THE meeting of the G20 group – the 20 leading countries in the world – concluded in Seoul yesterday with the usual empty claims of saving the world capitalist economy.
This summit was supposed to deal with the sharpening contradictions of world capitalism, an expression of which is the currency war between America and China, with the rest of the world’s economies being forced to take sides.
The background to this summit is the ever-deepening nature of the world capitalist crisis and the increasingly desperate steps being taken by the US to prevent the total collapse of its economy, including the preparation of an imperialist war against China.
In the past few weeks, the Federal Bank has engaged in another round of ‘quantitative easing’, printing an inflationary $600 billion to buy US treasury bonds, the effect of which has been to drive down the price of the dollar, making China’s exports more expensive and US exports more competitive. Crashing the dollar is part of the US trade war tactic.
At the same time, the US has been waging its campaign to force the Chinese Stalinists to revalue their currency, the yuan, to open up the ‘Chinese market’.
Whilst the Chinese Stalinist leaders want to co-operate with the US, they are acutely aware that driving up the price of the currency would inevitably lead to mass unemployment amongst Chinese workers and a resultant revolutionary upsurge that would threaten the political power of the bureaucracy.
The head of China’s central bank stated bluntly during the summit that the US ‘should not force others to take medicine for its own disease’.
With the depth of the crisis and the catastrophic slump of US capitalism creating conditions where it is threatened by an enraged working class, US president Obama is in no position to compromise, and indeed no compromise is possible.
All the G20 summit could produce was a meaningless concluding statement.
This pathetic attempt to paper over the worst crisis in the history of capitalism was hailed by Tory Chancellor Osborne as a new Bretton Woods agreement.
None of this bluster can disguise the fact that a currency war is already here.
Along with a currency war, of course, comes a trade war. As the currencies of the debt-ridden capitalist states crash, world trade will return to the 1930s style of the bartering of commodities, greatly deepening the slump.
The sharpening contradictions of capitalism are accelerating the drive to imperialist war.
This has already been made clear by sections of the US military who have made it plain that they will not stand by and see the ‘American way of life’ – that is US capitalism – brought down by China.
We can be sure that US imperialism is planning for direct action to force the Chinese Stalinists to bend the knee and submit, following the British example of the 19th century opium wars to force through Britain’s ‘right’ to the free trade of opium in China.
Obama’s recent trip to India was not just about trying to win contracts for US firms, its intent was to line up that country as an ally in any future conflict with China or to act as a US proxy in a border war to put pressure on China.
The G20 summit proved that there can be no peaceful overcoming of the contradictions within the capitalist system, especially as they are reaching the point of transformation or explosion.
World capitalism is set to tear itself apart in a desperate dog-eat-dog fight for survival, at the same time as it is forced to fight a savage war against the working class of the capitalist states.
The only way this contradiction can be resolved in the interests of the working class is through the revolutionary transformation of society, by the victory of the world socialist revolution, smashing capitalism and imperialism worldwide and replacing it with world socialism.
This demands the building of the revolutionary parties of the Fourth International throughout the world to lead this revolution to its victory.