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 1596 28th July 2021

Afghanistan flight-in-the-night pullout a humiliation for the US Empire and stooges, after 20 years, $trillions and thousands of lives, abandoning the country to feudal chaos. It cannot bring “democracy and freedom” because that is a giant fraud, a cover for imperialist world domination. But its exploitation increasingly threatened as monopoly capitalism system hits the greatest crisis breakdown in all history. It will soon have bigger fish to fry. Street turmoil from South Africa to Brazil and Colombia, jihadism across Africa and the Middle East, and the implosion of countries like Lebanon and coup-struck Haiti all signs of a world being forced towards revolt. But the billions lack the Marxist perspective to guide them towards the only possible solution to their agony, the complete ending of bankrupt capitalism. The fake-“left” trudge through the old “stop the war” and “left pressure” democracy routines, capitulating to jingoism and Western “anti-totalitarian” counter-revolution propaganda. Leninism must be built

From the defeated US, once more abandoning its Afghan occupation to Taliban medievalism, to imminent social and economic state implosion in Lebanon; Palestinian revolt against Zionism and the Zionist-stoogeing PA; the gangster coup in Haiti; explosive street turmoil by the poorest in black bourgeois nationalist South Africa and across Latin America, (Peru, Colombia, Brazil); anti-Western upheaval over the rest of Africa, winning huge votes in Ethiopia and erupting in armed revolt through the Sahel, Somalia, Mozambique and Nigeria; the signs of Catastrophic breakdown are ubiquitous.

Not to mention the horrors and agonies imposed by the callous indifference, and arrogant incompetence of the Western Covid responses, contemptuous of ordinary lives in pursuit of profit and sleazy personal advantage (in stark contrast to the excellent and humane collective response of China’s workers state (despite its revisionist leadership flaws) etc).

It is all about to get much worse once uncontrollable QE-fed inflation bites again, as multiple bourgeois economists and state bank officials are nervously warning, and the dollar heads for total collapse.

Such are the symptoms of the unstoppable crisis failure built in to capitalism (see the Communist Manifesto, Marx’s Capital, Lenin’s Imperialism etc) by the basic contradictions of production for private profit but long ignored or denied as “old hat” by almost every kind of fake-“left” for fear of the revolutionary implications.

Imperialism, dominated post-1945 by the topdog US Empire, has gone way beyond its time historically and is hanging on only through fascist war destruction and repression, heading for world war.

Behind the nonsense excuses of a “war on terror” and “upholding democracy” lying fraud, it has been destroying country after country in the Middle East particularly, stirring civil wars and wreaking massacring destruction from Ukraine to Libya.

Deepening austerity, ecological devastation and chaos is pouring in a deluge across the world and the anti-imperialist spontaneous revolt can only deepen and spread too.

But all of this astonishingly complex turmoil will remain confusing and confused without the widest ranging and deepest Marxist perspective, developed and advanced by a purpose built revolutionary party.

Only constantly reassessed and bettered, historical and scientific understanding – Marxist-Leninist theory – can begin to explain these seemingly anarchic and apocalyptic upheavals, and disentangle real anti-imperialist upheaval from the nonsense “democracy and freedom” lies and disinformation stunts poured out by imperialism to fox and fool the masses with lurid Goebbels-scale lying tales of “genocide” etc (as if imperialist colonialism ever did anything else), including mounting non-stop street provocations and pretences of “popular movements” (like the CIA organised “demonstrations” in communist Cuba last week by a tiny number of malcontents and petty bourgeois elements).

Unresolvable contradictions are driving into slump and total world war just as in 1914 and 1945, and such Leninist consciousness is vital to guide the working class in the coming great struggle to bring an irreversible revolutionary end to this foetid and disgusting class system.

But it will not come from the fake-“left” in all its fifty-shades-of-“red”, Labourite and anarchist, Trotskyite and revisionist, still refusing to put forwards any such conclusion (except as a notional “future option” or academically spelled-out theoretical long term outcome) despite all this upheaval now loudly signalling the need for world revolutionary change.

They all remain locked into social-pacifist anti-war, anti-racism and anti-eco-damage moralising and the same reformist “pressurising”, (electoral “democratic” or by street “protest”) which has failed to change anything essential for a century and a half.

Or worse, they play to “single issue” PC reformist politics, which have become ever more convoluted in arcane self-righteous self-obsessed shadings of “woke”-ness, “identity” and “intersectionality”, all evading and distracting from revolutionary class war and mostly outright hostile to it, a last bastion of anti-communism.

Opportunist excuses that the working class is “not ready”, or is “still tied to social-democracy” (Labourism), or stampeded behind “Brexit” are all made as usual.

But the three recent British bye-elections demonstrate otherwise.

Even where there was a minor flurry of “excitement” about a new party (or at least a renewed version of one), the main characteristic of these bourgeois polls has been a giant vacuum, of non-voting wide open for new understanding (which must necessarily be revolutionary).

Each was marked by an exceedingly low turnout – at Hartlepool just over 40%, Chesham around the same and even the Batley vote in Yorkshire (with its “radical new party” option) still not anywhere near 50%. Concurrent diversionary mayoral “devolved power”, and local elections saw figures just over 30%.

Add in the workers who were unable to register (homeless, too hard worked) or who disillusionedly did not bother and the figures are even less.

None of the “winners” got much over half of the official outturn, giving them less than 20% and even such “support” was mostly middle class, lukewarm, split, and made only to “stop the others”.

So, to start with, the much vaunted “populism” of the “Borisites” or the Brexiteers, behind which the bourgeois commentators excuse the ever more grossly obvious and illegal manipulation of parliament (disruption, sleaze, croneyism, trampling on procedure) is a hollow joke – a stitched-up and manipulated fantasy “majority” from the start trying to stampede fascist jingoism through bent polls, bent press reporting and bent putrid punditry.

Its “mass support” is a scam.

In the bye-elections, no party or group attracted any enthusiasm whatsoever, certainly not the Tories and the “breaking the red wall” working class enthusiasm for “Boris”.

Extreme variability and volatility in these minority votes – total collapse in Labour here, collapse in the Tory vote there, – tells the same story.

In other words, faith in “democracy” and its mechanisms continues to drop, as it has done steadily for the last 70 years following the first obvious betrayals by the “left” Clement Attlee Labour government, given a stonking majority in 1945 to finally get on with delivering socialism and a better world with no dole-cutting excuses about “coalition minorities”, as pre-war.

It ended up running the British Empire for the ruling class with even supposed peoples’ “nationalisations” (rail, coal etc) done solely to keep capitalism going, while heading off “Uncle Joe” pro-Soviet pro-communist sentiment.

Reformist gains like the NHS were already compromised by “private practice” and prescription charges at birth, while the creation of “iron curtain” anti-Soviet NATO, the beginning of the nuclear arms race and the civil war barbarities in Greece, Malaysia and Kenya (among others) stepped up world anti-communism to new levels (long since exceeded of course) to restore imperialist rule.

The vote implosion since has nothing to do with “apathy” but mostly expresses frustration, hostility and a working class hunger for a leadership that explains just what is wrong with the world and what is needed to change it – which can only be a revolutionary struggle for planned socialism and a rational society.

The public platform necessarily offered by the ruling class during elections (to maintain its pretence that the “democratic process” has real validity and to cover-up the bourgeois dictatorship which actually runs things) can and should be used by revolutionaries – but solely to expose it for the lie it is and to explain communism.

But not a word emerged during this from any of the “left” groups about the only possible perspective for the world future of an internationally coordinated planned economy, achievable only by class war to take over all major monopoly private ownership of finance and production.

Not a word was heard about the international crisis dominating all human development (including eco-climate-breakdown and planet choking pollution, all part of capitalism’s plundering, and unstoppable without ending it).

Nor of the Catastrophic economic breakdown and social collapse it is leading to as explained by Marx, Engels and Lenin (see EPSR economics box and the continuing Leninist work of the EPSR).

And none of them challenge adequately the nonstop stream of ludicrous BIG LIE accusations against workers states, and anti-imperialist rebellion, now poured non-stop into the complicit bourgeois media by the Western intelligence agencies.

It is not the working class which is holding back, as much of the fake-“left” declaims, wallowing in pessimism and gloom about “never being so isolated” – it is their petty bourgeois politics and its misleadership, and hostility to workers state discipline.

In fact even the slightest hint of a class perspective immediately produces a response among workers and sections of an increasingly dismayed petty bourgeoisie; hence the popular surge underneath even the ineffectual poseur Jeremy Corbyn, now sabotaged, and hence the limited flurry of excitement around the Batley vote for one-time-Labourite George Galloway’s new Workers Party of Britain and its stated intent of toppling the ever more grossly reactionary and craven pro-Zionist imperialist Labour Party, now so far up the Tory fundament it is impossible to make out even the pretence of difference.

So ready are conditions that even this Batley campaign for such tepid WPB supposed “leftism” bolstered by its Popular Front alliance with the Lalkar/Proletarian museum Stalinists, caused an astonishing jumpiness in the slump-hammered British ruling class, which bent over backwards to stop it.

Thus, for all the hype about going for “northern seats”, the Tories ran virtually no campaign at all, in order to give a clear run to ever-more stooge reactionary Labour, which poured in dozens of senior figures.

The local council had WPB posters taken down.

The bourgeois media, fed by the reactionary Labourites, mounted a vicious campaign of astonishingly lurid fearmongering about “divisiveness” – though surely “democracy” is supposed to reflect division and alternate views? – inflating a couple of minor incidents of perfectly valid heckling into complete hysteria about “intimidation”, to justify censorship.

TV news routinely does more “harassing” of politicians than this, shouting questions at them as they leave home, at conferences or walking alongside in the street.

The pretence that the Labourites’ scrape home, with the very slightest majority (ie a near disastrous vote collapse), vindicated “democracy” only emphasised the bent hollowness of the whole racket ultimately.

But capitalism wants to keep the threadbare parliamentary racket alive as long as possible, using every dirty gerrymandering trick, electoral and psychological manipulation, rule bending and opinion swamping through political lies, advertising hype and modern tech “influencing”, because it has proved to be its greatest ever weapon over the centuries and particularly for heading off revolutionism in the age of rising working class consciousness and militancy.

Crucially it is part and parcel of its worldwide campaign to whip up “anti-totalitarian” jingoism against the anti-bourgeois, class authority of remaining workers states like China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and against anti-imperialist upsurges everywhere such as Ethiopia currently or Myanmar, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Mozambique, even backward religious Iran.

So addled have brains everywhere become by one hundred years of non-stop anti-communist brainwashing that such delusions in the hoodwinking fraud of “democracy and freedom” still have an impact.

But it is less and less effective and the bourgeoisie now only trusts the very tamest of “opposition” pretences, such as the outright reactionary stoogery of Starmer’s Labour, with even Corbynism (itself a tepid fake-“left” class collaborating racket) being stitched-up with outrageous “left-anti-semitism” lies and non-stop vilification in a kind of media/publicity coup.

For all its “left” noise this WPB is itself a million miles from challenging the great “democracy” fraud or raising the issue of the cataclysmic capitalist crisis.

Jut the opposite. Despite sometimes witty and perceptive stands against aspects of world imperialist tyranny – notably in speaking out for the Zionist persecuted Palestinians, taking a robustly sound position against such PC posturing as teaching juniors about gay sex, denouncing the BIG LIES of the Iraq war invasion, the nonsense of the “umbrella democracy” counter-revolutionary stunts in Hong Kong or provoked Syrian civil war destruction, or decrying the nazi-murderous imprisonment and persecution of Julian Assange, – the Galloways of this world still stand with every other parliamentary mountebank helping maintain the same “democracy” cover-up for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, (ie the capitalist system) which really runs things and will do so until it is overthrown.

And for all the professed “hard revolutionary” credentials of the Stalinist CPGB-ML making up half this peculiar WPB hybrid and its pathetic (and opportunist) Spitfire roundels “patriotism”, its function is only yet another variant of “left” reformism keeping the existing bourgeois societal structure going, just when all this jumpiness underlines the fearfulness of a ruling class staring into the economic chasm.

It shows that as the crisis deepens there are no limits to the opportunism of the fake-“left” and its alleged ‘principles’ and professed “Marxism”.

Marxist participation in possible centrist movements (professing anti-capitalism in words but reformist in deeds) is a perfectly sound tactic when workers are being drawn towards them and away from entrenched bourgeois class collaboration, giving an opportunity to put forwards revolutionary understanding.

Lenin recommends it.

But without having space in such a movement to constantly argue for the Marxist revolutionary perspective, and the willingness to do so, such alliances are worthless.

The Galloway lashup does not even reach first base.

Endless tactical compromises are possible but burying away the revolutionary line for an advantage in numbers and “unity”, ends up causing confusion only.

Lenin does not recommend that and insists

“under all circumstances (to) uphold the independence of the proletarian movement”

(Draft thesis on colonial questions June 1920 and repeatedly in all his writings).

But Popular Frontism does the opposite, merging with petty bourgeois movements disastrously, from Stalin’s early forays in 1927 in China advocating a deadly alliance with the bourgeois Kuomingtan and then in the 1936 Spanish Civil war “anti-fascist” alliance propping up the useless bourgeois republican parliamentary government for example, (when costly and heroic Russian aid and intervention - supplying volunteers and arms – should have kept its revolutionary politics separate, fighting alongside the republicans against the fascist Franco, but making clear the bourgeois liberal regime was not to be trusted to carry the fight) – to Salvador Allende’s socialist alliance in Chile, whose “peacefully achieved socialism” left workers open to the brutal 1973 CIA/Pinochet coup.

The Brarites have already put to the test the tactic of piling in behind a celebrity figure to win “greater numbers”, for eight years propping up Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party with a “Marxist theoretical” cover, until even their capacity to swallow Little Englander jingoism and bureaucratic trade union class collaborative philistinism was overtopped (see EPSR No 1245 and Books Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics; against museum-Stalinism).

Now they have pitched in behind an even more opportunist figure (one they previously denounced), to bolster up a party without even the initial saving grace of the SLP which at least started out with a pro-Soviet international anti-capitalist “Marxist” stance before showing its true colours, reverting to TUC trade union bureaucratic jingoist “old Labourism” and censoring and expelling Leninist polemic (but not Trotskyites or compliant Stalinism).

