Capitalism’s Permanent Revolution: Is Algeria Next?

On April 17, 2014 Algeria held its presidential election. As expected, the incumbent Abdelaziz Boutiflika won the election with 81.53 percent of the vote against the leading opposition candidate Ali Benflis, who received 12.18 percent of the vote.

Benflis was widely proclaimed in the French press as being the candidate of ‘change’ and ‘democratic reform.’ It is clear that Benflis was the preferred candidate for the French corporate and political elite. The French media launched a concerted campaign to discredit Boutiflika before the election, while there was much talk about the anti-government youth movement ‘barakat,’ as well as the separatist claims of Kabylie and Berber cultural autonomy.

Algeria is a staunchly independent country with vast hydrocarbon resources. It has more than once been criticized for its ‘resource nationalism.’ In 2006 Reuters reported: ‘Algeria, long seen as an energy investment hot spot, has taken a step towards resource nationalism with plans to unravel a reformist law and claw back some profits from foreign operators.’

Resource nationalism constitutes a cardinal sin for any developing country in the context of an evolving New World Order, where a handful of multinationals divide up the world between themselves. Given the Western backed coups that have ensued in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 and the subsequent wars waged by NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council against Libya and Syria, the likelihood of further destabilisation in Algeria is becoming a distinct possibility.

The American Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook states the principle problem the Empire has with Algeria thus:

Algeria’s economy remains dominated by the state, a legacy of the country’s socialist post-independence development model. In recent years the Algerian Government has halted the privatization of state-owned industries and imposed restrictions on imports and foreign involvement in its economy.

A resource-rich country with a large, autonomous state is anathema to multi-national corporate-financier interests. We can therefore assume that the chief legislators and executioners of unbridled, global capitalism, that is to say the United States and its European allies, have a regime change programme for Algeria, a plan that would replace a state serving a large section of the country’s population with a gang that serves foreign interests. Algeria is certainly not a ‘socialist’ country as the CIA indicates, but for the CIA any country that imposes controls of the free flow of capital is ‘socialist’ and the CIA’s role has always been to subvert developing states who prioritize national interests before those of transnational corporations and international financial institutions.

In order to contextualize the background of a possible NATO-backed destabilization of Algeria, it is necessary to discuss previous NATO-backed coups in other countries and their economic and political implications. We hope to show that current US foreign policy is characterized by two key features:

1. Formation of dissent and political subversion using youth groups, ‘human rights’ activism and ‘democracy’ NGOs.

2. Covert support for mercenaries in the form of Sunni extremist terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda or neo-Nazi groups such as in Ukraine and Venezuela, who are used as battering rams to break the internal order of the bourgeois nation state, handing over the targeted nation’s natural and human resources to international institutions protected by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The former policy is marketed to domestic audiences as the West’s noble mission to spread freedom and democracy all over the world, while covert support for Al Qaeda provides a pretext for the destruction of civil liberties at home, and domestic acquiescence in the policy of endless foreign wars to protect ‘Western civilization’; this bellicose policy is necessitated by neo-liberal economics whereby an increasingly miniscule oligarchy is acquiring unprecedented control over the planet’s wealth.

Understanding the complex nature of this twofold process is essential if one is to grasp the extremely complex and paradoxical nature of current US foreign policy with a view to predicting future targets of its imperial strategies.

2 People-Power Coups masquerading as Revolutions

Over the past decade the world has witnessed a series of ‘revolutions’ in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. The Orange Revolution in the Ukraine in 2004; the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Revolution in Kyrgyzstan; the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon; the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria; the Vinegar Revolution in Brazil; the protest movement in Venezuela, and the recent ‘revolution’ in Ukraine.

