No 1508 21st May 2017
Crocodile tears for “starving millions” in Africa and Middle East are grossest hypocrisy yet as US imperialism and proxies continue non-stop “war on terror” blitzkrieging and butchery, part of imperialist oppression which alone has caused the problems. Such horror and agony will rapidly increase as long as imperialism exists, dragging the world ever further into degenerate chaos as its heads for world war to escape its Great Catastrophe crisis. But “left” condemnation of “terrorism” simply plays into imperialist hands, feeding the scapegoating and chauvinist atmosphere its needs to stampede war hatred. Their hopeless confusion and deep-down hostility to revolution (despite claims of “Marxism”) fails to see the giant “jihadist” turmoil as part of worldwide anti-imperialism alongside the toppling of South Korea’s president, Ukrainian anti-Nazi Kiev resistance and fermenting rebellion in Europe and America. Triumphant Sinn Féin republican election victory in (yet)occupied zone of Ireland confirms unstoppable unification progress further exposing universal fake- “left” defeatism. Leninism needed
Western imperialist hypocrisy has surely plumbed new depths with the latest hand-wringing United Nations warning about imminent famine for 20 million people in the Middle East and Africa.
The “greatest humanitarian disaster in post-war history”, affects four countries which have suffered some the greatest blitzkrieg devastation and stirred-up civil war turmoil of the unfolding capitalist crisis.
This is gross cynicism.
Their agony has been imposed by the very “free market” and “democratic” system which is fronted and sanitised by this largely US dominated stooge imperialist institution and its lying cosmetic pretences of upholding “international order and law” as the “path towards a peaceful new world” (along with a panoply of other twisted and bogus “world democracy” pretences around “war crimes courts” and “international finance” bodies etc etc).
In the name of the meaningless “war on terror” Yemen has been pulverised and butchered for two years by the backward primitivism of Saudi Arabia’s tribal-feudal monarchy using $ and £ billions of the most gruesome high-tech weaponry supplied and operated both by the US and most of all by desperate and near bankrupt Britain, desperate for whatever arms-industry income it can get, however venal.
Tens of thousands have been left dead, or maimed and homeless, and now 2 million are starving to death, not least because the ports and transport facilities for bringing in food have been deliberately destroyed. Arbitrary raids using air power and deadly Apache helicopter gunships to destroy helpless little villages have been escalated on the orders of the new nazi-minded Trump regime.
Somalia has been torn apart for three decades of blitzing “interventions”, directly by the US until its “Black Hawk Down” defeats forced its humiliated military to scuttle out, then followed by fullscale invasions out of next door Ethiopia, (a compliant US stooge since the Mengistu socialist revolutionary regime was toppled) and, nowadays, by repeated raids from the corrupt and equally Western stooging Kenyan regime to the south.
All have endlessly tried to blast and destroy the local Al-Shabaab islamic resistance (as always, killing as many innocent men, women and children as needed who “get in the way” or are just simply mistakenly blown apart in “collateral damage”).
Arbitrary and brutal scorched-earth devastation has been visited on multiple towns and villages in north-east Nigeria in the war against the Boko Haram “anti-Western ideology” insurgents, by troops from more pro-Western stoogery in a country notorious for a stream of oil exploitation dictatorships and gross corruption (and with, mostly unpublicised, US, British and French troop participation out of Chad, Cameroon and the Niger).
South Sudan is a mess of inter-tribal savagery and killing caused by the West’s deliberate meddling to break up Sudan, one of the hated “rogue nations” targeted for suppression by the US neocon plans for a “New American Century” from as far back as Bill Clinton’s notorious cruise missile attack on an aspirin plant (lyingly and ludicrously declared to be a “chemical weapons” factory), and also manipulated and subverted to disrupt growing commercial influence and oil trading with the revisionist Chinese workers state.
In other words all this horrifying devastation and famine across swathes of the world (and much more) has one essential cause and one alone, not the superficial factors of drought etc, (which a fraction of the arms expenditure and modern science could solve permanently and relatively easily - first by not exploiting it any further –) but the demented blitzkrieg rampaging of the Washington-led imperialist system across the Middle East and Africa for the last two decades.
Ludicrous and vicious “war on terror” onslaughts by the West (primarily Washington, the dominant topdog imperialist power) have combined with more than two centuries of colonialist exploitation and repression to create this disaster.
Calling on the world to now pour charity efforts into “helping the poor people” is grotesque, like deliberately running someone down in your car and then offering them a lift to hospital.
So is telling the world that the West is the upholder of “freedom and democracy” or that any such thing has ever really existed or can exist anywhere until this monopoly capitalist system is totally and completely overturned.
Imperialism’s only real nature is rapacious endless expansionist exploitation and its intent is now imposing and/or re-imposing a new colonialist “discipline” everywhere to suppress Third World revolt and to foster the warmongering frenzy needed as the “way out” of the total breakdown its production for private profit system is bringing as the economic Catastrophe continues (despite all the temporary QE “upturn” pretences).
Deliberate world war hatred, xenophobia and fascist scapegoating victimisation is being stirred up as monopoly capitalism looks for the only possible way it has ever found to escape its overproduction crisis, the destruction of the “surplus” capital which with every further new investment simply adds to its problems.
Endless private accumulation is clogging the world with ever more unusable capital and output that cannot be sold at a sufficient profit (for the capitalist way of doing things) or even, eventually, any profit at all.
Trillions of dollars of stagnating wealth now languish in offshore tax havens and banks which could not only solve all hunger and problems but transform the entire world.
It is not an issue of crudely “sharing it out”; the system is so poisoned with inflationary credit (and now valueless QE) that the dollar teeters near collapse anyway.
Nor is the answer for the mostly deprived or poverty stricken majority to have a bit more consumerist purchasing power in the private profit system (fat chance anyway!).
Their need is to take the world’s resources and labour output into common ownership so they can be restructured and used in a planned and controlled way to develop prosperity and a rational life for all humanity without the repeated crashes and Slumps - and outright war – that capitalism inevitably brings (see Marx in joining box quote).
But that would be communism, anathema to the indolent wealth and power of the tiny ruling class.
So total destructive world war is their answer, to get rid of the problem of “too much” (!!!) while putting down the troublesome rebelliousness of the masses as well, and any challenges too from other capitalist powers such as the EU, or Russia, or China’s participation in capitalist economic trade, or Japan (and rising competition too from newer powers from Brazil to India).
It is exactly as the reactionary Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon says, who openly calls for a third apocalyptic sorting out of the world.
Only class war to overturn this degenerate, out-of-time and brutally destructive system completely can end the horrors imposed endlessly on the Third World and increasingly being prepared for everyone else as the capitalist ruling class writhes and twists to escape its Great Catastrophe crisis meltdown.
