“In view of the warmongering, increased war production and actual acts of aggression by the US, the broad masses of the people must be vigilant, resolute and militant in opposing US imperialism. They must not be cowed or confused by the great disorder, turmoil and war generated by US imperialism. Instead, they should recognize these as signs of the desperation of imperialism and should take advantage of these favorable conditions for advancing the revolutionary cause.”
I am pleased to be invited by the International Coordinating Committee of the International League for Peoples’ Struggle to speak on imperialist globalization and terrorism. It is a welcome task for me to discuss such an urgent topic of crucial importance to the people.
From the way the topic is phrased, I presume that there is deep interest in the relation between imperialist globalization and terrorism. I propose to discuss that economic terrorism characterizes capitalism at various stages of its development and that imperialism means war and terrorism.
Economic terrorism in capitalism and imperialism To quote Marx, “Tantae molis erat(So massive a task it was), to establish the “eternal laws of Nature” of the capitalist mode of production, to complete the process of separation between labourers and conditions of labour, to transform, at one pole, the social means of production and subsistence into capital, at the opposite pole, the mass of the population into wage-labourers, into “free labouring poor,” that artificial product of modern society. If money, according to Angier, “comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek,” capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.”
In the development of capitalism, the primitive accumulation of capital involved the most brutal methods of exploitation, such as the use of slaves, serfs and farm workers for the production of the agricultural surplus, compulsion on the proletarianized peasants as well as women and children to work for as long as 12 to 16 hours at low wages and the sheer plunder of entire nations in old style colonialism.
All these methods of exploitation persisted from the 16th century of initial colonial globalization to the 19th century of free competition capitalism and constituted economic terrorism. Those who did not own the means of production had to be exploited by the few who owned these and had to work for their subsistence or else suffer from starvation and proneness to illness and premature death.
In the very process of production at the workplace, the bourgeoisie extracts the surplus value from the mass of workers, who are forced to yield it under the threat of being fired in a general situation where they are completely separated from the natural economy of self-subsistence in feudal economy and they have no means of subsistence other than selling their labor power.
To fight for the improvement of their wage and living conditions and to strive for the historic mission of building socialism, the workers have formed trade unions and political parties and have waged class struggle against the bourgeoisie. Never voluntarily yielding to the demands of the working class, the bourgeoisie has used the most violent and most deceptive means to attack the working class.
Economic terrorism is most brutal at the highest and final stage of capitalism, which is monopoly capitalism or modern imperialism. The extraction of surplus value from the workers becomes more intense in capitalist society. And the crisis of overproduction becomes more disastrous for all the working people.
However, before the proletariat becomes strong enough to seize political power and build socialism, the monopoly bourgeoisie tries to alleviate the economic crisis at home by exporting surplus goods and surplus capital and subjecting the oppressed peoples and nations to superexploitation.
The colonies, semicolonies and dependent countries become the cheapest source of labor and raw materials and the most profitable fields of investment. In times of boom in the imperialist countries, it can even be said that the workers take some share from the feasting table of monopoly capitalism and tend to lose interest in the socialist revolution.
The oppressed peoples and nations are forced to suffer the most brutal forms of exploitation or else economic and military sanctions are undertaken against them. Even when colonies acquire nominal independence and become semicolonies or dependent countries, they are subjected to neocolonial methods of superexploitation, with the imperialists requiring the puppet regimes to carry out the dictates of monopoly capitalism.
Although neocolonialism appears to consist of economic and financial control, imperialists are ever ready to use political pressure and military force to compel the neocolonies to submit to the terms of superexploitation. Thus they make bilateral and multilateral military agreements in order to have the instruments for enforcing bilateral economic agreements and the dictates of such multilateral agencies as the IMF, World Bank and WTO.
In recent decades, the overproduction of raw materials by most semicolonies and dependent countries as well as the overproduction of low value-added semimanufactures by a few of them has resulted in either the closure of the bankrupted enterprises or bigger overproduction and export of bigger volumes of the same goods at lower prices in the global market.