Galloway’s parliamentarianism is a million miles from even that eventually-demonstrated SLP reality – at worst even lauding the monstrous British imperialist Winston Churchill as a supposed “saviour of democracy”, and saturated in Brexit British chauvinism, little different to the Scargillite chauvinism which was among the factors making it impossible for any Marxist to continue building the SLP from a relatively early point (EPSR No 1012 15-09-99).

Bourgeois “patriotism” has always been the last resort of the ruling class particularly in moments of crisis collapse, (infamously used by Thatcherism’s Malvinas (Falklands) war adventure for example to escape plunging popularity from early 1980s economic slump).

It is disastrous for working class consciousness.

Ruling class waving the flag is a powerful weapon against stirring revolt and is the very opposite of Marxist-Leninist internationalism and its key understanding of the need for defeat of the ruling class, including and above all, of workers’ own ruling class as the Bolsheviks called for during the First World War (see Lenin’s collected writings from 1914 to 1918), which opens up the opportunity for revolutionary overthrow.

But the CPGB-ML was caught in the jingoist trap even before teaming up with Galloway, succumbing to the stampede of Little Englanderism unleashed by the Brexit referendum (and already deliberately being built up by the “empire” wing of the Tory ruling class long before that – and colluded with by warmaking Blairism especially).

It gave a tendentious justification for such a capitulation to chauvinism with a one-sided “anti-monopoly” rational against the European Union.

But leaving just one “bosses club” in the EU, served only to divert workers’ attention from their monopoly domination by all of capitalism, in Britain itself by hedge funds and City finance as well as numerous, now mostly foreign, industry owners, and obviously above all internationally by still dominant US imperialism.

The message for workers about leaving Europe could only be “out of the frying pan into the fire” of world exploitation, with neither in or out better for workers, who have to, and can only, challenge all of the interlocked international capitalist system and its never-ending unstoppable intensification of monopoly power (see Amazon, Apple, etc) if the world is to overcome the disasters of trade war and growing shooting wars.

That is not to say that such an overall international fight is only possible by waiting for synchronised global struggle (the defeatist implication of Trot idealist perspectives that Lenin denounced when writing against Trotsky’s “United States of Europe” notions see EPSR No 890 11-02-97 for example).

Capitalism’s uneven development means it will obviously involve all kinds of national or regional class war struggles on the way, including the possibility, or in fact likelihood, that proletarian dictatorships will be established country by country, reflecting local conditions and readiness – and as one of the weakest links in the imperialist chain, ailing and ossified British imperialism could be one that goes in advance of other countries.

But the emphasis must be “on the way”.

Sour Trotskyist petty bourgeois defeatist mantras about it “not being possible” to build socialism in one country do not come into it, neither theoretically (see Lenin’s determination to get on with building socialism in the Soviet Union after 1919, despite setbacks in a hoped-for European revolution, or see Fidel Castro’s decades of defiance in Cuba), nor practically, with both those examples, China and others like Vietnam and North Korea, all making stunning advances and socialist development for decades under workers state control (see numerous EPSRs including eg No 853, 859, 1094, 1143).

The Trot counter-revolutionary pessimism obscures the real criticism to be made which is that revisionist philosophical weakness turned this historically imposed need to pursue the dialectically moving, socialist development of a single country, – as best as can be done (which was quite a lot) under conditions of continuing overall world imperialist domination, subversion and siege, – into a static principle of permanent peaceful coexistence and pie-in-the-sky hopes of economically and peacefully outcompeting capitalism.

Gradually, Stalin essentially declared (notably in 1952’s Economic Problems), the world would fall piece by piece (or peace by peace) into socialism, thereby avoiding, or denying, the need for revolutionary struggle (by implication, as Book 21 explains - ibid).

The workers states like the Soviet Union did not “fail” and even until the late 1980s were not only economically and socially perfectly viable but still growing, however stodgily; it was these revisionist philosophical retreats established in the Stalinist period, through a misanalysis of capitalism’s capacity to grow further, which led to their unnecessary demise by liquidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and Gorbachevite illusions in the “free market”.

By denying imperialism’s ruthless capacity to expand, Stalin’s analysis failed to pay attention to, and warn of, the inevitable cataclysmic failure that was implied by such out-of-control endless growth, once the balloon burst, (and still is due to do at any time as the credit creation system insanely pumps in more and more unrepayable dollars).

Without that grasp of ever ripening contradiction, the heart of Marxism and the reason Marx devoted 30 years of scientific inquiry to the question, the revolutionary leap is missed which such a crisis implosion is forcing the world to make.

That in turn coloured all understanding, with Moscow and later revisionism elsewhere increasingly abandoning a philosophical grasp of the revolutionary nature of all world development and offering the wrong advice and guidance to the anti-imperialist struggle and ultimately to itself and its own survival, under Gorbachevism.

The “peace question” was elevated to first place rather than a grasp of the relentless dialectical tightening of the contradictions in capitalism and the revolutionary brick wall it was heading for.

Only by maintaining such a wooden, straightline view of the world, involving step-by-step advances (and ignoring the escalation of counter-revolution on the opposite side of the contradiction – like Trumpism for example) could Brexit ever be presented as a “step forwards”.

Breaking from one undoubted “bosses club” in Europe is a one-sided “advance”, as mentioned.

It becomes a chauvinist trap when demanding “British sovereignty” in a still capitalist world of many “bosses clubs” of monopoly corporations and ultra-billionaires (who simply displace the EU monopoly control via “US trade agreements” for example).

That just feeds backward jingoism in a population which was already one of the most contaminated and corrupted by collusion with imperialist colonialism over at least four centuries (initially and particularly through brutal domination of Ireland and the Irish), and only now is being broken from it because of the stunning completion the Irish nationalist struggle (see EPSR Books vol 08,15, 22,25 - On Ireland).

So this “left Brexit” collaboration only helps imperialism and increasingly obviously takes the wrong stand on much else of the great world turmoil, against Ethiopia’s latest anti-imperialist upheaval, against Myanmar, cheering on the reactionary General Sisi takeover in Egypt, missing the significance of the great wave of “terrorism and jihadism” and cravenly condemning it, backing Putin’s oligarch restoration etc etc etc.

Even its post-result fightback against the outrageous bourgeois dirty dealing of the Batley campaign, though rightly challenging press slanders and the dubious vote procedures, etc will only reinforce the “democracy” pretence by putting faith in the courts etc.

As such, that is a wasted opportunity, win or lose.

With a revolutionarily conscious content, such a legal battle could usefully demonstrate the complete injustice of bourgeois rule and the fraud of its “rule of law”, always presented as some kind of absolute authority (on tablets from God?), but which is only a concrete expression of class interest.

Feudal law was about maintaining the hierarchy of aristocratic and religious duties and privilege in a stratified society. In the bourgeois epoch law and “justice” has only one real function, preserving the “property rights” of the bourgeoisie against workers (and against each other) and with such rights, the “right” to use capital to exploit the working class and filch the surplus value created by its labour (See Marx Value, Price & Profit or Capital).

A dozen such lessons could and should have been drawn in the recent period, just in Britain, all demonstrating the perfidy and duplicity of the ruling class, and deepening revolutionary understanding.

The Hillsborough football disaster for example has seen the dogged investigation and fight for the truth by working class families and friends over the slaughtered Liverpool fans, and for justice over incompetence, monstrous slanders and lies, all thrown back in their face with an astonishing last minute “interpretation” of the law by the judge suddenly disallowing the validity of statements about “guilty” police officials, letting them off the hook.

But far from seeing this as a devastating blow after decades of determined struggle, as the stunned relatives and their lawyers unsurprisingly took it, the outcome is a huge vindication of their battle, proving for whole working class, that there is no such thing as fairness and justice in the capitalist world, and particularly when it comes to protecting the state forces.

It is a vital revolutionary lesson of huge value for continuing class struggle.

The police, judges, and prisons etc are not there for justice at all, and especially not for the working class but to protect the ruling class and its interests, and particularly at times of discontent and upheaval.

The casual incompetence and negligence which left around a hundred dead in Sheffield - and lyingly pinned the blame on them – was not seen during the miners strike when the state forces were organised highly effectively to mount civil war, class war, against the strikers, tearing up all pretence of legality and principles (and which did not go even further in the violence and intimidation against the NUM only because historical conditions did not bring matters even more sharply to a head).

More recent police actions against protestors against the censorious and anti-democratic Police Bill, in Bristol for example, demonstrate the same ruthless “efficiency” and readiness for violence, pulled back for the moment only because the level of challenge to the ruling class is not yet at anything like revolutionary levels, despite growing political discontent.

From another direction, the long Grenfell inquiry into the callous and contemptuous slaughter of another 100 or so workers in horrifying fire also demonstrates that there is no such thing as justice within capitalism and makes the point even more sharply that only making profit counts as the arbiter and measure for this society.

The staggering prosecution amnesty granted against the guilt and culpable negligence (and in fact deliberately cynical lying, cost-cutting and murderous mis-selling or design use of dangerous materials and components) of a slew of companies, authorities, regulators, designers etc in order to get them to testify at all, is another example of the rule bending that is the norm for “democracy”.

So too, the cynical and contemptuous dumping of the problem on to the heads of a million or so hapless residents and tenants of similarly clad high rise building, all living in nightly terror of fire outbreaks, and facing bills of sometimes hundreds of thousands for renovation, is part and parcel of more rule bending and evasion of responsibility.

Among a dozen other recent examples is the still unsolved case of the murdered private detective Daniel Morgan, found with an axe in his head after investigating police corruption, and then the subject of five, count them five, police inquiries into the murder, corruption surrounding it and links to the Fleet Street press, all of which failed to get anywhere.

And although the case is “back in the limelight” because of the dogged efforts of Daniel’s brother who finally forced an establishment inquiry, which has now lambasted the police for “institutionalised corruption” this is still not an example of “democracy at work” as one of the more principled petty bourgeois journalists on the story (unsurprisingly from the notionally liberal but actually deeply anti-communist Guardian) laughably maintains.

It is the very opposite, demonstrating how the state – which while it serves the interests of the ruling class, is notionally independent standing above society (see Lenin – State & Revolution) – will close ranks, pull strings, activate various freemasonries, and block and bully to prevent real penalisation; even such a “severe” report is unlikely to lead to the harsh consequences that would pour onto the head of a worker or even any hapless challenger to the establishment (as many whistleblowers have discovered, and notably Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, kept in inhumane prison isolation for years).

Consider the 14 years of non-stop and even near fatal harassment of Sir John Stevens, a rare example of a relatively principled senior police officer who was vilified, ostracised, and “fitted up” for character assassination, while his three inquiries into the deathsquad state murders of the Irish nationalist struggle by the RUC, the MI5 gestapo secret police and British army intelligence were sabotaged, undermined and part destroyed by arson (see eg EPSR No 1181 24-02-03 or EPSR Books Vol 8.15,22,& 25 on Ireland); to this day cases he investigated, like the brutal state-prompted murder of Irish solicitor Pat Finucane, are still being blocked, most lately at the highest level through stonewalling from Irish Secretary Brandon Lewis refusing an inquiry, despite calls from a judicial review completed late last year (30+ years on from this grotesque terror murder coordinated by the British state) and family campaigning.

Or consider the manner in which a US citizen is being safeguarded from prosecution for the death of the young motor bike rider Harry Dunn, this time to protect the interests of the most powerful bourgeoisie of all, bullying the rest of the world to ignore the “rule of law” it pretends to uphold:

The US government has requested that the country’s civil courts prevent the disclosure of the employment details of Harry Dunn’s alleged killer in the interests of “national security”.

The 19-year-old’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, lodged a claim against Anne Sacoolas and her husband after the teenager’s death in a road crash outside a US military base in Northamptonshire two years ago.

Sacoolas, 43, who had been driving on the wrong side of the road, claimed diplomatic immunity due to her husband’s employment at the base and returned to the US about three weeks later. She was charged with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving, but a Home Office extradition request was rejected by the US state department in January last year.

The US government filed the “protective order” at Virginia civil court on Friday. It states that “although defendants were employees of the United States government at the time” of the crash, “information concerning the United States government has little to no relevance to an adjudication of any remaining issues in this case”.

Earlier this year, Sacoolas’s claim to immunity was thrown into question after it emerged she had been employed by a US intelligence agency at the time of the crash. When it first accepted her departure from the UK, the British government argued the family of US staff employed at the RAF Croughton base enjoyed full diplomatic immunity. A 1995 treaty covering the base said only “administrative and technical staff” would not be immune from criminal jurisdiction for actions beyond their duties. Downing Street said she had been notified to the UK as a diplomat’s spouse with no role, and it had not been aware she was an intelligence officer.

The proposed order reads: “In general terms, the United States seeks protection … because of the impact the disclosure of information regarding the government in this litigation could reasonably be expected to have on national security.”

The motion asks that the court enters a protective order “foreclosing discovery or disclosure of information in this civil action implicating the United States government that is in any way, either directly or indirectly, related to the defendants’” as well as any other individuals’ employment with the government.

The Dunn family’s spokesperson, Radd Seiger, has said they will tell the US government the motion will be “resisted strenuously”. He added: “It now appears that Mr and Mrs Sacoolas have brought in their employers, the US government, to help them minimise what happened to Harry on the night he died in an attempt to prevent both the family and public at large from knowing the full truth.”

Or consider the disgusting and life-threatening degeneration of Britain’s rivers and seas, being stifled with pollution and now worst in Europe, because of the constant and illegal discharge of raw sewage by the water companies which cynically ignore environmental rules in order to save money on building and maintaining processing plant, paying it instead to shareholders in ever increasing dividends.

Despite a fine on Southern Water for example of £90M, after investigation by the anyway relatively toothless Environment Agency, it was still discharging the next day, treating the “huge fine” as nothing but an annoying business cost.

Such contempt provides grist for the likes of eco-warrior George Monbiot to sound off, often with excellent details.

But like all the fake-“left” he still can only draw the limpest of conclusions, about the need to

expose the neglect of those who claim to lead us, and demand that the law is upheld.

