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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 1413 26th September 2012

Fake-"left" confusions and downright opportunist capitulation to Western Goebbels war propaganda leaves the working class in a tangled mess over vicious destruction of Libya and Syria etc and the heading off of the Egyptian uprising, the genuine Arab spring. Capitalism's crisis deepens relentlessly carrying the world towards total devastation. Only revolution to end the whole monopoly profit system can stop it. Leninism vital

The sick-making hypocrisy and pretences of capitalism's now non-stop warmongering in the Middle East and elsewhere to divert attention from its catastrophic and rapidly unfolding world economic Slump collapse, and eventually to provide a World War "solution" to its intractable crisis failure, grow ever more depraved and grotesque in their Goebbels Nazi Big Lie methods of stampeding of public opinion against alleged "totalitarian dictators" etc.

The obvious cynicism and shallowness of the capitalist politicians underlines yet further the hollow weakness and insecurity of the ruling class grip on the planet, facing the greatest meltdown crisis of all capitalist history, and in fact the collapse of the entire epoch of class-rule exploitative civilisation, thousands of years long (from slavery and feudalism to modern monopoly capitalism).

But the urgent historical necessity to finally end this depraved and vicious system, dragging mankind once more into deadly universal war (and already killing hundreds, sometimes thousands week by week), is still not getting through to the working class.

They could grasp it tomorrow if it were not for the huge vacuum of understanding left in the world's great working and impoverished masses by the disastrous, decades long retreats of all "left" politics from the struggle for actual revolutionary understanding, (as opposed to mouthing phrases) and the avoidance of all the crucial issues that need sorting out like how the great and titanic achievements of the first workers states, most of all the staggering advances of the Soviet Union, finally imploded not because "communism doesn't work( it does, brilliantly) but because of the mistakes and retreats by Stalinism, and its poisonous anti-communist Trotskyist "opposition", perpetuated to this day by all the fake-"left" pretenders in a vacuum of crucial theory and leadership).

The appalling and savage destruction being imposed on Syria by the Western world because of its need for war diversions and intimidation, is simply the latest example of the utter confusion and opportunism spread among workers by the "lefts" of all shades, leaving them in a tangle, disarmed philosophically and being run rings around by bourgeois propaganda and lies.

The crocodile-tear "concerns for human rights", and play-acting upholding of the "rule of law" and " democracy" could be exposed in an instant if it was not for these legions of fake-"left" confusion mongers and opportunists.

They leave the world working class in a complete hoodwinked mess concerning the balance of class forces in the world, fooled by continuing pacifist and "democratic" illusions, and diverted and misled with endless single-issue special-pleading "political correctness" ("gay rights" nonsense, feminism, black nationalism, environmentalism etc).

At best this is disarming revisionist Stalinist confusion, a philistine garble of posturing play-acting and hopeless pacifist nostrums covered with the occasional empty phrase about "overturning capitalism" which does not begin to grasp or explain the reality of the gigantic world-shattering upheavals necessarily and inevitably coming, let alone give the working class any leadership for them.

Instead, in practice, they keep the working class well away from the understanding that it has to completely tear up and destroy the capitalist world system if it (and mankind with it) is to survive, leading the world forwards via the firmest working class control into the rationality and peaceful development that only socialism and a worldwide planned economic order can provide.

At worst like many of the poisonous Trotskyists and craven opportunist "left" Labourites and TUC reformists, this pseudo- "leftism" pitches right in with the demented, lurid CIA and MI6 lies and Western media propaganda campaigns of distortions, hearsay fabrications and exaggeration against assorted scapegoated victims, from little blitzed Serbia (on a nonexistent "massacre at Recak), the destruction of Iraq (after fabricated WMD stories), endless pounding of Afghanistan and most lately the Syrians, and the viciously fascist war-crime death-by-iron-bar-buggery (of Muammar Gaddafi) in the NATO-backed onslaught on Libya.

Alongside are numerous other actual or plotted death-squad and massacre coups and interventions in Latin America, Asia and Africa and monstrous war plans hotting up against demonised victims like Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe and workers states North Korea, Cuba, and ultimately China too (already being encircled in the Pacific by US military build-up threat).

Without this increasingly treacherous "left" confusion mongering and twisted "theorising" to "justify" the petty bourgeois cowardice and capitulation of these slimy and slippery play-acting "revolutionary intellectuals", David Cameron's latest onion-in-the-eye simulated "tearful" agony at the UN for the "plight of little children" in Syria's Washington-provoked civil war destruction could be torn to shreds in seconds, as the obvious fraudulent and obnoxious hypocritical joke it is from this pumped-up pompous toff cynically feeding out the NATO and intelligence agency "heart-wrenching" lies.

Like all his kind Cameron could not care less anyway for the plight of anyone outside the narrow privileged and arrogant ruling circles who control the degenerate monopoly capitalist order and its endless money-grubbing greed and exploitation.

Their relentless "private property" hoovering up of the all the world's wealth – value which the sweat and labour of the working class alone produces (see Karl Marx's Capital) – has brought the entire human race to the edge of a now unstoppable total meltdown failure, unrolling since the "credit crunch" bank failures finally tipped the world into its long-brewing catastrophe in 2007-8 and which is now constantly lurching day by day into greater collapses, ripping the livelihoods of whole countries apart (Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, East Europe, France) and imminently threatening far greater implosions and cataclysmic chaos.

Far from accepting that the system of production for private profit is at a historical dead-end, threatening the future of billions of ordinary people now facing euphemistically named "austerity" – meaning, in fact, utter economic disaster, homelessness, lack of medical aid and education, joblessness, penury, starvation and more, in even the "rich" countries – they will go to any lengths to maintain their sweet indolent luxury and power.

Most of all they are driving the world towards the kind of international turmoil of trade war and cutthroat rivalry that will culminate once again in total war conflict, as demonstrated three times in the last century and a half, in gigantic and ever more destructive inter-imperialist wars to destroy the "surplus" capital now clogging the profit system solid, from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to the unspeakable horrors of the World War One trenches, and ten times greater worldwide nightmare of the Second World War, with destruction on a continent wide scale culminating in nuclear terror for Japan (and certainly being readied for use "in anger" as World War three approaches).

The world's overwhelmingly dominant capitalist power, the top-dog imperialist USA, has been stirring the warmongering deliberately for two decades, to try to ensure it stays on top of the capitalist heap come what may (it hopes) by intimidating and bullying the entire world, to suppress revolt and Third World upheaval and simultaneously fire shots across the bows of each and every capitalist rival that might be driven to try and challenge its supreme position as the world slides into increasingly greater chaos.

The supreme US ruling class wants to "shock and awe" the entire world (abroad and its own working class) into paying for its continued existence despite now decades long total bankruptcy and debt-ridden failure (covered over by insane money printing for the whole post-war "boom" period).

The "stirring up" it has achieved more than anything however has been to escalate and intensify the ferment of hatred and rebellion across the planet which has been rising, throughout the near slave-driven Third World in particular, for decades at the injustice, deprivation and humiliation suffered at the hands of endless tyrannical exploitation by big capital.

As capitalism has necessarily trained the great masses to the levels of skill and education required for modern factory and farm production to feed the "globalised" world markets, it has also created ever greater knowledge and awareness of the enormous unfairness of the whole monstrous system in the billions strong masses, and with it the frustration and anger that has erupted in more and more struggles, such as the Palestinian Intifadas and the great waves of socialist and national liberation movements of the post-war period.

