World panorama

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The international press dealt in a perplexed way with the turn taken by the confrontation between the United States and North Korea, which changed from a threat of nuclear bombing by Donald Trump to a "peace meeting" in Singapore -of clownish characterististics. Further comments on this turn were equally ambiguous, from the starring characters as well as from the observers. The conclusions made known pointed to a perspective of prolonged negotiations on the "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula" – an obscure formula which does not set clear if it refers to North Korea or it also involves the North American bases in South Korea. On the other hand, Trump assured that economic sanctions against Kim Jong-un's regime will continue until reaching the objective of North Korea's complete nuclear disarmament. Right after, nonetheless, he announced a suspension of the joint military essays with South Korea and Japan. Lastly, if this was possible, the North American press denounced that the center of nuclear research of North Korea had been promoted. Is there a tendency to war or do we just assist to an extortions and violences policy that pretends, on the contrary, to avoid it?

One version attributes the meeting between Trump and Kim to a success of the economic sanctions adopted against North Korea in joint form by the United States, China, Russia and other powers. A minority fraction of the Chinese bureaucracy is said to have even posed to support a military action to stop Kim's atomic plan – as reported in several occasions by the Financial Times. Circumstantial evidence contributed by the media pointed to an almost complete fall of the inter-border trade between China and North Korea in this period, which was reverted in the eve of the Trump-Kim's pre-negotiations. According to other sources, Trump and the Chinese Xi Jin-pin were forced to go through the diplomatic path, once they arrived at the conclusion that North Korea had conquered an irreversible nuclear status, one that could only be contained. South Korea's presidential initiative, inviting the North to attend the Olympic Games in Seoul, was carried out with the acceptance of all the parties in dispute. The South Korean center-left resumed in this way a policy that had failed two decades ago, despite of considerable advances in commercial opening by North Korea, including the establishment of "economic zones" for foreign investments. The initiative of South Korean Kim Moon counts with strong support in the South. That operation showed that the social interests of the Northern ruling bureaucracy – at least the one exposed officially-, lie on reaching a reunification of the whole country, under the political form of a confederation settled on similar social bases and perspectives. It would be a variant of the "one country, two systems" regime, which China started with Hong Kong and which marked the beginning of the capitalist transformation of the Chinese state.

In order to avoid losing ourselves in diplomatic conjectures it is necessary to analyze the forces in presence as a whole. The capitalist world crisis and the extraordinary deepening of the economic and political rivalries have brought to light an impasse in world politics that claims for an outcome.

The relevance of the North Korean nuclear question has to do with its ambiguous social status in world politics. Pakistan or India, for example, are states that do not face extortions in nuclear matters, simply because they're capitalist and because, at the time, they were used as a counterbalance to China whose social regime was state property. Iran, though different, finds itself proscribed in nuclear matters since the 1979 Revolution- it wasn't so before, under the Shah regime. Iran finds itself confronted against the zionist state, which is the strategic piece of imperialism, not only in the Middle East. It is clear, though, that North American imperialism has imposed limits to the military atomic development of the powers which are its allies, in order to impose respect towards its world hegemony. The Chinese atomic status was tolerated or supported before the transition to capitalism, to exploit the Chinese-Russian confrontation, unleashed in the 60s. During a long period, North Korea counted with the military protection of the People's Republic of China. The only 'nuclear parity' the US had to tolerate was with the former Soviet Union.

The nuclear dispute over North Korea has to do, therefore, with the contradiction between its social and political status, on the one hand, and the world economy and politics, on the other.

In the present world scenario, nevertheless, the adoption of a "Chinese way", on the part of North Korea, is conditioned by the growing economic dispute between the United States and China. A Korean 'opening' under Chinese lead, would mean, in the first place, Japan's relegation and, secondly, the growth of the Chinese influence in the economy and politics of South Korea. There's no need to say this is an unacceptable way out from the point of view of North American imperialism. It is Japan, precisely, the one that has the lead in the opposition of an understanding with Kim Jong-un. Contrarily, the establishment of a 'special relationship' between the North Korean regime and Trump, would be intolerable for China; the Pentagon has not stopped increasing the military operations and espionage against China. Criticism coming from the North American bourgeoisie towards the coming together of Trump and the North Korean regime ties up the negotiation to the possibility of a second mandate for Trump, and has become, because of this, an inner politics dispute field in the US. Trump has not lifted the sanctions off North Korea- the contrary of what China has been doing, which in fact has liberalized the inter-border trade and provoked, as well, a sudden real estate speculation in that zone and a reactivation of the economy beyond the border. The North American offensive against China, in the last weeks, with a tariffs escalation which threatens to reach 200 billion dollars, also aims at the purpose of imposing a 'pax americana' in the Korean peninsula. Japan had no other choice but to go with Trump. We are attending to a game of five, with Japan and South Korea, and even six -Russia, which shares a border with North Korea. Putin won't stop presenting his own demands in these negotiations – such as the annulment of the sanctions he suffers for the occupation of Crimea, or to counter Trump's attempt of replacing the gas from Russia to Europe, and specially Germany, with the increasing non-conventional gas from Texas. As the thread is pulled, there appear all the conflicts of the world crisis and its protagonists. The problem is not "the rocket-man", as Trump baptized Kim Jong-un, but the whole international clashes and rivalries of a capitalism in bankruptcy.

