Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic & Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested.--- V. I. Lenin


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No 1570 28th January 2020

Trump pullback from Iran blitzing threats– despite injured US troops – shows underlying fearfulness of his fascist bluster. But petty bourgeois pacifist relief is misplaced; the US must continue its Empire bullying and warmongering if it is to maintain its arm-twisting intimidation of rising challenges from Third World revolt AND ever more intense imperialist rivalry, the only means its bankrupt economy has to keep on the sweetlife and power of world domination. The moribund US cannot afford war and the humiliations already suffered in Iraq, Afghanistan Yemen etc but cannot afford not to go down this path of Nazi intimidation either if it is to stay topdog and ride out the oncoming Great Catastrophe, only temporarily deferred from 2008 by QE money printing. Trade war must reach to-the-death levels as monopoly rivalries try to survive desperate Slump far worse than the 1930s. Such crisis understanding must underpin all working class politics, exposing the hopeless reformism of the fake-“left”. Leninist revolutionary theory needed

Donald Trump can brag all he likes about US economic growth at the annual boss and banker jamboree in Davos but the climb down from his bloodcurdling fascist threats of destruction for Iran tells a different story about US imperialist loss of confidence.

Too much baulking at the prospect of carrying through its lurid war intimidation threats – the White House pulling back now for a second time despite Tehran’s recent retaliation on an Iraqi US base for the Suleimani drone murder – could eventually undermine all such transient economic “achievements” even before the soon returning world crisis credit collapse (only deferred by QE valueless inflationary money printing since 2008 and imminently breaking again) wipes out such “triumphs” anyway.

The US Empire is now surviving on pure fascist intimidation, arm twisting the world to serve the interests of its monopoly combines.

But if its bullying bluster is seen as an empty threat, what then?

Far worse bluster and destruction eventually of course – because of the desperate need to prove the point.

This can only be a temporary hesitation (historically speaking) in the plunge to war until imperialism is defeated and then overturned.

But the terrifying and terrified fascist war drum beating will go on precisely because of the weakness and desperation it expresses.

And this degenerate capitalism (all sides) will unleash far more destruction than yet seen in the half a dozen countries butchered and devastated from Serbia to Libya, Somalia to Yemen, already costing hundreds of thousands of lives on top of the tens of millions butchered and slaughtered throughout imperialist history.

A Marxist grasp of the unstoppable and gigantic looming economic Catastrophe explains why - the key being the capitalist crisis determining the entire course of world events.

It is the element all the fake-“lefts” fail to put at the heart of their “analyses” because of its insistent revolutionary conclusions, leaving them variously standing “for or against” the Iranian victim regime for example but missing the real import of this conflict.

Instead they flounder in chauvinism and nationalism themselves (at various levels - MAGA, Brexit, Scottish nationalism etc), kowtowing to the reactionary breakdown of the capitalist order which is heading for World War Three, stoppable only by overthrowing the entire system (an international struggle).

Iranian events make the point.

As the EPSR has already said, the real target for this US empire belligerence and terror bullying is at least as much the rest of the world as it is the Mullahs, and particularly the major European powers and their economic competition which is steadily and relentlessly undermining America in many industries.

Just in the car sector, the European output (and Japanese) has long been major competition, and in aircraft too, where the Airbus plane consortium now sells almost twice as much worldwide as the giant Boeing corporation (a huge part of the US economy, nearing 1%), which is exhibiting the effects of the severe technological and managerial weaknesses permeating ageing US bourgeois capabilities, (as the initially and monstrously covered-up 737 Max accident dangers, and subsequent grounding of this “next generation” plane, have highlighted).

Iran has been deliberately set up therefore, targeted for sanction siege strangulation on the outrageous pretext of “making the world safer” by stopping its quite justified pursuit of nuclear arms for its own defence – (quite “normal” and no different to a dozen other countries in fact including, obviously, the vast, endlessly modernised US arsenal, Britain, France, nearby Pakistan and India, and notably too the next door Zionist-nazi occupation of Palestine, heavily supported and subsidised by Washington and not-so-secretly armed to the teeth with hi-tech weaponry including hundreds of nuclear warheads, for the last four decades at least) – even though Iran had already backed down under duress and accepted international treaty agreements not to go ahead with research and development.

And while this monstrous and threatening provocation – hoping to push the country to try and break out of this slow siege war-attack, thereby blaming it as “the aggressor” to “justify” a round of hot-war blitzing – is partly in simple revenge for decades of thorn-in-the-side anti-Western and anti-Zionist posturing by the Tehran regime, making this a suitable hate-target for manipulated Western public opinion in the way Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was twenty years ago, its main purpose is as a demonstration piece selected almost at random to continue proving to the world the might and ruthlessness of world dominating US power.

Some of that is done to smite down and suppress ever-growing Third World rebelliousness (usually labelled “terrorism”) and revolt against the poverty, humiliation, despair, injustice and ever-more-gross and obscene inequality inflicted on the great majority and, increasingly, some is to trample across growing dismay and concern (and potential revolt too) about the environmental and ecological devastation and poisoning of the planet by capitalist plundering and waste (in Brazil eg).

But the prime target is other imperialists, to stifle the ever growing competition of their own monopoly combines and to force them to accept the big American monopolies’ presence, allowing them a free hand to siphon off huge profits unhindered, and largely untaxed (for example and especially Google, Amazon, Facebook etc), as well as continuing unregulated surveillance, mass data gathering and media manipulation for private profit, as well as to the benefit of US imperialist state interests in general.

It is only on the back of this violent intimidation, the hallmark of imperialist monopoly capitalism (see Lenin’s Imperialism -the highest stage of capitalism on the substitution of dirty dealing, boycotts, cartellism, market stitch-ups, gangsterism, and crude force by the monopolies and their governments, in place of early capitalism’s “fairer” open competition) – that the America First policy has made any headway at all, forcing the entire world to give way to US interests in trade, and to make costly additional military contributions to NATO etc (though this is a double edged demand, should such weapons ultimately be turned on the Empire, just as the US’ gun-law “right to bear arms” will eventually backfire domestically).

