Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic & 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

Back issues

No 1422 2nd April 2013

The argument is not “a fair way to share Slump cuts?”, nor “make the bosses pay” nor “how to stimulate the economy”. Not which parliamentary party is “to blame” for the economic failures – but why is there a Slump and Depression at all?? They are ALL to blame because they all continue running capitalism itself. The contradictions of the private profit way of running things alone are to blame. It is not just ruling class greed but how greed prevents re-ordering of the whole world on a planned cooperative basis which need never see Slump and War again. Communism in short, under control of the dictatorship of the working class – which no-one will say, fake “lefts” included. Leninism will

Can anyone any longer doubt that capitalism is sliding into irreversible Depression and War chaos as Marxism (alone) has always and continually warned??

Every reform ever “gained” is being unravelled and taken away.

No “Stop the cuts” resistance will change it.

Only the revolutionary end of capitalism will now be sufficient to stop a plunge into the greatest disaster in all history.

All-out class-war welfare humiliations, poverty degradation and vicious scapegoating hatred being forced down onto the poorest in society (to the disquiet of even the Church establishment and assorted petty bourgeois intellectuals, Guardianista liberals etc); the sudden collapse into desperate penury now facing the workers and ordinary people of Cyprus, seeing their lifetime scrimped-for savings, contributions and efforts either blatantly stolen or wiped out by state bankruptcy to pay for big City and Berlin banker’s bonuses; and the savage warmongering manoeuvres in Syria (on top of 20 years of blitzings from Serbia onwards), where imperialism shamelessly supports and arms the vilest civil war sectarian “Free Syrian” fascist-slaughter attacks (without a murmur of usual strident “outraged condemnation” of such “terrorism and barbarity”) all underline the rapidly degenerating spiral of collapse and failure of the entire capitalist order and its unstoppability.

Worse still, the mixture of total weakness, splits, incompetence, fear and contempt of the ruling class, mixed with its arrogant, blusteringly aggressive, warmongering “way out” of its problems, stirring up foul “anti-scrounger” victimisations, lyingly blaming alleged “feckless” workers, “spongeing” immigrants, “rogue” nations, other capitalists (Euro bloc, Russian oligarchs, etc etc), each other, and anything else that moves, for the problems caused solely and entirely by the monopoly capitalist system itself, is dragging society into a period as degenerate and deadly as that of pre-WW2 Nazism and its foul fascist atmosphere.

War and scapegoating was deliberately fostered as the 1930s Depression hit and began wiping out millions of jobs, livelihoods and lives in misery, degradation, and despair.

Eventually this got underway the subsequent and inevitable Second World War with tens of millions more blitzed and destroyed and half the planet left wrecked, bereaved, traumatised and shattered.

Imperialist rule and its now total failure and disastrous confusion is more deadly and potentially destructive than ever.

The out-of-time capitalist system is a thousand times as festeringly rotten as it was in the early twentieth century when it already dragged mankind through two shattering world wars to escape its crises, both unparalleled in their scale and agony.

Capitalist relations and class structures for society, confronting a world working class brought now (by capitalism itself) to new levels of sophistication and capability way beyond anything known in history, are less suited to modern world exploitation, wage (and actual) slavery than ever before.

Capitalist profiteering “motivation” in the cruder past may have transformed feudal peasant stagnation by driving “entrepreneurs” (among plenty of pirates, gangsters, shysters and ruthless exploiting opportunists) to reorganise the world and push human technology faster, but its limitations now enmesh the world in destructive contradictions.

As Marx and Engels spelled out in the still genius Communist Manifesto, (and nearly 50 volumes more of brilliant analysis [see also economics box - web ed]) capitalist rule can only hamper and hold back, not just the fairness and decency which is easily achievable for all humans armed with the vast capacities of modern technology and knowledge, but the unlimited further possibilities of rational science and cooperation which are struggling to burst through from seven billion humans.

But instead of forming a gigantic resource of mass cooperation and invention they remain unfulfilled and still mostly kept in ignorance, deprivation and backwardness to be exploited and enslaved for the pleasure and power of the tiny, tiny minority of billionaire rulers of the planet.

Their indulgence, power and dissolute excess keeps the world hamstrung and trapped in a spiral of collapse.

The slide into anarchic chaos and confusion is rapidly worsening.

Only the most appalling Depression chaos, world economic bankruptcy and war savagery ever seen – ten times, a hundred times more devastating and destructive than the 1930s Slump disaster and its inevitable and intertwined follow-on of the Second World War, – is on offer if the capitalist path is followed.

It is impossible for humanity to extricate itself without totally changing the world by revolution and total overturn of the capitalist order – the rational, human and working class path which is the only real future for humanity.

But it requires the most titanic mass struggles of all history to finally end and finish this class rule anachronism which drags history down into mud and blood.

Capitalism is more widespread and inter-penetrated across the world than ever before with its relentless exploitation.

It is also much more technologically advanced, corrupted, and powerful and capable, swamping the world with brainwashed anti-communism and “anti-totalitarian” distortions and Big Lies (helped by the idiocies, philosophical retreats and soft-headed “democracy” illusions of Third International revisionism and outright anti-communism of the Trotskyists).

Where that fails, it is wreaking destruction on country after country.

In store is not just the B52 carpet bombing and cruise missile high explosives, drones and deadly gas already used but even the nuclear and other weaponry which, far from being a “danger from Iran” (or North Korea etc – or which ever other scapegoat victim might be in the gunsights currently) are what capitalism and such fanatical stooges as Zionism (without a whisper of comment let alone “international action” to disarm them) have been threatening the world with since 1945.

Only capitalism has ever used such weaponry, the first and only time so far they have ever been used, completely unnecessarily against Japan (which was on the point of surrender in 1945 and about to be invaded by overwhelming Russian military forces released from Europe after Nazi Germany’s May defeat) as a “demonstration” and threat to Soviet Russia.

And imperialism continues to keep an unimaginable armoury of torture and surveillance, and nuclear, chemical, biological (and now computer cyber warfare) constantly expanding and updated with ever more capacity, always on the edge of use (or even already used in anger, like Agent Orange deadly dioxin jungle spray destruction in Vietnam, still causing birth defects and suffering, or the constant infiltration of diseases into communist Cuba, ranging from plant disorders and pests to destroy crops to human killers like Dengue fever).

