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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 1301 24th October 2006

Splits and infighting in the bourgeois circles reveal the impact of worldwide anti-imperialist struggle, imposing disastrous defeats on the brutal warmongering which is capitalism’s only “solution” to its historic crisis. The “terrorist” struggle will only continue to grow as the crisis finally tips into disastrous trade war and debt collapse and increasingly will create conditions for building rational Marxist understanding. Foul anti-Muslim scapegoating will not save imperialism but only expose further the reality of the Goebbels Lie of “democracy and parliament” as stinking oppressive dictatorship.


George Bush’s admission that Iraq has already become another Vietnam, – meaning a rolling endless defeat for imperialism – is the real measure currently of the state of the capitalist system and the future that increasingly faces it.

Meanwhile the foul racist scapegoating of Muslims being whipped up by the British establishment – another step forwards in the closet Mosleyite Nazism of New Labour – and the monstrous and deliberate hypocrisy of the armed-to-the-teeth nuclear west declaring puny North Korea to be a “threat to world peace”, – must further deepen the enormous dismay and doubts that rationality across the board is accumulating at the growing torturing and blitzing degeneracy of the crisis-wracked imperialist order.

Dramatic depths of defeat in Iraq and the foul stinking chaos of “regime change” (and Afghanistan too by some commentators) is undermining hugely the ruling class’s capacity to present itself as “in charge” and competent, able to influence and control opinion.

It will hugely strengthen the rising tide of anti-imperialist defiance and struggle which is rapidly maturing, despite numerous fits and starts, sideways diversions, bizarre ideological forms and anarchic, sometimes even self-damaging limitations to understanding.

The tabloid-feeding backward “hijab” hysteria is yet another straw in the mountain of evidence heaped up that this system of lies and hypocrisy is heading unstoppably down a path into total chaos and destruction all the way to Third World War, and is ready to use all the dictatorial tyranny and foulness which the very worst of imperialism has produced all through history to impose it.

The capitalist ruling class will go to any lengths of depravity and viciousness to survive and continue its rule.

The small-minded victimisation and hate-campaigning is part and parcel the worldwide imperialist “war on terror” nonsense and “clash of civilisations” Goebbels propaganda being used to whip up a febrile atmosphere of fear and petty nationalist frenzy against “the outsider” – all carefully synchronised with a renewed bout of Danish cartoon insults, and endless fantasy “terrorist plot” police raids and arrests (whose blatant injustice, false arrests and collapse through lack of evidence goes unpublicised in case after case) and other international abuse to panic western populations and help stampede them into war once more.

The “right” to do your own thing is in itself not the issue, even a diversion (see box), but scapegoating foulness is.

The bullying arm twisting of the United Nations (with its US manipulated new appointment of a tame stooge general-secretary ) to ostracise and further blockade North Korea, after years of keeping it isolated and under siege (like Cuba) is equally part of the continuing “axis of evil” propaganda conspiracy to keep various war targets on the go.

But it is a threadbare strategy raising more problems than it solves for the increasingly desperate capitalist ruling class, facing the greatest ever crisis that its contradiction ridden system has ever developed and desperate to get back into capital destroying war.

This return towards the horrors of the First and Second World War “solutions” to escape the intractable problems of “overproduction” and “surplus capital” which must always accumulate within capitalism to the point of clogging its system completely, increasingly sharply poses giant questions about the future development of mankind.

How long will it tolerate this monstrous class supremacy which has offered nothing but worldwide exploitation and regular and increasingly devastating slump and war crises for the last 200 years, imposed with brutal viciousness and monstrous Goebbels Big Lie manipulation?

Mental gymnastics beyond Olympic standard are now required for anyone to continue justifying and defending western “democracy and freedom” in the teeth of the endless revelations of imprisonment, torture, civilian slaughter, callous brutality, and sheer chaotic destruction being wrought by US imperialism against any challengers worldwide, and the increasingly draconian tearing up of all “human rights” and basic justice at home, in the US and all other metropolitan countries.

A few diehard Labourites and anti-communists may still be trying, and tying themselves in knots, to ignore these new depths of savagery but the staggering defeats for imperialism in its Middle East onslaughts – now admitted to be as “devastating as the Tet offensive in Vietnam”, even by Bush and the fanatical neocons around him – will further thin their number as endless new revelations and admissions of torture, rape savagery, assassinations, massacres large and small and universal blitzing destruction reach surface.

The imposition of open class dictatorship and injustice becomes ever more intolerable.

And the need to challenge it with revolution becomes ever more urgent.

The smug complacency of the middle class in the west, and the layers of pseudo-”left” intellectualism which it has spawned to suppress communism and revolutionary perspectives, will not last much longer once the giant economic and political collapse of the system finally breaks.

Capitalism managed to train its super-profit corrupted middle class to jump through self-deluding hoops for centuries – turning a blind eye to, or even supporting, the grotesque atrocities and genocidal tyranny with which the ruling class established and cemented its worldwide exploitation and piratical colonialist grab for resources, both physical and human.

It was the petty bourgeoisie which backed the Kaiser’s expansionism in Germany in 1914 and which did not just tolerate Hitler but voted for him and the Nazi armies when they were winning, and for the vicious anti-communism and the internal repression and suppression of the working class which went with it.

It was the British millions who waved the Union Jacks and cheered as “their boys” went off to country after country slaughtering whole races of “natives” (Native Americans, Maories, South Asian Indians, Australian Aborigines, Chinese “coolies” etc etc) to impose British dominance and extract as much wealth as possible at whatever cost to the locals; it was the French petty bourgeois masses who helped suppress in a tide of bloodshed the heroic Paris Commune while backing the Foreign Legion rampaging across west and north Africa to colonise it in the nineteenth century etc etc.

