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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 1288 March 7th 2006

Ruling class fears of the deluge to come afterwards keeps the New Labourite sleaze merchants and their spin lies endlessly propped up in parliament – closet Mosleyite stooges to push through legalisation for ever more draconian Nazi torture laws banning rebellion, debate and opposition. Only the residue of fake-“left” confusion and anti-communism now stops the working class seeing clearly the need for revolutionary understanding. But the crisis will help make the point.

The extraordinary reluctance of the “opposition” in parliament to go for the jugular in the Tessa Jowell affair – with Tories and the newly neutered Libdems alike mincing back and forth letting off occasional “gentlemanly” murmurings about “integrity” (!), lack of proof and “taking things on trust” – despite mountains of evidence of utter sleaze and wheeler-dealering with the most reactionary corporate interests on the planet by the entire New Labourite circus – is a major signal of the porcelain thin fragility of the entire parliamentary racket now.

The ruling class is in a cold sweat panic that its long successful “democracy” game is no longer “fooling most of the people most of the time” and probably not fooling many of them much of the time at all.

And with the centuries old nonsense of parliamentary democracy finally clear to all there will only be raw class struggle left for the working class – and a turn to revolutionary politics.

At some point all economic logic (even in the bourgeois press) suggests that rapidly accelerating world crisis and unsustainable dollar deficit bubble will burst, and the already slow-motion slump being imposed salami slice by salami slice of cuts in both private and public pensions, cuts in hospital treatments (“too expensive” cancer drug withheld, cynically leaving people to die e.g.), rising unemployment and hidden but high inflation in basic services like council taxes and utilities, will turn into full scale slump and unemployment across the entire capitalist world.

And in the maelstrom of desperation and fear inexorably drawing closer for the imperialist system as this catastrophic downturn crisis worsens, the hollowed out “service economy” of the degenerate and parasitic British rentier ruling class will fare ten thousand times worse than most others, having virtually wiped out its manufacturing, mining and agricultural industries (which actually produce wealth) in favour of collecting interest payments from “investments” abroad and buying everything else from shoes to tomatoes to TVs as imports. If the credit system implodes, so too does most of the British economy and its political influence and residual strength in the world.

All this was glaringly bad in the late 1990s when the New Labourite spin racket the ruling class had desperately turned to had been in power for just one year and was already making its nature very clear. As EPSR 946 for 14th April 1998 put it:

Government office was captured 12 months ago because fat-cat Tory sleaze, coupled with exploitation speed-up and increasingly unstable economic perspectives, had so totally alienated the electorate.

Planned stability and sweeping measures for restored social justice, - ‘New Labour, New Britain’, won a huge Commons majority for the Blairites, (but without a massive popular vote.)

Sound-bite propaganda and vague empty stunts were the main ingredients of Labour’s ‘programme’ which made the Blairites slightly less distrusted than the Tories.

The government’s performance since has been even more abysmal than the very worst expectations which Leninism accurately outlined before the vote for this new phase of imperialist crisis.

NOTHING has even been attempted for changing the way that the racketeering capitalist system is run. Just the opposite. Blair & Co have forced the country to become even more subservient to the dictates and values of anarchic and irrational ‘market forces’ than ever before.

Worse than that, this New Labour hierarchy has brazenly taken its chance to actively JOIN IN this fat-cat sleaze and corruption, openly spending small fortunes on its own ministerial accommodation and office comforts, and immediately being caught out selling influence in return for financial favours.

Blair’s barmy Christian moralising hypocrites are as big a bunch of crooks and opportunists as could ever have been imagined in anyone’s wildest anti-reformist dreams. It is ludicrous to wait for ALL public opinion to catch up with what a sordid fraud this New Labour regime really is.

Workers deserve and need a strong lead NOW for saying how completely intolerable is this pro-capitalist FARCE that is going on in government, which is merely lining Britain up for maximum devastation from the international trade-war crisis currently bringing bankruptcy chaos to the Far East with sudden mass unemployment, food riots, and revolutionary agitation already.

In the years since, this monstrous sleazy soundbite opportunism and its bizarre contradictory underlying Christian fanaticism, has survived solely because of the long drawn out decline of imperialism, which has managed to sustain its own existence by the printing of ever more dollar credit, to carry the capitalist system through the near-miss Stock Exchange collapse of 2000, etc and because of the cheap goods it has drawn in on tick from around the planet, especially courtesy of the titanic growth of the Chinese economy, [using capitalist methods but in a partially controlled growth under the workers state framework (albeit with dire revisionist illusions in ‘peacefully overtaking’ the West which raise many questions about how the coming crisis is understood in Beijing - for future discussion).]

And New Labour has survived because it has been a willing participant in the turn to “righteous” fascist warmongering bullying being imposed, under cover of Goebbels Big Lie propaganda, on the planet from the Nato blitzing of Serbia through Afghanistan and Iraq, (and with Iran being lined up next) to “shock and awe” the planet into continuing compliance with the unrepayable accumulation of debt being run up by the US Empire (matched relatively speaking by the huge debts of the UK economy, both private and public).

In these debt fuelled years since, capitalism’s inequalities and unfairness have gone even more out of control along with the freemasonry atmosphere of you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours corruption and collusion.