An elevated percentage of South Korea's population supports again a perspective of agreement with the North and even a reunification given certain conditions. In the case that the "Chinese" transition of North Korea flourishes and a conditional reunification thrives, the workers of the north must face the growing shortage and inequalities of a privatization of the economy and their own reconvertion in labor force. The capitalist unity of the peninsula will affect even more the labor rights of southern workers. This perspective poses the need of the union of the workers of Korea, with a program of their own. The working class is faced with an international struggle so that the national Korean destiny can be decided by the workers. The struggle for the national self-determination of Korea, on the basis of preservation of social conquests and a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly, will turn the proletariat of the peninsula into a decisive force, and it will serve as a bridge for the workers of China and Japan. The ruling classes and bureaucracies of the region are highly conscious of the 'danger' posed by a collapse of the 'negotiations' and an intervention of the masses. Veiled by part of the media, lies the main historical factor in presence.

Middle East

While in Asia-Pacific a potential bellicose scenario of gigantic proportions is taking form – and of revolutionary challenges, as well-  the war in the middle East grows in magnitude and operates as a general rehearsal of a war perspective for the world as a whole.

The relative consolidation of the axis Putin-Bashar Al Assad-Iran in Syria has been responded by a military escalation on the part of the Zionist state, which includes Gaza and Lebanon. The massacres in Gaza respond to the long term goal of eradicating the Palestinian population; the Zionist government has officially rejected the ‘two states’ exit. There has also taken place a colossal worsening of the war and the massacres in Yemen, on the hands of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Trump's dismissal of ‘the six’ agreement (Russia, Germany, France, China, Great Britain, USA), which imposes a limit on the nuclear development of Iran, has created a crisis in the economic and political relations of the US and the European Union. Trump demands that the Revolutionary Guard of Iran, Hezbollah and other shiite forces retreat from Syria and stop supporting their allies in Yemen. He demands, as well, to interfere in the Russia-Turkey-Iran agreement about the political-constitutional exit in Syria. Trump and Netanyahu dennounce the intention of the Iranian regime of imposing an ‘influence zone’ that would extend from Tehran to the Mediterranean. In this way, they attempt to justify a war which would settle a political and military domination of the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia in the region. The European Union, together with China and Russia, requires Tehran to give in to North American demands, with the pretext of saving the nuclear agreement and ceasing the economic sanctions. The acceptance of this sort of ultimatum would become, no doubt, the first step in the collapse of the Iranian regime, also harassed by the native bourgeoisie, harshly beaten by the international blockade of the economy.

Notorious publications, such as The Economist and the Financial Times, have characterized that Trump has undertaken a ‘regime change’ policy, i.e. finishing off the Iranian political regime – which, ultimately, means a military attack. The reinforcement of economic sanctions, by Trump, has once again turned Iran into a dispute field against the companies, specially from Europe, which had taken advantage of the treaty to solidly invest in the petroleum exploitation, which is currently obsolete in fundamental aspects. The North American veto to companies such as Total, has exposed the domination of the monetary system centred in the dollar over the whole world economy. From promoter of a ‘global commerce’, in the postwar, it has become its main obstacle. The previsions about a transition from dollar to yuan, as axis of the international monetary system, are part of the pacifist illusions. All monetary transitions, from the Dutch florin on, have gone through international wars. Anyway, the Shanghai Stocks exchange has been the most beaten by the present financial war.

In contrast with this offensive against Iran and Europe, the precarious alliance knitted among Syria, Turkey and Russia has kept moving forward in order to impose, on their own terms, the so-called “political exit” to the war in Syria. Turkey collides with the rest of NATO and specially with the United States, because of its policy to eradicate the Kurdish movement from the Kurdish territory of the north of Syria. In the middle of this war an unwritten agreement can be perceived which divides Syria into control zones – on the part of Turkey in the north, Israel in the south, and the so-called ‘fertile territory’ to Bashar al Assad. The national self-determination put forward by the ‘national and popular’ in almost the whole world to justify their support to the slaughterer regime in Syria is a mere tale. The Astrana agreements, on the one side, among Erdogan, Rouhani and Putin, and the ones established between Putin and Netanyahu, on the other, leave no doubt as regards the arrangement on the precarious partition of Syria, masked by the “political exit” phraseology.

