No 1560 19th July 2019
Tory Brexit Boris coup, to line up with racist nazi-Trump for the coming world crisis turmoil, shows a ruling class in terminal panic. Near civil war bitterness reflects desperation in a capitalist order staring at the greatest Catastrophe in history and inevitable revolt upheavals it knows workers will be driven to for sheer survival. But fake-“left” still says nothing about real revolutionary understanding to educate and lead the class war that alone can stop the plunge into WW3, monopoly capitalism’s only crisis “solution”, being deliberately fostered in the Gulf and elsewhere. It continues with the same anti-communist “democracy” delusions and petty PC single issue moralising that leaves it floundering. It is not only unable to counter the monstrous “left anti-Semitism” CIA/Zionist lies conspiracy to silence all opposition to the nazi-landtheft occupation of Palestine, – and to anti-imperialism in general – but actively colludes with this psychotic upside-down hate and censorship propaganda. Nor does it defend workers states and call out counter-revolutionary stunts like the CIA/MI6 Hong Kong “protests”. Leninism vital
The ruling class everywhere is in more confusion and uncertainty than ever as the world capitalist crisis deepens inexorably but the fake-”left” of all shades is still failing to give workers the lead they need to finally overturn it.
Conditions have never been more rotten ripe for the ending of this degenerate, corrupt, unequal, arrogant, racist and viciously exploitative system, heading for the rocks historically, and growing nastier by the second in its war threats and bullying.
But it cannot happen without the (re)development of Marxist revolutionary theory once more, fought for and spread by a purpose built party drawing in the most advanced workers, and above all countering the anti-communism (anti-Sovietism) that holds them back.
Only that scientific understanding can start to make sense of the dizzying confusion of domestic establishment infighting, international antagonisms, massacres and war provocations, grinding “austerity” and terrorist resistance underway.
It is vital, to prepare for and guide the working class through the confusions, fakery and opportunist misleadership in the coming eruptions of unstoppable class war that far deeper Slump collapse and warmongering will inevitably force it to take up, as the 2008 world banking meltdown returns (as it must do shortly, and far more devastatingly, with no escape this time through QE dollar printing and bank bailouts).
Already non-stop “jihadism” or “terrorism” or “insurgency”, (treacherously denounced by the “lefts”) has been erupting throughout the Third World, which for all its ideological backwardness and sometimes self-destructive sectarian confusion, – and even occasional episodic attempted manipulation by the West – mostly expresses a growing hatred of endless Western racist tyranny and barbaric neo-colonial exploitation.
The ferment is deepening in the “advanced” countries too, from the French gilets-jaunes to Black Lives Matter.
But all this upheaval, representing the early stages of universal breakdown and rebellion against the ever more intolerable conditions of worldwide “free market” monopoly profiteering, is crying out for the scientific perspective for the overturn of capitalism and the building of workers states for planned socialism in its place.
Nothing else can stop the collapse of this brutal, savage and increasingly destructive and degenerate system which has reached the end of its historical road.
Only communism can take the world forwards, finally giving every single human the chance for their full development, leaving not one behind.
Few places are more festeringly ready for such leadership than Britain, increasingly looking like the Marxist “weakest link”, at least among the major powers, as economic Catastrophe unravels and its ruling class is in utter turmoil.
It is kept upright almost only by faded empire jingoism and the class collaboration of TUC/Labourism (and its fake-“left” entryist props), still pumping out the “democracy” delusions, social pacifism and anti-communism.
These not only keep the working class away from revolutionary answers to ever deepening cuts, crime, impoverishment and homelessness, but leave them vulnerable to the desperate counter-revolutionary coups and crackdowns which are always a last resort for the system in crisis, (including such sinister manoeuvres as the current demented BIG LIE “left racist anti-semitism” CIA/Zionist conspiracy campaign against Corbynism - of which more below).
None of the “left” spells out for the working class the gigantic significance of this bourgeoisie in crisis, as the first great necessity for ending its long dominance by revolution (as identified by Lenin, along with the twin factor of the impossibility of the masses being able to continue living in the old way, and the conscious leadership to carry it through).
Yet the near civil war over “Brexit” by the bourgeoisie, (stupidly aped, one side or the other, by the hopeless “left”), has been a major and an astounding symptom of this weakness and loss of grip.
It shows a ruling order more split and raw with recriminations than at any time in its history, – save possibly the early 1930s onset of the Great Depression, – paralysed with indecision, industrial decline and a threatened finance sector, – and now humiliated by its “best friend ally” in the US trampling across its residual diplomatic pride.
For three years it has been agonising over where its best hope lies for surviving the coming Catastrophic collapse – in the EU monopoly bloc where it could try fend off the trade war onslaught from Japan, the USA and some other rising capitalist powers (India, the capitalist sector of China planned economy) or by running with the “traditional ally” in Washington and abandoning its links with Brussels, at enormous cost.
Decades of trying to tightrope walk between them, a permanent source of splits and hostility within the moribund and incapable British ruling class, now have to end because the breaking crisis no longer allows such a balancing act.
As the EPSR has explained (eg No 1549, 1553), the European market was formed after WW2 to provide some kind of shelter, as a bigger trading bloc, from the trade conflicts and competition from the rest of world capitalism, sustaining a market big enough to develop monopoly combines able compete with other giant world monopolies.
But Europe is increasingly a prime target for the intensifying trade war pressures from US imperialism, with Brussels declared by nazi “America First” Trumpism to be one of the main “enemies”.
And the British have been outcompeted even inside Europe anyway, so could only hope for a subsidiary status in the EU.
With US fascism
It looks increasingly likely that the fanciful “empire” wing of the bourgeoisie, saturated in throwback Dambusters delusions of past grandeur and reactionary Churchill nostalgia, has won out for the moment and British ruling class is to play craven sidekick to American imperialist bullying – even at the price of “eating crow” as the Americans like to gloat. The hope is that by acting as the dogsbody US stooge in the coming markets mayhem – the real meaning of “restoring sovereignty” - it can see out the turmoil of the Catastrophe they all know is unfolding, and remain at least partially intact.
Hence the willingness of at least some of the British establishment to crawl as far up the White House fundament as possible by backing up its international, fascist, sanctions bullying, trade war belligerence and increasingly hair-raising threats of all-out war, on selected victims like Iran currently and eventually against the whole world.
But the price for this arse-licking “deal” (as cartoonist Martin Rowson accurately depicts it) will be the complete opening up of what is left of the British economy to US corporate piracy, selling off or opening up the NHS (already seeing major privatisation plundering), swamping the vital agricultural sector, and buying anything else that remains (not much, after the decades of relatively desperate privatisation and firesales already begun with Thatcherism and carried on by the fatcat-loving Blairite “Labour” Party).
Along with that is the huge damage for many of the existing British-based industrial and financial interests in cutting loose from the European market and the long established and ever more important cross-border production, trade and technical arrangements created over the last five decades.
It may yet prove too much for the slightly more rational wing of bourgeoisie to tolerate, knowing the huge costs of this disruption, but they are suffering it for the moment (and could not save the UK economy even they stopped it leaving Europe).
Among their doubts is that sheltering behind an increasingly erratic US imperialism is the winning option anyway, let alone being worth such humiliation. Donald Trump’s sudden cold feet reversal over threatened “obliteration” for Iran; his attempts to “do a deal” with North Korea, after threatening “incineration”; and failure (so far) to carry through an onslaught on Venezuela and the thorn-in-the-side Latin American anti-Yanqee-ism, all show a ruling class in a blue funk about the potential backlash which has already toppled past presidencies like Bush (and the Obama-ites like Hillary Clinton).
As the hapless British Ambassador declared from Washington in his mysteriously leaked assessments of the White House regime as “chaotic, dysfunctional and nervous”, such hesitation was nothing to do with sudden “humanitarian concern” (!) for a few, (150!!), Iranians who would get killed – a drop in the ocean of massacred and butchered US imperialist victims over the last century, or even just currently in Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan, and even less set against three centuries of genocidal Western colonialism and slavery in general, wiping out entire nations by the dozen.
