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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 1327 11th February 2008

Press hyping of the US election circus cannot undo the deepening disillusion in, and suspicion of, the rotten hypocritical “democracy” fraud growing in every country – and the underlying hatred of the out-of-time imperialism and its tyrannical exploitation. Rapidly deepening signs of the Great Depression to come as capitalist crisis can no longer be staved off by yet more worthless paper dollar creation will teach the working class bitter lessons in the futility and misleadership of reformist “Labour” and fake–“left” pressure. The need is for revolutionary politics, the only solution to the world war destruction which defunct capitalism is dragging mankind back into again.

Increasingly desperate articles in the capitalist media asserting that we are “all fascinated” by the American election and its “real democracy” only underlines the exact opposite – the growing contempt of the entire world for the bourgeois electoral racket, even in its most lavish US expression.

Much of the Third World is in intensifying revolt already against the “fr’dm ‘n ‘mocracy” excuses the US Empire has turned up to a new level of hypocrisy to “justify” blitzkrieging “shock and awe” bullying of the whole planet – the only way capitalism can maintain its dominance as the world heads for total crisis catastrophe.

As the true dictatorial police state nature of Depression headed capitalism comes back into view throughout the richest Western countries also, only the tiniest minority of petty bourgeois, desperate to pretend the world is still “in order”, still have any illusions in “voting”.

Even then, the few going to the polls do so for mainly negative reasons, to turf out the latest bunch of sleaze balls and opportunists.

The real and urgent interest of the entire world is in understanding why backbreaking exploitation, poverty, humiliation and disease continues as the norm for most of the Third World’s masses and poor, and why in even the richest countries the tiny “benefits” the working class has been thrown in the way of “welfare” are being stripped away as past “super-profits” dry up.

Why is the whole planet is being plunged once again into economic slump, environmental disaster, social chaos, profiteering inequality, criminality and breakdown?

And above all why is deadly threatening warmongering being escalated again – just as in two slump and world war disasters created by imperialist crisis already?

But answers to these questions are exactly what they are not getting.

The billions of dollars of spending on massive empty advertising glitz, spin and hype, with the focus on artificially created and tailored “personalities”, monstrous religious hypocrisy tied with carefully controlled and presented cutesy family lives, and “endearing moments” of “personal vulnerability but inner strength”, all dressed up in soft-focus backlit films of walks on the beaches and in the parks, studiously evades any mention of real issues whatsoever.

Such is the threadbare nature of the now despised racket that not one but two of capitalism’s latest individualist special pleading cards have had to be played – feminism and black nationalism at the same time – to try and stir some last-ditch interest with more shallow diversionary promises of promised tinkering changes.

They will do nothing to tackle the class inequality (for ordinary male workers as much as women, oppressed “races” and ethnic groups and other minorities) of society, its causes and oncoming war and slump disaster it is bringing.

That is, it says nothing of the historically defunct capitalist economic and political order and the black-hole Depression which it is dragging the world into – a massive catastrophe that alone the EPSR has continued to warn the working class about.

Capitalism will spin out the jam-tomorrow lies of “democracy” for as long as possible, while it deepens its police state and war preparations.

But its capacity to fool most of the people most of the time is getting thinner and thinner.

In the latest fatuous circus, the spouting of utterly meaningless platitudes is even more contemptuous and shallow than ever, as at least some of the more cynical (though equally reactionary) commentators notice:

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain called his second place in the Michigan primary last Tuesday night “a victory for optimism”. How can optimism win anything? It’s a cast of mind, not a football team. The Democrats’ Barack Obama talks about “the audacity of hope”, as if daring to hope for something means it will happen. This is the Tinkerbell, “clap hands if you believe in fairies”, school of political discourse. An honest politician would say: “Look, the world economic situation is desperate; you won’t be able to afford your mortgage, and you probably couldn’t sell your house if you needed to; more terrorists are being trained every day; and some scientists think the world is going to become a ball of dust in a generation.

Apart from repeating the reactionary imperialist “war on terror” bullshit, that the world’s problems are caused by “outsiders” irrationally bent on destruction, the conclusion is a nonsense anyway.

No “honest” politician, however “left” posturing, can exist in a parliamentary or presidential system whose sole purpose is to hide the actual reality of total dictatorship by the monied class and the driving inhuman need of capital to endlessly make a profit at the expense of the great proletarian mass.

Even if they did – which is to say if they had a proletarian point of view – they would have to say a lot more than that about the disastrous economic and social catastrophe to which the entire worldwide monopoly capitalist class system is driving mankind.

All the platforms of bourgeois “democracy” and protest (through marches, trade union strikes etc) can be used by honest (revolutionary) political movement.

But their most important task of all, as Marxist-Leninism has always said of elections would be explaining to the working class exactly what a giant fraud the parliamentary game is, deliberately heading them away from the revolutionary understanding which is the only possible solution to capitalist catastrophe.

Everything else is rank opportunism, tying workers back into reformist illusions, obscuring the truth.

Election results, even if they have not been fixed by a hundred and one different manipulations and frauds anyway à la Florida, change nothing of the brutal exploitation which is the imperialist order and its warmongering response to unstoppable economic collapse and slump disaster.

This is a system on a slide into the greatest Depression collapse in all history and its inevitable destructive end point of Third World War.

The antagonistic contradictions of the profit system analysed so brilliantly by Karl Marx (see EPSR box) have the world in their grip.

Only turning over the private ownership of the means of production and establishing common ownership for controlled production for human needs, not ever accumulating profit, can change it.

A planned socialist cooperative and peaceful development is the only way forwards for mankind as Marxism has been arguing now for 160 years

But the capitalist ruling order will never willingly let go of the sweet life of power and indolent luxury it enjoys at the expense of the overwhelming mass of the planet.

And the deeper it slides into disaster the less it can allow any more of even the notional reformist gains granted in the past to give the electoral racket some temporary credibility.

Such notions are put down with increasing force, – the police state reality of bourgeois dictatorship becoming more openly imposed every day through censorship, endless surveillance, arrest without trial and approved torture and detention for all deemed too rebellious.

But they will grow anyway.

An inchoate rebellion of anti-capitalist hatred is erupting across the whole world.

For all its confusions, religious shackles and nationalist limitations, this is a mass revolt that will never go back in the bottle.

Everyone everywhere is beginning to understand what a giant empty fraud the democracy game has always been – capitalism’s greatest trick in keeping the masses in order.

What it urgently needs is conscious expression – the scientific analytical task of the revolutionary party to develop in unity and conflict with the working class, the only possible future which can overcome this onrushing disaster and destruction.

