No 1552 13th March 2019
Demented “left anti-semitism” BIG LIE propaganda and political sabotage, and the victimisation of “ISIS bride” Shamima Begum are two aspects of an increasingly fascist face of slump-ridden imperialism, whipping up populist scapegoating, chauvinism, vigilantism and irrationality to drag public opinion behind its deliberate slide towards total world war. Hatred of the barbaric Zionist occupation of Palestine, and growing “terrorist” and jihadist upheavals have the same cause – tyrannical rule of monopoly capitalism and its blitzing and butchery, the only answer it has to intractable Catastrophic breakdown of the profit making system. Only a Marxist perspective beginning with this economic and political collapse and the need for defeat of imperialism’s disaster and destruction can make sense of Middle East and Third World upheaval – not by condemning the crudity of desperate struggles but by battling for rebuilt revolutionary Leninist understanding to overcome their shortfalls and sometimes self-defeating backwardness.
Britain’s vicious citizenship-stripping demonisation of “ISIS bride” Shamima Begum (and two others) for supposed “callous inhumanity” while simultaneously blitzing and starving hundreds of thousands of civilian women and children in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen; foul Tory assertions that Bloody Sunday and other state massacres of Irish nationalists were “dignified and justified”; and the use of press hysteria and, now state law to suppress and censor left politics, using “anti-semitism” lies, are all indications of the slide into ever more overt fascist repression as capitalist crisis deepens.
So too are the preparations for military interventions around Brexit, newly disclosed secret “anti-extremism” (i.e anti-left) database collection, other now universal state and private surveillance, escalation of “Prevent” brainwashing and the vile encouragement of Islamophobia and other racism and jingoism (running rampant through the Tory Party).
But endless foot-in-mouth incompetencies and poleaxed Brexit paralysis, like the Trumpite bluster in America, show that it is desperate weakness which is forcing the ruling class to abandon more and more the threadbare lying pretences of “freedom”, “democracy” and the “rule of law” as it faces an oncoming economic tsunami of renewed worldwide credit breakdown.
The bourgeoisie knows that collapse into devastating world Slump is now imminent (as Marxist-Leninist science alone has long predicted and warned).
All major bourgeois indicators (OECD, IMF, senior economists, trade figures, Bank of England, EU) have sirens full blast that the Catastrophe is ready to break once more.
The monopoly capitalist system has just about managed to limp on since the global credit collapse, by relentlessly pumping dollar and Euro trillions of Quantitative Easing credit into the world economy; by driving up exploitation and steadily pushing the working class into desperation-level “austerity” (while lying outright about “prosperity and jobs”); by forcing economic problems onto victimised states like Greece, Spain, Venezuela and Iran, and even allies like South Korea; and by pouring $trillions more inflationary credit into horrific warmongering and failed attempts to re-establish American world dominance - (Trump says seven trillion “wasted” in his latest populist “homily”) – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen etc etc, trying to suppress rising revolt behind the demented and meaningless excuse of a “war on terror”.
It has all failed remotely to solve the intractable bankruptcy and breakdown of its system while generating rebellion and resistance on an unheard of scale in “terrorism” and street revolt.
Yet even the steadily intensified cutbacks and stagnation, which the most of the fake-“left” calls “the crisis”, are only the beginning of the greatest Slump in history, – the real revolutionary breakdown on its way.
Production is already sliding again worldwide (especially in China’s huge planned economy which largely rescued things in 2008 with its own economic stimulation), long brewing and deadly trade war is escalating rapidly and debt everywhere is reaching unrepayable levels never seen in history, with the gigantic US annual deficit alone just declared at $800+bn (nearly $1 trillion!!!) for 2018 and its total debt standing at a mind-boggling $22 trillion.
These are symptoms of oncoming “economic nuclear winter” which then Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling admitted was only narrowly averted in 2008 when the US and international bank collapses put closure of all cash-machines just 12 hours away.
What he did not say was that the rescue by valueless QE injection, could only keep the wheels turning for a short period more before disaster recurs, made much worse precisely by this insane money printing.
All the Keynesian “stimulus” mechanisms are used up.
Implosion is unstoppable for a private profit system riddled with internal contradictions.
Once that happens the ruling class knows that mind-numbed reformist philistinism and middle-class complacency, and the dumbed-down consumerist culture which sustains it, will be shattered (as is already partly the case in the more hammered areas of Britain and Europe).
Suddenly the reality of intractable and unstoppable capitalist disaster will intrude on the costly illusions of the post-war boom (paid for with Third World exploited super-profits) which still help keep much of the Western world’s population away from communism and the revolutionary class war needed to achieve it, by once more establishing workers states like the USSR (but better) to take over everything and build planned internationally cooperative socialism.
Meanwhile Brexit-confused contempt from the working class, street upheavals like the non-stop gilet jaunes revolt in France, the Arab Spring still fermenting under the surface in Egypt (see cutting further down), and openly in Yemen’s Houthi revolt, “left” nationalism in Latin America, “black lives matter” demonstrations in the US (and Brazil too) and ever more jihadist anti-imperialist rebellion in Africa and the Middle East, are all symptoms of the great upheaval to come, despite the many ideological shortcomings, and flaws in such struggles (treacherously denounced and “condemned” by the fake-“left”, from 9/11 onwards, helping imperialism pursue its warmongering).
Demonstrations, riots, strike turmoil and upheaval are certain in even the richest countries - and the hatred will multiply everywhere as the most brutal methods are used to suppress them, just as in 1905 the Tsar’s troops shot down the peasants naïvely pleading for poverty relief and justice, triggering the first attempt at the Russian Revolution (before the successful October 1917 Bolshevik takeover).
Savage lessons are being learned in France which is already facing upheaval, where dozens of yellow-vest demonstrators have lost eyes and limbs by the crude police tactics imposed by reactionary president Emmanuel Macron.
Deeper and more savage shocks have already transformed the Middle East following 18 years of gruesome blitzkrieg and torture (and a decade of siege “sanctions” devastation of Iraq before that, alone killing half a million children and many more adults), and more have been faced in the eastern Ukraine, where working class resistance to the open Nazism installed by CIA-coordinated “colour-revolution popular upheaval” in Kiev has faced years of shelling, bombing, sniper killing and siege.
There is some way to go before such often anarchic, piecemeal revolts will consolidate into, or be replaced by, a conscious return to coordinated mass revolutionary struggle to overturn and permanently end this degenerate and failed class-rule system and build socialism.
But it has to come as the only possible future for mankind and the only way to tackle its ever more grotesque and humanity-wasting inequalities, humiliationsand incompetences, and the social disintegration and alienation drowning everything in drug degeneracy, knife and gun crime and violence, homelessness and poverty despair in even the “richest” of countries, war horror everywhere and the environmental and ecological destruction of half the planet.
It can happen only by a gigantic open debate in the working class, led by and helping to build a leadership party of Leninist scientific theory, examining all current questions in the light of the gigantic unstoppable capitalist crisis collapse and re-examining both the great and heroic achievements of the workers states in the last century as well as the mistakes made by their leaders from Stalin onwards which liquidated the Soviet Union, and all falsehoods, evasions and cover-ups along the way.
That means a constant battle to reach an agreed understanding and to expose the great slew of fake-“leftism” which continues to avoid such issues, punting out the same old “step-by-step” pacifism and “left-pressure” politics while covering-up or denying the revisionist errors of the past and their own further mistakes and misleadership or, like the Trots, pouring bilious anti-communism into the working class under the guise of “opposition” to such mistakes.
The huge intellectual and political struggle, in unity and conflict with the working class, needed to overcome decades of anti-communist brainwashing, has barely started.
Until that becomes a daily and widespread struggle with the aim of establishing the dictatorship of the working class, it will continue to be left confused and vulnerable to the trickery, distortions and lies of the bourgeoisie and its “democracy” fraud and to brutal counter-revolutionary skulduggery and subversion, like that steadily overturning the inadequate “democratic leftism” of the Latin American countries and now attacking the “left nationalism” of Venezuela with siege sanctions and sabotage (EPSR last issue and 1549).
Such violent subversion and war suppression will never be stopped except by ending this vile system of tyrannical exploitation and gross inequality.
The scale and depth of the understanding has to be on a different level altogether, making clear that revolutionary change now confronts everybody as the great necessity, and that “steady progress”, protest, pacifism, and “making what realistic gains are possible” or “defending what has been achieved” does not just hamper such perspectives but actively blocks them off.
One question underlining the need for a revolutionary perspective as the ruling class grows more frantic, turning to ever more desperate and demented reaction, is the “anti-semitism” calumny being thrown against the ever growing hatred of the Zionist occupation of Palestine, and allied hostility to its Western Zionist supporters in the Jewish freemasonry intertwined with bourgeois imperialism.
This topsy-turvy accusation must be the most in-your-face example of “projection” in history, throwing outwards onto your enemy accusations of the very crimes you are yourself committing.
This ever more barbaric and fascist domination of Palestine is not only a vicious and psychopathic colonialist throwback in its own right, but increasingly a concentrated expression of the entire degenerate monstrousness of continuing imperialist world rule, and instrument to carry out its belligerence and destructiveness.
And this is now reaching insane levels as the crisis has made this landtheft occupation ever more intolerable.
Declaring that the inevitable and unstoppable struggle to expel this poisonous occupation in the middle of the Arab nation is “secretly just a cover for a racist wish to destroy Jews out of pure hatred” must be one of the vilest propaganda inversions ever devised by sick and deranged minds.
But instead of challenging the total absurdity of this gobshyte, the fake-“left” has been sent reeling by this coordinated CIA/Zionist-Jewish campaign.
Their single-issue reformism and diversionary “identity politics”, which they have long adopted as super-reformist “causes” to cover up their philosophical retreat from, or hostility to, class-war and revolution, leaves them unable to counter this reactionary nonsense or even capitulating to its total Goebbels Big Lie.
