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Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic and 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

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No 1283 December 19th 2005

Imperialist hesitation over continuing Middle East disasters will not stop the plunge to World War Three. Bush’s arrogant branding of civil rights phone tap protests as “unAmerican” is a better guide to imperialism’s increasing dictatorial measures (fascistisation) than half-successful stitched up democracy in Iraq to cover over imperialist failures. Slump will further expose the Goebbels lies of the system and give revolutionary education but decades of anti-communism – fostered by the fake-“left” – needs battling in the fight for Leninist leadership.

Only the most astonishing “black-is-white” in-your-face “doublethink” lying keeps the disaster struck Bush and Blair regimes in place, as the sticky mess of the Iraqi neo-colonialist quagmire continues to drag at imperialism’s war plans.

Defeat on the ground, combined with debilitating panic of the onrushing capitalist slump crisis, has slowed up their monstrous plunge towards World War Three.

Just how long and damagingly the disastrous chaos and expense of the Middle East and Afghanistan will hold them back is now one of the more significant questions in trying to understand the collapse of this imperialist system, now facing its greatest and almost certainly terminal crisis in all of its centuries long domination of the planet.

Just how long their lies, tearing up of human rights, increasingly open dictatorship and cynicism can hold these particular bourgeois up in power is equally open as more and more sections of the ruling class betray their nervousness and split, or breakaway, or try to wash their hands of the worst dictatorship and war excesses now returning as the norm for capitalism even in the supposedly “advanced, democratic and free” rich imperialist countries (torture, assassinations, bribery, corruption, intimidation, criminality and repression having remained the norm for the majority of the exploited Third World anyway even in the ‘best’ of times of the capitalist post-war boom).

The overall path is set – capitalism is once again running into the intractable problems of a massive overproduction crisis, a built in and inescapable result of production for profit, which periodically must bring the most devastating collapses in production and the society around it, as Marx showed in his 25 years long study of the antagonistic underlying and fundamental contradictions of the system (see joining page for economic quotes, and the Communist Manifesto, three volumes of Capital and Lenin’s further work on imperialist economics).

Only the insane creation of yet more mountains of paper dollar credits, already distorting the entire world trading system to a degree unprecedented in all history (as reflected by the ever expanding and unsustainable American deficit, the now rapidly rising price of gold (in fact meaning the falling value of the dollar since gold embeds real value and is much closer to a fixed marker than anything else – see Capital again), and the huge surpluses held by world economies like Japan, Taiwan, and particularly China) has kept the plates spinning for the US and its tailenders like Britain, and to some extent all the other imperialists; the trading system is now so dollar penetrated that they fear going down too if the States goes.

But it cannot go on much longer as the contradictions relentlessly increase, however sophisticated the computer systems and market mechanisms have become.

And the only way out, taken by capitalism in all past (and regularly recurring) crises, has been the bitter intensification of competition, bankrupting weaker rival companies in the early days in the midst of devastating human misery, want and slump, and physically eliminating rival monopoly capitalist groupings (whole countries) in the imperialist epoch along with the destruction of “surplus” capital and “surplus” workers.

Three increasingly horrific wars – the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the supposed “war to end wars” of the 1914-1918 trenches and the nearly 100 million dead worldwide in the chaos, barbarity and destruction of the Second World War – set the pattern.

And it is happening again, from the initial forays of the Clintonites against Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan, and the monstrous NATO bomb blitzkrieg bullying of Serbia, to all-out carpet bombing civilian-terrorising mayhem and destruction launched against Afghanistan and then Iraq, using every Goebbels Big Lie propaganda justification in the book – and then some – including the deliberate panic-inducing nonsensical lie of the “war on terrorism” to stampede people into mindless support.

The aim by overwhelmingly dominant US imperialism was to get in first to keep control by making it clear what lies in store for all challengers to its tyrannical power, from anti-imperialist struggles to the rival capitalist monopoly groupings which are locked into the increasing vicious fight for world markets.

Plenty more is being prepared by the prolific lie machines of the western intelligence agencies to warm up new victims for escalation of the blitzkrieg “solution” by demonising them as “rogue states”, “terror states” and “evil empire” – picking carefully on those most suitable for treatment because of their past history of rebelliousness, communism or accessibility. Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, Iran and Zimbabwe are all in the firing line at various points.

Failure of the “shock and awe” superfast terrorising overthrow of Iraq by kick-arse American troops, against spontaneous anti-imperialist hatred, has stunned the neo-con aggression temporarily, stalling briefly the further rush to war.

