At the outset I would like to express my proud pleasure to be a part of this most important seminar. Most important it is in the prevailing grim state of affairs around the world. A seminar to perceive the immeasurable sway of imperialism across the globe and the portending dangerous wars is imminent for the international trade union movement, particularly the class oriented revolutionary trade unions like us. For, it is the working class that are the ‘grave diggers’ of capitalism and history now beckons us to advance ahead to demolish the system of barbarism to usher in an era of peace and equality. Our topic for the seminar is so thoroughly thought out that it lays down the matrix of the socio political and economic constrictions that imperialism employs to strangulate its subservient nations in order to establish its political hegemony. To approach this topic it is only the most appropriate to turn to Comrade V I Lenin who has given the most precise and the fullest ever definition of imperialism as, “Imperialism is a specific historic stage of capitalism. The imperialist epoch of capitalism of the 19th and the early 20th century has now grown into gargantuan proportions as humanity never had witnessed before. We are here to perceive the draconian dimension of the 21st century imperialism characterized by the twin onslaughts of economic repression and military aggression exercised by the gripping political influence that the imperialist power of the day, the USA has over the growing economies of the world. One of the most visible successes of imperialism in the post cold war period was the defeat of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the post-capitalist property relations in the former Eastern Bloc states as well as in China and Vietnam. The planned economies implemented here had brought not only social progress but also had successfully restricted the scope of operation of the global capital. But the resurgence of capitalism in the later part of the 20th century came with revengeful vigour. The bourgeoisie succeeded in an enormous geographical expansion after it had been excluded from these regions for decades and strengthened itself internationally in relation to the working class and oppressed people in the third world. At the beginning of the 1980s, the imperialist bourgeoisie began a concerted offensive against the social and political gains of the working class and the oppressed peoples that were made during the years of economic boom which lasted till the 70s. The rise of the East Asian economy, the Greek economic miracle, the Italian economic miracle, the economic growth stories of Japan, West Germany, France had experienced the unprecedented jolt with the collapse of the Bretton Woods monetary system in 1971 followed by the oil crisis in 1973, 1973-74 crash of the stock market and the worst economic recession of the 1970s. The growing economies were brought down to their knees for further structural adjustment dictated by the dominant power of USA. United States of America used its political and economic superiority to weild its power through the World Bank – IMF and the WTO. Debt trapped developing nations like walked willingly into the contrivance of the Structural Adjustment Programmes that came as the dictates of the financial masters. Capitalism began to hit back with more vehemence thereafter. Economic repression of imperialism Growth of monopoly capital is the quintessence of imperialism. USA moved decisively in this direction to monopolise and weild its power to influence the political and economic spheres of the beneficiary nations. Lenin saw the growth of monopolies as the most fundamental defining feature of imperialism. This process of monopolisation is advanced dramatically in the period of capitalist globalisation. Through the dictated philosophies of neo liberal economic globalization in the last two to three decades USA holds its grip over the political and economic spheres. This has caused untold miseries and enormous hardships to workers across the world.
