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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 1354 3rd August 2009

Defeat for the imperialist shock and awe rampaging now turning to rout in Afghanistan throws a million doubts to the surface, part of the world historic crisis for the centuries long capitalist class rule. Rising class struggle driven by the slump burdens already being imposed and imminent return of October 2008 bank collapse levels of economic panic feed into total disaster for ruling class domination, cause by Third World rebellion. The need and chance to build vital Leninism for revolutionary struggle has never been greater

It is the shattering defeats, now turning to open rout, facing British and American imperialism in Afghanistan and the inevitable return any moment of the pant-wetting finance and credit meltdown and panic of last October that should be at the forefront of any lead offered to the occupying workers at the Vestas wind energy plant, and to every other worker in Britain facing desperate Slump cuts and unemployment.

The tiny Isle of Wight and the mountainous expanse of Afghanistan may be five thousand miles apart physically and metaphorically but their fates are completely intertwined by the raging crisis collapse of capitalism and its unstoppable drive to war, dragging all workers towards desperate Depression disaster.

The disastrous stalemate defeat of US and its lapdog British imperialist rampaging in the Helmand province and the collapse of their economies at home – held off temporarily only by insane printing of ever more valueless paper currency – are two faces of the same coin, both signals of catastrophic historic failure of monopoly capitalism destined to end in trade war/world conflict greater than even WW1 and WW2.

Only a political perspective that ties the two, and much more, together and shows the revolutionary implications of both can even begin to give workers the lead they need in the coming total onslaughts on jobs and conditions that the Depression slump disaster and failure is bringing.

Marxist science alone is the mechanism for struggling to understand the complexities of the current world breakdown, placing it in its full context of the unravelling of a class domination that has reached the end of centuries of capitalist rule.

The workers are not getting anything like it from the assorted fake-“lefts” and “firebrand” trade union leaders who have turned up in Newport like moths round a lightbulb to garner brownie “left credibility” points for their standard reformist posturing.

Exactly the opposite, the tired old lines about getting “our share of subsidies paid to the bankers” and/or pursuing the eco-agenda, both head workers in completely the wrong direction, by suggesting that although things may be looking a bit bad the world essentially goes on as normal.

As long as everyone pushes a bit harder, it is suggested, the old machinery of reformism will turn and solutions can be found to the bleak prospects on offer, and the “new” issues of environmental devastation on top.

It is all a total opportunist charade.

It is the greatest disservice to workers to pretend that a “bit of pressure” on the government for “funding support for manufacturing as well as finance and bankers” or to “put its money where its mouth is” on green issues for example, would provide a solution to the Newport factory closure and, by implication, more generally beyond that for the entire working class.

This is a deception of criminal proportions that leaves all workers utterly unprepared for the full scale of the oncoming Slump disaster and the disarms them from the revolutionary preparations and actions that the class needs to take to deal with it.

Mixing in an extra environmental concern over and above the normal moralising reformist indignation over workers’ treatment not only changes nothing, but deliberately heads attention even further away from the issue at stake, the collapse of the capitalist system and the need to remove it.

The fake-“left” opportunist embrace of green issues, as well as the mainstream including even the Tories and the New Labourites’ spin pretence of “new investment” for carbon-low industry etc etc, is only another way yet to avoid focusing on the only problem that matters at present, financial implosion and the drive into a Third World War on scale far beyond the two great horrifying twentieth century conflicts.

Capitalism’s demented pursuit of profit is always at the expense of everything else including the fate of the environment, (production and factory poisoned constantly, in especially the defenceless rubbish-dumped Third World, the future of animal species, forests, ecology, oceans, and the global climate balance).

It virtually defines its inhuman destructiveness.

But even that constant brutal damage will be dwarfed by the coming war destruction to human industry, society, populations and entire countries, that will “collaterally” do far more environmental damage than anything anyone has seen yet, in total, from all the car exhaust, smokestacks and nuclear leaks of the entire modern industrial period.

The Agent Orange destruction of half the Vietnamese jungles (and the population too still suffering horrible deformities) gives a tiny hint, and even more does the devastation wrought already on Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan as the world is warmed up by imperialism for the giant conflicts to come once the implosion of its finance and trade can be held off no longer.

None of the world’s problems are going to begin to be solved, or even be understood properly in a mass of conflicting bourgeois-influenced and confused “data” and floundering sponsored “science”, on issues like global warming, until the profiteering monopoly capitalist order is ended and along with it the only logic it knows, the relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of all else through to its inevitable end point of regularly recurring slump collapse and destructive turmoil.

By all means let concerns about “green issues” feed into politics but only if the aim is to end capitalism.

Environmentalism cannot be a solution in any other way for these few hundred workers or for hundreds of thousands of other workers in Britain and the slump damaged millions to come, or the hundreds of millions across the world facing chaos and despair, or mankind in general.

None of which implies that the occupying workers in Newport are anything but absolutely right to fight as best they can for what they can salvage of their wiped out livelihoods.

It is not even entirely ruled out that in specific cases (in the very short term) robust enough defence of jobs and lives may transiently hold back the rapidly rising tide of unemployment to some extent, as the Visteon car component workers partially have shown, as the nationalism tainted refinery strikes too, and as the even more robust French working-class tactics of “bossnapping” and now even threatening to blow up slump closed-down factories, have discovered.

For the short period more while capitalism can continue to get away with inflating its monstrously huge credit bubble even further, before it inevitably implodes totally, there may be some crumbs from the “quantitative easing” to fight for, which could even come in the working class’s direction, if the ruling class is panicky enough.

Equally, in the very short term, the specific government posturing about global warming may deliver some token gestures for Vestas, for credibility in keeping going yet another of the wild diversions, which capitalism has eagerly embraced as blame-victim distractions for the disastrous collapses facing the planet, caused in actual fact only by the distortions and intrinsic shaming failures of monopoly capitalism.

A constant hysteria is kept on the boil over assorted avian and swine flu pandemic fears, meteor and asteroid crash predictions (Jupiter observation last month e.g.), volcano doom eruption stories, and most of all the wild exaggerations of the “terrorist threat”, complete with routine false and sterile police raids and panics (and the odd shooting of innocents) pumping up the public fear levels over supposedly mad maniacs determined to destroy “our way of life”, all driven for no good reason or motivation apparently other than some medieval mystical “pure evil” (hence the constant efforts to keep religion and its irrationality going too).

Just as the two centuries long racket of parliamentary democracy, the great lie covering over the total dictatorship of bourgeois big money and capital, has had to deliver some token reforms here and there when it can in boom times (in the richest parts of imperialism anyway), to give it verisimilitude and keep the false illusions of “democracy and freedom” going, so the desperate scaremongering rackets of the great tail-end period of capitalist decline have to be fed with something.

But time is short.

