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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 1309 6th March 2007

Hesitations over the anti-Iran war drive are just that – pauses by a setback imperialism not a change in direction. All history and Marxist understanding shows that imperialism has no choice but to plunge ever deeper into warmongering destruction, and if not Iran then on another demonised target with the major trade war capitalist rivals the end point in renewed general World War. Crisis will accelerate mass world resistance but revisionism remains a huge blockage to building vital Leninist understanding. China still revisionist and not yet just another imperialist rival

Is there anything to George Bush’s sudden apparent Pauline conversion to the ‘Condoleezza way’ of diplomacy and reason in the Middle East, as bourgeois press accounts have been trying to suggest in recent days?

Or is the temporary lull in the demonic propaganda and threats against the latest imperialist warmongering target, Iran, nothing but a diversionary feint, to give the imperialist war drive a breathing space and to head off domestic splits, hesitancy and even halfway resistance by the more fearful, less resolute sections of the bourgeoisie, hammered by the defeats and setbacks already suffered by imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan?

It is an urgent question not just for the brutalised, tortured and tyrannised masses throughout the Middle East but for the proletarian and working class of the entire planet faced with a massive escalation of imperialism’s plunge towards worldwide destruction and chaos.

Is there a reasonable, peaceful, “democratic”, “diplomatic” way out of looming disaster? Or is the destruction already visited on Afghanistan and Iraq to be escalated tenfold, somewhere and somehow?

Is there a way to hem in this maniac aggression by “pressure for peace”, “democratic transformation to socialism”, steady economic and political growth to contain imperialism combined with watchful, but hopefully unused defensive measures (in China, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and other anti-imperialist countries and movements etc), or more vigorous counter-arming as Putin deludedly believes, in a monstrous Bonapartist capitalist corporate-state distortion of the old Stalinist “Cold War balance”?

Just to ask the question in the current epoch of degenerate imperialist crisis is to know the answer.

There never has been any “rationality” and “justification” in the stream of Goebbels lies and bullying threats against the war victims already blitzed, pulverised and destroyed in imperialism’s escalating drive towards Third World War, or in the torture, wilful civilian blitzing and sheer inhuman barbarity being visited on more and more people.

From its made-up “massacre” and ”ethnic cleansing” allegations against the Serbs, and the hysterical and wild assertions of imminent world doom from a James Bond fantasy “SMERSH”-like terrorism network in Afghanistan supposedly, to the deliberate fabricated nonsenses of “weapons of mass destruction” in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, (and when that was quickly exposed as complete fantasy, the even more repulsive hypocrisy of “self-sacrificing intervention” to produce “regime change” to ensure a “new prosperous and ‘democratic’ life for the poor people of the Middle East”), there has been nothing but Goebbels BIG LIES poured out to sustain the war drive and “shock and awe” international terrorising which imperialism ruling circles understand to be their only solution to growing and ever more terrifying crisis.

More and more, Marxist science is confirmed in its grasp that the last decade has been a constant escalation of cynically manipulated demonisation and scaremongering to stampede populations into a war frame of mind. Minor challenges are magnified into supposed world threats and terror scares endlessly stunted up, because capitalism needs to escalate the constant war tyranny of its day to day world domination – with more than 400 wars, coups, fascist takeovers, death-squad suppressions, and CIA manipulations since 1945 – into all-out world war destruction.

Dominant US imperialism long ago worked out that if it has any prospect of surviving the massive inter-imperialist sort-out, which capitalist uneven development and relentlessly accumulating over-production pressure makes ever more urgent, then it has to make clear its utter ruthlessness and willingness to destroy all imperialist rivals and challenges; simultaneously it can put down the growing rebelliousness of the world vast masses ever more threatening to its international network of exploitation and plunder.

How to get populations back into a warmongering frenzy has been a major issue after a century of horrors and devastation has forced imperialism to constantly promise future uplands of “peace and harmony” and “an end to all wars”, and the more so since the idiotic self-liquidation of the Soviet Union has taken away the Cold War mainstay propaganda of “the communist threat” (which never actually existed) used to justify imperialist depredations from Korea and Vietnam to its brutal policing of the South American “backyard”.

To turn the supposed “end of history” and peaceful progress now supposedly made possible, back into the vital war atmosphere has been the aim of the constant “super-Goebbels” lies and distortions which have poured out as the capitalist crisis has deepened. More details continue to emerge in the bourgeois press:

An “alternative intelligence” unit operating at the Pentagon in the run-up to the war on Iraq was dedicated to establishing a link between Saddam Hussein and a l-Qaida, even though the CIA was unconvinced of such a connection, the US Senate was told yesterday.

A report presented to the armed services committee by the Pentagon’s inspector general, Thomas Gimble, exposes the Bush administration to new charges of manipulating intelligence to make its case for going to war against Saddam nearly four years ago.

Mr Gimble described a unit called the Office for Special Plans, authorised by then Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and overseen by the former policy chief Douglas Feith, to review raw intelligence on Iraq. The main focus of the unit was establishing a link between Saddam and a l-Qaida - going against the consensus in the intelligence community that the Iraqi leader had nothing to do with the September 11 2001 terror attacks.

“The office of the under-secretary of defence for policy developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the intelligence community, to senior decision-makers,” the report says.

Mr Feith’s office was the source for some of the most glaring examples of faulty intelligence during the run-up to the war. In 2002 it promoted the idea that there had been a meeting between the lead September 11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta, and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April 2001. The intelligence community has never established this.

The unit deliberately undermined the work of intelligence agencies in briefings in August 2002 for the vice-president, Dick Cheney, and officials at the national security council, Mr Gimble said. The briefings repeated the claims about the Prague meeting but did not mention the CIA’s extreme scepticism. Instead, the briefings alleged “fundamental problems with the way that the intelligence community was assessing the information”.

Such actions were not illegal but they were “inappropriate”, Mr Gimble said in his report. “A policy office was producing intelligence products and was not clearly conveying to senior decision-makers the variance with the consensus of the intelligence community.”

Senator Carl Levin, who heads the committee, said the assessments produced by Mr Feith were of “dubious reliability” and created to bolster the case for war. “They arrived at an alternative interpretation of the Iraq/al-Qaida relationship that was much stronger than that assessed by the intelligence community and more in accord with the policy views of senior officials in the administration,” Mr Levin told the committee. “I can’t think of a more devastating commentary.”

