No 1544 25th October 2018
Psychopathic murder in Istanbul is the face of all capitalist domination, not just degenerate feudal stooges in Riyadh. Nor is vicious war on Yemen by the Saudis a mistake or local bad policy. It is deliberate counter-revolutionary barbarity by Washington, extending the “war on terror” begun against Iraq and Afghanistan and continued in the repression of the Arab Spring by Sisi’s coup in Cairo and the Western manipulated destruction of Libya and Syria. Turkey’s deliberate prodding is an expression of growing mass anti-imperialist sentiment pushing the bourgeois nationalist Erdogan into conflict with the West. Washington flounders as it tries to balance Saudi and Zionist thuggery with the Nato “ally” in Turkey. But anti-imperialist revolt keeps growing, now shaking off some of its religious sectarianism in Iraq. It needs Leninist science but will not get that from craven fake-“left” condemning of “jihadism”.
Just how depraved does this monopoly capitalist system need show itself before the need to overthrow it starts to be accepted once again??
Or until the fake-“left” stops pretending that “fascism” is some separate phenomenon to be “stopped in the streets” rather than being the face of capitalism itself (which encourages the Tommy Robinsons too) as its Catastrophic breakdown collapse intensifies from vicious trade war into allout world war?
Or that “left” pressure through parliament can “end austerity” and “make life better” – and will not face a brutal Pinochet style coup if it comes anywhere near seriously trying?
The gruesome Saudi state murder in its Istanbul consulate, outdoing in reality the most psychotically violent of Hollywood mafia movies,– and far more, the continuing horror of the Yemen war, where even the tens of thousands of civilians killed by blitzing and introduced cholera, are outnumbered by the now 12 million facing deliberately imposed famine, – undercuts any and every pretence that the West stands for “freedom and democracy”.
Or that fascism is not already well underway by the mainstream bourgeoisie itself from Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Duterte in the Philippines to Trump himself (and blitzing Bush and drone bombing Obama before).
Reactionary chauvinist hatred, jingoism, the vilest Nazi scapegoating and sheer bullying “might is right” belligerence and blitzing are more and more openly the ruling class answer to every problem, and above all the interests of “America First” top dog power.
It will become ever more obviously so as the QE false credit temporary relief from the 2008 world banking meltdown gives way again, and unstoppable (except by revolution) unfolding capitalist collapse returns with hurricane force, causing Slump deprivation far beyond the savage austerity already imposed.
That will be soon, or even very soon, as the latest Stock Market jitters indicate, plunging for no specific cause but on fears of the overall system giving way from a dozen factors (Italian-Europe deficit fight, Brexit, US domestic debt and interest increases, US-China trade war economic slowdown, etc,etc,etc).
The world is heading for outright international conflict particularly between the major monopoly powers, already deep into trade war antagonism and it will slide all the way to total world war conflict.
Now wonder Washington wants to tear up the 40 year old nuclear treaties hampering the Pentagon’s belligerent weapons development, as Donald Trump’s rottweiler henchman, Secretary of State John Bolton, has been telling the Russians.
But it is not Russia alone, or even primarily, that is the target - it is every power on earth if it refuses to toe the line and let “America be great again” by taking the lion’s share of the capitalist plunder and exploitation of the world.
It will be the final step in a return to vicious fascist depravity which Washington openly embraced after the 9/11 shock, with the vengeful carpet bombing destruction of Afghanistan and then the long planned invasion of Iraq using the outrageous British-stooge-supplied Goebbels big lie of “Saddam’s WMD threatening the world”.
The grotesque Saudi assassination is just part of a stream of utter barbarism, goaded and guided by Washington along with non-stop war horrors in Yemen, fascist repression mass death sentences in Egypt, barbaric continuing weekly Zionist turkey-shoot slaughter of the colonially repressed Palestinians, the relentless demonisation of Iran, and the foul mess created in Libya and Syria (both the result of Western skulduggery).
But the panic stricken world bourgeoisie also knows that such obvious mafia thuggery can only clarify the world masses about the real nature of the “democracy” pretence, the hoodwinking fraud of “having a say” which despite everything remains its greatest weapon to control the masses (and given credence by the entire fake-“left” still feeding such delusions into the working class to avoid mentioning the need for class-war revolution).
This lying shyte is constantly used in laughable bourgeois propaganda against communist, former communist or anti-imperialist states like Russia where a stream of circumstantial, specious and disconnected allegations were declared sufficient not just for Boris Johnson to stand up in the House of Commons on the same day and condemn Moscow for the alleged Skripal “murder”, (before any evidence could have been gathered, let alone proof be “beyond doubt” as supposedly required in murder cases) but for the West to impose punitive economic sanctions on its economy and wind the warmongering atmosphere two notches tighter?
Or against the North Koreans, declared guilty for a ludicrously implausible “assassination” with FX, supposedly the “most deadly nerve agent in the world”, applied by hand on a cloth in a public airport without affecting the unprotected “assassins” or the crowds in the vicinity.
Both these were dammed purely on the basis of supposition, circumstantial connection and assertion, around such flimsy “principles” as “probably” and “it is inconceivable that” and “because we say so”.
And all this is exposed for the crap it is by the Saudi incident.
Hence the grotesque hypocrisy and floundering on show as the bloody details about the living dismemberment of Yamal Khashoggi have leaked out, is breathtaking.
The ruling class and its stooges first mumble about “waiting for definitive proof” and “everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty”, (except Putin or Assad etc) and then, held over the fire by Turkeys’s steady drip feed of evidence and details, throw one, then half a dozen, then 15 henchmen to the wolves as “mistakenly going too far”!!!
Now even the Saudi ruler himself, Prince Mohamed bin Salman may have to be sacrificed to get America itself off the hook, with a pretence that this depravity is down to “certain states in the world who have gone beyond the bounds of normal decent behaviour” (still trying to lyingly rope in Russia, North Korea, Iran etc).
But the “decent behaviour” of US-led imperialism has been nothing but warmongering savagery, torture, civilian massacre and total destruction in the Middle East for 20 years, wiping out the economies and “decent” lives of half a dozen whole countries.
For long decades before, the record is just as bad with over 400 incidents of invasions, coups, government topplings, massacres, installation of fascist stooges, and outright hellish wars like Vietnam and Korea – it is the normality of US dominance and exploitation tyranny.
It has been the normality of all capitalist imperialism for centuries, wiping out or enslaving entire continents with utmost brutality (from which the Third World learned all of its “terrorist” resistance methods).
And it is imperialism alone which has sustained the Saudi regime, a backward tribalism that could have no place in a modern world without being artificially propped up and defended from the beginning.
The details already revealed by Turkey (with its own axe to grind) are far more devastating than any of these ridiculous intelligence agency stunts, and the evidence has come fast enough and coherently enough, with immediate video and audio recordings and timings to demonstrate the guilt of this reactionary feudal thug regime all the way to the top.
It exposes the guilt of the entire Western world.
That is far more than simply complicity and hypocrisy.
That much is obvious from the absence of campaigns to bully all western nations into declarations that “they are fully in agreement about Riyadh’s guilt” and to send home diplomats from embassies and cut off trade, or provide false “justification” to tear up arms control treaties.
Or from the cynical continuation of massive arms sales for the bombing and devastation in Yemen cynically declared the priority by Trump.
Or the applause given to the monstrous “crown prince” Prince Mohamed bin Salman at the “Davos in the Desert” investment conference by the Western fatcats and investors, many who still turned up to the event despite the token absence of senior corporate figures (who sent their senior minions along instead).
It is a sick cover-up of the reality that Saudi Arabia is totally intertwined with Western imperialism, its corrupt feudal backwardness put into power in the first place by British imperialism (see Lawrence of Arabia for a cleaned-up mythical history) and then the Americans who pushed the rival British aside and have protected and supported it ever since, in return for both oil supplies and massive (secret) investment in US state debt post-WW2.
As some of the less hypocritical bourgeois press coverage has made clear, the repressive arrogance of the grossly corrupt “royalty” has long been clear (and blindly overlooked):
Jamal Khashoggi is not the first Saudi exile to be killed. No one today remembers Nassir al-Sa’id, who disappeared in Beirut in 1979 and has not been seen since.
