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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 1319 14th August 2007

“Credit crunch” market panic yet another signal of the total crisis that capitalist imperialist existence comprises – and more confirmation of desperate disintegration facing the ruling class and driving it towards World War Three. But even if there is temporary Stock Exchange “recovery” the great decline continues into warmongering world destruction and conflict as the “Arctic oil rush” also confirms. Deepening defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan may have temporarily paralysed US imperialism but the only direction it can go is widening the torturing shock-and-awe to maintain its dominance through slump collapse. Leninism is crucially needed.

It takes a special kind of sour petty bourgeois defeatism to look at the latest gales of economic panic sweeping the world markets and declare that it “might not benefit the left”.

But the British Trotskyist fake-“left” in the form of the CPGB have managed it.

This precious nonsense in their Weekly Worker paper is on a par with their declarations a few years ago – now shamefacedly buried away – that imperialism had entered a new period of strength across the planet dealing with “hotspot” struggles and getting all its difficulties under control.

Not much has been heard of this theory since the settlement has gone through for the republican movement in the Occupied Zone of northern Ireland, and more so since Iraq and Afghanistan and the shattering resistance blows inflicted on imperialist hubris there (and in Somalia and Palestine too, as well as in a general anti-imperialist sentiment rising worldwide).

But then not much of any sense for the working class is to be heard from the dilettante “left” anyway.

Few of the 57 varieties of fake-“left”, who love the sound of their own voices and long wind-bagging “theoretical discussions” and tedious multi-page “debates” about how many “revolutionary” delegates can stand on the head of a pin in the “perfect workers party”, much discuss real developments in the world at all.

Neither the anti-working class dictatorship (anti-communist) Trots nor the soft brained revisionist remnants of Stalin’s Third International and their complete detachment from any revolutionary perspectives at all, can produce the scientific understanding and leadership urgently needed for the working class and proletariat everywhere.

They may examine some of the world’s struggles one by one, even come out sometimes on the right side, parrot the revolutionary phrases (occasionally) and add them onto speeches and articles, but it is all done in an utterly wooden way. Their accounts remain devoid of understanding of the revolutionary essence that runs through all development in human history (and all of the physical universe around), devoid of dialectical context, episodic and connectionless.

Only a complete idiot could point to the Stock Exchange turmoil and say it was “not helpful” to the left – or a complete traitor to the working class who has spent decades keeping it bemused with posturing pseudo-theory and away from the crucial understanding of revolutionary crisis now erupting planet wide.

Only a complete idiot could not see the connections between these seismic tremors, the crashing disaster which will follow at some point soon (historically speaking) if not immediately, and the universal warmongering destruction which has broken out for the last decade.

Yet the jitters, bank and Stock Exchange turmoil and the undercurrent of just-controlled panic running through the entire bourgeois world yet again are major confirmation that Marxist understanding is the correct view of the world.

Of course this does not mean any communist will “welcome” slump collapse, mass unemployment, debt disintegration and trade war shortages, bringing widespread deprivation and massive social breakdown.

But all these things are on the way anyway.

They are the inevitable result of the capitalist imperialist way of running things, as grasped by Marxist-Leninist scientific analysis developed over 160 years.

Not for nothing did Karl Marx spend 26 years sitting in the British Library studying the entire gamut of economic writings and history over three preceding centuries, and his friend and colleague Frederick Engels spend years more editing the mountain of notes to produce the three titanic volumes of the book Capital.

The entire foundation of Marxist science, – the science of changing the world – is built on the understanding that capitalism is a system of crisis expressed most fundamentally in its economic relations and the devastating slump collapses its anarchic production system must always return to (see economic quotes).

Teasing this out in the minutest detail as part of an enormous wide-ranging integrated dialectical materialist philosophical investigation was a crucial part of building the theoretical weapons the working class cannot do without if it is to end its exploitation by the bourgeoisie.

It says that the struggle by the working class for a decent human existence is not built purely on understanding, and then resisting and fighting against, the arrogance and monstrous unfairness of the random life-lottery that the class system worldwide consists of, and the appalling poverty, ignorance, oppression and slavery it condemns the majority “losers” to endure, while they watch the fabulous, wasteful and indolent luxury life of the powerful and wealthy (which their work provides) from the sidelines.

It says that well beyond the justified and burning hatred built up by centuries of tyrannical imperialist domination there are deep seated material contradictions in capitalism which mean that this entire economic, social, political and cultural structure is historically transient and now ready for overturn.

Capitalism, like preceding class systems, is only temporarily stable and contains within it the explosive contradictions that will bring about its own disintegration and the ever more urgent need for its replacement by rational philosophy and science around planned socialist production – a revolutionary transformation.

The time has long gone when the historical energy and vigour of the capitalist class, always piratical and brutal, had nevertheless contributed positively on balance to the forward movement of history.

Now the entire pattern of world development is of festering decay of an out-of-time system into warmongering foulness, just as the feudal system it overthrew previously (by bourgeois armed revolution – anti-Catholic Church, William of Orange, Cromwell, Robespierre) had gone rotten, holding back human potential and steady accumulation of knowledge and technology for useful purpose. No reforms, pressures or demands will stop its decay, only the revolutionary ending of its class domination by the working class, the only way for the masses on the planet to start building something rational and fair, and capable of tapping the huge currently wasted potential of billions of exploited and oppressed human beings, in a cooperative and mutually aiding and reinforcing planned economy and society.

