January 11, 2015

Predatory Capitalism Leading to Regional Wars: Yechury

THE centenary of the end of the First World War being observed across the globe was described at that time as the “end of the war to end all wars”. A century later, the world is still witnessing many regional wars chiefly caused by the unjust `capitalist illogic’ that perpetrated two world wars in the 20th century. First World War gave birth to many wars. The world is still expending a huge amount of money for weapons and warfare contrary to the imperialist campaign of disinformation that following the end of the Cold War, resources will be available for human development and social welfare increasing global prosperity. This was called the `peace dividend’. The exact opposite is happening. Much larger amounts of money is being spent on local wars than during the Cold War period, said CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Rajya Sabha MP, Sitaram Yechury while delivering the S N Majumdar Memorial Lecture organised by AIPSO at Moulali Yuba Kendra, Kolkata, on December 29, 2014. Following the end of First World War, many Marxists, chief among them being Karl Kautsky, theorised that the world has entered a peaceful period of `Ultra Imperialism’. A period where imperialist countries would peacefully divide the world into their respective spheres of influence through a negotiated agreement. It was left to Lenin to point out that inter imperialist contradictions would intensify, due to the fundamental capitalist law of uneven development where the more developed would demand a greater global share of their influence for predatory capitalist loot. This could lead to the extent that another inter imperialist war would become inevitable. Lenin was resoundingly vindicated when the Second World War began. The First World War ended with the `Versailles Treaty’ when the Ottoman and the Austro Hungarian Empires were disintegrated and the European powers shared the `spoils of war’ by partitioning the former empires into their spheres of influence. Fascist Germany, precisely due to the uneven development of capitalism amongst the European powers and the Nazi ambition to rule the globe rejected the Versailles Treaty and plunged the world into the dreaded Second World War. It is, of course, the subject matter of another lecture to understand how Lenin and the Russian Communists converted the anti-imperialist war into a civil war leading to the triumph of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Following the defeat of fascism, liberating the peoples of the world and setting in motion the decolonisation process, the Chinese Revolution triumphed in 1949. What is of concern for us here is that inter imperialist contradictions that led to the First World War laid the basis for not only the Second World War but the subsequent Cold War. The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not to signal the end of the Second World War but to initiate the Cold War. With the Soviet Union acquiring nuclear capabilities, followed soon by other imperialist powers and China, inter imperialist contradictions could no longer manifest in another world war. This would have meant that there would have been no victor and given the arsenal of nuclear weapons Planet Earth itself would have been shattered. The division of the world into imperialist spheres of influence continued through the Cold War period `neo-colonialism’ equations and imperialism’s slogan of global `war against Communism’. Far from erasing this feature of inter imperialist conflicts, the end of the Cold War has actually intensified local wars in various parts of the world particularly in West Asia or what still continues to be called as the Middle East. The USA was not a power to be reckoned with during the First World War and its role during the Second World War was very marginal. It was also a late entrant. The glory of defeating fascism remains largely that of the Soviet Red Army. Remember the signal to the world that Hitler was defeated was given with the hoisting of the Red Flag over Hitler’s headquarters, the Reichstag – not the British, French or the US flags. Following the end of the Cold War, USA in its quest to consolidate its global hegemony has attempted to redraw the imperialist spheres of influence globally. Much of the ongoing military conflicts in West Asia are due to this fact. In that sense, the legacy of the First World War has not been erased even a century later. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, its former territories were partitioned by the Anglo French and European powers. The famous Skyes-Pikou Agreement between UK and France divided much of the Middle East and North Africa. The Balfour Declaration divided the Palestinian lands giving birth later to the state of Israel following the Second World War. These unequal and unjust inter imperialist agreements dividing the world into their spheres of influence left behind a series of conflicts that plague us today even a century after the end of the First World War. The criminal denial of the right to a homeland to the Palestinians remains the principle conflict as a consequence. In fact, from wherever the British were forced to exit their former colonies, they left behind a divided territory generating conflicts and tensions that continue till date – Israel-Palestine; India-Pakistan; Cyprus; many other areas in Africa and other parts of the world. The USA, not being part of the inter imperialist division of the world following the First World War and given its current quest for global hegemony is, in fact, seeking to redraw the post First World War spheres of influence map in West Asia. This explains most of the conflicts there. Further, its current quest for global hegemony can only fructify when it either owns directly or controls the world’s natural resources