No 1616 9th September 2022
The insulting Tory “election” fraud and absurd “new broom” pretence does nothing to solve disastrous hurricane economic failures and political breakdown caused by incurable contradictions of the profit making capitalist system. The farcical hype further confirms the hoodwinking lie of capitalist “democracy” – always a cover for the outright dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and big monopoly interests and about to be imposed with open ruthlessness as the savagery of the Slump forces workers into a desperate fight for survival. As boycotts, riots and strikes erupt expect censorship, police repression and state civil war violence more vicious than during the miners strike. Labourite-TUC opportunism (including ‘militants’) still holding workers back from the revolutionary understanding that is vital to guide the coming struggle - disarming them with class collaboration illusions and anti-theory philistinism. Fake-“leftism” just as treacherous. The gross diversion of the “Ukraine war for freedom” continues to fool workers.
The question is ever more sharply posed – how far down the road into economic collapse, bankruptcy, eco-disaster, pollution and war horror does the capitalist system have to go before minds begin to wake up to the revolutionary necessities confronting them?
And how long does the world put up with the ridiculous claim to authority and “right” by an ever more concentrated ruling class of ultra-billionaires (and its sycophant servant middle class) whose callous, uncaring, incompetent and cynically brutal exploitation is dragging the world to an abyss of economic Slump disaster, war and destruction??
The farcical Tory “leadership election”, desperate financial breakdown and chaos, and monstrous fascist warmongering against Russia, should be enough to convince any rational being that the “free market” capitalist system has run out of road and with it the sick degenerate pretence of “democracy”.
Its ruling class can no longer even pretend to be guiding the world towards “sunny uplands and prosperity” as it did when supposedly “seeing off communism” and its alleged “threats”.
It was crap then and it is insanity now.
So the revolutionary arguments should be sweeping the board – and the only reason they do not is the degenerate collusion and opportunism of the “left”–from its TUC/Labourite class-collaboration careerist treachery, including “left” militants, to 101 shades of pretend “revolutionaries”, dull-brained revisionists and Trot anti-communists alike.
With spontaneous revolt brewing everywhere abroad and domestically with movements like the energy payment boycott, and potential for riot explosions like 2011, plenty of old style “militancy” has suddenly reappeared – after years of Labour inaction and seeming bureaucratic union quiescence in the teeth of the post-global credit breakdown austerity – but still not a peep is heard about the fundamentals, the gigantic crisis collapse of capitalism and the plunge into world war.
Not one section of it denounces the entire bourgeois parliamentary racket – and any tame “criticism” or even (very) occasional “exposure” steers well clear of the obvious necessary conclusion, the need to build a revolutionary leadership for class war to overturn and totally destroy this stinking monopoly capitalist domination, replacing it with workers states taking over all industry, land and agriculture to develop communism, the only future for mankind.
Just the opposite; the hostility to such understanding, or even engaging in any kind of debate or discussion about it, let alone full on polemical struggle, remains the overwhelming characteristic of the British Labour movement, famously anti-theory and still stuck with disarming reformist perspectives of “winning better deals” and “fair days pay for a fair days work” and above all paralysed with anti-communism and opposition to alleged “authoritarianism”.
Petty bourgeois created fears and individualist hostility to collective class authority (ie the dictatorship of the proletariat) – saturate the “movement” however militant, leaving the working class misled and vulnerable to the savage civil war repression and open dictatorship that the ruling class is being forced ever closer towards.
Deluded notions are allowed to persist that “they would never do that” or “public opinion would never allow it” or they would be “voted out if they went too far” - or that somehow “left pressure” would prevent the worst.
It is all the most sick and sinister bamboozling of minds.
It did not succeed for the miners 40 years ago, the most heroic and determined part of the working class, whose titanic 18 month war with the ruling class was ultimately hamstrung with Scargill’s reformist “Plan for Coal” trust in Labourism and the treacherous TUC, and by a lack of a perspective about the civil war conditions they were up against (see eg EPSR 1219 10-02-04).
That was then, early days in the non-stop post-war crisis, now much further gone; and there are now no limits to the fascist barbarity, and terror the ruling class will be willing to impose as its crisis deepens, pushing the working class as far down as possible, all the way to the levels of deprivation imposed on the Third World.
In fact in the 1930s crisis the full extent of capitalist exploitation in crisis emergency was witnessed in the slave labour of the Nazi work camps, the German corporations squeezing workers to the point of starvation and death (avoided in “good times” only because the capitalist class needs a constant supply of workers and is obliged to provide enough to reproduce and train the next generation).
The Slump disaster now underway is deepening into conditions far worse than anything ever seen in history, not excluding the agony of the 1930s Depression and the World War the ruling class used to escape it.
The 6 months of demented lies vomited out over the Western provoked nazi-NATO war on Russia and wilfully and lyingly disseminated by a poisonous media, trying to blame Moscow for the decades long crisis Catastrophe which capitalism alone has caused, (imploding into world banking and credit collapse more than 15 years ago), already match anything that Goebbels Nazism could devise (and in fact with all the complex mechanism of Psyops manipulation, computer warfare, and modern media manipulation, go far beyond the crude methods of WW2 Nazism).
And now the ludicrous leadership “changeover” by the Tories underlines like never before the total fraud of parliament, with its sick pantomime of delivering a “mandate” for the new prime minister by just over half of a 0.3% (!!!!) section of the population.
Even then half of this pre-selected bunch of ultra-reactionaries cannot stand the new leadership (and are panicking about the even greater mess its absurd jingoism and economic floundering is on course for).
And this bourgeois arrogance has the outrageous cheek to insist on minimum 50% votes by workers (hamstrung by bureaucratic rules and individual balloting) for union actions!!
Or to pretend it is “defending freedom and democracy” in Ukraine!!
The most gobsmacking part of the ludicrous Tory non-election is that anyone at all could take it seriously.
A five-year old child could point out the naked nonsense, as obvious as the Emperor’s non-existent new robes.
Astonishingly however the entire media circus of billionaire newspapers, private and state-controlled TV (BBC, Channel 4), academia and the chorus of establishment political “pundits” and economists, have dutifully gone through this psychotic fantasy as if it meant something, all playing their parts with sombre studio discussions, profiles, interviews, polling for “trends”, analysis, and debates, all filling the airwaves and newspages for nearly two months, solemnly presenting “the race” as if the 60+million disenfranchised were “getting a say”.
What a farce!!!
What a confidence trick!!!
And what a confirmation of the giant confidence trick all such bourgeois “electioneering” is, and always has been, the greatest and most usefully hoodwinking invention ever of the ruling class, manipulated, gerrymandered, twisted, brainwashed and fixed from top to bottom, with a reserve team of frauds, shysters, mountebanks and sycophants, the Labour Party, to fall back on when things don’t quite go to plan.
This Team B bunch of careerists and “left” pretenders dutifully and grovellingly continues to run capitalism and all its imperialist world exploitation when needed with as much mass barbarity, colonialist brutality and warmongering as the mainstream rulers (as Marxism has long pointed out - see EPSR Books Vol 10 eg on Labour-TUC dead - reformist “socialism” finished and dozens of EPSR issues).
Team C, the Liberal-Democrats, is on hand to rescue things too, if the reserves also fail, as they did in the great Global Credit collapse, needing the LibDems to prop up the Tory “coalition” (and damning them forever just as the Greens are also now damned for their gung-ho support for the Ukraine warmongers, the German Greens even opening up coal mines again to help impose vicious sanctions on Russia. So much for the fight against global warming!!!).
Beyond yet further onion layers of “left” props for the whole racket lies the dictatorship reality of capitalist class rule which will tear up all such democracy pretences when necessary, all the way to mounting outright murder-&-torture military coups and Nazi repression if all other options have run out, as it did in Indonesia 1965, Chile 1973 Uruguay and Honduras ten years ago, Bolivia recently, attempted in Venezuela and against the Arab Spring in Egypt in 2013 (among many more examples).
Open crackdown is getting close. Britain is already in a slow form of overt dictatorship rule through the constitutional coup pulled off by the Tories in 2019 with the illegal “proroguing” of Parliament and other dirty dealing and manipulation by the Boris Johnsonites (using the Dominic Cummings trickery etc), combined with the vile and disgusting CIA/Zionist-aided plot of character assassination against the opposition Corbynites (built around the absurd and monstrous lie of “left” “racism” and “anti-semitism”) to break up the popular wave of enthusiastic left movement which threatened to win the election (a threat not because of the pathetic Corbyn pseudo-“left” timidity but because of what debate and real movement it might have opened up).
More severe moves are certainly on the cards already by an ever more desperate and bankrupt ruling class, using the excuse (“justification”) of “wartime necessity”, (even though Britain is not “at war”) already warmed up by Boris Johnson and general police state crackdowns and now being touted in the “debates” over the last two months.
Censorship moves are readied to suppress all discussion and dissension, ostensibly over the monstrous Ukraine war, and have already been viciously applied to some like journalist Graham Philips (see following story).
Jingoistic nonsense about the “national interest” and the need to make “guns-not-butter” sacrifices” is a key part of the grotesque nazi atmosphere being intensified currently.
The reality of capitalist crisis collapse has never been more glaring with the once derided and sneered at “Catastrophism” of Marxist-Leninist understanding - alone in its warnings and insistence on understanding imperialist crisis collapse and war – now commonplace in siren alerts and apocalyptic prognoses by more rational journalists, economists and thinktanks of all kinds.
Everyone knows that desperate financial and living standards collapse is unfolding (on top of the decade and a half of “austerity”):
The politicians are perpetrating the same scam as the rate-setters, bluffing they can get the old economic machinery working like before just by pulling this or that lever. Yet whether in Westminster or the City, both sides are flogging false optimism – and they know it.
Over the past 50 years, almost every government has overseen lower economic growth than its predecessor – even as it has promised the opposite. That’s according to figures produced for this column by Kevin Albertson, a professor of economics at Manchester Metropolitan University. He analysed national income per person, adjusted for inflation, and then calculated a yearly rate of GDP growth for each prime minister. The end results are the sort of ugly truth Britain badly needs.
