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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 1286 February 6th 2006

Class-war imperialist provocation not hypocritical “freedom of speech” lies underpin the Danish cartoon row. It is not “religious intolerance” but warmongering by degenerate capitalism urgently pushing up the atmosphere of hatred, confusion and scapegoating. Third World War is the only “solution” it has to oncoming slump and trade war catastrophe. Complex contradictions of a temporary turn by the masses to Muslim and other militant puritanism for leadership in the absence of scientific socialism (the crucial leadership required) need study but not fake-“left” condemnation aiding imperialism’s hate plans.

The explosive and justified Third World anger at the provocative and fascist anti-Muhammad cartoons published in Denmark is only superficially about religion, whatever the immediate forms it is expressed in.

As immediately understood, the cartoons have nothing to do with “free speech” but everything to do with deliberate class war provocation.

And the astonishing eruption in response can only be explained by the class movements on the planet and the rapidly rising temperature of spontaneous anti-imperialist revolutionary feelings throughout the Third World whose billions have had enough of the barbaric imperialist system and the shite they are forced to eat by its endless daily tyrannical exploitation and now the terrifying plunge into ever more destructive warmongering.

They are turning increasingly to anything which offers a militant and fighting perspective against this slavery, for the moment expressed in the radical side of Islam in the absence of any other leadership.

Muslimism itself is a massively contradictory phenomenon in the world covering an enormous spectrum of attitudes and politics from mass anti-imperialism to the backward feudal imperialist stoogery of the Saudi Arabian regime, and the contradictory anti-communist Ayatollahocracy of Iran which headed off the giant 1979 eruption against the brutal Shah.

But the stunning election victory of Hamas in Palestine shows how it is currently acting as a catalyst also for a ferment of nascent revolutionary struggle in the world, which has temporarily lost its faith in communism (still hampered by a hangover of revisionist retreat from revolutionary perspectives).

The political skill and leadership in Palestine, cleverly using the imperialists’ own lying game of “democracy” to win an astonishing surprise victory for militant armed struggle, and paralysing with shock not just the monstrous Zionist genocidal overlords in the Middle East but the entire capitalist order which has used the completely artificial “state” of “Israel” as a bludgeon for decades to hold down the Arabic and Persian world for exploitation, — has underlined just what momentum has now got into this movement, and just how rapidly it is evolving and gaining sophistication.

It is where it is going and the ultimately the much more clear-headed anti-imperialism (and potentially Leninist or communist scientific understanding) that the mass movement will have to turn to, or merge into, that will be most unnerving imperialist ruling circles, increasingly aware of the Empire being under siege and unravelling all around the periphery, from the increasingly successful Maoist insurgency in Nepal to the anti-imperialist wave in South America, and the entire Middle East.

It was not a philosophical struggle with religion and a battle for rationality that guided the capitalist press’s deliberate and insulting re-publication of the crude and unfunny Danish “cartoon” images but a direct class-war attack by the most reactionary currents in imperialism growing ever more fearful of the growing mass movement.

And equally it has got nothing to do with the fatuous and smugly complacent “freedom of speech” and “freedom of ideas” bollocks being spouted by out-of-touch middle class liberals in the wealthy western imperialist heartlands, and the far more sinister “freed’m an’ democ’r’cy” hypocrisy of the racists, reactionaries and ruling circles across Europe and the USA. It aimed to intimidate, as immediately noted by perceptive sections of the Muslim community: feeds into profound feelings of disempowerment, fear and insecurity among Muslims that Europe would do well to understand. In Britain, we should realise that Muslims here will be angry if the pictures are gratuitously published in British papers - not just because of the insults to Muhammad, but because it makes them feel disempowered. Protesting is the only way to regain some self-respect.

...Why such hand-wringing over a few cartoons? The key is in the images themselves: Muhammad with turbaned bomb, Muhammad declaring that paradise had run out of virgins for suicide bombers, Muhammad with sword and veiled women. Muhammad in every Orientalist caricature. Muhammad as a symbol for Islam and Muslims. These are the stereotypes that, as Muslims, we face daily. The looks on the tube, the suspicion, the eyes on the bags we carry. There is no denying the feeling of being pushed against a wall, of drowning in the stereotypes that abound. This is no way to live, and it is certainly no springboard for making a major contribution to the society you live in.

...Some countries that have reprinted the images - Spain, France, Italy and Germany - have a nasty history of fascism. Just last week we had Holocaust memorial day. The Holocaust did not occur overnight. It took time to establish a people as subhuman, and cartoons played their part. Does Europe not remember its past and the Nazi propaganda of Der Stürmer?

Now the great shape-shifter of fascism seems to have taken on the clothes of “freedom of speech”. If these cartoons were designed to provoke Muslim fundamentalists, maybe they have done more to reveal the prejudices of Europe. Europe has a history of turning on its minorities. Will that be its future too?

Sarah Joseph is editor of emel magazine

Deliberate driving up of class-war hatreds and tensions in society, once again using Nazi-style scapegoating and demonisation to cause total confusion and foulness, is part of imperialism’s now unstoppable drive to Third World War.

It is no coincidence that the provocations come just at a time when the British capitalist state has let the reactionary fascist politics of the BNP off of the hook of “anti-racism” charges giving it carte blanche to spout every vile and inflammatory piece of nationalistic hatred it wants - with extensive “free press” coverage.