Simultaneously, rival powers are compelled to put off or cancel their own separate deals with “forbidden” countries like communist Cuba and socialist orientated Venezuela, obviously with Iran, and above all with the enormously increased and still increasing economic weight of China, where use of a capitalist economic sector (guided by the overall planning of its workers state, if revisionist, command) has rapidly made it major world player, both as competitor and as a cooperator for others (in Africa, Latin America etc but with the EU and Russia too).

Huge pressure to block European trade with Putin’s bonapartist Russia has also been exerted, notably trying prevent completion of the gigantic Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea route gas pipeline, undermining Moscow’s oligarch capitalist economic rivalry, weakening Europe and boosting the US by substituting its gas deliveries for Russian. Murky dealings about the swastika toting Kiev Ukrainian anti-communist and anti-Russian regime are part of this too.

In other words the limited boost to the economy achieved by Trumpism comes only at the expense of its rivals, just at the moment when the permanent armsrace trade war is hugely intensifying to cut-throat levels within imperialism.

The pressure and tensions are growing, as the running battle with Britain over the Huawei 5G phone technology shows and harsh undiplomatic bullying spats at Davos indicated, over tariffs and taxes for the “digital sector”:

The US has warned the British government it “would be madness” to use Huawei technology and senior Washington officials have said numerous times that the Trump administration would reassess intelligence sharing with the UK in light of such a move.

However, UK security figures dispute the claim and Britain has already used some Huawei technology in previous mobile networks. A final decision is expected later this month.

Sir Mark Lyall Grant, who was Theresa May’s national security adviser, said that the security services had repeatedly concluded over several years that they were able to mitigate any potential threats posed by the Chinese technology.

Lyall Grant told the Observer: “This has been gone into now by three different administrations, and I think the outcome is quite likely to be the same – that the intelligence agencies are expressing confidence that they can sufficiently mitigate any potential security threat to allow Huawei to continue to provide at least the non-core telecommunications equipment for 5G rollout. The government has developed an oversight mechanism which they are confident will work.

“Combine that with the fact that Huawei has more advanced technology than the alternatives, I think it is relatively likely that Boris Johnson will come to the same conclusion.”

Two of Britain’s biggest telecoms companies, BT and Vodafone, are understood to be drafting a letter to Johnson, setting out their support for Huawei’s involvement in 5G.

Last night, a senior Huawei executive, Victor Zhang, said there was simply “no justification” for banning the company on cyber security grounds.

“After looking at the facts, we hope the government agrees – so that our customers can keep the UK’s 5G roll-out on track and meet the prime minister’s promise of gigabit connectivity for all,” he said.

“Giving Huawei the go-ahead to continue supplying equipment will mean telecoms companies have access to the best technology and the breadth of suppliers they need to build secure, resilient and reliable networks.”

The dispute was a sign that Britain would be repeatedly asked to take a side in disputes between the US and China, Lyall Grant added. “The interesting thing about Huawei is that it is the first, but by no means the only issue on which the risk is over the next decade, we are going to be pressured to choose,” he said. “And that is a choice that on some issues the UK government is not going to want to make.”

The “security” issue is complete codswallop, a cover for economic pressure against both China and Britain and risible “bogeyman” hysteria.

Interestingly it exposes some of the economic and trade desperation of the moribund Brexit British ruling class, frantically trying to balance between the European bloc and US imperialism, as well as with Beijing, as its pretence of “going it alone” crashes into the humiliating realities of the world “free market” – in fact nothing but the power of ever larger and more concentrated monopolies.

As the EPSR has warned, the working class will suffer from Brexit as much as it would have done under the “bosses club” European monopoly rules, in fact potentially even more now facing the full force of American monopoly power alone.

Even so, like Britain for the moment, the rest of the world powers have to tread very carefully; none is big enough or sufficiently well armed yet to contemplate an outright challenge to the overwhelming military might of the US empire and the financial dominance of its great monopoly corporations and banks.

But the point of the EU has always been to give its nations sufficient market size clout en bloc (if their permanent capitalist national antagonisms can be sufficiently suppressed – a constant problem and a tall order) to compete with the US and also Japan and other bourgeois powers.

So the American threats are facing Brussels blockage and retaliation, escalating the trade and tariff war.

The political splits, reflecting these economic tensions in the imperialist world are increasingly near the surface once more (as they were during the Iraq war in 2002 when Germany and France were at odds with the US and British blitzkrieg plans, and US “patriotism” was raised to bizarre levels of hysterical hatred with “cheese eating surrender monkeys” and “freedom fries not French fries” sloganising - see EPSR No1172 18-02-03).

As analysed then, it was not any moral or liberal principles that led those countries to hold back (even if that was their pretence) but jostling for position in the imperialist top-dog rankings as the crisis unfolded. They have been willing enough to participate in the Middle East and Third World plundering since, but have different interests. Anti-Americanism is growing however:

The European Union’s leading tech regulator has thrown her weight behind the British government’s plans to press ahead with a digital tax despite threats from Donald Trump.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner recently promoted to take charge of Europe’s digital policy as well, said she was a “strong supporter” of national digital taxes in order to advance the chances of an international agreement. She said the EU would revive plans for a digital tax within a year if international efforts to find a solution failed.

“I think it is very important that we keep up the momentum. Because of this very fundamental injustice that most people and businesses pay their taxes and they are competing with businesses who create value but do not pay taxes,” she said in an interview with the Guardian and other European newspapers.

Although not mentioning the UK by name, Vestager backs all EU member states imposing digital taxes, based on the “very, very simple thing that most businesses pay their taxes”.

The transatlantic row over taxing digital companies, such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, burst into the open at Davos this week, when the UK chancellor, Sajid Javid, vowed to press ahead with go-it-alone plans for a UK digital tax, despite threats from the US of punitive tariffs on British car exports.

Earlier in the week, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, a digital-tax champion, agreed to postpone tax plans for one year in order to find a solution through the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. France was also under pressure from Trump, who threatened to slap tariffs on champagne, Roquefort cheese and handbags if the tax went ahead.

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire insisted France has not given in to US pressure and digital companies in France will have to “pay their tax dues”, either via an OECD deal or the French tax.

The head of the OECD, Ángel Gurría, said on Thursday he was hopeful of having a framework that would apply to more than 130 countries drafted by July.

Speaking before Gurría’s latest intervention, Vestager said member states implementing digital taxes would get support from the commission. Trump “decides what he will do and we decide what we will do” she said.