In India as anywhere else in the rest of the world, capitalism plays havoc into the lives of the people. The Welfare state character of our country is given a go by to summarily adopt a full fledged laissez faire concept. Market liberalization and privatization has choked the economy rendering several crores of workers jobless. Unemployment, wage cut, wage freeze, retrenchments, layoffs, closures all at once have made the lives of workers absolutely miserable. Laying seize over the fertile middle class market of over 450 million, the MNCs and TNCs have captured the Indian market thereby killing the indigenous market. The consecutive governments since the 80s, paying obeisance to the imperialist powers have been making policies that cater to the needs of the super powers. FDI in the banks, insurance, defence, retail trade, real estate, pharmacy, farming etc,. have spelt the worst disaster on the Indian market and the Indian worker in turn. To cap it all, the present government at the center with its lenience towards extreme right is all set to amend the labour legislations in favour of the capital. This, I am sure is the onslaught of capital in all the other parts of the world as well. In India, we have the trade union unity emerging and concretising against the policies of the government. But politicalisation of the workers is in a pace not in resonance to the spiralling speed of the capital. Politicalisation of the workers is the most imperative task, for the workers are the battalions to fight and finish the barbaric advance of the capitalists. Finance capital is a new form of capital, in which the owners of capital in the form of stocks own not only banks and other financial institutions but industrial corporations as well. Even more remarkable however, has been the increased importance of multinational corporations, that is, globally active monopolies. Today, these firms, together with their affiliates, control two thirds of world trade. The 300 biggest companies own one quarter of all productive assets worldwide and control more than half of the world market in consumer durables, steel, airlines, electronics, oil, computers, media, aerospace and cars. Such is the scale of accumulation of capital. The theory of imperialism attributes these asymmetries to the systematic transfer of the value created in the dominated regions to the dominating capitalists. This transfer is concretised through the deterioration of the terms of trade, the extraction of financial resources and the transfer of industrial profits. The net political effect of this drainage is the loss of the political autonomy of the ruling classes and the increasing level of US military intervention. This is the concerted and calculated economic imperialism of the US exercised on the nations. Economic imperialism of more sophistication and surrogacy is evident in the movement of around 4 trillion US dollars as foot loose fictitious capital that is involved in the speculative market. This gargantuan amount used for economic maneuvering is deprived to the world for industrial capital. India is no exception to such economic imperialism. Understanding such as this economic imperialism is imperative for us to comprehend the historic thirst of the United States of America for global power. American foreign policy is governed by the doctrine of “full-spectrum dominance”, which means .that the US should control military, economic and political development worldwide. Fullest expression of this dogma is expressively illustrated in the divergent form of US imperialism during the past three decades: military driven intervention, occupation and domination; and economic expansion and exploitation of resources, markets and labor should be understood as a ‘unified whole’ in which the two basic components, military and economic are always complimentary. Full spectrum dominance of the US imperialism encompasses not only the illegal domination it exercises over the nations but also the dominance over planets and satellites. Amazing growth of Information and communication technology during the past decade is best appropriated by the US imperialism to serve its purpose. This is media imperialism which is used to manufacture consents and manipulate the conflicts. Media engineers the consent of the people for the capitalist barbarism and manipulates to glorify the US wars in the name of peace. Self proclaimed economic might of the US justifies its right to exercise military control over the other nations. US stamp its boots in any part of the world with utter disregard to the UN charter and violate the international laws with unparalleled arrogance. This is done in absolute impunity to expropriate the land, labor, capital, natural resources, commerce, and markets of that other country. Military aggression of Imperialism Permanent war is the official US policy.US has a complex economy termed as the ‘War Economy’.. Economists even opine that US economy is essentially needs a war every four years to sustain and grow. US imperial state invested trillions of dollars in military expenditures, hundreds of thousands of military personnel into wars in the Middle East -Iraq, Yemen, and Syria; North and East Africa Libya, Somalia;, Afghanistan in South Asia. Etc,. Comprising only just 5% of the world population, the US accounts for 40% of total military spending. US’ war history is notorious to the fact that US instigates wars between neighboring countries and sells its arms and ammunition to both the combatants. We experience it in India where the US provokes war like situation between India and Pakistan and sells its arms and missiles to both. Defence budget of India is so huge that to that extent growth is deprived. The war mongering USA tramples upon all the UN restrictions but wages war not only with impunity but also scores the support of the other nations. Typical ‘His Master Voice’ subservience is at display on the global stage. Washington has continuously draped its predatory policies in the Middle