Che Matlhako reports : The SACP co-hosted with International Correspondence Institute for Social and Political Studies (CORINT), 
The International Seminar on Imperialism, themed: 
“The deepening crisis of imperialism and its manoeuvres! What options for the Left in building an alternative world”. October 8-9, 2011

 
By Che MATLHAKO
“… On the economic essence of imperialism, it follows that it must be characterised as capitalism in transition, or, more precisely, as dying capitalism.” Lenin, VI. Imperialism – The Highest Stage of Capitalism
 
“By critique of imperialism, in the broad sense of the term, we mean the attitude of the different classes of society towards imperialist-policy in connection with their general ideology” Lenin, VI. Imperialism – The Highest Stage of Capitalism
 
The International Seminar on Imperialism was a platform of exchange and engagement, bringing together local and international ‘left’ progressives to share ideas and perspectives and enhance our critique of Imperialism. A similar seminar was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2009 and resulted in the publishing of a book, which was translated into two languages (‘Groupons-nous et demain! … La crise international et les alternatives de gauche’ – in French and ‘Arise in Unity – the international crisis and alternatives from the Left’ in English). The objective was to deepen the understanding of the current strategy of Imperialism, its strength and weaknesses in this stage of its decline, leading to increasing military aggression, and to evaluate the peoples’ consciousness and struggles against it. This amongst other things meant grasping scientific knowledge together with concrete peoples’ experiences on a global scale as the localised view tends to hide the essence of the situation. 
 
The seminar was reminded that the new world order has changed significantly since the demise of erstwhile Eastern European socialism and the ushering in of a uni-polar world, characterised as unilateralism by none other than Zbigniew Brzezinski, who according to his resume lists the following as achievements:
- National Security Advisor to President Jimmy CARTER (1977 – 81)
- International Advisor to several major US/global corporations
- Under Ronald Reagan – member of NSC-Defense Department Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy
- Co-chairman of the Bush National Security Advisory Task Force
who in his book, The Grand Chessboard, asserts that: “The last decade of the twentieth century witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world’s paramount power. The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as a sole and indeed, the truly global power” (Brzezinski, Z. The Grand Chessboard. 1998)
 
The Seminar brought together leading activists, academics and other ‘left’ thinkers and actors in their respective fields from Brazil, Argentina (Latin America), Belgium, Britain, France, Poland and Italy (Europe), Tunisia, Mauritania, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Ethiopia (Africa), and the United States. Official representatives from Republic of Cuba and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic also took part. The international seminar could have taken place in any other country of the planet, nevertheless the fact that it was held in South Africa was of major importance, including: 
-The war in Libya and the violation of elections in Ivory Coast;
-Africa is also at the core of the new emerging countries and governments, wherein South Africa plays a crucial part;
-On-going situation of the multilateralism and the need for transformation of the United Nations system and its Security Council; 
These are amongst some of the key and urgent tasks for the left and progressive international movement across the globe.
 
Building on the solid basis laid during the 12th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP) and various congresses’ resolutions, which separately and collectively direct us to amongst others, the “ … strengthening of the anti-imperialist front for peace, environmental sustainability, progress and socialism”, the International Seminar on Imperialism was an immense contribution in the on-going international engagement and critique of imperialism, in particular in the aftermath of the development in North Africa and the Middle East. 
“Imperialism`s crisis and counter-offensive are leading to the broadening and diversification of the forces that objectively assume a patriotic and anti-imperialist stand. Everywhere, in our diverse national realities, Communists have a responsibility to broaden and strengthen the anti-imperialist political and social front, the struggles for peace, environmental sustainability, progress, and integrate them in the fight for socialism.
 
The independent role of Communists and the strengthening of the Communist and Workers` parties are of vital importance to ensure a consistent anti-imperialist perspective of broader movements and fronts.
 
Special attention must be given to the existing relation between various resistance struggles and the necessary ideological offensive for the visibility of the alternative of socialism and to the defence and development of scientific socialism. The ideological struggle of the communist movement is of vital importance in order to repulse contemporary anti-communism, to confront bourgeois ideology, anti-scientific theories and opportunist currents which reject the class struggle, and combat the role of social democratic forces that defend and implement anti-people and pro-imperialist policies by supporting the strategy of capital. 
 
We have a key role to play in drawing the critical links in theory and above all in practice between different arenas of popular struggle in the development of internationalist class solidarity”, argued the Tshwane Declaration of the 12th IMCWP.
The addresses focussed around these key thematic areas:
- Imperialism on the African continent
- Imperialism and perspectives from the Rest of the World
- Imperialism and perspectives from inside
- Resistance and alternatives
 
Ian Beddowes from Zimbabwe explained how in a very short time, in a terrible internal context, an old liberation movement tradition can revive in the context of an anti-imperialist fight against sanctions, and can offer an alternative between a degenerated liberation movement and forces subordinated to imperialism.
 
