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 1611 17th June 2022

Defensive struggle for wages and living standards good but cannot stop the economic hurricane which Catastrophic collapse of capitalism is bringing, nor the warmongering disaster the US empire is imposing as a diversion and crisis “escape route”. Only REVOLUTION to end the sick profit system can save civilisation and take it forwards with planned socialism. Defeat for anti-communist TUC class-collaboration and fake-”leftism” vital. Leninism needs building

Western monopoly capitalist system, reaching world domination over an 800 year rise, has hit the buffers, paralysed and collapsing from inbuilt contradictions.

The greatest and most devastating of its endlessly recurring and unstoppable crises has been imploding ever since the great Global Credit collapse of 2008, with the ruling class imposing brutal cuts and austerity on the whole world for a decade and a half to survive.

During that time a fearful bourgeoisie has held off the full catastrophic impact of the collapse by issuing insane amounts of credit in Quantitative Easing dollars and near zero interest rates, on top of six decades of dollar printing before that which kept the profit system propped up and world communist revolt at bay throughout the post-war “boom”.

It could never cure the crisis, which is inherent in the capitalist system as Marxism has always made clear, but only magnify the problems, as the valueless dollars worked through the system.

That has led to the explosive inflation, essentially the warned-of dollar collapse (see many EPSRs), now shattering lives in even the “rich” countries and bringing many in the ruthlessly exploited Third World to total bankruptcy, destitution and starvation.

Mostly the poorest and most vulnerable were being hammered before; now even better-off workers face food bank and homelessness struggles while many in the petty bourgeois middle class are forced down into the proletariat as well, their “little businesses” unable to compete with the great monopolies (as Marx predicted).

The rich meanwhile can ride it out with their ever more grotesque and unequal accumulations of wealth.

The sick and cynical ruling class led by the overwhelmingly powerful US Empire has used the QE time to build up jingoism, hatred and warmongering, blitzing country after country in the Middle East and elsewhere, butchering, maiming and torturing millions in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, etc and now Ukraine (and threatening Russia beyond it).

The aim is to keep the masses bemused with backward chauvinism while it acclimatise the world to nonstop warmongering as a diversion from the great collapse, scapegoating others as the “cause of all the problems” (blaming Ukraine eg or pandemic) rather than the monopoly capitalist system, the real and only cause of disaster and breakdown.

The mood is being set for the inevitable all-out conflict to come as the long-building trade-war tensions and skirmishes between the big players in the monopoly controlled “free market” deepen into ever worsening antagonism from the “overproduction” crisis, exploding eventually into allout war, as they did in 1914 and in the late 1930s, the two great world wars.

Their destruction of “surplus” capital, including the production facilities of entire countries, cleared the ground for renewed investment for a while post-war by the victors (the US) – stretched out by credit creation. Washington, now sole superpower, hopes to pull off the same trick again, whatever the cost to the rest of the planet.

War and blitz terrorising meanwhile also serves to suppress endless spontaneous generation of street revolts and anti-imperialist rebellion, erupting in a thousand different ways, some confused and backward (jihadism, “terrorism”, etc) but all filled with hatred for this out of time and degenerate imperialist system, dragging the world into warmongering and environmental destruction.

Such turmoil, which has already seen the working class take and hold power in places like Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam can only continue despite (and because of) brutal blitzings, strangling sanction famines, and CIA manipulated counter-revolutionary “colour revolution” reaction and fascism.

Defeats from upheaval and growing divisions and incompetence of a ruling class paralysed by the scale of historic abyss it faces will open the way for the revolutionary struggle to take power and establish the rule of the working class guided by polemical party developed Leninist science under which planned development of society and economy can be carried out for the benefit of all.

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Steady advance by Russian forces in Donbass pushes back the fascist Ukrainian nationalist stooges for imperialist warmongering – next stage in the crisis Catastrophe plunge to world war. Humiliation and setback for the Nazi-Nato onslaught is good news for the world working class with defeat opening up space for revolutionary understanding. But confusion persists in “left” over unnecessary SUPPORT for Moscow’s oligarch capitalism which still holds back the working class, with Greater Russian nationalism and anti-Leninism.

In Nato’s war of aggression against Russia in the Ukraine, significant confusion continues to be spread in the working class by some “left” groups who conflate a call for defeat of the Western fascist-stooge proxy onslaught against the Russian-speaking east with a call for “victory” for Moscow.

The two are by no means the same thing and failing to separate them can only set back the task of rebuilding vital revolutionary understanding in the world working class, growing ever more urgent as the entire imperialist system plunges into planet-threatening economic, political and ecological Catastrophe.

In the period of the Soviet Union, when it was a full-on workers state, a win for the Russian side would have been a major direct blow for the working class against the degeneracy and brutality of the imperialist system, as indeed was the stunning Red Army victory over the Hitlerite Nazi invasion of 1941-45 (on a much grander scale of course).

The impact worldwide was staggering, triggering a wave of anti-colonial national-liberation and communist revolution that continued for decades (with significant help and aid in many cases from Moscow); changing the world forever, and with a momentum falling back only gradually under the debilitating influence of Moscow’s increasing revisionist complacency and retreat from revolutionary perspectives (see multiple EPSR books).

For the remaining workers states like Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea and China, it would still be right to call for victory more or less interchangeably with a defeat for imperialism.

But Russia is capitalist, the product of a counter-revolutionary liquidation in 1989.

That does not mean that setbacks and humiliation for the US led imperialist aggression and warmongering which has cultivated and set in train the Nazi-stoogery in Ukraine will not still have a significant impact on the working class and proletarian masses worldwide (which is why much of the Third World refuses to join in condemnation of Moscow, or ally itself politically or economically with the Western aggression).

But a boost for the oligarch domination of the restorationist capitalism which is in charge of Russia currently is of no use to the working class as such, and the backward Bonapartism in Moscow offers no great gains for working class understanding of the enormous challenges the rapidly imploding crisis confronts it with.

Just the opposite.

