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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 1400 31st January 2012

Desperate bolstering of fake- "left" charlatans by the capitalist state will not save the ruling class from the class war upheavals being stirred because of its catastrophic failure leading to Slump agonies and diversionary war horrors. But the working class needs to develop Leninist revolutionary consciousness to expose the multiple layers of confusions and lies about "failed communism" and "world terrorist threats" which are dragging the world into World War Three. Third World upheavals will grow but need Leninist understanding too. Build revolutionary theory

When even the BBC, the "state-run" media tool of the British ruling class, devotes half of its senior news programme to a discussion on capitalism's failure and whether it should be replaced, it time for the working class pay attention

Even more when that includes an interview with allegedly "Britain's leading Marxist" Eric Hobsbawm.

Britain's leading charlatan would be a more apposite description, a leading part of the false "leftist" confusion-mongering to which capitalism gives this kind of free publicity when under extreme need, and desperately fearful of a return to revolutionary understanding (just as it will occasionally publicise all sorts of pretend-revolutionary "leftism" from the Trotskyites to anarchist confusion of the "no leadership" Occupiers, when the pressure is on).

The arch class-collaborating Hobsbawm was brought out to give a "left" cover to the continuing lie that capitalism still has some kind of a future.

He dutifully obliged, declaring that the latest problems are a simply a failure of a "certain kind of capitalism" which has "gone off the path described by Adam Smith" and "degenerated" over the last 40 years into "pure free market libertarianism".

As the Pope has "degenerated into pure Catholicism" he might equally profoundly have added. Or bears have sunk to using the woods for a toilet.

In other words what else would anyone expect from capitalism unless they were a complete idiot or a complete academic anti-revolutionary intent on misleading the working class?

Greed and arrogant class domination, is the nature of capitalism, based on a raw brutal exploitation that has only ever given anything away under revolutionary pressure, and then making concessions only for a deliberately corrupted layer of the working class, in the richest of countries while the Third World remained in virtual slavery to provide them.

And all of it is only for a temporary period until the crisis inevitably returns anyway.

Aside from failing to mention Marx at all, and his titanic analysis of Capital, this nonsensical garbage has only one purpose – to keep the working class well away from any revolutionary thoughts that the gigantic crisis failure of its system is stirring up everywhere.

"Stick with the reformists" it lyingly asserts, and it will be possible to get back to a "better kind of capitalism".

All its takes, the ageing "guru" pontificated, is the right amount of pressure and "control" to have a capitalism which is "socially responsible" with a degree of "social morality and equity".

But this is exactly what Hobsbawm was saying back in the late 1990s when he, and all the other revisionist CPers – who truly have degenerated away from anything to do with communism – were effectively giving their blessing under Blairism (see EPSR 972).

It is exactly what reformist opportunism has always said, since it emerged as a trend, retreating from Marx's revolutionary perspectives, in the late nineteenth century and became a total betrayal of the working class by 1914, when the Second International cravenly supported the ruling class war everywhere, helping it herd workers into the trench carnage by the millions to support their plundering colonialist interests.

It was already obvious bearshit then, ever since and is even more so now as the crisis bites and 15 years of NATO-Nazi warmongering has ensued to prepare the world for a third great capitalist collapse destruction.

Faced with this obvious reality Hobsbawm now adds "realistically" that we could all expect some turmoil – a "stormy period of 20- 30 years" – but without offering a word of explanation as to why this world upheaval might be occurring or how it might be stopped or dealt with.

Why is Iran being scapegoated to extend the warmongering by vicious provocations?

And why 20-30 years? What supposedly happens then - and how? Hobsbawm is not giving any clues.

Could it be capitalist catastrophic failure perhaps???

The old patten of warmongering diversion and destruction of capital maybe??

Only stoppable by revolutionary overturn of this historically bankrupt system as Marxist-Leninist understanding has always declared???

Not a word.

To complement this vile misleadership, the remaining Newsnight "discussion" was mostly the usual foul petty bourgeois sneering at allegedly "failed" communism.

Total nonsense. Economically the Soviet Union, the great central example of a workers state, made a stunning transformation after 1917 that dragged it from benighted Tsarist still half-feudal backwardness and peasant ignorance and poverty, with such industrialisation as existed virtually all destroyed by the First World War, into a sufficiently modern industrial state in just twenty years, to be able to destroy Nazi Germany despite the blitzkrieging and siege of nearly one third of the country and 25 million people killed.

It was able, in this 1945 war-devastated condition, to catch up with threatening US nuclear encirclement in just five years; to put the first man into space and make other giant achievements, along with continuing slow steady progress right up until the very end of a staggering 70 year history of social, scientific, educational, cultural and military achievements, frequently outpacing the West in technology and science and culture (such as the Mig 29 plane for example), and providing aid, help, training and development to numerous Third World countries (Aswan dam, Vietnam war aid, innumerable engineers, technicians, teachers and the like trained, and many more provided).

It did so not only without any unemployment, universal health care, widespread cultural provision, cheap housing, and reasonable working conditions, but with not a capitalist, owner or banker, to be seen.

Only the deadening dullness of the Moscow revisionist leadership's failure to grasp and inspire its masses, or the world, with a Leninist revolutionary perspective, sapped the inspiration over decades and led eventually (in the final few degenerated Gorbachevite years) to economic difficulties, the prelude to complete liquidation into the "free market", and the liquidation of the workers state, one of the worst-timed decisions in history.

The same economic progress is true for China, which despite equally dire, deadening, revisionist anti-revolutionism (with a Chinese nationalist flavour), is still a workers state and capable of planning and controlling its economic development (including large amounts of capitalist investment) in a way the anarchy of capitalism in the West never can.

So far this has meant it has ridden the greatest world monopoly capitalist disaster, as this more thoughtful bourgeois press piece at least hints:

...It's a commonplace that China is the world's emerging economic giant. After 30 years averaging more than 9% annual growth, China is now the world's second largest economy and its fastest-growing market. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been taken out of poverty, as its international share of manufacturing has risen from 2% to 20% in 20 years.

But it has been the slump in Europe, the US and Japan that has most dramatically underlined the yawning gap in performance between the world's long-established economic powers and China. In the four years from 2007 to 2011, US national income increased by less than 0.6% (the figure is still being revised down), the EU shrank by 0.3% and Japan declined by 5.2%. In the same period, despite the decline in export markets in those economies, China grew by more than 42%.

But there is a deep reluctance in the austerity-afflicted western world to consider the reasons for such an astonishing gap. Europe is already heading ever deeper into the second phase of the crisis that erupted in 2007-8, now centred on the eurozone. When the credit agency S&P downgraded nine states' creditworthiness and the eurozone's own bailout fund, warning that "fiscal austerity alone risks becoming self-defeating", Angela Merkel's response was to press for the adoption of even tighter austerity.

It is a recipe for economic disaster. Meanwhile, western analysts are predicting that China is heading in the same direction – as they have consistently and wrongly done for the past decade, but especially since the crash of 2008. The latest predictions of a "hard landing" for China focus on inflationary pressure, a legacy of bad bank loans, an overheated housing market, and the impact of stagnation or worse in Europe and the US.