It is getting the exact opposite from the fake-”lefts”, of course, who in various forms continue to insist the working class and proletarian mass of the planet can change things by “peaceful roads”, “influence” and “pressure” through “legal channels” and “proper procedures”, or by “alliances” and “ tactical support” for the opportunists and parliamentarians.

Or who, in the few notional cases supposedly opposing such perspectives in favour of mass action, still refuse to untangle the disastrous and dire post-2nd war legacy of Stalinist revisionism which led to and sustains reformist shallowness.

Any gains such tactics might make will only intensify the oncoming crisis repression as history has shown nonstop for the last century and as hundreds of millions are discovering all over again.

Try the reformist nonsense on the Palestinian masses whose completely above board and overwhelming electoral choice of militant Hamas to lead them, in early 2006, has been greeted with nearly two years of stepped-up oppression, western sanctions, collective punishment, blitzing, and siege starvation for over one and a half million civilians, locked into the hell-hole concrete prison camp of the Gaza Strip.

Their already 60 year long heroic resistance to the total theft of an entire nation and its land is now being brutally “punished” by the monster Zionist Nazi regime of the colonialist occupation of “Israel”, on a genocidal scale of ever greater inhumanity and barbarism.

Try telling it to the Egyptian people whose natural sympathy for brother Palestinians, on show for two weeks following the “breakout” smashing of the border walls from Gaza, has been overridden by the torturing gangster dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak threatening to “break the legs” of Palestinians coming into Egypt – small potatoes though that is compared to the day-to-day brutality of this US-sponsored fascist stoogery over 80 million oppressed Arab people.

Try telling it to the benighted backwardness in which ordinary people are held in next door feudal Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, (not to mention the millions of Indian and Pakistani wage-slave “guest workers” there with no rights at all), all favourite western clients for lucrative arms deals, bribery and increasingly mega-loans to prop up the bankrupt corporations of the West, and quiescently accepting Western domination despite their notional support for the Palestinian cause (as even the supposed “mavericks” like Syria do too).

Try telling it to the masses in Pakistan who have seen an endless cycle of utterly corrupt semi-feudal “parliamentarians” alternated with more brutal and corrupt military torture rule for the entire 60 year long history of the country, keeping them locked into poverty and sweatshop exploitation primitiveness in the interests of western corporate profit making and to sustain geopolitical anti-communist blockades against the Soviet Union and China (and against Soviet sympathising India during the Cold War).

What part of the West’s “crusade for democracy and freedom” does supporting General Musharraf’s monstrous dictatorship constitute?

Try telling it to the people of Chad suffering yet another near civil war as military factions try to oust the corrupt dictator, brazenly supported by the united “democratic” West and its paid for stooges in the United Nations:

The UN security council yesterday urged member states to support Chad’s beleaguered government - possibly militarily - as it tries to prevent an alliance of rebel groups from taking power.

The issue of military support to Déby is likely to prove highly controversial. He rose to power in a 1990 coup - aided by Sudan - and has proved no friend to democracy or accountability.

Besides reneging on a pledge to stand down as president in 2006, he made a mockery of the World Bank’s attempts to turn Chad’s oil production into a model for other African countries by refusing to honour an agreement to use revenues to reduce poverty.

Rampant corruption and nepotism that has favoured the elite from his own Zaghawa ethnic group have further alienated the Chadian population and led to defection by both top military officers and political allies to the three main rebel groups in recent years. Sudan has helped these groups with sanctuary, finance and weapons, just as Chad has assisted the Sudanese rebel forces that operate in Darfur. Khartoum denies any involvement in the current rebel advance.

More than 1,500 rebels attacked the capital, N’Djamena, on Saturday after a swift 500-mile advance in pickup trucks mounted with machine guns from the east of the country, near the border with Sudan. After initially cornering President Idriss Déby in the presidential palace, the rebels were forced back with dozens of tanks and helicopter gunships, and were outside the city yesterday.

Chad’s foreign minister, Ahmad Allam-Mi, told Radio France Internationale that “the battle of N’Djamena is over”. But the rebels, who accused Déby of corruption and autocracy during his 18-year rule, said the retreat was tactical, and that they would attack again.

Reports said bodies of dead fighters and civilians lay in the streets yesterday, and that hundreds of people had been injured. At least 15,000 people have fled over the border into Cameroon, and aid agencies have warned that assistance to more than 200,000 refugees who flooded into eastern Chad from the Sudanese province of Darfur, as well as 150,0000 internally displaced people, is under threat.

In a non-binding statement, the security council urged its members “to provide support in conformity with the United Nations Charter as requested by the government of Chad”. Russia had objected to an earlier French draft that called on support “by all necessary means” - a reference to military force.

France, which has airbases and 1,450 troops in its former colony, has in the past helped Déby counter rebel attacks. A top aide to President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Sunday that Sudan was using the rebels to try to topple Déby before a European Union force was deployed in eastern Chad to protect Darfur refugees.

The United States, which normally maintains a large embassy in N’Djamena, principally because of the involvement of ExxonMobil and Chevron in extracting oil in southern Chad, said France had “the expertise and the lead on this issue”, and would have the support of the security council “should they decide to do more”.

And try telling it to the desperate slum ridden masses of Kenya, who exploded in social turmoil and destructiveness four weeks ago because of the blatant ballot box stuffing and bribery of the stooge minority which stole the national anti-colonialist victories of the 1950s Mau-Mau struggles decades ago in collusion with western imperialist bribery and corruption, to ensure continuing unhindered Western “investment” for allowing maximum exploitation of cheap labour on the cut flower and vegetable farms, luxury tourist resorts and mines.

Most of the capitalist media has been throwing all the blame onto “tribalism” for all the subsequent internecine confusions and conflict as if it has suddenly evolved in a vacuum. But this is a racist diversion to avoid stating the truth that this was a class based revolt, driven to the surface by the same crisis of imperialism which is ripping through the entire world market. A few more honest bourgeois press accounts get part of the way:

The eruption of violence in Kenya has come a shock to outsiders who had always thought of the country as a safe place for a safari, a relatively prosperous island of calm on a turbulent and impoverished continent. The ferocity of the carnage has demonstrated just how much anger and resentment has been boiling below the surface.

The immediate spark was the blatant rigging of the December 27 election by President Mwai Kibaki. With the vote count approaching completion, he appeared to be losing to the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, until paramilitary police stormed the counting centre and Kibaki was declared the victor.

However, Kenya has long been an explosion waiting to happen. Its economy may be growing fast (by more than 6% last year), but the fruits of development have not been equally shared. Nearly 60% of the population live in absolute poverty (on $2 a day or less), many in squalid shanty towns, like Nairobi’s Kibera district, Africa’s largest slum.

