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

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No 1434 15 October 2013

Washington’s humiliating revenge raid failures in Somalia and Libya underline the weakness of imperialism as the worldwide rebellion against its oppressive exploitation continues to ferment. The latest incompetence will add to the desperate disintegration of its world exploitation as catastrophic economic meltdown continues to unravel despite all the pretences of “growth” and “long awaited upturn” produced solely by insane QE money printing. But fake-“left” moralising condemnations of “terror”, and idealist denunciation of the fundamentalism that has filled the leadership vacuum left by their own failure to develop revolutionary Leninism, continues to aid capitalist warmongering – now even “justifying” horrific Allende-style torture and slaughter by the Egyptian military coup. Need for Leninist polemic and science has never been greater

The arrogance of the Western kidnap-or-kill raids by the (failed) US Navy Seal revenge mission into Somalia, and the US organised street kidnapping in Libya of an anti-Western “terrorist” will highlight even more the philosophical degeneracy of the fake-”lefts”.

Their craven capitulation to the imperialist Goebbels “war on terror” international intimidation via moralising condemnations, denunciations of “fundamentalism”, and failure to see the revolutionary significance and impact of the rising world ferment everywhere, helps cover up the intractable difficulties that the out-of-time capitalist order is increasingly trapped in, playing into the hands of its warmongering propaganda.

It is capitalism’s increasingly sick degeneracy alone which should be denounced not the outbursts of the oppressed, however crude, desperate “indiscriminate” or “abhorrent”.

It is the desperate attempted imposition of such instant “vengeance” and a vigilante “justice” through the US raids which is the vital issue.

The ignoring of every principle of (supposed) international diplomatic legality and every norm of their much-vaunted (supposed) “rule of law” further demonstrates the monstrous humbug claims of monopoly capitalism to be establishing “civilised order” and “democracy” for the world and a rising prosperity for all, after “seeing off the communist threat”.

The “zap them dead” response is no different in essence to the primitive American Wild West, or the barbaric genocidal collective “punishments” visited continually on the victimised and savaged Palestinian people by the modern Zionist land-theft colonial occupation.

All this, like the now endless warmongering in a dozen countries, was aimed not at “protecting the innocent” as the spin and pomposity puts it, but recovering the yet further damage done to imperialist “authority” by the latest guerrilla war blow in Kenya by the Al-Shabaab, and the constant rebelliousness in the entire region.

But the humiliating failure and incompetence of the Somalian raid and the anarchic chaos demonstrated by the astonishing Libyan prime minister’s kidnapping subsequently, (stirred up in the opportunist racist warlord mess that remains in Libya because of its NATO blitzkrieg destruction), will instead underline the loss of nerve and ability of the crisis-riddled imperialist world order, already setback by its climb-down over the Syrian war threats and the rising rebelliousness everywhere else.

Most of all, capitalism is completely shattered by the devastating catastrophic meltdown of its financial and economic structures, which continues to unravel despite all the pretences of “growth and upturn” (built solely on demented Quantitative Easing fantasy “money”).

Its entire system is increasingly revealing its hollow rottenness which if there was a scrap of Leninist leadership to be found in the world, instead of only the rotten pretences, opportunism and evasions of Stalinist revisionism and narrow anti-communist posturings of Trotskyism, would be wide open for the overthrow by world revolutionary struggle.

That alone can solve the devastating Slump disaster and deadly world war threat that the ruling class is dragging the whole planet into because of its refusal to let the mankind move onto the rational planned socialist cooperative existence that history demands.

The ruling class is ready to destroy everything rather than give up its exploitation privileges and power, under the ludicrous lying inversion of reality that it is the frustrations and fightback from the exploited billions which is to blame for the chaos and disaster that in fact its own system has led to, and is solely responsible for.

Far from exposing this overwhelming hypocrisy and deadly Goebbels venality, the “left’s” moralising or “political theory” condemnations of “terrorism” and “backward Islam” swallow this depraved nonsense, and have helped sustain Western blitzkrieging and “collective punishment” for years (and most particularly since the dramatic 9/11 attacks on New York over a decade ago).

Even if these fake-“left” mountebanks manage to protest the heavy-handed US raids into Libyan and Somali sovereign territories to carry out yet more illegal death squad assassinations or kidnaps (and certain subsequent torture) on untried and un-trialled victims (as the US has done against Osama bin Laden before, contemptuously ditching the body at sea, and as it continues weekly in non-stop routine barbarous drone killings throughout the Middle East from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia), their protests are completely undermined when at the same time they are throwing their hands in the air over the alleged “moral turpitude” and “unacceptability” of attacks.

They simply join in the moralising tutting about “unacceptable” methods over all such incidents such as the Somalian guerrilla war attacks on the Westgate shopping centre, the Algerian oilfield raid, the even more sharply difficult Boko Haram killing of students at the agricultural college in Nigeria, or the imposition of sharia law in French colonially dominated Timbuktu in northern Mali, and always end up accepting these colonialist interventions.

Not one of the “left” has made any kind of real objection to the violent Egyptian military coup, at best tamely swallowing the barbaric shooting down of thousands of unarmed Egyptians on the streets in Cairo and other cities by the heavily Western funded and “advised” military state in Egypt or even, when prepared to call events a reactionary coup, still declaring the Muslim Brotherhood “brought it on themselves” effectively because of their ideology which is the story the West pumped out via nasty little paid stooges like the “Middle East Envoy” Tony Blair.

Staggeringly the museum-Stalinists of the Lalkar/Proletarian even come out in favour of the coup, laughably described as a “new phase of "peoples’ struggle” allegedly “advancing the revolutionary cause”, (as Blair too says), eulogising the army and celebrating the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nor for them any condemnations of this kind of cold-blooded slaughter on the streets of unarmed demonstrators, who are merely sneered at for their naïvety for “believing in the capitalist democracy myth”.

Talk about blaming the masses for their own ignorance!!

And this from a party that says the issue is one of leadership.

Stalinist depravity could not sink much lower.

Even the anti-communist bourgeois press could not quite swallow this level of obvious atrocity in Egypt (see cuttings further on).

If these uprisings and fundamentalist regimes are declared “beyond the pale” as the condemnations present it, then the “lefts” are effectively joining in the demented propaganda pumped out by capitalism that these are some kind of “pure evil” carried out by monsters and “unhumans”.

They end up almost echoing the anti-Islamic crusading promulgated by the likes of the neo-nazi EDL (which they claim to be “fighting on the streets” – but which they never effectively fight because the EDLs - and Golden Dawns etc - will always be regenerated, spontaneously by the antagonisms of capitalist existence itself and by deliberate conscious encouragement by the ruling class for use when capitalism needs them. Only ending capitalism is going to end such backwardness).

