No 1483 15th December 2015
Fake-“left” grovelling to capitalist anti-terror demonisation is a treacherous betrayal of basic Marxism and makes a mockery of anti-war posturing. Capitalist crisis ALONE is the source and cause of all mayhem, responsible for all destruction including desperate suicidal ruthlessness of the Third World fightback. Declaring jihadism “reactionary” and a “problem” to be solved, lines up the “lefts” with the warmongers, and the near-demented fascist nonsense now emerging from Trump and Tory bluster, while denying the revolutionary significance of worldwide upheaval. Only defeat for imperialist warmongering can open up chances for Leninist revolutionary understanding, vital to lead the working class overthrow of imperialism, the only answer to its slide into Slump and war. Passive acceptance of stitched-up “electoral” coup in Venezuela further exposes the dull-witted opportunism of the “left” still in thrall to the pretence of “democracy”. Equally “Stop Le Pen” votes for Sarkozy
The electoral coup by CIA-backed counter-revolution in Venezuela after years of violence and economic sabotage, Corbynite crumbling capitulation to the Tory war-bomb vote in parliament and the reformist nonsense of “vote rightwing to stop Le Pen fascism” in France, all reflect the useless confusion of the fake-“left”.
Their continued fostering of parliamentary “democracy”, social-pacifist “peace struggle” and “left pressure” illusions among the working class, even as monopoly capitalist reaction grows more and more barbarically demented, plays right into the hands of the capitalists just at the point when its system has never been more on the ropes.
So too, even more, does the “left’s” moralising and craven “condemnation” of all the assorted nationalist, religious and anarcho-nihilist revolts, which have grown relentlessly in response to the worldwide imposition of the economic collapse and Slump on weaker smaller countries and the Third World, accelerated by the barbaric savagery of capitalism’s “endless war” blitzing and torture “solution” to its bankruptcy.
As a result they miss chance to impose even the smallest of defeats on the ruling class, for example denying them a parliamentary fraud cover for the extended Syrian bombing – (for what little such a Labourite anti-war vote is worth) – when it was bullied and pushed through by the grotesquely minority Tories bolstered by the disgusting reactionary Liberals and Blairite stooge saboteurs of the Labour party (who should be expelled immediately), and demented capitalist media hysteria, or grovellingly accepting the Chávistas’ Bolivarian ‘revolution’ defeat in Caracas as the “free will of the people” instead of clearly denouncing it as the coup it is, the end point of years of CIA-plotted economic and social sabotage, propaganda hate campaigning, bribery and manipulation by the capitalist media, and violent murderous provocations.
With such class-collaborating ineffectuality there is no chance of a vital call for far bigger defeat for the imperialist war in Syria and all other warmongering aggression such as Yemen, Ukraine and Somalia.
Defeat for imperialism should be the central understanding of all revolutionary socialism and anti-imperialism – failure and setbacks for its aggression being the major opportunity for opening up the understanding of the working class for the revolutionary overthrow of this degenerate, outmoded mess of a system.
Continuing boneheaded revisionist influence and belief in the validity of bourgeois “democracy” (!!!) allows the ruling class evade and escape its responsibility – its sole responsibility – for the catastrophic breakdown of economy, society and all civilised norms which has already totally destroyed half a dozen countries and is being wound up for the whole world, capitalism’s only answer to its crisis.
And it does so when the ruling class has never been weaker and more divided, shattered and paralysed by the sheer scale of the world catastrophe rushing upon it and its hypocritical “rule of law”, and the complete failure of all of its efforts to re-impose some kind of Pax Americana and stabilised world stoogery for the continued untroubled exploitation of the rest of the planet.
There is only one cause and driving force for the destruction, repression and war-horrors already engulfing most of the Middle East, Ukraine, Africa, being readied for Latin America and increasingly threatening giant China and that is the catastrophic failure of the centuries long capitalist system.
Everything else including the great growing wave of “jihadist” and other rebellions throughout the Middle East and Africa, is a result of, and mostly resistance to it driven by material factors of collapse and disintegration (and not by “extremist brainwashing”).
Far from being “as bad as imperialism” as the “left” cravenly accepts universally in various forms, this is an anti-imperialist upheaval growing everywhere, however inchoate and chaotic, confusing and confused it may be, even if it is mostly at present with bizarre and even reactionary or nihilist religious ideology and sectarianism that sees as much infighting and self-defeating conflict as it does coherent struggle against the real problem in the world, capitalist crisis.
Marxism does not have to declare this progressive in itself, or see a straight line connection to socialist revolution, nor even less to support such movements or have anything to do with Islamic and other ideological weirdness.
Nor does it need to advocate their methods as the best or even useful way to fight imperialism in current conditions.
But it is a complete betrayal to denounce these upheavals, either directly as “criminal” or “unacceptable” etc, or by the range of ever more convoluted and sly opportunist “explanations” declare them to be really “created and run by imperialism” or to be “instruments for it” (thereby allowing the “lefts” to “denounce” them anyway).
These eruptions are what has emerged spontaneously as the crisis has deepened, filling a vacuum left by the long retreat from revolutionary perspectives by Moscow revisionism, starting well before the Second World War in the disastrous Stalin-led policies of the early 1930s in Germany for example and the Spanish Civil War “popular front” confusions.
Declaring these movements to be nothing but “fascism” or a mysteriously arising “death cult” is to completely miss-assesses the significance of a giant rebellion which now stretches across the world from Indonesia to the Ukraine, Afghanistan to Africa and which has thrown world imperialism into turmoil, to the great satisfaction of tens of millions of the downtrodden.
