Joti Brar and Garland Nixon: Parasitic imperialism, episode 1

Why do we describe the imperialist system as ‘decadent, parasitic, decaying and doomed’?

Joti Brar, vice-chair of the CPGB-ML, in an introductory discussion on the nature of imperialism, discusses with Garland Nixon the origins of monopoly in the womb of capitalism. They talk about how this huge concentration of wealth into a few massive fortunes, which is accompanied by the immiseration of the vast masses of the world’s people, inevitably triggers enormous crises and endless war.

The discussion goes on to cover free speech, media lies, the badly-maligned north Korea (DPRK), Palestine, and the recent arrest of our party comrades during Palestine solidarity protests for telling the truth about zionism.

Joti traces the historical trajectory of modern empires, from the British, French and Russian established empires that dominated much of Asia, Africa and Latin America, to the newcomers in the 19th century such as Germany and Japan, whose arrival on the scene created new tensions and heightened competition across the globe.

Paying special attention to the period following WW2, when the victories of the Soviet Red Army and the socialist resistance forces created conditions in which a temporary redistribution of the economic pile was necessary if capitalism was not going to be overthrown completely across all of Europe, Joti points out that this brought hundreds of millions of workers in the developed world to a certain level of affluence. The huge concessions made by the developed imperialist nations via the welfare state were needed to buy off the revolutionary sentiments of their mobilised and armed populations following the war.

This peace deal worked out for the imperialists rulers of the west, allowing them time to restabilise their badly weakened system. It also obscured the vision of the workers in the imperialist nations in relation to the continued and deepening superexploitation of the colonised peoples, effectively breaking any existing bonds of solidarity between the workers in the imperialist centres and the national-liberation struggles of the oppressed world. Most importantly, the peace deal effectively liquidated the socialist struggle in the imperialist countries, where all the previously revolutionary communist parties became steadily absorbed into the bourgeois status quo, dropping socialism for social democracy and preaching the mythical ‘peaceful road to socialism’ via elections and bourgeois parliamentarism.

The lesson to be drawn from this is that such improvements (concessions) under capitalism are by definition temporary, and that the capitalist state can never be made to serve the interests of the masses. The central impulse of capitalism is to continually accumulate wealth at the centre, into fewer and fewer hands, as we have seen so clearly in the last four decades. This process corrupts every aspect of our society and is underpinned by the impoverishment of the rest of humanity.