No 1545 10th November 2018
Brazil’s openly fascist new president and ever cruder vote rigged manipulation and trampling of US election by Trumpite crudeness underline the plunge of imperialism towards open dictatorship and repression. But still the fake-“left” clings to “left-pressure” and “No to War” pacifism, leaving the working class prey to delusions in “democracy” and idiotically denying the plunge into fascism. Nazism is not something special but the face of capitalist imperialism itself once it has to tear up the pretence of “freedom” and turn to war and domestic suppression of explosively growing class pressure, driven to desperation by Catastrophic economic collapse. Fake-“left” failure to put revolutionary perspectives at the heart of all analysis exposed by Brazil and Trumpism. So too is “single-issue” PC reformism (LGBT, feminism etc) playing into hands of the reaction. “Left” capitulation to the lying Zionist “left racist anti-semitism” propaganda after Pittsburgh shooting tragedy reflects more PC cravenness and retreat. Leninism urgently needs building
Brazil’s “election” of fascist-lauding Jair Bolsonaro as president, the Pittsburgh synagogue killings, Western hypocrisy on Saudi war massacres and murder thuggery, and Brexit and Euro-jingoism are all facets of rapidly deepening degeneracy in monopoly capitalism as its Catastrophic crisis bites ever deeper.
They also expose the utter hopelessness and uselessness of the fake-“left” still refusing to see or explain the terminal collapse of the capitalist system and its revolutionary significance.
And this will continue whether or not a “democratic backlash” after the American mid-term elections can hobble the Trumpite White House, the leading element of the world slide into a new fascist warmongering degeneracy.
Almost certainly it will not, as the evidence from stepped up Trump anti-“liberal” press rabble-rousing and legal sackings and suppression are already showing.
Not could the ruling class allow it to do so.
If the Trumpite Pentagon-and-Pentecostal-fanatic White House is “reined in”, it will only speed up the trampling over of “democratic norms” already underway.
In the teeth of the greatest ever crisis of its profit system, the desperate ruling class is necessarily showing its true face of ever increasing depravity, vicious repression, censorship, and outright fascist barbarism, abandoning even the pretence of “freedom and democracy” by which it fools most of the people most of the time (in the richer countries).
If they are to survive and hold on to their unprecedented privilege, wealth and power, (far, far beyond the wildest fantasies of Roman emperors and medieval monarchs), they have to brutally suppress the rising revolt of anti-imperialist and working class rebellion throughout the world (under the sick pretence of a “war on terror”).
The great “democracy” racket is becoming too expensive even for the rich countries now the crash is unfolding as fast as it is.
Behind the façade, US imperialism’s leading circles know that the world credit collapse of 2008 was just the beginning of the greatest economic and political meltdown in history, which could only ever be temporarily fended off by the insane Quantitative Easing printing (or electronic creation) of dollar trillions and bullying “shock and awe” blitzing threats for the rest of the world to take the burden.
That has already seen 20 years of savagery and devastation imposed on the Middle East and Ukraine by Goebbels lies and degenerate manipulation, and it will eventually erupt into World War, the only “solution” capitalism has ever had for the intractable and ever-more cataclysmic crises its private profit system brings.
Nothing will stop this plunge into both international war and domestic barbarity and repression except the total and complete revolutionary ending of the entire capitalist system.
That demands, more urgently than ever, the building of a revolutionary perspective and understanding in the working class, developing a Leninist party of trained revolutionaries to lead the gigantic class war struggles to come, which alone can overturn this rotten exploitation tyranny and establish firm working class control, under which a planned socialist cooperative world can be built, leading to the long term rational, peaceful communist future.
More and more this crisis directly confronts the masses everywhere with the harsh reality of the need to bring down and destroy this vile and foetid class rule, defeating its tyrannical exploitation, its grotesque and even growing unfairness and the increasingly demented savagery and irrationality it rules by.
But as this necessity grows ever sharper it casts a brighter light than ever on the cravenness, opportunism and anti-Marxist ignorance of the fake-“left” of all shades, from traditional class-collaborating trade-unionism/Labourism and its playacting “left” props (Sanders in the US, Corbyinism etc) to the assorted pretend revolutionaries of both the revisionist and bilious Trotskyist flavours, most riding on its back.
Instead of recognising the depths of the crisis and the weakness of the ruling class behind its viciousness (exactly as the Nazis expressed the weakness and collapse of capitalist rule in the Great Depression of the 1930s), the “lefts” continue their long retreat from the class war science of revolution (if they ever came near it at all) into diversionary and reactionary “identity” politics (feminism, LGBT rights, moralising “anti-racist” tokenism), continued opportunist parliamentary “democratic paths”, or the pious and useless “No to War” social-pacifism of the revisionists
It has and will reap tragic results across the world as the ruling class deliberately stokes up chauvinist backwardness and scapegoating, preparing for war like that already in the Middle East.
And the savagery will grow ever more degenerate the more the ruling class feels that its grip and control of the world, and the easy living it brings, is slipping out of its fingers.
The crude bluster and outright bullying by the Trumpites grows more and more like the ranting and raving of the Hitlerites in Germany in the 1930s, whipping up a civil war atmosphere which will slide into far nastier hate frenzy yet.
But still the “lefts” do not break from their reformist and “democracy” perspectives, even as their noses are rubbed in the obvious turn to repression, populist hate mongering and crude jingoism - Nazism with an American flavour.
Firstly, the desperate hopes of the “liberal” middle class are being trodden allover.
