No 1585 4th November 2020
Continued Covid callousness, incompetence, corruption and lockdown confusion reflects the total unsuitability of the “free-market” capitalist system for modern human existence in stark contrast to the disciplined collective responses of the workers states, saving lives and already restoring economic activity. But far worse is in store from a monopoly capitalist order that is heading for the rocks as the contradictions of production for profit drag the world into the greatest Catastrophic crisis breakdown in history heading for deepening trade war, fascist scapegoating hatreds and jingoism. Spontaneous revolt being triggered everywhere missing only vital Leninist revolutionary understanding
The question of revolutionary leadership becomes ever more vital as the world crisis descends into confusion and chaos everywhere and once stable but now bankrupt US domination becomes ever more viciously haywire.
Monopoly capitalist world control is being shaken to its core as it runs into the intractable and unsolvable collapse of its profit system, spiralling into total Catastrophe especially since the global credit collapse in 2008 and heading only for inter-imperialist war as soon as the insane, unsustainable dollar-printing QE credit prop gives way.
Symptoms of world breakdown come thick and fast.
Fears of classwar street revolt in Britain (and Europe) over “Covid lockdown” incompetence and penury; street eruptions in Thailand and Nigeria, against reactionary monarchy and state killing violence; anti-Catholic abortion demonstrations in Poland; resounding electoral failure for the nazi elitists behind last year’s murderous Bolivian coup and potentially for the near civil-war Trumpite US presidency, beset by anti-racist anti-fascist upheaval itself; and international hostility to France’s middle-class “free-speech” hypocrisy and provocations against Islamic “terrorists” (see separate piece) - all,and much more, are driven by the rapidly deepening international imperialist crisis.
None of these undoubted setbacks for imperialism, its regimes and its “freedom” propaganda lies, are anything like outright victories yet for the working class, in the sense of being straightline steps towards the overthrow of the monopoly capitalist system, the only possible revolutionary way forwards for mankind.
But they pose the question ever more urgently.
Chaos will continue to deepen until there is a great transformation of the world, possible only when the working class wages the greatest class war in history, to take power and start to build a planned socialist world of international cooperation and reason, in harmony with nature, ending forever the fascist viciousness, greed and venality of the profit driven world order.
Such a giant leap in the way humanity conducts its affairs is inevitable as Marx and Engels spelt out 170 years ago in the Communist Manifesto, driven by the intractable contradictions of a system now long out of time historically and not only increasingly incapable of moving history forwards (as the “entrepreneurial brilliance” of profit-driven capitalism was once able to do for mankind, revolutionarily lifting it out of feudal backwardness) but now plunging the interconnected technological modern world it has created into armsrace tradewar collapse, eco-destruction and ever worsening war horrors, heading for the all-out devastation of a third world war.
By adding to the breakdown and paralysis of the US dominated international exploitation order, growing mass discontent and willingness to struggle will drive its antagonistic and unsolvable contradictions (see summary page) even further into ever intensifying trade war and chauvinist hatreds, in turn triggering even more turmoil.
Spontaneous revolt from the Sahel to the Philippines, Haiti to Indonesia, or temporarily suppressed, like the Egyptian Arab Spring in 2013, will explode ever more widely.
Such ever spreading eruptions of anti-imperialist upheaval and sentiment in multiple forms from “anti-racism” riots in America to “jihadism” are a beginning of the end for the disgusting, degenerate and foetidly rotten imperialist system, reverting daily towards the open fascist expression of ruling class domination even in “advanced” America (and Britain), a brutal, torturing and murderous reality, never much hidden in the exploited colonial world, but more or less disguised in the rich countries behind the pretence of “parliamentary democracy” and “the rule of law” (becoming increasingly threadbare).
The great problem that needs solving however, is the continuing absence of any real deep grasp in the working class and proletarian masses of the enormous scale and depth of the unrolling capitalist crisis, and the revolutionary necessity it imposes on them for their very survival as well as the revolutionary opportunity it provides to change things.
Marxism has always made clear it cannot not itself create revolution or even induce others to do so.
Revolution will come as the material conditions of existence break down (as they are now, and cannot but do under crisis ridden capitalism) to such a point that the working class cannot go on (as was true in 1917, as the Second World War unfolded, and as now is obviously the case for much of the war shattered Middle East already) and the ruling class cannot rule, paralysed and split by the unsolvable contradictions of its system, and with defeats and failure adding the straws that break the camel’s back.
Which says it is the unstoppable breakdown in bourgeois society which is the main teacher for the masses, as becoming clearer in what is already the greatest economic and political failure in history, worsened and accelerated by the Covid pandemic but underway for two decades.
Slump agony is imposing unemployment and penury far beyond anything seen before, including the 1930s Depression, as its trade war degenerates whipped into international jingoist chauvinism and scapegoating by the ruling class, dragging the world all the way to Third World War (its diversion and escape route it hopes).
But the crucial final ingredient is a genuine Leninist perspective (in contradistinction to 101 varieties of fake “left” posturing claims to a “Marxist” programme etc) in constant development by a party consciously dedicated to the polemical struggle for theory, that can inspire and ultimately unite the world struggle, analysing the ever shifting balance of class forces and demonstrating how all this seemingly disparate upheaval, however much it temporarily remains separate, is part of the same fight, with the same ultimate enemy, the capitalist system.
And a major task it has is to expose and puncture the illusions many still have in “democratic progress”, or “left pressure against austerity” or for religious equality or even supremacy etc etc, which leave them open to the dangers of reversal and suppression, exposing all fake “left” posturing, for its moralising, pacifism, single issue diversions, reformism and class collaborating opportunism (like the current “left anti-semitism” reactionary garbage).
Such delusions and confusions are a central weapon in maintaining the bourgeois order.
Imperialism has used every dirty violent trick from bribery and manipulation to CIA coups and assassinations to outright blitzkrieg war in the last century, to suppress and hold back anti-imperialist struggles and every attempt to build socialism, which even if they survive are kept struggling and hampered by strangling sieges, sanctions and economic starvation, to prevent their full potential to streak far ahead being manifest.
Capitalist skulduggery became non-stop blitzing and droning in the Middle East as the monopoly capitalist crisis broke out in full after the dotcom collapse and then the great bank credit failure of 2008, sliding into austerity since (itself a slow collapse unsustainably propped up by more debt and due to get far worse and very quickly once the dollar printing “solution” implodes).
But the greatest imperialist weapon of all has been anti-communism, the non-stop propaganda brainwashing campaign of lies and disinformation waged for a century against the strength and authority of the workers states, all declared to be “totalitarian nightmares” because of the firmness of the proletarian dictatorships they established - hated by the bourgeois because they forcibly prevent and suppress all plotting, sabotage, subversion and counter-revolutionary efforts by the monopoly “owners” and wealthy to recover “their property” (factories, farms and mines) after they have been taken over by the working class to build a fair, equitable, planned economy and a rational human society around it.
Their giant achievements by the ever more drawn-in masses, in art, culture, social provision, education, housing, medicine, sport, technology and science (first man in space!!!) have been ignored, rubbished, belittled, and demeaned constantly to keep popular opinion with capitalism and its “freemarket and democracy” lies.
Where that has not fully prevented the working class from seeing the attractions of the first great experiments in successfully running things without capitalists, and the triumphs of their heroic anti-imperialist struggles, the ruling class has been forced to provide token “welfare” provision (for a limited period postwar in richer countries), trying to reinforce reformist ideas and head off revolution.
Hamstringing anti-Soviet propaganda has been bolstered in various ways by the official labour movement and the fake “left”.
Either it is outright hostile, simply acting as another face of imperialism itself, like the bourgeois Labour Party and class-collaborating TUCism taking its turns to run British NATO Cold War participation against the Soviet camp, and anti-communist hot wars (Greece, Malaysia, Korea, Aden, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan among many).
Or the working class is left confused by Stalinist nostalgia, refusing to examine the political and philosophical flaws and retreats which led to the perfectly viable USSR’s liquidation, and thereby unable to properly defend its giant progress and titanic historic revolutionary significance, (see EPSR Book 12 on Gorbachevism, and Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics), and vulnerable to the petty bourgeois anti-Soviet hostility of the Trots, who use the cover of “anti-Stalinism” to pour out even more bilious hostility to the workers states and their brilliant and heroic history, fearful of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
But it is all failing.
The unrolling Covid pandemic now delivers starker lessons than ever to the working class in the callousness,incompetence and cynicism of the capitalist ruling class, deliberately “culling” the old, and poor, lining the fatcats’ pockets with spiv profiteering contracts, and building up the “reserve army of the unemployed” (Marx’s term) to force down wages.
In sharp contrast, collective action and collective support can easily handle such a disaster as the workers states (Cuba, Vietnam, China, North Korea) have shown and continue to show.
The common action required to deal with such a disaster would be beyond this greed-ridden and cruelly exploitative capitalist system at the best of times, the societal organisation, mutual support and disciplined class coordination required all complete anathema to a system built on alienated dog-eat-dog antagonism and vicious competition.
It is totally out of the question now that the entire world profit system is on an accelerating slide into the greatest economic collapse and slump Depression in history, (already beginning well before the pandemic).
Even with its immediate incompetence, the social structures and mechanisms that can begin to cope with the necessary medical and socially protective measures (limited as they are anyway under capitalism) have been already been torn to shreds by ten years of “austerity”, hospital cut backs, care homes reduced, local services shrunk, parks and property sold off, libraries shut down etc etc.
In the apotheosis of capitalist “free market rule”, the all-powerful US Empire heartland itself, public facilities barely exist at all, leaving tens of millions in the richest country in the world unable to afford even basic treatments and bankrupted into destitution if they suffer major illness or accident. Now hundreds of thousands are dying and the numbers grow more horrifying for the winter.
The billionaires and mega-corporations are interested only in “keeping the economy going” - meaning guarantees for their profit-seeking exploitation of the masses to continue.
The death, debilitation and despair of millions (deaths estimated to hit half a million in the US mortuaries by spring) is written off as “collateral damage” just as with their non-stop warmongering when a drone missile takes out yet another wedding party, school bus or village square.
On top of that, the degenerate ruling class cannot stop themselves from milking even such a human disaster as this for every last corrupt penny through hidden privatisations, crony placed contracts and selloffs to their fatcat friends - a sick display of corrupt pocket-lining at the expense of the most desperate that would shame even Ebenezer Scrooge (though it was common enough during world wars when the capitalists sold each other the guns used against their own side).