The UN hype – that the “free world” is acting out of “civilised concern” for the mass human tragedies being imposed on the Third World yet again, after two 20th century wars of historically unparalleled horrors, and endless coups, massacres and “smaller” (eg Vietnam!!) wars ever since, and on top of the routine, ruthless, slave-labour exploitation which keeps three-quarters of the planet’s population in poverty, ignorance, humiliation and despair, in living conditions of gross insanitariness and hunger, killing millions of children annually) – is a flip side to the non-stop propaganda that the brutal and barbaric warmongering is all to “save the world from a monstrous evil” of jihadism and “terror” which wants to “destroy out way of life” and our “democratic values” for some unknown and wholly monstrous reason.
This utter garbage – substituting for the Cold War bogeyman nonsense of the never-existing “communist threat” – should be challenged and exposed constantly.
The cause of war is capitalist collapse; the “terrorism” the response of the Third World.
However confused, brutal and messy it is for the moment, to condemn it as “reactionary” or a “new evil” is to line up with imperialist nazi-scapegoating and Trumpite “kill them all” barbarity needed for the great inter-imperialist conflicts to come.
But the great swamp of “leftism” from the trade unions to the Trot and Stalinist variants of pretend revolutionism, all do just that.
They all remain tied to failed notions of “reformist change” and the “democratic resistance to austerity” which has replaced this now discredited “steady progress” of step by step improvements even as the crisis collapse has demonstrated that such change was always built on sand.
Reforms were a temporary concession, only ever granted to head off revolutionary movement and sure to be retracted as soon as the ruling class could a) no longer sustain the expense, b) no longer feared the revolutionary impact of the workers states around the Soviet Union and c) ignore the issue anyway in the Third World.
Non-stop privatisations and dismantling of the NHS etc, wage cutting, welfare service slashing, and ruthless elimination of local provisions all make the point (and even more forcefully in the US as Trumpism gathers pace).
The great global credit crash of 2008, proving once and for all the much-mocked “catastrophist” perspective of genuine Marxism, still has not taught the fake-“lefts” anything: their hopeless perspectives (if they even merit the name) remain to have “more socialist” policies through “better representatives” or “street pressure” or “mobilising the workers to say ‘No to War’ and ‘No to Austerity'.”
It has failed for 150 years and if it ever comes close to looking like having some success, such as in Chile in 1970 or Nicaragua and many other examples (like Egypt recently) is immediately subverted and manipulated with as much gruesome violence, killing and torture as is felt necessary and can be managed by the ruling class.
It is even more useless as a perspective when Slump and war is the obvious future.
But the anti-capitalist revolutionary perspective the “lefts” all claim to uphold actually appals the petty bourgeois souls of all these movements.
They hate the reality of breakdown and chaos now developing which is the symptom of the great disintegration that the old order is intractably running into, and resolvable only by revolutionary change to overthrow this system.
It is not limited to “islamic terrorism”.
Five months of gigantic weekly (!!) street demonstrations have just brought down the corrupt president in South Korea, a development of profound and underlying revolutionary significance (if not yet consciously expressed), rejecting the Western belligerence against the North Korean workers state and China and hostile to the huge American military presence still occupying the peninsula.
It is to cover over this shattering development and try and manipulate anti-communist sentiment that streams of bizarre accusations and allegations has poured out of Western intelligence against North Korea (see last issue).
In Thailand the draconian and reactionary military coup continues unmentioned by the “democratic” West, desperate to keep a lid on similar upheaval.
In eastern Ukraine the working class armed resistance doggedly continues to the vicious swastika-toting death-squadism and reactionary state violence by the regime installed in Kiev by the decade Western subversion which fostered the “colour revolution” there in 2011.
The whole of Latin America is a ferment, held back primarily because of continuing revisionist soft-brained “democracy” illusions and failure to counter US subversion, but continuingly explosive.
Europe can only be held back by stirring up the most primitive xenophobia, but discontent smoulders just beneath the surface, or breaking through now and then in Greek farmers’ demos etc.
Jihadism is part of a much broader picture in other words, driven by the same underlying world collapse and is understandable only within such a revolutionary perspective.
But instead of seeing this huge and growing rebellion as a symptom of the difficulties facing the imperialist order, “left” shallowness and philistinism calls it “reactionary” or “just headbanging” or “set up by the CIA” (and half a dozen other variants).
And they all capitulate opportunistically to capitalism’s atmosphere of frenzied xenophobia thereby – whatever “no to war” placards they might carry on routine marches.
The entire eruption of this anarchic fanaticism, carried through with various adaptations of the Islamic religion, is a response by the Third World to the horrors that have been imposed upon it.
It is the embryonic form or precursor of the turmoil that will eventually see a huge communist revolutionary movement to topple this system, albeit not necessarily in a straight line from such terrorist upheavals.
A huge working through of the contradictions is inevitable for the damaging sectarianism, laced with setbacks and self-imposed conflicts.
But it has already evolved from the anarcho-religious attacks of 9/11 etc (spontaneously arising in country after country), into much more coordinated movements and even mass upheavals such as the millions who came onto the streets in Cairo in 2011.
It is driven long term by the rising discontent at the endless exploitation and suppression imposed by the rapacious and brutal tyranny of Western colonialism, combined with increasing sophistication of the masses (as they are educated by capitalism itself for the labour its needs in fields and factories) and their awareness of the grotesque unfairness, degeneracy and depravity of the imperialist domination over their lives.
Short term it has been massively increased by the crisis turn to world warmongering by the bankrupt imperialist system and the resulting human devastation which has ripped up half a dozen countries so far and with more to come as non-stop “war on terror” destruction continues (despite earlier huge defeats and setbacks for Washington).
In Iraq an enormous onslaught of Western special forces (9000 heavily armed mostly US troops), Iraqi sectarian militia death-squads, devastating air power bombardments, and the stooge Baghdad government forces (under US tutelage) is pulverising the city of Mosul after flattening two cities completely last year; another, again with American and forces currently stooging for it (Kurds, Turks, etc) is underway in Syria where Raqqa is being set up for another complete razing (if needed); the warlordist civil war mess of Libya continues including with a deliberately parachuted in Western-imposed “new government” stoogery; and above all genocidal oppression of the entire Palestinian people continues, for decades harried and bullied daily by assassination, bombing raids, general intimidation and the ever encroaching outright theft of their land by the euphemistically named Jewish “settlements” of the nazi-Zionist occupation of their lands, all reinforced by the near siege of the Gaza strip - essentially a giant prison camp - and regular outright blitzing onslaughts and atrocities like Shabra and Shatilla, all killing thousands directly and destroying infrastructure and homes to kill and cause suffering for hundreds of thousands.
And this will only make the problem of “terrorism” far worse, exactly as was warned from the earliest days of the lie-based Iraq and Afghanistan wars and as has been born out for well over a decade of rising struggle as the initial Iraq and Afghan invasions and occupations generated huge increases in insurgency recruitment, then by the gigantic spontaneous street rebellions in Egypt (still smouldering behind closed doors under the heavy repression of the reestablished US-stooge dictatorship of General Sisi) and then the highly organised ruthlessness of ISIS and its worldwide influence.
Desperate suicide resistance and upsurge of ruthless terrorist revolt has not been “solved” by 15 years of unspeakable imperialist “punishment” war and blitzing.
