Editorial: The great powers are spreading chaos

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On Thursday 8th September 1994, a week after the definitive withdrawal of Russian troops from the whole territory of the former German Democratic Republic, it was the turn of the three allies of yesteryear, the Americans, British and French, to evacuate Berlin. What a symbol! If there was one city that summarized the 45 years of confrontation between East and West, this half century of Cold War -  a cynical historian's euphemism because you couldn't get hotter or bloodier than the wars in Korea and Vietnam - that city was Berlin. A sinister page has thus been turned in the history of imperialist rivalries which started to be written at the end of the Second World War - the rivalries between America and the now defunct USSR which to a large extent had Germany as their prize. However, it has to be said that the end of this epoch, which was really marked by the fall of the Berlin wall in November 1989, has not at all given us the "New World Order" promised by all the leaders of the great capitalist states. We are still waiting for the dividends of peace. In fact, we've never been further away from a world based on harmony between states and on economic prosperity. What's more, with the exception perhaps of the first two world conflicts, humanity has never been through so much barbarism, The decadence of the capitalist mode of production is expressing itself through a litany of massacres, epidemics, exoduses and destructions.

Bombardments in Bosnia, assassinations in the Maghreb, massacres in Rwanda, slaughter in Yemen, ambushes in Afghanistan, exodus from Cuba, famine in Somalia...there are fewer and fewer countries in the world spared from chaos. Every day now, on all the inhabited continents, the list of countries falling into disorder gets longer. What's more everybody knows this. Day after day the bourgeois media and their zealous journalists provide us with plenty of evidence, including the goriest details, to show us how millions of human beings are suffering all over the world. After all, the citizens of the democratic countries can and above all should know. This is the age of the triumph of objective information. In fact, while the bourgeois media are always there to throw at us pictures of the agony endured by hundreds of thousands of people in countries like Rwanda, they never tell us the real causes of all this. They constantly pass off false explanations as the real ones.

The unleashing of chaos bears the stamp of the great powers

With regard to the latest massacre, in Rwanda where 500,000 have perished, the fallacious interpretations of the bourgeoisie have not been missing. Virtually everything possible has been said about the bottomless hatred between Hutus and Tutsis, divisions that apparently go back to the depths of time. This is totally false. The real barbarians are, among others, the French officials, top civil servants and diplomats with their unctuous speeches, ardent defenders of French imperialist interests in the region. Because for years it has been none other than the French bourgeoisie which has provided military equipment to the mainly Hutu troops under President Habyarimana, the sinister FAR who were responsible for the first killings and the massive exodus of mainly Tutsi populations. This murderous orgy had been planned by the local authorities. All the famous journalists and respected experts kept this well hidden before and during the massacres. Similarly, very little leaked out about the massive support given by the USA and Britain to the other, equally murderous faction, the mainly Tutsi RPF. It's not astonishing that France refrained from openly denouncing the Americans' support for the RPF, otherwise it would have been hard for it to pose as the virtuous defender of the Rights of Man, which it claims to have invented in the first place. In fact, Operation Turquoise was just the humanitarian alibi for the criminal French state. Its real motive was the defense of sordid imperialist interests. However, this intervention has not stopped the slaughter (that was not its goal in any case), but neither has it stopped the pro-American RPF from seizing Kigali. This is much more annoying for Paris. But in any case, the FAR, based in Zaire and manipulated by France, will be used to harass the RPF and even take back power from it. Thus, every power shows that it is ready to unleash chaos in its rivals' sphere of influence. The USA and Britain, in order to destabilize a French position, deliberately used the card of disorder by aiding the RPF. The French bourgeoisie is now trying to get its own back. The Calvary being suffered by the Rwandan population is far from over. War, cholera, dysentery and famine continue to claim their victims.

In the light of this example we can better understand the situation in Algeria. The actors, the weapons used, the objectives are the same. Here, the Americans trying to dislodge French imperialism from one of its traditional spheres of influence, the Maghreb. The US, via Saudi Arabia which finances the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), is deliberately trying to chase France from the region. Thus, what with the bomb attacks and executions carried out by the FIS under Washington's sponsorship and the repression and imprisonment meted out by the military government supported by Paris, Algeria is going through the worst kind of convulsions. Here again we can see that the population, caught between the FIS and the military, is walking a Via Dolorosa. And the rest of North Africa is going the same way. The stakes are the same, as recognized by the geo-historian Y. Lacoste in an interview in number 180 of the review L'Histoire: "In the wake of Algeria, Tunisia and even Morocco will also tip over... Thus we are heading for a very difficult period for France".