The “services” provided for these siphoned-off £billions have been completely useless anyway, too late, too little, too confused, or barely provided at all, despite the pathetic jingoist bragging about “world beating” technology and capacities (a deranged British Empire chauvinist fantasy from a has-been ruling class that no longer carries any weight on the world stage and finds a seedy living mainly by dirty finance dealing and money-laundering for degenerate feudal gangster-sheikhs, Russian oligarch carpet-baggers, international mafia rackets, hedge fund speculation and the aptly named vulture-fund “debt-collection” from the powerless and ruthlessly exploited Third World).
Even some of the bourgeois press’s tame “left” commentators have been brought to apoplexy like this from the Guardian’s George Monbiot “incandescent with rage”:
The new surge in the coronavirus, and the restrictions and local lockdowns it has triggered, are caused in large part by the catastrophic failure of the test-and-trace system. Its £12bn budget has been blown, as those in charge of it have failed to drive the infection rate below the critical threshold.
Their failure was baked in, caused by the government’s ideological commitment to the private sector. This commitment had three impacts: money that could have saved lives has been diverted into corporate profits; inexperienced consultants and executives have been appointed over the heads of qualified public servants; instead of responsive local systems, the government has created a centralised monster...
The government’s irrational obsession with the private sector is symbolised by its appointment of Dido Harding to run NHS test and trace. She worked at McKinsey, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and as chief executive of TalkTalk. After a disastrous hack of the TalkTalk database, exposing both the details of 4 million customers and Harding’s ignorance of the technology...
It would be wrong to claim she had no experience relevant to the pandemic. She sits on the board of the Jockey Club, which runs some of the biggest and most lucrative horse racing events in the UK. Among them is the Cheltenham Festival…
By March he says the need for a lockdown was already clear but instead-
we watched aghast as the Cheltenham Festival went ahead, and 250,000 people packed the terraces “like sardines”. It appears to have been a super-spreader event, blamed by some for a spike in infections and deaths.
Health secretary Matt Hancock, he says, was for a time MP for Newmarket, a centre for the rich Jockey Club and he drew a large proportion of his political funding from the horse-racing industry, perhaps £350,000
Test-and-trace has repeatedly failed to reach its targets.
Staff were scarcely trained. Patients have been directed to nonexistent testing centres, or to the other end of the country. A vast tranche of test results was lost. Thousands of people, including NHS staff, have been left in limbo, unable to work because they can’t get tests or the results of tests.
...but this public health fiasco has been a private profit bonanza. Consultants at one of the companies involved have each been earning £6,000 a day. Massive contracts have been awarded without competitive tendering. Astonishingly, at least one of these, worth £410m and issued to Serco, contains no penalty clause
He adds a week later that:
The government has so far spent £12bn on test and trace...more than the entire general practice budget. The total NHS capital spending budget for buildings and equipment is just £7bn... free meals during school holidays between now and next summer...about £120m.
..Contracts are cynically exploitative replacing necessary skilled workers, - the NHS needs Clinician Band 6 with a degree or equivalent in public health to make medical risk judgements, - with the lowest grade, trained only for basic calls.
..workers at a call centre are mostly school-leavers and students, with no relevant qualifications have been “upskilled” to this level...Officially advertised at between £16.97 and £27.15 per hour, they are all being paid the minimum wage, which means £6.45 for the 18- to 20-year-olds (most of them) and £8.72 for over-25s.
Serco issued an internal notice saying “a number of experienced agents from Serco and Sitel will assist with index case tracing”.
What it didn’t say is that some of these “experienced agents” are 18 years old. The “appropriate training” for the magical transformation to “experienced clinician”, my contact tells me, lasted four hours, conducted remotely, as they now work from home, and consisted of a PowerPoint presentation, an online conversation, a quiz, some e-learning modules and some new call scripts.
..What this represents, without any public announcement, is not only a radical de-skilling but also a further transfer of work from the NHS to the private sector. Level 2 contact tracers were health professionals employed by the NHS. Now they are call centre workers employed by Serco and Sitel....on the minimum wage and eminently exploitable.
But while Monbiot and other intellectuals and “lefts” can see and explain the uselessness and paralysis of capitalism and even explain that it has to go, neither he nor any of the “left” will say why that is not remotely happening even as the unrolling penury, hunger, homelessness and unemployment are being added to the burdens of loss and grief in the working class to the point where life become intolerable.
In other words, they will not spell out revolution.
The need for a revolutionary overturn is made more obvious by the glaring contrast with the brilliant efficiency, coordination and compassion of the workers states like China, Cuba or Vietnam, and a few nearby capitalist states who are influenced by them or organised similarly, (ironically for war purposes against them like Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore). The capitalist press lets through some details now and then:
On 7 March 2020, I received an email from the manager of the office building where I work in central Hanoi. It said the father of Nguyen Hong Nhung, the 17th Covid-19 patient in the country and first in the city, had dined on the third floor of the building the night before. Although he had twice tested negative for the virus, the building managers had reported his presence to the authorities. Seven staff who had been in contact with him were isolated and the building was immediately cleaned with disinfectant spray.
To date, Vietnam (population: 95 million) has recorded 35 deaths from the novel coronavirus. My office building’s response was typical of the aggressive contact-tracing strategy the country adopted from the beginning of the pandemic. During the first phase, the government managed to cut off all the virus transmission routes promptly and comprehensively. Every infected person was hospitalised. People in contact with them were traced to the fourth layer and isolated. Their homes and neighbourhoods were put under local lockdown and sanitised by the army. The country has effectively been acting as if this were biological warfare.
Vietnam had all the ingredients for a Covid-19 disaster. It has a 1,300km (800-mile) border with China, with lots of informal trade via secret mountain trails, and an under-developed healthcare system (albeit a well functioning one). So, beyond contact-tracing, why has Vietnam been so good at dealing with the pandemic?
The central reason is perhaps the way the government has depoliticised the pandemic, treating it purely as a health crisis, allowing for effective governance. There was no political motive for government officials to hide information, as they don’t face being reprimanded if there are positive cases in their authority area that are not due to their mistakes. I haven’t heard about any religious opposition to the government’s strategy either. With the head of Hanoi centre for disease control being arrested for suspected corruption in relation to the purchase of testing kits, and small traders getting fines for price-gouging face-masks, the government has also been clear that public health cannot be entangled with commercial interests.
The second reason is Vietnam knows China well – it learned from the Sars outbreak in 2003 that the Chinese authorities might downplay it. In January, when Wuhan announced the first death, Vietnam tightened its border and airport control of Chinese visitors. This wasn’t an easy decision, given that cross-border trade with China accounts for a significant part of the Vietnamese economy. When the first Covid cases were announced in Vietnam – a father and son from China – it took precautionary measures above and beyond World Health Organization recommendations, including health declaration and temperature screening at every border entry point and stopping flights to and from Wuhan. Preparations for a pandemic were implemented a week before the outbreak was officially a public health emergency of international concern, and more than a month before WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.
The government also decided to embrace freedom of information on Covid-related matters. Although the Vietnamese media is state-owned, featuring ideological control similar to that of China, they are free to report about the pandemic. When a member of the central theoretical council of the central committee, the brain of the Communist party of Vietnam, contracted the virus on a trip to the UK, and risked infecting the minister of planning and investment who was on the same flight as him, his whereabouts were published for contact tracing. This was another lesson learned from the experience of Sars.
The motto for the first phase was that if we stay alive, the question of wealth and the economy can come later. Ordinary people did suffer, such as the gig economy workers: whenever I order a Grabcar (a south-east Asian version of Uber) these days, the vehicle that arrives is always newer and more expensive that what I’m used to; as a driver explained, those who used to pick me up in their cheaper cars have had to sell them to stay afloat, leaving only those with deeper pockets left in the market.
But now the government has shifted its anti-Covid strategy towards the economy. The tactics for the second wave are more sophisticated. Contact tracing is still prompt and aggressive but lockdown and isolation are more selective; international flights have been opened for foreign workers, such as engineers from South Korea’s LG, who are needed to keep the economy functioning.
For now it looks like Vietnam has seen off the threat of a second wave. There will be challenges ahead – the shops and hotels in the most fancy streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City remain empty, and South Korea, one of Vietnam’s biggest investors, is pushing for it to shorten the time for compulsory isolation for foreign workers. But given that Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world currently experiencing positive GDP growth, the supposed trade-off between the economy and public health, which countries around the world are negotiating, looks to be something of a false choice.
• Tran Le Thuy is director of Centre for the Media and Development Initiatives in Hanoi
China too has done well, despite the much exaggerated early faltering at a point when the virus was still mostly unknown.
But that only proves the main point anyway, which is that the firm, centralised but publicly accepted control possible only in a workers state, made it possible when necessary to step in from the higher level and quickly impose the firm measures required.
Like Vietnam it set up an efficient, fast and not exceptionally expensive test, track, trace and isolate system, which the great majority of world experts have declared is the best way to keep the disease under control, and equally importantly, vital community organised support and monitoring for those quarantining or isolating.
Western press demonisation, responding to the Washington coordinated hate campaign trying to deflect blame for the pandemic outwards onto Beijing to cover up imperialism’s own deliberate indifference and incompetence, is still unable to hide its success, if the obligatory anti-communist poison and snide unfounded “research institution” innuendos are ignored. The relentlessly reactionary Mail Online sounds almost gushing:
How galling it is to see China bouncing back from the global pandemic that it unleashed.
While the rest of the world wrestles with fear, mistrust, unemployment, recession, stagnation, non-Covid health catastrophes, countless blighted lives and a ‘second wave’ of the virus, China is set to enter 2021 stronger than it was in January 2020.
That was the month when Chinese complacency, deceit and the ruthless diktat of the Communist Party allowed coronavirus to get its first foothold among humankind.
The numbers are stark, on both the medical and economic fronts.
China, with a population of 1.4 billion, now records around a dozen Covid cases daily.
During the annual ‘Golden Week’ holiday at the start of this month — the Chinese equivalent of our Christmas and New Year break — half the country’s population travelled to see friends and family. Yet there has been no noticeable spike in infections.
Compare that with more than 21,000 new cases of infection reported in the UK just yesterday.
Life for the Chinese is broadly back to normal, while here and throughout Europe the announcement of new restrictions is a daily occurrence.