Once the Third World struggles and upheavals are painted as the gruesome actions of alleged ideological “throwbacks”, instead of the confused and desperate eruptions of anti-imperialist hatred that they are, the anti-Western fighters are consigned to the ranks of the inhuman outsiders, virtually the “undead” of Hollywood fantasy, – and just as casually as in the films, they can be shot down, slaughtered and destroyed.

That is exactly what does happen to them in the now endless war the Pentagon has imposed on the planet to try and ensure that the writ of American Empire domination continues, despite its total bankruptcy and meltdown failure, sharply expressed by the 2007-08 bank and credit collapse still ripping through the entire capitalist world order.

There is little difference in the end between Western imperialist propaganda mysticism that the growing tide of attacks erupting against Western interests is driven by some mysteriously arising “malevolence” that is intent on destroying “our peaceful and prosperous way of life” (as the cynical pomposity of the William Hagues and reactionary John McCains) puts it, and the supposedly scientific notions advanced by the “left” groups about the alleged reactionary nature of the “terrorists” and “Islamic” regimes.

Clearly many of the attacks and deadly incidents now erupting non-stop around the world are not what Marxism would choose as the best way to fight: killing some 50 students in a college in Nigeria as the Boka Haram did recently, or killing children and civilian shoppers in a mall in Kenya is a terrifying tragedy for innocent victims and bereaved families.

And fundamentalist fighters temporarily gripped with particular ideologies and tribal loyalties, rather than a clear scientific Leninist perspective, have been and continue to be manipulated and misled by imperialism and the backward feudalism it sustains many of the Arab states, onto the wrong side at times.

In past decades such movements have been used over and over again against communism as, early on, in trapping the revisionist Soviet Union into the defeats of the Afghanistan war (trying to defend the 1980s socialist government in Kabul); in heading off potential communist developments in Iran after the great spontaneous uprisings against the imperialist imposed Shah in 1979 (the same regime now supported by the Lalkar/Proletarian!); in the deadly sectarian killings that ripped Iraq apart after the American occupation (aimed ironically among other things at limiting Iran’s potentially revolutionary anti-imperialist influence); and, currently, to provoke and sustain the horrors and atrocities of the Syrian civil war, to bring down its halfway house bourgeois nationalism, or at least to balkanise and traumatise the country and destroy its capacity to resist Zionist and imperialist domination.

And in all this the giant question remains as to why so many hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of the world’s population now throw themselves into these desperate and almost certainly fatal struggles (or completely certain for the suicide bombers) and why that number is growing constantly.

Just because they are “religious nutcases”???

But such religion has been around for centuries and especially in the modern period has not been driving any such world upheaval; most of its middle class practitioners seek a quiet life, and declare it to be a “peaceful doctrine which has been wrongly interpreted”, desperate to prove their class collaborating credentials.

What is driving the world ferment is the real material frustration and agony of the billions who have been exploited and trampled upon by capitalist tyrannical overlordship for centuries and who can no longer stand it – and especially as that same domination is obliged to train and educate them to some level if they are to do the modern work required of them.

If the insurgents and “terrorists” have seized on religious ideology (borrowed from local cultural tradition and adapted to purpose) it is because they have found nothing better to express the urgent priority of all mankind to finally dispense with the production for private profit system and the historic dead-end it has reached.

Whose fault is that?

The entire fake-“left” sectarian circus and its opportunism is the answer.

Utter confusion now reigns because of the total abandonment by all the fake-“lefts” of clear revolutionary perspectives and a focus on the crisis of capitalism as the driving source of all the antagonism and conflict in the world.

The posturing pretence of being “r-r-revolutionaries” blocks and prevents the polemical struggle and open debate which is the only method for re-establishing, and constantly developing, the best possible scientific grasp of the world in all its aspects.

It is the long retreat from revolutionary understanding begun by Stalin’s leadership before the Second World War and increasingly covered up by paranoid suppressions – (even as it simultaneously continued to lead the staggering and historically transforming, never-before-seen achievements of the USSR workers state and above all its heroic World War Two sacrifices and brilliance in destroying Nazism) – which gradually eroded authority and grasp of Marxism.

The mistakes in analysis of the world balance of class forces – and the refusal to examine the mistakes by open polemical struggle - turned Moscow’s philosophical grasp into a revisionist mush whose final elaboration in Gorbachevite idiocy so far abandoned the understanding of crisis and class war that it actually gave up the planned Soviet economy (still growing) and its necessary defence by the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Soviet state security and military forces.

This disastrous collapse has left a total vacuum in world understanding and leadership and demoralised and dismayed masses everywhere.

It has been temporarily filled by fundamentalism in various forms however confused and even sometimes counter-productive it is (but often brilliantly organised too, as in the Palestinian struggle particularly and currently in Hezbollah’s and Syria’s defeats of the degenerate and violently depraved intrigues against Damascus.

If such leadership is written off as “not the way to do things” then it is up to those who declare there is a better way than suicide and terror bombing to explain how.

But the Marxist answer, of conscious mass world struggle to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism remains continuously hampered by the universal refusal of all alleged “left” groups to seriously debate and discuss what went wrong with the first titanic achievement of working class rule and equally and even more crucially, what went brilliantly right.

The anti-communism in which the world’s masses are drenched morning noon and night by capitalist propaganda, from the cradle to the grave, is the biggest obstacle they face, reinforced by the disappointments of the revisionist liquidation of the USSR the world’s first great full-scale experiment in the development of socialism, a seventy years long achievement which was at least 95% brilliant.

But it is not countered by the museum-Stalinists sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting “la-la-la” if any problems are alluded to, nor by crude Trotskyist sneering that the entire exercise was flawed from the beginning and “nothing but a totalitarian tyranny”.

The working class everywhere wants and needs to know how the mistake and difficulties occurred and what they were (as opposed to the ludicrous horror stories constantly pumped out by Western culture and politics).

And they need to exposed the hate-filled petty bourgeois detestation poured out by the Trotskyists and anarchists under the cover of being “revolutionaries” but who in fact hate the realities of the necessary working class discipline that is required to build and defend socialism, especially in its early stages surrounded by subversion and sabotage, (a poison that has reached its apotheosis in Britain with the latest Trotskyist attempts to hijack a the possible Left Unity centrist movement, wanting it to declare from the beginning as a founding principle that the Soviet Union “never was socialist”).

It is tempting to say fake-“left” opportunist confusion could not get more foul – except that it undoubtedly will.