The result has been completely stitched up by the usual mixture of stampeded populism and gerrymandered election fixing, as even the bourgeois press has complained:
The American right is in the midst of a formidable project: installing permanent minority rule, guaranteeing control of the government even as the number of actual human beings who support their political program dwindles.
Voter suppression is one, but only one, loathsome tactic in this effort, which goes far beyond just winning one election. Minority rule is the result of interlocking and mutually reinforcing strategies which must be understood together to understand the full picture of what the American right wants to achieve.
Examples are everywhere. Take North Dakota. In 2012, Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, won a surprise victory in a Senate race by just 2,994 votes. Her two largest county wins were in the Standing Rock and Turtle Mountain Reservations, where she won more than 80% of the vote. Her overall vote margin in counties containing Native reservations was more than 4,500 votes.
Observing that Heitkamp literally owed her seat to Native voters, North Dakota’s Republican legislature enacted a voter ID law that requires voters to present identification showing their name, birth date and residential address. There’s the rub: many Native voters do not have traditional residential addresses, so this law effectively disenfranchises them.
Or take Georgia, where the Republican nominee for governor, Brian Kemp, is the secretary of state and in that capacity has placed more than 50,000 voter registrations on hold, many from urban areas with high black populations. That is in keeping with Kemp’s privately expressed “concern” that high voter turnout will favor his opponent – Stacey Abrams, running strongly to be the first black female governor in US history.
Exacerbating voter suppression is the ongoing partisan gerrymandering effort – the redrawing of electoral maps to favor one party over another. After the 2010 census, the Wisconsin legislature (controlled by Republicans) drew a map for the state’s legislative districts explicitly designed to ensure they would retain control of the legislature even if they received a minority of votes. It worked: in 2012, despite receiving only 48.6% of the vote, they won 60 of 99 seats. Democrats won an outright majority of votes cast but secured just 39 seats.
To this, Wisconsin added a voter ID requirement designed to make it harder to vote at all. Voilà: voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election was the lowest since 2000 and Donald Trump carried the state. (To be sure, there were other factors at work.) The combined, national effect of partisan gerrymandering is such that in the 2018 midterms, the Democrats might win the popular vote by 10 points and still not control the House.
Legislative maps designed to promote minority rule plus voter suppression of the constituencies opposed to it is a potent combination. And there’s more.
The two most recent Republican presidents have entered office despite receiving fewer votes than their opponent in a national election, thanks to the electoral college, which systematically over-represents small states. (California gets one electoral vote per 712,000 people; Wyoming gets one per 195,000.) With the presidency in hand in the run-up to the 2020 census, minority rule will be further entrenched by adding a citizenship question to the census. This will result in systematic undercounting of the population in heavily Democratic areas, which will in turn further reduce their influence as legislatures draw maps based on the data.
Then there’s the Senate. Because of its bias toward smaller, rural states, a resident of Wyoming has 66 times the voting power in Senate elections as one in California. Thus, in 2016, the Democratic party got 51.4 million votes for its Senate candidates. The Republicans got 40 million. And despite losing by more than 11 million votes, the Republicans won a supermajority (22 of 36) of the seats up for election, holding their majority in the chamber.
The hideously malapportioned Senate and electoral college permit the last piece of the minority rule puzzle to snap into place: the supreme court. In 2016, after losing the contest for the presidency and the Senate by millions of votes, the Republicans were able to install two supreme court justices. There may be more.
In fact, when the Senate confirmed Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, it was a watershed moment in American history. For the first time, a president who lost the popular vote had a supreme court nominee confirmed by senators who received fewer votes – nearly 22 million fewer – than the senators that voted against him. And by now, it will not surprise you to discover that the senators who voted for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh represent 38 million fewer people than the ones who voted no.
With the supreme court in hand, all those other tactics – partisan gerrymandering, voter ID and the rest – are protected from the only institution that could really threaten them. But it doesn’t stop there. The supreme court can be used to do more than approve the minority rule laws that come before it. It can further the project on its own.
In 2015, the court came within one vote of holding that independent redistricting commissions (which reduce partisan gerrymandering) are actually unconstitutional. The swing vote in that case, Anthony Kennedy, is gone. And the court in 2013 famously invalidated a major portion of the Voting Rights Act which put checks on voter-suppression efforts of the kind now taking place all over the country.
Taken together, this is a powerful set of tools. Draw maps that let you win even when you lose. Use the resulting power to enact measures to suppress the vote of the other side further. Count on a minority rule president to undercount your opponents in the census, and a minority-rule Senate to confirm justices who will strike down any obstacles to the plan.
With the deck this stacked, it isn’t enough to win. Wresting control back from the entrenched minority will take overwhelming victory. It may take, in other words, a genuine political revolution.
Ian Samuel is Associate Professor of Law at Indiana University Bloomington’s Maurer School of Law.
Democrats, who retook the House of Representatives and snatched several governorships from the grip of Republicans, were left questioning why [they] suffered setbacks...from picking up even more seats and, perhaps most consequentially, left the US Senate in Republican hands.
Among the most eye-catching was a statistic showing Democrats led Republicans by more than 12 million votes in Senate races, and yet still suffered losses on the night and failed to win a majority of seats in the chamber.
The obvious discrepancy between votes cast and seats won renewed some frustration on the left with an electoral system they complained gives an advantage to conservative-leaning states.
But constitutional law experts said more pressing concerns for Democrats could be found in a combination of gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics that might have prevented them from winning an even larger majority in the House and some key statewide elections.
“The rise of minority rule in America is now unmistakable,” said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University.