Even if such a highly unlikely outcome were achieved, while there is still inflationary credit left in the shattered capitalist economy letting some “concessions” be won, the only “victories” likely at present are getting a “proper” level of redundancy payment or compensation, or partial job reprieves for sections of the workforce only, usually with deals on wage cuts, speed-up or pension reductions.

It hardly constitutes a future.

Worse still it leaves these and all other workers once again bereft of understanding as soon as the crisis and finance collapse returns with redoubled inflationary force and with no options left for state credit to “bail” it out, when great swathes of the economy will be under threat, as the juddering panic of last Autumn’s credit meltdown briefly revealed.

Those events, inexplicable by the bourgeois commentators and politicians, except with the shallowest of excuses about “overseas” instability which simply beg the question about the entire world system, were the most devastating confirmation of Marxist science and Leninism which alone has been warning the working class of the catastrophic sudden failure unstoppably building up in the profit system below the surface, against all the complacency, incomprehension and outright opposition of the entire fake-“left” – Trotskyist, reformist Labour, official trade union, breakaway SLP etc, or the assorted revisionist remnants and Museum Stalinists of “official communism”.

Despite the artificially stimulated credit fed “recovery” now, the picture is unaltered.

A meltdown faces mankind on a historic scale that has never been seen before, even in the disastrous “buddy can you spare a dime” penury of the savage 1930s worldwide Depression and the rise of international trade war and rearmament which eventually exploded in shattering inter-imperialist destruction and chaos all over again just 20 years after the 1914-18 “war to end all wars”.

Warmongering and blitzkrieging, and the associated depravities of inhuman torture and casual military brutality including massacres of dozens of civilians at a time, increasingly revealed, have been underway now for a decade, since the initial trumped up Goebbels excuses of “cold-blooded killing” in Srebrenica and later Reçak against once-communist Yugoslavia – both total propaganda lies by the West (still routinely recycled without a scrap of further evidence) – were used to get the blitzing going in 1998 by over twenty bullying NATO countries lined up to bomb Belgrade and the rest of tiny Serbia nation, and which has gone on non-stop since, with even bigger lies like the Bush/Blair war crimes fantasies of Weapons of Mass destruction “threatening us all with 45 minutes notice from Iraq”, and savage pounding horrors inflicted on Lebanon, Palestine (over and over again), Somalia, Afghanistan and increasingly Pakistan.

In one sense the Third World War has already started – with the increasing militarisation of politics and news trying to acclimatise the masses again to the idea of war as normality.

Imperialism knows it has a mountain to climb overcoming ordinary people’s resistance to conflict and war, encapsulated by the overwhelming public emotional response to the death of the last First World War soldier Harry Patch, who personified a memory and aversion to the slaughter undiminished almost a century later, such were the horrors of two world wars and tens of millions dead and hundreds of millions bereaved and left with shattered lives.

But it desperately needs to get into a cycle of destruction and world intimidation to try and re-establish in general the “right” of imperialism and its monopoly corporate capitalism to plunder and exploit world resources and labour come what may, and specifically for the leading US power, to re-gain its “proper” place at the top of the pecking order in the hierarchy of capitalist powers, and with it the “right” to take the lion’s share of world profits at the expense of all old imperialist rivals like the German and Japanese groupings, and newer kids on the block like Brazil or India or the restored oligarch capitalism in Russia, destroying on the way as much of their “surplus” capacity as possible to wipe out the “excess” capital in the world which is causing the system to choke on its own accumulation (see financial points).

All the imperialist powers, but especially the US, know that the rivalries and conflicts of monopoly trade “competition” (in reality the endless bribery, wheeler dealing, pressurising, financial manipulation, price fixing, and arms racketeering which long ago supplanted raw competition) are about to heat up white-hot as soon as the capitalist crisis breaks wide open again, as it must do.

In historic terms the breathing space the ruling class has bought itself with the insane printing of billions and billions of paper dollars, and throttling levels of new taxation which have to be imposed to sustain it, cannot last more than the tiniest period, coming on top of an entire four decades of relentless dollar and credit expansion which has already completely poisoned the dollar based world trade network, particularly after Richard Nixon broke the “gold standard” link with the dollar in 1973.

All this has only just held off the spiralling collapse of monopoly capitalism, the unchangeable outcome of the contradictions which are built into the capitalist production-for-profit system, as Karl Marx first analysed in detail in his staggering dissection of the economics of class society, which has never been successfully challenged (despite more than 100 years of bourgeois “scientific” effort to undo his work and which has developed even further into the worldwide monopoly capitalist manipulation and plunder of the imperialist period (1870 onwards roughly speaking) and the world wars it has brought with it. Shuddering shocks to the system have taken whole regions of the world into slump and bankruptcy, in that time, forced to bear the burden by the domineering top dog US imperialist system.

But now the core of capitalism is in desperate trouble.

The idea that the world economy (dollar denominated) has been stabilised even, let alone the cynical and knowing talk of “when the recovery starts” and “getting through the recession” or “avoiding the mistakes of the past with better regulation” etc etc is one of the biggest Pork Pies ever perpetrated by the ruling class and its craven lie-and-spin servants in the Labour Party.

Everyone knows, including the profiteering bankers – back on the bonus bandwagon while they can and hastily, and even more greedily, lining their pockets with in-your-face contempt for the working class devastation being imposed all around, – that the breathing space is tiny and that the abyss of worldwide financial failure which opened up last October will return.

The artificial “recovery” desperately engineered by screwing the masses has temporarily foxed some petty bourgeois commentators but a constant stream of doubts still pours out alongside ever worse news that, even pumped up to bursting with new money, the economy is hardly moving, and the optimistic bullshit about “green shoots” remains over the horizon, as in this sample:

Britain’s economy contracted by a record 5.6% over the past year as output fell for a fifth straight quarter, the government revealed today.

Dashing hopes that the steepest decline in growth since the 1930s might be nearing an end, the Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product fell by 0.8% in the three months to June.

The size of the drop surprised the City, which had expected only a 0.3% decline following recent signs of a pickup in the housing market and strong growth in high street spending.

Sterling dropped sharply after the data, losing a cent against both the dollar and euro to $1.6450 and €1.1577. Mark O’Sullivan, director of dealing at Currencies Direct, said the poor figures had sparked a sell-off of sterling and it is likely to remain under pressure: “The political uncertainty in the UK until the next general election remains a real worry for investors. Many will stay away, particularly with the Conservatives keeping their policies so close to their chest. This could mean further bad news for sterling.”

Shares, enjoying their tenth successive day of gains, appeared to shrug off the news, however. The FTSE 100 was up almost 30 points at 11am, at 4589.28.

Describing the figures as “shockingly bad” Vicky Redwood, UK Economist at Capital Economics, said they “firmly dash any hopes that the UK had already pulled out of recession.” Getting the economy back on track “looks likely to be a long hard slog,” she said.