The “not socialist” line would empty all meaning out of the entire history of the twentieth century. For seventy years (and ever since) the West has focused virtually all its politics and conflicts around anti-communism and constant war on the USSR via the 1917-20 invasions, Nazi Germany, nuclear encirclement and the long Cold War, (including such other “hot points” as the killing of one million Indonesian communists, two million North Korean communists and four million Vietnamese).

What on earth would have driven such events if there was actually “nothing to be concerned about”?.

That such gibberish can even be voiced indicates how low the fake-“left” has become and especially in its most vicious varieties.

Denials of basic fact, and the sectarian blocking or ignoring of all polemic and discussion means that the struggle for revolutionary leadership cannot get beyond first base.

So is it a surprise that the torment of the world’s “99%” of downtrodden and exploited finds other channels for its self-sacrifice and militancy?

Condemning all this ever-growing ferment is just middle-class moralising capitulation to Western propaganda however it is presented, as anti-Islam, as a “moral” issue about the “honourable way to fight”, as a technical question of “the right way to do things and terrorism is counter-productive” or, as some of the “left” groups do, of declaring that “terrorism is all secretly organised and controlled by the CIA” (which lets these elaborate conspiracy theorists pretend they are really against imperialism while bending like all the others before the howling wind of Western propaganda and its crocodile tears “concern” for civilians and “righteous” revenge punishment.)

As the EPSR has long said, such academic high-handedness will do nothing to stop the violence and bloodshed:

To what purpose do they strut their moral-posturing “condemnation”?

To no useful purpose whatever, but greatly to the reactionary benefit of the global monopoly-imperialist market system which is driving small nations to national-liberation extremes in increasing numbers.

Not a single Chechen or sympathising Middle-East Muslim is going to be deterred from their growing hatred of Western imperialist world domination by hearing deluded “anti-imperialist” reformists tutting that “taking children hostage is not the way”, etc, etc.

Of course this real resistance to imperialist domination understands the terrifying injustice to the innocent victims of random terrorist strikes. They already grasped it far better than any “moralisers” in the West BECAUSE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF THEIR OWN CHILDREN HAVE ALREADY BEEN ARBITRARILY BUTCHERED by imperialist rule.

The mounting proliferation of suicide bombers in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and elsewhere should make it obvious to even the most limited intelligences that such hatred, determination, and willingness to sacrifice shows that the problem has already moved far far beyond anything that can be helped by a chorus of “condemnation” from the cowardly hypocritical swamp of middle-class “reformist” do-gooders in the West who will “do anything” to stop imperialist tyranny except actually stop it. (EPSR 1247 07-09-04)

Just how much the Third World grasps the injustice is made explicit again by the latest incidents. For example Boko Haram, the name taken by the Nigerian movement means “No to Western education” reflecting a sharp anti-imperialist motivation, (even if its methods are throwing the baby out with the bathwater).

The statements from the Al-shabaab are clearer:

Al-Shabaab also made claims about the way the attack was carried out, stating in an email exchange with Associated Press that foreigners were a “legitimate target” and that Muslims had been spared.

Late on Wednesday night, al Shabaab’s leader for the first time confirmed claims by his group’s members that it was behind the attack on the mall, Reuters reported.

In an audio posted on the al-Shabaab-linked website, Ahmed Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr, said the attack was in retaliation for Kenya’s incursion in October 2011 into southern Somalia to crush the insurgents.

“Take your troops out or prepare for a long-lasting war, blood, destruction and evacuation,” Godane said in the message delivered in the Somali language and apparently directed at the Kenyan government. Kenyan troops are fighting alongside African peacekeepers against the militants in Somalia.

Al Shabaab had threatened revenge since Kenyan troops joined the conflict.

“You are part of the massacre Kenya carried out in Kismayu and in other towns because you had elected your politicians. The tax you pay is used to arm Uhuru [Kenyatta] forces that massacre Muslims. You had supported the fight against us,” Godane said.

Everyone single one of the fake-“left” groups, whatever the formal statements and protests they make against capitalism and its war attacks, and whatever “revolutionary principles” they allegedly uphold, has joined in this demonising poison against the Third World upheavals for more than twenty years, with elaborately concocted “theoretical” explanations about why the great ferment is not only to be disapproved, but should be “condemned” and denounced for being “beyond the pale” and “totally without the principles of humanity that should inform real struggles.”

The assorted movements, guerrilla groups, fighting bands and national insurgencies like the Taliban, the Algerian Islamists, the Chechen, the Al-shabaab, and the disparate al-qaeda groups (from Yemen to Iraq) are declared to be “ultra-reactionary”, “more reactionary than imperialism itself”, a “new kind of fascism”.

Some even go so far as to organise “popular” movements against these regimes and groups, such as the poisonous Hands off the People of Iran (HOPI) stunt created by the disgusting ex-revisionist (and now near-Trotskyist) CPGB through its Weekly Worker paper, coincidentally (!) paralleling the larger scale middle class “democracy” movement inside Iran set going by the CIA, (one of a dozen such provocations and stunted up “popular" movements being pushed at any one time, aimed at undermining anti-imperialist regimes and any revisionist residues of the Soviet Union such as Belarus or the Ukraine).

Others like the Lalkar/Proletarian museum-Stalinists declare Islamism to:-

have very little to offer and [to be] exposing itself as a hollow, worthless and essentially pro-imperialist ideology - only wrapped up in obscurantist claptrap.

The reactionary academic Richard Dawkins would be delighted.

But the wooden and one-sided advocacy of mechanistic bourgeois science from Dawkins, with which he now routinely denounces Islamism (ostensibly along with all other religious mysticism but with all the bile reserved for Muslim ideology) can at least be excused as the limited and blinkered prejudices of a petty bourgeois, with no grasp of the class struggle, the mass movements on the planet and the unfolding and growing contradictions and conflicts which underlie all the movement of history.

Declaring the issue to be just a question of “deluded” irrational belief, arbitrarily swallowed by individuals, at some arbitrary moment in history, instead of grasping the huge complex social and anti-imperialist historical movement which is finding expression through fundamentalism at present, is to demonstrate Dawkins’ narrowness and lack of observational capacities (basic to science), and subsequent inability to describe the wider phenomena of the real world; he may be an leading world expert within his own field of evolutionary genetics (though even there his narrowness is limiting) but science overall has far more to explain and take into account, and above all the great movements of history and the forms they are taking.

At present that means understanding how and why assorted adaptations of Islamic ideology have been seized hold of by revolutionary and insurgent groups to coordinate and carry their struggles and what material scientific factors lie behind such developments.

Dawkins’ “science” is disconnected, boxed off and compartmentalised, serving, when turned to political ends, the same near-fascist class war purposes as the racial purity theorisings and other bogus or misapplied science of the early twentieth century imperialist countries and their “justifications” for rapacious world exploitation, enslavement of colonialist peoples and eventually World War.