Just the opposite it grows like dragon’s teeth, another ten or a hundred anti-Western recruits springing up in the Third World for every butchered “martyr” and scorched earth pulverised village or city destroyed in the demented and barbaric Western “war on terror”, utterly devastating country after country.
Even if the latest imperialist onslaughts (being pumped up by Trump’s demented calls to “bomb the shit out of them” should succeed for the moment in the bloody and devastating savagery being inflicted on central Iraq, against what is essentially an anti-imperialist anti-US occupation movement, - whatever its Sunni sectarian and barmy religious fanatic form - it will undoubtedly burst out in a multiple attacks elsewhere.
Bourgeois press accounts reveal the fears:
Security officials in Britain are urgently preparing for the return of hundreds of UK nationals who went to fight for Islamic State, following an expected defeat of the group in Iraq and Syria.
The jihadi group’s strongholds in Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in northern Syria, are expected to fall by the summer. An exodus of foreign fighters from the area is thought already to have occurred.
Security officials say they are particularly concerned by the prospect of very young children, including some who were born under isis rule in either Syria or Iraq, going to the UK with their parents.
One government source said: “It is possible they are going to return indoctrinated, deeply dangerous and damaged. The only analogous experience we have is handling children caught up in extreme religious sects. It is a huge challenge for family courts and social care.”
In a drive to crack down on extremism infiltrating Britain, the government also wants to speed up the pace with which technology firms remove Isis-inspired propaganda from the internet. One source said the average timespan was 11 to 13 minutes, but pointed out that social media could be shared within seconds.
Counter-terror officers believe the criminal courts have the legal arsenal to handle the bulk of the 850 or so foreign fighters who went to Syria, so long as it can be proved in court they took part in fighting.
It is already a criminal offence to go to Syria or Iraq for the purpose of committing, or aiding, a terrorist act. But security officials are setting in train procedures to manage the return of foreign fighters, especially in cooperation with Turkey, a country many UK foreign fighters are likely to pass through.
The continued need to retain security cooperation with Turkey in part explains the British Foreign Office decision to minimise criticism of the authoritarian trend inside Turkey under the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The EU security commissioner, Julian King, said this week that about a quarter of the 850 UK foreign fighters remained “in theatre,” adding: “Some will return with the intention of planning and executing future attacks.”
A broader effort is being made to handle the flow of all EU nationals around the continent. Non-EU citizens entering or leaving the bloc will be checked against a wider range of internationally connected databases, including the Schengen information system.
In total, 40,000 foreign fighters from more than 110 countries have gone to Syria and Iraq, the international development minister, Rory Stewart, confirmed this week. He warned that the speed with which these foreign fighters moved had caught the west offguard.
Some of this account certainly reflects the scaremongering from either fanciful or deliberately provoked incident (remember the non-existent “ricin poison plot”?) which is constantly kept stirred up to keep the chauvinist atmosphere on the boil.
The capitalist state uses fears of “terrorist” attacks to “justify” and slip through constantly intensified general police state moves in universal surveillance, intimidation raids and state fostered snooping and brainwashing through the “Prevent” programme etc, all being readied for the much bigger class war upheavals that the ruling class knows are coming as the ratchet is turned on the Slump austerity it has to impose in order to ride out (it hopes) the great economic catastrophe.
It knows that internationally, hatred will escalate too as ever more details of stinking war crimes, torture, abuses and arbitrary executions leak out, despite, or because of, the outrageous cover-ups, denials, excuses and legal whitewashes by the Western ruling class of their fascist domination.
Currently the Tory establishment is letting a soldier go free essentially for the most grotesque deliberate execution of a wounded prisoner in Afghanistan, while also shutting down all the mechanisms for claims over torture and abuse in Iraq for example, having bankrupted and persecuted the leading legal firms which pursued and exposed some of the worst torture abuses and killing.
It was not “professional misconduct” that has seen the hounding of solicitor Phil Shiner, for example, driven to bankruptcy and now police investigation, whatever he has admitted to; his real crime, as far as the Establishment is concerned, has been to bring enough successful prosecutions to show that military abuse, torture and murder was endemic in the Iraq occupation and not some “bad apple” isolated incident or “unfortunate aberration caused by stress”.
Despite a deluge of gung-ho “patriotic” bourgeois press campaigning (led by the nazi-supporting Daily Mail) and all fed by the intelligence agencies and military, further damage is done to the “freedom and democracy” pretences as one of the (just slightly) less shamefully empire chauvinist mainstream press managed to say:
Sgt Blackman - who had no idea he was being filmed - said: “Right, get him closer in so [the observation balloon] can’t see what we’re doing to him.”
He orders them to put him where “I can see what we’re doing” and asks: “Anybody want to do first aid on this idiot?”
Two marines say no. A third offers to “put one in his head, if you want”. Sgt Blackman says: “No, that would be too f***ing obvious.”
The marines say they can be seen by the hovering Apache, that they are going to request an evacuation for the prisoner, and then one marine says they should “just pretend” to put on a field dressing. They state the man is dead, while the video shows his arm moving and his chest rising with each breath.
When the helicopter has gone, Sgt Blackman shoots the prisoner in the chest with a 9mm pistol.
The video shows the man’s limbs twitching, his upper body writhing, and Sgt Blackman watching for 15 seconds before speaking.
He says: “There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil you c***... It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.”
To his men he adds: “Obviously, this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas... I’ve just broke the Geneva convention.”
Sgt Blackman’s conviction (for murder) and sentence caused a furore.
Today the Court Martial Appeal Court reduced Sgt Blackman’s conviction to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. It had heard uncontested evidence from three experts that he was under great stress, had a family history of depression, and was suffering from an adjustment disorder which made him appear rational but affected his judgement.
His sentence may also be reduced to the point where he is soon freed, to the joy of his family and supporters.
There are just two problems with this. The first is that thousands of British soldiers served on Operation Herrick in Helmand between 2002 and 2014, they were all terrified and under stress, many had undiagnosed combat stress, an awful lot of them hated the enemy, and so far as we know not one of them slotted a prisoner.
The other is that we’ve just bent, if not broken, the Geneva Convention ourselves.
The convention was first written in 1864, and updated after the Second World War. One of its major clauses is about the protection of wounded combatants.
The convention states the wounded must be cared for “without any adverse distinction founded on sex, race, nationality, religion, political opinions, or any other similar criteria. Any attempts upon their lives, or violence to their persons, shall be strictly prohibited; in particular, they shall not be murdered or exterminated, subjected to torture or to biological experiments; they shall not wilfully be left without medical assistance and care, nor shall conditions exposing them to contagion or infection be created.”
Almost 200 countries, including our own, signed and ratified that convention. It now holds the status of universal international law, so strong that even a nation which has not ratified it is still bound by it.
To that list we must now add the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has decided that a soldier who moves a wounded prisoner so he can’t be seen, checks to see who’s watching, executes that prisoner, and then tells his men not to mention it because he’s just broken the Geneva Convention, was not guilty of murder because he was having a rough time of it.
