No 1598 4th September 2021
Much more to the American and Western stooge pullout from Afghanistan than simply ending a failed project. Certainly it is a defeat and as such has released a stream of admissions, atrocity revelations and headscratching questioning of neo-colonialism. But the significance of the disaster goes far beyond Kabul, and raises profound issues understandable only set in the Marxist-Leninist perspective of the greatest crisis collapse in all history, building up to the all-out World War that is the only end point for the inter-imperialist trade war contradictions steadily intensifying as the Catastrophe unfolds. For all its humiliation the bankrupt US Empire remains the most powerful force on earth. Kabul pullout is about re-orientation towards the coming conflicts, abandoning the costly pretences of “democracy” in favour of isolationist world bullying and brute suppression of all world resistance to its continuing domination. But “jihadism” and other turmoil (secular or Islamist) signal the non-stop revolt is underway.
The hasty pullout of US empire forces from Afghanistan is helping open up the great revolutionary debate which grows increasingly urgent as the imperialist Great Catastrophe unfolds, dragging the world towards total breakdown and war destruction.
As Leninism has always emphasised, defeats and retreats imposed on the capitalist imperialist order are the main key for opening up revolutionary movement and development and especially the rebuilding of scientific socialist leadership crucial for the class war to come.
That means blows, setbacks and humiliations to the ruling class from any direction be it “formal” socialism and labour movement struggles, anarchist spontaneity, nationalist struggles, from lesser capitalist powers and even in some circumstances equal ones (as Lenin’s Bolsheviks called for during the inter-imperialist First World War, knowing that a Tsarist ruling class defeat by Germany would create revolutionary opportunities), and above all at present from “jihadists and terrorists” now spread far and wide in struggles against the dominant US monopoly capitalist Empire, and its world network of stooges.
None in themselves offer ideology anything like a full answer to capitalist worldwide tyranny, and often they block the battle for scientific rationality and the struggle for revolutionary leadership to overturn the whole capitalist order.
Such is their sectarian confusion that they are sometimes on the wrong side (early on in Syria’s civil war for example, until the ISIS “blew-back” and started fighting America and its Iraqi stooges).
But the weakening of bourgeois domination, short or long term, that their struggles lead to, however crudely done, opens up the space for the vital worldwide debate that has to come, in which Marxist understanding will once more become widespread.
All the great questions have to be gone through and most of all the understanding of what happened to the Soviet Union and socialist camp, assessing all the giant achievements of the first great workers state, and the disastrous philosophical retreats from the 1920s onwards, which increasingly held back the revolutionary grasp and inspiration of the masses and ultimately led to the liquidation of the still viable USSR (a Stalinist revisionism which still hobbles leadership in the continuing workers states like China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam, both internally and in offering a world lead).
But however complex to analyse, the great ferment of anti-imperialist sentiment and hatred, built up by centuries of gross exploitation and by the rapidly deepening economic breakdown, is shaking the foundations of long decades of anti-communism and consumerist philistinism.
So it is proving around the Afghanistan humiliation for the West by the reactionary Taliban as outlined in the last EPSR.
This strangest of national liberation movements in its backward religiosity, has set all kinds of questions and issues running, about the treachery and betrayal by imperialism of the Afghani middle class it pretended to be offering a new life to; about shattered illusions in fostering “democracy”, “nation building” and “progress”; in “advances for women” credulously swallowed (and bolstered) by feminists and PCers across the world (anti-communistically ignoring that such huge advances were achieved in the 1980s in the only sustainable way possible, by building socialism); in the treachery of pointlessly lost lives and limbs of soldiers, and their civilian support, both Western and many more Afghani.
Massive recriminations, and blame-mongering splits in the ruling class establishment have erupted, inside America and other imperialist powers like the UK, and especially between the US and its “allies” and “partners” in the Cold War and now the futile “war on terror” (meaning the US programme for economic strangulation and violent blitzkrieg or drone suppression of all opposition to its monopoly domination across the world), all signs of a system losing its nerve.
Astonishingly abusive terms like “imbeciles” and “traitors” are flung around by the likes of Tony Blair, to cover up their own responsibilities for setting the whole “terror war” mess in train in 2001 or by US hawk reactionaries like John Bolton, even thrown out of Donald Trump’s cabinet for being too aggressive and, staggeringly, now a sneering anti-Biden interview favourite for the Channel Four News, (like the Guardian newspaper, its “democratic liberalism” long a front to smuggle through some of the vilest “human rights” anti-communist propaganda lies and distortions in all the media).
Philosophical debate is erupting meanwhile about the impossibility in modern times of imposing Western “values” by colonialism ie the great bourgeois “democracy” fraud and its lying pretences about “freedom”, “free speech” and “prosperity”.
First it is worth recording some of the numerous, usually little publicised, further revelations about the degenerate reality of the propped-up local stoogery, its incompetence, incoherence, bribery and corruption from top to bottom, of which a taste only is possible among a stream of guilty partial admissions and head-scratching:
When the Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, the militant group faced almost no resistance. The country’s now former president, Ashraf Ghani, fled to the United Arab Emirates, accused by one of his own ambassadors of stealing $169m (£123m) on his way out – and the Afghan military melted away without a fight. President Joe Biden blamed the Afghan people for the Taliban’s conquest. “We gave them every chance,” he said. “We couldn’t provide them the will to fight for their future.”
But blaming Afghan citizens, some of whom may be tortured or killed in the near future, for their country’s collapse is wrong and immoral. The Taliban victory is the product of the corruption and cronyism of elites – especially senior US military personnel and Afghan politicians.
Corruption in Afghanistan has long been an open secret among international observers and its own citizens. In 2020, Transparency International ranked Afghanistan among the top 20 most corrupt countries in the world. Reports of US government funds flowing into the pockets of warlords and criminal syndicates were common, while nepotism marred public trust in successive administrations. If the Afghan people – and its military – refused to fight for the state, it was, in part, because they had no faith in it.
One reason the Afghan military collapsed so quickly was because, in part, it did not actually exist. In July, President Biden claimed that the Afghan army had 300,000 troops, but the Pentagon knew those numbers were inflated. Afghan military commanders had been pocketing extra money allocated for fake soldiers. “The number of ghost personnel may go into the tens of thousands,” said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, in a 2017 speech. A West Point report, released in January, estimated the Afghan government had a real fighting force of only 96,000. And by the time Kabul fell, these soldiers were reportedly no longer receiving a salary, or even food.
Not only did the Afghan military exist largely on paper, but through US military contractors, the Pentagon was inadvertently financing the Taliban. A 2009 report in the Nation cited US military officials who estimated that between 10% and 20% of the money from Pentagon logistics contracts in Afghanistan – hundreds of millions of dollars – went to the Taliban. “Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, had alerted the American military to the problem,” reported the Nation. But 10 years later, the payments were allegedly still happening. In 2019, a group of families who had lost loved ones to the Taliban sued a different set of military contractors for allegedly paying off the Taliban. (The case is ongoing.)
Another stream of Taliban financing, facilitated by the Pentagon and Afghan elites, was the exploitation of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.
In April, I co-authored an investigation for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) that implicated the Afghan president and his family in mining corruption, along with well-connected US military contractors.
An estimated $1tn worth of minerals lies buried under the country’s surface. Before the Taliban takeover, Afghan law prohibited companies from buying minerals from small unregistered mines. One reason for this is because many of these mines were controlled by the Taliban, other terrorist groups, or local warlords. Buying from these mines meant financing the enemy. But our reporting found that there was one company that managed to get an exception to this rule, apparently with the approval of the office of President Ghani.
His office signed off on extralegal rights for the Afghan subsidiary of a US military contractor, SOS International (SOSi), to acquire chromite, a valuable component in stainless steel, from unlicensed mines in six Afghan provinces. The company built a factory outside Kabul and planned to crush and export the chromite.
SOSi is deeply tied to the American military and intelligence services. The company recruited heavily from the office of the former CIA director and top American commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, securing significant political heft in the process. “It’s an open secret that SOSi is essentially a front for the [US Department of Defense],” one high-ranking Afghan official told us.
But SOSi had an even more important connection. Our OCCRP investigation revealed that the president’s brother, Hashmat Ghani, owned 20% of SOSi’s subsidiary, according to confidential documents leaked from an Emirati secrecy haven.
Beyond any mineral money flowing to the Taliban, this deal reflects the broader reasons Afghanistan collapsed. Corruption hollowed out state institutions and left Afghan citizens unwilling to fight for a government that, just like the Taliban, abused its own people, although in this case through theft, extortion and nepotism rather than outright violence and repression.
But the SOSi deal does not just implicate the highest levels of the country’s government, but powerful Americans and US companies too.
The Afghan state and army was in large part a façade, held up only by the American occupation, and it’s no surprise that Afghans were unwilling to fight and die for it any longer.
As the shock of what had happened subsided, and the Taliban raised their flag above Kabul, I grew resentful and angry, thinking about why the mission in Afghanistan failed and whether it could have gone differently.
I worked as a soldier at the coalface of Nato’s Resolute Support mission, which was supposed to train, support and assist Afghan security services and institutions. We provided security for advisers while they engaged with their Afghan counterparts in Kabul. Generally, this would mean picking them up, taking them to the meeting, providing security for the meeting and bringing them back to base. From my perspective, there were at least two fundamental errors in the mission’s approach. The first was the massive outsourcing to the private sector that underwrote the operation.
...Nato’s mission was not fit for purpose.
