No 1614 8th August 2022
West’s war provocations grow increasingly frantic as the monopoly capitalist system hits the rocks of long brewing inflationary Catastrophe. Defeat for the deliberately engineered Ukraine war behind the Kiev Nazis stooges but run by the West through NATO is increasingly on the cards and will expose more and more black fascist lies which set this provocation going. But even if Russia continues its advances, it will not stop war but make it even more likely. Capitalism has no other way out of its epochal crisis breakdown than jingoistic war diversion and destruction, while ratcheting up domestic repression, censorship and open dictatorship to suppress inevitable social upheaval as workers are driven into total penury by monopoly profiteering. Glaring need for revolutionary understanding is still ignored or evaded by all fake-“left”s. Leninism vital to be built
Defeat for the nazi-NATO crisis warmongering in Ukraine seems increasingly on the cards, ratcheting up problems as the Russians steadily advance virtually wiping out the Kiev nazis’ military forces.
But far from reining in the West’s war plans this setback can only make the disintegrating capitalist order much more dangerous as it desperately tries to compensate for its weakness and failure.
Even as the capitalists themselves are admitting their system is facing total meltdown and inflationary collapse, they are ramping up provocations and propaganda to hair raising levels, not least in Ukraine itself with the irresponsible shelling of a nuclear power plant (lyingly blamed on the Russians in yet another upside down psyops propaganda ploy).
No ruling class ever left history’s stage willingly and the supremely arrogant and dominant US bourgeoisie are least likely of all to “give up” gracefully.
US Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s outrageous Taiwan visit belligerently provoking China’s workers state; renewed landthieving fascist Zionist bombing and siege butchery of the Palestinians in Gaza; the sick knife-missile extra-judicial assassination by the CIA of al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri in Afghanistan; suppression of riots in Sri Lanka and renewed reactionary Albanian hostility in Kosovo, all signal an imperialist system being driven to a frenzy by Catastrophic economic breakdown.
Workers are facing penury, chaos and war destruction everywhere because the monopoly capitalist system has hit a brick wall and cannot go forwards.
Panicking pundits and rival politicians are predicting explosive social turmoil and with good cause, in Britain certainly and also across Europe.
America’s black population is again at boiling point over fascist police killings and ever growing inequality and poverty.
The Third World is in constant upheaval (usually labelled “terrorism” or “jihadism” and dismissed or condemned by the ruling class and fake-“left” alike).
The Marxist-Leninist perspective that can explain and tie together these astonishing developments to guide the world anti-imperialist struggle needs ever more urgently to be built.
It starts with the understanding of capitalism’s intractable contradictions which are the cause of all the turmoil now erupting, in European war and economic breakdown, Middle East explosions, jihadism across Africa, mass street demonstrations like Colombo and Latin America.
It is not war in Ukraine causing inflation and shortages, it is economic collapse which has driven imperialism to make that war move (as a diversion and dementedly sick “solution” to its Catastrophe) and many more, worsening everything with its self-inflicted sanctions shortages.
A rationally planned world would not face any shortages at all while working in harmony with nature – they are all the result of the insane logic of relentless profit accumulation for the tiny minority ruling class, trampling across humanity and reason, and compounded by the stranglehold of monopoly profiteering.
Privatised water companies make no investments for drought and they poison waterways but use their inflated fees to pay out huge dividends; oil companies make obscene profits while workers cannot run cars or face huge bus and train fares, and they relentlessly plough on with oil plundering while global warming kills millions; the NHS is sinking under the weight of massive payouts to private property companies, profiteering suppliers and fleecing pharmaceutical combines.
And so on.
The ruling class is paralysed by events, with no idea what to do, as the headless chicken pantomime of the Tory leadership “election” (!!) farce demonstrates.
Its only answer is warmongering, ramped up with insane lies and vicious propaganda.
But the revolutionary answer that alone can change things continues to be hampered by anti-communism, chauvinist hate campaigning, and the brain-deadening influence of class collaborating official trade unionism, Labourism and 50 shades of fake-“left”, feeding out useless “left pressure” and “more militancy” notions.
What use are a few piecemeal strikes in the teeth of a hurricane of financial, political and environmental collapse???
Let the working class fight hard against wage cuts, inflation and deregulation of work standards.
Let there be boycotts, rent strikes and withheld energy payments.
Let them be increasingly coordinated.
But let them also have the world historical perspective they need to understand just what a giant crisis is driving this catastrophe and what a huge task those struggles need to be understood to be part of.
TUC class collaboration politics and fake-“left” “more pressure” urgings are not only insufficient but a treacherous obstacle to class war understanding.
Demoralisation and setback are inevitable if workers do not grasp the scale of the crisis and that the ruling class is now fighting tooth and nail for its survival and will carry out any ruthless and degenerate measure to stay on top.
The great miners strike already showed the civil war lengths that the boss class will use – and that was 40 years of accumulating crisis ago.
The working class must change the world, overturning this entire stinking, festering unequal, cynical, corrupt and collapsing system dragging mankind into the greatest disaster in history, economic, environmental and warmongering.
Capitalism has no other answer to the disastrous Slump collapse the contradictions in its system have brought it to except war destruction as in Ukraine.
And while the Chinese workers state has demonstrated its growing power and military capacities with a huge four-day exercise off Taiwan, it will not “contain” the aggression as revisionist complacency still asserts.
Imperialism is not a “paper tiger”; in the years since Mao’s morale-boosting but unscientific bravado it has slaughtered tens of millions, across the world in Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Latin America, to Africa and the Middle East. Some paper!
But it can suffer defeats as is more and more clear in Ukraine where the Kiev nazis are now forced to throw virtually untrained and unfit masses onto the front lines as even the bourgeois press, filled with non-stop black-is-white lies, is forced to let slip:
In the heart of the Donbas, a group of eight highly experienced western ex-military personnel are delivering an intensive 10-day training course for 40 new Ukrainian recruits who have been pulled straight from the fighting.
As the battle for Ukraine’s east grinds on, soldiers in the Donbas have been taking heavy casualties in a vicious artillery battle. Ukraine’s professional fighting force, who have been defending the eastern frontline since 2014, are severely depleted. Since 24 February new recruits have been surging to the frontline, many with shockingly little training.
The recruits on the course have a patchwork of equipment: different weapons, fatigues and body armour of varying quality. Aged between their early 20s and mid 50s, the men are of all shapes, sizes and levels of fitness.
One in 10 was in the military before the war and they have had very little formal training, explains Andy Milburn, founder of the Mozart Group, a new private security company that’s tasked itself with training Ukrainian soldiers.