Even closer to the big industrialized metropoles of Europe than Algeria, there is ex-Yugoslavia where for three years now war and anarchy have reigned supreme. Despite this, we are regularly told that peace is imminent. Reality systematically tears the bourgeoisie's pacifist pipedreams to pieces. Let us recall: last year, we were told that Sarajevo was returning to a bit of calm. Concerts and church services transmitted on TV, collections for the children of this martyred city, nothing was missing in the solemn celebration of the end of the fighting, all thanks to the foreign offices of the great democracies. What do we find now? The shelling and the sniper fire has resumed to the point that Pope John Paul II himself did not want to take the risk of testing whether his popemobile would resist high caliber ammo. He preferred to go to Zagreb, in Croatia. It is less dangerous, for the moment. Only for the moment because all the activities of the great powers are serving to aggravate the conflict. For example, the recent American initiative to constitute a Croatian-Bosnian Federation aimed at detaching Croatia from its alliance with Germany threatens to take the confrontation onto an even higher level. In fact, the policy of the White House, which is ready to support the Croats in their efforts to annex Krajina, the Serb enclave in their territory, will intensify and widen the opposition between the Bosnian-Croat alliance and the Serbs. Here, more surely than in Somalia, Afghanistan or Yemen, given the strategic importance of the Balkans, the exacerbation of tensions between the great powers leads to desolation. The former are under-developed countries where the proletariat is too weak to stop the barbarism. But while, in the past, capitalism was able to displace this chaos onto the periphery of its system, today it is unable to prevent it approaching the big industrialized centers. The convulsions hitting Algeria and Yugoslavia are proof of this. Striking also is the sheer number of geographical zones totally ravaged by war and all its scourges. Speaking very generally, up to the seventies, one conflict broke out when a previous one had finished. Today, as in Afghanistan, they just carry on, but in different forms. This phenomenon is no accident. Like a cancer reaching its terminal stages, capitalism at this end of the century is being devoured by the insane cancer cells of war.

Capitalism is decomposing. Only the proletariat can offer a perspective

Some people will object that there are some regions of the planet where peace is possible. This would seem to be the case in Northern Ireland, where the IRA says it is laying down its arms. Nothing could be more deceptive. By forcing the Catholic extremists of the North to negotiate, the USA is trying to put pressure on Britain so that the latter no longer has any pretext for maintaining its grip on Ulster. Why? Because Britain is no longer the docile ally it once was. Since the collapse of the USSR divergent imperialist interests have grown on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly with regard to ex-Yugoslavia. 'Capitalist peace' is never anything but a particular moment in the combat between states.

In fact, capitalist decomposition is more and more affecting the industrialized countries. Of course, the level of its manifestations is far less catastrophic than in the countries cited above. But it is certainly the case in Italy, precisely because of the inter-imperialist rivalries cutting through this state. While the Italian democratic state has never been noted for its stability (see International Reviews 76 and 77 on this point), this fragility is now being aggravated by the rivalries between different factions opting for opposing imperialist alignments. Here the Berlusconi clique has more or less chosen the American alliance, while the other clique, which controls the judiciary, leans more towards an alliance with France and Germany. This confrontation, which has seen the latter faction revealing scandal after scandal, has led the country to a state of near paralysis. Not that the time has come for a Rwandan-type solution in which the Italian bourgeoisie settles its differences with machetes. No, for the moment car bombs and plastic explosives suffice. The level of development in the country is not the same, their histories are different, but above all, the Italian working class is not prepared to line up behind this or that bourgeois clan. The same goes for the whole proletariat of the industrialized countries. However, the fact that the only class that can offer humanity a perspective is not mobilized behind the bourgeoisie does not stop capitalism from literally rotting on its feet. On the contrary, it is precisely this situation of historical stalemate, where the proletariat is unable in the immediate to impose it historic perspective, ie the overthrow of the system, and where the bourgeoisie is unable to unleash a world war, which is at the origin of the phase of decomposition. However, it is certain that if the working class doesn't manage to carry out its historic mission, the most frightful scenarios are plausible. Through wars and all sorts of abominations, humanity will be wiped out.

The bourgeoisie has absolutely nothing to offer against the bankruptcy of its social organization. It simply proposes that we should resign ourselves to all this barbarism - ie, accept suicide. It doesn't even believe in the 'recovery' of the world economy. And quite rightly it knows that, even if it manages to get production going by launching itself into debt (especially public debt), it can't really absorb unemployment or prevent violent and destructive financial explosions. The saturation of the world market and its consequence, the desperate search for outlets, the trade war, oblige all states and enterprises to sever the branch they are sitting on. Finally, as portrayed in the recent novel by the Frenchman J. Attali, that "brilliant thinker" of the bourgeoisie, the ex-adviser to Mitterand and probably the person with the most honors and diplomas in France, the only future is an abominable world in which human organs are for sale and fathers kill their children. This work is called It's Coming, but it's already here; the book is just a sad summary of today's world and of the void that awaits us if the proletariat doesn't overthrow it.

Arkady 17.9.94