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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 1324 5th December 2007

Brownite sleaze and floundering is another sign of the onrushing capitalist crisis, reflecting catastrophic economic disintegration and hammering defeats for early imperialist warmongering. But the ever mounting debt and inflation disaster of the dollar dominated world will not let up – pushing inter-imperialist conflict ever closer to all out trade war slump disaster and World War Three. Revolutionary upheaval already begun via assorted ideologies must return to consciously fought for Leninist rationality eventually to end imperialism

The wriggling and twisting of the “new broom” Brownites in the thick slime of sleaze, incompetence and desperate spin lies into which the imperialist crisis, and rolling Middle East defeat disaster have driven them, is yet another lesson for workers in the giant fraud of parliamentary politics and “democracy” – and of the catastrophic disintegration now facing this centuries old capitalist order.

The assorted New Labourites, blaming various fundraiser scapegoats, each other, or “the party leaders” for the tangle of revelations about funding bribes, cover-ups and lies, Treasury desperation, and sheer stupidities like the lost tax CDs, are showing less principle as they stab each other in the back than an episode of the Sopranos – or an entire series more like.

A bucketful of squirming maggots would have more charm than these mountebanks.

The stench of hypocrisy and play-acting of innocence is equalled only by the strutting pretence of moral righteousness from the “opposition” parties.

The Tories of course were driven out of office because of the equally disastrous collapses (pound devaluation in Europe etc) that developing economic and trade war conflicts are steadily imposing on the profit system, and for a stream of their own sordid revelations about behind-the-scenes “brown envelopes”, lobbying agencies and international bribery, and are currently as much beholden to big time contributors as any of the parties. The Liberals are equally tainted with cover-up and scandal.

But the trickery and deception goes much deeper.

This is no one-off incident. The entire parliamentary system has always been a dishonest racket from the beginnings of the bourgeois epoch in the 17th century with Rotten Boroughs, pocket constituencies and non-stop scandal routinely surfacing. It has continued so ever since with gerrymandered fixing of the results and big money swamping of the elections to manipulate and swing the results in dozens of ways.

Then just to make sure it all goes in the interests of the ruling class, the parties are permanently up to their necks in dirty dealings, back-scratching, influence peddling, insider knowledge, pocket-lining, freemasonry and string pulling, sometimes declared “illegal” when the sheer racketeering stench of its all gets too public, but mostly allowed within token and cosmetic “rules and regulations” and a formalised strutting charade about “integrity” and “honourable” members.

That is the totality of bourgeois parliament, laughably presented as “democracy” and the only reality there has ever been to capitalist rule.

It is a dictatorship in other words, of the monied class, which decides everything, and always in its own profiteering interest at the expense of the working class and the rampantly exploited Third World masses, backed up by the force of police, prisons and the expensive “law” to keep any protesters or dissidents in line.

The whole parliamentary circus is there only to cover-up, or support, the real decisions which are taken in the City, in the boardrooms of the international arms dealers and monopoly corporations, by the ruling-class appointed civil servants, in the posh clubs, by the military top brass, by the senior police, at the secretive Privy Council, by the sinister and unaccountable MI5 and MI6 secret-police intelligence circles, and in the divers other informal channels through which the ruling class actually operates and controls all of society.

The only reforms ever conceded to the workers have come in the teeth of incipient rebellion and revolutionary stirrings like the Gordon Riots, naval mutiny, the Chartist Movement, the First World War trench mutinies, the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and its effects, the tide of international communist sympathy post-1945, anti-colonialism, the titanic anti-British Irish republican armed struggle, and left trade union rebellions like the dockers and the miners in the 1970s; always throwing out just enough “reform” sops through parliament to quieten things down, selling the lie that gains were made through “proper channels” via “Labour representatives” and “voting”.

When “hard times” recur these gains are all stripped away again, as must inevitably, repeatedly happen for as long as capitalism lasts.

The greatest duplicity of all has come from the “left” opportunists like sputtering “firebrand” Denis Skinner, slick poseur Ken Livingstone and “black power” self-seeker MP Diane Abbott.

It is the job of these lying poseurs to prop the entire system up from the “left” with promises that things will get better as they “fight for the interests of ordinary people”, convincing them yet again that the giant lie of parliamentary politics is somehow going to deliver better services and working conditions.

They are backed up by the further layers of “left” parties and 57 varieties of posturing pretend revolutionaries of assorted shades from the sourest Trotskyists to the soft-headed revisionist Stalinists, all trying to “win over” or cooperate with, these arch-careerists, or recruit them to various peace campaigns, and giving them supposed “tactical support” in return for “left policies”. But all they achieve in fact is to give them more credibility, and the parliamentary racket with it.

They all should be denounced as the liars and twisters they are.

Only revolutionary transformation of society – overturning the entire foul warmongering degeneracy of the profit system – can change anything and stop the plunge into Third World War.

They are still at it even now as the system hits a brick wall – with Abbott on TV this week for example desperately trying to lay the blame for the whole festering mess on the previous Blair regime and still suggesting “changes and tightening of the rules” could somehow put everything back on the track of some mythical “proper” way of doing things.

But Abbott was been part of the entire New Labour racket from the very beginning, without ever saying a word to the working class about the non-stop influence peddling and backdoor wheeler-dealing which is the lying reality of bourgeois politics all the time.

She, and the other Labour “lefts” (and most of the fake-”left” “revolutionaries”) were at the heart of the campaigning to elect and re-elect the twisted warmongering Blair government and playing a key role at that, in giving it “left credibility” so that this last ditch cover for bourgeois “democracy” could be given a few more years of life, keeping the working class well away from any thought of revolutionary politics and corralled in ineffectual protest.

But this sick 200 year old joke on the working class will not last much longer.

Capitalism is ripening fast into the deepest and most destructive slump catastrophe of all time – tearing apart the confidence and capacity of the ruling class to continue with its centuries long domination.

The chaos, duplicity and “bad luck” for the Brownites reflects precisely that almost certainly terminal collapse of capitalist society.