Imperialism desperately needs maximum hatred and maximum viciousness to drive on with its plunge into war. It has never discovered another way out of the desperate overproduction crises that regularly bring its entire trading, manufacturing and financial structure to the point of total collapse (see economics box page 6) and with it threatening the huge cultural and social superstructure of capitalist class domination and fabulous privilege.

Only wiping out mountains of over-accumulated capital and resources (and surplus workers) has given it a “fresh start” with a restored rate of profit, as routinely gone through every few years in the “commercial crises” of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (see Marx’s Capital – all volumes) and on a much more devastating scale since in three major inter-imperialist wars, including the mass horrors and carnage of the First and Second World Wars.

The only alternative is communism, finally ending private ownership of the means of production and the anarchic insanity of production for profit and building a rational, peaceful and cooperative world — a solution that the capitalist class finds literally unthinkable, both hating it and unable to comprehend it.

So the entire capitalist system is now facing a catastrophe on a scale that dwarfs even the huge slump collapse, economic Depression, and bitter turmoil of the 1930s which led to the worldwide blitzkrieging war of 1937-45 and its 62 million dead. Capital export and production has been spread on a scale never seen before, to more places and more intensively than at any point in history.

Refinements to the credit system, the concentration of monopoly power, and imperialist dominance (US) on a unprecedented scale in the post-2nd World War period have allowed the stretching of production to incredible levels while riding over even major instabilities that would have triggered disastrous implosions in the past (like oil price “shocks”, two Stock Exchange meltdowns, currency collapses in entire continents like South America, south-east Asia etc etc).

But all that has done is accumulate ever greater contradictions in the entire world capitalist network, making sure the crisis now unfolding is a potential disaster on a scale so huge it is difficult even to begin to grasp, and with a potential resolution with weaponry and firepower of a destructiveness unparalleled in human history.

Decades-long Stalinist revisionist retreats from revolutionary philosophy and the subsequent eventual capitulation of the still viable and steadily growing workers state economies to “market forces”, through liquidation of the vital defences of proletarian dictatorship, (eg by Gorbachev) has helped imperialism buy a little more time through carpet-bagging plunder of those economies, and the temporary setback inflicted on worldwide working class struggle morale and fighting coherence, in all countries, at the supposed “failure of communism” (no such thing, but a failure of leadership and philosophy).

But the disastrously diminished living conditions for the majority now re-imposed in the former workers states, the alienation, reduced life expectancy and poverty and the grotesque ultra-rich antics of the minority thieving oligarchs, have underlined that reality that it is capitalism which creates all the pain, unfairness and ignorance on the planet.

Everyone knows, or at least senses, that the astonishing mountains of debt now being accumulated ever higher day by day by the USA in particular, one expression of these contradictions, must one day topple over in a massive economic disaster of worthless paper dollars which will bring home the reality of the catastrophic overproduction crisis to all the rest of planet not already crushed in the Third World).

The return to world war which got going in earnest with the NATO blitzkrieg on tiny Serbia in 1998 and the monstrous lying “war on terrorism” to “justify” the follow up attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, have underlined once again that it is the capitalist system which is the source and inspIRAtion for the devastation and war on the planet, — solely in pursuit of its continuing monopolisation and to cynically escape the inevitable overproduction disasters built into the system.

The fraudulent “war on terror” and the Goebbels-lie-hysteria about “immediate threats to our way of life and very existence” to allow the extension of blitzkrieging destruction to country after country (and with various others being lined up for more - most notably Iran) was US imperialism’s answer — intended to warm the world up again for the generalised warmongering to come and simultaneously make a great show of “shock and awe” power, intimidating “upstart” rebelliousness everywhere.

Simultaneously it served the staggeringly powerful USA to “get in first” on the real conflict which underlies the driving antagonism leading to war, the all-out struggle between the major imperialist rival powers whose unstoppable need to battle for the world markets will intensify enormously as the contradictions of ever expanding production for an increasingly impoverished world market finally ripen the vicious long-developing trade war completely. It is impossible to sell everything being made for a profit as the huge losses and current near bankruptcies of the entire enormous American car industry painfully demonstrate.

It is also intended to head of any challenges to the insatiable sucking in of world resources and production of value through labour being sustained now only by increasing amounts of paper IOUs from the US economy — making clear that anyone asking for the real value of their exports can go whistle — or expect the worst. Imperialism’s raw greed is now the only basis for the system – and raw threatening power to back it up.

But imperialism has already run into such massive defeats and failures that this entire strategy is looking more and more like a massive historical disaster — bringing not just the US Empire but the complete centuries long existence of the capitalist system into question and its irrational and repeatedly damaging profit anarchy.

So the anyway growing hostility of the third world to the endless wage slavery and humiliation of “normal” imperialist life (maintained by endless lies, bribed stoogery, CIA subversion, manipulated elections, press control, corruption, coups, civil wars, torture, death squad intimidation, and full on blitzings like Korea and Vietnam, even during “boom” time “stability”) has been accelerated a thousandfold, breaking out in dozens of sometimes chaotic and anarchic forms, more or less organised, and led by partial and sometimes less than scientific and rational understanding.

Despite its labelling as “terrorism” and “the evil on the planet”, lyingly blamed for all the chaos and disintegration underway in the world actually caused solely by the capitalist crisis, (backed up by the monstrous capitulatory lies of the fake-”left” “condemnations”) it continues to grow.