Yeah, right. Talk to the hand. No wonder Monbiot, Galloway, Trot Ken Loach and others are often linked in together, all part of the same anti-revolutionary crew.

Whatever sharp exposés the best journalists and campaigners can make - some excellent like John Pilger’s on international warmongering, imperialist terror and world slavery – none will make the glaringly clear point that within capitalism and for the capitalists, the “rule of law” will always be twisted in their favour or avoided, – and that only overturning capitalism can create a world of fair, rational, planned development in harmony with nature.

In the profit system, proper punishment or retribution is administered only where political and social class rebellion is so strong – or so much tipping towards potential revolutionary upheaval (the only driver for all reforms ultimately) – that sacrificial scapegoats are required to head things off.

At a pinch, specific ruling class measures might be backed off, or suspended for a while, as with the 1989 Poll Tax riots which became so serious they even claimed Margaret Thatcher’s scalp too (among other factors like a great lurch in the imperialist economic crisis, intensified trade war hostilities with Europe and growing momentum of the Irish struggle).

But what permanent damage did she sustain, or Tony Blair and the New Labourite crew for example who set the Iraq war running, massacring hundreds of thousands (and forcing the death of principled weapons inspector Dr David Kelly who called out the made up lies about non-existent WMD)?

Even where falling-on-swords is required it is understood that the individuals involved will be able to return after a suitable cooling-off period, or in the most serious cases will be “looked after” as Blair has been with international roving statesman jobs and huge fees for “lectures and presentations”.

Recently the Covid incompetent and sleaze-tainted Health Secretary Matt Hancock was advised just so on resignation by nervous Tory critics saying “he would be able to come back after 18 months”.

All this dirty skulduggery, freemasonry and mutual backscratching can only get worse as the crisis sharpens.

“Standards”, “safety”, “probity” and “quality of materials” etc only are established if it is unavoidable, either because of market competition or because of past working class struggle, forcing compromises and some reforms from the ruling class, built up over a period (but like all reforms, reversible and increasingly retractable and retracted as crisis bites – outright or by subterfuge like the creeping dismantling, privatisation and plundering of the NHS).

All such scandals and many more, make a complete mockery of reformist policies, still declaring that capitalism can be “reined in”, “kept under control” or be subject to regulation and still suggesting it can be a path to a better future.

Essentially anything goes in the cutthroat competitive battle to stay afloat and do down the “competition” – all the way to intimidation, mafia hit men and violent sabotage of rival’s production and property, in certain circumstances (and not simply in “foreign” countries or criminal circles).

And those cutthroat battles are more and more the future for the entire world, taken to the level of international trade war and every kind of dirty dealing, including ultimately world war.

Falling in with the shallow reformism of the Galloways and the like does not begin to tackle these great questions which are of overwhelming significance for the working class and anti-imperialist masses everywhere.

To the contrary. The pandering to jingoism and “parliamentarianism” plays into the hands of the ruling class at all levels including its international belligerence, its non-stop blitzing or siege strangulation of communist or “rogue” countries and relentless buildup up of propaganda hatred against anywhere, anyone and any movement that attempts to resist Washington’s and its stooges’ worldwide domination (always labelled “terrorism”).

That’s why Boris Johnson and the crew prop up the Union Jacks behind the podium, desperately try to pretend they are supporting the “loyalists” in the north of Ireland with anti-European bluster, and send warships on gung-ho provocative voyages from nazi-Ukraine through Russian waters in the Black Sea, or through the South China Sea (using the lying pretence of upholding “freedom of the seas” even as Washington has blockaded three Iranian ships crossing the “free” Atlantic to Venezuela, arm twisting other nations to stop them reaching port).

What the great working class political vacuum in Batley or Hartlepool or anywhere needs, is not name celebrities and a bit of occasional cheek against the grosser aspects of the imperialist world repression, entertaining as that might be but an analysis of the astonishingly complex breakdown of the monopoly capitalist world and its hair-raisingly dangerous playing with matches in a room full of dynamite.

Workers need to grasp that their austerity and their struggles are part of the great Catastrophic failure of the entire capitalist system driving the world towards the greatest destruction ever seen, seeing their own situation in the light of the staggering task for the whole world working class of ending this entire system.

First that means being aware that the economic crash that became glaringly obvious in 2008’s global bank collapses, has not stopped since, except in philistine brains and anti-Marxist impressionism which still cannot see or refuses to see this collapse, bemused by the capitalist propaganda about upturns and recoveries.

None of them want to “go out on a limb” about the cataclysmic scale of what is unfolding, because they are in thrall to the ruling class in their petty bourgeois souls and still expect it to pull something out of the hat historically (and even sneakily hope it will do so) making sure that their comfortable lives, with a bit of self-righteous protest, will not be too disrupted from the usual pattern by anything as shocking as the complete overturn of existing social and economic relations.

But it has been clear to Marxist understanding since the great bank bailout that the system’s economic engine now turns over solely because of the giant credit boosts poured into it ever since – mostly Quantitative Easing, a kind of electronic dollar printing – and that these will ultimately lead to a systemic disintegration greater than the Armageddon vista of the “worst Depression ever” that nearly paralysed the ruling class in 2008-9.

The ruling class is not stupid and knows all this.

Unnerved comments by Bank of England advisors and bourgeois economic analysts on the great surge of inflation in particularly the America economy (now dangerously over 5% and rising) are just the latest indicators on top of non-stop warnings that have poured out for years.

Much deeper economic analysis is obviously required (built on Marx and Lenin’s understanding) but that is only half the story anyway.

The great knot of international warmongering, terrorism, civil war and popular uprising is also all a signal of the great Catastrophe.

A tangle of lies, fake news, colour revolution pretences, civil war provocations, is now pumped out by Western intelligence agencies in ever greater volumes, to justify non-stop blockades and sanctions warmongering and outright blitzing under cover of “defending freedom and the rule of law”.

And it relies on continuing illusions in “democracy”, turning reality on its head to drag popular opinion behind its barbaric world blitzing, (as actually happening in Yemen or Libya or Ukraine currently or is planned against any number of potential victims such as Ethiopia).

The US Empire turned openly to “shock and awe” world intimidation under the George W Bush presidency once the ruling class was fully convinced of the disastrous future it faced economically, especially as the great dot.com bubble burst in 2000.

The plan was to bully and intimidate the whole world into continuing compliance with US exploitation despite its bankruptcy – suppressing Third World revolt and rival capitalist challenges alike.

A great tide of destruction, the warm-up and prelude to the Third World War has followed, warmed up with the NATO blitz on Yugoslavia and non-stop since.

But far from forcing compliance upon the masses of the Third World to establish a New American Century the result has been an explosion of barely containable revolt everywhere, in Iraq and Afghanistan first and not least the 2011 Arab Spring in Egypt and Tunisia, making the problems a thousand times worse.

That had to be headed off with more war and invasion – including setting up the horrifying civil wars still ripping Syria and Libya apart, by provoking “colour” revolts there under the bogus pretence that they were just “more of the Arab Spring”; by destroying much of east Ukraine, Yemen and Somalia, strangling Venezuela (and continuing the monstrous 60-year (!!) siege blockade of heroically dogged Cuba) trying to topple its workers state.

Ever more lurid “justifications” and demonising have had to follow, in order to keep the warmongering and belligerence going, heading for the inter-imperialist conflicts that are the endpoint, the ruling class’s only way to escape its great Catastrophe (as Trumpism was beginning to make very obvious – temporarily suspended but by no means out for the count, and more or less being followed by Bidenism).

The now hysterical and continuous deluge of gross hypocrisy, demonisation, lying sanctimony about “the rule of law”, Goebbels BIG lies and “colour revolution” stunts (filled with endless lurid and obviously fabricated “rape” allegations, “genocide” and massacre claims, and “freedom of speech” etc etc) pulled against any even halfway attempt at anti-imperialism, and all the remaining workers states, are the desperate attempt by bankrupt imperialism to both cover-up its disintegration and to drag the masses into the universal warmongering it needs to provide a “solution” to its economic paralysis (by wiping out “surplus” capital and workers).

But the crudity of this upside down propaganda does not go unnoticed even by parts of the bourgeois press:

A key Western propaganda strategy is to accuse others of crimes that they’ve themselves committed. This is seen most blatantly in Western accusations that China is committing “genocide” or “colonialism” in Xinjiang.

Most Western criticisms of China can be categorized under one broad umbrella: psychological projection. It is involuntary, reflexive and Pavlovian; as well as strategic, planned and deliberate.

Few propaganda campaigns meet the criteria better than the “Xinjiang genocide” narrative. Western history has no shortage of genocide and mass murder – both at home and abroad. Thus, in a natural reversal, many in the West accuse China of genocide. Such accusations are weaponized by the Western propaganda machinery – from the media to Wikipedia – and then projected onto China. Of course, there’s little evidence for any of it.

The United States of America, the vanguard of Western propaganda today, remains at the forefront of this campaign. The entire nation itself was of course founded on the genocide of indigenous peoples.

It is of course an entirely political decision – the US regime’s own lawyers disagree with the assessment.

Not to be outdone is Canada’s House of Commons. Recently, as unmarked graves of indigenous children are being discovered across the country, Canada has sought to divert attention by stepping up its “human rights” criticisms of China. It even went to the extent of delivering a joint statement on behalf of 44 countries at the UN Human Rights Council, which, with no sense of irony, mentioned reports of “forced separation of children from their parents” in China – exactly what Canada itself had done to indigenous children, word for word. Goebbels would’ve been proud.

Such flippant, reckless accusations of “genocide” by Western nations and their legislatures and media are despicable; not to mention a grave injustice to victims of actual genocides.

As an added bonus it also provides a much-needed diversion from their own crimes, not to mention aids the hybrid war against China.

An old falsehood in the West’s quiver is accusing China of colonialism. When once China was accused of imperialism and even “genocide” in Tibet, with even Hollywood celebrities speaking out, that is no longer in fashion. Today, the same narrative is being recycled for Xinjiang.

Colonialism is defined by economic exploitation and wealth extraction. The colonizer extracts wealth from the “colony,” either by exploiting its labor or natural resources, and ships it back to benefit the home nation. The “colony” becomes drained of capital and sees little benefit from its own natural resources and labor. Consequently, the colonizer grows richer.

When British colonialists first started landing on Indian shores, the subcontinent commanded the single highest share of the world’s economy. In 1700 AD, India had 24.4% of the world’s GDP, the largest in the world. It was the global leader in manufacturing, producing 25% of the world’s industrial output. From the late 17th to the early 18th century, India accounted for 95% of British imports from Asia. The Indian economy at the time was in a proto-industrial state, and if left to its own devices, would possibly have experienced an “industrial revolution” of its own.

Instead, it was Britain that had the industrial revolution – financed by Indian capital. By the mid-18th century, the relative situation between India and Britain was largely reversed, with Britain beginning to replace India as the world’s leading economic and commercial power, leading directly to its superpower status.

Estimates cited by the Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, suggest the total robbery amounted to $45 trillion, around 17 times Britain’s current GDP.

India’s share of world GDP had come down from 24.4% to 3% when the British left in 1947. The same study also estimates that an unbelievable 1.8 billion people died from deprivation and famines in 190 years – between 1757 and 1947. No wonder then the British House of Commons projects Britain’s crimes onto someone else – officially accusing China of genocide by passing a non-binding motion (Britain having committed no shortage of crimes against China as well).

Today, the “Xinjiang genocide” narrative has been largely debunked, with even the most wicked propagandists split on whether the term is appropriate.

Accusations of colonialism are no less farcical. While colonialism is defined by economic exploitation and wealth extraction, China’s policies in Xinjiang and Tibet, while far from perfect, are the opposite. These regions have become exponentially richer than what “democratic” countries like India achieved for their border minority regions, or indeed, for their whole countries. China recently announced the elimination of extreme poverty, including in Tibet and Xinjiang.

In 2020, Tibet had the fastest economic growth among all of China’s 31 provinces and administrative regions. Per capita income has doubled in the last 10 years. Primary school enrollment is nearly universal. The unemployment rate is below 4%. Nearly all higher-education graduates have a job.

Xinjiang has a per capita income of around $7,868, higher than that of Goa ($6,698), India’s richest state by per-capita income. Meanwhile, Kashmir, a restive Muslim-majority region of India that also has a history of separatism and terrorism, languishes with a per capita income of $1,342.

Beijing has invested about 2.35 trillion yuan in Xinjiang over the past seven decades. GDP grew at an annual rate of 7.2% from 2014 to 2019. Per capita disposable income has multiplied more than 100-fold in 40 years. Primary school enrollment is 99.91%. 99.7% of residents are covered by basic medical insurance. Colonialism indeed.

Of course, none of this means that Chinese rule is legitimate because it has made these regions richer. Xinjiang and Tibet are as much part of China as Texas or Florida are of the US. Yet, for decades, Western propaganda has desperately tried to poison the well and portray Chinese rule as illegitimate. The US has directly funded Tibetan and Uighur separatists for decades.

The Western cabal often tries to slander China at the UN by releasing statements criticizing it. China and its allies then release counter-statements in response. The two groups have been exchanging official barbs over the last three years, at numerous UN sessions. In every single such exchange, the pro-China side always gets more support than the pro-US side – every single time.

In the latest back and forth, where Canada fired the opening salvo with its joint statement last month, the result was an overwhelming backlash of anti-imperialist solidarity – a whopping 90 nations released statements supporting China and opposing any interference in its internal affairs. The international community stood with China against the US-led Western onslaught.

Expectedly, this elicited complete radio silence from Western media. It could only keep shouting over the rooftops about how “44 nations criticize China at the UN” – in story after story, with no mention of the nations supporting China. After all, propaganda by omission remains the easiest and oldest form of propaganda.

Maitreya Bhakal (on RT).

An equally demented propaganda and sanctions campaign around “slave labour” in Xinjiang, based on fabricated “evidence” from a few axe-grinding on-the-make Western based “witnesses”, carefully coached, draws non-stop headlines.

But a real slave labour crime, filmed by dozens of TV news cameras draws not a word of condemnation from the West let alone sanctions, demands for international criminal prosecutions, and endless high-horse podium speeches etc. Why not? Because this labour is in capitalist Bangladesh (but could be anywhere in the tyrannised Third World):

Bangladeshi police have arrested the owner of a factory where at least 52 people died in an inferno, as it emerged that children as young as 11 had been working there.

