By Ragnar V. Roed
We live during the sweeping away of imperialism and reaction from the face of the Earth within the next 50 to 100 years, a time marked by violence in which all kinds of wars take place. We see how reaction is militarizing itself more and more, militarizing the old States, their economies, developing wars of aggression, trafficking with the struggles of the peoples and aiming toward a world war.Communist Party of Peru, Line of Construction of the Three Instruments of the Revolution
Military expenses in Norway are now at a record high, both for NATO countries and the world in general. Today, an estimated 1822 billion USD are used for the military. This is more than was spent during the so-called Cold War. Imperialism means a militarization of reaction. It means more war and more fascism. Opportunists do not understand this and Rødt will grant even more money to the defense budget, but the revolutionaries know that the armed struggle that the masses can and will wage will sweep imperialism from the planet.
Lenin explained in his classical text Imperialism that imperialism means war. Imperialism is the second and highest stage of capitalism’s development. This epoch was initiated around 1900 when the entire world was divided among the European capitalist great powers and companies.
Contrary to the claims of some bourgeois ideologies, this modern epoch has not led to more peace. Such illusions have been presented in Western media in the past few years, but can only be justified by use of magic numbers. Our epoch of world history cannot be described without including WWI and WWII.
When we write the history of imperialism’s age, the world wars, industrial genocides, and colonial wars will make up a great deal of it. Nazi Germany’s barbaric war against the Soviet Union, where more than 25 million Soviet citizens were killed takes a special place – together with the Jewish genocide. But US imperialism’s antics in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, and Latin America are also distinguished. As are the actions of Great Britain in African and India.
Imperialism means war, and the imperialist society is being militarized. A new article appearing in the social democratic magazine Agenda documents this development.
NATO’s rearmament https://agendamagasin.no/kommentarer/10510/
The author writes:
NATO’s goal for member nations to use at least two percent of GNP on defense implies a massive armament.
The total expenses for military use in 2018 are an estimated 1822 billion USD. The number is astronomical. The number has also grown steadily every year since 1995. The world is now using more resources for defense budgets than it had during the Cold War. But because the world’s total income has grown, the military expenses have declined as a percentage of GNP.
It is particularly interesting for Norwegian readers to learn that Norway is in 28th place for military expenses in the world in absolute terms, despite the fact that the country is ranked 120th in population. Measured by military expenses per capita, Norway is in 7th place.
The great military theoretician Karl von Clausewitz correctly claimed that war is a continuation of politics by other means. Wars under imperialism are a continuation of the bourgeoisie’s political interests in our epoch. It is the bloody continuation of the exploitation of the world’s poorest and of market competition, labour power, and raw materials in countries and regions.
Furthermore, the wars are also a particular manifestation of the imperialists’ fight against the third world. Social slavery and political oppression were of course never ended with the formal and legal dissolution of European colonial empires. The wars in Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, Syria, and so on are all indications that the West’s dominance has continued, and is maintained in the bloodiest manner.
We have seen a cultural expression for this militarization in recent years on May 8th in Norway. Liberation Day, which for decades marked the end of the Nazi occupation of Norway, has been turned into a Veteran’s Day by the state, where Norway’s military adventures in foreign countries are praised. Inspired by the US militaristic culture, Norwegian politicians have attempted to build a war culture. This is no more than a political-cultural expression for imperialist needs. The growth of Norwegian finance capital and steadily increasing Norwegian capitalistic enterprises in the third world, go hand in hand with an enormous military budget and the cultivating of overseas contracts.
In connection with this, the opportunists’ illusions of a peaceful transition to socialism become even more naive. Norway is a part of the Western imperialist countries that never hesitate to exercise brutal and industrial-grade violence, for instance when they bombed Libya to pieces.
As an argument against the necessity of revolutionary war, one will often hear that Norway (and other Western countries for that matter?) has long had a “democratic tradition” and is “used to democracy”. This is supposed to lay the basis for the claim that a peaceful transition to socialism is possible. But is there something more in this claim that we live in civilization’s cradle? Is this not just a variation of the portrayal of the West as civilized and of the third world as barbaric?
How are we supposed to believe that the class that sits with all the power here that has such great loyalty to “its own”, and which without a moment of hesitation lets loose the horrors of war on the third world to protect its own economic interests, will somehow give away all of its power and wealth to democratic socialists who win in an election?
It is not only naive, but there is an underlying chauvinism within this depiction of reality.
The author of the Agenda article writes further that
none of the parties in Parliament proposed a reduction in defense expenses in the state budget for 2019. The Labour Party proposed an increase in the defense budget by 370 million kroner.