The resistance that imperialism’s war plans have met however, most particularly in the increasing mess of Iraq where every effort by imperialism to arrogantly “pacify the natives”, has seen its military and political efforts bogged down in an increasingly sticky and chaotic mess. The inevitable backbiting recriminations and blame-placing turmoil caused by defeat (even partial) has forced out more and more revelations of this deliberate cynical agenda by the Empire:

Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was “solidly” behind US plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion’s legality and despite the absence of a second UN resolution, according to a new account...

A memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion - reveals that Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.

“The diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning”, the president told Mr Blair. The prime minister is said to have raised no objection. He is quoted as saying he was “solidly with the president and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam”.

The disclosures come in a new edition of Lawless World, by Phillipe Sands, a QC and professor of international law at University College, London.

The memo seen by Prof Sands reveals:

· Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of “flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours”. Mr Bush added: “If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]”.

· Mr Bush even expressed the hope that a defector would be extracted from Iraq and give a “public presentation about Saddam’s WMD”. He is also said to have referred Mr Blair to a “small possibility” that Saddam would be “assassinated”.

· Mr Blair told the US president that a second UN resolution would be an “insurance policy”, providing “international cover, including with the Arabs” if anything went wrong with the military campaign, or if Saddam increased the stakes by burning oil wells, killing children, or fomenting internal divisions within Iraq.

· Mr Bush told the prime minister that he “thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups”. Mr Blair did not demur, according to the book.

The revelation that Mr Blair had supported the US president’s plans to go to war with Iraq even in the absence of a second UN resolution contrasts with the assurances the prime minister gave parliament shortly after. On February 25 2003 - three weeks after his trip to Washington - Mr Blair told the Commons that the government was giving “Saddam one further, final chance to disarm voluntarily”.

He added: “Even now, today, we are offering Saddam the prospect of voluntary disarmament through the UN. I detest his regime - I hope most people do - but even now, he could save it by complying with the UN’s demand. Even now, we are prepared to go the extra step to achieve disarmament peacefully.”

On March 18, before the crucial vote on the war, he told MPs: “The UN should be the focus both of diplomacy and of action... [and that not to take military action] would do more damage in the long term to the UN than any other single course that we could pursue.”

The meeting between Mr Bush and Mr Blair, attended by six close aides, came at a time of growing concern about the failure of any hard intelligence to back up claims that Saddam was producing weapons of mass destruction in breach of UN disarmament obligations. It took place a few days before the then US secretary Colin Powell made claims - since discredited - in a dramatic presentation at the UN about Iraq’s weapons programme.

The punch pulling niceties of these bourgeois press revelations does not stop them adding to the rapidly growing further education of the world’s masses about the lies and fraud realities of “freedom and democracy”.

Even bigger lessons are being taught by the titanic step forwards of the Palestinians in their heroic and decades long struggle against the vicious Zionist imposition on their lands (occupied by their people for 1500 years).

Imperialism had already turned reality on its head (a spin hypocrisy well practised by New Labourite ministers) pretending the cosmetic and hugely limited “elections” held in Egypt (a show referendum with massive intimidation to extend the thug Mubarak’s US-backed and well funded dictatorship); in Saudi Arabia (token municipal elections which keep in place the throwback, utterly corrupt, and primitively barbaric tribal feudalism which is a key American stooge and lead oil supplier — and heavily supported by massive British arms deals); and Iraq (endless failed attempts to install CIA stooges followed by attempts to split the country and suppress the Sunni sections which have the longest running record of anti-imperialism) - were the “achievements” of, and reason for, waging war on Saddam rather than desperate retreats in the face of growing militancy which it hoped these laughable “democracy” pantomimes would somehow pacify.

But the greatest militancy of all has grown in Palestine the heart and central pivot of the oppression of the entire region and therefore the sharpest edge of the struggle against it, inspiring the heroic and devastating Intifada and self-sacrificing warfare against the Zionist fascist fanatics.

And the greatest fraud of all was to be the Palestinian election, levering and manipulating back into place the imperialist collaborating Palestinian Authority, ready to swallow yet again the disgusting humiliation of the endlessly deferred “two state solution” peace process which has always amounted to little better than eternal acceptance of prison camp existence in the worst residues of the largely stolen Palestinian lands, and which currently see the permanent colonisation of the illegally occupied (even by stooge never-enforced UN resolution terms) city of Jerusalem and a massively policed and fragmented Palestinian nation.

But the militancy of Hamas and Islamic Jihad which has pushed the Zionist occupiers into their first ever retreat from illegally seized territory (even if it is only the cramped and poverty stricken concrete wasteland of the Gaza strip) has been increasingly maturing into an complete overthrow of the class compromising illusions of the Palestinian Authority (which was only holding together anyway because of Arafat’s trading on his past record to sustain its ever-more tainted existence).

Their decision to use the election while refusing to abandon armed resistance reflects a mature grasp of their own strength and momentum, and tactical use of various forms of struggle, even in teeth of the endless glaring harassment and repeated assassinations and violent “punishment” intimidation of the Zionist occupiers.

The campaign immediately reflected the hypocrisy and lies of imperialism about “democracy” and “freedom” with bans on Hamas campaigning e.g. blocked by the Zionists from Jerusalem, the sudden opening of the draconian Zionist prison regime to allow journalists in to see lead PA candidate Marwan Barghouti (under long sentence) to boost the PA and relentless hostile propaganda.

(And the anti-Hamas campaign was slyly reinforced by revisionists like the Proletarian (Lalkar’s cosmetic new post-SLP debacle polemic-avoiding face), calling for “unity” of the Palestinians between Hamas and the PA, to muddy the waters and prevent this overthrow of old class compromising illusions which Stalinism had foisted on the entire region for years, helping creating most of the problems in understanding it now faces.)