All these ‘revolutions’ have one thing in common. They were all planned, funded and orchestrated by the US government in conjunction with its partners in the European Union, through the activities of NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, Freedom House, Movements.Org, The Spirit of Democracy, the Centre for Non Violent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS) and many more. The aim? To overthrow governments Washington considers to be a hindrance to the furtherance of US/Israeli, NATO global hegemony, a project for ‘full spectrum dominance’ without borders that would put an end once and for all that great creation of the 17th century, the bourgeois nation state, replacing it with networks of trans-national corporations under the aegis of highly centralized global governance structures frequently referred to as the ‘New World Order.’

Some of the countries on the regime change target list were already run by dictators installed by the Central Intelligence Agency such as Ben Ali of Tunisia, dictators who had served their purpose and reached their expiry date according to the calendar of the US State Department and the Council on Foreign Relations. Thus Tunisia and Egypt succumbed to NGO Youth Industry regime change programmes, backed by covert snipers. The role of the US government in planning and orchestrating the ‘Arab Spring’ has been openly admitted by the NGOs involved.

For leftists, still clinging on to the dogma that ‘the masses make history,’ we say “yes, but people and powerful institutions play a role too!” It’s never too late to learn!

Other countries on the list were led by revolutionaries such as Colonel Gaddafi of Libya. NATO realized a long time ago that the popular democratic system in Libya established by Gaddafi during the Green Revolution in 1974 meant that ordinary people had too much power and therefore a people-power coup against the state would simply not work. Libya was run on a model of direct democracy and was a highly inclusive and progressive society with the highest living and education standards in Africa and high levels of equality, due to a distributive mass-state that provided subsidies for cheap accommodation and grants for agricultural development. The Libyan Jamahirya was far more democratic than most if not all of the countries attacking it. In order to bring down the Libyan State-of-the-masses Al-Qaeda mercenaries and military intelligence assets were NATO’s only option.

In Syria, the popular nature of the bourgeois, national democratic government (Yes, Syria IS a democracy) led by Bashar Al-Assad meant that NATO were unable to sufficiently weaken national state institutions from the inside. Therefore a vast armada of fanatics, misfits and mentally deranged criminals were transported into the country. Bankrolled by the Gulf satrapies, managed by Turkey and supervised by Israel, France, Britain and the United States; these hordes of psychopaths came in different shapes and sizes. Some had names that could be sold to the unwitting Western public as ‘democratic revolutionaries’ such as the CIA-formed ‘Free Syrian Army’, others such as Japhet-Al Nosra, could commit the most heinous atrocities without implicating Western governments who could claim they were doing their utmost to make sure that weapons did ‘not fall into the hands of extremists’. This two-fold strategy has characterized NATO’s genocide against the Syrian people since unknown snipers opened fire on protestors and police in the city of Deraa in March 17th 2011.

Capitalism’s ‘permanent revolution’

To echo George Bush senior’s State of the Union speech in 1991, the New World Order is a ‘big idea’. In fact, it’s a revolutionary idea. And today, the governments of the United States and the European Union are attempting to foment a global revolution, a permanent revolution, a great awakening of the masses, popular uprisings; workers revolts; strikes; peaceful protests; peaceful sit-ins; naked protests involving blond women; occupy the street protests; protests of the indignant; flash mobs of all shapes and sizes chasing dictators and inaugurating a new era of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’.

In short, capitalism in crisis has borrowed tactics from the left in order to break down the last obstacle to its global supremacy: the bourgeois nation state.

In order to change the face of US foreign policy in Latin America during the Cold War-where the US had imposed brutal military dicatorships throughout the continent in order to ‘protect’ the continent from communism- the US government decided in 1983 to create the National Endowment for Democracy. The organization had a role in ensuring that the ‘popular uprising’ against the US-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet in Chile would result in a neo-liberal regime which would clean up capitalism’s image while preserving US corporate interests. This is exactly what the people got. A similar process of covert support for ‘democratisation’ was followed in Brazil and Argentina where the Central Intelligence Agency had organized military coups in 1964 and 1976 respectively.