Splits in the establishment and exposures of the real fascist nature of capitalism (not some new element but one usually hidden well in the boom period – aided by the reformists and “democracy” supporting fake-”lefts” of all hues) have been driven out by the increasing difficulties they are facing controlling the Middle East, and the uncertainties and doubts that failure is sending through the whole system.

But the fascistisation has not stopped even if confused by the strange vacillation between aggressive cockiness and play-acting denials – virtually boasting at one moment about how “hard” the capitalist system can be, arresting people with no evidence and flying them over the world to brutalise, torture and torment them in concentration camps eg and denying and repudiating torture the next.

It emphasises the uncertainty in the ruling class as it tries to work out how quickly it can, or must, dispense with the game of democracy. If it is direct rule then it better be frightening and intimidating.

But its best weapon ever in the class war has been the lying democracy racket, developed over 400 years to convince ordinary people that they somehow have a say in what happens and particularly to trap them with the delusion that change and permanent improvement for workers lives can be brought about by more or less peaceful accumulations of social and economic advances in a framework of “human” and “legal” rights.

And once that is given up, the endless confusion and lack of confidence that splits and holds back the masses from knowing, understanding and using their own strength to build a rational fair world, will be cut right through as they see far more clearly the real brutal exploitation and contempt that is the reality of capitalist rule, its unstoppable and ever escalating greed (just the “bonuses” in the City this year will be up to £30M for some bankers!!!!) and plundering of the value produced by the work of ordinary people (“guaranteed” pensions being rescinded by companies eg).

There is only one direction then left - the overturning of capitalism by revolutionary struggle, and the imposition of a dictatorship of the great majority over the reactionaries and fascists, to take all the wealth of society into common hands and use it for common purposes to build planned socialism.

The fake-”left” delusions, or deliberate misleadership, that “democracy” can still work (or was ever more than a lying illusion) is now one of the great obstacles. Bush’s latest aggressiveness over phone tapping – accusing the people who exposed it of unAmericanism - makes clear the reality. Ditching “democracy” altogether is increasingly the only option for the desperate bourgeoisie.

That does not mean the same old fraud will not be endlessly reworked, to buy time for as long as possible as it has been in Iraq eg to try and cover over the retreat from Iraq, aided by the misleadership and idiocies of the revisions such as the Iraqi Communist Party and others.

But the latest election there showed that the entire population of Iraq, Sunni, Kurdish or Shia, primarily wants the brutal tyrannical US/British occupation to be brought to an end immediately.

The key element of the supposed Iraq election “victory of democracy over insurgency” was precisely that the massive turnout had one single aim above all else - to declare that the hated imperialists should immediately pull out.

When “elections” fail to produce a result rapid lessons will be learned about the usefulness of “democracy”. Only the lack of Leninist leadership to clarify the understanding might drag out the process yet.

Even the bourgeois press sees through this nonsense:

Last week’s election was meant to be the culminating act in entrenching democratic rule in Iraq. Instead it marks the nadir of the American enterprise there. The brutal failure of that enterprise, and of the similarly unlawful tactics employed in the war on terror, has boosted terrorist ranks worldwide, dealt grievous blows to the notion that human rights and the rule of law are essential elements in building democracy, and brought the US’s standing to its lowest point in generations.

But the real victim of the war is Iraq. Despite the exercise of awesome US power and the expenditure of billions of dollars, the security situation grows worse by the month. Iraq remains the most violent country in the world, with a leadership that dare not set foot among its people. But President Bush is not prepared to countenance any compromise in his original war goals. Despite recent talk of pulling down troop levels, he finally declared that “we will settle for nothing less than victory”.

The carnage in Iraq is not primarily caused by the insurgents. It is the death squads run by the Shia and Kurdish militias - according to former US diplomat James Dobbins, who is now with the Rand Corporation - who bring about a greater threat of civil war. Indeed the former US-appointed Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi has accused Jalal Talabani’s regime of committing human-rights abuses against Sunnis that are as egregious as those under Saddam Hussein.

Last week’s election will do nothing to hasten the winding-down of the occupation, which is the principal obstacle to peace in Iraq, and the country is breaking down into violent communal fiefdoms. The US introduced sectarianism in Iraq as one of its very first acts of occupation, by reorganising this secular nation’s politics along explicitly religious and ethnic lines.

This election, apart from the fact that it is taking place under occupation, was held amid such insecurity and violence that few candidates dared to campaign in public. In addition, all three main presidential candidates are long-term exiles, and two of them, Allawi and Ahmed Chalabi, are known to have been in the pay of US security services. This election will not enhance Iraqi sovereignty or the new government’s legitimacy, nor would it be recognised as free and fair in any democratic country.