The EPSR’s insistence on underpinning its entire 27 years of analysis with a continuing analysis of capitalist crisis and its plunge towards cataclysmic slump collapse (and war) has been mocked and derided continuously as “catastrophism” by the “much cleverer” fake-“left”. Secretly, and deep down, in their psyches they are in awe of the capitalist system, believing in their deepest core that is actually all powerful and ever continuing – perhaps to be “persuaded” to be “a little bit nicer” if properly (or politely) requested through the fraud of Parliament, or maybe “pressured a bit” or even sometimes pushed back by some actual fighting (as in Iraq) – but always able to “find a way out” and “stretch things a little further” with yet another credit created “money making gimmick” like casinos for example.

(They thereby reveal their own profound ignorance of course. If casinos actually created any value as opposed to simply being yet another trick simply to siphon off yet another part of the miserable wages paid to the working class (the small part of the value they create by the labour which is not appropriated by capital in the first place) then the ruling class would build them all over the Third World instead of the sweatshop factories it actually sets up.

As a cursory reading of Capital would show, or even the classical economists before it, it is labour which creates value (exchange value)).

But capitalism will not go on for ever and is already hitting the buffers of massive economic failure.

The fake-“lefts” have not a real revolutionary brain cell in their joint grey matter at all, and normally either avoid, or do not even notice, the crisis of capitalism brewing, let alone mention it, analyse it or let the working class know that this is the motor driving out all the warmongering barbarity of the US and other invaders in Iraq, Afghanistan and other blitzkrieging, – and plenty more to come.

But the devastating economic turmoil surfacing throughout the entire monopoly imperialist world order is sporadically drawing their attention here and there finally.

It is of course a back handed confirmation of the seriousness of the ever deepening world capitalist crisis if even the shallow-brained Trots and the equally one dimensional revisionist Stalinist “lefts” have finally begun to comment on it,

If the tremors in the system are shaking even the dull academicism and of the assorted varieties of posturing pretend “lefts” then they must be reaching terrifying levels.

Or more accurately if the fake-“lefts” can no longer comfortably get away with ignoring what is becoming glaringly obvious to everyone else, then the potential turmoil is clearly close to surface.

The implications are devastating.

The “overproduction” contradiction at the heart of the profit making system has already driven the planet three times into universal war and chaos (on a widening scale) as the imperialist powers have tried to “solve” the constipation in their production by laying waste to surplus capital across the world, – simultaneously forcing the worst of the vicious destruction onto whichever rival powers can be “competitively” driven into the ground first by brute force, wiping out entire cities, regions and even countries, and millions of people with it.

The 1870 Franco-Prussian was followed by the 1914-18 “war to end all wars” and only two decades later by the greatly multiplied and much more widespread aggression and blitzkrieging of the Second World War after a decade of appalling slump misery and deprivation (except in the Soviet Union).

Now after six decades of the greatest expansion of the system ever seen, into all the once untouched corners of the world, built on the stretching of inflationary paper dollar credit to insane limits, the world is pregnant with yet another round of terrifying economic collapse and its horrifying “resolution” in total warmongering.

If unopposed and unchallenged, imperialism will unleash destruction on an unprecedented scale, reinforced by all the hugely increased blitzing power of modern technology including nuclear weapons (already used once). No rationality or protests will stop it.

Even before the economic chaos has fully emerged the crisis is finding expression in the early rounds of blitzing and bombing deliberately allowed by the ruling class to become a “normal” part of daily news, to warm up the atmosphere.

In a sense, as the EPSR has tried to understand, the “shock and awe” torturing and mass civilian blitzings, chaos, disintegration and mayhem deliberately imposed on Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon (and tiny Serbia beforehand), are themselves an expression of the oncoming collapse, war and aggression. The political-military symptoms are completely intertwined with trade and economic conflict as the dominant US power attempts to bludgeon its way out of total bankruptcy, intimidating all potential rivals and simply “killing all terrorists” as its propaganda falsely and idiotically labels every scrap of upheaval and rebellion anywhere in the world.

These onslaughts are simply the early starters, just a small taster of what the imperialist conflicts have in store for the planet. Already plenty of other demonised victims are being lined up.

But far from giving the working class the urgent warnings it needs of the headlong rush of the imperialist system into desperate catastrophic collapse at some not far off point on a giant scale, reflecting the total historical bankruptcy of the entire class exploitation system after hundreds of years of domination, the analyses given by the assorted 57 varieties of “lefts” yet again only serve to underline their utter philistinism and craven defeatist servility.

In not a single article where the “lefts” grudgingly notice the economic turmoil seething under the surface of all inter-imperialist relationships, is there the tiniest hint that these threatening developments fit into any kind of historic pattern at all, let along a major historic world perspective of urgently needed revolutionary transformation of the entire ruling order, as Marx and Engels spelt out in the Communist Manifesto over 160 years ago and as every genuine Marxist has done since, and particularly the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin’s leadership (Imperialism: The highest Stage of Capitalism for example.)

The gut-wrenching panic of the ruling class as it watches the disintegration of the US housing market, threatening to implode the hollow bankruptcy of the entire insanely overblown dollar credit system worldwide, is completely missed.

The near terminal breakdown of the endless world trade negotiations and their signalling of incipient international trade war are left untouched.

The links to the escalating arms race production and corruption (such as the recent decision of the US to pour $billions of arms onto the Zionists, the gangster stooge Egyptians and other reactionary forces in the Middle East) are ignored.

The non-stop provocations against Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and various other assorted demonised victims being lined up to bring the world back into blitzing and punishment mode so that the real warmongering - between the major imperialist powers - can be got underway, are not mentioned.

(In the worst cases the more craven of the “lefts”, even help reinforce the ludicrous lying Goebbels propaganda against the Third World (under the cover of an insane “war on terror” and “clash of civilisations”) by the twisted invention of academically devised categories like “reactionary anti-imperialism” (!!!) to justify these Trotskyite frauds lining up with every move Washington makes.

