The Brics and the illusion of development in capitalism

Michel Goulart da Silva (Esquedia Marxista) 5 September 2023

Lula's participation in the 15th BRICS Summit, held in South Africa, between the 22nd and 24th of August, has been reported in the press in recent days. The meeting brought together a group of self-described “emerging” countries, using rhetoric that seeks to show a non-existent “multipolarity”. Part of the mainstream press highlighted the presence of “dictatorships” at the summit, especially emphasizing the role of China and Russia, but this was not how they referred to the murderous monarchical dictatorship of Saudi Arabia.

The aforementioned economic group, whose first summit was held in June 2009, met in a context marked by the war between Russia and Ukraine and the growing political and commercial tension between China and the United States. Lula, representing Brazil and positioning himself as a leader of Latin American countries, sought to sell the unconvincing image of a critical stance or even autonomy in relation to imperialism. On his social networks , Lula stated: “BRICS will continue to be a driving force for a fairer world order and an indispensable actor in promoting peace, multilateralism and defending international law. We will promote the overcoming of all forms of inequality and discrimination” .

On the part of the mainstream press, what had the most impact was the accession to the bloc of new countries. The meeting decided on the accession of Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia, which will be part of the BRICS from January 1, 2024. These countries join Brazil, China, Russia, India and South Africa. South. These new accessions could mean a political and commercial expansion of China, leader of the bloc, but, at the same time, they deepen its heterogeneity, as they incorporate countries like Saudi Arabia, clearly subordinate to the USA.

In the Lula government's rhetoric, Brics is an initiative that seeks to be an alternative to imperialist countries and, with this, envisions the possibility that they can, through mutual cooperation, develop economically. However, it has been known for more than a century that this is an illusion sold by the bourgeoisie of countries dominated by imperialism. Trotsky stated that imperialism “has become the main obstacle to economic and political progress” , by despoiling “ the natural wealth of backward countries and deliberately restricting their independent industrial development ” (Marxism and our time ,1939). This domination translates into the political organization of countries, creating a relationship of economic domination, even though there is formal political independence. In his classic work on imperialism, Lenin stated:

“(…) finance capital and its corresponding international policy, which translates into the struggle of great powers for the economic and political sharing of the world, create countless transitory forms of state dependence. For this era, not only the two fundamental groups of countries are typical - those with colonies and colonies -, but also the various forms of dependent countries that, politically, formally, are independent, but, in practice, are entangled in webs of financial and diplomatic 'dependence'” ( Imperialism, Higher Stage of Capitalism , 1917).

With Brics, the governments of these countries are trying to do nothing more than organize an alliance to better negotiate their dependence on imperialism under the leadership of China and, to a lesser extent, Russia. However, without breaking with the domination mechanisms of imperialism, this is nothing more than rhetoric to please its supporters. Lula's first governments, even at the economic height of China's GDP growth, did not go beyond negotiating better conditions for the sale of commodities . Even China, in addition to the reduction in the pace of its GDP growth, despite its developed industrial park, appears to participate in international trade in a more significant way through the sale of all kinds of trinkets through e-commerce sites such as Shein and Shopee .

To begin discussing any possibility of political independence and economic development, the first step is to stop paying the debt and guarantee the necessary resources to develop industry and science. However, not even this limited nationalist perspective is on the horizon of the ruling classes and the government of unity with the bourgeoisie headed by Lula, who made clear his commitment to debt in the approval of the fiscal framework.

Only the unity of workers can lead to the development of society, guaranteeing not only employment and income for all, but also culture and true freedom. In this sense, the creation of blocs like Brics only serves to enable the bourgeoisies of these countries to find the best way to be dominated by imperialism and, with this, guarantee their small share of the profits of international capital. Therefore, only a socialist revolution and the fight for communism can put real transformations in society on the horizon.


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