A tiny flavour is given by a desperate bourgeois press report, fancifully but hopelessly suggesting it can be changed:

...the private sector and the culture of public service...have blended together. Civil servants are distressed by management consultants selling them the same bottle of used snake oil for preposterous fees; or they gasp with envy at the sums paid to business moguls called in to run government functions. Brown needs to restore old purdah rules that stop top Downing Street special advisers on health jumping straight into a job selling private health services back to the NHS, or ex-defence supremos selling weapons back to their old department. ... What is anyone worth? There is no answer: relatively few rewards are set by any genuine market. Senior journalists are certainly overpaid for our easy jobs. Chief executives are overpaid. The Work Foundation’s exposé of the market in top FTSE companies finds most chief executives are British, in little demand abroad and mainly promoted from within their companies: not much market there.

Up in these stratospheres, one top chief executive recently admitted to me that things were out of control – but status demanded he be paid the max. He didn’t need the money, he needed the headline.

The top people are now taxed hugely less of their income than the average and the bottom, and people hearing hundreds of thousands of pounds talked about as peanuts are indignant. Of course it alienates the governed from those in power. John Hills’s research in Inequality and the State shows people already underestimate what top people are paid, yet even then think they should get less. Those surveyed think an average corporate chief executive gets £125,000 and should get only £75,000 - but were shocked to hear he gets £550,000. Ditto cabinet ministers, who get twice as much as people think they should.

This monstrous greed is not going to be changed by a cosmetic leadership switch as New Labour luvvie Polly Toynbee deludes herself – it results from the relentless logic of capitalism itself, which cannot help its “addiction” to appropriating ever greater portions of society’s wealth at the expense of the working class at home and especially throughout the ruthlessly exploited Third World.

The willing stoogery of the new Labourites to the monstrous Nazi warmongering of the US Empire and its bizarre reactionary neo-con regression – promised by the Pentagon to be a world onslaught to “last for decades” – has become more and more obviously a domestic repression as well as the closet Mosleyism (fascism) of the Labourites has introduced increasingly repressive and draconian censorship and social control measures.

The last remnants of dumbed-down celebrity “culture” and consumerist philistinism and the complete failure of the fake-”left” to warn the working class of the terminal nightmare of capitalist disintegration on the way (still feeding “democratic” illusions about voting and “changing things” as in the SWP/Respect party for example) has helped temporarily keep the thin façade of parliamentary legality in place – despite the most contemptuous electoral response ever in the laughable 2005 General Election, which was clearly a thin charade of hastily cobbled together spin, public relations lies and manipulation, with even those who bothered to vote simply going through the motions, knowing that their “voice” counts for nothing at all (as the huge popular majority anti-Iraq war mood had already confirmed.)

There may eventually be no choice because the modern consumerist “opiates of the masses” will do little to hold back the devastating shock and anger that a misled working class (and many more thoughtful middle class) will be explosively feeling as soon as the economic props are finally kicked out from underneath.

Parliamentary democracy is paper thin now, and public disillusion so complete that one more poke with a cynical finger, the ruling class fears, and the whole rotten edifice of spin, lies and complete disregard for the interests of ordinary people, will come crashing to the ground leaving the ruling class no choice but to impose an open dictatorship in one form or another.

But this is a desperate course, which would rapidly teach the working class the remaining lessons it needs about the reality of bourgeois class rule and the future it offers – one of out-of-control greed for the minority and increasing economic desperation for majority, wages driven down by international labour competition, social services mortgaged to the fatcats as the relentless PFI profiteering goes on – and war.

The longer that can be avoided the better for the ruling class.

Parliament may yet be used as a platform for revolutionary politics, precisely to denounce it. But the ruling class is desperately fearful of that. The tamest of “democratic challenges” is considered too dangerous now, with even the “principled” anti-war stance of the Libdems having to be brought down by the obvious background manoeuvring to oust Charles Kennedy, supplemented at the last minute with further intelligence agency scandal plants because of the unexpected challenges to “safe” rightwinger ‘Ming’ Campbell, who was supposed to be slotted automatically into place.

The sheer lunacy of the latest moves to give the vote to sixteen year old children is a further indication of the desperation of the ruling class to prop up the parliamentary legacy which has proved such a useful tool for keeping its dictatorial rule of capital in place, with over a century and a half of collusion and class collaboration reformism helping it along (and now desperately needed because of the failure of the entire racket otherwise).

But this is thin stuff. Even the eighteen years olds – still a fairly manipulable group it would have been thought – have obviously developed the class wit and sophistication to understand what a lying racket is being put over on them.

Cynicism and rejection is only a few steps away from the development of a much deeper and ultimately revolutionary consciousness and rebellion, held back only by the continuing legacy of anti-communism (Trots) and unrevolutionary gibberish (the revisionists) which the fake-”lefts” continue to pour out as an “alternative” (usually backing further illusions in parliament or even the Labourites and opportunists like Galloway and Livingstone). Not surprisingly such “leftism” is widely distrusted.

Meanwhile the ruling class clearly hopes to hang on long enough at least to give a thin veneer of legitimacy to the inevitable dictatorship measures which will soon be crucial, just as Adolf Hitler was “legally elected”, fooling a few more people long enough to secure the Nazi regime.

Germany was a rising power unlike moribund defeated British imperialism. But plenty of legislation is being steamrollered through the laughable “representative chambers” at present to do just that, tearing up centuries of “human and legal” rights, to impose medieval levels of potential imprisonment and torture for dissidence and particularly revolutionary understanding, the real target of the lying, panic-inducing “war on terror” hysteria.