If you want to test whether that’s fair, ask yourself this: imagine the wounded man was a Royal Marine, and the armed man stood over him was a Taliban. Would it be all right then?
You would need to be all right with a Muslim fanatic executing a wounded Royal Marine who should at the very least receive pain relief for the last moments of his life, because of the fog of war.
You’d need to be all right with a Taliban claiming he had a family history of depression. You’d need to argue it’s stressful being a Taliban, because people kept trying to kill him. You’d need to say well, the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to that one person in that one circumstance, even if he said himself that it did, because the Taliban had an adjustment disorder.
Sgt Blackman’s case has proven that we judge ourselves differently than we judge our enemies. Now our soldiers have more reason to ignore the law and our enemies have more reason to attack us.
The real problem is not the sergeant himself, in some ways a victim of imperialism too, but with the nazi-imperialist ruling class that put him into Afghanistan in the first place.
Why was he there????
All the Taliban are doing is fighting a foreign occupation for their own country, against an enemy that first played cynical games with them (encouraging and arming them to sabotage the Soviet support in the 1980s for the embryonic socialism that had succeeded in taking over in Kabul) and then later bombed their country even further back into tribalist history than it was already - all the deaths and displacement of millions justified by high handed assertion that America was “hunting for Bin Laden” and a few compatriots as horrific collective punishment was imposed on a scale way beyond anything the German Nazis ever managed.
“Terrorists” everywhere else are simply declaring that they want to shake free of imperialism’s brutal tyranny and ruthless domination.
That they do so with bizarre religious notions and an apocalyptic fanaticism that drives their desperate suicide fighting methods is largely a result of the complete philosophical bankruptcy of the world “communist” movement.
Its long revisionist decline from the Stalinist days onwards, followed the abandonment of the Leninist perspective of the constant international struggle for the revolutionary transformation of the world.
That does not mean simplistic “exporting revolution” in the way Che Guevara heroically but mistakenly tried at the wrong moment in Bolivia, but constantly arguing for and daily further developing a world perspective, explaining the always crisis bound nature of imperialism and the need for the working class to take power and hold it with the dictatorship of the proletariat, in order to gradually build an increasingly rational and genuinely democratic society (inasmuch as the term means anything in a world where eventually self-disciplining reason will prevail, and lack of want, such that no one will need to be coerced to do the right thing, even by genuine majority vote.)
Export of the fight and internationalism in a physical sense is not ruled out; the same heroic Cuban workers state has made huge successful (and generously sacrificing) contributions to the anti-colonial struggle in Mozambique and Angola for example, and against the foul Western sustained white apartheid supremacy in South Africa as well as repeated medical support and much else; the 1945 necessary overrunning of East Europe by the Red Army in the destruction of Nazism opened up opportunity for local socialist forces to take power in a half dozen countries.
But the export that is really needed is that of the critical philosophical understanding of the core need for revolution until capitalism is ended everywhere (after which such revolutionary philosophical struggle will become part of daily life anyway).
That was long ago lost sight of in the Moscow mis-assessments of the strength and expansionary capacity of imperialism post-WW2, leading to increasingly complacent notions of the “peaceful road” and “Stop the War” social pacifism, all saturated with illusions in bourgeois “democracy” and hostile to the dictatorship of the proletariat (which is virtually never mentioned by the “left” and certainly not as the living core of revolutionary understanding).
It has been a hopeless disaster leaving socialist movements open to a stream of brutal counter revolutions such as Chile in 1973, and currently the setbacks facing the “Bolivarian revolution” which failed completely to put the struggle for proletarian dictatorship at heart of things.
Missing clear scientific revolutionary leadership, the world ferment of anti-imperialism has developed its own substitute ideology for the moment, in many Muslim areas adapting the Koranic ideas of brotherhood and community, mixed with often destructive and confused sectarianism and puritanical fanaticism into a militancy that is increasingly ruthless and savage.
But this is a fraction of the savagery and horrors imposed on the Third World by imperialism itself, and essentially only borrowing the same methods that have been used by every imperialist power since the Spanish occupation of America, including a full panoply of rape, torture, gratuitous terrorising, wholesale slaughter for “punishment” (or simply to clear indigenous people from their land). Most North American and South American native nations were genocidally butchered either to extinction or left as tiny rumps on the worst land, with every grotesque method conceivable from straightforward shooting to germ warfare; Aborigines likewise, Maoris, tens of millions in India, Zulus, Sudanese, Egyptians, Arabs by the million, and not forgetting the tens of millions captured and carried to slavery from Africa.
Marxism does not advocate starting with such methods, but nor does it condemn all the growing resistance which the crisis has thrown up.
Just the opposite; without in any way suggesting support for non-Marxist ideology, which is not capable of taking the world into the socialist future which alone can transform the world, and in many forms is even hostile to communism, or an obstacle, the issue remains that whatever defeats are inflicted on the dominance of capitalist tyranny can only be welcomed.
Only defeats and setbacks for capitalism and its imperialist repression can transform attitudes formed in society under its influence and free up the openings for the struggle for socialist consciousness.
“Defeat for imperialism” needs to be the call from genuine Marxism for all the struggles around the world, including Mosul.
It is also the reference point for untangling even those confused situations where imperialism has occasionally managed to manipulate supposed insurgency, as partly in Syria around Allepo and earlier in setting going the civil war under the guise of an utterly bogus “Arab Spring” extension. What are the forces used by, or cooperating with, imperialism (including Putin) – around Mosul for example – and what ones will potentially defeat it, or have “blown back” against it, remains the question.
The point is being proven once more around the latest and quite stunning electoral victory to the power sharing Stormont for the Irish national-liberation struggle in the (partially) still occupied north, which is about to trip up British imperialism’s desperate “Brexit” turn, and its whipping up of backward British chauvinism and xenophobia as a diversion from its disastrous decline and its weakening position within the imperialist pecking order.
Correctly described by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams as a “watershed” moment for the nationalists, it shows for the first time an electoral majority in the artificial “Northern Ireland” pseudo-state over the sour Orange colonialism and the still dog-in-the-manger attitudes of its diehard elements, persisting from centuries of vicious supremacist domineering and still unwilling to grasp or accept its historic defeat.
It is a spectacular confirmation of Marxist understanding that the great decades of national-liberation struggle and its culmination in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement were an historic victory for the determined and dogged anti-imperialist movement and its enormous sacrifices.
Ireland is set on a path towards unity of the whole Ireland and this is a huge step along the road, confirming 40 years of Marxist analysis.
Contrary to the sneering and carping of the entire spectrum of “lefts” that GFA was a “sellout” by the Sinn Féin or a “defeat” imposed on them, or else that it “fell substantially short” of the kind of settlement that was “acceptable” to “real revolutionaries” (as effectively stated privately by Arthur Scargill in the Socialist Labour Party eg), it was explained by the EPSR from the 1980s onwards that British imperialism had decided on a pullout.