Police said the owner of the food factory and four of his sons were among eight people detained over the fire that broke out on Thursday and raged for more than a day. The blaze began in the evening at the five-storey Hashem Foods factory in Rupganj, just outside Dhaka.

A separate inquiry has been launched into the use of child labour at the facility.

Jayedul Alam, police chief for Narayanganj district where the factory is located, said the entrance had been padlocked at the time of the blaze and the factory breached multiple fire and safety regulations. Many of those who died were trapped and several workers jumped from upper floors, with dozens suffering injuries.

Emergency services found 48 of the bodies on the third floor of the factory.

A fire services spokesperson said the exit door to the main staircase had been padlocked. Highly flammable chemicals and plastics had been stored in the building.

Monnujan Sufian, state minister for labour, said inquiries had begun into the use of child workers at the factory.

Sufian said she had spoken at a hospital to two survivors aged 14. One woman said her 11-year-old nephew had been working at the factory and was missing, feared dead.

Bangladesh pledged reforms after the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 when a nine-storey complex collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people.

But there have been a series of fires and other disasters since then. In February 2019 at least 70 people died when a fire ripped through Dhaka apartments where chemicals were illegally stored.

The country has a history of industrial disasters, including factories catching fire with workers locked inside. Continuing corruption and lax enforcement have resulted in many deaths over the years, and big international brands, which employ tens of thousands of low-paid workers in Bangladesh, have come under pressure to improve factory conditions after fires and other disasters killed thousands of people.

Even more glaring an exposé is in the Caribbean, contrasting two of the largest islands, namely Cuba and just a short boat trip away, Haiti, both highly comparable in geography, climate, size and historical development, colonised by the Spanish and with large population components from slave trading.

The first, after the Fidel Castro led revolution of 1959, has built a brilliant socialist society of opportunities for all, universal education and a health system not only the envy of the rest of the world but one constantly sent out into it, to aid others. It has managed the Covid crisis excellently and even developed its own vaccines and anti-virals.

But it is hampered by the savagery of the 60 year economic blockade imposed by the giant power of US imperialism less than 100km away - pandering to the Batista mafia expatriate gangsters in Florida thrown out in 1959 – and non-stop provocations like the pathetic “freedom” demonstrations the CIA managed to get going recently, largely because the vicious economic strangulation has been intensified (so much for Bidenism being any different to Trump’s anti-communist belligerence) to combine with the impact of the latest Covid virus variant (one siege effect being to prevent Havana fully stepping up vaccine production).

Rightly the Cuban workers state has used the state forces, as well as mobilising the people onto the street, with a firm leadership call against this petty bourgeois provocation which if given full rein would lead not only to its toppling but a counter-revolution of unprecedented savagery, wreaking revenge on its dogged communism as the bourgeoisie has done to every effort by the working class to get out from under its tyrannical exploitation, from the first great attempt by the Paris Commune in 1871 onwards.

The Western media as always has been mobilised to present the small demonstrations as a “reasonable” call for more open discussion – a giant lie about wanting “freedom” - with the most backward anti-theory and anti-communist sections of the fake-“left” like the Trotskyist SWP immediately falling in behind to suggest that “ordinary people have some real grievances”.

So they have - and they should aim them through their own leadership at imperialism itself which has done its best to stifle and destroy every heroic and self-sacrificing example-setting advance made by the Cuban masses, coordinated, inspired and led by the revolutionary government from Fidel Castro onwards.

But the SWP’s call to hear “peoples grievances”, is no different to the way the Trots have always fallen in behind any discontent aimed at workers state discipline, most notably their backing for the bogus “trade union” Solidarnosc in Poland, led by the Pope-kissing, Pilsudski-worshipping scumbag Lech Walesa.

That showed its true colours subsequently as a coordinated counter revolutionary movement funded with $billions by the CIA and the Vatican, as soon as the Gorbachevite liquidation of the Soviet camp allowed, and has led on to the gross fascist reaction which now dominates eastern Europe, (to shut down re-emergence of soviet nostalgia which continues to bubble to the surface in the former soviet camp).

Of course there are criticisms to be made of Havana’s understanding and its revisionist views, still disastrously advising struggles like the Colombian FARC to end its armed struggle, or lauding Salvador Allende instead of decrying his disastrous “peaceful parliamentary” route which left the masses open to the Augosto Pinochet coup.

Such revisionist weakness leaves Havana itself open to the kind of shallow demands for “less control” which philistine “anti-totalitarianism” has been advancing solely as a cover for undermining the proper authority of the workers state and the total support of the world working class for the heroic front-line struggle waged by the Cuban comrades.

Genuine criticism might include urging the Cuban comrades to allow or encourage more Leninist polemical battling as the EPSR has long argued (see subsequent article) but within the discipline of the workers state.

Some Western media, aware of Cuba’s stunning reputation among the world’s masses, have tried to play a subtle game of reporting the opinions of what they declare to be “left” dissidents and discussions on how to improve Cuba’s resilience:

Luis Emilio Aybar is a voice from the left, which in Cuba means pretty far left. By any measure, he should be a stalwart defender of the island’s communist regime. After widespread public protests that two weeks ago roiled the nation, the 34-year-old published an article in the magazine La Tizza, which bills itself as “a space to think about socialism”.

After the prerequisite denunciation of the US, he wrote: “What happened on 11 July is also because we communists and revolutionaries do not fight with sufficient force and efficiency the harmful practices of the state.

“We defend unity in a way that actually harms it … We uncritically follow our leaders instead of rectifying their path. We agree to be disciplined, when what we have to do is think and act with our own heads.” In authoritarian Cuba, that sounded a lot like heresy.

Cuba has always split international opinion. Its detractors are perhaps best represented by the US senator Marco Rubio, who called the island “the only country in the world where Cubans can’t succeed”.

In turn, its supporters brook little criticism. Helen Yaffe, an author and academic from Glasgow University, recently arrived on the island, swiftly joining a government rally called by the government. Afterwards she declared on Novara Media: “No one should underestimate the resilience of the Cuban revolution.”

Within Cuba, the regime has long demanded such support, calling detractors gusanos, or worms. Yet the sight of thousands of Cubans taking to the streets to complain about a lack of food, medicines and electricity seems to have caused cracks to appear.

Silvio Rodríguez is Cuba’s best-known singer-songwriter, a 74-year-old international superstar widely recognised as living his socialist values. In non-pandemic times, he stages monthly free concerts in the poorer barrios of Havana.

Last week, however, he met the dissident playwright Yunior Garcia, who had been arrested during the protests. They discussed the unrest and the government’s heavy-handed response.

Shortly afterwards, Rodríguez called for the release of all those who had not resorted to violence. “There must be less prejudice,” he said. “[There must be] more desire to solve the mountain of pending economic and political issues.”

Criticism such as this has put the government on the defensive. It says the island has been subject to a wave of disinformation from the US.

Carlos Fernández de Cossío is Cuba’s point-man on the US, and second only to the foreign minister in importance at the ministry of foreign affairs. He insisted that claims that protesters had “disappeared” into jails and interrogation centres were just not true. “There are people who have been detained and there are people that have been arrested, those that have violated the law,” he said, although he would not give numbers. Independent media claim 650 people have been detained.

Asked what he thought had brought Cubans on to the streets, De Cossío replied: “Well, it wasn’t capitalism.”

The protesters had cried “libertad”, freedom, and “patria y vida”, homeland and life, the title of an anti-government song. The shortages they face are the result of Cuba running out of foreign currency, a situation hastened by the pandemic devastating an economy reliant on tourism.

De Cossío blamed the 60-year-old US trade embargo, tightened to strangulation by Donald Trump and kept in place by Joe Biden. He said there had actually been more conversations with Washington during Trump’s presidency than Biden’s. “There’s no dialogue at this moment,” he said.

Yet in his essay for La Tizza, Aybar strayed surprisingly close to another analysis, summarised by the Financial Times when it called Cuba a last “lonely outpost of Marxist central planning”.

“During 2020, half of the country’s investments were allocated to hotel construction at a time when there was a drastic decrease in international tourism and an acute shortage of investment in agriculture,” he wrote. He said 11 July needed to be a watershed. “A failure to pressure the government from the left means that the right will take the initiative”, meaning “more market, more private property, less education and public health.”

Only time will reveal whether internal reform will satisfy the population. Another increasingly robust critic from within, Cuba’s former ambassador to the EU, Carlos Alzugaray, believes it will have to. He has just published an article saying it is “essential” that the government “not make the mistake of blaming only external factors”.

He was watching the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on television as he pointed out that, despite the efforts of critics in the US, regimes such as China, Vietnam and Cuba have proved durable, and “very difficult to overthrow”. It is his view that Cuba should follow China and Vietnam towards “a market economy with socialist orientation”.

Anyone who believes that the Observer, long nicknamed the MI6 house journal, and a leading anti-communist mouthpiece, merely takes a disinterested view on how to better run the Cuban workers state needs their head examining.

This garbage uses carefully selected quotation from some alleged “left” commentaries taken out of context, to mix in with outright petty bourgeois anti-state hostility and pretend therefore it is “valid” criticism, when its only purpose is to undermine the authority of the dictatorship of the proletariat with its sly central placing of counter-revolutionary sloganising from dissidents and voices sounding off to the Western media about how hard done by they feel.

That the bourgeois press can find the kind of confused comments made here, is possibly a sad reflection on the revisionism which still persists in Havana and a complacent view of the world in which China and Vietnam are apparently “doing alright” and Cuba would be too “if only” the blockade were ended.

None of them start with a perspective of the onrushing slump and war catastrophe which is going to engulf the whole capitalist world (even if China etc are able to keep to one side - by no means guaranteed), nor of the importance of the disciplined workers state which has resisted imperialist onslaught for six decades.

The reality of “more freedom” meanwhile has been sharply underlined by the latest gangster violent coup in Haiti, the same size and shape as Cuba but run by US imperialism effectively, where the “democratically elected” president was just pumped full of bullets, allegedly by his own bodyguards.

The masses on the environmentally devastated island live one of the world’s most poverty stricken, brutally exploited and violently terrorised existences under fascist intimidation and imposed illiteracy, as they have done for decades since the infamous rule of the Duvalier dictatorship and its ton-ton macoute death squad enforcement backed by US imperialism (along with right wing massacring tyranny across all of Latin America).

The latest turmoil is only the latest chapter in a continuing history of gross inequality and corrupt elitism, all dominated by Washington oversight, repeated coups and dirty skulduggery, drawing in elements from the reactionary Colombian regime - with details still not clear in bourgeois press reports:

Haiti has been a site of conflict for centuries. Colonised first by Spain and later France, which was responsible for instating a three-tiered caste system: les grands blancs (white elites), les affranchis (freed Blacks), and les bossales (the captive African population). The Haitian population defeated Napoleon’s army in 1804, and with this achievement Haiti became singular in the world – a free Black state. Despite the successful Haitian revolution, orchestrated by the African population, most struggled to advance economically.

Le Code Noirs, as it was known, remained after its white creators fled. John D Garrigus wrote that the caste systems caused “tension” that “was more a matter of social and political conflict than racial prejudice”. Moreover, the governments of France and the US, which did not want Haiti to be a beacon of possibility, did everything possible to undermine the new nation’s legitimacy. In 1825, France demanded an “indemnity” – $21bn by today’s standards. To subsidise the payment, Haiti closed its public schools; now, more than a third of the population is illiterate.

Moïse’s assassination is the latest crisis for the country with the greatest wealth disparity in Latin America and the Caribbean. The nation’s political future hangs in the balance, but beneath this most recent dramatic expression of underlying tensions runs the elitism that stifles social mobility.

The economy of Haiti is controlled by a handful of elite families who prospered under the Duvalier regime. Before Moïse was killed, gangs that supported him cordoned off some of Haiti’s most fertile land owned by the elites who profit while the working class starves. According to the World Bank, “The richest 20% of its population holds more than 64% of its total wealth, while the poorest 20% hold hardly 1%.”

Claude Joseph, as acting prime minister in the days immediately after Moïse’s killing, asked the US to send military aid to secure the borders and deter gang violence. The US turned down the request, but whatever future course it chooses to take, it must act delicately for risk of undermining Haiti’s fragile democracy.

Joseph has since stepped aside in favour of Ariel Henry, who Moïse had named as his new prime minister shortly before being killed, and who has the backing of foreign governments including the US.

The investigation into Moïse’s killing is being conducted by an international team from Colombia, the US and Haiti.

A US official once said that they worked closely with Haiti’s wealthy elite because it was “pragmatic”, but now the elite must be held accountable.

So not much likelihood of clearing the murk there then. But another localised report possibly throws more light on the situation:

Welcome to theAnalysis.news, I’m Greg Wilpert. Uncertainty over Haiti’s future now looms larger than ever. Joining me to help make sense of what is happening in Haiti is Kim Ives. He’s a long time editor and writer for the publication Haiti Liberté. Thanks for joining me today, Kim.

Kim Ives: Thank you, Greg. It’s an honor to be with you.[] It appears to be becoming more and more clear that the infamous bourgeois figure, Reginald Boulos, who backed coup d’états against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991 and 2004, is the intellectual author and probably the principal financial backer of this assassination team. We suspected this from the very start because the assailants arrived at the home of Jovenel Moïse in nine brand new Nissan patrol vehicles without license plates. Where would they have gotten those except from a dealership. And who owns the dealership? Reginald Boulos.

Furthermore, the week before the assassination, Reginald Boulos had an arrest warrant put out against him by President Jovenel Moïse. And apparently Moïse was on the verge of seizing many of his assets, which are quite extensive in Haiti. He was at great odds and was a big supporter of the mobilizations against Moïse. He was becoming a presidential candidate and had founded a party called the Movement for the Third Way. And so it seems to be becoming very apparent that his hand plays heavily in this. And already the Haitian people have come to that conclusion. They have uprooted his dealership in Haiti called Automeca, which sold Nissan patrol vehicles. And really the big question is, to some extent, the U.S. embassy had to be aware of these people. They’re monitoring cell phone traffic and Internet traffic and texting and so forth. It seems almost impossible that they couldn’t have been aware that this was going to go down. And so now you have to think what interests would the U.S. have in not flagging this and giving somebody a warning.

