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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 1291 April 22nd 2006

Peugeot car shutdown is not some routine episode but a signal of general slump conditions brewing as capitalism’s crisis deepens. But union boss calls for defence of “British jobs” only plays into the warmongering chauvinistic hatred atmosphere imperialism is creating as its World War Three “solution” to overproduction and coming credit collapse. International revolutionary understanding and leadership of worldwide ferment is the antidote. Build Leninism.

Half-hearted “protests” by the trade union leaderships against the devastating closure of the Peugeot car factory in the Midlands are a disgusting play-acting fraud on the working class, being savaged yet again by the onrushing world crisis.

The whingeing bleats by the smug union bureaucrats, immediately after the shock announcement, that “we did everything to cooperate with the management and look how they treat us” is beyond contempt. Even worms have got more gumption.

Since when has capitalism ever “played fair” or had the best interests of its workers’ welfare at heart? Profitability is the only guide that managements follow or can follow in a system based on ruthless monopoly competition. They play the game of “cooperation” with organised workers (and at some cost to workers always) only to head-off class conflict temporarily or gain tactical advantages in production, (through winning lucrative subsidies from desperate governments for example or heading of strikes and workers’ pressure).

Craven class collaboration, advocated by reformist trade unionism and backed up overtly or tacitly by every flavour of the fake-“left” from posturing activist Trots (in 57 varieties) to the “democratic” delusions of the revisionists, has only ever produced short-term advantage for the working class – and much greater long term disadvantage because it disarms them and heads them in entirely the wrong direction, away from revolutionary perspectives.

In general, trade unionism has always refused to break with Labourism’s servile operation of capitalism for the capitalists so that the inbuilt catastrophe of the system is never dealt with – and the endless story of downturns, slump and blighted lives is always poised above the working class, returning with every lurch in the system, despite the gains they make through their fights and sacrifices.

The reformist perspective precisely disarms the working class against such downturns, suggesting that permanent gain and “steady progress” is possible through pressure and heading off the revolutionary understanding that is vital.

Worse still, it continues to fund and support “Labourism” even now it has shown itself to be no more than closet Mosleyite fascism, promoting the interests only of the fatcats and bosses under a barrage of spin and slick Goebbels lies, massively enhancing the “rewards” for the minority, “restoring” class differentials and tearing up human rights and “freedom” as imperialism prepares for World War Three.

Such reformism has always been disastrous for the working class historically, and no more so than at the period when the whole system is tipping back into desperate crisis and warmongering once again, hurtling the whole world towards the all out destruction already imposed on Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq, but eventually to erupt between the great rivals of imperialism again.

The inevitable game of fake-“left” “rank and file” militancy – and the routine mechanical calls by various groups and “left” sections of the union movement for “strikes” and even occupations is equally sick as long as there is no perspective for the working class to understand where it is going with such actions.

Good luck to workers if they can organise such moves and establish international links with French workers at the main Peugeot plants for example, important solidarity in the fight against capital.

But the reported “lukewarm” response of the workers demonstrates how inadequate and pointless is both the old style trade union leadership and the fake-”left” militancy, in the teeth of capitalist crisis. As the EPSR said six years ago at the time of the Rover collapse, it all amounts to little more than posing, if a proper context is not set for workers to understand the issues:

...all the 57 varieties of anti-communist Trot and Revisionist group correctly climbed on the ‘Occupy; nationalise’ bandwagon, but equally all failed to place such demands even remotely in context. A spontaneous movement for widespread factory and capitalist-property seizures could only be the start of a general revolutionary upheaval when it does finally come about. It is inconceivable to have such a movement without it being an aspect of the start of a general uprising.

But why conceal this from the working class? What sort of ‘educated’ dilettante middle-class freaks stand around urging the working class to ‘Occupy; nationalise’ but keep workers totally in the dark about what such a factory-seizure-movement could alone be part of??? What cowardly and sinister game is it to warn workers of the catastrophes ahead from an insane capitalist-anarchy profiteering system which has already produced (from a strictly market-exploitation point of view) a 40% global surplus-capacity in car-production investment, but not warn workers of what trade-war devastation and military-warmongering destruction such a perspective must mean at the end of the 20th century which has just imposed two such world wars of total murderous inter-imperialist destruction on mankind?

All 57 varieties of mealy-mouthed opportunism bend over backwards to alert workers to the dangers of anti-German chauvinism being spread by reaction in Britain, but this advice is worse than useless if the extreme circumstances of an all-out trade war, resuming between all the old imperialist rivals, is not explained as the highly provocative context in which such anti-German chauvinism (or anti-French, anti-Japanese, anti-American, or whatever) will inevitably catch on. It is already rampant against BMW even at this very early stage of international markets collapse and ‘surplus capacity’ destruction. It will be overwhelming once still more vicious trade-war measures between old imperialist rivals start coming into play.

Anti-capitalist international revolutionary education (with Marxist-Leninist proletarian dictatorship as its heart and soul) is the only possible answer to the diabolical warmongering conspiracy which ‘democracy’ and the ‘free market’ have in store. But not one word did any of the 57 varieties breathe about the plainly revolutionary crisis into which the world imperialist system is unavoidably now plunging.

It has plunged a lot further now as the deepening crisis has turned towards the blitzings and bombings of the new century, behind the total US imperialist mobilisation for “the long war” as the Pentagon is calling it, meaning permanent military intimidation of the rest of the planet, to impose by force what can no longer be achieved by “normal”, (if exploitative), trading rules.

Right in the middle of this, far from educating workers on the giant slump upheavals the shutdown signals, some of the trade union leaders have already shown how reactionary the old class collaboration will become in crisis, stirring anti-French petty nationalist feelings about the closure and suggesting that “French workers get better treatment” etc (untrue of course in general – they are as victimised by the world multinational capitalist order as any, though the recent embryonically revolutionary spirit shown in the marches, strikes and riots against the employment laws has made the French ruling class temporarily cautious) which only plays the chauvinistic tune of the increasingly vicious world warmongering, as the quote suggests above.