Covert US support for corporate funded ‘pro-democracy’ movement in client dictatorships who were no longer seen as efficient executives of US corporate interests has been standard US foreign policy since the mid-eighties.

The aim of the people power coups in Eastern Europe since 2004 has been to roll back Russian influence in former Soviet republics, by installing pro-US rulers subservient to the IMF, World Bank, EU, USA and NATO. Regime change in North Africa has been on the drawing board for many years. During the Cold War, the US government tolerated Arab Nationalist regimes as the ‘lesser of two evils’ in terms of corporate and strategic interests. The Arab Nationalist regimes were petit-bourgeois in character; they were opposed to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, that is to say socialism as it had been constructed in the USSR from the 1920s to the 1950s; in this sense they did not pose a threat to capitalism as they did not hold out the possibility of a viable, revolutionary alternative that could work in the long term.

As the Arab Nationalist regimes were anti-communist, they could easily be manipulated by the US. In fact, many of their leaders were agents of the Central Intelligence Agency. Sadat of Egypt, Ben Ali of Tunisia and Nimery of Sudan were CIA sponsored dictators who did their utmost to further US interests, while Saddam Hussein of Iraq was put in power by the agency with the express orders to liquidate Iraq’s labour leaders and communists . Some of these leaders did a pretty good job killing their own people on behalf of US interests until they became a liability when the global balance of power changed.

When the USSR was dissolved in 1991 by the Soviet Government against the wishes of the Soviet citizens, the situation changed. The US was now the sole superpower. The end of history had arrived. There was now no more opposition.

A whole series of theatre wars and humanitarian wars inaugurated a new era in international politics with the gloomy prospect of a megalomanical unipolar order forcing its will upon the world.

The terror attacks of September 11th 2001 in America set the stage for a series of theatre wars, preemptive military strikes and humanitarian interventions that are continuing to escalate around the world today. The American ‘left-wing’ opposition media Democracy Now! interviewed former commander of NATO General Wesley Clark in 2007 where he revealed that, immediately after the 911 terror attacks, the Pentagon had earmarked 7 countries to be ‘taken out’ in 5 years: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Lebanon, Syria and Sudan. The ‘radical’ TV station and its collaborators would appear to be suffering from chronic amnesia since the ‘Arab Spring’, unashamedly backing the CIA’s far right wing ‘revolutionaries’ in Libya, Syria and Ukraine, just as it did during the bombing of Serbia in 1999.

The plan to change entrenched Arab nationalist regimes in North Africa through the training and coordination of opposition Youth Groups is openly discussed in the 2008 Rand Corporation document entitled ‘The Kefaya Movement: A Case Study of a Grass Roots reform movement.’ The document reveals that while the Mubarak regime did serve US interests for many years, divergences emerged over Mubarak’s opposition to the Iraq war and reluctance to go along with the War on Terror.

It has since been revealed that Mubarak, a former Airforce pilot, had serious doubts about the US government’s version of the 911 terrorist attacks.

The ‘youth groups’ in Egypt had been trained by US NGOs since 2005, with the Centre for Applied Non-Violent Actions and Strategies playing a key role in forming the young ‘revolutionaries’ of the 2011 Arab Spring.

The Arab Spring ousted quasi-nationalist regimes and replaced them with regimes linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, who have had links with the secret services of Britain and the United States and Nazi Germany since the 1930s.

A major strategy of the Arab Spring uprisings was to present them as being uprisings against US backed dictatorships. This was of course true, except that the US backed the uprisings! The anti-US rhetoric was a central feature of Al Jazeera (the Qatari dictatorship’s TV station) coverage of the Arab Spring. This confused most people on the left in Europe and America into following the hype about a ‘popular uprising’.

Leftists took the bait and the scene was set for avalanche of neo-colonial conquest in Africa beginning with the carpet bombing of Libya, the destruction of its infrastructure, civil society, political and social institutions, its vast development programme throughout the African continent and the last bastion of anti-colonialist struggle in Africa. Had it not been for the deception regarding the popular nature of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, the bombing of Libya would have been more contested.

