No 1427 14th June 2013
US arms for Syrian revolt further confirm the lying Goebbels nature of its pretend “rebellion” and expose the ranks of Trots taken in (willingly) by the bogus extension to the “Arab Spring” in Syria and Libya. But the sectarian forces stirred up by the West and feudal reaction in the Gulf states to head off the mass revolt in Egypt, and Tunisia (and continuing Palestinian struggle) and to feed capitalist war, are a double edged sword, potentially turning into the opposite like Noriega Saddam and Osama bin Laden did. Turkey’s revolt is triggered by crisis pressures rather than yet more bogus revolt but is not yet clearly in focus. Trotskyist enthusiasm and Western media bias are suspicious. Untangling the confusion needs Leninist debate
Washington’s half-in-half-out arming finally of the “rebels” currently trying to destroy Syria and the ambivalent Western response to the street upheavals in Turkey cannot be understood except as a reflection of the weakness and splits ripping the world ruling class apart as its devastating crisis unrolls ever further.
It is, first of all obviously nothing to do with some “moral” commitment to “stopping the use of horrific weaponry”.
Everyone knows that the accusations of gas warfare are a lying Western stunt, based on hearsay by CIA coached gangster “rebel” witnesses who would stop at nothing get the West involved using whatever lies it takes; that the physical “evidence” is both dubious and with unknown provenance; that there is no way of knowing when, how and by who the alleged use took place, if it did at all; and that the record over two years is of massive intimidation, atrocities like beheadings, gross torture, tipping live victims from towers, and even the eating of a soldiers heart, deliberately filmed, all by the rebels who have also ethnic cleansed whole neighbourhoods from the first days and including a massacre of a Shia village in the last fortnight.
The UN investigator, Carla Ponti (no progressive herself and a record of demonising alleged “war criminals”) recently declared there was no good evidence of gas use except by the “rebels” themselves, a report which has vanished from sight.
Everyone knows too that Western hypocrisy has not the slightest interest in policing the world to “uphold the Geneva convention and civilised standards” etc anyway, and has a long record of using any foul destruction it can, for the entire post-war period of anti-communist and colonialist oppression and tyranny, not least in the Agent Orange chemical warfare which ruined hundreds of thousands of lives in Vietnam, similar chemical destruction against the FARC rebellion in Colombia until very recently; depleted uranium shells in all recent interventions leaving a legacy of widespread cancer and death (see John Pilger Iraq article recently – ) and the constant terrorising use of drone destruction.
The Zionist occupation in Palestine (and Syria itself) constantly uses such disgusting war-crime weapons as bone-burning white phosphorus, and canister anti-personnel flêche bombs in its routine genocidal “punishment”, terrorising and killing of the region’s indigenous Palestinian population and maintains a gigantic arsenal of nuclear weapons against all international law and numerous UN resolutions.
But as the Leninist understanding of the EPSR has constantly tried to explain, dominant US imperialism (and all monopoly capitalism)desperately needs war and destruction as its only way out of the possibly terminal meltdown failure of its political and economic system, just as in the previous great wars of 1914-018 and 1939-45.
War diverts attention from the historic failure of capitalism, providing an external “enemy” to distract attention from the class war Slump impositions it is forced to make and at the same time to bully, confuse and intimidate all challenges to its continuing rule, from crisis driven capitalist competitors (Germany, Japan, BRICS etc), rising Third World rebellion (Egypt, Tunisia especially at present) and, increasingly, domestic discontent and potential revolt.
But more than a decade of “shock and awe” blitzkrieging has solved nothing, except to weaken the Middle East, leaving a confused mess of destruction, corruption and fragmented fascist warlordism in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya and draining the military, financial and moral forces of the States.
The bankrupted US is desperate to pullout to give itself a breathing space and concentrate forces on rising dangers everywhere else, particularly the Pacific basin against challenges from stormingly successful Chinese workers-state-directed capitalism and potentially from its current “ally” in Japanese capitalism which, despite two decades of trade-war-imposed slump stagnation, remains one of the world’s biggest economies and US rivals.
Washington cannot retreat either, not least because the decade of ludicrous “war on terror” and the world shattering impact of the credit and bank failures of 2008, hammering the Third World masses even harder than the brutal austerity measures devastating lives throughout the West, has massively multiplied local resistance, recruitment into anti-Western insurgencies and Third World hostility as everyone with two brain cells to rub together knew would happen.
It was particularly the enormous spontaneous rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia, which signalled a new level of Third World upheaval in the wake of the “global financial crash”, that led to Libyan NATO-Nazi blitzkrieg and the provoked Syrian disorder, both triggered by artificial counter-revolts consciously and deliberately worked up against anti-imperialist regimes (utterly different to the heavily Western funded stooge fascist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia) try confuse the revolts and intimidate them.
But the attempt to avoid the problems and expense of further direct intervention by using local confusion and sectarianism to paralyse growing revolutionary coherence, is fraught with danger for the West, and potentially causing exactly the opposite effect, as it did in its al-Qaeda Afghanistan anti-Soviet rebellion which turned into revolt against imperialism itself.
The fear of unleashing uncontrollable forces has already seen Washington abandon its first Syrian pretend “freedom army” and set up another even more obvious stooge organisation, the Syrian National Council, and fear of “weapons falling into the wrong hands” is still voiced by sections of the ruling class (and its Labourite stooges in Britain).
Polarisation of world forces is causing even more fears, as Russian bonapartism and Chinese revisionism have firmed their stances against the US.
But the growing coherence of the anti-imperialist forces, and especially Hezbollah’s decisive defeat of the counter-revolution in Qusair is even more concerning, and hence the latest decision to bend to the hawks and pour in US arms.
The spontaneous eruptions in Turkey, and the harsh government response, already causing several deaths and severe injuries , are also causing great scratching of heads for Western imperialism.
No demented campaigns of media and politicians’ denunciations against the government “attacking and killing its own people” have filled the airwaves as they did against Gaddafi and Assad, even though the on-the-ground interviews and western media presence has taken a generally sympathetic tone to the middle-class demonstrators.
Imperialism is generally trying to whip up its “clash of civilisations” anti-Muslim crusade propaganda and specifically does not like the Erdoğan government which, when it took power ten years ago was a reflection of a mass anti-Western sentiment in the country, against the past secular conservatism which has been a longtime NATO stooge, with rightwing regimes including three periods of near-fascist military coup.
It was the forward site point for anti-USSR nuclear missiles which helped precipitate the 1963 Cuba missile crisis (they were removed - secretly - as part of the Kennedy climb-down against Khruschev.)
According to the bourgeois press :
Under the AKP, Turkey has been increasing its relative autonomy from traditional supporters in the White House and Tel Aviv, forging close relations with Iran, Hezbollah and even – until recently – President Assad of Syria. This has been interpreted, hysterically, as “neo-Ottomanism”. It is simply an assertion of Turkey’s new power.
But Erdoğan’s demagoguery has not gone far; Turkey has been a crucial part of the sabotage against Assad’s anti-imperialist regime, providing a route in for arms and it remains part of NATO.
Tut-tutting of Europe and the US against the Turkish government has been more of a warning not to react too strongly and turn the relatively formless street revolts into something greater, rather than a signal of a coordinated Western inspired populism (as attempted repeatedly in Iran for example).
