Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic & Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested.--- V. I. Lenin

Current paper

No 1642 2nd May 2024

Biden’s arms billions for brutal Zionist genocide atrocities, Nato-backed Ukrainian Nazi war against Russia and the provocative Chinese counter-revolution lurking in Taiwan underlines the depravity and sickness of the imperialist system as it heads deeper into the Third World War. Fascist barbarity and horrific destruction is the only solution capitalism has for its Catastrophic collapse driven by the contradictions built into its profit-plundering system. But pumping out even more valueless dollars will only intensify the crisis collapse. Growing protest will do the same while vicious repression against it delivers new lessons in the dictatorship reality of bourgeois “democracy” and “freedom”. But the need for conscious revolutionary Leninist theory remains unfilled. Pacifist demands and Trotskyist posturing are not enough - in fact an obstacle. Only defeat for imperialism and the battle for the deeper Marxist scientific perspectives can lead the revolution needed

Washington’s passing of its $95bn international arms “aid” package has to be the sickest expression of cynical bourgeois double-speak ever.

This is “going to make the world safer” president “Joe” Biden lied through his “avuncular” teeth, guaranteeing the exact opposite to the “good day for world peace”’ he declared it to be.

George Orwell would be spinning in his grave (if he were not a police-fink anti-Soviet double-thinker himself, who outrageously blamed communism, not imperialism, for such twisted Goebbels-speak aggression).

Only because of the mind-numbing stupidities and opportunism of the fake-“left” and the grovelling capitulation of most of them to bourgeois ideology about “democracy, freedom, and free speech” could the ruling class begin to get away with this outrageous fascist gobshyte as it spreads destruction everywhere.

Neither in its effects nor deliberate intent is such a colossal surge of spending on lethal and vicious weaponry anything but a gigantic escalation of the world war that US imperialism and its stoogery is imposing on the world to escape its crisis, as the bourgeois press reports:

Global military expenditure has reached a record high of $2440bn (£1970bn) after the largest annual rise in government spending on arms in over a decade.

The 6.8% increase between 2022 and 2023 was the steepest since 2009, pushing spending to the highest recorded by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) in its 60-year history.

For the first time, analysts at the thinktank recorded a rise in military outlay in all five geographical regions: Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania and the Americas.

Nan Tian, a senior researcher with Sipri’s military expenditure and arms production programme, warned of the heightened risk of an unintended conflagration as governments raced to arm. He said: “The unprecedented rise in military spending is a direct response to the global deterioration in peace and security.

Nor are its stooge recipients serving anything but totally reactionary purposes from the sick Banderite nazi-nationalism installed in Ukraine ten years ago by CIA coup and waging war ever since on the Russian-speaking minority within the country, to the fascist Zionist monsters Ukraine Nazi Azov brigadeoccupying Palestine for the last 75 years (and more), and now imposing the most grotesque and horrifying yet of their endless and routine genocidal onslaughts on the Arab population and other Middle Eastern peoples.

Further billions go to the potentially even more barbaric remnants of Chinese counter-revolution still in Taiwan where they holed up under American protection after defeat by the 1949 communist revolution, – left there in an offshore Chinese island to fester and provoke Beijing ever since by trying to undermine and disrupt the Chinese workers state.

The world is not “unsafe” because of all the “threats” from “rogue states”, “terrorism” and “communism” that supposedly have to be smashed down and destroyed using the most brutal and barbaric means possible – it is unsafe because it is imperialism which is doing the smashing and always has done so, directly or by provoking revolt against it.

The would be no “smashing and smiting” warmongering without it – nor any need for it once revolutionary war could overturn its historically bankrupt and out of time system and a rational planned socialist society could be built under workers control.

There is only one source of war, hatred, turmoil, instability, eco-destruction and utter devastation in this world and that is the domination of imperialism itself and its ever more brutal efforts to impose its will – even as, (and largely because), its insane and inhuman profit-demanding monopoly system is hitting the buffers of total breakdown, with its overproduction crisis now dragging the world into the greatest economic, environmental and social collapse in all history.

Demented psychotic writhings to escape the inescapable Catastrophe are where the insane logic of its “free market” must always lead ultimately, whatever progress the entrepreneurial system has driven in the past (as Karl Marx incontrovertibly demonstrated in his lifelong study of capitalism and its movement and development, in three volumes of Capital and as Lenin’s Bolsheviks elaborated further for the monopoly capitalist epoch after 1900 - see eg Lenin’s Imperialism).

Crisis belligerence and trade war destruction are now reaching planet threatening levels in all kinds of ways – compounding the problem by driving the masses of the world into ever greater upheavals of desperate and heroic self-sacrificing struggle, as the very possibility of survival is stripped away by its rapacious tyranny and insanely wasteful, damaging and destructive plundering.

This desperate new gigantic imperialist arms package and the escalated horrors it will impose on an already war-ravaged Europe, the Middle East, Russia and potentially China, is an even more belligerent escalation of imperialist crisis bullying than seen already in 20 years of barbarous “shock and awe” fascist warmaking, from the NATO bombing of tiny Serbia in 1999 to the futile and pointless destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Yemen.

Much more devastation is simultaneously imposed by capitalist chaos like that in Sudan, reduced to a complete desert of massacres and atrocities with much outside skulduggery and provocation; dirty CIA-intrigued fraudulent “democracy” counter-revolution like Myanmar, or Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; and the chaos and warlordist breakdown left behind in ripped-up Nato-blasted “free” Libya; civil-war wrecked Syria and sabotaged bankrupt Lebanon; the horror-movie drug cartel ravaging of Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador; the bled-dry poverty desperation of Haïti; bankrupted Argentina and sanction-besieged Venezuela; and blockade-strangled (but undefeated) Cuba.

And none of it will do anything to solve the problems driving the capitalist bourgeois order even further down a path into World War Three.

Just the opposite.

Politically and economically it can only intensify the very same contradictions that have brought the world to the edge of total destruction – typified by the seemingly specific beserker frenzy of the Zionist landtheft occupiers of another people’s country and their “kill them all” fascist answer to an unresolvable resistance that cannot and is not ever going to go away.

The barbaric Gaza genocide, backed to the hilt by Washington and the rest of imperialism, has a specific fanatical Zionist character but is inseparable from and essentially no different in general character to the coming World War Three solution that the whole of imperialism needs and is intent on.

And while the pacifist protests it has triggered are sharpening daily, as a useful first development in opposition within imperialism, including the determined student occupation movement polarising America, – and delivering sharp lessons about censorship, authority, and the police state as they do – they are also far from grasping the enormous scale and extent of the crisis collapse they are up against, not least because of the complete lack of any such perspective by the entire complacent and opportunist fake-“left”.

Their pacifism is not simply inadequate but MISleadership, holding back working class (and middle-class intellectuals and well-meaning students) from the Leninist revolutionary understanding required.

Politely asking for a ceasefire, or even demanding one through boycotts and protests neither conveys the sheer ruthlessness of the Zionist onslaught nor its extent and significance as part of a descent into international destruction that is the only pathway imperialism knows to escape its Catastrophic failure as a system, mired in overproduction contradictions.

It is not even the first or the only part of the cataclysm being imposed by the whole of imperialism which has already ripped apart country after country.

Little six year old Hind- butchered victim of Zionist genocide The human agony and horrors of the Gaza killings, – staggeringly still disputed by some of the pro-Zionist lobby as to whether it can be called a genocide or not (!!!) in a piece of truly psychopathic academic hair-splitting – were already far exceeded in the gross blitzings and carpet bombings, torture and terrorising of the Iraq invasion and occupation; in the air pounding, drone and ground level deathsquad war waged in Afghanistan and in the proxy war carried out against Yemen on behalf of the West by the murderous and backward tribalist “royal” thuggery in Saudi Arabia and the equally arrogant and grotesquely enriched Gulf Arab sheikhdoms (and their American and British military “advisers”).

More death and destruction has been wrought on Yemen, and far greater numbers brought to the edge of famine over 6-7 years than yet in Gaza, appalling though that is.

So horrifying were the city razing mass killings imposed by the US and its local stoogery in Iraq and Syria in Mosul, Tigrit, Raqqa and other cities to suppress the anti-Western insurgencies and revolts that emerged from the resistance to the 2003 Iraq invasion and the backfiring of stirred-up “terrorism” in both countries, that Benjamin Netanyahu has frequently cited them as “models”, and justifications for his own demented regime’s Gaza atrocities and ethnic cleansing warcrimes (so far, and to come in the promised attack by the Zionist stormtroopers on Rafah, which can only mean even more poleaxing deliberate civilian butchery of men, women and tens of thousands of children).

But even that will not be enough.

Imperialism is set on a path of endless war and destruction which can only continue until so much of the world’s capital has been wiped out that there is scope for what remains to once again make a “decent” rate of return (which it cannot anymore because of the “overproduction” crisis as Marx explains - see p7 box).

But the needed devastation is on a mind boggling scale, far beyond the destruction necessary the last time the system crashed into Slump, namely in the 1930s Great Depression and the Second World War needed to escape it, as a cost of at least 50 million lives.

The boom under the subsequent US monopoly dominance has been credit-stretched so far this time that most of the world will have to be wiped out if capitalism is to survive (as some multi-billionaires are insanely preparing for in New Zealand bunkers and off-world Mars colony fantasies).

All the warmongering so far falls far short. None of it has stopped the implosion of the world economy and nor can it.

For the minute Bidenism boasts of “creating” new jobs in America.

But this is a highly uneven and unequal “achievement” leaving much of the working class as badly off as ever.

And it is a strictly temporary pause, not the start of a “recovery”, built on a foundation of credit fantasy dollars pumped out non-stop since the 2008 Global Bank failure (and long before that too) which confirmed once and for all the Marxist understanding of capitalism as a system of crisis Catastrophe heading for disaster (which the entire fake-“left” had derided as “old-hat Marxism” and still does not really grasp).

Nothing has been solved and all the “shock and awe” fascist world intimidation has only made the economic crisis even deeper, as well as compounding it by inflaming world resistance as mass “terrorist” recruitment from the Iraqi and Afghan wars has shown, then the mass Arab Spring street revolt (suppressed but boiling still), and stirring revolt since all across Africa, in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South America and little Haïti too.

And more complexly, it has been worsened by the resistance to the Kiev Nazi-NATO war (fostered by Biden, Boris Johnson, Italy’s fascist Melloni, the little Napoleon wannabee Emmanuel Macron, the robotic Jens Stoltenberg NATO boss and corrupt EU head van der Leyen among others pulling the strings on the croaking green fascist toad Zelensky).