Things were already bad enough for the ruling class with the failure of confrontational Thatcherite “hardness” to re-impose “discipline” on the working class and its collapse into a sea of sleaze and bribery in the mid-1990s.

The failure of the Blairites in yet more cash for honours corruption, Saudi arms bribery and warmongering lie defeats has been even worse.

The entire trick was based on the notion of bringing in a “clean” new style government – a supposedly “safe” variant of Old Labourism without any dangerous talk of nationalisation and public ownership (which was considered too dangerous in deepening crisis conditions, despite “Old Labour” having never seriously challenged the system, and in fact acting for it as much as New Labour ever has, from the proactively imperialist and anti-communist policing policies of the Attlee government – so beloved by the Labour “lefts” like Benn etc – through to the anti-union, anti-working class crackdowns of Wilson and Callaghan).

The New Labour frontmen for imperialism have spun their way through the fascistisation of society as the onrush of pending slump and debt disaster has pushed the entire monopoly capitalist order into increasingly dictatorial destruction of basic rights, escalating police state surveillance and concentration camp detention, and worldwide warmongering.

But not a word of real opposition is heard from the “lefts” who have continued campaigning through each increasingly threadbare election to “put back in” a New Labour Government –, while continuing to con the working class that it just needs a “little bit more left organising and effort” to re-establish the old traditions of “fairness and socialism”, a stinking lie on two fronts since, first and most importantly, there is no going back in the headlong rush now into total capitalist collapse, and, secondly, there never was any chance of the lying reformist fraud ever changing much, or for very long, in even the best of times (when the tide of world revolution was running strongly against imperialism post World War Two and imperialism it had to make tactical retreats to hold onto power).

Now that the Blair lies, sleaze and duplicity have also been exposed by the growing worldwide defeats for imperialism and that government has been brought down by the general rising worldwide hostility throughout the Middle East, into Africa and South America – forced to resign en masse as the Blairite lies became completely intolerable in the face of endless setbacks in Afghanistan and Iraq – these lefts are supporting the deliberate confidence trick that there is yet another “fresh new” government, via the extraordinary game of putting in the unelected Brownites as if they were something different, and slyly not mentioning that they are exactly the same tawdry gang, with more of a hasty paint job than a re-branding to cover over the old Blairite markings.

What a cynical lying joke the whole stinking circus is.

But there are much bigger lies than just continuing the old reformism racket.

The dirtiest trick they all play on the working class is the giant lie that this capitalist system now has any kind of a future at all.

They all know exactly how serious is the spiralling subprime debt disaster – which is very serious indeed.

But they mention not a word, playing along with the criminal lies that the economy is “basically sound” and the Labourite “achievements” will continue. Abbott even has a twee little diversion on her web site about Gordon Brown’s “green potential”.

As if it mattered in the teeth of the greatest slump disaster, primed (or rather subprimed) to make the Great Depression of the 1930s look like a tea-party.

But to spell that out would mean spelling out the equally glaring fact that only ending capitalism will now suffice to change anything or head off total disaster – in other words the urgent need for revolutionary struggle sweeping away all the old shit, including comfortable parliamentary sinecures for posturing lefts.

It is out of time, historically outmoded and capable only of hampering and destroying all further human progress.

The EPSR alone on the left has continued to insist that the driving force of world history is the developing crisis of “overproduction” in the capitalist system, exactly as Marx analysed in his monumental book Capital and as understood by genuine Marxists ever since (see economic quotes epsr box) and which is leading inexorably to desperate slump suffering, bitter trade war beggar-my-neighbour inter-imperialist conflict and ultimately all-out World War.

In the teeth of complacent and smug middle class mockery from the fake-“lefts” about “old fashioned, outmoded” Marxist-Leninist “catastrophism” (being repeated yet again even now for example by the loopy cryto-Trots of the Weekly Worker CPGB (who spout continuously the same bilious and sour anti-workers state, anti-working class analysis as the Trots while pretending not to be Trots)) the EPSR has repeatedly and consistently warned the working class that the entire capitalist order is plunging downhill into the greatest unemployment, economic dislocation, soup-kitchen depression disaster and warmongering chaos ever seen, potentially on a scale to far outdo the three previous great explosions of the imperialist period, from the devastating Franco-Prussian war in 1870, the hundred times worse destruction of the 1914-18 Great War and the magnitudes greater still scope and scale of the appalling 1939-45 international destruction.

Each world shattering upheaval, destroying first entire cities, and tens of thousands of lives, then whole regions and millions of lives and finally wiping out entire countries and over 100 million lives, with untold depravity, torture, brutality, violence and uncountable horrors, has been capitalism’s “solution” to its routinely recurring “over-production” when the insane logic of capitalist production in order to make a profit rather than to service the real needs of humanity and society (as planned socialist production would organise it) has swamped the world in goods and capital “surpluses” unable to be sold with a profit or even for cost, and clogging up the world markets.

(Surpluses that is, only in the topsy-turvy sense of capitalist economics, since billions of the world’s masses would be grateful for all the “surplus” goods and capital resources, and more besides, if they could afford them.)

Alone the EPSR has tied the last three decades of unfolding of regional currency collapses, trade turmoil and economic meltdowns in Asia, Africa and South America, – including the wiping out for periods of entire economies like Indonesia, Argentina and even effectively paralysing for over a decade, the mighty powerhouse imperialist economy of Japan – to a worldwide pattern of unravelling world economic and political disaster, and to the whole spectrum of events and upheavals and war.

Complete collapse already has been staved off only by the ever-more inflated paper dollar which has been printed non-stop in ever increasing amounts to keep the system going and help it over the routinely recurring crisis points that make up the overarching crisis-induced non-stop instability of the monopoly capitalist system (as explained in Marx’s Capital Volume Two) for the last six decades and especially since it was taken off the gold standard by Richard Nixon in the late Vietnam war period.

