No 1569 8th January 2020
Trump’s barbaric drone killing provocation against Iran far more than just asserting imperialist power and revenge for past humiliation. This is another notch in non-stop war provocations preparing the world for the all-out world war to come driven by the ever deepening crisis catastrophe of monopoly capitalism, and the cutthroat trade war conflicts of a system facing total collapse and disaster. Real target is Europe and other capitalist competition wiping out US dominance and economic supremacy, hence their hesitations. Fake-“left” capitulation to the “war on terror” nonsense of the past two decades helps Washington get away with its latest barbarity – and Iran’s alliances with the US to “fight ISIS” played into its hands. Leninist cadre party clarity ever more vital
The most hair-raising aspect of the latest assassination outrage by American imperialism is not the nazi-level bluster threatening horrific destruction on Iran, deadly though it is, but the haranguing of the European nations for their reticence over the unprovoked and illegal attack.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration straightaway that the France, Britain and Germany had not been “as helpful as they could have been” in backing up the atrocity exposes the real contradictions driving this barbaric American aggression and belligerence – the devastating crisis collapse of the capitalist order.
These major powers understand that they, and every other competitor for America’s “right” to plunder and exploit the world (Japan, China etc), are the real targets long term for the America First belligerence, which is driven by the desperation and weakness of the US ruling class now facing the greatest ever collapse and disintegration of its system in all history.
All capitalism is tangled in escalating cutthroat trade war and heading for all-out world war, its staggering destruction of “surplus” capital the only answer the diseased minds of the imperialist ruling class have ever found to the regular and ever worsening over-production crises which routinely bring its private-profit system to catastrophic breakdown (as Marx explained - see Capital).
Hence their reluctance to support outright the bloodcurdling ranting and grotesque bullying by the White House, not wanting to cede any ground or give any advantage to the US monopoly bloc as the tensions ratchet up.
Their calls for “de-escalation” have nothing to do with any “calmer”, more rational, or more civilised and “internationally law-abiding” approach to the Middle East, world affairs in general or “human rights”.
Everyone of them would carry out at least as much tyrannical torture, massacre and genocidal brutality as the blustering Trumpites are threatening, (and as Bush, Obama and string of past presidents have done) if they felt it necessary and possible – and each of them has done just that throughout the several centuries of colonialist butchering tyranny of the capitalist era.
They have all supported too the hundreds of wars, coups and “might is right” deathsquad or drone killings, appalling massacres and butchery of millions carried out by the post-war US-led imperialist order, to police and control the Third World and the lucrative near-slave exploitation which alone sustains the indolent and gross luxury of the ruling class and the wasteful and consumerist “Western lifestyle” plus welfarism (and its complacent philistine anti-communism) which it uses to control its domestic populations.
They have all essentially joined in or gone along with the last decades of crisis warmongering and repression (by hot blitzing war or just-as-destructive slow sanctions strangulation) against Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria (etc, etc, and non-stop against the Zionist oppressed Palestinians), where it suited them for getting a share of the imperialist plunder.
Everyone of them has not held back from the sickest of declarations that General Suleimani and the Iraqi colleague incinerated in the car with him would “not be lamented”, tantamount to approving in principle this outright assassination of a demonised enemy simply on the grounds that he was a “nasty person” and a crude trampling across the “rule of law” and “democratic principles” they all hypocritically and lyingly pretend to uphold (and use to demonise and attack regime after regime that does not comply with Western “might alone is right” diktat).
But they fear for their own interests both directly around the deals and exploitation networks connected to Iran and the Middle East directly, and more indirectly in the jostling for position around the intensifying trade war.
The US bullying of Iran, is as much to do with screwing Europe’s trade as it is to getting revenge for 40 years of US humiliation by the anti-imperialist posturing of the reactionary Ayatollahocracy (though it is that too):
Paris, London and Berlin on Saturday welcomed six new European countries to the Instex barter mechanism, which is designed to circumvent US sanctions against trade with Iran by avoiding use of the dollar.
“As founding shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex), France, Germany and the United Kingdom warmly welcome the decision taken by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, to join Instex as shareholders,” the three said in a joint statement.
The Paris-based Instex functions as a clearing house that allows Iran to continue to sell oil and import other products or services in exchange.
The system has not yet enabled any transactions.
Washington in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from the international agreement governing Iran’s nuclear programme and reinstated heavy sanctions against Tehran.
The addition of the six new members “further strengthens Instex and demonstrates European efforts to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran,” the joint statement said.
The presence of Britain in this European bloc partly explains the glaring silence of Boris Johnson in the wake of the US attack, as Britain desperately tries to keep a foot in both camps, and not lose out too heavily, as it scrambles around.
The issue is not simply lost trade with Iran and the region in general but the ripening of the great international struggle for world markets which intensifies daily as the crisis ripens, and the overall jostling for diplomatic, economic and military advantage which will become crucial once the temporary stimulus of Quantitative Easing credit creation (effectively dollar printing) fails to keep the system propped up at all.
The warnings keep on coming:
Debt is rising on every continent and especially in the business sector, which has spent the past decade ramping up its borrowing to previously unheard-of levels.
Last October, the International Monetary Fund said that almost 40% of the corporate debt in eight leading countries – the US, China, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain – would become so expensive during a recession that it would be impossible to service. In other words, tens of thousands of businesses, employing millions of people, would have gambled with high levels of borrowing and lost, making themselves insolvent.
Worse, the IMF said the risks were “elevated” in eight out of 10 countries that boasted systemically important financial sectors, adding that this situation was a repeat of the years running up to the last financial crisis.
Last month, the World Bank joined in. It said emerging-market and developing economies (EMDEs) had pushed their borrowing to a record $55 trillion (£42tn) in 2018.
Unlike the richer nations already mentioned, the 100 EMDEs across Africa, Asia and South America covered by the report were affected by rising private-sector debt coupled with higher government borrowing. And this extra state borrowing is not only larger, it has also changed in character. First, it has gone from being largely directed to investment spending to, more recently, being used simply to cope with the costs of health, education and welfare. Second, it is being more commonly borrowed from international investors hungry to lend developing countries cash at, relatively speaking, sky-high rates of interest.