Kenya’s post-colonial history ensured that when the lid was blown off, the violence would be tribal. Kibaki is a member of the Kikuyu, which is Kenya’s largest tribe but far from a natural majority. It accounts for less than a quarter of the population, but controls a disproportionate share of the country’s land and business. When British settlers left at independence in 1963 they sold their farms mostly to business-savvy Kikuyu.

The first president, Jomo Kenyatta, was a Kikuyu, and his rule solidified his tribe’s advantage. Kikuyu ascendancy was checked by the succession of Daniel Arap Moi, from the Kalenjin tribe, but the 24 years of his corrupt, autocratic rule only helped to stoke the underlying tension. Moi was ousted in 2002 by a broad pro-democratic coalition, but within a year Kibaki began to pack his government with cronies and Kikuyu kin, setting the stage for the conflict now taking lives by the hundred.

The mess of tribalist tit-for-tat fighting and killings which has temporarily been unleashed is a result of capitalism’s rule – partly a legacy of deliberate divide-and-rule policies of British imperialism which refined such divisiveness deliberately in colony after colony (most notably India/Pakistan and Ireland but also Sri Lanka (still torn to shreds) South Africa, and others) as a key tool for maintaining its rule, and partly the inevitable result of seething antagonistic individual or particular group interests within the desperate shark-eat-shark existence which capitalism fosters, always a few steps away from disintegration and desperation with the lid kept on only while relative boom conditions exist.

It is notable that in 70 years of its existence the socialist society of the Soviet Union – whatever the shortfalls of revisionist Moscow leadership – contained and channelled such hostilities and recriminatory tensions into gradually building a unified society despite the enormous area of its workers state covering more than two dozen different and very diverse republics and some 180 “tribes”, religious groupings, ethnic divisions and nationalities, many of which did not accept proletarian dictatorship rule, and most particularly from Moscow.

Steady if sometimes slow progress in overcoming deep seated historical inertia was being made.

It was the restoration of plundering capitalism (through the idiot 1989 Gorbachevite liquidation of the workers state in favour of delusions about “market planning” and the subsequent Yeltsinite counter-revolution) which has seen wars, massacres and bloody destruction erupting in Azerbaijan/Armenia, in Georgia and ever smaller sections of it, and in the bitter hatreds around Chechnya, smarting at renewed arrogant racist imperialist treatment after decades of gradual positive movement.

Backward greater Russian nationalism and racist attacks are back on the scene.

But the revisionist Chinese workers state continues to contain these tensions, despite the endless Western intelligence provocations organised around such feudal backwardness as the Dalai Lama in Tibet, to create division and disruption by artificially stimulating a separatist movement to try and break parts away.

Its stunning historical transformation from feudal rural backwardness to modern super-state, powers ahead in the development of 1.3 billion people including dozens of assorted minorities and ethnic groups, more or less accepting the giant transformations being wrought in their lives.

Huge reservations remain about Beijing’s leadership which shows even less signs that Moscow did of taking up and leading vital philosophical challenges to the suffocating revisionism imposed on the world for the entire post-war period – except in the firm practical stand it has taken against counter-revolution such as the “democracy” posturing of the gilded youths and petty bourgeois influenced students in the 1989 Tiananmen events (dispersed but not “massacred” as the Goebbels western Big Lies endlessly repeat).

Its massive uses of capitalist methodology for turbo-powering production development in its enormous economy, is laden with political and philosophical dangers, constantly reviving “all the old shit” as Lenin said of the antagonisms and attitudes engendered by the petty bourgeois structures left in the early stages of socialist society, undermining understanding even further.

But recent disastrous, winter weather disrupting overloaded Chinese New Year transport demand, far from proving the system a “failure” as the Western press tried to present things (desperate to rubbish communism in the run-up to the potentially brilliant Olympic Games this summer) actually underlined the capacity of the planned state to intervene, as the message underneath this sour toned quote admits:

Chenzhou, in Hunan province, is almost five times the size of Birmingham, with 4.6m residents. It is one of the cities worst hit by China’s harsh winter and one of the government’s greatest anxieties. Even in the hardest times, Beijing has strived to ensure a good new year for workers. Wen’s recent visit is emblematic of the government’s determination to reassure people that it is on their side. Top officials have toured affected areas and almost half a million troops have been drafted in.

Tanks have delivered food and candles to remote villages, while prices have been frozen in the larger stores. Such operations are proof of the astonishing ability of the government to mobilise its resources - and of its concern that people know it is doing so. “Only when the masses are reassured, can the country be in peace,” the premier said yesterday. “Only when the country is in peace, can the leaders be relieved.”

Chenzhou residents don’t blame the authorities for the power outage itself. They can see what happened: along the roads, branches have been wrenched from trees by the same mass of snow and ice which downed lines and toppled pylons.

But houses are bitter with cold as temperatures fall to -8C overnight. The prices of candles and coal bricks has tripled or quadrupled. Gas canisters, when they can be found, fetch 130 yuan (£9.20) instead of their usual 80. People are beginning to wonder why repairs are taking so long, and when they will be finished.

“There are rumours that it could be 10 or 20 days before the power comes back because so many towers were knocked down in the storms. But the radio said the government had promised to provide electricity before the first day of spring festival [new year].”

...“To young people it’s bearable, but for the older people it’s really horrible. They are too old to leave and too old to fetch coal and water,” said Chen Xi, a kindergarten teacher escaping the city for the New Year.

“I saw Wen Jiabao when he came and felt touched - he’s a 60-year-old man and he still cares about the problems of common citizens. I feel grateful for what the government and nation have done for us.

Some parts of China have witnessed the worst winter weather in more than half a century, with ice and snowstorms on January 10 snapping power and toppling pylons. Electric locomotives were frozen to the tracks, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of trains. Many parts of central China have been without electricity for up to 10 days.

Millions of Chinese migrant workers were today trying to make it home for lunar new year’s celebrations after the country’s main north-south highway reopened following exceptional snow and ice-storms.

The reopening of the Zhuhai-Beijing highway should ease massive jams that stranded millions of rail and bus passengers and triggered emergency plans to ensure deliveries of coal, water and food.

Rail services were also slowly returning to normal, although freezing rain drenched hundreds of thousands of travellers at the southern rail terminus of Guangzhou awaiting trains home.

While the arctic blast is not especially harsh by northern Chinese standards, southern parts of the country have little experience in dealing with snow. Houses are poorly insulated and many communities lack snowploughs and other winter equipment.

The “astonishing ability to mobilise” reflects the overall continuing planned nature of the country which continues its revisionist bureaucratic path:

China’s president and the Communist party general secretary, Hu Jintao, promised a more open and sustainable model of development today in a speech that will set the policy of the nation for the next five years.

