alliance between the US and Israel continues with Israel acting as a hired gun, on both its own account, and those of the Americans. Not only that. Israeli acts of sabotage against Iran are politically reciprocated by the Pentagon in the promise to keep Trump’s “no two peoples and two states” solution. Israeli annexations on the West Bank have been ratified, as has the partial annexation of East Jerusalem by Tel Aviv. The recent uprisings by Palestinians against the Israeli army, and the launching of rockets by Hamas, though based on what was happening in Israel, also has an international dimension. (The Netanyahu government has increased rents in Jerusalem and other cities where the Israeli-Palestinian population live. Economically they cannot meet the new price regime, and are thus forced to abandon their homes.) The Covid crisis has as usual, penalised the poorest people, who are yet again the Palestinian population residing in Israel. The government has vaccinated almost the entire Israeli population, but not the Palestinian population who, in addition to the lack of vaccines, do not have access to health facilities. They live in the deepest poverty in the middle of a severe health and human emergency. Before the present conflict, the poverty rate in the Gaza Strip had already reached 80% due to the decade-old Israeli blockade that is still in place. According to the Palestinian General Confederation of Trade Unions, 77% of Gaza’s homes have been bombed and irremediably damaged by Israeli air strikes, leaving hundreds dead and thousands of families homeless, forced to move to nearby villages or even emigrate.
Unemployment and poverty are the norm across the West Bank and considerably worse than in Gaza, where 60% of young people are unemployed. This is the motive for the riots in the West Bank and the launch of rockets from the Gaza Strip. But the contest between Palestinians and the Israeli government is part of another scenario. Launching rockets towards Askelon, Lod and Tel Aviv is fine sport for Iran in its confrontation with Israel. Tel Aviv’s response to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip is not only an act of war against Hamas, but also a warning shot aimed at its Iranian godfather. In doing so, Israel continues to defend its national interests by maintaining its settlements in the West Bank, where it exploits 80% of the water of an increasingly dry River Jordan, as well as with the “legal” annexation of East Jerusalem and increased settlements in the West Bank. And at the same time, it curries favour with the Biden government by acting as the US military’s “long arm” against Turkish arrogance, and against Iran, Egypt and Qatar, in the struggle for control of the southern Mediterranean and the Middle East. In addition, their joint attacks against Iran are well known, such as cyber attacks and the targeted killing of some generals of the Iranian army (Suleimani) as well as nuclear engineers. Israel does the same in its raids on Syria against pro-Assad military forces, including the Russians. Consequently, it aids Al Qaeda’s jihadism and the remnants of the Islamic State. The “Abraham Accords”2 , heavily promoted by Trump but continued by the “democratic” Biden, is the tactical scheme to bring “pax Americana” to the Middle East to thwart the old imperialist rival of Russia and the new interference of the Chinese. Biden thus vetoed the UN vote on the condemnation of Israel for their military excesses with the drastic statement that: “The State of Israel has the right to defend itself.”
With Turkey, Things are More Complex for Everyone
Turkish imperialism is playing games on many tables and with multiple players. It is in NATO, but it acts individually, causing friction with other countries that are part of it, such as Greece and Israel. It has the same attitude towards Europe. It wants to join the EU but picks fights with Italy, France and Cyprus over oil interests. It is in open conflict with Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates, and supports Qatar in the battle for supremacy in the Muslim world. Erdoğan uses religion to increase his prestige among the Sunni countries, as a tool of an imperialist role that he has been pursuing for years in the region. Turkey is an “ally” of Russia in the Mediterranean oil sector (Turkish Stream), but its opponent in Syria, where it still arms and supports jihadist forces against Moscow’s ally Assad. Turkey and Russia face each other in Libya but, though predatory enemies, have come to an agreement for the division of the oil zones of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. Turkey is therefore an enemy of Moscow but, tactical convenience demands that it be ready to entertain economic relations and pragmatic settlements on all tactical-strategic issues, oil in particular. Turkish Stream aside, Erdoğan is one of the main buyers of Russian gas and, though belonging to NATO, he does not disdain Putin’s military supplies, such as the S-400 anti-missile missiles.
