No 1477 25th September 2015
The shallow opportunism of the fake -“left” stampede to ride the Corbyn-ite “left Labour” victory is already being exposed by retreats and capitulations and a dismal failure to the give the working class any real leadership on the capitalist Slump crisis and the need to overthrow this entire rotten warmongering system. Their pretence of revolutionism has always been a hollow fraud laced with anti-communism and is even more clearly so now, tailending the class-collaborating nonsense of the “parliamentary way”. But the generals and judges have no such qualms, now openly threatening coups and takeovers. Sneers that “it would never happen here” further confirm the smug petty bourgeois complacency which cannot see the crisis nor the underlying revolutionary potential of the left surge which has temporarily thrown up Corbyn. But the missing part is Leninist science leadership
The fake-“left” stampede suddenly to get back into, or around, the Labour Party, underlines the bankruptcy, and shallow opportunism of the 57 varieties of pretend revolutionaries.
They are desperate to ride the back of any transient upsurge they can sniff out, parasiting off its apparent energy and highlighting their tailending philosophical bankruptcy.
So overnight they have effectively abandoned their recent “independent Marxist” plans like the Left Unity lash-up of anti-Soviet Trots, and the equally poisonous Little-Englander TUSC (Trade Union & Socialist Coalition), to join or orientate themselves around the new Corbynite Labour “left”.
Some of them, typified by the self-aggrandising “intellectual vanguard” at the crypto-Trotskyist Weekly Worker, can barely contain their eagerness to get in and “form factions”, hoping to leech off the transient surge into Labour for their own sectarian ends, instead of warning the working class it is being led up the garden path with yet more reformist delusions. A few standing aloof, correctly sceptical of burnt-out Labourism, nevertheless also show their woodenness and lack of grasp by failing to grasp the importance of the movement itself and its revolutionary implications, like the Stalinist Lalkar/Proletarian.
What they miss is that the landslide Labour leadership victory of “left” MP Jeremy Corbyn undoubtedly expresses a major and irreversible shift in public political perceptions under the impact of continuing world capitalist collapse.
Its seemingly sudden upwelling in the teeth of a three month long, galeforce campaign to stop him by the bourgeois press, the Tory establishment, and the sullen sabotage by the Blairite parliamentary opportunists who do its dirty work, has shocked and stunned the ruling class.
All of which is excellent.
But while mass rejection of the carefully mobilised and coordinated deluge of belittling mockery, sly threats, slander and outright class war intimidation against Corbyn, indicates a new and encouraging repudiation of slick spin, lies about economic “upturn” and media trickery, it can go nowhere fast behind the bourgeois Labour Party, “left” or not.
Just the opposite. For as long as the urgent need for a revolutionary world perspective and leadership continues to be ignored and anti-communist anti-Soviet prejudice prevails unchallenged, alongside petty British nationalism and “kill them all” scapegoating demonisation of the Third World “terrorist” revolt, there is no way out of the catastrophic world economic and war disaster which is relentlessly and unstoppably unfolding.
Worse yet – without such understanding based on developing Marxist-Leninist science, the working class remains theoretically disarmed and vulnerable to the counter-revolutionary moves of the ruling class, as seen in deadly coups and clampdowns from Chile in 1973 to the generals in Thailand, in Honduras, to General Sisi in Egypt now, and the deadly disruption of Venezuela and Latin America, as well as, just unfolding, yet another fascist military power grab in Burkina Faso.
The imminently lurching world catastrophe puts such dangers increasingly on the agenda everywhere including the UK.
No such warnings are going to come from the Labour party, that is for sure, nor leadership for all-out class war that is required.
Nor will they come from the fake-“left” supposed revolutionaries, offering only more “left pressure” through “extra-parliamentary” action to supplement the supposed Corbynite gains.
The great movement now welling up needs an understanding of all-out struggle to defeat imperialism and its warmongering chaos, taking advantage of every setback it suffers to its degeneracy, no matter where from.
Such defeats will open up the struggle to completely topple and overturn this degenerate system of brutal exploitation, gross inequality and ultimately collapse and breakdown of ALL society, so that a planned world wide socialist economy and culture can be created, the only possible future for mankind.
Corbyn has been lifted high by this latest wave of political discontent almost by accident, a bemused cork bobbing on much deeper and powerful class currents being stirred by the epochal failure and collapse of the entire capitalist order.
But to pretend that his views are the cause of this movement, or can provide it with any kind of firm lead or clarity, is both to miss these real developments taking place, and to head them in the wrong direction.
It is a total nonsense to start talking about “Labour revivals” as the fake-“lefts” are doing, all seeing only the surface of things.
The great mass shift has latched onto “left Labourism” for the moment because there is nothing more coherent on offer to explain and lead the powerful class forces now stirring, and because this is where tradition takes them initially, particularly in Britain where Labourite and bureaucratic TUC trade union reformism hijacked almost the entire “Labour Movement” a century ago.
But it cannot stay there.
In fact for the working class to be tied behind Corbyn-ite “left Labourism” is to hold it back.
However sincere the Corbynite agenda, it is completely mis-leading for the working class, dragging them back in behind the old hoodwinking fraud of parliament, petty chauvinism and compromising class collaboration.
It can only lead the working class into disappointment, setbacks and dangerous counter-revolutionary hazard as the scale of the hatred and sinister threats about him from British generals already indicates.
It does nothing to warn about the devastating catastrophe of the capitalist world breakdown and the drive towards horrific world war which the ruling class is imposing, (getting an understanding of the cause of the terrible refugee flood for example – US Empire warmongering and blitzing – rather than promulgating vapid diversions around Christian charity-style and impossible “welcome all immigrants” gestures) nor the dangers of increasing fascist repression and blitzkrieging everywhere as the bourgeoisie struggles to keep a lid on inevitable rebellion and upheaval.
It plays along with the demented demonisation of the Third World anti-imperialist struggle and feeds the hysterical nonsense of a “war on terror” being used by capitalism to keep the war fever on the boil as it slides ever further towards all out world war destruction.