It allows the “left” to say there is an “even bigger problem” than imperialism (there being “two kinds of reaction” as the poisonous SWP Trots sophistry puts it) conveniently letting them line up with their own ruling class “for the time being”.
This is all the very worst of petty bourgeois idealism, unrelated to any Marxist science (which all these groups preposterously claim to be their basis).
As the philosophical fundamentals of Marxism make clear, the great movement of history does not arise from the ideas in men’s heads as such, but from objective contradictions that then find expression and reflection in human understanding and great movements (albeit inadequately).
Above all, the world is facing the greatest and most devastating crisis in human history, the epochal disintegration and collapse of the entire class domination period of history, with non-stop war and brutal fascist oppression being imposed by the monopoly capitalist imperialist ruling class, led and dominated by Washington
Since the first Gulf War (1991) tens of millions of little, mostly brown, people in the world have been blasted apart, starved, diseased, deprived and killed by sanctions-siege, tortured, maimed, imprisoned, turned to refugees, and endlessly terrorised by industrial scale bombing, chemical poisoning (depleted uranium, pesticides), invasion, military butchery and robotised drone missile terrorising, all done by capitalism itself and its stooges (like Saudi Arabia or chief Middle East attack dog the Zionist land-theft occupation of Palestine).
This is on top of the routine oppression, tyranny and brutality of monopoly capitalist neo-colonial exploitation which keeps two thirds of the planet in thrall and near or actual slave poverty with blighted lives on plantations and in crumbling deadly sweatshops (the only basis of the petty bourgeois living-standards of the Islington armchair fake-“lefts”).
All human relations, societal norms, principles and established structures are disintegrating along with the collapse of an entire 800 years long period of bourgeois class dominance (and of an even longer period of all exploitation and dominance systems).
Far worse is to come as the catastrophic collapse of the private profit making system continues to unroll, its inevitable and unstoppable “overproduction” disaster (see Marx quotes, the original Communist Manifesto and Capital) temporarily held off in unstable stagnation with valueless QE money printing, but on the verge of even greater meltdown than in 2008 (and much the worse for having been deferred by such a gigantic Ponzi scheme).
No “left pressure” protests, “No to War pacifism” or piecemeal “austerity resistance” can possibly stop this slide into the greatest mayhem and deliberately imposed bloody destruction ever seen.
The ineffectual flurries of class collaborating reformism and revisionist illusions still poured out by the 57 varieties of “lefts”are a deadly trap for the working class and lead it in entirely the wrong direction, disarmed and vulnerable to the counter-revolutionary skulduggery and repression that grows daily more intensive and extensive, as the workers in Caracas are already learning (again) to their cost.
Only the revolutionary struggle to take power will suffice to end this armageddon establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Only scientific Marxist revolutionary theory, guided and constantly developed in open polemic by a deliberately built revolutionary party dedicated to the task, can focus, inspire and lead the great wave of spontaneous world revolt that the crisis is forcing to the surface, all the way to the necessary conclusion in the working class taking power, seizing all the resources and means of production and putting them into common ownership, so that world economy can be planned and structured on a rational basis for the good of all and not the enrichment of an ever tinier and more grotesquely unequal elite of armsrace warmongers.
But the entire spectrum of fake-“lefts” – posturing for so many decades as “revolutionaries” and socialist anti-imperialists – avoid any such task, neither explaining nor even grasping understanding the crisis and its history changing implications, whatever token phrases they occasionally add into the final paragraphs of their articles.
The jostling of the fake-“left” to line up and “repudiate” or “denounce terror”, continuing since 9/11, and set going again by the Paris events, is total abandonment of such understanding, driven by a petty bourgeois fear of the collapse and breakdown occurring all around instead of seeing it as the fragmentation and failure of the old order, making possible and demanding a complete revolutionary transformation.
Their comfortable notion has always been that “revolutionary change” will come by a series of step by logical step of “left pressure” improvements and gains which eventually produce a new society.
Deep in their complacent and conformist souls they believe chaos and mayhem is “getting in the way” of their gradual “left” progress, a steady world takeover by “peaceful coexistence” and ”anti-war struggle” or Trotskyist “perfect revolution” (which they alone can lead, natch) and end up opposing it, alongside the capitalists.
It is reformist garbage, opportunist class collaboration.
In the great collapse now underway it leaves them effectively on the side of imperialism against the Third World as its anti-imperialist hatred explodes everywhere.
If these terrorist outbursts are not the best way to fight, then the Leninist answer has been that revolutionaries need to give better leadership to the world struggle starting with a coherent revolutionary perspective of the crisis and its revolutionary necessities.
The acceptance and even promulgation of the bourgeoisie’s mystical hate campaigning by the 57 varieties of Labourites, Trotskyists and Stalinist revisionists, all painting world revolt as nothing but “terrorism” caused by “the work of the devil” or a new “evil death cult” or, pseudo-scientifcally but equally nonsensically, as “reactionary Islam”, “headbanging jihadism” or a form of “fascism”, is total betrayal.
It effectively gives the ruling class carte blanche for its further warmongering to “solve the problem”, making a mockery of all the social-pacifism and “Stop the War” protest, and leaves the working class confused and stampeded behind the hate propaganda being used to whip up a “kill them all” chauvinistic frenzy.
It also fails to see this demented atmosphere as a sign of extraordinary weakness and confusion in the ruling class and its loss of control.
