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Imperialism means war, imperialism means terrorism

in Countercurrent

Before they underwent massive PR makeovers in Hollywood movies, the vampires are some of the best graphic tools used to explain the secret of capitalist accumulation. In Das Kapital, Karl Marx describes capital as “dead labor, that, vampire-like, only lives sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.”

In other words, capitalists gain and expand their capital by sucking their laborers’ values, just as the mythical vampires drain their victims’ blood and lifesource for them to survive and become stronger. But while capitalism lives and grows stronger by sucking the blood of its victims, in doing so it encounters existential crises as its bloodsucking ultimately leads to scantier volume of blood to suck.

In Karl Marx’s summary: capitalism digs its own grave.

Today, as capitalism has globally spread its dominance, what monstrous vampire has capitalism become? Capitalism has reached its highest historical stage of development, described as monopoly capitalism or capitalist imperialism, since the early 20th century.

At the time, Russian proletarian leader Vladimir Lenin said in the preface of the German and French edition of his popular outline, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism:

“Capitalism has grown into a world system of colonial oppression and of the financial strangulation of the overwhelming majority of the people of the world by a handful of ‘advanced’countries.”

At the time, the “three powerful world marauders armed to the teeth”—America, Great Britain, and Japan—involved the whole world in their war over the sharing of their booty.”

True to its vampiric likeness, when capitalist imperialism made its global debut, its bloody, merciless party was the first world war. It was a war between rival monopoly capitalists or imperialists, for the purpose of deciding who among the rival financial marauders was to receive the lion’s share of control over the economies of the world.

From the first to the second world war, to the “cold war” and today’s so-called “war on terrorism”, all are wars launched by imperialists to seize control of resources, territories, trade routes, and spheres of power. In the latter cases of “cold war” and “war on terrorism”, it is no longer just a war among imperialist rivals. It has become also a war between imperialists and states or parties waging proletariat revolution, national liberation, or struggles for self-determination away from capitalist rule.

Below is a brief review of imperialism’s systemic compulsion to launch war, mainly to remind ourselves that over the years, this breed of vampire has not only become more merciless, rapacious and gluttonous when it reached its imperialist stage of development. It has also become more duplicitous and insidious. The fact that the dominant media hardly mention the word imperialism when it reports about the wars that are supported, armed and directly or covertly being waged by imperialist states is one of the biggest indications of its insidiousness.

Imperialism 101

Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the successful Russian proletariat revolution in 1917, previously listed the general features that distinguished imperialism from its early stages of capitalism. A cursory look at world events today shows that these distinguishing features remain true, even if the names and modes by which these happen may have varied over the years:

  • the highest and final stage of capitalism, imperialism, is the thoroughly parasitic and decaying stage of capitalism. The capitalists do not contribute at all to social production, yet they amass for themselves profits by extracting and appropriating surplus values through their ownership of capital, stocks, bonds, securities, derivatives or other ways they have devised to own, monopolize and maximize capital;
  • the ruling capitalists have become finance oligarchs, after industrial and finance capital merged: so now they jointly reap profits not just from exporting surplus manufactures but also surplus capital by way of foreign investments and loans;
  • monopoly firms of every imperialist state protect their own interests, but for these, they also combine and compete with monopoly firms of other imperialist states, seeking control of “spheres of influence” or territories to secure resources, low-cost labor, captive markets and supply routes;
  • imperialist states advance the interests of their monopoly capitalists and the international groupings they have formed or joined, maintaining a power structure between imperialists and “client-states” to install an economic structure where the imperialists can exploit the proletariat, oppress nations and peoples;
  • to keep its cycles of production and profit-taking running and profitable, competition between imperialist states for territories and “spheres of influence” is never-ending; and
  • imperialism breeds war, as every imperialist power or alliance is driven to redivide the world to feed their growing economic and military power.

System-generated compulsion to war

When imperialism is described as the most decaying stage of capitalism it means that as a system, it no longer has positive developments—efforts spent to evade or withstand its chronic crises of overproduction destroy rather than uplift its productive forces. It can no longer march history to unprecedented heights.

Organic in the DNA of the capitalist system is its drive for profits—even if the means to achieve it would eventually destroy its golden goose, like its own workers and markets, its “own” domestic industries, the environment, the relations of peoples and nations, and culture. In short, by default its operations lead to crisis of overproduction that it cannot resolve.

