No 1484 4th January 2016
Demented Trump Nazi-speak for the US election underlines the disastrous weakness of the imperialist order as crisis collapse deepens further. Fascist hysteria the last resort of desperate ruling class, facing rising world revolt and sensing its economic and political order is doomed. But fake-“left” capitulation to the “war on terror” propaganda hurricane with moralising “condemnation” of Islamic revolt plays into the hands of this chauvinist hatred leaving the working class confused and vulnerable to the stampeding war frenzy that imperialism is whipping up to escape its epochal breakdown. “No to war” pacifism over Syria is totally useless posturing by a fake-“left” which cannot see the revolutionary movement emerging everywhere as crisis deepens. Taking sides with the erratic and unstable Ba’athist Assad regime, and Great Russian oligarch Bonapartist macho bombing is just as bad. Leninist perspective of imperialist defeat is vital
As a “kill them all” hate frenzy increasingly dominates the US presidential election race, the “left” writhes and squirms ever more to justify its own treacherous betrayals of growing Third World revolt as “condemnable terrorism”.
Across the board since the 9/11 attacks, the entire fake-“left” circus – from reformist Labourism to the self-declared “revolutionary” Trotskyists and dull-witted Stalinists – has universally bent its back to the gigantic imperialist lie that the agony and chaos in the world is caused by a “new evil” suddenly arisen to “attack our calm and peaceful world” (replacing the “communist threat” bogeyman of the past, now obviously not the problem).
It is pure Goebbels lying.
Capitalist crisis catastrophe, economic collapse and the incompetence and failure of the imperialist ruling class on all questions is the only cause and driver of the world’s chaos, and the war and destruction everywhere, the result of the ruling class’s depraved “way out” to escape its responsibility.
But in divers forms the “lefts” capitulate completely to the imperialist propaganda hurricane, declaring this giant upheaval to be “Islamo-fascism’”, or a “new kind of reaction”, “headbanging jihadism” or even, astonishingly, all a worldwide CIA conspiracy (to what end such upheavals are created to attack and devastate imperialism itself, is never explained).
It is all crass misrepresentation, turning reality on its head to justify writing off this spontaneous world upheaval, which far from being some new “reactionariness” is the embryo turmoil of possibly the greatest anti-imperialist ferment in history, for all its sometimes brutal and crude manifestations.
While still a long way from the mass socialist struggle which will develop eventually – and all the sooner as the conscious fight for clear Marxist revolutionary understanding is re-established to counter and expose capitalist anti-communist brainwashing and fake-“left” confusion and evasion – the great rebellion is now unstoppably underway.
As it becomes more coherent it will ultimately transform human society and organisation from the current unjust, tyrannically exploitative armsrace torture and sweatshop hell-on-earth it is for much of the planet, to a rational, internationally coordinated and cooperative society, able to plan and control human production without the grotesque wastefulness, environmental destruction, ecological poison and idiot consumerist pointlessness, that monstrously unjust and callous capitalism imposes, developing the capacities and talents of every single person to their full potential (beyond anything yet seen).
But the “lefts” are blind to this current revolutionary content, just as they cannot see the world capitalist crisis as anything more than a routine hiccup in economics (albeit a severe one) and certainly not as the total historic breakdown of society, which has reached an epochal full-stop, unable to take mankind forwards any further, and dragging the world ever deeper into mass repression, and war.
Worse, they don’t want to see its real content, fearful of the turmoil and breakdown across society which is the reality of revolutionary transformation, and its resolution in the overturning of the existing order, to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat which alone can take humanity forwards from the contradiction ridden paralysis of exhausted, historically out-of-time world capitalism.
Their petty bourgeois minds not only cannot contemplate the disruption of their complacent and comfortable lives, but for all their preening and posturing about “Marxism” and “revolution”, are actively hostile to such changes.
So their moralising evasions play right into the hands of non-stop capitalist warmaking and the foul fascist humbug from the Donald Trumps and others, which aim to escalate it even further.
Demonising the Islamic world now has a similar role (in part) as the monstrous scapegoating by the 1930s Nazis when Slump-desperate capitalism fingered all kinds of internal and external victims as “to blame “ for its disastrous Depression collapse, to distract attention from its own sole responsibility for the unsolvable problems of capitalist crisis.
Eighty years on the imperialist system is now more rotten ripe with intractable contradiction that ever before and teetering on the edge of even worse disaster than the 1930s, its impact already tasted in the 2008 global finance “credit crunch”, years of economic stagnation, unemployment and savage “austerity” cutbacks since, and with even worse catastrophe due as soon as the temporary effect of Quantitative Easing valueless money-printing credit runs out.
It is an unfolding crisis with an added edge because the enormous world revolt against imperialism is now raging on a scale never before seen in history, compounding the problems facing the ruling class on top of these intractable internal contradictions themselves.
The one element of truth in the non-stop demonisation by the West is that the world revolt really does “hate our way of life” – not because they “hate democracy” and the laughable pretences about “British values” or “Western freedoms” etc etc for reasons of “ideological hate” but because of the monstrous injustice, exploitation and subjugation tyrannically imposed by them centuries of colonialist and neo-colonialist rule, in which their lives counted for nothing and killings, massacres, rape, torture and slavery could be imposed on a whim.
That is and has always been the reality of the lying fraud of “democracy” and “freedom” (as being underlined currently by Western support for the grotesque Saudi Arabian feudalism and its vile beheadings of democracy protestors and illegal war destruction of the Yemen – one small example).
Anti-imperialist revolt in India, parts of Africa and even China was certainly on the rise both before and after World War One as capitalist imperialism spread throughout the world, but much less widespread, though finding its greatest concentration in the titanic Russian Revolution of 1917, and the establishment of the world’s first workers state under the leadership of Lenin’s Bolsheviks, surviving and successfully growing for the next seventy years despite constant subversion, deadly world war destruction and the hampering constraints of building a socialist system when world revolution was incomplete.