In 2002 Mr Feith was one of the most ardent proponents of a war on Iraq and a close associate of the other neo-conservatives of the administration: Mr Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, and the vice-president, Dick Cheney. His work was authorised by Mr Rumsfeld and Mr Wolfowitz, and he coordinated with Mr Cheney’s office.#

Twisted and knowing manipulation was already well-practised in the Balkans beforehand, in the long drawn out inter-imperialist jostling for position as the sadly revisionism-bent remnants of the old Yugoslavian workers state were forcefully torn apart, culminating is the first opening bombings of the new Third World War, “justified” by allegations of ‘massacres’ at Racek and Srebrenica etc.

Well staffed teams of western and UN investigators have had full rein to crawl over the ground for several years in search of alleged “mass graves of thousands seen on satellite pictures” but finding no more bodies than civil war fighting would produce – horrible but nothing to do with systematic cold blooded slaughter as alleged.

It is all so thin that the show courts set up by the Europeans as their contribution to the demonisation mechanism have not dared push the absurd “genocide” charges to a conclusion, declaring Serbia “not responsible”, as at least some bourgeois reports admit:.

The allegations against [Slobodan] Milosevic over Bosnia and Croatia were cooked up in 2001, two years after an earlier indictment had been issued against him by the separate international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the height of Nato’s attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. Notwithstanding the atrocities on all sides in Kosovo, Nato claims that Serbia was pursuing genocide turned out to be war propaganda, so the ICTY prosecutor decided to bolster a weak case by trying to “get” Milosevic for Bosnia as well. It took two years and 300 witnesses, but the prosecution never managed to produce conclusive evidence against its star defendant, and its central case has now been conclusively blown out of the water.

The international court of justice (ICJ) did condemn Serbia on Monday for failing to act to prevent Srebrenica, on the basis that Belgrade failed to use its influence over the Bosnian Serb army. But this is small beer compared to the original allegations. Serbia’s innocence of the central charge is reflected in the court’s ruling that Serbia should not pay Bosnia any reparations - supplying an armed force is not the same as controlling it. Yugoslavia had no troops in Bosnia and greater guilt over the killings surely lies with those countries that did, notably the Dutch battalion in Srebrenica itself. Moreover, during the Bosnian war, senior western figures famously fraternised with the Bosnian Serb leaders now indicted for genocide, including the US general Wesley Clark and our own John Reid. Should they also be condemned for failing to use their influence?

However, Monday’s ruling is about far more than Milosevic. Ever since the end of the cold war, the US and its allies have acted like vigilantes, claiming the right to bomb other countries in the name of humanity. The Kosovo war was the most important action taken on this basis and, as such, the curtain-raiser for Iraq. Fought, like the Iraq war, without UN approval, it was waged partly because the international community felt it should have intervened more robustly against Yugoslavia over Bosnia. It now turns out that Serbia was not in control in Bosnia after all. The ruling therefore punctures a decade-and-a-half of lies in support of the doctrine of military and judicial interventionism.

...anarchy was loosed upon the world when the cold war ended and the US sought to create a unipolar world system by destroying the old one. After the 1991 Iraq war, the US and Britain claimed the right to bomb Iraq to protect the Kurds and Shias, which they did for 12 years. Nato bombed the Bosnian Serbs in 1995 and Yugoslavia in 1999. The ICTY, created in 1993, operates on the basis of this doctrine of interventionism, which has come to its ghastly conclusion in the bloodbaths of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Created and controlled by the Great Powers, the ICTY, like its sister courts for Rwanda and the new international criminal court, corrupts the judicial process for political ends, the most important of which is to support the US’s supposed right to act as the world’s policeman. The new ICC, created by Britain, also seems to operate on the basis that white men do not commit war crimes: its prosecutors are currently investigating two local wars in Africa while turning a blind eye to Iraq.

...· John Laughland is the author of Travesty: the Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice

So is anything different about Iran now, as falsity and deviousness is increasingly revealed? Not if the latest accounts are credible:

Much of the intelligence on Iran’s nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by American spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, according to diplomatic sources in Vienna.

The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war, coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying a UN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.

That report, delivered to the security council by the IAEA director general, Mohamed El Baradei, sets the stage for a fierce international debate on the imposition of stricter sanctions on Iran, and raises the possibility that the US might resort to military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

At the heart of the debate are accusations, spearheaded by the US, that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. However, most of the tip-offs about supposed secret weapons sites provided by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies have led to dead ends when investigated by IAEA inspectors, according to informed sources in Vienna.

...“Now [the inspectors] don’t go in blindly. Only if it passes a credibility test.”

One particularly contentious issue concerned records of plans to build a nuclear warhead, which the CIA said it found on a stolen laptop computer supplied by an informant inside Iran. In July 2005, US intelligence officials showed printed versions of the material to IAEA officials, who judged it to be sufficiently specific to confront Iran.

Tehran rejected the material as forgeries and there are still reservations about its authenticity in the IAEA, according to officials.

“First of all, if you have a clandestine programme, you don’t put it on laptops which can walk away,” one official said. “The data is all in English which may be reasonable for some of the technical matters, but at some point you’d have thought there would be at least some notes in Farsi.”

...A western counter-proliferation official accepted that intelligence on Iran had sometimes been patchy but argued that the essential point was Iran’s failure to live up to its obligations under the non-proliferation treaty.

...That deficit will be deepened by yesterday’s IAEA report. It concluded bluntly: “Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities”, in defiance of a December UN ultimatum to stop. The report noted that Iran had continued with the operation of a pilot enrichment plant.

...Dr El Baradei’s report said that Iran had so far not agreed to the IAEA installing remote monitoring devices in the enrichment plant to keep constant tabs on what the Iranians were doing with them.

Furthermore, the IAEA still has a string of questions about the Iranian programme that remain unanswered. Until they are, the agency will not give Iran a clear bill of health.

...Last night Iran, which says its nuclear fuel programme is designed only to produce electricity, remained defiant. “Regarding the suspension mentioned in the report, because such a demand has no legal basis and is against international treaties, naturally, it could not be accepted by Iran,” Muhammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, told Reuters in Tehran. Mr Saeedi said the report showed that returning to talks was the best way to resolve the dispute.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said he was “deeply concerned”. “I urge again that the Iranian government should fully comply with the demands as soon as possible and engage in negotiations with the international community so that we can resolve this issue peacefully.”

The craven stoogery of the new US selected UN leadership will have a lot to answer for in history as the destruction increases.

Even if Iran was planning a bomb - why should it not as this letter asks?:

The government said in its white paper on our nuclear deterrent that nuclear weapons are “to deter and prevent ... acts of aggression against our vital interests that cannot be countered by other means”. This case applies with even greater force to weaker states, such as Iran, that may come under threat from stronger ones, such as the US and Israel.