But they won anyway, a huge signal of the growing world revolutionary momentum which stunned and temporarily paralysed the entire imperialist order.

The bullying refusal to accept Hamas is now teaching the world’s masses many more valuable lessons about the utter hypocrisy and lying confidence trick that constitutes the reality of imperialist “democracy” — and of the fears of the imperialist order about the future of its Zionist bully force.

Incredible instructionalist declarations that have poured out of imperialists across the world from New Labourite Jack Straw to George Bush in his presidential speech, that “now Hamas will have to accept the democratic path” and “renounce violence” and most of all “recognise the state of Israel” and accept the two state solution make the reality very clear.

But these are all the very things advocated by the Palestinian Authority which was resoundingly defeated — and in an election that the bourgeois “observers” (an arrogant patronising institution in itself - who “observes” the British or American elections?) were forced to concede was completely squarely won and on a massive nearly 80% enthusiastic turnout (which is never seen in the disillusioned and cynical western elections).

As Marxism has always explained: democracy is a giant fraud covering the dictatorship of big money capital. But it is a powerful weapon while most of the masses can be fooled with it – and to do that imperialism has always had to give it some semblance of truth with token concessions (as long as they did not threaten the dominance of the ruling class).

And that means it can backfire and entangle the capitalists as it has now. They cannot accept the victory of armed struggle and revolutionary spirit; but they do not want to expose further the fraud of democracy. Result paralysis.

Hence what one bourgeois liberal commentator called “Ford Motor democracy” offered by Bush – “you can have any colour as long as its black” and this bullying ultimatum backed by the foulest of inhuman threats to impose devastating additional pain on the Palestinians, the Zionists refusing to hand over the tax money which is legally theirs and Europe and the States withdrawing even the crumbs of aid which helps sustain their minimal existence (a dependency deliberately created by the concentration camp slave labour conditions imposed on them by Zionism for the last 50 years).

But all this will only reinforce the revolutionary spirit which has overturned the PA as Hamas statements insist:

It is widely recognised that the Palestinians are among the most politicised and educated peoples in the world. When they went to the polls last Wednesday they were well aware of what was on offer and those who voted for Hamas knew what it stood for. They chose Hamas because of its pledge never to give up the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and its promise to embark on a programme of reform. There were voices warning them, locally and internationally, not to vote for an organisation branded by the US and EU as terrorist because such a democratically exercised right would cost them the financial aid provided by foreign donors.

The day Hamas won the Palestinian democratic elections the world’s leading democracies failed the test of democracy. Rather than recognise the legitimacy of Hamas as a freely elected representative of the Palestinian people, seize the opportunity created by the result to support the development of good governance in Palestine and search for a means of ending the bloodshed, the US and EU threatened the Palestinian people with collective punishment for exercising their right to choose their parliamentary representatives.

We are being punished simply for resisting oppression and striving for justice. Those who threaten to impose sanctions on our people are the same powers that initiated our suffering and continue to support our oppressors almost unconditionally. We, the victims, are being penalised while our oppressors are pampered. The US and EU could have used the success of Hamas to open a new chapter in their relations with the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Muslims and to understand better a movement that has so far been seen largely through the eyes of the Zionist occupiers of our land.

Our message to the US and EU governments is this: your attempt to force us to give up our principles or our struggle is in vain. Our people who gave thousands of martyrs, the millions of refugees who have waited for nearly 60 years to return home and our 9,000 political and war prisoners in Israeli jails have not made those sacrifices in order to settle for close to nothing.

Hamas has been elected mainly because of its immovable faith in the inevitability of victory; and Hamas is immune to bribery, intimidation and blackmail. While we are keen on having friendly relations with all nations we shall not seek friendships at the expense of our legitimate rights. We have seen how other nations, including the peoples of Vietnam and South Africa, persisted in their struggle until their quest for freedom and justice was accomplished. We are no different, our cause is no less worthy, our determination is no less profound and our patience is no less abundant.

Our message to the Muslim and Arab nations is this: you have a responsibility to stand by your Palestinian brothers and sisters whose sacrifices are made on behalf of all of you. Our people in Palestine should not need to wait for any aid from countries that attach humiliating conditions to every dollar or euro they pay despite their historical and moral responsibility for our plight. We expect you to step in and compensate the Palestinian people for any loss of aid and we demand you lift all restrictions on civil society institutions that wish to fundraise for the Palestinian cause.

Our message to the Palestinians is this: our people are not only those who live under siege in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also the millions languishing in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and the millions spread around the world unable to return home. We promise you that nothing in the world will deter us from pursuing our goal of liberation and return. We shall spare no effort to work with all factions and institutions in order to put our Palestinian house in order. Having won the parliamentary elections, our medium-term objective is to reform the PLO in order to revive its role as a true representative of all the Palestinian people, without exception or discrimination.

Our message to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion “the people of the book” who have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us - our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.

We shall never recognise the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.

Khalid Mish’al is head of the political bureau of Hamas

Such long developing political depth and maturity shows a complex grasp of tactical negotiation without abandoning the understanding that Zionism and imperialism have never had any intention of giving the Palestinians any justice other than the eternal prison existence they suffer now.