Then widespread anti-colonialist rebellion, bolstered and inspired by the victorious and heroic Red Army defeat of imperialist Nazism, had a shattering effect after 1945 forcing through a huge wave of national liberation and decolonisation (even though tyrannical imperialist plundering and exploitation continued, and even extended its reach, through the dollar domination and stooge fascist dictatorships of neo-colonialism), seeing the development of new communist-nationalist revolutions in Korea, China, Vietnam, Cuba and the establishment of workers states throughout East Europe, as well as many partially successful and “left orientated” regimes like Angola, Zimbabwe, Algeria, anti-apartheid etc etc.
Even though the wave of world revolution pulled back down the beach with the setbacks from Moscow’s subsequent revisionist retreats and ultimate (pointless) 1989-91 liquidation of the enormous achievements of the USSR workers state (still growing without capitalism until the mid-Gorbachev period, albeit sluggishly), the next surge of anti-imperialist transformation was already beginning.
It will eventually be incomparable in scale even to the greatest upheavals of the 20th century.
In the spontaneous, inchoate form achieved so far, it has already dealt shattering blows to ruling class confidence and control in recent decades, from Lebanon and Somalia to the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as through the dogged, determined and indomitable struggle of the Palestinian nation and its wider anti-Zionist support.
It continues to erupt across the planet in country after country.
This great Third World struggle is obviously hugely hampered by lack of Marxist revolutionary perspectives and leadership, not yet able to develop and coordinate the widest possible working class struggle, the only way capitalism can be overthrown and permanently ended in favour of building a planned world socialist economy to end war and slump forever (which are products of the private profit system alone).
For that world wide weakness blame in large part the tragic retreats from Leninist grasp and struggle for theory begun by Moscow’s revisionist philosophical decay from at least the 1930s, and the even worse Trotskyist supposed “anti-Stalinism” hostility (in reality petty bourgeois hostility to workers state discipline) since, which have not only done nothing to challenge the non-stop anti-communist brainwashing that deluges every single individual via every educational, media and cultural outlet in capitalist society from minute one after birth to the last breath drawn, but helped feed it.
Much of the growing struggle is still counter-productive, riven with brutal sectarian conflict, and needing to work through terrible contradictions, infighting and division, holding it back before it can get on a path towards a progressive new world, as the horrors and hatreds of the Middle East demonstrate in particular.
That will not necessarily be a straight line of development but a process of building, fighting for and developing better understanding and leadership, the task that Marxism has to get on with.
But even this early turmoil has imposed major defeats on imperialism from Afghanistan onwards, all of which are crucial elements in the breakdown of imperialist confidence and control which will eventually open up the path to revolutionary socialist struggle.
Despite all its confusions, sectarian hatreds, religious weirdness and suicidal anarchistic nihilism and even despair, the great and often heroically brave ferment (as expressed by the Palestinians for example) has half-paralysed the ruthless and brutal “shock-and-awe” warmongering destruction unleashed by the US Empire over a decade ago to force oncoming crisis onto the rest of the world.
Topdog world power America’s neocon ruling class has long calculated on riding out imperialism’s greatest ever crisis, despite its total bankruptcy, by suppressing all revolt against it and intimidating even the biggest of potential rivals like German-led Europe or Japan, that might challenge it.
And it has pursued its strategy with unparalleled savagery and brutality, directly or by skulduggery, unleashing wars which have already completely or largely destroyed over half a dozen countries, filled with horrors, mass blitzkrieg and massacres which have killed and maimed millions, a callous butchery on a scale against which even the most gruesome “terrorism” pales into insignificance (eg Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Fallujah, the Iraq death squad civil war, Gaza genocidal blitzings (repeatedly), Guantánamo, the total destruction of Libya and Syria, north Pakistan, Somalia, and now Yemen), excelling even the long postwar history of wars, massacres and destruction like Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Latin America, etc etc. which slaughtered multiple millions.
But those plans for reasserting US Empire might and unchallenged dominance (along with assorted side-kick imperialism) along with its “rights” to the lion’s share of all world resources and production, have run into a wall of growing national liberation and anti-Western hatred.
That has been magnified a thousand times with every new blitzkrieg and torture atrocity, with a rush of new recruits to the insurgencies every time a drone-carried Hellfire missile blows apart another innocent wedding party, or F16 pulverises another city district and its inhabitants, as in Yemen currently, or the Palestinians’ Gaza hellhole is half obliterated yet again by the Nazi Zionist occupation and its imperialist supporters.
Even with its barbaric, remote drone-terrorising butchery, Western willpower to sustain this meaningless “war on terror” has been totally hobbled by setbacks and defeat, the eight years of the Obama presidency forced by war-weary and finance-crisis shattered public opinion to rein in attempted re-imposition of colonial occupations (albeit leaving large military bases behind), reflecting the collapse of US confidence and the near disintegration of the neo-con brashness, stunned by the setbacks in Somalia early on and then bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the revived memories of the great Vietnam War quagmire they evoke.
All the great bodybag sacrifices of hapless young men and women recruited into the military for this savagery (as in the UK too) have been in vain as Afghanistan is again proving as the Taliban pushes back to retake places like Sangin, an historic reversal which has left the ruling class paralysed, which some of the floundering bourgeois press commentaries are currently trying to come to terms with (under the laughable pretence that any of this was ever anything to do with “rebuilding democracy”):
With Britain and its allies increasingly engaged militarily in Syria, Iraq and, prospectively, in Libya too, the latest reverses in Afghanistan have harshly illuminated the stark dangers and unforeseen consequences of precipitate western intervention in foreign lands – and how easily such adventures can go disastrously awry.
Afghanistan was the first intervention of the post-9/11 era, hurriedly launched after the attacks on New York and Washington. The primary US aim was to destroy al-Qaida’s bases. But the mission quickly morphed into regime change. Once the Taliban were toppled, the objective changed again, into nation-building.
The succeeding 14 years in Afghanistan is the story of how the US and its Nato allies have struggled and, so far, failed to create the peaceful, stable, prosperous, pro-western democracy they optimistically envisaged in 2001. As this week’s emergency deployment of US and British special forces and advisers in Helmand suggests, grand policy designs have been overtaken by gut panic.