In multiple coups, interventions, assassinations, massacres and blitzing wars since 1945 (including the destruction of Korean and Vietnam eg) the very worst weaponry was stopped only because of the completely defensive counter-threat developed by first the Soviet workers state and then China (and North Korea too).

The latest provocations against North Korea by the massive US overseas troop and nuclear armed presence in South Korea (far from defending America) and the Pacific generally (against the economic and political growth of the Chinese revisionist-led workers state), are part of the shock-and-awe bullying intimidation of the entire world which bankrupted dominant US imperialism has adopted as the lead imperialist power, to insist on its continuing “rights” of exploitation.

In the teeth of historic breakdown and bankruptcy, and abandoning all pretence of “fair returns on investment” (a racket in itself) its insistence on continuing to exploit and plunder the world’s working class and the natural resources of every continent, and of suppressing any hint of revolt (nonsensically labelled as “terrorism”) and to head off rival capitalist competition and challenges, can only become more desperately insistent at the unfolding world economic catastrophe unfolds.

Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, Libya and Syria have been laid waste already.

Far worse is on its way because it is the only “answer” capitalism has ever had to catastrophic failure, now incontestably unravelling.

A taste of the utter chaos which the ruling class is bringing the world, because of its private profit way of doing things (serving the interests of just a miniscule minority of the human race who make the billionaire ruling class and its hangers-on) was briefly visible in the near total world bank meltdown of 2007-8.

The post-war “boom” and the lying myth of endless rising prosperity to be “trickled down” to all from the alleged genius of capitalist entrepreneurship was shattered in an instant.

Total overnight collapse of all finance and world trade, and the societal breakdown into utter anarchy that would follow, was hours away.

The “credit crunch” was already the culmination of a world credit crisis (and underlying overproduction crisis) which had been building up for decades, as US imperialism printed its way out of the inevitable collapses and failures which are built into the production for private profit system, as Marx demonstrated in his titanic thirty year long study Capital (and as later, other great figures developed further, such as Engels and Lenin - see box page 6 and multiple volumes of inestimably valuable Marxist and Leninist science and analysis, the great foundation stones for all revolutionary grasp.)

But as the millions in southern Europe, Ireland, the Middle East, and even into the heart of slump-hit America already know, it has not gone away.

The bowel-emptying terror of the ruling class on show then, as the world banking system teetered on the edge of total and immediate implosion, has only been put off temporarily since by the “Quantitative Easing” insanity of printing even more unbelievable trillions of utterly worthless paper (or electronic) credit (dollars, pounds, Euros or whatever) – and still being pumped out by the tens of billions month after month after month as if the crisis can be “magicked” away.

As the cuts savagery and rolling international bankruptcies ever since confirm, the disaster has not been stopped.

The great molten contradictions of capitalist production which have been building up for decades just beneath the surface keep bursting through like lava on a volcano in disaster after disaster.

Waves of crisis have already hit the world from the Latin American credit collapses of the 1980s, to the south-east Asian “Tiger” currency failures in the late 1990s, Japanese bank disintegration and endless stagnation and Stock Exchange and corporate collapses at all points in between, as well as the huge financial chaos of restored oligarch capitalist counter-revolutionary carpet-bagging plunder in Russia.

It continues into the heartlands of monopoly capitalist power.

The people of Cyprus, faced with overnight poverty and breakdown, have seen just how the crisis will constantly re-erupt.

So are the poor sections of society everywhere, even in the richest countries.

But this is only the start as many of the capitalist commentators and economists repeatedly state, even though their shallow and impressionist bourgeois analytical methods can only ever scratch the surface and they are as unwilling as any other part of ruling class ideology to stare reality in the face too closely since it leaves no excuses or evasions from the raw conclusion that capitalism is historically finished.

What then?

Communist revolution, the obvious answer, would be literally unthinkable for them – even without the decades of brainwashing lies and ideology distortions about its supposed “unworkablity”.

So the commentaries vacillate to and fro in agnostic confusions because they consciously and deliberately reject the only scientific way to analyse things, Marxist dialectical materialism, and cannot bring themselves to see, let alone express, the total brick wall unsolvability of the crisis.

But even so, they have to concede that economic disaster just rolls on:

Financial markets have become stimulus junkies. They crave their next fix of quantitative easing and when they don’t get it they turn ugly. The rush they get from the drug wears off after a while, and then they become needy and whiny. Witness last week’s sell-off on Wall Street following the hint from the Federal Reserve that it was about to cut off the drug supply.

A similar dependency exists in the UK, where stock market traders expectantly await an injection of QE, courtesy of the Bank of England, after deterioration in the UK’s economic outlook. Governor Sir Mervyn King voted for another £25bn of cheap money and his colleagues should endorse his view in the coming months. The loss of the UK’s much coveted AAA status, thanks to the credit ratings agency Moody’s on Friday night, is likely to make the markets salivate even more.

The prospect of US policymakers taking the opposite view, and raising interest rates, prompted a bit of soul-searching. The markets have rallied strongly since the middle of 2012, but appeared acutely vulnerable to the suggestion that monetary conditions might at some point return to something like normal. For those who don’t have long enough memories to remember what normal is, that would be a world with official interest rates between 3% and 5% and where the electronic printing presses are mothballed.

The situation today is the closest the world has been to a depression since the 1930s. Then, Keynes said a depression was a “chronic condition of subnormal activity for a considerable period without any marked tendency towards recovery or towards complete collapse”. The global economy has exhibited all these traits since the deep slump of 2008-09. Growth has been sub-par for a long period. There is no real sign that output is about to slump as it did four years ago, but the sort of strong recovery expected after previous post-war recessions has proved elusive. It’s a depression all right.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley say we are on the brink of the third wave of global monetary easing. Phase one came in the winter of 2008-09 when interest rates were slashed virtually to zero and quantitative easing was introduced as a “temporary” measure. The drying up of credit meant the money supply was contracting and there was a fear of being sucked back to the 1930s. The hard economic data at the time suggested this was a genuine prospect. So money was made cheap and plentiful, just as Keynes would have suggested.