Their reluctance to get to the core of this issue is because of its revolutionary implications.
The fundamental question is the nature and basis of “Israel” and its foundation in blood and terrorising ethnic cleansing of an entire people who can never give up the fight to get their country back.
As analysed in depth by the EPSR previously (EPSR books vol 20 Occupied Palestine...and the conspiracy/fraud of “left anti-semitism”), it is the racist nature of “Israel” itself (just re-declared by PM Benjamin Netanyahu) and its endlessly genocidal landtheft occupation of Palestine, brutally suppressing or expelling a now eight million strong population, which is the cause and generator of ever-increasing world detestation for this out of time colonialist intrusion.
Unlike every other supposed “self-determination” struggle, which the Zionists like to plead equivalence with (Kurds, Basques, etc) “Israel” was “founded” by stealthy, steady piecemeal occupation, taking advantage initially of the locals’ inherent generosity and then turning to expansionism through bloody violence, terror and the ethnic cleansing of this people from their own land, one they had occupied non-stop for at least 1500 years, which is longer than most European nationalities have been in their countries, and which the Philistine forebears of the Palestinians had largely occupied long before that.
What is more it was founded with massive Western imperialist backing and collusion in a period when the whole world had finally turned against the great colonial empires, and agreed (through worldwide anti-imperialist struggle) that such physical occupations should be ended forever in a process of “de-colonisation” (though financial (neo-)colonialism continues).
Only the artificial “state” of Israel goes against this post-war grain, demolishing all Zionist pretences of parity with other repressed peoples, who have real ethnic, language and geographical claims but who do not get an ounce of the military, political or $billions of support given to the Zionist entity both at state level by Washington and privately through the great network of the Western Jewish freemasonries which support it.
Just the opposite – the Turks get Western backing and NATO membership for the continued repression of the Kurds; the stooge Iraqi regime likewise.
The Basques have no support, nor the historically persecuted Roma people (also victims of the Nazi holocaust but not offered “protective” places in “Israel” or anywhere else, and hounded in East Europe, Italy etc).
And it took three decades of bitter and heroic nationalist guerrilla war by the IRA/Sinn Féin against the British imperialist domination of partitioned Ireland by state run death-squads, massacres, concentration camps, fixed-up “Diplock courts” and police and military torture and brutality, to win the right (through the Good Friday Agreement defeat of British rule) even to begin the long snail’s pace process of finally completing self-determination for the Irish, by peaceful means, after 900 years of invasion and suppression.
Even then that fight goes on, with the foot-dragging reaction of the Orange colonists and the “imperial”-fantasist wing of the Tories still trying not only to block inevitable reunification but even futilely to turn the clock backwards currently through the outrageous two-year long suspension of the Stormont power sharing agreement and, with their Brexit jingoism and chauvinism, ludicrously declaring that the six counties of “Northern Ireland” (another artificially declared “state” ripped away from its people by colonisation and bayonet brutality in 1921) must forever be “a part of the United Kingdom”.
A multiple of equally valid causes, from the grossly dispossessed and repressed Aborigines in Australia to the remnants of dozens of native nations in south and north of the American continent do not get a look in at restitution and justice, most them still festering in poverty and alcoholic despair in “reservations” (often subject to takeover anyway if oil or minerals are at stake).
Contrary to the twisted lies of the some of the fake-“left”, notably the off-the-wall pro-Zionist reactionaries of the misnamed Alliance for Workers Liberty, communism and socialism would obviously take up all these cases for restitution as part of establishing workers states, as far it were possible.
Meanwhile the Jewish-Zionist colonisation by a heterogenous group drawn from many countries around the world, with vastly different genealogies, and who neither constitute a nation or have any common ethnicity, and whose supposed “common language” of Hebrew is a completely made-up construction developed post-war from ossified remnants of a religious liturgy more frozen than Latin, – this self-selecting sect gets world imperialist support for its claims based on a religious mumbo-jumbo dating back at least 2000 years.
It needs it – because such an occupation can never be stable or self-sustaining.
Furthermore it must always be aggressively expansionist and belligerent, unable any other way to maintain its position as a gigantic cuckoo squatting in the centre of the Arab World and the Middle East, and least of all able ever to come to terms with the dispossessed people expelled from their own lands and property; or repressed as second-class citizens in an openly supremacist apartheid state where only Jews have rights, services, justice or political say; or kept under constant military occupation and harassment even in their “own” West Bank; or held in besieged concentration camp conditions like the two million crammed into the concrete hellhole of the Gaza strip and denied basic human resources to an extent now reaching intolerable and potentially catastrophic levels.
No Western “aid convoys” turn up trying to cross the border here for “humanitarian relief”, as they do with the lying and hypocritical provocations being constantly mounted against the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela for example.
All this and more underlies the growing hatred for this Jewish-Nazi occupation which imposes ever more fascist repression as the imperialist crisis deepens and anti-Western anti-capitalist feeling intensifies, and the mass struggle against it deepens.
Labelling of all hostility to the vicious and endlessly murderous “Israel” as “racist anti-semitism” wants to cover up all these issues stemming from the nature of this landgrab, so that not only is it not discussed but is hidden away as a question at all.
But it is impossible.
The appalling repression, and the resistance against it, forces even the tame United Nations stoogery for the “international community” to investigate and speak out.
Of course, like a thousand past UN censure motions, declarations of illegality, and anti-“Israel” resolutions, on occupations, invasions, repression and illegal nuclear arms, a latest report pulls its punches, is completely cosmetic, and will achieve precisely nothing except salving a few middle-class consciences.
And as always it outrageously pretends there is some kind of equivalence between the acts of violent resistance by a people who have no other means to fight back against the total occupation for all time of their own country (and are 100% justified in using every means they can to do so, including terrorist attacks) and the brutality and contemptible fascist butchery used to keep them inhumanly suppressed.
But the fact of its appearance at all underlines just how intolerable the world is finding this Nazi enterprise and how the dogged ever-growing resistance of the Palestinian people and the revolt all around, is forcing it to pay attention:
UN investigators have accused Israeli soldiers of intentionally firing on civilians and said they may have committed war crimes in their lethal response to Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza.
The independent Commission of Inquiry, set up last year by the UN’s human rights council, said Israeli forces killed 189 people and shot more than 6,100 others with live ammunition near the fence that divides the two territories.
The panel said in a statement that it had found “reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognisable as such”.
Thirty-five of those killed were children, three were clearly identifiable paramedics and two were clearly marked journalists, the report said.
Israel dismissed the report as “hostile, mendacious and slanted”.
The panel acknowledged “acts of significant violence” from the demonstrators, who threw stones, molotov cocktails and in several cases explosives at the fence and Israeli troops behind it.
It made clear, however, that such actions did not amount to combat or military campaigns, rejecting an Israeli claim of “terror activities” by Palestinian armed groups. “The demonstrations were civilian in nature, with clearly stated political aims,” it said.
Investigators also said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli troops had killed and injured Palestinians “who were neither directly participating in hostilities, nor posing an imminent threat.”
They said: “These serious human rights and humanitarian law violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.”
Weekly protests have been held at the frontier between Israel and the Gaza Strip since March last year, calling for the easing of an Israeli blockade on people and goods. Rallies have also demanded recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere to return to their ancestral homes in Israel.
Israel’s army has said its forces opened fire to protect against attacks and incursions. Four of its troops have been injured during the protests, and one soldier was killed by a bullet fired from Gaza.
The UN inquiry also found fault with the protest organisers, which include Gaza’s rulers, Hamas, for allowing the use of kites and balloons carrying cans of flaming petrol that have floated into Israel during rallies and torched fields.
Those acts caused fear among civilians and significant damage to property in southern Israel, the panel said.
The demonstrations continue, but the inquiry only investigated possible violations from the start of the protests on 30 March to the end of 2018. It conducted 325 interviews with victims and witnesses, it said, and analysed social media and audio-visual material, including drone footage.
“Violations” glossed over here include the fact that the Zionist military deliberately avoids aiming for fatality for much of this butchery, (precisely to tone down the damaging propaganda impact of the figures in such reports) instead using illegal expanding ammunition to create horrific injuries that maim and permanently cripple demonstrators, knowing too that the stifling restrictions on movement and imports into Gaza mean there is almost no medicine, limited ageing equipment, and even fewer doctors in the hospitals to treat such wounds effectively.
At least as significant to the specific solidarity felt more and more by worldwide masses with the victimised but doggedly fighting Palestinians, is the ever increasing general rebelliousness of the Arab masses, others in the Middle East, and the whole of the Third World beyond, against the centuries of tyrannical exploitation they have suffered, joined more and more by the increasingly austerity-hammered masses everywhere.
The Jewish occupation has always played a central (and heavily subsidised) role for imperialism as local “rottweiler”, its fanatical Zionist smiting synchronising with imperialist domination of the strategically important and resource rich region, to constantly push down rebellious outbursts and anti-imperialist upheaval.
That is even more important now in the overall blitzkrieging and destruction imposed everywhere to suppress revolt and to wind up the post-9/11 universal warmongering atmosphere, and even more so as the US has become bogged down and forced to withdraw because it is “achieving nothing” as Trump declares.
Inevitably opposition and hostility to this monstrosity correctly becomes a central element in rising anti-imperialist sentiment everywhere and is a major component in the left movement in Britain temporarily pushing up Corbynism.
While “revitalised Labourism” is not going to change anything – just the opposite, “left mavericks” have always been in reserve to prop up the whole Labour edifice, and to be there to head off and entangle more serious rising anti-capitalist sentiment in the same old parliamentary racket when needed – the deep historical experience of the ruling class knows full well that at some point, with such disastrous crisis conditions, pretences of “left pressure” can only hold the line for so long.
