martes, 24 de mayo de 2016

Stormy Times

The internationalist political battle

A climate of uncertainty and anxiety is pervading the world capitals. A deeply troubled economic trend, the persistent pressure of migration flows of epic proportions, and the wars on the European borders with the threat of reactionary terrorism are fuelling these feelings. «The fog of war» has anything but dispersed.

The global recovery is feeble, slow, and subject to threats in spite of the huge amount of capital injected into the markets by the central banks. «The globalisation of uncertainty» remains a feature of the current cycle. The unexpected and unusual proportions of the ECB's quantitative easing are a confirmation of these anxieties. What is particularly frightening are the problems of the emerging countries and the slowdown of China.

Winds of war

The marked fall in the prices of raw materials, and of oil in particular, is conditioning the recovery. For the energy-giving substances, the main cause remains the excess of offer on the markets. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that only from 2017 will it be possible to speak of a rebalance between supply and demand and hence of a recovery in prices that would contribute to chasing away the spectres of deflation. The fall regards all the raw materials, from metals to corn and soy, which have halved their quotations: the economies of the producing countries have been hit, even hard-hit.

In the emerging countries these difficulties are accompanied by a capital outflow that also regards Beijing, even if in the latter case the outflows also signal the capital exports of Chinese imperialism. The fact remains that China is frightening in any case: today the fears are that the Chinese slowdown and the emerging countries' difficulties will spill over onto the fragile recovery of the old metropolises, killing it off.

Meanwhile, winds of war continue to blow from the blood-stained Middle East. On the Syrian front, the «ceasefire» agreed upon by Russia and the United States is underway. The times of any possible division of Syria will not be short and the negotiations will be obstructed by the clash among the global and regional players; the Kurdish question remains unresolved and subject to being a pretext in the power game.

Meanwhile, in Libya, a conflict is already brewing: small contingents of French, British, American, and perhaps Italian special corps are allegedly already on the ground. Various pressures, some of them intrusive, have attempted to accelerate Rome's decisions. Prime Minister Renzi has stuck to his guns with a formula that aims at a Libyan government of national unity and a UN mandate, but his is a policy-mix that, in its calculated ambiguity, does not exclude military action in the future at all.

The link-up with the Angela Merkel line for a European solution to the migration crisis, in which Libya is part of the question in the same way as Turkey is, is obvious: the inner consolidation of the Union is inseparable from the projection of the influence of the European Union onto the southern shore of the Mediterranean.

Rome and Berlin

We have written that this is a «historic collision» with migratory flows of unprecedented dimensions that continue to shake the European Union. Berlin was the capital most ready to devise a line with strategic depth, carried on by both the political parties of the grand coalition. It is a line upheld even at the cost of paying a price in terms of votes, as has occurred in the recent partial local elections. Apprehension and fears, widespread in Germany, too, rewarded a conservative national-liberal party (AfD), which reinforced its Eurosceptical nationalism with xenophobic undertones.

People are talking about the weakening of Angela Merkel, who, however, has reconfirmed the European line given to the migration crisis. The German position, backed by the European Commission, was fully supported by Rome and also by Paris, which, however, struggled to keep up with Berlin. France is feeling the effect of the national identity campaign triggered by the hateful attacks of reactionary terrorism; an intense campaign that has rewarded Front National, its main interpreter. And not only this: French politics are weighed down by the culture and tradition of the Republican state, which act as a brake whenever shares of national sovereignty are being debated. But now the Franco-German axis is faced with choices that will be hard to postpone.

Italy's ambitions

The agreement with London and the referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU are sparking a de facto battle for the centralisation of the «hard core» of the innermost circle of a multilevel Europe. And in this battle the role of the Franco-German axis is essential, as it was in the past. Various people have reminded Matteo Renzi, engaged in a heated confrontation with Brussels and Berlin, of this.

The Italian prime minister's «active Europeanism» does not seem to want so much to challenge the Franco-German axis as to promote Italy's interests in Europe with greater assertiveness, claiming at the same time a role on equal terms with France and Germany. This is a very ambitious project that requires very solid credentials: Italy's huge public debt remains a burden and a serious weakness. This is why Renzi wants to play the reforms of an Italy that, according to him, has changed, on the European tables. From the Jobs Act, now being imitated in France but modelled on the German Hartz Reform, to the banking reform and even institutional reforms: the abolition of bicameralism, the strengthening of the executive and electoral reform.