When I was in Afghanistan, private military contractors numbered almost 30,000. Some were engaged in protection tasks, but many more were responsible for training and mentoring Afghans who held positions of significant influence. They advised on intelligence, war-fighting, diplomacy, policing, you name it. Some of them were doing their best. Many more didn’t give a damn. Many were on six figures and had been for years. Afghanistan for them was a cash cow, a way of putting their kids through college (most were American) or paying off a mortgage. In sum, there were too many poorly qualified people working without accountability, getting paid far too much. If you want an answer to the question of why Afghanistan’s military crumbled in weeks, take a long hard look at their so-called mentors.
Then there was the simplistic assumption that everyone in Afghanistan could fall into two categories, enlightened liberal reformers who would welcome a western presence, and conservative folk susceptible to the Taliban. Needless to say, things were more complicated than that.
There were some pretty unsavoury characters who worked with us in Kabul. One morning, an interpreter who had worked with the British for decades sidled up to me at breakfast and pointed at a young Afghan woman who also worked as an interpreter. In a voice loud enough for her to hear everything, he declared her a “filthy whore”. His reason? She was wearing a pair of jeans and a bright pink headscarf. This sort of language and these attitudes were commonplace and generally went unchallenged by soldiers and contractors, who didn’t want to be seen as undermining locals. And if they were accepted in a Nato base, what hope was there of combating the Taliban’s brutal misogyny?
Corruption existed at every level. One afternoon I provided protection for a meeting between an Afghan air force lawyer and his US adviser. As I sweated into my body armour, they discussed an investigation relating to unauthorised travel on Afghan air force flights. In brief, the Taliban had been able to board flights reserved for Afghan soldiers and fly across the country with impunity. After several hours of back-and-forth on how best to proceed, the American eventually lost his cool and shouted: “You have to get rid of these [corrupt] people!” The Afghan lawyer calmly answered: “Would you like me to disband the entire Afghan air force?” The American had no answer to that. The west has had no answer to that for 20 years.
How Nato believed that these fragile institutions were capable of holding back a group like the Taliban, who spoke with one voice and strove towards one end... Nato got this one wrong. It did not need 30,000 self-interested mercenaries who cared more about their bank accounts than the future of Afghanistan. It needed a small and dedicated grouping of experts supported by an appropriately small and well-equipped protection force. This, coupled with virtual engagement (if Covid-19 has taught us something it’s that we can work at distance), would have had the same impact as the bloated mess that Resolute Support eventually became... Take a look at the figures establishing themselves in offices once held by the democratically elected. Take a look at the devastating attack by the Islamic State. Our presence was enough to stop all of this. Sometimes preventing a change is as important as instigating one.
The second writer is deluding himself – how could any system set up by Western imperialism do anything but reflect the degenerate West itself with all rancidness of its lying “values” to the fore, namely arrogance and sleaze, incompetence, mafia-criminality and gross corruption.
Pocket-lining greed, dirty dealing, illicit (and licit!) plundering and self-serving contempt are inseparable from the ruthless dog-eat-dog “free market” competitive system and its ever more concentrated monopoly endpoint (see Lenin - Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism).
They become virtually its very essence in periods of collapse and slump as Marx and Engels noted 150 years ago – witness the outrageous profiteering and callous croneyism of the Covid disaster, like the arms and supply profiteering back through history in wartime, as well as the now shameless lying about it all, with virtually no attempt at all made to seriously seem to be upholding “standards” and “probity” etc.
Even Goebbels’ Nazi propaganda made an effort.
Other press accounts reveal a bit more about the utter lie that underlay the whole vicious and vengeful pantomime:
I was never certain of the legitimacy of our presence in Afghanistan. I wanted to believe I was there for the right reasons, namely to help the Afghan people and deter future terror attacks. But the doubts always remained, fuelled by witnessing civilians caught up in exchanges of fire, or seeing eerie ghost towns that had been abandoned after ceaseless violence.
For those who haven’t served in the army, it’s easy to assume soldiers are obedient and unquestioning. Yet as long as combat operations directly involve humans, doubt will always be part of the equation. Questioning the moral objectives of our mission was, for me at least, a necessary precursor to participation.
In the 12 years since my service, however, those doubts have become a full-blown rejection of the stated motivations behind Operation Herrick. Hindsight is powerful, and some will think me naive or deluded for going to Afghanistan in the first place. But there is a long history of veterans seeking to make sense of wartime experiences, uncovering deeper truths they were not conscious of before.
Initially, those truths manifested themselves in the sheer scale of the human cost of the war. A total of 453 British service personnel were killed between 2001 and 2014, alongside 2,600 who were wounded, 247 of whom had limbs amputated. The number of soldiers who suffered psychological injuries is unknown and will probably remain so. And yet, according to the writer Frank Ledwidge, not a single al-Qaida operative or “international terrorist’” who could conceivably have threatened our country is recorded as having been killed by Nato forces in Helmand.
In the parliamentary debate on Afghanistan last week, many of my colleagues rightly pointed to the deaths of UK service personnel. But there was hardly any mention of the human cost to the Afghan people. Ledwidge estimates that British troops alone were responsible for the deaths of at least 500 Afghan civilians and the injury of thousands more. Overall, the war is believed to have killed almost a quarter of a million people, a third of whom were civilians.
Many MPs have rightly highlighted the impending loss of Afghan human rights at the hands of the Taliban. But where was this concern over the past two decades? What of the human rights of those killed in a 20-year US drone attack programme, where an estimated 90% of victims were innocents? How did this square with “western liberal values”?
[...] consider how much money has been made from the “war on terror”, of which the war in Afghanistan was a key part. Many of those who pursued this had direct links to the corporations that profited so handsomely. The Afghan war cost Britain an estimated £40bn, which pales in comparison to the US government’s $2.26tn price-tag.
These vast sums – our taxes – were paid to transnational security companies such as G4S, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. The history of British and US foreign policy is littered with even starker examples of companies that actually lobbied for armed intervention to further corporate interests, from United Fruit’s lobbying of the US government to overthrow the Guatemalan government in 1954, to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP) pressuring our own government to protect its interests in Iran, leading to the overthrow of the country’s first democratically elected government. A cursory glance at history would reveal many other instances.
The war in Afghanistan was an attempt to revive a 19th-century idea of “global Britain”. It was part of an approach to international affairs – evidently still widely shared in our parliament – that has nothing to contribute to the 21st century. To make it through the turbulent times ahead, our leaders will require qualities they too often lack: patience, honesty, the willingness to build long-term coalitions. Without concerted action, the unfolding climate crisis will increase international instability. Our future will be one of failed states, food and water shortages, and forced mass migration unless we share technologies for renewable energy, write off crippling debts and support rather than suppress the development of countries we have failed to dominate. Britain, hosting Cop26 later this year, has a chance to demonstrate genuine international leadership and show how to deal with the global instability that is, in part, our historic legacy. We cannot bomb, maim and force our way out of the existential climate threat ahead.
Clive Lewis is the Labour MP for Norwich South
But these “vast sums” can no longer be afforded because capitalism is heading for a brick wall of world bankruptcy.
And anyway these virtuous thoughts are all a bit late surely?
It requires a particularly slow kind of brain to take 12 years to see what a stinking fraud the whole invasion was from the beginning and to appreciate the horrors it was imposing in the forcing of a mass refugee exodus, torture and civilian “collateral damage” – not least since the atrocities and warcrimes were already being widely reported within months or even weeks, and the revelations about prisoner slaughters, wedding party blitzings (being paralleled in Iraq) were pouring out too in Wikeleaks revelations or photographic evidence for example, all widely condemned and campaigned about (including with some of the biggest ever anti-war demonstrations).
Slow brains can catch up of course; but hardly by declaring twenty years later that “democracy” means something within the capitalist system, seeking to prop up its moth-eaten fraud by becoming a “representative” for a Labour Party which crudely and lyingly censors and expels even the tamest of Corbynite fake-“leftism” and anti-war protest.
What needs shouting out loud is what a giant hoodwinking heap of dung all parliament is, a lying pretence of “having a say” to cover over the dictatorship of the bourgeois owners and bosses and, even more, that the opportunist Labour Party (and its entire official TUC trade unionist backing) is part of the whole lying warmongering setup, still pouring the poison out against the Afghan resistance and justifying the whole stinking invasion.
It is the total stooge of imperialism that all such class collaboration can only end up as and has always been.
As for the reformist nostrums, poured out at the end about “sharing technology” and “building coalitions” on climate change etc these are the most cynical nonsense which can only thoroughly disarm the working class.
What a joke!
The Covid outbreak itself is delivering yet more lessons on just what monopoly capitalism will do when faced with the obvious needs for urgent logical and rational social cooperation solutions affecting the very survival of billions of the world’s population – and potentially the whole world population as new virus variants are spawned in the uncontrolled pandemic areas, – which is to continue to put profit at the forefront and to hell with human suffering.
Against all reason the great pharmaceutical monopolies are suppressing and controlling the research and production of vaccines for example with a completely cynical profiteering grip on the market that is prepared to leave most of the Third World fester in pain and death, the Afghans included. Just the same way the demands of capital to extract as much profit as it can through cutting down rain forests for plantations, cattle, and polluting mines; tearing up the seabed for destructive fishing or undersea mining; poisoning the world with oil spills, or churning out billions of environment throttling plastic bottles and packages etc etc etc etc etc, will always override every consideration of the world eco-system, all the way to the complete destruction of civilisation.