Capitalism is looking for scapegoats and diversions of any kind, desperate to head off working class understanding that the profit system alone is responsibility for Slump and world war.
This has reached glaringly obvious Hitlerite levels with the latest pronouncements from US Republican presidential contender Donald Trump demanding all Muslims be treated as enemies and calling not just for the obliteration of any insurgents but bombing of their innocent families too, imposing on a world scale the kind of horrific Nazi arbitrary death squad assassination and collective punishment specialised in for decades by the Zionist land-thieving, ethnic-cleansing colonists occupying the Palestinian nation.
This is a prelude to even nastier hate-campaigning and potential outcomes not seen since the 1930s with the demonisation, victimisation and blaming of the communists, gypsies, trade unionists, disabled and then the Jews, who in the cruellest twist of history were at that time the genocidally slaughtered victims of imperialist crisis and collapse (before becoming the current perpetrators of butchery and genocidal oppression themselves against the Palestinians).
This demented Western hate campaigning now against Islamism is fascism and even more obviously than the Bush/Blair initiated decade of war and blitzkreig already gone through (which has been brutally fascist from the beginning).
Far from being “beyond the pale”, or “just a nasty joke”, Trump’s gross Nazism is finding a ready response with a deluded, imperialist corrupted, and also terrified public opinion (just as Hitler did).
Trump supporters have already called for “camps”.
It is the logical end point of the turn to all out war by the US begun in 2002 (after various trial runs like “Democrat” Bill Clinton’s bombing of Sudan and the 1999 destruction of tiny Serbia) and emerges from the mainstream of embattled capitalism itself, an extension of it, not some special and different extra reactionary “fascist” elements (which would imply there can be a “reasonable capitalism” if only we “keep them out”).
It should never be forgotten that Hitler was heavily funded by the big bourgeoisie and elected as part of the mainstream “democracy” of Germany in 1933.
This latest Nazi theatricality, finding a US specific form in Trump’s bigmouthed business showmanship, (as opposed to the jackbooting that emerged from two centuries of Prussian militarism in the 1930s) is once again a sign of weakness, not strength by the ruling class, a point missed by all the fake-“left”.
It takes a liberal Tory to make some sense on this (while naturally missing the entire crisis collapse behind it, and still believing in capitalist “democracy”) as in this edited piece:
Trump spoke with his eyes down, like a hostage under duress. His was an America frightened, incoherent, illiberal, fearful of some unknown power. He was the voice of a cowering nation.
Bin Laden, or at least his ghost, has moved a step closer to his goal on 9/11: to put America in thrall to an Islamic ascendancy. He wanted an America that, as Trump put it, “does not know what the hell is going on”, that is “out of control”. He wanted an America that “does not care” about its customary freedoms. He wanted all Muslims to be America’s enemies. Trump duly delivered. He was Bin Laden’s acolyte, his accomplice, his stooge.
Britons should beware of criticising Trump. They are not innocent of his crime....
David Cameron played the card in last week’s parliamentary debate on Isis. So did Labour’s Hilary Benn. They equated Isis to the Nazis, and their opponents to appeasers of 20th century fascism. They summoned up the bombers against Muslim cities and demanded curbs on civil liberties commensurate with the declared threat. It was Trumpism for slow learners.
To compare any threat facing Britain or America at present to Hitler’s Germany is ludicrous. It is historically illiterate. It is an offence to all who suffered and died in Hitler’s war. It is an offence to Britain’s allies round the world. It is an offence to language. As the House of Commons cheered on the bombers (and swore to send no ground troops), I wondered how it might react if Britain really did face another Hitler. Would it join Donald Trump, quaking with terror under the nearest table?
Fear is the most potent of political weapons. It is more deadly than greed, ambition or love of home. It is dangerous because it feeds on the irrational in human nature. Like a nuclear weapon it should be kept locked away, for use only in extremis.
Yet in recent months fear has been deployed by ministers and opposition politicians, generals, spies, police officers, newspaper editors and television producers. Every two-bit nutcase is declared “an existential menace”, a threat to “national security”, a saboteur of our “civilised values and way of life”. I could not believe BBC radio listeners being invited to boast about cancelling their holidays out of fear.
No one really believes that Britain’s values and way of life are so feeble as to fall to a machine gun or a grenade. No one really thinks that Muslim travellers could undermine the American way of life. Guns kill and bombs destroy buildings. But that does not threaten “our very existence”. The likelihood of an English caliphate is precisely zero, however much it suits politicians and the security lobby to claim otherwise.
So why do Cameron and Benn repeat Godwin’s law? Why do Trump’s supporters have so little faith in America’s freedoms as to think them vulnerable to a few homicidal maniacs, egged on by his friends in the gun lobby? The answer is that they have been conditioned to fear....There is now a copious literature on Isis...(all) tell the same tale: of ham-fisted interventions, poor intelligence, counterproductive assassinations and the misjudgment alike of friends and enemies. It is a story of predictable consequences claimed as “unintended”.
Al-Qaida in 2001 was a tiny cell in an Afghan mountain. By overreacting, the west turned it into a global force. It proceeded to sow anarchy across Afghanistan and Iraq and then attempted, after 2012, to destabilise President Assad in Syria. This compounded the foolishness, finally creating a vacuum in which an Isis caliphate could take root. It is, as Wood emphasises, a different theology and different methodology from al-Qaida, a state not a cell.
Donald Trump shows hate speech is now out and proud in the mainstream.