Such cynical posturing is all the more unreliable now when the working class has already had repeated lessons in the real nature of Labourism over the last hundred years with a dozen different governments, every one of which has kowtowed to capitalist class interests when it mattered, and often when it didn’t, including most notably the post-war “left” Attlee government which ran the imperialist system for it despite an overwhelming working class mandate for change, including helping to instigate the anti-Soviet Cold War and setting up NATO; setting up the “nuclear deterrent”; developing British state torture by borrowing and refining Gestapo methods, then used in Cyprus, Kenya, and Ireland (see book Cruel Britannia); running brutal suppression of revolutionary upheavals in the “colonies” like Malaysia and Burma, and stabbing the wartime “allied” Greek communist partisans in the back with horrific civil war; presiding over the partition of India and the deadly legacy that has left the world, currently near (nuclear missile) boiling point again for the same crisis reasons as everything else.
Even its “reforms” were only made to head off the revolutionary influence of the Red Army victories pushing back Nazism, to stop the working class demanding and pressing on for communism; it was the same government which introduced a health service, which started privatising it (with prescription charges and “private medicine”).
And it was Attleeism which allowed the “legal” UN creation of “Israel”, reneging on British “mandate” responsibility to stop Zionist terrorism and protect the population.
Blairism was the treacherous end point which abandoned even the pretence of socialism for celebrity glitz and shallow soundbite nostrums about self-improvement and discipline for the working class worthy of the Thatcherites, before colluding with US imperialism to impose war on the world as its desperate crisis “solution”.
But that failure and the hair raising Catastrophe coming means the ruling class is more jumpy than ever about even the tame Corbynite pretences.
Hence the conspiracy to fragment and break things up, now aided and amplified by the former Blairite wing breakaway MPs using this monstrous campaign built around the demented “anti-semitism” pretence as the central weapon for their anti-working class treachery.
This outright censorship, not to say grotesquely offensive, fascist bullying, underlines yet further how far up the fundament of the ruling class this Blairite wing of the Labour Party has buried itself – all of them (not-at-all “democratically”) ignoring the popular movement.
It is no surprise that these disgusting saboteurs (and their many still embedded MP compatriots, just as venal but calculating self-interestedly if their own career interests lie outside or in Labour with a new “centre grouping”) find themselves lined up with a slew of international reaction.
As well as anti-left hysteria in Britain whipped up by every section of the bourgeois media and establishment, the line-up “coincidentally” denouncing supposed “anti-semitism” includes arrogant French demagogue Macron using same “anti-semitism” slander to attack the gilets-jaunes street upheavals, and the Washington establishment (Republican and Democrat), attacking the radical Somali-born Muslim representative Ilhan Omar and her challenges to Israeli aggression and to the fascist Trumpite threats against Caracas.
And all this makes it even clearer that this is a coordinated onslaught, part of the same sinister campaigning set going at least 20 years ago by CIA/Zionist conspiracy and massively escalated since as the crisis has deepened and the Zionist occupation has become ever more detested and hated.
It is part of the bullying to then assert, with wide-eyed dissembling innocence, that any such “conspiracy theory” is itself just an “anti-semitic trope” which “only goes to prove what we are up against” etc etc,etc.
No matter that the Zionists maintain a government ministry specifically charged with targeting and discrediting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, using as much worldwide disinformation as possible for example (despite BDS being only a reformist campaign against “Israel”, hostile to revolutionary politics).
No matter that pro-Zionist Jewish groups like Aipac in America spend tens of millions on advertising and lobbying.
And no matter that undercover filming by the TV channel al-Jazeera caught out Zionism’s London embassy in a deliberate campaign of infiltration by agents to found and fund pro-Zionist student and parliamentary groups, including within the Labour Party, and to discredit public figures and MPs who support Palestine.
This bang-to-rights exposé shown in a detailed four-part TV series called The Lobby is never even mentioned by the Western media, the pro-Zionist Labour MPs (some of whom featured in the film itself) or any of the pro-Zionist Jewish groups, or indeed by the entire Labour party and its grovelling class-collaboration.
It would obviously undermine the Catch-22 circular “logic” by which anyone pointing to such dirty dealings can only be “doing it for racist purposes” allegedly, so that it becomes impossible for any anti-Zionist position to be held to at all – with the obvious end point that eventually it is made completely illegal to even to think such thoughts.
If George Orwell had not been such an anti-communist fink himself, he could have had a “doublethink” field day.
The latest referral of the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for supposed “unlawful discrimination against people because of their ethnicity and religious beliefs” underlines just how such creeping state censorship is being imposed.
It is not ironic at all that it is being done by a body set up by the Labourites themselves as part of their diversionary reformist posturing about “stopping racism”, an always doomed enterprise in the long term within capitalism anyway (which will always regenerate every kind of alienated split and division while its antagonistic society continues and particularly in ever more unequal slump conditions) and a deliberate diversion from the only perspective that can move the world forwards to a society of real equality and development of every individual’s full potential, that of revolutionary communism.
But the Blairite MPs’ dirty dealing is only the first line of treachery.
This demented garbage also exposes the uselessness, not to say, craven opportunism of the Corbynites themselves, who have capitulated all down the line by swallowing the lie that the Labour Party and particularly its newly regenerated popular left is “riddled with anti-semitism”.
Instead of turning round on this utter bollocks, and exposing its imperialist class nature, it has given credence to its reactionary premise by setting up “inquiries” and investigations, not only censoring membership arguments against “Israel” but hounding and persecuting such valid rank-and-file opinion.
Along with a string of retreats from past “principled” stands on issues like Venezuela, the Irish republican struggle, anti-monarchism, membership of the sinister secret Privy Council, ending of Trident, etc this has made totally clear the unchanging opportunist nature of such Labourite class collaboration and the treachery of its “left”.
Grovelling opportunist declarations of “friendship and respect” for the “Jewish community” and of the “right” of Israel to exist only make things ten times worse.
As explained the existence of so-called “Israel” is precisely the issue and there can never be a resolution to this Zionist intrusion until the Palestinians are able to have their country restored.
And while that may come about as a “one state solution” (the “two-state” proposal being always a completely impossible and contemptuous “granting” of some 22% of their own land back to the Palestinians, and the very scrappiest, dry and infertile land at that) in which many of the Jewish inhabitants might request being able to continue to living there – obviously after recognising the authority of a majority Palestinian government – that can only come about through restitution of every last square metre of Palestinian land, homes and other property to the rightful owners or their descendants, many who still symbolically hold on to the keys to their stolen houses, shops and farms.
In the conditions of intensifying imperialist crisis and war belligerence, in which Zionism grows ever more assertively aggressive both in its non-stop “illegal” settler programme - (as if there had been any “legality” anyway save that of the “might is right” international imperialist landgrab UN diktat in 1947-8), – taking over ever more Palestinian homes and land notionally remaining extant, and internationally in daily bombing raids on Syria, and all-out war preparations in Washington-mediated cahoots with the Saudi gangster-royals, that can clearly only be realistically achieved by revolution, one that will merge together with the massive anti-imperialist upheavals of the entire region.
And the occupation is so intertwined with imperialist warmongering that it immediately raises the question of ending the whole system, domestically as well as in the Middle East.
Raising such revolutionary perspectives over “Israel” or anything else is the last thing the Labourites want to do, including the Corbynites.
Quite cynically they have gone along with the whole Goebbels campaign, as a useful means of weeding out and controlling any “leftism” that might consolidate.
In its turn this exposes much of the fake-“left” which jumped into the Corbynite Labour surge, opportunistically hoping to ride it for their own careerist reasons.
Their sly way to avoid the revolutionary question, while not being shown up by the glaring atrocities against the Palestinians, lies in the insistence that “anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism”.
Notionally a correct point, this is elaborated at great length by some groups with detailed and useful histories of the origins of Zionism (see also EPSR Book vol 20 as above), explaining its reactionary nationalist character, which has colluded at times with other imperialist nationalism, (including the German Nazis, a truth even “left” opportunist Ken Livingstone was falsely pilloried for recently and which saw the Jim Allen play Perdition hounded off the London stage by Zionist censorship pressure in the late 1980s), and was itself contemptuous of integrationist and non-Zionist Jewry in the years prior to the Second World War - essentially “anti-semitic” itself.
But it is actually a way to avoid any challenge to or exposure of the modern Jewish freemasonry networks intertwined within Western imperialism and through that to go no further than reformist “protest” against “Israel”, about as useful as the “No to War” pacifism they all promulgate.
It says that any such political attack on Jewishness is “anti-semitism” because many of the “Jewish community” are not responsible for, nor often even supporters of Zionism, some even tearing up their “right of return” documents.
In some cases, they even declare that it is possible for Jews living in “Israel” to be anti-Zionist.
But all this is pure sophistry.
As the EPSR has explained, in the modern world since the “foundation of Israel” the benchmark for what constitutes “Zionism” is precisely what is said and actively done about the occupation and about the imperialism which sustains it (for its own domination purposes). And by that measure virtually all the Jewish population save a very, very few honourable exceptions campaigning for the end of “Israel” (as a “state”) are de facto Zionists, however “liberal”:
But there is no difference. The infinitesimal number of Jews who don’t believe “Israel” (i.e. colonially occupied Palestine) has a right to exist don’t come into it.
Jews are either shamefaced “liberals” who demand “peace” and offer a derisory “two-state sharing” to the conquered Arabs on just over 20% of their land of Palestine; or else they are rampant Zionist Nazis who want to blitzkrieg their way to total annexation of the land of the Palestinian nation, and genocidally cleanse the Arabs off the remaining 22% of their homeland which all Jews have supported as far as the first 78% of Palestine is concerned.
And the Jewishness has everything to do with this, and is inseparable from it.
