No 1501 27 November 2016
Donald Trump no “triumph of reaction” despite degenerate racist, fascist tone, but shows weakness of imperialism. Only failure and collapse of “liberalism” and the “left” gives it scope. Now more than ever the working class needs to hear revolutionary politics (Leninism) but all on offer is Political Correctness posturing and bolstering of “democracy” delusions. Workers turned away from hopeless “left pressure”, pacifism and class collaboration because they need to hear the entire capitalist system challenged. All “old politics” has failed and loathsome Trump racist nazism fills the vacuum with its ludicrous pretence of “challenging the establishment”. Equally UKIPers, Marine Le Pen and Alt Deutschland, Finnish nation, etc etc. Nazism is inevitable in capitalism’s decline into Slump and inter-imperialist Third World War, and part of it, not some special stage that can be stopped by “action on the street” (implying “democratic” imperialism is better) or with “anti-racist” campaigns. Only total overturn of capitalism can change things. “Left” anti-jihadism part of the problem playing into “war on terror” chauvinism and war fever alongside Trump. Leninist debate crucial
Pole-axed liberal and “left” dismay at Donald Trump’s fascist-populist election “success” shines a spotlight on the hopeless failure of the fake-“left” of all shades.
So too does their equally useless responses to the degenerate nazi nationalism being stirred up everywhere else from the rise of Marine le Pen in France: to the poisonous chauvinism unleashed by Brexit; to Golden Dawn scapegoating violence in Greece and festering right-wing viciousness everywhere throughout Europe.
Decades (and more) of refusal to build a living revolutionary communist perspective as the only way forwards for the working class leaves them totally at sea when the imperialist ruling class tramples all over their “democratic” and “moral” Political Correctness niceties.
But this attempted turn to grosser reactionary scapegoating and racist populism by the ruling class should make it clearer than ever that only bringing down this system completely can stop the slide into ever more degenerate chaos and slaughter, and eventual all out world war.
Installation of a repellent, blustering narcissist bully at the head of the world’s most powerful empire signals the complete bankruptcy of the slump and war monopoly capitalist order as its system hurtles ever further into its crisis.
This crude, tasteless, nonentity whose loathsome bigotry, racism and cheap spivvery (already shamelessly exploiting the White House for personal gain through property deals and his wife’s tawdry perfume sales-pitches (!!!), before the inauguration) makes even George W Bush look intellectual, is the perfect expression of the degeneration of the entire greed-ridden capitalist world order towards the greatest collapse in history.
His tacky philistine bragging “succeeded” only because the rest of the ruling class of the overwhelmingly dominant monopoly power on the planet is utterly paralysed, staring fixedly like rabbits at oncoming economic, financial, environmental and social catastrophe of the capitalist order on a scale never before seen in history, far beyond the disasters which led to World War One and Two.
Everything they touch has been turning to dust, economic collapse and military defeats, for all the monstrous droning death-squad terrorising and mayhem-spreading in the Middle and Far East (killing millions).
They need this blustering bully and his gang of nazi-minded fanatics to keep the war atmosphere alive and to step up the class war repression domestically.
Capitalism wants and needs this hate-atmosphere.
The complete economic breakdown, sliding into the greatest cutthroat trade-war and market conflicts ever in history, has no let up.
The great global “credit crunch” of 2008 was just the start – or rather was the emergence into the open – of the great underlying crisis which has been rumbling for decades beneath the surface of the entire interconnected capitalist world economy, bursting through here and there in regional financial collapses, credit failures and state bankruptcy in Mexico and Argentina, the south-east Asian “tiger economies” currency meltdown, and endless still continuing economic stagnation in the giant Japanese economy.
Far from a one off “global collapse” now in “recovery” this is the opening of the greatest ever failure of the profit making system ever, an epochal disintegration.
Bitter and deadly struggles for the collapsing world markets are ramping up international conflict to red-heat.
The Middle East has been torn to shreds for 15 years with half a dozen countries totally destroyed, multiple millions killed, maimed, tortured and bereaved, and tens of millions made refugees.
Reactionary nationalist degeneracy and racist scapegoating are being deliberately inflamed everywhere.
But this does not reflect the bold confidence and dominating aggression of a ruling class that knows what it is doing, nasty though it is.
Just the opposite.
Like all fascist degeneration it signals a ruling class that has lost all connection with any kind of historic role or claim to be moving history forwards.
In its heyday, the rising bourgeoisie was the revolutionary dispatcher of the millennium old stagnating feudal exploiting order, and then the entrepreneurial driving force for 500 years of world industrial and scientific development, murderously, brutally and piratically achieved, but pulling the whole world forwards with its colonial expansion.
But all that has turned into its opposite, clogged up and tangled in the contradictions of “overproduction” and “surplus” capital, environmental devastation and war.
Repeated and ever more devastating crises of production collapse, economic breakdown and vicious devastating “competition” wiping out rivals and even whole rival countries, is inbuilt to the private profit system.
The world is now being dragged backwards into disaster and barbarous destruction exactly as twice before in the early twentieth century Slump and World War cycles, only on an even bigger and extensive scale than ever, penetrating the entire world and threatening it with unparalleled destruction from weaponry and technology of a size and scale never seen before.
It cannot be stopped by fatuous pacifism or “democratic control”.
It will continue degenerating into World War Three chaos until this whole private profit system is completely overturned and the working class takes power, establishing a firm majority class-based rule (proletarian dictatorship) to develop planned world socialism built with the confiscated resources and wealth which the Trump’s and all the obscenely rich ruling class of this world so grotesquely plunder and squander.
The world is rotten ripe for such a revolutionary transformation.
