Polemic: Behind the 'globalisation' of the economy the capitalist crisis worsens

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We have become used to the politicians, economists and media using the most extraordinary theories to hide the total bankruptcy of the capitalist system and to justify the interminable growth of the attacks on the working class's living conditions.

25 years ago, Nixon, an American president of the most rank conservatism, proclaimed to the whole world that "We are all Keynesians". In that period faced with the aggravation of the crisis the bourgeoisie offered "state intervention", the development of a "social and egalitarian state", as the solution. And in the name of this policy asked the workers for sacrifices in order to "reach the end of the tunnel".

In the 80s, confronted with the economic stagnation, the bourgeoisie changed horses. Now "less state" was the cure-all for all the problems of the state. These were the hard years of "Reaganomics" which meant the largest world-wide wave of state organised lay-offs since the 30's.

At present, the crisis of capitalism has reached such a serious level that the order of the day for all the industrialised states is purely and simply the liquidation of the minimum social guarantees (unemployment benefits, pensions, health and education spending: also length of the working day, job security etc.), that the workers still receive under the ideological disguise of the "welfare state".

This merciless attack, a qualitative leap in the tendency to the absolute pauperisation of the working class, announced by Karl Marx, a tendency which today is justified and accompanied by a new ideology: the "globalisation of the world economy".

The servants of capital have discovered the moon. 150 years after Engels demonstrated in the Principles of Communism (written in 1847): "That things have reached such a point that a new machine invented now in England can, in the space of a year, condemn millions of workers in China to starvation. In this way, big industry has linked all the peoples of the world to each other, it has united all of the local markets into one world market, everywhere it has prepared the ground for civilisation and progress and has organised things in such a way that what happens in the civilised countries must necessarily have repercussions in all the others" (Principles of Communism).

Capitalism had to expand across the world imposing its regime of wage slavery into every comer of the Earth. The integration into the world market, by the beginning of the century, of the most significant territories of the planet and the difficulty of finding others capable of satisfying expanding capitalism's ever growing needs, marked the decadence of the bourgeoisie order, as revolutionaries have said for 80 years.

In this framework of the chronic saturation of the world market, the XXth century has witnessed an unprecedented deepening of competition between the different national capitals. Faced with this ever increasing need to realise surplus value the markets have become increasingly smaller. This forces a double imperative on every national capital: on the one hand, to protect with all kinds of measures (monetary, legislative, etc) its own products faced with the assault of its rivals. On the other hand, to try to convince the other national capitals to open their doors to its commodities (trade treaties, bilateral accords etc.).

When bourgeois economists talk of "globalisation" they are trying to give the impression that capitalism can be consciously controlled and unified by the rules that mark the world market. What really happens is just the opposite: the realities of the world market impose their own laws, but in a framework dominated by the desperate efforts of each national capital to escape them and to push all their weight onto their rivals. The present "globalised" world market is not a framework for progress and unification but of anarchy and disintegration. The tendency of decadent capitalism is towards the break-up of the world market, under the powerful centrifugal forces of the national economies structured by hypertrophied states which try to protect with all means (including military) the product of their exploitation of the workers against the assault of their competitors. While in the last century competition between nations contributed to the formation and unification of the world market, in the XXth century, the organised competition between each national state tends just to the opposite: to the disintegration and decomposition of the world market.

It is exactly for this reason that "globalisation" is something that can only be imposed by force. In the world of Yalta, the United States and Russia, created very structured organisms, using the advantages given to them by the discipline of imperialist blocs, to regulate (in their favour, obviously) world trade: GATT, the IMF, the Common Market, Comecon in the Russian bloc etc. These organisms, the expression of the bloc leaders' military and economic strength, were never able to overcome the tendencies to anarchism and organise the world market in a harmonious and unified way. The collapse of the two old imperialist blocs after 1989[1] has considerably accelerated competition and the chaos on the world market.

But perhaps "Globalisation" will stop this tendency? According to the apostles of "globalism" the part of the world market which is "already unified" is going to have a "salutary effect" on all economies and is going to permit the entire world to come out of the crisis by freeing themselves from "national egotism".