But demonstrations, for all their immediate triggering against possibly corrupt property developments, have given no great signals of being the start of major anti-capitalist rebellion. Just the opposite, the hostility to the “authoritarianism” of the Islamic government seems more concerned with petty bourgeois preoccupations with a “better lifestyle” than objections to the collusion with NATO over Syria.
Shallow Trotskyist enthusiasm for “rank and file” street revolt, has a long record of being taken in by CIA stunts and counter-revolution from Hungary 1956 and the Prague Spring, to the Solidarnosc bogus trade unionism which re-established ultra-reactionary capitalism in Poland and helped topple the Soviet Union.
Its support for the Libyan racist warlord counter-revolution and Syria’s foul mayhem (ignoring the fact that they are lined up with the most backward and reactionary regimes on earth) would only add to suspicions that if they enthuse about Turkey it is as well to remain circumspect.
But the crisis is stirring all sorts of upheaval which could potentially explode in all directions.
It needs the urgent building of scientific Leninism to begin sorting it out. DH
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Stalinists join the ranks of the fake-“left” “condemning terror” and repudiating the rising Third World anarchic rebellion, to line up with grotesque Western hypocrisy under cover of sophistry, deliberately misrepresented Lenin and social-pacifist reformism
The Lalkar/Proletarian museum-Stalinists, so loud in their assertions of “principle” in supporting the Assad regime in the Middle East, and correctly scathing in their contempt for the Trotskyist and other groups taken in by and backing the Western-funded and provoked civil war disruption, have shown their true opportunist colours by joining the great throng of fake-“lefts” denouncing, condemning and repudiating the anarchic terror attack in Woolwich last month.
Now there is full house of fake-”left” betrayals of Marxist understanding and revolutionary spirit, which has never “condemned” any such outbursts and upheavals, grasping that they are inevitably thrown up by the vicious oppression and exploitation of monopoly world capitalism driving the masses everywhere to try and fight back.
If such outbursts are crude or even “counter-productive” in some aspects, or the religious ideology used to express these individualistic acts of revolt is confused, then it is up to Marxist science and leadership to fight all the harder for the mass revolutionary consciousness that can give a clear lead to such worldwide hatred and hostility which is driven and created entirely by the endless tyrannical colonialist exploitation of the great majority in the world.
But to declare them beyond the pale, or “murderous criminals” is contemptible opportunism and nothing to do with mass revolutionary consciousness.
It is the most craven of retreats from explaining to the working class that such upheavals are an inevitable response to the centuries long repression and tyranny of Western exploitation and colonialism reflecting however crudely and sometimes self-defeatingly, the growing world rebellion against it by an increasingly mature and discontented world proletariat.
Such rebellious guerrilla war moves and individualist anarchic attacks (even in the “rich” countries) may not be the chosen method of Marxism for fighting the capitalist drive to Slump and war, by building and educating the mass revolutionary consciousness which is required to finally end capitalism and thereby the antagonisms and exploitation creating such upheavals.
But whatever “moral” stances are taken against such events they are the reality of the desperation and despair of hundreds of millions of downtrodden and viciously exploited people, always living in virtual homelessness, poverty and enforced ignorance and increasingly pushed to the edge of survival and over it, by the imperialist world crisis.
Furthermore the shallow moralising “condemnation of terror” that have poured out from all these “left” groups for the last four weeks since the Woolwich attack (and Boston before that and Algeria before that), plays into the hands of imperialism’s scaremongering and racist hate campaigning, seeking to blame “others” for the Slump devastation and disintegration that is due entirely to the inevitable breakdown and failure of capitalism itself in the greatest catastrophic collapse in history.
It certainly does nothing to stop the rise of hate-filled nationalism and aggression that they loudly declare to be organising against, the great “fascist threat” which they counterpose artificially to current conditions.
As the latest revelations of constant surveillance, torture in Kenya, extended drone death-squad killings, the inhumanities of the Guantánamo hunger-strike, and the violent attacks on G20 protesters all show, normal “non-fascist” capitalist society is far from “democratic” and “peace-filled” anyway.
Capitalism itself is increasingly obviously seen to be the source of all warmongering, torture, repressive surveillance and chaotic destruction (and to be the generator of overt fascist backwardness as well - in its sympathetic treatment of it compared to the poison poured out against communism, in the financing it gets and in the general political tone set by mainstream politicians, media and culture which foster, promulgate and covertly encourage racist, chauvinist, and shallow blame culture attitudes while heading off all serious philosophy and politics).
The crude ignorance and chauvinist backwardness that is firebombing mosques, attacking Muslims and letting itself be swept along behind the West’s vicious warmongering in the Middle East (Syria, Libya etc) will never be effectively countered by the posturingly one-dimensional and self-righteous “anti-fascism” of the fake-“lefts” and social-pacifist “Stop the War” protests.
Worse still it will be further reinforced in its reactionary defensiveness and fear of the future (which is what many workers are confused by) by the condemnations from the “lefts”, declaring assorted jihadists, religio-nationalist insurgencies and guerrilla attacks (as on the Algerian gas facility in the spring), to be beyond the pale, “more reactionary than the oppression they are fighting” or even to be allegedly actually fascist in their ideology as the Weekly Worker CPGB has long painted the Islamic nationalist regimes, with nonsensical and philosophically twisted characterisations of “reactionary anti-imperialism” and “Islamo-fascism (see quotes below)against them.
In recent months everyone of the "lefts", from the most dementedly anti-Soviet Trotskyists cheering on the vicious counter-revolutionary destruction in Syria, to the “defenders” of the Assad and Libyan regimes, have variously found ways to denounce the swirls of anti-imperialist revolt erupting everywhere from Nigeria and Mali to the streets of Boston or east London, all declared to be beyond the pale and driven by “reaction”, to be either declared outright “criminal”, “an outrage”, or allegedly “counter-productive” or “damaging the cause of peace”.
If necessary convoluted “conspiracy” theories are elaborated to try and prove that all such eruptions of hatred and hostility to the West, including in one case even the entire “Arab Spring”, (*Sons of Malcolm) are “secretly run by the CIA” thus justifying the “lefts” handwashing denunciations.
Confusion there certainly is, and constant imperialist manipulation of various sectarian forces to stir conflict, but the world crisis perspectives and onrushing world class war revolutionary understanding that alone could disentangle these tragic conflicts is precisely what are never spelt out by any of the “lefts”.
Only against such a clear world perspective of the class war domination of the planet by monopoly capitalism and its deliberate drive to warmongering and blitzkrieging because of its total collapse and failure, can the growing turmoil everywhere be understood.
But the fake-“left”s do not really grasp of the centrality of the world economic crisis and its now total unsolvability.
What needs to be understood urgently by the working class everywhere, including those caught up and misled by Little Englander scapegoating hate campaigns,is that it is the devastating and unstoppable crisis collapse of capitalism and that alone which is driving all the warmongering turmoil and economic devastation currently ripping up lives across the world.
That includes the increasing revolts against world imperialism and their multiple forms from Boko Haram in Nigeria to armed rebellion in Colombia and Maoist insurgency in India or Nepal.
