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Toward the Formation of a Transnational Alliance of Working and Oppressed Peoples

Volume 17, Issue 1  | 
Published 07/07/2020
Toward the Formation of a Transnational Alliance of Working and Oppressed Peoples Apocalypse by inSOLense.

By Samir Amin & Firoze Manji

Samir Amin (1931–2018) was director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, Senegal, and the author of many books. Firoze Manji is the founder and former editor of Pambazuka News and Pambazuka Press. He set up Daraja Press and is currently its publisher. He is Adjunct Professor of African Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Shortly before his death on August 12, 2018, Samir Amin, working together with Firoze Manji, prepared a document he hoped would be widely circulated. His aim was to initiate the building of a transnational alliance that was both radical and enabled a diversity of perspectives. Amin’s friends have commenced an international conversation to that end. With the intent of furthering that nascent project, and in boundless appreciation of his invaluable contributions to Monthly Review over many decades, we present the last written words of our comrade Samir Amin.

—The Editors

For the last thirty years, the world system has undergone an extreme centralization of power in all its dimensions—local and international, economic and military, social and cultural.

Some thousand giant corporations and some hundreds of financial institutions, which have formed cartels among themselves, have reduced national and globalized production systems to the status of subcontractors. In this way, the financial oligarchies appropriate a growing share of the profits from labour and from companies that have been transformed into rent producers for their own exclusive benefit.

Having domesticated the main right-wing and left-wing parties, as well as the unions and organizations of so-called civil society, these oligarchies now also exercise absolute political power. They exercise power over the media that is subordinated to them, creating the necessary disinformation to depoliticize public opinion. The oligarchies have annihilated the traditional practice of multipartyism, virtually replacing it with a one-party system controlled by capital. Representative democracy, having lost all its meaning, has also lost its legitimacy.

Late contemporary capitalism, which has become a completely closed system, matches all the criteria of totalitarianism, although care is taken not to name it as such. This totalitarianism is still soft but is always ready to resort to extreme violence as soon as the victims—the majority of workers and oppressed peoples—begin to revolt. All changes that are part of this so-called modernization must be seen in light of the foregoing analysis. Thus, we face major ecological challenges (especially climate change) that capitalism is incapable of resolving (the Paris agreement of December 2015 was only a smokescreen). We are witnessing scientific developments and technological innovations, including information technology, rigorously subjected to the requirements of the financial profit they can make for the monopolies. The glorification of competitiveness and the freedom of the market, which the subservient media present as guarantees of the freedom and efficiency of civil society, are in fact antitheses of the actual situation, which is riven by violent conflicts between fractions of the existing oligarchies and is the cause of the destructive effects of their governance.

Contemporary capitalism always follows the same imperialist logic of globalization that has been its characteristic since its origins (the colonization of the nineteenth century was clearly a form of globalization). Contemporary globalization does not escape this logic; it is nothing other than a new form of imperialist globalization. This term, globalization, so often used without any definition, hides an important fact: the deployment of systematic strategies developed by the historical imperialist powers (the United States, Western and Central European countries, and Japan, which we shall call the triad) that continue to pillage the resources of the global South and carry out the super-exploitation of labour that is associated with delocalization and subcontracting. These powers intend to maintain their historical privilege and to prevent all other nations from extricating themselves from the status of dominated peripheries. The history of the last century was in fact a history of the revolt of the peoples of the peripheries of the world system who were engaged in either a socialist delinking from capital or in attenuated forms of national liberation. The pages of that history have, for the moment, been turned. The current process of recolonization has no legitimacy and is therefore fragile.

For this reason, the historical imperialist powers of the triad have set up a system of collective military control over the planet, directed by the United States. Membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (which is inextricably linked to the construction of Europe) and the militarization of Japan reflect the requirement of this new collective imperialism that has taken over the national imperialisms (of the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, France, and a few others) that were formerly in permanent and violent conflict.

In these circumstances, constructing a transnational alliance of workers and oppressed peoples of the entire world has to be the main objective of the struggle to counteract the spread of contemporary imperialist capitalism.

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