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 issue

No 1561 9th August 2017

New Boris crew imposed without any say on the 99% is a collection of scoundrels, political thugs, self-seekers and charlatans, using dirtiest tricks of vote rigging, propaganda, nationalist jingoism, censorship and judicial bullying to force the non-stop crisis onto the austerity hammered mass of ordinary people. In other words it is business as usual for bourgeois “democracy”, but also a signal of its desperation as the hurricane devastation of world economic collapse gets ever closer. This modern fascism is tailending the Mussolini strut from Trump’s White House, preparing repression for the spontaneous class war revolt to come as the greatest ever Slump disaster unfolds – trying to head workers into jingoist war mode. Fake-”left” of all shades exposed, those “backing Brexit” feeding the chauvinism and backwardness, but equally the useless Remainers. None spell out the Catastrophe oncoming and the need for revolutionary Leninism. Most fall for the “freedom” lies pumped out by the violent Hong Kong counter-revolution stunts

The new Tory cabinet’s collection of Brexit mountebanks, is a pathetically desperate but deadly and vicious attempt to escape the capitalist crisis by climbing behind the traditional “ally” of the US.

Its vile jingoism, international hate-mongering and blame-gaming is another step towards open dictatorship of the bourgeoisie as the old “everyone has a say” democracy racket gets even more threadbare.

This aggressive Tory Brexit wing hopes to ride increasingly nazi Washington’s coattails, at a huge cost in US corporate “trade deal” plundering of the British economy, to stay afloat while the US bullies and threatens the rest of the world to bear the burdens of the utter Depression savagery which is coming soon.

The US is already closer than ever to outright fascism, as the US topdog imperialist belligerence drags the world towards the war destruction and chaos that is the only answer capitalism has to its greatest collapse in all history.

Victim after victim, from Iran to Venezuela - and China too - is now openly targeted for scapegoat “punishment” to keep the world intimidated and to distract attention within the US from the reality of the gigantic crisis which it is hurtling towards, already seen in 2008 and due to implode again at any time.

The end result can only be inter-imperialist war, as the entire system implodes from the inbuilt “over production” contradictions of the capitalist profit making system.

Boris Johnson and his degenerate crew are an (as yet pale) echo of the same fascist populism as the crude racist American Mussolini, Donald Trump; “Boris” even earning his praise for being a “mini-me”.

His cabinet comprises the most reactionary and odious political wide-boy spivs, monsters, racist bullies, empire throwbacks, elitist weirdos, double-dealers and shysters the ruling class can muster – a hard call given the opportunist nature of all the usual parliamentary mountebanks anyway (on all sides).

Their Brexit “optimism” is nothing to do with encouraging anyone to “seize opportunities” but preparation to blame “doubters” for “stabbing everyone in the back”, when it all “goes wrong”, exactly the cry of the German Hitlerites, creating an atmosphere of poisonous recrimination for the devastation which the ruling class knows cannot be stopped.

Demanding sunny optimism and “positivity” will not change the profound collapse in confidence devastating the British ruling class nor make water run uphill.

The only sunshine around is pouring out of assorted arseholes – and there are plenty of those on offer now.

They are making headway only because the rest of the ruling class, including the appalled pro-European wing, cannot think of anything better, all terrified of the oncoming collapse of the capitalist system.

It is that continuing Catastrophe on the broadest scale which has to be the perspective to explain the Remainers’ grudging acquiescence for the moment to this monstrous constitutional coup (see EPSR last issue).

They hope that alongside the “leaving Europe” inter-imperialist belligerence and finger-pointing, blame-mongering and dirty scapegoating, these gangsters will also be able screw the working class (further) into the floor, while shutting down debate, opposition and dissent.

Far from being just about “Brexit”, all this is about imposing draconian conditions of repression and austerity using the pretence of “the people’s will” stirred up by the crudest chauvinism, to do it.

It is exactly what the Boris crew have quickly got on with, using the excuse of the laughably manipulated “Referendum for Brexit” as their “mandate” – (incidentally exposing for good the “Left” Brexiteers (Socialist Workers Party, Lalkar/Proletarian, Socialist Labour Party-Scargillism, Spiked online ex-RCP reactionary “Trots”, etc - some now “advisers to Boris”!!!!) whose Little Englander (“British” workers) pro-Brexiting has played right into the hands of these vile reactionaries and profiteers (who will benefit handsomely from selling out the remnants of the British capitalist economy).

New severe “terrorising” measures against “crime” and a massive increase in policing, are nothing to do with “improving life” and “sorting out society’s misfits” but preparing for the spontaneous working class revolt which they know is coming (as already seen in France with the gilets-jaunes for example, now overtly talking revolution, and in multiple forms in the Third World, including the mass upheavals of the Egyptian Arab Spring).

So too are the measures to prevent criticism and exposés of ruling class thuggery and degeneracy: declaring that the military should not be held accountable for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now not even for the death-squad assassinations, and civilian massacres, against the long Irish republican national-liberation war (reneging on settlements made to end the war in the Good Friday Agreement); that all investigation of torture by the military, police, RUC, MI6 and MI5 etc be suspended; that any efforts to investigate sex abuse and paedophilia by the ruling class and the cover-ups of the same should be shut down, with draconian vengeance punishments imposed to intimidate any further whistle-blowing, such as the grotesquely vicious 18 years life sentence on the “fantasist” witness Carl Beech; declaring all criticism of the fascist “Israeli” occupation of Palestine be deemed “racism” to silence opposition to this foul imperialist aggression in the Middle East: blocking off or ignoring legal and liberal challenges to the arms sale collusion (and military assistance) with the Gulf state sheikhdoms and killer-thug feudalists in Saudi Arabia and its barbaric war, slaughtering tens of thousands in Yemen. Etc etc etc.

