No 1468 9th May 2015
Direct Tory rule imposed by tightly manipulated UK election underlines ruling class fears as the capitalist crisis intensifies. But a price is paid in further wiping out the Labourite class-collaborating reformist safety valve for the hoodwinking fraudulent bourgeois “democracy” – nothing but a cover for the class dictatorship of the rich. Preparation already in hand for renewed cuts savagery and domestic surveillance repression to stamp on inevitable class revolt as international cutthroat trade and currency war intensifies. Fake-“left” ineffectual election demands stir near zero response in the working class reflecting the emptiness of their posturing attempt to tie workers back to the bogus parliament racket with “left pressure” voting instead of calling for widespread revolutionary debate and education. Zionist Gaza savagery revelations expose the fake-”left” too and capitulation to “anti-semitism” lies. Leninism is urgently needed
A fearful ruling class, panicking at the hurricane force of the world capitalist crisis, has gambled on keeping its own Tory party in direct control for the coming period but at fearsome political cost further shattering illusions in “parliamentary democracy”.
That will have long term costs for the ruling class, creating an even greater urgency for the working class to confront the revolutionary realities of the onrushing world catastrophe as it drives more sharply into Slump and Third World War.
Only building a movement to totally end capitalism – by revolutionary struggle – can now solve the disastrous world failure of its profiteering system and the return to world war destruction it is imposing as a “way out”.
First lessons will be new cuts to reduce the still ballooning deficit and recover the heavily manipulated money-printing inflationary credit boost, made pre-election to the economy to bribe the middle class into continued Tory voting complacency, fooling shallower elements into believing there is an “upturn”.
A few additional zero-hours contracts, or underpaid East European jobs, will not suffice and the pain will be far more widespread.
That will come on top of savage additional cuts in living standards and the social wage that the ruling class must already push down onto the working class if it is to have any chance of surviving the cutthroat international trade and currency wars raging everywhere and destined to escalate massively once the false boost of worldwide Quantitative Easing finally peters out.
Speed-up and ruthlessly intensified exploitation to secure at least minimal profits is unavoidable for all capitalists as world profitability collapses ever further (exactly as “old-fashioned” Marxism long ago predicted - see the Communist Manifesto eg).
Brutal discipline of the potentially explosive working class reaction this will inevitably produce – greater than the anarchic 2012 city riots that shocked the middle class, – is also coming, with the London water cannons already in place and the police increasingly armed.
Stepped up domestic repression through total Big Brother surveillance was virtually the first announcement of the new government.
The shock impact of these class war necessities is about to teach some extremely harsh lessons to the smug petty bourgeois, overpriced-coffee drinkers taken in by the totally false picture that “Britain is booming”, and to any remaining layers of the imperialist corrupted working class still tied to reformist ideas of “rejecting austerity” – though there are less and less of those.
The realities of the unstoppable world crisis and the vicious workhouse economic “disciplining” that it forces the ruling class to impose – far, far more brutal than seen to date – have been kept well out of sight during the six weeks of the heavily manipulated election campaign courtesy of a compliant media vacuously gushing about the “duty to vote” (fearful of an increasingly and correctly cynical working class rejection of the “democracy” fraud) and a fake-“left” still refusing to explain the intractable and epochal nature of capitalist crisis or in many cases even see it.
But the onrushing catastrophe will be visible with a vengeance soon enough as the full force of the 2008 “global financial crisis” capitalist credit and bank failure meltdown re-surfaces, ten or a hundred time worse now for having been deferred with endless valueless Monopoly money printing QE.
The UK is not only part of the same world capitalist system, and inseparable from it, but even more vulnerable than most capitalist countries to the implosion of the finance system being possibly the most parasitic of all capitalist economies, by proportion making more of its “living” than any other by creaming off the “commissions”, “fees” and premiums from the enormous flows of world currency, bank capital and trade through the City of London, (the profits derived from ruthless Third World near-slave exploitation) and with a relatively small agricultural and manufacturing base – much of that the arms industry.
A hurricane of financial devastation will sweep away any tweaks and artificially induced “upturns”, as the capitalists themselves constantly worry:
Warren Buffett has warned that stock prices will appear expensive if interest rates increase from current ultra-low levels.
“If we get back to normal interest rates, stocks at these prices will look high,” said the billionaire investor, speaking at the annual shareholders’ meeting of his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffett, one of the world’s most famous investors, is widely followed. With Wall Street and many European stock markets at all-time highs, his views on the US and global economy will be watched closely.
Regarding the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy, Buffett said he could not have predicted that rates would remain this low for this long without becoming a problem.