Even within the first ten days, the Corbynite momentum has crumbled and caved-in variously to the relentless pressure of the ruling class which far from “democratically” accepting the overwhelming popular support for Corbyn’s anti-war, anti-austerity agenda, has been stepping up its disruption since his election.
Press vilification and hatchet-job personal attacks have escalated and treacherous stab-in-the-back sabotage is rampant by the reactionary Labourite “parliamentary party” MPs he is pandering to.
The disgusting “cold shoulder” frosty silence to Corbyn’s first meeting as leader, or first appearance in the Commons, and the steady drip of hostile sneering press interviews all carefully coordinated, with one “big gun” Blairite after another rolled out on an obvious timetable with a complicit media, to put the boot in with ever more arrogant disdain and anti-working class treachery by these pocket-lining fatcat loving careerists – should draw the firmest disciplining responses.
Corbyn’s “JC” turn-the-other-cheek approach and compromises to “retain unity” with these dogs are not only hopeless but already jeopardising the supposed principles which won him the upsurge.
And the call to override Corbyn and John McDonnell with an “alternative” economic policy advocated by the slimy arch-Blairite Charles Clarke should be tackled head-on as the infamy it is, a deliberate conspiracy to torpedo and sink the “new line” even before it has begun, making clear this is an expellable offence.
Let these self-seekers leave – they know they will not keep their comfortable and cosy expenses laden high-salary positions, as that Blairite-opportunism Guardian writer Polly Toynbee was warning them, declaring that such a move would backfire on them because they would be blamed for the break up, not Corbyn.
The working class cannot lose if this hobbling “New Labour” racket breaks apart anyway.
Pushing things to a break would not suit the ruling class at all and it would certainly not be the end of working class politics – as defeatistly promulgated by the hoary petty bourgeois threat of “never winning an election again” – but the exact opposite, clearing the decks and opening up a thousand questions, all answerable only by revolutionary politics and a complete re-look at the class struggle history of the last century, especially of the huge achievements of the Soviet Union and the Stalinist philosophical revisionist flaws which finally ended it in 1989 (despite continuing economic viability and growth).
High on the agenda would be a major debate on all “electoral” politics and the fact that “winning elections” has always been, and could only be, totally pointless in capitalism, except and unless it was carrying forwards the options for revolutionary struggle.
Even if it could be done in the teeth of the advertising hype, public relations image building, gerrymandering, fixing and manipulation that comprises so-called “democracy”, it would achieve nothing except further covering up that the entire parliamentary system is a giant hoodwinking fraud.
“Democracy” in capitalism simply disguises the actual dictatorship of the bourgeoisie which pulls all the strings and takes all the decisions that count (as currently in illegally pursuing drone assassination-war in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan (see last week’s EPSR)).
Only a class revolt to take power and put a new kind of dictatorship in power, that of the great majority led by the working class to suppress this bourgeois degeneracy, can change anything.
But Corbyn-ism is not going anyway near that and has quickly been showing its true colours.
So it was that the tricky “left” opportunism of the slippery Corbyn ally Dianne Abbott was immediately making it known in interviews that “Jeremy would not be abandoning NATO” for example; keeping going the nazi-Western alliance (which Attlee Labourism set up) that has carried out blitzkrieg after blitzkrieg on the Third World, from the destruction of the revisionist remnants of former workers state Yugoslavia, to pulverising Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, tearing country after country apart, and bolstering such outright fascism as the Swastika-toting Ukrainian “colour revolution” - the CIA-organised counter-revolution in Kiev which has killed thousands of workers in eastern Ukraine, (though badly set back and losing at present).
It is being readied now for even more barbarous “kill them all” fascist bombing to be inflicted on the devastated wreckage of Syria and Iraq in pursuit of the insurgency and uprising which imperialism’s crisis warmongering itself has created (as warned at the time of the WMD destruction of Iraq) and which it has even tried to use in part, arming and provoking its sectarianism to create havoc and war.
So it was that John McDonnell grovelled on the BBC’s Question Time to three times deny his own support for the heroic Irish national-liberation struggle and its IRA armed revolt which finally brought increasingly moribund and incapable British imperialism to the negotiating table, recognising its defeat and starting the long drawn out withdrawal from the occupation of Ireland (still unfolding) and the end of the “No Surrender” bluster and bragging of the Orange colonialist reactionaries.
So it was that anti-monarchist republican Corbyn himself has immediate caved in over the issue of singing the national anthem, promising to do so in future, and of joining the Privy Council, all aspects of the bourgeois state’s hidden and secret mechanisms, which should not only not be accepted but should be exposed and denounced to the working class, warning it of the counter-revolutionary reality of supposed “democratic rule” (of which more further down).
So it is that instead firmly denouncing the CIA-inspired campaign to brand all pro-Palestinian sympathies as “anti-semitic” as the nonsense it is, – declaring that the world hatred for Israel and for all the Jews who support, maintain and benefit from its existence and recognise its thieving colonialism, is nothing to do with vile 1930s capitalist Nazi scapegoating, but a valid response to the stinking, fascist, genocidal land-theft of another people’s land, driven out by the vilest ethnic cleansing and depraved terrorising slaughter methods non-stop for 70 years since the 1940s, – the whole Corbyn campaign starts backtracking and tepidly denying that it is “racist”.
The struggle against Zionist atrocities, and continual oppression and murderous onslaughts (backed and supported by all of imperialism) is 100% valid for the Palestinian people using whatever means their persecution and poverty allows them to find, and any condemning of them is a capitulation and betrayal of the entire worldwide anti-imperialist struggle.
Above all, this Corbynite “left-ism” fails not only to make clear the intractable and unstoppable nature of the unfolding worldwide monopoly capitalist economic breakdown but tells the working class the exact opposite of the truth, on this fundamental and critical question, the heart of Marxist understanding.
The pretence is that there is a new, calm “left” way to run capitalism which does not need all the harshness and austerity savagery.
But the truth is that there is no ending of the crisis except by ending capitalism itself.
Austerity is not simple an “ideological imposition” due to the greed and arrogance of the fatcat rich but an inevitable necessity for the ruling class, if it is to hold and retain its power and wealth.
