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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 1325 2nd January 2008

Pakistan and Kenya eruptions powerfully confirm that growing world rebellion is underway against imperialist domination and the sick warmongering depravity being used to try and keep control for US imperialist rule. The upheavals will grow hugely as the capitalist crisis, which is driving world turmoil, deepens rapidly into Great Slump, forcing tens of millions into penury. But Muslimism, tribalism and anarchic revolt attracting the poor, will not suffice in the end to overturn for good the capitalist system which alone will transform the world – a fight for revolutionary Leninist theory is crucial

Barely have Pakistan’s masses erupted around the murky assassination of Benazir Bhutto than Kenya too is literally on fire.

The uproar on the planet is spreading rapidly.

The world is declining rapidly into the chaotic intriguing and murderous confusion that was a feature of the late 1920s and especially the 1930s Great Slump, when brewing inter-imperialist tension in the face of escalating trade war rivalries and struggle for economic survival were building up to the huge explosion of the Second World War and the destruction of tens of millions of lives.

Giant Pakistan, with the fifth largest population in the world is a crucial part of the British Empire remnants and a critical part of the Cold War encirclement of Soviet Russia, with enormous continuing geostrategic significance for Western interests against the rising power of the rapidly emerging power of revisionist communist China, against supersize Russia (and fears of restored communism eventually) and potential revolt in Asia.

Kenya is the key regime for Western control and influence in the huge resource and labour rich African continent, considered a stable base for continental headquarters of major US, British and other imperialist intelligence, business and media networks, and with even more significance following the overturn of reactionary apartheid in South Africa.

The outbreaks of destructive rioting and conflict in Kenya and Pakistan may yet be little more than anarchic rebellion but whatever their ostensible causes the underlying content is a major escalation of the world revolt against imperialism, potentially tipping over some of the most significant neo-colonial stongholds for the post-war capitalist order.

Whoever it was that fired the bullets and carried the bomb which destroyed Bhutto, the killing last month only underlines how the enormous problems of the Middle East turmoil are growing deeper and wider by the minute for imperialism.

Suicide bombing by the radical Islam insurgency in the north or conspiratorial stunt by Pakistan’s military regime to maintain military rule, – or even Machiavellian western intelligence manipulation – it is all the same, confirming that the lid is coming off this giant nation standing smack in the centre of the growing Middle East upheaval.

According to the crawlarsing ruling-class-owned,-funded-and-controlled TV news, trying to whip up further the racist hostility against “backward” Islamicism, Benazir Bhutto was “hated by those opposed to western modernity”,

Maybe with good cause since the fraudulent lies of “Western reason, rule of law and democracy” have never meant anything but corruption, Goebbels lies, hypocrisy and consumerist empty degeneracy in even the “better off” countries, and non-stop exploitation, poverty and degradation for the great sweatshop masses of the planet, the 170M million of Pakistan among them.

But it is by no means proven yet that such forces were behind her suicide bomb assassination.

It could equally well be a variety of sinister set-ups or provocations by anyone, from the fascist Musharraf dictatorship which runs Pakistan as a military state – monstrously and super-hypocritically supported, armed and funded by the entire west (even as it continuously pumps out its stinking non-stop egregious lies about “freedom and democracy” aimed at all who even tease anti-imperialist sentiment (such as nearby Myanmar [Burma])) – to the western intelligence agencies themselves, with a long record of “Gulf of Tonkin”, “Reichstag fire” and “Zinoviev letter” frauds.

If it was the radical Islamists then it confirms the fire of revolt is spreading.

If it was the radical Islamist elements reputedly penetrating the military state, then ditto, whatever subjective motivations such forces might have (over “containing communism” etc).

If it was the western-colluding military dictatorship mainstream, they did it because they feared that Bhuttoism – already mired twice in sleaze and corruption – was too threadbare a “democracy” fraud game to dampen down the fire of revolt, and more likely to hot it up.

If it was the CIA or assorted other intelligence agencies, then they did it because they are frantic to keep the fire of revolt from spreading by stamping on even the joke Bhuttoism racket – in case even this much of a concession to a “democratic” charade should open the door to much more serious rebellion.

It has little to do with “popularity” for the Bhuttoites. The PPP’s disastrous self-serving wealthy semi-feudal landowning racketeering and cavalier disregard for the poverty stricken masses in Pakistan, triggered the latest desperate coup regime in the first place – because the western sponsored democracy stunt had failed and was glaringly exposed for the stoogery and privilege it was.

Only revolutionary movement remained an option for the masses, and the ultimate aim of a communist state.

For the time being they have turned elsewhere, which in the immediate post-Stalinist period (which temporarily has destroyed confidence in Marxism) has meant any anti-imperialist anti-western (and therefore unconsciously anti-capitalist) militancy on offer – both radical Muslimism and the middle class lawyers’ anti-western nationalist movement which has been challenging Musharraf.

The fascist torturing and death squad barbarity of direct military rule has tried to contain the rising mood of revolt but it has been failing badly – and some new trick is desperately required.

But why would an even more westernised stooge Bhuttoist “democracy”, backed overtly by the hated West, and prepared to deal with the equally hated Washington stooge Pervez Musharraf, be able to keep the lid on now?

It is all a desperate mess in all directions.

That the Bhutto fraud was even contemplated again is only because the growing Middle East revolt is now so hotting up that increasingly desperate measures are being resorted to by imperialism.

Things can only get a hundred times worse as the capitalist crisis driving all this disastrous mayhem finally breaks into the open as well, from subprime collapse to desperate Great Slump unemployment and poverty disaster.

This is a crisis destined to suck in the entire planet on a wider scale than even the 1914 and 1939 destruction of the 20th century.

Warmongering, driven by imperialism in its floundering to yet again to escape the trade war disasters and conflict of its “over-production” contradictions, and rebellion by the masses’ growing maturity and refusal to accept this non-stop repetition of insane world destruction and intensified slump exploitation, is the order of the day.