“So far, I have been wrong on interest rates. It’s so hard for me to see how, if you toss money from helicopters you don’t have inflation, but we haven’t.”
The Fed is currently weighing raising rates from their near-zero levels of the financial crisis era, even as questions remain about the strength of growth in the world’s biggest economy.
The decision will have global consequences - the end of ultra-low rates could meltdown indebted countries
Buffett noted problems in the US as well, including concerns about income inequality.
“I don’t have anything against raising the minimum wage but I don’t think we can do it in a significant enough way without creating a lot of distortions.“
Throughout the election campaign, the Conservative party’s mantra has been the government’s long-term economic plan is working. That’s working, as in:
*having the slowest recovery from recession in 100 years
*working as in boasting about halving the deficit over five years when the plan was to eliminate it
*working as in housebuilding at its lowest level since the 1920s
*working as in manufacturing and construction operating below their pre-recession levels
*working as in fewer owner-occupiers and homelessness up by one third
*working as in an extra half-a-million people on zero-hour contracts
*working as in the first fall in living standards over a five-year period since modern records began in 1960 and
working as in more than 900,000 people relying on food banks, a 15-fold increase since the last election.
Despite all this, the Conservatives have managed to convince themselves that they are presiding over success. The fact that the economy has slowed down in each of the past five quarters is not evidence that a temporary and unsustainable boom in the housing market was used to pep up growth in 2013 and early 2014.
What has happened since 2010 is that the government’s economic policy has failed in both theory and practice. The theory “expansionary fiscal contraction”, the idea that making faster progress on cutting the budget deficit would rouse animal spirits and allow interest rates to be lower than they otherwise would have been.
But expansionary fiscal contraction only works (if it works at all) in special circumstances. It doesn’t work when interest rates are already low. And it doesn’t work if every other country is trying to contract fiscal policy at the same time. In those circumstances, expansionary fiscal contraction becomes contractionary fiscal contraction. And that’s precisely what happened in the UK during the first two years the coalition was in power.
The failure in practice has been a weak recovery that would have been even weaker without the unprecedented stimulus provided by the Bank of England. There has been no rebalancing of the economy. Such growth as there has been has relied heavily on pumping up the action in the housing market.
(Election) debate has narrowed to the point where all that counts is which party is seen to have the most credible plan for repairing the hole in the public finances, still a whopping 5% of national income. The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Ukip, the SNP, Greens: all of them define themselves by their stance on austerity.
There has been a cynical refusal to level with voters about what deficit reduction will actually involve. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has highlighted how the sums only add up thanks to plenty of creative accounting. David Cameron will only be able to slice 10% off the non-pensioner part of the welfare bill with deep cuts in support for children; Ed Miliband won’t save much by depriving rich pensioners of their winter fuel allowance; and Nick Clegg will struggle to find an additional £10bn from cracking down on tax avoidance.
Britain is not a raging success story. It hasn’t paid its way in the world for more than three decades. It has rising in-work poverty and under-employment. It is far too reliant on financial services and property speculation. Its transport infrastructure is inadequate. The tax revenues are not there to pay for the public services that voters have come to expect. Output per hour worked is 30% lower than in the US or Germany and 15% below where it would have been had it continued its pre-crisis trend.
Yet none of this has featured in an election campaign that has sought to give the impression that the UK’s economic problems are minor or soluble painlessly. They aren’t and they won’t be. It is a delusion to think that there are easy cuts to be made in welfare, a delusion to think that it is only a failure to tax the super rich a bit more heavily that prevents Britain having Swedish-style public services, a delusion to imagine that wealth will trickle down from rich to poor.
That of course is before the real crisis still brewing throughout the whole capitalist world, sweeps across. The bourgeois press continues:
The financial crisis was meant to have exploded the credit bubble once and for all, but there’s very little sign of it. Rising public indebtedness has taken over where households and companies left off. And in terms of wider credit expansion, emerging markets have simply replaced Western ones. The wake-up call of the financial crisis has gone largely unheeded.
If demand is growing at all in the world economy, it seems again to be almost entirely dependent on rising levels of debt.
The combined public debt of the G7 economies alone has grown by close to 40 percentage points to around 120pc of GDP since the start of the crisis, while globally, the total debt of private non-financial sectors has risen by 30pc, far in advance of economic growth.
...more than 30pc of all government debt in the eurozone - around €2 trillion of securities in total - is trading on a negative interest rate.