If we examine each of the features that the economists identify with "Globalism" none of them will "overcome" the chaos of the world market nor the crisis it is aggravating. To begin with, "electronic transactions via the Internet" are going to considerably accentuate the already very high risk of non-payment, adding to the growing burden of insupportable debt. As for the globalisation of the monetary and financial markets we have already analysed this in International Review No 81 (Financial Storms: Madness?): "A financial crisis is inevitable. Indeed, in some respects it is already happening. Even from capitalism's point of view, a strong "purge" of the "speculative bubble" is vital " ... Today, the speculative bubble, and above all state indebtedness have increased fanatically. In these circumstances, nobody can tell where the violence of such a purge would stop. But at all events, it will involve a massive destruction of fictitious capital which will hurl whole areas of world capital into ruin".[2]

In reality, that which is presented as "globalism" is something very different from the celestial music that its enthusiasts sell us. It is a response to the two pressing problems that are posed by the present state of the capitalist crisis:

-the reduction of production costs

- the destruction of protective barriers in order that the most competitive capitalisms can make full use of the increasingly reduced markets.

In respect of the reduction in production costs we have already pointed out that "The intensification of competition between capitalists, exacerbated by the crisis of overproduction and the scarcity of solvent markets, pushes the capitalists to modernise continually the process of production, replacing men by machines, in a frenzied search for cost reductions. The same race obliges them to shift part of production to countries where labour power is cheaper (China and South East Asia today, for example)".[3]

This second aspect of the reduction of costs (transferring of certain parts of production to countries with low labour costs) has accelerated in the 90's. We can see how the "democratic" states, have made good use of the services of the Chinese regime in order to produce compact disks, sports shoes, hard disks, modems etc., at absurdly low cost. The take-off of the famous "Asiatic dragons" based on the manufacture of computers, steel, electronic components, fabrics etc. has transferred to these "low labour costs" paradises.

Capitalism, forced by the crisis, has to take full advantage of the differences in wage costs: "the total wage costs (including taxes) in the industry of the different countries on the road to development which produce and export manufactured goods as well as services, vary between 3% (Madagascar, Vietnam) to 40% in respect to those of the richest European countries. China is situated between 5-16% and India around 5%. With the collapse of the Soviet bloc there now exists on the doorstep of the European Union a labour reserve whose costs do not surpass 5% (Rumania) or 20% (Poland and Hungary) of those in Germany".[4]

This is the first aspect of "globalisation".

Its consequences are forcing a world-wide reduction in wages. In the second place, it is provoking massive lay-offs in the great industrial centres without these jobs being replaced, in the same numbers, through the supply of jobs in the new ultra-automated factories. Thirdly, far from remedying the chronic illness of capitalism (the saturation of the market) it has made it worse through reducing demand in the great industrial countries without an equivalent growth of consumption in the "emerging countries"[5]

As for the destruction of customs barriers, the pressure of the "great powers" have certainly made countries like India, Mexico and Brazil reduce their import duties at the price of a considerable indebtedness (repeating the same formulas employed in the 70' s and which led to the catastrophe of the 1982 debt crisis). The relief supplied to the whole of world capital however, is completely illusory: "the recent financial collapse of another "exemplary" country, Mexico, whose money lost half of its value overnight, necessitating an urgent injection of close to $50 billion of credit (by far the largest "rescue" operation in capitalism's history), sums up the reality of the mirage of the "emergence" of certain Third World countries"[6]. Under the pressure of "globalisation" we are not seeing a reduction in protectionism or of state intervention in respect to commercial exchange, what we are seeing is a recourse as much to the traditional means as to newer ones:

- the same Clinton who in 1995 obliged the Japanese to open their frontiers to American products, who never tires of asking his "associates" for "free trade" demonstrated this by ordering the increase of duties on planes, steel and agricultural products and limiting state agencies acquisition of foreign products.

- the famous Uruguay Round which led to the substitution of the old GATT by the new World Trade Organisation obtained a really derisory accord: only eliminating tariffs on 10 industrial products and reducing the percentage in 8 of these products by around 30% and that over a 10 year period!

- a massive expression of neo-protectionism is found in the environmental, health and even "welfare" standards, that the most industrialised nations use to impose unattainable criterion's on their competitors; "in the new WTO, industrial groups, union organisations and militant greens plead that the collective benefits from the environment, social welfare etc. and the standards they involve shouldn't be regulated by the market but, by national sovereignty which cannot share responsibility on this terrain".[7]

The formation of "regional areas" (European Union, The North American Free Trade Agreement, etc) do not contradict this tendency because they obey the necessity for groups of capitalist countries to create zones of protection from which to confront their most powerful rivals. Faced with the European Union the US responded with the Free Trade Agreement, while Japanese capital confronted with both promoted an accord with the Asiatic dragons. These "regional groups" try to protect from competition what at times looks like areal vipers nest where commercial confrontations between partners grow daily. It's enough to look at the edifying spectacle of the "harmonious" European Union rocked by the continuous litigation between its 15 member countries.