It can only gather pace like a sled on wet ice, hurtling everyone into total conflict – World War Three.

Far from being “contained” by the US troop surge in Iraq, the upheaval and turmoil is spreading rapidly, drawing in greater and greater numbers, and country after country.

The Kenya elections have immediately confirmed how fast the capitalist grip is unravelling and confirming for everyone just what a stinking lying joke bourgeois “democracy” is for the great masses and always has been. Even the mealy mouthed bourgeois press could not pretend otherwise:

Halfway through the count in Kenya’s presidential and parliamentary elections, the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, was so far ahead - by 700,000 votes - that analysts predicted it would take a minor miracle for the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, to survive. Last night, that miracle duly came to pass. Mr Kibaki was declared the winner with a comfortable majority, and the pro-opposition shacks in the south of Nairobi went up in flames.

The result defies more than 50 opinion polls giving Mr Odinga the lead, the fact that more than half of Mr Kibaki’s cabinet had lost their seats, and that Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement had won three times as many seats as Mr Kibaki’s Party of National Unity. It also defies what EU election monitors saw with their own eyes in one constituency, Molo, where the result declared in their presence was 25,000 votes short of that subsequently announced by the Election Commission of Kenya. As a result, the chief EU observer, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, pointedly refused to call the election fair and free, saying “some doubt” remained over the accuracy of the result.

There were other oddities about the count - the unnatural delay in results from Mr Kibaki’s heartland, or the impossibly high turnout figures at two polling stations in Mr Kibaki’s own Othaya constituency. Within minutes of the result being declared, black smoke was billowing from the Nairobi slum Kibera, and within an hour Mr Kibaki was sworn in again as president at State House. The ceremony was performed with unseemly haste, and in it Mr Kibaki promised to form a government free of corruption. This may be easier to promise than to deliver, because with only 33 seats to his party’s name in the 210 member parliament it will have to be a minority government even with the help of other parties. But that is the least of Mr Kibaki’s problems.

This election promised so much, not only to Kenya but to Africa as a whole. It would have been the first time that a Kenyan president would have lost through the ballot box, and the first time an incumbent would have been voted out of office. It would have been, in the best sense of the word, a revolution. Many of the old guard who had dominated politics since independence were swept out of office by a younger generation of politicians who owed their popularity to votes rather than tribal loyalty or patronage. Instead. Kenya appeared last night to be stepping back several decades. Deprived of power in the way that his late father - the Luo nationalist hero Oginga Odinga - was, Raila Odinga darkly predicted a stormy future.

Stormy indeed for capitalism which promptly gave a further confirmation of its dirty dealing when Washington promptly recognised the outrageous fix up.

Kenya “stepping back several decades” is the worst nightmare of all for imperialism since that is when its heroic and determined anti-colonialist movement (racistly labelled Mau-Mau and “tribalism”, and brutally suppressed by British torture and rape atrocities which are more and more coming to light) was at the forefront of post-war anti-colonial struggle.

There may be is a long way to go before either Pakistan or Kenya has the conscious Leninist leadership needed to avoid multiple setbacks and confusion for both anti-imperialism and eventually proletarian revolution – but just as in the Middle East the genie of struggle is out of the bottle.

It will not go back now.

If imperialism was in its hayday of post-war strength and influence it might be possible to get everything under the lash again for the relentless exploitation that is the lot of most of the Third World under capitalism.

But things are about to get a thousand times worse for the class rule of the capitalist order which is facing its most devastating challenge in all the 800 years of its development and world power.

Rapidly degenerating capitalist economic and social crisis is now heading for catastrophic Great Slump breakdown and deprivation everywhere, whatever short-term credit stunt “revivals” might yet be pulled by capitalist banks and markets, and whatever soothing commentaries are made about “soft landings” and “limited recessions” .

Printing more dollars to prop up the system – if it is possible at all now – will only add to the eventual deluge.

While the hollowness at the heart of the profit making system is beginning to implode, undermining the strength, confidence and competence of the ruling class, the overt power and might of imperialist planetary domination is also looking sicker by the minute, facing the crucial defeats which are loosening its long historical grip on power and opening up the revolutionary opportunities for the proletariat.

The latest eruptions follow the slow rolling setbacks for imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the supposedly in-and-out “shock and awe” blitzkrieging “teaching them a lesson” invasions have been enmeshed for more than five years now in unwinnable occupations, continues endlessly despite temporary localised “pacification” around Baghdad bought at enormous political and financial expense.

The illusion of “peace” created by the US surge of yet more troops in Baghdad has come only at the cost of tens of millions more in dollar funding on top of the already staggering billions poured into the desert sands, and further humiliating compromise deals with forces like the Shiite Mahdi Army of the muslim demagogue Moqtadr al-Sadr, once supposed to be suppressed and eliminated by western forces and now constantly negotiated with.

The cost is now incomprehensible as the US struggles to avoid being seen to lose:

The financial toll of America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was laid bare yesterday when a congressional committee estimated the cost of both conflicts at $1.6 trillion (£771bn) and rising - $20,000 for every family of four in the US.

The assessment, by the joint economic committee, factors in knock-on effects including long-term healthcare for the wounded, interest on money borrowed for the war chest and oil market disruptions.

Democrats, who produced the report, said it demonstrated how George Bush’s foreign policy had real consequences for Americans back home. But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the committee had produced a report that was “an attempt to muddy the waters on what has been some positive developments being reported out of Iraq”.

The report coincided with a statement from the military indicating that the surge launched by Bush in January to put a lid on sectarian violence and insurgent attacks is starting to wind down. A 3,000-strong armoured brigade has started withdrawing from Diyala province and will not be replaced, the second large unit to leave Iraq since September.