The large Sunni vote on Thursday will regrettably make little difference to their marginalisation. They turned out to vote in the October referendum when assured that some key constitutional provisions they considered repugnant could be rewritten by the new parliament elected in December. Laith Kuba, a spokesman for the prime minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, revealed after the voting closed that any such constitutional amendments would be virtually impossible since any three provinces could reject them with a two-thirds majority.

Who will unite the world in preventing unlawful wars and occupations that are now the root causes of terrorism?

Meanwhile the destruction and division of Iraq continues. The key challenges are the occupation, the comprehensive marginalisation of the Sunnis and the mass violence generated by these two wounds. The election does little to address any of these calamities, even though - as in October’s referendum - prayerful hopes for peace were evident on Sunni faces as they decided to vote in their hundreds of thousands.

· Salim Lone is a former spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq

Other petty bourgeois voices and dissenters are beginning to understand the realities far better too, as reflected by playwright Harold Pinter. His expressive talents were put to full use in an acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize recently awarded (shamefully ignored by the bourgeois establishment). Large chunks are worth repeating, despite a fatal flaw, of which more below:

[]...Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.

As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.

The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.

But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.

...[] But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States’ actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.

Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as ‘low intensity conflict’. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.

The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I choose to offer it here as a potent example of America’s view of its role in the world, both then and now.

I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s.

The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: ‘Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.’

Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. ‘Father,’ he said, ‘let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.’ There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.

Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.

Finally somebody said: ‘But in this case “innocent people” were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?’

Seitz was imperturbable. ‘I don’t agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,’ he said.

As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.

I should remind you that at the time President Reagan made the following statement: ‘The Contras are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.’

The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.

The Sandinistas weren’t perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.

The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.

I spoke earlier about ‘a tapestry of lies’ which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a ‘totalitarian dungeon’. This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.

Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.

The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the country. Free health and free education were over. Big business returned with a vengeance. ‘Democracy’ had prevailed.

But this ‘policy’ was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.

The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’

It’s a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.

The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.

What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what’s called the ‘international community’. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be ‘the leader of the free world’. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally - a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man’s land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You’re either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.

The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading - as a last resort - all other justifications having failed to justify themselves - as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.

How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they’re interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London.

Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don’t exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. ‘We don’t do body counts,’ said the American general Tommy Franks.

Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. ‘A grateful child,’ said the caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. ‘When do I get my arms back?’ he asked. The story was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn’t holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you’re making a sincere speech on television.

The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are unobtrusive, out of harm’s way. The mutilated rot in their beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.

...I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as ‘full spectrum dominance’. That is not my term, it is theirs. ‘Full spectrum dominance’ means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.

The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don’t quite know how they got there but they are there all right.

The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity - the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons - is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.

Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government’s actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force - yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.

I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man’s man.

‘God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden’s God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam’s God was bad, except he didn’t have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don’t chop people’s heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don’t you forget it.’

A writer’s life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked activity. We don’t have to weep about that. The writer makes his choice and is stuck with it. But it is true to say that you are open to all the winds, some of them icy indeed. You are out on your own, out on a limb. You find no shelter, no protection - unless you lie - in which case of course you have constructed your own protection and, it could be argued, become a politician.

I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.

If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man.

The powerfully stated pain and disillusionment of the petty bourgeoisie in the “democracy” it had believed in (for at least 200 years), will grow far deeper and more bitter as the full depth of the historical confidence trick the bourgeoisie has pulled is made clearer by the devastation of the oncoming crisis.

But for the moment it remains fatally flawed. Despite his throwaway remark of how the Soviet Union contained the worst of US tyranny for decades – which it did – Pinter is as poisoned by the anti-communism which imperialism has saturated the world with as the most reactionary of bourgeois.

Early on in his otherwise excellent declaration is this fat black bluebottle in the ointment:

Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.

Documented and verified? Where and by whom exactly? By the stream of sour petty bourgeois renegades and on-the-make shysters that have carpet-bagged the soviet states for the last 15 years reducing its painfully and solidly built achievements to penury and opportunistic shallowness?

Probe any of these endless stories and nothing but rot and hollowness is exposed. But mostly the “evidence” is never properly and scientifically examined, context and circumstance given. Only foul impressions are created.

Pinter says he understands the multi-layered lying of western “didn’t happen” propaganda – and then swallows every anti-Soviet calumny in the CIA, MI6 disinformation manual.

