Introduction on emergence and significance of the united front by Stefan Engel

Stefan Engel, 13 August 2023

Keynote Speech United Front

Dear friends,

Dear comrades,

I am happy and honored

that the Consultative Committee

has given me the task

to hold a keynote speech at the opening

of the First World Congress

of the United Front.


As an anti-imperialist united front

we fight against imperialism.

Mao Zedong gave us the wise advice:

"Know the enemy and know yourself,

and you can fight a hundred battles

with no danger of defeat."

If you want to

fight imperialism effectively,

you must have a clear basic understanding

of its nature and

its characteristic features.


As dialectical materialists

we naturally start from the

scientific foundations

of our theorists,

but not dogmatically!

We are exhorted by them

to always analyze the changes

in the imperialist world system

concretely and with an alert mind.

Some of my theses

from this concrete analysis

are a subject of lively and

sometimes controversial discussion


But precisely this discussion process

is indispensable

if we want to achieve joint,

internationally coordinated progress in knowledge

and revolutionary action.

So in this opening event,

standout theses

and their subsequent discussion

are inseparable.

The chief causes of

social changes and upheavals

are not to be found

in the minds or programs

of the ruling politicians or

in the advent of new ideas or

philosophies –

dialectical and historical materialism

proves as much.

They have their material basis

instead in the economic base

of society,

in the contradictory development

of the mode of production.”

(On the Emergence of the New-Imperialist Countries, pp. 6f.)

The economic basis

of capitalism

generally consists in the

the exploitation of wage labor

and nature.

Capitalism is

predominantly organized

on a nation-state basis.

According to the definition of Lenin,

imperialism brought a

"new stage of exploitation

of man by man".

This new stage of exploitation

has its material basis in the


of the capitalist mode of production.

Monopolies are not satisfied with

average profits

and strive for maximum profits.

Since the monopolies have already

completely subordinated the national markets,

they have a law-governed tendency

to internationalize production and


Characteristic of the

imperialist mode of production

are predatory profits,

meaning that the monopolies,

through their prominent

economic and political position,

also appropriate

all over the world

the profits

of competing monopolies,

the non-monopoly bourgeoisie or

the neocolonially dependent countries.

Characteristic of modern imperialism

in contrast to the imperialism

of feudalism

is the export of capital.

Politically, Lenin defined

imperialism as

everywhere reaction,

internally and externally.

In terms of power politics, imperialism strives

for world domination.

These three definitions

describe different features

of the imperialist social system,

which must be considered

as a dialectical unity.

But imperialism

undergoes development:

At the end of the 19th century

the new epoch

of finance and monopoly capital,

called imperialism,

was ushered in.

At the beginning of the 20th century

monopoly capitalism

had finally emerged.



during the Second World War

from monopoly capitalism

to state-monopoly capitalism.

This means

the monopolies have

completely subordinated the state,

their organs are merged

with those of the state,

and on this basis

the monopolies have established their rule

over the whole of society.

The system of imperialism

at this stage must therefore

be called

the dictatorship of the monopolies,

no matter what form of rule

they prefer –

fascism, military dictatorship, or

bourgeois democracy.

Imperialist colonialism

after the Second World War

took on the character of neocolonialism.

This means that neocolonial exploitation

is carried out primarily through finance capital

with the method of economic penetration,

which is also followed by political dependence.

This does not mean, however,

that imperialism


military conquest –

as we currently witness

in the Ukraine war.

On the contrary, war is intrinsically linked

with the imperialist system.

Since the 1990s

one must speak of a

reorganization of international


With the internationalization of production

since the 1990s

imperialism has

acquired a new quality.

This means

that capitalist production and trade mainly

take place internationally in relation to the

world market.

This initiated a new stage

of imperialist rivalry,

in which the international monopolies

of the individual imperialist countries

engage in a fierce exchange of blows,

which, in tendency,

aggravates the general

danger of war.

The internal reaction

is directed above all

at the working class,

the revolutionaries and their parties,

as well as the fighting masses,

in order to maintain,

under all circumstances,

the imperialist power relations.

We observe an aggravation of

the general danger of war

in particular

since the open crisis

of the reorganization

of international production

in connection with the global economic

and financial crisis of 2008.

It has broken out openly

with the struggle

between NATO and Russia

for supremacy

in the former Soviet republics

Georgia and Ukraine,

which has led to an imperialist war

in Ukraine.


With the reorganization

of international production

a number of new phenomena and

essential changes

in the imperialist world system

have emerged,

which are of fundamental importance

for the strategy and tactics

of the Marxist-Leninists,

revolutionaries and



This had an impact

first of all on the

change in the mode of production:

International corporations partly have merged

across national borders

to become global market-dominating


The 500 largest

of the total 120,000

international monopolies

of solely ruling

international finance capital

today dominate the world market economically

and world affairs politically.