And every one of the “left” groups has capitulated to the insane western anti-Third World propaganda by joining in (or failing to expose) a chorus of moralising “condemnation” of “terrorism”, non-stop ever since the 9/11 events.

Typical of this pathetic shallowness is the misnamed CPGB whose latest Weekly Worker reports that “debt crisis looms” which is, apparently, due to the US “massively over-borrowing”.

Capitalist press figures are simply repeated woodenly to spell out that federal debt has reached an $8 trillion level and private individuals have been “encouraged to do the same” to create finally an “enormous level of indebtedness”.

Now the EPSR has nothing against using bourgeois sources and in many cases believes that even more-directly quoting what is admitted by the capitalist press, or dimly and one-sidedly seen by some more perceptive petty bourgeois analysis, is a valuable part of gathering material to try to understand the world. It is a tradition used by Marx and Engels, especially in Capital.

But it has to be done as part of a philsophical analysis to understand and keep track of all the crucial developments in the world class struggle and see them with all their connections.

It is worth using now, to demonstrate how even the bourgeois press is giving a stronger flavour of the uncertainty and panic which has immediately surfaced over the latest stock collapse – far beyond what the graphs and figures would indicate:

Investors are braced for another white-knuckle ride on the markets this week as the fallout from the American sub-prime mortgage crunch starts to claim fresh victims.

Central banks in Europe, Asia and the US pumped more than $300bn (£150bn) of emergency cash into the markets on Thursday and Friday, to prevent a full-blown financial collapse, but failed to stem the share sell-off.

The FTSE 100 had its worst day for more than four years on Friday, and the Dow Jones closed 30 points down.

With banks and hedge funds scrambling to tot up their exposure to shaky sub-prime loans, analysts warned this weekend that there was worse to come.

One Wall Street insider said: ‘The dyke has now been breached and there are leaks springing up all over the place.’

With credit conditions tightening sharply, a backlog of debt-backed takeover deals is also vulnerable. Banks backing the £10.4bn bid for Sainsbury, for instance, are understood to be re-considering pledges made to Delta Two, the Qatari-backed investment fund.

Near Bank tube station in the City on Friday night, the mood was despondent as grim-faced traders slunk home for a restorative weekend’s break. ‘I haven’t seen worse since the Asian crisis of 1998,’ said Alan Brown, chief investment officer at fund manager Schroders.

‘It’s tumbling,’ said a stockbroker at Cornhill Asset Management. ‘It looks like it’ll get worse,’ said a sales trader with a Scandinavian bank. An investment banker at Societe Generale described the situation as ‘confused’ and ‘volatile’.

Investors failed to recover their nerve, despite the largest concerted effort by central banks since 9/11 to steady the markets. The European Central Bank pumped €95bn of funds into the money markets on Thursday and another €61bn in on Friday, after rocketing short-term interest rates suggested there was a growing shortage of cash, risking a full-blown financial crisis. The Fed, too, made two injections of cheap cash at the end of the week.

What began as the after-effects of a housing boom in the US, with greedy lenders throwing cash at buyers who couldn’t afford to pay it back, has now become a global market meltdown.

...BNP will almost certainly not be the last bank to reveal nasty secrets in its portfolio. ‘The short answer is, this is going to continue because no one really knows how much there is, and how much they have,’ says Gabriel Stein of Lombard Street Research.

City analysts are already comparing the ongoing crisis to 1998, when Russia defaulted on its multi-billion-dollar debts, market volatility shot up, and investors around the world suddenly discovered that when fear sets in, assets that are meant to be hedges against each other suddenly all move in line.

Hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, with a clutch of Nobel prize-winners on its board and a super-sophisticated computer model, lost $4.5bn in four months and had to be bailed out by the Wall Street banks that had been competing to lend it money. Hedge funds are likely to be among the casualties in the coming months,

...There will be almost certainly be more bad news before the summer ends.

So far, this has been restricted to the financial markets. But that does not mean it will stay that way. It all started in the US, where mortgage lending to low-grade borrowers remained absurdly excessive, even after the housing market peaked in mid-2005. With housing in a state of freefall, many of these so-called sub-prime mortgages went under, and the hedge funds that had placed large bets on the health of these debtors were under water too. The Federal Reserve, the US central bank and a crucial regulator, will face serious questions about why it allowed this leverage to build up. Ever since the days of its former chief, Alan Greenspan, the Fed has been far too willing to permit the financial sector to build excessive risks and then to bail out the failing institutions by easing monetary policy when the proverbial hits the fan. Ben Bernanke, Greenspan’s successor, needs to rethink this strategy, but he has a crisis to handle first.

For a time the crisis seemed confined to the sub-prime sector, which seemed manageable. Estimated losses of about $150bn in that sector would be just a drop in the bucket for global financial markets. But then the major investment banks started to find difficulty in offloading loans they had promised to make on large private equity buyouts, and the share prices of even the best of these banks, like Goldman Sachs, tumbled by 25%. In the last couple of weeks, the epicentre of the crisis has shifted to this side of the Atlantic, with the failure of a medium-sized German bank, IKB, and the suspension of withdrawals from three investment funds run by BNP Paribas, which said the assets of the funds could not be correctly valued at present.

The last event seems to have been the trigger for a sharp worsening in market liquidity on Thursday. The banking system only works at all because banks are willing to extend credit to each other via the money markets, with the European Central Bank normally determining the rate at which these loans are made. That willingness vanished on Thursday, and it was clear some banks were scrambling for funds, even at higher rates than the ECB wanted to set. Very rapidly, the bank injected €95bn into the market to ensure that basically sound institutions did not become insolvent. The Fed later did the same, though in smaller quantities. This settled the markets a little, but they remained very nervous.

