No1435 31 October 2013
Grangemouth closure bullying and gas profiteering show up ineffectual failure of Labour and official trade unionism and the failure of the fake–“left” to grasp the depth and significance of capitalist crisis. Economic disaster of 2008 is just the beginning of crisis collapse being pushed by class war onto workers backs in non-stop wage squeeze, social cuts and dole threats. The pretence that “upturn is on the way” from both Tories and Labour is a lying fraud to hold off the growing discontent and potentially revolutionary outbursts the coming Slump will provoke. Fake-“left” postures about saying “no to austerity” but does nothing to build the real revolutionary understanding. Even Russel Brand anarchism has more spirit but grasps nothing about the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat. The huge questions about what happened to the Soviet Union remain ignored but urgently need polemical debate. Build Leninism
The craven collapse of official trade union resistance to closure threat bullying at Grangemouth, hopeless “criticism” of the ruling class’s contemptuous fatcat giveaway sale of the Post Office, and calculatedly futile Labour promises of temporary “control” of the outrageous profiteering energy cartel price squeeze, further confirms the near universal contempt now felt by the working class for the TUC/Labourite reformists.
It also underlines the bankruptcy of the fake-“lefts” (who effectively go along with the same stuff).
Across the board the groups still limit themselves to “left pressure” protest, calls for more of the same old reformist “nationalisations” (lavishly “compensating” the capitalist fatcats) and “Stop the war”pacifism.
They are a million miles from explaining, and battling for, the revolutionary consciousness which more and more obviously needs building throughout the working class.
Even the motormouth anarchist gush of celebrity comedian Russell Brand has got more spirit to it, correctly denouncing the parliamentary “democracy” as the gigantic fraud and opportunist racket it is, and rightly declaring the need for total revolt against the monstrous injustice and degradation forced onto the working class, and ever more as crisis deepens.
Brand’s emotional and mystical confusions are a long way from grasping the vital materialist science of Leninist politics and leadership, at best doing no more than re-discovering the realities of class war identified by Marx and Engels 150 years ago, and at worst capitulating to the worst propaganda hostility of “anti-totalitarianism” and abstract “democracy” which fake-“lefts” pour out, (see his ludicrous guest-edited New Statesman “revolutionary” supplement gibberish assembling a roll call of well-known “left”-posing anti-communist intellectuals, like Naomi Klein and Naom Chomsky).
But at least he does declare that:-
politicians (are) frauds and liars and the current political system (is) nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites.”
Too true. And as the reactionary Zionist “left” commentator Nick Cohen went on apoplectically to say in the Observer, Brand also (correctly) thinks:
The democratic left is no better than the democratic right. Ed Miliband is as great a menace as David Cameron. Obama is the same as the Tea Party. Instead of corrupt democratic leaders, Brand wants a “total revolution of consciousness and [of] our entire social, political and economic system” to stop the despoliation of the planet and allow the redistribution of wealth.
Brand, and similar “Occupy” style anti-capitalist anarchism has no idea how such a revolution should be carried through, and is brought up short by, or is utterly hostile to, questions posing the need for working class forceful authority (the dictatorship of the proletariat).
But those who are supposed to give leadership on these questions are even more philistine, like the 57 varieties of self-assessed “revolutionary left” groups.
Workers get only the shallowest and most tepid calls for “resistance”, if anything at all, behind ineffectual and misleading “no to cuts, no to war” sloganising from this fake-“left”, whether Stalinist or Trotskyist flavour.
The following piece, admittedly hamstrung because it is a commentary in the capitalist press, is typical of the hand-wringing moaning and soft-brained nonsense which revisionist abandonment of any kind of revolutionary politics long ago brought “left” leadership to:
October has been the month when the monopolies, City hedge funds and foreign-owned cartels put the record straight. It’s they who are calling the shots.
In the past week, a Swiss-based tax exile announced the closure of the Grangemouth petrochemicals plant, a crucial slice of industrial Scotland, after provoking a dispute with his workforce. Threatened with the loss of 800 jobs, they signed up for cuts in real pay and pensions.
Naturally, the employer claimed to be losing money (despite having made £1.7bn last year), while the media blamed the union. In fact it was a textbook lockout and display of corporate power by Britain’s largest private company – a strategic and once publicly owned complex supplying 85% of Scotland’s petrol, left to be run on the whim of a billionaire.
But that is mere bagatelle compared with the defiance of the energy privateers. Ever since Ed Miliband forced electricity and gas profiteering into political focus by pledging a price freeze, the monopolists have outdone themselves. Squealing that such interference threatened power cuts, one after another has taken the opportunity to jack up prices still further.
Four of the “big six” cartel, which controls 98% of electricity supply, have now increased prices by over 9% – blaming green levies and global costs – while wholesale prices have risen 1.7% in the past year and profit per “customer” has doubled.
Thousands of old people will certainly die this winter as a result of the corporate stitch-up that is called a regulated market – designed in large part by the same John Major who last week called for the introduction of a windfall tax on energy profits.
Meanwhile, David Cameron’s coalition has signed a private finance initiative-style deal with one of the cartel, EDF, and two Chinese companies – all three state-owned, but by other states – to build a new nuclear reactor which will guarantee electricity prices at almost double their current level for the next 35 years.
As if all that wasn’t grotesque enough, most of profitable Royal Mail has now been privatised by the supposedly dissident Vince Cable. The current loss to the “taxpayer” from selling shares below their market value is upwards of £1.3bn – more than the government’s entire planned savings from benefit cuts in 2013-14. And its biggest shareholder is now the hedge fund TCI.
