No 1421 11th March 2013
Over-the-top plaudits for Hugo Chávez mislead the working class about his political weaknesses and cover-up complete failure of the fake-“left” to take up the critical questions of revolutionary struggle and overturn of the capitalist system. Chávez can be celebrated for his help to the working class but his refusal to develop an understanding of Marxism and contemptuous dismissal of the Leninist fight for theory is a major weakness which potentially disarms the Venezuelan working class against the sinister counter-revolutionary machinations of Washington, ready to ride roughshod across all pretences about “democracy” as it did with Allende in Chile and numerous massacred struggles in Latin America since, including Obama’s coups against Honduras and Paraguay. Imperialism’s greatest weapon as continuing crisis confirms the historic failure of its system is the confusion of anti-communism and soft-brained “democracy” illusions. Leninism urgently needed
The plaudits and eulogies for left bourgeois nationalist leader Hugo Chávez following his tragic cancer death in Venezuela may reflect working class sentiment that he “stood up to imperialism” but they need to be tempered with a large pinch of salt.
If there is reason enough to credit him for his outspoken anti-imperialism, generous aid and alliances with the Cuban workers state, friendship and common stances with other pariah and demonised anti-imperialist regimes like Iran, North Korea, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and the Palestinian fight, and a dogged struggle to transform and improve the poverty stricken lives of the Caracas and countryside masses, there is also a serious warning to be made to the world working class.
Alongside any positive and justified recognition he is given, the urgent caveat must be made that his legacy remains fundamentally flawed by the revisionist-inspired bourgeois democracy and “peaceful struggle” illusions that he carried to his grave.
Far from being an “eternal inspiration” and comparable at least to Che Guevara as a revolutionary hero, as some of the more exaggerated effusions declared, his conscious rejection of Marxist and Leninist political struggle for the revolutionary ending of capitalism leaves the masses disarmed and vulnerable both in his own country and worldwide.
Overlooking these weaknesses might be pardoned at a funeral but the fake-“lefts” of all shades have done nothing to take them up during 14 years of his leadership, exposing yet again their opportunism and shallowness, ready to piggy-back any “left kudos” they think they can gain while leaving crucial questions unasked, most of all on the revisionist inspired “democratic way” illusions which Chávez held to.
It is for the Venezuelans to carry through their own struggle of course but they need to be warned that the establishment of a firm workers state in Venezuela is the only mechanism which has any hope of fighting off the non-stop subversion and counter-revolutionary intriguing of Washington and its allies in the local oligarch bourgeoisie.
Failure to develop this basic understanding is a significant weakness that leaves the masses there vulnerable to counter-revolution and dismantling of all the gains made.
It is also not just perfectly valid, but crucial, to take up the issue everywhere else in the light both of Chávez’ worldwide influence and the tide of worldwide “tributes” and eulogies which has poured out of the fake-“lefts”, hailing his example as one for the world to follow.
But while Chávez was a thorn in the side for imperialism and hated by Washington for his left reforms, using international corporate oil profits for develop the working class, his philosophical position was disastrous.
At best Chávez’s anti-Marxism was a confusion which weakens the Latin American proletarian class resistance to Washington-dominated corporate exploitation, and at worst a conceited individualism which disarms the mass interests of the working class in as potentially deadly a manner as the criminal betrayals and revisionist “democratic road” idiocies of revisionist-trained “democratic communist” Salvador Allende.
However sincere and willing to fight Chávez was, such philistinism is the last thing needed by the world’s masses.
What they require is not further revisionist muddle, democracy illusions and addle-brained pacifism but far more Leninist revolutionary perspectives as the catastrophic failure of the monopoly capitalist system rapidly degenerates towards the worst Depression in history and beyond it the inevitable world war conflict which has already been whipped up for two decades (Serbia, Sudan, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Syria) by the capitalist ruling class to divert attention from its total failure and historic collapse.
Total overturn of the entire capitalist ruling class is the only possible way out of the intractable meltdown failure of its economic and political disaster, which is unstoppably heading for far worse disintegration and chaos than the terrifying turmoil hinted at in the 2008 bank failures and credit crunch, fended off only by the insanity of “Quantitative Easing” (dementedly printing fantasy money with no real value at all like there is no tomorrow).
The effect of this ludicrous Monopoly-money game can only be devastating - whatever form its huge currency dilution emerges in technically, be it further credit failures, hyperinflation or the increasing aggressiveness of the currency and trade wars it fosters and escalates (particularly by the biggest imperialist, the US, pushing the crisis outwards onto all rivals, like Germany and Japan, and reneging on its debts to creditors like China most of all, by devaluing its dollar (even further than over the last five decades).
There is no tomorrow effectively for the capitalist system which has hit the buffers, tangled in the impossible contradictions of guiding world production by the needs and greeds of a tiny minority of rapacious “owners” irrespective of environment, resources, human development and basic fairness and justice.
No amount of “resistance” to the crisis or reforms for the masses anywhere can change the inescapable need the collapse imposes for the working class to confront the impossibility of continuing to live any longer under the private profit system.