Milburn, a retired Marine Corps colonel who spent 31 years in the US military, gathered expert volunteers to train civilians fighting in Kyiv’s civil defence force as they defended their capital. Now based in Donbas, the Mozart Group consists of between 20 and 30 volunteers from the US, the UK, Ireland and other western countries.
The Mozart Group’s name was coined by its members as a tongue-in-cheek musical reference to the Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian paramilitary organisation that’s often described as Vladimir Putin’s private army.
Largely funded by US private donors and made up of carefully vetted recruits, the Mozart Group also delivers humanitarian aid including sanitary products and food to frontline towns, and extracts vulnerable people from high risk areas of fighting.
Ukrainian soldiers are given five- or 10-day crash courses in basic weapon handling, marksmanship, fire and manoeuvre and battlefield tactics that would ideally take six months to teach. The trainers have taught thousands of troops to speak to recruits via two interpreters, which Milburn says is not enough for the job but they have struggled to find people with the necessary skills.
“I’m yet to fight on the frontline but we have been manning positions that have been shelled and hit by rocket attacks,” a 42-year-old soldier who identified himself only by his call sign Bison tells the Guardian during firing practice, dressed in a secondhand British camouflage tunic with a union jack badge stitched on the sleeve.
Bison, a mechanical engineer from Dnipro, bought a hunting rifle after the war started, to get some shooting practice and is now operating as a platoon medic. “I did a week’s tactical medical course after having a bad cycling accident during the Covid lockdown. I told them and they made me a medic,” He says with a smile and a medical pack attached to his body armour.
That’s more than most medics, according to Dathan, a former advanced paramedic who spent 23 years serving in the Irish military in counties including Syria and Kosovo, and joined the Mozart Group in May.
“You ask medics what their qualifications are and they say: ‘Well I was given this bag and now I’m the medic’,” says Dathan.
“Only one out of this group of 40 had zeroed his weapon before the training started,” says Milburn as he walks through the scrub to the makeshift training ground. Zeroing a weapon means aligning the sights so you can accurately aim at a target. “That’s the first thing you do,” says Milburn.
“This is what it must have been like in world war one,” says Alex (not his real name), speaking to the Guardian over the phone from Bulgaria. Alex is former UK soldier who was taking a break but said he intended to come back to help permanently.
“They are 36-, 37-year-old men and four months ago these guys were taxi drivers or farmers. None of them want to be in the army, but they say our country has been invaded. What do you expect us to do? Massive respect to them. But it is quite sad to be honest,” says Alex.
The Ukrainian troops are trained close to the frontline as their commanders cannot risk their soldiers being away from the battlefield for too long in case the Russians try to advance. Ideally these groups would be training 100 to 120 men at a time but they can’t afford to take them from their positions, says Milburn.
“It’s backwards: you don’t go to combat first and then come back to be trained,” Dathan agrees. “The Ukrainian government doesn’t want to say that most of their military isn’t really trained. But they are trying to fight the Russians who, luckily enough, aren’t trained either.”
Mozart’s members are keen to separate themselves from the influx of war tourists and want-to-be fighters who could be found telling stories and propping up hotel bars in expensive new military outfits in Kyiv at the start of the conflict. “It’s dangerous,” Alex says. “You might get yourself or someone else injured or killed – and it damages relations between westerners and Ukrainians.”
The trainers say they joined the Mozart Group to become “combat multipliers”, saying it made sense to train hundreds of Ukrainians rather than risk quickly getting killed in the fighting. The UK government website says those travelling “to fight, or to assist others engaged in the war” could be prosecuted on returning to the UK.
From speaking to Ukrainian troops and commanders, Alex and Milburn agree that US and western weapons systems and military equipment are not being used or distributed correctly due to Ukrainians lacking training and skills.
“They are not deploying the weapons,” said Alex, who, during his seven and a half years with the British military, specialised and trained in the use of Javelins and NLAWs, hi-tech US and UK anti-tank weapons, the use of which proved pivotal in Ukraine’s success in pushing Russia back from Kyiv in March.
Alex says he understands from conversations with commanders that without the proper training, the $178,000 Javelins systems are being misused or becoming redundant, with sophisticated sight batteries running out before the rockets are fired. “They are not getting the training they need,” says Alex.
While they have supplied weapons and training overseas, the US, the UK, the EU and other western allies have not deployed troops to Ukraine for fear of the conflict escalating to a war between Russia and Nato. However, Andy Milburn wishes he had more contact with the US government.
Asked whether he shares intelligence with the US, he replies: “That’s kind of the easy part” – and explains that the US government is concerned that if they fund Mozart, the group might turn into a private military contractor becoming involved in the fighting itself.
The hoary old lie that the Russian military are amateurish and untrained too, is repeated in the middle of this despite the obvious fact of its relentless advance .
But who is using its population as cannon-fodder (forcibly conscripted by the Kiev nazi-intimidation)????
Demolition of the West’s bragging Kiev “victory-soon” “analyses” uncritically pumped out on the BBC and billionaire media is now so complete that the war has disappeared from the front pages, save whatever the latest outright fabrication of “Russian warcrimes” might be. And even these non-stop barefaced lies are being undermined (note the cynical tone of the “liberal” Guardian, always more anti-communist than the Tory press, trying to discredit the Amnesty report from the first paragraph onwards):
Amnesty International has said the Ukrainian army is endangering the life of civilians by basing themselves in residential areas, in a report rejected by Ukrainian government representatives as placing blame on it for Russia’s invasion.
The human rights group’s researchers found that Ukrainian forces were using some schools and hospitals as bases, firing near houses and sometimes living in residential flats. The report concluded that this meant in some instances Russian forces would respond to an attack or target residential areas – putting civilians at risk and damaging civilian infrastructure.
It also criticised the Ukrainian army for not evacuating civilians who could be caught up in the crossfire.
“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general.
However, the head of Amnesty Ukraine’s office, Oksana Pokalchuk, wrote on Facebook that her operation disagreed with the report. She said they were cut out of the pre-publication process when they complained that the report was based on incomplete evidence compiled by foreign colleagues.
“Our team’s arguments about the inadmissibility and incompleteness of such material were not taken into account,” wrote Pokalchuk. “The representatives of the Ukrainian office did everything they could to prevent this material from being published.”
Ukraine’s deputy defence minister, Hanna Maliar, accused Amnesty of “distorting the real picture” and of failing to understand the situation on the ground. She said Ukrainian soldiers were deployed in cities and populated areas to defend them from Russian attack.
