No 1490 16th April 2016
Tory EU splits, scandal, sleaze, and incompetence signal ruling class desperation as world capitalist crisis returns to total catastrophe and wipeout by capitalist rivals. Far more to come than NHS meltdown, welfare cuts and school collapses once fantasy QE credit works through and hurricane of global cutthroat trade war returns. Capitalist crisis intractable and unsolvable, headed for world war. Only ending outmoded and increasingly destructive private profit can change anything. All “Stop war” and “End austerity” protest is a useless deadly diversion UNLESS given a central perspective to overturn capitalism and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat to build planned socialism. Labour movement and fake-“left” remain opportunist and sectarian, tied to treacherous illusions in “democracy”, Little Englander trade tariff chauvinism and anti-communism. Condemn “terror” capitulation feeds ruling class warmongering; capitalism is the problem and Third World upheaval the start of revolt against it. Great debate needed to sort out past criminal revisionist mistakes. Revolutionary science needed
The across the board inadequacy and class-collaborating hopelessness of the fake-”left” swamp is being sharply exposed as catastrophic capitalist crisis pushes world collapse faster and faster.
The need for a revolutionary perspective for the working class has never been greater, the wriggling and opportunist evasion never more contemptible.
Their feebleness on the Panama tax leaks, their stirring of Little Englander chauvinism over the EU and over calls for steel tariffs, their cowering to “anti-semitism” lies from the Jewish/Zionist freemasonry, and their “anti-terror” moralising “condemnations” of rising world struggle, all demonstrate total philistine bankruptcy and hypocrisy.
Not one of them talks of the working class taking power, and particularly of the need to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, without which there can be no building of socialism (which alone can save the world from disaster).
The need to totally transform the world has never been more urgent. The lies, arrogance, contempt, rampant inequality and most of all sheer incompetence of the capitalist system has never been more obvious; its ruling class more split, floundering and paralysed by unstoppable economic disaster and escalating international revolt.
From “terrorist” revolts throughout the Third World, huge demonstrations in Latin America, street occupations throughout Europe (France, Italy, Spain, Greece) to massive strikes in the heart of “rich” America (Verizon) and the ferment of Black Lives Matter, there is uproar everywhere.
But still there is not a word about the necessity for revolutionary leadership for the struggles facing the entire world working class as they are dragged into international Slump disaster, trade conflict and ever more gruesome war and destruction.
The epochal collapse of the “free market” system barely gets a mention in most analyses, and when it is discussed, is tackled as a separate issue rather then the driving force of all world developments and class struggle.
Just the opposite, despite lip-service and pretensions about “Marxism” and claims to be “for the revolution”, in practice the “left” constantly head the working class back behind the bamboozling fraud of “democracy”, or “step by step” progress (still essentially reforms), petty nationalism and anti-communism.
Instead of putting this breakdown and collapse at the heart of all political understanding (as Marx’s Capital did), - underlining its significance as the epochal disintegration of the world private profit system tangled in contradictions that cannot be solved, (except by revolution), - they still press for piecemeal gains, impossible “anti-austerity” and tailending of old and utterly failed reformist perspectives or wooden revisionist “peace struggle”.
Even those making gestures to “theory” and even explaining the intractability of the crisis still do nothing to initiate and guide the greatest ever worldwide revolutionary debate and discussion, and the hammering out of thousands of difficult questions and confusions which all need clarifying in order to move forwards.
Not only do they say nothing about the polemics and open battles for understanding and agreement needed for the building of a party of deliberate revolutionary leadership - they actively avoid and suppress them, ignoring all the mistakes they have made in the past (like telling the world that erupting Middle East wars were the “fight for oil” rather than the overproduction of the entire system).
The responses to the Panama tax haven leaks illustrate the point completely.
The usual cries of unfairness, cheating, and corruption have rung out, the usual comparisons made with the number of hospitals etc that “could have been built” (except they would not be anyway).
But it is not simply ruling class greed and duplicity that is exposed, its monstrous “in it together” hypocrisy, duplicity, and grotesque unfairness, nor even the sheer cynical Marie Antoinette contempt when caught out, but the entire nature of its pretences about “democracy” and the “free market”.
One slightly more thoughtful “left” bourgeois press piece teased the issue but without hitting the nail on the head:
at root, the Panama Papers are not about tax. They’re not even about money. What the Panama Papers really depict is the corruption of our democracy.
the risk is that all this will descend into a morass of semi-titillating detail: a string of revelations about who gave what to whom, and whether he or she then declared it to the Revenue. The story will become about “handling” and “narrative” and individual culpability - entertaining for those who like to point fingers (but) missing the wider truth revealed.
Following on from LuxLeaks, the Panama Papers confirm that the super-rich have effectively exited the economic system the rest of us have to live in. Thirty years of runaway incomes for those at the top, and the full armoury of expensive financial sophistication, mean they no longer play by the same rules the rest of us have to follow. Tax havens are simply one reflection of that reality. Discussion of offshore centres can get bogged down in technicalities, but the best definition I’ve found comes from expert Nicholas Shaxson who sums them up as: “You take your money elsewhere, to another country, in order to escape the rules and laws of the society in which you operate.” In so doing, you rob your own society of cash for hospitals, schools, roads
But those who exited our societies are now also exercising their voice to set the rules by which the rest of us live. The 1% are buying political influence as never before. Think of the billionaire Koch brothers, whose fortunes will shape this year’s US presidential elections. In Britain, remember the hedge fund and private equity barons, who in 2010 contributed half of all the Conservative party’s election funds – and so effectively bought the Tories their first taste of government in 18 years.