In the eagerness of cohesing his internal front, after the military coup of 2016, Erdogan has unleashed other international conflicts, out of Syria and Iraq, for example in relation to the gas exploitation in the coasts of Cyprus, where Greece and Israel are also in dispute. Tsipras (the former ‘friend’ of the Palestinians) has reached and agreement with Netanyahu. The Cyprian matter confronts Turkey and Greece again. The Arab revolutions of 2011 brought into the light the definite invalidity of the political regimes that emerged in the Middle East after the defeats suffered in the last two wars against Israel. Once again, the world economic crisis strikes Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, and also the oil producer Saudi Arabia. The illusions, on the part of the ‘islamic’ bourgeoisie of the Turkish Anatolia, of forging an own hegemony in the territory of the former Ottoman Empire, have been fulminated. It’s impossible to present a forecast for the Middle East without integrating the disintegration of Erdogan's regime to the scenario as a whole.

The conflict, centered in the war in Syria, has expanded towards the clash between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose official cause is the joint exploitation of the gas deposits of the Persian Gulf that the emirate develops with Iran. The Saudis have gone as far as planning an invasion of its neighbor with a mercenary army, which they stopped in the face of the Pentagon's opposition. The US has avoided to align officially with the Saudi kingdom on this point, and even push in favour of an arrangement. In exchange it demands a cease of the support from Qatar to Hamas, in Gaza. Erdogan supports the Qatari and has assigned a military force to support the Emir of Qatar. Pompeo tries to disarticulate the everyday growing conflict. An eventual attack to Iran would be a regional conflict several times the magnitude of the one in Syria.

There is a notorious tendency, though, to the political disintegration of the Saudi regime, which has been manifested in the purge unleashed by the new government of Mohammed bin Salam against kingdom sheiks. The fall of the petroleum international price, two years ago, stripped naked the vulnerability of the Saudi’s petroleum economy, with fiscal deficits increasing and an unstoppable growth of the public debt – and, above all, unemployment. From here emerge the plans of offering a percentage of Aramco, the petroleum monopoly, in the stock markets and proceeding to an improbable “diversification of the economy”. The intention of putting part of Aramco for sale has unleashed a strong dispute between the London City and the New York Exchange. The fight for the interference and an eventual control of this gigantic company could strike the whole petroleum market. The rapprochement of Saudi Arabia with Russia and even China (main international fuel importer), is not alien to this non-solution impasse of the Saudi monarchy. The postponment of the announced public offer of Aramco during 2018, is the result of the confrontations within the kingdom. A private participation would uncover the corruption which involves its directory and the sheiks' prebends. Most recent news assert that the stock shares sale would be in the Saudi Arabia stock exchange -the Tadawul Exchange.

The academy and political journalism tend to magnify the solidity of the Zionist state, in contrast with the crises of its so-called ‘historical enemies’. Netanyahu couldn’t prevent, though, the ‘successful’ entry of Russia to the Syrian scenario, the advancing of the pro-Iranian shiism (independent of the unstoppable crisis of the Ayatollahs regime), the rupture of its historical alliance with Turkey and, at last and most important, the disintegration precisely of all its neighboring states, and even the revolutionary outbreak of the masses in many of them. The crisis of the old regime in the Middle East appears as a breath of fresh air that zionism confuses with viability, when it’s all the contrary, because Zionism can’t fill the vacuum of this sinking. The alternative of generalized war is simply a nightmare for the Jewish population. This explains the repeated pronouncements of the security apparatus of the Zionist state and of former army chiefs contrary to the expansion policy of colonial settlements and the systematic expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs. The historical limitation of Zionism won’t be saved by an alliance with Trump -it could only precipitate collapse.

The popular mobilizations in Iran and Tunisia, at the beginning of the year, specially the ones of the workers of the factories of all scales, and even the metallurgic partial strikes in Turkey (victorious in general), show that the counter-revolutionary coups and repression haven’t put an end to the tendency to popular rebellion. In this context, the historical slogans of the IV International remain even more vital than in the past; we refer to the Socialist Federation of the Middle East, through proletarian revolution. The so-called ethnic divisions are essentially of political character, they don’t have the entity assigned by the confessional sects. They’ll be overcome by alliances of the exploited leaded by the working class, on internationalist bases and perspective. This Socialist Federation will make viable the dismantling of the Zionist state and the effective realization of the right to return of the Palestinian people.

The transition towards a world crisis of greater scale

World economy has entered a stage of commercial and financial confrontations without precedents. It is a consequence of the development that the crisis has had since the international 2007/8 bankruptcy. There stand out, in this new phase, the retaliations among the main powers. There is a manifest reversion of financial flows which affect the whole world economy, not only the so-called ‘emerging economies’. The ‘normalization’ of the monetary policy has come too late to contain the collapse of public debts and the extraordinary indebtedness of banks and industrial companies. Sharpening of the economic war, fundamentally financial, in this last case could bring down many political regimes and create revolutionary situations.