With the advent of European Central Bank quantitative easing, what began four months ago when 10-year Swiss yields turned negative for the first time has snowballed into a veritable avalanche of negative rates across European government bond markets. In the hunt for apparently “safe assets”, investors have thrown caution to the wind, and collectively determined to pay governments for the privilege of lending to them.
...some 70pc of all German bunds now trade on a negative yield. In France, it’s 50pc, and even in Spain, which was widely thought insolvent only a few years ago, it’s 17pc.
Yet far from being a welcome sign of returning economic confidence, this almost surreal state of affairs actually signals the very reverse.
One by one, all the major central banks have joined the money printing party. First it was the US Federal Reserve. Then came the Bank of England and later the Bank of Japan. Just lately, it’s the European Central Bank. Now even the People’s Bank of China is considering the “unconventional” monetary support of bond buying. Anything to keep the show on the road. A crisis caused by too much debt has been fought with even more of the stuff.
Many would contend that it is central bank money printing itself which is the primary cause of today’s low interest rate environment.
Distortions caused by the ECB’s €60bn-a-month of bond purchases have been particularly evident in German bunds, one of the most sought-after forms of collateral; the German government’s policy of running a budget surplus means that the size of the market is already shrinking, with net payback rather than net issuance.
All this official interference has no doubt influenced negative yields. Yet it also raises a deeper question, which is whether central banks are the primary cause of the collapse in interest rates, or whether they are merely accommodating wider forces in the global economy that they are powerless to influence - persistent sluggishness in demand and productivity growth.
What’s cause, and what’s effect? In a speech last year, Ben Broadbent, deputy governor of the Bank of England, argued cogently that central banks are merely responding to these deeper forces. The natural, or equilibrium, rate of interest required to keep growth and inflation at a particular level is simply a lot lower than it used to be, he insisted. To judge by the markets, it may even have turned negative.
...The flip side of the cheap money story is soaring asset prices. The bond market bubble is just the half of it; since most other assets are priced relative to bonds, just about everything else has been going up as well. Eventually, there will be a massive correction, in which creditors will suffer sickening losses.
Nobody can tell you when that moment will arrive. We live in an “extend and pretend” world in which economies pathetically fight between themselves for any scraps of demand. One burst of money printing is met by another in an ultimately futile, zero-sum game of competitive currency devaluation. As if on cue, along comes another soft patch in Britain’s economic recovery, with first-quarter growth quite a bit weaker than expected. Like a constantly receding horizon, the point at which UK interest rates begin to rise is pushed ever further into the future. It’s like waiting for Godot. When Bank Rate was first cut to 0.5pc in response to the financial crisis, markets expected rates to start rising again in a year. Six years later, Bank Rate is still at 0.5pc and markets still expect them to rise in a year. In Europe it’s not for four years.
Both Keynsian and monetary economics seem to be in some kind of end game. What comes next is anyone’s guess.
His points about the competitive application of QE, echoing the beggar-thy-neighbour trade wars of the 1930s, give a few clues about next...bitter conflict turning eventually to all out war exactly as being warmed-up in the Ukraine and the arms race encorclement of China, the European differences with America and plent of other signs.
At least he answers Buffett’s question about where all the inflation has gone – into asset prices, like stocks and shares and housing is the answer, as well as into the now gigantic $trillions pools of uninvested capital in the system as well as feeding the huge inequalities which already poison society:
The collective wealth of Britain’s richest people has more than doubled in the last 10 years, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
The wealthiest 1,000 individuals and families now have a combined fortune of just over £547bn – or £547m each average.
The figure has more than doubled since a total of just under £250bn was recorded in 2005, despite the world economy being gripped by a punishing decae of recession.
...a fortune of £100m is now required to make the top 1,000, £15m higher than last year.
Food bank use tops million mark over the past year.
The list, published on Sunday 26 April, includes 117 billionaires – up from 104 last year. And 80 of these are based in London – giving the capital more sterling billionaires than any other city in the world.
The list charts wealth including land, property, assets or significant shares but excludes bank accounts.
The election result has been twisted and squeezed into shape only by ignoring completely this outside world of raging capitalist economic crisis and now permanent and growing war destruction everywhere, the “solution” of the world capitalist system to its intractable crisis collapse.
The election campaign has mentioned none of this, a compliant media swamping its pages with blinkered narrowness and “election” propaganda which has pushed even the usual biased and distorted world news coverage off the agenda altogether.
Ukraine and its fascist swastika-tatooed coup has virtually disappeared despite continuing death squad killings; civilian massacres in the invasion of Yemen by backward Western stooge monarchy Saudi Arabia – not even a pretence of elections in Riyadh - are hardly touched; reactionary sabotage and disruptive provocations in Venezuela stay unreported and the Europe threatening disaster of the Greek collapse no more than glanced at.