But nothing like such a perspective is put forwards anywhere by the entire fake-“left” spectrum, from metropolitan “liberals” to the great swamp of play-acting pretend “revolutionaries”.
Least of all did the year long US presidential campaign hear a word of it, inside the States or the world’s working class everywhere else in “left” analyses.
Just the opposite, their politics continued along the same old reformist and “left pressure” lines larded with “politically correct” moralising and finger wagging diversions, from feminism to “gay rights” all of which are at best a diversion from the revolutionary politics which the world needs, and mostly in fact a hostile blockage to such theory and understanding.
Their handwringing focus on “gay rights” and “misogyny” insults says it all.
Objecting to Trump because he is a “bigot and a racist” is just so much moralising pomposity and self-righteousness.
Of course he is, and his nasty little gang of sinister henchmen being assembled, even more so, but it is not the critical point; the main point is that all capitalist society is degenerating and must be overturned.
Electing the “nice” Democrats (who have blitzed and bludgeoned their way through several Middle Eastern countries and terrorised and tyrannised with even more droning than Bush ever managed) or even the “left” Bernie Sanders movement would change nothing essentially.
Such “dismay and shock” at this “crude misogyny” etc, aspect alone reflects a totally reformist view of the world, born of a belief in steady improvements of the existing order.
Only the self-obsessed middle class could see these as the “main threat”, the less-than-polite effects on their own lives elevated to first place while effectively downplaying the great devastation to working class lives everywhere and the monstrous rampaging drone slaughter and war blitzing being imposed on the Middle East (which Trump’s threat to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS simply continues).
It shows a complete failure to grasp (or wish not to see) the depth and scale of the Great Catastrophe unfolding as capitalism hits the buffers, which is leading to the breakdown and collapse of everything.
These tinkering PC reforms have only ever been diversionary irrelevancies at best, substituting for the revolutionary politics that are urgently needed but which the fake-“left” always avoids, and mostly have become relentlessly hostile obstacles to raising such questions (even being used to denounce the great practical revolutionary Fidel Castro).
And they raise a thousand questions anyway (see various past EPSRs) philosophically, around what they are allegedly achieving, from the divisive feminist notions blaming men and masculinity for the ills of society to the insistence of the “LBGT” lobbies that all forms of sexuality be considered “normal” and that any attempt to examine such issues or consider them objectively be deemed “homophobic”.
And while the ending of such inequalities (as the double exploitation of women eg ) and backward persecution (homophobic attacks and bullying eg) is part of the fight to take humanity forwards, these issues cannot be separated from the struggle to end capitalism nor be solved separately to that.
Just the opposite. As single-issues they have increasingly become overtly anti-communist and anti-revolutionary, as for example in their use to censor and suppress vital discussion (“safe spaces”, “no platforming” and other bans etc) which in effect aid the ruling class’s suppression of debate through programmes like Prevent.
And the great debate and polemical struggle to establish a revolutionary understanding of the world is the core of building a leadership for the great upheavals coming.
In some instances these issues even feed reaction such as the scapegoating hatreds against Islamists, Russians or others deemed “politically incorrect”, boosting the ruling class demonisations pumped out by the intelligence agencies to sustain and inflame the “war on terror” or the constant aggressive propaganda poured out against the Russians etc.
As the EPSR has long warned, feminism, “gay (or LBGT) rights”, environmentalism, fracking, black nationalism and animal rights (among other things) have become a last ditch defence weapon for bourgeois ideology when treated as single-issue politics, laden with subjective self-centredness and ready to abandon all broader perspectives.
None of these single issues challenge the foundations of the profit-making system (which is the cause of all divisiveness and repression anyway, including on these matters); most help it head off any serious revolutionary philosophical challenges.
Most have even been openly adopted by the ruling class which has no problems adapting to this kind of reform, and understands its value, playing the black (Barack Obama) and feminist (Hillary Clinton) cards in the cynical salvaging of the Bush-discredited presidency in 2008 with the slickest of reformist class-collaboration and then using the “gay marriage” issue for 2012 when the civil rights and feminist support had dropped away again, not having seen any changes, (and if anything a decline, with the police repression etc that has led to “black Lives Matter” was already being stepped up).
The sly and slick Democrat party machine operator Barack Obama (well trained in the most cynical of all, Chicago sector) simply carried on the blitzkrieging and warmongering non-stop, while domestic living conditions continued to slide and inequality massively increased as the banks and discredited financial system were bailed out after 2008 (with working class tax money and fanciful QE imposing the financial burdens on workers both inside the US and even more around the world as Latin American economies, most of Europe and Africa were forced to hammer living standards and conditions).
Cameron similarly helped sustain the deeply unpopular Tory government by introducing “gay marriage”, claiming it as one of his “great achievements” after his resignation - confirming just how the ruling class not only copes with such PC changes but cynically takes advantage of them.
They all help sustain illusions in “democratic change” just at the point when the whole parliamentary racket is more threadbare than ever in history.
It is the hoodwinking “democracy” trick, of “ordinary people” being able to “have a say” through “voting” which has long hamstrung the working class, and to some extent still does, preventing it from grasping the need for a complete overturn of the capitalist system.
But it is breaking down.
Hope for “steady improvement” in general workers’ conditions has long since turned into desperate rearguard defence of savaged wages and blighted social services, and illusions in parliament have been collapsing with them.
Slowly, for decades, in fact over a century, the working class has been developing a richly deserved contempt for “politics” - by which it unconsciously means the parliamentary or presidential “democracy” fraud and its “representatives”, seen increasingly and correctly as on-the-make pocket-lining corrupt careerists and class collaborating mountebanks who only ever keep the profit system in place and prop it up.
