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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 1404 23rd April 2012

Imperialist class war, and warmongering driven by the unstoppable capitalist crisis catastrophe is the true source and generator of Nazism and fascist atrocities. The "special" demented ideology of Nowegian mass killer Breivik, Le Pen and the EDL reflects the inherent foulness of capitalist class rule which has carried out far great atrocities routinely for its world domination and continues to do so. "Stopping Nazism" is a reformist diversion from the only way actually to stop fascism, the fight to end capitalism for good by revolutionary socialist struggle. Leninism is vital

Revelations about the depraved violence of British post-war colonial rule, of US plans for all-out war on Britain in the 1930s, and "celebration" of forty years in non-stop solitary confinement suffered by US prisoners are much better guide to the real "threat of fascism" facing the world than any maniac killer's Nazi-fantasy statements from the dock in Norway's courts, or the electoral momentum of the Le Pen fascists in the current French presidential elections.

The deranged semi-psychotic killer madness of Anders Breivik is obviously horrifying, and the foul small-mindedness and racism of Le Pen completely disgusting (and potentially equally violent and murderous), but it is the matter of fact filing and regular bureaucratic reports home detailing the "satisfactory" levels achieved in the "elimination" (death-squad assassination) of nationalist and communist freedom fighters in Malaysia, or Kenya, the heartless expulsion of Diego Garcia's indigenous population, or the willingness to destroy half the planet in the battle for markets during the Depression, which should really make the blood run cold.

Such methodical record-keeping of atrocity was always highlighted by (victorious) Western propaganda as one of the more degenerate aspects of the German Hitlerites, the bureaucratic "banality" of horror and death-camps as German society shifted the goalposts of normality and slid into the depravity of concentration camp enforced labour and ultimately scapegoat slaughter.

What is so different in the British Empire back then (which invented concentration camps, gas bombing, collective punishment and more anyway)? Or in the Western capitalist world now after the Vietnam, North Korea, and other wars and about four hundred other murderous coups, overturns, massacres and assassinations?

The West's now non-stop warmongering to escape its crisis collapse is currently in greater trouble than ever with the latest attempt to provoke civil war in Syria looking more and more to have backfired badly, and Afghanistan a total failure and slow-rolling defeat, but it is neither stopping its demented arms race spending (now $711bn dollars each year in America) nor blood-curdling threats and demonisations against more and more scapegoated victims like Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe, all potentially to be destroyed at any moment.

"Terminator" style drones regularly "take-out" or "eliminate" (without trial or any fussy "rule of law" niceties) nationalist fighters and dozens of innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere on a scale Breivik can only fantasise about, while the NATO-nazi blitzing of bourgeois nationalist Libya caused destruction and death on a massive scale.

And this warmongering can only increase as the desperate crisis collapse of the world economy continues to unroll, and suddenly lurch, ever further into cataclysmic failure.

It was "anti-Hitler" Britain and the USA which were plotting the greatest conflict in the 1930s as the cutthroat battle for collapsing world markets reached desperation levels, and the enormous weight of the American economy constantly found itself frustrated by the closed in British Empire.

The just repeated Channel Five programme "America's Planned War on Britain: Revealed" shows it was these "good guys" (which revisionist Stalinist theory idiotically and misleadingly later separated off as "non-aggressive imperialisms") that were as frantically building up the war fever in the 1930s as much as the Hitlerites, the only response then as now by the capitalist system to its economic crisis.

If the "Case Red" plans to invade British colonial Canada with a multi-million army force, and to destroy the British Navy in the Atlantic, before taking over other colonies, were "only one of several US war studies", as complacent petty bourgeois comments try to sneer, it only underlines still further the wide-ranging war-instigating nature of the capitalist powers and the fact they were preparing for total inter-imperialist conflict throughout the run-up to the Second World War, in all directions.

The war plans were in fact deadly serious, with the building of secret airbases along the Canadian border carried out at huge expense in the mid-1930s, while the biggest of all American military fort complexes was constructed smack on the frontier, training tens of thousands of US troops and running major exercises with serious intent.

The middle of the 1930s saw the intensification of massive cutthroat competition for the shrunken world markets that had been hammered by the 1929 Stock Market failure and the subsequent wave of world banking and finance collapse that swept across the world in the years afterwards causing the "Great Depression" which destroyed lives, communities and livelihoods by the hundreds of thousands – except in the USSR where the new planned, common-ownership economy continued to grow and expand with full employment and increasing benefits, science and culture, despite difficulties in building a new socialist world (without a jot of private ownership or capitalist bosses) caused by upheavals from countryside White Russian peasant anti-communist civil war (over collectivisation), by Western (especially Nazi) subversion, and by serious political mistakes and Stalinist retreat.

Shifting imperialist tactical alliances headed off the US/UK war but inter-imperialist war was still the most devastating in history destroying much of Europe, Japan, parts of the Far East and most of all the Soviet Union, in which alone the death toll reached over 25 million of the 70 million total.

It takes a particular petty bourgeois opportunist complacency, incidentally, to describe this world war horror, which wiped out entire countries and left hundreds of millions in misery and despair, as capitalism "avoiding crisis" which the desperate crytpo-Trotskyist CPGB does in its latest April 12 issue of the Weekly Worker rag, a mind-boggling attempt to "prove" that Marx "got it wrong" (and justify its own failure to see or grasp the crisis, like all the fake-"lefts"). It says:

Marx was wrong in this prediction of a fatal capitalist crisis in the 19th century. He also failed to predict how capitalism would be able to use two world wars, the cold war, Keynesianism and, more recently, cheap credit to prevent any fatal crisis in the 20th century.

This breathtaking garbage and wooden failure to grasp the very basics of dialectical materialist understanding should require no more comment except to point out that no-one can, or ever did, predict that any particular lurch in the non-stop crisis which makes up the monopoly capitalist order, would prove to be the terminal end point for capitalism.

That depends not only on the economic and political failure by also the revolutionary action of the masses to consciously end this foul and historically outmoded system, which depends on conscious revolutionary leadership.

Spontaneous anti-colonial revolt and revolution did sweep the world after this, a terrifying prospect for capitalism and hardly a "prevention" of crisis not least in the British colonies where the just revealed atrocities were perpetrated.

Only the slow degeneration of Marxist understanding and leadership because of Moscow's revisionist retreat from Leninist revolutionism (the historical revisionist origin of the Weekly Workerites), and the even worse petty bourgeois viciousness of the Trotskyist alleged "opposition" (which rather than identify and analyse these errors simply writes off all actual communism because of its historically early difficulties), prevented this disastrous humiliation for capitalism becoming a much greater sweeping setback than it was.