The ruling class’s cynical pretence is that the spiralling economic collapse, and the warmongering which has been stirred up continuously for over two decades now to get out of it (Yugoslavia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Libya, Syria, and even going back as far as Thatcher’s Malvinas war) are somehow external phenomena, sweeping in on society like storms from the sea, with additional blame heaped upon the Labourites for allegedly “making it worse” before 2008 (though the craven Labourite reformists (right and “left” flavours), are complete stooges of capitalism and were in fact only doing what the ruling class wanted at the time boosting artificial credit and was itself doing directly through various City and finance institutions such as the “independent” Bank of England).
Most of all the capitalist ruling class seeks to demonise and scapegoat “evil” people and “alien ideologies” as capitalist funded, sponsored and encouraged Nazi fascism in the 1920s and 1930s fingered Gypsies, Jews and Communists as the “cause” of all the problems.
But the catastrophic breakdown of world trade and finance which broke to the surface in 2007-8 (after repeated partial failures for decades before and a steadily worsening economic hollowness well known to the ruling class long before that) is generated completely and entirely by the internal contradictions of the production for private profit system itself, as analysed originally in the titanic three-volume Capital of Marx (and Engels), subsequent works by Lenin and other Bolsheviks and in later Leninist efforts to grasp the enormous complexities of the post-WW2 imperialist economy and its unprecedented extension of credit and worldwide penetration via the dollar system.
The “lefts” fail to see any of this because of their incurable petty bourgeois attitudes and class position, always in awe of the big bourgeoisie and unable to comprehend (or want to comprehend) a world without it.
To understand that intractable failure of capitalism confronts everyone immediately with the fact there is just no way out, no resolution to the utterly unsolvable contradictions of the profit and greed system – except to end it.
Revolution in other words, overturning it and ending this foul, grotesquely unfair and increasingly vicious degeneracy forever to build planned rational socialism under the firm control of a dictatorship of the proletariat, removing forever its grotesque unfairness and alienation and the destructive spiral of collapse which it always returns to.
Revolution is exactly what is already well underway, driven spontaneously to the surface in hundreds or thousands of protests, violent incidents, missile attacks, insurgencies, suicide bombings, and all the other desperate and often heroically self-sacrificing forms of struggle which the masses of the Third World have turned to, because they see no other way out of the endless tyrannical oppression and exploitation forced on them, and intensified to breaking point by the unravelling catastrophic world financial and war breakdown, which means hunger, homelessness and being pushed to the cliff edge of survival.
This IS world revolution in its early inchoate forms, lacking consciousness and organisation (and the long history of revisionist retreat from revolutionism is largely to blame) but increasingly finding a mass form in the great upheavals like Egypt and Tunisia, the dramatic Palestinian fights and intifadas, the staggering anti-imperialism of Hezbollah now helping defeat the subversion and deadly provocations of the reactionary counter-revolution in Syria, as well as the national struggles in Latin America (though severely hampered by democracy illusions) and Maoist upheavals in Nepal and increasingly India.
To challenge all the halfway illusions in “democracy” (Egypt, Venezuela, etc etc) or bizarre transformations of religious ideology, (borrowed for the moment from the feudal past and adapted to carry anti-imperialist, anti-corruption and anti-Western-degeneracy militancy) which is entwined in these battles is one thing – making clear that Marxist scientific understanding does not agree with mystical and religious notions or revisionist faith in the “democratic road”.
To condemn it is to take the wrong side.
Doing so confirms yet further the complete disconnect between the revolutionary pretensions and claims of the 57 assorted varieties of “left” groups and the reality of their complete capitulation to bourgeois propaganda pressure, from the 9/11 events onwards.
All this was clear even 12 years ago as the EPSR argued at the time of the 9/11 attack on New York’s World Trade Centre:
Fake-’lefts’ are trying to cover up their cowardly capitulation to imperialist warmongering hysteria against “terrorism” (meaning any resistance to Western domination sympathetic to a guerrilla-war stance) by pretending that “Marxism has always condemned terrorism”.
This is a grotesque lying distortion of historical reality.
In herewith putting the record straight, the sole aim is to show that in jumping on the anti-terror ‘moral’ bandwagon to denounce the New York guerrilla-war strikes as “an outrage”, “appalling”, “horror”, “despair”, “fascism”, “reactionary”, “strengthening imperialism”, “being the CAUSE of more repression for the Third World”, etc, etc, etc, these fake-’left’ petty-bourgeois opportunists of the Socialist Alliance, SWP, CPGB, etc, are revealing an anti-communist mentality a million miles from Marxism-Leninism, and are showing that these Trot and Revisionist sects are in the cultural and ideological camp of COUNTER-revolution.
The aim is not to deny that Leninism rejected terrorism as incapable of being much help to the mass political education and organisation which could make the revolution; nor that Lenin frequently polemicised against supporters of the terror-weapon for distracting the revolutionary cadres, and for weakening or confusing the proletariat’s grasp of why all-round political exposure of the corrupt social order, and MASS struggle against it, were the only real way forward to final revolutionary victory.
Also, it is NOT being argued that the same Marxist critique of terror’s limitations, or even disadvantages, as an anti-tyranny weapon, couldn’t still apply to this spectacular New York guerrilla-war strike in principle.
The argument is that no serious revolutionary anti-imperialist understanding could ever line up with the stinking hypocrisy of the modern bourgeois world which not only condones but actually lives by the proceeds of an international militarised exploitation system which daily inflicts unspeakable TERROR in the form of starvation, disease, slavery, mass murder, torture, and fascist repression of every other kind from scores of vicious or demented regimes, not just backed by the West but often installed by the West “to prevent communism”, inflicting this on literally hundreds of millions of “innocent victims” every day of the year.
To “deplore” or “condemn” this fight-back against New York which these hundreds of millions of proletarians in the Third World have all rejoiced in, is to identify with this First World of imperialist exploitation.
It is the most contemptible deceit or sophistry to pretend to be arguing that the New York strike is bad news “because there were working-class casualties”, or “because revolutionary organisation is the better way forward for the Third World” or “because Bin Laden is a nutty religious fanatic”, all of which are obvious from a ‘humanitarian’ or an academic ‘revolutionary’ point of view, but all of which are quite deliberately ignoring the big issues raised by September 11.
Firstly, regardless of doubts about the alleged specific human agency, and doubts about the longer-term usefulness of the methods, guerrilla-war has struck back from the tormented Third World against the US imperialist heartland itself, and has struck a devastating blow against American ‘New world order’ cockiness and confidence, plus giving a massive boost to the BILLIONS in the Third World who could never have thought such a strike-back possible.
Lenin made the following observations in 1916 after hot-shot ‘lefts’ leading the Second International had written-off any significance or worth of the Easter Rising in Dublin (inspired by very religious middle-class nationalists with no organised working-class support and relying on the explosive nature of the coup for effect):
On May 9, 1916, there appeared in Berner Tagwacht, the organ of the Zimmerwald group, including some of the Leftists, an article on the Irish rebellion entitled “Their Song Is Over” and signed with the initials K. R.’1’ It described the Irish rebellion as being nothing more nor less than a “putsch”, for, as the author argued, “the Irish question was an agrarian one”, the peasants had been pacified by reforms, and the nationalist movement remained only a “purely urban, petty-bourgeois movement, which, notwithstanding the sensation it caused, had not much social backing’’.