There can be no argument. Britain was in part responsible for the creation of Isis. Now Cameron appears to believe that it can be bombed into defeat, repeating the oldest military fallacy, that bombers win wars. From all I have read, Isis will never surrender to bombs. It is the purest of hieratic regimes. It might be wiped out with appalling slaughter on the ground, but then what? For the present it can probably best be contained by surrounding forces in the Sunni triangle, where it should ultimately rot from its internal contradictions.
Meanwhile, western liberal democracy is threatened not by a caliphate or “radical Islam” but by itself. Fear is so prevalent a form of politics because it is the cheapest. That is why inducing politicians and the media to spread fear is the terrorist’s most potent weapon. As in judo, it is the weak exploiting the strength of the strong to defeat him.
Islamist terrorism does not seek the conversion of the west to Islam. It is not stupid. Bin Laden’s objective was to show Muslims that the west’s claims to moral superiority were a sham. So-called liberal values could be undermined by turning western leaders into bigots, paranoid warmongers and oppressors, especially of Muslims. Bin Laden sought to contrast the steadfastness of conservative Islam with the hypocrisy and degeneracy of a frightened west. He has had a pretty good month.
In its bourgeois way, while laden with illusions about “customary freedoms” –(endless world slaughter like Indonesia 1965, Vietnam, Cambodia, Latin America death-squads, a world network of fascist stooges from Papa Doc and Marcos to the latest in Honduras, Egypt, Ukraine and Thailand, total domestic surveillance, corporate plunder, torture, rendition??????)– this piece pins down correctly the falsity of the war-posturing scapegoating and how it expresses the incredible weakness of new Nazi strutting from Trump or whichever warmongering variant prevails (and its pale British sidekick bluster).
Nazism has always been the last ditch of the ruling class when it is losing its grip, as it was in the Slump ridden 1930s (and in less obvious form, in the run-up to the First World War too).
The top dog American ruling class (since 1945 World War victory) has been hoping to ride out its long deepening humiliation and failure from the inevitable and unstoppable collapse of the private profit system by using shock and awe on the entire planet, to let it continue appropriation of the lion’s share of world’s labour and resources despite its total bankruptcy, suppressing all Third World and working class revolt and intimidating any rival capitalist powers that might challenge it, most of all the German-led European bloc, and Japan.
Instead its barbaric blitzkrieging has run into a decade of defeats and setbacks, the “New American Century” plans to bully the world back into submission to US interests for the indefinite future, a hollow joke.
The great quagmires of failure and chaos in Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and even for Western skulduggery in Ukraine and Syria have repeatedly rocked the imperialist back on their heels, essentially bringing down the George Bush (and still hated Tony Blair sidekick), and hamstringing Washington war plans ever since.
The Obama presidency, its “politically correct” black-man-in-the-White-House itself a desperate card played by the ruling class to keep going the shot-to-pieces presidential “democracy” fraud, even now hesitates over “boots on the ground” commitments to warmongering, preferring the “safe option” of robot killer drones, long distance “guided” missiles and high altitude bombing runs, rather than see any more flag-draped coffins pile up as they did from Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Memories of the great defeat of Vietnam and partly in Korea before that, still hobble US ruling class confidence even now.
As predicted by virtually all the more thoughtful commentators from the first moments the B52s began pulverising Afghanistan, and even more from the brutal fascist invasion inflicted on Iraq, with its inhuman torture terrors, outright massacres like Fallujah, the great rebellion against the Western capitalist forces, already brewing in a Third World transformed by colonialism, has massively escalated.
Every Western atrocity and butchered civilian wedding party has hugely upped the recruitment to the jihadists and insurgencies.
They may be confused, chaotic and even counter-productive in sometimes suicidal desperation, and sectarian hatreds have been played on by Washington to divide and rule, most dramatically with the ISIS phenomenon (analysed further below) but it has pushed back against the West and deepened its crisis.
Jenkins’ piece correctly mocks the nonsensical notion that the ISIS and other jihadists are themselves “Nazi” or a “major threat” as “orated” during the bombing debate by the repellently traiterous bourgeois stooge Blairite Hilary Benn, in the best grovelling we-can-be-trusted-to-be-more-Tory-than-the-Tories loyalism of petty bourgeois reformism (and as echoed by “Islamo-fascism” phrasings of the more reactionary of the Trot groups and pseudo-“left” frauds like Paul Mason).
Fascism is a specific phenomenon of big power imperialist capitalism turning to hyped up aggression and militarisation in the period of collapse and crisis, using scapegoating and extreme nationalist mythology mingled with some theatricality, most obviously in the 1930s runup to the Second World War but also now.
The same denunciations have been pouring out since 9/11 and were nonsensically thrown at Bin Laden as much as now against ISIS (EPSR Perspectives 2002):
It is derisible fantasy to pretend that Osama Bin Laden, or sheikh Yassin, or even Saddam Hussein, can even remotely be considered a “serious fascist threat to the world” as these weird bedfellows Bush, Blair, and the CPGB like to make out.
None want to restore feudalism against capitalist-imperialist world progress; none of them are in the slightest position even to try.
And however ‘barbaric’, primitive’, or ‘reactionary’ any of their actions or programmes can be labelled, it throws all reading of history into impossible confusion to see any of them as the “possible next fascist threat to civilisation”.
Firstly, the description of the danger is itself phrased hopelessly misleadingly, causing people to look for fascism in entirely the wrong phenomena.