Within days, the Co-operative Bank had also fallen prey to US hedge funds, as Conservative ministers put out to tender the country’s most successful rail service, the publicly owned east coast mainline. Never mind its reliability, value-for-money, popularity and the £208m dividend payment to the public purse. Privatisation dogma is undisturbed by evidence.
But then privatised water companies are planning to increase prices by 40% by 2020; Simon Stevens, an executive for the US private health firm United Health, now bidding for NHS contracts, has been put in charge of the NHS in England; and the security firms, G4S and Serco, are allowed to bid for a share of the probation service despite fraud investigations into existing deals.
It should be obvious that powerful interests are driving what is by any objective measure a failed 30-year experiment – but which transfers income and wealth from workforce, public and state to the corporate sector. In the case of privatised utilities, that is the extraction of shareholder value on a vast scale from a captive public.
What’s needed from utilities are security of supply, operation in the public interest, long-term planning and cost effectiveness without profiteering. The existing privatised utilities have failed on all counts.
The case for public ownership of basic utilities and services – including electricity, gas, water and communications infrastructure – is overwhelming. It’s also supported by a large majority of the country’s voters. But it’s taboo in the political mainstream.
Given the unhinged media response even to Miliband’s call for an energy price freeze, perhaps that’s not surprising. His party is arguing for tougher regulation of the energy market. That’s welcome, but it’s not going to solve the problems created by allowing private companies to profit from natural monopolies.
You can’t control what you don’t own. Regulators become the prisoners of the regulated. And as the liberal Joseph Chamberlain demonstrated in 19th century Birmingham, publicly owned utilities can be a valuable source of non-tax public income too.
Labour’s refusal to commit so far even to bring back rail franchises into public ownership as they come up for renewal – which would cost nothing – shows the problem is political, not practical. Why, you might wonder, is it acceptable to hand basic services to state-owned companies, so long as they’re owned by foreign states?
The answer is because it’s a commercial relationship, not one of democratic accountability. There are any number of models of social ownership, including local and mutual, that could bring Britain’s utilities back into the public realm. In energy, for example, it could start with a single firm or power generation alone.
However, the costs of privatisation have created a powerful counter-momentum in Europe (and even more so in Latin America) to bring services, resources and utilities back into the public sector: water in France, power in Germany, and transport in Britain (Newcastle is currently attempting to take back bus routes). In September, the people of Hamburg voted to bring back the power supply into municipal ownership. Berlin is set to follow suit this coming Sunday.
Privatisation is a failed and corrosive model. In Britain, it has combined with a determination to put up any asset up for sale to hollow out the country’s industrial base to disastrous effect. If Britain is to have a sustained recovery, it needs a genuinely mixed economy. The political and corporate elite have run out of excuses.
“Sustained recovery” and a “mixed economy” after “overcoming a failed 30 year long experiment”!!!
The notion that somehow “things were on the right path” until Thatcher came along (more or less the same thing as the “new Jerusalem” nostalgia for the post-war Labourite period promulgated by the Trotskyist dominated “Left Unity”) is the direst part of the piece above. It tries to tie the working class back into the always misleading and disarming reformist horseshyte that crippled and corrupted their revolutionary instincts for nearly two hundred years with imperialist super-profit-funded “gains” like the NHS etc, instead of warning the working class that such “benefits” (humiliatingly petty crumbs from the super-rich ruling class table as they are anyway) were transient and temporary, paid out simply to keep the class struggle pacified.
This stream of dire nonsense even begins by declaring that the “monopolies are in charge” as if it is some profound new revelation instead of the Marxist understanding of more than a century of revolutionary science.
That science, long ago, was clear that there is only one “model of public ownership” and that is through total seizure of the finance houses, industries and agriculture by the working class, taking everything into common ownership.
The class war devastation wrecking lives and livelihoods everywhere has to be fought with the firmest possible understanding of the need for revolutionary overturn of the capitalist system which is in spiralling collapse and failure on scale never before seen in history.
There is no “stopping austerity”.
The entire world private profit making system has hit a brick wall of catastrophic crisis failure which cannot be reversed or made better despite the pretences of “renewed economic growth” pulled out of the hat by insane Quantitative Easing fantasy credit creation temporarily.
The glaringly obvious conclusion that should be drawn is that not only will “they” go on like this but “they” – the ruling class – have to go on like this, driving up the rate of exploitation by which they cream off their lush lifestyles, or else leave the stage quietly and hand the world over to socialist planned rationality to build a fair and cooperative human society, which actually delights in working for each other and achieving ever greater human understanding.
Pigs are not about to fly, and no ruling class ever willingly abrogated power, nor even comprehended that a world could exist in which it did not have total control and the “rights” of the mighty.
Grangemouth and everything else underline that the only way out is a gigantic historic class war to completely end capitalism, which is sliding all the way into devastating Depression, trade war hostility and outright conflict whatever laughable claims are made about “upturns”, the lying pretence which the Labourites promulgate as much as the cynical ruling class Tories to cover up the truth about the intractable and unstoppable catastrophic and epochal meltdown.
The completely supine union cave-in in Scotland (complete with hand wringing “what can you do?” excuses by Unite leader McCluskey) and the utter silence of the Labourites on the bullying viciousness of the Ineos corporate owners (just like all the rest of capitalist corporations) only go to confirm the diagnosis as does the openly declared readiness of the Labourites to go along with the inhumane savagery of yet further intensified Victorian Poor Law welfare “sternness” against the most hard pressed or unemployed in the working class.
None of the “lefts” come remotely near explaining to the working class that such devastating class war viciousness, tearing up all the supposed “gains” of the past decades are just the beginning of the slump crisis impositions to be forced on them which must massively increase the exploitation which makes the ruling class’s profit if it is to survive in the deadly battle against all the major capitalist rivals for markets and resources which the world monopoly capitalist system has once more produced.