Putinism is hostile to Marxism.

Worse still his apeing of imperialism’s “war on terror” is reactionary.

It will certainly not develop the perspective needed by workers everywhere of revolutionary struggle made necessary by the world war drive of capitalism.

That has to be the central philosophical framework, the unstoppable and incurable crisis collapse of its contradiction-ridden profit system, the grasp of which is the foundation of the Marxist science which alone can explain and analyse all the contradictory developments unfolding in the world.

It is not just the rapaciousness and need to constantly expand its market domination that drives the imperialist warmongering but the collapse in the entire 800-year old capitalist social and economic order which has to be understood.

The non-stop profiteering of the system is certainly the cause of essentially all the antagonisms, alienation, inequality, and hatred in the world at any stage but it is the unstoppable implosion and breakdown of the system as its over-production crisis becomes rotten ripe (as Marx explained –- see page 2 box and Capital, 3 volumes) which finally drives the great trade war contradictions to explode into world war, for which Ukraine is the next stage.

Complete ending of this rapidly degenerating system, plunging into the greatest slump abyss in all history on a mind-numbing scale, is the only way to change things – possible only by waging determined class-war to overthrow the ruling class.

Failure to grasp and analyse this general and overarching perspective of the world crash, or in much of the fake-“left” even to see the crisis in Marxist terms, – ie paralysing and unsolvable contradiction rather than some episodic “bad period” or even a slow decline “making things worse”, – distorts and undermines all the assessments put forwards by the fake-“left” over the Ukraine war.

It needs to be understood as the next stage in the imperialist crisis already responsible for the war devastation of half a dozen countries, most obviously in the Middle East from Iraq, Libya and Syria to the Yemen and Somalia, and threats and intimidation of many more, with economically strangling siege sanctions, demented Goebbels-lie hate building propaganda and repeated sabotage and coup attempts (North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and China among others).

No such understanding is advanced by the few Trot and Revisionists groups who have taken a stand against the lies and hatred poured out against the Russian action even if they seemingly tilt towards the correct anti-imperialist side of things, in contrast to most of the fake-left” which has given way completely to the tsunami of lying psychological warfare propaganda which has bucketed out of every orifice of the US-dominated imperialist “community” (on top of years of carefully calculated anti-Moscow propaganda aimed at both its past communist history and any tendency to see that revive).

The disreputable “left” majority now capitulates outright to the sophisticated if grotesque psyops big lie demonisation of Moscow’s actions and its lurid nonsenses about “warcrimes”, “unrestrained brutality”, “wanton destruction”, non-existent “civilian slaughter”, “rape” and other coached and practised “witness” inversions of the truth far more outrageous than anything Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’ ever devised.

A stream of managed lies have been used to stampede public opinion (dominated by petty bourgeois sentiment, which penetrates deep into the working class too) – behind a steadily escalating Western war programme, the next episode in a string of crisis wars and invasions underway for two decades since the NATO blitzing of little Serbia in 1999.

Their swallowing, and even regurgitation and embroidery of this tide of gross hypocrisy, exaggeration, unproven assertions and outright fabrications by the NATO controlled Kiev stoogery, (all repeated wholesale by the bourgeois media) is utter treachery to the working class, exposing decades of their posturing pretences at being “Marxists” for the counter-revolutionary lies they always were.

It has seen them taking either an outright social-chauvinist position to line up with the bourgeois warmongering, or hiding their cowardliness behind “No to War” allegedly “even-handed” condemnations of Moscow and NATO which amount in practice to the same thing, since demands for “Russian withdrawal” amount to accepting the Western bullying aggression, years of non-stop shelling and massacre against the eastern regions and repression of Russian culture and language across the whole country.

That is reinforced by their academic support for the alleged “self-determination” rights of the reactionary nationalists who are nothing but fascist stooges for the West.

In the context of the latest lurch in capitalism’s Catastrophic inflationary breakdown the parallel can be drawn between these anti-Russian wings and the craven acceptance by the Second International in 1914 of a “defence of the Fatherland” “socialist justification” for suddenly-breaking imperialist warmongering, a collaboration with the ruling class which helped herd millions of workers into the horrors of the trenches to defend the monopoly profiteers and their plundering colonialism, or with the Kautsky-type conciliators who sneakily went along with them.

It adds to their collusion with the West’s “war on terror” following the New York 9/11 attacks and puts them completely in the capitalist camp, permanently damned as class-collaborating traitors and “trustees” for imperialism, however much they posture and preen about their “Marxist” or “revolutionary” credentials.

Even some of the more thoughtful petty bourgeois intellectuals can do better, including the maverick Christian Tory Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday:

“I suspect most reporters now writing about the Ukraine war do not even know that it began in 2014 with a violent US-backed putsch against the legitimate, elected president. Or perhaps they just don’t believe it. Well, this is what Jack Matlock, who was Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Moscow, says.

“He states that the USA ‘supported an illegal coup d’etat that changed the Ukrainian government in 2014, a procedure not normally considered consistent with the rule of law or democratic governance’. He should know. This shocking fact is true and shameful. The first shots in this horrible, needless war were not fired by Russia.”

The “defencist” position, shared by some Stalinist revisionist groups, a few exceptions among the otherwise pro-West or “pacifist” Trotskyites (de facto pro-West too) and one or two individual voices, at least stands up to the deluge of poisonous and demented psyops propaganda, falling on the correct side of the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle.

But it still comes nowhere near the need for a revolutionary perspective.

Most of these groups have anyway got just as bad a record of Trotskyist anti-Sovietism and hatred of the workers states over the decades as any of the outright chauvinists; they have poured out just as much poison against the Soviet camp as any of the others, and supported every piece of CIA and Western skulduggery and disruption ever mounted against them, from the Western coordinated fascist “uprisings” in East Germany and Hungary in the 1950s, the petty bourgeois Prague Spring attempted turnover in 1968 and most of all the 1980s Solidarnosc bogus “trade union” insurrection in Poland, eventually toppling the workers state there and helping trigger the Gorbachev liquidation as well as setting a pattern for the stream of reactionary “colour revolutions” ever since, including the two in Ukraine.