They have been abstaining in ever greater numbers from the votes, or much of the time not even bothering to register, with those still turning out doing so mainly to vote against the perceived class enemy or to punish the betrayals and let downs which always follow the promises and “spin”.
This long decline is not yet a worked out understanding of the hidden dictatorship behind all such bourgeois “democratic” façades but its spontaneous rejection is a major step towards it, needing only the conscious revolutionary understanding of the Leninist party to crystallise it.
Only winning the class war and establishing its own dictatorship - that of the great majority proletariat - to start building planned world socialism, can ever shake off this class rule and eventually lead to a world of the fullest possible development of all individuals without exception (whatever their quirks or differences), and their full and equal participation in all aspects of society.
Developing and making the arguments and explanations to win the working class to a correct understanding of this task, and educate it in all the complexities of the unfolding world class struggle it involves, is the central task of the Leninist party, its very reason for existence.
That currently includes the great battle against anti-communism, re-assessing the history of the huge workers state achievements made so far, to grasp their gigantic successes but also to understand the revisionist retreats that eventually saw them give up on the struggle, physically unbeaten but politically and philosophically capitulating to western pressures and capitalist illusion.
And it includes understanding the enormous rising Third World revolt, currently expressed in confused and contradiction ridden “terrorism” and insurgency, for what it is, the beginnings of a renewed world rebellion against the ever greater inequalities and injustices of the tyrannical exploitation by imperialism.
But far from fighting for such understanding the entire fake-“left” still continues to claim that “progress is being made” within capitalism, pointing to these PC single issue “advances” as one of the main planks to “prove” this misleading and treacherous reformist garbage and underpin their class collaborating opportunism, sustaining the threadbare parliamentary “democracy” trick.
It is all of a piece with the liquidation of many of these groups into the Labour Party in the UK for example desperately trying to keep Labour reformism alive and the pathetic and useless “no to war” pacifism of all of the fake-“left”.
But this dramatic shift in the US election, and the corresponding Brexit referendum shows the both the futility of the left and their increasing irrelevance.
The working class turned away from all of them.
What they did respond to, to some extent, was the “anti-establishment” rhetoric and tone of the Trump campaign and the Brexit movement, as noted by many of the bourgeois commentaries and exactly as was clear a decade ago when Le Pen (senior) was campaigning (EPSR 1133 23-04-02):
Le Pen’s vote reflects primitive incoherent disgust at how capitalist ‘democratic’ society is falling apart in crime, political lies, and decadence, and at how France is caught up in general imperialist-system insecurity, muddle, and mess, (just like everyone else, of course).
Neo-fascist parties are growing all over Europe, and the BNP’s vote will grow too.
But ‘anti-racist’ campaigning is the most pathetic fake-’left’ answer imaginable.
And 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 will only ADD TO and MAKE WORSE the “Le Pen problem”.
But the US result emphasises this point in another way too because large parts of the working class did not vote for Trump – they simply rejected the old politics. It was the vacuum in the “left” which was exposed; they lost rather than Trump won as some bourgeois press analysis showed:
The accepted wisdom is that Trump succeeded in awakening a popular movement of anger and frustration among white, blue-collar, less educated, mostly male, voters, particularly in non-urban areas. Trump promised them jobs, safe borders, and dignity, and they responded by turning out in masses at his pre-election rallies and eventually at the ballots, carrying him to victory.
This story is mostly wrong. Trump did not win because he was more attractive to this base of white voters. He won because Hillary Clinton was less attractive to the traditional Democratic base of urban, minorities, and more educated voters. This is a profound fact, because Democratic voters were so extraordinarily repelled by Trump that they were supposed to have the extra motivation to turn out. Running against Trump, any Democratic candidate should have ridden a wave of anti-Trump sentiment among these voters. It therefore took a strong distaste for Hillary
Clinton among the Democratic base to not only undo this wave, but to lose many additional liberal votes.
Take Michigan for example. A state that Obama won in 2012 by 350,000 votes, Clinton lost by roughly 10,000. Why? She received 300,000 votes less than Obama did in 2012. ...They simply stayed at home.
Wisconsin tells the same numbers story, even more dramatically. Trump got no new votes. He received exactly the same number of votes in America’s Dairyland as Romney did in 2012.
This pattern is national. Clinton’s black voter turnout dropped more than 11 percent compared to 2012. The support for Clinton among active black voters was still exceedingly high (87 percent, versus 93 percent for Obama), but the big difference was the turnout. Almost two million black votes cast for Obama in 2012 did not turn out for Clinton.
The Clinton camp...point to the large, unprecedented, 1.3 million margin of victory in the popular vote. The problem...is much of it comes from uncontested states. California alone gave Clinton a 3.2 million popular vote advantage. Since the margin of victory does not count, Trump did not campaign in California, and it is possible that many GOP supporters did not bother to vote.
This piece, still locked into a bourgeois “democracy” framework (it is from Forbes magazine!) misses much too.
It was not distaste for Hillary Clinton’s tricky sophistication that lost the vote, though it helped. It was a much deeper dismay and rejection of all bourgeois democracy which simply reasserted a long-term trend of falling votes after the transient effect of the “black president” had been seen for the fraud it is; in other words Obama would have lost just as many votes:
Before making sweeping statements about what Donald Trump’s Election Day victory says about everyday Americans, you might want to consider one fact: Only about one-fourth of Americans eligible to vote actually voted for him.
According to the US Elections Project’s count so far, only about 56.9 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot on Election Day. That means 43.1 percent of people eligible to vote just didn’t. (The voter turnout rate will increase over the next few days as the final votes are tallied.)