With a clear Leninist perspective the enormous anti-colonialist revolutionary surge which followed worldwide from 1945 onwards could possibly have swept half the planet into communist orbit, and set the stage for a struggle that capitalism might have found impossible to deal with, instead of the world sinking into disastrous "peaceful road" illusions and notions of "democratic paths".

That included painting the "anti-fascist" struggle as something different to the overall world revolutionary struggle, a disastrous mistake leading the working class to put its faith in treacherous petty bourgeois "democracy" illusions from the "support the republican government" errors of the Spanish Civil war to the "Peaceful road to Socialism" in the 1950s and the alleged "democratic way" of Salvador Allende in Chile which left the working fatally exposed to the General Pinochet CIA-backed fascist coup in 1973.

The only "avoiding of crisis" was that the victors could rebuild their profit margins once most of the world's surplus capital had been wiped out, the over accumulation of which is the underlying contradiction which always returns the world to ever greater disaster, as now reached again.

Leninism will have to be rebuilt and the Leninist party to do it.

It will be, driven by the contradictions and pressures of the current catastrophic failure of the world monopoly capitalist markets and the credit system used to prop them up for decades, which is already on a far greater scale then anything seen in the 1930s, as stated by the leading bankers and financiers at the heart of capitalism like Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England.

The pressures on the great masses of the world, already in ferment, will grow rapidly, because no amount of quantitative easing will put off for long the next sickening lurch downwards despite the optimistic "spin" pretences of the ruling class, which wants to disarm the public by hiding the terrifying realities of the Slump and by the limits of bourgeois philosophy anyway which can never grasp, let alone accept its own historic termination.

Inadequate as the petty bourgeois press "analyses" remain, hints come through constantly:

A trillion euros of cheap loans by the ECB and a second Greek bailout only bought a little time. The eurozone crisis is back, with the markets in fright and Spanish bond yields up to 6%. (But) we have been living with financial crisis since 2008 and most of it only seems to matter if and when there are domestic implications. So it is important to explain how and why the current crisis threatens us all.

The German government and allied northern creditors represent the crisis as a southern sovereign debt problem; on the other side commentators like the Financial Times's Martin Wolf argue it is a north-south trade imbalance problem. Neither account engages with how this crisis is also (or even primarily) a banking crisis rooted in the design of the European financial system.

Given the difficulty of explaining these to the non-specialist, unfamiliar with arcane terms like rehypothecation or balance sheet interconnections, the dangers of the present system are perhaps best understood by analogy with problems the aviation industry encountered when it made the transition to jet aircraft.

In October 1963 a BAC 1-11 prototype, in routine stall testing for airworthiness certification, fell out of the sky and crashed. The problem was a "deep stall" which could not be recovered by the pilot using the standard drill of stick forward, elevators down and add thrust. Deep stall was a consequence of a change of design configuration when jet aircraft with T-tails were introduced; in some stalls turbulent air from the stalled wings could spill up and prevent the elevators at the top of the tail from working.

The banking equivalents of the T-tail are twofold. First, there is rehypothecation: the reuse of collateral in a chain of transactions that means the European banking system has huge liquidity requirements as soon as things go wrong. Second, there is a web of interconnections between bank balance sheets caused by cross-border lending that ties all the north European countries together in mutually assured destruction in the event of major insolvency.

In eurozone banking, as in the T-tail jet, not every problem ends in disaster. But if a plane or banking system with this configuration gets into stalling territory, it is likely to slip into a catastrophic deep stall. In the event of a chain of south European defaults, there is no political mandate for the injection of tens of trillions of euros of liquidity into the European financial system; nor any plan for dealing with bank insolvencies arising from cross-border lending that would induce large-scale bank failure inside and outside the eurozone.

Aircraft that fall out of the sky can be re-engineered...In banking private interests in the profitability of the financial system would obstruct or divert the necessary reforms. If the eurozone is to be maintained, we can envisage a list of reforms to reduce cross-border lending or to make it less dangerous (for example, by promoting cross-border bank mergers of low-profit utility banking). But none of these fixes are at present politically feasible. Maybe the crash has to happen before we can mobilise the will to restrain finance.

War pressure is already on a far greater scale than the 1930s.

Washington's plans to "shock and awe" blast its way out of bankrupt failure by intimidating the rest of the world into accepting its continued top dog status, have been running for 15 years in the non-stop blitzing and invasions of Serbia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and with drum banging war plans against Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan and other victims, along with non-stop provocation of turmoil and civil war like Syria.

If it seems to have slowed up temporarily that is almost certainly because of the setbacks and slow defeats facing this fascist intimidation strategy (to see off both Third World rebellion and any rising big power capitalist challenges to the continued world domination of the US monopoly power, which continues to take the lion's share of world exploitation and resources.)

The US's desperate sending in of a tame United Nations stooge with a "brokered peace" ploy, and vomit-inducing stunt hypocrisies like the diplomatic wives "feminist peace message for Mrs Assad" currently, are nothing to do with "humanitarian concern" but only to prevent complete disaster for the rebuff and setbacks for its attempted overturn of the anti-imperialist Assad regime which has held its ground against the CIA provocation and manipulations of local discontents.

Exhaustion and war-weariness of the last ten years have been accumulating and set back even the most powerful aggression.

Iraq continues to be a mess and the massively expensive Afghanistan occupation, which has been at the heart of the Pentagon's "endless war" strategy to try and suppress world rebellion and assert the US "might is right" arrogant continuation of its worldwide tyranny and exploitation, is in even greater trouble with even the corrupt stooge Karzai government turning on the West for its depraved blitzkrieging and civilian massacres, and ever more damaging revelations leaking out that its military strategy has utterly failed (see cutting further on).

The disaster is forcing to the surface all sorts of dismay and doubts by once loyal US petty bourgeois elements, a sign in itself of the cracks and weaknesses running through imperialist confidence and control:

Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Davis..a career soldier is now a black sheep at the giant (Pentagon) defence department building where he still works. The reason was his extraordinarily brave decision to accuse America's military top brass of lying about the war in Afghanistan.

When he went public in the New York Times, he was acclaimed as a hero for speaking out about a war that many Americans feel has gone horribly awry. Later this month he will receive a Ridenhour prize, an award given to whistleblowers that is named after the Vietnam war soldier who exposed the My Lai massacre.

