The stark contrast between socialisms’ successes and capitalisms’ failures has placed the fate of capitalism in the balance of international power. Advances towards socialism in the near future will involve international struggle as much as domestic class struggle, if not more so.
Imperialist capitalists are responding by trying to inaugurate a new stage of neoliberalism, a pseudo-philanthropic one. Its dominant discourse will claim to provide people with key essentials, whether vaccines, green or medical technologies or education and health care services. Of course, with demand further depressed by the economic crisis the pandemic triggered, the state will be the preferred customer. The discourse of the ‘rights’ of citizens to demand certain products and services will proliferate. So will that of the need for a greater state role and higher state spending. Corporate private production of these ‘essentials’ for profit will be justified by arguments about private sector ‘innovation’, ‘choice’ and ‘efficiency.’ Tax revenues will pay for the actually inefficient and authoritarian private production of shoddy and inadequate goods and services. Financial speculation and rentier activity will continue unabated.
Of course, this new neoliberalism will unquestionably face resistance due to deepening social divisions and the advanced productive debility of capitalism. Even without organised and canny left opposition, its manifest failures amid proliferating revelations of fraud and corruption will rock politics. Internationally, efforts to export these practices and discourses beyond capitalism’s imperial core will meet limited success as the more responsible governments look to alternative trade and investment links, such as those centred on China.
Indeed, as pluripolarity advances, imperialist and dollar dominance recede and capitalism continues malfunctioning, the New Cold War propaganda against China will sound increasingly hollow. Worse, divisions within the imperial camp – within NATO, between states and even within capitalist classes – can only grow thanks to China’s growing economic attractions, even for the West, its traditional allies and corporations. US attempts to rally European, East and South Asian and Antipodean ‘democratic’ allies into a new ‘Indo-Pacific Quadrilateral’ strategy are already stalling.
The ‘rules-based international order’, based on allegedly universal values the US proposes, is increasingly exposed for what it is: an imperialist denial of the right of the Third World to develop imposed through military aggression, sanctions, embargoes and wars. China’s support for an international ‘community with a shared future for humankind’ based on common values and UN principles and the Five Principles of peaceful coexistence offers a far more attractive alternative capable of addressing humanity’s common problems.
Capitalism is at a domestic and international impasse and the classes and nations fighting for socialism must advance in solidarity. In this advance, some governments and movements, such as Iran or Yemen’s Ansarullah, for example, may at first glance appear strange fellow-travellers for working people and their socialist nations and movements. However, they are subject to imperialist aggression, wars, blockades, economic and financial sanctions, colour revolutions and regime changes, and therefore deserve at least anti-imperialist solidarity.