There is little evidence that anyone is paying any attention to the dire misgivings expressed by either organisation. This year, the US S&P 500 stock market resumed its long-term (100-year) upward trend following a near 200% increase since 2010. Likewise, the German Dax has soared over the past 10 years from 5,500 to over 13,000 while the Paris CAC 40 has almost doubled to 6,000.
Britain’s main market in shares has struggled to make any headway over the past three years while Brexit uncertainty dominated. Yet the FTSE 100 shows a gain from less than 4,000 in 2009 to 7,600 today.
Some analysts have argued that the IMF and World Bank are over-cooking their analysis after missing the last financial crash – seeing danger around every corner. Others dismiss them as archaic remnants of the postwar consensus that fail to understand how the global economy has entered a new phase, one that keeps stock markets humming along and bad recessions at bay.
In the short term at least, the optimists could be right. And that is largely down to the actions of the US central bank, which was on course to repeat the mistake of 2005-07, when it matched rising debt levels (especially in sub-prime mortgage loans) with rising interest rates, triggering the kind of financial crash that the IMF and World Bank now fear is around the corner. This time, the Federal Reserve retreated after pushing base rates to almost 2.5% – still well short of the pre-crash normality of 4%-5%, but higher than almost everywhere else. After three rate cuts last year, the US economy starts 2020 with the base rate back in a range between 1.5% and 1.75%.
Without higher interest rates, everyone can keep merrily borrowing. And when, for most businesses, borrowing rates remain below their potential income growth rate – even when that is lacklustre – there is not the usual imperative to boost growth through investment in order to afford higher debt repayments.
But really, this is a back-to-front way of discussing the issue. Most of the problems afflicting the global economy relate to a lack of demand for goods and services, at least on average, compared with the years prior to the 2008 crash.
And much of the weak demand relates to our ageing populations, which, in the main, focus more on storing up savings for retirement than on spending.
They are also in the habit of voting for governments that promise to keep taxes low and property prices high, allowing them to accumulate even more. Donald Trump and Boris Johnson fit that bill.
Through their pensions and private investments they treat companies like cash machines, demanding a higher dividend every six months. Much of the borrowing by companies has been to pay these dividends, not to invest.
The crudely stupid divide-and-rule ageist blame-mongering at the end of this piece notwithstanding, (when it is class divisions that matter), this is essentially confirming the Marxist science that in the end capitalism cannot sell at a profit everything it produces - the intractable contradiction underlying its catastrophe (see economics box ) and the warmongering being whipped up everywhere (aided by the opportunist fake-“lefts” falling in behind Brexit or notions of “progressive patriotism” now being pumped out in the Labour leadership election, grovelling to ruling class chauvinism deliberately escalated as preparation for oncoming conflict).
What the world needs to see is setbacks and defeat for the ruling class domestically and internationally not gung-ho jingoism falling in behind “our boys” and “our country”.
Only that will open up the possibility to build the international revolutionary understanding that can lead the great coming class war struggles to completely topple this system and build the socialism and a planned economy under the firm control of the working class.
If some those defeats come from blows struck against the ever more unstable and nazi-warmongering of the US ruling class in the Middle East (blustering but terrified of the explosive WW3 implications of its actions) then it is grist to the mill.
But fake-“left” posturing around Iran’s mullah regime will not achieve anything.
Let any blow struck by Iran or other forces in the region against the US or its Western “allies” be welcomed but the Leninist principle of “defeat for imperialism but no support for nationalist opportunism or religious backwardness” is the only line to pursue.
The “lefts” now lining up to support or “defend” Iran are simply causing confusion - its barmy religious backwardness and bourgeois nationalism deserve to be toppled like all capitalism – only not right now when it is under scapegoating attack by a much more reactionary enemy and might even inflict blows on American barbarism (though the tame, carefully choreographed and pre-warned missile attack so far on US troops by the mullahs would seem only to confirm the unreliability and hollowness of their “Great Satan” posturing, to satisfy the anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist street feeling without actually doing anything – compared, say, to the dogged determination of the Palestinians to keep on their fight against vastly greater Zionist oppression, come what may).
“No to war” pacifism and “Stop the war” demands are even worse; craven social-pacifism which heads workers away from the revolutionary understanding that only the class war against imperialism can stop its destructive fascist plunge.
All these “left”s are also mired in a decade and a half of capitulation to the ludicrously characterised “war on terror” – (any fight which takes on imperialism or does not suit its interests so declared) – which has given imperialism a large part of its propaganda weaponry for continuing war mayhem in the Middle East - not one of them spoke out when Washington carried out similar “special forces” deathsquad atrocities on first Osama bin Laden, and then ISIS leader al-Baghdadi, which have both given “justification” precedence to the current murders.
Worse still they have completely accepted the monstrous blitzing and butchery of ISIS by the West and still do, all part of their craven “condemnation of terror”, particularly since 2001’s 9/11 attack on the US World Trade Centre.
It has lined them up with US imperialism which has had, and still has, thousands of troops in Iraq to defend the stooge government (either US appointed or approved for a decade) – and of course the Iranian Shias have been in cahoots with Baghdad and US forces since 2014 fighting-out sectarian anti-Sunni resentments), Suleimani in the lead.
Refusing to condemn, let alone support the blitzing of, such religious barminess implies no agreement with ISIS or other fundamentalism.
But “anti-terrorist” confusion is reactionary – and the opposite of Leninist clarity which is urgently needed.
Back to the top
New “Workers Party” launch by the Lalkar/Proletarian behind celebrity “left” ex-Labourite George Galloway takes deluded Brexitism to its jingoistic endpoint. Such “patriotic” national socialism is a million miles from Marxism-Leninism and can only cause maximum confusion at best and feed outright jingoistic reaction.
A new claimedly “socialist” party launched by the Stalinist CPGB-ML (Lalkar/Proletarian) and fronted by “maverick” celebrity ex-Labour MP George Galloway will prove a disaster for the working class unless it seriously rethinks some fundamentals.
The plainly labelled “Workers Party” slickly and opportunistically announced in the immediate wake of the Tory/Blairite stitched-up electoral coup manipulated against Corbynism, presents itself as the “real leftism” that the tepid Corbynite “old”-Labour promise failed to deliver and, as it rightly says, was never going to deliver.