At the opening of the 17th Communist party congress, Mr Hu acknowledged that the ruling party had failed to live up to the expectations of the people and proposed a series of modest reforms aimed at improving the skills, morals and accountability of cadres.

The shift from quantity to quality in both party management and economic development underpins Mr Hu’s theory of “scientific development”, which will be written into the charter of a party that has moved from revolution to plutocracy.

More than 2,000 communist officials applauded in short bursts as Mr Hu made his speech in front of a giant hammer and sickle icon on a stage decorated with red flags and rows of central committee members in dark suits and military uniforms.

Far from the semi-religious reverence of Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution, Mr Hu is more of a technocrat who must compromise with factions in making appointments and setting policy.

But the global significance of a party leader’s words has arguably never been greater than now because China is an increasingly important player in world trade and diplomacy.

During his first five years in power, Mr Hu said growth had averaged more than 10% a year, making China the fourth biggest economy in the world. He said the number of rural poor had fallen from 250 million to 20 million, the military had been modernised and the first Chinese astronauts had ventured into space.

Economic development, he said, would remain a top priority and there would be no return to the isolation of previous times. “To stop or reverse reform and opening up would only lead to a blind alley,” he warned.

But, along with the list of achievements, he cited the need to address the problems of environmental degradation, political corruption and income inequality between the rich cities on the eastern seaboard and villages in the poor western interior.

“While recognising our achievements, we must be well aware that they still fall short of the expectations of the people,” he said in a candid moment. “The governance capability of the party falls somewhat short of the need to deal with the new situation and tasks.”

Among the problems he identified were weak organisations, excessive bureaucracy and extravagance, waste and corruption by a “small number of party cadres”. Last year, 8,310 of members were punished for accepting bribes, but they were just the ones who got caught. Corruption is endemic in a system with no independent courts, no free media and no genuine electoral accountability.

Mr Hu used his 135-minute speech to amplify his theory of a “scientific outlook on development”, which is his contribution to the communist party’s ideological bible.

“Our economic growth is realised at an excessively high cost of resources and the environment,” he noted.

As well as more sustainable growth, he called for a better quality of government. To improve the party, he called for higher levels of training for cadres and more internal accountability. This so-called “inner-party democracy” would give the 73 million Communist party members in China more opportunities to vote on policies and leaders, as well as adopting a tenure system for delegates to party congresses.

But there were no major political reforms that would open the way to genuine universal, multi-party democracy. “We must uphold the party’s role as the core of leadership in directing the overall situation and coordinating the efforts of all quarters,” he said.

Quite right too the vast majority of the planet might say in the light of what imperialism’s “genuine” democracy has always meant as far as they were concerned – endless exploitation by the irresistible weight of international capital backed up by non-stop coups, intelligence interventions, assassinations, death squad terror, invasions, and outright war.

The death of the vicious and corrupt Indonesian dictator Suharto provides a telling reminder, as in this quote by left liberal journalist John Pilger:

Filming clandestinely in East Timor, I would walk into the scrub, and there were the crosses. They littered the earth and crowded the eye. In 1993, the foreign affairs committee of Australia’s parliament reported that “at least 200,000” had died under Indonesia’s [illegal] occupation: almost a third of the population. Yet East Timor’s horror, foretold and nurtured by the US, Britain and Australia, was a sequel. “No single American action in the period after 1945,” wrote the historian Gabriel Kolko, “was as bloodthirsty as its role in Indonesia, for it tried to initiate the massacre.” He was referring to Suharto’s seizure of power in 1965-6, which caused the violent deaths of up to a million people.

To understand the significance of Suharto is to look beneath the surface of the current world order: the so-called global economy and the ruthless cynicism of those who run it. Suharto was our model mass murderer - “our” is used here advisedly. “One of our very best and most valuable friends,” Thatcher called him. For three decades the south-east Asian department of the Foreign Office worked tirelessly to minimise the crimes of Suharto’s gestapo, known as Kopassus, who gunned down people with British-supplied Heckler & Koch machine guns from British-supplied Tactica “riot control” vehicles.

A Foreign Office speciality was smearing witnesses to the bombing of East Timorese villages by British-supplied Hawk aircraft - until Robin Cook was forced to admit it was true. Almost a billion pounds in export credit guarantees financed the sale of the Hawks, paid for by the British taxpayer while the arms industry reaped the profit.

Only the Australians were more obsequious. “We know your people love you,” the prime minister Bob Hawke told the dictator to his face. His successor, Paul Keating, regarded the tyrant as a father figure. Paul Kelly, a prominent Murdoch retainer, led a group of major newspaper editors to Jakarta, to fawn before the mass murderer even though they all knew his grisly record.

Here lies a clue as to why Suharto, unlike Saddam Hussein, died not on the gallows but surrounded by the finest medical team his secret billions could buy. Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s, describes the terror of Suharto’s takeover in 1965-6 as “the model operation” for the US-backed coup that got rid of Salvador Allende in Chile seven years later. “The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders,” he wrote, “[just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965.” The US embassy in Jakarta supplied Suharto with a “zap list” of Indonesian Communist party members and crossed off the names when they were killed or captured. Roland Challis, BBC south-east Asia correspondent at the time, told me how the British government was secretly involved in this slaughter. “British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so they could take part in the terrible holocaust,” he said. “I and other correspondents were unaware of this at the time ... There was a deal, you see.”

The deal was that Indonesia under Suharto would offer up what Richard Nixon had called “the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in south-east Asia”. In November 1967 the greatest prize was handed out at a remarkable three-day conference sponsored by the Time-Life Corporation in Geneva. Led by David Rockefeller, all the corporate giants were represented: the major oil companies and banks, General Motors, Imperial Chemical Industries, British American Tobacco, Siemens, US Steel and many others. Across the table sat Suharto’s US-trained economists who agreed to the corporate takeover of their country, sector by sector. The Freeport company got a mountain of copper in West Papua. A US/European consortium got the nickel. The giant Alcoa company got the biggest slice of Indonesia’s bauxite. America, Japanese and French companies got the tropical forests of Sumatra. When the plunder was complete, President Lyndon Johnson sent his congratulations on “a magnificent story of opportunity seen and promise awakened”. Thirty years later, with the genocide in East Timor also complete, the World Bank described the Suharto dictatorship as a “model pupil”.

Such tyrannical oppression and murderous plundering by imperialism has been the norm for decades with over 400 violent interventions by imperialism since 1945.

But the insane inflationary boom created as post-IInd world war imperialist victor the USA penetrated its exploitation power into every corner of the available globe, (including the post-Cold War former workers states has been continuously on a tightrope, sustained only by the creation of ever more paper dollars.