The working class do not simply face the “£1000 cut on average wages”, which the Labourites have declared to be the case in the last three years, (as usual substituting a superficial description of injustice for any kind of explanation or leadership about how to challenge the viciousness being imposed on them,) but face having their wages and working conditions relentlessly pushed downwards towards the levels of exploitation that have prevailed in the Third World.
“But how can you resist closure threats” is a valid question for Grangemouth, and individual workers and families facing total devastation may feel powerless against the bullying savagery of the capital wielded by billionaires like Grangemouth petrochemicals plant owner Jim Ratcliffe and capitalist corporations in general.
In individual circumstances like this within an overall context of a world capitalist system, where finance is switched around from country to country, the answer is possibly you cannot always resist in isolation, and cannot survive by the old trade union class collaboration, which is why such battles underline the urgent need for a much deeper and broader perspective of overall revolutionary struggle.
Occupation, strikes blockades and a hundred other tactics that the working class long ago perfected, and dozens more its inventiveness will come up with, can all be raised once they are understood as part of a battle to develop a revolutionary movement and the revolutionary science that alone can lead the working class to completely overturn the private ownership of the means of production and the capitalist class that “owns” it and establish a new kind of class rule.
Tactically, at any stage particular workers’ struggles may need to make retreats or duck and weave, and that remains the case even if they have the broadest and clearest understanding.
But without a revolutionary perspective they remain completely vulnerable to the next wave of Slump devastation, and learn none of the lessons vital to broadening and building the overall struggle.
It is a complete betrayal to tell the working class that a deal has “saved” its jobs despite “some sacrifices”.
Like everyone else they firstly have had wages cut and their pensions stolen for the profit of private individuals and shareholders and some have lost their jobs completely.
But the real betrayal by the trade unions, Labour and the “lefts” is the failure to spell out the true nature of the capitalist crisis and the only possible solution there can be to it, revolution.
Everywhere “sacrifices” like these are relentlessly accumulating throughout the working class in hundreds of thousands of devastated lives, blighted families, stress and desperation at trying to make ends meet, with more and more thrown into the vicious and barren no-mans-land of unemployment or poverty level wages, hounded and harried by a small-minded bureaucracy deliberately imposing petty regulation and increasingly pointless claims hurdles and conditions to sustain an atmosphere of vicious uncertainty and bullying and fear. The soup kitchen humiliations, “sanctions” penalties and bread-line poverty which make life as difficult and degrading as possible are not the “bad consequences” of “mistaken policies” but deliberate near-fascist intimidation to install fear and compliance into the whole working class, and stifle its rebelliousness and fighting spirit.
It was Karl Marx long ago who pointed to this deliberately maintained “reserve army” of the unemployed as a key feature of capitalist “discipline” and exploitation, a permanent source of cheap labour replacements for anyone too “uppity” and a dire warning of what awaited those in work if they fought back.
This non-stop tyranny can only continue increasing dramatically because of the catastrophic, grand, epochal failure of the private profit system (doomed and soon, whatever temporary sleight-of-hand pretences are made of “recovery and revival”.)
The bitter realities of the unrolling Slump disaster are daily teaching the harsh lesson that there is no way out of Slump deprivation and despair (and onrushing war chaos) except by the all-out upheavals of total revolt, to seize the world’s resources, agriculture and production facilities into public ownership, taking it from the tiny minority of “owners”, so that rational planned socialist production can be set in motion, the only way to sort out the financial, ecological, social and horrifying war disasters created by the ruthless drive for private profit.
But as both historical experience and objective revolutionary science make clear, that can only be done by a philosophically disciplined and determined working class, led by a sufficiently large organised vanguard able to take power against the existing and ever more obviously fascist suppressions imposed by the capitalist class (and rapidly degenerating into more and more overt war and torture fascism daily).
Once in power the same revolutionary movement needs to hold it, with the firmest class dictatorship against all future counter-revolution to subvert and sabotage socialist construction, the inevitable violent attempts of the bourgeoisie to restore minority rule by private capital.
Only as all remnants of the old capitalist order fade away and a new socialist world is constructed under the dictatorship of the proletariat (a dictatorship for the first time ever in the interests of the great majority - “the 99 percent”) can that discipline be relaxed, or more accurately speaking, become the self-discipline and self-understanding of more and more humans, until coercion and rule even of the majority is no longer necessary.
But to get that communist future is possible only by the leadership of party of deliberate scientific clarity, constantly fighting for revolutionary understanding, a key part of which is to understand what has already been achieved in the advances of the workers states and the anti-imperialist struggles of the twentieth century (starting with 70 years of the USSR) while arguing out and clarifying what their mistakes were, not by ignoring them as the Stalinist do, nor by joining the capitalist anti-communist sneering and hatred as the Trotskyists do, but gaining an understanding for renewed struggles and workers state building on a sounder philosophical basis.
But so far has the whole spectrum of the fake-“left” retreated from and evaded the open polemical battling and political struggle to clarify these vital questions (the great “communism failed” myth promulgated by capitalism, which is the biggest problem facing workers everywhere) that they barely even mention revolution (at least at all seriously), even as the catastrophic world collapse unravels ever more.
Far greater slump devastation is on the way for workers everywhere, which directly or indirectly will further devastate lives and livelihoods, not to mention the devastation and destruction that will eventually explode as the entire capitalist order degenerates into outright warmongering, already well underway in the Middle East and Africa and building up once more between the big imperialist powers.
The latest anti-US diplomatic hostilities from Europe over the GCHQ and NSA spy revelations are further signals of how international tensions are ratcheting upwards, driven not by the alleged “concerns about spying on friends” (as many commentators point out, they all do it) but by the underlying trade war and currency war fears as the capitalist crisis deepens ever further.