And it was American “carry a big stick” force and might which imposed its dictatorial order first on south and central America and then, via the dollar and B52, on the whole post-2ndWW capitalist orbit, eventually inducing even the revisionist addled Soviet leadership to capitulate to the endless subversion and pressure against the workers state and allow in the all-exploiting dollar.

The willing collusion of the middle class dragged some of the more corrupted layers of the working class behind them in the more privileged rich countries, undermining the rising revolutionary struggle that began maturing in the nineteenth century.

But that was when capitalism was winning. The cheering has always stopped when it was losing, and rapidly turned to rebellion as the reality of non-stop wage exploitation sank home again, most notably in the epoch-making Russian revolution which ended the First World War, fought most of the Second and inspired the massive anti-colonialist upheavals of the post-1945 decades.

The now endless and ever more gangrenous war defeat and blitzkrieging mess that imperialist arrogant aggression has mired itself into, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Lebanon, (and continuously threatened far further afield) may not yet have seen widespread obvious and open revival of the discussion of the need for a revolutionary end to the entire capitalist system, at least in the dumbed-down consumerist philistinism relentlessly imposed on all western culture.

But it will be driven to the surface increasingly, consciously, as the rising struggle against capitalism worldwide continues. And in practical form it is already taking shape.

The huge tide of insurgency, “terrorism”, rebellion, and increasingly coordinated resistance to western diktat and occupation, and the sometimes tragically bitter infighting which goes with it, as issues are fought out and confusions brutally worked through, is the early stage of a gigantic world revolutionary upheaval against the entire imperialist historic order as the EPSR alone has insisted against the limited local resistance perspectives of some revisionists or the outright hostility and “condemnation” of Trotskyists and other revisionist elements.

It will have numerous twists and turns to go through yet, and hugely painful lessons to learn, possibly involving far more destruction and damage as the masses vent their anger on the cultural, economic and political system which has held them down for so long, and impose various forms of discipline, ideological motivation and coordination to push their struggle forwards against western decay.

And there will be equally difficult lessons from bloody defeats imposed by the huge power and ruthlessness of imperialism as its ruling class fights back ever more cruelly and dishonestly to maintain its 800 year long ascendancy, the most luxurious and powerful ruling class in all human history.

The total overturn of capitalism, to clear the decks for the building of socialism and human cooperation on a world scale, which is the only way out of the growing fascistisation and warmongering which imperialism cannot help itself imposing, demands conscious Marxist science which will have to overtake much of the sometimes backward ideology currently serving as leadership for huge sections of the anti-imperialist masses.

It needs battling for continuously and immediately, in all situations, as the best way to grasp the objective balance of class forces and the realities of imperialist crisis which are driving all the world mayhem and struggle; as the best way to mobilise and strengthen the will and capacity of the proletarian forces on the planet, and to allow them to use their collective strength most effectively.

But precisely because it is scientific, Marxism does not write-off the reality of the struggle now taking place however flawed or inadequate parts of it may be.

The claque of fake-”left”, Trotskyists and revisionists have rushed to demonstrate their “reasonableness” to imperialism ever since the 9/11 attacks by loudly and regularly “condemning” most of the Third World struggles and the messy, sometimes counter-productive and often inadequate petty bourgeois nationalist leaderships and methods thrown up by them.

Such “purist” revolutionary posturing is dead and pointless academicism distracting from any living understanding of the world struggle and usually the most treacherous class-collaborating anti-communist poison from poseurs and gasbags who have never come near to a revolutionary fight let alone led one.

[The twisted intellectualism of the Trotskyists is currently being given the full works, joining the bourgeoisie’s widespread “celebrations” of the 1956 attempt to overthrow the Hungarian workers state e.g. presenting it as a “workers revolt” – instead of explaining to the working class the CIA-organised fascist-infiltrated reality of the petty bourgeois “uprising” to overturn the newly established workers state and its alliance with Soviet communism, with weapons and former fascists smuggled across the border, pre-war Hungarian Horthyite fascist backing and the collusion of the reactionary Catholic Church, still fresh from its tacit collusion with Hitlerism. Why do they think George Bush is so keen to clink glasses for the the anniversary?].

It is Marxism which points to the living experiences in the world and the concrete balance of class forces. The point, as Lenin explained in the last few years of his life, is not to understand the basic class struggle alone (which remains fundamental) but to grasp that the imperialist world is divided into the tiny minority of super-rich exploiting nations and the impoverished remainder, – oppressor and oppressed nations – and that many struggles arise based on the hostility to the domination of the rich nations. Such understanding of national-revolutionary anti-imperialism has been the ABC of Leninist understanding throughout the 20th century, to see that while anti-imperialism is not the whole solution for the proletarian masses its struggles may well inflict crucial defeats on imperialism.

And underlying that is the very fundamental philosophical point that the outcome of such struggles does not follow essentially from what is in peoples’ heads – whether it is to impose the hijab, and build more mosques or re-establish the Gaelic language – but that what is in their heads is determined ultimately by the material reality of the world. The context of each struggle is all important, and whether it is pushing against imperialism or fighting communism as in the 1980s.

Of course, this is not mechanical and Marxism must crucially continue always to battle for science and rationality.

But as revolutionary struggles inflict defeats on imperialist rule, so greater openness to Marxist science will open up. [And equally, victories for the “popular movements” of the petty bourgeoisie fostered by imperialism’s non-stop subversion from Hungary and Czechoslovakia to Poland’s Solidarnosc trade unionism and now in Ukraine, Georgia, Byelorussia etc – clearly revealed as the most repellent fascist backwardness post-1989 – help cause confusion, amply aided by the anti-communist fake-”left”.]