And all the more so as the great slump failure of the system tightens its grip, and intensifies the cutthroat battle for markets to unprecedented levels, making the need to squeeze all other considerations to one side (labour rates and conditions, safety standards, environmental considerations both in production and of the product).
The organisation which “behaves nicely” or with principles is the organisation that will go under on the markets against inevitably more ruthless corporations, and their ruthless political backing and ultimately military backing in the international conflicts that are the only end result (just as in 1914 and 1939).
And the multi-national combines will twist and bend public opinion to bulldoze through their pursuit of more dividends as recent revelations about the oil companies have once more demonstrated, using all the lie techniques developed by the tobacco companies etc. to declare black is white.
The current Extinction Rebellion eco-protestors blocking the London streets for example can achieve nothing, however sincere, earnest and self-sacrificing they are, if the great questions of capital’s dictatorship and its necessary overthrow, to be replaced by communism, are not put at the centre of all understanding and struggle.
These and multiple other single-issue politics are no different to the fatuous “Stop the War” pacifism which has been at the heart of nearly all fake-“left” politics for decades, and is currently being revived with the feminist “50th anniversary march” to Greenham Common, pretending that it was the “women’s camp” which stopped the siting of Cruise missile in Europe in the 1980s and “prevented nuclear war”.
It is a complete nonsense and one that serves a completely reactionary purpose in heading off understanding of the need for complete, inevitably aggressive, class war to overturn capital.
For what it is worth, and that is not much in the light of all the non-stop warmongering that has not been remotely stopped since, much of it by women leaders, (Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, the Blair Babe Labourites, etc voting overwhelmingly to destroy Iraq – and Afghanistan), the Pershing and Cruise missiles deployments ended because of a shift in reactionary Cold War priorities, with Reagan/Thatcher toning down expensive anti-Soviet sabre-rattling to focus resources on the escalating trade war against Germany and Japan which was beginning to crucify American output by the 1980s.
Such tradewar conflicts are the inevitable result of the contradictions in capitalism and the guarantee of future World War III as Trumpism and now Biden are making clear.
Gorbachevite bureaucratic revisionist soft-headedness, on a path to liquidating the Soviet workers state at that time after decades of slow retreat from Leninist revolutionary grasp, played into that decision, and was in turn reinforced in its stupidity by similar brainrot delusions of “all cooperating together” to the point of abandoning the gigantic achievements of the Soviet Union, led and guarded by the dictatorship of the proletariat (see EPSR Book 13 Gorbachevism, and Book 21 Unanswered Polemics against Museum-Stalinism).
It opened the soviet camp to the oligarch-mafia carpet-bagging which has plundered Russia ever since – with more eco-destruction – and to the desperate East European fascist reaction surrounding it from the Baltic states down to swastika-toting Ukraine, many participating in the invasion of Afghanistan.
And just to underline the point, Boris Johnson has just increased by 40% the number of warheads to be deployed on the nuclear Trident submarines, which never went away.
The same feminist anti-communism has helped imperialist propaganda pretend it was “nation building” in Kabul – and that the war there was “worth it” – which even a marginally more rational Tory commentator such as Simon Jenkins is able to shoot down as a complete nonsense:
Britain’s MPs this week uttered one long howl of anguish over Afghanistan. Their immediate targets were Joe Biden and Boris Johnson, politicians who just happened to be on the watch when Kabul’s pack of cards collapsed. But their real concern was that a collective 20-year experiment in “exporting western values” to Afghanistan had fallen into chaos. MPs wanted someone other than themselves to blame. A politician is never so angry as when proved wrong.
Like their fellow representatives in Congress, MPs somehow hoped the end would be nice and tidy, with speeches and flags, much like Britain’s exit from Hong Kong. Instead, tens of thousands of Afghans who had lived in an effective colony under years of Nato occupation had come to believe the west would either never leave or somehow protect them from Taliban retribution. They were swiftly disabused.
In 2006 I stood at dusk on a castle wall overlooking Kabul with a young UN official. He had just heard the Kandahar road was no longer safe. “Why,” he sighed, “can’t Afghanistan be more like Sweden?” I tried to see if he was smiling, but he was grimacing. For another 15 years, armies of western soldiers and civilians hurled stupefying amounts of money at the country. They created a wildly corrupt western dependency, where some 50,000 Afghans have links with the west that are now lethal. As for the “western-trained” army, one of its trainers told me it was mostly for show. An occupying power could not possibly motivate local youths to kill their fellow countrymen who might soon be ruling them. He rightly predicted: “They will just walk home.”
It is now 22 years since Tony Blair gave a speech in Chicago lecturing the US on his doctrine of international intervention. He wanted the west to invade countries across the world not in self-defence, but to save people everywhere from oppression. It was a reformulation of Alfred Milner’s Victorian concept of moral imperialism. British politicians on both the left and the right have long been uncomfortable about the abandonment of Milnerism as the acceptable face of empire. Global policing is somehow embedded in Britain’s political DNA. All Blair’s wars of aggression were cheered on in the House of Commons.
Many people have spoken this week of the “decline of the west”, lamenting the collapse of US moral authority. Yet these theories are beside the point. The belief that our moral values are somehow meaningless unless they are enforced upon those who do not share them is imperialist bigotry. It also leads to absurd biases. Iraq is now thought of as “bad interventionism”, as opposed to Afghanistan’s “good” version. The virtue of the latter invasion led President Obama in 2009 to bless the war in Afghanistan with a “surge” of soldiers, taking the US total to 110,000, mere target practice for the Taliban.
American gunboat diplomacy, initially supposed to salve the wounds of 9/11 in 2001, opened the door to fake morality and a trillion-dollar nation-building fantasy. The catastrophic return of Taliban autonomy became its inevitable conclusion. The US – with Britain as its lackey – committed liberal interventionism’s cardinal sin: half-heartedness. The craving to intervene is always followed by a craving to withdraw. Traditional empires at least pretended they would never leave. As it was, Afghanistan replicated departures from India, South Africa, Hong Kong and Iraq. If you invade and conquer an alien state, you own it, but must then disown it. Western rule has killed an estimated 240,000 in Afghanistan since 2001, more than the Taliban ever did. It has not left morality, just a mess.
We must assume strategists in Washington and London are now planning interventions in Taiwan and Ukraine against possible Chinese and Russian expansion. If you ask taxpayers to spend billions on defence, you need something to show for it. So you pretend, as Johnson did in his bizarre conversation with Biden this week, that “gains” were made in Afghanistan. You accuse non-interventionists, as did the former Tory leader William Hague, of demonstrating “the enfeeblement of the western mind”. In a recent column, Hague called on Britain to continue invading foreign countries when “our common humanity demands it”. In doing so, he sounded like Pope Urban summoning the First Crusade.
The concept of a global police force, so often cited, requires some framework of global consent. When the United Nations was founded, that consent was rooted in the first chapter of its charter. This stated that all members “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of another state”. On that basis it achieved general consent, if not always obedience. The end of the cold war and the assumed superiority of liberal western values emboldened the US and Britain to declare a “responsibility to protect” all those oppressed by their governments. The authority of the UN charter – rooted in national sovereignty – collapsed, and the UN gave way to the US as a self-declared policeman.
Military intervention is rarely, if ever, humane. Western regimes have enough woes to confront in their own countries. If they crave moral outreach, it should be through the imperialism of ideas, of receptive minds and open doors, not of guns and bombs.
But while all this makes useful points, and with a suitable tone of contempt for the dinosaurs of the deranged ultra-right still dreaming of striding the world in Victorian high collars, served by loyal punkah wallahs and “coolies”, it does not escape the same dire illusions (or professed belief) in bourgeois democracy and its twin anti-communism, that saturate the whole political spectrum and not least the fake-“left”, however “revolutionary” they proclaim themselves to be).
They all evade the real issue which is that working with “receptive minds” or crude force is irrelevant.
Afghanistan was never really about doing any of these “progressive” things at all.
It was not even about “we only went there to get the terrorists” as US president Joe Biden now lyingly claims, despite supporting the George W Bush/Tony Blair agenda early on, of “nation building to prevent terror” etc.
War itself, pure and simple, was the real aim with the initial victim almost an irrelevance other than being an easily demonisable target to stampede public opinion.
Capitalism needs war because of the insane “logic” of its inescapable overproduction crisis.
The world is not in some “difficult period”, or a financial “storm” or even “hurricane” sweeping across an otherwise continuing system, and therefore resistable or even reversible by reformist trade union “hunkering down to protect working conditions” (impossible in a Depression) and perhaps a bit of street protest and extra-parliamentary action.
Nor is it seeing a “gradual weakening” of imperialism as the revisionists mislead the world, (all the way to liquidating the great Soviet Union) which can be waited out patiently (with a little pacifist care) until it gives a last gasp and the world turns in relief to socialism.
The Catastrophe now underway is the fundamental breakdown of the class-dominated capitalist order which rose 800 years ago to overturn feudalism and rule the world.
Capitalism is heading for the rocks economically and politically, enmeshed in the greatest Catastrophic breakdown in all history, the unstoppable and unsolvable outcome of the giant contradictions embedded in production for private profit (as Marx’s great Capital analysis explained).
The global bank credit meltdown of 2008-9 was the full surfacing of the latest crisis phase, long brewing through a dozen smaller crises since Richard Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard 50 years ago.