There has been instead six weeks of total political vacuum, studiously ignoring the epochal catastrophic meltdown of worldwide capitalism and its degenerate fascist warmongering and coup sabotage continuing in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
It has not been filled either by the posturers of the Trotskyist and revisionist groups.
All these “left” groups, have displayed the full range of their totally craven inadequacy and opportunist shallowness during the election, fearful of the revolutionary implications of spelling out the Marxist understanding of the intractable and deadly nature of the unfolding economic catastrophe.
Their utterly pointless and misleading posturing and preening around useless “No to Austerity” and “stop the war” pacifist sloganising etc has been rewarded with a great big zero by the working class, garnering a maximum 1.8% of the vote for a joint effort by the Trotskyist dominated Left Unity and the equally reformist Little Englander backwardness of the TUSC (the RMT union , SWP Trots and Socialist Party).
And small wonder; their attacks on the Labour Party for its “austerity lite” and call for something more like the “left” pretences of the SNP or the Greens, are nothing more than a demand for “more reformism” and more spending; completely impossible now that capitalism is in desperate meltdown disaster.
It is a cover for their fear of talking to the working class about the need to take power, born of petty bourgeois distaste for the realities of the world revolutionary struggle (lining up with capitalism to “condemn” growing Third World revolt as just “evil” or “reactionary terrorism”) and particularly for necessary workers state discipline (dictatorship of the proletariat) to supppress counter-revolution.
This “better way of doing reformism” is a total betrayal, leading the working class back round to the idea that voting can change things “if only there is a principled enough left stand” when all the evidence from this election is that, firstly it will be manipulated into the ground to ensure the ruling class gets the result it wants and if that did not work that sharper methods would be used, as witnessed in coup after coup around the world from the brutal torture of the General Augusto Pinochet takeover in Chile onwards, slaughtering the world’s "first elected socialist government" under Salvador Allende, the Egyptian General Sisi’s massacres of the Muslim Brotherhood and even recently to the UK Tower Hamlets local authority, where the mayor has been swept aside in a judicial coup.
The understanding the working class needs is the scientific consciousness of Marxism-Leninism which can articulate the visceral conclusion it has been making as a class by the painfully won experience of the last century, that bourgeois democracy is a giant hoodwinking fraud.
That lesson was deepened by this election and its gross media manipulation and glaring silence on all the important questions and by the sacrifice by the ruling class of its long-term tweedledee-tweedledum class collaborating Labourite alter ego.
To shoehorn a halfway credible “Tory majority” (and it is very halfway) Labour has had to be virtually wiped out, a potentially crucial further blow to illusions in “parliamentary democracy”, doing double damage by setting up transient and completely artificial expectations for Scottish nationalism.
These will soon backfire, punished just as surely as the equally false Lib-Dem illusions have been abandoned, contemptuously dismissed for the betrayal of their own principles and much more for showing themselves to be nothing more than a useful prop for the Tory ruling class.
Turning the “Tartan Tory” Scottish Nationalists overnight into a supposed “more left than Labour” option was a slick party trick (deliberately set up by the Tory-created referendum frenzy) but will have longterm historic costs in giving the working class further lessons in the shallowness and cynicism of the entire “democracy” racket.
The nationalists can no more deliver economic progress for the working class in the middle of a hurricane of world capitalism economic collapse than anyone else running the profit system.
Worse still, if they break away from the larger UK economy, they will be even more vulnerable to the great sweeping market movements that can bankrupt an entire country virtually overnight if the giant international investment houses and banks take fright.
The lesson is already clear from the Syriza election in Greece, its reformist, revisionist and Trotskyist fake-“left” mix of equally loudly grandstanding just three months ago about “the people demand an end to austerity” running into a brick wall of international finance and banking pressure, capitulating within weeks and seeing its working class support haemorrhaging.
But the historic and irreversible collapse of working class confidence in Labourite reformism, is an even more significant story of the election adding to its long growing distrust and helping shake off its class collaborating grip and debilitating reformist anti-communist influence on the working class, after 150 years of collusion with imperialist world exploitation.
Since the 2008 crash TUC-Labourism has done nothing to speak up for the working class, remaining virtually supine for five years let alone seriously resisting the still onrushing capitalist crisis and the dismantling of the great social and economic gains supposedly won for the working class over decades of bitter struggle.
The suspicions must be that they did not even want to win, consciously aware of the savagery of the class war to come.
