On the International Situation

Presentation to the 5th International Assembly of BAYAN USA on the occasion of its tenth anniversary celebration in Washington, DC,
July 18, 2015

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle

First let me thank you for inviting me to make a presentation of the international situation.  I congratulate BAYAN USA for waging anti-imperialist and democratic struggles and winning victories in the national and democratic interest of the Filipino people in the Philippines and abroad and in solidarity with other peoples in the US and elsewhere in the world.  I join you in celebrating the last ten years of the life, struggles and victories of BAYAN USA.

It is of crucial importance that the Filipino people and BAYAN USA know the international situation. In the world era of monopoly capitalism or modern imperialism, the US is the most powerful force exploiting and oppressing the Filipino people and has the most effective ways of doing so.  You are inside the belly of the imperialist beast that is responsible for the violent suppression of the Filipino people’s national sovereignty, the underdevelopment of the Philippine economy, the widespread poverty and diaspora of more than 10 per cent of the Philippine population or 20 per cent of the work force.

On the status of the US in the world

The US is still the strongest imperialist power. It imposes the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization on the entire capitalist world. It uses the Bretton Woods agreement, the Washington Consensus and supremacy of the US dollar in investments and trade.  It continues to extract superprofits as it avails of higher technology and plunders the human and natural resources of the world. It uses the high tech weapons of mass indoctrination and propaganda, surveillance and state terrorism and wars of aggression to suppress the revolutionary movements of the people and to isolate and topple states that assert national independence.

However, the US is already on a long-term track of general decline, which was first signalled by the problems of stagflation, excessive military spending and defeat of the US war of aggression in Indochina in the 1970s.  For a while, such a decline was overshadowed by the turmoil in the revisionist-ruled countries, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US self-proclamation of sbeing the winner in the Cold War and sole superpower, the accelerated US-instigated wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia and the rapid growth of capitalist China as the main US partner in pushing neoliberal globalization.

But a series of economic and financial crises have beset the US and the capitalist world. The worst of them, which started in 2008 with the mortgage meltdown in the US, has protracted and worsened. It has hastened the decline of the US economy and has generated socioeconomic and political turmoil in the US and throughout the world.  You know better than I do how much life has deteriorated for the working class and people of color in the US because of unemployment, reduced real incomes, rising costs of basic necessities, homelessness, racial discrimination, religious bigotry, state terrorism and wars of aggression..

Despite the high cost of aggressive and proxy wars, at the expense the people in the targeted countries as well as the American people themselves, the US has continued to unleash such wars in the Middle East, recently against Libya and Syria; and has continued to threaten and make war provocations against Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for an extended period of time.

Growing US aggressiveness is a direct consequence of the worsening crisis of US monopoly capitalism and the desperate attempt to control the human and natural resources of the world.  In a vain attempt to perpetuate or even expand US hegemony in the 21st century, the US is  implementing the neoconservative line of using full-spectrum dominance (especially high tech military superiority).  The danger of further wars still exists because of the aggressive nature of imperialism, despite current improvements of US relations with Cuba and Iran.

Inter-imperialist contradictions

The US is still preoccupied with quagmires of its own making in the Middle East and Africa.  It has made the motions of reducing its forces in these regions, negotiating with Iran and the Taliban and has gone to the extent of training, arming and using the Islamic state or Daesh to wreak havoc on and destabilize states  seen as threats to the US-Zionist.-NATO dominance and to the Saudi model of subservience to the US and the US oil companies. And yet with overweening arrogance, the US engages in subversion, terrorism and military intervention in so many regions and is generating turmoil on a global scale.

The US has pushed the expansion of the NATO to the borders of Russia and has instigated and assisted so-called color revolutions to pressure Russia towards further subordination and to undermine the growing economic cooperation between Russia and Germany.  Most recently, it has emboldened, funded and armed the neofascist forces in Ukraine in order to seize power and launch a war against the Russian-speaking people there. But the people in Novorassiya and Crimea have fought back and established people’s republics.  The people of Crimea have reintegrated themselves with Russia.

The US and its European allies, including a reluctant Germany, with its interest in the energy supply from Russia; have gone further by imposing sanctions on Russia and suspending Russia from the G-8.  Russia has defied the sanctions and declared its own counter-sanctions.  It has strengthened its back-to-back economic and security relations with China.  It supplies China with energy and some equipment and China supplies it with manufactures and food products.  The two countries have vowed to cooperate in building the new Silk Road from China to Germany.

Previously, the US was offended by the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a security alliance to counter the US-NATO alliance as well as the establishment of the BRICS economic bloc to counter the worst economic, trade and financial impositions of the US.  It has become even more offended by the establishment of the BRICS Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.  It regards all these as challenges to the US-controlled global financial system.