And it staggers on towards world disaster on an almost incomprehensible scale, with the huge dollar printing which alone has been propping it up, guaranteeing an even worse inflationary disaster any moment and not-so-far-off collapse of the dollar itself.
As Marxism has constantly warned from Lenin’s writings onwards, and by the EPSR over the last four decades, that can only mean a plunge into World War, as borne out in 1914 and again in 1939, and now inevitable again, to destroy surplus capital to unblock the system).
Only in such a framework can Afghanistan really be understood.
(In fact the historical perspective needed is even longer, seeing this as the end of the entire millennia-long period of class society altogether which mankind has gone through in its revolutionary jumps from tribal, to slave, and feudal serf societies, to modern wage-slavery (see numerous Marxist accounts like Frederick Engels’ Anti-Dühring or Lenin’s State and Revolution), all heading ultimately for classless, socialist, cooperative and rational world society.
A new revolutionary leap is coming.
And in such a context the great conundrum with Afghanistan is why the pretence of unfeasible “nation building” was persisted in for so long, and at such gigantic expense.
It was simply an impossible drain on resources, finances and ultimately morale as the body bags continue to come home.
It was surely a colossal mistake for the Empire when it needs to focus on riding out the great world conflict with rival capital – which Trumpism and now Biden in fact are saying?
The answer to grope towards is surely that this pointless 20 years is a reflection of world imperialist paralysis and fear of the mindboggling war consequences once it finally abandons its lying pretences about “democracy”, the giant confidence trick that has proved so useful for centuries for keeping the mass of the population in line.
Too obvious an imposition of its bourgeois dictatorial rule with open fascist ruthlessness when and where necessary (as Bush aide Donald Rumsfeld and vice-president Dick Cheney had advocated for their New American Century “shock-and-awe” agenda for example) and revolution will be stirred (as is clearly happening across great swathes of the planet).
But as Iraq already showed and Afghanistan is proving, too much continuing pretence of building a new way forwards by forcing “democracy” and “human rights” onto nations, is impossible too.
The crude reality is that the Empire has to force its will on the world to stay on top.
However set back the ruling class it is not going to leave the historic stage without being forced from it.
This disastrous pullout from Kabul, means world scale war gets closer and more threatening than ever (the exact opposite to the revisionist perspective of an ailing and ever more enfeebled imperialism simply giving up).
Return to war was already signalled by the almost lost gamble of Margaret Thatcher’s 1981 Malvinas (Falklands) war, the first Gulf War and the Croatian/Bosnian fascist breakup of Yugoslavia and NATO bomb victimisation of Serbia along with nonstop fascist Zionist smiting in the Middle East, but become most notably clear since the 9/11 shock and the “endless war” against “terror” perpetrated ever since, which is in effect the opening phase of WWIII and still goes on.
Plans to set the world on course for non-stop war to keep the bankrupt US on top were well in train before the shock of the 9/11 New York WTC-Pentagon incident, itself a relatively minor terrorist attack but profoundly shaking the complacency of the “untouchable” American Empire.
Iraq was the suitable victim, chosen because of a decade of bullying sanctions and the easy demonisation of the thuggish Saddam Hussein and his biting of the CIA hand that installed him (under pressure from the Arab Street).
Afghanistan was effectively an accident, a distraction that looked like an easy target to get the warmongering atmosphere going in earnest, especially as a shattered US populace demanded an “action response”.
It has obviously proved anything but.
As warned by Leninism, and indeed by some of the more thoughtful and rational of the petty bourgeois commentators at the time, the blitzing of the country and subsequent extension into the “war on terror” across the Middle East has only massively increased the great upsurge of revolt, driving hundreds of thousands into the ranks of the jihadists and “terrorists” everywhere, including obviously with the Taliban, and throughout the Middle East but also all across the Sahel in Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, the Philippines, Indonesia, continuing Chechen discontent.
Their revolt goes hand in hand with all kinds of other upheavals, with all kinds of beliefs and discontents in huge street demonstrations in Latin America, in the nationalist anti-imperialist war in Ethiopia, in potentially revolutionary “gang” wars in earthquake shattered Haiti, in a sub-surface but explosive revival of the Arab Spring in Egypt (kept down only by brute fascist repression under the Washington backed General Sisi), the ferment in Europe around movements like the gilet-jaunes, and multiple single issue causes from global warming and eco-destruction protest antifa and black nationalist anti-racism.
Of course there is total confusion all around and extraordinary complications; it cannot be otherwise until Marxist-Leninist historical perspective and scientific analysis of class forces can be rebuilt in the vacuum left by revisionism’s worldwide retreats (see book references above and multiple EPSRs).
Only that perspective sees all this turmoil as the initial stirring of the greatest revolt in history.
The hard to understand reality of the world revolt is made muddier by its own confusions and sectarianisms.
Some “terrorism” “jihadism” and “anarchist destructiveness” can be and has been manipulated by Western skulduggery (CIA, MI6) as the Mujahideen were in (and around) Afghanistan in the 1980s to disrupt the country’s then new socialist revolutionary regime, and even more, to entrap the Soviet Union as it answered calls for defence and support from Kabul (as revealed by the excellent journalism of John Pilger in films like Breaking the Silence, and recently re-stated in articles - not reproduced here for reasons of space but commented in the EPSR issue No1201 23-09-01):
In particular, as well as exposing the entire new US warmongering programme as of very longstanding for the purposes of inter-imperialist war in the conflict for world economic domination and survival, and nothing whatever to do with any “anti-terrorist” peacekeeping, -- Pilger forces a rethink on the Soviet Union’s ill-fated Afghan war intervention by revealing that not only did CIA counter-revolutionary intervention against the 1978 Afghan Revolution pre-date the USSR’s armed help to the Mojahedin threatened Kabul government (exactly as the EPSR constantly explained at the time) but that this CIA terrorist network (which directly gave birth to the Taleban and al-Qaeda later on) was precisely organised WITH THE SOLE AIM OF EMBROILING THE USSR IN AN UNWINNABLE WAR FOR WHICH THE USA WAS ALREADY TRAINING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF REACTIONARY INTERNATIONAL - ISLAMIC - EXTREMISTS for waging war on the “communist infidels”, etc, etc.
Pilger has made further good revelations since on the initial manipulation and attempted training of jihadist elements in Syria in 2011 to trigger the bogus “extension of the Arab Spring” against the erratic anti-Zionist/anti-imperialist Assad regime.
It was no such thing but yet another CIA-stunt, reactionary “colour revolution” designed to counter the genuine Arab Spring in next door Egypt and to neutralise any support that it might get from Syria or Libya and any further spread in the Middle East.
But Pilger’s non-Marxist limitations lead him, like many of the fake-“left” to make a one-sided assessment, seeing only “reactionary manipulation” in all such jihadism – which apart from giving a convenient cover to the fake-“left” still rowing in behind imperialism’s “war on terror” and “condemnations” of terror, simply misses the great surge of anti-imperialism unfolding everywhere.
That is the great problem for imperialism across the planet.
Even if it can pull out of a mess like Afghanistan it cannot pull out of the entire Third World – who would be left to exploit for cheap labour and plundering of resources????
The droning and blitzing must go on.
There is no choice.
And various clues about the Afghan pullback indicate exactly that.
Increasingly clearly it looks like a deal was done with the Taliban by Washington – which would explain the sudden fly-by-night exodus of the American military and the calm responses by the US to the almost total collapse of resistance across the country.
It seems almost choreographed, with a central arrangement for evacuation of Americans and their stooges.
But this was done without consultation with the “allies”.
Hence the bitterness and stung backbiting against America by the Europeans, and most of all by the British empire-reactionaries, posturing mightily about “betrayal”,
And the loudest denunciations come from the Brexiteers, who pinned all their hopes on an alliance with America.
Their outrage only makes sense in the light of the coming trade war intensification between Europe and America.
As explained in many previous issues, Brexit has always been about the British ruling class strategy for getting through the coming Slump, knowing they are now one of the weakest of the major powers, despite all the ludicrous lies about “world beating” performance etc - having the worst industrial performance, agricultural output, etc and barely able to fill supermarket shelves without relying on cheap foreign labour (itself generating multiple problems of racism etc).
The choice has been to side with America and cut loose from the European monopolies.
But America is pulling in its horns.
“Joe” Biden is following the same path trod by Trump of American isolationism, or as one bourgeois analyst suggested, not only America First but America Alone.
All the bourgeoisies can understand what this means; the breakdown of the “international consensus” is coming closer and trade war intensifies.
Hence the stung responses by a desperate British ruling class.
Getting the Afghanistan burden off the books means the US can focus more sharply on the much greater conflicts to come against all its world rivals.
That is obviously includes China but is at least as much the battle against the rival imperialist powers, and with Europe at the centre.
Meanwhile Kabul can be handled by blackmailing the Taliban with the prospect of economic bankruptcy, cynically withholding the Afghan dollar reserves stored in American banks to threaten bankruptcy and mass unemployment if the Taliban persists in its anti-imperialism by “harbouring” other jihadists.
So much for the “humane concern” for people of Afghanistan!
But that pretence has been virtually abandoned now anyway.
And just to underline the Nazi barbarism which has been the reality of imperialist “nation building” the Empire signed off with yet another atrocity as it pulled back, slaughtering yet another innocent family, preparing for a wedding, adding a gruesome coda to the tens of thousands butchered over 20 years of occupation:
The Pentagon has said it is investigating reports of civilian casualties from a drone strike on Sunday in Kabul, but is “not in a position to dispute” accounts from the scene of nine people from one family being killed, including seven children.