Davis believes people are not being told the truth and said so in a detailed report that he wrote after returning from his second tour of duty in the country. He had been rocketed, mortared and had stepped on an improvised explosive device that failed to explode. Soldiers he had met were killed and he was certain that a bloody disaster was unfolding. So he spoke out. "It's like I see in slow motion men dying for nothing and I can't stop it," he said. "It is consuming me from the inside. It is eating me alive."

Davis, 48, drew up two reports containing research and observations garnered from his last tour. He was not short of material. As part of his job he had criss-crossed the country, travelling 9,000 miles and talking to more than 250 people. He had built up a picture of a hopeless cause; a country where Afghan soldiers were incapable of holding on to American gains. US soldiers would fight and die for territory and then see Afghan troops let it fall to the Taliban. Often the Afghans actively worked with the Taliban or simply refused to fight. One Afghan police officer laughed in Davis's face when asked if he ever tried to fight the enemy. "That would be dangerous!" the man said.

Yet at the same time Davis saw America's military chiefs, such as General David Petraeus, constantly speak about America's successes, especially when working with local troops. So Davis compiled two reports: one classified and one unclassified. He sent both to politicians in Washington and lobbied them on his concerns. Then in February he went public by giving an interview to the New York Times and writing a damning editorial in a military newspaper. Then – and only then – did he tell his own army bosses what he had done.

Davis pulled no punches. His report's opening statement read: "Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognisable."

The report detailed an alarming picture of Taliban advances and spiralling violence. Afghan security forces were unwilling or unable to fight, or actively aiding the enemy. That picture was contrasted with repeated rosy statements from US military leaders. His classified version was far more damning, but it remains a secret. "I am no WikiLeaks guy part two," Davis said. He foresees a simple and logical end point for Afghanistan – civil war and societal collapse, probably long before the last US combat soldier is scheduled to leave. He says the Afghan army and police simply cannot cope and the US forces training and working with them know that, despite official pronouncements to the contrary. "What I saw first hand in virtually every circumstance was a barely functioning organisation often co-operating with the insurgent enemy," Davis's report said.

The document was also damning about the role of the US media in reporting the war. Ever since Vietnam, generals have slammed the press as a potential danger to military operations, but Davis's report lambasted journalists for failing to question the official army line. He said the media were obsessed with getting "access" to military bases and generals and tempered reporting in order to maintain that situation. "Most of the media just takes the talking points and repeats them," he said.

Davis has not been officially sanctioned – because his classified report remains secret, he broke no law – and the military has not set out actively to condemn him. Instead there has been a muted official response, while privately, Davis said, many colleagues have congratulated him for speaking out. Yet he is now experiencing a strange end to a military career to which he devoted his life. It included serving in Germany, both Iraq wars and then two tours in Afghanistan. He said it gave him pride and a sense of purpose in doing a greater good.

"I loved the army. There was nothing I have ever wanted to do more than this job since I started as a private back in 1985," he said. That is a very all-American sentiment, but then so is Davis's background. He was born the son of a football coach and grew up in Dallas, Texas. He is a born-again Christian who sings in a church choir. He said the decision to go public involved heavy "soul-searching".

It has also made any future career advancement highly unlikely. "Maybe no one will listen, but I would not be able to sleep if I made no attempt," he said.

What Davis wants – and what several politicians are lobbying for – are congressional hearings on the issue. He wants the generals grilled on his report and on how their comments compare with the evidence. But that needs the support of party leaders such as Democratic senator Harry Reid or Republican House speaker John Boehner, and that seems unlikely because such hearings would be a political minefield.

But the Depression crisis now unfolding has only just begun and if the capitalist ruling class is to survive with its sweet wealth and power it must impose the most brutal class-war speed up and slump disaster on the entire world, far exceeding the catastrophic nightmare of the 1930s collapses and bank failures.

And the ultimate strategy for diverting attention from its failure and shameful catastrophe is to take the world into far worse chaos and war disaster than ever before, far beyond that of WW2,- if world rebellion does not step in first.

All this wide revolutionary perspective, the only way to begin to understand world development, is not touched by the fake-"left" confusion and its limited answers to the world developments, seeing each war or economic crisis as an individual event, which may or may not lead to "upturn" before another "crisis", and which is shallowly explained as driven by "imperialist greed" or "wish to plunder the oil" - and which makes no sense of, or reference to, the shattering epochal scale of the breakdown in capitalist world domination, the defeats it is suffering and which will bring the opportunity for and challenge of completely ending class based exploitative society forever.

Class rule is no longer dragging mankind out of primitiveness and ignorant backwardness but is hampering and holding back all development, and more than that, threatening to destroy everything.

Posturing endlessly about "stopping the fascists in the street" misses, or opportunistically deliberately avoids, the real point that it is capitalism itself which is the source and generator of all the vicious brutality and oppression in the world, and that it will never be stopped until that system is overturned, by revolution.

And that, it should be stated forcefully, means establishing deeply disciplined workers states, controlled and guided by the dictatorship of the proletariat, based on the deepest scientific leadership, constantly fought for by the Leninist party and ultimately fusing into a complete worldwide socialist framework, the only way in which a planned socialist economy can be built serving rational human needs for everyone and developing the entire currently wasted potential and genius of billions of human beings.

Only with such a firm organisation and control of the majority to suppress the destructiveness of the minority exploiters can socialism be built, and world of human self-discipline, universal fulfilment and rationality be created that will increasingly dispense with all coercion, as the distorted psychology of class ownership and dominance fades into history.

It is a fight against capitalism itself that is demanded, not the fascist tail-end it produces.

What worse torture and viciousness could any formally designated "fascists" dream up than the inhuman detention for forty years of continuous solitary confinement just reached for two of the "Angola three" black prisoners in the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary, and which are only the tip of the iceberg of racist depravity and hatred (see the Florida killing of Trayvon Martin or daily shootings of "wetbacks" crossing the Mexican border) which is endemic within the USA, the richest and most privileged country on the planet but with a five times greater prison population than anywhere else????

It would be an utter savagery even if the "murder crime" alleged against them had come anywhere near being proven rather than being an obvious trumped-up fabrication to punish them for their Black Panther revolutionary politics.

Or what "better" form of Nazism could the right-wing groups dream of than the roasting alive of imprisoned Mau-Mau nationalist rebel fighters in Kenya or Malaysia, or their deliberate castration, not to mention summary "elimination" executions, concentration camp detentions and humiliations, and outright cold-blooded massacres by British troops in Malaysia??? ( - details further on).

