[A-List] Things Fall Apart:China and the Decline of US Imperialism
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Sat Jun 23 12:20:04 MDT 2007
> CB: Ahhh , but Mark Twain is not. So if your analogy holds...
The national liberation movements largely succeeded in overcoming
paleo-colonialism. But , "things" move in a zig-zag, not a straight line. We
have , of course, a revival of imperialism, especially with the fall the the
SU, etc. This article speculates about a new crisis.<
It is the articles speculation that is old hat and the political logic of an
intermediary class and strata. Its vision is being disputed. Why not try and
think like and ascertain the vision and lens of the dispossessed? Why not
try and think in concepts of insurgent communists with nothing to lose but our
chains? The chains are not our individual status.
I am not sure what the above means but I am not aware of a revival of US
imperialism, at least doing any period of the 20th century. I am not sure what
paleo colonialism means either. Paleo means "old" but imperialism has been
around for thousands of years. Modern financial imperialism of which Lenin
spoke, emerged in America as the result of the Civil War and was quickly named
Wall Street imperialism, over 50 years before Lenin's celebrated works. We tend
to repeat the same mistakes, same projections and same thinking that has been
proven to be wrong.
National liberation, in the post WW II era, defeated the closed colonial
system or what is generally called the direct colony. This was the case with
Vietnam, Cuba, scores of countries in Africa and everywhere else. This "old
imperialism" was financial-industrial imperialism, but this financial impe
rialism, connected to "European colonialism," hinged on the direct colonial
Defeating imperialism - since Lenin, means the overthrow of capital foreign
and domestic, except to the bourgeoisie and various non communists
ideologists within the former colonies. It has been in the direct interest of American
financial imperialism to defeat the existing closed colonial system world
wide and bring these newly liberated areas into the economic and financial chain
of modern its historically evolved form of financial imperialism, since our
Civil War and the emergence of Wall Street financial imperialism.
Thus, as American communists, old imperialism has a meaning. All of us have
experienced the "Third World" revolution trap. This did not prevent any one
from fighting against the imperial intrusions of their own government.
>> We have , of course, a revival of imperialism, especially with the fall
US imperialism was never in decline, even with the emergence of Soviet
Power, and consequently, a revival could not and did not happen. US imperialism
was not in retreat. Revival and retreat of imperialism are concepts seeking to
describe imperialism logic.
I believe the system was and is in permanent crisis, because it is birthed
as crisis, but would never speak of decline on the basis of financial
architecture or rather specifically dollar hegemony. The defeat of the direct colony
as a form of financial imperialism meant a further expansion of American
financial imperialism, and all modern financial imperialism world wide, not a
decline and this process has continued unabated for the past 60 years.
We have been here before and should not make the same mistaken projects and
A concept that speaks of a revival of US imperialism or world imperialism is
interesting. The collapse of the Soviets did not revive US imperialism, or
world imperialism as a economic and financial relations. Bourgeois imperialism
was never dying. Imperialism and most certainly US imperialism was not in
decline and somehow revived, because the communists "blew it." Or rather, the
Soviet communists were defeated internationally on the basis of an
international body politic and ideology of the "decline of US imperialism" and "the
irresistible trend of socialism," . . . "imperialist wars are not
fatalistically inevitable," "peaceful co-existence," and "the tide of revolution is on
our side," on so on, which are lessons that should never be forgotten.
Speculation about the decline of US imperialism, as the result of China's holding of
US dollars, seems to forget history we have lived and has no economic logic.
Holding a fiat currency - US dollars, means you are going to be the sucker
at the end of every single day. It is a sign of the holders weakness and the
strength of US imperialism and not its crisis or decline. The crisis aspect
of all of this is not China holding US dollars. China holding a mass of US
dollars is the result of something else within imperialism. That something else
is simply called speculation as the dominate feature of this stage of
financial industrial imperialism as the industrial mode of production begins its
leap to a new infrastructure relations.
Crisis of capital is something communists have spoke of for a long time.
There is a say that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Communist tend to
say the same old broken things over and over without seeking fresh eyes.
Crisis of capital.
Let's shift gears.
Now the existence of the Soviet Union was understood to "usher in the
general crisis of capitalism" but that is a different concept not spoke of or
alluded to in the initial article. Therefore, there is no need to explain it here.
Russia's military capacity will ensure that she remains a superpower in the
real world of international politics, because "superpower" means what it
meant before the collapse of Soviet power: primarily military capacity. We
listen a tad bit to much to the bourgeois propagandists and make bad assessments
because of America's unique possession in the world today.
1) Soviet Power ushered in the political crisis of the bourgeois system by
offering an alternative.
2). As the result of the outcome of WW II Soviet Power emerged as a
superpower because of its military power and military reach, not because of a
specific economic parity with the US.