Of course there were flaws in the first titanic attempts to build socialism and not least because of the philosophical retreats and cover-ups of revisionism from the 1920s onwards. They need to be analysed and faced up to, something the fake-”left” revisionists still slide over and continue to evade.

But far more were the giant achievements (something the disgusting anti-communist Trots pay only lip service to in their endless hatred of proletarian dictatorship).

The EPSR analysed the questions thoroughly in its 2001 Perspectives:

24. Another clue to the real issues which strike fear into the very heart of the bourgeoisie’s long rule on earth, and thereby instruct workers on what is the crucial essence of the whole class-struggle question, is capitalist propaganda’s relentless campaigning on the matter of so-called ‘workers-state violence’, (meaning the revolution’s audacity in establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat to replace the existing ‘capitalist democracy’ world of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (and there is no alternative replacement)); but dressed up by the philosophical individualism of the imperialists as questions of ‘human rights’. This complete fraud of supposed ‘totalitarianism’ versus supposed ‘humanitarianism’ has been used as a get-out clause by more millions of petty-bourgeois-minded people than anything else for escaping into anti-communism from the pressures in the West against loyalty to the workers states and to the socialist revolution.

Serious scientific research may one day be able to sort out the actual record of any mistakes, disasters, or wrong-headedness which workers states might have been responsible for, but a bloodcurdling worldwide torrent of lies, distortions, and rumours has been pouring out against the dictatorship of the proletariat from day 1 in 1917 and continues to this moment against China, Cuba, Korea, etc, and unceasing in retrospect against the USSR, constantly alleging ‘millions’ of deaths here, there, and everywhere.

If that same research were also to count up the totals allegedly killed by the revolution since October 1917, in all the newspaper, magazine, book, and broadcast hysteria of the whole bourgeois world, it would come to many, many hundreds of millions of dead bodies. Populations would have been decimated. As it happens, the population of Tsarist Russia/USSR went from 140 million in 1917 to nearly 280 million by 1989, despite having almost an entire generation of young men killed liberating Russia and Europe from imperialist war-aggression in 1941-45 which killed more than 20 million Soviet citizens, a dramatic population increase for a European state. Over the same 72 years, the population of France, for example, which lost very few people in World War II, went from 50 million to 52 million. And the positive stability making possible that huge Soviet population increase, has disappeared completely following the destruction of the dictatorship of the proletariat in 1990, and life expectancy, plus population totals and projections, are now in serious decline.

What Western brainwashing has also never bothered to explain is why would any workers state regime, such as the USSR, which never had an unemployment problem, only labour shortages because of its planned economy, and which only became an ever-greater power with its ever- expanding highly-educated and scientifically skilled mass population, - ever want to just start killing all its own people for no reason?

The defence of the workers states against non-stop counter-revolutionary attempts or provocations by surrounding imperialism since 1917 is obviously a different subject entirely. After armies from 14 of the leading capitalist countries staged a counter-revolutionary invasion of the Soviet Union after 1917 and destroyed virtually the whole territory with bombing and scorched-earth terror, and then financed and armed a further two years devastating civil war, followed by endless sabotage against the young workers state, the tension in the USSR was enormous within the rush to build the country up before the next terrifying invasion threat from vastly-stronger imperialism materialised just 12 years later when Nazi Germany began its colossal master-race rearmament programme, financed by Western bankers and politically turned a blind eye to, by the other Great Powers (despite its obvious fascist-aggressive dangers, and despite being forbidden by the Versailles Treaty) because of Hitler’s determination to find more Lebensraum for a Greater Germany to the East, meaning the Soviet workers state would soon be invaded and put to the sword again. The notorious ‘Fifth Column’ of fascist traitors had already helped in the German-financed destruction of the soft-left Spanish Republic from 1936-39. Bureaucratic paranoia in Moscow was regrettably high. The Stalinist Revisionist degeneration from the higher scientific grasp of international class struggle of Marxism-Leninism laid the rest of the USSR’s existence up to 1990 open to many mistakes of all kinds.

The same can be said of all the other workers states, in different ways and for different reasons. But with what conclusion? That workers revolutions should never attempt to build their own states because they may have to use the power of the dictatorship of the proletariat to survive, and that these new regimes in different countries (usually previously backward) might not always be able to run things perfectly, or avoid mistakes or wrong-headedness?? This is not a serious approach to history. Such philosophical idealist irrelevance can only fill the minds of the most academic ‘revolutionary’ posturers in the West, without exception, all in the anti-communist counter-revolutionary camp in reality.