What it revealed was fear of defeat from the potential immediate unleashing of all-out war to pacify and control somewhere as large as Iran, three times at least the population of Iraq and Afghanistan together and with a record of anti-imperialist sentiment and fighting spirit to go with it (a fraud by the backward mullah leaders, but real enough across the near 90 million population).
The gigantic cost to the US in flag-draped coffins, war weariness and blown out finances which came just from the Iraq and Afghan wars and years of subsequent quagmire occupation resistance, would be dwarfed in the process.
So too the giveaway that far from promising a “prosperous, democratic and free world” unshackled from conflict and war, the capitalist system has not changed at all and offers nothing but torture, atrocity, destruction and nazi-brutality.
The rise in Middle East revolt, to the point of the revolutionary Arab Spring mass street upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, underlined the failure.
The childish lashing out and tantrum-throwing from Trump which lost the British US ambassador his job for making a few routine “diplomatic commentaries” - (no different from thousands of two-faced secret communications and behind-the-scenes conversations daily which make up the hidden class dictatorship plotting of bourgeois rule behind its parliamentary “democracy” hoodwinking) – only further confirmed this nervousness and instability.
Yet the US remains the giant power, still overwhelming in its military and even its financial might, and there is no doubt that the vast firepower of ever increasing US armaments could “obliterate” far bigger fish even than Iran (at least initially).
Such is the extent and depth of the great crash unfolding, that American topdog imperialism has no choice but to keep on its bullying path of trade war and belligerence if it is not to go down with just a whimper, and the entire monopoly capitalist order with it.
And no ruling class, let alone an entire system, ever willingly left the historical stage.
Truly horrifying world war is brewing and the US cannot pull back ultimately.
It is why Trump was put into place – this is not an accidental out-of-control maverick White House or “loose cannon” aberration, by implication an exception in an otherwise “reasonable” or “containable” democratic system (though he can be described so as well) but the necessary Mussolini fascist strut, American-style, to whip up the chauvinism and jingoistic hatred for a bankrupt system which has lost its once easily assumed superiority and world dominance.
And it has to be taken to extremes because there have already been two decades of setbacks for its path into “shock and awe” world intimidation, set going in full by the George W Bush presidency as the way for America remain on top by forcing the rest of the world to swallow the crisis and collapse, in a “New American Century”.
Now only unrestrained and ever cruder fascist jingoism and hate-fostering will suffice for the great inter-imperialist conflict and war which it needs and which is coming.
The British bourgeoisie has no such world presence remaining at all, its power and prestige long gone and most of its economy sold off or mortgaged. Its empty empire posturing “threats” around the world, against the Chinese workers state over Hong Kong with the latest sub-Tienanmen violent counter-revolutionary stunts, or in the ridiculous James Bond marine boarding of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar (itself a monstrous colonial anachronism of long-gone “British Empire”) continue but they draw only contempt.
So despite threats of “legal action” to stop a no-deal Brexit from ex-PM John Major and “parliamentary blockage” by others, even the dismayed pro-European wing of the bourgeoisie is largely going along with things, suppressing their doubts because they cannot think of anything better to head off the potential working class eruptions that will come.
The pretence is that it has to carry out “the will of the people” but that is a preposterous joke.
All “democracy” within the capitalist system has always been a gigantic fraud even at the height of boom times and before its endless betrayals, twisted manipulations, sellouts and hoodwinking had taught the working class the kind of cynical distrust which now – rightly – prevails in every major election, reducing turnouts to far less than half the adult population, and falling.
Plebiscites (referendums) are an even bigger racket, restricted to a single twistedly worded question for a single moment, with no context, asked of a population without the knowledge or information to give an answer anyway, and easily manipulated by press and advertising distortion and misdirection (to put it mildly). They suited the Nazis and Italian fascisti to the ground.
Now a ridiculous “electoral” coup is underway to install a joke-populist Brexiteer Tory as the next prime minister (as it did with Theresa May too), so desperately fearful is the ruling class that even the usual hoodwinking “democracy” racket cannot hold its rule together, and that even the usual “safe” B team of Labourism (which only ever “loyally” runs capitalism) could fail to keep the lid on rising working class hostility.
Every dirty trick in the book is being used to pull it off, including sabotaging the “sacrosanct” diplomatic service with leaks, to foster the Brexit cause.
This is taking the piss on an even grander scale than usual; as one historian worked out, it reduces the “electorate” to levels in early (still vibrant) capitalist rule when suffrage was limited to male property owners above a certain “civilised” earnings threshold.
It is a desperate throw by the ruling class, further showing-up its “democracy” lie.
The entire media has gone along with the whole pantomime, the airwaves filled with Tory propaganda and its routine swipes at the “danger of Corbynism” (almost the only mention even this most timid version of “leftism” now gets at all), with solemnly held glitzy TV “debates” for the public and with screeds of newspaper “analysis” about the “competition” in the Tory party, as if this stitch-up “choice” between two near identical reactionaries by a few thousand ossified and barely alive petty bourgeois voters, had anything to do with ordinary people and their increasingly desperate lives, hammered by savage and endless social welfare cuts, wage stagnation, blighted cities, homelessness and out-of-control drugs and crime.
So for the while it increasingly it looks as if the bourgeoisie will be bounced behind the Trumpite fascist belligerence, and despite its reluctance, more or less forced into joining its Gulf “protection coalition” alongside the nazi-Zionists and the killer-thug Saudi monarchy.
Both regional imperialist stooges are itching to precipitate a war on Iran and have been plotting with Washington for at least two years - forming an unholy holy alliance between fanatical Jewish Zionist aggression, the criminal thug-murderous Saudi royal “keepers of the Islamic holy places” and demented US fundamentalism, and even attempting to drag in the rightwing Christians in Lebanon by kidnapping the prime minister for a week last year.
But instead of seeing this desperation as the major opportunity to fight for Leninist perspectives, the “left” barely remarks it, except for a few complacently “sophisticated and knowing” comments about the details, pointlessly taking sides for example in the diversionary Brexit debate and without a word of warning about the devastating collapse to come; at best raising the issue of capitalist crisis in neutral and on-the-one-hand on-the-other, academic tones.
Most are bolstering up the same old parliamentary racket inside or out of Labour.
But the crisis, which the EPSR has long been warning of, in the teeth of petty bourgeois complacency and fake-“left” derision or cynical dismissal of “old hat Marxist Catastrophism”, is now so glaringly obvious that it even finds its way into some of the more thoughtful journalism in the bourgeois press:
Still, at some point this summer, a few yawningly prosaic points will intrude. Such as how our tousle-headed Nero hopes to govern with a working majority of just three MPs – and that’s counting on the support of the Democratic Unionists, who have proved to be the most unreliable partners since … well, Boris Johnson himself. How he plans to see off the vote of no confidence that Jeremy Corbyn is preparing to put down, and which may be backed by anywhere up to 30 Conservative backbenchers. How he will secure the passage of a Queen’s speech, given parliament has just sat for the longest session since the civil war because Theresa May couldn’t get one through.
However commanding his lead among Tory activists, Johnson is about to form the most fragile government seen in Britain for almost 50 years. What’s more, he’ll do so burdened with one huge problem that not even May had to face: a recession.
While at Westminster they dare not even whisper the word, City folk and economists are already discussing the prospect in tones of grim resignation. Speaking in Bournemouth last week, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned of a “sea change” in the world economy. The UK economy didn’t appear to be growing at all, he noted, “and is heavily reliant on … household spending”.
