Baboon's blog on imperialism

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oh ok. i'm not really sure

oh ok. i'm not really sure what i meant... not that there are no imeprialist nation states. i guess just that it's more difficult to divide the proletariat along national lines economically, to do so without social crisis like war and so on.

I want to read "Marxist

I want to read "Marxist Theories of imperialism A critical Survey by Anthony Brewer " that i  have got it from internet .i do not know who is he ?  anyone has any suggestion  

Re: Prof. Brewer

Hi Amir,

He's a professor at Bristol University: professor of The History of Economic Thought - which is the title of another of his projects with annual supplements. quite quickly I found that work a bit irrelevant for my purposes. 

But in the book you mention I think he writes on Hilferding, Luxemburg, Bukharin and Lenin of the twentieth century and then modern names that I don't know. Such selections can be helpful as a way into source material or to see more clearly the historical roots of precisely what is in the posts above. 

Provided of course one keeps in mind that he is a professor writing academically about revolutionaries who wrote about imperialism.



A.Simpleton wrote:

Provided of course one keeps in mind that he is a professor writing academically about revolutionaries who wrote about imperialism.


In other words, ignore whatever he says that doesn't jive with your already formed worldview?

Re: ?


In other words, ignore whatever he says that doesn't jive with your already formed worldview?


Not really. The original words at least intended to say something different. But ...wait... perhaps you have extracted a damning subtext : but that surely could only be based on an already formed view that the poor ragged Simpleton has the wit and grit to form a world view of Marxian proportions and Bordigist intransigence.

I hear you jk. : an alleged profile of the author of a book Amir asks about which starts with an irrelevant comment that I found an entirely different book irrelevant (to what ? so what?) : yeah right that's really helpful. :@{ (Just kick me as you pass)

Let me not sidetrack this vital and substantial blog further. 



'Oxymoronic anarcho-libertarians': forensically chosen:@}  I thought I would post a couple of bits that I found I had collected on word pad: not breaking news but they confirm your general depiction and also indicate connections you have made in specifics.

The Department of Defense online is a new destination for me - and in fact one feels slightly 'oxymoronic' there, reading of the many new lethal upgrades and $billions dedicated to destruction while physically, searching clicking and navigating as one would any other site.

I should add - as you know - that looking at arms sales figures et aI. has nothing to do with 'war is good for business'. It's about redirecting, prioritising, by the DoD which from another angle confirms your depiction.

[From Department of Defense online ( October 14th 2014]

The U.S. Army had a record year for foreign military sales, with rising demand in the Middle East and elsewhere for such weapons systems as Apache attack helicopters, as well as Patriot and Javelin missiles, a top general said.The United States Army Security Assistance Command in fiscal 2014, which ended Sept. 30, had a “significant increase” to 719 cases, or instances, of such sales worth a total of $21 billion, according to Gen. Dennis Via, the head of Army Materiel Command.

“That’s a record for us,” he said at the annual conference in Washington, D.C.  and we see that continuing to increase in the coming years. The demand will be there.”

In such a sale, the U.S. buys weapons or equipment on behalf of a foreign government Countries approved to participate in the program may obtain military hardware or services by using their own funding or money provided through U.S.-sponsored assistance programs, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency. 

Their financial year runs from Sept /Sept . In 2012/2013 the budget given to DoD was $85 billion. This year 2013/2014 it was $58 billion - seemingly a slash. This record high in arms sales $21 billion, plus the $5 billion-ish War Chest that I believe is now ratified, maintain that $85 billion almost to the dollar: it's just the balance sheet of permanent militarisation but it's been spread differently.

I shall ferret out a definitive list of 'approved countries': the ones invited and if you can't pay, we'll 'sponsor' you. But The Gulf states undoubtedly. So when your interviewee was about to relate what is to her common knowledge : 'Well the U.S supplies Apaches etc. to The Gulf States and th.....'When's your daughter's birthday?' is the BBC cut off.

The Army may have topped previous personal bests with 719 occasions of sale and $21billion but it comes a poor third. Its own programmes slowed/curtailed - the top-ish brass 'concerned' . The Navy does better with upgrades in tech, refits and the development of a gun which doubles the 13 mile range to 26 miles. That wouldn't get to Homs but ... whether fired to meet their 'friends' coming down from the north or beat their 'enemy' is moot. 

And The Fly-Boys are as always tops. 43 new F-35 fighters, 7 of which have gone already to 'approved countries'. And there one can see the sponsorship role in action. A year or less ago Lockheed were negotiating for the contract to produce the engines for these new F-35s. They have just got it - but the negotiation then was about how much the US DoD would have to put into infrastructure /streamlining etc. to enable Lockheed to produce within the DoD budget. 

Apaches are being tweaked to work off carriers; and the Naval upgrades go with the 'rebalancing the Pacific' sound byte. Would adding that there are 204 million Moslems in Indonesia be straying onto conspiracy terrain or an obvious factor.

Whether down in the sweltering chaos the friend is now the enemy or vice versa, the military is permanently prepared. The focus on Air and Sea seems to imply implies an overall strategy that weighty and significantly upgraded fire power will be in the air and off the coast. Don't increase boot production ..... yet



By luck I came across a

By luck I came across a really interesting magazine style article on the BBC about the South China Sea, the rivals, claims, micro colonies and so on. Includes pictures and short videos.

Some comrades from the Philippines might like to expand on all this?

Cheers rc, great suggestion.