Maybe the pessimists will be proved right at last, but there are powerful reasons to suggest otherwise. Chinese growth for 2011 was 9.2%, compared with forecasts for Britain of around 1%. It's expected to drop back this year to between 7% and 8% – the kind of crisis to dream for. Last year's inflation is cooling off, as is the property bubble which, unlike in the US and Britain, was funded by savings rather than borrowing.

As the Shanghai-based British economist John Ross argues, China has a strong record of absorbing bad loans in the wake of the 1997 Asian debt crisis, and is cushioned from the collapse in western demand by the fact that most of its trade is with the developing world.

But crucially – unlike Britain, the US and the stricken eurozone economies – China has a modest budget deficit of around 2%. Which points to the central reason why China was able to ride out the global crisis of 2007-8 with such dramatic success. China's response was to launch the biggest stimulus programme in the world, investing heavily in infrastructure.

But instead of doing it through deficit spending and printing money, the Chinese government was able to use its ownership and control of the banks and large state companies to increase lending and investment. Which is why China has grown by 10% a year since the crash, while the west and Japan have shrunk or stagnated.

China has travelled a vast distance from the socialised economy of the Maoist period and has a huge private sector and large-scale foreign investment. But its hybrid economic model continues to be based around a publicly owned core of banks and corporations. So while in Europe and the US governments rely on indirect (and so far entirely ineffective) mechanisms to reverse the collapse of private investment at the heart of the crisis – and private banks and corporations hoard bailout cash – China has the leverage directly to boost investment, jobs and incomes.

And that state-owned core has been central to the country's extraordinary growth over the past three decades. Of course that advance has also been based around the largest migration of workers in human history. And the costs of its economic rise have been massive: from rampant corruption and exploitation of low-wage labour to environmental degradation, decline in health and education provision, an explosion of inequality and serious restrictions on civil rights.

Strikes and rural upheavals across China – as well as political shifts – are now challenging and having their impact on those failures. But China's authoritarian system can also lead people elsewhere to ignore some powerful lessons about its economic experience. And one of those is that what used to be celebrated across the political mainstream in Britain and Europe as a "mixed economy" – along with long-discarded levers such as capital controls – can deliver results that a privatised, deregulated economy is utterly unable to do.

The ineffectual conclusions (edited out) at the end about a "mixed economy" obtusely miss the point that this is an economy under workers state control and which will develop towards complete communist common ownership ultimately if the dire capitulations and opportunist betrayals of its rotten revisionist leadership philosophy do not capitulate to Western market illusions like Moscow did.

Retaining state political power in the hands of the working class was the crucial issue emphasised by Lenin when the early Soviet Union was forced to use capitalist methods to push along its also backward economy under the New Economic Policy.

The "mixed economy" in Britain was something else entirely, a desperate attempt to manage bankrupt industries by the war-exhausted capitalist state (using working class tax funds) while fraudulently presenting the takeovers as "public ownership" to head off the powerful revolutionary socialist pressure which erupted post-war, and handing it all back to capitalist profiteering when it could be done ("privatisation"), and as even more cynically done again now with the failed banks.

There are no guarantees that China will not capitulate to the capitalist ideological pressures internally and externally, other than the obvious fact capitalism is failing overall.

But if it does, it will be a philosophical retreat not economic "failure" which is the cause.

Chugging along or not, the workers state economies did not "fail".

But this hoary old pretence was being argued all over again in the BBC discussion, to obscure the truth slowly dawning on the whole world that it is capitalism that has failed totally – and the only alternative is the planned socialist economy.

Capitalism has got away with a long pretence that it can provide for everyone as well as communism promised to.

For over sixty years the working class (in the rich countries only) has been pacified with the illusion that the "free market" will deliver not just a better and more decent basic life, with old age dignity, family health, housing and jobs, but fun and delights, even if these are the shallowest consumerism, and philistine pursuit of "celebrities" (the real purpose of which is to distract and stifle serious contemplation and political thought and keep revolution at bay).

Lyingly writing-off communism as "unworkable" sufficed during the long artificial post-war boom, built on non-stop Washington dollar printing, and with routine anti-communist "totalitarian nightmare" brainwashing lies deluged from every cultural orifice, from junior school to films, TV and theatre.

But it no longer washes.

All these illusions, which ranks of reformists and fake-"left" "parliamentary road" types have helped sell to the working class during the long inflationary dollar-fueled post-war artificial boom, depend on the humiliating enough "crumbs from the table" continuing to fall.

Then in 2008 came the Great Crash as capitalism hit the wall.

And despite even more insane levels of fantasy credit being flung at the problems – the "Quantitative Easing" of unimaginable trillions of inflationary paper dollars – the spiral of collapse is now clearly unstoppable.

Shock unemployment figures from Spain, daily revelations of the Depression agonies facing workers in Greece, endless chaos around the disintegrating Euro, already being divided in practice by banks into "good" (German) and "bad" Euros (most of the rest), and ruthlessly imposed "austerity" savagery everywhere, are teaching harsh lessons, such as these:

Even before Greece's economic crisis engulfed his own home, Dimitris Gasparinatos found it hard to provide for his six sons and four daughters. His wife, Christina, who was struggling to make ends meet with his salary of €960 (£800) a month and welfare aid of about €460 every two months, was unhappy and desperate.

Deep in debt, the couple owed money to the butcher, baker and grocer – the very people who had kept them going in the port of Patras, west of Athens. In their tiny flat, the family slipped increasingly into a life of squalor.

"Psychologically we were all in a bit of a mess," said Gasparinatos. "We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, the rent hadn't been paid for months, something had to be done."

And so, with Christmas approaching, the 42-year-old took the decision to put in an official request for three of his boys and one daughter to be taken into care.

"The crisis had killed us. I am ashamed to say but it had got to the point where I couldn't even afford the €2 needed to buy bread," he told the Guardian. "We didn't want to break up the family but we did think it would be easier for them if four of my children were sent to an institution for maybe two or three years."

The next day, his 37-year-old wife visited the local town hall and asked that her children be "saved".

"She was visibly distraught," said Theoharis Massaras, the local deputy mayor and director of social works. "Requests for support have shot up. Last year we sent food to 400 families in Patras at Christmas. This year, 1,200 asked for help and they weren't what I'd call traditionally low-income people. Many had good jobs until this year when their shops and businesses closed.

"But to be asked to take children away was something new. When we visited their home and saw the situation for ourselves, the third world conditions, the poverty and filth, we couldn't believe our eyes."

In a nation as proud as Greece, where family always comes first, the plight of the Gasparinatoses quickly hit a nerve. Soon shocked reporters were knocking at their door. But testimony from charities, doctors and unions would attest that they are not alone.

As Greece prepares to endure a fifth consecutive year of recession, as the crisis extends its reach, as cuts take their toll, as poverty deepens and unemployment climbs, evidence is mounting that society is tearing at the seams.

Like the middle class, society's great connector, families are beginning to unravel under the weight of a crisis that, with no end in sight, is as much human as it is financial.

Tell-tale signs abound that in its quest to beat off bankruptcy, Greece is being hollowed out, a little more, with each passing day.

"People are going hungry, families are breaking up, instances are mounting of mothers and fathers no longer being able to bring up their own kids," said Ilias Ilioupolis, general secretary of the civil servants' union ADEDY. "Until now there has been a conspiracy of silence around the tragic effects of the austerity measures the IMF and EU are asking us to take."