It is driven by the inbuilt contradictions of the entire private-profit making nature of capitalism which will always bring it to disastrous overproduction and Slump collapse, “solvable”, while capitalism continues, only by massive bankruptcies, destruction of industries, and wiping out of rivals internationally in cutthroat trade and currency war (as seen everywhere already) and culminating in the physical destruction and slaughter of all-out war on a world scale to destroy the “surplus”.
It is a million lightyears from just “more greed” and its solution is a million miles from “better regulation” or “redirecting resources” into social channels.
The world cannot go on with capitalism and every agonising breakdown and refugee exodus demonstrates it, as do the earthquake tremors of ever greater financial and currency disasters from the 1970s onwards.
The dominant US ruling class has temporarily stretched its luck with the insane Quantitative Easing further dilution of the already completely wrecked dollar world reserve currency system, which has only put off disaster for a few more years since the 2008 universal bank failures, and that only because of the economic power of the giant Chinese revisionist workers state economy, soaking up the excess credit.
But the inexorable accumulation of capitalist slump contradictions is unstoppable and about to implode in even worse catastrophe as the jittery ruling class knows only too well and sometimes blurts out:
Over the weekend, we reported that in a dramatic turn of events, the research division of Japan’s second biggest brokerage house, Daiwa, did what nobody else has done before and released a report in which it made a global financial “meltdown”, one resulting from nothing short of a Chinese economic cataclysm its base case scenario. It added that the impact of this global meltdown would “be the worst the world has ever seen.” To wit:
“Of all the possible risk scenarios the meltdown scenario is, realistically speaking, the most likely to occur. It is actually a more realistic outcome than the capital stock adjustment scenario”. The point at which the capital stock adjustment is expected to hit bottom is at a much lower point than in the previously discussed capital stock adjustment scenario)....actual economic growth rate will continue to register considerably negative performance.
If China’s economy, the second largest in the world, twice the size of Japan’s, were to lapse into a meltdown situation such as this one, the effect would more than likely send the world economy into a tailspin. Its impact could be the worst the world has ever seen.”
We ended the post with the following rhetorical question: “now that Daiwa has broken the seal on Chinese and global doomsday scenarios, how soon will other banks follow?
Today we got the answer: 48 hours - that’s how long it took Citi’s chief economist Willem Buiter to issue a report just as dire as Daiwa’s, ...reading between the lines.
This is Citi’s punchline: “A global recession starting in 2016, led by China is now our Global Economics team’s main scenario. Uncertainty remains, but the likelihood of a timely and effective policy response seems to be diminishing.”
Some of the other points from Buiter:
“China continues to dominate much of the current debate; specifically the extent to which the now well publicized economic slowdown could have wider contagion effects.”
Buiter now says that “*the likelihood of a timely and effective policy response seems to be diminishing*.”
The key for markets will be the policy response in China and, of course, the way in which DM central banks react to greater volatility, rising risk premia in asset prices and the implied tightening in financial conditions. Recent rhetoric still suggests that raising rates is still right in the middle of the Fed’s radar screen, but markets are suggesting that this may not be possible, with a September hike certainly being priced lower and lower.
“Apocalyptic scaremongering” say other capitalist commentators only to be contradicted minutes later as the markets are thrown yet again into turmoil.
And blaming China, or suggesting it is the central cause of the crisis, is a nonsense, for all that its entanglement with capitalist markets and revisionist illusions, may give it a rough ride.
As the appalling one-time British CP revisionist academic Martin Jacques wrote in a recent Guardian article it is the giant plank of the Western capitalists’ own disastrous crisis that needs looking at as the cause of catastrophe, not the splinter in the Chinese planned economy’s eye.
Market plunges are not the point so much as the permanent confusion, uncertainty and jitters which continue unabated, with fresh disasters emerging constantly, such as in this running coverage for one day:
Two stories dominate...The unfolding crisis at German carmaker Volkswagen, and fresh fears over China’s economy after more weak economic data overnight.
VW’s board are to meet today, with the future of the company in serious doubt after it admitted installing software in 11 million diesel-powered cars to cheat emissions tests.
Overnight, the New York attorney general announced that his office will join the string of investigations into VW, whose share price has crumbled by a third in two days.
*** Germany’s Deutsche Bank has just cut its recommendation on Volkswagen from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’, and slashed its earnings forecasts by up to 35%. Deutsche also warned that the full magnitude of the scandal can’t be calculated yet. The legal fees will be “very painful” but manageable, it says. The impact on VW’s operations, though, could be even tougher. Deutsche has also cut its forecasts for German’s DAX index, which is heavy with auto companies (VW, BMW, Daimler....)
***Chinese stock market slides after weak factory data. Over in Shanghai, the main Chinese stock market has closed 2% lower after today’s weaker-than-feared factory data. The news that manufacturing output is falling at the fastest rate since 2009 (see here) spooked traders, and alarmed analysts. HSBC economist Frederic Neumann warned:
New export orders have really collapsed. It means global trade is facing headwinds, and even China can’t escape that
***The VW crisis is a blow to the reputation of Germany’s manufacturing base. Professor Karel Williams from Manchester Business School, told Radio 4’s Today Programme that: “Germany has been lecturing the Greeks for years on how they cheated on the budget deficit calculations and now look at this Germany’s largest company is cheating on emissions. It’s not just a crisis for the company… it is a major set of issues about ineffective regulation as in Libor… and all the rest of that.
***Over in Paris, shares in Renault and Peugeot have both fallen by over 5%:
***“It’s unusual for events in a single company to become a driver of global markets but that’s what is happening now with Volkswagen”. So says Kit Juckes, senior strategist at French bank Société Générale, adding: The woes of the world’s second-biggest car manufacturer are doing nothing for economic optimism or risk appetite and they are undermining the euro, against both dollar and yen.
***Australia’s stock market has hit a two year-low, following the weak Chinese factory data released this morning:
***The Volkswagen crisis comes at a tricky time for Europe’s industry, given China’s slowdown. New data released this morning shows that private sector growth across the eurozone dipped this month, with factory growth at a five-month low.
