They say a picture paints a thousand words. The photograph of British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin in London recently certainly does. When the two leaders gave a press conference at the weekend in Downing Street ahead to the G8 summit, Cameron had the excruciating look of a desperate man. Putin, by contrast, appeared in control. The latter spoke in measured tones and with discernible contempt in his voice.
The class struggle continues to play a central role in the process of capitalist accumulation, albeit it takes different forms depending on the socio-economic context. In order to map out the unfolding of the class struggle it is necessary to specify key concepts related to the (a) varied conditions and dominant sectors of capital in the global economy (b) nature of the class struggle (c) the principle protagonists of class struggles (d) character of the demands (e) mass struggles.
by James Petras and Robin E. Abaya
Global Research, March 30, 2011
Many critics of the ongoing Euro-US wars in the Middle East and, now, North Africa, have based their arguments on clichés and generalizations devoid of fact. The most common line heard in regard to the current US-Euro war on Libya is that it’s “all about oil” – the goal is the seizure of Libya’s oil wells.
On the other hand Euro –U.S, government spokespeople defend the war by claiming it’s “all about saving civilian lives in the face of genocide”, calling it “humanitarian intervention”.
The twin nemesis of Latin America’s quest for more equitable and dynamic development, US imperial and local oligarchic power have been subject to profound changes over the past decade. New capitalist classes both at home and abroad have redefined Latin America’s relation to world markets, seized opportunities to stimulate growth and forged cross class coalitions linking overseas investors, agro-mineral exporters, national industrialists with a broad array of trade unions, and in some countries peasant and Indian social movements. Parallel to these changes in Latin America, a new militarist and financial political configuration engaged in prolonged wars, colonial occupations and widespread speculation has weakened the structural economic links – dominance – between US imperial economic interests and Latin America’s dynamic socio-economic classes.
The November 2, 2010 electoral debacle of the Democratic Party in the US cannot be solely ascribed to the failed policies of President Obama, the Congressional leadership or their senior economic advisers. Nor is the demise of what passes for the American “center-left” confined to the US – it is a world-wide pattern, expressed in countries as diverse as Greece, Portugal, Spain, Great Britain and Japan.
The central question is why the left-center left governing parties are everywhere in crisis and will be for the foreseeable future?
by Prof. James Petras
Global Research, May 22, 2010
Latin America’s current relations with the US as well as its present political and economic configuration can best be understood in the context of large scale changes over the past twenty years and the relative stability of the past five years.
by Prof James Petras
Global Research, April 29, 2010
Rising and Declining Economic Powers: The Sino-US Conflict Deepens
Will the intensified conflicts between the US and China inevitably lead to a global conflagration? If recent past history is any indication the answer is a resounding yes. The most destructive wars of the 20th century were the result of confrontations between established (EIP) and rising (RIP) imperial powers. The practices and policies of the former serve as guides to the latter.
England’s colonial exploitation of India, its markets, treasury, raw materials and labor served as a model for Germany’s war and attempted conquest of Russia. The enmity between Churchill and Hitler had as much to do with their common imperial visions, as it did their conflicting views of politics. Likewise, European and US colonial plunder of Southeast Asia and China’s coastal cities served as a model for Japan’s drive to colonize and exploit Manchuria, Korea and mainland China.
The principle propaganda mouthpiece of the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO), the Daily Alert (DA), has come out in full support for Israel’s practice of extra-judicial, extra-territorial assassination.
In the face of world-wide governmental condemnation (except from the Zionist-occupied White House and US Congress), the PMAJO slavishly backs any brutal murder committed by the Israeli secret police anywhere in the world and at anytime. The recent assassination of Hamas leader, Mahmoud Mabhouh, in Dubai is a case in point. The PMAJO has defended all of Mossad’s criminal actions leading up to the murder, including extensive identity theft and the stealing or falsification of passports and official documents from several European countries, presumably allied to the Zionist state. Among the Mossad agents who entered Dubai to kill Mabhouh, twelve agents used stolen or forged British passports, three Australian, three French, one German and six Irish. These agents assumed the identity of European citizens in order to commit murder in a sovereign nation.
On January 19 Israel’s international secret police, the Mossad, sent an eighteen member death squad to Dubai using European passports, supposedly ‘stolen’ from Israeli dual citizens and altered with fake photos and signatures, in order to assassinate the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud al Mabhouh.
The evidence is overwhelming: The Dubai police presentation of detailed security videos of the assassins was corroborated by the testimony of Israeli security experts and applauded by Israel’s leading newspapers and columnists. The Mossad openly stated that Mabhouh was a high priority target who had survived three previous assassination attempts. Israel did not even bother to deny the murder. Continue reading →
Historically Latin America has been of great importance to the United States on numerous counts: the region has in the past, provided the US with a trade surplus; its outflows of licit and ill-begotten funds to US banks, numbers annually in the tens of billions; the US has been, up to recently, the major trading partner in the region; Latin America has provided a lucrative outlet for US buyouts of oil, telecoms, banking and related strategic mining companies during the golden age of imperial pillage (1975 – 1999). Throughout most of the 20th century the US could rely on the vote of its client regimes in the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS) and in the international financial institution (IMF, WB, IDB) to back its efforts to sustain its global political and economic expansion.