The basis of the mode of production

is the international division of labor,

which plunges the individual national economies

including the imperialist countries –

into a special mutual dependence

on the world market

and, especially in times of crisis,

severely impairs them

through disruption of supply chains

and crises in the supply of raw materials.

At the same time there is

a new characteristic contradiction:

The international supermonopolies

have established their domination

over the entire world and

are fighting fiercely

for supremacy

on the world market.

At the same time, the

nation state remains

indispensable as basis of power


starting point for the

international competition.


The reorganization of

international production is changing

the international class structure.

The triumphant advance of

the capitalist mode of production

has created

a powerful international working class.

But with the emergence of

international monopolies,

in particular an

international industrial proletariat emerged

in the large-scale international enterprises,

whose production methods are standardized

across national borders.

It includes blue- and white-collar workers

who are directly

employed by

the international monopolies,

as well as blue- and white-collar workers

of national monopolies, suppliers, etc.

In this way, imperialism itself has created

powerful opponents:

“This international industrial proletariat is

the carrier of a social development

which makes the class antagonism

come to the fore,

transcending all national barriers,

and makes the international working class

develop more and more common features

and move closer together,

despite all differences.

The workers’ position

in the most advanced

social production,

having acquired

an international character,

is the material foundation for this.”

(Götterdämmerung, p. 80)

This establishes

the leading role of the

international industrial proletariat

in the anti-imperialist struggle.


The collapse of the

social-imperialist superpower

Soviet Union and

of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance in 1990/1991

resulted in a unified world market.

This process

of economic and

political reorganization of the world

overturned the entire previous

imperialist world system.

State monopolies were privatized,

transnational mergers

gave rise to gigantic monopolies.

This development did not remain

limited to the old imperialist countries,

but also affected

a number of former socialist countries

and populous

neocolonially dependent countries.

Thus a number of

new-imperialist countries emerged,

in Russia, in China, in India,

in Indonesia, in Brazil, in South Africa, in Turkey, or in Saudi-Arabia.

These are today essentially

grouped together in the G 20 summits.

Already in 2017

there were at least 14

new-imperialist countries,

in which more than half of

the world's population lives.

They increasingly vied

for markets and spheres of influence

with the USA, Japan and

the countries of the EU.

Some of these countries

have built up a position of regional

imperialist supremacy.

They pursue visions of their own

imperialist domination,

develop rapidly growing

military power apparatuses, and

form ideological-political power centers

worldwide for the manipulation of

public opinion.

At the same time

the USA remains the only imperialist superpower.

This special role is particularly evident

in the military field.

But China too

has now become an

economic superpower


strives to become a superpower

in political and military terms as well.

This contradiction

between the USA and China

determines the main

economic and political contradictions

within the imperialist world system.

We currently witness how these

individual imperialists

are increasingly becoming organized

in extended blocs like BRICS,

thereby intensifying

the rivalry with each other.


With the transition to imperialism

at the end of the 19th century,

the exploitation of humans and nature

deepened by leaps and bounds.

It took on the dimension of

exploitation and oppression

of entire countries and peoples.

The scope and global extent

of the undermining

of the natural foundations

of human life

triggered a global environmental crisis

in the late 1960s and early 1970s,

which called into question the unity

of humans and nature in general.

With the reorganization

of international production

from the 1990s on

it changed

from an accompanying phenomenon

to a law-governed feature

of the imperialist world system.

In the book

Dawn of the International

Socialist Revolution we stated:

“The ruthless

exploitation of the natural resources

as a source of wealth

at a level of systematic and all-around

destruction of the vital unity

of humanity and nature for the first time

became an economic compulsion….”

(page 180)

In the past few years

the transition to a

global environmental catastrophe

has accelerated massively.

Thus we now

must speak of the fact

that the global environmental catastrophe has begun.

This has given rise to a

latent existential crisis

of humankind,

which has dramatic consequences

for human life,

but also for

revolutionary strategy and tactics

in the struggle against imperialism.

"There are a number of

irreversible developments,

such as the global climate catastrophe,

the weakening of ocean currents and jet streams,

the threatening collapse of the oceans,

the global extinction of species,

the looming collapse of

fundamental ecosystems,

or the chronification of the thinning of the ozone layer."

We have just recently analyzed this new development

of the global destruction and

self-destruction process of the biosphere

and will be publishing

a special issue of our theoretical organ

Revolutionärer Weg

on this topic at the beginning of October.


A new phenomenon is

the decisive importance

of the stock and

commodity exchanges

for the generation of

maximum profits.

