How not to understand the development of chaos and imperialist conflicts

In the series War

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

IR 72, 1st Quarter 1993

How not to understand the development of chaos and imperialist conflicts

Up until the collapse of the eastern bloc in 1989, the alternative posed by the workers’ movement since the beginning of the century - war or revolution - clearly summarised what was at stake in the situation: through a dizzying aims race, the two rival blocs were preparing for a third world war, the only response that capitalism can have to its economic crisis. Today, humanity is confronted, not with a ‘new world order’ as they claimed in 1989, but with a world disorder in which chaos and barbarism has been developing everywhere, particularly in the regions which in 1917 saw the first proletarian revolution in history. The military forces of the great ‘democratic’ powers, which had been preparing for war with the eastern bloc, are now being sent in the name of ‘humanitarian aid’ to the countries ravaged by civil war. Faced with this turn-around in the world situation, and with all the lying campaigns which have accompanied it, the responsibility of communists is to draw out a clear analysis, a profound understanding of the new stakes of imperialist conflicts. Unfortunately, as we shall see in this article, most of the organisations of the proletarian political milieu are a long way from fulfilling this responsibility.

It is obvious that, amid all the confusion that the bourgeoisie tries to spread, revolutionaries have the task of reaffirming that the only force capable of changing society is the working class; that capitalism can never bring peace and cares nothing for the well-being of humanity; that the only ‘new world order’, an order without wars, famine and poverty, is the one that the proletariat can install by destroying capitalism: communism. However, the proletariat expects of its political organisations, however small they may be, more than simple declarations of principle. It must be able to count on them to offer, against all the hypocrisy and propaganda of the bourgeoisie, a capacity to analyse the situation and to show clearly what is at stake within it.

We have shown in this Review (no. 61) that the serious political groups, who publish a regular press, such as Battaglia Comunista, Workers Voice, Programma Comunista, Il Partito Comunista, Le Proletaire, reacted vigorously to the whole campaign about the ‘end of communism’ by reaffirming the necessity for communism and the capitalist nature of the Stalinist ex-USSR [1]. Similarly, these groups responded to the outbreak of the Gulf war by taking a clear position denouncing any support for one camp or the other and calling on the workers to wage a struggle against capitalism in all its forms and in all countries (see International Review no. 64). However, beyond these positions of principle, which are the minimum that one can expect from proletarian organisations, you would look in vain for any framework for understanding the world situation today. Whereas, since the end of 1989, our organisation has made the effort, as was its elementary responsi­bility (and we don’t glory in this as though it was some kind of exceptional exploit for revolutionaries), to elaborate such a framework and stick to it [2], one of the features of the ‘analyses’ put forward by these groups is their tendency to zigzag in all directions, to contradict themselves from one month to the next.

The zigzags of the proletarian political milieu

To get some idea of the inconsistency of the groups of the political milieu, it’s enough, for example, to follow their regular press in the period of the Gulf war.

Thus, the attentive reader of Battaglia Comunista could read in November 1990, in the midst of preparations for military interven­tion, that the war “had certainly not been provoked by the madness of Saddam Hussein but is the product of a conflict between that part of the Arab bourgeoisie which demands more power for the oil-producing countries, and the western bourgeoi­sie, particularly the American bourgeoisie, which aims to impose its law in matters of oil prices as has been the case up until now”. We should note that, at the same moment, there had been a whole procession of western political personalities (notably Willy Brandt and a collection of former Japanese prime ministers) who had come to negotiate openly for the liberation of the hostages, to the great annoyance of the USA. From this point on, it was clear that the USA and its western ‘allies’ were a long way from sharing the same objectives; that since the collapse of the eastern bloc, there was no longer the same convergence of interests among the ‘western bourgeoisie’; that, on the contrary, the imperialist antagonisms between the western bourgeois powers were grow­ing more and more, above all from this moment. But all this escaped the ‘marxist’ analysis of BC.

At the same time, in this issue, it was correctly affirmed that “the future, even the most immediate, will be characterised by a new series of conflicts”. This was less than two months before the war broke out. However, this perspective was hardly the one announced in the December issue.

With the January 1991 issue, the reader would be greatly surprised to discover, on the front page, that “the third world war began on January 17”! However, the paper only devoted one article to this event: one might ask whether the comrades of Battaglia were themselves really convinced of what they had written in their press.

