Deciphering China (Part III): Projects in dispute

China’s status as capitalist or socialist will be determined by political struggles and popular battles. This dilemma is being processed within an intermediate formation with ruling classes that do not control state power. The country’s economic shifts have expressed conflicting interests rather than socialist continuities. Initial coexistence with the market differed from the later process of restoration.
Those who see a completed capitalist regression omit the fact that the fusion between the bourgeoisie and state functionaries has not been consummated. China’s socialist legacy is a major stumbling block to this integration, in a regime that is very different to any variety of state capitalism. There are various competing currents, including one for socialist renovation promoted by the New Left.
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Deciphering China (Part II): Capitalism or socialism?

China’s rise illustrates the contemporary dynamics of uneven and combined development. Its socialist foundation, a complementary market and capitalist parameters underpinned a model linked to globalisation but focused on the local retention of surplus. The absence of neoliberalism and financialisation have spared China the imbalances faced by its competitors. But the penetration of capitalism has generated overinvestment and surpluses that need to be unloaded abroad.
Orthodoxy explains China’s expansion as the result of an imaginary predominance of deregulation. Heterodoxy explains it as the result of the simple application of controls that failed elsewhere. Both omit China’s socialist foundation. The millenary viewpoint exalts a mythical destiny and assumes that these very recent processes have distant roots in the past.
Capitalism is present but does not yet dominate the economy. The new bourgeois class has also not obtained control of the state, but the socialist transition has been reversed and an intermediate status prevails. The limited restoration contrasts with the trajectories of Eastern Europe and Russia. A comparison with the origins of capitalism suggests the possibility of long transitions and mixed systems
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Deciphering China (Part I): Decoupling or New Silk Road?

China’s control of the pandemic has not cancelled out the impact generated by the virus that originated there, as it is closely intertwined with capitalist globalisation. This has made it necessary for the new power to rethink its economic strategy. Its partnership with the United States was shattered by the 2008 crisis but decoupling did not produce the expected results. The proposed New Silk Road presupposes a return to the world market to temper overproduction, but it has rekindled the dispute with Washington. The trade war has already moved on to become a currency war, but it will be settled in the area of technology. No one knows who will win this battle, but political divergences and internal social tensions will define its outcome.Leer texto completo [PDF]

The imperial system in crisis

: Imperialism safeguards the exploitation of workers and the subjugation of the periphery, using mechanisms adapted to the transformations undergone by capitalism. That adaptation is an ongoing process at present. US leadership has been undermined by economic deterioration and failed wars. It also lacks the plasticity its British predecessor had for handing over command.
Russia does not participate in the dominant group, but is driving forward the gestation of a non-hegemonic empire, one quite distinct from tsarism and the USSR. China’s protagonism is not synonymous with imperial expansion. Its defensive strategies coexist with an incomplete capitalist restoration that has incorporated the accumulation of profits at the expense of the periphery. In other regions contested pre-eminence has given new currency to the status of sub-imperialism.
The centrality of coercion to imperialism is diluted by theses that solely focus on hegemony. The current imperial system diverges from the old rivalries between powers and cannot be clarified through economic criteria alone. Geopolitical confrontations disprove the thesis of a global empire sustained by transnationalised classes and states
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La crisis del sistema imperial

Leer texto completo [PDF]El imperialismo custodia la explotación de los trabajadores y el sometimiento de la periferia, con mecanismos adoptados a las transformaciones del capitalismo. Ese amoldamiento no se ha consumado en la actualidad. El liderazgo norteamericano está socavado por el deterioro económico y los fracasos bélicos. Carece además de la plasticidad que tuvo su antecesor británico para traspasar el mando.
Rusia no participa de ese circuito dominante, pero motoriza la gestación de un imperio no hegemónico, muy distinto al zarismo y a la URSS. El protagonismo de China no es sinónimo de expansión imperial. Sus estrategias defensivas coexisten con una restauración capitalista incompleta, que incluye igualmente la acumulación de beneficios a costa de la periferia. Otras disputas por la preeminencia regional actualizan el status del subimperialismo.
La centralidad de la coerción es diluida por las tesis meramente hegemonistas. El sistema imperial actual diverge de las viejas rivalidades entre potencias y no se clarifica con criterios económicos. Las confrontaciones geopolíticas desmienten la tesis de un imperio global sostenido por clases y estados transnacionalizados.

Is Russia an imperialist power? Part III: Continuities, reconstructions and ruptures

Many differences separate modern-day Russia from the tsarist era. Russia’s convergence with Western powers has been replaced by serious clashes. This confrontation has established expansive tendencies of a different kind. Comparisons with the USSR omit the absence of capitalism under that system. There were mechanisms of external oppression, but no Soviet imperialism. Russia’s secondary place in the imperialist hierarchy is not synonymous with sub-imperialism. Nor does an ambiguous relationship with the world’s dominators prevail. Internal colonialism has resurfaced, but it does not define imperial status, nor does it determine the nature of national movements in the post-Soviet sphere.

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Is Russia an imperialist power? Part II: Lenin’s legacy

The criteria outlined by Lenin in his text on imperialism do not help clarify Russia’s imperial status today. Its economy does not meet the criteria demanded in terms of the domination of finance, the global importance of its monopolies or its levels of capital exports. An intermediate profile prevails, one that is distant from the dominant countries. China, on the other hand, has reached this podium without becoming an imperial power. Russia’s imperial status cannot be determined by economic indicators. The concepts of the last century must be moulded to the new realities of capitalism. Lenin’ main legacy is concentrated in his characterisations of war.Leer texto completo [PDF]

Is Russia an imperialist power? Part I: Non-hegemonic gestation

Leer texto completo [PDF]The status of imperial power cannot be clarified by liberal prejudices. The consolidation of capitalism is an existing precondition of that status. But imbalances in the economic model and the country’s semi-peripheral insertion undermine this position. Russia is not part of the dominant circuit of contemporary imperialism and is harassed by the United States. It is also developing a policy of active geopolitical intervention, with actions in line with its weight within the military-industrial complex. The concept of a non-hegemonic empire in gestation offers the best definition of its current stage. The outcome of the war in Ukraine will either lead to the consolidation or dissipation of this profile.

Is Russia an imperialist power? Benevolent glances

Washington’s bullying and the gulf with tsarism do not place Moscow outside the imperial universe. Its embryonic place in this space negates the characterisation of the country as a semi-colony. Military arsenal is a defining feature of a foreign policy that includes oppressive tendencies. The intervention in Kazakhstan illustrates this dynamic of a power with a long tradition of international protagonism. Putin is not a progressive leader. He validates the privileges of millionaires, arbitrates between chauvinists and liberals, manipulates elections and harasses the left. Anti-imperialist projects are forged with popular subjectsLeer texto completo [PDF]

A Rússia atual é uma potência imperialista?

A Rússia é frequentemente classificada como um imperialismo em reconstituição. Algumas abordagens utilizam este conceito para destacar o caráter incompleto e embrionário de sua emergência imperial (Testa, 2020). Mas outras usam o mesmo enunciado para enfatizar comportamentos expansivos desde tempos remotos. Estas visões postulam analogias com o declínio czarista, semelhanças com a URSS e a primazia da dinâmica colonial interna. Estas interpretações proporcionam intensos debatesLeer texto completo [PDF]