“There is no chronology of events [in the report]. The Russian Federation is committing the crime here. Ukraine is protecting its land. Moscow ignores all the rules of war. And unlike Ukraine, it doesn’t let in international organisations like Amnesty,” said Maliar.
Speaking at a briefing in Kyiv, Maliar stressed that the Ukrainian armed forces laid on buses to evacuate civilians from the frontline. Some refused to go, despite repeated pleas and offers of transport to safer regions. Ukraine gave access to outside agencies including the international criminal court and carried out its own investigations into abuses committed by its troops, she said.
Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s minister of defence, said “any attempt to question the right of Ukrainians to resist genocide, to protect their families and homes … is a perversion” and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that “the only thing that poses a threat to Ukraine is a Russian army of executioners and rapists coming to Ukraine to commit genocide”.
Amnesty researchers investigated Russian strikes in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv regions between April and July. They found 19 villages and towns from where the Ukrainian forces had either launched strikes or were basing themselves. In these three regions, Amnesty found five locations where hospitals were “de facto” used as bases and out of 29 schools visited by Amnesty, they concluded 22 had been used as bases.
The report noted that most of the civilian infrastructure repurposed by the Ukrainian army was located kilometres from the frontlines and argued that alternative locations were available....
Guardian reporters have seen at least seven instances in three regions of Ukraine where schools and nurseries in residential areas were used as bases by the Ukrainian army. Five of the schools and nurseries the Guardian visited had been bombed. In each instance, several surrounding buildings were damaged in the attack.
In one instance, in Donetsk region, at least three people died when the wave of the blast that destroyed a base hit a neighbouring residential building.
In one school that was being used as a base by Ukrainian forces in central Ukraine, the commander said schools and kindergartens across Ukraine were being bombed because they were being used as bases. The commander said that schools provided the necessary facilities: showers, multiple toilets, large kitchens, dining areas, basements and rooms. He said the invasion had meant the army had to accommodate masses of new recruits quickly.
Steven Haines, professor of public international law at London’s University of Greenwich who drafted non-legally binding guidelines on military use of schools and universities during conflicts – which 100 states, including Ukraine, have endorsed – said Ukraine’s actions had not necessarily broken them.
“The use of schools – if they are not also being used for their primary purpose – is not invariably unlawful. Very obviously, the situation in Ukraine counts as exceptional in this respect … so the Ukrainian military are not necessarily breaching the guidelines,” he said.
Guardian reporters have also seen three instances of empty schools that have been repurposed for civilian use since the war, such as a school in Kharkiv region now being used as a humanitarian aid centre and a school in Kyiv which is housing people displaced by the war.
Amnesty acknowledges that international humanitarian law does not ban parties from basing themselves in schools that are not in session, but the report emphasised “militaries have an obligation to avoid using schools that are near houses or apartment buildings full of civilians … unless there is a compelling military need”.
The “justifications” and tricky pretences of “legality” in this piece (even more pre-edit) are the vilest of fascist-minded cover-up, as is the obvious intimidation of the Ukrainian Amnesty representatives to withdraw their agreement, under the most specious of reasons.
So much for “impartiality”.
As everyone knows if this were a report about the Russians however “incomplete”, or perhaps the Chinese in Xinjiang it would have been all over the front pages for days on end accompanied with hysterical and non-stop demands for warcrime tribunals, arraignments and prosecutions.
And undoubtedly the toned-down language of the Amnesty report itself would have been far stronger.
The petty bourgeois Amnesty’s real function is to rubbish the workers states and anti-imperialist states like Myanmar or Venezuela, and it only produces this kind of report to maintain a façade of credible “neutrality” so the glaring evidence of warcrime use of civilian shielding is only presented in the most tepid way.
As it is the observations are a bombshell for the monstrous propaganda campaign run by the West which has as a central element the accusation that the Russians have been intent on “wiping out” civilians and, frequently repeated and unqueried assertions by Kiev fascist spokesmen of “deliberate genocide”.
Ludicrously inflated figures of alleged “civilian casualties” are simply repeated daily by the media along with a hate-filled rant by this or that Ukrainian MP or official, allowed to run on at length while Russian statements are either ignored or repeated only for sneering dismissal.
Mostly they are not heard because blanket censorship has been imposed by Western governments, media and social media monopolies, with entire TV channels shutdown.
But they have said from the beginning that the Ukrainians were fighting from civilian apartments and from behind groups of civilians used as shields.
The exposés are given further weight by the latest revelations of total propaganda fabrications used by the British for decades:
British cold war propagandists smeared Kenyan vice-president Oginga Odinga in the 1960s in black propaganda operations, newly declassified files reveal.
The Foreign Office’s propaganda arm, the Information Research Department (IRD), targeted the Kenyan nationalist in a three-year campaign run by its dirty tricks section, the Special Editorial Unit (SEU).
Oginga Odinga was a major figure in the struggle against British colonialism. After independence in 1963, the British identified pro-west president Jomo Kenyatta as their preferred leader. Vice-president Odinga was leftwing and open to relations with the communist bloc. Concerned that Odinga might replace Kenyatta, constitutionally or otherwise, the British tried to undermine him.
Although, as British diplomats recognised, Odinga was not a communist, according to historian Dr Poppy Cullen of Loughborough University, he “posed a direct threat to British interests”. Not only did Odinga favour radical domestic policies, he accepted financial support from the Soviet Union and communist China. But President Kenyatta could not side-line Odinga, as he represented the powerful Luo tribe.
Declassified files reveal four “black” operations against Odinga. In September 1965, the Daily Telegraph ran a story headlined “‘Revolution’ document in Kenya”. It reported on a pamphlet issued by the “People’s Front of East Africa” attacking Kenyatta’s government as “reactionary, fascist and dishonest”. But it praised Odinga as “a great revolutionary leader” who would be brought to power by a “newly formed People’s Revolutionary Kenya Socialist party”.
In fact, it was a sophisticated propaganda operation that increased suspicions that Kenya’s vice-president was in league with communist China. The IRD sent 80 copies of its pamphlet to “leading personalities and the press”, the SEU recorded. Kenyan newspapers gave it massive coverage. Kenyan ministers were thought to have been convinced that the leaflet was genuine.
Referring to Odinga’s rightwing rival, Tom Mboya, the SEU’s John Rayner wrote: “A secret report said that Kenyatta had thought it to be the work of the Chinese, that Mboya had considered it to have been put out by Odinga, and that Odinga had claimed that it was the work of the CIA.”