Confused and bizarre as some of these movements are, with various religious or limited perspectives and even partially reactionary notions, they have shocked and stunned the US Empire ruling class, underlining the weakening of its grip on the world (and of all monopoly capitalism with it).

But its every effort to smash it down and intimidate has only underlined the cynical humbug of its fascist depravity, multiplying world hatred and, as even the liberals and more rational petty bourgeois intellectuals have predicted with every new war move, acting as an enormous recruiting agency for insurgency, "terrorism", and national rebellion.

Far from swallowing the lying pretence that it is "nasty dictators" threatening the world, the billions can see that it is the capitalist nations which are responsible for the deadly torture, slaughter and repression which dominates modern existence, including the decimation and terrorisation on a daily basis of numerous innocents, women and children, as well as by-standing civilian "collateral damage" and the fighters who themselves are mostly only ordinary people trying to throw repression, oppression, occupation and invasion off their backs.

Even the bourgeois press, to maintain some credibility, is obliged to report on the realities now and then:

The CIA's programme of "targeted" drone killings in Pakistan's tribal heartlands is politically counterproductive, kills large numbers of civilians and undermines respect for international law, according to a report by US academics.

The study by Stanford and New York Universities' law schools, based on interviews with victims, witnesses and experts, blames the US president, Barack Obama, for the escalation of "signature strikes" where groups are selected merely through remote "pattern of life" analysis.

Families are afraid to attend weddings or funerals, it says, in case US ground operators guiding drones misinterpret them as gatherings of Taliban or al-Qaeda militants.

"The dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling 'targeted killings' of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false," the report, entitled Living Under Drones, states.>

The authors admit it is difficult to obtain accurate data on casualties "because of US efforts to shield the drone programme from democratic accountability, compounded by obstacles to independent investigation of strikes in North Waziristan".

The "best available information", they say, is that between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed in Pakistan between June 2004 and mid-September this year – of whom between 474 and 881 were civilians, including 176 children. The figures have been assembled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which, estimated that a further 1,300 individuals were injured in drone strikes over that period.

The report was commissioned by and written with the help of the London-based Reprieve organisation, which is supporting action in the British courts by Noor Khan, a Pakistani whose father was killed by a US drone strike in March 2011. His legal challenge alleges the UK is complicit in US drone strikes because GCHQ, the eavesdropping agency, shares intelligence with the CIA on targets for drone strikes.

"US drones hover 24 hours a day over communities in north-west Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning," the American law schools report says.>

"Their presence terrorises men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.

"These fears have affected behaviour. The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims."

The study goes on to say: "Publicly available evidence that the strikes have made the US safer overall is ambiguous at best … The number of 'high-level' militants killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low – estimated at just 2% [of deaths]. Evidence suggests that US strikes have facilitated recruitment to violent non-state armed groups, and motivated further violent attacks … One major study shows that 74% of Pakistanis now consider the US an enemy."

Coming from US lawyers rather than overseas human rights groups, the criticisms are likely to be more influential in US domestic debates over the legality of drone warfare.

"US targeted killings and drone strike practices undermine respect for the rule of law and international legal protections and may set dangerous precedents," the report says, questioning whether Pakistan has given consent for the attacks.

"The US government's failure to ensure basic transparency and accountability in its targeted killings policies, to provide details about its targeted killing programme, or adequately to set out the legal factors involved in decisions to strike hinders necessary democratic debate about a key aspect of US foreign and national security policy.

"US practices may also facilitate recourse to lethal force around the globe by establishing dangerous precedents for other governments. As drone manufacturers and officials successfully reduce export control barriers, and as more countries develop lethal drone technologies, these risks increase."

The report supports the call by Ben Emmerson QC, the UN's special rapporteur on countering terrorism, for independent investigations into deaths from drone strikes and demands the release of the US department of justice memorandums outlining the legal basis for US targeted killings in Pakistan.

The report highlights the switch from the former president George W Bush's practice of targeting high-profile al-Qaida personalities to the reliance, under Obama's administration, of analysing patterns of life on the ground to select targets.

"According to US authorities, these strikes target 'groups of men who bear certain signatures, or defining characteristics associated with terrorist activity, but whose identities aren't known'," the report says. "Just what those 'defining characteristics' are has never been made public." People in North Waziristan are now "afraid to attend funerals" or other gatherings, it suggests.

Fears that US agents pay informers to attach electronic tags to the homes of suspected militants in Pakistan haunt the tribal districts, according to the study. "[In] Waziristan … residents are gripped by rumours that paid CIA informants have been planting tiny silicon-chip homing devices that draw the drones.

"Many of the Waziris interviewed spoke of a constant fear of being tagged with a chip by a neighbour or someone else who works for either Pakistan or the US, and of the fear of being falsely accused of spying by local Taliban."

Reprieve's director, Clive Stafford Smith, said: "An entire region is being terrorised by the constant threat of death from the skies. Their way of life is collapsing: kids are too terrified to go to school, adults are afraid to attend weddings, funerals, business meetings, or anything that involves gathering in groups.


Living Under Drones,...has made an important contribution to the drone debate by identifying the innocent victims of the CIA's reign of terror: the entire civilian population of Waziristan (roughly 800,000 people).

Until now, the most heated dispute has revolved around how many drone victims in the Pakistan border region are dangerous extremists, and how many children, women or men with no connection to any terrorist group. I have been to the region, and have a strong opinion on this point – but until the area is opened up to media inspection, or the CIA releases the tapes of each hellfire missile strike, the controversy will rage on.

However, there can be no sensible disagreement over certain salient facts: first, the US now has more than 10,000 weaponised drones in its arsenal; second, as many as six Predator drones circle over one location at any given time, often for 24 hours a day, with high-resolution cameras snooping on the movements of everyone below; third, the Predators emit an eerie sound, earning them the name bangana (buzzing wasp) in Pashtu; fourth, everyone in the area can see them, 5,000ft up, all day – and hear them all night long; fifth, nobody knows when the missile will come, and turn each member of the family into what the CIA calls a "bugsplat". The Predator operator, thousands of miles away in Nevada, often pushes the button over a cup of coffee in the darkest hours of the Waziristan night, between midnight and 5am. So a parent putting children to bed cannot be sure they will wake up safely.

Every Waziri town has been terrorised. We may learn this from the eyewitness accounts in Living Under Drones, or surmise it from the exponential increase in the distribution of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication across the region.

Sometimes it is difficult for those comfortably ensconced in the west to understand. But for me, it brings to mind my mother, Jean Stafford Smith. In 1944 she was 17. She had left the safety of her school (she had been evacuated to the countryside) to do a secretarial course in London... [she] retains vivid memories... When the doodlebugs (as V1s – Hitler's drones – were called) came over, she knew that she was safe so long as she could hear the engine. She knew, too, that the drones were indiscriminate killers, and that only when they fell silent did she have to worry where they might fall.

In 1944, two doodlebugs hit the environs of Buckingham Palace, near where my mother learned shorthand. One landed on the palace wall, and blew out the secretarial school's windows. A second killed more than 100 people who had, until moments before, been singing hymns in the Guards Chapel on Birdcage Walk. It was a weekend, so my mother was back at her digs...on June 30 1944 – a drone struck Tottenham Court Road...a witness described "a bus, still packed with people sitting in all the seats, but all the glass blown out and all the skin blown off their faces".

Many suffered far more than my mother...they say that fear for those you love can be more devastating than facing danger yourself...