Twice in the 20th century this cutthroat competition has exploded into world war, as the major powers have battled it out to establish who is top dog and to get the lion’s share of world exploitation profits, and who is to pay for the destruction of “surplus” capital and production capacity which is the only means by which the “overproduction” caused by the relentless accumulation of capital, can be dealt with while capitalism survives.
Removing the need to make such private profit, by taking all industry, finance and agriculture into common ownership, and planning production to serve mankinds’ rational needs (rather than ludicrous wasteful and nonstop consumerism) is the alternative solution.
Meanwhile, the Russell Brands may sound off slightly more than the reformists but anyone who thinks this is enough to change the world needs to consider why the major capitalist TV and press, and its nasty little reactionary stooges like Cohen, would suddenly elevate supposed “revolutionary politics” to the fore with significant air time and a special issue of a mainstream magazine allegedly running “dangerous and subversive talk”.
Since when has the ruling class state-controlled and hamstrung BBC, been in the business of publicising and discussing seriously the bankruptcy and corruption of parliamentary politics, the overthrow of the state and the need for working class control, using its most prestigious Newsnight programme to boot???
Or since when has the Labourite New Statesman, founded by and dedicated to, Fabian reformism with its philosophical roots specifically opposed to revolution, published entire supplements on the subject?
Never of course, and to be certain the broadcasting (propaganda) service has been constantly monitored and vetted by the intelligence agencies since its founding, to ensure that its ranks of producers, journalists and programme makers are kept completely free of anything even resembling genuine socialism – as was disclosed in the 1980s, keeping an MI5 officer on site in “Room 101” at Broadcasting House, (the real capitalist origin of George Orwell’s 1984 anti-communist fiction) to vet employees’ files and stamping a Christmas tree symbol on any who might have slipped through the rigorous “one-of-us” recruitment process, and were thought a little bit “suspect”, so that all promotion or progress could be blocked off.
State surveillance by capitalism goes back long before the GCHQ and NSA had got their computers running, though doubtless the massive non-stop electronic spying now replaces the need for a man on the spot.
If one or two more slightly less unprincipled reporters still stray close to difficult or embarrassing issues for the ruling class, the management structure will block them off, as with the revelations about the WMD fabrications used to start the Iraq war, or the near shut down of Newsnight over the Saville kiddie abuse scandal, or the suppression of the monstrous children’s homes homosexual abuse scandals (now twice buried away by censorship and legal restrictions) to hide any links to major establishment figures; if necessary there will be multiple strings pulled behind the scenes within the Establishment at as high a level as necessary, and in extremes a shot across the bows to close down further inquiries, with directors’ “heads rolling”.
So why suddenly should there be a prime Jeremy Paxman discussion interview about Brand’s angry and “impassioned” views?
To confuse and head off the rising frustration and anger which is building up enormous pressure everywhere is perhaps the answer, tapping just enough seeming rebelliousness to appear to be articulating the mass mood anger but making sure it will go nowhere through anti-theory rejection of Marxist-Leninist experience and science.
Brand’s failings became glaringly obvious as soon as Paxman challenged him on the questions of power, asking who would carry through the redistribution of wealth etc etc, and by what “democratic” authority.
Paxman’s “urbane” cynicism can be easily shot down (perhaps intentionally so) and was, partially, by Brand’s correct denunciations of lying and hoodwinking formal bourgeois “democracy”, but he could go no further to fill the vacuum and simply floundered around.
The Marxist answer would be “by the authority and weight of the great majority and the correct understanding of the necessities of the revolutionary movement of history, now ready to explode as the contradictions within it reach rotten ripeness”, and it would say far more than “redistribution” is needed, demanding that the world be utterly turned upside down to finish with this appalling class oppression and incompetence.
It would add that the material movement of history is going to do just that irrespective of the wishes formed in anyone’s heads, and that the only ideas which can make sense are those which match and express and understand and articulate the huge objective movements of the class forces on the planet, in order to focus and lead the working class.
The great battle for leadership is one of the fight to grasp and clarify what is necessary – of getting it right simply stated.
The “authority” Paxman asks for, is that of the revolutionary class itself through the conscious leadership it builds for overturning the existing and ever more corrupt power on the planet, the dictatorial oppression of the ruling class.
Democracy is a lying fraud, as Brand says, because it is nothing but a cover for untrammelled bourgeois power which takes every serious decision there is in society, and always in the interests of big money power and the tiny ruling class that controls it (and ultimately is controlled by its own wealth, driven by it to the grotesque tyrannies it imposes everywhere).
There is no other way to replace this class power except by the dictatorship of the proletariat which Brand either does not understand through philistine ignorance (covered over by showmanship and braggadocio) or does not want to understand (blinkered by petty bourgeois class instincts).
Raising such questions immediately raises a hundred more about the entire history of the twentieth century.
It is not as if the notion of workers states and workers’ state control is so very new and difficult.
It was understood and explained as far back as the 1870s from the heroic but doomed experience of the Paris Commune from which Marx and Engels saw the need for the revolutionary working class to establish its power in just this way, as Lenin would later explain even further in his profound State and Revolution.
In practice the world has made titanic experiences since, through numerous workers states, beginning with the enormous achievements and unparalleled progress of the Soviet Union over 70 years, which failed in the end not because “communism does not work” or because “it will always be ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’” as petty bourgeois complacency and fearfulness puts it (hating the notions of class discipline needed to build socialism), but because of the philosophical failings of Stalinist revisionism, misreading the strength of capitalism and its capacity to continue expanding and assuming that it would somehow wither and die after the Second World War.
