a) The collapse of the world economy following the financial crash which erupted in the USA on September 2008 (a crash which had been announced by several creaks in the previous decade) is not one of those cyclical recessions followed by a recovery. It is more of an alarm bell pointing at a historical systemic crisis of western capitalism, in the first instance at a crisis of those imperialist countries which constituted, after World War II, the gravitational centre of global capitalism and which, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has dominated the world despite some resistance here and there.
b) The historical systemic crisis of the imperialist gravitational centre does not automatically mean that the capitalist production system as such has entered its final phase or finds itself in mortal agony. What is declining is the economic, social and political capitalist model that affirmed itself all over the western world in the post-war time period, the historically determined capitalist form which gained hegemony and got the upper hand on world scale. What actually is coming to an end is the opulent society, a social model based on mass compulsive consumerism, using it as the motor of its “development”. The opulent society is characterised by the transformation of the working class into a “new middle class”, by the financial slaughtering and plundering of peripheral countries as well as by a gigantic accumulation of super profits which led to the so-called turbo-capitalism. The opulent society and turbo-capitalism are in agony because of their very own hypertrophic development.
c) We are not only facing the end of an expansive cycle with a prolonged recession phase (stagnation). We are in a phase of transition that has epoch-making dimension, the same dimension as the three phases which characterised the modern history of capitalism. The first phase, thanks to the industrial revolution and the defeat of French ambitions, was the basis for the supremacy of English colonialism. The second one, between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, marked the transition to imperialism and opened the cycle for Euro-American conflicting interests and predominance. The third one began just after World War II, with the annihilation of German hegemony in Europe and Japanese hegemony in Asia, and opened the way to the definitive predominance of US imperialism, a predominance which was temporarily counterbalanced by a bipolar condominium with the Soviet Union.
d) No epoch-making change of this dimension can happen painlessly. Each of these changes caused deep revolutionary and counterrevolutionary fractures within each country, serious geopolitical turbulences and wars between nations and coalitions of nations. The first transition, from the first post-war cycle to turbo-capitalism did not happen swiftly but had been marked by a decade (the 70s) characterised by deep social and political tensions and severe international conflicts. Even the historical transition we are facing now will precipitate mankind into deep and chaotic social and international turbulences which will radically transform the world, changing the ranking and hierarchy of the world hegemonic powers and obliging western societies, who will have to adopt social, political and lifestyle models very different from the ones which have been predominant till now if they do not want to fall into a painful decline.
e) The first gigantic consequence of the crisis we are confronted with is that it will cause a contraction of the old western imperialist fortresses, whereas the east will emerge as the new prime motor of world economy. The result (not immediate but mediated) of the shift of the barycentre of world capitalist economy from the west to the east, will have China as its main protagonist and this will be a geopolitical earthquake of huge strategic dimensions. In general, we can affirm that we are slowly entering a historical post-western phase. Mankind will have to decide if we want to stay in the prison of a capitalism becoming more and more barbaric and oppressive or whether to take the direction of a renewed socialism.
f) The appearance of Obama in the White House will not bring a strategic change in North American imperialism; it represents a change in its modus vivendi, but not in its modus essendi. If the United States of America wants to avoid the implosion of its own empire, it cannot accept passively to be put aside. It will fight with every means, adopt every preventive and effective measure, including war, to avoid both a shift of the world’s economic barycentre to the other coast of the Pacific and the growth of China into an effective super power. In this perspective, the alliance with the European Union and the consolidation of the NATO, are essential factors for the USA. The European Union is not only the most important economic partner of the USA, it is also the most important strategic ally participating in its world predominance, the armed guardian that has to avoid the renaissance of the Russian power.
g) American super-imperialism will fiercely resist and fight its own decline. On its imperial supremacy depends in fact its internal stability, its social cohesion and the paralysing ideological efficacy of the American Dream. The loss of this supremacy will make the USA face internal convulsions never seen before. If our analysis is correct, we will witness an increase of conflicts assuming different scales of intensity and forms in the near future. The United States will use every means (a repertoire including Colour Revolutions and sabotages, sanctions under UN label and the preventive use of force) to suppress every sign of popular resistance and every nation considered hostile. Obama does not want to get rid of the ideological paradigm of the imperial salvation mission the USA is supposed to have, he does not want to reduce the military budget and the huge US military apparatus and he will not attack the propelling centre global expansion emanates from: the military-industrial block.
h) However, we should not make the mistake to overplay a distant future scenario as the confrontation with China or with a block led by China is to be seen as a long-range tendency. Strong counter-tendencies will also be at work and have to be considered. The two giants support each other. Even if war, as the last ratio, is a possibility, it is not coming soon. We could also have a long period characterised by Sino-American condominium, a global bi-polar asset under the cover of a multi-polar world, an asset leaving some scraps for all other regional protagonists, in particular for Russia, India, Brazil and some Arab countries. Such coexistence will not be equivalent to a long global peace period, neither will it exclude an indirect confrontation of the two giants in this or that part of the world.