Even in this Tory leadership contest, Margaret Thatcher has been ordained as the prime minister who saved Britain’s economy. The reality is that economic growth during her reign was lower than under Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan. Then came Tony Blair, who by 2005 was still promising “New Labour, New Prosperity”, even while his government underperformed Thatcher’s. Blair also claimed “our economy is stronger and more stable than for generations”, which sounded laughably hollow two years later when Northern Rock fell over and the credit crisis began. Still, David Cameron did little better and Theresa May’s administration was truly abysmal.
This is half a century of an economy becoming ever more stagnant, even as its leaders point excitedly to any passing ripple. And those ripples have normally meant more debt: Albertson’s analysis shows that every extra £1 of real GDP growth between Thatcher and the great banking crash came with nearly £2 of borrowing by households and government.
This is the country described by political economists such as Brett Christophers, Colin Crouch and the Centre for Research on Socio-cultural Change: an economy in which those at the top don’t go in for investment in research or technology but speculation and asset-stripping, and where governments dare not enquire too closely where private money is coming from and on what terms. This is an economic model that prizes its past – elderly people and asset owners – more than its future. Westminster’s usual fantasy fixes about big data or building on the green belt look risibly small against this backdrop. As Woody Allen nearly said, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans – but to give Him a really good giggle, say your plans were drawn up by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.
We hear lies all the time, of course, about Brexit or pandemic preparedness. But the thing about economic lies is that we can easily rumble them – by checking our own pockets to see if we’re better off. Government after government has promised that if we work hard, we’ll get on – and they’ve not held their end of the bargain. The Resolution Foundation’s latest report, Stagnation Nation (a telling title, that one), makes the remarkable observation that every worker aged 31 and under “has never worked in an economy with sustained average wage rises”. That is eight million people, or about a quarter of the labour force, who have never seen work provide a rising standard of living.
Posing in front of posters with babies, Cameron pretended his spending cuts were to relieve the young of the worry of debt. What he actually did, as some of us warned at the time, was plunge an entire generation into permanent precarity.
Even this hugely understates things.
Every facet of bourgeois-led and dictatorially-controlled society is disintegrating into chao,,s from the disastrous mess in sewage disposal (literally, stinking out the country’s rivers and seas), to health and dental service collapse, incompetent water provision, rail and transport failures, energy supply profiteering, Brexit export disaster, and growing hate-scapegoating everywhere, from vicious racist-fascist persecution of asylum seekers to the vile nazism of the Ukrainian nationalist warmongers pumped up by Nazi-NATO aggression.
All aspects of world capitalism are heading for disaster, be it in the irreversible destruction of the Amazon and Congo rain forest, the poisoning of the oceans with plastic waste or the appalling human disasters being caused by global warming, in drought and crop-failure famines and giant uncontrollable wildfire to the staggering human disaster of gigantic floods in Pakistan wiping out one third of the country and leaving millions destitute.
And dozens of writers, scientists and journalists can and do warn of the human armageddon caused through resource plunder and profiteering, and the unrestrained (deliberately encouraged) mass consumerism it creates.
From an agitated middle-class plenty of excellently detailed accounts spell just how unrestrained oil and gas exploration has devastating consequences for the climate and the environment; or set out the horrors and pollution of gigantic factory farm systems, or the distorted use of genetic manipulation to monopolise pesticide and seed use, destroying biodiversity; how rapacious deep sea trawling, and seabed mineral extraction is threatening the oceans; how land mining is destroying the natural world; how complacent and unrestrained tourism and mineral plundering is destroying the African wilderness and the Antarctic ecosystems.
Dozens of groups will campaign this or that aspect of reactionary imperialism; standing outside the US Embassy to protest the Guantánamo torture prison camp (still going); protesting the inhuman and criminal persecution of Julian Assange for revealing the truth about Western warcrimes in Iraq; denouncing oil profiteering or warn of environmental devastation.
Some usefully draw attention to this or that injustice or danger, though many more will grandstand for their own single-issue interests either distracting attention from the urgent political fight for revolution, splitting and fragmenting the class struggle or being actively hostile to it, like much anti-communist LBGBTism or militant feminism.
Anti-capitalist points will even be made, pointing to the need to “rein in” or “control” or “regulate” the corporations.
But it is all hopeless, useless, pie-in-the-sky which will either have no impact at all, or is just more regurgitated tepid reformism which the big multinationals will ignore, trample across, bribe their way past or bend the bourgeois political establishment to rescind or water down (no trouble at all because their personnel are the establishment, through the 1001 links and connections of the ruling class; the revolving door staffing of government and corporations by the same people; the common class interests of the rich and powerful;
The “left sentiment” piece quoted above is just as bad concluding:
The answer to this isn’t declinism, but realism. The UK is a very rich country. We can afford for kids not to go hungry during school holidays and for our grandparents not to freeze in winter. But rather than the usual delusions about Britain winning “the global race” or the economic pie getting exponentially bigger, it is time to focus on making the slices fairer, taking more away from those at the very top and sharing it out.
But this is totally wrong. It was a rich country in the nineteenth century but has been in decline ever since, outcompeted, outsmarted and losing position all the time in the unstoppable and ever intensifying armsrace international trade war, surviving only by grovellingly using its “City skills” to take in dirty money, illicit or ill-gotten gains and the piles accumulated by the scummy thug princes running the feudal-tribal oil sheikhdoms,, and stashing it away in “tax haven” hidey-holes.
And these international financial interests, and the big multinationals still using Britain for some of their operations, will abandon it like a hot potato if there is a hint of “making the slices fairer” - as one interviewer asked a Truss supported, will she not be in thrall to “the markets”.
The answer is unequivocal – the big monopoly interests dominate all and want only their pound of flesh; there is no escape from “winning the global race” (which was always the great fallacy for the working class about Brexit – playing on chauvinist ideas about “sovereignty” and “getting out from under the Brussels bosses club” as the Socialist Labour Party and multiple other “left” Brexit groups declared, when the world is dominated by monopolies inside and outside the European Union).
What none of the great chorus of protest and dismay about all this different issues will ever do is put things together in the only way that can give the working class the way forwards, the understanding that it is capitalism itself and its anarchic “free market” which causes all this difficulties.
It is not even advancing science and technology which is destroying the world but its use for demented profiteering by the tiny ruling class.
They might point to the huge dividends that privatised water companies pay out (and have to pay out to keep up in the “markets“) or the Post Office, or the rail companies etc etc etc or the giant private finance mortgages the NHS must pay for its new hospitals, or education for its schools (the fraudulent basis for the alleged “improvements” under Blairism).
But their partial “nationalisation” answers only muddy the water further since they are a) not going to happen for fear of the pound crashing if “the market” does not get to plunder things and b) not really a “socialist measure” anyway because the private owners get handsomely bought out (as they were under the Attlee Labour government post-war, rescuing the bankrupt owners and keeping their vital infrastructure industries (coal, railways) going for the benefit of the rest of the capitalist economy, not the working class. Even the national health service was there mainly to ensure a supply of fit workers, primarily).
A giant leap in understanding is need, to guide a giant leap in human society, a revolution in other words to sweep away the entire stinking mess.
It will not come from the official trade union leadership, whatever new militancy and determination is allegedly being offered by “left” firebrands as the working class and even sections of the petty bourgeoisie are driven into strike struggles and conflicts.
So Sharon Graham, the new Trot-endorsed general secretary of the Unite union can tell the BBC Today programme about the Felixstowe dockers strike that a decent wage settlement is possible because the port company has been making huge profits, and that the workers should get a decent proportion of it.
“We are not against them making reasonable profits, and are even happy that they do well. If they do our members get paid better” she said, or words to that effect. “But they are making abnormally high profits at our expense.”
What total bankruptcy of leadership, and what a throwback to the class-collaborating days of the past when the working class fell in behind the Empire, supporting the plundering of the world as long as there was a “fair share” for the workers.
“Not against profit” – the very foundation of the giant crisis hurtling the world towards disintegration????
What a complete failure to warn workers of the great disaster now unfolding.
There is no such thing as “normal profit”; and it is the impossibility of every part of capital to make a profit, any profit at all, which is driving the world to war and domestic repression which will wipe out not just livelihoods but lives on a gigantic scale as it did in WW1 and WW2.
Of course, the dockers’ determination and fighting spirit has a long history of bitter struggles and much sacrifice behind it to achieve any kind of decent conditions at all and good luck if they can win any fight.
But these attitudes, reflecting the old closed-shop exclusivity of the past, tied to the bourgeoisie (even wishing well to the Hong Kong conglomerate which owns the port!!) can only hamper the fight.
They are riddled with the deluded “British is best” chauvinism of Empire which is still being tapped to great reactionary class-collaborating effect by the ruling class, particularly around the laughable promises of the Brexit breakaway.
It is no coincidence the “left-Brexit” wing of the Trots in the form of the SWP and in the ex-Militant Socialist Party, were major supporters for Graham.
Their “rank-and-fileism” is completely hostile to revolutionary theory and especially to the workers states, including the Soviet Union itself, supporting every counter-revolutionary disruption over the decades, including the bogus pretend “trade union” Solidarnosc, in reality a counter-revolution, heavily funded by the CIA and Vatican catholic funds via Bank Ambrosiana and Panama, which eventually pushed the Polish workers state over the edge (and the Gorbachevite liquidationism of the Soviet Union too) leaving it dominated by the extreme reaction now in charge, Pilsudski-loving Catholic fascism, natural allies for the Stepan Bandera nazi-worshippers in Kiev and one of the main agitators for widening and escalating the Ukraine war (along with the throwback nazi-colluding nationalists in the Baltic states).
It is delusory to imagine that the great hurricane of world crisis collapse can be avoided by a wage settlement: even if one can be achieved that matches the current levels of inflation, it will be rapidly overtaken.
And outside of that the societal conditions all around will be hammering living standards from every direction.
It is a complete deception on the working class on multiple levels – on the dock workers themselves, and especially on the wider working class, divided off and excluded, where millions face desperation and destitution, for which any settlement will do nothing.
Not a single lesson has been learned here it seems from the miners strike and reality that the ruling class is preparing for all-out war on trade unions, with the already hobbling ballot and other rules to be stepped up, extended and intensified all the way to outlawing strikes altogether, and particularly in the still lingering sections of old welfare state, public sector industries where pale shadows remain of the old class-collaborating arrangements.