Iran may or may not intend to develop nuclear weapons, but the [UK] government makes an excellent case for it doing so. North Korea’s reward for having tested a nuclear weapon last autumn was the resumption of talks with the US.

David Morrison Belfast

The lie has also been exposed by the French imperialists who have their own axe to grind as the underlying interimperialist trade-war tensions buildup – deeper conflicts already exposed during the Iraq war when underlying US-European tensions and hatreds came close the surface. Consider this “inadvertent” giveaway:

The French president, Jacques Chirac, has said a nuclear-armed Iran would not be “very dangerous”, in controversial comments he retracted the next day.

In an interview conducted on Monday and published today, Mr Chirac contradicted official French policy by saying that even if Iran possessed an atomic weapon this would not be perilous, since it would never dare to use it.

“Where will it drop it, this bomb? On Israel?” he asked reporters from the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.

“It would not have gone 200 metres into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed.”

Both US-run papers, which ran lengthy extracts from the interview today, said they had been summoned back yesterday to the president’s Paris residence, where he retracted many of the comments.

Mr Chirac said had been speaking casually about Iran the previous day, believing he had been talking off the record, and “should rather have paid attention to what I was saying”.

However, the newspapers said the interview was taped and clearly intended for publication today, when Le Nouvel Observateur, which also printed the comments, is published.

Marxist understanding is that imperialism must relentlessly plunge into ruthless warmongering destruction to sort out its intractable overproduction crisis contradictions, as fundamental understanding of its system shows, and all historical experience has confirmed in the regular slump crises of the nineteenth century and devastating inter-imperialist war three times in the last century and a half.

The only “logic” that counts is the ruthless logic of the battle for profit in an ever more saturated worldwide market, with the constant accumulation of yet more capital simply making the problem worse and worse.

And the US is now so far embedded in unrepayable debt disaster that its only option - the neo-cons believe - is “shock and awe” bullying of the planet to maintain its dominant position of wealth and power by sheer brute force.

So the war plans which are really being made are those of the imperialists and it looks increasingly like Iran is the next victim:

US preparations for an air strike against Iran are at an advanced stage, in spite of repeated public denials by the Bush administration, according to informed sources in Washington.

The present military build-up in the Gulf would allow the US to mount an attack by the spring. But the sources said that if there was an attack, it was more likely next year, just before Mr Bush leaves office.

Neo-conservatives, particularly at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, are urging Mr Bush to open a new front against Iran. So too is the vice-president, Dick Cheney. The state department and the Pentagon are opposed, as are Democratic congressmen and the overwhelming majority of Republicans. The sources said Mr Bush had not yet made a decision. The Bush administration insists the military build-up is not offensive but aimed at containing Iran and forcing it to make diplomatic concessions. The aim is to persuade Tehran to curb its suspect nuclear weapons programme and abandon ambitions for regional expansion.

Robert Gates, the new US defence secretary, said yesterday: “I don’t know how many times the president, secretary [of state Condoleezza] Rice and I have had to repeat that we have no intention of attacking Iran.”

But Vincent Cannistraro, a Washington-based intelligence analyst, shared the sources’ assessment that Pentagon planning was well under way. “Planning is going on, in spite of public disavowals by Gates. Targets have been selected. For a bombing campaign against nuclear sites, it is quite advanced. The military assets to carry this out are being put in place.”

He added: “We are planning for war. It is incredibly dangerous.”

..Last month Mr Bush ordered a second battle group led by the aircraft carrier USS John Stennis to the Gulf in support of the USS Eisenhower. The USS Stennis is due to arrive within the next 10 days. Extra US Patriot missiles have been sent to the region, as well as more minesweepers, in anticipation of Iranian retaliatory action.

In another sign that preparations are under way, Mr Bush has ordered oil reserves to be stockpiled.

Colonel Sam Gardiner, a former air force officer who has carried out war games with Iran as the target, supported the view that planning for an air strike was under way: “Gates said there is no planning for war. We know this is not true. He possibly meant there is no plan for an immediate strike. It was sloppy wording.

“All the moves being made over the last few weeks are consistent with what you would do if you were going to do an air strike. We have to throw away the notion the US could not do it because it is too tied up in Iraq. It is an air operation.”

One of the main driving forces behind war, apart from the vice-president’s office, is the AEI, headquarters of the neo-conservatives. A member of the AEI coined the slogan “axis of evil” that originally lumped Iran in with Iraq and North Korea.

...Raymond Tanter, founder of the Iran Policy Committee, which includes former officials from the White House, state department and intelligence services, is a leading advocate of support for the MEK. If it comes to an air strike, he favours bunker-busting bombs. “I believe the only way to get at the deeply buried sites at Natanz and Arak is probably to use bunker-buster bombs, some of which are nuclear tipped. I do not believe the US would do that but it has sold them to Israel.”


President George Bush has charged the Pentagon with devising an expanded bombing plan for Iran that can be carried out at 24 hours’ notice, it was reported yesterday.

An extensive article in the New Yorker magazine by the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh describes the contingency bombing plan as part of a general overhaul by the Bush administration of its policy towards Iran.

It said a special planning group at the highest levels of the US military had expanded its mission from selecting potential targets connected to Iranian nuclear facilities, and had been directed to add sites that may be involved in aiding Shia militant forces in Iraq to its list.

That new strategy, intended to reverse the rise in Iranian power that has been an unintended consequence of the war in Iraq, could bring the countries much closer to open confrontation and risks igniting a regional sectarian war between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the New Yorker says.

Elements of the tough new approach towards Tehran outlined by Hersh include:

· Clandestine operations against Iran and Syria, as well as the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon - even to the extent of bolstering Sunni extremist groups that are sympathetic to al-Qaida

· Sending US special forces into Iranian territory in pursuit of Iranian operatives, as well as to gather intelligence

· Secret operations are being funded by Saudi Arabia to avoid scrutiny by Congress. “There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the world on a variety of missions,” Hersh quotes a Pentagon consultant as saying.

As in the run-up to the Iraq war, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, has bypassed other administration officials to take charge of the aggressive new policy, working along with the deputy national security adviser, Elliott Abrams, and the former ambassador to Kabul and Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Mr Cheney is also relying heavily on Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser, who spent 22 years as ambassador to the US, and who has been offering his advice on foreign policy to Mr Bush since he first contemplated running for president.

The New Yorker revelations, arriving soon after Mr Cheney reaffirmed that war with Iran remained an option if it did not dismantle its nuclear programme, further ratcheted up fears of a military confrontation between Washington and Tehran.