In February, a large part of the paper was devoted to the question of war. It reaffirmed that capitalism was war and that all the conditions were there for the bourgeoisie to impose its ‘solution’: a third world war. “In this sense, to affirm that the war which began on 17th January marks the beginning of the third world conflict is not a flight of fantasy, but a recognition of the fact that we are now in a phase in which trade conflicts, which began to sharpen at the beginning of the 70s, have no possibility of being resolved except through the prospect of generalised war”. In another article, the author is much less assertive and in a third which shows the “fragility of the anti-Saddam front”, there are questions asked about the protagonists of future conflicts: “with or without Gorbachev, Russia cannot tolerate an American military presence at its very gates, which would be the case if there was a military occupation of Iraq. Neither could it tolerate... the overturning of the present equilibrium in favour of the traditional pro-American Arab coalition”. Thus, what had already been obvious from the last months of 1989: the end of the antagonism between the USA and the USSR owing to the latter being KOed [knocked-out], to its definitive inability to contest the crushing superiority of its ex-rival, particularly in the Middle East - none of this had come into BC’s field of vision. With hindsight, now that Gorbachev’s successor has become one of the USA’s best allies, we can see the whole absurdity of Battaglia’ s analyses and ‘predictions’. To be fair to BC, in the same issue, it does state that Germany’s loyalty to the USA had become highly dubious. However, the reasons it gives for this assertion are to say the least insufficient: it was because Germany had “embarked upon the construction of a new sphere of influence in the East and in the establishment of new economic relations with Russia (a great oil producer)”. While the first argument is perfectly valid, the second is rather weak: frankly, the antagonisms between Germany and the USA go well beyond the question of who will benefit from Russia’s oil reserves.

In March, and one would like to say “at last” (the Berlin wall had fallen a year and a half before...), BC announced that with “the crumbling of the Russian empire, the whole world will be dragged into a situation of unprecedented uncertainty”. The Gulf war had engendered new tensions; instability had become the rule. In the immediate, the war continued in the Gulf, and the USA was still in the area. But what was seen as a source of conflict were the rivalries over the enormous ‘business’ to be made out of the reconstruction of Kuwait. This is called looking at the world from the wrong end of the binoculars: the stakes of the Gulf war were far higher than this little Emirate, or the markets for its reconstruction.

In the November 91 issue of Prometeo, BC’s theoretical review, an article is devoted to analysing the world situation after “the end of the cold war”. This article shows that the eastern bloc can no longer play the same role as before and that the western bloc itself is vacillating. The article focuses on the Gulf war and reaffirms that it is a war for oil and the control of “oil rents”. However, it goes on to say: “But this in itself is not enough to explain the colossal deployment of forces and the criminal cynicism with which the USA has picked on Iraq. To the fundamental economic reasons, and as a result of them, we must add political motives. In essence, it is a question of the USA affirming its hegemonic role, through the basic instruments of its imperialist policies (displaying the strength and efficiency of its destructive capacities), in the face of its western allies, who have been called to cooperate in an alliance of everyone against Saddam”. Thus, even though it still clings to the ‘oil hypothesis’, BC here begins to perceive, even though a year late, the real stakes of the Gulf war. Better late than never!

In the same article, the third world war still appears to be inevitable, but, on the one hand “the reconstruction of new fronts is being carried out around axes which are still confused”; and on the other hand, there is still a lack of the “great farce which can justify, in the eyes of the peoples, the perpetration of new massacres between the central states, which today appear to be so united and solid”.

Once the emotion of the Gulf war had passed, the third world war which had begun on January 17 had become no more than a general perspective ahead of us. After imprudently getting itself soaked at the beginning of ‘91, BC had decided, though without saying so, to put up a big umbrella. This saved it the trouble of examining in a precise manner to what extent this perspective was being concretised in the evolution of the world situation, and in particular in the conflicts ravaging the globe and Europe itself. In particular, the link between imperialist conflicts and the chaos developing in the world was not analysed, in contrast to what the ICC had tried to do [3].

In general, the groups of the political milieu could hardly miss seeing the growing chaos and often made some very correct descriptions of it, but you would search in vain in their analyses to find out what were the underlying tendencies either behind the aggravation of chaos (even seen independently of imperialist conflicts), or behind the organisation of society for war.

Thus, in November ‘91, Programma Comunista (PC), no 6, in a long article, affirmed that the real responsibility for what was happening in Yugoslavia “should not be sought in Ljubljana or Belgrade, but in the capitals of the most developed nations. In Yugoslavia, through various interposed persons, there is a confrontation between the needs, necessities and the perspectives of the European market. It’s only when you see that an aspect of this intestinal war is the struggle for the conquest of markets, for the financial control of vast regions, for the economic exploitation required by the most advanced countries from the capitalist point of view; it’s only when you see this war as a struggle for new economic and military outlets, that it will appear, in the eyes of the workers, that there is no justification for fighting to free yourself either from the ‘Bolshevik’ Milosevic or from the Ustashe Tudjman”.