But the problem is not simply that they did not urge an “end to austerity” strongly enough (see the shallow fake-“left” pretend revolutionary criticism) but that the crisis is now so sharp that Labour could not do anything without raising the question of ending totally the capitalist system now irretrievably doomed to slide ever further into Slump and warmongering disaster
The opportunists, careerists and mountebanks of Labourism were never about to even start to explain the crisis at all, let alone talk about its revolutionary solution.
Their role has only ever been to rescue capitalism, running its system on behalf of the ruling class at every key moment where the working class has pressed forwards to demand a better life, including supervising the vilest torture and slaughter colonialism under the “left” Attlee post-war government and culminating in the cynical and self-serving vacuous spin and bullshit of New Labourism, which mortgaged the public services with PFI deals (now bankrupting the NHS and education), cosied up to the City fatcats and their paid lobbyists, sold off at dirt cheap prices as many of the state’s public assets still not nailed to the floor after Thatchers’ own sales, and finally provided the Goebbels WMD lie justification to stampeded the world into the Middle Eastern warmongering with Iraq, setting underway the endless “war-on-terror” chaos still continuing and escalating into WW3.
So, inarticulately perhaps, the working class is treating them with contempt, part of its steadily growing passive rejection of all corrupt “parliamentary democracy”, if not a conscious grasp of its reality as a front for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, which calls all the shots.
The voting turnouts once again made the point with a steady drop in turnout.
An apparent marginal increase, from a 65% average to 66% was trumpeted by the pro-establishment BBC on election morning, barely concealing its Tory bias triumphalism, but it is a nonsense.
Strip out the boost to the average from flash-in-the-pan Scottish frenzy and there was yet another fall, reflecting the growing political experience of the working class.
Underlining the point, the drop was concentrated in working class areas often down to under 50%.
But even better-off rural constituencies, where the petty bourgeoisie support the status quo, were around 70%, lower than last time.
The voting “renaissance” in Scotland is highly tentative too.
Vote levels of around 75% still leave 25% (mostly working class) of the population at home, a figure increased when taking into account the six million in the UK who are not registered to vote at all.
Since at best only half the electorate votes for the “winners”, that means no more than 35% were showing any positive hopes that it might make a difference.
This surge is as unstable as the Lib-Dem vote before, and votes are sloshing about like water in a bucket from one disappointment to the next.
An historic break is underway from this old system of “fooling all the people all of the time”, and many workers have already decided that they are all lying scumbags and pocket-lining self-seekers with even the “principled” few unable to achieve anything.
The election is no stunning gain for the ruling class either.
Far from it; even under the heavily manipulated, gerrymandered and advertising-and-media distorted conditions that pass for a “free vote” in bourgeois democracy, plus its economic bribery, the Tories could only just scrape a supposed “majority”.
Even that meant sacrificing other reactionary plans that have been carefully nurtured such as the backward Little Englander petty nationalism of the UKIP, stomped on in the last stages of the election by the Tory media after five years of building them up with oodles of press and media exposure.
This anti-immigrant pettiness is still there: just like reactionary Arnold Schwarzeneger “They’ll be back”.
The voting meltdown leaves a giant question posed for the working class in how to take up the fight against the collapsing capitalist system.
And the answer can only be the direct struggle against the Slump and war chaos.
There is no other choice for the working class confronted with the greatest meltdown collapse in history.
With the failure of hampering Labourism the decks are that little bit clearer get on with that urgent job.
A truly revolutionary party is now the urgent need for workers, to build the conscious understanding and leadership for the complete overthrow of the ever more degenerate ruling class, taking all finance, factories and farms into common ownership so that production can be planned, ultimately on a world scale, for the genuine needs of all, in harmony and balance with the environment.
To build it means massive debate to confront the question of communism and the relentless capitalist brainwashing lies that “communism failed”, and that it was never anything but a “totalitarian nightmare” anyway, and that therefore there is “no choice” but to stick with capitalism despite the slide into penury and Depression.
The true nightmare is capitalist Slump and the world war which has already destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, and is busy on Yemen, has slaughtered millions in Congo, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Somalia and other African countries, which runs non-stop drone terror killings from Pakistan to Kenya, has reimposed fascist dictatorship on Egypt and is trying to wipe out the left nationalist reformism of Latin America’s so-called “Bolivarian revolution”.
But a great debate is needed to sort out the giant achievements of the 70 years of the Soviet Union in particular and the many other workers states and anti-imperialist movements, from the mistakes and difficulties they ran into.