In China, the IMF predicts the economy will have grown by 2 per cent by the year’s end. In Britain, our national income is likely to shrink by one tenth, with the U.S. and much of Europe also showing negative growth forecasts.
Indeed, China will be the only major economy to have the sought-after V-shaped recovery that Western economists spoke so optimistically of just a few short months ago.
George Magnus, author of Red Flags, a book critical of China’s economic success, says that suppressing the virus has indeed helped, but the bulk of the recovery comes from industrial production — the result of the country’s ‘state-directed Leninist economic system’.
Household consumption, a long-standing weakness in the Chinese economy, is still sputtering at about half its usual level.
In China, the IMF predicts the economy will have grown by 2 per cent by the year’s end. In Britain, our national income is likely to shrink by one tenth, with the U.S. and much of Europe also showing negative growth forecasts. Some may also feel that the ‘steady hand’ of the Chinese leadership offers thought-provoking lessons for our battered, chaotic and increasingly discredited political system.
Chinese leaders do not crow about mythical ‘world-beating’ test-and-trace systems, or ‘moonshot’ vaccines. They get on with the dull but important business of balancing public health with broader welfare: the country’s economic, social and cultural life.
Progress on vaccination has been striking. China has at least four coronavirus vaccine candidates in late stages of development. More than 350,000 people, including medical workers and border staff, have received a trial jab, with no serious side-effects.
Mass testing is another success story. After a small outbreak in the eastern port city of Qingdao, the authorities tested all its nine million residents within five days.
As Britons grapple with our erratic test-and-trace service, we can only look on with envy.
President Xi Jinping has boasted that one-party rule has been central to his country’s success in conquering Covid: ‘The pandemic once again proves the superiority of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics,’ he says.
Those early cases were ignored and even as numbers grew steadily and deaths mounted, an outbreak was still being dismissed.
Doctors and scientists who spoke out were punished.
On January 18, a ‘potluck dinner’ to mark the Lunar New Year went ahead, attended by 40,000 families in Wuhan, even as residents travelled from the city across China to celebrate the Spring festival.
It was only on January 23 that the authorities imposed a strict quarantine in the city.
In a free country like Britain, it is a fair bet that doctors, scientists, politicians and the media would have sounded the alarm more publicly and promptly, and the source of the outbreak would have been subject to independent scrutiny. For all the confusing shortcomings of our own response, at least the discussion about it is free and open.
Yet the same control-freakery that prevented a proper, early response to the virus also helped the Chinese mount an effective response to it once the danger was admitted. Sweeping quarantines and lockdowns halted infection in its tracks.
The country’s daunting surveillance apparatus — involving armies of snoopers, facial recognition cameras and monitoring of mobile phones — was deployed to ensure infected people stayed at home.
That marked a huge and chilling leap forward in social control, according to Charles Parton, formerly a China-watcher for the British government: ‘It dealt with the coronavirus but also with the political virus.’ Any discontent with the corrupt and authoritarian rule of Mr Xi will be easier to spot — and deal with.
China also seized the opportunity to play the Covid diplomatic card, appearing to play a role in providing medical equipment to other countries, and, unlike the U.S. it remains a contributor to the WHO.
It also supports efforts — backed by Britain but shunned by Donald Trump’s administration — to ensure that poor countries get fair access to vaccines once they are approved for general use.
But...the People’s Republic is a ruthless dictatorship, ...This threat is on our doorstep now. China is bent on becoming the world’s most powerful country by 2050. It already tries to control our media, universities and publishing. In other countries it intervenes directly to influence the political system.
China’s success against Covid indeed looks good — but that is chiefly because of our own failures. A divided, distracted West, missing the American leadership on which we have depended for decades, has been sideswiped by the pandemic.
The stark choice now for Britain and other Western countries is whether, post-Covid, we unite once more against the threat from Beijing, or fall piecemeal over the coming decades into the new Chinese empire, sacrificing our system of freedom under the rule of law.
I know which option I prefer.
Really? In Britain doctors and other whistleblowers, in the NHS and outside in other industries, have lost jobs, been sued or hounded and vilified when they warned of dangers or cuts.
And what freedom has Wikileaks’ Julian Assange got, for warning the world of the barbaric fascist massacres carried out by imperialism in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Endless imprisonment, reactionary feminist opprobrium, failing health and the non-stop pursuit by a vengeful and vicious American imperialism, which could leave him de facto tortured or just as bad, given lifetime solitary in the USA’s inhumane “high security” prisons is the answer.
Or the solicitor Phil Shiner, persecuted and driven out of his profession for taking up the warcrime cases by “our boys” British forces in Iraq.
Or the journalists and experts who exposed the WMD dossier lies which justified the whole stinking Iraq invasion, setting in train the endless horrors imposed since on the Middle East and triggering, or at least hugely accelerating ever growing “terrorist” revolt since?
Not to mention all the dirty behind-the-scenes skulduggery and thuggery that goes on, from “genteel” legal suppression and City-style financial manoeuvres, backscratching deals, cartel blockades and divers freemasonry rackets, to outright bribery, mafia intimidation and murder, all variously the norm for capitalism everywhere.
Etc etc etc etc.
And what would many workers prefer, facing joblessness, homelessness and hunger on a scale potentially not seen since the 1930s in Depression ridden “free Britain”, if they understood the security, opportunities and progress of a planned socialist world economy in which the full development of every single individual is the condition for the free development of all society??
What freedom have they ever had in the vicious hire-and-fire economy and what “rule of law” justice for the poor (never much anyway) in a slump Britain stripped of legal aid and cutting its courts? Where speaking out or protesting in most jobs about conditions, overwork hours, safety, injustice etc will see you sacked or hounded and prosecuted (if you were not simply declared unemployed anyway by budget cuts and bankruptcies)? Where the access to the media is firmly in the hands of a billionaire press (to run “freedom” propaganda like the above) or an already nazi-imperialist BBC government propaganda machine now being even further constrained and hamstrung with new edicts against any of its presenters and journalists (hardly the world’s most radical anyway) speaking out even in their private lives.
What freedom for those tens of thousands living in nightly, and now lockdown-daily, terror of being burned alive in one of hundreds of highrises clad in inflammable materials like the Grenfell tower block - where spivvery, profiteering, incompetence, moneygrubbing and disregard for the poor were let run riot because of the same capitalist crisis collapse “austerity”, hacking back all controls, oversight, checks and safety standards, and where the council was concerned solely with tap-the-nose grovelling to secure investments like these from gangster-feudal Gulf reactionaries:
a secretive £5.5bn real estate empire [is] owned by one of the world’s wealthiest heads of state, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates and emir of Abu Dhabi.
For all of its conspicuous addresses, the portfolio’s ownership has been shrouded in secrecy for decades. “It was created in a subterranean way through stealth-like deals, quietly put together over many years,” said a source familiar with Khalifa’s business dealings.
Now, leaked documents, court filings and analysis of public records have enabled the Guardian to map Khalifa’s property holdings in the UK, revealing how the oil-rich nation’s president became a major landlord in London. Khalifa’s London property empire appears to surpass even that of the Duke of Westminster, the 29-year-old billionaire aristocrat who owns swathes of the city.
Khalifa’s personal property portfolio, which spans some of London’s most expensive neighbourhoods, is largely comprised of “super prime” commercial and residential properties.
“Freedom”? in a country which has more surveillance than any in Europe and which for decades has been steadily increasing state censorship, monitoring of “dissent” on a mass scale, particularly under the cover of “anti-terrorism” and the Prevent programme, and where schools are now instructed against even thinking about “anti-capitalism” at all:
The government has ordered schools in England not to use resources from organisations which have expressed a desire to end capitalism.
Department for Education (DfE) guidance issued on Thursday for school leaders and teachers involved in setting the relationship, sex and health curriculum categorised anti-capitalism as an “extreme political stance” and equated it with opposition to freedom of speech, antisemitism and endorsement of illegal activity.
The guidance, part of lengthy guidelines for implementing the statutory curriculum, said: “Schools should not under any circumstances use resources produced by organisations that take extreme political stances on matters. This is the case even if the material itself is not extreme, as the use of it could imply endorsement or support of the organisation.”
It listed examples of what were described as “extreme political stances”, such as “a publicly stated desire to abolish or overthrow democracy, capitalism, or to end free and fair elections”; opposition to freedom of speech; the use of racist, including antisemitic, language; the endorsement of illegal activity; and a failure to condemn illegal activities done in support of their cause.
It comes after counter-terrorism police earlier this year placed the non-violent group Extinction Rebellion on a list of extremist ideologies that should be reported to the authorities running the Prevent programme. However, the south-east division of Counter Terrorism Policing later recalled the document.
This heavy-handed bureaucratic “thought crime” crackdown, is echoed by the ruling class everywhere in various forms like Donald Trump’s hysterical and deliberately inflammatory denunciations of the anti-racism anti-police movement as “communist” (would that it were) and by the rising anti-Islam scapegoating and propaganda by Trump once again and now by France’s Emmanuel Macron and obliquely the “anti-semitism” hysteria.
It shows a bourgeoisie terrified of the “spectre of communism” rising once more - as Karl Marx’ and Frederick Engels’ famous opening line for the Communist Manifesto declares.
Well they might be.
The US dominated world capitalist economy has leaned on endless dollar creation for almost the entire postwar period, to overcome the stream of lurches, regional or partial collapses and economic meltdowns, Black Mondays, currency implosions and bank failures that the permanently crisis-wracked “free market” system generates constantly, always halfway towards complete world disaster.
It has sustained the most extraordinary boom period and vacuous consumerist “prosperity” (and reforms) in the rich countries for decades, by putting off the day of reckoning which the uncontrolled expansion of investment in ever more exploitative production inevitably must lead to, regular crises, as Marx explains in Capital (all volumes) and Lenin elaborates for the modern monopoly imperialist period.
Crash after crash has been powered through with dollar handouts and IMF rescues (obviously securing heightened monopoly interests and exploitation rights as its price), or forced away from the US onto rival powers or the Third World (Japanese stagnation, Asian currency collapses, Mexico credit defaults among many).
But all that did was subsume these crises into the Mother of all Crises, making it so much more gigantic when it arrived in 2008.