Even if some struggles are won this winter, that is only because the ruling class needs time to prepare for much greater conflict.
And as Marxist perspective makes clear, that is unavoidable because the great crisis collapse of its entire system is unavoidable (see eg No 1219 10-02-04).
Not one part of the old TUC class-collaboration explains any such thing – nor the fake-“left”.
And worse still, the old anti-communist attitudes still prevail.
Just listen to this from the RMT rail union leader Mick Lynch in an interview with the middle-class Guardian, more rabidly anti-communist with its petty bourgeois “liberalism” than even the overtly reactionary press pack:
Lynch was attacked in various newspapers last week as a Putin apologist, after accusing the EU of empire-building and saying: “There were a lot of corrupt politicians in Ukraine.” That was true before Volodymyr Zelenskiy, but has also been one of Putin’s attack lines. It is hard not to see it as a response to his popularity, an attempt to discredit him, but he is sanguine about it.
“Anyone that knows me in this organisation knows that I condemned the Soviet Union; I thought it was a murderous death cult. I never played with any of the symbolism of red stars and hammers and sickles. All oppressive regimes, without exception, are oppressive of workers and peasants. And then people tell me I’m a Putin apologist? I’m not. Putin should stop the war, get out of Ukraine and respect the sovereignty of that nation.”
It is unrealistic at this point to think that we can avoid a Liz Truss government, however long it lasts. She has promised to go to war with unions, pledging legislation within 30 days to curb union powers; Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has chimed in to threaten redundancies. “So they’re escalating the battle. We’re going to have to respond in kind. But this will need a union-wide response. It needs the Labour party, because they are the movement. We’re going to need the support of the community and the whole of Britain’s public opinion. It’s got to be bigger than my trade union, because we’re not able to do this on our own.”
Good that Lynch stretches his mind beyond the just the interests of the railwaymen themselves.
But his overall position is disastrous, propping up the Labourites (total capitalist stooges who even instructed their own leadership not to attend picket lines!!!!!) and effectively supporting the imperialist warmongering diversion and escape route from its crisis, and a major weapon for suppressing class struggle “in the national interest” just as it did during World War One and World War Two, “suspending” democracy, and imprisoning pacifists and Bolsheviks (famously Scotland’s Red Clydeside leader John Maclean).
Small wonder Lynch has become a media darling.
None of which says the working class should not be joining battle; just the opposite. As the EPSR has said previously (No 1219 op cit):
All the traditional electoral, TU, leafletting, demonstration, etc, activities remain potentially perfectly valid.
What must change is the understanding of what these “democratic” forms of political struggle can achieve, and what they must therefore philosophically aim for and prepare people for.
The correct understanding is dictated ENTIRELY and UNAVOIDABLY by simply the nature of what a world imperialist system economic and political crisis really is.
The drive towards more and more measures of international warmongering and domestic fascism will be relentless and inevitable because there is nothing else that the monopoly capitalist ruling class CAN do and yet still remain the monopoly capitalist ruling class.
And the imperialist system will continue to rule, with no other solution possible, UNTIL IT IS STOPPED.
And the more “successes” and “advances” that electoralism, TU activities, demonstrations, leafletting, etc, “achieve” in their traditional reformist protest mode of politics, the more will imperialism resort in a crisis phase to increased amounts of warmongering tyranny escapades and alarms, and increased amounts of fascist repression at home.
The whole of modern history tells just this story and nothing else.
The working class needs to be fighting with an all out class war perspective against the capitalist system itself; only that Marxist scientific framework can provide the guidance and inspiration for the huge and desperate fights to come,
A crucial element is a correct understanding of the war in Ukraine.
But the entire fake-“left” bar one or two honourable exceptions, has capitulated entirely, lining up with imperialism and its scapegoating hate campaign, and leaving unchallenged the total deluge of lies and propaganda – either outright supporting the nazi-Kievites and their imperialist NATO backers or doing so under cover of “No to War” pacifism (see recent EPSR issues from No1606 and particularly No 1614 discussing the complexities of the call for NATO defeat but without any illusions in or support for Putinist bonapartism and its oligarch capitalism).
Their confusion and bowing before deluded petty bourgeois public opinion, currently still taken in by the incredible notion that the West is “fighting for freedom and democracy” – (really??? Boris Johnson? Liz Truss? the entire crew of the most rabidly rightwing Tories, the CIA, Zionism and nazi-NATO???? and the Labourite stooges who brought you the WMD big lie Iraq blitzkrieg????) – is deadly for the working class.
(And on a minor point – how come the Brexiters, on the right declaring the EU to be the total enemy of enterprise, bureaucratically stifling all progress and on the “left” to be a “bosses club” holding workers back – are mostly pitching in behind the western Ukrainian middle class, whose main demand is to be allowed to join the EU???)
The Ukraine war is simply confirmation of the Marxist understanding that the capitalist system is incurably and irrevocably plunging into the greatest war disaster in history which can only be stopped by stopping capitalism itself, beginning with its defeat wherever possible.
And while Putinism is no future for the working class either, which needs a return to all-out workers state communism, the war the West has forced onto Moscow, (beginning with CIA-organised coup in Kiev’s Maidan Square in 2014 and the immediate fascist onslaught begun against the working class of the eastern Donbass which refused to accept it, and continuing ever since) has been going disastrously.
Not only is the Ukraine reaction losing heavily – and its NATO backing being humiliated – in military terms, – but the blustering and bullying sanctions war is backfiring badly onto the imperialist aggression, as Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan has just pointed out, with the giant gas and oil price rises now multiplying the economic implosion which has been underway since 2007-9 and the great Global Credit Collapse (the bailing out of which, with non-stop dollar printing QE is the real cause of the massive inflation now ripping through imperialism – the economic disaster now under way for 15 years - being the cause of the war in Ukraine, not its consequence.
Ukraine was deliberately provoked precisely as a distraction, and particularly for British imperialism, in decline and on the ropes relative to nearly all imperialist powers.
Just how badly things are going is clear from the total absence of any “front line” reports from Ukraine, because the Ukrainian army has been almost wiped out.
The nonsensical Tory bluster about “counter-offensives” continues and the world bourgeois propaganda line that the “Russians failed in their objectives and are now bogged down”, along with the relentless drumming of outright lies about “atrocities” and the complete censorship of any information from the Russian side.
Ludicrous bluster is solemnly reported about “new offensives around Kherson” etc (though the much vaunted “million strong army” promised by the little US/UK stooge-worm Zelensky has evaporated – with no questions asked by the intelligence agency fed “journalist”-propagandists in the BBC, CNN and the bourgeois press etc.
Occasionally, in the midst of all the fabrications and confected LIES a slightly more rational assessment is put, particularly by some of the more straightforward military figures (as opposed to the reactionary “think tanks”, “institutes” and psyops units).
So, for example, General Lord David Richards, former chief of defence staff told World at One that the war was chaotically proceeding without any realistic aims:
“As Sun Tzu wrote, a strategy without tactics is slow but tactics without a strategy is just the noise before defeat.”
The West needed to “define its aims, he said, suggesting they should be “restoring borders, restoring the Donbass status and restoring relations with Russia” which expresses complete contempt for the Western propaganda line that “Putin will be made to pay to the point of never being able to attack anyone again”.
It was vital to avoid WW3 by keeping the fight within Ukraine and to “keep the West united” he said.
The propaganda line from NATO, the EU and Boris Johnson has been that “Putin has united us like never before”. So why would all this be a concern???
Because it is a total lie???
As more objective figures like former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter continue to analyse, the war is a disaster for Ukraine, which has been steadily driven back at huge cost in lives (callously disregarded by the Western bourgeoisie) – and far from Russia “making disastrous mistakes and failing in its objectives” as the Western propaganda pretends, it is competently and coherently advancing.
Obviously the West is fragmenting badly, particularly as Europe increasingly bears the burden of the social, refugee, economic and military costs of the conflict to the secret delight of Washington, which takes little of the burden and in fact benefits its own arms industry with the aid packages.
There are also major economic impacts worldwide as trading arrangements shift and new economic networks are being created.
Ukraine meanwhile is mortgaged to the hilt for decades to come with vast debts to keep its economy running and pay for arms, while simultaneously increasingly sold into the ownership of the great international monopolies which have been buying vast acreages of its prime agricultural land.
The West pretends to be fighting against “occupation” but is taking the land with other, financial, means.
Build Leninism. Tony Lee
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Salman Rushdie “free speech” posturing and sanctimony is petty bourgeois humbug, playing into the hands of Western “anti-terrorist” scapegoating and feeding the warmongering it needs to escape the crisis. But this particular gruesome incident will do little to further the cause of the masses either, filled as it is with bogus anti-imperialist posturing by the reactionary Ayatollahs. Revolutionary theory all round - freedom as the recognition of material necessity – alone takes mankind forwards
The bucketsful of “free speech” hypocrisy which followed the near-fatal knife attack on author Salmon Rushdie will only add to the huge contempt and hatred felt by the Third World against Western imperialism and its vicious, centuries long tyrannical world exploitation, now heading into Catastrophic failure and World War Three destruction.
The great chorus of middle-class “solidarity” moralising that has erupted, complete with New York support rallies by the fragrantly fashionable (and very well off) “cream of the intelligentsia”; actors, writers and editors like Tina Brown, pious feminists, eco-warriors and other single-issue campaigners, will certainly do nothing to stop the great wave of Islamic “jihadism” across the world, driven to revolt against degenerating imperialism.
But what it will do is play into the hands of the West’s non-stop warmongering by whipping up yet more scapegoating, racism and hatred.
Their hollow pomposities about “right to speak out” are nothing but the sickest humbug and posturing.
There may be aspects of this particular attack which raise some doubts about how much it fits into the pattern of “terrorist” and “jihadist” rebellion which has increasingly been sweeping the planet, and especially since the 9/11 guerrilla war blow of 2001 against the heart of the American Empire in New York and Washington’s Pentagon.