These are nothing set against the huge advances the working class made and the giant sacrifices, such as the 25 million Russian communist dead being commemorated this week, who died as a result of capitalism’s last great Depression turn to world war in the form of Hitlerite Nazism.
But the philosophical retreats of the Moscow leadership were serious, leading from 1930s revisions and errors to eventually the complete capitulation of the Gorbachevites to western “free market” delusions which liquidated the massive gains of the working class, now plundered by gangster oligarchs and Western imperialism.
The debate on all that needs to confront the craven anti-communism of the fake-“lefts” who poison workers minds with anti-communist hostility and lies as much as the direct capitalist brainwashing propaganda which pours out non-stop.
It needs too to expose the single-issue reformism that the fake-“lefts” posture and prance with, to cover up their total failure to address to address the revolutionary issue, from feminism and “anti-racism” to environmentalism and homosexual “gay rights”.
All of these are based in real enough double oppression or antagonisms deliberately whipped up and used by capitalism to split the working class, but treated as “moral issues” become diversions and evasions from the only possible way they can be solved by society, namely revolution.
Posturing pretences substitute for the battling for Leninist understanding. Worse still the moralising “blame” laden onto workers for being “racist” or “sexist” or homophobic etc itself becomes a splitting factor, sanctimoniously ejecting workers from the struggle because they are deemed imperfect, and unsuitable (as the Trotskyists did at the time of refinery strikes eg).
But as Marx and Engels long ago pointed out, the imperfect human material created by capitalist society is all there is, and it is in the course of changing society (by revolution) that they will be forced to change themselves.
Individualist single-issue politics in not just a diversion but increasingly a reactionary tool for imperialism, all these issues taken up by capitalism from Al Gore’s films on global warming to the gay marriage pledge used by fascist Obama to win support in 2012 (following the collapse of the disillusioned black civil rights and feminist votes which kept the presidential “democracy” illusion alive in 2008).
These single issues are increasingly used for the vilest warmongering purposes, such as notably Steven Fry’s “gay rights” outbursts against Russia, helping whip up the hate atmosphere which capitalism is using to back the Kiev Nazi war provocations.
Their posturing PCism also hampers the capacity of the “lefts” to expose the true depravity of Western warmongering both direct and via its disgusting stooges, most notably the Jewish-Nazi occupation of Palestine.
Combined with their total capitulation to the Western demonisation of alleged “Muslim extremism” and the growing jihadist revolt throughout the Middle East and Africa, these leaves them completely hamstrung in explaining the revolutionary significance of the great wave of anti-Western revolt which has been growing continuously as the masses of the Third World have become ever more impatient and hate-filled at the endless tyrannical exploitation which is their lot under imperialist rule.
They are particularly cowed by the powerful Jewish lobby’s campaigning to suppress all criticism of Zionist atrocities, and particularly of any questioning of the continuing existence of the Jewish occupation of Palestine, and the imperialist conspiracy to recognise this colonialist land-stealing monstrosity as a “state”, under the pretence that such criticism is “anti-semitic”.
And for fear of being accused of “anti-Semitic racism” they say nothing about the enormous Jewish freemasonry influence which runs through Western society and which helps sustain and run this western colonial implant – and which even where it protests its “anti-Zionism” is actually part and parcel of the occupation - save those very few Jews who recognise and campaign against the presence of Israel itself and its existence, and renounce their “rights” to go there at anytime and settle on yet more of the Palestinians’ occupied and stolen homes (taken by terror and ethnic cleansing violence and held by endless genocidal suppression).
This powerful reactionary Jewish lobby has just pressurised and succeeded in shutting down a perfectly sound academic conference at Southampton University which was to debate the Israeli state and its “right to exist” – giving more lessons in the reality of “democracy and free speech” – without a word of protest or demonstration by the whole allegedly anti-Zionist Jewish population.
It is also seeking to have the editor of the highly respectable medical journal The Lancet removed from his post for presuming to carrying an article detailing the medical horrors caused by the all-out Zionist onslaught on Gaza last year, without presenting the Zionist Nazi propaganda view blaming the Palestinians themselves for the “punishment” because of their temerity in daring to fight this Nazi occupation.
Far from giving the Zionist view this disgusting suppression and censorship is what should be presented and denounced.
At least a few voices have been raised against the atrocities imposed last August albeit hedged around with the usual liberal prevarications about “disproportionate” responses and pretences about “international law” (instead of naming this outright as blatant, deliberate, genocidal imperialist terrorising):
Testimonies provided by more than 60 Israeli soldiers who fought in last summer’s war in Gaza have raised serious questions over whether Israel’s tactics breached its obligations under international law to distinguish and protect civilians.