So little changes. Current RAF doctrine tells us, euphemistically, how "the psychological impact of air power, from the presence of a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] to the noise generated by an approaching attack helicopter, has often proved to be extremely effective in exerting influence …" Perhaps they mean "terror", as described by David Rohde, a former New York Times journalist kidnapped and held by the Taliban for months in Waziristan. Rohde, quoted in Living Under Drones, describes the fear the drones inspired in ordinary civilians: "The drones were terrifying. From the ground, it is impossible to determine who or what they are tracking as they circle overhead. The buzz of a distant propeller is a constant reminder of imminent death."

I hope that this report reminds us all what the US – with British support – is doing to the people of Pakistan. Maybe then there will be less surprise at the hatred the drone war is engendering in the Islamic world.


More than a decade after George W Bush launched it, the "war on terror" was supposed to be winding down. US military occupation of Iraq has ended and Nato is looking for a way out of Afghanistan, even as the carnage continues. But another war – the undeclared drone war that has already killed thousands – is now being relentlessly escalated.

From Pakistan to Somalia, CIA-controlled pilotless aircraft rain down Hellfire missiles on an ever-expanding hit list of terrorist suspects – they have already killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilians in the process.

At least 15 drone strikes have been launched in Yemen this month, as many as in the whole of the past decade, killing dozens; while in Pakistan, a string of US attacks has been launched against supposed "militant" targets in the past week, incinerating up to 35 people and hitting a mosque and a bakery.

The US's decision to step up the drone war again in Pakistan, opposed by both government and parliament in Islamabad as illegal and a violation of sovereignty, reflects its fury at the jailing of a CIA agent involved in the Bin Laden hunt and Pakistan's refusal to reopen supply routes for Nato forces in Afghanistan. Those routes were closed in protest at the US killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, for which Washington still refuses to apologise.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's high commissioner in London, describes the latest US escalation as "punitive". But then Predators and Reapers are Barack Obama's weapons of choice and coercion, deployed only on the territory of troublesome US allies, such as Pakistan and Yemen – and the drone war is Obama's war.

In his first two years in office, the US president more than tripled the number of attacks in Pakistan alone. For their US champions, drones have the advantage of involving no American casualties, while targeting the "bad guys" Bush lost sight of in his enthusiasm to subjugate Iraq. Enthusiasts boast of their surgical accuracy and exhaustive surveillance, operated by all-seeing technicians from thousands of miles away in Nevada.

But that's a computer-game fantasy of clinical war. Since 2004, between 2,464 and 3,145 people are reported to have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan, of whom up to 828 were civilians (535 under Obama) and 175 children. Some Pakistani estimates put the civilian death toll much higher – plausibly, given the tendency to claim as "militants" victims later demonstrated to be nothing of the sort.

The US president insisted recently that the civilian death toll was not a "huge number". Not on the scale of Iraq, perhaps, where hundreds of thousands were killed; or Afghanistan, where tens of thousands have died. But they gruesomely include dozens killed in follow-up attacks after they had gone to help victims of earlier strikes – as well as teenagers like Tariq Khan, a 16-year-old Pakistani boy decapitated in a strike last November after he had travelled to Islamabad to protest against drones.

These killings are, in reality, summary executions and widely regarded as potential war crimes by international lawyers – including the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Philip Alston. The CIA's now retired counsel, John Rizzo, who authorised drone attacks, himself talked about having been involved in "murder".

A decade ago, the US criticised Israel for such "extrajudicial killings" but now claims self-defence in the war against al-Qaida. These are attacks, however, routinely carried out on the basis of false intelligence, in countries such as Pakistan where no war has been declared and without the consent of the elected government.

Lawyers representing victims' families are now preparing legal action against the British government – which carries out its own drone attacks in Afghanistan – for taking part in war crimes by passing GCHQ intelligence to the CIA for its "targeted killings". Parallel cases are also being brought against the Pakistani government and the drone manufacturer General Electric – whose slogan is "we bring good things to life".

Of course, drone attacks are only one method by which the US and its allies deliver death and destruction in Afghanistan and the wider Middle East, from night raids and air attacks to killing sprees on the ground. The day after last Friday's Houla massacre in Syria, eight members of one family were killed at home by a Nato air attack in eastern Afghanistan – one of many such atrocities barely registered in the western media.

But while support for the war in Afghanistan has fallen to an all-time low in all Nato states, the drone war is popular in the US. That's hardly surprising, as it offers no danger to American forces – the ultimate asymmetric warfare – while supposedly "taking out" terrorists. But these hi-tech death squads are creating a dangerous global precedent, which will do nothing for US security.

A decade ago, critics warned that the "war on terror" would spread terrorism rather than stamp it out. That is exactly what happened. Obama has now renamed the campaign "overseas contingency operations" and is switching the emphasis from boots on the ground to robots.

But, as the destabilisation of Pakistan and growth of al-Qaida in Yemen shows, the impact remains the same. The drone war is a predatory war on the Muslim world, which is feeding hatred of the US – and fuelling terror, not fighting it.


But the difficulty lies in what then to call the Israeli army when it, too, at particular times and places, has used indiscriminate killing and terror as a means of breaking Palestinian civilians. One of those places was Rafah, in the southern tip of the Gaza strip, where Rachel Corrie was crushed by a military bulldozer nine years ago as she tried to stop the Israeli army going about its routine destruction of Palestinian homes.

An Israeli judge on Tuesday perpetuated the fiction that Corrie's death was a terrible accident and upheld the results of the military's own investigation, widely regarded as such a whitewash that even the US ambassador to Israel described it as neither thorough nor credible. Corrie's parents may have failed in their attempt to see some justice for their daughter, but in their struggle they forced a court case that established that her death was not arbitrary but one of a pattern of killings as the Israeli army pursued a daily routine of attacks intended to terrorise the Palestinian population of southern Gaza into submission.

The case laid bare the state of the collective Israeli military mind, which cast the definition of enemies so widely that children walking down the street were legitimate targets if they crossed a red line that was invisible to everyone but the soldiers looking at it on their maps. The military gave itself a blanket protection by declaring southern Gaza a war zone, even though it was heavily populated by ordinary Palestinians, and set rules of engagement so broad that just about anyone was a target.

With that went virtual impunity for Israeli troops no matter who they killed or in what circumstances – an impunity reinforced by Tuesday's verdict in Haifa.

The Israeli military commander in southern Gaza at the time was Colonel Pinhas "Pinky" Zuaretz. A few weeks after Corrie's death, I (as the Guardian's correspondent in Israel) spoke to him about how it was that so many children were shot by Israeli soldiers at times when there was no combat. His explanation was chilling.

At that point, three years into the second intifada, more than 400 children had been killed by the Israeli army. Nearly half were in Rafah and neighbouring Khan Yunis. One in four were under the age of 12.

I focussed on the deaths of six children in a 10-week period, all in circumstances far from combat. The dead included a 12-year-old girl, Haneen Abu Sitta, killed in Rafah as she walked home from school near a security fence around one of the fortified Jewish settlements in Gaza at the time. The army made up an explanation by falsely claiming Haneen was killed during a gun battle between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

Zuaretz conceded to me that there was no battle and that the girl was shot by a soldier who had no business opening fire. It was the same with the killings of some of the other children. The colonel was fleetingly remorseful.

"Every name of a child here, it makes me feel bad because it's the fault of my soldiers. I need to learn and see the mistakes of my troops," he said. But Zuaretz was not going to do anything about it; and by the end of the interview, he was casting the killings as an unfortunate part of the struggle for Israel's very survival.