The Jews are not a race. They are a religious freemasonry.
And “secular” Jews may not believe in a deity but they undoubtedly cling to the freemasonry and its remarkable history of individual triumphs and mass tragedies.
No one is born Jewish just as no one is born Catholic. Both are learned.
And, in adulthood, it is possible to stop being Jewish just as it is possible to stop being Catholic.
But it is the Jewish freemasonry which has flourished so brilliantly in the era of monopoly capitalism, far, far beyond all previous triumphs for any of its adherents.
And American imperialism is its greatest stronghold.
And although being capitalist is what creates the historical objectionability of American monopoly bourgeois circles and their now murderously dominant influence over the planet, the detailed connections and interests of those ruling groups, often conflicting with each other (see below), is an important concern for detailed anti-imperialist struggle.
National and freemasonry allegiances have to be differentiated. British and French imperialism have easily the longest, fullest, and most savage record of colonial barbarism by far among today’s major imperialist powers, but it is American imperialism which is now the great tyranny threatening all civilisation, and not just its colonies.
And while it is the capitalist-system behaviour which creates the warmongering crisis menacing mankind, a stigma shared by all the imperialist powers, — it is the conglomerate power of the American clannishness which is the specific danger.
The Jewish freemasonry within that “national” tribalness stands out equally prominently. (No1207 04-11-03)
...the only “Jewish” view worth giving serious respect for henceforth, — (in the light of the actual fascist-warmongering tyranny that “Israel” could only turn out to be, given the historical circumstances of being an implanted armed Western colonisation in the era of anti-colonialism, and in the light of how US imperialism’s wider international warmongering agenda is now using the emotive fraud of “defend Israel” as a useful stunt to justify ever-increasing repression of Arab and Muslim nationalism of every kind), — is the Jew who campaigns for the destruction of the state of “Israel” as soon as possible for the sake of humanity.
From admittedly limited practical observation, there do not appear to be any ordinary Jewish adherents anywhere who are openly calling for the wiping out of this catastrophic historical abortion called “Israel”.
Given the history and character of this particular religious freemasonry (not much different from most others, in fact), this absence of any really serious “anti-Israel” Jewish movement is hardly surprising.
In which case come EPSR observations that the old distinction between “Jew” and “Zionist” has no further use, and is just a deliberately confusing deceit, henceforth.
And where does the “racism” come into all this????
It is brought in by the Jews themselves, as explained.
First they cry “racist”, purely on the basis of uncomfortably hating how their defence of maintaining just the abstract idea of some “promised land” sometime, somewhere, has been exposed as just a piece of posturing self-righteous philosophical conceit.
Secondly, in practice behind this moralising about “defending the abstract self-determination right for a Jewish homeland, while not defending everything ‘Israel’ does in reality”, lies an actual justification of this one and only real “Israel”
.....which just happens to be an openly racist state and a colonial tyranny, — one of the nastiest in all imperialist history.
The state’s racist essence, is in fact now quite uniquely horrific and disgusting by any standards in all modern history.
So who are the “racists”?????
And the invitation for the colonising members of the multinational international Jewish freemasonry to go back to their own nations in America, Britain, Poland, and Russia, etc, is nothing more than the simple logic of what is actually going to happen sooner or later.
These settlers are Americans, etc.
They might be learning Hebrew, but everything about them is totally American. (No1213 16-12-03)
As these quotes say, this argument is nothing to do with “blaming the Jews” for imperialism and its crimes, though it does say that the Jewish freemasonry networks (like other self-interested freemasonries within capitalism) have a disproportionate influence - as evidenced precisely by the whole “anti-semitism” campaign continuously planting such notions as this in the bourgeois media:
For anti-Zionists like Judt, “self-determination” in that piece of contested land that is Israel/Palestine should adhere to principles of civic, not ethnic, nationalism; that is, be the self-determination of the people, and only the people, who live there, whether Jews or Palestinians.
This kind of anti-Zionism is very different from that which calls for the “destruction of the state of Israel”, usually (a not very veiled) code for the destruction of Jews. The latter is a form of anti-Zionism that refuses to acknowledge the presence of more than 6 million Jews in Israel/Palestine, whose rights, needs and aspirations are as central as those of Palestinians to any discussion of the region’s future.
There are, in other words, many forms of anti-Zionism, some progressive, some antisemitic.
What has shifted is that leftwing ideas of anti-Zionism have become increasingly colonised by antisemitic forms. The reasons are complex, ranging from evolving notions of “anti-imperialism” to the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories..
Once again the vilest of lying accusations is being made that “really this is about destroying Jews” unless you accept their “right” to carry on living in “Israel”.
Of course, says this “realistic” liberalism, now adopted by some of the fake-“left” as a “one-state democratic solution”, we should “share out everything nicely” among “those who live there”.
But the Jews only live there because they stole it!!! At terrorising gun point!!!
And anyway in the conditions of crisis and war, the Zionists are hardly going to agree to any such thing.
It is a liberal fantasy that is simply not going to happen, whatever compromises the Palestinians might be bullied into.
But OK, it can be argued, is it still not the case that some of the anti-Jewish hostility around “on the left” really is lumpen, or backward anti-semitism, with at least a racist tinge, and vulnerable to fascist notions???
To which there are two answers.
Firstly, most of the spontaneous hostility against Jews in the modern world is generated as a response to Zionism’s non-stop slaughter, and even if it finds expression in crude anti-semitic prejudice, for lack of better understanding, that is something entirely different to the race hatred and scapegoating of the 1930 Hitlerites.
Secondly, there is crude bigotry and scapegoating akin to the Nazi past being quite deliberately encouraged by imperialism itself, notably in East Europe by the backward counter-revolutionaries re-installed there after 1989, (with Trotskyites cheering them on), using diversionary scapegoating to suppress revived communist nostalgia as populations grow more and more disgusted with the realities of restored capitalism, and among “white supremacist” backwardness in the US, to muddy the water and prevent any better understanding, as well as trying to stir up the same backwardness as in the past.
But while this might have some marginal effect, – though more on fearful petty bourgeois public opinion subjected to the anti-semitism propaganda deluge – it is a different phenomenon, as admitted by the reactionary French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, who railed at the gilet jaunes and caught a stream of hostility from the street protestors for his pains:
the writer and commentator does not feel entirely at home in France. That feeling was heightened dramatically when, last weekend, a gilet jaune protester shouted at him that he was a “dirty Zionist shit” who should “go back to Tel Aviv”.
“I am home, but not to these people. Those who shout ‘go back to Tel Aviv’ believe Israel is stolen land, so what they are saying is that I have no place here, I have no place there … that I have no place on earth,” he told the Observer.
It is all part of what he calls “new winds blowing across Europe. Where are they taking us? Nobody knows,” he said. “It’s very worrying.”
The sharp rise in anti-semitism and racism in France is a “new turn of events” that could be linked to the gilets jaunes demonstrations that have swept the country, according to President Emmanuel Macron...
In a video recorded of the verbal assault on Finkielkraut, whose Polish-Jewish father survived deportation from Paris to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1942, a man whose face is contorted with rage screams: “We are the French people, France is ours.” At one point the protester, who was later arrested, shows his keffiyeh, a traditional Arab scarf.
“I felt the hatred, the hostility,” Finkielkraut said. “I’ve felt this increase in hostility for some time, but this was shocking.
...I am now at the mercy of the merest cretin who wants to attack me.”
Antisemitism in France, Finkielkraut suggested, is now a two-headed beast. One represents the historical racism, symbolised by the Dreyfus affair and the Nazi-collaborating Vichy regime. It is the almost institutional antisemitism revealed in comments in 1980 by Raymond Barre, the late prime minister, who said that an “odious” attack on the Copernic synagogue that killed four and injured more than 40 others “was aimed at hitting Israelites attending the synagogue and has hit innocent French people”. And it is revealed in the provocations of the former Front National leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
That Finkielkraut’s gilet jaune attacker was a 36-year-old Muslim convert has also reinforced his controversial view that antisemitism’s second head is radical Islam in Europe.
“This is not classic antisemitism that we saw with Hitler – this is another antisemitism altogether,” he said.
To take a moralising stand against this second, class-driven hatred, as many of the fake-“left” do, is to abandon revolutionary politics.
Again EPSR 1207:
The blind prejudices lurking in the cupboard belong not to “anti-semitic racism” but to the political dilettantism and muddleheadedness of those who prefer opportunist point-scoring to being willing to spell out a socially uncomfortable political reality.
Identifying the growing fears about Jewish-Zionist bigoted aggression’s role – (in American imperialist pre-emptive blitzkrieg threats to take the ludicrous “war on terrorism” to all corners of the Earth on a mass scale, following up the more piecemeal pioneering raids carried out all over the place by the USA’s Zionist colony) with the Jew-baiting history of fascist anti-semitism, is just more deliberate pointscoring and confusion-mongering.
Hitler condemned the “Jewish plague” of international finance capital in order to rescue the imperialist system from a revolution-ridden capitalist slump by artificially whipping up a new world war which the whole planet could enthusiastically take part in “with good conscience” after World War One had proved such a disaster for the very survival of the modern world-system of imperialist rivalry.
Including this influential freemasonry’s role today within the broadest targeting of American imperialist domination’s most lethally dangerous tendencies, is essential for mobilising all possible anti-imperialist forces – (e.g. Arab Palestinian nationalism; pan-Arab nationalism; universal Muslim fundamentalism; growing Western awareness of Middle East injustice which is not scared off by sneers of “anti-semitism” from naming Jewish Zionism as now a key major player in the key physical disposition and in the propagandistic essence of self-righteous imperialist warmongering; etc; etc; etc;) which could help turn Third World spontaneous resistance against all western-world domineering bigotry of the “chosen people”, “master-race” kind, towards the rebirth of world socialist revolution to end all capitalism’s colonising-bullying injustices once and for all.