As analysed 40 years ago (see EPSR quote from No 483 below) the fatwa against Rushdie contains as much bogus posturing by the Tehran Ayatollahs, to prop up their “anti-imperialist” credentials, as the self-righteous pomposity about “democratic freedom” from the West.
But it is the sanctimony of the middle-class bolstered by the treacherously twisted “theorising” from the fake-“left” which is the greatest danger for the working class, reinforcing as it does the fraudulent “freedom” delusions which keep workers away from revolutionary understanding, the only solution to the Catastrophic collapse of the imperialist order now heading for devastation and war once more.
Or to be more accurate an imperialist system already well into WW3, begun with the bombing of Serbia in 1999 and seeing endless destruction ever since, as country after country has been blitzed and pulverised, killing millions and wiping out cities, infrastructure and industry (their means of living in other words).
Bemused and confused by the hoodwinking “democracy” racket, workers are left in thrall to the continuing domination of the capitalist system worldwide.
These individualist “freedom” assertions are philosophic garbage at the best of times reflecting the complacency and smugness of a petty bourgeoisie living relatively comfortable lives within capitalism, unseeing or indifferent to virtually the whole world around them, and the grotesque exploitation and the murderous torturing tyranny that sustains the wealth of the “privileged” nations (and feeds their own smug and complacent existence).
In this time of degeneration towards world war they become outright reactionary, siding with the non-stop aggressive scapegoating by imperialism and the reactionary racist contempt engendered by its world exploitation.
Not only do they wilfully fail to see the profound discontent and rebelliousness underlying such incidents but back up and adds to the Western oppression and its deliberate provocatory insults which help provoke them.
It ignores completely the grotesque warmongering and repression imposed on hundreds of millions across the planet as well as the ever intensifying persecution and murder of journalists and whistleblowers across the planet, particularly in the Middle East reporting and exposing the Western prison torture and deathsquad atrocities of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, and across the Sahel.
The attack on Rushdie will not do much to change that; but highlighting and pointing to the monstrous smugness and effective reactionariness of this holier-than-thou Western liberal piety has got nothing to do with advocating its case (as the reactionary libertarian professor (and former Trotskyist) Frank Furedi attempts to say for example).
Marxism has no interest in “defending the honour” of any particular icons or religious principles, or supporting their ideas, and makes clear its criticism of all such confusion and backward mumbo-jumbo when it is in conflict with the Leninist scientific world perspective.
That alone can guide the masses to the overthrow of capitalist imperialism, the only way to tackle the giant contradictions tearing world society apart building and the only possible future for mankind.
But neither does it see any point in mechanistic or high-handed denunciation of such upheavals because their ideologies are “just mysticism” as “rational” bourgeois scientists like Richard Dawkins do, high-handedly and one-sidedly writing them off or condemning them as motivated by “primitive backward ideas” that can only damage or destroy society.
Religious notions might well be backward, but it is crucial also to pay attention to the material forces and class struggle pressures that have driven all these upheavals and to assess what their underlying significance might be in the world balance of class forces - a shattering blow to American empire hubris for example in 9/11.
The full range of all such social, economic and historical factors and their contradictory movement must be understood for any phenomenon which only the broadest dialectical science – Marxism-Leninism – begins to comprehend and analyse, starting with the driving material economic and historic conditions and class realities, not sometimes bizarre ideas in people’s heads, taken at face value.
Least of all does Marxism capitulate to the craven “condemnation of terror” which has been universally poured out by capitalism (often aided by the fake-“left”) against anti-imperialist revolt (South African anti-Apartheid war, the Irish national liberation struggle, national liberation fights in Latin America, the Philippines, etc etc) and especially since 9/11, bending to the wind of petty bourgeois “public opinion” stampeded by the non-stop propaganda lies and manipulation of the giant bourgeois psyops Goebbels lie industry.
Just the opposite. It recognises that despite many backward and reactionary notions temporarily filling the leadership vacuum in the world, a gap left by revisionist confusion and Moscow’s long retreat from Leninism, and by the refusal of the fake-“left” to examine the roots of that philosophic and political decline (in Stalinist retreat), the anti-Western upheaval and ferment embedded in such incidents is deepening all the time and spreading ever further across the planet.
For all its confusion and often seeming arbitrary “atrocities” these great outbursts of hatred and violence have a cause.
They express ever deepening resistance and hostility to the ruthless oppression imposed on the world’s masses by the imperialist system, firstly throughout centuries of colonial barbarity filled with appalling slaughter, abuse and slavery, and particularly in the last 120 years of monopoly capitalist imperialism, its non-stop warmongering and massacre and its periodic gigantic world conflict.
Constantly growing revolt and rebellion is filled with a burning anger at the non-stop humiliation and deprivation forced on them by the great monopoly capitalist powers, stealing their sweat and labour in plantations and sweatshops, their natural resources, the cleanliness of their environment and their future (see Pakistan’s global warming disasters eg). They want the West off their back and for the moment have turned to the traditional cultural forms to express their indignation and fighting spirit.
However crude and destructive that might be initially, imperialism’s atrocities and butchery outdo by far anything the desperate insurgencies, jihadisms and outright revolution have ever done (and whose worst damage has mostly followed when some of these movements have fallen prey to provocation and manipulation by the West anyway, as in Afghanistan in the 1980s, pushing them for its own reactionary and anti-communist purposes where it can (but not on anything like the near-universal scale suggested by the barmier conspiracy theories, using such “all run by the CIA” as an excuse to join in the “condemnations”)).
Great waves of rebellion across the world have been hammering against imperialism for decades, most obviously in the 2001 attacks on the New York World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, small incidents as such but which struck a morale shattering blow against US imperialist hubris, and the subsequent eruptions of “jihadist struggle” magnified massively by the revenge wars waged by Washington driving tens of thousands into the insurgencies.
Beyond that has come the great mass street revolts in the Arab Spring, (and echoed more and more in revolts around the world, from Brazil and Bolivia to the recent government toppling turmoil in Sri Lanka, as well as the complex and contradictory movements of the Syrian civil war, revolts in Iraq, the Houthi rebellion against Saudi thuggery in Yemen as well as the non-stop turmoil and anti-imperialist movement in Latin America and, most obviously perhaps, in the heroic and dogged Palestinian struggle against the landthieving nazi-Zionist colonial occupation of their land, with its “Islamic Jihad” and Hamas leadership, or the Taliban anti-occupation struggle in Afghanistan pushing out and humiliating American imperialism.
The wave of anti-colonialist struggles now stretches across the Sahel, in Somalia and in Mozambique which take a jihadist form; into the now years long anti-American fight in Iraq which formed a large part of the ISIS insurgency spilling into Syria; the long-running anti-imperialism and anti-Zionism in Lebanon and in Egypt; decades long struggle in the Philippine islands, aspects of Indonesian struggles, and even the some of the rebelliousness and upheaval in European and US cities like the simmering revolt in the Paris, Lyon and Marseilles banlieue.
It is petty bourgeois idealist defeatism which writes all this off as either of no consequence, or “the wrong way to do things” or even as a new form of world reaction (unknown to Marxism) the struggle against which even demands priority over the struggle against mainstream imperialism as in the Syrian civil war (conveniently for the fake-“lefts” thus let off the hook).
“Condemnation” only plays into the hands of the imperialist “war on terror” which has now “justified” 20 years of constant warmongering, the natural condition for the armsrace imperialist system, and crucial for its warm-up and extension into unstoppable World War Three, to hide and obscure its own responsibility for the great world implosion and trade war disaster unfolding.
To divert attention from its own internal contradictions leading to unstoppable crisis collapse the ruling class is grossly and crudely blaming others, (jihadists etc and currently Russia and China) for being the “problem” and using the vilest chauvinist and jingoist hatred against them to stampede the working class and petty bourgeoisie into war.
So, like the middle class “solidarity” of the Charlie Hebdo marches against the inchoate anger of the downtrodden Paris banlieue and its alienated, deprived and persecuted migrant-origin masses, this is all distilled hypocrisy of the highest proof.
Current events underline it.
Not one of them say anything about the murderous hounding and persecution of whistleblowers like illegally imprisoned Julian Assange, hounded for two decades and deliberately driven to life-threatening ill-health and now facing extradition to a vengeful US where decades long solitary isolation punishment has been imposed on political prisoners (40+ years for the Angola Three black rights fighters) and/or treatment intended to kill; like exiled Edward Snowden currently in Russia for exposing US intelligence skulduggery; or “disgraced” solicitor Phil Shiner who took up multiple cases of torture and abuse by British military in Iraq, plus many others who have variously tried to expose Western warcrimes and barbarity in the Middle East, nor about the decades and decades of lies, exaggerations, pysops lies, falsities, inventions and cover-ups before that, which are almost never tackled or exposed, or about the savage torture and butchering reality of imperialist world rule.
Few have anything to say about the revelations of torture and deathsquad killing throughout the British Empire for example, revelations of which sometimes briefly appear in very occasional documentaries like the recent further expose of torture and concentration camp atrocities in Kenya, relegated to late night viewing slots and disappearing without trace shortly afterwards, and even then pulling punches, in its academic analysis.
Or the fascist dictatorship reality of Rwanda and the distorted accounts of the genocide (provoked by imperialist coup skulduggery and as much carried out by the Western trained Tutsis under Paul Kagame, now president, as by the Hutis), all of which underlines the fascist nastiness of the Tories’ asylum deportation programme.
Few say anything about the Guantánamo torture prison, used for more illegal detention without trial or redress after the initial Iraq and Afghan wars and still housing never-tried prisoners, or the clutch of other prisons and camps used by Western imperialism during those invasions and continuing today.
What “freedom” to speak out are these liberals and “lefties” talking about? What democratic “right” to put “your own point of view” or “express yourself” as you see fit and according to the dictates of your own “identity”?
It does not exist for any opinions, philosophy or politics that come anywhere near actually challenging the dictatorship rule of big capital and its even intensifying monopoly grip on the whole planet.
And this blinkered piety gets ever more monstrous so as the capitalist system heads into total catastrophic breakdown and warmongering.