Slowly the logic comes into view. Rather than asking countless questions,
why not at least try to assemble outlines of history and the relevant economic
We have been here before in the late 1960's and during the Nixon
administration. There has been crisis of the US dollar before, although stating this is
not to say that a dollar crisis exist or is impending because China possess a
mass of US dollars and my seek an Asian currency unit. China possession of
US dollars does not indicate a crisis of US imperialism or world imperialism.
China's political maneuvering indicates a possible crisis, because she exists
in political antagonism with the US on several levels, of which the
existence of much of her socialist laws cannot be discounted.
To the point.
The Nixon administration's response to Japan's insistence upon converting
its hoard of US dollars into gold was to effectively undo the Breton Woods
agreement, which pegged the dollar to gold. US dollars could no longer be
converted into gold as a retrievable material asset, which one could demand
possession of, although one could still purchase symbolic forms of gold ownership,
with the real gold securely under lock and key of the American government and
more importantly, on American soil.&
This was not a crisis or decline of US imperialism but a momentary crisis in
monetary policy calling for policy shift . . . that would end up resulting
. . . morphing, into changes to the financial architecture. Out of this
crisis arose the petrol-dollar. That is, Nixon cut a deal with the oil producing
nations, probably the Saudis first, making US dollars the medium for oil
purchase and this immediately threw Japan into crisis rather than decline. The
crisis was a rise in the price of its commodity exports, and caused its massive
holding in dollars to flow to the Middle East and back into America, as the
oil producing nations acquired infrastructure development from the US and
armaments from whoever would sale to them. Yes, a certain amount of crisis broke
out domestically, but we are talking about US dollars and international
Japan responded in the 1980's by way of a wave of purchasing of physical
assets in America. The holdings of various Japanese companies in the US, meant
exactly what, other than the rise of much Japan bashing and chauvinism? Owning
American buildings, factories and paintings does not indicate a decline or
even a crisis.
China faces a similar circumstance, at a higher level, and it does not seem
to matter much if all of her dollars were converted into Euros or a new Asian
monetary unit. The "higher level" today is spelled out Not simply as "dollar
hegemony" but the rise of speculation as the dominator of the total world
capital movement. In a real sense America has enjoyed a certain dollar hegemony
for at least 60 years. Today something a little different is meant by modern
"dollar hegemony" coined by Henry C. K. to describe the financial
relationship of the American dollar in today's - post 1990's, world market.
Today, we are dealing with a super symbolic relationship, more than less
detached from value production and physical assets. In the post WWII period,
dollar hegemony implied and primarily meant the ability to consume material
products and a physical depository of value. Today, trillions of dollars or their
symbols race through the financial architecture, daily, seeking
profitability in investment vehicles. "Their symbol" means US dollars represent nothing
tangible other than an obligation enforceable by the American government.
The financial architecture means all the investment houses, equity funds,
system of government bonds, mortgage companies, banks, stock markets world
wide, puts, stops, options and every conceivable kind of bet one can make. Modern
technology provides the infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of people are
deployed in this gambling industry, betting on everything from the future
price of oil to the future price of holding a briefcase of debt obligations.
This financial architecture did not exist, as it now does at the close of WWII.
In this respect Michael Hudson has written, that 100 times the yearly
American GDP, is daily circulated through this financial architecture. This process
is called Super imperialism by the title of his book.
More clearly: US dollars are a fiat currency representing an obligation,
rather than gold or species. This has been such since the Nixon administration,
when one could purchase a symbol - certificate, of gold ownership rights.
Today, money - as US dollars in the international arena and in China's hand, is
a symbolic thing expressing a symbolic relations or a symbol of a symbol. Or
for all practical purposes US dollars are valueless, outside . . . get this,
its ability to call forth the creation of more productive processes in China
to reproduce the symbolic relations, because China cannot do nothing else
with the US dollars.
US dollars in the hand of China cannot call forth real things to develop
Africa, because China is subject to politics in the US. China can invest her own
intellectual and material efforts in Africa. China's possession of US
dollars cannot call forth crisis or the decline of US imperialism. China's
political posture can and will call forth crisis within imperialism and this crisis
is not because she has the US dollars, although it might look like this
because she happens to have a mass of US dollars.
I believe an important aspect of the modern crisis of capital is visible
here. That is, there is simply no way for the mass of US dollars to be converted
into an expanded value on the basis of commodity production. China's holding
of a mass of US dollars are incidental to this process. Consequently,
gambling and the growth of the debt industry as a massive industry, becomes primary
means for a mass of capital seeking profitability. Actually, the American
government could wipe out much of the market worth of China's holding of
dollars by political fiat and back this resolve with military might.