And imperialism has done it again, salvaging the global bank system failure with even more trillions of massively inflationary credit dollars, as well as massive austerity cost to the working class and non-stop blitzing of suitable Third World showpiece victims (“war on terror”) to try and keep a lid on the rage and uproar the crisis has further inflamed in the Third World.
But this cannot go on forever, contrary to the fantasy demands of much of the “left” for “more spending to get out of austerity” over the last decade.
These are just limited salves anyway, far from the promises the “lefts” used to give of “steady improvements” on the way to a future fair socialist world.
Diluting the dollar means even greater inflation and credit failure to come.
The ruling class knows that it needs to tighten down and impose far greater austerity, ratcheting up the rate of exploitation internationally and domestically, if it is to have any chance of survive in the cutthroat trade war battles coming.
Whipped-up chauvinist nationalism around Brexit, scapegoating and “America First” is part of the same story.
The QE temporary pause in the great Catastrophic collapse was already ending early this year before Covid struck.
And while the more cynical and callous billionaires and “businessmen” – safe behind the green-lawns of their private houses - are complaining about lockdowns and the impact on the economy, there is possibly another side to their dismay.
To whit, it provides a useful excuse and cover for the terrifying conditions now pending for the working class because of the capitalist crash, once the temporary credit funded “furlough” and business job rescue schemes and the like are ended, driving many into poverty, lost homes and destitution.
The ruling class, with far better details on the economic forecasts than are ever made public, would have known it was staring into an abyss of economic down-spiralling and is calculatedly using the pandemic as both a cover and diversion and as a means of fighting the trade war.
So convenient an excuse is it for the ruling class to cover its own responsibility for the Depression disaster now unfolding, blaming it on “unforeseen” factors, that the light-minded and cavalier approach of the US Trumpites to the pandemic, deliberately playing it down as the latest Bob Woodward book confirms, casually letting it rip to now 100 000 cases a day, was nothing to do with “not causing panic” but a deliberate and cynical smokescreen, to say no more.
Even more convolutedly, the propaganda suggesting that “Covid is not so bad” and “economic shutdown” is worse, serves a similar purpose, a deliberate falsification as a “told you so” excuse when the crisis relentlessly deepens. A major letter declaring this, signed ostensibly by hundreds of dissident scientists proved to have numerous false names and homeopath signatures, and to have been funded by the reactionary oil billionaire Koch Brothers.
As described above, the workers states give the lie to all this obfuscation and confusion mongering, having largely restored production and economic growth.
But while Beijing has at least has made some propaganda points about the advantages of planned economies, its revisionism is still not trumpeting loudly enough, or in fact at all, the vital point that only by the working class taking power and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat, can such collective and coordinated action be taken.
What the world is still not being warned and educated about by revisionism is the crisis collapse as the driving force for the great revolutionary changes which are coming.
Even the British Bishops can sniff the air:
Three senior members of the Church of England have warned that struggles between Westminster and local leaders in the North over coronavirus restrictions will lead to ‘disillusion and unrest’.
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said the resulting social fallout will ultimately be ‘more dangerous and destabilising’ than the virus itself.
Writing in the Yorkshire Post with Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, and David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, he called for greater collaboration between politicians to protect the vulnerable.
It comes as more than a million people in South Yorkshire are now living under the strictest coronavirus restrictions after the county moved into Tier 3 at midnight.
The county joined Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester and Lancashire on the highest alert level for England.
The bishops’ letter highlighted the ‘terrible double whammy’ of being poor: being more likely to contract Covid-19 and to be affected by newly imposed restrictions.
‘If we are going to bring real equality and levelling up across the country, then people living in poverty need to be paid a sufficient wage that can enable them to feel secure by staying home,’ they said.
‘Blaming them for not doing so is not an option.
‘They simply don’t have the cushion or the safety net that is there for people on higher wages, nor is the current benefits system the help that it should be.’
The Church called for ‘a collective, nationwide response’ to ensure further social division is avoided.
‘A divided nation where one section of society, generally wealthy, generally living in the South, is able to screen itself more effectively from coronavirus and get through to the other side,’ the bishops wrote.
‘Another section of society, generally poorer, generally in the North, suffers greatly.
‘The cost of this division, particularly among younger people, will only lead to disillusion and unrest.
The footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals for the poorest, receiving hundreds of thousands of signatures in support, is another straw in the wind of mass discontent for a nervous ruling class.
Full of reformist illusions as it is, it brings popular opinion into conflict with a ruling class that cannot ultimately give way on such questions if it is to retain its power, wealth and privilege.
For the minute the ruling class fears to take the bull by the horns and impose the crudest of slump impositions, throwing welfare provision and support to the wind overnight (though the savagery of the poorhouse Universal Credit provisions, and the exclusion of millions of “self-employed” workers from any wage supplements come close).
So yet further extensions to its “furlough” schemes have granted for a few weeks.
If the credit provisions are extended again, against all the vicious sink-or-swim reactionary ideology of the ultra-right groupings already raging at the latest lockdown, it firstly just kicks the can down the road as the bourgeois press like to put it.
At the same time the more it backs off temporarily to prop up the mass unemployments and small businesses, the more vulnerable it becomes to the sweeping savagery of the “markets” which will wipe out a weaker economy overnight once they sniff blood in the water - just as they almost did in the sterling collapse in the early 1990s (a foreshock tremor of the Catastrophic 2008 bank failures).
There is no future built on the endless printing (or electronic creation) of dollars, because they have no real value in them as Marx explained - acting only as substitutes and tokens for gold, which is a real embodiment of exchange value, due to the labour which was necessary to find, mine, extract and safeguard it (and in fact acts as the universal measure of value).
There was a point where triumphant US imperialism post-war was so relatively rich and powerful it could guarantee a fixed gold equivalent for every paper dollar - but the growing contradictions of capitalism, expressed not least in the cost of fighting the Vietnam war - put paid to that and Nixon had to unpin it in the early 1970s.
It has been diluting ever since, seemingly absorbing ever greater quantities of new credit dollars.
Such Keynesianism is unsustainable as a useful article from Harpal Brar’s Proletarian revisionists has just pointed out (their weaknesses lie elsewhere).
The entire credit system is already stretched to breaking point.
And that on top of a polluted world dollar system which has been bursting with inflationary pressures for decades in various sectors (Stock Market prices, property and housing, the “value” of art, grotesque luxury resorts, yachts and consumables, arms sales) and in the ever more obscene salaries, dividends and “emoluments” (such a nice word for plunder) for the rich and for the train of middle class and professional services and servants that hang off the billionaire class for juicy tidbits.
The working class meanwhile face an ever worsening struggle to keep their heads above water as wages have stagnated (for decades in America) but price rises have seeped relentlessly into living costs - a process somewhat obscured and held in check only by the slave level wages paid in the Third World for commodities, the increasing use of production in Chinese, Vietnamese and other rising socialist economies with lower living costs and therefore lower labour costs (but not the gross exploitation and slavery found in capitalist dominated areas, despite endless Western propaganda lies trying to demonise the workers states or exaggerate a few less savoury incidents in foreign owned plants); and the use of mass migrant labour on an ever increasing scale within the imperialist countries particularly for agriculture and services, grown astonishingly in the last twenty years.
Without Bangla Deshi clothes sweatshops, Romanian fruit pickers, Kenyan flower growers and virtual slavery on Sri Lankan tea plantations (and much else) the supermarkets would not maintain cheap prices.
In a vicious circle, without cheap prices wages would have to rise if workers are not to die, in turn making food and clothes more expensive so that wages would have to rise etc etc. (giving the lie to notion that “stopping immigration” would make everything “like it used to be”).
In the disastrous end of crisis period in the 1930s and Second World War, slave labour camps were used in Nazi Germany for example, with the last resort of simply starving the workers.
Such extremes were surely an aberration???
Not so, they are the logical end point to the great Catastrophe now unravelling, once the credit props give way for good.
And if they can get away with it - a fearful task for a debilitated and split ruling class to take on - the ruthlessness and depravity will once more go all the way.
What else is the jingoist civil war atmosphere being fomented for everywhere?
There is only one way out, other than the World War Three solution which got going with the bombing of Serbia, then Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Syria, Yemen and Libya and threatened for many more.
That is revolution and it is brewing across the world in various forms:
Nigerian security forces have opened fire on hundreds of protesters in Lagos, as rallies against police brutality continued in defiance of a 24-hour curfew imposed by the government earlier in the day.
Graphic scenes posted on social media showed protesters fleeing as security forces, including soldiers, shot live rounds towards the crowds.
At least seven people were killed according to DJ Switch, a popular disc jockey, who broadcast live from the scene on Instagram. Protesters were seen struggling to remove shrapnel from injured protesters and in one case failing to resuscitate a casualty.
In other videos protesters carrying bloodied Nigerian flags are seen pleading with security officials to allow medics to treat victims.
“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer told Reuters. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons.”
Lagos state government said it would open an investigation into the shooting, which witnesses said took place around 7pm.
Fears had grown of increased unrest after a curfew was imposed by Lagos’s governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, earlier in the day in an attempt to shut down protests against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit that have erupted across Nigeria.
Thousands have taken to the streets in recent weeks against the federal Sars unit, now dissolved but long accused of extra-judicial killings, torture and extortion.
More broadly the demonstrations have railed against systemic abuse by Nigerian police forces, but they have in turn been met by violence.
Last week, the Nigerian army warned it was ready to step in against “subversive elements and troublemakers”, while police have repeatedly fired on protesters across Nigeria. Armed gangs have attacked protesters in Lagos and the capital Abuja.
The demonstrations had “degenerated into a monster threatening the wellbeing of our society”, said Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos, in a statement on Tuesday after a police station was set on fire in the Iganmu area of Lagos on Tuesday morning. The national police chief also ordered the immediate deployment of anti-riot forces following increased attacks on police facilities, a police spokesman said.
Groups of armed people, often impoverished young men, are widely suspected of being paid by powerful interests in Nigeria. Rights groups and protesters have accused “thugs and sponsored hoodlums” of attacking the peaceful demonstrations and seeking to discredit the movement.
Five Nigerian states and the capital, Abuja, have banned protests or adopted curfews, effectively banning demonstrations.
Several protesters yesterday targeted Lagos airport, blocking off entrances to its international and domestic terminals, causing flight delays.