Now, there has been a report that the chief of police was asked at one point, a guy called Léon Charles, who was a close collaborator of the U.S. and headed the police department back in 2004 and 2005, during the third intervention after the coup d’etat against John Bertrand Aristide. He was the police chief, and we detailed this in Haiti Liberté about his role as police chief, WikiLeaks documents laid it out pretty clearly, but he was brought back last fall and has become really an agent of the U.S. So he reportedly gave the green light for the mercenaries to go up the hill to Jovenel Moïse’s house because they were stopped apparently by a satellite USGPN, that means the presidential guard special unit, at a checkpoint prior to going up the hill to the house. So we haven’t confirmed that, but this seems to be also a report that is being repeated often. So in any case, the U.S. embassy must have known it was going down and what we’re wondering at Haiti. Liberté was whether they wanted it to go down precisely to provide the pretext for a U.S. military intervention in Haiti? Because 100 years ago, in 1915, during the first U.S. military intervention, the pretext was because President Guillaume Sam had been torn limb from limb by an enraged mob when he tried to go hide in the French embassy. And that was the pretext for soldiers coming in then. In 1994, for the second intervention, it was the machine gunning of a liberation theologian priest, which provided the pretext for Bill Clinton to send in 20,000 troops to bring back Aristide.

So now we’re wondering if this isn’t once again another grisly murder, which can allow the U.S. to say, “Oh my God, look how incredibly savage and crazy Haiti is. And, you know, we have to go in and help them.” Now, add to this picture the fact that the guy who is now the acting head of state, a guy called Claude Joseph, a former foreign minister, and was then the interim prime minister, but as you said, has been replaced by Ariel Henry. But Claude Joseph is a creation of the National Endowment for Democracy. Back in 2003 and 2004 during the coup against Aristide or the run up to the coup against Aristide, he was the leader of a student organization which was NED backed as well as an NGO called the Citizens’ Initiative. So this guy seems also to have been a U.S. asset. So what we have right now is a U.S. asset asking the U.S. to come in to take over the country. And why do they need to take over the country? Because there’s a revolution underway, it appears.

Greg Wilpert: Before you get into that, I just want to ask a different question. You mentioned earlier that Boulos, who was potentially behind this, was also behind the efforts to overthrow Aristide. But Moïse was not an Aristide type president, was he? Who was he and who did he represent?

Kim Ives: Moïse was a representative of what’s called the Haitian Baldheaded Party, which was essentially a neo-Duvalier party after. Just to go back a little bit for the viewers on recent Haitian history, Haiti was under a dictatorship for 30 years from 1957 to 1986, when Jean-Claude Duvalier was overthrown by a popular uprising, which to some extent the U.S. acquiesced to because it was removing its tinhorn dictators like Pinochet, like Marcos, etc. during that period and replacing them with these sort of façade democracies where they would have a leader elected through an election they bought and paid for, and then they would be backed up by the “international peacekeeping force” and the armies were sent back to the barracks. Unfortunately, the formula misfired in Haiti and the wrong candidate was elected. Not the one who spent the most money like in the U.S., but the parish priest, John Bertrand Aristide, who had a flood of people, what’s called lavalas in creole, come out to hoist him to power. So it was a huge misfunction. In fact, the first big misfunction of U.S. election engineering. And in fact, it became the spark, we could say, for the pink tide that went across Latin America because Hugo Chávez saw it happen in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, etc. And pretty soon we started to see the same revolution through election formula play out in other countries.

So Reginald Boulos and other members of the bourgeoisie were absolutely horrified to have these candidates who were coming from the people, supported by the people winning the presidency. This was unheard of. And so they supported the coup in September. Aristide was first elected in December 1990 and overthrown in September 1991. And it happened the second time after his election in 2000, and he was overthrown in 2004. Both of those coups, Reginald Boulos and the bourgeoisie supported. But basically from that interregnum between 1991 when Aristide was first elected and 2011 when Michel Martelly came in, and we’ll get to Michel Martelly in a moment, there was both Lavalas and sort of Lavalas-like governments. It was Jean-Bertrand Aristide, then a fellow called René Préval, who was his first prime minister and often called his twin. They had some friction, but basically they were of the same ilk. Both had kind of social democratic governments and were somewhat resistant to the U.S. Basically a slow walking of a lot of the dictates and the U.S. wasn’t completely happy with either. They were more unhappy with Aristide, they gave him two coups, but they weren’t completely happy with Préval either, who brought in the Petrocaribe deal with Venezuela.

After the earthquake in 2010, the U.S. had a great opportunity. It had basically taken over the Haitian state with Bill Clinton as one of the sort of governor generals of the whole operation. And they carried out an election in November 2010 and in March 2011. And the candidate who they essentially shoehorned in was this fellow called Michel Martelly, a Haitian Kompa singer who was essentially a neo-Duvalier. And what this means is he represented both the old, landed oligarchy and the Comprador Bourgeoisie Alliance, which had grown against the Lavalas, against Aristide in particular. So the neo-Duvalier government of Martelly was marred by all the same things that marred the Duvalier dictatorship: corruption, repression, graft, excess, et cetera. And when he was losing power at the end of his five year term in 2016, he anointed Jovenel Moïse as his successor.

Now, Jovenel Moïse had by far the best funded campaign. They hired the same election engineers that had brought Martelly into power. They were flush with money from robbing, taking 75 percent of the money out of the Petrocaribe fund because what Venezuela did, what Hugo Chávez did for Haiti was say “not only are we giving you cheap oil, about 20,000 barrels a day, but you can keep 40 percent of the revenues in an account called the Petrocaribe Fund, which is repayable after 25 years at one percent interest.”

So the Martelly people went to town on this money. They basically spent almost all of it. And on what? On nothing. And that’s what’s called the big movement of where did the Petrocaribe money go?

In any case, I digress, because Jovenel Moïse was essentially brought into power thanks to this money. I mean, Hugo Chávez would be rolling in his grave. And the resulting period was now the second PHTK (Haitian Tèt Kale Party) chapter. But they had a big problem because Jovenel came in in 2017, there was a one year interim government because Martelly hadn’t held any elections and they had to work it out for a year. So he came in in 2017. But unfortunately, that’s the same year Donald Trump was coming into power. Trump upped the sanctions on Venezuela. The Petrocaribe deal sank. And now, all of a sudden, Jovenel had no money because he couldn’t even pay Venezuela for the gas he was getting because of the sanctions, which stopped bank transfers and so forth.

So now Jovenel ended up having an even more difficult situation than Martelly had because he was a corrupt, repressive guy without the money. And so this is where he started to get into the problem with the bourgeoisie, because a lot of the sweetheart deals that the bourgeoisie had been getting in the party that they were having with Petrocaribe money suddenly came to a crashing halt and Jovenel Moïse was there saying “you got to give some money back.” And they were saying, “you got to get out of there.” And so that’s how we arrived at the situation we have today where they’re, in fact, backing his assassination.

Greg Wilpert: [] It seems like there’s two motivations. On the one hand, you’ve got the bourgeoisie upset with Moïse and his inability to provide for them. But then you have other developments on the ground, [] what are being referred to in the mainstream media, the gangs that supposedly control up to one third of Port au Prince and have become very influential.

Kim Ives: So while the bourgeoisie is having a party hearty with Petrocaribe money, the masses are starving. They are sinking deeper and deeper into poverty. And the authority of the state is also crumbling. The state has no control over these vast shanty towns. Because over the course of the past 50 years and with particular acceleration after the fall of Duvalier in 1986, the U.S. installed neoliberal policies for the Haitian economy. And this meant basically destroying Haitian agriculture, driving peasants off the land through dumping of U.S. rice, for instance, on Haiti, which used to produce 80 percent of its own rice. Now, it doesn’t have the rice growing region of the Artibonite. What used to be emerald green is now brown. This happened for sugar even, which was what Haiti was known for once. Coffee, lemons, you name it. The Haitian agriculture was destroyed and the peasants all ended up in the cities. They were driven into the cities. And for the U.S., this was good because what they needed was cheap labor. They needed people who would work for five dollars a day or three dollars a day, as the WikiLeaks cables showed that the Obama administration fought for. So the result was these huge seas of the proletariat, thousands of displaced peasants living in shanty towns with no sanitation, no electricity, no housing. The earthquake hit, many of them died. The people are pooping in plastic bags to throw them into totally plastic bag and plastic bottle clogged canals, which overflow when it rains and it floods the neighborhoods with this foul water and there is housing that is crumbling. I mean, it’s a nightmare situation.

So in this situation of no sanitation, no electricity, no housing, no roads, no services, there emerge strongmen in the shanty towns of Port au Prince and other cities. And they began as vigilance brigades. After the Duvalier regime fell, the Tonton Macoute, which were its principal paramilitary corps, the eyes, ears, and fists of the regime, went into free-agent status and started to prey on the former popular neighborhoods that they used to have license from the government to bully and take money from and do what they wanted. So the people began to organize into these vigilance brigades, which started first by hitting pots and pans when the bad guys were coming around. Then they started to take machetes to fight them. And then it went up to guns and pretty soon they started to be hired by the bourgeoisie to do things like protect their store, protect their factory, protect their land, which was always being encroached on by homeless people, and then they started to use them for even offensive purposes, like going to burn the gas station of a rival or the store of a rival. And pretty soon they used them to fight each other for political power. “Go mess up this guy who’s going to have his candidate challenge my candidate.” So pretty soon you had this almost business model that grew where gangs were used by the bourgeoisie, which would arm them to do its dirty work and to maintain power, both economic and political. So this began to reach its zenith, you could say, under Jovenel Moïse and the PHTK. And there were huge gang wars. But what really started to traumatize and terrorize the Haitian people were the kidnappings. The kidnappings started to happen on a vast scale. And in fact, the whole idea of kidnapping began, above all, with the kidnapping of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by a U.S. SEAL team in 2004. And that’s when the people said, “oh, kidnapping is on the table.” It’s a lot like after the French kidnaped an Algerian revolutionary and then suddenly hijacking became used by the revolutionaries of the world to, for example, hijack the plane to Cuba. Well, the same thing happened in Haiti. The people started to use kidnaping against the bourgeoisie originally or well-to-do people coming in, but it started to filter down into the population.

Well, enter a guy called Jimmy Barbecue Cherizier. He was called Barbecue because he grew up the 8th child of a poor street vendor of meats and there were three Jimmys in the neighborhood, so they gave each one a nickname for what their parents did, and his mother sold barbecue meat so he became Jimmy Barbecue. Anyway, he went on to become a very stellar gung ho policeman with the Haitian police, part of a specialized unit called the Departmental Unit for the Maintenance of Order (UDMO), which had the purpose of fighting the gangs and trying to stop gang violence and crime. And he was based in Cité Soleil and he got a order in 2017 to go face off against some gangs with other units from around the city in a zone of southern Port au Prince called Grande Ravine. And at the school the operation went very badly. The police got ambushed, two cops got killed. There was firefights between the police and the gang members and there may have been some civilian casualties. And afterwards there was a pretty big death toll, nine or ten dead. And plus the two policemen who were ambushed. So Cherizier was in the middle of all that, and I can give the full story at a later time, but the long and short of it was that human rights organizations, which were funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and very close to the U.S. embassy were all over this. And this terrified the police leadership who had ordered them and it was overseen by the UN peacekeeping force, which was still in the country. And as a result, they started to disavow the operation and say it wasn’t us because they were afraid for their jobs. They said it was a rogue operation. It was Jimmy Cherizier. They were trying to pin it on him. So he became totally indignant, was outraged that here this body that he was serving in an exemplary fashion would turn on him and portray him in this way. So he didn’t even answer their summons for disciplinary action because he said “you’re not going to hang it on me.”

Now, at the same time, he’s in his neighborhood of Delmas six and there are criminal elements in the neighborhood. And he said, “I want to clean up this neighborhood.” He launched an organization called, I forget the name now, but something like the Renewal of Delmas. And he went with his UDMO colleagues and comrades to the headquarters of the gang, and they went in with their M16s and they said, “Good evening. You guys are doing bad things. You’re raping girls. You’re kidnaping people. You’re extorting money from merchants. You’re stealing things. That’s all going to stop. You’re either going to stop that or you’re going to get out of here or we’re going to kill you. Those are your choices.” And most of them fled. Most of them went to neighboring neighborhoods like La Saline or Bel Air or Cité Soleil. And so his neighborhood got sort of cleaned up, but he had a lot of people with grudges against him in the neighboring neighborhoods. And so along comes Cherizier, who is now starting to be in conflict with the police leadership. He gets in touch with some of these bourgeois opposition leaders, including Reginald Boulos and a fellow called Youri Latortue, who is a former death squad leader, allegedly, according to a testimony of a woman who spoke to the U.N. back in 2005, and became what the U.S. embassy called the poster boy for political corruption in Haiti and a mafia don.

So Cherizier was dealing with these guys and then he learned they were both scoundrels. I won’t go into all the details, but he ended up at odds with them. So he was being radicalized very rapidly and very dramatically. And he took his formula for Delmas six and he said, “we have to do this among all the neighborhoods and we have to stop fighting among each other” because this is one of the things that the bourgeois opposition was trying to have them do. They were trying to put guns in the hands of the people to fight with Jovenel and block Jovenel and do their dirty work. And he said, “you guys are dirty, rotten. Jovenel, I don’t like him either. Cherizier had supported another candidate against him, a fellow called Jude Célestin, who was the one knocked out of the ring by the U.S. So he ended up becoming a bitter enemy of both Jovenel and his bourgeois opposition. He said “a pox on both your houses. And the only thing I want is for the situation of my people in my neighborhood to improve, for them to have schools, hospitals, roads, Internet, sanitation, all the things that a healthy society needs.”