But least Dawkins is not pretending to be a revolutionary.

Similar foulness in suitably modified pseudo-Marxist form from the fake-“lefts” is a million miles from the living dialectical scientific understanding of the great class movements in history and the revolutionary necessities it identifies.

The “analysis” that Islamism has a fixed nature and that that nature is “reactionary” is the purest idealism, the philosophy of the ruling class that asserts that the world is driven by the ideas in men’s heads, that history is made by “great people” and that those who succeed and accumulate the wealth and power in the world do so not because of background, inheritance and privilege (or very rare good luck) but because they are allegedly “more intelligent” or “more motivated” or “cleverer” or simply “superior” to the “plebs and peasants”.

The latest repellent Tory prognostications declaring that “intelligence is genetic” and therefore there is no point in trying to educate many of the “lower orders”, as put forwards by Education Minister Michael Gove’s senior adviser this week, is the latest overt contempt to be expressed, part of the class war viciousness to “justify” the cuts and austerity being imposed as the Slump continues to rush on.

This echo of Victorian ruling class elitism says that class rule and exploitation is the “natural way of things”, declaring that it is hopeless and pointless to fight against it.

But Marxist science declares that the ideologies and ideas in men’s (and women’s) heads are the result of, and reflection of, the material reality of existence and above all the movement and contradictions of human society and the exploited and exploiting classes it is currently divided into.

Of course there are genetic differences among humans and neither Marx, Engels or the Bolsheviks ever claimed differently; it is only when everyone has the chance to full development which only socialist opportunity will give, that full expression of those differences will be realised.

Then those who can will contribute the most to society and willingly so. “From each according to his capacities: to each according to his needs” is the principle long ago formulated by Marxism as the watchword of fully developed communist society.

But success and achievement in capitalist society is almost exclusively down to limited opportunities and privilege, which suppresses and smothers the natural differences in humans leaving most of them as robotic wage slaves if they are lucky or rotting on the dole if not (if they are not sanctioned off the dole anyway).

Why otherwise would the ruling class spend so much to make sure their own offspring get the giant leg-ups that they do, from hugely expensive education, comfortable material conditions, freedom from the chaos and worry of poverty, bad housing and limited opportunities, with financial security and social connections (from an early age) into the best jobs and professions, no matter how thick they are by “blood inheritance”? Extraordinary stupidity never stopped anyone from the ruling class getting on.

Such “social mobility” as was tolerated in the post-war years, when the upheavals of the victory over Nazism (by the communist Soviet Union) forced the ruling class everywhere into retreat and to make reform concessions to head off the revolutionary mood (sparking the explosion of creativity and invention of the 1960s as working class talent came through), is now being smothered, unaffordable as Depression conditions imminently return.

Only a few isolated cases of working class talent are fostered and allowed through the net of class privilege, if it serves the needs of the rich for skills or entertainment (eg highly paid football stars, singers, particularly adept technicians etc).

The most privileged of all do not do anything at all except “own” vast amounts – they even employ other people across the board to “manage” that wealth anyway however clever or ruthless they are, and are total indolent parasites on society.

Damning the Islamist fighter for what is in their heads is another form of the same idealism which takes all attention away from the material movements of the crisis and the ruling class’s neo-colonialist control and exploitation of the world and its drive to war as the crisis deepens.

Even some bourgeois journalists can do better, like the left liberal John Pilger who can at least see how these movements have been created by the rapacity of imperialist world exploitation:

The al-Shabaab shopping mall killers came from Somalia. If any country is an imperial metaphor, it is Somalia. Sharing a language and religion, Somalis have been divided between the British, French, Italians and Ethiopians. Tens of thousands of people have been handed from one power to another. “When they are made to hate each other,” wrote a British colonial official, “good governance is assured.”

Today Somalia is a theme park of brutal, artificial divisions, long impoverished by World Bank and IMF “structural adjustment” programmes, and saturated with modern weapons – notably President Obama’s personal favourite, the drone. The one stable Somali government, the Islamic Courts, was “well received by the people in the areas it controlled”, reported the US Congressional Research Service, “[but] received negative press coverage, especially in the west”. Obama crushed it; and last January Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, presented her man to the world. “Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States government,” effused President Hassan Mohamud. “Thank you, America.”

The shopping mall atrocity was a response to this – just as the Twin Towers attack and the London bombings were explicit reactions to invasion and injustice. Once of little consequence, jihadism now marches in lockstep with the return of unfettered imperialism.

Since Nato reduced modern Libya to a Hobbesian state in 2011, the last obstacles to Africa have fallen. “Scrambles for energy, minerals and fertile land are likely to occur with increasingly intensity,” report Ministry of Defence planners. As “high numbers of civilian casualties” are predicted, “perceptions of moral legitimacy will be important for success”. Sensitive to the PR problem of invading a continent, the arms mammoth BAE Systems, together with Barclays Capital and BP, warns that “the government should define its international mission as managing risks on behalf of British citizens”. The cynicism is lethal. British governments are repeatedly warned, not least by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, that foreign adventures beckon retaliation at home.

With minimal media interest, the US African Command (Africom) has deployed troops to 35 African countries, establishing a familiar network of authoritarian supplicants eager for bribes and armaments. In war games a “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. The British did this in India. It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite – whose “historic mission”, warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the subjugation of their own people in the cause of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged”. The reference also fits the son of Africa in the White House.

For Obama, there is a more pressing cause – China. Africa is China’s success story. Where the Americans bring drones, the Chinese build roads, bridges and dams. What the Chinese want is resources, especially fossil fuels. Nato’s bombing of Libya drove out 30,000 Chinese oil industry workers. More than jihadism or Iran, China is Washington’s obsession in Africa and beyond. This is a “policy” known as the “pivot to Asia”, whose threat of world war may be as great as any in the modern era.

This week’s meeting in Tokyo between John Kerry, the US secretary of state, Chuck Hagel, the defence secretary, and their Japanese counterparts accelerated the prospect of war. Sixty per cent of US naval forces are to be based in Asia by 2020, aimed at China. Japan is re-arming rapidly under the rightwing government of Shinzo Abe, who came to power in December with a pledge to build a “new, strong military” and circumvent the “peace constitution”.

A US-Japanese anti-ballistic-missile system near Kyoto is directed at China. Using long-range Global Hawk drones the US has sharply increased its provocations in the East China and South China seas, where Japan and China dispute the ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Both countries now deploy advanced vertical take-off aircraft in Japan in preparation for a blitzkrieg.

