The Dialectics of History: Aggression Produces a Reaction of Solidarity


David Adams | Transition to a Culture of Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

1 Aug 2023 – History is dialectical, as described by Hegel, Marx and Engels.

We see this in our times as three policies of aggression have led to the increased solidarity of those who have been attacked.

1. The commercial media is full of stories about the first case: Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, ostensibly to stop the extension of NATO has led to the opposite, a rapid extension of NATO countries around its borders.

2. The commercial media has denied space to the second case: American aggression in the form of economic sanctions has led to an extraordinary solidarity of the Global South to demand a new economic order.

Here is an excerpt from the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China by H.E. Mr. Alejandro Gil Fernández, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Planning of the Republic of Cuba, at the general debate of the high-level segment of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development under the auspices of ECOSOC in New York on 17 July 2023:

“Since its inception, the G77 and China has been advocating for a new international economic order. Now it´s more evident than ever that these transformations cannot wait any longer. The UN Secretary General recently recognized that the Global Financial System is biased, morally bankrupt and skewed to benefit wealthy countries. This is no longer a plea only from developing countries. The reform of the international financial architecture, especially of IMF and the World Bank, cannot continue to wait. We need to strengthen the participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making, norm-setting and global economic governance, so as in order to adapt to changes in the global economy.”

We have reprinted the statement in full in the Culture of Peace News Network (CPNN).

As shown in the map reproduced in CPNN, the Group of 77 includes 134 countries, almost all of the Global South.

As we have discussed in other recent blogs, a new economic order is already under construction.

The dynamics of this new world order are clearly explained here by Rick Wolff, an economist who was my friend and fellow activist during the 1960’s. Seeking to maximize profits, the capitalists of the Global North abandoned workers in their home countries and invested in the Global South. As as result, it is the BRICS countries of the Global South that have become more powerful economically (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

As described in my blog this May: “The New Development Bank is a concrete example of the increasing independence of the Global South from the economic dominance of the American Empire. Related to this is the long list of countries that have indicated they want to be associated with BRICS, including Argentina, Algeria, Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, and Mexico. Already, without the inclusion of these other countries, the BRICS now represents 31.5 percent of the global economy, while the G7 share has fallen to 30 percent.”

3. The third case continues to develop, although not yet to the extent of the others described above: Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people continues to produce condemnations at a high level and the development of an international campaign patterned after the campaign that ended South African Apartheid.

This is documented this month in the bulletin of CPNN that is entitled, “News from the Palestine Israel Conflict”

The Dialectics of History: Not Necessarily Progressive!

1b. In the case of the solidarity of NATO in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, we see that it is accompanied by the increased strength of the extreme right in European elections. Is this leading to a return to the 1930’s rise of fascism? Time will tell.

2b. In the case of the solidarity of the Global South against American sanctions, much depends upon the future behavior of China. Does China promote a culture of peace?

On the political level, this question is raised in CPNN with regard to the recent report on the 11th World Peace Forum held in Beijing, which claims that “China will unswervingly advocate, build and uphold world peace.” In this regard, we return to the question posed in the conclusion of the blog in June: (On the political level, for example with regard to the war in Ukraine), “among the peacemakers are the Chinese to some extent. We can only hope that this aspect of Chinese policy will dominate in the coming turbulent period of history. Will the Chinese be able to resist peacefully the provocations of the American Empire such as those connected with Taiwan? Faced with such provocations in the Ukraine, the Russians fell into the trap of war: we must hope that the Chinese will not do so in Taiwan.”

On the economic level, will China really promote a culture of peace in their economic relations with other countries, or will they end up exploiting them?. We concluded last month’s blog with the following: “we have discussed how the New Development Bank, established this year in China by the BRICS countries, may help countries of the South to escape from economic sanctions. And trade with China has now outstripped trade with Europe and North America for the countries of South America. Will these new trade relations independent of Europe and North America enable the countries of the South to escape from exploitation? We hope so, but only time will tell.”

Economist Wolff responds this question by writing: “When Chinese entities invest in Africa, of course their investments are structured to help both donors and recipients. Whether the relationship between them is imperialist or not depends on the specifics of the relationship, and its balance of net gains.” It seems that he also thinks that “only time will tell.”

3b. And finally, with regard to the growing solidarity against Israeli apartheid, much depends on the future nature of the Palestinian struggle. Will the nonviolent approach prevail? Or will the struggle turn violent? If it turns violent, there is the danger that a subsequent state will be a culture of war, as was so often the case with revolutions in the 20th Century. The South African revolution was an exception thanks to the leadership of Nelson Mandela, but one man alone cannot determine the course of history and South Africa since the leadership of Mandela is far from a culture of peace.


Dr. David Adams is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace.  Previously, at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, he was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behavior, the history of the culture of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and he helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. Send him an email.

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