The term “putsch”, in its scientific sense, may be employed only when the attempt at insurrection has revealed nothing but a circle of conspirators or stupid maniacs, and has aroused no sympathy among the masses. Whoever calls such a rebellion a “putsch” is either a hardened reactionary, or a doctrinaire hopelessly incapable of envisaging a social revolution as a living phenomenon.
To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc. - to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution. So one army lines up in one place and says, “We are for socialism”, and another, somewhere else and says, “We are for imperialism”, and that will be a social revolution! Only those who hold such a ridiculously pedantic view could vilify the Irish rebellion by calling it a “putsch”.
Whoever expects a “pure” social revolution will never live to see it. Such a person pays lip-service to revolution without understanding what revolution is.
The Russian Revolution of 1905 was a bourgeois-democratic revolution. It consisted of a series of battles in which all the discontented classes, groups and elements of the population participated. Among these there were masses imbued with the crudest prejudices, with the vaguest and most fantastic aims of struggle; there were small groups which accepted Japanese money, there were speculators and adventurers, etc..
The socialist revolution cannot be anything other than an outburst of mass struggle on the part of all and sundry oppressed and discontented elements. Inevitably, sections of the petty bourgeoisie and of the backward workers will participate in it and just as inevitably will they bring into the movement their prejudices, their reactionary fantasies, their weaknesses and errors. But objectively they will attack capital, and the class-conscious vanguard of the revolution, the advanced proletariat, expressing this objective truth of a variegated and discordant, motley and outwardly fragmented mass struggle, will be able to unite and direct it.
Is it not clear that it is least of all permissible to contrast Europe to the colonies in this respect? The struggle of the oppressed nations in Europe, a struggle capable of going all the way to insurrection and street fighting, capable of breaking down the iron discipline of the army and martial law, will “sharpen the revolutionary crisis in Europe to an infinitely greater degree than a much more developed rebellion in a remote colony. A blow delivered against the power of the English imperialist bourgeoisie by rebellion in Ireland is a hundred times more significant politically than a blow of equal force delivered in Asia or in Africa.
The dialectics of history are such that small nations, powerless as an independent factor in the struggle against imperialism, play a part as one of the ferments, one of the bacilli, which help the real anti-imperialist force, the socialist proletariat, to make its appearance on the scene.
A serious war would not be treated seriously if advantage were not taken of the enemy’s slightest weakness and if every opportunity that presented itself were not seized upon, the more so since it is impossible to know beforehand at what moment, where, and with what force some powder magazine will “explode”. We would be very poor revolutionaries if, in the proletariat’s great war of liberation for socialism, we did not know how to utilise every popular movement against every single disaster imperialism brings in order to intensify and extend the crisis. If we were, an the one hand, to repeat in a thousand keys the declaration that we are “opposed” to all national oppression and, on the other, to describe the heroic revolt of the most mobile and enlightened section of certain classes in an oppressed nation against its oppressors as a “putsch”, we should be sinking to the same level of stupidity as the Kautskyites.
It is the misfortune of the Irish that they rose prematurely, before the European revolt of the proletariat had had time to mature. Capitalism is not so harmoniously built that the various sources of rebellion can immediately merge of their own accord, without reverses and defeats. On the other hand, the very fact that revolts do break out at different times, in different places, and are of different kinds, guarantees wide scope and depth to the general movement; but it is only in premature, individual, sporadic and therefore unsuccessful, revolutionary movements that the masses gain experience, acquire knowledge, gather strength, and get to know their real leaders, the socialist proletarians, and in this way prepare for the general onslaught, just as certain strikes, demonstrations, local and national, mutinies in the army, outbreaks among the peasantry, etc., prepared the way for the general onslaught in 1905.
july 1916 the discussion on self-determination summed up
The social revolution can come only in the form of an epoch in which are combined civil war by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie in the advanced countries and a whole series of democratic and revolutionary movements, including the national liberation movement, in the undeveloped, backward and oppressed nations.
Why? Because capitalism develops unevenly, and objective reality gives us highly developed capitalist nations side by side with a number of economically slightly developed, or totally undeveloped, nations. P. Kievsky has absolutely failed to analyse the objective conditions of social revolution from the standpoint of the economic maturity of various countries; His reproach that we “invent” instances in which to apply self-determination is therefore an attempt to lay the blame at the wrong door.
a caricature of marxism (oct 1916 )
The point is not to compare the Catholic fatalist Pearse with the Muslim fatalist Bin Laden, or to argue that Fundamentalist conservatism is no worse than the anti-abortion, anti-divorce, priest-ridden backwater that the Irish Republic remained throughout the 20th century.
The point is to show how Lenin evaluated blows against the dominant imperialist system from any source, and how virtually all revolt must add to, and eventually culminate in, the proletariat leading a complete socialist revolution worldwide, whether any individual ‘bacillus’ against Western domination was tuned into such an ultimate outcome or not.
Bin Laden’s merchant-wealth background, religious philosophy, and dubious Taleban friends, in no way invalidate his wish to harm US world domination in the interests of greater local autonomy; and they say nothing at all about the motivation and political ideals of the heroic young men from many backgrounds and regions who conducted this colossal guerrilla-war strike.
Even if Bin Laden could be accused of harbouring mad dreams of establishing his own conservative kingdom somewhere, (as reactionary as Saddam Hussein’s sectarian tyranny) for which there is not the slightest evidence, the humiliation for US imperialism should still be lauded everywhere. Iraq’s perspectives deserve no support. But any defeats which its defiance inflicts on American prestige should be welcomed universally. (EPSR No1106 02-10-01)
The complexities in the historical journey of class war and revolutionary nationalism towards the overthrow of the imperialist system, since the Revisionist self-destruction of the Soviet workers state and the Socialist Camp, have plunged fake-’lefts’ into theoretical chaos.
Sept 11, Palestinian suicide-bombers, or anarchist street-fighting in Genoa have all been declared “the wrong struggle” variously by every Trot and Stalinist sectarianism from the Socialist Alliance to the SLP, Lalkar, and beyond, - the ‘swamp’.
But they are what is happening, - caused by imperialist world repression and its insoluble ‘surplus capital’ economic crisis which is increasingly pushing monopoly-bourgeois ideology towards big-power warmongering fascist aggression against any resistance to Western (i.e. American) domination.
As Lenin explained in “Guerrilla War” (1906), it is ludicrous for the socialist revolution to “condemn” episodic terrorist turmoil. Instead, it needs to spread its own influence so as to give a believable direction and leadership to anti-Ruling-Class hatred.
In their futility and frustration, confusion and self-conceit has dragged ‘left’ sects beyond the disgraceful attempt to set up Black Bloc anarchists for a beating as ‘police provocateurs’ to even nastier bourgeois class-collaboration, cheering on the slaughter of al-Qaeda as “no great loss”, and even fingering Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorism for “condemnation” too, effectively providing a ‘left’ cover for further imperialist blitzkrieg massacres.
This theoretical chaos needs to read Lenin, study history, and look objectively at exactly what is happening in the world to produce Sept 11 after a decade of in creasing imperialist warmongering-fascist aggression.
It would be marvellous if there was a Palestinian Viet Cong to give Marxist-Communist leadership to the struggle against Zionist colonisation and tyranny, but it was precisely the Revisionism and Trotskyism which produced these arm-chair-revolutionary defeatists in Britain which also buried Leninism without trace in Palestine too,- ‘swamp’.