But whether the self-righteous imperialist blitzkrieging comes from Zionists, Hitlerism, or the many purely American ruling-class freemasonries, the world’s revolutionary interest must remain focused on the warmongers’ defeat.
It further explains that the issue is similar to spontaneously growing anti-Americanism or anti-Westernism which the petty bourgeois moralising of the fake-“left” was also condemning:
the fake-‘left’ notion that Bush can be jeered on his UK visit but that anti-American hatred should be avoided at all costs, is just the most ludicrous political correctness ever heard of.
It is precisely the consciousness to hate American cultural, economic, political, and military domination that first begins to unite the world’s proletarian masses towards a huge international revolutionary movement.
Obviously, as the anti-imperialist revolution begins acquiring Marxist Leninist understanding, earthily spontaneous prejudice can take more of a back seat.
But to expect to start off a global class war against the tyranny of monopoly bourgeois rule, – which is largely governed and sustained by US imperialist nationalism, – but not allow spontaneous hatred of specifically American colonial domination (or British, or Zionist, or whatever), is to demonstrate just a dilettante posturing at socialist revolution, but no serious materialist acceptance of its warts-and-all reality, – (epitomised by the dictatorship of the proletariat occasionally falling into arbitrary and vindictive hands, — the original nightmare of all Trot-type naff idealism).
And there is embedded another point, that if the cruder aspects of such “earthy” instinctive resistance are to be countered, then it is down to revolutionary leadership and understanding to do a better job in explaining the world and taking the leadership of such spontaneous upheaval.
That is just what was argued by Lenin on the parallel and overlapping issue of terrorism in his penetrating article Guerrilla War (see EPSR 1248 eg).
Its issues are completely interlinked politically, geographically and historically.
And they come to the fore again with the inhuman demonisation of the “ISIS wives” such as Shamima Begum and the vengeful “punishment” stripping her of citizenship and leading on to the death of an innocent 20 day old child.
This is firstly a fascist outrage in its own right, a crude and vicious swipe abandoning all the “liberal” principles of “democracy” and effectively returning the world to vigilantism.
It is designed to stir up primitive scapegoating populism and feed public hysteria over the “war on terror”, to justify yet more Western blitzkrieg.
Ironically, some Jewish holocaust memory opinion has spoken out in Germany:
The Anne Frank Center has come under fire for comparing the plight of Jews fleeing Nazi rule during the Second World War to ISIS terrorists.
The educational institution, which is situated in the German city of Frankfurt, made the comments in response to the country’s decision to strip returning ISIS terrorists of their citizenship.
The decision will apply to all adult German nationals with dual citizenship who take part in future battles for any terrorist organisation.
In a series of tweets last Wednesday the center wrote: ‘A draft of the Grand Coalition provides that captured German IS fighters are stripped of nationality-provided they are of legal age and thus do not become stateless.
‘A lot of protest has broken out against this-including with reference to the Third Reich: Okay 5.
‘In fact, the Nazis generously made use of the means of naturalization.
‘In several waves, a total of more than 39000 people were expelled-especially Jews. As of Nov. In 1941, they automatically lost their citizenship they the crossed the borders of the Reich regardless of whether ‘voluntarily’ emigrated or deported.’
‘The imperial limit crossed-whether ‘voluntarily’ emigrated or deported. Her assets were recovered. Among other things, Albert Einstein was affected on the grounds that he had violated ‘the duty to be faithful to the Reich and the people.
‘Also expelled was Hannah Ahrendt, from whom the saying comes: ‘The naturalized person loses the right to have rights.’ In democracies, withdrawal of citizenship is a means that deprives the sovereign, the citizens, of the opportunity to participate.
‘That is why lawyers plead for a restrained approach to this means. Frankfurt lawyer Astrid Wallrabenstein says: ‘The police and law enforcement officers are responsible for security, not the passport authority.’’’
Other middle class opinion is equally dismayed, dimly recognising the slippery slope down which such moves are leading, not only against “terrorist sympathisers” but against all “left” opinion.
How long before all “leftism”, let alone revolutionary politics is deemed unacceptable and its protagonists stripped of their citizenship rights???
And then what could be done with them??? Perhaps put them in...camps??? Sites with enclosures have long been prepared and the collection of data on “extremists” (code for the left despite pretences it is “anti-fascist”) is well in train:
The Home Office is facing calls to release a report called Leftwing Activism and Extremism in the UK, which has been prepared by its extremism analysis unit (EAU).
Jenny Jones, one of several politicians and activists whose inclusion on a domestic extremist database previously caused a furore, are among those expressing concerns about the report after its existence was revealed by a freedom of information request by the Guardian.
Jones said: “Over the past decade, the police have become more and more confused about their duty to facilitate peaceful protest and are prone to see any disruption as extremist. The Met police put me on their domestic extremist database for years, when I was a member of their own oversight body, the Police Authority and deputy mayor of London,” said Jones.
“It is deeply worrying that the Home Office has a report that must include definitions of extremism that many people would see as far too broad, when protest and dissent are necessary within a democracy.”
An FOI request by the Guardian found that the Home Office’s EAU – which was established by Theresa May in 2015 and has been involved in drawing up a blacklist of individuals and organisations with whom the government and public sector should not engage – has produced, or is planning to produce, more than 21 reports.
Three have titles indicating they are focused on the far right, such as Impact of Far Right Ideology on Young People and Rightwing Extremism – UK Groups.
Three others contained the word “Islamist”, including How Islamist Extremists Gain Legitimacy. Others appear to be focused on the impact or reaction to terror events of recent years, such as Manchester Attack One Week On – Reaction and London Bridge Attack Islamophobic Sentiments.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The work by the extremism analysis unit helps improve our understanding of all types of extremism and guide how we should respond.”
The entire fake-“left” helps soap this rope, with its condemnations of “terrorism” and jihadism, particularly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, either declaring it “reactionary” on its own account, or “all organised by the West”, thereby equally allowing them to condemn it too by denying its anti-imperialist origin and content.
Marxism has never argued that the sometimes barmy ideologies of the jihadists and other groups are to be supported nor advocates their methods as the best way in current conditions to build mass revolutionary understanding.
But neither does it join in the condemnation of such upheaval, and particularly does not subscribe to the blitzing and destruction carried out by imperialism, let alone “volunteering” to join the fight against it, within the ranks of the Kurdish YPG for example, which is in collusion with American special forces.
The point is to make clear what is the real source and cause of all terrorism, the blitzkrieging tyranny imposed long term by imperialist colonialism on the world and its massive escalation after 9/11’s attempt by the Third World to fight back.
It is that horrifying butchery, in the face of which even the most ruthless of the jihadist responses, pales into insignificance (millions slaughtered or maimed by high tech bombing and invasion since 2002 – and many more now facing famine in Yemen etc) which has lead to the huge escalation of resistance.
And while that is often confused, sometimes subject to counter-productive sectarianism, and even to manipulation by imperialist skulduggery (though not remotely universally so, as the fake-“lefts” pretend, to excuse their cowardly opportunism, and capitulation to imperialist propaganda pressure) its overall character is of anti-imperialist revolt.
The almost universal hostility of all such upheaval to the Zionist implant is one indication of that; imperialism’s demonisation of Islamism, another indirect one.
These developments have anyway already moved well beyond piecemeal resistance into gigantic mass movements, particularly in Egypt in 2011 (again denounced by the “left” – some like the Stalinist Lalkar/Proletarian even effectively welcoming the military coup overturn of the Muslim Brotherhood, an error still unexplained).
But as occasionally emerges, the bloody violence of the Sisi military dictatorship is sitting on a volcano of potential revolution:
The joy that followed Hosni Mubarak’s resignation was palpable. It was 11 February 2011 – eight years ago to this day. Egyptians of all faiths and ages and backgrounds, united by a desire for freedom, gathered in Tahrir Square to bring 30 years of tyranny to an end. We believed that as the people of the region’s most historic power, inspired by the success of the Tunisian revolution, we were setting in motion a chain of events that would guarantee Egypt’s freedom.
But after 30 months the dream became a nightmare. Letting the military manage the transitional period was probably the biggest mistake of all; revolutions never give power to pillars of the old regime. Perhaps later on we were complacent: our first free presidential election, and the subsequent referendum on a new constitution, gave us confidence that the changes taking place could not be stopped or undone. But the solidarity that defined the protests in Tahrir Square was disintegrating, and neither the government of Mohamed Morsi nor any of the other political powers could resolve the differences or abate the fears – of the old regime, the political parties, the army and the people in the street – that had started to infuse public life.
By now the horrifying details are familiar: there are illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings
We made mistakes. Try as it might, the government, in which I served as a cabinet minister, could not isolate the leftover elements of Mubarak’s regime and bring consensus to the country. And all the while there were fuel, gas and electricity shortages to exacerbate the rising discord. We gave priority to establishing democratic institutions, but it took only a minute on 3 July 2013 to dismantle them all: the presidency, the parliament and the constitution. Major reform of the remnants of the old regime should have been more of a priority.
When, in November 2012, Morsi announced that his rulings were temporarily above the constitutional court’s, some believed he had proclaimed himself dictator – though his intention was to safeguard the country’s new constitution, which limited, rather than extended, his powers. It opened the door to fresh calls for protests and regime change and eventually General Sisi’s military coup. The scorched-earth assault on protesters in Rabaa Square remains one of the darkest days in modern Egyptian history, and sounded the death knell for the dreams of the Arab spring.
It is painful to remember Barack Obama’s words following Mubarak’s resignation: “The people of Egypt have spoken,” he said. “They have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.” Now we find ourselves again in thrall to a brutal and capricious military dictator – only this one is worse than Mubarak, worse than Gamal Abdel Nasser. His impact on Egyptian civil life was immediate. Dalia Fahmy, a political science professor at Long Island University in New York, put it most succinctly when she said, “Egyptian society is being crushed.”