To flesh out the corrosion of democracy that is happening, – the rich are at one and the same time exercising economic exit and political voice. They can have their tax-free cake and eat it.
What the past few days have confirmed is that David Cameron is effectively in the Downing Street branch of the super-rich. That he himself is part of the 1% is beyond dispute.
His father was a senior stockbroker who was worth an estimated £10m. Newspapers so often bandy about the million unit that readers can get inured to its true significance. But if at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day you were lucky enough to get one pound coin every single second, it would still take 114 days to amass £10m.
In my politics lessons, we were taught that Britain was a representative democracy. But what 30 years of plutocracy have brought is an era of un-representative democracy. With a few exceptions, our politicians no longer resemble, nor do they work for us.
But they never did “work for us”, is surely the obvious point to make to this “left” “insightfulness”.
“Our democracy” has not been “corroded” – it never existed except as the greatest confidence trick in all history, conning and hoodwinking the masses with the idea that they could “have a say” and even gradually win socialism and a better life, and all done within “the rules”.
Except the “rules” have only ever been those of the ruling class, constantly amended to make sure it stays on top, and if necessary completely ripped up if things go badly, as they were in the 1930s with Nazism, or Indonesia in 1965 butchering of over one million (see brilliant Act of Killing film) or in Chile in 1973 for example when Salvador Allende’s revisionist influenced and class-disarming “socialism the democratic way” was inevitably overturned with maximum blood and terror, (courtesy of the Augusto Pinochet military and the CIA’s “advice”.)
The tax “havens” are part of those “rules” and were a deliberate cheat from the start.
The creation of this vast network of outrageous and completely specious “extra-territorial jurisdictions” in the early 20th century, where the ruling class could deposit its wealth with maximum contempt, blatantly ignoring all the rules, was simply an extension of the democracy trick, made to overcome the necessary retreats the ruling class made everywhere after the great revolutionary upheavals from Lenin’s 1917 Bolshevik takeover onwards, when the working class finally realised that nothing could change without taking power and carried through the titanic Russian revolution.
For all its mistakes, difficulties and philosophical revisionist floundering (Stalin onwards), the transformation of society it managed was stupendous, ending unemployment, offering housing for all, higher education, specialist development of talented youth, free health, pensions, reasonable working conditions, an explosion of science and culture and a sense of community – even when the remaining capitalist world was collapsing into 1930s Depression soup kitchens and mass unemployment, fascist street thuggery and war armsrace buildup (encouraged by the entire West egging on Hitlerism).
The shock waves went everywhere, inspiring the rest of the world.
The working masses wanted the same, and even more so after the Second World War had fully underlined just what horrors the contradictions of the private profit system would once again drag the world into (just 20 years after the “War to end all Wars” - the “never again” bleakness and agony of WW1).
The only way the capitalists could head off the entire European working class from making their own revolution (and the US workers following on shortly after that) after seeing the gigantic victory and heroism of the Red Army against Nazism (the 1930s spearhead for all capitalist aggression) was to grant substantial reforms, largely paid for by a fearful US ruling class (Marshall Plan).
It was even more urgent as the Third World exploded with anti-colonialist struggles, also inspired by Soviet triumph.
To pay for these concessions, that would be allowed only until they could be clawed back (as they have been from Thatcher onwards), there was to be “taxing the rich” and “nationalisation”.
But the ruling class immediately found its way around all that, deliberately creating a Byzantinely complex framework of “exemptions” and “exceptions” (deliberately legislated and agreed by Tories and Labour alike, all running capitalism).
Now half the “City of London” and its tens of thousands of accountants and lawyers does nothing else but use this financial labyrinth to help stash away the world’s surplus value pouring through the Stock Exchanges, currency markets and banks – it is virtually the only “industry” left in the otherwise near bankrupt UK effectively.
It knowingly and consciously services, “advises” and launders the world’s billions, from the dirtiest of blood-soaked Colombian and Mexican cocaine dealer funds and thug-mafia oligarch plunder from Russia’s dismantled workers state, to the filched away “rewards” allowed by imperialism to its anti-communist stooges, the world’s tinpot fascist dictators like Ferdinand Marcos, Hosni Mubarak, the Haiti “Docs”, Suharto, the El Salvadoreans, the Chileans, the Brazilians, Mobutu in the Congo and many, many more; not to mention of course the “clean” funds of the racketeering loan sharks, merchant bankers, hedge fund speculative gamblers, and the lesser fry of the mainstream exploitative capitalist world, right down to our own dear prime minister.
Of course the rich, able to pay such advisers, both “avoid” (notionally “legal”) and evade their taxes and even if caught out are never severely punished or hounded as the thieving scroungers they really are (more lawyers see to that).
What it all proves is not that capitalist “democracy” (“as taught” to Chakrabortty above) has “degenerated” but that the entire bamboozling lying nonsense is a gigantic wool-pulling fraud, and always was, exactly as Marx and then Lenin explained in detail (see State and Revolution particularly) at least 150 years ago.
Just as much of a lie, built on this is the entire reformist philosophy, is the idea that there was, or ever could be, a way to make society “fairer” by reforms, regulations, controls, and laws.
They will either never get passed because all voting is manipulated and twisted anyway, or will have no effect if they do.
Profiteering will always find a way through the strongest of “reforms”.
But the revived “left” Labourites tell the world that we can end austerity by “making the corporations pay their fair share”.
The economy could grow again if only the banks were properly regulated they dissemble, knowingly fooling everyone with their class collaborating pretences.
It is an total disgrace that the working class continues to be fed this gobshyte even as the capitalist system falls apart and nothing is said about its unstoppable collapse.