The figures back him up. The most watched surveys of British businesses, released in the past few days, suggest the private sector is already shrinking. In the construction sector, which has just had its worst month since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, they now talk of “quicksand”. Manufacturing has been pole-axed, while out in the much larger service sector things look utterly moribund. Last week, it was briefly cheaper for the British government to borrow over five years than for two – the first time that has happened since just before the death in 2008 of Lehman Brothers. Even in a world turned upside-down by central banks pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into money markets, that is usually taken as indicating that a sharp slowdown lies around the corner. This one will be nowhere near as disastrous as the crash of 2008-9; but it will underline how far the world remains lodged in the shadow of that crisis.
“The early evidence suggests the UK is already in a recession and that we’re just waiting for more data to prove it,” says David Blanchflower. As a rate-setter at the Bank of England in 2008, he was one of the few policymakers to spot that crash coming; but when central bankers and government ministers did finally wake up, at least they had plenty of firepower to draw on. Within a few months, Blanchflower and his colleagues slashed the base rate from 5.25% to 0.5%. Having put up one hell of a fight back then, the bank is in no position to go into another today: a bombed-out economy means that a decade later the base rate is still holed below 1%.
The UK is suffering an intense version of an international problem. Around the world, central bankers from the eurozone to Australia can see a sharp slowdown on the horizon – and are warning they have little in the drawer to head it off. As for governments: in the US, Donald Trump spent most of his political capital on a tax cut for the rich in 2017, while any European government that defies the rule of austerity risks destruction, as Greece’s former prime minister Alexis Tsipras has learned over the past four years. Ten years ago, China helped save the world by launching a spending programme worth nearly $600bn – throwing up airports and high-speed rail lines within months. Beijing will not do the same this time around.
In the UK, as I wrote here last week, Johnson is talking of a hard-right version of a Keynesian stimulus, with tax cuts for the rich and huge bungs for big corporates. That will steal Corbyn’s clothes as the anti-austerity party leader, but it will be of no help to the mum living off a fiver while waiting for her universal credit to come through, or to the teachers whipping up a food bank for their pupils. Not with Sajid Javid as potentially the first chancellor to profess both love of libertarian high priestess Ayn Rand and his total unwillingness even to break off a family holiday to save the steel industry.
Put that picture together, and the outline of something truly frightening starts to emerge. A ruling party on its last legs in a political system sapped of nearly all legitimacy. A country that has spent most of the decade mired in the weakest recovery for 300 years – as Blanchflower describes it in his new book, Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone? – which is now giving way to recession. And a political class that still kids itself it can get a better Brexit deal out of the rest of the EU, or even that it will survive a crashing-out with only a few nicks and grazes.
This might make good copy in Westminster, but the turbulence of either scenario will push businesses and families to the wall in the Midlands, Wales and the north. As Birmingham-based economist Paul Forrest points out, in the run-up to the last exit date Jaguar Land Rover announced the shutdown of four plants in Castle Bromwich, Halewood, Solihull and Wolverhampton for two weeks, to avoid “potential Brexit disruption”. Imagine what that employer of 43,000 staff might do this autumn. Then think of Nissan, Honda, Peugeot … and imagine how the speculators will pile on the pound, pushing it down to $1.10 and then below.
“My background is in emerging markets,” says Forrest, “and the last time I saw this amount of pent-up chaos was when Russia devalued in 1998.” Should you need reminding, that crisis impoverished middle-class Russians and wiped out the Moscow ruling class.
Throughout my adult life, Britain’s political system has got by on bluff and bluster. On ever-cheaper credit for the masses and dark money for the party funders. On half-understood technocratic management by unelected officials and masterful presentational skills by the politicians. On a housing market that just kept rising like an impossible soufflé and the pretence that the Adults Were In Charge. Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, David Cameron – all of them got by on versions of the same strategy. It was always a cheat, and perhaps the one good thing about the poisonous 2016 referendum was how it illustrated how many people had sussed they were being conned. And now, under Johnson, the entire bluffers’ system is on the verge of disintegrating, with no glimmer at all of what may replace it.
This still pulls its punches declaring that things will be “nowhere near as disastrous” as 2008, a nonsense even in the light of its own later paragraphs which make clear the oncoming slump will be much worse.
So too do others:
The Resolution Foundation warns that it would be dangerous to assume that the next recession will be the same as the last, when major job losses were avoided. It states that it may not be the case that the big unemployment increases that characterised the 1980s and early 1990s recessions have been consigned to history.
There are also concerns that the government and Bank of England have already used many of the tools in their armoury that could curb a future recession. Cutting interest rates to stimulate the economy is hard, as they are already at historically low levels, while quantitative easing (QE), in which more money is pumped into the economy, is likely to have less effect than in the past.
Had those weapons not been deployed during the last recession, in which interest rates were cut from 5.75 per to 0.5 per cent, QE amounted to £375bn and VAT was cut to 15%, the downturn would have been 12%. That is the equivalent to £8,000 for every UK household.
Preparations need to be made to reduce the impact, the study by the Resolution Foundation thinktank warns. It states that both uncertainty around Brexit and the global economic slowdown have led to the highest recession risk since 2007.
It raises the alarm over the potential impact on living standards, warning that the five previous recessions have produced an economic shock equating to a £2,500 loss for each household in the UK. They have also increased unemployment by one million.
It comes after a series of warnings over the health of the economy amid continuing uncertainty around Britain’s EU membership. Earlier this month the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned that there had been a “sea change” in the world’s financial markets, driven by pessimism about the economic outlook.
Meanwhile there have been warning signs in the construction industry. The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply has warned the political paralysis gripping Westminster has left the industry trapped in “quicksand”, with house buying and new orders dropping “like a stone”.
The Resolution Foundation report Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail, suggests that Britain’s recession risk has risen to its highest level since 2007.
James Smith, its research director, warned against complacency.
“Policy-makers can’t prevent recessions from happening, but they can limit their damage with the right policy response. The problem for the incoming government and the Bank of England however is that many of the tools used to fight the last downturn – from big interest rate cuts to £375bn of QE – are either spent or severely blunted.
There are no “tools” left - the contradictions are unsolvable, except by destroying the surplus capital.
It is that driving reality of the economic collapse which is pushing the aggression and war provocations to ever more hair raising levels, where any small “accidental” incident could precipitate a world shattering eruption of war and devastation (which like World War Two, will wipe out the “surplus” and “surplus” workers and rival powers as well).
The only answer can be revolution to build workers states but the fake-“left” all continue to avoid putting this at the centre of all understanding if they mention it at all.
So, the first article just quoted, by a “left” Labour sympathiser, helplessly declares there is “no glimmer of what may replace the bluffers’ system” as if 150 years of Marxist theoretical understanding (see EPSR box or the Communist Manifesto eg,) and practical world revolutionary struggles, had not happened including the titanic 1917 Soviet revolution, with its 70 years of mostly brilliant history transforming social, political, scientific and cultural advances, and the great wave of anti-imperialist anti-colonialism and further communist victories since, especially post-WW2.
Certainly there are setbacks from a deep long retreat from Leninist theory.
And without a giant debate on both the irreversible and mostly triumphantly successful world impacting change of the USSR (despite its eventual liquidation) and the lessons of its revisionist leadership’s philosophical decay, from the mistakes of the Stalin leadership onwards, which led to the eventual unnecessary ending of the still working soviet state, the working class cannot reach the understanding that they must replace capitalism, by taking over everything and putting it to use in a planned and controlled way in harmony with nature for the good of mankind.
Nor can they grasp that it is only achievable by class war, to take everything into common ownership, to end forever production for private profit and the antagonisms, alienation, gross unfairness and wasting of most of humanity (in every sense).
For that the working class needs to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, by which firm control through scientific leadership can take things forwards and educate and develop society to steadily bring everyone into participation in its running (at which point, some generations in the future, universal rational and self-disciplined understanding of necessity will no longer need even the most democratised workers state “running things” anyway – so that the state will wither away as Engels and Lenin explained - see State and Revolution).