There is no effort to deceive anyone here, the most aberrant tendencies that express the decomposition of the world market constantly affirm this: "Today, international currency insecurity has reached such a point that we are seeing the resurgence of the most archaic form of exchange, in other words the direct exchange of commodities without having recourse to money as an intermediary."[8] Another type of weapon that capitalist states, even the richest, have at hand, is the devaluation of their currency which automatically permits them to sell their goods at a lower price and increases those of its rivals. All the straightjackets that have been used to stop the generalisation of this practice have in the majority of cases ended in fiascos and this was borne out by the collapse of the European Monetary System.

"Globalisation" an ideological attack on the proletariat

We can see therefore that "globalisation" is an ideological smoke screen used to hide the reality of capitalism's collapse into generalised crisis and the subsequent growth of chaos on the world market.

Nevertheless, "globalism" is very ambitious. It proclaims nothing less than the overcoming and even the "destruction" (in the words of the most daring of the globalists) of the nation state. One of them, the well-known Japanese business guru Kenichi Ohmae, says that: "In a few words, in terms of the real flows of economic activity, the nation state has lost its role as a significant participant in the frontierless economy of the present world."[9]. Further on he calls nation states "brutal filters" and promises us the paradise of a "global" economy: "due to the growth of the number of individuals who pass through the brutal filter which separates geographical areas through the old fashioned customs of the world economy,' power over economic activity will be inevitably transferred from the central governments of the nation states to the frontierless network of innumerable individual decisions, based on the maket."[10]

Up until now the only social class that fought the nation state was the proletariat. But we can see that the audacity of bourgeoisie ideologists is limitless: they set themselves up as the standard bearers of the "struggle against national interests". At the height of delirium two authors of this genre, Misters Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider, have called their book "The First World Revolution".

However, the most dangerous aspect of this anti-nation "phobia" is the role that it plays in the bourgeoisie's ideological offensive against the whole proletariat. One part of this offensive is to entrap the proletariat in a false dilemma:

- on the one hand, the political forces that strongly defend "globalism" (in Europe they are the partisans of Maastricht), underlining the necessity to "overcome backwards national egotism" in order to integrate the "whole world" which will allow the crisis to be overcome;

- on the other, the parties of the left (above all when they are in opposition) and the unions that link the defence of worker's interests to that of the national interest supposedly trampled underfoot by "traitorous" governments.

The tenants of "Globalism", completely serve the national interest with their fulminations against so-called "minimum social guarantees", which means Social Security, redundancy pay, unemployment benefits, pensions, support for education and housing, and labour regulations that stipulate the length of the working day, the rhythm of production, the working age, etc. All the "horrors" forced on the nation state taken prisoner by "sinister" pressure groups formed by the workers .

Here we have the heart of globalism, stripped of its tinsel (about "overcoming the crisis" or "the internationalism of the free individual in a free market"). What we are presented with is the new alibi for the attacks imposed on all nation states by the crisis of capital: which means finishing with "minimum social guarantees", all social costs and labour legislation which with the development of the crisis are no longer insupportable.

And here, another pole of the bourgeoisie's ideological attack comes in to play: the unions and the Left. Over the last 50 years this "minimum social guarantee" has been the flagship of the "welfare state". This forms the "beautiful face" of state capitalism. The "social state" is presented to the workers as "evidence" that capitalist exploitation has been sweetened and has been placed within limits, as "proof" that within the national state class conciliation is possible and that their respective interests will be taken into account.

The unions and the Left (particularly when they are in opposition) pose as the greatest defenders of the "social state". They maintain that the conflict is between the "national interests" that demands the maintenance of a "social minimum" and "traitorous cosmopolitanism". This aspect played a very important role in the French bourgeoisie's manoeuvre through the strikes in the Autumn of 95. The movement was presented as a demonstration against Maastricht, as a an expression of the general populations' resentment against the demands of "convergence", into which the unions channelled this "movement".

