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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 1326 23rd January 2008

Credit collapse and Stock Market turmoil confirm Leninist insistence that capitalism is a system of endless slump and war heading for total catastrophe which can only be solved by revolutionary transformation to socialism – not parliamentary change and accumulating reform advocated in practice by all the fake-“lefts”

The relentless tide of disastrous economic news, as shares plunge and housing, retail sales, commercial property and now insurance reel from the impact of the unravelling subprime mortgage collapse, is beginning to convince even the most complacent of the consumerism bedazzled population in the West that something is going seriously wrong with the supposed “triumph” of market capitalism over communism.

Endless peace, growing prosperity, the unleashing of technology for progress and the flowering of talent and opportunity for all it is not.

“Freedom and democracy” it is not.

Guardian front page showing Stock Market crash alongside first strike nuke proposalsJust the opposite.

“Our way of life” as the bourgeois politicians slimily call it, is now a plunge into total catastrophe, breakdown, and social chaos.

And most of all war.

Alongside the social, family and employment devastation of slump Depression now threatening to rip through all the major imperialist countries, especially the debt paralysed US and UK, goes destructive warmongering which has already destroyed two countries in the Middle East, in the disastrous continuing occupations and humiliations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and constantly threatens to escalate, as repeated bullying aggressive threats against Iran and other “rogue state” victims, and the huge naval encirclement in the Gulf, make clear, along with the always worsening western-backed and funded Jewish persecution of the Palestinian people.

The ever more vicious escalation of the Zionist genocidal onslaughts against the benighted and siege starved civilians of Gaza, tacitly or overtly approved by the whole of imperialism, is a constant reminder of the Nazi atrocities and barbarism that the entire capitalist system is always capable of, and will continuously impose on mankind if it is not stopped, erupting eventually into total world war just as it has twice in the twentieth century, – only twenty times worse.

The picture of the greatest crisis disaster yet in history, is coming rapidly into focus, exactly as Marxist-Leninist science has been warning for more than three decades.

The upward economic climb fed by endless dollar creation and repeated inflationary stimulation, feeding new growth and exploitation, is turning into its opposite, a disastrous downward spiral of collapsing confidence feeding ever bigger problems through the hollow system.

It will pose ever more sharply and urgently the need for the working class to develop a revolutionary struggle against the entire capitalist imperialist order, or see the world increasingly torn apart as the great imperialist powers fight to the death to drive their rivals into the ground and avoid economic annihilation in collapsing markets.

There is no other way for the plunge towards chaos to be transformed other than turning over the 800 year long domination of the capitalist ruling class, so that rational planned cooperation – socialism – can be established.

This revolutionary perspective, which a tiny minority of voices have insisted on maintaining despite decades of hostility to theory, and philistine contempt for such “old hat” Marxist-Leninism from the “clever” “lefts” of all shades, will be increasingly confirmed as slump and war deepens from the early blitzings in the Middle East to the full scale conflicts to come.

Events are already leaving high and dry the revisionist mind-rot and its sour anti-communist Trot “opposition” which have totally dominated “left” politics since the Second World War, with the notion of gradual reformist improvements for workers lives.

The working class has been led up the longest garden path in history to put its faith in bourgeois “democracy” – the biggest lie in history – by all shades of the fake-”left” including those posturing about with red ink hammers and sickles on the mastheads and “communist” this or that in their titles.

Whether through parliament alone or supplemented with “left pressure” through the unions or “peaceful demonstrations”, and endless manoeuvring for “left influence” and “qualified” support for assorted opportunists, official trade unionists and bureaucrats who are “more left” and “might change things”, the “communists” and “revolutionary Trotskyists” all play the same game.

They all get lost in endless “alliances”, election rackets and detailed “programmes” which always miss out the crucial element – that capitalism will always run into collapse for as long as its system and ruling class is in charge and that only turning over its class system will change anything.

None of them can see, or want to say, that the “leftest” hot air posturing (“opposition to the war, fighting poverty etc) is a complete opportunist fraud because it ties workers to false illusions that protest and pressure – on their own – can make a difference. They are all posturing windbags themselves who only ever mention revolution in academic screeds or turgid inside page articles and with completely no belief that it will ever happen, or even should, for real.

But reality is rapidly leaving them high and dry, their sterile failure to build anything like Leninist scientific struggle descending into infighting and squabbling scandals, like the mess that the “comrades” have produced from the opportunist careerism around the Scottish Socialist Party (wholly caused by its slimy politics, not any “moral” or sexual foibles supposedly exposed by the hypocritical capitalist press scumbags) or the bitter sniping splits among the parliamentary game playing of Respect and the SWP.

Their failure to explain the total lie of parliament to workers will draw as much contempt eventually from workers as the ever tinier votes at election time already show that workers have for mainstream parliament and its sleazy politicians.

Only revolutionary explanations will make sense increasingly.

Far from reforms gradually “containing” imperialism and its war tendencies, and seeing steady “peaceful road” progress improving the lives of ordinary people – and eventually reaching socialism – the working class is seeing the inequalities of life being ratcheted up, as even the Marks & Spencers chairman has recently noted.

The ruling class is making sure it has all the wealth, to survive oncoming inflationary slump chaos.

Brutal class war is being stepped up to try and impose all the burdens of collapse and trade war onto workers.

Open capitalist dictatorship moves (eagerly put through by parliamentary New Labour) to step up constant police-state surveillance, censorship, draconian arrest powers, overt approval of torture and arbitrary detention in secret networks of concentration camps (Guantánamo, Diego Garcia, Egypt, etc etc) for “troublemakers” in all the major imperialist countries from the US downwards, are deliberately intimidatory, desperate panicking preparation by the bourgeoisie for the inevitable eruptions of class war to come which it knows will explode even in the heartland of imperialism as the euphemistically-named “recession” deepens into Great Depression slump.

And non-stop war is in train to divert attention into chauvinist nationalism and suppress class struggle at home, while inter-imperialist war is wound up from the increasingly bitter trade and currency wars for economic survival.

