Proposals for a new Anti-imperialism

From the Social Forum to an Anti-imperialist Forum
There is no doubt that the movement against globalisation has constituted for the last decade an opposition force to the mono-polar capitalist world which developed out of the bi-polar set-up of the Cold War period. However, faced with its incapacity to point out strategic parameters in order to turn into a force of resistance to concrete imperialism of Yankee domination, we find ourselves in front of two challenges.

Firstly we have to explain both the factors which allowed the temporary success of the anti-globalisation movement in unifying very diverse forces and its political failure to develop into an anti-imperialist resistance force. Secondly we have to outline the possibilities of going beyond the anti-globalisation movement towards a movement prepared to resist the central pillar of world capitalism in the next period, Yankee imperialism.

Empire, globalisation and "trans-national" struggle

Economic globalisation and the global politico-military-cultural domination of the US are the two sides of the same medal. With the forced opening of the markets we are witnessing the transformation of the nation states – not only those of the oppressed countries but also of the European metropolises – into subordinated entities within a new pyramidal international architecture. It is, however, not enough to define this architecture as a capitalist one in order to fight it. The concrete form of organisation capitalism assumes is the hierarchical world order headed by the US. It is they who guarantee the free flow of capital. It is they who assure the stability needed to avert uncontrollable explosions against the forced subordination of states, peoples, regions and entire continents to the neo-liberal exploitation. Organisations like the IMF, the WTO and the WB evoked the criticism put forward by the anti-globalisation forces. They serve as instruments for the construction of the uni-polar Yankee world. This was openly outlined in the neo-con manifesto "Project for a New American Century" s in 1997. But restricting the criticism to the economic impact made the critics blind with regard to the concrete enemy to be confronted and the forces which determine his character. The economic concentrates itself in the political and the political continues into the military. Thus every further step of globalisation towards the capitalist empire reveals its structure and its conditions, namely US political and military domination.

The anti-globalisation movement succeeded in bringing together two forces which clashed with globalisation in the economic field: on the one hand political and social movements organising and representing those affected by the opening of markets and the dismantling of the welfare state (like association of the landless, unions, unemployed) and on the other hand a youth and middle class ethically disenchanted with the "false globalisation" taking effect only in the economic sphere. Without recognising the Yankee Empire as the totality of the unified enemy, they nevertheless succeeded in temporarily coagulating a critical mass (also thanks to the attention paid by the mass media) by a partial attack on the economic aspect of the extremely unequal capitalist development (local modernisation and growth versus regional marginalisation) called neo-liberalism. This momentary unification took place around a weak and superficial ideological utopia which proved, however, able to mobilise the various hopes arising against the background of the crisis of the old socialist "world visions" defeated in 1989/91.

The success of the movement can be explained by the way it recognised and took up three fundamental aspects of the current phase in the struggle against globalisation – which the dogmatic left failed to do:

Firstly, the necessity of an international criticism and response to globalisation which objectively constitutes a highly centralised power above the nation states.

Secondly, the intensive search for a new project of emancipation able to overcome the communist attempts eventually defeated in 1989/91.

Thirdly, a form of horizontal organisation which integrates all the "excluded" in the absence of a clear and unifying political hegemony.

That is to say that the movement, within the vacuum left by the old left, found a correct point of departure recognising 1) the emerging of a peculiar post Cold War world order, 2) the necessity of a renovation of the political project and 3) new forms of unification. That does not mean that the answers provided were able to lay the foundations for really confronting capitalist globalisation. They limited themselves to an insufficient and partial analysis of the enemy. They did not want to make a real break with the system because of their "politically correctness" and social-liberal reformism. And they headed for a superficial festival-type unification excluding the "radicals" from the Social Forums. This sooner or later had to give way to a crisis and lines of rupture. Following we will try to sketch the political and methodical bases which could allow the anti-imperialists to overcome the shortcomings of the movement in the aforementioned three points.

