It is possible, then, to understand the equivocations of Lenin, Bukharin, and Stalin. In theoretical terms, there were U-turns from one extreme to the other. Sometimes a determinist attitude inspired by the phased approach inherited from earlier Marxism first the bourgeois democratic revolution, then the socialist one predominated, sometimes a voluntarist approach political action would make it possible to leap over stages.
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Finally, from —, Stalin chose rapid industrialization and armament and this choice was not without some connection to the rise of fascism. Collectivization was the price of that choice. In my opinion, Trotsky would certainly not have done better. His attitude towards the rebellion of the Kronstadt sailors and his later equivocations demonstrate that he was no different than the other Bolshevik leaders in government. But, after , living in exile and no longer having responsibility for managing the Soviet state, he could delight in endlessly repeating the sacred principles of socialism.
He became like many academic Marxists who have the luxury of asserting their attachment to principles without having to be concerned about effectiveness in transforming reality. The Chinese communists appeared later on the revolutionary stage. Mao was able to learn from Bolshevik equivocations. China was confronted with the same problems as Soviet Russia: revolution in a backward country, the necessity of including the peasantry in revolutionary transformation, and the hostility of the imperialist powers. But Mao was able to see more clearly than Lenin, Bukharin, and Stalin.
Yes, the Chinese revolution was anti-imperialist and peasant anti-feudal. But it was not bourgeois democratic; it was popular democratic. The difference is important: the latter type of revolution requires maintaining the worker-peasant alliance over a long period. China was thus able to avoid the fatal error of forced collectivization and invent another way: make all agricultural land state property, give the peasantry equal access to use of this land, and renovate family agriculture.
The two revolutions had difficulty in achieving stability because they were forced to reconcile support for a socialist outlook and concessions to capitalism. Which of these two tendencies would prevail? But when was the Thermidor in Russia?
Was it in , as Trotsky said? Or was it in the s, with the NEP? Or was it the ice age of the Brezhnev period? And in China, did Mao choose Thermidor beginning in ? Or do we have to wait until Deng Xiaoping to speak of the Thermidor of ? It is not by chance that reference is made to lessons of the French Revolution.
The three great revolutions of modern times the French, Russian, and Chinese are great precisely because they looked forward beyond the immediate requirements of the moment. With the rise of the Mountain, led by Robespierre, in the National Convention, the French Revolution was consolidated as both popular and bourgeois and, just like the Russian and Chinese Revolutions—which strove to go all the way to communism even if it were not on the agenda due to the necessity of averting defeat—retained the prospect of going much further later.
Thermidor is not the Restoration. The latter occurred in France, not with Napoleon, but only beginning in Still it should be remembered that the Restoration could not completely do away with the gigantic social transformation caused by the Revolution. In Russia, the restoration occurred even later in its revolutionary history, with Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
It should be noted that this restoration remains fragile, as can be seen in the challenges Putin must still confront.
In China, there has not been or not yet! The contemporary world is still confronted with the same challenges encountered by the revolutions of the twentieth century. But this transformation will only be able to go beyond the first steps and proceed on the path to socialism later if and when the peoples of the centers, in turn, begin the struggle for communism, viewed as a higher stage of universal human civilization.
The systemic crisis of capitalism in the centers gives a chance for this possibility to be translated into reality. In the meantime, there is a two-fold challenge confronting the peoples and states of the South: 1 the lumpen development that contemporary capitalism forces on all peripheries of the system has nothing to offer three-quarters of humanity; in particular, it leads to the rapid destruction of peasant societies in Asia and Africa, and consequently the response given to the peasant question will largely govern the nature of future changes; 7 2 the aggressive geostrategy of the imperialist powers, which is opposed to any attempt by the peoples and states of the periphery to get out of the impasse, forces the peoples concerned to defeat the military control of the world by the United States and its subaltern European and Japanese allies.
The first long systemic crisis of capitalism got underway in the s. But it was Lenin and Bukharin who drew the political conclusion from this transformation, a transformation that initiated the decline of capitalism and thus moved the socialist revolution onto the agenda. The concept of surplus, put forth by Baran and Sweezy in the — decade, allows a grasp of what is essential in the transformation of capitalism.
In the previous forms of competition among firms producing the same use value—numerous then, and independent of each other—decisions were made by the capitalist owners of those firms on the basis of a recognized market price which imposed itself as an external datum.