The dominant US power has long ago made clear it will take the lead to try and demonstrate its fascist ruthlessness in order to ride out the conflicts to come and stay top dog, the key function of the “shock and awe” blitzings in Iraq and Afghanistan, aiming to intimidate the entire planet from any rebellious challenges to monopoly imperialist rule in general or battles for power by rival imperialists.

These shock blows will increasingly give the working class the real world lessons that alone will convince it of the need and correctness of Marxist-Leninist theory.

The EPSR has always maintained that it is imperialist crisis, not any kind of persuasion or agitation, that will deliver the sharp and transforming lessons to the great mass of the world which will drive them into revolutionary action (and already is driving them throughout the Third World), culminating in a struggle to end for good the now destructive and chaotic imperialist system.

But spontaneous rebellion cannot get there alone.

Constant open theoretical and political battling is vital, in unity and conflict with the working class, to make those material lessons conscious and to feed back into continually developing scientific understanding which along can provide the leadership to guide and inspire the revolutionary struggle needed to end the oncoming disasters and horrors.

In the wider population as yet, the hostility to war and the gnawing doubts now beginning as food prices climb, jobs start to go, hard sacrificed life-savings and pensions are wiped out, banks teeter on the edge of complete failure, and disgust as the ruling class demonstrates over and over its total venality, sleaze and utter incompetence, are a still long way from any deeper grasp of just how serious this crisis will become (total crash - however many more pauses the ruling class might manipulate in its ultimately unstoppable downward economic spiral).

To some extent the mass of ordinary people in the West has been disarmed by the seemingly endless capacity of modern monopoly capitalism, post-Second World War, to always pull another rabbit out of the hat when faced with Stock Exchange plunges, inflationary rushes, “recessions”, “oil price shocks”, currency collapses and credit failures, which in past times usually precipitated the cyclical and ever-worse slump chaos and suffering for the masses which is built into the inhuman and anarchic capitalist production-for-profit system.

Further stretching of credit, printing billions and tens of billions more dollars, decade after decade, and the bribery, manipulation and intimidation of ever wider swathes of the planet to allow untrammelled export of capital to expand production and markets, combined eventually with the “luck” of the 1989 capitulation of the Soviet workers state to “market guidance” (and western plundering) because of revisionist idiocy, has given monopoly capitalism the momentum to ride over the disruptions and unevenness which its anarchic system always produces.

So far.

“They’ll always find something” is the gloomy folk wisdom as another crisis is apparently averted, albeit with hundreds of millions of already red-raw exploited masses around the Third World taking yet another hit in savaged living standards, homelessness, starvation misery, deprivation and despair as Africa is bled dry, the South-east Asian currencies are wiped out, or banks, and even entire exchequers, fail in inflationary bubbles in Mexico, and South America.

But the insane stretching of production cannot last forever; constantly pumping the credit balloon with higher and higher paper dollar pressure will see it burst apart at some point, and with that much greater disastrous force, the longer it goes on.

Even the huge “soaking up” of surplus dollar debt (which can never be repaid at real value) forced by dominant US imperialism upon the more successful capitalist trading rivals like Japan and Germany, and especially by the powerhouse growth of controlled capitalist development in the Chinese revisionist workers’ state’s planned economy, can be no more than a temporary boost to otherwise near bankrupt western economies, however much Gordon Brown’s humiliating begging leads them to invest.

Working out the detail of how this epoch shattering crisis will further unfold is the constant task of the Leninist party and the advanced sections of the working class as it gets more and more drawn into the struggle, building the scientific leadership in the working class which can see as clearly as possible the strategy and tactics it needs to overcome capitalist disaster for good (see box).

It is still tragically hampered by the dozens of pretend lefts that litter the scene.

Staggeringly, even yet, the unfolding collapses barely impinge on their analyses and programmes, one group of particularly sour crypto-Trot poseurs, the Weekly Worker CPGB, even declaring that economic disintegration will be “of no help to the left”.

“There is absolutely no reason to suppose that people will necessarily come to the conclusion that capitalism is to blame, nor are they likely to turn to the left” it declared in issue 684.

Only because of the total failure of the fake–”left” to explain the capitalist crisis for decades, misleading them instead with constant smug and complacent derision of such theory as “catastrophism” or of no relevance in the modern world.

The Trotskyite SWP, usually somewhat more in touch with working class opinion is little better, managing only in December to say in an internal briefing that the “background to politics in 2008 would be the growing instability caused by imperialism and economic crisis.”


Just in 2008?!?!

But the crisis of capitalism is the fundamental driving force of all history in this epoch, not some incidental new factor. It is intertwined with all the development on the planet.

It is as if Karl Marx need not have bothered with his 30 year long battle focusing on the capitalist economic mechanism to produce the giant achievement of the three volume Capital (and much more too- see economics box), and its grasp of the inner contradictions of the profit system inexorably pushing exploitation and class tyranny towards crisis collapse and the creation of its own revolutionary demise through the working class.

As spelt out in further, and equally titanic. theoretical developments by the Bolsheviks and Lenin in particular and other Marxists, the imperialist crisis is the basic engine pushing the class struggle forwards on the planet and eventually opening the opportunities for the proletariat to seize power and end for ever the insanity and greed of the profit system, which channels all human energy not into production to match human needs, but to service the relentless accumulation of ever more stripped-off surplus value for the benefit of a tiny parasitical minority.

Its relentless demand for more profit is like the sorcerer’s apprentice’s broom, manically sweeping ever more human misery into an insane spiral of accumulation for the sake of accumulation (and ruling class indolence and power).

Humanity has been dragged forwards from the stultifying backwardness of feudalism which the bourgeois itself overturned by revolution (Cromwell, Robespierre etc) to establish its new class rule.

Its brutal progress has drawn the whole of mankind into the modern world, but only as wage slaves and trained factory fodder whose labour output in all but the richest countries is entirely (other than a tiny portion needed for subsistence) creamed off as profit, interest and rent to feed the insatiable demands of the fabulously powerful and rich imperialist ruling class, led by the US bourgeoisie.

Even the “better off” workers of the West are not paid for most of what they produce, after 150 years of trade union battles and “bargains” the “surplus” of their labour output (which is the only source of value apart from nature itself) is still appropriated by the capitalists to provide the wealth that drives the banks, equity funds, hedge funds and so forth which seem so powerful – all living only from what the working class produces.