But she added that it would be “questionable and wrong” to give up on the prospect of an OECD agreement. Asked when the commission would act in the absence of a deal, she twice referred to a deadline set by the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. “It says at the end of this year or beginning of next year,” she said. “That’s the task we’ve been given.”

The EU’s desire to revive digital tax plans could be foiled: an earlier proposal for a 3% levy on internet companies was rejected by a handful of member states, including Sweden, Denmark and Ireland. EU laws on tax can only come into force with unanimous agreement.

“When it comes to taxation there are no guarantees,” Vestager said, but added she was “not completely pessimistic”, citing 14 laws agreed by the EU in five years to clamp down on tax avoidance.

The Danish Liberal party politician, who won plaudits for forcing Apple to pay unpaid taxes and fining Facebook for misleading the regulators, started a five-year term last month as one of three European commission first vice-presidents.

Another pressing task is to assess how the EU should regulate artificial intelligence. Following a widely shared leak, the commission is expected to call for a temporary ban on facial recognition in public places, while regulators assess how to treat the technology.

As the EU’s competition enforcer, Vestager is also expected to take a keen interest in trade talks with the UK, especially in ensuring the British government can not outcompete EU countries through unequal state subsidies. She said the EU had “a firm starting point” to ensure a level playing field between EU firms and British competitors.

The EU has said the UK can only have a zero-quota, zero-tariff trade deal by maintaining EU rules on state aid and social and environmental protection.

Brexit would leave a “void” in the EU likely to be filled, she suggested, by a varying alliance of countries seeking to be a counterweight to France and Germany. “We always talk about the French-German axis, but for an axis to be interesting it also needs some energy from the outside,” she said.

 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that, instead of following the US’ maximum pressure campaign against Iran, the EU will stick to diplomacy in order to avoid further escalation of tensions in the region.

The US and Europe have a “different approach” to Iran and the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for its nuclear program, Maas told Bild am Sonntag newspaper, in an interview published on Saturday.

“While the US unilaterally abandoned the nuclear agreement and imposed maximum pressure [on Tehran], we want to achieve progress through negotiations. France, Britain and Germany want to keep the deal to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” Maas stated.

The minister added that “pure threats” and military action have done “nothing” to change Iran’s behavior.

We should not pretend that an externally-induced regime change in Tehran will automatically improve the situation. That has gone badly elsewhere, like in Iraq.

“We want to prevent a firestorm in the Middle East. The EU relies on diplomacy, not escalation,” Maas stressed.

The JCPOA took a dent in 2018, after US had left the agreement, while accusing Iran of secretly violating it. Iran insisted that it was complying with the deal, and the global watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in its reports at the time had confirmed it. Washington, nevertheless, re-imposed several rounds of sweeping sanctions on Iran, and urged the EU to follow suit.

A year after the US abandoned the JCPOA, Iran began scaling down its commitment under the deal. Officials in Tehran said that the nation will return to full compliance if the EU provides relief for the US sanctions. Iran finally left the agreement on January 5, two days after a US drone strike in Iraq had killed the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, whom Washington accused of plotting terrorist acts.

All this is just the precursor to much greater conflict to come once the temporary economic respite of Quantitative Easing implodes, as the serious sectors of the bourgeoisie continue to confirm:

The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economy risks a return of the Great Depression, driven by inequality and financial sector instability.

Speaking at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington, Kristalina Georgieva said new IMF research, which compares the current economy to the “roaring 1920s” that culminated in the great market crash of 1929, revealed that a similar trend was already under way.

While the inequality gap between countries had closed in the last two decades, it had increased within countries, she said, singling out the UK for particular criticism.

“In the UK, for example, the top 10% now control nearly as much wealth as the bottom 50%. This situation is mirrored across much of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), where income and wealth inequality have reached, or are near, record highs.”

She added: “In some ways, this troubling trend is reminiscent of the early part of the 20th century – when the twin forces of technology and integration led to the first gilded age, the roaring 20s, and, ultimately, financial disaster.”

She warned that fresh issues such as the climate emergency and increased trade protectionism meant the next 10 years were likely to be characterised by social unrest and financial market volatility.

“If I had to identify a theme at the outset of the new decade, it would be increasing uncertainty,” she said.

With disputes still raging between the US and Europe, she said “the global trading system is in need of a significant upgrade”.

Georgieva said uncertainty affects not only businesses but individuals, especially given the rising inequality within many countries.

She said that “excessive inequality hinders growth and ... can fuel populism and political upheaval”.

Eric LeCompte, the head of debt charity Jubilee USA, said: “The IMF delivered a stark message about the potential for another massive financial disaster that we last experienced during the Great Depression.

“With inequality on the rise and concerns of stability in the markets, we need to take this warning seriously.”

While government spending to help those at the bottom is key, Georgieva said, she added: “Too often we overlook the financial sector, which can also have a profound and long-lasting positive or negative effect on inequality.”

There are no “ifs”, or “upgrades” for capitalism as Marxism’s science and historical analysis understands and has been warning the working class for years.

The relentless mechanisms of ruthless dog-eat-dog struggle for profit are the very essence of this system and cannot be changed, muted, regulated, reined in or stopped from war by social-pacifism (the useless and class-disarming responses of every kind of fake-“leftist” reformism including the posturing Trot and Stalinist pretend “revolutionaries”).

Any such “left pressure” restraint, can only be very superficial and temporary (and only getting somewhere in “boom” times anyway) and then is usually in the interests of one or other of the monopoly blocs (like “standards” and “safety” and “pollution regulations”, all imposed because that helps the bigger corporations who can afford the research etc, blocking off foreign competition, while the smaller fry companies cannot keep up and go to the wall).

Based on the scientific philosophy and economics Karl Marx spent 30 years analysing, and Lenin further developed, this crisis is not only unstoppable but will be far worse than the 1930s Depression which followed the credit-fuelled hysteria of the USA’s Speakeasy and party-time 1920s (while Europe stagnated), and led to the destruction of the Second World War, as capitalism’s “solution”.