For all Tory pretences of “recovery” and “growth” the reality of the entire world economy is one of now permanent stagnation and desperation despite the great credit injections pumping in trillions of utterly valueless new dollars, euros and Yen, and that before the next great credit collapse.
Nothing is remotely “normal” and economic “hotspots” are limited to wild property and share speculation, not solid industrial growth as the Financial Times reports:
nearly seven years after the central bank cut rates to near-zero, policymakers from the Fed’s crisis-era response team say low rates and quantitative easing have failed to generate the vigorous economic bounceback they expected. Deepening the conundrum over whether to raise rates from their historic lows, inflation figures have stayed moribund.
Donald Kohn, who was vice-chairman of the Fed’s board of governors at the height of the crisis and one of the handful of officials to shape its response, says the rebound, which has seen average annual growth of 2.2 per cent for six years, has been underwhelming.
“I expected a slow recovery, but I expected credit to become more available over time, and zero interest rates to have more of a stimulative effect on spending than they appear to have had,” says Mr Kohn, a senior fellow at the Brookings think-tank. “This has been a disappointing recovery.”
By some measures the US is doing well. Unemployment is just 5.1 per cent. Second-quarter growth at 3.7 per cent was well above the long-term historical trend. But the picture is marred. Annual wage growth at 2.2 per cent is well below the pace many Fed officials expect at full employment, and the labour force participation rate is at the lowest level since the 1970s
The latter is partly because of the retirement of baby boomers, but also because many potential workers have given up looking for a job. Inflation has languished below the Fed’s target since 2012, meanwhile, despite the stimulant of low rates and quantitative easing.
The disappointments of recent years can be attributed to a range of factors, among them tighter fiscal policy in the US after an initial surge, the drag on confidence from the European debt crisis, tight credit conditions in the US, and depressed productivity growth.
Kenneth Rogoff, a professor at Harvard, has closely studied the disappointing aftermaths of financial crises. He says the Fed would in a normal cyclical upswing have lifted rates at least six months ago given the firm labour market signals it is getting. “However, it is not a typical business cycle,” he says.
So much so indeed that even the tentative efforts to raise Federal interest rates again from the near zero level last month were abandoned:
Interest rates in the UK may have to be cut further from their record low level, the Bank of England’s chief economist has warned, as he highlighted signs that the global financial crisis is entering a third phase of turmoil.
Andy Haldane cited evidence of a slowdown on the domestic front and risks to the global economy from China, where an economic downturn has coincided with a stock market rout that has sent shockwaves through the world’s markets.
His view that the Bank may need to resort to even more unconventional moves to protect the UK recovery puts Haldane at odds with the Bank’s governor, Mark Carney, who has indicated that rates may rise from 0.5% early next year.
The suggestion that rates should stay low for longer will be welcomed by homeowners with tracker mortgages but is a blow to savers who have been hoping to finally see higher returns on their money. The warning from a top Bank official over the UK’s fragility is also unwelcome news for George Osborne as he seeks to emphasise his stewardship of the economy following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.
Haldane, one of nine policymakers who set interest rates, was speaking a day after the US central bank decided to delay an interest rate hike for the world’s biggest economy. The US rate-setters blamed a more fragile global outlook in remarks that further rattled jittery financial markets. The FTSE 100 fell more than 1% in the wake of the US decision.
In a wide-ranging speech that called on central bankers to think more radically to fend off the next downturn – including the notion of abolishing cash – Haldane warned the UK was not ready for higher borrowing costs.
Given the range of risks facing the economy, there is every chance the next rate move could be a cut instead of an increase.
Haldane’s view contrasts with comments from other members of the monetary policy committee, who have been talking up the strength of the UK economy and its ability to withstand shockwaves from slowing emerging markets.
He argued that the latest developments in China and Greece should be seen as part of a pattern. “In my view, these should not been seen as independent events, as lightning bolts from the blue. Rather, they are part of a connected sequence of financial disturbances that have hit the global economic and financial system over the past decade,” he said.
“Surveys of output growth, in manufacturing, construction and possibly services, have also recently weakened. All of these data were taken prior to recent emerging-market economy wobbles.”
The suggestion of cutting rates closer to zero, or even moving to negative interest rates for the first time in the Bank’s history, adds fuel to the debate over where monetary policy goes next after more than six years of record low borrowing costs.
Such desperation is astonishing for a system which is predicated on the “right” of capital to “make a return”, with an entire edifice of pensions, savings, investments and finance living from it.
Meanwhile the Volkswagen story above of outright manipulation of its products to evade environmental laws, is not simply one of capitalist cheating, trickery and contemptuous lying – though it is all that (huge increases in fraud being a symptom of degeneracy in crisis as noted long ago by Karl Marx in Capital) but also hides the much bigger story of desperate inter-imperialist cutthroat trade war conflict, as well as the hollow hoodwinking reality of capitalist “regulation” and “standards” (which the reformists and “Greens” deludely fool the working class are some kind of “achievement” and “steps forward in improving the world”).
The objective purpose of all such regulation (under capitalism) has always been to make life more difficult for capitalist rivals, such that only the very largest monopolies could contemplate the huge costs and expenses of gearing up research and production to comply (or pretend to), driving out smaller fry.
The regulatory authorities, however “sincere” or genuine the beliefs of their officials, serve an international competitive purpose, not really to “protect citizens” but to wipe out rivals, in the life and death conditions of turndown and crisis.
On the one side is huge pressure to find a way around regulations leading to massive fraud, cut standards and cheating, and on the other to selectively call out and punish rivals. It is not a coincidence that three giant cases of recent years, BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the Libor bank-rate rigging scandal and now Volkswagen, all involve hammer blows to major European competition trying to muscle in on the great market territory of the big US corporations.
Others have equally hit Japanese firms.
All this underlines the complete epochal collapse and paralysis of an entire world economic system that no longer works, and cannot work whatever control, regulation, restructuring and re-ordering is attempted.
It is heading for World War once again as these tensions increase (and as the demented republican presidential campaign is stirring up around the outrageous Donald Trump - in the lead!! - and the other equally aggressive contenders including the “feminist choice” Carly Fiorina).