And if the working class is not given (mostly by its own advanced sections) such understanding it will be left open to the constant counter-revolution of the ruling class, which most certainly knows it has to wage class war constantly.
It has always been ready to go as far as necessary in suppressing and breaking up even the glimmer of moves towards socialism, using every dirty trick in the book, legal, “constitutional”, character assassination, and political smear, to demolish even the tamest of “left reformism” as it has done and especially throughout Latin America recently, toppling one after another “left” elected government, variously subjected to vicious lie campaigns over supposed “spy and massacre atrocities” (Argentina), surprise impeachment coup d’état (Paraguay), violent coup (Honduras) and twisted legal coup against Lula da Silva and then another impeachment against his successor Dilma Roussef (Brazil).
And where that has not succeeded there have been steadily escalated violent counter-revolutionary “popular” movements, notably in Nicaragua and repeatedly against the Hugo Chávez government in Venezuela, and his successor Nicolás Maduro, aiming to sabotage and disrupt even the partial advances made by these left nationalist regimes, along with crippling economic sanctions both direct and via bullying US pressure on the rest of the world to mobilise an “international coalition”.
The strategy of siege strangulation, sabotage and subversion to create “popular” middle class movements is now almost routine for the CIA (the same was used to topple the Egyptian Morsi in 2013, after the Arab Spring had achieved a “new democracy” in Cairo, and elements of it in the Ukraine and other “colour revolutions”, as well as Libya).
Against Maduro this has all culminated in the “constitutional” coup attempts made by the local bourgeoisie and its slimy quisling stooge Juan Guaidó figure in cahoots with the CIA, outrageously “de-recognising” the openly and legally elected Maduro (see EPSR 1550 06-02-19).
As the EPSR has warned, despite such efforts failing so far, the reliance on “democratic” validation, and on the loyalty of a bourgeois nationalist military remains a weak point for Venezuela, as it was under Chávez.
It would be stronger if it were to press for the total overthrow of the still undispossessed local bourgeoisie, and establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, developing the mass Leninist understanding necessary to achieve it, rather than relying on the Stalinist revisionist perspectives of step-by-step constitutional advance.
It was such popular front, peaceful road delusions which left the door open for counter-revolution in Chile in 1973, still one of the most significant lessons in the deadly dangers of parliamentary “democracy” illusions, and trust in the forces of the bourgeois state, whose “independent” role will always first of all defend the class interests of the bourgeoisie; only smashing it and building a workers state can guard against such deadly counter-revolution.
It showed that the ruling class will go all the way to bloody mass killing fascism if it needs to and can get away with it, as it did in Indonesia in 1965 (a minimum one million, possibly three, butchered) and again in East Timor three decades later, in Argentina, in El Salvador, in Guatemala, in the Congo, in South Africa, in Haiti and in over 400 brutal interventions and wars since WW2, including recently Libya, Syria and Egypt with the suppression of the Morsi democratic government, overturned by General Sisi’s 2013 mass killing coup.
Encouragingly it looks at least as if some lessons were learned in Caracas in that there has at least been arming of a significant section of the working class and militia training against the possibility of threatened US or US stooge intervention (from next door Colombia or Brazil) and Maduro has rightly warned of the high costs any invasion would face.
But a Leninist perspective would be the best weapon, giving workers the grasp and motivation to fight for their own future.
The problem remains that the counter-revolutionary disruption will not cease, nor the “sanctions”.
And the regime cannot always count on the sheer opportunist corruption of the bourgeois elements to undermine their cause:
Millions of dollars raised for “freedom and democracy” in Venezuela ended up spent in Colombia by the aides of US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, and were exposed by Colombian spies in yet another blow to his cause.
Guaido declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January and was recognized by the US and many of its Latin American allies, but has repeatedly failed to seize power from President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.
Now he seems farther from that goal than ever, as several of his aides have been named by Colombian intelligence in a leak revealing the embezzlement of US funds intended for paying Venezuelan army defectors. The funds were raised by a Live Aid-style concert, organized by billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson in February, and intended to coincide with Guaido’s followers forcing open the border with Colombia to US “humanitarian aid.”
The leaked documents – published by PanAm Post, an outlet sympathetic to Guaido – now reveal why that never happened. Regional coordinator for Guaido’s Popular Will Party, Kevin Rojas, and the “interim president’s” chief of staff Rossana Barrera were accused of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash on fancy hotels, expensive clothes, booze, car and other high-life items.
In one example, Rojas and Barrera claimed to have spent money on seven hotels to house over 1,400 defectors, but Colombian authorities counted only half that number crossing the border, and only two hotels were actually paid for. Instead, receipts reveal the duo blew over $125,000 on luxuries for themselves, including $40,000 in April alone. The following month, one of the hotels evicted 65 defectors and their families, over more than $20,000 in unpaid bills.
The publication forced Guaido into full damage control mode. On Monday, he finally acknowledged the existence of the allegations and vowed to “clarify the case of officials appointed to serve our military in Cúcuta,” appointing aid coordinator Lester Toledo to join the investigation in Colombia.
In addition to the embezzled funds, Guaido’s staff botched the distribution of aid sent by the US, with an estimated 60 percent rotting in the warehouses and having to be thrown away. The full extent of the scandal is yet to be revealed, as the PanAm Post has more unpublished documents in its possession.
After the failure to open the border in February, Guaido attempted a military rebellion at the end of April. It fizzled spectacularly, with about two dozen defectors seeking refuge in foreign embassies by the end of the day.
Those who think the embezzlement scandal could be the last nail in the coffin of the US-backed regime change project in Venezuela would be mistaken, however. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on the US commitment to Guaido, declaring that the Trump administration supports the “Venezuelan people in their fight for freedom!”
The US has given $213 million in humanitarian aid to Guaido so far, Pence boasted.
Exactly the same lessons are crucial for the British working class to learn as in Latin America.
Could not happen here?
“Left anti-semitism” lies
The deranged CIA/Zionist “left anti-semitism” conspiracy against the Corbyn “left” in the Labour party, and more generally against all anti-Zionism is a taste of similar dirty tricks and a warning.
Its ridiculous big lie propaganda inversion that somehow the “left” is now the main source of racism in the world and a “deadly danger” is going to extraordinary lengths of poison lie smearing to try and shut down left politics (such as they are), as well as using the campaigns to escalate capitalist state surveillance, censorship and suppression to try and block off debate and discussion.
And this comes only at a relatively early stage of the chaos to come while rising working class hostility, driven by non-stop austerity and cutbacks, is still a long way from the anger and hatred that will eventually explode.
The ruling class knows full well that slump and war will hugely multiply the anti-establishment sentiment which has already found expression in the Brexit vote (a deadly trap in fact for the working class in tapping the Great British jingoism which has been penetrated deeply via the petty bourgeois and the “labour aristocracy” layers during two centuries of empire superprofits bribery, but simultaneously a two-fingered salute to privilege and complacency – see issue 1549 eg).
That they are already going to such lengths to try and head off even the tamest of reformist “leftism” such as Corbynism, indicates just how panic stricken this ruling class has become, too fearful even to let in such feeble and misleading class collaboration to hold the fort for capitalist imperialist rule as a dozen previous Labour governments have done, and which is all that Labour parliamentarianism will ever do.
“Left” Labour capitulates on “anti-semitism”
Corbynism’s role has never been anything but to play deep “left” reserve within Labourism in order to hold back and tie-down the working class at the moment when its discontent is growing sufficiently to start turning seriously towards anti-capitalism and potentially all-out revolutionary communist politics.