It had long ago found it impossible to maintain its position in the artificial “Northern Ireland”, the gerrymandered “majority Protestant” (colonialist) section of Ulster ripped out of Ireland by brute savagery in 1921 despite an overwhelming vote by the Irish for independence (85% in favour), and set in train a long slow withdrawal, described as a “snail’s pace” retreat.
Treading carefully to avoid setting off an unnecessary if ultimately doomed UDI (unilateral declaration of independence) by the colonists, even more bloody than their non-stop fascist intimidation and persecution of the Irish minority, Westminster agreed to pullout.
It covered up the fact by pandering to constant and treacherous colonist vacillation, endless negotiating changes, prevarications, reversals and delays, adding in its own hesitations, carping demands and provocations, particularly from the more reactionary wing of the ruling class finding it unbearable to let go, as analysed step by step by the EPSR. Some of the last pieces are usefully reprised:
EPSR 1141 25-06-02 - Sections of the British Establishment are becoming convinced by the general crisis of the capitalist system, and also perhaps by the closeness-to-home of the British ruling class’s defeat in Ireland, that their whole privileged bourgeois world is about to come crashing down about them.
Hence the seemingly endless delays in Britain finally getting out of Ireland, a process clearly on the cards since the late 1960s, and hence the remarkable splits in the Top Security echelons of the British State, now producing these fascinating revelations that the only truly “terrorist” operations were all conducted by the British State itself.
In their despairing attempt to carry on fighting the long-lost colonial war in Ireland, the extreme reactionaries are on the same wavelength as Sharon Zionists who correctly fear that the whole state of ‘Israel’ (which has outrageously been implanted, cuckoo-like, on Occupied Palestine since 1948 by Western imperialist world domination) will come crashing down once the Palestinian nation is at last conceded the right to statehood (any kind of statehood) at last on their own country.
And these joke “anti-terrorist” diehards on the Irish question are like Bush-led US imperialism in their hypocrisy about whose “violence” is the real outrage and the real “threat to peace” and real “obstacle to democratic solutions”. etc (as American blitzkrieg bullying goes on crashing round the planet in vain fascist warmongering attempt after vain fascist warmongering attempt to impose its own “new world order” which doesn’t work and which nobody wants).
What these reactionaries share is that they cannot accept that they are already beaten.
Although the game has been up for a long time for the British colonial dictatorship in Ireland (the so-called “Northern Ireland”), the degenerate viciousness of the “No Surrender” colonist mentality, in a truly evil axis with hypocritical Security Dictators and killers, has gone on insisting on its “democratic intentions” and its “noble innocence” in spite of all the evidence to the contrary now coming out.
Like aspects of White Rhodesian rule and South African apartheid it is the fascist-warmongering anti-communist essence of bourgeois self-righteousness which finds it hardest to let go or admit defeat.
Even now, as parts of the state machinery and bourgeois propaganda service resolve to finally put the boot into the Establishment sectors which are encouraging last ditch wrecking resistance on the streets of North Belfast to the Good Friday Agreement, - other parts of that selfsame Establishment and propaganda hierarchy are trying to deflect the force of those revelatory blows.
Thus the morning after Panorama’s sensational evidence that MI5 and Special Branch were behind the murder of leading Republican civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane in 1989, the Radio Four morning think-show had the plausible but ludicrous reactionary Ruth Dudley Edwards (or whatever) on, confidently discussing the “fascism” of Sinn Féin with her fellow “intellectuals”.
Similarly, the previous week’s ‘Today’s papers’ had mentioned the Guardian’s mind boggling advance on the Stevens Inquiry Report (which will put the final nails into the Ulster Unionist dictatorship’s coffin), but had for its discussion interview, elsewhere in the programme, the UUP gauleiter himself, David Trimble, not apologising for orange fascism’s lifelong reliance on the RUC’s Nazi-SS characteristics for its police-state supremacy over the regularly illegally-beaten or illegally murdered Irish, but ranting on about how Sinn Féin should be booted out of the “democratic process” forthwith for its mythical “guerrilla war preparations still in training in Colombia” and for its “criminal-terrorist raid on sensitive police files” at Castlereagh Barracks thus “proving Sinn Féin’s contempt for democracy”, etc, etc, etc.
The clones of Ruth Dudley (etc) in London and Dublin and in the imperialist media have equally used the astonishing Castlereagh “inside job” (as all the evidence points to) for further slandering Sinn Féin’s name and attempting to halt British imperialism’s GFA surrender deal (which totally accepts the long-term Sinn Féin perspective for the snails-pace dismantling of “Northern Ireland” and restoration of Ireland’s unity, ending the hated and disastrously-failed Partition forever).
Despite all Sinn Féin’s amused assurances that Republicans had not authorised the Castlereagh break-in, (and that the RUC “investigation” of SF responsibility was a stupid frame-up attempt at slandering the national-liberation struggle which would only come to grief), - still all the bourgeois British media carried on the disinformation game to blacken Sinn Féin’s name in the run-up to the Irish elections.
The Provisionals triumphed regardless at the Dáil polls,
EPSR 1147 06-08-02: “Green nationalist terror, as bad as Orange-loyalist terror, and worse than British rule”; or “reactionary Catholic isolationism, extending the priest-dominated backwardness of Dublin rule”; or “a treacherous sectarian abandonment of a joint Catholic-Protestant working-class fight for a socialist Ireland”; etc, etc, etc, - anything to be able to “condemn” the “murder of innocent British workers” whenever the Irish guerrilla-war terrorist response to total British colonial police-military dictatorship of the 6-county joke statelet of ‘Northern Ireland’, bombed or shot its way to victory.
But as in 1916 when Lenin’s detailed historical analysis of ALL the conditions surrounding the international struggle against imperialist warmongering led him to ridicule those Second International fake-‘lefts’ who dismissed the Easter Rising as a disruptive, middle-class putsch which could only make the workers’ revolutionary tasks more difficult, the EPSR’s analysis of the modern Sinn Féin/IRA national-liberation war saw only humiliating defeat and setback for British imperialism again.
Neither the tactics nor the aims of nationalist struggle necessarily ever coincide with how a Marxist revolution would choose to fight; but the longterm total ideological paralysis of the entire fake-‘left’ (still persisting) guaranteed that no alternative anti-imperialist revolution was going to defeat British colonial domination of the occupied Zone, as it was obvious to the EPSR from the start that the Sinn Féin/IRA revolutionary guerrilla war was going to do.
Being right about the Provisionals’ struggle was not, and is not, a matter of scoring Brownie points against the fake-‘left’ but of fighting for a historical method of anti-imperialist analysis which can prove its worth and establish a historical record of correct understanding.
This was how Marxist-Leninist science gained universal credibility in the first place, and how Stalinist Revisionist theoretical degeneracy (and its even sadder Trotskyite shadow) then lost it again by getting everything wrong.
Past fake-‘left’ inability or refusal to recognise the Provos’ anti-imperialist triumph continues its sectarian poisoning of British workers understanding to this day.