Despite the boasting, the crisis relentlessly deepens as the bourgeois press gropes to understand:

The 2020s are almost halfway over and are on course to be the most difficult decade for the global economy since the 1930s. Every finance minister and central bank governor at the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington last week knows that, even if they were not prepared to admit it publicly.

The IMF likes to look on the bright side. It revised up slightly its forecast for global growth and now thinks scarring from the coronavirus pandemic and the cost of living crisis will be less severe than it originally feared. Interest rates have risen without triggering the recessions that were predicted. A soft landing has been finessed. The performance of some countries – the US and India to take two examples – has been strong.

This analysis is only true up to a point. There has been plenty of scarring in the poorest and weakest countries, and in the developed world the US is the outlier, with performance markedly worse in Europe. Medium-term growth prospects remain poor.

The big cloud hanging over the gatherings of the IMF and the World Bank was the possibility that Iran’s missile attack on Israel would lead to a full-blown conflict and have the same deleterious impact on the global economy as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

For now, those fears have not materialised. Israel duly retaliated with missile strikes of its own but Tehran and Tel Aviv seem keen to avoid all-out war. Oil prices rose but not by much. There has been no repeat of 1973, when the Yom Kippur war led to a more than fourfold increase in the cost of crude, amplifying already strong inflationary pressures in the west.

The global economy could do without a repeat either of 2022 or 1973 because the battle against inflation is not going quite as smoothly as it seemed to be a couple of months back. Jerome Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve, has responded to higher than expected price pressures by hinting there would be a delay in US interest rates coming down. A few months back there was talk on Wall Street of six or seven cuts in US interest rates this year. Now it is conceivable there will be none at all.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, said the profile of UK inflation was unbalanced, with big falls in household energy bills offset by service sector inflation of 6%. Threadneedle Street sees service sector inflation as a good guide to cost pressures being generated by the domestic economy. It will want to see further easing of that pressure before cutting rates from their current level of 5.25%.

So, it’s obvious why the IMF is monitoring events in the Middle East carefully and with some trepidation. The global economy has only just come out of intensive care and badly needs a period of calm in order to recover. It could do without the damage that oil prices soaring to well over $100 (£81) would provide in the event that the Middle East takes a turn for the worse.

As it happens, there was more focus in Washington last week on the war in Ukraine than there was on what might happen in the Middle East. The US Congress agreed to a new aid package for Kyiv, while the G7 is looking at ways of using the interest on seized Russian assets to support Ukraine.

The reality is that Russia’s economy has stood up far better to sanctions than was predicted two years ago. The IMF has revised up its growth forecast for Russia this year and next.

In part that is because of the increase in industrial production needed for the war, but it is also because Russia has found plenty of customers for its energy exports. The war has highlighted and widened the gulf between the wealthy countries of the global north and the big emerging countries of the global south.

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, said support for Ukraine remained “steady and firm” but that was not really the case. Kyiv is backed by the G7 countries but not by many big emerging economies such as South Africa.

The G7 has made a stand in Ukraine but not over equally brutal – but less well-covered – wars in the developing world. When the G7 asks for a show of solidarity to oppose Russian aggression, they ask where the solidarity was during the pandemic, when rich countries took the lion’s share of the vaccines. They want to know why G7 countries have cut their aid budgets and why a debt crisis has been allowed to fester. They have a point on all counts.

In truth, not a lot happened in Washington last week. There was the usual flurry of reports but not much else. Beneath the surface, however, something much more important is going on, and that is the breakup of the US-dominated form of globalisation.

The model involved western companies outsourcing manufacturing to China and other low-cost destinations, and for a while it delivered cheap goods, which kept inflation low and made life easy for central banks.

Those days are now over. The US and Europe want to protect jobs by limiting imports of Chinese goods and subsidising their own manufacturing sectors. Only last week, Joe Biden called for a tripling of tariffs on Chinese steel in a move designed to appeal to blue-collar workers in swing states.

This is not the first time this has happened. The pre-first world war era of globalisation fell apart as a result of war, a pandemic, inflation and protectionism. Little by little, history is repeating itself.

As this mentions, the heralded interest rate cuts to “boost US growth” are deferred because “inflation is not tamed” – which is another way of saying the dollar is collapsing, inevitably so since it has been propped up only by ever greater quantities of ever more valueless paper (or electronic) dollars.

As also hinted, the US survives only at the expense of the rest of the world now being driven much deeper into crisis, forced to bear the burden of insane American deficit spending by the intimidation and violence of American warmongering:

Every major currency in the world has fallen against the U.S. dollar this year, an unusually broad shift with the potential for serious consequences across the global economy.

Two-thirds of the roughly 150 currencies tracked by Bloomberg have weakened against the dollar, whose recent strength stems from a shift in expectations about when and by how much the Federal Reserve may cut its benchmark interest rate, which sits around a 20-year high.

High Fed rates, a response to stubborn inflation, mean that American assets offer better returns than much of the world, and investors need dollars to buy them. In recent months, money has flowed into the United States with a force that’s being felt by policymakers, politicians and people from Brussels to Beijing, Toronto to Tokyo.

The dollar index, a common way to gauge the general strength of the U.S. currency against a basket of its major trading partners, is hovering at levels last seen in the early 2000s (when U.S. interest rates were also similarly high).

The yen is at a 34-year low against the U.S. dollar. The euro and Canadian dollar are sagging. The Chinese yuan has shown notable signs of weakness, despite officials’ stated intent to stabilize it.

The dollar is on one side of nearly 90 percent of all foreign exchange transactions. A strengthening U.S. currency intensifies inflation abroad, as countries need to swap more of their own currencies for the same amount of dollar-denominated goods, which includes imports from the United States as well as globally traded commodities, like oil, often priced in dollars. Countries that have borrowed in dollars also face higher interest bills.

There can be benefits for some foreign businesses, however. A strong dollar benefits exporters that sell to the United States, as Americans can afford to buy more foreign goods and services (including cheaper vacations). That puts American companies that sell abroad at a disadvantage, since their goods appear more expensive, and could widen the U.S. trade deficit at a time when President Biden is promoting more domestic industry.

The strong dollar’s effects have been felt particularly sharply in Asia. This month, the finance ministers of Japan, South Korea and the United States met in Washington, and among other things they pledged to “consult closely on foreign exchange market developments.” Their post-meeting statement also noted the “serious concerns of Japan and the Republic of Korea about the recent sharp depreciation of the Japanese yen and the Korean won.”

The Korean won is the weakest it has been since 2022, and the country’s central bank governor recently called moves in the currency market “excessive.”

The yen has been tumbling against the dollar, and on Monday briefly slipped past 160 yen to the dollar for the first time since 1990. In sharp contrast to the Fed in the United States, Japan’s central bank began raising interest rates only this year after struggling for decades with low growth.

For Japanese officials, that means striking a delicate balance — increase rates, but not by too much in a way that could stifle growth. The consequence of that balancing act is a weakened currency, as rates have stayed near zero. The risk is that if the yen continues to weaken, investors and consumers may lose confidence in the Japanese economy, shifting more of their money abroad.

A similar risk looms for China, whose economy has been battered by a real estate crisis and sluggish spending at home. The country, which seeks to hold its currency within a tight range, has recently relaxed its stance and allowed the yuan to weaken.,

In Europe, policymakers at the European Central Bank have signaled that they could cut rates at their next meeting, in June.[...] further weakening the Euro.

Gabriel Makhlouf, governor of Ireland’s central bank and one of the 26 members of the E.C.B.’s governing council, said that when setting policy, “we can’t ignore what’s happening in the U.S.”

Other policymakers are confronting similar complications, with central banks in South Korea and Thailand among those also considering lowering interest rates.

By contrast, Indonesia’s central bank unexpectedly raised rates last week, in part to support the country’s depreciating currency, a sign of how the dollar’s strength is reverberating around the world in different ways. Some of the fastest-falling currencies this year, like those in Egypt, Lebanon and Nigeria, reflect domestic challenges made even more daunting by the pressure exerted by a stronger dollar.

“We are on the edge of a storm,” Mr. Rogers of Moody’s said.

While the richer countries are paying a price, the Empire’s dominating pressure is having even worse effects on the Third World as a nervous bourgeois press comments:

Blighted by the effects of global heating, beset by food insecurity and rising poverty, and hobbled by dollar-denominated debt that leaves no fiscal room for manoeuvre, some of the world’s poorest nations are enduring a perfect storm. In the wake of Covid and then the war in Ukraine, inflation and high interest rates have tipped many over the edge: between 2020 and 2023 there were 18 sovereign defaults in 10 developing countries – more than in the previous two decades. Others are either in debt distress or close to it.

[]. Prior to the pandemic, the 2020s had been earmarked as a transformative decade – one in which developing nations would make vital progress towards climate targets and eliminating extreme poverty and hunger. Instead, due to events beyond those countries’ control, there has been what a World Bank report this week described as a “great reversal”. In countries classified as eligible for grants and loans from the bank’s International Development Association (IDA), a quarter of the population is now surviving on less than $2.15 a day – the global definition of poverty.

To get back on track, an estimated $2.4tn worth of annual investment is required. But without meaningful debt relief, countries from sub-Saharan Africa to the Caribbean will continue to go backwards, haemorrhaging the cash they need to fund social services and combat the climate emergency. A recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) study found that low-income countries are spending far more on debt repayments to creditors than on social assistance or healthcare. Meanwhile, the fragility of the global economic recovery and higher interest rates in advanced economies have led foreign lenders to back away from extending new loans.

Faced with a crisis that directly impacts on key international priorities, a business-as-usual approach is both unethical and unsustainable. Belatedly, rich countries and international organisations need to step up. Ahead of this week’s meeting in Washington, the World Bank’s president, Ajay Banga, has called for the largest-ever round of funding for the IDA, which needs to be empowered to replace the fiscal firepower that private lenders have withdrawn. The pace of the restructuring of existing debt also needs to be far quicker, and its terms more generous. The UNDP, for example, has called for a “debt-poverty pause’, which would allow governments to divert suspended debt repayments towards neglected social programmes and critical infrastructure.

Such a step would be welcome, but extensive debt relief is also required. A world where a country such as Zambia finds itself locked in endless negotiations over a $13bn debt restructuring, as a catastrophic drought devastates its economy, is unfit for the challenges of the times. In an open letter before Cop28 last November, 550 economists called for ambitious debt cancellation to allow global south governments to “respond to their immediate and long-term development needs, including the climate crisis”. At a time when global solidarity is pivotal to averting environmental disaster, that would be both a radical and a realistic approach. The future of entire economies, and the planet, should not be placed in jeopardy at the insistence of intransigent bondholders.