"I remember the Holocaust. We have a choice, to fight the terrorists or to face being consumed by the flames again," he said.

In court, Zuaretz said the whole of southern Gaza was a combat zone and anyone who entered parts of it had made themselves a target. But those parts included houses where Palestinians built walls within walls in their homes to protect themselves from Israeli bullets.

In that context, covering up the truth about the killings of innocents, including Corrie, became an important part of the survival strategy because of the damage the truth could do to the military's standing, not only in the rest of the world but also among Israelis.

The death of Khalil al-Mughrabi two years before Corrie died was telling. The 11-year-old boy was playing football when he was shot dead in Rafah by an Israeli soldier. The respected Israeli human rights organisations, B'Tselem, wrote to the army demanding an investigation. Several months later, the judge advocate general's office wrote back saying that Khalil was killed by soldiers who had acted with "restraint and control" to disperse a riot in the area.

But the judge advocate general's office made the mistake of attaching a copy of its own confidential investigation, which came to a very different conclusion: that the riot had been much earlier in the day and the soldiers who shot the child should not have opened fire. In the report, the chief military prosecutor, Colonel Einat Ron, then spelled out alternative false scenarios that should be offered to B'Tselem. The official account was a lie and the army knew it.

The message to ordinary soldiers was clear: you have a free hand because the military will protect you to protect itself. It is that immunity from accountability that was the road to Corrie's death.

She wasn't the only foreign victim at about that time. In the following months, Israeli soldiers shot dead James Miller, a British television documentary journalist, and Tom Hurndall, a British photographer and pro-Palestinian activist. In November 2002, an Israeli sniper had killed a British United Nations worker, Iain Hook, in Jenin in the West Bank.

British inquests returned verdicts of unlawful killings in all three deaths, but Israel rejected calls for the soldiers who killed Miller and Hook to be held to account. The Israeli military initially whitewashed Hurndall's killing but after an outcry led by his parents, and British government pressure, the sniper who shot him was sentenced to eight years in prison for manslaughter.

That sentence apparently did nothing to erode a military mindset that sees only enemies.

Three years after Corrie's death, an Israeli army officer who emptied the magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, Iman al-Hams, and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was cleared by a military court.

Iman was shot and wounded after crossing the invisible red line around an Israeli military base in Rafah, but she was never any closer than 100 yards. The officer then left the base in order to "confirm the kill" by pumping the wounded girl full of bullets. An Israeli military investigation concluded he had acted properly.

The siege mindset of the Jewish Zionist occupiers, "justifying" its genocidal murderousness against a Palestinian rebellion that can and never will go away until the Palestinians are able to recover the land stolen from them by imperialism in 1947 and granted to the colonialists, or are totally wiped out as a people, is increasingly the same mindset of all imperialism (which uses the heavily US subsidised Zionism as its rottweiler to smite and control the whole region anyway) ready to bring the entire world to destruction in order to hold onto power.

Indiscriminate Terminator-style robotised drone terror is only a fraction of the "might is right" worldwide blitzing, torture, intimidation and violence already continuously inflicted on the world by the West and its assorted stooges and client regimes, and which is the context and setting for Cameron's (and every other Western leaders) diversionary denunciations of "totalitarian" dictators.

In other words these pious tear-jerking "poor children" concerns are complete nonsense, part of the Western propaganda war to justify the civil war it has deliberately stirred in Syria as part of its worldwide intimidation and scorched earth destruction of any halfway rebellious or non-compliant regimes, and to keep the world war atmosphere on the boil for the deepening crisis.

Like the NATO blitzing of Libya before it, Syria is being destroyed by a deliberately stirred counter-revolution, inflamed by non-stop lurid reporting of every wild unsubstantiated allegation that the Western media can fan into self-fulfilling "fact", to escalate and magnify as much confused local hatred and sectarian conflict as possible (which is always there in every capitalist society).

Cross border raids by Turkey point to the next escalation into all-out war, with a local stooge substituting for the moment for the overstretched NATO forces.

The foulest and most dementedly anti-communist elements of the fake-"left" such as the Workers Power Trotskyists play right along with the West's disgusting propaganda, not only failing to expose the foul hypocrisy and lies of the Western media but pumping out reams of the same poisonous lies themselves, spiced with the added (and addled) "political analysis" to confuse workers.

The Trots have always gone along with every "street rebellion" stunt organised and provoked by the Western intelligence agencies however crudely obvious it is.

Such "people's revolt" stunts have been the favoured method (see Philip Agee's "Inside the Company" book for example) of trying to topple communist or bourgeois nationalist anti-imperialist states over the decades, giving an illusion of "popular upheaval" which is a "deniable" apparent step removed from giveaway Western interference.

From Hungary in 1956, the "Prague Spring" of 1968, and most famously in the anti-communist Solidarnosc "union" (no such thing) which the CIA set going in Poland in the 1980s, with massive funding from the corrupt and reactionary Vatican and the US itself, attempts have been made to try and topple workers states, a tactic repeated everywhere in East Europe and the former Soviet Union since in assorted "colour revolutions", in Latin America and in the Tienanmen "democracy" stunt to try and bring down China's workers state.

The Trots equally have also capitulated entirely to the West's "war on terror" idiocies pompously and foully denouncing and "condemning" as "unacceptable or criminal terror" the various outbursts and attacks on imperialism, most of all the 9/11 guerrilla war destruction of the New York World Trade Centre towers instead of making clear the shattering blows these outbursts have been for the ruling class.

Now they swallow and regurgitate the desperate mayhem set going by capitalist provocation and propaganda in first Libya and then Syria to try and counter the explosive spontaneous revolutionary upheavals in the Middle East.

These are the desperate and panicked interventions set going in response to the spontaneous Middle East "Arab Spring" (a name hijacked by capitalism for its counter-revolutionary provocations in response).

Genuine revolutionary upsurge in Egypt (and Tunisia before it) was one of the greatest shocks the ruling class has had in its post-war period, representing a qualitative change in the growing worldwide revolt against it, moving from the heroic enough but piecemeal "terrorism" and suicide attacks of the past to a new level of mass rebellion, unfolding in the largest and most significant of all the Middle Eastern countries.

Not surprisingly it has come alongside the world shattering economic failures of the crisis, and is an expression of the same historic meltdown of the entire capitalist structure.

If Egypt breaks away from US control, where it has been kept for decades by the heavy multi-billion annual subsidies paid to keep stooge gangster dictators like Saddat and now Mubarak in power, using heavy repression, media control, torture and censorship to stay on top, it threatens to set the entire region on fire, potentially toppling even the powerful and ruthless Zionist fascist entity, which has long acted as imperialism's direct hammer to suppress all the surrounding countries and keep imperialism's grip on this strategically crucial and resource rich area (while simultaneously denying it to anyone else).

Just how devastating it could be for the West's grip on the entire region became clear as the Yemen, the feudal and backward Gulf states and the primitive tribal monarchy of Saudi Arabia all began stirring as well.

For the moment the lack of Marxist revolutionary understanding in Egypt, (and everywhere else after decades of revisionist brain rot) and the continuing illusions in "democracy" that such (non)-"communism" has fostered, have given imperialism the chance to coral and contain the upheavals, throwing the aged dictator Hosni Mubarak out as a symbolic scapegoat (though not his corrupt and venal family) and manipulating supposed "democratic" concessions to leave imperialist influence and capitalism in control.

