No 1606 16th March 2022
Western Goebbels propaganda on the Ukraine war more lurid and hysterical in its LIES as the NATO provoked conflict heads to deserved disaster for the West. Kiev fascist stoogery is losing despite ever more ludicrous claims about “Russian incompetence“ and outright fabrications on “warcrimes and civilian targeting” (a gross hypocrisy as the West’s onslaughts continue on Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya the Sahel and starved Afghanistan). Public opinion less easily stampeded with sick brainwashing garbage if the fake-“left” did not capitulate to the psyops pressure, pretending Moscow to blame. The few “left” who get that right still cause mass confusion by supporting Putin’s idiot anti-Leninism. Only DEFEAT for the West but no credence in Moscow’s oligarch-pandering. Even worse is the failure to explain this war as part of capitalism’s terminal Catastrophe, its economic and political crisis pushing the whole world into inflationary Slump and World War, which only revolution will stop. Leninism must be built
Incident by incident the cracks are appearing in the crisis-ridden imperialist West’s demented psyops propaganda for NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
From the beginning total lies have poured out over this Washington coordinated warmongering, falsely presented upside down as an “unprovoked Moscow attack”, but which is actually another notch on imperialism’s drive to World War III, monopoly capitalism’s desperate “solution” to its greatest and unstoppable Catastrophic breakdown.
This particular war is only part of a general buildup that has seen at least half a dozen countries obliterated already, from Iraq to Libya and Yemen.
But the US Empire and its stooges like Britain have failed to re-establish unchallenged world dominance or solve the problem of inexorably deepening systemic capitalist breakdown, which is in fact unsolvable. Their frenzied efforts to escalate war have reached hysterical proportions, reflecting ruling class fear as it loses control a decade on from the great bank collapses in 2009, the full eruption of the economic and political disaster building for decades.
Not Russia but the West has created the war which now moves into Europe again (after an initial blitzing of Serbia and the Middle East).
As the EPSR has described (last two issues) this specific war is a forced defensive move by Moscow to end eight years of non-stop ethnic terrorising of the 30+% of Russian-speakers in Ukraine and especially the horrifically blitzed and bombarded civilians in the east of the country.
It was precipitated finally by newly escalated Washington/NATO moves to close in the aggressive border encirclement of Russia from reactionary Estonia down to just-as-reactionary Bulgaria, and including re-arming Ukraine with nuclear capacity (and as now revealed, biological weapons too).
It has not gone well for the West so far, contrary to the first big lie that “Russia is bogged down, has incompetent commanders and is losing” deliberately pumped out as defeatist propaganda by endless establishment “experts” and military spokesmen, (suddenly dominating the media) along with absurdly over-hyped accounts of supposed Russian domestic “protests” – mostly a few individuals and Western provoked stunts, many associated with “opposition leader Alexei Navalny” long revealed as a racist and fascist.
So the Ukrainian fascist hysteria, wild exaggerations and outright fabrications (using every CIA/MI6 coached trick in the book) grow ever more nonsensical about “mass civilian slaughter”, “Russia resorting to crude terrorising”, “they want to kill us all”, “this is genocide” “they are contemplating gas attacks”, “they intend to attack all of Europe” etc, etc etc. as the fascists lose ground.
In desperation the Ukrainian Nazis, who dominate the Kiev government since the Western organised and funded coup in 2014, are trying to stampede all-out European war to recover ground.
Lurid stories, and ridiculously exaggerated numbers for both their own alleged “death toll” and for the supposed Russian military casualties are pumped out by the fanatics without a scrap of verification, evidence or even witness accounts (mostly wholly untrustworthy anyway).
All are repeated and magnified without let by a willing Western media machine serving the brainwashing propaganda interests of a Western ruling class, and its CIA/MI6 and other agencies pulling the strings of its fascist puppets in Kiev (proving that all capitalism is essentially fascist and more and more openly as crisis deepens).
Russia is the immediate target, but the main aim is to create world hysteria to divert attention everywhere from the onrush of the greatest economic and political collapse in history by whipping up universal jingoism, scapegoating hatreds and a frenzy of vengefulness against suitable blame victims (Iraq etc before, now Russia).
The ruling class is desperate for any distraction from the appalling inflationary Slump conditions about to hammer the working class far beyond the foodbank, homelessness and cutbacks austerity which has been imposed since 2009, and far beyond the Depression savagery of the 1930s.
That is the Catastrophic crisis of the capitalist system itself, not caused by the war (or the pandemic before it) but itself the cause of this war and universal war to come – a crisis building up for decades as Leninist science alone has been warning.
The ruling class wants to blame its own system’s disaster on scapegoats and “others”.
Hence a Goebbels campaign of brainwashing lies even more frenzied than the deluge of lies poured out against Serbia, Libya, Syria, Myanmar, Ethiopia and the left bourgeois nationalism in Latin America, communist Cuba, North Korea and China’s workers state (non-stop).
They become ever more hollow and risible.
Front page headlines for example detailing the tragic death of a woman and two children filmed just as a fatal explosion goes off tell exactly the opposite story to the wild hate conclusions pumped out by the Western propaganda machine, – because after two weeks of lurid unverified allegations at that point, it was still an exceptional event.
Firstly of course, as in all such supposed “evidence” there was no context as to where or how the incident happened.
But even assuming the worst and this particular incident was a Russian mortar (by no means established), the fact that this was a rarity plastered across the media to try and cover over the absence of any other concrete facts, gives the lie to all the monstrous shock! horror! statistics mendaciously poured out about “thousands of dead in apartments”, “major attacks on residential districts”, “whole cities pulverised” etc etc which the Ukrainians are allowed to feed out uninterrupted or challenged.
Where are the pictures, of all the supposed “hundreds” and “thousands” of “innocents” killed and injured which the Kiev Nazi politicians claim every single day, ludicrous figures which the Western media dutifully repeats with emotive tearjerking embroidery, while giving these reactionary and irresponsible world war-drum banging Nazi spokesmen virtually free airtime to spout their demented racist hatred and alarmism about “the Russians threatening to kill the whole world”?
For the pictures of damaged buildings (constantly reshown), where are the alleged civilian casualties?
Or could it be that a) the Russians are giving prior warning when an attack is made for military purposes, exactly as they have said they doing?
Could it be they were emptied out or had only “partisan” fighters in them?
Could it be that the multiple kindergartens supposedly shelled don’t exist?
Could it be that the damaged bridges shown are those blown up by the Ukrainians themselves for defence (as admitted very occasionally).
Could it be that those “civilians” who have been injured or killed are mostly the ones taking up the thousands of free arms handed out and using the stacks of Molotov cocktails and were in the line of fire, in a brutal war.
All deaths and injuries are tragic but these are not strictly civilians at all in the intended sense of hapless victims.
Where are the pictures of “cluster bombs” asserted to be used in Kharkov early on, and the casualties which must have followed? Actual bomb casings? Unexploded bomblets? – they are designed for such dispersal as we all know because so many of them have used by the West in country after country, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya etc.
There were none. The single incident, with much noise about instant “warcrimes” tribunals, was a stitch-up, as the Russians said, with the Azov brigade Nazis firing first from a residential area and then pretending the return fire on their positions was somehow “indiscriminate”.
The same is true about the alleged “bombing of a maternity hospital” in Mariupol, in a city notoriously a stronghold of the Azov brigades, the most extreme of the rightwing militias (but long absorbed into the official army), who have been shelling, mortaring and sniping the eastern enclaves for the last eight years, killing thousands and, say Russian accounts, were preparing for an all-out onslaught against the three million living there (the valid basis for Vladimir Putin’s “genocide” claim).
There was no context, and for all the hysteria about “shocking images”, actually with no other photographs or video than a pregnant woman on a stretcher trolley being rushed across a piece of ground, apparently lightly injured and for unspecified reasons.
Assertions repeated non-stop since that this was “deliberate targeting” and even the alleged toll of “three killed” (again not shown and a very small number for a “completely destroyed” 600 bed hospital) are unproven, as is the wild accusation by the deputy mayor that “three hospitals” have been shelled and destroyed.
Whatever the truth about the incident there is no basis for unchallenged media accusations, and no chance to rebut them (a fundamental element of the “democracy” and “justice” the West lyingly pretends to uphold).
It was a pure propaganda exercise, almost as if someone had sat down and thought through what would be the most emotive subject of all – why, mothers and babies!.