especially energy resources like oil and natural gas. This, to a large extent, explains its involvement in West Asia, the military attack and occupation of Iraq; its involvement in the Libya and Gaddafi’s murderous overthrow; seeking to manipulate and control the post `Arab Spring’ regimes; in engineering the Syrian civil war; and in the name of `global war against terror’ militarily interfering and threatening many countries in West Asia and the Persian Gulf. Its so-called war against terror and against the Taliban in Afghanistan is integral to its quest for global hegemony and profit maximisation. The huge reserve of natural gas on which Central Asia is floating today can be exploited by US based transnational corporations for profit maximisation only when these energy resources can be transported to a Sea Port to be sold across the globe. Afghanistan is crucial for the USA in this quest since the gas pipeline has to go through Afghan territories to reach the shores of the Arabian Sea. Hence, pliant regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan become essential for the success of the US strategy. This is the main reason for its continued military presence in the area; propping up the Israeli regime thus perpetuating the conflict and denying the Palestinians their homeland. Under its leadership, the USA has mobilised the NATO in this effort. Such are the conflicts engineered by imperialism led by the USA and its allies that continue to impose untold miseries on vast sections of the global people. This quest for global hegemony is also directly required for imperialist globalisation to continue to maximise its profits at the expense of impoverishing the vast masses of global people. In other words, what is happening today is the attempt by USA to redraw the maps of spheres of influence undoing the post First World War agreements. Such a redivision of the world is happening without a World War but by imposing an equally high degree of misery and inhuman loss of life due to military conflicts. It is, indeed, ironic that the end of the First World War should be celebrated by the imperialist powers at a time when Israel mercilessly is bombing and murdering innocent people in the Gaza strip. None of these countries make any effort to end the Palestinian conflict and to implement the UN Security Council Resolutions granting the independent sovereign state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is because Israel is the US lynchpin in this region. It is in this context that we have been demanding that the Indian government immediately cease all military agreements and arms purchases from Israel. India today is the largest buyer of Israeli weapons in the world. By doing so, not only is India negating its pre-independence onwards commitment of solidarity with the Palestinian cause but is actually providing Israel with profits which are used to mount the aggression against the Palestinians. Further, in its quest for global hegemony, USA is moving along its strategic objective of `containment of China’. India, in its own self interest, cannot be an appendage or a subordinate ally of US imperialism in the realization of this imperialist project. Our relations with China, as neighbouring giants must be based on our self interest and in the mutual interests of both the countries based on our doctrine of the `panchsheel’. Yechury recollected how at the time of Hitler’s ascendancy and rise of fascism in Germany the world’s prominent industrialists supported Hitler. They saw in Hitler and his huge expenditure on militarising Germany and building the required economic infrastructure the best opportunity to emerge from the global capitalist crisis set in motion by the great depression of 1929. This is akin to the support that the international finance capital and Indian corporates had given the RSS to make Modi as India’s prime minister. Their continued support today is also based on their confidence that PM Modi will put in place further neo-liberal economic reforms permitting Capital to maximise its profits by looting the Indian people and its resources. The centenary of the First World War, therefore, is an occasion to learn the correct lessons from the manner in which imperialism and global capital continuously seek to maximise profits by squeezing the people more and more and pushing them into an existence of sheer survival. Sitaram Yechury delivered the first Satyendranath Majumdar Memorial Lecture, organised by the All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO) West Bengal state committee at State Youth Centre at Moulali on December 29, 2014. It has been told on behalf of the organizers that the lecture series has been started to remember the remarkable role of late Satyendranath Majumdar in the movement for peace and solidarity in Bengal and to pay a tribute to him. Born in the year 1897, Satyendranath started his career as a journalist and a newspaper editor and author of many books including important biographies of Swami Vivekananda and Joseph Stalin. Majumdar played an active role in the wave of anti fascist movement in Bengal from the beginning of forties of the last century. In the formation of ‘Friends of Soviet Union’ and ‘Anti Fascist Writers and Artists Association’ in Bengal, the role played by Majumdar can never fade into oblivion. At the end of the Second World War, he took active part in the formation of the All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation in order to strengthen the Indian movement for peace and solidarity in 1951. Satyendranath died in 1954. Prof. Asohk Nath Basu, former vice chancellor of Jadavpur University presided over the function. Anjan Bera, secretary AIPSO West Bengal state committee gave the welcome address. Rabin Deb, national leader of AIPSO, Manoj Bhattacharya former MP were present among several dignitaries.