Over the past few months, monarchy-reform protesters have staged protests week after week. The dissolution of the Future Forward party, hugely popular among young voters, in February alienated many young Thais, spurring them on to seek change outside the parliamentary system. Hundreds gathered at Democracy Monument in Bangkok after Arnon Nampa, a human rights lawyer and political activist, publicly called for reforms of the monarchy in August. Since then, the number and determination of the protesters has only grown. On 16 October, after most leaders were arrested two days earlier, unarmed protesters resisted police in riot gear using high-pressure water cannon, laced with chemical irritants and blue dye to identify the protesters. At least a dozen were arrested, as were around 60 more in subsequent protests.
At the heart of the protesters’ demands has been not their call for the immediate resignation of the prime minister, Gen Prayut Chan-ocha, a former junta leader who staged a coup in 2014, or the drafting of a new democratic constitution, but the desire to reform the Thai monarchy.
Unlike in the United Kingdom or Japan, the Thai public and press routinely censor themselves from stating anything mildly critical of the monarchy. Negative news or information about the king is rarely aired, blocking any meaningful critical discussion of the monarchy. Yet, with the explosion in social media and smartphone use in recent years, the efficacy of this censorship has been eroded. Thailand’s mainstream media has been bypassed, and a number of Twitter users and Facebook groups now frequently disseminate information critical of the monarchy. This happens despite the climate of fear that continues to be backed by the anachronistic and draconian lese-majesty law, which carries a maximum imprisonment term of 15 years per count.
Many older Thais, particularly royalists and ultra-royalists, have faced a rude and hurtful awakening as they realise that tens of thousands of young protesters do not share their reverence for the crown. Some protesters have openly expressed aspirations to see the Kingdom of Thailand turn into the Republic of Thailand, not only on social media but at protest sites.
This new generation, aged between 15 and 25, wants change. They do not want to inherit an old Thailand where fundamental rights such as freedom of expression are suspended in the name of reverence to the king. They want a new and freer Thailand where publicly criticising the king, or queen, is not a crime but a fundamental right. Young Thai protesters want to make sure that if there is yet another coup attempt, King Vajiralongkorn, who ascended the throne after his popular father, King Bhumibol, died in October 2016, will not endorse it – as his late father did many times by putting his signature to orders effectively legitimising a coup. On average, Thailand has experienced one military coup every seven years since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
Other demands include controlling the amount of taxpayers’ money funding the privileged lifestyle of the royal family. With the king’s net worth estimated at around $40bn by the Financial Times this month, the Thai king is one of the richest monarchs in the world. Meanwhile, the minimum wage of a Thai worker is a mere $5 a day.
Among the protesters arrested last week, three were accused of intending to block the royal motorcade and do harm to the queen, including a 20-year-old student leader, Bunkueanun Paothong. He now faces a maximum of life imprisonment under article 110 of the criminal code. It speaks volumes about how unequal Thai law is when it comes to protecting ordinary Thais versus the crown.
The lifting of the week-long state of emergency in Bangkok on 22 October may offer a temporary reprise. The heavy-handed dispersal of unarmed and young protesters and the arrests of protest leaders did not succeed in breaking the will of the protesters, however. In fact more came out, bonded by a common desire to overcome the strong-arm tactics of the government. Instead of becoming leaderless, the protest movement have deployed guerrilla flash mob tactics
as tens of thousands of pro-choice protesters gathered in Warsaw for a massive demonstration against a near-total ban on abortion, military police in red berets formed a protective cordon around the Church of the Holy Cross on Krakowskie Przedmietcie, an elegant thoroughfare leading from Warsaw’s Old Town to the city centre.
Behind the military cordon stood far-right activists and supporters of Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS), responding to a call by PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski to “defend Polish churches” from what government-controlled state television news describes as the “leftist fascism destroying Poland” after some churches were defaced during protests last weekend.
As the pro-choice protesters filed past the church, government supporters chanting mournful incantations blasted the screams of a crying baby through giant megaphones at the entrance to the church. The sound was broadcast on a loop, the desperate screams repeated over and over as protesters marched stoically past.
Agata and Aleksandra, both doctors from Warsaw who declined to give their surnames for fear of repercussions, were among those marching past the church and doing their best to ignore the screams. Standing under a statue of the 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, they described their intense anger at a system that does so little to support the parents of disabled children and yet appears intent on banning terminations even in instances where a foetus is diagnosed with a serious and irreversible birth defect.
But if the protests, which by Friday had entered their ninth day, have been characterised by anger at Poland’s political and clerical establishments, the rage felt by many marching through the streets manifested itself within a joyful, even carnival atmosphere.
Accompanying the chants of “Fuck PiS!” and “This is war!” were thousands of humorous placards mocking Polish leaders and demanding the right to choose. Some protesters wore costumes and danced as techno music and 80s classics were blasted from speaker vans. Protesters brought drums, vuvuzelas, kitchen pots and pans – even bagpipes.
There was a sense of euphoria as the various columns of the protest converged in central Warsaw into a single demonstration of 100,000 people, defying coronavirus restrictions banning gatherings of more than five. As they chanted, the red lightning bolt symbol of the Polish Women’s Strike was projected on to the giant communist-era Palace of Science and Culture as police helicopters circled.
Not even the nationalist football hooligans who attacked the crowd on several occasions were able to spoil the mood of the protesters.
...several commentators have argued that the protesters’ anger goes far beyond the present government and the issue of abortion, extending to the indignities of living in what is still a patriarchal society and under a political and legal order that was shaped in the 1990s by a previous generation of socially conservative men from both sides of the country’s political divide.
All the “carnival” spirit is a long way yet from the serious class war that is coming; many of the causes here and bubbling everywhere are still hampered by “democracy” limitations, and the complete vacuum in revolutionary understanding that must be developed to lead the great historical change which the world needs.
Devastating counter-revolution shocks will certainly puncture such illusions, notably in America itself where the faith in “electoral fairness” manifest in an astonishing high turnout for the presidential vote is in for a rude shock whatever happens - either Trump nazi violence and intimidation stealing the result (most likely) or the Democrat establishment pursuing a trade war/world war agenda anyway.
But the genie is out of the bottle and the days of capitalist oppression are numbered.
The revolutionary ferment is everywhere.
The task is to build Leninism.
Back to the top
Gross Western “free speech” hypocrisy condemning terrorism will not stop rising Third World revolt. Crude attacks no solution but only conscious revolution can provide the means to “stop” it. Labour pro-Zionism is sick humbug
The reactionary Labour Party anti-Corbynite escalation of the sick and lying hype of “battling against left anti-semitism” and French president Emmanuel Macron’s “upholding the secular right to free speech” humbug after a new wave of European terror attacks, are two faces of the same thing – the most disgusting hypocrisy, imperialist arrogance and tyranny.
Both provide “justification” for new onslaughts on the Third World by their demonisation of Islamism, “condemnations” of terror and support for Zionism.
Both plumb the murkiest and vilest depths of cynical dissembling, knowingly and sanctimoniously posturing about “morality” and equality while preparing the world for the exact opposite – yet more blitzkrieg and destruction as Catastrophic capitalist economic collapse unravels into world war.
What “French values” or “British values” are being defended except the imperialist assertion of the right to trample across the planet in the most barbaric, warcrime fashion, in a desperate bid to suppress the rapidly rising tide of rebellion and revolt challenging its bankrupted system??
The only “right to speak out” or “defence from racism” being upheld is that in favour of the raw power and might of the bourgeois ruling class and its claimed “freedom” to suppress and exploit the rest of the world, keeping it permanently in thrall to monopoly capitalism and its tyrannical profiteering and plundering.
Any hint of resistance from the endlessly downtrodden, exploited and dispossessed gets no chance to make its case at all, smashed down and destroyed by brute violence and the more so if its frustration and growing anger turns to a violent fight itself, using whatever crude methods it can muster to try and get itself heard with suicide bombings, knife attacks like those in Nice or the latest shootings in Vienna.
And tragic and unjust as such gruesome attacks are for the hapless individual victims, every rational being can see they reflect two decades (and many more too) of mass desperation and destruction which have destroyed all normality and possibility of reasonable life for tens of millions throughout the Middle East, with at least six countries and their peoples partially or completely wiped out by the imperialist order in various ways (Iraq invaded at least twice over, Syria destroyed by deliberate civil war, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, and of course Palestine).
Whole countries have been pulverised and major cities have been reduced to rubble with tens of thousands, in fact millions, butchered, maimed, crippled, tortured and arbitrarily massacred; more than ten million in Yemen currently face total famine again.
Tens of millions in the region are homeless, exiled, refuged in bleak and freezing camps and transit, and facing an ever more desperate future with all semblance of any stable human, and humane, existence, (such as it was anyway) utterly wiped out.
Millions and millions more face similar lives of desperation and poverty in Latin America, India, Africa and even into the heart of Europe and the USA.
Never a word is heard about the cause of their agony - capitalist domination and the crisis of its system.
Of course some of them explode in rage and hatred directed at their oppressors.
And not just some, the entire Islamic world (and with the sympathy of many others in the ever more hate-filled exploited neo-colonial world) has erupted with notable former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad once more voicing the rage of tens of millions with typically provocative and anti-“liberal” comments:
anger escalated across the Islamic world over the president’s remarks at a national tribute to the murdered high-school teacher Samuel Paty last week, with Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling on Monday for a complete boycott of French products in Turkey.
Paty, 47, was killed after he showed his class drawings of the prophet during a debate on free speech.
After Macron promised France would not “renounce the caricatures”, a furious riposte that emerged on Friday on social media under Arabic hashtags gained momentum over the weekend.
In a strongly worded statement, France’s foreign ministry demanded that calls for a boycott of its products...must end.
“These calls distort the positions defended by France in favour of freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and the refusal of any call to hatred,” it read.
The statement added: “The ministers and our entire diplomatic network are fully mobilised to remind and explain to our partners France’s positions, particularly with regard to fundamental freedoms and the rejection of hatred, to call on the authorities of the countries concerned to dissociate themselves from any call for a boycott or any attack against our country, to support our companies and to ensure the safety of our compatriots abroad.”
On Sunday, after protests in which the president’s picture was burned and Erdogan, suggested his French counterpart needed “his mental health tested”, Macron also responded.
“Our history is one of a battle against tyranny and fanatacisms. We will continue,” Macron tweeted in three languages, French, English and Arabic.
