By: Aquiles Castro
Communist Party of Labor
In view of the present day problems of the revolutionary process in Latin America it is useful to lay out the foundations and challenges of the anti-imperialist struggle in the historic conditions of today.
The question of the anti-imperialist struggle, as all propositions derived from previous political experience and applied to the modes and reflective imperatives of today, is submitted to questioning and must be re-argued in relation to the new realities that surround it.
The theoretical speculation of post-modernist philosophers and sociologists suggests that every theoretical vision prior to its own will be incapable of making an evaluation of the reality and the consequent orientation of actions which put forth an adequate transformation of the above. According to this point of view, the previous theoretical scaffolding founded on reason and the illustration in its most revolutionary orientation would be an anachronism.
According to this criterion we are living in a new post-industrial and post-modern era whose essence will be "fundamentally different from the capitalist mode of production which has dominated during the (last) two centuries," (Collinicos, A., 1993, Bogota, Against Post-Modernism, p. 25)
The philosophy which serves as the basis of post-modernism comes from the thesis of the French "post-structuralist" theoreticians among whose authors Michel Foucault stands out. His views can be summed up as postulating the fragmentary, heterogeneous and plural character of reality, denying to human thought the capacity of objectively explaining that reality and understanding the human being as an "incoherent mass of trans-individual impulses...," (op. cit., p. 22).
Sociology, on the one hand, argues the theory of post-industrial society according to which the transformations that have occurred in the West in the last decades indicate that "the developed world finds itself in a state of transition from an economy based on industrial production, towards an economy in which systematic theoretical investigation becomes the main force of change, a transformation of incalculable social, political and cultural consequences," (loc. cit.).
In the reference previously summed up about the theory of post-modernism it is clear that the point of the departure on which we should concentrate our analysis and debate is on the following question: is it true that the present evolution of society is fundamentally different from capitalism as it has previously been known?
The concept "fundamentally different" refers to a qualitative notion, that is to say it assumes substantial changes in the essence of the system; a difficult hypothesis to demonstrate if we rely on the internal logic of the development of capitalism. In the so-called post-industrial and post-modern era in which there have been technological and social innovations which have drastically spurred on the form of production, there continues to prevail the objective of individual accumulation and appropriation of the wealth produced, as well as the condition sine-qua-non of capitalist production: the exploitation of the wage labor force (surplus-value) independent of the form which this takes in the context of automization and robotics.
The fact that the bases upon which the system is constructed continue in force is revealed when we take into account the persistence of social calamities historically inherent in capitalism: unemployment, lack of work, poverty, danger of war, etc. In the light of this situation the so-called "new era" only makes sense in the fertile imagination of post-modernist discourse.
The postulates and objectives of the post-modernist philosophy are not new. The denial of the fact that reality can be objectively known and interpreted as a whole, as well as the denial of the "coherence and capacity of human beings," reiterates the basis of classical idealist philosophy, argued in modern times by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose thought served fascist ideology.
An evaluation of the technological advances as an indication and result of a higher stage of capitalism reveals the degree of diversionary manipulation to which the post-modern sociological approach resorts. The one-sided character of such an approach becomes clear when one considers that the predominant role of its investigation is outside of production and the market-place, losing sight of the very close relation existing in that triad, even if at any time in the process of capitalist accumulation, one gains predominance over the other; but definitely since the framework of the relations of production continues to be the same, the essence of such advances or innovations in the economic dynamic are by themselves insufficient to give rise to a qualitative change capable of overcoming capitalism.
The basis of this approach serves to justify another theoretical tool of post-modernism; the uselessness of class analysis, since the class struggle as a possibility of bringing about social change has supposedly become historically obsolete.
Our point of view does not exclude the evaluation of the importance of the impacts produced by the new forms of production in the social, political and especially the cultural sphere, in which new challenges are posed to the classic theory of social change and the revolution.
The multiple forms which the leading social and political role of the masses assumes, as well as the complexity of the social fabric and identities are only some of the most relevant theoretical implications derived from the evolution of reality that affect our actions; in this sense the virtue of the theories "in vogue" is the warning call which they provoke.
The fate of the nation-state in the post-industrial and post-modern world appears as one of the most violent political challenges to the classical political theory in general and to the revolutionary theory in particular.
In effect, in the heat of the post-modernist theses and concretely in the framework of the neo-liberal theory, the large centers of world domination put forward political-economic theories and strategies that question the relevance of the nation-state, which supposedly has been historically superseded as part of the so-called "new era."
In that context the principle of national and state sovereignty would be a thing of the past, according to the neo-liberal strategy whose most visible political objective is the reduction to the minimum of the role of the state in our countries, by means of the famous programs of modernization dictated by the international financial organs.
Moreover the destruction of national states by neo-liberalism is expressed concretely in the dismantling of the national industrial and agricultural infrastructure, of the central bank and of the national currency as well as the savings bank, the internal market and national culture.
The reform of the state so much in vogue expresses a process of readjustment of the superstructure to the requirements of the neo-liberal plan imposed on the economic base of our societies. In this sense one can explain the "new" concepts raised by imperialism concerning national sovereignty and the super-state apparatuses which become supreme; this explains the talk of the centers of world domination about international drug-trafficking, the environment, international migration and extremist nationalisms.