Barack Obama disowned George W Bush’s Iraq occupation and withdrew as fast as he could, but he took a different line on Afghanistan. In 2009 he ordered a 30,000 troop surge in a high-risk attempt to end the war. Yet improvements in security were short-lived. The Taliban could not be beaten; nor could they be induced to make peace.
Nato nevertheless pulled out last year, fingers crossed behind its back. But Obama’s decision in October to halt the withdrawal of the remaining 9,500 US troops showed he no longer believed his own rhetoric about the ability of the Afghan army and police to maintain security. Dismayingly, the elected government of the president, Ashraf Ghani, like that of Hamid Karzai before it, has proved incompetent, divided, and mired in corruption.
Now the US is stuck. It cannot leave entirely and it cannot escalate. Behind the bland White House press statements, it seems plain Obama has not the foggiest idea what to do next.
For all their apparent battlefield successes, the Taliban are not in much better shape. The leadership crisis that followed July’s admission that Mullah Omar had been dead for two years has riven the movement. His successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, faces strong opposition. The Taliban were recently forced to deny reports Mansour had been badly wounded or even killed in a factional shootout.
This discord has two major implications. One is that Pakistan’s effort to relaunch national peace talks next month, announced this week, may be fatally undermined by the fact that no one agrees who speaks for the Taliban. The other is the opportunity these divisions offer the new guy on the Afghan block – the black-flagged hoodlums of Islamic State.
Isis has established itself in north-eastern Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, where clashes with local Taliban are reported. In June, the Taliban asked the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to avoid actions that could lead to “division of the mujahideen’s command”. Their plea was ignored. Isis is now actively recruiting in eastern Afghanistan, using a daily Pashto language radio broadcast called “Voice of the Caliphate” to air interviews, appeals and songs.
Last week US Gen John Campbell, commander of international forces in Afghanistan, said Isis controlled up to 3,000 fighters. He warned its influence was spreading. And this takes no account of the residual al-Qaida presence, and the continuing depredations of feudal chieftains such as Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the powerful Haqqani network.
Thus if all western forces finally upped and left, the Taliban would not necessarily “win”. At this point there would be little to prevent Afghanistan swiftly falling prey to a multi-faction, nationwide fight between Kabul government forces, jihadi groups, indigenous Pashtuns (the Taliban), freelance Sunni mafiosi, and even Tajik militias from the old Northern Alliance. This could take the country back to the disastrous civil war era of the 1990s, destroying the painful societal, educational and humanitarian advances of the past decade and threatening a renewed refugee emergency.
As ever in Afghanistan, regional actors continue to pursue their narrow interests. China is worried about spillover radicalisation of its Muslim population in western Xinjiang province. Russia has expressed similar concerns about the destabilisation of former Soviet central Asian states and the inexorable northwards flow of Afghan opium. Moscow has discussed supplying heavy weapons to favoured warlords such as Abdul Rashid Dostum. Beyond the western border, Iran, as always, looks for advantage.
Like the US and Britain, none of these countries has a credible plan, or even half a half-baked idea, about how to solve the Afghan conundrum. But the principal Afghan lesson is clear, and it is one that applies elsewhere in the world: generally speaking, military intervention just makes matters worse.
Despite also talking down the Taliban, the biggest lesson is that imperialism’s capacity to re-impose its colonialist writ, and set up compliant stooge regimes to calmly get on with the non-stop exploitation of the world’s masses, is over, and so too therefore is the entire capitalist epoch.
The picture is muddied by all kinds of desperate jostling for position underway (notably in the Middle East) to fill the vacuum as the world crisis collapse continues to implode (most obviously now in the precipitate fall of the oil price, making clear what a shallow nonsense the fake-“left”’s pompous prognoses about “it is all a war for oil” have been - about as useful and explanatory as the rest of their petty bourgeois pretend-Marxism).
But “No boots on the ground” remains the fearful mantra for Washington even as “jihadism” and anti-Western hatred has spread through the Middle East and Africa.
But imperialism cannot retreat either.
If its fabulous wealth and power is to continue, it must continue its warring, to maintain its exploitation, “pacify” rebellion and ultimately wind up chauvinism in the masses domestically and abroad for the great destruction of World War Three, the only long term “solution” the ruling class knows to the huge “surpluses” of capital clogging all trade and production (as Marxism alone among science, has always explained was the inevitable endpoint of the intractable contradictions of production for private profit – see Capital and the Communist Manifesto and multiple other works by Marx, Engels and Lenin).
So the top-dog US ruling class is frantic to keep the warmongering atmosphere on the boil to get through the greatest slump collapse and economic catastrophe in all history, facing down the rest of the world and making it keep on paying for the grotesque privilege and wealthy lifestyle of its tiny minority ruling class, despite utter bankruptcy, suppressing all rebellion and upheaval and all rival capitalist powers too.
Hence the demented tone being wound up for the next election in the US.
The stepped-up version of anti-Islamism (and other Nazi-level scapegoating against Mexican immigrants eg) now pouring out of Trump (and most of his rivals) with poisonous stridency, reflects this terrifying uncertainty and shows the increasingly overt fascist nature of the all of the imperialist system – (of which Trump is not some weird outsider but a mainstream part) – as it slides deeper into crisis.
The ruling class is virtually abandoning rationality as these latest extraordinary revelations make clear:
A poll on Friday encapsulates the Republican presidential race so far: “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah.” That would be the fictional country in Aladdin.
Republican voters, urged on by the Republican candidates, are now eager to bomb anywhere that has a Muslim-sounding name regardless of whether it comes from a cartoon. While the poll itself may be amusing, it’s not exactly surprising given the cartoonish levels of tough-guy militarism that spews from the mouth of every Republican candidate as they try to one-up each other on who would start more wars harder and quicker.
Ted Cruz has spent the past two weeks calling for a “carpet bombing” of the Middle East in an attempt to destroy Isis, saying he wants to see if “sand can glow in the dark”. He defended this call on national television Tuesday while outright avoiding the question of whether that means he’s prepared to kill the hundreds of thousands of civilians that live in Isis’s de-facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.
