Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"The war against humanity is not over there but everywhere, all the time."

The connection which Lenin established—in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism—between imperialist exploitation of the dominated peoples and social-democratic ideological hegemony over the working class of the imperialist centers has already been forgotten. Social-democratic ideology (social-imperialist would be a more appropriate term) implies the existence of “socialism” at home and imperialism abroad...

...The global development of capitalism in an imperialist framework has decisive consequences for the destiny of socialism. Most important is the fact that the center of gravity of the exploitation of labor by capital (and, in the first place, by monopoly capital which dominates the system as a whole) has been displaced from the center of the system to its periphery. The mass of surplus value (in all its forms—absolute and relative, apparent and masked by price structures) extracted from labor in the periphery has been increasing steadily since the end of [the nineteenth] century. This simple fact explains why the periphery plays an increasingly active role in the global socialist revolution, by giving a new impetus to one of the possible outcomes of the uneven development of societies: the development of socialism starting from the lagging zones of capitalism...

...Social-imperialist collusion gives way to Third Worldist outbursts. For Third Worldism is a strictly European phenomenon. Its proponents seize on literary expressions, such as “the East wind will prevail over the West wind” or “the storm centers,” to illustrate the impossibility of struggle for socialism in the West, rather than grasping the fact that the necessary struggle for socialism passes, in the West, also by way of anti-imperialist struggle in Western society itself.

-from Samir Amin, Imperialism & Unequal Development (o.v. 1976).

"Let me speak for just a few minutes about the prospects of the opposition. I never said that the student opposition today is by itself a revolutionary force, nor have I ever seen in the hippies the "heir of the proletariat"! Only the national liberation fronts of the developing countries are today in a revolutionary struggle. But even they do not by themselves constitute an effective revolutionary threat to the system of advanced capitalism. All forces of opposition today are working at preparation and only at preparation--but toward necessary preparation for a possible crisis of the system. And precisely the national liberation fronts and the ghetto rebellion contribute to this crisis, not only as military but also as political and moral opponents--the living, human negation of the system. For the preparation and eventuality of such a crisis perhaps the working class, too, can be politically radicalized. But we must not conceal from ourselves that in this situation the question whether such radicalization will be to the left or the right is an open one. The acute danger of fascism or neo-fascism has not at all been overcome.

I have spoken of a possible crisis, of the eventuality of a crisis of the system. The forces that contribute to such a crisis would have to be discussed in great detail. I believe that we must see this crisis as the confluence of very disparate subjective and objective tendencies of an economic, political, and moral nature, in the East as well as the West. These forces are not yet organized on a basis of solidarity. They have no mass basis in the developed countries of advanced capitalism. Even the ghettos in the United States are in the initial stage of attempted politicization. And under these conditions it seems to me that the task of the opposition is first the liberation of consciousness outside of our own social group. For in fact the life of everyone is at stake, and today everyone is part of what Veblen called the "underlying population," namely the dominated. They must become conscious of the horrible policy of a system whose power and pressure grow with the threat of total annihilation. They must learn that the available productive forces are used for the reproduction of exploitation and oppression and that the so-called free world equips itself with military and police dictatorships in order to protect its surplus."

-from Herbert Marcuse "The problem of violence and the radical opposition" (1967) (via Afterthepurge)


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