The tearing small and large contradictions of all-pervading capitalism are the source of all the vicious antagonisms of life in the modern epoch and setbacks for imperialism, however partial, are the critical factor in transforming the world. In forcing such changes the forces fighting against imperialism will be changing themselves as well.

And just how devastating the as-yet embryo Third World fight has been is now apparent from the incredible splits and turmoil within the international ruling class. Cracks are appearing all over the place from the historically unprecedented outburst of Britain’s most senior general about the appalling mess created in Iraq and the constant drip of small defeats now eroding British imperialist military morale – and threatening “long term collapse of the army” he warns, – to the daily revelations of sleaze, incompetence and lying cover-up in the heart of US imperialism itself, threatening “meltdown” of republican support. A deluge of capitalist press reports has followed:

A day after George Bush conceded for the first time that America may have reached the equivalent of a Tet offensive in Iraq, the Pentagon yesterday admitted defeat in its strategy of securing Baghdad.

The admission from President Bush that the US may have arrived at a turning point in this war - the Tet offensive led to a massive loss of confidence in the American presence in Vietnam - comes during one of the deadliest months for US forces since the invasion.

Yesterday the number of US troops killed since October 1 rose to 73, deepening the sense that America is trapped in an unwinnable situation and further damaging Republican chances in midterm elections that are less than three weeks away.

In Baghdad a surge in sectarian killings has forced the Pentagon to review its entire security plan for the capital, Major General William Caldwell, a US military spokesman, said yesterday.

“The violence is, indeed, disheartening,” he told reporters. The US has poured 12,000 additional US and Iraqi troops into Baghdad since August only to see a 22% increase in attacks since the beginning of Ramadan.

“Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations in sustaining a reduction in the level of violence,” Gen Caldwell said.

The bleak assessment arrives as official thinking appears to be shifting on the war, with reports that a study group led by a Bush family loyalist and former secretary of state, James Baker, could be drawing up an exit plan for US forces in Iraq.

Such a strategy would once have been unthinkable for Mr Bush, who famously vowed to keep US forces in Iraq even if he was supported only by his wife, Laura, and dog, Barney.

But the president now appears willing to acknowledge that the public is losing confidence in his administration’s involvement in Iraq.

On Wednesday Mr Bush admitted for the first time the existence of a parallel between Iraq and Vietnam.

Such comparisons had been fiercely resisted by the White House, which has insisted that the US would succeed in bringing stability to Iraq and democracy to the Middle East.

But Mr Bush appeared to agree that the rise in sectarian killings in Iraq could prove as demoralising to his administration’s mission in Iraq as the Tet offensive of 1968-69. Although that offensive resulted in a military defeat for the North Vietnamese forces, it turned American public opinion against the war and the then American president, Lyndon Johnson.

While Mr Bush now readily acknowledges the potentially demoralising effects of the violence, there was no sign yesterday that the White House had reached the same conclusion as critics who have called for an early withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

The White House press secretary, Tony Snow...rejected any comparison between Mr Bush and President Johnson. “We do not think that there has been a flip-over point, but more importantly, from the standpoint of the government and the standpoint of this administration, we are going to continue pursuing victory aggressively.”

Backstory: The Tet offensive, launched in January 1968, is seen as the turning point of America’s involvement in the war. The waves of attacks on Saigon and other southern cities was a disaster for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. But the images of violence - including a commando attack on the US embassy in Saigon - exposed the hollowness of the Pentagon’s claims that America was in control of the situation. The offensive shook public confidence in the commander of US forces in Vietnam, General William Westmoreland, and the then president Lyndon Johnson.

TORONTO: The growing number of casualties in Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan and the resulting political fallout has led Prime Minister Stephen Harper to begin a campaign to reassure Canadians that it is worth the money spent and the lives lost.

The pace of casualties has been growing since spring as Canada’s 2,300 troops have taken on greater responsibilities in the dangerous Kandahar Province of southern Afghanistan as part of the NATO force. Critics say the government spent little time preparing Canadians for the inevitable rise in casualties that would come with a larger role in the mission.

In all, nine Canadians have died in Afghanistan so far this month, accounting for a quarter of the 36 troops who have been killed since Canada’s Afghan mission began in 2002.

During the first week in September, four Canadian service members were killed. Days later another was killed by a U.S. plane in an episode that led to calls for an investigation and dominated newspapers’ letters to the editor for days.

Faced with political pressure and declining numbers in opinion polls, Harper has gone to great lengths to counter the sobering image of coffins arriving on Canadian soil.

Harper took office in February with a handful of domestic priorities, like stiffer penalties for gun crimes and tax cuts, and little focus on foreign policy. But since the election, 28 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and foreign policy has become the overwhelming focus. has been slow to build in a country that identifies itself as a peacekeeping nation.

“I think it’s a shock for many people in our country that we’re involved in something that is not blue helmets and no rifles,” Defense Minister Gordon O’Connor said in early September.

Harper’s recent efforts have suffered a number of setbacks. Last week, the Canadian military commander declared victory over the Taliban in the Panjwai district southwest of Kandahar. Hours later, a suicide bomber attacked troops who were handing out toys, school supplies and candy to villagers, killing 4 Canadians and wounding 10 others.

Five years after the Taliban were bombed out of power, Afghanistan is falling into the same morass of bloodletting as Iraq. The country is not riven by the sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunni that is fragmenting Iraq, but in every other way security has collapsed. A third of the country is “racked by violent insurgency”, in Kofi Annan’s words. Suicide bombings are on the rise, with 230 people killed last month; foreign contractors are kidnapped, police officers and government officials murdered.