Bourgeois economists present the unfolding of the crisis as a “macroeconomic” phenomenon that concerns disequilibrium in public accounts and payment balances. As it’s shown by the downfall of investments at world level, there’s a crisis of the anticipated benefit rate. With its back towards “macroeconomic” collapses and the failure of economic policies, operates the fundamental law of capitalism, which is the tendency to invested capital's devaluation. The intention of overcoming this limit through a fictitious valuation, widens the range of the subsequent collapse: the rents consume the industrial profits – the dividends are being paid by means of loans. The world crisis is an anarchic method of restructuring the social relations of production, which have entered an evergrowing contradiction along the development of the productive forces. It sharpens class struggle and the tendency to war, on the one side, and to revolution, on the other.

There exists a tendency to national withdrawal, which is no more than evidence that the State is the last resource of capital when facing bankruptcy. But the crisis that the capitalist rescue provokes on national states can only be solved in the arena of international rivalry. From here emerges the tendency to fascism and war. The protectionist measures that Trump's regime has triggered aim, in an inverse sense, to an inner market wall. On Mexico and Canada, as well as on the European Union and the Euro zone, and very specially, of course, on China, the North American government pretends, on the one hand, to impose a greater access of its capitals, and above all to block the development of its rivals. The stage of extraordinary profits offered by the integration to the world market of Russia and China has become relatively exhausted -the yield of ‘globalization' is decreasing.

Trump’s group of advisors demands no less than China setting a limit to the development of the value scale of its industry, which threatens to break the monopoly of the United States in the field of semiconductors -the core of modern technology ('China 2025'). They demand, as well, to set restraints to the expansion of the so-called ‘silk road’, which is an infrastructure plan along the territory that unites China and Europe, through diverse corridors. Just like the  European Union planned in the 80/90s decade, without success. By posing these demands in terms of national security, Trump has made official a policy of war against the Chinese Republic. The question of North Korea, as it’s already been said, it’s interlaced with the evolution of this strategic conflict. Not minor is the importance of the clash with Europe, where the decreasing advantages of the Euro zone become more palpable every day – the vain attempt of the European bourgeoisie to create a reserve currency to be a competitor against the dollar. The collapse of Greece, the Brexit, now the Italian crisis and in general the growth of the tendencies to national withdrawal Europe's far right, constitute clear evidence of a deceleration or directly a fall of the capitalist benefit rate, despite the gigantic destruction of social rights that has been carried out, specially in Europe.

The unfolding of the world crisis has unleashed a clash of social forces towards the interior of the world bourgeoisie, and specially of the North American bourgeoisie. The restoration bureaucracy of China and a capitalist class which rose with this restoration don’t have the means to build a new imperialism -'in a single country'. They face, in the short term, the burst of a financial crisis, which already had its first explosion between 2014 and 2015. That crisis hovers over them as a consequence of the gigantic real estate speculation; its financing by ‘deregulated’ banks, which are in a state if insolvency; an excess of installed capacity in saturated industries; a gigantic immobilization of capital in the North American Treasury and other countries' bonds. Besides its plans of ‘expansion’, the Chinese bureaucracy has unfolded other plans to gain the assistance of the international financial system to come to rescue the Chinese finances.

We should not forget that the restoration of capitalism in China, no matter how important its territory and specially its population or potential of development may be, takes place with the methods of the senile and decaying capitalism -the capitalism of monopolies and of gigantic fictitious capital. The great projects of China face their own limits. This explains the repeated attempts of the government to produce a banking and Stocks long term reform meant to attract the international financing of its objectives -technological as well as of infrastructure. A part, probably the majority, of world capital, would be inclined to become an associate, in its own terms, to these objectives, and not to block them, as it has been happening since the beginnings of the capitalist restoration. It is shown by the association of several countries to the Bric’s Bank (Brasil, Russia, India, China), and the Infrastructure Bank mounted by China, from which only the US and Japan excluded themselves – even before Trump’s ascension. It is true, nonetheless, that such a ‘way’ could not have cancelled the tendency to rivalry for the distribution of benefits and, ultimately, the tendency to its decreasing profits. While Trump dedicates himself to threatening the whole world through tweets, agreements take place in the world market every day between international and Chinese companies. The goal is to enter the most valuable markets in China and even gather the necessary capital to do so by means of associations. France and Germany, in recent years, have attempted, though, to block the association of Chinese capitals, under the “let’s defend our national champions” slogan. On the other hand, they make an effort to force China to open its markets even more to European investments.