By now the horrifying details are familiar: Sisi punishes dissidents and activists daily; there are illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings. Women who speak out against sexual harassment are arrested; Egypt now jails more journalists on “false news” charges than any other country. Human Rights Watch describes a “torture epidemic” in Egyptian jails, while Amnesty International says those on the outside live in an “open-air prison”. All the while, the hidden war in the Sinai peninsula threatens a humanitarian crisis. And due to Sisi’s failure to handle the terrorism he claims to be fighting, the Global Terrorism Index 2018 puts Egypt in ninth place.
While I was drafting this piece, three youth members of the Muslim Brotherhood were executed: Ahmed Elhendawy, Abdelhamid Metwally and Almoataz Ghanem. Their charges were fabricated, based on confessions made under torture.
And yet Europe is watching with folded arms. In a region disposed to upheaval and violence, a “strongman” like Sisi ensures stability – or at least that is the thinking of leaders such as Emmanuel Macron. But this cold war mentality is pushing Egypt to the brink of total state failure. Sisi’s government spends extravagantly on projects that have not undergone even basic feasibility studies and diverts resources away from schools and hospitals to the bloated military. About a third of Egyptians live on or below the poverty line, and the Early Warning Project puts Egypt third in the list of countries most likely to experience a major mass killing this year. Yet Sisi and his supporters push for constitutional amendments that would extend his presidency, possibly to 2034. In addition, the amendments call for intervention by the military to “protect the constitution and the state if under threat”. Although this has been routine in Egypt, it is the first time in Egyptian history that it has been constitutionalised.
If Europe does not address the autocracy of Sisi’s government and Egypt fails, the consequences will be almost unimaginable. The twin disasters of the Syrian civil war and the failure of Libya – whose population is less than a tenth of the size of Egypt’s – sent desperate refugees across the Mediterranean in almost unprecedented numbers. If Egypt explodes into violence, the refugee crisis alone would shake the continent to its foundations, and any export of terrorism would animate and inflame rising European nationalism and xenophobia. Although Sisi uses these same arguments to blackmail Europe into supporting him, it is his regime that is the main driver of instability in Egypt.
Although some think the dreams of the Arab spring are over, the ideals that underpinned it are still alive.
While there may be “a special place in hell” for those who backed Brexit without a plan, regimes that execute people after fundamentally flawed trials get their own summit. Just a fortnight ago, Donald Tusk and the leaders of the EU met with the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, at the Arab-EU summit in Sharm el-Sheikh – days after his regime executed nine people.
The summit was co-chaired by Tusk and Sisi. Tusk and other European leaders, including Theresa May, were curiously silent at the summit about the fate of Egypt’s political prisoners. The execution of the nine – convicted after unfair trials in which human rights campaigners say confessions were elicited by torture – was the third consecutive week of executions. In total 15 people were put to death in February in Egypt.
Human rights matters were apparently on the summit’s agenda, but the only public utterances on Egypt’s use of the death penalty came at a press conference at the end. Sisi defended Egypt’s use of executions, remarking, among other things, that the EU and the Middle East had “two different cultures”.
At a meeting in parliament last week, hosted by Alistair Carmichael MP, I spoke with a panel of international lawyers and experts on repression in Egypt and the execution of political prisoners. The UK is, by some measures, the country’s largest foreign investor, and speakers at the event were united in urging the UK government to use its influence in Egypt to demand an end to human rights abuses. There can be no justification, cultural or otherwise, for the execution of prisoners following trials that are manifestly unfair and in which basic standards have not been met.
The absence of moral leadership on the use of the death penalty from the EU and the UK is striking. It fell to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – hardly regarded as the most ardent respecter of the rule of law – to say of the most recent round of executions: “Of course, we are going to be told that it is a decision of the judiciary. But [in Egypt] justice, elections, all that, are codswallop. There is an authoritarian system, even totalitarian.”
Since Sisi came to power in 2014, and was re-elected last year with a 97% share of the vote – a margin that would make a cold war dictator blush – he has continued to chip away at the democratic structures of Egypt.
And how does the “left” square its condemnations of “jihadism” with the revolts against Zionism by Hamas; or the struggles in the Sinai against Sisi; or against the corrupt stoogery in Nigeria. Or against the French imperialist supported regime in Mali?
The shortcomings of the jihadist movements put them a long way from Marxism.
What the Middle East needs, Latin America and the working class everywhere needs is a Leninist revolutionary perspective.
But the self-righteous moralising of the fake “left” against this great upheaval is the exact opposite, as the EPSR has said (No 1248 14-09-04):
From a revolutionary anti-imperialist point of view, it has always been not only pointless but self-damaging for serious socialists to get diverted by lurid speculation about the “inhuman barbarity” of the terrorism or its alleged “sick motivation”.
Marxist philosophy proceeds from the notion that the world is what it is, — including every political, social, and psychological phenomenon within it,— ENTIRELY due to its TOTAL domination by the bourgeois-imperialist class system.
Independent struggle and thought never ceases, it can only thrive on correcting its own mistakes, and eventually it will completely dominate the Earth as the international socialist revolution.
But beyond conscious, detailed, and genuinely Marxist-Leninist polemics, every other phenomenon is first of all a responsibility of the crisis-ridden imperialist system, and invariably a damning black mark against it.
The fact of “terrorism’ illustrates this materialist philosophical reality exactly.
Why does it exist at all?? Why is it now such a frequent and widespread occurrence, especially “suicide terrorism”???
Why is 99% of it historically associated with desperate injustices or desperately unequal struggles???
Why does it seem to be building up towards a crescendo at this moment in time???
Either the answer is the crisis of the imperialist system, dominating the lives of everyone on Earth. Or evolution has taken a wrong turn and set mankind back, especially the vast majority of mankind in the poorest or most frustratingly disadvantaged and benighted areas of the world, to suffer a repeat of a lemming self-destruct phase of development regression.
But having established that, fundamentally, the reality of imperialist tyranny ALONE is the background for the existence of the now widespread phenomenon and regular historical routine of terrorism, then certain unavoidable implications follow from this.
It makes no sense whatever to BLAME the terrorists for ending up in this desperate, hate-filled, and frequently suicidal frame of mind. (The argument about whether the conscious perspective for the socialist revolution should engage in or “approve of” acts of terrorism IS A DIFFERENT QUESTION ENTIRELY — see Lenin quotes).
It makes even less sense to “condemn” the phenomenon of terrorism taking place.
Society is heading for TOTAL CIVIL WAR. Vastly more elements will be caught up in or actively engaged in this civil war than just the Marxist-Leninist party of revolutionary theory.
Indeed, it is most likely to be the case, as it has been in history so far, that whenever the civil war has finally spontaneously broken out, the serious revolutionary party has at that point no more than the tiniest of tiny minorities among the huge social forces initially spontaneously going into battle. But as Lenin makes crystal clear in his remarkable 1906 article on Guerrilla Warfare, the Marxist revolutionary spirit ALWAYS is in sympathy with any civil war activity, and ALWAYS hostile to all “condemnation” of acts of civil war, however anarchic the terrorism.
To those so-called “communists” and “revolutionaries” and “socialists” who capitulate to the immense social-conformity pressure of a modern bourgeois state to “condemn terrorism”, Lenin says: “I am hurt by this degradation of the most revolutionary doctrine in the world.”*
*[Guerrilla War 1906]
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Discussion (continued from No 1551)
Distorting Lenin’s April Theses
Combatting attempts to undermine Leninism by the fake-“lefts” (arising out of their hatred of the dictatorship of proletariat) by distorting the historical record of the Soviet Union’s revolutionary history up to 1989 –– Part Five
Lenin had been clearly using the scandalous failure of the fake-“lefts” of his time (such as the renegade Kautsky) to renounce the secret treaties to expose them in front of the working class and poor peasantry, and to split the petty bourgeois elements (who had no material interest in the continuation of the imperialist war and so should not be supporting it) from the landowners and big bourgeoisie (who were making huge profits from it), at least from October 1916 – over four months before Zinoviev’s speech:
The Kautskyite advocacy of “disarmament”, which is addressed to the present governments of the imperialist Great Powers, is the most vulgar opportunism, it is bourgeois pacifism, which actually—in spite of the “good intentions” of the sentimental Kautskyites—serves to distract the workers from the revolutionary struggle. For this advocacy seeks to instil in the workers the idea that the present bourgeois governments of the imperialist powers are not bound to each other by thousands of threads of finance capital and by scores or hundreds of corresponding secret treaties (i.e., predatory, plundering treaties, preparing the way for imperialist war).
Lenin: The “disarmament” slogan, Written in October 1916
And now? Just see what is happening in the present war. One loses patience with the “socialists”, who have deserted the proletariat to go over to the bourgeoisie and talk about Russia waging a “war of defence”, or to “save the country” (Chkheidze). One loses patience with sentimental Kautsky and Co. and their talk of a democratic peace, as if the present governments, or any bourgeois government for that matter, could conclude such a peace. As a matter of fact, they are enmeshed in a net of secret treaties with each other, with their allies, and against their allies. And the content of these treaties is not accidental, it was not determined merely by “malice”, but by the whole course and development of imperialist foreign policy. Those “socialists” who hoodwink the workers with banal phrases about nice things in general (defence of the fatherland, democratic peace) without exposing the secret treaties their own governments have concluded to rob foreign countries—such “socialists” are downright traitors to socialism.
Lenin A separate peace Sotsial-Demokrat No. 56 , November 6, 1916
And in the March 12 letter referred to by Lih:
The laughable implication in the previous quote from Lih is that Zinoviev influenced Lenin into paying attention to the secret treaties in March 1917. As the dates of the first two Lenin quotes prove, this is just lying trickery.
