International Committee of the Fourth International, 1998
Globalization and the International Working Class: A Marxist assessment

This statement, published in 1998, is a comprehensive reply to the US-based Spartacist League and other organizations who claimed that the global integration of capitalist production—globalization—was simply a myth invented by the capitalist class.

The statement exposes the class basis of Spartacist’s claims that the technical revolution in computers, communications and transportation over the previous two decades had not fundamentally changed the structure of world capitalism. The Spartacist League maintained that the economic and political power of the nation-state remained undiminished. On this basis, it claimed that organizations based on a national perspective, including the trade unions and the national movements, provided the only viable perspective for the working class.

The book evaluates the bitter historical experiences of the working class with the trade unions and national liberation movements and with Stalinism as practiced in the former Soviet Union and China. It also relates the nationalist perspective of the Spartacist League to the group’s origins in the 1960s and its subsequent political evolution.

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  1. Globalization and the dynamics of capitalist development
  2. Global economy versus the nation-state system
  3. A qualitative change in the structure of world capitalism
  4. Globalized production and the trade unions
  5. Capitalism and the origins of the nation-state
  6. Spartacist and the “stockholders who care”
  7. International finance vs. the capitalist state
  8. The rise and fall of the Bretton Woods system
  9. Marx and the “iron law of wages”
  10. The rejection of a revolutionary perspective
  11. A separation of immediate demands from the struggle for socialism
  12. Spartacist denies the fall in living standards
  13. Economic nationalism and American chauvinism
  14. Globalized production and proletarian internationalism
  15. Transnational production, the nation-state and the origins of war
  16. Capitalism strains against the confines of the nation-state
  17. Karl Kautsky and “ultra-imperialism”
  18. Spartacism and Kautskyism
  19. Fear of globalization’s revolutionary implications
  20. The Spartacist League and the trade unions
  21. Marxism and the trade union question
  22. The antagonism between the unions and revolutionary Marxism
  23. Engels and the English unions
  24. The lessons of German social democracy
  25. The historic degeneration of trade unionism
  26. Mythologizing the CIO
  27. Spartacist’s defense of the AFL-CIO
  28. The degeneration of the unions—an international phenomenon
  29. A wave of defeats and betrayals
  30. Strategy and tactics, Marxism vs. opportunism
  31. A crude apology for bureaucracy
  32. On the national question
  33. Globalization and the “new nationalism”
  34. Lenin’s conditional attitude toward self-determination
  35. Where Spartacist champions self-determination
  36. Promoting Quebécois nationalism
  37. Sri Lanka and the Tamil question
  38. The Mexican crisis: Marxism vs. petty-bourgeois nationalism
  39. The perspective of permanent revolution
  40. Spartacist and Stalinism
  41. The USSR’s dissolution and the crisis of capitalism
  42. National state socialism
  43. The Chinese “workers state”
  44. Conclusion