Prince Sultan bin Turki was kidnapped in Geneva in 2003. Prince Turki bin Bandar al-Saud, who applied for asylum in France, disappeared in 2015. Maj Gen Ali al-Qahtani, an officer in the Saudi National Guard who died while in custody, showed signs of abuse: his neck appeared twisted and his body was badly swollen. There are many, many others.
Thousands languish in jail. Human rights activists branded as terrorists are on death row on charges that Human Rights Watch says “do not resemble recognisable crimes”. I know of one business leader who was strung upside down and tortured. Nothing has been heard of him since. In Saudi Arabia, you are one social media post away from death.
A Saudi plane dropped a US-made bomb on a school bus in Yemen killing 40 boys and 11 adults on a school trip. Death is delivered by remote control, but no western ally or arms supplier demands an explanation. No contracts are lost. No stock market will decline the mouth-watering prospect of the largest initial public offering in history. What difference does one more dead Saudi make?
And yet Khashoggi’s death is different. It’s right up close. One minute he is sitting across the table at breakfast, in a creased shirt, apologising in his mumbled, staccato English for giving you his cold. The next, a Turkish government contact tells you what they did to his body inside the consulate in Istanbul.
[Just before his murder] Khashoggi told a Middle East Monitor conference in London that the kingdom realised it had gone too far in encouraging President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” by promoting Abu Dis as the future capital of a Palestinian state, and has backed away from what is proving to be a burning issue in Saudi Arabia.
“This proves a very important point. It is only the Palestinians who will decide, not the Saudis, not the Egyptians. No matter how much they control the payroll of the Palestinian government, no one can decide for them,” he said. A week later, his voice was no more.
The Arab world refers to them as “electronic insects”, the trolls the Saudis deploy to create a blizzard of false news around the regime’s routine crimes. Even before news of Khashoggi’s presumed murder, they were gloating about the fate of a man they consider a traitor.
“You leave your country arrogantly … we return you humiliated,” Faisal al-Shahrani tweeted. One pro-regime troll did not even bother to disguise what had happened at the consulate. Prince Khalid Bin Abdullah al-Saud sent a message to another Saudi dissident: “Don’t you want to pass by the Saudi embassy? They want to talk to you face to face.”
But Khashoggi’s tweets and articles went completely over their grubby heads. He was concerned about absolutes such as truth, democracy and freedom. Khashoggi always considered himself a journalist, never an advocate or an activist. “I am Saudi, but a different one,” he wrote.
As a journalist he hated humbug. The motto in Arabic on his Twitter page roughly translates as: “Say what you have to say and walk away.”
He did just that to the fury of those who wanted to shut him up. And it’s clear from his tweets why they went to such desperate lengths to do so. He laughed at the idea that Saudi Arabia under Mohammed bin Salman was fighting for “moderate Islam”.
...Khashoggi was reviled for being sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. “Tweet about freedom and you are a Brotherhood member. Tweet about rights, and you are a Brotherhood member. Tweet about your homeland, and you are a Brotherhood member. Tweet about power-sharing and dignity, and you are a Brotherhood member. Reject despotism, and, of course, you are a Brotherhood member. Tweet about Gaza or Syria, and you are definitely a Brotherhood member. To those who hate the Brotherhood, I’d say you have attributed to them all the virtues and have therefore made them the favour of the best promotion.”
Khashoggi was an unreconstructed democrat: “Only with freedom of choice can religiosity reach the soul and lift the observant high up.”
He was unsparing on the issue that caused his final rift with Riyadh: Donald Trump. “From time to time, Trump tweets that he is protecting us and that we must pay for such protection to continue. He protects us from what? Or he is protecting who? I believe that the greatest threat facing the Gulf countries and their oil is a president such as Trump who sees nothing in us apart from the oil wells,” Khashoggi wrote.
Khashoggi was right. None of what was about to happen to him could have happened without Trump.
On three separate occasions recently, Trump has gone out of his way to humiliate the kingdom, simply because he believes he can. No forum is too public. Trump told a campaign rally in Southaven, Mississippi last Tuesday: “We protect Saudi Arabia. Would you say they’re rich? And I love the king … King Salman, but I said ‘King, we’re protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military’.”
Bin Salman said in response: “I love working with him.” But it is all too clear why. He would not have been crown prince and one step away from the throne were it not for Trump. Trump knows this and therefore thinks he can say anything he likes. Trump is the bully, the master. And his slave can do whatever he likes, to whomever he likes, even to a journalist embedded in Washington, because ultimately Bin Salman knows that Trump has his back.
“The Arab spring did not destroy … those who fought it and conspire against it are the destroyers, otherwise you, young man, would be by now enjoying its breeze, freedom, tolerance, jobs and welfare,” he wrote.
Khashoggi’s “democratic” illusions are no solution either but expose the extreme backwardness supported in Riyadh. Nor is it “pathological lying” but the crisis which needs to be focused on. But it makes for some useful bourgeois press mockery:
Then again, we’re talking about Donald Trump’s feelings and his limitless capacity to lie. Of course it’s possible to condemn the “bloodthirsty killers” of Isis at the UN, and praise the “unbelievable job” of the death squads of President Duterte in the Philippines. He’s Donald Trump, a bear of very little brain who convinced himself that someone in China thinks he has a “very, very large brain”.
As a self-certified genius, Trump now finds himself in something of a Saudi pickle. The supposedly reformist crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was supposed to help him clean up the world by taking on Tehran. But Saudi Arabia can’t even clean up an Istanbul consulate after their own goons are alleged to have hacked to death a single troublesome journalist.
First Trump promised “severe punishment” for those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s death, albeit punishment that didn’t harm any arms contracts the Saudis were interested in. No matter that the Saudis can’t easily substitute another country’s weapons after spending gazillions of dollars on US ones. This commander-in-chief obviously knows his arms from his elbows.
Then Trump spoke to the crown prince, who pinky-promised he had nothing to do with the 15 men identified by the Turkish media as belonging to a grisly hit-squad, which reportedly included an autopsy specialist carrying his own bone saw. So the 45th president of the United States gullibly and dutifully bleated something about “rogue killers” and “very, very strong” denials. In what is surely a remarkable coincidence, Saudi sources leaked word that they were preparing to admit the killing, but insisted it was an interrogation that went wrong.
Interrogations tend to go wrong when they include someone armed with a bone saw.
To clear up this most unfortunate dismemberment, Trump sent his trusted former CIA chief, now the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on a fact-finding mission to Riyadh and Ankara. Pompeo’s approach to the facts was hardly inspiring. “I don’t want to talk about any of the facts,” he said. “They didn’t want to either, in that they want to have the opportunity to complete this investigation in a thorough way.”
That would be an investigation by the crown prince into his own security detail inside his own consulate. Naturally, these things can take time. People are busy. Consulates are hard to find. Word from the palace takes time to write down on parchment scrolls.
Oh yes, and there’s this other thing we need to remember, Pompeo explained: money.
“I do think it’s important that everyone keeps in mind that we have a lot of important relationships – financial relationships between US and Saudi companies, governmental relationships – things we work on together all across the world. The efforts to reduce the risk to the United States of America from the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, Iran.”
If you’re thinking Trump himself is compromised by Saudi money, why, that’s no more true than the notion that he’s compromised by Russian money. But don’t take my word for it, take his.
“For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter),” he tweeted, dismissing anything to the contrary as so much fake news. This is a touch embarrassing for the Donald Trump who told an Alabama rally in 2015 that he loved doing business with the Saudis. “They buy apartments from me,” he said. “They spend $40m, $50m. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much!”
Of course, you’re only supposed to dislike the ones carrying the bone saws.
The Trump administration is not the first to bow and scrape to the Saudi power of oil and cash. But it is the first to surrender all pretense of upholding democracy and human rights – commonly known as American values – while making pathetic excuses for what is widely accepted to have been a barbaric murder. What is the moral difference between Iran sponsoring Hezbollah and the humanitarian disaster triggered by the Saudi attacks and blockade in Yemen?
They deserve one another, the house of Saud and the house of Trump. One is hotheaded enough to bomb Yemen into oblivion and blockade Qatar. The other is hotheaded enough to blow up historic alliances and international trade. Both have managed to look weaker by straining to look stronger.
