woensdag 4 november 2009

Anti-imperialist united front 4

To analyse the (actual) capitalist world, one has to begin with a study of for example” The Capital” of Marx, to learn about the general laws of development of capitalism. Marx could only apply his findings on the -for him -“actual” and “concrete” capitalist society. Those general laws of development are working in another way in the capitalist world coming in the stage of imperialism.
And Lenin apply the findings of Marx on the for HIM “actual” and “concrete” world. (Eventually read my former article on this subject)

“....a very important feature of capitalism in its highest stage of development is so-called combination of production, that is to say, the grouping in a single enterprise of different branches of industry, which either represent the consecutive stages in the processing of raw materials (for example, the smelting of iron ore into pig-iron, the conversion of pig-iron into steel, and then, perhaps, the manufacture of steel goods)—or are auxiliary to one another (for example, the utilisation of scrap, or of by-products, the manufacture of packing materials, etc.).
“Combination,” writes Hilferding, “levels out the fluctuations of trade and therefore assures to the combined enterprises a more stable rate of profit. Secondly, combination has the effect of eliminating trade. Thirdly, it has the effect of rendering possible technical improvements, and, consequently, the acquisition of superprofits over and above those obtained by the ‘pure’ (i.e,, non-combined) enterprises. Fourthly, it strengthens the position of the combined enterprises relative to the ‘pure’ enterprises, strengthens them in the competitive struggle in periods of serious depression, when the fall in prices of raw materials does not keep pace with the fall in prices of manufactured goods.”[1]    
(....) Cartels become one of the foundations of the whole of economic life. Capitalism has been transformed into imperialism.
Cartels come to an agreement on the terms of sale, dates of payment, etc. They divide the markets among themselves. They fix the quantity of goods to be produced. They fix prices. They divide the profits among the various enterprises, etc.”[2]       (....)
Competition becomes transformed into monopoly. The result is immense progress in the socialisation of production. In particular, the process of technical invention and improvement becomes socialised.

This is something quite different from the old free competition between manufacturers, scattered and out of touch with one another, and producing for an unknown market. Concentration has reached the point at which it is possible to make an approximate estimate of all sources of raw materials (for example, the iron ore deposits) of a country and even, as we shall see, of several countries, or of the whole world. Not only are such estimates made, but these sources are captured by gigantic monopolist associations. An approximate estimate of the capacity of markets is also made, and the associations “divide” them up amongst themselves by agreement. Skilled labour is monopolised, the best engineers are engaged; the means of transport are captured—railways in America, shipping companies in Europe and America. Capitalism in its imperialist stage leads directly to the most comprehensive socialisation of production; it, so to speak, drags the capitalists, against their will and consciousness, into some sort of a new social order, a transitional one from complete free competition to complete socialisation.
Production becomes social, but appropriation remains private. The social means of production remain the private property of a few. The general framework of formally recognised free competition remains, and the yoke of a few monopolists on the rest of the population becomes a hundred times heavier, more burdensome and intolerable. [3]

All those developments that had just begun in the time of Lenin, have become more general today and even develop on a higher level.
Read for example:

SAUDI ARABIA - Saudi Investments Overseas - The Private Placements. Publication: APS Review Gas Market Trends. Date: Monday, October 17 2005