Imperialism has extended its influence far wider, and for a much longer period, its monopoly concentration processes have gone far further, and the credit creation pumped out primarily by America throughout the post-WW2 and Cold War “boom” decades, – to keep the plates spinning and sustain its worldwide control via bribed and paid-off stooge and fascist regimes, – has gone to insane levels, now multiplied even further to escape (just) the 2008 global bank failures.

It heralds a Catastrophic economic implosion and subsequent chaos and societal breakdown into crime, warlordism, anarchy and war of unimaginable proportions – as one petty bourgeois commentator speculated recently, this time destroying faith not just in banks and similar finance organisations as happened in 1929, and again 2008, but even in the national institutions and government bodies which are supposedly inviolate and capable of bailing out economies as a last resort, and which are regarded as “safe if unexciting” depositories for savings and investment.

He was pointing at collapse of the dollar itself (again a repeated, if still speculative, analysis long explored by the EPSR eg Nos 844, 1158, 1173, 1205 and many more), and of the entire international trading system built on it, including the great bank reserves and holdings of almost every country in the world.

Only the dominant WW2 victor, the US, which imposed itself as the holder and controller of the world reserve currency, to huge and lucrative advantage, at the Bretton Woods conference just after the Second World War (where the dollar was declared “as good as gold” with the backing of massive US held bullion reserves, to “preserve world order and prevent trade war”) could avoid the worst effects, perhaps.

Speculating further, it could be done for example by launching an alternative currency inside the States – much as was done with the new Deutschmark in Germany after 1923’s infamous wheelbarrow inflation, or with the Italian lire and others – simultaneously wiping out all its gigantic and never-to-be repayable debts, accumulated budget deficits and unfulfillable obligations which would be held everywhere else in now useless old dollars and dollar-bonds etc.

American imperialism has already continuously reneged on a huge part of its obligations anyway since Richard Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971, forced there by the inflationary costs of the unwinnable Vietnam war and the growing expense of running its international network of stooge dictators.

Washington has let it inflate more or less constantly ever since, at the expense of $-asset holders, particularly its more efficient competitors, running huge trading surpluses like Japan, China, and Germany, with their holdings largely invested in American debt, companies and property.

(It needs to be added that, while in competition, the biggest bosses everywhere simply keep up by inflating their “earnings” at the same time as the dollar goes down, with payments now reaching surreal levels: Elon Musk at the US Tesla carmaker has just signed a deal to take a $50bn (!!!!!) personal bonus if the company grows for 10 years and the Europeans play the same game, the boss of the Italian Ferrero Rocher chocolate empire taking over £500M personally this year alone.)

A “New Dollar” would obviously would mean the US having to go it alone in isolation, while fending off the hatred and anger of the bankrupted world (and its own domestic population).

But isn’t that just the direction belligerently isolationist Trumpism is taking things (and has a track record of doing in his real estate wheeler-dealing)??

Small wonder he crows about the US’s new found self-sufficiency in oil from fracking and perhaps the Canadian tar sands, the key commodity for powering modern economies, and above all military might.

Small wonder he gets the solid backing of the Republican reactionary wing of the ruling class against impeachment, propping him up despite irrationality, glaring lies and trampling across all long established historical norms of “democracy” and federal “legality”.

But America cannot pull out of its international connections either.

The entire modern world is an intertwined and inescapable complex of economic and production relations developed by geography-spanning multinationals – which, rationally planned under common ownership for humanity’s needs and not profit, and in harmony with nature, will eventually be the very foundations of efficient socialist world production, as Lenin understood a century back.

At present, under capitalist private ownership guarded by the brute force of bourgeois dictatorship and the intertwined state forces that implement it, they are used for the relentless and ruthless neo-colonial exploitation of Third World resources and labour in near-slave level sweatshops, plantations and mines (and often enough actual slavery) to produce the extraordinary power and fabulously wasteful consumerism and indolent wealth (for the tiny minority) of imperialism.

Barbaric and tyrannical world plundering control is the very basis of modern imperialist capitalism which gains the greatest part of its income from the “super-profits” extracted by overseas investment (on top of continuing domestic working class exploitation).

Just how could it pull back even from China, which is still partially climbing out of rural backwardness using capitalist methods (though extremely fast under its planned development, and increasingly a major contender in its own right, and without the brute repression and ignorance imposed by raw capitalism) and delivering labour power far more cheaply than within the US, for the likes of Apple, at rates no US based factory could come close to (though very advantageous for China’s economy).

By using expensive robots? – but like all machinery and fixed capital these cannot make profit as Marx’s Capital explains (Vol 1 and 3) because as much has to be paid for them, and to replace their wear and tear, as is returned from the products they make – only human labour produces additional new value, of which the “surplus” part siphoned off by the capitalists via their “ownership rules and rights”, becomes profit.

So how about forcing down labour rates and conditions in the US (already done in part over the last decades)?

But how would that hold up Trumpite populism based on “making America great again”???

It is because America too is a seething mass of resentment, hostility and potential revolution that such chauvinism has to be deployed.

Such “fortress isolationism” in other words can be only another way of asserting US Empire power over the rest of the world through sheer aggression and might, tearing up all the past “alliances” and pretences of an “international order” through a “community of civilised nations” abiding by supposed standards, principles and “rule of law” established by a United Nations.

This was always a massive lying Cold War fraud anyway dominated by imperialist and most of all American, interests and turning a blind eye to the endless wars, atrocities, coups, interventions and barbarities carried out by and for imperialism, – some 400 such since 1945 including the horrific Korean and Vietnam wars (totally at least 6 million dead), numerous massacres on a truly vast scale like the slaughter of a minimum one million communists and sympathisers in Indonesia in 1965, similar numbers throughout Latin America in endless torture and massacre coups (Pinochet in Chile notably as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina disappeareds, Brazilian military dictatorship etc etc); non-stop barbarity in Africa with millions dead just in the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda and many more in Mozambique, Angola, West Africa, (not to mention South Africa apartheid); the Caribbean is a hell hole of repression and fascism such as Haiti, and Cuba before it saved itself with a communist revolution; and of course the Middle East, spearheaded by the rottweiler Zionist colonialist landtheft occupation of Palestine and its non-stop genocidal persecution of its dispossessed people and of the Arab world in general, for its own demented master-race purposes and as a stooge for imperialism.

But now that post-war order is breaking down, the unevenness of capitalist development, accelerated hugely by the pressures of the crisis, is destroying that temporary post WW2 inter-imperialist balance.