Another interesting propaganda point is that made by the ‘Tiananmen Square massacres’ which the whole planet has a graphic grasp of and will unfailingly bring up whenever a communist world (as an alternative to capitalism) is spoken of. What is fascinating is that of some 30,000 days that workers states have existed since 1917 for massacring the hundreds of millions of murdered people supposedly to their credit, only Tiananmen is always confidently quoted as an ‘example’ of this happening. Other named ‘massacres’ confidently quoted might just include the Katyn Forest, or Hungary 1956, or the Ukraine famine, or the Moscow-Trials, but not much else.

Now although Western sources have subsequently admitted that not a single life was actually lost on Tiananmen Square itself (despite the terrifying pictures of tents, bicycles, and barricades crushed by tanks), nevertheless there was undoubtedly a civil war skirmish in Beijing in 1989, and up to 150 people lost their lives in total in that centre (and one or two others), as agreed by all slightly-more-responsible anti-communist Western hysterics. And at least 50 of these were state officials (soldiers, police, postmen, busdrivers, etc) murdered by the mob. But if around 500 million is the total butchered by communism since 1917 after adding up every single Western horror story published or broadcast since then, then the accounting for them by Western anecdote, which never progresses spontaneously far beyond Tiananmen when proof is demanded, would still leave 499,999,900 butchered by communism unaccounted for. Throw in the most exaggerated anti-communist estimates of deaths due to ‘workers-state responsibility’ the Ukraine famine, Moscow Trials, Katyn, and Hungary, and there are still more than 495 million dead at communism’s hands since 1917 that most people cannot remotely quote a source for, place, incident, struggle, or whatever.

Yet no one has difficulty in remembering Auschwitz and the holocaust which killed several million Jews, Gipsies, communists, trade-unionists, Soviet prisoners-of-war, etc, etc (although never described as the victims of capitalist democracy (which voted Hitler into power in 1933) as opposed to everyone always bringing up the victims of communist rule). The Somme and other places of trench-war butchery of tens of thousands at a time are also easily remembered. Yet people cannot put a place or a time to at least 495 million people killed allegedly by communism since 1917. But the name Tiananmen, on the other hand, is never forgotten by anybody, a ‘massacre’ of just 100 people.

If ‘labour camps’ is the supposed answer, why are there no names to them? Without any research necessary, most people can name genuine labour death-camps from the same period of history, capitalist labour death-camps: Auschwitz, Belsen, Birkenau, Treblinka, Dachau, Buchenwald, Maidanek, etc. Russian names too difficult? But everyone has heard of Lyubianka the KGB’s prison HQ. Actual historical records will one day disprove this ‘Soviet death-camp’ nonsense.

Conclusion? That there have never been any ‘mass victims’ of workers states at all, any time, anywhere; that the entire 500 million are just the nonsensical fiction of relentless Western anti-communist brainwashing, prolonged to this day thanks to hordes of anti-Communist fake ‘left’ thronging the labour movements in the West. ?

21. Cynicism has most difficulty getting its brain round how easily derisible unsophisticated Soviet bureaucracy made itself, in its sick cult-of-the-individual days; in its farcical self-liquidation which no one fought hard to prevent; in its clumsy pollution; in some of its crude simplistic brutalities for political control or to exert social/cultural pressure. How could part of the future frequently look so embarrassingly naive and barbaric, and end up falling flat on its face anyway?

The first point is to forget all comparison with life in the West. Compare Soviet workers-state achievements with the hell-hole of Tsarist Russia or even with the hellhole since 1990 in spite of massive Western aid and investment flooding in to try to make capitalism look good. The only comparison for Soviet achievements would be with some other vast backward semi-Asiatic hell hole like Tsarist Russia, but none exist. A better comparison on whether workers state should be seen as part of the world’s past or crucial to its future would have been seen in likening China’s progress to India’s from similar starting points and with similar problems, which China won hands down, but then partly confused the picture by borrowing some capitalist methods of development for its own use. A clear sight of Cuba’s outstanding superiority to anywhere else in Latin America in eradicating illiteracy, ill-health, grinding slum-poverty, and much else of traditional backwardness of the region, has been deliberately clouded by US imperialist might bending every sinew to subvert, undermine, blockade, poison, terrorise, vilify, etc to keep everything on edge and prevent clear thinking about Cuba’s remarkable achievements. By accident or design ,Vietnam’s progress has been obscured by the surrounding ‘miracle’ economies of the South East Asian ‘tigers’. But the first collapse later, and Indonesia is up in flames of revolt. When the world crash comes, how will the comparison seem then?