And while the militants have properly called for links with French workers, their proposals are for no more than getting the company “to reverse its decision”. In some particular struggles (usually in boom periods) reversal might be achieved though it is unlikely in the increasing overproduction climate and then only at the expense of shutdowns elsewhere and blighted lives for other workers.

Reforms to head off underlying revolutionary pressure have been a major tactic for the ruling class – and in France they have made a temporary retreat, withdrawing plans to cut labour security and help impose speed up in the economy.

But it would be disastrous to conclude that, the problems of the French workers have been “solved”. The world crisis continues to intensify and French imperialism is worse placed than ever now in the titanic trade war battles and inter-imperialist rivalries which are hotting up.

The morale boost to the French working class could be dissipated and largely wasted unless it too is able to develop a better revolutionary grasp.

The heroic embryonically-civil-war miners strike in 1984 finally demonstrated 20 years ago the limits to reformist perspectives (even with underlying revolutionary pressure), a historic endpoint when imperialism’s crisis was already forcing the ruling class hand into more overt civil class war action to smash union organisation and hobble its militancy.

Returning capitalism to prosperity and full production (as the reformist NUM perspective of the Plan for Coal suggested) would be the only way to stop it making shutdowns – and that is an impossibility. It would be easier to make water run uphill – or more realistically get rid of the whole system.

Nothing else but revolution – the complete ending and overturn of the capitalist system – can now solve the problems of exploitation, and class tyranny and the ever recurring slumps and war destruction that the system brings.

The greed ridden imperialist order, for all the centuries long impetus it gave moribund feudal society, is now well beyond its historical ”sell-by” date, capable only of dragging mankind down into trade war antagonism and, increasingly, all-out warmongering.

Profitability is being ever more squeezed as the relentlessly deepening crisis of the entire world ruling order heads inexorably towards the greatest catastrophic trading collapse and slump disaster,

Few industries demonstrate better the enormous contradictions of the profit mechanism and its inevitable overproduction contradictions than car manufacturing. Cut-throat competition and vicious price cutting – in a market with enormous over-capacity – has brought some of the greatest corporations in the world, including the three titanic US monsters of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, virtually to their knees, hundreds of millions of dollars in the red and facing utter disaster. Only by slashing costs at the expense of the working class – forcing through speed ups and ruthlessly eliminating bonuses, pensions and medical aid programmes etc etc promised to, and agreed with, workers over decades of union battles and bitterly-won agreements – are any of them hanging on at all, in the US especially.

Even the “winners” like, for the moment, Peugeot, Volkswagen or some of the Japanese firms, are forced to slash workers conditions, turning to cheap East European labour for example to intensify and speed up.

And even then their continuing car sales are dependent on the enormous and distorting buildup of ever less repayable personal and public debts throughout the “advanced world” but especially US and British imperialism, running huge deficits and debts, at government level and trillions in total private debt. Without this monstrous credit mountain, there would be hardly any sales at all.

It is the utmost cynical Goebbels lying and spin to slickly tell the working class, as the Blairites smoothly glibbed on the media after the suddenly sprung Peugeot news, that “never mind – that is the nature of the ‘free market’ and the rest of the British economy is still sound and even ‘doing well’ in car production. You will all find jobs”. Apart from the Marie Antoinette levels of ruling class contempt expressed for the savaged families in the Midlands whose lives have been turned over and in some cases destroyed – (detachment on a par with Cherie Blair’s astonishing, unbelievable and completely disgusting ?7000 bill to the New Labour Party for “election hairdressing” (even spending in one month more than an pensioner’s annual income is obscene - let alone charging it!!)) – this is a knowing lie.

It not only fails to warn the working class about the disastrous condition of the capitalist world economy but deliberately tells them the exact lying opposite.

In fact imperialism’s entire world trading system is now a huge accumulating disaster which will unravel at accelerating speed at some point, historically soon, on a greater scale than before the First World War and the 1930s run-up to the even more destructive Second World War.

When the effects of these utterly unrepayable inflationary deficits of hundreds of billions of paper dollars finally come home to roost (held off only at present by the forced patience of the creditors like Japan under US intimidation (and revisionist “don’t rock the boat” delusions from Beijing), the devastation and blight of lives and livelihoods already being seen at these huge corporations, in the hammered Detroit Motown for example and in Britain with the Rover closure, the Jaguar closures and much more, (plus rising unemployment in many more industries) will be overwhelming, closing down entire regions and even entire countries’ industrial outputs, in every industry.

Just how devastating the crisis has already been, is visible in a partial way in slump chaos, bank and currency collapses forced onto South America in the past two decades, (bankrupting whole countries like Argentina eg) and onto the once “Tiger” Asian economies, still reeling despite some minor upturns (spin-off from the huge, ever less sustainable, surges in the US dollar’s credit binge and its temporary boosts to world trading and equally importantly from the huge growth of revisionist workers state China).

The vicious irrationality of a system that organises humanity in such a sick destructive and anarchic fashion, regularly devastating great swathes of humanity and communities when profits are failing (as they inevitably and periodically will do within the contradictory capitalist way of doing things – see multiple Marx and Lenin economic writings from Capital onwards (and extracted quotes)) would be reason enough at any time to overthrow imperialism and instigate a planned and coordinated production for humanity’s needs (i.e. socialism).

Taking the production of the things people require away from the irrationality of commodity selling for profit and into the realm of controlled output balanced to need (and which modern technology can easily determine and fulfil on a world scale) is the only way to make existence stable and allow the undisrupted rational building of families, lives, homes and communities.

