Kurdish Freedom Movement For the Conference: Imperialism and Wars

Kurditan National Congress

The political conditions prevailing worldwide are the result of economic-social developments, as well as from the struggles between the different political forces and the existing states. The political developments in the first quarter of the 20th century were characterized by the imperialist stage of capitalism and the struggles between the different imperialist forces. The export of their own capital was in the foreground, which is why the imperialist countries divided practically the entire world among themselves.

This decisively shaped the beginning of the20th century. England and France, both of which had developed into capitalist, imperialist countries very early on, had already divided up a large part of the world between themselves by this point. Germany had become an imperialist country very late and therefore had very limited colonies. As a relatively young imperialist country, it had a political- economic influence on countries that we can call semi-colonies. At the top of these semi- colonies was the Ottoman Empire. Germany developed very quickly at the beginning of the 20th century and had correspondingly large capital. It therefore demanded a share of the already divided world according to its strength.

This was a major reason for the First World War. And that is why, by and large, the First World War is evaluated as a war for the re- division of the world between the imperialist countries. At the end of this war, the Allies (France, England, Italy, and the United States; the latter entering the war relatively late) stood as victors. Russia had been part of this alliance at the beginning of World War I, but had withdrawn from the war after the October Revolution in 1917. In the wake of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was obliged to make major concessions. The Ottoman and Habsburg Empires were also among the losers of the war, disintegrating and significantly reducing in size as a result. The Russian Revolution had the effect of removing about one-sixth of the world from the control of the capitalist-imperialist system.

At the same time, in 1929 – only about ten years after the end of the war – there was a severe economic crisis that had worldwide repercussions. In this context, fascism gained strength on the basis of chauvinism and nationalism in Germany, which, among other things, had to pay reparations and lost territory with the Treaty of Versailles. After the transfer of power, fascism prepared the country very quickly and comprehensively for another war. Within this framework, the German war industry was also expanded at high speed. Germany began World War II by attacking Poland in 1939. Among other things, this was in pursuit of power-political and racial-ideological goals. A war of extermination followed, characterized by racism and anti- Semitism. In addition, the National Socialists wanted to rid themselves of the heavy war burdens from World War I and to once again have a say in the division of the world. There was another important goal: the fight against communism. But Germany, together with its allies Italy and Japan, also emerged as the loser from this war in 1945. After this heavy defeat, the country was divided into two parts, the FRG and the GDR [Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic]. Although France, England and the United States were among the victorious powers, it was the Soviet Union – formerly allied with them – that won the greatest victory. With the revolution in China, shortly after the war waged under the leadership of Mao Zedong, a third of the world was now outside the control of the capitalist system.

A new phase of struggle began between the capitalist countries and the Soviet Union, commonly referred to as the Cold War. During the Second World War, the U.S. had taken over the leadership of the capitalist system. Led by the U.S., the capitalist countries formed the wartime alliance NATO in 1949. In turn, under the leadership of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact was created in 1955.

The confrontation born out of the system caused serious problems for both the capitalist and the real socialist countries. On the one hand, there was a political, economic, social and cultural division between these two parts of the world. On the other hand, there were so-called proxy wars and also wars in which the great powers were directly involved. These two aspects characterized the Cold War, which has gone down in history as a period of enormous problemsfor humanity.

The real socialist countries disintegrated primarily because of their internal political, economic, social and cultural problems. Their disintegration led at the same time to the end of the Cold War.

With the collapse of real socialism in 1991, the political balance of the 20th century – or the Cold War – lost its validity and power. The resulting vacuums were filled by the capitalist system under the leadership of the U.S.. Today, the majority of the world – including China and Russia – has become a part of the capitalist system. Because of the technological revolutions in communication and information technology, capitalism has now assumed a global scale.

Finance capital – the system of capital accumulation that makes money with money – is now the definitive force of capitalism. The free and secure movement of capital and goods has been made the fundamental law of global capitalism. A society thoroughly characterized by consumption was created. Today, capitalism preserves itself by creating conditions under which consumption becomes the basic way of life.

There are still only a small number of countries that are not fully integrated into the system of free movement of capital and goods. Iran, but also Syria, North Korea or Cuba – all countries that emerged during the existence of the Soviet Union – are still not fully part of the capitalist system. In the countries of Iran and Syria, the Middle Eastern state tradition is very pronounced, which is why governments strive to keep capitalism under state control. The Middle East is an area more influenced by ideal civilization than material civilization, and therefore social culture is still present. For all these reasons, the Middle East has not yet fully integrated into capitalism along with its materialistic and individualistic culture. However, the region is not sustained by a democratic culture, nor a communal economy. Therefore, it suffers from its essentially capitalist and statist political-social character. With “radical Islam,” there are currently even forces in the Middle East that strive for an even more despotic capitalist system, as well as the understanding of the state as the basis of life.