Attacks on US troops have fallen, while Sunni tribes in the western Anbar province have sided with the Iraqi government against foreign al-Qaida fighters.

Meanwhile one by one the other “allies” – with less dollars to pour away – are pulling out in humiliation and exhaustion:

Sunday’s handover of Basra province, the last of four controlled by UK forces since the 2003 invasion, was heralded by the British and Iraqi governments as a great step forward. Local forces were now capable of looking after the security of the entire south-east of their country, potentially one of the Middle East’s richest regions.

In truth, the decision was dictated by British domestic politics and by the demands of British military commanders. Britain’s continuing presence in Iraq was becoming increasingly unpopular and counterproductive. More than a year ago, General Sir Richard Dannatt, newly appointed head of the army, said that Britain should withdraw from Iraq “soon” because its troops were regarded with growing hostility, with their presence exacerbating the difficulties Britain was experiencing around the world. It has also mounted the pressure on the army when it is engaged in increasingly intense fighting in Afghanistan.

So why the delay, and why now? Britain had to convince the US that a reduction in the number of British soldiers in southern Iraq, and ending their counter-insurgency combat role on the streets of Basra, was essential, politically and practically. And for months, if not years, British army commanders have been decrying what they called the Iraqi “dependency culture”. Setting a timescale for handing over responsibility for security in Basra province “concentrated people’s minds in Iraq”, as one senior Foreign Office official put it. Baghdad sent two heavy hitters - Generals Mohan al-Furayji and Jalil Khalaf - to command the Iraqi army and police forces in Basra.

Britain claimed that it had trained enough Iraqi security personnel - most of the 30,000 in total in Basra - to create capable autonomous forces. The credibility of the claim has yet to be seriously tested.

Senior military officials, including Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff, admit that expectations about what they could achieve in southern Iraq were exaggerated. “Our mission was not to make the place look somewhere green and peaceful,” he said in the summer. He was speaking at the time troops were preparing to leave the Basra Palace, their last remaining base in the city, and one they would have left much earlier - saving more than 25 British soldiers’s lives - had it not been for US pressure and the apparent judgment then that Iraqi forces were not ready.

Yet despite Sunday’s handover, 4,500 British troops will still be based at Basra airport and the 2,500 which Gordon Brown says will be there in the spring are likely to remain at least until 2009, partly at the behest of the US.

What can they achieve? Further training and mentoring of Iraqi forces, the government says. They would also step in and help in the event of a crisis - something British military commanders and ministers desperately hope won’t happen. What have they achieved? When they entered Basra in 2003, they handed out sweets and water and helped to clean the streets. Now they can’t safely enter the town even in armoured vehicles.... it could prove to be a humiliating and empty end to a four-year occupation.

Australia’s incoming prime minister, Kevin Rudd, today pledged to withdraw the country’s 550 combat troops from Iraq by the middle of next year.

The move is likely to disappoint Washington, which counted Australia as one of its few staunch allies in the unpopular war in Iraq until Rudd won a landslide victory in Saturday’s general election.

The Labor party leader, who officially takes office on Monday, said his government would soon start discussions with the US about the withdrawal, and a meeting with the American ambassador, Robert McCallum, would be arranged.

There are about 1,500 Australian troops involved in Iraqi operations, although most are outside the country. Only the 550 combat troops stationed in Talil, southern Iraq, will be withdrawn under Rudd’s plan.

“The combat force in Iraq, we would have home by around about the middle of next year,” Rudd told a Melbourne radio station.

“We’ve not begun our discussions with the United States on that. We’ll have a meeting with the United States ambassador before too long to set up the appropriate processes for discussing that.”

Rudd had promised to withdraw the frontline troops if elected but said he would leave behind several hundred other Australian troops in non-combat roles such as guarding diplomats. Australia also has 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, a deployment Rudd supports and has no plans to reduce.

Afghanistan, supposedly a quick blitzkrieging raid in 2002 to destroy Al-Qaeda remains an even longer running disaster for the imperialist forces, a festering pit of poverty, deprivation, ignorance and desperate drug production.

The mess cannot be glossed up as any kind of success at all:

‘We are winning the battle in Afghanistan,’ the Prime Minister told parliament last week. Sadly, he is wrong. ...victory is a very long way away...and progress almost imperceptible.

The Taliban - or rather, the loose and continually evolving alliance of national and regional elements who do not want the international project in Afghanistan to succeed - is not winning either. President Hamid Karzai is still alive and in power, the casualties of the 40-odd-nation international coalition continue to be low enough to be acceptable to domestic public opinion, and the insurgents do not, as has been claimed, control more than half of the country. The Taliban may be active in a wide spread of territory but in much of it its authority is nominal. Equally crucially, the Taliban has entirely failed to broaden into a mass movement. Afghans, even the 40 per cent from the Pashtun tribes who provide the bulk of the insurgent fighters, do not want to be ruled by it again.

Brown’s initiative to isolate the Taliban leadership by talking to other ‘tiers’ of the movement may have been presented as a new British policy last week, but it is not. Talks with the Taliban, or more specifically its fellow travellers and auxiliaries, have been going on for years; either formally or, in the Afghan way, informally between cousins, brothers, old friends and old foes. Which means that all those who have continued to fight alongside the Taliban’s ideologically driven leadership have done so fully aware of the alternatives. It is just that so far they have hitherto rejected them.

...Perhaps the biggest error was the political decision to expand the international security force from Kabul through the relatively calm north and west first, leaving the crucial south east to rot for nearly five years. In late 2003 I interviewed starving peasants in a ward of Kandahar hospital. That there was still famine two years after Afghanistan had been invaded by the world’s richest superpower was not just a disgrace, but plain dumb. When I spoke to inhabitants of the village outside Kandahar where the Taliban had been founded a decade previously, they told me how they were planting opium to survive, how they did not want the religious hardliners back but wanted security, justice and protection from rapacious government officials and warlords, and how they would like a well.