Above all America can no longer afford to play the role of world policeman, as Trump constantly complains, not least after pouring $trillions into hopeless wars like Afghanistan to no avail as finally revealed by the bourgeois press:

deception and failure [are] revealed in the explosive Afghanistan papers published by the Washington Post this week.

Comprising more than 600 interviews with key insiders collected confidentially by the Office of Special Inspector General for Reconstruction in Afghanistan [Sigar], and published after a three-year court battle, the trove has been compared in significance to the Pentagon Papers, the secret Department of Defense history of the Vietnam war leaked in 1971.

Like that secret history, the Afghanistan Papers’ accumulated oral history depicts a war mired in failure – in sharp contrast to the “misleading” story told to the US and British publics by officials in massaged figures and over-optimistic assessments.

But even if that deception has been the main focus of reporting, the hundreds of interviews – with senior generals and Afghan governors, with ambassadors, aid officials and policy advisers – also tell another story: how successive presidents from Bush through Obama to Donald Trump, publicly rejected “nation-building” but created a violent, corrupt and dysfunctional state only barely propped up by US arms.

They detail too how – like the Soviet Union before them – the US and its allies came so badly unstuck in Afghanistan through a combination of hubris and ignorance, and with a political leadership – both under Obama and Bush – more concerned with domestic politics than the impact of their decisions on Afghanistan.

Reading at times like an extended exercise in blame, the interviews trace a widespread desire among participants to nail down an original sin for the failures in Afghanistan; even to seek an exculpation for a conflict that has cost $1tn and the lives of tens of thousands over almost 20 years.

From the shortcomings of the US military’s newly-rewritten counter insurgency doctrine – described by one interviewee as “colonial” in its conceit – to a tolerance of widespread corruption and “warlordism” blamed for fueling the resurgence of the Taliban, a key theme of many of those who spoke to Sigar was the lack of coherence in Washington’s approach to Afghanistan from the outset.

From the very beginning, as Richard Haas – the former US government policy coordinator for Afghanistan – confided in his interview, there was little enthusiasm in George W Bush’s White House for the country once the Taliban was driven out in 2001.....

“If we think our exit strategy is to either beat the Taliban – which can’t be done given the local, regional, and cross border circumstances – or to establish an Afghan government that is capable of delivering good government to its citizens using American tools and methods, then we do not have an exit strategy because both of those are impossible.

His summation, however, was even more scathing: “We did not know what we were doing.”

The lack of vision at the war’s start, which left the US and its allies racing to catch up as US attention turned quickly to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, was only exacerbated by the decisions that would belatedly get made in response to the rapidly-resurgent Taliban in the middle of the last decade.

Among the handful of Britons identified by name in the papers is Gen David Richards, the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan between 2006-7. “There was no coherent long-term strategy,” Richards told the Sigar interviewers, adding that the countries involved in the International Stabilisation Force [ISAF], under Nato command, had insufficient troops to do the job.

“Every nation was in charge of protecting an area larger than they had forces to do so with, and if you don’t have enough forces to protect what you’re trying to do, stabilization can’t be done.”

...Austin Wright, an academic who specialises in Afghanistan at the University of Chicago, and has made a study of the declassified military records of the war, offers an outsider’s perspective.

Wright notes that many in the media have picked up on the acknowledgement by the head of Sigar, John J Sopko, asserting the US public was “misled” consistently by official accounting of progress of the war. But he believes that focus misses the fact that many in leadership positions also misinterpreted their own data concerning the nature, intentions and capabilities of the Taliban at key points in the conflict in their desire to see signs of victory.

The sense of overdue reevaluation is not confined to just those interviewed by Sigar but shared by many who served in senior roles in Afghanistan.

“I remember thinking at the time I was running around Helmand that we should be able to do this, whatever that thing was,” a former British diplomat who served in the region told the Observer.

“But in retrospect, it was not realistic because while we were pissing into sand in Helmand you have to look at bigger picture....

“If you can’t define ‘winnable’ how do you define if the war is lost. What is clear,” he added looking to the future, “is that there is going to be an on going low level of commitment for a long time to come in terms training and in terms of trying to prevent Afghanistan becoming a serious problem again.

“You can argue that you are preventing Afghanistan being used as an operational base for the really bad guys, but then there are plenty of other options for them.

Formerly the US was extending its influence world wide for Cold War purposes, working with the defeated imperialist powers of Germany and Japan to stop revolution, under the brainwashing nonsense that it had to contain “communist aggression” (one of the greatest historic lies ever, as the world found out when the Soviet Union’s complacent revisionist bureaucratic leadership eventually liquidated – it was never intent on world military domination or exporting communism by force but only developed its Red Army for defensive purposes. If anything Stalinist revisionism applied too much “peace struggle” thinking, turning Lenin’s temporary peaceful coexistence state survival tactics into a permanent principle, and not applying enough revolutionary thinking and advice via its bitterly won world authority (see EPSR Gorbachevism Book Vol 13,) leading to the deranged notions of “peaceful roads” and “democratic paths”, still hampering and holding back international working class understanding, and leaving it open to yet more CIA-fed Pinochet-like events, obviously in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Honduras etc recently and all across the world more generally (the vital proletarian dictatorship lessons of which are simply buried by the opportunist fake-“lefts” who all lauded the Bolivarian (ie Latin American) “revolution” as the “new way forwards” for the whole world over the last two decades against the Leninist arguments (see many back issues of the EPSR), and suddenly have gone silent on this, in line with their usual dishonesty)).

The US worked with the rival powers (rather than wiping out their remaining industrial base, as initially planned just after 1945) swapping rebuilding investment and world authority for the right to take the lion’s share of world exploitation (with past closed trade empires like the British and French now opened up for US plundering too).

Now inevitably it is all breaking down and the inter-imperialist conflict is in the open.

But if US bullying is to have its impact, the aggressive bluster has to follow through.

Trump’s hesitation for a second time and “restraint” imposed on the most hawkish warmongers and Pentagon generals he has surrounded himself with is a telling sign of US ruling class fears (as is the great split in the US establishment), stretching all the way back to memories of the Vietnam war defeats, never shaken off, and the unravelling of the first aggressive onslaughts for a “New American Century” under George W Bush.