Donald Trump, in between his calls for banning Muslims here at home, also called on American forces to commit war crimes by killing the families of terrorists. His meaningless calls to “bomb the shit out of Isis” naturally have led all the other candidates to trip over each other in an attempt to find more and more colorful adjectives to describe how their bombs would look.
Chris Christie, whose whole campaign seems based around trying to sound like he could beat the other candidates up for their lunch money, was perhaps the most absurd: he threatened war with both Russia and China during the last debate. Christie claimed he was totally willing to start a third world war with Russia over a no-fly zone in Syria and would shoot down Russian pilots immediately. His reason? To avenge the thousands killed by Assad, and the “millions running around the world, running for their lives”. So Christie’s position is: we will start the third world war to save Syrians, but we draw the line in at allowing five-year-old Syrian orphans into the United States.
Lost in the insanity of the rest of the debate where candidates were calling for carpet bombings, the killing of civilians and games of chicken with the world’s largest nuclear power was also Christie’s call for all out cyberwar with China. Apparently under a Christie presidency, the US would immediately respond to any hacking by the Chinese government has done by doxxing the entire country, essentially turning the United States government into Anonymous: “What we need to do is go at the things that they are most sensitive and most embarrassing to them; that they’re hiding; get that information and put it out in public.” I’m always for more government transparency, but the chances of this spiraling out of control and leading to actual war is hard to overstate.
On top of all this, it’s such a foregone conclusion that many of these candidates will happily rip up the Iran nuclear deal and send us down a path of war with them that hardly anyone even asks them anymore.
Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko has a handy chart where he is tracking all the people and places each presidential candidate has said he or she wants to bomb. He reminds us that Ben Carson has not only promised all of the above, but to also unleash drone strikes in Mexico.
It’s worth noting that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is just as militaristic, or more so, than most of the Republicans when it comes to Isis and Iran.
“(Flying) carpet bombing” by Aladdin takes hate-stirring to a new ludicrous level of ignorance and mysticism.
But it is no joke, reflecting the desperation of a ruling class that is staring into the abyss as its private profit system hits an historic brick wall of contradictions and failure.
Just as the weird jackboots and rally theatricality of the German Nazi period was the only way the German bourgeoisie could pump up the aggression in the 1930s to achieve the war atmosphere needed for “solving” the crisis, (covertly supported - not “appeased” - by the entire capitalist West, all needing war, and hoping simultaneously to turn Hitler onto the hated new USSR) so the new leading Nazi power, the US increasingly needs this kind of public frenzy.
As the EPSR has long said, only the dominant US world power, now has the capacity to take the Nazi role.
Paradoxically this terrifying hysteria, which unleashed all kinds of horrors in the Second World War, and which potentially could do far worse with the unparalleled military might and arsenal of the US – including thousands of nuclear warheads, deadly chemicals like Agent Orange, Sarin etc, biological germ weapons, white phosphorus, and much other gruesome hi-tech destruction – is a sign of historic weakness, as brittle as Hitlerism proved to be after just 12 years in power.
It needs repeating that the whole of capitalism is heading down this path whether or not Trumpism turns out to be the nazi-form taken for its continued aggression.
Fascism is not some special or different manifestation which can be “stopped” by “anti-Nazi struggle” – implying that somehow there is a more benign version of capitalism which can be fought for, the fake-“left” secret reformist fantasy – but an the expression of all capitalism in crisis.
As the bourgeois press story above makes clear, the Hillary Clinton feminist bandwagon is just as aggressive and warmongering.
It was Hillary after all who eagerly watched the live, death-squad assassination of Osama bin Laden alongside the Pentagon generals and President Obama, and who laughed out loud on morning TV on hearing that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had been put to death by buggery with a steel bayonet, one of the foulest war crimes ever.
It is material forces of the capitalist collapse which are driving this hate and conflict.
Fascism is essentially nothing but an intensified and open expression of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (which is always the controlling force in capitalist society hidden behind the “democracy” fraud) which is simply showing its repressive hand more openly as its problems have increased, ramping up external war chauvinism and internal surveillance, censorship and state violence.
But Clinton or Trumpism, this bizarre nonsense would make less headway with a deeply fearful and hoodwinked public opinion if a rational understanding of the world’s chaos and turmoil was being fought for, building up a coherent scientific perspective of the world, as the EPSR has tried to do for over three decades (see website archive), a revolutionary understanding.
The working class needs to have clearest grasp of what the “fascist threat” really is, i.e. capitalism itself, and not be led into the stupid “alliances” and “tactical votes” just seen in France to “stop Le Pen”.
All that does is to continue the illusion that bourgeois “democracy” can make a difference, disarming and confusing the crucial understanding that the profit making system itself is driving the aggression and war, which can only be stopped by ending the entire system, taking power by revolution.
In France for example it is not Le Pen but François Hollande’s “ruthless war on terror” declarations after the Paris attacks which are the problem, and Sarkozy too, as the EPSR declared twelve years ago when a similar issue arose (EPSR No 1133 23-04-02):
All the fake-’lefts’ combining to make sure that Chirac defeats Le Pen in the second round is an even more useless response.
It is not what Le Pen stands for which makes French society sick. It is what Chirac stands for which is poisoning life.
Le Pen merely REFLECTS how demoralised, cynical, and small-mindedly bitter, people are being made by the INCURABLE failure of capitalist society to any longer remotely satisfy vital human needs.
Voting for Chirac merely continues capitalism’s unstoppable process of more and more alienating (see Marx) the majority of people who have to live under this ludicrous elitist class system. Voting for Chirac [~Sarkozy, or Hollande~] will only ADD TO and MAKE WORSE the “Le Pen problem”.
Failure to spell this out shows up in the clearest possible light the class collaborating betrayal of all these posturing fake-“left” pretenders who have poisoned the cause of communism and revolution for decades, hostile to the workers states (Trotskyism) or unwilling to look at revisionism’s flaws and errors in order to build deeper and better revolutionary understanding (the museum-Stalinists), the better to build socialism the next time and avoid the philosophic difficulties, mistakes and crimes of the past.