And the new order has already rowed in behind Washington’s fascist aggressiveness in the Middle East, first joining the Zionist White House axis effectively with the appointment as Home Secretary of the ultra-reactionary Priti Patel, forced to resign previously for unprincipled out-of-order secret meetings with the most reactionary of the Tel Aviv nazi-Zionist occupiers of Palestine, and secondly by setting up a “joint patrol” with the US for tankers passing the Gulf straits, putting it alongside the US in the monstrous starvation sanction siege being aggressively imposed on Iran, after tearing up the previous nuclear treaty.

The crisis in capitalism is the crucial context in which to grasp all these dizzying events underway; creating the need for the ruling class to crack down even further on all living standards and the post-war liberal and reformist “achievements”, (including the desperate and ever more privatised NHS in reality, despite the laughable and pathetic pretence of “extra money” being hyped currently for the shallowest of electoral bribery purposes), and driving the world towards World War Three between the major powers.

The global credit breakdown ten years ago pushed the world to brink of the greatest Slump disaster in all history, as major bank failures dominoed across the world putting it just days away, even hours, from an economic “nuclear winter”, as then Chancellor Alistair Darling subsequently described it.

Non-stop money printing Quantitative Easing, bank bailouts for the rich, massive interest rate cuts and huge welfare, wage and living standard cutbacks temporarily salvaged things for the last decade, albeit at devastating cost to an austerity hammered working class – (homelessness everywhere and destitution levels of poverty rising again to four million, it is just reported, even in “rich” Britain; millions without health care, homes, jobs or means in an ever-more race-divided US; unemployment, hopelessness and small-minded hatred rampant throughout Europe; and a Third World wracked by war and civil war, endless sweatshop slavery, famine, and poverty; the whole world threatened by pollution, mass species extinction, global warming and ecological disaster, all from rampant profiteering).

It created a false illusion that “things are OK” or anyway that “‘they’ will always find a way out”.

But that QE “rescue” could only ever be a jury-rigged stopgap with a return to even worse economic implosion due at any moment.

There is no way to rescue things this time and collapse will be on a scale and of a savagery which is virtually impossible to comprehend, far worse than in the 1930s Depression and far wider spread.

Massive spontaneous upheavals, disruption and turmoil are inevitable in the unprecedented Slump devastation to come, as even basic survival becomes impossible for many – as already seen in the Middle East and Africa (Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan,Congo,) for example but now across the world.

The world ruling class, dominated by the US, has never been in a more terrifying position and none more so than the has-been British, already one of the weakest links among the major imperialist powers.

Far from potential return to some fanciful past imperial “glory” and “sovereignty”, its economy is barely able to keep up with the other monopoly capitalist rivals (themselves in deep trouble); it will certainly be one of the first to go under as cutthroat world trade war turns even more vicious.

Industry is virtually defunct except for armaments, or foreign owned, and the major “earnings” come from a parasitic City finance industry ever more dependent on skimming fat “fees” and “emoluments” from money laundering, tax-haven rackets, and servicing of overseas oligarchs, drug lords and feudal sheikh thugs and killers (so much for “defending democracy”!). It could collapse overnight, particularly if, or rather when, the insanely inflated dollar should implode.

Even the mostly lie-filled bourgeois press is obliged occasionally to spell out the particular British hollowness here and there (though without much grasp of the full import):

The apparently healthy labour market, pumped up by low-paid, insecure jobs, is a Potemkin village that hides a dysfunctional economy. Not much unites the remainers and leavers in the Conservative party, but they are as one in being delusional about the state of modern Britain. Remainers such as Philip Hammond and his predecessor, George Osborne, believe that the economy was going great guns when the referendum was held in 2016. Leavers like Jacob Rees-Mogg think departure will unlock the gate to a promised land of prosperity and happiness.

The truth is somewhat different. Project Fear was a failure not just because all the lurid predictions were well over the top, although they were. It was also a failure because it followed years of voters being hoodwinked by governments of both left and right that the economy was stronger than it actually was. Among the many myths peddled were that making things no longer mattered, that the market would regenerate communities stripped of their mines and their factories, that better education (as if!!) was all it took to make a success of globalisation, that boom and bust had been abolished, that rising house prices were a sign of strength and that wealth would trickle down from rich to poor.

A more honest appraisal would go as follows. For decades Britain has consumed more than it has produced, with the result that the UK has the biggest deficit on its current account of any member of the G7. In the past, deficits this big have led to sterling crises. A breakdown of the current account shortfall shows that since the early 1980s a colossal deficit in manufactured trade has been partly offset by a surplus generated by services and by the investment income from trade in financial assets. Put simply, the UK has hollowed out its industrial base and developed the City into a global centre of finance.

The economy was kept going through the boom years of the 1990s and 2000s because cheap imports meant inflationary pressure was weak and interest rates could be kept low, allowing consumers to load up on debt to buy ever more expensive real estate. Rising property prices made people feel richer than they actually were. They borrowed to trade up to bigger homes and they borrowed to fit them out. Personal indebtedness soared.

A short-lived property bubble helped David Cameron win the 2015 election, but prices rose to levels that made them unaffordable to the next generation of home buyers. Owner-occupation rates among the under 30s have collapsed. The baby boomers who have done so well out of the regular property booms since the early 1970s are now getting older. In the future, Britain will have more longer living pensioners in need of expensive care and fewer people of working age to support them. The choice is to make baby boomers pay for their own care or tell the asset-poor younger generation that they will have to pay for Granny and Grandad’s care through higher taxation.

To sum up, Britain has a trade deficit problem, a London versus-the-rest problem, a debt problem, a housing problem and a care problem. The fact that Johnson has referenced some of them already indicates that he knows that they are there. All of them predate the EU referendum, gigantic wake-up call though that was.