The dictatorship reality of capital is ever more starkly drawn – which can only convince more people of the urgent need to end this disgusting degenerate, corrupt, pocket lining crisis system and pitch in to build revolutionary understanding – the only way forwards to achieve peace and a decent life for all. Build Leninism now. Don Hoskins

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Academic Trotskyist “free speech” arguments in the wake of the cartoons upheaval miss the point of argument and discussion which is to develop class understanding and leadership for the revolutionary battles to overturn imperialism – the only way in which humankind will ever achieve freedom. CPGB posturing is fatuous and disruptive – the opposite of the discipline needed for the working class battles

Endless academic free speech arguments in the wake of the Danish cartoon row and the spontaneous anti-imperialist upheavals against these fascist provocations are usefully exposing the total confusion and dissembling of the whole spectrum of fake-”lefts”, their anti-revolutionism and continuing capitulation to capitalist “democracy” illusions.

The giant hypocrisy and lies of the imperialist system about freedom and democracy, and the supposed liberties, artistic rights and free speech of “our way of life”, have never been so caught out by contradiction as now, with draconian new restrictive laws censoring and suppressing scientific and historical analysis and debate (no “offending religion” for example or “glorifying terrorism”), and the banning of rational thought like Darwinism throughout America, all standing shamelessly alongside mighty posturing about “free” speech aimed at imperialism’s enemies such as the Chinese workers state, the increasingly demonised Muslim world being scapegoated for imperialism’s escalating war drive, and the endless CIA subversion of the bonapartist remnants of the former Soviet Union.

Capitalism is dramatically demonstrating its weakness and fears, as its crisis ridden system gets ever deeper into chaos and the rising tide of world hostility grows against its continuing rule, using vicious new dictatorial crackdowns on thought and speech to try and keep control, just as previous desperate crises of the system have led to tearing up of “democratic freedoms” for the “duration of the war” etc and the Nazification of society (in all imperialist countries as much as Germany) as part of the war drive.

The fascistisation this time is deeper and more wide ranging than ever. Alongside the crackdown on “free speech” is the unprecedented tearing up of centuries old established human rights and legalities leaving individuals open to being picked up on the street simply if the capitalist state does not like the look of them, held without communication, deported, “rendered” and potentially tortured or “disappeared” in international networks of concentration camps without redress.

These desperate measures, reflecting an imperialism now almost paralysed by the contradictions and difficulties of keeping its system going as crisis deepens and in the teeth of dramatic defeats and failures throughout the Middle East and rising revolt across South America, Asia, and Africa, will only serve to make its problems one hundred times deeper, confirming for all the working class of the planet (even in the richest imperialist countries) that there never was any “democracy” except a fraudulent cover for the dictatorship of big capital.

Imperialist monopoly capitalism is in its deepest ever crisis in all of its entire centuries long existence and now heading inexorably into worldwide warmongering, promised by the American neo-con led Pentagon (EPSR 1287) to be a “decades long” battle of the US Empire against the entire planet wherever it should resist and whoever is resisting.

The desperate logic of the contradictions of capitalist production itself, always tending to a collapse in the rate of profit which is its very rationale, and ultimately the saturation of the world markets with surplus capital in an insanity of ”overproduced” goods in the middle of desperate want and poverty (see economics box), means even this monstrous nightmare will have to degenerate even further into major conflict between all the leading capitalist powers (and possibly capitalism-using China), in a third great World War. Capitalism has never had any other solutions, as its monopoly imperialist dominance has already shown three world shattering times in the last 150 years.

But the once overawed masses of the world have been transformed by their shackling to the ever more globalised demands of capital. They can no longer tolerate the endless exploitation, humiliation and desperation of the life imposed on the great majority by the greed and rapacity of the tiny minority of ever richer ruling class. They are erupting in hostility against its corruption and the ever more appalling hell-like vision of destruction its system offers as a future.

Struggles which are actually challenging the dominance and worldwide grip of the imperialist order, however crude, inadequate, partial and hamstrung with illusions in themselves, like the religious Muslim upheavals sweeping the planet in loose but increasingly united hostility and anger at provocations against them by the fascist minded capitalist order, have more to do with the ultimate release of humanity’s freedom than any amount of strutting and posing about democracy, and the “proper” supposedly Marxist way to do things.

Abstract arguments for “democratic freedoms” and the “right to free speech” (or not) filling the newspapers of the Trots and revisionists begin from the wrong place, simply reinforcing decades of reformist confusions peddled by the layers of Labourite infiltrating (or supporting) Trots and the “peaceful road” imbecilities of Stalinist Moscow revisionism, which have disarmed and misled anti-imperialism for the entire post-war period, leaving a worldwide vacuum in leadership as the masses have turned away from the supposed failure of official communism towards whatever militancy they could find, from Muslimism to Maoism.

It is the struggle itself, including its contradictory demands for an end to anti-Mohammed insults etc which will paradoxically feed a growing debate in the masses, who of necessity will need to learn more and more what it is that keeps them in their oppression and how to organise the fight against it.

Demands for the right to free speech or the defence of painfully won “freedoms” – including contradictorily those that the bourgeoisie itself fought for in its ascendancy as a revolutionary challenge to previous feudal ignorance and superstition – are part of the battle, for the working class in capitalism. But “free speech” can only ever have one purpose for the working class within capitalism; to allow it to battle out openly the polemics and arguments that alone will produce a clear scientific revolutionary understanding of the world, the crucial ingredient for leading the overthrow of the stultifying capitalist order.

Because only with revolutionary overturn can there can be real freedom. When the insufferable burdens of moribund imperialism and its exploitational grip on the planet have been removed for good and replaced with planned socialism (developed under firm proletarian control in workers states), the human race for the first time will have the genuine freedom for all individuals to develop their intellects, philosophy and practical skills to the full, with health, education and fulfilment for all 6 billion people on the planet.