The present world reality clearly demonstrates that imperialist domination assumes specific characteristics not seen before, and this forces us to re-establish political theory as well as practice to persevere in the anti-imperialist struggle with a view to national liberation.
The validity of the anti-imperialist struggle and social change often is questioned these days by the argument that such a vision of social reality corresponds to an epoch which has already been superseded by the evolution of capitalism itself.
Are we perhaps living in a different epoch than that of capitalist domination?
The new realities that exist in the world of capitalist economy, society and culture have to be appraised and evaluated as to how they affect the characterization of the system as well as the theory. But the objective approach of such situations does not necessarily lead to the idea that the system itself has been superseded, as the theoreticians of the so-called post-capitalist, post-industrial or post-modern era claim.
The distinctive features which primarily brand the present epoch as capitalist and imperialist continue in force and the recent and important advances of science and technology in the field of production, circulation and consumption have only caused a renewal of the bases on which the system rests raised to higher levels by its own reproduction.
The theories in vogue can not annul the reality of the laws inherent in capitalism as the framework in which all the current technological processes take place and whose impact have given rise to the most fanciful speculations about the supposed arrival of a new historic epoch.
"The theoreticians of post-industrialism... maintain that the advanced societies are leaving behind a historic era which could be defined as industrial." This is causing a fundamental transformation, of such a degree that the "fundamental principles" of the society are found increasingly in "theoretical knowledge" as opposed to "capital-labor." (Lyon, D., 1994, p. 173, Post-Modernity, Alliance Publishers, Madrid).
To claim that the capital-labor relation has been displaced by some other factor such as "information-processing" as the basis on which the system is built, is to lose sense of reality. Such a claim can only be maintained by ignoring the process that gives rise to the extraordinary volume of information available today, behind whose production is found precisely the capital-labor relation.
We warn that to accept as true and valid that hypothesis leads to setting up a tendency for the working class to disappear or lose specific weight, which is another of the post-modernist thrusts. In this respect we observe that the reality of the facts themselves gives the lie to that claim, if we remember that the increasing weight of services in the world economy does not seem to be produced at the expense of industry, but of agriculture. This is made clear by the increasing urbanization of the whole social life in all national contexts.
The claim of the "obsolescence of the paradigm of production" expressed in the ideas and concepts as "post-capitalist" and post-industrialism" leads to the rejection of the theory of the analysis of capitalism itself (especially Marxism) for the understanding of capitalist society in its present evolution.
If we accept the fact that the production of services is gaining in contrast to the production of manufactured goods, as demonstrating that this phenomenon necessarily modifies social relations, then it becomes evident that the relation of capital and labor and the consequent reproduction of the exploiting and exploited classes, owners and wage laborers, characterizes the primary agents of production.
For the aims of revolutionary political theory and action it is important to consider some of the implications that in this sense results from the evolution of contemporary capitalist society.
In the first place, for the analysis of classes one has to re-consider the composition of the working class since, in the conditions of increasing scientific-technological advances, the level of skill of the workers is also progressively demanding. That situation together with other factors of the crisis has been causing the incorporation into the ranks of the working class of a broad layer of professionals, whose conditions of life and of work are gradually becoming closer to the social culture and practice of the wage worker. This point can be confirmed by the massive incorporation of these sectors in the trade union struggles.
What will be the future impact of this situation on the general conduct of the working classes and how will it influence the processes of the accumulation of forces for social change? The question of what will be the continuation of the evolution of these phenomena must be considered from the perspective of free, unprejudiced thought.
Another aspect of the high strategic value which it is worthwhile to consider is that of the implications of the globalization of the economy for nations since the relation established in this context between nation and market is claimed by the spokespersons of post-industrialism and post-modernism as the basis to question the validity of the nation-state.
In effect the imperialist strategy has used the word "interdependence" to indicate the terms of relations of countries and nations in the context of globalization of the domination of the so-called central economies over the rest of the world. In this context the imperialist forces advocate a supposed mutual dependency among the economies of different countries, which in the logic of the system can only operate through the continual transference of capital and other resources from the oppressed nations to the industrialized oppressor nations.
Part of the strategy of imperialist domination, raised in the neo-liberal plan, is the disintegration of the national economies of our countries and by this method the further strengthening of the multinationals and the world market at their service.
From here on arise the discussion and the plans aimed at annihilating the national states of the countries subordinated to the large centers of the world economy.
In this situation and in the light of the predominant characteristics in the evolution of the current economic processes, the question of the nation takes on new meaning for the forces of social change.
The real danger which is derived from the disintegration of the nation obliges the revolutionaries to place emphasis on the national struggle as the guarantee of preserving conditions which make viable the plan of social change, which in the framework of a nation liquidated in its historical-cultural foundations, with an economy and social agents totally eradicated from its territory, will lose all possibility of constructing its identity.
This approach is objective. The international character of the working class and its interests in the conditions of imperialism does not ignore but rather presupposes national interests; this is so given the law of unequal development of capitalism whose logic will always produce the ripening of the conditions (of crisis) for change in a specific context and not necessarily in the totality of the system. In this sense it is correct to put forward the national framework as a viable scenario for revolutionary social change in the conditions of imperialism.
It seems to me that the evolution of the contradictions of society in its present evolution, will place the national question in the center of the struggle for social change. That is the reality despite the diversionary theories about a supposed change of epoch.
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