Johnson wants to quicken the pace, making it clear that he intends to be tougher than May on Brexit and tougher than May on the causes of Brexit. Voters in Conservative-Labour marginals are his target.

There is a paradox, though... The causes of Brexit lie not in leftwing economic policies but in Thatcher’s scorched-earth wipeout of manufacturing in the 1980s and the austerity that targeted the weak and vulnerable after 2010.

That is at least a partial admission but like all petty bourgeois critical realism this ends up with the usual fatuous reformist refrain just as spouted by the Corbynites:

Being tough on the causes of Brexit means changing the culture of business so that it boosts investment. It means rethinking the role of the state so that Britain leads rather than follows in the fourth industrial revolution. It means spending more on infrastructure, especially in the north. It means a mass housebuilding programme. Put simply, it means doing stuff not normally associated with politicians who think the free market is always right.

But that has never been remotely a possibility as any kind of long term solution, and certainly not now, because the “culture of business” is nothing but the entire capitalist system – and unchangeably so. And the “role of the state” is precisely to defend the (property) interests of the ruling class within it as Lenin explained (State and Revolution), not rein them in.

Military coups and counter-revolutions in country after country, from Suharto’s Indonesia and Pinochet’s Chile to General Sisi’s Egypt in 2013, have made that clear.

The whole system is unstoppably going down, as Marxism has always explained is inevitable, the very core of the scientific analysis to which Karl Marx therefore devoted his life (most of all in three giant volumes of the unchallengeable Capital, multiple other books, and a mountain of notes), which Lenin elaborated for the monopoly capitalist era (Imperialism - the highest stage) and as the 20th century Depression and wars confirmed, and the 2008 meltdown has again made clear, as current Leninism alone has long warned and continues to warn.

There is no “boosting investment” either to rescue things again because there is no profit to be made and all the credit taps were already turned on full in 2008 and remain on, without stopping the world economic “slowdown” heading for collapse.

The austerity seen so far will pale to insignificance.

Capitalism itself is breaking down, as Marxist science has always explained and as history has repeatedly shown in ever more horrific Slumps and World Wars.

There is no other outcome for a system built on the anarchy of the “free market”.

The contradictions embedded within production for private profit, driving the great mass of the world into ever greater poverty and despair while an ever tinier group of the rich reach beyond-insane levels of wasteful luxurious privilege and power can only drag the world towards periodic and ever greater disaster.

It is unstoppable and unsolvable, except by ending the whole system itself and taking it all into common ownership to allow rational planning and control of production, in harmony with nature and its resources and mankind’s real (not consumerist inflated) needs.

It is in all this that Brexit has been stirred around.

But Brexit is nothing but a giant diversion and excuse to blame others (in this case Europe) for the world historic collapse of an entire system and way of doing things.

The crisis has nothing to do with Europe and “being held back by Brussels” (except inasmuch as it is all part of monopoly capitalism too).

Nor is the economic breakdown “caused by Brexit” as the remainers want to say, equally avoiding spelling out the real reasons for the disaster.

The only question any rational worker can ask is how long will we tolerate this ever more obvious gross reaction?????

Which means how long will the so-called “rules” of “democracy” be tolerated – which is increasingly obviously a mechanism for imposing the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (whilst still hoodwinking the masses that it is getting a say).

For the short term the obvious Boris-ite plan is to use a fascist trick, to manipulate its way into another five year government.

It aims to get in fast while there is still some financial froth left from the QE money printing, to dazzle the eyes of a hoodwinked population kept dozing by the anti-communist “left” of all shades (anti-and pro-Brexit).

It extends the fraud of the already outrageous summer coup, which has installed a new government with no election at all other than the self-selected walking-dead reactionaries of the Tory Party.

Further slick manipulation hopes to put the supine opposition off-balance and consolidate the most reactionary wing of Toryism, twisting popular public opinion with all the targeted trickery of the Brexit referendum and its whipped up scapegoating and finger-pointing.

It is no mistake that Johnson’s first appointment was not even an MP but a “special adviser”, the sinister Leave campaign dark-arts “mastermind” Dominic Cummings.

They are following the same path as the Trumpites, using the same twists and big lie techniques – even with the same advisers and “analyst” tricksters in many cases – of shallow racist and scapegoating populism, transient economic bribery and the hidden manipulation of votes and polls.

Much of that has always been the norm for capitalist “democracy” anyway, which is nothing but a disguise for the hidden dictatorship reality of bourgeois rule, as the Bolsheviks explained more than 100 years ago (see Lenin quotes in multiple EPSRs eg 853, 1550) using behind the scenes connections, plotting, Stock Exchange and banking influence, private “club” conversations, the secretive Privy Council and networks of freemasonries (assorted), as well as the general “one of us” class instincts of the privileged, to make all the real decisions in society.

But the whole racket is now supercharged, to borrow the reactionaries’ own phrase, with the latest “targeted” advertising and “influencing” made possible by non-stop Internet surveillance (“freedom”!!!), and trawling of giant databases with sophisticated algorithms, plus psychological warfare and other techniques of manipulation.

The showpiece Parliament etc is either ignored, bribed (overtly and covertly) or a willing participant anyway, especially via its class-collaborating Labourites.

Even the so-called resurgent “left” Corbynite Labour still treacherously defends the “free market”, offering only to “end austerity” with “more investment”.

It is nothing but the most hopeless and ineffectual gesture for “stopping the capitalist system hurting so much”, no longer even pretending that it is really on a path upwards, “improving workers lives steadily towards the goal of a fair and socialist society” which was always the “jam-tomorrow” pretence of the reformists from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.