The tragic 1989 surrender of the USSR’s workers state dictatorship to “market forces”, disorientated by the Stalinist retreats from revolutionary grasp which finally decayed into the soft-brained capitulatory idiocies of Gorbachevism, bought space for hard-pressed dominant US imperialism in the early 1990s and helped it force its crisis outwards onto the Far East and Europe to buy time.

Further economic time has been bought ironically by the astonishing rise of the Chinese workers state growth which has soaked up hundreds of billions of otherwise world polluting dollars.

The unprecedented transformation of the giant China from stultifying rural poverty to powerful industrial and scientific world power in just 30 years (when it took the capitalist nations 300 years) has temporarily created new world demand, spinning out the capitalist trading system a few years more.

But even the planned state structural control within which the revisionist Beijing leadership has enabled capitalist economic development to accelerate, cannot absorb for ever the growing mountain of increasingly worthless dollars (allowed to slide in value by US trade war aggression for seven years now) which is why the imperialist order has already turned to overt warmongering to “get in first” before its slump collapse breaks in full, re-educating the entire world in the unstoppably doomed nature of capitalist production and the falsity of its promises of growing “prosperity”, “freedom” and “democracy”.

How long this greatest ever slump collapse takes to break completely is still uncertain in the short term because the vast complexities of the internationally globalised dollar monopoly capitalist system.

But the tangled implosion of the Brownite version of New Labourism is a telling sign of its speed-up; the fact that such a fuss is being made of the old routine parliamentary dishonesty and cynicism is a sign of crisis itself, as the hollowness at the core of the system starts to collapse inwards, making everything the Labourites touch turn to dust.

Blairism was already a desperately thin cover for old parliamentary game anyway, a last ditch burst of glitz and celebrity spin hucksterism to paper over the almost total disillusionment of the working class in reform and parliament after repeated Labourite betrayals and Thatcherite “discipline” failures, while world capitalist crisis relentlessly rolled forwards.

It only survived so long because of the further extension of the world economy through the US imperialist plan to “shock and awe” the planet with renewed warmongering, forcing all its rivals to swallow yet more mountains of worthless dollars on pain of a blitzing “like Iraq got” if they should presume to challenge this overt bullying and ask for the real value of the goods and services that the huge US economy continues to suck in from them at an accelerating pace.

Oceans of additional debt, both public and private, which have been created for the last decade, were the only basis for the showy fraud of Blairite government consumer “boom” and “spending increases” and endless tinkering revamps of public services and education etc – most of which went on lining the pockets of the health drug manufacturers , “consultants” and “private public partnership” companies anyway.

Blair was forced out just as it started to implode – and the Brownites are being caught in the vortex.

The signs are growing that this time there is no stopping the downward economic spiral as the capitalist press is becoming dimly aware: is becoming clearer by the day that the UK is coming off the boil.

It is all very well Mervyn King saying, as he did yesterday, that the short-term outlook is “highly uncertain”, but it is a lot less uncertain than it was when the MPC voted 7-2 earlier this month to keep interest rates at 5.75% The credit crunch is proving prolonged and painful; the Nationwide building society reported yesterday the biggest one-month fall in house prices in 12 years, and demand for home loans has dried up.

Retailers may be telling the CBI that they intend to raise prices over the coming weeks, but all the evidence is that they will have trouble making tariff increases stick. To gauge the real state of consumer spending, all the members of the MPC have to do is take a stroll round a shopping centre this weekend. There, they will find a host of retailers cutting prices in an attempt to drum up business.

If the run-up to Christmas looks challenging for retailers, early 2008 is going to be dreadful. It is possible, just about, that deep discounting between now and early January will keep spending ticking over, but a subsequent period of belt-tightening is inevitable when the bills for the festive excess come rolling in. Why? Real incomes are flat; discretionary spending will be limited by petrol at more than £1 a litre; borrowing is becoming both more difficult and more expensive; equity withdrawal will be a lot less attractive when house prices are falling.

US house prices have suffered their worst plunge for two decades as defaults on sub-prime mortgages have shattered homebuyers’ confidence and battered lenders have withdrawn cheap loan deals.

According to the key Standard & Poor’s housing index, released yesterday, third-quarter US prices were down 4.5% on 2006 and were 1.7% lower than the second quarter of this year - the sharpest drop in the study’s 21-year history.

The figures, released on the same day as research revealing a collapse in consumer confidence, showed that a once patchy economic downturn has become a nationwide phenomenon. The investment bank Goldman Sachs warned yesterday that the chances of a recession had risen to between 40% and 45%.

S&P found a drop in house prices in all 20 of the cities in its study between August and September, with Miami, Detroit and San Diego faring worst.

David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee, described the outlook as “pretty much resoundingly negative”.

“If you look at a chart of housing statistics and recessions, they coincide,” he said. “Based on housing, the odds of a recession are over 50%.”

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have found themselves unable to keep up repayments on controversial subprime mortgages sold at the peak of the housing boom. Many had two-year “teaser” repayment rates which are expiring just as the property decline bites.

The squeeze is increasingly damaging the mood on US high streets. The New York-based Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence this month fell to its lowest level since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The board said its confidence scale has dropped from 95.2 to 87.3 since October.

America’s traditional manufacturing heartland is feeling the economic pinch particularly badly, hit by home repossessions coupled with the long-term decline of the automotive industry. In Cleveland, Ohio, this week, more than 6,000 people applied for 300 jobs at a new branch of the retailer Wal-Mart.

Amy Hanauer, director of Policy Matters Ohio, told Cleveland’s Plain Dealer newspaper that the queue was “deeply troubling”, adding: “That’s Depression-era kind of imagery.”

The downturn could result in 524,000 fewer jobs being created next year, according to the US Conference of Mayors. It put the cost of the housing downturn at $10bn in New York, $8.3bn in Los Angeles and $4bn in Dallas and Washington.

“The ... crisis has the potential to break the back of our economy, as well as the backs of millions of American families, if we don’t do something soon,” said Douglas Palmer, mayor of Trenton, New Jersey.