In my view we are living through an episode similar to that in 1998, when debt defaults by Russia brought down a large hedge fund, LTCM, temporarily threatening the liquidity of the banking system. The global economy was basically sound, but excessive risk-taking by parts of the financial sector came home to roost and a big meltdown was only averted because the Fed put money into the markets and cut interest rates.

The present crisis has gone as far as an emergency injection of cash from the central banks, but they still appear unwilling to reduce interest rates, as they did in 1998.

In fact, because they are more worried about inflation than recession at present, they still seem to be thinking about raising rates, notably in the UK. They may have to rethink these intentions before the markets stabilise and recover. A financial crisis is no time for central bankers to take risks, even though they will need to address some serious regulatory deficiencies once the crisis blows over.

· Gavyn Davies is founding partner of Fulcrum Asset Management. He was a Treasury adviser from 1992 to 1997

It is beyond any bourgeois consciousness to contemplate the end of the capitalist system and to some extent even the collapse into total slump, as this piece avoids doing with its final whistling in the dark about “crisis blowing over” which is why Marxist science needs to use such bourgeois information as part of a dialectical revolutionary analysis, not some shallow impressionist “reporting”.

For the “lefts” the crisis is still only a routine episodic “difficulty” for a “greedy” system which may or may not cause it various problems at various levels of severity.

The CPGB woodenness goes little further than garden fence levels of gossipy disapproval of a “cavalier attitude to federal debts” which it blames for the US economic mayhem.

This is just moralising impressionism which ignores completely the connections with all the international upheavals and warmongering chaos.

So the market dismay is entirely due to “bad decisions”, which implies that if only the “right” decisions had been made things might have been otherwise.

What a giveaway of limited petty bourgeois reformist understanding!

These events are part of a relentless process determined by the very nature of the profit dependent system itself, not “decided upon” (except in the loosest of senses that members of the ruling class act out the objective demands of the capital they control).

To point to the “arrival” of a credit crisis is missing out the continuation of at least three decades of brewing trade was hostilities, the intensified imperialist squeezing of Africa (giving up in the 1990s any ideas of pacifying it reformist development), the widescale regional slump collapse and bank failures in South America (Mexico super-inflation and credit failure, Argentina’s total bankruptcy); late 1990s currency implosions throughout the South East Asian “tiger” economies as well as over a decade of grinding stagnation and stifling trade throttling forced onto the huge Japanese economy and to some extent onto the major European economies too. Plus Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Agreed it is impossible to say definitely that “this is the big one” in terms of economic slump collapse, or as the WW puts it (with due deference to bourgeois rule):

There is no way to tell yet if the stock exchange dip points to some kind of crash landing for the system or whether it can be managed smoothly.

The EPSR has long debated the difficulties of complete precision in being able to predict the oncoming collapse of the imperialist world economic order or even if it will emerge in the way that the 1929 Stock Exchange Black Monday did and the subsequent Credit Anstalt Bank collapse in Austria which triggered the worldwide 1930s Depression (the term carefully avoided in all bourgeois discussions which use what they imagine to be the less panic-inducing ‘recession’). [See issues 1148, 1249 and many others e.g.]

The capitalist system was complex enough when the Marx was analysing it in the 1860s and has developed multiple layers of interaction since – some new aspects of imperialism tackled by the Bolsheviks in the early 20th century and more emerging since.

The much greater scale penetration of imperialist investment (capital export) and exploitation throughout the world, the emergence of many more middle and small capitalist powers to join the major powers in competing for markets and the emergence of the overall world monopoly dominance of one power, the USA, over all the others, is one element.

The mutation, in the teeth of widespread post-2WW anti-imperialist revolt, of direct colonial rule into the more subtle domination and penetration of neo-colonial dollar capital power backed by bribery and CIA intervention to install and keep in power a variety of gangster and fascist stooge regimes (via over 400 assassinations, coups, fixed elections, interventions, invasions and full scale bloody wars like Vietnam and Korea) is another.

The long rise of the first workers states and their enormous achievements, and the economic interactions they had with capitalism (at times ironing out some of the economic turbulence and creating a temporary sense of “stability” which helped fool Stalinist revisionist ideology into believing capitalism was being “contained” – as still happening with China) was another factor.

But the point of a long view and a wide of history and politics, scientifically assessed, is surely that even without the tools and capacity to predict the economic collapse to the moment, the general pattern and movement of history can be increasingly deeply grasped and explained, in turn helping aid the understanding of all new specific developments from Palestine to Pakistan.

And that pattern is first and foremost ever ripening crisis.

It helps make sense, for example, of some other extraordinary developments at present, the inter-imperialist battling over the Arctic.

The extraordinary pantomime games being played now over the North Pole and its resources, led ironically and tragically by the astonishingly theatrical deep seabed “land grab” by Putin’s inflamed Bonapartist new Russian empire ambitions, is not some weird throwback to the 15th century as the Canadian foreign minister accused, immediately the titanium “rust proof” flag had been planted by submarine two miles down last week, but more like a repeat of the inter-imperialist skirmishing over Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Colonialist seizure and exploitation of the majority world population and resources in one form or another has been a major part of capitalist exploitation from Sir Francis Drake’s piratical plundering of Spanish gold on the high seas four centuries ago to the rush to divide up the remainder of the world in the nineteenth century as capitalism more and more developed into international capital-exporting imperialism.

It spills right over into the twentieth century battling to re-divide the world between the major powers and their growing rivals like Germany and Italy, all jostling for “a place in the sun” or “lebensraum” as the aggressively resurgent German Nazi regime demanded in the 1930s.

Just prior to 1914 there was no more room for the ever-hungry expansion of world capital and its insatiable and inhuman demand for profit.

