Political tendencies of U.S. imperialism

By the Communist Platform – for the Communist Party of the Proletarian of Italy.

That the United States, from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, has tried and is still trying to scale back or recalibrate globalization is a fact. The explicit reason is given by the attempt to maintain its world hegemony (based on economic-financial, technological, military, and media dominance), today questioned by the rise of Chinese imperialism whose development process has accelerated in recent decades to make it the world’s second largest economy.

US hegemony is shaken mainly by internal factors (economic crises, falling rates of profit, excessive debt, etc.), but also by external factors. The law of uneven development and the exacerbation of the imperialist system’s own contradictions – which manifest themselves in the form of trade wars and the penetration of other powers into the world market – weaken it.

US imperialism is in a prolonged process of decline in confrontation with its rivals. Its weight in world production and trade is falling. However, the strength of US monopolies is still considerable (among the top 100 in the world by turnover, 35 are from the US, 18 are Chinese); the dollar, although weakened, continues to be an international medium of exchange and the world’s reserve currency; the US military apparatus is by far the most powerful in the world.

US imperialism has not lost its ability to build and expand political-military alliances with other imperialist countries, Western and Eastern, in order to contain and fight its main rivals, primarily imperialist China (which has no strategic allies).

The hegemony and economic, political, and military control by the United States continues to rest on these pillars; it is the most aggressive, warmongering, and dangerous imperialism on the planet. With these assumptions, the Biden administration is playing its cards in the struggle for a new economic and territorial division of the world among the main imperialist countries, with their zones of influence.

It must do so before China becomes too powerful to be stopped.

With the expansion of NATO to the east, the Maidan coup, and its support for the puppet Zelensky to deploy long-range missiles on Ukrainian territory — insisting on the “Russian invasion” — [the US] did everything possible so that Russian imperialism, its immediate rival and friend of China, would start the ongoing war in Ukraine, with an outcome that is not currently a foregone conclusion.

Now the Biden administration is weighing the strategic steps of escalation to keep the war going for as long as possible, including nuclear conflict. With this line of conduct it is pursuing another, no less important objective: to weaken and keep divided the main countries of the EU and to delay the process of their political-military unification, which means progress in the formation of a new, potentially rival imperialist bloc.

Another game which US imperialism is playing is the question of maintaining technological primacy (closely connected with military primacy and the development of its strategy). The game essentially concerns the production and use of chips, i.e. memory and logic circuit chips, increasingly miniaturized, and therefore increasingly powerful, used in computers, smartphones, and modern industrial and domestic technology in general.

In August last year, the US passed the Chips and Science Act for $280 billion to invest in research and to pursue reshoring and nearshoring (bringing manufacturing back to domestic and geographically closer locations —Ed.). In practice, the act subsidizes companies that invest in the production of chips in the US or that in any case undertake not to supply China with the latest generation chips, measured by the density of memories in terms of nanometers, in an increasing the race up to the size of a few molecular layers (a nanometer, equal to one billionth of a meter, is the order of magnitude of atomic and molecular dimensions).

With a monopoly on these technologies, the Pentagon plans to build supercomputers that are thought to be able to handle an atomic attack and intercept the enemy’s reaction, stopping it or limiting its damage.

The main multinationals in this sector (including the US Intel) operate in South Korea (alongside Samsung), Taiwan, and China. The measure in question, which provides only one year for the use of US cars, is putting sticks in the works in those countries for such an important business. Significantly, in 2022 Samsung, Micron, Intel, and others, as well as computer and smartphone manufacturers, have seen substantial revenue reductions of the order of two percentage points (of course also for other reasons such as closures due to COVID-19 and hyperinflation). In order to consider the upheaval caused by the Act, it must also be borne in mind that some high-tech machines for the production of chips are from Japan, Belgium, and Holland.