And what crucially matters is how it is seen locally, not from Islington. China’s potential for revolutionary workers-state regional leadership is far from over yet. As was always going to be the case, the fate of the world imperialist trade-war crisis will be decisive in what future the Third World chooses for itself, throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. And once revolutionary workers-states become the dominant pattern on earth, then the Western imperialist ‘free market’ racket of exploiting the whole planet for its own benefit really will find its days numbered. A much healthier, more rational world is in view. Build Marxism-Leninism. ?

5. Apart from a few groups of museum-Stalinists in some countries who simply deny most of the difficult problems of 20th century development, all the rest of the 57 varieties of Trotskyism, Revisionism, and Centrism on the fake-’left’ tend to capitulate to this all-powerful international anti-communist sentiment.

6. This widespread mentality not only challenges traditional Marxist ideas on how socialism could come about, but on how history itself works. Instead of class-struggle revolutions being civilisation’s driving force, idealist philosophy again rules. The fake ‘left’ spends its entire time manoeuvring for electoral ‘alliance’ pecking order position (LSA Trots); trying to recreate ‘left’ Labourism (CPB, SLP, SP,) etc or pretending to guarantee ‘mistake-free socialism’ by the pedantic peddling of abstract act, generalised programmes, constitution; or standing orders of some wholly academic immaculate-party conception (CPGB, SLP, open Polemic, etc).

7. Wholly shunned is any attempt to re-convince the international working-class that a further development of Marxist scientific understanding alone holds the key to civilisation’s future by demonstrating a correct analysis of the current stage of imperialist crisis and polemically defending it against all comers, rebuilding a party of revolutionary theory as Leninism did, in other words. ?

The lies and campaigns continue relentlessly – especially against those being lined up next for the slaughter.

Some of the foulest are aimed at the Chinese where a workers state continues (despite sometimes appalling revisionist illusions about collaboration with the west, including support for the wholly invented concept of “world terrorism”) and has been so successful in its socialist organisation of capitalist production that it increasingly challenges even the biggest powers economically, thus drawing double hostility from the west.

But the western lie machine – including the bourgeois press – gets caught out sometimes. Quickly buried away was the Guardian’s recently humiliation after running lurid front page stories about a dissident supposedly beaten to a jelly by vicious thugs, only to find him alive and relatively uninjured:

On Thursday last week the Guardian carried the following note in its daily corrections column: “In a report headed ‘They beat him until he was lifeless’: How democracy activist in China’s new frontline was left for dead after a brutal attack by a uniformed mob (front page, October 10) we said that Lu Banglie [a pro-democracy activist] was so injured in the beating that ‘his eye [lay] out of its socket’ and ‘the ligaments in his neck were broken’. Subsequent reports have made it clear that Mr Lu’s injuries were not as serious as had been stated. In particular, a report headed Chinese activist vows to continue, despite beating, page 3, October 12, stated, after an interview with Mr Lu: ‘Although he was in pain from his neck, it was not broken and his eye did not come out of its socket.’” I added a note saying, in effect, that the huge disparity between these reports would be the subject of this column today.

The initial report containing what were quickly exposed as gross errors and exaggerations was written by the Guardian’s newly appointed Shanghai correspondent, Benjamin Joffe-Walt. Mr Joffe-Walt is 25. His main experience as a journalist has been gained in six months working for a South Africa newspaper, This Day, until it ceased publication in November 2004, and an overlapping period as a stringer, a freelance correspondent, for a British newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph. For the latter he filed stories from all over Africa, including Darfur. He has won several awards: young journalist of the year from the Foreign Press Association in London, in November last year, and the CNN African print journalist of the year award in June this year. He has been runner-up in two other awards. He started work for the Guardian on September 1.

Five weeks into his contract, while deputising for the Guardian’s China correspondent, Jonathan Watts, he went to Taishi in southern China, which was described in his report as “the hotspot of the growing rural uprisings”. With him were a local driver, an interpreter who had travelled with him from Shanghai, and Lu Banglie. Mr Lu, who had undertaken to put them on the right road, insisted, according to Joffe-Walt, on going all the way to Taishi, despite being asked three times to leave the car. Joffe-Walt’s report, available on the Guardian website, tells vividly what happened there. Mr Lu was pulled out of the car and severely beaten. The driver, the interpreter and Joffe-Walt locked themselves in the car for safety. Joffe-Walt was punched through the window. They were detained and questioned, and left convinced that Mr Lu was dead.

In Shanghai again 24 hours later Joffe-Walt filed his first-person eye-witness account. Indeed, working against a tight deadline on Sunday for Monday’s edition, he filed 3,500 words in a graphic stream-of-consciousness narrative...