It cannot be reformed, and least of all the bankrupt British economy, which is going to be swept away by the great hurricane of inter-imperialist trade war conflict, currency wars and cutthroat competition, howling through the world economy both inside and outside of Europe.
It is not just irresponsible but utterly criminal misleadership by these mountebanks and their TUC trade union class collaborating support, that not only nothing is made clear about the great tangle of contradictions in the profit making system which are bringing it back into total collapse, Slump and demented fascist warmongering, and that the cynical anti-communist pretence is continued that there is no other option and that capitalism can be “made to work”.
It is an even bigger disgrace that half the swamp collection of 57 varieties of fake-“left” supposed “revolutionaries” have pitched in not just to support this disgusting opportunists garbage that has already reneged on every one of its “left” principles set out during the surprise “left surge” behind Jeremy Corbyn last summer (a genuine enough popular movement), from anti-monarchical republicanism and rejection of the Privy Council (more anti-democracy conspiracy) to anti-war voting over ISIS, recognition of the (victorious) Irish nationalist cause, pro-Palestine anti-Zionism and more, but even declare it to be the “path to revolution”.
And now of course there is Corbyn’s spinning 180 degrees on the EU – though the real issue here is to warn workers that the whole argument is a racket, a deliberate diversion, since the question is the world capitalist system which is falling apart and in which they will be ruthlessly exploited and Slump hit whether it is done by European corporations and bureaucracy or those “outside Europe” (via bullying US trade deals etc).
What a bunch of parasites these Trotskyist and Eurocommunist revisionist entryists are, forever looking for the main chance to ride the back of a transient movement with their non-stop self-centred whinging about their “factional rights”, defeatistly seeking martyrdom and helping disrupt and break up everything, muddying the waters with their conceited and subjective idealist squabbling instead of exposing this hopeless attempt to revive zombie-dead “left Labourism”.
The few “left” that are not scrabbling for places and positions in a “revived Labour Party” are just as hopeless, their Stalin-worship politics covering up all the mistakes of Moscow revisionism and its errors and disastrous mis-analyses, which led the entire world working class into pursuing class collaborating “socialism through democratic struggle” in the first place, and the whole “Parliamentary Road to Socialism” etc.
Stalin’s mistaken view that “World War had permanently hamstrung capitalism”, so that a “non-provocative” permanent peaceful coexistence by the socialist states (as opposed to temporary tactical peace treaties as Lenin advocated), combined with an alert “peace struggle” movement to “contain its aggression”, could allow socialism to steadily overtake it economically and socially to finally triumph everywhere by sheer example (an expansion on the gains of the welfare state until there was no more capitalism), – addled brains everywhere with “democracy” illusions (conveniently for petty bourgeois complacency, let off the hook of revolutionary thinking).
And while the Lalkar/Proletarian types can throw in the odd “overthrow” phrase or even rail against “Kruschev” revisionism as supposedly to blame for the retreats (in fact set out years earlier by their hero Stalin, in the Spanish Civil War eg and by Stalin’s flawed Economic Problems book (1952)) (see EPSR Book Vol 21 Against museum-Stalinist Revisionism*), they go no further than “step by step” advances either, no different in principle to any other “left pressure”.
They completely fail to grasp the revolutionary nature of capitalism’s unstoppable growth (even after WW2) and the equally unstoppable bursting of this expansion in world shattering disintegration as now unfolding and for which the “left”-swamp has left the working class totally unprepared.
Their latest sophistry is to advocate voting alongside the UKIP leader Nigel Farage (!!!!) to leave the European Union, which is supposedly some kind of advance against capitalism (!!), one of the “step by step” advances they cling to.
It is an opportunist bending with the reactionary wind of such crudity that it takes the breath away; pandering to the very worst backward British nationalist chauvinism still infecting some old “Empire” corrupted sections of the petty bourgeoisie and layers of the working class and nothing at all to do with the real interests of any workers or the middle class either if it comes to it.
It fits exactly with their eight year long grovelling behind Little Englander Arthur Scargill in the Socialist Labour Party and the “British jobs” trade union chauvinism it could not shake off.
Retching would be too polite a response.
As well as a slippery accommodation to petty bourgeois public opinion this EU advice is saturated with the illusions in “democracy” that the Stalinists pretend to be against in occasional “fierce” polemics (only ever aimed at such soft targets as the Eurocommunists, the CPB and the NCP – real arguments are never taken on, see still unanswered book above).
The Euro referendum argument is surrounded with empty barrel noises about “regaining sovereignty” and the “right to make our own decisions” (out campaign) or “imposing a more democratic European framework on working conditions etc” (in), both arguments there to try and pump up now virtually dead illusions in the working class about parliament – as expressed in all recent elections by their utter contempt for parliamentary politicians).
Such “democracy” is like all “democracy” in capitalism, both an utter lie and complete irrelevance for all workers who have no say whatsoever on all the major questions of society, the economy, international relations, war, culture, or anything else, and who are buffeted and battered this way and that by the crisis which is imposed on them willy-nilly by big capital, with savage unemployment, wage cuts, workhouse level welfare restrictions, war, and the collapse of even the basic services through incompetence and deliberate neglect (latest examples – the NHS, now teetering on the edge of bankrupted collapse everywhere, bled dry by privatisation payments, “agency” contracts, and exorbitant drug and equipment costs, and the score of schools just closed in Edinburgh because racketeering privatisation put up the cheapest possible, effectively jerry-built, rubbish which was inadequate when new and which has failed dangerously after just 10 years – scandalous profiteering deals done by Labour incidentally).
But even this is only a part of the story.