The contradictions of Battaglia Comunista faced with "globalisation"

The task of the groups of the Communist Left (the basis for the future World Party of the proletariat) is to denounce, without concessions, the ideological poison of the dilemma between "savage globalisation" and "globalisation with guarantees". Faced with these new attacks the working class cannot choose between the spokesmen for the "national interest" or the standard bearers of "globalism". Its demands are not situated on the terrain of the defence of the "welfare state", but on the intransigent defence of its class interests. The perspective for the struggles is not in the false dilemma between "social-patriotism" and "globalisation", but in the destruction of the capitalist state in all countries.

The question of "globalisation" has been dealt with several times by Battaglia Comunista, through articles in its quarterly review Prometeo. BC firmly defends a series of positions of the Communist Left that we want to highlight:

- they unconditionally denounce "globalisation" as a powerful attack on the working class showing that it is based "on the progressive impoverishment of the world proletariat and the most violent forms of exploitation."[11]

- they reject the idea that "globalisation" represents an overcoming of capitalism's contradictions: "Here it is noteworthy to point out that even the most recent changes in the system of the world economy can be entirely reduced to the ambit of capital's concentration-centralisation process. Whilst a new phase in capital's history is undoubtedly underway this doesn't mean that the inherent contradictions of capital accumulation process have been overcome."[12]

- they recognise that the restructuring and "technological innovations" that capitalism introduced in the 80's and 90's do not represent a widening of the world market:

"Unlike the powerful economic growth of monopoly capitalism's first period; restructuring did not lead as expected to a 'virtuous circle' of new productive activity which would compensate for the manpower replaced by new technology. For the first time additional investments were leading, not to an expanded productive base and an overall growth in the productive labour force, but to their relative and absolute diminution."[13]

- they refuse any idea that sees "globalisation" as a way of creating an ordered and harmonious world production, instead they make it clear that "Thus we have a paradox of a system which pursues, via monopolies, the maximum rationality but which brings with it the highest level of irrationality: all against all; each capital against all the others; all capitals against each."[14]

- they record that: "the downfall (of the capitalist system) is not the mathematical result of the contradictions of the economic world, but the work of the proletariat which is conscious that this is not the best of all possible worlds."[15]

We support these positions and based on them we want to combat a series of insufficiencies and contradictions which, in our judgment, affect BC. This polemic has a clear militant aim: confronted with the aggravation of the crisis it is vital to denounce "theories" about "globalisation" whose aim is to obstruct the development of consciousness about the fact that the capitalist system is today "the worst of all possible worlds" and the necessity to destroy it world-wide.

What surprises us first of all is that BC thinks that: "Thanks to developments in microelectronics, both in the sphere of telecommunications and in relation to the actual organisation of the productive cycle the planet have really been unified."[16]. BC has been carried away by all the bourgeoisie's nonsense about telecommunications and the Internet supposedly being the "miracle unifier" and have forgotten that : "since the internationalisation of capitalist interests expresses only one side of the internationalisation of economic life, it is necessary also to review its other side, namely, that process of the nationalisation of capitalist interests which most strikingly empresses the anarchy of capitalist competition with the boundaries of the world economy, a process that leads to the greatest convulsions and catastrophes, to the greatest waste of human energy, and most forcefully raises the problem of establishing new forms of social life."[17]

Another weak flank that BC offers us is the strange discovery according to which:

"When Nixon, then President of the United States, took the historic decision to denounce the Bretton Woods Agreement and declared the dollars inconvertibility he had not the remotest idea that this was making way for one of the most gigantic transformations in the history of the capitalist mode of production, a period of extreme disturbance which in less than twenty years would change the shape of the world and push the relations of imperialist domination to their maximum limits."[18]

One cannot see as a cause (the famous decision in 1971 to declare the none-convertibility of the Dollar) what was nothing more than a simple effect of the aggravation of the capitalist crisis and in no way had enough importance to alter "the dominant imperialist relation", no less! We have already criticised the economism of BC which leads it to attribute effects that have no relevance to the confrontation between the previous imperialist blocs (Soviet and Western).