As long as long as no one “provoked it” by being too revolutionary and enough “peace struggle” was pursued to “contain” imperialist aggressiveness, Stalinist Moscow concluded that the obvious superiority of socialist construction would win out, stifling imperialism and attracting ever greater support.
This deluded nonsense underpinned an abandonment of any genuine grasp of revolutionary development of the world and universal fake-“left” illusions in “steady movement forwards” and the “democratic path”, either overtly, by turning to the “parliamentary road” as the British Communist Party did (with full Moscow tacit approval), or by delusions in pacifist restraint of capitalist warmongering and “left pressure” still opportunistically punted by the alleged “hard nut” unreformed Stalinists.
Or it emerged in hatred of and denunciations of proletarian class dictatorship in the workers states, expressed in the smug petty bourgeois “genteel distaste” that “communism is a horrible grey totalitarian nightmare” (“without any Brie in the shops” as the preposterous and small minded revisionist Weekly Worker CPGB once declared, appalled) and still pouring out of the Trotskyists.
It continues in the eagerness with which the Trotskyists swallow any CIA stunt “peoples’ revolt” against demonised rogue states and “dictators” in the abstract, most recently in Libya and Syria where they have provided a sick “left theoretical” cover for the NATO fascist warmongering and feudal sheik financed destructive civil war, a disgusting low point in a long record of capitulation to bourgeois pressure.
Their small-minded hostility finds full expression in the mantra “just like the Stasi”, condemning the obviously sound fact that the German socialist state correctly took the firmest measures to suppress counter-revolution, supported by the vigilance of ordinary people listening out for counter-revolution.
This was no small matter when trying to build workers control in the years immediately after WW2, in the defeated centre of Nazism, with a population still full of hardened Nazis keeping their heads down but intent on trying to win back their fascist control (aided and constantly provoked from the British and American occupied Western side, where the Nazis were all allowed, or encouraged, to slide back into authority as businessmen, judges, generals and “democratic” politicians).
The tragedy is that the GDR and other East European revisionist leaderships did not fully develop the understanding that the revolutionary struggle against capitalism is never ending until it is completely triumphant on the planet, and did not maintain the workers states even more firmly, building such Leninist grasp wider and wider.
Instead the steady degeneration of these non-revolutionary Stalinist revisionist seeds grew into dire illusions in the “free market” as somehow a better way to build an economy than the steady if plodding progress of the revisionist state economies, and the fully fledged liquidation of the workers state under Gorbachev, leading to the monstrous oligarch restorationism with a disastrous pretence of “restored democracy”, the greatest idiocy in all history.
The real “totalitarianism” on the planet is that of capitalist rule, far more sinisterly and universally dominated by “secret police” surveillance and spying, on a far wider scale and most importantly, for the opposite class purpose, to prevent all rising rebellion from the working class at home or the growing worldwide anti-imperialist revolt (declared to be nothing but “criminal terrorism” by the ruling class, and constantly droned and bombed into the floor at horrific cost in civilian lives, aided by the “condemn terrorism” capitulations of the “lefts”).
Defending a workers state, as the Cubans do, or the North Koreans, or the Chinese, or the Vietnamese, is another matter entirely.
Of course there were plenty of mistakes and difficulties too, including criminal or glaringly unjust treatment, and that all needs full debate and discussion to sort out the wheat from the chaff philosophically in the great but flawed first giant steps in the world towards socialism.
But full debate and discussion is precisely what the entire fake-“left” circus runs away from.
It will erupt eventually as events like the Egyptian revolt in 2011 keep on making clear, and such eruptions can only become more and more frequent the wider and more deeply the crisis drives forwards.
Not in the new Left Unity grouping however which is increasingly showing itself to be nothing but a squabbling chicken run of the most dire moralising single issue anti-communism, revisionist “left” reformism, petty backbiting Trotskyist factionalising and hostility to communism (business as usual in other words for the fake-“left”).
Initially there was some reason to think this new call for a “fresh start” on the left might find a wider response than previous “left” lash-ups such as the Socialist Alliance, despite its roots in more or less the same sectarian Trotskyist and dire revisionist opportunism as before, built around the Ken Loach nostalgia film for the Labourite Attlee government in the immediate post-war period.
Attlee’s 1945 government was the first major lesson for the working class in the betrayals and duplicity of the “left” Labourism, riding the great wave of pro-Soviet socialist enthusiasm which destruction of the horrors of capitalist war and Nazism by the Red Army had generated, only to betray it by running capitalism and its worldwide colonialist oppression on behalf of the ruling class.
But the crisis collapse from 2008 is far greater than even the 1930s and at some point might be expected to drive the working class towards revolutionary politics – initally perhaps some form of centrism (using revolutionary language, but still remaining within the same old opportunist boundaries).
If not initially taking up revolutionary politics there might still be room is in such a grouping for enough discussion and debate for vital revolutionary perspectives to be argued, exactly as initially in the Scargillite Socialist Labour Party when it formed (until such revolutionary politics made such good headway that the old trade union bureaucratic anti-communism was mobilised and Scargill shut down further political polemic by attempting to shut down the EPSR (banning further debate) and a fixed up kangaroo court expulsion of the then EPSR editor, weeks after he had been elected vice-president of the SLP).
It is still possible, though less and less likely that open political debate can be fought in the new Left Unity and, while that is not ruled out it would be sectarian to dismiss the development without testing the water (which the Stalinists from the CPGB-ML Lalkar/Proletarian have done for example, because their own politics is incapable of understanding the importance of open polemic and argument to establish theoretical agreement – dealing with a long legacy of cover-ups and mistakes would not suit the Brarites at all).
But the signs from a six month run-up period to the founding conference at the end of November are not good.