However fast the world economy can be made to spin, the contradictions at the heart of capitalism remain, and the return of “overproduction” and subsequent slump can not be put off forever.

Ever-expanding credit must eventually implode – and with the more devastating impact the longer it has deferred inevitable crisis – exactly as it is doing now, despite all the lying deliberate “the-economy-is-still-sound” lies of the bourgeois political racket and the sneeringly contemptuous denials of the fake-“lefts” about “catastrophism” and their supposed up-to-date understanding “invalidating” it.

But imperialism is back into a new phase of total economic collapse, as its ruling class is deeply aware and has long been planning to evade with its stepped up international warmongering, beginning with the sly interventions in Yugoslavia to fragment it with reactionary breakaways (most notably the fascist echoing Ustashe separatism of Croatia), their culmination in a monstrous multi-nation blitzing of Serbia remnants, and the non-stop wars ever since.

The long-plotted agenda by the most reactionary elements in the United States is to re-establish such blitzkrieging as the norm for international relations.

War is coming anyway as the inter-imperialist rivalry for shrinking world trade intensifies dramatically in new slump conditions – beggar thy neighbour trade war turning into all-out shooting bombing conflict soon enough in the throat-cutting battles for survival now looming; almost certainly between the Japanese, American and European blocs.

But the long-term strategy was to demonstrate that dominant US imperialism is ready to strike first and hard against the rising challenges of the crisis, intimidating both its potential rivals and any incipient revolutionary tide with a display of ruthless might –– consciously named “shock and awe” and the Pentagon’s “long war”.

Bankrupt American imperialism, living solely on ever expanding deficit funding since the late 1980s, needs the rest of the world to continue to provide it with resources, goods, and capital funding, and to insist that they (Japan, China, Russia, Europe etc) simply soak up the now almost infinite mountain of worthless paper dollars.

Or else.

But far from demonstrating how ruthlessly overwhelming US superpower force will be, the early “easy” targets of Iraq and Afghanistan, both desperately benighted, poverty stricken victims of already devastating conflicts and petty tyranny, have proved to be intractable problems. Hitler’s “lightning wars” these are not; instead the far superior firepower of the USA (and its British sidekick) has been stuck in endless conflict.

Once easily cowed Third World “natives” have instead been stimulated into enormously escalated and inspired resistance running through the Middle East and inspiring further anti-imperialist hostility across the entire region from Somalia to Pakistan.

Only by pouring ever increasing ill affordable resources – the Iraq war’s total cost is now estimated at an astonishing $1.6 trillion – has even the semblance of control been established and that only relative to the humiliating disaster created so far, through sheer exhaustion of the masses and massive compromise wheeler-dealing with the Shia resistance to buy a truce, and renewed stooge funding of some Sunni elements.

Afghanistan simply continues to soakup western resources:

Two independent reports from Afghanistan’s former Nato commander warned today that the country risks becoming a “failed state” due to the continuing violence and economic instability.

A third report from Oxfam, in the form of an open letter to the prime minister, Gordon Brown, warns the situation in Afghanistan could lead to a humanitarian disaster.

The warnings coincided with separate bomb attacks in Helmand province and Kandahar, which killed a total of seven people.

A suicide bomber blew himself up beside people who were praying inside a mosque in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, said the province’s police chief, Mohammad Hussein Andiwal.

Helmand’s deputy governor, Pir Mohammad, was killed in the blast, which killed five other people and wounded 18 others, seven seriously. The mosque’s prayer leader was also killed, he said.

Haji Ikramullah, a witness who was on his way to pray at the mosque when the blast shook the ground, said he saw dead bodies inside and wounded people crying in pain.

The blast happened hours after another suicide bomber in a car targeted an Afghan army bus in Kabul, killing one civilian and wounding four other people, officials said.

“Urgent changes are required now to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a failing or failed state,” Reuters reported the study, by General James L Jones for the Atlantic Council of the United States, as saying.

“If Afghanistan fails, the possible strategic consequences will worsen regional instability, do great harm to the fight against Jihadist and religious extremism, and put in grave jeopardy Nato’s future as a credible, cohesive and relevant military alliance.”

Another stark forecast comes from the Afghanistan Study Group, created by the Center for the Study of the Presidency, which is also responsible for the Iraq Study Group. The group is co-chaired by Jones with Thomas Pickering, a former US ambassador to Russia and other countries.

The report says the progress gained from six years of international efforts in Afghanistan “is under serious threat from resurgent violence, weakening international resolve, mounting regional challenges and a growing lack of confidence on the part of the Afghan people about the future direction of their country”.

The strategy for Afghanistan is clearly lacking a winning formula as there are “too few military forces and insufficient economic aid”, it said. But beyond that, the report criticised a centralised power base in Kabul, which left the rest of the country open to the destabilising forces of the Taliban, ousted in 2001, and al-Qaida, as well as the strong opium industry and “stark” poverty suffered by the majority of Afghans.

Contributing to the failure is a diffuse focus, lost in efforts to stabilise Iraq. The study group suggests the US should “decouple” Iraq and Afghanistan, clearly delineating funding streams for each country.

In the UK, the international development charity, Oxfam, urged Gordon Brown to change course in Afghanistan, while lamenting that many of the targets set for the country over two years have not been met.

In spite of its disastrous humiliations and slow defeats in both these countries, which are still stimulating enormous growing worldwide hostility, imperialism continues with its occupations and the warmongering path.

It is continuous training for the military and sets a permanent tone of conflict that the ruling class wants and needs to be the norm.

Bush’s recent panic budget, massively escalating credit spending all over again – and failing completely to shift the now pessimistic and despairing banking and Stock Market sectors – was also a huge shifting of resources into yet more immense military spending.

Imperialism has no choice otherwise except unthinkable (for the ruling class) retreat from its lucrative worldwide domination. It will only happen when it is forced to by overwhelming revolutionary struggle.

It is coming.

The Budget’s provocative class war additional cuts in welfare spending will intensify the huge pressures building up in even this most advanced imperialist country, where the working class is already suffering heavy burdens from mortgage collapses, the credit squeeze, rising unemployment, rising inflation, pensions wipeouts, and education cutbacks. This is no system capable of delivering universal health care, whatever promises Hilary Clinton might gush forth; just the opposite, it is heading to give its poor and hard working majority the greatest kick in the teeth ever.

For a Western working class (like the Europeans - and even more so) sold the idea that capitalism had changed its spots and that rising prosperity and progress is available to all (who work for it) the bottom is going to fall out of the world.

Eventually that will create the hostility that will turn to revolutionary sentiment.

It is already rising everywhere as the turmoil in Kenya, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Indonesia, the Philippines, South America and even sporadically in Europe (Paris riots etc) indicates.