But inbuilt contradictions long ago turned private profit-making from driving production and technology to a fetter upon it to use Marx’s words, because the system is constantly in deadly crisis as its demented logic leads to overproduction and swamping of the world in too much capital, which capitalism can only want to destroy in repeated slump crisis and eventually threatening all-out World War destructionm, as twice seen already.

In other words the crisis is absolutely central to the understanding of all aspects of the rising class struggle on the planet from the plunge into Middle East warmongering, to the rising tide of anti-western anti-imperialist mass hostility (however stated for the time being in a variety of confused and sometimes backward, and even in parts reactionary, ideological forms).

But not the remotest glimmer of this revolutionary dialectical grasp of the intertwining of all these factors with the war destruction and inter-imperialist conflict now rising, is given by any of these groups.

The Lalkar/Proletarian Brarites even labelled a special rare November article on Marx’s Capital as “theory” – something disconnected and outside normal political understanding in other words, just for “eggheads” perhaps, or “those interested in economics”.

It exactly reflects the episodic, compartmentalised, limited explanations that all these groups give of all events in the world, completely isolated from the overall understanding of the total world crisis of the entire interconnected imperialist system and the class fight erupting within it on a world scale, without which nothing of the giant ferment in the world, the economic crisis or anything at all, can be assessed and grasped in its full context and historical development, and therefore be got right.

But the war threats against Iran, or the renewed scapegoating of Serbia to further Balkanise Yugoslavia with the ludicrous and false splitting off of Kosovo, or the eruptions in Kenya, or Pakistan can only be comprehended with this overall and crucially revolutionary perspective of all history and development.

The complete failure of the entire “left” to give the working class any sensible or meaningful understanding of these crucial questions stems right back to Moscow’s disastrous retreats from the revolutionary core of Marxism.

These began pre-war with the mistakes and limitations of Stalinist Soviet leadership in the 1930s (most of all theories of “anti-fascist fronts” and support for petty bourgeois parliamentarianism in Spain to win the support of “neutral imperialists”) and culminated in the disastrous major revisions of Marxist theory which emerged post-war, abandoning the basic Leninist conception (and understanding of Marx and Engels before) of the need for revolutionary overturn of capitalism.

Stalin’s disastrous revisions of Lenin in “Economic problems” in 1952 (see box quote) crystallised the notion that imperialism would no longer have the capacity to expand in the post-war world, and could be cajoled into “peaceful coexistence” on a permanent basis (as opposed to Lenin’s arguments for tactical short-term peaceful coexistence for the early decades when the newly formed Soviet state was too weak to do anything else).

Negotiations and nudging by mass movement “peace offensives” would “contain” the powerful imperialists long enough for the strength and vibrancy of Soviet development to overtake them, eventually shrivelling them so far that peaceful “democratic means” would be sufficient to finally win socialism – it being crucial meanwhile to avoid “provoking” them.

This deluded nonsense – the USSR’s fair and reasonable working conditions (relatively speaking) could never match quickly imperialism’s worldwide sweatshop exploitation levels of production whatever its better long term superiority - underpinned the shallow consumerist comparisons made by Gorbachevism later on between the US and the USSR (comparing apples with chalk) which madly concluded that “market” control was best and liquidated the entire workers state, its dictatorship of the proletariat KGB defences, and the titanic gains of the last 70 years.

A terrible price in falling living standards and lost social cohesion has been paid ever since as capitalist exploitation has been reimposed, only alleviated for the minority by the carpet-bagging sale of invaluable oil and mineral resources under Bonapartist Putin.

The immediate post-war endpoint was the now utterly disgraced “Peaceful road to socialism” and “parliamentary road” perspectives of the British and other Communist Parties, and the still continuing strategy of parliamentary struggle and “influence”.

It continues to this day in the shallow manoeuvring and jostling for place of the entire fake-“left” – endlessly urging deals with various parts of the reformist racket – either via the latest clone reformist manifestation in Respect (which Galloway overtly declares to be locked into parliamentary bounds – ready to justify all the old opportunism that Labourism has already taught the working class about) or even still urging support for New Labour (!!!) after its monstrous warmongering stoogery for imperialism, and total lies about “economic success” of capitalism have been exposed to a greater extent than ever before (bad enough already at the time of Atlee’s “left” anti-communist brutalities in Malaysia, Kenya and Burma for example.)

The museum Stalinites of Lalkar/Proletarian felt obliged to speak out on this recently in a piece on the breakup of Respect, attacking the New Communist Party for its “slavish support for Labour” which it predicted, correctly enough, will lead to the NCP’s downfall. Well and good especially as they managed to find contradictory quotes from an NCP article which declared that Brown was “on the road to fascism”.

This being published simultaneously with the NCP’s craven narrow parliamentary horizons and its stated position that workers should support Labour to avoid a “massive attack” by the Tories, gives the Lalkarites a high old time,

“We can but presume that, in the considered view of the NCP, the Labour Government’s of Blair and Brown have not been launching a “massive attack” they mock, declaring it all “brazen, shamefaced revisionism and out and out class treachery”.

So it is, or at least the most utter cowardly opportunist muddle, but the Lalkarites are hardly in a position to pompously and self-righteously strut their stuff.

Do they go on to explain the urgent need for a restoration of revolutionary perspective as they berate the NCP, and the CPB too, for supporting Labour?

Not exactly.

Instead they support a faction of the CPB which has urged a split with Labour support (still CPB policy!!!) essentially because it is now so hard to ignore the glaring warmongering reactionariness of “New Labour”.

It wants to ally with George Galloway’s Respect instead.

What a joke. Talk about re-arranging the Titanic’s deckchairs.

The CPB shows “greater political insight” than the NCP declares Lalkar, welcoming what it says is “open questioning of the half century old revisionist dogma of the British Road to Socialism that Labour is the “mass party of the working class”.

Hardly that. This great step forwards means only reverting back to the illusions of “Old Labourism” version two in an alliance with Galloway’s wing of Respect!!!