He filed only an hour before deadline, which left little time for interaction with the desk. He was not specifically questioned by the desk in London about some of the details in his description. He was not asked how far he was from Mr Lu when the latter was being beaten. He was not asked how clearly he could see the things he was reporting he had seen. At the same time Joffe-Walt failed to communicate to the desk the condition he was in then and was still in at the time of writing. He was still convinced at that time that Mr Lu was dead. I shall come back to that.

When it became clear that Mr Lu was alive and his injuries were not consistent with what had been described, relief among readers over his survival was mixed with serious concern about the grave flaws thus revealed in the report. The Guardian recalled Joffe-Walt to London, via Hong Kong where he was interviewed by the Guardian’s diplomatic editor, Ewen MacAskill, who had been sent there for the purpose. MacAskill and Watts, who had been recalled from leave, have spoken to all the people who were with Joffe-Walt in Taishi, including Mr Lu. The Guardian arranged for Mr Lu to have a medical examination and scan. They revealed no serious injuries.

...I have interviewed Joffe-Walt, mainly in two sessions, for a total of more than three hours and I am sure that it is right to stop short of the wholesale condemnation of him that the matter may appear to invite. ..

This sly and mealy mouthed “apology” which blames the journalist (though it then goes on virtually to justify him) was naturally buried far back in the paper and not splashed across the front page where the original lurid lies had been plastered, a common trick of bourgeois propaganda, leaving the story as “true” in the public mind.

More importantly it was only made because the normal distortions and elevations of minor incidents into wholesale condemnations of supposed “communist tyranny” went too far and were caught out by inexperience of the “journalist” concerned. The staggering admissions of how casually the material was checked and verified by senior editors (for a special front page!) – which even apprentice journalists learn to do early in their training – expose the relentless anti-communism of the capitalist press (and in this case the ex-Trot dominated atmosphere of the Guardian) which wills on this kind of story.

Try that kind of distortion (or even the truth sometimes) against a multinational corporation, or western intelligence service, and the entire newspaper would be shut down.

But this is anti-communism and plenty more of this stuff is routinely printed and left for truth – such as the non-stop anti-Mugabe stories for example – even when riddled with internal contradictions.

But the childishness of the propaganda lately is getting more exposed by the deepening crisis and imperialism’s difficulties. Here is another:

It was a summer publishing sensation, an 814-page biography of a man the authors depict as the worst mass murderer of the 20th century, with 111 pages of notes and bibliography.

Mao: The Unknown Story, by Jung Chang, celebrated author of the world bestseller, Wild Swans, and her husband, historian Jon Halliday, was hailed by reviewers, most of whom were not specialists on China. The book was described as ‘a triumph’, ‘stupendous’ and ‘awesome’ when it was published in Britain. UK sales have reached 60,000.

But now the authors find themselves in a bitter battle with some of the world’s leading China experts, who have united to unleash a barrage of criticism of the book in general, and, in particular, of its sourcing...

The central thrust of the book is that Mao was a sadistic monster, worse than Hitler or Stalin, and responsible for 70 million deaths. His Marxism was a shallow mask for selfishness.

His reputation as a military leader and champion of the peasants was a sham, argue the book’s authors. Portraying Mao as a creature of Stalin, the authors say that, far from moving China forward, he did nothing good, ruthlessly eliminating rivals, starving millions, provoking wars and treating his wives abominably.

By concentrating on the man and his misdeeds, critics say, the book does not explain the context of Mao’s rise, his ability to hold power for 26 years and his international impact. ‘More needs to be taken into account than a simple personalisation of blame,’ one leading historian, Jonathan Spence of Yale, wrote in the New York Review of Books

...There are elements in the story on which there is general agreement. Nor do the book’s critics deny that Mao was a monster. But a 14-page review article to appear next month in the China Journal, by Gregor Benton of Cardiff University and Steve Tsang of St Antony, Oxford, contends that the methods used by the authors ‘make for bad history and worse biography’.

Andrew Nathan of Columbia set off the debate in the LRB with a review last month, headed ‘Jade and Plastic’. He acknowledged that the ‘unknown stories’ in the book ‘if true, will be big news for historians’. But he said it was difficult to know which of the multiple sources often given for an event were relevant. He claimed, ‘that many of Chang and Halliday’s claims are based on distorted, misleading or far-fetched use of evidence.’

The academic critics have focused on around 20 specific events where the book provides a fresh account of events, including its sensational claim that the Chinese Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, intentionally let the Red Army escape on the historic Long March of 1934-5 when Mao led his communist forces across China to a safe haven in the north. In their defence of their book, the authors point to their detailed references, such as the 26 sources for the claim about the Long March.