Secondly, even when correctly stated, there is no way that any regime headed by Saddam, Osama, or Yassin could play the slightest ‘fascist’ role in inter-imperialist warmongering, which is the arena which alone has given ‘fascism’ its dramatic historical resonance.
It was a specific world-imperialist crisis situation which created the fascist phenomenon (aggressive warmongering tyranny fuelled by manic ideological extremism of a racist/religious/mystical flavour). It was the crisis era which created the fascists, not the fascists who created the crisis era.
There have been plenty of would-be lunatic messiahs marching around the political scene for generations.
But there was only one fascist era — the 1930s when difficult economic world-crisis conditions particularly put the squeeze on some major, or would-be major, imperialist powers who felt they were being denied the chance of colonial expansionist lifelines out of the international slump conditions prevailing universally.
Germany, Japan, and Italy felt especially aggrieved against the colonial-exploitation stranglehold that Britain, France, and the USA in particular had already historically established.
Their ‘fascist’ ranting about a ‘new world order’ to keep their own slump-threatened populations bemused by aggressive preparations for expansionist warmongering, set the tone for a row of smaller-power imitators, but was crucially pandered to, up to a certain extent, by the established Big Three imperialist powers who all had a mature grasp of warmongering chauvinism’s great potential for keeping state-unity intact during a severe economic crisis, but who also had a huge stake in trying to create a particular imperialist-warmongering conspiracy which might strike at the Soviet workers state.
While Jenkins’ piece correctly understands the preposterous exaggeration of jihadism being a “world threat”, even ISIS with its ambitions for Caliphate statehood, and mocking Cameron’s pretensions to be a “war leader” (in a previous article laughing at the ridiculous sidekick role being played with a few Tornado jets from Cyprus) his analysis still declares there to be an “evil” in the world, differing only on how serious it should be seen and means of “tackling it” to “restore normality”.
This is more or less the same position adopted by all the “lefts” too, most glaringly shown by the mountebank Labourite careerist Ken Livingstone whose “anti-war” objection to pulverising northern Iraq is that such methods have not been “properly thought through and planned for a follow through invasion”!!!
Small wonder that with such arguments the “No to War” position of the Labour-“lefts” could find no firm ground to reject and expose the vile hysteria of the Bennites (another twist in history as a term formerly representing the “left” becomes shorthand for a rightwing stiletto in the ribs) and simply capitulated with its feeble “free vote” nonsense.
By declaring the insurgency a form of reaction, as all the “left” do, – Stalinist and Trot lined up together – the crucial point is also missed that all the bombing and warmaking arises from capitalism itself as its World War crisis necessity, which in the last analysis is nothing to do with the Islamists.
They are an excuse.
And this underlines a bigger point too that Jenkins does not grasp; ISIS as such is no world threat, but capitalism mostly certainly is threatened, not by jihadism and not simply as he says from its own “fear” but “rotting from its internal contradictions” (as his own misplaced prognosis for the jihadists says) magnifying the antagonisms and tensions of all society, taking the mostly hidden permanent class war to breaking point, exactly as Marx, Engels and Lenin explain, (ever more validly despite the smug and complacent ridicule such “catastrophist” warnings get from assorted “lefts”).
The extraordinary fact of ISIS-sympathising by the deprived and alienated youth of the banlieues, and sink estates of Europe and the US, recruited to Syria or now carrying out attacks in Europe, is just one symptom of overall monopoly capitalist decay.
Rebellion is breaking out in dozens of forms quite separately almost everywhere, from the dogged resistance of the East Ukrainian working class against the Nazi coup pulled off in Kiev, to the growing revolt against the Thai military coup, the left movement in Latin America (hampered as it is by revisionist nonsense about “democratic paths”), Bangla Deshi anti-Westernism, Maoists in India and Nepal, the repeatedly recurring turmoil in African countries like Burundi, Burkino Fasso, the dogged anti-imperialist resilience of Zimbabwe, stirrings in South Africa, Sinai, Somalia, Kenya.
And the growing discontent everywhere, anti-austerity sentiment, anti-capitalism and even the surprise left surge temporarily lifting up Corbynite “left” Labourism but soon to roll on past it, is all symptomatic.
Some of the Islamist movements now linked to ISIS emerged separately, and others are even hostile to it, like the Taliban in Afghanistan, currently negating all results of the US-British and international occupation:
Taliban fighters have attacked Kandahar airport, killing dozens of security personnel and civilians in the deadliest attack on the largest military facility in southern Afghanistan.
The audacious assault began at about 6.30pm on Tuesday when suicide bombers breached the outer security perimeter.
Between 30 and 40 people were killed in the battle that followed, according to a western official. An Afghan security analyst put the number of fatalities at 25 to 30, while the commander of the Afghan army’s 205th corps, Dawood Shah Wafadar, said at least 18 security forces and civilians had died.
At about midnight, Afghan officials said the fighting seemed to have been contained. However, the breached area of the airfield, crammed with old apartment blocks, shops and a school, appeared difficult to clear, and the militants continued fighting.
The battle was still under way on Wednesday, with militants taking civilian hostages. A Nato spokesman said there were no reports of foreign casualties.
While the attackers did not get close to the main military section of the airport, including the runway and barracks housing foreign troops and advisers, they caused enough chaos to raise concern about airport security levels.
The attack in Kandahar, the traditional stronghold and spiritual heartland of the Taliban movement, follows a months-long insurgent campaign, culminating in September with the capture of Kunduz city, which gave the militants a major PR-victory and morale boost.
