From O Proletariado
Organ of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Brazil
May 1997

Combat Imperialism and Advance the Revolution

There are many communists who maintain that capitalism is in crisis and the failure to understand this position can lead the revolutionaries to adopt two types of positions, both incorrect and equally dangerous for the development of the class struggle and for the revolution because they paralyze the revolutionary forces.

The first: not seeing the reality of the sharpening of the crisis of capitalism in consequence of the ideological offensive of imperialism and the temporary ebb of the revolutionary forces, they end up believing that capitalism always was this way and that nothing will change, despite the fierceness of the class struggle and of the objectives facts of the economic, social, cultural and moral crisis of imperialism.

The second: equally dangerous and also a consequence of the lengthy unfolding of the crisis of capitalism and of the temporary weakness of the revolutionary movement, it ends up placing the hope for revolution on the sharpening of the crisis of capitalism.

Evidently, the Marxists always affirm that the general crisis of capitalism develops in an unequal manner, alternating between periods of stabilization and recovery and periods of generalized crisis. At the same time as we say that a crisis is generalized this does not mean that in many places capitalism is not developing and is developing new technologies.

For the revolutionary movement what is important to understand is that while it is alternating between periods of recovery and crisis, while it is developing in certain regions, in certain sectors of the economy, while it is confronting problems in others, capitalism in general is deepening its general crisis, its political and social retrogression, to which it will only not arrive because the proletariat and the peoples of the whole world will rise up to prevent the crisis of capitalism from leading to barbarism.

The revolutionary movement knows that the crisis of imperialism, which at the present phase of capitalist development, globalization, is temporary, precarious, vacillating, rotten, will be less and less firm while the class struggle is developing. This absolutely does not contradict the fact, known to all, that capitalist technique and rationalization is on the increase in one place or other. And more precisely, it is on the basis of this increase, of this development that the internal decay and fragility of capitalist development increases.

Mao Tsetung opposed the opportunist tendencies of the revolutionary movement, showing the importance of drawing all the consequences from Marxist analysis and from the development of capitalism in its imperialist phase, affirming that "imperialism is a paper tiger," an affirmation which made the revisionists and opportunists of the whole world shake to their foundations.

Mao showed that by not seeing that the class struggle is radicalizing and deepening, that the revolution is advancing, deepening the crisis of capitalism, making each new period of development more vacillating and precarious, the revisionists, the vacillators, adopt an opportunist interpretation of capitalist development and stabilization.

"All reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance, the reactionaries are terrible, but in reality they are not so powerful. In the long term, it is not the reactionaries, but the people, who are really powerful."

In the same manner, Lenin showed that imperialism is "a colossus with feet of clay." It is evident that we are living in a period of contradictory development and that the understanding of the present characteristics of the development of the world capitalist system is of major importance in defining the task which today faces the communists, the revolutionary forces and all the exploited peoples of the world.

It is easy to prove that despite the expansion of imperialism -- with the disappearance of the U.S.S.R. and of socialism in Eastern Europe -- the sharpening of the inherent contradictions of imperialism is evident, contradictions that Lenin already pointed out and which determine, in the final analysis, its historic limits.

It is easy to prove what the communists, from Lenin on, have affirmed about the general crisis of imperialism. It is easy to gather data that prove that, if on the one hand, imperialism is developing, on the other hand it is rapidly expanding the misery, rebellion and struggle of the peoples.

Let us relate some comparative data. In the last 30 years, the poorest 20% of the population of the planet, which lives in the oppressed countries, has seen its income cut almost in half, from 2.3% to 1.4% of world income, while the richest 20% of the population of the world, which lives in the imperialist countries, has seen the share of world income that it extorts increased from 70% to 85%.

While the richest 20% of the population of the planet have 85% of world income, exploiting the peoples of the whole world, the other 60% of the population have to be satisfied with 13.6% [erroneously written as 23.6% -- translator] and the poorest 20% with only 1.4% of that income. These 20% represent 1 billion 300 million people who live in poverty, 800 million who go hungry, 500 million who survive with chronic malnutrition.