“Especially with a sitting president who won a majority in the electoral college [in 2016] while receiving roughly 3m fewer votes than his opponent, and a supreme court five of whose nine justices were nominated by Republican presidents who collectively received fewer popular votes than their Democratic opponents and were confirmed by Senates similarly skewed.”
According to the latest data, Democrats won the House popular vote by about seven percentage points in Tuesday night’s midterms.
They picked up 29 Republican-held seats in the House, while losing two of their own incumbents, resulting in a net gain of 27 seats. Republicans meanwhile won a larger majority in the Senate, picking up at least two seats as a handful of vulnerable Democrats faced defeat.
The mixed result undermined Democratic hopes of a blue wave in an election billed as a referendum on Donald Trump and his presidency. In the 2010 midterms, by contrast, Republicans stormed into control of the House with a haul of 63 seats.
But the latter was the result of partisan gerrymandering, which saw Republican-controlled state legislatures redraw congressional districts to favor the party in what conservative architects dubbed as Redmap, short for the Redistricting Majority Project.
To which the only response can be “well duh! - why having you been pumping out this ‘democratic path to socialism’ garbage for all these years, leading the working class up the garden path (and onto the guns) time after time”?
Was the experience of Allende-ism not enough after the 1973 CIA coordinated Pinochet coup drowned the “first ever elected socialist government” in blood and torture in Chile?
The butchering of between one and three million Indonesians in 1965?
Or two dozen other coups and overthrows more or less openly coordinated by the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, a clutch of cynically organised “colour revolutions” with their shallow “Freedom” paid-for placards, and the suppression ending of the Arab Spring mass street revolt by bloody military coup in 2013, ending the shortlived “granting of democracy” to the long tortured and dictatorially dominated Egyptians?
And has it not anyway been clearly and scientifically understood for a century and a half, all the way back to Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and further proven and elaborated by Lenin’s Bolsheviks:
Engels replies: “The democratic republic officially knows nothing any more of property distinctions [between citizens]. In it, wealth exercises its power indirectly, but all the more surely. On the one hand, in the form of the direct corruption of officials, of which America provides the classical example; on the other hand, in the form of an alliance between government and stock exchange ....”
There you have an excellent example of economic analysis on the question of the “achievability” of democracy under capitalism. And the “achievability” of self-determination under imperialism is part of that question.
The democratic republic “logically” contradicts capitalism, because “officially” it puts the rich and the poor on an equal footing. That is a contradiction between the economic system and the political superstructure. There is the same contradiction between imperialism and the republic, deepened or aggravated by the fact that the change-over from free competition to monopoly makes the realisation of political freedoms even more “difficult”.
How, then, is capitalism reconciled with democracy? By indirect implementation of the omnipotence of capital. There are two economic means for that: (1) direct bribery; (2) alliance of government and stock exchange. (That is stated in our theses - under a bourgeois system finance capital “can freely bribe and buy any government and any official”.)
Once we have the dominance of commodity production, of the bourgeoisie, of the power of money - bribery (direct or through the stock exchange) is “achievable” under any form of government and under any kind of democracy.
What, it can be asked, is altered in this respect when capitalism gives way to imperialism, i.e., when pre-monopoly capitalism is replaced by monopoly capitalism?
Only that the power of the stock exchange increases. For finance capital is industrial capital at its highest, monopoly level which has merged with banking capital. The big banks merge with and absorb the stock exchange. (The literature on imperialism speaks of the declining role of the stock exchange, but only in the sense that every giant bank is itself virtually a stock exchange.)
Further. If “wealth” in general is fully capable of achieving domination over any democratic republic by bribery and through the stock exchange, then how can Kievsky maintain, without lapsing into a very curious “logical contradiction”, that the immense wealth of the trusts and the banks, which have thousands of millions at their command, cannot “achieve” the domination of finance capital over a foreign, i.e., politically independent, republic??
Well? Bribery of officials is “unachievable” in a foreign state? Or the “alliance of government and stock exchange” applies only to one’s own government?
The same applies to the democratic republic: our programme defines it as “government by the people”, though all Social-Democrats know perfectly well that under capitalism, even in the most democratic republic, there is bound to be bribery of officials by the bourgeoisie and an alliance of stock exchange and the government. A CARICATURE OF MARXISM Oct. 1916
The learned Mr. Kautsky has “forgotten” - accidentally forgotten, probably - a “trifle”, namely, that the ruling party in a bourgeois democracy extends the protection of the minority only to another bourgeois party, while the proletariat, on all serious, profound and fundamental issues, gets martial law or pogroms, instead of the “protection of the minority”. The more highly developed a democracy is, the more imminent are pogroms or civil war in connection with any profound political divergence which is dangerous to the bourgeoisie. The learned Mr. Kautsky could have studied this “law” of bourgeois democracy in connection with the Dreyfus - case in republican France, with the lynching of Negroes and internationalists in the democratic republic of America, with the case of Ireland and Ulster in ‘democratic’ Britain, with the baiting of the Bolsheviks and the staging of pogroms against them in April 1917 in the democratic republic of Russia. I have purposely chosen examples not only from wartime but also from pre-war time, peace-time. But mealy-mouthed Mr. Kautsky prefers to shut his eyes to these facts of the twentieth century, and instead, to tell the workers wonderfully new, remarkably interesting, unusually edifying and incredibly important things about the Whigs and Tories of the eighteenth century!