It makes a mockery of the blinkered Corbynite notions that things can be altered and changed if only the working class gathers itself together and imposes some other kind of capitalism to the “neoliberal” kind, reining in the raw greed with new controls and regulations.
It is utter gobshyte.
The ruling class will never allow it, even now before the great unrolling cataclysm unfolds and they get really desperate to hold onto their power.
The vicious dirty dealing campaign against Corbyn is just the early skirmishes.
And if this “leftism” fails to make the “necessary compromises” which follow from the entire class collaborating philosophy of this “peaceful path”, step-by-step reformist “parliamentary way” perspective then even heavier bullying pressure will be brought to bear as with the huge European bourgeois financial weaponry trampling all over the Greek parliament, threatening to bankrupt the country if they don’t comply.
The rise and fall of Greek Syriza populist tide - with the fake-“left” desperately chasing along behind – has already demonstrated the complete ineffectuality of simply “saying no to austerity”, and of the rotten opportunism and careerism at the heart of the new popular movements like the Syriza Trotskyist and reformist lash-up and its equivalents like Podemos in Spain.
Nothing has been achieved except mass disappointment and confusion for the working class led in demagogic circles for seven months.
Their enthusiasm had evaporated in the latest manipulative election (September), which just about reelected arch-self-seeker Alexis Tsipras on a much reduced turnout, only because no other leadership is on offer which offers the only real path out of crisis, namely revolution, including from the Syriza “left” breakaway or the Stalinist KKE Greek communist party.
The working class in the UK should take heed that Corbynism itself was one of the great cheerleaders hailing Syriza as a “great new movement” and triumph for the working class (as did virtually all fake-“left” minnows now following the Corbynite boat).
It is only relentless anti-leadership, anti-theory, and ultimately anti-communist philistinism which fails to draw the lessons from such clear examples, doggedly plunging on with the same old patterns.
The dangers are made even clearer by the outright anti-democratic outbursts from the British military, against Corbyn and even more sinisterly against the entire parliamentary political establishment; a murmuring undertone that has been emerging for months, with ultra-reactionary sections of the establishment around the BBC constantly wheeling this or that general or rear-admiral into the studios to “give their opinions” about Syria, or the level of spending on the military, or on refugees.
Their arrogant presumption and contempt for parliament fits in entirely with the Privy Council issue raised with Corbyn; the secretive body of “Royal advisers” who swear an “oath of secrecy” and have powers to bypass parliament and even take the country to war which overrides all supposed “democracy” and is seen by some sections of the ruling class see as their true loyalty, ignoring parliament and the “plebs”.
It goes hand in hand with the feudal throwback fact that the army swears an “oath of allegiance” to the Crown, not Parliament, and believes it has the right to override parliament “if necessary in the national interest”, (meaning the ruling class’s own interest).
It is a background to potential coups and military takeovers now being overtly threatened by some senior military establishment figures:
The Ministry of Defence moved to condemn a serving army general who warned that Jeremy Corbyn could face “a mutiny” from the military if he became Prime Minister. In highly contentious remarks, the unnamed army commander said any attempt by Mr Corbyn to take Britain out of Nato, scrap Trident or cut the size of Britain’s forces would be fought by means “fair or foul”.
The general added that a Labour victory under Mr Corbyn in 2020 would result in “mass resignations at all levels” and there would be the “very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny”. While Labour publicly refused to comment on the views of what it described as an “anonymous general”, in private senior sources described the remarks as “pretty outrageous”.
“You can’t have serving officers effectively threatening a coup against an elected government,” they said. “This general seems to have forgotten that we live in a democracy.” A Ministry of Defence source said it was unacceptable for a serving officer to make political comments about a potential “future government”.
Even some Conservatives expressed disquiet. The right-wing Tory MEP Daniel Hannan described the general as an “idiot”. “We’re not Bolivia for God’s sake,” he said. The general, who is understood to have served in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, claimed that the armed forces would take “direct action” to prevent a Corbyn government from downgrading it and went on to say that his victory had been greeted with “wholesale dismay” even among Labour-supporting soldiers.
“There would be mass resignations at all levels and you would face the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny,” the general said.
“Feelings are running very high within the armed forces. You would see a major break in convention with senior generals directly and publicly challenging Corbyn over vital, important policy decisions such as Trident, pulling out of Nato and any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces.
“The Army just wouldn’t stand for it. The general staff would not allow a Prime Minister to jeopardise the security of this country and people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that. You can’t put a maverick in charge of a country’s security.”
One political government source suggested that while the general’s remark might have been unwise, it did reflect broader concern among service chiefs about the direction Mr Corbyn might take the Labour Party.
“It does show the level of concern in the armed forces, which in itself is alarming,” the source said.
“You only need to see the passionate defence of Nato made recently by the Chief of the Defence Staff to see where they stand on some of these issues.”
An MoD source said “no one” at the top of the military would ever “sign off” on a general “talking about political issues” in such a way.
“It would be fair to say that these remarks are not helpful,” the MoD source commented. “No one thinks that it is a good idea for a senior serving officer to undermine a potential future government.”
However, a Ministry of Defence spokesman ruled out a leak inquiry on the grounds that it would be almost impossible to identify the culprit. Despite cutbacks, there are still around 100 serving generals in the army.
The token condemnations in this, by “even some Tories” (so the rest are in favour??), and the ineffectual “can’t identify the general” tell their own story too; to the contrary leaks from the thousands strong civil service “embarrassing the government” have been ruthlessly pursued and the whistle-blowers imprisoned for long sentences in the past.
And this is not the only outburst:
General Sir Nicholas Houghton, who is currently head of the British military, has bemoaned the limiting effects of democracy, law and public opposition to Britain’s involvement in foreign wars.
He warned if the UK’s enemies think the army will only fight as a matter of national survival it would give succor to Britain’s international opponents, which would encourage “rather than deter revisionist states and their own ambitions.”