Ahead of today’s data, some economists had even predicted that the UK could post its first positive growth since early 2008, and the size of the decline prompted immediate speculation that the Bank of England would be forced into fresh emergency action to kick-start activity.


Britain’s leading employers’ organisation warned today that nearly a quarter of a million jobs will be cut in manufacturing this year as the sector faces a long, hard slog out of the steepest recession since the second world war.

In its quarterly industrial trends survey, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that factory orders in July fell to their lowest level since January 1992.

The survey contrasted with a more optimistic outlook revealed by the latest minutes from the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee today which showed that members voted unanimously to postpone a fresh boost for the economy as fears over the recession eased. All nine members voted to keep rates at a record low of 0.5%.

The minutes showed that the MPC wanted to wait until it had completed its quarterly health check of the economy next month before deciding whether to expand the creation of electronic money, known as quantitative easing, from £125bn to the government’s limit of £150bn. The Bank has purchased bonds from banks in the hope that they will use the additional cash to increase borrowing to individuals and companies.

The CBI predicted 58,000 jobs were lost in the manufacturing sector in the second quarter of the year and that 49,000 will be cut in the third quarter. Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economist, said a similar number will go in the final three months of the year. Official figures reveal 77,000 jobs were lost in the first three months of 2009.

McCafferty said: “These figures reinforce our view that the road out of recession will be long and slow.”

The CBI said the performance of British exports had been “disappointing”. British firms have been helped by a 20% fall in the value of the pound over the past two years, but this has been offset by the weakness of demand, especially in Europe, which accounts for half of Britain’s manufactured exports. A balance of minus 38 percentage points of firms reported that export orders were down over the last three months, little changed from the minus 39% in the previous quarter.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “Manufacturers clearly still face serious obstacles and the CBI survey heightens suspicion that sustainable growth in the sector could remain elusive for some considerable time to come.”


Britain will face spending cuts of more than 16% to key public services, such as law and order and higher education, if Labour and the Tories deliver on their goals to protect schools, hospitals and defence, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.

As the two main parties gear up for a bitter general election battle that will be dominated by this issue, the IFS says Britain is facing a decade of pain that will see the tightest constraint in public service spending since 1977.

Carl Emmerson, the IFS’s deputy director, said: “It could be eight years of pain ... Unfortunately that is the kind of choices we are looking at. It will be very difficult for public services. Under the Labour spending plans at the moment it is the tightest three-year period since 1977 when the IMF were involved in setting spending plans in the UK.”


Alistair Darling today refused to rule out a pay freeze for Britain’s six million public sector workers after the head of the government’s spending watchdog accused party leaders of failing to be honest with people.

Steve Bundred, the chief executive of the Audit Commission, wrote in the Observer that he had not heard any politician admit that “severe pay restraint” was necessary to rebalance public finances.

The chancellor insisted public sector pay must be “fair” to workers but, with inflation at its lowest level in years, appeared to open up the possibility of a freeze.

“Public sector pay obviously has got to reflect prevailing conditions, and in particular inflation has come way down,” he said.

“And of course we have got to be fair with regard to people who work in the private sector, many of whom have seen their pay conditions somewhere near freeze.”

Bundred wrote that real terms pay cuts across the public service, including the NHS and schools, would be a “pain free” way to help Britain recover.

He wrote that a £50bn package of spending cuts and tax rises would be necessary to reduce the national debt built up during the recession.

Bundred spoke out as Downing Street dashed hopes that the downturn was nearly over, reflecting fears of a “double dip” recession in which a false dawn leads to another downward plunge – potentially putting public finances under even greater strain.

Gordon Brown will warn this week’s G8 summit in Italy that the world economy still faces major risks from rising oil prices, the refusal of banks to lend and protectionism.


The head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) yesterday warned that a new wave of protectionism could deepen the global slump as he announced the biggest contraction in trade flows since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Pascal Lamy, the director-general of the WTO, said trade would shrink by 10% in 2009 but said countries should resist the temptation to put barriers around their domestic markets. “A seemingly attractive short-term solution of keeping production and consumption at home soon becomes a millstone around a nation’s neck, the more so when trading partners retaliate in kind,” Lamy said as he launched the WTO’s annual world trade report. “Many governments have affirmed their intention to keep markets open. But significant risks remain.” He called for vigilance.

The WTO said the fall in global demand in late 2008 and early 2009 prompted by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers was having a profound impact on activity in global markets. “In the last few months trade has contracted more than at any time since the 1930s, reflecting the dramatic economic downturn provoked in the first instance by the collapse of major financial institutions,” Lamy said.

“Trade growth will be strongly negative this year.”

The WTO believes the downturn is slowing, with Asia leading the world out of recession. It predicted the sluggish performance of European economies would result in China overtaking Germany as the leading exporter next year. In 2008, Germany’s exports were worth $l.47tn (£900bn) against $1.43tn for China.

Research by the WTO and the World Bank has shown that at least 40 countries have resorted to protectionist measures permitted under WTO rules. Lamy said that while the erection of tariff barriers was not the cause of the Great Depression “a protectionist response to the pain of contraction is the recipe for deepening and prolonging an economic crisis”.

The WTO report noted that trade rose 2% in real or volume terms in 2008 after rising 6% in 2007. “However, trade still managed to grow more than global output, as is usually the case when production growth is positive,” it said. “Conversely, when output growth is declining, trade growth tends to fall even more, as is evident in 2009.”


General Motors has officially declared itself bankrupt – the largest bankruptcy filing by a US manufacturing company.

The 101-year old carmaker, once a symbol of America’s industrial prowess, has sought legal protection from its creditors after running up losses of $81bn (£50bn) over four years. Its bankruptcy petition has just been filed in a federal court in Manhattan, New York.

Until it was overtaken by Japanese rival Toyota last year, GM had been the world’s largest manufacturer of cars. But crippling employee pension and healthcare liabilities, and a failure to switch to making smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles, sealed its fate. It is the world’s third largest bankruptcy to date, after Lehman Brothers and telecoms firm Worldcom.

Securing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection gives GM breathing space from creditors, allowing the chief executive, Fritz Henderson, to try to turn GM into a viable business. The US government will pump $30bn into the company in return for a majority stake.


Japan’s economy shrank at record pace in the last quarter amid a collapse in exports and spending cuts by businesses and consumers.

Its gross domestic product shrank at an annual pace of 15.2% in the January-March period, the cabinet office said today, the steepest fall since records began in 1955 and the fourth straight quarter of decline.

The data may force the prime minister, Taro Aso, to delay a general election until the autumn after a series of stimulus packages showed little sign of boosting domestic demand.

Aso conceded that poor corporate spending had now been joined by belt-tightening among households, forced to behave cautiously by cuts in wages and overtime, and rising unemployment.

“This is a very serious situation and we need to respond accordingly,” he told reporters.

