Imperialism

The public clash between Obama and his top general in Afghanistan highlight the difficulties US imperialism is facing in what is clearly an unwinnable war. What the general has done is to express in public what is normally reserved for private conversation, but it does bring out clearly the impasse the US is facing in Afghanistan.

US foreign policy is dictated by its role as an imperialist power. Some of the most glaring cracks are opening in the Middle East. Obama is being forced by the objective conditions to change the specific approach of US imperialism without changing the general course whatsoever.

Canada has stood almost alone on the international stage, going so far as to say that Zelaya should not return back to Honduras. This should not come as a huge shock for Canadians as the Canadian state has been pursuing an increasingly interventionist role in Latin American affairs for a while now.

The war in Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster. Far from “promoting democracy” what the imperialists have done is to plunge Iraq into the depths of barbarism. Even from a purely military point of view they are losing their grip on the country. Now the talk is about an “exit strategy”. We say the troops must leave now. Let the people of Iraq decide their own fate.

A diplomatic crisis has opened up between Mexico and Cuba. Mexico's Vicente Fox government has demanded the recall of the Mexican ambassador from Havana and ordered the Cuban diplomats to leave. The response of the masses was anything but favourable. Thousands demonstrated in Mexico, while a million marched through Havana. This has deepened the political crisis in Mexico and further undermined Fox and his right wing PAN government.

The invasion of Iraq stands exposed for what it always was: an act of naked aggression leading to the forcible occupation of a country by foreign troops against the will of the people. Naturally, such a state of affairs can only be sustained by the massive, uncontrolled and unlimited use of force. We can now see the results of this on the front pages of today’s newspapers.The United States military has been compelled to open criminal investigation into acts of abuse, humiliation and torture against Iraqi prisoners, committed by US soldiers and officers as photographs of horrific incidents were aired for the first time on US network television.

Today is the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. On this occasion we publish the below article, written on the day of the attack. To this day, the article remains valid on all the fundamental points.

The clash between China and the USA over the crashed spy plane has thrown into sharp relief the tensions between the great powers in Asia. The incident in itself was an accident. But dialectics explains that necessity can be expressed through accident. Underlying the immediate incident lie fundamental contradictions between China and the USA.

It is nearly seven years since George Bush, the then president of the US, made his famous "New World Order" speech. This was in 1991. In the build-up to the Gulf War the main imperialist power on earth promised a world without wars, without dictatorships and, of course, a world firmly under the control of a single all-powerful world policeman--the US. After the fall of Stalinism, US imperialism really thought that the world would be firmly under their command and they would be able to dictate the destiny of each and every country. Now all these dreams have been reduced to rubble. In this document Ted Grant and Alan Woods make an in-depth analysis of the history of the imperialist

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There were never so many pacifists in the world as now, when in all countries men are killing one another. Every historical epoch has not only its own technique and its own political form, but also a hypocrisy peculiar to itself. Once peoples destroyed each other in the name of the Christian teaching of love of humanity. Now only backward governments call upon Christ. Progressive nations cut each others’ throats in the name of pacifism. Wilson drags America into the war in the name of the League of Nations, and perpetual peace. Kerensky and Tseretelli call for an offensive for the sake of an early peace.

"It is impossible to participate in the imperialist war without “participating” in the capitalist business of subjugating the people with loans from the capitalist gentlemen."

"The foreign policy of the capitalists and the petty bourgeoisie is “alliance” with the imperialists, that is, disgraceful dependence on them. The foreign policy of the proletariat is alliance with the revolutionaries of the advanced countries and with all the oppressed nations against all and any imperialists."

Written by Lenin in May 31 (18), 1917.

"Annexation means keeping an alien people by force within the bounds of a given state." Pravda No. 60, May 31 (18), 1917.

The editors of Izvestia, a paper controlled by the Narodnik and Menshevik bloc, are beating all records of muddledom. In that paper’s issue No.67 for May 16, they try to chop logic with Pravda, without, of course, mentioning its name—a usual ill-mannered “ministerial” practice. Pravda, we are told, has a foggy, misleading idea of annexations.

Published in Pravda No. 53, May 23 (10), 1917.

'Soldiers and workers! You are told that you are defending “freedom” and the “revolution”! In reality you are defending the shady treaties of the tsar, which are concealed from you as one conceals a secret disease.'

Published in Pravda No. 47, May 16 (3), 1917.

Published in Pravda No. 47, May 16 (3), 1917.

That is what the proclamation of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet to the socialists of the world, published in today’s papers, amounts to. It has a lot to say against imperialism, but all these words are nullified by a single little phrase which reads:

“The Provisional Government of revolutionary Russia has adopted this platform” (i.e., peace without annexations and indemnities on the basis of self-determination of nations).

Published in Pravda No. 46, May 15 (2), 1917.

Written in January 1917, Lenin analyses the cynical imperialist manoeuvres behind World War One and puts forward the proletarian revolutionary alternative as the only way out of the impasse for the working class.

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