And when that society has existed long enough to produce only rational, conscious and responsible human beings there can be an end to class coercion, with each individual understanding their place in society and acting responsibly according to the ever developing scientific (Marxist) understanding of the necessities of the real world.

All “freedom” and “free speech” in the meantime is relative and tied to the fight to end imperialist domination.

Starting from claimed “Marxist first principles” about supposed “freedom to disagree” as the charlatans of the crypto-Trotskyist CPGB claim to do in their Weekly Worker, may allow good knockabout and well-deserved goes at the sectarianism of other fake-”left groups, from the revisionists to SWP/Respect but it is a liberal fraud covering up sly attacks on the workers states -– particularly China – and the rising Third World struggle and used for endless useless undisciplined posturing (see box from EPSR 964).

Of course Marx was for the most open debate in principle (though the CPGBers only quote the first volume of his works, long before Marx himself had become a Marxist) and against all attempts by “the authorities” (meaning the feudal or capitalist ruling class and its state) to suppress discussion and impose censorship.

And yes the “free, full and open clash of contending ideas” is important for the development of scientific understanding, and the Weekly Worker is among the better papers of the fake-“left” (though not as perfect as it makes out), in allowing an open letters page and breaking through the stifling regimentation of discussions. meetings and publications that the rest of the fake-”left” has sunk into for decades because of its fear of polemic and challenge, rightly mocked by the WW as “a morbid fear of politics”.

But the point of such openness is not simply to create some eclectic unresolved permanent stew of ideas jostling for space which the abstract “democracy” fetishism of the CPBG set up – it is to allow the class positions in such arguments to be battled through to a resolution, in front of and increasingly by, the working class, when a decision can be taken on the issues for the very concrete business of getting on with the class war.

The CPGB may quote early Marx but it carefully avoids discussing Lenin (see box) who was very clear that there was a class fight process involved in such discussions and that endless repetition of reactionary and rejected lines was not only pointless but time wasting, obstructive and at critical moments 100% undisciplined counter-revolution.

The point of understanding is to change the world, to quote a later Marx (which the CPGB avoids), not sit about discussing it. It is a complete nonsense to elevate “free speech” into a “first principle” reflecting the CPGB’s failure to understand the real movements of history and its slavish adherence to the abstractions of bourgeois idealism.

Even on the supposed practical grounds which the CPGBers follow through this notion, suggesting that the most reactionary views should be given free rein because “allowing the state such powers” of censorship may backfire on the working class, which would also be censored, reflects the sterility of its understanding and its capitulation to a reformist perspective.

The ruling class does not need excuses to censor the truth, and only stops doing so for the complex business of giving its democracy racket a cloak of credibility to help it better hide the dictatorship of capital which makes all the real decisions. That does not mean the working class should not battle to maintain and extend its rights to open discussion and publication but always understanding that this is for the purpose of getting on with the fight for revolutionary understanding.

And in what way should the working class have anything to do with “allowing the capitalist state” anything at all - or could even do so? To present the notion is to suggest the working class can control and improve capitalism, as much a reflection of an underlying reformism as the opposite position of the SWP (and its latest opportunist front the Respect), which the CPGB rightly ridicule for supporting capitalist crackdowns against anti-Muslim insults in the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill or its calls for bans on the BNP.

It ridicules the idea of calling on capitalism to make laws to control the rightwing as the SWP does – which is both a reformist illusion and falsely implies that the reactionary BNP and fascist provocateurs like David Irving are the real problem for the working class – rather than the daily more Nazified and warmongering mainstream capitalist ruling class.

But why would the working class have a problem with any obvious reactionary fascist nonsense being suppressed if that’s what happened?

There are all sorts of complications clouding the recent imprisonment of David Irving anyway, not least the powerful influence of the Zionist lobby which uses the holocaust as its major justification to get away with any monstrous behaviour it wishes, genocidally suppressing the Palestinian nation as part of imperialism’s general domination of the entire Middle East.

It is at present in the interests of all imperialism to keep another thread of reaction and confusion under control, if it threatens to undermine this crucial colonising occupation tyranny which is crucial to the entire thrust of imperialist control and warmongering.

But the real point of all this “open democracy” free speechism by the Trots is to lay into the working class where it has taken on imperialism, viciously attacking the Cubans and the North Korean states, for example, and other supposed “bureaucratic censorship”.

What foul and disgusting service this crawling shit does for the ruling class. Small wonder these supposedly principled Trots find themselves lined up with the most reactionary Republican US senators who were in a froth of righteousness about supposed free speech recently in special hearings against the Google founders because they had agreed to run a Chinese service of their search engine behind the “Great Chinese Firewall” - allowing Chinese state censorship of the service in other words.

The senators’ bilious attack on the Googleites was entirely because every stinking CIA subversion and Goebbels campaign against the Chinese workers state will be blocked, especially the endless deluge of lies about the now mythologised but completely non-existent Tian an Men square “massacre” (crucially a provocation also carried out under a flag of supposed American freedom using the Statue of Liberty as its symbol), and the endless lies of a supposed Tibetan struggle, a western inspired subversion around the fraudulent and completely reactionary Dalai Lama (trained by a maverick German Nazi) to reestablish the clerical feudalism of the domineering monastic orders which held the peasantry in exploited superstitious thralldom for centuries, and undermine the Chinese state. And there is the completely stunted up superstitious nonsense of the Falun Gong movement, another CIA inspired subversion sadly drawing in a few deluded nuts to make a public fuss against the Chinese state and endlessly inflated in significance in western propaganda.