The political equilibrium of the Cold War and the status quo that accompanied it no longer exist today. Nevertheless, it has still not been possible to establish a new political equilibrium, including a correspondingly new type of status quo, through which global capitalism could secure its existence in the long term. Of course, there can be no absolutely valid status quo; it is necessarily relative in nature. Under the conditions of global capitalism, the relative status will be even more dynamic and changeable than ever before. This is necessitated by the economic, social, cultural and political conditions of globalized capitalism.

The Third World War, which is currently taking place in the Middle East, is being waged for the enforcement of a new political balance and status quo. On the one hand, it is a war against all the states and political forces that are seen as obstacles to the globalized capitalist system. On the other hand, the forces of the system are also fighting a battle among themselves. Historically, the oppressed peoples and the working people have always had a decisive influence on political, social, economic and cultural life. But in the 21st century, the struggle of all oppressed and working peoples will have an even stronger influence on the development of the new political balance and status quo. The time of the people has come! Through the women’s struggle for freedom, the peoples’ struggle has gained a new dimension and strength. Therefore, the struggles of the anti-systemic forces will also have a significant influence on the political balance and status quo that will emerge from the Third World War. The struggle for a new political equilibrium that meets the requirements of globalized capitalism will be of a different nature than the struggles of the past.

We are talking about a capitalism that has taken on global proportions. This globalized capitalism is a system of the most intimate relations and dependencies. Therefore, unlike during the First and Second World Wars, there will not be a division of capitalist forces into hostile camps that will fight a serious war with each other. Since all political and economic powers are part of this system, and it is inconceivable that they will build entirely separated economic and political systems as they did in the past, the war between these forces will be different than in the past. The nature of capitalism today makes it necessary for the war between global powers to be fought without any interruptions. These powers will not, as in the past, fight sudden and very severe wars for the complete annihilation of their opponents. Rather, because of the nature of capitalism today, they will wage war against each other uninterruptedly. Whereas wars in the past were fought between clearly delineated camps along unambiguous front lines, today’s wars are fought in the form of a holistic system. This is a completely new way of waging war. It will also not be the case that the war ill bring about a political equilibrium of clearly delineated factions of opposing poles of power. For this is contrary to the nature of globalized capitalism.

Instead, the positioning of the various powers resembles a pyramid with a hierarchical arrangement. However, because of the contradictions, their resulting struggles, and the continuity of multifaceted conflicts, there will always be shifts in the steps of this pyramid. The power on the top step will fall down some steps after a certain time, while another power will rise up. These shifts in the hierarchy will not be the result of severe confrontations, as in World War I and World War II, but will occur in the context of low-level struggles and wars. The realization that the system has assumed global proportions and that ultimately everyone is in the same boat will not, of course, lead to a peaceful and harmonious existence between the powers. It will not come to be, for as long as capitalism exists. There will be an uninterrupted struggle between the capitalist powers, monopolies and cartels. This uninterrupted struggle will be much more intense. But the route, methods, and the level of violence of this struggle will be very different from the struggles of the past. World War I and World War II each lasted about four and a half to five and a half years. They were very hard wars between clearly distinguishable factions. A longer continuation of these wars would have led to the complete collapse of both factions. Because of the enormous scale of violence, these two wars led to the defeat of one of the two sides after only the aforementioned duration. However, the war that we now call the Third World War has been going on for about 30 years now.

Undoubtedly, some of the current system forces will also form alliances of two or three in this struggle. But this must not be understood as the familiar formation of factions. Today, the respective relationships and alliances between these powers are always aimed towards climbing the pyramid. The system of globalized capitalism will always have a guiding and leading power. One or two powers can take over this leading role. We can call this power or powers the hegemonic powers of globalized capitalism. PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan speaks of an “empire of chaos” in this context of globalized capitalism.

It takes the form of an uninterrupted crisis due to its nature, in particular the degree of consumer society that it has spawned. Globalized capitalism needs a leading power or a group of leading powers to maintain itself in such a crisis. Without a doubt, the largest power within globalized capitalism will try to take on this role. Currently, this is the case with the U.S., especially with the help of England and international institutions such as NATO.