And it is a total lie for two reasons:

a) it cannot put the crisis into reverse at all, as will become devastatingly clear as soon as the next bank collapse/raging inflation/dollar breakdown shatters the QE complacency and;

b) the Labourites have not, nor ever had, any intention of putting it into practice anyway, avoiding every possible chance to topple the paralysed government by parliamentary votes etc, because they know that point a/ is the reality, and will quickly reveal their cynical posturing for what it is.

Any such spending is impossible without exposing the shot-full-of-holes British capitalist economy to the full force of international financial hurricanes on the way.

The “left” Labourite gamble was that they could get away with the pretence, staying in a comfortable “opposition” in the luxury parliamentary club on the Thames, or if put to it, even surviving for a while as a reformist government until QE implodes.

They have effectively capitulated on every issue of principle, and most of all over the exposure of the imperialist warmongering in the Middle East, and the genocidal suppression of the indigenous population in Palestine, grovellingly going along with the insane notion that the “left is riddled with racist anti-semitism” instead of exposing this demented Goebbels campaign as the Zionist conspiracy it is, to block off all opposition to the foul genocidal occupation of another people’s land (EPSR last issue).

The Labourite “left” surge thereby serves the ruling class as always in the crucial task of keeping the working class Mogandon-ed to the eyeballs in consumerism, video games and trivial celeb chasing, and well away from serious thinking, especially about revolution and even more especially the vital Marxist-Leninist theory that becomes more urgent day by day.

The slew of fake-“left” pseudo-Marxists who have all plunged back into Labour to re-sell its bankrupt “democratic change” racket (lyingly pretending this irredeemably bourgeois party can be “won to socialism” in some way), are also all now exposed as even worse mountebanks, for propping up this opportunist crew.

Now the ruling class has stolen their clothes from the beach anyway with the Boris “golden era” promises based on just the “borrow and spend” programme the Labourites were offering (leaving Labour shadow-Chancellor John McDonnell floundering, able to say pathetically only that the Corbynites would “do more of it”).

One critical lesson for workers is that the ruling class trampling over even such tame Labourism, reveals a ruling class afraid even to use the old parliament racket.

Labour has long been a useful tool for the Tweedledum, Tweedledee parliament pretence, to take the heat off when the hostility to the Tory A-team was too great.

It may yet play a role, almost certainly via a “national government” if the Boris trick fails, but for the moment the turn to the plebiscite pretence (to be following the “will of the people”) and the coup suggest a ruling class so pressed it is afraid even of the shadow of pretend “leftism”.

But the glaring reaction of all this sees sections of the bourgeois intelligentsia becoming very disconcerted; article after article querying “is this fascism” appear now in the bourgeois press.

And of course it is, for all that it lacks shiny jackboots and designer peaked caps with death-head emblems.

The ruling class is not stupid and, since Hitlerism, has avoided discredited (Soviet-defeated) Nazism as such; it will never repeat exactly the same formula, which was anyway very specific to the militarism and nature of rising German imperialism at the time (though Trumpism continually skirts close to its racist supremacism).

So the usual cries of “you can’t call this Nazism” have already resounded, citing various mechanistic fixed category “definitions” of fascism, and quoting “principles” that supposedly prove “we are not there yet” - the likes of “left” demagogue George Galloway, and his Brexit Stalinist fellow-travellers like the Lalkar/Proletarian (CPGB-ML), already decrying such warnings.

But all this is disastrously misleading on at least two counts; firstly because in many ways the “symptoms” are being repeated and secondly and more disarmingly, that there is some special status to “fascism” which involves crossing sharp and clear boundaries.

Taking the last point first, the implication is that until some fixed criteria are fulfilled “we” are still in “democratic” territory.

That just reflects the disastrous delusions and petty muddle and misleadership still telling the working class that capitalist democracy means something.

But as the EPSR has many times pointed out, fascism is not some special “other” condition defined by its taste in shiny leather or brown shirts, that everyone has to “guard against” – implying that otherwise life can go on with the usual “left pressure” pacifism and steady step-be-step “advances towards socialism” – conveniently for the opportunists and petty bourgeois pretenders avoiding any need to hold to revolutionary principles.

Such a notion is one-sided mechanism, founded on bourgeois idealist philosophy, and a million miles away from a dialectical grasp of material phenomena, including human society, being in constant flux and transformation.

It both misleads everyone, suggesting it is different to “normal democracy”, and also implies that the fight against it is something different and special too, requiring solely that it be “stopped on the street”.

Street provocations and violent skirmishes are part of capitalist degeneration need to be fought against, but suggesting they are the key battles that can save things with just a bit of determined activism in “anti-fascist fronts” is to disarm workers with “democracy” and social-pacifism idiocies and lose sight of the fight needed to bring down the whole system, the only way fascism and war can be ended.

It is compounded by the revisionist retreats begun by Moscow’s philosophical retreats from Leninist revolutionary understanding far back under Stalin’s leadership.

The concept of “aggressive and non-aggressive” imperialism which arose during the rise of Mussolini and Nazi-Germany and crystallised during the Spanish civil war in concepts of the “anti-fascist” Popular Front, uncritically supporting hopeless bourgeois republicanism (instead of simply fighting alongside it against Franco but always warning the working class not to trust it, Kerensky-Kornilov style), and further consolidated during the Second World War (see eg EPSR Unanswered Polemics book).

Out of pure desperate expediency, some imperialists temporarily allied in 1941 with the USSR because of the threat from rising German imperialism – disastrously leading Moscow to see them as different and to some extent even “trustable” (at huge cost to struggles like that of the wartime Greek communist-nationalist partisan revolution, drowned in blood by British treachery).

But fascism and imperialist oppression and world domination are inseparable; ask any survivors from 300 years of genocidal racist colonialism and slavery, wiping out hundreds of millions of people, and dozens of different nations, with billions more pressed into grinding servitude and oppression, worked into the floor and brutally punished and tortured to keep them there (and often enough just for the “pleasure” of it).