i) Certainly the current crisis will not push the USA to accept a multi-polar world order. The United States cannot accept the idea of a world divided into zones of influence among several regional powers, a polycentric condominium which will mark the end of its indisputable supremacy. Anyway, the evocation of this multi-polar order by some regional sub-imperialist powers is not an airy fairy tale but expresses their acquired economic and political weight. This discrepancy should not be underestimated because it could be a crucial factor of global instability. The short Georgian conflict, or the never hailed Russian-American conflict (and how it polarised the international diplomacies) is a teaching example. It is a fact that the USA is not only defending its armed or logistic presence in some hundreds of countries, but also increasing it (as in Colombia or in Uzbekistan). When conflicts such as the one in Georgia burst out in other parts of the world, the anti-imperialist resistance movements should not change their position but maintain the goal of defeating the USA and their puppets as the best option.
l) The historical systemic crisis of western capitalism (imperialism) will not reach its end in a short time. We are only at the beginning. It is the first act opening a new historical period: the beginning of the end of western absolute supremacy. We are entering a phase that will be characterised by a tenacious and fierce reaction of the west to its own decline. For this reason the period we are just now entering, will be marked by gradual but growing turbulences. These turbulences will fully hit the European Union, shaking its fragile structure and with it also the strategic Euro-Atlantic Alliance. Actually, there are no forces inside the political system willing to separate European destiny from the one of the United States. All systemic political forces, whether right, centre or left wing, consider themselves in the same boat as the USA. But when the crisis will have caused enough damages to the boat, political forces outside the establishment will emerge. They will have to face the dilemma of separating themselves from the USA, ending the current submissive relationship and looking forward to the other shore of the Atlantic.
m) The end - also in Europe - of the opulent society based on insane and compulsive consumerism, the incapacity of the dominant oligarchies to rethink the concept of the European Union - conceived from the very beginning of its constitution as soul mate of the United States - the evident crisis of its political institutions and representatives, call upon the weak European revolutionary forces to tackle new and big strategic tasks. We will still have to bear our current powerlessness for a certain period, which could lead to dramatic isolation in some countries. Nonetheless, new waves of mass mobilisations and the rising of social conflicts are ineluctable. In a first phase these mobilisations could also assume open reactionary forms. Due to the historical fact that the left has been co-opted into the administration of imperialist capitalism, lending the latter a cover under the label of “political correctness”, rebellions could also be directed against left parties and organisations which have been part of the political system. The anti-imperialists will have to intersect and organise these tendencies in the form of anti-systemic protests, leading them into an anti-capitalist direction. To be able to do so, we will have to be on the front line of the progressive side of the protests, rejecting their reactionary elements. It will be necessary to explore new forms of political expression in order to obtain a broad consensus thanks to exemplary actions.
The anti-imperialists could finally see themselves obliged - if they are not able to take part in the foundation of new mass political movements and in order to defend the political legacy accumulated at the cost of big sacrifices - not only to cooperate with politically and socially compatible forces, but also to temporarily unite with those political formations finding themselves in the role of aggregators of antagonistic instances and so being a dam against the reactionary tide. In both cases anti-imperialism has to be linked to the perspective of a way out of capitalism, otherwise we will be unable to give voice to and to organise those subversive forces which will slowly be generated by the mechanisms of social exclusion.
n) The persistent US American determination to defend its supremacy, will not change the centrality of the resistance movements and our specific political role, but it will push these resistance movements to reposition and reorganise themselves, recalibrating their actions, in order to be able to act in the new magmatic geopolitical context, using all spaces that new strategic rivalries (not only the Sino-American one, but also that between the USA and other sub-imperial powers) will open up, wedging themselves into the crevices of the US Empire’s vulnerability. We are leaving a phase of defensive battles fought inside nationalist limits, based on corporation or identity, of resistances communicating and assisting each other mostly through symbolic and questionable methods. The new forms of resistance will be forced to look farther.
o) The perspective of an international anti-imperialist front will become a pressing necessity not only for the popular movements or the legitimate armed resistance, but also for those nations that are trying to escape the suffocating grip of US led imperialism. Among these nations are not only Venezuela or Bolivia, but also Iran or Sudan. The big project of dissociating whole countries and areas of our planet from the imperialistic predatory spiral is beginning to acquire decisive historical actuality. The creation of an Anti-imperialist Front and the uncoupling of resisting nations from the imperialist system should be the two pillars of the resistance of the oppressed peoples – if this does not happen, they will die between the American anvil and the Chinese hammer. The conflictive Sino-American coexistence and the hostilities in various areas between the USA and other sub-imperial powers, will not close but open new manoeuvring spaces, spaces of autonomy and independence.
p) Projecting this scenery onto a historic scale, we will have to work between the two world capitalist giants, between the declining and the rising one, in order to give birth to a third pole of countries and forces, including the European ones, aiming at a social system with a predominance of collectivist features, even if they are being adapted to the specific national conditions.
The resistances will therefore be called to overcome their current limitations, to challenge old and new masters, to keep a perspective of liberation that will bring forth the victory of the oppressed over the oppressors, to march forward on the road of emancipation in the historical perspective of a new socialism which will finally be able to combine those principles that have been kept separated: equality and freedom, democracy and authority, individual and community, civilisation and nature, revolution and tradition.