What scale of massacre could even a Breivik perpetrate compared to the daily slaughter of dozens of civilians, men, women and children which has become the norm for the Terminator-style drone warfare imposed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and other points of rising Third World turmoil and rebellion against Western occupation and diktat?

Or the deliberate cynical NATO-bomb destruction of great cities like Sirte in Libya and the reactionary and racist violence of the counter-revolutionary pretend "rebels" used to topple the Gaddafi bourgeois nationalist revolution?

It is the fake-"left" failure to deal with this deep down essence of the true nature of capitalism itself, and the obvious conclusion it leads to that only a fight to the finish with this depraved ruling class will stop the world from plunging once more into the most disastrous crisis failure, which exposes completely the utter fraudulence of their posturing pretences to be revolutionary.

"Stopping the fascists" is ultimately just another version of reformism, implying once more that if only the "nasty people" can be identified (by the philistine notions of characteristics like strutting behaviour and shiny uniforms undoubtedly) and blocked, somehow the world will be a better place.

But Breivik, and rising phenomena like the EDL, are just symptoms of a much greater degeneration of Western capitalist society as the worst crisis failure of its system ever deepens inexorably towards yet another massive catastrophic disintegration.

More and much fouler Nazi-minded movements and reaction will be thrown up yet across a far wider spectrum of countries, and will be one of the tools used by the ruling class to confuse and try to disrupt any resistance to its slump impositions.

But sick and degenerate as all this is, it is still only an expression of capitalism itself and its crisis, which deliberately feeds and encourages such backwardness directly via its endless media and political campaigns, stoking up (ludicrous) "war on terror" and anti-Islam "crusade" hysteria.

Giving the lunatic mass murderer Breivik an open platform to expound his bizarre obsessive political "theories", unlike the suppression and mockery of anti-imperialist arguments from the assorted "international war crimes" trials at the Hague etc, or of the anti-imperialist arguments and ideas of the deported Islamists such as Abu Hamza and the like, is just a tiny expression of it.

Most of all capitalism generates such hatred, intolerance and fear anyway from the very pores of its class-ridden antagonisms and every-man-for-himself and to-hell-with-the-"losers" society.

Breiviks's demented logic turns out to be an extreme version of the general fears and difficulties facing millions in capitalist society which find expression in hostility to others, antagonistic local, regional and national particularism, distrust of difference, cultural clannishness and aggressive protectionism, all deliberately played upon and fostered by capitalist rule to split, demoralise and fragment the working class and its potential for revolutionary struggle.

It will not be dealt with by the "politically correct" moralising, assertive "anti-racism" and the insistence on single-issue self-righteousness of all kinds, pursuing the subjective interests of feminism, black nationalism and most of all the highly dubious insistence on "gay rights" that insists homosexuality is just "another mode of sexuality" or even more shallowly a "lifestyle choice" and which paints any questioning about the development and psychological issues as censorable (and prosecutable) "homophobia", a suppression of debate and discussion which is as fascist as any prohibitions the German Nazis imposed. Small wonder the Le Pens and EDLs of this world support "gay marriage" without question.

All this super-reformist politics has been a complete disaster, changing nothing about the desperate imposition of worsening austerity, unemployment, and brutal life destroying unfairness in society, and with the threat of far worse to come as the "quantitative easing" money-printing, which alone has kept the world propped up since 2008 with a gigantic wedge of worthless paper (or electronic) dollars, finally gives way and the full crisis onslaught of capitalist failure erupts again in devastating bank and national bankruptcies, or massively uncontrolled inflation, or both, or other equally devastating turmoil and chaos.

If anything its complete failure to tackle the real problems, and sanctimonious petty bourgeois moralising, helps drive the working class into the arms of the fascists, as was obvious even in the last presidential race, a decade ago:

The sad decrepit philistinism and nastiness of Le Pen is old hat. The story is the utter uselessness of the fake-'left', - every scrap of it, - in how fascism's 'appeal' was fought against, and how the next developments are to be combated.

Le Pen's vote reflects primitive incoherent disgust at how capitalist 'democratic' society is falling apart in crime, political lies, and decadence, and at how France is caught up in general imperialist-system insecurity, muddle, and mess, (just like everyone else, of course).

Neo-fascist parties are growing all over Europe, and the BNP's vote will grow too.

But 'anti-racist' campaigning is the most pathetic fake-'left' answer imaginable.

And all the fake-'lefts' combining to make sure that Chirac defeats Le Pen in the second round is an even more useless response.

It is not what Le Pen stands for which makes French society sick. It is what Chirac stands for which is poisoning life.

Le Pen merely REFLECTS how demoralised, cynical, and small-mindedly bitter, people are being made by the INCURABLE failure of capitalist society to any longer remotely satisfy vital human needs.

Voting for Chirac merely continues capitalism's unstoppable process of more and more alienating (see Marx) the majority of people who have to live under this ludicrous elitist class system. Voting for Chirac will only ADD TO and MAKE WORSE the "Le Pen problem".

Exactly the same nonsense is all that is being achieved by the 'anti-racist' campaigning and 'stop the BNP' coalitioning that is going on in Britain. Cynical fascist philistinism will continue to increasingly feature as an end-product of capitalist 'culture' and particularly of capitalism's 'democratic' political culture, which is pure lying hypocrisy and opportunism, from far Right to far fake-'Left', (especially the Trotskyites (SWP, Nellistites, Alliance, etc) and the Revisionists (CPB, Lalkar, SLP, etc).)

When Le Pen and the BNP denounce "old politics", it is no answer at all to just say "then vote for REAL socialism, vote for FULL socialism" as a reply.

'Voting for socialism' has been THE CHIEF PART of the whole fraud of bourgeois 'democracy' FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY.

The whole trick of the Labour Party's long domination of the working-class vote lay in the endless series of Labour 'lefts' and TUC 'lefts' (Bevan, Foot, Benn, Jones, Scanlon, Scargill, etc) who were always endlessly promising to win at party conference for "full socialism" in the "near future".

Trot entryists inside Labour (Militant, etc) promised the same thing.

The Revisionist tradition was to stay separate from Labour but promote the same illusion that the day would come when "full socialism" would be voted in through Parliament, via a combination of Communist and 'left'-Labour MPs, and 'left' TUC pressure, etc, etc.

The current 'left' so-called 'alternatives' are still stuck in exactly this same old rut, peddling the illusion that "voting for socialism" via the SWP, the Alliance, the SLP, the SP, the SSP, the CPB, etc, plus supporting 'left' trade union struggles on the picket line and prominent 'left' outstanding individuals in society, will bring about "a socialist transformation of Britain". EPSR 1133 23-04-02


Change the names to update things – now it is the "Coalition of Resistance" for example and not the "Socialist Alliance" – and you still find all the same faces and the same old story prevails, though with added post-2008 credit crunch austerity defensive limitations of merely "getting the best deal on redundancy we can etc" as the most of the supine official trade union movement puts it.