“The more worrying constraints on the use of force lay in the areas of societal support, parliamentary consent and ever greater legal challenge,” the general told an audience at the Chatham House think-tank on Tuesday.
He said such limitations could hinder Britain’s “national interest” if it came to a fight.
“Such constraints are particularly significant when the desire to commit to the use of force is in support of operations which some might consider discretionary to the vital national interest,” he said.
This could have a crippling effect on the UK’s ability to present itself as a credible military power, he warned.
“And such constraints may impact on our ability to generate deterrence, which wholly depends on the perceivable credibility of our willingness to use force if necessary.”
Britain’s military role in the world and recent track record of expeditionary wars in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq are likely to come under increasing scrutiny given the new leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is Jeremy Corbyn.
No problem with identification here surely?????
The dull-witted “democracy” illusions of the revisionists and even worse shallow “anti-totalitarian” anti-workers state prejudices of the petty bourgeois Trotskyists (saturated with anti-communism in reality) fail completely to draw the crucial lessons from these rumblings.
Just the opposite, they play them down or like the “left” commentator Seamus Milne in the Guardian laughably declare that “more democracy” is the answer!!!
The “street action” posturing of the Socialist Workers Party is even worse:
Left wingers are supposed to believe that the media are out to get them and an unelected cabal are plotting against us.
It’s nonsense of course. The Sunday Times’ prediction or promise that a Corbyn government “would face the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny” proves it.
There is no coup likely. But the kneejerk panicked response to any thought of change in favour of ordinary people, and media’s enthusiasm for encouraging it, is telling.
The best retort to their reaction to a threat to their control and power is to deepen and make real that threat to their control and power.
What criminal complacency and treachery to the working class!!
Britain has had dictatorship twice within living memory – first in the 1930s, by Ramsay McDonald’s Coalition (removing all opposition) and from 1935 onwards for ten years with elections “suspended” because of “emergency wartime conditions”. Numerous “aliens” and opposition figures were rounded-up and imprisoned.
Second, there has been total military control imposed for decades by the occupation of the “Northern Ireland” statelet (part of the UK it was insisted) complete with blanket censorship, brutal torture (condemned internationally), multiple death-squad assassinations and concentration camps like the Long Kesh H-Blocks.
The fatuous Trot “deepen and make real the threat” etc is a posturing fraud when the working class is being fed total illusions in “left pressure” behind Corbyn, etc and the poisonous anti-communist lies about the Soviet Union and other great workers state achievements that are bucketed out non-stop by these petty bourgeois mountebanks.
The world is full of lessons of the lengths to which capitalism will go in bloody and brutal suppression and violence in order to prevent any real challenge to its rule.
Only the wilfully blind refuse to look at what happened to Salvador Allende, proselytising for the first ever “democratically elected” socialist government in 1970, leading the working class up the garden path of “peaceful transition” away from the understanding that matters, of the need for the dictatorship of the working class.
He was toppled by the well-documented coordinated CIA and local bourgeois counter-revolution three years later, built on constant social and economic sabotage, with manipulated strikes by the petty bourgeois owner-driver truck fleets and other reactionary elements to bring the country to its knees and topped finally with the military coup of General Augusto Pinochet, a byword then on for fascist depravity and torture (though even its thousands of killed and tens of thousands imprisoned and tortured would be overshadowed by the follow-on, US-trained, rightwing deathsquad depravity of Guatemala and El Salvador among others, which saw hundreds of thousands massacred, part of the great rightwing fascist tide across Latin America to keep it as part of “America’s backyard” for sweatshop and plantation near-slave and child labour).
At the heart of the tragedy was Allende’s own disarming of the working class, tainted by Third International revisionist “permanent peaceful road”-ism which not only failed to warn it of the need to organise firmly as a class to deal with the dangers of capitalist counter-revolution, but even invited it in, with Pinochet staggeringly appointed to Allende’s own cabinet to “clamp down” on the disorder the CIA and the general’s own circles were organising!
This trust was built on the gibberish idea that “it couldn’t happen here, in our civilised country” and “our military are honourable patriots”, the same deluded complacency which saturates the British “left”.
Even more lessons are clear as the same violence is now being repeated against the “Bolivarian revolution” and its continuing fostering of “democratic elections” as the supposed way forwards, most notably in Venezuela which has been a leading example of excellent reformist improvements for the working class under the left bourgeois nationalist anti-imperialism of Hugo Chávez and then successor Nicolás Maduro.
But for all its reforms improve and to benefit the desperately poor of the country, this “Twenty first century socialism” has been an eclectic mush from the beginning, a deliberate philistine repudiation of Leninist principles and understanding (that would be “old-hat” twentieth century socialism) that insists that the working class needs to build a disciplined and organised movement to take and then hold power, and to remove and confiscate the wealth and control of the capitalist ruling class to build socialism with the common ownership of the means of production.
To prevent the inevitable counter-revolutionary violence of the ruling class - see Chile, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran (the Shah), Iraq (Saddam), Egypt again, Ivory Coast, Thailand (many times) Haiti, Philippines, Turkey (at least three times), Greece (ditto), France, Ukraine, Congo, Rwanda, Honduras, Paraguay, Libya etc etc etc etc, constantly since the advent of world capitalist imperialism and particularly US supremacy after WW2 – it must establish the firmest majority rule through the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Without this, any “left” reforms, even if they begin to make serious changes (or, actually, especially if they do so) will be subverted, undermined and eventually toppled with as much bloody repression and slaughter as “necessary”.
The non-stop sabotage of the economy and violent disruption by the counter-revolutionary reactionary middle-class in Venezuela over several years, with numerous coup attempts, proves the point and particularly as the world crisis collapse of the oil price has weakened the economic armoury of the reformist “left” government.
Instead of educating the working class in the Marxist understanding of the need for all out class war against the local capitalists and their American backers, the Maduro regime continues to feed out illusions in “democracy”.
But the bourgeoisie could not care less that voting is “done better, more fairly and more transparently” in Venezuela using methods “the envy of many other countries”. So it is, but still the economic sabotage and public opinion manipulation goes on relentlessly, allied with thuggery and intimidation, and backed by the kind of Western media onslaught that always takes the part of the reactionaries (eg setting going the bogus counter-revolutionary Syrian “Arab Spring” to destroy a hated “rogue” regime and suppress the immense genuine Arab Spring in next-door Egypt).
