By Ranjit Kumar Dhar Ray
All India Anti-imperialist Forum
Dear friends and comrades,
At the outset, I offer my thanks, on behalf of the Indian people and All India Anti-imperialist Forum, for inviting me to the First International Assembly (FIA) of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) being held here in The Netherlands on this 25-27 May 2001. The ILPS, as I could understand, is meant to reflect the rising broad mass movement against imperialist “globalization”, recent outstanding examples of which could be found in the battles in Seattle, Washington, Okinawa, Melbourne, Prague, Quebec City and elsewhere. The ILPS is also meant to advance the rights and interests of the workers, peasants, women, youth, intelligentsia and other social sectors in the 15 concerns of the ILPS, as enumerated in its document. Here I will present my views on the topic stipulated, that is, the cause of peace against wars of aggression and against nuclear and other genocidal weapons, with an understanding that the topic emerges in tune with the cause and goal of the ILPS with which I express my solidarity.
Since the end of the Second World War in the mid-forties of the last century, the US imperialists have perpetrated serious aggressions and interventions into more than seventy countries, as narrated William Blum in The Guardian in July 2000. Notwithstanding these appalling facts, the scenario in the last quarter of the century bears heavily and immediately on us, the peace-loving people of the world.
Some two decades back, the world witnessed the debacle of the Socialist Camp and counter-revolutions in erstwhile Soviet Union and other socialist countries of East Europe. Capitalists –imperialists assured the world of a New World order, in which socialism, the cause of war, as they tried to make home, would no longer be there and so the era of the ‘Cold War’ would draw to a close. Peace and prosperity loomed large before this New World, they tried to make people believe.
What has been the fate of prosperity in the so-called New World, is not directly of concern to us here; we are here to look at the cause of peace, that was apparently promised by capitalists-imperialists with much ado. Has peace prevailed on this earth in the immediate past of two decades; does it prevail now? We would certainly agree: “no”. On the contrary, in this ‘unipolar’ world, capitalism-imperialism has become a more aggressive, more bestial, more inhuman force that does not hesitate the least to use its brute force of military might on any pretext or none, at the slightest opposition or opportunity.
Naturally the questions that confront us, are: Why has then peace failed to prevail even in this so-called ‘new’, ‘unipolar’ world? What causes capitalism-imperialism to grow more aggressive in a world, where the socialist camp does not exist, where the world revolutionary movement is in disarray, though temporarily, but much to the effect of the planned and motivated anti-Communist propaganda by the capitalists-imperialists, helped by the contributions of revisionist-neo revisionist deviations from within the movement itself? Does it not then prove that the cause of war did not and does not lie in socialism confronting capitalism-imperialism? Rather, does it not prove unequivocally that the cause of war lies in the capitalist-imperialist system itself? As we all know, however competitive it may be to start with or it may be labeled with, capitalism is a system based on exploitation. It leads naturally to concentration of capital with monopoly, financial oligarchy, the corporates, MNCs and TNCs on one hand, and impoverishment of the masses at large and fall in their purchasing power, on the other. This in effect gives rise to internal market crisis within the respective capitalist countries. The finance capital is then forced to venture out to the external market to exploit the labour force and raw materials of the weaker countries, assuming the character of imperialism. But the process also enhances contradictions among imperialists themselves to gain control over the external market to tide over their crisis. The two devastating world wars confirm this Leninist analysis; they were nothing but violent expressions of frantic efforts of the leading imperialist powers to win control over the world market. But even the world wars did not solve the problems for capitalists-imperialists. Emergence of the socialist camp and development of resurgent nationalist countries in different continents added to furtherance of the crisis. Capitalism-imperialism entered into its third intensive phase of crisis, when a boom in the morning crashed into a slump at the close of the day. On the other hand, unprecedented rise of militant peace movement by the democratic-minded people the world over led by the mighty socialist camp under the leadership of Comrade Stalin, the great proletarian leader, upheld the cause of peace defying even the bellicose war-monger system of capitalism-imperialism.