The claims – collected by the human rights group Breaking the Silence – are contained in dozens of interviews with Israeli combatants, as well as with soldiers who served in command centres and attack rooms, a quarter of them officers up to the rank of major.
They include allegations that Israeli ground troops were briefed to regard everything inside Gaza as a “threat” and they should “not spare ammo”, and that tanks fired randomly or for revenge on buildings without knowing whether they were legitimate military targets or contained civilians.
In their testimonies, soldiers depict rules of engagement they characterised as permissive, “lax” or largely non-existent, including how some soldiers were instructed to treat anyone seen looking towards their positions as “scouts” to be fired on.
The group also claims that the Israeli military operated with different safety margins for bombing or using artillery and mortars near civilians and its own troops, with Israeli forces at times allowed to fire significantly closer to civilians than Israeli soldiers.
Phillipe Sands, a specialist in international humanitarian law, described the testimonies as “troubling insights into intention and method”.
“Maybe it will be said that they are partial and selective, but surely they cannot be ignored or brushed aside, coming as they do from individuals with first-hand experience: the rule of law requires proper investigation and inquiry.”
Describing the rules that meant life and death in Gaza during the 50-day war – a conflict in which 2,200 Palestinians were killed – the interviews shed light for the first time not only on what individual soldiers were told but on the doctrine informing the operation.
Despite the insistence of Israeli leaders that it took all necessary precautions to protect civilians, the interviews provide a very different picture. They suggest that an overarching priority was the minimisation of Israeli military casualties even at the risk of Palestinian civilians being harmed.
While the Israel Defence Forces Military Advocate General’s office has launched investigations into a number of individual incidents of alleged wrongdoing, the testimonies raise wider questions over policies under which the war was conducted.
Post-conflict briefings to soldiers suggest that the high death toll and destruction were treated as “achievements” by officers who judged the attrition would keep Gaza “quiet for five years”.
The tone, according to one sergeant, was set before the ground offensive into Gaza that began on 17 July last year in pre-combat briefings that preceded the entry of six reinforced brigades into Gaza.
“[It] took place during training at Tze’elim, before entering Gaza, with the commander of the armoured battalion to which we were assigned,” recalled a sergeant, one of dozens of Israeli soldiers who have described how the war was fought last summer in the coastal strip.
“[The commander] said: ‘We don’t take risks. We do not spare ammo. We unload, we use as much as possible.’”
“The rules of engagement [were] pretty identical,” added another sergeant who served in a mechanised infantry unit in Deir al-Balah. “Anything inside [the Gaza Strip] is a threat. The area has to be ‘sterilised,’ empty of people – and if we don’t see someone waving a white flag, screaming: “I give up” or something – then he’s a threat and there’s authorisation to open fire ... The saying was: ‘There’s no such thing there as a person who is uninvolved.’ In that situation, anyone there is involved.”
“The rules of engagement for soldiers advancing on the ground were: open fire, open fire everywhere, first thing when you go in,” recalled another soldier who served during the ground operation in Gaza City. The assumption being that the moment we went in [to the Gaza Strip], anyone who dared poke his head out was a terrorist.”
Soldiers were also encouraged to treat individuals who came too close or watched from windows or other vantage points as “scouts” who could be killed regardless of whether there was hard evidence they were spotting for Hamas or other militant groups. “If it looks like a man, shoot. It was simple: you’re in a motherfucking combat zone,” said a sergeant who served in an infantry unit in the northern Gaza strip.
“A few hours before you went in the whole area was bombed, if there’s anyone there who doesn’t clearly look innocent, you apparently need to shoot that person.” Defining ‘innocent’ he added: “If you see the person is less than 1.40 metres tall or if you see it’s a lady ... If it’s a man you shoot.”
In at least one instance described by soldiers, being female did not help two women who were killed because one had a mobile phone. A soldier described the incident: “After the commander told the tank commander to go scan that place, and three tanks went to check [the bodies] ... it was two women, over the age of 30 ... unarmed. They were listed as terrorists. They were fired at. So of course they must have been terrorists.”
“One of the main threads in the testimonies,” said Michael Sfard, an Israeli human rights lawyer and legal adviser to Breaking the Silence, “is the presumption that despite the fact that the battle was being waged in urban area – and one of most densely populated in the world – no civilians would be in the areas they entered.”
That presumption, say soldiers, was sustained by virtue of warnings to Palestinians to leave their homes and neighbourhoods delivered in leaflets dropped by aircraft and in text and phone messages which meant – in the IDF’s interpretation – that anyone who remained was not a civilian.