Revolution to overturn the entire out-of-time degenerate and increasingly destructive system is the only answer.
But Chávez consciously rejected such perspectives.
His reformism was all the more to be criticised and warned against following the attempted coup organised in 2002 with large and obvious CIA thumbprints all over it, a tocsin and warning of the actual contempt of imperialism for the “democracy” which it hypocritically pretends to be supporting, and its readiness to trample all over the masses in order to impose its exploitation and power.
Ignoring such warnings, which confirm the Leninist understanding of the need for the firmest possible workers state, after a history of revisionist mistakes and errors which have paralysed and held back revolutionary struggle world wide for entire post-war period is either light-minded or criminal negligence.
The great lesson from Allende’s revisionist confusion and anti-Leninist arrogance, with roots deep in the pre- and post-war Moscow revisionist retreat from revolutionary philosophy (see numerous past EPSR analyses) was that it led directly to the slaughter and torture of tens of thousands of Chileans in the CIA-organised Pinochet coup of 1973-4.
After that its effects went on indirectly to the late twentieth century anti-communist counter-insurgency massacres in the US “backyard” of Latin America, trained and effectively run by the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies (in the sinister and terrifying torture training “School of the Americas” for example), which took out even greater numbers in a sea of blood and terror in El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Argentina among others, saw the Reagonite invasion of tiny Grenada’s revolution (led by a real Leninist martyr Bernard Coard) and the continuing throttling and deadly economic blockade of Cuba which has caused untold suffering and unnecessary deprivation and death to try and prove that “communism doesn’t work”.
All this of course without mentioning the non-stop destruction, oppression and tyrannical exploitation of the rest of the world too, from the non-stop genocidal agony imposed by US-subsidised fanatical Zionist colonialism on Palestine, to the plundering and destruction throughout Africa (millions killed in the Congo alone) and the sweatshop slavery of the Asian countries, from the tea plantations of Sri Lanka to the workshops of Indonesia.
Chávez’s “Latin American” flavoured (and Havana-supported) individualistic machismo rejection of the Leninist polemical battle to develop and win the deepest understanding of the capitalist crisis, and the core need for the all-out revolutionary overturn of the entire world capitalist order, is as flawed as Allende philosophically and its politics need tearing to shreds, however much due credit is given for his standing up to imperialism and pushing forwards oil wealth redistribution.
None of these reforms (like reforms within capitalism everywhere) are irreversible or invulnerable to the counter-revolutionary ruling class seeking ways to block and rescind them by manipulating “democratic” power or when that fails by outright coups and takeovers.
The rush of all the capitalist media, tail-ended by the fake- “lefts”, to “celebrate” the life of Chávez and the grovellingly sycophantic tone they have all adopted, while either approving outright, or excusing and apologising for, his disastrous anti-Leninism is yet another complete exposure of the hopeless reformist and anti-revolutionary nature of fake-“left” politics.
When it comes to it their pretences to be “revolutionary” are so much hot air and gas.
It is the first lesson the working class needs to draw from the Venezuelan events.
However much Chávez was able to do for the working class, the crucial issue is precisely to take up and criticise the shortcomings of all the disastrous philosophical retreats and class collaborating nonsenses of revisionism, and the tangles it gets itself into, as well as exposing the petty bourgeois anti-communism and hostility of the supposed Trotskyist “opposition”.
Such polemic and philosophical battling has is nothing to do with attacking anti-imperialist and working class movements like that in Venezuela (and even less such great historic communist achievements as the Cuban workers state).
Just the opposite - challenging weak and misleading understanding and retreats from necessary revolutionary understanding is to strengthen them.
Let such (serious) criticism be disproven in open polemical struggle in front of the working class be all means - the scientific battle will help develop and educate the working class everywhere, exactly the method of Leninist struggle.
Naturally a first and foremost task for any Marxism is to expose and fight all the sinister machinations imperialism constantly plots to re-establish its direct colonialist dominance and counter-revolutionary moves to topple and turn over all the Chávez reforms, calling for the outright defeat of all such imperialist subversion.
Directly, and via the repellent and local oligarch bourgeoisie, Washington is already preparing plans to disrupt, subvert and twist the forthcoming presidential re-election for example by pouring in resources, advisors, agents and finance, using every devious trick of advertising, media distortion and outright ballot rigging that makes up bourgeois “democracy”, to confuse the masses and overturn the Chávez reforms and to re-establish the full power and influence of the international corporations, to once again brutally exploit and plunder the oil and other wealth of the country.
And if that does not work even murkier (and long-laid) plans are already being warmed-up again for deliberate subversion, social sabotage and disruption of law and order to “justify” a military or political coup, exactly as time after time in Latin America (and most glaringly Chile using petty bourgeois lorry driver strikes etc).
Coups have already been used most recently against Honduras and Paraguay by the “liberal” Obama presidency (even more Nazi coloured than the Bushites in fact) to cynically block and disrupt even the limited reforms that were underway after the elections in those countries of “left” presidents.
But a first question is why should there now be an election at all?