Some of its newly declared principles make superficially sound points as far as they go; taking a stand in support of workers states like China, Cuba, and Vietnam (though without spelling out that that is what they are); also rejecting the US blockade and subversion bullying of bourgeois nationalist reformisms such as Venezuela (again without explaining their weaknesses); standing up against the vicious and demented Zionist “left anti-semitism” big lie campaign against Corbynism , and in support of the Palestinians; and catching up finally with the EPSR, in declaring opposition to the confusions and diversions of ever-multiplying “identity politics” (meaning every kind of single-issue distraction and divisiveness, from feminism to black nationalism and LBGT rights, saturating the fake-"left” (eg see Perspectives 2002 )), albeit in a wooden and prescriptive manner typical of museum-Stalinist revisionism.
But its mixture of just-as-fanciful-as-Corbyn reformist platitudes, declared to be “socialism”, and the overtly stated “patriotism” being touted by its arch-opportunist Galloway figurehead for the bourgeois media, potentially takes it beyond being just another opportunist fake-“left” pretence (though it is that too) confusing workers.
Its overriding principle is deliberate Little Englander chauvinism, built around Brexit delusions.
Such nationalism and the jingoism it encourages, is always disastrous for working class understanding at the best of times.
But it is particularly fostered by the bourgeoisie to stampede popular opinion behind it as the world crisis heads ever deeper into cutthroat trade war and the inevitable hot conflicts that will erupt from that.
Going along with Brexit as a route to socialism is deliberate deception and opportunism.
Uncorrected, such a line could become something far more deadly and dangerous than mere confusion for the working class - serious as that is in itself - taking it either directly a step along the road to fascist populism or at least playing into the hands of such backwardness as the EDL and other outright reactionaries and overtly Nazi elements.
Chauvinism, or indeed any nationalism within imperialism certainly has nothing at all to do with the internationalism of Marxism’s revolutionary understanding and science, which the Brarites claim to be upholding and which is the only basis for the class war struggle needed to bring down the ruling class and to end the inevitably and irreversibly “globalised” monopoly capitalist world domination which is dragging the world into torturing and blitzkrieg chaos, mass human degradation, ever wider and grotesque inequality, and worldwide environmental and ecological collapse.
Just the opposite, it panders to, and in fact whips up, the most backward clannishness and narrowness, feeding the jingoism that capitalism needs for its oncoming conflicts as trade war contradictions collapse all the way to World War Three.
Just listen to this from Galloway, poured out in the wake of the Boris Johnson’s own ultra-chauvinist “New Year message” calling for a new “unity of British people”:
George Galloway claimed Brexit is “necessary” to build the Britain many voters have long wanted, suggesting the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union will have Britons become more patriotic. The withdrawal deadline is currently set for January 31...
After showing off a celebratory Brexit mug, Mr Galloway told RT UK: “I predict that Britain will Brexit joyously at the end of January.
“There’ll be a lot more mugs like this on view. A lot more flags, a lot more bunting – Britain will experience a patriotic surge.
“The left, the Labour movement has to go with that. If you are seen as the anti-national, the anti-British, the pro-EU, the people who cannot stomach their own flag and their own nation and its culture and tradition and history, then you yourself will be history.”
The former Labour MP continued: “And I predict a surge in buy British, build British, think British – we have an opportunity.
“Brexit is necessary but not sufficient as a condition to build the kind of Britain that I and many of you want to see but we must Brexit.
“It is necessary and we will have a better Brexit Britain if we are seen to be a part of this new dawn for Britain.”
Mr Galloway added: “If we are the people trying to drag back the people back into last year and the stasis of neither leaving nor staying in the European Union, we will be done for.”
There is a historical precedent for the combination of rampant nationalism and pseudo-socialism – most notably in 1920s and 30s Germany where the National Socialist German Workers’ Party rose up – its name commonly shortened to the Nazi Party.
And there is a history of maverick former Labour MPs playing this game in Britain too, most notably in the person of Oswald Mosley and the formation of the Blackshirt movement and British Union of Fascists.
In the end the British ruling class felt itself strong enough in the 1930s, with enough continuing wealth from tyrannical exploitation of still worldwide Empire colonial holdings, to avoid taking the risk of imposing the severest of slump conditions domestically (worse than the unemployment and poverty that saw the Jarrow March etc), with all the attendant danger of revolutionary upheavals and therefore the need for fascist intimidation to suppress them – but it came close.
Instead the Germans (and Italians) were used to play the aggressive role (with encouragement from the rest of the imperialist camp) to get the war going that the whole of capitalism required (with the added side benefit of simultaneously wiping out – it was hoped – the new Soviet socialism in Russia).
But the lessons are there from the rise of the German Nazis of how sections of the working class and petty bourgeoisie were stampeded using many elements of bogusly-aped “socialism”, with promises of infrastructure development (Hitler-ism built the autobahn network), and populist demonisation of “international financiers” particularly, early on, whipping up a mass street movement to fool petty bourgeois elements and some workers.
The pseudo-“leftism” in the Brownshirt Sturmabteilung movement, which was used for street and factory attacks on the Communists and working class redshirts, was itself savagely put down the year following Hitler’s 1933 ascendancy, in the infamous “Night of the long knives”.
The crude street-thug wing of Nazism had served its purpose, and its carefully fostered petty bourgeois illusions (that a Nazi ascendancy would really rein in the bankers and financial bourgeoisie without the necessity for the communist revolution these middle class and lumpen hordes feared, or did not understand), were suppressed by the murder of its main leaders a year later.
The reality, that Hitlerism had always been an instrument for continued bourgeois rule, became clear too late as the full control of the bourgeois state was brought to bear to suppress the working class and drive up its exploitation, using an open police and military dictatorship absorbing the remnants of the SA (– all done using the tools of bourgeois “democracy” – including the referendums the Brarites are now so completely deluded by as supposedly expressing “the real will of the working class”).
Of course an exact repeat of 1930s fascism will not happen – the world has made its historical experiences with the war horrors created via those particular superficial theatrical forms, leather uniforms etc.