It also means that Hillary Clinton, based on the latest estimates, got a little more than 27 percent of the voting-eligible population’s vote, while Trump got just 27 percent. (Trump won the Electoral College but may have lost the popular vote.) So a little more than a quarter of the voting-eligible population chose the next president.
President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush also won their last elections with around 30 percent of the voting-eligible population — not a huge difference from 27 percent.
And that rejection is also reflected in the huge numbers of the American population who either cannot or do not want to register at all for voting:
Over 231 million Americans are eligible to vote. However, based on early results from the 2016 Presidential election, just over 130 million of them voted for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
This number is not the same number as registered voters. Politico reported in October 2016 that the data firm TargetSmart calculated that there were 200 million people registered to vote, an increase from 146.3 million registered to vote in 2008. Eleven states also allowed same-day voter registration.
The Elections Project notes that there were 251,107,404 people who classify as members of the voting-age population, therefore 116,341,754 of the voting-age population (or 46.3 percent) did not vote. (The U.S. Census bureau estimates that there are over 320 million people living in the U.S.)
Obviously, nevertheless, the “primitive incoherent disgust” had an impact among many workers who voted Trump.
But even this is more complex an effect than simply chauvinism and racism as the PCers (and Remainers) would declare.
Most of it is tentative and based on Trump’s isolationist chauvinism and backward illusions in “American jobs” (or “British jobs”); a deadly enough trap for the working class also baited by much of the class collaborating TUC and some “left” groups, still poisoned by two centuries of Empire corruption. But it is one that will soon be disillusioned.
The promise to “Make America great again” of the Trump election campaign cannot turn around the disintegration and decline of the economic powerhouse that the US has been for the last one hundred years, dominating all rivals and sucking in the lion's share of world exploitation once it was firmly established.
Bring back the jobs to the USA instead of outsourcing them to the cheap labour Third World?
Throw out the cheap migrant labour that does all the drudge work and hard graft within the US? (or equally within the UK and other European countries).
You might as well try and make water flow uphill.
Of course the big corporations, making their profits from the exploitation of labour, (which as Marx long ago demonstrated decisively in Capital is the only source of value) are not going to return to $20/hour rates, as well as making the giant investments needed to re-open the factories in blighted mid-America.
Nor can they; only by driving labour rates down into the floor, savaging living conditions and pushing the working day to inhuman limits can any capitalists make any kind of profit at all to survive in the ever more savage anarchic world market competition.
But it would be a dangerous trap to think that this inevitable failure-to-come to turn around the long term decline of the imperialist top-dog and “restore prosperity” (at the expense of driving down workers everywhere else and weakening the world class struggle) will allow misled workers to “see sense” or turn them towards a more rational socialist answer.
That would be the same delusion that the revisionist Communist Party got itself into in Germany in the early 1930s with its “after Hitler our turn” sloganising.
Its great flaw was the already entrenched delusion – born of a failure in revolutionary grasp - that the “democratic framework” was a way forwards and the parliamentary rules would be held to; that once the repressive Nazi rule was tasted in full, the working class would swing to the CP.
But the democratic framework was no longer there, nor the CP to swing to of course, having been rounded up into the concentration camps once the Hitlerites took power, or forced to go underground or into exile.
The ruling class simply tears up the “rules” when it needs to as it has multiple times like the brutal suppression of the Salvador Allende government in 1973 by General Augusto Pinochet’s torture and murder coup; the million massacre overturn of nationalist Sukarno in Indonesia in 1965; the CIA assassination of Lumumba in the Congo; the toppling of Mossadeq in Iran; or in Egypt in 2013 barbarically suppressing the new “democratically elected” Muslim Brotherhood government with a military coup slaughtering thousands in cold blood on the street and many more in prison since, all funded by the US.
And many others.
And to whom was the very first phone call of the “president-elect”? General Sisi.
The poisonous atmosphere of scapegoating, crude blame-mongering and aggressive provocations to violence throughout the Trump campaign are no mere showmanship nor just the crudity of “male chauvinism”.
These are already poisonous diversions, confusing and misleading some of the population, and blaming assorted victims for the problems; they will have deadly effect on Mexicans and Hispanic workers, demonised Muslims and other fingered scapegoats held responsible for the crisis.
But far beyond that they preparing for much greater societal breakdown and fascist intimidation as the crisis deepens.
Trump, and the ruling class around him know very well that they cannot deliver sustained economic revival whatever temporary tricks might be pulled; the groundwork is being laid therefore for a massive escalation in this demented chauvinism, part and parcel of hyping the warmongering mood against the rest of the world, and blaming “enemies within”.
It has nothing to do with rationality.
Just the opposite, this emotive frenzy is calculatedly irrational, designed to feed backwardness and provoke violence.
Exactly the same thing is underway in the UK where the UKIP and off-the-wall Brexit Tories are stepping up all kinds of recrimination and blame against every rational attempt to assess and measure the disastrous economic prospects for the British ruling class, declaring all “experts” to be no use or even at fault for “not being optimistic enough”!!!
It is part of stirring a hate frenzy (against “unpatriotic judges” eg!!) designed to provoke outbursts like the murderous attack on the MP Jo Cox and the killings and beatings of several migrant workers already, along with an overall poisoning of societal relations (on top of that which capitalism endlessly generates anyway).
It goes hand in hand with escalated universal surveillance and monitoring of the population and with the intensification of state brainwashing in universities:
A bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world has passed into law with barely a whimper, meeting only token resistance over the past 12 months from inside parliament and barely any from outside.
The Investigatory Powers Act, given royal assent on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.