Hamas has a reactionary religious ideology and equally backward international sponsors and will undoubtedly fail to inspire the whole Palestinian nation, Vietnam-style, to a successful national-liberation socialist revolution.
But that the Hamas guerrilla war is leading the fight against Zionist-imperialist tyranny is also indisputable, inspiring the whole Intifada.
The socialist revolution needs its own independent propaganda in Palestine and its own fighting units, but while marching separately, they need to strike together with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and anyone else willing to topple the Zionist colonisation.
Hamas suicide bombing, for all its flaws and weaknesses both long-term and short-term from a Marxist perspective, is nevertheless WHAT IS HAPPENING on the front line against Zionist-imperialist tyranny. As Lenin explains, the socialist revolution is abandoning the fight completely by simply rejecting what Hamas is doing. The only serious critique that will deserve a hearing is one which gives alternative anti-Zionist fighting leadership from the front. All other purely academic carping should be treated with the contempt it deserves as little better than pro-imperialist, class-collaborative defeatism.
As obvious as all this is from a Leninist point of view, unbelievably some theoretical confusion on the fake-’left’ has actually accepted the ‘logic’ of the generally confused and cowardly “condemnation” of Sept 11 and condemned Palestinian guerrilla-war terrorism as well.
This takes Revisionist degeneration into qualitatively new territory, and is already a widely-observed anti-communist phenomenon.
This is ‘New World order’ defeatism gone totally pro-imperialist. It is the historical equivalent of the Revisionist leaders of the Second International initially voting for war credits in their ‘own’ parliaments in 1914 “purely for the self-defence purposes of our ‘own’ country”, but rapidly being transformed into open social chauvinists as World War I murderously and humiliatingly progressed, or into shamefaced ones (i.e. social pacifists, idiotically bleating ‘No to war’ as the Juggernauts of the imperialist economic-survival crisis clashed on).
All sorts of ‘justification’ is put forward, now as then, as to why such class-collaboration is ‘necessary’, - invariably along the racist-chauvinist lines that the enemy fighting one’s ‘own’ imperialist state is “even MORE reactionary” than the home team, and so the “lesser of two evils” has to be sided with.
Unbelievably, fake-’lefts’ like the CPGB, and others in the Socialist Alliance, are spouting this degenerate opportunism right now, denouncing the pathetic Islamic naïvety of such insubstantial lightweight sects as al-Qaeda as “dangerous reactionary anti-imperialism whose religious feudalism would drag civilisation back historically”, etc, even as the only truly dominant, direction-setting force an earth, Western imperialism, was in the process of inflicting such atrocities as the two massacres of prisoners at Mazar-I-Sherif (see EPSRs 1114 & 1115), and continuing the merciless blitzkrieg brutality, bombing more than 3,000 innocent civilian casualties to death so far in Afghanistan.
It is derisible fantasy to pretend that Osama Bin Laden, or sheikh Yassin, or even Saddam Hussein, can even remotely be considered a “serious fascist threat to the world” as these weird bedfellows Bush, Blair, and the CPGB like to make out.
None want to restore feudalism against capitalist-imperialist world progress; none of them are in the slightest position even to try.
And however ‘barbaric’, ‘primitive’, or ‘reactionary’ any of their actions or programmes can be labelled, it throws all reading of history into impossible confusion to see any of them as the “possible next fascist threat to civilisation”.
Firstly, the description of the danger is itself phrased hopelessly misleadingly, causing people to look for fascism in entirely the wrong phenomena.
Secondly, even when correctly stated, there is no way that any regime headed by Saddam, Osama, or Yassin could play the slightest ‘fascist’ role in inter imperialist warmongering, which is the arena which alone has given ‘fascism’ its dramatic historical resonance.
It was a specific world-imperialist crisis situation which created the fascist phenomenon, as commonly understood (aggressive warmongering tyranny fuelled by manic ideological extremism of a racist, religious, or mystical flavour). It was not some self-appointed barmpot rabble which created the fascist era.
There have been plenty of would-be lunatic messiahs marching around the political scene for generations.
But there was only one fascist era, - the 1930s when difficult economic world-crisis conditions particularly put the squeeze on some major, or would-be major, imperialist powers who felt they were being denied the chance of colonial expansionist lifelines out of the international slump conditions prevailing universally. (EPSRNo1116 11-12-01)
The fake-“left” is aware after fifteen or more years of the monstrous terrorising “war on terror” the shallow condemnations are insufficient. After Boston and Woolwich therefore there has been much shaking of heads about “what did you expect after destroying Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya etc etc”.
And it is followed immediately by even more disgusting crawling in behind the hypocritical bourgeois moral pretences. Listen to this squirm by the “Marxist” Professor Terry Eagleton, desperate to get out from under the knowledge that if it is capitalism’s non-stop world blitzing and crisis that is responsible, then the Marxist necessity is to take up the revolutionary struggle:
...anyone who dares to use the words “western foreign policy” in this context is bound to be speedily shut up by the likes of Paxman and co. This isn’t because they have never heard of drones and Guantánamo. They are surely aware of the countless thousands of innocent civilians dispatched to their graves by western operations in the Arab world, for whom there are no floral tributes piled on the London pavements. It is rather because they imagine, in their muddled way, that to explain an event is to excuse it. Those who point to the dead of Iraq and Afghanistan are surely doing so as a devious way of justifying the slaughter of a young soldier outside his barracks.
Do they also think this about the crimes of Hitler or Stalin? Are they really suggesting that historians who delve into the origins of fascism are secret Nazi sympathisers, or that to lay bare the causes of the Gulag is to exonerate its architects? The problem for these commentators is that if an event can be explained, it must be rationally motivated, and that sounds uncomfortably close to endorsing it. To call an action rational, however, is by no means to justify it. Bringing western economies to their knees a few years ago was part of a perfectly rational project on the part of the banks. It sprang from a drive to increase their profits, a motive about which there is nothing in the least insane or impenetrable.
On this logic, the best way not to sound as though you are in favour of murdering soldiers on the streets of London is to see such events as utterly without rhyme or reason, like some baffling Dadaist happening. To concede that they have a motive, however malign, is to invest them with a dignity one feels the need to deny them. British intelligence, one assumes, was well aware some years ago that the IRA had rational grounds for its actions, however reprehensible it may have judged them. They weren’t just killing out of boredom or bloodlust. The popular press, however, preferred to present guerrillas as gorillas – as psychopaths and wild beasts whose actions were simply unintelligible.
There are at least two problems with this strategy. For one thing, if you deny your enemy any shred of rationality, you come perilously close to excusing him. To be bereft of reason, like a baby or a squirrel, is to be morally innocent. This is why barristers do not usually accuse those they are prosecuting of being dangerous lunatics. For another thing, you can kiss goodbye to any hope of victory over your foes. If they do things for no reason at all, it is hard to see how you can defeat them.
After the Boston bombing a few weeks ago, a CNN anchorman asked a so-called expert whether there was anything in the background of the alleged bombers that might help to explain their actions. Unsurprisingly, the expert didn’t reply: “Yes, there is, actually, it’s called western foreign policy.” Instead, he jawed on about the possibility of early childhood trauma. If political motives are inadmissible then psychological ones will have to do instead. Maybe these two young Chechnyans were dropped on their heads as infants, or rudely yanked from the breast.