Take the bourgeois parliament. Can it be that the learned Kautsky has never heard that the more highly democracy is developed, the more the bourgeois parliaments are subjected by the stock exchange and the bankers? This does not mean that we must not make use of bourgeois parliament (the Bolsheviks made better use of it than probably any other party in the world, for in 1912-14 we won the entire workers’ curia in the Fourth Duma). But it does mean that only a liberal can forget the historical limitations and conventional nature of the bourgeois parliamentary system as Kautsky does. Even in the most democratic bourgeois state the oppressed people at every step encounter the crying contradiction between the formal equality proclaimed by the “democracy” of the capitalists and the thousands of real limitations and subterfuges which turn the proletarians into wage-slaves. It is precisely this contradiction that is opening the eyes of the people to the rottenness, mendacity, and hypocrisy of capitalism. It is this contradiction that the agitators and propagandists of socialism are constantly exposing to the people, in order to prepare them for revolution! And now that the era of revolution has begun, Kautsky turns his back upon it and begins to extol the charms of moribund bourgeois democracy.
PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION AND RENEGADE KAUTSKY
But secondly, even if the Democrats had won all the seats they deserved, what difference would it make???
They run the same system and the same wars and repression anyway.
The Obama White House was simply a PC feint, to give a breathing space after the Bushite failures at home and abroad, poleaxed by the resistance they had run into in Afghanistan and Iraq after trying to “shock and awe” the world back into a “New American Century” of unquestioned world dominance, and then by the emergence in full of the economic Catastrophe they had known was coming (and were trying to pre-empt with American world intimidation).
Obamaism might have been concealed behind a pretence of social advance through, first, black civil rights and to some extent feminism, and then in the 2012 election using the issue of “gay marriage” to replace the “identity” votes already disillusioned by the lack of change in the first term.
But its real agenda was to rescue capitalism from the credit collapse (printing money) and salvage the war-shattered presidential authority at home, near collapse in 2008 after its defeats.
Despite pulling back some troops hammered by the quagmire in Iraq to ease off the war weariness domestically, it even escalated the drone warfare, and stepped up coup making and interventions, (Paraguay and Honduras coups (2009); the Libyan NATO invasion (2011) (with the memorable tinkling laughter by Hilary Clinton as Muammar Gaddafi was buggered to death with a steel blade); CIA and “NGO” subversion and overthrow of the Ukrainian government through sponsored outright Nazi forces and hidden snipers; continuing and escalating the pointless and deadly still-continuing Afghanistan revenge war; organising the CIA-Zionist toppling of the newly installed Muslim Brotherhood presidency, trampling over Egypt’s new democracy “granted” after the overthrow of 30 years of Saddat and Mubarak Zionist collaborating dictatorship and funding their even-more-brutal replacement, General Sisi (with John Kerry flying in to reinstate US $billion aid funds); triggering and funding the Syrian “revolt” to set in train horrific sectarian civil war, (and then bombing the ISIS blowback too in Syria and stooge-run Iraq); sponsoring the violent demonstrations by counter-revolutionaries in Venezuela and beginning diplomatic strangulation; ratcheting up the anti-European trade war and hostility to China and Russia etc etc,etc).
Obama-ism did nothing in other words to change American warmongering, keeping it bubbling on the backburner only because a respite was needed from the endless stream of bodybags and dollar outpourings, but treading the same imperialist crisis path.
To declare that “at least it was better than fascism”, or “at least Trump can be contained” is to miss the point entirely.
The entire imperialist system is dragging the world into a mælstrom of reaction, Slump despair and war destruction.
Imperialism itself is on the fascist path and is going there whether or not it uses any special theatricality such as 1930s shiny jackboots and Romanesque triumphal parades.
Reviving the particular Hitler form (which all the mechanical and undialectical thinking of the “lefts” gets hooked on as “the definition of fascism”) is unrepeatable as such anyway because the world has learned that lesson, and though Trump is playing with American white-supremacist versions, it has a new character now.
But the “left” is still in thrall to the idea that “Nazism is something different” to be stopped in itself, instead of being a symptom of the overall degeneracy of capitalism (which dragged everyone into horrific WW1 a century ago without any special forms, and with the vast bulk of the then “left” cheering it on and voting for it through parliament, against the tiny voice of Lenin’s Bolsheviks and a couple of other small parties in Serbia and Hungary).
By all means anti-fascist demonstrations can be celebrated if they prevent rightwing bigotry from marching, as the SWP-led campaign did in Liverpool last weekend, but if that reinforces illusions in “democratic system” reformism and bolsters Labourism, it can do as much damage as good by creating further confusion about the historical period of crisis and the need to end the entire capitalist system.
Confusion about “fascism” being an aberration emerges too in the “left” responses to the stitched-up Brazilian election and the grotesque judicial coup manipulations which have suppressed its Workers Party and now see an out-and-out advocate of class war violence and military coup in place. And while George Galloway’s parliamentary opportunism is derided by much of the “left” they still more or less go along with this kind of deliberately belittling commentary:
But what the Bolsonaro victory shows is not so much the strength of far-right ideas as the weakness of the left.
First, though, a word about fascism.
It has become in vogue for left wing people to brand everyone to the right of them ‘a fascist’. This is not just wrong it is entirely self-defeating. As the famous ‘Boy who cried Wolf’ found out, it can end up with one being eaten when folks conclude that if everybody is a fascist then, for practical purposes, nobody is.
Ontology is important.
Some fools describe Theresa May as a fascist, and think Britain lives under a fascist government. Others (with a little more justification) think Donald Trump is a fascist. Neither are of course – both could, may well be brought down by the existing institutions of the Bourgeois state even before they are forced to go to the universal adult suffrage of scheduled elections.