Only a titanic conflict to “sort out the pecking order” was possible, driven to a frenzy by the saturation of world markets with capital, and the desperate ‘overproduction’ crisis which the capitalist system must always return to because of the inherent contradictions of commodity production – seeking to sell goods (for profit) on an ever expanding scale rather than produce the things that will satisfy human needs and rational desires in a planned and controlled manner.

The Russian stimulated moves are not simply a “rush for oil” as the lefts simplistically explain all these developments, once again missing about 99% of what is going on, but the expression of total conflict for world markets and power.

Certainly the Russian claim builds on its strategy of using oil resources to climb back up the hierarchy of imperialist powers. But that only underlines the shallowness and reactionariness of the Putin regime, relying on capitalist market trading and commodities in the first place to attempt to “restore Russian national pride” so pointlessly humiliated by the tragic 1989 revisionist liquidation of the Soviet workers state – which was the true and only means by which Russia was taking itself, and the rest of mankind, forwards through 70 years of giant achievement by the working class in the USSR.

Continually aping the west’s “market methods” in alliance with the contemptuous and plundering oligarchs (no one “earns” tens of billions in just ten years!) is a temporary strategy built on sand, and with no call on working class loyalty or strength possible.

But Putin is also constantly forced to maintain a balancing act between the carpet bagging oligarchs and the still-not-extinguished legacy of 70 years of Soviet social transformation, responding to pressure from the working class and a rising anti-imperialist sentiment, fired up further recently by more reactionary and hostile moves by US imperialism step up border missile threats once again.

The western powers know well enough that the revolutionary traditions are powerful in Russia and are torn between trying to play on Putin’s ultra-revisionist nationalist illusions (of using “controlled capitalism”), keeping him “onside” and playing sick games of “anti-terrorism”, - and suppressing the dangers of a resurgent Russian power and its still huge resources and weaponry.

It is a growing danger to them, both as a major potential rival as an imperialist power in a world with no space for any more imperialist power, but also because it is built on such historic and economic instability that if pushed too far it could tip over into revolutionary turmoil again.

The Soviet past of the Russian people had plenty of experience, not simply in the great 1917 Leninist revolution but in defending its gains in the huge 1941-45 fight against fascist destruction – and in the defences it built against nuclear encirclement (by the “non-aggressive” imperialists) after 1945.

This story is not finished.

All this richness of development and interconnected crisis, and much beyond, is contained in the latest debt collapse shocks.

And these events, the bourgeois confusion and attempts to explain them away and the underlying fears are all part of the evidence reinforcing and helping develop Marxist understanding which can only be of enormous help to the working class.

Not for the Trots:

One thing is certain though: whichever way it goes, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that it automatically benefits the left.

How can it? It can all end in some sort of smash, with houses starting to be repossessed, interest rates going through the roof and people getting the sack. There is absolutely no reason to suppose that people will necessarily come to the conclusion that capitalism is to blame, nor are they likely to turn to the left.

In fact, under present circumstances, the chances are that people are more likely to vote for candidates of the extreme right. That is the distinct danger we face. In such a crisis situation the Tories would undoubtedly abandon Cameron’s ‘centre ground’ in favour of rightwing populism.

The left, on the other hand, is most certainly not well placed to take advantage of such a crisis. There is mostly a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Alex Callinicos, for example, ended his commentary on the world economy and the likely outcome merely with these words: “But the important question is whether the sudden seizing up of the speculation machine will spread to the real economy and push it into recession. We may soon know the answer” (Socialist Worker August 4).

The fake-“left” is “not well placed to take advantage” because the fake-“left” has spent years misinforming and misleading the working class and doing everything to keep them away from the understanding that can make sense of these developments.

It is “well placed” only to have the giant fraud of its own politics exposed by the raw realities of the crisis for what they are – part of the spectrum of bourgeois confusion and lies which prevent the working class getting to the revolutionary truth.

The sly trick of pointing the finger at the SWP does not take the reactionary CPGB poseurs of the hook either, however valid the criticism of yet another fraudulent gang of opportunists, since their own anti-Soviet anti-working class attitudes run just as deeply.

They “wait and see” because their shallow “theories” have been caught utterly unprepared.

The exposure of their confusion can only help the working class.

The noise of this phoney “Marxism” has cluttered up and obscured philosophical debate in the working class for decades. Either it repels the working class from serious polemics with its pompous middle class intellectualism and guru worshipping (around anti-workers state perspectives), or the few who remain interested are absorbed into the mechanical regimented nonsenses that pass for “party building”, bullied into supposed “party duties” or routinism and with their minds fed poisonous anti-communism by the Trots or dull feeble retreat from revolutionary spirit by the museum Stalinist revisionists.

Not a word is written or discussed to try and understand both the enormous triumphs of the working class throughout the 20th century and its failures and setbacks; both in taking power and building for the first time not just viable states which prove that no “private ownership” nor “private owners” are needed to move forwards, but which demonstrate far greater innovation, inventiveness, social cohesion and cultural richness than anything mankind has ever managed before –– and the mistakes leading to the disastrous liquidation of these huge decades long achievements because of the slow insidious retreat of their leaderships from the constant fight to grasp and develop the revolutionary philosophical core of all understanding, leading eventually to the total misreading of the world and the decision that their steady progress was “not good enough” and the crucial dictatorship of the proletariat should be abandoned for the ”free market” (which does not exist anyway).

No wonder they flounder in such despair.

Real Marxism has always understood as a basic that it is the difficulties and disasters of the imperialist crisis which would finally make it possible for the working class to take on the revolutionary challenge of overturning the system – as Lenin famously is often quoted, when it is no longer possible to live in the old way and when the ruling class is no longer able to rule.

The missing third ingredient, Lenin declares vital, is that the working class should also have a revolutionary understanding and leadership.

The time has never been more ripe for the battle to build understanding.