It would end forever the utterly pointlessness and shallowness, and unnecessary desperation, unfairness, and misery produced by capitalism for the majority, even in the richest of countries and on a permanently life-threatening and horrific scale throughout the monstrously exploited and dominated Third World (repeated famine, ignorance, filthy living conditions, epidemics, hovel housing, oppression, torture, intimidation, brutalisation, criminality etc).

The world has become less and less patient and willing to continue suffering the illogicality, tyranny and plundering of the imperialist order, with ever increasing anti-imperialist ferment bubbling throughout the planet.

And as the dramatic turmoil in Nepal is currently demonstrating it can only ripen into revolutionary upheaval.

But the need for change is made urgent now the contradictions in the profit system are reaching bursting point, creating the greatest yet of the ever worsening crisis eruptions that the more and more globalised imperialist system has suffered in the last 150 years, ripping apart even the wage-slavery subsistence living of the “boom” periods and blitzing and killing tens of millions of people at a time in titanic destructive slumps and horrific bloody world wars.

The competing monopoly forces of the capitalist world are always in a deadly cut-throat struggle to wipe out rivals and battle for dominance of world markets but eventually “over-production” makes it harder and harder to sell anything at all (at a profit) and sheer survival becomes a matter of deadly war destruction.

Imperialism’s only solution, to destroy the vast accumulated capital base and therefore restore the rate of profit, and simultaneously to wipe out rival capitalist production (each striving to dominate all world sales in its field) has become more barbaric and destructive each time, insanely wiping out not only the painfully built production capacity of society but much of the “surplus” workforce too, in the trench and bombing carnage.

As far as capitalism is concerned, it really is a question of “Fuck off and die” as a Steve Bell press cartoon on Peugeot put it this week,

And it will be happening on a massively wide scale as the crisis deepens - not just Rover, Peugeot etc but to all the “successful” economic sectors that the Goebbels lying Labourites claim as achievements in the UK.

Like every part of the world imperialist economy they are completely hollow built on a mountain of credit that is ready to implode.

The real path the Blairites are taking, willingly and sycophantically backing up the major US imperialists for the British ruling class, is into war on a massive international and world scale, as imperialism has imposed three times already and as is clearly now happening again. The continuous and insane US neocon blitzing and invasion of “rogue regime” and “maverick outsider” country after country is the overture.

All this faces the Peugeot workers and every other worker – factory or office - hand or brain (or both), – inseparably from closures, pensions cuts, rising taxes, and debt. And every struggle raises all these questions.

The UK workers and others in Europe will undoubtedly respond, just as the billions throughout the Third World are increasingly demonstrating they will no longer tolerate the vicious oppression of capital in a hundred different ways, most labelled “terrorism” by Washington and its fascistic stooges like Blair, part of imperialism’s increasingly Nazification and propaganda to keep the masses in a state of constant tension, fear, hostility and increasingly dragooned into chauvinistic aggression.

That it shows signs of backfiring badly especially against Bush and Blair is a measure of how strongly the Third World resistance has set back the warmongering plans and confidence of the Bushite neocon war plans to “shock and awe” the entire planet into continuing submission to the US Empire’s ever increasing appetites, despite its declining ability to actually make and produce anything itself.

Neither rebellious masses and their anti-imperialist struggles, nor the possible challenges of rival monopoly powers (ultimately the driving contradiction towards war) are to be tolerated, as is made clear by the now twice repeated Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strike against anyone (including and especially rival capitalist powers) who evens looks like they might develop the capacity to challenge the US.

But it has not stopped the turmoil – just the opposite, it has fertilised and stimulated the worldwide hostility to the US on an unprecedented scale.

It is defeat for imperialism’s forces and plans in various forms, and most particularly in Iraq and to some extent Afghanistan which has also stimulated the growing domestic public hostility against both, turning initial gung-ho “patriotism” (a usual sure winner for imperialist rulers to boost popularity) into sour recriminations and splits right into the ruling class itself, creating growing intellectual dismay, and revealing massive sleaze and lie scandals, from Blairite peerages to the highest levels of corruption in the US Congress.

One of the most astonishing revelations of all is in the numbers of senior US general breaking ranks as the bourgeois press reveals:

Two more retired US generals called overnight on Donald Rumsfeld to resign as US defence secretary, adding to a deepening rift within the Pentagon.

Six generals - two of whom commanded troops in Iraq - have now called on Mr Rumsfeld to stand down over his leadership of the war.

Retired Major General Charles Swannack, who led the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq, said Mr Rumsfeld, 73, had “micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces”.

He told CNN: “I really believe that we need a new secretary of defence because Secretary Rumsfeld carries way too much baggage with him.”

Retired Major General John Riggs told National Public Radio that Mr Rumsfeld had helped create an atmosphere of “arrogance” among the Pentagon’s civilian leadership. “They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda. I think that’s a mistake, and that’s why I think he should resign,” he said.

Earlier this week retired Major General John Batiste, who led the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq from 2004 until last year, said Mr Rumsfeld’s authoritarian leadership style had made life more difficult for professional soldiers.

“We need leadership up there that respects the military as they expect the military to respect them. And the leadership needs to understand teamwork,” he told CNN on Wednesday.

His comments were especially startling because he served as an aide to Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy defence secretary and an architect of the Iraq war.

The other retired officers are Major General Paul Eaton, who trained Iraqi troops up to 2004, Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold and retired Marine general Anthony Zinni, a former head of US Central Command and in charge of all American troops in the Middle East from 1997 to 2000.

Of the six, only Gen Zinni is a longstanding critic of the war. Lt Gen Newbold, a director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2000 to 2002, wrote in Time magazine this week that “we are living with [...] the consequences of successive policy failures”. The fallout between parts of the US military and Mr Rumsfeld began in early 2003 in the run-up to the Iraq war, when General Eric Shinseki, who at the time was the army chief of staff, was sidelined after he told a congressional hearing that several hundred thousand US troops would be needed bring peace to Iraq - rather than the smaller force Mr Rumsfeld planned to send. Mr Rumsfeld has offered to resign at least twice but George Bush has always turned him down.

