Capital can be resilient. Far more resilient than many revolutionaries have anticipated. Marx predicted that communist revolutions would initially come in the countries where the productive forces are most developed. But save for the eastern part of Germany at the cost of a catastrophic war, none of the core imperialist countries have so far undergone such revolutions. In these places, capital has held on in the face of multiple world wars, depressions, and pandemics, allowing them to continue holding back revolutions in most other places through imperialist meddling.
This does not disprove Marx’ theory that socialism is capable of replacing capitalism. It only means the extinction of bourgeois society will be far longer and more violent than was implied by his argument that the imperialist countries would likely become socialist first. As Stalin concluded in The Foundations of Leninism upon gaining the historical hindsight that Marx had lacked:
No, objects the Leninist theory of revolution, not necessarily where industry is more developed, and so forth. The front of capital will be pierced where the chain of imperialism is weakest, for the proletarian revolution is the result of the breaking of the chain of the world imperialist front at its weakest link; and it may turn out that the country which has started the revolution, which has made a breach in the front of capital, is less developed in a capitalist sense than other, more developed, countries, which have, however, remained within the framework of capitalism.
This heretofore unanticipated reality has allowed some of the poorest countries in recent history, like China, to have their revolutions. And Russia’s revolution may be down, but it’s not out; as the pandemic exacerbates the miseries from Russia’s neoliberal paradigm, the country’s communist party is becoming a real opposition force, causing the bourgeoisie to grow concerned both within Russia and internationally; the imperialist propaganda outlet the Washington Post declared on the Russian revolution’s 100th anniversary that “Bolshevism is back,” and that “we should be worried” about socialism again triumphing in Russia and elsewhere. This worry is especially valid when it comes to the Global South. A new wave of revolutions is also likely to sweep the exploited countries in the coming decades, a loss for the bourgeoisie which will be a direct consequence of their neoliberal engineering of rising global inequality throughout the last half-century.
These events, combined with China’s construction of a new multi-polar world order, signal an unprecedented contraction of capital within the core imperialist countries. This contraction is already well on its way in the form of the imminent U.S. dollar collapse, which will create an additional depression and force a contraction of Washington’s global occupying forces.
But we should not look at these overarching crises, and take them as assurance that capital in the imperialist countries is going to be defeated. If we fail to outmaneuver the forces of capital, if we fail to sufficiently prepare for the worst-case scenarios of counterrevolutionary repression, fascism will win out where we are.
What do the worst-case scenarios look like? Like an imported version of the purges that took place in Indonesia, Argentina, and the 20th century’s other CIA-installed dictatorships. In The Jakarta Method, an account of how the CIA’s mass murder approach in Indonesia has been applied for global counterrevolutionary activities by the U.S. empire, Vincent Bevins illustrates the genocidal byproducts of this repression:
In the same years that Benny was in Kansas, life for Indonesians of Chinese descent like him got increasingly difficult back home. They had long suffered from intermittent explosions of racism, but as lines in the sand were drawn and redrawn under Sukarno’s Guided Democracy, there seemed to be less and less space for them. The first major blow was a 1959 law, passed just as Benny was heading to Kansas, that took some economic rights away from foreign nationals. In practice, this included the country’s large ethnic Chinese population. It was not Sukarno who pushed for this—it was the military—but he let the racist law, a deviation from Indonesia’s foundational values, pass. The Army also organized violent anti-Chinese riots—for which it did not seek Sukarno’s approval. The military used US funds to plot these pogroms. The situation was terrifying.
Amid the death spiral of U.S. imperialism and the great pandemic-era contraction of capital, it’s apparent from reading this paragraph that history is repeating itself. It’s repeating itself to an extremely eerie degree, because right now in the core of imperialism the United States, ethnic Chinese and other Asians are coming under threat due to the intensification of capitalist reaction. The demagoguery about China being to blame for the virus, born out of deep-seated settler-colonial bigotry and facilitated by the highest levels of government, has now likely produced around ten thousand anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. since March of 2020. They’ve been increasing in frequency throughout this year, despite the outward anti-Chinese racist Donald Trump no longer being in office, because the demonization of China is a bipartisan agenda. One which has convinced around two-thirds of Americans of the fabricated far-right narrative about China committing ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang.
These kinds of propaganda narratives are facets of the weapon—cognitive warfare—that the imperialist powers have now pivoted to amid the unstoppable rise of multipolarity. Because the imperialists have lost the geopolitical momentum to China, and are struggling to regain their footholds in recently lost countries like Afghanistan and Bolivia, all they can do is clamp down on what they still control while perpetuating destabilization and conflict. The anti-Chinese propaganda campaign is a psychological warfare campaign directed at Washington’s own citizenry, designed to blunt class consciousness by stirring people into a frenzy against the world’s largest socialist country. As long as revolution can continue to be prevented in the core imperialist countries, capital can survive.
But this balance that capital maintains is one that can only grow more uneasy. The dollar will lose its status as the reserve currency. The new wave of revolutions will diminish capitalist market access. The rate of profits will continue to fall, as it’s been falling since World War II. The imperialists can only respond by leaning ever more onto the high-tech sector (as they’ve been doing since the pandemic gave them new openings for corporate-governmental fusion), war profiteering via mercenaries and Silicon Valley defense contractors, expanding crisis capitalism, and intensifying the neoliberal war on the poor. The foremost casualties of this contraction, and of failures to make revolution, will be the same kinds of ethnic scapegoats targeted by the Jakarta Method.
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