In May 92, in PC no. 3, the article ‘In the swamp of the new capitalist social order’, makes a lucid observation of the tenden­cies towards ‘every man for himself’ and of the fact that “the new world order is just the arena for the explosion of continuous conflicts”, that “the break-up of Yugoslavia has been as much an effect as a factor in Germany’s great expansionist push”.

In the following issue, PC recognised that “once again, we are seeing the Americans trying to assert their traditional right of pre-empting any possibility of European defence (or self-defence), a right conferred on Washington at the end of the second world war; and an analogous attempt (in the opposite direction) by Europe, or at least of the Europe ‘that counts’ to assert its own right to act by itself, or - if it really can’t do anymore - not to have its every movement depend on the will of the USA”. This article thus contains the essential elements for understanding the conflict in Yugoslavia: the chaos resulting from the collapse of the Stalinist regimes of eastern Europe and of the eastern bloc, the imperialist antagonisms dividing the great western powers.

Unfortunately, PC is not able to hold onto to this correct analysis. In the next issue (September 92), when a part of the US Mediterranean fleet was cruising the Yugoslav coast, we have a new version: “war has been ravaging Yugoslavia for two years: the USA has shown the most splendid indifference towards it; the EEC gives itself a good conscience by sending humanitarian aid and a few armed contingents to protect it, and by calling periodic meetings, or rather peace conferences, which always leave things exactly the way they were... Should we be astonished at this? It’s enough to think about the frenetic race, after the collapse of the Soviet empire, by the western merchants, in particular the Austro­-German ones, to grab hold of economic, and thus political sovereignty over Slovenia and, if possible, Croatia”. Thus, having made a step towards clarification, PC goes back to the theme of ‘business’, so dear to the political milieu, to explain the great imperialist stakes of the current period.

BC intervenes on the same theme a propos of the war in Yugoslavia, explaining at great length the economic reasons which have pushed the different fractions of the Yugoslav bourgeoisie to take up arms to ensure “that quota of surplus value which hitherto went to the Federation”. “The splitting up of Yugoslavia is in the interest above all of the German bourgeoisie and also of the Italian bourgeoisie. And even the destruction wrought by the war can be useful when it comes to reconstructing: lucrative contracts, juicy orders which, who would believe it, are beginning to arrive in Italy and Germany. This is why, in contradiction with the principles of the common European household, the states of the EEC have recognised the ‘right of peoples to self-determination’. At the same time, they have got their economic operations underway: Germany in Croatia, and, in part, in Slovenia,~ Italy in Slovenia. Among these operations, the sale of arms and ammunition to replace those consumed during the war”. Of course, BC underlines, this doesn’t please the USA which doesn’t like to see the European countries strength­ening themselves (BC no. 7/8, July/August 92).

One can only wonder about this ‘fabulous business’ that capitalism is going to do in Yugoslavia, in a country that collapsed at the same time as the Russian empire and is also ravaged by war. We’ve already seen the ‘fabulous business’ done over the recon­struction of Kuwait; now we can see on the horizon the ‘recon­struction of Yugoslavia’, with a special bonus to the wicked arms dealers, who go around stirring up wars.

We can’t go on with a chronological enumeration of the meanderings of the proletarian political milieu; these examples are eloquent and damning enough. The proletariat cannot content itself with statements of faith such as “Through continuous convulsions, and we don’t know when, we will arrive at the culmination indicated by marxist theory and the example of the Russian revolution” (Programma). We can’t even salute the fact that most of the organisations of the milieu identify the new potential ‘fronts’ of a third world war as being around Germany on one side and the USA on the other. Like a stopped clock, for decades they have seen as the only possible scenario the one that prevailed before the first two world wars. After the collapse of the eastern bloc, the situation does tend to present itself in that way, but it’s more or less by luck that the organisations can give the ‘right time’ today. A stopped clock can do this twice a day, but it’s still useless. The reasons for this overturning of history, the perspective - or lack of it - of a third world war are vague or totally ignored. What’s more, the attempts to explain why wars break out, when they are not frankly incoherent and variable from one month to the next, are almost surrealist and devoid of any credibility. As Programma puts it, it’s indeed true that marxist theory must guide us, must serve as a compass to measure the evolution of the world that we have to change, and above all, to grasp what’s at stake in this period. Unfortunately, for most of the organisations of the political milieu, marxism, as they understand it, resembles a compass gone awry because it’s sitting next to a magnet.