But the “lefts” are hampered by completely missing the real struggle going on in the world, not seeing or wanting to see the enormous significance of the “insurgency” and resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan, Palestine etc,etc..

Just the opposite. From their ivory towers they mostly write it off and find ever more convoluted reasons to justify their hostility, and lining up with imperialism’s Goebbels campaigns.

But for all its confusions and backwardness, and the assorted oddball leadership currently carrying the struggle, there is a massive rising tide of anti-imperialism in the world which has almost paralysed the Western aggressive warmongering for the time being.

Capitalism’s growing crisis, has already been giving new momentum to the anti-imperialist and class resistance that its system has steadily created as it trained and educated the masses for production (developing its own gravediggers as Marx said) throughout the Third World and at home.

The shock and war blitzing strategy to keep American imperialism as top dog by intimidating the rest of the planet away from challenging its dominance, – despite its now total bankruptcy - so that it can bully its way through the oncoming slump disasters and war, has simply multiplied the resistance exponentially, recruiting tens of thousands into the insurgency by its barbarity, callousness and arrogance.

This enormous upsurge now leaving the American (and allied imperialist) occupations shattered in Iraq and increasingly Afghanistan as well, is an historic defeat of major proportions and with an impact still to be grasped.

But it is certain the movement created will impose new demands on the leaderships of these struggle to improve and clarify their understandings. The cultural forms of Islamism (in various shades) which the masses are using temporarily to carry their leadership needs cannot be sufficient ultimately to tackle the needs for total overturn of the imperialist system – and may hamper the struggle at various stages.

It is not clear yet how far the various resistance movements – and much heroic self-sacrificing dogged struggle – can go before the pressures of crisis will inevitably force to the surface the debate for a much deeper revolutionary scientific grasp.

They have already developed as some bourgeois accounts are reporting and signs are that earlier sectarianisms which have given imperialism scope to play vicious divide and rule games are beginning to be overcome.

Enormous blows continue to be struck against imperialism.

A few fake-”lefts” to their credit manage to stay on the right side in this enormous world wide class division shaping up and point correctly to the shattering defeats staring imperialism in the face in Iraq at least. But the museum-Stalinist Proletarian (the new front for the Lalkarites which tries to avoid answering any questions over its long-running support for Scargill’s class collaborating SLP long after its anti-communist nature had been made clear) promptly goes the posturing whole hog of shouting “Victory for the Iraqi resistance” after declaring that “the proletariat of the imperialist countries must side with the victims of imperialism and give unstinting political support to the brave struggle of the Iraqi resistance to free its people from the predatory invaders occupying the country.”

But this is a million miles from any Marxist understanding of such struggle. The Marxist dictum of “march separately, strike together” continues to apply.

The heat of struggle is not the moment to criticise the desperately heroic movements engaged against imperialism.

But in the broadest terms the Marxist-Leninist struggle is first of all to be explaining to every struggle that it is scientific socialist leadership that is required and which alone will be able to fully solve the problems confronting mankind – and almost certainly to provide the inspiration and clarity needed for most of the struggles now erupting.

Of course the greater the defeats and difficulties imposed on imperialism – which is the ultimate source and cause of all the turmoil, brutality and conflict in the modern world - the greater the benefit to the entire world working class and the prospects for more rapidly developing revolutionary struggle everywhere.

But there is no point either in sowing illusions for the world working class.

The EPSR has argued many times that a call for defeat for imperialism (and recognition of defeat when it is happening) is a vastly different question from supporting each and every leadership which has emerged.

Just the opposite. It is a crucial issue for the working class worldwide that the need for Marxism is continuously explained and the water not muddied by “unstinting” support, if unstinting means not mentioning Marxist differences.

The religious and other nationalist leaderships may well be forced to develop their understanding of the struggles they are in as the pressures of the developing imperialist crisis increase, and the impact of their own movements in pushing back imperialist influence will be one of the factors which makes such development more possible.

There are even odd hints that the world wide nature of anti-imperialist revolutionary development and the inspiration that the Middle East struggle is having on that, is understood by the Iraqi resistance.

But there is no sign yet that any of the movements are analysing the world in terms of imperialist crisis and the need to replace capitalism and that this struggle is part of a much greater degeneration into total world war.

Neither does the Proletarian. True in a long detailed article on Iraq (from its June-July issue) it briefly mentions in passing that a “crisis driven quest for domination” by imperialism will prevent it from withdrawing from Iraq.

But this single mention of the imperialist crisis in a long lead article simply underlines by its cursory reference in passing, that the Stalinist revisionist perspective is no closer to explaining the revolutionary historic depth of the disaster facing the 800 year old capitalist ruling class than the sour Trots are.

For a start Iraq is not a “quest for domination” but a desperate effort by the already dominant US imperialism to maintain its world control, and not simply over the Middle East but in the entire inter-imperialist order.

Equally therefore it is not a question of oil production in Iraq being the “main reason for this predatory war”. As already mentioned above struggle over oil is one tactical element in a much greater struggle for imperialist influence and dominance which will continue and intensify even if the oil market goes into glut as it might in a period of total trade collapse.

The Proletarian even quotes figures to highlight the desperate costs of the war to US imperialism in financial terms, so far of $547bn a year (and rising to over $600bn next year).

Then it says that “Anglo-American imperialism wants to steal £200bn worth of oil profits from Iraqi over the next 25 years.”

In what way does in make sense to spend at least $2,000bn in order to make jsut $200bn?

Only if this is not about oil as such but the desperate fight to survive as a ruling order and maintain imperialist dominance over all rivals despite the onset of the greatest crash crisis in all history.

But none of the fake-”left” have the remotest grasp of such a development.