Last week, fierce battles raged around that village as Nato troops tried to wrest it back from the insurgents. The international coalition fought one easy war to win Afghanistan in 2001, then lost a third of the country through negligence and is now fighting a hard second war to get it back.

This puts recent tactical victories in perspective. Musa Qala, the town retaken from the Taliban last week, is a small district centre in one of the remote parts of the country. If Afghanistan were the United Kingdom, it would be a market town in mid-Wales. ...

So what needs to be done? Afghanistan has received far less cash per head than any other recent post-conflict reconstruction effort. Brown’s emphasis on the political and ‘Afghan’ elements of the conflict are not new, and need to be backed by greater commitment and cash. A reconstruction tsar would undermine the Afghans, but a good early step would be a Nato counter-insurgency school to ensure uniform doctrine, and a similar body on the civilian side to unify reconstruction doctrine...

The regional situation is key. Tehran is quietly pouring resources into western Afghanistan. The Iranians also have the ability to end the Nato operations in Afghanistan almost overnight by giving the insurgents surface-to-air missiles. For the moment they are no better friends of the Taliban than we are, but the possibility reinforces the point that they must be kept on-side. Russia, India, and China also need to be fully engaged.

Then there is Pakistan. The operating space available to militants in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas along the frontier can be cut back. Five years after being rejected by congress, the US is now providing a major aid package for the area’s development. More effort is needed. The Pakistani government should also end the anomalous semi-autonomous status of the tribal areas.

International aid to Pakistan, which has been overwhelmingly military, should be made contingent on the successful registration and surveillance of religious schools and on the purging of the security establishment of all suspected sympathisers with the insurgents. At the moment America is writing a monthly cheque of $80m (£39.5m) for Pakistan’s military operations. The slow dismantling of the radical mini-state that has been allowed to emerge over the past 30 years along the frontier will take a long time, but would be more economic in the long term.

And instead of endless discussions of the pros and cons of eradicating poppy, we should make it clear to Karzai that tackling suppliers and dealers is a condition of continued support.

Over the long term, concessions, bribes and military pressure will probably whittle away the Taliban. Reconstruction will slowly continue elsewhere and filter very gradually down to the south. The authority of the government will remain weak and corruption remain a major problem. Groups of insurgents will continue to mount attacks, but will not trigger a general uprising.

This means decades of expensive political, economic and military effort, without much to look forward to at the end. With a bit of luck, in a generation or so, Afghanistan might just be as stable and developed as its neighbours: Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran. There should be no question of pulling troops out; if we did the government would collapse within a year or so.

Now that Iraq has been more or less written off, Afghanistan needs massive focus.

It must not be allowed to drift out of the collective consciousness. From 1989 to 2001 the country was ignored. From 2003 to 2006 it was woefully neglected. The consequences can now be counted in tens of thousands of ruined lives.

More admissions of disaster then, and with no real solutions; the nostrums, reformist prescriptions and international instructions suggested are impossible wishful thinking, speaking volumes about the quicksand nature of the entire world situation now facing imperialism, where everything solid is crumbling.

“Afghanistan could be as stable as its neighbours” (!!!) unwittingly jokes this piece, even more laughably counting on Pakistan (!!!) as the key tool for containing Afghani revolt.

But it is Pakistan that is on the receiving end, infected by the hatreds and hostility that the five years of contemptuous and arbitrary civilian blitzing torture and destruction has created.

Slow burning resentments and hatred for imperialism from centuries of contempt and brutal exploitation have been matured by the growing sophistication of the world’s masses as capitalism uses them to make the modern world while slave wages deny them any part of it.

Now they are being fanned to red heat by the desperate barbarities of imperialism trying to keep control and re-establish its unquestioned dominance as its system begins yet another inevitable break-down into overproduction slump disaster.

The wilful brutal torturing destruction of life, security, the economies and all rational future have stirred a hornets nest of resistance which is spreading outwards into the entire region.

Everything becomes its opposite and what once was arrogant intimidation to pacify the masses for endless wage slavery exploitation now pours oil (appropriately enough) on the flames of growing Third World and proletarian hatred.

Hugely intensified and self-sacrificing insurgency has grown throughout the Middle East, and further afield, into Somalia for example reviving against the brutal gangster warlordism anarchy deliberately re-imposed by US sponsored invasion via the stooge Ethiopians, to break up the stability recently created by the Islamic Courts.

Lebanon’s pro-western stooge government is falling apart, unable to keep the lid on rebellion; and the determination of the Palestinian struggle against the horrific Zionist imposed siege strangulation of Gaza, the longest running and most significant struggle of all, grows stronger with every deprivation, blitzing and “punishment” pushed down on its neck.

Further away the Nigerian delta region is becoming increasingly no-go for western oil exploitation as militant hostility increases to near civil war levels against the corrupt and pro-western government:

Thirteen people died after armed militants attacked targets in Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s main oil industry hub, a military spokesman said today.

Bands of armed men invaded the city on Tuesday morning, attacking two police stations and raiding the lobby of a major hotel.

Four policemen, three civilians and six attackers were killed, said Lt Col Sagir Musa, a spokesman for the military task force in charge of security in Nigeria’s troubled oil region.

The Niger Delta Vigilante Movement, led by militia leader Ateke Tom, claimed responsibility for the attack, the group’s spokesman Richard Akinaka told Associated Press.

The group’s strongholds in the creeks surrounding Port Harcourt have come under military bombardment in recent days. On Sunday, military planes bombed suspected training camps thought to be run by the militia group in mangrove swamps and creeks in the Okirika district, south of the city.

Tom later threatened reprisal attacks on the oil hub, where the major western oil companies have bases.