The Turkish attitude to the Silk Road is not yet clear. On the one hand, it could go along with Beijing’s plans, granting the use of its ports on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, making Turkey a cornerstone of the Chinese project of commercial and financial rapprochement with Europe, without aligning with the Sino-Russian-Iranian axis. It would however allow it to make substantial economic and geopolitical gains. On the other hand, it could hinder Beijing by ignoring its project. By doing so, it would give up the still hypothetical advantages just mentioned, but would be able to play its cards better in the Mediterranean with greater military weight and decision-making within NATO. It would also give it greater authority in dealing with the European Union and in interfering in energy projects in Libya against Italy and France. In Syria it could continue to claim that the Kurdish question is its only concern and it would allow it to make the effort to re-establish, on a new basis, a better relationship with Biden’s America.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that China is capitalist and imperialist, exploiting its own workers as well as the proletariat of other countries, some dyed-in-the-wool old Maoists and some neo-Maoists are applauding a miracle. The Chinese model of “socialist” capitalism, according to their perverse narrative, while not 100% representing the “classic” model of a communist society, has had the merit of enormously developing the productive forces, creating wealth and making China a world economic and political power. True enough, but these pathetic Maoists forget that all this is taking place within a capitalist framework at the service of increasing the national capital which, by definition, is only possible through the super-exploitation of the working class. Enough wealth has been created to develop a strong national bourgeoisie that administers its huge interests through the Chinese Communist Party. The distribution of the wealth produced takes place solely on the basis of the laws of capital which ferociously (see the Shenzhen model) forced hundreds of millions of proletarians to work on average for 10/12 hours a day, without holidays, without health care and at starvation wages. In the year of “grace” 1982, the second leader of the "rebirth" of China, Deng Xiao Ping, abolished strikes by establishing a climate of militaristic terror in the factories. On the basis of this bestial exploitation (which in many ways recalls that of the English proletariat of the early nineteenth century) China has built its capitalist wealth, which like all capitalist powers, forced it into imperialist confrontation. In allying and opposing those giants who already had an empire it was looking to create its own. Instead of imitating their productive and distributive structures and aggression towards the outside world, a real communist society, worthy of the name, would have had to reject them.
Two conditions were essential for Chinese capitalism to make a leap forward in its contradictory evolution. The first consisted in an enormous development of the productive forces which allowed it to produce low-cost goods, competitive on the international market, through savage exploitation of its proletariat. The second, complementary to the first: so that the development of the productive forces could express itself at its best, it forced Chinese capitalism, like all other highly developed capitalist states, to further increase the exploitation of its proletariat by adding to the absolute surplus value which is based on the lengthening of the working day, the extortion of relative surplus value. i.e. shortening the working time necessary to reproduce the wage value of the worker. To do this, the productive apparatus must be equipped with advanced technologies which, while increasing the rate of exploitation, decrease the number of jobs, raise the organic composition of capital (the ratio between dead labour represented by machinery and living labour represented by workers) and trigger a fall in the rate of profit. If we were in a communist society, the development of the productive forces, in addition to decreasing the social costs of production and increasing the availability of consumer goods, would give us more free time. Only in such a society would it be possible for everyone to work less, and widen the equal distribution of social wealth. In China, on the other hand, the same development creates unemployment and greater exploitation for those who work. China is thus fully entitled to be ranked as one of the great imperialist powers. As such China is also experiencing the most important of capitalist contradictions: the greater the development of the productive forces, the more workers are exploited, the more the rate of surplus value (the relative one) increases and the more the rate of profit decreases, putting in place a series of contradictions that are at the basis of the current economic and financial crises. This permanent crisis is responsible for international tensions, proxy wars, the spectre of a generalised war, the migrations of biblical proportions of those fleeing from the resulting devastation, ecological disasters. In short, everything that can happen to a humanity that lives under the dominion of capital, and which suffers from its incurable contradictions, first among them, the ever greater difficulty of valorising capital, due to the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.
Only the storm of international proletarian revolution will be able to sweep away the barbarism of a decadent capitalism which includes China. A China which, at the end of the Second World War, came into existence in a war of national liberation against Japanese imperialism, under the pretence of making a proletarian revolution. A China where the “Great Helmsman” Mao invented the people’s war as a substitute for the class struggle. Where a fake communist party submitted the interests of the peasants and proletarians to the national capitalist framework headed by the petty bourgeoisie, and by that part of the nationalist big bourgeoisie willing to fight against the Japanese enemy. A China that allowed Mao to dream up the theory of the four revolutionary classes (peasants, proletarians, small and large national bourgeoisie), and to enslave the working class in the development of the capitalist productive forces. His conclusion was that the contradictions of the future Chinese society, as contradictions within the people, could be resolved on the terrain of collaboration between the classes, and did not require a head-on conflict between them. This was the basis for the development of Deng Xiao Ping’s preventive counter-revolution in the 1980s that allowed capitalist development to continue (let’s not forget with low wages, 12-hour working days and anti-strike laws with harsh prison sentences for workers who struck). Xi Jinping has completed the job by developing Chinese imperialism which, according to his plans, should become the strongest in the world by 2035, thanks also to the construction of the New Silk Road. Let’s just hope a real international proletarian revolution will sweep away the class war that Stalino-Maoism has waged so dramatically against the Chinese working class, and against the interests of the international proletariat!
15 May 2021
Picture from: Fars News Agency, commons.wikimedia.org
- 1Al-Araby Al-Jadeed is a pan-Arab media outlet headquartered in London. It was first launched in March 2014 as an online news website by Qatari company Fadaat Media. It went on to establish a daily newspaper in September 2014. In January 2015, Fadaat launched Al Araby TV Network as a counterweight to Al Jazeera, which is widely viewed to hold a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias.
- 2The “Abraham Accords” claim to promote Middle East peace but in fact are imposed on Arab and Muslim states that want to either curry favour with the US or need some deal from it by recognising the State of Israel. The most egregious example is Morocco which signed it in order to get the first recognition of its annexation of Western Sahara. Similar pressure has been put on the UAE, Sudan and Bahrain to do deals with Israel.