But to the whole world is denied the crucial understanding of Marxist-Leninist science because of the long mind-rotting history of Stalinist revisionist retreat from revolutionary theory and perspectives, into eventually tragic and pointless liquidationism and the even worse “opposition” of sour Trotskyism, fed by petty bourgeois dilettantism and utterly hostile deep down to any effort by the working class to struggle, and most particularly to the crucial dictatorship of the proletariat it needs to create and defend workers states.

While the fake-“lefts” continue to defend this anti-communism and opportunism or refuse to pitch into open honest discussion to untangle the philosophical failings of the first great and heroic workers state, and its world leadership shortcomings, it can only hamper the crucial struggle for renewed scientific leadership.

The USSR proved for 70 years that not only is capitalism not needed, but that without it society can begin to move onwards and upwards to scientific, cultural and social advances, within a completely fair and cooperative society, that leave capitalism’s philistine consumerism, one-dimensional technology, and bitter divisions with the Stone Age where they belong.

But its leadership shortcomings led to eventual unnecessary capitulation to the overwhelming might of exploitative capitalism, and worldwide proletarian disillusionment in what it thought was “communism”.

It was a first attempt; brilliant but flawed. Now the world needs to battle past the pretences and diversions of left fakery, and bourgeois spin, and fight again for real Leninist science.

Religious and nationalist leaderships may get somewhere in assorted anti-imperialist fights, and are frequently heroically dogged. It is part of scientific understanding to see them for what they are; the early signals of spreading revolutionary sentiment, and a powerful sign of the nemesis to come for imperialism; not to be condemned, as the monstrous cowardice of the Trots and revisionists has done (lining up with imperialism’s propaganda) but superseded and improved by clear Marxist science.

The struggle for such a scientific world view demands a party of a new type, able to constantly battle to grasp the shape of emerging developments in the world class struggle, with open discussions between cadres drawing in the working class. It is a struggle all advanced workers should be joining. Don Hoskins

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Read last issue also

EPSR archives

(edited extracts from past issues).


US democracy was always a sordid lie...


The fake-’left’ moralising to give ‘politically correct’ licence for the US President to grope the staff as a ‘private’ expression of ‘consensual adult sex’ — the Guardian in the lead, — could not be more backward and dim-witted.

The Clintons are sold as an electoral-political package at a cost of billions in permanent advertising, — photo-calls, family messages around the Christmas tree, praying together in church on special occasions, holidaying happily together when the rest of the nation is holidaying, etc, etc. The Blair family go in for exactly the same public-relations gimmickry, as do all modern bourgeois-’democracy’ leaderships.

It is yucky enough if true. The actual political philosophy and grasp of leaders is what matters, not their family snapshots. The whole advertising package of star-PR treatment is an insult to the working class and a deliberate dumbing down of all political understanding.

But when the ‘Christian responsibility/happy family/sound father-figure’ rubbish is a complete joke, then the more devastatingly it is exposed, the better for ordinary people and the cause of reason, justice, and socialism. Clinton’s sordid sexploitation deserves just as much air-time as the glossy PR family image.

How this completely contradictory picture matches up to the behaviour problems of the average family is utterly irrelevant. The average family does not promote itself, at a cost of billions, to act as figureheads for a rapacious imperialist system that will tyrannically dominate the world so as to make billions and billions more for the ruling class.

For Clinton’s conduct just to be a problem for Mrs Clinton and Chelsea to worry about, let them remain just private Mr and Mrs Clinton of Hicksville, Arkansas, and never be heard of again.

And it is political nonsense, anyway. Clinton has already involved half the American imperialist government in his sordid little cover-ups, — getting Madeleine Albright, the utterly cynical chief spokesperson for US imperialism’s international domination, to emerge from a US Cabinet meeting to peddle lies that ‘the President is innocent. He continues in office’.

And Hillary Clinton’s role is not a ‘wife standing by her husband’ at all. She is a powerful political operator in her own right, and is defending the presidential SYSTEM like mad when doing her ridiculous Tammy Wynette act, which no one in their right mind would believe anyway.

And even if the whole White House circus was NOT a complete fraud and a cover—up racket but were all as pure as the driven snow, the only ‘moral’ thing would still be to throw as much mud and abuse at the entire system as possible because of what it fronts for and represents, — the American imperialist ruling class. Within the bounds of tactical expediency, anything at all should be used to bring that corrupt, vicious, exploitation system down.

EPSR No 967 18th August 1998

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EPSR archives

(edited extracts from past issues).


Museum Stalinists caught out by their own fatuous guru worship posturing

Lalkar’s “fiery” polemics against the NCP and CPB examined by the previous EPSR (issue 1326) included a eulogy to Stalin asserting that the “great man” had eyes and ears for every development in the workers movement, and “like Lenin, Marx and Engels, was ready to take up and challenge all threads and tendencies in the Labour movement to achieve correct leadership”.

Curiously this all-encompassing leadership is supposed to have somehow missed the “British Road to Socialism” that Lalkar vigorously denounces (correctly).

But this is just evasive nonsense. All the evidence is that Moscow vetted and approved the important British party perspectives with Stalin’s personal attention, just as Lalkar inadvertently admits in its farcical guru-worship plaudits.

The assertion would also imply that the modern Lalkar, and its offspring the CPGB-ML, were equally wide-ranging, ready to take up all questions and serious polemical challenges: these would have to most of all focus on the major philosophical errors by Stalin which clearly underpin the “peaceful road” expression of revisionist retreat, and the eventual decay of the Soviet Union into complete liquidationism under Gorbachev.

Unsurprisingly this is not the case. Exactly the opposite; the same old buck-passing blame for Stalin’s mistakes onto assorted henchmen is resorted to.

Polemic is evaded.

The January/February issue of the Proletarian includes for example, a long-winded report on a rally to celebrate the October Revolution, which rather than develop the latest revolutionary understanding on the back of the Soviet Union’s mighty 70 year achievements, tediously trots out the same old cult-of-the-personality scapegoat finding. Like so, quoting speaker Jack Shapiro:

“The newly formed Red Army won splendid victories and proved that the leadership of such great leaders as Stalin, Voroshilov and Budyonny made the Red Army invincible. That struggle to build the Soviet Union was soon challenged from within. Trotsky, Bukharin, Radek, Zinoviev, Kamenev and others who had no faith in the working class led by the Bolsheviks plotted to undermine the building of the new socialist society. Eventually these wreckers such as Khruschev, Yeltsin and Gorbachev were able to undermine the Soviet Union and the Eastern European democratic socialist countries.

But this blinkered nonsense was taken up 15 years ago (repeated five years later) – the detailed analysis and more since remains on the table for Lalkar/Proletarian.