Their freedom can only be won by the eventual dissolution of the imperialist created and sustained Zionist state enclave (with the Jewish settlers either returning to their origins or being willing to participate as equals in the work of building a Palestinian state and under its control) which will not happen without an entirely different perspective to the abandonment of the revolutionary heart of struggle by the old Arafatite “two-state solution” forged under the influence of decades of soft-headed revisionist “peaceful progress” perspectives.

Some interim acceptance of “two states” may yet be part of a tactical agreement in negotiations as part of continuing struggle if the imperialists are forced back on their heels.

But this would be another question entirely to the renunciation of the Palestinian claims as presented by the Arafatite compromise. There are – as Lenin said – compromises, and there are compromises.

With much wishful thinking, and sly pressure, the imperialist commentators have been declaring that Hamas will be forced to give way and will slide into the old PA position.

But the world has moved on and imperialism is in a much different situation with a now intractably deep crisis and rising tide of revolt.

But even if developments prove otherwise, it is not the key point for Marxists to grasp. This victory and the pushing to the top of Hamas is another confirmation of the huge revolutionary upwelling worldwide which is demanding clearer and clearer leadership and which will eventually push past any that fall short.

The major weakness for Hamas is that its Muslim fundamentalist religious coloration can only limit a full worldwide perspective and understanding of imperialism and the forces driving it to war.

It remains to be seen how much this will hamper its capacity to take this struggle further forwards for the specific and very particular national liberation struggle in Palestine and even more for the wider Middle Eastern struggle that it merges into, and which in turn is now a major component of the worldwide fight against imperialism and its onrushing war mongering.

In the absence of any other leadership that is how the masses are expressing their struggle.

But without the capacity to understand both imperialism’s desperate war drive and the major weaknesses that exposes in the system – as well as the mayhem it is about to impose – it is impossible to get a full measure of the struggle and its needs, and to understand the full strength of the working class.

Marxism is not religious.

Just the opposite, its entire battle is the struggle for objective scientific understanding and it can only come into determined philosophical conflict and argument with all religious ideology which at best obstructs the pace of understanding and at worst serves the most reactionary interests, working against the USSR for the CIA in Afghanistan for example.

But there is a time and a place for everything.

Objective Marxist understanding makes it equally important to see and understand the huge blows inflicted on imperialism when they happen, in whatever form. It is the content that matters not the shape history has forced it into and the content of the Hamas victory is another enormous defeat for imperialism’s domination.

It would be utterly unobjective to join in the monstrous attacks mounted on Hamas and its victory by sections of the fake-”left”, most notably the crypto-Troskyite CPGB whose long running thread of Zionist sympathy came bubbling biliously to the surface last week.

“Socialists should not celebrate Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian elections”

it declared sourly, in its misnamed Weekly Worker paper, going onto declare that Hamas rule would

“very likely to increase the injustice suffered by the largest section of the Palestinian people: women. The forced imposition of the veil is likely to be the first step towards Hamas’s aim of creating a country run according to islamic sharia law.”

The sheer gobsmacking shallowness and self-obsessed individualism of this feminist reaction would be laughable if it was not so viciously and deliberately aimed with maximum treachery to undermine the impact of the massive victory achieved with so much sacrifice, and pain over so many decades of struggle by the entire Palestinian people, women and men.

In what way is the possible imposition of traditional dress or a puritan social code – which is by no means necessarily going to happen anyway Hamas has said – bear the remotest comparison with 50 years of endless bloodshed, terror, imprisonment, rocket attacks, mass punishment blitzings, massacres like the Sharon led destruction in the Beirut camps, Sabra and Shatilla, house demolitions “for punishment”, assassination, sniper-killings of children, poverty, endless quotidian harassment, roughing-up, and hassle, routine humiliation, agony and loss, all on top of forced exile and dispossession by ethnic cleansing or confinement to the crammed-in concrete wasteland of the Gaza strip??

In what way can the titanic victory of militant combativity just witnessed which is the only way out of this genocidal oppression for the entire people of Palestine, be declared to be “increasing the suffering” of the women?

To even describe the inconvenience of the veil – if that is how the women see it – as “suffering” is a measure of the extraordinarily remote and Hampstead sitting room “socialism” of these vapid dilettantes’ middle-class detachment from anything remotely like the real world.

In what way for one tiny example is the imposition of a puritanism on society more oppressive and likely to create more suffering than the pandemic white slave trade in forced prostitution and child abuse from newly capitalist “liberated” eastern Europe, after its adoption of “democracy and freedom” under the influence of the numerous western-backed (including by the fake-”lefts) “freedom” campaigns?

If their suffering increases in Palestine it is because of the hypocritical withdrawal of the tiny level of funding by the Nazi minded west, determined despite all its mighty posturing about “democracy”, to do its utmost to suppress any kind of victory by the little people of the world, by stepping up their oppression.

It is the enormous solidarity and morale created by a leadership prepared to stand firm which creates the strength to not only withstand that further degradation but celebrate – rightly – a giant stride forwards towards defeating imperialism.

And it is the defeat of imperialism only which will eventually give women and everyone else in society, the capacity to develop their talents and capacities to the full - and that will happen whatever ideas in anyone’s head, Hamas included.

The Weekly Worker‘s sneaky “left” insults play calculatedly and criminally into the hands of the imperialists by trying to undermine this huge success, strengthening imperialism and therefore contributing to backwardness and oppression.

Listen to this foul Weekly Worker garbage:

Socialists must take a clear stand against the reactionary anti-imperialism of Hamas and similar organisations. How could we ever convince the mass of people that socialism is the way to end their oppression, if we stand by and make excuses for the systematic oppression of over 50% of the population in countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Palestine?