But tying workers to the disastrous illusions in parliament in Respect is different to supporting Labour says Lalkar. There are two kinds of parliamentary mass party, you see, one “reformist” while the other is “reactionary”.

It is not just the NCP which is going through the “painful intellectual contortions” Lalkar mocks it for.

What humbug. And what disastrous confusion mongering just when workers need revolutionary clarity spelt out openly. The whole democracy racket is reactionary and nothing but a cover for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Reformism is the great sellout trickery which has been used for a century to hide just that.

Trying to get it going again with yet another variant is a complete fraud - no matter how spectacular the firework denunciations of imperialism from the articulate Galloway might be.

But no such plain language is forthcoming from Lalkar in this supposed “polemic”.

And for good reason. The real point of all this flak, in a piece on the breakup of Respect, is to slyly lift Lalkar from the hook it has been pinned on for the last decade – its own “slavish support” over eight years for the Socialist Labour Party, providing a left cover for Arthur Scargill’s bureaucratic trade union suppression of Marxist discussion and argument from 1999 onwards, and keeping silent about the torrent of reactionary garbage that streamed out and most particularly the SLP’s craven rowing along with “condemnation” of the rising Third World struggle as nothing but “terrorism” – capitulating to the grossest imperialist reaction just like every other fake-”left”.

The SLP it seems, falls into the same re-defined “reformist” party category as Respect in Lalkar’s new system.

Marxists would not be hostile to the leaders of these, like Arthur Scargill, George Galloway or Bob Crow, when they were taking “political and organisational steps to demarcate themselves from social democracy and its main expression the imperialist Labour Party”. Only if they “fail to thoroughly effect such a break” would they be criticised say the Brarites.

But this is complete tosh because the Brarites stayed on long throughout eight years of a failure to make such a break.

The reason that Marxists (including the EPSR) initially took up the challenge to build the SLP was to test whether this major break by the labour movement from the Labour Party represented a new direction for a potential mass working class party – with crucially the opportunity to debate and discuss openly all the political issues affecting the working class, and to argue for a communist understanding.

Exactly that was possible initially.

But when the debate was shut down with the kangaroo court expulsion of the EPSR’s Roy Bull, because Leninist politics were making so much headway in the party that he had been popularly elected vice-chairman, the issue was clear: The SLP was saturated with the same treacherous class collaborating traditions that a century and a half of reformism (as Marxism conventionally understands the term) had already stifled the working class with (see EPSR 1259, 1245 etc).

Bizarrely Lalkar cites a section of the Communist Manifesto to justify what it sneakily refers to its “alliance” with the SLP in which it says it “tirelessly worked to build it organisationally and ideologically until such time as they were arbitrarily and bureaucratically expelled.”

Tirelessly worked to cover up the inadequacies, reactionary nonsense and conceited individualism that constituted the full content of Scargill’s leadership would be a more accurate statement. This was six years after the EPSR had already suffered the same fate and for the whole time Lalkar never raised a whisper about it.

Lalkar has to go so far back (1849), to find tactics because it is avoiding all later Marxist polemic and exposure of reformism, revisionism and betrayal, most of all in volume after volume of Lenin, which makes clear that the independent line of Marxist understanding should never be suppressed in favour of maintaining such an alliance, and even more, that the agreement should be used to expose the failings of the non-revolutionary sections (see box below), exactly what was not done in the disastrous Popular Front with bourgeois republicanism in the Spanish civil war for example, one of the first major signals of the major failings of Stalinist understanding which Lalkar places uncritcally on a pedestal.

As Lenin analysed, mid-nineteenth class conditions were still unripe for socialism, the working class was undeveloped, feudalism was powerful in Europe and basic bourgeois democratic rights had still to be won. An alliance with petty bourgeois democratic movements had an utterly different significance to later struggle in the imperialist epoch. But Lalkar is still hoist on its own petard in its own quotes.

“In France the communists ally with the social-democrats against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie” appears in the middle of the “justification” it cites from Marx and Engels. But, it goes on, “reserving however the right to take up a critical position in regard to phases and illusions handed down from the Great Revolution” (referring to the bourgeois French revolution).

Precisely. Once that capacity is censored there is no hope of reaching clarity.

But the Brarites are not interested in open debate on past mistakes in the communist movement, still a crucial task for winning back the world proletariat’s confidence and trust in communist leadership which has been so badly damaged and shattered by Gorbachevite liquidationism.

Totally the opposite; all the “sizzling” polemics against the NCP and CPB are just a cosmetic show, teatime tricks against “safe targets”. But genuine struggle to find scientific understanding, is evaded.

Polemical challenges, made repeatedly by the EPSR over 25 years, are ignored.

Even a single verbal debate that was agreed to in 2003 has been buried, with a promised transcript of the tape never emerging and no answers to the major questions outstanding as a result (see EPSR 1190-1196).

A key issue they do not answer is question of the responsibility of the Brarites’ pedestalled hero Stalin for the idiocies of the “Peaceful Road” they so forcefully lambast, and its complete continuity with the Stalinist world perspective which got things so badly wrong.

“But the Peaceful Road was not Stalin’s doing” the Brarites usually say, to skip round the issue "and nor did he approve it.”

All history of Moscow’s control and approval for the policies of the world CP movement says otherwise.

And the Brarites concede as much too. In their ludicrous cult worship of Stalin they are so determined to elevate his “all-seeing intellect” alongside Lenin, Marx, and Engels that they gush that for these greats “no corner of the political spectrum was too obscure as not to attract careful attention..on all trends in the working class movement.”

Those in the vitally important post-war British Empire most certainly among them.

But beyond this the Brarites avoid

“the REALLY outstanding political garbage in the NCP’s record, — its often declared willingness to sacrifice “EVERYTHING” just so as not to allow Western imperialism to provoke a nuclear war against the Soviet Union.

It was THIS policy above all others in the ‘Eurocommunist’ locker which finally led to the obvious logic of self-liquidation.

But it was THIS policy, above all others, which was the STALINIST policy par excellence. It was THIS policy which finally took Gorbachev’s Kremlin on a direct route from Stalin’s “peaceful coexistence” capitulatory idiocy eventually to the total self-liquidation of all remaining revolutionary-war ambitions for the world communist movement, and therefore to the self-liquidation of Revolutionary Russia itself.“ [EPSR 1245, 24 Aug 2003].