Their incompetence is only matched their greed; their grand visions of global leadership look as genuine as Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan, or the official Saudi investigation into what happened to Khashoggi.
Like all pathological liars, they now find themselves caught in their own web of deceit and delusion. The crown prince was never a reformist, just as the reality TV star was never going to drain the swamp.
Washington and Britain have not just supplied arms – they effectively help run the war against Yemen with senior British and US military embedded in the command centre in Riyadh - an aspect which all the bourgeois politicians keep completely silent about.
The political agenda has been to recruit Saudi Arabia into a warmongering axis against Iran alongside the imperialist’s main fascist stoogery in the Middle East, the Jewish Zionist occupation of Palestine.
And this is driven by the total failure of imperialism to keep a grip on the world, and particularly the strategically important Middle East.
It is the ever-deepening anti-imperialist sentiments in the region which the non-stop destruction has caused which need to be understood.
Why has Turkey kept pushing and prodding on this issue, deeply embarrassing the West - its ostensible allies through NATO?
And why did the highly politically aware and knowing Khashoggi make himself a martyr in the first place by walking into the consulate?
Both are/were driven by a continuing ferment of anti-imperialism stirred by the mass hatreds created in the region by endless blitzing and by the suppression of the Arab Spring by the American and Zionist supported General Sisi regime in 2013.
Khashoggi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood whose president Morsi was elected in 2012 to replace the US fascist stooge Hosni Mubarak, toppled by the mass uprising in Cairo in 2011 which was headed off by promises of “introducing democracy”.
But Morsi was immediately toppled by the Zionist CIA coup which put Mubarak henchman General Sisi into power in a welter of cold blooded street killing. Sisi has been supported by Washington, and crucially, Saudi money ever since and has imposed at least as much bloody repression as the Saudis ever since:
In democracies governed by the rule of law, it is the perpetrators of a massacre who are tried for murder. In Egypt, it is the survivors who are tried – and in some cases sentenced to death. In democracies governed by the rule of law, trials are fair and prompt; in Egypt the survivors of a massacre can be detained for five years before trial, and then tried in huge groups, with no chance of a proper defence. There is something uniquely grotesque about the recently concluded trial of 739 defendants who were allegedly among the protesters against the military coup that propelled General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to power in 2013.
Some had quite literally been among the protesters, rather than being protesters themselves: the photographer Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, was simply doing his job as a journalist when he was swept up in the repression. His sentence of five years was greeted with relief when it was handed down this month, since he has already served it. His ongoing treatment remains a stain on Egypt. The photographer must now spend every night for the next five years in a police station, but is free by daylight.
Even this is far more than most of those tried can hope for. Seventy-five defendants have been sentenced to death for being on the losing side of the protests. No member of the security forces has been sentenced, or even tried, for their part in the deaths of at least 800 civilians when the Rabaa al-Adawiya square, which had been occupied by supporters of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood government, was cleared in 2013. The officers who planned and ordered the massacre have all been given immunity by a law passed by the tame parliament.
Meanwhile, observers have little doubt that Egypt is engaged in a bombing campaign and siege tactics in the Sinai. Egyptian forces are also clearly involved in both the Libyan civil war and the conflict in Yemen. There is something abhorrent about the way in which the Sisi government and its western enablers mock the hopes of the Arab spring, and dress the corpse of democracy in the tatters of justice so that it lurches into the news like Dr Frankenstein’s monster.
The day before the death sentences were delivered, the United States announced the gift of a further $1bn in military aid for this year. It is apparently necessary for the “war on terror” to subsidise lavishly a regime that terrorises its own people and indeed everyone on its territory: this summer the British Foreign Office formally warned tourists that criticism of the Egyptian government might land them in jail. Notwithstanding that ugly truth, Egypt is apparently on the list of countries with which Britain is to trade more after Brexit. Cairo last month handed out gas exploration licences to British and Italian companies. Egypt is also a prize arms customer for both France and Germany.
These factors are those also driving Turkey’s Erdogan, who sits on a volcano of growing anti-Westernism and anti-Zionism in one of the largest countries in the Middle East, incensed by the West’s suppression of the Egyptian revolt and a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood (itself allied to the Hamas Gaza leadership in Palestine against the Zionist Nazi occupation).
The Western colluded coup attempt in 2015 against Erdogan has not helped keep Turkey onside.
Like numerous bourgeois nationalist regimes, the Ankara government is being forced by the crisis and the impact on its own masses to at least posture as anti-American if it hopes to stay on top, in the same way that numerous stooges have had to turn in the past, from Noriega in Panama to Saddam Hussein in Iraq, as well as confused and posturing dictatorships like Syria’s Assad dynasty and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
All of which is further undermining the crisis-wracked imperialist grip on the world as it tries to balance these contradictions with its warmongering, still being sold as a “war for democracy” etc against “terrorism” and “jihadism”.
And all of which further exposes the complete confusion and petty bourgeois capitulation of the fake-“left” to the imperialist “war on terror”, lining up to “condemn terrorism” and thereby playing into the hands of reaction (including the demonising anti-Islamism of the neo-Nazi groups).
Their universal blanket denunciations of “jihadism” and “terrorism” have left the working class unable to grasp why this terrorism has arisen and how blitzing it is not only not a solution but is driving far more to erupt. In many cases like Egypt, they lined up on completely the wrong side, virtually all of them having denounced the Muslim Brotherhood for example and some like the Lalkar/Proletarian even cheered on the Sisi coup!.
But the Leninist understanding that such “jihadism” is the early, if confused, response of the masses to the crisis, which would eventually be forced to overcome the sectarianism of its religious ideology (and the Western manipulation that left some of it prey to) is proving to be correct, in the most devastated country of all, Iraq as recent bourgeois press reports are indicating:
Iraq’s foreign ministry voiced “regret” on Saturday over a US decision to shut its consulate in the southern city of Basra which has been rocked by weeks of deadly protests.
“The ministry regrets the American decision to pull its staff out of Basra,” a statement said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iranian militias for “indirect fire” against the US consulate.
The State Department also sent out a renewed advisory urging Americans not to travel to Iraq.
Basra has been at the centre of protests that broke out in the southern province in July before spreading to other parts of the country, as demonstrators railed against poor services and condemned corruption among government officials.
Protesters have set fire to several government buildings as well as headquarters of political parties and militias backed by Iran, which saw its consulate in Basra burnt to the ground.
In Baghdad in early September, assailants fired three mortar rounds into the Green Zone, a heavily fortified area home to the Iraqi parliament, government offices and the US embassy.
The rare attack did not cause casualties or damage.
Like many of the demonstrators, much of the Shia anger is directed at the Shia parties that dominate Iraqi politics, and the Shia clergy and Iranian institutions that support them.
“These parties are responsible for the 15 years of failure,” Ali said. “In previous elections we all voted for them because that is what the clergy and tribal sheikhs told us to do. Now we are holding the clergy responsible. Have they not seen what has been happening for 15 years?”
“While we were trapped in the sectarian war – the Shia killing the Sunnis in revenge for the death of Imam Hussain 14 centuries ago, and the Sunnis butchering us because they accused us of taking power from them. Sunni and Shia politicians sat in the parliament and built fortunes with the blood of the people who massacred each other in the street.”
“The whole system is rotten and has to be toppled,” said Haitham. “We are peaceful, but each of us sits on a warehouse of weapons. In 15 years 1 million Iraqis have been martyred. Had we held demonstrations early on and lost a thousand people we would be in a better place now.”
A political bloc led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a long-time adversary of the US who also opposes Iranian influence in Iraq, has been confirmed as the winner of the country’s parliamentary election, the electoral commission said on Saturday.
The victory was a surprising change of fortunes. The cleric, who made his name leading two violent uprisings against US occupation troops, was sidelined for years by Iranian-backed rivals.
His bloc’s performance represented a rebuke to a political elite that some voters blame for widespread corruption and dysfunctional governance.
Sadr’s unlikely alliance with communists and secular Iraqis says it fiercely opposes any foreign interference in Iraq, which is strongly backed by both Tehran and Washington.