Why should the Chinese workers state allow the free publication of such stinking provocations and lies which have been endlessly used to back fascists takeovers, “popular” movements like the Nazi Orange revolution stunt in the Ukraine, and are currently winding up the petty bourgeois movements against the still old-guard Bonapartist Soviet sympathising Belarus president?

Free speech? The battle on the planet is a class war to the end, currently heading for the greatest destruction in history and promised “decades” of blitzings by the USA.

One of the greatest weapons of the imperialists is the endless subversion and propaganda which they pour out non-stop night and day, brainwashing everyone within their own countries with pro-capitalist propaganda and anti-communism and abroad. Currently hundreds of millions of dollars are being used to pump out positive stories into the Iraqi press for example, (and into the western press too), and giant radio and TV transmitters are set up to bombard the Iranians.

Why should the workers states give free access to this pestilential shyte? Why should they waste valuable resources in print, electronics and TV endlessly and repeatedly countering such lies.

They know what this rubbish is, a weapon, and rightly keep it out as much as possible.

Fidel Castro is utterly right to lead mass demonstrations down to the US consulate where a giant electronic signboard has been erected in Havana to pump out even more multi-coloured lies about “freedom and democracy” by the country which is stamping on all such freedom across the planet.

How free and democratic are the poverty stricken workers held in tyranny by the US “advised” death squads in nearby Colombia, and much else of central America?

Blocking this kind of shyte has nothing to do with suppressing freedom, science, and knowledge. Just the opposite. It is the capitalist counter-revolution which is the brain befuddling nonsense, and this Trotskyite garbage is part of it.

And it is dishonest too, lyingly presenting on its front page recently the headline “Islamaphobia no – free speech yes” a cowardly evasion of the reality that the Weekly Worker has been in forefront of attacking and condemning the entire Middle Eastern Muslim militancy as “backward, reactionary and a major threat to ‘freedom’” and whipping up intensive hostility to the entire struggle, which it has likened to fascism and ultra-reaction.

Only last month it rubbished the enormous imperialist-morale-shattering blow of the Hamas election victory in Palestine with a piece of superficial reactionary feminism of such mind boggling shallowness that it took the breath away – declaring the victory to be a backward step and something the working class should not support.

Apart from its reactionary provocativeness (with a Zionist colouration) against the revolutionary spirit being carried by militant Islam this nonsense supremely (and deliberately) misses the point that the entire ferment in the Middle East is already a major step towards a coherent struggle against imperialism, carried at present on the Muslimism which saturates these particular cultures but by no means going to stop there as the even capitalist press notes:

The Danish cartoons row refuses to go away... it is clear that the uproar has deeper causes which westerners, struggling to fathom the rage sparked by Jyllands-Posten’s crude caricatures, and Muslims, fearing a growing clash of cultures, ignore at their peril.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, an influential spiritual leader and scholar, was not alone in characterising the controversy as integral to an ongoing, unifying pan-Islamic revolt against oppression. “The nation must rage in anger,” he told Qatar television. “Whoever was angered and did not rage is a jackass. We are not a nation of jackasses for riding, but lions that roar.”

...As the row has spread, more recent protests, sometimes turning into riots, have broadened the sense of confrontation while blurring its original focus. A protest in northern Nigeria morphed into lethal assaults on Christians. Militant Afghans tried to turn protests yesterday into an al-Qaida recruitment drive. In Pakistan, the evolving target of rallies is not Denmark (or the cartoonists on whose heads a $1m bounty has been placed) but the unelected president, Pervez Musharraf, and his US alliance.

...Analysts such as Amr Hamzawy of the Carnegie Endowment thinktank have suggested western opinion is failing to grasp the ramifications of a developing, pan-Islamic political intifada.

...Rooted in poverty, poor education and lack of democracy, it is driven by Palestine, Iraq, oil politics, and the thoughtless demonisation of all Muslims in the post-9/11 “war on terror”. It increasingly challenges established regimes. It has growing access to uncontrolled media - media that also publicised last year’s Qur’an desecration scandal. The revolt’s unifying banner is Islam...

Among other things, that meant the west must learn to engage with opposition forces and end support for authoritarian governments, said David Mepham of the Institute for Public Policy Research in a new report, Changing States...Formal talks between the US and Europe and the likes of Hamas and Hizbullah might be required - and unavoidable - if the extremists’ grip was to be loosened and mutual repulsion rechannelled into collaborative reform.

No such thing will happen of course, because the world is in a deep crisis driven by imperialism which wants war (as the latest outrageous Goebbels accusations against Iran are racking up the atmosphere for).

But the WW Trots want to drown the working class in defeatism just as they once did with their “hotspots” theory a few years ago, of a world imperialism calmly putting down all rebellions worldwide, turning the titanic victory of the Irish independence struggle, which goes from strength to strength now, into a supposed “defeat” and “sellout”. But it is imperialism which continues to slowly withdraw and the Orange “No Surrender” (for eternity) slogan which has become meaningless.

For a group advocating “free speech and clear discussion” the CPGB has made sure this humiliating rubbish has gone off the radar of “free discussion”.

There is even more sly dishonesty in five pages of free speech posturings, buried under this little caveat:

Communists are resolute and consistent defenders of free speech - which is not of course, the same as shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded cinema or allowing individuals (or groups) clearly hell-bent on encouraging murder or social mayhem just to carry on without sanction or penalty. In this sense it is correct to say that freedom of speech is not an absolute.