Debt relief is urgently needed, but we must also learn the lessons of history. The historic Jubilee 2000 debt relief campaign saw $130bn of debt written off, and yet we now find ourselves in a renewed global debt crisis. This time, action must address the cyclical nature of debt crises.

That countries such as Ghana and Sri Lanka are accepting their 17th IMF bailout packages since independence is a stark illustration of how ineffective existing strategies are at breaking the cycle. Bailout packages often come with harsh stipulations, such as budget cuts, that stifle development, worsen living conditions, and leave economies vulnerable to future debt crises. While the IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva, noted the urgency of debt action ahead of the Spring Meetings, she continued to prescribe budget cuts as a tool to stabilise debt, despite evidence that spending decreases have little effect on debt reduction.

In contrast, legislative reform and democratising global financial institutions offer long-term solutions. Legislation to prevent private creditors from suing debtor countries for more than they would receive if they took part in debt-relief initiatives on equal terms to other lenders would provide immediate relief for countries in crisis and prevent future crises by disincentivising risky lending.

The creation of a permanent, representative and transparent global debt workout mechanism within the UN system, and an end to harmful conditionalities on loans that exacerbate poverty, harm the environment and stunt growth, would also transform the global debt architecture. It’s time to break free from the redundant cycle of debt and dependency that hinders so many nations.

Maria Finnerty Economic policy lead, Cafod

All this liberal handwringing and “pigs must fly” pleading for aid and “transparency” is living on another planet, one where the gigantic lying hoodwinking fraud of “democracy”, United Nations, “international justice” has not been exposed by non-stop warmongering, economic disintegration and horrific butchery, and most of all the gross hypocrisy of ignored Zionist ethnic cleansing atrocities and crimes against humanity.

American imperialism cannot even repair its own infrastructure as bridges collapse and highways disintegrate – how can it possibly stump up $trillions to relieve the Third World??

And why would it anyway? The essence of capitalist imperialism is the tyrannical exploitation of the (neo)colonial world (and the domestic working class).

The vacuous and wasteful consumerist “lifestyle” of reality TV, computer games, Internet gossip and fast fashion which keeps the middle-class and opportunist “labour aristocracy” pacified with a few crumbs from the table and delusions about living in the “advanced world” (even as the NHS implodes and the rivers fill with shit), is built only with blood-from-a-stone sweatshop and agricultural near-slavery on palm oil and coffee plantations and textile sewing production lines (and increasingly these days on the internal colonialism of migrant workers recruited to do all the difficult, dirty or backbreaking jobs at cheap rates).

So why would it? Because otherwise the whole world will explode in revolution was the answer 25 years ago (cited above) pushed by the “liberal” reformists, like Blairite Gordon Brown, desperate to head off any communist revival by smoothing off the worst edges of capitalism to rescue it.

But the 2008 collapse rules out even those “generous” forgiveness (!!!) gestures. Any spare credit had to go to the busted bankers and corporations and even that has meant putting the whole of society in hock as well, with personal credit now stretched to the maximum to even pretend that “life goes on”.

The Biden package of more than $95bn more dollar printing - on top of huge dollar printing for the risibly named Inflation Reduction Act, only inflates the giant credit bubble ever closer towards the bursting point when the dollar collapses completely and the rest of the world is left holding history’s biggest payment default.

At which point the American empire will be left standing alone against everyone, able to hold its ground only by the most demented isolationist belligerence as it reneges on all its unrepayable debts – while certainly blaming the rest of the world for “having to do so”.

Sound familiar??? Like, perhaps, the Trump agenda?? (And the chauvinist echoes from every other imperialist power preparing for all-out conflict with plummy voiced generals wheeled out non-stop telling a bemused population everywhere they are in a “pre-war” situation).

There is already non-stop demonisation and finger pointing at “outside enemies” allegedly “undermining our society and values” with spies, and “sneaky cyberwar” and supposed campaigns of “disinformation” against “our” sweet and principled selves, just “quietly going about our own business” (and not shutting down multiple TV and newspaper outlets like RT, (or just killing journalists by the dozen in Gaza) nor running the biggest intelligence agency system on the planet with entire city-sized eavesdropping surveillance complexes and megacomputer units, psyops war divisions, intervention departments, secret operations forces, world torture centre rendition networks, counter-revolutionary (fascist) military training facilities like Fort Benning, (and even Sandhurst), prison camps like Guantánamo, or Abu Ghraib etc etc all spread across two dozen different agencies, both civilian and Pentagon).

What a foetid stinking dungheap of dissembling and lies!!!

The Empire has been nothing but a warmongering interventionist for its entire existence, with multiple operations carried out to suppress the Third World (and any “leftism” in the imperialist world) – some 400 at least coups, assassinations, massacres, invasions and all-out devastating wars since 1945 alone, directly or via the network of bribed and assisted fascist tyrannies it has installed and propped up – and still does despite increasing funding difficulties – from the Philippines and Indonesia, to Africa and Latin America.

But part of the bourgeoisie wants to put off the moment when the raw warmongering of imperialist bullying becomes unanswerably clear (at which point the class war reality of imperialist rule will be much more sharply delineated and therefore the necessity for a Leninist revolutionary understanding able to make much better headway).

Biden’s pretence of “restoring American leadership” instead tries to cling onto “world democracy” confusion, relying on the long decades of anti-communist “freedom” and anti-”totalitarian” brainwashing that has saturated the world since the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and held back revolutionary struggle.

It has been got away with to a large extent because of the dull-brained revisionist politics and its delusions about “permanent peaceful coexistence” with imperialism, originating in Moscow’s defeatist retreat from Leninism into “Popular Front” compromises in the difficult 1920s and 1930s fascist rise and finding full expression post-war with Stalin’s Economic Problems misanalysis of imperialism as essentially hamstrung and unable to grow further.

Its “peace struggle” perspective and its development by CPs everywhere into full-on “peaceful parliamentary” roads (with Stalin’s approval) has confused and misled the world working class ever since (see eg EPSR Book Unanswered Polemics against revisionist Stalinism) despite major lessons in its disastrous consequences such as the butchery of the Indonesian Sukarno nationalist/communist movement in 1965 (see film The Act of Killing eg), the Pinochet torture and massacre coup against Salvador Allende’s parliamentary socialist coalition and recently the 2013 General Sisi coup overturning the Egyptian Arab Spring installed democratic president Mohamed Morsi.

And most misleading of all of course has been the liquidation of the Soviet Union and Soviet camp as the revisionist bureaucratic confusion deepened, tipped into a petty bourgeois shamed counter-revolutionary abandoning of the dictatorship of the proletariat under the idiot Mikhail Gorbachev and full on embrace of “democracy” and the “free market” just when imperialism was hitting the buffers.

Adding to the problem has been the outright anti-communism of the Trot movement, pretending to “expose Stalinist bureaucracy” but in fact simply hostile to the entire workers state reality, its endless “criticism” nothing but a rubbishing of the collective discipline and mostly brilliant achievements of 73 years of the USSR and post-war eastern Europe.

All of which temporary confusion caused for the world’s masses has given a further lease of life to the elaborate network of bourgeois “world democracy institutions” and alleged “international justice” and United Nations reformism - the great extension of the bourgeois democracy fraud (which is the ruling class’s best weapon in its class war control, developed over several centuries of its rule to hoodwink and gull the masses into the notion it could “have some say” and gradually change things for the better - while all the time the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie took all the crucial decisions, always obviously in the interests of capital and its exploitation).

Such is the depth anti-communist confusion has penetrated that even now its is being hypocritically hyped by the Bidenites and other imperialists to justify the Ukrainian warmongering, with large sections of public opinion swallowing the black-is-white Goebbels lies that the Ukrainians are just a plucky little nation fighting for independence against a monstrous invasion by an “expansionist” Russia.

In a pig’s eye of course – this is as much hogwash as the “defend plucky little Belgium” excuse for the First World War or the “self-determination for Croatia” garbage sponsored by German imperialism to break up the socialist federation of Yugoslavia after 1990 by mobilising the nasty Ustashe fascist separatism which had colluded with Nazi Germany in World War Two (and which immediately elevated some disgusting WW2 war criminals to national hero status).

Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic leadership was an appalling revisionist nationalism too but the attempt to hold the remains of Yugoslavia together gave Belgrade more justification on balance in the following provoked civil war than the imperialist stooges in Croatia, Slovenia and subsequently Bosnia (armed by illegal gun running from the Muslim Middle East sheikhdoms, via secret airdrops organised by the CIA) which is why it become the NATO target in 1999 while the rest were supported by the West along with the Albanian gangsters trying to push the Serbs out of their historic Kosovo heartland (see eg issue No1006 14-07-99].

Putin’s Russian bonarpartist regime looking after the billionaire oligarchs while trying to keep the working class nostalgia for Soviet days at bay (with a few social and economic reforms and concessions on schooling, pensions and health) is no more savoury than Milosevic.

But while Putinism is pro-capitalist (and Russia behaves in an imperialist manner to a significant extent - last issue) and laced with backward and dangerously confusing Greater Russian chauvinism, the Marxist understanding so far has been that the Ukraine war is an out and out Western provocation in which working class interests are best served by its defeat as the overwhelming world imperialist influence.

It is a war deliberately and calculatedly set in train by years of Washington skulduggery and NATO buildup with the twin purpose of pushing back Russia (to make sure the lingering remnants of communist tradition are fully suppressed) and to disrupt European imperialist trade war challenges, particularly from Germany which has long been outcompeting US commerce and industry in the trade war (and has just bypassed Japan as the world’s third biggest economy).

Let Putin’s backwardness be challenged but not while imperialist aggression is at the door – defeat for NATO should be the call while advising workers not to trust Putinism at all.

This Leninist dialectical position based on the August 1917 seeing off of royalist reactionary General Kornilov by the Bolsheviks alongside the treacherous bourgeois Kerensky is the best way to disentangle confusion about there being some “justice” to the Kiev cause, with public opinion misled into believing it is “standing up for democracy and national freedom” against an “invasion”.

But Biden’s $95bn will help clarify minds by its very equating of the Zionist barbarism with alleged “democracy” in either Ukraine or Taiwan (both utterly laughable assertions).

Seven months into the butchery in Gaza only the most diehard Zionist racist bigotry can maintain that the Jewish occupation has got anything to do with “democracy” or even “defence”.

Even the vilest opportunism like Keir Starmer’s Labourism, which initially cheered on the inhuman siege moves to cut water, electricity and food supplies to Gaza, causing staggering famine level suffering and disease, has had to back off in the face of public dismay though only demonstrating thereby the gross duplicity of these mountebanks who fail condemn the sickening imperialist hypocrisy of “democracy” even as all the alleged principles of international law and the United Nations are trampled across.