In spite of the gloom, Wall Street enjoyed a bounce yesterday, sparked, in part, by the Abu Dhabi government’s decision to pump $7.5bn into the struggling investment bank Citigroup. By midday in New York the Dow Jones average was up 173 points to 12,917.

What Wall Street should have been focusing on yesterday - and may do today, of course - was the crisis in US real estate. Call me old fashioned, but the idea that a 15% fall in house prices will be good for consumer spending, economic growth, corporate profits or the balance sheets of the financial sector seems a bit far-fetched.

One of the City’s more experienced hands, Avinash Persaud, uses what he calls a Risk Appetite Index to gauge the mood of financial markets. The index is flashing red, with falling asset prices not bringing out bargain hunters but increasingly risk-averse sellers.

Persaud says that the looming prospect of a liquidity black hole means that markets are now at “riot point”. That view is not shared by the dwindling band of Wall Street bulls who insist that any fall in prices is a buying opportunity but, to lift another word from the psychiatrist’s couch, the bulls are in denial.

This is not a little local difficulty that will quickly blow over.

The crisis surrounding Northern Rock intensified last night when it emerged the amount lent by the taxpayer to the bank had soared to almost £30bn. Opposition MPs called for the government to seriously consider nationalising the beleaguered bank to put a brake on the government’s loan and limit potential losses to the exchequer should it collapse.

A private sector rescue for the bank has also run into trouble as angry shareholders attempted to block an offer from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to buy the company for what they believe would be a knockdown price.

“We are in desperate territory here as the amount of money being loaned to Northern Rock is increasing rather than decreasing,” said Vince Cable, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats.

“With the total now close to £30bn, the taxpayer cannot be expected to continue to dole out just vast sums of money on a weekly basis especially as much of it appears to be unsecured and may end up going down a plughole. The government must seriously look at nationalising the bank and ensuring that taxpayers’ money is secured,” he said.

Taking the bank into public ownership, if only for a short period, would allow the government to regain control of a situation that was spinning out of control, Cable said.

Estimates of Northern Rock’s borrowing follow the publication of Bank of England data showing “other” borrowings from its funds. In the past week loans drawn from the fund have reached £29.8bn, a £2.7bn rise on last week’s figure.

It is understood that Northern Rock accounts for most, but not all of the loans, with the remainder taken up by lending to other central banks. However, it is believed Northern Rock was forced to borrow money after a further exodus of savers in the last fortnight. The bank has already lost around £11bn of savings to rival institutions since it was rescued by the Bank of England in mid September.

...The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, added to the gloom with a forecast that lenders would face a tough time next year with serious knock-on effects for consumers. He told a meeting of the Treasury select committee that financial markets would remain difficult for the next year.

Dropping a hint that the fresh turmoil in the City might force the Bank’s monetary policy committee to cut interest rates, King added: “The Bank will continue to assess how these developments will impact on the outlook for inflation.”

His comments followed figures from Nationwide showing the biggest one-month fall in house prices in 12 years. A slowdown in the UK housing market is now widely expected, though some lenders believe prices will merely stabilise while others are more pessimistic and estimate falls of up to 10%.

Financial markets are braced for another tumultuous week as fresh evidence emerges that the sub-prime crisis is threatening the health of the UK economy.

Ratings agency Moody’s this weekend raised doubts about the value of more than £50bn of the arms-length investment vehicles set up by many of the world’s largest banks, and warned of worse to come.

In a statement issued after the markets closed on Friday night, Moody’s cited ‘deteriorating credit and other market conditions’, to explain its decision to cut, or put under review, the ratings of more than a dozen ‘special investment vehicles,’ (SIVs) adding: ‘It appears that the situation has not yet stabilised and further rating actions could follow.’

With bad news from the US housing market almost daily, there is little sign that the money markets are stabilising. The Bank of England’s nine-member monetary policy committee under governor Mervyn King must decide this week if the sub-prime crisis is already causing enough collateral damage to the UK economy to demand an immediate reduction in interest rates.

...Business groups are demanding a cut to restore battered confidence. ‘World economic gloom is worsening. There are serious fears that the US is facing a major downturn next year, with damaging consequences for the rest of the global economy, including the UK,’ said David Kern, economic adviser to the British Chambers of Commerce.

In the summer, when the sub-prime crisis began, banks hoped they could ride out the storm. But many must refinance structured investment vehicles at the end of the year, and are hoarding cash in case they are unable to raise new funding and are forced to take the bundles of assets back on to their balance sheets.

More signs are emerging too of the vicious trade war inter-imperialist conflict which this crisis is driving ever closer to the surface and which all the blitzing and war buildup is driving towards.

The skirmishing for the Third World War has already started, warmed up with various incidents in the 1990s like attempted blitzing of Somalia, bombing runs on Sudan, Libya and Afghanistan and opening up in full with the monstrous multi-nation NATO bombing of tiny Serbia in 1998, the 2002 “anti-terrorist” blitzing of Afghanistan and the non-stop destruction of benighted Iraq, with Iran or possibly Sudan (or some other suitably demonised victim like Zimbabwe or Burma) being lined up for the next run as soon as imperialism can recover from the local defeats it has run into.

But the ultimate conflicts will be those between the major monopoly capitalist powers who are being forced into ever more desperate life and death struggles to survive as the slump gets ever closer. Capitalism has always been a desperate struggle to wipe out and destroy the major rivals, or go under, which in the age of imperialism has meant the devastation of world war.

The following piece focuses on the rapidly growing competitiveness of the Chinese workers state which continues to power forwards creating ever greater difficulties for the Western major powers. But between the lines is the growing antagonism between the imperialist powers themselves over the giant industries like cars, aerospace and arms supplies:

European leaders worried about the rise of the euro against the Chinese yuan would be better advised to go to the real source of the problem: the United States and the “excessive devaluation” of the dollar.

That was the blunt message from China’s prime minister Wen Jiabao, speaking to EU leaders at the end of a summit in the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square, after being pressed to revalue the Chinese currency.

Despite reports that China would revalue or realign the yuan against the dollar next month, Wen said that there was little he could do about the fact that the Chinese currency had gained 11.9% against the greenback since mid-2005 but fallen against the euro by 8%.