Although Japan has often boasted it will be the first developed nation to emerge from recession, today’s figures show its economy is performing badly compared with those of the eurozone, which shrank by 2.5% in the last quarter, and the US, where the contraction was 1.6%.

Its export woes are being mirrored by a slowdown in spending at home. Business investment in factories and equipment fell by 10.4% from the last quarter, while consumer spending dropped 1.1%.


Here’s the position. The global financial system has suffered a near-mortal blow. Credit dried up, banks collapsed and had to be rescued by the taxpayer. The crisis spread from the banks to the real economy, leading to a decline in output just as steep as that during the Great Depression.

Given all that, was it likely that the global economy would snap back as if Northern Rock, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were like a snowstorm in May, memorable but quickly forgotten?

The speed with which share and commodity prices rallied from March onwards suggests that as far as the markets are concerned, the answer was a resounding yes. Dealers showed a touching faith in the ability of central banks and finance ministries to conjure up instant recovery through low interest rates, exploding budget deficits and the creation of new electronic money through quantitative easing.

Policymakers were always a lot less bullish, especially in private. It is a mistake to assume that Ben Bernanke, Mervyn King, Alistair Darling, Jean-Claude Trichet or anybody else knows what will happen next. Rather, it is a case of throwing the kitchen sink at the problem and hoping that something works.

There are four possible outcomes of this. The first is that, by some miracle, policymakers stumble on a way to ensure a sustained, steady, non-inflationary recovery. The second is that nothing works and that the ineffectiveness of monetary and fiscal policy means that the global economy has to endure a long and painful depression as it works off the excesses of the past 15 years. A third is that the emergency action carries within it the seeds of the next problem, something overlooked by policymakers. Quantitative easing is a case in point. At some stage, central banks will need to reverse QE, sucking money out of the system rather than pumping it in. There is no evidence yet of how this exit strategy will be finessed, and the very real possibility that central banks will get the timing wrong increases the possibility of a double-dip recession.

Finally, there is the danger that the patch-up job on the global banking system coupled with ultra-loose monetary and fiscal policy works tolerably well, and that after a short period in which bankers are chastened by their egregious folly there is a return to business as usual. This is the most worrying of all the scenarios, since it will mean that few – if any – of the underlying problems that caused the crisis have been solved. As a result, we can now start counting down the days to an even bigger financial crisis down the road. That, after all, is the lesson of the past 25 years. There were no major changes to the financial system after the 1987 stock market crash and none after the Asian financial crisis and the collapse of Long Term Capital Management. Alan Greenspan slashed interest rates to ensure that the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s became the housing bubble of 2004-06. All were warnings of vulnerability and all were studiously ignored.


Not just the last 25 years of course, another of the reformist delusions, which try to state that we have the “wrong kind of capitalism” caused by “wrong policies” and that if only it could be “regulated” or “restructured” the world could be put back on course on an “even keel”.

In classic petty bourgeois uncertainty, the last (edited) piece hedges its bet so much it would need secateurs to disentangle the truth properly, but it essentially says that the underlying crisis is deep and systemic and all the bourgeois politicians’ argy-bargy about the “best way out of the (euphemistic) recession” so much cynical play-acting designed to distract attention from the fact that October was an irreversible watershed moment.

It was complete confirmation of Marxism and Leninist understanding (only) that the contradictions of the profit system have hit the buffers; devastating meltdown will return at any minute on top of a developing slump that even in the rich and privileged countries is already giving a massive kick in the teeth to hundreds of thousand of workers laid off, facing wage cuts, work speed-ups and increased duties, “salary holidays” and stripping away of hard-saved pension entitlements, and in the Third World facing hundreds of millions with a tip back into starvation and desperation (as aid is cut and trade squeezed ruthlessly),

Not just occupations will erupt as it breaks again.

The ruling class knows it well and its panoply of state control, surveillance and violent police suppression is being readied (courtesy of the treacherous Labourites, the “official” trade unionists and the fake-“lefts” who still keep them in place despite all their ineffectual “protest” and “anti-war-ism”) to impose open dictatorship.

The stomach churning panic of the ruling class as what might be unleashed is occasionally revealed by the little giveaway comments from the likes of David Cameron who recently warned of “riots in the streets” as economic cuts really begin to bite, though the discussion was quickly shut down again by a ruling class that knows better than to alert the working class to its fears and preparations.

Much bigger signs of the uncertainties facing the world imperialist order come from the now humiliating failure of the Afghanistan war, and Iraq before it.

As the EPSR has tried to understand in its 30 year long battle to rebuild Leninist science via the constant live discussion of a cadre party in front of the working class, (as opposed to the fearful “inner party” closed “setting of the line” by the numerous Trotskyist and revisionist groups), the “war on terror” blitzkrieging by capitalism is as much an expression of the ruling class’s crisis as the financial turmoil, and completely intertwined with it.

It is far more than the shallow “war for oil” glib and one dimensional “explanations” that the fake-“left” has pumped out, or “more greed” to seize “more of the world”, all based on complete incomprehension and woodenness about dialectical development and the interpenetration and connectedness of all phenomena, – petty bourgeois impressionism which neither can nor wants to see real world developments.

Far from an aggressive expansion of imperialist dominance, a full historical and worldwide class-balance analysis tries to understand that this was a desperate effort to re-establish general imperialist diktat over a world that is in increasing ferment from the billions of the Third World, who have been educated by capitalist exploitation (which needs them for its factories and plantations) into understanding just what foul and degrading ignorance, poverty and oppression is their lot, and just what opportunities are denied them and stolen from them.

In particular it is a desperate effort by top dog American imperialism (and its hopeful “Anglo-Saxon” UK lapdog) to get in first and make sure it will hold onto its position of overwhelming power over all rivals in the conflicts it knows are soon to drag the whole world back into war horror.

But the intended demonstration of re-emerging fascist ruthlessness, (the true permanent face of all imperialism, not just the “bad” Nazis as idiot Stalinist revisionism deluded the world in to thinking, from at least the 1930s (Franco civil war in Spain e.g.)) by lead US imperialism (and its Zionist outrigger in the Middle East) has been going wrong – running into a growing resistance from its first few months that has shown that the whole world is transformed already and its masses no longer able to tolerate the tyranny and exploitation of the past, whatever the already horrific costs.

The latest desperate move for imperialism to “talk to the Taliban” in Afghanistan is the most humiliating signal yet of what a disastrous defeat the entire adventure has become, setting back even further the plans to escape from slump disaster by “shocking and awe-ing” the world into compliance with continued capitalist rule. Petty bourgeois turmoil is palpable:

It was not quite as crass as George Bush declaring an end to major combat operations in Iraq in May 2003 in front of a banner that read “mission accomplished”, but it could prove to be just as premature. Gordon Brown yesterday declared that a hard-fought five-week battle to reclaim Helmand province was “over” and that British forces had started to break a chain of terror that linked the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of Britain. We will see if the Taliban concurs with either notion. Two more British soldiers were killed yesterday, one of them in what is now supposed to be the “holding” phase of the operation. Mr Brown was not the only government minister to indulge in wish fulfilment. Hours earlier, David Miliband, the foreign secretary, said that the Afghan government needed to talk to the Taliban and offer an alternative to the foot soldiers of the insurgency. Put the two speeches together and a picture emerges of a government that is crossing its fingers on two counts: that major combat in Helmand is indeed over, and that the Taliban now will sit down to tea.