ALL the Revisionists and Trots still sneer privately that the Good Friday Agreement was a ‘defeat’ for the national liberation struggle which “they”’ would “never have settled for”, etc, etc, still pretending that the British fake-‘left’ would have fought all the way for an all-out ‘socialist’ revolutionary victory.!!!
Why they won’t do it in Britain, in that case, is never explained.
The imperialist-era corruption of the British worker with reactionary class-collaborationism has, potentially, been usefully & greatly undermined by British imperialism no longer being able to boast about its utterly fictional “defence of the rule of law against terrorism” in Ireland, or win sympathy for “our heroic boys in danger, and defending themselves bravely” in Ireland, - the source of anti-Irish hatred and racism in Britain for centuries.
But an acknowledged DEFEAT for British imperialism’s ill-managed and badly-judged and unjust war in Ireland against an acknowledged, truly inspired, and justified revolutionary guerrilla army would contribute immeasurably more to the healthy class-war spirit and rationality of the British worker.
All of that, however, continues to be unrealised because of the fake-‘left’, - still misleading its thin following of ‘militant’ workers into not even any conception of imperialist defeat, anywhere at any time; nor any grasp of British imperialist defeat obviously; and least of all into any understanding of a British imperialist defeat in Ireland at the hands of the despised “thick Irish bogtrotters” (who in reality proved themselves to be some of class-war history’s most outstanding guerrilla-war successes of all time).
On top of that, the feeble fake-‘left’ agnosticism of “does it matter so much if something was got wrong in the past”, cuts the working-class off from so many other insights, potentially flowing from a correct understanding of British imperialist defeat in Ireland.
The Sinn Féin/IRA triumph, against all the odds, cemented more firmly than ever that post-1945 was the epoch of national-liberation defeat of direct colonial domination, even where the imperialist power was in a massively favourable position to keep on and on, trying to crush independence, or to frustrate or delay it endlessly.
The Good Friday Agreement is one of the most long-drawn-out and most impenetrable and ungraspable imperialist retreats of all, which actually had built into it a weird deal whereby the protagonists would play-act their way, at a snail’s-pace, safely out of one mentality (“No Surrender”) and safely into the real perspective - for Ireland’s reunification at some not-too-distant future but without any more bloodshed, and without too much crowing in any direction about who had won and who had lost in Ireland’s last (hopefully) national-liberation war.
National-liberation struggles against South African apartheid, against Smith’s Rhodesian UDI, against Zionist colonisation of Palestine, for an independent Kurdistan, for Basque and Chechen separatism, etc, etc, could all become better understood (positively or negatively) as a result of studying the circumstances leading to the British imperialist retreat from Ireland.
And an understanding of that British imperialist defeat is increasingly emerging in admissions in the British capitalist press, - AS USUAL well before the petty-bourgeois timidity of the fake-‘left’ press has been able to conquer its Little Englander emotions to start admitting it too.
One of the weirdest aspects of the wretched scuttle from Ireland has just been faced up to, even more weirdly, in a Guardian column* by Roy Hattersley (*see original EPSR), the epitome of Labourite class-collaborating opportunism. Leaving aside his anti-Sinn Féin abuse, Hattersley’s piece astonishingly admits that Trimble has the “dirty” role of merely pretending to keep on “exposing” supposed “Republican villainy”, and pretending to keep on threatening to walk out, but only all in order to keep on pacifying and taming the wild men of Loyalism by keeping the peace dividends of the Agreement going long enough for an increasing majority of all sides to see that it is in everyone’s interests ultimately to keep the power-sharing deal going, - the strange snails-pace capitulatory reality of the GFA as analysed by the EPSR from the start.
EPSR 1195 29-07-03: Still the Stalinists and Trots can be heard sneering at any notion that British imperialism has been DEFEATED in the Occupied Zone of Ireland; and they came together inside the SLP to allow the crap to be peddled that it was a Sinn Féin/IRA “defeat”, imposed by an enforced settlement from the US imperialist “superpower”, which was codified in the Good Friday Agreement, - subsequently allowing the EPSR to be expelled from the SLP because it refused to stop exposing this counter-revolutionary nonsense in Socialist News articles by Trot SLP leaders.
[It is]....not just traditional anti-Irish prejudice in Britain which allows the 800 years of popular corruption from imperialist domination of Ireland to destroy peoples ability to understand the Irish question. Revisionism has played a grotesquely distorting role too.
A starting difficulty in the 1960s launch of this finally triumphant offensive (the umpteenth in history) by the Irish national liberation struggle was its surprising base in the very Catholic, bourgeois-nationalist wing of the Provisional Sinn Féin and IRA, rather than in the Official wing with its strong Communist Party connections, where both wings had been involved in previous armed guerrilla-war struggle.
But it WAS the Provos who, willy-nilly, saw during the late 1960s Civil Rights explosion that the British imperialist colonial toehold on the last occupied Zone of Ireland (six of Ulster’s nine counties, artificially created as “Northern Ireland” by dog-in-the-manger British imperialist retreat from TOTAL occupation of Ireland following the 1921 National-Liberation War) was more vulnerable than any colonisation of Ireland had ever been before because the “secure back door” needs for the British Empire homeland were no longer a serious strategic consideration in the nuclear-rocket age of overall, severe, British imperialist decline; because the battleship-building industrial value of Belfast was similarly more of an economic burden than military use now; because the now-out-of-date but still tragically viciously deluded British triumphalist population of the OZ, - the Ulster Unionist colonists, - would be bound to become an increasingly difficult problem to cope with by retreating British imperialism over time (as indeed has happened with a vengeance); and because large parts of the London imperialist establishment were already indicating that they would quite like to extricate Britain from its Irish colonial involvement COMPLETELY if it could be done without any appearance of capitulation to Irish self-determination struggle, and if it could be got past Ulster Unionist reaction by one means or another.
The ignorant anti-revolutionary Trots and Stalinist Revisionists in and around the Irish Question scene all idiotically plumped for exclusively Civil Rights agitation thereafter. Only the Provos surprisingly grasped that unless seriously harried, - sclerotic and demoralised British imperialist arrogance and complacency would take forever to find a way round these remaining difficulties for getting out; but that pressing Britain hard with an intensified national liberation war and a revolutionary political offensive could lead to a dramatic sensational triumph.
And so it proved, exactly as the EPSR’s Marxist-Leninist grasp of the movement of international class and national forces in this epoch of imperialist crisis, confidently explained would happen from its first publication 24 years ago.
The basic revolutionary question was: Who is actually waging the independence WAR against British occupation, - and having remarkable success with it, showing colossal heroism, fortitude, and imagination, with the Provos as the obvious answer.
And inevitably, in those national oppression conditions, the Irish working-class (the mass of poorest proletarians) throughout the OZ (and further afield in the Irish Republic itself) began to be uplifted into revolutionary hostility against imperialism quite regardless of Sinn Féin’s petty-bourgeois nationalist limitations, in support of the inventive revolutionary political initiatives of Sinn Féin, and in astonished admiration (universally shared) of the IRA’s remarkable courage and guerrilla war prowess, both in the OZ but particularly in Britain, despite the vilest and most brutal police-state repression imaginable, including torture, hunger-strikes-to-death, repeated home destruction terror raids, and a hideous shoot-to-kill state assassination policy and programme, all backed up by open-ended detention-without-trial in the Long Kesh concentration camp.