The last “Maidan” revolt/coup in 2014 was perhaps the most gross yet setting in place the nazi-nationalists who immediately set about repressing and making illegal all remnants of communist or socialist thought, and all Russian speaking or sympathising politics.

So if one or two Trot groups hesitate now and side with Russia, or with the Russian speaking “separatists” being supported by the Russian incursion, it is only because the degeneracy of the imperialist collapse into world warmongering is now so sharply clear that any hint of siding with the West immediately makes obvious the real class position of the swamp.

But like the wooden museum Stalinists such as the Lalkar/Proletarian they straightway fall into the trap of declaring support for the Moscow regime of Vladimir Putin, either in general terms or just specifically in this single situation, declaring the “right” of Russia to defend itself, and to defend the Russian speaking breakaways of Luhansk and Donetsk (the two eastern regions which refused to accept the new anti-Russian suppressions imposed by the nazi-saturated Kiev government after the Maidan “Orange revolution” coup of 2014).

This is disastrously misleading for the working class, suggesting that Moscow provides some kind of future pattern for the working class to follow as the contradictions of the capitalist crisis deepen rapidly into the greatest cataclysm in all history.

Russia is a restorationist capitalist state, and has been ever since the 1989-91 Gorbachevite liquidation of the soviet workers state (dictatorship of the proletariat) and the full introduction of the “free market” instead of the socialist planned economy (still operating relatively effectively until the late-1980s despite the emergence of “black-market enterprises” and the stultifying lack of inspiration from the revisionist bureaucracy – see EPSR Book Vol 13 Gorbachevism and Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics against Stalinism].

And while Putin and his one-time Soviet security coterie were obliged to rein in the oligarchs (to some extent) after the carpet-bagging gangsterism of the 1990s had plundered virtually all of the enormous wealth and achievements of the working class (painfully built up by hard work, heroism and sacrifice during the 73 mostly brilliant years of the Soviet workers state), that was only to prevent the near bankruptcy of the “new Russia” from triggering a new wave of communist revolution.

That would be an inevitability eventually if nothing was done in a country with a deep memory/legacy of Soviet achievements which have still not disappeared to this day (witness a continuing vote for the Communist Party, the re-erection of Lenin statues in the liberated areas of the Donbass, and the “freelance” appearance of the Red Flag on some of the tanks which rolled across the border recently).

The restoration of some minimal Soviet era “benefits” like pensions and health and the absence of any clear Leninist leadership has kept such historic sentiment in a kind of tolerant stasis for a while, though the world crisis in general and the sanctions imposed by the West can only shake that “stability”.

Putin’s balancing act between the communist legacy and the oligarchs still favours the billionaires and is a long way from any communist perspective – just the opposite he overtly decries Leninist internationalist understanding (notably over Ukraine itself), fosters the superstitious and parasitical backwardness of the revived Orthodox Church and sustains reactionary Greater Russian nationalist attitudes which Lenin declared to be anathema.

To support such hostility to revolutionary theory, the vital tool for leading the working class in the great class war to come (in fact already erupting for at least two decades in various spontaneous, if sometimes confused forms across the planet) which alone can end war by ending the capitalist system cause of all war and destruction is to mislead and misguide the working class.

But it can be argued that it is at least the case that Putin is taking on the Ukrainian nazi reaction and its vicious and repressive backwardness, and that is in the interests of the world working class?

There is no doubt about it and the EPSR has said so from the beginning (though with a major caveat, that there can be no “denazification” separate to the complete and total overthrow of capitalism itself. Nazism is simply a product of imperialism itself, an expression of the brutal side of capitalist class dictatorship when it strips away the pretence of “bourgeois democracy” as crisis conditions intensify and it can no longer afford to maintain the illusion and the reformist niceties needed to give it some verisimilitude).

But that does not mean one iota of support for Putin’s oligarch dominated Russia.

It means being very clearly only for the defeat of the imperialist onslaught here.

Only woodenly one-sided thinking could insist that implied taking sides with Putinism, or support as such.

It is basic Leninism established most clearly in the August days of the 1917 revolution when the Bolsheviks stood alongside the devious and treacherous bourgeois prime minister Kerensky to head off the Tsarist reactionary monarchist-coup attempt led by General Kornilov (the equivalent of a fascist like Augusto Pinochet or Spain’s Franco) but without giving an ounce of credibility to the bourgeois government, and in fact warning workers strongly of its treachery, to be brought down as soon as the sharper threat of restored Tsarism was seen off.

Events stretch along a more extended timeline but the principle is the same, as it has been in multiple comparable situations, such as in calling for the defeat of the NATO blitzing of tiny Serbia in 1999, but no illusions in the revisionist nationalist leadership of Slobodan Milosevic which finally demonstrated its hopelessness by giving in without a fight effectively (EPSR No1006 14-07-99 and see archive below) - or in the brutal invasion of Iraq where the erratic bourgeois nationalism of Saddam Hussein, forced into a fight against the US Empire, also collapsed (see EPSR Book Unanswered Polemics).

Equally it would have been a mistake to encourage any faith in the understanding of figures like Muammar Gaddafi or currently Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, both victimised by imperialism.

In 2011 the call for defeat of the opportunist Nato invasion of Libya was the correct line against the barbarism and savagery of the imperialist onslaught, including its gruesome butchery of the captured and unarmed Gaddafi himself, knifed through the anus, so sinisterly laughed at by Hilary Clinton (obviously without any of the usual grossly hypocritical calls for “prosecutions” by the laughable pseudo international justice racket of the War Crimes Tribunal or the equally stooge-propaganda UN committees and “investigators” (all being undermined by Britain’s current Ireland contempt for international law on the Protocol).