A critical issue to bring out about the European Union debate is the desperation and disintegration of the British ruling class, riven by incompetence and division because far from having the boasted “strongest economy in Europe” is in almost the weakest position of all the major bourgeois powers as the sweeping world crisis starts to wipe out country after country.
As the oldest monopoly capitalist ruling class it has huge experience in putting on a show of class solidarity and unity to hide its difficulties and problems from the working class - so the fact it is now in open and very bitter warfare and recrimination is highly indicative of both shattered confidence and humiliation, and a paralysis about how to tackle the overwhelming onslaught of the crisis.
The European issue is about its fears of being dominated by much more powerful rival Germany if it stays in Europe, or of losing out completely if it tries to “go it alone”, potentially to be eaten alive by “international market forces” notably those of US imperialism (which is far from a “special friend” and an even more rapacious rival than Europe (Germany)) or perhaps Japan.
Domestically it is fearful of the class struggle exploding once more in riots and strikes as the crisis forces it to impose draconian cuts – a class war necessity constantly avoided and put off by the long term strategy of simply eliminating industrial production more and more, and hopefully therefore weakening the industrial working class, (beginning with the miners), increasingly undercutting remaining jobs with imported cheap labour on a huge scale, and turning to reliance on finance capital (the “service” industries) as the “engine” for the economy.
In late highly globalised capitalism Marx and Lenin showed this parasitical sector of the economy, making capital available for production, has the whip hand over industrial production (and the Third world) where basic value is actually produced and can siphon off more and more of its profit.
But it is also a weakness for a ruling class to get by without some industrial backing, particularly should some other power challenge it by brute force, at which point the lack of steel, and other industries becomes a major obstacle – the emperor has no clothes.
Small wonder the bourgeoisie is ready to bankrupt itself to hold onto nuclear weapons.
But a desperate British bourgeois economy is still more unbalanced and vulnerable than most:
Britain’s trading position with the rest of the world has deteriorated sharply with the current account deficit swelling to its widest on record, fanning fears about the sustainability of the economic recovery.
News of the ballooning current account shortfall overshadowed figures showing economic growth was stronger than first thought in the fourth quarter. GDP rose 0.6% compared with an earlier estimate of 0.5% and 0.4% growth the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Experts warned that even that brighter headline figure masked an unbalanced economy with consumer spending being relied on while industry contracted and business investment dropped sharply. At the same time household incomes were shown to have fallen in real terms, casting doubt over how much longer consumers could keep up their pace of spending.
It was the figures showing a sharp rise in Britain’s current account that grabbed the most attention and fuelled the debate around the UK’s economic prospects should it opt to leave the EU.
The current account deficit reflects Britain’s trade gap with the rest of the world and the shortfall between money paid out by the UK and money coming in. It swelled to £32.7bn in the fourth quarter, equivalent to 7% of GDP, up from 4.3% in the third quarter. This was the highest since quarterly records began in 1955. Economists in a Reuters poll had expected the deficit to widen to £21.1bn.
For 2015 as a whole, the current account deficit hit £96.2bn or 5.2% of GDP, the widest since records began in 1948.
The Bank of England has highlighted that the UK relies on foreign investors to fund the shortfall on its balance of payments and has expressed concern that in the event of a vote to leave the EU in June’s referendum foreign investors will become more nervous about buying, or holding, UK assets.
Chancellor George Osborne, who is campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU, welcomed the growth upgrade:
“The UK is not immune to risks in the global economy as slowing global growth weighs on our outlook. Today’s figures expose the real danger of economic uncertainty and shows that now is precisely not the time to put our economic security at risk by leaving the EU.”
Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight said the widening current account deficit could become an increasing problem if financial markets lose confidence in the UK economy for any reason.
“This would make it harder for the UK to attract the investment inflows that it needs to finance the current account deficit and could weigh heavily down on sterling.”
He added: “An obvious potential trigger for the markets losing confidence in the UK economy could be a vote to leave the EU in the 23 June referendum.”
The widening in the overall current account shortfall came as Britain’s trade deficit worsened and as the deficit on investment income also widened.
As exports fell in the final quarter of 2015 but imports increased, the trade deficit grew to £12.2bn from £8.9bn in the previous quarter.
The bigger factor, was the deterioration in the so-called primary income deficit. That more than doubled to £13.1bn in the fourth quarter from £5.8bn in the third quarter, mostly on the back of a drop in receipts from direct investment and portfolio investment abroad. At the same time, there was an increase in payments to foreign direct investors.
Alan Clarke, economist at Scotiabank explained: “In other words, dividend payments to overseas investors into UK assets have far outweighed the investment income that UK investors have earned on their investments overseas.”
“The problem is that the UK economy is outperforming its neighbours (a nice problem to have). The UK’s main trading partners have not grown as fast as the UK – hence the returns on our investments in those markets have suffered. We have invested badly into slow growing markets. By contrast, overseas investors into the UK have done well.”
But that picture played down fears over foreign direct investment being hit if the UK leaves the EU, Clarke added.
The GDP figures showed the services sector, the largest part of the economy, was now thought to have expanded 0.8% in the final quarter, up from the previous estimate of 0.7%. Construction output was also revised up to 0.3% growth from a previous estimate of a 0.4% contraction. Industrial production fell 0.4%.
The upward revision to overall GDP meant that for 2015 as a whole the economy grew 2.3%, faster than the previous estimate published last month of 2.2%.
Kallum Pickering, senior UK economist at the bank Berenberg said the latest batch of economic news pointed to an increasingly unbalanced economy and a country that “continues to live well beyond its means”.
“These growth patterns suggest that the UK recovery is being increasingly built on sand. Low savings make it hard for households and businesses to ride out volatility. Deficits to drive growth today come at the expense of growth tomorrow,” he said.