On the Pacific island of Guam, from where B-52s attacked Vietnam, the biggest military buildup since the Indochina wars includes 9,000 US marines. In Australia this week an arms fair and military jamboree that diverted much of Sydney is in keeping with a government propaganda campaign to justify an unprecedented US military build-up from Perth to Darwin, aimed at China. The vast US base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs is, as Edward Snowden disclosed, a hub of US spying in the region and beyond; it is also critical to Obama’s worldwide assassinations by drone.

Excellent though Pilger’s journalism can often be, and is here, it still does not give a full picture of the need to built a revolutionary understanding: like Wikileaks boss Julian Assange and others, his philosophy relies on the notion that if enough whistleblowing is done and exposés are made, the world will eventually be shamed into change somehow.

This moral stance does not see the necessity for the dictatorship of the proletariat nor grasp the full significance of the epochal collapse in capitalism which is driving the warmongering.

A crucial point make about the “pivot to Asia” for example is that it is driven not simply by rivalry to seize resources in Africa or elsewhere but by the overproduction crisis of capitalism and the desperate battle for markets that is intensifying daily.

The cutthroat trade war conditions caused by the anarchic expansion of production driven by capitalism’s necessity to make a profit at all costs (or be driven under by rivals) are the underlying cause of the military build-up and are directed at China first and foremost because of the stunning success of the Chinese revisionist workers state in “learning to trade” as Lenin once put it, and outdoing capitalism at its own game.

Mixed with that economic rivalry is the hatred of communism, which China continues to develop, despite its dire revisionist record, directing and controlling the overall development according to a socialist plan.

There are huge dangers in using the capitalist economic methods to develop a backward economy – as China has done since its “opening up” in the late 1980s - particularly from the stimulus it gives to petty bourgeois and even big bourgeois political and philosophical pressure within society.

These would be hard to control even were the Chinese workers state to have a completely Leninist grasp, sufficient to ensure constant education of and polemic with the masses on revolutionary perspectives, so that they could understand the contradictions of allowing capitalist production to develop while trying to continue developing socialism.

Lenin explained these questions when the Soviet Union adopted the New Economic Policy.

However China is as woodenly revisionist as any of the rest of the Third International, neither encouraging such Leninist debate, nor offering any really sound leadership at all, at home or on international questions, with not a peep heard to help the international working class even though Beijing is one of the most significant voices on the planet, speaking for over 1200 million people and the revolution they made in 1949, the legacy of which continues.

Instead, dire “don’t rock the boat” peaceful coexistence opportunism prevails which frequently capitulates to imperialist pressure, (as it did over Libya for example when Beijing voted to impose sanctions against Gaddafi and later on made no efforts to block the NATO-Nazi invasion, simply abstaining on the “no fly zone” vote in the United Nations Security Council when it could have vetoed this legal figleaf for imperialist blitzkrieg).

But despite its substantial revisionist flaws China is not just another imperialist power which happens to use “nicer methods” as Pilger implies – it is precisely because it is a workers state that its completely valid influence-building and trading – (why should a socialist state not trade?) – in Africa is different in quality and approach to monopoly capitalism’s brutal colonialism and neo-colonialism.

It also needs to be said that the buildup of military force by Japan mentioned above is a double edged sword for US imperialism, for all that it appears to be part of an anti-Chinese alliance.

The huge Japanese monopoly-capitalist economic power is as beset by the crisis as any – more so if anything since the rest of the major capitalist powers were able to turn some of the earlier manifestations of the steadily accumulating world economic crisis onto Japan and south-east Asia in the late 1990s, forcing the currency meltdowns in Thailand, Korea and Indonesia (which all fall into the economic orbit of Japanese capital export primarily) and the collapse in Japanese banks and long stagnation which has followed for nearly two decades (a trailer for the overall crisis of 2007-8).

The newly aggressive printing of Yen, a version of Quantitative Easing, is part of the overall world trade and currency war conflicts, and hits back directly at the major capitalist rivals like the US, and Europe by cheapening Japanese exports.

As in the 1930s, the seeming buildup of anti-communist hostility could rapidly swing round into something else – tensions between the major imperialist producers are growing continuously.

The complexities of all this are brain-bending to understand, and the more so when treading an international diplomatic tightrope in the rapidly degenerating world crisis as China has to, but not even a hint of an attempt to grasp them emerges in the either Beijing’s political leadership nor any of the fake-“lefts”.

That is not what Leninism has to do – that is not Marxism.

Trotskyist defeatist shallowness meanwhile simply writes-off China as supposedly “gone back to capitalism” even though it mysteriously retains all the forms of a workers state, including over-arching control of the economy; has a gigantic Communist Party in power; has not seen any counter-revolutionary upheaval (and in fact saw off the Tian an Men counter-revolutionary provocations in 1989 which West tried to provoke alongside the fall of the Berlin Wall); – and the Western propaganda war about “totalitarianism” continues day and night (even while the likes of Cameron are simultaneously smarming around China in bankrupt desperation).

The equally dire Stalinists make no answer to that hate-filled gibberish except simply do more of their “can’t hear you” fingers-in-the-ears ignoring of any problems, ludicrously describing China’s supposedly “steadfast position” on the Middle East for example and pretending not to notice its craven diplomatic rowing in with imperialism.

Nothing but eulogistic gush emerges, along with sycophantic reports “hailing the glorious leaders of the people of China etc etc” during yet more lavishly paid for “fraternal visits” to Beijing.

The question of “terrorism” is precisely one of the major questions to raise since Beijing revisionism (and tragically Havana’s revisionism too) subscribes to the “all terrorism should be condemned” chorus.

Havana at least correctly points the finger at the US as the world’s leading terrorist while damning “all terrorism” (presumably including the fightback of the Palestinians and the military guerrilla war actions of the Umkhonto we Sizwe in South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle that the Cubans themselves heroically joined in????) but Beijing has even gone along with the idea of a “war on terror” to the extent of participating in some joint actions with the US.

The greatest defence of the Chinese or other still existing workers states is to take up the revisionist philosophical weaknesses and retreats, including on this question. It is also a critical issue for rebuilding the scientific understanding that can better lead the bitter and desperate struggles of the Third World growing everywhere:

If so-called ‘terrorism’ is truly an ‘intolerable appalling horror’ as the CPGB and other fake-’lefts’ have described it, then all their ‘objections’ to the USA’s retaliatory butchery are more worthless than the silliest social-pacifist ‘No to war’ bleating which is unsurprisingly gaining so little public support so far in the West that is effective.

If ‘indiscriminate terror’ really is so indigestibly frightening to delicate Western sensitivities, then the fake-’left’ pretences of objecting to ‘indiscriminate Western reaction’ as being ‘no better than what it is fighting’; or to ‘bombing mass-punishment’ when ‘only’ a ‘police action and an international court of justice are called for’; or to ‘any violent imperialist response of any kind’, - carry no conviction whatever.