No Russian statement has been asked for, let alone any opportunity to deny or counter this wild attribution which attempts to raise the “horror stakes” – only in diplomatic talks did the Russians manage to say the hospital had been emptied days earlier and was used as a base for the Azov military.
And it increasingly seems it was a set-up job anyway using a well-known Internet “influencer” who is pregnant, with “injury” make-up, pictured by a professional photographer.
The pattern for these non-stop Western lies was set early on with the Snake Island incident, when reactionary president Zelensky raged theatrically about 13 guards being butchered “in cold blood” on this Ukrainian Black Sea military base; except they were not dead at all and a few hours later the Russians showed they were in captivity, uninjured and being given water and food.
No banner headline apologies here. No apologies at all. Just the lie left hanging in public opinion, like hundreds of lies since.
Or consider the Sky News incident when a film crew was shot up in their car while approaching a Ukrainian checkpoint. First the main part of the story:
The team of five were attacked while out in a car, after unsuccessfully trying to visit the town of Bucha near Kyiv.
Chief correspondent with Sky News, Stuart Ramsay, along with camera operator Richie Mockler were shot – Ramsay in the lower back while Mockler took two rounds in his body armour.
Footage broadcast by the news organisation shows them approaching a junction when the car starts to be shot at.
Initially, according to an account by Ramsay, they thought that it was a Ukrainian army checkpoint firing at them – and they can be heard shouting that they are journalists and asking for their attackers to stop.
The crackle of gunfire can be heard and the flash of bullets flying past their car can be seen, as the attack was captured on camera.
“I do recall wondering if my death was going to be painful,” Ramsay said, recounting the moments before he was shot. “But what amazed me was that [being shot] didn’t hurt that bad. It was more like being punched, really.”
Eventually the group, including producers Martin Vowles and Dominique Van Heerden, as well as local producer Andrii Lytvynenko managed to escape from the car and jump down an embankment at the side of the road.
They eventually found refuge in a nearby garage, and were rescued under the cover of darkness hours later by Ukrainian police.
“It was professional, the rounds kept smashing into the car - they didn’t miss,” Ramsay said.
He added: “We were very lucky. But thousands of Ukrainians are dying, and families are being targeted by Russian hit squads just as we were, driving along in a family saloon and attacked.
What “thousands attacked”? What “hit squads”?? Says who? To anyone with half a brain the conclusion is clear; either by mistake or deliberately the media crew was shot at by the checkpoint.
But this story goes on to say instead:
The journalists were later told that the gunmen were a saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad.
Really? So – hours later after hiding in a ditch – they calmly accept this uncheckable “explanation”?
And they believe it without asking a single question as to where this mysterious “saboteur” squad might have come from and where it had gone? Were they captured? What happened to them? How they had penetrated so far into Ukrainian held territory etc?
If not, were they being hunted? Who saw them (hours later)? How did they know they were “saboteurs”?
Why would a presumably skilled and trained, uncover “saboteur” squad decide to jeopardise whatever mission they were on by revealing themselves, in order to shoot up a random passing car, which they would not know contained a film crew?
What mission could they have been on anyway?
Not only was every normal journalistic principle abandoned in this risible account, the story was then topped out with this opening paragraph:
A Sky News crew has been evacuated back to the UK from Ukraine after journalists were shot during an ambush by a suspected Russian “death squad” on Monday.
So now it has become a “fact” about a “death squad”.
This is not “reporting” at all, it is outright propaganda and in the most pejorative, which is to say, Goebbelsian, sense.
The truth is obvious; thousands and thousands of guns have been handed out to Ukrainians, no questions asked or training required, in a country riddled with gangsterism, white slave trading, drug running and all other kinds of nefarious dealings (no different to the whole of post-Soviet “wild west” capitalism in now dirt poor Eastern Europe – or much of Western capitalism if it comes to it), and every one of these at best amateur and at worst thuggish Ukrainian nationalist “citizen fighters” is jumpy as hell, ready to loose off at anything that moves.
Similar dangers have just occasionally been mentioned by others like a Radio 4 lunchtime news question about four days in to the war, to a BBC reporter in Kiev who was asked how the city seemed.
Hard to tell, he replied because if he want around on his own to see – as a good journalist should – carloads of armed gunmen would come screeching up asking him where he was going.
“I could go with them but they only take you where they want you to see” he said (this being the usual accusation thrown at the “totalitarian” Russians of course).
But such semi-balanced comments quickly disappear beneath the surface of the poison lake of lies filling the mainstream Western media, while the initial lies get turned into “facts” like this:
posters bear the words: “Russian ship, fuck off!”
These were the words allegedly spoken by the defenders of Snake Island in the Black Sea to a Russian ship that threatened to open fire if they did not surrender. Initial reports that all the defenders had been killed were later denied, and the audio exchange has not been verified, but the encounter had already attained legendary status
(!!! – only because the entire media machine has repeated it as “truth”, constantly)
and the phrase has become the unofficial slogan of Ukraine’s war effort.
Buried in this story too are admissions about the racist vigilantism now prevailing against the minority Russia speakers and others by fanatical reactionary Ukrainian nationalism, the same kind of “democratic” intimidation which has prevailed since the Kiev fascists were installed in the 2014 CIA Maidan coup:
Handing out weapons to tens of thousands of people, many of whom have had little training, has led to some problematic situations. With reports of Russian saboteur groups – diversanty – at work in and around the city, tension is high and everyone is a potential source of suspicion.
At one checkpoint outside Kyiv earlier in the week, a man could be seen tied up at the side of the road. Amid persistent rumours that Russian diversanty may in certain cases be disguised as foreign journalists, some nervous residents have taken to calling in sightings of journalists to police. There are many reports of friendly fire incidents.
One man from the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, who has lived in Kyiv since 2015 and is volunteering with a Ukrainian territorial defence unit, said he was no longer able to go outside without his comrades, because of suspicions he could be one of the Chechen assassin groups reportedly sent into Ukraine by Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader.
The man, who did not want to give his name, said the one time he had gone out alone since the start of the war, he was immediately arrested, had a bag put over his head and was driven away for questioning as a suspected diversant, before his commander was called in to vouch that he was fighting on the Ukrainian side.
“Now, my job is that if they catch any suspicious Chechens, I get sent there to question them and work out if they’re Kadyrov’s guys or not,” he said.
Other Russian speakers – Ukrainians – have been intimidated and harassed and suspicions are of worse, including an account of a Russian-speaker in the official truce negotiating team being found dead.
And even the bourgeois press has been unable to hide the sick racism and bullying of black and Middle Eastern students or refugees, male and female dragged out of border queues and on occasion even beaten up.
Where do the feminists stand on this?
There is much more, such as a giveaway BBC radio news report about the humanitarian corridors the Russians agreed for Mariupol and other cities. Repeatedly these have been shut down again because of alleged shelling disruption, though why the Russians would set them up at all if they intended to immediately close them again is never queried by the Western journalists who just accept the word of the Ukrainians.
The fanatical outright Nazis in this area, do not want the exodus and are lying.
Some Internet video reports even show the Azovs running aggressive patrols stopping refugee cars on the road out of Mariupol – which if accurate, suggest they have even killed people trying to flee.
These ultra-nationalists are suicidally determined to take the world down and need the civilian population around them for defence (a war crime for what that is worth) while they demonically urge the West to pitch in, irrespective of the risk of allout world war they want.
Russian comments, on the very few occasions when they get any airtime, and can find space between the browbeating interviewers’ sneering and interruptions, say that the Nazis have been holding several cities hostage this way as a TASS news agency report further elaborated:
Neo-Nazi groups in Mariupol started to loot homes of local residents, killing those who resist them, Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of the Russian National Center for Defense Management, said on Saturday.
“Today, armed neo-Nazi gangs went on a yet another looting spree in residential areas, robbing local residents of their remaining food, clothes and valuables,” he said.
“Those who resisted in any form were gunned down on the spot,” Mizintsev added.
He went on to say that Ukraine’s authorities continued to violate agreements on humanitarian corridors to Russia, because civilians in Kiev, Chernigov, Kharkov and Sumy have not been notified about them.
Ukrainian neo-Nazis have detained and sent back 450 civilians, who were trying to leave Ukraine’s Sumy region for Russia’s Kursk region, Mizintsev, said on Saturday.