In reality, at the origin of the disorientation that afflicts these groups we find, to a very large extent, an incomprehension of the question of the historic course, i.e. of the balance of forces between the classes, which determines the direction assumed by a society that has been plunged into an insoluble economic crisis: either the bourgeois ‘solution’, world war, or the proletarian response - the intensification of class combats leading to the opening of a revolutionary period. The history of the revolutionary fractions on the eve of the second world war has shown us that the affirmation of basic principles is not enough, that the difficulty in understanding both the question of the course and the nature of imperialist wars profoundly shook and more or less paralysed them [4]. To get to the roots of the incomprehensions of the political milieu, we must once again go back to the question of the historic course and of wars in the period of decadence.

The historic course

It is surprising to say the least that BC, who refused to see the possibility of a third world war when there were fully formed military blocs, announced the war to be imminent as soon as the two blocs broke up. BC’s incomprehensions are at the basis of this volte-face. On several occasions (e.g. IRs nos. 50 and 59) explained the weaknesses of this organisation’s analyses and shown that they threaten to deprive it of any historical perspective.

Since the end of the 60s, the collapse of the capitalist economy could only push the bourgeoisie towards a new world war, all the more so because the blocs were already in place. For more than two decades, the ICC defended the view that the wave of workers’ struggles which began in 1968 marked the opening of a new period in the balance of forces between the classes, of a historic course favourable to the development of proletarian struggles. In order to send the proletariat to war, capitalism needs a situation characterised by “the growing adhesion of the workers to capital­ist values, and by a combativity which either tends to disappear, or appears within a perspective controlled by the bourgeoisie” (IR 30, ‘The historic course’).

In answer to the question “why has the third world war not broken out, even though all the objective conditions for it are there?”, the ICC has argued, since the beginning of the open crisis of capitalism, that the balance of forces between the classes is what prevents the bourgeoisie from mobilising the proletariat of the advanced countries behind the banners of nationalism. What was the response given by BC, who, it should be said, recognised that “at the objective level, all the reasons for the outbreak of a third world war are present”? Refusing to consider the question of the historic course, this organisation offered us all sorts of ‘analyses’: the economic crisis wasn’t sufficiently advanced (which contra­dicted its affirmation about all the “objective reasons” being there); the framework of alliances was still “rather fluid and full of uncertainties”; and finally, the armaments were... too developed, too destructive. Nuclear disarmament was thus one of the necessary conditions for the outbreak of world war. We responded to all these arguments at the time.

Does today’s reality confirm BC’s analysis, according to which, this time around, we really are going towards world war?

Was the crisis not advanced enough before? At the time we warned BC about underestimating the gravity of the world economic crisis. Now, if BC has recognised that the difficulties of the ex-eastern bloc were due to the crisis of the system, for a whole period, and against all reality, it had illusions in the opportunities opening up in the east, which were supposed to provide a “shot of oxygen” for international capitalism… though this didn’t prevent BC, at the same time, from seeing the outbreak of the third world war as imminent. For BC, when the capitalist crisis is attenuated, world war comes closer. Like God, the logic of BC moves in a mysterious way.

Concerning the question of armaments, we have already shown how BC‘s position lacked all seriousness. But today nuclear weapons are still there, and are in fact in the hands of more states than before. But still, according to BC, world war is on the agenda.

When the world was divided into two blocs, BC thought that the framework of alliances was “fluid”. Today, the old division is finished and we are far away from a new one (even if the tendency towards the reconstitution of new imperialist constella­tions is affirming itself more and more). And yet, for BC, the conditions for a new world war are already ripe. A bit more rigour, please, comrades!

Our concern here is not to claim that BC always says whatever comes into its head (even though that is sometimes the case). It is rather to show that despite the heritage of the workers’ movement to which this organisation lays claim, in the absence of a real method, and without taking into account the evolution of capital­ism and of the balance of forces between the classes, you end up being unable to provide the working class with any clear orien­tation. Having failed to understand the essential reason why generalised war did not break out in the previous period - the end of the counter-revolution, the historic course towards class confrontations; being, as a result, unable to show that the course had not been put into question, since the working class had not suffered a decisive defeat, BC ended up announcing the imminence of a third world war at the very time that the convulsions in the global situation have made the perspective of world war more distant than before.