But while the lessons are there to be drawn the “left” and the pacifists they mostly line up with are still not making the most important points:

First, that the worldwide turmoil and political debate has been unleashed solely because of the determination and willingness to fight of the Palestinian people despite the staggering cost, which imposed a defeat on Zionism both on October 7th and in its staggering fight since.

That there is no equation between the fight of the oppressed which is 100% justified using whatever means they can find to fight while the monstrous response is 100% unjustified oppression. To continue suggesting the Zionist response is “disproportionate” is to imply something “proportionate” would be correct, immediately accepting there to be some democratic or justified basis to it, and condemning the oppressed for fighting back.

The same emerges from referring to the “horrors” etc of the Hamas led breakout with its implication of something “criminal” and the acceptance thereby of some “justified punishment” capitulating to the Zionist occupation injustice.

Third, that the most basic question of all remains not simply unanswered but unasked – namely why is “Israel” there in the first place??? It remains so because there is NO justification for it except the occupation and stealing of another people’s land by brute force.

And that means only the dismantling of that artificially imposed state can ever end this conflict, an answer which merges with the revolutionary overthrow of all imperialism, its “ironclad” backer.

Build Leninism Alan Scott



Transgender Cass report debunks extreme reactionary identity politics with critical realist emphasis on evidence led medical science as two wings of PCism clash together. But all such Political Correctness needs knocking down philosophically for its subjective idealism and disruptive single-issue obsessions. Such petty bourgeois self-centredness is a million miles from Marxist revolutionary understanding, and a last ditch defence against it. The real science needed by the working class is the dialectical materialism of Leninist collective struggle.

Petty-bourgeois “identity” politics and PCism are the real issues which need challenging in total in the wake of the recent Cass report on transgender treatment.

That applies to the both sides of the debate raging around the issue; the trans-activist gibberish about subjective identity overriding “assigned genders” and the anti-trans, (mostly gay rights and feminist), denials of anything but genetic determination as a supposed answer to real, complex, psychological and social problems which face the small minority of those who suffer from such conditions.

While there can and should be debate on these questions, especially in psychiatric circles and with those affected, it is the astonishingly inflamed general political frenzy around this question which is the problem on both sides of the argument, those asserting that “trans” is normal, (and demanding that society has to be completely restructured to accommodate it) and those who dismiss the whole question.

On all sides these are diversions and evasions from the crucial political questions facing mankind, driven by a subjective idealist obsession with their own narrow status.

Essentially these factions act as obstacles to the communist revolutionary consciousness that the world is desperate to reach, guiding the greatest and most necessary class war in history to achieve the really crucial restructuring facing mankind – the ending of capitalism and building of socialism.

Their extreme individualism is a substitution for the philosophical and political understanding of revolution as the only possible way forwards for all humans, now facing the most devastating slump breakdown and slide into capitalist world war destruction and devastation as imperialism hits the buffers of complete Catastrophic breakdown.

But since they cannot escape the terrifying intensification of all class antagonisms facing the world’s population as the crisis breakdown of capitalism drives onto the historical rocks of the greatest Catastrophe in all history, their astonishingly hate-filled disputes have reached a frenzied level.

Not only does this bourgeois individualism obscure and channel attention away from the ever more urgent collective class war questions of defeating and overturning a vicious imperialist system relentlessly heading into the Third World War, its PC assertions about transgender or homosexual identity as “normal” fail even to provide a way forwards for the specific issue at hand, namely tackling the pain and distress of gender confusion in some children, teenagers and young adults.

Not just a tiny minority of humanity is facing a lifetime of pain and suffering but tens – in fact hundreds – of millions are confronting death, famine, devastation, maiming, bereavement and non-stop terror – obviously so already in Ukraine and Russia, in Gaza and the West Bank of Palestine and in the half a dozen countries that imperialism has ripped to shreds already in the Middle East.

Far more are being torn apart by capitalist-induced antagonisms and civil war like Sudan, and many more will soon be, as the bankrupting crisis grips ever more of the ruthlessly exploited “Global South” and the US Empire ramps up its wamongering threats in all directions (its only “way out” of crisis as Marxism explains - see box).

Millions more are having their lives wrecked and torn apart even where something resembling “peace” and “democracy” still persists, as imperialism laughably refers to the drug-and-crime wracked, poverty and austerity hammered, homeless, food bank, stressed-out, ratrace insecurity of those countries not actually specifically at war – as yet, but soon coming.

Daily alienation and the winners-and-losers (mostly losers) social antagonism of grossly unequal capitalist life even at the best of “boom times” is a giant burden on everyone, inseparable from the growing psychological problems (depression, suicide, despair etc), none of which can really be solved until a new kind of society is created, of which the particular issue of transgender difficulties is a small part.

As crisis slump bites, all this is becoming unbearable for everyone struggling to survive (the overwhelming majority) in an ever more degenerate and ruthlessly exploitative system, even when they are not faced by specific problems and additional challenges.

Certainly to be of any use a world perspective (Marxism) needs to grasp and attempt to explain and tackle every question of society and the environment (but always seeing it in the overall context of the greatest crisis in history).

And there is some rationality to be drawn from this exposure of misapplied or inappropriate treatments given to vulnerable children which can and have irrevocably damaged developing children and teenagers by body changing surgery to match a supposed subjective “identity”.

That has been bad enough, leaving significant numbers of patients regretting the procedures they were led into or advised to have carried out, because of the ideological insistence of the so called “gender affirmation” advocates, and their elaborate theories of “subjective identity” as the primary reality denying basic biology.

Permanent damage has been done.

But to elevate this one question to some supposed pivotal principle in itself ends up not just as pure posturing, but as a weapon for anti-communism laced with antagonistic hostility in poisonous social media denunciations, online hatreds, career and job assassination campaigns destroying lives and livelihoods, censorship and “no-platforming”, and even outright death threats.

Intimidation and cancellation of rational debate by petty bourgeois self-righteous moralising have played into bourgeois state hands, facilitating new laws and proscriptions which can only serve ruling class interests in shutting down vital revolutionary debate.

The specific trans debate is part of a general extension of all sanctimonious Political Correctness politics which has already taken petty bourgeois single-issue reformist campaigning to absurd extremes of multi-fragmented “identity” politics around feminism, LGBT rights, black nationalism and eco-warring, (and much else) and now pushes it one step beyond that in asserting that only self-regard has any significance when it comes to human gender and sexuality – and that the objective world should be reordered to fit subjective opinion.

This idealism-gone-barmy echoes the current bourgeois declarations about Rwanda being a “safe country” for asylum expulsions (assuming such a barbaric notion was accepted in the first place), despite straightforward evidence of its semi-fascist nature, poverty and inequality, a sinister past history (far from simplistic and one-sided “Tutsi massacre“ accounts) and modern day deathsquad activities, all such real facts ignored because “we say so and are going to pass a law declaring that to be reality even though everyone knows it is not”.

KarlMarx Asserting by law that black-is-white is to say that reality starts with what is in humans’ minds and that society and its forms are determined by the ideas of great men (or what passes for such in the degenerating modern imperialist world). That is the very opposite of even bourgeois mechanical materialist philosophy, let alone the dialectical materialism of Marxist understanding, where ideas are understood to be an always limited reflection of infinitely complex and changing external reality, formed by society and constrained by the particular historical period and development of that society.

Or as Marx says:

In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.

Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy 1859).

The domestic and international class division of capitalism and the anti-imperialist class war it engenders, driven to explosion point by capitalism’s crisis, have to be the very centre of revolutionary materialist understanding.

Abandoning that is where all single-issue politics has led, substituting specific and partial sexual, racial, and other “identities” on an ever proliferating scale in order to avoid the class basis of understanding which in late capitalism especially must lead to the revolutionary conclusions that the petty bourgeoisie is desperate to avoid (despite much huffing and puffing by a slew of “left” groupings disguising their avoidance of revolutionary politics behind a distorted pretence of alleged Marxism (and lots of red hammers and sickles)).

Virtually all these groups have taken up and advocated for the single-issue PCism which the EPSR has long shown are nothing but reformism, every variety insisting that capitalism can be improved in some way, – reducing or ending racism, removing the double burden of exploitation on women, salvaging the environment from the depredations of the huge oil and mining monopoly corporations, etc etc. (see eg Issues No976,1029,1032,1242).

But monopoly capitalism cannot be smoothed off at the edges or improved, and any tiny reformist gains that have been made (in the richest countries only and always traceable to revolutionary pressure such as post-1945) will always be either reversed by the relentless alienation and exploitation inherent to capitalist production or simply be swamped by the devastation and horrors of its Catastrophic crisis as local authority bankruptcies, disintegration of the NHS, hedge fund plundering of the utilities as the rivers fill with shit and much more, indicates.

Even more obviously any arguing at present about “women’s’ rights” etc needs to take a look at the Gaza Strip to make the point.

PCism is actively hostile to communist understanding and particularly the necessity of class war to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, the only possible way forwards and a collective endeavour above all, which middle class liberalism is deeply fearful of, hating its common purpose and disciplined mass struggle and hating the Leninist leadership needed to guide it.

As such PCism has proved highly useful for the ruling class which has adopted or adapted to most such issues in various forms:

When the “personal became the political”, it was endless variants of extreme individualist philosophy which were being deliberately aggressively promoted.

Forget the pretence that society “hated” having to accommodate improved rights for women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, etc, etc.

Just the opposite. Temporary conservative lifestyle discomforts apart, the culture shock was quickly adjusted to by Big Business, the media, and bourgeois politics, and quickly taken advantage of via “political correctness” bureaucracy, Blair’s Babes, the Pink Pound, and a huge new pool of “entertainment” clichés for the soaps, game shows, ever-more-extreme pop-music novelties, etc, etc, etc, etc.

So-called “human rights” became more successful than ever as a major battering ram for the Western imperialist controllers’ non-stop worldwide propaganda priority to wipe out communism.

as the EPSR paper put it following an anti-Palestine demonstration led by gay campaigner Peter Tatchell in 2004 (No 1242 20-07-04) who has recently again taken a stand on the wrong side, marching with the Zionist demonstrators.

The deliberate encouragement of such “wokeness” runs throughout bourgeois culture; Television and film barely make a production these days that does not have either an LBGT character or an entire plot line, with a philosophical thrust that “this is normal life”, to set an impression of an LBGT society far out of proportion to the approximately 3% of the population identifying so in the last census.

And while it is obviously welcome that there are an increasing number of black, Asian and other “minority” actors not only playing significant roles, but becoming famous stars in their own right in some cases, or lawyers, managers, or even prime ministers, that still does nothing to change the inherent racism engendered by capitalist alienation, inequality and exploitation for the great working class majority of them (and for a large part of the whole working class in fact).