Another very important target of Trump’s offensive is the Euro zone, specially Germany, whom he accuses of accumulating an unacceptable commercial surplus. Trump, an agent for oil companies, wants to impose the entrance of non-conventional North American gas to Europe, which until now has fed from North Africa and Russia. It’s a collosal capitalist conflict, with consequences for international political alignments. The regime of the Atlantic Alliance, imposed after the last war, is in the burst of explosion. Trump has declared that any attempt on the part of Europe to endow itself with an independent military force, would be considered ‘causus belli’. The Italian crisis and the political front change that took place in Italy in the last elections inaugurates a new phase of disintegration of the EU and the Euro zone. As it’s shown by its impact in Germany, where Merkel’s government is staggering, already beaten by the rejection it gathered in the last elections. Differently from Greece and, naturally, from Brexit, Italy has a ‘B plan’ awaiting, which foresees the circulation of a currency parallel to Euro, which would continue to operate as a unity of actives account and financial patrimonies, to replace it in the right time, and put and end to the monetary unity of the zone. The world crisis keeps bringing down, without mercy, the whole ‘institutional’ building mounted by imperialism, and has opened the veins of a dissolution of the world market.

The outstanding side of this crisis is the division it has caused within North American bourgeoisie, what in Argentina would be baptized as “the great crack”. The opposition to Trump does not cease to highlight his ‘mercantilist’ contradictions – for example, that a ‘levelling’ of the commerce with China would harm the exports to the United States, by North American companies installed there. In opposition to the ‘equilibrium’ of trade balance, they demand attention is paid to the payment balance, where there is register of a pronounced surplus in favor of the USA in concept of dividends, interests repatriation and diverse services abroad. Well-known analysts highlight that the US does not have the production capacity to attend the USD 350 thousand million that would be necessary to rectify the commercial deficit with China. These different approaches unveiled the industrial desert that was created in the United States by the internationalization of North American capital and its conversion at the lowest scale of value from nations with cheaper labor force – the colossal dimension of its fictitious capital has hypertrophied its industrial development. The decreasing profits of ‘globalization’ for North American capital are interlaced with the obsolescence in which infrastructure and great part of the industry have been left to in the United States, where social deterioration is growing. The workers of Europe and the United States have been the most beaten, relatively, by ‘globalization’. The incompatibility between the form of the national state, on the one side, and world economy, on the other, has reached an explosive state without precedents.

Though financial analysts highlight that the economic war that has been unleashed hasn’t affected the financial markets yet, the reversion of the “rising rally” of the public debt and the stock market is evident since last December.

The interest rate of the ten year bond of the US Treasury has risen in two years from the base of 1.30% to 3.1%. The gearing with this bond, which is used as debt guarantee by banks, has started to go down, to avoid the risk of extraordinary loss.

This is the evolution of the interest rate of the two year bond of Italy – from a negative annual rate of -0.25% to 0.50% annual. The collapse of the bonds is a sign that the ‘markets’ consider the public debt of Italy, of almost two and a half billion Euros, has entered the ‘default’ zone.The stocks market of developed countries is not doing any better than the ‘emerging’ markets, no matter the rise in qualification given to one or the other.

Talking about stability of the financial markets is ignoring what is going on.

This Emerging Markets Index, EEM, accumulates since the beginning of the year a downfall of over 10%.               

With a different sequence from the one of the 30s crisis, the tendency to a new collapse is clear. In China, the Central Bank has just turned on the tap of liquidity to rescue the companies and insolvent banks, while Russia has gone to the rescue of several conglomerates hit by Trump's sanctions.

The reduction in taxes fostered by Trump’s government has produced a money flow towards the US and created a certain liquidity at an international level, hitting the most indebted markets. As a counterpart, it increases the North American public debt, in order to finance a Treasury and states deficit of around 6/7% of the GDP – which is close to one and a half billion dollars, with a naturally growing tendency. This economic reactivation policy constitutes a recognition of the limits of the attempts to overcome the recessive cycle unleashed by the 2007/8 crisis, and even before, by the Asian crisis (1997). The Federal Reserve has begun withdrawing monetary financiation of the deficit to avoid the pulverization of the dollar as international reserve currency. GIven this general picture, there are many who foresee that the money leaks from several ‘emerging’ countries, such as Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and potentially Mexico, would become detonators of a new generalized financial collapse.

Crises, collapses and wars have been the mothers of all revolutions, which, in the end, are no other than the expression of the rebellion of the productive forces against the existing social and political order. The left, in a widely generalized way, has resourced to the pretext that no political nor social regime fall automatically, with the purpose of developing a purely empirical pose before the world crisis, and to reject turning it into the granitic starting point of any revolutionary strategy in the current period. The Arab revolutions, civil wars, in some cases, and imperialists, in others, have been, if not the product, the result of the world crisis –  just like the ‘argentinazo’, the collapse of ‘populist’ administrations in Latin America, or at present, the collapse of ‘neo-liberal’ administrations and the on-going insurrection in Nicaragua against a ‘Bolivarian’ government sustained by the yankee imperialism.