Neither, yet at any rate, is the new president of Brazil a fascist. Having hateful opinions about gays – he’d rather his son was dead than gay, or vile views on women does not make him a fascist. Actually it makes him, like Trump, a vulgar knuckle dragging reactionary. It does not make Brazil 2018 a replica of Chile in 1973. Bolsonaro is not Pinochet. Not yet.
The president-elect IS a nostalgist for the former, actual, fascist military rule in Brazil in which mass murder, torture, ethnic cleansing, environmental disaster and white-supremacy were the rules. But that doesn’t mean he will, or can return to dictatorship even if he’d like to.
Moreover a substantial number of poor, black and minority ethnic voters cast their ballots for him and against the Workers Party (PT) which on paper defended them.
As Bill Shankly, the legendary Liverpool football manager, once said “football isn’t played on paper, it’s played on grass.”
On grass, the record of the PT was found wanting by the nation’s poorest and a section of the working class, thus the defeat.
And as fear of the right grew, Fernando Haddad, the PT candidate shifted – to the right!
Fear of crime – the kind of crime that’s in voters faces, climbing through their windows as opposed to white-collar grand larceny – was a major driver. A left-wing movement, especially when it holds state power, which cannot protect its people from such crime, as the Bolsheviks did, as the Cuban revolution did, as the Irish Republicans did, will not retain support for long no matter how red their flags.
A left-wing movement which accepts neo-liberal orthodoxies of austerity and which fails to dramatically redistribute wealth to the masses, and in a country like Brazil which does not mobilize, even militarize, the advanced sections of the workers in defense of an actual (as opposed to a rhetorical) transformation will be overthrown. And they have been.
More than 30 years ago I lent the then impoverished Brazilian trade union leader Lula the grand sum of $200. It was a fine investment. As the heroic leader of what became the PT government of Brazil Lula had the right stuff. Despite disadvantageous changes to the international balance of forces he became the undefeatable leader of a working class, ethnic minority, lower middle class coalition. Which is why they came for him on trumped-up corruption charges – rather than politics – without the slightest basis in truth.
That was the moment when the movement if it had been armed with the wherewithal should have made its stand. Instead a long dance to defeat took place, accepting the legitimacy of fascist-era courts, bent policemen and an oligarchy parliament, all of them the enemies of the workers and their party.
Ironically if this legitimacy had been contested it would, even if it had failed, have ineluctably led to a boycott of last weekend’s farce once the candidacy of Lula had been judicially murdered by the courts. In those circumstances Bolsonaro wouldn’t have even been the candidate of the right, the oligarchy wouldn’t have needed such an ugly brute.
It may be that Bolsonaro will turn out to be “merely” a “business-friendly” deforesting bigot of no great lasting historical moment. On the other hand, the left in Brazil urgently need to start preparing themselves to fight him in the case he turns out to be more Pinochet than Populist.
Such a masterwork in slippery ducking and diving, and deliberate hyperbole (over May etc), is typical not just for the oratorically clever Galloway but the entire fake-“left” now covering its tracks as imperialism attempts to bring not just Brazil but the whole of Latin America back under the cosh of yes, fascism, after two decades of the world being told that a new model of progress through peaceful struggle and parliament was available, rather than all that “old hat” Marxism stuff about class dictatorship.
At the heart has been the Chávez led Venezuelans, upheld as the example for all of Latin America and in fact the whole world to follow, with much lauding and uncritical celebration across the board.
But if Bolsonaro is not yet a Pinochet, then it is only because imperialism either sees no need yet, or is fearful of the potentially revolutionary responses it might trigger, despite the “weakness of the left” which Galloway decries.
But anyway where was his voice, or any of the other “left” throughout this time, or even now, still declaring that “existing institutions of the bourgeois state” will rein things in – presumably including George’s own careerist participation in said bodies.
The “existing institutions” have done exactly the opposite, falsely imprisoning and impeaching Lula and Dilma Roussef. They elected Hitler! What giant misrepresentation!
“Ontology” is not the point, telling the truth is.
As for the left “holding state power”, it is the entire question slid past here, achievable only by revolution, by class war to overturn the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
That is the last thing George is going to talk about despite some “fiery” phrasing about being “armed with the wherewithal to make a stand”.
The “wherewithal” is the point all the “left” has evaded while extolling the “Bolivarian revolution” which has not yet made a revolution in any Marxist sense of overturning, dispossessing and firmly suppressing the bourgeois class.
Tragically that evasion includes the advice from the otherwise heroic workers state of Cuba itself, where leadership brains addled by decades of Moscow revisionist influence are still insisting there is a “peaceful” path forwards, and persuading groups like FARC in Colombia to abandon their long running armed struggle.
It is revolutionary theory workers need to be armed with and, with that leadership, the organisation of the working class at the grass roots - particularly now in armed self-defence squads or militias and Committees for the Defence of the Revolution where possible, such as in Caracas or Managua.
The long retreat from Leninism is the “weakness of the left” that needs to be addressed and that was as much the responsibility of the posturing by Lula’s reformism as it is of any subsequent PT leadership, who should anyway have been trained and developed by Lula in the first place.
Small wonder Galloway’s advice for the Brazilians gets “star speaker” status with the fake-“left” saturated support campaigns like Venezuelan Solidarity, when Leninist voices trying to raise the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat are censored or denounced as “telling other people what to do”.
Presumably Galloway is excluded, although Lenin’s many analytical contributions on world politics (virtually all of over 40 volumes of astoundingly sharp insights) would have been declared “arrogant interfering”?