“We have also reliably established today that neo-Nazis detained all the civilians, about 450 people, who were trying to leave the Sumy region to the north through the town of Sudzha to Russia’s Kursk region. Private cars were seized, and the civilians were simply sent back in the opposite direction,” Mizintsev said.
“More than 6,900 foreigners from 16 countries are held hostage by Ukrainian neo-Nazis, who are using them as a human shield,” he said.
[..] “crews of more than 50 foreign vessels, who are unable to leave Ukrainian ports due to the danger of mines planted by Ukraine in the Azov Sea and the Black Sea in breach of the international humanitarian law.”
Among them are citizens of Azerbaijan, Greece, Georgia, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, the Philippines, Jamaica and other states.
And, in case that be declared “disinformation”, the standard CIA counter propaganda response, consider a Radio 4 interview with an British “retired General” who heads a charity called Halo, which specialises in locating and disarming mines. The volunteer group has a 24 strong team in Mariupol (plus several hundred elsewhere in the country).
He reported that shutdown of the civilian humanitarian corridor had failed because of landmines – not shelling as initially claimed – and when pressed said that “as a defensive weapon” they were “almost certainly” placed by the defenders, ie by the Ukrainians, as 99% of those with a brain could work out.
Even if the Russian forces had access to lay mines, which is highly doubtful, what would they put them there for?
Why would they go to all the trouble of ceasefires and corridors if all they wanted was to slaughter civilians anyway – a grotesque accusation in the first place, – suggesting deliberate and calculatedly psychotic delight in killing – why not just leave them in the cities?
This is a sick topsy-turvy nonsense to further stampede unthinking un-analytic public opinion, cynically tapping normal human empathy in the face of disaster to spread hatred while letting the obviously fraudulent details slip into the “fog of war” or more accurately the murk of Goebbels disinformation.
Equally sick is rejection of other attempts to let civilians out, with corridors on the Russian side this time where safety can be more easily achieved – a refusal from Kiev, the BBC reported, because the “Russians might make propaganda from it”, demonstrating that the SS and Swastika waving fanatics do not remotely care about saving civilian lives at all (and even more so, neither do their Western imperialist masters).
Day by day these, and far more lurid exaggerations, hyperbole and lies are swallowed by petty bourgeois public opinion, despite 20 years of experience of imperialist warmongering built on total LIES and censorship, most glaringly the “Weapons of Mass Destruction threaten us all with annihilation in 45 minutes” Blairite concocted bullshit used as an excuse for the utter destruction of Iraq and subsequent years of civilian killing by the hundreds of thousands, droning, warcrime horrors, wedding party butchery etc etc, all downplayed and in fact mostly completely hidden and denied, coming to light only because of the actions of brave and determined whistleblowers like the Wikileaks members.
And their reward? Not endless romanticised TV accounts, front page headlines, and emotive agonies for one side only, but de facto and then real prison detention (unjustified in law), on a level of fascist inhumanity which has near killed Wikileaks head Julian Assange for example and persecuted and imprisoned the source Chelsea Manning.
So much for the “freedom of speech” allegedly being defended by Western “democracy”.
Over 20 years, even where the West’s tyranny and barbarism has been exposed with at least some more honest reporting attempts, dozens of “un-embedded journalists” have been killed (like the infamous shelling of al-Jazeera in Iraq), the law has been bent around, military torture and brutality perpetrators have been let off the hook and those fighting to bring them to justice have seen their careers ruined by professional and character assassination, like the solicitor Phil Shiner, who took up numerous cases for tortured, imprisoned, beaten and murdered Iraqi detainees.
The sick Afghanistan occupation saw multiple incidents of warcrimes and civilian “collateral damage” including deliberate killing of villagers to up the body count quotas, (as just occasionally one or two incidents have revealed in very occasional more honest documentaries) and outright Nazi flag waving by Western imperialist forces, still being contested under trial in Australia eg.
So normalised was this civilian butchery during the 20 year long occupation to bring “freedom and democracy” (by military force), that the Pentagon even declared the drone killing of an entire innocent family during the Kabul evacuation last summer, to be justifiable:
A US drone strike in Kabul in August that killed 10 Afghan civilians was a tragic mistake but did not violate any laws, a Pentagon inspector general said after an investigation.
Three adults, including a man who worked for a US aid group, and seven children were killed in the 29 August operation, with the target believed to have been a home and a vehicle occupied by Islamic State militants.
“The investigation found no violation of law, including the law of war. Execution errors combined with confirmation bias and communication breakdowns led to regrettable civilian casualties,” Lieutenant General Sami Said, the inspector general for the US Air Force, said in a report.
“It was an honest mistake,” Said told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday. “But it’s not criminal conduct, random conduct, negligence,” he said.
“The intended target of the strike, the vehicle, its contents and occupant, were genuinely assessed at the time as an imminent threat to US forces and mission at Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the report said.
However, it said, the interpretation of intelligence and the observations of a targeted car and its occupants over eight hours was “regrettably inaccurate,” it said.
Afghanistan is now being deliberately “collectively punished” for its temerity in resisting and then beating the American invasion (and allied imperialism), with the national bank reserves not only withheld but now being “confiscated” (see last issue) leaving the economy imploding, disrupting all trade, agriculture and commerce, leaving the masses starving and freezing; tens of thousands face death. A similar story applies to the Yemen, pounded and blitzed for years by UK and US armed (and “advised”) Saudi Arabian backwardness, with millions on the edge of famine.
But no weeks of front page headlines have been seen for these.
No confiscations or sanctions are proposed either for the multibillionaires and thug-sheikhs in Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates who have funded and created this horrific war – the new Saudi owner of Newcastle football club is cheered to the rafters while oligarch Roman Abramovitch at Chelsea has his assets sequestered (at least for show purposes since he is in fact a major capitalist and ruling class solidarity means he has been given time to move most of them offshore); the pinch-faced sheikh of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, personal friend of the Queen, has not had his huge racing stable holdings blocked or confiscated; and the billions of dollars from every kind of despot, drug running gangster, and assorted tax-avoiding ultra-rich bourgeoisie continues to be washed and pumped through London to hidden offshore “tax havens” (!!) by unctuous and grovelling but very well paid, lawyers, bankers and accountants.
So sick and broke is the British ruling class that it has even been selling off its Royal name to wannabee Saudi billionaires with suitably expensive Lordships and honours for just about anyone with enough dinari for Prince Charles’ charities or Tory party coffers.
No wonder the establishment around the nearly gaga Queen, still desperately and almost literally propped-up at the head of the “Royal family” and aristocracy soap-opera racket, is so keen to hush up the degeneracy of Prince Andrew (and much of the rest of the crew, truth be known) with a suitable payoff to silence the paedophile sex scandal around Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (more freedom, openness, probity and justice???)
How sick and upside-down it is for President “Joe” Biden to be sounding off about the “censorship and repression” under Putin and supposed “disinformation” to “control the narrative” while this Western system shuts down TV and news outlets, censors the social media and keeps its psyops lie machine working non-stop to bend minds and twist “reality”????
Detailing all this sickness, decadence, arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, callousness and lying venality of the world bourgeoisie and its collapsing system needs to go on all day and could if there were space enough and time (part of the necessary work by a Leninist party as class understanding is rebuilt for the coming revolutionary struggles).
But the major point to be drawn out first is general understanding of the great Catastrophe driving the entire capitalist system onto the rocks and for which this war is part of both deliberate distraction, (to head minds away from its real causes and away from the revolutionary perspectives that alone can change things) and a “solution” in the great destruction it will impose.
As Marxism has long explained, the insane imperative of a system built on the “logic” of private profit and accumulation will always bring the “free market” ultimately to the need to clear itself of the “over-production” and “surplus” capital which steadily clogs its pores (see EPSR box , Marx Capital, the Communist Manifesto, and Lenin’s Imperialism - the highest stage of capitalism) even though the vast piles of unused cash and credit, huge unsaleable mountains of goods, and the vast unused production capacity to make them is far from “surplus” to the needs of the starving and desperate masses, particularly in the Third World but also more and more in the richest countries too.
This was the pattern before the horrors of World War One and Two, which erupted once the “simple” but ruthless slump bankruptcies, takeovers and shutdowns of regular early-capitalist crises in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, no longer sufficed for the scale of the “clearout” the great monopolies require in the imperialist epoch.
The latest crisis and most cataclysmic ever breakdown, the result of unsolvable and unstoppable contradictions, has been erupting for decades in multiple regional and/or sectoral crisis collapses, but particularly in the last twenty years.