And when popular left regimes like Venezuela do take relatively firm action, every poisonous allegation and Goebbels lie possible is mobilised by the intelligence agencies, and the mysteriously-funded capitalist “human rights” organisations, which control all the major news sources and set the agenda for world media attention.
So when it tries, and imprisons, the rightwing leader and criminal instigator of violence which killed over 40 people last year, the Western press has promptly been dementedly screaming “unfair” – suddenly concerned for the alleged proprieties of “rule of law” justice that it ignores or tramples over worldwide when one fascist regime after another from the Thai coup to feudal Saudi Arabia and the Sisi military in Egypt, imprisons or executes “dissidents” and liberals, or when it invades and blitzkriegs country after country itself.
Has Saudi Arabia been targeted for its monstrous civilian massacres and hi-tech destruction imposed on next-door Yemen and still continuing?
Or Zionism for occupied Palestine?
No sanctions and calls for regime change have followed the barbaric imprisonment and sentencing to 1000 lashes (a potentially fatal punishment) of a blogger in Riyadh, or constant beheadings and amputations, or the hundreds sentenced to death by rushed parodies of trials in Egypt, but Venezuela’s properly organised and carried through trial is immediately punished by US action.
The astonishing proliferation of “human rights” and “democracy” NGOs make token protests elsewhere for forms sake to claim “even handedness” but the venomous propaganda deluges of outright lies, and pious pretences about “justice” and the debilitating sanctions and diplomatic punishments, or even invasions and coups, are focused exclusively on any regime where some kind of struggle has emerged against imperialist interests.
It has the sole purpose of fooling and bamboozling world public opinion into going along with the toppling and overturning of any such regime, by invasion or programmed coup, as tried multiple times.
Of course the supposed “liberal” Guardian, saturated with Trotskyist influence, and recently a leading part of the demented campaign against Corbyn, is right up there with this anti-communist and defeatist poison, as in this report on the trial of a leading right-wing provocateur for sedition and advocating violent overthrow of the legally elected Venezuelan government. The truth is - only just - discernible between the lines and the deluge of anti-government commentary from the uncritically quoted rightwingers (once the worst bits are edited out), and from comments:
[After] sentencing of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López to nearly 14 years in prison...convicted of inciting violence in his role as the leader of a 2014 street protest movement, López was reported to be calm as, late on Thursday night, judge Susana Barreiros read the sentence of 13 years, nine months and seven days in prison.
In a closed-door trial human rights advocates decried as politically motivated and deeply flawed, the judge allowed only one of the 60 defence witnesses proposed by his lawyers, and rejected 30 proposed exhibits, according to his lawyers, who say the judge was acting on orders from the beleaguered president, Nicolás Maduro. They plan to appeal the decision.
“Today it is reaffirmed once again that we live under a repressive, anti-democratic regime,” said Lilian Tintori, a former champion kite-surfer who has two children with Lopez.
Amnesty International said the verdict showed an “utter lack of judicial independence” in Venezuela. “His only ‘crime’ was being leader of an opposition party in Venezuela,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, the organization’s Americas director.
“This case is a complete travesty of justice,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “In a country that lacks judicial independence, a provisional judge convicts four innocent people after a trial in which the prosecution did not present basic evidence.”
Three students, Christian Holdack, Demian Martín and Ángel González, who were tried together with López, were also convicted but will serve out their sentences outside of prison.
López, a 44-year-old US-educated economist who hails from a wealthy family, is the leader of the more radical wing of the Venezuelan opposition, and has advocated for the removal of the leftist government led by President Maduro. His radicalism has won him a loyal following among many who seek regime change in Venezuela but has alienated more moderate sectors of the opposition.
Government supporters call him a coup-monger for his role in a 2002 putsch that briefly ousted then president Hugo Chávez, who set the oil-rich nation on a socialist path. He died of cancer in 2013 and his hand-picked successor, Maduro, was elected the same year.
Before the verdict was handed down, a defiant López told the judge in a three-hour address to the court: “If the sentence is a conviction, I know that you will be more afraid pronouncing it than I will be hearing it because you know I am innocent.”
López repeatedly denied calling for the street barricades and destruction of government property that marked mass protests last year throughout the country, which resulted in the deaths of 43 people over the period of several months, including civilians, police and protesters.
López’s conviction could sour attempts at repairing frayed relations with the US, which applied targeted sanctions to several top security and military officials accused of human rights abuses during last year’s protests. Venezuela responded by blacklisting current and former US officials and by requiring visas for Americans wanting to travel to Venezuela.
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, met with López’s wife last week and phoned the Venezuelan foreign minister, Delcy Rodríguez, ahead of the verdict to express displeasure about the nature of the trial, which the defense said was marred by irregularities.
On Friday, the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, said the country was using the justice system to attempt to silence critics.
Venezuelan officials reacted furiously, accusing the US of coup-mongering.
“The US has erased the small steps taken toward regularizing bilateral relations with this insolent meddling,” Rodríguez said on Twitter.
As the hearing got under way on Thursday morning, members of López’s Voluntad Popular party clashed with government supporters. Demonstrators wearing the signature red T-shirts of government loyalists gathered in front of the court building chanting that López was a murderer and terrorist.
At least two women were injured in the clash and a 66-year-old man, identified as Horacio Blanco, died shortly after, of an apparent heart attack brought on by the fight.
The sentence came as Venezuela prepares to go to the polls in December to choose new lawmakers amid a crippling economic crisis – partially due to plunging oil prices – continued shortages of basic goods and spiralling crime rates. With popular discontent on the rise, Maduro’s ruling Socialist party faces a strong possibility of defeat in many districts and could lose control of the national assembly altogether, according to opinion polls.
López has been held, mostly in solitary confinement, in the Ramo Verde military prison since February 2014 after he was accused of instigating violence and damage to government buildings in a protest in Caracas on 12 February.