US military officials continued to insist however that the strike hit an Islamic State (IS) car bomb, pointing to “secondary explosions” at the scene. That conflicted with reports from Kabul, that the targeted vehicle belonged to a civilian and that children were in it when it was struck by a missile from a US drone.
Initial reports said at least 10 people were killed, nine from the same family, who lived on the street where the attack happened, adding to the bloodshed and chaos of the last days of the 20-year US military presence. Among the dead were three two-year-old children, two aged three and two aged 10, according to reports from Kabul.
A suicide bombing at one of the gates of Kabul airport on Thursday killed at least 170 Afghans and 13 US service members.
Kabul airport also came under rocket attack on Sunday but there were no reported casualties. One of the five rockets was brought down by a US defensive weapon called the Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar System (C-Ram) which sends a hail of fire towards incoming projectiles.
The deadline for the final departure from Kabul airport, the last US toehold in Afghanistan, is on Tuesday, after a scrambled evacuation which has so far flown out 122,000 people, most of them Afghans who worked with or for coalition forces and foreign embassies.
Answering questions about the civilian deaths from the drone strikes, the Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, said: “We are not in a position to dispute it right now, and we’re assessing, and we’re investigating.
“Nobody wants to see innocent life taken. We take it very, very seriously, and when we know that we have caused innocent life to be lost in the conduct of our operations, we’re transparent about it.”
Paul O’Brien, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said: The United States has a responsibility to the families of those killed to name the dead, acknowledge its actions, investigate and provide reparations.
“For two decades the United States has carried out strikes with no accountability to the public for how many civilians were killed by US actions in Afghanistan and other countries. It is unconscionable that the Biden administration continues airstrikes in this shroud of secrecy.
“This airstrike is a glimpse into the future US involvement in Afghanistan if the Biden administration pushes ahead with an ‘over the horizon’ counter-terrorism programme.”
The “justification” for this gross butchery is “to stop the terrorists” who continued to attack the occupiers as they pulled out.
It will only add yet further anger and hatred to the world’s masses and drive yet more of them into the jihadists' ranks.
The suicide bombs set off among Western collaborators desperate to get on flights out of Kabul make it clear that whatever the Taliban leadership might have agreed, or been arm-twisted into, the world revolt is unstoppable.
For all the injustice for the victims of the gruesome attack, this not-quite indiscriminate ISIS-K attack on those who supported and colluded with the Western occupation, is hardly exceptional in a world which has seen literally millions of people blown apart in the last two decades, not by “terrorists” in 99.9% of the cases but by imperialist bombs, drones, all-out wars, invasions, punishment raids and blitzkriegs to “suppress terror”.
This disgusting vengeful US attack was initially played down by the Western media on the instructions of the CIA and MI6, with the BBC for example barely mentioning it on the morning news after overnight reports, and details only emerging fully once it became impossible to cover-up.
As the pullout has been revealing, the far from “transparent” imperialist occupation has in fact suppressed and censored incident after incident of barbaric torture, massacre, and civilian slaughter, including the early on depravities and murders of the Bagram airbase prison, at least as barbaric as the buggery, torture and humiliations imposed at Al Ghraib in Iraq; outright warcrimes occasionally caught on video by gung-ho troops like the notorious Swastika toting Australian army killings (including the celebratory beer drinking from a captured artificial leg) and the shooting of prisoners and wounded by British soldiers, and the “get the numbers up” village killings of innocents documented in a recent BBC programme.
Much of this, as in Iraq running in parallel, has been censored or swept under the carpet in various ways, using the most exaggerated jingoism and chauvinist sentiment about “our boys” and their “sacrifice” to put through time-limits and “all-a-long-time-ago” restrictions on prosecutions and investigations as well as the outrageous scapegoating and persecution of figures like solicitor Phil Shiner, struck-off on trumped-up charges because of his work taking up and prosecuting many of the Iraqi cases of outright beatings and killings of innocent civilians or the murderous incarceration of Wikileaks editor Julian Assange by the British authorities for having blown the whistle on US and British warcrimes.
Cynical Western politicians and the bulk of the ruling class have poured out their fresh-cut-onion tears to play on the understandable human revulsion and dismay among ordinary people at such carnage.
The whole Afghanistan war demonstrates that the imperialists actually could not care less about saving anything or anyone except their own privileges and prestige built on the non-stop exploitation of the working class and especially the entire Third World at appalling human cost over centuries.
The one-sided emoting filling the papers and TV news simply wants to blame “horrible jihadists” etc for the troubles in the world which are caused solely and exclusively by imperialism itself.
The “terrorist” upheavals now spreading across the world, in Africa (the Sahel, Mozambique, the Philippines, potentially giant Indonesia, and above all in Palestine and among those supporting the exiled Palestinians, ethically cleansed from their own stolen lands for 70 by Zionist-fascist occupation) are a response to endless exploitation, and brutality, and the breakdown in the world, not the cause.
They are not the answer.
Only Marxist revolution to overturn all imperialism can change things.
But they are the symptom of an unstoppable struggle that cannot be put back in the bottle.
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The excellent paper produced by the Leeds comrades last issue (EPSR 1597 17-08-21) covered much of the ground on Afghanistan with a wide ranging analysis of the devastating impact of the Afghanistan pullout on imperialist morale and the splits and recriminations that are following.
It correctly emphasised the imperialist crisis background and the exposé of its lying democracy fraud.
There were one or two minor flaws in the piece which it is worth correcting, not to nitpick but just to avoid them leading to diversionary criticism which would detract from the correct overall thrust.
The first of these is the philosophical point that “such a significant defeat teaches valuable lessons to the international proletariat about imperialism” made early on, which while it is true, also leads on to a misleading point that they will also learn about “the revolutionary nature of all world developments” .
The truth lies in the overwhelming importance of events and the fact that crisis collapse forces the world’s masses towards struggle, as is clear from the great wave of anti-imperialist upheaval across the world in various confused and frustrated forms (which the fake-”left” either do not register or denounce and condemn as “just terrorism” or “unacceptable ways of fighting”, lining up cravenly with imperialism).
It is also true the accelerating slide into austerity and outright economic collapse and trade war, will shake-up the complacency and consumerist philistinism which bolsters the anti-communism inculcated by nearly 100 years of unprecedented brainwashing propaganda in even the richest countries (where is almost universal).
Imperialist defeats also shake up everything and particularly the all powerful image of imperialism and especially as it forces the ruling class into splits and nervousness and opens up revelations about the falsity and lies of its supposed “stable and bright new future” and “democracy”.
The addendum that “lessons will be learned about the revolutionary nature of all world development” needs to restated a little; certainly such lessons can be drawn from the events and the setbacks and turmoil open up the possibility for conscious revolutionary understanding to be built.
But they will not necessarily generated spontaneously.
Only the battle for conscious understanding fought for by a purpose built party of revolutionary leadership, using the polemical methods of Marx and Engels and developed in full by Lenin’s Bolsheviks, can draw out such lessons and make them conscious, using the full spectrum of theoretical perspectives built up by 150 years of Marxism and Leninism and consciously studied and applied by party cadres.
Only with that knowledge is it possible to assess and analysis events in their full dialectical context, and only in the battle to put forwards and test that latest understanding, can the new knowledge gained, be used to advance and adjust that perspective.
The same dialectical process also underlies drawing in the best of the working class (and other proletarians, elements from the masses, and intellectuals who come over to the working class side) to develop them as cadres who will be helping develop the theory even as they battle to grasp it more deeply.
An allied point to take up is that while the battle for Leninist understanding is crucial, and in Afghanistan as much as anywhere, it is not itself necessarily going to be a route to “real and sustainable benefit for the region” - the region is inseparable from the overall world crisis, and a monopoly system now so concentrated that struggle merges into the overall world struggle.
It is the route to conscious understanding and the struggle which cannot stop under imperialism is ended.
It is not ruled out, and in fact is likely that the world revolutionary struggle will continue to develop unevenly, and particularly bigger countries, will move separately (reflecting their separate capitalist history) and will have to stand alone while continuing to be part of the overall world struggle (the critical aspect that revisionism forgot in the correct and titanic development of the Soviet Union for several decades on its own).
Allied to that point it was pointed out that the ideology and Islamic puritan practice of the Taliban could not survive on its own anyway, however ruthlessly it might try to be applied; that such primitive ways of conducting affairs founded in medieval principles cannot keep up with the social and technological needs of modern humanity and production (not even advanced imperialism can do that anymore, which is why it is in crisis, the social relations of private accumulation and profiteering so completely out of kilter with world socialised production that they are a fetter upon it to use the words of the original Communist Manifesto).
To emphasise the point the author pointed to Saudi Arabia and the reality that its backward, reactionary and degenerate tribal monarchy could not last ten minutes without the support of imperialism (and the same for the United Arab Emirates).
Again true, but that support is political, diplomatic and above all military, and not as suggested “financial”.
Zionism is heavily subsidised by Washington, and the nasty Sisi dictatorship in Egypt depends on subventions and arms supplies but Saudi Arabia has money, by the barrel literally speaking, which is one main reason why imperialism bends over backwards to accommodate its gangster degenerates (on top, of course, of the fellow “gangster degenerate” feeling between all the ruling class as they rub shoulders).
Hopefully these are useful clarifications.