East in the false banners of “human rights” and “democracy.” The “Operation desert fox” in December 1998, the indiscriminate bombing of civilian sites for four consecutive days to the most naked war on humanity under the falsehood that Iraq was possessing “weapons of mass destruction” were blatant lies that US held out to the comity of nations. The bombing on Libya ‘to protect the people and restore peace’ was a blatant crime carried over by a group of nations, the merceneries of the USA. Libya under the rule of Gaddafi was peaceful and growing. There was no credible reason for NATO bombing Libya. US just did not like Gaffafi nationalizing the oil wealth lest it would be difficult for them to lay their free hands upon. Imperialism can be the nastiest in its pursuit for political power is evident in the fact that USA time and again engages itself in creating and nurturing groups like Al quaeda and ISIS which spread terror across the globe. US has now implanted the venom of ‘Islamophobia’ to justify its ‘war on terror’. This is institutionally manipulated as ‘clash of civilisations’ to alienate a section of humanity. This simultaneously nurtures religious divide and antagonism. This is most dangerous. Divide and rule is the fundamental gospel of imperialism from its birth. We feel its ramifications in India, a pluralistic and secular country. International trade unions should take a serious view of this dangerous phenomenon. It is the US imperialism that deprives the legal rights of the Palestinians. Palestine issue itself is the epitome and embodiment of imperialist aggression. The Israeli occupation of Palestine land, the Gaza and the west bank indisputably belong to Palestine. Israeli occupation is illegal and violative of the UN resolution. But the US supports Israel and therefore Palestinians continue to suffer the worst of human tragedies. Without the huge economic and military assistance provided by the United States and to a lesser extent from certain European governments, there can be no doubt that Israel would not be able to maintain indefinitely its aggressive and uncompromising policy towards the Palestinians, and would be forced in time to negotiate a more favourable settlement with them. Latin America has always been the other eye sore of the US imperialism. In 1974 the democratically elected President and socialist leader Salvador Allande of Chile was overthrown by the armed forces and the national police. This was operated by the then US President Richard Nixon. After paying heavy toll to the economic imperialism for more than three decades the Bolivarian revolution has installed strong left regimes in the region. Emergence of socialist blocs in Latin America are seen with contempt and fear. The recent coup against the Brazilian President Dilma Rousuff is deliberately engineered by the US. Brazil has joined the list of successful coups in Honduras, and Paraguay in the recent past. Emergence of BRICS is viewed with hostility by the imperialist powers. The development in Brazil with installation of its puppet regime is to be seen together with the game plan of the US to destroy the BRICS. But the developing world have been coming closer to create regional economic integration too. While BRICS has formed the BRICS development bank, ALBA the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas on December 14, 2004 between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez has thrown a real challenge to the growing US imperialism that preys on the human squalour. ALBA is based on the idea of regional integration based on the principles of solidarity, social justice, complementarity, and cooperation aimed at transforming geopolitical relations in the western hemisphere. Many governments in Latin America have come to the conclusion that they have a chance to eradicate poverty, reduce the existing gross inequalities, expand and consolidate democracy, develop a participating and conscious citizenry, grow economically, and strengthen national sovereignty only if they do it collectively. In this regard the ongoing process of regional integration is central. Impressive steps have also been taken to eliminate racism, bigotry, gender and sex discrimination, and intolerance towards sexual diversity. In all these regards Latin America shows not only that another world is possible but is being built right now. Another World is possible where there are no wars but only peace. No discrimination only equality. This is the alternative to imperialism. The alternative is Socialism. Socialism has to be built. History has proved that it is the working class that can build that alternative society. Workers organized under the class oriented trade unions have to rise up to build the socialist world. Workers have done it. Now history beckons them to play the role destined to them. It is only the working class that can overthrow capitalism and reconstitute society on socialist lines. The trade unions are an expression of the organised working class. This is why the unions are a key consideration in the perspectives for changing society. Trade unions are the weapons and the class oriented ideology is the strength. Winning workers to the ideas of socialism by politicalising them is the immediate task before us. Building, expanding and strengthening left wing, class oriented trade unions with a clear socialist programme to overthrow capitalism and establish a socialist state is our objective. Workers should be politicalised. There is no other short cut. Class oriented trade unions should do it, starting the process now. Fight the global enemy locally and internationally should be our guideline. Economic expropriation, political recolonisation and military interventionism are the three pillars of the current imperialism that have to be demolished. Trade unions should prepare the workers to do it.
LONG LIVE PEACE – NO TO WAR LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY-UNITE FOR PEACEFUL WORLD LONG LIVE WORKERS UNITY LONG LIVE SOCIALISM