The complete unwillingness to tackle the difficult past and the mistakes made, has been compounded by the launching four years ago of the Brarites’ “new party”, the CPGB-ML and its paper the Proletarian, the central purpose of which is to leave behind all the awkward baggage of Lalkar’s SLP tailending “no questions asked”.

But a “fresh new start” that simply sweeps all the old evasions under the carpet is not only going to go nowhere, but actually adds to the confusion facing the working class, which above all needs straight answers, or failing that, an honest open struggle with the difficult questions to try and understand them.

But is this CPGB-ML making any better headway in giving leadership on the latest questions?

Not in the slightest.

It fits right into the same old pattern of opportunism and fake-”left” play acting muddle, providing the same old compartmentalised wooden analyses which crucially lack all revolutionary perspective. The same old deceit and fudge covers up mistakes and confusion, both of Lalkar’s immediate past and the long Stalinist tradition.

Nothing illustrates this better at present than the rolling events of the “Bolivarian revolution” in Venezuela and Bolivia and the failed referendum to extend Hugo Chávez' presidential powers in December.

Proletarian (Lalkar) falls smack bang into the same old Moscow revisionist “peaceful coexistence” trap that saturates all its Museum-Stalinism.

Worse still it goes along with precisely the “parliamentary road” garbage that just five minutes previously it had been berating the NCP and CPB for pursuing under the British Road to Socialism, larded with yet more of its “guru” worship – this time for Hugo Chávez who, it explains, “like it or not is important for the continuing progress of the Venezuelan revolution”.

What “revolution”????

So far Venezuela has seen only left reforms by a left nationalist government strong on anti-imperialist bombast and rich with oil money, welcome enough for alleviating the poverty and deprivation of the workers, but larded with just as much confusion and soft-brained posturing as anything in the long legacy of philosophically degenerate revisionism.

But this is “real democracy that unleashes the creative powers of masses of people - a democracy that scarcely exists in any capitalist country” gushes the Proletarian. Proposed constitutional changes were “a massive extension of democracy not its abolition as the capitalists were claiming” it adds defensively.

Progress would be made by introducing collective ownership forms which would have a “chance of demonstrating their superiority” they say, in an local echo of the Stalinist “peaceful coexistence” world view that Socialism would begin to exert a growing attraction as “imperialism was contained”.

But Venezuela is a capitalist state still, whatever constraints might have put on foreign investment or local exploitation.

There has been no taking of power yet from the bourgeoisie in the “Bolivarian revolution” however much Chávez declares himself to be a “communist” and however much the bourgeoisie (and Washington imperialism behind it) might be smarting currently at its failure to mount an outright counter-revolution and dismiss this inflammatory thorn in their side.

Exactly what is “twenty-first century socialism” supposed to mean????

What does it add to the great understandings of Marx, Engels and Lenin of the crucial importance of taking power and suppressing for good the non-stop reactionary brutality and bloody vengeance of the bourgeoisie?

Nothing scientific.

But plenty of further posturing confusion which can only run the working class round in circles, deluding them with the idea that they are achieving something and disarming them from the dangers that capitalism threatens.

Has nothing been learned in a century of bloody counter-revolutionary massacre and wholesale slaughter of democratic gains?

Real democracy!!!!

Where is the message that should be the first and most repeatedly emphasised element of all Marxist leadership – that there is only class rule dictatorship in the world, either the permanently bloody exploitative tyranny of the bourgeoisie (hidden behind a parliamentary façade in the rich countries and where it can be put over on the ‘natives’ elsewhere), or the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Far from “accepting the result” of the heavily manipulated December referendum (with the deliberate economic sabotage by the bourgeoise in its run-up, and torrents of lying propaganda from the private press and TV to disillusion the masses) Chávez needed to deliver first and foremost to the world the same message that Lenin’s Bolsheviks delivered in 1918 after the Constituent Assembly had failed to deliver them a clear majority.

“It proves only the inadequacy of the electoral process and its inability to reflect reality” said Lenin, “since the Bolsheviks have already taken power with the mass backing of the advanced working class and peasantry.”

The assembly, reflecting the backward reactionary forces from the Russian countryside (which formed the backbone of the White Army counter-revolution and nearly two dozen western countries’ armies which tried drowning the new Sovietism in blood) was disbanded

In the hundred years since the bourgeoisie has made it much clearer than ever in Lenin’s time, exactly how cynically and manipulatively they treat “democracy” and just how ruthlessly and brutally they will dispose of any casual illusions that this will ever be allowed to make progress for the working class.

Joke reformist class collaboration parliament, so well refined in Britain and the other rich countries, which changes nothing essential about class rule, making token reforms where it can be afforded to fool everyone, is one thing. Pretensions to really putting working class interests forward and curtailing capitalist exploitation is something else entirely.

Were the savage lessons of Indonesia in 1965 and Chile in 1973 not enough, when revisionist confusion and opportunist faith in “communism through parliament and peaceful majorities” were drowned in blood, seeing the wholesale slaughter of one million communists or anyone even suspected of communist sympathies in Indonesia, and the Pinochet takeover’s stadium roundup killings and grotesque and horrifying torture and death squad rule??

Did no-one read Philip Agee’s book “Inside the Company: a CIA diary” where this ex-spy operator turned anti-imperialist, (who just died in Cuba), spelt out exactly how the intelligence agencies penetrate every country on earth, working out of the embassies and cultural institutions (such as the British Council which the Russians are currently rightly so suspicious of) to recruit and manipulate a host of journalists, trade union bosses, student leaders, politicians, businessmen, and the like, planting stories and disinformation and provoking demonstrations, riots and strikes, to ferment instability and bring down governments that the West does not like, or create the conditions for coups d’états and putsches?????

Like this, as just revealed:

...that the British government contemplated supporting an anti-communist coup in Italy in 1976 is not..surprising. It confirms a long British tradition of marching in lockstep with the global policies of the United States...