Turkey, Iran, Jordan and Kuwait are among Islamic countries to criticise the publication of the caricatures, which originally appeared in France in Charlie Hebdo, sparking a terrorist attack on the satirical newspaper in 2015 that killed 12 people.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation also denounced the “suggestions of certain French leaders … that risk submerging French-Muslim relations”.
While condemning “all acts of terror in the name of religion” it attacked the “continued publication of blasphemous cartoons” of the prophet.
Muslims have also been angered by Macron’s comments earlier this month that Islam is “a religion that is in crisis all over the world today”. The comments were made when the French president announced his long-awaited law against “separatism” aimed at combatting radical Islam in France, expected to be presented to the French parliament in December. The influential university-mosque, al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, described Macron’s statement as “racist”.
In Qatar, certain food distribution groups announced they were removing French products from their shops for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, French cultural week planned at the Qatar University has been postponed because of a “deliberate attack on Islam and its symbols”.
In Kuwait, French cheeses have been removed from some stores. About 430 Kuwaiti travel agents have reportedly suspended reservations for flights to France.
Pakistan also criticised France on Sunday, with the prime minister, Imran Khan, accusing Macron of “attacking Islam” by encouraging the publication of caricatures of Muhammad.
Masood Khan, the president of Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir, tweeted: “President Macron has ignobly earned a patent for #Islamophobia and incitement to hatred against Muslims. We condemn his blasphemous words and the mindset behind them. France suffered from such a mindset during WWII. Why does he inflict similar injury on others?”
As the backlash over France’s reaction widened, European leaders rallied behind Macron. “They are defamatory comments that are completely unacceptable, particularly against the backdrop of the horrific murder of the French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist fanatic,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
The prime ministers of Italy, the Netherlands and Greece also expressed support for France, as did European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
On Monday, Erdogan called for a complete boycott of French products in Turkey, saying: “Never give credit to French-labelled goods, don’t buy them.” he also compared the treatment of Muslims in Europe to that of Jews before World War II, saying they were the object of a “lynching campaign.”
In Israel, about 200 people gathered in front of the French embassy to condemn Macron. In Gaza, Palestinian protesters burned photos of the French president.
Police shot dead Abdullah Anzorov, 18, after he allegedly beheaded Paty 10 days ago. Investigators say the suspect had communicated with two people from an Islamist group in Syria but add there is no evidence the attack was ordered from abroad.
Paty was posthumously awarded the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest honour, at a ceremony at Sorbonne University in Paris on Wednesday. Malaysia’s former prime minister said that Muslims have the right ‘to kill millions of French people’, shortly after a knife-wielding Islamist killed three people in a deadly terror attack in Nice.
Mahathir Mohamad, who lost power in February this year, said freedom of expression does not include ‘insulting other people’ as fury over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed sweeps the Islamic world.
The 95-year-old politician said he did not approve of the beheading of a French school teacher for sharing caricatures of the Prophet, but said: ‘Irrespective of the religion professed, angry people kill’.
‘The French in the course of their history [have] killed millions of people. Many were Muslims,’ he said in a tweet which has since been removed for violating the website’s rules.
Mahathir, who has drawn controversy for comments about Jews and LGBT people in the past, went on: ‘Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.’
The Malaysian politician said that ‘by and large’, Muslims have not applied the principle of ‘eye for an eye’: ‘Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings’.
Mahathir, who served as Malaysian premier twice for a total of 24 years, said that French President Emmanuel Macron was ‘very primitive’ and ‘not showing that he is civilised’.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed Mahathir’s remarks, calling them ‘absurd and abhorrent’ as he paid tribute to the victims of the terror attack in southern France.
‘The only thing that should be said today is to completely condemn those attacks. The only response is to be utterly, utterly devastated,’ Mr Morrison told 2GB radio on Friday morning.
Such high-handed “condemnation” from a gross rightwing government, whose troops careened around Afghanistan after 2001 waving swastika flags, and some of which are implicated in the most disgusting of war crime massacres (alongside the crimes and butchery of the rest of imperialism there and throughout the Middle East) simply underlines what stinking fascist undertones there are to these moralising pretences. The reality occasionally creeps into the bourgeois press:
A disturbing new report blows the lid on the shameful conduct of Australian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan, accusing them of waging a campaign of torture and murder across the war-torn country, and hiding the evidence.
When Australia’s elite SAS soldiers would raid villages in Afghanistan, they brought terror and death with them, a report seen by Melbourne newspaper The Age alleges. The special forces “would take the men and boys to these guest houses and interrogate them, meaning tie them up and torture them,” the report states.
By the time the SAS units left, “the men and boys would be found dead, shot in the head, sometimes blindfolded and throats slit. These are corroborated accounts,” it continues, comparing the alleged war crimes to the My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War, and to the US’ mistreatment of detainees in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.
The report was commissioned by then-Army chief Angus Campbell in 2016, and an upcoming Inspector-General report into war crimes by senior judge Paul Brereton has confirmed many of its findings, The Age claimed. Compiled by defense consultant Samantha Crompvoets, the report is based on interviews with soldiers and whistleblowers, who told Crompvoets some grizzly tales of “competition killing and blood lust.”
In one instance, two “14-year-old boys suspected of being Taliban sympathisers had their throats slit … the bodies were bagged and thrown into a nearby river.” In others, unarmed Afghans were shot in the back as they ran away.
According to the report, war crimes allegations made by NGOs and SAS staff were quashed by the special forces leadership in Afghanistan. Soldiers involved in these crimes allegedly covered them up, and expected their comrades to keep quiet. Meanwhile, the perpetrators “gloated about” their killings.
“Soldiers would do bad stuff to fit in. It becomes part of the banter,” one witness recalled. Another stated: “guys just had this blood lust. Psychos. Absolute psychos. And we bred them.”
Despite the gruesome details revealed in the report, the Australian operators were envious of their British and American counterparts, one informant told Crompvoets.
“Whatever we do, though, I can tell you the Brits and the US are far, far worse. I’ve watched our young guys stand by and hero worship what they were doing, salivating at how the US were torturing people,” the informant said.
Such monstrous inhuman butchery (also revealed about British “special forces” in a recent BBC Panorama programme eg - as usual virtually unmentioned by the politicians and press who get so aerated about the “terrorists” or specious nonsense about Uighurs, the Rohingya etc) has been a major part of the imperialist assertion of “rights” to colonialist domination and the enslavement of tens of millions since the beginning of the capitalist period centuries back.
Even more is now imposed in the desperate turn to nazi warmongering to “re-establish” its sliding dictatorial authority, undermined by oncoming Catastrophic economic meltdown (worsened by Covid) and the non-stop revolt of a discontented rebellious Third World transformed by the lessons capitalist exploitation has taught the masses, and now made desperate by the crisis.
And it sharply exposes yet again the entire crew of fake “lefts”, Trot and revisionist, Labourites, liberals, and others who since the 9/11 attack on New York especially, have immediately joined in the chorus of “unacceptable and inhuman behaviour” after every such incident (mostly embroidered with assorted complicated “theoretical” sophistries and alleged Marxist “proscriptions against the use of terror” to uphold their capitulation and cover them for falling in behind manipulated petty bourgeois public opinion).
As the EPSR has many times said, there is no such criticism in Marxism, and while Lenin early on criticised the elitist individualist “terror excitation” ideas of the Narodniks, this was because it was a distraction from the vital work of building mass revolutionary understanding and with a mistaken anti-Marxist philosophy.
His sympathies however were always with those driven to civil war hostility against imperialism however they chose to do it and however much Marxism disagreed with their methods (see EPSR 1106 and 1248 quoting Lenin’s Guerrilla Warfare) or even thought them counter-productive.
All Marxism has said is that such methods are not the most useful, when the central fight in the world is to educate and develop mass understanding in the nature of capitalism and its responsibility for all the chaos and destruction in the world (including all the hatred it has caused, and revolt against it), and in the need for the class war to overthrow it, in order for humanity to progress.
Certainly Marxism does not support the religious ideas or other barmy perspectives which have filled the vacuum in revolutionary understanding in parts of the world temporarily (and which are sometimes laced with almost as much posturing hypocrisy as any when it is from the leaders of assorted bourgeois national regimes, themselves simply trying to contain the volcano of anti-imperialist sentiment below).
But it sees that all these streams of upheaval and conflict are, firstly, unstoppably arising because of the crisis and beyond that have been inflicting defeats on imperialism which, however limited the ideology behind them, are setbacks for capitalism, sometimes significantly so, which will open the way for revolutionary Leninist movement.
All the “left” do is play into the hands of US led imperialism and its sick and vicious excuses for the nonsense of a “war on terror”, being once more intensified here or there with yet more blitzing and “special forces” torture killings and massacres, in a welter of shooting and blitzing, slaughtering dozens, or hundreds, or thousands, many of them just bystanders, women and children.
To try and restore its slipping world dominance (“Making America Great Again”, “restoring sovereignty”, reasserting etc) the imperialist system has resorted to even more non-stop blitzing, to intimidate and suppress the masses and acclimatise public opinion everywhere to the notion of war, death, torture and destruction as the norm because that is the only route out of disaster that the capitalist system can devise (see summmary box).
And despite Trump’s isolationist withdrawal from overt policing interventions, the only possible future is more warmongering.
France has been plying its own brutal imperialist agenda, with Macron pitching in alongside American imperialism to blitz and slaughter the jihadist revolt in Syria and Iraq, (sending an aircraft carrier, helping arm and supporting the YPG Kurds).
The YPG have opportunistically sold their services in return for a promise of self-determination, to work alongside Western imperialism to suppress the jihadism which, after initial Western and reactionary Arab elite attempts to manipulate it against the erratic anti-imperialist nationalism of the Syrian Assad regime, has “blown back” into a major problem for imperialism in the form of ISIS and now the ever spreading jihadism throughout Africa, and elsewhere.
Despite being still trapped by Sunni-Shia sectarianism, this movement is an increasing expression of anti-imperialist sentiment everywhere, and a huge problem for imperialism.
The French ruling class, like all imperialism is turning to reactionary jingoism as the trade war deepens, with its own particular features - the bourgeois press has noted Macron’s increasingly degenerate pocket Napoleonism trying to assert French imperialist interests, while whipping up scapegoating hostilities.