From cases of newborn babies wrapped in swaddling and dumped on the doorsteps of clinics, to children being offloaded on charities and put in foster care, the nation's struggle to pay off its debts is assuming dramatic proportions, even if officials insist that the belt-tightening and structural reforms will eventually change the EU's most uncompetitive economy for the better.

Propelled by poverty, 500 families had recently asked to place children in homes run by the charity SOS Children's Villages, according to the Greek daily Kathimerini. One toddler was left at the nursery she attended with a note that read: "I will not return to get Anna. I don't have any money, I can't bring her up. Sorry. Her mother."

There is no "upturn" coming and certainly no "fairness" as the RBS Bank £1M bonus scandal has just underlined yet again (along with up to 49% rises for bosses throughout capitalism) with another two-fingered class-war salute to the unemployed, destitute, disabled, pensioners and jobless youth facing decades of euphemistically named "austerity". ("Foregoing" the bonus is an interesting late development but totally cosmetic – Hester still gets £1M million in pay, with other millions to come, like all the bankrupt bank bosses).

The evidence can surely never have been more certain that capitalism is a system of permanently recurring and ever deeper and more widespread catastrophe and Slump failure, with World War the culminating point, as in 1914-18 and 1939-45.

And it does not even need a (genuine) Marxist to say so, since the entire ranking of senior finance executives in the world is doing so, effectively, from the Governor of the Bank of England – "the Depression is the greater disaster not only since the 1930s but ever" - to all the international organisations:

The leaders of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation on Friday issued a warning about the economic and social risks of austerity programmes in a "call to action" designed to boost growth and fight protectionism.

Expressing concern about the weakness of economic activity and rising unemployment, the IMF's Christine Lagarde, the World Bank's Robert Zoellick and the WTO's Pascal Lamy joined the heads of eight other multilateral and regional institutions in calling for policies to create jobs, tackle inequality and green the global economy.

"The world faces significant and urgent challenges that weigh heavily on prospects for future growth and on the cohesion of our societies," said the statement by the global issues group of the World Economic Forum. It was published ahead of the forum's annual meeting in Davos next week, amid concerns that 2012 will see the global economy flirt with recession as a result of the eurozone crisis.

"Our shared objective is the strengthening of growth, employment and the quality of life in every part of the world," said the statement. "But entering 2012, we worry about: decelerating global growth and rising uncertainty; high unemployment, especially youth unemployment, with all its negative economic and social consequences; potential resort to inward-looking protectionist policies."

In addition to Lagarde, Zoellick and Lamy, the signatories were Mark Carney of the Financial Stability Board, Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization, Angel Gurría of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Donald Kaberuka of the African Development Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda of the Asian Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno of the Inter-American Development Bank, Josette Sheeran of the United Nations World Food Programme, and Juan Somavia of the International Labour Organisation. The forum said it was the first time the heads of the world's major institutions had come together in such a way.

Reflecting the IMF's concern about over-aggressive deficit reduction programmes, the joint statement said governments should "manage fiscal consolidation to promote rather than reduce prospects for growth and employment. It should be applied in a socially responsible manner."

The 11-strong group said it wanted to see a comprehensive action plan that could be agreed and implemented at the meeting of the G20 gathering of developed and developing nations in Mexico in June.

"We call on leaders to devote the necessary political energy to deliver concrete actions to exit the crisis and boost growth. Every country, working through its regional economic organisations and development banks and through the international financial and UN institutions, has a role to play."

While acknowledging that the global economy faced severe challenges, the action plan said momentum could be regained by increasing spending on infrastructure and by "beginning to realise the promise of a greener economy". To do so, the world would need an open trading system, resilient cross-border finance, sustainable government finances, determined and coordinated structural reforms and measures to address inequalities in all countries.

In the short term, the 11 leaders said the two most important challenges were to solve the sovereign debt and banking crisis and to restart growth. It urged the implementation of new, tougher regulations for finance and the rapid recapitalisation of banks where necessary.

Even this discretely muted reporting is itself so much eyewash, still pretending it is just a "warning" when in reality is yet more cover up – another of the constant admissions trickled out that nobody has any solutions or knows what they are doing.

If the sovereign debt and banking crises could have been "solved", as suggested, they would never have happened in the first place.

These are not the causes of crisis but a technical expression, the surface symptom, of the deepest underlying contradictions in the production for profit system which are intractable, unsolvable and ever intensifying towards complete breakdown, as Marx analysed in detail in 25 years of thorough scientific investigation in Capital.

The cause is the exploitation of the great majority who have only their labour power to sell to the overwhelming financial might of the tiny minority of owners, who insist on taking the lion's share of all the value produced by the only source of value there is, man's labour (see economics box).

And their "right", to do this while they do nothing except manage the exploitation and their money, comes entirely because they "own" factories, plantations and banks.

The little left to the workers in wages is not sufficient to buy the ever-expanding output, desperate for more profit, which saturates the world eventually with unsellable products.

The crisis point is reached of "need in the midst of plenty" to quote the Communist Manifesto (since there would be plenty to go round if it did not have to make a profit).

Everything implodes, just as it is now and as Marxism scientifically predicted (and the fake-"lefts" constantly ridiculed or denied or just did not grasp).

Far from "entrepreneurially driven prosperity and progress" capitalism is now locked into total catastrophic failure.

To disarm the working class, the cynical pretence is fostered that "austerity" is just some temporary "belt tightening", like some mildly uncomfortable post-Christmas diet, to help get back to an "upturn".

It has been bolstered by the ranks of opportunist class collaborating Labourites and trade unionism studiously looking the other way from now catastrophic crash failure and pretending that the only argument is about fine tuning the Slump impositions to find "the best way to get back to growth".

This juvenile playground pretence is so hollow that the ultra-rich Tory toffs have trouble keeping a straight face when they punt it out.

It has just about held the ground for a while, along with escalating international war diversions and sweetened with the laughable hollowness of "all in it together" Big Society, to give the ruling class time to prepare for the all-out class-war, that it knows it must impose to push the working class down into the most desperate levels of speed up and wage reduction.

The disgusting Labourite collusion with this confidence trick is nothing more than a sly way to impose the same dictatorial Slump agenda pushed onto the Greeks, the Italians and others via unelected "technocrats" (and now even the demand that a German banker should "supervise" the Greek budget (already done in the case of Dublin)).

Capitalist is nothing but a hidden dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the moneybags of capitalism.

The slump realities will increasingly make it necessary to confront this by revolution.

But while the "occupy" movement, UK-Uncut protests and a wave of strikes, not just by militant unions like railwaymen, but even traditionally conservative elements like doctors, nurses, and public sector workers, are diverse signals of growing pressure against the crisis, it still has to break from the old illusions.

The same for dozens of petty bourgeois press commentaries agonising over the obvious Depression realities now being savagely imposed.

There are even early signs emerging that even the compliant class-collaborating trade unionism of the past is being pushed to break past this Labour blockage, threatening that Labour funding will be withdrawn.

Potential centrist developments, as the Socialist Labour Party once seemed to be, may be in the wind as austerity deepens, finally raising working class struggle beyond the snivelling collaboration of Labourism.