The “Left”’s completely unMarxist moralising “repudiation of terror” over ISIS and other groups is part of the same confusion mongering and equally gets bound up with a shallow and false view of what “fascism” is.
Denouncing and condemning “terror” removes from the working class the philosophical understanding of the enormous revolutionary significance to the huge wave of jihadism and insurgency, now spread across a score of different countries in a variety of forms, all of which have separately and spontaneously developed (making a mockery of the “it’s all organised by the CIA” excuses used by much of the fake-“left” to justify their cravenness).
Of course many of these eruptions are mutually contradictory including a variety of Islamic fundamentalisms sometimes fighting each other, and sometimes manipulated or taken advantage of, by Western dirty dealing (in which the CIA, Mossad and other intelligence agencies most certainly are involved).
But they are part of a world turmoil that now includes east Ukrainian resistance fighting against the Western installed Kiev Nazis (mingled with much Soviet nostalgia (good) and Russian nationalism (bad)), Maoist revolutionism in Nepal and India, “left” reformist nationalism in Latin America and anti-military coup revolt in Thailand.
To that mix can be added the spontaneous community vigilante movements in Mexico against the horrific drug cartel thuggery and intimidation and gangster corruption engendered by capitalist decay; the FARC armed struggle in Colombia (still going despite dangerous “peace” illusions fostered by revisionism); the growing and nationally spreading discontent at ever more militarised police brutality in the US and often brave spontaneous demonstrations, becoming increasingly coherent at the moment in the “Black Lives Matter” movement, but destined to embrace the whole working class eventually; and even the general left popular movements throughout Europe, still tied to hopeless “left radical” reformism such as Syriza, Podemos and even Corbynite “left” Labourism but destined to sweep past them as their inadequacy and class-collaborating opportunism is exposed (as already increasingly clear with Syriza, and even Corbynism already, and Podemos shortly).
Declaring the jihadist ferment in all this to be nothing but deadly reaction, or the “wrong way to do things” is to say a large element of the world class struggle has gone disastrously sour.
If it is rotten to the core with “reaction” and “evil”, then the cause even of basic socialism, let alone a future world of communist rationality must be virtually extinct.
It is no wonder that petty bourgeois despair and pessimism about the “failure of the left” soaks the rags put out by the Trot and Labour-entrist groups and the revisionists.
At a practical level their moralising condemnations cut away the ground completely from under all the posturing and pretences about “no more war” social pacifism; if “jihadism” really is a monstrous “evil”, a “new kind of reactionariness” or even just a “problem that has to be dealt with before we can get on with anything progressive” as universally expressed by the “lefts” once again in the wake of the Paris attacks, then there is little that can be said against the imperialist pretence that it is just trying to “clean things up” with its war blitzing.
The bombing and military “policing” option to “eradicate” jihadists, wins the day hands down with public opinion, just as it did in parliament on the Syria war vote.
In many cases the most treacherous of the supposed “workers representatives”, like the repellent Blairite stooge Hilary Benn, can get away with siding outright with the Tory war frenzy by pretending that the issue is about “fighting fascism”.
The rest of the “left”, simultaneously joining a great chorus of “unacceptable criminal atrocity” demonisation, cannot sensibly expose such monstrous humbug, the other side of the confusion which exists over what fascism is (inasmuch as the term is helpful at all as a shorthand - it being better to describe the capitalist world and its tyranny more concretely).
Very little world insurgency is remotely describable as “fascism” but stands against the emerging Nazism in Washington etc, the exceptions being some deliberately fostered counter-revolutionary movements like the Contras who brought down the Sandinista revolution and part of the initial civil war provocations in Libya and Syria (of which more below).
Fascism’s characteristics have nothing to do with particular ways of fighting as such, like suicide bombing or even the deliberate use of terrorising methods as by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, however “barbaric” and backward they might be described.
It is instead an expression of the turn to war aggression by major capitalist powers in a period of collapse and international trade and economic disintegration, mostly notably in the 1930s runup to the Second World War.
For all its weird dreams of establishing a world Caliphate the ISIS nor any other of the insurgency movements like Boko Haram, are never going to be part of the inter-imperialist conflict for collapsing markets by the major powers (and their stooge allies) which are the real underlying cause of fascism.
ISIS is not a major industrial power based on the capitalist economic system, nor going to become so, let alone take on the major powers.
Nor is it going to reestablish feudalism in the advanced technological world of the 21st century, a class structure based on land control and peasant production which can no more be brought back than Roman slaves and gladiators.
Nor are any of these movements, for all their increasing organisational capacity and nation pretensions, any part of the world imperialist exploitation of the great mass of the world’s population in colonial thrall, and the barbaric non-stop oppression and bloody suppression of any rebelliousness against the sweatshop and planation slavery that entails (still suppressing tens of millions from Bangla Desh to Latin America).
Just the opposite, they are the very expression of that revolt to get imperialism off their backs, and becoming increasingly coherent and capable – as ISIS shows, – if still hampered and limited by their ideology, its backward religiosity a long way from the Marxist science that is needed for a successful overturning of imperialism. Again from a past EPSR understanding post 9/11 (No 1116 11-12-01)
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.
For a serious repeat of a ‘fascist’ threat as history knew it, Saddam, Bin Laden, and Yassin [or now ISIS etc - ed] would not only need to be the partial inventions of imperialist foreign policy in the first place which then went wrong (as they all in fact are, encouraged as foils for perceived ‘greater evils’ at the time); but they would also need to be potential state-regimes which could in time become a worldwide military threat (which could go wrong).
For the British fake-‘left’ to shout ‘fascist danger’ in unison with imperialism at Saddam, Bin Laden, and Yassin is a) just lunatic fantasy; and b) class-collaborating treachery anyway because any military defeats which ANYONE can inflict on world-dominant imperialism should be ecstatically welcomed by all who have a serious interest in the overthrow of the imperialist system, - defeat in war being the only route well-trodden in history so far for the revolutionary socialist overthrow of a ruling class,(after its defeat and humiliation in a failed inter-imperialist war).