The excuse was that the Iranian response had not caused any significant problems for “American lives” in the bases around Iraq and therefore the US could be sanguine about the incident.

But this is increasingly revealed as a total lie (just as Trump lied about his “concern” for Iranian lives the first time blitzing devastation was threatened and called off at the last minute):

Thirty-four US soldiers have been diagnosed with concussion or traumatic brain injury from an 8 January Iranian missile attack on their base in Iraq, the Pentagon has revealed.

The Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, said on Friday that eight service members who had been previously transported to Germany had been moved to the United States.

Donald Trump had previously said that the US “suffered no casualties” from the attack, which was a reprisal for the US drone strike assassination of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.

Questioned later about reports of brain injury, Trump downplayed their severity: “I heard that they had headaches. And a couple of other things. But I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious.”

But Hoffman confirmed the injuries on Friday, adding: “This is a snapshot in time, what he wanted to make sure is that you’re provided with the most accurate numbers.”

Of the 34 injured service members, 17 have returned to duty and the other 17 were taken to a US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. Of those taken to Germany, eight were deemed serious enough to be flown to the US on Friday. Hoffman said that if the symptoms of those in Germany worsened, they also could be sent to the US. He added that the injured soldiers both US and Germany were being treated as out-patients.

Michael Kaplen, the chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State said that he was “shocked at the ignorant statement” made by Trump.

“To equate traumatic brain injuries as just a headache is insulting and disrespectful to the thousands of military service members suffering from the signature wound of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict,” he said.

He added that the condition, also known as TBI, is a “life-altering” injury.

“It’s physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral consequences affect every aspect of an individual’s life,” he said. “A brain injury is only ‘mild’ if it is someone else’s brain. There is nothing ‘mild’ about a mild brain injury.”

Now, there are all kinds of murky complexities about the Middle East and particularly around its sectarian conflicts.

And there is much confusing bluster all round, saturated in “war on terror” moralising.

It seems clear that Iranian Ayatollahocracy in Tehran - a religious sharia-law state - has no wish to push its endless posturing about the “Great Satan” (and the “Little Satan” of the UK sidekick) any further than absolutely necessary to keep the lid on the “street” feelings of hatred and hostility for US/Zionist domination within its population (just as deep as throughout the surrounding Arab world, and the rest of the Third World).

And given the disparity in forces, that could be sensible enough tactically.

Hence the very limited scope of the retaliation made for the grotesque and illegal drone assassination of General Suleimani in the early New Year, and hence the warnings from the mullahs to the Americans in advance (via the Iraqis and Norwegians to maintain face).

Notwithstanding much fake-“left” posturing about the “axis of resistance” (with Syria, Putin’s Russia etc) this bourgeois nationalism is no more reliable and possibly a lot less so than even the Saddam regime in Iraq, or Muammar Gaddafi in Libya – it is certainly not ready to take a front line lead in the revolutionary anti-imperialist wars which are steadily brewing in the region and the Third World more widely.

In fact is was precisely to head off deeper anti-imperialism that the West helped fly in the Ayatollah from Paris after the huge spontaneous revolt which toppled the Shah in 1979, (the viciously repressive Peacock throne monarchy, itself originally re-installed following the CIA/British organised coup against left nationalist Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953, who was threatening to nationalise the oilfields).

The discomfort of the mullahs’ posturing was calculated then to be a better option than letting things run on, with the potential to turn towards full communism, as in Vietnam.

Tehran’s interventions in Iraq, Syria, and allegedly the Yemen (though all such bourgeois assertions need to be constantly doubted and distrusted as dubious at best and as deliberate disinformation and warmongering hate campaigning more usually), – do not contradict that picture, being all about regional influence and rivalries, both defensive against aggressive Zionist expansionism and bullying and, simultaneously, like all capitalism, its own expansionist ambitions, particularly against the degenerate gangster-tribalist monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

This is compounded by the deadly Sunni-Shia sectarianism which was brought to white heat by the death-squad interventions made by the US in Iraq after its Bushite invasion, to split and divide the anti-occupation forces, and particularly during the 2005-07 civil war, using decades of southern Shia resentment to suppress the largely Sunni anti-American rebellion which emerged, as al-Qaeda and other jihadist suicide fighting mingled with the Ba’athist Saddamite military resistance, all of which later coalesced into the Islamic State eventually emerging out of the Syrian civil war (next door).

Despite the shouting, Shia Tehran has been covertly cooperating for years with US forces, firstly in the war against the Taliban resistance in Afghanistan (which it borders), and then in the brutal suppression of the Islamic State (ISIS rebellion) after its 2016 near toppling of the US-selected stooge government, installed in Baghdad.

The Iraqi Shia militias, coordinated by the assassinated General Suleimani, engaged in some of the most barbaric vengefulness on the ground, torturing and summarily executing thousands of Sunni fighters, even as the US special forces, its artillery, drones and aircraft bombing runs (supplemented by British, French and other imperialist “allied” secret ground forces and air attacks, drone killings etc) completely pulverised half a dozen historic cities along with multiple civilian “collateral damage” butchery (all glossed over by the fake-“left”).

And while the Sunni sectarian Caliphate’s reactionary religious ideology is itself no solution to the need to fight for a socialist overturn of capitalism, the war against it has only suited US imperialism, caught out by the “blowback” when its attempts to manipulate jihadists in Syria (to topple the Assad Shia regime - another long-hated “rogue state” deemed insufficiently compliant with US-Zionist interests) rapidly turned sour.

The ISIS grew fast as an expression of anti-imperialist hatred, its apocalyptic vision and nihilist ruthlessness driven by the growing wish of the Third World masses to throw imperialism off their backs.

The “lefts” who have cravenly “condemned terrorism” since 9/11 all end up on the wrong side, facilitating the imperialist onslaught in the Middle East, and failing to explain the crisis driven warmongering by imperialism as the cause of such terrorist upheaval and bizarre ruthlessness and which has driven tens of thousands of recruits into the “terrorist” ranks.

Overcoming the confusion and turmoil around such suicidal desperation will never be done by moralising handwringing and denunciation, joining with imperialism’s hysterical and meaningless “war on terror” – but only by offering the world’s masses a revolutionary communist lead to take command of their justified hatreds and turn them to the fight to end imperialism.