And the ruling class has been winding up war with it, from the 1990s Western intrigued dismemberment of former workers state Yugoslavia, and brutal NATO civilian-killing bombing of Serbia onwards (replete with many of the same lies and fabricated “warcrime” accusations as now against Moscow) through the destruction of country after country in the Middle East.
For the moment, around Ukraine, the ruling class propaganda inversions continue to hoodwink “appalled” public opinion not least because it fits with decades of brainwashing with anti-communism and, by extension, generalised “anti-totalitarianism”, the still persisting delusion in bourgeois “democracy” which continues to keep the population in philistine ignorance filled with celeb watching, consumerist fashion, film and computer-game fantasy and all the rest of capitalist “cultural” shallowness.
They would be more easily countered and exposed if it were not for the miserable defeatist confusions and treacheries of the fake-“left” of all shades, direly misleading the working class with social-democratic class-collaboration (TUC/Labourism); Trotskyist pseudo-revolutionism covering over its petty bourgeois fear and loathing of workers state discipline (labelled “totalitarianism”) with supposed “criticism of Stalinism”; and the dull-brained “permanent peaceful coexistence” revisionism of the museum Stalinists themselves, refusing to understand or get to grips with the retreats and errors in Moscow’s leadership from the late 1920s onwards which developed into the full-on liquidationism of Mikhail Gorbachev, and the abandoning of the still viable Soviet Union in 1991.
But useful lessons can be learned meanwhile as the treachery and/or confusion of all the great circus of fake-“leftism” which has postured and pretended its progressiveness ever since the Russian revolution, is sharply exposed by events.
Out front in the chorus is the Sir Keir Starmerite Labour Party (and TUC backers) all in its true reactionary colours, fresh from stabbing in the back the tepid “leftism” of the Corbynite upsurge with the dirty and laughable “left-anti-semitism” campaign – (which since these Labour “lefts” are and only ever have been an opportunist cover for class collaboration anyway, actually needed little help, mostly “denouncing” themselves), – and now more gung-ho in its determination to assert its flag-waving jingoist credentials than the Tory A-team party itself.
Starmer and crew, such as poisonous black nationalist reactionary David Lammy, workerist pretender Angela Rayner and feminist Jess Phillips, even go to the length of celebrating Labour’s role in creating the reactionary anti-Soviet NATO warmongering alliance post-WW2 under Clement Attlee.
To this day the 1945-50 government is hailed as a great “left” achievement by assorted middle-class and Trot elements (like one-time WRP Trot Ken Loach for example) instead of a great con trick perpetrated on the working class, heading it into safe reformist channels to save capitalism and to service imperialism in the ferment of revolutionary turmoil after WW2 inspired by the Red Army’s titanic victory over German Nazism.
Labour was already by then a full-on bourgeois party (the designation of a “bourgeois workers party” still plied by some of the fake-“left” like the Weekly Worker CPGB to justify continued entryist opportunism, long exposed as a nonsense see eg EPSR 1057 or EPSR Books Vol 10 Reformist “Socialism” finished).
From the gross lie of the Iraq war blitzing onwards it now clearly takes a fascist warmongering position itself, so wrapped up in Union Jack chauvinism that it increasingly resembles the outright Nazism of Sir Oswald Mosley, who started as a Labour minister, but went on to form the Blackshirt movement as the 1930s Depression deepened.
Currently it is backing the ruling class Tories to such an extent that a de facto coalition government is already in place ready for the outright class war that is coming (and in many ways, like censorship and police repression, already here) as the world crisis tips into the abyss, and major revolt inexorably erupts from the desperation of hunger, unemployment and homelessness far beyond anything in living memory.
Some groups like the like the berserker pro-Zionist AWL (Alliance for Workers Liberty) Trots, and assorted fake-“left” worthies like the eco-warrior George Monbiot and the “gay rights” campaigner Peter Tatchell, have swung fully behind the demonisation and hate-campaigning against Russia.
Both the latter help demonstrate the ultimately reactionary nature of all “politically correct”, “identity” and “eco-reformism” single-issue campaigns (as opposed to the issues they raise being examined as part of an overall revolutionary perspective – see EPSR No1242 on Tatchell’s anti-Palestinian campaigning eg).
The entire spectrum of fake-“left” “revolutionaries” meanwhile is dizzy with confusion, (or cynical dissembling) their minds befogged by decades of hostility to the workers states (Trots) or the decades of dull-brained retreats from revolutionary grasp of the revisionists.
Most capitulate in practice to the great deluge of chauvinism and jingoist hysteria being whipped up over Ukraine, blaming or “condemning” Russia, but realise that lining up too obviously with the Western NATO forces will damn them forever, especially after the millions butchered in its wars since 1999 (and still ongoing effectively under one guise or another eg in Yemen, the Sahel, Afghanistan, Palestine etc). A few go further and support Moscow outright, though this too misleads the working class as explained further on.
The majority however declare themselves against both sides, and in favour of “peace” – the position of those around the “Stop the War” campaign.
Such social-pacifism, declaring there “should be” an “immediate ceasefire” is completely useless, pie-in-the-sky moralising little better than the vicars and imans wheeled out onto the “Thought for the Day” slot on the Today morning news programme, with pieties calling for everyone to stop being so aggressive.
Platitudes about getting “commitments” to ceasefire, and for “no more expansion” of NATO as if it is all teacher calling a halt on some playground bullying that has gone a bit too far is an absurdity, a thin cover for joining in the Western demands for Russian defeat.
Its lightmindedness does not tackle the Catastrophic collapse facing the world and driving all the deadly imperialist warmongering which is killing, maiming and starving millions.
These posturing pretences are built on petty bourgeois self-righteousness even made explicit in a Counterfire Trot leaflet declaring that only those who “stood against war in Iraq and Afghanistan have the right to criticise Putin”.
Apart from the utter uselessness of such past social-pacifist opposition – two million marched in London but Baghdad was destroyed anyway – what has such “righteous” preening got to do with stopping the capitalist disaster now unfolding, aside from letting these self-serving smugs feel good about themselves as the world goes down in flames?
It is simply an excuse to avoid confronting the real question, the need for a revolutionary struggle to overturn this stinking system now rapidly heading for allout disaster and a cover for joining the Western claque.
What the world working class needs – everywhere including Russia – is a scientific analysis and understanding of unstoppable collapse which is inbuilt to the profit system driven by the inherent and ever deepening contradictions of the anarchic ”free market” system.
The “lefts” professed “Marxism” and in most cases their narrow horizons do not encompass the crisis at all.
Enormous material forces are driving the world into all out war (as explained above) which in one sense puts this Catastrophe out of all human control, as Marx made clear in Capital (see box below).
Nothing but ending all capitalism to build planned socialism can halt it.
But the world also remains under the control of the ruling class in so far as the ultra-billionaires and lesser fry but still big bourgeoisie will always cling to the sweet privilege and power of this ever more grotesquely unequal and inhumane system despite its disintegration, using the relentless brainwashing lies that have gone on against communism ever since 1917 (aided by fake-“left” poison against the workers states and their delusions in bourgeois “democracy”) and, beyond that, their police and military forces (plus all kinds of freelance mercenary, mafia and fascist violence) to resist any attempts to remove them, by whatever ruthless means it deems necessary, domestically and internationally (thereby stirring world turmoil and revolt and making the crisis even worse).
Only defeats for the main bourgeois powers will open the path forwards.
Some of the slyer fake-“lefts” are twisting and turning this crucial Marxist principle to “justify” what amounts to a siding with imperialism while avoiding the passive pacifist position.
“Recognising” that NATO has created the war pressure over 30 years they declare themselves for “civil war” against the ruling class on all sides, just as the Bolsheviks did after 1914, Lenin’s understanding that guided the Russian revolution.
So there is much posturing about “inter-imperialist” conflict, and the supposed Leninist position of a “plague on both their houses” in the war with no support for either side and instead calling on the working class to take up the struggle against their own ruling class.
While this sounds “theoretically profound” and mightily r-r-revolutionary, in current conditions it is nothing but cod-Marxism mouthing ill-understood (or cynically misapplied) fragments of Lenin and missing out the most important element of all, the understanding of the call for the defeat of the ruling class.
That is not even handed at all, but must mean defeat of the main enemy, which is far and away the US Empire and its stooges.