Apart from turmoil in global financial markets, he said, the dollar’s continuing devaluation worldwide was the main reason for the euro’s rise against the yuan.

The rising value of the euro has caused a huge political and economic problem for eurozone leaders. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner, but the exchange rate is contributing to a trade deficit with China that is growing at €15m an hour. It reached €130bn last year and is likely to be €170bn this year, surpassing even the giant deficit of the US.

The rapid growth of China’s economy is bringing cheap goods for European consumers but creating severe problems for manufacturers. Already disadvantaged by higher costs, they are now punished by the high value of the euro, which makes their goods more expensive in China. They are also hampered by barriers to European exports that are said to cost EU firms €20bn a year in lost trade opportunities.

Similar problems are affecting trade with the US after the euro’s rise to an all-time high against the dollar. Last week the chief executive of Airbus, Tom Enders, warned that the exchange rate would put the company out of business because it builds planes in euros but sells them in dollars.

Against that background, the threat of protectionism also hangs over EU-China relations. Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg premier who has headed the so-called eurogroup of ministers that has been in Beijing this week, said there could be “protectionist reactions” in Europe if China did not act.

There was some encouragement for the Europeans. Wen promised that China would further modernise the revised exchange rate mechanism introduced in 2005 in a “gradual, proactive and manageable manner” so it became fully convertible, allowing a greater free flow of capital into the world’s third-largest economy.

...According to EU sources Hu said during the one-day summit that he did not favour a sizeable trade surplus with the EU. “I am ready to work with you to reduce our surplus and ready to import more EU products,” he was said to have remarked, agreeing to set up another joint working group on the issue.


The scale of the crisis gripping the American motor industry was laid bare yesterday as the struggling carmaker General Motors dived $39bn (£18.5bn) into the red in one of the worst losses ever reported by a multinational corporation.

After losing money for three years and with no immediate prospect of returning to the black, GM was forced to write off the value of billions of dollars worth of tax credits, which are worthless unless the company makes a taxable profit.

The loss, which is roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of Bulgaria, spooked Wall Street and sent GM’s shares down 4% during early trading in New York, although the company insisted that it was little more than an accounting adjustment.

GM owns brands including Chevrolet, Cadillac and Vauxhall. Its loss came amid anxiety in American industrial circles about a fresh deterioration in the performance of Detroit’s “big three” motor manufacturers - GM, Ford and Chrysler - which are facing belt-tightening among potential car buyers because of the weak housing market.

GM and its Detroit rivals have been struggling to cope with aggressive Asian competition in a US market where home-grown cars once dominated.

The “special relationship” the British bourgeoisie is so desperate to maintain, as sidekick to the dominant US power, where it hopes to get some shelter from the storm, will be torn up overnight too as the tensions grow. Under the guise of pursuing “principles” the US is already stabbing them in the back over the latest lucrative arms deals:

US corruption investigators have gone behind the back of Downing Street to fly a British witness to Washington to testify about Saudi arms deals with the UK arms firm BAE Systems, the Guardian can disclose. In a hitherto secret move, Swiss federal prosecutors have also agreed to hand over to Washington financial records linked to the Saudi royal family.

The US is seeking - but has so far been refused - more than a million pages of documents seized from BAE, its bankers, Lloyds TSB, and the Ministry of Defence during an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Prince Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to the US, who says there was no impropriety about a £1bn payment he received for brokering arms deals with BAE, has hired a former head of the FBI and a retired British high court judge to defend his position. The British government has been attempting to block all investigations into payments from BAE to members of the Saudi regime.

British ministers are refusing to grant a six-month-old official request from the US department of justice for mutual legal assistance, in defiance of the UK’s anti-bribery treaty obligations. This follows the suppression of Britain’s own Serious Fraud Office investigation, which was abandoned last year on the grounds that the inquiry might jeopardise national security. The move, following Tony Blair’s intervention, infuriated anti-corruption campaigners.

According to US sources, businessman Peter Gardiner, who possesses boxes of invoices allegedly detailing payments made by BAE to members of the Saudi royal family, was flown by FBI agents to Washington on August 20 to give testimony there. It was arranged for him to travel via Paris to avoid British attention. Department of justice investigators are also seeking out the location of other potential witnesses from the UK. When Washington’s moves came to light, US sources say that protests were made by the British, and Gardiner was warned his testimony was “contrary to international protocols”. Gardiner refuses to comment.

Washington’s access to records obtained by the Swiss prosecutors in Berne, who are conducting their own money-laundering inquiry, is regarded as particularly significant. BAE set up a network of secret payments centred on Geneva, and the head of the SFO, Robert Wardle, has confirmed that it was his team’s request for details of Swiss accounts which led to the halting of the investigation.

In September this year Britain and Saudi Arabia announced a deal for the sale of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft at a cost of £4.4bn.

Last week, the British solicitor general, Vera Baird, pulled out of a meeting in Rome organised by the OECD and hosted by the Italian prime minister, Romano Prodi, to celebrate 10 years of the international anti-bribery treaty which Britain is now accused of flouting. Alice Fisher, the US administration official in charge of the Saudi inquiries under the US foreign corrupt practices act, told delegates from 37 countries that cooperation over mutual legal assistance was vital. The assistant attorney general praised France, Germany and Italy for cooperating, but failed to mention Britain.

But not a word of this world shattering turmoil is even mentioned by the lefts and even less the connections with the renewed warmongering being driven my dominant US imperialism.

Instead there is nothing but shallow impressionistic reasoning – that these are “renewed imperialist expansionism”, “wars for oil” or even astonishingly “wars for self-determination” (!!) (in Yugoslavia, (by the more poisonously deluded “lefts”)) is completely missing the point.

But this completely turns reality on its head suggesting that imperialism is growing stronger – rather than facing the greatest disaster in its 800 year ascendancy.