Cheers rc, great suggestion. Thanks for the link.

Slightly off topic but just a quick statement. A critical thinker and old work buddy of mine asked me yesterday if the US government engineered the collapse of the Russian economy. I pointed out how cheap oil is flooding the market as a result of the US' policies in the Middle East, briefly touched on Ukraine as well. We came away agreeing that the US, Russia, China, the EU and many other economies are in constant competition, but also constantly enagaged in a degree of coordination.

"I guess that's imperialism, huh?" Yup. We ended on the subject of a one world federal government being more likely than WWIII at this point in time. I had to agree with the possibility...

Atrocity in Peshawar

Interesting link to the tensions in the South China Seas.

We are not yet going to war but I very much doubt the perspective of a one-world federal government.

But I just want to raise the question of the attack by Taleban fighters, (Tehruk i Taleban) on the school in Peshawar killing over 140 people including 132 children and young men. The Taleban spokesman, absurdly trying to find some high moral ground, said afterwards that their fighters were instructed not to harm the youngest pupils. Another abject atrocity and part of a long line stretching from the recent past into the future of imperialism. Nothing should surprise us at the depths of barbarity that this irrational system is sinking into - but it does.

This attack hasn't come out of the blue. Earlier in the summer, the Pakistani military forced nearly half-a-million civilians out of North Warziristan (the Federally Administered Tribal Areas) in preparation for a ground assault in the region. Prior to this the Pakistani military, and particularly the intelligence agency ISI, has used some of these Taleban elements, as well as some from al-Qaida in the region, in order to pursue its imperialist interests in Kashmir and Afghanistan (and the day after the attack on the school in Peshawar, the Pakistani state showed that it was still up to using terrorism as the so-called mastermind behind the Mumbai slaughter was released on bail). Pakistani military and intelligence agencies have, through various means, supported Chechen, Uzbek and Arab al-Qaida elements in the region, protecting them and using them as it sees fit.

The ground and air assault in the region by the army was undertaken using air-strikes and arrtillery bombardments and this was accompanied, before and since, by constant US drone strikes, all factors of indiscrimate killings and terror, no different in substance to the attack on the school. New York based Human Rights Watch has monitored the killings and torture conducted by the army in the FATA, along with its summary executions, disappearances and so on.

This latest attack on the school, and the retaliation for it, will only bring forth more such atrocities, particularly as the US tries to pull the strings of a joint AfPak response to the Taleban with the former ceding to  Britain a political and intelligence role on the Pakistani side.

More than ever civilians and children (look at Israel's bombardment of Gaza) are targets in imperialist altercations and wars and nothing is going to stop about this until the working class makes its presence felt much more strongly.

Quick question for baboon -

Quick question for baboon - doesn't the balance of debt and trade serve to check war from getting too large in this era?

Megastate Troopers

The Global Guard The P.I.A (Planetoid Intelligence Agency) :Terra Prime (own up any Trekkies)

Yes thanks for the link rc. it's so comprehensive and solid: 'should' be disconcerting: that one was built in a week was a bit  but the scrabbling and scrambling and crossfire : tragically it's more yup that's the chaotic catastrohe we 'expect'

Sure fits with the 'Re-balancing the Pacific' sound byte rc. but it seems in this race even the Chinese were a bit slow out of the *bad pun warning* blocs

Baboon did say informal so I'll risk a light relief interlude - apologies for any cliqueyness

Those  Fela Kuti remixes in full : (Chinese import only)#

Expansive Shit                                                   // covert ops edit    

Mental Coloniality                                             //Ft .D.J Nam , L.B.J Hookem

Gavenreef Chickenboy                                      //parts 1, 2, ( 3 under construction

Johnson Reef Drop                                           //dead version 0.24 secs

Navy Arrangement                                             //string bases mix.

Before I jump Like A Monkey Give Me Pagasa (*Courtesy of Island Records)


(that's enough informality :Ed)


I see what you did there

I see what you did there

Don't turn my thread into expansive thread


I was going to post this on the Charlie Hebdo site because I think that that issue is primarily about decomposition and imperialist war but there's a discussion developing there that I don't want to derail and here's a thread on imperialism...

Events in Yemen, which are entirely related to the Paris attacks and the manoeuvres of French imperialism among others, is a further serious setback and evidence of a loss of control of US imperialism. The overthrow of the US-backed Hadi regime by Iranian-backed Shia Houti's is more than just a strengtheing of Iranian imperialism here against that of the US, but is significant of wider weaknesses of the latter in the face and example of growing decomposition in and around Yemen.

Yemen was supposed to be the great example of how the US could fight back against "the terrorists", the "model" for Iraq of "intelligence-driven, dynamic targeting" against al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP). Yemen is a poverty-stricken country with one million children on the verge of starvation, half-a-million people requiring immediate aid assistance and wholesale unemployment. The Hadi-supported US drone strikes, while hitting some al-Qaida targets, has also inflicted severe civilian casualties feeding and strengthening anti-government sentiment on both the side of the Shia Houti's and the jihadist AQAP. This leaves the US with even more deeper problems in the region and it's boast that it has two massive warships in the region to cover any eventuality sounds more like bluster.

Responding to the news from Yemen at Davos yesterday, Kerry and Hollande both issued calls for a "comprehensive expansion of the Nato military apparatus in the Middle East and Africa". Kerry likened the war against the jihadi's as like that against the Nazi's - anit-fascism in the defence of democracy. Holland said separately that France is on the ground in Africa "and will continue to be more so than ever before".