Such fake-’left’ condemnation of ‘terrorism’ is on a par with fake-’lefts’ in World War I who could not see the correct Marxist philosophy of the Bolshevik slogan for Russia to be defeated. This would mean approving of the colonial-imperialist military aggression of Kaiser Germany, they claimed.

Lenin dismissed this nonsense in arguments...which apply to today’s fake-’lefts’ who feel obliged to denounce the “terrorist massacre of innocent workers in New York” while pretending to still be for the ‘revolutionary defeat of imperialism’.

In both cases, in the final analysis, it means a retreat from really wanting the defeat of one’s own imperialist ruling class.

If particular disasters likely to befall a hated world-domination imperialist system are to be ‘condemned’ in line with general bourgeois ‘shock horror’ propaganda, then the pretence of nevertheless still being in favour of ‘all-out class war’ is just hypocritical posturing, because of refusing to take advantage of all the difficulties the system is facing in order to overthrow it, - as Lenin explains. [EPSR1109 23-10-01]

Not only do such hand-washing objections invalidate fake-"left" “No to War” protests against imperialist warmongering and blitzkrieging, in many cases they actually end up justifying PRO-imperialist positions arguing for the brutalities and fascist suppressions of the imperialists’ worldwide manipulations and bullyings.

On the Middle East this moralising condemnation or the elaborate conspiracy theorising is producing the most disgusting capitulations yet by the fake-“lefts”.

Some have pitched in with capitalism’s foul provocations against Syria because of the shallow notions of “fighting for democracy” against an alleged “dictatorship”, completely ignoring the deluge of evidence of Western training, intervention, arms supplies to the “rebels” etc.

But the likes of Lalkar/Proletarian who can at least see the imperialist hand in the attacks on Syria, get themselves into even worse tangles because of their mechanical Stalinist approach of not only supporting the Assad regime but pompously declaring it to be the “duty of all revolutionaries” to support the Damascus leadership.

Leninism says no such thing.

The defeat of the imperialist plotting is the overwhelming aim; the way it happens is secondary.

But if the obvious likelihood of that being by the Syrian army (plus Hezbollah) is clear, it in no way implies direct support for Assad.

Just the opposite, the working class of Syria and the rest of the world needs to build the revolutionary struggle to end capitalism and supporting Assad’s ineffectual bourgeois nationalism not only will not and cannot advance that cause but is essentially an obstacle to it.

Now is not the moment to fight Assad while the main monopoly capitalist enemy is attacking but neither is it the time to support the Ba’athists.

This Stalinist stupidity leads to even fouler consequences, with Lalkar/Proletarian woodenly denouncing the fundamentalists who have been drawn into the sectarian conflicts stirred up in Syria and as a result cheering on the bloody and barbaric coup in Egypt as an alleged “major achievement for the progressive forces”.

The fact that this “progressive force” has barbarically killed thousands is light-mindedly dismissed as either “Western media propaganda” despite very clear and well witnessed and videoed accounts of innocents short down (in complete contrast to the specious allegations and “could not be confirmed” alleged atrocity reports used to stir up the Syrian and Libyan counter-revolutionary revolts) or dismissed with the cynical phrase

“whatever may be thought of the subtlety of the means adopted by the army”

as if the bloody mayhem is par for the course for revolutionary communists.

The capitalist press has attempted to demonise the Muslim Brotherhood with accounts from some isolated incidents where it has fought back after the violent overthrow of the presidency, all dutifully reported by Lalkar.

But this further “condemnation of terror” is simply another desperate attempt to justify the obvious massacring atrocities of the pro-imperialist Mubarak army.

The excuse offered by this monstrous Lalkar/Proletarian opportunism (to be analysed further) for the glaringly clear reality the fact that the reactionary Mubarak army and forces have retaken control, is to lamely suggest that in the 18 months since 2011 “the army has radically altered” so that even though

there is no disputing that the Egyptian army has in many cases revealed itself to be a tool of reaction not least in its collaboration with Israel”

somehow, with all the same generals and command in place, it is now “progressively revolutionary”.

The spontaneous transformation of a stooge imperialist state force into socialism – is a level of revisionism of Marxism that makes all past revisionism look amateurish – because it is not Marxism at all but craven sophistry.

Even the capitalist press, a usually willing tool of imperialist propaganda lies, finds that hard to swallow, as the torture and killing continues:

Hundreds of Muslim Brother-hood supporters chanted “Down with the military government” outside Cairo University on Tuesday, defying Egypt’s army-backed authorities despite deadly clashes with security forces two days earlier.

Supporters of the deposed president Mohamed Morsi had urged university students to protest against the army after the violence on Sunday, one of Egypt’s bloodiest days since the military ousted the Islamist leader on 3 July.

The death toll from Sunday’s unrest rose to 57, state media said, with 391 people wounded.

The Muslim Brotherhood has accused the army of staging a coup and working with security forces to eliminate the group through violence and arrests, allegations the military denies.

“We are here standing against the coup,” said Enas Madkour, a 19-year-old fine arts student at the march near Cairo University, where security forces had parked two tanks and blocked the main road with barbed wire.

“I’m against Morsi but I’m not for people killing others and I’m not for the military government we have now,” said Madkour, who wore a headscarf, as most Muslim women do in Egypt.

Security forces detained 35 people in the area, security sources said.

News that Washington has suspended most of its aid to Egypt, a land in the grip of a dictatorship as brutal as anything the country has experienced in recent history, is welcome and long overdue. Up to 2,000 people have been killed since President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in July, and the death toll grows by the week. Last Sunday alone, 57 people were killed. The violence is not one-way. Coptic churches as well as mosques have been burned, and there are now drive-by shootings of soldiers.

Barack Obama’s reluctance to call the coup what it really was revolved around the funding for the Camp David agreement. Israel has opposed cutting off aid, fearing that the Egyptian army would scale back its operations in the Sinai. Even though the 1967 agreement largely demilitarised the peninsula, it is now shorthand for close military co-operation between Egypt and Israel.

With the announcement, the Obama administration thinks it has found a way around this elephant trap: cutting a large part of aid to the military, including tanks, fighter jets and Apache helicopters, but keeping counter-intelligence aid in the Sinai. This means that Egypt will no longer be among the largest recipients of US aid for as long this military crackdown continues.

And it surely will continue. Far from heeding calls to release the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood from prison, on Wednesday the Orwellian-named minister of social solidarity officially disbanded Egypt’s largest NGO. It was also announced that Mr Morsi will stand trial with 14 others for inciting the killing of protesters outside his presidential palace in December last year. This is turning what happened outside the palace on its head. The Brotherhood claimed that most of the dead were its supporters, and the names it released were confirmed by the Ministry of Health.