If elections are the true arbiter of humanity’s needs and wishes (as lyingly asserted about reactionary imperialism’s twisted and corrupted lying fraud of “democracy”) then the will of the Venezuelans has already been measured, less than six months ago, with Chávez’ re-election which was far more than for an individual.
The masses made it fundamentally obvious in what direction they want developments to go in Venezuela – in short much further along the line of dispossessing the tiny and reactionary oligarch ruling class and commandeering the immense resources of the oil and mineral rich country into the hands of the great majority, using this public ownership to develop and transform the lives of the working class with jobs, education, medical care, housing and social provision across the board.
Any further election now carried out has only one purpose, to confuse, undermine, twist and distort this clear and obvious wish and need of the people in the interests of the international ruling class.
Imposing and maintaining capitalist class rule is exactly the function of all capitalist elections and the lying “democracy” they purport to advance, and is the aim to which billions of dollars, huge advertising, overwhelming media lies and misrepresentation onslaughts (by the big capitalist owned newspapers and TV outlets), campaign trickery and finessing, glitzy image building, bullying and deal making and if necessary outright ballot rigging are put, as even the most advanced and sophisticated US presidential elections demonstrate (costing literally $billions to run, way beyond the capacities of the working class and its interests.)
Where the masses win through despite such obstacles, it only underlines the enormous momentum behind them.
The Venezuelan masses now have every basis for declaring that there is no need for further bourgeois elections and that instead the decks should be cleared for further socialist development, the power kept and defended by the working class itself, just as Lenin’s Bolsheviks in 1918 recognised that the ponderous bourgeois democratic Constituent Assembly process had been historically overtaken, and did not, and could not, reflect the real revolutionary temper of the masses and the new communist direction they had already chosen to go in, supporting in practice and by their mass action a revolutionary path under correct Bolshevik leadership.
But the great failing of Chávez’ 14 years presidency is that the workers state structures, and even more the Leninist consciousness and clarity, which would allow the masses to firmly and clearly declare how they want and need to go forwards, and to defend against subversions and disruption, have not been built. The need was obvious even at the time of the 2002 coup as expressed then by the EPSR (No1132 16-04-02):
If the ‘left’ ever did win enough parliamentary influence to bring in ‘socialist’ measures, the imperialist system’s world-wide power of military domination,- acting behind the local permanent bourgeois-monopoly dictatorship in economic, propaganda, social, and state-office influence, would forever relentlessly escalate its counter-revolutionary coup preparations until it eventually DID succeed in bringing down or totally undermining in one way or another the offending ‘socialist’ development.
Despite the CIA’s failure this time, the Chávez regime is now in greater danger than is ever before. The most cretinous lesson of all to draw from this coup debacle would be the idiot conclusion that some fake-’lefts’ will come to that “the strength of democracy and the power of people’s democratic protests proved mightier than the CIA’s big business and military plotters”.
This was exactly the mistake made by the ‘left’ about Allende in Chile, who also survived some initial coup-attempts against him during his ‘socialist’ government of 1970-73, only to be bloodily wiped out when the CIA decided to further escalate its coup preparations regardless of the ever-greater risk of public international exposure.
It will be no different in Venezuela. The only thing the Chávez regime can do is to carry out the measures which Allende foolishly refused to adopt from the Marxist science of proletarian dictatorship, the only possible way for socialism to start to take root anywhere, at any time in history, past, present or future, beginning with totally dismantling all the former capitalist state structures of control and propaganda/information, putting in workers militias and workers production councils in place of the police hierarchy, the military hierarchy, the capitalist press and television monopolies, the judiciary, etc, etc. It is tragic that Chávez had not really started on any of this, - and even more tragic that his first comments reported on being restored to office have hardly addressed this theme either (even though it is obvious that he might have to be treading with extreme caution on such matters in the predicament that he is in).
All sorts of detailed points could be made about the difficulties of carrying through such measures and the need to have a mass movement strong enough and capable enough to do it.
Well and good, but the first question then would be that of how to develop such competence and revolutionary coherence and will?
That surely can only be by developing and educating a Leninist party of increasingly self-confident cadres who would constantly develop and advance the understanding in unity and conflict with the working class.
The question comes back to philosophical leadership and understanding.
But that will not happen if the leadership itself at best fails to recognise or is plainly contemptuous or dismissive of such theory as is clear from the uncritical gush poured out by numerous fake-”lefts”, reaching a point at the funeral ceremony of completely bizarre hyperbole.
Chávez was not a Che Guevara figure and far from the almost mythical “eternal leader” which various speakers declared at the state funeral.
Nor is the “Bolivarian revolution”, so lauded by the fake-“lefts” and the revisionists, (including disastrously, by the great revolutionaries of the heroic and determined Cuban 60 year old workers state), actually a revolution at all, at least as understood by Marxist science – no great overturn and dispossession of the property owning bourgeoisie has been carried through, no common ownership of the means of production established for at least the commanding heights of the economy, no workers state security had been built and the central dictatorship of the proletariat established.