For their benefit it is repeated below, so they can emulate the supposed qualities of Stalin in “challenging all threads and tendencies” in the workers movement:-

It is an insult to the titanic achievements of the Soviet workers state to refuse to acknowledge the responsibility of Stalin’s own disastrous theoretical mistakes for the total revisionist degeneracy which eventually overtook the CPSU.

Without the notion of the Stalin leadership’s errors reflecting the still relatively weak position of the working class historically in terms of world leadership ability, surrounded by the still prodigious powers of continued imperialist expansion and development after 1917, - the final demoralised collapse of the Soviet workers state only sets up some needless and unpleasant mystery, presumably to do with the nature and development of workers states and socialism in themselves, - which plays right into bourgeois ideology’s hands.

But there is no mystery. The world communist leadership made some catastrophic strategic mistakes, - ones which must be learned from, and which never must, - and never need, - be made again. Workers international revolutionary experience and know-how should be vastly richer and more sure-footed in the next great surge forward of socialist-state building following the next great warmongering collapse of imperialist economic anarchy.

The Review examined some of Stalin’s obvious mistakes in 1992 in a series of polemics against Lalkar:


“If the confusion continues about why the Bolshevik revolution eventually want wrong, then nothing will have been confirmed or corrected about Leninist science, and priceless lessons of history will have been wasted.

Lalkar tries, in this latest effort, to get round a long-standing difficulty with their ‘explanation’ of Soviet decay, - namely that by blaming only the work of Stalin’s successors for being a class-collaborating retreat from Leninism, it left unsolved the huge mystery of why this supposed ‘Marxist genius’ Stalin was so dumb as to surround himself with total counter-revolutionary arseholes in the leadership of the Soviet party and state.

The new line is to pretend that Stalin was fighting hard against revisionism inside the CPSU to his dying day, aware that it was all around him, - a legacy of long-established international ‘Marxism’ around the Third International in the 1930s led by an obscure Pole called Prof. Oscar Lange (who apparently had some role in the Polish workers state after World War II.)

To stand up this barmy theory of a beleaguered ‘Marxist genius’ Stalin doing his best but failing to rout rampant revisionism in the Third International, Lalkar goes nap on Stalin’s last published work “The economic problems of socialism in the USSR” completed in September 1952.

Calling it “a work of genius”, Lalkar highlights criticisms which Stalin levelled against some academics called Yaroshenko, Notkin, Sanina, and Venzher. But reading lectures to bureaucrats about the importance to communism of transforming human relations rather than just raising levels of production, still does not address the problem of the quality of Politburo leadership which Stalin, had built up around himself.

And as perceptive and stimulating as are Stalin’s analyses in “Economic problems” of the ultimate fate of commodity production under socialism, and of collective—farm property, etc, the Lalkar concentration completely ignores far more relevant quotes from the pamphlet which throw light on the political direction Stalin was giving to the entire world revolutionary movement at this tine, - the CPSU included, - and the economic problems resulting from crassly incorrect general political philosophy.

What sort of ‘genius’ was it which reached the following conclusion in “Economic problems” (1952):

But at the same time China and other, European, people’s democracies broke away from the capitalist system and, together with the Soviet Union, formed a united and powerful socialist camp confronting the camp of capitalism. The economic consequence of the existence of two opposite camps was that the single all-embracing world market disintegrated, so that now we have two parallel world markets, also confronting one another.

It should be observed that the ???., and Great Britain and France, themselves contributed — without themselves desiring it, of course — to the formation and consolidation of the new, parallel world market. They imposed an economic blockade on the ????., China and the European people’s democracies, which did not join the “Marshall plan” system, thinking thereby to strangle them. The effect, however, was not to strangle, but to strengthen the new world market.

..since the war these countries have joined together economically and established economic cooperation and mutual assistance. The experience of this cooperation shows that not a single capitalist country could have rendered such effective and technically competent assistance to the people’s democracies as the Soviet Union is rendering them. The point is not only that this assistance is the cheapest possible and technically superb. The chief point is that at the bottom of this cooperation lies a sincere desire to help one another and to promote the economic progress of all. The result is a fast pace of industrial development in these countries. It may be confidently said that, with this pace of industrial development, it will soon come to pass that these countries will not only be in no need of imports from capitalist countries, but will themselves feel the necessity of finding an outside market for their surplus products.

But it follows from this that the sphere of exploitation of the world’s resources by the major capitalist countries (???, Britain, France) will not expand, but contract; that their opportunities for sale in the world market will deteriorate, and that their industries will be operating more and more below capacity. That, in fact, is what is meant by the deepening of the general crisis of the world capitalist system in connection with the disintegration of the world market.

This is felt by the capitalists themselves, for it would be difficult for them not to feel the loss of such markets as the ???? and China. They are trying to offset these difficulties with the “Marshall plan”, the war in Korea, frantic rearmament, and industrial militarization. But that is very much like a drowning man clutching at a straw.

This state of affairs has confronted the economists with two questions:

a) Can it be affirmed that the thesis expounded by Stalin before the Second World War regarding the relative stability of markets in the period of the general crisis of capitalism is still valid?

b) Can it be affirmed that the thesis expounded by Lenin in the spring of ?????— namely, that, in spite of the decay of capitalism, “on the whole, capitalism is growing far more rapidly than before” — is still valid?

I think that it cannot. In view of the new conditions to which the Second World War has given rise, both these theses must be regarded as having lost their validity.

The conceited third-person comparison between Lenin and Stalin is laughably pompous, but much worse is the fact that Stalin’s trivial proposition on the ‘relative stability of capitalist markets’ was always wrong, even before World War II, - and damagingly wrong because it was part of the ‘justification’ for the disastrously incorrect policy of class-collaborating ‘Popular Frontism’.

This revisionist retreat from the Leninist science of proletarian revolutionary leadership of the anti-imperialist struggle was always an infinitely greater catastrophe for the ultimate fate of the Soviet workers state than any amount of minor bureaucratic confusion among lesser Soviet academics about economic theory in the transition from socialism to communism.

Stalin was correct to accuse this Yaroshenko non-entity of overlooking the need to keep class perspectives in sight in his proposals for a draft textbook on political economy.

But Stalin’s pamphlet grotesquely ignores far more important class perspectives itself.

There has been no “relative stability of markets” in the period of the general crisis of capitalism. What there has been was the Stalinist revisionist defeatism, pre-war, which deliberately misled the Third International into retreating into Popular Frontism (out of the myopic panic that proletarian revolution could not halt warmongering fascist reaction, and that Soviet international influence should best be seen as conservatively ‘democratic’ and non-revolutionary, in the face of imperialism’s arms-race threats to the Soviet Union).