“Stuff like this is pretty bold, pretty ambitious,” the western official said about the Kandahar attack. “The level of ambition has been ratcheted up since Kunduz.”
It is not the first time the Taliban has wreaked havoc on a major airfield in Afghanistan. In 2012, 15 Taliban fighters disguised as American soldiers managed to sneak into Camp Bastion in Helmand where they destroyed hundreds of million of dollars-worth of helicopters.
The incursion on Kandahar airport coincides with the Heart of Asia summit in Pakistan, which many hope will provide an opportunity (for) reviving peace talks.
Whatever the specifics, it is by now surely clear from this continuing and even accelerating rebellion, and multiple others, that imperialism’s problem of nationalist and anti-imperialist revolt is not being contained in the slightest in Afghanistan or anywhere else, and this after much of the country has been pounded and destroyed since 2002, firstly by B52 blanket bombing, then years of “boots on the ground”, arrests and torture, “soft” power bribery and infrastructure building, elevation of local warlord stooges, and total drone surveillance and terrorising throughout the Obama years.
The Taliban is back and its purpose is seemingly just as it always has been, to get Western dominance and stooge corruption of its back and no more than that, neither taking over the world nor imposing a new Islamic order on everybody.
And this underlines a major aspect of the fake-“left” analyses of all kinds, they treat the ISIS phenomenon (or the Syrian civil war) completely as things-in-themselves, unconnected or only loosely connected to the world crisis.
They thereby become trapped in endless detail about what its ideology is, what it supposedly wants and how this therefore allegedly proves its is just a monstrously barmy psychotic “killer movement” etc, conveniently coming out the more or less with the same view as the imperialist ruling class and ignoring the material causes.
The Taliban events shoot holes in the great slew of complicated and ever more convoluted theories about the rise of “terrorism” as being all a Western imperialist plot.
These pour out of assorted left groups as a way of explaining and justifying their supine capitulation to the condemnation and denunciation of the great Middle Eastern (and world) revolt and the tangles of contradictions and treacherous betrayals that are thereby covered, starting first and foremost with the Egyptian revolution.
Defeatist confusion mongering has virtually become an industry, article after article pours out showing this CIA connection, that training camp, that piece of video proving medical aid for this group of fighters or that one crossing the border here etc etc etc etc.
With it goes “proof” of one or other bits of collusion, or “reactionary policies” (usually a failure to follow the prescribed petty bourgeois single-issue politically correct line on perfect feminism or gay right etc by various organisations leading the struggle) which become “justification” for further denunciations, such relatively trivial and not always well established principles deemed more important than the front line struggles and agonies facing say the Palestinians and therefore used as an excuse for repudiating their Hamas or Islamic Jihad leadership, or denouncing them.
One particularly form of this slyness is in the American authored article hastily taken down from the Stop the War website which declared that the Paris attack showed the West “reaping the whirlwind” of a deliberate Western policy which had cultivated Islamic backwardness for more or less the entire post-war period, as a counter to first Soviet and then anti-imperialist revolt.
In one sense this is true; 9/11, Paris,7/7 and more are all expressions of the backfiring of colonialist tyranny, and the refusal to say so for fear of offending temporarily stampeded petty bourgeois public opinion, reveals plenty about the craven, forelock tugging of the Trots and revisionists making up StW Coalition as the capitalist media has harried them for “disloyalty” and “tastelessness”.
But such attacks on the West completely undermine the ground assumption that jihadism is a reactionary tool.
So why has it “blownback” across the Middle East, against Zionism, against the Egyptian Sisi dictatorship, against Western stoogery in Mali, Nigeria, with 9/11 and Paris, and potentially more?
The limp platitude is advanced that “playing with fire is dangerous”.
Philistine shallowness outdoes itself!!!!
If jihadists are attacking imperialism it is not remotely explained by declaring “they are all a bit maverick”.
It is undeniable that imperialism repeatedly tries to manipulate and has used the Islamists, extending a centuries long tradition of manipulating religious, ethnic and cultural differences to divide and rule.
The story of the CIA successfully fostering, arming and funding the mujaheddin in Afghanistan against the 1980s Soviet backing for Kabul’s then revolutionary socialist government, is well known, even turned into a Hollywood film.
So too is the deliberate injection of the Paris-exiled Ayatollah Khomeini into Tehran to sustain the mullahs, and head off any danger of communist influence taking hold in the 1979 spontaneous popular revolt which toppled the Shah dictatorship and his brutal Savak torture police in Iran (a policy aided by the revisionist Tudeh Party’s Moscow influenced failure to grasp the revolutionary nettle at the time - to its own tragic cost subsequently).
But this usefulness was only relative and in the crisis all kinds of dialectical shifts take place, as mentioned transforming the Taliban from tool to resistance, the Ayatollahocracy from anti-communist bulwark to anti-imperialist (very large) thorn in the side (variably).
Such dialectical shifts have beset the imperialist onslaught on the Middle East and ISIS is one part of that.
It too has emerged from the initial Bushite shock-and-awe blitzkrieg which was supposed to pacify Iraq, removing the CIA-placed thug Saddam Hussein, whose stooge regime itself had turned into anti-imperialist rebel under the pressure of the crisis and the growing Arab street hatred of imperialism.
As well as reestablishing imperialist writ the neocon plan was simultaneously to make clear to the world what might and power would be unleased against all other rebellion, rogue states and even major capitalism rivals if they even thought about challenging America’s New World Order supremacy.