Nevertheless, the main danger is that they will open to door to the bourgeois mystification about capitalism's ability to "change and transform itself". In the past, BC has had a tendency to be dazzled by the "great transformations" that the bourgeoisie have dangled in front of our noses. It was seduced by the "innovations" of the "technological revolution", and then by the fabulous markets that would be opened up by "liberation" of the Eastern European countries. Today, they have taken at face value all the noise about "globalisation":

"The passing to the centralised management of the economic variables on a continental basis or through monetary zones has forced a change in the distribution of capital in different productive and financial sectors. It is not only small and medium sized businesses, but also large scale groups that are threatened with marginalisation or being taken over with the subsequent decline of their relative position of power. For many countries this could bring with it the danger of the fracturing of its national unity as the events in Yugoslavia or the ex-Soviet bloc have demonstrated. The balance of power between the different fractions of the world bourgeoisie is going to suffer profound mutations and will generate for a long time an aggravation of tensions and conflicts, with effects on the process of economic globalisation reflected that could slow down or even block it".[19]

To our amazement, we discover that imperialist tensions, the collapse of nations, the Yugoslavian conflict, are not explained by capitalism's decadence and decomposition, by the aggravation of the historic crisis of the system, but because they are internal phenomena of the process of "globalisation". Here BC slips away from the Communist Left's framework of analysis (decadence and the historic crisis of capitalism) and towards the bourgeoisie's framework of mystification's based on twaddle about "globalisation".

It is essential that the groups of the Communist Left make no concession to these mystification's and resolutely defend the revolutionary position according to which in decadence, and more concretely in the phase of crisis opened up at the end of the 60's, capitalism's attempts to try and stop its collapse will only aggravate and accelerate it and can produce no real change[20]. In our reply to the IBRP (International Review No 82) we make it clear that the question is not to ignore these attempts but to analysis them within the framework of the Communist Left and not to be hooked by the bait that bourgeois ideology dangles in front of us.

"Globalisation" and the nation state

However, where the contradictions of BC have their most dangerous consequences is in its position on the role of the nation state. BC believes that "globalisation" will profoundly alter the role of the nation state and imply a certain weakening of it. Certainly, they don't claim, as the samurai Kenichi Ohmea does, that the nation state is on the decline, and they recognise several important points:

- the class nature of the nation state has not changed

- the nation state is an active agent of the "changes" that capitalism is undergoing

- the nation state is not in crisis. Nevertheless, the comrades do say: "surely one of the most interesting aspects of the globalisation of the economy is expressed by the tendency to transversal and transnational integration of the great industrial and financial concentrations which, through their size and power, far surpasses that of the national states"[21]

What can be deduced from these "interesting aspects" is that under capitalism the famous "multinationals" can form entities superior to the nation state. This is a defence of the revisionist thesis that negates the Marxist principle according to which the highest and maximum unity of capitalism is the Nation State, the National Capital. Capitalism can never go beyond the framework of the nation state and even less can it be internationalist. As we have previously seen, it is limited to the aim of dominating its rival nations and gaining the largest possible share of the world market.

In the Editorial to Prometeo No 9 this revision of Marxism is confirmed when they say: "The productive and/or financial multinationals due to the economic interests and power they have surpass the different state formations they traverse. The fact that the central banks of the different states are incapable of controlling or counteracting the wave of speculation, that a monstrous handful of financial groups daily unleash, speaks volumes about the profound change in relations between states".

Is it really necessary recall that it is precisely these poor little, impotent national states that own (or at least strictly control) these mastodons of finance? Is it really necessary to show BC that this "monstrous handful" is formed by respectable banking and savings institutions whose responsibilities are designated either directly or indirectly by their respective national states?

BC is not only hooked by the bait about the supposed opposition between nation states and the monstrous multinationals, but goes even further, revealing that: "Thus, ever-larger capitals ... have given birth to those giants which now control the entire world economy. Indicative of this is the change in the so-called Big Three - the world's three largest companies. From the thirties right up until the seventies these were US car companies: General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. Today, they are three pension funds, again from the US: Fidelity Investments, Vanguard Group and Capital Research and Management. The cumulative power of these finance companies is enormous and extends beyond the individual states which have actually lost some of their capacity to control the world economy over recent years."[22]

In the 1970's the myth of the famous multinational oil companies was very fashionable. The Leftists told us that capital was "transnational" and due to this the "main demand" of the workers should be the defence of the national interest against this "stateless handful".

BC certainly rejected this mystification forcefully, nevertheless, they admit its "theoretical" justification, that is, they believed there was a possibility of an opposition, or at least, fundamental differences of interest, between the national state and the monopolies "traversing the national states" (this is their definition).

