By Timothy Dirte.
In William Z. Foster’s 1949 book The Twilight of World Capitalism, he outlines the inevitable decline of the capitalist system given the crisis of the post-WWII drop in military production invoices to factories everywhere, except in the USSR. Consequently, a reorganization of the capitalist system was taking place with US capitalism now becoming the largest and strongest in world capitalism.
With the victory over Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and militarist Japan, the capitalist system was dealt a very heavy blow, one that Foster explained was deadly. Capitalism in Europe was severely and permanently weakened. The Marshall Plan would not and could not restore the old powers to their previous heights. Instead, the Marshall Plan was designed to slow down the development of industry in Europe and increase the competitiveness of US manufacturing.
The victory over open fascism in Europe also meant that the capitalists, while desperately clinging to their ruling class position, could not openly flaunt their real fascist desires without running the risk of being overthrown. With the development of capitalism into its moribund monopoly form, their overthrow is all but assured with the private ownership of social production being taken to new and absurd heights. This increases the burden on the overwhelming majority of the people who cannot avoid the increasing weight of monopoly on every facet of their lives from tax burdens, suppression of independent journalism, and the traitorous conduct of their own political “representatives.”
Monopoly is the antithesis of democracy, and with the continued growth of monopoly the lifeblood of our society, the many cultures that encompass it, all wither and die. Foster is correct to say that in today’s world, democracy now grows not with the development of capitalism, but against capitalism. Now, only socialism carries the banner of democracy.
Just as Lenin outlined in his 1916 pamphlet Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, where monopolies pigeonhole inventions to prevent disruptions to their profits, they also pigeonhole news to prevent counter-narratives. When reality does not suit the needs of the capitalists, they will simply make it difficult to discern the real truth. Today, almost all of the media that is consumed is in one way or another owned by giant monopolies who strangle any semblance of independence. All honest, truth-seeking workers are now “enemies of democracy.” For example, John Reed, an honest American, was blacklisted for his audacity to report the truth about the First World War and the Russian Revolution.
At the time of Foster’s writing in 1949, he says, “In the United States itself, big capital conducts a similar drive towards fascism. There is a necessary unity between its foreign and domestic policies. […] The clear implication of all these co-related reactionary policies of American big business here and abroad is a general pressure in the direction of fascism.” This is still basically true, especially with capitalism at its current historically-shaped stage of development and the relation of forces involved in the class struggle today.
In the main, both the foreign and domestic policies of US capital move towards fascism. And for US capitalism in its current form with the foreign policy of the export of fascism to continue, US capitalism requires a domestic policy of social progress within the US. Otherwise, the continued pauperization of the American people will bring about the end of capitalism altogether. At the same time, social progress threatens to upend the entire system anyway.
As the general rate of profit becomes precipitously low, the decay of industrial capital within the US gives impetus to the growth of reaction. With every stride by finance capital to secure enough social cohesion to maintain the foreign policy of the export of fascism, fascist forces within the US grow. From the suppression of independent journalism to hide the hideous, fascist hearts of US capital, to the loss of bodily autonomy for American women in order to reinforce the ranks of unemployed who act as a weight on workers’ wages, to the Supreme Court decision to abolish the right to strike. Making every desecration of democracy in the US done to protect the interests of capitalism domestically while simultaneously threatening the end of capitalism globally.
It is the smothering of democracy that gives a hint to the real attitude of our capitalists. In truth, US monopoly capital is fascist at heart. Proof of this can be found in the literal export of fascism with countless coups around the world orchestrated by US capital, where the people democratically elected a government only for it to be overthrown by the US intelligence community or its military and replaced by brutal, repressive, anti-labor, and anti-democratic governments. As Foster says, “The most sinister feature of this whole reactionary offensive against the freedom of the American and other peoples is that it is being carried on under slogans of peace, defense, and democracy.”
However, it is now nearly impossible to conduct open plunder. Today with the increased class consciousness of US warmongering, the capitalists must hide their real interests with appropriating seemingly popular struggles and turning them on their head. This is the case for the greatly expanded role of the intelligence apparatus in orchestrating clandestine movements around “democracy” or “human rights” in order to undermine a government that the US cannot bend to its will.
The demise of capitalism is inevitable, but the capitalists must still try to beat back the coming tide of socialism. As Stalin explains in his 1924 writing Concerning the International Situation, the capitalists must wear a “mask”, or, as Stalin says, “[…] a cloak to cover the nakedness of imperialism.” All in order to prevent the workers from seeing the true depths of horror that the capitalists have brought their country to and to prevent the rise in the workers’ political and class consciousness, which will lead them to the task of doing away with the capitalists altogether.
Underneath US provocations against a given country is the desire of the US to “reset the clock” when it comes to global industrialization. As Lenin explained in Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, the oppressor countries “colonize” countries in order to export natural resources back home to the domestic market for their factories where a super-profit is made on the difference of development between the importing imperialist country and the exporting oppressed country. The oppressed country is purposefully kept in a state of under-development in order to ensure profits for monopolies. But it is impossible for monopolies to fully suppress the development of competing industry in the oppressed countries.
Many countries today are struggling to develop themselves against the current of US imperialism, and it is the policy of the US to restrict their success by hook and crook. The US, with its export of fascism, is attempting to reorganize the entire world capitalist system with industrialization mainly located in the US, making the rest of the world subordinate to the will of America’s fascist-hearted capitalists. Foster again correctly notes that this attempt is provocative to the point of causing world-wide economic dislocations, the growth of popular resistance to US intervention, and a whole new round of wars and revolutions. The present war in Ukraine is one of such wars.