General Sir Richard Dannatt’ for an early British withdrawal from Iraq contained one logical flaw. It did not apply to Afghanistan, he said, because foreign troops were invited by the Kabul government. This gave them a different status from coalition forces in Iraq, “which is why I have much more optimism that we can get it right in Afghanistan”. It was an odd remark since US and British forces have a standing invitation from the Baghdad government. There is a clear parallel with Afghanistan, just as there is in his core arguments: Britain’s presence in Iraq is exacerbating the security problems, and “we are in a Muslim country and Muslims’ views of foreigners in their country are quite clear”.

Both points apply to Afghanistan, where a combination of rising nationalism, impatience with Kabul’s selection of corrupt governors, anger at the coalition’s military tactics, and disappointment with its failure to improve basic services, is creating a tide of resistance. Afghan history shows that foreign interventionists, especially non-Muslims, only have a small window of time to show they are doing good. It runs out fast, particularly in the Pashtun south, the traditional heartland of opposition.

The Taliban are resurgent. British forces are taking casualties in clashes that Brigadier Ed Butler, the outgoing commander of UK forces, calls more ferocious than anything in Iraq. A retired US general, Barry McCaffrey, reported this spring that, unlike Iraq’s insurgents, the Taliban operate in battalion-sized units of 400 men, equipped with “excellent weapons and field equipment” and new technology for roadside bombs.

Britain and Nato are floundering over how to react. Lieutenant General David Richards, the Nato commander, believes in hitting the Taliban hard, using air and artillery strikes, even though they risk killing many civilians. “They think they can face us down. We will prove to them that they are defeatable,” he said last week. The defence secretary, Des Browne, is more circumspect. Killing Taliban may provoke massive revenge, he recently warned: “There will be a real danger that their deaths will motivate others ... and potentially turn this into a conflict of a different kind.”

The conflict’s intensification reinforces the case, argued by a minority in the west after 9/11, that military attack would not solve the Taliban - or al-Qaida - problem. In Washington and London the desire to eliminate al-Qaida was wrongly combined with seeking regime change in Kabul - a goal the security council never authorised. A propaganda campaign demonised the Taliban so as to justify their removal as a victory, even though Osama bin Laden might not be found.

Afghanistan: the Mirage of Peace, an excellent study by Chris Johnson and Jolyon Leslie, two aid workers with long experience of working there, describes how under the Taliban security was better than it was before or after. In many regions they were flexible and pragmatic: humanitarian aid flowed, and girls’ education continued in “home schools”.

They also point out that the Bonn accords that followed regime change failed to provide for the demilitarisation of the warlords or a role for middle-ranking supporters of the Taliban. Just as the wholesale purge of all Ba’athists rather than just the leadership alienated an important sector of society in Iraq, ousting every Taliban follower created serious problems in Afghanistan, although the damage was different. People who joined the Ba’ath party out of necessity rather than conviction formed a crucial part of Iraq’s professional class, including the army. In Afghanistan Taliban supporters were tribal and rural. But they represented a large swathe of the Pashtun population.

After Bonn they watched and waited. Had foreign troops and all the pledges of aid for Hamid Karzai’s government produced quick benefits, Afghanistan’s new deal might have stuck. Little was done, and the Taliban was able to regroup by arguing that Afghanistan was getting nothing from its new occupation. The drug barons used their money to stir up opposition. Nato’s “hearts and minds” campaign in Helmand and other southern provinces this year came too late.

And even the monstrous NATO blitzing of Serbia which has so far been got away with by imperialism using the dire post-war legacy of western anti-communism to demonise the sad revisionist remnants of the Yugoslavian workers state under Slobodan Miloševi?, is now giving trouble, with the manipulated Serbian stooge government replacement in deep trouble and the Kosovo stitch-up unravelling, and keeping 16 000 NATO troops pinned down.

These are now defeats on a historically unprecedented scale creating open turmoil and splits in the ruling class of an astonishing kind, and with yet to be understood implications for future developments.

They come after decades of growing contradictions within the capitalist world system have built up to levels never experienced before.

A giant vacuum has already opened up in the old parliamentary system, with the centuries old “democratic” vote now increasingly spurned and cynically derided as a mugs game as far as changing ordinary lives is concerned (in the US as much as in Europe).

The decades-long slow turning away of the working class from illusions in reformism (fed by the cynical lies of anti-revolutionary Labourism and its glitzy last throw Blairite manifestation), and the supposed capacity of parliament to deliver slow changes and “gradual improvement”, has turned into the utter contempt for voting which was the dominant theme of the last 2004 election – with even those who did vote doing so reluctantly and negatively (choosing the ‘least worst’ of a bad lot and with few illusions it would mean any changes).

Everyone knows that reality is an increasingly in-your-face fill-your-boots plundering of the economies everywhere by the insatiably greedy ruling class (through privatisation rackets, government licences and consultancies, “contracts-for-the-boys” etc.), with higher prices, more taxes, looted pensions, less jobs and stripped down public services for the masses and an insane world of stressful private and public debt, inflating like an enormous world-sized balloon and ready to burst at any moment.

And anyone who seriously complains, or rebels, faces an increasingly out of control police and prison system which can now legally pick anyone up from the street and hold them for weeks without lawyers, or evidence, or even charges, spirit them away to a network of secret foreign prison camps, torture them and in extreme cases “disappear” them.

That is just life for the mass in the rich countries.

For the poor of the Third World it is an increasingly stark threat of often arbitrary death and blitzkrieging destruction piled onto the daily round of poverty, near slavery, degradation and potential starvation as imperialism increasingly turns to “shock and awe” bullying to try and maintain its crisis threatened existence.