Many of the fears of the ruling hinge around their fears of losing their grip on this critical “City” centre, especially as much of it is already largely foreign owned - by US banks, Swiss, French and Germans which could move out anytime. And one core issue splitting them is that much more powerful German influence could dominate City operations. For decades this has pivoted around fear of the Stock Exchange, the jewel in the Crown moving to Frankfurt. And now??
Deutsche Börse and the London Stock Exchange said they expected to cut costs by €450m (£354m) a year as they sought to press on with their agreed £20bn deal and ward off a potential rival bid from the US.
The exchanges set out the terms and benefits of what they described as a merger of equals. As expected, Deutsche Börse shareholders will own 54.4% of the new company with LSE shareholders owning the remainder.
After the potential deal was announced last month, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, revealed it was considering making a rival offer for LSE. ICE was reported to have hired investment bankers to advise on a potential deal and Chicago’s CME Group was also said to be watching events with a view to making a bid.
Carsten Kengeter, Deutsche Börse’s chief executive, said: “ICE caused some speculation and have confirmed that they have a certain interest in LSE but that is all they did. What we have here is an agreed merger of equals. This is what we are doing and we are not going to be diverted by anything or anybody else.”
The planned deal is the third time Deutsche Börse and LSE have tried to merge. They agreed to merge in 2000 before a rival bid for the LSE from Sweden’s OM Gruppen scuppered the deal, which was then rejected anyway. The LSE then rejected a formal £1.3bn offer from Deutsche Börse in January 2005.
Deutsche Börse and LSE said the €450m of cuts would equal 20% of their combined operating costs and would take three years to achieve. They said detailed plans had not been drawn and that the impact on employees could not be calculated yet. There will also be revenue gains from selling more services to customers and European companies will benefit from greater access to capital funding, they said.
Grasping the full detailed significance of these dealings and rival US rapacious interests is complex but what can be said is that these factors, expressions of crisis and the bitter inter-imperialist conflicts heading for war, are the real drivers underneath the Euroturmoil – not the distracting froth about “democracy”.
That is there to fool the working class and hold it back from studying and arguing the revolutionary perspectives which alone can begin to try and make sense of these rapidly shifting sands of international finance breakdown, the expressions of the greatest chaos and disintegration ever in world history, caused by the nature of the profit system itself and its inbuilt contradictions which can only get worse.
The only end point is international conflict and world war, already begun and kept on the boil in the Middle East.
Half a dozen countries have been utterly destroyed by the torturing and massacring blitzkrieg rampaging of imperialist warmongering, both direct and by proxy, under the lying fraud of a “war on terror”, a nonsense swallowed and colluded in by the entire “left”.
The only alternative is total overthrow of the ruling class, taking the resources of the world, - factories, mines, farms and finance, - into common ownership for rational planned socialist production.
But the ruling class will never allow that by “peaceful democratic” change, even it by some fluke such a movement broke through the big-money bribery, advertising hype, media control, lying “family values” image building, gerrymandering and other outright manipulation (“hanging chads” etc) which is the reality of “voting”.
So the need is for the dictatorship of the working class (proletariat) to win and hold power, building a disciplined and organised struggle behind the leadership of an agreed revolutionary perspective, constantly developed and fought for by a revolutionary party.
Such a party, on Bolshevik lines, is the crucial tool needed to constantly develop this scientific understanding, in constant debate and polemic.
The aim must be to win and establish workers state authority which refuses to cede control back to the capitalists and defends the new working class power under which the decades long task of building socialism can be carried through.
Only in such a way can a true democracy be won when the hidden dictatorship of capital and its distortions has been removed and a new society be developed under Bolshevik leadership, gradually drawing in more and more of the population workers into running society, and the old bourgeois influences fade away.
Without such discipline, endless counter revolution, sabotage, skulduggery, disruption and as much outright violent fascist suppression will always return because the ruling class will never allow its privileges and power to be overturned and taken away.
The lessons have been taught in dozens and dozens of coups, interventions, fraudulent “colour revolutions”, invasions and occupations over the decades, notably in recent times in the fascist “Orange” coup in Ukraine, the 2013 military suppression of the Arab Spring in Cairo, and in the deliberately provoked bogus “Arab Spring” revolts deliberately set going in Syria and Libya.
But the fake-“left” still fosters illusions in bourgeois “democratic paths” and nowhere more than in Latin America, home of the most archetypal coup of all, against Allende in Chile in 1973.
For over a decade most of them have been hailing and celebrating and cheering on the “Bolivarian Revolution” led initially by the charismatic left nationalist, Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and encompassing left demagogic governments elected from Brazil to Argentina, Bolivia to Paraguay and Honduras too.
There are no problems in welcoming this defiance of US imperialism, and wealth distribution to poorer districts, money for health and education redirected from the big corporations.
But it is not a revolution.
The bourgeoisie has not been overturned.
So telling the world that this is a “new path” forwards, a “21st Century Socialism” that means all that “old-hat” Leninist grasp is no longer required, has only ever been the most disarming nonsense.
Its eclectic confusion reflects exactly the disastrous muddle-headedness that came from revisionist Moscow (and sadly is echoed at present by the similar CP confusion in Havana despite Cuba’s staggering and heroic record of building its own uncompromising workers state).
What the “left” have not done is warn that all such reformism is and will always be vulnerable to overturn and coup. This was obvious a decade ago as EPSR Leninism explained (No1167 14-01-03):
But where do the SLP and the fake-’lefts’ direct workers’ attention at this crisis time where “war must be stopped before it starts”??? To the bourgeois electoral process, to repeat Lula’s 20-year compromise journey of dropping all his racier fake-‘left’ demagoguery in order finally to claim the presidential suit.