The security agencies and police began the year braced for at least some opposition, rehearsing arguments for the debate. In the end, faced with public apathy and an opposition in disarray, the government did not have to make a single substantial concession to the privacy lobby.
US whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted: “The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes further than many autocracies.”
Snowden in 2013 revealed the scale of mass surveillance – or bulk data collection as the security agencies prefer to describe it – by the US National Security Agency and the UK’s GCHQ, which work in tandem.
But, against a backdrop of fears of Islamist attacks, the privacy lobby has failed to make much headway. Even in Germany, with East Germany’s history of mass surveillance by the Stasi and where Snowden’s revelations produced the most outcry, the Bundestag recently passed legislation giving the intelligence agencies more surveillance powers.
The US passed a modest bill last year curtailing bulk phone data collection but the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election is potentially a major reverse for privacy advocates. On the campaign trail, Trump made comments that implied he would like to use the powers of the surveillance agencies against political opponents.
The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Strasburger, one of the leading voices against the investigatory powers bill, said: “We do have to worry about a UK Donald Trump. If we do end up with one, and that is not impossible, we have created the tools for repression. If Labour had backed us up, we could have made the bill better. We have ended up with a bad bill because they were all over the place.
“The real Donald Trump has access to all the data that the British spooks are gathering and we should be worried about that.”
The Investigatory Powers Act legalises powers that the security agencies and police had been using for years without making this clear to either the public or parliament. In October, the investigatory powers tribunal, the only court that hears complaints against MI6, MI5 and GCHQ, ruled that they had been unlawfully collecting massive volumes of confidential personal data without proper oversight for 17 years.
One of the negative aspects of the legislation is that it fails to provide adequate protection for journalists’ sources, which could discourage whistleblowing.
Jim Killock, the executive director of Open Rights Group, said: “The UK now has a surveillance law that is more suited to a dictatorship than a democracy. The state has unprecedented powers to monitor and analyse UK citizens’ communications regardless of whether we are suspected of any criminal activity.”
The government’s controversial Prevent counter-radicalisation strategy is to be toughened rather than scaled back despite criticism that it is a toxic brand and a “big brother” security operation among Britain’s Muslim communities.
The Home Office confirmed that a secret Whitehall internal review of Prevent, ordered earlier this year by Theresa May when she was home secretary, has concluded that the programme “should be strengthened, not undermined” and has put forward 12 suggestions on how to reinforce it.
The overhaul of the programme is to be detailed as part of the government’s wider reworking of its counter-terrorism strategy, known as Contest, that is to be published before the end of the year. Ministers believe that Prevent is working and is safeguarding people from being drawn into terrorism.
Criticism of the four-year-old Prevent strategy, under which more than 8,000 people have been referred for possible inclusion in the anti-radicalisation programme, has intensified in recent months. The programme has expanded rapidly over the last 18 months as more than 850 people have left Britain to go to Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and Iraq.
Its critics include David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, and the Commons home affairs select committee, which called for the “toxic brand” of Prevent to be abandoned in favour of a more inclusive “Engage” title, and for much clearer guidelines and training on how it is implemented in schools and universities. Anderson has said: “There is a strong feeling in Muslim communities that I visit that Prevent is if not a spying programme then at least a programme that is targeted on them.”
Others, including Diane Abbott – the shadow home secretary – and teaching and student unions, have called for its reform or even abandonment. The Muslim Council of Britain has announced that it will set up its own programme next year aiming to tackle the issue of support for Isis within Muslim communities.
“The whole scheme is simply unworkable,” Abbott said this week. “Even with widespread cooperation the number of children under 10 who have been referred to the police under the Prevent strategy is over 400 in the last four years. Families are terrified their kids will be taken from them, guilty only of playing school playground games, play acting or childish bragging. Yet according to the police, 80% of all referrals are not acted on.”
A recent George Soros-funded Open Society Justice Initiative report cited instances in which information was apparently gathered from Muslim primary school pupils without their parents’ consent, and the case of a 17-year-old who was referred to police by his college because he had become more religious.
The Department for Education has produced guidance to schools on their statutory duty under the programme and the Educate Against Hate website contains resources for schools and parents on preventing young people from being radicalised and educating young people to reject extremist ideologies.
“Extremism” reveals the real purpose of this bureaucratic censorship and suppression of course, smuggled in under the guise of the “war against terror” (itself a meaningless nonsense) namely suppression of revolutionary ideology and communism.
Both are a reflection of total breakdown and desperation.
And both are certainly a reflection of the relentless degeneration of capitalism into outright fascism and war.
Capitalism will become as fascist as it needs to be, in multiple ways, none of which will necessarily use the bizarre theatricality and stridency of Prussian militarism’s shiny jackboots, or Italian fascisti “style”.
American brashness has its own style.
But the “left” manages to misunderstand this question too, all sides still locked into the same old plodding “left pressure” on “democracy” and “winning socialism through voting” mechanics, with fascism seen as something separate and “extreme” to be resisted by “action” on the street (Socialist Workers Party etc) and defeated quite outside of any question of defeating and overturning capitalism.
But capitalism is both the source of fascism and mostly directly applies all the fascist violence and repression needed as witness three centuries of brutality and genocidal horrors throughout the British, French, Spanish and other empires, and over a century of American savagery on an even greater scale and far beyond Hitler’s dreams, without any special theatricalities required.
Whole nations have been wiped out.
Vietnam alone saw 4 million dead.
And the greatest irony of all is that the Jewish freemasonry, subject and victim of the most extreme aspect of Nazism (alongside gypsies, trade unionists, homosexuals, the disabled, communists and Russian prisoners), is also one of the great modern perpetrators of fascist violence and genocidal atrocity.