The political conditions of cold-war Italy that emerge from the declassified Foreign Office documents published by the Rome daily La Repubblica on Sunday would appear to justify the prevailing sense of strategic panic. The Italian Communist party (PCI) was threatening to achieve power through the ballot box, held back only by the fragile bulwark of a corrupt and effete Christian Democrat party (DC).

Communist participation in the government of a key Nato ally, as proposed two years later by DC leader Aldo Moro, could have momentous consequences. “The presence of communist ministers in the Italian government would pose an immediate security problem for the Alliance,” Britain’s ambassador to Nato, John Killick, warned London. The security of nuclear bases in Italy could be at risk, military secrets were likely to leak to Moscow, and the US Sixth Fleet’s land base in Naples would no longer be secure.

It was not, then, surprising that a Foreign Office planning document, drawn up on May 6 1976, should consider “Action in support of a coup d’etat or other subversive action.” British opinion was by no means monolithic on the subject. The country was, after all, under the Labour government of James Callaghan.


Though apparently attractive, the idea of a surgical military coup was “unrealistic” for the Foreign Office planners, and an authoritarian government was considered just as unpalatable as a government comprising communists./p>

Britain’s ambassador to Rome, Sir Guy Millard, wisely concluded there was not much his country could do, lamenting the fact that the fate of the country was in the undependable hands of the DC. But British planners ran through the whole gamut of options, including “Subversive or military intervention against the PCI”. The latter included financial support for “democratic forces” and the encouragement of a coup.

Callaghan was acutely aware of the sensitivity of the subject, highlighting the “grave harm” that would be caused if the documents became public, revealing Britain’s “interference in the internal affairs of a European ally”.

All this was at a time when Italy was wracked by industrial unrest, terrorist bombings and authentic coup plots enjoying varying degrees of support from the US government. 1976 saw the arrest on coup-plotting charges of Edgardo Sogno, a former resistance fighter turned anti-communist partisan who had also served as a diplomat in Washington. Sogno claimed in a memoir that his coup project had been given a green light by the Rome CIA station chief, who assured him of US support for “any initiative designed to keep the communists out of government”.

In 1990, Sogno told the magazine Panorama that he had made a personal commitment to shoot anyone who was prepared to form a government with members of the PCI. The admission, and the anti-communist planning outlined in the Foreign Office documents, provide an interesting backdrop to the fate of Aldo Moro. The moderate DC leader was kidnapped by the Marxist revolutionaries of the Red Brigades on the day he was due to present a new government - enjoying for the first time the external support of the PCI - for a confidence vote in parliament. He was shot dead after 55 days in captivity, on May 9 1978.

Is no-one drawing the modern lessons of the complete siege torturing torment of the one and half million civilians in the Gaza strip whose Hamas leadership won an election outright only to be completely and continuously persecuted and abused by the united forces of the West led by its rotweiler tool of Zionism? Staggeringly the BBC – that sophisticated mouthpiece for imperialist reaction – continuously refers to this legal government as having “seized power”(!!!!) as it reports the latest round of snipings, blitzings, bombings and utterly cruel starvation blockading of the concrete hellhole prison camp that the Palestinian people are forced to call home because their own land was stolen in 1947 (another tragedy of Moscow revisionism, under the very much alive and in control Joseph Stalin, which not only recognised the monstrosity of the “Israeli state” occupation but even helped supply it with arms.)

Even the most upright pro-”democracy” illusions of the bourgeois press are having difficulties:

Muslim democracy is a moot concept, but it has made a sort of imprint on Iran, Palestine, Lebanon and even Iraq and Pakistan. Yet it was not these leaders that Bush graced with a visit this past week. He went to Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, where he was feted with gifts of gold, rubies, emeralds and diamonds. It sure beat a walkabout in downtown Baghdad.

In Pakistan, Bush continues to back dictatorship and must suffer the resulting Taliban “blowback” in Afghanistan. In Palestine he ignores the winner of an election, Hamas. He appeases Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship in Egypt and is craven to the autocrats of Saudi Arabia.

The enormous mass movement in South America has been possible so far only because of the overwhelming tide of struggle worldwide against imperialism, and the spiralling crisis, preoccupying imperialism.

But its vicious counter-revolutionary plans are constantly plotted. It is not enough add as an afterthought to a panegyric on “real democracy” that “there can be no revolution without mobilisation of workers” and that it “cannot proceed without a confrontation with the reactionary elements which inevitably will cause hardship” so that “hearts and minds must be won over for the fierce struggle ahead.”

Well and good, but how exactly. By conceding the lie of parliament and elections to the twisted bourgeoisie and by never mentioning proletarian dictatorship?

The masses may “not be ready” but whose fault is that? The entire post-war “communist” retreat from revolution is the answer.

It urgently needs to be changed by building Leninism. Don Hoskins


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EPSR archives

(edited extracts from past issues).


The vital dividing line in politics is the philosophical one over whether “reasonable reforms” can change the world, or whether history’s only natural and inevitable process is class-war revolution.

On one side, the tiny following for Leninism; constantly analysing the imperialist-system economic crisis for evidence of how, where, and WHEN the revolutionary breakdown in the West’s control of the planet draws near, so that working class support can mobilise to build a CONSCIOUS revolutionary party to combat imperialism’s total chaos and warmongering disaster.

On the other side, everyone else, urging a non-committal stance on the imminence of capitalist crisis, and pressing for “full socialism” in various fake-’left’ (Trot & Revisionist) appeals to workers.

The whole history of the Stalinist destruction of the Third International flowed from corrupting workers’ understanding by a belief that “good imperialism” (that which fought Nazi Germany) would eventually be persuaded to “peacefully coexist” with the workers states, thus making “peaceful roads to socialism” possible.

This philosophical rottenness lives on today in continuing vast swathes of world politics (UN; social democracy; “voting for REAL socialism”; anti-fascist movements; nationalism of all kinds; environmentalism; stop-the-war movements; etc, etc, etc) which STILL expect “justice” from imperialism, continuing Moscow’s Soviet-era influence - typified by Arafat and the PLO.

And the arguments and “justifications” remain the same, too.