Such concerns deepened further with the warning from the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that there could be no stopping or rolling back of his country’s nuclear programme. “The train of the Iranian nation is without brakes and a rear gear,” Iranian radio reported Mr Ahmadinejad as saying.

Hersh, who made his reputation by breaking the story of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war, was among the first US journalists to report on the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib. Although the most explosive material was supplied by unnamed sources, his status in US journalism made his latest report an immediate talking point on yesterday’s TV chatshows.

His assertion that the Bush administration was actively preparing for an attack on Iran was denied by the Pentagon. “The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran. To suggest anything to the contrary is simply wrong, misleading and mischievous,” the Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, told reporters.

Hersh was just as adamant. “This president is not going to leave office without doing something about Iran,” he told CNN. Hersh claims that the former director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, resigned his post to take a parallel job as the deputy director of the state department because of his discomfort with an approach that so closely echoed the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980s.

In seeking to contain Iranian influence - and that of its most powerful protegé, the Hizbullah leader, Hassan Nasrallah - the US has worked with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Both countries see a powerful Iran as an existential threat, and the Saudis suspect Tehran’s hand behind rising sectarian tensions in its eastern province, as well as a spate of bombing attacks inside the kingdom.

One prime arena for the new strategy is Lebanon where the administration has been trying to prop up the government of Fouad Siniora, which faces a resurgent Hizbullah movement in the aftermath of last summer’s war with Israel.


And so we watch the administration’s plans for a military attack against Iran unfold even as its official narrative for the run-up to the war in Iraq unravels and the wisdom of that war stands condemned by death and destruction. As though on split screens, we pass seamlessly from reports of how they lied to get us into the last war, to scenes of carnage as a result of the war, to shots of them lying us into the next one.

One moment we see the trial of Dick Cheney’s former deputy, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, revealing how the administration sought to discredit critics of the plans to invade Iraq; the next we see them discrediting critics of their plans to attack Iran. On one page, newly released documents reveal how the defence department contorted evidence to justify bombing Baghdad; on the next, the administration is using suspect evidence to justify bombing Iran.

“It is absolutely parallel,” Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist, told Vanity Fair magazine. “They’re using the same dance steps - demonise the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux.”

The administration, of course, denies this...The sad fact is Gates can say it as many times as he likes because no one believes him. In April 2002, Bush told Trevor McDonald: “I have no plans to attack [Iraq] on my desk.” An $8 cab ride to the Pentagon and Bush would have found the plans on Donald Rumsfeld’s desk. He knew this because he put them there four months earlier. On November 21 2001, he asked Rumsfeld: “What kind of war plan do you have for Iraq?”

True they are pursuing diplomatic avenues to derail Iran’s nuclear programme, but we now know that this may be little more than a sideshow. The day before Iraq was due to let in UN weapons inspectors, Bush told Rumsfeld and the head of central command, General Tommy Franks, to “dissociate a big deployment or build-up from what Colin [Powell] is doing on the diplomatic front ... Don’t make it look like I have no choice but to invade”.

The destruction is only stoppable only by revolutionary ending of the entire imperialist system.

It is coming eventually, as the masses’ disgust with the ever more life squeezing exploitation of capitalism intensifies under the impact of the rapidly degenerating capitalist system in crisis and particularly as the impact of the monstrous universal war turn is increasingly re-confirmed as the very essence of imperialism.

Even in the limited Middle East situation, some of the more cautious petty bourgeois are warning once again of the enormous dangers that imperialist warmongering is creating for itself, producing the very resistance and action it fraudulently claims as justification now:

Any military action against Iran’s atomic programme is likely to backfire and accelerate Tehran’s development of a nuclear bomb, a report today by a British former nuclear weapons scientist warns.

In his report, Frank Barnaby argues that air strikes, reportedly being contemplated as an option by the White House, would strengthen the hand of Iranian hardliners, unite the Iranian population behind a bomb, and would almost certainly trigger an underground crash programme to build a small number of warheads as quickly as possible.

“As soon as you start bombing you unite the population behind the government,” Dr Barnaby told The Guardian. “Right now in Iran, there are different opinions about all this, but after an attack you would have a united people and a united scientific community.”

In a foreword Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector at the time of the Iraq war, argues that an assault in Iran could turn out to be every bit as disastrous.

“In the case of Iraq, the armed action launched aimed to eliminate weapons of mass destruction - that did not exist. It led to tragedy and regional turmoil. In the case of Iran armed action would be aimed at intentions - that may or may not exist. However, the same result - tragedy and regional turmoil - would inevitably follow,” Dr Blix wrote.

Exactly so. Just as it has been the warmongering onslaught in Iraq and Afghanistan which has stirred a hornets nest of hostility and hatred for imperialism, recruiting tens of thousands into the insurgencies and resistances which have bogged down imperialism’s arrogant plans to impose its Nazi ruthlessness on the planet.

It is the scale of defeats and setbacks suffered by the West’s war drive as a result which has left it reeling. It will be defeat, not peace marches, which finally stops it and gives the world the chance to build socialism, the only sane future.

Defeat not “democracy” has created the temporary lull in the headlong degeneration it is imposing on mankind; its hubris shattered and uncertainty manifest in delays, establishment splits, scandals and revealed corruption from the “cash for honours” in the UK, poisonous White House leaking in the States, and widespread corruption, to rape and sexual harassment charges tearing apart the Zionists.

Iraq is now so bad the US generals are likening it to the last days of Vietnam with a panicking total collapse of military morale possible within weeks if the latest ‘surge’ of 20 000 extra troops should prove as futile and incapable as the 100,000s already poured in and the $100bn of dollars printed and corruptly dispersed.

It remains to be seen how devastating the impact has been and will be on imperialism, raising enormous questions about the rapidity with which its ruling class is declining into total paralysis as its worked out 800 year old piratical exploitation system plunges into a spiral of historical disaster.

But the “surge” of troops into Iraq by the Bush regime, and the declarations in the State of the Union speech that the war “must be won”, alongside new troops committed to Afghanistan by the British as well as the US, with more billions of dollars voted through too, all indicate that the warmongering agenda continues - and, as the recent amnesties for warlords and opium runners indicate, with equal cynicism.

But beyond that, all Marxist understanding, built soundly on past historical experience and scientific observation of class struggle and balance of class forces, points to there never having been a ruling class in history which willingly left the stage, petering out into inconsequentiality.

The revolutionary nature of the universe which genuine Marxism insists on making clear philosophically against the endless shallow sneering of the fake-”lefts” and revisionists (‘to the barricades now then is it comrades, – ha-ha’ as their philistine and anti-working class jokes present it, making their petty bourgeois philistinism clear) shows that all phenomena develop in a escalation of contradiction until the old form is overturned; and no more so than in human history.

