Comrade Joti on RT’s CrossTalk: ‘Crystal Ball 2022’

What can the vaccine rollout and the Afghan defeat tell us about the nature of monopoly capitalism?

Comrade Joti Brar (@joti2gaza) joins the panel on RT’s flagship discussion show CrossTalk, hosted by Peter Lavelle.

Looking back on 2021, she discusses how the vaccine rollout has exposed the inhumanity and irrationality of the imperialist system and highlighted the diametrically opposed priorities of profit-oriented and people-oriented governments, both domestically and in their international dealings.

After all, if every country was treating this as purely a health matter, there would be no competition for vaccine markets. Instead, we would have seen a drive to manufacture and distribute Russia’s Sputnik V – the first vaccine to be produced, which uses proven technology and has an extremely impressive safety profile – to every vulnerable citizen in the world, ending the pandemic as swiftly as possible.

This has clearly not been the policy of imperialist governments, who have at all times prioritised the interests of the monopolies over those of the people.

How else are we to understand the fact that China has had fewer than 5,000 Covid deaths (from a population of 1.4 billion) while Britain has had 150,000 (from a population of 66 million)?

Joti points out that imperialism is not merely a foreign policy of certain powerful nations but a world economic system, the system of monopoly capitalism. Understanding that the state machinery in the imperialist countries serves the monopolies allows us to make sense of the decisions that our governments take, which otherwise simply can’t be rationalised.

In response to the allegation that governments in the west are delivering ‘socialism for the rich’, Joti explains that this phenomenon is nothing new. Karl Marx pointed out in Capital that under the present system, debt is nationalised while profit is privatised.

She also reminds viewers that while capitalist relations remain in place, the best workers can hope for is to stand still – provided they are ready to fight hard to defend their pay and conditions. If they let down their guard, their position will deteriorate. And even if they don’t, their relative position (compared to the owners of capital) will continue to decline owing to the continued concentration of ever more wealth in the hands of the exploiters.

The other key event of 2021 that the panellists discuss is the ignominious rout of occupying Nato forces from Afghanistan in August.

Agreeing that this was a major defeat for US imperialism, Joti underlines its world-historic significance. Twenty years of money, materiel and resources thrown into the war by the imperialists failed to subdue the Afghan people – further proof, if it were needed, of Paul Robeson’s profound observation that “the people’s will for freedom is stronger than atom bombs”.

Responding to the suggestion that the US and China are in some way colluding on the world stage, Joti points out that the reverse is the case: it is China’s independence and refusal to comply with the US diktat that has earned her the enmity of the imperialists.

China is offering to Afghanistan and others an alternative to the debt trap enslavement that is imposed by finance capital, holding out a helping hand to assist poor countries in their development with infrastructure, trade, and technology transfer. Instead of keeping other countries down as the imperialists do, China is helping them to lift themselves up.

The recent ‘democracy summit’ hosted by the USA has to be understood in this context. The USA and its partners are trying to prepare their people to accept the war against China that they feel they will have to wage in order to retain their dominating position in the world economy.

Asked about whether force is the ultimate decider, Joti agrees: “Yes, force is the ultimate decider, so we should be very glad that the anti-imperialist camp is strong enough to defend itself and fight back. We only need to look at the difference between what happened to north Korea and what happened to Libya to understand what happens when people who want to be independent disarm themselves.”

This programme was aired on 31 December and featured co-panellist John Laughland.