And that means defeat in any way possible, including by the much smaller forces of Russia (without remotely supporting Moscow).
Why so? Because the world balance of class forces has moved on since the early 20th century, and is now dominated by a single overwhelming monopoly power, the US.
And while oligarch Russia under Putin is part of imperialism (and his leadership explicitly anti-Leninist), it is by no means on a par with Washington and NATO.
In the inter-imperialist conflict between robber powers in 1914-18, the long-brewed war was for re-ordering of international power and exploitation, to redivide the existing colonies and to take over lands of older collapsing powers like the Ottoman Turks.
Similarly the second part of the war in 1939-45 was for colonial and market exploitation “rights” despite the complication of the anti-Soviet onslaught after 1941.
Both wars were for plunder between the great powers of the world, roughly equally balanced, albeit some more so than others.
For the working class in all these countries, the great danger was to get dragged in behind their ruling class in a jingoistic frenzy, “patriotically” fighting for the ruling class and dying by the millions for their interests.
Make the war into a civil war against your own ruling class in every country was the Bolshevik understanding.
Yet while the inter-imperialist trade war, reaching ever more cutthroat levels, is yet again one of the great contradictions driving towards WWIII at present, it is absurd simplification to merely woodenly apply the Bolshevik understanding to the now hugely out of balance situation.
As analysed above, the Ukrainian war is in fact an induced war on Russia more akin to the recent wars on assorted victim countries such as Iraq or Libya.
Serbia, particularly, provides a parallel where revisionist nationalism was holding the ring under Slobodan Milosevic, no longer communist but with a case to be made for its anti-imperialist resistance (especially compared to the other breakaway fragments from Yugoslavia, like Slovenia and Croatia, reverting to WW2 Ustashe chequered-flag Nazism under imperialist balkanising influence).
In such circumstances defeat for the major aggressor, NATO, is called for, and “defeat all round” plays into the hands of Washington.
The slyest of the Trots, like the American origin Spartacists can see this too.
But they are counter-revolutionary, intent on spreading confusion, and hostility to the workers states.
They get round the difficulty by asserting that Russia is “not imperialist” but bourgeois nationalist, but then going on to assert that “as a capitalist” power it still has an interest in plundering another country, namely the Ukraine.
That sounds a lot like being an imperialist in fact.
And Putin’s bonapartist regime has behaved in a brutal imperialist manner frequently, particularly over the suppression of the Chechen self-determination struggle (EPSR No 1158,1159), in Syria and recently in backing up the kleptocrat oligarchs now running Kazakhstan, against a working class revolt.
The redefinition of Russia as “bourgeois nationalist” serves also to pretend that it is “merely” fighting with Ukraine about “spheres of influence”, and not against NATO and that therefore the issue is limited to the Ukrainian and Russian working class.
But firstly NATO is in this up to its elbows with arms supplies, “advice” for the military and propaganda, and tacitly encouraged “volunteer fighters”, holding back only out of fear of the consequences if it were to be too obviously engaged directly.
And secondly the entire issue is part of an imperialist strategic agenda anyway as the Sparts in fact declare in their opening lines (trying to give themselves anti-imperialist credentials, despite having been part of the entire anti-Soviet campaign throughout the Cold War which led to the build up of NATO throughout Europe).
The EPSR has exposed them many times on this eg in No 1206 28-10-03:
These Trots were the frauds who gave post-1945 global anti-communism its necessary ‘left’ cover, always on hand (when Western counter-revolution staged coup-stunts or war provocations against countries allied to the Soviet Socialist Camp) to shout their “anti-imperialism” the loudest while in reality aiding the fascist reaction by continuing their muckraking against these pro-Soviet regimes.
The catastrophe for the Polish working class, e.g., — and for the world, as these Trots now admit, — that was Solidarnosc, the supposed “rank-and-File socialism” movement which masqueraded as a “trade union” but was in fact a complete programme for counter-revolution written and financed by the CIA and the Vatican, — should have shut up this anti-communist Trotskyite delinquency once and for all.
Although provocative sects like the Sparts tell endless lies to try to cover their tracks, — ALL of the Trot 57 varieties let their usual anti-Soviet bile pour out, along with the rest of Western middle-class brainwashed “world opinion” when Lech Walesa launched his Gdansk shipyard wall-climbing stunt (see below).
But such is the schizophrenic dishonesty of the petty-bourgeois fake-’left’ that not a Trot can now be found who will admit to the Solidarnosc counter-revolutionary disaster that their misdirected opposition to Stalinist stupidity helped to unleash.
[..]the Sparts, who were cannier than the rest of the swamp in getting off the Solidarnosc bandwagon in late 1981 when they felt that the stench of the CIA/Vatican counter-revolution was getting too strong for intelligent workers to no longer notice, are trying to pretend that it was only “in late 1981 when Walesa & Co first made their bid to restore capitalism in Poland”. Crap.
By late 1981, the Bulletin had already published more than a whole year’s weekly issues attacking Solidarnosc for the counter-revolutionary fraud that it was, most of those Bulletins containing easily intelligible evidence from the ‘free’ world bourgeoisie’s own media admissions proving what complete stooges for Western imperialist values Walesa & Co were.
Only the cretinous middle-class subjectivism of the swamp, so determined to hate the dictatorship of the proletariat and so determined to prove that ‘nice’ and ‘real’ so-called ‘workers democracy’ building ‘genuine socialism’ was so easily available, prevailed however.
That same petty-bourgeois subjective idealism is prevailing now with the Sparts.
These people know that they are lying about their coverage of Solidarnosc in that early period. They know that all the evidence was available long before the “end of 1981” to prove that Solidarnosc was nothing but a CIA/Vatican counter-revolutionary racket.
But the last thing these posturers are interested in is setting the scientific historical record straight.[EPSR 725 09-11-93]
Here is much of their latest confusion mongering larded with the finest of fake-“left” posturing irresponsibly urging the workers to “revolution” without any preparation or understanding being built, and least of all any mention of the great crisis collapse and without any explanation of the need to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat which all Trots hate:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was provoked by the decades-long U.S.-led expansion of NATO and the European Union. After having engineered the capitalist counter-revolution that destroyed the USSR, the imperialist powers have expanded eastward to the very borders of Russia, bringing with them pillage, ethnic strife and humiliation. The Western imperialists now rage against Russia’s “war of aggression” and its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty. These bandits who plunder the workers of the world couldn’t care less about Ukraine’s national rights. What they are really furious about is that Russia is challenging their exclusive rights to pillage East Europe as well as U.S. hegemony over the region. The never-ending cycle of crisis and war must be stopped at its source, through socialist revolutions in the imperialist centers. For workers revolution in the U.S.! For the Soviet United States of Europe, united on a voluntary basis!
There is only one progressive way forward in the war between Ukraine and Russia: to turn this war between two capitalist classes into a civil war where workers overthrow both capitalist classes. We call on the soldiers and workers of Ukraine and Russia: Fraternize! Turn the guns against your exploiters!
This war is fundamentally about whose sphere of influence Ukraine is under, and the victory of either the Russian or Ukrainian armed forces can only lead to more oppression. The Ukrainian government is fighting not to liberate Ukraine but to further enslave it to the NATO/EU imperialist powers, to which it has been bound since the 2014 U.S.-backed coup. Its victory would also increase the oppression of the Russian minority in Ukraine. On the other side, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seeks only to replace the imperialist boot with a Russian whip. The legitimate national struggle for self-rule in Donetsk and Luhansk has now been hitched to Russia’s broader reactionary war aim. Revolution in Ukraine and Russia would resolve the national question, do away with the oligarchs and inspire workers internationally to rise up against their own exploiters.
A revolutionary outcome to the current war is necessary and possible. In 1917, Russian and Ukrainian working people were also being used as cannon fodder by their rulers. They put an end to this by shooting their officers and joining insurgent workers under the leadership of the Bolsheviks to sweep away their common exploiters—the capitalists and landlords—in the world’s greatest revolution. For new October Revolutions in Russia and Ukraine!
The capitalist world has already been ravaged by two years of crisis triggered by the pandemic. Lockdowns, unemployment, speedup, inflation and crumbling health care are the reality for workers around the world. The current war can only accelerate the destruction of workers’ living standards and sharpen class antagonisms. The task of revolutionaries is to convert the raw anger building up at the bottom of capitalist societies into the only solution to war, misery and exploitation: the establishment of international workers rule.