Dr Cullen says: “It shows Odinga was considered the main threat to British interests, how far the British were willing to go in order to smear him.”
Odinga suspected he was being targeted. In 1964, he complained publicly of a “spate of vilification and facile criticism” in the British press. “British intelligence agents,” he concluded, were “sanctioned by their government to pass on official information to the so called ‘independent’ press of Fleet Street.”
A declassified report for June to December 1964 reveals what appears to be the first SEU operation against Odinga. In October, the SEU produced a leaflet, purporting to originate from the “Loyal African Brothers”. branding the Kenyan leader “a tool of the Chinese” communists.
The Brothers were an invention of IRD’s propagandists. Over nine years, 37 leaflets were issued by the fake organisation purporting to want “to free Africa of all forms of foreign interference”.
..another SEU operation accusing Odinga of involvement in a leftist coup [but] despite raids on the offices and homes of Odinga and other radicals, no concrete evidence was found.
An article headed “Kenyatta Frustrates Leftist Coup” was planted [by IRD] in a Swiss publication in a bid to push it into western European media. “It is now clear,” it states, “that only resolute action by President Kenyatta successfully frustrated a pro-Communist leftist coup in Kenya.”
The imperialist lie machine has had 60 years of practice and refinement since then – but so have the world’s masses had time to develop their distrust.
But they are still trapped by the lack of scientific Leninist understanding needed to finally end this “freedom and democracy” fraud. Build Leninism and the Leninist party.
Back to the top
The EPSR continues its call for defeat for NATO and its Ukrainian fascist stooges, but without any credence for Putin’s Bonapartist regime serving the billionaire oligarchs. Russia’s restorationist imperialism needs overturning too, just not by NATO.
Doubts have been raised within the EPSR over its line on the Ukrainian war and particularly its insistence that although the defeat of NATO-fascism and its nazi-Ukrainian stooges must be the overriding main issue for the working class, this cannot imply any support for Russia as such.
Certainly it is a useful question not least because of the complexity of the Ukrainian war and of the nature of restorationist Russia, the deluge of lying western propaganda around it, and the multiple confusions, opportunism, evasions and sophistry that have followed from the treacherous swamp of fake-“left” groups capitulating to this Western imperialist ratcheting up of its Third World War drive.
Serious polemic, and critical comments on all issues, properly worked through to an agreed position, can only deepen understanding and offer greater clarity and should always be sought and encouraged as Lenin’s Bolsheviks did.
In the deadly conflict the West has instigated and provoked in Ukraine (but aimed at Russia) in order divert attention from its Catastrophic crisis and blame others for its own system collapse, the Review’s analysis so far is that there is only one major enemy for the world working class, namely barbaric imperialism, dominated by the overwhelming world monopoly capitalist power of the US Empire.
Defeat for its NATO forces and their fascist Ukrainian proxies, would be a significant gain for proletarian interests in Russia, in all Ukraine and worldwide.
It is defeats for imperialism that are needed to open the way for revolutionary understanding to be built.
Some fake-“left” groups like the Kautskyite/Trot leaning Weekly Worker CPGB have tried to argue that because the conflict is essentially between two imperialist powers – Russia, supporting the Donbass separatists and Western NATO imperialism using the Ukrainian reactionaries to do its own fighting, it matches the conditions of the Great War.
Lenin’s defeatist line should apply, they say which is that this is a war between robber powers, and the working class should not support any of them, but each should call for the defeat of its own ruling class, with the possibility of turning the war into a civil war to bring down its own government.
But this is empty posturing; they use the argument merely to limit their actions to the “fight at home”. And since that is nothing more than the usual useless “left pressure” opportunist jostling for position around the corrupt fraud of the parliamentary system, while notionally “opposing” both sides, it amounts to pure opportunist copout.
In practice this is no different to the assorted social-pacifists, (“No to War” etc), uselessly “opposing” NATO in words while making sure to condemn Russia for “attacking” Ukraine, (and thereby effectively seeing a win for NATO) or the similar line of the FRFI Revolutionary Communist Group declaring Russia to be an “imperialist power” while fatuously “demanding” (!) British troops to leave East Europe and NATO to be “disbanded” (perhaps capitalism could be “disbanded” along with it if they “demand” loudly enough?).
Conveniently they all ignore the central point, of calling for the defeat of NATO, which is what Lenin’s revolutionary argument was all about.
In fact they would not touch it with a bargepole, fearful of the stampeded chauvinism of the whipped-up petty bourgeoisie popular opinion.
Such a defeat in Russia 1917 did not have anything to do with supporting Germany as the Bolsheviks were accused; the critical question was for the failure of Tsarism, shifting and shaking consciousness and opening the way for revolutionary understanding – and obviously revolution.
Just right now it has nothing to do with Russia (coincidentally) winning; only that Western imperialism be defeated.
In World War One the argument applied to workers on all sides, those in Germany to call for the defeat of their ruling class, or British workers theirs etc. And in fact when Germany was defeated it did open up a revolutionary ferment, with the 1918-19 uprising in Berlin.
Material conditions and the still developing maturity of revolutionary leadership meant it fell back at that point, with the brutal slaughter of its leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnicht by the leaders of the 2nd International Social-Democratic party, German equivalent of the Labour Party.
But the Russian Revolutions of 1917 had made the point.
Several factors complicate the argument now.
First, because the relentless and never ceasing process of world monopolisation under capitalism has gone so far, modern Russia is not remotely equivalent to the scale and weight of the NATO forces and especially to the gigantic and concentrated US superpower.
Notwithstanding Russia is now a capitalist state following the liquidation of the Soviet Union in 1989-91 and, inevitably in the era of monopoly capitalism, sometimes even plays an imperialist role itself, any blows it can strike in this specific situation have an anti-imperialist significance because of the overwhelming disparity of forces.
And notwithstanding its vast geography, its economic and political weight makes it more equivalent to an anti-imperialist bourgeois power in this specific situation only, as far as the outcome of the Ukraine war is concerned.
But the nature of Russia as a restorationist capitalist state means that it cannot be supported as such and to do so would be a bad idea, confusing the working class about the nature and possibilities of Putinism.
Putin’s philosophy says nothing about the inescapable capitalist crisis and the revolutionary overturn of the whole system that is needed and which alone can end the relentless plunge of the system into war.
As soon as, but not until, the NATO-Ukrainian threat is lifted, or seen off, the working class needs to take up the struggle against Putinist bonapartism and its continuing ex-revisionist-rooted philistinism, reactionary religiosity, greater Russian nationalism and hostility to Leninism, and the counter-revolutionary system of oligarch billionaires who plundered the former workers state after 1991 and continue to do so.