It is not true, as 19th-century liberals such as George Eliot and John Stuart Mill tended to believe, that to understand all is to forgive all. On the contrary, to place an action in its context may be to deepen the guilt of its perpetrators. Appeals to context are not always ways of letting people off the hook...Invoking the injustice and humiliation inflicted by the west on the Muslim world will not do as grounds for murder. But neither will invoking the necessities of the so-called war on terror do as a justification for massacring the innocent.
Notice the slimy side-reference to the “crimes of Stalin” – and the repudiation of the workers states implied, just to ensure that no-one is going to mistake Eagleton for a real communist and not (he hopes) take him off to the concentration camps.
No worries there, Terry.
At least no worries about the philosophy or politics which are glaringly a foul anti-communist betrayal of the Soviet Union’s titanic history and achievements, and a poisonous implication that the dictatorship of the proletariat was a “nightmare” – but he should still beware the scapegoating arrests when the desperate capitalist state slides a bit further into open dictatorship (directly or by “fascist” theatricality) and decides to make its long planned all-out class war round-ups, indiscriminately picking-up “possible lefts” (all already constantly monitored, phone-tapped, computer logged, registered and listed with all appropriate details on the giant NSA and GCHQ databases.)
The CPGB-ML’s Proletarian version of its Proletarian/Lalkar paper is even more aware of its treachery, as it should be, having been exposed before in the wake of the 9/11 events, keeping silence within the Socialist Labour Party as Arthur Scargill poured out his rotten little Englander trade unionist class collaboration laced with pacifist betrayals of the world struggle.
The Brarites pretended for a while to stand against such condemnations, particularly after they were driven out of the SLP themselves eventually, part of the philistine anti-theoretical censorship imposed by Scargill’s incurable petty bourgeois reformist mind and official trade union training, steeped in collusion and collaboration with imperialism even after the gigantic civil war battles of the 1984 miners’ strike.
The EPSR was sceptical in issue 1245 :
Was it really only after being expelled at the end of 8 years of silent servitude behind Scargill that these Brarites finally became aware of the need to denounce the opportunist majority of the SLP, led by Arthur Scargill, saturated through and through with the politics of trade unionism (i.e. bourgeois politics), — who have been busy trying to rid the SLP of all serious theoretical thought and turn it into yet another outfit completely characterised by eclecticism and lack of principle”????
And if it isn’t really possible that such a long view of Scargill’s total political rottenness could only become clear to the Brarites at the moment of their expulsion at the end of 8 years loyal back-scratching for Scargill in public, then where is the CPGB-ML’s explanation for the POLITICAL SILENCE of their total membership and leadership throughout that period on a matter of such crucial importance for the entire British working class???????
If Scargill is such a completely shallow opportunist rogue, than what has this CPGB-ML membership been up to deliberately hiding this fact from the British working class for the past 8 years??????
What manner of political animal are these Brarites that only after their sudden summary expulsion from the SLP’s ranks (with an appeal for reinstatement turned down!) was the discovery made about “Scargill’s total ignorance of scientific socialism, his utter contempt for theory in the worst traditions of British trade unionism, his proclivity for Christian petty-bourgeois pacifism, his complete devotion to the bourgeois politics of trade unionism, his inability to get rid of the baggage of shallow lib-lab politics which he acquired through his membership of the imperialist Labour Party over a period of four decades, combined with his insufferable vanity.” (all quotes from issue No 1 of the “new” Stalinist gobshite newspaper)????
And true to form such a principled stand has not lasted long; the Proletarian is back to denouncing Third World and Third World influenced terror, blaming it for allegedly aiding the bourgeoisie to “cover its tracks”, pouring out the same denunciations as the rest.
To cover their tracks they begin with the bourgeoisie and the reality of imperialist warmongering as the real cause of the devastation and turmoil in the world; they take up the point made by Guardian journalist Glen Greenwald that Lee Rigby was a soldier not a civilian (adding correctly enough that such individuals are also victims, used by imperialism). But there are many more victims in the Third World they add:
We can understand the grief of Lee Rigby’s family and friends - it is the same grief as that experienced by countless millions of parents, wives, husbands, siblings, children and others at the loss of their loved ones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yugoslavia and every one of the innumerable countries to which imperialism has stretched, and continues to stretch, its bloody hand of aggression.
Rigby’s death is indeed a tragedy for his family and friends. But he is not the completely innocent victim that is being cynically portrayed by the corporate media and bourgeois politicians.
He was not merely a ‘drummer boy’; he was also a machine gunner, who ‘saw action’ in Helmand province, scene of some of the most intense and bitter fighting between US and British occupation troops and the patriotic Afghan resistance.
It is, however, a tragedy that, as in all the imperialist wars that have ever been fought, the price is paid by young working-class men.
Tragedy it is but what is the point of saying so? In order to declare that such agony will continue until capitalism is overturned?
Far from it – the accusations ring out against the anarchist jihadists, “threatening to upset everything”.
And the justification? What are they upsetting? Exactly the same “Christian petty bourgeois pacifism” the Brarites were allegedly exposing Scargill for in 2004.
“Don’t get us wrong” say these allegedly “principled” CPGB-ML supporters of struggles everywhere else, “we fully support the heroic Afghan resistance.” And the fight in Syria too.
and all those forces fighting arms in hand or by whatever means against imperialist occupation and aggression around the world.
This bravado is itself a wooden Stalinist misstatement since Leninism/Marxism does not “fully support” such backward confusion, as spelt out above, standing always separate from Taliban, Hamas or other non-Marxism, though ready to strike together against the common enemy to see the defeat of imperialist aggression and tyranny.
But leaving that aside it is revealed for the posturing nonsense it is when things are closer to home. Suddenly:
we have to be clear as to what our tasks are at this stage of our struggle in Britain
Note the “at this stage”!!! As if the crisis ripping through the world is different here.
This is the same weasel evasion always made by the fake-“left” opportunism declaring that they will “be there when the time comes comrades, but in the meantime..” - reforms and pacifism.
Jam, tomorrow. Revolution – sometime but not now, even though the crisis is already steadily driving the working class down into the ground and there is no possibility of stopping it by reforms.
The revolutionary questions are posed now. That is not the same as declaring the working class is “ready” for revolution tomorrow morning, clearly not, and not least because the entire fake-“left” opportunistically abandoned the fight for revolutionary grasp and against anti-communism, decades ago.
But it does mean educating and building the revolutionary movement now and the great open polemical struggle for scientific revolutionary clarity needs to start NOW.
In the meantime there is the great sophistry, the “left” reformist mantra to evade the revolutionary questions which urgently need debating.
We have to build a genuine communist party in struggle one able to mobilise all sections of the working class from whatever background
“explain” the Brarites.
And how is that to be done? With a great battle for revolutionary understanding and education for the working class with the vital perspective of the gigantic class war already being imposed by the capitalist ruling class through “austerity”, surveillance, torture, imprisonment for speaking out, police violence against protestors, and endless warmongering?
NO. It is to be pacifism albeit (apparently) not Scargill’s earlier denounced “Christian” flavour but the kind dressed up as “Marxist” pacifism.
There is no such thing.
There is Stalinist “peace struggle” pacifism, the result of Stalin’s disastrous misanalysis of post-WW2 capitalist imperialism as a system “no longer able to grow” and needing only to be “contained” in its aggression, while ostensibly, the workers states would outgrow imperialism and eventually the world would tip over into socialism everywhere.