Along with

the dramatic level of public debt,

they are

decisively responsible

for the generation of maximum profits

and the international growth

of inflation.

In view of the general


crisis management becomes

the most important

economic and political task

of the state.

This has led to a

chronic national debt


transfers the susceptibility to crises

to the national budgets.


neocolonially dependent countries

are in massive debt crises,

and imperialist governments

in latent government crises.


In connection with the

inter-imperialist war in Ukraine

we are experiencing strategic shocks

in the structure of the reorganization

of international production:

“The transition to

global economic warfare

intensifies to the utmost

the major contradiction

between the revolutionary

internationalized productive forces

and the national-state power

and the organization of

the capitalist relations

of production.

This promotes the danger of

a Third World War.”

(The Ukraine War and the Open Crisis of the Imperialist World System, p. 36)

The war in Ukraine

is an unjust war on both sides

because it is being waged

by powerful imperialist blocs

with the aim of redividing the world.

The economic war of the West

against Russia has

a double-edged effect.

Besides the intended

weakening of the Russian economy,

the sanctions policy of NATO and the EU

provokes the end of the unified world market.

However, this affects the main economic condition

of the reorganization of

international production.

The existing international

division of labor is called into question;

important production systems

are being torn apart and

industries are cut off from raw materials

and primary products and

plunged into permanent crises.

The restriction or

even the complete cutting off

of previously open sales markets

also makes it difficult to sell

the increased mass production

of the supermonopolies.

This development

meets with a logistics, energy and

raw materials crisis

which arose already prior to the war,

and with escalating trade wars.

The consequences for the global economy

are not yet foreseeable.


Dear friends,

More than ever,

imperialism is a colossus

on feet of clay.

Every day brings to light

that it cannot solve the central problems

of humanity,

but causes them, or

even aggravates them.

Its opponent,

the international working class

with the core of the

international industrial proletariat,

today includes, with its families,

4.5 billion people.

This is the majority of the population

in the world.

Every day imperialism creates

thousands of new enemies!

The further development

of imperialism exposes

broad strata of humanity

to growing oppression.

It is easy to guess

that the millions of inhabitants

of the Indonesian capital Jakarta,

which is threatened by flooding,

will not resign themselves

to being swamped,

while those in power,

government circles and

the privileged take up residence in the

already planned capital

in the interior of the country,

which is planned for only 2 million


This can be seen also

in the worldwide refugee movement:

Reasons for flight are multiplied and

aggravated by the beginning

global environmental catastrophe:

This brings billions into contradiction

to this crisis-ridden

imperialist world system.

But also

the galloping inflation

confronts the masses

with existential problems.

The struggle against

oppression based on sexual orientation

is gaining in self-confidence.

Imperialist and

capitalist governments

are executing a rightward development,

manifested in a general tendency

to fascism and

to military dictatorship, etc.

The reactionary

racist smear campaign

against refugees in the imperialist countries

is the attempt to channel

the increasing criticism by the masses

of the shifting of the burdens of

crisis and war.

Resistance is rising against this, and

many refugees are beginning

to join the struggle against imperialism.

In Turkey, Russia and

Iran, the transition

to fascist dictatorship

has already taken place.

In Israel, Hungary, Poland, Italy and

Ukraine, we have to do

with pronounced transitions

to fascism.

Protest is rising against this!

For months, the masses in Israel have been demonstrating

against Netanyahu's constitutional amendment.

The development to the right

is the reactionary answer

to the crisis

of the imperialist world system.

Therefore, the struggle

of the international working class

against imperialism

must also be linked with the struggle against fascism

and the struggle of those oppressed by imperialism.


Dear friends,

Dear comrades,

The Ukraine war

with the acute preparation of a

world war and nuclear war,

like the global environmental catastrophe that has begun,

has the potential

to drag the whole of humanity

into ruin.

A world war, but also

the global environmental catastrophe,

has the potential

to make large parts of Earth uninhabitable.

Humanity is objectively

in a race against time,

whether capitalism can continue

to destroy the foundations of

human life – or

whether the struggle for liberation,

the struggle for socialism,

will be taken up and accelerated.

Even after the socialist revolution

the united socialist states of the world

will have the task

to do everything to curb

the global environmental catastrophe

and to prevent

its spread.

The question of the necessary

rescue of humanity must become

an essential part

of every anti-imperialist struggle

and of the Marxist-Leninist

strategy and tactics of the struggle

against imperialism and

for socialism, and

be moved center stage.


Dear friends,

In the international

Marxist-Leninist and

working-class movement

a veritable economic, political and

ideological reorientation

is taking place along with

an intense struggle over the mode of thinking.