The group is one of several armed movements active in the southern Niger Delta oil-producing region. Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil producer, and fifth-biggest source of US oil imports.

The attacks have cut the country’s oil exports, standing at 2.5 million barrels daily, by more than 20% in the last two years, and have added to the upward pressure on global oil prices.

Some of the groups claim to be fighting for increased access to oil wealth for inhabitants of the Niger Delta, who remain desperately poor despite the huge wealth pumped from their backyards. Other groups have simply targeted western oil companies, seizing oil workers in exchange for ransom.

The tragic compromise with capitalism made by South Africa’s victorious anti-apartheid ANC is breaking down into splits and confusion.

Indonesia remain barely stable for capitalism with constant anti-imperialist insurgency threatening to break open at all times and general growing hatred and resentment of western exploitation barely contained.

South America is in ferment, only contained for the moment by the left reformist nationalism of the Chávez “Bolivarian revolution” in Venezuela and allied left-talking governments in Nicaragua and Bolivia (and much shallower still posturing in Brazil, chile and Argentina); counter-revolutionary plots to drown them in blood are held off for the time being only by imperialist fears of unleashing far deeper rebellion and uncontrollable revolutionary upheaval like the FARC anti-imperialist anti-capitalist movement which continues doggedly after decades in Colombia against every death squad atrocity thrown at it.

Turmoil continues right into the heart of the imperialist nations with disaster after incompetent disaster besetting the now universally despised governments of Britain and the US (all flavours), riots and disorder constantly re-emerging (in France for example), and desperate social breakdown, crime, drug-ridden despair and economic disaster face the debt-ridden majority, while the grotesque antics and extravagances of the ever-richer tiny ruling-class grow more and more disgusting, pointless and in-your-face wasteful and degenerate.

It requires astonishing ignorance and philistinism now to continue painting the growing world rebellion as simply “terrorism” to be “condemned” and painted as criminality or “reactionary Islam” or “fanaticism”.

In what way is the eruption of the Kenyan masses, hard on the heels of the 170M strong Pakistan population’s turmoil, got anything to do with some bizarre “clash of civilisations” or James Bond fantasy “terror network” determined to end “our way of life”.

Capitalism offers a thousand superficial explanations for these events, each kept separate from the other; a bit of tribalism and discontent to “explain” the astonishing slum fed social volcano after Kenya’s grotesquely fixed-up “democratic” elections; the sinister machinations of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; demented “fanaticism” to account for Pakistan or Sudanese upheaval, “world domination” plots to explain Iranian anti-US intransigence; “criminality” for the Paris riots, etc etc.

But never does it answer the question - why is all this erupting now?

Where is the “prosperity” gradually “trickling down to all” and the end to “world threats” that were supposed to follow the demise of Soviet communism in 1989 and the “end of history” ultimate victory supposedly for “freedom and democracy”?

Why is there wave after wave of slump collapses, country bankruptcies and war, and a string of upheavals and revolt all merging one into the other?

Why does it increasing look as if it is all part of the same phenomenon?

Because it is all part of the same thing, Marxist science would reply. What does link Kenya and Pakistan, Bolivia and Nepal, Baghdad and Beirut, is the sense of anger and frustration by the downtrodden and desperate masses at the continuing class and national domination and exploitation of capitalism and its imperialist world domination.

But to make that clear would be to point the world’s masses squarely at the only answer to the problem – the ending of the capitalist system and its replacement by rational, planned socialist production worldwide, providing for human needs and eliminating for ever the ever-recurring instabilities caused by the madness of production for profit.

That can only be achieved by revolutionary overthrow of the degenerate capitalist order.

Capitalism is not about to make any such thing clear to anybody – in fact it runs a giant disinformation system continuously to say exactly the opposite, from lying devious “politicians” and the “spin” advertising industry to non-stop brainwashing of the masses through a carefully fixed education system and the enormous sophisticated lie machine of the capitalist press and TV, pumping out constant hypocritical lies about western “democracy and freedom” and the “saving of mankind” from supposed “oppression by communist totalitarianism” and now new enemies, wherever and on whoever the demon faces can be painted.

Better still there is a giant entertainment industry to drown everyone in non-stop chasing after fatuous soap opera fantasies, shallow consumerism, football, fashion and celebrity glitz, while serious study and thought is derided as “boring”.

Fill up the time is the tactic, in case thinking about real questions should make the working class start drawing awkward conclusions in the face of glaring hypocrisies like British (New Labour) support for Kenya’s corrupt stooges while buckets of propaganda shit are constantly poured on the heads of Zimbabwe’s ZANU leadership – where even biased Western “observers” declared presidential elections fair and open.

But unlike nearby Kenya the comparable Zimbabwe has taken an anti-imperialist stance and demanded that the old colonial dominance be ejected.

No giant patrician estates of colonially seized land remain here for arrogant shootings of “poachers” by white-mischief decadent “aristocratic owners”.

If all the glitz and lies fail, as they increasingly will when the disastrous Great Slump conditions start to be reimposed on the working class everywhere via the police state bourgeois dictatorships being increasingly openly imposed again as “human” and “legal” rights are torn up – then there is the backstop of the fake-”left” to divert the more inquisitive and thoughtful workers and intellectuals into academicism and anti-communism.

The smugness, complacency, relentless philistinism and sheer anti-communist opportunism of the fake-”left”, (all 57 assorted shades) now gets in the way of the glaring need for a scientific Marxist perspective that alone can give shape and sense to the accelerating pace of developing turmoil

Nothing else but the constant and complex battle for a dialectical materialist world view makes any sense. And nothing else can give the working class the revolutionary leadership which will carry through to completion the overturn of the capitalist system which can only push the world towards total war destruction and slump.