Asian capitalism, notably China and South Korea are competing with the US for global power. Asian global power is driven by dynamic economic growth, while the US pursues a strategy of military-driven empire building.
One Day’s Read of the Financial Times
Even a cursory read of a single issue of the Financial Times (December 28, 2009) illustrates the divergent strategies toward empire building. On page one, the lead article on the US is on its expanding military conflicts and its ‘war on terror’, entitled “Obama Demands Review of Terror List”. In contrast, there are two page-one articles on China, which describe China’s launching of the world’s fastest long-distance passenger train service and China’s decision to maintain its currency pegged to the US dollar as a mechanism to promote its robust export sector. While Obama turns the US focus on a fourth battle front (Yemen) in the ‘war on terror’ (after Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan), the Financial Times reports on the same page that a South Korean consortium has won a $20.4 billion dollar contract to develop civilian nuclear power plants for the United Arab Emirates, beating its US and European competitors.
Editor’s Note: All those interested in the political, economic and social directions being taken by the people and governments of Latin American states will do well to invest time in reading this treatise by James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer. Those who think they understand the future of the left on the continent may be surprised by what is happening in countries ranging from right wing governments such as Colombia to leftist states like Venezuela after reading this document. Time and energy given to building socialism and combatting the Global Corporate Empire everywhere in the world will be informed by neo-capitalist movements across Latin America. This analysis deserves careful study. – Les Blough, Editor
(Editing and emphases added by Axis of Logic)
An analysis of the dynamics of capitalist development over the last two decades has been overshadowed by an all too prevalent “globalization” discourse. It appears that much of the Left has bought into this discourse, tacitly accepting globalization as an irresistible fact and that in many ways it is progressive, needing only for the corporate agenda to be derailed and an abandonment of neoliberalism. This is certainly the case in Latin America where the Left has focused its concern almost exclusively on the bankruptcy of “neoliberalism”, with reference to the agenda pursued and a package of policy reforms implemented by virtually every government in the region by the dint of ideology if not the demands of the global capital or political opportunism. In this concern, imperialism and capitalism per se, as opposed to neoliberalism, have been pushed off the agenda, and as a result, excepting Chavéz’s Bolivarian Revolution, the project of building socialism has virtually disappeared as an object of theory and practice.
The deep and ongoing crises of leading capitalist countries, especially the United States, has provoked a debate over the causes, consequences and appropriate policies to remedy it.
The debate has revealed a deep division over the causes and remedies, with Anglo-Franco American (AFA) politicians, columnists and economists on one side and their Asian-German (AG) counterparts on the other. In general terms the AFA spokespeople put the blame for the crises on external factors, or more specifically they point their finger at the positive trade surpluses, dynamic export sectors and high investment rates in productive sectors and low levels of consumption in the AG countries as the cause of ”unbalances” or “disequilibrium” in the world economy .
The electoral victory of center left regimes in at least three Latin American countries, and the search for a new ideological identity to justify their rule, led ideologues and the incumbent presidents to embrace the notion that they represent a new 21st century version of socialism (21cs). Prominent writers, academics and regime spokespeople celebrated a totally new variant of socialism, as completely at odds with what they dubbed as the failed 20th century, Soviet-style socialism. The advocates and publicists of 21cs claims of a novel political-economic model rested on what they ascribed as a radical break with both the free market neo-liberal regimes which preceded, and the past “statist” version of socialism embodied by the former Soviet Union as well as China and Cuba.
In this paper we will proceed by examining the variety of critiques put forth by 21cs of both neo-liberalism and 20 century socialism (20cs), the authenticity of their claims of a novelty and originality, and a critical analysis of their actual performance.
The most striking aspect of the prolonged and deepening world recession/depression is the relative and absolute passivity of the working and middle class in the face of massive job losses, big cuts in wages, health care and pension payments and mounting housing foreclosures. Never in the history of the 20-21st Century has an economic crisis caused so much loss to so many workers, employees, small businesses, farmers and professionals with so little large-scale public protest.
To explore some tentative hypotheses of why there is little organized protest, we need to examine the historical-structural antecedents to the world economic depression. More specifically, we will focus on the social and political organizations and leadership of the working class; the transformation of the structure of labor and its relationship to the state and market. These social changes have to be located in the context of the successful ruling class socio-political struggles from the 1980’s, the destruction of the Communist welfare state and the subsequent uncontested penetration of imperial capital in the former Communist countries. The conversion of Western Social Democratic parties to neo-liberalism, and the subordination of the trade unions to the neo-liberal state are seen as powerful contributing factors in diminishing working class representation and influence.