Zibechi: The US-China war and the movements below

As Trump heads to Japan for the G20 and prepares to meet with Xi Jinping…

Chinese labor unions protest.

By: Raúl Zibechi

We are facing a war for global geopolitical supremacy, a technological and military war that assumes (for now) the form of a trade conflict. The hypothesis that we manage is that the war is going to deepen until skirting on the dangerous abyss of nuclear conflict, and that it will be the mark of the 21st century, since it will extend in time until one of the rivals (probably China) rises up with victory.

As the conflict between the declining power and the rising one that challenges it will dominate the worldwide and regional scenario in this complex historical period, it seems necessary to draw some general ideas that can orient us to those below. I don’t intend to establish “lines,” but rather to just sketch ethical-political horizons that I believe the so-called anti-systemic movements should debate.

The first is to consider that it is a war for the domination of the planet, not for the liberation of the peoples. We see that a part of the professionals of the left maintain that we must choose between the United States and the China-Russia alliance, because it’s necessary to defeat the former and walk hand-in-hand with the latter. On the contrary, I believe that although the hegemonic power is very harmful and must be confronted and defeated by the peoples in every place on Earth, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the other two nations are also imperialists.

Therefore, I think that the situation is more similar (not identical) to that which occurred in the First World War that to what happened in WWII. In this, the national interests of the then Soviet Union led Stalin to impose an alliance with the Western powers on the movements. Meanwhile, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, in the first war, came out in favor of “defeatism” of their nation, betting on converting the imperialist war (that’s how they defined it) into class war to make the revolution.

During the Second World War, the Chinese communists dared to challenge Stalin’s directives and took their own path, separated from the Kuomintang and from the Western powers and fought against them. Thanks to that line of action, they were able to win. In short, the forces of change must take advantage of the conflict between those above to make our own project advance, with autonomy, but without discarding specific agreements providing that they don’t neutralize us.

The second question is to learn from the experience lived by our peoples during the wars of independence. The conflict between creoles and Spanish (and Portuguese), supported by England, was resolved against the peoples that suffered as much, or more, with the republics as with the monarchies that colonized them. The defeat of the revolutionaries from below (from Tupac Amaru and Tupac Katari to José Gervasio Artigas, Tiradentes and Morelos), carpeted the installation of republics that put an end to the colony and opened the way to internal colonialism.

In not a few cases, the rebels from below were used as cannon fodder by the creoles to put into effect their own nation project.

The third issue revolves around what the new global hegemony represents: an impressive technological deployment of artificial intelligence and 5-G technology, which will have disastrous consequences as to the concentration of global power and in each country. The executive and artificial intelligence expert, Kai-Fu Lee, assures that this deployment “will produce unprecedented economic inequalities and will even alter the global balance of power.” (https://nyti.ms/2HLsysU)

Different from the industrial revolution and from computers, now some jobs will not be replaced by others, but rather “will bring with it the annihilation of jobs on a grand scale.” What will happen with those millions, to which are added those that already are unnecessary to capital, the very same China teaches, with its system of large-scale video-surveillance: an enormous mass of people subjected (the 9-9-6, they work from 9 am to 9 pm six days a week), controlled 24 hours a day.

The concentration of power will increase; China and the United States will be the big beneficiaries. But it calls to attention that the professionals only mention the Yankee companies (Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) and don’t cite the Chinese (Baidu, Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings), or the concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region, majority Muslim (https://bit.ly/2VPSM7s). In every nation the social divide will grow between those who have access to the new technologies and those who do not have access or do it in a situation of dependency.

The Chinese hegemony can be worse for those below, as is happening since the dawns of capitalism and modernity. Believing that Yankee hegemony made us freer than that of the British, and that this was more beneficial than the Spanish, is like looking at the world from the side of the privileged. Recent history teaches us that among those who struggle, one part aspires to insert itself well above and to the right.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, May 24, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/05/24/opinion/018a1pol#

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

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