From anti-globalisation to anti-Yankee resistance

Globalisation is not first of all characterised by the increased flow of capital beyond national borders. This is a general tendency of capitalism which manifests itself today within the politico-military frame of the US empire. With the Iraq war even the blind could see that globalisation does not mean trans-national capital as an abstract horizontal power, but the hierarchical political, military and cultural domination of the US over the world. Instead of helping to clarify a political orientation, the economicist reduction of globalisation opens the door for reformism. According to this understanding it is not decisive to overcome the global political and military structure of imperialism in order to achieve social justice, but to control and charitably channel trans-national capital. The anti-globalists prefer experiments of an "alternative local economy" of NGO type ("another world is possible" here and now) compatible with the global imperialist rule to the determined resistance and defensive war of the oppressed people aggressed by the imperialist military forces.

Proposal 1: In order to struggle against globalisation we have to fight the Yankee empire. It is necessary to pass from the movement against globalisation to a resistance movement against the US as the main pillar of imperialism and capitalism.

An internationalist movement against globalisation draws its legitimacy first of all from the common interest of the peoples to weaken the Yankee empire breaking it at its weakest point. Such a break of the imperialist chain will have its international impact, the domino effect as the US used to call it. It will not only strengthen the will of the oppressed people to fight but will also awake conflictive inter-imperialist tendencies towards a multi-polar world. Breaking the sole imperialist command by the US constitutes the first step towards a new revolutionary offensive. This signifies:

a) The neuralgic point of this break is today Iraq and its motive power the Iraqi resistance together with the resistance in Palestine. They serve as the catalysts for a possible major conflict of the entire Arab world against the political, military and cultural dominance of the West represented by the US and Zionism. Every national and social liberation struggle must understand that the front in Iraq is their front in order to defeat the enemy. Therefore support for the Iraqi resistance is an essential base for anti-imperialist unity.

b) The criterion on which to judge the "progressive" character of a movement or a government is the profundity of its rupture with the US. Thus various Islamic resistance movements currently find themselves on the same line of anti-imperialist struggle the anti-imperialist revolutionaries follow as well. Meanwhile the mystified centre-left governments of Lula, Tabarà© Vazquez or Kirchner in South America (and even more Zapatero, Prodi, Schroeder & Co in Europe) are phenomena of alternation and renovation which remain completely within the frame of Yankee domination. They are only changes of the form of administration but do in no way constitute points of support for the anti-imperialist resistance (differently from the Chavez government of Venezuela which has opened an anti-imperialist dynamics).

From social-democrat utopia to a new popular power

Breaking the identitary and sterile self-defence of the dogmatic left was necessary. However, it was replaced by a new utopian and superficial amalgam no less identitary than the former, having as its only concrete political implication the neo-reformism of the centre-left liberals; and this makes up the drama of the anti-globalisation movement. In order to facilitate the confluence of the anti-imperialist forces during a defensive phase of historic crisis of the socialist perspective, a platform of abstract principles is not enough. The first element of unity and today the one and only programmatic precondition is the concrete resistance orienting towards a radical break with Yankee imperialism. It lays the foundations for any future revolutionary project. Politically we can sum it up it in the struggle for radical self-determination understood as national liberation and popular power.

Proposal 2:

Mere catalogues of principles will not bring us forward to a revolutionary programmatic base for a front of the anti-imperialists – regardless whether they are orthodox principles of the "Marxist" left or the moralist ones of the anti-globalisation neo-reformists. Our point of departure must be the resistance towards a radical break with imperialist rule. It is the precondition for new scenarios of the construction of popular power and thus a new unifying revolutionary programme.

Regarding the current scenario of resistance there are no recognised practices of building a revolutionary state which could serve as the base of programmatic unity. Therefore we propose as the broad foundation of anti-imperialist unity an orientation of integral and radical self-determination: 1) anti-imperialist resistance for national liberation and 2) national liberation orienting towards the building of popular power as a model of a democratic state.