When imperialist powers fought each other, the science of Leninism saw only the opportunity for each working class to topple its OWN ruling class after defeat, setback, or humiliation. NEVER did Leninist science see the social-chauvinist route (of regarding the domineering warmongering aggression of the ‘enemy’ as “more fascist” than the home government’s destructive murderous opportunism and jingoistic hysteria) - as anything but a ludicrous mistake and a catastrophic betrayal of the working class.
For the fake-’lefts’ to abandon 100% concentration on looking for the next imperialist defeat, setback, or humiliation while they make utterly useless academic appraisals of how much ‘fascist potential’ they can see in the regimes targeted by their ‘own’ imperialist governments for fascist blitzkrieg, -- is such reactionary treachery to everything that serious anti-capitalism has ever been about that all pretence to some kind of ‘socialist’ ideology by these sects is destroyed completely.
Not a scrap of imperialist foreign policy has ever been anything less than 100% ‘fascist’ in being willing to blitzkrieg and repress local resistance to whatever extent necessary whenever it could be got away with.
Most of the “lefts” do not follow through Hilary Benn’s assertion that ISIS being a new “world fascist existential threat” could only mean it must be “dealt with”.
Why not? Because they know that this is a nonsense.
Commonly accepted understanding since Iraq is that further bombing and blitzing will only increase the resentments and hatreds which have erupted, and subsequent recruitment into such movements.
But if the great wave of revolt and turmoil labelled “terrorism” has been caused by imperialist tyranny and war, and is now hugely magnified by it, as some of the more “sophisticated” and “anti-war” commentators have long been stating (since the early post-9/11 days), with every blitzing leading to more recruitment, then it is clearly being driven by....anti-imperialist feeling surely?
And whether or not the ideology of the jihadists is backward (and it is certainly not Marxism, being mostly hostile to communism); the objective reality is that these struggles are confronting imperialism in their own way and inflicting sometimes significant blows against it.
Until the science of Marxism was developed, no historic struggle was ever undertaken with a fully objective conscious grasp; for example what was in the heads of the Cromwellian bourgeois revolution which overturned Charles 1’s feudal order in 1649 was puritanical Protestant severity and not the freeing of property and capitalist production from hampering feudal landed aristocratic constraints, the opening up of technology, and unshackling of scientific inquiry from past aristocratic Catholic repressive dogma.
In the absence of world Leninist understanding (due to Stalinist retreat from revolution) local cultural ideology, with all its faults and limitations has been modified to lead many struggles, expressing a contempt and rejection of capitalist domination and culture (eg the term “Boko Haram” in Nigeria explicitly declaring “No to Western education” and rampant capitalist colonialist corruption).
It is not for Marxists to condemn any such upheavals; or to declare that they are not entitled to fight as they see fit.
Marxist understanding can say that religious and other leadership is inadequate, certainly that it does not offer the best way to fight capitalism and even that it is backward at times and self-damaging, as with the sectarian divisions which divide Shia and Sunni for example and which capitalism has exploited and continues to do.
But that means offering a much better world perspective and grasp, educating and leading the mass struggle of the world proletariat to end capitalism.
If ISIS, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram etc are still described as a “problem” in the world that has to be “solved”, as the fake-“left” does, it cuts the ground from underneath all their anti-war social-pacifist posturing and shows it up for what it is, so much ineffectual pretence.
The crudest of such opportunism is barely distinguishable from the gross stooge class-collaboration opportunism of Benn, in many cases only voting against imperialism’s continuing Middle Eastern war aggression because it is “not properly organised”, like the mountebank “left Labourite” careerist Ken Livingstone, beloved of the Trots (who for all his “anti-war” credentials was right behind the nazi-NATO destruction of tiny Serbia back in 1998) – declaring that he opposed the Syria war bombing motion because it did not have a “fully logistically worked out programme” for following up to “destroy ISIS” and then “put something in its place”.
As Afghanistan has made clear, the whole fraud of establishing peaceful “democratic” regimes is both a hoodwinking nonsense (like democracy everywhere) and anyway an impossibility in the crisis ridden disintegration underway.
But the rest of the “left” are no better with their “war is not the answer” and will “only make matters worse” if they also “condemn terror”.
To restate the EPSR from 2004 (No 1248 14-09-04):
Only petty-bourgeois minds with an incurable attachment to piecemeal improvements that feeds into and is fed by a natural not-properly-thought-through optimism that “things always get better”, stick to the treacherous reformist opposite which “condemns” such messy civil-war breakdowns as Beslan and such international “outrages” as 9/11 (which equally signal a disintegrating world).
...Only imperialist tyranny and deluded reformists think “this has got to be stopped”, damning the act of terrorism.
Revolutionaries think “this has got to be stopped”, striving harder than ever to see a way that the defeat, overthrow, and crushing of the imperialist system, every scrap of it, can be achieved.
With every new “appalling outrage”, the unthinking majority forgets that the snarling imperialist threats of “we’ll get them for this”, universally applauded, are exactly what the imperialists said last time. And has this programme of blitzkrieg brutality led to the diminishing of terrorism???
No, it has only led to its dramatic worsening, exactly as the EPSR from the start has explained was inevitable.
The “No to War” position implies the understanding that imperialist war solves nothing, will not “stop terror” and that it is not “terrorism” which is the issue anyway, but the world capitalist system’s crash and war, which needs defeating.
Even if the “terrorists” were successfully destroyed, which is not going to happen, the relentless collapse of a bankrupted system into slump disaster and war is irreversible, and can only lead to ever more turmoil and rebellion, whose anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism will eventually coalesce into a conscious overturn of all capitalist rule.
“Left” groups across the board can see that the momentum driving thousands to join these groups, including from the banlieues and cities of Europe and America, comes from capitalist oppression, and is driven by alienation and hostility to imperialism (which is not limited to the poverty stricken and devastated areas of the Third World but permeates life for the majority within the richer countries as well, including more and more of the middle class, but especially victimised and put-upon minority communities, the disabled, and the unfair and unjust “loserdom” of poorer working class areas - whose residents get a the dirtiest deals in life chances and prospects even at the best of times, and particularly so as Slump “austerity” bites viciously hard).