Subsequently, advent of revisionism in Soviet Union brought confusions and disunity in the world revolutionary movement, entirely to the advantage of the capitalist-imperialist camp and to the detriment of the peace movement. But the capitalists-imperialists could hardly ever get rid of their crisis. In fact, the unprecedented global recession of the last quarter of the twentieth century, prompted them to raise the slogan of ‘globalization- liberalization- privatization’ and take resort to such measures as signing of GATT 94, developing the WTO and such others.
These were desperate attempts at a maneuvered, concerted exploitation of the global market, in which, by all means the bigger and more powerful imperialists would have the edge in exploiting the markets of weaker nations. But that was in vain too! Right at the moment, the GATT 94 was being signed, Sutherland, the erstwhile Secretary General of GATT 94 issued the warning: it was really the beginning of bitter trade war. In fact, before the ink of the signature was dry, the world of imperialism tore up into three economic alliance-cum-power centers, with US, Japan and European Union headed by Germany, leading each respectively. Even they were not permanent, as NAFTA led by USA gave way to Free Trade Summit of Americas, under the same leadership. Interests of these centers clashed vehemently, as was evident in all subsequent meetings, conferences etc. of the WTO, World Bank, IMF and so on. Countries, particularly the leading imperialists, agreed on certain points, say, on liberalization of service sectors or on opening of markets of developing countries, but differed strongly on opening their own market or on various other measures.
Thus globalization to stave off crisis is, in reality, giving way to frenzied efforts to divide and redivide the global market, which, in turn, generate bitter trade wars, always fraught with possibilities of breaking out into hot wars. Shadow of wars unceasingly follows the shadow of crisis of capitalism-imperialism. In fact, the crisis has reached such a stage that military, war, war-like situations have been intertwined with the capitalist economy itself. The vicious cycle runs as follows.
With growth of capitalism, particularly with the tremendous technological growth of the twentieth century, the capacity for production, that is the productive force, increases manifold. But acute disparity and deprivation follow inevitably; high-tech growth brings more lay-off, merger, closure and unemployment; even in agriculture high-tech boom causes less work for more people.
The crisis merely deepens further. It pushes capitalist countries, big or small, weak or strong, to develop a military-industrial complex, in which the military, rather in its name, the government, places orders to the industry and buys back the produce. The more the pauperization of masses, the more is the market crisis, and to overcome it the higher is the military budget, the stronger is the military-industrial complex. But it has its inherent contradictions too. Increased production of military hardwares, armaments, and arsenals knows only one way to keep production alive, and that is by using them in war. Thus from creating war-psychosis to war-incidence is a necessary course for capitalist-imperialist countries to minimize stockpiling of arms and stagnation and thereby to artificially stimulate the economy. Today the capitalist economy cannot survive without producing arsenals and without their consumption in wars. The fact is betrayed in figures. In the fiscal year 2001, the USA spends on military nearly 590 thousand dollars ($ 589802) every minute, 849 million dollars ($ 849,314,880) every day. Out of a global 809 billion dollar on military expenditure a year, USA alone spends 310 billion. These staggering figures of expenditure on military, and not on any crying humanitarian need, point to the strength as well as decadence, capitalism-imperialism has reached today. And the more decadent, the more moribund the system becomes, the more inhuman and ruthless, in character, it grows into. The cause of peace is thus endangered!
Series of recent incidents and developments bear testimony. Thus we see prolonged sanction for over several decades against the tiny but resolute socialist Cuba, that has put the country into sustained misery, but could not break its morale to succumb to the pressure of the imperialists, particularly the US imperialist. The world witnessed naked intervention by USA, using UN as its rubber stamp, in the Kuwait-Iraq conflict in Middle East; what followed is the gruelling Gulf War including missile attacks on civilian targets, even hospitals, schools etc. and economic sanction against Iraq. All this took its toll not only in devastating the economy of that country, but also in death, starvation, disease and plight of the population, particularly the children.