But no capitalist or imperialist will let that happen without a fight. To imperialists the recourse left to maintain itself is to wrest control of markets and territories from rival imperialists. And, prevent socialist states from wresting away their territories and ideological sway.

Imperialists in the business of war

Today we are bombarded by wars and pestered by saber-rattling. There are wars raging in the Ukraine, in Israel, in the Red Sea between Yemen, Iran and US “allies” and the West. Much destruction has been wreaked on “rogue” states previously targeted by the US-led imperialist “allies” who previously brought war to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and before that, in the Korean peninsula, Vietnam, and where wars for national liberation and right to self-determination are being fought, like in the Philippines and Colombia.

As we write this, war threatens to break out in the Indo-Pacific region over Taiwan. Like in the war in Ukraine which is a war between imperialist US with imperialist European allies in NATO against Russia, the looming war in Taiwan will be a proxy war between the US and its regional allies against their rival China.

To counter China, the US is itching to use “treaty allies” such as the Philippines in the Indo-Pacific. To keep its foothold and expand against China in the Indo-Pacific region, the US has recently been ratcheting its stockpiling of weapons and positioning of forces in its military bases in Japan, South Korea, and in the Philippines—where its military “facilities” are inside Philippine bases by virtue of the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

In the Philippines, the US is building more military bases and installations, and is continuously and more frequently holding joint wargames and exercises with Filipino reactionary troops to better train them in using US and its military allies’ weapons and ammunitions, warships and warplanes. They call it enhancing interoperability.

In the Indo-Pacific, specifically in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea. the US claims the war provocations are for ensuring “freedom of navigation”. In all the ongoing and prospective theaters of war, the imperialists claim they are fighting “terrorism” and/or defending “democracy” (or what some Western media define as Western-style democracy). The latter simply means holding regular elections in which the people could vent their frustrations by choosing and voting candidates for public office from a pool of supposed traditional leaders, who are in fact stooges or representatives of the imperialists. Against China and Russia, the US and European imperialists even invoke “human rights” when they indiscriminately bomb cities, including hospitals and public service facilities.

All the above are just some of the latest examples of imperialists, particularly the US imperialists, who are currently at war in various countries and regions or itching for war in certain “hot spots”, and the justifications they concoct feed the dominant media reports about their aggression. The truth is, the imperialist needs war and is compelled to go to war that kill and maim millions of people because they have military-industrial enclaves whose thirst for profits couldn’t be quenched.

More importantly, as Lenin observed in his meticulous study of capitalist imperialism:

“(T)he characteristic feature of imperialism is precisely that it strives to annex not only agricultural regions, but even highly industrialised regions because the fact that the world is already divided up (between imperialist states) obliges those contemplating a new division to reach out for any kind of territory, and because an essential feature of imperialism is the rivalry between a number of great powers in the striving for hegemony…”

This is particularly stark as imperialist US, for example, maintains its support of Israel in the latter’s genocidal war against the Palestinians. The US uses Israel as a base for encroaching into the Middle East (or West Asia). The US has similar intentions in keeping the Korean peninsula divided between North and South and also to counter China.

In the Philippines, a strategic archipelago for projecting military power in the Indo-Pacific region, the imperialist US has maintained its seven-decade “iron-clad” mutual defense treaty with its former colony and puppet-government partner. Nowadays, they are building more military bases and talking about nuclear power.

Amid all these imperialist scheming, the Filipino people (and the people everywhere else) are justified in opposing militarization and imperialist wars of aggression. They are justified in opposing huge increases in the national budget allocations for highly-destructive arms purchases; the presence of foreign military bases, troops, facilities, and war materiel stockpiles; all military alliances and agreements with imperialist US and its allies; and the saber-rattling and calling for proxy war in Taiwan against China.

Moreover, the Filipino people and people everywhere who are seeking and fighting for national liberation are justified in continuing to resist and to overthrow their local and foreign oppressors.(Pinky Ang)###

How Duterte Serves Two Imperialist Masters and Offends the People Until His Ignoble End

in Statements
Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
July 15, 2019

The tyrant Duterte recognizes that the US is still the most dominant imperialist power in the Philippines and does not to dare to offend it in any serious way. The US is privileged and well-entrenched by a comprehensive range of unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements that give it full-spectrum dominance (economic, social, political, military and cultural).