It was a process of reforms, beneficial enough for the working class and not to be rejected by any Leninist movement but a long way from achieving the ending of capitalism’s class rule which is the only path out of disaster for all workers everywhere.
To call the “left” processes underway in Latin America, in Bolivia, Venezuela, to some extent Ecuador, (and even in the shallow opportunist “leftism” of overtly capitalist Brazil or modern Chile) a “revolution” is to propose that such reforms, gradual transformations, and transitions – to repeat, all valuable and worthy enough – constitute a continuous process that can be carried through “step by step” all the way to a complete ending of the bourgeois system.
It says the world can change by “left pressure” evolution, not R-evolution.
This is reformism and is totally in conflict with the Marxist revolutionary understanding of the world as a place of endlessly accumulating molecular changes that ripens into greater and greater contradictions that can only be resolved by a qualitative change, overturning the old and building a completely new society.
Chávez said in his own words that he was opposed to the Marxist view as in the following account from the opportunist Trotskyist Tariq Ali’s uncritical “reminiscences” after Chávez’ death, spelling out the contempt for the Leninist struggle and the failure of all the “lefts” (like Ali but across the board) to take up the issue – an anti-Leninist rejection of polemic and theoretical struggle which in itself exposes their opportunism:
He had a punctilious sense of duty to his people. He was one of them. Unlike European social democrats he never believed that any improvement in humankind would come from the corporations and the bankers and said so long before the Wall Street crash of 2008. If I had to pin a label on him, I would say that he was a socialist democrat, far removed from any sectarian impulses and repulsed by the self-obsessed behaviour of various far-left sects and the blindness of their routines. He said as much when we first met.
The following year in Caracas I questioned him further on the Bolívarian project. What could be accomplished? He was very clear; much more so than some of his over-enthusiastic supporters: ‘’I don’t believe in the dogmatic postulates of Marxist revolution. I don’t accept that we are living in a period of proletarian revolutions. All that must be revised. Reality is telling us that every day. Are we aiming in Venezuela today for the abolition of private property or a classless society? I don’t think so. But if I’m told that because of that reality you can’t do anything to help the poor, the people who have made this country rich through their labour – and never forget that some of it was slave labour – then I say: ‘We part company.’ I will never accept that there can be no redistribution of wealth in society. Our upper classes don’t even like paying taxes. That’s one reason they hate me. We said: ‘You must pay your taxes.’ I believe it’s better to die in battle, rather than hold aloft a very revolutionary and very pure banner, and do nothing … That position often strikes me as very convenient, a good excuse … Try and make your revolution, go into combat, advance a little, even if it’s only a millimetre, in the right direction, instead of dreaming about utopias.”
Punctilious he may have been for his people but such hostility to revolutionary theory and understanding is the crassest philistinism, barely equalled even by the long years of reformist opportunism which have misled and confused the working class in Europe and other “advanced” societies.
What “step by step” advances have the 49 million living below the poverty line in the USA, the world’s most powerful and rich country, made as they face soul destroying desperate homelessness and hunger, unemployed and with all dignity stripped away, unable to afford even the most basic medical care and mostly persecuted by racist and social abuse, constantly harassed and imprisoned???
And how are those just over the same poverty line whose standard of living has remained unchanged for decades at best, any better off??
What step-by-step achievements are there in the UK and the rest of Europe where one hundred years of Labourite “reformist gains” are being dismantled and removed in a welter of stealth privatisations and the class-war savagery of “necessary austerity cuts” combined with the revival of the most vicious social contempt and a middle-class Tory “send them to the workhouse” arrogance and complacency that would put Scrooge to shame???
What “millimetre” gains are there for the massacred and war-torn populations of Libya and Syria, plunged into deliberately fermented civil warmongering turmoil by the counter-revolutionary provocations of Washington and its European imperialist stooges, funded and driven by the most backward feudal primitivism on the planet of the Arab Sheikdoms, and the NATO-nazi member Turkey, all in the desperate need to head off the huge rebellion which has erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, and is part of a now irreversible Third World revolt against the endless tyranny and exploitation of Western monopoly capitalism???
This kind of gobsmacking smugness and ignorance is worthy of the most complacent bureaucratic reactionary official Trade Unionism in the rich metropolitan imperialist countries, corrupted and philosophically degenerated by a century and a half of class collaboration and opportunism in “winning a share” for the workers (the skilled and petty bourgeois corrupted layers anyway), of the super-profits which Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and above all the post-war top-dog imperialist power the USA, have plundered and siphoned from the near-slavery of Third World plantations and factories for centuries of direct and indirect (neo) colonialism.
Only these super-profits ever allowed “reforms” to be made in the first place, allowing a few crumbs to the working class from the vast wealth sucked into a few “advanced” countries from their empires.
These gains were only ever achieved via these super-profits wrenched from tortured, brutalised colonies (settled and established and ruled by genocidal regimes as barbaric and murderous as any Hitler NAZI-sm ever hoped to be, wiping out whole civilisations of Aborigines (still left in racist oppression living like dogs in Australia), Maoris, Native Americans, Eskimos, Mexicans, Incas, Aztecs, Javans, Burmese, the Mughal Empire of central India, Zulus, Zimbabweans, Congolese, etc etc,etc.