The entire planet is rotten ripe for a struggle to end this stinking imperialist foulness which has gone way beyond the monstrous tyrannising exploitation of the great majority by which its sweet power and privileges are built in the “best” of times, into a slide hell-for-leather into another World War – with US imperialism at the heart of the Nazi bullying.

The end of the 20th century was a watershed moment when the endless rolling accumulating crisis, that is all imperialism has ever been or can ever be tipped finally into a desperate drive for war, with the “endless war” of the Pentagon built on the idiot propaganda of the “world terrorist conspiracy to destroy our way of life”.

And with it went the open threats by US imperialism that it will “take out” anyone that comes near to being able to challenge its military might, meaning most of all potential rival imperialisms, which must be driven into ever more aggressive efforts to hold their own place in the world markets as trade war turmoil is hugely intensified by the coming overproduction crisis, finally swamping all capacity to sell at a profit anywhere (as classically analysed by Marx and Engels - see economics box).

It came as the endless creation of paper dollar credit which has stretched the post-war globalising expansion of capitalist production to new and absurdly unbalanced extremes finally produced the extraordinary and unheard of phenomenon of the world’s richest and most powerful nation being also now its most indebted – a contradiction yet to be fully grasped.

But its political manifestation has been the turn to “shock and awe” bullying, combined with yet further ruthless additional pumping up of the paper dollar credit mountain to let US imperialism simply keep on taking the world’s resources and daring anyone to come and ask for the real value of the goods and services they are providing – and for which they get merely mountains more of almost unusable and highly unstable paper dollars.

It unnerves some of the world’s most significant bourgeois economists:

The International Monetary Fund meeting in Singapore last month came at a time of increasing worry about the sustainability of global financial imbalances: For how long can the global economy endure America’s enormous trade deficits — the United States borrows close to $3 billion a day — or China’s growing trade surplus of almost $500 million a day?

These imbalances simply can’t go on forever. The good news is that there is a growing consensus to this effect. The bad news is that no country believes its policies are to blame. The United States points its finger at China’s undervalued currency, while the rest of the world singles out the huge American fiscal and trade deficits.

To its credit, the International Monetary Fund has started to focus on this issue after 15 years of preoccupation with development and transition. Regrettably, however, the fund’s approach has been to monitor every country’s economic policies, a strategy that risks addressing symptoms without confronting the larger systemic problem.

Treating the symptoms could actually make matters worse, at least in the short run. Take, for instance, the question of China’s undervalued exchange rate and the country’s resulting surplus, which the U.S. Treasury suggests is at the core of the problem. Even if China strengthened its yuan relative to the dollar and eliminated its $114 billion a year trade surplus with the United States, and even if that immediately translated into a reduction in the American multilateral trade deficit, the United States would still be borrowing more than $2 billion a day: an improvement, but hardly a solution.

Meanwhile, because a stronger yuan would make imported American food cheaper in China, the poorest Chinese — the farmers — would see their incomes fall as domestic prices for agriculture dipped. China might choose to counter the depressing effect of America’s huge agricultural subsidies by diverting money badly needed for industrial development into subsidies for its farmers. China’s growth might accordingly be slowed, which would slow growth globally.

As it is, however, China knows well the terms of its hidden “deal” with the United States: China helps finance the American deficits by buying Treasury bonds with the money it gets from its exports. If it doesn’t, the dollar will weaken further, which will lower the value of China’s dollar reserves (by the end of the year, these will exceed $1 trillion).

Any country that might benefit from China’s loss of export market share would put its money into a strong currency, like the euro, rather than the unstable and weakening dollar — or it might choose to invest the money at home, rather than holding more reserves. In short, the United States would find it increasingly difficult to finance its deficits, and the world as a whole might face greater, not less, instability.

Nothing significant can be done about these global imbalances unless the United States attacks its own problems. While there may be sermons aplenty about why Americans should save more, no one has devised a fail-proof way of ensuring that they do so. The common wisdom is that there is but one alternative: reducing the government’s deficit.

Imagine that the Bush administration suddenly got religion (at least, the religion of fiscal responsibility) and cut expenditures. Assume that raising taxes is unlikely for an administration that has been arguing for further tax cuts. The expenditure cuts by themselves would lead to a weakening of the American and global economy.

There is one way out of this seeming impasse: expenditure cuts combined with an increase in taxes on upper-income Americans and a reduction in taxes on lower-income Americans. Because poor individuals consume a larger fraction of their income than the rich, the “switch” in taxes would, by itself, increase spending. If appropriately designed, such a combination could simultaneously sustain the American economy and reduce the deficit.

Underlying the current imbalances are fundamental structural problems with the global reserve system. John Maynard Keynes called attention to these problems three-quarters of a century ago. His ideas on how to reform the global monetary system, including creating a new reserve system based on a new international currency, could, with a little work, be adapted to today’s economy. Until we attack the structural problems, the world is likely to continue to be plagued by imbalances that threaten the financial stability and economic well-being of us all.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a professor of economics at Columbia University and the author, most recently, of “Making Globalization Work,” was awarded the Nobel in economic science in 2001.

Stiglitz’s fantasy ideas about “reducing the deficit” are about as realistic as putting Humpty Dumpty back together again – or putting Iraq and the Middle East back under control with compliant stooges (like Saddam was for so long) to keep the oil flowing, and US dominance asserted. He omits that Keynes’ ideas did nothing, and could do nothing, to stop the plunge into the aggressive World War Two destruction which was the only real perspective for all of imperialism in the great crashing slump of the 1930s – and is the only real perspective now, only one thousand times worse, as the contradictions of the profit-system have accumulated on a far wider scale and for decades longer than ever before.