Far more brutal tyranny has been imposed by the “democratic” nations, and particularly the earlier rising powers, especially Britain and France, and later the US, than was managed even by the Third Reich period of German imperialism and Mussolini put together. Since Hitler was defeated (largely by the enormous struggle and sacrifice of the USSR) there has been endless blitzkrieg and horror in the world with massacres, wars, coups and non-stop butchery by primarily US imperialism, its stooges and its allies, in North Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, all of Latin America, throughout Africa, (Angola, Mozambique, the Congo, against Mugabe in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Egypt, Somalia, Nigeria), the Philippines, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iraq (waging a 10 year war on Iran before being blitzed itself).

The count is at least 450 interventions since 1945 alone (see books by US historian William Blum for example).

It is the major monopoly capitalist powers which are the barbarism on the planet, and the fascist phase is simply the intensification of their normal behaviour in periods of crisis, particularly in trying to hold down the domestic working class and abandoning the “democracy” fraud, to the extent that is necessary, encouraging all the backwardness conventionally labelled as “fascist” where it has to (as the Tommy Robinsons are encouraged, publicised, and funded for example).

But all this is a symptom (nasty and brutal as it is) which changes little if stopped as such; the solution lies only in ending capitalism (including the “nicest” variants).

Assorted stooges for imperialism can take a fascist character during “boom times”, imposing its interests, and violently suppressing socialist and national-liberation movements (Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 takeover in Chile is one archetypical example, but dozens of tinpot dictators from the Philippines to Africa, Latin America to south-east Asia prove the point) it is primarily the major imperialist powers themselves which slide into a fascism phase.

It lies in the turn to warmongering belligerence against all the trade rivals fighting for the collapsing markets; it is inseparable from trade war escalations as Trump shows.

Nazism is not simply another expression for “nastier” or more brutal, crudely suppressive, belligerent and “less democratic” (though it is all those things) and nor is it a description for “misogynist, homophobic and racist”, and all such single issue reformist “identity politics” descriptions (though it mostly is those things too).

So much is all that not the case that the Tories have even adopted all these “issues” and advertise the new undemocratic Boris cabinet as “the most diverse yet” – including an alleged “son of an immigrant Asian worker made good” as Chancellor (in fact from a classic petty bourgeois shopkeeper’s family) and with an Asian woman as Home Secretary, who despite ticking at least two boxes for “intersectionality”, is one of the most vicious hard line reactionaries ever in the post, supporting the death penalty and actually sacked from the previous (Tory) government for secret meetings with the Israeli Zionists, virtually the most reactionary expression of imperialist belligerence and continuing colonialism on the planet.

Thus is further proven the Marxist understanding that all such single-issue politics has been a total avoidance of revolution by a fake-“left” which has confused and disarmed the working class with its feminism, LGBT rights, anti-racism and eco-campaigning.

Despite origins in real enough double-oppression and societal backwardness, very often these are issues which distort real inequalities (blaming men as such for society’s troubles eg, or suggesting that “gay marriage” is an advance), and become thereby either an obstacle to revolution or more often, counter-revolutionary.

Such anti-nazi impressionism can end up describing even crude anti-imperialism, such as most jihadism, as being “fascist” – which is simply wrong and on the wrong side of the fence, giving credence to the imperialist lies that its meaningless “war on terror” is “necessary policing of the world” to stop a “terrible threat”, instead of war being the deliberate bludgeoning instigated by, and the very essence of, its might-is-right world domination.

Meantime it is not true anyway that various boundaries, (fuzzy as they are) have not been crossed.

Just because the capitalists drag out the pretence that “democracy” continues (even ludicrously exaggerating their “concern” for the “will of the people”), means nothing.

Democracy is the best weapon the ruling class ever devised for maintaining its rule, cleverly hiding its real dictatorship as already explained, so they will not abandon it all until it is completely unworkable.

Certainly it is less effective because working class distrust and cynicism has grown decade by decade, as every promised route towards socialism proved to be total betrayal (not least by around a dozen Labour governments – all running imperialism – including Attlee’s massive majority “left” post-war administration carrying through the horrors of the already cited Greek civil war, the same in Malaysia, founding NATO, complicit with anti-communist conspiracies like Gladio).

But its confusing illusions persist, not only unchallenged and unexposed by the opportunism or cretinism of the fake-“left” but bolstered up.

And it is even usable to impose fascism.

That is exactly the methods used by the Nazis in the 1920s and 1930s, with Hitlerism “legally” elected into power (albeit with a helping of street violence and intimidation).

The dismantling of “freedoms” was not immediate either, requiring constant bullying, showmanship and bribery, including the spending on infrastructure like the autobahns, the Berlin grand boulevards and stadium etc etc.

Trump is doing the same, constantly pushing the limits of liberalism with brassy black-is-white lies –”I’m not a racist” he declares after inflaming mass “send them home” racist chanting against non-white Democrats, and encouraging white supremacist killings – and bending the constitution, defying the “liberals” to do anything, and “rewarding” the population with spending on tax cuts and investment (bought with unsustainable credit and international aggression).

Here is the latest example, seizing executive power over the “independent” intelligence agencies:

Trump has indicated that he might not wait for his nominee, the Republican congressman John Ratcliffe, to receive Senate confirmation before wresting control over the office of the director of national intelligence, which coordinates the work of the other 16 intelligence agencies.

“The acting director will be named shortly,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, announcing the departure of Coats, and his choice of Ratcliffe, who has been a staunch defender of Trump in Congress.

However, the statute that established the role of DNI states that in case of a vacancy, the principal deputy director acts in the role until a replacement is confirmed. That would be Sue Gordon, a career official with three decades’ experience in intelligence. An attempt to break the rules and oust her will probably heighten the sense in the intelligence agencies that they are under attack.