In my letter to the Russian Communist Workers Party in November of 2020 I stated that,
“Make no mistake, this election is about more than the individuals involved. [Biden and Trump] are both a reflection of world capitalism at a historically definite stage of development and the relation of forces involved in the class struggle. In relation to Russia, it is no secret why the Democratic Party has crafted Russia and China into boogeymen. It seeks, ultimately, to penetrate the national markets of these countries and enslave the people to the interests of US finance capital.
Though, even under the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ruthlessly pursued the financial and military encirclement of Russia and China. Whether the US President is a Republican or Democrat, US finance capital is unified in its conquest of the development of competing industry in the oppressed countries. Trump’s failure to resolve the mounting issues facing the capitalist system has necessitated a momentary change of tactic. Biden then represents those elements of finance capital that see this conquest requiring a disguise.
This also means that oppressed peoples of the world are in a worse, more intensely threatened position than under Trump, as Biden and the Democratic Party. The presidency of Biden is a continuation of the global US hegemony furthered under president Obama.
However, the most reactionary sections of finance capital are beginning to see our bourgeois-republic become a barrier to the continuity of their class position with mounting popular resistance to their attempts to offload the crisis onto the backs of the American and global working class.”
Today, we see clearly that Biden did indeed represent a war with Russia which will determine the fate of all oppressed peoples. With the recent “anti-war” stance of the Republicans and their growth in popularity, it is clear that the situation here has become dire for the capitalists and capitalism as a whole. The resistance of Republicans to continuing to pour billions of dollars into Ukraine must be considered in the larger context of the goals of US imperialism. It is perhaps more apparent than real that Republicans are against war. In reality, the US capacity to support both a war against Russia, China, and the EU is threatened by the export of military equipment to Ukraine. For example, the US can normally only produce 30,000 shells for artillery equipment a year. The Armed Forces of Ukraine used 30,000 shells in two weeks.
On the other side of the conflict, Russia possesses the legacy of the Soviet military. It is perhaps the only country in the world that could go toe-to-toe with the US. China does not have the same military capability as Russia, and many military analysts consider the military of China to be technologically inferior to the US and Russia. But nevertheless, China boasts the largest active duty military force in the world at 2.1 million, with 8 million in reserve and over 300 million capable of being conscripted. Should the US successfully cultivate a war between China and Taiwan, a large expenditure of US military equipment will be needed to ensure Taiwan is not defeated. It is a situation that has those capitalists surrounding the Republicans seeing a danger in the US becoming further entangled in war with Russia, which threatens the ability of the US to conduct a war against China.
On the prospect of a Republican victory in November, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says,
“Something I’ll be working very closely on with the House Armed Services Committee is our defense industrial base. We have a three-year backlog of foreign military sales that I signed off on in my position that have yet to be delivered into Taiwan. You could see from Ukraine, its far better to get the weapons prior to an invasion than after and then not play catch up.”
As was outlined in the February 24th statement by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Party of Communists USA (PCUSA), the war in Ukraine was caused by US provocations and the possibility of nuclear weapon deployment through NATO in Ukraine. This is particularly in regards to US provocations over the Nord Stream pipelines. The 2021 Ideological Conference of the PCUSA mentions that “[…] the EU is in competition with the US industrially for its highly industrial commodities and seeks a shift in market divisions.” Under Angela Merkel, Germany built two pipelines with Russia supplying cheap gas for the development of German industries. This makes Germany the largest capitalist country within the EU. With the closure of both pipelines German capitalists now speak of “deindustrialization” if Germany and the EU at large is forced to buy US gas which will cost nearly four times as much as what the EU bought Russian gas for.
The violence and reaction of the US to the development of the EU which had increasingly become independent of US manufacturing is why the 2021 Ideological Conference of the PCUSA noted on the situation in Ukraine that “[a]s US imperialism continues to decay, the struggle over market domination will continue to require the bourgeoisie to take [fascist] forms to retain class rule and ultimately prepare the ground for inter-state conflict.” Ultimately, the US is simultaneously conducting a war against not just Russia, but the EU as a whole, who in 2021 had signed the “largest trade deal in history” with the People’s Republic of China, to the exclusion of the US.
Russia is primarily an exporting country, and could not develop its industries under the weight of US imperialism. In the lens of Foster’s and Lenin’s analysis of world capitalism, Russia is fighting the US in Ukraine in order to survive and resist its subjugation to US imperialism. Of course, the fascists in Kiev, being an affront to all the memories of the veterans of the Great Patriotic War and all peace loving peoples, must be overthrown. But the interests of the Russian bourgeoisie in the conflict are in reality to simultaneously grow Russian industry and to rescue the Former Soviet peoples from US subjugation.
Putin correctly accused the EU of being traitors to their countries. Capitalists around the world have become “traitorous.” Meaning they have sold out their countries in the hopes that US imperialism will prevail against the coming tide of revolution.
This is why our party has supported the Russian offensive against NATO and Fascism since the very day it began. Without understanding the larger context of the decay of US imperialism and the inevitable global crisis brought on by US reaction, it is quite easy to oppose the conflict entirely. Many “communists” cannot see the progressive character of the defeat of US imperialism, the stronghold of world capitalism. In reality, the war in Ukraine represents the beginning of the world shaking off the shackles of US imperialism and another deadly blow being landed on capitalism altogether.