This Proletarian nonsense declares that war can be stopped “if we refuse to fight”, “if we refuse to help with their logistics”, “if we refuse to broadcast imperialist propaganda.”
But since “imperialist propaganda” dominates everything, from infant school to the TV in the old peoples’ home, and all newspapers, advertising and culture in between, how is the great task of moral persuasion to be accomplished?
It cannot be, is the answer – and imperialism will always get away with stampeding chauvinism and war in the course of which the great masses will be taught the appalling lessons of the Slump and crisis all over again, opening up chance for mass revolutionary movement.
As the following quotes underscore, Lenin made it clear that imperialism will always sneak war up on the working class.
Pacifism simply disarms them and Lenin was completely hostile to all social pacifism.
Lalkar knows this (not least from 20 years of utterly ignored EPSR Leninist polemics, specifically taking up the Brarites in print and in meetings. Its evasion is a contemptuous dismissal of political battling that in itself is a total indictment of its stifling museum-Stalinism and a reflection of its repeated cover-ups and refusal to face up to mistakes and errors, a microcosm of the giant cover-ups and revisionist retreats of Moscow, which led ultimately to the Gorbachevite liquidation and the historically temporary disillusionment of the masses in what was said to be “communism” though it had long ceased to retain its revolutionary core).
So, quite cynically, Lalkar rolls out a piece of jaw-dropping sophistry to pretend that “Lenin was for the peace struggle.”
The “evidence” is to quote the rules of the Third International (the alliance of world communist parties formed after 1917 to replace the treachery of the Second International which had voted for the 1914-18 predatory imperialist war and the slaughter of millions battling over the division of colonies and world exploitation by the Great Powers - the war of thieves and brigands as the Bolsheviks called it.)
The rules, say Lalkar included that:
“Every party that wishes to belong to the Communist International has the obligation of exposing the dodges of its ‘own’ imperialists in the colonies, of supporting every liberation movement in the colonies not only in words but in deeds, of demanding that their imperialist compatriots should be thrown out of the colonies, of cultivating in the hearts of the workers in their own country a truly fraternal relationship to the working population in the colonies and to the oppressed nations, and of carrying out systematic propaganda among their own country’s troops against any oppression of colonial peoples...
“Every party that wishes to belong to the Communist International has the obligation to give unconditional support to every soviet republic in its struggle against the forces of counter-revolution. The communist parties must carry out clear propaganda to prevent the transport of war material to the enemies of the soviet republics. They must also carry out legal or illegal propaganda, etc. with every means at their disposal among troops sent to stifle workers’ republics.
But this was a practical revolutionary measure following through an existing and historically shattering revolutionary struggle in practice, declaring that the existence and fight of the new socialist states was critical, and supporting them part of communist understanding of their gigantic achievement.
Because their existence, and inspiration, had the potential to defeat imperialism, it could eventually be possible to bring peace by ending capitalism.
What has this got to do with the philosophical position that war can be stopped by waving placards saying “Stop the War”???
Lalkar should read what Lenin really said on pacifism and war. Here is a sample:
The question of imperialist wars, of the international policy of finance capital which now dominates the whole world, a policy that must inevitably engender new imperialist wars, that must inevitably cause an extreme intensification of national oppression, pillage, brigandry and the strangulation of weak, backward and small nationalities by a handful of “advanced” powers—that question has been the keystone of all policy in all the countries of the globe since 1914, It is a question of life and death for millions upon millions of people. It is a question of whether 20,000,000 people (as compared with the 10,000,000 who were killed in the war of 1914-18 and in the supplementary “minor” wars that are still going on) are to be slaughtered in the next imperialist war, which the bourgeoisie are preparing, and which is growing out of capitalism before our very eyes. It is a question of whether in that future war, which is inevitable (if capitalism continues to exist), 60,000,000 people are to be maimed (compared with the 30,000,000 maimed in 1914-18). In this question, too, our October Revolution marked the beginning of a new era in world history. The lackeys of the bourgeoisie and its yes-men—the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, and the petty-bourgeois, allegedly “socialist”, democrats all over the world—derided our slogan “convert the imperialist war into a civil war”. But that slogan proved to be the truth—it was the only truth, unpleasant, blunt, naked and brutal, but nevertheless the truth, as against the host of most refined jingoist and pacifist lies. Those lies are being dispelled. The Brest peace has been exposed. And with every passing day the significance and consequences of a peace that is even worse than the Brest peace— the peace of Versailles—are being more relentlessly exposed. And the millions who are thinking about the causes of the recent war and of the approaching future war are more and more clearly realising the grim and inexorable truth that it is impossible to escape imperialist war, and imperialist peace (if the old orthography were still in use, I would have written the word mir in two ways, to give it both its meanings)* which inevitably engenders imperialist war, that it is impossible to escape that inferno, except by a Bolshevik struggle and a Bolshevik revolution.
Let the bourgeoisie and the pacifists, the generals and the petty bourgeoisie, the capitalists and the philistines, the pious Christians and the knights of the Second and the Two-and-a-Half Internationals vent their fury against that revolution. No torrents of abuse, calumnies and lies can enable them to conceal the historic fact that for the first time in hundreds and thousands of years the slaves have replied to a war between slave-owners by openly proclaiming the slogan: “Convert this war between slave-owners for the division of their loot into a war of the slaves of all nations against the slave-owners of all nations.”
fourth anniversary of the october revolution oct 14th 1921 pravda no 234
Members of the delegation asked me which I considered more important: the formation in Britain of a consistently revolutionary Communist Party, or obtaining the immediate aid of the masses of the workers in Britain for the cause of peace with Russia. I replied that this is a matter of one’s convictions. Sincere supporters of the emancipation of the workers from the yoke of capital cannot possibly be opposed to the formation of a Communist Party, which alone is capable of training the workers in a non-bourgeois and non-petty-bourgeois manner, and is alone capable of genuinely exposing, ridiculing and disgracing “leaders” who can doubt whether Britain is helping Poland, etc. There is no need to fear the Communists will be too numerous in Britain, because there is not even a small Communist Party there. But if anyone continues to remain in intellectual slavery to the bourgeoisie, and continues to share petty-bourgeois prejudices about “democracy” (bourgeois democracy), pacifism, etc., then of course such people would only do more harm to the proletariat if they took it into their heads to call themselves Communists, and affiliate to the Third International. All that these people are capable of doing is to pass sentimental “resolutions” against intervention [emphasis added] couched exclusively in philistine phrases. In a certain sense these resolutions are also useful, namely, in the sense that the old “leaders” (adherents of bourgeois democracy, of peaceful methods, etc., etc.) will make themselves ridiculous in the eyes of the masses, and the more they pass empty, non-committal resolutions unaccompanied by revolutionary action, the sooner will they expose themselves. Let each man stick to his job: let the Communists work directly through their Party, awakening the revolutionary consciousness of the workers. Let those who supported the “defence of country” during the imperialist war for the partitioning of the world, “defence” of the secret treaty between the British capitalists and the tsar to plunder Turkey, let those who “do not see” that Britain is helping Poland and the whiteguards in Russia—let such people hasten to increase the number of their “peace resolutions” to the point of becoming ridiculous; the more they do that, the sooner will they meet with the fate of Kerensky, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries in Russia.