The Proletarian keeps its categorised and separated understanding on Iraq in a box entirely separate from Iran right next door for example, one of the likely next victims for the imperialism warmongering (if its lying Goebbels stunts against Sudan, or Somalia, or Venezuela or Cuba some other victim painted as “the axis of evil” should not prove more suitable).

But these things are entirely connected.

Understanding the full context is what Marxist science is about.

It will be the understanding that the masses will eventually generate as the only way to go forwards. Build Leninism

Don Hoskins


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From the EPSR archive

The automatic assumption that “more and more oil will always be needed”, etc, dangerously walls brains off from grasping that imperialism will carry on warmongering still more ferociously than ever EVEN WHEN WORLD OIL SUPPLIES ARE IN TOTAL GLUT AND PLAYING A HUGE PART IN THE GLOBAL “OVERPRODUCTION” CATASTROPHE that will eventually bring the imperialist system to totally mutually devastating war and revolutionary ruin.

The economics and politics of world slump, trade war, dumping, currency wars, and mutually-destructive unemployment exporting, followed by all-out inter-imperialist war, are not ideally prepared-for by just seeing Western imperialism’s monopoly-capitalist industrial and banking giants as only ever engaged in DEVELOPMENT intrigues for oil (or anything else).

This misses the point entirely of Marx’s whole revolutionary understanding.

Securing oil resources is the name of PART of the game just now.

But the whole game involves much, much more, and requires a vast leap in understanding, — imperialism as ultimately a TOTALLY WARMONGERING system, in which the most powerful monopoly-capitalist state must eventually be forced to CRUSH all rivals and all opposition by the very NATURE of monopoly-power relationships in this very specific world domineering era of unprecedented wealth, privileges and glory to the mightiest empire.

From EPSR issue number 1226

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

British Army ends campaign in Ireland

At midnight on Tuesday, 31 July all British military personnel in the Six Counties were recalled to their barracks, bringing to an end the longest continuous campaign in British Army history.

Codenamed by the British army, Operation Banner, the campaign began with the deployment of three British army infantry battalions to the North of Ireland in 1969. But within two years, the inability of the British military to subdue the popular uprising emerging out of the Civil Rights Movement and spearheaded by the IRA, eventually lead to the deployment of around 30,000 British soldiers at over a 100 different locations.

Over 300,000 British soldiers have served in the North in the intervening years and were directly responsible for killing hundreds of people across the Six Counties. The British military were also responsible for the deaths of at least 1,000 more people North and South through their direction of and collusion with unionist paramilitaries.

From Wednesday the number of troops in the North were being reduced to a “peacetime” garrison of around 5,000.

Earlier this month an internal report examining the British army’s role in the Six Counties over a period of almost four decades concluded it did not and could not defeat the ira. The British army also admitted to military and publicity blunders during its campaign and that not enough of an effort was made to reach a political resolution of the conflict. The admission was further evidence of the validity of the long-standing republican argument that the British could not defeat republican demands by militarily means and that British policy in Ireland was wrong headed.

Commenting this week on the ending of the British army’s campaign, Sinn Féin North Belfast mla Gerry Kelly said that when the British Army arrived on the streets of the North in 1969 that it quickly became clear that it would be an oppressive force and was going to be used against one section of the community to maintain British rule.

“While the so-called Operation Banner had been in response to the loyalist pogroms against the nationalist community, that had been supported the B-Specials and ruc, the brutalisation of nationalists across the North caused huge suffering” Kelly said..

“The British Army was part of a military response to a situation that was political. It was a response that included torture, shoot-to-kill and collusion with loyalist death squads. The military response failed.”

Speaking to the media Kelly, himself a former ira prisoner, said the latest development was hugely significant.

During the early ‘70s, when he was on the run, Kelly said, details of nearly every working-class Catholic’s home was held on computers, with people being stopped by soldiers and asked to describe the colour of the wallpaper in the house they were staying.

“They had it on file. They used to walk into houses at night and count everyone there - from babies up - to keep check,” Kelly said.

“When you talk about Orwell’s book 1984, this was real Big Brother stuff big time,” he said.

‘The harassment was so in your face. These are emotive words but it was oppressive in a very personal way. That’s the type of thing that was put under the banner of counter-intelligence,” the Six County Junior Minister said. But, he claimed, this was simply a repetition of the tactics used by the British army in every part of the world where they went as a colonial occupier.

“The tactics used by the British Army here are the same as the ones being deployed in Iraq today and the consequences can be seen by everyone.

“It was only when republicans forced the British government to admit that the conflict would only be resolved through political negotiations that progress was achieved.”

This year’s annual August national march in Belfast has as its theme ‘March for Truth’. The objective of the march is to draw attention to the major issue of collusion and British state violence, and the administrative and institutional cover-up by the British government and its state agencies, of a policy which resulted in many thousands of victims who were killed, injured or bereaved.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP is urging people to come out in their thousands in support of the many families who are campaigning for Truth.

He is also asking everyone to wear on the day of the march and rally a black ribbon in solidarity with their families.

Speaking ahead of the 31 July end to the British Army’s so-called ‘Operation Banner’ Gerry Adams said:

“During over three decades of conflict successive British governments employed shoot-to-kill operations; rubber and plastic bullets; counter-gangs directly run by mi5 and others, as well as the various unionist paramilitary organisations to wage a war of terror against the nationalist and republican people.

“Thousands were injured, over a thousand people killed and many families were forced to flee their homes.

“Collusion and the use of counter-gangs were an integral part of British policy.

“The decision to pursue this approach was taken at the highest levels of the British state and in some instances the orders to kill came directly from Downing Street and were subsequently publicly defended by British Ministers.