“Trump is consolidating his personal control over the intelligence community,” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA intelligence officer. He said the current directors of the CIA and FBI have found their hands tied increasingly when it comes to accurate intelligence assessment, by risk of being fired for something at odds with Trump’s views.

“I fear that there is a slow takeover of the norms and procedures of governance by this president, amassing unprecedented executive power,” Mowatt-Larssen, now at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, added. “To do that he needs to neutralise or at least silence the intelligence community. He has been doing that for three years, but this takes it to the new level.”

Trump described Ratcliffe as a “highly respected congressman” and “a former US attorney”...He became prominent on television talkshows in recent weeks for his outspoken defence of Trump in the face of the report by the former special counsel Robert Mueller, on the Trump campaign’s contacts with the Kremlin and Trump’s role in obstructing the investigation.

The outgoing director, Coats, is also a conservative Republican, but he has given testimony to Congress on issues like the threat of the climate crisis, the improbability of North Korean disarmament, Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal and Russian interference in the 2016 election that contradicted Trump’s own claims.

If Ratcliffe is confirmed and sought to politicise intelligence work further, it could lead to a clash with the intelligence agency professionals, warned John Sipher, a veteran of the CIA’s national clandestine services.

The “liberal” Democrats cannot resist these erosions for as long as they continue their “democracy” illusions, knowing that any confrontation will start to raise issues of popular resistance, and that leads on to revolutionary questions, the last thing they want as just another wing of the ruling class.

So they backed off impeachment challenges despite the refusal of the special investigation to clear Trump of wrongdoing and back off on this.

Plenty of similar restrictions, intimidations and censorship moves are under way in the US (and Britain) prosecuting or bullying journalists and entire newspapers for example as Trump does constantly.

“But you still have ‘free speech’ and can print articles and speak at meetings on issues” says petty bourgeois complacency.

Really?

And if you want to make an objective analysis of “terrorism” and the defeats it has inflicted upon imperialism?

Or discuss jihadism?

Teachers and pupils universally in the education system will either be called in by the state-run censorship programme of “Prevent” for life-blighting investigations, and police surveillance and pressure, or more usually, will be intimidated away from even raising such matters, forced to promulgate a “patriotic British values” line (whatever they are supposed to be).

Or how about speaking out on the Jewish landtheft occupation of Palestine and its genocidal suppression of the people there, and their right to fight back against the monstrous neo-colonialism using whatever means they can find (which will mostly be those defined as “terrorist” by Western ruling class diktat).

But even those who call out Trumpism as fascism mostly still only warn that “things are heading that way” etc.

Or, if like the Trot historian Neil Faulkner, currently cited by Ken Loach’s Left Unity remainers, they declare Trump to have “crossed the line” into fascism, they still give the working class entirely the wrong idea that “this has got to be stopped”, once more implying that there is a “normal” world of “freedom and democracy” to be had.

It is total garbage and all the more so in the period of Catastrophe now unfolding towards brutal Slump and war.

Only the understanding that “capitalism has got to be stopped”, all of it, in the only way possible, by the class war struggle to bring it down and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat can there be a fight which can really “stop fascism” or stop the warmongering torture and blitzing that “ordinary” imperialism is imposing and will impose.

Suppression of the brutal exploitation control of the capitalist system and the breakup of the bourgeois state which protects it, (police, army, intelligence system, judges prison etc) and its replacement by the firmest possible workers state is needed.

Not only does Faulkner and other Trot petty bourgeois shallowness not say any of this, but behind its “democracy” assumptions is a petty bourgeois detestation and fear of working class discipline, and hatred of workers states from the USSR onwards.

It muddies the water by conflating the censorship and repression by capitalism with the Western anti-communist propaganda against alleged “totalitarian dictatorship and repression” by workers states.

But there is no comparison, both in the nature and character of firm action by proletarian rule, and the barbaric brutality and inhuman torture and butchery imposed by imperialism across the world.

Not only does it not challenge fascism or imperialism it plays right into its hands, as the continuing counter-revolutionary provocations in Hong Kong are demonstrating.

It is guaranteed that the fake-“left” across the board will either be taken in by this outrageous posturing about “freedom” by the anarchic “demonstrators” (as the reactionary US Democrat Pelosi has been, coming out to “support” their violent disruption and attempted overthrow of the Hong Kong government) or will hesitate to make the valid criticism of Beijing that is required – namely to ask why it is hesitating at all in taking the firmest possible action to suppress this upheaval.

It has been clear from the start that this movement was nothing to do with “democratic opposition to the extradition law”, but is an organised attempt at counter-revolution against the Chinese workers state, not only inside Hong Kong’s one-country-two-systems compromise with imperialism but hoping to “spread its influence” inside China.

And it has also been clear that it was never “peaceful” but infiltrated with deliberately violent anarchists, many simply naïve petty bourgeois youth (from the better off Hong Kong island areas primarily), saturated with Western ideology and consumerist nonsense, but some obviously and some more sinisterly planted by Western intelligence as provocateurs (as Beijing has at least implied, correctly accusing the West of stirring up yet more “colour” revolution).

Hong Kong "protestors" gross violenceThat became startlingly clear with the monstrous violent onslaught on the government’s central building and its legislative chamber and repeatedly confirmed since as the “demonstrators” have deliberately and consciously escalated their violent attacks with coordinated attacks on the police and attempts to provoke “violent responses” for the benefit of the Western media, which is totally complicit in the whole reactionary stunt.

Their hypocrisy and lies have been breathtaking in the wild exaggeration of the numbers involved (using all the old tricks of close cut camera angles, careful editing of sequences, and simple lying about cause and effect) and in their lack of questioning or querying about what is actually going on, reproducing the lies and misstatements of the “movement”’s carefully selected “spokespeople”, all given easy ride coverage with none of the persistent questioning and interruptions used against “left” or even “liberal“ politicians day to day.