But the sometime anti-imperialist Gaddafi himself was calling for suppression of the Arab Spring at the time – taking completely the wrong side against the spontaneous revolutionary upsurge; his past history was equally flaky, at one point supporting Idi Amin!

For the moment Russian nationalism has been doing better, and the Nato proxies have been hammered back from the entrenched positions from which they have bombarded the eastern enclaves for the last six or more years, with never a murmur raised by the “sympathetic” Western media as some 14,000 lives have been taken.

Their fanatical “no surrender” Nazi-symboled Azov brigades holed up in the Azovstal steel works have humiliatingly - er, - surrendered and the Russian plan to steadily surround and isolate the major parts of the army in the east has relentlessly moved forwards.

These setbacks partially prove the political emphasis on defeat for the imperialists, already having a significant impact on both Ukrainian and Western public opinion, particularly since they expose at least the military side of the propaganda poured out since the beginning about alleged Russian “military incompetence, failed objectives, retreats and desperation” from the stream of experts, advisers and plummy-voiced generals given free rein on the BBC and other media to pontificate.

It also undermines the Goebbels lies about atrocities, part of which is founded on the notion that the Russian advance was “losing so badly it had turned to civilian killing” - one gross lie among many.

The admissions contained here and there within the lying bourgeois accounts, increasingly covering desperate and miserable accounts of wounded and retreating Ukrainian nationalists, also expose lies about “targeting” civilians:

Soldiers said they had got used to remorseless shelling from the Russian side. “The first time you see a tank you are afraid,” said Sasha, a young medic. “After a time you don’t feel it. It’s like going into a trance. Your objective is to kill the enemy. You can’t do this if you have a normal psyche. You become other. My parents tell me I’m disconnected from reality.

“When you’re fighting in a city, positions are held in buildings,” added Sasha, who left his home city of Donetsk in 2014 when Russian and Russian-backed forces took over. “They fire at you with artillery – grads, missiles, mortar – and then, if you have nothing to answer with, you [retreat] to another building and they move forward.”

Sasha and his company were the third replacement unit sent to Rubizhne in Luhansk, one of the many cities in Ukraine’s east that has been obliterated by fighting. Like the first two companies, Sasha’s unit was eventually rotated out. While they were leaving a rocket landed on their armoured vehicle. “We were driving out and three rocket-propelled grenades smacked into us. Our vehicle flipped over. We were pretty much all injured, myself included.”

“There’s a lot of negative moments which aren’t being talked about,” said Sasha, referring to Ukraine’s wartime information strategy and censorship laws. “But I am ready to fight to the end because I don’t want anyone else to lose their home like my family did in Donetsk.”

Usually this “fighting from buildings” is censored out too, since it reveals precisely what has really been happening when the media show their “heartbreaking” reports of burnt out apartments, directly or by innuendo, lyingly declaring the Russians to be “just killing civilians” or committing “genocide”.

Few follow ups have been made of the civilians deliberately held in the Azovstal by the Nazi brigades and released by the Russians.

Other twisted fabrications have already been exposed, such as the twisted lies about “massacres of civilians” in Bucha.

Exposing these Western fabrications and contextless distortions, and by implication accepting Russian assertions that it has not only not deliberately killed civilians but has done its best to protect them still does not make a case for outright support of Moscow, any more than it did for Milosevic or Saddam Hussein, or Kerensky.

The CBGB-ML are dimly aware of the philosophical difficulties they run into supporting Putin.

To get round it they embarked some while back on a convoluted theory that Russia whilst capitalist, is “not imperialist”, and is playing an anti-imperialist role in the world.

It is a garbage theory which falls flat on several counts.

First of all it is not true; Russia liquidated its planned economy in 1989 and saw gangster capitalism run-riot as a small section of the population bought up the newly issued “shares in state property” by bribery and intimidation.

These oligarch figures, are the new capitalist class that Putin’s bonapartism protects, who exploit the working class as rapaciously as any on the planet through their ownership of major combines.

Proletarian/Lalkar has attempted to declare that they are not like other imperialists because they “do not export capital” but only use it to buy plaything indulgences like football clubs or giant yachts, which is firstly a very indulgently soft tone to take for a bunch of mafia thugs and secondly not true anyway - most of their money is stashed away in the world banking system from where it disperses far and wide to make whatever profit capital can make – just like any other billionaire’s holdings (the same “other kind” of billionaires also indulging themselves in ultra-luxury yachts etc.)

The Russian state also serves the interests of the billionaire class in a directly imperialist manner, notably in the bloody suppression of the Chechen national-liberation cause, forcing it to remain under the domination of Moscow (see EPSR No1248 eg) and in the recent suppression of the oil workers revolt in Kazakhstan, where Putin sent in troops to bolster the oligarchs who now run and own virtually everything in the former Soviet state, sometimes in joint venture with Western oil monopolies.

Declaring the rebellion to have been “infiltrated” by jihadists and therefore to have been allegedly a Western organised “colour revolution” is not particularly sustained by the evidence – not least because of the complete silence from the Western media and political circles about it, seemingly content to see the turmoil suppressed, in contrast to its coordinated support for the Ukrainian onslaught on Moscow.

Even if some of the street revolt in Almata contained jihadist elements, their suppression and condemnation by Moscow is a black mark against it anyway, simply apeing the West’s “war on terror” excuse for non-stop policing and bloody repression of the spontaneous rebellion and revolt surging up everywhere.

Only a political backwardness that has long pitched in on the wrong side, condemning all such upheaval as “head banging” jihadism which has to be put down, could use such reasoning, tangling itself in endless contradictions (the actual Islamic Republic of Iran with its sharia laws, seemingly exempt from the “barmy” criticism – or the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaderships of the militant and often heroic Palestinians trapped and endlessly persecuted in the Gaza hellhole inside Zionist occupation of their country.) Another thread, in a recent interview by CPGB-MLer Joti Brar, attempting to exempt Russia from its imperialist status runs as follows:

Nato has been escalating conflict with Russia ever since the election of Vladimir Putin as president and the shift in Russian policy away from being a client state of the west and towards political and economic independence. The new Russia has made it clear that it wishes to be treated as an equal and to sell its goods at a fair price on the world market.