But the vacuum of revolutionary theory will be a critical weakness.

Not one of the newer trade union "firebrands" who might precipitate such a movement has ever shown any signs of raising the need for revolutionary perspectives either, and without that the working class remains hamstrung.

The questions will not go away.

But the petty bourgeois intellectuals from Toynbee to Will Hutton still writhe and wriggle every which way to avoid confronting the obvious, the need to challenge the existence of capitalism itself.

Instead they continually return to the hope that "a bit more regulation" or "some spine in the Labour Party" or "dealing with the bankers" and "controlling unreasonable greed" will change things.

Exactly the fatuous evasions that Hobsbawm was wheeled out to bolster up.

And nothing more was forthcoming from the spokeswoman for the UK Uncut movement on the Newsnight programme, declaring that "the need is to put pressure on government to deliver more progressive people-centred alternatives."

There are no alternatives except one; the building of a planned socialist economy under revolutionary working class control.

It is the message the whole world needs and is starting to discover.

Even now, worldwide upheavals not only continue against the injustice, tyrannical oppression, incompetence and fascist war destruction of monopoly world capitalism (next Iran) but are deepening and spreading apace as catastrophic economic meltdown accelerates, piling huge new crisis failures in food production and basic life materials onto the endless poverty, humiliations, and deprivations which face billions of already benighted lives in the tyrannically exploited Third World, even in the "good times".

The ever rising tide of "terrorism", sporadic armed attacks, and national resistance of the last twenty years (and fermenting long before that) has now given way to a qualitatively new stage of multiple mass upheavals alongside these insurgencies.

They are still a long way from revolutionary communist consciousness.

But it will have to come.

Hundreds of millions of once "backward" and unsophisticated peasants and mainly agricultural proletarians have climbed to a different level, through the exploitation of capitalism itself.

They are no longer in awe of Western power and capital but demanding to know why the incredible technology and wealth produced in the world is not being used for all, to not only alleviate difficult lives but to lift all of humankind to a completely new level of development, cooperation and consciousness.

The great sweeping Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, (but excluding the artificial "rebel" counter-stunt deliberately provoked, armed,financed and aided by NATO-imperialist blitzkrieg in Libya and now Syria) stands alongside the increasingly dogged bourgeois nationalisms in Latin America, the permanent mayhem in Somalia, the reviving insurgency in Iraq, the unsuppressed Afghanistan insurgency, the spreading anti-US hatred and rebellion in Pakistan, the impatience of the teeming millions on the street in corrupt stooge run Nigeria, the seething anger of the Kenyans, the ferment of India's 1.2 billon and above all the heroic and ever more determined Palestinian struggle against the theft and occupation of their lands by fascist Zionism and its non-stop genocidal oppression, massacres, imprisonment and indiscriminate brutality against men, women and children.

The absence of Leninist revolutionary consciousness, leaves these heroic struggles vulnerable to manipulation and sellout.

But many of them are aware of how they are being tricked:

Secularism is not my cause and sharia is not my fear but I am one of those Egyptians who are critical of the Muslim Brotherhood movement – one who made a point of not voting for the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party in the recent elections.

My cause is Egypt, the revolution, and seeing my country become a true democracy. My fear is the prolongation of military rule, of transformation to a system that gives the military special status above civil institutions, or one that grants the army and its budget immunity against parliamentary accountability.

The Brotherhood's priorities are different from mine, and their objectives have occasionally conflicted with those of the revolutionaries.

There were striking examples of that in November and December. As revolutionaries were asserting their demands and thwarting the violent attack on their sit-ins by the army and interior ministry, official press releases from the Brotherhood and the party called for stability, expressing concern that such violence could hinder the electoral process.

Stability is the antithesis of revolution, and Egypt's revolution has not ended. Not as long as thousands of civilians are being tried in military courts and the emergency law is still in place. The murderers of the revolution's martyrs have not been sentenced.

The interior ministry, which has a history of using torture and brutality against citizens, has not been restructured. Protesters continue to be beaten, tortured and killed.

The "social justice" measures that the revolution called for have not been enforced. The assets of Hosni Mubarak's family and their associates have not been restored to the country's budget. Governmental bodies have not been cleansed of corrupt leadership affiliated to Mubarak's time.

Above all, the revolution must continue as long as the military and its leaders (who were part of Mubarak's regime) still enjoy authority over civilian leaders and have their economic assets shrouded in secrecy.

In their pursuit of "stability", the Brothers have occasionally sided with the ruling military council – the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) – in defiance of the demands from Tahrir and other squares in Egypt. They say stability will benefit the revolution, and holding elections will lead to peaceful transition of power to civilians.

But revolutionaries disagree, on the grounds that the regime's remnants – many of whom are still in power across the hierarchies of governmental bodies (including the army and Scaf) – will not relinquish their power easily and peacefully. Elections are not a magical solution when it comes to making powerful, corrupt figures let go of advantages they have enjoyed for decades and instead face justice.

In the midst of their conflicting and vague statements, the Brothers have given some disturbing signals. Last November, for instance, during the Mohamed Mahmoud street battle, in which tens of protesters were killed and hundreds injured after the army and interior ministry attempted to forcefully disperse a sit-in, the Brotherhood said it would stay neutral. Yet, some of its leaders made statements against the protesters and their demands.

Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan rejected the protesters' demand that Scaf steps down: if Scaf leaves, chaos will prevail, he said. Even more shockingly, on 3 January Ghozlan said his group might agree to granting members of Scaf immunity from prosecution in return for the peaceful transition of power, and families of martyrs could be compensated financially instead of seeing their sons' murderers being brought to justice. Widespread uproar at this caused him to pull back his statements later.

Having seen the Brotherhood make a series of compromising stances over the past year, I can't trust it to be capable of achieving the revolution's objectives.

Despite all that, it's absurd to find many western media outlets reducing Egyptian revolutionaries' anger against the Brotherhood to an alleged fear of sharia law. An oversimplified analysis from some western writers depicts the divide between many young revolutionaries and the Brotherhood as a secularist-Islamist clash.

What they seem not to have noticed is that the key secularist party in post-revolution Egypt – the Free Egyptians party – also opposed November's demonstrations. And just as protesters kicked senior Brotherhood leader Mohamed Beltagi out of Tahrir in November, they also kicked out liberal figure Mamdouh Hamza in the same week.

The protesters' rejection of the two men had nothing to do with sharia, and had everything to do with the revolution and its initial objectives, which were neither secularist nor Islamist.

I am not one of Tahrir's heroes (Tahrir has seen scores of heroes lose eyes and limbs on the battle line) but I am a Tahrir-goer, a pro-revolution opponent of Scaf who does not fall into the dichotomy of "pro-Tahrir secularists versus anti-Tahrir Islamists" that is promoted by pundits.

...Sharia, as I know it, tells me to struggle against corruption and tyranny; and to side with those pursuing justice and dignity, be they secularist or Islamist.

"Democracy" has not been achieved and so the revolution must impose its will until it is, this says.

That is only a few steps step from understanding the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the only way "democracy" for the majority can ever be achieved.

Leninist understanding needs to be fought for now.

