Stalin’s ghost laughs from above Europe as imperialist war makes revolution a practical necessity

The panic that the White House is experiencing at the moment is about more than Washington’s war crimes within Ukraine (re: Nord Stream) being revealed, or the economic collapse this war has worsened. It’s about how the imperialists are growing ever closer to fulfilling the scenario that Stalin foretold in The Foundations of Leninism, where imperialism creates the prerequisites for proletarian revolution. The defeat of Washington’s psyops, and the growing tension between the war machine’s interests and the people’s interests, are factors that can bring a breakthrough in class struggle. A potentially pivotal breakthrough, where the ruling elites are faced with an unraveling in social stability that they can’t reverse.

This peril which the American and European ruling class have come to face is a demonstration of what Stalin described as:

The contradiction among the various financial groups and imperialist Powers in their struggle for sources of raw materials, for foreign territory. Imperialism is the export of capital to the sources of raw materials, the frenzied struggle for monopolist possession of these sources, the struggle for a re-division of the already divided world, a struggle waged with particular fury by new financial groups and Powers seeking a “place in the sun” against the old groups and Powers, which cling tenaciously to what they have seized. This frenzied struggle among the various groups of capitalists is notable in that it includes as an inevitable element imperialist wars, wars for the annexation of foreign territory. This circumstance, in its turn, is notable in that it leads to the mutual weakening of the imperialists, to the weakening of the position of capitalism in general, to the acceleration of the advent of the proletarian revolution and to the practical necessity of this revolution.

It appeared on the surface like Washington’s decision to provoke Russia into war let the imperialists bypass this issue by creating an incentive for all the imperialist powers to unify. Yet this moment where these countries put aside their previous disputes was always going to last only as long as the situation remained stable enough for nobody to start acting in one’s self-interest. And that was a setup for a fragile alliance. It’s not just that the sanctions have destroyed Europe’s economy, and that this is provoking the people in places like France to mobilize. It’s that Washington, in its fixation on destroying Russia, has turned its own allies into targets within the new cold war.

When Seymour Hersh confirmed that Washington was behind the Nord Stream explosion, the New York Times and the intelligence sources which run it diverted from this revelation by claiming the culprits were a “pro-Ukrainian group.” How this “group” could have managed to carry out the same kind of industrial sabotage operation that CIA agents are historically trained for, I suspect these intelligence officials are aware of as well. This incident of the criminals pointing somewhere random and saying “look, the criminals are over there!” has not been enough to stop the German public from turning against the United States. Nord Stream was their project, their infrastructure, in their national interest. This backstabbing has further made Germans upset at their social fascist government, which has acted as Washington’s loyal agent for war. When Germans are hearing their foreign minister outright say the country is “at war with Russia,” they can only think of the last time they were being ruled by a circle of American-tied militarists who were set on escalating with Russia no matter what Russia had actually done.

By design, Germany’s bourgeois state won’t allow an anti-NATO government to be voted in. Except now that the German people—the German proletariat especially since the war is harming their living standards the most—are turning against NATO, Washington, and militarism, the present government and its successors will have to reckon with an equivalent of the popular venom that France’s government now regularly endures. A population that’s been radicalized towards the anti-imperialist stance would be even more threatening towards global capitalism than France’s anti-austerity movement is. The next step is to reach the synthesis between these two types of causes, which is communism as applied to a presently imperialist country. The people will have to realize that the only solution is to transition towards workers democracy so that they’re afflicted neither by the parasite class which steals their pensions, nor by the imperialist wars which also harm their interests.

This exemplifies another contradiction of imperialism Stalin covered, which is “the contradiction between labour and capital. Imperialism is the omnipotence of the monopolist trusts and syndicates, of the banks and the financial oligarchy, in the industrial countries. In the fight against this omnipotence, the customary methods of the working class-trade unions and cooperatives, parliamentary parties and the parliamentary struggle-have proved to be totally inadequate. Either place yourself at the mercy of capital, eke out a wretched existence as of old and sink lower and lower, or adopt a new weapon-this is the alternative imperialism puts before the vast masses of the proletariat. Imperialism brings the working class to revolution.” Whether Germany gets successfully compelled to set itself up against the USA, and becomes another example of inter-imperialist competition, the “unity” that NATO initially created within itself during the war is an illusion. 

The U.S. has already been in competition with Turkey, another NATO power which aspires to rebuild Ottoman imperialism, for many years in relation to Syria. Such a mutually weakening relationship could emerge between Washington and other NATO members as the insanity of this conflict drives the different players to desperation. Then Washington will be forced to start effectively waging war against them, in the same way it wages war against the peripheral countries which disobey it: by carrying out terrorist attacks, political meddling, and assassinations to try to regain them as assets.

Stalin’s ghost can laugh from above Europe, because he’s been proven right. Even after all the confident statements from the imperialists in this last year about how the sanctions will doom Russia, how NATO has a great future, how the people will tolerate any sacrifice within this war, he’s the one whose view of history has been vindicated. Civilization’s development did not reach its final stage when capitalism came, and the emergence of modern imperialism is itself proof of that. The system transitioned into a type of imperialism which exports capital from the core to the peripheries because this was the only way to displace the crises capitalism creates for itself during its monopoly era. Crises that would be fatal if imperialism weren’t here to export the bulk of the system’s exploitation onto the proletariat throughout the neo-colonies. The industrialist Cecil Rhodes, in the famous quote of his which Lenin included, stated this as being the goal of imperialism. He declared that empire is the only way to maintain stability when capitalism drives many of the core’s people into poverty.

The working class has a choice between continuing to act as observers within history, and asserting its agency over history by organizing towards revolution. The job of communists is to make the proletariat aware it has this choice, and give it the means for choosing the option that’s in its interest.


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