Since 2000 Putinism has partially reined in the oligarchs using elements of the former Soviet state to continue some social provision.
But that was done only in order to head off the revolutionary upsurge that would have come because of the appalling deterioration of conditions for the masses caused by unrestrained carpet-bagging by the new gangster capitalism in the 1990s – and it is only a balancing act between mass soviet nostalgia and the oligarch reaction which still continues.
Only moves towards rebuilding Soviet social and economic relations can offer the working class a future in Russia and restore its revolutionary role as an example for the working class elsewhere and only by the battle to restore Leninist leadership can it play a key part in the international struggle to end all imperialism, the only way war can be stopped for good.
The requires a revolutionary overturn of idiot Putinism in some form.
Perhaps this EPSR position is too rigid it is being suggested and even “dogmatic” or premature, and thereby might “put off” workers who have shifted their understanding or sympathies towards the recollections of the former USSR in response to the West’s grotesque nazi-NATO war, particularly those in Ukraine itself, and particularly in the eastern sectors, long persecuted by the Kiev fascists for their Russian speaking and Russian cultural links and socialist sympathies, as well as many more in Russia itself, drawn back towards life in a workers state and against imperialism.
As the fascist threat against the Donbass has been steadily pushed back, (by a so far successful albeit costly Russian offensive), red flags have been waved, Lenin statues restored to their pedestals in the towns, Stalin lauded in places and many other signals given of growing public sympathy for the 73 years of socialist and communist achievements in the USSR.
Might not these, and similar shoots of anti-imperialist sentiment and even soviet nostalgia elsewhere in the world also be trampled on by too assertive a position on the capitalist nature of Russia, it has been asked.
By overtly denouncing the Kremlin’s backwardness at this moment might not that popular shift be discouraged and its fight against NATO be weakened or lose momentum?
But the EPSR position does not put that at the forefront; just the opposite, it says that the needs of the moment are for defeat of NATO and that the fight against Putinism needs to be suspended for the moment.
But at the back of the “anti-dogmatism” argument is the one-sided philosophical notion that to be fully against NATO and the Western nazi warmongering it is necessary to take the other side – if not permanently then at least for the moment while the war is underway.
But no such necessity is implied and never has been in many such situations.
In order to orientate the world working class against imperialism’s barbarism it was not necessary to support the thuggish Saddam Hussein when the US was blitzing Iraq (twice), or starving and strangling it with killer sanctions for 10 years, or in the occupation since; nor Muammar Gaddafi’s bizarre Green Book anti-communist crypto-“socialism” when the NATO forces invaded Libya in 2011 (because the CIA attempted “uprising” had fallen flat on its face); nor to support the Slobodan Milosevic revisionist nationalist regime in Serbia when nearly a score of countries lined up to bomb it into the ground 1999.
While it was accepted for example that in disputes over territory of the former Yugoslavia, the Serbs had the stronger case historically, relative to the imperialist stooge breakaways of Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia, this never amounted to declaring Milosevic’s revisionist nationalism worth supporting in itself.
Just the opposite; defending Serb nationalism would have been a backward step when what is required is a clear grasp of revolutionary Leninism including clear calls for defending the old Yugoslavia and the working class (see EPSR No1006 14-07-99).
The same was true all the way back in 1981 when Thatcherism sent a task-force to the South Atlantic to continue imposing British colonialist rule on the stolen Malvinas Islands (Falklands); defeat for Britain’s imperialist bullying was the correct position but without remotely implying any support for the fascist General Galtieri and his junta, even though they had latched onto a genuine enough anti-imperialist issue of completing Argentina’s decolonisation. It was solely a diversion from their own crisis.
Any Marxists in Argentina would have to suspend the immediate struggle to overthrow the fascist government in order to fight the greater enemy – and in properly taking up the completion of national-liberation against European imperialism, would be able to demonstrate the superiority of their proletarian position against the fraudulent bluster of the generals (who did not succeed and were toppled later by their defeat in fact though without any revolutionaries to take full advantage – see EPSR No 402 15-07-87).
Defending Putinism would be even more backward.
As said above, the necessity is to see the defeat of imperialism only, by whatever forces are waging a fight against it but without giving them any credence (unless they are fully workers state or communist forces).
The pattern was set out by Lenin’s Bolsheviks in August 1917 against the Tsarist General Kornilov’s coup attempt to overthrow the new bourgeois “democratic” government and restore the monarchy. They stood alongside the prime minister Alexander Kerensky to see off the reaction, but without offering one word of support to him, and in fact warning the working class of the bourgeoisie’s duplicity and treachery during the joint fight, for them to be on guard during the joint operation and to be ready to resume the proletarian revolutionary struggle as soon as Kornilov was sent packing.
Certainly any struggle now with the proletariat for Leninist understanding, and to win advanced workers, needs to explain its perspective as clearly as possible, always aware of the need for patient explanation, taking full account in all discussions of what might or might not be understood by any particular worker or intellectual.
And tactically, or diplomatically it might emphasise certain points over others.
But clarifying issues in this way during agitational work - or for propaganda work such as leaflets, – does not equate in any way to toning down or holding back on what is understood – or deliberately keeping it quiet.
Just the opposite.
To temper its full understanding in the battle for conscious understanding would run contrary to everything about Leninism that the EPSR has battled for over the four decades of its existence.
Holding back its full perspective in the “interests of unity” is not the same as explaining the tactical needs of the moment to focus on the main enemy, namely US led imperialism.
That would be popular frontism, the disastrous method developed by Stalin and applied in struggles like the 1930s Spanish civil war against the fascist invasion by General Franco, where workers were urged to support the republican government in a “anti-fascist” front instead of being warned that putting their trust in a bourgeois liberal government was a potential disaster, its “democracy” illusions no defence against the barbarism that crisis wracked imperialism was intent on (see EPSR Perspectives 2002).
The central core of Leninist understanding is that only the class war to end capitalism altogether on the planet can bring to an end the deadly slide into Slump disaster, sick chaos, profiteering depravity, ecological devastation and the warmongering which is inevitable in the contradictions and imperatives of the monopoly capitalist exploitation order, and which is due solely to its crisis Catastrophe.
Without that understanding underlying all analysis, and the revolutionary conclusions it leads to, there is no future for the working class anywhere, inside Russia or outside.