The pandemic clearly laid bare the total bankruptcy of the current leaders of the workers movement. While the working class was being pummeled by both a virus and capitalist attacks, these class traitors—social democrats, Stalinists and trade-union bureaucrats—were entirely on the side of the bosses, demanding more lockdowns and more sacrifices. Now these same misleaders, particularly in the imperialist centers, are rallying workers to the cause of the U.S. and its allies, pledging undying loyalty to NATO and the EU and demanding that Russia be sanctioned into starvation. Enough betrayal! Workers must oppose the sanctions and military aid to Ukraine! To struggle against imperialist depredation abroad and attacks on living standards at home, the working class must break with its current leadership. It needs a new, revolutionary leadership to fulfill its! world-historic role as the gravedigger of capitalism. Reforge the Fourth International!
“Socialist” Stooges of Imperialism
The precondition to building a genuine revolutionary opposition to imperialism and war is to ruthlessly struggle against the pseudo-Trotskyists, Stalinists and Maoists who use pacifist and “anti-imperialist” slogans to mask their utter subservience to their own imperialist masters and national bourgeoisies. Just like the opportunists Lenin warned against during the First World War, “By means of patent sophistry, Marxism is stripped of its revolutionary living spirit; everything is recognised in Marxism except the revolutionary methods of struggle, the propaganda and preparation of those methods, and the education of the masses in this direction” (Socialism and War ). Here are the main deceptions pushed by today’s opportunists:
• “No to war in Ukraine.” This slogan, raised throughout the left, is a pacifist swindle, deceiving the people that there could be a just settlement to the war short of revolutionary struggle. No cease-fire or peace deal between capitalist robbers will address the causes of the war. Any such agreement will necessarily be directed against workers in Russia and Ukraine and prepare the ground for the next bloody conflict. Whoever wants a lasting and democratic peace must fight to transform the current capitalist war into civil wars against the Russian and Ukrainian bourgeoisies and to extend revolution to the imperialist countries.
• “Russian troops out of Ukraine” (raised, for example, by the Committee for a Workers’ International). This is NATO’s slogan and can only mean victory for the Ukrainian government. Those who raise this slogan from the U.S., Britain, France or Germany are calling not for the freedom of Ukrainian workers but freedom for their own imperialist rulers to plunder Ukraine.
• “Down with NATO!” This is a necessary slogan, but raised without opposition to NATO’s economic adjunct, the EU, it only builds illusions in the possibility of imperialism without militarism. It is the “peaceful” economic plunder of finance capital which prepares the ground for war. The EU and euro are tools for this plunder. It is nothing but crass social-chauvinism to present the German/French-led EU as benign and separate from the “militaristic” American-led NATO. Lutte Ouvriere, for example, denounces NATO while lamenting that Ukraine was denied EU membership and “the few advantages it could have gained from it” (22 February). Grotesque capitulation to French imperialism! Ask the workers of Europe: The EU brings nothing but economic asphyxiation and national subjugation.
• “Against Russian imperialism” (the position of the Marxistisch-Leninistische Partei Deutschlands, among many others). Grandstanding against “Russian imperialism” serves to cover the crimes of their imperialist masters, deceiving workers as to who the main enemy truly is. The world is ruled from the centers of finance capital in New York, Frankfurt, Paris, London and Tokyo, not Moscow. While plenty reactionary, the Russian ruling class is not imperialist. It oppresses its own working class and is a regional power. In contrast, the imperialists suck the lifeblood of workers on the entire planet.
“No to imperialist war in Ukraine” (Communist Party of Greece & Co.). Pacifist garbage with an added “anti-imperialist” twist. To present the war as imperialist is to throw sand in the eyes of the workers. Should NATO or any imperialist power directly enter this war, it would be an obligation for any revolutionary to side militarily with Russia for the defeat of the imperialists, the main bulwark of capitalist reaction internationally. This is precisely the task which is rejected by those who agitate about “Russian imperialism.”
• “Should workers side with Russia?” Some on the left believe that since Russia is challenging the imperialists it should be supported in its war. This is a capitulation to Great Russian chauvinism. Russia is not at war with the imperialists but with the Ukrainian government. The proletarian strategy to fight imperialism in Ukraine and Russia lies in common revolutionary struggle of Ukrainian and Russian workers, not in supporting the designs of the Kremlin. The subjugation of the Ukrainian nation to Russia would further inflame national antagonisms, erecting a tremendous obstacle to this perspective.
All the pseudo-Marxists howled in outrage when the Great Russian chauvinist Putin denounced Lenin’s revolutionary policy against national oppression. That was very noble of them. But to really defend Lenin in the current war means exposing the social-chauvinist traitors who while using “socialist” rhetoric are in fact lackeys of the imperialists. On this count Lenin can defend himself:
“That’s the very thing the bourgeoisie wants; it wants the workers diverted from the revolutionary struggle in war-time by means of hypocritical, idle and non-committal phrases about peace; it wants them lulled and soothed by hopes of ‘peace without annexations’, a democratic peace, etc., etc— The first and fundamental point of a socialist peace programme must be to unmask the hypocrisy of the Kautskyist peace programme, which strengthens bourgeois influence on the proletariat.”
—“The Peace Programme” (1916)
One of the sickest parts here is the Spart double-bluff quoting of Lenin’s perfectly correct denunciation of pseudo-Marxists and their “patent sophistry” – exactly what they are masters of themselves all through this trickiness.
So for example their denunciation of some Stalinists and others who have adopted a defencist position supporting Russia, deliberately misses the critical point – defeat for imperialism which means NATO.
This is not about “capitulating to Greater Russian nationalism”.
Certainly equating Vladimir Putin’s regime with some kind of extension of the former Soviet Union, as some Stalinist do, is dunderheaded.
It is a restorationist capitalist state, in which the interests of oligarch piracy and exploitation prevail, communism is derided and parasitical priest religious relic-kissing superstition is allowed to prevail.
It is not just an oppressed “bourgeois nationalist capitalist” state.
It is no more valid to use this characterisation to declare Russia is just like other smaller states and therefore “anti-imperialist”, (the defencist line) than it is for the Sparts to do so in order to speciously keep NATO out of the picture (fraudulently suggesting the fight is only “local” with another capitalist state, Ukraine, and that “Russia is not at war with the imperialists”).
The Spart line wants to deny the huge imbalance between Russia and NATO because that way it can take the same line as all the other Trots pretending the situation is like 1914 and calling the working class to “fight a civil war on both sides”.
The understanding that the main enemy is Western imperialism and of the need for its defeat is quite deliberately lost this way. Effectively NATO is off the hook.
It is the wrong moment to wage the struggle against Putin.
The defencists are groping towards this understanding perhaps but end up confusing the working class just as much by suggesting Putinism is a way forwards itself.
Certainly Russia is not the same as NATO.
But like all capitalism in the imperialist epoch, given free rein and enough space Russia will behave as imperialistically as any other power (which includes Brazil and other medium size powers, and even those which are currently oppressed, who would also have imperialist ambitions if they were able).
The contradictions of post-restoration Russia make the picture much more complex, not least because the legacy of the Soviet Union’s 73 years of titanic achievements as a workers state still resonates; Putinism has had to tread a path between raw oligarchism and placating this popular sentiment to some extent, a bonapartist (balancing) act which has reined in the greatest mafia excesses of the billionaires, not so much out of concessions to past socialism as to provide some reforms in public services and so forth that will head off any revival of communism.
But there can still be no question of actually supporting Moscow and thereby implying it is a solution to the problems faced by the world working class, or even that it is a “step on the way”.
That is hopelessly misleading.
Only a defeat for the ruling class is called for, NATO in this case but not a victory for Putinism, nor even “anti-fascist forces” unless they are overtly Leninist, grasping that the world is now in an unending war until monopoly capitalism is overthrown.
The Sparts’ sophistries do not get anywhere near explaining the real mistake by the Stalinists (and others supporting Putin) and in fact help muddy the water.
In their shallow posturing about Leninism (quoting little bits out of context) they deliberately overlook the crucial understanding that should apply here, that of the August coup attempt by General Kornilov in 1917 when Tsarist reaction attempted to turn back the clock on the February bourgeois democratic revolution; the Bolsheviks stood alongside the Kerensky bourgeois government to fight that off, putting off for the moment continuing struggle against the bourgeois regime until the greater reaction was defeated.
