Published by Valdai Discussion Club
It is clear that we are entering worldwide an era of very grave social, political and international conflicts and we cannot exclude new wars, writes Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, former adviser to the Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and former Member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the SYRIZA Party. We cannot say what the world of tomorrow will be or what will be the place of capitalism in it. What we can say with almost certainty is that the future world will be very different from the one we know.
What has begun as a Chinese and then as a global health crisis is already catalyzing a global, very deep economic crisis, while it threatens to catalyze also open geopolitical conflicts. The economic crisis is interacting also strongly with the effort of western capitalism to check the rise of China, Russia and other international powers. Simultaneously, the crisis reflects the many, “life or death” problems, the development of productive forces and new technologies are putting in front of humanity.
We know very well from the history of capitalism that so deep crises as the one we are facing now – in reality already since 2008 – comparable with the 1873 and 1929 economic crises, have the potential of provoking “regime change” ruptures. The previous two crises of such depth (1873, 1929) produced two world wars, revolutions (the Russian and Chinese), “counter-revolutions” (Fascism and Nazism) and huge reform projects (New Deal, the post-war social-democratic European capitalist model, till 1980).
If it is impossible to make now certain and safe predictions for the future, it is already clear we are entering worldwide an era of very grave social, political and international conflicts and we cannot exclude new wars. We cannot say what the world of tomorrow will be or what will be the place of capitalism in it. What we can say with almost certainty is that the future world will be very different from the one we know.
A radical situation asks for radical answers
If such a prediction comes true, it means western Left, China or Russia must shift away from their usual, essentially “conservative” strategies and their efforts to defend the acquis of the previous situation and find a way to “accommodate” the most aggressive forces of the “Empire of Finance” and of Western Capitalism.
If you are conservative in radical times, times of huge changes and upheavals, you are doomed to lose.
(The same is also true if you are radical in “conservative” times.)
Of course, we don’t mean that Russia or China should launch some kind of war on America and the West. What we mean is they have to find the force and the inspiration to propose and fight for a new, radically different world order. As for the western Left, if such a thing exists, and in order to exist, it must also challenge the established order in a fundamental way. If they don’t do it all of them run the risk of huge defeats, of helping, inadvertently, the most radical forces of international finance and western capitalism, thus augmenting also the probability of catastrophic wars or other world disasters.
As they usually do in times of crisis, the “Markets’ Leninists” will, most probably, try to use the crisis and the associated shock to advance their agenda. They know western capitalism, as we know it, is no more sustainable. They will try to exploit the crisis in order to replace it with a much worse, totalitarian – surveillance system of techno-feudalism and permanent war to keep their domination. They are already doing it by launching cold wars and sanctions wars against China, Iran, Cuba and Russia, or by blowing up the international system (WHO).
Some people write articles describing the end of capitalism as a result of this crisis. This is an illusion. Capitalism will find always a way to survive. It is even able to take all of us into its graveyard as it is struggling to survive. Capitalism will not die automatically, because of its internal contradictions. It will disappear and replaced as a social system only if people make it disappear.