Private Saudi businesses have built up an impressive overseas presence, ranging from the upstream end to oil refining and distribution. They are linked to the Saudi royal family in one way or another. Their downstream acquisitions abroad are seen as a backdoor way for Saudi oil and refined products to penetrate markets where Saudi Aramco has no presence, such as South America, Central Asia and Russia.
Saudi businessmen are generally cautious in their approach; and deals with foreign partners are reached without publicity. The main private operators involved in overseas upstream and downstream activities are the following:
Nimir Petroleum Co. Ltd (NPC): Nimir is incorporated in Bermuda and is involved in petroleum projects in Azerbaijan, Colombia, Indonesia, Oman, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tunisia, Venezuela and Yemen. Established in August 1991, it has rapidly built up branches registered in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Russia and the US. Nimir's owners are the Bin Mahfouz family of Jeddah, a well connected clan in Saudi Arabia, which originates from Hadhramaut in Yemen. It has an array of businesses inside and outside the kingdom.
This family used to be referred to as the banker of the Saudi royals, because it used to control the National Commercial Bank (NCB), the largest bank in Saudi Arabia. But in May 1999 the state acquired 50% of NCB, removing from control the bank's chairman and CEO Khalid Bin Mahfouz.
Nimir, in Arabic meaning "tiger", was founded by Abdel Rahman and Sultan Bin Mahfouz. Khalid Bin Mahfouz is said to be overseeing its operations. The President and CEO of Nimir is Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Basodan, who originates from Hadhramaut and was previously in Saudi Aramco's planning department and an advisor to the oil ministry. Basodan is also a member of the board of Capital Investment Holdings of Bahrain, a firm controlled and chaired by Khalid Bin Mahfouz. Saudi Crown Prince Sultan ibn Abdel Aziz and his younger full-brother Prince Salman (emir of Riyadh) are said to have a stake in Nimir.
Operating and service companies in NPC include Nimir Petroleum Co. Europe Ltd. (NPCEL), Nimir Petroleum Co. USA Inc (NPC USA), Hocol (for Latin American operations) and Nimir Energy Services Ltd. (NESL). NPCEL, registered in Bermuda, identifies business opportunities for NPC.
NPCEL is based in Paris. NPC USA operates from Dallas. It procures and ships materials to NPC operations on Russia's Far Eastern island of Sakhalin and in Colombia. It provides administrative and human resource services to Petrosakh Joint Stock Co., another Nimir unit registered in Russia. NESL provides specialised services to NPC, including project management and support for technical, financial, accounting, legal, IT, risk management, and administrative needs. NESL, incorporated in Bermuda in 1991, operates from London. (...)
NPC entered Russia in October 1992 when Nimir Petroleum Petrosakh Ltd. (NPPL) acquired from Petrosakh Ltd. a 50% share in a Russian JV company which had operations in the Okruzhnoye field, in the Pogranichi Basin of Sakhalin island. Thus Petrosakh Joint Stock Co. (PJSC) was formed. PJSC commissioned its 5,000 b/d refinery on the island in April 1994. The output of the refinery is fuel oil (36%), gasoline (35%), diesel (20%) and kerosine (9%). In May 1995, NPPL raised its stake in PJSC to 95%. In 1996 new development and exploration wells were drilled and building work was completed on a marine terminal. PJSC activities involve oil gathering and separation, oil production, dehydration, gas compression and gas injection. It has built a tank farm for crude and refined products. It has an arctic camp supporting year-round operations. Exports are sent through the Okruzhnoye terminal during the summer and via the Korsakov port in the winter. Products for consumption on the island are transported via road and rail. PJSC also does seismic and geological surveys to explore for new oilfields. PJSC meets 25% of the island's consumption needs and employs about 95% of its staff of some 500 people from among the Sakhalin islanders. NPC has invested more than $150m in Sakhalin. Azerbaijan. NPC has a stake in Azerbaijan International Oil Consortium (AIOC), consisting of a 50% share in a JV with Delta Oil Co. (another private Saudi group, see following pages), called Delta Nimir Khazar Ltd (DNKL). DNKL, established in 1994, has 1.68% in AIOC. DNKL is a member of the North Absheron Operating Co. (NAOC) consortium, formed to develop the Ashrafi and Dan Ulduzu fields in the North Absheron ridge. In March 1997, Baku's parliament approved the contract on Ashrafi and Dan Ulduzu fields. The contract had been signed in December 1996 by Azeri state oil company SOCAR and Amoco (now part of BP), Unocal, Itochu and DNKL. The shares are: BP (30%), Unocal (25.5%), SOCAR (20%), Itochu (20%) and DNKL (4.5%).(.....)
Venezuela. NPC, through Hocol which now is in charge of Nimir's Latin American E&P operations, made its entry into Venezuela on June 3, 1997 in a partnership with Pennzoil (Pepco). On that date a Pennzoil-led group won a $46m contract to operate the B2X-68/79 field. The shareholding in the group was as follows: Pennzoil (60%), Hocol (NPC - 20%), Ehcopek SA (10%) and Cartera de Inversiones Venezolanas CA (10%). The field is in eastern Lake Maracaibo. B2X-68/79 covers 10,000 acres. It had 39 active wells producing about 2,500 b/d. The minimum investment required during the first three years on B2X-68/79 was $12m. Hocol now is also producing from the B2X-70/80 field in Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo. In line with new government regulation under petroleum law of late 2001, Hocol recently converted its operating agreement into a joint venture (JV) with the state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), with the latter holding a controlling 60% share. All other 31 operating agreements with foreign companies have to be converted into JV with PDVSA by end-2005 (see survey of Venezuela to be serialised in Nos. 18-22 of this volume). (....)
Indonesia: NPC has negotiated a 150,000 b/d complex refinery project in East Java as JV with P.T. Gigaraya International of Indonesia and Mitsui of Japan. This was to get crude oil from Saudi Arabia. NPC has held talks on downstream ventures in Ukraine and Moldova. In 1993 it was among firms negotiating with Elf Aquitaine on a new refinery at Leuna in east Germany. NPC joined Shell in Block 10 in Romania in 1992 but pulled out later that year after disappointing results. It left Malta in 1996 for similar reasons, after prospecting with Shell in Block 7 of the southern offshore region.
Corral Petroleum Holdings (CPH) is a Swedish-registered firm owned by Mohamed Hussein al-Amoudi, of a Jeddah-based merchant clan. CPH in the first quarter of 1999 assumed control over the refining and retail businesses in Morocco. This was done through a merger of the country's two refining firms in which CPH had held the majority since May 1997: Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l'Industrie de Raffinage (Samir) and Societe Cherifienne de Petroles (SCP). The smaller refinery, at Sidi Kacem, has a nameplate capacity of 1.5m t/y. Samir's refinery has a capacity of 6.25m t/y.
CPH's local unit, Corral Holdings Morocco (CHM) merged Samir and SCP so their resources were pooled together to gain economies of scale and help CHM prepare a $700m programme for expansion. This was to include an upgrade of the two refineries, as gasoline and gasoil specifications in Morocco were to be changed by 2003.(....)
A little known Saudi firm, Ningharco, is part of a group led by Bridas of Argentina to build a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline rivalling that of Unocal-Delta. Arab Group International (AGI), based in Riyadh and headed by Prince Sultan ibn Saud ibn Abdullah al-Saud, had in 1995 agreed to take a 50% stake worth $345m in Arakis Energy of Canada, which had acreages in Sudan. AGI said is was ready to provide $405m to fund development of oilfields in central Sudan. The project's viability was questioned as it was located in a war zone. In early 1998, Mobil and Alireza were reported to be planning to invest over $200m in converting a Panamanian bunkering centre into a hub supplying fuels to Latin America. In March 2003 Saudi tycoon Mohamed bin Issa al-Jaber was negotiating to buy Phillip Holzmann's profitable US unit JA Jones for about $500m (see background in Vol. 54, No. 19).[4]