The role of such “lefts” was clearly understood by Marxist science decades ago (EPSR No1155 08-10-02) carried by:
such incurable opportunist muddleheads as Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn, Dennis Skinner, and other reactionary MP philistines whose traditional role for the British imperialist state is to provide a ‘left’ cover for Labour Party imperialism to commit all the worst crimes of Western colonial militarism since 1945 such as re-conquering Malaya, Greece, etc, from their communist liberators; letting in the Zionist military colonisation of Palestine; scarring India with partition to keep it permanently weak and divided; helping US imperialism encircle the Socialist Camp with nuclear-weapon warmongering; and inflict counter-revolutionary roll-backs in Korea, and Vietnam, etc; militarily maintaining repressive colonial occupations in Ireland, Aden, Cyprus, Africa, etc, etc; blitzkrieging Serbia; continuing the bombing-destruction of Iraq; invading Afghanistan; protecting the Zionist tyranny over Occupied Palestine; and now preparing for bloody new massacres of the Iraqi people; etc, etc, etc..
The surprise 2015 elevation of Corbyn reflected a great surge in the working class following the 2008 global bank collapse and the austerity imposed ever since, a surge which is only temporarily pushing this politics to the top and which will soon pass it by as soon as the utter uselessness and treachery of such “leadership” becomes clear.
Corbynism is the playing of the fake-“left” Labourite card, to once again fool workers that “this time there will be real socialist moves” while offering nothing but the same old pretences of “reforms and ending austerity” but it is a thin and very cynical game by these mountebanks who know very well it is an impossible one to carry through.
In hurricane crisis conditions it will be exposed for its uselessness the moment it takes over, so the ruling class know it cannot be trusted to hold things back for long.
They fear not Corbynism but the underlying “left” movement in general that would burst through, and want to hamper and hold it back as long as possible.
Hence the ridiculous and vicious “anti-semitism” campaign, harnessing the long existing defensive accusations by the Zionists against growing world wide detestation and revulsion at the Jewish occupation of Palestine, to straitjacket even the opportunism of a “left” Labourite upsurge.
But the deluge of idiot lies about “left anti-semitism” can only eventually backfire badly, not just because they are so clearly a demented and coordinated lie campaign in the teeth of perfectly rational opposition to the Israeli monstrosity, – (which furthermore has even have even been caught out caught out directly by such investigations as Al-Jazeera TV’s “The Lobby” which covertly filmed Israeli agents inside its London Embassy plotting to “fix” the Labour Party to support the Zionists, by setting up specious pro-Israeli factions and support groups) – but because they will also expose the Labourites too, as well as the fake-“left” entryists still backing Labour.
And that exposure will not only give the working class further sound lessons about the right wing opportunist scum making up much of the parliamentary party (self-seeking careerist MPs primarily and Labour “Lords” constantly trying to sabotage even Corbynism) with their stinking record all the way back the Blairite period and its foul warmongering, WMD lies and warcrime occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan in tandem with the Bush presidency, – but also of the “left” Corbynism too as its flounders, prevaricates and bends to this new form of McCarthyism.
It wriggles and squirms, denying that it has “more than a tiny minority” of “anti-semites”, and instead of challenging the very foundations of this psychotic counter-revolutionary onslaught, declares its “support” for “Israel”.
So much for the genocidally butchered Palestinians then.
This campaign is the most outrageous fascist lie, coordinated by an international conspiracy trying to pretend that there is nothing but crude “racism” which is causing the growing detestation and revolt against the violent Jewish occupation, wrongly called an Israeli “state” and which has been squatting like a giant fat toad on the Palestinians’ own land (which they have lived in for at least the last 1500 years), for the last 70 years after stealing it by terror, ethnic cleansing and massacres.
It is nothing to do with “secret racism”, as if there were no other explanation for such world hostility, obviously driven in fact by hatred of a landstealing colonial monstrosity which has taken over and dominated Palestine ever since WW2 by brute force, permanent bludgeoning and non-stop killing, supplemented periodically by large-scale genocidal collective punishment blitzings to further terrorise the 8 million strong dispossessed Palestinians, while continuously extending and intensifying the theft of their cities, land, wells, farms, olive groves, and the countryside in general and strangling the Gaza population in particular with siege sanctions that make an already difficult existence in this concrete enclave beyond bearable.
The shout of “anti-semitism” and “terrorism” raised against every objection or act of resistance to this nazi-Zionism is a lying diversion to shield the truth about racist “state” the Jewish occupation has created (complete with race supremacist laws and apartheid restrictions), and also its increasing role as a belligerent stooge for imperialist aggression.
Beyond its immediate tyranny against the indigenous population, Zionism has long done duty for US (and other) imperialism as a spear in the side of the Middle East to smite and restrain the potentially revolutionary Arab world and other regional influences such as Iran, and is now also more and more part of the WW3 descent into international bullying by Washington, possibly even as the advocate and leading force in the potential deadly eruptions around Iran being deliberately provoked by the hawkish elements at the White House table, complete with highly suspect “incidents”.
Perfectly valid sentiment against the occupation also correctly generalises as opposition to Zionism’s worldwide network and the influential role it has in lobbying, turning and affecting Western imperialist policy, by the intertwining of the Jewish freemasonry with the capitalist ruling class to serve its own interests and those of imperialist oppression.
It is not “anti-semitic” to point out and oppose such freemasonry (deliberately and misleadingly called by the much nicer sounding euphemism “Jewish community” by the bourgeois media).
It is anti-Zionist, against the imperialist colonialist reactionary role of the Jewish occupation and imperialism itself.
And that spills over as valid political hostility to all those who support the existence of “Israel” at all, and are connected with it, within the occupation and outside it.
There is plenty of reformist “anti-Zionism” which wants to soften the edges of the occupation, fearful that the resistance its nastiest aspects creates will inevitably push on towards all-out communist revolt.
Some of that reformism might be well meaning enough and will go a certain distance down a road of “protesting”, boycotting Israeli exports, and even renouncing the right “given” by Zionism to all Jews to settle in this colonial landtheft territory (taking yet more Palestinian property).
But real anti-Zionism is only that which makes clear that the entire post-war colonialist occupation of “Israel”, including its “legal” 1948 UN sanctioned takeover, is a monstrous out-of-time colonialist aberration that needs to be brought to an end, as the only possible solution in the era of de-colonisation.
Except for the overturn of this artificial and arrogant implant, the contradictions of trying to plant this nonsense into middle of the region can only produce non-stop conflict pushing all the way to the total elimination of the former population (effectively).
Anti-Zionism therefore can only be hostile to the overwhelming, pro-Israel, majority of the “Jewish community”, and to all the “liberals” and fake-“lefts” (Jewish or gentile) who declare themselves “against the Zionist reactionaries”, while still refusing to take a stand on the ending of “Israel” itself and for the restitution of every single square metre of land, every house and every other property to the Palestinians, declaring that “Israel” has a “right to exist”.
That includes supporters of the grotesque two-state solution (still promulgated by the “international community” though now almost buried by Zionist and Trumpite intransigence), which arrogantly and contemptuously “grants” the Palestinians 22% of their own land to “set up a state” but also those advocating a never-going-to-happen “one state solution” that involves “redividing the property on a fair basis” – as if the occupiers would somehow have a “right” to some of it!!
There is only one realistic one-state solution, that achieved by revolutionary ending of Zionist occupation, after which it might be possible for some worker Jews to continue living there and participating in a new Palestinian state, if they had no property or responsibility for crimes against the Palestinians, and if it were willing to accept them (which would be a sound concession to make).
As the EPSR has analysed (see book 20 Occupied Palestine and the “left anti-semitism” fraud), this means there is effectively no difference in the post-war period between Jews and Zionists apart from a vanishingly small politically insignificant minority, and the terms become essentially interchangeable as does the opposition to them.
Nevertheless does not the bitter hostility generated by generations of Zionist barbarity and smiting sometimes generalise too far?
It can do, and might take a superficially anti-semitic form, particularly around conspiracy theories tending to see imperialism as controlled by, rather than just strongly influenced by, Jews as such.
But that first of all is brought upon the Jewish “community” itself precisely by the refusal to do anything of significance to end this Palestine tyranny.