Not one question has been put about the deliberate escalation of violence (see "bricks hurled by slingshot" picture) by the demonstrators (hoping for blood on the floor to inflame the situation), nor of the relatively kid glove treatment so far meted out by the state forces, luridly misrepresented as “police violence” when the very opposite is the case.

Nor has the wilful trashing of Chinese state symbols and outright anti-communist slogan painting been queried, constituting a not a protest at a specific law but insurrectionary challenge to the rightful government authority, agreed by international negotiation and the handover treaty in 1997.

Obvious points would be to ask what would have happened elsewhere under such gross provocation – for example in Britain if a demonstration had not only illegally built up outside the House of Commons but had then invaded the building itself, breaking down the doors with iron bars and deliberately destroying the interior - or even more pertinently in “Northern Ireland” if Stormont had been invaded.

None would tolerate the kind of violence now deliberately being escalated including the bricks hurled at police family barracks as reported here (and note the overt insurrectionary declarations now made that this is a “long term violent revolution” and not the claimed “peaceful protest” it was lyingly dressed up to be at the start). Also the inflammatory lies that “anger has spread” missing out that large counter-demonstrations have been held supporting the Hong Kong government and police:

Ahead of a city-wide strike and simultaneous protests in seven districts, on Sunday night protesters evaded and frustrated the police by holding flashmob demonstrations. Groups of protesters scattered, switching locations at the last minute and disappearing before riot police were able to arrive en masse.

Protesters deviated from a previously planned rally in Hong Kong’s Western district, where police had prepared to defend China’s liaison office, a target in previous unrest.

Demonstrators moved east to Causeway Bay, a major shopping district where they occupied main roads and disrupted traffic. Police fired several rounds of teargas on protesters there but many had already moved to other locations.

In a park in Wan Chai, protesters defaced a statue of a golden bauhinia flower, a gift from China when Hong Kong was returned to Chinese control in 1997. The monument was spraypainted with the words: “Heaven will destroy the Communist party,” and “Liberate Hong Kong”.

This is the ninth week of consecutive protests in Hong Kong, as the semi-autonomous city faces a political crisis that has deepened as authorities have tried to suppress it.

In a statement released in the early hours of Monday, the Hong Kong government said “the deteriorating situation” showed protests were “spreading [and] pushing Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation.”

As the protests wear on, demonstrators have begun shifting strategies while authorities arrest more people and deploy harsher tactics against them. Police have arrested more than 60 people and charged 44 of them with rioting, a crime that could mean up to 10 years in prison.

On Sunday, people blocked Hong Kong’s cross-harbour tunnel and another group of protesters surrounded a police station in the outer district of Kwun Tong, , where they shined lasers at the police and threw bricks at the compound. Earlier in the day, after a peaceful rally in Tseung Kwan O in Hong Kong’s New Territories, protesters broke the windows of a police station, using a makeshift catapult to launch objects at the building.

The protests, which began over an extradition bill to send suspects to China, have turned into a broader political movement demanding accountability from the Hong Kong government, which ultimately answers to Beijing.

The former British colony, which reverted to Chinese control in 1997, is meant to enjoy a “high degree” of autonomy from the mainland as part of the “one country, two systems” framework, but residents say their freedoms are slowly disappearing under China’s influence.

Anger at the police and the Hong Kong government has spread from the protesters to the general public, as thousands of residents have joined weekend rallies and protests. Sunday’s protests marked the fourth day in a row of mass demonstrations.

On Saturday, protesters clashed with police in several locations in Kowloon, as police fired teargas and pepper spray on crowds occupying main roads and areas outside police stations, following a peaceful march earlier in the day. Thousands of civil servants and medical staff rallied on Friday, while those from Hong Kong’s finance sector held a flashmob protest on Thursday.

On Sunday, residents were handing out vouchers, food and supplies to protesters. On Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday, residents in a working-class district surrounded police, demanding the release of arrested protesters.

“At the beginning, we were alone. No one understood us,” said one demonstrator who asked not to give his name, adding that more people have been donating protective gear and supplies to the protests. “More people are coming out, which is better and there is more support.”

Protesters say police also appear to be changing their strategies, mostly keeping their distance and using teargas to disperse protesters instead of clashing directly with them. Others say the police appear to be waiting out the protesters, prolonging the standoffs and disruptions on the streets, perhaps in the hope of frustrating the general public.

“They wait until we are exhausted and the protests become stretched out. They are trying to change public perception,” said one protester, 29-year-old William.

“It’s a long-term protest. Some people might think we are acting like rioters, but looking back at history there is no peaceful revolution,” said Yan.

Some protesters stayed home, preparing for Monday’s mass strikes. Simultaneous rallies will take place in seven of Hong Kong’s 18 districts. Coffee shops and small businesses posted signs on their doors to say they would be closed on Monday. Workers from the transport sector have also pledged to stay home, potentially paralysing the city’s public transportation network.

As tensions in Hong Kong escalate, observers have been watching for signs of Beijing intervening. Chinese officials have not ruled out the possibility of deploying the People’s Liberation Army, which has a garrison in Hong Kong.

On Sunday, state media published several articles condemning protesters. An editorial in the state news agency Xinhua said: “The central government will not sit idly by and let this situation continue.”

But even more basic is the grotesque hypocrisy of the entire Western system that this has got anything to do with “freedom and democracy”.