It comes with overt hostility to raising questions of revolution despite the claims to be "Marxists" and revolutionaries.

In a recent meeting to discuss a "delegation to visit Greece and determine the extent of the crisis there facing the working class" – as if massive state bankruptcy and savage austerity imposed by an unelected 'technical government' (open capitalist dictatorship) was not already clear enough for building a revolutionary political understanding, – not only did a 30 strong clutch of senior fake-"left" figures such as the Trotskyists Lindsey German and John Rees, and others from the great spectrum of CPs and Trot groups, not raise at all any mention of the revolutionary challenges that the crisis is directly confronting the working class with in both Greece and throughout Europe, but heard one speaker declare aggressively that "there is not going to be a revolution in Greece", not only as an alleged assessment of current conditions but as a counter-revolutionary put down to the EPSR.

Not a murmur of dissent for this crude academic complacency and anti-communism was heard from the ranks of assembled "lefts", alleged Communist Party members of various shades and "left" academics, and "radical trade unionists" as they got one with discussing who should be in the "left" delegations (apart from Tony Benn etc).

The point is not whether there is "going to be" revolution tomorrow, or as the old mockery has it from the fake-"lefts" –"so is it off to the barricades now then, comrade???" with the last word sneeringly underlined.

The point is that the urgent need is for revolutionary perspectives and leadership (theory) without which there can be no revolution as Lenin emphasises and as some lefts even put on their mastheads (without grasping its significance at all).

Conditions facing the Greek working class are now only of utmost economic savagery and police repression, with huge cuts in wages, social services and shock levels of unemployment, which have led to suicides, homelessness and despair on a wide scale.

The time for developing Leninist revolutionary understanding has never been more immediate.

The Coalition of Resistance "fact finding" mission is the exact bureaucratic opposite of any such practice, and turns into a counter-revolutionary exercise, heading off efforts to raise the questions, which spells out exactly and clearly the real purpose of all these petty bourgeois grouplets and r-r-revolutionary poseurs in practice.

Meanwhile regular riot eruptions and attacks in Athens indicate the fermenting hatred which is being caused in the masses and which is raising a huge debate about where it is all going.

But the working class is hampered by the old "democracy" and "peaceful road" gibberish which has swamped the world "communist movement" since the Second World War and is disseminated still by the Stalinist Greek CP, which still advocates "pressure" on the bourgeois parliamentary system to "refuse the cuts" etc.

The crisis has gone far beyond any such possibilities.

Greece is bankrupted by the crisis and is one of the first but not the last major victims, already sucked dry by "market demands" and big international finance.

It has been bullied with the fear of total financial collapse if it does not concede.

The "choice" is like being forced to chose starvation or being shot at gunpoint, which is an experience already embedded deeply into a heroic Greek resistance history from the Second World War and the post-war civil war which produced one of the bravest and most dogged revolutionary partisan movements in Europe, cruelly slaughtered by British and American imperialist intervention (ordered, like the Malayan atrocities and the anti-Kenyan horrors by the reformist "left" Labour government of 1945-49).

Moscow Stalinist illusions in "deals with non-aggressive imperialism" led to the abandonment of that struggle to the napalm and bombs of the West.

What is needed is for the Athenian working class to tell capitalism and its banking system to go hang itself.

But that would bring the finance system to a domino collapse and threaten world paralysis it is declared.

So let the world credit system topple because that is what is happening anyway and especially for the working class.

How would they get by, eat, survive etc??

To which the answer is – as the Greek, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish workers are already clear, – they are already confronting disaster and it is going to get far worse.

As Karl Marx famously said, they are reaching the point where there is nothing to loose.

Let the world see the working class take over, seizing and taking over everything, occupying factories, hotels, banks and the like and using the resources.

Which of course raises a thousand questions of what would happen next and, how the capitalist state would react, – undoubtedly violently as it tries to push the working class back into docile servitude and exploitation.

Questions are posed too of the isolation of the Greeks in Europe and the strangulation of their occupied economy.

But it is happening anyway!!!

Only if capitalism has really somehow now "come out of crisis" and is back on a "path of growth" for the foreseeable future would possibly some other strategy make sense.]

But that is part of the great battle for understanding too. Is the SWP Trotskyist view - that the crisis is probably over - to prevail, so that everyone should get back to trade union wage fights etc, and the old reformist battles, or is the Leninist insistence correct that the world crisis is not some episodic blip but a part of the enormous unfolding disaster of capitalist contradiction that is unstoppably taking the world into all out chaos?

That is the revolutionary world view.

It means the working class needs to prepare for all out struggle building a coherent sense of what it is doing, understanding and organisation to defend itself, and to in turn attack the foul repressive violence of reaction which wants to hold it down.

It means revolutionary organisation which means revolutionary understanding.

All the existing forms and mechanisms of working class struggle can be mobilised for this – but with the critical ingredient of revolutionary understanding, exactly what the CoR consciously and deliberately excludes, despite being chock full with revisionist "communists" and Trotskyist "pure revolutionaries".

What a joke.

The whole point is that a thousand questions need to be asked and discussed and debated, and the working class needs to think through all these matters, using all the profound experience and understanding of past revolutionary development, while struggling to understand and therefore avoid the errors and difficulties of the first titanic experiments in building socialism, in the USSR especially but everywhere else too.

Declaring that "there is not going to be a revolution" or refusing to go back and consider the mistakes, and wrong directions taken by the USSR etc, is part of the problem, and the deadening legacy of museum Stalinist revisionism (not least the Greek CP) which covers up all these issues, and of Trotskyism which poisonously blames the workers states (and effectively in practice communism itself).

Instead of taking up these red-hot urgent matters the fake-"lefts" are still running around tying themselves to the parliamentary racket, with the CPGB "Weekly Worker" crypto-Trotskyists declaring for example that the allegedly "left" candidate in the French presidential race, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, should be supported, "critically" of course, which is the usual fake-"left" formula to excuse riding in behind yet another parliamentary opportunist and hoping to get some movement in the slipstream.

In fact the powerful class momentum in favour of Mélenchon represents a step forward despite his reformist programme

these charlatans declare.