China and Russia, however, reject these conditions and demand a multipolar order of globalized capitalism. Europe also wants to be granted an influential position. Because England rejects this demand, it has withdrawn from certain areas of the EU. Instead, it is striving to join the U.S. in leading the aforementioned empire of chaos. Of course, China, Russia or Europe can also emerge as leading powers in globalized capitalism. They may well be given a place on the upper rungs of the pyramid. But they will not be able to form a counter-pole or counter-factions. China’s behavior in the war between Ukraine and Russia has made this very clear. China may take a stand against the U.S. and its allies, and forge relationships and alliances to gain some degree of influence. But it is not pursuing the goal of forming a faction with Russia against NATO. Therefore, it would not be correct to speak of multipolar political relations in which different factions exist, given the current situation. Instead, we can speak of a global system that has many different actors. The respective roles of these actors depend on their economic, social and political strength.

In globalized capitalism, there will always be countries that are close to each other. Those countries that do not have the necessary economic and political influence on their own will enter into relationships with other countries in order to secure a more advantageous place in the system for themselves. As globalized capitalism is characterized by incessant struggles that are inherent within the system, tensions and conflicts will increase. In this context, we will become witnesses to a wide variety of relationships and alliances. But it is obvious that these will be very unstable and susceptible to change. An actor may be close to a certain power for a while, only to enter into close relations with another power a little later. The absence of factions with very firm relationships inevitably leads to such relationships.

The USA and England are currently forming a coalition that plays the role of hegemonic power in globalized capitalism. At the same time, it is obvious that China is on the rise. Due to its population and production capacity, China is increasingly becoming the largest economic power. Many expect that the country will eventually take this position. But this will not directly make China the hegemonic power within globalized capitalism. In both the short and medium term, it will be difficult for the country to overtake the U.S. in terms of technological development and offensive military power. Therefore, it is unlikely that China will occupy the top rung of the pyramid in political and military terms.

We can say this at least for the first half of the 21st century. Since the U.S. has registered China’s rise, its strategy in response is not to lose its power advantage to China. It is unlikely that China will start a war similar to World War I or World War II. But the United States is already pursuing a policy of encirclement and containment, just in case. For this purpose, a political-military alliance has been formed with England, Japan and Australia, which we can also call the “NATO of the Far East”.

As an alternative to the U.S. as the leading power of globalized capitalism or the founder of a new world order, the Eurasia strategy or the “Shanghai Five” is talked about again and again. This group was founded in 1996 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Some also evaluate this as the establishment of a separate faction. However, these are analyses concerning 21st century politics that testify to a lack of understanding of the economic and political nature of globalized capitalism. The Shanghai Five has been joined over time by other countries united by economic cooperation. We can therefore understand this structure as a platform in which some countries neighboring each other have joined together to trade economically with each other and benefit from the economic opportunities of their geographical proximity. The economic relations between China and Russia, Russia and Iran, China and Iran, China and Pakistan, or China and the Central Asian countries can be traced back to this. China and India are currently two powers whose relations are characterized by strong tensions and conflicts. Very serious problems exist between them. But still, they can both be members of this platform. The Shanghai Five platform, as a framework that allows member countries to link their economic resources and jointly benefit from them, also has an impact on their political relations. However, they will not develop into a closed political- military faction.

It is a fact that Russia and China jointly oppose the policy of the U.S. However, so far, China has deliberately chosen not to openly support Russia in the war against Ukraine. Instead, it has repeatedly expressed that a solution away from war would be desirable. This is because China has now become part of globalized capitalism. And countries like Russia and Iran may well end up in open conflict with the United States. This is because they are part of globalized capitalism to a much lesser extent. China, on the other hand, currently benefits most from the free movement of capital and goods, the most fundamental rule of globalized capitalism. That is why the U.S. is trying to put obstacles in the way of the country, even though it is fighting for compliance with this rule in all other parts of the world. NATO has evolved into a force to ensure the security of globalized capitalism.

It is constantly expanding its sphere of influence. At the same time, the U.S. is using its leadership role to establish offshoots of NATO in other parts of the world. The groundwork has already been laid for the creation of a “NATO of the Far East,” whose importance, from the view of globalized capitalism, is now very significant. This is shown by the political- military relations that the U.S., England, Australia and Japan have established with each other. Because these relationships hold the prospect of political and economic benefits, France has complained that it is not part of this alliance. This temporarily led to a very serious crisis. Most likely, certain promises were made to France by the U.S. and England, as this issue disappeared from the political agenda a short time after and tensions decreased.