What is still missing is scientific revolutionary understanding. Build Leninism. ST
Back to the top
Brexit confusion by the fake-“left” continues on all sides, feeding backward chauvinism on one side and ignoring the potentially revolutionary significance of working class anti-establishment feeling on the other. Only a revolutionary perspective explaining the crisis cause of austerity, which will hammer workers inside or out of Europe, provides answers
Further comment on Brexit requested by some EPSR readers is timely when the fake-“left” is in a greater tangle than ever because of their failure to see the world capitalist crisis collapse as the overriding and urgent question.
Virtually none of them explain the critical point, that neither side of the Brexit argument has anything in it for the working class.
Just the opposite, by taking sides at all, “for” or “against” they are dangerously misleading them.
Every part of capitalism is being devastated by the world crisis, and will be so whichever part of it British capitalism is allied with.
And every side of it is as corrupt, venal and exploitative as all the others, whether it be the Brussels bureaucracy front for servicing the interests of Euro-corporations and banks, or the international market outside Europe whose hedge funds, US multinational combines, Japanese trading houses, and Stock Exchanges are just as rapaciously exploitative if not more so.
The ossified British ruling class is in agonies of indecision because its long slow decline from “Empire” leaves it virtually the weakest link among the great powers in the entire monopoly system.
But it is not a fight for the working class.
Getting involved diverts workers from the real struggle, to bring down the entire system beginning with the fight to topple their own ruling class (in every country).
The turmoil, recriminations and bitter infighting of the ruling class itself, all need to be understood for what they are, symptoms of the paralysing, undermining impact of the contradictions of capitalism’s crisis collapse.
Class-ridden capitalism has hit a brick wall of Catastrophic breakdown.
Only revolutionary overthrow can end it, and the world war it is degenerating into.
But for all their varied posturings about anti-capitalism and socialism, and even occasional tacked on phrases about “revolution”, none of the fake-“Left” ever goes outside the framework of the capitalist system and of calling for reformist changes by “left pressure”.
They particularly never grasp, and certainly do not welcome, that a complete disintegration of the rotten existing society, and all its tyrannical exploitation, unfairness and foulness, is inexorably underway opening up the great opportunity to end forever this stinking, greed-ridden inhumanly vicious and exploitative class-system soaked already in the blood of hundreds of millions and ready to destroy many, many more.
Only through total class war to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, can oncoming Slump disaster be transformed and planned socialism be built to take mankind forwards.
But that remains effectively unsaid (whatever throwaway “radical” paragraphs are occasionally tacked on to the fake-“left” pronouncements).
Instead, as always, their politics and leadership in the last analysis remain tied back to the degenerating capitalist order by centuries of class collaboration and by fear of the unknown, which is to say fear of working class rule through revolutionary overturn of all capitalism.
The most obvious danger is in fostering Little Englander chauvinism as the “left” Brexiteers are doing, (such as Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party, the SWP anti-theory Trots, the Morning Star CPB, the Lalkar/Proletarian Stalinist revisionists, or the reactionary libertarian Spiked Online bourgeois-media infiltrating Trot remnants of the old RCP among others) all playing right into the hands of the ruling class’ deliberate whipping up of nationalism and scapegoating of foreigners, setting the mood for the world war conflicts to come as cutthroat trade conflicts relentlessly intensify.
Such petty nationalism is deadly for the working class, opening it up to all kinds of dangers including backward jingoism and the scapegoating hatreds of outright fascism (whether imposed by the mainstream bourgeoisie itself through Pentagon dominated Trumpism etc. and the increasingly foul bootboy wing of the Tories, or via overtly “Nazi” groups like those around deliberately “martyred” Tommy Robinson, it makes little difference).
But the “left” remainers’ position is just as disastrous.
Neither their high-handed “anti-racist” moralising to “welcome all immigrants” nor the complacent ignoring of austerity savagery and the crisis collapse causing it, comes anywhere close to offering the working class the leadership needed to channel their explosive anger against the real cause of their desperation, the monopoly capitalist system, and away from divisive nationalism and narrow clannishness.
The petty bourgeois character of the “remain” sensibilities, strongly on show in Saturday’s genteel London march, virtually ignores the deeply felt and correct working class anti-Establishment hostility which drove the referendum “yes” vote in the first place as lives are hammered everywhere outside the finance industry centres like London and a few other major cities.
Of course Brexit is no solution and is making matters even worse economically.
But their dire complacency and social-pacifist illusion mongering covers over the real problem, the complete breakdown of all capitalist international relations inexorably unfolding as the crisis deepens, tearing them up as much inside and between the capitalist countries in Europe, as outside.
These remainers are deeply conservative, (albeit with a small “c”) fearing the disruption which the crisis is causing and blaming it instead on the Brexit breakup, attacking the symptom not the disease.
They want everything to remain the same (or what they deludely believe is the same i.e. the fanciful notion that a “democratic” Europe was formed so that its countries would “never go to war with one another again”) and that it then allows for “increasing prosperity”.
On both sides, completely specious “left theoretical justifications” are made which evade the real issue too; the pretence that “leaving Europe will weaken US imperialism” on the Brexit side (eg the Brarite CPGB-ML,) or the purely academic notions of the pro-Europe Trots and revisionists pretending that the “path forwards to socialism lies in a ‘United States of Europe’”.
Both are wrong anyway.
Only taking advantage of the bourgeois infighting to advance and deepen the understanding of revolutionary class war to overturn the monopoly capitalist order and its relentless plunge into Slump and degenerate war (such as the horrors in Yemen) can change anything.
Getting caught up in the argument without that perspective at the very top is a deadly trap, a distraction from the real issue which is the gigantic economic and political Catastrophe which has been unrolling for 10 years since the 2008 world credit meltdown (as well as in partial forms around the world for decades previously)
Failing to put the need for revolutionary class war invalidates even those few “left” pretenders who claim to have seen through the dangers, such as the “abstentionist” arguments of the Weekly Worker CPGB, limiting what they say to ineffectual handwringing combined with the usual crypto-Trot bilious hatred of workers state discipline (which wipes out even the few shreds of reason they could lay claim to).
Pointing out that the both British state and the EU bureaucracy
“are both in enemy hands and both must be destroyed, and a genuine internationalism be put to work replacing them”
might sound notionally better than the backward chauvinism and petty nationalism of the “left” Brexiteers, or Remainer smugness but its is worse than useless if it comes right at the end of a long rigmarole merely detailing the opportunist manoeuvres of the other fake-“lefts”.
And the CPGB is anyway deeply opportunist itself, trying to cling on and ride the Labour Party and its parliamentary democracy fraud and opportunism.
A first challenge it does not take up, is to fully expose the confusions of all the “Lexiteers” which have just been restated in their sharpest form by Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party, raging against Labourite “prevarication”, and declaring that:
The ruling class have used and will continue to use every means including a media which has sought to overturn the decision of the British people in the 2016 Referendum.
Tony Benn warned that membership of the European Union would mean that Britain would be governed by a Constitution which is committed to Capitalism.
The ruling class and the EU will demand another referendum and another until they get the result they want.
The EU’s constitution is committed to Capitalism. Membership of or collaboration with the EU means Britain has to accept the tariffs (import controls) stipulated by an unelected body in Brussels.
It appears that Labour’s leadership has forgotten that the 1945 Labour Government applied import controls which saw Britain build an economy which was 80 per cent based in manufacturing - today it is 10 per cent; an economy which produced cars, aircraft, steel, coal, cotton, wool, agriculture and fishing.
Labour’s leadership is ignoring the 60 per cent of Labour Constituencies that voted to leave the EU, something Britain could have done the day after the referendum.
Britain has an annual deficit of £80 billion in trade with EU countries whilst our trade with the rest of the world produces a £40 billion surplus. It is economic and political madness to remain in the EU. If the Labour Party continues with its present policy the British people will never forgive what they are doing.
The British people voted to leave this bastion of capitalism. I call on all who want an independent Britain to make clear in any future vote their support for ‘No Deal’.
This tragic gibberish is laced with British chauvinist backwardness of the first water, taking up the capitalist economic cause and identifying with it.
To begin with the ruling class is not trying to reverse Brexit; to the contrary its most reactionary wing including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and David Davis, is threatening to tear the Tory party in half unless Britain pulls out completely. It is hostile to another vote.
Of course there are Remainers too; the Tories are split down the middle.
And the anti-Brexiteers are as devious and untrustworthy as all bourgeois parliamentary careerists, (all parties). They might well be out to reverse the decision.