Venezuela has have its struggle seen in the world context, benefitting from the giant rising world struggle against imperialism (in the Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan notably, and now most of the Middle East), which has distracted and preoccupied Washington, temporarily preventing it applying all of its attentions to dealing with this troublesome regime.
All the more reason to develop and educate the working class there, and on the world stage where Chávez’ charismatic personality has had widespread influence, to see a full world perspective which only revolutionary Leninism is constantly struggling for.
Shallow bravado and anti-theory contempt, writing off the struggle for understanding as “the blindness of far left routines”, may be Tariq Ali’s wording (and typical of his opportunism, evasion of polemic and petty bourgeois academicism) but it rings true of Chávez, who elsewhere was directly quoted declaring that “we have no dictatorships” in Venezuela, and that if thrown out by the bourgeois election he would relinquish power.
What a hopeless capitulation to the hoodwinking pretences of capitalist “democracy” which have always covered up and veiled the reality of out and out class dictatorship by the bourgeoisie and the interest of big capital, which is all that bourgeois rule has even been or ever will be in its essence.
All serious state authority and crucial decision making is carried out by a tiny and powerful ruling class via its clubs and Stock Market, judges chambers and officers messes, banks and boardrooms, and assorted freemasonries and Privy Councils, all hidden, behind-the-scenes and unmentioned.
The rest, including parliament is a cosmetic pretence, given the odd unthreatening legislative function in “boom times” for carefully restricted reforms when they can be afforded, carried through by the ruling class itself or the vetted reformist “trustees” of the system, the petty bourgeois careerist MPs, well rewarded for never raising the real questions of class power, however “firebrand” or radical some of them pretend to be, (with sporadically useful practical exposures of the ruling class) - all to give the whole complex hoodwinking racket some verisimilitude.
Assorted versions of these safety-valve “left” pretenders have popped-up allover the place in recent days to eulogise Chávez, from the devious academic Trotskyist Ali himself to the slippery mountebank and NATO war-supporting New Labourite Ken Livingstone and Respect MP George Galloway, all happy to declare their respects precisely by putting the boot into Leninist revolutionary politics, and emphasising Chávez’ “democracy” credentials, tying the working class ever and again to the giant fraud.
The same unctuous platitudes have poured forth from assorted fake-“left” groups, not least the alleged “hard-nut” Stalinists, again without a word of warning about this anti-revolutionism,
More tragically, the uncritical gush has poured forth from revolutionary Havana both during Chávez’ life, and now he has died, a reflection of the disastrous Revisionism which has afflicted the whole of the Third International as the retreat from Leninism, begun long before the Second World War, steadily rotted the leadership in Moscow, eventually to the point of its pointless liquidation in 1989-91.
By all means Chávez has been a good and useful ally to Cuba, particularly helping sustain its hemmed in besieged economy which America, against all international opinion including even all the other major capitalist powers, has inhumanely and viciously blockaded for 50 years.
In return Cuba has supplied massive help, particularly brilliant medical and educational programmes (anti-illiteracy for example), to the poor and oppressed of Venezuela which its workers state has triumphantly developed against all the odds with its planned economy, doggedly defended by the revolutionary leadership which continues not because it won elections but because it was doing the correct thing.
Cuba is a living example precisely of the importance of workers state authority, maintaining through that the constant vigilance against the endless disruption and subversion of imperialism, telling the world in practice precisely the crucial Leninist understanding of the importance of the dictatorship of the working class (backed by the peasantry).
Its practice says that the means to achieving the greatest possible say for everyone in society – i.e.. genuine democracy – is by first and foremost defending the authority of the proletarian dictatorship via its party and state leadership which extends the revolution outwards through education and correct leadership using such tools as the local Committees for the Defence of the Revolution, the armed militias, state security forces and other instruments of working class dictatorship authority.
But revisionist brain rot and complacency has meant that far from articulating clearly this in-practice solid Leninist understanding, Havana pours out the same “peaceful road” and “parliamentary way” delusions which have hamstrung and setback the entire post-war revolutionary and anti-imperialist struggles and which ultimately led to the complete liquidation of the Soviet Union (despite its still viable, growing and capable planned economy).
Currently it has even brought the brilliant and long running Colombian armed struggle into Havana to try and mediate peace talks with the reactionary and repressive capitalist government – not necessarily a bad thing if there is a recognition of defeat by the capitalists allowing some kind of concessions to be wrung from the government for FARC, but fraught with danger if carried through under a perspective that “force is not the way”, a criticism that Fidel Castro has personally, and wrongly, savaged the FARC leadership with in recent times in his “Reflections”.
Deeper analysis awaits on this question but the view is not encouraging in light of the uncritical elevation of Chávez to status of a “socialist hero”, (and the long-running and equally mistaken portrayal in Cuba of Salvador Allende as a “tragic socialist martyr”, rather then the treacherous opportunist and anti-Leninist he was, at horrific cost to working class in Chile), both assessments founded in the deluded nonsense at the heart of revisionism that there is a “peaceful road”.