Dozens of examples of suppression and escalated censorship and suppression are now added around the fascist NATO-Ukrainian attack on Russia, around the non-stop Zionist brutality and killing of the Palestinian people, by the barbaric backwardness and primitive thuggery of the Middle East feudal gangster regimes like UAE and Saudi Arabia, around the reinstated re-installation of the Marcos gangster dynasty in the Philippines (building on years of deathsquad thuggery by Duterte).
Where are the celebrity protests and denunciations for these women?-
Another Saudi Arabian woman has been sentenced to decades in prison by the kingdom’s terrorism court for using social media to “violate the public order”, according to court documents seen by a human rights group.
Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani was sentenced to 45 years in prison after a specialised criminal court convicted her of “using the internet to tear [Saudi Arabia’s] social fabric”, according to documents that were obtained and reviewed by Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn), an organisation founded by Jamal Khashoggi.
Dawn shared its findings, which it said were verified by Saudi sources, with the Guardian.
Few details are known about Qahtani, including her age or the circumstances around her arrest and conviction.
But the news of her decades-long sentence comes weeks after Salma al-Shehab, a 34-year-old PhD student at Leeds University and mother of two children, was convicted and sentenced to 34 years in prison after she returned home to Saudi for a holiday break.
Court documents in Shehab case revealed she had been convicted for the alleged crime of following the Twitter accounts of individuals who “cause public unrest and destabilise civil and national security”. In some cases, she retweeted tweets posted by dissidents in exile.
Shehab told a Saudi court she had faced abuse and harassment during her detention, including being subjected to interrogations after being given medications that exhausted her.
In Qahtani’s case, Saudi authorities appear to have imprisoned her for “simply tweeting her opinions”, said Abdullah Alaoudh, the director for the Gulf region at Dawn.
“It is impossible not to connect the dots between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s meeting with President Biden last month in Jeddah and the uptick in the repressive attacks against anyone who dares criticise the crown prince or the Saudi government for well-documented abuses,” Alaoudh said.
Dawn was coming forward with the news, he said, in the hopes that people who know Qahtani might shed light on her case.
Saudi laws are designed to give authorities maximum discretion, including the power to detain individuals for vaguely defined anti-terrorism laws such as “disturbing public order” and “endangering national unity”.
Qahtani does not appear to have had a Twitter account in her own name. Other Saudis believed to have used pseudonyms to post satirical or critical content on Twitter have faced detention and arrest.
Twitter has not commented publicly on Shehab’s case.
Instead, these thug killer sheikhs and tribalist monarchs are being courted and wooed by the entire West for their oil and gas as the bourgeoisies shut down and block all contractual arrangements with Russia, because “they have to wean themselves off dependency of supply from tyrannical regimes”!!!
Satire, as is now frequently observed, is dead, in fact with a stake through its heart.
As the crisis deepens even the tamest of “protest” everywhere is censored and suppressed, deemed “disinformation” or jingoistically declared “unpatriotic” or labelled as “extremism” to be “monitored” or “controlled” by programmes like the “Prevent” state brainwashing programme and a system of now universal police and secret police etc) street and communications surveillance (MI6, MI5 secret police, GCHQ and NSA and the “Five Eye” world spy network etc) that make George Orwell’s 1984 anti-communist fantasies look tepid and amateurish (even though they were a real reflection of the domestic spying activities within British capitalism and its BBC state broadcaster where Orwell worked (ie not inspired by communism) at the time of his book in 1948).
Even bourgeois Tory figures, like the maverick reactionary Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, find the outright fascist suppression difficult to swallow:
Today I need to defend a person I do not much like. I will explain why I do not like him in a moment, but that is not the important bit.
What matters is this: if the Government can just reach out and ruin a man’s life, without any need of a fair hearing or a guilty verdict, then we do not live in a free country. This is what has just happened to the video blogger Graham Phillips.
The danger is that, because Mr Phillips is so hard to like, the Government will get away with it. And then, when it uses the same powers on somebody else, it will be too late to protest.
As the great US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter once said: ‘The safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.’
Some of Mr Phillips’s activities have been questionable, though he firmly denies many of the charges against him. For me, his worst action was his cruel and stupid questioning of a badly wounded Ukrainian prisoner of war. Others have condemned his interview of Aiden Aslin, a British citizen who had been fighting with Ukrainian armed forces and was captured by the Russians.
It has been suggested that the interview was a breach of the Geneva Conventions. Mr Phillips, contacted in Lugansk, says Mr Aslin asked for the interview himself, has never complained, and has given several other interviews since.
Be that as it may, last week Mr Phillips was placed on the UK Government’s sanctions list. The Foreign Office, which is in charge of this process, no longer answers the phone, and replies only once to emails, with bland official statements, so I do not have some of the details that I would like to have.
But as far as I know, he is the first British citizen to be treated in this way. His assets have been frozen. His bank accounts are blocked. He also cannot pay those to whom he owes money.
For example, his home insurance has now been cancelled because his insurers are forbidden to accept his premiums. All his bills will now bounce, the utilities at his London home will soon be cut off. He cannot even pay his council tax. He will face incessant claims for debts, which he can do nothing about.
As he says: ‘How can I pay these debts when I don’t have access to funds? If it goes to court, how can I defend myself when I won’t be able to pay for legal representation? Actually, how will I even find the money to travel to the court without money, or even feed myself?’ Franz Kafka, the great Czech author of The Trial, a classic about oppression, could not have invented a legal mantrap as inescapable as this.
Leading British lawyers have accurately described the objects of this action as ‘prisoners of the state’. Very well, you may say, this is how we must act against money-launderers and terrorists abroad.
You might equally well say that such powers could be used against officials of the Russian government, or officers in the Syrian Army. And if you look at the list of people treated in this way under the Sanctions and Money Laundering Act of 2018, that is who you will find.
Of course, none of these people is a former UK civil servant with a British passport, as Mr Phillips is. As long as they stay out of our reach, the sanctions are just an inconvenience to most of those placed under them.
But for Mr Phillips, they mean actual ruin. Whatever you think of him, is this a proper use of state power? Is it allowed by Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights, let alone by the ‘human rights’ the Foreign Office claims to be so fond of?
The official declaration says Mr Phillips is being sanctioned because he is ‘a video blogger who has produced and published media content that supports and promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, or independence of Ukraine’.
Well, so what? None of these actions is or ought to be a crime under British law.
The anti-communist Hitchens finishes up with the usual crude swipe against “Stalinist methods”, by which he means overt dictatorship and censorship.
But dictatorship is actually the reality which underlies bourgeois rule, behind the thin veil of its “democracy” pretences, becoming ever more threadbare as it slides further into desperation and slump crisis.
The ruling class needs stamp down harder and harder in order to rip away all the reformist gains won by the working class, intensifying the rate of exploitation to try and survive in the ever more brutally cutthroat conditions of trade war as the system implodes under the weight of its contradictions.
Dictatorship rule in a workers state is something entirely different because it is the rule by another class, the proletariat, established by revolutionary overthrow and maintained in order to suppress the domination and exploitation by the degenerate and arrogant capitalist class.
Working class dictatorship is vital to prevent the counter-revolution the old order will always conspire to mount until it gradually dies out, trying to recover its position by any and every dirty and ruthless means it can.
And it is different because it is only temporary (in the long term) with the purpose of guiding and developing society along planned, rational, socialist grounds in which the welfare and development of every single individual is the condition for the progress of all society, gradually drawing more and more into its government to end class altogether and thereby ending any need to suppress other classes (see Lenin State and Revolution) – at which point workers class rule will no longer be required and society can flourish as a full self-disciplined community (which is what most people think of as “real democracy” but is unattainable without a generations long period of education and development after which society will no longer require the “will of the majority” to be imposed because reason and science will prevail among everyone).
It was not maintaining the workers state discipline through the dictatorship of the proletariat that was Stalin’s great flaw, – that was his party’s achievement which kept the Soviet Union together after the 1917 revolution, despite the non-stop attacks and subversion against it.
It built it up to survive the great imperialist onslaught by Hitler Nazism in 1941-45, and overall led to astounding development during 70 years of titanic successes in science, society, education and culture, often outpacing the rich West, (first man in space etc) despite the non-stop sabotage and subversion against it, the devastation of the Second World War and the intimidating nuclear encirclement throughout the Cold War.
All was done without a capitalist in sight and producing a humane and cultured society which is still nostalgically looked back on by a large part of the ordinary population in the old Soviet camp.
Stalinism’s weakness was a falling back from Lenin’s revolutionary perspectives embodied firstly in Popular Frontism during the Spanish Civil war for example, and post-WW2 in delusions about “permanent peaceful coexistence” allegedly made possible by the existence of “non-aggressive” or at least “less aggressive” imperialist powers which could be “contained” by a now enlarged and ever growing socialist camp, needing only vigorous “peace struggle” to limit their tendency to warmongering.
According to this soft-brained world view the ever growing soviet camp would more or less outpace imperialism until capitalism faded away or disintegrated.
It had nothing to do with Lenin’s understanding that there is no avoiding war, world war, which is inevitable until capitalism ceases to exist.
It was a perspective which could only be increasingly out of kilter with relentlessly expanding capitalist production, based on near or even actual slave labour worldwide rather than the reasonable working conditions, education, health, living and social standards provided across all of the huge USSR with no colonialist exceptions.
Disappointment at the inevitable failure of this straight line logic finally grew into bureaucratic dismay in Moscow’s leadership culminating in the disastrous liquidationism of just deceased Mikhail Gorbachev, abandoning the dictatorship in favour of soft-brained delusions in the democratic path of “our common European home” and the virtues of the “free market”.
It opened the former Soviet camp up to the mafia and oligarch depredations of the 1990s carpet bagging and profit plundering which stole all the great hard-won wealth of the workers and hammered living standards to the floor, prematurely killing thousands and thousands and leaving many more in drug and crime raddled poverty and despair (see EPSR Book Vol 13 Gorbachevism and Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics) only partly alleviated by Putin’s subsequent bonarpartist reining in of the worst oligarch excesses (which still continue in the main however.)
Small wonder Gorbachev’s passing has produced little sympathy or commemoration in Russia – far more eulogies have appeared in the West for the man Thatcher “could do business with”.