By convincing them that the first prime, and only source of all the oppression and suffering on the planet in the modern world is the alienating, exploitative fragmenting degeneracy of imperialism, is the answer.

But the WW is interested in confusion as its piece shows, slyly attributing to Hamas a stew of reactionary attitudes expressed by other regimes like the Ayatollahocracy in Iran, and the anti-communist anti-soviet resistance in Afghanistan.

Plenty of backwardness and confusion was on offer in Iran after the Ayatollah Khomeini was parachuted in by French imperialism to allow mullahism to head off the spontaneous revolt of 1979 which toppled the Shah and threatened dangerously to veer towards communism.

And the draconian suppression of the communists and mighty but empty theatrical anti-imperialist posturing against the American Great Satan was more akin to Hitlerism than anything else (tolerated by imperialism for its anti-communism). But this reactionary hijacking and blocking of the mass movement was utterly different to conditions now.

World class forces are equally pushing leftwards on the Ayatollahocracy again after years of quiet compromise with imperialism, as it is singled out by desperate world imperialism as a potential next victim for the warmongering coming, as imperialism steps up the Goebbels lies and strutting about “threats to the world” (utterly hypocritical nonsense about a “nuclear threat” and monstrous declarations about the country’s completely legal right to develop nuclear power (sadly backed up by Putinism and even worse, the Beijing revisionists)).

It is a hugely interesting question to see how the upsurge from below will force its way through and find its necessary conscious expression. But this CPGB idealist poison has nothing to do with untangling that or understanding the class forces which underlie Hamas’ success.

Just the opposite – it is far less rational and scientific, suggesting that the movement of the human race comes from ideas in their heads (eg the Mullahs) imposed on reality.

Marxism says the opposite, that the real material world sets the agenda finding a reflection in conscious understanding of necessity.

The battle for theory is a crucial part of the struggle.Imperialism’s fear and hostility to such rationality meanwhile exposes yet another fraud of the entire “cartoon scandal” – the lying posturing about “free speech” while imposing increasingly draconian laws to suppress discussion, including the news laws to prevent criticism of all religion and superstition. Build Leninism. Don Hoskins

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From epsr 1242 (July ‘04) following another single-issue provocation against a Palestine support demonstration by the cpgb and Peter Tatchell

The anti-communist idiocies of these “revolutionary” frauds are what bystanders really want to check out on the EPSR’s online archive (there in scores of examples about the CPGB and all the rest of the fake-”left”), not the subsidiary questions of how they all capitulate to single-issue reformist bandwaggonning.

But on this exaggeration of abstract “absolute rights” too, their anti-communist fanaticism will end in bitter confusion also, as this scandalous homosexual attack on the Palestinian cause in practice demonstrates.

And this CPGB is routinely in the wrong itself on all these issues, helping imperialist propaganda put the boot into Palestinian “terrorist methods”, and racially insulting the Palestinians by refusing to reopen the whole ludicrous 1947 question as to why the United Nations allowed the imperialist racket in the first place of recolonising part of the Middle East with Western imperialist influences so as to keep the Arab world permanently divided and ruled; and still peddling the ridiculous tyranny of a “two-state solution” which

a) still means the Palestinian land has been colonised; and

b) is an impossibility anyway since Zionism would never relinquish its domineering position of overwhelming military superiority.

Naturally, the Weekly Worker has nothing to say against this outrageous homosexual stunt to make it difficult for the Palestinians to protest at the ongoing genocidal butchery since 1945 by millions of invading colonising Jews who have now ethnically-cleansed 85% of the Arab people from what had been their homeland for 1,500 years, twice as long as England has been the home of the English.

Where in 1945 there was only Palestine, now there is “Israel and the Occupied Territories”.

To the 15% still not yet usurped, now just a patchwork of refugee-camps, barbed-wire reservations, and hacked—up plots criss-crossed by strategic Zionist military highways, permanent watchtowers, or the gigantic imprisoning wall which turns what’s left of Palestine into just one giant dungeon, — the 8-million strong Palestinian nation now look utterly pointlessly for a homeland.

Even if the Jewish monopoly-imperialist system is finally forced by its American Empire guarantors to retreat a fraction to some earlier lines of conquest, still only 20% of their land is all that will be available for a Palestinian “state” making it doubly a joke since Zionist-imperialist police—military control will always maintain overall sovereignty.

And now the turmoil in Gaza against Arafatism looks like a major revolutionary development towards proletarian-dictatorship politics, as the EPSR has always explained must happen.

The single-issue anti—communist extremist mentality of Tatchell and the CPGB will now find vastly more rough-and-ready edges on mass Palestinian culture to stage their provocative disruptions against; but real supporters of anti-imperialist revolution will eagerly be watching for Bolshevik tendencies developing out of this tumult.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
Years after conceding defeat to the Irish republican struggle, British imperialism’s so-called democracy and “free press” continues its distortions to stall the inevitable withdrawal

The IMC – in breach of the Good Friday Agreement

Decommission this tool of the securocrats

Early in December 2005 Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy MP began proceedings in the High Court in London to have the establishment of the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) declared unlawful.

Sinn Fein is challenging:

• The IMC’s right to recommend sanctions against political parties

• The IMC’s lack of independence

• The IMC’s political bias

• The IMC’s procedures and failure to apply proper standards of proof in arriving at conclusions or attributions of responsibility for various activities.