june 17 pravda no 130, 1920
We cannot know beforehand how soon we shall achieve success, how soon the objective conditions will make the rise of this revolution possible. We should support every improvement, every real economic and political improvement. in the position of the masses. The difference between us and the reformists (i.e., the Grütlians in Switzerland) is not that we oppose reforms while they favour them. Nothing of the kind. They confine themselves to reforms and as a result stoop - in the apt expression of one (rare!) revolutionary writer in the Schweizerische Metallarbeiter-Zeitung (No. 40) - to the role of “hospital orderly for capitalism”. We tell the workers: vote for proportional representation, etc., but don’t stop at that. Make it your prime duty systematically to spread the idea of immediate socialist revolution, prepare for this revolution and radically reconstruct every aspect of party activity. The conditions of bourgeois democracy very often compel us to take a certain stand on a multitude of small and petty reforms, but we must be able, or learn, to take such a position on these reforms, (in such a manner) that - to oversimplify the matter for the sake of clarity - five minutes of every half-hour speech are devoted to reforms and twenty-five minutes to the coming revolution.
principles involved in the war issue dec 1916
The “conciliators in principle” will try to falsify Marxism by arguing, for example, that reform does not exclude revolution.
This would be a falsification of Marxism. Reforms do not, of course, exclude revolution. But that is not the point at issue. The point is that revolutionaries must not exclude themselves, not give way to reformism, i.e., that socialists should not substitute reformist work for their revolutionary work.
The question is not, as the pacifist Kautskyites maintain: either a reformist political campaign, or else the renunciation of reforms. That is a bourgeois presentation of the question. The question is: either revolutionary struggle, the by-product of which, in the event of its not being fully successful, is reforms (the whole history of revolutions throughout the world has proved this), or nothing but talk about reforms and the promise of reforms.
The reformism of Kautsky, Turati and Bourderon, which now comes out in the form of pacifism, not only leaves aside the question of revolution (this in itself is a betrayal of socialism), not only abandons in practice all systematic and persistent revolutionary work, but even goes to the length of declaring that street demonstrations are adventurism (Kautsky in Die Neue Zeit, November 26, 1915). It. goes to the length of advocating and implementing unity with the outspoken and determined opponents of revolutionary struggle, the Südekums, Legiens, Renaudels, Thomases, etc., etc.
This reformism is absolutely irreconcilable with revolutionary Marxism.
bourgeois pacifism and socialist pacifism june 1917
The crisis will inevitably generate war Lenin says, and it cannot be prevented except by the revolutionary struggle which should be prepared for now.
Not only do the Brarites dishonestly misinterpret Lenin’s rules, and avoid quoting directly what he said on the “peace struggle” they further use this deliberate falsification to justify their condemnation of the rising Third World struggle.
Worse - they then declare the Woolwich attackers not only “mistaken” and “misguided” but reactionary too, blaming them for “fanning the flames of racism” and “giving the state the excuse to introduce repressive legislation”.
How does this differ from Eagleton?
Capitalism would be fine if we just avoided provoking it?
The huge and elaborate world surveillance on the Internet just revealed would not have happened unless capitalism had “an excuse” provided for it????
This is the same deluded anti-revolutionism and disarming peaceful road-ism which has saturated the world since Stalin’s time, a total abandonment of any pretence at revolutionary grasp, that it is the crisis which drives Slump and War.
Finally, to put the boot in Lalkar goes on slyly to imply that the Woolwich pair are in fact MI5 agents!!! It is “by no means coincidental” the weasel phrasing puts it:
that the milieu in which the alleged operators move, a lurid web of honey trap operations, fronted by deceptive demagogues, has also spawned so much of the counter-revolutionary terrorists and rats of Libya, Syria and elsewhere whose gruesome atrocities are aided, abetted, lauded and funded by the likes of Cameron Hague and Britain’s various military and intelligence services.”
So we have to line up with the Tory denunciations of “radical clerics” and their measures to expel or shut-down “extremism” (which would obviously ultimately include revolutionary understanding)? Who is offering excuses for who?
But at the same time those same “extremists” are in fact all run by the MI6 etc and therefore obviously something that capitalism wants??
What a mess of understanding and tangle of convoluted conspiracy theories. These is plenty of plotting and manipulation by imperialism and the networks of ruling class freemasonries and clubs etc are part of its class dictatorship domination.
But these elaborate notions miss out the real world of imperialist collapse, and rising Third World revolt, which is not under the control of the ruling class.
Like the ludicrous elaborations of the 9/11 conspiracy theories they a) suggest the Third World is not capable of such revolt b) that capitalism is in charge to such an extent that it organises its own anti-capitalism therefore missing the point of imperialism’s collapse and splits and weakness caused by the crisis and c) give themselves the perfect rational for condemning such struggles because they are really “only condemning the CIA”.
Even the Jesuits would be breathless with admiration for such philosophical contortion.
This disastrous confusion comes from typical Stalinist undialectical woodenness. Because capitalism has various taken advantage of and manipulated some of the religious ideology to push its own ends (preferring the Ayatollahocracy in Iran in 1979 to potential communism leading anti-Shah spontaneous revolt; against the Soviet supported socialist regime in Afghanistan in the 1980s; to stir Sunni muslims into civil war in Iraq in 2006 to undermine consolidating militant anti-imperialism (which actually had a Shia Muslim flavour through the Mahdi army etc allied to Iranian anti-Westernism); and finally heading off the Egyptian revolt with the Muslim Brotherhood) does not mean such forces are simply extensions of capitalism or permanently in its control.
Far from it. The al-Qaeda became the number one enemy in Afghanistan and the US spent ten years and $hundreds of millions hunting down Osama Bin Laden for death-squad extra-judicial assassination (no “rule of law” niceties getting in the way). Why if he was a “CIA agent” all along?
Like Saddam, Noriega, and other Western stooges set up as dictators, elements manipulated by Western imperialism have been forced by the complexities of rising world revolt, to bite the hand that fed them.
The deliberately created and horrific civil war mess in Syria (learning from the Iraq sectarianism) has used all kinds of sinister provocations and promptings by outside forces to set intercommunal hatred and revenge going, (with direct evidence of early shadowy snipers used to establish a violent atmosphere and a demented press campaign) and part of that has been the stirring of some forms of Muslim fanaticism.
But to extrapolate woodenly from that to the suggestion that such religious ideology is always part of imperialism is nonsensical. It leaves Lalkar a thousand questions to answer, like why it woodenly “supports” Hamas in Palestine for example which has taken the side of the “rebels” in Syria, and is now ludicrously and tragically in conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has been and is one of the greatest fighting forces against Zionist reaction, and supporters of the Palestinian cause?
What is needed is to put the capitalist crisis at the bottom of all understanding, and to see all these movements in class terms, and where they stand relative to the great reactionary forces of capitalism.
Muslim ideology and its various forms of fundamentalism can only be understood in class terms, and material terms.
What is in people’s heads is not the defining factor, and what they think they are doing things for is not necessarily the true motivation. They are driven by the material world is Marxist philosophy.
But the fight for Marxism and the open Leninist struggle to establish the scientific truth about the world has long been abandoned by Stalinist revisionism like the Lalkar/Proletarian.
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