But the current turn to rampant chauvinism everywhere, from aggressive America First Trumpism and the slew of reactionary nationalist parties gaining momentum across Europe, plus the armsrace escalations in all the bourgeois countries, is essentially the same jingoistic phenomenon that was seen in the build up to the gigantic conflicts of both World War One (without swastikas) and World War Two, and with the same end-point of war belligerence and brutal domestic repression, whether it is labelled “fascism” or not.
It cannot be otherwise.
Capitalism needs war, and the destruction that it brings, because that is the only solution it has ever found for the permanently festering and ever deepening “overproduction” crisis and the clogging “surpluses” of capital which its anarchic system of production for private profit inexorably generates (see EPSR box, The Communist Manifesto and 100 volumes theory and science from Marx, Engels and Lenin as well as the EPSR’s own struggle to sustain and develop Leninist revolutionary science since the 1980s in multiple books see side column eg) and the Review).
A third, and even more extensive round of the inter-imperialist world war that has already twice destroyed vast swathes of the planet in utterly horrifying death and devastation is unfolding, and in some aspects is already well underway, from the NATO blitzing of hapless Serbia in 1998 onwards into the subsequent Afghan and Iraqi wars, - beginning the virtually non-stop Middle East destruction of the ludicrous “war on terror” now continued through Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and imposed in continual genocidal raids, massacres and persecution of the entire Palestinian people by the Zionist landtheft colonisers of their country, and increasingly threatened against anyway besieged and starved Iran (and not to mention the thousands and thousands killed by Ukraine’s Western-installed Kiev government and its swastika toting militias bombarding the east of the country non-stop).
But all that is not enough to resolve the gigantic contradictions of this monopoly capitalist system.
If imperialist rule continues, the conflicts to come will be on a much greater scale than ever before because the capitalist profiteering system has spread further and wider than ever, its monopoly concentration is more intensive than ever, and its technology has developed weaponry and war machinery to an unprecedented scale.
To get all-out war going again and stampede public opinion behind it, the system must re-generate anti-foreigner hostility everywhere, along with an atmosphere of hatred and finger-pointing scapegoating and blamemongering, to divert attention from the responsibility it alone bears for economic and social breakdown and collapse.
Beyond the two decades of “war on terror” blitzing of assorted “rogue states” and jihadist anti-Westernism in the Middle East, re-acclimatising a reluctant world to continuous brutality, torture and destruction once more, despite the experiences of two horrifying world wars, a deluge of jingoism and finger-pointing is needed too.
The Lalkar/Proletarian revisionists – now posturingly claiming the title “The Communists” for their website – are playing right into ruling class hands by participating in this desperate new “patriotic” tailending of the class collaborating traditions of the “British Labour movement” leadership and its century and a half saturated in class compromise and “deal making” for a share of the imperialist superprofits.
Deeply embedded trade union opportunism has always grovelled to the ruling class, making sure that its “loyalty” was on display, and through its political wing of the Labour Party, was ready to step in to run the empire whenever the ruling class was facing difficulties, (notably at periods of world upheaval when revolutionary advances were driving it back- particularly after the Second World War, – or the crisis-wracked economic situation lurched particularly threateningly).
Looking out for the “national interest” has only one meaning when the nation is owned lock, stock and barrel (land, factories and farms, banks and finance houses) by the tiny bourgeois ruling class and the remnants of the aristocracy still mingled with it (in the never quite completed bourgeois system prevailing in Britain), namely, looking out for the ruling class itself and its foul and tyrannical system of exploitation and imperialist colonialist plundering).
Protecting the bourgeois state makes opportunist “sense” to the corrupted petty bourgeoisie and better off or skilled layers of the working class when it is the superprofits wrung from the sweatshops and plantations of the great Empire which provided the wherewithal for reformist gains and concessions (such as they have been, which is not much in comparison to the grotesque wealth and power of the ruling class).
And it influence has had a long and deep history in the British working class, hampering its understanding despite many heroic struggles by workers.
Its pernicious legacy, still running deep is the very opposite of the revolutionary struggle which alone can end the plunge to war (or more likely, by historical precedent, end war once it is under way) by making war on the ruling class itself.
Echoed and reflected in similar social-patriotic support for bourgeois governments in every other capitalist country, 1914 saw the entire labour movement of the huge Second International drag the workers into fighting each other for their “own countries” as the world descended into the First World War horrors, and essentially repeat the exercise just 20 years later for the Second World War as explained many times (eg EPSR No990 16-03-99):
The 1914-1918 World War I crisis of civilisation was decades in the build up, and filled, just as now, with trade-war alarms, retaliatory measures, and calculations about the advisability of various imperialist bloc-formations.
But having formally denounced the inter-imperialist arms race and having vowed never to get sucked into class-collaboration with one’s ‘own’ imperialist-bourgeois predators in this disgraceful struggle for world political and economic domination, – every one of more than 40 parties in the ‘Marxist’ Second International, - bar the Bolsheviks, of course, and small groupings in Serbia and Bulgaria, - - slipped nonchalantly, in a couldn’t care-less manner, into petty nationalism of the “obvious, mass-spontaneous kind” which no-one thought harmful because everyone was doing it, - - as soon as the actual war broke out. It took more than 3 years of utter barbarism (of mass gassing and trench warfare bombardment and suicide attacks) before Marxist-Leninist scientific wisdom at last began to assert itself, culminating in the Bolshevik Revolution, the spread of whose influence alone quickly forced all the imperialist warmongers to urgently think about finishing the war one way or another as soon as possible.
Ultimately, the tragically spontaneous tendency for class-collaboration on one’s ‘own’ side had to be posed in its starkest option, - continued bloody war-slaughter ‘with’ one’s ‘own’ side, or revolutionary war AGAINST it, so as to end the degenerate slaughter.
Until the Soviet workers state was dragged into the war, WWII at the end of the 1930s trade war and slump was shaping to pose exactly the same challenge again to workers in every capitalist state, - to fall for participating alongside one’s ‘own’ ruling class in renewed inter-imperialist slaughter for world political and economic domination, or to wage revolutionary civil war to overthrow the bourgeoisie and take mankind out of this incurable capitalist-market lethalness once and for all. Once more, petty-nationalist leadership of the workers movements mostly went ‘patriotic’ (with a few honourable exceptions), - following earlier trade-war class-collaboration with enthusiasm for the fake notion of ‘good’ imperialist states versus ‘bad’ imperialist states.