It is not ruled out that Mélenchon's call for a "révolution citoyenne" might signal the emergence of a French centrism (using revolutionary language while still staying within reformist bounds) which, possibly, will open up some limited chance for revolutionary politics and polemic, but that will not be tested or taken forwards by sly "critical support".

Only the "criticism" of a devastating exposure to the working class of the fraud of all parliamentary democracy and "freedom" and a call for the development of the revolutionary debate, explaining that capitalism will never be changed except by its revolutionary overturn, would be remotely be a basis for participating in any such movement.

"Critical support" is not some tactically clever way of doing this - just opportunist "support".

Equally the fake-"left" circus has been rushing around excitedly after the Bradford bye-election victory by the parliamentary careerist and suddenly "born-again" God-fearer George Galloway, declaring some apparent new life for parliamentary reformism, just at a moment when the working class cynicism and contempt for the bourgeois "democratic racket" has rightly reached rock bottom after 100 years of experienced duplicity, double-speak and parliamentary pocket-lining.

For all his fiery denunciations of aspects of imperialist warmongering, and occasionally useful forays against the Nazi Zionist oppression of Palestine, Galloway has rapidly been making clear he stands four square against communism, and more clearly, the more deeply the crisis bites and the necessity for the working class to take power and establish a socialist planned economy becomes increasingly urgent.

The "step forward" therefore almost certainly means exactly the same kind of "step forwards" that the election of Barack Obama represented (according to the petty bourgeois dissenters who broke away from the EPSR in 2009, declaring that its understanding and grasp of events was "not even up to the standards of Life magazine" in a heated and hostile meeting).

That is to say it is yet another fraudulent trick to spin out the failing racket of bourgeois democracy and its cover-up of the real power that alone takes the decisions, the bourgeois class dictatorship of capital and the tiny handful of powerful rich capitalists that control it (and are equally controlled by its insatiable profit hunger).

Events have made very clear black nationalist/feminist Obamaism was a gigantic confidence trick, taking the "spin" hollowness of Clintonism and Blairism to a new level, in order to buy a further extension of the fraud of bourgeois presidential democracy which was reduced to almost its lowest point by the failure of Bush's "shock and awe" neo-colonialism in Iraq and Afghanistan, bogged down in a slow stalemate defeat, which far from reimposing US imperialist world authority, has stimulated a thousandfold the Third World hatred and impatience at its endless exploitation and suppression.

The accumulated illusions of several decades of post-war confusion mongering over shallow single issue anti-racist and feminist politics, which has falsely insisted that such individualist issues are fundamental questions to be battled with separately to the revolutionary question, or in fact as necessary prerequisites for the masses before revolution can even be contemplated (rather than issues which can only be solved by revolution made by the imperfect and flawed billions who exist in reality), - were completely taken in by the apparent "achievement" of a black president and a women partner effectively sharing the most significant part of the presidency on the world stage.

Things would be different now, the entire world was promised.

It has rapidly been proven, exactly as the EPSR predicted, that it has not only been business as usual for US blitzkrieg warmongering, summary death-squad, war-crime, vigilante justice (Osama bin Laden, Gaddafi, and numerous Afghans and Pakistanis, Iranian nuclear scientists via the Zionists) Somalia, coup instigation (Honduras) and economic strangulation (Cuba blockade, Iran, Sudan, Burma etc etc) under the joint presidency of Obama and Hilary Clinton, but a stepped-up version, with added international currency war (massive dilution of the dollar), trade war, the Afghanistan "surge", the NATO-Nazi destruction of Libya and the civil war provocations against Syria and Iran.

(The EPSR eagerly awaits the recantation of the renegades in the South-West who saw fit to tear the supporters group into shreds to pursue this reformist line, promising to "build Leninism" their own way, a way which has produced not a shred of written theory in three years, despite much huffing-and-puffing.)

Without the crucial revolutionary perspective the "anti-fascist" fight becomes a diversion in itself, heading the working class away from understanding of what the real enemy is, monopoly imperialist world domination and its slump disaster.

The disarming complacency is constantly pumped out instead that "you can't say we have reached fascism yet", heading the working class back into the fold of fraudulent bourgeois "democracy" and way from the urgent need to build revolutionary understanding, particularly as class-war imposition of "austerity" (meaning total exploitation poverty and Great Depression penury) on workers is accelerated, using whatever violence and force is needed to do so (which has only just begun),and which is the real threat facing workers and is already underway.

Worse still its underlying philosophy was followed through into post-war Stalinist assessment of the world being divided into "good and bad" imperialisms, those which are "aggressive" allegedly different to the "non-aggressive" capitalist powers, which were lined up in a tactical alliance with the Soviet Union during the Second World War.

They were there only because it suited their strategic interests once the all-out inter-imperialist fight for markets had begun, and their former strategy of supporting German Nazism's aggression against communism, hoping to turn it eastwards to satisfy its expansionism and incidentally deal with the Soviet Union at the same time, had been thwarted.

One of Stalin's better judgements was the clever agreement the USSR made with Hitlerism in 1939, which bought time for the USSR to build war preparations and simultaneously turned the German war momentum away, so that it had to attack the West first.

One of the less useful judgements was the assessment of the US/France/US axis as different to Nazism, once the alliance was struck, which led on to the worldwide bemusement of the revisionist political parties with the notion of more "democratic" countries and the possibilities of "peace struggle" and the "peaceful road to socialism" still fatally undermining their world view to this day.

It helped lead to the confused opportunism which across the board of the fake-"left" (and sadly from such revolutionary heroic figures as Cuba's Castro, tainted by revisionism) has shamefully "denounced terrorism" since the 9/11 attacks especially, and which falls hook line and sinker for the crude and philistine notions of "dictators bad, democracy good" and "evil totalitarianism" which has been a mainstay of Western Goebbels propaganda onslaughts to provoke counter-revolutionary rebellions, either to disrupt and damage assorted "rogue state" targets or to "justify out and out blitzkrieg" warmongering as against Gaddafi.

Their sick denunciations, reproducing and pouring out the foulest poison against Gaddafi, Syria's Assad, and Ahmadinejad in Iran and so forth have helped sell these latest stages in capitalism's all out warmongering to the working class, making the Western media's demented campaigns against such hate figures the more credible, and giving credence to the lying pretences of "peoples struggle for democracy and freedom" which the CIA pumps out by the bucketful along with the multiple "human rights" groups it has either invented or thoroughly penetrated and influenced.