“Attention! Turn right!”

One of the most relevant political developments of the present period has been the ascention of the so-called “far right” in a substantial number of countries. In general, this right has formed bonapartist or semi-bonapartist governments, of personal power and fictitious parliaments. The gallery goes from Putin and Xi Jing-pin to Trump and from Erdogan or the Egyptian Al Sissi (added recently) to the Saudi Mohammed bin Salman, and it is manifest above all in the Eastern Europe states, growing in Italy and Germany. Though strongly marked by political, national and historical non-transferrable peculiarities, it presents as its unifying thread the unfolding of the world crisis.

Putin's case is emblematic because it emerges as a way out by the security services of the State on the face of the threat of national disintegration implied in the capitalist restoration under the lead of Yeltsin's circle and specially the United States, and the lead of the Clintons and the big international banks. The collapse of the Moscow Stocks and the banking bankruptcy in 1997, following the trail of the Asian southeast crisis, interweave Russian bonapartism with the international capitalist bankruptcy. The promise of democracy flaunted by capitalist restoration, remained buried before it even formed an embryo. Putinian bonapartism aims to contain, as well, processes of national self-determination and the development of independent working class organizations. The bonapartist imprint excludes it from being a fascist phenomenon, whose followers have remained on the margins, because there is not a civil war scenario. The phenomenon of the far right must not be confused with fascism, which is always a mobilization of declassed masses by the same capitalist crisis, against the proletariat, with civil war methods. Under concrete exceptional conditions, though, bonapartism may emerge as a brief transition or a bridge towards fascism.

Rightist phenomena in eastern Europe have a similar root to the Russian one, though mitigated, at first, because of its integration to the European Union, and emphasized, subsequently, by that same belonging, which was aggravated by the burst of the crisis a decade ago. In this case as in the Russian one, the right consolidates itself after the passage through social-democrat experiences, which are the ones that take the lead of economic privatization and adjustment programs. The center-left end up being identified with misery and loss of national autonomy -a common characteristic in all processes of drift towards the right, there where the influence of a revolutionary party is not manifest. The possibilities of a bolshevik rebirth in the area of the former socialist field were exhausted, temporarily, by the defeats of the working class rebellions in the east and Russia, during the 70s and 80s, and specially because of the conversion of the left into the capitalist restoration field. It is not possible to conceive even the development of a revolutionary left without the most relentless criticism of the democratizing pose, that covers up for and continues covering up for capital and its politics.

Despite marked diversity among the bonapartist phenomena and specially the ascent of the right or 'far right', the acid test of this political right uprise has had at its center the countries which have been the core of the so-called 'European unity'. In this sense, this right turn appears in its early form as a reaction to the so-called loss of national sovereignty and the crises faced, from the beginning, by the assembly of a single economical and political area. From the 'steel community', in the beginning, to the 'common market' and the 'Euro zone', that 'unity' has been moved forward by crisis blows, which have intensified its unsurmountable contradictions – namely, the impossibility of an international capitalist association or 'ultraimperialism'. The rightist attempt faces, though, a decisive limitation, which is the impossibility to overcome the impasse of the 'European unity' by means of a return to the old national economic, and thus political, borders. This turn to the right  threatens to make this 'unity' explode from its very own gravitation centre. This unsurmountable contradiction has manifested itself, with the burst of the world crisis in Greece, then in Great Britain and several times in Italy. The increasing Brexit impasse puts into evidence the uncertainty of any attempt to go backwards, even for a power such as Great Britain. Forward or backwards, the EU and the euro zone get closer to an implosion of huge range, which will have revolutionary or counter-revolutionary consequences, in function of the forces in presence and the international context. This implosion will determine the possibility of a fascist phenomenon, not before; the ascent of the right or ‘far right’ to the government constitutes an anticipatory attempt, confined to 'damage control', under a bonapartist form.

The most ‘reckless’ rightist phenomenon is, no doubt, the German one, with the ascent of AfD, the Alternative for Germany, which vindicates the nazi tradition. From contention factor of the old fashioned nationalism in Europe and defendant of a supra-national identity, Germany could become just the opposite. The reactionary current has gained impulse from the unemployed and impoverished sectors from the states that were under stalinist control before the ‘unification’. A great part of them has turned into declassed. The political regime has lost electoral support, which fell from 80% to less than 50%, for the two main parties of the system. The divergences about the migratory matter are not the cause of this political decomposition, but barely the loincloth of the fundamental: the disintegration of the EU and the Euro zone – a currency that hasn’t accomplished the purpose of competing with the dollar as reserve currency. The attack and repression to the migrants is a demagogic pre-fascist tool to detour the popular rebellion against growing social misery and the absence of exits. In the end, the giant masses displacement, from the Middle East and North Africa, is the consequence of massacre wars of the world capital and its states, which are not foreseen to cease.