None of this would be happening of course if the planned blitzkrieg on Iraq had stunned the resistance into silence, intentionally intimidating it as German Nazi jackboot onslaughts once did in Europe.

But the chaos and mess is simply worsening, in Iraq and Afghanistan:

An internal US government report portrays a grim picture of Iraq’s stability, rating six of the country’s 18 provinces as in a “serious” situation and one “critical”, it emerged yesterday.

...the report, a “provincial stability assessment”, prepared by the US embassy and the US military command, is in marked contrast with the sunnier assessments generally heard from the White House and the Pentagon.

Surfacing on “Freedom Day”, the third anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad, the report includes a map showing the western province of Anbar in red for “critical” and six other provinces including Baghdad and Basra, as orange for “serious”.

The report comes at a critical moment, with a political vacuum following the December elections while Iraqi parties argue over the formation of a national unity government. Despite pressure from Iraq’s senior Shia cleric to end the damaging political deadlock, Shia leaders failed yet again yesterday to agree on a new prime minister in spite of two days of meetings.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged them to choose a government speedily, but in a move which gives some comfort to the caretaker prime minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, who wants to stay in his post, the cleric said Shias must work by consensus and maintain their unity. Mr Jaafari won the Shia bloc’s nomination by one vote in February. Adel Abdul Mahdi, his main rival, broke ranks last week and called for him to step down because Sunnis and Kurds refuse to work under him. Other in the seven-party Shia coalition that won the elections also want Mr Jaafari to go.

Jawad al Maliki, an official of Mr Jaafari’s party is part of a three-man Shia team sounding out Sunni, Kurdish and other parties on possible compromises. The Shia block has less than half the seats in parliament so any new PM will have to link up with Sunni or Kurdish parties, or the secular party which won 25 seats.

The US and Britain have said Iraqis need a national unity government, spanning all groups - a position Mr Jaafari shares. Mr Khalilzad urged patience yesterday, arguing: “We want a good government, not a government as soon as possible.”

Britain’s foreign secretary, Jack Straw, who visited Baghdad last week in a failed bid to end the paralysis, expressed new irritation yesterday. “It’s very frustrating because the leaders are taking far too long to form this government,” he said. But he was careful not to go as far as describing recent sectarian violence as the start of civil war. The Iraqi government is demanding “clarification” from Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak told a TV channel “Iraq is almost close to destruction”.

A rocket slammed into a school playground filled with children in a mountainous and violent province of eastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing seven and wounding 34.

The presumed Taliban attack, thought to be targeting a US military base half-a-mile away, was the deadliest strike yet against Afghanistan’s education system since 2001 and the latest escalation of a spring offensive employing car bombs, suicide attacks and roadside ambushes.

Hundreds of boys were crowded into the grounds of the Salabagh primary school, many because there was not enough classroom space inside, when the bomb landed on the outskirts of Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province.

The blast tore through the area, six children dying at the scene and another in hospital later, said the provincial governor, Assadullah Wafa. A second rocket landed in a field, killing nobody. “I saw so many children on the ground. Many were not moving. Screams were coming from everywhere,” a pupil, Omar Sahib, 12, told Associated Press. “One teacher was lying there without a leg.”

Some of the injured were airlifted to the main US base at Bagram, north of Kabul. The attack drew immediate condemnation from Tom Koenigs, the top UN official in Afghanistan. “The children of Afghanistan should not be targeted by such violence and must be left alone in peace,” he said. US military commander Major General Benjamin C Freakley described the attack as “despicable” and vowed to “hunt down these terrorists”.

Qari Mohammed Yousaf, one of several purported Taliban spokesmen, said: “We do not kill innocent children. This is not our work.”

Imperialism, with its still overwhelming firepower and command of world resources may eventually get a grip on both these countries, forcing through a supposed “unity” prime minister as it has this week for example, though at massive further cost in military casualties, shattered morale and hundreds of billions on unaffordable further dollars.

But the chaos and setbacks, and the blows to imperialist prestige already represent a huge historic defeat and a measure of how far the imperialist system is now out of time, demonstrating all the vicious irrelevancy of the Charles 1 monarchy, Louis XVI in the pre-revolutionary or the Rasputin deranged imperial Tsarist court prior to the Russian Bolshevik triumph.

And it will have to do the same with another 150 or more countries, to keep control of its international monopoly super-exploitation, the only way it can sustain the delicious power and golden luxury it enjoys at the expense of the world’s masses.

But the eruption of world hostility is simply increasing, tearing through South America, from Bolivia to Ecuador, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and increasing erupting in various forms even within the most advanced countries, particularly the US itself.

Imperialism is under siege. But it is a long way yet from down and the war plans continue.

Again the bourgeois press makes the running:

“But he wouldn’t do that.” That sentiment is what made it possible for President Bush to stampede America into the Iraq war and to fend off hard questions about the reasons for it until after the 2004 election. Many people just did not want to believe that an American president would deliberately mislead the nation on matters of war and peace.

Now people with contacts in the administration and the military warn that Bush may be planning another war. The most alarming warning comes from Seymour Hersh, the veteran investigative journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal. Writing in the New Yorker, Hersh suggests that administration officials believe a bombing campaign could lead to desirable regime change in Iran - and that they refuse to rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

“But he wouldn’t do that,” say people who think they are being sensible. As it happens, rumours of a new war coincide with the emergence of evidence that appears to confirm our worst suspicions about the war we are already in.

First, it is clearer than ever that Bush, who still claims the war with Iraq was a last resort, was spoiling for a fight. The New York Times has confirmed the authenticity of a British government memo reporting on a prewar discussion in which Bush told Tony Blair that he was determined to invade Iraq even if UN inspectors came up empty handed.