This fear-filled imaginary nonsense about “relatively stable markets” under pro-war capitalism finds its alternative expression in equally do-nothing shallow optimism about the capitalist system’s alleged postwar inability to expand again.

This was just wishful-thinking idiocy by Stalin to justify his complacency about some of the stagnantly paralysed aspects of Third International development; - and to stand this delusion up, Stalin happily commits a monstrous public revision of Lenin in the “Economic problems” pamphlet, - saying that Lenin’s observation about capitalism’s ability to expand more rapidly than ever before even in the midst of its decay as a system was “no longer valid”.

Added to this debilitating nonsense which helped to terminally damage the entire Third International, Lalkar itself is guilty of enormous blindness in accusing Kruschev, and Stalin’s successors, of foisting the ludicrous “peaceful transition” and “parliamentary road to socialism” delusions onto the Third International.

The British CP, for one, had already adopted its “British Road to Socialism” fantasies of a parliamentary majority for a full anti-capitalist revolution,- and had them approved by Moscow,- before Stalin’s death.

And the entire West European CP policy after WWII had been a wretched continuation of class-collaborating Popular Frontism,— with the French CP, for example, joining postwar bourgeois coalitions to revive capitalism and to keep the French empire going in Indo-China and Algeria, for example.

Worse still, it was the Soviet government which insisted that Western imperialism could regain the ‘friend’ of the Soviet workers state, — (continuing the wartime Alliance ‘against German, Japanese and Italian imperialism), - long after the inevitably vicious counter-revolutionary essence of the new US world domination had been made clear to everyone.

In that insane perspective, it was the Soviet Union itself which helped move the United Nations proposal to seize half of Palestine to give to Zionist imperialism in 1947-48; and the USSR which supplied weapons to the Zionists to help break an international arms embargo, thus giving Zionism the opportunity to increase its land grab of Arab Palestine up to 70% of the territory (trampling even on the supposed ‘limits’ set by the UN’s evil partition.)

Through this crass notion that socialism would outperform the cost-cutting savagery of capitalist exploitation in production for world markets, Stalinist revisionism was simply deliberately trying to bury all idea of the international socialist revolution actually taking on the imperialist powers in class war again in order to complete the worldwide overthrow of warmongering monopoly-capitalist reaction.

In words, admittedly, Stalin still correctly explained that monopoly-bourgeois warmongering was inevitable, and that imperialism would have to be “abolished” in order to remove the scourge of war from human affairs once and for all.

But because of the long revisionist decay in the Third International (from many decades of Popular Front tailending of petty-bourgeois democracy in the fight against imperialism, ‘justified’ by delusions that socialism would overtake and undermine capitalism anyway by outperforming it on the international market-place),- the deeds of the world communist movement under Stalin’s colossal influence were ultimately a total self-liquidating disaster, with only either partial or temporary exceptions in China, Vietnam, Cuba, East Europe, Korea, etc, where local determination or immediate Soviet state interests resulted in deliberate anti-imperialist revolutionary actions.

Elsewhere, the opportunist revisionist philistinism, which finally ended up as the ridiculous self-liquidating CPGB, for example, - was already well in place in Stalin’s time.

The Popular-Front class-collaborating tailending of the Labour Party (and TUC) reactionary reformism remains one of the most vivid historical marks of this retreat from Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory; but the most crucial problem was CP revisionism’s attitude to the Third International’s own development and mistakes, — an attitude which this tragic Lalkar article reminds us is still widespread and uncorrected. To repeat once again, it is not a matter of speculating about whether or not Stalin “should have known better” about the party and state leadership he built up and left behind him, or speculating about whether or not all of Stalin’s supposed ‘crimes’ were really such (or just a slightly paranoid over-’exuberant ‘vigilance’, or even all justified because the entire state and party in the USSR and all over East Europe really were all swarming with ‘counter revolutionary agents of the West’ who all needed exterminating.)

It is a question of Stalin’s own mastery of Marxist-Leninist world analysis, — as evidenced in this very book “Economic problems”. Contrary to Stalin, the imperialist economies continued rapidly to expand even while on course for their greatest-ever crisis of World War II; and the crucial ingredient for meeting this challenge was the exact opposite of Stalin’s defeatist complacency (of encouraging the international movement to quietly class-collaborate with reformism whilst awaiting for socialist-camp economic production to outstrip frenetic and vicious monopoly-imperialist worldwide exploitation, - a crazy perspective, - impossible, and not even wanted at present historic levels of capital investment and productivity of labour. Who wants socialist sweatshops? Who wants grotesque overproduction and overconsumption on present Western scales in the imperialist metropolises?

Higher labour productivity is a universal worthwhile goal, but the social agenda of planned workers-state economies should not (be remotely comparable to the penny-pinching cost-cutting nightmares run by capitalist-class dictatorships the world over. So how could socialist-state output normally undercut imperialist exploitation output on the world’s consumer markets?)

What was required was the exact opposite of this “socialism is already winning the peaceful world market competition” complacency. Only a phenomenal deepening of Leninist theory of revolutionary international class war could have provided a suitable education for the communist movement worldwide. But about this there is not one solitary word throughout the entire 100 pages of this “work of genius” published at such a crucial time, 1952, and Stalin’s last ‘great’ contribution to the world revolutionary struggle (and his first for years).

It is legitimate to surmise, even if it is accepted that clear evidence of deliberate “Stalinist crimes” is still lacking, that this unmistakable and crippling revisionist confusion at the heart of the Stalin-era leadership must have resulted in any amount of subsidiary arbitrary and incorrect decisions affecting international communist and Soviet internal policies.

Despite all the glorious (achievements of the Bolshevik Revolution and its Third International aftermath, the whole revisionist record must now be carefully examined as a potential stinking time-bomb which ended in the total humiliating catastrophe of Gorbachevism and the collapse of the world communist movement(see ILWP Books vols 3-17).

The heart of the problem is chaotic ignorance over Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory.

The first crucial step back to health for the international workers movement is to develop the priceless Leninist ability to face up to one’s own mistakes and to learn how to deal with them and profit from them.

This persistent Lalkar head-in-the-sand dirge that Stalin was all right, and that the revisionist problems began only subsequently, is hopeless nonsense, well overdue for reconsideration.

Meanwhile the anarchic boom/bust imperialist economy continues roaring on like an express train towards a cataclysmic abyss of collapse and World War III...”

Mere assertions to the contrary,– that Stalin was alright and should not be attacked because that was Trotskyite anti-communism’s chosen tactic, serve no purpose. Stalin’s theoretical leadership, – all of it, is a major historical fact. It has to be dealt with, - all of it.

PWH [From EPSR 890 11 February 1997 quoting 1992]


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