In the end that was done by allowing the compromising and class collaboration of the Muslim Brotherhood to take the presidency, though even the tame Mohamed Morsi was almost excluded (like various other "disqualified" candidates considered too volatile) in favour of a former Mubarak henchman because of Western fears.

Even greater Western fears that this military stooge would be too obvious to head off the Tahrir Square masses have won out, with a gamble that Morsi is at least controllable via promised "Western aid", if not ideal.

But long before this attempt could play out, capitalism's terrified fears of the complete loss of the Arab World panicked it into activating long-plotted plans to destabilise and sabotage the hated Gaddafi – a thorn in the side for decades anyway because of his erratic but sometimes telling anti-imperialist bourgeois nationalist revolution (which overturned a backward monarchy 40 years previously) - and the equally distrusted Syrian regime, which is particularly hated by Zionism.

Both are alongside Egypt, and could be used to cause massive confusion, dressing counter-revolution in Arab Spring clothing and eventually massive intimidation of the Cairo masses.

Previous Western bourgeois strategy had been to try and buy off or at least pressurise Gaddafi into compliance rather than risk the fight but Egypt left no choice.

Even so the hodge-podge mess of recruited petty bourgeois spivs and self-seekers, oddball islamists, fascists, racists and monarchist restorationists (now making the once reasonably organised country into a total disaster of squabbling warlordism, gangsterism and corruption) almost proved a disaster, needing the massive and expensive NATO blitzkrieg intervention to rescue their hopeless, fragmented and disorganised "uprising" pretence despite its outright violence from the very beginning (burning police stations etc) – an opportunist "revolt" which was completely different in character to the mass street demonstrations in Cairo and Tunis.

This chaos also usefully exposed the barmy army of reactionary Trots who ignored all the obvious signs of an imperialist set up, including the huge monarchist flags and shouted demands for Western intervention which appeared by day three, helping the NATO-CIA pretence that this was a "people's revolt" going along with every shred of CIA and Western media.

The same poisonous treachery has helped feed the parallel campaign run by capitalism to stir up civil war in Syria, which has artificially provoked and inflamed existing tensions, discontent and sectarian conflict with hidden interventions, sniper attacks, and armed incursions, and a constant deluge of Western media disinformation and inflammatory unproven allegations and alleged "atrocity" stories.

Instead of exposing this Nazi-criminal campaign carried out the Trots have pumped out as much abuse and "totalitarian dictatorship" as any of the Western papers.

One of the foulest is the Workers Power grouping with a venomous "polemic" denouncing other fake-"left" groups, for supporting Syria or because of their equivocation in the face of the obvious and open support for the "rebels" from every leading imperialist politician including the unreformed Vietnam veteran throwback and leading republican war drum beater John McCain; the entire Obama presidency fresh from escalating the Afghanistan and Pakistan terror, running coups in Latin America and sustaining the Pentagon-CIA torture camps like Guantánamo; the entire British establishment, from unreformed Tory party empire-nostalgics to the craven WMD-Iraq war lying war criminal Labourites.

Some of these other Trots, liberals and opportunists, equally swallow the CIA created mayhem as a "people's revolution" but try to distance themselves from the obvious coalition of reaction backing it by pretending it "must be done by the people themselves", who are somehow "innocently" being "taken advantage" of by imperialism's interests.

Total gobshite of course. It walks, talks and quacks like a duck because it is a duck, a reactionary confused mess that has nothing to do with the rebellion in Egypt (which was against a regime heavily funded and supported by Washington, not like here and in Libya, detested and demonised) or rather is countering that rebellion. Apologies for the acidic bile:

You could start with the outright supporters of the Assad regime, like Respect MP George Galloway, US-based David North's World Socialist Web Site, French conspiracy theorist Thierry Meyssan (who also defended former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic), or the British pro-Gaddafi Press TV and Russia Today correspondent Lizzie Phelan.

These voices simply repeat the regime's lies, that it is not putting down a popular revolt, but defending the country's independence against an externally inspired and imperialist-sponsored aggression, like former US president Ronald Reagan's "Contra War" in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

A bastion of resistance?

But this regime has not fired a single shot over the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights since 1973. Worse still, Hafez al-Assad originally sent troops into neighbouring Lebanon in June 1976 to support the rightist Christian president Suleiman Frangieh, against the Palestinian-Muslim-leftist coalition that had come close to overthrowing him, and who constituted Syria's historic allies.

The then serving Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin even boasted in his memoirs that the Syrian army killed more Palestinian fighters in Lebanon "within a few months" than Israel had "over the previous thirty years."

Despite his "resistance" rhetoric and the collapse of his alliance with Lebanon's right-wing Christian Phalange movement, Assad senior also failed to protect Lebanon from Israel's invasion in 1982, and later rehabilitated Israel's Lebanese collaborators like Elie Hobeika, a leading participant in the infamous Sabra and Shatila massacre.

Hafez al-Assad would also promote Saudi Arabia's favoured Lebanese politician, Rafic Hariri, and supported the US-led coalition that fought against Saddam's Iraq in 1991. In return, the United States allowed Syria to impose a fragile political settlement to Lebanon's civil war that gave it a mandate to keep its troops there.

Hariri would become prime minister in a Syrian-dominated post-civil war Lebanon in the 1990s, before falling out with Bashar al-Assad in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war, leading to his assassination by Syrian agents in March 2005.

More recently, Bashar al-Assad's regime was involved in the "extraordinary rendition" of alleged terrorist suspects on behalf of the United States under George W Bush.

In addition to these voices, however, there are figures that, without supporting Assad's regime, have become alarmed by the "militarisation" of the Syrian uprising, and with it the risk of Western military intervention. These include the popular Lebanese blogger As'ad AbuKhalil, Palestinian professor Joseph Massad, Guardian columnist Seumas Milne, and veterans of the global anti-war movement like Tariq Ali and Sami Ramadani.

Often having initially supported or sympathised with the uprising, they now regard it either as having been hijacked by the West and its Turkish, Qatari and Saudi allies, using the Syrian battleground to wage a proxy war against Iran; or they regard it as being near-irretrievably on that road.

Others, like Counterfire's John Rees and Chris Nineham, have noted the emergence of these voices and are adapting to them, to hold together a Stop the War Coalition that came into existence a decade ago and in very different circumstances. They now hedge their support of the Syrian revolution with equivocations and conditions that undermine any effective expressions of solidarity with it.

What all of these voices have in common is a tendency to view the Syrian situation solely or primarily in geo-political terms, as if there were no revolution happening, as if the insurgent masses were not also wise to the machinations of the great powers, and as if the ability of the West to influence events on the ground without troops there were so strong that the merest hint of self-interested Western "support" denies the masses any agency to resist the takeover of their struggle

For the Stalinists and their imitators, this attitude is second nature. Artificially dividing the world into "progressive" and "pro-imperialist" camps, they have slandered popular revolts that transgressed the boundaries of these camps as far back as the 1953 East German workers' rising and the 1956 Hungarian revolution, through to the struggle of the Polish workers' union Solidarnosc in 1980, and the collapse of the East European Stalinist regimes in 1989.

However, for those like Rees, Nineham and Tariq Ali, who come from the anti-Stalinist left, this position requires them to close their eyes to the fact that the Western powers, for all their words of "support" for a selected part of the Syrian opposition, are not at all raring to go into Syria as they did in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Either, like Sami Ramadani, they have to descend into a poor analysis verging on conspiracy theory; or, like Joseph Massad, they conclude that the revolution has already been lost, on the basis that the popular movement has become strong enough to excite the inevitable interest of external parties, but not yet strong enough to take power.