But the Bolsheviks made sure the working class understood they should not trust the bourgeois parliamentarians one inch (guarding their backs even as they fought alongside) and that the fight for a proletarian-led revolutionary overturn of Kerensky should resume as soon as Kornilov was seen off.
The trap the defencists fall into lies in the philosophical flaws traceable back to Stalin himself, particularly in his 1952 Economic Problems book, which abandoned the understanding that imperialism would relentlessly expand, and by dialectical logic, would eventually have to burst like a balloon into the great Catastrophe now unfolding, and with it the explosive world war that an increasingly desperate (but terrifyingly well armed) ruling class is driving the world into.
Stalin by this “permanent peaceful coexistence” line, abandoned the inevitability of world war and therefore revolution, suggesting that “peace struggle” to contain imperialism’s tendency to make wars (implying “limited” outbreaks), would be sufficient to hold the line while “steady growth” of the socialist world continued, eventually closing down imperialism’s options altogether and seeing the world more or less automatically turn towards an ever more successful socialism.
Even now this straight line perspective lies behind various collective statements made by “official” Communist Parties across the world calling for “restraint” and “ceasefire”, unfortunately including Beijing and Havana.
It certainly underlies the thinking of the museum-Stalinist Lalkar/Proletarian CPGB-ML and their Popular Front Workers Party of Britain lash-up with maverick “left” former parliamentary MP George Galloway.
An initial CPGB-ML statement “defending” Russia’s “right to fight NATO” includes such giveaway phrasing as
“NATO has the opportunity to take another look at Russia’s proposals for a workable agreement on security in the region in return for renunciation of destabilising expansion and abdication of plans to surround Russia with heavy armaments”.
No different to the derided empty and fatuous Stop the War “demands” in fact.
It adds that NATO is
“expressing its displeasure at the prospect of a demilitarised and neutral Ukraine no long serving as an imperialist catspaw”.
What are they talking about????
As a diplomatic stance perhaps a peace negotiation position might be advanced for a defanged Ukraine but as a perspective on where the world it going it is utterly disarming politically, implying some long distance future in which there really could be a stable neutral Ukraine.
It is made even more explicit in a Proletarian polemic mocking the Stop the War meeting two weeks back, which correctly enough berates its leaders for jumping on board the imperialist media’s demonisation of Russia.
But that is bad, the Brarites elaborate because they are jeopardising
the denazification of Ukraine and the destruction of the huge armaments silos that had been built up there (that) offer some hope that a way out of World War 3 might yet be found, (emphasis added)
These people claim to be Marxist-Leninists!!!!!!!!!!
But this is “pure” Stalin and it is pure mind rot (see EPSR book Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics against Stalinism).
The whole point of Marxism as explained above but needs repeating is that there is no way out of world war while capitalism continues.
The masses everywhere need quickly to get to grips with the reality that only revolution can save anything.
None of this forms part of the criticism being made by the Sparts however who just get in the way of clarifying such questions with their (partially hidden) poisonous anti-Sovietism.
Other revisionist elements like the New Communist Party, bizarrely allied with the Socialist Fight Trotskyists (who are sharp enough to recognise the huge imbalance between Russia and world imperialism), also take a defencist position, limited in this case to “victory for the Donetsk and Lugansk republics”, allied to an overall aim to “Stop US imperialism and its wars in all forms”.
Seemingly this will be achieved with a list of reformist demands including “US hands off Russia” and one for “dismantling the NATO/Imperialist war machine”, presumably while making water run uphill and pigs fly.
Meanwhile, a correction is needed for the EPSR’s last issue which itself could cause similar confusion.
In explaining the reality that Putin’s move on Ukraine is a defensive move, and NATO the aggressor, the concept of “denazifying” Ukraine was accepted as a valid basis for Putin’s move.
As explained it is wrong on multiple levels, firstly by implying that “fascism” is anything other than a particular form of imperialism itself, which over most of its history has not even used theatricality like SS uniform flashes to impose utmost barbarity and will not necessarily do so now – simply imposing more and more open bourgeois dictatorship.
Secondly it also implies therefore that there can be a more benign form of capitalism, ie a “democratic form” with the rough edges contained and the possibility of progress by peaceful means and “left pressure”.
That would drag the working class all the way back to the same class collaborating reformism that has fooled it and failed it for 150 years, and repeatedly left it prey to disastrous counter-revolution including the infamous Salvador Allende “peacefully voted in” socialism of 1970 and its bloodily imposed exit by the Pinochet coup in 1973 (also coordinated by the CIA) as well as numerous other examples like 2013's General Sisi coup in Egypt (accepted by the Lalkarites – another of their disastrous mistakes among many and as always covered-up and left undiscussed).
Putin cannot “denazify” anything and has no strategy at all for what comes next in Ukraine because it will remain capitalist.
A huge question to be debated is quite what these unsolvable conundrums will now precipitate, inside Ukraine, inside Russia and everywhere in fact.
Will the sharpening of the contradictions push Russia – or even Putinism itself towards a revived Leninism as might be implied by Western fears that “Putin is trying to reestablish the Soviet Union?"
Or are the hostile comments he has made and his failure to understand Lenin, definitive? If so what will happen to mass understanding inside Russia where the 73 years of the Soviet Union history cannot just be reversed or disappear??
But none of the fake-“lefts” will begin to provide answers, and very few will even realise such questions need posing to open up the huge polemical debate which must rage as the crisis makes life impossible everywhere and the need for rebuilding a Leninist party and leadership grows ever more critical.
Some like the Sparts will be slipping in all kinds of sophistries in fact.
One in the list is their “condition” attached to the “otherwise necessary slogan” for “Down with NATO”, insisting it be tied to “NATO’s economic adjunct” the EU, offering the “plausible” reason that without tackling economic domination, illusions will be left in the possibility of peaceful development, whereas economic plundering “prepares the ground for war”.
It is thereby implied that not “dealing with the EU” would allow for “peaceful development”.
It is the most specious garbage – as a slogan such questions would be implied anyway and if they are not the failure is down to the fake-“left” and its complacency, muddle and philistine hostility to theory and the deliberate confusion mongering of its petty bourgeois class nature.
But there is something deeper and more sinister behind this and it lies in the question – why just the European Union? Where has the US gone (and its now non-EU Brexit poodle in the UK) which after all are not just major contributors to NATO but the major ones?
Tying the slogan to the EU alone hides the conflict between Europe and the US which emerges around Ukraine and particularly over sanctions on Russia, the major weapon being used by Western imperialism to “punish” the Russian Federation, particularly by cutting off oil and gas.
For all the hype about “unity” among the Western nations in cutting mineral exports from Russia, and especially in the suspension or cancellation of the NordStream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic, deep divisions are rumbling.
Europe and particularly Germany are tied to the use of Russian gas and oil and cannot quickly cut their dependence, especially if the cost burden will add to both industrial competitiveness and domestic discontent, just at the point where the massive inflationary impact of Quantitative Easing credit creation, used to keep the system propped up since the Global Credit collapse of 2008-9, is hugely adding to the decades long dollar dilution already in the world trading system since Nixon was forced to abandon the gold standard for the dollar in 1971.
For the minute the appearance of international unity is being maintained, not least because all imperialist powers have a common interest in further suppressing any signs that Russia might show signs of reverting back towards communism – a Soviet nostalgia which Putin’s bonapartism has been forced to accommodate for 20 years, and which the Western bourgeoisie had tolerated so far (because any hankering for communist times has been kept quiet with some social measures like pensions, health and education).
The crisis collapse will threaten wage and welfare cuts in Russia like everywhere.
The strengthening of discontent and potential communist revival, will also strengthen Western fears, and therefore the more anti-Putin wing in the West.
But economic catastrophe will also intensify the already intense rivalries in the trade war, which have been emerging for decades as the EPSR has explained and which have seen more efficient and rising Japanese and German imperialism undermining the dominance of US industry and commerce.
It was a key factor in the ending of the Cold War, as the faltering US turned its attention away (partly) from expensive anti-Soviet armsrace measures towards economic competition (ironically precipitating Gorbachevism, deludedly assuming the heat was off and a new era of international cooperation was possible, the idiotic end point of revisionist complacency and dull-wittedness - see EPSR Book vol 13 on Gorbachevism).
Despite the rise of China and its use of capitalist methods to a huge and sometimes worrying extent, these inter-imperialist conflicts continue to deepen towards the inevitable World War conclusion.