Two days ago the French military said that it was putting its soldiers on the ground in Iraq. Around and out of Davos, the propaganda has maintained that the war against Isis is being won and, true to form, the media here in Britain has been showing footage of "victorious" Peshmerga forces and tales of "Isis on the run". Meanwhile, Iraqi intelligence experts say that Isis has adjusted to the western-backed air strikes and is actually increasing its presence geographically and militarily particularly in Anbar and close to Bagdhad.

Amid and beyond all the Charlie Hebdo furore, it is important in the longer term that the working class in the major countries take up the question of the role of their own ruling class in the spread of decomposition and war. That's not easy with decomposition but it is essential in the longer term for the development of class consciousness rather than being mobilised behind the defence of the state.

The events in Yemen appear to

The events in Yemen appear to be a major blow to the US strategy in the region in general and a set-back for Obama in particular in his attempts to ward off the more overtly beligerent factions of the state with a supposedly more targeted and efficient approach. It can't be long before the Republican war-hawk wing comes down on him for "losing Yemen."

Still, the Houthis and AQAP can't possibly get along--couple that with the remaining regime elements and Yemen looks to be headed into a downward sprial. That of course can't go over well with the Saudis who, neverthless, appear to be experiencing their own problems with the increasing health difficulties of the gerontocracy.  Interesting that Obama has changed course and now says he will visit the Kingdom personally.

Agree with jk about the blow

Agree with jk about the blow to US strategy and the "downward spiral" that Yemen is engaged in. I also agree that fighting will intensify between the Iranian-backed Houthis and AQAP. Should the Houtis element establish itself further in the country, which seems likely, then the possibility is raised of direct military cooperation between the Pentagon and the Iranian regime against AQAP. This cooperation, coordination even, already exists between the Admiral of the USS aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush in charge of bombing missions on Isis, and the Iranian High Command. This development is already spooking the Saudi and Israeli regimes and further elements of Iranian and US cooperation will make them even more nervous tending to further reinforce a centrifugal weight.

baboon what did you think of

baboon what did you think of the Ukrainian PM going on TV yesterday and comparing Putin's Russia to Germany in the 1930's?'

There was also news of $2 billion in aid being sent to the Ukrainian government by the US.

There's a whole western

There's a whole western campaign aimed at the personality of Putin along with its overt support for the Ukrainian regime and this is becoming more of proxy war between the US and Russia. Obviously Putin doesn't need much "demonising" but behind him stands a much wider section of the Russian bourgeoisie. The Russian-backed RT TV station clearly picked up US accents from Kiev soldiers around the fighting in Donestk and there are also Russian special forces and conscripts fighting here too. Various agreements, including nuclear safeguards, between the US and Russian have now lapsed and the situation is becoming more dangerous.

Another significant increase in imperialist danger is today's assault on Israeli forces from Hezbollah which has destroyed some military vehicles and killed some Israeli soldiers with reports of others being captured. This latest assault seems to be in response to the helicopter attack by Israel on January 18, which killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general. Israel has now closed its norther airports and militarised the whole area. After artillery and ariel bombardments, it looks like Israel may now undertake a ground assault into Lebanon.

Putin a criminal - official


In fact, it's a veritable mafia state out there....


Who knew? 


Lucky we've got the rule of law over here. 

I'm not sure what is

I'm not sure what is preventing war in this period. One point ICC militants use often is the issue of forced conscription, etc.

There has been some talk over the changing nature of war, but what are these changes in detail? Their effects on warfare and imperialism at large?

Mercenaries, tactical nukes, long range remotely operated flying killer robots - people aren't being gunned down by machine guns in the thousands in just a matter of hours, like WWII, but so what? Many comrades talk about a world conflict not being in the interest of the bourgeoisie. But I again see no reason why nation states are so totally compelled to be friends in this period.  US global power is waining, the game of Risk is shifting, the economy is total shit and the working class is hyperbolically frozen, possibly even not aware of its own existence. "Defeated" would be too useless of a subject to debate much less apply, if both classes are defeated the working class is - I see no reason why it doesn't describe the proletariat today.

Why not drop the nukes? Along with them, the rising global population, food demand, why not lower the global temperatures a few degrees with nuclear fallout? Who here thinks they're not reckless enough to do it? People like the Koch brothers. Have you not seen them hire corrupt scientists to fudge facts? We're still burning shit (in the case of coal, not just a figure of speech - almost literally) to stay warm like we're cavemen, so don't think for a second enough humans are not stupid enough. We are pushing mother nature so hard right now its probably better overall for life as we know it in the universe if we we're out of the equation. Thats not alarmist, that's reality.

We talk a lot about socialism or barbarism. As we see on the news everyday, there's not much socialism and a whole lot of barbarism. Along with a total lack of revolutionary communist militants, a generational crisis, etc. And the people who do stand up "commendably", niavely, do so in the name of "real democracy".

Is it time to analyze our tactics, methods, effectiveness, etc - not as ICC militants amongst only our members in tightly guarded internal bulletins, but as left communists? There are some fundamental principles which make that catergorization useful, that we all agree on, in case no one has noticed.

The outlook is bleak to say the least.

I heard that Russia was about

I heard that Russia was about to declare German reunuification an illegal annexation of East Germany by West Germany. Ha, that's rich.....

