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Imperialism, globalization in crisis and the Arab revolutions.

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Presentation on theme: "Imperialism, globalization in crisis and the Arab revolutions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Imperialism, globalization in crisis and the Arab revolutions

2 Introduction o Place of report in the session o Reporter: a US Jewish gay anti-imperialist … in Holland o Reporter’s limits: not an economist not an expert on any of these countries

3 Overview of report I.Imperialism: Lenin’s theory II.Neoliberal globalization III.Armed globalization and the ‘war on terror’ IV. Permanent revolution V. The Arab revolutions today

4 I. Imperialism: Lenin’s theory The Marxist understanding of imperialism before Lenin Marx and Engels: Ireland, Poland, Algeria and India German social democracy: ‘not a man, not a penny’ An outdated vision of capitalism: revisionism The shock of 1914

5 Basics of Lenin’s theory (from a non-economist!)‏ Laissez-faire capitalism and monopoly capitalism Uneven development and export of capital Competition for raw materials The division of the planet: colonial empires Spheres of influence and semi-colonies

6 Colonial empires 1914

7 (Official) division of the world PERCENTAGE OF TERRITORY BELONGING TO THE EUROPEAN COLONIAL POWERS (including the US)‏ Increase or decrease Africa Polynesia Asia Australia — America

8 (Unofficial) control of the world DISTRIBUTION (APPROXIMATE) OF FOREIGN CAPITAL IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE GLOBE (circa 1910)‏ Britain France Germany Total (in billions of German marks) Europe America Asia, Africa, and Australia Total

9 Imperialism, Re-division: German and Ottoman possessions become British, French, Italian, Japanese and US Failed German challenge to re-division; Italy and Japan lose their colonial possessions 1947/1956Truman Doctrine and Suez crisis mark replacement of British by US hegemony 1949Chinese revolution 1955Bandung: India, Indonesia, Egypt etc. gain autonomy 1975US defeat in Vietnam 1979/1980/1982Thatcher elected; Reagan elected; debt crisis

10 II. Neoliberal globalization Is imperialism still a relevant framework to analyze the world economy today? Claudio Katz’s arguments: Growth of inequality: dominant and dependent countries Terms of trade Extraction of financial resources Transfer of industrial profits Loss of political autonomy

11 Distribution of wealth (2005)‏ % world pop. % world GDP GDP per cap. Dominant14%78%$ 31,000 countries Dependent80%19%$ 1,410 countries (Figures from CADTM)‏

12 Terms of trade and repatriation of profits Ratio of prices between dependent country exports and dependent country imports: Net repatriation of profits from dependent countries by multinational corporations, : $ 334 billion

13 Multinationals: monopoly finance capital Selected GDP of countries and revenues of multinational corporations Countries (IMF, 2012, $ billion)‏ 1. US$ 15, China 8, France 2, Brazil 2, India 1, Spain 1, Netherlands Egypt Israel Iraq Afghanistan 20 Multinationals (2012/13, $ billion)‏ 1. Shell $ Walmart ExxonMobil Sinopec PetroChina BP China State Grid Toyota Volkswagen Total 234

14 Autonomy lost - and found? IMF/World Bank/WTO: one dollar, one vote ‘Structural adjustment’ and ‘conditionality’ Consequences for social spending and debt repayment Consequences for negotiating positions Beyond dependence: China, Brazil, India(?) Signs of change: Doha, Bancosur(?)

15 III. Armed globalization and the ‘war on terror’ Militarism: response to — and cause of — disintegration of peripheral states (Katz)‏ Role of US: *Enforcer of neoliberal world order *Sole superpower: 39% of global military spending *Military-industrial complex *Military supremacy & inter-imperialist rivalries * Oil: Latin America, the Middle East and shale Tools: ‘Coalitions of the willing’, NATO and UN

16 The post-1991 world order The first US invasion of Iraq (1991): a decisive moment (Achcar)‏ US military return to Gulf region (after 1962 withdrawal)‏ Demonstration of superior US military technology Network of bases and alliances

17 The empire and Obama A time of deepening crisis Challenges to US/European/Japanese power Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya Factors in imperial politics in Mideast: Oil Geopolitics Alliance with Zionism ‘Clash of civilizations’

18 The clash of barbarisms 9/11: Spotlight on Islamic world Petty bourgeoisie and fundamentalism The diversity of fundamentalism: pro-imperial, anti- ‘crusader’ and undecided Women and LGBTs Fundamentalism: a deadly enemy ‘March separately, strike together’ The Arab revolutions: fundamentalism sidelined?