In particular, this incapacity to take account of the resurgence of the working class at the end of the 60s in its examination of the conditions for the outbreak of a third world war prevents BC from seeing what’s really at stake in the current period - a situation where the social situation is blocked and society is rotting on its feet. “But although the proletariat was able to prevent the outbreak of a new imperialist slaughter, it was still unable to put forward its own perspective: the overthrow of capitalism, and the construction of communist society. Consequently, it could not help feeling more and more the effects of capitalist decadence. But history has not stopped during this temporary blockage of the world situation. For 20 years, society has continued to suffer the accumulation of all the characteristics of decadence, made still worse by the deepening economic crisis which the ruling class has proved utterly incapable of overcoming. All that the latter can offer is a day-by-day resistance, with no hope of success, to the irrevocable collapse of the capitalist mode of production. Inca­pable of offering the slightest way forward (even a way into suicide, such as a world war), capitalism has plunged deeper into a state of advanced social decomposition and generalised despair.

“If we do not destroy capitalism, then capitalism, even without a new world war, will destroy humanity, through an accumula­tion of local wars, epidemics, destruction of the environment, famines, and other supposedly ‘natural’ disasters” (Manifesto of the 9th Congress of the ICC).

Unfortunately BC is not alone in this total inability to grasp what’s at stake in the period opened up by the collapse of the eastern bloc. Le Proletaire says it clearly: “ In spite of what certain political currents write, not without a touch of hypocrisy, about the collapse of capitalism, ‘chaos’, ‘decomposition’ etc, that’s not where we are”. In fact “even if we have to wait years to destroy the domination of capitalism, its destiny has already been decided”. It’s sad that Le Proletaire has to console itself; but the fact that it hides from the proletariat the gravity of what’s at stake is far more serious.

Even if world war is not on the agenda today, this doesn’t at all minimise the gravity of the situation. The decomposition of society itself constitutes a mortal danger for the proletariat, as we have shown in this Review [5]. It is the responsibility of revolu­tionaries to warn their class against this danger, to say clearly that time is running out and that if it waits too long to embark upon the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism, it risks being caught up in the system’s own putrefaction. The proletariat requires far more from the organisations which aim to form its vanguard than a total incomprehension of what’s at stake, still less a stupid ironic attitude to the situation.

Decadence and the nature of wars

At the root of the incomprehensions about the stakes of the present period among most of the groups of the political milieu, there’s more than just ignorance about the historic course. We also find an inability to understand all the implications of the decadence of capitalism for the question of war. In particular, it is commonly thought that war still has an economic rationality, as it did last century. Even though obviously, in the last instance, it is the economic situation of decadent capitalism which engenders wars, the whole history of this period shows us to what extent, for the capitalist economy itself (and not just for the exploited, who are turned into cannon fodder), war has become a real catastrophe, and not only for the defeated countries. Because of this, imperi­alist and military rivalries can’t be identified with the commercial rivalries between the various states.

It was no accident that BC considered that the division of the world between the eastern bloc and the western bloc was “fluid”, that it didn’t constitute a sufficient basis for war - the most important commercial rivalries were not between these two blocs but between the main western powers. Neither is it accidental that today, when we are seeing the open development of commercial rivalries between the USA and the great powers which were its former allies, such as Germany and Japan, BC sees war as being closer. Like the groups which don’t recognise the decadence of capitalism, BC - which doesn’t see all its implications - identifies trade wars with military wars.

This isn’t a new question and history has already proved Trotsky right when, at the beginning of the l920s, he fought the majority position in the Communist International, which held that the second world war would be between blocs headed by the USA and Britain, the two main commercial rivals. Later on, the Gauche Communiste de France, at the end of the second world war, reaffirmed that “there is a difference between the ascendant and decadent phases of capitalist society (in relation to war) ... The decadence of capitalist society is expressed most strikingly in the fact that, while in the ascendant period, wars had the function of stimulating economic development, in the decadent period eco­nomic activity is essentially restricted to the pursuit of war... war in the imperialist epoch is the highest and most complete expression of decadent capitalism, its permanent crisis, and its economic way of life ...“ (Report on the international situation, 1945, republished in IR no. 59). The more capitalism sinks into its crisis, the more the logic of militarism imposes itself, irreversibly and uncontrollably, even though militarism itself is no more capable than other policies of proposing the least solution to the economic contradictions of the system [6].