Capitalism has no such illusions and its record is one of endless dirty dealings, and violent suppression and brutality in wars and coups, and local fascist gangsterism in over 400 interventions and bloody wars, killing tens of millions (five million alone during the Vietnam war and almost as many in the Korean war).
On top of a sustained record of murderous fascism via tinpot stooges (including Saddat, Mubarak, Pap Doc, Suharto, Marcos, Pinochet to name a few notorious examples), yet further revelations and admissions continue to emerge of in the accounts of torture, murder massacre and deliberate mayhem imposed on Iraq for example, on Libya and currently on Syria.
Imperialism is stirring up, funding and arming the most degenerate sectarian conflicts, in order to paralyse and destroy even the sporadic and patchy anti-Zionism and anti-imperialism of the bourgeois nationalist Ba’athists, while simultaneously pinning down, intimidating and confusing the rising Middle East rebellion and particularly its most stunning expression in the still fermenting Egyptian uprising.
The extraordinary extent of exaggeration in the Chávez eulogies (both in the bourgeois press and by the fake “lefts”) are so exceptional that they raise further questions.
Is this not all an oddly inverted expression of how obvious the capitalist crisis has become, and the equally obvious failure of all fake-“left” and revisionist politics?
The almost desperate quality of such exceptional and politically unjustified tributes covers over the complete failure of all these groups to talk revolutionary politics and put a revolutionary perspective at the heart of all analysis.
This has always been essential but becomes more and more crucial as daily it becomes more glaringly clear that there is no solution to the economic catastrophe.
Daily this ever more sharply confronts the working class with the urgent need to build for Leninist revolution and especially since the 2007-8 credit collapse and banking meltdown once more irrevocably confirmed the Marxist analysis of capitalism as a historically bankrupt system which must always return to ever worse disastrous collapse because of the contradictions built into it.
As Marx and Engels first showed (see economic quotes) capitalism is not simply a monstrously unfair, unjust, alienating and distorted system which condemns the majority to a life of misery and exploitation, amidst brutal and aggressive competition at all levels,– between every individual desperate to find work, eat and survive, to the international trade conflicts that always eventually turn into deadly and destructive war, but is ultimately unworkable too, drowning in the insane and distorted “overproduction” that the drive for private profit produces in its pursuit of “unlimited” growth, heedless of humanity’s real needs and the real constraints of resources, environment, and natural world balance.
For four years the arguments have been framed in terms of “the best way to get back to a recovery”, what kind of “mistakes should be avoided” in the future, etc etc and on the “left” how the “burdens of the slump” should “be borne by the bosses” etc.
But what is never made clear is that there is NO SOLUTION to the contradictions which have brought the world to the total DISASTER now facing it.
In fact the restriction of the discussion to the “way to recovery” is a complete confidence trick by all the ruling class parties and their Labourite class collaborating stand-ins, deliberately and consciously heading attention away from the deep underlying reality of the crisis in the deepest contradictions of capitalism itself.
There is no “solution” except to ratchet up the exploitation of the working class to try and compete with the increasingly desperte world struggle for collapsing markets and profits and the eventual destruction of the great “surplus” value clogging the entire monopoly capitalist system, to be achieved by the war destruction of all out World War conflict as seen twice in the twentieth century and already underway for the third time.
All pretences about “ways out” are cynical and knowing lies by the ruling class, buying time for the class war it is in reality preparing.
Some of the “lefts” notionally point to Marx’s analysis of the contradictions and formally make the points that capitalism must be overturned.
Nearly always the word “ultimately” is appended to allow the get out of pursuing the argument with “in the meantime we fight for reforms” excuses – because deep down none of these groups really believe anything will change and, like Chávez, that revolution is all “utopianism”.
So all the lefts have spent the last four years pumping out the same old “resist” the crisis cuts “left” pressure and “stop the War” pacifism that has filled sixty years of post-war “boomtime”.
They neither understand the crisis nor, deep down, want to understand, because their petty bourgeois souls have no real grasp of the profundity and irreversibility of the crisis, and baulk at the history changing implications of the gigantic revolutionary upheavals which MUST now take place, and will.
All these opportunists are in fact tied to their limited roles and positions in bourgeois society, and do nothing more than struggle to keep those intact.
Continuing hostility to building a firm dictatorship of the proletariat as the only way out of the devastating slump “austerity” and war destruction being imposed by collapsing capitalism remains the greatest weakness and obstacle facing the working class worldwide.
The failure to develop such understanding, usually with a bitter hostility, to the Leninist party building and open polemical principles needed to constantly take forwards the revolutionary understanding vital to organise, unify, and develop the revolutionary struggle, which alone can bring the work class to power, remains the most damning exposure of the entire fake-”left” and its laughable pretences to be “revolutionaries”.
It is the abandoning of such fundamentals as the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the form of the workers state security and military forces, and the planned economy – the great central tenets of revolutionary Marxism and its great Leninist development and extension – which led to the liquidation of the titanic Soviet Union and the huge weight of its historic 70 year-long accumulation of socialist achievements.