Wooden formulaic thinking characterises the latest high-handed sneering from the “intellectual” wing of the fake-“left” the one-time revisionist and now crypto-Trotskyist CPGB Weekly Worker directing some disdain at the “panic” of the “street action now” groups but demonstrating its own smug petty bourgeois delusions in “democracy”.
It is an ironic tirade in the light of an earlier section of the same article attacking the Communist Party USA Stalinists for their “complacency” in wanting to mobilise the “democratic forces”. They even get this wrong, attacking them only because they identify the wrong “democratic forces” namely the whole Clinton coalition, not because of their continuing nonsense about “democracy” being a way to “stop fascism”.
And all this is larded the most rigid and undialectical nonsense formulas about the “nature of fascism”:
At the other extreme, we find many people paralysed by something else altogether - total fear.
Most such people are on the edges (at best) of liberalism, and may have really believed the stupid alarmism about Trump maybe pushing the nuclear button (seriously?); and we discover, in otherwise relatively sensible responses from American progressives, a kind of assumption that the next four years are now to be characterised by internment camps and relentless racially motivated violence (the story here is not exactly untrue, but - as we shall see - still misguided).
Such is the main motivation for the spate of spontaneous-ish protests that have taken place across America in the wake of the result. (Any such protest wave, nowadays, needs its own Twitter hashtag, which is ‘#notmypresident’, to which we can only reply with a panto flourish, ‘Oh yes he is!’) The participation of ‘anarchists’ in such demonstrations - bringing oh-so-radical activities like flag-burning to the party - invites the counterfactual speculation as to whether Hillary would have also provoked such protests. We do not think so - and so, as ever, such ‘anarchists’ are revealed as merely liberals with anger management issues.
For an exemplary write-up of this mindset, however, we can do no better than turn to our old friends in Left Unity, whose reaction statement is self-explanatorily headed: “Trump’s victory: Hitler’s shadow”.
The film of the 1930s is running in slow motion ... Millions are now supporting rightwing-populist ideas with close parallels to the ideology that brought us the catastrophe of the 1930s ... Do not be deceived by the fact that Trumpism ... does not wear all the trappings of classical fascism. We have national flags, not swastikas. We have bullies in suits, not thugs in jackboots. We have electoral triumphs, but the union offices have not yet been ransacked ... This, make no mistake, is creeping fascism.
For a Marxist, of course, fascism is not a simple matter of having sufficiently unpleasant opinions, but of social function in times of crisis - as the LU statement puts it, the use of paramilitaries” to “physically smash” the left and labour movement. Fascism does not creep: it marches. The circle is squared with the idea that Trump’s fascism faces only a weak labour movement, and thus does not need paramilitary force when “the state police will suffice”; but if we are so weak, why should he even bother with sending in the police? What exactly is left of this ‘fascism’, which is not especially fascist because fascism is unnecessary?
It is the concluding part of the article which is the most eyebrow-raising, however, where it is claimed, bizarrely, that:
Hitler and Mussolini also had some, otherwise sound [sic!], economic ideas, that became unworkable, because they were subordinated to their fascism and their militarism.
If we cannot develop a good, left, alternative economic programme to the rightwing populism, and create a party that is capable of contesting elections, based on that programme, we will have to watch while the rightwing populists and fascists win many more elections.
It is time for a reality check: if these people genuinely think that the next step in American politics is the collapse of the constitutional regime and a move towards some sort of Hitleresque racist dictatorship, then there is one and only one obvious course of action for Americans - armed uprising; not putting left-Keynesian policies to an election! If Trump is Hitler, why should there ever be another election? If that is your analysis, the answer is crystal-clear: embark on a coup or, failing that, revolutionary civil war. Tool up or shut up.
This is the classic sneer - “so it's to the barricades now is it? comrade” - of all anti-revolutionary poseurs, this ludicrous nonsense parody pretending that raising questions of revolutionary politics is “premature”, a lip-curling put-down all the more noticeable for coming from a group that once deemed itself the true inheritors of the “Leninist” tradition (its paper previously called such).
But its “contesting elections” is precisely the fatal flaw - remembering that Hitler’s Nazis won through elections, aided and egged on by the finance and funds of the big bourgeoisie.
This delusion is no different to the “popular” view being promulgated in the bourgeois press that “of course Trump cannot do everything he was blustering about because the American system is hedged in by checks and balances on the power of the president”.
The bourgeoisie will tear up all “checks and balances” if it is desperate enough - the entire framework is a fraud as German Nazism showed.
Of course it burns its boats in doing so (as the rampaging wars in the Middle East have already done for international pretences about “bringing democracy” and the “rule of law”) and makes the lessons of revolutionary necessity clearer.
So it will tap the delusions of “democracy” – the most valuable political control mechanism ever devised – for as long as possible.
And the flakiness of the Trump victory is obvious, the bourgeoisie knowing full well it does not have a great head of steam behind this backwardness. He has already rowed back, not out of “democratic restraint” but fearfulness.
But that they will go down this path when needed should not be doubted.
The flaw in the Left Unity “hysteria” is not that it is premature - the world is long overdue a revolutionary perspective and the building of such understanding, but that it is just as shallow, still stuck with the notion that “fascism has to be stopped” and the nonsense that in doing so the world will be a little bit safer.
The answer is of course not “a coup now” (also a bit rich as a polemical put down from the group that includes the call for “armed workers militias” now in its programme) an obvious impossibility until, if and when, conditions are appropriate.
But the need to build and educate a movement now with a perspective that only revolution can change anything?????
