An End of History?

"But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons--the modern working class--the proletarians."

Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto

-- The twin images of Korean auto workers defending their occupied plant with lead pipes and Russian miners blockading a bridge evoke the 1930s, don't they? And this is just the beginning of what promises to be an epochal struggle between workers and bosses on a world wide scale.

This is not what the Fukuyamas of the world had in mind when the Berlin Wall came crashing down, but this is because their mastery is of the Hegelian rather than the Marxian dialectic.

World imperialism has been at war with Communism since 1918 when it sent its invading armies into the infant Soviet republic. When fascism could not achieve its goal, Anglo-American imperialism succeeded. As Jim Craven pointed out yesterday, the "democracies" were not above using the very same Nazi torturers and murderers in the postwar period, including the infamous butcher Klaus Barbie.

Did the bourgeoisie understand what it was getting into when it "conquered" world Communism? Apparently not. What it has done is raise the level of class contradictions to a higher level than ever before. Of course it had no choice. If the USSR was left alone, then wars of national liberation would have had sponsorship even of a half-hearted nature. Now that the USSR is defunct, the wars of national liberation will not be taking place in rice paddies, but in auto factories and railroad tracks.

The reasons for this have to do with the partial and contradictory nature of the victory. In the USSR it has destroyed an existing system, without being able to replace it with one that is stable. The USSR was not Nicaragua. Nicaragua has a population about the same as Brooklyn's. The Soviet Union was a massive, highly industrialized country where the workers had certain expectations about what constitutes a standard of living. This meant that they would get paid on time, even if the wages are meager and that they would have 3 meals a day even if the fare consisted of potatoes and cabbage. Now that it can't get paid and is forced to steal cabbages from his neighbor's garden, he will resist. This is a fundamental law of human behavior. What is also problematic for imperialism is that it has not been able to create a social layer in the country that is the counterpart of the pro-US Nicaraguan middle-class. The pro-US social layers in the former Soviet Union are cowardly gangsters.

With respect to China, it should be obvious that the stakes of the East Asian financial crisis are much higher now that China has been integrated into the world economy. Everybody is worried about the "other shoe" dropping, namely if China devalues it currency. If China was an insular, semi-rural Stalinist society that did not trade with the outside world--as was the case before imperialism battered down its doors--the risks would be a lot smaller.

Imperialism reminds me of a python snake that has swallowed a tiger. It is trying to digest the tiger, but the tiger is in its throat and still alive and its teeth is sharp. It is biting away at the throat of the python from inside the gullet. It is supposed to be a sin to be greedy. However it is in the nature of the beast called capitalism to be greedy. The counterattack has begun.