The period has been one completely swamped by factional fighting, splits and fallings out around a series of “platforms” proposed for structuring the new group, all from assorted Trotskyist and revisionist groupings and all of which just repeat the same tired opportunist “left” pressure and single-issue politics which has hampered and held back the working class for decades, footling about abstract “principles”,moralising statements, reformist wish lists about assorted minorities and formalities of party procedures.
Endless arguments have held about whether the party should be designated “socialist” or “revolutionary”, instead of tackling the need to tell the working class what history is imposing on it and will inevitably drive it to carry out.
The tone of all the debates has been one of sanctimonious piety and smugness more like a temperance society than a political party, their statements larded with the same useless “no to austerity” and “opposition to oppression” posturing which characterises the uselessness of the entire fake-“left” to date.
None of these platforms tackle the real world and the great unfolding crisis of capitalism, or attempt to give any real world perspective at all, basing their views on an ever growing list of single-issue supposed moral positions.
The world is not changed because of a holier-than-thou “vision” of what “we” would like carried through, by only those humans who match up to various supposed “standards” and “principles” of “feminism” or “anti-racism” or “gay rights” (many of which are based on questionable assumptions in the first place).
It is changed by ending capitalism, after which a socialist society can be built which for the first time will be able to sort out all the unfairnesses and divisiveness which past class society has created and capitalism has widened and exploited.
But most of all they have all put forwards in one form or another a relentless anti-communism, explicitly in the case of the Trotskyist “Socialist Platform” which declares astonishingly that:
We reject the idea that the undemocratic regimes that existed in the former Soviet Union and other countries were socialist.
thus glibly writing off the entire gigantic history and struggle of the working class and its Bolshevik leadership, (most of all Lenin) in the twentieth century in one foul shallow minded sneer.
This stinking outright hatred of the workers states is founded in the “democracy” garbage that these petty bourgeois perch upon, ignoring the realities and necessities of the class war.
It comes right back down to the hatred of the dictatorship of the proletariat, common to all the fake-“lefts”.
The “Left Platform” is equally anti-Marxist but makes its anti-Sovietism apparent via feminist posturing declaring – wrongly and lyingly – that
historical experience shows that the full liberation of women does not automatically follow the nationalisation of productive forces or the reordering of the economy.
slyly not stating this to be “Soviet nationalisation” but clearly implying it.
The reactionary purpose of all the single issue “oppressions” has also emerged around the repressive “safe space” policy in which anyone who “feels oppressed” can have the alleged oppressor either silenced or even expelled from meetings irrespective of whether any alleged “abuse” of “fear of being abused” has been proven.
Open discussion is not going to go far in circumstances where the moment an argument is raised the protagonist can “feel abused”.
What if the challenge is precisely about the alleged single issue rights, such as raising the monstrous anti-Russian provocatory campaign being whipped up around supposed “gay persecution” by the likes of Steven Fry, which in fact is feeding the most deadly international chauvinist hostility and war atmosphere.
The prognosis is almost totally that the Left Unity racket is nothing but another collection of these petty bourgeois mountebanks who long ago put themselves squarely within the imperialist camp with their capitulation to the “war on terror” propaganda being whipped up to justify Washington’s world blitzing and terrorising to escape its bankruptcy.
It also looks as if the working class has steered well clear so far, a probably sound instinctive judgement based on decades of distrust of the petty bourgeois.
Things were clear enough even ten years ago (EPSR No 1134 30-04-02:
But still all the ‘reformists’, - from the fascist ultra right to the Trot and Revisionist fake-’left’, - still insist on the ‘democracy’ status quo (i.e. capitalist ‘freedom’) but with more/less public ownership; more/less taxation; more/less EU federalism; more/less self-determination for everyone who wants it; etc, etc, etc.
And as well as all being utterly meaningless utopian blueprints which can never get further than just a bit more fudging of the existing brink-of-disaster crisis-ridden setup, even when the ultra-’lefts’ promise ‘revolutionary’ reformist fudging as Militant did in Liverpool, and as Scargillism did in the NUM and around the TUC and Labour, and as the Socialist Alliance now promises at every election, -- all of these voluntarist fantasy daydreams of “what would happen if the people put their faith in our leadership”, etc, suffer equally from their pointless arbitrariness.
The bourgeoisie will continue to rule the bourgeois system until it is SMASHED by REVOLUTION, - the arrival of which is under no one’s control.
Meanwhile the Lalkar-Proletarian has no leg to stand on in its criticism of Left Unity. Its polemic, based on an useful enough exposé of one of the more poisonous among its Trotskyist founding figures, a key supporter of imperialist intervention in to Syria, is not a justification for writing off the whole exercise.
The point to make early on was correctly to see that Left Unity might attract a following and might give scope for arguing the Leninist position.
It is not even ruled out now, despite the manoeuvring of multiple Trots attempting to hijack it, that Left Unity will not have some space for the arguments, which is what matters.
But Lalkar is even less interested in polemics than LU, failing to answer and explain major errors and mistakes accumulating over the years, not least over its early dismissal of the Scargillite SLP, when it WAS open to all shades of arguments,and then its own subsequent embedding for eight years supporting the dire bureaucratic Scargillite regime with a “left” cover despite the expulsion and censorship of the EPSR ( a stitch-up carried out with the shaming participation of the Lalkarites).
Its posturing rejection of the Left Unity is certainly not based on any significant differences with its potentially reformist politics, since it pours out more or less exactly the same hopeless “no to austerity” plans.
They are laced with some militant sounding phrases and sound enough points about the crisis but in the end are nothing but the same moralising “calls to action” that all the fake-“lefts” have always poured out.