But for the Soviet workers state becoming involved (which gave workers everywhere in the ‘allied’ imperialist camp full justification for fighting the war on their ‘own’ imperialist side), virtually the entire workers international movement would once again in World War II have been conned into mutual slaughter on behalf of their ‘own’ rival bourgeois-imperialist ruling classes.
Now the same catastrophe of self-inflicted social-chauvinism threatens the whole workers movement worldwide once again.
It would seem astonishing that the museum-Stalinist Brarites, ostensibly pro-Soviet and boasting of their “revolutionary theoretical Marxist-Leninist” credentials – (though always without any detailed explanation of what this is supposed to mean, least of all in putting the gigantic catastrophic upheaval of the capitalist crisis at the centre of all understanding, and the need that imposes for the class war overthrow of the entire system, establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat) – should not only succumb to such backwardness. but positively advocate it.
The rationale hinted at by the Lalkar/Proletarian-ites’ post-election statement is that this new party will constitute some kind of bridge, to
“break a section of workers away from the stranglehold of the Labour Party”.
But, firstly, that is a misreading; surely such a crowbar leveraging is not necessary at all, with the election confirming yet again that the long slow decline in Labour’s “stranglehold” is far advanced (along with the loosening of the grip of “parliamentary democracy” itself, reflected in once more declining turnout figures).
Secondly, building such “bridges” by some interim party building is of little use if the centrism being proposed is blocking the prospect for arguing Leninist politics, the very reason the Scargillite Socialist Labour Party was eventually proven not to be the way forwards for the working class, after being tested to destruction by the genuinely dedicated effort of EPSR members to build it - (see eg EPSR No 1245).
What is necessary is to fill the vacuum in leadership not with dire nationalism, but a clearly and loudly stated revolutionary perspective, for which a revolutionary party of determined and independent cadres, constantly developing Leninist science by party polemical struggle in front of the working class would be the first priority – capable of intervening in the mass upheavals and potential centrist developments that are certain to emerge as the crisis catastrophe of 2008 re-surfaces shortly?
But this is the issue constantly avoided by the ossified politics of revisionism which long ago, under their “hero” Stalin, retreated from a grasp of inexorable build up of unsolvable contradictions within capitalism and the sudden (relative to usual slow historical movement) cataclysmic breakdown into war and devastation, back to “step by step” advances while declaring permanent “peaceful coexistence” with an imperialism declared to be incapable of expanding any more (as set out in Stalin’s conscious revision of Lenin in his 1952 Economic Problems, as the EPSR book Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics details).
Even stripped of its dominating “patriotism” this new Workers Party’s reformist nostrums are the same old hopeless “left pressure” promises made by a slew of revisionist and Trotskyist groups for the last century or more and just as fanciful.
In fact its mixture of “no to war” social-pacifism, promises of “better conditions” (cheap housing, comprehensive health care, free pre-school childcare, decently paid jobs for all etc etc etc) and environmentalism, is no different in essence to the fantasy “anti-austerity” programme of the left-Labourites and just as hoodwinkingly misleading, suggesting that such changes and advances in conditions for the working class can be achieved without changing the capitalist domination of society one iota (which would turn over any “democratically elected” government that tried just half of it).
Such “demands” have just been soundly rejected as pie-in-the-sky by the working class when advanced by Corbynism, and while the anti-parliamentary cynicism thus expressed does not immediately translate into a positive mass understanding of the need to totally end capitalism by revolutionary class war in order to start building a planned socialist world (in which such transformations of life are not only possible but will quickly be far exceeded) it does indicate a healthy enough rejection of the old fake-“left” pretences, both mainstream Labourite and the “left”-pressure of the Trot and revisionist groups who prop them up (through entryist liquidation into Labour, calls for Labour votes, or “a united front of a special kind” as the Weekly Worker CPGB slyly justifies its form of Labour entryism (to pretend they are “not really” supporting it)).
The “realism” of voting for the rapacious Tories is obviously disastrous (and will increasingly be seen so once the crisis collapse tasted in 2008, returns in full) but it understands that there is no longer any scope for the kind of reformist concessions allowed in the past (see EPSR last week).
So why would this list of airy-fairy fancies from this new party be any different?:
An end to imperialist wars and financial domination, starting with withdrawal from Nato.
Rebuild British industry and abolish the anti-worker ‘rationalisation’ that puts profits ahead of people to provide useful, secure jobs for all in decent conditions, with living wages, paid holidays, sick leave, maternity leave, etc.
Decent, cheap, secure housing for all.
High-quality, free pre-school childcare and education, followed by high-quality, free, lifelong education and vocational training.
Free and comprehensive healthcare with no waiting lists, accompanied by easy access to cheap and nutritious food.
Public, high quality laundries, crèches and dining facilities that enable women to take part in work and public life without prejudice or physical barriers.
High-quality, free provision of all necessary support services for the disabled, as well as the elderly. Full state support to enable families to look after their elderly, with nursing homes and sheltered accommodation for those in need of it, so that all workers are able to live full, dignified and meaningful lives.
Universal access to a cheap or free fully-integrated public transport system and all essential amenities: water, sanitation, heating, electricity, post, telephone, internet.
Open and easy access to all forms of culture and the media.
A government that prioritises giving resources to the solving of urgent problems such as the need to live sustainably and protect our natural environment, putting science at the service of the people.
Insofar as there is any explanation of how any of this can be achieved, it lies in the notion that “the state” will take on a commanding role:
The Workers Party believes in the importance of a planned economy, in the directing role of the state. Free-market fundamentalism has gutted Britain of its industries, undermined our manufacturing and productive industries, castrating our society and adversely destabilising proud working-class traditions, culture and way of life.
Our country needs the state to guide the economic life of the country in such a way as to promote work, to respect the dignity of labour, and to serve the working people. All adults have a duty to work in a useful fashion, according to their talents and abilities, and society has an equal duty to ensure that useful employment is available to all, part-time or full-time according to the domestic, health and life constraints of the worker.
Useful work, well done for collective benefit gives personal fulfilment and shall be the basis of a society that collectively tackles the growing scourge of mental ill-health.