The Paris attacks have underlined the point, striking in to the heart of imperialism just as the 9/11 World Trade Centre plane attacks did and carried out by indigenous recruits.
But far from seeing the obvious anti-imperialist significance of the event, the “left” denounce these movements.
Firstly, the same nonsense has poured out again from all the “lefts” that such attacks “reinforce imperialism” and “give it justification and excuses” to impose greater repression.
But as in 2001 and many times since, the actually result has been confusion and chaos; the whole of Europe is now on tenterhooks as shown on News Years Eve when mass public events were cancelled in Paris Brussels and Munich.
And while repression certainly has been stepped up, particularly in France with at least three months of “state of emergency” imposed, this is neither to the advantage of the capitalist ruling class nor something that can be stopped anyway.
Just the opposite. The strongest form of capitalist rule lies in its “democracy” fraud and the hoodwinking pretence that everyone gets a say and gradually things will improve.
Repression and Nazi crackdowns are only required when the ruling class is at its weakest and most fearful, and every notch tightened in censorship, surveillance and police repression (eg shoot-to-kill being made legal), only adds to the discontent and anger of the great majority.
It is the desperate crisis of the capitalist system which is leading to its increased repression, and it is going to happen anyway; suggesting that it is just “bad tactics” or “reactionary moves” by “terrorism” which are to blame is to imply that things could be different if only “everyone behaved properly” or did things “the right way”, behind which there is a petty bourgeois faith in bourgeois democratic paths and an assumption that things could be better, or more orderly, within capitalism itself – pure reformism.
This all reflects a complete failure to understand the total breakdown reached by capitalism, of which rising jihadism and “terrorist” responses are symptoms and not causes, even if they then intensify and add to its unstoppable contradictions.
None of which implies that Marxism advocates or supports such terrorist methods “to deliberately make things worse”.
But it does not denounce them, saying only there is a better way to fight, by building a conscious coherent scientific world revolutionary perspective.
That does not mean insisting on only “perfect revolution” as the Trots do (their own leadership of course), presenting it as in opposition to the other struggles - “taking on” ISIS etc - but battling with argument and polemic to develop and win the leadership of all discontented masses, including those attracted by the combative spirit they see in the jihadists, which is missing everywhere else because of the long abandoning of actual revolutionary grasp by all the fake-“left”.
Recognising the objective impact of blows against imperialism is a crucial aspect of such perspectives.
And that has got nothing to do with the vile slander promulgated by the Stalinist Proletarian (CPGB-ML)that anyone who does not
resolutely condemn the Paris tragedy
is beyond the pale and even more, fingering them for supposedly being no different to
crazed jihadis gloating over a senseless massacre”.
This disgusting and insulting denunciation is the nastiest piece of reactionary rabble rousing by these petty bourgeois, its deliberately inflammatory language playing into the hands of the capitalist police state and the sort of vigilante hate frenzy being fed by the likes of Trump.
It reflects how sick and opportunist their wooden perspectives have become as the crisis intensifies.
Of course there is no “gloating” about tragic deaths and wasted lives, least of all by the tormented masses in the Middle East and the rest of the Third World who have seen tens of hundreds of thousands of their own people blown to smithereens.
But it is still the case that Paris, like 9/11 has struck a major blow to imperialist morale, whose objective effect will be to boost the spirits of tens of millions of the exploited in the world.
But the failure and capitulation of the fake-“lefts finds its direst expression when it comes to the Middle East and the jihadist upheavals breaking out everywhere from Pakistan to Mali, in the Sinai, Iraq and Syria, simply because it fails to explain the class struggle significance it has, denying the working class the perspective it needs to judge the balance of class forces in the world.
They come up with ever more elaborate explanations to deny the existence of any rebellion, painting it as a “new form of reaction” (a “theoretical” version of imperialism’s “pure evil”).
So apart from Marxism’s understanding that there are two major class forces in the world, imperialist capitalism and the proletariat it exploits and lives upon, there is now said to be a new form of “reactionariness”.
In some cases this is simply asserted, more or less going along with the imperialist propaganda about “evil forces” and devils, but increasingly it is tied back to the notion that the jihadists are “the product of imperialism”.
All shades from the severest museum Stalinists like Harpal Brar’s Proletarian/Lalkar group, to the slyest Trotskyists like the Spartacists, declare that such movements are “reactionary”, and not simply in the backwardness of their religious ideology, which is a million miles from a materialist scientific socialist view of the world, but inherently reactionary in their nature and objective effect.
Until recently the overriding characterisation was that most of them were not just a “product of imperialism”, but also its instrument, serving various nefarious purposes, the most extreme version being the continuing Proletarian notion that the ISIS and all the other Islamic groups in Syria are
“mercenary forces created by imperialism to terrorise the people of the Middle East”.
Quite how an organisation which does most of its admittedly brutal and ruthless fighting to the death, with widespread use of suicide belts and “no surrender” sacrificial fighting, – (including the Paris event from which the eight attackers obviously did not expect to escape) – could be induced to do all that for a Swiss bank account deposit, particularly since most of them would not be around to spend it, escapes the Proletarian’s attention.
Such theories have abounded since the 9/11, growing more and more convoluted, all with one purpose, to deny the simple reality that this is world rebellion, all on its own.
As the EPSR has many times pointed out such denial is a completely racist and patronising belittling of the Third world to begin with, implying that it could not manage to organise such guerrilla war incidents as the New York attack, while vastly overstating imperialism’s coherence and capability.
Greek Sophist philosophers, employed to justify any argument for a fee no matter what the truth, never found as many ways to bolster lies and treachery.
The confusions reach their full fruition around the ISIS in Syria, partly because it is the most complicated arena at present, but also because it draws attention away from the other revolts like Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Mali Islamic insurgency, Central African Republic islamist revolt and above all the dogged and longest term Palestinian rebellion, all bar the last put down by imperialist military with little protest from the “left” or even the approval (!!!) of the Brarites.