Lula may indeed become a thorn in imperialism’s side, as Chávez is proving in Venezuela, and as Allende proved earlier in Chile.
But what will all the relentless COUNTER-revolutionary pressure on such elected ‘lefts’ eventually solely prove???? Any half-wit already knows the answer: That to get anywhere with all these ‘left’ electoral promises, eventually a real REVOLUTION will have to be carried out as the only way to stop the bourgeois counter-revolution from endlessly preventing the work of government, making it impossible, and preparing a fascist COUP at the first opportunity, - as is happening right now non-stop in Venezuela, and as will soon be the everyday norm if Lula does try to introduce even a tiny fraction of his ‘left’ promises.
And without that total proletarian dictatorship REVOLUTION, all such ‘left’ electoral successes, everywhere, - will always only end up like the Allende government did, - butchered in a CIA-run coup, and tens of thousands of deluded workers as well, alongside the ‘left’ “democratic” government they so believed in.
The time to explain all this to the working class, and to warn about the struggles to come, is NOW, - “before it starts”, to coin a phrase.
And what is happening now?
Why - exactly a stream of coups and disruptions in a clearly CIA organised pattern of middle class street demonstrations, violent provocations in Venezuela, lying “scandals” and supposed “corruption” judicial impeachments in country after country.
It is a technique first tried in Paraguay where the left reformist President Fernando Lugo was removed in 2008 by an outrageous stitched up impeachment vote by the landowner controlled Senate, ending a brief left-reformist interlude after 60-years of fascist control, and was followed by the more bloody coup in Honduras in 2009 (supported and approved by the Obama presidency and its Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) which has seen its reforms dismantled and rise of gangster and drug running chaos along the lines tearing capitalist Mexico apart.
Now Argentina has seen its president toppled after a supposed “scandal”; and Brazil exactly the same; the Venezuelan government has been displaced by an “electoral coup” after several years of economic sabotage and violent demonstrations encouraged and egged on by a frenzied right-wing media lie campaign.
The “Bolivarian revolution” as this loose collection of left reformist governments was christened, has held together longer than expected because the imperialist crisis has given Washington too much to think about, first of all in its disastrous efforts to control the Middle East with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the slow rolling defeats those imposed, effectively toppling the disastrous GW Bush presidency and the Blair government, then directly with global financial meltdown, and then with the even greater upheavals of endless jihadist revolt (spreading everywhere) and the dramatic mass populist Cairo and Tunis revolts.
Re-establishing the imperialist writ on the Latin American “backyard” had to wait before full attention could be paid to it. But the crisis collapse of economies everywhere has given the empire its chance.
It has been able to take advantage of popular discontents developing as oil and commodity prices have collapsed and the slump has hit industrial output and production, so that reform gains and working class living standards have been hard hit, multiplied by the impact of the major imperialist economies forcing the crisis outwards onto smaller and upcoming capitalist economies using their greater financial firepower (QE etc).
Fully established workers states, with a Bolshevik party explaining the crisis, might be able to motivate and mobilise the working class to stand behind its struggle even in the middle of economic turmoil in any of these countries, both because they grasp the world crisis perspective and by firmly handling the deliberate bourgeois skulduggery and disruption with armed workers state authority (in which the Goebbels-lies capitalist media control etc would already have been taken over).
But instead the illusions in elections and the “rule of law” (another bourgeois lie) has left regime after regime vulnerable as in Argentina:
Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has refused to answer questions in a fraud investigation, emerging from the courthouse to claim that she and other leftist leaders in Latin America are the victims of a politically motivated conspiracy.
Thousands of enthusiastic supporters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Buenos Aires on Wednesday to cheer Fernández as she was ushered inside for closed-door questioning, and then again when she emerged a short time later.
Judge Claudio Bonadio had called Fernández to testify about her alleged role in the central bank’s decision to sell dollars on the futures market at an artificially low price in the months before leaving office in December. At the time, there was a large gap between the official rate of the peso against the dollar and the rate on the booming black market.
Bonadio says selling dollars below market rate cost the state about $5.2bn, and allowed buyers to make a lot of money on the transaction. Fernández has denied any wrongdoing.
Fernández, accompanied by her lawyer, gave Bonadio a written statement that said: “Only via an exercise in an abuse of judicial power was this case able to go forward.”
Emerging from the courthouse, Fernández gave a one-hour speech in which she suggested that she and other leftist leaders in the region had been unfairly accused of corruption by a “media, political and judicial matrix”.
Argentina’s northern neighbor Brazil is currently mired in political crisis triggered by revelations of money laundering and bribery at the state-run oil company, Petrobras. Although President Dilma Rousseff has not been directly implicated in the scandal, her political rivals are attempting to launch impeachment proceedings on other grounds, including ongoing investigations into alleged budget irregularities.
“They can call me [to testify] 20 times. They can lock me up, but they won’t make me stop saying what I think,” shouted Fernández from an improvised stage on the back of a long flatbed truck.
Bonadio has 10 days to decide whether to charge Fernández or drop her from the investigation. Fernández, in power between 2007 and 2015, does not have immunity.
When she decided not to run for another position in government last year, a move that would have afforded her certain protections, supporters said it was an indication that she was innocent of the many allegations that have swirled around her and her administration for years.
But despite the cloud of accusations – and a torrential rain storm – Fernández managed to transform her court appearance into a triumphant return to the political centre-stage after four months of silence since she left office in December.