Don Hoskins

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Newly released documents confirm EPSR understanding of the IRA/Sinn Féin victory even 30 years ago leading to British snail pace withdrawal and eventual Irish unity

Further confirmation of the EPSR's long fought for understanding of the Irish national-liberation struggle's titanic victory in the Occupied Zone of northern Ireland has emerged in the release of Cabinet papers under the "30 year rule".

They make clear that the British intransigence of supposedly hard-line Thatcherism and its "Lady's not for turning" spin-built imagery was shaken to the core as early as the Hunger Strikes in 1980-81.

Even at that early date the struggle was already pushing back the remains of British imperialist domination in the last forcefully ripped-out "Partitioned" section of the Irish colony.

Far from being a defeat and a setback for the Provisionals, the strikes and the political campaign built around them had utterly shaken British imperialist confidence and power.

Just how much that was so, is now confirmed in the newly disclosed minutes of the British cabinet (whose routine 30 year -rule January 1st publication itself is a deliberate addition to the trickled out admissions and "apologies" which are all part and parcel of a steady retreat – if required,. "sensitive" material is kept secret for 90 years or more) :

The Thatcher government wobbled in its resolution to resist the IRA's Maze prison hunger strike and contemplated the "unpalatable" option of British withdrawal from Northern Ireland, according to secret cabinet documents.

The desperation of the government's predicament during early July 1981 is revealed in files which show the prime minister negotiating directly with the republican leadership and considering whether compulsory "intravenous feeding" could be used to keep prisoners alive.

One letter, though unsigned, bears what must be Margaret Thatcher's distinctive, handwritten alterations to the text of a message sent through an MI6-mediated "channel" of communication to the IRA.

Ten men, including Bobby Sands, died in their campaign to secure political status for republican prisoners. Seven were members of the IRA, three from the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

While the government's public stance at the time was defiance in the face of terrorist demands and a refusal to negotiate, behind the scenes an unusually, fraught tone is discernible in private discussions.

A "secret" cabinet paper marked "one copy only", released to the National Archives in Kew, records an "informal discussion" at the end of a cabinet meeting on 2 July.

It noted "increasingly disturbing signs of an erosion of international confidence in British policy" towards the IRA hunger strike at the Maze prison outside Belfast. The government did not want to be portrayed as "inflexible".

"Ideally some independent body should be invited to satisfy itself that the government's attitude on the prison regime was both humane and reasonable," it said. The European Commission for Human Rights had declined to play any role in the absence of any complaint.

"The government," the cabinet note said, "could not, of course, make a complaint against themselves; the prisoners were not prepared to do so; and though another government could in theory fill in the gap it was questionable whether it would be wise to try to stimulate this."

But it was the prospect of an intervention by the previous prime minister, James Callaghan, which caused most anxiety. "The difficulty of the government's position seemed certain to be increased by the evolving opposition attitude towards Irish unity as an ultimate objective," the document said.

It was thought Callaghan was about to make a speech proposing that Northern Ireland "should become independent, with transitional arrangements under which British troops and British financial assistance would remain available for a limited period.

"His [Callaghan's] views might well receive massive support from public opinion in Britain, where there was already a widespread feeling in favour of British withdrawal," it said.

The "watershed" had been passed once Sands was elected as an MP. "Many people in Britain now believed that a settlement of the complex problems of the area would be more easily reached by the Irish on their own and that continued British involvement could only mean the futile sacrifice of further British lives."

But withdrawal was likely to result in "civil war and massive bloodshed", with the Troubles spreading to British cities with significant Irish populations, the ministers present acknowledged.

The "guarantee to the province" was enshrined in statute and would need legislation. "The passage of this would be an occasion for turbulence as well as controversy. Even the suggestion of a withdrawal could lead to serious unrest in western Scotland."

By then, four hunger strikers had already died. The immediate problem was how to prevent further deaths, so the cabinet discussion moved on to "compulsory feeding".

"If done intravenously by modern methods," it was proposed, "this should not involve the violent scenes associated with the forcible feeding of prisoners in the past.

"On the other hand, it was uncertain whether the prison doctors would be willing to co-operate; and if intravenous feeding led to all the protesting prisoners coming out on hunger strike, the authorities would be faced with the enormous task of sustaining by such methods indefinitely." In the end, it was never tried.

The discussion ended with Thatcher summing up, saying "further thought would need to be given to all possible courses of action in regard to Northern Ireland, however difficult or unpalatable".

Another prime ministerial file carries details of a message sent in secret on 6 July 1981 via MI6 to the leadership of the Provisional IRA in an attempt to negotiate a deal that would end the hunger strike.

The letter, sent to a businessman in Derry, Brendan Duddy, who was an intermediary, is headed "Message to be sent through the channel". It sets out what the government would do "if, but only if" it was called off.

Prison uniforms would go and inmates could wear their own clothes "subject to approval of the prison governor". Some of the list has been corrected in what appears to be the prime minister's handwriting – the floating crossbars on the t's and the not fully looped p's are distinctive.

Her annotations seem not to have introduced any fresh concessions. The letter ends with the warning: "If the reply we receive is unsatisfactory and there is subsequently any public reference to this exchange we shall deny that it took place. Silence will be taken as an unsatisfactory reply."

That the prime minister was directly involved is in no doubt. A memorandum to Thatcher from Humphrey Atkins, the Northern Ireland secretary, the following day refers to "the sending of the message which you approved last night".

In the aftermath of the peace process, a bitter debate has opened up between mainstream provisional republicans and rival dissident factions over whether the hunger strike was deliberately prolonged by the leadership in order to build up political support for the movement.

Danny Morrison, one of the key provisional figures who went into the Maze that July, told the Guardian the documents vindicated the IRA's decisions at the time. "I find these documents very refreshing," he said. "At least they have published what was happening. These conversations were recorded by Michael Oatley [the MI6 officer] or his secretary. We never got the final [British] position [before hunger striker] Joe O'Donnell died."

These were the events that, through the Anglo-Irish Agreement and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement, set in train the long and deliberately snail's pace withdrawal of the British, and the transformation of the stentorian "No Surrender" and "Never,never,never" Orange colonialist intransigence into the current cooperation and power sharing, from which it is virtually inconceivable there can be any return to past conflict (despite festering colonialist resentments and sporadic outbursts of viciousness here and there, still serious and dangerous in some areas).

But save for some peculiar twist in the general warmongering turmoil now being kept permanently on the boil by world imperialism (led by the US) to divert attention from the worldwide total collapse of the capitalist system, (with Iran looking more and more like the next scapegoat victim after the foul destruction of Libya), the military and political withdrawal from Ireland will continue, with a steady path to reunification eventually completed, the final stages achieved through peaceful means.

It will take yet more time, and particularly because a key aspect of the agreements forged with Westminster has been for the British ruling class to constantly fuzz over the picture of a revolutionary armed national struggle achieving anything at all.

As with its retreat from Empire everywhere,the ruling class always muddies the waters with a constant pretence of "forcing them to accept democracy" and "retreats and sellouts by the Sinn Féin leaders" etc, all further confused with endless prevarications and foot-dragging, and on-and-off feints around new "demands" or yet more provocatory accusations of "behaviour making a deal impossible".

It is all utter nonsense, as spelt out in more detail in past EPSR analyses. This first from 2001:

For 22 years, the EPSR has delighted in demonstrating the incorrect stupidities of both far right and fake-'left' assessments of the Irish question, and never more so than now once again, at this decisive moment of national-liberation triumph.