Nine opposition politicians, including López, have been barred by the national comptroller from holding office, eliminating them as candidates in the parliamentary elections. Others include María Corina Machado, another outspoken opposition politician and former member of the national assembly who lost her seat in 2014. She was disqualified from running for failing to declare food vouchers in her asset statement.
Comments****Lopez went to court over 70 times in the last year. Video evidence condemned him from his own mouth planning violent acts and encouraging others to carry them out. Atttackjing and trying to burn down a pre-school with 89 children in it was one of Lopez’s democratic acts. He should go to the gallows and as others have noted here in the Guardian - he got off lightly.
He is known here in Venezuela as the Monster of Ramo Verde (prison).
****Jesús “Chuo” Toorealba. On the payroll of the Narional Endownment for Democracy from the USA. Torrealba has NEVER shown any sympathy for the 43 families whose members were killed in the violence instigated by Lopez last year. Nothing.
More than 500,000 new houses have been built under the Gran Housing Mission between mid 2011 and 2013: www.greenleft.org.au/node/55598 You don’t need a ‘report’ to know this, just google it. Venezuela recognised by FAO for halving malnutrition: http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11410 This, despite the economic war being waged by the Venezuelan oligarchy by hoarding tons of food in warehouses across the country and who still own the food production, distribution and retail chains in the country (espescially Polar). As well as illegal smugglers selling subsidized food across the border into Colombia for a profit.
***Chavez never made the list. The accusation that he had stolen billions came from a blogger who was forced to admit he made the whole thing up. That didn’t stop the corporate media from repeating it over and over, though. However, despite all the financial safeguards around the world and the NSA tapping everyone’s communications, no one has yet to produce a single bank account with a single dollar in it. But yeah, myths are comforting to fanatics.
***14 years in jail for instigating the deaths of 43 people is not justice. CIA-backed billionaires like Lopez should have all their assets seized. The same should happen to all the other coup-plotters.
***His calls to topple the government by any means are well known. He is an agitator who incites to violent rebellion, to take the government by force. DO you think that is normal? Many people who followed him have died along with members of the security forces and random people that were caught in the middle. All because of his lunatic and anti-democratic behaviour. There have been cases where members of a sect have committed suicide and the sect leaders were held responsible and punished. The victims and their families have a right to Justice.
***Not backed by CIA but by USAID. Eva golinger has written about it based on FOI requests she submitted to the US government. Two books she has written on it. An organisation whose ex-director admitted carried out the same overt activities that the CIA did in the 60s till it was hived of to them.
***So what was “La Salida” if not a call to topple the government? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n5u4ak948I And when he said “we won’t wait 6 more years” but didn’t start any legal process to impeach Maduro, but instead told people to light up the streets, to unleash their rage, what was he referring to? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivmRQVdxGlk Lopez was run out of his own party a decade ago because they didn’t believe in his violent tactics, calling students to beat up opposition students, blocking roads with barricades (where most of the deaths took place), etc. He...start his own party more in line with his philosophy. After his time in the wildernesst, he tried to take the reigns of the MUD from Capriles and was again rejected by his own party because they didn’t want to start that violent protest nonsense again. In a desperate attempt to reignite his political career and win his party back in the streets, he teamed up with Maria Corina to launch last year’s violence. They teamed up with the likes of Angel Vivas, a retired general who instructed his followers to string piano wire across intersections to decapitate motorcyclists (two motorcycle taxi riders and one passenger were killed). He was recorded in a phone conversation telling his co-conspirators that they had paid gangs of armed thugs ready to take over certain shopping centers.
***Jimmy Carter’s foundation found Venezuela’s elections to be amongst the fairest in the word, if memory serves.
***There is actually evidence take from US freedom of information requests done by eva golinger that show US agencies (NED UDAID etc) pumping lots of money into anti-chavez groups to bring down a multiple elected government. Not a conspiracy but a fact.
***If this was a “closed trial” you are all complaining about as if it is some sort of travesty of justice - how on earth do you know that the judge only allowed one witness for the defence of Lopez? There were over 70 hearings in this trial over 14 months.
***Rubbish. The government has won elections because they genuinely care for the poor, women, indigenous, working-class and want to free the country from the shackles of US imperialism. They have implemented policies since Chavez’s election in 1998 to reclaim sovereignty over their natural resources, reduce poverty, provide free health care, education (with a free meal), homes for the poor, subsidized goods, welfare, community media, increase communal councils and communes in the ‘barrios’ operating in the country, providing cheap fuel to other developing countries in the region through Petrocaribe, uniting Latin America and the Caribbean through ALBA, and being a major participant in CELAC, Unasur and Mercosur.
I suggest you watch this documentary to learn more about what has happened over the past 17 years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xITZJL9ZiM
***has anyone forgotten forget that the usa doesn’t try you --not even in a secret court! no, the usa will turn you into bug splatter with a drone or assassinate you point blank with a special ops team...
***You see, the opposition don’t respect the electoral process in Venezuela and can’t accept the fact they continue to lose free and fair elections since Chavez was elected in 1998. Human rights watch and Amnesty International can go and take a nap as far as I’m concerned. The Venezuelan people support Maduro and Bolivarian Socialism, it is they who will decide the future direction of their country in future elections continuing in December.
Of course it does not help that Venezuela remains a bourgeois capitalist economy, despite “left” reforms, open to outside manipulation and the vagaries of the international crisis, having put its faith in re-distribution of the existing economic resources.
And the illusions fostered in “future elections”, as in the last comment, are part of the problem, despite the correct defiance expressed. So if the Western manipulation succeeds in toppling Maduro??? Should the working class just abandon its struggle as happened to the Nicaraguan Sandinista revolution??
The whole fake-“left” has urged the world to “look at the lessons of the Latin American struggle as a “new way forwards”, eulogising Chávez, just as the are shallowly swept along by Corbynism.
Bravo for Chávez’ anti-imperialist defiance but zero marks for anti-theory philistinism and “democracy” crap.
The world needs to rebuild Leninism and the party of Leninist scientific struggle and polemic to do it.
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