The tearing up of all the last 150 years worth of gains for the working class made in at least the richer imperialist countries - reasonably paid jobs for all, safe transport, safe lives with crime ended, decent pensions, reasonably priced housing, accessible health care, legal ‘rights’, peaceful life development, fair opportunity and decent education (now openly admitted in Brighton to be nothing but a random lottery in capitalism except for those with the money to bypass it), etc., and its brutal replacement by ever accelerating inequality and grotesque in-your-face luxury consumption for the few, while the rest keep out of poverty only by taking on more and more debilitating tonnages of debt and crippling working hours, - makes it absolutely clear that the reformist ”struggle” so ardently argued for by these ‘sophisticates’ and their revisionist and other fake-”left” backers (the entire 57 varieties of museum Stalinists, “left”-Labourites, Trade Union officialdom, and sour Trotskyists) has been an enormous illusion.

The contradiction between the relentless exploitation of the wage-slavery of workers and accumulation of obscene wealth is increasing relentlessly, especially now that the ending of the Soviet Union has let capitalism take the brakes off again and all pretence at matching the transformations of Soviet life within capitalism can be dispensed with.

That is in the rich and privileged countries – while the plundered multitudes of Africa, Asia, and South America continue to be driven into the dirt of poverty, want, starvation and ignorance (of formal education), with the turn to open fascist war grinding them ever further down – if they don’t fight back.

But it will get much worse as the fatal contradictions of capitalist overproduction relentlessly accumulate (see Marx economic quotes).

Capitalism has been living on borrowed time since the end of the Second World War when the relentless pumping out of paper dollars began (forcing the dollar off the gold standard under Nixon), to establish US imperialist dominance across the whole planet, bribing and subsidising its neo-colonial influence with an inflationary network of trade and credit, plundering the world under bought gangster regimes and fascist stoogery everywhere. It must eventually implode in the greatest economic crisis disaster in all of history.

The glaring unsustainability of the entire termite-eaten debt structure – more insanely inflated than ever by the Bushites huge tax “giveaways” and the surreal war spending (including flying pallet loads of tens of millions dollars into Baghdad at one point and just giving them out) is obvious to the whole world and not least the big capitalists themselves permanently on the edge of their seats waiting for the Big Slide, as the latest waves of blind panic have underlined on the world Stock Exchanges.

The rapid unravelling of the entire capitalist world network, and most certainly the sectors most heavily reliant on parasitical finance operations (most of all the British economy which has mortgaged its industrial base to the idea of ‘service’ industry and the City) would rapidly follow. The capitalist press again:

Now would be a bad moment for financial markets to have an accident, said the Financial Services Authority yesterday. The shock to the system would be “much greater now than two or three years ago”. Regulators are paid to be cautious, so at one level this pronouncement is unsurprising, but “two or three years” is not long ago. Can things really have changed so much?

Well, yes, in spades. The biggest change is the growth of credit derivatives, the process by which securities such as corporate debt, mortgages and shares are sliced, diced, packaged and repackaged. Investment banks house too much creative computing power these days, and the face value of credit derivative contracts is reckoned to be about $30 trillion - yes, trillion. It’s an enormous number and about eight times as much as in 2003. So something very big has changed very significantly.

Reading between the lines, the FSA seems to be admitting that it has inadequate insight into this world of “increasingly complex financial markets.” Again, that is not a surprise because credit derivatives are the domain of the trading desks of investment banks and specialist hedge funds.

Nor is the FSA alone. Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, said last week that “there is now such creativity of new and very sophisticated financial instruments ... that we don’t know fully where the risks are located.”

...Timothy Geithner, the US Federal Reserve’s man in New York, said last year that the derivatives revolution may make financial crises less common, but more severe when they do occur. You may not be reassured.

But the biggest slide of all is almost certainly going to be in the dollar itself. This little noticed event tells a huge story:

South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries...has accepted a $400m order from a Norwegian customer, provided part of the price is paid in won, rather than dollars. This is the first contract of its kind in South Korean history but Samsung has said it will try to strike similarly structured deals in future.

In the short run, the issue is a domestic one. South Korea boasts the world’s top three shipbuilders. Their dollar revenues are substantial - foreign orders totalled $43.5bn last year - and dollar income is often sold forward, putting upward pressure on the won. That has drawn criticism from the Seoul government.

The new approach is unlikely to provide a complete quick fix; customers will still have to dip into the forex market to acquire the currency they need and that is likely to be done via (say) krona/dollar than dollar/won, so will still involve selling the US currency against its South Korean counterpart.

Nevertheless ...the greenback’s already tarnished status as the world’s reserve currency will be further underlined. Just a thought.

As the EPSR has long explained (1230 April 2004):

To suggest that Washington “no longer minds a dollar collapse” is surely to prove the point.

Why would they care, and what difference will it make, if the American Empire has made up its mind to inflict war on the planet to stay the world’s privileged ruler whether earned in the market place or not, — and war on a scale that would dwarf the Earth shattering cataclysms of World War I and World War II, if necessary.

After such upheavals, the whole world order always gets rewritten anyway just to suit the victors.

Hence this “armageddon” neo-con mentality in Bush’s Born-Again Christian regime must be regarded as the majority-opinion expression of American imperialism for now.

And what would explain the cynical UK position if not some conscious understanding that this was a serious all-out struggle to maintain old imperialist positions?

This recolonisation of Iraq is nothing like the slightly flippant imperialist gross posturing of 1990 when Saddam was ousted from Kuwait and every monopoly-capitalist power with a rowing-boat turned up to share in the imperialist spoils.

This time, rival imperialist hostility to the warmongering American adventure is almost as big a story as the main armageddon plot itself and its potential Third-World-revolution implications.

Not even Washington or London seriously pretends to believe any longer that this invasion and recolonisation is just another “security action” in the smokescreen “war on terrorism”.

This Iraq war is shaping to become a very Big Deal indeed, so big that it is thought worth sacrificing the Labour Party’s traditional pretence for, of being the workers party of “anti-imperialism, anti-warmongering, and for democratic peacefully negotiated solutions to everything.”

Huge credit surpluses run by rival imperialisms such as Japan, and the huge capitalist economic sector of the Chinese revisionist workers state seem now to be the only prop left to total disintegration of the dollar, and with it the entire post-war international trading order on the planet – still run in dollars despite some occasional efforts to set up alternatives, such as a Euro exchange for oil in Iran (another reason for the US to hate it).