The blast wave of economic catastrophe which he tremulously points to, if the debt balloon should be punctured, is only held off currently by the bullying threats of US imperialism to give all and sundry protesters, demanding their money, the treatment it has given Iraq and Afghanistan – and that is looking thinner and thinner by the day as disasters mount.

But most of all it seems to be held up by the “don’t rock the boat” revisionist imbecilities of the Beijing leadership, which as he says, swallows ever growing mountains of US unredeemable paper dollars with hardly a murmur, undoubtedly swamped in the nonsensical delusions of the entire post-war “peaceful road to socialism” path of revisionism, that as long as it does nothing to “upset” the world balance, the Chinese workers state can simply continue its stunning economic progress and planned efficient use of capitalism to steadily overtake the west at its own game.

There is no problem as such in going as far as possible using capitalism, and “out-trading” the capitalists, and avoiding unnecessarily prodding the aggressive monster of imperialism – if at the same time the strongest possible revolutionary grasp and perspective is fought for, and particularly used to warn the world working class of the incipient dangers of world war which the desperate crisis of imperialism is unstoppably pushing towards.

But far from helping analyse the disastrous mistakes which for decades have stripped “communist” leadership of all revolutionary perspective, which led to the liquidation of the historically enormous achievements of the Soviet workers state, and which have helped cause the decades long vacuum in leadership throughout the Third World, now filled instead with whatever militancy the masses can find (from fundamentalist religion to Maoism to macho anti-imperialist showmanship in South America), the Chinese leadership has now demonstrated more disastrous sick opportunism over the North Korean nuclear bomb test, letting itself be coralled alongside imperialism into UN condemnation by the US neocons (however “limited” it insists sanctions should be).

North Korea suffers just as badly from revisionist opportunism – with some evidence that it is only using the bomb development as a “playing card” for a better deal from imperialism – almost certainly with an equally non-revolutionary perspective. But it is right to resist as strongly as it can, imperialist bullying.

But what should be strongly underlined for the whole world is the deliberate Goebbels hypocrisy of an imperialist system which is armed to the teeth with thousands of super-advanced nuclear bombs, which has been the only power on earth ever to use them (unnecessarily – against an already defeated imperial Japan which had already suffered dozens of fire-bombed city slaughters comparable with the Dresden fire-storm of 1945), which has routinely contemplated their use for five decades (in Vietnam e.g.) and which is more prepared than even to use them than at any time in history as it pushes its universal warmongering agenda.

It is China’s own experience that it needed to develop its own nuclear weapon for self-defence in the teeth of imperialist encirclement.

What stunning opportunism and mind-stunted revisionism it is to turn round and bolster the imperialist Goebbels lie that Korea is a threat to the world and that the “cause of non-proliferation” has been set back, when it is imperialism alone which threatens the world, itself and via its mad-dog civilian-blitzing Zionist proxies to which it gave nuclear technology decades ago, illegally and secretly.

What needs saying is that the explosively unsustainable and devastating economic disaster will overwhelm the capitalist world along with the warmongering dictatorial repression which is increasingly its open bourgeois dictatorial form, pushing the world faster and faster into disastrous chaos.

There is no space to explore the even more grotesque example of how revisionist hamstringing of the battle for revolutionary understanding has tipped into openly counter-revolutionary violence in the attacks mounted by the disgusting Abbas led Fatah movement on the rising militancy of the legally elected Hamas leadership in Palestine.

But it is high time this sick-brained nonsense came to terms with the disastrous legacy of Stalinist mistakes and weaknesses, to help understand how things were got so badly wrong and to clear them out of the way so the re-building of revolutionary scientific understanding can proceed; the crucial task for all the world’s billions.

Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins

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epsr No 1220 on “hijab” provocation in France 2004

(return to bookmark point in article)

The ‘left’ muddle on the hijab reveals all the same bankruptcy in any grasp of Marxist revolutionary science.

In the year 2004, what the ‘Muslim’ communities and nations need is the same that everyone else needs on Earth, — a Leninist revolutionary party to take state power internationally off monopoly imperialist economic slump-corruption and warmongering degeneracy.

Making a specific issue (one way or the other) of anyone thinking a hijab will help them get there, or bring this about, hardly seems the most fertile furrow to plough, — or any other belief totem or personal idiosyncrasy.

A 100% concentration on Marxist scientific truth about the world and civilisation’s understanding is surely the best approach, leaving individuals to personally grapple with their own emotional or ideological crutches.

Any individual reformist fight against ‘authority’ over such an issue (e.g. French Muslims v state schooldress-code policy) needs treating as such, i.e. pure single issue reformism.

Often, such ‘causes’ are a complete diversion and even a reactionary waste of time.

For example, the very essence of every capitalist society is to endlessly create and recreate divisiveness of all kinds (racial; ethnic; religious; sexist; and above all class, embracing all the others).

And while it is inevitable and good to be always combating racism e.g., the dream of “one day eradicating all traces of racism from all human thinking”, however laudable, is going to be far better served in the long run by building a proletarian dictatorship communist revolution than it is by endless anti-racist campaigning, no matter how determined, energetic, self-sacrificing and inventive.

Virtually all of “human rights” agitation comes into the same category. Nothing can, or should, stop its perpetual spontaneous combustion, but all feeding of a completely reformist perspective which flows from such single-issue activism could prove more negative than positive in the long run.

History shows that this has been particularly true of people’s “right” to their “own God”.

It is not the belief as such which causes the problem, but the underlying class-war conflict beneath the surface, obviously.

But addressing such underlying prejudice and discrimination via the “rival God” issue can prove to be the long way round in the end.

Sometimes, however, some “single issues” prove to be revolutionary questions in themselves.

Thatcher’s Poll Tax was the classic case where reformist protest started transforming itself into a revolutionary question.