As significant as the killings, the numbers of Egyptians leaving the country, and the recognition by many of those who opposed Mr Morsi – including Mohamed ElBaradei – that the country is heading towards fascism, is the language of hatred that has become official currency. The country is being split into loyalists and traitors. Opponents are branded as non-Egyptians. In a video, the former mufti of Egypt, Ali Gom’ah, said to an audience comprising General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and assembled police chiefs: “Shoot [with live bullets] in full [power]. We must cleanse our city and our Egypt from these hooligans. They do not deserve our Egyptian [identity].”

Try as he might, General Sisi cannot contain the continued protest against his takeover. Egypt is locked down and its economy is haemorrhaging.

The token US aid cuts lauded by the editorial piece are a long way from the starvation sanctions, or all-out NATO blitzings imposed on the likes of Libya, Zimbabwe, Syria, Iraq Iran and assorted other demonised “rogue” states, and come only because the fascist barbarity of the coup is so obvious that it threatens to undermine even the shreds of “democracy” pretence that imperialism still gets some mileage from (not least from the revisionist illusions in permanent peaceful coexistence and “the peace struggle” and the “democratic road” which it has undermined world communist revolutionary perspectives with for six decades).

But it continues to support the generals.

The museum Stalinist simply ignore such clues about the class forces at work in their determination to stick with their wooden “reactionary ideology” theories, ludicrously declaring the Muslim Brotherhood to be just tools of imperialism.

Of course the Muslim Brotherhood is not Marxism and its ideology is hostile to it. It was seen a useful stopgap for capitalism to hold back the 2011 spontaneous revolts which threatened to develop into a deeper revolutionary struggle if the masses could overcome the philistinism of the “no leaders” anarchists and limited “democracy” demands which swirled around initially.

The same was tried in 1979 when the Ayatollah Khomeini was “generously” flown into a seething Iran after the huge street revolt which overturned the reactionary Shah, to plug a vacuum that communism might fill. But it was always an unsatisfactory answer, creating a thorn in the side for imperialism ever since.

So in Cairo, once the momentum had gone from the street movement, one wing of imperialism judged that the Brotherhood could be dispensed with, and the stooge reactionary fascist torturing bureaucracy and army be re-instated – despite doubts by leading reactionaries like republican John McCain, that having spent so much trouble establishing a “democracy” pretence it should not be torn up.

But the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood is just some “alternative stooge put in by Washington” is wooden thinking gone loopy.

Lalkar/Proletarian now backs this up with pure LIES to sustain the tangles it has got into, alleging the Brotherhood was a stooge to carry out imperialism’s wishes over the economy, the deals with Zionism, etc and that the July coup will overcome these alleged collusions.

So how does it explain the outspoken welcome from Zionism given to the re-instatement of the military? Or the renewed clampdown against Palestinians in the Gaza strip?

How does it explain its own support for Hamas (another “duty” of revolutionaries it is declared) which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which also has opposed Assad in Syria and supported the rebellion?

Meantime in the real world:

Steep price rises, unpaid salaries and layoffs – the consequences of the new Egyptian regime’s antipathy towards Hamas – have been painfully felt by the Gaza Strip.

“A kilo of tomatoes used to be one shekel [17p]; now it is five shekels. Most prices have gone up 50 – 60%,” said Hilis. “Why? Because of the costs of transportation, because there is no power to pump water to the fields, because there is no water. So people buy less.” As a result, his wages have slumped from 30 – 20 shekels a day, playing its small part in propelling the downward spiral of Gaza’s economy.

Six years after Israel imposed a stranglehold on Gaza as a punitive measure against the Hamas government, the strip of land along the Mediterranean is facing a new chokepoint from the south. After the Egyptian military forced President Mohamed Morsi out of office in July amid a brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, the army embarked on a drive to regain control of the anarchic Sinai peninsula, isolate the Brotherhood’s allies in neighbouring Gaza, and halt the traffic in goods, weapons and people through the tunnels under the border with the Palestinian territory.

According to the commander of Egypt’s border guards force, Major-General Ahmad Ibrahim, almost 800 tunnels have been destroyed by his troops this year. Hamas is coy about the number of tunnels put out of action. But Hatem Owida, Gaza’s deputy economic minister, said activity had been reduced by 80-90% since the military takeover in Egypt.

The impact has been swift and harsh for the people of Gaza. The plentiful supply of cheap Egyptian fuel has almost dried up; fuel from Israel is both scarce and twice the price. The fuel crisis has meant Gaza’s daily power cuts now last up to eight hours. Prices of basic foodstuffs have risen, according to Owida: flour is up 9%; cooking oil 4 – 5%; and sugar 7%.

The flow of construction materials has also slowed to a trickle, reversing a building boom seen in Gaza in the last few years. As a result of the crisis, Israel has eased its tight restrictions on the import of cement, gravel and iron, but only about 25% of Gaza’s needs are being met and prices are around 30% higher. And on Sunday, Israel suspended delivery of construction materials following the discovery of a tunnel between Gaza and Israel, which it said was intended to be used to launch an attack.

...According to a paper produced by the economics ministry, $450m (£280m) was lost to the Gazan economy between mid-June and the end of August as a result of the tunnels closures. More than a quarter of a million jobs have been lost across all sectors, with construction, services, transport and storage, manufacturing and agriculture taking big hits. It is a massive blow to an economy which had been showing small signs of growth.

Now, the beleaguered and overcrowded Gaza Strip faces a new economic free fall. The Hamas government’s income has slumped, having lost nearly all its revenue from the taxes imposed on goods brought through the tunnels. “We cannot deny we are affected badly,” said Owida. “We’ve lost about 30% of our income.”

Around 47,000 government employees were paid only half their salaries for August, and had received nothing for September, although some payment was expected before the start of Eid.

The new regime in Cairo has also closed the Rafah crossing for long periods, the only exit from Gaza to Egypt. According to Gisha, an Israeli organisation that monitors the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, the number of people leaving through Rafah has fallen by 76% since July.

Although Israel has increased by 24% the much smaller number of permits it grants to exit through the Erez crossing at the northern end of the Gaza Strip, there are still thousands of Palestinians trapped in Gaza: patients unable to access medical treatment; students unable to take up university places; expatriate Gazans unable to return to jobs in the Gulf states and elsewhere.

Abu Assi, 25, was supposed to enrol at the University of Indianapolis by the 26 August for a masters in international relations, for which she had won a rare scholarship. On 7 October, the deadline for entry to the US detailed on her documentation, she was still in Gaza City, unable to leave either via Rafah or Erez.

