This report on the international political situation will focus on the two most significant developments in the world situation in 2011 – the popular revolt across Arab world against their despotic capitalist regimes, i.e., the so-called Arab spring, and secondly, the post-Great Recession capitalist financial crisis.
International Political Situation
For those who believed that the overwhelming demonstration of US military power in Afghanistan and Iraq would “shock and awe” the rest of the world — and particularly Washington’s foes and aspiring rivals — into accepting its goal of making the 21st century a “new American century” of US political and economic global domination, 2006 was not a good year.
Since 1993 our party has held the position that the ruling Chinese bureaucracy has been presiding over the restoration of capitalism in China. However, our policy toward China has been ambiguous: while taking an oppositional stance in our public press toward the ruling bureaucracy’s restorationist course, we have left it unclear as to whether we continued to believe that China is still a bureaucratically ruled socialist state.
As we reflect on the tumultuous twentieth century – “wars, revolutions, crises and constant technological change – we have to reaffirm that socialism, now more than ever, is necessary for the future development of humanity. In fact, it’s necessary for preventing society’s collapse into barbarism and the ecological destruction of the planet. Marxism not only has continuing relevance; it’s more applicable than ever. Society continues to be divided into economically opposed classes. Capitalism expropriates the wealth created by working people through their labour.
At its 18th congress on January 5-10, the Democratic Socialist Party adopted a document which concluded that China, like Russia and the other former Soviet republics (as well as the former “Communist”-ruled countries of Eastern Europe), is ruled by a capitalist state. The adoption of the document, entitled Theses on the Class Nature of the People’s Republic of China, marked the conclusion of a 14-month discussion within the DSP on the class character of the Chinese state.
Since 1993 our party has held the position that the ruling Chinese bureaucracy has been presiding over the restoration of capitalism in China. However, our policy toward China has been ambigious: while taking an oppositional stance in our public press toward the ruling bureaucracy’s restorationist course, we have left it unclear as to whether we continued to believe that China is still a bureaucratically ruled socialist state.
For orthodox Marxists, as Lenin explained in his 1917 book The State and Revolution, the state is a centralised organisation of force separated from the community as a whole which enforces, through special bodies of armed people and other institutions of coercion, the will of one class, or an alliance of classes, upon the rest of society.
In his report to the 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, held two weeks ago, CPC general secretary Jiang Zemin said that the theme of the congress was to “hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory for an all-round advancement of the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics to the 21st century”. Indeed, the official title of his report was “Hold High the Great Banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory for an All-Round Advancement of the Cause of Building Socialism With Chinese Characteristics to the 21st Century”.
This report has two purposes. The first is to give an assessment of the 12th World Congress of the Fourth International, which was held in the last week of January and the first week of February this year. And the second is to explain the motivation behind the decision taken by the National Executive on June 27 to recommend to this National Committee meeting that our party cease its affiliation to the Fourth International.
Since the Polish United Workers Party (PUWP) leadership’s attempt to cut the living standards of working people at a single blow in June 1976, Poland has been living through a new crisis. The most obvious, daily symptoms of this crisis are economic and social: rising prices, chronic and acute shortages, especially of agricultural produce, a severe energy shortage, dislocations in industry, great strain on the social services – the housing shortage, shortages of medical supplies – heavy indebtedness to the bankers of the capitalist West, and so on.