Presented at Peace for Life, a Conference on Wars in the Era of Empire and the Imperative for Just Peace and Solidarity
The following text was presented by Anthony Tujan at the Peace for Life Conference on Wars in the Era of Empire and the Imperative for Just Peace and Solidarity, March 7-9, 2023
Peace is not simply the absence of war. A call for world peace has to take account of the causes of un-peace – these four major contradictions in world of humanity that create violence against the people and the planet. Thus, rather than the usual scoping of developments around the world, allow me to frame my discussion on the major contradictions facing humanity today, plus the contradiction between humanity and the planet. Such broad and comprehensive discussion will still end, as it should, with the discussion on imperialism and the Wars of the Empire being the theme of this conference.
The four major contradictions are:
a. among the monopoly bourgeoisie – big capitalists and corporations in the developed world versus the oppressed and exploited workers;
b. imperialism with its puppets versus the oppressed and exploited workers and peoples of the semicolonies,
c. interimperialist competition and conflict, and
d. imperialism versus nations and governments asserting independence and seeking socialism.
Add to this the contradiction between humanity and the planet which is being expectedly instrumentalized by imperialism – for which the masses bear the hardships from climate change, environmental degradation and pandemics.
Interimperialist conflict seems most concerning to the public and may seem to be the principal contradiction today with the ongoing war in Ukraine and the threat of war in the US-China conflict. The looming threat of an international war is principally created by the tools of media and the warmongering and militarism by the states affected by the Ukraine war. In the context of and despite the economic and climate crisis, international war becomes the most concerning to the status quo under the throes of neo-conservatism and reaction.
The masses of the toilers are immediately concerned with their day to day survival. Their suffering and misery are brought about by their exploitation as workers in the industrialized countries who face hunger from wage erosion, unemployment, loss of benefits and social protection and diminishing social services.
For the countries in the imperialist periphery, the masses of workers, peasants, urban semiproletariat and petty traders and employees face worse misery from starvation wages, hand-to-mouth existence as forever unemployed seeking a living in the informal sector. Openly fascist or latent fascist ‘libertarian’ states violently repress the masses who have learned to protest against all forms of oppression from the state who oppress and exploit them and the corporations who take over their resources and exploit their labor.
The fourth major contradiction refers to the severe oppression and exploitation by imperialist powers on the semicolonial countries who all suffer from the efforts of each imperialist country to carve out its sphere of influence to extract more superprofits. This has resulted in the emergence of some progressive and combative governments who lead the efforts of countries in the periphery to counter monopoly capitalist economic, political, military, diplomatic, and socio-cultural domination, oppression and exploitation. Examples of these are Cuba, DPRK, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Iran.
Read More – Urgent Threats to Peace for Humanity in the 21st Century