It is part of the enormous complexities that need still to be worked out and understood as capitalist crisis deepens, to know how much the enormous Chinese population will be dragged into the inter-imperialist brewing conflict.

But endless accumulation of billions of paper dollars is no more possible than the endless accumulation of the US debt itself on the other side – and no long term solution either to world crisis by some kind of ‘containment’ of imperialism as the Chinese economy grows, an outlook which the soft-brained delusions of revisionism almost certainly still cleave to in Beijing as much as elsewhere.

Such disastrous perspectives – apart from gigantically misleading and poisoning the debate for world scientific understanding and urgent Leninist leadership development – led to the ultimate insanity of the Soviet Union’s self-liquidation, as the ossified Moscow bureaucracy waited vainly for socialism to overtake capitalist consumer production (predicted by Stalin in 1953 [see EPSR Perspectives 2001] but which could never be achieved, because steady Soviet production growth was never going to rip-off its workers in the slave driven super-exploitation conditions imposed throughout Asia and Africa by imperialism), leading ultimately to the insane notion that “free market forces” were the best guide to development and the even more insane liquidation of the planned economy and its workers state defences (dictatorship of the proletariat).

Despite endless western propaganda attempts to prove that China has finally tipped over into outright capitalism – the latest focused on the current Party Congress and its moves to pass “property protection laws” - the evidence still seems to be that China retains – just about – its workers state character.

It certainly upsets the more demented petty bourgeois elements in the west, as this confused, petty bourgeois reactionary and sour account demonstrates, with its total failure to understand the importance of state level planning. But that state control exists is sure:

But the closer you get to what is happening on the ground in China, its so-called capitalism looks nothing like any form of capitalism the west has known and the transition from communism remains fundamentally problematic. The alpha and omega of China’s political economy is that the Communist party remains firmly in the driving seat not just of government, but of the economy - a control that goes into the very marrow of how ownership rights are conceived and business strategies devised. The western conception of the free exercise of property rights and business autonomy that goes with it, essential to any notion of capitalism, does not exist in China.

The truth is that China is not the socialist market economy the party describes, nor moving towards capitalism as the western consensus believes. Rather it is frozen in a structure that I describe as Leninist corporatism - and which is unstable, monumentally inefficient, dependent upon...peasant savings on a grand scale, colossally unequal and ultimately unsustainable. It is Leninist in that the party still follows Lenin’s dictum of being the vanguard, monopoly political driver and controller of the economy and society. And it is corporatist because the framework for all economic activity in China is one of central management and coordination from which no economic actor, however humble, can opt out.

In this environment genuine wholesale privatisation is impossible and liberalisation has well-defined limits, as President Hu Jintao himself brutally reminds us. The party, he says, “takes a dominant role and coordinates all sectors. Party members and party organisations in government departments should be brought into full play so as to realise the party’s leadership over state affairs”. It may be true that party organisations in the provinces (some with populations bigger than Britain’s) and in the chief cities are jealous of their autonomous local political control, but all retain the discretionary power to do what they choose and override any challenge or complaint from any non-state actor - or, indeed, from state actors if they cross the will of the party.

...Ever since the late 1990s the party leadership, then under Hu’s predecessor Jiang Zemin, has rightly become more and more preoccupied with how corruption is corroding the party. “If we do not crack down on corruption, the flesh-and-blood ties between the party and the people will suffer a lot and the party will be in danger of losing its ruling position, or possibly heading for self-destruction,” Jiang declared in 2002, in his last political report to the National Congress.

High-level officials had been arrested and imprisoned for embezzlement and racketeering; they included the party secretary and mayor of Beijing, Chen Xitong, a member of the Politburo. Cheng Kejie, vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress, was executed for taking pounds 2.5m in kickbacks for arranging land deals and contracts for private business. In the financial system the highest-profile casualties were three of prime minister Zhu Rongji’s hand-picked “can-do commanders”, selected to sort out the financial crisis of the late 1990s, and one of whom, Li Fuxiang, leaped to his death from the seventh floor of Beijing’s Hospital 304 while under investigation. To put this in a British context, it is as if the Mayor of London, the speaker of the House of Commons, the chief executive of HSBC, along with a deputy governor of the Bank of England and the deputy chief executive of the Financial Services Authority had all been imprisoned for fraud with one committing suicide.

For all the strengthening of the anti-corruption and Orwellian sounding “Central Discipline Inspection Committee”, corruption remains deeply embedded. The number of arrests of senior cadres members above the county level quadrupled between 1992 and 2001, and since then have included a ring of officials in Gansu, one of China’s poorest provinces, caught embezzling pounds 500m. Four provincial governors and one provincial party secretary have been charged recently - the top posts in China outside Beijing. And in September 2006 came the arrest of Shanghai party secretary and member of the politburo Chen Liangyu for his involvement in the misappropriation of pounds 206m of social security funds.

...The judicial apparatus is politicised from top to bottom. Every president and vice-president of a court is appointed by the party; and the courts are funded by provincial governments. The court bureaucracy works on the same basis as the rest of the government, with a party committee system superintending each rung of the court hierarchy. Judges often make decisions at the instruction of the committee or government independently of the legal merits of the case.

...Many judges still have no formal legal training - the majority are retired army officers, only too ready to do the party’s bidding. The scale of the corruption is stunning. In 2003, 794 judges were tried for corruption (out of a national total of 200,000). In 2003 and 2004, the presidents of the provincial high courts of Guangdong and Hunan were both found guilty of corruption. When the party does not or cannot influence the judgement in a case, it can use its influence over the police to decide whether to slow down or not enforce the judgement. Enforcement rates in China are lamentable; for example, only 40% of provincial high court decisions are enforced. The lack of a clear system of property rights, with the party-state claiming particular privileges, can make debt enforcement against state organisations close to impossible.

...As a potential watchdog to correct any of this, the media is crippled.

[As opposed to the West “free” capitalist owned media?????]

China now has more than 2,000 newspapers, 2,000 television channels, 9,000 magazines and 450 radio stations, but they are all under the watchful eye of the party in Beijing or provincial propaganda departments. These authorities issue daily instructions on what may and may not be reported; journalists who digress will be suspended from working or even imprisoned. China is estimated to have 42 journalists in prison, the highest number in the world. Editors know roughly how much slack they have; but recently, under Hu Jintao, there has been a tightening of the leash. The right to travel independently and report from a non-local city had allowed more aggressive reporting of corruption; but it has been rescinded. Some prominent editors have been fired. For instance, Yang Bin, editor of China’s most forceful tabloid, the Beijing News, was dismissed in 2005 for reporting village protests against unfair confiscation of land. Other journalists have been prohibited from publishing. The Committee to Protect Journalists, in its 2005 report on repression of the media, quotes the government-run People’s Daily: “[During 2004] censorship agencies permanently shut down 338 publications for printing ‘internal’ information, closed 202 branch offices of newspapers, and punished 73 organisations for illegally ‘engaging in news activities’.”