So some of the US hesitation on Iran may well reflect the collusion between Tehran and the US slaughter in Iraq: not out of regard for the Iranians but because of what might follow if the mullahs are toppled by war.

And that is coloured by the shattering of US morale from past defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan and the unsatisfactory mess created in Libya and Syria.

The earlier scapegoat invasions were disasters enough, only ever half pacified and bogging down Washington and its sidekicks like Britain in stalemated failure, draining hundreds of billions of dollars and sending tens of thousands of soldiers back with shattered morale, many permanently disabled and many in flag draped coffins.

New America Century belligerence (the forerunner of Trumpism) had to be notionally suspended after George W Bush because of the collapse in domestic morale in the US (and Britain) as the body bags poured back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and revelations of torture and plain butchery emerged.

The onslaughts spawned vastly increased quantities of the very “terrorism” they were allegedly stopping.

It was then compounded by the disastrous implosion of the world credit system in 2008.

The hollow “politically correct” reformist pretences of Obamaism, bolstered by fake-“left” single-issue reformism, were needed to make a temporary pull back, rescuing the very institution of the discredited US presidency.

But Obama-ism continued the warmongering semi-covertly, stepping up the drone attacks, and pursuing invasions and coups, not least in Libya, Syria, Egypt and away from the Middle East, Honduras, Paraguay, the Ukraine etc.

That was made “necessary” because the war on terror consequences went far beyond the mess of resistance and hatred stirred in these scapegoated targets themselves, triggering the entire 2011 Arab Spring mass street revolt in Egypt, rapidly spreading into the Gulf states, and held back only by the desperate CIA stirring-up of civil war and NATO invasion in Syria and Libya (dressed up bogusly as an extension of the Arab Spring when obviously it was the very opposite) plus later counter-revolution in Cairo.

Which makes clear that an attack on Iran will be hugely difficult, not simply because it is four times the size with a population 85 million strong, and far better armed than previous victims but because the world impact will equally be multiplied all around.

The Gulf and Saudi backward tribalism is already is deep crisis driven turmoil, losing the war on Yemen’s Houthi rebellion despite overwhelmingly greater military resources (supplied by cynical arms, maintenance and military “advice” from Britain and the US - effectively running the war).

And the equally large (in fact even bigger than Iran) Egyptian nation is still only just being held down by the brutal General Sisi dictatorship (installed by the 2013 CIA/Zionist middle-class coup “revolt”).

Anti-American anti-Western hatred and revolt spreads ever further through Africa, in Mali, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and other parts of the Third World (Indonesia, Philippines, etc etc), as well as Haiti, Puerta Rica, and the Lebanon, - and is stirring in all kinds of movements in the “metropolitan” wealthy imperialist countries too, not least in the weeks-long anti-government pension strikes in France, alongside the still continuing gilets-jaunes protests, or the “Sardines” movement in Italy against Matteo Salvini’s far-right reactionaries.

The giant splits inside the America ruling class around the degeneracy, corruption and lies of the Trump presidency are also a reflection of the loss of nerve of the entire American Empire ruling class.

But at the same time they are a confirmation of the uselessness and ultimately misleading treachery of all “democracy” pretences; three years of “satire” and “investigations” and feminist dismay have had and will have exactly zero effect on the relentless ascent of Trumpism, with the neo-cons and reactionaries consolidating Republican establishment support around their aggressive and fascist agenda simply trampling over the niceties of the “American Constitution”.

In fact the whole “impeachment” procedure is more and more clearly demonstrating just how hollow and pointless the whole of bourgeois democracy is when it comes to the real issues of class war survival, the pompous and self-righteous denunciations nothing but useless theatricality.

Trump’s White House hawks, generals and fundamentalist fanatics like Mike Pompeo have the full support of the ruling class Republican reactionaries and, like Hitlerism did before, this is establishing ever more open dictatorship using the mechanisms of “democracy” and “popular will” (manipulated by 1001 mechanisms from old-fashioned advertising and press control to the new targeted social media) to trample right across democracy (just as the Brexit referendum did).

There is another way of considering the Trump hesitation, which is that of the hesitation that comes before a truly horrifying decision; if Iran is a gigantic nut to crack then it will demand a gigantic nutcracker.

In other words the use of America’s full destructive force is obviously being considered and plotted, either with the latest terrifying conventional weaponry such as the enormous 10t bombs tested out a few years back in Afghanistan (for no useful anti-insurgent purpose other than to show the entire world what terror weaponry is available - just as the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had little to do with “ending the war with Japan” which was already on the verge of surrender, and everything to do with starting the Cold War with armageddon threats against the victorious advancing Soviet army in Manchuria).

And precisely such nuclear weapons are not ruled out either against Iran or ultimately some alternative victim.

Petty bourgeois complacency will sneer that such speculation is “exaggerated” - deludely fooling the working class with yet more “no to war" protests.

But the world is witnessing is the desperation of a system which has reached the end of the line historically and a ruling order facing its extinction as a class and like all such, historically, ready to go to any lengths of depravity, and violence to try and stop the inevitable overturn which is coming.

War will come – because imperialism has no choice, driven by the inexorable intensifications of the contradictions which can only keep tipping the world back towards the precipice of chaos, collapse and world war.

It will not be stopped by protests, “democratic” procedures, votes or even strikes and demonstrations (all valid parts of struggle but uselessly and dangerously misleading if carried out with no revolutionary perspective).

It will ultimately be stopped by being defeated.

That will come through the painful process of re-education of the masses by the agonies of war and slump (just as it took years of war in 1914-1917 and again in 1939-45) and the eventual turn to the scientific leadership of the Leninist party, the (re) building of which is the most urgent task.

Some of that process seems to be taking place in the Middle East, precisely around the most devastated and war-shattered areas at stake now.

The giant demonstrations which have seen thousands in the streets in Baghdad and southern regions seem to be climbing past the sectarianism of the last decades and partially at least uniting Shia and Sunni in demands focused on expulsion of the US, Baghdad stoogery and the Iranian presence too (or at least calling a truce in the sectarianism):

Iraq 24 Jan: A massive demonstration –called for by a prominent Shia cleric– has flooded the streets of the Iraq’s capital Baghdad, with thousands voicing their anger at the US military presence there.