The ascent of the right and the ‘far right’ takes place on the backs of social-democracy and stalinism in Europe, which have retreated to sect level, or, as in Spain or Portugal, govern in minority with the backup of maoists, ‘trotskytes’ and ‘indignated’ (Podemos). The center-left, the left, and the ‘far left’, in Europe, have been active protagonists of the so-called ‘European construction’ -some from government, others ‘critically’, i.e. hypocritically. The European ‘far left’ is, possibly, the one that has politically degenerated the most in the whole world. It posits a 'social Europe' or even a 'socialist Europe', as a prolongation of the pseudo-internationalization of the European states, and not as a rupture from the EU and the Euro, with the perspective of a United Socialist States of Europe, including Russia. The rightist demagogy doesn’t face revolutionary responses but democratizing ones, leaving the masses without an anti-capitalist perspective for fighting off fascism. The democratizing sinking has even dragged the traditional rights of France, Italy and even Spain (Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Rajoy); the disintegration of the Italian political system has decades -from the demo-christians and communists collapse- and the same has happened in France.

Rightist growth, i.e. European disintegration, has given place to new political developments; on the one hand, to political agreements of that right with Putin; on the other, even more important, Trump's flirt with the ‘anti-European’ right, which blends with the attacks on traditional parties and the economic war he has unleashed against the Euro countries. The economic war turns into a political war. The European chauvinism could see in Trump a ‘counterbalance’ to the resistance offered by the traditional ‘establishment’: in that case, he would change from a mitigated colonial master to one infinitely more aggressive – he would take the disintegration of Europe to paroxysm. The antagonisms of the capitalist process make unviable a chauvinist, pre-fascist, ‘far right International', from Trump to Putin, through Europe, not to mention it could include Erdogan, Xi Jing-pin or the North KOrean Kim Jong-un. What this fantasy sets clear, anyway, is the tendency of the bourgeoisie towards political reaction and war. Besides being the center of the capitalist world bankruptcy, the United States became also the center of a bonapartist and chauvinist exit to the political crisis deepened by the world crisis. What can be concluded with certainty in front of the political crisis unleashed in the US by Trump’s ascent and the resistance put forth by a strong sector of the North American bourgeoisie, is that a setback of North American bonapartism would result in a much temporary democratic counter-tendency – since Trump is a result of the decadence of the United States and the decadence of its democracy of imperialist content.

The bonapartist right has been taken to government, in several countries, as consequence of the world crisis, but it hasn’t solved, not even faced, the social problems created by that crisis; despite its verbal virulence and the police and services repression, it suffers from an important immobilism. In Hungary or Poland, it has been challenged, in more than one opportunity, by massive mobilizations. The crisis that has taken them to power, will take charge, by means of new bursts, of taking them down, it might be through popular means or via more reactionary means, but always with new class clashes and new political experiences. It will be the opportunity for the rebirth of revolutionary traditions among these peoples. Socialists must prepare, politically and organizationally, the masses irruption and a revolutionary outcome.

Latin America

Latin America has offered, along the whole development of this world crisis, a panorama of its own. The world crisis has swept away its bolivarian or national and popular experiences, and brought to light, once more and for the empteenth time, their incapacity to carry out an attempt of real national autonomy. Since the very debut of the present crisis in the 70s, poverty has multiplied ten times, and social misery which adds, to precarious survival, labor precarity and intensified exploitation to levels without precedents.

The rightist or ‘neoliberal’ counter offensive, brought about by this failure, hasn’t settled in any country: not in Argentina, neither in Brazil, nor in Ecuador or Chile. The elections that will take place in Mexico will make the pendulum swing the opposite way, without reopening a national independence perspective because of it. While López Obrador intends to appease Mexican tycoons, the collapse that threatens the trade treaty with Canada and the United States, will result in an exceptional intervention of all social classes. Mexico will face the possibility of a fragmentation of the national state. After a benevolent truce with international markets, the international economic war and its financial derivations have provoked a stampede of capitals out of the country. In Argentina the crisis has posited the possibility of a political collapse and a coaligated exit with peronism; in Brazil, the political crisis will show all its amplitude when the next elections expose naked the country's ungovernability. In both countries there have been powerful social outburtsts: in Argentina the working class' mobilization against the reform on pensions and the women's one for the right to abortion, besides numerous partial struggles which developed the method of occupation of working places; in Brazil, besides partial struggles, a recent truck drivers' strike, by autonomous unions and corporate ones, left the country at the brink of collapse and gave a severe blow to the petroleum ‘deregulation’ and privatization.