Or if women reaching the top levels are supposedly advancing society’s equality and making the world a better place, just take a look at the Tory Cabinet, or the senior figures in the gobsmacking inhumanity and arrogant cynical injustice of the sub-postmasters scandal.

The press and media meanwhile positively encourages an entire culture of individualistic subjectivism with barely an article failing to refer to the ambition to “find out who you are”, “define yourself” etc etc whether it be in relation to career pathways, holiday destinations, cooking recipes or most particularly sexual and romantic relations.

So many separate “identities” have been spawned that a recent photograph “celebrated” nearly two dozen variants according to the bourgeois press:

They were once the preserve of protests and marches, but today a flurry of rainbow flags espousing solidarity with gay, bi and trans people are emblazoned everywhere from financial institutions to fitness brands.

Last week, hot on the heels of the Cass report on gender services in England and Wales, a photo went viral of NHS staff at Royal Stoke University Hospital unveiling a banner with 21 flags representing a mix of sexuality and genders from “demiromantic” to “pansexual”. The photograph was almost a year old - taken when the banner was put up to celebrate Pride month.

Still, the NHS is in the spotlight for its handling of gender-affirming care and this was low-hanging fruit.

The Pride rainbow flag is a familiar sight, but where do all these other flags, from “genderqueer” to “agender” to “neutrois” come from?

The first was created in 1978 when Harvey Milk, one of America’s first openly gay elected officials, asked a designer friend Gilbert Baker to create a symbol for the gay community in San Francisco. The eight-colour rainbow flag debuted at a gay march in the city that year, and was gradually adopted by marches each June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1969 in New York.

Over time, this flag did not appeal to everyone within the LGBT community. The rainbow flag was altered to include queer people (2015) and people of colour (the Philadelphia Pride Flag in 2017). Then there was the Progress Pride flag (2018) which incorporated the trans flag and had replaced the original rainbow flag at many Pride marches around the world by 2020. Most recently, the Intersex-inclusive Progress Pride flag (2021) was created to avoid leaving out up to 1.7 per cent of the global population who are defined as intersex.

Other communities have also created their own symbols. The bisexual flag was created in 1998 as well as the lesbian flag in 1999, the gender-fluid flag in 2013 and non-binary flag in 2014.

In almost all cases, new flags emerge from the grassroots. In 1999 Monica Helms made the transgender flag after meeting the activist Michael Page (creator of the bisexual flag) who persuaded her that the trans community needed a symbol to rally behind. She sketched out a design, made it out of nylon and brought it to parades in the 2000s.

[]For many, the image from Royal Stoke University Hospital epitomises the lack of critical thought that went into the NHS’s acceptance of gender ideology, proving that as well as uniting communities, flags can also divide – even when there are 21 of them.

“Lack of critical thought” could be better stated as total confusion, and to such an extent that these “identities” are now tripping over themselves, disputing and squabbling with elaborate “intersectional” hierarchies of “disadvantage” but all still limited to reforming things within capitalism and missing the point that it is capitalism which is the problem and its overturn the answer after which a new communal society will be able to work through these questions sensitively and reasonably.

Much of this deliberately misses the point since all this individualism has at root a class hatred of communism.

But now it is coming into outright conflict, as the “Trans” issue exemplifies, with feminists (both “straight” and lesbian) butting heads over their particular interests, threatening to upset the entire edifice of petty bourgeois interests, not least the issue of transgenderism itself and its aggressive assertions of “normality” in conflict with the men-are-to-blame and “male violence” divisive agenda of extreme feminism.

The turmoil expresses the tangle that such irrationality is now getting into, reflecting the intensification of all the conflicts and alienation in capitalist society as it heads for the abyss of trade war conflict and war.

A host of other questions which have been buried or suppressed by capitalism from care homes abuse and homosexual paedophilia in the Catholic Church and throughout the establishment, now threaten to rise to the surface again.

Before it re-explodes uncontrollably the critical realist side of the bourgeoisie has felt the need to step in and at least deal with the most obvious irrationalities with its Cass report.

The reality of some people having difficulties, and needing sensitive recognition of their situation is not the question.

But evidence and objective truth has gone out of the window says the bourgeois press in its summaries of the report:

A review into the NHS’s gender identity services has found that children and young people have been let down by a lack of research and evidence on medical interventions in a debate that has become exceptionally toxic.

Dr Hilary Cass said her report was not about defining “what it means to be trans” or “undermining the validity of trans identities”, but about “how best to help the growing number of children and young people who are looking for support from the NHS in relation to their gender identity”. Here are the review’s key findings.

“This is an area of remarkably weak evidence,” Cass writes in the foreword to her 398-page report.

Despite that, she adds: “Results of studies are exaggerated or misrepresented by people on all sides of the debate to support their viewpoint. The reality is that we have no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress.”

When Cass began her inquiry in 2020, the evidence base, especially about puberty blockers and masculinising and feminising cross-sex hormones was “weak”. That was exacerbated by the existence of “a lot of misinformation, easily accessible online, with opposing sides of the debate pointing to research to justify a position, regardless of the quality of the studies.”

Cass commissioned the University of York to undertake systematic reviews of the evidence on key issues, such as puberty blockers. It found that “there continues to be a lack of high-quality evidence in this area”. York academics, as part of their research, tried to document the outcomes seen among the 9,000 young people who the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust’s gender identity development service (Gids) treated between 2009-2020. However, it was “thwarted by a lack of cooperation from [six of England’s seven NHS] adult gender services”.

The new NHS services for these young people must routinely collect evidence of what treatments work, and learn from them to improve clinical practice, the report states.

Cass acknowledges that the discussion around how to care for such young people is polarised, both among health professionals and in wider society. For example, some clinicians believe that most people who present to gender services “will go on to have a long-term trans identity and should be supported to access a medical pathway at an early stage”.

“Others feel that we are medicalising children and young people whose multiple other difficulties are manifesting through gender confusion and gender-related distress. The toxicity of the debate is exceptional,” the report says.

Cass has been criticised for talking both to groups who support gender affirmation – the medical approach – and also those who believe greater caution is needed. Some experienced doctors who have offered different viewpoints have been “dismissed and invalidated”, she says.

“There are few other areas of healthcare where professionals are so afraid to openly discuss their views, where people are vilified on social media and where name-calling echoes the worst bullying behaviour. This must stop.”

The toxicity of debate has made some clinicians fearful of working with these young people.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust

When its Gids service was set up in 1989, it saw fewer than 10 children a year, mainly birth-registered males who had not reached puberty. Most received therapy and only a few hormones from the age of 16.

But in 2011 the UK began trialling the use of puberty blockers, as a result of the emergence of “the Dutch protocol”, which involved using them from early puberty. However, a study undertaken in 2015-16, although not published until 2020, shows “a lack of any positive measurable outcomes”.

“Despite this, from 2014 puberty blockers moved from a research-only protocol to being available in routine clinical practice.” This “adoption of a treatment with uncertain benefits without further scrutiny” helped increase the demand among patients for them, the report finds.

An NHS England review in 2019, which examined the evidence on medical intervention and found evidence of its effectiveness to be “weak”, led to Cass being asked to undertake her review.

Changing patient profile

Referral rates to Gids have rocketed since 2014, but there has also been a shift in the profile of those using services. For centuries transgender people have been predominantly trans females who present in adulthood. Now the vast majority are teenagers who were registered as female at birth.

An audit of discharge notes of Gids patients between 1 April 2018 and 31 December 2022 showed the youngest patient was three, the oldest 18, and 73% were birth-registered females, according to the review, which tries to discover why things have changed so dramatically.

One area it explores is the deterioration in mental health among young people, and the links with social media, which have brought pressures to bear on them that no previous generation has experienced.

“The increase in presentations to gender clinics has to some degree paralleled this deterioration in child and adolescent mental health,” the review says. “Mental health problems have risen in both boys and girls, but have been most striking in girls and young women.”

Youngsters who present with gender identity issues to services may also have depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, tics and eating disorders, as well as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Referrals to Gids are also associated with higher than average rates of adverse childhood experiences, the review says.

“There is no single explanation for the increase in prevalence of gender incongruence or the change in case-mix of those being referred to gender services,” the review says, concluding instead that gender incongruence is a result of “a complex interplay between biological, psychological and social factors”.


Young people’s sense of their identity is not always fixed and can evolve over time, Cass says.

“Whilst some young people may feel an urgency to transition, young adults looking back at their younger selves would often advise slowing down,” the report says.

“For some, the best outcome will be transition, whereas others may resolve their distress in other ways. Some may transition and then de/retransition and/or experience regret. The NHS needs to care for all those seeking support.”

Social transitioning is the process by which individuals make social changes in order to live as a different gender, such as changing name, pronouns, hair or clothing, and it is something that schools in England have been grappling with in recent years.

According to the Cass review, many children and young people attending Gids have already changed their names by deed-poll and attend school in their chosen gender by the time they are seen.

The review says research on the impact of social transition is generally of a poor quality and the findings are contradictory. Some studies suggest that allowing a child to socially transition may improve mental health and social and educational participation.

Others say a child who is allowed to socially transition is more likely to have an altered trajectory, leading to medical intervention, which will have life-long implications, when they might otherwise have desisted.

“Given the weakness of the research in this area there remain many unknowns about the impact of social transition,” the review concludes. “In particular, it is unclear whether it alters the trajectory of gender development, and what short- and longer-term impact this may have on mental health.”

The review recommends that parents should be involved in decision making, unless there are strong grounds to believe this may put a child at risk, and where children are pre-puberty, families should be seen as early as possible by a clinician with relevant experience. It also suggests avoiding premature decisions and considering partial rather than full transitioning as a way of keeping options open.

The report says that in the future any young person seeking NHS help with gender-related distress should be screened to see if they have any neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder, and also given a mental health assessment.

NHS England has already in effect banned the use of puberty blockers because of limited evidence that they work. Cass found that there is “no evidence that puberty blockers buy time to think”, which their advocates have claimed. There is also “concern that they may change the trajectory of psychosexual and gender identity development” as well as pose long-term risks to users’ bone health, the review says.

There is also a lack of evidence to prove that masculinising and feminising hormones improve a young person’s body satisfaction and psychosocial health, and there is concern over the impact on fertility, growth and bone health. There is also no evidence they reduce the risk of suicide in children, as their proponents have claimed.

Lastly, the evidence base showing whether psychosocial interventions – therapy – work for those who do not undergo hormone treatment is “as weak” as for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

All this means that there is “a major gap in our knowledge about how best to support and help the growing population of young people with gender-related distress in the context of complex presentations”.