Jamal--the ICT/IBRP uses to suggest that the bourgeoisie was not so irrational such that the principle of Mutually Assurred Destruction (MAD) held the prospect of all out nuclear way in check. I don't think the ICC agreed with that much.

But, I don't think there is anything really holding back war right now. In fact, there is plenty of it: from Ukraine to Afgahnaistan, from Syria to Northern Nigeria--there is plenty of war. Now, the prospect of an all out global imperialist confrontation between the major powers is something different. The ICC has long argued that this is not in the cards in the immediate term as the international conditions for the formation of imperialist blocs do not exist. It is still difficult for me to see these new opposing blocs forming anytime soon, although the situation with Russia is a bit of a wildcard. So, we will likely be treated to more of the same--deepening global instability with wars breaking out here and there, perhaps temporary momemnts of stabilization, followed by further outbreaks of violence in the same place or somewhere else--in other words: decomposition.

Following on from the above,

Following on from the above, the condition for a major imperialist war, ie, one involving the major powers, is that the great majority of the population, centrally including the working class, is mobilised for the national interest. As jk suggests above from the ICC's position, that this makes decomposition, ie, a fragmented and generalised social breakdown that doesn't require the mobilisation of the working class, all the more dangerous.

There's plenty of war hysteria at the moment in Britain; Putin the "criminal" is in the dock in an enquiry into the London murder of a Russian double-agent - an enquiry that was being resisted and shelved 12 months ago by the British bourgeoisie. Putin sent a couple of Russian nuclear bombers up the English Channel in response.

We've had months of WWI programmes, hundreds, if not thousands of hours of TV time in total, not one second of which gave any indication of a workers' uprising ending the war. And now patriotic mobilisation is an ongoing propaganda assault. We see this with a commenoration of the anniversary of Churchill's death, 50 years after 1965 - and on this the ICC's counter-blow is most welcome. Much has been made of the the launch carrying Churchill's corpse up the Thames on its way to St. Paul's Cathedral when the dockers "spontaneously" lowered the jibs of their cranes "in salute". Other reports suggest that the dockers hated Churchill and all he stood for and they would only take part in the ceromony if they were paid overtime. This produced a rant from the BBC about their lack of patriotism, an issue taken up by the Daily Mail today which lists the "anti-patriotic" activity of the working class in Britain during the wars.

Does there really need to be

Does there really need to be two clear "blocs" for major "global imperialist confrontation"? How are conflicts like those in Iraq and Syria not major imperialist confrontations? Is it because large amounts of Westerners are not being killed? Let me remind you these wars are pretty major for the local people. The toll in Iraq being over a million and Syria at half that and quickly rising. That is a major global imperialist confrontation if you're a refugee who has been killed, maimed or displaced.

Yes, anything that involves

Yes, anything that involves one's own death or the death of loved ones is major for the people involved, but I don't think that's the point. There has been a lot of hoopla about the movie "American Sniper" lately part of which is the fact that something like less than 2 percent of the American population serves in the military. Whatever the breadth of the wars going on now--and yes there are many causing suffering for many people--there is no attempt made by the bourgeoisie in the central countries to massively mobilize their own populations to confront one another on the battlefield. The conditions just aren't there. For one: the working class would be unlikely to accept such massive mobilizations--does anyone remember the very large massive protests against the Iraq War in 2003? Second, who would they go to war with? Can Russia form a bloc?

We can't rule out that at some point in the futures blocs may form, but today the perspective seems to be more of the same localized, descent into increasingly brutal conflicts, spreading to different areas. but limited in spatial or temporal scope. But who saw the Ukraine conflict coming?

I disagree, in a way human

I disagree, in a way human suffering is always "the point". For sure we want a society that aims to eliminate human suffering as caused by poverty and war.

When jk says, "there is no attempt made by the bourgeoisie in the central countries to massively mobilize their own populations to confront one another on the battlefield," I again have to disagree. "Central countries" doesn't cut it for me, but I understand the difficulty.

Are we underestimating the change in the nature of war in this period? Are we overestimating the significance of historical precedents? For certain segments of the global population, there is very much an attempt by the ruling class to massively mobilize their own populations against other societies/nations/economic blocs.

It's like with democracy and it's usefulness for the bourgeoisie. Class society creates socio-economic stratification, each class has it's own function and role in society, it's own "internal class-logic", it's own "common sense", which is a result of this stratification and relates to the fundamental nature of class society. If workers are aware of these different "common senses" - the different values, principles, and de facto socioeconomic norms/realities between rich and poor - we're not seeing that knowledge manifested in a political way. Instead it's nuanced, "he has bad manners", "he buys the cheap fish", etc. Or "that's un-American", etc. But this difference of social norms - this capitalist notion of "common sense"  - whether individuals realize it, or not is what causes them to say things like "that's just the way it is". Why is it this way? Because every reason other than the fact I'm a worker. Because I'm a woman. Because I'm black. Because I'm gay. Because I'm a racist. Because I'm for small government.

I hope this isn't too big of a jump, and that comrades will try to understand me before disagreeing, but I think a similar type of false consciousness comes as a result of nationalism and imperialism. Imperialism and war also stratify and create their own sets of internal logics. To jk, war seems "limited in spatial or temporal scope", but to "Mo" the Plumber in Syria the world probably seems like it's fucking ending. My concern is that although war is "breaking out here and there, perhaps temporary moments of stabilization, followed by further outbreaks of violence in the same place or somewhere else" as jk says, that doesn't mean the working class is not mobilized for war.  We need to take this into consideration. It's part of the "unevenness" we've talked about before. Large portions of the working class are mobilized for imperialist war.