This decommissioning gesture has long been prepared (see last week's EPSR) as not something that the IRA would be 'forced into' but as the linchpin of the entire Sinn Féin plan to take the gun out of Irish politics completely via the Good Friday Agreement for a snail's pace progress towards the reunification of Ireland.

The endless 'Unionist', 'Loyalist', and Paisleyite foot-dragging to either paralyse the GFA or to wreck it completely is the indisputable measure of the Agreement's ultimate reunification direction (see EPSRs back to issue No 1 for the whole unfolding history of declining British imperialism's basic wish to get out of Ireland, a colonial tenure just no longer defendable or justifiable on any grounds whatever).

The built-in delays (to the final flourishing of the GFA's real intention), - allowing the Unionists to endlessly put spokes in the wheel, - are there precisely to cover-up the reality of the Sinn Féin/IRA revolutionary guerrilla-war triumph.

It is a bourgeois-nationalist settlement, as the EPSR has always explained it must be (at this stage). The completed-Agreement reunified Ireland will be a capitalist-state Ireland.

The guerrilla war for national liberation will be complete itself at that point.

And exactly as Sinn Féin have repeatedly spelled out in great detail, at that juncture the Republican movement will have completed its primary task of bringing down via the armalite and the ballot box, the remnants of British colonial sovereignty in Ireland; and 'pure' political struggle will take over, the IRA's task having been brought to a satisfactory termination.

Unionism's deliberate reluctance to fully cooperate with this GFA perspective was to some extent pre-choreographed into the deal.

The great danger for Britain in being unwilling to continue the fight with the IRA any longer was to avoid giving the far larger potential UDI armed-revolt by 'Loyalist' gunmen the excuse they were looking for in Paisley's "No Surrender" rhetoric, etc.

The snail's-pace game has been to slowly press on with the really big decommissioning job, - that of decommissioning the former 'Northern Ireland' armed statelet of total Orange domination and intransigence, - but without letting the tiniest glimpse of Republican triumphalism replace it in the new power-sharing government structure in the north, already half-integrated with southern counterpart ministries and obviously heading for full integration in due course.

The artificial fuss about IRA arms decommissioning has been the inevitable chosen means for allowing the supposedly 'pro-Agreement' Unionists (i.e. the ones marginally less reluctant than others to accept the fait accompli of British imperialism's clear intentions for complete withdrawal from Ireland) to melodramatically keep this huge pantomime going for 32 years (of 'no surrender' to power-sharing cooperation with Republicans until the 'victory' can be claimed of "the IRA at last agreeing to end its war threat, and to disarm", etc,).

The national-liberation movement had in fact accepted that scenario even ages before the GFA was actually signed 32 years ago. It has always been the perspective of the power-sharing halfway-house-dismantling of the 'Northern Ireland' de-facto Orange dictatorship, en route to dismantling Partition itself. It has been the whole aim of the 'armalite and ballot-box' strategy from the start...

So what is in it for Trimble and other Unionist community leaders if the GFA implementation is really on the road towards full eventual reunification of Ireland??? Simply that this completion of Ireland's self-determination will obviously be a bourgeois-nationalist settlement, as has been indisputable from the start. This is a national-liberation deliverance into full bourgeois democracy, not artificially Partitioned, and no longer totally poisoned by lingering colonial-imperialist direct domination or infringed territorial integrity.

But as a reunified bourgeois-capitalist Ireland in line with US imperialist sentiment, international public opinion on self-determination rights, and declining British colonialism's own desperate need to relinquish its Occupying-power role to something tolerable to international capitalist interests while there is still time (and before a continually-frustrated national-liberation revolt took on even more Marxist-socialist tinges than Sinn Féin has so far encouraged to flourish), -- the plain best way out for the majority of Trimble's bourgeois Unionist community is to take their proper bourgeois place within a reunified Ireland, as the continuing fat cats in their region of Ireland (resident for nearly 400 years now). EPSR No1110 30-10-01

This pretended "no surrender" demand was spun out even further of course with yet more stunts pulled by the most reactionary elements in the British security establishment and among the diehard Organge colonialists in a last ditch attempt to try and stop the agreement going through in late 2002:

The pantomime police coup to try to humiliate Sinn Féin in its Stormont offices and thereby undermine its rapidly-growing reputation as the only worthwhile political movement for solving ALL of Ireland's problems, Protestant and Catholic alike, North and South alike, - was made urgent by the Trimble Unionist upheaval ordering the First Minister to quit office by January to wreck the GFA because it is leading relentlessly towards Ireland's reunification and the burying forever of British colonial supremacism in the North, (exactly as it was meant to do, as the EPSR alone has consistently explained, grasping the colossal defeat that British imperialism has suffered in modern times, both internationally, and specifically in Ireland at the hands of the revolutionary guerrilla-war national-liberation struggle).

The ludicrous political shallowness of New Labour has repeatedly permitted these colonial minded stunts to disrupt the GFA in reaction's never-ending efforts to re-fight the already lost battles and insist that "terrorists" should never have been caved in to in the first place, and least of all should they be allowed into government.

But the stunts have not worked before, and they will not work this time over the longer term. To stop Sinn Féin remaining a force in government and becoming an ever-growing influence throughout Ireland, taking it steadily on its way to reunification, a new colonial war would have to be launched by Britain.

In today's hysterical international warmongering climate produced by Western monopoly imperialism's insoluble economic crisis and imminent collapse, such a total change of direction by the British Establishment over Ireland, effectively recolonising the place, could not be ruled as utterly impossible (as the EPSR has also always explained).

But it is hardly likely. It would not be the smartest way to play warmongering stooge for US imperialist blitzkrieg and recolonisation tyranny throughout the Middle East and beyond (see previous discussion), with the colossal manpower and achievement difficulties that will present, - and at the same time have half the British armed force tied up again fighting an unwinnable colonial war against national-liberation struggle in Ireland.

Interestingly, the stupidity of this threatened return-to-war destruction of the GFA by banning Sinn Féin (as all shades of official political Unionism now demand) is being openly challenge at last, and in the capitalist press, by other bourgeois voices from the British colonial 'Northern Ireland' tradition, who are loudly telling Trimble & Co not to be so stupid, including professors from Queens and Ulster Universities, plus even a Unionist Assemblyman (in that order, below), plus other capitalist press voices from normally viciously anti-SF and anti-revolutionary quarters. (EPSR No1156 15-10-02)

Yet more shennanigans (to use an appropriate Irish word) spun all this out even further with the last-ditch childishness of suspending the power sharing arrangements, with yet more allegations (of the IRA really being just "criminals" (bank thieves on one occasion, thugs on another, drug runners on another) all to sustain a pretence that Sinn Féin was being forced to back down and was the side allegedly eating humble pie and finally "accepting the authority of the police" before the Good Friday Agreement was effectively restored at the end of 2006 via the St Andrews Agreeement.