John Rees, however, is right on one thing – that there certainly is the danger "of an unrepresentative minority arising within the revolution and coming to dominate it". But this is not primarily, as he puts it, a matter of the imperialist powers promoting and arming those "that they can rely on to do their bidding", but of a section of the opposition coming over to the much-touted idea of a "Yemeni-style" transition, tasked with restoring capitalist order and reflecting the balance of forces between all the imperialist powers involved in Syria, Russia and China included.

Not for these "left" heroes the obvious conclusions about the reactionary nature of a movement funded and armed from the beginning by some of the most backward and barbaric regimes on the planet from the barbaric hand and head chopping feudalism of the Saudis and Gulf states to the military dominated expansionist capitalism of NATO member Turkey, author of plenty of its own atrocities against actual "rebels" such as the self-determination Kurdish fighters:

A group of Kurdish schoolchildren and young villagers were transporting cheap fuel into Turkey from Iraq on 28 December. Some time after 9.30pm, as the group reached the border area, four Turkish F-16 fighter jets launched an attack and within an hour, 34 members of the group, including 17 children, were dead.

The Turkish army initially hailed the raid as a success, claiming that it had killed fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) – a group that has waged an armed rebellion against the state since 1984. But it soon transpired that the victims were civilians, some as young as 12. The army and the national intelligence organisation blamed each other for the faulty intelligence that led to the attack.

The head of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party (BDP), Selahattin Demirta?, echoed the outrage felt by many in Turkey when he called the incident a "massacre of youths" and asked the government to apologise to the victims' families.

Under political pressure, the government agreed to launch an investigation. But many Kurds remain sceptical that the government in Turkey is able or willing to carry out a transparent and independent investigation.

On the anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink – a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist killed by Turkish nationalists – the pressure group Human Rights Watch has declared the state investigation and subsequent trial of the alleged actors behind his murder a "travesty of justice". As a result, many in Turkey believe that the state is incapable of investigating its own conduct. In the name of fighting terror, the Turkish armed forces have committed countless human rights abuses in the Kurdish region over many decades without proper investigation.

An examination launched in 1994 into the killing of 45 civilians in a military airstrike in the same area that the recent massacre took place in ??rnak province has yet to make any conclusions as to why so many civilians died.

When the state minister for human rights, Azimet Köylüo?lu, criticised the Turkish army for carrying out "acts of terrorism" in the Dersim area by burning Kurdish villages in 1994, he was banned by the army from visiting the area.

The following year, Aliza Marcus, a Reuters journalist, was charged with "provoking enmity and hatred by displaying racism or regionalism" for an article titled "Kurdish villages, the target of the army". She was eventually acquitted but could not report from Turkey afterwards.

This painful history has created a deep sense of distrust among Turkey's Kurdish population towards the state and the army. However, the government of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has made some progress in dealing with the Kurdish population since coming to power in 2002. For instance, Erdo?an apologised to the Kurdish people of Dersim on behalf of the state for the military expedition in 1937 which killed more than 13,000 people.

In a report this month, the human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe recognised the progress made but also noted that the "systematic problems concerning the administration of justice" in Turkey mean that "the protection of the state often takes precedence over the protection of human rights".

This extends to the government's treatment of the media whose journalists face continued implicit threats, harassment or imprisonment if they publish articles to hold politicians to account. At present, there are almost 100 journalists in prison, and Turkey is considered a dangerous place for journalists. This is another reason it is so difficult for journalists to effectively cover incidents such as December's bombing.

Workers Power tries to divert attention from this deluge of Western stooge intervention, which now includes direct cross-border military attacks from major NATO member Turkey (contrary to their sneering) and more importantly what that says about the nature of the "revolution", by accusing the Syrian government of assorted transgressions and inconsistencies.

But whether or not these allegations are all true, is deliberate and obtuse missing of the point; erratic, vacillating and ineffectual may be the opportunist nature of Damascus anti-imperialism (Assad junior and senior), but it does not stop them being a thorn in the side of imperialism and a demonised target.

More critically the question is not one of supporting Damascus.

It is of opposing imperialism and calling for the DEFEAT of its war machinations, which happen to have picked on Assad's regime for a variety of reasons, which can only be really understood in the much greater context of the world crisis, the drive to war of imperialism across the planet, and specifically in the Middle East in desperate panic to suppress the Egyptian (but spreading) mass rebellion.

The real question is twofold – firstly whether the "street revolt" is remotely a genuine Marxist or at least liberation struggle, for which there is not only not the slightest scrap of evidence but plenty of evidence the other way, from the arming and Western support described already, and multiple atrocities admitted to be carried out by the rebels, including summary executions filmed and openly admitted to (rather than the endless "uneverifiable allegations" which pour out against Assad's forces) or torture as in this piece, almost revelling in the rebel horrors, from the "liberal" Guardian:

..One afternoon, as the fighting in Salah al-Din subsided, I stood with a group of rebels manning one of these roadblocks.

State TV channels had declared Salah al-Din "free from terrorist elements", and a few civilians had taken the opportunity of the lull in fighting to try to find loved ones or visit their apartments. The rebels checked ID cards and pulled some people for questioning, but mostly tried to dissuade people from driving into the middle of a war zone.

A young, pink-faced man dressed in a clean, short-sleeved white shirt and black trousers arrived at the checkpoint. He was brought to Captain Abu Mohamed by a fighter who said he thought two of the man's cousins were working for the regime.

The captain questioned the pink-faced man politely, until it became apparent that he had mistaken Abu Mohamed and his men, who were all dressed in military fatigues, for regular soldiers.

The captain played along, asking if there were members of the Free Army in the area the man was crossing into.

"There are, sir," said the young man. "If you have enough men I can lead you to them. I know their places I can assure you."

Abu Mohamed called one of the rebels over and told him they had found a proud citizen who could help them. This man was also dressed in military uniform, but he had a thick beard and his jacket was adorned with FSA insignia.

The boy flinched. "Are you rebels, sir?" he asked.

"No, no, but we dress like them to infiltrate them," said the rebel.>

"Sir, I want to join you and help you fight them."

"Great. We will take your name and give you two weeks' training and can make you a lieutenant."

The other rebel started filming the young man with his phone, pretending he was doing it for the pro-regime TV channel. Like a schoolboy standing in front of the teacher, the young man started parroting regime rhetoric: "The terrorist elements are in the school right now. They number 56. Only 11 of them Syrians, sir, these terrorist elements are committing terrorist activities that are terrifying the innocent citizens. They entered my house took our TV set and tried to rape my mother they go around stealing houses and raping young boys and girls."

The joke ended when the rebel with the phone landed a huge slap on the man's neck. The boy froze as the extent of the trouble he was in dawned on him. More rebels gathered. The boy tried to change his story and then changed it back again, knowing he was in the middle of something bad.

Captain Abu Mohamed intervened. He led the young man onto a nearby bus and asked one of the fighters to guard him. But a crowd of rebels had gathered around the bus and another slap landed on his face. He was clearly shocked, confused and didn't know who had captured him. He fluctuated between denouncing the army and the FSA.

Four men led him out of the bus, Abu Mohamed shouting at them not to hit him. The men took him into an office they had been using as sleeping quarters and for the first time a look of horror covered the young man's face.

Then four of the rebels took him into a smaller room and closed the door. The men grew disturbingly calm.

First they made their suspect kneel. "Sir, sir, I made a mistake," the young man pleaded. "Please sir." His voice was quivering.