The persecution meted out to Graham Phillips is part and parcel of the blanket censorship imposed by Western imperialism on the entire war on Ukraine, tearing up all pretences of balanced reporting, impartiality and the “freedom to speak” which the liberals and “lefts” are supposedly so keen to defend.
Dozens of other journalists and reporters from across Europe have been persecuted for trying to give on-the-ground accounts, and TV stations, social media accounts and other outlets have been shut down, using various excuses about “false information” and pretences about “filtering out propaganda”.
Other media are leaned on, the few occasions when they resist (to a small extent) serving to highlight the constant pressure and the subservient role of the “allies” to dominant US imperialist interests:
The US National Security Agency (NSA) tried to persuade its British counterpart to stop the Guardian publishing revelations about secret mass data collection from the NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, according to a new book.
Sir Iain Lobban, the head of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), was reportedly called with the request in the early hours of 6 June 2013 but rebuffed the suggestion that his agency should act as a censor on behalf of its US partner in electronic spying.
The late-night call and the British refusal to shut down publication of the leaks was the first of several episodes in which the Snowden affair caused rifts within the Five Eyes signals intelligence coalition, recounted in a new book to be published on Thursday, The Secret History of Five Eyes, by film-maker and investigative journalist Richard Kerbaj.
According to Kerbaj, Lobban was aware of the importance of the particularly special relationship between the US and UK intelligence agencies but thought “the proposition of urging a newspaper to spike the article for the sake of the NSA seemed a step too far”.
“It was neither the purpose of his agency nor his own to deal with the NSA’s public relations,” Kerbaj writes.
In October 2013, the then prime minister, David Cameron, later threatened the use of injunctions or other “tougher measures” to stop further publication of Snowden’s leaks about the mass collection of phone and internet communications by the NSA and GCHQ. However, the DA-Notice committee, the body which alerts the UK media to the potential damage a story might cause to national security, told the Guardian at the time that nothing it had published had put British lives at risk.
In the new book, Kerbaj reports that the US-UK intelligence relationship was further strained when the head of the NSA, Gen Keith Alexander, failed to inform Lobban that the Americans had identified Snowden, a Hawaii-based government contractor, as the source of the stories, leaving the British agency investigating its own ranks in the search for the leaker. GCHQ did not discover Snowden’s identity until he went public in a Guardian interview.
‘It was a chilling reminder of how important you are, or how important you’re not,” a senior British intelligence insider is quoted as saying in the book.
The Five Eyes allies were outraged that a contractor like Snowden, working as a computer systems administrator, could get access to their secrets, and that because of US government outsourcing, there were 1.5 million Americans with top security clearance like Snowden.
However, when Five Eyes officials met in Australia in the summer of 2013, only the British representatives openly questioned US practices. The other allies were not prepared to challenge the Americans out of anxiety that they could be cut off from the flow of intelligence.
British officials also decided to bite their tongues when it came to frustration with their US counterparts, because of the value of the intelligence and funding provided by the NSA. Sir Kim Darroch, the former UK national security adviser, is quoted in the book as saying: “The US give us more than we give them so we just have to basically get on with it.”:
The reality is of an every tightening bourgeois state control of the media through networks of intelligence and NGO organisations.
The social media giants are part of the racket too. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pretends that his giant media monopoly is simply monitoring for “disinformation” which in practice means taking instructions from the FBI:
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made an astonishing admission: that Facebook did, in fact, limit newsfeed sharing of a story about US President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and his laptop after warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Zuckerberg said his social media platform did not ban people from sharing the Post’s story, but it took action to limit how often the story appeared on feeds.
In an interview with popular podcaster Joe Rogan that was uploaded on Thursday, Zuckerberg however defended the FBI as a “legitimate institution.”
Zuckerberg said that the FBI reached out to his company ahead of the 2020 presidential election and urged them to take action against potentially polarizing content.
The Facebook owner said his social media platform took the warning seriously.
Commenting on Zuckerberg’s admission, New York-based journalist Don DeBar called the revelation further proof of deep state meddling in the disputed presidential election, adding that US intelligence agencies “overtly stole the 2020 election.”
The New York Post revealed shortly before the 2020 election that Hunter was involved in shady dealings in Ukraine, which were found on a laptop that he had apparently left in a Delaware repair shop in 2019.
Hunter’s laptop scandal was blocked on several social media outlets, including Facebook. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later called the move to block the scandal a “total mistake.”
Facebook took steps to limit the spread of the Post story. The company’s policy communications manager Andy Stone tweeted, “While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact-checked by Facebook’s third-party fact-checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”
The claims made in the Post story hinge on emails reportedly retrieved from the hard drive of a laptop dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.
A store owner is said to have provided a copy of the hard drive to an attorney for Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who now serves as Trump’s personal lawyer before the FBI seized the hard drive.
Pulitzer Prize-winner American investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has revealed...in a recent article that “the CIA, Big Tech, the liberal wing of the corporate media and the Democratic Party” censored and suppressed “a series of major reports about then-presidential frontrunner Joe Biden”.
And the organisations declared to be “factcheckers” are themselves part of the racket as reported by Mintpress :
Most of the fact-checking organizations Facebook has partnered with to monitor and regulate information about Ukraine are directly funded by the U.S. government, either through the U.S. Embassy or via the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an information war as bitter as the ground fighting has erupted, and Meta (Facebook’s official name) announced it had partnered with nine organizations to help it sort fact from fiction for Ukrainian, Russian and other Eastern European users. These nine organizations are: StopFake, VoxCheck, Fact Check Georgia, Demagog, Myth Detector, Lead Stories, Patikrinta 15min, Re:Baltica and Delfi.
“To reduce the spread of misinformation and provide more reliable information to users, we partner with independent third-party fact-checkers globally,” the Silicon Valley giant wrote, adding, “Facebook’s independent third-party fact-checkers are all certified by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). The IFCN, a subsidiary of the journalism research organization Poynter Institute, is dedicated to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide.”
The problem with this? At least five of the nine organizations are directly in the pay of the United States government, a major belligerent in the conflict. The Poynter Institute is also funded by the NED. Furthermore, many of the other fact-checking organizations also have deep connections with other NATO powers, including direct funding.
The point is not for the moment to explore the undoubted dirty dealing and corruption of the US political establishment on all sides which this report goes on to consider but to grasp the complete fraudulence of “freedom of the press” and “democratic rights” in capitalism in general, which totally controls the information and education of the masses from the day they are born to the day they die, and most of all in rubbishing any notions of socialism with non-stop poison poured out against the workers states like Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and China, as well as the entire history of the Soviet Union.
Iran posturing too
Meanwhile, there are further layers of disinformation and humbug in the Rushdie incident too, dating back four decades to the grandstanding of the reactionary Iranian Ayatollahs issuing a “fatwa” to give themselves some bogus anti-imperialist credibility in the 1980s, as they manoeuvred to keep themselves on top of the explosive Iranian revolution without pushing things into an allout conflict with US imperialism.
As the EPSR’s science was able to explain even at the time, it suited Washington to tolerate the mullahs in preference to the potential for much more upheaval which could only have headed in a much more communist minded direction, not least because the clerical regime was, and still is, brutally suppressive of socialism, trade unionism and other working class organisation.
Tehran’s current partially forced “approval” of the Rushdie attack (unable to back away from it completely for fear of losing face) is laden with as much falsity as it was then and the Ayatollahs still play a reactionary role to keep the masses away from communist ideas.
It is worth reproducing how the EPSR analysed matters at the time, despite changed conditions, not least the demise of the Soviet Union (ILWP Bulletin (EPSR) No 483 22-02-89):
There is nothing but hypocrisy piled upon hypocrisy in the antics surrounding Rushdie’s novel Satanic Verses. Never has the crap notion of ‘artistic rights’ (so belaboured in the cause of anti-communism by Western ‘freedom of expression’ posturing) been so exposed as lying cant.
The much vaunted-‘democratic values’ of the so-called ‘free world’ come down to one thing in the end, – the crucial importance to the bourgeois class (led by Western imperialism) for guaranteeing that the capitalist system continues whatever else happens, – and that above everything, communist revolution must be prevented from coming to power.
Only this can explain the extraordinary cautious treatment by bullying Western gunboat colonialism of the mad mullahs in Tehran. These fascist fanatics are a constant irritation to Washington’s dream of smoothly manipulating the entire anti-communist world to the CIA’s master-plans, but at the same time they are infinitely preferable to revolutionary communism which might have captured power in Iran after the overthrow of the USA’s stooge Shah.
All Western behaviour towards this atavistic fundamentalism since then has been governed by these same considerations.
However truly painful and humiliating have been some of Khomeini’s posturing pretences of being ‘against the Great Satan – US imperialism’ to keep the revolutionary Iranian masses under control, – including the seizure of US hostages and the ransacking of its embassy in 1979 to the colossal damage of the CIA’s subversive role revealed in captured embassy documents, – Washington has always held back from open warmongering threats to topple the Shi’ite dictatorship in the absence of any reliable alternative to put in its place. These considerations produced the astonishing contradiction of the USA appearing to be waging a limited Gulf naval war against Iran while its Washington bigwigs were secretly supplying arms to the Ayatollahs to suit more devious political purposes.
Imagine the treatment of Gaddafi’s Libya if American hostages were seized there and US installations ransacked, and if Libya waged an eight-year-war against an American ally as Iran did against Iraq. Not just Tripoli, and not just Gadafi personally, – but the whole of Libya would have been blitzed to smithereens long since.
Imagine Gaddafi defending the honour of Islam by ordering his faithful to use any means to seek out the infidel Briton Rushdie and kill him. The entire press, political, and orchestrated public chorus would be: “This is too much. This is a threat to all our liberties. This mad-dog regime cannot go on”, etc. There would not be mild talk of withdrawing a diplomat or two, or ‘suspending’ diplomatic relations, but of instant all-out F 1-11 retaliation.
The difference is that Gaddafi is a confused but would-be genuine opponent of Western imperialism. The Ayatollah is a deluded fraud, – with phony religious ‘solutions’ (just like all other religions).
But Tehran’s fascist fanaticism remains a real irritant to the capitalist system. It is a hallmark of the imperialist world in decline and riddled with contradictions. More than mere token ‘anti-imperialism’ is now required to survive for long as a leadership in the Third World where the masses are heading relentlessly towards communist revolution.