Leftists played a key role in this assault by playing up the ‘Arab Spring’ nonsense to mask their support for the racist thugs, criminals and terrorists of the highest order who committed crimes against humanity in order to frame the Libyan government and bring the proud nation under the control of NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council. The process was repeated in Syria but the high morale, organization and indefatigable resistance of the Syrian people, together with strong support from Russia and Iran, have thus far defeated the harpies of the New World Order which the mainstream media and pseudo-leftist opposition media continue to support

Corporate revolution in Algeria?

One only has to read the French press to get a sense of what Algeria can expect over the next few weeks, months, years. The Courrier International proudly tells us that ‘Electoral Fraud is an official fact’ and that the election campaign is a ‘farce’. The front page of the April 2014 edition has a picture of the President Boutiflicka with the caption ‘Boutiflika ca suffit‘ (that’s enough). The caption is reference to the latest CIA youth group Barakat (That’s enough!). Just like Otpor in Serbia, Zubr in Belarus, Kmara in Georgia, Pora in the Ukraine, Ceder in Lebanon, Kelkel in Kyrgyzstan, Kefaya in Egypt, Oborona in Russia, Girifina in Sudan, Red Shirts in Thailand, Bersih in Malaysia, the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, Mjaft in Albania, and Faor in Brazil, Barakat were top of the pops in France’s liberal leftist media in the run up to the Algerian elections.

In a Le Monde article entitled ‘The Post Boutiflicka era has started’, the author this to say about worker opposition to the Algerian regime:

In challenging the state on a non-ideological basis, but demanding basic rights, the protestors are renegotiating citizenship in terms of their marginilisation. The strikes of autonomous unions paralyzing the country are no doubt aiming for a rise in wages, but they are delegitimizing the representive character of the General Union of Algerian Workers,(UGTA), the union of the regime. The protests of unemployed collectives in the South associate their misery with the corrupt appropriation of oil resources in their region.1

The opposition groups pitched against Boutiflicka are, we are told, ‘non-ideological’. This is newspeak for right-wing. The author politely confirms this by the subtle use of the conjunction ‘but’. The strikes carried out by the ‘autonomous syndicates’ that are paralyzing the country are aimed at pay rises, BUT their real aim is to delegitimize the General Union of Algerian Workers. The conjunction ‘but’ means contrary in French, English and most languages. Another way of putting this would be as follows: While the strikes carried out by the autonomous unions pretend to be aimed at increasing the wages of workers, their real aim is to delegitimize state structures by confusing the workers into participating in a revolution carried out by Big Capital, aimed at shredding all their hard earned rights and entitlements, or what is left of them. Once the national bourgeoisie is overthrown in a ‘revolution’, there’ll be no more collective bargaining, and their already meager wages will be reduced further as multinational corporations replace state structures. That signifies total enslavement of the working class.

This is precisely what happened in Egypt in 2011 where independent labour unions linked to the American Federation of Labour Unions and the Sons of the Land Association for Human Rights were used to overthrow President Mubarak and replace him with the ultra right-wing Muslim Brotherhood. The first thing the reactionary ‘revolutionaries’ and the ‘independent unions’ did when in power was to pass laws making it legal for companies to stop production in times of slumps without having to pay their workers and banning pay for workers who went on strike.

Many prominent left wing intellectuals mentioned the important ‘labour struggles’ in Egypt that led to the revolution in 201l. Noam Chomsky, who supported the bombing of Libya, mentioned the Ghazel Al Mahalla Textile Workers strikes of 2006-7 as attesting to the ‘popular uprising’ in Egypt against a US-backed dictator. The revered American linguist failed to realize who the instigators of the ‘labour struggles’ were and what their aims were. The ultra-right wing Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, however, did not fail to understand the ‘democratic’ nature of the ‘labour struggles,’ noting that:

Egyptian workers have started to shift their demands from strictly economic—salaries, bonuses, and industrial safety—to the more political question of re-configuring their relation to the state.