It was already overdue when the Oldham race riots exploded (EPSR 1098 17-07-01):
It is precisely the PC ‘moral persuaders’ of the present racist crisis (who want to believe that determined ‘anti-fascist action’ can remove sick prejudice from the scene) who are prolonging the class-collaborative delusions of “after Hitler our turn’, or more exactly the delusion that ‘anti-fascist democracy’ in Spain could halt Franco.
‘Anti-fascist democracy’ is as close to a contradiction in terms as it is possible to get. Illusions in ‘democracy’’ will either be let down by its treacherousness (Italy 1921, Germany 1933) or its feebleness (Spain 1936-39).
The full fatalness of British Stalinist idiocy in deluding itself that ‘democratic protest on the streets’, etc, prevented a fascist takeover of Britain in the late 1930s (imperialism’s anti-slump and anti-communist strategies in fact decided that the Axis Powers provided sufficient warmongering aggression to suit their purposes) finally became clear when the CPGB liquidated itself into the reformist ‘Democratic Left’ in the 1990s.
All ‘democratic anti-fascism’ needs treating like the plague for as long as capitalism survives. The sheer folly of regarding ‘democratic’ imperialism as ‘preferable’ to ‘fascist’ imperialism is clear from the historical record.
Hitler-German imperialism was egged on all the way by monopoly-finance capital, both inside Germany and beyond, as a classic ‘bulwark against communism’; and Western political appeasement gave fascist aggression a virtual open door all the way to Munich 1938 and beyond, selling out Ethiopia, Spain, Austria, Saarland, Sudetenland, Albania, etc, so as to deliberately set up a German imperialist invasion of the Soviet workers state; a monstrous warmongering stunt which blew up in the West’s faces when the Nazis shrewdly decided in 1939 that West European degenerate state leaderships (full of Quislings, Vichyites, appeasers, and pro-fascists of every description) were easier pickings than the USSR.
Throughout the 1930s, the overwhelming ‘democratic’ choice within Western world domination was for appeasement and collaboration with German, Japanese, and Italian imperialist aggression. Only with later propaganda hindsight did the ‘evils of fascism’ start to get massive publicity, but in reality for doing no differently in Manchuria, Ethiopia, Albania, Russia, from what Western colonial barbarism had already been perpetrating for generations on every continent to suppress local resistance to imperialist domination, including concentration camps, hostage taking and shooting, collective punishment massacres, etc, etc, etc, - all of which had long been perfected by British and French colonialism, for example, prior to Germany, Italy, and Japan muscling their way belatedly onto the world imperialist-domination scene.
To pretend now that any capitalist-imperialist regime that has ever existed, or will ever exist, has the slightest interest in suppressing completely all so-called ‘fascist’ methods of political agitation and control is just suicidally naïve, and treacherous to the working class in the extreme.
It is the imperialist SYSTEM itself which will play the race card when it suits any crisis strategy, as it has always done in the past, either directly through governmental regular parties, or indirectly via discreetly-encouraged or tolerated specialist ‘fascist’ movements whose national-chauvinism could be more easily deniable if things go wrong.
To rely on well-meaning single-issue ‘anti-racism’ movement to ‘shame governments into anti-fascism by democratic action’, etc, will be even more suicidal.
This middle-class spirit of ‘left’ pressure will correctly denounce racism in Oldham, but effectively turn a blind eye to the constant total murderous genocide which is daily driving the 6 million Palestinian nation off their homeland with the full connivance of the whole Western world behind Zion colonialism.
This ‘anti-fascist’ petty-bourgeois self-righteousness swallowed refuse-tip amounts of pure Goebbels-style propaganda (pure fascism) to allow Western imperialism to demonise the Serbs as ‘uniquely guilty’ for the all-round civil-war mayhem perpetrated by all the squabbling national minorities (as the Yugoslav patchwork federation was deliberately broken up by Western capitalist intervention) so that the NATO powers themselves could do the blitzkrieg bombing of Serbia to break its national resistance to imperialist domination.
As the NATO bombers and missiles roared in to wreck defenceless Serb cities and its entire economic structure, was this blitzkrieg in any danger at all of anti-Nazi league-type protests stopping it?
Or is the devastation of the Middle East since???
To the contrary. The fake-“left” all play into this non-stop slaughter with their denunciations of “jihadism” and condemnations of “terrorism” and their total failure to see the world revolutionary upheaval that is underway, however confusedly yet.
Trump’s election demagoguery played on “killing all the terrorists” and destroying ISIS. How is the “left” condemnation any different, as Mosul and the surrounding region is brutally pulverised 2004 Falluja-style – civilians and ISIS alike????
The utterly depraved US and UK guided Saudi destruction of Yemen, the hell of Iraq for 20 years of invasion and occupation, the deliberately inflamed civil war horrors in Syria set going with Western skulduggery, arms and funding (pretending this was an extension of the Arab Spring with completely bogus “demonstrations” (all immediately calling for Western intervention); the nazi-NATO destruction of Libya behind a similar but failed pretence of “peoples’ revolt (all swallowed and bolstered by the Trots) in Libya; the corrupt mess of Afghanistan etc etc etc not to mention Somalia (with UK and US troops routinely raiding it from Kenya), more troops around Nigeria, - all are already as “fascist” as anything seen in history.
And this is only the start.
The world is going further and further out of control. Major US stooge South Korea is seeing gigantic demonstrations against its utterly corrupt reactionary government; the primitive and backward Moroccan monarchy faces huge rebellion over the death of a poor fisherman that echo all the rebelliousness of the Tunisian and Cairo revolts; Thailand’s even more primitive reactionary monarchy is kept in place only with military coup crackdown (again exposing the hollowness of the Western “democracy” pretences).