‘First, do no harm” is the sacrosanct principle that is supposed to underpin modern medicine. But history is littered with examples of medics breaching this doctrine. Last week, the publication of Hilary Cass’s final report on healthcare for gender-questioning children laid bare the devastating scale of NHS failures of a vulnerable group of children and young people, buoyed by adult activists bullying anyone who dared question a treatment model so clearly based on ideology rather than evidence.

Cass is a renowned paediatrician and her painstakingly thorough review was four years in the making. She sets out how the now-closed NHS specialist gender clinic for children abandoned evidence-based medicine for a wing and a prayer. Significant numbers of gender-questioning children – it’s impossible to know exactly how many because the clinic did not keep records, itself a scandal – were put on an unevidenced medical pathway of puberty-blocking drugs and/or cross-sex hormones, despite risks of harm in relation to brain development, fertility, bone density, mental health and adult sexual functioning.

What drove this? The medical pathway is rooted in a belief that many, perhaps even most children questioning their gender will go on to have a fixed trans identity in adulthood, and that it is possible to discern them from those for whom it is a temporary phase. But studies suggest that gender dysphoria resolves itself naturally in many children. It is often associated with neurodiversity, mental health issues, childhood trauma, discomfort about puberty, particularly in girls, and children processing their emerging same-sex attraction; a large number of children referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) were gay. Putting these children on a medical pathway does not just come with health risks, it may also pathologise temporary distress into something more permanent. Cass is also clear that socially transitioning a child – treating them as though they are of the opposite sex – is a psychological intervention with potentially lasting consequences and an insufficient evidence base, that transitioning in stealth may be harmful, and says that for pre-pubertal children this decision should be informed by input from clinicians with appropriate training.

There is a conundrum at the heart of the report. Cass finds a childhood diagnosis of gender dysphoria is not predictive of a lasting trans identity and clinicians told the review they are unable to determine in which children gender dysphoria will last into adulthood. If this is indeed impossible, is it ever ethical to put a young person on a life-altering medical pathway? If there are no objective diagnostic criteria, on what basis would a clinician be taking this decision other than a professional hunch?

The report recommends a total overhaul in the NHS’s approach to caring for gender-questioning children and young people: holistic, multidisciplinary services grounded in mental health that assess the root causes of that questioning in the round and take a therapeutic-first approach. Puberty blockers will only be prescribed as part of an NHS research trial and she recommends “extreme caution” in relation to cross-sex hormones for 16- to 18-year-olds; one might expect this to be contingent on it being possible to develop diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria that will last into adulthood.

Cass’s vision is what gender-questioning children deserve: to be treated with the same level of care as everyone else, not as little projects for activists seeking validation for their own adult identities and belief systems. But it is going to be immensely challenging for the NHS to realise, and not just because of the parlous underfunding of child mental health services. There will be resistance among captured clinicians wedded to quasi-religious beliefs; it is astounding that six out of seven adult clinics refused to cooperate with the review on a study to shed more light on those the NHS treated as children. A senior NHS researcher at one trust told me the opposition to taking part in an uncontroversial methodology to inform better outcomes came not from the board but from some clinicians in their service, and this was unheard of in other parts of the NHS.

Cass has also commented on the intense toxicity of the debate. The fact that she says medical professionals were scared of being called transphobic, or accused of practising conversion therapy, if they took a more cautious approach in a climate where activists and charities like Stonewall were quick to level accusations of bigotry at people flagging concerns, and that NHS whistleblowers were vilified by their employer, has not only prolonged the avoidable harm that will have been caused to some young people but will make it difficult to recruit clinicians to the new service. Cass has warned ministers about the risks of the criminal ban on conversion therapy activists are pushing for; the definitional challenges risk criminalising exploratory therapy and could further increase fear among clinicians. The former chief executive of Stonewall has already endorsed the view that the Cass model is itself conversion therapy.

Given what it says about social transition, the implications of the Cass review go beyond the NHS to schools and children’s services, where there are similar pockets of ideological capture. As we report today, the parents of one child whose school facilitated their social transition without their knowledge have given Brighton council two weeks to withdraw the trans toolkit it has endorsed for use across all its schools, or face legal action in light of legal advice from the country’s leading equality and human rights lawyer, Karon Monaghan KC, that the toolkit is itself unlawful and advises schools to act unlawfully.

She sets out how it gets the law devastatingly wrong in several areas, including on safeguarding in relation to the wellbeing of gender-questioning children who want to socially transition. On single-sex spaces and sports, it wrongly advises that a child’s chosen gender identity should override their sex, which is likely to lead to unlawful discrimination against other pupils, particularly girls. This influential toolkit is in use by schools in at least several other local authorities; the parents have published the advice in full to enable other parents to challenge schools on its unlawfulness.

The Cass review is an immense achievement; it has stripped the heat out of one of the most contested areas of modern medicine and restored the role of evidence back to its rightful place. But there is a long way to go yet in unpicking the influence of a contested and controversial – yet in some cases, deeply embedded – adult ideology about gender in the way children are supported by the NHS, children’s services and schools.


As the dust settles around Hilary Cass’s report – the most extensive and thoroughgoing evidence-based review of treatment for children experiencing gender distress ever undertaken – it is clear her findings support the grave concerns I and many others have raised. Central here was the lack of an evidential base of good quality that could back claims for the effectiveness of young people being prescribed puberty blockers or proceeding on a medical pathway to transition. I and many other clinicians were concerned about the risks of long-term damaging consequences of early medical intervention. Cass has already had to speak out against misinformation being spread about her review, and a Labour MP has admitted she “may have misled” Parliament when referring to it. The review should be defended from misrepresentation.

The policy of “affirmation” – that is, speedily agreeing with a child that they are of the wrong gender – was an inappropriate clinical stance brought about by influential activist groups and some senior gender identity development service (Gids) staff, resulting in a distortion of the clinical domain. Studies indicate that a majority of children in the absence of medical intervention will desist – that is, change their minds.

The many complex problems that affect these young people were left unaddressed once they were viewed simplistically through the prism of gender. Cass helpfully calls this “diagnostic overshadowing”. Thus children suffered thrice over: through not having all their problems properly addressed; by being put on a pathway for which there is not adequate evidence and for which there is considerable risk of harm; and lastly because children not unreasonably believed that all their problems would disappear once they transitioned. It is, I think, not possible for a child in acute states of torment to be able to think through consequences of a future medical transition. Children struggle to even imagine themselves in an adult sexual body.

Some claim that low numbers of puberty blockers were prescribed. Cass quotes figures showing around 30% of Gids patients in England discharged between April 2018 and 31 December 2022 were referred to the endocrinology service, of whom around 80% were prescribed puberty blockers; the proportion was higher for older children. But these numbers are likely to be an underestimate, as 70% of children were transferred to adult services once they were 17, and their data lost, as very regrettably they were not followed up. This is one of the most serious governance problems of Gids – also specifically addressed by the judges in Keira Bell v Tavistock. Six adult gender clinics refused to cooperate and provide data to Cass. However, having come under considerable pressure, they have now relented.

It is often claimed that puberty blockers were not experimental, as there is a long history of their use. They had been used in precocious puberty (for example where a child, sometimes because of a pituitary abnormality, develops secondary sexual characteristics before the age of eight) and in the treatment of prostate cancer. But they had not been prescribed by Gids to children experiencing gender dysphoria before 2011. The lack of long-term evidence underlies the decision of the NHS to put an end to their routine prescription for children as a treatment for gender dysphoria – that is, for those whose bodies were physically healthy.

The attempts of Gids clinicians to raise concerns about safeguarding and the medical approach were ignored or worse. The then medical director heard concerns but did not act; ditto the Speak up Guardian and the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust management. I was a senior consultant psychiatrist, and it was in my role as staff representative on the trust council of governors that a large number of the Gids clinicians approached me with their grave concerns. This formed the basis of the report submitted to the board in 2018. The trust then conducted a “review” of Gids, based only on interviewing staff. The CEO stated that the review did not identify any “failings in the overall approach taken by the service in responding to the needs of the young people and families who access its support”. I was threatened with disciplinary action. When the child safeguarding lead, Sonia Appleby, raised her concerns before the trust’s review, the trust threatened her with an investigation; and its response, as an employment tribunal later confirmed, damaged her professional reputation and stood in the way of her safeguarding work.

Characterising a child as “being transgender” is harmful as it forecloses the situation and also implies that this is a unitary condition for which there is unitary “treatment”. It is much more helpful to use a description: that the child suffers from distress in relation to gender/sexuality, and this needs to be carefully explored in terms of the narrative of their lives, the presence of other difficulties such as autism, depression, histories of abuse and trauma, and confusion about sexuality. As the Cass report notes, studies suggest that a high proportion of these children are same-sex attracted, and many suffer from homophobia. Concerned gay and lesbian clinicians have said they experienced homophobia in the service, and that staff worked in a “climate of fear”.

It is misleading to suggest that I and others who have raised these concerns are hostile to transgender people – we believe they should be able to live their lives free of discrimination, and we want them to have safe, evidence-based holistic healthcare. What we have opposed is the precipitate placing of children on a potentially damaging medical pathway for which there is considerable evidence of risk of harm. We emphasised the need, before taking such steps, to spend considerable time exploring this complex and multifaceted clinical presentation. Young people and clinicians routinely refer to “top surgery” and “bottom surgery”, terms that serve to seriously underplay these major surgical procedures, i.e. double mastectomy, removal of pelvic organs and fashioning of constructed penis or vagina. These procedures carry very serious risks such as urinary incontinence, vaginal atrophy, cardiovascular complications and many others we are only beginning to learn about. There is a very serious risk of sexual dysfunction and sterility.

There are no reliable studies (for children or adults) that could support claims of low levels of regret. The studies often quoted (eg Bustos et al 2021) have been criticised for using inadequate and erroneous data. The critical issue here is the fact that children and young people who were put on a medical pathway were not followed up. Studies suggest that the majority of detransitioners, a growing population, who are having to deal with the consequences of having been put on a medical pathway, do not return to the clinics as they are very fearful of the consequences. The fact that there are no dedicated NHS services for detransitioners is symptomatic of the NHS’s lack of concern for this group. Many live very lonely and isolated lives.

Those who say a child has been “born in the wrong body”, and who have sidelined child safeguarding, bear a very heavy responsibility. Parents have been asked “Do you want a happy little girl or a dead little boy?” Cass notes that rates of suicidality are similar to rates among non-trans identified youth referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). Indeed, the NHS lead for suicide prevention, Prof Sir Louis Appleby, has said “invoking suicide in this debate is mistaken and potentially harmful”.