Other bourgeois commentaries are less slippery, though as usual rolling out the usual “mismanagement” shallowness for “left failures” rather than blaming the impositions of imperialist crisis and deliberate sabotage:
Brazil’s voters appear to have followed a trend evident in embattled democracies around the world, swapping the politics of hope for “anti-politics” – the politics of anger, rejection and despair.
For eight years, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s jailed former president and founder of the Workers’ party (PT), pledged to enact radical change through sweeping social reforms. But like Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto, and many American and European politicians of left and right who also promised a rosier future, Lula failed to deliver...
According to pre-election polls, 25% of those who backed Bolsonaro did so not because they admired him or his policies, but out of determination to punish the PT for years of misrule. This angry mood, comparable to “throw the bums out” sentiments in recent US elections, presented the PT’s new standard-bearer, Fernando Haddad, with an uphill battle.
It was no longer a question of left or right, more a wholesale rejection of politics-as-usual.
Bolsonaro’s candidacy benefitted from another trending electoral phenomenon: a preference among voters for a political outsider or maverick “disrupter” who challenges the status quo. Donald Trump was the quintessential “none-of-the-above” candidate in the US in 2016. As with Trump, many voters did not really like Bolsonaro. But they preferred him to any “establishment” figure.
Parallels have been drawn between Bolsonaro and Mexico’s leftwing president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Their political outlook is profoundly different. But as analyst Moises Naim noted, “both have crafted a persona as outsiders, as radical voices largely excluded by the ruling political elites”.
...Anxious to believe his claims to be on their side, many alienated voters also ignored, or forgave, Bolsonaro’s misogynistic, homophobic views and his attachment to violent solutions. A parallel can be found in the Philippines, where an arch-disrupter, Rodrigo Duterte, was elected in 2016 on a promise to eliminate drug dealers. This turned out to mean death squads.
Bolsonaro’s pledges to re-establish law and order and eradicate corruption, by any means, echoed the concerns of voters everywhere who, fearful for their security and under siege economically, feel trapped and betrayed by past government failures, broken promises and bureaucracy...
Brazil’s election provided evidence, to add to that from other countries, that at times of severe stress – Brazil is suffering a severe recession and record crime rates – the decisive importance of “identity politics”, defined by gender, race and sexual orientation, can be over-estimated.
Despite his objectionable views, Bolsonaro’s estimated support among women voters was as strong, or stronger, than Haddad’s. Some black and gay voters also backed him, saying other issues mattered more. His advocacy of “traditional family values”, including religious faith, went down well with voters for whom such issues are key determinants.
About 85% of Brazilians identify themselves as Christians while the number belonging to evangelical denominations has grown rapidly in recent years. Many such voters appeared responsive to Bolsonaro’s messages about moral and social standards – concerns that secular political elites tend to overlook...
Brazil’s election replicated familiar nationalist-populist themes with which voters from the US to Europe to Brexit Britain can readily identify. But Bolsonaro’s intolerant, aggressive political brand sets him apart. Here was no rightwing populist, in the style of Argentina’s Carlos Menem or Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, but a neo-fascist more closely resembling Goebbels, said author Federico Finchelstein.
The “misrule” cliché is obviously the usual petty bourgeois sneering way of blaming the left for the impossibility of solving the crisis within the capitalist framework (which “mismanaged” the entire world finance system to the point of collapse). But then it is down to the “left” which precisely failed to explain just that to workers for fear of the revolutionary conclusions it has to lead to.
An interesting aspect of the story lies in highlighting the ineffectuality of “identity politics” – the diversionary single-issue reformism which for decades the fake-“left” has adopted from petty bourgeois feminism, black nationalism, LGBT “rights” etc to cover over its retreat from class struggle and the inevitable revolutionary questions that raises.
Even where these single-issue campaigns have highlighted the real crudities and injustices created by capitalism’s layers of double and multiple oppression of various groups, their campaigns have been easily accommodated by capitalism or even used by it for divide and rule purposes, and have never been “steps towards socialism”.
Without being subordinate to the overall class struggle to end capitalism they can serve as distractions at best which belittle and push to one side the revolutionary issue, and usually fragment it, weakening the struggle for communism, the only form of society that can end inequality and give everyone the chance to develop fully.
At worst the subjective special pleading and idealist notions in all single issue politics become completely reactionary, hostile to revolutionary communist understanding and increasingly hostile to each other in a cycle of splintered groupings and “intersectionality” bitterness, blaming others not in the particular “oppressed” grouping for their problems, most of all notable in feminism’s blaming of men in general.
Declarations about “feeling” oppressed become the basis for alleging “oppression” and for witchhunting and evidence free public shaming and destruction of careers, as clear from the excesses of the “#metoo” movement; alongside, all attempts to debate and understand the issues objectively are denounced, leading to censorship and suppression of scientific inquiry through “no platforming”, refusal to print articles, or accusations of “misogyny” or “homophobia” to whip up public hostility against anyone not fully accepting of their assertions.
This blockage prevents any attempts to examine such questions objectively.
This is particularly an issue over questions such as “date-rape” and over the assertions that “gay is normal and just a lifestyle choice” which many societies and sections of the Western societies do not necessarily accept, particularly around matters such as child rearing, adoption and “gay marriage”.
It is also an issue around Politically Correct sensitivities blocking lines of inquiry when various societal problems emerge, such as the “grooming rings” in Rotherham and many questions about male-on-male child and adolescent abuse in children’s homes, the British establishment, the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts etc,
The extremes of this subjective infighting have also seen the astonishing sight of feminist, gay and “trans” factions at each others’ throats over matters such as women’s toilets and prison, where conflicts reach levels of absurdity which benefit only the ruling class, standing back and watching the divisions while the real objective class exploitation basis of all oppression is lost sight of.