But what has this got to do with proving some “other” status for Russia – any of the imperialist powers could demand that they get out from under Western, ie Washington influence without altering their status one bit – in fact constant jostling for a better position in the world exploitation pecking order goes on all the time and, as the crisis deepens, is one of the main contradictions driving the capitalist system towards world war.

Early on when Boris Yeltsin was in charge of the newly restored capitalism in Moscow the EPSR already declared that

In the Caucasus, on the other hand, the Chechens are challenging the authority of the Moscow government in circumstances where imperialism is desperately keen for the Yeltsin regime to survive, flourish, and put its foot down firmly on all potential national-liberation revolt against monopoly-capitalist exploitation.

Russia is too big for the West to freeze it out entirely from a place at the big table of imperialist share-out of influence and authority. Therefore Russia is invited inside the tent to help piss out on the small exploited nations clamouring outside. (No 782 20-12-94)

Nothing much changed in this respect when Putin arrived, and its demands “to be treated as an equal” do not signal anything other than some increased assertiveness driven by the idiot greater Russian nationalist ambition to “be a player” in the imperialist arena.

As for the notion of being able to “sell its goods at a fair price” – exactly what planet is the CPGB-ML living on?

Fair prices, inasmuch as they mean anything at all in a world of capitalist chicanery and exploitation certainly have not existed to any great extent at all since the advent of the imperialist period of monopoly capitalism around 1900 (see Lenin’s Imperialism - the highest stage of capitalism, and Nikolai Bukharin’s Imperialism), in which every country and its corporations, banks and multinationals is tightly bounded by a slew of complicated tariffs, taxes, subsidies and subventions, protecting profitable market sectors while “dumping” goods on others to keep production at high levels.

Mostly those are imposed by groups of countries and trade treaty arrangements which take years to negotiate and are an endless source of contention and friction, with political and economic conditions imposed; witness years of the GATT agreement negotiation breakdowns before the World Trade Organisation was established and the huge difficulties facing the Brexit ruling class in establishing promised “bilateral” trade agreements with various countries, having deliberately put itself outside the tariff wall of the European Union trade bloc.

They came right to the fore in the 1930s with major protectionist walls erected by the monopoly economies, accelerating the downward spiral of the Depression and eventually triggering the world war.

Trade tariff blocks are a critical pressure point as well in the Irish Protocol turmoil, with the Americans threatening to prevent any agreement if the Tory rightwing has its way bolstering the dog-in-the-manger sulking and sabotage of the DUP colonist losers.

Such arrangements are the very essence of the inter-imperialist conflicts and rivalries.

It is “fair prices” or the absence of them which underlies much of the Ukrainian conflict, especially over gas and oil exports from Russia to the major European powers, and the trade hostility of the US against the major European powers, aiming to scupper the industrial and commercial advantages of especially German and French industry by shutting down their cheaper Russian energy supplies.

Especially German exports have been outcompeting US commerce for decades and are crucifying it economically.

The huge almost unfathomable complexities of all this in international market competition all need analysing and grasping, but are a critical, if not the critical, element in the Ukraine war, expressing world hatreds and conflicts potentially more significant than the Western hatred of the socialist legacy in Russia (which is part of the motivation for the war).

Far from Europe and NATO being “more united” because of Russia’s invasion, the splits are coming to the surface more and more most obviously as the Ukrainians are shattered by the Russian attacks (whatever the propaganda asserts).

The surprise German, Italian and French delegation to Kiev on Thursday, was offering Ukraine EU membership, hoping to push the Ukrainians into a deal with Putin, recognising the defeat it has suffered and conceding the eastern areas of the Donbass in return for a fasttrack application to Brussels.

The Europeans want to get the war off the agenda and reconsolidate their economies.

But this is at odds with the American-UK axis of imperialism which wants to keep the war going, partly out of hatred for Russia and the possibility of a future revival of communism, but mainly to keep on hamstringing the Franco-German axis both economically and with the sheer physical disruption and threat of war.

Hence the even more sudden surprise flight into Kiev of Boris Johnson on Friday, obviously to head off the EU axis and to “persuade” the Ukrainians to keep on throwing themselves onto the Russian guns – about as cynical a manipulation of other people’s lives as imagineable.

The CPGB-ML’s desperate attempt to characterise Russia as “just a capitalist state but not imperialist” would not help its case even it were so.

The same Leninist Kornilov principle holds for countries which are too small to be considered imperialist at all, but which have held out as anti-imperialist against war blitzing – notably little Serbia in 1999 (and years of Western bullying sanctions and attacks previously) and Iraq in 2003 (and years of Western bullying sanctions and bombing previously) – defeat for the imperialist enemy but no support for the uncertain and flaky leadership.

Only minds puddled with Stalin worship fail to see the dialectical point as the EPSR Book Unanswered Polemics (op cit) spells out:

But the real joke is that Stalin is still worshipped NOW in the same half-brained way that led to all the trouble in the first place, e.g. quoting from Foundations of Leninism but totally ignoring the crucial truth about learning from mistakes, just as in real Third International history, the USSR’s continued achievements were all correctly lauded, but the ever-increasing world-revolutionary THEORETICAL nonsense which Stalin was coming out with was either quickly conveniently forgotten about (as were the increasing disasters it led to), or else was ludicrously turned into yet more excuse for further demented hero-worship of “our great leader Stalin”, etc, etc.

The attempt to blame Kruschev’s late-1950s rule for the setbacks, difficulties, failures or disasters that hurt, damaged, or destroyed various victims of theoretically mistaken Stalinist policies (China 1927; Germany 1933; collectivisation 1930s; Spanish Civil War 1936-39; disbelief in German blitzkrieg 1941; agreement to let imperialism occupy West Berlin postwar 1945; letting imperialism re-occupy communist-liberated Greece 1945-49; supporting Zionist-imperialist colonisation of Palestine 1947; approving the “peaceful road to socialism” counter-revolutionary bollocks post 1945; refusing to fight in Korea 1950; pressuring China to curb world revolutionary enthusiasm post-1950; etc, etc, for scores more examples) – is simply insane, – a form of religious-faith insanity.