The multinationals are tools of the nation state. IBM, General Motors, Exxon, etc are tied to the American state by a whole series of channels: an important percentage of their production (40% in the case of IBM) is brought directly by the American state. It directly or indirectly influences the nomination of directors[23]. A copy of all new information technology products are sent straight to the Pentagon.

It is incredible that BC falls for the idea that there is a world superpower constituted by 3 investment funds! In the first place, the investment funds have no real autonomy, they are nothing but instruments of the banks, building societies, or state institutions such as syndicates, etc. Their direct and indirect bosses are their respective national states. Secondly, they are subject to strict state regulations which fix the percentage they can invest abroad in: shares, government bonds, etc.

"Globalisation" and State Capitalism

This brings us to an essential question: that of state capitalism. A fundamental feature of decadent capitalism is the concentration of the national capital in the hands of the state which has been converted into the pole around which the national capital organises its combat as much against the proletariat as other national capitals.

States are not the tools of enterprises, no matter how big they are, in fact, just the opposite has happened in decadent capitalism: the great monopolies, large enterprises, banks etc have submitted to the dictates of the national state and serve its designs as loyally as possible. Therefore, it is an error to think that in capitalism super-national powers exist which "cross" national states and dictate the policies they follow. On the contrary, the so-called multinationals are used by their mother-states as tools in the service of commercial and imperialist interests.

In no way, do we want to say that companies such as Ford or Exxon, are simply the puppets of their respective national states. They try to defend their particular interests, which on occasions clash with those of the national state. However, under "Western" state capitalism the complete fusion of private and state capital is organised in such a way that globally both, apart from the conflicts and contradictions that arise, act coherently in the defence of the national interest of Capital and under the protection of the totalitarian state.

BC says that it is difficult to know which state, for example Shell (Anglo-Dutch capital) or other multinationals which have multiple share capital, belong to. However, even if there are exceptional examples, these do not significantly nullify the reality of world capitalism, which is that property titles don't determine the control of a business. Under state capitalism it is the state that directs and determines the running of business, through whatever means necessary. It regulates prices, collective contracts, export quotes, level of production, etc. It determines the running of business when, as in the majority of productive sectors, it is the principle client. It controls "free trade" through its political, monetary, credit policies.

This essential aspect of the revolutionary analysis of decadent capitalism is not taken into consideration by BC. They prefer to loyally follow a partial aspect of Lenin's, and other revolutionaries of that period, efforts to understand the full magnitude of the problem of imperialism: Lenin's theory on financial capital, takes up that of Hilferding. In his book on imperialism, Lenin clearly sees that proletarian revolution is the order of the day in the epoch of capitalism's decadence. But this epoch is linked to the development of finance capital as a monstrous parasite arising out of the process of the concentration of capitalism, as a new phase in development of monopolies.

However, "many aspects of Lenin's definition of imperialism are inadequate today, and were even at the time he was elaborating it. Thus the period in which capital could be seen to be dominated by an oligarchy of "finance capital" and by "international monopolist combines" was already giving way to a new phase during the First World War- the period of state capitalism, of permanent war economy. In the epoch of chronic inter-imperialist rivalries on the world market, the entire national capital tends to be concentrated around the state apparatus, which subordinates and disciplines all particular fractions of capital to the needs of military/economic survival."[24]

What constitutes an error by Lenin linked to the process of understanding imperialism and all its consequences, is converted into a dangerous aberration by BC. The theory of "concentration in transnational super-monopolies" closes the door, in the first place, to the Marxist position on the concentration of the national capital in the state, the tendency to state capitalism, which subordinates all fractions of the bourgeoisie not matter what links or influence they may have at the international level. Secondly, this theory opens the door to the Kautskyist theory of "super-imperialism". All of which results in BC only criticising this theory as regards the impossibility of overcoming the anarchy of capital and not the crucial point: the selling of the myth that capitalism can unite across national frontiers. This difficulty leads BC to correctly reject the extreme thesis of the "fusion of nations", while at the same time admitting the existence of super-national entities. Thirdly, BC develop a speculation according to which: the nation state, within the framework of "globalisation", will have two aspects: one serving the interests of the multinationals and, the other, subordinated to the service of the national interest: "it is going to become increasingly evident that the state's intervention in the economic world is carried out at two levels: at one level it will offer to the super-national centre the centralised management of the monetary mass and the determination of macro-economic variables according to monetary area and at the other the local control of the comparability of this latter with national variables"[25]. BC turns the world upside down. A quick look at what happens in the European Union shows just the contrary: the interests of the national capital are entirely managed by the national state and no way is it a kind of "subordination" to "European interests", as the ambiguities of BC would lead us to understand.