The Centre Party wished to increase the budget by 1 billion kroner. Rødt wished to strengthen the defense budget with the addition of 184 million kroner. The Green Party proposed an increase of 80 million kroner. The Socialist Left Party proposed a re-prioritization of the defense budget, but without any changes to the government’s total defense budget. There is therefore bipartisan agreement in Norway on the item of increased record-high defense budgets.Emphasis our own, TFM
It is worth emphasizing the Norwegian opportunists’ position on the defense budget. In a portrayal of one of the world’s richest countries being just about oppressed by the US and the EU (!), Rødt (the so-called marxist Red Party, ed.) and its forerunners in RV/AKP have a long and dark tradition on this matter. On one side, they have until recently put “Marxism” at its basis and seen the state as a class state with an apparatus of violence at the core of this state. On the other side, they have chosen to look past this in their enthusiasm to increase Norway’s military capabilities.
So enthusiastic is Rødt that in its alternative state budget proposal for 2019, they wished to increase the Conservative Party and Progress Party’s military funding by nearly 200 million kroner. What kind of backwards country are we living in that a self-proclaimed revolutionary anti-war party wishes to increase military spending more than the (rightist) Progress Party government?
At the start of WWI, the European labour movement was divided. The social democratic leaders became social patriots and resigned themselves to the war budgets, in direct contradiction with the movement’s earlier decision to resist the imperialist wars of division. Lenin was the foremost leader for the revolutionary standpoint against these betrayals in the labour movement. He viewed revisionism as an expression of imperialism, as agents of imperialism within the labour movement.
It is irrelevant whether or not the Rødt leadership wishes to re-prioritize things within the budget. They wish to strengthen the militarization of Norwegian imperialism. They wish to give the bourgeois military apparatus even more to spend. It reminds us of how Allende himself named Pinochet the chief of the Chilean army. Opportunism is in its very nature incapable of learning from history. It is allergic to historical materialism. One can perhaps say that opportunism lives in the moment. It cannot see what has past, but it also cannot see past the tip of its nose either.
Marxism, or Maoism as it is today, gives us a tool for seeing these long lines. We see imperialism both in time and in space. The Norwegian imperialist state is not isolated in the world nor in history. It belongs to this epoch, a time period with a rotten and dying capitalism. A time where imperialism, and the Norwegian bourgeois state, will be swept away from the earth.
In its death throes, reaction militarizes its own organs. It puts in place more fascistic measures. Populist demagogues and elitist technocrats work hand in hand to expel liberal principles. Elite soldiers and fighter planes create a new war culture, where the “civilized” colonial powers shatter state apparatuses in the third world in “humanitarian interventions”.
In the midst of such a world, we see a “leftist side” that, in a counter-reaction against market liberal social democrats, take the charge against immigration and, like Rødt, for increasing military budgets! EU opposition, labour immigration, opposition to Muslims, transphobia – all mixed together in such a way that on the worst days, one can bare distinguish between “red” populists and the darkest reaction.
The revolutionary movement is internationalist. We know that either we all go to communism, or nobody does. The proletariat is one class, regardless of borders and countries. And the class has one ideology: Maoism. Maoism has revealed the tendency of development of this rotten capitalism. It reveals the militarization, and puts forth the only method for smashing reactionary war: namely revolutionary war. Bourgeois militarization can only be smashed with proletarian militarization. Only the armed masses can sweep away the armed reaction, with its historic record-high military budget.
As Mao Zedong proclaimed:
We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.
There is no contradiction within this quote. The heartfelt human desire to abolish war is distorted by pacifists as a collaborationist ideology in a world where the bourgeoisie rules with the gun. The bourgeoisie will never allow itself to be mislead by pacifism. Such pipe dreams are brushed aside with sober realism. But they can often foster these ideas among the masses and progressives by promoting a false image of Gandhi and Mandela.
In bourgeois propaganda, we find that the masses’ armed struggle against colonialism in South Africa and India has disappeared. In the all the praise of Mandela, they seem to have lost Mandela’s guerrilla army, Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”). And when Gandhi and Mandela made compromises with imperialism, compromises that condemned the masses in their countries to continued poverty, they could thereafter be promoted as liberators in Western bourgeois media.
The liberation is by no means complete in India and South Africa. The hopelessness of poverty, the only reality that imperialism has to offer, can only be ended with revolutionary war, with protracted peoples’ war. It applies there, it applies here, and it applies everywhere.
Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist. The guns of the Russian Communist Party created socialism. We shall create a democratic republic. Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us that it is only by the power of the gun that the working class and the laboring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords; in this sense we may say that only with guns can the whole world be transformed.Mao Zedong