Refusal to confront these questions, and the use of the political moralising which surrounds such single-issues as a way to block political debate then plays into the hands of the right-wing.
It is the failure to give a revolutionary lead which is exposed.
As is clear from Brazil, frustration with such evasions by the “left” takes a double form in both a reaction against the PC dogmatism itself, and at the use of such issues by the “left” to drown out the great fundamental questions of class exploitation, allowing the pretences by the Trumps and Bolsanaros to be “tearing up stifling old politics” (when they are simply defending the same system) to make some headway.
One form of PCism particularly debilitating for anti-imperialist and class understanding has been around the “anti-semitism” question where the “left” has retreated before the aggressive CIA/Zionist campaign to paint all hostility and resistance to the vile fascist-colonialist occupation of Palestine as “racism”, and similarly, the spillover hostility to the Jewish freemasonry throughout the West which supports the monstrous landtheft existence of “Israel” (bar a very insignificant minority).
In their desperation to maintain their PC “anti-racist” credentials the Labourites and much of the fake-“left” have capitulated to the deranged notion that there is such a thing as “left” anti-semitism, one of the most offensive and nonsensical propaganda onslaughts yet, and itself pure fascist black propaganda.
Its lying assertion that growing worldwide sympathy for the genocidally oppressed Palestinians is nothing but “racism in disguise” has grown louder and more absurd as the Zionist outrages against, and endless blitzing of, this hapless people’s benighted existence constantly intensifies, particularly against the dogged population trapped in the concentration camp concrete hellhole of the Gaza strip, under inhumane siege conditions of blockade and deprivation, punctuated by shellings, bombings, strafing, and drone attacks, as well as the now weekly turkey shoot slaughter of the unarmed protestors at the perimeter fence, deliberately maiming and killings thousands with illegal dum-dum bullets.
Washington goes along with the grotesque fascist charade because it suits its own world domination purposes and particularly over the strategically vital and increasingly rebellious Arab world, using the fanatical Zionist settler occupation as its spearhead in the Middle East to not only maintain its control but now to escalate the belligerent threats against Iran (and Russia), prelude to further the inevitable escalation of war to come as crisis deepens.
Zionism’s self-righteous pretence that they are simply trying to live a peaceful life but are constantly beset by “vicious terrorists” and world wide “hatred of the Jews” is the same Goebbels big lie rubbish that informs Washington’s “war on terror” and the “might is right” domination of centuries of imperialism.
They are beset by the inevitable, never-ending and increasingly determined resistance of the people whose land they stole by terrorising massacres, ethnic cleansing and non-stop butchery and repression ever since (see EPSR Book Vol 20 Occupied Palestine, Nazi Zionism, crisis and war.)
The legacy of some lumpen anti-semitism persisting in the world, left over from historic feudal anti-semitic persecution and its grotesque mass mechanised slaughter use by German Nazi-imperialism in the course of WW2 (along with scapegoating of Roma gypsies, homosexuals, mentally subnormal people, and above all communists and trade unionists) changes nothing.
If reactionary anti-semitism persists in the deranged minority of Nazi sympathisers within capitalism, then it is only yet another black mark against capitalism itself, particularly since it is being deliberately stirred up recently by the alt-right neo-Nazi atmosphere, consciously inflamed in Europe and around Trumpism.
But that has got nothing to do with the worldwide hatred of Zionism and the imperialist warmongering which backs it.
Attempts by the Jewish freemasonry to bolster its case by finding a few isolated (allegedly) backward Twitter comments from one or two Labour members, or more cynically still to whip up a hate-victim atmosphere in the wake of the tragic killings at the Pittsburgh synagogue, only underline the hypocrisy of the whole campaign.
Finding a few poisonous comments (if such they were, itself in doubt in some cases) on Twitter by a handful of Labour members out of half a million, after months of deliberate and highly selective hunting, changes nothing – proving only that vetting procedures cannot pick up everyone, least of all potential provocateurs, and in a party that is anyway thoroughly bourgeois, and a “broad church” at that, which has only and will only ever run capitalism for and on behalf of the ruling class.
Declaring the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings to be proof of a “new wave of racist anti-semitism” is an even grosser propaganda trick, the more so given the real tragedy it twistedly makes use of.
In the weeks around the Pittsburgh attack there have been possibly half a dozen other incidents of lone gunmen running berserk in America, including the Californian country music club shootings this week or these:
In just one week, no less than three far-right terrorist attacks have made the news... on Friday, the man suspected of sending more than a dozen pipe bombs to prominent critics of Donald Trump was arrested in Florida. The suspect had been driving around in a “Maga van” for months, the vehicle plastered with pictures of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, with the faces of some of their critics, including George Soros, in crosshairs.
Two days earlier, a white man had shot two black people in a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky. You probably haven’t even heard of this attack, which is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The man first tried to enter the First Baptist church of Jeffersontown, a predominantly African American church, police said, but was thankfully unsuccessful because the church was locked down. According to a witness, after he succeeded in shooting black people the gunman told a white bystander: “Whites don’t kill whites.”
Over the last five years there have been dozens such as the 50 shot down at a gay club in Florida, or a similar number at a music festival in Las Vegas.
Another has just been recorded in Melbourne, Australia.
And not one of them was anti-Jewish.
In fact the Pittsburgh attack shows the very opposite to the Zionist propaganda; that the chaos and breakdown creating this mayhem is that of the alienation and antagonism of capitalist society itself, which the Zionist occupation is at the forefront in sustaining.
