G20 and the Crisis of Imperialism

Leaders from the G20 have descended upon Toronto, turning much of the downtown core into a high-security police state, in an effort to manage an unprecedented crisis that has shaken the very foundations of the global capitalist system. Composed of the major imperialist powers (US, EU and Japan), second tier imperialists such as Canada, Australia and Russia, and various “middle power” countries that while still oppressed and exploited by imperialism have developed into regional powers with large economies (Brazil, India, China, Turkey, etc), the G20 was formed in an effort to stabilize the global economy in the interests of monopoly capitalism.

G20: Symptom of a System in Crisis

Monopoly capitalism has gone through multiple phases of expansion, each inevitably followed by stagnation and crisis. After the Great Depression, capitalism was able to save itself through massive military buildup and the expansion of industrial production during the Second World War. The military confrontation devastated much of Europe and Japan, creating areas for profitable investment through the rebuilding of Europe during the 1950s and 60s. However, by the 1970s, capitalism was again in crisis, this time because of “stagflation”. The reintegration of the former socialist countries into the imperialist world system and the neo-colonization of Third World bought a little more time, as new markets were created for the dumping of surplus production and the super-exploitation of Third World labour. However, once this process reached its point of saturation, monopoly capitalism again ran out of new areas for expansion in the real economy.

Their answer to this dilemma was financialization: the creation of new financial “products” and a massive growth in speculative investment, much of which was totally disconnected from any real production of goods or services. This was not a result of “irrational exuberance” or the “greed” of individual bankers, but was an absolute requirement to keep capitalism going. These “bubble economies” absorbed the excess financial capital and generated even more (mostly empty) profits. The ruling class considered capitalism saved and theorists announced “the end of history” with the victory of the so-called “free market” over socialism.

The problem is that bubbles burst. Eventually, reality reasserted itself and the fictitious profits vanished overnight. The dot-com bubble exploded, taking countless internet start-ups and major tech companies with it. The monopolies turned to currency speculation and exported the effects of the crisis onto the Third World by inflating the economies of South East Asia. Then came the Asian financial crisis, which crippled the former “Asian Tigers”.

The G20 was formed as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors to coordinate their response to the crisis and stabilize the system. Trillions of dollars in state funds were used to prop up the financial markets and to protect the interests of the ruling class. It was later expanded to include heads of state and to coordinate economic policy across national borders.

Despite the various pro-monopoly measures put in place, the crisis-prone nature of the system remained the same. Even when the economy “recovered” the people were left out, with unemployment increasing even as the stock market rebounded. Then came the housing market collapse, which exploded right in the heart of the imperialist countries, destroyed trillions of dollars in bad assets worldwide and pushing the planet into a crisis unprecedented since the 1930s.

We can expect certain trends to continue, but with a much greater intensity. These include: the intensified exploitation of the international proletariat, the continued plunder of natural resources, the raiding of public assets by monopoly capitalists, the transfer of surplus value from non-monopolized capitalists (small and medium sized businesses) to monopoly-finance capital, the growing fusion of monopoly-finance capital with the state, and wars of aggression to justify military spending and to capture markets in the form of outright colonies.

Toronto G20: Dress Rehearsal For Counterrevolution

As conditions for the working class and its allies deteriorate, the state expects heightened levels of resistance and is expanding its repressive apparatus in preparation. The state is spending $1 billion on security at the G20 alone, after having already spent $898 million on security for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Barriers and checkpoints have been erected around the Convention Centre, with the peoples’ right to freedom from unwarranted search, arrest, and property seizure suspended within the perimeter. Toronto police have acquired four sound cannons, one water cannon, rubber bullet and tear gas guns for use against demonstrators, both during the G20 and at future protests. The various security services have engaged in widespread surveillance and infiltration of activist groups and plan to have infiltrators within the ranks of the demonstrators. They have refused to guarantee that they will not use agent provocateurs as they did in Montebello, Quebec.

All this, when by Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s own estimation, the risk of terrorism is “low”. CSIS director Richard Fadden, said in a CBC interview, ‘We don’t think there is anyone who is really interested in doing any harm from that perspective.’”

Clearly, the intention of the state is not to provide “security” but to use the G20 as a laboratory and practice ground for the repression of popular uprising.

Imperialism and All Reactionaries are Paper Tigers

Despite the massive resources of the state and the size of its repressive apparatus, people should not be intimidated into passivity. As Mao Zedong said, “‘Lifting a rock only to drop it on one’s own feet’ is a Chinese folk saying to describe the behaviour of certain fools. The reactionaries in all countries are fools of this kind. In the final analysis, their persecution of the revolutionary people only serves to accelerate the people’s revolutions on a broader and more intense scale.”

Every move the imperialists have made to contain crisis has only sowed the seeds for greater crisis. Every attempt at occupation creates a new battleground for national liberation. Every act of repression directed against the people exposes the class character of the state. Every multi-billion dollar expenditure on bailing out monopoly finance capital further erodes the state’s ability to buy off the organizations of the people. Every offensive against the upper stratum of the working class further erodes the labour aristocracy and swells the ranks of lower and more revolutionary ranks of the proletariat. Every election exposes the bankruptcy of the bourgeois parties and the necessity for a genuine Communist Party in Canada.

The people and the people alone are the makers of history. We must come together, united around a program of struggle against the state and monopoly capitalism and for a new socialist society. Together, we will build a better world!

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