Yajoubi Tej Mbarka who spoke next comes from a recent revolutionary process (Tunisia) that has raised hopes worldwide and showed the way to other peoples. She explained the strength of people in united and determined struggles but also the high capacity of Imperialism and local servants to adapt themselves, to save the essential elements of their rule in order to mislead peoples.
 
Nzokima Benoite from Burundi explained the terribly difficult situation in his country, with the history and current situation of imperialist destruction of his country and in the whole region, especially in encouraging ethnic strife.
The panel continued with Mohamed Hassan (Ethiopia) who spoke mostly about the greater Indian Ocean and the Horn of Africa. He demonstrated how Imperialism works not only on a theoretical general abstract view, but with a clear understanding of the complexity of history, geography and ethnic factors: dividing by all means to dominate, corrupting by all means to divide.
 
Speaking later, Moustapha Bedreddine from Mauritania explained the history of the people’s movement in his country against French colonialism, then neo-colonialism until the recent coup backed by French Imperialism, showing how it has been able to use different forms to keep its domination.
 
In its second part the debate extended to cover the whole world with participants from different continents.
Michel Collon (Belgium) exposed the agenda of the Imperialism, quoting its major authors (such as Zbigniew Brezinski) who exposed clearly their strategy and targets (the seven countries that are in their path:  Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Lebanon, Iran). He encouraged all anti-imperialists to read imperialist literature, to better understand the world in order to change it. He made clear that although Imperialism was declining globally, it is not less dangerous but more so, as we have seen with previous declining empires in history.
 
Bruno Drweski (Poland) analyzed more specifically the laboratory of Imperialism in Eastern European countries and the so-called ‘coloured revolutions’. The methods developed there, became progressively more sophisticated since the times of dissidents financed by western states, to include current new movements called coloured revolutions. These were inaugurated in former Yugoslavia, and through exploiting real frustrations they organize chaos, notably via new technologies (internet, social networks…) and riots, mainly based on youth and aiming to offer the pretext to overthrow governments.
 
The third session referred to the fact that the situation is not the same between countries under the domination of Imperialism and under threat of attacks and those who are inside Imperialist countries.
 
Daniela Folet (United States) spoke of the current state of the US Empire regarding its financial bankruptcy, its military and political decline, but its on-going capacity for destruction and destabilization through special operations. She gave clear figures of such in economics (indebtedness, declining manufacturing sector, etc.) as well as capacity of foreign intervention (special operations command, dependence on defense spending, etc.).
Robert Griffiths from Great Britain described UK Imperialism and its particular evolution and adaptation to a financial platform of global capitalism, and its strengthening of the links between US Imperialism and European Imperialism. He also spoke about the increasing anti-imperialist trend within the workers’ movement.
Rosa Moussaoui from France explained the dramatic story of regime change in the Ivory Coast in which French Imperialism, renewing its old colonialism in its strongest neo-colony. This is a new stage in what is called Françafrique, which currently, contrary to the past, tends to be complementary to US Imperialism instead of acting as its rival.
Umberto Martins, from Brazil, showed the increasing difference between the deepening crisis of the Imperialist countries and the fantastic growth of emerging China. He gave a picture of the Latin American process aiming at a major economical and political integration as an important contribution to the alternative. 
Prolonging these views Francesco Maringio (Italy) offered a general panorama of the resisting countries. He focused on Asia, and went on to analyze the common interests of the BRICS in changing the global balance of power, but also their diversity in building a multipolar alternative world.
 
Solidarity with CUBA and TUNISIA
In the meantime the seminar expressed solidarity with revolutionary socialist Cuba and with Tunisian communists facing new repression.
The seminar ended with a specific session on Libya as a concentrated expression of Imperialism and anti-Imperialism today and a major experience for tomorrow on both sides. It was introduced with a general background from the historic and social point of view in Libya, the Imperialist media strategy preceding the strikes, the integration in their operating actions of lessons learned during previous disastrous experiences such as in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
 
The conclusions, apart from the thanks for the quality of organization and the satisfaction, warmly expressed by participants about the discussions having taken place, drew lines for the next steps to be taken. 
First a booklet will be published by SACP with the contributions of the seminar. Then a larger international book, a new International Correspondence publication, will be created on this basis including other contributions, to be translated in as many languages as possible.
 
The seminar ended in expressing hope as to the capacity of the growing resistance of peoples and independent states to lead to a global alternative.
 
CORINT meets Blade Nzimande
On Monday 10 October, a specific meeting of International Correspondence network took place, starting with a greeting given by General Secretary of SACP Blade Nzimande, who gave an overview of the political situation in the country, and stressed the importance of international links and endeavours. 
 
The process of continuing the construction of our international network against imperialism and in favour of socialism was then confirmed, preparing the next seminar and extending the translation and circulation of the results of the seminars.
 
 
 
 
 
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