It has been suggested that the Cass report sought to “appease” various interests, with the implication that those who have promoted these potentially damaging treatments have been sidelined. But in reality, it is those of us who have raised these concerns who have been silenced by trans rights activists who have had considerable success in closing down debate, including preventing conferences going ahead. Doctors and scientists have said that they have been deterred from conducting studies in this area by a climate of fear, and faced great personal costs for speaking out, ranging from harassment to professional risks and even, as Cass has experienced, safety concerns in public.

The pendulum is already swinging towards a reassertion of rationality. Cass’s achievement is to give that pendulum a hugely increased momentum. In years to come we will look back at the damage done to children with incredulity and horror.

David Bell is a retired psychiatrist and former president of the British Psychoanalytic Society

Despite these quite rational analyses, by no means hostile to trans children and adolescents, the frantic assertion that “trans rights” are being transgressed has continued with near violent hostility:

The doctor behind a landmark review of the NHS’s gender identity services for children and young people has said fears had been raised about her personal safety amid online abuse after the report’s release.

Dr Hilary Cass told the Times she wished to address the “disinformation” circulating about the findings and recommendations handed down by the Cass review when it was published on 10 April.

She said she had received online abuse in the wake of the report and had been advised to stop using public transport.

Cass told the Times: “I have been really frustrated by the criticisms, because it is straight disinformation. It is completely inaccurate.

“It started the day before the report came out when an influencer posted a picture of a list of papers that were apparently rejected because they were not randomised control trials.

“That list has absolutely nothing to do with either our report or any of the papers.”

Referring to the online abuse she had received, she said: “There are some pretty vile emails coming in at the moment, most of which my team is protecting me from, so I’m not getting to see them.”

She added: “I’m not going on public transport at the moment, following security advice, which is inconvenient.”

One of the main oppositionists to the trans lobby, former Sussex University philosophy professor, Kathleen Stock, herself a victim of a sustained campaign of vilification on the gender issue, and eventually forced to resign, hits back more aggressively:

Pity poor Dr Hilary Cass, the eminent paediatrician charged with managing an independent review of NHS gender services for young people, whose final report was published this week. Given the hair-trigger sensibilities of interested parties, she seems to have been unable to state unambiguously that now-popular treatments for young people confused or distressed by their sexed bodies are blatant quackery: keeping pre-pubescent kids in suspended chemical animation on the basis of a single, discredited study; dosing teenagers liberally with opposite-sex hormones; or — when a child reaches the tender age of 18, though even earlier in other countries — empowering her to have major body parts cut off.

Instead, time and again in Cass’s report she is forced back into the conceit that the most pressing problem for contemporary gender medicine is the lack of good evidence for such interventions either way. It is as if a modern-day medic had been tasked with reviewing the efficacy of trepanning, and then ordered to defend her findings in front of fanatical fifth-century devotees. “It’s not that drilling a hole in a child’s skull to release demons is necessarily harmful, you understand — indeed, it may be the best outcome in some cases. The main issue is the lack of long-term follow up.”

[...]In a sense, though, this is indeed very like one group to whom the report is addressed: those clinicians, parents and patients immersed in bubbles of identity affirmation, and cognitively isolated from any reasoning or evidence that would confound their worldview. Perhaps unusually for a medical review, it is clear from Cass’s overtly respectful tone and at times still-euphemistic language that her aim is not just to inform these readers but also to deprogram them.

The very first sentence of her report begins with a weary disavowal of Stonewall-endorsed paranoias (“This Review is not about… undermining the validity of trans identities, challenging the right of people to express themselves, or rolling back on people’s rights to healthcare”). Somewhat nonsensically, references to “birth-registered females” are scattered throughout the text, as if the author were somehow only concerned with those with birth certificates — presumably an attempt to build bridges with child-like souls still convinced sex is something coercively assigned to neonates at random. Generally, there is a sense of gingerly addressing a group of emotionally labile people who are not quite ready to face the whole truth.

And no wonder: nearly every indicator of cult membership is present among so-called affirmative clinicians and their hapless patients. Among the most telling signs are a fervent belief in a transcendent new way of life; induction into a mystical world of occult symbols, flags and lanyards; the love-bombing of new recruits with affirmative language and talk of “queer joy”; and the replacement of traditional support systems (one Pride post on the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust website — a hospital involved in creating the new youth gender services to replace Gids — talks about “the fight for LGBT rights” as something “to be won against your family or your neighbours or whoever is directly around you”).

“Nearly every indicator of cult membership is present among so-called affirmative clinicians and their hapless patients.”

Relatedly, there is a lot of what cult specialists call “hate-bonding” — that is, framing critical voices as evil enemies to be automatically discredited, a process which neatly shuts down intellectual curiosity while solidifying group cohesion at one fell swoop. A recent example of such attitudes was the intensely hostile protest last month at a clinician-organised conference critical of child transition, purportedly led by an NHS doctor. When considered alongside other obvious signs of religious commitment — the mantras and incantations, sacred texts, citations of high priests, annual holy weeks, and so on — it is not hard to conclude that, for many in the medical profession, transactivism is based on faith not reason. Consider, for instance, the astonishing levels of religiosity in this 2023 publication from the NHS Confederation, at one point encouraging “allies” to “recognise the privilege afforded to them as a cisgender person and uses this to uplift the voices of trans and non-binary colleagues”.

Cults are not unusual, as human phenomena go; the unusual point is that one came to control parts of the NHS. As Cass relates, again euphemistically, “for this group of young people expertise has been concentrated in a small group of people, which has served to gatekeep the knowledge”. Suitably translated, so that “expertise” means “power” and “gatekeep the knowledge” means “deflect real scrutiny”, she is effectively pointing to the fact that much damage can be done in an institution by only a few zealots, as long as they are the ones presumed in charge of things by others.

[...]Another clue to the level of ideological capture emerges when Cass describes a proposed data linkage study, originally envisaged as culling information about 9,000 patients from “Gids, hospital wards, outpatient clinics, emergency departments and adult gender dysphoria clinics”, and so providing “a population-level evidence base of the different pathways people take and the outcomes”. In the end, the much-needed study didn’t happen because clinicians in existing gender services nearly all refused to cooperate. (An inquiry into adult clinics has since been announced.)

Reasons for refusal included that the Cass Review would be politically biased; and that “[t]aking part in a study of this kind could bring into question the integrity of clinic staff and the relationships they have with patients”. It is hard to imagine such a self-serving affront to patient safeguarding being considered acceptable in any other healthcare context. Another reason offered, also with an apparently straight face, was that “the study outcomes focus on adverse health events, for which the clinics do not feel primarily responsible”. Once you have fixed the problems with a young person’s soul, apparently what happens to their body afterwards is not your concern.

One could be forgiven for thinking that medical culture should easily be able to condemn bizarre physical interventions performed upon children in the name of religion, without having to undertake a four-year clinical review first. Indeed, lawmakers have previously criminalised practices such as FGM without requiring any such tests. But one instructive thing we can learn from the wreckage of gender medicine is that, with the right kind of institutional and rhetorical scaffolding, doctors can become unsure about what their goals are supposed to be. It’s no good telling them to first do no harm, when they can’t work out how to reliably detect it.

A superficial reason for this confusion is that the harms taken to fall squarely under the medical profession’s remit include negative psychological impacts as well as physical ones. And indeed, this looks like the right result: we can all think of obvious cases where mental suffering causes real damage to a person, and going to see a doctor is an appropriate response. But the downside is that, in a culture very picky about physical looks, or in the grip of some other body-related derangement, a person’s perceptions of her own healthy body can cause her severely negative psychological impact too; and then what is the clinician supposed to focus upon first? Cass herself talks about the rise among teenage girls in “Body Dysmorphic Disorder”, an obsessive preoccupation “with body image and with compulsive revisiting or avoidance of thoughts to manage distress”.

At least in theory, the doctor then has a choice: changing the mind to be better able to cope with the body, or changing the patient’s healthy body to relieve the mind. Cosmetic surgery opts for the latter strategy. Though described as “not routinely provided”, the NHS will sometimes fund implants for uneven breasts, reduction for large ones, or ear-pinning, as long as these things are causing “significant distress”. This, then, is a case where psychological feelings are taken to justify an assault, quite literally, upon physically healthy flesh.

Transactivists tend to ramp up this strategy, often baselessly suggesting that early physical interventions to change children’s bodies will avoid devastating psychological consequences and perhaps even suicide later on. Inflated figures have been disseminated by mainstream sources for years about the prevalence of suicide attempts in trans-identified young people, and weaponised in order to motivate medical “affirmation”. Dr Christine Mimnagh, clinical lead at the Merseyside adult gender service CMAGIC and a member of an influential Clinical Reference Group at NHS England for gender dysphoria services, was recently caught on camera telling listeners at Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust that if child services “worked as they should” we would induce “menopause” in some nine-year-old girls before menarche.

[...]Acknowledging that judgements about physical harm are not always straightforward, and often depend upon background values, can make the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and radical surgery disappear into an ethically confusing fog; and especially when the doctor herself has no strong intuitions about the prioritisation of bodily integrity over mental wellness to call upon. Certainly, there are other adults who swear that such physically damaging treatments — for what else can we call them? — have made their lives better overall in terms of other goals: mental health, or aesthetics, or self-expression.

But there are obvious differences when it comes to children and young adults — differences that apply well beyond the age of majority, to at least one’s mid-twenties. One is that so-called affirming procedures are far more physically debilitating, for longer, than things like ear-piercing, tattoos, or even most kinds of cosmetic surgery. Another is that each of them negatively affects what a recently published journal article has argued is a child’s “right to an open future”: roughly, important freedoms or capacities that can only be exercised as autonomous adults (such as biological parenthood or a fulfilling sex life), and whose value is unlikely to be recognised by an individual until later in life. When Cass writes that “the central aim” of treatment “is to help young people to thrive and achieve their life goals”, she does not of course mean the life goals they have now, but the ones they may well have afterwards.

The liberal ideal that each adult individual should be free to pursue her own conception of a good life, as long as it doesn’t impede others from doing the same, takes a bashing these days from both Right and Left. But one thing the ideal can do — at least when properly understood, and robustly applied — is protect our children from fanatics with mad glints in their eye, wishing to imprint their religious ideals, quite literally, upon children’s healthy developing bodies. In her report, Cass encourages a much wider range of people with relevant specialties to get involved with the care of trans-identified youth, moving forward; by which she presumably means, clinicians whose personal value systems won’t have such perilous physical consequences for their young charges. We can only hope that right-minded people answer her call.

Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.

But while this last (somewhat triumphalist) argument reads relatively rationally it is also following its own obsessive single issue agenda, that of asserting the “normality” of homosexual/lesbian development, which requires as much ignoring of developmental psychological evidence and reason as is more apparent in the trans “lobby”.