Even the endlessly blasted Afghanistan, still heavily occupied by US forces (NATO!)despite two terms of the “war-ending” Obama government will not lie down:
An explosion struck the largest US military base in Afghanistan early Saturday, causing some casualties, Nato said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which occurs as the group step up nationwide attacks before the onset of winter, when fighting usually ebbs.
“We can confirm that there was an explosion at Bagram Airfield this morning just after 5.30am (0100 GMT). There have been casualties,” the military coalition said in a brief statement.
“Our Force Protection and medical teams are responding to the situation,” it added, without offering any other details.
The nationalities of those killed were not immediately known after the blast.
“An explosive device was detonated on Bagram Airfield resulting in multiple casualties. Four people have died in the attack and approximately 14 have been wounded,” Nato said in a statement.
“Response teams at Bagram continue to treat the wounded and investigate the incident.”
Waheed Sediqi, spokesman for the governor of Parwan province where Bagram is located, said the blast was caused by a suicide attacker who blew himself up near a dining facility inside the base.
“We don’t know the identity of victims yet, but the attacker was either one of the Afghan labourers working there,” Sediqi told AFP.
The explosion underscores a worsening security situation nearly two years after Nato formally ended its combat operations in Afghanistan.
Bagram Airfield, close to Kabul, has frequently come under attack by Taliban insurgents.
Last December, a motorcycle-riding Taliban suicide bomber killed six US soldiers near Afghanistan’s largest US military base.
All this is pushing the US ruling order class (and all the bourgeoisie closer to the desperation of outright fascist dictatorship)
But the real story is that even this depravity is only the warm up. The real conflict in the world is that between the great monopoly capitalist blocs and the life and death struggle to sell their ever expanding production at a profit.
As Marx long ago understood the issue comes back to the economic collapse of an ultimately unworkable system, driving all the war and destruction (the real cause of “terrorism” and collapse).
Currently the great conflict beneath the surface is the post-2008 manoeuvring of the great US financial structure and its overwhelming bullying control of world finance through its dollar world currency and the mechanisms it created post-war like the IMF and the World Bank to make sure US interests always came first, all aiming to impose the crisis on everyone else.
Most of all Europe, the great 500M strong market rival, has been getting the brunt, the EU and America taking ever more aggressive chunks out of each other with astoundingly huge fines and “tax penalties” etc. notably the incredible $14bn fine to imposed on Deutsche Bank. The Germans are quite clear what this is:
Peter Ramsauer, chairman of the German parliament’s economics committee, also talked about the “economic warlike traits” of the US approach.
The US presidential elections next month are being regarded as a potential deadline for reaching an agreement with the DoJ, which has already settled with a number of US banks, including Goldman Sachs...
German business leaders have thrown their weight behind Deutsche Bank after a week of market turmoil in which shares in the country’s biggest bank were dragged to 30-year lows on fears it will be crippled by a $14bn (£10.5bn) penalty from the US authorities.
Amid concern the plight of Deutsche could wreak havoc across the globe, investors and policymakers will focus on any attempts by the bank’s chief executive, John Cryan, to agree a settlement over the decade-old mis-selling scandal when he is in Washington this week...
Last week Cryan wrote to the bank’s 100,000 staff – at least 7,000 of whom are based in the UK – to attack “forces in the market” trying to destabilise the bank, after Bloomberg reported 10 hedge funds were reducing their business dealing with the bank. German markets are closed on Monday.
The Financial Times reported last week that Credit Suisse and Barclays could also be part of a settlement. Bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland has warned that it too may need to reach a settlement with the DoJ, which some analysts have calculated could cost £9bn. As recently as last week, Ross McEwan, the chief executive of RBS, said settlement talks with the DoJ had not begun, although the 73% taxpayer-owned bank did pay £846m to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) over the scandal.
Even once the bond mis-selling settlement is reached, Deutsche Bank faces an investigation into its activities in Russia, while over the weekend some former and current staff were charged in Milan in connection with Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA for colluding to falsify the accounts of Italy’s third-biggest bank and manipulate the market.
The situation of Italy’s banks has also been a focus for Germany’s media as it plays down the need for Merkel to bail out Deutsche. “Of course Chancellor Merkel doesn’t want to give Deutsche Bank any state aid. She cannot afford it from the point of view of foreign policy because Berlin is taking a hard line in the Italian bank rescue,” Reuters reported the Frankfurter Allgemeine as saying.
Interestingly the Germans in turn are trying to dump on the southern Europeans, where the Italian banks are now one of the next possible global meltdown triggers.
The whole Brexit debacle is part of this recriminatory turmoil too; sections of the ruling class desperate to avoid being caught in US-EU crossfire while whipping up the chauvinist hatred.
But outside or in, the collapse goes on, the real cause of the stagnation and desperation everywhere being capitalism whether it is Eurobosses or US world corporations.
Far from conditions improving either way round the relentless increase of “surplus” capital in the world, desperate for some kind of profit, can only make matters increasingly bad.
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The working class of the world will commemorate Fidel Castro as one of the giants of revolutionary struggle, correctly challenging revisionist caution to lead the armed struggle overthrowing the US mafia stoogery and corruption running Cuba.
Equally correctly he established and defended the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, transforming the impoverished island by building socialism - a beacon of advance and hope for all of Latin America, a double achievement in the light of 50 years of siege blockade strangulation.
But workers also need to recognise his theoretical weaknesses, tied to Third International revisionism and “peaceful coexistence” abandoning of revolutionary perspectives - as in denouncing Colombia’s FARC armed struggle