But while ALL of these vexed and complex questions MUST be polemicised to a satisfactory understanding from the perspective of a future successful world socialist revolutionary movement’s needs some time soon, – for the moment the conflict for agreeing on a party of revolutionary theory can continue to concentrate on just two related issues:– the undoubted fact that the Revisionist CPSU, – bequeathed by Stalin after 30 years total dominance & backed by a similarly Stalin-created world Revisionist movement, – effectively agreed to liquidate the Soviet workers state and the international communist movement after 1990 in favour of “market economics” and the “peaceful road to socialism”; – coupled with Stalin’s 1952 summation in Economic Problems of his belief that only imperialist war-provocations had to be avoided in order for the Socialist Camp to simply outperform “non-expanding” imperialism into capitalism’s total collapse in due course.

But even getting the guru-worshippers to debate these issues, let alone even consider that Stalin might have made a series of catastrophic anti-revolutionary retreats in his 30-year career, culminating in this TOTAL Revisionist disaster, – is as impossible now as it was inside the communist movement in Moscow’s hayday.

The SLP Youth delusions about Saddam Hussein’s “anti-imperialist” credentials flow directly out of this paralysed inability to discuss Stalinism’s ultimate bankruptcy.

Moscow’s weak-minded determination to discourage “revolutionary provocations”, which led the mighty German CP to sleepwalk into total annihilation in 1933 and the Indonesian CP (even bigger and even more impressive) to do the same in 1965, – never stopped pretending that anti-imperialist nationalism (e.g. the Sukarno regime pre-1965 in Indonesia) was just as good for the eventual triumph of world socialism (via the Soviet camp winning the peaceful competition with the imperialist camp) as all-the-way revolutionary socialist regimes.

In such Revisionist thinking, once Saddam had stopped being a totally tame stooge of US imperialist policy in the 1970s and had started doing arms deals with the Soviet Union, – then nothing further should be anticipated than the continued onward triumphal march of Moscow’s international “anti-imperialist” coalition of the Socialist Camp, the Non-Aligned states of national-liberation, and the world communist movement.

The obvious total collapse of this Revisionist nonsense post-1990 still cannot register with Stalin worship sectarianism. Naturally, in the world of such long-standing gradualist delusions, such spontaneous “anti-imperialism” resistance (as Saddamism had evolved into under decaying monopoly capitalist pressure would “inevitably go the whole hog one day into total socialist defiance and independence”; – just like it was supposed to happen the whole world over in the good old days of Stalinism. What sad rot.

Leninist science, freed from Revisionist blinkers, would surely have reached the completely different conclusion that the opportunist tyrant Saddam (admitted by SLP Youth) was first and foremost never to be identified as anything but TOTALLY UNRELIABLE, – a petty bourgeois class-treachery, anti-theory disaster just waiting to happen, – going completely rotten just like so many other Moscow Revisionism protégés of the treacherous “peaceful road/peaceful coexistence” era.

Any defeat or setback for the imperialist occupation policy, – by any means, – was the only sensible perspective to educate the world revolutionary movements understanding with, concentrating on the CLASS ENEMY as the only fixed point in this swirling, anti-theory, anti-communist chaos that has been unleashed on the world by the ultimate failure of Stalinist Revisionism, – and encouraging no confidence whatever in any chance defiance of monopoly imperialism that opportunist nationalism might produce (but didn’t under Saddam, – but might usefully yet, under the Shias).

In Iraq as everywhere, an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY is a party of world revolutionary perspective, replacing the collapse into Stalinist Revisionist nonsense of the Third International from the 1920s onwards, – and ONLY such a party can be built on and relied-upon, in Iraq or anywhere else, including Britain.

Scargill was the last hope to start off building such a party but it rapidly collapsed into the silliest, guru-worship, anti-theory, chauvinistic opportunism, – a complete farce of back-stabbing philistinism, with Lalkar as its museum-Stalinist willing accomplice. And the silliest thing in all this is that the formula for building the “party of a new type”, – a Leninist party of revolutionary theory, – is, literally, an open book (or rather 100 volumes of Marxist Leninist science) which all can read, interpret, and try to apply to modern conditions just as readily as EPSR supporters keep trying. But two crucial elements of Leninist science, – the CRUCIAL NEED to always publicly own-up-to and learn-from inevitable occasional mistakes in understandings and assessments, on both large and small matters; – and the CRUCIAL NEED to advance understanding by non-stop polemical struggle, inside the party first and foremost, but taking on ALL COMERS outside the party too, – are intolerable to the small-minded guru-conceit of the cliques and sects which currently dominate the fake-‘left’.

The same refusal to polemicise and fight out the understanding needed by the working class is made overt in the latest Lalkar/Proletarian sally:

Q. In Greece we see right-wing ‘antiwar’ mobilisations in support of the Ukrainian government. On the other hand, the leftist forces are trapped in the equal distances between Russia and Nato. What is the attitude of the antiwar movement in the UK?

Our so-called ‘antiwar’ movement has taken a very similar line to yours: that this is a conflict between rival imperialist forces and that workers therefore must oppose both sides.

This mischaracterisation of Russia as ‘imperialist’ only helps the real imperialists of Nato and serves to demobilise the working class’s power to give meaningful opposition to the imperialists’ aggression. It is a criminal act against the progressive and socialist movement to spread this false analysis, which renders our class an impotent bystander in the struggle.

Workers need to understand the truth – that Nato is the aggressor and that Russia in this case is fighting imperialism – so as to orient themselves correctly.

If advancing polemical points is to be declared a “criminal act” the discussion is not going get anywhere let alone allow the polemic to be fought out to an agreed conclusion – and nor are the tricky sophistries of the “plague on all their houses” Trots and other fake-“left” opportunists going to be shown up to the working class for the opportunism they are.