But by late 2011, the global economy needed another fix of the monetary stimulus drug. In part, this was because the drugs had side-effects – QE led to asset-price speculation which pushed up commodity prices, which in turn raised business costs and cut the real incomes of consumers. In part, it was because certain finance ministers – no names, no pack drill – tried a course of cold turkey too soon. In part, it was because the eurozone crises hit the rest of the world.

Now we are entering the third phase of monetary easing. The Bank of Japan will push inflation up to 2%, using a combination of monetary easing and fiscal stimulus. Mario Draghi has been talking tough at the European Central Bank but is contemplating cutting borrowing costs in response to a eurozone economy that failed to grow in every quarter of 2012 and is still heading south. The Bank of England has decided to adopt a “flexible approach” to the government’s 2% inflation target and looks likely to increase its QE programme to £400bn within the next couple of months. And so it goes on. With its housing bubble about to pop, the Bank of Canada has cooled off the idea of tightening policy, while the central banks in Sweden and Australia left interest rates unchanged in February but maintained their bias towards easing. As for the Fed, anybody who thinks the US central bank is about to toughen its stance hasn’t been paying attention.

The US is obsessed by the Great Depression. It is the single biggest economic event of American history and is embedded in the national psyche. Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, made his mark by studying the policy errors of the 1930s and is determined not to repeat one of them: an over-tight monetary policy. America’s recovery has been modest by historical standards. Unemployment has remained much higher than the Fed would like, and it wants to see the jobless rate below 6.5% before it even thinks about tightening policy. Even that might not prompt action, according to the Fed’s vice-chairman Janet Yellen.

David Brown, of New View economics, says: “We are back to bubble economics and the super-accelerant added by the central banks is the propellant that will take this rally back above the upper hemisphere in the coming years.”

He adds: “The Fed is going to be the last agent that will want to upset the applecart on the risk-on revival to date. It has plied the markets with more liquidity than anyone else. It wants risk-on. It wants irrational exuberance. It wants four dimensional easing – easy money, easy rates, easy currency and easy fiscal policy. It wants stronger growth and the lower cost of capital to markets is all part of that plan. Strong equity markets and stronger financial wealth perceptions are central to this. If consumers feel wealthier because their stocks go up and house prices start to stabilize, then that is part of the game-plan too.”

This all may sound eerily reminiscent of the world before the meltdown. That’s because it is. The repair job on the US economy is more advanced than that in Europe, and there is a real chance of an industrial renaissance in the years to come. Energy is cheap, China has lost some of its labour-cost advantage, higher oil prices are making it far less advantageous to outsource. Manufacturing jobs are coming home.

That said, the repair job is incomplete. Three factors should be of concern to US policymakers: the high levels of debt to income even after the de-leveraging of recent years; the pressure on real incomes from low wages; and the risk that political gridlock in Washington over raising the debt ceiling will lead to an inappropriate tightening of fiscal policy that will lead to a recession in the first half of 2013.

A fiscal impasse between Democrats and Republicans is a far bigger short-term threat to the US economy than a slower pace of quantitative easing or the withdrawal of monetary stimulus at some point in the future. The danger is that a failure to reach agreement will trigger across the board spending cuts under the sequestration agreement reached between the White House and Capitol Hill in the summer of 2011.

This piece, written before the Cyprus crisis caught this commentator by surprise, - (though not Leninism which has repeated in issue after issue that there is no way out of the disaster) is still hedging its bets and failing to grasp the full extent of the unfolding disaster world disaster.

Nor does it see the US economy in its full world context, and the unfolding warmongering which is completely intertwined with the crisis. And its casual writing off of the lives of 1.4 billion Chinese is breathtakingly arrogant or self-centred.

But it describes the Quantitative Easing insanity which alone has stimulated any of the isolated pockets of “growth” being desperately seized on as an alleged signs that the “worst is over” by anti-Marxist cynics and sceptics.

They ignore the desperation of 50 million there below the poverty line, in homelessness, hunger, desperation over expensive medical care and education, and the realities of stagnating wages for thirty years even for those able to find a job,

Everyone knows that the daily printing of billions of worthless paper dollars and Euros has not “solved” anything.

Devastating consequences are working through the economic system as a result as another petty bourgeois commentary suggests. And buried in all its technical jargon and breathtaking complacency (describing the savagery of unemployment and welfare cuts as “The Austrian Solution”) it is clear that none of the capitalist economists really have the remotest idea of what is going on or what the consequences will be.

Raging inflation, unworkable economies and “currency wars” are hardly a return to stability and growth.

As the piece admits there is no “upturn” coming whatever transient “progress” might be made by this or that of the most powerful imperialists, most of all the US and then perhaps Japan and Germany, or maybe one of the upcoming powers like Brazil.

Any temporary improvements they make are not because this or the other country has found the way out or “better policies” that we should “all emulate” (like the fraud of alleged German control and discipline or American cando-ism) but because they are the most powerful financially, politically or militarily (or all three in Washington’s case) and can force the crisis outwards onto others.

As he spells out in point three, one of the major uses of QE is precisely to fight the “currency wars”.

For “currency wars” read the cutthroat battle for collapsing markets between the major imperialist monopoly powers, each trying to best and dominate the others, and the imposition of the crisis on the weakest, starting with the small countries.

This is just the pattern of crisis before the two great world wars which finished with the major powers slugging it out to destroy their rivals by physical and military forces (and at the same time destroy the “surplus” production capacity clogging the world economic system and producing “too much” to be sold at a profit):

Most observers regard unconventional monetary policies such as quantitative easing (QE) as necessary to jump-start growth in today’s anemic economies. But questions about the effectiveness and risks of QE have begun to multiply as well. In particular, 10 potential costs associated with such policies merit attention.

First, while a purely “Austrian” response (that is, austerity) to bursting asset and credit bubbles may lead to a depression, QE policies that postpone the necessary private- and public-sector deleveraging for too long may create an army of zombies: zombie financial institutions, zombie households and firms, and, in the end, zombie governments. So, somewhere between the Austrian and Keynesian extremes, QE needs to be phased out over time.

Second, repeated QE may become ineffective over time as the channels of transmission to real economic activity become clogged. The bond channel doesn’t work when bond yields are already low; and the credit channel doesn’t work when banks hoard liquidity and velocity collapses. Indeed, those who can borrow (high-grade firms and prime households) don’t want or need to, while those who need to – highly leveraged firms and non-prime households – can’t, owing to the credit crunch.