Here is a sample:
No amount of regulation could have prevented the crash. Let us not forget that it was ‘sensible, regulated banking practices’ and ‘cautious lending’, much trumpeted as the ‘solution’ to our present woes, that were inevitably driven by competition into fevered speculation as production outstripped consumption and markets again began to contract following the temporary post-war boom.
There is no such thing as sane, sensible capitalism; no such thing as capitalism without crisis and collapse!
What is to be done?
Our rulers have made it clear what their plan is: if we don’t stop them, they will continue to pass the burden of their latest crisis onto the backs of the working people through austerity and war.
They want to save their fortunes and their system at our expense, and they do not care what catastrophic effects their self-preservation strategies have on the vast masses of humanity.
It is time for Britain’s workers to make an alternative plan. The career politicians of the big parties have proven themselves to be servants of the rich. Asking a Tory, LibDem or Labour MP to take care of the workers is about as sensible as asking a crocodile to look after a thirsty zebra.
If we want to stop this all-out assault, we must stop expecting the minions of the capitalist state to deliver justice and get organised to claim what is rightfully ours.
We are many and they are few
Step one is defence. Our streets and estates should be no-go zones for bailiffs! We should answer the bedroom tax and other evictions by physically protecting each other’s homes; by forming residents’ groups to stop landlords from kicking us onto the pavement.
If we want to protect our hospitals, surgeries and schools, we need to kick the profiteers out – by any means necessary. Communities must join with put-upon care workers and teachers to put effective pressure behind our demand for an end to PFI and the contracting-out of services.
Decent health care and education are incompatible with private enterprise! We should demand the abolition of private medicine, the abolition of private schooling, the abolition of tuition fees and the reinstatement of maintenance grants for students of all ages. The ruling class would be a lot more interested in the quality of our schools and hospitals if they had to use them too!
In the same way, if a library or fire station is closing down, we should join with staff and do whatever it takes to keep facilities open – running them ourselves if necessary.
Workers’ organisations should take the lead in repossessing Britain’s one million empty houses and distributing them to the homeless. We need to appropriate surplus food stocks and distribute them to the hungry – over a million British children are malnourished, while almost half of all food produced for sale in western countries is wasted between the farm and the fork – much of it thrown away by supermarkets.
We need to switch on the energy for those who are facing another winter without heating – tens of thousands of elderly people die from the cold every year in Britain while the energy monopolies are quite literally making a killing.
Workers have the creative energy to make the attacks of the capitalists totally unworkable – to redistribute the wealth we have produced until we can remake the entire economy to serve our interests. We urgently need an organisation capable of inspiring and coordinating a truly mass popular resistance against cuts and austerity – one that will bring together the organisers of local actions and forge them into a united, national fight-back. Our leaders must be selected from those who are most willing and able to do this work.
What we don’t need is yet another talking shop run by the same Labour-affiliated careerists who have been diverting and demoralising British workers for decades – not stopping the war, not stopping redundancies, not stopping privatisation and not defending the NHS. After decades of calling for mindless, repetitious and uninspiring ‘activity’ – dead-end lobbying of MPs, futile court cases, tokenistic demonstrations and endless petition-writing – the placemen who pretend to ‘lead’ our movement need to be given the boot!
All well and good and no objections would be raised at all to all kinds of class action of such types and plenty else.
It is even happening in parts of the world like Mexico where years of devastating drugs war violence and terror is leading to the formation of self-defence groups in towns and villages.
It is a highly interesting sign of movement in the working class there, but comes after years of slaughter and is highly tentative, with all kinds of ideological forces (and physical intimidation - not least by the Mexican army) against it.
But in the UK we are to presume a giant mass movement begins just like that and the capitalist state, its armed forces, police, etc etc will simply stand by while this gigantic confiscation of the ruling class’s wealth is underway???
What nonsensical moralising garbage!!!
In Greece, where the revisionist CP has still to organise anything like such a campaign of seizures and refusals, let alone talk of revolution the capitalists have already made sure there is a violent fascist intimidation on the streets.
All this Lalkar posturing is a complete militant reformist fantasy in multiple ways; that it will be a simple matter of mobilising the workings class “as long as workers organisations take the lead”.
Or simply a matter of workers just refusing to do things – if such mass coordination were possible why not go the whole way and take power?
Because it is no more going to happen any more than war is going to be stopped by just making sure there is “enough protest”.
“If we only all refuse to make weapons or transport them, or broadcast the war messages, we can stop war” is the super-pacifist and utterly daft “peace struggle” line promulgated in the past by the Brarites, never explaining how the deluge of anti-communist propaganda (aided by the ranks of Trots above), consumerism, lies and chauvinism are going to be overcome, which will ensure, as Lenin says, that the ruling class will always initially stampede the masses in to war.
Lenin, who the Brarites falsely claim to be following, repeatedly excoriated this kind of airy-fairy fanciful pacifism, endlessly making it clear that war is impossible to stop by protest.
His most famous understanding in the middle of the Great War was that only when the working class turns its guns on its own ruling class, to make a revolution can peace be achieved, by the defeat of the ruling class.
Giant philosophical questions are raised, once more about building a revolutionary leadership and the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
This light-minded wishful thinking is just disarming nonsense.
Even if the working class understanding could be built by sheer exhortation and mass propaganda (which it cannot against the total bourgeois control of all media, press education and culture) then why stop at “preventing war” anyway; why not go the full distance -end the capitalist system.
Because such pie-in-the-sky moralising is complete gibberish, is the answer, nothing at all to do with a Marxist materialist analysis of the world to understand the actual movement of the class forces.