The last-resort fascist ‘solution’ to head off communist revolution has always represented this threat to the stability of the capitalist system. Fundamentalist Iran is barely comparable to Nazi-led German imperialism for all kinds of reasons, but there are some historical parallels, and the nationalist hatred for Anglo-Saxon domination is real enough, even if only phony ‘anti-imperialism’. The mullahs would be as big and vicious imperialists as the Nazis if they had the wherewithal, – and do rule in exactly the same way domestically, butchering all opposition with relish. The ambitious fascist aggressiveness of this demented Islamic self-righteousness, - just like ‘master-race’ Nazism, - could yet become a real military-political problem for Washington’s wish to smoothly control the anti-communist world; but for the moment this particular gang of maniacs in Tehran are a spent force, having humiliatingly failed to wipe out the ‘infidel’ Saddam Hussein in Iraq despite all the endless boasting of what they would do to him, etc.
Rushdie has caught the full blast of a desperate search by these loonies to find some great stunt around which they can posture outrageously against the ‘Western imperialist infidels’ once again but without risking any real damage or conflict (they hope) with their military and economic relations with the West on which these holy hypocrites are so dependent.
The bogus ‘free West’ has the task of showing just the right degree of ‘indignation’ and ‘punishment’ for this pathetic further twisting of the imperialist lion’s tail but without undermining the CIA’s overall game-plan which is to hang onto the ayatollahs until a better alternative capitalist-dictatorship-regime can be found or set up.
It is a different matter entirely, of course, where real opposition to world imperialist domination is concerned, – in the workers states or revolutionary communist regimes, or would-be anti-imperialist nationalists like Gadafi.
Throughout the 71 years of its history, the USSR has only had to not devote scarce publishing space to counter-revolutionary crap and the West has always instantly turned the frustrated ‘dissident’ into immediate overnight ‘literary masterpiece creator’ giving endless publicity to the insulting scribble, however ‘blasphemously’ hostile and provocative against the deeply-held revolutionary values of communist Russia. If Moscow should ever try arranging the international assassination of an offending author, the West would retaliate by encouraging a hero-worshipping industry to be built around him, – (as indeed happened to Trotsky), – not persuade him to make a half-hearted apology in the interests of trade, as has happened to Rushdie.
If it is against communism, then any kind of vicious irrational or insulting behaviour is not only tolerable but praiseworthy....
The tones of ‘indignant outrage’ from all adherents of the ‘free way of life in the West’ are noticeably more muted when the dictatorial censorship or exemplary punishment is being dished out to supporters of the Irish national liberation struggle for example.
Then the joking stops, and it becomes ‘important’ to treat the ‘men of violence’ as a ‘serious matter’, etc.
Once the humbug has been stoked up high enough by relentless organised disinformation campaigns through the media, then it becomes possible to impose a complete censorship ban on the reporting of Sinn Féin’s own statements or spokesmen just for daring to fight for their country’s independence under reunification; or to threaten the very franchise of a major ‘independent’ TV corporation just for broadcasting an impartial account (and also an impartial investigation into that account) of the SAS death-squad murders in Gibraltar; or to stage Gestapo terror-raids on news studios to wipe out the results of an exposure of ‘defence’-spending misappropriations for anti-Soviet warmongering; etc, etc.
The West makes great fun of the Muslim calendar still only having reached the 13th century, but the reality is that capitalist bourgeois hypocrisy has itself not left the Middle Ages far behind when it comes to self-righteous intolerance of any serious challenge to monopoly-imperialism’s right to rule.
There was no question of the Foreign Office springing to the defence of Jim Allen and his truly enlightening work Perdition which exposed the unbroken links between Zionism and imperialism even in the period when German imperialism was persecuting Jews as a convenient scapegoat to bolster the Nazi longterm anti-communist warmongering strategy.
Allen’s play was hounded off the London stage by Zionist-influenced international monopoly-capitalist pressure, and not a soul lifted a finger to halt this monstrous medieval obscurantism preventing scientific discussion of a very important world political issue. Where were all the representatives of ‘firm rational outspokenness when necessary’ at that time? They couldn’t care less about the serious matters debated in Perdition because of Allen’s left views.
The real issue is always one only: Which system is being defended? If it is the Western imperialist system, then all the ‘eternal values’ are suddenly found to be ‘justifying’ whatever course of action a majority can be persuaded will be victorious. If it is an anti-communist system but one which likes to posture as partially ‘anti-imperialist’ like Islamic fundamentalist fascism does,- then the response is hesitant confusion and half-heartedness. If it is the dictatorship of the proletariat, then anything it does on any front is instantly seen as a ‘diabolical threat to the whole system of values of the entire civilised world’, etc.
Totally abstract notions about non-existent ‘rights to publish and to free speech’ are completely irrelevant to Western imperialist power diplomacy once any serious threat to its dominance has emerged. Such ‘democratic values’ are purely kept for combative propaganda offensives against would-be challengers to Western monopoly-capitalist rule.
And bourgeois hypocrisy aside, daft ideas about ‘eternal rights to freedom of expression’ are an idealist fantasy in any case. There is only one ‘freedom’ and that is the scientific recognition of historical necessity. (ea) The iron laws of incurable capitalist economic crisis and inter-imperialist warmongering dictate that proletarian revolution alone can rescue civilisation (from endless degeneration) via a transitional period (several generations at least) of firmly-ordered proletarian-dictatorship-states before a completely new era of communist self-government can securely replace state structures of all kinds. Only then will it be possible for world society to match up to the only worthwhile definition of ‘democracy’ which is that the free development of each individual shall be the condition for the free development of all, - in other words where no one at all can be left out of a real equality of opportunity for all to develop how they wish, – a situation not remotely recognisable in the present grotesquely unequal and tyrannical life of the entire ‘free’ world (which so loves to boast about its ‘democratic’ system and its ‘democratic’ values, etc).
The iron laws of historical necessity in an era of tumultuous worldwide capitalist crisis heading unstoppably towards inter-imperialist World War III, have no time at all for the disgusting ‘free world’ humbug of the West, nor for the opportunist posturing of the cautiously ‘subversive’ money-making anti-communist scribbler Rushdie, – any more than for the vicious hypocrisy of the barbaric Islamic escapist delusion. All will vanish without trace, and a lot quicker than revisionist-defeatism imagines, – once the world imperialist economic and military monopoly-dictatorship is broken once and for all, – (which itself may come much sooner than is thought, now that Japanese and German imperialist rivalry to US international domination is rapidly surging beyond the point of tolerable equilibrium. The world imperialist engine is too full of steam. It must move rapidly in a new direction, or explode.)
In terms of scientific revolutionary socialism (Marxism-Leninism), – the only philosophy which can now fit the further development of human society,– the opportunist petty-bourgeois anti-communist scribbler Rushdie is in the same leaky and doomed boat as the humbugging ‘free’ West and hypocritical Islam. Ignorance of Leninism is a guarantee of all their demises – whether god-fearing or not. The allegedly ‘subtler’ accommodation to ‘modernism’ of Christianity versus Islam is not really much difference in terms of its medieval primitivism, as seen for example in the fascist colonialism of intolerant Presbyterianism in the Occupied Zone of Ireland; or the burning of cinemas in France and elsewhere for currently trying to show the Hollywood movie Last Temptation of Christ; or in the worldwide anti-communist rituals of the Moonies and other bizarre cults; or in the grotesquely sleazy fundamentalism of the millionaire-crook TV evangelists in the USA; etc.
Such disturbed behaviour will become more and more a feature of all doomed idealism as the clear superiority and inevitability of scientific socialism makes ever greater strides around the world in a tumult of revolutionary struggle against capitalism’s incurable warmongering slump.
Belief in god is the sick benighted hangover from the unscientific past which has hardly begun yet to run into the insuperable barrier to its survival of a really ‘modern’ international scientific worldview, which the hitherto backward workers states that have been formed have not remotely yet begun to approach providing. But the pace of advance of a scientific materialist outlook is increasing all the time. This present darkest hour for Leninism is just before the dawn of its fullest flourishing worldwide.
.... Moscow should come out firmly with a loud Leninist explanation that books don’t stop at words,– either at the words in them or the words about them. In fact the last thing that such an international controversy as the Satanic Verses affair is about is the words in the book. All books are political or social arguments in extension of class positions. Ultimately, the real expression of what books stand for is class force. Violent defence against books and authors which represent a class-war threat is as natural and inevitable (on all sides of the argument) as national state defence forces themselves, used in response to similar threats.
What has to be decided in the Rushdie/Islam/Western imperialism conflict is whether any class force involved represents a real way forward for the mass cause of communist revolution or enlightened consciousness in any way. Rushdie’s general performance so far (in his opportunist literary career and public personality role) has hardly yet made him capitalism’s public enemy number one, and nor will his signature to Charter 88 fake radicalism (hiding continued class-collaboration) do so either.
Although it is not immediately obvious that any serious challenge to the religious obscurantism of Islam needs to have provocative suggestions made about Mohammed’s personal life, even in a novel or even in a dream sequence in a novel, — the mere fact of commercial publication of Rushdie’s book may yet become a spontaneous incident in a real crisis for the Mosque’s reactionary hold on the masses. But the only challenge which can ultimately eclipse the influence of religion (all religions) once and for all is the mass revolutionary consciousness which will be built up around a scientific Leninist movement......Jack Bradshaw
Though many conditions have changed since the initial fatwa was issued, not least the end of the USSR and further world retreat from Leninist clarity, leaving some Islamism taking on more of anti-imperialist sentiment for the time being (as explained) the essential points remain.
Some are even more pertinent, such as the gross hypocrisy around the Zionist pressured censorship of the Perdition play (still mostly unseen) which has since become vastly magnified into the CIA/Zionist conspiracy to label all opposition and exposure of the Jewish/Zionist occupation of Palestine to be “racist anti-semitism”, culminating in the deliberate distorted campaign of lies used to disrupt and sabotage the Corbynite “left” Labour wing (including by the dirty dealing of the backstabbing Labour hierarchy itself) after it was pushed into the leadership by a huge surge of popular left support and was threatening to win the 2018 election.