Moreover, the stock market channel leading to asset reflation following QE works only in the short run if growth fails to recover. And the reduction in real interest rates via a rise in expected inflation when open-ended QE is implemented risks eventually stoking inflation expectations.

Third, the foreign exchange channel of QE transmission – the currency weakening implied by monetary easing – is ineffective if several major central banks pursue QE at the same time. When that happens, QE becomes a zero-sum game, because not all currencies can fall, and not all trade balances can improve, simultaneously. The outcome, then, is “QE wars” as proxies for “currency wars”.

Fourth, QE in advanced economies leads to excessive capital flows to emerging markets, which face a difficult policy challenge. Sterilised foreign-exchange intervention keeps domestic interest rates high and feeds the inflows. But unsterilised intervention and/or reducing domestic interest rates creates excessive liquidity that can feed domestic inflation and/or asset and credit bubbles.

At the same time, forgoing intervention and allowing the currency to appreciate erodes external competitiveness, leading to dangerous external deficits. Yet imposing capital controls on inflows is difficult and sometimes leaky. Macroprudential controls on credit growth are useful, but sometimes ineffective in stopping asset bubbles when low interest rates continue to underpin generous liquidity conditions.

Fifth, persistent QE can lead to asset bubbles both where it is implemented and in countries where it spills over. Such bubbles can occur in equity markets, housing markets (Hong Kong, Singapore), commodity markets, bond markets (with talk of a bubble increasing in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan), and credit markets (where spreads in some emerging markets, and on high-yield and high-grade corporate debt, are narrowing excessively).

Although QE may be justified by weak economic and growth fundamentals, keeping rates too low for too long can eventually feed such bubbles. That is what happened in 2000-2006, when the US Federal Reserve aggressively cut the federal funds rate to 1% during the 2001 recession and subsequent weak recovery and then kept rates down, thus fueling credit/housing/subprime bubbles.

Sixth, QE can create moral hazard problems by weakening governments’ incentive to pursue needed economic reforms. It may also delay needed fiscal austerity if large deficits are monetized, and, by keeping rates too low, prevent the market from imposing discipline.

Seventh, exiting QE is tricky. If exit occurs too slowly and too late, inflation and/or asset/credit bubbles could result. Also, if exit occurs by selling the long-term assets purchased during QE, a sharp increase in interest rates might choke off recovery, resulting in large financial losses for holders of long-term bonds. And, if the exit occurs via a rise in the interest rate on excess reserves (to sterilize the effect of a base-money overhang on credit growth), the ensuing losses for central banks’ balance sheets could be significant.

Eighth, an extended period of negative real interest rates implies a redistribution of income and wealth from creditors and savers toward debtors and borrowers. Of all the forms of adjustment that can lead to deleveraging (growth, savings, orderly debt restructuring, or taxation of wealth), debt monetisation (and eventually higher inflation) is the least democratic, and it seriously damages savers and creditors, including pensioners and pension funds.

Ninth, QE and other unconventional monetary policies can have serious unintended consequences. Eventually, excessive inflation may erupt, or credit growth may slow, rather than accelerate, if banks – faced with very low net interest-rate margins – decide that risk relative to reward is insufficient.

Finally, there is a risk of losing sight of any road back to conventional monetary policies. Indeed, some countries are ditching their inflation-targeting regime and moving into uncharted territory, where there may be no anchor for price expectations. The US has moved from QE1 to QE2 and now to QE3, which is potentially unlimited and linked to an unemployment target. Officials are now actively discussing the merit of negative policy rates. And policymakers have moved to a risky credit-easing policy as QE’s effectiveness has waned.

In short, policies are becoming more unconventional, not less, with little clarity about short-term effects, unintended consequences, and long-term impacts. To be sure, QE and other unconventional monetary policies do have important short-term benefits. But if such policies remain in place for too long, their side effects could be severe – and the longer-term costs very high.

Read between the lines and all that is being described is total crisis, slightly deferred by this insane continuing money printing.

Asset price bubbles mean - raging inflation.

Or perhaps there will simply be - raging inflation - he declares.

Or perhaps central bank failures.

At best it is like the school playground question about “how would you rather die, in raging fire or freezing to death”.

The outcome is disastrous whichever way it is examined.

Capitalism cannot grow endlessly.

Quantitative Easing cannot be “eased out over time” because it is all that stands between the capitalist world and total disaster.

Japan, which was the most rapidly growing and successful of all the capitalist powers in the 1980s, eating up markets in America and Europe, and with all the world’s biggest banks, was one of the first to reach the limits of overproduction, has spent twenty years trying such measures without effect and is desperately doing even more of it.

It can be argued that Japan was pushed further by the cold shoulder currency and tariff blockades by the other powers, notably the US, to squeeze out competition which was slaughtering inefficient American industry.

But that simply expresses the same rising inter-imperialist conflicts in another form.

And it was not the only factor. Its bigger surpluses meant that Japan was simply ahead of the curve in hitting the crisis from which it has suffocated ever since,

Every desperate move, including essentially negative interest rates (which mean paying people to keep your money!) has failed to drag its economy out of stagnation.

Its close intertwining with the powerful Chinese revisionist-led state planned economy has staved off worse collapse but it still demonstrates the intractable nature of the crisis.

To survive meanwhile every ruling class is desperate to squeeze more surplus value from workers as the crisis strangles profit levels.

They have to squeeze and speed up the exploitation of the working class to far greater levels than already imposed, cutting all past “benefits” and slashing wages and conditions to the absolute minimum.

But as the man admits above, QE is there precisely because of the terrible fears of the ruling class about the revolutionary implications of such moves, or as his reactionary techno-speak puts it, it is “weakening governments' incentive to pursue needed economic reforms” and “delay(ing) needed fiscal austerity”.

The Third World is already in ferment and has been growing more and more so - the piecemeal and sometimes bizarrely led but massively self-sacrificing conflicts erupting as the insurgencies, suicide bombings, “terrorism” and piracy that imperialism finds more and more difficult to suppress and control.