Even at the time that view was deeply controversial because – says Sfard and other legal experts interviewed – it reinterpreted international law regarding the duty of protection for areas containing civilians.
Sfard added: “We are not talking about a [deliberate] decision to kill civilians. But to say the rules of engagement were lax gives them too much credit. They allowed engagement in almost any circumstances, unless there was a felt to be a risk to an IDF soldier.”
If the rules of engagement were highly permissive, other soldiers say that they also detected a darker mood in their units that further coloured the way that soldiers behaved. “The motto guiding lots of people was: ‘Let’s show them,’ recalls a lieutenant who served in the Givati Brigade in Rafah. “It was evident that was a starting point. Lots of guys who did their reserve duty with me don’t have much pity towards [the Palestinians].”
He added: “There were a lot of people there who really hate Arabs. Really, really hate Arabs. You could see the hate in their eyes.”
A second lieutenant echoed his comments. “You could feel there was a radicalisation in the way the whole thing was conducted. The discourse was extremely rightwing ... [And] the very fact that [Palestinians were] described as ‘uninvolved’ rather than as civilians, and the desensitisation to the surging number of dead on the Palestinian side. It doesn’t matter whether they’re involved or not … that’s something that troubles me.”
And the testimonies, too, suggest breaches of the IDF’s own code of ethics – The Spirit of the IDF – which insists: “IDF soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property.”
Contrary to that, however, testimonies describe how soldiers randomly shelled buildings either to no obvious military purpose or for revenge.
One sergeant who served in a tank in the centre of the Gaza Strip recalls: “A week or two after we entered the Gaza Strip and we were all firing a lot when there wasn’t any need for it – just for the sake of firing – a member of our company was killed.
“The company commander came over to us and told us that one guy was killed due to such-and-such, and he said: ‘Guys, get ready, get in your tanks, and we’ll fire a barrage in memory of our comrade” … My tank went up to the post – a place from which I can see targets – can see buildings – [and] fired at them, and the platoon commander says: ‘OK guys, we’ll now fire in memory of our comrade’ and we said OK.”
How Israeli forces used artillery and mortars in Gaza, says Breaking the Silence, has raised other concerns beyond either the rules of engagement or the actions of specific units.
According to the group’s research during the war, the Israeli military operated two different sets of rules for how close certain weapons could be fired to Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians.
Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of Breaking the Silence, and himself a former soldier, explains: “What our research during this project uncovered was that there were three designated ‘Operational Levels’ during the conflict – numbered one to three. What the operational level was was set higher up the chain of command. Above the level of the Gaza division. What those levels do is designate the likelihood of civilian casualties from weapons like 155mm artillery and bombs from ‘low’ damage to civilians to ‘high’.
“What we established was that for artillery fire in operational levels two and three Israeli forces were allowed to fire much closer to civilians than they were to friendly Israeli forces.”
Ahead of the conflict – in which 34,000 shells were fired into Gaza, 19,000 of them explosive – artillery and air liaison officers had been supplied with a list of sensitive sites to which fire was not to be directed within clear limits of distance. These included hospitals and UN schools being used as refugee centres, even in areas where evacuation had been ordered.
“Even then,” explains Shaul, “we have a testimony we took that a senior brigade commander issued order how to get around that, instructing that the unit fired first outside of the protected area and then calling for correction fire on to the location that they wanted to hit.
“He said: “If you go on the radio and ask to hit this building, we have to say no. But if you give a target 200 metres outside then you can ask for correction. Only thing that is recorded is the first target not the correction fire.”
And in the end, despite the high number of civilian casualties, the debriefings treated the destruction as an accomplishment that would discourage Hamas in the future.
“You could say they went over most of the things viewed as accomplishments,” said a Combat Intelligence Corps sergeant. “ “They spoke about numbers: 2,000 dead and 11,000 wounded, half a million refugees, decades worth of destruction. Harm to lots of senior Hamas members and to their homes, to their families. These were stated as accomplishments so that no one would doubt that what we did during this period was meaningful.
The Western world not only continues to accept this ever more gruesome Nazism but actively supports it, while simultaneously screaming blue murder about alleged “war crimes” against Russian speaking Ukrainian workers etc on the hearsay, Goebbels- lie accusations of Swastika wearing Kiev death-squads.
This Zionist monster was generated by imperialism and has been part of its Middle East jackbooting tyranny ever since it was founded.
Atrocities are the norm for the 800 year record of imperialism. They will get worse yet all the way to WW3 until capitalism is overthrown.
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