And while cruder opinions reflect political ignorance and need to be fought against, that cannot be done by isolated condemnations separate from the actions of Zionist aggression and the imperialism it serves.
It certainly is not countered by accepting the lying nonsense that there is “really” a “secret agenda” of racism on the left. Total horsedung.
Capitalism still cannot quite let go of its past and there remains an element of nostalgic Nazi anti-Jewish hostility among the most off-the-wall reactionary fanaticism which now muddies the picture to some extent (and is therefore encouraged to do so by the bourgeoisie).
But the majority of modern anti-semitism (where it is such at all) is nothing at all to do with, and throwback to, the twisted scapegoating of the 1930s, which was fostered and inflamed by capitalism itself as part of its Nazi-belligerent build up to war, and which took in a sweep of useful victims of all kinds (from homosexuals and Roma gypsies, to the mentally and physically constrained, as well as communists) as blame targets to divert from capitalist collapse.
That is happening again with the latest crude white-supremacist racism from Trump against Mexicans, “non-white” Democrats and Islamism, while simultaneously supporting Zionist expansionism.
But any anti-semitic backwardness among workers needs to be tackled by offering a better perspective and explanation of the crisis, not by moralising high-handedness which will only play into the hands of the overtly fascist groups who claim to “speak it like it is”.
There is a parallel in this with both the anti-migrant feeling in some of the working class and with terrorist incidents and upheavals.
Condemning either is not only to side with imperialism, but to miss the general anti-imperialist sentiment, however crude and rough edged initially, which it mostly expresses. It is totally un-revolutionary to take some abstract stand.
As Lenin explained, (in Guerrilla Warfare 1906 for example, or after the 1916 Irish Easter uprising) such PC abstract moralising only highlights a failure to offer better leadership and take command of the spontaneous rising struggle with a revolutionary perspective to end capitalism.
That will not come from Corbynism and nor the fake-“left” across the board, one reason they are all left against the ropes by this disgusting Blairite and capitalist media campaign (with the “liberal” Guardian, true to its deep anti-communist form, playing lead trumpet) trying to drown out all reason.
Worse still, their elevation to prime place of single-issue politics (feminism, anti-racism, LGBT rights etc and their elaboration as “identity” politics) to compensate for their revolutionary retreat, leaves them paralysed by petty bourgeois moral guilt and speechless in front of the nonsensical accusations of “racism” or “homophobia” or “misogyny”.
It is no coincidence that not only has capitalism accommodated to all these “personal is political” agendas, but has adopted them wholesale, with the Tories and the ruling class elsewhere generally now claiming them as its own, and even putting forwards initiatives on them, knowing that they not only change nothing about capitalism’s continued rule but actually help sustain it.
Countering this Goebbels “anti-semitism” lie by pleading how un-racist you are, and how much you “support the Jewish community” is to capitulate to the whole ludicrous campaign.
In fact it is a sick joke, since the “Israel” most Jews support is officially, by law the most racist entity on the planet (though now pressed hard by Trump’s White House).
This miserable betrayal is made worse by then accepting the premise that opposition to the existence of “Israel” is in itself a form of “anti-semitism”, and even more, that any challenge to or examination of this bludgeoning nonsense, or attempt at reason, itself is automatically to be deemed anti-semitic too.
It is a perfect Catch-22 that would have made Yossarian himself whistle appreciatively.
The suspicion has to be that the Corbynites are anyway just playing the game too – from the moment they set up a “tribunal” to “root out” these supposed transgressions onwards, thereby giving credence to the whole artificial shitstorm.
The Labourites have spent the 10 years from the global bank meltdown onwards, evading and avoiding any chance to really challenge for power despite the weakness and instability of the Tories, knowing that they would be shown up within weeks as unable to change anything and it suits them to remain hamstrung, permanently “opposing” but doing nothing.
The fake-“left” are no better, most of the Trots still insisting that the thoroughly and unchangeably bourgeois Labour Party is the path forwards for the working class and simply berating Corbynism for “letting itself be intimidated” instead of exposing this “left Labour” fakery for the treachery it is.
That does not mean there are no developments around Labour that might yet prove significant.
The recent regular EPSR national discussion observed that despite this whole reactionary deluge the left movement which elevated Corbyinism remains relatively unfazed by it; and that despite, not because of, the PC capitulations and the suspensions and expulsions of anyone even halfway speaking out against Zionism (such as the MP Chris Williamson, now playing the “left maverick” role once held by Corbyn and others).
On-the-ground Corbynite public meetings attract a level of mass attention that belies the media’s semi-censorship and outrageous distortions about “an embattled leadership” and significantly the recent Peterborough bye-election was won by Labour in the teeth of universal bourgeois media “predictions” (i.e attempts to stampede the result) that the new “Brexit Party” would sweep the board and yet more dirty dealing:
Police have concluded no criminal offences were committed in the Peterborough by-election following an investigation into a fifth and final allegation of electoral fraud.
Cambridgeshire Police had already found no evidence of wrongdoing after probing an allegation of ballot-burning, a report of bribery, and two claims related to postal votes.
Labour’s Lisa Forbes won last month’s election, beating the Brexit Party into second place by 683 votes.
Weeks later Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party claimed vote-rigging may have played a role in the narrow victory and called for an inquiry.
The party’s chair Richard Tice said there had been numerous “rumours” of electoral fraud, while the Conservative deputy leader of Peterborough City Council also alleged there had been “harvesting” of postal votes.
Labour rubbished the allegation as “nonsense” and said claims of electoral fraud were a “desperate attempt” to excuse defeat.
Even more, the “discontent” by Labour rightwing opportunism, the fatcat lovers and warmongers of the Blair period, and the pumping up one anti-Corbyn declaration after another is falling flat on its face.
The first breakaway attempt at sabotage by half a dozen MPs forming a “new party” has disappeared without trace, and despite much hyping and exaggeration of numbers the “Labour Lords and employees” declaring that “Corbyn’s leadership has failed”, will fare no better.
The poisonous hatred poured out by the Tom Watsons and Margaret Hodges – making full use of the “anti-semitism” lies – will backfire badly as it has on the Chuka Umunas.
The breakup of the whole Labour class collaborating racket is signalled, either leaving a “left” majority standing clear or even seeing the deliberate formation of “left” breakaway which might be closer than so far seen to the long-overdue centrist movement (revolutionary in words but reformist in policies) which Marxist understanding has expected as a result of the crisis pressures.
A first breakaway has already been seen under miners’ leader Arthur Scargill in the 1990s, the Socialist Labour Party. But while it initially appeared promisingly anti-capitalist (while still no more than centrism) it proved stuck in the same bureaucratic Little Englander trade union bureaucratic rut as ever, eventually censoring Marxist understanding once tested to the limit by willing and sincere SLP party-building participation by some EPSR supporters (EPSR No1245 24-08-04).
So far a new possibility remains only speculation; but a “left” Labour break could be sufficiently different to be describable as centrism, and could to allow space for, and create the necessity for, Leninist understanding to be argued, of the need for revolution (whereas so far Corbynism has been nothing but yet another “left” revival of old Labour, with the anti-semitism issue at the heart of it helping suppress open debate or discussion).
Hong Kong Western counter-revolution stunt
An immediate issue to take up would be the latest Western-inspired and possibly directly organised “democracy protest” provocations in Hong Kong against China’s workers state, tapping continuing petty bourgeois and fake-“left” fear of the dictatorship of the proletariat, to further add to international belligerence against the China as trade war deepens and fostering further “democracy” confusion everywhere but particularly in Britain.
The supposedly peaceful democratic mass street sit-down weekend disruptions – (though far less “mass” than the wildly exaggerated two-million numbers supposedly on the street, “according to the organisers” as the bourgeois press dutifully hyped things up in line with CIA/MI6 instructions) – were carefully timed to coincide with the deliberate Western-media campaign of Goebbels lies and massive distortion whipped-up around the speciously “commemorated” 30th anniversary of the Tienanmen “protests” in Beijing, taking the chance to repeat every long-discredited calumny about “thousands killed” in a non-existent “massacre” (see EPSR 1558).