And even currently as the war proceeds, the fight for that understanding is crucial – the motivation, coherence and sacrifice of the anti-imperialist forces can only be hampered, held back or demoralised by hostility to communism and continuing reactionary Putinite illusions in capitalism and bourgeois “democracy”, and by revisionist-founded notions of “de-nazification” which are declared to be a war aim.
Nazism, either with full-on swastika fanaticism or simply inherent in the brutality of ruling class dictatorship as it sinks into decline, – (is the “knife-missile” extra-judicial butchery of al-qaeda leader al-Zawahiri by the CIA in Kabul last week any less “fascist” for being carried by US “non-Nazi” secret state forces??) – is inseparable from capitalism and cannot be ended without ending capitalism.
Talk of “denazification” in Ukraine is classic revisionist brainrot traceable all the way back to the philosophical retreats expounded by Stalin.
Its implication is that there can be a “non-fascist” version of imperialism (in this case in Ukraine) and is bound up completely with delusions about “democracy” and peaceful paths to socialism.
It echoes the “non-aggressive imperialism” versus “belligerent” imperialism division which Stalin’s theory led to.
Putting forwards such aims for the war in Ukraine as Putin has done, comes from the same partial and mechanical thinking with does not see the overall picture and perspective.
Not Ukraine as such needs to be analysed, and the sides in it, but the Ukraine war as one expression of imperialism’s crisis turn to warmongering in general (alongside its belligerence in all directions, notably with the latest anti-Chinese Taiwan provocations by Nancy Pelosi and Tom Tugenhat; degenerate assassinations and interventions like al-Zawahiri in Kabul, the slow-war bomb, missile and sabotage provocations by Zionism against Iran and Syria, strangling sanctions on Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea, and much else).
Just as with the opportunist blitzing of Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq, where Saddam Hussein made a suitably demonisable target to “justify” things, eastern Ukraine is simply the most suitable victim at present for non-stop warmongering, not least because of two decades of Washington and European subversion to build up its reactionaries and outright Nazis.
War, any war, on the route to World War Three, is capitalism’s need, its only escape path from the Great Catastrophe now unfolding into the greatest Slump collapse in all history.
War is a means of distracting attention from the economic and social disaster inevitably caused by its own system, by whipping up scapegoating, racism and the foulest jingoism, to keep the working class away from making the anti-imperialist revolution that alone can change things.
It also allows the bourgeoisie to ratchet up the destruction it needs across the world, deliberately wiping out the “surplus” capital which is clogging its system and paralysing its ability to make profit (see last issue, box and most of the writing of Marx, Engels and Lenin’s Bolsheviks, obviously Capital and the Communist Manifesto and much else) – each bourgeoisie intent on rival capitalist powers being forced to pay the price (as Japan and Germany were obliged in 1939-1945).
In this way monopoly capitalism “rescued” itself from its great economic disasters at the beginning of the 20th century with the Great War (also started over an almost random incident) and then its extension into World War Two; at the cost of horrific destruction and death it “overcame” the Great Depression and made space for new investment, mostly from the victor, the USA, at first.
But that could not last, succumbing to the same gigantic contradictions of “overproduction” and growing trade war that exploded before, as the major powers like Japan and Germany (rebuilt to fend off communist expansion) began to outcompete increasingly sluggish US capitalism (and totally ossified henchman, Britain).
For many reasons the post-boom descent into World War Three has been stretched out for decades, with a string of partial crises, regional collapses and currency implosions.
The extraordinary extension of capitalist credit mechanisms around the universal dollar trading currency, the unprecedented widening, intensification and penetration of capitalist exploitation across the planet, and the fearfulness of the bourgeoisie itself at the scale, extent and apocalyptic (nuclear etc) uncertainty of the Third World War “solution” to come, has seen it hang back, as witness NATO’s hesitancy over direct (admitted) intervention in Ukraine and fears for the moment of spilling over the borders, triggering direct war against Russia and the hair-raising potential of hugely intensified war, including the dangers of nuclear conflict.
Holding things back too have been the difficulties for the bourgeoisie of reimposing war and the atmosphere of outright barbaric fascism and jingoism needed to carry it through, making it necessary to tear up the post-war decades of outright lying pretences about “never again” and an alleged new world of “UN world cooperation”, “international justice” “human rights” and "rule of law”, “freedom” and “democracy”, all built up after the depravities and horrors of the two world wars, to counter the obvious advantages and attractions of communist society and the growing cynicism and distrust in the old order.
While all these bourgeois promises of a changed world (to be contrasted to the bogeyman of communist dictatorship) are ultimately meaningless and fraudulent, like all the hoodwinking nonsense of bourgeois “democracy” covering up the actual dictatorship of the big money bourgeoisie, they are still an obstacle for the ruling class to trip over when it necessarily has to tear it all down again and impose the ruthless level of exploitation every ruling class must now impose if it is to compete in ever more cutthroat trade war.
It means dismayed and disillusioned middle class opinion turning against it – and either aiding or not objecting to the working class revolutionary movement that is inevitably growing – in mass upheavals across the Third world such as Sri Lanka and into the heart of imperialism as a nervous European bourgeoisie is contemplating in a winter with little or no gas supply.
Imposing war again is fraught in a world where the great mass of once-backward humanity may still be deprived but is now sophisticated, street wise and aware of what is going on, and of what they haven’t got, and of who took it all and continues to violently repress them, leaving them in humiliation and sweatshop poverty.
Hence the long-winded business over the last two decades especially, of getting the world warmed up for warmongering again by the most astonishing propaganda operation and pysops lies, painting state after state as “rogue disrupters” and the growing ferment of anti-imperialist hatred world wide as “terrorists” who are “causing all the trouble”.
A string of wars has already seen half a dozen countries blitzkrieged, invaded, and dismembered by US led imperialism and its stoogery, destroying millions of lives under a variety of lying pretexts, excuses, and provocations, from the non-existent “Racek massacre” justifying the bombing of Serbia to the non-existent “Weapons of mass destruction” for Iraq, the non-existent “world terrorist” threat to bomb Afghanistan, the CIA provoked “demonstrations for freedom” to excuse NATO destruction of Libya, to stir civil war in Syria and “war on terror” savagery in Yemen.
It has not gone well, stirring and magnifying the world’s contempt and hostility, recruiting hundreds of thousands, if not millions, into the ranks of rebellion and solving nothing of the great underlying contradictions of class-rule – the unstoppable economic and political crisis that has relentlessly deepened to the point of world credit breakdown in 2008-9, (the full eruption of the great Catastrophe that Marxist understanding of the crisis has been warning of against fake-“left” hostility (see EPSR issues No 1-1613)) and continuing ever since, propped up only by Quantitative Easing fantasy dollars which have only made things a thousand times worse as the great inflationary explosion is now savagely demonstrating to the great mass of humanity.