Nothing “resolute” at all then. If the bourgeoisie declares that a group is “hell bent on encouraging murder” the CPGB will go along with it – and even more so, if it accuses them of “glorifying terrorism” (which can mean anything under the latest Nazi censorship which even very polite bourgeois intellectuals have protested against.)

But not the CPGB – one of the first to rush in to “condemn terrorism” from the very beginning, thus lining itself right up inside the fundament of imperialism.

Don Hoskins

(part 2 next time).

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From EPSR 964 25th August 1998

Against Trotskyist abstract “free speech” used to support disruptive factionalising in party building

(return to article)

....In other words, it will be the 57 varieties of subjective individualism exactly as before, and each one separately thinking theirs is the ONLY truth, which has always been the only possible meaning of the idiot agnostic phrase “no one has a monopoly of the truth” which has been used for centuries by reaction to try to hold back revolutionary new thinking.

The sole aim of Marxism-Leninism has always been to establish the scientific socialist truth about human civilisation and its future. What has ‘monopoly’ got to do with it? The only successful struggles for socialism have been led by communists who have correctly analysed the historical situation and the balance of class forces, and have CORRECTLY built the sort of disciplined democratic-centralist movement (party or guerrilla army) which alone can defeat ALL the wiles of bourgeois counter-revolution in EVERY situation. Scientific socialist understanding in every case has been by the constant interchange between theory and practice, learning by mistakes or successes how right or wrong has been a party’s perspectives, programme, strategy, and tactics.

For the proletariat, socialism is not the same thing as it is for middle-class academic dilettantes who can possibly afford to spend their whole lives gibbering pointlessly into their glass: “No one has a monopoly of the truth”. For the proletariat, socialism is eventually a necessity requiring REVOLUTIONARY ACTION.

The types who stand around at such crucial historical junctures muttering “no one has a monopoly of the truth” will be plainly identified at that moment as counter-revolutionaries.

The Trot pretence that the 1917 socialist revolution was carried out by a party permanently riddled with oppositional factions is just total lying nonsense. At any one time, the Leninist party had as many differences of opinion as there were members of the leadership. But what even the flimsiest knowledge of 1917 history demonstrates is that once a firm party line was established, the Leninist party was utterly ruthless in its hostility to indisciplined behaviour by any section of the party.

So far was Lenin from any notion that “no one has the monopoly of the truth” that at one stage, when the party leadership delayed a decision about whether the time was ripe to seize power, Lenin threatened to quit and form a new party rather than remain in a minority position.

And immediately power had been seized, ALL the history books in the world confirm that an international propaganda blitzkrieg was launched at once denouncing ‘Lenin the bloody dictator’, and ‘Bolshevik Red Terror’ as the greatest threat to civilisation ever.

Stalin had never been heard of at this stage in history. And this Red Terror was most notorious of all for ‘turning on its own kind’ when the Kronstadt Soviet was drowned in blood by invading Red Army troops in 1921 to put down an armed ‘opposition’ mutiny engineered by anti-communists infiltrating the Soviet structure and adopting counter-revolutionary petty-bourgeois demands, masquerading as a ‘socialist opposition’.

EPSR 935 recently quoted at length from the 10th Bolshevik Congress which in 1921 imposed a massive purge of factional groups and platforms which had wormed their way into the revolutionary party from the vast ranks of the petty bourgeoisie in Russia.

Such factional oppositionism, proposing rival platforms to the agreed party policy, would unfailingly lead to the triumph, of the counter-revolution if not purged immediately, the Congress agreed, at Lenin’s insistence. This reinforced discipline alone saved the planned Soviet system from being overthrown there and then.

The Soviet workers state went on to transform 20th century history, although sadly stopping short of going all the way, — ultimately being undermined by revisionist retreats from strict Leninist party and state discipline.

To take up this lying Trot pretence from the Alliance that freely-flourishing factions made the Bolshevik Party a success until the ‘disastrous and mistaken’ 1921 10th Congress, Leninist science from earlier periods, (declaring permanent factional opposition impossible to tolerate for a revolutionary party which meant business), has to be studied.

The first Lenin quotes from May 1904 (from One Step Forward, Two Steps Back) show that undisciplined petty-bourgeois individualists immediately shouted ‘bureaucrat dictator’ at Lenin as soon as they failed to get their own way inside the party. The Midlands Trot manifesto does exactly the same today because of being defeated in the SLP.

In 1904, the party majority which backed Lenin were dismissed as ‘mere pawns’. In 1998, they have become ‘hacks and clones’. Even the sneer at the ‘mechanical’ majority at the Party Congress is identical, with the same bruised egos at not being invited to become leaders, and furious that their sectarian circles were being ruled out of order.

Contrast this with Lenin speaking gladly that the party had now grown far enough for constitutional organisation to be needed to replace the informally-disciplined struggles of voluntary amateurish circles.

Bluntly, Lenin insists that centralist bureaucracy must always prevail over autonomist ‘democracy’ in any serious workers party which intends to build socialism. He specifically champions the centre’s right to appoint cadres to local committees and to have the decisive say in who should be the local candidates for parliament.

Lenin notes how, exactly as today, the capitalist press rushes to give publicity to anti-party opportunists who want to denounce ‘dictatorship’ and ‘lack of democracy’ in the party, strangely ignoring, of course, the careerists’ own pretence of being ‘more revolutionary’ than the party they are grassing up for the benefit of the class enemy.

But who are the real ‘revolutionaries’, — those who build a disciplined party of the working class to abolish capitalism, or those intellectual individualists who reject all party discipline and are merely in love with the sound of their own voice?