In the process, a number of

of views are emerging

that do not stand up to Marxist-Leninist


This becomes manifest particularly

in connection with the

war in Ukraine:


Repeatedly, only

the USA is categorized as imperialist.

This is a viewpoint

influenced by revisionism.

The revisionists use it to justify

their policy of supporting Putin and China.

Russian imperialism,

Chinese imperialism,

Japanese or

European imperialism,

on the other hand,

are made out to be

better than they are:

CPRF Russia

repeated at the beginning of the war

almost word for word the justifications

used by Russian President Putin,

that NATO and the USA were threatening

Russia from the neighboring country,

that Moscow would enforce peace

in the Donbass, and so forth.

Such a revisionist argumentation

today leads directly to social-chauvinism.

In some cases the revisionists

even demand a so-called

multipolar world order,

which is nothing other than a

pro-imperialist viewpoint.

Right into the revolutionary

working-class movement

there are uncertainties or even

opinions that agree with

these revisionist positions.

And yet it is a fact

that the USA and NATO

have constantly pushed forward

their eastward expansion since 1990.

This was a provocation for Russia.

At the same time, Russia itself pursues

an imperialist power policy,

invading Georgia and

annexing Crimea in 2014.

In 2015,

with inhuman air strikes

it preserved

the power of the ailing

Assad regime in Syria and

expanded its own strategic influence

in the Middle East and Africa.


Another question to be clarified is

that the character of imperialism

is understood one-sidedly

as the exercise of political power.

As a result, often

smaller imperialist countries are misjudged

because they lack the military basis.

Crucial to a

correct assessment, however,

is the economic character

of a country.


Furthermore, imperialism

is not seldom reduced to

colonialism or neocolonialism.


In part, the

role of international finance capital

as a collective power structure

of the imperialist world system

also is underestimated.

An often heard argument

against the emergence of

new-imperialist countries

is that Qatar, for example,

is not an imperialist country

because it does not have

a well-developed production

of its own.

This underestimates the role

of international finance capital.

An important analysis made headlines

in the German press at the end of July,

according to which 52.1% of the DAX shares

are in foreign hands,

only 31.3% in German hands, and

the rest is unclassifiable.

No serious revolutionary

would deny, on the basis of these facts,

the imperialist character of Germany.

It is a method

of the international monopolies

to collect capital

on the international stock exchanges.

Thus, Qatar is the largest shareholder

of the biggest bank in Germany,

Deutsche Bank

and also of

Daimler-Benz AG.

Qatar engages in

all-round capitalist exploitation

by investing the capital

from oil production

all over the world.


We also need to discuss

the misleading and

dangerous paths being taken

when one fails to fundamentally

assess and criticize

the bureaucratic-capitalist countries

in the former Soviet Union and

the People's Republic of China

after Mao Zedong.

In part, even the countries that followed,

such as Russia, are considered socialist.


There is also the phenomenon

that the worldwide growth

of the working class

is denied in postmodernist fashion, and

its ability and task to play the leading role

in the anti-imperialist struggle

are disputed or

at least skeptically questioned.

The slogan

"Workers of all countries, unite"

today has a broader

material basis

than ever before.

That this is

not yet understood subjectively

is another matter.

We have to work on this and

organize the struggle of the workers


This is much more complicated, and for this

international forms of organization

are necessary

in which the workers

exercise their leading role.


Dear comrades,

Dear friends,

The founding and

successful building

of the anti-imperialist united front,

the practicing

of proletarian internationalism,

of cross-border cooperation and

coordination, is a fitting answer

to the rightward development,

fascism, war, and

global environmental catastrophe.

Despite all military, political and

economic power,

imperialism is weak.

It can no longer solve

the problems of humanity.

This is sensed by the workers and

masses worldwide.

It becomes evident

in numerous strikes, even uprisings,

struggles and protest movements,

but also in questions and

a search for orientation.

Because since the revisionist betrayal

the reputation of socialism

is still damaged,

and distorted images of socialism

prevail among the masses

and even in the working class.

But it is precisely the search

for a social alternative that

alarms the imperialists,

because they cannot give them

answers and solutions.

And that is why they use

their power apparatus,

but also their media,

to counteract this and

create confusion,

especially also

through a social-fascist demagogy

in conjunction with oppression

and even brute force.

The workers and masses

are starting to move –

the question is, what is the aim of their protest?

This we have to influence,

have to organize the workers and masses,

take up their protest,

connect it, coordinate it,

radicalize it and revolutionize it

through consciousness-raising work.

This is the task

of the participating organizations

of the anti-imperialist united front.

In this spirit I wish

the first World Congress

of the anti-imperialist and

anti-fascist united front much success!