But astonishingly, even as the Northern Rock bank run – the first in a century and the tip of the iceberg of subprime debt hollowness running throughout the entire elaborate capitalist finance credit system - has alerted the entire world to the disasters to come, the “left” still barely mention it, in some cases ludicrously declaring that it will be “of no help to the working class”.

But the understanding that capitalism will run into slump collapse disaster, forcing the masses to challenge it for their own survival, is the very heart of Marxism – which demonstrated that it is not simply the unfairness, irrationality, arrogant brutality and vicious injustice of the class system that will lead to its eventual demise but the material objective contradictions built into the system which as they mature and intensify, relentlessly push it to its own demise.

Capitalism like all the class domination systems before it like slavery and feudalism, is doomed to disintegrate through its own success, because it production for profit logic is ultimately out of step with the needs of human society, however much it has served to drive progress for a period in history.

Too much accumulated profit, amassed as yet more capital, chases ever decreasing opportunities to make more profits, because restricted world demand from the exploited and poor masses can never buy everything produced by every corporation, each frantically competing to dominate the entire world market (see economics box).

Between them they massively “over supply” the markets (though the human race could soak up all this production if it was not demanding a profit skimmed from every sale and production was carefully planned to match costs and needs).

The whole is 10, 000 worse because the credit system has been developed to an extraordinary extent by modern imperialist capitalism to endlessly expand “demand” and stretch the limits of production to avoid slump, with more and more paper dollars thrown into the system which is so large and worldwide under US monopoly domination that it can soak them up for a long while before the inflationary effects rebound – though they must eventually.

In turn this has built up an insane artificial pressure to disburse all this extra credit, which itself has also to “make a profit” whether it is needed or not.

Hence the desperation to push bank lending onto all and sundry in recent years, whether they have the capacity to repay it or not.

Hence the collapse now unfolding as the rubbish debts prove unpayable, by the most miserably poor in society.

Even if by some 11th hour credit deviousness the moribund imperialist order should succeed in giving its insanely inflationary dollar system one more spin of the wheel, by cutting interest rates and pumping even more paper dollars into the world than are already clogging its trading system, it will do no more than stave off the problems for a short period – only to see the hollowness at the heart of the profit system implode with even greater force than is already breaking.

Dominant US monopoly imperialism has shuffled the problems around the planet already for decades, using trade war and currency manipulation to wipe out economically for periods entire regions like South America (Mexico, Argentina), South-East Asia in the currency collapse (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia etc) and most of all the mighty powerhouse Japanese imperialism, contained for nearly fifteen years in stagnation and retarded production, though by no means yet driven into the ground.

But the press reports and bourgeois politicians neither “get” not want to understand the full significance of the now accelerating unravelling of the world dominating monopoly capitalist framework.

Firstly the economic disaster is far deeper than most of the commentators understand or can bear to look at head on: collapse is teetering on the edge of a self-feeding downward spiral which will rip through the entire elaborate credit and international trade structure.

Just a few of the commentaries are beginning to mention and draw parallels with the 1930s’ Great Slump, triggered by an equally small-scale banking collapse at that of the Northern Rock, when the Austrian Credit Anstalt bank failed in Vienna and let rip a wave of defaults, bank failures and company bankruptcies:

The 1920s and 2000s are eerily similar decades. Both were characterised by extravagant wealth, extraordinarily cavalier lending by banks and hubristic over-optimism that the world had changed. The 1920s boom transmuted into slump when the American banking system collapsed. The question is whether a similar fate awaits us today.

I offer the question because it’s being posed by the West’s most senior central bankers. Last week the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Swiss and Canadian central banks simultaneously injected some £50 billion of cash into their beleaguered banking systems. It is the outward signal of their profound private concern.

.... What is spooking them is that despite differing reactions to the credit crisis, all face a continuing and deepening crisis in their interbank markets - the markets in which big banks lend billions to each other.

This, I’m told, was top of the agenda at a meeting in Cape Town some weeks ago when last week’s intervention was first mooted. For two decades western banks have expanded their lending far ahead of the growth in the western economy, and acutely in Britain and the US. That has led to crazy lending on the high street.

Infamously, the American sub-prime mortgage market now faces up to $300bn of potential loan write-offs. That may sound like a lot of money, and indeed it is, but it is less than the annual profits of North American and European banks. They should have been able to take the hit in their stride.

The evidence is that they have not. The growing fear among central bankers is that the system has over-reached itself, rather as the US banks did in the 1920s. Paul Tucker, the Bank of England’s executive director for financial markets, last week gave a window into their thinking when he described the risk of a ‘feedback loop’ between the financial markets and real economy that could create a downward economic spiral. As banks retrenched, so the economy would get weaker - forcing another round of bank retrenchment and subsequent economic weakness.

Make no mistake, there are banks fighting for their lives. To find capital, they are turning to the only organisations with sufficient funds - the state investment companies in the Gulf and Asia fattened by high oil prices and vast foreign exchange reserves.

Last week Citigroup, the world’s biggest bank, sold a share stake to the Abu Dhabi government to raise desperately needed funds; Barclays has sold a stake to the Chinese government; the Swiss bank UBS a stake to the Singapore government. They are the first of many. The financial crisis could prompt the partial takeover of the western banking system by Arab and Asian governments.

I know at least one central banker who spent the summer reading JK Galbraith’s Great Crash. The first task of President Franklin D Roosevelt after his election in 1932 was the recapitalisation of the bankrupt American banks by new public agencies – which his Republican critics decried as socialism. But it pulled the US out of slump. Unless the western interbank markets start functioning again soon, the question will arise as to which governments are going to bail the western banks out of their foolishness. Will it be our own – or that of Mr Hu Jintao and the potentates of various oil producing Arab states?

Thus the conversation in Cape Town. Ominously, the first reaction to last week’s injection of funds was a sell-off in the stock markets, but by Friday there were hopes that it might have delivered some short-term relief.