The flurry of statements is designed to obscure what is, in effect, a rethink in London and Washington. Both capitals are moving away from a posture that says that, however long it takes, they will stay the course until an effective state is built in Afghanistan. And they are moving towards a conclusion which admits that whether an effective state is built or not, a deal which allows foreign troops to withdraw will have to include the Taliban. The two policies are different. One derives from a fundamentalist belief that a stable state can be constructed out of the ruins of a failed one in Afghanistan. The other is a pragmatic view of withdrawal.

As soon as Barack Obama starts to think, as he has already done, about an exit strategy, the conclusion that it has to involve the very people US and British troops have been fighting is inescapable. For months, General David Petraeus has distinguished between redeemable and irredeemable elements of the Taliban. So the suggestion by Mr Miliband that we should be talking to some of the militants by offering them alternatives to fighting is not that new or radical. But the price that even redeemable elements of the Taliban will demand, at any level higher than a foot soldier, will be high: a commitment to withdraw all foreign troops from Afghanistan, involvement in a loya jurga on Afghanistan’s constitution, and inclusion in a share-out of the jobs at all levels of government. They may even demand control of provinces.

There is at least one major flaw in this strategy. And that is that it is down to the government in Kabul to negotiate with the Taliban. The elections in August are critical. Until they take place, the current regime in Kabul is a busted flush. It is not the case that all Afghans wish to be liberated from the Taliban’s oppressive rule. For many Pashtuns, the Taliban are a resistance movement against the corruption of a western-backed regime propped up by foreign troops. If Hamid Karzai wins a second term of office, as is the current expectation, his election will pose a significant question: will his government have the credibility within his country to build a political settlement?

The immediate point of the exercise was surely to eliminate the Taliban and the “forces of terrorist darkness” which they were allegedly supporting and which equally allegedly, were a threat to the entire existence of civilisation, decency and mankind?

Instead there was to be supposedly a new regime of harmony and “democracy” and new development to pull the country forwards, with the West committed to staying “until the job is done” as Blairism repeatedly said.

But this was all an enormous heap of manure as cynical remarks from the Tories now indicate:

Yet amid signals that Barack Obama lacks enthusiasm for a long and expensive war in a recession, senior Tories are starting to reconsider their tactics. What Cameron began sketching out last week was a possible path to earlier withdrawal from Afghanistan. Arguing in the Commons that the military mission was too “vague” and its objectives too lofty, he called for a redefinition to exclude longer-term reconstruction aims and to focus on military success.

Frontbenchers deny wanting to cut and run, but Howarth (Gerald Howarth, the shadow defence minister) argues that a clearer exit strategy is needed.

He said that, while public opinion was currently more or less equally divided on the war, “there is a risk that level of public support could fall so I do think we have to be clear with the public actually what the nature of the mission is”.

“If you place the bar to the exit too high we will be there forever and a day but if you place the bar at a reasonable level I think there is a prospect that we might be able to get out sooner.”

He declined to put a timetable on withdrawal but suggested that the mission could be shortened by narrowing its goals to focus on creating a stable government and an Afghan army capable of taking over from international forces.

“I just do not believe that we could sustain a 30-year operation. I know that Sherrard Cooper Coles [Britain’s ambassador to Kabul] said that we might be there for 30 years and we couldn’t sustain that.”

Other more humanitarian aims could be relaxed, he suggested: “The government makes great play about 6 million children being at school. I’m sorry, but we are not there to provide schooling for Afghan children.”

The Tories are a bit clearer that the costs of defeat are no longer sustainable, than the dutiful Labourites, always trying to prove to their “betters” that they can be “trusted” to be just as vicious at running imperialism as its “own kind”.

But the comments will further damage imperialism’s “caring” pretences:

Jan’s Naan will feed his widowed mother and 9-year-old sister. They live together in a house, falling apart at the seams, in Kabul, where Jan’s father was killed in gun battle two years ago. The day his father died, Jan became head of the family. School has been ruled out for Jan; instead he must spend the time earning enough to feed his family. Jan’s plight is a familiar tale in war torn Afghanistan. A large number of Afghan children are forced to start earning a living from a young age to feed their families.

Gulalai Sapai, an Afghan MP, is one of a growing number of public figures in the country using her political platform to speak out against child labour. One in three children in Afghanistan is forced to work on the street, she says. “Children are taking on more responsibilities because of the ongoing war, which is destroying everything. And when they go to work on the streets they face sexual and physical abuse.”

A recent survey by the Afghan Independent Human Right (AIHRC) group found that child labour is also placing mental and psychological strain on children between the ages of six and 16. The group’s research, which included interviews with 18,443 children, found that a lot of kids were working the poppy fields, and seriously at risk of getting caught up in drug crimes.

Anar Kaley, a commissioner in AIHRC, said the biggest reason behind children seeking work is the families being too poor and destitute to care for them.

UNICEF figures puts the number of street children at as many as 100-150 million worldwide, most of whom are illiterate having been forced to give up on school. Often they have no identification document, which, again, gets in the way of them enrolling at schools. Afghan child labours are the significant part of UNICEF figures.

However, things could yet improve. Afghanistan recently signed an international treaty, which includes clauses for the prevention of child labour. The country has made it illegal for those under the age of 18 to work on the streets. But, Sapai says governments are not doing enough to properly enforce the law, with thousands still working regardless. Even if it were enforced, she says, it is part of the wider problem of poverty. “The families are compelled; these children are bringing home food, who else will give assurance to the families? If their children go to school, they will stop bringing home food.’’ She said.

The problem isn’t be helped by the dwindling numbers of NGOs and aid workers, in Afghanistan to help these children, but who are leaving because of the threat from militants and insurgency attacks.

However, Ashyana, an NGO based in Kabul with branches in the cities of Gardiz, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Badkhshan, has so far been able to register 7,700 street children across the country and get them back into the classroom.

Mohammad Yousof, who chairs the charity, says: “ Tens of thousands of children work on the streets of Kabul. They are should get back into the education system, but we can’t stop them from working. If we do, their families will suffer more.”

With poverty in Afghanistan soaring, it seems certain the child labour will continue to rise. Some reports identify another way Afghan families try to get their children out of poverty or earning a good wage: sending them to European countries as asylum seekers. They might then receive a sympathetic welcome from western governments who will let them stay.

This dangerously naive perception of the asylum process means that the suffering of Afghan children is often transported around the world.