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Not “misogyny” but capitalist alienation and societal fragmentation is to blame for the demented insanity which led to the Plymouth gun shooting atrocity. Blaming “men’s aggression” is both divisive and anti-communist, heading understanding away from the fight to end this sick society
The shocking shootings in Plymouth expose the uselessness, cynicism and opportunism of every kind of bourgeois politics, from the reactionary Tories right across the spectrum to PC feminists and the fake-“left”.
The obvious question to ask about this tragedy is what kind of society is it which is so laden with antagonisms, social fragmentation and isolation,inequality and alienation, that it will tear apart a young individual’s mind to the point of such desperate and tragic madness?
And the answer to start examining is sick and degenerate capitalist society itself, which by its very nature of antagonistic and corrupt competition encourages and fosters the winners and losers (the great majority) culture and consciousness which generates aggression, hatred, envy and despair at all levels, from the personal to international relations, and especially so once the inevitable crisis collapses into economic and societal Catastrophe, as unfolding for the last twenty years.
Additionally, as two parallel decades of “shock and awe” turmoil and war in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Africa have shown (on top of the more “routine” imperialist destruction and oppression before that), it is capitalism which teaches that the answer to problems and contradictions is outright violence, with brutal police and military suppression domestically (particularly in the US but throughout the imperialist world and growing) and indiscriminate blitzing and bombing internationally, killing hundreds of thousands.
And all this reinforced by every aspect of its education, or lack of it, and shallow “culture” from US gun worship and elaborate slow-motion “gun porn” saturating a Hollywood output of crime, gangster and gung-ho war films and TV, to barmy Internet hate forums and individual and isolating computer gaming, largely devoted to shoot-’em-up gang and war scenarios and medieval slaughter fantasies.
But not a jot of such questioning could be heard in the usual sensationalised coverage.
And every “analysis” across the spectrum studiously evades the issue of capitalism’s very existence, or sends up a smokescreen of reformism, single-issue PCism and “identity” politics to distract from any such questions and the communist revolutionary class war conclusions that can be the only answer.
The philosophical and mental damage done by this society has been glaringly clear and endlessly analysed for decades and decades and so too the only possible answer of overthrowing its ever more degenerately callous, corrupt and uncaring system, in order to establish socialism, which is founded on community, and the principle that only by looking out for the maximum good for every individual, leaving none behind, can society truly develop as a whole.
But the brainwashing poison pumped into everyone by bourgeois ideology against any such communism, with non-stop lurid lies about its “totalitarianism” and alleged oppression – (no such thing, only necessary and historically temporary suppression of the reactionary minority and their counter-revolutionary and fascist attempts to turn the clock back) – still hampers such understanding.
And so too does the fake-”left” spectrum, failing to analyse leadership shortcomings in the first titanic efforts to build socialism (revisionism and Stalin-worship) or pouring out even more bilious hatred of the workers states than the bourgeoisie itself (most Trot groups).
Most of those immediately diverted attention too away from any deeper understanding with moralising self-righteous “anti-fascism” or divisive feminism, blaming “male aggression” against the presumed sweetness and light of the other half of humanity (like Pritti Patel for example? Hillary Clinton? Angela Merkel? the reactionary Lisa Nandy?)
First to fill the airwaves however were the platitudes, humbug and confusion mongering of the establishment and the bourgeois media, as usual wheeling out the priests and vicars first of all, as if their mumbled mumbo-jumbo anti-rationalism were going to do anything but obscure the issues, followed in close order by the parliamentary and local politicians, all with nothing to say except empty and routinist platitudes about “how shocked we all are”.
After that came the usual humbug about “close knit communities” pulling together and all “sharing their grief”, and even the meaningless nonsense of how “Plymouth was going to show the resilience it was noted for” - presumably other cities not having such qualities(?) of “local patriotism” and community sensitivity.
What regional jingoist garbage – a lower level version of the meaningless gross national chauvinism being whipped up constantly by the British ruling class (and every other bourgeoisie too) as its system slides ever closer towards total breakdown and failure, far beyond the savagery of food bank and cut services “austerity” seen so far.
So where was the “resilience” etc of Plymouth before the event and more to the point, where were the city authorities who did not spot the obvious haywire behaviour of the sad shooter?
And how “close-knit” was this austerity hammered “community” (like all the rest outside the enclaves of the rich) which did not spot the danger signs?
Certainly in a rational, future, collective socialist society, local areas will have a true community feeling and be aware of any weirdness (if there is any still persisting once the agonies and alienations of capitalism no longer exist) and be able to deal with it (in the most sensitive ways) long before it becomes a dangerous problem.
Some working class areas possibly do that to some extent already, and have some community cohesion, as say in parts of Liverpool over the Hillsborough tragedy, or as they did in the mining regions for example before the bourgeoisie deliberately destroyed the entire deep mining industry, not out of “climate change awareness” as the sick cynicism of Tory Boris Johnson “joked” recently, but in full aggressive ruling class consciousness of breaking up a truly and necessarily close-knit working class section of society, in fact its best example.
But even if the decency and working class sense of the ordinary local population in Plymouth had tried to call attention to the dangers, where would that have got them with a police force and local authorities which are so completely useless and indifferent, as the latest bourgeois press investigations and reports are underlining:
The family of a mother and son who were shot through their front door by the Plymouth attacker have voiced anger at police for reinstating his gun licence weeks before the mass shooting.
Jake Davison, 22, shot dead five people including his mother on Thursday before turning the gun on himself. He also shot and wounded a 55-year-old woman and her son, 33, who lived near the house Davison shared with his mother in the suburb of Keyham.
The son had briefly opened his front door after hearing shots outside but closed it again when Davison took aim and fired. The son suffered stomach wounds and his mother was injured in the hand. “If he [the son] hadn’t slammed the door, he’d be gone,” a relative told the Guardian. The door has since been boarded up.
The relative, who asked not to be named, spoke of the family’s fury at Devon and Cornwall police for returning a gun licence to Davison last month after revoking it in December after he got into a fight.
“That should never have happened,” the relative said. “The family are angry about it but they don’t want to talk to the media. He [Davison] was known to the police and they gave a gun licence back to him, that’s fucking ridiculous.”
He said his family members were recovering from their injuries. “They’re angry but they are also thinking they are so lucky because they’re the survivors,” he said.
Ken Slate, 56, a friend of the injured mother, said he briefly spoke to her on Sunday. “She said she was not very well, she was shot in the hand and her son was shot in the side,” he said. “I think they are both trying to blank it out.”
Slate also knew Davison’s mother, Maxine, and confirmed she had tried to get mental health help for her son. He said: “I’m furious for Maxine, because she was let down by the adult social care [services]. She’d been trying for years to get some psychological help for her son – he had psychological problems since he was at school. He was a loner, he had autism. I never thought he’d do this, but something made him flip.”
Slate also questioned why the police returned a gun licence to Davison. “The police are supposed to do checks. If they’d checked with his GP they would have known that he [Davison] had psychological problems. So why give someone like that a gun?” Police and Plymouth council have been approached to comment.
A spokesperson for Livewell Southwest, an organisation that manages mental health services in the area, said: “We’re not aware of any of our mental health services receiving any contact from Jake or any members of his family in the days prior to the incident.
The Plymouth gunman was not charged or cautioned after he carried out a vicious assault in a city park last year, but instead was allowed to take part in a four-month rehabilitation scheme, it has emerged.
Jack Davison’s legally held shotgun was confiscated after he began the Pathfinder scheme and a worker from it found out he had the weapon and informed Devon and Cornwall police. But the shotgun was handed back last month after he finished the programme.
The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), said it was examining the force’s decision to “divert Davison from prosecution for the assaults” as well as why he was given the weapon back.
Davison, 22, shot dead five people including his mother, Maxine, 51, after a row at their home in Keyham last Thursday. After killing his mother, Davison left the house and shot dead Lee Martyn, 43, and his daughter Sophie Martyn, three, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66. Davison, an apprentice crane operator, then turned the shotgun on himself.
His social media accounts have revealed a hatred for women, homophobia and a deep interest in the “incel” or “involuntary celibate” movement. The IOPC is to examine whether anyone looked at Davison’s social media accounts before he was issued with his shotgun certificate.
It is also examining whether the force had any information from Davison’s GP and any other medical or mental health services concerning his state of mind.
The Guardian can reveal that on his now deleted Reddit account, Davison said he went to a GP two weeks before the attack seeking treatment for “mood problems” after taking high-strength steroids during lockdown.
He complained of having “super high levels of prolactin”, which can lead to depression, impotence and weight gain. On 22 July, Davison said his health was “making me panic”. After having trouble booking an appointment, he wrote that he was due to see a doctor about his “libido issues” and “mood problems” on 28 July. After the appointment, he wrote in a subreddit called Virgin that he was disturbed by a male doctor touching him as part of the examination.
In June, in a subreddit called Testosterone, he said he was going to the doctor as soon as possible after admitting to “stupidly” taking a potent steroid during lockdown. In early June he complained of “tons of other physical mental sexual issues” and described himself as “dogmatic, insecure” and in an “overall bad mood”.
The IOPC revealed that Davison applied for a shotgun certificate in July 2017, when he was 18, and a certificate was issued to him by police in January 2018, valid for five years. He is believed to have legally bought a shotgun in March 2018.
In September 2020, Davison assaulted two youths in a park in Plymouth. He was identified as the suspect the following month and admitted the attack.
It was decided that the offences fitted the criteria for the force’s Pathfinder scheme. According to the IOPC, a scheme worker raised concerns with the force’s firearms licensing department at the end of November 2020 that Davison had a shotgun, and the weapon and certificate were seized by police on 7 December 2020.