Nathan replies in a response below their letter: ‘Of these 26 items, which one, two or three unequivocally support the improbable claim that Chiang let the Reds escape intentionally?’

Dispute also surrounds the book’s account of the battle of Luding Bridge, during the March, celebrated in communist lore as a heroic feat by the Red Army. Chang and Halliday say it never took place, basing themselves on the lack of casualty reports, evidence from the curator of a museum, and testimony from a 93-year-old woman they met at the scene in 1997 who had lived there at the time. In their letter to the LRB, they point to seven written sources for their account.

But an Australian journalist recently found an equally aged witness who claims the battle did take place. The Long March, a book by two Britons in China who walked the route, claims the account by Chang and Halliday is ‘wrong on almost every count’...

So even the comfortable capitalist academic critics find this one hard to swallow, not because they seek the truth but because they fear such crude and childish lies will be too easily exposed, backfiring on the imperialist lie framework.

It will happen anyway because the 800 year old capitalist system is out of time and can only head for the greatest disintegrating crisis in all of history, a great educator for the world’s masses.

But crucial to the ending of the system is the building of clear truthful revolutionary understanding and leadership. Only the continuing misleadership of the fake-”lefts” stands in the way.

Build Leninism. Don Hoskins


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Capitalism’s endless exploitation relentlessly increases the pressures that are pushing the world’s masses unstoppably to revolution

The progress of injustice
—Special for Granma International—

• If we listen to the rhetoric of Western propagandists, the world continues to speed toward higher goals of progress and economic growth. However, one must ask, progress and economic growth for whom?

An economic and social study recently issued by the United Nations at its headquarters in New York responds to that question: it is the rich, the report concludes, who enjoy more progress and economic growth, while the poor are left with the worst troubles: more hunger, more poverty, more disease and more lack of education.

The 158-page UN study, titled Report on the World Social Situation 2005: the Inequality Predicament, shows that such disparity not only affects entire countries, but substantial differentiations exist within countries depending on social strata, gender and ethnicity.

Moreover, the figures reached and research carried out by the study’s authors show that women bear the brunt in education, employment, wages, social security and in basic human rights.

Many societies are based on the merciless exploitation of most of the population, in which women - including children and teenagers - are the main victims. The UN report points out that gender-based disparity to women’s disadvantage is increasing throughout the world.

And what may be said about advances in science and technology and its practical application? The UN report is very clear. These advances have benefited the rich. In today’s world, it says, the great majority of societies show gaps that are alarmingly widening between the rich and the poor. That gap may be manifested in wages, working and living conditions, educational and training opportunities and economic advancement, and it is even worse for women.

Tens of millions of people - 60% of whom are women and girls - are barely subsisting in the informal sector of the economy, which continues to grow in Latin America and is also a deeply-rooted tendency in Africa and Asia.

The situation is more complicated for those who do not have white skin. In Latin America, indigenous and Black people suffer from marginality that is worse than for poor white people.

The world, in short, is much more polarized today than a decade ago. Instead of diminishing, the tragic differences afflicting it have grown. Data from early September cited by the United Nations is illustrative:

... eight goals were approved five years ago in September of 2000 at a UN summit of 189 international leaders. The aim is to decrease the number of poor and hungry in the world by half by 2015; achieve universal primary education for all boys and girls; guarantee sexual equality, and reduce maternal mortality.

Likewise, the plan approved at that summit projected a considerable decrease in infant mortality rates; a successful struggle against diseases that claim millions of victims annually, including tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS; working for environmental sustainability and creating an international association to promote the development of the most backward countries.

Some developed Western European nations accepted these goals as being just. But ...along with designating an ultra-conservative as UN ambassador, the George W. Bush government has presented a document rejecting the UN draft report on the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals presented to the summit.

That U.S. document includes more than 750 amendments aimed at preventing the developed world from carrying out its obligations in helping to combat poverty, hunger, disease, and the economic, social and gender inequality that is gripping billions of human beings.

Such obligations included a promise signed years ago by developed countries to contribute 0.7% of their gross domestic products to official development aid for the worst-off countries, which only one or two nations are currently doing.

The UN report highlights the persistence of the chasm between rich and poor, and warns of the dangerous consequences that could come with a further widening of that gap, including increasing violence by those who see their road to progress blocked.

Regarding those who close off opportunities to equitable development for all human beings on the planet: they are responsible for the possibility that people in the world may resort to violence in order to break that cycle of the progress of injustice.


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