Not coincidentally when the crisis broke through this was lifted to a new level of mass spontaneous revolt in Tunisia and Egypt.

This is a qualitatively new level of world revolt and a symptom of the eventually unstoppable force of billions of downtrodden masses who can no longer tolerate the humiliation, poverty, repression and tyranny of monopoly capitalism and the network of nasty fascist gangsters it keeps in place around the world (by CIA and other manipulation and endless bribery and corruption) to sustain the corporate exploitation that plunders the lion’s share of the world’s output and natural riches.

The weakness of understanding and leadership in these revolts has meant they have been headed off temporarily – their democratic illusions manipulated enough to put into the at least halfway compliant Muslim Brotherhood ready to do deals with Western imperialism.

And imperialism has further taken advantage of the utter confusion prevailing in the world to further muddy the waters and intimidate this new development with its counter-revolutionary interventions in first Libya and now Syria, under the topsy-turvy pretence of them being just “more Arab Spring”.

But these are both deliberately provoked “revolts”against ANTI-imperialists (ineffectual and vacillating as they are) – Muammar Gaddafi and the Assad Ba’athists, – not against heavily Washington subsidised gangsters like Hosni Mubarak or the French imperialist colonialist stooges brutally keeping the lid on the Tunisians.

And they have been massively and openly supported by the leading imperialist reactionaries like the British Tories and the Guantánamo torture and daily death drone-assassination US Obama presidency, and funded and armed from the beginning by massive cash injections from the most backward feudal remnants on the planet in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

In what way would a regime that still crucifies and publicly beheads people for punishment constitute a supporter of the fight for “democracy and freedom”?:

The executions of seven Saudis sentenced to death by crucifixion and firing squad have been postponed for a week.

A Saudi security official said King Abdullah would review the sentences. He met families of the seven on Sunday.

The official said the ruler of the south-western province of Asir, Prince Faisal bin Abdel Aziz, had ordered the postponement.

The seven were juveniles at the time they were arrested for armed robbery, a capital offence in Saudi Arabia. One told Associated Press by telephone from prison that they were tortured to force them to confess and denied access to lawyers.

Human rights groups had called on the Saudi government to cancel the executions.

In what way would Turkey, an important member of NATO which is still fresh from the fascist blitzkrieg destruction of Libya (leaving it a jungle of warlordism, faction fighting, petty bourgeois squabbling for stooge job with Western corporations and outright racist oppression), constitute a bastion of progress?

And why would anyone swallow the Goebbels size lying “concern” to “stop the bloodshed in Syria” of reactionary warmonger William Hague, who not only has never said a word about the constant genocidal blitzing of the Palestinians, immediately next door (and which Syria have supported) but actively supports the Zionist fascist occupiers of the country?

His pompous declamations against Assad and the arming of the “rebels” are only to do with imperialism’s need to head off the Middle East uprisings and to keep underway the war drive which is capitalism’s only strategy to evade and get through its catastrophe (it imagines).

These glaring indicators of the counter-revolutionary manipulations of the West against the growing revolution have not stopped most of the fake-“left” from capitulating to the demented capitalist press and media onslaughts which painted, and paint, the most lurid pictures of alleged “atrocities” entirely without evidence or verification, (either at the time or afterwards) and which are part of whipping up the sectarian hatreds and conflict, which once set going becomes a self-generating cycle of civil war suffering and vengefulness.

Their idiotic illusions in “democracy” and concomitant “anti-totalitarian” shallowness has helped them swallow every kind of propaganda against the assorted anti-imperialist states and insurgency movements, going along with the imperialist denunciation of them as “terrorists” and therefore helping justify the “policing actions” against them by imperialism.

Every single “left” group swallows this nonsense in one form or another including even the Stalinist and other “anti-imperialist left” groups who ostensibly “support” the Syrians against the obvious Western subversion and whipped up pretence of “rebellion” behind the joke “Free Syrian Army”.

They have all variously “condemned terrorists” from the time of 9/11 onwards, and most lately railing against the assorted independence rebellions breaking out throughout Africa (such as Mali) as “terrorists and al-Qaeda” leaving them without a leg to stand on when imperialism carries out its neo-colonial interventions under the guise of “stopping terrorism”.

This confusion is as bad as the Trots (which is fed by petty bourgeois anti-communism), for all its apparent correct identification of the Libyan and Syria revolts as Western-inspired.

But ending up supporting Assad, (and Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein before that) is not making the world any clearer for the working class either.

The key question in the world is the collapse of imperialism which is driving all war and the defeat of imperialist manipulation.

But Assad’s compromising and vacillating Ba’athist regime is hardly the answer for the working class in Syria either, and its local nationalist capitalist ideology no future for them or workers elsewhere.

Defeat for imperialist skulduggery is essential. But pacifist “hands off” Syrian slogans do not convey this understanding at all, and leave the illusion that there can be (possible) reformist progress in Syria under Assad.

But that is not any kind of revolutionary understanding - it is precisely reformism.

The inability of the Lalkarites and other Stalinists to focus on imperialism as the problem, leaves them tangled in contradictions more and more, such as trying to explain why they support Hamas in Palestine (after years supporting the Palestinian Authority until its collusion with Zionism and the CIA was exposed) and simultaneously support Hizbullah in Lebanon.

Hamas, like its Muslim Brotherhood antecedents, has sided with the anti-Assad forces, while Hizbullah has recruited 50 000 fighters to stand alongside the besieged Damascus regime.

Leninist understanding of “march separately, strike together” makes it clear that it is the fight against imperialism that needs to be emphasised not support for non-Marxist, “democratic” or other ideologies and regimes, which at best can only confuse the working class, and this applies both in the case of Syria and for Hizbullah and Hamas.

These are the leaderships which have organised struggles which increasingly have defeated and setback even the ruthless Zionist oppression and every blow they strike which pushes back imperialism is not just welcome but to be understood as a significant advance for the world’s downtrodden.

But support for them outright does not tell the working class anything about the scientific revolutionary perspectives which it needs and as can be seen, leaves Lalkar in tangles.

This echoes its unquestioning tailending of both Beijing revisionism and feisty North Korean revisionism which has left it caught on a philosophical hook now that China has capitulated to American pressure (as it did over Libya) to impose UN sanctions on North Korea for daring to stand up to imperialist pressure.

