The Sykes-Picot agreement and the roots of imperialist domination of the Middle East

The following article was first published in 2006, on the ninetieth anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. On the centenary of this infamous treaty between British and French imperialism, when there are a number of reactionary forces questioning it (including ISIS), it is important to reiterate the revolutionary alternative to this division of workers and the poor in the Middle East.

An African “Homeland” for the Jewish Refugees?

In 1903, after the Kishinev pogrom, British imperialism proposed a territory in Kenya (the so-called ‘Uganda’ plan) to Theodor Herzl, the Zionist leader. The article below, written by C. L. R. James in 1938, shows that the plan was still being considered by imperialism thirty-five years later. James offers a revolutionary socialist alternative to settling the Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in Kenya: “revolutionary struggle against capitalism”. (more…)

By |May 14th, 2016|Africa, Imperialism, National Question|Comments Off on An African “Homeland” for the Jewish Refugees?

A mafia coalition

The following article was first published as the editorial of workplace bulletins distributed by members of L’Etincelle (The Spark) faction in France. (more…)

By |March 6th, 2016|Imperialism, Middle East|Comments Off on A mafia coalition

Notes on the imperialism of our era

The following article by Maziar Razi was first published in Marxist Revival No. 2. (more…)

By |October 22nd, 2015|Debate, Imperialism|Comments Off on Notes on the imperialism of our era

The World Cup of protests

The following article was first published as the editorial of workplace bulletins distributed by members of Convergences Révolutionnaires, the monthly journal of the L’Etincelle (The Spark) faction active in France. (more…)

ISIS’s advances in Iraq

When Mosul fell to the forces of ISIS on Wednesday June 11, the media of the imperialist countries portrayed this as a sudden victory by an unknown foe. The truth, however, is far from this picture. (more…)

On the Question of Imperialism

The following article was first published on the Marksist Tutum website. (more…)

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    Where do we stand when a military attack by imperialism takes place against underdeveloped countries ?

Where do we stand when a military attack by imperialism takes place against underdeveloped countries ?

Maziar Razi Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency In this seminar (22 November 2013 in Cologne)

I would like to deal briefly with a very important issue which is facing the revolutionary left internationally. This issue has been very controversial: both in regard to the revolutionary left in Europe and has also caused great confusion within the socialist movement of other countries that are about to be attacked by imperialists.  In order to highlight the level of confusion and inconsistency, I will mention just one case (of course there have been many similar cases in recent years like Iran, Libya and Iraq). Two months ago, the US threatened to attack Syria militarily. Immediately, amongst the “left” internationally, two contradictory positions developed. On the one hand, some defended (directly or indirectly) a US intervention. On the other hand, at the same time, some defended (directly or indirectly) the Assad regime. These contradictory positions not only split any united action by the international “left”, but also caused a great deal of confusion amongst the socialist workers in countries under attack as how to judge this contradictory behaviour of their allies in the West.  The roots of this confusion lie in not updating Marxist analysis of the present stage of imperialism and the nature of bourgeoisie in underdeveloped countries. The traditional Marxists’ line in defence of an oppressed state against an oppressor state came about during the classical age of imperialism – the beginning of 20th Century (see Note 1).

In this period, because monopoly capitalism was faced mainly with a constant crisis of capital overaccumulation, to solve this crisis, the objective need of monopoly capitalism focused on the export of capital and its manufactured commodities. However, this is synonymous with cheap […]

The politics of globalisation and imperialism today

Since the 1990s new patterns have emerged in world capitalism. Their immediate roots go back to the 1970s. In 1973, the major oil-producing states forced a big increase in oil prices. Among the big capitalist powers, the oil price rise hit the US less hard than others. It even made some of the US’s own new oilfields profitable. Britain, too, would gain from the oil price rise, when North Sea oil production boomed in the early 1980s. But in essence the increase was one of the signals of the end of the colonial era.

By Colin Foster of Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

In 1975, Portugal’s African colonies – Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau – at last won their independence. Over the previous three decades, the great colonial empires of West European states like Britain, France, and the Netherlands, which long dominated the globe, had bit by bit been liquidated. India, Indochina, Indonesia, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria had become independent.

In 1973 states like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela and even Saudi Arabia – some once colonies or semi-colonies, others long very subaltern and pliant partners of the big capitalist states – showed that they had their own capitalist ambitions. They were no longer willing just to serve as platforms for the ambitions of US or British oil companies.