“In recent time a series of reports by the Ombudsman’s office and by international jurists into scores of killings have exposed the extent to which British intelligence, mi5, the udr and the ruc Special Branch managed the death squads, provided information, weapons and training in the use of those weapons.

“I am appealing for people to demonstrate their support and solidarity with all of the victims and their families by attending the march on 12 August and by wearing a black ribbon on the day.”


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Internment and the hooded Men

‘Inhumane and degrading treatment’ — otherwise known as torture

The formal ending of the British Army’s ‘Operation Banner’ comes as we approach the 36th anniversary of the introduction of internment without trial in the Six Counties in August 1971 when British soldiers, acting on the instigation of then Six County premier Brian Faulkner dragged hundreds of people to prison camps, where many were tortured.

Last week former internee Margaret Shannon spoke to An Phoblacht about her experience of internment. This week her cousin Liam Shannon from Belfast talks to Ella O’Dwyer about the treatment meted out to 13 of the internees who subsequently became known as ‘the hooded men’.

You and other members of your family were heavily affected by the introduction of internment without trial in 1971?

Yes, my father Billy, my uncle Geordie and my cousins Margaret and Liam Shannon were all interned. On the night of 9 October 1971 I was returning home from an evening out with my wife when I was stopped by a patrol. I was on the run at the time and was carrying a false ID which I hoped would get me through. It didn’t and I was arrested and as the soldier arresting me was opening the back door of the Saracen I pushed him in and bolted. I ran up a side street. The soldiers following me fired two shots but I wasn’t hit. I saw an open door along the street and ran in but the soldiers caught up and trailed me off in the Saracen to Springfield Road barracks.

That’s where the interrogation began?

Yes. There, I was confronted by a notorious branch man called Harry Taylor who said they were going to inject me with a truth drug. They came out with a tray on which there was a syringe, needles and some substance in a container. He went so far as to fill the syringe and put it to my arm and then stopped saying he’d leave that for later. By mistake they took me to Girdwood Barracks which is behind Crumlin Road jail in the back of a ‘pig’ and lay me face down spread-eagled with their feet on me. They drove through Springfield Road near the Shankill Road and at one stage a bunch of uda men were on the street and one of the men in the Saracen said “why don’t we give him to the uda”. They stopped the pig and opened the back doors and shouted out:

“We’ve an ira bastard here do you want him?”

I could hear the growls outside the pig. But they didn’t throw me out and on we went to Girdwood. They frog-marched me into the building and stood me against the wall. Then they realised that I was meant to be taken to Palace Barracks so off we were again.

So what happened in Palace Barracks?

I spent the next 48 hours there being battered and interrogated. I remember during interrogation being put facing a checkered board with holes in it, which disorientated you to the point where you’d start seeing faces in it after a while.

Then this fella came in and started clicking a gun behind me. It was a revolver and I could see him breaking it open and putting a bullet in it. He pulled the trigger and it went off, the bullet went into the wall about a foot from my head.

I’ll never forget seeing one young lad of about 16 from Ballymurphy being swung off the floor and around in circles by the hair of his head. After 48 hours I was brought to the Crum (Crumlin Road Jail) where I was taken to a Governor who read out a letter signed by Brian Faulkner to the effect that I could be taken to any place at any time in the interest of security. This was under the Special Powers Act. A hood was immediately put over my head and I was taken out to the prison football pitch of the Crum where I could hear a helicopter.

What happened then?

I was put on the helicopter which then lifted off the ground. I’d no way of knowing how far off the ground the chopper lifted as I could see nothing. Then one of the soldiers said:

“Here let’s throw the bastard out all together”.

One of them pushed me in the chest out of the helicopter. I landed with a thump - about three feet of a drop. It was a form of psychological torture.

Then I was put back on the chopper and we flew for a while. They were pretending we were flying over water to ‘the mainland’ as they called it. I knew the flight was too short for that distance. I didn’t know where I was going but it’s believed I was taken to Palace Barracks. I was taken to a building - I don’t know where it was.

When the hood was taken off I was in a white room with a white-coated guy facing me. I was told to strip and was given a rough medical examination. Then two athletic looking men came in and told me to put on this great, big, boiler suit. They put the hood back on my head and knotted it into the epaulettes of the boiler suit. There was no way I could get it off and it stayed on my head for the following seven days.

So the worst wasn’t over by any means?

The hood was on my head for the next week except when I was allowed to eat. Then I’d be sat on the floor to take the slice of bread and plastic cup of water, which was hard to drink as they kept my head pushed forward so that I wouldn’t see their faces.

The rest of the time I was put on the wall, meaning I’d be made to stand spread-eagled against the wall. It was all very disorientating and some of that week I don’t remember. But I must have slept at some point or other in the week, maybe I fell down or something. The ‘white noise’ was bad. There would be very loud noise which would then lower and rise again. They used sensory depravation which came in different forms, such as the darkness inside the hood, difficulty in breathing and the lack of contact - nobody spoke to me for the week except during interrogation.

I also had hallucinations, which on my release my own doctor later put down to lsd in the drinking water. There was also a room where you were sat in front of two glaringly bright lights which was again designed to cause disorientation. This system of interrogation was know as ‘in depth interrogation’ and was devised by British intelligence expert Brigadier Frank Kitson and was used by the Brits in Burma.

And after the seven days?

I was taken off the wall and the hood removed. I found myself again in a room with a hand basin, soap and a razor to shave myself. When I looked in the mirror I frightened myself. My eyes were sunk in my head - they were like two piss holes in the snow. I had a full beard and it was matted with saliva from the hood.

The case of the hooded men was later taken to the Court of Human Rights?

Yes. The Brits were found guilty of ‘Inhumane and degrading treatment’ but not torture. What we went through was torture. What is degrading and inhuman treatment but torture? But I’m a republican and my beliefs got me through it.

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