British delegate in Seoul: Global capitalist system teetering over the abyss

The drive towards World War 3 is being impelled by the mother of all economic crises: a revolutionary crisis will be the result.

The following speech was delivered by Comrade Joti Brar on behalf of our party at the fourth international conference of the World Anti-imperialist Platform in Seoul on 15 May 2023.


Comrades, I began my party’s contribution to our conference in Caracas two months ago by saying that our event was taking place at a time of crucial importance for the world struggle against imperialism.

I said then that our struggle is becoming more significant every day, that people everywhere are being faced with the hard truth that they simply cannot obtain a secure supply of basic necessaries under their present economic conditions – never mind being able to achieve for themselves the peaceful enjoyment of a useful and fulfilling life.

What was true two months ago is even truer today. The contradictions of the global capitalist-imperialist economic system are becoming deeper every day. The economic crisis is becoming ever more acute and problematical for the imperialist financiers, and as a result their drive to war is becoming ever more desperate and urgent.

Since we last met, we have seen – those of us who pay attention to such things – the collapse of several important financial institutions in the heartlands of imperialism. Our rulers are desperate to hide from view this slow-motion (for now) collapse of their financial system, which is rotten to its core. They do not want us to understand that the banks are collapsing as a result of bad debt, which is itself a symptom of the deep and inescapable crisis of capitalist overproduction.

Information about these bank collapses has not been printed on the front pages of the popular press in the west. Each bank has been quietly bailed out by imperialist governments, while their chief economic spokesmen continue to reassure themselves and each other that everything is fine: nothing to see here.

Our rulers hope to avoid contagion and panic by guaranteeing every deposit in every bank, no matter how large the deposit or how insolvent the bank. They have guaranteed unlimited support to every bank everywhere.

How can they do this?

Only by printing the money required to bail out the banks.

In this way, the imperialists hope to avoid the social unrest that would arise from allowing the banks to collapse in an uncontrolled way.

And what will be the effect of this action?

That the social unrest that they are trying to avoid will simply be postponed for a little while, until the money-printing they are now indulging in has compounded the runaway inflation they have already produced by printing huge amounts of money over the last 15 years – in particular following crises in 2008, 2020 and 2022 – to bail out failing banks, rescue stock markets and subsidise monopolies.

The imperialists indulge this reckless response because it is in their nature to ‘kick the can down the road’. Because they are hoping that if they can postpone this social explosion, something will occur to rescue them in the meantime.

But what is this something?

The miracle they are awaiting is the longed-for destruction of the territorial integrity and economic and political independence of the great territories of Russia and China.

They want to repeat the orgy of looting that saved their failing system in the 1990s after the fall of the USSR and the European socialist countries.

But the imperialism of today is not the imperialism of 1991. Its economic foundation is infinitely weaker, its technological dominance is likewise coming to an end, and its social cohesion is being destroyed along with the destruction of the welfare provisions that were granted to its workers at home after 1945.

As a result, the imperialists’ ability to dominate the world has been fatally undermined. Today, the US-led Nato imperialist bloc faces a rapidly growing and increasingly united anti-imperialist counterweight, whose united forces the USA and its allies, even with all their financial and military resources, simply do not have the power to defeat.

And the powers at the heart of that alliance – China, Russia and the DPRK – have made it absolutely clear that they will fight to defend themselves and are prepared for any war the imperialists might launch against them.

In Europe, this war has already begun. Comrades of the Platform are united in describing Russia’s special military operation as a just and defensive war for the Russian people and a war of liberation for the antifascist population of the Donbass and other resistance regions of what was once the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine.

We are united in opposing the imperialist propaganda – and those who repeat this propaganda within the working-class movement – about ‘Russian aggression’ and ‘Russian imperialism’. Such an analysis, instead of enlightening people, relies on the people’s ignorance about the background and context to the war and reinforces bourgeois lies. It is profoundly ahistorical and anti-materialist.

We are likewise united in opposing the same imperialist propaganda – and all those who repeat it in our movement – about ‘Chinese aggression’ and ‘Chinese imperialism’; or even about ‘North Korean aggression’ and ‘North Korean expansionism’.

We understand, and pledge ourselves to do everything possible to bring this understanding to the people of our countries and to masses of the world, that China and the DPRK are targeted by the US-led imperialist bloc not as ‘imperialist rivals’ or even because they are socialist, but because they are independent states with governments that are effective in preventing the imperialist superexploitation of their people and resources.

Standing today in colonised Seoul, we see that we are in a city dominated by the obscene presence of the world’s largest military base. That this ‘south Korea’ is a state entirely constructed by the power and under the diktat of US imperialism. That the national-liberation struggle of the Korean people has been frustrated; that the political and economic life of this territory has been subordinated; that the army and state forces here are under the complete control of the USA.

We cannot but remember the extreme historical injustice perpetrated against the Korean people. These are people who fought valiantly against Japanese imperialist occupation from 1910 to 1945; who emerged from the second world war on the side of the victors. The Japanese had been defeated by the Korean forces of national liberation when the Soviet soldiers of the Red Army arrived in the north of the country and the US army arrived in the south.

But whereas the people were allowed to freely organise and determine their future in the area under Soviet supervision, in the south it was quite otherwise. Despite their talk of being ‘liberators’, the US imperialists refused to leave at the agreed time. Instead they stayed and set up a puppet regime, through which they continue to rule – only alternating between fascistic or ‘reformist’ frontmen as the times have demanded, and the better to fool the people.

The division of Korea into two parts – the occupation of the south, the brutal separation of families, the forcible rupture of ties between compatriots who have shared a common territory and culture for thousands of years – is a historical injustice that must be rectified.

United Korea would have the resources, the manpower, and the military, industrial and technological strength to be a social and economic powerhouse. Rather than allow such a strong and independent country to develop in east Asia, on the borders of both Russia and China, US imperialist interference has forced war, division and subjugation onto the Korean people.

But, in Korea as elsewhere, the contradictions of the capitalist economic crisis are becoming acute, and the conditions that will enable the people to bring an end to their humiliation at the hands of US imperialism are developing fast.

Not only are the economic and war crises manifesting with particular sharpness in your country, but the presence of the DPRK with its strong military in the north, and the existence of such a revolutionary force as the People’s Democracy Party in the south, create a high possibility that the war that the imperialists are working hard to provoke on your territory will result not only in the defeat of the imperialist forces, but in the rapid completion of your national-liberation struggle, the reunification of your divided country, and the emergence of a strong and united Korea under revolutionary anti-imperialist leadership.

Comrades, with the war drive intensifying at an accelerating speed, communists and anti-imperialists everywhere must form the strongest possible union in order to ensure the sympathy and support of the masses for the wars of reunification and self-defence that are being forced onto China and the DPRK.

I have been asked by some comrades why the Platform insists on creating so much work. Why so many conferences? Why so many actions? Why so many speeches and statements? Are we not just keeping ourselves busy?

No, comrades, we are not simply keeping ourselves busy to no purpose. The rapidly developing war situation, and the rottenness at the heart of much of what calls itself the world communist movement, impels our action.

We must travel to different parts of the world in order to draw as many parties and organisations as possible into unified action. At the same time as we bring our founding document, the Paris Declaration, to the attention of organisations and workers all over the world, we must also develop and refine our message to embrace the specific conditions in different regions and to reflect the rapidly developing world situation.

We must do everything in our power to strengthen the forces of socialism and anti-imperialism, whose fates are intertwined and who face a common enemy.

We must do everything possible to ensure that the coming battles are decisive, that the imperialist enemies of humanity are finally defeated, and that our people are at last able to progress towards true, socialist peace and civilisation.