Only dropping the Tax, and Thatcher’s resignation, defused the issue.

But thereby another point is proved.

How much more of an even better and more significant dispute might the Poll Tax have been if there HAD been only a universally agreed revolutionary perspective attached to the piecemeal single issue agitation????

How might this protest have ended if it had been preceded by years of unified left propaganda insisting that it was an economic and political crisis of the entire capitalist-imperialist “free world” system which was increasingly making it impossible for the bourgeois class monopoly-domination racket to rule on without repeatedly periodically inflicting some slump-destructive exploitation outrage like the Poll Tax, the destruction of the coal industry and the miners union, the Falklands War, etc, etc.?????

The hijab versus the French imperialist state might just turn out to be a similar issue.

But superficially to start with, it looks to have more “human rights” petty-bourgeois self-righteousness in it than anything else.

By all means let such reformist agitation get on with it.

But any ‘left’ urging to join-in needs watching for any diversionary opportunist tendency to use such ‘causes’ for completely obliterating the really crucial perspective for ALL the people of France of the forthcoming revolutionary downfall of the clapped-out imperialist system and state.

If it is merely French state hypocrisy to be claiming “rational secularism” rather than “racial prejudice” as the reason for the anti-hijab school dress code ruling, then it still, at this stage, hardly registers on the whole-system-crisis cause for the TOTAL overthrow of imperialist class rottenness, inflicting decay and corruption on France from the head down.

That would change, however, were the French imperialist state to start to use the attack on the hijab as a provocation or stalking horse for an all-out counter-revolutionary coup against ALL “human rights” in France.

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, on a global scale, the best solidarity with “Muslim religious rights” remains the spreading of propaganda about the anti-imperialist blows being struck by various Islamic resistance movements, willy-nilly.


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Fake-‘left’ assist Western warmongering by joining in the hate-and-fear campaign against North Korea’s getting the nuclear bomb, and display hopeless reformism by asking Labour to “stop scapegoating” Muslims – as if the entire Western Third World War agenda will be stopped by being asked nicely (ie. by spineless reformist ‘protest’)

¶The SWP fake-‘left’ core of Galloway’s Respect has betrayed its ghastly middle-class approach to the world by declaring that the North Korean testing of a nuclear bomb is “a nightmare” and that Labour must “stop scapegoating” Muslims.

These anti-theory, anti-Leninist opportunists are simply sticking with the most sick level of arrogant Western anti-communism by abusing the efforts of the North Korean socialist state to defend itself from US imperialist warmongering.

Just how breathtakingly light-minded and vicious it is to play on every nasty little bit of Cold War mythology about North Korea is shown by the fact that the same piece in the latest SWP paper recognises that the vast majority of the Western masses are totally aware of the laughable hypocrisy the West is displaying in declaring that Kim Jong-il’s regime shouldn’t be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

So all over the place from the vast billions of the oppressed Third World to the comedians of Mock the Week to opportunist politicians such as Tommy Sheridan it is understood that Iraq was butchered because it didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, but, nevertheless the move of North Korea to develop its own nuclear deterrent, having been overtly threatened by Washington in Bush’s infamous Nazi-minded “axis of evil” speech, is “a nightmare”?

It is “a nightmare” only for the Western colonial mentality. Everyone with any anti-imperialist blood in their veins will applaud; in the same way as applauding the Iranian clerical-nationalist regime for taking steps to develop its industrial might and its nuclear defences – despite it being a country led by clerical-nationalists.

With pretty much his last major article before his death in 1923, Better Fewer But Better, Lenin urged the socialist revolution in the Soviet Union to hang on grimly and work for the day when the countries of the East would become a storm of revolution against Western imperialism.

He couldn’t have asked for more, with the epic mid-20th century heroic advances of the Chinese revolution, Indian independence, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaya, etc – and Korea. The imperialists have fought back savagely, including by flattening North Korea’s cities in the 1950s with aerial bombing. If any damn country in the world has a right to say it will fight to the death to defend itself against US imperialism’s diktats and menace of nuclear attack, it is North Korea.

But this notion can easily be extended even to confused bourgeois but anti-imperialist regimes such as Iran’s, and Lenin’s far-sighted urging that the revolution, if it could, had to see and aid the Eastern countries to “get civilised” becomes even more profound. In other words, even if these countries are NOT socialist or even led by clear anti-imperialism it is STILL the greatest advance for the world the more industrialised, proletarianised, technologically advanced they can get – including war-fighting capacity. Because it means a rising challenge, and in the end the very defeat of Western imperialism.

Even if Beijing revisionism turns totally capitalist road (without saying it is at the moment for a minute) it is STILL to the huge advantage of anti-imperialism that its vast population is fully equipped to battle (even under capitalism) with the old US, Japanese and Western imperialist Great Powers. In the end, the capacity of the world’s masses to be too advanced, too confident and too numerous to be smashed back to nothing is the surest guarantee that ALL imperialist-capitalism will be laid low.

Why would anyone socialist in their right mind want to say “it is a nightmare” that North Korea (or Iran) has the Bomb? How screamingly reactionary, petty-bourgeois, racist and lethally light-minded. Ditto the vacuous comment made by the SWP that it is “against all nuclear weapons”. This is just a useless pious platitude, dealing in pacifist mind-rot, as opposed to showing the faintest trace of any Marxist ability to deal with reality.

Is the SWP trying to keep all that alien (“Yellow Peril”), North Korean (Red), hardline (Marxist-leaning) nastiness away from its readership, who are all still poisoned to the gills with arrogant Western anti-communism? Is there something that much nastier about Kim Jong-il than even the embarrassing, but still “one of us” Bush?