Second, it is becoming increasingly clear that Bush knew the case for war rested on suspect evidence. In his 2003 State of the Union address he cited Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes as clear evidence that Saddam was trying to acquire a nuclear arsenal. Yet Murray Waas reports in the National Journal that Bush had been warned that many intelligence analysts disagreed. Was the difference between Bush’s public portrayal of the threat and the actual intelligence he saw large enough to validate claims that he deliberately misled the nation into war? Karl Rove apparently thought so. According to Waas, Rove “cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush’s 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged” if dissents about the significance of the aluminum tubes became public.

Now there are rumours of plans to attack Iran. Most strategic analysts think a bombing campaign would be a disaster. But that does not mean it will not happen: Bush ignored similar warnings, including those of his father, about the risks involved in invading Iraq.

As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently pointed out, the administration seems to be following exactly the same script on Iran that it used on Iraq: “The vice-president of the United States gives a major speech focused on the threat from an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The US secretary of state tells Congress that the same nation is our most serious global challenge. The secretary of defence calls that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism. The president blames it for attacks on US troops.”

Paul Krugman is professor of economics at Princeton University

But this set of trailers in Fort MacDill, near Tampa, and the military officers who emerge from their tin doors in various configurations of camouflage, are engaged in a far more serious enterprise.

They are planning for a global conflict that, Washington believes, will dominate the next 20 years. The Pentagon calls it the “long war”: an integrated military, financial and diplomatic campaign against al-Qaida and its affiliates that will eventually span the globe, shaping the lives of the coming generation much as the cold war defined the baby boomers.

And yet within the very heart of Centcom the contours of the coming clash remain a matter of debate. The 63 countries represented here see a need for a joint effort against al-Qaida, but are not at all sure that they share America’s vision, or its leadership, of that war.

Since the autumn of 2001, when George Bush declared the “global war on terror”, Fort MacDill has been the nerve centre of the US-led coalitions against first Afghanistan and then Iraq. The airbase is the headquarters of the US central command, which extends from the Middle East through the horn of Africa to central Asia.

Here, in Thursday morning meetings around a horseshoe conference table where LED clocks show the time around the world, senior officers gather to map strategy, exchange tactical knowledge and generally wear away cultural baggage. “The benefit of having this coalition here is that everyone has a different perception on everything,” said Royal Marine Colonel Mark Bibbey.

Coalition members also share intelligence, or at least they are supposed to - several officers said this was a sensitive matter. “One of the things that needs to be done to get the upper hand on the war on terror is to share information on the bad guys,” said a European general. “The need-to-know principle needs to be replaced by the need-to-share.”

Now, as the war on terror is rebranded as the long war, the Pentagon plans to rehouse the trailer park inhabitants in a brick-and-mortar building. It also wants to make the coalition a permanent force.

“We don’t want it to dissolve like it did after Desert Shield and Desert Storm,” says a US major general involved in planning. “We see there is a requirement and a benefit for maintaining a coalition to support the long war.”

That view has its supporters. But within the trailer park there is widespread scepticism on the practicalities of trying to create a homogeneous coalition from such divergent interests.

No formal approaches have yet been made by the Pentagon, but the notion of a long war is already a subject of contention. “Multinationality is more than a word. It is a difficulty,” said a senior French officer, Rear Admiral Jacques Mazars. Others were even more critical. “Most countries here are not interested in a new alliance. We’ve got one,” said one European general. “It will be a coalition kind of thing, but one where we sign in and sign out.”

The Pentagon admits that its vision is not yet fully realised. “The further out it is, the fuzzier it is,” a US colonel said. “But as you talk about it, it becomes more defined.” In the Pentagon’s view, the situation in Afghanistan has stabilised. US military officials insist - despite the rise in violence - that Iraq shows no signs of sliding into a full-scale civil war. That means strategists should now turn their sights on terror networks that have grown out of al-Qaida.

Americans, meanwhile, accept that the war against al-Qaida will not end soon. “We are not rolling up our sleeping bags and tying up our tents after capturing [Osama] Bin Laden,” said Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the deputy director of Centcom strategy. In his view, there can only be two sides in the long war: the forces of civilisation and democracy versus the terrorists.

But “democracy” is a worldwide joke by now – at least its bourgeois order fraudulent disguise for the dictatorship and manipulation of capital, and now the justification for mass punishments blitzings of civilians, destruction, invasion and dictatorship.

The Italians are still falling around at the buffoon Berlusconi’s dismay at losing the election there despite crudeness of the manipulations, virtually total media control and the networks of bullying and influence peddling. But this small spin-off victory for the worldwide left movement influence will change little while capitalism remains in charge of course, since the “lefts” just elected are as opportunist – including the so-called “communist” elements – as any other part of the bourgeois structure but it is a sign of the times.

As the EPSR has often described imperialism is tripping over the lies and pretences of this ultimate weapon for controlling the masses which has worked so well to keep most of the people fooled most of the time for 200 years.

But it is not working as this small letter to the bourgeois press demonstrates:

The US is not conducting a “long war” against al-Qaida (Report, April 10). It is, rather, a “long war” against any country which defies the US corporate and imperial policies.

Sarah Meyer
Rodmell, E Sussex

Most of all it is exposed of course in Palestine where despite having insisted on “democracy” for the Palestinian government the Zionists, Americans and Europeans are now trying to starve out the winners, the militant Hamas group, cutting off the aid that they depend on (because they are confined to virtually concentration camp conditions in the tiny pocket handkerchief areas of land left to them by the Zionist theft of their entire country – sealed in bantustan like prison conditions and unable to work a proper economy) and even refusing to hand over their own money, the small amount of customs revenue that is due from what trade does take place, collected and held by the Zionists.

This monstrous additional “punishment” follows because Hamas refuses to change the line for which it was elected by a significant majority – the entirely correct rejection of the legality of the entire “state of Israel” which is nothing but stolen colonialist land and its refusal to reject violent struggle, overturning the decades of class compromise by Arafatism around the “two state solution” which has taken the Palestinians nowhere except into further impotent imprisonment.