Davison completed the Pathfinder scheme in March 2021 and, after a review by the firearms licensing department, the shotgun and certificate were returned to him on 9 July.
The IOPC is investigating whether relevant laws, policies and procedures were followed. It is also examining any sharing of information between the firearms licensing section and the part of the force that was aware that Davison had been identified as a suspect for assault.
But there is far more to this than simply “following procedures” – or as the Keir Starmer Labour Party has done, “raising questions” about why the gun licence was both issued firstly to a teenager in an urban area, and then re-issued as anyone with a grain of common sense would query like these letter writers:
As the tragic circumstances of the Plymouth shootings unfold, there are questions that remain unanswered. It seems that Jake Davison’s shotgun certificate was properly revoked and should never have been reinstated.
While politicians and the public demand more rigorous screening before shotgun certificates are granted, I hear no mention of the lack of mental health support that may have prevented Davison’s well-documented issues from deteriorating to the extent whereby he committed this atrocity. Clinician involvement might have informed the decision-makers of the dangers that Davison could have presented as a shotgun certificate holder.
The mental health charity Mind says that the provisions of the 2021 budget “still fall far short of what is needed to address the mental health crisis we are facing”.
The UK has some of the toughest restrictions to obtaining shotgun and firearms certificates. An equal contributor to this appalling disaster might have been the inadequate response to the mental health problems of the perpetrator.
Ampleforth, North Yorkshire
As in the US, the recent tragedy in Plymouth stems from the individual’s right to own a gun (Relatives of wounded angry about return of Plymouth gunman’s licence, 16 August). Guns only have one purpose – to kill animals or people. Shotguns are ideally adapted for both. They are usually the weapon of choice in domestic murder-suicides committed by men.
Why does a person living in an urban environment need a shotgun? In the 1960s, my gamekeeper father used to despair at the ease with which poachers in urban areas could acquire shotguns. Then the issue of shotgun licences was a mere formality – and, given the ease with which men such as the perpetrator of the Plymouth shooting acquire such guns, little seems to have changed. A change in legal and policing culture is required. People should not have the right to possess something whose purpose is to kill. Shotgun licences, particularly in urban areas, should be denied, unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise. Shotgun owners should be rigorously monitored. If police don’t have the resources to do this, gun licences should not be issued.
Calls for “stricter controls” of guns, or investigations, are missing the point in the end however; in a society of reason and rationality neither sensible use for rural purposes nor for “sports” necessarily imply dangers at all; it is this pain and fragmentation of living in a society torn apart by daily dog-eat-dog antagonisms, at all levels, that is the problem.
The TUC-backed Labourites and their hangers-on (most of the Trot “left”) calling for a “review of the gun laws” are therefore doubly sick and twisted; first and most importantly because such limited calls cynically and deliberately head attention away from the profound philosophical questions that are posed by such devastating outbursts (which are notably more frequent in the even more riven and alienated monopoly capitalist heartland of the US empire), ie questions of capitalist society itself and the need to end it; and secondly, on a more trivial level, because if such reforms were the answer, the reformists had their chance during at least three recent Labour governments.
Instead they provided the lies and support for the war escalations onto Afghanistan and Iraq, and the subsequent worldwide droning, blitzing and torture.
And domestically they ignored an almost identical horror.
For the latest murderous mayhem duplicates all the critical features of a previous Scottish attack, launched by Thomas Hamilton, another unstable and socially isolated individual in Dunblane in the mid-1990s, again one who had previous form for violent behaviour, who had his gun permit removed and then had it re-instated.
The EPSR commented then that:
The connections between capitalist economic crisis and the Dunblane school massacre may seem harder to fathom, but many aspects of it are already obviously pointing the protesters in the direction of conflict with society’s ethics in general and not just with its particular gun-club laws or the clash of individual rights with the broad general interests of public safety and standard-setting.
The worthwhile question to ask is not why gun technology exists, or why specialist sporting societies exist, or why does anyone in capitalist society feel the need to have the right to self-protection in the home. What mattered at Dunblane was why did the ‘authorities’ allow an obviously emotionally-retarded and inadequate individual to make such a public nuisance of himself for so long with his peculiar ‘boys club’ activities in spite of countless complaints against him, and why above all did they repeatedly license this weirdo to have any number of guns in his possession, especially in the light of actual police complaints about his fitness to have them?
The answer is because the ‘authorities’ around Dunblane and Stirling and everywhere else in Britain are weak and corrupt parasites on the people, running a system which it is plain to anyone is becoming more and more farcically unrepresentative of real people’s interests, and more and more degenerate.
It is a system of get-rich-quick opportunism and influence-peddling which atomises and individualises every competitor in the rat-race, and makes unrewarded efforts for the collective good look like a completely gormless thing to do. No wonder that there was no way in which widespread concern that the oddball Hamilton needed careful watching could be translated into successful social control.
Basically, capitalist society in its essence just could not give a damn about the problems of the Hamiltons of this world and the communities around them.
It is only concerned with ‘getting on’ for the crafty minority who can make it really big, and those who would imitate them, and it is that minority which in the end dictates everything about capitalist society.
Only when such a ruling class is totally eliminated economically, politically, and socially will it be possible to start building a society where communities can get together and with collective wisdom try to deal sensibly and successfully with all the problems that life poses (EPSR No876 22-20-96).
Meanwhile further diversionary confusion is being sown by PC ultra-feminism picking up on and exclusively focussing on the misogynist aggression which the deranged Plymouth perpetrator seems to have dallied with, emphasising the “Incel” (involuntary celibates) cultism he appears to have looked at on the Internet.
Their one-sided and self-righteous “explanations” tie in with the use of such terms as femicide and women-killing which suggest there is an “epidemic” of exclusively male violence taking place, blamed on misogyny and the “violent nature of men”.
It builds on the cultish and divisive anti-male agenda around horrible tragedies like the brutal kidnap-rape of Sarah Everard in Clapham and her subsequent murder, and the crude and heavy-handed capitalist police dispersal of the spontaneous vigil/demonstration on Clapham Common shortly afterwards.
Such gruesome crimes are one degenerate expression of the sickness of this foul and foetid capitalist society (and not coincidentally by a member of its repressive state forces).
Certainly one particular aspect of its vicious exploitation, alienation and endlessly generated frustrations takes the form of extreme male chauvinism, brutal behaviour, adding to a day-to-day disadvantage and additional exploitation for women, the double burden of oppression suffered by the mass of women worldwide (but least of all by the middle-class feminists beating the drums in the privileged and exploitative West who rarely even notice the conditions of the masses in the Third world – men and women – as they buy their next fast fashion item).
Educating the world in the often taken-for-granted prejudices of such male chauvinism, (or equally a dozen other divisions like assorted racisms, crude homophobia, contempt for the environment etc) might have some value but can never in itself end the divisions spontaneously or deliberately (and often both) generated by capitalism. As the EPSR Perspectives said at turn of the new century:
Thirty years of intermittently-successful feminist campaigning has left neither women, children, families, men, or society in general, any happier with any aspect of human relationships. The idea of increased stability or contentment for women, children, families, or men from the ever-rising volume of divorce court or CSA settlements is an obvious joke. The world of working women is known to be raising as many problems as it solves because capitalism still rules and not just because ‘men still rule’ as feminism claimed. And while life can never be made of anything but contradictions, what the advance of women through the glass ceiling demonstrates is that capitalist big business works through an unchangeable culture of exploitation and alienation afflicting all human relationships, – in work and beyond, – no matter what the boss’s gender is. And it is capitalism which is making the increasingly more advanced and cultured workforces of the world sick, – nothing else.
And yet the perfectly insane one-sided feminist approach to human problems still persists, – as in last week’s government report promising a veritable jihad against male violence on the bizarre grounds that the incidents of rape and domestic assault were ‘possibly’ ten times greater than the government’s own figures indicated. (EPSR No1032 22-02-00).
But as some former feminists themselves then detail in quoted pieces, such a perspective is a complete distortion, ignoring the almost equal incidence of female on male assaults – physical and psychological – in domestic situations.
And while certainly there are horrible murders of women, there are just as many, in fact more, horrible murders of men in the drug gang wars and other violent criminality engendered by capitalism (with frequent collusion and participation by women):
Routine male-chauvinist violence remains intolerable, but the real problem is the frustrated violence all round, throughout capitalist society, arising directly out of capitalism’s problems and not out of men’s problems as such. The overwhelming majority of murdered victims in capitalist society are young men, killed by other young men. And even out of domestic violence, men get their (surprisingly large) share of injuries as Phillips reports of the government’s own figures. Men also top the league tables of violence done to the person by the capitalist state itself (prison sentences, executions (abroad), killed in pointless wars for the ruling class state’s benefit, etc, etc).(ibid)
On top of this, one huge category of slaughtered victims growing constantly as “austerity”, and capitalist slump wipes out opportunities and creates ever intensifying desperation, hopelessness and lack of “masculine” self-worth, is the younger generation of disadvantaged and working class “loser” men themselves, taking their own lives in an epidemic of suicides.
But what is the point of all this genderist diversion?? Purely to hide, in objective effect, the responsibility of the capitalist system for the present sum total of human misery, – regardless of what any feminists subjectively claim their purpose to be.