And if there is some lumpen anti-semitism, well the responsibility for that lies with the turn to deliberate Nazi crudity and “white supremacy” panic mongering among a fearful and ignorant population. It is not even clear if the killer in Pittsburgh was very clear either as reported by the (ironically) Jewish nurse who tended to him after the police shot him:
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Ari Mahler wrote: “So now, here I am, the Jewish nurse that cared for Robert Bowers.
Media outlets including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirmed the authenticity of the post and Mahler’s position as an emergency trauma room nurse.
Mahler did not directly address questions (of anti-semitism), writing of the “compassion” and “empathy” he tried to show the gunman.
“To be honest,” he wrote, “I didn’t see evil when I looked into Robert Bowers’ eyes. All I saw was a clear lack of depth, intelligence, and palpable amounts of confusion.”
He added that he thought Bowers “probably had no friends, was easily influenced by propaganda, and wanted attention on a sociopathic level. He’s the kind of person that is easily manipulated by people with a microphone, a platform, and use fear for motivation.”.
There are two sides to the hostility to Jews in the world, the backwardness of the white supremacists and the rising revolutionary feeling against the barbarities of Zionist “Israel”. And even the Jewish freemasonry concedes the point, albeit self-righteously denouncing both as “anti-semitism”:
This incident crystallises one of the differences between British and American antisemitism and demonstrates that not all antisemitism is the same. As British antisemitism engages Zionism and attacks Jews as a way to vilify the Jewish state, American antisemitism – which the suspect, Robert Bowers, embodies – is part of longer history of nativism, antisemitism and immigration in the United States.
In his identification of immigration as destroying the nation he loved, and his claim that “HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders that kill our people,” Bowers tapped into a tradition that linked antisemitism with nativism and the desire to limit immigration. Deploying fears of immigrants, Bowers gave voice to beliefs articulated a century ago, by men such as University of Wisconsin sociologist Edward Ross, who claimed that “the endeavor of the Jews [was] to control the immigration policy of the United States”. He argued that “new” immigrants from southern and eastern Europe should not be allowed into the nation as they could not “assimilate” into American society. Echoing other scholars and members of the Senate, Ross openly embraced eugenics when discussing the United States’ “immigration problem”.
But what is key about Ross’s influential work, which led to the US immigrant quota system, is that Ross artfully combined his antisemitism and his nativism in arguments when he disparaged “the literature that proves the blessings of immigration to all classes in America emanates from subtle Hebrew brains”.
Meanwhile, in Britain, Baroness Tonge was said to have implied that Israel was to blame for Bowers’ antisemitic hate crime. The reported statement was definitely antisemitic – blaming Jews for impossible crimes using contorted logic. But it is a different sort to America’s. No one in the UK has recently blamed Jews for embracing refugees or crafting immigration policy that would destroy the nation. Brexit and recent British nativism has had no antisemitic dimension in particular.
While, lately, everyone seems to be dividing antisemitism into a left (Zionism)/right (nativism) split, the shooting in Pittsburgh seems to suggest that there is now a Anglo/America divide. Certainly, the right and the left exist in both places, and share many features. But nativism in the UK and fears of Syrian refugees have not been blamed on Jews. Oppression of Palestinians by the state of Israel is blamed on Jews. And in America, despite endless discussions of the delegitimisation of Israel on university campuses, no one has been murdered in connection with Israel; instead, it was in connection with Jews being welcoming of “immigrant invaders”.
As the world grapples with one of the largest refugee crises in a century, alongside a surge of populist politics and nativist policies, it is important to recognise how antisemitism is being deployed on both sides of the Atlantic in ways that shape each nation, both above and below the left-right divide. The attack against Jews in Pittsburgh and the response to it in the UK highlights that antisemitism is constantly evolving to fit current debates about who belongs in the nation and Jews’ place in the world; it is an ideology with a long history and no static definition.
• Jaclyn Granick PhD is a junior research fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford and writing a book on Jewish humanitarianism. She lived in Pittsburgh from 2011 to 2014. Rebecca Kobrin PhD is Russell and Bettina Knapp associate professor of American Jewish History at Columbia University, New York
The monstrous denunciation of Jenny Tonge here only underlines the hypocritical blindness of the Jewish freemasonry, wanting to declare all opposition “anti-semitism” when all she had done was make the sound point that the barbarity of Netanyahu’s belligerence and oppression is bound to lead to hostility.
In a world without a clear scientific leadership some of the spontaneous worldwide hatred may take a crude form, indiscriminately directed against Jews in general.
But that is nothing to do with racism, even if the Jewish lobby continues to insist otherwise.
And how can it be solved anyway, any more than the generalised hatred of Westerners and particularly Americans growing throughout the oppressed Third World and erupting as “terrorism” and “jihadism”?? By more blitzing, torture and collective punishment????? It has only driven tens of thousands into the terrorist ranks, and will eventually produce full on revolutionary struggle once the painful contradictions of religious sectarianism and even reactionary ideologies are worked through.
It is yet another damning mark against the fake-“left” that they have grovellingly “apologised” for Baroness Tonge, with the Trot and revisionist lead in the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign immediately “agreeing to her standing down as a patron”.
Such grovelling is par for the course. What should be said is that while this time the attack came from another direction, her point remains valid.
It underlines the need for much better understanding and exposure of the entire revisionist and Trot spectrum of revolutionary pretenders.
The world needs Leninism.
Not surpringly the two sons of Brazil’s reactionary president Jair Bolsonaro are big fans of the Zionist state and its notorious military and intelligence agency
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