The rebels went silently to work. They didn't speak, but each seemed to know exactly what to do. They made the suspect lie on his stomach as one fighter put his foot on his spine and pulled his arms back until he screamed.

Two more knelt by his feet, pushing his lower legs between a kalashnikov and its sling and twisting the gun until it was tight around his calves. A fourth rebel pinned the young man's shoulder to the ground with his foot, placing the tip of a bayonet on the nape of man's neck.

A fifth man tore through the contents of a cabinet until he found a power cable. He sat twisting it and wrapping it in tape until it resembled a nightstick. A sixth young rebel sat with a pen and paper to take notes.

"Sir, sir, it's a mistake! I thought you were soldiers!"

"Tell us who are the shabiha [government militia] that you know," asked the man with the bayonet.>

"Sir, I don't know. I am a normal citizen!" His voice was high-pitched and filled with terror.

The man standing on his spine pulled back the young man's arms while the men at his feet twisted the gun's strap tighter. He screamed.

"I will talk," he said, gasping for air. "I will talk."

He gave the rebels several names, which the man with the paper wrote down. They asked for more. He gave more.

"You are lying now."

"Sir, I am not."

The interrogator's every question was accompanied by the man's arms pulled to the back, a tightening of the rifle sling and more pressure on the bayonet.

Then the two men lifted his feet and the man with the power cable swung it high and landed it perfectly on the man's fat, bare feet. The screams became more like squeals now. The sweat was pouring from the torturers faces as they bent to their task.

"This is so you can remember!" shouted the man with the cable.

"Stop! I will give all the names you want!"

When the young man who was writing lifted his head and said he was repeating the same names, the man who was pulling his arms jumped up and landed on the young man's kidneys. He began to weep so they started another round of beating.

"Why don't you tell us what we want?"

But there was nothing he could have said that would have stopped the men.

When the young man's ordeal ended for the day, the sun was setting. Abu Mohamed said he was sure the kid was mad.

Three days later, I met one of the men who had been torturing the young man. He had a sorry look on his face.

"All the names he gave us were fake. Those people don't exist. Now the Islamists have taken him. They are interrogating him and they are not letting anyone else see him."

Secondly even if this depravity had anything to do with a "genuine" revolt, would a Marxist or Leninist movement choose this moment in world history – the greatest catastrophic failure in all history (as even the BBC economics correspondent Stephanie Flanders hints at in her latest programme on Karl Marx – the BBC reporting on Marx!!!!) – this moment to mount an all-out attack on the very targets that most of all suit imperialism to have brought down???

Just the opposite.

The overwhelming enemy is imperialism – both in the form of the Zionists just across the border, and Washington and its sidekicks.

Leninism has always been very clear that the working class needs to focus its attention on the real enemy, to the extent of suspending its struggle against lesser pests until the real source of the world's conflicts, antagonisms, and problem is dealt with.

The tactical principle was made clear by the Bolsheviks in the fast changing conditions of the first great workers revolutionary events in 1917 when the anti-Tsarist February revolution had temporarily been consolidated – with various democratic gains against the previous autocratic police state – around the "liberal" bourgeoisie under Kerensky's parliamentary government. Continuing forwards to overthrow this treacherous capitalist regime, already reestablishing imperialist alliances and continuing the First World War fight for colonial plunder by July, which would eventually imperil all these gains anyway, was the Bolshevik aim, so that a workers state could be built

But it was suspended when the reactionary Tsarist "Black Hundred" supported (ie fascist) general Kornilov marched troops on St Petersburg in August 1917 to overturn not just the workers' struggle but the parliamentary bourgeoisie too, to restore the monarchy and its autocracy.

The Bolsheviks declared they would stand alongside Kerensky and defend the city, against the greater enemy.

But they also made very clear that that did not imply the slightest support for Kerensky, in fact warning the working class against trusting the bourgeois power one iota, even as they fought alongside them (a warning which was rapidly borne out when deals were revealed between Kerensky and the monarchists).

The principle of focussing the fight on the critical enemy but giving the working class no illusions that assorted opportunists, bourgeois regimes and former stooges are being supported, or even unstable if anti-imperialist nationalism, is critical and applies over and over.

The defeat of the power of imperialism and its plotting and manipulations is the priority at all times, and by whatever forces happen to be involved in the fight, willingly or not at the time, be it Saddam Hussein or the Burmese military, inarticulate Egyptian rebellion or Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

But absolutely no illusions need to, or should, be fostered in any of the halfway house nationalisms, erratic anti-imperialists, "left" reformist demagogues like Chávez, confused individualist "Green Book" Gaddafi parodies of socialism (albeit his anti-monarchist revolution of the 1960s had produced useful social improvements), dissatisfied former stooges like Saddam or Noriega, bourgeois nationalist reformism in Damascus, or revisionist-remnant Serbian nationalism like Slobodan Milosevic in the former Yugoslav workers state, by calling for their support.

This applies not only to the obvious opportunism of those like Lula in Brazil but even to genuine national liberation movements which have had a major and telling impact on imperialist world domination, such as with the Hamas leadership of the dogged and heroic Palestinian resistance to Nazi Zionism struggle (and its well organised and determined Hizbullah allies in Lebanon, shatteringly winning against the 2006 Lebanese invasion by Zionism's armies); the ANC's decades long armed struggle to finally and successfully overthrow reactionary apartheid White Supremacy in South Africa; the ZANU-PF's anti-colonialism and land reform nationalist revolution in Zimbabwe against the fascist Smith unilateralists; and closest to home, the incredible Sinn Féin/IRA armed anti-colonial urban war national liberation fight over most of the twentieth century.

Leninist Marxism in all these cases and more, has rightly identified and celebrated the devastating defeats they have inflicted on the world monopoly ruling class, usually against the sour talking-down of the achievements by the mis-analysis of the Trotskyist and other fake-"lefts", who with typical petty bourgeois defeatist and cowed spirit wrongly and unscientifically declare these great victories to be "sell-outs and failure", "nothing but the same old thing" ("meet the new boss") and "imperialism imposing new settlements on the world's hot spots".

This demoralisation for the working class turns reality upside down, declaring imperialism to be in control and all-powerful, instead of highlighting the panicked and increasingly desperate weakness of the whole capitalist order, facing the great historical disaster which underlies its turn to overt fascist warmongering and domestic repression.

But even where such struggles can leave the most analytical of Marxist comrades voicing shorthand emotional "support" at times, it is a crucial scientific understanding to underline that all such ideologies and struggles fall far short of the only possible solution for the desperate crisis now challenging the whole planet, total revolutionary overthrow of capitalism everywhere, demanding scientific dialectical materialist leadership.

They are not Marxists, in most cases do not grasp such science and its perspectives or even see the need for it, and in many cases are hostile to Marxism, either ideologically or in practice.

The confused religious ideology of Hamas is its weakness despite the heroic sacrifices made by the Palestinians fighters in the Intifadas, expressed recently in the Gazan Hamas leadership's repudiation of Damascus; Mugabe's total failure to give the Zimbabwean working class, the African one beyond that and actually the world working class a perspective of the imperialist domination of the world and its crisis; the ANC (and its SACP Stalinist revisionist supporters) have got into even worse difficulties in the platinum mine massacres because of their failure to develop and clarify non-stop a world revolutionary understanding, for themselves and more importantly for the workers they supposedly "represent".