Thirdly, Guchkov-Milyukov and Co. are bound to England, France, Italy, Japan and other groups of robber capitalists by direct treaties concerning the predatory aims of this war. These treaties were concluded by Tsar Nicholas II. Guchkov-Milyukov and Co. took advantage of the workers’ struggle against the tsarist monarchy to seize power, and they have confirmed the treaties concluded by the tsar.
This was done by the whole of the Guchkov-Milyukov government in a Manifesto which the St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency circulated on March 7(20): “The government [of Guchkov and Milyukov] will faithfully abide by all the treaties that bind us with other powers,” says the manifesto. Milyukov, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the same thing in his telegram of March 5 (18), 1917 to all Russian representatives abroad.
These are all secret treaties, and Milyukov and Co. refuse to make them public for two reasons: (1) they fear the people, who are opposed to the predatory war; (2) they are bound by Anglo-French capital which insists that the treaties remain secret. But every newspaper reader who has followed events knows that these treaties envisage the robbery of China by Japan; of Persia, Armenia, Turkey (especially Constantinople) and Galicia by Russia; of Albania by Italy; of Turkey and the German colonies by France and England, etc.
This is how things stand.
[Lenin, Letters from afar, Fourth Letter, Zurich, March 12 (25), 1917]
Desperate to give credit to Zinoviev on the secret treaty issue and downplay the significance of Lenin’s interventions, Lih later follows his time-bending distortions by displaying further signs of early cognitive decline, writing:
On present evidence, no more than a week intervenes between the first mention of secret treaties in Zinoviev’s article in Pravda on March 25-26 and its prominent presence in high-level debates at a national conference of soviets…
So not only does our absent-minded time-travelling professor fail to mention Lenin’s previous exposures of the existence at least from October 1916, he forgets his own previously quoted statement that Lenin had written about them on March 12th. And this is being taken seriously in some fake-“left” circles!!
Lih’s workerism is on display again when he implies that Lenin’s clear opposition to the “old Bolsheviks” making demands on the bourgeois Provisional Government fell on the deaf ears of
…Bolshevik agitators in the barracks and factories, who were confident that such ‘demands’ tore the mask off the government and exposed its real nature.
If this was true, it would only demonstrate how far the down into the working class the old Bolsheviks’ mistaken tactic had gone; it is not an argument against Lenin.
In The Tasks of the Proletariat in our Revolution, Lenin used the failed old Bolshevik tactic of demanding an immediate armistice to demonstrate that such demands are completely futile and, worse, fail to provide the working class with the clarity they need:
3. In the field of foreign policy, which has now been brought to the forefront by objective circumstances, the new government is a government for the continuation of the imperialist war, a war that is being waged in alliance with the imperialist powers -- Britain, France, and others -- for division of the capitalist spoils and for subjugating small and weak nations.......
The new government has confirmed these shameful depredatory treaties and has not proposed an immediate armistice to all the belligerent nations, in spite of the clearly expressed demand of the majority of the peoples of Russia, voiced through the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. It has evaded the issue with the help of solemn, sonorous, bombastic, but ahsolutely empty declarations and phrases, which, in the mouths of bourgeois diplomats, have always served, and still serve, to deceive the trustful and naïve masses of the oppressed people.
4. Not only, therefore, is the new government unworthy of the slightest confidence in the field of foreign policy, but to go on demanding that it should proclaim the will of the peoples of Russia for peace, that it should renounce annexations, and so on and so forth, is in practice merely to deceive the people, to inspire them with false hopes and to retard the clarification of their minds. It is indirectly to reconcile them to the continuation of a war the true social character of which is determined not by pious wishes, but by the class character of the government that wages the war, by the connection between the class represented by this government and the imperialist finance capital of Russia, Britain, France, etc., by the real and actual policy which that class is pursuing.
[Lenin, The Tasks of the Proletariat in our Revolution: Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party, April 1917]
Lih does not seem to understand the need for a polemical struggle over theoretical positions in order to develop the line that best reflects concrete reality, and building tactics based on this. He priorities the subjective experiences of individual ‘worker-activists’ over this need for an agreed position based on the correct theory. He priorities “winning over the masses” through putting ‘demands’ on the Provisional Government over polemical debate towards an agreed understanding. Lenin’s hard-fought polemical struggle for the correct theory is dismissed as the “obsession” of an out-of-touch émigré:
Lenin wanted “the utter falsity of all the Provisional government’s promises” to be made clear - but at the same time he rejected the use of ‘demands’. What was required was “Exposure in place of the impermissible, illusion-breeding ‘demand’ that this government, a government of capitalists, should cease to be an imperialist government.” But from the point of view of the praktiki, it made no sense to choose between exposure and making demands: the latter was a means to the former.
Lenin’s rejection of campaign-oriented demands was clearly a product of his polemical obsession with west European socialists such as Kautsky, who (according to Lenin) fostered illusions by making ‘demands’ for peace, etc. But this obsession did not fit the Russian situation, where the Bolsheviks were not engaged in intra-socialist polemics, but in winning over the masses.
To the praktiki, this advice asked them to switch from mass campaigns … and to rely on lectures by propagandists expatiating on the class basis of society (‘propaganda’ was a technical term used by the praktiki to mean intensive educational efforts aimed at small groups). In response to Lenin, Bagdatev insisted that demand-based exposure campaigns aimed at a mass constituency were an essential tool for achieving soviet power…
He was understandably upset to learn from the April Theses that “Com Lenin is against making demands on the government.”
Kautsky, who when he was a Marxist had demonstrated that war and revolution were inter-related, had by 1915, when the imperialist war was raging, opportunistically reneged on his previous, correct, understanding, rejected the revolutionary tasks of the proletariat and denied that a revolution was possible in times of war. He declared an “equal right or obligation” for workers of all countries to “take part in the defence their fatherland” and blended this with phrases in favour of socialism.
Lenin’s April Theses and subsequent writings were aimed at splitting the working class away from such chauvinistic petty-bourgeois “defend the fatherland” influences. It was not merely an “intra-socialist polemic”. Kautsky had by this stage become a renegade from socialism.
This is the thesis Lih objects to:
3) No support for the Provisional Government; the utter falsity of all its promises should be made clear, particularly of those relating to the renunciation of annexations. Exposure in place of the impermissible, illusion-breeding “demand” that this government, a government of capitalists, should cease to be an imperialist government.
[Lenin, The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution (a.k.a. the April Theses), Pravda No. 26, April 1917]
Lih thinks he has exposed a contradiction in Lenin’s writings over his call for the publication of secret treaties between the imperialist powers for the continuation of war. Isn’t Lenin making a ‘demand’ here? And doesn’t this demonstrate that there is no difference between ‘demands’ and exposure?
No, he isn’t, and no, it doesn’t. Lenin used the bourgeois Provisional Government’s failure to publish the secret treaties, and its later confirmation of the existence of those treaties, to expose its desire to continue fighting the imperialist war against the wishes of the majority of the Russian people. This is not the same as making a “demand for peace”. Such demands foster the reformist illusion that bourgeois governments can stop being imperialist through “left” pressure. It heads the working class away from the understanding that only socialist revolution can bring meaningful change.
Lih’s ‘worker-activist’, Bagdatev, has a problem here anyway as any ‘demands’ he made would have to have arisen from a particular understanding of the world (i.e. a theory) agreed by the Bolsheviks. How are the masses to be “won over” if the ‘demands’ have no basis in reality? And, how is this agreement to be reached without discussion and debate to test the different subjective perspectives of that reality???
Lih uncritically refers to such ‘worker-activist’ dismissal of the Bolsheviks’ polemical struggle for understanding as “lectures by propagandists”.
This is what Lenin had to say about such anti-theory philistinism:
Comrade Kamenev concludes his article with the remark that “in a broad discussion he hopes to carry his point of view, which is the only possible one for revolutionary Social-Democracy if it wishes to and should remain to the very end the party of the revolutionary masses of the proletariat and not turn into a group of Communist propagandists”.
It seems to me that these words betray a completely erroneous estimate of the situation. Comrade Kamenev contraposes to a “party of the masses” a “group of propagandists”. But the “masses” have now succumbed to the craze of “revolutionary” defencism. Is it not more becoming for internationalists at this moment to show that they can resist “mass” intoxication rather than to “wish to remain”,with the masses, i.e., to succumb to the general epidemic? Have we not seen how in all the belligerent countries of Europe the chauvinists tried to justify themselves on the grounds that they wished to “remain with the masses”? Must we not be able to remain for a time in the minority against the “mass” intoxication? Is it not the work of the propagandists at the present moment that forms the key point for disentangling the proletarian line from the defencist and petty-bourgeois “mass” intoxication? It was this fusion of the masses, proletarian and non-proletarian, regardless of class differences within the masses, that formed one of the conditions for the defencist epidemic. To speak contemptuously of a “group of propagandists” advocating a proletarian line does not seem to be very becoming.
[Lenin, Letters on tactics, First Letter, 24 April 1917]
Lih contraposes his rank-and-file worker-activists’ “practical campaign-orientated demands” to the Bolsheviks' struggle to analyse the Russian situation correctly by incorporate the new phenomenon of ‘dual power’ to all that had been proved correct in Marxist theory. However, the Bolshevik struggle for understanding was of paramount importance.