How does Lalkar/Proletarian explain away its endless “hailing” of both (and descriptions of China’s alleged “steadfastness” )when one is completely undermining the other?

It cannot, because its own revisionist capitulations constantly evade and avoid the philosophical weakness and illusions in “the peaceful road” and “not rocking the boat” which guide Beijing (and leave Pyongyang’s revisionist weakness unchallenged as well).

Leninism unconditionally supports both workers states against all imperialist attacks but says that the battle against dire revisionist errors and opportunism is a crucial part of such support, just as it was crucial to expose the flaws of Gorbachevism during the 1980s while continuing to support the USSR.

These tangles result from the failure to grasp and explain the total intractability of crisis and the historical necessity for revolutionary struggle.

The entire fake- “left” still fails to spell out and make clear the total unsolvability of the catastrophic failure of the capitalist production for private profit system and its historic failure which underlies all the mayhem, chaos and devastation now unfolding worldwide.

They even continue to quibble about calling the crisis “catastrophic”, as yet another entire country is essentially written off, following Ireland, Greece, Iceland, Portugal, Spain, and with Italy on the brink, Britain sliding there rapidly and poverty, unemployment, homelessness, despair and agony escalating rapidly everywhere (not to mention the destruction and tyrannical exploitation inflicted with every more viciousness on the Third World).

Even as the crisis tears more and more workers lives apart in Britain reformist “democratic” politics (and fake- “left” pressure), have done effectively nothing since the crisis erupted.

The entire petty bourgeois class compromising army of officials, MPs and “representatives” is exposed even further as mountebanks, opportunists and poseurs.

Their “Slow steady change” is exposed with them as a historic fraud and failure along with the rest of capitalism.

Such class collaboration has always been a part of capitalism, playing its game and heading the working class away from the revolutionary perspectives which alone can save it from the inevitable returning Depression.

A century of ineffectual “democratic” illusions cynically promulgated by the opportunist Labourites, official TUC trade unionists and backed by the “left pressure” of the entire rank of pretend “revolutionary” Trotskyist and Stalinist groups are now wiped out by the return of catastrophic meltdown economic and politic disaster.

The working class is left bewildered and confused, unprepared for the savagery and brutality of the ruling class squeeze now being pushed onto them.

Desperately back pedalling defensive “radical militancy” and “anti-austerity” protests now being called for will not salvage anything, least of all the sops thrown the working class during the “boom” to keep them quiet.

No amount of protest and “refusals to pay” or pacifist “refusals to fight” can or will halt the disastrous meltdown.

It is unstoppable and unchangeable for as long as capitalism continues.

Let there be as many fightbacks, revolts, official and unofficial strikes, organised anti-eviction squads, and demonstrations as possible and all the other actions proposed by every shade of left posturer.

And let all the spontaneous revolts, riots, and other hostilities that erupt from working class hatred be understood as inevitable and part of the great ferment of desperation and anger.

They are all the responsibility of the ruling class and the ruling class’s degenerate crisis alone.

Of course the working class is confronted with the urgent need for the greatest possible struggles.

But only if all these things are combined with a perspective that the world urgently needs to build the most determined, coherent and disciplined revolutionary struggle can all such totally justified revolts, riots and upheavals, start to make a difference.

Even then there is no question of “halting” the austerity or “forcing the ruling class to pay” as all the fake-“lefts” from “left” Labourites through to the Trots and Stalinists, continue to put the question.

The fight needs to go all the way to complete destruction of the old capitalist world and its state, legal, social and class superstructures so that a new way of running the world, communism, can be built,

There is no need for the world to be in such trouble.

It is perfectly possible to run things without destroying the environment, creating endless antagonism at all levels of society, from individual struggle to survive, local, regional, national and race groupings, to the world war levels of conflict, without philistine mind-numbing celebrity and consumerist dumbing down, obesity and mass starvation, homelessness, despair, torture and surveillance and the repeated Slump and War to which capitalism always returns.

It simply needs the building of planned socialist economies in a worldwide system of coordinated cooperative production for human needs, not profit, without the appropriation of 99% of the world’s wealth for the obscene luxury power and indulgence of the few.

Communism in short, achieved by revolutionary destruction of the war-festering and poverty chaos capitalist world order, is the urgent need for the world to grasp and understand.

Build Leninism

Don Hoskins

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World Socialist Review

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


End Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza

ISRAEL has repeatedly said that it never targets civilians but when your warplanes are bombing and warships shelling an area that is 360km and has a population of over 1.65million, civilians are always going to be casualties.

Even before the latest onslaught, the people of Gaza were struggling against massive socio-economic problems due to Israel’s illegal blockade of the region. The blockade, now in place for more five years, has destroyed Gaza’s economy. According to the UN, 80% of the population of Gaza are dependent on humanitarian aid and more than 40% of the population are unemployed. The blockade continues to restrict materials, which has ensured that hospitals, homes and the water treatment plant destroyed during the Israeli bombardment of the region in 2008-2009 have never been rebuilt.

In fact, the water situation is one of the biggest crises facing Gaza. According to the World Health Organisation (who), 90% of Gaza’s water is unfit for human consumption and 80 million cubic litres of sewage continues to be pumped out into the Mediterranean every single day untreated.

With the general elections in Israel only two months away (22 lanuary 2013) and the Palestinian authorities going ahead with their plan to seek non-member observer status of of the UN as An Phoblacht hits the streets on 29 November, the latest attacks on Gaza cannot be seen to be without political motives. Documents that were leaked to the Associated Press ..show that Israeli diplomats gave foreign leaders notice that Israel will consider its historic peace accords with the Palestinians null and void if they ask the United Nations for a state.

The EU and the US have been too slow, or non-existent, in applying the pressure that was called for back in 2008 to resolve this situation. The EU continues to give Israel preferential treatment to European markets and refuses to ban the importation of products from the illegal Israeli settlements. This is despite Israel’s continued breaking of international law in Gaza and the West Bank. The EU’s preferential treatment rewards Israel for its continued illegal and lethal actions, rather than stopping them.

Israeli warships and warplanes may not be raining bombs and shells down on the people of Gaza but the regime is still slowly but surely, every day, economically and socially killing the people of Gaza with its illegal blockade.