The British government should be heeding central bankers’ concerns. It should be publicly announcing pre-emptive plans to support distressed mortgage holders and distressed lenders. It should be recasting the system of financial regulation, so that banks become tightly regulated, like utilities, as a quid pro quo for government guarantees of their deposits. Banks and building societies should be required to be much less reckless in their lending. The bill providing for the nationalisation of Northern Rock should be widened to include the other banks that will require short-term assistance. The UK should be pressing for a proper system of international financial governance and regulation.

...New Labour in office has consistently genuflected to the City’s interests, allowing itself to be bullied into making breathtaking regulatory and tax concessions, and thus colluding in the financial frenzy. Now it must change gear - and fast. Or risk the recession that the central bankers fear.

The Keynesian money printing and “regulation” solutions offered here by arch-reformist Will Hutton are the financial equivalent of “relying on Pakistan” to stabilise Afghanistan, not least because much of the additional credit creation used by Roosevelt for example has already been done and more.

A €50bn injection poured into the European markets just three days after Hutton’s article has virtually disappeared without trace for example and the property markets, housing and retail collapses continue on downwards.

Even Roosevelt’s New Deal was not successful – the Great Slump plunged on into the massively intensified inter-imperialist trade war conflicts which eventually provoked the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbour; depression conditions were only alleviated by the increased arms production required for World War Two, the inevitable end point of capitalist crisis.

The enormous complexities of the world capitalist system still make it too hard to say whether another short extension can be managed to US financial domination but the pattern of capitalist slump disaster is now glaringly clear.

The warmongering is already underway for nearly a decade now - with the destruction of Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan just the start.

No ruling class ever simply gave up and the US rulers – the most powerful and rich in the entire world’s history are not going to leave the stage quietly, least of all humiliatingly handing over their banks and major industries to the Chinese workers state.

It is the powerful resistance to its onslaughts that has stunned imperialism temporarily stalling plans to escalate the warmongering.

But the increasing desperation of the onrushing crisis must intensify its urgent need to wind the world up further for World War Three.

The critical question is how far imperialism can build up racism, self-interest nationalism and aggressive hatreds its needs to pull the world back into all out conflict while simultaneously trying to re-impose once more on the working class, mass unemployment, soup kitchen starvation and societal break-down.

But the world’s masses have twice seen the horrors of slaughter and destruction when tens of millions of ordinary people died and whole countries were ripped to shreds.

They are in uproar already before the Depression has even bitten.

The missing ingredient is Leninist understanding – virtually wiped out by decades of revisionist idiocy, liquidationism and retreat from revolution poured out of Moscow – and sour Trotskyism, supposedly criticising Stalinism but making everything ten times worse by losing sight of the enormous achievement of the workers states and ending up on capitalism’s side, rubbishing communism and the dictatorship of the working class.

Now they rubbish the rising world struggle “condemning” it as nothing but “terrorism” and “islamo-fascism”.

But this disgusting betrayal will teach the world’s poor masses what the pseudo-”left” really are, petty bourgeois betrayors and oportunists.

The rising upheaval – however confused yet and bound onto inadequate leaderships – has a class content which must begin to make powerful strides towards rational and ultimately unstoppable communist understanding.

Far from denouncing the mass struggle it should be understood for what it is as part of building scientific Leninist theory, the crucial weapon for ending capitalist degeneracy.

No job is more important.

Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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


Oil giants under fire from ‘Robin Hoods’ —

Nigeria’s militants resume attacks

Kidnappers of oil-rig workers in Nigeria have been denounced by the authorities as criminals but some could see the organisation behind the attacks, the indigenous Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (mend), as ‘the Robin Hoods of Africa’. And mend has just declared full-scale war on the Lagos regime and the oil giants from Nigeria’s Independence Day, 1 October.

Nigeria is the world’s eighth-largest oil producer and the fifth-largest supplier of crude oil to the United States. Nigeria’s oil resources are mainly located in the Niger Delta. Sadly, the billions of dollars generated by this multinational industry are rarely invested in the region and the people live in continued misery, with few roads, little infrastructure and a decimated environment.

Nigeria is notorious for its widespread corruption and the payments made from oil companies such as Shell and Chevron are kept by politicians and military leaders for their personal gain.

This dire situation has led to years of continued struggle by many of the delta’s local indigenous groups, such as the Ijaw and Ogoni peoples, among others, to receive a fair share of the oil revenues for the benefit of their indigenous communities. These campaigns have been met with stiff resistance from the Nigerian military and the security paramilitary groups funded by the oil companies themselves.

Ken Saro-Wiwa

The situation in the Delta is not new.

Many will remember that back in the 1990s, another resistance group, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (mosop), came into being, advocating the right of the Ogoni people to autonomy, a fair share of the proceeds of oil extraction, and remediation of environmental damage to Ogoni lands.

Kenule ‘Ken’ Saro-Wiwa, writer, TV producer and environmentalist, was imprisoned several times by the Nigerian military government. In May 1994, he was arrested and accused of incitement to murder following the deaths of four Ogoni elders, Saro-Wiwa denied the charges but was imprisoned for over a year before being found guilty and sentenced to death by a specially-convened tribunal, during which nearly all of the defendants’ lawyers resigned in protest at the trial’s cynical rigging by the regime. The resignation of the legal teams left the defendants to their own means against the tribunal, which continued to bring witnesses to testify against Saro-Wiwa and his peers, only for many of these supposed witnesses to later admit they had been bribed by the Nigerian Government to support the criminal allegations.

Very few observers were surprised when the tribunal declared a guilty verdict but most were shocked that the penalty would be death by hanging for all nine defendants. On 10 November 1995, Saro-Wiwa and eight other mosop leaders (‘The Ogoni Nine’) were executed by hanging at the hands of military personnel.