The staggeringly brave and heroic Irish nationalists continue to make "snail's pace" progress towards the unification of Ireland as the British ruling class steadily (but trickily) pulls back, a history making victory which finally shakes the centuries of colonial arrogance and the "Great British" nationalism which corrupted layers of the British working class, freeing minds for the necessary revolutionary struggles to come.

But despite the urge to belt out Irish songs with the best of them, the Leninist understanding has to remain "march separately, strike together" because Sinn Féin's lack of grasp of the shattering crisis failure of capitalism will increasingly reveal its weaknesses, as already with a completely reformist, albeit "left" programme for dealing with the disastrous impact of the slump and bank collapse on Ireland, sincere enough but little more than the inadequate "anti-austerity" demands of the fake-"lefts" everywhere.

Many "left" movements are simply disastrous, as the overthrow of the opportunist Salvador Allende's "legally elected" socialist government in Chile archetypically illustrated in 1973, its Stalinist inspired and opportunist delusions in "democracy" and the "peaceful road" – and distrust of arming the working class, – shattered by the CIA organised Pinochet coup and its brutal torture and slaughter.

The floundering of Hugo Chávez in the latest Venezuelan election campaign – which as always is manipulated and distorted a thousand ways by imperialist interference and big capital – underlines continuing Latin American failure to develop Marxist grasp of the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat to seize and hold power in working class hands, against internal and outside subversion, taking over the means of production.

He may win but the rich remain in place and the endless subversion continues.

Tragically this "democratic" way is not challenged by the theoretical failings of the revisionist leadership in Havana, despite the Cubans' own stubborn continuation in practice of a workers state that constantly blocks and exposes imperialist sabotage and subversion, exposes the "democracy" pigswill, and has thus survived for 50 years to build the stunning achievements of its socialist society, streets ahead of anything in Latin America even while under siege blockade.

Shouting "victory to Syria and the Assad regime" as the museum-Stalinist Lalkarite-Proletarian CPGB-ML does, and the assorted "lefts" quoted by Workers Power may fall ostensibly on the right side, but it causes at least as much confusion and is a million miles from Lenin's crucial strategy, as was their former support for Saddam, Milosevic and Gaddafi et al.

Even if the Lalkarites were hallmarked with the purest stamp of sincerity (itself dubious in the light of former willingness while in the SLP to go along with the "condemnation of terrorism" that the entire fake -"left" capitulated to), this abandons any revolutionary understanding.

It has to pretend that the Syrian Ba'athist government represents some kind of "progress" for the working class, declaring that Syria is "much better" than the feudal backwaters in the Gulf.

It is a nonsense. Even if it the Assads had passed nothing but non-stop decrees for the finest social improvements for the last decades (they have not) they are still running a capitalist state, subject to all the tearing antagonisms and societal conflicts that imposes top to bottom, constantly ready to erupt (which is what provided the initial discontent and opportunist petty bourgeois and sectarian turmoil for imperialist (and Zionist) intrigue to work upon and stir up to get the civil war going.

Despite its on and off support for anti-Zionism, the regime remains weak and equivocating.

They are not Leninist or even trying to be. Lalkar's declaring that if the "war can be stopped" the Syrian people would "move forwards" by supporting Assad's regime is the purest reformist garbage, suggesting if it can "win" the fight against imperialism, that will constitute great progress

But the crisis will not leave the Syrians alone anymore than anyone else; only revolution can solve their problems.

This defencism is underpinned by Lalkar's continuing Stalinist-based pacifism, idiotically (disarmingly) asserting that war can be stopped "if only" enough workers can be "persuaded" to "prevent the imperialists going to war".

Here is a tiny part of what Lenin said about such fanciful moralising garbage:

"We shall retaliate to war by a strike or a revolution" that is what all the prominent reformist leaders usually say to the working class. And very often the seeming radicalness of the measures proposed satisfies and appeases the workers, co-operators and peasants.

Perhaps the most correct method would be to start with the sharpest refutation of this opinion; to declare that particularly now, after the recent war, only the most foolish or utterly dishonest people can assert that such an answer to the question of combating war is of any use; to declare that it is impossible to "retaliate" to war by a strike, just as it is impossible to "retaliate" to war by revolution in the simple and literal sense of these terms.

We must explain the real situation to the people, show them that war is hatched in the greatest secrecy, and that the ordinary workers' organisations, even if they call themselves revolutionary organisations, are utterly helpless in face of a really impending war.

We must explain to the people again and again in the most concrete manner possible how matters stood in the last war, and why they could not have been otherwise.

We must take special pains to explain that the question of "defence of the fatherland" will inevitably arise, and that the overwhelming majority of the working people will inevitably decide it in favour of their bourgeoisie.

Therefore, first, it is necessary to explain what "defence of the fatherland" means. Second, in connection with this, it is necessary to explain what "defeatism" means. Lastly, we must explain that the only possible method of combating war is to preserve existing, and to form new, illegal organisations in which all revolutionaries taking part in a war carry on prolonged anti-war activities - all this must be brought into the forefront.

Boycott war - that is a silly catch-phrase. Communists must take part in every war, even the most reactionary.

Examples from, say, pre-war German literature, and in particular, the example of the Basle Congress of 1912, should be used as especially concrete proof that the theoretical admission that war is criminal, that socialists cannot condone war, etc., turn out to be empty phrases, because there is nothing concrete in them. The masses are not given a really vivid idea of how war may and will creep up on them. On the contrary, every day the dominant press, in an infinite number of copies, obscures this question and weaves such lies around it that the feeble socialist press is absolutely impotent against it, the more so that even in time of peace it propounds fundamentally erroneous views on this point. In all probability, the communist press in most countries will also disgrace itself.

I think that our delegates at the International Congress of Co-operators and Trade Unionists should distribute their functions among themselves and expose all the sophistries that are being advanced at the present time in justification of war.

These sophistries are, perhaps, the principal means by which the bourgeois press rallies the masses in support of war; and the main reason why we are so impotent in face of war is either that we do not expose these sophistries beforehand, or still more that we, in the spirit of the Basle Manifesto of 1912, waive them aside with the cheap, boastful and utterly empty phrase that we shall not allow war to break out, that we fully understand that war is a crime, etc.

I think that if we have several people at The Hague Conference who are capable of delivering speeches against war in various languages, the most important thing would be to refute the opinion that the delegates at the Conference are opponents of war, that they understand how war may and will come upon them at the most unexpected moment, that they to any extent understand what methods should be adopted to combat war, that they are to any extent in a position to adopt reasonable and effective measures to combat war.

Using the experience of the recent war to illustrate the point, we must explain what a host of both theoretical and practical questions will arise on the morrow of the declaration of war, and that the vast majority of the men called up for military service will have no opportunity to examine these questions with anything like clear heads, or in a conscientious and unprejudiced manner.

I think that this question must be explained in extraordinary detail, and in two ways:

First, by relating and analysing what happened during the last war and telling all those present that they are ignorant of this, or pretend that they know about it, but actually shut their eyes to what is the very pivot of the question which must be understood if any real efforts are to be made to combat war.

Secondly, we must take the present conflicts, even the most insignificant, to illustrate the fact that war may break out any day as a consequence of a dispute between Great Britain and France over some point of their treaty with Turkey, or between the U.S.A. and Japan over some trivial disagreement on any Pacific question, or between any of the big powers over colonies, tariffs, or general commercial policy, etc., etc.

Dec 1922 Notes on the tasks of our delegation at the Hague

Only as the workers learn from the slump and war chaos can revolution be built to end war.

Build Leninism - Don Hoskins


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