Sinn Fein opposed the establishment of the Independent Monitoring Commission in January 2004 describing it as a breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

Its ability to recommend sanctions against a political party party is fundamentally undemocratic and a subversion of the rights of citizens to vote for representatives of their choice.

It was a concession to the uup’s David Trimble and has been used successfully by anti-agreement unionists and elements within the British system to delay and frustrate the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

The IMC is not independent. Its four members are all political appointees who bring to their task their own political baggage.

John Alderdice is a former leader of the Alliance Party and an avowed political opponent of Sinn Fein. Alderdice is currently the President of the International Liberal Alliance.

Another member, John Grieve is a former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police and National Co-ordi-nator for Counter Terrorism who at one stage expressed a desire to become an Assistant Chief Constable in the ruc, a force he apparently held in high regard. John Grieve is the Chairman of the John Grieve Centre for Policing and Community Safety. The John Grieve Centre receives financial payments from the PSNI whose members deliver lectures and receive training at the centre. Ronnie Flanagan, former Chief Constable of the ruc is a Board member.

Another member is Richard Kerr, former Deputy Director of the CIA.

The other IMC member, Joe Brosnan is a former senior official on the Irish Department of Justice.

The IMC’s primary sources for information are from within the ranks of the PSNI, British Army, nio and others within the British security system — the same people who have been behind a whole series of allegations and politically-motivated actions against republicans, including the disgraceful arrest of Sinn Fein mla Francie Brolly, and the raid on Sinn Fein’s office at Stormont.

These are the same people and agencies who were indicted in the Barron Report, in the Cory Report and who stand accused of involvement in decades of torture and murder, including colluding’ with unionist paramilitary death squads.

Occasionally information is drawn from the unsubstantiated accusations of political opponents of Sinn Fein.

Standards of Proof

When challenged by solicitors about the standards of proof it applies to the information it receives and publishes the IMC said: “We are not bound by the strict rules of evidence applicable in a court of law.”

In fact, the IMC’s procedures are fundamentally flawed. It refuses to hold public hearings. It denies affected parties any opportunity to be present when evidence is being heard. It denies affected parties access to documentation or information or any opportunity to challenge allegations against them.

The IMC’s conclusions are based on untested and unpublished information from unidentified sources which are inherently unreliable and are incapable of verification. It therefore sits in judgment on Sinn Fein and on its electorate without any fair or public hearing.

When Sinn Fein asked the IMC what standards of proof it employed to reach its conclusions it couldn’t say. It could only suggest that the party should not approach the IMC as it would a court of law, or a tribunal.

The IMC regards itself as ‘unique’. The ‘uniqueness’ of the standards of proof they apply can be gauged from their liberal use of phrases such as ‘we believe’, ‘we are persuaded’, ‘may be attributable’, ‘we are convinced’, ‘we are satisfied’ etc, etc, without ever presenting a single shred of evidence to back up its assertions.

Moreover, while accepting that Sinn Fein is not in a position to determine the policies or operational strategies of the IRA the IMC has, on the basis of alleged activities by the IRA, recommended sanctions against Sinn Fein which penalises the party’s electorate and benefits its opponents. This is entirely undemocratic.

Bias and incompetence

In February 2005 the IMC issued a report, without evidence of any kind, in which it alleged that senior members of Sinn Fein sanctioned the Northern Bank robbery, as well as other robberies.

In stark contrast the IMC has never mentioned the DUP links with Ulster Resistance or the fact that the bulk of the guns imported by Ulster Resistance remain in their hands. Not once has it mentioned the fact that guns from this consignment were used by unionist death squads to kill hundreds of nationalists.

It also managed to present reports on loyalist paramilitary violence without mentioning, even once, the role of the Special Branch, British agents or the issue of collusion. In fact, the reports have reduced unionist paramilitary activity to a postscript and exonerated the British state entirely.

Quite apart from the political bias it has shown the commission has also displayed a degree of incompetence which is entirely unacceptable. For example, they wrongly attributed the death of Michael O’Hare in a fire in Bangor in March 2003 to unionist paramilitaries. This was subsequently found to be untrue.

The Commission wrongly said that the inla was made up of “disaffected members of the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA following the 1972 ceasefire”. Anyone with any knowledge of these matters knows that the INLA was a breakaway group from the Official IRA which was formed in 1975.

In its October 2005 report, the IMC made a series of unsubstantiated allegations against the IRA which do not stand up to scrutiny. For example they refer to two assaults which they attribute to the IRA. We questioned the truth of these allegations and asked for information on these two assaults from the British Government. Neither the IMC nor the two governments have been able to provide any evidence that these incidents ever occurred.

The Commission’s reports and recommendations are clearly discriminatory. The Good Friday Agreement provides a basis for sanction of those parties which breach the Agreement. Sinn Fein supports the use of sanction within the terms of the Agreement. It rejects all sanctions outside the terms of the Agreement.

Sinn Fein rejects the partisan quango that is the IMC and rejects its attacks on the party and its electorate. The IMC is a tool of British securocrats.

It should be declared unlawful on the grounds of bias and lack of any application of standards of proof. Sinn Fein is seeking the reports of the IMC to date declared void and the reliance on these reports by the British Secretary of State declared unlawful. It is undemocratic, unaccountable and entirely unacceptable. It should be decommissioned.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

[Irish] Republicans respond to the latest unverified slanders against them of criminality, gleefully reported by the reactionaries of the BBC as fact — and which were denied by a counter statement by the neutral de Chastelain monitoring body (the only one agreed by the Good Friday settlement). The BBC censored all references to this statement after its lunch time news on the day in question, leaving a biased and unbalanced report, par for the course of dog-in-the-manger blocking and obstructing the slow withdrawal of Britain from Ireland and recognising the victory of the Irish struggle.

