Both ‘Nuevo Curso’ (Spain) and the ‘International Group of the Communist Left’ (France, Canada) have reacted swiftly to the news on Tuesday May 8 of the (expected) withdrawal from the 2015 ‘nuclear agreement’ with Iran by the USA, putting out first statements on its significance and implications.
A step in the march towards generalized imperialist war (IGCL, communiqué of May 10, 2018)
Trump’s decision to denounce the Iranian nuclear agreement is an important step in the evolution of “international relations”, that is imperialist rivalries. The consequences are not only the risks of an immediate extension of the wars in the Middle East, immediately confirmed by the direct confrontation between Iranian and Israeli forces on the night of 9-10 May. But above all the accelerated aggravation of tensions between the great imperialist powers and the growing affirmation of a central imperialist polarization between the United States and continental Europe. It is a real ultimatum that the American bourgeoisie gives to all its rivals… and especially to Europeans. This is what the American ambassador to Germany immediately made clear: “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately”! (quoted by the German online news magazine of ‘Der Spiegel’ on May 9th. (1)
Beyond the economic aspect, secondary in fact because Germany and Europe could very well tolerate in itself a stop of their investments in Iran, the ultimatum is of a political and imperialist order. “The United States has chosen the path of confrontation with Europe” (idem). For German capital and its main allies in the European Union, the dilemma is clear: either submit to the American ultimatum and expect to be stifled very quickly under the successive dictates that will follow and lose all imperialist credit with the other major powers; or it is “time for Europe to stand up to the United States” (idem) by regrouping around it the anti-American imperialist front, starting with China and Russia. This will not be without difficulties and internal contradictions in each European country, as ‘Der Spiegel’ expresses, obviously with regret, for the German bourgeoisie, some fractions of which still hesitate in face of the inevitable: “Europe is confronted with the potential loss of what has been the most important, reliable and beneficial constant of [its] foreign policy for decades: the partnership with the United States and the transatlantic relationship” (idem). This will not go without difficulties and contradictions within the European Union, in particular with the anti-Russian and pro-American countries of the former Eastern Bloc.
But the main European countries no longer really have a choice. Trump keeps poking at and provoking the European Union and Germany. It expresses so clearly both the degree reached by the contradictions of capitalism, the exacerbation of the competition between capitals in the unbridled search for shrinking profits, which drags us into the generalized war; and, consequently and as a complement, the desperate rage that has seized the American bourgeoisie in face of its constant historical retreat on the international scene since the disappearance of the USSR. Capitalism drags humanity into the generalized imperialist war. The international proletariat, as a class both exploited and revolutionary, has no choice either. It is either to submit oneself to capital and that will lead to even more misery and exploitation to prepare for generalized war, then because of war itself; or it is to resist the attacks of capitalism by confronting its states and to open up the road toward their overthrow, toward the destruction of capitalism itself and the establishment of a communist society without misery or war.
For the international proletariat to be able to open up this perspective and this hope, it must also resolutely engage in political confrontation against all the forces of each capitalist state, right-wing and left-wing political parties alike, trade unions and other forces of political and ideological control, and against bourgeois repression. (2) If each national bourgeoisie has no other choice but to engage in the march to generalized war and in confrontation with its own working class, the international proletariat – and in particular its most conscious and combative minorities, by coming together to lead this political class struggle – has no other choice but to engage in the resolute defense of its class interests by assuming the confrontation with capitalism and its state.
The IGCL, May 10th, 2018.
PS. We draw your attention to Nuevo Curso‘s statement of position (in Spanish), of which we share the main points: https://nuevocurso.org/tratado-nuclear-y-rescate-argentino-dos-caras-de-la-guerra-comercial/. [This statement can be read below, The Editor]
Some linguistic adjustments, H.C., May 15, 2018
2 This is precisely what the proletariat in France is failing to do, even though the conditions for a widespread and generalized struggle were met around the railway workers’ strike in March. By not disputing the timing, the planning, the strike days in the hands of the unions, by respecting the terrain of government-union discussions and negotiations, in short by not confronting the union sabotage politically in the assemblies and in the workplaces, the struggle of the railway workers and other mobilizations (such as at Air France or the Ford factory in Bordeaux) will suffer failures – without unforeseen circumstances breaking the course of events – because of their isolation and in spite of their combativity. It is a lesson for the proletariat of all countries.
