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Imperial rivals and the New World Disorder

By Dave Stockton

The tectonic plates of the world order, established after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, are shifting again, producing the political equivalents of earthquakes and tsunamis.

Across the globe there are threats of economic sanctions between major powers which our rulers admit could make a train crash of the fragile economic recovery. There are threats of civil wars – even a new cold war.

And let’s not forget the inevitable result of such a period – revolutions and counter-revolutions.

Recent events in the Middle East, East and South East Asia, in sub-Saharan Africa and in Latin America show that the era of the single superpower and self-appointed world policeman is over. A new period of sharpening global inter-imperialist conflict has opened up. It represents the beginnings of an attempted re-division of the world.

This re-division can only take place at the expense of the old and overfed powers: the USA, the Franco-German led European Union, Britain and Japan. It can only benefit the younger imperialist powers emerging from the downfall of Communism: China, Russia and the aspiring powers like Brazil and India.

This does not mean that aggression comes only or mainly from the lean and hungry powers – though our rulers here in the West, and their media present it thus. Quite the opposite in fact. The USA and Europe fear the “peaceful” penetration of China into areas long reserved for their plunder – South Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Rising tensions

They are “getting their retaliation in first” by trying to surround Russia and China. Part of this is the USA’s “pivot to the Pacific” and its attempts to reduce its commitments in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The humiliating snub it received in Syria in 2013, the anti-US left populist regimes in Latin America, China’s courting of various African states have made the world policeman mad as hell.

So much so that in Ukraine it has blatantly aided the breaking and entering of a sovereign state, using fascist gangs as its agents. In doing so it unceremoniously rubbished an EU-brokered compromise because it would have insufficiently excluded and humiliated Putin.

But the coup has precisely given the Russian President a pretext to make an unjustified grab for the Crimea. Certainly Putin’s imperialism is no better than Obama’s, Cameron’s or Merkel’s, as his massive support for the bloody Assad regime in Syria shows.

But at the same time as Obama and Kerry are waxing righteous about Putin’s aggression and threatening him with sanctions, they are fomenting violent right wing demonstrations in Venezuela and remain silent about Egyptian coup maker, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s killing of well over a thousand Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators.


The working class is an international class – one which cannot fight for its own emancipation if it subordinates itself to either bloc, or any of the imperialist powers, or for that matter the capitalist ruling classes of the smaller nations.

Class independence is critical. It is also critical to recognise that in times like these we are not decades away from wars and revolutions; we cannot sink into the comfy armchairs of reformism or “broad” electoralist parties. Revolutionary times demand revolutionary parties.

We face a new period of renewed economic crises and inter-imperialist clashes, and inevitably of wars and revolutions. We cannot delude ourselves that they will stop short at the channel and allow Britain to maintain a splendid isolation. However senile, British imperialism is a world exploiter and a world warmonger.

Above all revolutionaries will have to warn the working class to learn how to tell the difference between legitimate democratic uprisings against tyrannical regimes like those of the Arab Spring in 2011 and in Syria today, and counter-revolutions masquerading as revolutions, like that in the Ukraine.

We will have to remember that our main enemy is at home and to thwart its calls for sanctions that lead inexorably to trade wars, cold wars and eventually hot wars.

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