So today there exists a real imperialist class IN the colonised region. The different family clans of Saudi Arabia for example are a part of the imperialist capitalist class. They own a part of the globalised and integrated production system, so a part of the means of production.
So the capitalist class in the actual imperialism is not bound to a homeland or a “nation”. The capitalists, in groups, in a kind of “collective” way “own” the most important and for the total production in the world “means of production”. They “own” those “means of production” together, some have more (but not exclusive) ownership of the “means of production” stream-upward (the “natural” resources): Saudi family-clans own the most important sources of oil (and so expropriate each day the Arab population. Together with groups of capitalists, more originated out of the imperialist centres, an who are more (but also not exclusively)“owner” of the big oil-companies they” control” (in one way or another), and therefore you can say, they “own” the quasi-total oil-production, and therefore expropriate each day the majority of the world-population living in the colonised part of the world. Even the nations who are trying to break the colonial production-relations historically put on them and having nationalised their oil-resources (as for example Venezuela) cannot say that they are totally free of imperialist control.

Typical of the old capitalism, when free competition held undivided sway, was the export of goods. Typical of the latest stage of capitalism, when monopolies rule, is the export of capital.
Capitalism is commodity production at its highest stage of development, when labour-power itself becomes a commodity[5]

So a characteristic phenomena of imperialism, “export of capital” is nowadays happening out of the colonised region itself by that part of the imperialist capitalists whose origins lay in that region. That “export of capital” is now often done in the direction of the centres of imperialism itself.
Read for example:

Saudi-American Forum, SAF Essay #22 September 23, 2003, The United States Must Not Neglect Saudi Arabian Investment, By Tanya C. Hsu
(...) The Kingdom holds important levels of both foreign direct investments (FDI) and passive investments. FDI is the smaller portion of total Saudi investment in the United States. The U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) defines FDI as "the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one foreign resident, of 10% or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or the equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise." According to the BEA, FDI in the United States by Saudi Arabia grew from U.S. $2.7 billion in 1998 to $4.4 billion in 2001. This produced a modest average income of between 2.3% - 5.4% per year to Saudi investors.
Throughout this four- year period, Saudi FDI represented approximately 35% of all FDI in the United States from the Middle East region. In each of these years, Saudi Arabia was the regions' single largest FDI investor in the United States. However, FDI is only a small portion of the total Saudi investments in the United States. Passive non-controlling Saudi investments in U.S. stocks, government and corporate bonds, commercial paper, bank deposits, and other securities are significantly larger than FDI.