But what “state” is this? Who controls it?
Without explicitly setting out the need for class war to establish a workers state, this can only be a capitalist state, and therefore all these measures nothing but corporate capitalism, the same “state control” imposed by Mussolini’s fascism in the 1920 and in Germany in the 1930s.
The talk of “a duty to work” according to some “usefulness” criterion decided by a remote “state” fits entirely with such regimentation, just as the Nazis brutally declared with their gruesome Arbeit Macht Frei (Work is freedom) concentration camp slogans.
Such a duty is a total parody of Marxism’s understanding which says that, once free of capitalist alienation, repression and wage exploitation, everyone in society without exception would be able to develop freely and fully, working not out of duty but because that is what fulfils them (which will obviously include voluntarily serving communal society’s needs from daily chores to major creative contributions):
Marxist science uniquely provides the working class with its own complete revolutionary philosophy for totally taking over the whole world and leading civilisation to a completely transformed and incomparably superior existence, a planned socialist planet run by workers states for the equal benefit of the earth and all its inhabitants, steadily developing in harmony and cooperation towards a communist existence where intelligent work will be every person’s prime need (ea), not duty, and endless further development of human understanding of everything under the sun will provide limitless scope for everyone to shine and succeed as far as their personality, talent, and ambition want to take them, in any field of science and creative endeavour they choose. (EPSR No1094).
Understanding the state and its class nature is fundamental to the Marxist revolutionary struggle to attain this target, as was explained in detail by Lenin in “State and Revolution” written during the titanic upheavals of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.
He showed that the state is essentially bodies of armed men (courts, police, military, etc) who mediate society, ostensibly neutrally, (to stop crime etc) but in reality on behalf of the ruling class, and which will always step in to safeguard the property of the bourgeoisie when the class struggle threatens it, as any miner learned in 1984’s strike, or anyone drawn into every kind of protest and battles against repression, austerity, cuts and war will sooner or later discover, often painfully, as the yellow-vest protestors, or general strikers in France, or the environmentalists, are experiencing currently or as the whole Latin American left nationalist movement (the misnamed – because reformist – Bolivarian “revolution”) has been learning once more to its fatal cost, most lately in the deposing of Bolivian president Evo Morales and previously in the legal, electoral, and constitutional coups in re-installing vicious rightwing capitalist rule in Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras, Ecuador and Argentina.
Or as the Egyptians learned when the CIA-Zionist coordinated colour revolution in 2013 re-installed the military dictatorship under General Sisi with street slaughter of 3000 men, women and children, to stop the developing anti-imperialism of the 2011 Arab Spring and its new “democracy”.
Only by completely overturning and breaking up the armed and ultimately violently forceful capitalist state in order to impose the class rule of the great majority through a workers state, can any steps towards building socialism be carried out – by taking over the all the means of production from the capitalist owning class and preventing and suppressing its inevitable brutal, counter-revolution.
Once the building of such a society has matured, a process which will require generations of steady development not only of the planned economy worldwide but the dialectical revolutionary development of every individual as part of the community, the need for any state coercion will vanish and the state with it, leaving only communal administration of affairs by self-disciplined communists.
All this is bread-and-butter Marxism but remains unexplained by this new party.
Nor does its correct enough sally against Corbynite Labour remaining “a party committed to capitalism” take things any further.
Total takeover of the economy by the working class is not envisaged by this new party either it seems.
Perhaps there might be some “key utilities and transport infrastructure” nationalised (with compensation?), but nothing like the whole of the private ownership of production.
Capital would continue it is implied, though “restricted” in its ability to move around!
Britain needs to be free of the EU regulations that would restrict our fiscal and monetary policy and prevent Britain from taking public ownership of key utilities and transport infrastructure.
If we are to be free to direct the affairs of our country to meet the needs of working-class people, we must be able to have something to say on the free movement of capital out of our country as well as the free movement of labour into it. Under a socialist system, the control of our borders, both physical and financial, will be a guarantee not only of the rights of our workers to good labour rights and rates of pay, but will restrict the ability of capital to pack up and leave for greener pastures, abandoning our workers and decimating British industry.
In tandem with these measures will be the coordinated action of workers and government to ensure that the ever-increasing productivity of labour, arising today from the development of robots and artificial intelligence, is put at the service of lightening the drudgery of work and not replacing the working class. We reject a future of parasitism where the British people, through the operation of the City of London, degenerate into an unemployed feckless rump living off cheap imported food and the plastic-electronic consumables of global capitalist anarchy.
This hopeless reformism dares not even go ahead with its few nationalisations until given permission – the “EU regulations” seemingly insurmountable for these brave “Marxists”.
They do not say what they will do about the obviously equally vigorous objections of the British ruling class, or more appropriately in the last decades of British imperialist decline, the objections of the international hedge funds and banks who have bought up virtually all the “family silver” of the moribund British bourgeoisie’s industries and finance houses.
Nor can they because it would demolish instantly the pro-Brexit agenda in which the whole package is wrapped – “positively embracing Britain’s withdrawal from the EU”” as the new party proudly (!) declares – which not only capitulates to rampant chauvinism but helps feed all the Little Englander backwardness which has trapped the working class behind collaboration with its own imperialist ruling class for the last century and a half.
Hence all the talk about “our” borders, “British industry” and worst of all “our country”.
For a party which has just passed a special rule banning “identity” politics, this assertion of national identity by the CPGB-ML additionally reflects gobsmacking hypocrisy, on top of stupidity, narrowness and braindead philistinism.
Even to single out the “British working class” and its interests in contradistinction to the interests of the working class everywhere else, gives away a philosophical framework which has nothing to do with Marxism and which has capitulated to the crass class collaboration and blinkered syndicalism tainting the whole non-revolutionary “Labour movement”.
No wonder the Lalkar/Proletarian thinks it a good idea to issue thousands of leaflets which just “by chance” have a red-white-and-blue masthead – complemented now by the similarly coloured roundel symbol for its new party, borrowed, it can only be assumed, from the wingtip of some appropriately museum-stored Spitfire representing the adolescent “Great” British empire fantasies behind Brexit.