But the US-British occupation ran into endless turmoil, its initial replacement stooge, the CIA trained Ayad Allawi humiliated by Shia militias and despite barbaric oppression, the British and then Americans ultimately driven out, though retaining overall influence on Baghdad.
The compromises forced on the occupation by the Shias (and the Iranians in the background) led in turn to new anti-imperialist insurrection from the central Sunni areas, brutally put down eventually by inflaming the Sunni-Shia sectarian differences into a savage civil war between 2005-7; the murky story of deliberate death-squad barbarity used by American imperialism to do that has emerged in following years around such figures as Colonel Jim Steele, fresh from training the brutal mass killing regime in El Salvador.
The heightened sectarian hatred deliberately established then has repeatedly been used since as this piece in June from the Guardian’s Seamus Milne (now press relations chief for Jeremy Corbyn) touched on:
On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting.
The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead with the trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition.
That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale”. Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
Clearly, the absurdity of sending someone to prison for doing what ministers and their security officials were up to themselves became too much. But it’s only the latest of a string of such cases. Less fortunate was a London cab driver Anis Sardar, who was given a life sentence a fortnight earlier for taking part in 2007 in resistance to the occupation of Iraq by US and British forces. Armed opposition to illegal invasion and occupation clearly doesn’t constitute terrorism or murder on most definitions, including the Geneva convention.
But terrorism is now squarely in the eye of the beholder...
For the past year, US, British and other western forces have been back in Iraq, supposedly in the cause of destroying the hyper-sectarian terror group Islamic State (formerly known as al-Qaida in Iraq). This was after Isis overran huge chunks of Iraqi and Syrian territory and proclaimed a self-styled Islamic caliphate.
The campaign isn’t going well. Last month, Isis rolled into the Iraqi city of Ramadi, while on the other side of the now nonexistent border its forces conquered the Syrian town of Palmyra. Al-Qaida’s official franchise, the Nusra Front, has also been making gains in Syria.
Some Iraqis complain that the US sat on its hands while all this was going on. The Americans insist they are trying to avoid civilian casualties, and claim significant successes. Privately, officials say they don’t want to be seen hammering Sunni strongholds in a sectarian war and risk upsetting their Sunni allies in the Gulf.
A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria.
Raising the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality”, the Pentagon report goes on, “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)”.
Which is pretty well exactly what happened two years later. The report isn’t a policy document. It’s heavily redacted and there are ambiguities in the language. But the implications are clear enough. A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of “Islamic state” – despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria.
That doesn’t mean the US created Isis, of course, though some of its Gulf allies certainly played a role in it – as the US vice-president, Joe Biden, acknowledged last year. But there was no al-Qaida in Iraq until the US and Britain invaded. And the US has certainly exploited the existence of Isis against other forces in the region as part of a wider drive to maintain western control.
...In reality, US and western policy in the conflagration that is now the Middle East is in the classic mould of imperial divide-and-rule. American forces bomb one set of rebels while backing another in Syria, and mount what are effectively joint military operations with Iran against Isis in Iraq while supporting Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen. However confused US policy may often be, a weak, partitioned Iraq and Syria fit such an approach perfectly.
What’s clear is that Isis and its monstrosities won’t be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it in the years since.
But while this and much other evidence since is clear enough in exposing the bottomless cynicism of the Western skulduggery and now its ultra-cynical “war on ISIS”– which in 18 months of supposed air war on ISIS has laughably failed to bomb the clearly vulnerable oil supply lines into Turkey for example which give ISIS most of its funding, or even to simply to block its bank accounts, as done against numerous “sanctioned” regimes to devastating effect, or to prevail on its stooges in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia to cut off funds) it still is no basis for the “left” condemnations, concluding Milne’s piece:
Isis and its monstrosities won’t be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus.
It is imperialism’s degenerate warmongering and its skulduggery which needs defeating and platitudes about “the people themselves” will only gain any substance when that starts to happen, from whatever direction such defeats come, be it from the Assad regime or from the jihadists or anywhere else.
And it will only happen when the “people” develop a Leninist leadership which does not scummily line itself up with capitalism to blame jihadists for “monstrosities” or call them a “virus disease” - and which does not imply that jihadists are not “people”.
This revisionist washing of the hands is what has blocked off such revolutionary theory for decades, preventing “the people” from finding a way to change the world.
That their turn to Islamism has been manipulated and used by imperialism does not indicate that they are a part of imperialism, or are in its overall control, or that the ideology reflects imperialist reactionary ideology.
Just the opposite; the blowbacks and contradictory turmoil it has caused – imperialism now desperately pretending the enemy is ISIS while still supporting and funding other equally violent and ruthless jihadist groups against the Assad regime - demonstrates that these issues are much more complex, understandable only by seeing imperialism as the enemy and measuring all the other developments against that.
These “people” platitudes are even more repellent because the ignore the huge elephant in the room, the 2011 Egyptian revolution and its precursor in Tunisia.
The entire fake “left” says little about Egypt because across the board they have been completely caught out by the imposition of the brutal General Sisi dictatorship, which they all overtly or tacitly supported with their anti-Islamism.
But the “people of the region” most emphatically did take up the fight and in their millions, pouring spontaneously on to the streets and risking their lives to overthrow the 30 year long tyranny of the Western maintained gangster dictator Hosni Mubarak (and Saddat before him), which had ruthlessly stifled all politics.
This genuine Arab Spring (as opposed to the bogus counter revolutions provoked afterwards in Libya and Syria) was not simply a “terrorist” or “jihadist” movement but a completely new mass eruption of millions, catching the entire world by surprise.