The growing drive to war, is part of a whole pattern of crisis, inseparably intertwined with the growing economic catastrophe, and an expression of the rotten ripe contradictions of the entire imperialist capitalist epoch which is capable no longer of leading humanity anywhere except into utter chaos and disintegration.

With the NATO blitzing of Serbia, B52 pounding of benighted Afghanistan and the Nazi style indiscriminate horrors wrought against the mass of Iraqis (directly, or by causing the mayhem there) World War Three has effectively begun.

The super-rich tiny minority of the US ruling class is pushing for “shock and awe” terrorising of the planet to ensure that it is in the best position to ride out the coming hurricane of collapse, trade war and slump by insisting on its “right” to keep on exploiting the wealth and resources of the planet come what may, reneging on its utterly unrepayable debt obligations via wiping out the value of the dollar and eventually by simply imposing brute force assertiveness in order to continue its sweet life and overwhelming power – it hopes.

That it has gone horribly wrong so far is in itself a sign of the depth of crisis facing imperialism.

But the crisis will not go away and the pressures driving the last decade of warmongering are relentlessly increasing.

What is urgently required is a full revolutionary perspective of all events and developments, and most of all the clear understanding that this can only be stopped by ending for good this monstrous class ridden exploitation, overturning it to establish planned socialism under the guidance of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

But from the fake–“left” it gets nothing but tinkering and ineffectuality, academic and endless debate about footling alliances and tactics with other fake –“leftism”, and pointless and hopeless pacifism which never did, nor ever will, stop war.

Worse still, its failure to either grasp, or want to grasp the actually revolutionary and material nature of development leads all fake-“leftism” away from seeing the huge emerging phenomena of revolt and rebellion that is erupting across the planet for the spontaneous revolution it is, joining instead with imperialism to denounce it and “condemn” it as terrorism and reaction – possibly the most craven act of betrayal against the proletarian masses yet witnessed.

But the turmoil and uproar against the Western countries throughout the Middle East, in countries like Nepal and Indonesia, Somalia and Nigeria, and with numerous ripple effects through South America is the incipient spontaneous revolt of the billions of the Third World against the centuries long tyranny and exploitation that has been imposed on them – however crudely expressed via assorted and sometimes bizarre cultural and historic forms.

The fake-“lefts” like most of the Trotskyists take only the surface forms (of Muslimism and so forth) at face value, declaring that they are “feudal throwbacks with reactionary ambitions” and therefore to be fought against, conveniently in line with imperialism’s monstrous propaganda insanities of a supposed “war on terror” and “clash of civilisations”, and the increasing hysteria of red-faced blustering reactionary petty bourgeois like Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens.

All of this aims to blame “external forces” and supposedly “weird ideology” for the breakdown and conflict which is entirely due to the material contradictions and crisis of the imperialist system itself.

The West uses plenty of its own religious mumbo jumbo when it suits – and none more than the neocon fundamentalists.

Hollywood, newspapers and TV foster non-stop superstition, anti-rationality, and mysticism.

And no mysticism is more unquestioned than the fanatical nuttery of the Zionist occupiers of “Israel”, whose slow motion attempted genocide of the entire 8M strong Palestinian nation (in order to steal their land and resources), is built around the demented idea that “God promised it” according to the mutterings of various mystic priests copied down 2000 years ago or more.

The “rationality” of the secularist and petty bourgeois “atheists” like Hitchens and Dawkins never gets around to denouncing this prime monstrosity on the face of the planet.

Instead their philosophies are class focused – aimed at the great inchoate world rebellion.

They play right into imperialism’s hands during stunts like the latest self-righteous western posturing over the “Teddy Bear” teacher incident in Sudan, feeding the crudest anti-Third World arrogance and fascist ignorance to sustain the war atmosphere that imperialism urgently needs for its way out of crisis.

Plenty of “bomb them all” viciousness was immediately being whipped up.

But the eruption of feeling against a primary school teacher in Khartoum can only be understood as venting the hatreds and frustrations of millions of humans living with the permanent arrogant racist contempt and threats of the West.

On top of the general growing Third World refusal to suffer the bullying and plundering exploitation of imperialism, and general hostility to its developing crisis blitzkrieging, Sudan has been specifically targeted by US propaganda (as by its British poodle) as one of the next potential “axis of evil” victims alongside Iran, Zimbabwe, Myanmar etc, and its people have already seen what that means, the total destruction by bombing, torture and massacre of a whole society back into primitive chaos as witnessed in Iraq, Afghanistan and just now being revealed again in Somalia where the US encouraged Ethiopian invasion has produced death, economic and societal fragmentation and tens of thousands of new refugees.

The fact that it focuses around perceived religious insult is neither here nor there, in the great scheme.

There is possibly plenty of posturing going on in Sudan as well, by the more extreme mullahs, inflating a superficially trivial matter try and control and even divert mass feeling away from the real issues of revolution.

There has been plenty of deliberate confusion wrought by the mullahs, particularly in Iran over decades, to pretend they are fighting the “great Satan”.

But Islamism is by no means a single coherent thread in the conditions of growing world crisis. It has increasingly become a philosophical vehicle carrying an assortment of different class interests, from the revolutionary fighting by bitterly determined and heroic struggle of the Palestinians and Lebanese against the Nazi Zionism occupation for example, tenacious and self-sacrificing anti-occupation insurgency in Iraq, or Pakistan, the anti-imperialist eruptions of the al-Qaida, and nationalist movements in a dozen countries from Afghanistan to Indonesia, – to both the anti-imperialism of Ahmadinejad in Iran and the middle class interests of the more reactionary wing of Tehran regime urging collaboration and cooperation with imperialism.

It has filled a vacuum in philosophy and leadership caused by the great retreats of Stalinist Moscow-led revisionism, whose retreats from revolutionary perspectives have disillusioned two or more generations of struggle about Marxism.

The arguments raging among millions in the world about what Islam really is, from class collaborationist denouncers of struggle, like many of the British petty bourgeois Muslim community leaders, to the wildest radicalism, reflect the growing ferment of struggle and can not for long be contained by religion.