Without the correct appraisal of contemporary events, and particularly the need to break the proletarian elements in the Soviets away from the influence of the petty-bourgeoisie and to press ahead towards the socialist revolution, such activtism could only ever spread reformist illusions and ensure the continuing class dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
An example of how Lih attempts to erase Lenin’s leadership role by presenting him as an “out-of-touch émigré” can be found in his discussion around editorial cuts made to Lenin’s First Letter from Afar [March 1917] by the Pravda editors, Kamenev and Stalin. The editors of Lenin’s Collected Works gave the following reasons for the deletions:
The cuts concern chiefly Lenin’s characterisation of the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary leaders as conciliators and flunkies of the bourgeoisie, their attempts to hide from the people the fact that representatives of the British and French governments helped the Cadets and Octoberists secure the abdication of Nicholas II, and also Lenin’s exposure of the monarchist and imperialist proclivities of the Provisional Government, which was determined to continue the predatory war.
[Notes to the Progress Publishers 1964 edition of volume 23 of Lenin’s Collected Works]
Rather than use these deletions to demonstrate why it was necessary for Lenin to launch an all-out polemical struggle against the local Bolshevik leadership, Lih, with his Mr. Topsy-Turvy hat on again, attempts to use this as “evidence” that the Petrograd Bolsheviks “nudged Lenin’s letter in the direction of the April Theses”!!
This is what Lih has to say about Lenin’s exposure of the Provisional Government’s attempts to enter into deals with the over-thrown monarchists:
2. Correcting Lenin’s overestimation of tsarism’s role in post-February politics. As we have seen, Lenin’s Letter portrayed tsarist reaction as one of the three fundamental forces in current Russian politics. This picture was outdated even when Lenin wrote the article, and it would have struck readers in late March as seriously out of touch. The passage where Lenin set out his tripartite political map could itself be left in (with changes), since Lenin seemed to be describing the lead-up to the February revolution rather than the post-revolutionary situation. In contrast, Lenin’s extrapolations of tsarism’s role into the post-February political scene were all excised.
At the time of writing the Letter, Lenin was convinced that the Provisional Government was hell-bent on making a deal with the dynasty:
The new government has not yet finished off the tsarist monarchy before it has begun to make a deal with the landlord Romanov dynasty. The bourgeoisie of the Octobrist-Cadet type needs a monarchy to serve as the head of the bureaucracy and the army in order to protect the privileges of capital against the working people. (Lenin’s emphasis)
By March 21-22, these accusations would have struck readers as seriously out of date. Mikhail Romanov (the brother of the ex-tsar) had also abdicated; the Romanov dynasty and monarchists in general were without influence. The editors therefore excised this passage and others like it.
Lenin was 100% correct in warning the working class and poor peasantry that the bourgeois elements of the Provisional Government were colluding with the monarchist remnants to restore the Tsarism in some form. On the day of the victory of the February revolution, on March 12 [new style], a Provisional Committee of the State Duma was set up to run the country by the panicked Fourth State Duma, with the aim of stopping the revolution. It was made up of bourgeois and monarchist politicians (Cadets, Octoberists, etc) and petty bourgeois elements: Mensheviks and Progressists, and the Trudovik, Kerensky.
Its members, the bourgeois-monarchist Shulgin and Guchkov, were sent to the Tsar to persuade him to abdicate, with a view to establishing a constitutional monarchy, if possible. The hatred against the Tsar was such that this proved to be impossible because it would risk prolonging and deepening the revolution. The Tsar’s chosen successor, the Grand Duke Mikhail, deferred the position until a decision from a future constitutional assembly was made in his favour.
The new Provisional Government, formed by agreement between the Provisional Committee and the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers on March 15 [NS], left the question of the monarchy unresolved until the defeat of the monarchist-backed counter-revolutionary Kornilov coup in September forced them to declare a republic. Lih writes (beginning with a Lenin quote):
This new government, in which Lvov and Guchkov of the Octobrists and Peaceful Renovation Party - yesterday’s abettors of Stolypin the Hangman - control the posts of real importance, the crucial posts, the decisive posts, the army and the bureaucracy - this government, in which Miliukov and the other Cadets serve mostly for decoration, for a signboard, for sugary professorial speeches, and the ‘Trudovik’ Kerensky plays the role of a balalaika for gulling the workers and peasants.
Indeed, the whole political spectrum in Russia had lurched to the left after the February events to such an extent that the entire right wing of the pre-revolutionary opposition - what Lenin here calls “landlord-Octobrist Russia” - had also disappeared from the scene, leaving the liberal Cadets (short for the Constitutional Democratic Party) as the single non-socialist party left standing. Not knowing of these developments, Lenin painted a highly inaccurate picture of the Provisional Government.
In actuality, the balance of forces within the government was the reverse of Lenin’s picture. To start off, Lenin had got his Lvovs mixed up and confused GF Lvov, the head of the first Provisional Government, with NN Lvov, a leader of the pre-war conservative reform party, Peaceful Renovation. Further, the rightwing Octobrist Guchkov was not the heart of the new government, but rather an isolated outsider, who quit the government in frustration at the end of April. If Miliukov was indeed relatively powerless in the cabinet, the reason was not a loose coalition to his right, but rather one to his left consisting of leftwing Cadet liberals plus Kerensky. These forces helped to oust Miliukov shortly after Guchkov’s exit.
Lenin may have got his Lvovs confused (the Lvov of the Peaceful Renovation Party was not in the cabinet), but that does not disprove his argument. The role of prime minister was given to a minor royal married to a descendant of Catherine the Great, Prince Lvov, and his appointment was sanctioned by the Tsar. Prince Lvov was a constitutional monarchist, and hoped to see such a restoration should the revolutionary fervour die down. He was also the Minister of the Interior, therefore he was at the head of the police force, and he was also for the continuation of the Tsarist war.
Guchkov was not merely an “isolated outsider”. He may have been the only member of the monarchist Octobrists remaining in the cabinet after the agreement with the Soviets to form the Provisional Committee, but he held a key position in control of the army as the Minister of War and Navy. Milyukov, a Cadet, also wanted the monarchy restored in some form. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs, a crucial position at a time of war.
Guchkov did not simply “quit in frustration at the end of April”, and Milyukov was not just “ousted by leftwing Cadet liberals plus Kerensky”. Both Guchkov and Milyukov were forced out by a revolutionary surge that saw mass protests, sometimes violent with armed soldiers occupying the streets following the publication on April 18th of the Milyukov note that exposed the secret treaties carried out between the imperialist powers Lenin had warned about. The resultant cabinet reshuffle saw representatives of the Soviets (Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks) enter the Provisional Government for the first time.
Despite the passing of state power from Tsarist absolutism to the bourgeoisie, “landlord-Octobrist Russia” had not “left the scene” as Lih claims. Landlordism still dominated the agrarian economy as a repressive and exploitative force against the overwhelming majority of the peasantry, and the landlord class was inextricably linked to the old Tsarist order. Such Tsarist remnants formed part of the white army gangs that launched the bloody civil war against the October Revolution.
One aspect of the February revolution that caused confusion amongst the old Bolsheviks was that agrarian revolution against the landed estates, which in theory was supposed to accompany the bourgeois-democratic revolution, had yet to begin. This blinkered them from the reality that the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry had already been realised in the form of the Soviets. Lenin demanded that confiscation of the landed estates and nationalisation of all the land should begin immediately, not “to expose the bourgeois Provisional Government’s inability to meet those demands” but to attract the attention of the revolutionary rural proletariat, and poor and middle peasantry in the Soviets and split them from the tiny minority of rich kulak peasants who benefit materially from the landlord system.
If Lenin’s warnings in exile of monarchist attempts to restore Tsarism were out-of-date, and if the Pravda editors had “nudged him in the right direction”, then why would Lenin continue to make such warnings after his return to Russia in April, when he would have presumably been “set on the right track” by the old Bolsheviks?:
1. The old tsarist power, which represented only a handful of feudalist landowners who commanded the entire state machinery (the army, the police, and the bureaucracy), has been overthrown and removed, but not completely destroyed. The monarchy has not been formally abolished; the Romanov gang continues to hatch monarchist intrigues. The vast landed possessions of the feudalist squirearchy have not been abolished.
2. State power in Russia has passed into the hands of a new class, namely, the bourgeoisie and landowners who had become bourgeois. To this extent the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia is completed.
Having come to power, the bourgeoisie has formed a bloc (an alliance) with the overt monarchists, who are notorious for their exceptionally ardent support of Nicholas the Bloody and Stolypin the Hangman in 1906-14 (Guchkov and other politicians to the right of the Cadets). The new bourgeois government of Lvov and Co. has attempted and has begun to negotiate with the Romanovs for the restoration of the monarchy in Russia. Behind a screen of revolutionary phrases, this government is appointing partisans of the old regime to key positions. It is striving to reform the whole machinery of state (the army, the police, and the bureaucracy) as little as possible, and has turned it over to the bourgeoisie. The new government has already begun to hinder in every way the revolutionary initiative of mass action and the seizure of power by the people from below, which is the sole guarantee of the real success of the revolution.
Up to now this government has not even fixed a date for the convocation of the Constituent Assembly. It is not laying a finger on the landed estates, which form the material foundation of feudal tsarism. This government does not even contemplate starting an investigation into, and making public, the activities of the monopolist financial organisations, the big banks, the syndicatcs and cartels of the capitalists, etc., or instituting control over them.
The key positions, the decisive ministerial posts in the new government (the Ministry of the Interior and the War Ministry, i.e., the command over the army, the police, the bureaucracy -- the entire apparatus for oppressing the people) are held by outright monarchists and supporters of the system of big landed estates. The Cadets, those day-old republicans, republicans against their own will, have been assigned minor posts, having no direct relation to the command over the people or to the apparatus of state power. A. Kerensky, a Trudovik and “would-be socialist”, has no function whatsoever, except to lull the vigilance and attention of the people with sonorous phrases.
For all these reasons, the new bourgeois government does not deserve the confidence of the proletariat even in the sphere of internal policy, and no support of this government by the proletariat is admissible.
[Lenin The tasks of the proletariat in our revolution, April 10, 1917
[To be continued]
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