It is not true that the Duterte regime has become independent of the US. It is even more untrue that it is opposed to the US. It is a puppet regime dependent for its tyranny and mass murder of poor people on a military and police force indoctrinated, trained and armed by the US.

Duterte has proven his puppetry to the US by scuttling the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and pledging to it the destruction of the revolutionary movement. He has assured the US of charter change to allow US and other foreign corporations 100 percent ownership of land, natural resources in all types of businesses.

Thus, the Duterte regime continues to receive military aid under Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines in the name of “anti-terrorism” and beyond US congressional oversight. It still maintains close economic and financial relations with the US, the IMF, World Bank and the WTO and subjects the Philippines to a neoliberal policy regime.

The US estimates that Duterte is still more of an asset than a liability and that there is yet no urgent need to change him as when Marcos outlived his usefulness to the US in 1986. The US keeps in reserve the issue of human rights violations as potential cause for junking him when the Filipino people rise up to a certain high point and when he thereby becomes more of a liability than an asset.

The US appears to tolerate Duterte in trying to enrich his own family and cronies by taking commissions and other payoffs from onerous loans and overpriced infrastructure projects from China and by keeping shady relations with the Chinese criminal triads engaged in illegal drug smuggling and in gambling.

But the US has no choice but to consider seriously how threatening to its interest is China’s drive to turn the Philippines into a debt colony and field of investment and to have at the same time the artificial islands China has built in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as its military bases in the West Philippine Sea.

The US observes that China is making a big headway into the Philippines with the collaboration of Duterte who has exposed himself as a traitor and paid agent of China by deliberately refusing to enforce the judgment of the Arbitral Tribunal in favor of the Philippines under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea against the false ownership claims of China over 90 percent of the South China Sea.

The exposure of Duterte as a traitor and paid agent of China is one more potential cause for the US to instruct the pro-US military and police officers to withdraw support from him at the time and circumstances it chooses.

The broad masses of the Filipino people are already outraged by Duterte’s failure to take the appropriate diplomatic steps to consolidate the legal victory of the Philippines against China since the judgment of the Arbitral Tribunal on July 12, 2016. They are deeply insulted by Duterte’s constant attempt to scare them with war by China.

Duterte has failed to follow the advice of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio for the Philippines to make agreements with Vietnam and Malaysia to define the boundaries of their extended continental shelves and to ask the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to confirm the boundaries of the Philippine continental shelf west of Luzon.

Duterte has also failed to go to the UN and the appropriate courts to complain against the transgressions of China in the Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea and to demand justice and compensation for the building of artificial islands and the destruction of the marine environment.

Instead, Duterte does not conceal his self-serving and traitorous scheme to surrender to China the rich marine resources as well as the trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas and other mineral resources in the Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea. These resources are vital for the sustenance and development of the Philippines.

It is in the interest of the US and all other countries of the world to have the freedom of navigation in the high seas of the South China Sea and to secure from any harassment, interference, threat or attack from Chinese military forces that are illegally occupying the artificial islands built in the Philippine EEZ.

It is a source of wonder why the Duterte regime and the US government have not combined strongly enough to complain against China’s violation of the sovereign rights of the Philippines and have not formally invoked against China the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty even only as a warning or deterrent to any act of aggression.

As much as the US has not shown any inclination to wage war with China over the West Philippine Sea, China has so far shied away from threatening to wage war with the US and the Philippines because this would completely negate China’s line of peaceful rise. China is also known to fear internal economic and political instability, especially at this time that the US has instigated a “trade war” with it, abandoning the many decades of US-Sino collaboration in pushing neoliberal globalization.

There are times to focus on issues against US imperialism. And there are also times to focus on issues against Chinese imperialism. Thus, there is currently a focus on the issue of the West Philippine Sea vis-a-vis China. This is an urgent issue that cries out for a patriotic stand and action. Otherwise the corrupt Duterte regime would have a free hand in selling out Philippine sovereign rights to China. It is necessary to assert the Filipino people’s sovereign rights under the UNCLOS and international law and it is even permissible to avail of US-Sino contradictions in order to uphold such sovereign rights.