And the other key element of his program was “we have to stop fighting among each other, we in the neighborhoods, we the poor.” He said, “stop using these guns to fight each other and kill each other and let’s turn our guns on the bourgeoisie because they’re the ones who are hurting us.” And so now he makes a coalition called the G9, which is a number of neighborhoods in Cité Soleil, Martissant, and the Delma region. And their thing is to stamp out crime in their neighborhoods. But he wants to make peace with the ones who even don’t join the G9. It may continue doing kidnaping like in the neighborhood of Grande Ravine, Village-De-Dieu, and an area outside Croix-des-Bouquets where a gang called 400 Mawozo was based. So even though they’re doing their crimes, they weren’t going to war with them. And so when the G9 was formed last June, in June of 2020, there was basically a truce between the gangs. There weren’t gang wars happening in Port au Prince during that past year.

But in June, according to my sources in the U.N., the opposition came and gave a lot of money to one of these kidnaping gang leaders, a guy called Ti Lapli in Grande Ravine, to attack the neighboring neighborhood of Ti Bois. And the same thing happened in Bel Air, which attacked Delma. And the same thing happened in Cité Soleil, which attacked the G9 groups out there. And so gang warfare engulfed Port au Prince. And Cherizier was shot. He was very lucky. It went right through his chest, right near his heart. But it didn’t hit anything. He was OK.

So the result was he was being radicalized, pushed more and more. And now the G9 changed its name just last week to the Revolutionary Forces of the G9 Family and Allies, you mess with one, you mess with all. That’s their full official name. And they said they were formally launching a revolution to overturn the system in Haiti, this dirty, rotting system. He’d been saying this since 2020, but it really became formalized. And he said to the bourgeoisie and he was talking to Boulos and some of the others who are with him, “We are going to your grocery stores. We are going to your car dealerships. We are going to your banks. And we are going to take what is ours. Our money is in your banks. The food that we should be having is in your stores. And the cars that we never even get to see are in your lots.” And so this terrified people like Boulos. So there are two elements here. On one hand, there’s the rivalry with Jovenel Moïse, but there is this looming threat of the rising proletariat of Port-Au-Prince and other cities declaring revolution. So it became very urgent to get Jovenel Moïse’s dead hand off the tiller, to get this guy who was getting in the way out of there. And so to me, this was behind it.

And to some extent, the U.S. was equally alarmed by this emergence of Cherizier and sees that they have to come with another military occupation.

Now they can’t execute it themselves so that’s our big question now. The fact that this operation went so disastrously wrong at the end, that these guys have all been caught and it’s all going to be traced back to Boulos, was this the result of sheer incompetence and stupidity or was there a betrayal in the picture? And was this precisely the result the U.S. wanted to get so they could have a result like 1915, like 1994, to provide a pretext for U.S. military intervention in Haiti?

Greg Wilpert: But what I think is interesting is that the U.S. and Iván Duque in Colombia are mobilizing to send, so to speak, their own investigation, presumably to cover up their own involvement, assuming that they are involved. So there seems to be a confluence of efforts to pin the blame for all of this on the gangs and not on Colombian and U.S. involvement. This might still work out for the U.S. and for the bourgeoisie in Haiti, but especially since the Haitian government officials apparently have asked for U.S. intervention, military intervention in Haiti to protect the infrastructure and so on. And the U.S. has already said that they will send a team from the FBI to evaluate and assess what what the U.S. involvement will be. So the long game definitely seems to be pointing towards that direction of U.S. intervention. And I’m just wondering now if that is the case, what would that for Haiti, assuming that the U.S. does end up sending troops. Well, first of all, I just want to get a little bit more of what you think the likelihood is of that happening and secondly, what would that mean for Haiti?

Kim Ives: I would say it’s almost a certainty right now. ... it’s just a matter of how is it going to happen? Right now, it appears to be the U.S. going alone. In the past, and as we know across the world, the U.S. likes to go in a coalition so that it has lots of fig leaves around its bayonet going into these countries. And, of course, the best fig leaf is the UN Security Council. Now, they have a problem there because Biden has all but declared war on China and hopefully China, I don’t know what happened in the Security Council today, I think they met, but hopefully China is going to put the kibosh on any efforts by the U.S. to use the U.N. once again as its neo-colonial proxy, as it did basically from 2004 until the U.N. peacekeeping troops left Haiti completely in 2019.

It was basically a 15 year operation that was supposed to be six months originally. So, we see how they work.

The other option, and I think that’s why Duque, who almost immediately came out and said, “oh, we need an OAS peacekeeping force.” As we know, the OAS has this thing called the Inter-American Charter, which I believe needs two thirds of the OAS members, 33 members, to ratify. So here’s just me making a hypothesis off the cuff: Did the U.S., fully knowing what Boulos was up to and how terrible of a result that was going to be, a president executed in his home, do this to shock the conscience, not just of Haitians, but of the local region, the Caribbean countries who are quite leery of the U.S., like the Latin American countries, into action so that they will agree to help this country which has totally lost its way and is in the midst of this bloody crisis, this horrible situation that they have to come in and help remedy? I think this is not far fetched at all.

And the other element of it is that the OAS is faced with another sort of pink tide 2.0 happening. Where you see what happened in Peru. We see a victory in Bolivia. Maduro is holding on. The Sandinistas in Nicaragua are holding on. So they may end up having a harder time than they think getting this OAS Inter-American Charter through and have the first OAS intervention since the 1965 intervention in the Dominican Republic next door, which, of course, was very bloody and terrible as well.

But, in the end, they can do what they did in Grenada and make a coalition with local Caribbean countries. They only need two or three or four. They can probably get Duque. Surely they’d get Bolsonaro, maybe Honduras. A few other countries might sign on to such an adventure. And they could go in and try to basically put down this rebellion in the shanty towns. They would target Cherizier. They would target the G9. Now, just to go back to 1915, there was at that time a movement prior to the Marines’ intervention called the Cacos. And the Cacos were basically peasants who were rebelling in the countryside and joining various armies which were fighting each other. So they were kind of seen as bandits. They were kind of seen as the gangs of the day. But after the U.S. Marines came in in 1915, they were very brutal with one particular lieutenant, a guy called Charlemagne Péralte, who ended up being indignant. He went up into the mountains on the central plateau of Haiti and he organized the Cacos into a severe fighting force which gave the Marines real pushback and really fought hard against them. And the Caco resistance went on for a number of years until 1918 or 1919 when they assassinated Charlemagne Péralte. A marine put on blackface, snuck into their camp, and shot him in the camp. But he became a hero. He was the Sandino, if you will, of Haiti. And they may face a similar situation today with the shanty towns. They did get that pushback in 2004 and 2005.

There were a number of resistance figures in the slums of Port au Prince, in Port au Prince, in Bel Air, in Cité Soleil a figure called Dread Wilme, another called Amaral, another called Bertone, another called Evans. They all were either killed or arrested and that was put down.

But in a way, Cherizier’s movement is more robust and maybe more difficult to put down. They have more firepower. They are more organized, even though it’s not a party. It’s not something which has a real structure. It’s really a series of allied fiefdoms, if you will. But they could pose a serious force for the U.S. to overcome, especially since the G9 and this resistance increasingly has the support of the Haitian people, despite the huge demonization campaign that has been waged by the U.S. embassy’s human rights groups like what’s called the RNDDH, which is the Haitian Network for the Defense of Human Rights, the radio stations, which all belong to the bourgeoisie by and large, which have been vilifying him, and of course all the mainstream press, Washington Post, NED outfits like Insight News, AP, etc. They’ve all done portraits which have basically demonized Cherizier much as they did demonize Aristide and will really step it up now. He’s going to become just the biggest villain we’ve ever heard of in the coming days.

The difference between the spontaneous revolt detailed here and the early 1920s is the ripening of the capitalist crisis which is far further down the path to total implosion than it was 100 years ago, with US imperialism no longer on the rise towards the topdog status it took in the great inter-imperialist war sort out of 1939-45.

Just the opposite. It faces a decline that is almost certainly terminal for the whole bankrupt system.

And while such spontaneous proletarian stirrings as yet appear to lack any Marxist consciousness, and may yet be “put down” to adopt the kind of fascist euphemism slung around by bourgeois world control and the ruthless tyranny that is the reality of all its “democracy pretences” (without a word of worldwide diplomatic protest etc etc about “democratic rights to have their grievances heard” for these Caribbean islanders), they are surely a symptom of the great stirring that is eventually going to sweep away this entire stinking system.

The quoted piece speculates on the Haiti impact stirring a further burst of the “pink tide” anti-imperialism that swept Latin America at the turn of the century - and while a Marxist view would not necessarily see it in terms of “following examples” the current wave of upheavals in Latin America is becoming much more difficult for Washington.

Peru has elected a “left” president, Bolivia has restored a “left” reformist government after the rightwing coup which toppled Evo Morales, Maduro hangs on in Venezuela and Brazil is in ever greater uproar against the cynical incompetence and social devastation wreaked by the philistinely small minded fascist nastiness of the Jair Bolsonaro regime:

Huge crowds of protesters have returned to the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities to demand the removal of a president they blame for more than half a million coronavirus deaths.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Rio de Janeiro on Saturday morning as calls for Jair Bolsonaro’s impeachment intensified after allegations that members of his government had sought to illegally profit from the purchase of Covid vaccines.

“The people have awoken,” said Benedita da Silva, a 79-year-old congresswoman and veteran of the Brazilian left, as she joined the rally.

“I’m here because we absolutely have to get this monster out of power and reclaim Brazil,” said Magda Souza, a 64-year-old dissenter, as she marched through downtown Rio with her husband, José Baptisa. “We’re surrounded by barbarism,” Souza added as a police helicopter circled over the throng.

Souza wore a bright red T-shirt calling for the return of Bolsonaro’s leftwing antagonist, the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who recently stormed back on the political scene after his political rights were restored and is expected to run for the presidency next year. But many at the demonstration said they were not members of Brazil’s left and simply wanted rid of a far-right leader they accused of condemning thousands of their fellow citizens to death with his chaotic – and some now suspect corrupt – response to coronavirus.

On Friday, a supreme court judge ordered an investigation into whether Bolsonaro had failed to act after being alerted to suspicions of high-level corruption involving the procurement of millions of Covid vaccines from the Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech. According to the official count, more than 522,000 Brazilians have lost their lives to coronavirus, second only to the US , with the South American country’s epidemic still far from being controlled.

...many protesters waved Brazil’s yellow and green flag – a symbol used by Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right movement – in an effort to reclaim the flag from his followers.

None of them are yet revolutionary threats - in some ways just the opposite; the reformist demagogue Lula has been “restored” by a fearful bourgeoisie that had stitched him up previously with bogus corruption charges, because they know they will need to head off this explosive movement which might otherwise start to generate all-out revolutionary struggle.

But this is not the only problem for the imperialist system; the whole world is in ferment.

And all the war blitzing, droning, destruction, and special forces interventions have proved unable to stop it.

In 20 years the US has proved unable to “stabilise” and keep even Afghanistan under control. Despite pouring in vast military resources and trillions of dollars the only result has been to see hundreds of deaths of its soldiers (and of the imperialist allies alongside) and the non-stop rebellion of the backward tribalism of the Taliban, stirred up into an anti-imperialist frenzy by Washington’s and its “allies’” crude blitzing and warcrimes.

Far from re-establishing its writ behind the pretence of “Western values” of “rule of law and democracy” (outrageously claiming the invasion was made among other things to sustain the equality of women) it has now been forced to pack up and run, simply abandoning the giant Bagram airbase and most of its equipment overnight in one of the most humiliating retreats for its forces since the end of the Vietnam war.

The hapless city populations, some deluded into thinking that life was improving and modernising because up to three-quarters of the Afghan economy was being paid for by the Western war effort or aid and charity funds (all to head off revolt and any stirrings of a return to the communism which held sway in the late 1970s and early 80s), now get a new lesson in the reality of imperialist intervention, made solely for its geopolitical control purposes.

They are abandoned for a second time because it has been impossibly expensive to establish a sufficiently stable “democratic” stoogery to serve imperialism’s world control needs and to hold back growing Chinese influence.

Washington is cuttings its losses, leaving hundreds and hundreds of maimed and killed veterans “asking what was the point?” and the Third World with a new lesson in the hollowness of the Empire’s invincibility.

Things could unravel even further if the city populations resist the re-establishment of backward rural Islamism by organising themselves to fight as there some indications; with their illusions in the West shattered that can only mean finding some other perspective.

A revival of the socialism of the nine year socialist government from the past might yet be a long shot.

Such notions are highly speculative.

But the world has no choice, if it is to get out from under the rapidly deepening capitalist collapse, except to rebuild Leninist revolutionary science.

Don Hoskins

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Crucial battle to re-establish Leninist polemical methods of party building not served by misrepresentation and selective quotation - response to Chris Barratt’s attempted defence of abstract “PBI” – part one

The death of comrade Chris Barratt recently (see issue No 1594) interrupted a polemic he was pursuing against the EPSR, alleging “mistreatment” and an ongoing “breakdown in party relations” and advancing a theory of abstract “petty bourgeois individualism”, – labelled “PBI” – as the cause of this alleged disintegration.

His last contribution on the subject is reproduced now (see below) not out of sentimentality or any maudlin sense of posthumous “fairness” but because the polemic around it might offer some additional illumination on party building issues and the battle for Leninist leadership requiring the collective theoretical effort of a trained cadre party.

It is particularly pertinent to do so given that the issue his letter is focusing on, is precisely the conduct of open discussion and internal relations among those struggling for Marxist scientific understanding of the unfolding class struggle – and like all questions seriously raised, needs to be battled through to a conclusion as far as possible.

While Barratt is sadly no longer able to respond, the issue remains an open one – and this current response will not by any means be a last word, not least because of the profound significance of this issue in the world wide class struggle.

It pivots around the question of the battle for understanding in a disciplined Leninist manner which obviously is crucial for the dictatorship of the proletariat, and its expression in workers states, (including such examples currently as China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam).

The core issue is how to reconcile the need for the firmest possible discipline in party building for revolutionary leadership with simultaneously encouraging and giving full rein to the widest debate and discussion,

to dialectically hold fast the conflicting opposites in order to see understanding further grow out of the contradiction, and to benefit from it, — the ...very essence of all scientific method but especially that of Marxist analysis (EPSR No 1006)

thus exploring all aspects and facets of emerging phenomena.