It is since the '60s that Italy's big business groups have yearned for political modernisation, an upgrade of the state and its institutions. Renzi, his Democratic Party and his government have pledged to give a solution to the unresolved thorny problems of the decades-long Italian political imbalance; this is why the prime minister has gone so far as to tie his permanence in politics to the outcome of the referendum on the constitutional reforms. In autumn, it will become Italy's main political deadline and will also inevitably take on a European significance.

Political deadlines

Turbulent times are looming ahead for European imperialism. The situation in Syria will take time to stabilise, and in any case that area will continue to unleash violence in the foreseeable future. No one can predict the consequences of another war in Libya. Iraq and Yemen remain unstable and a transition that is rich in unknowns is on the Algerian horizon. And this limits us to Europe's near abroad alone, without considering the tensions that are accumulating in Asia.

The migration flows will continue to press on the European Union and continental restructuring will continue to snap at the heels of very slow recovery; the ECB has used all its ammunition but is also experiencing its limits. A series of political deadlines that are bound to interfere with choices in Europe follow one another: in June, the British referendum, in October the Italian, in 2017 the presidential election in France and the general election in Germany, and then the Italian general election in 2018, unless it is held earlier.

The American presidential election in November and the future administration in Washington are also unknowns, so much so that the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said he is afraid that the «politics of fear» will push America towards isolationism again.

Our battle

A tormented, if not stormy, period for European imperialism, today caught up in international chaos, with its load of populist fevers, concern about safety measures and xenophobic drives fuelled by fears and insecurities destined to increase. We will be called to a fierce internationalist battle against all of this and against all of the expressions of imperialist Europeanism; and, if and when it occurs, also to firm internationalist opposition to another war in Libya.

We come from a period of very intense activity: our organisational battle for self-financing took great steps forward with our subscription campaign in December; in January, there was unprecedented participation in the rallies for the fiftieth anniversary of our newspaper; in February, the month of our publications confirmed the attention to and interest in the books of our Marxist school and not even one title in our catalogues remained on the bookshelves. Arrigo Cervetto's 'Works' are coming out regularly - six volumes have already been published - and the work of completing the Italian edition of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' is proceeding on schedule.

We are offering the workers' movement precious material that our founding group did not have at its disposal at all and most of which was not even usable by our second generation. This is development of the Party in the true sense of the word, because it implies the formation of cadres, organisation and that revolutionary passion that alone can fuel continual, growing, militant commitment.

A problem solved

At the end of a meeting in Genoa in March 1981, Cervetto observed «The basic problem is whether in a situation like the Genoese it is possible to develop a party model borrowed from another historical experience that is our point of reference. This isn't a foregone conclusion. [...] We set off from the concept that it's possible. We don't have the result in our pockets; we're working on a trend».

The development of these years has provided a solution to that problem. It was possible to establish that party model in Genoa, from where it spread to the rest of the peninsula and elsewhere. It was also an answer to our party's historical delay: it can be dealt with, we have dealt with it. But imperialist development has spawned a continental power such as China in Asia, while the European Union, in defining its federal and co-federal powers, has also unified the European labour force. We are bound to consider that continental space: «the main enemy [...] at home» has become European imperialism and our strategic target cannot but be the entrenchment of the Leninist Party in the European metropolis.

The European horizon

In this sense, our historical delay remains a fact, but we have an advantage with respect to the past: we now know that delay can be dealt with and we know the way. In 'The Difficult Question of Times', Cervetto considers how Lenin, in his turn, dealt with the party's historical delay by working on long times, transforming the question of times also into an organisational question: «It went from a difficult to a less-difficult question, because organizational work made it daily practice with which it was possible, by improving it, to accelerate the party's development time so that it could approach that of the productive forces».

It goes without saying that, for us, this was possible only by restoring Lenin's theory and then by guaranteeing generational continuity for the elaboration and development of our science. This is what we have done; now, as we look at the European proletariat, we need to move beyond this. This is a very tiring path and it could not be otherwise, because we are dealing with growing dimensions and problems. However, we have a road map: in-depth work on that «daily practice», «improving it», in order to «accelerate the party's development time»... and doing this starting from the forthcoming battles in the stormy times looming ahead, wielding our newspaper that will have to circulate even more than in the past.

This will be an internationalist battle in the course of which a vast new generation of Leninists will have to be trained. At the end of the day, the European Establishment and its big business groups, amidst imbalances, clashes and adaptations, will find a framework of powers better suited to the world contention. At that point, they need to find themselves facing a stronger, more deeply rooted and more influential Leninist Party in Europe. We can do it.

Lotta Comunista No. 547, March 2016

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