Anxiety is rising and no wonder. The lack of economic prospects, the social dislocations resulting from capital’s penetration of the whole world and its expulsion of ever greater numbers of people from actual production and jobs, the wars over possession it engenders, with their merciless slaughter of civilians, whether through air bombardments or suicide attacks, the many millions of refugees fleeing horror and hopelessness, the climate disturbances… it is indeed a potent cocktail.
People try to make sense of it all. Politicians and other ideologues capture the discussion within their particular spectrum, which varies all the way from Islamophobia and other expressions of racism and warmongering, to empty promises based on the illusion that taking money from the rich and spending it on the poor will solve it all. What they all have in common is that they cannot imagine a world beyond capitalism. All things change, but capitalism, in their minds, is eternal. “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism,” environmentalist Rob Nixon wrote in a November 2014 New York Times Book Review assessment of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything.
But the end of capitalism must be imagined if the end of the world, or something close to that, is to be prevented, because all the above mentioned expressions of worsening crisis have their roots in the crisis of capitalism itself. It must be understood that capitalism is not eternal, that the rules it imposes on the world are not “natural” and must be smashed for the sake of our survival, and that they can be smashed, that there is a world possible beyond capitalism.
Of course we don’t expect this understanding to come from politicians and other ideologues. We expect it to come from within the very struggle for survival of the proletariat. We expect it to come from small groups and circles within the proletariat who contribute to its struggle by connecting the dots, by showing the way out of the trap that we’re swimming in.
That is our aim too. In this issue of IP we publish articles that connect the dots and explore the way out. The first text is a statement IP published after the terrorist attacks in Paris last November. Since then, the asymmetrical global war has continued and similar attacks have taken place, in Brussels, Lahore and other places. The statement unfortunately fits those horrible events as well. It explains the strategic (capitalist) aims of the attacks and denounces the abuse of the victims for the purpose of whipping up nationalism and war-support, and the use of fear to expand repressive power.
The second article is a global overview of the turmoil in the world at this point in time, the spring of 2016. It is followed by a closer look at Rojava, a proto-state in northern Syria, which, while being involved in inter-imperialist war, supposedly also is creating a post-capitalist society. The article criticizes the illusion that on nationalist soil, a revolutionary alternative can grow.
Imagining the end of capitalism, what does that mean? What kills it, what sneaks it back in? That is a question examined in the last text, written some years ago by RV, a member of the pro-revolutionary “Cercle” of Paris. Its starting point is a critique of the idea that replacing money by labor vouchers would end capitalism.
The longest text in this issue is also the reason why it appears with quite a bit of delay. We took our time to write and discuss it collectively. It is our attempt to formulate how all the misery and promise of our times, the despair and the hope, are connected. How we make sense of it all. The world as we see it, anno 2016. We hope that it will encourage other pro-revolutionaries to think about this, to discuss this text and criticize and comment. On the Libcom-list the text provoked some discussions, on which we will report on our website.
This text has a particular importance for IP’s life as a revolutionary political group. In IP 60 we informed our readers of difficulties we had had over the recent past, especially disagreements that emerged over the first part of ‘IP and the Tradition of the Communist Left’ published in IP 57. We consider that the text published here reflects where we stand as a group, at this time. It’s not the last word on anything but it responds to the need for a coherent understanding of the social world in its totality, the need to understand how it all fits together. In IP 60 we said that: “We believe Internationalist Perspective has made a worthwhile contribution to the development of Marxist theory and has endeavored to intervene in social struggles to the degree we could. All of us in Internationalist Perspective wish to continue with this activity.” We think that this reference text shows that ongoing commitment.
Read and spread this issue and send us your comments.