By refusing to admit that, between the last century and this one, the significance of wars has changed, by failing to see the increasingly irrational and suicidal character of war, by trying at all costs to see the logic of war as being the same as the logic of commercial rivalries, the groups of the proletarian political milieu deprive themselves of any means of understanding what is really going on behind all the conflicts in which the great powers are involved, whether openly or not; more generally, these groups are thereby rendered incapable of understanding the evolution of the international situation. On the contrary, they are led into all kinds of absurd positions about the ‘hunt for profits’, the ‘huge business’ that the developed countries can supposedly make out of regions which are completely ravaged and ruined by war, such as Yugoslavia, Somalia, etc. War is one of the most decisive questions that the proletariat has to face, not only because it is the main victim of war, as cannon fodder and as a labour force subjected to unprecedented levels of exploitation, but also be­cause it is one of the essential factors in the development of consciousness about the bankruptcy of capitalism, about the barbarism towards which it is leading the human race. It is therefore of the utmost importance that revolutionaries are as clear as possible on this question. War constitutes “the only objective consequence of the crisis, decadence and decomposition that the proletariat can today set a limit to (unlike any of the other manifestations of decomposition), to the extent that in the central countries it is not at present enrolled under the flags of national­ism” (‘Militarism and decomposition’, IR no. 64).

The historic course has not changed (but to see this, you first have to admit that there are different historic courses according to the period). Even though it has been paralysed and disoriented by the enormous convulsions of recent years, the proletariat is more and more being forced back onto the path of class combat, as can be demonstrated by the September-October struggles in Italy. The path will belong and difficult, and it will require all the forces of the working class to be mobilised in decisive battles. Within all this, the task of revolutionaries is primordial, otherwise they will not only be swept away by history, but will make their own contribution to the annihilation of any revolutionary perspective.


[1] For a more detailed analysis, refer to the article ‘The wind from the east and the response of revolutionaries’ in IR no. 61.

[2] For the ICC, “we must affirm clearly that the collapse of the eastern bloc and the economic and political convulsions of its erstwhile members do not presage the slightest improvement in capitalist society’s economic situation. The Stalinist: regimes’ economic bankruptcy as a result of the general crisis of the world economy only heralds the collapse of the economy’s most developed sectors ... the deepening convulsions of the world economy can only sharpen the opposition between different states, including and increasingly on the military level. The difference, in the coming period, will be that these antagonisms which were previously contained and used by the two great imperialist blocs will now come to the fore ... For the moment, these rivalries and confrontations cannot degenerate into a world war (even supposing that the proletariat were no longer capable of putting up a resistance). However, with the disappearance of the discipline imposed by the two blocs, these conflicts are liable to become more frequent and more violent, especially of course in those areas where the proletariat is weakest” (‘After the collapse of the eastern bloc, destabilisation and chaos’, IR no 61). Reality has amply confirmed these analyses.

[3] For the ICC, the Gulf war, “despite the huge resources set in motion... has only slowed, but certainly not reversed, the major tendencies at work since the disappearance of the Russian bloc: the dislocation of the western bloc, the first steps towards the formation of a new imperialist bloc led by Germany, the increasing chaos in international relations ... The barbaric war unleashed in Yugoslavia only a few months after the end of the Gulf war is a striking and irrefutable illustration of this last point. In particular, although the events which triggered this barbarity (the declarations of independence by Slovenia and Croatia) are themselves an expression of chaos and the sharpening of nationalism which characterise all the regions previously under Stalinist control, they could never have happened had these nations not been assured of support from Germany, the greatest power in Europe. The German bourgeoisie’s diplomatic manoeuvring in the Balkans... was aimed at opening up a strategic outlet to the Mediterranean through an ‘independent’ Croatia under its control, and was its first decisive act as a candidate to the leadership of a new imperialist bloc” (Resolution on the international situation, IR no 70). “Aware of the gravity of what was at stake, the American bourgeoisie, regardless of its apparent discretion, did everything it could, with the aid of Britain and Holland, to counter and parry this thrust by German imperialism” (IR no. 68). For a more detailed analysis, refer to the press of the ICC.

[4] The reader can refer to our book on the history of the Communist Left of Italy, and the balance-sheet drawn up by the Gauche Communiste de France in 1945, published in IR no. 59.

[5] See in particular ‘The decomposition of capitalism’ and ‘Decomposition, final stage of the decadence of capitalism’ in IRs no. 57 and 62 respectively.

[6] The reader can refer to numerous articles on this question in this Review (nos. 19, 52, 59, etc).