Hopefully I'm not late to

Hopefully I'm not late to traffic court for that post haha. Fahhhhh

Burning Questions

Jamal wrote:

I disagree, in a way human suffering is always "the point". For sure we want a society that aims to eliminate human suffering as caused by poverty and war.

Of course, we want that. Capitalism produces human suffering in countless untold ways everyday to many people. But where does recognizing that that get us? If the goal is to understand the nature of war in this period--which I thought was the original question--we have to look at how it has changed from earlier periods in the history of the capitalism. Twice last century, capital plunged humanity into something approaching all out global warfare. These wars did not spare the heartland of captialist development, which was and continues to be Europe and North America--what leftists today might call the global North. In the centers of captialist production--the oldest and most experienced, most concentrated, and yes most central, bastions of the global working class were mobilized to go and kill their class brothers on a massive scale never seen before in world history. Pretty much everyone living in these countries at the time knew someone who was mobilized for the war and probably a majority knew someone who was maimed or killed. These were events of historical proortions for the workers' movement--marking the global defeat of the working class and its enrollment behind the imperialist slaughter.

But compare that today, where in the world's only remaining super power--the bastion of the military industrial complex, the imperialist hegemon of global proportions--only a small percentage of the population ever sees military duty. Neverthless, as recently as twelve years ago, when the President of that country launched a war that was seen by much of the population as illegal, unecessary and predicated on lies, there were massive mobilizations against the war. While these protests didn't stop the war from taking place--they certainly put an end to any idea the bourgeoisie may have had after 9/11 that the "Vietnam syndrome" within the US population had been overcome.

Jamal wrote:

When jk says, "there is no attempt made by the bourgeoisie in the central countries to massively mobilize their own populations to confront one another on the battlefield," I again have to disagree. "Central countries" doesn't cut it for me, but I understand the difficulty.

Do you not think there are countries that are more central to the global captialist system than others? Are all countries the same? Or do you think workers in the central countries are mobilized for global imperialist war? Its not clear what you are disagreeing with.....

Jamal wrote:

Are we underestimating the change in the nature of war in this period? Are we overestimating the significance of historical precedents? For certain segments of the global population, there is very much an attempt by the ruling class to massively mobilize their own populations against other societies/nations/economic blocs.

Change in the nature of war from when? Which period? Certainly, there isn't an underestimation of the nature of the change in war today from the period of the two world wars. In fact, this is one of the central features of the theory of decomposition--the inability of the bourgeoisie to enroll the working class--on a global level--behind the drive for global imperialist war, leading to a kind of social stalemate (as the working class is unable to go forward towards revolution) in which society literally rots on its feet--one of the features of which is an increasing proliferation of smaller, local wars, which flare up here and there, but with each iteration tend to further the overall social decay and pose the threat of an overall decline of civilization itself.

Yes, of course, the bourgeoisie is attempting to mobilize their respective populations. But are they really succeeding? Should we expect the reinstatement of the draft in the United States sometime soon? I doubt it.

Jamal wrote:

I hope this isn't too big of a jump, and that comrades will try to understand me before disagreeing, but I think a similar type of false consciousness comes as a result of nationalism and imperialism. Imperialism and war also stratify and create their own sets of internal logics. To jk, war seems "limited in spatial or temporal scope", but to "Mo" the Plumber in Syria the world probably seems like it's fucking ending. My concern is that although war is "breaking out here and there, perhaps temporary moments of stabilization, followed by further outbreaks of violence in the same place or somewhere else" as jk says, that doesn't mean the working class is not mobilized for war.  We need to take this into consideration. It's part of the "unevenness" we've talked about before. Large portions of the working class are mobilized for imperialist war.

It very well may seem like the world is ending to people in Syria right now, but are they right? What happens when we look at the balance of class forces on a global scale? Is the working class defeated on a global scale or not? Of course, we shouldn't underestimate what is happening in Syria, or Iraq, or Afgahnaistan or Nigeria or Ukraine or anywhere else where there is misery, war, terror, fear and starvation--but Marxism requires us to look at reality from a global perspective and ask questions on a grander scale. For the ICC, one of the main questions in understanding where we are is to determine--over and above whatever local conflicts are taking place--if the working class on a global scale and in particular in the central countries of global captialism where the working class remains the strongest--if the proletariat is defeated on a global scale. My guess is that still today, even with all the mess and shit going on, it would say that it is not.

Of course, that is not a reason to celebrate or become complacent, because the ICC has also pointed out that in the era of decomposition it might not be necessary for the bourgeoisie to mobilize the global proletariat for all out imperalist war for the communist perspective to be put in jeopardy. It may be the case that the spiral of decomposition could reach such a point that civilization itself could collapse into barbarism. Have we reached that point yet? How would we know if we did? Does the mere fact that the proletariat in the central countries refuses global war mean there is still hope? Those are my burning questions.......

I agree with a lot of the

I agree with a lot of the concerns of Jamal but find jk's response convincing overall.

As to "predicting" the war in Ukraine, I don't think that anyone could have specifically but once it got underway it was fairly clear what its basis was`` - which was fundamentally the same as the 2009 war in Georgia, ie, provoked by the US and answered by Russian imperialism. At the end of last week there were continuing reports of anti-war protests and desertions from the Kiev side and, despite reports of miners in the eastern region protesting against the war, the Russian-backed faction seems to be mobilising more elements more easily in the face of the push from the west.