The world further saw the barbaric arrogant transgression of national sovereignty of Yugoslavia by the NATO under the leadership of the US imperialism, ravaging bombardment on that soil, and intrigues and interventions to disintegrate that Balkan country that continue still today, so long after the end of the war. Well-meaning people were shocked to know that US surveillance, that is spy planes flying as far away from their country as over the China Sea or over Peru, killed a Chinese pilot and an American missionary with her baby in their planes, respectively.
The world was awe-stricken to know that in the name of containing narcotic trade and drug mafia in Colombia, the US planes combining with, and financially and militarily supporting, the Colombian army had destroyed not only the coca (chief ingredient of cocaine) fields; they had targeted populous farmings and vast stretches of other agricultural fields, even human habitations and fumigated them with toxic and dangerous chemicals. The world found imperialist-engineered fomentation of ethnic and racial enmity and resulting bloodbath in series of countries in Africa, sanctions against North Korea and Libya, interventions in Haiti, Indonesia and so on and so forth.
Over and above these wars involving conventional, though often genocidal arsenals, there is the case of nuclear weapons. Hypocrisy of the imperialists, more so of the most belligerent of them, the US imperialists, is completely unmasked in this case. During the days of the ‘Cold War’, the US imperialists were the most concerned about curbing the military supremacy of the erstwhile Soviet Union, at least containing it. Raising the bogey of nuclear war, star wars and the like — they left no stone unturned to increase their might in all respects, while at the same time, to put bridles on others in the form of different treaties. The ABM (Anti Ballistic Missiles) Treaty was one such. Subsequently they tried through CTBT (Comprehensive Test banning Treaty) to prevent other nations, particularly the weaker ones, from developing as nuclear power, while they maintained their tests using improved technologies incurring huge expenses.
Very recently, with renewed belligerence, the US imperialists are now trying to enter a newer, further aggressive phase. This time their bogey is the ‘rogue’ states, like North Korea etc. They propose NMD (National Missile Defense) for their national security from ‘rogue’ states; though anybody with a modicum of rationality will laugh at this ridiculous claim of states like North Korea or Libya, threatening American security. The US imperialists however, dish this out even violating the ABM Treaty that they themselves had thrust upon others at one stage.
Added to these, are the imperialist practice of using depleted uranium or plutonium in warheads. It has been alleged that the NATO forces, under the leadership of the US imperialists, have used depleted uranium, a metal 1.7 times as dense as lead, to make shells that penetrate steel armours. The US imperialists used this DU in their war of aggression on Iraq in1991, in Bosnia in 1995 and in Kosovo in 1999. Besides hundreds of metallic tiles with plutonium contents in them were found in forest Kouri in northern Greece. Both these are highly radioactive and the latter can cause death even on touch. Thus, not only are the US imperialists using radioactive metals in warfare; they are using them even in military exercises and operation centers, as evident from the finds from the Greek forests. The results are found in the ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ affecting over 90,000 US war veterans, leave aside the Iraqi people themselves, in increased incidence of leukemia deaths of Italian, Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese and other NATO troops as also the signs of strong radioactivity in the population of the occupied or invaded territories. Incidentally the Former US Attorney General Ramsay Clerk called for total ban of use of DU weapons.
Such developments point to the fact that today capitalism-imperialism, led by the US imperialism, are not just strengthening their military might and the military-industrial complex, albeit in vain attempt to stave off their crisis; they are coming out with all their teeth and claws and perpetrating heinous crime of affecting humanity with the danger of radioactivity, chemical or biological warfares.
