The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

“Play Nice, Now”

Nov 21, 2022

This article is excerpted and translated from the November 18 issue #2833 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group of that name active in France.

To the side of the G20 summit in Bali, after months of American pressure accusing China of all the world’s evil, Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping staged a face-to-face meeting to mutually reject a new cold war.

Declaring, “I do not think there is any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan,” and, “There is only one China,” Biden contradicted months of American propaganda. While a bristling Western military armada patrols nonstop near China’s coast, Westerners have had no qualms accusing China of preparing an invasion of Taiwan.

There are several reasons for this shift in diplomatic tone. The first is that the economic interests of China and of the imperialist powers led by the U.S. remain closely linked. The price to transport goods from China has gone way up, and there have been big problems with global transportation. Chinese competitors have emerged in automobile, sea transport, and electronics. Nonetheless, China remains the workshop of the world. Apple’s profits still come from the exploitation of Chinese workers, locked up in industrial prisons to assemble iPhones.

And the Chinese market has become essential for many firms. Volkswagen sells 40% of its cars there. Boeing and Airbus, one fourth of their planes ….

For the imperialist powers, another objective of the meetings in Bali was to try to drive a wedge between China and Putin’s Russia, while preventing a bloc from forming among big poor countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa. The war in Ukraine effectively opposes the U.S. to Russia, but it’s not China’s war, nor that of the so-called emerging countries. They are reluctant to cut their economic ties with Russia. Chinese leaders have not condemned the invasion of Ukraine, even though they refuse to sell weapons to Putin.

The worsening of the economic crisis and the consequences of the war in Ukraine—particularly the embargo against Russia—and the energy crisis, are reshuffling the cards among the capitalists. Some markets and sources of raw materials are closing. Others must be opened. Alliances are shifting. In this jungle, each national group of capitalists relies on the power of its state—its army and its diplomacy—to defend its interests.

As for workers, whether they live in the imperialist citadels or in any of the G20 countries, their interests have nothing in common with those of their exploiters, even when they share the same nationality. Their main enemy is the ruling class of their own country.