And bang on cue the world is suddenly re-arming on a massive scale, ostensibly to “deal with Russia” – but anyone who believes that is the real purpose needs their head examined.
Most hair-raising of all is seeing both Japan and Germany on the march again:
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a plan to beef up the German military on Sunday, pledging €100 billion ($112.7 billion) of the 2022 budget for the armed forces and repeating his promise to reach the 2% of gross domestic product spending on defense in line with NATO demands.
Scholz announced the new allocation in a speech during a special session of parliament on Germany’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said the spending would include investments and armaments projects for the German military.
Scholz also said Germany would supply the Ukrainian military with weaponry, in a reversal of previous policy.
“We need to support Ukraine in its hour of desperate need,” the chancellor said.
“In attacking Ukraine, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin does not just want to eradicate a country from the world map, he is destroying the European security structure,” Scholz told German lawmakers.
“It’s clear we need to invest significantly more in the security of our country in order to protect our freedom and our democracy,’’ Scholz said.
Germany reported a record high in NATO defense spending for 2021, submitting a budget of €53 billion for the current year.
That figure marks a 3.2% increase over the year before. In 2020, spending was capped at an estimated €51.4 billion.
The €100 billion Scholz said would be dedicated for the armed forces this year is a one year boost though the move is significant, as Germany has often been criticized by the United States and other NATO allies for not investing enough in defense.
EU leaders have announced their intention to collectively rearm and become autonomous in food, energy and military hardware in a Versailles declaration that described Russia’s war as “a tectonic shift in European history”.
At a summit in the former royal palace, the 27 heads of state and government said on Friday that the invasion of Ukraine had shown the urgent need for the EU to take responsibility for its own security and to rid itself of dependencies on others.
Speaking at a press conference in the palace’s Galerie des Batailles, in which France’s military achievements are celebrated in painting and sculpture, France’s Emmanuel Macron said the Versailles treaty of 1919 had divided Europe but that today leaders were uniting. He described Russia’s aggression as a “tragic turning point”.
“We can see how our food, our energy, our defence are all issues of sovereignty,” he said. “We want to be open to the world but we want to choose our partners and not depend on anybody.”
He added: “The Versailles declaration is linked to the fact that sovereignty in Europe, which might have been thought of by some as a slogan or a French fantasy, is seen by all today as crucial.”
Macron defended the decision not to offer fast-track EU membership for Ukraine, which was criticised overnight by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. “The answer is no,” Macron said of the request from the war-stricken country, but he added that the EU was mobilising all its economic power to help the Ukrainian government and that the “European path” was open.
Lithuania’s president, Gitanas Nausda, said there was a “flavour of disappointment” to the decision for a number of EU member states but that the bloc would return to the issue.
The Versailles declaration was said to be the “initiation” of European defence by Charles Michel, the European Council president.
The leaders agreed to “invest more and better in defence capabilities and innovative technologies” by substantially increasing defence expenditures and through tighter cooperation and coordination of their armed forces and procurement. While EU member states spend more than three times the Russian defence budget, there are limited tie-ups and multiple overlaps in capabilities.
Macron said Olaf Scholz’s decision to set aside €100bn (£84bn) for defence and Denmark’s decision to put its opt-out on EU security mechanisms to a referendum showed the seriousness of the moment. The EU is also doubling its funding of military equipment destined for Ukraine to €1bn.
A deadline of 2027 has been set for freeing the EU from dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal. In 2021, the EU imported 155bn cubic metres of natural gas from Russia, accounting for about 45% of its gas imports and close to 40% of the bloc’s total gas consumption.
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said the commission would produce proposals by mid-May on how to achieve the target. In order to prepare for next winter, plans will also be made to coordinate European countries’ fragmented network of gas stocks. Von der Leyen said in future underground stocks would have to be filled to at least 90% by the start of October each year.
Macron and Scholz are due to speak to Vladimir Putin in what the French president said would be a “demanding dialogue”, with the EU threatening tougher economic sanctions should Russia’s president make a move against Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
Shortly after leaders left Versailles, a new round of measures was announced by the G7, with Von der Leyen citing the failure to respect agreements over humanitarian corridors as being a motivating factor.
Russia is being denied most-favoured-nation status for its markets under World Trade Organization rules, which will mean tariffs being imposed on its goods, and Moscow risks having its representatives thrown out of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
After some resistance from Italy, the EU is also banning exports of any luxury goods to Russia, “as a direct blow to the Russian elite”, Von der Leyen said.
One of Japan’s most influential politicians has called for debate about what was until recently taboo: that the only country to have suffered the ravages of atomic war should host nuclear weapons.
Shinzo Abe, 67, the former prime minister, said that Japan should consider “nuclear sharing” of the kind by which Nato countries such as Germany, Italy and Turkey keep American nuclear weapons on their territory. He also said that the US should abandon its policy of “strategic ambiguity” and commit to defending Taiwan against invasion should China ever follow up on its belligerent rhetoric.
Abe becomes the most senior Japanese leader to call for a debate on nuclear weapons. With the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki never to be forgotten, anti-nuclear sentiment is strong and instinctive in Japan, and until recently the idea of hosting nuclear weapons, let alone acquiring an independent arsenal, was not contemplated or even discussed in political and policy circles.
But the continuing threat of a nuclear-armed and unpredictable North Korea, and the growing aggression of China, are altering the strategic landscape; a shift given still more impetus by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and President Putin’s nuclear menaces.
“Japan is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has its three non-nuclear principles, but it should not treat as a taboo discussions on the reality of how the world is kept safe,” Abe said on Japanese television yesterday. “It’s important to move toward that goal [denuclearisation], but when it comes to how to protect the lives of Japanese citizens and the nation, I think we should conduct discussions by taking various options fully into consideration.”
Fumio Kishida, 64, the current prime minister, responded to Abe’s remarks by telling parliament that nuclear sharing would be “unacceptable” given the “three non-nuclear principles” that have been at the core of Japanese security policy for more than half a century: not producing or possessing nuclear weapons or allowing them on Japanese soil.
But the fact that Abe — the longest-serving prime minister, with almost eight years in the role, and now the most powerful faction leader in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party — has come out in favour of nuclear defence is a measure of the shift that is under way.
The so-called American nuclear umbrella protected Japan throughout the Cold War. Under the treaties that the US has with Japan and South Korea, it guarantees their defence, extending the deterrent power of its nuclear arsenal across their territory, although without stationing nuclear weapons there.
But in the past two decades North Korea has acquired nuclear warheads, and the potential capacity to hit the US mainland with them. This creates a doubt in the minds of its Asian allies: would America still defend Tokyo, for example, if that meant possibly losing one of its own cities to a North Korean attack?
As another LDP leader, Shigeru Ishiba, 65, has said: “It’s important to know when the United States would ‘open’ the nuclear umbrella for us.”
From a practical point of view, Japan has enough fissile plutonium, produced as waste from its civilian nuclear power stations, to manufacture thousands of warheads, and it has a mastery of rocket technology from its civilian space programme. Ishiba, a former defence minister and security expert, has said that Japan could create its own nuclear weapons “within a year”.
The principal obstacles are legal and political. Japan’s military forces are barred under the country’s constitution from anything but defensive action, a task which is hard to reconcile with possession of nuclear weapons — especially when it is covered by America’s umbrella.
However, the country’s “Self-Defence Forces” have become increasingly active, with laws passed to enable them to operate in support of allies outside Japanese territory.
Japan potentially has much to lose by gaining weapons of mass destruction. After its defeat and occupation in 1945 it rebuilt itself and flourished under the nuclear umbrella. As long as that remains in place, a nuclear programme would be a vast expense that would create many political problems at home and abroad, and demand new strategic thinking of the kind to which Japan’s politicians and generals are unaccustomed.
Kishida, whose constituency is Hiroshima, comes from a more liberal wing of the LDP. Asked about Abe’s proposal in parliament today, he said that it was “unacceptable, given our country’s stance of maintaining the three non-nuclear principles”. But he is beholden to Abe and his conservative faction for political support.
Abe also called on the US to replace its policy of “strategic ambiguity” tow
North Korea, for its part, is continuing to push the limits of its technology: it reported today that a ballistic missile fired yesterday, the eighth test this year, was part of a programme to launch a “reconnaissance satellite”.
Build Leninism Alan Moss.
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