The ceasefire gives the people of Gaza a breathing space; it also gives the previously lethargic international community another opportunity to end the blockade.

While the blockade continues, the violence against the people of Gaza continues. After the bombing and shelling, the violence is now under the radar.


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World Socialist Review

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


Cuban strides in high technology despite siege blockade

Orfilio Peláez

NANOTECHNOLOGY, the driving force behind what many researchers see as the most important industrial development of the last 200 years, was initially developed by different branches of the military industry within a small group of highly industrialized countries, led by the United States, which had the resources to invest and the desire to maintain its position of global power.

This effort, which is little discussed and currently subsumed within strategic national initiatives, had as its main objectives the miniaturization of nuclear weapons; improved armor; new camouflage techniques and more effective, lighter bulletproof vests to protect soldiers, and medications to control bleeding and treat injuries, in order to maintain the full fighting capacity of troops in the most difficult situations.

The term nanotechnology was coined in 1974 by Japanese scientist Norio Tamiguchi, using a measurement system in which 1nm represents one millionth of a millimeter. Starting with the idea of creating new materials or changing the properties of existing ones by manipulating molecular structures at the nanometric level, the field progressively- expanded into the aerospace, automobile, materials, electronics, communications, energy, health, food, environmental and cosmetics industries.

Over the last few years, Cuba has entered this promising, diminutive scientific world. To learn more about its impact and prospects internationally and within the country, Granma spoke with Dr. Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, scientific advisor to the Council of State.

“Nanotechnology has eliminated barriers in a way which just a few years ago would have been considered science fiction and is today making concrete progress in the design of more efficient technology to treat water, miniaturize integrated circuits used in computers and information processing and in the development of optimal strategies to conserve energy,” he said.

“There are also promising results in the development of advanced diagnostic tools and new pharmaceuticals, capable of acting selectively at a specific site, making treatment more effective, with fewer side effects. Despite the results mentioned, the technology remains in the research and development stage, dominated by large U.S., European and Japanese companies.”

What factors have led Cuba to enter the field, despite the country’s complex economic situation and the high costs involved?

The rate at which new knowledge and scientific innovations are emerging is so rapid that, if we do not now create the infrastructure needed to pursue selected goals and train experts to work in such a promising discipline, we run the risk of being irreversibly excluded from tomorrow’s world.

To be competitive and achieve sustainable future development, based on our intellectual production, nanotechnology cannot be ignored, since all basic sciences converge in the field, combining increasingly advanced technologies, bioinformation, bio-engineering and other branches of knowledge, which will transform industry and the provision of services in the coming decades.

At the same time, Cuba has the advantage of having a broad base of scientists, engineers and highly qualified technicians in universities and research institutions, and in a network of world class institutions devoted to biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, all located in the West Havana Scientific Complex and operating on the basis of a closed cycle concept including research, production and sales.

More than 70 new products have been developed within these institutions, including monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, medical equipment, diagnostic tools and medications, some of which are unique, such as Heberprot-P and Nimotuzumab, protected as industrial property, and have had a significant impact on the improvement of public health. Thus we have much of the way forward already in place, the prior knowledge needed and many scientific accomplishments attained.

It is understandable that nano-biotechnology and nano-medicine be the focal points of national efforts in this arena, given their social and economic impact, and the excellent public health system Cuba has developed. This does not mean we are turning our backs on the issues of energy, environmental studies and the related search for new materials. There are already centers such as the Molecular Immunology Center and the Immunoassay Center, which use this technology in their search for new drugs to treat cancer and to expand the number of illnesses which can be diagnosed with a blood sample using suma technology, respectively.

How is the Cuban Center for Advanced Studies (ceac) progressing? What training does the staff there receive? Have the opinions of entities in the Ministries of Higher Education and of Science, Technology and Environment, with experience in the use of nanotechnology, been considered?

When ceac was being conceptualized, opinions and recommendations were gathered from a group of leaders of institutions in the Scientific Complex, the University of Havana, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, to mention a few examples. It has been a collective- project as a result of the participation of related actors, without any improvisation, preconceived notions or exclusions whatsoever.

International experience was also taken into consideration in the design of buildings, laboratories, the equipment to install and materials to use in the different areas, through collaboration and the support of foreign companies with prestige, experience and know-how in the field.

By 2013, the first stage of the investment process should be complete, based on the concept that it will be a multidisciplinary entity, devoted to the development of essential nano-technological applications in health care and, in an initial fashion, in the areas of environment and energy.

ceac’s staff is composed primarily of young professionals who come from different universities, ranging from 25 to 30 years of age, many of whom are currently completing their studies with their own projects, which reflect the principle lines of investigation proposed as priorities for the center by diverse institutions.

Dr. Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart reported that the fusion of the Scientific Complex and the pharmaceutical industry is underway, based on the Policy Development Guidelines approved at the 6th Party Congress and the updating of Cuba’s economic model. To be created is a Central Enterprise Management Group, based on hi-tech companies with greater productivity, lower costs and better qualified personnel, capable of producing quality medications, equipment and services for the health care system and export.

Given the country’s previous work and the strategic vision of a plan to develop nanotechnology in Cuba, by 2020, the country should be positioned among the nations making a contribution to nanotechnology, principally in the area of nano-biotechnology, the eminent scientist concluded. •






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World Socialist Review

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


US manipulation of Cuban migration policy

Are U.S. political leaders interested in normalizing migratory relations?

Enrique Ubieta Gómez

OVER the last 50 years, the United States government has manipulated its migratory relations with Cuba as an instrument of political pressure and coercion. On the one hand, the blockade’s economic stranglehold has been tightened over time, not relaxed, while at the same time illegal emigration has been encouraged and politicized. Cuba is the only country in the world whose citizens are immediately accepted and documented after entering U.S. territory illegally, since all Cuban emigres are considered ‘refugees.’

Only the crises of 1980 and 1994 have obliged the U.S. government to sit down at the negotiating table, despite repeated invitations on the part of Cuba. The Normalization Accord of December 12, 1984, was the result of the first encounter. Among other aspects of the agreement was the return of 2,746 ‘undesirables’ from the Mariel ‘exodus’ who were living in the United States, as well as the concession by the U.S. government that up to 20,000 visas would be granted annually to Cubans wishing to emigrate. Cuba rigorously fulfilled its commitments.