Alongside the former French colonial possession of Syria (acquired as part of the First World War gangster spoils as the Ottoman Empire was divvied up under the French-British Sykes-Picot and other agreements) is the Lebanon, where Macron has astonishingly been trying to restore French imperialist influence by the sick tactic of leaving the population to rot unless they force out the Hezbollah Islamic militia (which over decades has steadily gained a parity with the old Christian and Maronite bourgeoisie).
The country was already in near bankruptcy caused by the impact of the world crisis on the massively indebted finance and trade sectors which are its mainstay when Beirut suffered the giant warehouse explosion two months ago wiping out one third of the city.
A deeper analysis is required to untangle specific reasons and much conspiracy speculation for the devastating eruption (possibly to remain unknown) but they are certainly entwined with bureaucratic paralysis in the government (as well as corruption and slave level exploitation in the monopoly capitalist shipping industry leading to impounding of cargoes).
And why paralysis? Because of the near equal split in hostile class forces in Lebanon between the once dominant French linked bourgeoise and the ever rising strength of the once subjugated anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist side of the population, mostly around militant Hezbollah, a central part of ever developing Arab militancy which has been hardened and disciplined by decades of civil war struggle against the imperialist wing and against Zionist occupations, and butchery of the refugee Palestinians forced out of next door occupied Palestine.
Macron is offering rescue aid to a desperate and destitute population (the only Western country to do so) conditional on Hezbollah “influence being reduced”, in other words the Maronites recovering their dominance. And who are these? Nothing but the class forces which lorded it for a century and not only worked hand in hand with the Zionist invasions but spawned the brutal Phalangist fascist movement which among other atrocities carried out the Sabra and Shatila camp massacres for them in 1982, two of the most horrifying and degenerate acts of butchery of men, women and children in the entire post-war period.
And Macron’s France has a sick record all along the Mediterranean. Its Algerian colonial record is notoriously steeped in blood, torture and other horrors. It has backed brutal dictatorship in Tunisia. Who stepped in to lead the NATO invasion of Libya in 2011, when Barack Obama’s presidency wanted to disguise its role in this sick invasion to topple the bourgeois nationalist Gaddafi as part of a desperate effort to suppress the Arab Spring, after the bogus “uprising” against him (painted as more of the Arab Spring but the exact opposite) petered out. France of course. And who has been backing the war-crime implicated rogue general Haftar in the deadly civilian-blitzing civil war which is now raging there, allied with the vile Egyptian torture-and-execution regime of General Sisi and Saudi Arabian gangster feudal money??.
And who has got thousands of troops in Mali to maintain the pro-imperialist stooge government there, alongside little publicised US, UK and other “special forces” and CIA operations and drone bases in Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’ivoire and the rest of Sahel, busy slaughtering the jihadist and “terrorist” forces by the hundred??? And who keeps urging NATO resources to be escalated in Africa for more of this suppression???
Who are the real terrorists???
The Labourites meanwhile, crawling around the floor to make clear their “loyalty” to the ruling class, have taken even further the Goebbels size lie of “a tide of anti-semitism” in Labour, part of a coordinated campaign to discredit and demonise even the tepid, useless and opportunist “left” reformism of the Corbynites (which ‘necessity’ underlines how fearful the ruling class is now of any stirrings of “socialism” - so disastrous is its Catastrophe).
The CIA/Zionist campaign, underway since at least the late 1990s, must be one of the most astonishing inversions of reality in history, a giant smokescreen pretence by the Zionists Nazis to cover up their vicious colonial occupation and particularly to fend off any queries about the means by which this artificial colony was implanted into the Middle East by violent ethnic cleansing, gangster terror and landtheft from its Palestinian population, the indigenous people present there for at least 1500 years and many of them far longer.
All such questions are silenced by being deemed automatically “anti-semitic”.
But the implication that such anti-Zionist sentiment must be somehow driven by “racism” and old hatreds is the most disgusting lie (see EPSR Book 20 Zionism and the fraud of “left” anti-semitism).
Just the opposite: such hostility is driven by the frontline role played by “Israel” in the constant fascist/racist suppression of the Third World and is at the heart of the fight against imperialism as well as the national-liberation struggle for the 8 million dispossessed Palestinians themselves.
It spills over onto the entire Jewish freemasonry within the imperialist countries because bar a miniscule few exceptions, they support the existence of “Israel”, including the Jewish “liberals” who ostensibly oppose the more extreme settler expansionism. They are all effectively zionist in outlook thereby even if declaring themselves “anti”.
The Zionist colonialist landtheft “state” was implanted in 1947 into the middle of the Palestinian Arab’s ancient culture like a giant aggressive cuckoo, bristling with hi-tech weaponry (paid for by the West and especially Washington) and constantly edging everyone else out of its nest, stolen from the Palestinian people who lived there for millennia, to “guarantee its safety” and expand its wealth and might.
There can be no such security for this artificial implant stuck in the heart of the region by the Western bourgeoisie and paying for the privilege by doing rottweiler guard dog service for the widest imperialist interests.
The monstrous injustice of their ejection and historic humiliation can never stop driving the Palestinians to fight for their rights and the return of their land by every means they can muster - and despite setbacks they have been getting better and more coherent in their struggle for decades.
So Zionist Israel can only survive by the permanent, continuous and barbaric oppression of the now nearly 8 million Palestinians whose home its has taken, with daily intimidation, harassment, bullying and humiliation on even the very best of days under its diktat, through a stacked system of bent laws, passes, living restrictions and travel constraints making much normal life difficult or impossible, in what scrappy bits of the land are left to them, and continual and deliberate provocative fascist settler violence against them or their lands (tearing up olive groves, cutting through with Jewish-only roads, building fences and walls to block access to fields, poisoning wells) with the full intent of driving them out.
And the message is rammed home by repeated violence, killings, sniping, arbitrary arrests (even of young teenagers), imprisonment and torture, and outright bombing and shelling of any “resistance” (real or simply an excuse for collective “punishment”).
And beyond that, every few years an all out genocidal onslaught is launched, particularly on the Palestinian militancy which grows ever more dogged in the West Bank and particularly in the cramped concrete hellhole of the Gaza strip, replete with “Israeli” army warcrime snipers deliberately maiming and crippling their targets (to avoid internationally-damaging high “kill” levels), with all kinds of massive high explosive, cluster-bomb and white phosphorus plane-launched and missile munitions and the “normal” slew of “collateral damage” taking out men, women, and children.
Its colonialist presence established post-war in an epoch of de-colonisation can only ever by a permanent provocation to the dispossessed masses whose land they took, and keep on taking ever more of with its aggressive settler policies (completely illegal even by UN “international community standards” and resolutions which are all an impotent farce anyway) and the American backing it has now been given to simply annex large West Bank chunks of even the tiny holdings still remaining to the Palestinian people and to takeover the whole of Jerusalem, stamping it with the message of permanent possession and seizure by primitive “right of conquest”.
These latest concessions have been extracted from a US empire which needs the Zionists to help face the ever rising challenge of the masses in the Middle East and further afield who have grown more and more hated-filled and hostile to world imperialist domination with every further blitzing (the best recruitment agent of all for the huge wave of jihadist and “terrorist” movements) driven by the world crisis.
The Starmerites “apology to the Jewish people for the hurt they have suffered” – without even mentioning the Palestinians – is one of the sickest class-collaborating grovels of all time.
But the Corbynites are little better; far from exposing such reaction they gave it a left cover by accepting the notion in the first place. And so too the slew of fake “lefts” opportunistically bolstering the Labour party for years under the pretence of “changing it”. Everyone of them goes along with “condemning terror”.
They all need exposing.
Back to the top
Reexamining the Grenada revolution
Interest in tiny Grenada’s inspirational four-years experience of revolutionary party-led dictatorship is resurfacing as a consequence of the intensifying contradictions in monopoly imperialism’s drive to Slump disaster and inter-imperialist conflict. The tragically violent end to the New Jewel Movement’s internal dispute (which gave the US a pretext for bloody invasion) raises crucial questions of party-building and leadership that can only be resolved in and all-out polemic involving all who see the need to return to a revolutionary perspective of proletarian dictatorship to end capitalist crisis. Now 37 years later, revisionism still needs to come clean about its capitulation to US-imperialist pressure in subverting the Grenada’s revolution and pillorying the NJM majority. [see also EPSR Bk12 Grenada]
The accelerating world capitalist crisis, coupled with ruling class incompetence and callousness in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, is inevitably driving to the surface renewed interest in the international proletariat’s past and present experiences of building and developing collective socialist societies under workers’ state control.
The Chinese workers’ state’s growing trade and diplomatic influence in the midst of capitalist collapse (and its success in containing and almost eliminating the coronavirus) is a cause of huge ruling class anxiety as they are squeezed out of much needed markets and fearful of its anti-imperialist influence, not least in the Caribbean where the tide is beginning to turn against the archaic remnants of the British Empire’s colonial dominance over the region:
CHINA has been accused of pressuring Barbados to drop the Queen as their head of State. The former colony declared they would remove Her Majesty as official head of state as part of celebrations to mark its 55th independence anniversary in next November. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee has accused Beijing of forcing the island’s hand. Bajan Government bosses said the move was a bid to “leave [our] colonial past behind”. But now, China has been accused of forcing the island’s hand after pressure from Beijing.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, told The Times: “China has been using infrastructure investment and debt diplomacy as a means of control for a while and it’s coming closer to home for us. British partners have long faced challenges from rivals seeking to undermine our alliance. Today we’re seeing it in the Caribbean. Some islands seem to be close to swapping a symbolic Queen in Windsor for a real and demanding emperor in Beijing.”
His comments come as CIA intelligence in the US about Chinese activities in Barbados has been shared with British authorities, reports the Daily Mail. It’s thought China’s recent interest in the Caribbean - which has seen the Communist Party Government funnel at least $7billion in six Caribbean nations since 2005 - is an attempt to wrangle them from the West’s sway of influence. But some think the price tag could actually be much higher.
Barbados is said to have received around $490million worth of investment, in tourism but also through the private sector. And eight countries have signed on to Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago - and Barbados. The Belt and Road initiative sees the building bridges and airports, an improving energy and telecommunications networks in an attempt to “deepen trade ties,” says The Mail.
The accusations follow generous investments handed out by China to various Caribbean countries after they agreed to cut ties with other countries on their blacklist – like Taiwan. China gifted Grenada, which has an annual GDP of just $1.8billion, with a $55million cricket stadium after they severed ties with Taiwan in 2005, similarly the country pumped an estimated $3million into the Dominican Republic in 2018 after they ended things with Taipei.