But the military were being withdrawn, (again at a snail's pace of keeping them confined to barracks) and the overt MI6 and MI5 security presence ended, with control of policing devolved to Stormont, jointly overseen by Sinn Féin and the colonialist "loyalists". It was a once inconceivable notion for the republicans to oversee the police and is a critical aspect of the transfer of the state to Ireland. The police, and authority over it, are what Marxism has long understood to be a core aspect of the bourgeois state and its power, the bodies of armed men that mediate the class struggle, and where it is imposed, colonialist power (see Lenin State and Revolution).

The PSNI is still is a long way from the neutral force it is notionally declared to be (not even adopting many of the Patten recommendations made as part of the British pullout) completely eradicating all the remnants of the old arrogance and bias its ranks, as various sectarian incidents documented month by month in the An Phoblacht republican paper still show.

But it is not either the old RUC, completely dominated and controlled by an ascendant colonialism.

Typical of the continiung battles facing the republicans as reported in the bourgeois press:

Northern Ireland's Sinn Féin deputy first minister has criticised the handling of a police investigation into murdered Catholic policeman Ronan Kerr.

Martin McGuinness hit out at the arrest of a 22-year-old Coalisland man whom he described as "completely innocent". McGuinness said the man's arrest in the County Tyrone town had caused anger in the community.

His remarks are bound to put him at odds with Peter Robinson, the Democratic Unionist first minister of Northern Ireland. Robinson and the DUP's key demand for Sinn Féin's entry into power-sharing government back in 2006 was that the republican party fully support policing and the judicial system in Northern Ireland.

The 22-year-old was part one of five men detained under the Terrorism Act earlier this week although all have since been released. A 23-year-old woman remains in custody and is being questioned by detectives at the Police Service of Northern Ireland's (PSNI) serious crimes suite in Antrim.

McGuinness said the 22-year-old was had been taken from his home in the "full blaze of publicity" but the PSNI said they had a duty to carry out their inquiries.

"This was according to the police a major operation, it was described as such by the media and there was extensive media attention placed on homes and on business premises," the deputy first minister said.

"From speaking to the family of the young man and the local community, it is obvious to me that we are dealing with a situation where a young man who was completely innocent, and who was in fact, in the USA at the time of the killing of Ronan Kerr."

The Sinn Féin MP for Mid Ulster said it was very important within nationalist and republican communities that innocent people and people who are clearly seen to be innocent "should not be arrested in this fashion".

"I do find it quite strange that within a very short period of this young man, who was completely innocent, being released after representations by myself, that the other four people who were also arrested were rleased," he said.

"They were basically held just over one day. That doesn't say to me that this was a serious attempt to find those who were responsible for the killing of Ronan Kerr."

McGuinness added that he supported the police in their attempts to find those responsible for Kerr's murder, but he still criticised their investigation.

But these issues can now be fought for. As the EPSR quote above says, Sinn Féin is "a force in government and becoming an ever-growing influence throughout Ireland" both north and south.

It was able to make a major challenge in past months even for the 26 counties Irish presidency, a once-unthinkable concept albeit still hemmed around by dirty tricks, this time by the Dublin bourgeoisie making it clear that opportunism and manipulation is not limited to British rule, but is a class issue, part and parcel of capitalist domination by whatever nationality:

One of the stars of Ireland's version of Dragons' Den is in the lead in the race to become the republic's next president.

Independent candidate Sean Gallagher has 39% support according to a Red C poll for the Sunday Business Post newspaper.

Gallagher was on the panel of millionaires in the RTÉ version of Dragons' Den, a reality TV programme in which entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists.

The poll says he has jumped 18 points in nine days and that the Irish Labour candidate and former arts minister Michael D Higgins is in second place with 27%.

But support for Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has fallen to 13%. The former IRA chief of staff has faced repeated questions over his role as a leading figure in the Provisionals during the Troubles.

The poll was taken before a row broke out at the end of last week between Sinn Féin and RTÉ, the national broadcaster. McGuinness was outraged over a question during a live presidential debate on Wednesday night when he was asked how he squared his Catholic beliefs with support for IRA murders.

The Sinn Féin deputy first minister of Northern Ireland demanded a private meeting with the programme's presenter, Miriam O'Callaghan, to complain about the line of questioning during the debate.

These petty bourgeois insults manage to be even more poisonous than the foulest colonialists, and doubly hypocritical from an alleged Irish "republican" tradition in the south.

It is not so long since the OZ republicans were subject to constant sectarian violence and hate, massacred and shot down, hounded and harassed by military death squads, denied even a voice on TV and radio, subject to endless colonialist violence, rounded up without trial or by the bent and twisted British controlled "Diplock Courts", brutalised in concentration camps (the infamous H-blocks), tortured, and persecuted and hounded.

The peaceful political mechanisms that Sinn Féin is now able to use, and the continuing movement forwards to its goals despite setbacks and difficulties, have become possible because of the success of the IRA guerrilla war struggle in forcing back British rule, and finally convincing die-hard Orange colonialism that it was better off accepting the prospect of eventual unification while keeping its current relatively comfortable life intact (and a façade of now hollow "traditions" etc), than of attempting to sustain any further a completely unwinnable colonialist war, risking everything on a unilateral reactionary rebellion.

It would have been unilateralism without the strong support from the reactionary imperialist wing of the British ruling class, that prevailed in the time of the Carson Trail rebellion just prior to World War One.

Britain has long lost the strength and will of its imperialist power, and lost any economic and geopolitical benefits that once came from the military and industrial usefulness of Ireland on its Atlantic coast:


But it WAS the Provos who, willy-nilly, saw during the late 1960s Civil Rights explosion that the British imperialist colonial toehold on the last occupied Zone of Ireland (six of Ulster's nine counties, artificially created as "Northern Ireland" by dog-in-the-manger British imperialist retreat from TOTAL occupation of Ireland following the 1921 National-Liberation War) was more vulnerable than any colonisation of Ireland had ever been before because the "secure back door" needs for the British Empire homeland were no longer a serious strategic consideration in the nuclear-rocket age of overall, severe, British imperialist decline; because the battleship-building industrial value of Belfast was similarly more of an economic burden than military use now; because the now-out-of-date but still tragically viciously deluded British triumphalist population of the OZ, - the Ulster Unionist colonists, - would be bound to become an increasingly difficult problem to cope with by retreating British imperialism over time (as indeed has happened with a vengeance); and because large parts of the London imperialist establishment were already indicating that they would quite like to extricate Britain from its Irish colonial involvement COMPLETELY if it could be done without any appearance of capitulation to Irish self-determination struggle, and if it could be got past Ulster Unionist reaction by one means or another.

The ignorant anti-revolutionary Trots and Stalinist Revisionists in and around the Irish Question scene all idiotically plumped for exclusively Civil Rights agitation thereafter. Only the Provos surprisingly grasped that unless seriously harried, - sclerotic and demoralised British imperialist arrogance and complacency would take forever to find a way round these remaining difficulties for getting out; but that pressing Britain hard with an intensified national liberation war and a revolutionary political offensive could lead to a dramatic sensational triumph.

And so it proved, exactly as the EPSR's Marxist-Leninist grasp of the movement of international class and national forces in this epoch of imperialist crisis, confidently explained would happen from its first publication 24 years ago. (EPSR 1195 29-07-03)


Against all comers the EPSR has fought off the twisted and defeatist nonsense of the fake - "lefts" of all shades who have repeatedly written off the republican movement, variously condemning" it as "terrorism" over the hard fought decades of the "Troubles" and finally declaring its victory through the Good Friday Agreement and its deliberately long drawn out coda, the 2007 St Andrews agreement, to be "nothing but a sellout" and "betrayal" for the Irish.