Apart from the obvious point that there was no such thing in the British run colony for its entire century and a half of colonial rule, with only a last minute token promise of “democratic” change introduced just before the British were forced to hand back this stolen territory, solely to lay the ground for provocations such as this, what “Western freedom” are these pampered youth wanting?? That available in Saudi Arabia, where death by beheading and crucifixion is still a state punishment and women have only just been allowed some limited right to drive? Or perhaps that in Yemen which Saudi has butchered and driven into famine for four years? Or Palestine’s besieged Gaza strip where 2 million people are forced to stay in near concentration camp conditions, besieged by the Jewish Zionist occupation without electricity, most medicine, sewage polluted water or other basics - and the rest of their compatriots little better on the West Bank under the violent intimidation of the non-stop Zionist settlement, stealing even what little land remains to the indigenous population???

Or the freedom of the favallas in Brazil where new fascist president Jair Bolsonaro says the police and vigilantes should have open season to shoot down “criminals” (ie the poor and dispossessed) like “cockroaches”, essentially no questions asked.

Ditto for the police or death squad butchery in the Philippines under Duterte, killing at will under the pretence of a war on drugs which is nothing but intimidation of the poor ??

Or in the sick civil warlordist mess that has been made of Libya following its NATO destruction?

Or in Egypt where General Sisi’s regime was installed by the street slaughter of thousands and maintained by mass trials of the opposition followed by mass executions??

There is only one freedom attainable by the great mass of humanity and that is the freedom available when it is able to get out from under capitalist tyranny, only possible by revolution and the establishment of workers states which can suppress the vile bourgeois class, and its subversion.

The more firmly this workers dictatorship is maintained, the quicker society can be transformed to allow real freedom.

Some encouraging signs have emerged that Beijing will not tolerate this outrageous disruption much longer but it would be better if it moved far more quickly, particularly once the counter-revolutionary violent nature of the protests had become clear.

Its revisionist illusions in “not rocking the boat” have simply helped the West make a propaganda meal out of this trivial and shallow provocation - far from “upsetting the world” a firmer hand, combined with better workers state explanation, would take the wind out of its sails.

Lack of Leninism is the problem - it needs building quickly.

Alan Moss

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World Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles)

 

Puerto Rico’s independence demands more alive than ever

PUERTO Rico’s demand for independence was reaffirmed by the patriot Oscar López Rivera recently, insisting that this is the inalterable demand of the island’s people.

In statements to Granma International, he noted that the only path forward for his homeland is independence, and an end to the U.S. protectorate.

He cited, as another other important issue in the struggle, the elimination of Puerto Rico’s exorbitant foreign debt, which according to Wall Street has reached 73 billion dollars, and for which the island’s people bear no responsibility, he said.

López Rivera recalled that the Caribbean nation does not have its own public treasury to pay this debt, since all income generated goes straight to the United States, given its status as the reigning colonial power.

Puerto Rico cannot appeal to any international financial institution or declare bankruptcy as any state of the union could, because it is not part of U.S. continental territory and is prohibited from applying for financial bail-out programs, given its condition as a Free Associated State.

He explained that to resolve the issue, in 2016 the White House named a Financial Oversight Board, with powers greater than those of the governor, charged with the task of developing social cutback plans to guarantee payment to creditors.

López Rivera explained that economic measures taken since then have cut the budget for programs benefiting the population, and accentuate dependence on the United States.

This situation, he said, is leading many Puerto Ricans to fight for the island’s definitive independence, or emigrate to the mainland, a pattern that continues to increase. Moreover, the nation has been unable to recover from the disaster created in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, he added.

“Today we are confronting this criminal, vengeful debt imposed by credit agencies backed by the United States. Related to this issue, the government imposed on us the Financial Oversight Board, which is determining how to implement an austerity plan, one that threatens the present and future of Puerto Rico, in ways we can’t even imagine,” he stated.

The issue will be addressed in the United Nations General Assembly, he said, and the demand for the homeland’s independence and the right to self-determination will be raised, on the basis of the fact that, in 1952, when the United States imposed the Free Associated State, information was manipulated and distorted to serve its neocolonial goals.

“We advocate unity among left political forces, to put our differences aside and work to achieve our definitive independence, which has become a necessity,” López Rivera stressed.

As a young man he was recruited by the U.S. Army and obliged to participate in the Vietnam War.

Returning to the U.S. city of Chicago, where his family had settled in the 1970s, he joined the struggle in defense of the rights of Puerto Ricans, becoming an outstanding community organizer, demanding better living conditions for the population.

In 1976, he joined the underground movement in favor of Puerto Rican independence as a member of the National Liberation Armed Forces (faln), and was imprisoned in 1981, following his arrest by the FBI and conviction for alleged seditious conspiracy.

At the time of his capture, he sought classification as a prisoner of war, in accordance with Protocol I of the 1949 Geneva Convention that recognizes this condition in cases of persons detained during armed conflicts and struggles against colonial oppression.

This demand was ignored by the U.S. government, which sentenced him to 55 years in prison. Subsequently, they fabricated an escape attempt and the sentence was extended to 70 years, 12 of which he spent in solitary confinement.

Oscar López served a total of 36 years of hard prison. On January 17, 2017, President Barack Obama granted him a pardon and his release occurred on May 17 of the same year.

He recently traveled to Cuba to attend the 4th International Conference for the Balance of the World in Havana, which was held at the end of January.

For this Puerto Rican patriot, returning to Cuba is a great honor. “I feel super excited to be here. This forum can illuminate us regarding the necessary unity and put divisions aside. I am one of those who have confidence that a better and more just world is possible. We fight to achieve the goal of prosperity for all human beings, because not only does Puerto Rico suffer, but the entire planet. We suffer the punishment imposed by the imperialist U.S. ogre.”

He said that maintaining the continuity and legacy of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro is important. “We need youth to continue that legacy, because it represents the future of society.

To continue the example of Fidel Castro, who assumed it from José Marti,” he concluded.

 

 

 

 

 

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