Any political analyst who knows his labour history will not need to be told that American industrialist Andrew Carnegie was no friend of the working class and will immediately suspect ulterior motives for Carnegie Endowment approval of labour struggles in developing countries. Not so for left liberals such as Noam Chomsky who gave full backing to the US destablisation of Egypt on the basis of phony labour struggles organized by US intelligence. The veteran leftist told the BBC that the West had a duty to do something in Libya, where NATO was about to embark upon one of the most brutal colonial wars in Modern history.

Such leftists have enjoyed much kudos over the years. But their support for NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombings and neo-colonial wars has exposed them as weak political thinkers at best or downright fakers at worst.

The co-optation of workers in the service of capitalism has its roots in the nineteenth century and its widespread use was documented by Frederich Engels in his essay ‘The History of the Working Class in England’ where the German philosopher describes how the ruling class managed to co-opt the labour movement to steer it in the interests of capital:

out of ten strikes they make, nine are provoked by the manufacturers in their own interests, as the only means of securing a reduced production. You can never get the masters to agree to work “short time,” let manufactured goods be ever so unsaleable; but get the work-people to strike, and the masters shut their factories to a man

The destruction of nation states by rogue corporations: an open secret

In a report entitled: ‘The Algerian Regime: An Arab Spring Survivor,’ the author states that one of the reasons for the failure of regime change in Algeria has been the fact that ‘The country reinjects tens of billions of dollars in social transfers—unemployment insurance, health care system, subsidies and food price reductions—every year, thanks to petroleum income.’

The country’s welfare state policies are the reason why the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the police force of Western capitalism, would like to see the Algerian state experiencing ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ in the form of a violent civil war that would definitively break up the country, reducing it to fiefdoms run by war lords and open to unfettered exploitation by multinational corporations.

The war by multinational corporations against the bourgeois nation-state is no secret. In a surprisingly candid article in Le Monde, anthropologist Jean-Loup Amselle discretely admits this fact when writing in relation to the French intervention in the Central African Republic:

Today Africa is the scene of the implosion of the bureaucratic state and of a redefinition of social and political relations, which, far from systematically revealing ethnic conflicts, rather attests to the emergence of diverse forms of religious recomposition. This collapse of the state certainly poses a problem to developed states and international organisations in terms of the maintenance of order on the continent, but it also enables mulitnationals and the great powers to procure the raw materials they need at the lowest price.2

What such an eloquent description omits, however, is that the ‘grandes puissances,’ are actively fomenting subversion, terrorism and instability in resource-rich African nations, creating the context for international organisations to call for humanitarian intervention. In this sense, the claim that the disorder in Africa is a problem for European states is without foundation.

The Third Great Crisis of Capitalism

The strategy of permanent revolution, of upheavals and strikes in the service of big capital, this is the strategy of the third great crisis of capitalism. To get an insight into the implications of the third great crisis of capitalism and its drive towards a world war three scenario, it is useful to refer to the only country in history that managed to defeat capitalism, namely the USSR. In the following text, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR describes the relationship between capitalism and war. The text is worth quoting at length:

It would be wrong to think that the Second World War broke out accidentally, or as a result of blunders committed by certain statesmen, although blunders were certainly committed. As a matter of fact, the war broke out as the inevitable result of the development of world economic and political forces on the basis of present-day monopolistic capitalism. Marxists have more than once stated that the capitalist system of world economy contains the elements of a general crisis and military conflicts, that, in view of that, the development of world capitalism in our times does not proceed smoothly and evenly, but through crises and catastrophic wars. The point is that the uneven development of capitalist countries usually leads, in the course of time, to a sharp disturbance of the equilibrium within the world system of capitalism, and that group of capitalist countries regards itself as being less securely provides with raw materials and markets usually attempts to change the situation and to redistribute “spheres of influence” in its own favour — by employing armed force. As a result of this, the capitalist world is split into two hostile camps, and war breaks out between them.