Every simple-minded "freedom now" banner supplied by the CIA and waved around in the street is accepted as face value; every stunted up "movement" or mysteriously appearing "Free Syria Army" or "green movement for democracy" supported, and once the overall principle is posited that "the regime" has to go "so that the people can have democracy" and that these movements are its representatives allegedly, no amount of caveats about "not trusting NATO or Washington to do the job properly" can remove the fact that the invasion or civil war has been "justified".

If Assad is a monster, the ordinary person will ask, what is wrong with getting rid of him and fine points about NATO or not, become so much fine print, exactly like the CPGB's alleged "critical" caveats about French presidential candidates.

But what the question is what "freedom" and "democracy" is this being demanded?

There is no such thing.

It is a giant fraud of a demand in the abstract, a petty bourgeois nonsense, with the added giveaway in the case of the Libyan and Syrian "resistance" of their openly reactionary and monarchical allegiances, and their constant pleading for intervention by Western imperialism.

That is the point.

The West is not remotely interested in protecting anyone's "freedom" and preventing "humanitarian atrocities" as the long post-war record shows (and the new revelations) but only in using these interventions for its own crisis-war purposes.

The Nazi-blitzkrieg of country after country in Middle East combined with demented lying provocations to stir up the foulest of civil war depravity - in lieu of, or as a prelude to, more invasion destruction, and the lurid threats against alleged "dictators" and demonised villains across the planet from Syria and Iran to Zimbabwe and North Korea is for its own world war agenda and to suppress the actual rebellion against Western gangster diktat which broke out in Egypt and Tunisia, the genuine "Arab spring" which has been subverted and hijacked by these bogus revolts.

The recruitment of the very most backward feudal and tribal monarchies and dictatorships, to bolster this Goebbels pretence even as the sheikhs "shoot down their own people" as the carefully tailored, intelligence-agency created soundbites put it, does not so much give the game away as loudly shout about what a fraud all this "righteous" pretence is, as the blitzing, NATO Nazi onslaughts, drone killings and assassinations destroy tens of thousands of lives and impose unimaginable daily horror and misery on millions more.

None of which is to argue that assorted figures like Assad or Gaddafi (and certainly not Saddam Hussein) in are in any way to be supported either, as representing the way forwards for the working class in Syria, Libya or anywhere else.

The equally wooden thinking of the Lalkar/Proletarian museum-Stalinists and a few others declaring that the "principled stand" is to support the sometimes crude bourgeois nationalist opportunism of the Ba'athists etc, is just posturing bravado.

It correctly denounces the NATO/CIA intrigues but for completely the wrong reasons.

The "stand" is as saturated in the same democratic and reformist nonsense as the rest of the fake-"lefts", essentially limits the analysis to the country itself, and is without the remotest grasp of the overwhelming importance of the imperialist onslaught as a signal of its world warmongering intent.

To talk up the alleged achievements of the Ba'athists regime and suggest that its continued existence represents a "step forwards" for the working class is completely misleading the working class in two ways.

Firstly the future for the working class in Syria is not "taken forwards" by Ba'athist bourgeois nationalism, whatever past form it has got on support for anti-Zionism and anti-imperialism in the region and a number of domestic reform programmes, and its overall record is anyway not one of pure principle.

What the working class needs, both there and internationally, is a Marxist Leninist revolutionary perspective or the opportunity to develop it – neither are forthcoming from Damascus. Just the opposite - the working class will need to push past such capitalist rule in order to build socialism which is the only possible future in Syria as anywhere else.

The sectarian, religious and historical tribal antagonisms stirred up deliberately by the West to set going this bloody civil war (with plenty of evidence of sinister, possibly Zionist and/or CIA, provocateurs instigating violence from the beginning last year and of hidden sniper shootings by outsiders, contrary to the lying Goebbels claims of "innocent peaceful demonstrators brutally shot down" etc etc) have not been dealt with effectively by Ba'thism and will never be settled until socialism is established.

Their festering grievances are played on by imperialism in just same way that sectarian and race tensions are played on everywhere else by capitalism, and stirred up into endless bloody conflicts and foully vicious disputes and claims, with added attention at present to use them as an excuse and a mechanism for toppling Assad.

There is even less reason to "support their freedom struggle" as the shallow "anti-dictator" philistinism of the Trots does, than to support Damascus.

Even more at this stage in the world crisis and progress into all out war, "support" for Syria is a narrow limited perspective that takes the working class attention away from the critical issue of the threat to everyone of imperialism's domination of the planet and the urgent issue of ending capitalism.

Washington (and its stooges) "humanitarian concern" about Syria is pure humbug and almost incidental; its interest is in re-asserting US domination in general, particularly in the Middle East, and especially after the shock of the real Arab Spring in Egypt and Tunisia.

Syria numbers among a variety of long running hated "thorns in the side" (like Gaddafi, or Iran) to be dealt with as part of an agenda to make sure the Middle East stays under control, and to assert US imperialist pre-eminence to let it ride out the devastating conflicts erupting as the whole world collapses.

The overwhelming issue for the working class is to see this world tyranny defeated, not just in Syria but everywhere.

"Defeat for imperialism" by a Syrian victory is as useful as defeat anywhere else and the current failure of the violent uprising, as far as it goes, a useful setback for US imperialism and its local proxies like NATO member Turkey and the reactionary Gulf states which have been arming and funding it.

But that still implies no support at all for the sometimes vacillating and compromising bourgeois rule in Damascus, its heavy-handed treatment of dissent, and its past opportunism.

The pretence of "freedom and democracy" becomes more and more threadbare with every spiral of its catastrophic credit and economic collapse, unstoppably unfolding despite the desperate rounds of instance new credit creation and the imposition of savage cuts and speed up on the working class.

It is sustained entirely by the gigantic historic fraud that the millions being oppressed throughout the Middle East and the rest of the Third World are being "saved from dictatorship and tyranny", by a "generous fight for humanitarian protection" etc etc, an extension of the most fundamental lie of all, that capitalism has produced a "democratic" system which is "better than totalitarianism".

But capitalism is a system of bourgeois dictatorship and war hidden behind a pretence of "democratic freedom" when it can be afforded and imposed by increasingly open fascist violent measures as crisis deepens.

It can only be "improved" by ending it for good by the fight for communist revolution.

Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins

Bourgeois press cuttings on the British empire atrocities follow-

The "elimination of ranking terrorists" was a repeated theme in secret monthly reports on casualty figures circulated by the director of intelligence in British-controlled Malaya during the 1950s

British head trophies displayed during the Malaysian anti-communist war after 1945 (under Attlee's Labour government)Long-lost files from the "emergency" period, when insurgents attempted to drive out colonial occupiers, reveal how the protracted jungle war was fought to drive communist groups into submission and deprive them of food and support.