It is the armed struggle of the Palestinians, and the growing ferment against imperialist domination throughout the Middle East which has forced compromises from Zionism including the withdrawal from Gaza and backing off from some total permanent settlement of the land seizure.

Democracy’s exposure it clear in Nepal where the street action is clearly on the edge of taking overtly revolutionary action to bypass the king despite his “compromise” offers to restore government after tearing up parliament a year ago and imposing brutal dictatorial rule to maintain the privileges and power of the arrogant ruling class.

The revolutionary dialectics of all development are clearly apparent as the crisis contradictions force the sides into sharper and sharper conflict, pushing even the halfway house petty bourgeois “parliamentary” parties to revolutionary street action and declaring they will bypass the king and his hesitant compromise offers to “discuss” restoration of parliament.

This revolutionary toppling is underpinned of course by the determined Maoist communist insurgency, itself triggered by the appalling poverty and oppression of ordinary people in the country into taking up an armed struggle for over a decade, in the teeth of relentless lying propaganda about supposed “atrocities” and suffering real barbaric indiscriminate killing rampages by the country’s military, taking out civilians, and deliberately terrorising the countryside to try and prevent support for the insurgency.

But it is the wrong time in history. Even the Himalayan mountain farmers, despite their poverty and isolation, have been transformed by imperialism and are no longer awed by its power.

It is not only in the Asian mountains but everywhere that imperialism now faces growing hostility.

It may be expressed in crude and sometimes even counter productive forms but it is what is happening.

Universally the fake-“lefts” have lined up with imperialism to “condemn” as criminal many of these upwellings, sadly joined by many international “official” communist parties, including powerful Beijing and the revisionist leadership in heroic Cuba, declaring “all terrorism is bad from whichever side.”

Terrorism is not the answer to imperialist domination, and is nothing to be “glorified”. But opportunist condemnations will only drive the masses away to 101 movements that offer them militancy, from Islamism to anarchism, continuing worldwide confusion when scientific revolutionary anti-imperialism is needed.

Condemnation simply gives imperialism more “justification” for blitzings, torture, concentration camps and assassinations.

Such theoretical nonsenses were roundly condemned by Lenin, appropriately at the time of the Easter uprising in Ireland 1916, just celebrated in Dublin for the first time in decades as the Green Tories try to hijack the popularity of the Sinn Fein/IRA armed struggle victory over British domination, winning ever greater momentum (despite the fake-”lefts” defeatist denials). He writes:

"To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc.—to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution. So one army lines up in one place and says, “We are for socialism”, and another, somewhere else and says, “We are for imperialism”, and that will be a social revolution! Only those who hold such a ridiculously pedantic view could vilify the Irish rebellion by calling it a “putsch”.

Whoever expects a “pure” social revolution will never live to see it. Such a person pays lip-service to revolution without understanding what revolution is.

Inevitably, sections of the petty bourgeoisie and of the backward workers will participate in it—without such participation, mass struggle is impossible, without it no revolution is possible—and just as inevitably will they bring into the movement their prejudices, their reactionary fantasies, their weaknesses and errors. But objectively they will attack capital, and the class-conscious vanguard of the revolution, the advanced proletariat, expressing this objective truth of a variegated and discordant, motley and outwardly fragmented, mass struggle, will be able to unite and direct it, capture power, seize the banks, expropriate the trusts which all hate (though for different reasons!), and introduce other dictatorial measures which in their totality will amount to the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the victory of socialism, which, however, will by no means immediately “purge” itself of petty-bourgeois slag.

The dialectics of history are such that small nations, powerless as an independent factor in the struggle against imperialism, play a part as one of the ferments, one of the bacilli, which help the real anti-imperialist force, the socialist proletariat, to make its appearance on the scene.

We would be very poor revolutionaries if. in the proletariat’s great war of liberation for socialism, we did not know how to utilise every popular movement against every single disaster imperialism brings in order to intensify and extend the crisis. If we were, on the one hand, to repeat in a thousand keys the declaration that we are “opposed” to all national oppression and, on the other, to describe the heroic revolt of the most mobile and enlightened section of certain classes in an oppressed nation against its oppressors as a “putsch”, we should be sinking to the same level of stupidity as the Kautskyites.

Capitalism is not so harmoniously built that the various sources of rebellion can immediately merge of their own accord, without reverses and defeats. On the other hand, the very fact that revolts do break out at different times, in different places, and are of different kinds, guarantees wide scope and depth to the general movement; but it is only in premature, individual, sporadic and therefore unsuccessful, revolutionary movements that the masses gain experience, acquire knowledge, gather strength, and get to know their real leaders, the socialist proletarians, and in this way prepare for the general onslaught, just as certain strikes, demonstrations, local and national, mutinies in the army, outbreaks among the peasantry, etc., prepared the way for the general onslaught in 1905.

The discussion on self-determination summed up V.I.Lenin 1916

Build Leninism Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

The U.S. Interests Section office in Havana is a smuggling enterprise

“THIS country cannot be conquered or dominated, because as long as there is one patriot alive, he or she will be fighting. We are invulnerable militarily and politically, and we are marching toward economic invulnerability.”

Those were the comments of President Fidel Castro during a question-and-answer session with reporters near the José Martí Anti-Imperialist Tribunal, where construction work is underway to expand that venue, a fruit of the current Battle of Ideas.

In response to a question on how he sees Cuba’s relations with the rest of the world, the revolutionary leader said that he could see how the empire was surrounded by contempt and repugnance because of its many crimes and torture committed in various countries, and in contrast, how our country is surrounded today by growing sympathy and admiration because of its firmness and ability.

He asserted that those merits are historic and cannot be concealed. “We sow ideas and consciousness. We have means for helping the world; our human capital is growing and is not running out, because it is not gold, or oil or nickel.”