Despite having grown economically in collaboration with the US, China has espoused multipolarity in world affairs and has become wary of the detrimental consequences of the crisis within the US and the world capitalist system. Thus, it has adopted measures in its national self-interest.  The US maintains its dual policy of engagement and containment towards China but in recent years it has engaged in more containment measures in order to further strengthen the pro-US big bourgeoisie within China. Thus, despite the annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the US has pushed the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and the strategic pivot to East Asia.

At the time that the revisionist regimes gave way to undisguised full restoration of capitalism and the Soviet Union collapsed, the US and other imperialist powers were delirious with joy and boasted that socialism is a hopeless cause and that history cannot go beyond capitalism.  Since then, the economic and financial crisis of global capitalism has become more frequent and worse at each recurrence. The addition of Russia and China to the circle of imperialist powers has become problematic to the US and has caused the intensification of inter-imperialist contradictions.

Oppression and exploitation of the people

Since the full restoration of capitalism in China, Russia and Eastern Europe, the exploitation and oppression of the people have escalated in these areas and in the whole world.  The imperialist powers, the developed countries and a few so-called emergent markets try to override the recurrent and worsening economic and financial crisis by expanding the money supply and credit.

But these merely feed the financial markets and do not revive production, employment and demand.  The capitalist states cannot stop  the next more serious crisis from coming because of their growing debt and their policy of shifting the burden of crisis to the lower levels of the bureaucracy and to the broad masses of the people through austerity measures.

After the end of World War II, the imperialist powers avoided direct wars among themselves and united against the socialist countries and national liberation movements. They avoided inter-imperialist wars by always passing the burden of crisis to the peoples of the world.  They adopted the policy and measures of neocolonialism to keep on controlling the underdeveloped countries through economic and financial means.  But they did not hesitate to unleash military intervention and aggression against the peoples and states that assert national independence.  Eventually, since 1979, the US has aggravated the policy of neocolonialism with the policy of neoliberalism.

In the absence of any formidable socialist country like the Soviet Union before 1956 and China before 1978, the oppressed peoples and nations of the world find themselves under conditions similar to those in the decades before World War I when there were yet no such countries as bulwarks of proletarian revolution and socialism.  Indeed, there are now no formidable socialist countries that can effectively challenge and keep the imperialist powers at bay and can serve as the rallying points for peoples and states assertive of national independence.

The situation now is complex. We can cheer China and Russia in being the stalwarts of the SCO and BRICS and in standing up to the intolerable policies and actions of the US.  We can stand up with China against the US strategic pivot to East Asia and support China’s sovereign rights on Daoyu islands in the East Sea against the contrary claims of Japan based on its previous imperialist aggressions. But we certainly oppose China in grabbing 90 per cent of the South China Sea and in particular 100 per cent of the extended continental shelf and 80 per cent of the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Resistance of the proletariat and peoples

Under current circumstances, the proletariat and oppressed nations and peoples of the world have to struggle more resolutely, more militantly and self-reliantly than ever before within their respective national borders for greater freedom, democracy and socialism against the imperialist powers and the local reactionary forces.  The escalating plunder and wars unleashed by the imperialist powers inflict terrible suffering on the people but at the same time incite and drive them to resist and engage in revolutionary struggles to overthrow the unjust system and establish the just system.

The broad masses detest and want to change the system in which the imperialist powers and their agents engage in unbridled exploitation under the policies of neocolonialism and neoliberalism, in state terrorism and all forms of oppression, in counterrevolutionary wars and aggression, in the use of weapons of mass destruction, in threats of nuclear war and in the relentless destruction of the environment.  The social degradation of the working people and the political turmoil cannot go on without the growing resistance of the people.  The unbridled attacks on the people and the people’s seeming helplessness are but the prelude to their revolutionary rising.

The revolutionary parties of the proletariat and the revolutionary mass movement of workers, peasants, youth, women, professionals, cultural activists keep on developing in both the industrial capitalist countries and in the underdeveloped countries.  Among these revolutionary forces, those in the Philippines are demonstrating that they can preserve themselves and further gain strength in waging a protracted people’s war in an archipelagic country that has long been a stronghold of US imperialism and its big comprador-landlord agents.

Even as the revolutionary forces and people of the world must struggle more resolutely than ever before within their respective national borders, they must continue to communicate with each other, learn from each other, hold meetings bilaterally and multilaterally and reach agreements of unity, cooperation and coordination.

The imperialist powers are ultra-national and global forces of exploitation, oppression and war.   It is therefore necessary to strengthen further the international workers’ movement and the anti-imperialist and democratic solidarity of the peoples of the world. This international solidarity is being developed by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle.

Long live BAYAN USA!
Long live the Filipino people and the Philippine revolution!
Long live the anti-imperialist and democratic solidarity of the peoples!