The specious and tricky evasions from some of the fake- “left” such as the Sparts and the Weekly Worker use variations on the sophistry the Brarites decry, namely declaring that both sides are capitalist, and that therefore the call should be for defeat on both sides.

The trick they then pull is to say the fight is “at home” to take on “our own ruling class”.

This line has been advanced by the CPGB “guru” figure Jack Conrad, repeatedly, literally almost cutting and pasting the same article over and over but in a different order and with a different bit of grandstanding and posturing, the latest being yet another repeat of the absurd “demand” for the working class to be armed as a “militia”, the demand to be put forwards to the bourgeois parliament!!! As the veiled face of the bourgeois dictatorship, maintained in place by the capitalist state, bourgeois democracy is about as likely to grant such a “request” however forcefully “demanded” as a polar bear is to hesitate before swallowing a seal.

But this display of pseudo-militancy is there to cover up the actual cravenness of retreating from the fight on Ukraine.

The “main enemy is at home” covers over a multitude of sins, not least the connections between the ruling class at home and the NATO onslaught “abroad” – a defeat in the Ukraine is a defeat for the British ruling class too, one of its biggest contributors politically and militarily.

While ostensibly shooting down the social-pacifists and the social chauvinists and social pacifists, this is a merely a formality.

Conrad’s main target is the pro-Russian elements in his own group which has sprung a number of defencists, unhappy with the opportunism of the social-pacifists (reflecting the deep running class divides which the war is bringing to the surface) – for while he has a go at all the swamp of fake-“lefts”, his real vitriol and hostility has been reserved for those declaring that Moscow “has a case”.

Past Conrad pieces have laid on thick the defeatism, doom, and contempt for the Russian side, repeating wholesale the NATO-psyops lies about incompetence, low morale, and “corruption”, a regurgitation made easy for Conrad because it fits with all the bile previously poured out by this group against the Soviet Union and its allegedly disastrous history and (unspecified when) counter-revolutionary past under Stalin. In the wordiest moments (and they have plenty of those) these one time revisionists can be more viciously Trotskyist in their anti-Soviet hatred than the Trots.

That is somewhat toned down in the latest piece since the obvious success of the Russian offensive rather undercuts the poison, and the WW letters pages have also had a go at his clear repetition of the Western propaganda line, but still he says

we are talking about two capitalist sides, the one fighting the other in what is a - violent - continuation of their previous domestic and foreign policies, explains why we place quote marks around the victoryist ‘left’. The victoryist ‘left’, is, in fact, a fake ‘left’, a treacherous ‘left’ that does not deserve to be called ‘left’ (which we take as an honourable title).

There is the ‘left’ which backs victory for Russia and Vladimir Putin’s siloviki regime. Why? Because, supposedly, this outcome would make the world a safer place: from murderous US ‘humanitarian’ military interventions, from US sanctions warfare, from US-engineered colour revolutions and from US-advised and -financed far-right terrorist gangs. A dubious proposition.

Urging on their army, the armed forces of the Russian Federation, there are, to name just a few, the red-brown Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Monthly Review in the US, the Workers Revolutionary Party in Greece, one wing of the Tudeh Party in Iran, one wing of Rahe Kargar in Iran, while in Britain, of course, we have George Galloway’s Workers Party, Socialist Action, Gerry Downing’s Socialist Fight, the New Communist Party and, albeit equivocally, the CPB’s Young Communist League.

The great sleight of hand used by Conrad in this is to pretend there are two sides which, because they are both capitalist, are therefore equally bad, and that to support either is mistaken.

And voila! everyone can stay at home and get on with posturing about pie-in-the-sky mass communist parties and militias without really engaging at all with the raw class struggle unfolding, or fighting for the scientific understanding that alone can start building the party of leadership the working class needs.

It works because in simple terms they are both capitalist. The philosophical trick is to pretend that means the fight is equal too.

But the NATO imperialist force is overwhelmingly more significant, with the great Empire super-power at its core surrounded by major imperialist powers. There is every reason to call for defeat for the NATO monster, the aggressive agent of the imperialist system, even if it is carried out by a capitalist Moscow (or by “jihadists” or rogue states in Latin America or street revolt in Cairo).

Not a whit of support need be given to Moscow, and as argued to do so would be a mistake – support the masses on the ground by all means but Putinism is a disaster and that needs to be spelt out.

Defeats and blows of all kinds for the warmongering and domineering of imperialism are crucial elements in the development of the world struggle which is unfolding and which must (in both imperative and the philosophically inevitable senses) finally become a conscious socialist revolutionary movement to topple and destroy this capitalist monopoly world exploitation and domination, replacing it with the firm control of the dictatorship of the proletariat under which the rationality of a planned world socialist economy and self-disciplined society of human rationality and science can develop.

Meanwhile spontaneous revolt simmers worldwide, finding expression where it can in anti-imperialist elections (Ethiopia) or mostly constantly bursting into street revolt, mass insurgency as in Yemen, yellow-vestism, jihadism, terrorism and suicide attacks, or finding expression in votes where it can.

It will not stop but needs the clear scientific understanding of Leninism to move forwards and end this barbaric capitalist order.

Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins

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EPSR archives - items from past issues


Complexities of the “defencism” position analysed at the time of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia help throw light on the Ukraine war

[EPSR No 1006 14-07-99]

In the ongoing EPSR struggle for Marxist understanding, differences have arisen over the extent to which Yugoslavia under Milosevic remained a workers state and therefore worth directly and openly ‘defending’ in terms of international communism’s anti-imperialist slogans.

Parts of this argument have merged into previous discussions about how far to pursue building solidarity around the SLP in the light of differing estimations about how blatantly rotten Scargill’s opportunist politics have already demonstrated themselves to be in workers eyes, or ought to be expected to do in the near future, — ‘Yugoslav defencism’ being a common thread.