This path towards an historic defeat for Britain, forcing it out of the last corner of its 800 year long colonialist war, was apparent by the time of the Hunger Strikes, as the EPSR's understanding was already saying, against the views of all other analysis, (including that of the IRA/Sinn Féin itself) that the 1980-81 sacrifices and the mass political campaigning support that emerged around them, ware a major setback and defeat.

This dire defeatism and failure in understanding is a reflection of the complete failure and opportunism of the whole fake-"left" spectrum which cannot recognise, and does not want to recognise, the crucial revolutionary movements in the world and failing to do so not only misleads the working class but ends up on the wrong side taking a counter-revolutionary stance as it did in suppressing the EPSR's polemic. In December 1998 for the EPSR editor was effectively expelled from Scargill's bureaucratic trade union dominated Socialist Labour Party on this issue:

For the gist of this defeatist nonsense to have appeared in Socialist News is a tragedy, especially if it remains uncorrected. And if it is to lead the working class in Britain, the SLP must become a party which can reach conclusions and take a stand in the further interests of the international defeat of the imperialist system, of which Blair's is the stooge representative government in Britain.

The Trots are wrong. Only the EPS Review has come remotely near the truth, and has printed it loudly and clearly throughout. The national-liberation struggle has not remotely been abandoned, and the IRA is nowhere near capitulating.

It has offered a peace ceasefire so that a completely new Ireland can be put in place, — the Good Friday agreement for crossborder bodies to begin adopting most of the government of all-Ireland.

When that de-facto obliteration of the old colonial 'Northern Ireland' tyranny is complete, including a completely new police force, etc, not run by anti-Irish colonial fascists, — the national liberation movement will begin to stand down its armed struggle, simultaneously with all non-Irish arms being taken out of the struggle, meaning the British Army, the sectarian RUC, and the criminal gangs of 'loyalist' fascist gunmen.

But the IRA has made it clear this week that there will be no decommissioning until the British imperialist Unionists who wish to remain Ireland-dwellers (Trimble & Co) have started to actually implement and accept the new all-Ireland structure for that much-wronged land.

It is British imperialism which has been defeated, — (by an undefeatable armed national-liberation struggle), — — NOT the IRA/ Sinn Féin....

So far, the EPS Review has been astonishingly accurate in its Marxist analysis going back 20 years, even being far more farsighted (and at book length) in 1982 and 1985 in seeing imperialism's DEFEAT (long-term political defeat) in the outcome of the hunger strikes and the Anglo-Irish Treaty, when Sinn Féin itself initially could only  see both events as a setback for the national liberation struggle (only much later changing its mind, to some extent).

Now, to repeat once again (and it will be repeated a million times in the future), none of this is related in order to prove who were the clever dicks and who were the duffers around the British labour movement or the SLP.

The point is to argue that without a deliberate struggle for Marxist theory, any workers party will be immeasurably poorer. EPSR No979 quoted in No1216 20-02-04)


For all its titanic achievements, past and present heroism and determination, and the lessons it can teach the world about struggle in modern imperialist conditions, such Marxist understanding is the one element that Sinn Féin is more and more clearly not going to provide for the working class in Ireland.

Despite the huge significance of the defeat inflicted on British Imperialism , it remains a bourgeois national-liberation struggle, and this is increasingly an obstacle to dealing with the huge problems facing Ireland as part of the capitalist world crisis.

For just that reason, despite an unstinting record of challenging the fake-"left"'s pessimistic and defeatist views on the Irish struggle, the EPSR has also insisted that the appropriate slogan for Ireland must not be "victory" to the IRA/ Sinn Féin but "defeat for imperialism".

Anything else, as for example the current stance of the museum-Stalinists in Lalkar/Proletarian, tailendingly and uncritically joining every rally of the republicans (as they do the Chinese revisionists, Gadaffi-ism and even Saddam Hussein!) can only spread confusion.

The onset in full of the catastrophic capitalist world Slump is facing the entire Irish working class with enormous questions which go way beyond the oppressions and injustice of past centuries of colonialist domination (and present remnants), just as it is the working class everywhere.

Completing the unfinished business of formal Irish unity removes one obstacle to progress in Ireland, poltical and economic.

And as Marx and Engels originally identified it equally lifts a hamstringing illusion in the UK itself where working class chauvinist identification with the "national" interest (meaning ruling class domination over other peoples) has been part of keeping it tied to the ruling class itself and away from the revolutionary politics that alone can emancipate it.

But Sinn Féin's perspectives for dealing with the crisis are no better than any other "left" reformism, still talking about the best way to build "recovery" while making "the economy" fairer for ordinary people.

Not a hint of the overwhelming and irreversible historic crisis failure of capitalism comes through in its analyses and neither does it begin to set out a perspective of revolutionary overturn of capitalism as the only path forwards to end the drive into world war.

This is partly reflected in its inability to fully command the allegiance of still benighted sections of the working class in Belfast some of which have turned to the maverick nationalist fringe remnants still opposing the peace settlement.

Worse still it has condemned these actions as criminal, adding to past errors of "condemning" the Madrid bombings for example, and other "terrorist" methods of struggle used by Third World anti-imperialism (an irony apparently lost on the Lalkarites who continue uncritically to support Sinn Féin without a murmur on such points while simultaneously lambasting all those who do not completely "support" the world struggles against imperialism - such are the tangles that a failure to grasp Leninist dialectics gets you into).

The EPSR is at least as critical of the limited nationalism of the "Real IRA" etc where the understanding (such as can be gleaned from capitalist press reports anyway) appears, like the fake-"lefts", to reflect a failure to see the historic victory achieved by Sinn Féin.

In that respect continuing armed struggle is simply disruptive.

But as argued previously, there is no point in "condemning" such failings and semi-anarchist action; the point must be to strengthen revolutionary understanding and win the leadership of continuing disaffection.

Capitalist press quotes that the latest bombing incidents in Derry, were "aimed at British banks" give mixed signals, partly taking an ultra-nationalist line but perhaps also indicating that if there is any continuing support for the maverick elements it is at least partially being driven by the impositions of the capitalist Slump.

Little indicates that the rebel-nationalist groups are any closer to a Marxist understanding than anyone else – it is not British but capitalist banks and the entire capitalist system itself; Irish, German, British or anything else, that is the problem – and if their intent is disrupting Sinn Féin as "sellouts" it puts their understanding closer to the fake-"left" which is more of a problem than Sinn Féin's non-Marxism.

But such as there is any local support, visible possibly in local street upheavals, it appears to come from the poorest areas in cities like Derry and Belfast, still oppressed and now being hammered by austerity impositions of the world economic crisis.

The Irish proletariat is on the front line in facing the Slump disaster capitalism is plunging the world into, and the world war conflicts that will quickly escalate from the blitzing and bombarding already tearing the Middle East apart.

Like all workers, they need the front line understanding that there is no end to disaster until capitalist government and rule, Dublin and London both, and Washington too, are overturned by revolution.

Build Leninism DH



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