It demonstrated that imperialist attempts to suppress and re-control this crucial strategic and resources rich region had not only failed but faced a qualitatively different level of rebellion, a mass movement.
Grasping the significance of this giant event is crucial if any of the subsequent developments in Syria, Libya and Iraq are to be analysed, all of them triggered by imperialism’s desperate efforts to head off this astonishing revolution in the region’s biggest and most significant country.
But the “left” posturing over “secularism”, and anarchistic Occupy-style “flat-leadership”, hostile to theory and Leninism, helped bring it down again, the entire spectrum of Stalinism through to Trotskyite posturing, all mightily against the Muslim Brotherhood presidency which emerged, despite it being a newly “granted” democratic choice exactly along their much lauded lines.
While there was much wrong with this not-even-halfway house and its compromises, it was a loosening of constraints which opened up major possibilities for further struggle, and not least in its connections with and support for the great Palestinian revolution against the Zionist intrusion, the centre of imperialist domination in the whole region.
Standing against these revolutionary advances, as the “lefts” all did, did nothing to expose the capitalist plotting via the reactionary bureaucracy and military (ably advised by Western and likely Zionist intelligence), which was able to set up a middle-class “populist” movement, once it had recovered its breath, heavily hyped by the intelligence agency feeds to the Western media, and the carefully timed favourable interventions by slimy reactionary stooges like Tony Blair.
It was a repeat of many stunt “colour revolutions” before it, including the wave of Solidarnosc bogus trade union anti-Soviet “revolt” which finally toppled East Europe’s revisionist workers states and the idiotic Gorbachevism in the Soviet Union .
All that was aided by shallow cheering on of the military by the Stalinists and the anti-Soviet flavoured hostility of the Trotskyists the to Islamic revolt, the Muslim Brotherhood declared “reactionary”.
Their wooden inability to examine the specific concrete developments in the world, as Lenin always insisted must be the starting point for all understanding, and one-sided idealist rigidity demanding either the unattainable Trotskyist “perfect revolution” (which will only ever take place in petty bourgeois heads) or the ponderous step-by-step mechanism of the Stalinists, left the working class without any clear guidance.
This was utter treachery too, which did nothing to stop the reversal of the 2011 triumph and in the case of the Stalinists actually cheered on the military coup and its subsequent bloody massacres of thousands in the street –and staggeringly, still lauds it!
The pretend “extensions” to the Arab Spring in Libya and Syria were total frauds, artificially provoked against “rogue states” hated by imperialism for their past record in opposing imperialism (however erratically) and were set off primarily to hem in and intimidate the great Egyptian movement which they border.
But they were both half- baked, set-off out of desperation at the giant Cairo upheaval, the Libya “revolt” going nowhere and needing emergency NATO intervention for the horrific deposition of Gaddafi, the Syrian tapping the sectarian hatreds inflamed already in the Iraqi civil war which have now blown back dramatically.
It is from this desperation reflecting the weakness and panic of Washington over the crisis and over Cairo, that the staggering Western duplicity and confusions of Syria emerge, with Washington and London caught on the fence between its hasty efforts to topple the Assad regime by feeding the vilest of barbaric ethnic cleansing and terror atrocities (all CIA trained, and armed and funded by the Gulf states) and the transformation of least part of that ruthless sabotage into a challenge to the entire Western colonialist control of the region, right back to the WW1 secret treaties which divided the plundered region between the Western powers - the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement published by the Bolsheviks once they had taken power which drew the Syria-Iraq border line and which the ISIS forces have declared invalid.
In that sense at least the ISIS is surely now a national-liberation struggle?
Much more needs to be said about imperialist plotting to Balkanise the region as Milne’s piece alludes to, and of this as a reflection of weakness too (i.e. a second best to hoped for re-established Saddam-style stoogery) but it is important to comment on the Latin American events which have further exposed the disastrous effects of revisionist and Trotskyist wooden-brained “democracy” advocacy.
For over a decade the working class has been told by the fake-“left” circus (and sadly even the practically brilliant and heroic, but theoretically deficient revisionist Cuban workers state) that there was a new, inspiring way forwards, the “21st century socialism” so-called of Hugo Chávez.
This “Bolivarian revolution” – which admittedly made some excellent reforms for the working class – no longer needed all the “old hat” 2oth (or even 19th) century theory and understanding of Marx and Lenin it was implied.
Every warning of the need for revolutionary theory built around the central concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat was belittled, cold-shouldered or even aggressively attacked as “unwarranted interference”.
Eulogies filled every “left” paper after Chávez tragically (suspiciously?) died early, hailing his contribution as “one of the greatest ever” and saying nothing about the dangers of relying on oil funds in a capitalist world heading for meltdown crisis, nor of the inevitable counter-revolution being plotted by the still unseated bourgeoisie in Venezuela and its US connections.
This disastrous nonsense has now been toppled – tragically for the working class as there is no way that the ruling class will let its grip slip once more - just the opposite, expect vicious revenge with sinister moves to impeach “left” president Nicolás Maduro an early likelihood.
Sickeningly, revisionist stupidity continues, calmly stepping down and “accepting the result” of the monstrously stitched-up and manipulated election, instead of rallying the working class to refuse to give up power and lose the gains of the last 15 years.
Voting for France’s rightwing to “stop Le Pen” is just as turkey-like: all capitalism including “ruthless war” Hollande, is a fascist problem.
Building Leninism is an urgent task.
Back to the top