Polemical struggle is the lifeblood of Leninist leadership as the EPSR has many times set out, including during the opening of Barratt’s argument and responses to it (in recent issues No 1586 (27-11-20) & 1587 quoting EPSR Nos 1006 and 803) and in fact is a basic element in its founding in the beginning of the 1980s, breaking from Trotskyist sectarianism and middle-class anti-Sovietism (masquerading as “anti-Stalinism” but in fact full of anti-communist bile and hostility for the workers state and the dictatorship of the proletariat) and from complacent Stalinism.

Failure to sustain polemic is a key aspect of the long slow decline of the Soviet Union’s leadership into revisionism from the late 1920s, and the eventual philosophical failings which led to Gorbachevism and the liquidation of the Soviet Union.

A completely disciplined Leninist method is vital in such open polemical discussion itself and in subsequently putting theory into practice, the only way to test its correctness. Once decisions have been made they need to be carried through.

Such discipline is there primarily solely as a means of furthering the battle for understanding - to requote a section from the EPSR No 803 (as above) used in a previous contribution to this discussion:

Communist discipline and democracy also flow out of the correctness of ideas, not out of constitutional rules.

The only possible basis for unity is not an agreed democratic structure for party decision-making but a correct analysis of the international class struggle. Without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary practice, no united party struggle.

Ideas have to be fought for. The highest form of the class struggle is the struggle inside the revolutionary party.

The only worthwhile ‘rules’ are those dictated by the need to take theory into practice.

Argument can only go on for so long before the need to act arises. Once a decision to act has been clearly established in the eyes of most of the party, the requirement for the whole of the party to carry out that decision so as to test it in practice, (the only way to find out if the understanding is correct), - or at least not to sabotage the decision, - is obvious.

Since the death of the first EPSR editor Roy Bull in early 2005 the supporters group has continued to maintain the principle of open struggle for theory starting with the latest developments in the world balance of class forces.

First and foremost that has been a battle to publish a regular paper setting out its understanding and welcoming and inviting all comers to take up the issues and polemicise (a basic principle set out by Lenin’s What is to be done?).

As accepted in the opening letters of this discussion (see EPSR No 1586 ibid), that has not been done without mistakes being made – particularly in the encouragement of all sides of the arguments to be expressed in polemics (as opposed to merely allowing the full debate) “holding fast to the contradictions”.

And it is not wrong for comrades to take up such party building errors and argue for a deeper understanding of how the polemic should be encouraged and accommodated; it has forced a revisiting of past EPSR discussion to correct any weaknesses.

Contrary to Barratt’s assertions however, there has been no banning or prevention of such issues being raised.

The process of working through Barratt’s current argument has to be a polemical battle too.

That said his last letter, following on here, does not take things forwards at all, but simply regurgitates the previous abstract theory, larded with some portentous and “philosophical phrasings” to throw dust in the eyes.

In fact it veers into absurd sophistry, misquotation and misrepresentation from the beginning.

In doing so it further demonstrates the hollowness and falsity of his recently proposed PBI “theory” which is an idealist nonsense.

The manner of this last polemical answer, using trivial and inward looking argument in a parody of Marxist philosophy, and a shallow one at that, with highly selective, limited and partial quotes misrepresenting the content of previous responses to his argument, simply underlines not just the weakness of his theory but its potential to line up on the wrong side of the class struggle, disrupting the group’s work by constant sniping and spreading of mistrust in the leadership.

Such a way of presenting the arguments undermines his criticism, repeated in this last letter, that there are “issues in party life” which, in multiple discussions with comrades for many years, he has declared to be so severe that they were essentially fatal to developing Leninism, running to lurid accusations that the EPSR was no better that the Trot sectarian Workers Revolutionary Party under Gerry Healy with all debate stifled (and even that it was “run by a Stalin figure who would have you taken outside and shot”).

Such vile, and false accusation – potentially opening the group to all kinds of bourgeois vilification (though admittedly that will come anyway once Leninist politics makes some headway in the working class as it will once the crisis bites so hard that it knock away still extant complacency) – is so hostile that it made a mockery of Barratt’s continued insistence that he supported the EPSR paper and its understanding (he very rarely made critical points about the paper itself and its analysis).

In fact the only “issues in party life” in question were with Barratt himself – and these were sometimes angry responses to the wild accusations he made (often behind the back of the leadership) during a difficult period 10 years previously, responses made at that time but which he has remained obsessed with ever since.

They originated in the heat of a huge polemical struggle over the nature of Obamaism which led to a regrettable split with the South West supporters in the wake of the great global bank collapse (as explained in this author’s second response in No 1587).

It was the watershed moment when monopoly capitalist system’s path into Catastrophic failure, driven by its inherent contradictions (first identified clearly by Karl Marx), coalesced into an obvious world economic collapse.

The shock wave from this 2008 revolutionary moment (in the sense of a world historic pivotal change), when the great post-war boom definitively hit the buffers, as Marxism-Leninism alone had been warning, cannot be underestimated.

It will eventually turn the world over.

As a cadre group struggling for Leninist science and therefore deliberately tuned to be sensitive to the capitalist crisis, and all the factors of the shifting balance of class forces in the world, the EPSR was shaken to the core.

As the 1587 letter explains, the accusations of “bullying” were challenged (at that time) in four separate national meetings of the supporters over nearly a year, and in subsequent repeated discussions by phone and email.

No-one agreed with Barratt and after the fourth meeting, which voted to retain the current chairman, Barratt withdrew declaring he would set up his own group; that the EPSR was not Leninist and that he understood better the way to proceed.

For a while he declared himself to be a separate group, and insisted that he would build a real Leninist group, as the EPSR “did not know what Leninism was”.

He did pursue polemical work with some “left” groups, and also posted commentaries on various social media, a useful demonstration of the possibilities.

The EPSR supporters continued to write for and produce the paper, to meet for discussions, to build an indexed archive of past EPSRs, and publish books, particularly tapping the brilliant material built up by the group while Roy Bull was editor, a highly valuable resource of wide ranging material and valuable philosophical insights (which this author would put on a par with Lenin).

Barratt continued to take a copy of the EPSR, to which not only was there naturally no objection but positive encouragement, to widen the debate for theory – since at the current stage of universal philistinism and anti-communist brainwashing within the imperialist world, one and twos even partly supportive of Leninism, are valuable.

But at intervals he would revive contact with various comrades, constantly going over the same accusations and berating all and sundry who would not accept his allegations.

Gradually he worked back towards the EPSR, accepting that the paper’s political content was sound (bar one or two correct – and useful – criticisms, which led to significant corrections in understanding) and eventually around five years ago asking to receive several copies each week to use in his own work.

But since he was still making the same damaging allegations (they were not accepted) against the leadership in a constant stream of phone calls and messages to various comrades, it was agreed that while he use the papers he should make clear in meetings etc that he stood separate to the EPSR, to avoid any confusion.

It would surely be muddying the water to declare in favour of a group whilst still maintaining the central leader was “a monstrous bully, little different to Gerry Healy”, allegedly suppressing all debate.

But his meeting work gradually blurred this edge too, sometimes making a contribution “on behalf of” the EPSR, and eventually making regular phone call discussions of the paper’s content with the editor and even meetings.

In practice this meant he accepted the EPSR as politically correct and was behaving as a member – eventually he asked to be accepted as part of the group again.

Except this left a great contradiction to resolve since he had not dropped the series of damaging allegations which he had maintained for a decade, virtually unchanged.

The answer appeared some time back in the form of his PBI “theory” in which he set out a concept of an abstract psychological flaw embedded in the psyche of all individuals which unconsciously led them to express attitudes of petty bourgeois individualism.

The PBI flaw was the result of societal pressures acting on individuals during development he asserted, which were then fixed permanently, affecting adult thinking in subtle ways which have to be looked out for in a series of symptoms.

Unsurprisingly a list of these symptoms happened to be almost exactly the same as a list of the (rejected) accusations made previously about “bullying and “violence”. DH

[Part two continued next issue]


Petty-bourgeois individualism is the obstacle to Leninist struggle, as explained by Royston Bull

Don Hoskins’ two responses to my attempts to tackle issues in party life in the EPSR (see EPSRs 1586 & 1587) have opened up the discussion in the paper; taken it to the realm of Leninist philosophy and extensively quoted former EPSR chairman Roy Bull, presenting his clear-thinking and advanced comprehension of the requirements for building a Leninist cadre party.

Don quotes Roy as saying:

“Ideas have to be fought for. The highest form of the class struggle is the struggle inside the revolutionary party.”

Later in this extract, Roy says:

“What makes good communists, who will eventually dominate world society is the willingness to struggle for an independent grasp of what leadership science has already begun to prove is correct understanding of the world.

“What stands in the path of such development is petty-bourgeois individualism, cloaked as a fetish for democratic centralism.”

But Don’s headline in EPSR 1587 says, in part:

“Rejecting the theory of petty-bourgeois individualism as a separate thing-in-itself “unconsciously” taking over psychologically.”

How can Roy’s view and Don’s view be squared? They can’t. Roy is stating that petty-bourgeois individualism (PBI) is the great obstacle to revolutionary thinking and action and Don is “rejecting” this. Nor is PBI a “thing” – it is of the mind. PBI is not made up of matter; it does not float around separately from people like a noxious gas. PBI can only exist in people’s minds, and it is bound to do so, to a greater or far lesser extent, because we were all born and raised and live within the existing dominant capitalist society, drenched in anti-collective, anti-objective and anti-communist ideology with our personalities and psychology developed long before we became communists.

And when you decide to join (or start) a communist party, does every single PBI influence in your head simply drop away, as if a Communist God made you anew and perfect with a hammer and sickle halo? Far from it. We can only be communist in our thinking to the extent that we understand the world through the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin (and Roy Bull and the EPSR – and even our own best work as Marxists) and consciously battle to see things objectively and are prepared to struggle to promote that objective truth to ourselves and others. Being determines consciousness, and not in the mechanistic way that comrades who are “more working class” are automatically less petty bourgeois in their thinking but in the more subtle way that, under the pressure of their circumstances, the less the individual concerned thinks individualistically over a long period of time and the more they think objectively, then the less likely it is that they will suffer from PBI.

Joining the revolutionary party (or leading it) does not imply “struggling for perfection”. The revolutionary party has to be built with the existing human material. All members should be prepared to take the rough with the smooth of people’s personal behaviour and only object or make a fuss about behaviour or personal conduct where it has caused a problem for party development (which is a partial response to Phil Waincliffe’s polemic in EPSR 1588).

Petty-bourgeois individualism is a real phenomenon (not a “thing”; it is “mind”), and in order to write about it extensively I abbreviated the term to PBI, in the same way that the EPSR refers to the GFA, rather than always talking about the Good Friday Agreement. Making too much of this abbreviation is one of the problems with the polemics against my views: it is a way of not discussing the essence of the issue but concentrating on some very incidental point to the detriment of clarification.

The Roy Bull writings (that Don has very usefully presented, and I failed to dig up and present back in 2010) provide pretty much all the answers to this issue when correctly understood.

Consider again the above mentioned line from Roy:

“What stands in the path of such development is petty-bourgeois individualism, cloaked as a fetish for democratic centralism.”

Roy Bull clearly intends it to be taken that PBI is a phenomenon that exists in people’s thinking; and while PBI damage can be inflicted by direct counter-revolutionary actions by CIA or MI6 agents etc, PBI is most potentially damaging to the revolutionary party when it emerges unconsciously in the thinking of senior leaders under the impact of class pressures from the stresses of political events, subversion or inadequate understanding in an internal party debate.

Roy is also clearly saying that if thinking isn’t Marxist, rational and objective then it is, by definition, its opposite: petty-bourgeois individualist.

Suppose an EPSR comrade is lucky enough to be invited to a conference in Havana titled “Allendeism: the way forward for Latin America”. The comrade speaks against this revisionist perspective; this horrifies the delegates, causing a furore, and the comrade with such temerity is put on the first plane home. As he is ejected from the conference, all the revisionist delegates think they are being good anti-imperialists, and all the Cuban CP think they are being good communists by upholding Fidelismo.

But they aren’t are they? Their thinking is confused by revisionism’s PBI. Their non-dialectical thinking is prey to subjectivism; and if the EPSR comrade should protest loudly that his intention was to help the cause of world revolution by warning about the lethal dangers of Allendeism, this would just cement the hostility in the subjective thinking of his detractors. And with each justification in their words and actions against the real communist in the situation, because we are in a world class war, the cause of bourgeois idealism is assisted and the cause of Marxist objectivity is set back. All the actions, heat and anger on the part of the revisionist delegates is obstructive and anti-communist in effect, even if in their heads they are all being “good communists”. Potentially, all their misdirected anger is warping their thinking even more: “What was that comrade thinking? He must be drunk on political theory!” (as Castro maligned NJM leader Bernard Coard over the Grenada events in 1983) “He must be an anti-communist!” “Maybe he’s a CIA agent?!” etc, etc.

Subjective thought built on subjective thought all the way, without reference to the real world and the real history of class-collaborating reformism and CIA-directed massacres in Latin America and the need for Leninist understanding and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

This highlights the importance of the struggle for objective science, which means taking critique (polemics) and inner-party struggle seriously and arguing about what is being argued about, not claiming that “because we get the world right” any critique from any quarter is automatically misplaced and erroneous.

Multiple times in Don’s arguments, emails and polemics it has been claimed that I’m not presenting a world view and therefore what I’m saying is automatically suspect or coming from a subjective position. This is a red herring: there are any number of Lenin polemics not presenting any world view at all, just getting on with the issue at hand and firmly assuming that the reader knows that Lenin is building on his well-established positions. It is misleading to tell the reader to consider my comments as coming from a bad place because I haven’t taken the trouble to reiterate Roy Bull’s Marxist perspectives on the world struggle. Why not assume the opposite, that I fully subscribe to the EPSR’s perspectives (as I have since 1980) but have whatever differences I’m arguing?

Overly defensive ways of arguing are ultra-defensive; they are party-defence arguments that have been taken so far that, dialectically, they turn to their opposite and damage the polemical lifeblood of the party. Conversely, materialist dialectics insist that only the truly best supporters of the Soviet revolution polemicise with the leaders of the Soviet party because they want to strengthen the workers state and revolution. It is the hallmark of “pro-Soviet” revisionist block-headedness that if anyone spoke one word of criticism of Fidel or Stalin or Mao (in their heyday) then the shutters came down.