19 IV. Permanent revolution Permanent revolution and our identity A distinctive feature of Trotskyism The heritage of the Bolshevik revolution World War II, Yugoslavia and China The 1968 generation, Vietnam and Che Since 1989: the collapse of national liberation movements and new strategic debates

20 Origins of the theory 1905: Mensheviks (‘intransigent opposition’), Bolsheviks (‘democratic dictatorship’) and Trotsky 1917: April Theses: Lenin and Trotsky converge : Socialism in one country vs. permanent revolution 1927: Tragedy of the Chinese revolution 1929: The theory generalized

21 Key points of Trotsky’s theory Against economic determinism (‘maturity’ and ‘immaturity’): democratic and socialist tasks Against stagism The working class and its allies The revolution: begins nationally, progresses internationally, is completed globally No triumphalism: possibilities and impossibilities

22 1945- : the theory developed Michael Löwy and Latin American Marxism Yugoslavia, China, Vietnam: bureaucratized permanent revolution Cuba and Nicaragua Mexico, Bolivia, Algeria: interrupted popular revolutions Turkey, India, Indonesia: semi-revolutions from above

23 1995: the theory re-examined Theoretical tasks comparable to early 20th century Major defeats; structures are no longer functional (reformist, populist, revolutionary nationalist) Crisis of leadership is now a crisis of movement National/international/global: where is the power? Since 1995: Venezuela, Bolivia… … and the Arab revolutions

24 V. The Arab revolutions The Arab world: history and its lessons The stakes: oil, Zionism and geopolitics The story so far: Tunisia, Egypt, Syria Results and prospects: an ongoing permanent revolution? Revolution and solidarity

25 Glory of the Arab world

26 British and French imperialism

27 US imperialism in the Middle East 1933 US contract with Saudi king Nakba; creation of Israeli state 1956 Suez crisis 1967 & 1973 US backs Israel 1979 Iran revolution; USSR invades Afghanistan 1989 USSR leaves Afghanistan 1991 First US invasion of Iraq /11; US invasion of Afghanistan 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq 2008 Assault on Gaza 2010/1 Arab revolutions; intervention in Libya 2011 US troop withdrawal from Iraq

28 Lessons of Middle Eastern history Depth of anti-imperialism Oil, imperialism and populism Israel: imperial asset and liability Vital interests: converging and contradictory ‘The Arab despotic exception’

29 Oil: reserves by region

30 Palestine: continuing Nakba

31 The Arab revolutions begin: Tunisia and Egypt An end to the ‘Arab despotic exception’? Tyranny, corruption, crisis: youth without a future Tunisia: the spark Egypt: the central country (since 1952) In the workplaces / on Tahrir Square Imperialism responds: Morocco; Jordan; Saudis in Bahrain Elections: victory of (diverse and divided) Islamic forces The crises of an-Nahda and the Brotherhood in power A four-cornered fight?

32 Revolution in the trenches: Libya and Syria Libya: oil (a bit), shifting relation to imperialism NATO intervention: imperialism back in the game Syria: even less oil; relation to Zionism Achcar on differences between Libya and Syria Syria: mounting bloodshed and impossible intervention The right to assistance - and the danger of subordination Another four-cornered fight?

33 Results and prospects: an ongoing permanent revolution? The dynamic of ‘growing over’ (2011 IC text) Regional dimension - and international (Madrid, Madison, New York) Popular participation, Constituent Assembly and state institutions A very unfinished process: is class independence possible? Debates in the Tunisian Popular Front Is bourgeois democracy impossible? Reform versus revolution? Towards a working-class insurrection?

34 Revolution and solidarity The legitimacy of revolution The balance of military forces Our globalization: linking civil societies Fundamentalism and democracy, capital and labour Solidarity: a political battle Solidarity: concrete tasks


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