Mounted on the speculative theory of "transnational" interests, it draws incredible conclusions: imperialist conflicts will not degenerate into generalised imperialist war because: "The ending of the confrontation between the Eastern and Western blocs with the implosion of the former has not clearly delineated the foundations of a new strategic confrontation. Up until now, the strategic interests of the great and real centres of economic power have not been expressed in strategic confrontations between states, because they move transversely to them."

This is a very serious confusion. Imperialist war is no longer a confrontation between national capitals armed to the teeth (as Lenin made clear) but the result of confrontations between transnational groups using national states as their tools. National states are no longer the focus and cause of the conflagration but mere agents of the monstrous transnationals which "cross them". Fortunately, BC don't draw all the conclusions of this aberration, because this would lead them to say that the struggle of the proletariat against imperialist war is no longer the struggle against national states but the struggle "to free them" from submission to the interests of the transnationals. In other words, the vulgar mystifications of the Leftists. If BC wants to be serious it has to cohere to the positions of the Communist Left. It has to make a systematic critique of its speculations about monopolies and financial monsters. It must eradicate its aberrant slogans such as "a new era has been inaugurated characterised by the dictatorship of the financial market" (Prometeo No 9).[26] These weaknesses open up its flank to the penetration of bourgeois mystifications concerning "globalisation" and the supposed opposition between transnational and national interests, between Maastricht and popular interests, between Maastricht and the interests of the oppressed peoples.

This could lead BC to defend certain theses and mystifications of the ruling class, therefore to participate in the weakening of the working class's consciousness and struggle. This is surely not the role to be played by a proletarian revolutionary organisation.

Adalen, 5 June 1996.



[1] See "The impossibility of a "United Europe", in International Review No 73, 2nd Quarter of 1993, where we highlight the aggravation of competition and anarchy in the world market.

[2] "Financial Storms: Madness?", International Review No 81, 2rd Quarter. 1995.

[3] "The Cynicism of a Decadent Ruling Class", International Review No 78, 3rd Quarter, 1994.

[4] The World Annual 1996: "Relocation, Employment and Inequality".

[5] "This means that this economic development cannot but effect the production of the most advanced countries, whose states, increasingly, protest against the "dishonest commercial practices" of these emerging countries" ("International Situation Resolution", International Review No 82, 3rd Quarter 1995.)

[6] Idem.

[7] The World Annual 1996: "What is going to change with the WTO".

[8] "An Economy Undermined by Decomposition", International Review No. 75, 4th Quarter. 1993.

[9] Kenichi Ohmae "The End of the Nation State, The rise of regional economies".

[10] Idem.

[11] The quotes from this article are taken from the English translation of the original Prometeo  article (no 9, June 1995) published in Internationalist Communist, No 14. This is the theoretical journal of the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party, a joint organisation of BC and the Communist Workers Organisation.

[12] Idem, page.13.

[13] Idem page 14.

[14] Idem page 19.

[15] Idem page 14.

[16] Idem page 14.

[17] N. Bukharin, "Imperialism and the World Economy", page 62.

[18] "Capitals Against Capitalism" page 13.

[19] Prometeo No 10, "Two Dimensions of the State: the globalisation of the economy and the State"

[20] BC's incoherence is made clear when they say "In reality capitalism is the same as ever and is doing nothing other than reorganising itself in the interests of self-preservation along the lines dictated by the tendential fall in the average rate of profit". ("Capitals Against Capitalism", Internationalist Communist No 14).  

[21] Prometeo No 10, "The Two Dimensions of the State: the G1obalisation of the economy and
the State".

[22] "Capitals Against Capitalism" Internationalist Communist No 14.

[23] It is common practise that many American politicians after they have left the Senate or their positions in the administration move into the leadership of the large Multinationals. The same takes place in Europe.

[24] "On Imperialism", International Review No 19, 4th quarter 1979.

[25] Prometeo No 10, "The Two Dimensions of the State: the globalisation of the economy and the state".

[26] Prometeo No 9, "Editorial".

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