The priceless “willingness” Roy speaks of to fight for an independent grasp of objective truth requires people who want to be “good communists” to read polemics or listen to arguments and be determined to discern in them what is objective truth (and therefore Marxist) and what isn’t (if indeed there are errors).

However problematic, it is the party leader’s job to keep Roy’s best traditions of Marxist debate going, not be so super-defensive that proper discussion is undermined.

In EPSRs 1586 and 1587 it is conceded that the dispute with the South West branch in 2009 could have been handled a bit better; it is also conceded that my concerns about how the SW were handled could have met with a calmer response, and that not tackling these issues at the time was also a failing, given Roy’s dictum that the Leninist party is meant to treat inner-party disputes as “the highest form of the class struggle”. This error, since Roy’s and Lenin’s dictum was well known at the time, must have stemmed from a subjective weakness in approaches to the inner-party problems the EPSR faced.

Since this is the case, I think it is hardly logical to claim I raised these concerns out of “hostility” to the EPSR; I raised these matters out of concern that the cadre-party nature of the EPSR was being damaged. Any mistakes I made in the conduct of this struggle where I was wrongly insulting or sardonic stem from my own PBI weaknesses, self-evidently.

Chris Barratt


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EPSR archives - items from past issues

In the wake of the sanctimonious blame thrown on “thuggish elements without tickets” by the establishment over the Wembley Euro football final, it is worth running a 2002 piece from the EPSR on “football racism”.
Though it comes at things from another direction – not least because previously the scapegoated culprits were overpaid players, rather than the supporters – its points on the cynical “moral” pretences of the bourgeois politicians and the media echoing them, raise important questions for revolutionary analysis.
The worthy efforts of some players twenty years later to challenge societal backwardness on race, and their determination to make a point by “taking the knee” etc, are laudable but they are ultimately also being drawn into setting the wrong perspectives.
Neither reformist change, black nationalism, anti-racism nor “anti-fascism” address the responsibility of capitalism for the antagonisms and backwardness in society.
Nor can they really change things much now, or at all in the long run.
As the piece says, it is not possible to improve capitalism except by its overthrow, in revolutionary class war.
Individuals like player Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, (or Lewis Hamilton in F1 racing) are standing up bravely enough and reflecting growing discontent with capitalist inequality and prejudice but unwittingly play into capitalism’s hands.
For that reason they have been lauded by not only by billionaire-run media campaigns and more “liberal” Tory MPs, but have even been given “honours” by the cynical reactionaries of the arrogant Tory rightwing (including Boris Johnson), who give not a whit for the lives of ordinary people, (and as Covid showed are ready to see the “bodies piled high” as the ruling class has done throughout the past centuries and two world wars).
They should watch their backs – such ruling class duplicity and hypocrisy would quickly turn poisonous and hostile if the “anti-racism” began to draw in Marxist or open anti-capitalist notions. DH


From issue No 1135 07-05-02

The sinister hypocrisy of the capitalist press in being so keen to put the boot into Bowyer and Woodgate should have alerted communists to the reactionary rottenness in this scapegoating.

Pointless support or sympathy for overpaid racist thugs is not the issue. The problem is the total confusion about capitalism’s responsibility for sustaining racist backwardness which this sort of personal and individual vilification lets off the hook. Regarding football louts (on or off the pitch) as a ‘source’ or ‘cause’ of fascist prejudice (a) identifies the wrong culprit; and (b) even more disastrously implies a completely false ‘solution’ via reformist moralising pressure on individuals to seriously re-think and revise their behaviour.

While bourgeois ‘legality’ and widespread moral condemnation can indeed force individuals to behave better, and by example make everyone think much more carefully about how they see things and how they give vent to their prejudices, neither the law, nor the pulpit, nor the occasional press witchhunt of someone (usually a celebrity) for criminal or outrageous behaviour can even stem the growth of racist and fascist mentalities, let alone eradicate them from society.

Going along with the blackguarding of Bowyer and Woodgate is helping to spread exactly the WRONG signals to society.

It implies that reformist pressures and moral example really work in this society.

It also implies that racism and fascism will become less and less of a problem.

Neither of these is remotely true. In fact they are both so false; and about such crucial questions in society, that going along with this attempted campaign of public vilification of Bowyer and Woodgate amounts to support for criminal brainwashing of the working class.

Aggressive expressions of race-prejudice and fascist-party support are certain to keep growing in Britain.

Pointlessly scapegoating Bowyer and Woodgate as though they were a ‘source’ of this, which could be ‘cured’ by their vilification, is more likely to make them martyrs to the cause of increasing British nationalist chauvinism than anything else.

The world capitalist crisis is inevitably going to turn the existing massive race-prejudice (albeit still latent for the moment) into active political fascist jingoism.

And leading the way in whipping it up will be this selfsame capitalist press, - as it has done in the past with “Hop off you Frogs”, etc, - which currently finds it convenient to put on a big show of anti-racist self-righteousness and bravado by heaping published abuse on Bowyer and Woodgate and daring them to sue.

And this is the big issue, - what this selfsame capitalist press is going to be doing in the near future as the international trade-war and slump deepen, sending bankruptcies, unemployment, homelessness and poverty soaring.

To keep the working class divided so that it does not get together to raise a revolt against the degeneracy of the capitalist freemarket system, it is the capitalist press, television and radio which will have the crucial role in initially playing on people’s existing prejudices.

The riots have already kicked off in 2001 because of the worsening economic perspectives and feelings of frustration and insecurity which the slump damage so far has caused or threatened. With ethnically-segregated residential areas already (due to the persistent cultural shallowness of the capitalist system and its encouragement of clannishness for reasons of social and economic survival or getting-by), - it is inevitable that worsening conditions for jobs, housing, schooling, health service, etc, etc, will spread capitalism’s rotten basic rivalry in all things (jobs, housing, wellbeing, living standards, education, etc) into blame and envy about the slump too. As with scarce council resources already, with endless complaints that services for one community are better than for another or are being improved at the expense of another, - - so will resentment escalate astronomically when jobs have to be lost, or closures made, and different ethnic groups all think that they are getting the unfair treatment.

Once living standards start falling, and people can no longer provide for their families as they used to be able to, - then the latent prejudices which saw riots around the North in 2001 will begin to be whipped up into hardline fascist politics.

It is capitalist society AS A WHOLE which will be leading the way, no one part of it.

It is pointless just blaming the fascist parties, for example. They are the SYMPTOMS of growing divisions and conflicts in society, not the cause.

It is pointless blaming the capitalist media as such. They don’t run capitalism.

But the media, of course, keep everyone brainwashed so that the capitalist system remains protected.

And that is just what the press are doing now, pretending that they could never be seen as a key part of the causes of racism by putting on this huge show of vilifying Bowyer and Woodgate, thereby also conveniently adding simultaneously to the general brainwashed confusion about where race-riots come from by implying that overpaid thoughtless thugs are the cause, and that giving Bowyer and Woodgate a good public kicking will help wipe out the phenomenon.

But is it, even so, not a good thing that two potentially fascist-minded, public figures have at least been publicly humiliated for their thuggish and suspect racist conduct?

Not really, because all of the anger which might have been channelled against capitalist society for routinely creating such wretchedness (as this type of after-drinking-hours brawl) has been vented uselessly on these oiks, who are also victims of capitalism in their own sad way.

And spewed out for the worst of reasons because it is largely envy-driven, full of anti-capitalism bile misdirected against these two because they are coining it under this outrageously unfair system (despite their nastiness).

The moment the argument turns to demanding stiffer punishment for Bowyer and Woodgate, or moaning that they have got away with what an ordinary white worker might have been given 7 years prison for, -- the anti-capitalist plot has been lost entirely.

There must be 1,000 incidents a week all round Britain where drinkers young and old get into an affray and there are injuries such as Sarfraz Najeib suffered.

All round Britain, there must be at least a dozen deaths a week from routine aggro.

The implication from the “send them down” chorus against Bowyer and Woodgate is that if all 5,000 or more young and old drinkers involved in rucks every week all round Britain were all routinely given stiff prison sentences, then Britain in no time at all would be a much better place to live in.

This is not just extreme Tory mentality, wishing to preserve their own corner of peace and quiet in a badly troubled land. It is also insanely unrealistic. Society cannot be cured of its sickness in this way.

And if it is insisted that the Bowyer-Woodgate affair is just an unusual one-off issue (because of their wads of money and the racism involved) requiring special sanctions, the opportunity still is being lost to turn this matter precisely into an examination of why ALL young men have to run the gauntlet of bravado and violent conflict in this culture. What is it about capitalism that it directs young bucks down this potentially murderous path???

Stating the obvious to scream and shout about how disgusting it is to see these ludicrously overpaid young footballers acting like hooligans MISSES THE POINT ENTIRELY.

Such sanctimonious scolding offers no more than what the multimillion-pound industry itself is prepared to say which set these youth up in the first place to behave with this particular combination of loutishness.

But too little education, too much money in the pocket, and too much to drink, really isn’t the rarest profile to be found among those getting involved in drunken group thuggery.

So all that this extraordinary furore over Bowyer and Woodgate comes down to in the end is that people have naïvely been suckered in to following the press’s own self-interested racket of highlighting celebrity status just for its own sake. If a celebrity does something, then it is a story first and foremost because they are a celebrity, not because of what they might have done.

A thousand punch-ups outside pubs and clubs every week all round Britain. Hundreds get injured, dozens get killed. But the fracas that gets people agitated is the one involving the ‘celebrities’, - as created and defined by the capitalist press.

And what about the thousands of other young men involved each week in the wretchedness of street fights and injuries? They are not ‘news’ so the reasons for their negative behaviour seldom get investigated. The pressure that should be put on capitalist society as a whole to answer up for the paltry perspectives and ambitions it gives to most working-class youth, for example, gets frittered away by the fake-’left’ getting pathetic self-righteous kick out of fulminating against a couple of equally pathetic hooligan Aunt Sallies, pointlessly put in the stocks by the same capitalist system which gave them shallow and bogus ‘notoriety’ in the first place.

Beyond the trivia of the sick hoax witchhunt against Bowyer and Woodgate which licensed an avalanche of confusion and sad behaviour in all directions, - capitalist press, judiciary, Leeds FC, whipped-up hysteria, and black nationalist response, - really serious political issues about imperialist crisis go on piling up for resolution.

Racist-fascist diversions will continue to grow inexorably, increasingly clouding the perspective for the one burning question which so far just isn’t being addressed at all, - how much reaction, death, and destruction is capitalist crisis going to be allowed to inflict before the immediate practical need for world socialist revolution starts being seriously discussed.

A looming blind-alley disaster for the working class will be the political extension of the misdirected posturing against thug celebrities which will try to make “stopping the fascists” the main strategy for the socialist movement. Every catastrophic historical mistake that Revisionism and Trotskyism made between them will be reimposed by such fatal shallowness. Never in history has the problem been fascism as such, and neither is it now. The problem is always the social and economic conditions of crisis being sown by the capitalist system as a whole which the fascists take political advantage of, just one of a variety of negative political and social symptoms which the crisis creates.

Just “stopping” one symptom by “halting fascism’s march” is a) utterly pointless; and b) almost certainly futile anyway.

The essence of all ‘fascist’ repressive action in a crisis is to cow the working class to make it bear (in unemployment and poverty, etc) the burdens of the economic crisis; to divide the working class tribally to make them more easily pacified and less capable of organising a revolution; and to divert the working class and petty bourgeoisie into ‘patriotic’ war-chauvinist channels by playing on the ‘national interest’ in xenophobic conflict with ‘foreign’ enemies of one kind or another.

In every international economic crisis... every capitalist state has gone down this repressive reactionary route.

Only in very rare special circumstances has a named specific fascist party had to be put into office in order to achieve the basic task in every crisis situation, namely, the survival of the capitalist-bourgeois system despite the cataclysmic horrors of slump, reaction, war, and destruction it has led a country into.

In other words, ‘fascist’ parties as such are a purely incidental phenomenon of capitalist warmongering crisis, a symptom, not the cause.

For a workers movement ever to declare “Halt the slide into fascist reaction” to be either a sensible or an achievable aim is to make a declaration of total reformist confusion, bankruptcy, and futility.

Currently, this anti-revolutionary anti-Marxist muddleheadedness finds its spontaneous expressions in “Stop the BNP” and “Punish Bowyer and Woodgate”, etc, etc.

It is the wrong political education for the working class entirely, hopelessly misleading it that all that is going wrong with capitalism is a temporary reactionary hiccup which can quickly be sorted out with some energetic anti-fascist protest marches and some stiffer punishments all round for racist hooliganism. Not so.

The international imperialist-system crisis the world is approaching is total and deadly.

The quality, cynicism and injustice of the almost casual fascist-blitzkrieg death and destruction US imperialism is currently inflicting on Afghanistan, for example, is already in an infinitely more cold-blooded, vicious, and alarming league than anything that German or Japanese imperialism hoped to get away with when deliberately stirring up a warmongering atmosphere during the 1930s crisis.

[]Unemployment, poverty, and despair on an unimaginable scale awaits the whole planet, as a simple application of Marx’s law on monopoly-accumulated unviable capital ‘surpluses’ makes clear (the ‘overproduction crisis’), of which the rioting in Argentina is just a tiny foretaste.

World revolutionary socialist understanding will shortly stage a rapid revival; but failed and incurable Revisionist and Trotskyist muddleheadedness still stands in the way, and fascist diversions will also make their move, all exploiting the same arena of ‘left’-reformist anti-revolutionary confusion.

The working class must be warned not to repeat the mistakes of the 1930s.

“Stopping the BNP” will be the WRONG issue, - reformist nonsense. Crisis is driving the whole of capitalism towards reactionary repression and war. It will get there with or without the help of a ‘viable’ fascist party. Thus, if the BNP were “stopped”, the capitalist state would simply find some other way, or some other fascist party to get the job done.

There is one issue only from now on:- The revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system as soon as possible.


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