Oil-producing states stashed a lot of their vast new revenues with the international banks, who in turn lent the cash to industrialising ex-colonial states. When the big capitalist economies lurched into slump after 1979-80, trade contracted, interest rates rose, and credit got tighter: those borrower states could no longer pay yesterday’s debts from today’s profits and new loans. In 1982, Mexico’s failure to meet debt repayments signalled the start of a global debt crunch. The capitalists of […]

Capitalism at an Impasse -part two

The following is the second (and concluding) part of an article written by Elif Çağlı, the Turkish Marxist theoretician, about the crisis of capitalism. It was first published on the Marksist Tutum website.
The credit system
The credit mechanism began in the first period of development of capitalism in order to bring solution to the needs of commodity and capital trade. Emerging as the modern system of lending/borrowing the credit mechanism was a reaction against the usury of the old times. This situation was an expression of the interest-bearing capital adapting itself to the conditions and needs of the capitalist mode of production. The credit institutions began to appear from the twelfth and fourteenth centuries in the city-states of Venice and Genoa where capitalist commercial relations made an early start. This development enabled to save the wholesale sea trade from the old system of usury. Also in the seventeenth century in the Netherlands, which was the model of economic development then, credit money thrived to break the monopoly of usury capital. These developments were also a harbinger of modern banking system. With the development of trade and capitalist mode of production the base for credit system expanded and became prevalent. Credit became diversified in time with changing needs and eventually set to serve capitalism with different forms such as commercial credit, banking credit or investment credit, housing credit.

Historically commercial credit is the essence of the credit system and has the aim of satisfying the needs of the capitalist reproduction process which comprises the whole processes of production and circulation. Spreading of capitalist commodity production and trade distanced the purchase and delivery of goods, seller and buyer, and hence commercial credit has become an indispensible element of capitalism. […]

Capitalism at an Impasse -part one

The following is an article written by Elif Çağlı, the Turkish Marxist theoretician, about the crisis of capitalism. It was first published on the Marksist Tutum website.
Capitalism at an Impasse -part one
Capitalism is in a state of deep crisis. This crisis is far from being one of the ordinary crises of capitalist economy. By all evidence it is a deep system crisis of historical importance. Capitalism is at an historical impasse, argues Elif Çağlı in her article. After her booklet titled “Crises of Capitalism and Revolutionary Situation” she explains the nature of capitalism with a special emphasis on the role played by credit mechanism, referring to Marx who made a special emphasis on the role of credits in the workings of capitalist economy. While the credit mechanism helps the system overcome certain problems, it reproduces them on a greater scale. Çağlı makes the point that the credit mechanism as well as other tools used by capitalism is now quite worn out. They have almost completely lost their efficiency in overcoming great crises. Capitalism has also lost its capacity for a great scale transformation and reforms that might save it a new era of freshness and provide the broad working masses a genuine welfare.

Elif Çağlı

January-February 2012

The present system crisis of capitalism is continuing in a deeper and wider way surpassing even the period of Great Depression of 1929. This crisis also shattered the rosy pictures of the future of capitalist order drawn by bourgeois ideologues for a long time. At present period imperialist re-division wars that broke out especially in certain regions of the world exposed those liberals who claimed “period of wars are gone now, we are now entering in a period of peace”. Let alone the […]

Document: Modern imperialist domination and Islamic fundamentalism

For discussion at the 2008 Congress of the IMT

In June 2007 the two Israeli members of the International Marxist Tendency supported Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip going so far as to call it a “victory against imperialism” and a “liberation” (Yehuda Stern, 19 June 2007).

There then followed a month of discussions between the International Centre and the Israeli comrades on the fundamental errors of this position. Despite this, during the IEC meeting in July, Yossi Schwartz not only defended this line but extended it to include the unconditional military defence of the Iranian regime. He said that in the event of a US attack on Iran the Iranian comrades should “join the Iranian army”!

While the barrage of criticism that was aimed at them made the two Israeli members leave the International, it is, however, important for us to draw lessons from this serious theoretical lapse by them. How can a seemingly ‘principled’ position lead revolutionary socialists into blindly supporting Islamic fundamentalists? This policy would have had serious consequences had anyone been involved in real activity among the workers in Israel, West Bank or Gaza (although it is doubtful that activists with their feet on the ground would have come up with such a ridiculous position).

While it is recognised that the Israeli members (and many groups) stretched the traditional standard position of revolutionary Marxism on the national and colonial questions beyond breaking point, our view is that even this old tradition has been turned into a formula by many in the ‘Trotskyist’ and other movements. Although we are dealing with the same mode of production and epoch as that of Lenin and Trotsky, the world long ago entered a period that included important changes […]