The agreement remained in force for eight years, until 1994, although its provisions had little effect between 1985 and 1987, given the debut of the ill-named Radio Martí broadcasting station. However, of the 160,000 visas which should have been issued by the U.S. over the time period, only 11,222 were granted - that is 7% of the total agreed-upon. On the other hand, the irresponsible U.S. reception of airplane and boat hijackers continued.

The so-called ’rafter’ crisis of 1994 was a result of these factors: the opportunistic tightening of the blockade to take advantage of the sudden disappearance of Soviet bloc markets and suppliers; the tacit acceptance of illegal immigration - which gave rise to the armed hijacking of boats and aircraft - and the denial of visas for legal immigration. As a result, in 1994 more than 30,000 Cubans emigrated illegally to the United States.

This new migratory crisis again led to dialogue and the signing of new accords: the Joint Communique of September 9, 1994, as well as a Joint Declaration dated May 2, 1995, which provided for the implementation of the agreed-upon measures. Both governments expressed interest in normalizing migratory procedures and the U.S. committed itself to denying provisional residence to any Cuban emigré arriving by illegal means. Cuba agreed to attempt to dissuade unsafe departures from the country with a persuasive media effort. Both parties additionally agreed to take effective steps to deter illegal trafficking in persons and the use of violence in hijackings of aircraft and boats.

The new accord maintained the quota of 20,000 visas a year, to guarantee well-ordered emigration. Cuban authorities have facilitated emigration procedures to the United States for all Cuban citizens who have obtained necessary visas and travel documents. Since 1995, Cuban citizens intercepted at sea by U.S. Coast Guard or other ships were to be returned to Cuba and Cuban authorities agreed to take no legal action against those who committed such infractions.

It was also agreed that any Cubans illegally entering the U.S. base on Guantánamo for the purpose of emigrating would be returned. In a gesture of goodwill and cooperation, the Cuban government authorized visits by U.S. attorneys and researchers to verify information and gather statements related to hijacking cases and human trafficking operations.

Cuba has taken exemplary and effective measures, without any collaboration whatsoever on the part of the U.S. government. The Cuban state has disseminated articles and reports through the country’s communications media about instances of human trafficking which have resulted in loss of life and illegal emigration, with the objective of dissuading potential illegal emigrants. Preventative measures have been taken against individuals involved in failed illegal exits from the country. Organizers, transporters and coastline guides involved in trafficking of emigrants have been detained and sanctioned.

Over the last four years this effort has been intensified. The Cuban government has arrested dozens of traffickers and maintains its willingness to release them to U.S. justice authorities, to be tried in accordance with U.S. law. The boats of detained traffickers have been confiscated, in accordance with Cuban law. Article 348 of the Cuban Penal Code establishes a sentence of life in prison for those who use violence, endanger or cause loss of human life while committing a trafficking crime.

This vitally important aspect of the agreement was violated on several occasions by the Bush administration, which admitted into the country hijackers and individuals facing legal charges in Cuba. The U.S. government has not discontinued the policy of automatically awarding provisional residence to all Cuban émigrés who arrive on U.S. soil by irregular means. Nor have illegal emigrants intercepted at sea been returned.

During the Republican administration, programs, still in force, were conceived and implemented to encourage the emigration of Cuban professionals and collaborators working in other countries. The number of visas granted by the U.S. during these years was well below the agreed-upon figure.

The progress of implementation of the Accords was reviewed periodically in 20 rounds of negotiations between September, 1994 and January, 2004, and then unilaterally suspended by the United States.

Only since the inauguration of the Obama administration have the agreed-upon 20,000 visas been granted. After negotiations were resumed in July of 2009, and four sessions held, they were again cancelled mid-2011 -again unilaterally, by the U.S. government.

In 2009, the Cuban government presented a new proposed Migratory Agreement to the U.S. with the intention of eliminating the aforementioned irregularities and strengthening bilateral cooperation in confronting illegal emigration and trafficking. The proposed agreement has not been accepted by the U.S. government.

The political manipulation of contacts between the people of Cuba and the United States does not solely affect Cuban citizens.

On January 16, 1961, the U.S. government stipulated that any U.S. citizen who wished to travel to Cuba would be required to seek special permission, a measure which is still in effect. Cuba has eliminated exit permits for Cuban citizens.

When will the United States eliminate its required exit permit for travel to Cuba for U.S. Citizens? •



Cuban travel regulation changes

... the Cuban government has decided to forgo the required Travel Permit as well as the Letter of Invitation.

Therefore, as of January 14, 2013, it will only be necessary to submit an ordinary passport, duly updated, and the visa issued by the country of destination, in those cases when this is required. The ordinary passport will be issued to Cuban citizens who meet the requirements of the Migration Law, as modified in compliance with these provisions. The Law will come into effect 90 days after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba.

Those already in possession of an ordinary passport, issued before this decision becomes valid, should request its updating from the corresponding authorities of the Ministry of the Interior. This will be effected, absolutely free of charge. Likewise, those with a valid Travel Permit will be able to depart without any additional procedure.

Cuban residents traveling overseas in a private capacity will be permitted to remain abroad for a period of 24 months, from the date of departure. For a longer stay, they will be required to obtain the corresponding confirmation of an extension from a Cuban consulate.

The updating of the migration policy takes into account the right of the revolutionary state to defend itself from the aggressive and subversive plans of the U.S. government and its allies. For this reason, measures directed at protecting the human capital created by the Revolution from the theft of talent practiced by the powerful nations shall remain in force.

In due course, other measures related to the migratory issue will be adopted, which will doubtless help in the consolidation of efforts being made by the Revolution toward the full normalization of Cuba’s relations with its emigrants.

Today, October 16, the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba is publishing the Law Decree of the Council of State modifying the current Migration Law as well as other supplementary regulations.

Additional information on the procedures required by the law and other specifics concerning the country’s migration policy are available to the population at the Dirección de Inmigraci6n y Extranjería (Immigration and Foreign Travel Office) for voice message, Tel: 2063218; the Portal del Ciudadano Cubano (Cuban Citizens website): www.ciudadano.cu; and the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.cubaminrex.cu. •







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