Even now the relatively low-key and ambivalent official Western response to Iran reflects imperialism’s continuing (reluctant) acceptance of the Ayatollahocracy as serving an anti-communist purpose, albeit much more unstably so in the post-Soviet period.
Its thorn-in-the-side anti-”Great Satan” posturing treads a more unstable tightrope walk, and could easily go out of control (from Washington’s point of view) as it started to do under the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presidency, forming alliances with the rising left nationalism in Latin America, and particularly Venezuela before being brought back to compromise.
Washington played a similar game in Egypt when it was trying to head-off the gigantic spontaneous mass street revolt of the Arab Spring in 2011 (driven by cost-of-living increases caused by the 2008-9 global bank failures in the first universal emergence of the great Catastrophe).
Initially it supported the Muslim Brotherhood in the new post-Mubarak “democracy” (with suitable interference to make sure the “moderate” presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi was selected rather than more overtly anti-imperialist rivals).
Some of the US bourgeoisie like Republican John McCain continued to see this “democracy” as the best way to keep the lid on Egypt, rather than the “safer” torture and massacre military-coup mounted in 2013, almost certainly under Zionist pressure because of the MB’s partial support for sister organisation Hamas in the Gaza strip.
General Sisi’s counter-revolution, complete with as much torture and repression as ever under Sadat or Mubarak and backed with huge dollar subventions set up by the Obama government (including “Joe” Biden) immediately shut down the border from the Sinai.
But its heavy repression, loaded with violent censorship has drawn little of the self-righteousness on display for Rushdie.
So the masses will have to win their own “freedom” in the only way possible, the revolutionary overthrow of this stinking and rotten capitalist order.
All indications are that Iran has also been tolerated in a similar way around Iraq, where the US managed to stitch up a corrupt Shia regime in Baghdad in the years following the bizarre Sunni-Ba’athist anti-occupation “civil war” turmoil in 2005-7.
The degenerate Nouri al-Maliki government, initially appointed by the US, continued to play a stooge role as his Wikipedia entry suggests:
Al-Maliki worked closely with United States and coalition forces in Iraq following their departure by the end of 2011.
It collapsed after 2014 under the weight of corruption though Maliki clung on until 2018 as vice-president, not least in conjunction with Iranian backing.
Tehran joined the sectarian Shia fight against the northern Sunni revolt and particularly the brutal suppression of the Sunni ISIS uprising in 2016 which fought its way virtually to the borders of Baghdad and the toppling of the shia stoogery, threatening to push out the US collusion and Western influence, causing major panic in the West.
The Iranian-backed militias were subsequently a central part of the US and Western supported, armed and aided suppression of the ISIS jihadism in Iraq and into Syria, with grotesque and bloody slaughter on a mass scale, wiping out several major cities like Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul and Raqqa with indiscriminate civilian “collateral damage” butchery (EPSR No1518 15-08-17).
French, British and US airpower and troop support was present alongside the shias, whose militias were as barbaric and brutal as anything the ISIS are reported to do.
Barely a murmur has ever emerged from the fake-“left” over these mass atrocities, designed to maintain Western influence in Iraq, and the further Middle East, because of their confusion and “condemn terror” capitulation to Western “war on terror” belligerence.
Nor do they make anything of the de facto alliance between the Western forces, the Baghdad shias, the Tehran regime and Putin’s Russia, which notably intervened in Syria and the Syrian civil war at this period, in the onslaught on ISIS.
As spelt out above, Marxism does not support the ideologies of movements which are not communist-minded or even hostile to communism. But it is always on the side of blows against imperialism wherever they come from, calling for the defeat of monopoly capitalist forces.
This would apply to Iran too when it is attacked by imperialism.
But it has played a tricky and duplicitous game throughout its four decades of existence, as the EPSR pointed out from early on, as far back as its secret arms deals with the Reagan administration even before its fatwa.
And interesting signs are emerging that the masses in Iraq and the Middle East have had enough, breaking with the Sunni-Shia sectarianism which has plagued the post-2003 Iraq, starting with anti-Iranian riots two years ago and now re-emerging in the occupation of the Baghdad Green Zone against Iran’s dominating influence (which has been backing a Maliki protégé in presidential elections):
Protesters from rival Shia blocs have taken to the streets of several Iraqi cities in a show of force that sparked fears of a descent into violence amid a 10-month political standoff about naming a new government.
The rallies followed a weekend occupation of the Iraqi parliament by supporters of the powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has called for the post-2003 political system in Iraq to be overthrown through popular revolt in perhaps the most serious challenge Iraq has faced since the Islamic State terror group overran Mosul and nearly stormed Baghdad in June 2014.
Demonstrators from Iran-backed groups, known as the Coordination Framework, joined the fray as concerns grew of spillover violence among the country’s Shia communities and even deeper chaos for a country battered by a series of socio-economic crises.
The unpredictable Sadr performed strongly in a national election held last October, but ordered his MPs to resign and has recently begun rallying his formidable numbers on the Iraqi streets – posing a mounting threat to the political establishment.
Iranian-linked groups on the other hand performed poorly in the poll and have since been trying to claw back losses, refusing attempts to name a president, or prime minister and insisting that their influence remains strong in the 329-seat parliament.
Both sides avoided direct clashes on Monday. The Iranian-linked blocs ordered their supporters to depart on the same buses that had carried them to the edge of Baghdad’s Green Zone earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Sadr’s supporters remained inside the Green Zone, where many had camped inside the parliament for the past two days, some setting up barber stalls and food carts.
Earlier, some government ministries had been evacuated in anticipation of disorder, and several powerful tribes in southern Iraq had expressed support for Sadr, who has a large and influential base among Iraq’s Shia working poor and is a force to be reckoned with among political leaders and the Shia clergy.
The standoff was the closest that Sadr and his bitter rival, former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, have come to direct clashes since early 2008, when Maliki, as leader, ordered a military rout of Sadr’s forces in the southern city of Basra.
Maliki was ousted as leader in 2014, as Islamic State menaced Baghdad, but has manoeuvred back into a prominent position among Tehran-backed groups and has been insisting that his candidate be named as prime minister.
Baghdad has been central to a battle for influence between Iran and nationalist groups since shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Iran has steadily built a power base in the country throughout the past two decades and has particular influence in the country’s parliament.
Sadr also maintains links to Iran, and was a prominent actor in the civil war that ripped the country apart from 2004 to 2010. However, he has since tried to establish nationalist credentials, speaking of a need to re-enfranchise Iraq’s Sunni sect, and forming ties with Kurds in the semi-autonomous north.
The anti-sectarian flavour of these moves and the working class base to the so-called “Sadr Army” may be a long way yet from Marxism or even conscious anti-imperialism but it suggests a major stirring that could be of enormous significance and a further major problem for Western control.
It goes hand with a highly interesting non-sectarian remarks made in wake of the latest Zionist barbarities, this time against the Islamic Jihad movement inside the near-concentration camp of the Palestinian Gaza strip:
A ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second-largest militant group in the Gaza Strip, appeared to be holding this week, ending three days of cross-border fighting that killed dozens of Palestinians.
In Rafah, the desert town at the intersection of the Gaza Strip, Israel and Egypt, a stream of empty Palestinian petrol tankers and flatbed trucks rumbled through the border gate towards the Israeli crossing for commercial goods; after a week of tensions, the return of fresh produce and fuel to the besieged territory was welcome.
The weekend’s surprise Israeli airstrikes, codenamed Operation Breaking Dawn, marked the sixth round of fighting between Gaza’s militant groups and Israel since Hamas took over the strip in 2007, and the worst episode of violence in the coastal enclave since an 11-day war last May. The bloodshed did not escalate into another all-out conflict, however, owing to a major gamble: that Hamas would resist being drawn into the fray.
The bet paid off handsomely for Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Yair Lapid, who is enjoying a bounce in the polls before the country holds its fifth tightly contested election in less than four years this November.
Islamic Jihad fired at least 1,000 rockets into southern Israel in retaliation for what Israel described as a “pre-emptive” offensive to thwart a planned major attack by the militant group before Egypt and Qatar brokered a ceasefire on Sunday night. Before then, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) managed to kill two senior Islamic Jihad commanders, on top of arresting another, Bassam al-Saadi, in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin last week. Saadi’s arrest sparked the current tensions.
Sixty people in Israel suffered minor injuries, but the majority of Islamic Jihad’s projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system, leading Israel’s defence establishment to hail the operation as a major success, and boosting the credentials of centrist Lapid, a former television show host.
As ever, the toll in Gaza was much greater. According to the local authorities, 47 Palestinians, among them 16 children, were killed, 360 people were injured, and more than 650 housing units were damaged over three days.
Though Hamas issued statements announcing its support for Islamic Jihad, it refrained from intervening. As a social movement and de facto government responsible for the strip’s 2.2 million people, Hamas has less room to manoeuvre than Islamic Jihad, which is backed directly by Iran and focusses solely on armed resistance to Israel.
Hamas is also still recovering from the 2021 war, and not ready for a new round of conflict. The group is loath to give Israel a reason to cancel the 14,000 Israeli work permits issued for Gaza since last year, or shut down the more consistent supply of electricity that currently reaches the strip’s sole power plant; both measures have made small but significant improvements to quality of life for the area’s impoverished population.
In an interview in his office in Gaza City on Tuesday, Basem Naim, head of Hamas’ political division, dismissed reports of friction between the two groups after Breaking Dawn.
“The leadership of Hamas and Jihad works together. Many Palestinian factions are present in Gaza and we don’t see them as rivals … Some are Islamist, some are Communist, but we have the same goal, which is to get rid of the occupation,” he said.
“Maybe they were in the front, and we stayed at the back, but we didn’t leave Jihad to stand alone. It was not in our interest to escalate this time; this is one battle of many. Responses must be weighed against many complex factors.”
All this might be a long way from outright Marxism and it is not clear which “communist elements” are being referred to, and how much they remain trapped by past revisionist errors. But the sense of developing and mature leadership grasp is unmistakable.
But the battle for Leninist perspectives remains crucial everywhere.
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