To enthusiastic cheers from the crowd, Fernández harshly criticized her right-of-centre successor, Mauricio Macri, who has himself faced scrutiny after leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed his ties with a Bahamas-based company.
“Can you imagine if they had found offshore companies in my name?” Fernández asked.
Bolivia’s own left reformist president Evo Morales has also been subjected to endless reactionary disruption and judicial manoeuvres culminating in the loss of a referendum in February allowing him to run for a further term of office which would have been an eminently sensible decision if his leadership is sound. The principle of fixed terms has only ever been a bureaucratic nonsense anyway - part of the bourgeois democratic pretence of “choice” and a mechanism to ease out any reformist who “goes too far”. If a leader is sound then why remove them? If unsound then they should be replaced immediately anyway.
Morales is hated by the local bourgeoisie and American imperialism alike (with at least one US ambassador expelled for suspect conspiracy and later the USAID “international development agency”, a known front for the CIA see repeated Granma exposés).
But his halfway-house left nationalism is as vulnerable as all the others to innuendo and scandal, and the reactionaries were able to use a dirty campaign to imply that state deals with a Chinese company had been influenced by a relationship he had with one of its executives.
Venezuela meanwhile saw its left movement defeated in December’s elections and the new reactionary bourgeois government now making moves to impeach him too, following three years of deliberate economic sabotage, organised counter-revolutionary street violence and the devastating impact of the world crisis on an oil dependent economy.
All of which should be the strongest possible warning to the working class that only by taking and holding power can it hope to start building and defending the kind of socialism that will really transform the world.
But even now the “left” are not saying any such thing.
Instead there is a stream of press letters and articles decrying the latest developments such as this:
We are extremely concerned about the sustained efforts by sections of Brazil’s rightwing opposition to destabilise – and ultimately overthrow – its constitutional and elected government, including through attempting to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. This campaign has involved demonstrations for “regime change” through the ousting of the president before the end of her term. These have even included overt calls for the military to carry out a coup d’état.
There is also a crude campaign aimed at discrediting former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whom Dilma is seeking to appoint as a minister in her government. The aim here seems to be not only to oust Dilma but also legally bar Lula as a potential presidential candidate in 2018.
Meanwhile, trade unions and social movements have denounced examples of physical aggression against government supporters. We oppose this golpista attempt, echo the support for Brazil being given by the Union of South American Nations, and defend Brazilian democracy.
-- signed by a set of “left” celebrities, Labourites, trade unionists and Green Party members, or an exceptionally long piece in the latest Proletarian (CPGB-ML) showing how the skulduggery and manipulation has been carried through in Brazil (as it previously explained the equally monstrous reactionary sabotage in Caracas).
All of which is fine and well-meaning perhaps, and even useful in some of the detail, but which simply covers the traces of the “lefts” and “liberals” who have led the working class up the garden path in the first place advocating and “defending Brazilian democracy” or the rest of the “democratic change” for the decade.
Complaining about skulduggery now is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
And even now there is not a word in six pages of the Proletarian article, for example, to explain the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Nor does it say anything about how it was “hailing” and eulogising Hugo Chávez, when he died three years ago, as a giant hero of the world socialist struggle “showing the world the way forwards”, just as half the “left” swamp did (guest speaker Jeremy Corbyn press officer Seamus Milne).
As usual the mistakes and errors, founded in revisionist hopelessness and blinkered refusal to debate, discuss and examine the real world, are simply brushed under the carpet, the entire continent of South America left to fester it seems and the years of “optimism” for the working class everywhere, at supposed “peaceful socialist advance”, just left deflated.
Nor is it to be supposed that other “left” groups like the Counterfire SWP breakaway will be explaining their equally treacherous hostility to raising such questions: it is only 18 months since its leading figure Lindsey German was contemptuously declaring that the Venezuelans should “test the limits of democracy” when the issue of capitalist state control and the need for working class takeover was raised at a Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign meeting.
Such a “test” in Chile cost tens of thousands of tortured or massacred lives.
The Egyptians have seen thousands shot down in the streets and many more imprisoned, tortured or sentenced to death in hundreds strong groups.
How much testing is needed Lindsey, and should the British working class also wait for the military to carry through a coup in the UK, as threatened on TV by Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Houghton????????
Or should we all believe the complacent idiocy that it “couldn’t happen here”???
Like it “didn’t happen” in “Northern Ireland” perhaps (ostensibly part of the UK) where there was three decades of brutal torture, assassination, concentration camp imprisonment via stitched-up no-evidence Diplock courts and censorship repression ended only because of a dogged and heroic armed nationalist revolutionary struggle???
Or like it “didn’t happen” in the great British Empire and the bloody repression used to put down national liberation from India and Malaya to Kenya, West Africa and “Rhodesia"??
Another side of the “left” on Latin America meanwhile pretends a certain sophisticated knowingness, such as Spartacist Trotskyism which sneered early on that Chávez and the others were “nothing but bourgeois capitalists”.
This is outright treachery telling the working class to make no efforts against imperialist counter-revolution, conveniently allowing US subversion a free hand.
But local bourgeois left nationalism for all its inadequacy, was still a significant upsurge against past reactionary exploitation and US imperialist diktat, and remains an obstacle to its unfettered control and colonialist exploitation – which is why so much time and effort are being devoted to try and topple them.
The fundamental question is always firstly whether or not imperialism is being set back or defeated; and that applies even when the most monstrous of figures has been forced to turn against imperialism such as Saddam Hussein.
Defeat for imperialism is always the critical point because it is imperialism and its crisis which is the source of all the world’s conflict and agony.