Perhaps catastrophic wars could be avoided if it were possible periodically to redistribute raw materials and markets among the respective countries in conformity with their economic weight by means of concerted and peaceful decisions. But this is impossible under the present capitalist conditions of world economic development.

Thus, as a result of the first crisis of the capitalist system of world economy, the First World War broke out; and as a result of the second crisis, the Second World War broke out.

What the recent wars in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe and the uprisings against left-leaning governments in Latin America have revealed is that the Third Great Crisis of Capitalism is leading the world towards a Third World War scenario. In the 1930s, fascism was the means whereby the ruling classes of Europe fought labour. Fascism was a social movement which co-opted labour in the service of big capital, while rallying populations in support of foreign wars of aggression.

Its purpose was to save capitalism from communist revolution. Today, capitalism has again become ‘revolutionary’. This time ‘human rights’ ‘democracy’ and ‘liberty’ are the memes employed by the ruling class to divide and conquer the world, as it was these principles which enabled the bourgeoise to seize power in 18th century America and France, establishing the supremacy of the capitalist mode of production.

The ideological roots of these people power revolutions are in Trotskyism, a counter-revolutionary trend in the labour movement that developed in tandem with fascism during the 1930s. It is no surprise to find that many of the key players in current US foreign policy were former Trotskyites.

This is the ideological origin of petty-bourgeois leftism today and it is most blatantly manifested in the reactionary garbage published by the Socialist Worker’s Party since the start of the wars against Libya and Syria.

Conclusion

The French press is openly advocating a military coup that would replace the current leadership and place Algeria under the control of a ‘Transitional Council’. With President Boutiflicka in ill health and terrorist attacks mounting against the Algerian army, a military coup, following by a phony ‘revolution’ is a distinct possibility.

In June 2010, the leader of the Movement for Kabyle Autonomy Ferhat Mehenni proclaimed the formation of a provisional government in Paris. Covert support for Kabyle separatists and Al-Qaeda militants will most likely constitute NATO’s policy of creative destruction against one of Africa’s last anti-colonial states, bringing an end to the nation-state and welfare-state capitalism in developing countries and inaugurating an era of global neo-feudalism, reducing the world proletariat to the status of slaves. The first step in fighting back is simply to understand that all these so-called ‘revolutions’ are fake and that, the real people’s revolution will not be televised.

  1. En interpellant l’Etat sur une base non idéologique mais en demandant le respect de droits basiques, les protestataires renégocient une citoyenneté à partir de leur marginalisation. Les grèves des syndicats autonomes qui paralysent le pays visent certes des augmentations de salaire, mais délégitiment la représentativité imposée de l’Union générale des travailleurs algériens (UGTA), le syndicat du régime. Les manifestations des collectifs de chômeurs du Sud relient leur mal-vie à l’appropriation corrompue des ressources pétrolières de leur région. Le Monde. []
  2. ‘L’Afrique est aujourd’hui le cadre d’une implosion de l’Etat bureaucratique d’une redéfinition du lien social et politique qui, loin de revêtir systématiquement le caractère de conflits ethniques, témoigne plutôt de l’émergence de formes diverses de recomposition religieuse. Cet effondrement de l’Etat pose certes aux pays développés et aux organisations internationales des problèmes de maintien de l’ordre sur ce continent, mais il permet aussi aux multinationales et aux grandes puissances de se procurer à moindre coût les matières premières dont elles ont besoin’. Le Monde. []

Gearóid Ó Colmáin is a political analyst based in Paris. He is a frequent contributor to Russia Today, Radio Del Sur and Inn World Report. His blog can be reached at Metrogael. Read other articles by Gearóid.