But that makes no difference. On both sides every part of the ruling class is “committed to capitalism” which runs much of the entire world economy both inside and outside Europe, save for some still continuing workers states such as Cuba and China (despite revisionist leadership).
The unwritten “British constitution” (i.e class rule) is as capitalist as Europe’s, and even more so in that it is a focal point for world global finance operations, the highest parasitic stage of capitalism.
Giant monopoly domination of the world (except for the communist Soviet Union and later some other anti-imperialist and communist revolutionary developments like East Europe, Cuba, China, Vietnam, North Korea) was established at the end of the Second World by American imperialism, the victor over the other big powers, and will relentlessly consolidate its grip for as long as the profit making system continues.
The European grouping established after the Second World War was an attempt by the older European powers to hold their ground against the victorious “topdog” US by forming themselves into a trading block to allow their own corporations and banks to grow large enough to compete – preparing for the eventual to-the-death crisis conflicts between the major powers which are now openly threatened by Washington, where Trump has said that “Europe” is among the “enemies”.
The EEC had some early benefits for the US in holding back Soviet influence to the east– and this continues in Brussels’ subsidies and grants to the former East European workers states, bribing them to prevent the obvious bankruptcy and rapacity of restored capitalism from driving their populations back towards communism.
Such sentiments constantly revive in the old Soviet bloc when the economic momentum falters, as in Russia itself now that the oil market no longer sustains Bonapartist Putin’s concessions to social provision:
Communist wunderkind Valentin Konovalov should already be Siberia’s youngest governor, but the elections he’s supposed to win are cancelled every other week.
The virtually unknown 30-year-old rode a wave of protest to win a first-round ballot in Khakassia, a republic in eastern Siberia, last month. The results were an embarrassment for the ruling United Russia party and the Kremlin, which backed the incumbent. But his opponents have found an easy way to keep him from winning the run-off: don’t hold it.
“It’s absurd,” said the candidate, who names Lenin as a political inspiration, over a cup of tea. So far, two of Konovalov’s opponents have dropped out, delaying the vote by two weeks each, and now an elections commission claims he misfiled his paperwork. Konovalov is likely to be disqualified.
With Russia’s ruling party facing a sharp decline in support, local officials have had to scramble in some regions to maintain control. In the far east, another Communist candidate looked set for victory until a suspicious burst of votes for the pro-government candidate. Moscow cancelled the election wholesale for ballot-stuffing, the first time that’s happened since the 1990s.
United Russia’s support has fallen to 31%, the party’s lowest ever. Many Russians are frustrated. A slow economy and corrupt local officials are common complaints in the regions.
Another factor this year has been a new pensions reform that will delay retirement for all Russians by five years. Men must work until 65 and women until 60, making people feel years have been stolen from them.
Signed into law by Vladimir Putin last month because of a need to balance the budget, the decision has fuelled a fiery election season that already looked rough for Moscow.
Russia has operated for more than a decade under a policy of “managed democracy”, where elections are held, but the candidates are filtered and the results are preordained. Lately, there’s been some trouble managing this.
Konovalov was widely seen as a “technical candidate”, one who is nominated just to lose, and the Communist party is often called “pocket opposition”. But somewhere along the line, this turned into a real election.
Foreign attention on Russia has focused on major international incidents, including the Salisbury nerve agent attack or interference in US elections. But at home many Russians are sympathetic to a president seen as under attack from the west.
Far more important to Putin’s ratings, which have fallen precipitously this year, is the economy and the budget.
Konovalov...is a dyed-in-the-wool Communist, born to engineer parents in the factory town of Norilsk, who joined the party in his second year of college. He called Lenin his personal idol in an interview, describing him as “a man who could unite people of different views”. He had also spoken positively of Joseph Stalin in a previous interview with a Russian outlet, calling him a “great state actor” who “had made mistakes as a leader”.
It might be the Communists’ big chance, he said. “I think this is the beginning of the era of change.”
European “free movement” of labour also serves to head off such revival, papering over the massive unemployment, poverty and exploitation of reintroduced “democracy” in East Europe by providing employment elsewhere and the all-important remittances back home, without which the full impact of the restored “free market” would already be intolerable.
But despite this anti-Soviet function, the main purpose of the European Common Market and then the EU, was always as a capitalist rival to the dominant US and its bogus “international order” via the bodies and organisations (IMF, World Bank, United Nations) it set up to spread US influence and dominance post-war.
Europe has been potentially or actually in conflict with the US since the foundation, not least against the US-dominated NATO military “alliance” which the French imperialist de Gaulle refused to join.
For the same reason he blocked British European membership for years, correctly seeing it as an ally of Washington and entering Europe primarily in order to disrupt its consolidation as a bloc against America, particularly around France and Germany.
But there were also important economic factors in Britain entering eventually, driven by the increasing monopoly networks and market connections (visible in distributed just-in-time car production for example) even while maintaining past alliances with Washington and particularly military and intelligence connections.
Britain’s ruling class has therefore long oscillated between the two, unable to make up its mind where its best chances lie and growing more and more frantic as the world crisis rapidly deepens.
Which side of onrushing cutthroat trade war to stand with?
The argument is one of survival for all, but particularly the desperate and moribund British economy which has been steadily losing ground against rival powers for over a century, (and is now almost entirely owned by overseas capitalist combines, both European and non-European).
Useful industry has been almost wiped out (save for a bit of arms production mostly for the now obviously thuggish backwardness of feudal/tribal Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states) because the ruling class has no capability to compete against the more efficient powers like the US, Germany and inventive Japan, relying more and more instead on the ultra-parasitic City finance sector to survive, by laundering the world’s dirty money (including again the vile Saudi and UAE degenerate corruption).
Scargill’s SLP, saturated with past bureaucratic trade union class collaboration is tapping long outdated and backward nationalist sentiment.
It ends up taking sides with imperialist-nostalgic chinless wonders like Rees Mogg, whose arrogance and disdain barely allows them to open their mouths wide enough to pour out their nonsense.
They have no interest at all in the working class getting a “better deal”.
Just the opposite, their agenda is to tear up even the minimal regulations and protections that British industry and commerce is forced to hold to as part of the European bloc (rules which are in themselves part of endless international antagonism within Europe, favouring only bigger combines which can afford to comply, while forcing medium and small competition out of business).
Their aim is to allow the world financiers in, to plunder the economy and to let corporations dump their produce.
Emphasising only that the EU is a “bastion of capitalism” is completely fooling workers, implying that outside Europe is different and particularly that the “British people” will somehow not face “capitalism”.
The British ruling class is one of the oldest, trickiest and most venal of all the capitalist powers and certainly at least as ruthlessly dedicated to the private profit exploitation of the working class as any of the European bourgeoisie.
And since when did the working class have any “independence” or “sovereignty”, British or otherwise, or get anything at all from voting, least of all in referendums, favourite tool of fascist regimes like Mussolini’s and Hitler’s because they were so easy to manipulate???
So what “British people” and its interests are being discussed?? Does that include this Tory Brexit wing? UKIP? The bankers? The Stock market operators and the entire superstructure of “British” accountants, lawyers and others who service big finance”???
Just to use such terms is to drown out any class analysis with jingoism and reactionary nationalism.
Combining such “national identity” with reform “socialism” is not far from the ethos of the rising Nazi party of the 1930s (which means National Socialism). It is certainly almost indistinguishable from UKIP in its tone.
Lauding the Attlee government does not help. It celebrates the vilest of Labourite class-collaboration, a government which ran British imperialism for the ruling class while it recovered post-WW2, including violently suppressing or helping put down half a dozen anti-imperialist rebellions such as Malaya, Greece, Burma, and Indonesia, creating the partition divide-and-rule mess made in India (costing hundreds of thousands of lives), setting up NATO and creating the artificial Zionist-Jewish “state of Israel” to steal and occupy the land of the Palestinian people, setting in train 70 years of brutal genocidal oppression.
Import controls then were imposed to give capitalist companies space to recover, possible only for a brief period anyway when the world destruction allowed some restored profitability (for the victors, at the expense of other countries).
Calling for them now is disastrous.
The central aspect of the capitalist crisis is the “overproduction” of its industries, anarchically competing across the world markets for domination, with no regard for human needs, environmental devastation, global warming, waste, and pollution.