The crisis of overproduction, the trade deficits and mounting debt burden result in the worst wage and living conditions. The worst conditions of mass unemployment, low wages, impoverishment and deprivation are found in the semicolonies and dependent countries. The majority of the people there live on less than two US dollars a day.
Let us now consider what is deceptively called “free market” globalization, which is actually imperialist globalization. This policy bias of the monopoly bourgeoisie blames the workers for so-called wage inflation and economic stagnation under the previous Keynesian policy bias. It also considers as inflationary the social spending done by the capitalist state.
The neoliberal myth of the “free market” (in fact monopoly capitalism) is that growth follows from privatizing public assets, providing more financial resources to the monopoly firms, fattening them with state contracts, eroding or eliminating the hard won rights gained by the workers as well as doing away with protection of women and children and the safeguards against damage to the environment.
Liberalization, privatization and deregulation have devastated the lives of the working people in the imperialist countries and much more of those in the semicolonies, dependent and retrogressive countries. They have accelerated the outflow of the social wealth created by the people, from the underdeveloped to the imperialist countries. “Free market” globalization has not meant the spread of productive capital in the world but the accelerated accumulation and concentration of capital in the few imperialist countries, chiefly the US.
Now, the US itself has sunk into deep recession as a result of the overproduction of high-tech goods, the bursting of its high-tech financial bubble and the collapse of the “new economy”. This so-called new economy was previously touted as a constantly growing economy without inflation or with low inflation. To keep the economy on balance, the US Federal Bank was supposed to simply adjust and readjust the interest rates.
The economic crisis in the US has plunged the entire world capitalist system into the worst kind of depression since the end of World War II. All global centers of capitalism are in recession. The rest of the world, dependent on orders for raw materials and semimanufactures from the imperialist countries, are in a rapidly worsening state of depression.
Even before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the Bush administration had proposed stepping up military production as the solution to the current economic crisis of the US and world capitalist system. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the US has provided the monopoly firms with large tax cuts and fat military contracts.
But the US drive for high-tech military production will not solve the economic crisis either in the US or in the entire world. It will aggravate the crisis, generate war hysteria and put the entire world in the danger of more wars of aggression by the US and other imperialists.
Imperialism means war and terrorism Of all violent forces that have arisen in the history of mankind, imperialism has committed the most numerous and the gravest crimes against humanity. The interimperialist wars, the so-called limited wars and the puppet regimes of open terror have been the most horrifying.
As a result of their struggle for a redivision of the world, the competing imperialist powers have brought about the deadliest global wars such as World War I and World War II, which have resulted in the death of so many tens of millions of people. Conflicting colonial interests and rising war budgets led to World War I. The unbearable impositions on the losers and the rise of fascism led to World War II.
Up to the start of the Cold War in 1948, the US had the infamous record of killing 1.4 million Filipinos from 1899 to 1916 in the conquest and pacification of the Philippines. It also had the unique notoriety of using the atom bomb on the civilian population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and in killing more than 240,000 Japanese.
Since the start of the Cold War, the US has been responsible for the killing of at least 12 million people through wars of aggression and through massacres conducted by its reactionary puppets.
The US killed 4.6 million Koreans in the Korean War of 1950-53. It also killed 6 to 7 million people in the war of aggression against Vietnam and the rest of Indochina. Instigated by the US, reactionary puppets killed more than one million Indonesians in 1965 and one or two more million people elsewhere.
In wreaking vengeance on Iran after the overthrow of the shah, the US encouraged Iraq to engage Iran in a prolonged war. It promoted Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan in order to rouse the people against the Soviet forces and the Soviet-supported regime. It also whipped up anticommunist religious bigotry to motivate the “contras” in conducting terror raids against the people of Nicaragua under the Sandinista government.
Through puppet regimes of open terror, the US has sponsored all kinds of acts of terrorism against the people. These include illegal arrests and detention, torture, extrajudicial killings, arson, looting, forced mass evacuation and so on. So many millions of people in Asia, Africa and Latin America have thus suffered from such acts of terrorism.
Let us not forget the human toll exacted by such US-propped terrorist regimes as those of Chiang Kaishek in Taiwan, Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam, Suharto in Indonesia, Marcos in the Philippines, Videla in Argentina, Pinochet in Chile, Fujimori in Peru, Mobutu in the Congo and so on and so forth.