In the rich countries of the OECD more than 100 million people live below the poverty line. In the European Union alone there are 55 million poor people. In England, model of an imperialist power in the past, the real income of the poor has fallen almost 20% and in the U.S.A., model of present imperialism, 1% of the population controls 36% of the national wealth.

While trillions of dollars circulate the world in financial orbits, unemployment and under-employment, which are characterized as chronic, affect 820 million workers; while the peoples of the world have seen misery become epidemic, capitalism is taking on, as never before, its characteristic expressed by Marx in "Capital," expressing the general law of capitalist accumulation: capitalism inexorably accumulates riches at one poll, and oppression and misery, much more misery, at the other.

Today, 358 of the largest capitalists of the world accumulate a fortune which equals the annual income of almost 50% of the population of the world. A process of concentration of wealth and generalization of misery which is reaching extreme limits.

The deepening of the crisis of imperialism is irreversible and undeniable. Capitalism destroys more jobs than it creates, it produces more products than the market is able to consume, it artificially raises the price of capital, over-produced in an uncontrolled and volatile international financial market, soon to enter into collapse at the slightest obstacle; it over-accumulates capital which is impossible to realize, leading to the inexorable fall in the rate of profit.

What the peoples of the world are living through is not the "collapse of communism," the proof of the failure of Marxism, proclaimed by the bourgeois press. What the people of the world are seeing is the progressive decay, the slow degeneration, the gradual but irreversible decomposition of capitalism, of imperialism. This decomposition results in an explosion of organized crime, of different forms of religious fundamentalism, the expansion of irrational theories, the rebirth of fascism, the disintegration of the nation-state, the revival of inter-ethnic and inter-racial conflicts, the uncontrollable increase of misery and, principally, the reaction, each time more violent of the people.

Therefore it is fundamental for the revolutionary development to deeply understand this scientific confirmation of the fact that while imperialism may appear to be a colossus, it is really a colossus with feet of clay, a paper tiger floundering in agony. And that today, in the desperation of its crisis, besides sowing more and more revisionism, more and more opportunism in the midst of the revolutionary movement, imperialism is turning to openly attacking Marxism, denying its scientific validity, passing to a direct attack on Marxism to disqualify it as the scientific theory of the proletariat.

Therefore, it becomes the central and urgent task for the revolutionaries to unmask in a radical manner the revisionist contraband which the renegades are trying to pass for Marxism, to make precise the Marxist theory, cleansing it of the revisionist and opportunist crust which has clung to it in this period.

Assuming the role of overseer for imperialism in Brazil, FHC is dreaming, like the Nazis did, of an empire of one thousand years, sewing together a new power bloc, "a new and modern" right-wing, diluting the secondary differences which separate the conservative parties of diverse hues, the PSDB, PFL, PPB and PMDB. Convincing "the new ruling class" that it will gain more by abandoning its hesitation and aligning itself completely with imperialism. Gaining for the ideology of a "new modernity": the submission to the policies of imperialism, to "globalization," to anti-statism, to the open privatization of the state, to the glorification of the market, to its internationalization, that is, the illusion of becoming part of the world ruling class.

In these circumstances it is fundamental for the communists to show that imperialism is a paper tiger, that under its atomic teeth it fears the peoples of the world, because strategically it is the people who have the power. That we must dare to combat it, dare to win victory, at the same time that tactically we must take the enemy seriously, adopting the most appropriate forms of struggle.

The experience of the class struggle has proven innumerable times that when the peoples, daring to rise in struggle, take their destiny into their own hands, they transform themselves from being weak into being strong, breaking the domination and oppression of imperialism. Our task is to raise to the skies the red banner of revolution, to lead, firmly and decisively, the struggle of the people, the army of the people, which will destroy imperialism, building socialism and communism.

Click here to return to Brazil Index