Global Crisis Continues, Resistance Too Grows
NOTWITHSTANDING the fits and bursts of hopes of recovery in 2013, the world capitalist economy continued to falter and stagger, confirming that the global crisis triggered by the financial meltdown of 2008 continues to plague the global economy. Except for socialist China, all the other so-called emerging economies which, like India, might have initially withstood the devastating impact in 2008, have also begun to buckle under this impact. CRISIS ENTERS A NEW PHASE This world capitalist crisis entered its fifth phase in the outgoing year, 2013, and every effort to overcome the crisis has sowed the seeds of a fresh crisis. The unbridled imperialist globalisation that created unprecedented economic inequalities, leading to a decline in the purchasing power in the hands of a majority of the world’s people and creating a crisis for capitalist growth, was sought to be overcome through giving ‘cheap’ or ‘sub-prime’ loans which, when spent, bolstered aggregate demand giving this spurt to manufacturing growth in the world. This was what had, by itself, led to the 2008 crisis when large-scale loan repayment defaults had forced many financial multinational corporations to bankruptcy. However, this crisis was sought to be overcome through humongous bailout packages which only transferred corporate insolvencies into sovereign insolvencies. Then the consequent unsustainable mountains of governmental debt were sought to be overcome through severe austerity packages curtailing government expenditures meant primarily for social welfare and large-scale attacks through reductions in wage rates; curbing fresh employment; increases in working hours and merciless cuts in pensions and other benefits. This has now set in motion the new or the fifth phase of this global crisis as this is resulting in a further drastic shrinkage in the purchasing power in the hands of the people, leading to economic contraction. As we move into 2014 now, the global economy is likely to be further enmeshed and engulfed by this crisis. This further confirms the fact that no amount of ‘reform’ within the capitalist system can provide relief to the people. It is only the political alternative to capitalism, the alternative socio-economic system of socialism that can provide escape from this crisis. The year 2014 will, surely, see an intensification of the struggles for advancing such a social transformation in many a country. While the popular struggles against this crisis had been on the rise globally, Europe, in particular, was witness to many a mighty struggle, particularly in countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy etc. Many a ruling government collapsed by losing elections as a result of this growing popular anger among the people. Notwithstanding this, however, there has been a political rightward shift all across the globe. At the same time, in countries like Japan, Portugal, Czech Republic, Chile etc, the Communist Party has gained in the elections that took place in these countries. HEGEMONIC ATTEMPTS AND THE RESISTANCE The most important theatre where struggles against the imperialist efforts to emerge from its crisis by passing the burdens on to the third world countries, have intensified is in the Latin American continent. The progressive anti-imperialist anti-neo-liberalisation governments are continuing to try and deliver some relief to the people, unlike in those third world countries like India which have nakedly embraced neo-liberal economic reforms. US imperialism was hoping that with the death of Chavez in Venezuela, it may reverse the anti-imperialist trend in the continent particularly after Chavez’s successor, Maduro, won the elections narrowly in March. However, the results of the municipal elections held in December, where the Chavez’s Socialist Party scored remarkable victories, confirmed that the people are firmly with the anti-imperialist political tendency. The year 2014 will clearly mark a significant period in consolidating such a progressive shift in Latin America, hopefully towards socialism, rather than offering an alternative to neo-liberalism within the capitalist system. The continent continues to serve as a source of inspiration to all those fighting against the miseries heaped by neo-liberal imperialism. Under these circumstances, the effort by imperialism led by the USA to consolidate its global hegemony and create a unipolar world under its leadership is coming under severe strains. Despite all its efforts to unleash yet another imperialist military aggression, this time against Syria, the USA was successfully out-manoeuvred mainly by the strong position taken by Russia and, to an extent, China, both of whom vetoed the US efforts to involve the United Nations in such an attack. Despite itching to repeat the Iraqi military aggression in Iran, US imperialism was forced to enter into an agreement with Iran, leading to a certain degree of de-escalation of tensions in the region. Notwithstanding this, US imperialism continues with its criminal interference in the internal affairs of independent countries in West Asia and North Africa. Far from leading to the emergence of genuine democracies in the countries that witnessed the so-called ‘Arab Spring,’ many of them are in the grips of a crisis. The military had to intervene against a democratically elected government in Egypt as it was seen promoting fundamentalism under the influence of Muslim Brotherhood party. The US inspired civil war in Syria is spreading to neighbouring countries like Lebanon. As a consequence of US occupation, sectarian strife continues to rock Iraq, claiming the lives of a huge number of innocent civilians. Likewise, Tunisia and Libya continued to witness turmoil while Sudan has been divided into two countries and deadly conflict continues in Somalia. US imperialism, thus, continues its efforts to intervene everywhere in order to extend its hegemonic efforts. Such hegemonic efforts can be seen in international negotiations on climate change and the agreement on agriculture under the WTO. The recent meetings in Warsaw on the first and in Bali on the second issue saw intense efforts to browbeat the developing countries into creating more favourable conditions for economic recovery in the developed countries. INDIA NEEDS TO STAND UP Unfortunately, instead of confronting such imperialist efforts and rallying together the developing countries, strengthening solidarity amongst them, India has been increasingly succumbing to such pressures. The maltreatment of an Indian diplomat by the US recently must come as an eye-opener to those who have, by their submission to US dictates, reduced India to be a country that can be taken for granted by imperialism. The year 2014 must see the Indian people mounting popular pressure on the Indian government to reverse this tendency to make India a subordinate ally of imperialism. This is all the more necessary given the conditions in our neighbourhood where imperialism is keen to intervene in order to advance its interests. The political uncertainty in Nepal following the recent elections; the civil unrest created by fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh in the run-up to the general elections; the growing grip of fundamentalism and the overflow of Afghanistan’s Taliban terrorism into Pakistan that has dangerous potential for India. The political uncertainty in the Maldives and the continued ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka also create fertile circumstances for US imperialism to seek intervention in pursuit of its hegemonic drive. The year 2014 must strengthen the resolve by India to take a firm anti-imperialist position. This can only happen under growing popular pressure. Hence, for the Indian people, 2014 means a year when popular mobilisations must be mounted to improve the living conditions for the vast majority of our people, while, at the same time, protecting India from the negative fallout of international developments by adopting a firmer anti-neo-liberal and anti-imperialist position and strengthening the solidarity among developing countries towards this end. The year 2013 ended with the death of Nelson Mandela, a towering colossus of the worldwide people’s struggles for emancipation and liberation. As he led the liberation of South Africa from Apartheid, he had given a stirring call: “The battle continues – till complete human emancipation and liberation.” As we, along with the progressive world, pay homage to him, we must redouble our resolve to carry forward his biding – strengthen people’s struggles in 2014.