“What else could the USSR have done in 1945 faced with the American atomic bomb?”, echoed in “What else can the PLO do but seek a two-state compromise deal from vastly stronger Zionist imperialism?”, etc, etc.

In an earlier period of Revisionist nonsense, the socialist revolution in Spain was told to trust in Republican parliamentary democracy as the best bet for halting fascist dictatorship; and the German socialist revolution told to rely on a Hitler-NAZI failure at bourgeois government to open the door for the Communist Party.

In scores of cases throughout the Third International’s record (and after), Stalin’s Revisionist delusions meant that Moscow’s influence repeatedly backed the wrong programme, strategy, or tactics in the international anti-imperialist struggle.

Although a post-1945 attack on the West would have been a fruitless and idiotic policy, the alternative did not have to be the even greater imbecility that “peaceful coexistence will guarantee the eventual victory of socialism worldwide”.

However long the post-1945 capitalist boom was going to last, the only rational science of society that exists demanded that nothing but a REVOLUTIONARY analysis of imperialist crisis should continue.

A world communist movement pursuing a Leninist programme, strategy, and tactics non-stop, may have provoked even more US imperialist counter-revolutionary interventions around the globe than actually did take place anyway; and maybe it would still have been unwise or impossible for the USSR to have openly gone to the assistance of legitimate revolutionary governments in many cases. But could US imperialism have invaded and conquered the Soviet Union as its ultimate counter-revolutionary policy????? It is utter nonsense. It would have been the end of imperialism. Imperialism was either incapable of inflicting counter-revolution, or was defeated in the attempt, in very many revolutionary situations post-1945, including failed or defeated American attempts to roll back the clock as in Korea, China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc, etc.

But it was Stalin’s delusion of “world socialism through peaceful-coexistence reformist-pressure’ which prevailed, - a deliberately ANTI-revolutionary influence, fearful of “adventurism” - and “theoretically grounded” on the infantile, anti-Marxist, shallowness of “Economic Problems, 1952” which invented the nonsense that expansionary economic booms were no longer possible in the imperialist world following the spread of the Socialist Camp, and that socialist production and living standards would relentlessly overhaul the West, and put an end to the Cold War on a positive, peaceful note for socialism.

As a result, the entire international working class, virtually, is just about totally disarmed now from any preparedness at all to meet the rapidly escalating REVOLUTIONARY crisis of the whole global imperialist system.

[EPSR No 1190 27th July 2003 against the Lalkar Stalinists]

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Specifically, this entire opportunist swamp, cringing behind its hasty “condemnation” of anything Western propaganda denotes as “terrorism” in order to curry favour with anti-theory philistines like Scargill, or to keep in with the joke “Socialist Alliance”, or just to avoid being too outspoken on now very difficult and dangerous public issues,– simply shuts its mind to the essential challenge posed by Marxist-Leninist science.

This exclusively M–L class-WAR understanding of ALL historical development included the following basics:

• Universal suffrage is just a permanent instrument of bourgeois rule;

• The imperialist countries’ might will grow ever vaster, and NOTHING will stop them going to war again (and again, and again, and again, etc);

• Only violent revolution will ever take power away from this world imperialist ruling class to stop them dominating the planet with their exploitation and their warmongering supremacy, finally always butchering all opposition and rivalry if that is what they see as necessary;

• The essential tactic for the international working-class in the unending imperialist warmongering is for the workers in each country to call for the DEFEAT of their OWN ruling class in ALL the various unending conflicts and “defence of national interests” garbage;

• That demand for “DEFEAT” in any conflict calls for NOT ONE SCRAP of “victory” for the enemy side, necessarily; in a Tsarist imperialist defeat, for example, it is Russian soil which will produce the eventual “victors”, not the invading German imperialist forces;

• Defeat or not, the ultimate aim of taking state power away from the warmongering imperialist ruling-class can ONLY become possible through the strategy of “turning the imperialist war into civil war”, no other way;

• In this way, the whole PROGRAMME of violent revolution leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat, the absolute essence of Marxist-Leninist scientific understanding of how history ALONE can function, – is likeliest seen as fulfilling mankind’s age-old dream of building socialist justice for all (economic, political, cultural, and social) in a workers state, exactly as was achieved by the Bolshevik Revolution and the building of the USSR;

• To get there, only a dedicated PARTY OF REVOLUTIONARY THEORY, developing in constant polemical conflict, internal and external will be able to build the CONSCIOUS revolutionary leadership throughout the workers movement on every issue that will carry out the task;

• In the likely conditions of the depths of economic crisis plus the degradation of war destruction in which the revolutionary party will begin to come into its own, all manner of violent hatred of imperialist rule will be being expressed randomly and spontaneously all round the world, – all of it being venomously condemned as ‘terrorism” by the imperialists, and much of it being made an example of with maximum brutality by the “civilised authorities” for ease of scapegoating ALL opponents with full force in due course.

Whatever negative effects for the revolutionary struggle are envisaged as flowing from such “terrorist outrages”, Lenin insisted that it would be suicidally stupid for the revolutionaries to see anything else in these issues than further signs of a civil-war break-up of the old order in which the revolution should be on the side of EVERY defeat, setback, and humiliation for the ruling class, no matter where it came from or how, while yet keeping itself aloof from negative methods (if so they are judged) and from reactionary anti-establishment attitudes possibly behind such methods, - using the situation ONLY to tell the revolutionaries themselves that they are not yet doing their agitational and enlightening jobs nearly well enough, and seeing the preponderance or popularity of such hate explosions as a condemnation of the revolutionary party for its own weak influence.

Above all, the revolutionary party should avoid humiliating itself in irremediable class-collaborative shame by joining the ruling-class in “condemning” the “terrorist outrages”.

• In any United Front activities with non-revolutionary forces in order to isolate or defeat a more pressing immediate enemy, it is absolutely VITAL for the revolutionary party to simultaneously exploit the “unity” as a way of demonstrating the inadequacy or mistakes of the non-revolutionary forces on their own.

It is also essential for the revolutionary party NEVER to drop, hide, or muddle its own clear revolutionary perspective longterm while temporary United-Front activities are in progress.

The world communist movement by the end of the Stalin epoch had effectively abandoned, betrayed, or muddled every single aspect of these CRUCIAL Marxist-Leninist basics.