The Soviet Union’s stunning development, which transformed human development everywhere throughout the twentieth century, continues to have an irreversible impact, – even after the pointless Gorbachevite self-liquidating ending of the USSR,- because of its never-to-be-undone demonstration of the capacities and capabilities of the working class standing alone to organise a planned economy.
Already in the seventy years of the Soviet system this has equalled or exceeded the world average levels of capitalist economic development despite endless sabotage and subversion, (including the destruction of two major invasions - 1917-20 and 1941-45 which were of greater barbarity and destructiveness than any seen in all history to that point) and in culture, science and social achievements streaking ahead of anything ever done by the capitalist world (first man in space, classical music masterpieces, aerospace technology, medical advances like laser eye surgery etc etc)).
All this was achieved in a flawed, partial, socialist economy which despite being hampered by revisionist stagnation and retreat, already surpassed capitalism long before the development of a full world socialist system, when the full potential of seven billion humans, united and cooperatively building their economies and science on a coordinated and planned world scale will see mankind taking a giant leap forwards.
But the world revolution is brewing and fermenting anyway, exploding in the form of insurgencies, “terrorism”, anti-Westernism, and street revolt which for all their sometime confusions and weird religiosity (and failure to adopt petty bourgeois “politically correct” principles around single-issue reformisms like feminism, “gay rights” and “anti-racism”.
Condemning these as just “terrorism” and as “reactionaries” as the fake-“lefts” do, effectively lining themselves up with capitalist “war on terror” propaganda, as after the 9/11 events or most recently over the Mali and Algerian anti-Western upheavals, is not only a cowardly capitulation but missing the significance of all this turmoil as the symptoms of a worldwide breakdown and revolt.
It plays right into the hands of imperialism’s war drive and blitzkrieging bludgeoning of the entire planet, to keep itself on top and continuing its “right” to exploit the world’s labour and appropriate its resources.
The crisis is inevitably widening and extending these mass upheavals, into the rich capitalist countries themselves and into a new level of mass struggle in the Middle East, most of all in Egypt and Tunisia, a stream of huge spontaneous movements which signal a qualitatively new level of world revolt which has terrified the world ruling class.
What this revolt lacks more than anything is clarity and perspectives – leaving it open to the manipulation and manoeuvring of yet more “democracy” illusions, temporarily shunting it into a cul de sac under the West-collaborating Muslim Brotherhood.
It has also been hemmed in by the massive counter-revolution provoked by imperialism against neighbouring Libya and now Syria, a giant confusion mongering by the Western propaganda muddying of the waters around the deliberately provoked civil war turmoil triggered in Libya and now Syria, all masquerading as “more of the Arab Spring”.
The non-stop Western propaganda campaign has stampeded public opinion to support the NATO destruction of Gaddafi’s bourgeois nationalist regime under the pretence it was also a “struggle for freedom”.
But Libya was utterly different to the heavily Western funded and bribed Mubarak stooge and its torturing gangster regime, having thrown out its imperialist stooge monarchy by nationalist anti-colonial revolution forty years ago, standing ever since on the anti-imperialist side of the fence and drawing the non-stop hatred of imperialism.
And the laughable cobbled together “rebellion” was a thin and artificial revolt of former monarchists, racist fascists, wanabee Western collaborators and anti-communists armed with a few hastily painted “freedom” placards by the CIA – and plenty of guns from the beginning (which was violent and destructive from day one in complete contrast to media pretences of "peaceful demonstrations”.
More or less the same is true of the subsequent “uprising” in Syria allowing for the complications in the bourgeois nationalist nature of the Assad regime, and it too keeps threatening to peter out (because it is a shallow petty bourgeois counter-revolution) without constant prodding by Western money, arms, military intervention and a non-stop Goebbels level political and media stampede.
And all this is glaringly clear when seen in the context of the world crisis and catastrophic collapse, and the world class struggle, driving capitalism to war and neo-colonialist blitzkrieging everywhere to escape its disastrous failure and simultaneously suppress and put down the inevitable upheaval and revolt it must trigger constantly.
Glaringly clear except to the Trotskyists and other fake-“lefts” that is, who swallow hook line and sinker every Western intelligence agency organised stunt and “street revolt” pretending to be “revolution” without paying the slightest heed to its class character and the entire orchestra of Western support, finance and organisation, now made even more obvious by direct military training and arming of the “rebels” being supplied by Britain.
Since when has the nasty little reactionary William Hague been a guarantor of freedom? the Trots should be explaining.
The rest of the “left” who avoid the most treacherous cheerleading for the counter-revolutionaries in Syria still cause mass confusion by supporting outright the inadequate and opportunist Ba’athist bourgeois, instead of making the only Leninist declaration necessary of calling for the defeat of the Western sabotage in Syria.
Their uncritical support parallels their failure to explain Chávez’ shortcomings, and in a further contradiction, to explain why the Western media has been so generous about the anti-imperialist oil-funded reformer in Venezuela while painting the more or less similar oil funded reformer Gaddafi as the devil incarnate??