The IMC has no place in the political process

Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness spoke to An Phoblacht about the discredited and non-independent IMC

In its report the IMC made various allegations against the ira saying that it was involved in intelligence gathering and criminality. However in a surprise report submitted to the British and Irish Governments, Canadian General John de Chastelain’s decommissioning body revealed that the accusations were made against the the ira last week by ‘security sources’ in the Six Counties.

The disarmament body revealed it launched a probe into the assessment to find out whether it had been misinformed or had made a misjudgement when ira weapons destruction was announced.

But with the gardai insisting it had no intelligence to corroborate the claims, the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) said it stood by its statement of last September regarding ira arms.

Speaking to An Phoblacht after the publication of the IMC report Martin McGuinness said: “The non-independent IMC has no place in the political process. It is no part of the Good Friday Agreement. It effectively subverts the democratic mandate of all the political parties but it is specifically targeted at Sinn Fein.”

“The individuals who make up the IMC and the group collectively is hostile to Irish republicanism and are a proxy for political policing. Those who supply the information for the IMC reports include DUP supporters in the Special Branch. They are the same people who collapsed the political institutions and who 10 years ago were controlling and directing a murder campaign against Sinn Fein members and the wider nationalist community.

“These are the same sort of people who provided information to the British government on what was called the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq, which has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people and soldiers from the American and British armies. And of course, drawing from our own experience, it was on tittle-tattle like this that people were interned without trial in the 1970s. So it is absolutely unacceptable that the entire political process is being held to ransom by these people,” said McGuinness.

Sinn Fein has challenged the IMC and the two governments to produce evidence to back up the allegations contained in other IMC reports and they have all failed to do so. In the aftermath of the last IMC report McGuinness challenged John Alderdice when he met him to explain the circumstances in which the report alleged that a person was ‘punishment-shot’ by the ira after the July 28 statement last year.

“He was unable to tell me anything. I have also asked both governments for more information on this shooting and they have been unable to tell me anything, as they have been unable to do in relation to another incident where I challenged them about the alleged punishment beating of someone prior to the 28 July. So they failed in that account also. And in the course of this report today they are actually talking about, to quote them ‘at least six unreported assaults have come to our attention’.”.

The latest IMC report is a continuation of the previous reports where innuendo was used to smear republicans.

“Given the history of the IMC and its overtly political, anti-republican agenda, many people, particularly from the broad nationalist community will be rightly dismissive and sceptical of anything detailed in their reports,” says McGuinness.

“There is a particularly offensive section in the report in which they are effectively making allegations that republican communities are havens of criminality. I find that offensive, inaccurate and politically biased. Our view in Sinn Fein is that when there is evidence of crime, then due process must take its course.

“People must ask the question, that if there is evidence of criminality, and of course you have the combined forces of the Guards, the PSNI and British Intelligence working on this, then why have people not been brought before the courts?

“People have to decide if they want to live in a democratic state where people are innocent until evidence is placed before a court and they are found guilty,” says McGuinness.

Importantly the IMC report has effectively been challenged by the IICD which is a body established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and which unlike the IMC is independent. The IICD are very clearly standing by their assessment of September regarding ira arms.

“You actually have the IICD not being prepared to accept information provided to the IMC, and to them, by these anti-Sinn Fein elements within the PSNI. We have a body that was established under the gfa clashing with a body that wasn’t,” says McGuinness.

The IMC’s website says that its first guiding principle is that the rule of law is fundamental in a democratic society. They also say that the law can be legitimately enforced only by duly appointed and accountable law enforcement officers or institutions, and that any other forcible imposition of standards is unlawful and undemocratic. In many ways this can be applied to the IMC itself.

Martin McGuinness says that “If we do live in a democratic society then people have to be considered innocent until proven guilty.”

He says the IMC have to be challenged by anyone who is a democrat to produce the evidence. “If people are involved in this type of activity then people should be arrested and they should be brought before the courts. The fact is that there has been a dismal failure on behalf of the PSNI and the ruc before them if you consider that some 15,000 republican prisoners passed through jails in the North and in spite of their worst efforts, they have not been able to criminalise republicans.

“We are now facing in to a situation where the two governments have made it clear that they want to see the institutions of the gfa restored and after last week’s meeting between the Taoiseach and Tony Blair there was a very clear indicator that they wanted to see those institutions up within the month.

“We have to ask who is blocking the establishment of the institutions. It is certainly not Sinn Fein. The only party holding out against this is the DUP.”

Political talks start next Monday at Hillsborough Castle and are expected to continue for some weeks. The two governments have indicated that their sole interest is a big push to restore the institutions. McGuinness believes that, “we have to focus the agenda onto those talks and whether or not the DUP are going to do the business.

Prior to publication of the IMC report the DUP were saying it didn’t really matter what was in it, that they were still not prepared to go into government with Sinn Fein.

That shapes up for a real challenge from the government’s point of view.

They have to meet and deal with that over the course of the coming period.”

IRA Statement

The IRA has denied allegations that the organisation had gone back on the pledges it made last year.

A statement signed by P O’Neill on Wednesday said that the IRA has honoured all public commitments made in July last year, and that any allegations to the contrary were politically motivated. The statement followed the release of the latest report by the Independent Monitoring Commission.

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