I still disagree.On a global

I still disagree.

On a global level the bourgeoisie does have the working class mostly enrolled behind imperialist conflict. It's just not the same, central conflict. But there still is a large segment of the population in each country enrolled in this ideology.

I went to a large anti-war protest in 2005, half a million or more, and there were counter protesters everywhere, at least fifty thousand or more. These people represent the portion of the working class that cheerleads the national bourgeoisie, and in many countries (especially the US and Europe) they make up almost half the population or more. Everyone knows someone in the Army, c'mon. We saw in a past thread that the gross amount of human lives lost has in no way slowed since WWII, just become more spread out.

It also seems there are two super powers today, at least, China rivals the US hegemony easily. Both have ICBMs, nuclear subs and space planes, unique GPS and internets. Countries like Russia, India, Brazil, Japan, etc. are not too far behind. All the stuff about the central countries seems so 20th century, man.

We're not going to wake up one day to barbarism. Privacy is dead, the US at least has been at war non-stop since WWII, disease, natural disaster, environmental catastrophy...this is a slow slide towards the withering away of humanity and the reality is communists militants at this point have no influence and no power to stop this slide.

Most of the working class accepts global war. Just like democracy, imperialism's internal logic and false consciousness still have hold of as many people as ever I fear. What has clearly wained since the 20th century and is being refused by the working class is communist consciousness and proletarian political unity.

On the formation of blocs

Who could have predicted in 1935 or 6 what the blocs would have been in WWII? In 1936 substantial sections of the British bourgeoisie supported the Nazis. Either or both of the UK and the US might have joined Germany to attack the USSR. Was it inevitable that the US would end up opposing Germany? Probably, they were the two biggest powers at the time, but Trotsky was convinced that the next war would be be between Britain and the US - the likelihood in this case would be that Germany would ally with the UK, as Hitler proposed (in Mein Kampf, I believe, published in 1925-6). But again there was a body of opinion in the US that supported closer relations with Germany - partly, as a move against Britain.


The USSR signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany in 1939, which directly lead to France and the UK declaring war on Germany. Could the USSR an Germany have formed a stable bloc? Possibly not; but they formed an unstable one for 2 years.


It may seem likely that Japan's expansionism in the Pacific would have have brought it into conflict with China, the US and the British Empire, but in Europe, the position of for example Finland is instructive in demonstrating that the blocs emerged in the course of the war, not as a cause of it. Due to the changes in who was fighting whom, Finland started the war in the Allied camp, but became a member of the Axis camp after the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany in 1941, and then in 1944 made peace with the Soviet Union to fight Germany. Italy changed side in 1943, after the downfall of Mussolini, and in 1941 with the Fall of France, a new pro-German regime took over.


Simialr things happened in WWI. The Ottoman Empre and Italy, for example, did not enter the war until 1916; they weren't integrated into the blocs. Their entry was more motivated by antipathy (Ottomans for Britian and Russia, Italians for Austria) than any grand scheme of alliances (there was certainly a long-standing series of conflicts between the the new allies, the Ottoman and Austrian Empires). And, really, who would have thought that Britian would have fought Germany alongside France? England had fought France for 900 years at that point, usually allied to at least some Germans, in Europe, India, the New World... but then again, why Britain and Russia? It wasn't so long since British and French forces had been fighting the Russians in Crimea (probably the only time Britain and France had been on the same side in 600 years).


So what's the point of all this? That blocs are fluid things and change even in the course of wars, let alone in the period before them. Th fact that there aren't readily-identifiable blocs doesn't mean that there can't be a war - that's obvious from the fact that wars are raging across the world. But it doesn't prevent a world-wide war either. That can still happen, even without a well-defined and stable bloc system.



It's not entirely removed from the discussion above but a bit of a diversion here:

There's been much made about the "media-savvy" nature of Isis which is undoubtedly true. But the murder of the Jordanian pilot could be a mistake for it. The British press made much of the swapping of the pilot for a failed Al Qaida woman suicide bomber but the fact was that the Jordanian regime agreed to swap at least dozens of jihadi's that it was holding in exchange for the pilot. Furthermore, strong intimations were given to Isis from Jordan that its involvement in the coalition could be attenuated. Jordan is worried because, after Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, most of Isis fighters come from Jordan and there's a strong sentiment in the country that Jordan shouldn't be involved in the war at all. In fact the Arab members of the coalition are there mainly for international decoration as far as air strikes are concerned. Now some tribal leaders, instead of denouncing the war against Isis. are, in the wake of the pilot's death, calling for it to be intensified and Jordan has been able to cover up its dirty dealings that threatened further problems for the coalition. The over-brutality of Al Qaida in Iraq was partly responsible for the weakening of this organisation among its own base. Some commentators are saying how these latest events will strengthen Isis but while its certainly not on its knees it could well work the other way.

I've had another look back over the life of Isis leader al-Baghdadi and it's difficult to swallow how, from having millions of dollars on his head, he was released from a US-run jail in Iraq and then, apparantly, disappeared to re-emerge with a well-funded and well-armed fighting force like Isis. Very suspicious.

During the hospital scenes in

During the hospital scenes in this doc their are some highly suspicious Israeli doctors treating what could be at the very least Al Nusra Front fighters aka Al Qaeda.