Capitalism’s greatest weapon remaining to it as the crisis deepens inexorably and the world upheaval intensifies, is to foster such confusion built on the anti-communism of a century of brainwashing about the alleged “totalitarian nightmare” of the workers states in turn blamed on an alleged “lack of democracy” among the Bolsheviks.
Anti-Leninist philistinism and petty bourgeois shallowness currently finds varied expression in the “no hierarchy” semi-anarchist “go home politicians” movement suddenly thrown up in the latest Italian elections around the joker Beppe Grillo, in the continuing bourgeois propaganda advocacy of “flat leadership” principles (meaning, no allegedly “authoritarian dominance” which in practice means effectively no firm leadership and a vacuum filled - surprise, surprise - by the anarchists and petty bourgeois dilettantes’ own views and brainwashed anti-communism.)
These “no leadership equal-say-for-all” principles have already failed dismally in the flash-in-the-pan and now almost defunct “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and more importantly have failed in the great spontaneous anti-capitalist turmoil of the Egyptian revolution and its Tunisian forerunner,
But hostility to this shallowness continuing to be pumped out non-stop by the capitalist media and assorted middle class “radical” darlings such as the academic anti-communist poseur Naomi Klein, and more recently the BBC’s own (!!) Paul Mason, pouring out the dinner-party radical chic about “new forms of Internet democracy” etc etc and declaring “an end of the old dogmas and rigidities which allegedly "went wrong".
It also emerges in the breakdown and fragmentation of the Trotskyist “left”, mired in scandals and infighting, caused by and mirroring in a petty bourgeois form the crisis-driven splits and scandals tearing the great institutions of world class rule apart such as that bastion of reaction and ruling class ideology, the Catholic Church).
These groups are now all feuding over abstract “factional” rights, and sectarian “principles of debate” while ignoring completely the real world issues taking place and the completely wrong, class collaborating or outright reactionary positions they have taken, such as the degenerate support for the foul capitalist destruction of Syria currently or the universal and opportunistic “condemnation” of alleged “terrorism” in Mali or Algeria (all fake-"lefts" from Trotskyist through to the museum-Stalinist Lalkar/Proletarian).
Further analysis of these issues is crucial, part of rebuilding a world Leninist perspective.
Total destruction of the old class war exploitation system is the only possible way out of a catastrophic crisis failure which is threatening the world with complete meltdown far beyond the slump agony already imposed by the euphemistically named “austerity” measures and far beyond even the total Depression of the 1930s.
There is no other solution to the disastrous historic breakdown of the production for private profit system which is dragging the world back into Slump agony and now constant war destruction that culminated twice in the last century with devastating World War, ripping the world apart at a cost of tens of millions of lives, and with hundreds of millions more plunged into chaos, bereavement, refugeehood and trauma as vast cities were blitzed flat and even whole countries destroyed.
Capitalism’s aggressive drive has reached the end of the road as far as taking humanity forwards is concerned and must be completely ended, its class war viciousness, unfairness and exploitation completely smashed and overturned in order to build a new planned and organised world of socialist production which for the first time in history will allow the flourishing and full development all humans and their individual potentials.
It will not be done with the limited and tepid notions of Grillo-ism however supplemented with “up-to-the-minute” shallow fads about new forms of participation through the Internet, dressed up as “a change in civilisation, not just politics” as Grillo is quoted as a saying.
By all means a change in civilisation is required, the revolutionary ending of the grotesquely unfair and callous 800 year-old capitalist system and the establishment of the common ownership of the means of production, achievable only by the revolutionary seizure of the bloated wealth, land and resources insanely declared at present to be “owned” by the tiny ruling class minority, no more than a few thousand billionaires, and perhaps several million lesser hangers-on and well-paid gofers.
This tiny ruling class, mainly by accident of birth and inheritance, controls almost all the resources and accumulated value produced by the labour of seven billion human beings, a huge proportion living in unspeakable deprivation, poverty, degradation and enforced ignorance, exploited to the limit of near and sometimes actual slavery in order to feed the insatiable appetite of big capital for ever greater profit.
Only superficial change, if any at all, can come about through advocating a few bandwagon “pro-environment policies” combined with “a crackdown on parliamentary privileges, a living wage for the jobless using cuts from military spending, the slashing of top managers’ wages, broadband for all, bike lanes and the right for priests to have children 'so they don’t touch other people’s'”.
This hodgepodge of anarchic semi-trivial and liberal eco-causes is nothing but the shallowest of reformist populism which does not remotely begin to tackle the gigantic meltdown catastrophe of the capitalist crisis which has been building for decades and which finally burst into open in 2007-8 with the “credit crunch” international bank and financial system failures.
These brought the world to the edge of immediate total collapse which continue to unravel unstoppably, for all the ruling class (and colluding Labourite) pretences about “upturns” and Stock Market rises.
Only revolution can end this spiral into Depression and war – only Leninism can provide the clarity to lead it.
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