In December 1910 in his Open letter to all Pro-Party Social-Democrats (which was the word for communist at the time), Lenin specifically ridicules the Alliance notion that anything worthwhile can be built out of the undisciplined ‘left’ swamp all getting together, all with a proportional say on the leadership committees.

Such a 57 varieties swamp will NOT get rid of factionalism which in time will always wreck the work a party tries to do. Lenin wanted factionalism expelled from the party, and even insisted on a clear break-up with those ‘conciliators’, like Trotsky, who still insisted that working with the swamp was the best plan of action.

Lenin rubbished such thinking, saying the swamp could only harm the work; and it was precisely the disciplined Bolshevik Party which went on by itself to complete the abolition of capitalism, starting with the Bolshevik Revolution seven years later.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

How the determined IRA-Sinn Fein Irish struggle resisted the worst of imperialism – and how imperialism did the worst

The following is an excerpt from an article first printed in the 10 January 1976 edition of Republican News:


Gerry Adams, writing from the Cages of Long Kesh Prison, writes of the terrible conditions for republican POWs in English prisons, particularly of the horrors of forced feeding, as Frank Stagg entered the final month of his hunger strike.

As it happened, Stagg was not force fed during the hunger strike on which he died, but he had been on previous fasts and it was this brutal method of torture that led directly to the death of his comrade and fellow Mayo man Michael Gaughan in 1974.

Britain’s Ambassador to Chile, Mr Reginald Seconde, said yesterday that he knew Sheila Cassidy, detained in Chile for 59 days for helping a wounded Chilean guerrilla, had been tortured by Santiago police two weeks after her arrest last November. Mr Seconde was reporting to the Brit Foreign Office after his recall from Chile and pressure is building on Brit Foreign Secretary Jim Callaghan to take some firm action against Chile over the treatment of Dr Cassidy. The case has achieved immense publicity on the Brit news media and English politicians have been making very angry noises against, and about, the use of torture on political prisoners.

At the time of writing, and for the past few weeks, Frank Stagg, a republican POW in Wakefield Prison, has been on hunger and thirst strike, while Roy Walsh and two of his comrades are still in solitary confinement in the Prison Segregation Unit (Special Control Unit) of Wormwood Scrubs after their protest there last November. Republican prisoners in England are held under solitary confinement conditions and Paul Holmes, in particular, has spent most of his time in the Segregation Unit of Parkhurst Prison, known among republican POWs as ‘The Hole’. They are all making one basic demand, and that is a transfer to Ireland so that they may serve their sentences nearer home.

The precedent for this move was made when Dolours and Marion Price were transferred after a long and horrifying hunger strike and again, when Hugh Feeney and Gerry Kelly were moved to Long Kesh. Loyalist prisoners, albeit without hunger strikes, have also been transferred. Once again, England has shown her ability to condemn torture abroad against her citizens, while at home in her own prison hell-holes, day and daily, Irishmen and Irishwomen are tortured in the most cowardly and bestial manner.

Within the next week or two support for Frank Stagg will build in the ghettoes and among the freedom loving people of Ireland. This may be too late. It must be stressed that Frank Stagg will die if pressure is not brought to bear on the Brits immediately. With this horrible eventuality in mind I decided to write a short article on conditions for republican POWs in English jails, so that while we go about our daily business, at work or at home, each and every one of us may understand the daily hell which our prisoners in England are fighting against.

To assist me in this, I asked two comrades, Hugh Feeney. and Gerry Kelly, to scribble a brief outline of their experiences, so that I could give an outline of Frank Stagg’s prison ‘routine’. Their notes arrived in this cage this evening and I have used them below almost as they were written. As a republican prisoner myself, who has spent a few years in Long Kesh and a month or two on the

Maidstone Prison Ship, I have often felt quite sorry for myself and many times I have had the audacity to feel chuffed at enduring all this. Since reading Gerry and Hugh’s account of forced feeding I have stopped kidding myself. My two brief punishment sessions ‘on the boards’ here, the odd beating-up on Brit raids and the conditions which my visitors endure have all paled to insignificance beside the plight of our people in England. Long Kesh, Magilligan, Armagh, Crumlin, Portlaoise, the Curragh, the ‘Joy and Limerick Jails are bad. English Prisons are worse and are, in truth and fact, living hellholes.

There is no martyr complex in the following notes, no talk of doing ‘bird’, no self-pity. Republicans in England are there only because of the English presence in Ireland. Until that presence is removed it is the duty of every Irishman and woman to push relentlessly for the transfer of our prisoners from English to Irish jails. The precedent has been set. English hypocrisy must find no excuse for continuing their torture of Irish republican POWs. It must stop now before Frank Stagg dies, alone and unwanted in his prison cell.

Frank has been on four previous hunger strikes and the conditions he is at present suffering are as they were when he was on hunger strike and in solitary confinement in Parkhurst and Long Lartin. He is now in the hospital wing of Wakefield prison, under the ‘care’ of Doctors Knox and Xavier. Both these men have - force-fed Irish prisoners and, last May, Frank Maguire MP reported that a week after being force fed, Frank Stagg still bore the nail-marks of Dr Xavier on his wrists. These doctors call force-feeding, ‘tube’ feeding.