Interesting perspective from

Interesting perspective from Slothjabber on the bloc question. I think, though, that the primary lens that forms the ICC's take on this is the period of the Cold War, in which two very clearly defined military blocs confronted one another. Moreover, whatever the historical contingency of the period, I do think that--Finland notwithstanding--there was a certain logic to the way the blocs shaped up in WWII. Germany was intent on dominating the East (he never had any intent on honoring the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), and Britian and France (whatever their ditherings) were intent on not letting it get past Poland. As to the possibility of a seperate peace between Britian and Germany after the fall of France, I think this was mostly a propagandisitc fantasy. Already, the US was supplying Britain and it was only a matter of time before Roosevelt found the excuse to get the US into the war. Churchill knew this and Japan obliged. Also, it is illustrative that for the most part the blocs in both World Wars were essentially the same, with the exception of Japan and partial exception of Italy, which gives some creedence to the idea advanced by Hobsbawn that period of 1914 to 1945 should really be seen as the second Thirty Years War, in which the belligerents were required to lick their wounds for a couple of decades in between two periods of intense fighting.

But I think this is a little beside the point today. The conditions now are not those before WWII or the Cold War. The US remains the only super power without any serious rivals that can compete militarily on its level. Obviously, there is consideration about the "rise of China"--including within the ICC--but even if it were to rise to the level of becoming a major enough power around which an anti-US bloc would form (and I for one am skeptical this will ever occur), this would not happen overnight, we would be able to see it happening through time. Thus, the perspective for the immediate/medium term appears to be more of the same--the spread of increasingly brutal local wars that in and of themselves are not exitinction level events, but the accumulation of which--over time--pose the possibility of civilizational crisis. In other words--decomposition.

agreement and disagreement - of course

I absolutely agree that one of the central logics of WWII was the confrontation between Germany and the USSR. Even with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that was still likely to be hugely important. The result of this is that the only 'given' in WWII was that Germany must oppose France. Berlin can never take Moscow if Paris is unconquered at its back. Even, an alliance with Russia was on the cards, in order to give Germany the space to defeat France, before turning on Russia... and yes this is exactly the same logic as in 1914, because the geographies of Germany, France and Russia hadn't significantly changed since 1914 (though of course they had changed; just not by enough to render the general strategic positions different).


But the alliance with Russia, though it allowed Germany the space to defeat France, probably did more than anything to swing Britain against Germany, I'd say. It took two years of war to get Russia and Britain on the same side. I think that he British bourgeoisie would rather have fought with Hitler against Stalin.


I was talking about British attitudes to Germany in the mid-30s, when Edward VIII was on the throne, Mosely was marching Blackshirts about and the Daily Mail was full of stories of that nice Herr Hitler. Churchill at that stage was busy admiring Italian Fascism, looking for any way he could to fight 'international Bolshevism', and the government was pretty much in the grip of a pro-German faction, which represented an important sector of the British bourgeoisie. The ICC may see Britain now as vacilating between an alliance with US capitalism or with German capitalism (currently represented by the conflict between the 'Eurosceptic' and 'Pro-Euro' sections the British bourgeoisie). I'm not sure the choice was significantly different in 1935.

Is it possible the ruling

Is it possible the ruling class is pulling an "okie doke" with this Netanyahu addess bullshit?

Democratic strategists are idiots if they don't see this hurting them in the long run. I can see the 2016 Republican front-runner giving a passionate and hawkish speech about "restoring" US-Israeli relations at AIPAC already.


On the World Socialist Website, in an article entitled "Ukraine government moves to stifle dissent as military morale plunges", there are several videos of (unconnected) women in Kiev controlled Ukraine addressing crowds and denouncing the war and its misery in no uncertain terms. One woman takes on a recruiting sergeant who talks about duty and patriotism and, in front of a fairly large crowd of men and women, reduces him to silence. Well worth a look and I'd be obliged if anyone who knows how could make a direct link to it.

Ukraine Woman from Zaporozhia
Thanks Jamal.

Thanks Jamal.

NY Times, CBS News, pretty

NY Times, CBS News, pretty much every major news outlet in the US reporting yesterday that CIA funds were given to Al-Qaeda.


Over a thousand outgunned Iraqi police and army fled Ramadi on Sunday, leaving behind weaponry and military vehicles as around 400 Isis fighters took this key Sunni capital in the province of Anbar. Forty thousand refugees have also fled according to the Guardian today.


The propaganda has been, from Britain and the US, that the war against Isis was being won as the latter was being pushed back and suffering from constant "coalition" air-strikes and one well-publicised US Special Forces attack late last week on an Isis stronghold (incidently, while giving a more or less clear class analysis on the war, I think that the ICT has, in general tended to underestimate Isis which, in my opinion, comes from its underestimation of the question of decomposition).


Secretary of State Kerry and the Iraqi government expect Ramadi to be retaken very soon. It's possible but I woulldn't bet on it. And even if it is, it poses more problems for the US because the only force capable of retaking the town is the Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militias of the Popular Mobilisation Units backed by Iran. It was elements of these units that the Guardian today estimates responsible for 25% of US deaths and casulties in the war. When the call came to fight against Isis in Tikrit recently some 20,000 soldiers of these militias turned up to fight and were held off by a few hundred Isis fighters. This time 3,000 of these fighters have been mobilised, which doesn't look promising.