In Britain, I met a 15-year-old Afghan boy working in an off license in the east London. His family spent a huge amount of money to get him to the UK, so now he is here, working to pay back the money and help his family back in Afghanistan.

Back home in Afghanistan, children also run the risk of being drafted into illegal armed groups or put to work for militants, where they face almost certain death.

The Afghan government, caught up in its own battles with war lords, the Taliban and coalition troops, is unwittingly raising a nation of children forced too soon into adulthood.

What the ruling class is aware of is that domestic turmoil erupting in the future may demand all its repressive capacities, and that the game is up for the over-reached British empire, forced back by anti-colonialist armed resistance for the entire post-WW2 period, including finally from the long torturing and brutal military occupation of “Northern Ireland”.

And it is defeat for the ruling class, which is in question, the crucial element which Leninism has always focused on as opening up the possibilities once again for the working class to build a revolutionary struggle and eventually take power.

Imperialism is being hammered by dogged and spreading Third World struggle, however bizarrely expressed and led at present (though it will be driven to change and become more scientific), and by its own intractable increasing economic slump disaster, creating a turmoil of excuse making, recrimination and argument, and vicious finger pointing in the ruling class, especially at the Labourites, who for all their craven service for the degenerate and incapable chinless wonder ruling class, are still detested by the arrogance of imperialism. Hints of possible future military coup control are clear:

But it was not Phil Packer who ended up splashed all over the papers. It was Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff, and his admission he was “busting a gut” to get more helicopters for Afghanistan - destroying weeks of official insistence that the mission in Helmand was fully equipped.

Which left the prime minister, who had told the Commons 48 hours earlier that field commanders had “assured me that... troops have the equipment that they need”, twisting in the wind.

It capped an extraordinary week that saw a minister anonymously attacking the head of the army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, as a “total c***”, and the army responding by embarrassing a prime minister in wartime - defying every unwritten convention dictating that generals do not meddle in politics, and that politicians respect their impartiality.

And today the Tories open a startling new front over Afghanistan, by calling for a redefinition of the military mission which could bring British soldiers home sooner.

The row with Dannatt over his outspoken BBC interview detailing a “shopping list” of new operational requirements follows a series of similar public skirmishes. But the intervention of Stirrup, a naturally discreet Whitehall player, is more significant.

“Dannatt is a moralist and believes in doing the right thing by his people. But Stirrup has always been the political animal, who believes you keep the government on board,” says a former colleague. “He has always felt he had a constitutional duty to be impartial and he has suffered from people thinking he is a yes man - which he absolutely is not. This is the first time he has broken ranks in six years.”

His supporters argue that defence chiefs had no choice, after months of private negotiations failed to release more funds.

“The chiefs have been measured, and in my view not crossed the line between speaking up for their men and engaging in politics: they have sent out smoke signals and run up so many flags indicating just how bad things are - and Gordon Brown has never, ever listened,” says Gerald Howarth, the shadow defence minister. “Now the country is paying the price for his attempt to do it on the cheap.”

The row partly reflects tensions dating back to the last government-wide spending review when, as chancellor, Brown wanted a real-terms cut in defence spending. He was overruled only when the then defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, threatened to quit.

So alarm bells rang two weeks ago with the announcement of a new defence spending review. Senior military figures have little confidence in the underpowered new defence secretary, Bob Ainsworth, standing up to Brown.

But Dannatt’s behaviour angered many Labour MPs, who argue minsters were already privately seeking more helicopters - including trying to borrow some from allies such as Germany - and removing the need for a public row.

But while Stirrup argued that more helicopters would “quite patently” save lives, his argument is about more than casualties.

Two new factors last week changed the debate: a recognition that the military could no longer convincingly maintain they have sufficient resources; and a genuine fear that the battle in Helmand could be lost.

If the Taliban can inflict sufficient casualties that western public opinion loses its stomach for the fight, a strategic defeat in Helmand is possible. Such a failure would have implications not only for terrorism worldwide, but for relations between the US and the UK - likely to be blamed for letting the side down - and Nato’s credibility. The stakes are high.

The unravelling of the plot is throwing a million doubts into the minds of the once loyal middle class, in all directions:

I have worked in Afghanistan (The bloodiest day, 11 July) - in 2005 for the UN and in 2007 for the World Bank - on issues of land management and local government, which necessarily involved me interacting with government there. Two fundamental keys to connecting the people to their government in Afghanistan are a fair system of justice and a fair system for the allocation, use and occupation of land. Neither exists in Afghanistan despite the sporadic and often disorganised efforts by the international community.

The government, or, more accurately, the collection of warlords, narco-barons and corrupt persons who largely make up the government, not merely have no interest in developing fair systems of governance; it is in their interests not to do so, as this enables them to enrich themselves at the expense of their people - and ourselves as taxpayers whose troops maintain them in power.

Towards the end of his life, Robert McNamara recognised the fundamental mistake of the Vietnam war: for the US, it was fighting the cold war, for the Vietnamese, they were fighting a civil war. So too in Afghanistan - we think we are fighting the war on terror. For the Taliban, it is a civil war - the Pashtuns, the traditional rulers of Afghanistan, versus the Tajiks and Uzbeks, who make up the Northern Alliance who, with foreign help, won the civil war in 2001 and now dominate government. What business is it of ours to send troops to die to prop up a corrupt, uncaring and incompetent government?

The British government is deluding itself, and, more importantly, deceiving the electorate and the troops sent to fight in Afghanistan, in not spelling out clearly the state of mis-governance in that country and the real nature of the war there. Furthermore, in stating that one of the aims of our troops being there is to build up the Afghan army to well over 100,000 persons, the government is unwittingly creating the conditions for continued rule by warlords and continued civil war as the different groups fight over the spoils of international aid.

Professor Patrick McAuslan

Birkbeck College, London

Your front-page headline “The bloodiest day”, followed by “Eight UK soldiers killed in 24 hours” and “Afghan death toll eclipses that in Iraq”(11 June) was shockingly inaccurate. It reflects a general failure to recognise a basic truth that has led to consecutive bloody and unsuccessful interventions.

It was reported, not long ago, that many times as many Afghans were killed by a single air strike at a wedding party. The coalition did not even attempt to count deaths caused to civilians by the Iraq war, but these have been estimated to be of the order of half a million. Do the lives of Afghan or Iraqi civilians not count towards “the bloodiest day”? At least Britain chose to go and fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. The natives have no choice but to live there.

Martin Hyman

Livingston, West Lothian

It is a tragedy for our heroic and dedicated military that our entry into the second Iraq war was based on a lie (that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs). It is doubly tragic that our entry into the present Afghan war is also based on a lie - that if we do not fight the Taliban in that country, we will have to fight them on the streets of Britain.