None of these “jihadist” groups are quite as amenable to the conspiracy theories that “they are products of imperialism” – except of course in the broadest historical sense that capitalist crisis and oppression has produced a revolt, just as capitalism creates its own gravediggers, the working class, to quote Karl Marx.
After all why would the West trigger off complete mayhem across Africa (requiring US, French and UK troop interventions at present) when it already has its hands full in the Middle East and Latin America?????
Most of all why would it “create” the dogged and experienced Palestinian revolt, one of the deepest grievances at the heart of the Middle East??
Why has massive support for such movements grown among the disaffected and alienated everywhere, in the advanced countries as well as the Third World?
Why is the whole of imperialism is running hate campaigns against them as well as blitzing war?
Of course, imperialism has used and manipulated local struggles, and notably the Mujahedeen against the Soviet support for the 1980s socialist regime in Afghanistan.
But attempted manipulation is one thing; total knowing puppet mastery is another.
No “jihadist groups” have been “created”.
In Syria there clearly has been an imperialist agenda, as there was for Libya.
Arms, money, medical aid and undoubtedly covert military support were poured in to provoke the civil war initially, disastrously failing in Libya but successfully in Syria.
But it has “blown back”.
Now imperialism is split down the middle over what it thinks it is doing, both bombing the ISIS and still trying to topple the Assad regime, its leadership split wide open over which is the “enemy”.
The “left” has floundered around taking various sides, the Trots initially supporting the anti-Assad “street revolt” just as they always go along with any Western stunt against communism, or as in this case any even halfway anti-imperialist leaning “rogue” regimes, and the revisionists like Proletarian supporting the ineffectual and imperialist-compromising bourgeois nationalism of the Ba’athists and the now outright warmongering imperialism of the oligarch gangster Russian nationalism of the bonapartist Putin regime, which is simply inflaming the overall war atmosphere.
Only a strategy of defeat for imperialism but without placing any faith in any of the various forces in play can guide a Marxist analysis.
To do that means much more detailed analysis is needed to disentangle the mess but it can only be understood properly in the full context of imperialism’s unstoppable crisis, its need for war at all costs and the entire picture of revolutionary developments in the Middle East – in other words a full Marxist perspective alone can begin to sort out the tangle.
Jihadism was provoked and used to try and topple the Assad regime, not simply to “deal with Syria” as the “left” all present it, as always only analysing anything in the most limited and piecemeal fashion.
Most of all it was done to head off the much bigger Egyptian street revolution of 2011, the genuine “Arab Spring” which toppled the West’s stooge gangster dictator Hosni Mubarak.
The entire “left” completely misunderstood the Cairo revolt, their formulaic “Marxism” denouncing the Muslim Brotherhood, instead of seeing its installation as defeat for imperialism’s preferred stooge military.
As Leninism has always made clear it is defeat for the main enemy that is the guiding point, which need not imply, and should clearly be explained as not implying, any support for the other side (except obviously communist movements or those which are heading there as Castro’s revolutionaries were.)
This rigid “secularism”, insensitive to the real class movements which temporarily elevated the MB, played into the whipped-up reactionary middle class “street movement”, massively egged on by the Western press and utterly different to the huge spontaneous and unexpected revolt of 2011, which toppled Morsi in 2013, restoring the brutal pro-imperialist military bureaucracy.
All the “left” now keep silence on this Western supported and funded dictatorship which has shot down thousands of civilians on the streets in cold-blood and imprisoned and executed thousands more, colluding with Zionism and shutting down the support for the Gazan Palestinians (save the tangled revisionist Proletarian which astoundingly celebrated its coup and still cheers it on - such is the stupidity of wooden thinking and “anti-jihadism”).
The initial Arab Spring was one of the greatest shocks to imperialism ever, transforming the Middle East insurgency into a mass movement which threatened all imperialist interests, and heralding a new level of mass revolutionary upheaval.
The Libyan and Syrian revolts which followed were completely bogus “extensions” of the Arab Spring deliberately whipped up by imperialism to intimidate Egypt, suppress local anti-imperialism which might ally with it (the “rogue states” of Libya and Syria next door).
The key point is that these were panic measures by imperialism, after Egypt, by an imperialism still too crisis wracked for direct war intervention, but desperate to do something, trying to tap local conflicts, as done before in Afghanistan.
So ill thought out were they, that the Libyan artificial revolt failed (needing a full nazi-NATO invasion to rescue the ineffectual reactionary monarchist-opportunists)and Syria has gone badly wrong too.
Initial “street revolts” were provoked by imperialist skulduggery, heavily bolstered by a Western hate campaign which saturated the media to demonise the Assad regime (long detested by the Zionist sympathising wing of the American ruling class particularly, for its erratic support for pro-Palestinian forces like Hezbollah in Lebanon).
It took advantage of deadly sectarian hatreds deliberately inflamed in the region in the Iraq debacle particularly, to foster gruesome destruction, torture and ethnic cleansing terror (with undoubted training and intervention from the CIA etc - some of which has been admitted and documented for the supposed “moderate” rebels remaining).
While trying to topple the Assad regime, these atrocities were virtually ignored by the Western press, and unprotested by the ruling class politicians which are now so hypocritically aerated about the ISIS terrorising).
But the ISIS wing broke away, with its own agenda, essentially a nationalist fight for its own territory merging with the ten year long Iraq Sunni/former Saddamite insurgency to break down the artificial line in the sand borders set by imperialism 100 years ago.
This has become a form of national-liberation struggle against imperialist interests.
Hence the confusion in Western strategy – its ruling class split between continuing to try and bring down Assad, cynically trying to continue “herding” the Sunni ISIS rebellion to do it (hence the ineffectual bombing in Syria for so long) and another wing seeing that everything has backfired and it has a new problem, wanting to ally with Damascus.
Either way this is a desperate ruling class, facing the greatest catastrophe in history.
Its cynical skulduggery needs defeating everywhere - and Leninist Marxism needs to be built.
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