Fidel asked for patience from the journalists, who with their typical curiosity wanted to know what exactly was being built in front of the offices of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. He confined himself to saying that in face of the new and insolent provocation by the general staff of the counter-revolution in Cuba, “we saw ourselves obliged to respond.”

“The world is in real danger, because they have a monopoly on nuclear weapons, and it bothers them when another country like Iran wants to produce nuclear energy,” the Cuban president said.

“They have no right to prohibit that nation from peacefully using nuclear energy,” he affirmed. “With the excuse that doing so is a threat, they are even talking about attacking that country.”

He added that they have never complained about the nuclear arms that Israel possesses, and noted that in Angola, South Africa considered using those horrific weapons against us.

“The world will disappear if it is not courageous enough to reject the warmongering policies of Bush, who used the ... attacks of September 11 as an excuse, and emboldened, spoke of attacking 60 countries on a list, including European ones like the Netherlands; they even talked about invading the Netherlands.”

“Not even Hitler said that; Hitler looked for pretexts, but Bush is attacking more barefacedly and has many more weapons; he is crazy, and the world is in real danger. Only the truth can save this species,’ Fidel said.

He noted that Cuba had its own experience with nuclear weapons 44 years ago, when “a shadow was hanging over our country, and we didn’t even blink; nobody trembled. He is an unbridled crazy man; some people over there might fear him, but we’re not at all afraid of him.”

With respect to the imperialist attempt to free murderer Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban president noted that for 40 years, that individual has maintained contact with the U.S, intelligence services, responsible for planning hundreds of assassination attempts against Fidel’s person, the most recent in Panama, when almost 50 kilograms of explosives were seized from Posada that would have killed hundreds of students. “They tried him and convicted him there, but later it was Bush who got him out of jail and now they don’t even dare to say how he entered U.S. territory.”

“They are not returning him to Venezuela, by invoking the Convention against Torture, even though are no death squads, no death penalty in Venezuela. A coup d’etat happened there, and its masterminds are still on the loose. If this were about torture, then the first one convicted would have to be Bush, because he has committed torture all over the world.”

In addition, Fidel qualified the U.S. Interests Section in Havana as a smuggling enterprise. Last year, that office brought in more than 100 tons of products - cameras, videos, radios, to better receive the broadcasts of the ill-named Radio and TV Marti - using the diplomatic pouch.

After exposing that it is also a place through which enormous sums of money are channeled to promote the counter-revolution and create destabilization in the country, he also emphasized that its employees have increasingly less oxygen.

When he began talking to reporters, Fidel commented that “it was not very intelligent of them to put out their little signboard again,” referring to the U.S. Interests Section electronic billboard.

He explained that the Bush government is trying to please the mafia which handed him the presidency and are pressuring him to place restrictions on migratory policies and thus promote illegal departures.

“It is a big mistake to encourage illegal departures, violating their own laws, and which one of their own newspapers recently said was craziness; it said they should get rid of the so-called Cuban Adjustment Act.

“It completely contradicts their battle against illegal immigration by Latin Americans who are trying to escape the poverty of their underdeveloped countries, with illusions about the consumer society.” And he pointed out that meanwhile they are building a giant wall along the border where 500 Mexicans die every year, more than all of those that died on the Berlin Wall.

He added: “They are making a very big mistake, because they are incapable of seeing the changes or the moment that our country is going through; they thought that Cuba only had a few days left, and although our people went through many sacrifices, they were capable of resisting,” he affirmed, adding that the world has changed, and that Latin America had also changed.

“They think that we’re still in 1995,” he said, “but 10 years have gone by, and today our consciousness is more solid.”

“They have tried to prevent U.S. farmers from exporting to Cuba because what has happened is Cuba has become one of their main importers. They are trying to create a situation to prevent that trade, but we are prepared for all contingencies,” he reiterated.

“Cuba has become a moral fortress.

“We have the means to help the world,” he declared.

Further on, the Cuban president affirmed that our convertible currency is strong, while the dollar is at Cuba’s mercy and is worth whatever we want it to be worth here.

He reiterated that the revolutionary government will always be ready to assist workers and retirees.


Fidel affirmed that he believes in humanity, in the value of the talent of the human species, which is capable of overcoming the most difficult moments.

Remarking on the stature of those who, fervently and with anti-imperialist stances, are leading their people today, like Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez, Fidel referred to another recently deceased great revolutionary, Salvadoran patriot Schafik Handal, an impeccable man who never gave in or surrendered.

“All of those values give us life,” he concluded. •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Ecuador shaken

THE struggle of the people is continuing in that Andean nation with protests over the same issues - against the FTA, the OXY oil company and Plan Colombia - extending to other provinces.

From March 13, hundreds of indigenous people and campesinos have been blocking main roads in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Bolivar, and north of Quito, in Cayambe and Cangahua. Other provinces have progressively joined what is a national protest against the planned signing of a Free Trade Agreement with the United States by provisional President Alfredo Palacio. Ecuadorian farmers and ranchers have raised their voices against this agreement, which has nothing to do with free trade.

The protests are also related to the government’s ambiguity with respect to the validity of a contract with the transnational oil corporation Occidental, or oxy, which has been charged by the Attorney General with violating contractual laws and regulations.

The indigenous and non-indigenous peoples of Amazonia have also backed the mobilization, demanding a halt to environmental depredation; a remedying of that situation; fair compensation for the heavy crude oil pipeline; a renegotiation of oil contracts; and attention to the people and their communities , on the part of the transnational. The third point is to stop the government from leading the country into the war-mongering disaster proposed by Bush in the form of Plan Colombia, under which he hopes to involve the Ecuadorian armed forces and youth in U.S. regional military interventions. The demand is for the immediate withdrawal of the Marines and their aircraft from the Eloy Alfaro de Manta air base, which is also lending its facilities to the interventionist forces secretly or overtly participating in Plan Colombia.