In February 2006, three of China’s most distinguished elders - Li Rui, a former aide to Mao Zedong, Hu Jiwei, former editor of the People’s Daily, and Zhu Houze, a former party propaganda chief - published a letter condemning the approach: “History demonstrates that only a totalitarian system needs news censorship, out of the delusion that it can keep the public locked in ignorance,” they wrote. Far from ensuring stability, they continued, such media repression would “sow the seeds of disaster”.

All this is obvious to western eyes; what is less obvious is the way the same system of control undermines the economy. Successful businesses have to be successful in business terms - with managers freely exploiting opportunities, developing products and brands and promoting on ability. No such autonomy is possible within Leninist corporatism; party needs come before those of business, enforced by a national system of party committees in every enterprise, finance from state-owned banks and a complex system of accounting and ownership rights that leaves majority ownership of most enterprises with the state. Private shareholders have very limited ownership rights; companies’ fixed assets are separated out in company accounts and can still only be legally owned by state and public bodies. And as MIT economist Yasheng Huang argues, government shareholders interfere, especially if a firm is successful. Countless Chinese firms, he says, have been driven to bankruptcy or thwarted in their growth ambitions because the government has exercised its ownership privileges to meet party objectives.

In short, the party state is at the centre of a spiderweb of control of the economy, radiating out from the tight ownership and direction of the 57 sectors the party considers the economy’s strategic heart like steel and energy to a more relaxed stance the less important the party considers an enterprise’s activity - such as packaging or hairdressing. Even they can be controlled if need be. The general rule is that the more politicised and controlled a Chinese enterprise, the lower its productivity and performance. Thus the performance of China’s State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), which control two-thirds of industrial assets, has hardly improved during 20 years of reform. One in three of their employees is estimated to be structurally idle. SOEs are on a financial edge and barely profitable.

The law of the jungle prevails: you do what you can get away with. China is the counterfeiters’ paradise, where intellectual property rights are neither respected nor enforced. Between 15% and 20% of all well-known brands in China are fake; two-thirds of the imports confiscated by US Customs as fakes were made in China. Counterfeiting is estimated to represent 8% of GDP - eloquent testimony to Chinese business strategies and the ineffectiveness of the legal system.

The cumulative result of all this is economic weakness, despite the eye-catching growth figures. Innovation is poor; half of China’s patents come from foreign companies. Its growth depends on huge investment, representing an unsustainable 40% or more of GDP financed by peasant savings. But China now needs $5.4 of extra investment to produce an extra $1 of output, a proportion vastly higher than that in economies such as Britain or the US. But 20 years ago, China needed just $4 to deliver the same result.

There is plenty more of this deranged nonsense aiming somehow to “prove” that unfettered capitalism is stunningly successful, transparent and vibrant while China is totally a disaster. Trying telling that to the enormous and near bankrupt behemoths of the American car industry, like wallowing Chrysler and Ford, or the Network Rail company in the UK struggling with the train crash disaster legacy of “privatisation”.

Or simply consider the enormous trade and budget deficits of the American economy - (much held in Beijing banks).

Yes, there is corruption and inefficiencies and it is obviously an uphill task to keep the lid on “all the old shit” constantly reviving from petty bourgeois selfishness and inconstancy as Lenin warned would be the case for generations, even under the best of circumstances for building communism, let alone with a massive development of mainstream capitalism which China is using to accelerate its development from the extremely low level of the world's biggest peasant economy.

With the dire example of Moscow revisionism as a historical indicator, there are constant doubts about the future coherence of the Chinese workers state and the creeping counter-revolutionary tendencies which saturate the capitalist sector.

And the philosophical stagnation of continuing Chinese nationalist flavoured revisionism is one of the greatest burdens both there and facing the masses throughout the planet who need urgently to revive Leninist grasp (open scientific polemicising Marxism, not the heavy handed bureaucracy which Hutton shallowly and wrongly describes as “Leninist corporatism”. That he can make such shallow, philistine and plain ignorant descriptions is a terrible reflection of precisely the damage that wooden museum revisionism (Stalinist and Maoist) has done to human grasp and which still needs enormous debate and struggle to understand and transcend.

But the point about all these arrests is precisely that the Chinese workers state does attempt to cope with and suppress the worst excesses of the capitalist development it is using – the fact judges, the bank establishment, Parliament and lawyers in the West are hardly ever investigated let alone pursued or arrested, underlines only that the ruling class in capitalism gets away with virtually anything (including murder).

Apart from the obvious points - that if 50% of its innovations are still external then China is now making 50% of its own inventions just 25 years into industrialisation or that it has taken 100s millions out of poverty for the first time in centuries and continues in general to improve conditions in the country (even if its revisionist heavy handedness could be criticised) while most Western capitalist ”success” is built on the 14 hour days of sweated and child labour of Bangkok and Bangladesh, Mexico and Mumbai, the dumping of its poisons and waste all over the African and Indian coastlines and the collusion with death squad repression and torture from Cairo to Colombia, – the fact is that China is roaring ahead.

China is also trading throughout Africa (and no coincidence that the Pentagon has just created a special Afracom division to intervene there) as well as South America and Asia but on a totally different basis to imperialism, despite sniping planted stories endlessly pumped out.

This is just part of the story of capitalism in Africa:

More than $150bn a year is looted from Africa through tax avoidance by giant corporations and capital flight using ‘a pinstripe infrastructure’ of western banks, lawyers and accountants, according to the African Union.

This £75bn equivalent shortfall easily eclipses pledges made by leaders of the world’s richest nations to increase aid and write off debt at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005.

the poverty-stricken continent is now a net creditor to the rest of the world. It is estimated that about 30 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s annual GDP has been moved to secretive tax havens, many under the jurisdiction of the British government.

...As multinationals’ dubious tax practices come into focus at the World Economic Forum at Davos this week a report will reveal that, despite the global commodity boom over the past three years, African governments are missing out in increasing tax and royalties, and in some cases actually receiving less revenue from mining companies than before.

As production of copper, gold, nickel and platinum soars, research from Christian Aid will show that the Tanzanian government’s revenue from gold fell by nearly a third once the rise in prices has been factored in. Zambia saw revenues from copper halve. Pressure from the IMF to privatise industries on advantageous terms to mining firms is responsible, say campaigners.