How, may I ask, do they intend to arrive? By chartered cruise liner? The real reason for our involvement is said to be a desire to “keep in” with the US. Why? Did not Harold Wilson refuse to send troops to Vietnam, and in doing so, did he destroy the Anglo-American relationship? No, he did not, and history has proved him right in the stand that he took.

When Barack Obama became president of the US, this was the ideal opportunity for Britain, a country with great experience of fighting Afghan wars, to introduce a little sanity into the equation, by demanding that all allied troops are pulled out. Alas, because today we have no one in British politics of the stature of Wilson, the opportunity was lost.

Andrew Norman

Poole, Dorset

Robert Gair (Letters, 11 July) has been talking to the wrong Nixon fanatic. As an unwilling participant in the US conscription lottery in 1970, I can assure Gair that Nixon did not have the wisdom to see futility in Vietnam. In 1968 he defeated Hubert Humphrey, claiming a “secret plan” to end the “Vietnam conflict”. He subsequently widened the air force carpet-bombing campaign and extended it into Cambodia. He then threatened North Vietnam with nuclear bombardment. In 1972, long after the majority of the country had decided they wanted out, he was still pushing “peace with honour”, and defeated another weak Democrat by methods that led to his resignation in 1974.

Richard Reed


Even accepting the dubious premise on which the occupation of Afghanistan is based, the question the British government, and the Conservatives who seem to support it on this, should be constantly asked is why should the British be there acting as one of the world’s unelected policemen? If there is a legitimate reason for any foreign occupation, it should be up to the United Nations and its numerous member countries.

Professor Guy Standing

University of Bath

This is still a long way from any turn to revolutionary consciousness and falls back on plenty of the reformist delusions about “world democracy” and “supra-national” organisations which are nothing but bribed and manipulated stooges of imperialism in the first place, given credence sadly by the delusions of Moscow revisionism post-war in “containing” imperialism and its “more aggressive” aspects by determined “peace struggle” which all the revisionists punt including the “hard-nut” museum-Stalinists like the Lalkarites (see recent EPSRs).

But such doubts and disquiet reflect precisely the defeats imperialism has run into.

In the Third World the hypocrisies and lies stand out even clearer:

This western double standard is widespread, and there are countless examples. Elections recently took place in Iran and the winner was President Ahmadinejad. But there were allegations of vote-rigging. Western governments were up in arms, issuing strongly worded statements in support of democracy in Iran.

Yet Egyptian elections have been rigged regularly for many years and President Mubarak has taken office through rigged referendums, so why hasn’t that provoked such anger? The outcry is not to promote democracy but rather to embarrass the Iranian regime, which is hostile towards Israel and trying to develop its nuclear capabilities, which are a threat to western imperialism. The Egyptian government, on the other hand, in spite of being despotic and corrupt, is obedient and tame, so the western media overlook its faults, however horrendous they might be.

When the young Iranian woman called Neda Soltan was shot by an unknown assailant, her death quickly became global headline news. Western politicians were so moved that even President Obama, close to tears, said that it was heartbreaking. A few weeks later in the German city of Dresden, an Egyptian woman called Marwa el-Sherbini was attending the trial of a man who racially abused her because she was wearing a hijab. Fined €2,800 for insulting her, the extremist then went on a rampage, attacking Marwa and her husband with a knife. Marwa died on the spot.

The murder of Marwa and the murder of Neda should be seen as crimes of equal barbarity and of equal impact. But the murder of the Egyptian woman in the hijab did not break Obama’s heart and did not receive front-page coverage in the west. The murder of Neda incriminates the Iranian regime, whereas the murder of Marwa shows that terrorism is not confined to Arabs and Muslims – a white German terrorist kills an innocent women and tries to kill her husband simply because she is Muslim and wears a hijab. The western media do not care to convey this message.

In short the west, politically and in the media, generally adopts points of view and policies that are hostile towards Arabs and Muslims.

Sadly this piece then goes on to defend against this scapegoating by simply protesting the supposed moderate nature of the Muslim religion rather than grasping that imperialism is using this as a scapegoating cover for its own war drive, and as justification for its attacks on the rising militancy in the world.

Nor does it understand the class basis of the scapegoating; the West has no problems whatever with its own reactionary Muslim henchmen such as the backward feudal corruption of Riyadh eg:

Saudi Arabia has been condemned by Amnesty International for “gross and widespread” human rights abuses by detaining thousands of people in counter-terrorism round-ups and holding many of them for years without charge or trial.

In a report, Amnesty says many Saudi detainees have been tortured, some have “disappeared” into the conservative kingdom’s justice system and some have been sentenced to long prison terms or death sentences after unfair, summary trials. Counter-terrorist measures have exacerbated an already “dire” human rights situation, it adds.

Former Guantánamo Bay detainees are among those now being held in Saudi Arabia. Amnesty warns that the UK resident Shaker Aamer – still detained in Cuba – could also be held without charge or trial if transferred to his native Saudi Arabia.

Most detainees are suspected supporters of al-Qaida and other groups. But others are “prisoners of conscience” targeted for their peaceful opposition to government policies, says Amnesty. Saudi Arabia has pursued a successful anti-terrorist strategy since May 2003, when al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula first surfaced in the kingdom, the home of Osama bin Laden.

Its rehabilitation programmes have been held up as a model by indulgent western allies. Two years ago, the Saudi interior minister said that since 2001 the country had detained 9,000 security suspects and that 3,106 were still being held.

Amnesty warns that the Saudi authorities have tried to deflect attention from its “shocking” record and “contempt” for human rights with a state-controlled media focus on a high-profile case against a group of 991 detainees – 330 of them convicted this month – and the “re-education” programme.

Radical Islamism for the moment, has been one ideology filling in the vacuum left by the turn away from militancy and revolutionary spirit which Moscow’s revisionism steadily declined into.

In the supposed collapse of what passed for communism (stripped of its revolutionary spirit), hatred which has grown against the West has turned to the only ideology it can find which seems prepared to fight and take a stand against imperialist rottenness, corruption and degeneracy.

Even though fanatical puritanism and lack of a scientific basis will eventually prove insufficient for the complete overturn of imperialism, and impose some unnecessary burdens, it has expressed a revolutionary anti-imperialism which is unstoppably maturing rapidly everywhere.

The rational future can only come from a much deeper and longer struggle to finish the capitalist system altogether and establish planned socialist production – possible only under the firmest of scientifically-led working class control (dictatorship of the proletariat) until mankind’s entire culture and society has had the chance to shake off the lies and distortions of bourgeois brainwashing culture and grow into the general maturity and self-control that will be attainable with wage labour class exploitation removed.

Meanwhile even now Vestas workers and the rest of the working class being drawn into struggles (like the Post Office workers currently e.g.,) would gain far more from such battles – even where they “lose” in the short term – if they developed an understanding and grasp of the enormous historic upheavals which are rapidly unfolding into the greatest world war destruction in history.

Revolutionary theory is the essential element.