Early on Friday morning, throngs of protesters – men and women, young and old – began amassing at al-Hurriya Square in central Baghdad, near the city’s main university. The anti-America rally, dubbed the “Million-man March,” was called by Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric.

Some were wearing white robes, symbolizing their readiness to die for a religious cause, while others were pictured holding signs that read: “To the families of American soldiers – insist on the withdrawal of [your] sons from our country or prepare their coffins!”

“Get out, get out, occupier!” protesters shouted, while others chanted, “Yes to sovereignty!”

Security forces have cordoned off main roads in the capital, and the city’s Green Zone – home to foreign embassies and government premises – was barricaded with concrete barriers.

The anti-America demonstration passed off peacefully, as crowds steered clear of both the Green Zone and Tahrir Square, a focal point of anti-government protest in Baghdad.

The march comes just weeks after Iraq was shaken by an American drone strike near Baghdad airport, which killed Iran’s top General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of Iraq’s Shia militia, along with other officers.

Aside from triggering a flare-up of military tensions and a retaliatory Iranian strike on US bases in Iraq, the killing sparked outrage among those Iraqis who see the 16-year American troop presence in their country as an unlawful occupation.

Official Baghdad, for its part, blamed Washington for breaching its sovereignty, with the lawmakers of the Islamic republic having passed a non-binding resolution calling on the government to expel all foreign troops from the country.

US media has suggested that the Pentagon was planning the withdrawal of its 5,000 troops from Iraq, but these reports were officially refuted afterwards.

 

Three rockets have fallen inside Baghdad’s Green Zone on Tuesday morning, close to the US embassy.

A BBC reporter said alarms were sounding in the US embassy complex and speakers were telling those inside to take shelter.

Iraqi police told Reuters that three Katyusha rockets fell inside the Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions. The rockets were launched from the Zafraniyah district outside Baghdad, the sources said, adding that two rockets landed near the US embassy.

On the afternoon of 8 January, two rockets landed in the Green Zone, hours after Iran launched more than a dozen missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing US troops.

That rocket salvo was in turn a retaliation for a US drone strike on 3 January that killed senior Iranian general Qassem Suleimani in Iraq, resulting in heightened tensions in the region.

 

Baghdad, Iraq 11 Jan - Thousands of protesters demanding an overhaul of Iraq’s political system turned out in cities across the country on Friday, in the first mass demonstrations since the US assassination last week of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Organisers had called for a million-person march against foreign interference in Iraq’s affairs, and in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, demonstrators continued to arrive from across the country late into the night.

Protesters took aim at foreign interference in Iraq, after a long week in which tensions between the United States and Iran played out extensively on Iraqi soil.

The demonstrations came as caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send a delegation to begin discussions over the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, in line with a vote by Iraq’s parliament on Sunday, two days after the US air strike that killed Soleimani, al-Muhandi and others near Baghdad’s international airport.

The US State Department rejected Abdul Mahdi’s request.

In the capital’s Tahrir Square, scores of young men climbed the Turkish Restaurant, a half-constructed high-rise that has become a monument of the revolution, for panoramic views of the crowds and into the Green Zone.

“Maybe after the revolution, we’ll instal an elevator,” shouted one, panting after the marathon climb.

Atop the building, two young men unfurled a banner which read “Keep your war away from Iraq”.

Throughout the day, the atmosphere was jovial, with music blaring from speakers and young men dancing, stopping only to pose for photos.

There were few reports of violence, though a number of activists were arrested at a demonstration in Basra and later released.

A statement released by the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah earlier in the week had hinted that the group may attack those found to be protesting, whilst an online campaign by supporters of influential Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr had attempted to encourage a boycott, claiming criticism of Iraq’s top Shia leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was a step too far.

Since early October, protesters have poured onto the streets of Baghdad and towns and cities across the mostly Shia south to demand jobs, basic services and an end to corruption. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands of others wounded in clashes with security forces, amid accusations from rights groups that security forces used excessive force against protesters.

On the al-Jumhuriya bridge, Mustafa Brahim, 20, rallied a small crowd as he shouted that he wanted everyone gone. “British, Americans, Iranians - all of them,” he insists.

“If they want to fight, they can do it in their own land,” he added.

In one tent, a group of men from Nasiriyah stretched their legs after the 300km (186 miles) bus ride to the capital.

“It’s much safer to demonstrate here,” said one man called Haider.

“In Basra and Nasiriyah, if they cannot get you, they will go after your family. If they cannot get your family they will wait for you to leave the camp.”

Whilst much of the day’s events passed without clashes, the atmosphere in Tahrir Square turned sour as news of the killing of a journalist in Basra spread.

Ahmed Abdul Samad was shot just hours after posting a video to social media accusing militias of arbitrary arrests. Crowds quickly joined a procession through the city for his funeral.

The revisionists want to write this off as “just another colour revolution” organised by the CIA (or the Zionists or both) intent on undermining Iran.

But while there must always be the greatest suspicion around all such upheavals, (particularly inside Iran) and better information is always needed, such a view has more to do with their long capitulation to the “war on terror”, behind elaborate, barmy and defeatist conspiracy theories that everything from 9/11 onwards is “all an imperialist plot,” than with Marxism.

It reflects the completely un-Leninist notion that the mullahs must be supported, just as they supported the thuggish Saddam Hussein and now Assad in Syria and astoundingly, effectively support the Sisi torture and execution regime in Egypt.

Leninism calls only for the defeat of imperialism while being completely clear about the treacherous nature of such bourgeois nationalist or reformist elements who might be temporarily forced to carry out the fight against imperialism and who therefore the working class might need temporarily to stand alongside (as with the dirty-dealing bourgeois PM Kerensky in Russia in August 1917 in the fight to stop the reactionary-monarchist General Kornilov).

Looked at even on the surface, these upheavals have a very different character: hundreds have died so far, week after week, a readiness to struggle very different to the theatricality of the petty bourgeois “mass revolts”.

Certainly, in the teeth of an attack on Iran, it would be the wrong moment to pursue a rebellion to bring down the regime. But that is not what is happening here.

What is not yet visible however is any Leninist perspective.

It needs to be fought for - everywhere.

Tony Lee

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