The SWP’s ghastly sickness can be seen in the assertion that North Korean civilians are “suffering under a regime that would rather build weapons than feed its people” (a statement that was also bandied about by the vicious clowns on Question Time, apart from Sheridan, who punctured it, and drew large applause).

Spooky!!!! Wow, this regime really is frightening and inhuman, it prefers to play with big guns rather than feed its people – maybe Bush is right and it is “pure evil” and needs bombing???????

The ever-so cool and educated Simon Jenkins’ position, as stated in the oh-so liberal Guardian: “Mr Bush, please nuclear bomb North Korea tomorrow morning for all our sakes.” These fake ‘lefts’ and liberals are only a fag-paper away from total Nazism.

So North Korea has got nothing to fear and should just devote all state resources to raising the production of harmless vegetables, while flying the flag of Red Revolution, should it? And Washington is just joking when it tells the entire planet in no uncertain terms that it wants to bomb North Korea into the stone age?

(For a second time!)

The SWP is just repeating CIA propaganda lies like a parrot.

What choice has the planet got? For over a hundred years, entire populations have fought to get Western imperialism off their backs, and have won many outstanding victories, only for the brutal Western system to have fought back with sabotage, economic blockade, contra-bandits, CIA subversion and direct military assault to make their lives twice as hard.

No progress against imperialism could be made under this scornful approach to the struggle. It is rank petty-bourgeois class-ridden snottiness. It wants the masses of the world to live on their knees, forever.

In the same week came news that Iraq’s war death toll was heading over 650,000, by medical estimates. And the West said it was going there to “liberate them from a dictatorship”, and presumably to also make sure everyone got enough jam roly-poly.

But everyone on the planet (even, or even especially even, the racist- colonialist war supporters) knows that this is total eyewash! The military force of US armed power was what was being projected: nothing else.

The SWP Trots want to bugger off back to the creepy Panorama drama-doc treatment of world politics they belong with, and get out of the workers movement.

There is no problem at all with being critical of any aspect of the Korean workers state or the politics of its leadership: but to join in Western hate campaigns and repeat bits of CIA filth against its entirely warranted defence preparations (or even armed diplomacy) is despicable.

For example, Chinese revisionism is making an ass of itself by joining in Western condemnations of North Korea, because it wants to stay, at the moment, in the hypocritical Western club of “reasonableness and responsible behaviour”, and because it behaves in a hegemonistic way towards smaller Asian nations. No problem with saying that; but its opportunist move doesn’t make it an imperialist state, and it could spring many surprises on Western complacency yet, with its long-termist strategic thinking and its inherent nature as a mass, mass recently-revolutionary country.

The fake ‘left’ just cannot get over its reformist daydreaming and anti-Leninist gutlessness enough to raise revolution and the fight for proletarian dictatorship as the only genuine answer to Western warmongering. Instead, as with their capitulation to Western imperialism over North Korea, there is futile “protest” over Jack Straw’s ratcheting up of the hate campaign against Muslims, by calling for veils to be removed, even while acknowledging that it is obvious scapegoating on Muslims in order to buttress failing support for the West’s barbaric “war on terror” nonsense.

But the fake ‘left’ are going out of their way to miss the point by pitifully calling for just more “protest” and for urging Bush, Blair, Straw & Co “not to scapegoat Muslims”. This is simply reformist illusion-mongering at its worst, and getting worse all the time the more obvious it gets that the Washington-London axis is trying to drag the world towards World War Three (with many fairly bourgeois commentators now shaking in their shoes as they observe this).

Stop telling warmongers to stop warmongering!

Stop telling people that if they protest hard enough the war will stop!

And while it could be said that this article should stop telling the anti-communist Trots to stop being reformist jerks, it has to be said that, at some point, some of these previously sectarian opportunists have got to start thinking again.

Here’s the “stirring” conclusion, and the most forthright bit, of the SWP’s diatribe against the scapegoating of Muslims:

“New Labour’s creed of imperialist war and neo-liberalism is in trouble. So, as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq turn increasingly disastrous, the government seeks to target ‘enemies’ at home. It is crucial we stand together against racist attacks and in solidarity with Muslims.”

Useless. Completely utterly useless. All the protest in the world has been done, leaving many after the vast anti-war demos prior to the West’s blitz on Iraq totally nonplussed about what to do.

At the same time, economic dislocation of the metropolitan masses has worsened and the bitterness of total betrayal by Labour reformism after generations of the labour movement, trade unions and Labour governments has sunk into workers more and more deeply. A class-disappointment horribly reinforced by the collapse of Soviet revisionism and the end of the old socialist camp.

Simply urging British workers to “show solidarity” with foreign cultures in these circumstances is a pious wish.

What is the perspective?

What is going to happen to this stinking Western warmongering? And why is it taking place at all?

Only a Marxist perspective that capitalism is once again heading into a titanic global slump, fascism and war crisis makes any sense; and only explaining that this plunge into barbarism will only ever get worse and worse (with more and more desperate stunts, such as the veil farce, to whip it on) until it is DEFEATED on the battlefield, and/or politically, and by trade-war economic collapse makes any sense.

That puts a huge premium on Leninist revolutionary theory – something that the fake ‘left’ runs a mile from; for example, Lenin on the 1905 Russo-Japanese war, when the imperial Russian navy was humiliated by Japan, which started to crack Tsarism wide open.

After the head of the British army in Iraq’s verbal bludgeoning of Blair over the catastrophic failure of London’s role in the occupation, what price a total military disaster and/or a total political humiliation for the whole of the UK parliamentary system?

In what way does “please show solidarity with Muslims” help with developing workers’ alertness to the possibility of revolution to end parliamentary-capitalism?

Chris Barratt


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