Setbacks or not, imperialism has no choice but to continue down this war path.
Either that or the ruling class must accept its historic bankruptcy and leave the stage – abandoning all its sweet luxury and power and handing the world over to common ownership so that production and resources can be rationally controlled in balance with nature for the good of all humanity.
And pigs must fly – peacefully.
Ukraine is the next stage of WWIII, long prepared by the Western subversion agencies, (among much other plotting, subversion and public opinion stampeding) installing the fascist Ukrainian reactionaries with the $5bn Maidan coup “investment” – the manipulated pretence of a “popular uprising”, a ‘colour revolution’ tapping the long history of fascist sympathies and anti-communism in mainly the west of the country and coordinated by the CIA and other Western agencies.
Nazi aggression has been kept simmering on the back burner ever since with torchlight parades, jingoist hate propaganda, and intimidation of the Ukrainian population (all of them and not simply Russian speakers).
Now it has been deliberately escalated and hyped up with a total deluge of stinking lies, fabrications and upside down accusations poured out against the Donbass “separatists” and the Russian support because the capitalist crisis itself has once more come to a head.
The Ukrainian reactionary nationalist attack on the Russian speakers in Ukraine, particularly in the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, has been deliberately escalated into a war with Russia itself with the Ukrainian Nazis acting as proxies for a NATO and imperialist attack.
Russia has every justification to respond with aid for the local defensive national liberation war at the invitation of the Russian speakers in those regions, and in its own defence.
(The trivial point that “Russia attacked first” and is therefore “to blame” needs to be quickly cleared away.
First the war has been underway since 2014, when the eastern regions refused to accept the new reactionary order installed by the violent “Maidan” coup. They were subsequently militarily attacked to impose a “pure” Ukrainian culture, suppressing the Russian language, history teaching and politics and to suppress their reasonable demands for autonomy.
The war against the east was temporarily suspended for peace talks but continued in 2016 when the so-called Minsk peace agreement was cynically broken by the Kiev regime, attacking the eastern regions and going on to kill 14,000 mostly civilians since with non-stop shelling and missile attacks.
Secondly, that continuing war was escalated early this year by massive buildup of Ukrainian forces on the Donbass (now advised and trained by US and British military), and coordinated with huge NATO deployments throughout east Europe, and with an aggressive pro-NATO anti-Moscow stance by Kiev as well, the whole comprising an imminent threat and prompting a preemptive defensive operation by Russia.)
Suspending the struggle against Putin for the moment does no imply any approval for Putinism itself, either temporarily or permanently, as expressed by some sections of the mostly revisionist fake-"left" and a few of the more fly Trotkyists.
Their defencist line might not be as obviously treacherous as the slew of fake-“left” who have capitulated to the West’s grotesquely hypocritical and black-is-white inverted “support for the poor oppressed” Ukrainians used to stampede public opinion behind the “war effort” - as if it were remotely believable that the Western powers could care less about ordinary people’s lives, steeped as they are in centuries of barbaric violent slave-trading colonialism, numerous bloody wars against all resistance to their tyranny, including the appalling horrors of Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Latin America (Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala etc) killing multiple millions, and responsible in recent decades for the destruction of half a dozen countries - but it creates just as much confusion.
Worse than treating Putin’s oligarch-servicing regime as if it were effectively as good as the past Soviet workers state is implying that any regime, however flaky, forced into an anti-imperialist stance, is effectively as good as a workers state or a consciously revolutionary Marxist movement in taking on imperialism and pushing forwards the struggle for communism which alone can change the world.
The crass dismissal of the need for Leninist consciousness conveniently slips past the crucial questions, of the need for the working class to take state power, in the only way possible, the class war to establish its dictatorial rule under which society can be transformed by the building of rational, scientific, planned and internationally cooperative socialism developing every single individual to their full capacity.
The class control of society by the proletarian dictatorship is essential to displace the only other form of society that exists in the modern world, the ruthless dictatorship of the billionaire bourgeoisie (hidden behind its lying fraud of parliamentary or presidential “democracy”).
That is only achievable by revolution to end degenerating capitalism and its monstrous “free market” dragging the world into ever greater inequality, wasteful consumerist chaos, environmental destruction, repression and war.
The defencist line avoids this critical question because however much it postures about being “revolutionary” it is anything but.
Its evasions of the central question can be traced all the way back to its roots in Stalin’s appalling revisionist mistakes arising in the 1930 and finding their full expression in the post-war period and his last major work, Economics problems of Socialism. As explained in the EPSR Book Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics on Museum Stalinism:
[..]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* [*mostly Lalkarite CPGB-ML at that time] 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.
And so too for Gaddafi’s Libya, for Assad’s Syria, for the Hamas revolt in Gaza.
And now for Putin’s Russia.
Any defeat or setback for imperialist warmongering and occupation is to be welcomed, from whatever challenges are made to imperialism, including the great waves of crude and often confused “terrorism” or jihadism, though without giving any credence to their often backward and even reactionary ideologies and keeping clear of negative methods.
And here lies another problem with the defencist line for Putin’s Russia; it ends up condoning and accepting every sick and reactionary action taken by Moscow in its post-restoration stupidity, including apeing the West in its “war on terror”, a campaign of violent suppression which Putin has pursued, notably in Syria (and frequently in tacit alliance with Washington - against the ISIS in Syria for example) but also as part of the brutal war suppression of the Chechen independence struggle, crudely declaring resistance to the new capitalist Moscow to be just “terrorism” and to be suppressed.
Putin’s Bonapartist pro-oligarch diktat also declares “extremism” to be outlawed in general.
Does that include Leninist revolutionaries?
This backward apeing of imperialism comes about from following the revisionist “logic” described above rooted in Stalin’s post-war “don’t rock the boat” philosophy, and extending it.
According to Stalin, imperialism’s aggressive tendencies (not denied) should be contained by peace struggle worldwide.
Following Stalin’s analysis, imperialism post-WW2 was hamstrung and increasing hemmed in by the socialist camp, and so on a long slow downhill.
Provided not too much was done to prod it with “unnecessary” revolutionary upheaval and “adventurism”, it would (presumably) gradually decline to the point of peacefully accepting the supremacy of the socialist world (see Unanswered Polemics eg).
Revolution in this perspective essentially disappears and a panoply of “democratic paths” and “peaceful” roads opens up, as set out by international congress after congress of “official” Communist Parties, including tragically even such heroic and world shaking movements as the Cuban CP and Beijing.