In addition to all of this, social organizations are accusing the president of betraying the people’s desire to reestablish the nation under a Constituent Assembly. The Federation of Indigenous Peoples and Nations of Ecuador (conaie) has decided to maintain a state of social mobilization.

The indigenous coalition has reiterated its call for a referendum regarding the Free Trade Agreement (fta) and the validity of the government’s contract with oxy. has refuted accusations from various businesses and the media that the indigenous movement is destabilizing the country.

Indigenous leader Blanca Charicoso confirmed that all of those movements are standing firm in their rejection of the fta and Ecuador’s contract with the U.S. oxy corporation.

“Those that have halted the measure are the provincial authorities, but conaie will continue the stoppage until the government realizes that the fta will hurt all of us,” Chancoso affirmed.


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Washington opening another front?

Bush administration appears to be initiating harassment of Morales’ government

by Juana Carrasco Martin —Special for Granma International—

even before Evo Morales won the presidential elections on December 15, 2005 and took possession on January 22, his government entered one of Washington’s exclusion lists, in this case one of “populism,” an epithet that serves the White House and the U.S. State Department, in charge of issuing warnings, to denote an executive that does not please or suit them.

One then hears talk of a situation unfavorable to investments, economic problems in sight, nationalism and anti-Americanism, attacks on democracy, threats to U.S. security, non-advisable relations and other phrases of a probable equation that is not at all favorable to U.S. interests.

It would not appear to be heartening for the North that the first indigenous president of a country with a majority indigenous population has gained the executive seat with the support of those who wish for and need a new and different Constitution that recognizes the rights and development needs of everyone, an improved distribution of assets, sovereignty and independence, one that will re-found the country. Neither is it satisfied with the just claim to nationalize resources that were, privatized at the cost of greater poverty for the disadvantaged (there is already talk of taking control of the assets of 10 companies managing strategic sectors like telecommunications, oil, railroads, electricity and the national airline. Nor do they like the accompanying look by Bolivians towards their equals in Latin America, in search of relations that include solidarity - another vituperative word in Washington - as an essential component.

Thus the attacks have not been long in coming, bolstering the aggression brought by oligarchic sectors in the interior of the country against a Revolution that they see coming.

This became apparent at the end of February when a U.S. entry visa was withdrawn from Senator Leonilda Zurita of the mas (Movement Toward Socialism), the party of President Evo Morales; she herself being a indigenous woman and one of his closest collaborators, with the absurd argument that she is involved in acts of terrorism. Leonilda Zurita had participated in a conference at the invitation of a U.S. university. That action was qualified by many as a reprisal and discrimination affecting the dignity of the Bolivian people.

Then came the de-certification by the U.S. Army of the Joint Force against Terrorism (fctc) through the reshuffle of its commander and the rejection of the Bolivian nominee, which made President Morales affirm that they rejected “coercion, threats and intimidation....we do not accept the veto... Bolivia has its dignity... and no commander is going to be changed at the request of the U.S. armed forces.”

And the most recent, during the night of March 23, two powerful explosions in two small hotels in La Paz led to the death of two people and injuries to 11 .The attack was committed by U.S. citizen Claudius Lestat D’Orleans, and Uruguayan Aida Ribeiro Acosta.

Immediately, President Evo Morales stated: “It is not admissible that when we are in that transformation to a democratic and cultural revolution in order to live well, there should be that kind of attack,” and attributed the criminal action to an oligarchic and external groups. “The U.S. government is fighting terrorism and is sending U.S. citizens to engage in terrorism here in Bolivia,” he affirmed in Santa Cruz.

For his part, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca ratified the political nature of the aggression, which he blamed on economic groups prepared to create an environment of democratic instability. Coincidentally, a few days before the explosions, the Bolivian leader had said: “We are never going to renegotiate the Free Trade Agreement (fta) with the United States,” and proposed as an alternative the Trade Treaty of the Peoples (tcp), alleging that it was just and reasonable to regard as unacceptable that certain foreign enterprises should invade Latin American countries with their subsidized products, which he added was totally discounted by Bolivia.

Currently, Bolivia can export textiles, timber products and jewelry to the United States without tariff charges through the Andean Trade Promotion and Eradication of Drugs Act, which expires in December this year. Washington’s idea is to replace it with just the so-called Free Trade Agreement.

Added to these circumstances and backed up by the statements from top Bolivian leaders, the explosives attacks coincide with the preparatory phase of the Constituent Assembly, when political parties and social organizations are taking part in intense activities with a view to deciding their candidates in the agency that is to determine the new constitution, one that will re-found a Republic of greater socioeconomic opportunities and give access to the land to those who work it, the basic services that are inalienable human rights, and government representation. Those elections are programmed for Sunday, July 2.

Moreover, the national police have affirmed that the couple were planning to plant another explosive device in the offices of the Chilean consulate in La Paz, which would have caused a diplomatic conflict with that neighboring country, when another of the intentions of the Evo Morales government is to attain a definitive agreement over a sea exit, which will break with Bolivia’s landlocked status imposed by the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).

If the hand of the CIA, the sinister U.S. espionage and dirty warfare agency, or that of another security institution in the empire is behind the attack, it is a matter to take into account when the double game of the carrot and the stick to remove Evo Morales from the presidency or, at least, to neutralize him, is already evident.

In that context, we agree with this description by analyst Jorge Luis Ubartelli, in an article published in Rebelión, that Washington has three objectives: to isolate Bolivia from Venezuela and Cuba as the principal elements of an anti-imperialist axis; to oblige the country to negotiate integral agreements of subjection - the fta being the immediate case - with the United States in unequal conditions; and to prepare the conditions to destabilize the Bolivian government if it fails to achieve the first two.

There is no doubt that the Bolivian front is within U.S. strategic plans for this hemisphere and...will [use] any means to keep it in the fold.


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