In the same month, the US also passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to support electrical and digital restructuring. In practice, this means direct and indirect subsidies for the production of electric cars, batteries, power columns, and other products produced in the US or in countries that the US unilaterally considers trusted allies or vassals (such as Italy). The total amount is almost $700 billion, a colossal figure also open to non-US multinationals, which has made some European chancelleries jump for the possible process of deindustrialization in the EU that is thus being provoked.

We also note that protectionist positions have long since taken the World Trade Organization out of play, which certainly cannot sanction a country the size of the US.

This action of US imperialism (protectionism, war in Ukraine, disruption of the EU, upheaval in supply chains in their favor) is contributing – together with other factors, such as the rise in real interest rates, the consequences of the pandemic (China has recently reopened), climate upheaval, but also to endogenous causes such as overproduction and falling rates of profit – to the slowdown of the world economy (see Scintilla n. 131, February 2023).

In this context, different political tendencies have formed or are being formed in the USA (as well as in the EU).

These are not yet directly antagonistic parties, but certainly there are disputes between currents that make up a contradictory unity in movement, depending on the degrees of different positions that confront each other on globalization and the continuation of the war in Ukraine.

If in the US the war-like tendency has prevailed so far, there is also a tendency more attentive to economic reasons, which opposes military escalation and a total decoupling from the globalization that has developed over the last three decades. This trend considers that the US can hardly stop a massive and long-standing phenomenon without compromising the business of a large part of their corporations in a short time and without damage. And, you know, for the Anglo-Americans the saying “business is business” applies. This “economic” trend calls for a different approach to the world economy, which certainly takes due account of the preservation of US primacy, but without compromising the stability of the imperialist system and the growth of the world economy itself.

This is a sort of revision of unbridled neoliberalism — in which the imperialist system is managed while paying attention to growing global risks (including climate and health risks), to the prevention of another economic crisis, and to the security of supply chains — with a resumption of “regulated” cooperation and multilateralism (with allies) supported by Yankee economic muscles. Secondly, it calls for less involvement in military campaigns abroad and a compromise to end the conflict with Russia on the basis of the status quo on the battlefield. In short, it is a strategy different from that of global chaos to defend US hegemony.

The different political tendencies of the imperialist bourgeoisie – as far as the US is concerned, which cannot be strictly traced back to the difference between Democrats and Republicans, being of a transversal type – must be analyzed and understood in the light of the Marxist-Leninist theory of the final stage of capitalism. In reality, there is no good and bad imperialism, just as there are no good and bad political tendencies of the imperialist bourgeoisie because, in one way or another, they represent the interests of financial monopoly capital.

By its nature, imperialism breeds exploitation, oppression and war; it is “reaction across the board” and cannot be reformed for the benefit of the proletariat. All the political tendencies of imperialism are reactionary, anti-worker, and anti-communist.

The struggle of the working class and the peoples for social and national emancipation must be guided by a policy of complete class independence: this is a condition for the full realization of the strategic objectives of the proletarian revolution.

This implies putting the defense of the interests of the working class and oppressed peoples at the center, and targeting the bourgeoisie and imperialist rule in order to ensure the victory of socialism.

Class independence does not negate — on the contrary, it presupposes — the possibility and necessity of taking advantage of the inter-bourgeois contradictions that manifest themselves in the concrete historical conditions of a given country.

In the same way, a policy of class independence of the proletariat presupposes the need to exploit the inter-imperialist contradictions, to weaken the domination of the power identified as the most dangerous, to open up spaces, and to strengthen the front of the workers’ and popular forces.

Taking advantage of these contradictions in no way implies fighting one imperialism so that another can take its place, or supporting one imperialist political tendency to counter another, equally imperialist one. It is the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and the struggle for the liberation of the peoples that must be supported and upheld, so that they may progress constantly!

Of course, in order to develop this independent class politics, it is necessary to have the tool that embodies the independence of the proletariat from the bourgeoisie on all levels: the Communist Party.

Scintilla, n. 132, March 2023

Categories: U.S. News

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