The problem not just with a thuggish Saddam, but even with a popular “hero” is confusion, philosophical weakness and hostility to Leninist science, which makes the Chavez’s and Allendes ultimately an objective danger to the working class, leading them in the wrong direction however much of an “hombre sincero” they might be.
No confidence in them is the Leninist line but stand together against the bigger enemy.
An equally pernicious line to the Sparts was advanced by the one-time revisionist CPGB Weekly Worker, now more Trotskyist than the Trots in its poisonous hatred of the USSR and other workers states, while squirming desperately not to get caught out too obviously on the wrong side. Here is how they have their cake and eat it, commenting on Bolivia at the end of February:
More importantly, the reputation of Morales and the MAS government has been steadily tarnished by constant stories of corruption and cronyism - some of which are bound to be true, given that he is he trying to run capitalism. For example, his personal popularity took a fairly big hammering following a 2013 scandal involving a former lover, Gabriela Zapata, with whom he admitted fathering a child - the main problem not being sexual indiscretion, but the fact that Zapata holds an important position in the Chinese engineering company, CAMC, which has secured more than $500 million in contracts with the Bolivian government.
Whilst communists obviously have no truck with Morales’s rightwing opponents, his attempts to cling onto power have become increasingly desperate and unedifying. And it goes without saying that the burgeoning state bureaucracy and semi-cult of personality around him is antithetical to genuine socialism.
This slimy repetition of the Goebbels allegations is accompanied by a slyly positioned picture of Morales at his inauguration captioned “in his presidential finery” in fink innuendo style worthy of the yellowest press to imply he has sold out.
It goes on to “polemicise” against the “excitable” “lefts” supporting the Bolivarian movement, sneering that
the so-called Bolivian and Venezuelan roads to socialism have turned out to be a dead end.
It is the “dead hand” of petty bourgeois defeatism that is the real lesson here about these “intellectual” pretenders to “genuine” socialism who make no effort to draw out the real lessons nor to look for imperialism to take further defeats.
What dirty dealing!
But then they are completely hostile to workers state discipline and proletarian dictatorship, advocating instead an impossible and fraudulent “extreme democracy” which simply ties workers back once again to representation and “democracy”; the same non-revolutionary misleadership as everyone else then.
Unsurprisingly the Weekly Workerites are right in the centre of the new “entryism” around the Corbynite “left Labour”, propping up a last gasp version of reformism.
Consequently it is getting very aerated about the anti-semitism slanders being whipped up by a massive coordinated press and political campaign attempting to paint leftism as secretly “racist”.
This degenerate nonsense, obviously run by the CIA and the international Jewish freemasonry that permeates imperialism, reflects the fears and weakness of the ruling class, ready to use any twisted nonsense to hold back and intimidate rising anti-imperialism everywhere, but most especially in the Middle East.
It has been eagerly taken up by the Blairite reactionaries, seeing a chance to beat down the “left” by using its tangled single-issue PCism moralising nonsenses, wheeling out insane allegations that the “left” is permeated with “anti-semitism” (and misogyny too, such is the absurd depth to which PCism has sunk).
The latest campaign aims - successfully - to cow the craven “pro-Palestine” posturing of the Corbynites and force it to declare that “Israel has the right to exist” amid much floundering about being “anti-Zionist” but not “anti-Jewish”.
This cravenness is total capitulation. What this ludicrous Nazi-nonsense needs is to be challenged head on and be told that of course the world hates “Israel” because it is a completely artificial monstrous nazi-colonialist implant in the heart of the Middle East, which has no justification or right to exist except the diktat of the imperialist dominated United Nations arbitrarily handing over someone else’s country in 1948.
It is built entirely on the outright theft of another people’s land, forcibly taken from them by terrorising ethnic cleansing and maintained ever since by a fascist domination which keeps most of the population in exile or concentration camp imprisonment, continuously humiliating and suppressing them with violence, gross intimidation, mass terrorising and virtually daily murders, as well as periodic outright genocidal blitzkrieg assaults and massacres of its men, women and children
And the world’s masses more and more hate not only those who impose this stinking barbarity, but those who support its Nazi existence which will always and forever be the source and cause of genocidal tyranny and oppression against the people it has dispossessed, until and unless they are effectively wiped out, or until their resistance overturns the occupation.
There is no in between. The Palestinians have no choice historically but to resist this Zionist intrusion which can never be “safe” without wiping them out (at least to the remnant status of, say, the Native American nations).
“Supporters” include the vast majority of the world’s Jewish diaspora who sustain this false state and accept its “right of return” (to go an live on someone’s stolen land).
As the EPSR has said (see Anti-Zionism book vol 20 due shortly):
The pressure now is on the anti-imperialist struggle everywhere to come to a decision at long last about whether there is any worthwhile meaning any more in distinguishing the international Jewish freemasonry from the international Zionist freemasonry, or whether continuing to do so just plays into the deliberate political-confusion hands of reactionaries like Sachs to try to double slander the worldwide anti-Israel movement as both “terrorist” and as “racist”.
Since the armed Jewish colonisation of Palestine began, what further use is the old distinction between “Jew” and “Zionist” since the number of Jews who do not believe in their right to a homeland in “Israel” are no longer worth counting as a significant international or domestic factor in politics.
All that the vast majority of “anti-Zionist” Jews want to do is separate themselves from the vicious Nazi-aggression tactics of the non-stop warmongering which has created their “Israeli national home” from the very beginning.
But an utterly negligible number come out to agitate for an end to the foul nonsense of an “Israel” altogether.
In which case “Jew” and “Zionist” are now completely interchangeable.
Hostility to both, save that tiny minority - a few per cent - is nothing but hostility to imperialist tyranny and capitalism. Build Leninism
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