These are issues reflecting the huge class movements on the planet that can only be resolved ultimately by grasping what are the actual material interests being expressed.

Revolutionary Leninism will eventually have to be rebuilt in other words. It is material conditions which drive history and the ideas in people’s heads are reflections of the needs of the material universe.

Marxism-Leninism is the great product of that process, the making conscious through science of the material necessities of the universe and history, which can then lead and inspire the struggle to change the world because it accurately reflects reality and allows conscious understanding of the balance of strengths in the class struggle and the best guidance to strategy and tactics to move the world forwards.

Build Leninism

Don Hoskins


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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



You do not have moral authority, you do not have credibility

Press conference given by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque to the national and foreign media at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 24, 2007, “49th Year of the Revolution.” (Transcription by the Council of State. Translation by Granma International)

Felipe Perez.— Good afternoon. We would like to thank all of the correspondents from the national media and the foreign media accredited here in Havana, for their presence.

We have convened you here to answer, in the name of the Cuban government and people, the statements made by President Bush just a couple of hours ago.

We perceive the words of the United States president as an announcement of an unprecedented escalation in U.S. government policy on Cuba; of more blockade, more subversion, more attempts to isolate Cuba, and new and renewed efforts to try to bring the Cuban people to their knees through hunger and disease.

We perceive the president’s words as a confirmation that the policy now in effect, under the Bush regime, is regime change in Cuba, including by force. His words today confirm that.

What the U.S. president has called “accelerating the transition period” which, according to him, Cuba is in, is the equivalent — and here I would like to recall Fidel’s words of just two days ago— of a new conquest of Cuba by force. That is the plan that has been more sharply defined and revealed today before the public opinion.

I would like to underline one sentence from the speech by the U.S. president. He said: “The operative word in our future dealings with Cuba is not stability. The operative word is freedom.”

Cuba understands these words as an irresponsible act that gives an idea of the level of frustration, desperation and personal hatred of President Bush for Cuba; it is a call to violence, a call, in fact, to the use of force to overthrow the Cuban Revolution and impose his plans for Cuba.

Cuba categorically rejects the incitement to violence, the call, in fact, to use force, which makes Fidel’s warning to the international community and to public opinion even more correct; which reinforces our rightness and the veracity of our words, when we continually prepare ourselves by strengthening our defense, the preparation of our people to confront the most malicious and evil plans of this regime.

The president, moreover, outlines even the option of using force, in threatening and arrogant language, even the scenario of the rupture of stability in Cuba to lead to what he called “freedom,” which is regime change, which is the overthrow of the Revolution and a new conquest of Cuba by force. In doing so, the U.S. president left open the option - if that were to be the result of a hypothetical and fantasized internal uprising in Cuba - that the United States would support that, something that anyone who is moderately well-informed and with half a brain knows is not politically possible, (knowing) that the Cuban Revolution has overwhelming support of the majority of the people. However, he also left open the idea that that stability could be made vulnerable from the outside, with another war of conquest and annexation like the one he launched against Iraq, and like the one he threatened to launch against 60 or more dark corners of the planet, which included, of course, Cuba.

We should note that a scenario like that would not only mean a rupture in Cuba’s stability, but also in the stability of the United States, and it would also threaten the U.S. people, whose sons and daughters would be sent to kill and die in a war with Cuba that would last 100 years, and that would not end except in victory for our people, at a tremendous cost, logically, of the lives of its people and material destruction; but with the sole possible result of preserving Cuba’s independence and sovereignty. And I should say that here, the reaction is one of serenity and firmness.

The operative word in Cuba is not stability or anything like that; the operative word in Cuba is: Courage! And it is our answer: absolute serenity and confidence in our strength and in the solidarity that the world extends today to Cuba, and in the admiration aroused throughout the world by Cuba’s resistance.

So, if the objective of the U.S. president’s words is to intimidate the people and frighten their leadership, I must say to him, here and now, that the result of his threats against Cuba are a complete failure; but there is —and we are taking note of this— an evolution in the aggressiveness of the tone of his language on Cuba.

In January 2004, President Bush said that it was necessary “to work for a swift and peaceful transition in Cuba”; that was in January 2004. In February 2004, he repeated again that the goal of his policies was the “swift and peaceful transition to democracy.” In May 2004, he talked about the need to “speed up”; it was no longer a matter of waiting or working, but of “speeding up the day when Cuba will be a free country,” he said. And by October 2004, he was saying that “the Cuban people must be liberated,” something that nobody here asked him for, or is asking him for, or will ask him for, but the idea had evolved; it was not something to wait for or hope for, but to say that those people “must be liberated.”

In August 2006, promising the future “liberation” of Cuba, he affirmed that when that happened, “Cuban-Americans,” he said, could deal with the issue of the “confiscation of property;” that “they can then, once we have liberated Cuba, concern themselves with recovering their former properties there”: the Batista cronies, the torturers, the murderers, the landowners linked to the Batista dictatorship; that they could return here to recover their properties, which is always almost the leitmotif of all of these policies.

However, by June 2007, he was saying “We will continue to pressure for Cuba’s freedom.” In June 2007, in response to an on-the-spot question during a meeting with U.S. soldiers, he said, “Some would say that the problem is stability in Cuba. I believe that we have to pressure hard for democracy.” It was a sentence where he was already rolling out the idea that stability was not the most important thing.

Well, he has continued with his torrent of anti-Cuba threats and phrases, which has culminated today in this new step, which is no longer about waiting or hoping, but affirming that the operative word, at this time, is not stability; that the operative word is freedom.

We are clear about what the “freedom” that President Bush is promising the Cuban people signifies, and we are taking seriously his evocation of new and renewed efforts by the U.S. government to carry out its policy of regime change in Cuba, which is, moreover, illegal; it is a policy in violation of international law. The U.S. president does not have the moral authority or the legal power to propose changing the legal or political orders under which the rest of the Earth’s nations, in a sovereign manner, have decided to live. It is a violation of our rights as an independent nation, as a sovereign nation. It is an infringement of our right to exercise self-determination.