A local uprising doesn't look promising either given the grief that the population has suffered from divisions and the way that they have been treated by Baghdad and the US military particularly when you key in the factor of welfare and brutal terror that Isis will bring to this town. This includes wholesale spying, its very effective intelligence services, activated sleeper cells and the killing of sheikhs and the weakening of tribal powers as well as its other traditional methods of repression.


Ramadi is a crossroads to the Jordanian and Syrian borders and its position, and the positions of Isis, make it a possible springboards for a pincer movement on Baghdad. But I don't think that it's stupid enough to launch that when it can cause more damage by consolodating its position here. There is a clear lack of options for the US whatever happens.


Why Didn’t Bush/Cheney

A word about the attacks in Tunisia: when you read about these attacks and others like them, whether by individuals or fighter bombers, you see 36 killed here, 49 killed there, 88 killed elsewhere and so on, they are barely reported and barely raise a flicker. But when you see the faces, hjear the stories, see the relatives, it is different. Questions are raised. In this case the British bourgeoisie are well aware of this and have used this event and its nationals killed to its advantage in order to promote the national interest - a unification of the interests of the state which also consists of division, demonisation and a quietly promoted hatred cultivated on the fertile soil of decay and irrationality. In this deadly cycle further imperialist adventures by Britain will only, as in the recent past, make the overall situaion even more unstable and dangerous.


The underlying causes of the recent spate of attacks by Isis or Isis induced elements, including those that are yet to happen, are well laid out on this site. Like the "War on Drugs" has generated violence, depravity and narco-trafficking on an unprecedented scale, so the "War on Terror" has generated and produced terror and terrorism. The democracies - and it will soon be a crime to denounce democracy in Britain - through imperialism generally and their specific agencies, have been greatly responisble for the rise and organisation of terrorism; it has become another weapon, another factor in imperialist war.


The great "triumph" of Cameron and Sarkozy in Libya now stands exposed for what it always was - a further descent into capitalist war and decomposition. The Tunisian killers, and those at the museum several months ago, were apparantly trained by Isis in Libya. The growth of Isis has been facilitated by the actions of the democracies. The Mediterrenean, symbolic a short while ago of a brief place of rest and leisure for workers across Europe has now become symbolic of the impasse and decay of capitalism.





Impasse and decay

So much substance from all posters above. Thank you.

I heard a consultant surgeon talking last night on World Service from a hospital in Tripoli. He fled for his life earlier during the carnage, swiftly returned to try to do his job. Well.. you can imagine; the bone marrow transplant he can't do in Warlord territory and the appeal for help.

With tragic predictability, that specific imperialist demonstration of power by U.K /Fr. ,as always, leaves those who stay where thay have always lived ( and are not in A Gang /Army) left stranded in the dead stubble after slash and burn. 'We pledge 3 million to the Red Cross' they trumpeted in 2011 'I witnessed Tripoli's liberation' blared the press.


Also: the inherent imperialist nature of the 'democracies' can no longer be expressed through the 'original' Capitalist agenda : on your way to India, anywhere east of Suez, do a a very diplomatic deal with any Moslem leader for trade rights or passage.whatever: reach India, invade, mass produce opium, smuggle it into China, addict the Chinese. But make vast profits Accumulate.(1,750 Tons of opium was exported from British India just in1837 alone :$20,000,000 in their value)

Now it is a 'War on Drugs'. The 'profit' is a power-profile? 'War on Terror' the 'profit' ? as you say amongst other consequences: terrorism itself.

History is continuous. The massive opium production by the British Empire and its role in the expansion of commodity Capitalism, its effect on the whole region didn't just go away because in a moment of weakness we gave India back. 140 million dollars worth of heroin is the biggest haul from intercepting smugglers in the Indian Ocean recently. 'the profits are used to fund groups like Al Q'Aida and the Taliban' says the BBC. Partial truth.

And in Afghanistan; Britain's main Camp Bastion has hi-tech state of the art, sewage treatment and makes the soil just outside the fence very safely fertile. The locals started growing vegetables of various kinds there - as they do near other military locations to sell them back to the military. But the notion of a potato that might have gained nutrients in the vicinity of something that once was one's own excrement seems to offend the Brit palate so it's back to growing poppies just outside the fence.


It will take more reads and thought before I could formulate a perspective response re: bloc tendency and big war.

A bit off topic but .. I can say that, at the height of the cold war, it was 'decided' by the BBC (state pressure? why the very idea) that the film The War Game should not be shown. At that time all States had known damn well for a decade or more, that any 'Civil Defense' provisions were grotesque charades and I think the Brirish Gov was about to up or down the pointless Civil Defense budget. In case of nuclear attack: hide under your desk.

But we got hold of it for our school film club. It was accurate and terrifying.This is three years after The Cuba Showdown. and ten years-ish after the Castle Bravo Test (Bikini Atoll) whose Government is still sueing the U.S and whose indigenous people and descendents still bear the D.N.A scars - not to mention the horrendous cancers and deformities of any of the U.S navy men still alive, who were told that it was quite safe to retrieve samples from the target vessel 'which has now cooled down'

Again history is continuous. What we thought as schoolboys could happen, hasn't yet, but I would imagine that the square miles of accomodation bunkerage and food stores just under Westminster and Buck House are still running and stocked. 20 years ago they were: a fork-lift truck driver and electrician who worked there broke the 'official secrets act' to share this. The Ruling Elite everywhere surely have thousands similar? They do not count out any possibilty when it comes to keeping power.