When the US emerged as the sole superpower at the end of the Cold War, the imperialists and their propagandists hyped that peace and civility would reign. But in fact, the US has become ever more arrogant and bloodthirsty and has engaged in flagrant acts of bullying, interference, intervention and aggression.
In the last 12 years, it has launched three large-scale wars of aggression, such as those against Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan and in the process collected such spoils as sources of oil and military contracts. The people have suffered from the terrorism of imperialism in all these wars of aggression spearheaded by the US.
What makes these US-led wars of aggression exceedingly abominable is the cowardliness of using its air power and other high-tech weapons to bomb and massacre the civilian population and destroy fixed civilian structures, including dams, electric plants, hospitals, nurseries, schools, factories, office buildings, churches and mass media facilities.
The US and its imperialist allies are responsible for the economic and social ruination of the underdeveloped countries. This is the outcome of the outflow of social wealth, excessive foreign borrowing and the austerity measures that crimp both production and consumption. Relatedly, the US instigate ethnic and religious conflicts and generate civil strife and massacres in order to deflect the people from the revolutionary course and allow the US to extend further its hegemony.
The US is now using the September 11 attacks as a pretext to drum up war hysteria, step up military production, curtail the democratic rights of the American people and other peoples and carry out acts of aggression and terrorism against the people waging revolution, the nations fighting for liberation and countries asserting national independence.
The US is the No. 1 aggressor and terrorist of the world. It has used the September 11 attacks to misrepresent itself as the champion of antiterrorism and to terrorize the people of the world. No matter how shocking occasionally is the handiwork of small private terrorist groups, all of them fall under the shadow of the superterrorism of the US.
The US is oppressing the people within its own borders, especially the new arrivals from Asia, Africa and Latin America and those who belong to the Islamic faith. It has enacted the fascistic Patriot Act and, under the guise of antiterrorism, is imposing this on other countries as the model for antidemocratic legislation and draconian measures.
The US is encouraging and undertaking arbitrary arrests, indefinite detention incommunicado and without charges, military courts against civilians, and the assassination of anti-imperialist leaders or their kidnapping for trial under US-controlled courts. The CIA has been given the license to assassinate anti-imperialist leaders abroad.
The US has practically declared war on Iran, Iraq and North Korea by condemning them as the “axis of evil”. It has also pointed to 12 countries as “harboring terrorists” and warning them that the US would take actions unilaterally if the governments of those countries are unwilling or fail to wipe out so-called terrorists.
Right now, a total of 1000 US combat troops are already deployed in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines. The pretext is for said troops to train the Filipino officers and men how to fight in the combat zones of Basilan and Jolo against a small bandit group, the Abu Sayyaf, a creation of the US CIA with the collaboration of some Filipino puppet military officers in the early 1990s against the Moro National Liberation Front.
The real main objective of US military deployment in the Philippines is to participate actively in combat against the New People’s Army and the armies of the Bangsamoro and establish US military bases in southern Philippines in order to be at the center of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and exercise control over the oil and other natural resources as well as the routes of international commerce in the region. The first three aforementioned countries are major oil producers and the Cotabato basin and Palawan waters in Mindanao are also acknowledged as having rich oil reserves.
In view of the warmongering, increased war production and actual acts of aggression by the US, the broad masses of the people must be vigilant, resolute and militant in opposing US imperialism. They must not be cowed or confused by the great disorder, turmoil and war generated by US imperialism. Instead, they should recognize these as signs of the desperation of imperialism and should take advantage of these favorable conditions for advancing the revolutionary cause.
What the ILPS can do The ILPS must do the best it can to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the people to fight imperialist globalization, war and terrorism, which are chiefly being carried out by the US. It must uphold, defend and promote the rights and interests of the people, as manifested in the 18 concerns of the ILPS.
The ILPS must struggle for the national and social liberation of the people. For the purpose, it must attract more participating organizations, engage in political education, conduct mass campaigns and link with other forces in order to build a broad anti-imperialist solidarity and international united front. #
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
General Consultant, International League for Peoples Struggle
18 February 2002