Yet every Trot and Stalinist variety in Britain came together in failing to call for a British DEFEAT in Ireland, with many of them going along openly with the imperialist bourgeois “condemnation” of “terrorism”, - both then, and STILL, in many cases.
The Ireland question also illuminated the Marxist scientific understanding that “defeat” for one’s own imperialist state does not necessarily at all imply any interest in wanting “victory” for the targets of the police-state tyranny by the imperialist colonial warmongering, - even in the hugely sympathetic case of the Irish national liberation struggle to which cause anyone with the slightest scrap of progressive humanity has been irresistibly drawn for centuries.
Nor is it just an academic hair-splitting point to stress that - in spite of the huge excitement (shared by Marx and Lenin among others) at the many highlights of splendid defiance, magnificently lauded in 800 years of world renowned Irish rebel culture, - the independence struggle is still by no means the end of the story, and probably particularly rapidly in modern times, the socialist revolution is still going to have its problems with this purely nationalist (inevitably bourgeois nationalist) “solution” in Ireland.
So there is still no purpose in creating confusion by popularly calling for “victory to the IRA” (apart from, of course, after the exceptional cultural circumstances of enjoying a few pints and a few rebel songs).
“Defeat for imperialism” really is much more accurate, scientific, and sufficient, fully reflecting the colossal importance for the British and international working class’s OWN socialist emancipation (well observed by Marx in Britain’s case that with Ireland unfree, the English working-class was obviously going to be still subservient to its own imperialist ruling class) that a DEFEAT for British imperialism would mean, “echoing round the world” as Lenin described the first modern era explosion of the Easter Rising 1916, which to Lenin’s disgust was dismissed by the Scargillite Revisionist opportunists of his day as “to be condemned as terrorism by middle-class religious putschists, and not TU-approved”, just like Sept 11 in fact, “condemned” by the cowardly Scargillite Stalinists, with their fellow Lalkar Stalinist Revisionists looking-on, keeping silent.
EPSR 1205 21-10-03: And the new deal in Ireland does not back deluded advocates of “reformist compromise” everywhere, since it follows British imperialist military DEFEAT and the effective dismantling of the sectarian dictatorship ludicrously called “Northern Ireland” which can now no longer block Ireland’s reunification.
Colonial propaganda presents the new agreement as “IRA and Sinn Féin concessions” but there is nothing to concede. The Good Friday Agreement, now five years old, always provided for eventual total decommissioning ON ALL SIDES, provided power sharing political devolution was continued with.
This deal is Trimble’s acceptance to stop his repeated stalling of this political peace process, and to start seriously cooperating with the native Irish citizenry at long last.
EPSR 1254 30-11-04: The EPSR is reluctant to count its chickens, but after a 25 year wait, it is beginning to look as if the Orange-fascist-bastardised acceptance that British-imperialist FAILURE and DEFEAT from the sick colonising enterprise of for 800 years trying to subdue Ireland -- is at last being acknowledged and accepted even in the dyest-hard fanatical corners of the Paisleyite imperialist mind.
This confirms what the EPSR has ALONE IN THE WORLD, - with its unique MARXIST understanding, - been explaining since the 1970s, -- namely that British imperialism took a big decision THEN that it was pointless to try to continue maintaining the British-imperialist Industrial Empire via the back door of OCCUPIED IRELAND any longer.
The heavy armaments industry was now hugely loss-making; this role was no longer being played by Britain in the world (of being the major FASCIST “free world warmongering hitman on Earth) - but MOSTLY because the “TERRORISTS” (i.e. armed resistance, prepared to fight for their country, - and in particular to die for it) WOULD NOT BE BEATEN, despite every fascist “shoot-to-kill”, death squad barbarism that the British Empire had perfected (including concentration camps; hostage-taking for judicial slaughter; amateur Orange-NAZI murder squads;) and systematic domestic terrorisation of Republican families.
The EPSR even was able to tell the petty-bourgeois nationalists of Sinn Féin that they had DEFEATED British Imperialism when everyone else was still only talking “continued British-Imperialist intransigence” and “continued permanent domination of Ireland”.
The EPSR even explained in detail to the Republican Movement that the hunger strikes to death in the early 1980s, - exactly the opposite of being a “FAILURE” and a “TRIUMPH” for Thatcher’s and Orange intransigence, - had in fact become the symbol for the whole world of British-Imperialism’s final DEFEAT and TOTAL POLITICAL FAILURE in Ireland.
Prevarications and pretences continued for another two years small mindedly wringing out yet more minor tactical changes from Sinn Féin – all part of the pretence it was the nationalists “making concessions”, as described above, with final acceptance in the 2006 “St Andrews Agreement” coda to the GFA for power sharing. It was a giant change from the humiliation, persecution and suppression of the Irish population and on the slow path to unification (deliberately obscured to rescue British imperialism (and world imperialism) from admitting that it was revolutionary armed guerrilla war which had produced the results.
And while there still persist incidents of bigotry and intimidation, all the way up to outright murder; no longer is that systematic abuse, with the collusion of a fascist RUC “police”.
Staggeringly the “left” still maintains that nothing has been achieved, the Weekly Worker crypto-Trots incredibly managing to declare that:
These struggles were eventually contained by the British, with the result that from the mid-1980s militant republicanism became increasingly institutionalised and incorporated, culminating in Sinn Féin’s participation in the government of a state it was once pledged to overthrow.
Thus Provisionalism ceased to be a revolutionary movement and became instead a communal representative party, initially of just a section of northern nationalists, but after 2001 the dominant voice of its ‘community’.
That would be the mid-1980s of still continuing massive armed struggle, the Brighton bombing, and the early British concessions of the Anglo-Irish Agreement etc which were a first major movement of the ending of “loyalist” “no surrender” (for all eternity) supremacy and a massively growing popular political support for the Sinn Féin/IRA cause within the OZ and increasingly even on the mainland ??
And the 1990s - that would be the time of the giant Docklands, City and Manchester bombings which finally convinced British imperialism that it had to talk seriously?
According to the WW, having “contained” this nationalist struggle, the British inexplicably then began to grant major concessions, all of them hated by the stentorian “no surrender” bowler-hatted Orange marchers and the violence of the colonist sectarian killer gangs:
This transformation from “insurrection to parliament” also reflected the changing relationship between the British state and the nationalist population as a whole. As a result of conscious British social and economic policies, “nationalist alienation” and grievances were increasingly addressed after 1985, opening up the possibility of further political concessions from the state. This was to bear fruit in the 1990s during the peace process, which gave nationalists a place in a power-sharing government.