Completely missed out here is the crucial central question of organising the working class to be able to carry through such mass militancy which can only be done by building a mass leadership based on scientific Marxist understanding to lead to the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
But that raises dozens of questions once more, as already mentioned above – about the great struggles already undergone in the world and what has become of them; of “does communism work” and what happened to the Soviet Union, and most basic of all, how do we work out any of this when none of the alleged “left” groups will ever take up the polemics, and examine the mistakes and misturnings of the past, including those of the Stalin period which eventually led to the liquidation of the Soviet Union.
How can such understanding be built in a world which has been brainwashed to believe that communism is nothing but even worse tyranny than capitalism?
By the movements of world crisis is the answer, the understanding of those movements and the re-visiting of all the difficult questions to untangle the huge triumphs of the first workers states and their errors.
But the Brarites only ever cover-up the mistakes and difficulties, polemicising only with easy targets like Labourism (which Russell Brand, the anarchists and Uncle Tom Cobbley do too).
They say nothing about the tangles they are in, in their posturing over Syria, now simultaneously denouncing and supporting Hamas in Palestine – telling the world it is their “duty” to support Hamas, while condemning the Muslim Brotherhood from which it sprang and is still aligned.
Or supporting the anti-Zionist Hezbollah, while the same Hamas is sending fighters against it in Syria????
All this raises the Brarites own capitulation to the endless deluge of anti-Islam “war on terror” propaganda which underpins the worldwide drone blasting and imperialist military blitzings from Mali to the Congo, Libya to Lahore.
The sickening celebration it runs in the same paper of the gruesome military coup in Egypt and its butchery of thousands of ordinary people, declared “perfectly alright” because they were Muslim Brotherhood, is yet another indication of just how confused and treacherous this slimy Stalinist posturing is.
Here’s another quote from the same EPSR 1134:
The final revolutionary reckoning between the proletariat and the capitalist class cannot be manufactured by anyone. It can only be understood, inspired, and led successfully or else misunderstood, demoralised, and led to defeat by anti-Marxist ignorance and fake-’left’ opportunism.
That total international conflict against the imperialist system by no means will necessarily break out with anti-imperialism represented by the “purest, socialist-minded, proletarian revolutionaries”.
Just the opposite. This conflict is breaking out in a variety of unexpected forms, both old and new.
The street-fighting anarchists-against-globalisation are part of the upsurge, as are the suicide-bombers of Hamas and al-Quaeda and Islamic Jihad.
But the fake-’left’ in the West from the SLP to the Socialist Alliance are all busy ‘condemning’ such struggle, - exactly in line with the rotten anti-communism of Trotskyism and Stalinist-Revisionism from whence they have slithered.
The disaster was the beginnings of Stalinism’s ‘peaceful road’ class-collaborating-with ‘good’-imperialism, Revisionist defeatism about world revolution, - seen most tragically in Germany and Spain where ‘parliamentary democracy’ was ludicrously analysed as some sort of possible barrier to ‘fascism’, temporarily or permanently, instead of as the obvious and inevitable conduit to fascism, (i.e. more rightwing and chauvinistic authoritarianism) once the imperialist system had decided that capitalism’s continuation depended on the spread of warmongering nationalist diversions from revolution.
The imperialist system is now collapsing towards the same historical revolutionary crisis situation once again....
The sickest and most dangerous illusion of all is that “parliamentary democracy and protest marches stopped the turn to fascism in Britain and elsewhere in the 1930s”.
Absolute NONSENSE. It was the entire imperialist SYSTEM which was turning to crisis-driven warmongering chauvinism in the 1930s, and enough ‘fascist’ regimes were encouraged or tolerated to make an anti-Soviet crusade and World War II easily achievable, exactly as required.
How much ‘fascist warmongering’ intention does the imperialist system need to OPENLY reveal?
It depends on how much resistance to the system’s despicable destructive domineering course is shown.
If there had been more decisive revolutionary resistance shown in the 1930s to the initial destructive warmongering adventurism inflicted by Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, etc, then even more openly fascist-chauvinist hostages to fortune would have had to have been imposed even further around the West, even beyond the Vichy regime in France, and the Quisling fascists in Norway, Holland, Portugal, etc, etc, to guarantee a sufficient volume of warmongering-chauvinist insanity to allow World War II to complete its ‘surplus’destructive purpose.
It is precisely their petty bourgeois fear of unlimited destructive breakdown in “the world as we know it” which keeps the fake-’left’ today pretending that ‘civilised order’ still prevails, and that ‘terrorism’ goes too far and must be ‘condemned’, etc......
And in refusing to see that not only do they end up on the same side as imperialism’s fascist-chauvinist warmongering in their ‘condemnation’ of the Middle East/Islamic fightback with the terrorist weapon against Western domination, but that they also share the worst delusion of all that allows Le Pen, BNP, etc, to be given room to flourish at all, namely the total historical-revisionist conspiracy which allows the dictatorship of the proletariat to be written-off and ludicrously misrepresented as ‘the Gulag’ and ‘arbitrary tyranny’, etc, instead of properly assessed as a first planned workers-state magnificent flourishing in history, marred only by the stupid Revisionist retreat from Marxist-Leninist science which ended up with Gorbachev joining Reagan to ‘condemn international terrorism’,
Falling for the ‘condemn terrorism’ crap of bourgeois ‘morality’ and for the ‘democracy is the answer’ stunt of imperialism’s huge propaganda and brainwashing industry, is not a ‘mistake’ by the fake-’left’ but behavioural jibber totally consistent with their traditional ‘left pressure’ Trot and Revisionist petty-bourgeois mentalities in the West which after 1945 shared the dream of eventually gaining ‘socialist power’ slice by slice, via advances in the labour movement and parliamentary reforms, - an extension of the petty-bourgeois mentality of trade-unionism as classically analysed by Lenin.
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