Frank Stagg may be in the hospital wing, but a prison hospital cannot, in any way, be equated with a civilian hospital. Frank has been moved from one cell of the prison punishment block to a greater punishment — the possibility of forced feeding. He still remains in complete solitary confinement and he must inevitably face force feeding again even after the decision by the British Medical Association to condemn it. Forced feeding has not been stopped, but it is left to the discretion of the prison doctor. Frank Stagg was last force fed in May 1975. Jenkins, in a reply a few months ago in the Brit House of Commons, stated that he had left it to the prison doctor. If, as is likely, Frank Stagg is forced fed again he will suffer the following torture and, because his throat and stomach in particular cannot have healed properly, his health will deteriorate more quickly than it is doing at present.

“He will face the possibility of at least one and maybe two ‘feedings’ daily. Force feeding is always brutal. No matter how often it occurs the victim does not get used to it. Some sessions are worse than others, but all are terrible experiences. If the ‘feedings’ are not at regular times each day, and usually they are not, then he spends the entire day trying to prepare himself emotionally. Trying to restock his determination to fight.

A team of screws are the first to appear. They come into the cell with varying expressions on their faces. These range from snarls, through impassive indifference to the odd sheepish apologetic smile. He will be ‘fed’ either in his cell or dragged outside into another one. He will be held in a bed or on a chair. Usually six or eight screws are involved. They swop in an obviously planned manner, holding and pressing down on arms and legs. He will struggle as best he can even though he knows it is useless. One grabs him by the hair and forces his head back, and when he is finally pinned down in the proper manner the doctor and his assistant arrive.

Various methods will be employed to open Frank’s mouth. His nose will be covered to cut off air, or a screw or doctor will bunch their fists or bore their knuckles into the joints on each side of the jaws. A Ryle’s tube will be used. This is a very long thin tube which is pushed through the nose. It is supposedly for nasal feeding, but, in forced feeding, it is simply a torture weapon used to force open the jaws. It rubs against the membrane at the back of the nose and, if not coated in a lubricant (which it seldom is), it causes a searing pain, akin to a red-hot needle being pushed into one’s head. If Frank cries out with this pain, a wooden clamp will be pushed very forcibly between his teeth. If this fails to work, the doctor will use a large pair of forceps to cut into the gums, the ensuing pain again forcing the jaws to open sufficiently for the clamp to be forced in. Sometimes a metal clamp, rather like a ‘Bulldog’ clip, is used: It is forced between the teeth and a bolt is turned, forcing a spring and the jaws to open.

When Frank’s jaws are finally pried open, a wooden bit, father like a horse bit, is forded into his mouth. This bit has two pointed ends, which are used to force and to hold an opening. It ‘sits’ across his mouth with a screw holding each end, and there is a hole in the centre of it through which the feeding tube is forced. A flat piece of wood is inserted first to press the tongue down and then a three-foot long rubber tube, coated in liquid paraffin, is shoved in and down his throat. A funnel is placed on the open end and they will pour some water in. If the water bubbles, they know the tube is in Frank’s lungs. If so, the tube is removed and the whole process starts again.

Michael Gaughan was murdered in this way. When the tube is eventually fixed properly, it is pushed down into Frank’s stomach. There are different widths of tube and obviously the wider they are, the more painful the torture. Doctors usually use the widest as food goes down quicker and they don’t have to delay over-long. Frank will feel his stomach filling up and stretching, an experience he has undergone before. Automatically, he will vomit up, the disgorged food being caught in a kidney dish. If the doctor in charge is especially sadistic the vomit will be forced back down his throat again (this happened to Gerry Kelly). As the tube is removed it tears at the back of his throat, more so than before because the liquid paraffin has worn off on the way down. The last few inches will be ghastly. Frank will get violent pains in his chest. He will choke and, at this point, he will be sicker than before, as the tube coming out triggers off more retching (Marion Price passed out at this stage once). After ‘feeding’, Frank will find it impossible to stand up, to sit up, or to move in any way.

Frank Stagg is also on thirst strike. This is dealt with in two ways. The first method employed is simply more force feeding with water fluids in the food. Since this liquid bypasses his mouth (via the tube) that is where he will feel it most. The other method involves putting extra salt in the liquid during force feeding. This causes a more concentrated dehydration and increases the desire for water. To repeatedly alternate between thirst and hunger strike, as Frank Stagg is doing, is extremely difficult and indescribably agonising. He may be refused a towel or water to wash off his vomit as Hugh Feeney was, and his cell will stink of sour milk and disgorged food. On one occasion Hugh Feeney was even denied Communion by a priest, so Frank could find himself denied even spiritual comfort.

This then is a broad outline of the barbarism condoned by English politicians in England and condemned by them elsewhere. It is inflicted, with equal savagery, on girls as well as men. Dolours and Marion Price were tortured like this during a strike which lasted 205 days.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Commemorating the Irish Hunger Strike heroes 25 years later

This year sees the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike in which ten H-Block prisoners died.

Bobby Sands - oneof the ten republican hunger strikersSpeaking to An Phoblacht Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane said the National Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee decided to start this year’s calendar with two events marking the death on hunger strike of Frank Stagg in Wakefield Prison on 12 February 1976 and also remembering the anniversary of Michael Gaughan who died in Parkhurst Prison on 3 June 1974.

A mural honouring Stagg and Gaughan will be unveiled on the Falls Road in Belfast on Sunday 12 February.

“We decided on 13 February as the date for the official launch of this year’s events because we wanted it to coincide with the Stagg commemoration and we saw it as a way of starting of the commemoration year with some momentum. We want to get all areas across Ireland focused on this year’s event,” said McFarlane.

He added that republican activists throughout the country should see the Hunger Strike anniversary as an opportunity to promote republicanism and to educate people, particularly young people, about the strikers themselves and the cause for which they died.


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