The sneering fake-”left”, (echoed unfortunately by some, until recently, close sections of the EPSR’s support), constantly, out of incomprehension and petty bourgeois class hostility, declare such “far off” perspectives as too much for the working class or to be just Utopian fancies which should be “toned down because workers will not understand them” at present.

To insist on the argument for revolution, and to battle constantly against wrong ideas and opportunism, they say, is to be sectarian, and cutting off the struggle for theory and socialism from the mass, leaving the revolutionary theory isolated.

“In the meantime, what should we do” is the parroted phrase, not only suggesting that talk of revolution in practice (as opposed to ivory tower academic discussions, and back-of-paper lists of supposedly “revolutionary principles” which these armchair poseurs and opportunists preen themselves with) is “premature” and “likely to put off workers” but in reality slyly justifying a repetition of all the old Labour Movement and official Trade Union reformist crap compromises and lies.

Revisionism’s eventual degeneration into the appalling liquidationist capitulation of the USSR’s Gorbachevite period, giving up pointlessly the hard won and hard defended titanic achievements of a workers state which was STILL GROWING and had grown steadily if stodgily for most of a solid 70 years, - (outstripping the West in culture, technological invention, science, music, housing, education and health (absolutely in some cases and relatively, given the limited resources available and the destruction wreaked regularly on its brilliance by blitzkrieg war, subversion and threat) and in all cases being a hope and beacon to the entire benighted and capitalist exploited Third World) – in favour of the shallow promises of “free market”, further demoralised and set back any working class understanding or willingness to think and study communist science.

In this morass the tiny voice of Leninism, or the best attempts that can be made towards it, have of course been isolated as some critics have declared. But that is no more the fault of the politics than poverty is the “fault” of the poor.

It is not “sectarian” to keep on arguing for Leninist perspectives and neither is it at all possible that the contradictions reaching breaking points for the billions in the world will not be pushing such consciousness closer to the surface in many places, ready to respond to and contribute to vital development of scientific consciousness.

It is telling that variants of such arguments also arise just now right at the heart of the (so far) tiny Leninist discussion, at a moment when the opportunities for revolutionary understanding and theory to find a sympathetic and interested hearing have actually never been greater.

But willingness to “patiently explain and argue the case” as Lenin insisted, is far different from failing to take up illusions and differences.

Unity and conflict with the working class has always been dialectical understanding, not a tactical line dressed up as a “perfectly reasonable” demand to “tolerate” a wide range of anti-revolutionary and outright counter-revolutionary perspectives in order to “broaden discussion.”

Of course the working class will bring a complete baggage of old reactionary attitudes from “British superiority” and even racism, into struggle and there will not be, and cannot be, anything but the most imperfect humans who will make revolution.

Insisting on “proper” attitudes before supporting struggle as the fake-“lefts” all did in repudiating the recent refinery strikes, is sectarian nonsense by pious poseurs.

But equally there has to be constant struggle against such damaging and dangerous wrong perspectives, and especially the official TU and Labour leaderships which feeds them, not compromise.

Consumerism and pop shallowness has left a despair at finding the advanced workers to build coherent leadership.

But the depths of the onrushing crisis will drive workers everywhere into desperate struggle for survival demanding the most intensive grasp of world development and history.

Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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


Cuban view on the reactionary Honduras military coup

A coup d’etat. Yes, that is what happened in Honduras on Sunday, June 28, 2009. It was evident, exactly like Pinochet in Chile or April 2002 in Venezuela. No matter how hard the fascist ringleaders who perpetrated it try to disguise it, it cannot be called anything else: what happened in Tegucigalpa was a blow to the will of the people.

Roberto Micheletti, the illegal, usurper president, has been shouting himself hoarse, together with his spurious cabinet -also appointed by force - declaring “there has not been a coup.”

Micheletti is lying, the transnational executives in that small Central American country are lying, as are those in the business sector; the powerful are lying, the ones accumulating the wealth, the ones refusing to give the Honduran people better wages; the Congress as a whole is lying. So much lying is a national shame for Honduras; so much treason by the coup’s ringleaders, who also hijacked the army to make it confront its own population.

Violent beatings part of the Honduras coupThe presidential residence is assaulted and the president is held at gunpoint, forced outside in his pajamas and taken against his will to an air base. The president himself tells his captors that he is the president, that if they have come to kill him, to do so... their guns waver. He is forcibly taken out of the country to Costa Rica.

A letter of resignation is read out in Congress, with the president’s signature and dated June 25, three days before the coup.

The Honduran attorney general says there is an order of arrest for Zelaya, who is charged with several crimes, including treason and usurpation of functions”.

The army represses the people, throwing tear gas grenades and spraying them with powerful water hoses from tanker trucks as they demand the return of the president that they elected at the polls.

The de facto government imposes a curfew.

Radio and television stations are shut down, the Internet and cable TV are cut off. Teams of journalists covering the events are attacked and kidnapped.

Orders of detention against and kidnappings of members of the legitimate president’s Cabinet.

If the president had resigned because of health problems, whoever would think of assaulting him at in his home and forcing him out at gunpoint. Is that how a sick person is treated?

Why is a resignation letter read out three days after it is written? All signs point to it being false, and the signature even falser.

The charges against Zelaya materialized right at the moment when he announced he was returning to his country, when he has the backing of the entire international community (UN, OAS, EU, Rio Group, ALBA, UNASUR, CAN, SICA). If that were the case, why wasn’t he summoned to court, as Zelaya himself has stated, instead of being attacked by the army?

But if everything is so normal, why is the population being denied the possibility of television, radio and the Internet? What are these Constitution “observers” afraid of? Why are they attacking and kidnapping journalists following events? Why a curfew, if everything is so natural, so peaceful, with support for those who say they are right? Why are they shooting at the people, who already have one victim of that repression? Why are they going into hospitals looking for the injured to arrest them, as seen on footage broadcast by the Telesur TV network?

The oligarchy is afraid of what the people want, that’s all. It was afraid of a simple survey, the referendum, which was merely a means of finding out what Hondurans thought about the formation of a possible constituent assembly. Moreover, the referendum was non-binding, as Zelaya himself said from the outset.

Moreover, if the people had marked that fourth ballot to approve a constituent assembly, the outcome would only be a proposal for the consideration of Congress - a right-wing Congress, to be sure - and subject to its approval.

That is what the Honduran ruling circles were afraid of, and that is why they perpetrated the coup long before June 28, when that same Congress and the Supreme Court - which are now bringing charges against Zelaya after initially stating that he had health problems, invented the alleged letter and falsified his signature -decided with “all the powers of democracy” that the Honduran armed forces are no longer subordinated to their commander in chief, President Zelaya. That was when the coup began.

...the lies of a horde of fascists will go down in history, when they decided on June 28 to assault the will of the Honduran people. We leave you, the reader, with these pictures, which, as the popular saying goes, are worth more than a thousand words. •

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