And there is not very much China could do. That is why China must go fishing
. . . because of the real strength not decline of US imperialism. Or at any
rate, the crisis and speculative decline of imperialism, is on remotely
connected to China's possession of US dollars . . . although the revisionist in
China must claim to the contrary. Here is the connection between the article in
question and its political vision and economic logic. It just nothing more
than worn out revisionism under the banner of economic insight.
The crisis as gambling - speculation, is mirrored in the quest to reach
agreement on risk assessment or how to value the worth of debt. What is the worth
of say 100 billion dollars in mortgage debt, spanning a time frame of say 24
months, giving X number of factors? What is Chryslers worth in the market
given its debt load?
China could in theory purchase all kinds of physical things, assets, and
debt obligations in America but what difference would it make with all these
assets remaining in America, subject to US laws and more importantly subject to
US monetary policy with all hard goods produced convertible on the basis of
dollars. That is, if a Chinese company purchased Chrysler, and sold in the US
market, one is going to only end up with more US dollars, which are going to
end up where?
Even if China creates a new Asian monetary unit, as long as it trades with
the US there must be a system of convertibility. Even if China stopped trading
with the US and traded with a block of Asian and African countries, which I
think is unrealistic outside of a major war that reorders political and
economic relations world wide, the Asian countries are tied into the world market
and this means UN imperialism.
Pardon, but under conditions of the outbreak of world war we communists are
fighting for the power - state power, to bring such a war to an end and to
reorganize society and to gut the military industrial complex and dollar
I believe that it is China that is left holding the short end of the
trillion dollar stick, rather than the US. Rather than a decline of US imperialism
it seems to me that crisis internal to China is heading up. As the crisis
internal to China heats up, our American revisionist put forth a line of
reasoning seeking unity with their counterparts in China. That is the substance of
the article under question. A signal to the revisionists in China.
Crisis is not decline.
The bourgeois shape of production has faced many crises, both financial and
in hard goods or converting hard goods - commodities, into money. Governments
face political crisis. Only in the most theoretical and abstract sense can
one equate real crisis with decline of a system in real time. We should
remember that the Russian, pardon, Soviet Communists, took power when the system of
capitalism was not in decline world wide or in Russia.
Many a revolutionary have been proven utterly wrong in predicating the
decline of bourgeois imperialism. In fact every generation has been proven wrong
since Marx and Engels and I believe more is involved than simply our ability
to win the workers to our ideas. Marx and Engel's were wrong in predicating
the outbreak and decline of bourgeois production and stated this and then
criticized themselves and explained the source of there optimism.
Why cannot we do the same?
I guess one must ask and answer the question, "what is the meaning of
crisis" and "what is the meaning of decline?" Marx of course invested a huge amount
of time in seeking to unravel business cycles as crisis and economic crisis
of social systems, with social systems dealing with political structures
(property relations and laws) and the technological structures of production.
Auto production world wide is in crisis and has been in crisis for a while.
This crisis is generally understood as a crisis of overproduction, but
overproduction in real time means overcapacity, which is resolved on the basis of
the destruction of capacity or individual companies going out of business.
Auto cyclical crisis did not indicate that the system of production as US
imperialism was in decline. Only in the most abstract sense can this kind of crisis
be called the decline of the system or in this case the decline of
imperialism, because it is resolvable on the basis of the system.
Crisis is not decline by a long shot.
The issue is the article forwarded to the list and its specific projections
and its underlying theory premise. I do not seek tit for tat. I simply state
that to speak of the decline of US imperialism in connection with China
holding US dollars is a speculation no different than that of the old Soviet
revisionists and their American counterparts.
Marx states that crisis is the forcible holding together of distinct
processes that have become separated as production logic. Marx and Engels speak of
the crisis of overproduction as for telling why the bourgeois shape of
production must decline . . . actually this is not how the issue was posed. Rather,
the issue is posed as social systems and system of production giving birth to
new systems or how a new system sublates an old one.
China mass of US dollars does not indicate that US imperialism is in decline
. . . or at any rate no one has offered evidence of such. I believe that
China holding of US dollars indicate the continuing strength of US imperialism
in its economic, political and military aspects.
Crisis means that the basic aspects of a given process have come apart or
become polarized and the forcible recombining of these aspects produce another
cycle of the process.
Decline means no amount of force can combine the basic aspects of a process
that has come apart and hence, decay and sublation takes place.
Decline means that a given process - US imperialism, has reached a point
where the basic aspects of it as a living process - (the things that make US
imperialism what it is) have not only come apart, but taken on new features,
that causes what was one a unity of process, to face each other in external
collisions and this prevents any forcible recombining of the process and a new
development takes place. Decline implies and means sublating. Crisis means
polarization. Declines implies and means "beyond" polarization and the emergence
of "something" that has to be the living material of sublating.
There only way US imperialism can decline is by its defeat.
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