It is safe to predict that the Duterte regime will meet an ignominious end as a result of its gross and systematic human rights violations, its acts of treason in puppetry to two imperialist powers, unprecedented corruption, economic plunder and so many grievous crimes that are now inciting the people to rise up in defense of their national sovereignty and democratic rights and in pursuit of social justice and all round development.

As in the fall of the fascist dictator Marcos in 1986, the disgraceful end of Duterte is bound to come when gigantic mass actions of the people shake the ruling system from base to rafters and his own military subordinates withdraw support from him either upon instruction of the US and/or upon their own sense of patriotism and desire to shake off the indignity of being the instrument of Duterte’s tyranny and treason. ###

On Duterte’s Double Puppetry to US and Chinese Imperialism

in Statements
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant

Duterte engages in double puppetry to US imperialism and Chinese imperialism. So far, he seems to benefit from his servility to each power. It remains to be seen what will be the crisis impact on the Philippine ruling system and his regime as the inter-imperialist contradictions between the US and China intensify.

Contrary to the impression that he occasionally tries to make, Duterte is not really distancing himself from the US in order to be closer to China. For his selfish benefit, he is subservient to each imperialist power in a definite way.
He does not dare to challenge or change the most dominant role of the US over the Philippines. He has maintained the treaties, agreements that have allowed the US to be the most dominant power on the economy, politics, culture and security aspects of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.

He is highly conscious of maintaining support for himself from the US in order to keep the loyalty of the pro-US military and police officers. In fact, he has deliberately kept US support for his rule with his policy of rabid anticommunism and proclaimed goal of wiping out the revolutionary movement of the people.

He and his principal political and security subalterns take orders from their US masters as regards red-tagging patriotic and progressive forces, misrepresenting communists as terrorists and murdering suspected revolutionaries, social activists and even human rights defenders.

The Duterte regime is actually in cahoots with US imperialism in using mass intimidation and mass murder in order to preserve the US-dominated ruling system of big compradors, landlords and corrupt officials. Under Oplan Pacific Eagle-Philippines, the US actually provides funds and arms that are beyond US congressional oversight.

While Duterte’s puppetry to US imperialism is determined by his greed for power and his desire to be secure from the threat of ouster, his puppetry to China is mainly determined by his greed for lucre and desire to avail of the opportunities for quick money from high interest loans and overpriced infrastructure and other contracts in dealing with China well as from expanded drug smuggling and distribution in collaboration with criminal Chinese triads.

In both types of puppetry, the Duterte regime cannot avoid the historic role of being a butcher and mass murderer. It has been quite easy for Duterte to kill the poor drug suspects by the tens of thousands in order to install himself as the supreme protector of drug lords and to subordinate the local drug market to the Duterte drug syndicate. The poor victims and their families are silenced by the acts of murder and threats of further harm to them.

For obvious reasons, it is far more difficult to engage in the mass murder of organized social activists and human rights defenders, suspected revolutionaries from the intelligentsia and even worker and peasant activists who belong to patriotic and progressive organizations. But the killing has started and can gain momentum.

There is now a system of mass intimidation and mass murder well- established and protected by Duterte and this is now generating the criminals in power in the civil officialdom and in the security agencies at various levels. State terrorism is now flourishing and is now on the way to a full-blown fascist dictatorship.

The brazen line of the counterrevolutionary butchers in power is that all problems of the nation are not due to foreign monopoly capitalism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism but due to the communist revolutionaries and the people’s resistance to oppression and exploitation.

Of all regimes that have arisen since the time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the Duterte regime is the one that has complete contempt for the Filipino people and their revolutionary movement and is hellbent on using violence with impunity in order to suppress them.

It is not at all surprising that Duterte holds the highest regard for the Marcos fascist dictatorship. He is oblivious of the fact that it is precisely because of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and the subsequent US-designed strategic operational plans implemented by their Filipino puppets that have given the patriotic and progressive people no choice but to take the road of armed revolution.

While he stays in power, Duterte runs the high risk of being destabilized and overwhelmed by his own abuse of political power as in the case of Marcos or by the crisis impact and debilitating consequences of the escalating contradictions between the US and China on economic, trade, financial, political and security matters.

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