Forwarded from John Gulick

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Wed Dec 12 10:00:52 MST 2001

>>> mark.jones at 12/12/01 09:59AM >>>
John Gulick wrote:

>Even though the North-South gap, measured in a myriad of ways, is
>deteriorating decade-by-decade, this objective reality does not mean
>that a _political_ contradiction of world capitalism -- intra-North
>rivalry -- is a dead issue.

I'm sure this is right: the ultra-imperialism theory is the same kautskyan
nonsense it always was. US imperial behaviour is predicated on the
presumption that it will meet resistance at ever level, from its major
'allies' to its most subordinate quislings. The existence of rival national
elites which share many aspects of a common and cosmopolitan culture and
which self-identify more in class than national terms, and that these
elites network and form a cohesive whole, living in a quite different moral
and material universe from the vast bulk of humankind, is not a new
phenomenon historically speaking. It is a common of the history many
empires and large regions, but does not overcome the more fundamental fact
of *rivalry* between elites and of the necessity to rule by subjugating as
well as    incorporating its potential and actual rivals.


The EU and Japan/China are economic and political rivals and have great
military potential.


CB: I've got to disagree with Mark's overall approach in that for the last 50 years the U.S. has been involved in enormous war making against colonies and not imperialist rivals.  The qualitative difference from the interimperialist rivalry of 1916 is that it is not a military conflict.  The imperialist wars have shifted to attacks on the colonies that have been freeing themselves from the colonial system that existed in Lenin's era.

The notion of future or potential wars between the U.S. and EU or Japan is highly speculative, and is not a solid basis for defining the current situation. We already have the fact of wars of a world scale between the U.S. and the colonies. That defines the current stage of imperialism ( along with the Cold War), and implicit in it is military unity and alliance among all the imperialist powers against socialist countries and neo-colonies. The rivalry between the imperialist countries, U.S. , Germany, Japan , France, England, Italy, etc. is not military. It has not produced wars between them for 50 years. There hasn't been Kautskyian world peace because there have been wars  on colonies, but that is a qualitative difference from 1916.  For one thing wars between imperialist countries are more likely to result in revolutions in imperialist countries themselves as in Russia in 1917. To say that there is still economic and political competition among imperialist countries ignores!
 the significant difference between those rivalries amounting to military conflicts between them and not amounting to military conflict. This is a qualitative difference between imperialism 2001 and imperialism 1916.

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