The ostensible target was a perfectly sound extradition law, allowing criminals evading justice elsewhere, mostly third party countries, to be removed for proper trial which is mostly not possible at present under Hong Kong jurisdiction.
But the protests were obviously an attempted counter-revolutionary disruption against China’s workers state, with the full intention of trying to spread anti-government anarchy and revolt, and into China itself, and hoping (utterly unrealistically) to be able to go all the way to toppling the Chinese leadership.
The usual tricks of pretended “mass peaceful protest” were used initially combined with hidden provocations against the local Hong Kong state forces, by tooled-up protestors in the crowd, hoping they could induce a necessarily forceful response that could be videoed for one-sided out-of-context worldwide propaganda, pretending “police brutality”.
But after a fairly disciplined response by the authorities, they were forced to blow the gaff the following week with the central core of the protesters showing their ultra-reactionary nature in the mass anarchic violent attack on the government building and then its invasion and trashing of the legislative chamber in early July.
In that degenerate provocation, a million miles from any “peaceful democratic protest” they literally showed their true colours, with the old Hong Kong British rule colonial flag and the Union Jack both deliberately propped up in the wreckage and then many similar flags making renewed, and widely accepted, appearances in the crowds.
It makes a mockery of the notional calls for “democracy” to ask for a return to the colonial dictatorship status of the past, and to elevate the British Empire rule, even more crudely than the Tienanmen upheaval symbolised its pro-imperialist reality with the creation of its Statue of Liberty “goddess” image, wanting to topple the workers state for narrow petty bourgeois self-interest.
This grotesque outrage clearly alienated even many of the petty bourgeois elements who went along with the initial demonstration, and numbers in subsequent “follow up” protests have dropped off markedly, despite the British press efforts to pretend continued momentum (the Guardian “liberals” once more taking the lead to hype up a stream of desperately thin protests over inconsequential grievances since, in outlying areas), and non-stop portentous interviews with the pampered and privileged “youth leaders”, all bent on finding careers in what they think is the rich West, and ready to pump out any amount of poison about Chinese “oppression”.
Buried away has been the opposition to this lie campaign, as usual in a highly “flavoured” report:
Thousands of pro-government protesters have rallied outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong as tensions rose on the eve of what is expected to be Hong Kong’s fourth mass protest in a month against a controversial extradition law.
While top officials attend a ceremony on 1 July every year to mark the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover of sovereignty from the UK to China, a large anti-government protest also takes place on the same day.
A large turnout is expected on Monday, the 22nd anniversary of the handover, as the city is rocked by its biggest political crisis in decades. Millions have taken to the streets to protest against the proposed law allowing for the extradition of individuals for trial in mainland China, where the opaque court system is controlled by the Communist party.
The protests throughout June have been largely peaceful, but on 12 June, the scene turned violent when police used rubber bullets, teargas, pepper spray and batons to disperse crowds and some protesters threw objects back at the police. Protesters have also surrounded the police headquarters twice in past weeks in noisy and emotionally charged protests in which young people spray-painted obscenities on its front wall and barricaded its entrances.
Police set up giant water-filled barricades in anticipation of overnight rallies by anti-extradition protesters to lock down the area where the handover anniversary ceremony is to take place.
The pro-government protesters – mostly middle-aged and older people arriving on coaches – gathered at Tamar Park outside the Legislative Council and government headquarters from Sunday afternoon. Mostly dressed in blue and white, they waved Chinese national flags and placards with messages supporting the police, who have been under fire for their use of teargas and rubber bullets in anti-extradition protests.
Angry exchanges took place on both sides when pro- and anti-government protesters met. “We were completely besieged by thousands of them at one point. They were very emotional – it felt really dangerous,” said an anti-extradition protester who gave his name as Jim.
A number of journalists were spat at, had mud slung at them, and were kicked and insulted by protesters who accused them of being sympathetic to earlier anti-extradition protests.
A pro-democracy lawmaker, Lam Cheuk-ting, was surrounded by dozens of protesters on a walkway near the legislature, some of whom used umbrellas or placards to assault him and tried to snatch his mobile phone.
Snatching a phone indeed!!!! Mud slinging!!! Quelle horreur!!!
Of course much of the fake-“left” goes along with this laughable garbage, expressing the total anti-communism of the Labourites and their Trot entryist props, still peddling “democracy” delusions in the working class and totally saturated in petty bourgeois hostility to workers state authority, be it in China or anywhere else, as they have always been.
It confronts them with some interesting conundrums however, not least in explaining the hostility to Beijing which has bucketed out of the British establishment and the bourgeois media, and associated poisonous commentary on the alleged “lack of law” and “arbitrary tyranny” of the Chinese state.
Why is that so if China has long ago “reverted to capitalism” as their shallow philistinism and lack of theory declares despite the total absence of any counter-revolution yet in China - save precisely the failed and routed Tienanmen attempt?
And why is there a constant deluge of demonising bullshit poured out about its alleged “repression” - like the “secretly filmed” documentary from Xinjiang, just shown on C4, full of wild exaggerations, unverified “witness” accounts of supposed “missing sisters”, complete with obligatory tearful moments on camera, (this one from a migrant living in Germany), and lurid descriptions of alleged “police state surveillance” based on “snatched photos” of perfectly normal local police stations (just one in fact).
This hyper-thin clichéd excuse for an exposé, allegedly detailing terrible oppression, complete with doomy low note background music, silhouetted interviews and two pathetically uninformative “clandestine meetings with a local official” did nothing more than recycle the same lying distortions that the western intelligence agencies have already poured into the press about “concentration camps” housing “a million Uighurs” etc, full of sly innuendo that they are just like the death camps of the Second World War, but completely without a shred of evidence because they are nothing like them.
As is obvious as soon as the full context is given, (which this documentary slid over early on) it is clear that nothing is “going on” other than China’s attempts to keep under control an Islamic insurgency which has mounted multiple attacks in the province, both by suicide bombing and by explosive rioting, which have killed several hundred, mostly from the Han Chinese section of the population.
Exactly as Beijing says, these are “reeducation camps” and there are far fewer than the lurid Western hearsay reports suggest, with their “it is claimed” and “some analysts say” misrepresentations. And it seems clear that most of those required to go there do so for two years maximum.
The local surveillance to try and spot potential attacks and attackers is no different to the methods being developed worldwide, - but as always it is only when a workers state attempts to defend itself that suddenly a hue and cry is raised. Criticism might be made of the bureaucratic approach being used to tackle the local discontent which has been inflamed by world jihadism, but it could only possibly be made by those struggling for a Leninist world view, who stand first and foremost in defence of the workers states against all bourgeois attacks, propaganda or physical. As the EPSR has said (No0839 06-02-96):
But what is crucial to workers philosophically is precisely this complete class identification with what the workers states represent historically, - the world of the proletariat struggling for the right to keep on striving to develop without a bourgeoisie in power, or aid from international capital or commerce, — and striving to overcome their own mistakes in the teeth of relentless and devastating Western imperialist propaganda onslaughts, economic sabotage, political subversion, and military arms-race threats, etc.
Every anti-imperialist struggle to survive, to develop, or to come into being by proletarian-dictatorship forces, or vestiges, gets automatic unconditional support from Leninist science, - whatever the supposed ‘horrors’ or ‘crippling embarrassment’ (such as quelling the petty-bourgeois ‘democracy’ movement of Tienanmen Square, or the unsubtleties of the leadership cult in North Korea). Let bad workers-state practices or understandings be overtaken by better workers-state practices or understandings, not by bourgeois-‘democratic’ revivalism. Let proletarian-dictatorship rule plumb the depths of arbitrary vindictiveness or voluntarist folly. To the workers states, comradely criticism to help strengthen their proletarian dictatorships. To the ‘free’ world, get lost with your hypocrisy & lies about ‘Red terror’.
