Sunday, September 8, 2013

Syria, Middle East, World balance of forces:Coming apart at the seams?

by Sean O' Torrain

Over the past years tens of millions of people have taken to the streets of the world to protest the conditions in which they are forced to live by the capitalist offensive. These movements have not all been conscious but they have been full of anger and rage. At the same time increased tensions have developed between the major capitalist powers. During the decades of the cold war the world had a certain equilibrium based on the balance between US imperialism and its rival Stalinism. With the end of the Soviet Union this equilibrium began to collapse. With the move of China towards capitalism this also weakened this equilibrium and moved the world not towards more stability but towards more tensions and more instability. The staggering arrogance of US imperialism is that with its massive debt and while at the same time driving down its own working class into poverty it has continued to believe it can still rule the world. It can still have its new world order, it can still have its "full spectrum domination." I could be premature. I remember the many times in my own revolutionary past when I and other Comrades announced that we were at a "turning point," but with the present events around Syria things are definitely looking a little shaky for imperialism's offensive.

I would like to raise two points for consideration. US imperialism has backed itself into a corner over Syria. I believe it has to strike Syria or its credibility and influence in the region will be very significantly weakened. As well as other factors that would result if it did not strike would be that this would increase the likelihood of its proxies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia and others plus the many militias going off half cocked on their own. Maybe Israel bombing Iran. If the vote goes against Obama to strike Syria this will enormously weaken US imperialism's authority over the whole region and increase the tendency of the many regimes and militias in the area to go it alone. Even if Obama wins the vote it will be only by a slim margin and this too will weaken US imperialism in the region.

When looking at the crisis developing in the entire Middle East and the coming apart of the entire region I find it useful to keep in mind Trotsky's theory of the permanent revolution. The weak capitalist classes in the entire Middle East were not able to pull together and develop cohesive capitalist nations. Arab capitalism in spite of its tremendous oil wealth was not able to develop a cohesive Arab capitalist state. Imperialism instead cut the area to pieces and installed dictator after dictator to rule the many states it created. This is now coming apart. But because the working class, which was held back by Stalinism and Social Democracy, is not organized for the international socialist revolution, the result looks like being sectarian conflict and the redrawing of the map of the Middle East along sectarian lines. In my opinion only a united revolutionary international movement of the working class throughout the entire region can prevent this.

One way or another US imperialism will be weakened, is being weakened in the present situation. This is strengthening Russian imperialism, and also strengthening the Chinese regime as it drives for increased influence and control in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. This in turn will increase tensions between China and Japan.

If US imperialism strikes Syria it is hard to say what will happen in any detail. But from what happened in Libya we can have a good idea. That country is in a shambles and oil production has plunged from 1.4 million barrels a day earlier this year to just 160,000 barrels a day at present. Rival militias rule. Strike or no strike I believe that Syria is sliding inevitably into all out prolonged sectarian civil war.  And with this a further leap forward in the destabilization of the entire Middle East.

The other point I would like to raise is this. And it gives ground for optimism. There is a tremendous opposition amongst the US masses for any strike at Syria. For the first time in a long time and to an extent not experienced in a long time and also assisted by social media, the US masses are having their say. US politicians are being inundated with emails, and posts demanding they oppose any strike.

For Comrades who read our blog,,  you will have seen the recent photo of US cops in full body armor and armed with automatic weapons surrounding unarmed peaceful protesters calling for a $15.00 an hour minimum wage and union rights at a Walmart store. There have been protests and strikes in 60 cities in the US recently for the minimum wage to be doubled to $15.00. There is anger developing in the US on a myriad of issues, health care, jobs, racism, sexism, police brutality, political corruption, climate change, pollution, fracking, attacks on education. These are all issues related to and originating from the offensive of the US capitalist class against its own working class. US imperialism cannot keep on as it is doing, funding its wars and occupations abroad, and allowing its own working class at home to have the living standards it has. It is going after its own working class now in a serious way. We need to remember that when the Occupy Movement emerged it was confronted immediately with cops in full body armor in every city and of course using chemical weapons against the protesters. US imperialism has been preparing to take on its own working class now for decades.

Most US politicians are desperately trying to work a way to vote for bombing Syria. The reason they are having such difficulty is that the US masses have moved very strongly against any strike. Solve the problems at home, spend the money on Detroit, on education on health care, on jobs, not on spending billions on bombing Syria. The mood of the US masses is now against the interests of US imperialism on an issue of very great and international significance. This is a major development. It looks very like we could have arrived at the point where the US masses are saying: we are not prepared to fund US capitalism's wars and occupations abroad when we are being driven into poverty here at home.

Whether this is happening now and will be maintained we will see, But happen it will. It might be now over the issue of bombing Syria. Whenever it happens at some stage the US masses will take to the streets and say enough is enough, spend the trillions on the problems at home and not on defending US corporations' interests abroad. When this happens the world balance of forces will change. This is not to say there will not be great confusion and as well as movements towards revolution as well as movements towards counter revolution in such a process. But what it is to say is that the masses will take to the scene of history in the major capitalist countries such as the US and act to take on the capitalist offensive. The US working class will enter the scene of history with all that this will mean. One affect it will have will be the shock wave it will send through the ranks of the US capitalist state, both its military and its state apparatus at home.

Whenever this happens it will be up to those who oppose capitalism to overcome our own weaknesses and find the road to building this mass movement into a conscious organized movement to end capitalism and establish a democratic socialist world.

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