It is only a step on to “condemn” anarchic, terroristic violence and upheaval, because it will obviously disrupt or destabilise this programme of “steady change” – to the point of dismissing jihadists as just “headbangers” as the Stalinist Proletarian (CPGB-ML) does, and for good measure declaring them to be nothing but “mercenaries” anyway, funded and organised by the CIA (thus doing away with any need to see spontaneous revolutionary upheaval in such movements).
If capitalist Syria, run by the shia family dynasty of the Assads, is a “step along the road” to the communist future then any revolt within it “must be” reactionary.
Defeat for any imperialist attacks on Syria, as on all kinds of victimised, scapegoated or designated “rogue” states is an opening for revolutionary politics.
But there is nothing but reform in seeing such gains as steady advances on a step-by-step path of building up sovereign societies (as the Proletarian says Syria can now achieve), which does not see the intractable contradictions of monopoly capitalist and the Great Catastrophe which will wipe out all “steady progress” in slump and world war.
The contradictions of all class society (back to slave times), are only resolvable by a complete historical jump to a new level – by revolution in its deepest sense.
The jump required now is the greatest in history, not just taking society to a new form of class domination (feudalism to capitalism from the seventeenth century onwards) but ending classes altogether via the leadership of the historicially temporary dictatorship of the proletariat building internationally cooperative, rationally organised, and eventually self-governing society.
Certainly in the case of the Syrian civil war, the initial not-very-large demonstrations were clearly coordinated by outside provocateurs, probably CIA but equally possibly Zionist Mossad which hates and fears the Syrian Arab state alongside it - and most likely a joint-venture of at least those agencies. Washington did also try to repeat the trick pulled off in Afghanistan of recruiting and inflaming backward tribal elements, tapping into sectarian hatreds already stirred up the war in bordering Iraq, setting Sunni against Shia (the Assads are a variant of shia).
But this all rapidly became subsumed by a spontaneous anti-Western jihadism - “blowing back” on the West in the form of ISIS, which has since spread far and wide across the Third World tapping anti-imperialist sentiment.
It may not be Marxism and some of its ruthless local terror was nothing Marxists would subscribe to – but equating it with imperialist reaction, the only real cause of reaction on the planet and a far bigger and more degenerate mass murderer than anything the ISIS has been capable of, is a million miles from Marxism.
No explanation is given in this for why the equally “headbanging” ayatollahs running the Iranian Islamic State – applying full on sharia law and hostile to communism and trade unionism – should be upheld as part of an “axis of resistance”, or what it to be made of the Islamic Jihad/Hamas militancy which currently has the leadership of the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist occupiers. Or what has caused the great wave of armed insurgency and turmoil across Africa, and especially the countries of the Sahel, most taking on and battling French imperialist military, the Americans and their various stooges in assorted governments.
Why would the CIA organise all that?
And why and how could they possibly have organised the sudden millions strong street uprising of the Egyptian Arab Spring which the Muslim Brotherhood quickly dominated - and were they also just “headbangers”?
Loss of any grasp of revolutionary movement driven by the Catastrophic collapse of monopoly capitalism, is all that can account for such disastrous and potentially reactionary condemnations by the fake-“left” failing to see the enormous spread of insurgency, “terrorism” and street revolt as the symptoms of capitalism’s breakdown and the embryonic ferment of revolution.
Backward in understanding and with sometimes reactionary ideas it may be; but condemning it as “part of imperialism”, “just mercenaries” or even “all really organised by the CIA” is to slip over to the side of reaction (see EPSR No1248 14-09-04).
It is a philosophical position which ends up virtually cheering on the Western backed military overthrow of the Arab Spring in 2013 because the new “democracy” had installed a Muslim Brotherhood presidency for the moment, failing to understand that while that was no answer to the Egyptians’ problems it was a blow to imperialism’s interests and particularly the next door Zionists, fearful that the MB would give support to its offshoot Hamas anti-Zionist militancy in the Gaza Strip.
And it is a position which has said nothing for the next ten years about the brutal and murderous General Sisi dictatorship, which killed dozens in the street to take power and with Washington’s tacit approval (and billions of its dollars) has imprisoned, tortured and killed hundreds of the opposition ever since, including the deposed MB president Mohamed Morsi.
The revisionist line gets worse, being obliged to jump through all kinds of hoops to deny the obvious reality that Putin’s bonapartism sits on top of a restored capitalism.
To get round the problem it comes up with the bizarre notion that Putin’s Russia is “not imperialist” and falls into another category of “bourgeois nationalist capitalism” which by implication is on the good side of history. But to get there demands the disappearance of the billionaires, bankers, corporate owners and monopoly exploiters that now “own” Russia’s means of production, converted in Brarite CPGB-ML minds into relatively harmless dilettante playboy types, an absurdity so shallow that it has to be imposed on the revisionist membership by diktat, with declarations that it would be “criminal” to say otherwise.
A few other groups go down this line too, such as the moralising ex-WRP Trot remnants at the Socialist Fight, clearly aware that denouncing Russia in this Ukrainian conflict is to side with imperialism, and be identified with the out and out craven capitulations of the social-chauvinists from the disgusting Labourites to the sick barminess of groups like the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who long ago moved so far up the ruling class fundament with their class collaboration that even their self-identification as Trotskyists is a joke (Trotsky himself too subtle in his anti-communism to deny reality).
The sick social-chauvinists are painted forever as poisonous traitors, just as the Second International was in 1914, lining up with their own bourgeoisies to support war.
So are the social-pacifist whose moralising pretence that they wash their hands of all sides on the mechanical and academic grounds that they are “all imperialists”, actually plays into the hands of Western imperialism (as explained above).
Denying the imperialist nature of modern Russia capitalism to counter this argument only plays into the hands of these sophists since it is patently nonsense – there are only two forms of class rule in the modern world, capitalist dictatorship or dictatorship of the proletariat.
Even at the FRFI the RCG worms can point to the flaws, demonstrating how the Russian oligarchs are involved in worldwide investments.
The imbalances in this war mean that it is the Western world dominating imperialism that needs to be defeated.
But war comes from the breakdown of capitalism itself and will only be ended when capitalism is overthrown.
For as long as Russia stays as part of that system it needs to be overthrown too – but not by the much bigger fish and not right now while it is forced to fight.
If the fight itself starts creating changes in Russia, let those be made conscious by rebuilding Leninism, not by propping up Putin’s Bonapartist backwardness.
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