Historically in total, it can never amount to a tiny fraction of one percent of all the horrors that bourgeois-imperialist exploitation, slumps, colonialism, and inter-imperialist wars have already imposed, and will continue to impose in the future, on mankind.
From this stand, a Leninist criticism would be that there is no clue at present that re-education for the Uighurs involves giving them a full world revolutionary perspective, in which to understand the complexity of struggles underway across the world, including many of the Islamic jihadist fights against imperialism or its local stooges.
That would be the best way to understand the difference between attacking a workers state like China, and the fights elsewhere (which have seen Uighurs turning up to join in - including with ISIS in Syria).
It might even be highly useful, in starting to take such understanding elsewhere, to use such re-education to cut through the confusion of the religious notions currently serving as fighting ideologies.
It is the of lack Marxist clarity worldwide caused by the disastrous effects of Moscow’s retreats and liquidation, and then world revisionism essentially abandoning the revolutionary perspective as the core of all understanding and leadership, that has meant the militancy of Islamism in places has filled the vacuum, particularly around the Palestinian struggle, Egypt, Somalia, other parts of North Africa and the Middle East.
It would be suspected, from what can be gleaned from Beijing that it tends to succumb to a wooden and undialectical position that “terrorism” is bad, much as Cuba’s revisionism has done, and even disastrously joins with imperialism in “condemning terrorism”.
While Beijing seems to have been asserting its workers state principles more firmly since the ascent of Xi Jinping, with an emphasis on party loyalty in the army, anti-corruption drives and on learning and understanding Marxist theory, (albeit largely Xi Jinping thought), and this is encouraging, the mere fact of not knowing what its world perspective is, and not hearing any attempts to set out its views for the world working class still remains a major indication that its perspectives remain as disastrously revisionist as ever.
And some doubts must remain that withdrawing the extradition bill temporarily would do anything other than encourage the reactionaries, who as Fidel Castro once observed, will always try to take another mile if they win a yard of ground.
But clearly Beijing is not about to give much ground over Hong Kong, despite its current agreed semi-independent status, and its robust and scathing response to the British government’s pompous “warnings” should bring a smile to any workers face as even some bourgeois press pieces concede, as will the second more sour commentary:
China’s ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming, might well have let this childishness pass, but he could not resist a crushing rejoinder. He said the issue was not the freedom of Hong Kong’s citizens to protest, which has been much tolerated over recent weeks. The issue was violence and vandalism against a democratic assembly. That was a crime. London should understand that, under Britain’s much-vaunted legacy, Hong Kong’s elected government and judiciary were responsible for crime, not Beijing.
Liu pointed out that Hong Kong had enjoyed more democratic self-government under the shadow of Beijing than it had in a century and a half of British rule. Under Britain “there was no freedom, no democracy whatever” nor the right “to have an independent judicial power”. Hunt’s “gross and unacceptable” remarks offended the guiding principles of “mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs”, long espoused by both countries. A spokesman in Beijing went further. Britain was hypocritical. He implied that it should sort out Brexit and leave Hong Kong to mend its own windows. The Foreign Office summoned the ambassador and told him not to be so rude – or once again there would be “serious consequences”.
It is therefore hard to imagine a more blundering, cliched and counterproductive intervention than Hunt’s. The idea that Beijing would shift its policy one inch because someone halfway round the world was frantic to advance his career is farcical. As for Britain offering any practical aid or comfort to the street protesters, that is preposterous if not a cruel deception. What does Hunt mean by serious consequences? Will he send an aircraft carrier?
The ritual of British ministers “raising human rights issues” with Beijing has long been a charade. The post-2008, pre-2012 Olympics talks – with London begging advice while criticising human rights abuses – was embarrassing to all concerned. The same went for David Cameron and George Osborne’s bizarre “kowtow diplomacy” in 2015, seeking funds for such vanity projects as Hinkley Point, HS2 and the “northern powerhouse”. It just gave China leverage over chunks of British infrastructure.
Hunt is currently championing hard Brexit on the basis that vast riches lie in bilateral deals “with the rest of the world”. If so, is he really going to embargo Chinese trade as a consequence of Hong Kong? He should watch out that Beijing does not return the compliment.
Like Tony Blair, Hunt aches to blunder about the world declaring all its evils “unacceptable” and arguing “something must be done” about them. He wants his office to “punch above its weight”. Hong Kong is not his country and not his business. Britain handed it back to China two decades ago, surrendering sovereignty over it to an immeasurably greater power.
Given it recognises no legal or other constraints on its behaviour, Xi’s regime will now feel free to deal with the Hong Kong unrest as it sees fit. The signs are ominous. Whether or not the violence was deliberately orchestrated by Beijing, as Martin Lee, the respected pro-democracy activist and former legislator, has suggested, China seems determined to exploit the opportunity it has created to tighten its grip and accelerate the process of forcible political assimilation.
The Global Times, a Communist party mouthpiece, played up the protesters’ “reckless and savage violence” and urged zero tolerance. Professing concern for the city’s future as a “reliable” international hub, it said the threat to social order must be eliminated. “Without this policy, it would be similar to opening a Pandora’s Box.”
More significantly in terms of what happens next, the Hong Kong and Macau office of the State Council, China’s cabinet, said the “violent offenders’ criminal responsibility” comprised “a blatant challenge to the bottom line of the ‘one country, two systems’ formula”. China Daily went further: “The only way for [Hong Kong] to sustain economic growth and maintain stability is for it to further integrate its own development into the nation’s overall development.”
These are statements of intent. Xi and the cadres fully understand the benefits to China, especially at this juncture in its ambitious economic development, of having one of the world’s foremost financial and business centres under their wing.
Imposing de facto direct rule from Beijing while maintaining the rhetoric of “one country, two systems” and the pretence of self-governance looks like an increasingly attractive solution for Xi. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s unpopular chief executive, will be kept in place, if only because allowing her ousting would reflect badly on China’s president. Autonomous appearances will be kept up. But the prospective reality, more so than is already the case, is of a mere puppet administration whose direction and policies are set in Beijing.
The US and Britain are most often singled out for attack, even though the British government has been restrained in its comments – in fact, far too much so. “The anti-extradition drive has all the hallmarks of a US-patented ‘colour revolution’,” a pro-regime commentator, Thomas Hon Wing Polin, wrote last month. “Classic characteristics: long-term cultivation of local opposition leaders, always under the ‘pro-democracy’ banner; funding, direct and indirect; support via media propaganda and advisers on destabilisation and even uprisings; and recognition of the ‘democrats’, if regime change is necessary.”
They also surely realise a Tiananmen-style military crackdown would have severely negative international repercussions. But what to do if turbulence in Hong Kong persists, threatening a wider contagion?
Xi values the wealth and opportunities Hong Kong provides. But he cannot tolerate dissent on this scale, given existing discontent across mainland China sparked by the economic slowdown, governance failures and expanding state authoritarianism. His nightmare is that insurrectionary democratic ideas could spread and be exploited by outside actors. For him, Hong Kong is a great prize turned potential Trojan horse.
The “spreading insurrectionary ideas” point is pure petty bourgeois fantasy and the “it was all set up by the Chinese” Martin Lee comment, a total stupidity, put into Lee’s mouth during an interview with the Today programme and willingly embraced.
And far from “negative” effects, the eventual decision to suppress the Tienanmen revolt, was crticisable only because it took over two months of hesitancy by the Chinese CP to make a decision that should have been obvious earlier on.
A Marxist critique would suggest that less of the insistence it is allowing “democracy” in Hong Kong would be good and more emphasis on the importance of the dictatorship of the proletariat, along with more warnings to the world of the Catastrophic crisis underway.
But the Chinese contempt for the has-been British ruling class will do for now.
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