“Leave or die”

mend leaders are well aware that the reference to mosop is nearly unavoidable and have warned that “a repeat of the Ken Saro Wiwa type set-up will fail this time around”. If mosop represented the activism of the Delta, mend is effectively the most militant expression of discontent in the region. Since national elections in the spring, mend had been on a provisional ceasefire as a show of good faith to the new government in order to push for immediate negotiations. After months of frustration and aggression on the part of the Nigerian states towards communities in the Delta and members, though, mend decided to resume attacks.

In January 2006, mend warned the oil industry:

“It must be clear that the Nigerian Government cannot protect your workers or assets. Leave our land while you can or die in it... Our aim is to totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian Government to export oil.”

mend has destroyed nearly 25 per cent of Nigeria’s oil-producing capacity, pushing up gas prices worldwide.

Recently, mend bombed two pipelines and kidnapped four foreign oil workers, from Bulgaria, Britain, Honduras and the United States. Violence and destruction by mend in 2007 caused Chevron to shut down some oil production after one Nigerian sailor was killed and six other foreign oil workers were abducted by members of mend.mend reportedly attacked the company’s Oloibiri floating production, storage, and off-loading vessel, off southern Bayelsa state, on 1 May 2007.

“We will not sit back and allow our birthright to be exchanged for a bowl of porridge,” mend said in its statement, adding that Nigeria’s government “has so far concentrated its resources in bribing the so-called militants, politicians and supposed elders of the Niger Delta”, while dedicating little or nothing to conflict resolution.

• Nigeria is notorious for its widespread corruption and the payments made from oil companies such as Shell and Chevron are kept by politicians and military leaders for their personal gain. AnPhoblacht 4 October 2007


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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


Honouring Lenin’s words, and crucially, reading them is a start – but the fight for Leninism now means taking up the polemical struggle for living revolutionary understanding including the crucial fight to understand the setbacks, and revisionist philosophical failings in understanding, which led to the insane liquidation of the Soviet Union and temporary distrust of the world proletariat in Marxism and revolutionary theory

October does not mean oblivion

BY PEDRO DE LA HOZ—Granma daily staff writer—


BETWEEN the cannon fire from marines on the Aurora cruise liner and the taking of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg by the Red Guard barely four hours went by. In the dawn of November 7, 1917 (October 25 according to the Julian calendar) many things changed, the most important being that of having demonstrated that the emancipation of millions of men and women oppressed under capitalism was possible.

Ninety years after the fire of that indispensable October it is far from being ignored. Where is the enthusiasm of those who thought that the night of November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall was torn down, was the end of history? And those who, on December 9,1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved, proclaimed a new start, what would they we saying now?

In Russia itself a survey has just revealed that, if the historical circumstances of that time were repeated, the majority of that country’s inhabitants would be sympathetic to the Bolshevik Revolution.

The campaign to discredit socialism is losing its hold. The dictatorship of the market, the imposition of a universal thinking, attempts to destroy values of solidarity, and strategies to induce unchecked consumerism in human beings are unsustainable in the contemporary world. However much the hegemonic centers of capitalism have wanted to disqualify socialism on the basis of errors and distortions, and even certain and specific horrors of the 20th century European experience, there is no other option that is more necessary, viable and urgent for redeeming our species.

Casting aside the ideals of social justice, genuine equity, redistribution of income, rational use of natural resources, spiritual plenitude, learning peace, is equivalent, in the midst the destructive factors inherent in the current imperialist stage, to opting for suicide.

It is worth recalling, as the Spanish political thinker Higinio Polo did recently, that “capitalism is not only the relative well-being of the population of the developed capitalist countries, a well-being that took off via workers’ and popular struggles and the reflection of bourgeois fear in the face of the Russian Revolution, .. Today, capitalism has the face of the power of the United States, the only country in universal history that has been capable of using the trilogy of weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological and nuclear - against civilian populations in different parts of the world. The face of capitalism is that of that U.S. power, which has become the only country to have bombarded innocent civilian populations on four continents of the planet... Today, capitalism is the atrocious occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, preventive wars, hunger, the degradation of life and the destruction of extensive areas of the planet.”

The restoration and vindication of the theory and practice of Vladimir llyich Lenin is installed in the very vortex of the current October saga. From the negation of his contributions, and attempts to negate his legacy to that of Marx and Engels or disconnect it from the successive contributions of thinking and revolutionary action of Antonio Gramsci, Jose Carlos Mariategui, Ho Chi Minn, Fidel Castro and Ernesto Guevara, we have passed to the integration and complementariness of the theoretical body needed to promote social transformations opening the way to this new century.

Cuban sociologist Fernando Martinez Heredia recounted an anticipatory anecdote in reference to Che: “A Cuban comrade leader asked him, when he was training (to go to Bolivia) to draw him up a plan to study Marxism. So Che, with his natural irony, gave him a very sympathetic letter, where he also explained what he believed he should be reading. And in the case of Lenin, he states the works and why. And he says: But, starting from 1917, you have to read everything, even the last little paper that Lenin wrote.”

And Fidel, with his exceptional lucidity, as early as 1970, tore to shreds undertakings to annul the universal reach of the Leninist inheritance and forecast the prolongation of those values beyond any circumstances:

“One of the weapons that imperialism used against Leninism,” he said then, “was to try and reduce the Lenin’s role in the revolutionary process, to distort history.

And hundreds of would-be writers, supposedly on the left - as is still the case even in this contemporary stage; a method and technique used by the reaction - were the supposedly left-wing historians who distorted the history of the Leninist revolutionary process. Thus emerged the panegyrists of other figures in that process. And, of course, it is not about negating anyone, because there were many heroes, there were many people with great merits... The day will come when homage to Lenin will be the homage of all the peoples; the day will come when homage to Lenin will be the homage of all states; the day will come when homage to Lenin will be the homage of all humanity. We do not have the slightest doubt about that.”

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