Davos, Quebec, Gothenburg, Genoa... this year has been one of 'anti-capitalist' protests. To judge by the response from state security forces it seems that governments see these protests as a massive threat. In fact the anti-capitalist or anti-globalisation movement is no more than a thorn in the side for the powers-that-be. The massive display of state repression against the protesters is really an indication of the arrogant self-assurance that the most powerful states - those who boast about democracy - feel about their existence. Our rulers sense that the social mish-mash of an anti-capitalist 'movement' where the working class is hardly to be seen as an independent force, is not a serious threat. On the contrary, as the term 'non-governmental organisation' (NGO) implies, many of the organisations involved are simply using the protests as a stepping stone to becoming advisory organs or to increase their existing influence within the official bodies which determine imperialism's rules of the game.

Only a few participants are aiming for something other than reformism. Some of these apparently naively believe that a demo itself can be the catalyst for the over-throw of capitalism. This weakness is compounded by their lack of a programme or any idea about what should replace capitalism. (Though implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, the old social democratic demand for state control is presented as a step towards socialism.) As the statements we issued for the Quebec 'summit of the Americas' and the G8 meeting in Genoa show, our aim is not the impossible task of trying to turn such demonstrations into genuine anti-capitalist protests, but to clarify for anyone who's questioning what's going on why the communist programme remains the only really anti-capitalist agenda.

At the moment, though, a much more serious worry for capitalism is the state of the world economy, particularly the state of the world's largest economy, the US. Yet even as it suffers the worst recession for a decade - with profits down; industrial production and capital spending declining; stock market values, especially of miracle new-tech stocks collapsed [though still 'over-priced'] and the monstrous current account deficit continuing to swell - the US appears to be defying capitalism's economic laws of gravity and the dollar survives intact as the major unit of international trade and a safe bet for investors. But US hegemony is not unchallenged. Behind the international summits and trade agreements inter-imperialist tensions abound. As we have explained in previous issues, the key to US world domination is control of that most vital of internationally traded commodities, oil. The EU, for instance, is struggling to make the Euro an international currency to eventually challenge the dollar. Behind the mask of NATO and 'the international community' a ruthless contest with the US over control of oil routes is going on in the Balkans and the Caucasus.

Meanwhile, the proletariat continues to pay for the capitalist crisis, nowhere less than in Latin America, where the prospect of Argentina defaulting on its debts is just the latest occasion for workers' wages, social security and pensions to be viciously and outrageously attacked. The thought-provoking article by our comrades in Latin America is a stark reminder of how would-be revolutionaries (not only in Latin America) need to get rid of the old national-democratic/state capitalist baggage in order to take on board the only programme for social revolution today: the programme of world communist revolution.

In this context, the commemorative article analysing the historical defeats of 1921 is a reminder of why capitalism is so dominant over the working class today. Eighty years on the lessons of the way the Russian Revolution went down continue to be crucial for defining the programme of the next revolution.

How far the present situation is from that revolution is brought home by the second part of the PCInt's article on the new international party. Yet tiny steps forward have been made. We have never supposed that building up the Bureau would be a straightforward matter and progress in the US during recent months has met with hiccoughs (see articles on the US) but progress there has been. In France the IBRP's supporters are about to publish the third issue of their magazine, Bilan & Perspectives and we continue to meet new proletarian forces who are ready to discuss, clarify and join us in the task of organising for the revolution that will finally emancipate the working class and humankind from economic and political servitude.

IBRP August 2001