It is the “everything for private profit” which distorts all production away from coherent planning and service of rational human need (in harmony with nature) and leads to the regular and ever worse breakdowns, requiring the forced bankruptcy and destruction of rival producers to deal with the great “overproduction surpluses” which ultimately cannot be sold.
In the modern epoch those crises have become world wars, the antagonisms running through capitalism at every level erupting as war to physically devastate the “enemy”.
Import controls feed all that trade war conflict, pushing the Slump outwards and leading to a great cycle of retaliation exactly as now underway with China initially, but in major spats with Europe too.
It leads to workers pushing their problems onto other workers abroad and blaming them with the most backward of nationalist prejudice, exactly as required by the ruling class as it gears up for war.
It is part and parcel of a frenzied atmosphere being whipped up also around the “war on terror” and the scapegoating of migrants which misdirects the growing anger of workers against others like themselves, instead of against their own ruling class and its fatcat billionaires.
Other “Lexiteers” may avoid this crude jingoism outright but they are essentially playing the same tune and fostering the same confusion in the working class.
For example the Stalin-worshipping Brarites who spent eight years giving the ultimately anti-communist SLP a “theoretical” backing – including going along with Scargill’s Little Englander sloganising on Europe in the 1999 Euro-elections (see EPSR 994 14-04-99) – pump out the same “bosses club” message, and the same chauvinism about “British workers”:
British workers demand Brexit! It is not in our class interests to allow the referendum result to be overturned....
The truth is that Britain’s membership of the EU is bad for the British working class; it certainly offers no protection from the ravages of capitalism and the economic crisis. Contrary to the myths peddled by the TUC, the bonfire of workers’ rights that we have witnessed over the last few decades was in no way hampered by Britain’s membership of the EU, with its much-vaunted love for ‘human rights’.
Quite the reverse: EU rules now make it illegal for member states to nationalise any vital industry or service for the benefit of its people, if that in any way interferes with the potential for profit-taking (which, of course, it does!)
The EU was always, and remains today, a bosses’ club, designed to ensure more efficient exploitation of workers at home and abroad, and to help the fading European imperialist powers recoup their strength and retain their place in the world that emerged from WW2, when socialism was spreading like wildfire across the globe, and the US was the only imperialist power strong enough to stand in its way.
As a tool for strengthening the power of the ruling classes of Europe, and for strengthening the warmongering Nato transatlantic alliance, it is most decidedly in our interest to see the EU, and with it both British and US imperialism, weakened. This is why British workers must not allow the referendum result to be overturned.
Meanwhile, the representatives of the ruling class in parliament are at sixes and sevens as to how best to appear to fulfil ‘the people’s will’ while at the same time serving their capitalist masters’ interests. It is a circle that is proving very hard to square.
As a result, Theresa May’s strategy and favoured proposals differ according to which day of the week it is, while Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party has never held a clear and consistent position...
Divisions among the ruling class over Brexit continue to be clear for all to see. This alone should be a cause of joy to the working class, for many valuable lessons about the nature of capitalist democracy, bourgeois politics and the bourgeois state are being revealed, both in the actions of career politicians and in the unguarded accusations that are hurled between the rival camps and emblazoned across the front pages almost daily.
While ‘little Englanders’ (in particular the Brexiteers in the Conservative party as well as the Ukip leadership) hark back to the days when the British empire ruled the waves and was mighty enough to stand alone, and fondly imagine that Brexit will enable them to slash wages and regulation even further so as to help them win the battle of competition and survive the crisis, the liberal elements, still as committed as ever to Nato’s warmongering and the neoliberal agenda, continue to pursue their anti-people, anti-Brexit aims, and are more desperate than ever to overturn the referendum result.
This has been particularly evident in the pages of liberal newspapers such as the Guardian and the Observer, which have been frantically pursuing every possible avenue for overturning the vote.
The swipes at “Little Englanders” are risible here in a piece laden with the interests of “British workers” in a “British economy” but there are plenty of other nonsenses.
This CPGB-ML leaflet does not differ from Scargill over the notion that “secretly” the ruling class wants to undo the Brexit vote and is “just pretending” – though it quite contradictorily then declares that “divisions in the ruling class are clear to see”.
The Lalkar/Proletarian, which finally broke with Scargill over his internal party skulduggery, bureaucratism and anti-theory philistinism in 2004 is too sly to suggest directly there could be any immediate Brexit upturn in workers’ conditions in quite the way Scargill does, (implying that workers will be able to return to a high-wage industrial economy once they have “recovered their sovereignty” etc - a nonsensical proposition).
But their assertion that “there is no shelter from the crisis for British workers in Europe” (presumably noone cares about sheltering non-British workers in those countries or anywhere else – so much for internationalism) implies that they will be better off “outside”, which is to say while a capitalist economy continues in Britain, open to the savage hurricane force of international markets.
Once the EU rules are rejected, they can get on with “nationalising industries” it seems, obviously in the polite and “law abiding” way “allowed” by the British ruling class via the parliamentary Labour Party lavishly “compensating” exploiting “owners”!!!
So like Scargill they do not make it clear that class war alone to seize and takeover industry and banks alike, can “protect” workers from the savagery of the slump Catastrophe.
What a heap of reformist garbage.
And precisely what “lessons about bourgeois democracy” are being revealed by a political philosophy that fails to state, let alone make clear, what a gigantic manipulated fraud every part of bourgeois democracy constitutes and, to the contrary, declares sacrosanct a highly manipulated bourgeois plebiscite!!
Presumably the working class must work out the lessons for itself.
This is a million miles from the Marxist-Leninist duty to raise consciousness and educate the working class, (which the Lalkar/Proletarian boasts it is doing (with a Lenin quote on its masthead no less) though always avoiding the polemical debates which are crucial for clarity and understanding).
It is all in essence no different to the old SLP line despite being cloaked in supposed anti-capitalist theory declaring that leaving the EU will take the working class towards socialism by “weakening British and US imperialism”.
This is anyway a highly dubious assertion - if the European Union is weakened as a monopoly bloc it would surely strengthen the US monopoly position in the onrushing trade war, at least relatively speaking.
It is also a total nonsense that the European alliance’s formation went hand in hand with strengthening NATO.
The non-Anglo-Saxon European countries have spent decades squirming around to remove this military network imposition by American imperialism, constantly reviving plans for a joint independent European military force (being mooted yet again by Macron) and smarting at the economic burdens of being forced to pay for their own garrisoned humiliation, which Trump’s recent bullying visit has just demanded they stump up more for.
But the Brarites continue to cling onto Stalin’s great error in the 1952 book Economic Problems, that the imperialist system had been fatally hamstrung by the Second World War, to the extent that it was hemmed in by the new socialist states and could no longer expand; and that beyond that it would be pushed back in the international markets by the growth of socialist state production gradually outcompeting it.
The outcome of this completely mistaken perspective (see full analysis in EPSR book 21 Unanswered Polemics) was the notion that “peace struggle”, to contain the unstable aggressiveness of imperialism, was now all that was required to ensure the steady progress of socialism across the planet, and the eventual toppling of capitalism like ripe fruit.
From this the entire Third International derived its strategies of parliamentary roads, and “No to War” social pacifism, and the perspective of “not rocking the boat” or “provoking imperialism unnecessarily” by revolutionary outbursts.
Far from “socialism spreading like wildfire” across Europe and the rest of the world, its revolutionary progress was reined in and hampered by Stalin’s permanent peaceful coexistence strategy built on post-war delusions about “good and bad” imperialism.
Only where the revolutionary spirit ignored Moscow’s advice, such as in China and Cuba, was real headway made.
Even if there was some Cold War European capitalist consensus while the Soviet Union existed, which tolerated the US bases (as if there was a choice) the underlying relationship of NATO has always been mainly one of sustaining US dominance over its rivals.
Inter-imperialist conflict is the great contradiction at the heart of modern capitalism, which will be pushed by the crisis all the way to the warmongering destruction that will be its downfall (as the masses of the planet are driven into revolutionary struggle just as at the end of the two twentieth century world wars).
Trump’s new plans to tear up nuclear treaties are aimed at least as much at the capitalist rival powers in Europe and Japan as at Putin’s Russia.