Keeping in mind that capitalism-imperialism cannot keep on their present spate of aggressiveness neither forever, nor even for long, democratic-minded, peace-loving people, however, face an apparently uphill task. They have to realize certain very basic, though unpleasant, truths in order to uphold the cause of peace. The soul-searching question we will have to answer is : How is it that from a situation in the immediate post-war days, when the world was knocking at the door of proletarian revolution, so to say – as expressed by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, one of the great Marxist-Leninist thinkers of our time, the world was brought to the present state, where capitalism-imperialism could carry on their war-monger activities and policies unabated, or even more and more without caring the least for world-opinion?
The answer, we must trace in the history of the revolutionary movement, the only deterrent to the arrogance and high-handedness of capitalism-imperialism. We may recall, once again, the words of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh where he characterized the post-war situation as: .. the communists must bear in mind that in the existing changed international situation the possibility of preserving peace and the danger of outbreak of wars are both equally real. Thus in spite of incessant intervention and aggression from imperialists, there were surges of national liberation struggles and militant peace movements in days immediately succeeding the Second World War.
With modern revisionism establishing its ugly clutch on the world revolutionary movement, the militant peace movement of the post-war days suffered a major jolt. Subsequently the debacle of the socialist camp and setback of the international communist movement drove also the anti-capitalist revolutionary movement to the backstage. With the working class swamped in confusion from the anti-communist tirade of the reaction, but no less from the revisionist-neo revisionist deviations and their movement left without an effective leadership, capitalism-imperialism found it an opportune moment to lead the peace-loving people further astray. It was thus possible for them to drag people towards anti-revolutionary path swamped in counter-revolutionary ideas.
Capitalism-imperialism could thus emasculate the revolutionary forces, only to their own advantage. They could thus blatantly transgress upon national sovereignty of a country, as in Yugoslavia, chanting at the same time the slogans of their commitment to preservation of human rights, as pleas; they could violate the human rights of Cuban or Iraqi people, leave aside a number of such others the world over, in the name of fighting dictatorship. The peace-loving people of the world could only stand as silent onlooker of these heinous acts for years together. The cause of peace remained the unfortunate victim!
However, invincible zeal for survival has been the elixir to bring mankind to this stage of civilization. The impact and injury inflicted by continuous aggression, inhuman barbarism and naked arrogance of the reaction stirred up the conscience of toiling people of different countries, of even the aggressor countries, and anti-capitalist anti-imperialist movements, militant peace movements are coming up now and then on this or that issue, in different parts of the globe. True, they are still of a spontaneous character, lacking the well-knit organization and well-planned direction. And here lies the task for us – those who really care for the cause of peace against all sorts of imperialist intrigues and wars of aggression, including nuclear armaments.
These zealous, enthusiast though spontaneous anti-imperialist movements must be brought under the correct leadership, which in the present days cannot but be the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist leadership, to guide them through towards the cherished goal of anti-capitalist socialist revolution, with a view to genuinely and effectively protecting the cause of peace; the leadership will need to forge the unity of the widest section of democratic forces, the broadest masses of toiling people to whom peace and democracy stand synonymous as life. So we require to develop anti-imperialist movement in countries all over the world and lead them to movements conducive to the anti-capitalist socialist revolutionary movement of each soil. We need to coordinate and organize the anti-imperialist struggles of different countries, through sharing of experiences and exchange of ideas to develop the solidarity of different anti-capitalist anti-imperialist forces and the international working class movement as well. Only these remain the ways to ensure and protect peace against imperialist onslaught.
Friends and comrades, we must realize that our path may be tortuous, the enemy arch-reactionary and all-powerful; but the strength of the determined vanguard of toiling masses armed with iron-strong organization, noble ideology and lofty culture-morality-ethics and fighting in the correct base line under a revolutionary leadership is invincible. We gather in this conference and may be in many such in coming days only to take pledge to accomplish our task and hasten the process to alleviate the hapless exploited people of the world of their miseries and pull them out of the stiffening clutch of war-monger capitalism-imperialism, as early as possible. I offer our mite for peace on behalf of the revolutionary people of India and solicit, in return, your fraternity and cooperation!
Thank you! Long Live Revolution!