And that is, partially at least, an explanation for their equally vigorously single-minded denunciations of the other side; for as soon as it is insisted that a scientific evidential approach is adopted for the trans question so the question is posed that it should surely be applied to all parts of the LGBT spectrum??

Those transactivists insisting that even obvious males or females (physiologically speaking) should be “identified” as the opposite sex (if they so choose), threaten the more subtle and less extreme claims of the homosexual population, who declare only that they are simply a “normal” variation of the same sex.

The lesbian and homosexual “opposition” is even more vigorous precisely because its insistence on normality is predicated on there being a reference point of biological gender against which to be “normal”; take that away and their own claims become as obviously subjective.

But their claims to normality are equally assertively subjective and just as much causing confusion as the EPSR has explained in the past (when the political implications became significant).

So for example during the scandal over the sacking of Ron Davies from the New Labour cabinet in 1998 (EPSR No0973 03-11-98):

“Some commentators are pretending that Davies is being hounded and ditched from the government just for being a homosexual. This does not make sense when there are already many open homosexuals on the government benches and prominent in public life generally.

Alternatively, the blame for the scandal is being put on society’s backwardness which caused Davies to stay in the closet and then so embarrassingly fall out of it in public.

This is dud logic too. What is the government of the country if not the best-placed authority to campaign for more enlightened attitudes on things, — on racism, on drugs, on drink-driving, on the protection of children, etc, etc. Davies and New Labour deliberately CHOSE to remain in this particular closet.

The real issue is WHY did they so choose?? Because of very REAL lifestyle problems posed for homosexuals, and by no means all to do with continuing popular ignorance and distaste.

In the very broadest terms of the history of human culture, being homosexual cannot help but constantly be recorded as an aberration. It is always an abnormality.

This has nothing to do with homophobia but with biological reality and with the obvious clinical/social frustrations and deviations which both give rise to and result from the homosexual condition, — clearly not made any easier by public prejudice, but equally clearly not remediable no matter how enlightened social attitudes become.

For whatever reason, the politically ambitious Davies decided to base his career on the pretence of being ‘normal’.

This sad fraud is not helped by the PC (politically correct) shallowness of the gay rights lobby which refuses to accept the clinical description of how the homosexual orientation arises out of inadequate parenting in the crucial emotional-formative years and especially up to the age of four.

A compensating aggressiveness is substituted instead which INSISTS that being abnormal is perfectly normal, and even as good as or even better than being straight, and that anyone who will not go along with this is a homophobic reactionary.

Many homosexuals reject this militant irrationalism, and prefer trying to stay in the closet to actually deal more tolerantly with their own sadness (arbitrarily called ‘gayness’ in PC’s determined irrationalism) than aggressive ‘gay pride’ can ever allow.

It is the FUNDAMENTAL exploitational sickness and ideological distortions of capitalist society which will ENDLESSLY foment all the splits, divisions, fears, hatreds, and envies it can, in order to keep the working masses divided and ruled via deliberately-imposed ignorance, thus INCURABLY keeping homophobia going all the time that capitalism lasts.

It is just more illogicality to INSIST that this continuing period of prejudice will produce more enlightenment and be more comfortable for homosexuals if the relentless in-your-face ‘gayness’ of the ‘pride’ movement and the ‘liberation’ front retains ‘politically correct’ support.

Many homosexuals have indicated a preference for a quieter life in as civilised a society as possible where homosexuals could be protected from persecution but did not need to be making a permanent song-and-dance about their sexual preferences on a 24-hour basis.

Such calmer open acceptance of homosexual abnormality might have suited Ron Davies but his real ‘sin’ (of political ambitiousness and opportunism, endemic throughout New Labour,) got the better of him. Humbug, character weakness, and unsuitability (as prime minister of all the Welsh) became the issues because of New Labour’s deviousness, — not Davies’ sexuality.

Sexual preferences are clearly, as widely claimed this week, a “private and personal matter” — up to a point.

What turns ANYONE on, whatever it is, is in one sense neither good nor bad. It is entirely their own private personal concern, — up to a point.

The problem for Ron Davies and New Labour is grotesque hypocrisy and dubious credibility as public figures.

On that occasion the LGBT issue related in general to Blairite duplicity and hypocrisy as well as being specifically aimed at the EPSR as part of a Trotskyist anti-communist campaign to hound then editor Roy Bull out of Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party after his popular election as vice-president had shown the headway being made by the struggle for Marxist-Leninist understanding.

But as already discussed the political influence of single issue politics has become much more widespread and the debilitating effect it has on the struggle for the increasingly urgent rational and scientific understanding of capitalism’s breakdown, more significant, both in undermining objective scientific theory with subjective self-obsessions and in diverting attention from the Marxist clarity.

Simultaneously it plays into reactionary hands by giving communism a bad name and opening it up to mockery and derision for shallow “wokeness” obsessions – and the evasion of the real class war understanding that is a cover for.

Reactionaries of all kinds are able to tilt against woke-windmills they label “cultural Marxism”, to muddy the water.

Meanwhile the “gay” argument merges with the extreme feminist lobby which has its own single issue objections to the trans campaigners, based in its fanatical insistence that men are the problem facing society – finding expression particularly in objections to sharing spaces with biologically different individuals in public toilets, hospital wards and the like.

Some of this is simply anti-male hostility and some based in a physical fearfulness of men and masculinity which has been quite deliberately and one-sidedly inflamed by bourgeois ideology.

Relentless campaigning about “male violence” and domestic abuse, or “toxic masculinity” helps distort any understanding about the real source or cause of such often tragic human behaviour.

Male chauvinism exists and has been embedded in class society over centuries but blaming men for that, and beating them up for problems which lies in the breakdown and fragmentation of society itself under the antagonisms and divisiveness of capitalism is to cause further division and hostility.

Again the EPSR has attempted an examination before of this highly complex and fraught question (eg No 1032 22-02-00):

It is because of the inbuilt nature of capitalist exploitation and alienation that male chauvinism has been a real additional burden for women to have to bear in class society. But making a rod for the back of male chauvinism while the capitalist-system origins of prejudice and discrimination still persist is just to invite more and more confusion, and more and more frustration.

Thirty years of intermittently-successful feminist campaigning has left neither women, children, families, men, or society in general, any happier with any aspect of human relationships. The idea of increased stability or contentment for women, children, families, or men from the ever-rising volume of divorce court or CSA settlements is an obvious joke. The world of working women is known to be raising as many problems as it solves because capitalism still rules and not just because ‘men still rule’ as feminism claimed. And while life can never be made of anything but contradictions, what the advance of women through the glass ceiling demonstrates is that capitalist big business works through an unchangeable culture of exploitation and alienation afflicting all human relationships, - in work and beyond, - no matter what the boss’s gender is. And it is capitalism which is making the increasingly more advanced and cultured workforces of the world sick, - nothing else.

And yet the perfectly insane one-sided feminist approach to human problems still persists, - as in last week’s government report promising a veritable jihad against male violence on the bizarre grounds that the incidents of rape and domestic assault were ‘possibly’ ten times greater than the government’s own figures indicated.

A variety of bourgeois press sources were quoted in which this was debunked, including statistics that much domestic violence is by women against men (and often underplayed because of social stereotyping shame or official disbelief). The paper added:

The overwhelming majority of murdered victims in capitalist society are young men, killed by other young men. And even out of domestic violence, men get their (surprisingly large) share of injuries as [reported from] the government’s own figures. Men also top the league tables of violence done to the person by the capitalist state itself (prison sentences, executions (abroad), killed in pointless wars for the ruling class state’s benefit, etc, etc).

But what is the point of all this genderist diversion?? Purely to hide, in objective effect, the responsibility of the capitalist system for the present sum total of human misery, - regardless of what any feminists subjectively claim their purpose to be.

None of this stops class collaborating opportunism still using this issue to mislead and hoodwink popular opinion – not coincidentally, it is relentlessly fostered by Labourites like MP Jess Phillips with an annual solemn intoning in Parliament of the names of “women killed by men” implying that society’s violence is completely one-sided – and fills pages and pages of the liberal Guardian, similarly.

What monstrous hypocrisy this is is from a rank opportunist supporter of the reactionary Labour Party whose degenerate backing of the Zionist occupation in Palestine has seen tens of thousands of women bombed and butchered in Gaza, dead or maimed along with at least 20,000 of their children (and tens of thousands more men too).

No word from Phillips about the rape and sexual abuse atrocities carried out by the Israeli “Defence” forces on Gazan prisoners and detainees.

Nor has any query or investigation demand ever been raised over the barbarities and atrocities carried out in Ukraine by the outright Nazis and ultra-reactionary nationalists installed in Kiev in 2014 by Western imperialist coup skulduggery after a decade long subversion campaign to topple the Russian orientated oligarch regime under Viktor Yanukovych (reactionary too but not sufficiently compliant with Western world domination plans).

Such feminism is single-issue cynicism of the first water and part of the reactionary deluge of single-issue reformism which is a major defensive philosophical entrenchment for imperialist ideology against the vital revival and rebuilding of Marxist-Leninist understanding.

Even on the transgender issue itself it helps block any progress, where exaggerated fears of and hostility to men as such prevent any kind of compromise.

Whatever might be the continuing existence of conditions like gender dysmorphia once a rational society is achieved - where the antagonisms and fragmentations in human relations which possibly underlie many psychological problems would disappear and therefore possibly many “mental illnesses” (as they are labelled) – future society will be able to come to terms with them without the staggering hostility which has been set in train by the proliferation of single-issue reformist avoidance of collective communist struggle.

Personal sensitivities about the opposite sex and privacy might well continue into whatever decent and communal society humankind eventually comes to but it is not beyond reasonable imagination to suppose a future society, not only stripped of past inequalities, double-exploitation fears and antagonism, but set on a path towards mutual cooperation and support will be able to work out a sensible enough arrangement for either sharing communal spaces or providing a modicum of different accommodation where needed.

And equally, without the extreme commercial pressures and exploitation of competitive sport under capitalism where life chances, or even big fortunes, can be made or broken, the insistence that biologically male persons be allowed to compete as females, despite having the advantages of larger, faster, taller etc physiology will surely fade.

A particularly one-sided aspect of trans activism is that it makes no such vocal demands for those born physiologically female to be allowed to compete in the men’s Olympics.

That surely is a clue that the whole matter is essentially a diversion - a petty bourgeois obsessive martyrdom over an issue which is of importance to those specifically affected but which serves in general to block off the only possible route to solving any of the injustices and oppressions suffered by the great mass of humanity - the class war struggle to end capitalism and build a communist future.

Tony Lee

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