This means:

a) Build alliances first of all according to the political practice of the resistance movements against the Yankee world order and not based on verbal affirmations of radical principles.

b) Recognise the national anti-imperialist self-determination as pre-requisite and first step of social liberation. Every movement and people which stands up to defend its sovereignty from foreign domination (Iraq, Palestine, Kurdistan, national liberation struggles in Europe like the Basque and Irish one) or raises against a puppet government of the US empire (Colombia, Philippines, India, Nepal, Turkey ……) is to be supported.

c) If today Iraq is the neuralgic and most advanced point of anti-imperialist resistance, Venezuela is the most advanced place and living laboratory where the organised people strives to defeat the bourgeois institutions in order to establish popular power. As the Iraqi resistance is the vanguard of the resistance against the Yankee empire, the forces fighting to deepen the Bolivarian transformation, for the "revolution within the revolution", are the pioneers of a possible new strategy to popular power. Out of this experience general parameters for a new revolutionary project could emerge.

From World Social Festivals to gatherings of the Anti-imperialist and Anti-Yankee resistance

Different currents, movements, parties and groups (among which the Anti-imperialist Camp) propose the objective of an Anti-imperialist Front. Unlike historic experiences – like the Anti-imperialist League promoted by the Comintern or the Tricontinental put forward by Che Guevara – today there is no hegemonic force able to unify these fragmented projects and ideas. The current attempt of the Bolivarian Congress of the People for unification around the "Bolivarian" idea is interesting on the Latin American level. However, from our point of view it tends towards an alliance of the type of the "Forum of Sao Paulo" driven by the interest of the Venezuelan government to join hands with reformist forces in office or intending to take office (PT, Frente Amplio, FSLN, FMLN, Mexican PRD, Bolivian MAS) in view of a political and economic Latin American axis. (This axis is either an ideological illusion of certain leftists or a legitimate pragmatic state project in order to increase the mutual commerce within the frame of the given world economy bound to the opening of markets.)

Furthermore we consider the horizontal form taken on by the World Social Forum (WSF) not as strength, but doubtlessly as a temporary necessity to bring together different anti-imperialist currents and anti-Yankee resistance movements.

Proposal 3:

In continuation of experiences like the anti-imperialist gathering Mumbai Resistance 2004 we have to let the anti-imperialist resistance forces converge in open meetings in order to allow the building of concrete alliances and to promote the long-term development of a common political orientation.

We are forced for an intermediate period – probably a prolonged one – to hold horizontal and broad gatherings between anti-imperialist forces of different ideological orientation. Thus we can prepare the ground for a future effective Anti-imperialist Front functioning with the necessary internationally centralised structures. Taking up the organisational form of the Social Forums we nevertheless and obligatorily have to overcome their limits with regard to their political content.

This means:

a) While the WSF has been inclusive of the liberalist centre left and the NGOs integrated into the system and exclusive towards resistance movements, the gatherings of the anti-imperialist anti-Yankee resistance must be broad and inclusive for all forces fighting the US empire while excluding the overt and covert social democrats.

b) While the Social Forums have turned into mere identitary festivals and manoeuvrable masses for the political interests of the neo-reformists, the gatherings of the anti-imperialist anti-Yankee resistance must be forums which aim at facilitating and organising concrete collective action – whether global and involving all the participants or partial around specific topics. They should serve the political understanding and convergence preparing – in a long and contradictory process – the political and programmatic foundations for an Anti-imperialist Front able to overcome the weaknesses of the "multitudists" forums and to create an instrument to confront the highly organised and centralised imperialist enemy.

The Anti-imperialist Camp from the very beginning defined itself an instrument to open the road to the Anti-imperialist Front. We resisted against the current of anti-globalist "mass forums" – of which many were impressed and subsequently became "political prisoners" of their conceptions. We think that today this resistance allows us – within a new context where the WSF reveals itself not only as insufficient for the resistance against the Yankee empire but also more and more as an integrator into this very same empire – to propose, promote and initiate together with other forces the first steps towards an anti-imperialist co-ordination for a world-wide resistance front against US imperialism.

Anti-imperialist Camp
January 2005