Presumably, given its “containment of the IRA” all this was done purely from the “generous spiritedness” of the British establishment, just as it had so “generously” “granted” independence to India, Kenya etc and was about to “generously” help end the vicious apartheid regime in South Africa etc etc.
What gobsmacking total festering mind rot Trot rubbish!! It turns reality upside down!!
Seemingly this “new Northern Ireland” was ever since only a deliberate game of
choreographed crises built into the institutions..followed by high level interventions by American presidents, British prime ministers and the Irish taoisigh
Again why these major interventions??? Had the SF not already been “contained” (i.e essentially defeated) a decade previously?????
The GFA was there just to
“manage conflict not transform it”...reflecting unresolved political conflicts and uncertainties.
Well certainly many things remain unresolved – but that was always part of the snail’s pace deal as outlined. And the “crises” were part of the colonist footdragging which the American and other interventions came in to step on.
The implication that nothing has changed is nonsensical. There has been ten years of power sharing in which despite the dog-in-the-manger truculence and arrogance of the “unionists” (apart from the early “chuckle brothers” moments with Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness - again highly telling) Sinn Féin has made staggering political gains in both the north and the south of Ireland, (such that 65% of the Eire population is in favour of re-unification) and reflecting huge changes in consciousness in the north.
The open border and massively increased cross border cooperation, trade and interaction, the withdrawal of British troops and security interference (at least in the open) – as fought for and won – has been sufficient (if still suffering from unionist footdragging) to convince a mass of the population of the advantages of the “peace dividend” as Sinn Féin cleverly understood in judging its tactics during the GFA negotiations (see above).
Even the BBC, notoriously on Ireland always siding with the most Empire throwback reactionary elements of the ruling class, felt obliged to report this weekend on such shifts, if somewhat backhandedly, declaring that even much of the once colonist population now regards itself as no longer British, but a halfway “Northern Irish”, intending to say they have not shifted to support “Irish unity” but still making a point that “no surrender” Union Jack waving is disappearing.
Against disparagingly one commentator interviewed declared offhandedly that “of course Sinn Féin has to give up on ideas of any unity for at least 25 years”.
But Partition was supposed to be forever!!!!
And of course the election result, which for once demonstrated genuine public participation with hugely increased turnouts, (against the ever declining votes elsewhere – rightly reflecting contempt for fraudulent parliamentary “democracy”) demonstrates most clearly of all the molecular changes beneath the surface, with these quantitative accumulations emerging in a dialectical qualitative shift.
The petty arrogance of the DUPers, still harbouring dreams of going backwards to the days of fascist supremacism, is utterly deflated. It has been encouraged by the backwardness of the British ruling class’s desperate Brexit game, attempting to use chauvinism and scapegoating to distract attention from the relentless collapse of world capitalism (aided by the class collaborating cravenness of much of the “Labour Movement” still pandering to the Little Englanderism of the past and its “Empire” notions of “British jobs” - including many of the “left-est”).
But what is very clear to all serious commentators, and the British government too, is that there can be “no question of a hard border” being re-established as a result of the Euro-refendum.
But why not? If “Brexit means Brexit” blah-blah then surely a full break is precisely what is required and “winning back control of our country” to quote the backward chauvinism being pumped out, would mean exactly that??
It is impossible, of course, because Sinn Féin did win a staggering national-liberation victory, and all sides know that it includes steady movement to full Irish unity.
Reimposing the border means tearing up the GFA with all the implications of a breakdown and the slide back to the conflict, possibly stirring up dissident forces that did not grasp the significance of their own triumph.
Blairite Peter Hain, who mediated as Northern Ireland Secretary up to St Andrews, is clear enough how disastrous this would be:
If a combination of short-sighted London ministers and intransigent local politicians allows Northern Ireland to slip back into direct rule, the precedent is ominous. It took five years – from 2002 to 2007 – before we were able finally to devolve power. Who knows how long again if, as many are despairingly predicting, direct rule is repeated?
To compound the crisis, Brexit hovers, and again the British government has offered no answers over the future of the 300-mile Irish border that will become the customs frontier of the European Union. And the harder the Brexit, the harder the border. Yet nationalist, and above all republican, buy-in to the peace process has been cemented by an open border, since it normalises relations between both parts of the island. For them it is iconic, and for unionists, either doing business or going about their daily lives, it is also extremely valuable.
These past few years both London and Dublin have taken their eyes off the ball. May, with the Irish prime minister, should now intervene and convene an urgent summit to bring all the parties together to thrash out an agreement. Otherwise she will likely be adding Northern Ireland direct rule woes to her Brexit burdens.
Obduracy over a green energy financial scandal from the Democratic Unionist party’s first minister, Arlene Foster, precipitated first a collapse of the power-sharing executive into an election, and then a seismic result in which – for the first time – unionists do not have a majority in the local legislature.
The DUP has lost its power of veto, and enabled Sinn Féin to ride high just one seat behind them. The nationalist SDLP has been squeezed, and the once mighty Ulster Unionists perhaps irreversibly sidelined. Apart from Sinn Féin only the liberal Alliance party surged, seemingly beneficiaries of disillusioned unionist votes.
...But Foster’s inept handling of the energy debacle, and her approval for a pettily bigoted withdrawal of a £50,000 grant to support Irish language teaching, caused huge resentment in the nationalist and republican communities. It does not bode well, especially since her position has been weakened by the election setback. She needs to show some humility and a new consensual leadership in the face of Sinn Féin’s buoyancy. Equally this will be a big moment for the so far untested O’Neill, with her deeply rooted republican pedigree. Will she, like Martin McGuinness, prove capable of real leadership, rather than follow too narrow a republican agenda?
As for Sinn Féin’s now powerful position, it could harden, or the party could reciprocate if, and it’s a big “if”, the DUP demonstrates magnanimity after such a setback. But the DUP, Ian Paisley’s year of “Chuckle Brothers” rule with Martin McGuinness apart, has never been big on magnanimity. Meanwhile, the issue of how to deal with Northern Ireland’s troubled, tangled past, remains toxic. ...Both magnanimity and mutual respect are needed, otherwise Northern Ireland will get completely bogged down in its gruesome past, instead of properly supporting victims and building a new future.
What the British government now does is key. And here the signs are not encouraging either. Theresa May’s government, like David Cameron’s, has abandoned the non-partisan stance that delivered peace and power-sharing under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Since 2010, the Tories, currying favour for DUP votes, have hardly concealed their favouritism. I am not sure they really understand the politics of the island of Ireland, even in the way that John Major had started to do. After Cameron’s ill-fated coalition with the Ulster Unionists in the 2010 election and cosy dinners at No 10 with DUP MPs, the current Northern Ireland secretary, James Brokenshire, has also been criticised for pro-unionist bias, and not just by republicans.
The British ruling class is in a deep tangle as it flounders in the maelstrom of the capitalist crisis -caught between two giant blocs of monopoly capitalism, the US and Europe.
But fake-“left” retreat and confusion helps it out with defeatism and opportunism - Leninism and the party to develop it, in polemical struggle, needs even more urgently to be built.
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