So the extreme feminists (not all) implying that such outbursts are caused not by the tearing contradictions of capitalist society, but by the inherent nature of masculinity and men themselves end up expressing a man-hating perspective which is as distorted and dangerous as the supposed “problem of men” they claim to be tackling.
Their theories are complete philosophical distortions which at their least damaging are divisive and splitting, and at their worst play into the hands of the capitalist ruling class and its increasing repression, universal surveillance and fascist censorship and monitoring, the actual expression of “thought control” which the snivelling anti-communist police-fink George Orwell invented as an attack on the Soviet Union in his lying fantasy 1984 (which was only ever based on capitalist existence and experience - like the Room 101 at Broadcasting House used by MI5 to monitor the BBC or the torture methods devised by British intelligence during and after Ww2 - see Ian Cobain’s book on Cruel Britannia).
Feminism, like all single-issue reformism, and one leading the way, becomes a last-bastion defence for a collapsing bourgeois ideology.
No surprise that feminist delusions were a key factor in propping up capitalism’s “shock and awe” blitzkrieging turn to war in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East since – swallowing hook, line and sinker the calculatedly cynical lie from Washington (fronted by Barbara Bush) that it was bombing the living daylights out of the country, (and many of its civilian women in village halls and wedding parties etc) in order to “protect the lives” of women and advance their position in society.
Plymouth has provided a convenient escape for capitalist propaganda having that twenty year long big lie exposed.
Straightaway the feminist “theorists” were being given acres of press attention in the reactionary “liberal” Guardian particularly to call for “Incel” groups to be banned and listed as “terrorist” organisations, bolstering petty bourgeois support for yet more capitalist state control, secret police monitoring and ever-more universal political censorship.
That will not do anything to limit or control the backwardness and reaction of such rightwing Internet groups but everything to prop up and intensify the hidden dictatorship of the bourgeoisie which is the reality of “democracy” within capitalist society.
But as even some more thoughtful bourgeois analysts have explained, the ignorant and adolescent ranting of much of the “Incel” online discussion is mostly an expression of sad frustrations anyway, not a coherent political agenda:
A three-year old girl, her father, two passers-by, and the gunman’s mother were murdered in cold blood in Plymouth, southwest England last week. Mainstream reports attributed the blame to Jake Davison identifying as an incel, a term short for involuntary celibate.
According to them, the subculture is creating dangerous killers.
As proof of how that narrative is being consumed by the public, an online petition was created to have incels formally recognised as a terrorist group in the UK. The direct link with terrorism was repeated by platforms such as Sky News and The Guardian, which wrote that previous shootings should have “brought misogynist terrorism into the awareness of law enforcement around the world.”
It’s true there have been several high profile incidents, most notably when Eliot Rodger killed six people in a stabbing spree in California, back in 2014 and when Alek Minassian took 10 lives by driving into pedestrians in Toronto in 2018.
But the reality is, incel culture is vastly misunderstood.
RT.com spoke to academic and incel researcher Kyle Stewart, who has studied the movement as the focus of a masters degree in Homeland Security. He said: “We should feel sorry for them, they seriously need help.”
The term incel was created by a woman named Alana who started a love-shy forum in 1997, to detail her relationship troubles. In interviews, she admits to regretting coining the term that has taken on a life of its own.
The first basic misconception is that incels are solely seeking sex, despite their name. Stewart, who’s based in Texas, explained: “It boils down to companionship, the feel of being hugged, being given love, they are missing that segment of relationship skills. There are some incels out in the world who have jobs and successful careers but can’t seem to get a relationship.”
The reason why this is commonly linked back to sex by the mainstream media is a manifestation of the incels inability to adapt to normal life, particularly as teenagers and young adults. Whilst it’s viewed mostly in a light-hearted fashion, there is a common perception that teenage boys should be chasing girls, and the inability to ‘get’ a girl is emasculating.
Stewart added: “Hollywood puts out these teenage movies, the ones where you’ve got to have sex by the age of 16, think of Superbad, those boys trying to get laid before they graduate high school. That’s what incels think life is and how it works in the real world.”
This pressure and expectation to lose one’s virginity causes the first cracks to appear. The fundamental stage that sections of society fail to grasp though is the power of the internet. Those who are over-40 did not grow up in an online world and for the younger generation who don’t succumb in the same way, it’s difficult to appreciate what incels undergo.
...Stewart said: “They have a sense of stress and social anxiety, they feel they are being attacked and laughed at by people, they assume that’s happening. If two girls are looking at their phones in a coffee shop and are laughing, one of these guys would think the girls are laughing at them.
It’s a self-enforcing cycle.
As they develop more anxiety and paranoia, they retreat online, compounding their fears and pushing them to seek solace in ever darker corners of the internet. It’s a pressure cooker waiting to explode.
Their parents are normally clueless to what their son has been consuming online, so in a few isolated cases, the person explodes, Stewart added: “Video games aren’t working, porn is not working, so where do they turn? Nobody can help, what can I do to get everyone to listen to me? I know, a mass shooting or get a few bombs to blow up a building. ‘Listen to me, please!’ is what they are saying, but they can’t convey that in a regular manner, other than typing on a computer all day.
Some of these guys can’t deal with the stress anymore and I think that’s what happened with Jake Davison in Plymouth. It sounded like he was under tons of stress. With this pandemic, male suicides have gone straight up, here in the US it’s gotten bad as people have lost their jobs. Many people are now going to lose their homes as the eviction moratorium is about to end, so the stress will get worse.”
A common theme is that incels tend to live with their parents into adulthood, often in a broken home and receive social security benefits. Both are true in the case of Davison. But it’s not these similarities that are jumped on by the mainstream media and law enforcement, it’s the incel link.
Stewart recalls an incel meet-up in 2019: “The first post that popped up on IncelTear was ‘look at all these incels, these bastards are probably thinking about raping women’. But these guys were happy, reading books, showing Pokemon cards and doing their hobbies. It was all calm and peaceful but it was blown up out of proportion as if they were stereotypical paedophiles.”
...The Japanese documented this decades ago with Hikikomori, meaning social isolation. They noticed a sizeable amount of young people struggling with the pressure of expectation. Whether it was to be a success professionally or have a family, they couldn’t cope and became hermits. So they withdrew and their issues became bigger. Stewart added: “We have the same thing here in the US, we call them incels. It’s a complete circle of destruction.”
It appears Britain’s police and security services are set to now crack down on incels. That would follow what happened in the US, after the mass shootings. Some incels regard Stephen Paddock, the gunman who carried out the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay attack in 2017, as a hero. That kind of worship is because they feel ignored and sadly viewed Paddock as making a stand (though Paddock himself was not part of the movement). It’s clearly wrong and violence is never to be encouraged, but they are suffering extreme paranoia.
...Stewart explained: “Another issue is the parents are out of touch with their kids and can’t connect. On their forums they talk about things like a mom saying they are worthless as they don’t do anything or have a job. Some parents don’t help and just say it’s hormones, and that they should talk to girls. And there’s the media frenzy, in some of these shootings you see ‘incel’ being picked up within an hour of the shooting, even before the evidence from law enforcement comes out, they tell their audiences that there is an incel problem.”
For example, the teenager Kyle Rittenhouse who shot dead two protesters during a BLM rally in Kenohsa last year was linked to being an incel, but had a girlfriend.
..He said: “Some countries Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand have started clamping down on free speech, they are arresting people for making jokes on Facebook. After the Christchurch shooting, New Zealand set up a law saying if you own the live stream video on your computer, you will be charged with a felony, they charged two people for sharing it online. Many incels feel the government is spying on them. They are afraid of the free speech laws, so they’re going more underground and untraceable.”
There is no simple remedy to the issue. But using the full force of the law to scare incels seems like it may only do more damage than good. Violence and murder cannot be excused, neither can misogyny, but this behaviour doesn’t occur in a vacuum.These young men are disenfranchised and feel there is no one to turn to.
Despite some sound points this litany of alienation and inadequacy obviously falls short on the capitalist societal reasons for the alienation described. But it exposes the reactionary nonsense of the ultra-feminist line and specifically over the Plymouth killing: as reported the slaughter was not specifically directed at women as such but included a young child and her father.
And the internet “statement” by the young man reinforces the point for any that do not have their ears stuffed with petty bourgeois anti-communist preconceptions:
In two videos posted late last month he comes across as a man struggling with his mental health and full of loathing for himself and others.
In the most recent, he said: “It’s just been me fighting an uphill battle with a big fucking rock on my back, seeing motherfuckers that don’t deserve half of anything now. They’re getting a free ride to the top.”
He compared life to a Terminator movie where “everything is rigged against you – there’s no hope for humanity”.
Davison twice likened himself to an “incel” and complained that he lacked friends and a support network.
“Maybe the business owner might go bankrupt twice … but guess what – he had a wife and kids to support him. Does incel or virgin get that? No. Imagine failing at everything in life and having absolutely no support whatsoever.”
In a video filmed in a room with weightlifting equipment visible, Davison spoke of his lack of motivation to continue working out.
He then pinched his stomach and asked: “Do I look any better?” He added: “Now I’m so beaten down, and defeated by fucking life. That drive that I once had has gone, mine has gone.”
As the EPSR has long maintained all such single-issue reformism is ultimately an obstacle to the development of revolutionary perspectives and struggle which alone can transform society, and the madnesses created by its grotesque injustices and unfairnesses, which are not only repugnant in themselves but hold humanity back from the flourishing of society that can only come when class-domination, hypocrisy, and enforced ignorance and humiliation for the masses, are ended.
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