[EPSR No1195 29 July 2003 — against Lalkar]

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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


State killings and the struggle for justice


THE decision of psni Chief Constable Hugh Orde to allow the North’s senior coroner access to the Stalker/Sampson report into the summary execution of six unarmed men in County Armagh in 1982 marks the latest breakthrough in the long running battle to secure a public forum to examine state killings in the North.

Over 88% of those killed by the state were from the nationalist community. The majority were civilians and a significant number were children. Almost all were unarmed or posed no threat at the time they were killed.

Over 90% of combatants killed by the state were republican compared to 10% loyalist. In the case of 90 killings, the perpetrators remain unidentified and the British Government denies involvement but the evidence suggests otherwise.

More than twice the number of people killed directly by the state have died at the hands of unionist paramilitaries, armed and controlled by state forces. In other words around half the fatalities in the conflict resulted from the actions of state and pro-state forces.

While around 15,000 republicans and nationalists have collectively served a total of over 100,000 years imprisonment, only four serving members of the British army have been jailed, serving a total of just over 15 years.

The disproportionately high number of nationalists killed by state and pro-state forces has been compounded by the disproportionately low number of those responsible being held accountable both in terms of investigation and prosecution.

This represents a massive justice deficit which relatives and campaign groups have been attempting to address for years. The figures also give lie to the notion most favoured by state propaganda that the British state was a neutral in the conflict rather than a key protagonist.

The inquest system in the North emerged as a site of struggle as all alternative avenues of accountability and address were systematically closed down.

But even coroners’ courts were not immune from British government interference. In 1985 an international lawyers inquiry into the shoot-to-kill scandal was held in Dublin headed by Kader Asmal, later a minister in post Apartheid South African.

The inquiry concluded that coroners’ courts in the North “lacked the capacity to carry out fully independent and impartial inquiries” where civilians had been shot dead by crown forces on duty.

The lawyers listed concerns including delays in holding inquests, often for political reasons, absence of material witnesses, the jury selection process (in the hands of the ruc) and restrictions which deprived juries from delivering a verdict.

Unlike inquest juries in England and Wales, jurors in the North of Ireland were restricted to delivering ‘findings’, reiterating basic facts relating to who the person was and the medical definition of how they died. With the introduction of ‘amendments’ by the British government in 1980, coroners’ courts were denied the ability to apportion blame with even the option to deliver an ‘open’ verdict denied.

In the event that someone was shot dead by British Crown forces, this bizarre restriction left the inquest unable to comment on the use of lethal force and could only deliver the ‘finding’ that the deceased died of gunshot wounds.

“We felt bound to conclude,” said the international lawyers’ inquiry, “that the recent amendments to the coroners’ rules have been designed to protect members of the security forces from all public criticism.”

Amnesty International reiterated the Dublin inquiry’s concern. “The procedures used to investigate disputed killings in Northern Ireland are ineffective in establishing all the facts and in making them public. In some cases evidence has shown that police investigations may have been deliberately superficial in order to protect security force personnel,” said Amnesty.

“Particular restrictions on coroners’ inquests which are applicable only in Northern Ireland made such an inquest an inadequate mechanism to bring out the full facts in cases of disputed killings,” said Amnesty.

Other practices also curtailed the ability of relatives and their legal teams to impact on proceedings. Families’ lawyers were not allowed prior scrutiny of evidence restricting their ability to respond to what was often dubious scientific practice.

There was no opportunity to cross examine key witnesses. Those responsible for the killing could not be compelled to attend the court and their evidence was presented as a prewritten statement read out by someone else. The denial of legal aid and the difficulty of obtaining independent forensic evidence made it even more difficult for families to challenge official versions of state killings.

But they did. Relatives and their legal teams asked questions and raised issues that the inquest system was never intended to answer. They challenged the constraints imposed by state and exposed investigative incompetence and cover up. Sometimes the families prevailed; many times they were frustrated but the campaign for truth and justice continued.

In April 2000 the families of Gervaise McKerr, Pearse Jordan killed by the ruc, Patrick Shanaghan by loyalists colluding with state forces and those killed by the sas in Loughgall brought their cases to the European Court of Human Rights.

The British had already bowed to the inevitable and after refusing for years, signed up to the European

Convention on Human Rights. A few months later the Strasburg court found the British Government guilty of violating human rights in all 12 cases brought against them. The rulings related not to the killings themselves but to the inadequacy of subsequent investigations and public scrutiny mechanisms such as the inquest.

This placed the North’s inquest system at the coalface of international human rights scrutiny. By 2004 senior coroner John Leckey was writing a submission, Inquests and Human Rights in Northern Ireland as part of a public consultation process in relation to the “modernising” the coroners service.

Leckey was frank:

“My coronial experience in relation to holding inquests into troubles related deaths was not a happy one.

“Many deaths occurred in controversial circumstances, particularly where the death resulted from direct intervention by the security forces, and the subsequent inquests were often contentious. The adequacy of a coroner’s inquest as the means of investigating such deaths was called into question and from the mid 1980s this led to an exponential growth in legal challenges.”

But after “many decades of stagnation” said Leckey, “the coronial landscape now is very different to what it was twenty years ago.” And the “key reason” was the Human Rights Act.

“The coronial landscape was forever changed. Within a few years of it coming into force it became noticeable to me how the human rights ‘language’ was being used routinely by bereaved families whether in court or in correspondence. I was impressed by the grasp so many non-lawyers had acquired of the important human rights concepts and of their impact on the investigation of deaths through the medium of a coroner’s inquest,” said Leckey.

Of course, as clearly illustrated by yet another adjournment of the inquest into the killing of Pearse Jordan took place this week, the struggle is far from over. But there’s a small justice in the fact that some of the cases that the British have tried the hardest to suppress are those currently scheduled to be revisited, now under more favourable conditions for the victims.

“We’ve been left in limbo again,” said Pearse’s father Hugh Jordan commenting on the adjournment of his son’s inquest. “I am not really surprised that the inquest has been adjourned again. This seems to be the way it operates,” said Jordan.

AnPh 13 December 2007

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