The nuclear treaty and the Argentine rescue are two sides of the commercial war (‘Nuevo Curso’, May 9, 2018)
The US denounces the nuclear treaty with Iran, (1) warning in passing that it reserves the right to apply sanctions equal to those companies or countries that collaborate with Iran in the development of its nuclear arsenal. The message is clear. Mogherini, “Mrs PESC” of the EU, understands this and immediately responds that “the EU is determined to act in accordance with its security interests and protect its economic investments”.
Given the imminence of a new fall in the Peso, Argentina opens negotiations for its rescue by the IMF. The cycle present in everyone’s memory is repeated. (2)
What unites the Argentine rescue to the denunciation of the nuclear treaty with Iran?
The USA’s exit from the nuclear treaty with Iran will neither modify the imperialist offensive of the Iranian bourgeoisie (Yemen, Syria, Iraq) nor its nuclear ambitions. But it will give the USA a free hand to advance the trade war at their discretion without having to go through the cumbersome trials of the World Trade Organization. It is at the discretion of President Trump to “discover” that certain companies in the signatory countries of the agreement (especially Russia, China, France and Germany) export materials or technologies that could be used in the Iranian nuclear race. You do not have to look far: Siemens, Areva, Airbus… and hundreds of small suppliers of turbines, machine tools, valves… are in check. The denunciation of the treaty is not only an explicit support by the USA for Saudi Arabia and its allies (Israel, Egypt, Emirates), above all it is another turning of screws in the trade war that poses a direct threat to China, Russia and the EU.
The first reaction in the speculative markets is an increase in oil prices. The oil market operates on the Dollar, which has an immediate effect on the expectation of future purchases of the American currency. If the value of transactions in the hydrocarbon market will go up because prices will rise, the demand for dollars to carry out those transactions will also rise. The Euro suffers… and the Rouble suffers still more. But for the Peso, the currency of an already wobbling Argentina after the first bet of the commercial war, the effect is lethal. (3)
The workers in the immediate future
The commercial war is the vehicle and the cause of more and more economic turbulence and ever more marked tendencies toward generalized war. (4) The situation can only deteriorate. Argentina is a good example. It is certainly a relatively weak country, based on a model of adaptation to imperialism – the characteristic of the “exporting countries” – that allows the bourgeoisies that direct them very little freedom of action, as we have seen in Cuba, Venezuela and as we see every day more clearly in Chile. But the dependence on exports – of merchandise and capital – is well present in all capitalism today. If not, Trump would not base his entire international strategy on the trade balance. Germany would not fear a reduction of markets so much. And Spain would not present the fate of South America as its main geopolitical risk to the EU.
What everyone now fears, and with reason, is the succession of chain reactions rather than direct effects, an economic and strategic domino in which the prices of raw materials, monetary instabilities and the results of instability for financial capital produce the open decomposition of entire states and ever more serious inter-imperialist collisions.
From the perspective of the workers, we see more and more clearly how the struggles located and locked in the company are as necessary as insufficient. (5) That is why at this time the response of workers against the labor law or the tariff – attacks unleashed against the whole of the class – will have repercussions beyond Argentina. The mobilizations of workers in Kurdistan and in Iran at the turn of the year have shown that both the attacks on living and working conditions and the tendencies to war become paralyzed by massive class mobilizations. The experience of Tunisia and Iran also taught us to what extent the alternative to self-organization is the impotence and the death of the struggles. That is why the development of own organizational forms and the affirmation of general demands of all workers is key in the struggles to come.
Nuevo Curso, May 9, 2018
|Translation: H.C., May 15, 2018. Emphasis by the editor.|
1 Read f.i. NYT, “Trump Abandons Iran Nuclear Deal He Long Scorned”: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/world/middleeast/trump-iran-nuclear-deal.html
2 Read f.i. El País, “Los argentinos temen al FMI” (“The Argentinians fear the IMF”): https://elpais.com/internacional/2018/05/08/argentina/1525812410_093182.html
3 ‘Nuevo Curso’, 05.05.2018: What’s going on in Argentina? (Translation by ICT, 17.05.2018) https://nuevocurso.org/que-esta-pasando-en-argentina/
4 ‘Nuevo Curso’, 20.04.2018: Seven reasons why a world war is more likely than you might think (Spanish)
5 ‘Nuevo Curso’, 07.05.2018: What to learn from the struggle at Air France? (Spanish)
Related articles by ‘Nuevo Curso’ on this blog:
On the trade war, the imperialist tensions and the EU (March 31, 2018)
Commercial war: prologue of a generalized war
On the proletarian movement in Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran (February 1st, 2018)
(1) Mobilizations of workers in the Middle East
(2) Why is the movement in Iran in reflux?