We know what would come behind the “freedom” that would come with the bombings and weapons of the U.S. Army: the terrorist, bloodthirsty groups that are still training in Florida today with total impunity, permitted and tolerated by the U.S. government, and with whom Bush met a few days ago in Miami, to make promises to them and talk to them about this presentation, and to remind them that he promised them “he would resolve the Cuba issue;” that he knew —according to him— how to resolve it. Those groups, one of whose spokesmen said that the only thing he would ask of the president at that time would be a three-day license to kill in Cuba. But well, they should know that they’re not going to find a people here that would turn the other cheek; it should be known that they would find millions of combatants, armed and trained, and a people that is prepared and experienced —after almost a half-century of victorious Revolution— in defending their conquests and their right to freedom and independence.

Then, in addition to this announcement, this prelude to an escalation of more blockade, these threats; in addition to this, the president gave a lying and ridiculous description of the situation in Cuba. I never saw a politician exude so much hatred and frustration. It was pathological. He gave a description of Cuba that only blindness, due to hatred and impotence, could lead him to fall into such extremes.

I am not, of course, going to use up time to refute his lies, but, just to give you an idea, I am going to comment on some of them.

He said that in Cuba, it was illegal for more than three people, to gather without authorization; we, who have seen more than one million gather in the Plaza [of the Revolution] of their own free will, to demand the trial or extradition to Venezuela of the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, or the liberation of our five heroes, or the end of the blockade of Cuba. He said it was illegal to change, jobs in Cuba, that it was illegal to move to another house.

I don’t know who prepared these speeches, these paragraphs; I imagine they’re from the old dinosaurs in Miami who have never again had contact with Cuba’s realities.

He said that the United States is the greatest provider of humanitarian aid to Cuba and that last year the amount -was $270 million; that it is the country that most helps Cuba, he said.

These extremes of hypocrisy, of a lack of basic respect for the truth, have really been limited. This is a new record, we should say, of indecency.

Out of curiosity, I looked into the question of the $270 million... Last year, five million dollars’ worth of materials, donations, used computers and used buses entered Cuba from the United States, which was brought by Pastors for Peace, religious groups in the United States, non-governmental organizations, in open defiance of the restrictions and the persecution of the Bush regime. It is what many of the best individuals of the U.S.-people have sent —at the risk of prison sentences, fines, and persecution from their own government— to Cuba through the most diverse channels; $5 million, which we appreciate as a symbol and expression of the best values of the U.S. people.

The U.S. president says that last year, his was the government that helped Cuba the most; during the year in which there has been precisely more blockade and more persecution; when they have fined religious groups that have come to Cuba, and religious institutions; when they have taken their persecution to the point of schizophrenia.

These have been some of his words to describe Cuba’s reality, as I said, in a speech that provokes real aversion just from listening to these words.

He has made, on the other hand, a desperate call to other countries to join in the blockade and subversion against Cuba, to join in this failed policy that nobody in the world shares.

The USD government finds itself alone in its policies on Cuba

Cuba believes that his words of today explicitly acknowledge that the U.S. government finds itself alone in its policies on Cuba. There has been a reiterated and desperate appeal to other governments to join it; in fact, it has dictated to them a Decalogue of things that, in their opinion, these governments, their embassies in Havana should do. This is proof that they do not have support or recognition in the world, because I should note here, that it might be the most powerful, but not the most respected (nation); it might have the ability to destroy a country with a nuclear attack, but not the power of arousing sympathy; it might even be feared, but that does not mean that it is loved or supported. And what is occurring is that the U.S. president is coming up against the fact that the international community does not follow his policies, that there is almost universal opposition to the genocidal blockade that he is imposing on the people of Cuba, that admiration and recognition for Cuba are growing.

I have a news item from today, just one. While the U.S. president was reading the anti-Cuban diatribe that they prepared for him there, Cuba was elected in Paris as a member of the unesco Executive Council, by 157 of 175 possible votes; the Third World country with the most votes to sit on the unesco Executive Council; the country that won the most votes in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, it received more votes than the United States, as an expression of recognition for Cuba, which was (also) elected a member of the Human Rights Council with more than two-thirds of the vote in an election in which the United States did not stand for fear it would not be elected; the country (Cuba) that presides over the Non-Aligned Movement, and whose battle last year in the United Nations was supported by none less than 183 of the 192 members of the United Nations.

The U.S. president is alone. He is also furious; he is desperate. It is understandable; he promised those Cuban mafias in Miami that he would resolve the situation with the stroke of a pen, the ones who fraudulently put him in the presidency, that applied the same tactics that they used to apply here before the triumph of the Revolution, and that made it possible for him, after a controversial election that had the worlds watching that depressing spectacle for a month, to be proclaimed the winner by the difference of one vote in the Supreme Court.

With what authority do you sit as a judge of human rights and democracy in other countries? You do not have the moral authority, Mr. President; you have no credibility. Two-thirds of the U.S. people are ashamed of you. You have less than a 25% approval rating in your country’s public opinion. You are —as comrade Alarcón said recently— packing up to leave. We do not underestimate you, of course; you are dangerous, you have power; but you do not have support, you do not have credibility, you do not have authority; our people know it; moreover, before you, they have dealt with nine other U.S. presidents and they are here and are going to keep being here.

There is then, as well, clear frustration in the words of the U.S. president. The fact that Cuba has defeated all of his attempts, his plans announced throughout these years, all of his initiatives, that the Revolution is still here, upright and firm, has him obsessed. We are faced with a president with an obsession: the flag that flies victoriously here and that they have been unable to pull down, nor will they be able to.

The Cuban economy is getting stronger; the efforts of our people are bearing fruit. The Revolution is stronger now; our people have resisted the hard years of the Special Period that they have had to experience with exemplary political maturity and unity.

The blockade is isolated; it is clearer than ever for us that that policy is unsustainable, and that it is a question of time; it is a policy, moreover, that does not arouse any sympathy in the United States, whose citizens are also victims of that whole policy of persecution and aggression against Cuba.


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