This is not only no advance on the trade-war inflaming “import controls” backwardness of Arthur Scargill’s rotten trade union bureaucratic narrowness, which the Brarites let themselves be smothered by for eight long years before finally being expelled from his Socialist Labour Party, but even worse in its deliberate cultivation in the working class of the very worst petty bourgeois delusions about a non-existent past of “British sovereignty” now to be regained.
Since when has the working class ever been
“free to direct the affairs of our country”????
“Our” country?? This crude bourgeois nationalism is “theoretically justified” by a completely distorted version of late capitalist economics founded in the long-past, reformist perspectives of the revisionist Alternative Economic Strategy in which the European Union (originally the Common Market) is declared to be the instrument concentrating bourgeois monopoly domination and serving the interests of big capital at the expense of the working class – shorthandedly described as a “bosses club”.
So it is, but then all capitalism is a system of ever intensifying monopoly concentration combined with the increasing grip of finance capital (as Lenin analysed for the late capitalist epoch in his book on Imperialism)) and as the overwhelming size and grip of companies like Apple, Google, the oil and mining conglomerates, Tata etc (virtually none of them European) currently demonstrate (EPSR issue 1567).
There is not a jot of difference ultimately for the working class between domination by massive US, or Indian, or Japanese or any other multinational corporations and hedge funds, and those from Europe (some of which will continue to own utilities, finance houses and transport etc etc whether Britain is in Europe or not).
It is not even correct to suggest that the working class has always felt itself to be losing from the EU as the EPSR pointed out twenty years back when demolishing more or less this same line of argument put forwards by the Brarites to bolster their then SLP figurehead Scargill (EPSR No1102 15-09-99):
this ‘anti-monopoly’ strategy is the purest Luddite arcadianism and capable only of stirring the greatest possible economic and political confusion and the worst possible national-chauvinism.
1. Monopoly capitalism is all there is anyway. NOTHING has ever been able to stop its relentless advance (read Marx), and nothing ever will. It is a comparatively simpler (!) and easier (!) project to OVERTHROW the capitalist system than to prevent capitalism’s relentless monopolisation tendencies. The one is possible (1917, etc). The other is IMPOSSIBLE.
2. The ‘giant capitalist super state’ has been relentlessly developing for just as long. US imperialism, and its UN, IMF, World Bank, and NATO, etc, agencies have far more centralised monopoly-imperialist STATE power today than any capitalist (or any other) power in history has EVER had, - and by a colossal margin. The German and Japanese state-organised and directed conglomerations of monopoly-capitalist power are incomparably greater, potentially, too than ever before. In absolute terms, even the French and British monopoly-capitalist states are more powerful than ever before too, although obviously comparatively weaker now than their rivals.
3. The “increased burden of exploitation and misery to the working class” that all these monopoly developments bring needs heavily qualifying, for this is NOT the average worker’s perception in the leading imperialist countries, where the majority mass of voters routinely elect pro-monopoly capitalist parties to state power, including in Germany, France, Italy, and Britain, etc INSIDE the European Union, - deliberately helping build up the EU because it has meant INCREASED INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS (and therefore higher ‘living standards’ (as crudely measured under capitalism)) against rival imperialist groupings.
As stated in “vote us in to get us out” to avoid falling more under the domination of specifically GERMAN monopoly-capitalist power (which rules the EU, effectively) in circumstances where there is no connection at all, implied or stated, between voting not to be in the EU and the overthrow of the capitalist system itself, -- the only possible meaning of such a campaign is that British monopoly-capitalism is somehow BETTER for the working class, if British workers could have the choice back again between this or being in the ‘European bosses club’.
This is PURE nationalism, - and the most benighted, class-collaborative, luddite, Mary Poppins-ish nationalism at that, - wishing to return to a completely non-existent “better” time before the evils of multi-national imperialist corporations took over, - - which most laughably would NOT BE STOPPED anyway, even if Britain DID leave the European Union again. Ford, General Motors, the Japanese, and the Germans would STILL dominate the car industry with not a ‘British’ manufacturer in sight. The US-Australian Murdoch would STILL dominate newspapers and commercial broadcasting; American monopoly-corporate ‘bosses’ technology would STILL dominate the computer and software industries, etc, etc, etc, etc.
What has changed since then is the declining position of outcompeted British industrial, commercial and agricultural capitalism, and the bourgeoisie’s now almost sole reliance on the increasingly parasitical City banking and finance industry, which has forced it to use hugely increased numbers of migrant and foreign labour in recent years, (deliberately facilitated by Blairism) to keep things running (basic services, NHS) in a low-productivity, low wage economy without which much small business especially would go under.
The changes have altered the perception cited in point 3 above among longer resident and local workers.
In the metropolitan areas with IT and finance, jobs the pro-European view persists, but particularly in former industrial areas the anti-establishment drawbridge has been drawn up, where workers have felt the impact in undercut wages, lost jobs, competition for scarce resources like housing and health and the lack of training and education opportunities from an incapable and faltering capitalist state which relies on buying up workers already trained at the expense of poorer countries, particularly East Europe (which in turn are further impoverished themselves, feeding the cycle of migrancy and stirring resentments expressed in the growth of rightwing populism).
Without a perspective of overall capitalist crisis and decline, and without seeing the only possible solution to it of ending all capitalism, large numbers have turned to the clannishness and localism which finds its expression in the Brexit vote.
That does not remotely mean they should “declare for Europe” instead.
The Remainer view largely mixes middle-class complacency with fanciful fake-“left” pieties about “welcoming all immigrants”, and no more tackles the real issue of the world capitalist crisis than Brexit.
But instead engaging in a difficult battle with this defensive Brexit narrowness to win revolutionary understanding, the fake-“lefts” have largely capitulated to it, opportunistically riding the “patriotism” in the way the “left” Brexiters like the CPGB-ML are now doing.
It requires some extraordinary philosophical somersaults however, not least in falling in behind George Galloway, who has never been and never will be a revolutionary nor even a communist.