So far, published opinions in EPSR circles have dismissed the idea that ‘defending Yugoslavia’ can be separated from the issue of defending Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, the dominating regime in Serbia since the workers-state federation was broken up by overwhelming bourgeois imperialist interests and influence in the early 90s.

The dispute is about what the different remnants of the FRY workers state have become, and the Serbia-Montenegro-Kosovo bit, calling itself ‘Yugoslavia’ still, has had its political character dominated by the Milosevic regime throughout this period.

It seems self-evident that the politics of Serb nationalism have been the overwhelming consideration and the controlling force. Belgrade’s struggles against the even worse opportunist nationalist defections from the FRY (Slovenia, Croatia, etc), most blatantly manipulated by the most predatory outside imperialist interests (e.g. Germany pulling Tudjman’s strings, and US imperialism pulling the KLA’s) have appeared to limit themselves to rallying Serb national feelings (over disputed territory in Kraijina, Sarajevo, Republics Srbska, etc, and finally Kosovo). Despite frequently getting a say live on British radio and television, Yugoslav spokesmen were rarely, if ever, heard opposing imperialism (& its Fifth Column stooges for destroying FRY) in the interests of the working class of all former Yugoslavia, to be best served by maintaining the old workers-state unity of the FRY.

Nothing was ever advocated, even, just in the interests of Serbia’s working class alone, or never noticeably so. The particular need for WORKERS to not go back under total Western imperialist control was never stressed, and certainly the interests of workers INTERNATIONALLY in not seeing Western imperialist bourgeoisie all-triumphant was not even remotely in the frame.

Just clever propaganda tactics by a really shrewd secret communist-internationalist??? Highly peculiar tactics if that was supposed to be the case. No, the question of the international economic crisis of the imperialist system and the longterm interests of the working class everywhere was never even an intelligible idea in Belgrade’s minds, let alone a practicable political programme. And there is little to suggest that any such perspectives were remotely live in Belgrade for quite some time too before the break-up of the FRY and before even the period of crude Milosevic nationalism.

But given that many attitudes and institutions continuing from the great achievements of the FRY workers state were still alive in Serbia at least, could not ‘defend Yugoslavia’ have been valid just on the basis that Serb national resistance to the more predatory Western domineering was a legitimate anti-imperialist struggle for self-determination, and the only hope of serious future opposition to imperialist domination in the region?

Serb nationalism could indeed play such a role, and it was the EPSR which uniquely argued from the start of the nationalist break-up of Yugoslavia that in all this degenerate retreat, Serb interests had the best historical claim to international communist sympathy, had contributed most to the FRY-workers state to make it a going concern and therefore least deserved to lose out through its break-up, and again by tradition had the most potential for developing future revolutionary socialist resistance to imperialist domination.

In such circumstances of imperialism’s deliberate overthrow of the remaining FRY workers-state structures after what Belgrade Revisionism had already done in terms of ideological and economic-control damage (both prior-to and contemporaneously with Gorbachevism’s final liquidation of workers-state perspectives in the Socialist Camp at large and in the USSR in particular), there was no equality of ‘self-determination’ interests between the Serbs, Croats, Slovenians, Bosnians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, and autonomous minorities, –the EPSR argued.

But translating that understanding into a slogan of ‘defend Yugoslavia’ or any notion of ‘support’ for Milosevic is a vastly different matter. Although inclined to favour the Serb struggle over that of the Croats, Bosnians, or Kosovo Albanians, say, for disputed territory or strategic interests, – the defence of Serb nationalism was hardly a progressive answer to the break-up of the Yugoslav workers state.

It was also a degenerate retreat too. The progressive line open for anyone to call for was to defend the Yugoslav workers-state federation as such, calling on ALL workers of every nationality in the FRY to do just that, and calling on workers internationally to support such a call.

Unrealistic? The Castro regime in Cuba is doing exactly that in almost exactly similar circumstances, – constantly threatened with air-bombardment obliteration, but seriously (and believably) taunting US imperialism and its vicious sanctions blockade to just come and try it, and face being humiliated and beaten in any final invasion-occupation attempt on Cuba, however many bombs were dropped first.[...]

Despite Castro’s own very uncertain grasp of the full role that the struggle for Marxist-Leninist science ought to be playing in the world, and how such a struggle should be organised, plus the dubiousness of many past Cuban decisions on where to stand in the international anti-imperialist movement (too long in Moscow’s shadow, e.g.; misleading about Allendeism; badly wrong in backing Maurice Bishop; etc, etc;) the Cuban workers state makes no bones about its unyielding refusal to ever re-admit parliamentary (bourgeois) ‘democracy’, and as such can be unconditionally supported with confidence in all disputes with imperialism, no matter how critically the continuing Cuban weakness (in world revolutionary theory and fully analysing the Revisionist mistakes of the past) has to be assessed.

Cuba is a proletarian-dictatorship workers state and defiantly determined to remain so. For all its theoretical weaknesses in terms of world revolutionary leadership, Cuba can be confidently held up as an example to follow for workers everywhere.

Although a long way from complete clarity, the notion to ‘defend Cuba’ or ‘support Cuba’ could never fail to be a blow for progress and a likely source of encouragement for anti-imperialist struggles everywhere, – given the immediate current paucity of conscious Leninist revolutionary movements on earth.

What is a bit surprising about the ‘defend Yugoslavia’ persistence is that the outcome of such precedence of hope over experience is already known. In the circumstances, Milosevic nationalism looked a backward-moving dubious quality to expect to rout imperialism with, compared to the former triumphs of the Yugoslav workers state.

Humiliating muddle and embarrassment for NATO was nevertheless still a possibility, for various reasons, and earnestly to be looked forward to. ‘Let NATO be defeated’ was the EPSR’s forward-looking argument. But ‘defend the Milosevic regime’ was not at all necessarily implied by sloganising for NATO’s humiliation, and was a bad idea.


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EPSR archives - items from past issues


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World Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles)






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