In February 2003, total worldwide Saudi investment, including investment in the United States and Europe, was conservatively estimated at U.S. $700 billion. The United States received approximately 60% of the global Saudi investment allocation. (Europe 30%, the rest of the world 10%) (...).
Global Competition for Foreign Direct Investment
(...) Competitors for foreign investment include Europe and newly liberalized economies in the developing world. According to UNCTAD, China, India and Saudi Arabia are emerging as major investors allocating more FDI to developing countries. FDI is also flowing to high value added projects that produce high paying jobs, including research and development (R&D) outsourcing and regional headquarter operations. (...)
Passive Saudi investments are also being allocated to the home market, as movements in the Saudi stock market reveal. Investors in Saudi Arabia's stock market (Tadawal All Share Index, or TASI) realized paper gains of more than $38 billion in the first two quarters of 2003, a percentage gain of 55%. Share price increases were spurred by the end of major conflict in Iraq, strong liquidity from high oil prices, and low interest rates. The market was also boosted by the initial public offering (IPO) of the Kingdom's biggest telecommunications company, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), which gained 131% by July 2003 with a market capitalization of Saudi Riyal $117 billion (U.S. $31 billion). Total market capitalization of the 69 currently listed firms in the Saudi stock exchange is small compared to the U.S. stock market but nevertheless grew from U.S. $88.5 billion at the end of December 2002 to U.S. $127.2 billion at the end of June 2003. TASI performance over the past ten years has now converged on U.S. equity market performance as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. Saudi Arabia has opened 20 state controlled or dominated sectors, including telecommunications, water desalination, air transport and airport services, construction and management of highways, seaport services and local refineries. It plans to sell government stakes in banks and industrial units, making the country even more attractive for investment.[6]

Another example of an argument proving that imperialism analysed by Lenin has developed further:
Read the article her (I put it in a pdf-file, but you can traced it back on internet as you wish)
First I will define what I think is today: the class “bourgeoisie”. All the capitalists (the “owners” of the globalised and integrated “means of production”) together, are a part of the bourgeoisie, but also all those whose  interests are bound to the continuing of existing off capitalism are “bourgeoisie”: So all those whose income, political and economic  influence, political and economic power is “given” by the capitalists, are “bourgeoisie”.
So is Lenin talking about “comprador-bourgeoisie”: the politicians, governments, managers, ore military leaders  originated out of those colonies ruling over the local establishments of the imperialist monopolies, put into power in the colonised regions by the imperialists.
FDI you can consider it as what Lenin defined as “export of capital”.
So you can see for example see Egypt and Jordan as regions put in colonial production-relations by imperialism and ruled by a comprador bourgeoisie. But perhaps Turkey, but above all Saudi Arabia and the UAE, one can consider as imperialist entities ruled by imperialist capitalists: so (co-)owner of globalised integrated production-chains. The ownership is in different degrees. The degree of ownership depends of the part of the globalised and integrated production-chains about which there is that ownership. (I will explain this in a next article).
One argument to this I gave above where I illustrate how for example Saudi Arabia is “exporting capital”  itself(in the form of Foreign Direct Investments - FDI) and becoming “co-owner” of a part of a globalised integrated production-chain IN...... the imperialist centres.
This (as I will explain also later) has, that is at least my opinion, on the strategy f of the anti-imperialist nationalist organised masses. Where the different “nations” whose borders are historically drawn by colonialism or imperialism are a part of one anti-imperialist oriented Arab nation, locally comprador-bourgeoisie has been taken out of their - by imperialism protected - position. But Saudi Arabia has to been seen as an entity formed by capitalists who once “expropriated” (and “expropriate” each day) the Arab popular masses of their resources and “owning” all surplus-value they get out of them. So the government coming to power by the anti-imperialist nationalist Arab revolution has to “nationalise” Saudi Arabia. (Of course “Israel” has also to be “nationalised” by that same revolutionary government that can be the only power be able to allow the return of the Palestinians - the part of the Arab people that was “expropriated” by colonial forces of imperialism – to their ancestral places)

Further analyse in the next article.

[1]                             Finance Capital, Russ. ed., pp. 286-87 —Lenin

[2]              Out of  “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism - A POPULAR OUTLINE”, Written: January-June, 1916. First published in mid-1917 in pamphlet form, Petrograd. Published according to the manuscript and verified with the text of the pamphlet. Source: Lenin’s Selected Works, Progress Publishers, 1963, Moscow, Volume 1, pp. 667–766. Transcription\Markup: Tim Delaney & Kevin Goins (2008) Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2005. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

[3]              Out of  “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism…..”

[4]              http://www.allbusiness.com/mining/oil-gas-extraction-crude-petroleum-natural/564012-1.html

[5]              Out of  “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.......”

[6]              http://www.saudi-american-forum.org/articles/2003/030923-saudi-investments.html