And how does the CPGB-ML square this new alliance with their considered opinion 15 years ago while on the verge of breaking with the opportunist garbage poured out by their previous guru Arthur Scargill, when Galloway was setting up his “Respect” party:
At a time when the British working class is in dire need of the leadership of a truly working-class party, when the ‘left’ enemies of the working class are working overtime to stitch together an opportunist outfit under the name of Respect, all the better to fool and deceive the working masses, we in our Party need to strengthen unity and move forward with a single-minded determination to build the SLP as a credible instrument for leading the British working class in the latter’s struggle to overthrow capitalism and build a beautiful socialist future. This, however, cannot be done except through a correct analysis, comradely debate, education, engagement with the masses, and hard slog, over a fairly long period of time. No amount of threats, bluster, attempts at intimidation, procedural manoeuvres and abuse of authority will serve to get us over the difficulties and problems facing our movement.
we urge you, Comrade Scargill, to give up the habit of treating those who disagree with you as your enemies. No proletarian party can be built by those who have been persuaded or intimidated into becoming servile flunkeys.
So what is different now about Galloway? Has he made a Pauline conversion to Marxist revolutionary theory?
From the now regular reports of his sayings in the Daily Express, never a noted Leninist organ, it can be firmly said, nothing at all.
So is this sudden elevation in the Brar-ites’ eyes not entirely bizarre? Or to put it another way, completely opportunist, along the lines spelled out when the Proletarian itself was launched (EPSR No1245 24-08-04):
It is not “different” at all. It is stuck in exactly the same rut of Revisionist opportunism where all the rival “communist party” Stalinist remnants have festered since the 1960s.
Worse than that, it is the wretched Stalin phenomenon all over again, ludicrously repeated by this group in staying loyally silent at Scargill’s rear for 8 years of the SLP while all kinds of reactionary political and personal shite came bucketing out of the “great man”.
Now there is a ludicrous “review” of this Brar group’s modern history which is only notable for the huge and laughable silences over the long stretches of years, and major world issues, for which Brar has no answer.
The “new” pattern is immediately clear. It is the same old “guru” worship as before, — first era covering up all the questions Stalin could not answer; second period covering up all Scargill’s howlers and ignorance; last phase, protecting Harpal Brar himself from his grotesque history of contradictions and evasions.
It is the same old sectarian hope in “personality politics” that has held sway on the “left” in Britain since Stalinist theoretical idiocy and personality cult first began to guarantee in the 1930s the ultimate future decay and collapse of Lenin’s Third International.
A sectarian “brand loyalty” and a blind inability or unwillingness to re-examine difficult history is all that ever marked the various CPs which split off from the original CPGB, and it is the essence of this “new” CPGB-ML.
And the conclusion is only reinforced in watching them pretend that the whole Brexit issue is both good for the working class and something that the ruling class wants to prevent.
Extraordinary conspiracy theories are advanced built on further anti-Marxist confusions about the nature of bourgeois democracy – with referendums declared to be “true expressions of the will of the people” and the whole Brexit issue simply a “mistake” by the ruling class.
Now it is true that nothing about bourgeois democracy can be trusted as such (including actually, above all, the easily manipulated form of the referendum), that all kinds of dirty tricks are pulled and sometimes, though rarely, the ruling class will make errors.
But to declare as the Proletarian does, that Brexit is only happening because the ruling class slipped up with David Cameron’s decision to call a vote, and by chance the will of the working class was expressed,
“tossing a handgrenade into the establishment”
is either naïve or disingenuous to a fault.
This is the crassest of revisionism, still pretending that advances can be made through “democracy”, the disastrous endpoint of “peaceful road” politics born of Stalinist retreats from the 1920s onwards.
To further suggest that the ruling class is thereby caught out because it is “forced” to go through with something it did not want is to abandon even the fundamentals of Marxism and its understanding that democracy is a total manipulated fraud covering over the actual bourgeois dictatorship.
First of all, the working class is being misled as already explained, and even if there had simply been a real error, the ruling class would have quickly shut the issue down, one way or another, not least by simply re-running the referendum and making sure it was stitched up correctly this time.
That it has not done so is because what is involved is two opposed sections of the ruling class itself, which has been torn apart for decades by uncertainty and fear over its ever weakening position relative to other imperialist powers.
The issue is whether to stay with the European monopoly bloc as second string to Germany, ready for the all out conflicts to come against the other great powers and most of all America, or whether to line up with the US as it becomes more and more belligerent against all and sundry and especially Europe (as the Iran issue is underlining), to try and ride out the crisis.
The hopeless woodenness of the Stalinists, refusing to develop their understanding beyond the frozen in time perspectives of their icon Stalin (neither updating anything nor exploring the errors and mistakes from the 1920s onwards which hampered the great achievements of the Soviet Union, and which eventually led to its liquidation) cannot see this paralysing division in the ruling class, simultaneously declaring that it does not exist, or that it does exist but is just “trivial”:
Why did they do it? For their own selfish and petty internal party reasons (there was a split in the property-owning class between the financiers and manufacturers).
they declare off-handedly.
And they ludicrously write off the anti-European ruling class sections as of little consequence or significance.
But declared Leavers include arch Brexiter Jacob Rees Mogg in finance; so too hedge fund operator John Redwood. And there are many Leave supporters donating to the Tories’ campaign as Private Eye details week by week, from arch-Leave supporter Anthony Bamford running one of Britain’s biggest companies, JCB, and “oil tycoon Ian Taylor”. Britain’s richest man, industrialist Jim Radcliffe, worth £16bn and the owner of Weatherspoons, Tim Martin, are hardly “insignificant” Leavers; and would speak out for Remain if that was what they really wanted.
It takes revisionist blinkers of extraordinary size to paint as “petty” the agonies of the pro-and anti- Europe conflicts in the establishment from even before Margaret Thatcher’s downfall, and John Major’s near government undermining by the anti-Euro “bastards”.
Such tunnel vision (afflicting all the play-acting fake-“left” in fact) comes from not seeing, or rather grasping, the full scale and significance of the oncoming crisis, whatever academic “Marxist” articles might be run on the subject.
But that would require grasping the total chaos to come, as the whole system grinds to a juddering halt, in slump disaster and its explosive world war “solution”.
The “theory” declaring that leaving Europe is a “step towards socialism” would be nothing but reformism even if it made any sense.
It does not, and the illusions it continues in “democracy” are the hallmark of revisionist dull-brained misleadership.
The nationalism it stirs up is even worse, deadly to the interests of workers everywhere, and the exact opposite of Leninist revolutionary science urgently required.
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