But if this revisionist brain-mush is a million miles from revolution, so too are “left” justifications for Remain.
Middle-class pro-European fearfulness and complacency neither recognises the deep (and rightful) resentments of the working class, nor would be any better protected from capitalist collapse itself, if it did succeed in forcing and winning another vote.
Even if Europe is not split wide open anyway by its cats-in-a-sack capitalist antagonisms (of which Brexit is just one aspect, along with bullying of southern Europe like Greece and Italy) it will still not stop the world economic disaster sweeping all before it.
The 2008 credit collapse will soon return in some form, most likely a dollar collapse, as numerous jittery warnings from bodies such as the IMF and sudden lurches on the Stock Exchanges keep indicating, and as Marxist science constantly tries to make clear (analysing and showing such intractable contradictions, was the very basis of Marx’s Capital – see economics box).
Pro-Europe “lefts” such as Trots like the barmy pro-Zionist Alliance for Workers Liberty, Socialist Fight (and, in practice, the allegedly “abstentionist” Weekly Worker), are all just as much fooling the working class in their “moral” sneering at petty nationalism and potential backward racism of the Brexit side.
They try to give some “theoretical” justification to the obviously petty bourgeois Remainer side, by suggesting that inevitable monopoly bloc-ing of the European powers, particularly around dominant German imperialism, offers a path to a more or less simultaneous international socialist transformation which can end up in a “Socialist United States of Europe” as posited by Leon Trotsky.
But such a theory was demolished by Lenin. And while monarchies and direct colonialism have changed since he wrote, the overall point remains:
But while the slogan of a republican United States of Europe—if accompanied by the revolutionary overthrow of the three most reactionary monarchies in Europe, headed by the Russian—is quite invulnerable as a political slogan, there still remains the highly important question of its economic content and significance. From the standpoint of the economic conditions of imperialism—i.e., the export of capital and the division of the world by the “advanced” and “civilised” colonial powers—a United States of Europe, under capitalism, is either impossible or reactionary.
Britain, France and Germany have invested capital abroad to the value of no less than 70,000 million rubles. The business of securing “legitimate” profits from this tidy sum—these exceed 3,000 million rubles annually— is carried out by the national committees of the millionaires, known as governments, which are equipped with armies and navies and which provide the sons and brothers of the millionaires with jobs in the colonies and semi-colonies as viceroys, consuls, ambassadors, officials of all kinds, clergymen, and other leeches.
That is how the plunder of about a thousand million of the earth’s population by a handful of Great Powers is organised in the epoch of the highest development of capitalism. No other organisation is possible under capitalism. Renounce colonies, “spheres of influence”, and the export of capital? To think that it is possible means coming down to the level of some snivelling parson who every Sunday preaches to the rich on the lofty principles of Christianity and advises them to give the poor, well, if not millions, at least several hundred rubles yearly.
A United States of Europe under capitalism is tantamount to an agreement on the partition of colonies. Under capitalism, however, no other basis and no other principle of division are possible except force. A multi-millionaire cannot share the “national income” of a capitalist country with anyone otherwise than “in proportion to the capital invested” (with a bonus thrown in, so that the biggest capital may receive more than its share). Capitalism is private ownership of the means of production, and anarchy in production. To advocate a “just” division of income on such a basis is sheer Proudhonism, stupid philistinism. No division can be effected otherwise than in “proportion to strength”, and strength changes with the course of economic development. Following 1871, the rate of Germany’s accession of strength was three or four times as rapid as that of Britain and France, and of Japan about ten times as rapid as Russia’s. There is and there can be no other way of testing the real might of a capitalist state than by war.
War does not contradict the fundamentals of private property—on the contrary, it is a direct and inevitable outcome of those fundamentals. Under capitalism the smooth economic growth of individual enterprises or individual states is impossible. Under capitalism, there are no other means of restoring the periodically disturbed equilibrium than crises in industry and wars in politics.Of course, temporary agreements are possible between capitalists and between states. In this sense a United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the European capitalists...but to what end? Only for the purpose of jointly suppressing socialism in Europe, of jointly protecting colonial booty against Japan and America, who have been badly done out of their share by the present partition of colonies, and the increase of whose might during the last fifty years has been immeasurably more rapid than that of backward and monarchist Europe, now turning senile. Compared with the United States of America, Europe as a whole denotes economic stagnation. On the present economic basis, i.e., under capitalism, a United States of Europe would signify an organisation of reaction to retard America’s more rapid development. The times when the cause of democracy and socialism was associated only with Europe alone have gone for ever.
A United States of the World (not of Europe alone) is the state form of the unification and freedom of nations which we associate with socialism—until the time when the complete victory of communism brings about the total disappearance of the state, including the democratic. As a separate slogan, however, the slogan of a United States of the World would hardly be a correct one, first, because it merges with socialism; second, because it may be wrongly interpreted to mean that the victory of socialism in a single country is impossible, and it may also create misconceptions as to the relations of such a country to the others. Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organising their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world— the capitalist world—attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, stirring uprisings in those countries against the capitalists, and in case of need using even armed force against the exploiting classes and their states. The political form of a society wherein the proletariat is victorious in overthrowing the bourgeoisie will be a democratic republic, which will more and more concentrate the forces of the proletariat of a given nation or nations, in the struggle against states that have not yet gone over to socialism. The abolition of classes is impossible without a dictatorship of the oppressed class, of the proletariat. A free union of nations in socialism is impossible without a more or less prolonged and stubborn struggle of the socialist republics against the backward states.
It is for these reasons and after repeated discussions sat the conference of R.S.D.L.P. groups abroad, and following that conference, that the Central Organ’s editors have come to the conclusion that the slogan for a United States of Europe is an erroneous one. [Emphasis added].
Slogan for a United States of Europe -- Social-Demokrat No. 44, August 23, 1915
As is clear from this piece, one of Lenin’s key points is that the practical effect of this fantasy prescription would be to shut down the understanding of each working class fighting in its own country to overturn its own ruling class.
And it is precisely in this that the “left” Remainers show their true anti-revolutionary colours.
Their thoroughly petty bourgeois instinct is to decry and belittle the entire content of the working class anti-establishment vote in the Referendum.
Of course it is laden with backward notions, inculcated by a century and a half of imperialist delusions and class-collaboration, and is being misled by the Scargills and revisionists and some of the most philistine Trots like the SWP, leaving it open to even worse crude nationalism by UKIP and the fascists.
But despite the great dangers of chauvinism, its spirit and deepest content was one of working class hostility and militancy against the ruling class and the Slump impositions it faces.
And this could dialectically swing round behind a revolutionary perspective if it were soundly developed and fought for by the building of a Leninist party.
Such a fight for a clear Leninist theoretical lead, to guide understanding of revolutionary struggle against the ruling class is completely undermined if the potentially revolutionary content of this upheaval is written off by moralising high-handedness declaring the working class “racist” or insufficiently PC.
And that is compounded by lying nonsense that its efforts would all be wasted anyway because of Trotskyism’s twisted theories that revolution will fail “without the support of revolution is other countries”.
To suggest that the working class must wait on the development of such mass upheavals in other countries and further, effectively to hold it back until there can be more or less simultaneous uprisings everywhere is just defeatist garbage, the hallmark of Trotsky’s conceited hostility to Bolshevism for most of his life.
The modern Trotskyism evolution from Trotsky’s defeatist logic is even worse.
They are constantly building castles-in-the-air for the “perfect revolution” that has never been achieved anywhere, and never will, because it is founded on pure hatred for the real achievements of the working class in the 73 years of the Soviet Union and the other workers states and pays no attention to the real concrete developments.
The mantra for this bilious hostility to the workers states is the wooden repetition of the phrase “You cannot build socialism in one country.”
This completely mechanical and undialectical phrase become the self-justifying “logic” for writing off the gigantic achievements of the Russian revolution and the subsequent building of a workers state as nothing but a “totalitarian nightmare of Stalinism”, in a stream of anti-communist invective more venomous than the daily brainwashing output from the capitalist media, education system and cultural institutions all rolled into one.
Only minds shackled by the privilege and arrogance of comfortable lives in the imperialist West, with a “standard of living” possible only by riding on the back of billions of the exploited in the Third World sweatshops and plantations, could wallow in such foetid arrogance and stupidity.