Barbados’s move was announced in a speech written by Prime minister Mia Mottley and read by the country’s governor general, Dame Sandra Mason. The speech quoted a caution issued by Barbados’ first premier, Errol Barrow against “loitering on colonial premises”.It said: “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”
This formal completion of the bourgeois national-liberation struggle against old British colonialism in Barbados is an enormous blow to British imperialist influence and prestige in the region. It also points to a deeper ferment under the surface which will more readily turn to revolutionary socialist perspectives for the building of workers’ states of proletarian dictatorship (the only way of moving human society forwards, as China and nearby Cuba show) now that this hurdle has been overcome.
Further signs of anti-imperialist stirrings in the region can be seen in the splits emerging in CARICOM (the Caribbean political and economic organisation), as a result of US imperialism’s attempts to bribe the once reliable regional stooge bourgeoisie into supporting its anti-Venezuelan warmongering provocations:
Speaking recently at Bocas Lit Fest, Jamaica’s former Prime Minister, P J Patterson, observed that in recent years there had been a “deliberate attempt” to split the Caribbean. After referencing the EU’s divisive action in relation to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Nations (the ACP), he went on to say “I am afraid to say (fragmentation) is happening in CARICOM and perhaps the difference in our approach in relating to Venezuela is the best example of that”.
Such divisions, he observed, are becoming more pronounced “the more so when there is interest in a commodity which is being found to exist in abundance in Guyana”. He also noted how difficult it will be for the Caribbean to achieve its objectives in relation to debt, climate change, COVID-19 and participate in the development of a new world order if others divide regional unity.
Mr Patterson makes an important point. Reading and listening online to the recent comments made by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo during his recent visit to Suriname and Guyana and to members of their recently elected governments, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Washington has by design sought to divide the region to obtain the support of the majority of Caribbean governments for its regional agenda.
By finding ways to divide the region into groups that might be considered ‘the willing’ and the ‘less willing’, it has with subtlety and softer language begun to deliver in the Caribbean a version of the Monroe Doctrine designed for the twenty First Century.
This is not to suggest that the support that the US is now offering is unwelcome, but to observe that with the exception of Barbados, Trinidad, St Vincent, Dominica and Antigua, every other CARICOM nation tacitly conceded that there is no longer unity of purpose within CARICOM.
Despite ongoing spats with different island nations, Venezuela has accused the US of trying to divide and conquer.
In March 2019, Trump met with leaders from the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and St. Lucia at his private residence in Florida. Three regional prime ministers – Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Mia Mottley of Barbados – repudiated the countries for attending.
Browne questioned whether the visit represented diplomacy or bribery. Gonsalves said the meeting was troubling and cut across established mechanisms in place. And Mottley said Barbados would not be party to any meeting where all of CARICOM was not invited.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told journalists in Florida at the time that the meeting was one of trade and the promotion of stronger relationships with the region. Despite this, all have called for unity on the issue. This is a wait and see situation…
The huge spontaneous explosions of anti-Trump anger and anti-racist police hostility in the US will also have had an influence on the end-of-empire attitudes in the Caribbean. What is missing, however, is an understanding that capitalism needs to be abolished, and that a party of revolutionary theory and leadership needs to be built; but that will come as the devastating effects of capitalism’s slump creates a demand from the working class for the deeper understanding of the crisis and how to get out of it that only a Marxist-Leninist perspective can provide
With rapidly increasing levels of poverty, hunger and despair in the region, and a growing cynicism towards all politicians as a consequence of imperialism’s inability to pull itself out of economic disaster, it is inevitable that arguments for re-building revolutionary socialist perspectives starts to get a hearing again.
Cuba will always be an inspiration, but there are also signs of growing interest in tiny Grenada’s own four years of inspirational socialist revolution from 1979 – 1983 against all odds before its brutal destruction by Reagan’s stormtroopers.
The release from jail of the ‘Grenada 17’ New Jewel Movement leadership from up to 27 years of vindictive cruelty and torture after narrowly escaping US imperialism’s hangman’s noose following stitched up trials, and the publication of the NJM leader Bernard Coard’s memoirs (three in a series of five to date: The Grenada Revolution: What Really Happened?; Forward Ever; and Skyred) have helped to stir up discussion and debate, as has the recently deceased Phyllis Coard’s account in Unchained of the trials and the brutal and humiliating experiences she suffered in 16 years of confinement, a large part of it solitary, under the orders of US imperialism.
The US invasion took place six days after an armed putsch attempt launched by a small faction of NJM renegades led by the prime minister, Maurice Bishop, was defeated. Bishop and a number of his supporters were killed following a shoot-out his side started when they attacked, wounded and killed a number soldiers of the People’s Revolutionary Army. The situation was quickly brought under control by the Revolutionary Military Council under Hudson Austin (formed to replace the People’s Revolutionary Government following Bishop’s death) with its use of the revolutionary state’s dictatorial powers to suppress the counter-revolution.
Post-invasion US-imperialist psychological operations used all manner of fabricated stories and lurid lies to pin the blame for Bishop’s death on Coard, the deputy minister, and the rest of the Grenada 17, and was successful in silencing all attempts at establishing the truth. However, the dispute and its violent outcome was, in fact, caused by that Bishop’s increasingly ill-disciplined unwillingness to abide by agreed party positions and the detrimental impact this was having on the party and the morale of its cadres.
Given that interest in the Grenadian Revolution is growing, it seems more than coincidental that a new, provocatively-titled book, written by a member of the regional comprador bourgeoisie – a British Commonwealth-trained high court judge, former attorney-general, and ex-Belize foreign and defence minister – now appears, to repeat the gross smears and lies against Coard and the NJM:
At the heart of Godfrey Smith’s revealing book, The Assassination of Maurice Bishop, is the role of Bernard Coard who, over the brief life of the revolution, was transformed from Bishop’s friend and comrade into a jealous, power-hungry conspirator who manipulated a cadre of young, impressionable acolytes in the revolutionary army, to orchestrate an impractical proposal for a Bishop-Coard joint leadership which leads to a deadly schism in the party after Bishop ultimately rejects the idea, and a rapid descent into chaos ending in Bishop’s assassination.
Smith skilfully contrasts the charisma and populist appeal of the flamboyant Maurice Bishop with the dour, methodical and ideologically rigid Bernard Coard, the two main protagonists in this intense, gripping and high-paced narrative. Other leading actors are vividly portrayed either in their roles as loyalists to Maurice Bishop or as pawns in a Coardite power grab, as he traces the events, personalities and issues in dramatic detail from the first challenge to Bishop’s leadership in the Central Committee to the harrowing denouement at Fort Rupert.
Key to re-establishing revolutionary socialist perspectives in Grenada and across the region is the necessary no-holds-barred debate to correctly establish what caused the NJM’s inner-party dispute and why it ended in the way it did. The questions of leadership and revolutionary party building embedded in this are also of huge importance to the international proletariat generally.
But this hatchet job from a key member of the reactionary Caribbean bourgeoisie has nothing to do with establishing the truth and everything to do with suppressing a return to socialist revolutionary party building in the region (with extracts of the book already published in the bourgeois media in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago) by attributing the blame for the violent resolution to the internal leadership dispute on those closest to Leninism within the NJM leadership.
The dispute had nothing to do with any “conspiratorial power grab”” on the part of a “”manipulative and jealous” Coard (what poison these people speak), and everything to do with Bishop’s increasingly contemptuous disregard for agreed party decisions over a number of years, and the growing dangers this posed to the stability of the revolution at a time when the pressures the NJM leadership were under were intensifying and threatening to tear the revolution apart.
Note the twisted way in which the minority break-away scab Bishop faction is portrayed as “loyalists” (to Bishop – not the party, or the revolution) but the party-spirited majority who backed Coard’s insistence on allowing issues to be debated to the full and abiding by agreements reached through an agreed collective decision-making process are high-handedly dismissed as mere “pawns”.
It is an outright lie to claim that Coard was “power-hungry”. Despite being the most obviously capable (in the opinion of senior party members, including Bishop) candidate to lead the party organisationally, and in terms of theory, tactics and strategy, he eschewed leadership on more than one occasion in the erroneous belief that Bishop’s charisma and oratorical skills were crucial for a party determined to take power and transform society (See Coard’s Skyred, chapter 36).
As Leninism has always understood, an ability to consistently come to a correct theoretical understanding of developments in the real world is the critical issue when it comes to establishing party leadership. Getting the understanding right is crucial to building party confidence and its ability to move things forwards.
The highest authority in the party falls on the person with the best theoretical grasp of world events, regardless of whether or not that person has charisma, is photogenic, or whatever (useful as those qualities may be in conveying the party’s understanding to the masses). And, in the NJM, it was Coard who was best able to correctly analyse the world at the most crucial moments, as can be seen by a study of the party’s history, starting with the defeat of the NJM’s struggle to depose Gairy in the 1974 independence struggle.
During the campaign for independence from British imperialism, the NJM entered into an alliance with the anti-Gairy bourgeois opposition. But they became increasingly fearful of the NJM’s growing strength, and capitulated to Gairy. This scuppered the growing revolution momentum around the NJM. Gairy – conceded independence by the British in February 1974, whilst maintaining Commonwealth ties, to head off growing anti-imperialist sentiment – launched a reign of terror against the revolutionary opposition.
This defeat led almost immediately to an intensive study of Marxist-Leninist literature within the NJM for the first time, and the establishment of weekly study groups. Coard embarked on a systematic study of Lenin (including “What Is to Be Done”) to understand the reasons for the defeat and outlined his conclusions a number of papers, including “The Present Political Situation in Grenada” (written under the pseudonym ‘Chris Holness’), that were influential in moving the NJM towards Leninism.
One of the main lessons of the defeat was it that exposed the limitations of petty-bourgeois black-nationalist influence imposed on the NJM’s leadership then. Coard argued that the NJM had allowed the political consciousness of the masses to be overwhelmed by spontaneity and, consequently, be subordinated to the dominant bourgeois ideology of the national-liberation movement and the reactionary trade union leadership. He called for the NJM to be transformed into what would in effect be an independent party of urban and rural proletarian leadership in alliance with the poorest peasantry, and for the consistent exposure of the treachery and reactionary nature of the entire bourgeoisie (anti- and pro-Gairy). [Continued next issue]
Back to the top