Latin America is going through a stage characterized by the decomposition of social and political regimes all along the continent. This is one of the peculiarities of the present political moment.

In Argentina, an invalidity of  macrism would posit, on the one side, the alternative of a coalition between macrism and  peronism; on the other, a coalition of peronism with kirchnerism which could accept, given the circumstances, a minor role. This is what also happens in Brazil, where lulism rejects a return to government by means of mobilization and direct action, and is making great efforts to find substitute candidates for Lula within a wide political spectrum of the bourgeoisie. Directly responsible for a monumental crisis and interlaced with the great bourgeoisie during their government administrations -including bribes and corruption-, kirchnerism and lulism pretend to function as an ultimate rescue resource of the capitalist regime, with keynesian ‘programs’ of economy reactivation, via exportations. At present the bourgeoisie denies them that return, and expects part of this agenda to be taken by ‘neoliberalism’. One and the other have launched a frontist campaign – of 'democratic unity' in Brazil and ‘anti-macrist’ in Argentina-, which has won support from several fractions of the left -e.g. the Psol, in Brazil. Any course this frontist pose may take, it will be shortlived, given the magnitude of the crisis and the recent exhaustion of their respective experiences. Latin American chavism, in retreat, goes on and on about the threat of ascent or reinforcement of the right, to attack the position of an independent workers’ alternative; curiously, the right does the same, to avoid new ‘argentinazos’. The political struggle for an adequate characterization of the present stage in Latin America, is a fundamental aspect to determine revolutionary politics. All elements considered as  a whole, the bourgeoisie has lost the strategic initiative and it has potentially gone over to the left independent of the capitalist blocks.

An adequate summary of this characterization is reflected in the popular rebellion in Nicaragua, which is assuming an insurrectional character. Ortega’s regime, namely chavist, is a direct agent of the IMF and the great ‘nica’ and foreign bosses, who have prized him as the best pupil of foreign investment in Latin America. He combats popular rebellion with fascist methods involving ‘task groups’. The masses in struggle certainly haven’t come to this situation with an own political perspective, which leaves margin for ‘democratic’ maneuvers from businessmen and the orteguist clergy, who flirt with rebellion. While the people in struggle demands the immediate fall of the Ortega family, the clergy and the bourgeoisie have accepted the convenance to early elections for mid next year; that is, the continuity of the criminal clique. This is the official position of Trump’s States Department too and the general secretariat of the OAS. The brand-new successor of Raul Castro in Cuba has also inclined towards this counter-revolutionary field. All the ‘nica’ democratizing field supports ‘negotiated’ or ‘by means of dialogue’ exits, accepting the ‘protection’ of the orteguist bands until an eventual political transition is completed.

The counter-revolutionary degeneration of continental chavism can, of course, be appreciated in Venezuela. A people’s confiscating economy has been implanted, without the perspective of alternative wayouts, in the sight of China and Russia conditionining their support to a reform of the economy on an agreement with Washington and a complete privatization of the Orinoco basin; as Brazil imposed, though under other conditions, on Petrobras and pre-salt petroleum.


The question of power is posed for the proletariat and the peasants of Latin America in terms of phase. The left assumes a revolutionary position when it develops a political delimitation in front of the power of capital, in its widest sense, and politically prepares the most advanced workers and the whole class in struggle for this perspective. The conquest of electoral spaces by the revolutionary left, in opposition to what anti-parliamentary cretinism sustains, constitutes a great political victory and has powered the capacity to develop the masses revolutionary consciousness and the determination to struggle for power through the direct action of the exploited. The contradiction between parliamentary action, on one side, and the revolutionary proposition for power, on the other, must be solved through propaganda and agitation, without concessions to parliamentarism.

The stage Latin America has entered, in the relentless context of the world crisis, demands an internationalist continental policy and the unity in action of the revolutionary forces. It is necessary to carry out an International Conference of the left in Latin America. This is a methodological proposition, which is useful to strengthen the political delimitation with the democratizing or centrist left, because it is carried out on the concrete historical field. It is a delimitation that collaborates in developing comprehension of the revolutionary perspectives. To pontificate for friends is sterile and demoralizing. In the face of the maturing political and economic crisis, no single section of the Latin American left pursues a power perspective under the terms stated during the recent International Conference carried out in Buenos Aires at the beginning of last April.

We are confronted with a World Panorama of exceptional characteristics, which defies the whole international working class vanguard.



* Jorge Altamira is founder and national leader of Partido Obrero and its international current, the CRFI. Altamira founded and directed Prensa Obrera and this magazine. Author of La estrategia de la izquierda en Argentina (The strategy of the left in Argentina) , El Argentinazo, el presente como historia (Argentinazo, the present as history) and No fue un martes negro más (It wasn’t just another black Tuesday), among others.

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