“I blame Israel because they make our lives hell, and I blame Egypt for closing the Rafah border. They know there are students, patients, businessmen trapped here. People’s lives are not a game. They are collectively punishing us,” she said. “Every time you think things are getting better in Gaza, it gets worse again. ”...

The military takeover in Egypt, and the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, has had a significant political, as well as economic, impact. “Yes, it’s a blow to Hamas,” said Taher al-Nounou, an official in the Palestinian movement.

In the past two years, Hamas has loosened its ties with its former sponsors and allies – Iran, Syria and Hezbollah – while investing hope and expectation in the regional rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. The strategy now appears to have backfired.

“The isolation imposed on Hamas and the Gaza Strip is now even worse than in the summer of 2007,” said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University Gaza, referring to the period after Hamas took control of the Strip 18 months after winning elections. In an indication of the chill winds felt by the movement, Hamas leaders have largely gone to ground since the Egyptian coup, rarely travelling and making relatively few public appearances.

“The issue is not just about Egypt and Hamas; the whole region is now becoming more hostile to Islamists,” said Abusada. “Hamas looks at this as a new siege of Gaza. And people on the street are sick and tired of being kept in a cage. The situation here could be on the verge of collapse.”

Failure to see the objective crisis as the driving reality and imperialism as the sole enemy to focus on has got the Stalinists into a twisted tangle of contradictions and opportunism which is a mass of self-contradiction and simply wrong.

Time to build Leninism.

Don Hoskins



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World Socialist Review

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


A great general and a great Marxist revolutionary

Vietnam’s outstanding General Giap dies aged 102

Vi Nguyen Giap stands with Soviet Martial, Georgy Zhukov among the greatest figures of Marxist revolutionary struggle

General Giap of VietnamA press report from Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, notes that the legendary General Vi Nguyen Giap, one of the most eminent figures in Vietnamese history and a great friend of Cuba and revolutionary causes, died at the age of 102 on October 4.

Ge Luo means Volcano under the Snow; the name given by his compatriots to this exceptional man, who defeated the Japanese, then the French at Dien Bien Phu and, decades later, forced the U.S. army to flee from Saigon, thus completing the reunification of Vietnam.

His life is indissolubly linked to the struggle for national liberation, to the history of the training, growth and development of the Vietnam People’s Army. For his victories the French themselves nicknamed him the Red Napoleon.

Vo Nguyen Giap was one of so many sons and daughters of campesinos who became figures thanks to socialism, not without much personal sacrifice. In 1926 he became a member of student organizations involved in the underground struggle. He joined the Indochinese Communist Party (icp) and quickly grew close Ho Chi Minh, a personal friend.

At the end of 1941, Giap left for the Vietnamese mountains in order to create the first guerrilla groups. There he established an alliance with Chu Van Tan, the leader of Tho, one of the fighting formations created by a national minority in northeast Vietnam. At Christmas 1944 he captured a French military post, after having trained the first battalions of his armed forces.

By the middle of 1945 he already had 10,000 men under his command, and could move onto the offensive against the Japanese, who had invaded the country.

The French police arrested his wife and sister-in-law, using them as hostages to put pressure on Giap and force him to surrender. The repression was ferocious: his sister-in-law was guillotined and his wife sentenced to life imprisonment. She died in prison after three years as a result of torture. The French also killed his newborn son, his father, his two sisters and other family members.

But Giap was resolute. He defeated the French during the Dien Bien Phu campaign, which was the first great victory of a colonized and feudal people, with a primitive agricultural economy, against an experienced imperialist army sustained by a vigorous and modern military industry. The most eminent French generals (Leclerc, De Lattre de Tasigny, Juin, Ely, Sulan, Naverre) failed one after the other facing troops who were poor campesinos, but determined to fight to the death for their country and for socialism. Vietnam was divided and Giap was appointed Minister of Defense of the new government of North Vietnam which, while the people’s war continued, made every effort to build a new socialist society.

As the Commander of the new people’s army, Giap led the struggle in the Vietnam War against the U.S. invaders in the south of theGiap was central to the defeat of US imperialism country, a struggle which, once again, began as a guerilla war. The first U.S. soldiers died in Vietnam when, on July 8, 1959, the Vietcong attacked a military base at Bien Hoa, northeast of Saigon.

Four U.S. presidents, one after another, fought against Vietnam, leaving behind a bloody trail of 57,690 dead American troops. In 1975 the country was reunified, when a tank of the revolutionary army charged the protective barrier of the U.S. embassy, while the last imperialists fled precipitously in a helicopter from the roof of the building.

General Giap was not only a maestro in the art of directing revolutionary warfare, but also wrote a number of valuable books about it, such as his famous work People’s War, People’s Army, a manual on guerilla war based on his own experience. In the manual, he established three basic fundamentals which a people’s army must possess to attain victory in the struggle against imperialism: leadership, organization and strategy. The leadership of the Communist Party, an ironclad military discipline and a political line adapted to the country’s economic, social and political conditions.

Giap in recent yearsHe defined the people’s war as “a war of combat for the people and by the people, while the war of guerrillas is simply a method of combat. The people’s war is a more general concept. It is a synthesized concept. It is simultaneously military, economic and political.” The people’s war is not just made by an army, however popular this might be, but is one made by all the people because it is impossible for a revolutionary army, alone, to achieve victory against reaction. All of the people have to participate and help in a struggle, which necessarily, must be prolonged.”

As a good guerrilla fighter, Giap knew that military success, when there is such a large disproportion of forces, is based on initiative, audacity and surprise, which demands that a revolutionary army has to constantly displace itself. He stood out as a genius of logistics, capable of constantly mobilizing troop contingents, following the principles of the war of movement. He acted in this way against the French colonialists in 1951, infiltrating an entire army across enemy lines in the Mekong Delta and again by bringing forward the Tet offensive in 1968 against the U.S. forces, when he placed thousands of men and tons of provisions for a simultaneous attack on 35 strategic centers in the south.

Both his followers and adversaries considered Vo Nguyen Giap as one of the great military strategists of history.

Marcel Bigeard, the most decorated general in the French army, who was his prisoner, has said of the Vietnamese military chief: “Giap victoriously commanded his troops during more than 30 years. This constitutes an unprecedented feat (...) He extracted lessons from his errors and never repeated them”

William Westmoreland, commander in chief of the U.S. army in Vietnam and an adversary of Giap, stated that the qualities which make a great military chief are the aptitude to make decisions, moral strength, capacity for concentration, without forgetting the intelligence which unifies all of the foregoing. Giap possessed them all. (SE)


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