Baran and Sweezy observed that the new monopolies act differently: they set their prices simultaneously with the nature and volume of their outputs.
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Although use values used to constitute to a great extent autonomous realities, they become, in monopoly capitalism, the object of actual fabrications produced systematically through aggressive and particularized sales strategies advertising, brands, etc. In monopoly capitalism, a coherent reproduction of the productive system is no longer possible merely by mutual adjustment of the two departments discussed in the second volume of Capital : it is thenceforward necessary to take into account a Department III, conceived by Baran and Sweezy. This allows for added surplus absorption promoted by the state—beyond Department I private investment and beyond the portion of Department II private consumption devoted to capitalist consumption.
The classic example of Department III spending is military expenditure. However, the notion of Department III can be expanded to cover the wider array of socially unreproductive expenditures promoted by generalized-monopoly capitalism. The excrescence of Department III, in turn, favors in fact the erasure of the distinction made by Marx between productive of surplus-value labor and unproductive labor.
All forms of wage labor can—and do—become sources of possible profits. A hairdresser sells his services to a customer who pays him out of his income. But if that hairdresser becomes the employee of a beauty parlor, the business must realize a profit for its owner. If the country at issue puts ten million wage workers to work in Departments I, II, and III, providing the equivalent of twelve million years of abstract labor, and if the wages received by those workers allow them to buy goods and services requiring merely six million years of abstract labor, the rate of exploitation for all of them, productive and unproductive confounded, is the same percent.
But the six million years of abstract labor that the workers do not receive cannot all be invested in the purchase of producer goods destined to expand Departments I and II; part of them will be put toward the expansion of Department III. Realising that British imperialism is incapable of maintaining itself as an independent imperialist power, the privileged section of the labour movement in Britain has come down on the side of remaining an integral part of the European imperialist bloc and thus defending its interests.
For all of the intrigue and in-fighting among the big two parties, they are not arguing over a great deal. This is one of the key features of successful bourgeois political systems: the parameters of debate seem far greater than are the actual parameters of debate.
Trying to square the circles
Politicians and the media present the appearance of strong disagreement between polar opposite camps, helping to distract the masses from the real issues and creating illusions in bourgeois democracy. There appears to be wide-ranging debate containing a variety of positions, with all given fair attention. In actuality, one could barely fit a cigarette paper between the camps. Trying to square the circles Prime Minister Theresa May, who was a remainer, has made sterling efforts to secure a Brexit that honoured the referendum in name only.
My plan for a better Brexit , 27 September This so-called plan does not require great attention. Labour equally lost Let us make it clear once more: the EU has not lifted one single finger to prevent or overturn any of the myriad of anti-worker, anti-union legislation in this country.
Thousands of Labour voters and members angry over Brexit. Brexit betrayal reveals the sham of bourgeois democracy. Job cuts and factory closures; the car industry in Britain. Workers for Brexit: why our party supported leave in the EU referendum. After Brexit: what does the EU referendum result mean? General election what did it mean?
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Brexit betrayal reveals the sham of bourgeois democracy Parliament has shown itself to be in direct opposition to the will of the people it theoretically represents. Job cuts and factory closures; the car industry in Britain As automation and overproduction combine to wipe out industrial jobs, what is the answer to this seemingly insoluble problem?
Workers for Brexit: why our party supported leave in the EU referendum A real Brexit would weaken British imperialism, bring workers one step closer to defeating their class enemy altogether. Harpal Brar analyses the political fallout after the Brexit referendum, as well as the deep class divisions that the defiant leave vote laid bare.
How did it come about that Mrs May's Tories should have ended up weaker than ever after the election they were supposed to win by a landslide? Comrade Harpal defends the legacy of Robert Mugabe on RT The anger of the imperialists against a true national-liberation hero knows no bounds. Peterloo in its historical perspective, part 1. The persecution of Latinos in the USA. When asked what he expected from Merkel while Europe grapples with an influx of asylum-seekers, the right-wing leader grinned and said: "I have a long list. Orban accused Merkel of trying to impose her vision of an open European Union on the rest of the bloc.
Orban, speaking ahead of an EU summit in Brussels later Wednesday, said his country had a "democratic right" to a different approach. The summit takes place amid a growing east-west split within the bloc after ministers forced through a controversial deal Tuesday to share out , refugees. Hungary opposed the plan along with Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania.
They can decide if they accept every refugee or not
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