It is nonsensical in both theory and concrete developments; Lenin’s last four years of writings after the October revolution made it very clear that the battle for the working class was to build socialism in Russia and the other parts of the later Soviet Union, (eg see quotes EPSR 870 10-09-96 and above).
Lenin was clear that continuing revolutionary struggle worldwide was ultimately needed for worldwide communist transformation but knew that part of that overall fight lay in building what could be built – a state without capitalist ownership - as opposed to Trotsky’s defeatist view that everything would be rotten unless the entire world rose up at once.
And the history of seven decades of giant achievements in science, arts, culture, education, medicine, and technology in the USSR, sometimes leading the world, and most of all the military defeat of imperialist inspired Nazism, demonstrate the point, as do the brilliant and inspirational developments in Cuba, and the huge transformations in China (from backward rural stagnation and poverty to world beating science etc in decades).
It was Stalinist theoretical failures and retreat from revolutionary perspectives, turning to permanent peaceful coexistence notions, that were the problem, not any inherent impossibility of continuing socialist momentum in the USSR or elsewhere, nor some sinister transformation of the socialist state into a new form of capitalism (a theory so twisted it requires the invention of bizarre new property and class forms unbeknown to Marxism).
The end result of revisionist mind-rot in Gorbachevism (a direct descendant of earlier Stalin-led failings) was self-liquidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and a turn to the supposed superiority of the “freemarket”.
But that only after 70 years of world changing development (including massive international aid for anti-imperialist and communist struggles from the Spanish civil war onwards, especially post-war like Vietnam, Korea, much of the Middle East and Latin America, that no “bureaucratic counter-revolutionary caste” (Trotsky’s devious term to avoid being exposed) would have made).
But this petty bourgeois Trotskyism is determined to pour out its poisonous notions that there was “no socialism” in the USSR at all, which even Trotsky did not dare say, in order to dismiss the current developments.
Thereby it (deliberately) misses the concrete anti-capitalist significance of the great dogged working class vote in the Referendum, just as for a decade or more it has missed the significance of the great “terrorist” and “jihadist upheavals in the Middle East, damning them with moralising condemnation instead of recognising them as symptoms of imperialist breakdown.
Certainly the fight to overturn capitalism and to establish a stable communist society, is ultimately an international one, and the full development of socialist society is impossible until production can be organised and planned on a world scale, rationally and serving the real needs of the whole of mankind (not wasteful consumerism) in harmony with nature.
But the unfolding of the struggle to get there is inevitably piecemeal and uneven with anti-imperialist and socialist working class upheaval erupting in different places at different times (often in the weakest links like Russia in 1917 and possibly Britain now) and then necessarily holding its ground while other parts catch up.
Even Trotsky, as quoted in a recent Socialist Fight letter to the Weekly Worker, partially recognises this:
As revolutionary socialists you have to raise your sights to the world stage. You must understand that the crisis of capitalism is global - truly international - not located in one country. The whole idea of capitalism in a single country is long gone, as Marx explained quite clearly. So the Stalinist idea of socialism in a single country is a complete farce, a lie.
There was no socialism in the USSR or in China and there could not be, because socialism depends on developing the productive forces to their highest level. Socialism does not depend on gaining power in a single country, passing laws through parliament and then hoping that the army will not shoot you. That is absolutely not how it is going to happen.
In 1923 Trotsky explained:
“The democratic republican unification of Europe - a union really capable of guaranteeing the freedom of national development - is possible only on the road of a revolutionary struggle against militarist, imperialist, dynastic centralism, by means of uprisings in individual countries, with the subsequent merger of these upheavals into a general European revolution.
“The victorious European revolution, however, no matter how its course in isolated countries may be fashioned, can, in consequence of the absence of other revolutionary classes, transfer the power only to the proletariat. Consequently the United States of Europe represents the form - the only conceivable form - of the dictatorship of the European proletariat.”
Such is the blinkered nature of petty bourgeois “leftism” that it does not even notice that “fashioned in isolated countries” says precisely the opposite to their posturing.
Such countries would remain isolated for as long as needed to hold out against capitalist counter-revolutionary strangulation or invasion, just as Cuba has done in the face of a nearly 60 year long and exceptionally damaging blockade.
Of course such a society should press on for as much socialism as possible, as Fidel Castro correctly argued, and as his workers state demonstrated, one that would spread an influence by example and by internationalist aid and intervention on a scale far beyond its relatively tiny size and capacity.
All this “no socialism” is counter-revolutionary poison by a set of middle class dilettantes.
"Cross-border cooperation” between working class sectors and trade unions is to be encouraged but it remains mostly only that, a idealist notion in the heads of the petty bourgeois Trots, and one that will mostly remain there anyway without a clear revolutionary perspective.
That does not emerge either from the “sophisticated” theorising of the Weekly Worker treading its tightrope line between their past Stalinist revisionism and Trotskyite anti-Sovietism.
Having declared correctly that European capitalist unity could only be done by main force, the monopoly capitalists’ only real “solution” to any difficulty, it goes on:
The other possible route is the one that leads out of capitalism altogether - socialist revolution. Success in this endeavour does not look likely in the short term either; but serious steps could be taken now - common action of the workers’ movement across borders - that would provide a real counterforce to the march of chauvinist reaction and the decreasingly rational flailing about of defeated liberals.
It is a matter of great misfortune, then, that the British left is divided between ‘Lexiteers’ and ‘left’ remainers.
The former - who try to insert a squeak of hopeless left nationalism into a Brexit debate taking place entirely within the Conservative Party - merely promote a variant of the desperate sectional fantasy of seceding from the global order.
The latter appear on the face of it to be more ‘rational’, in that remainism is at least marketed as a vaguely leftwing concern in the mainstream media. But, in reality, they are also based on a fantasy - where the Lexiteers hope to start off towards socialism from a delusory national autarkism, the remainers want to build from the collapsed edifice of post-cold war neoliberalism, whose collapse is to blame for nationalist reaction. It is like trying to cure your lung cancer by doubling your cigarette intake, to kill more of the malignant cells.
The bottom line is that the impasse in parliament, the fractious negotiations in Europe, and the rise of Trump and of other nationalists are all avatars of a deeper strategic dilemma. By loyally ‘taking sides’ over Brexit, however, the factions of the left prevent themselves from actually confronting the strategic issues - concretely, the need for an international class response to the unfolding political crisis of neoliberalism; and, moreover, a programme for the socialist transformation of Europe. This is the only course that will not leave us trapped within nationalist delusions - or politically circumscribed by the ‘cosmopolitan’ wing of capital.
The sneered at and quickly dismissed “other possible route” is not for “socialist transformation of Europe”, it is for the overthrow of world capitalism.
Putting it in this limited way is to put the cart before the horse, with revolution just one “perhaps” means among many to achieve European unity.
What total lightmindedness!
And why that way round?
Because this thinking is really about preserving the privilege of the Western order and the comfortable position of these middle-class dilettantes, always more concerned about enough “Brie and Bordeaux” remaining in the shops (EPSR 890 11-02-97) than the Slump soup kitchen austerity facing the working class.
As for the Third World masses and the great turmoil of war destruction and devastation they have been subject to for decades, with even worse on the way (where now 12 million face outright famine in Yemen for example) it does not really get a look in.
Nor the giant “terrorist” revolt everywhere. Nor the need for revolution throughout Latin America as the US encourages fascist demagoguery to keep its exploited “backyard” under the thumb.
They are not really interested in revolution at all, quickly pouring buckets of cold water all over the idea.
The “socialist transformation of Europe” remains a disconnected target, to be achieved by what is in fact unachievable without a revolutionary perspective – completely academic notions of “common action across Europe” all within the framework of parliament and “left pressure”.
This European “transformation” would be just as isolated as the “unsustainable” Soviet Union, or other workers states these crypto-Trots so hate.
They at least were real, making giant strides in world history for the working class (as Cuba and others still do).
The lessons of why the USSR ultimately failed, (and of the flaws in revisionist leadership still prevailing in Beijing, Havana and Hanoi) need to be analysed and learned as part of the great battle for Leninist understanding and building of a party.
But the great Brexit debate only demonstrates that the fake-“left” is an obstacle to that task.
Back to the top