...But many potentially embarrassing documents, including probably some of those relating to the alleged 1948 massacre by Scots Guards of 24 villagers in Batang Kali, appear to be missing.

A compensation claim by relatives and survivors of the killings – described by some as the "British My Lai massacre", after the US troop killings in Vietnam – is due to come to trial in London in May.

Among documents that survived the transfer are reports issued monthly from the director of intelligence in the Federation of Malaya.

"The last month of 1956 brought a total of 41 eliminations of terrorists, which is average for the year," the director, G C Madoc, noted. "During the year, 287 terrorists were killed, 52 were captured and 134 surrendered. The [communist] politburo policy of avoiding contacts and conserving terrorist strength remains in force."

Madoc added: "In spite of the considerable difficulties of creating underground control organisations from the jungle, it is known that the MCP [Malayan Communist party] is striving continuously to implement directives on subversion in town and villages …

Casualty tables written for December 1956 record: "Ranking terrorists eliminated – 8." The phrase "eliminated" is used repeatedly to describe the killing of insurgents. In January the following year, Madoc recorded: "In Selangor a small but important success was achieved when the whole of the Ampang branch, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, was eliminated."

In March 1957, less than six months before the colony's formal independence, a monthly intelligence assessment observed: "By the standards of the last year the number of terrorist eliminations may be considered satisfactory."

...The killing of Tan Fuk Leong, it was noted in May that year, "by aerial bombardment, may presently ease the situation in North Negri Sembilan [sic]."

The assessment added: "His inspiring leadership of the 3rd Independent Platoon has been a major factor in the preservation of MCP influence in the north of the state. We know from experience that the elimination of senior leaders has little apparent effect on the morale of followers, but the plain fact is that only one deputy platoon commander survives."

Other means of combating communist subversion included banning books from 29 blacklisted publishing houses in Hong Kong, China and Singapore...British troops regularly strip-searched and abused women near the village of Semenyih during a "food denial" operation aimed at preventing rice being smuggled out to communist units in the jungle.


The extent to which successive British governments set out to hoodwink parliament and the public over the decision to give the US a military base in Diego

Garcia and force out the islanders is laid bare in files released on Wednesday.

The base, on the largest island in the British Indian Ocean territory, was established after the UK bought the Chagos archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. It has been used by long-range US bombers in attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan, and would almost certainly be used in the event of any American air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, British officials say.

Diego Garcia was used by the CIA as a refuelling stop for flights secretly rendering terror suspects to jails, including a Libyan dissident flown to Muammar Gaddafi's Libya in an operation involving MI6.

The aim behind the decision to control the islands, noted a Foreign Office official in a document dated September 1966 and marked "Secret and Guard", was to build "defence facilities … without hindrance or political agitation".

In 1970, the Foreign Office told its officials at the UN to describe the islanders as "contract labourers" engaged to work on coconut plantations. "The merit of this line," it noted, "is that it does not give away the existence of the Ilois [the indigenous islanders] but is at the same time strictly factual."

Officials reported the prime minister, Ted Heath, as saying: "Any discussions between the United States and ourselves must remain confidential."

A year later, most of the islanders – about 1,500 in total, of whom 500 lived on Diego Garcia – were deported, mainly to Mauritius and Seychelles.


In June 1957, Eric Griffiths-Jones, the attorney general of the British administration in Kenya, wrote to the governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, detailing the way the regime of abuse at the colony's detention camps was being subtly altered.>

From now on, Griffiths-Jones wrote, for the abuse to remain legal, Mau Mau suspects must be beaten mainly on their upper body, "vulnerable parts of the body should not be struck, particularly the spleen, liver or kidneys", and it was important that "those who administer violence … should remain collected, balanced and dispassionate".

Almost as an after-thought, the attorney general reminded the governor of the need for complete secrecy. "If we are going to sin," he wrote, "we must sin quietly."

More than 50 years later, with the imperial endgame long over, evidence of those sins remained quietly concealed in a secret archive within one of the British government's most secure facilities. Set deep in the Buckinghamshire countryside and surrounded by 16ft-high fences topped with razor wire, lies Hanslope Park, home of Her Majesty's Government Communications Centre, where teams of scientists – real-life versions of Q, the fictional boffin of the James Bond films – devise technical aids for the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6.


to celebrate their release as a historic moment is to miss the underside of the story. Recent events, placed in their historical context, suggest the FCO is hardly forthcoming. A full and candid release of the documents "found" at Hanslope Park would require a complete turnaround in government practice.

These documents came to light in the context of an ongoing legal case. In the high court in London, five elderly claimants are suing the British government. The FCO is the state's defendant. These Mau Mau veterans seek to prove, among other things, that state violence in the detention camps of late colonial Kenya was systematic, calculated and approved at the highest levels of government. This case is the first of its kind. If successful, it could open the door to multiple other claims from colonised populations. Indeed, murmurings of similar claims are already coming from Malayan and Cypriot veterans.

In the Mau Mau case, two years of countless document requests were met with FCO stonewalling. It was only through legal means that the FCO finally yielded in early 2011. The result was more than 1,500 files – all removed from Kenya at the time of decolonisation, and some of which the FCO has incrementally released to the Mau Mau claimants and their experts. A few months later, the FCO confessed that it had likewise found more than 8,800 files removed from another 36 former territories on the eve of colonial retreat. This despite the fact that the Kenya government had asked for – and been denied – the return of its files on three occasions. Thirteen boxes of "top secret" Kenya files are still missing.


Britain planned to test a very virulent type of poison gas in what is now Botswana, the colonial archives reveal

The plan for "practical trials" carried out on a "considerable scale" was first proposed by the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1943. It was looking for an "isolated area" of about 10 sq miles that was free of people, Britain's high commission in Pretoria was told.

The Pretoria government quickly told the British that there was no suitable area within the Union of South Africa, according to the hitherto secret file marked "FORENSIC", the codename given to the planned operation.

British officials then suggested that the Makarikari region of Bechuanaland would be suitable as a "chemical experimental area". But facilities there were regarded as being too small. Moreover, one official noted, there was another disadvantage, namely "the presence of game including lions".

The British turned their attention to the Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan to the north of the then British protectorate. It would be preferable, they said, if at least some of the land chosen for poison gas experiments there was owned by the British crown.

In July 1943 a clearly nervous – and unidentified – British colonial official wrote to the UK ministry that was asking for a site to test its gas: "Your instructions have been noted and your letter destroyed by burning."



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