There is also concern at how so-called transfer pricing techniques - otherwise known as profit-laundering - are deployed by giant firms in extractive industries to massage down their profits.

[Britain] faces criticism that it has done little to stamp out overseas tax abuses involving UK firms and for being the destination for money siphoned out of Africa by corrupt officials. Cross-border dirty money flows are conservatively estimated at $1 trillion annually.

The African Union estimates that more than 80 per cent of the annual $150bn looted from Africa finds its way to offshore financial centres. The Observer revealed in 2005 that the total stock of private wealth held in low-tax havens is $11.5 trillion. Meanwhile, compelling evidence from Ghana and Nigeria is emerging that pressure on these countries from the IMF and World Bank to reduce corporate taxes has forced many African countries to levy VAT on fuel, which is increasing desertification and global warming by forcing millions of people in poverty to abandon gas stoves and chop down forests for wood burning.

At a deeper level this hate-filled anti-Chinese diatribe echoes the constant predictions of failure and inability to keep up which Trotskyism endlessly produced throughout the 1920s and 1930s against the Soviet State, finishing with the dire defeatist and deliberately demoralising predictions that the Soviet Union would implode utterly when the first aggressive prod was made against it. Despite Stalin’s initial sluggishness, it was Nazi Germany and the cohort of western nations egging it on to attack Moscow, which finally disintegrated and the Soviets (under the Stalinist leadership in fact) which proved their enormous communist coordination, self-sacrifice, talent and inventiveness in building weapons, industrial backup and military organisation to destroy Hitler (doing 85% of all the European fighting in the Second World War).

It is China which has just stunned the world with its innovation in missile technology and industrial backup, shooting down cold a satellite, hundreds of miles up, and with the clear signal that its determination to defend itself remains untouched. And which has made sure the west understands it will be no walkover with a 17.8% increase in military spending just announced.

It is clearly the case that the trading relations of the Chinese revisionist state are increasingly becoming a rival trading network to imperialism; and one built often on trading relations with numerous countries that imperialism has in its sights for demonisation, victimisation and potential destruction from Sudan (number two ‘demon’ after Iran at present), and Zimbabwe in Africa, Venezuela, Bolivia and other South American “upstarts” being drawn into the wake of the Bolivarian revolutionary upsurge, and most of all Cuba, which since the demise of the Soviet European camp sustains around one third of its external trade with China, and more when trade with Venezuela is taken into account.

That is an enormous material advantage to the anti-imperialist forces. It is also true that much of the trade is being created to feed the enormous growth of the Chinese economy. And it is simply trade, which Lenin urged the workers state to do from early on, criticising Bolshevik negotiators too keen to make political points at the expense of securing deals.

Lenin urged that for survival in a still capitalist world it was vital to ensure trading relations with anyone that could be traded with, even suggesting that the Soviets should swallow completely unfair deals to learn western technology.

The criminal US blockade of communist Cuba has been hugely damaging; the battle to maintain external trade crucial to its survival.

Revisionist bureaucratic methods verge on the insensitive at times, in trade as elsewhere. But good evidence of the kind of monstrous routine torturing and blitzing that is normal for even boom time capitalism has never been forthcoming.

Compare it to India for example, also growing fast now and posited by reaction to be “like China”. But despite a variety of desperately stunted up reports by TV crews in China this week inflating undoubted local corruption and land grabbing incidents, nothing like this is found:

Five years ago this week, across the Indian state of Gujarat, the stormtroopers of the Hindu right, decked in saffron sashes and armed with swords, tridents, sledgehammers and liquid gas cylinders, launched a pogrom against the local Muslim population. They looted and torched Muslim-owned businesses, assaulted and murdered Muslims, and gang-raped and mutilated Muslim women. By the time the violence spluttered to a halt, about 2,500 Muslims had been killed and about 200,000 driven from their homes.

The pogrom was distinguished not only by its ferocity and sadism (foetuses were ripped from the bellies of pregnant women, old men bludgeoned to death) but also by its meticulous advance planning. The leaders used mobile phones to coordinate the movement of an army of thousands through densely populated areas, targeting Muslim properties with the aid of computerised lists and electoral rolls provided by state agencies.

Much of the violence unfolded with the full collaboration of the police. In some cases, police fired at Muslims seeking to flee the mobs. When asked to help a group of girls being raped on the roof of a building, police officers demurred, explaining: “They have been given 24 hours to kill you.” Subsequent investigations confirmed that police knew in advance of the pogrom and had been instructed not to interfere with it.

Indian and global human rights organisations have singled out Gujarat’s chief minister, Narendra Modi, of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), as the principal culprit. As a result of his alleged complicity in mass murder, he was denied a visa to the US and cannot visit Britain for fear of arrest.

Yet Modi remains chief minister and has become not only the BJP’s most popular figurehead, but also a poster boy for big business, foreign and domestic. Gujarat, which contains 5% of India’s population, now boasts 18% of its investment and 21% of its exports. At this year’s Vibrant Gujarat conclave, the showpiece of the BJP regime, the great names of Indian capitalism - Ambani, Birla, Tata - sang Modi’s praises, echoed by delegations from Singapore, Europe and the US. Anxieties about dealing with a politician accused of genocide have been allayed by the appeal of Gujarat’s corporation-friendly environment, not least its labour laws, which give employers hire-and-fire rights unique in India.

Five years on, Muslims in Gujarat still live in fear. About 50,000 remain in refugee camps. Most of the cases filed by victims of the violence have never been investigated. Witnesses have been intimidated. No more than a dozen low-level culprits have been convicted. None of the major conspirators has been brought before the courts.

The events of 2002 did not conform to the paradigm of the war on terror, in which India was a prize ally, so never achieved the infamy in the west they deserved. An array of interests - in New Delhi, London and Washington - is dedicated to ensuring the atrocity is consigned to oblivion. For them, the release of Parzania, a feature film centred on the violence, is an uncomfortable development. Despite dramatic flaws, it accurately depicts the savagery of the anti-Muslim violence, its planned, coordinated character, and the complicity of the police and the state government. Cinemas in Gujarat, under pressure from the Hindu right, are refusing to screen the film.

If and when Parzania reaches audiences here and in the US, it will offer a necessary counter-tale to the fashionable fable of the Indian neoliberal miracle, exposing the brutality and bigotry that have gone hand in hand with zooming growth rates and hi-tech triumphalism.

· Mike Marqusee writes a column for the Hindu; his most recent book is Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960s.

These complexities are exactly the kind of issues which confuse and weaken proletarian struggle. Much more understanding is needed – rebuild the open struggle for Leninist science.

Don Hoskins



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