No 1118 January 8th 2002
Putting the US' anti-Taleban blitzkrieg into its crisis context of decades of counter-revolutionary warmongering preparation by imperialism, the only serious 'terrorist' threat to mankind is the American imperialist bourgeoisie, preparing for WWIII. But 'left' avoids having this proved to it via Stalin's trick of refusing genuine open polemics, the very lifeblood of the 50 volumes of Leninist science. Until the Marxist-Leninist polemical tradition is restored, the entire 'left' can only keep on splitting, and failing. USSR doomed by the same theoretical bankruptcy.
Sept 11 and its aftermath have raised many questions but principally the issue of anti-revolutionary degeneration of the socialist movement, once again.
When not idiotically supporting bourgeois hypocrisy's "condemnation" of this desperate Middle-East attempt to strike back against PERMANENT imperialist domination and warmongering humiliation (in occupied Palestine, and elsewhere), — the fake 'left' just naively catalogues "another round of US bullying aggression", & calls 'No to war' uselessly.
But the science of Marxism-Leninism only examines such phenomena in the context of imperialist-system CRISIS and not at all as just arbitrary American acts, or convoluted oil-pipeline conspiracies.
It is also necessary to constantly relate the world turmoil Sept 11 has produced to the ever-improving understanding of what was achieved by the workers states and the socialist Camp, plus the now-towering historical significance of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
The hindsight which new developments help create also makes plainer the long theoretical build-up over decades to Moscow's ultimate Revisionist catastrophe of self-liquidating the Soviet workers state.
The arbitrary murderous blitzkrieg on Afghanistan reveals more fully the crisis-driven neo-fascist phase of the imperialist trade-war cycle which may yet have a huge distance to run (aspects of it having appeared as long as 10 years ago in the anti-Iraq blitzkrieg) but which already has the stamp on it of massive World-War-III escalations to come.
The American monopoly-imperialist bourgeoisie is giving notice, ahead of the next Great Crash dwarfing the events of 1929, that history's next long depression period of collapsing markets, mass unemployment, and poverty-driven revolt internationally, will be resolved in the USA's favour by military-backed cut-throat competition from the start.
The message, intended for Japan, Germany, Italy, and any powers taking notice, is that there will be no waiting for Pearl Harbour next time.
The US propaganda about a 'war on terrorism' could not be more misleading, especially coming as it does from the imperialist superpower which for 55 years has been running the 'School of the Americas' out of Fort Benning, Georgia, where every cut-throat tyranny which has ruled Central and South American countries throughout that time in counter-revolution's interests, has had its leading butchers trained in torture techniques; illicit assassinations; 'deniable' mass-murder; 'legal' frame-ups; 'paramilitary-vigilante' death-squads; straightforward military dictatorships; and fascist coups; (as capitalist press reports themselves have frequently acknowledged, see EPSR 1113), — every truly 'terrorist' activity known to history.
While the Sept 11 guerrilla-war actions against New York and Washington were the catalyst for this renewed surge of American fascist-imperialist aggression(and Sep 11 can indeed be described as terrorism in its proper historical sense of pre-rising individual revolutionary violence against institutions or symbols of the repressive authority, — in this case the US-led international imperialist economic system and its political/military establishment), — — the wider, real, longer-term purpose of this ruthless blitzkrieg on the world's poorest and most backward country is to launch the war on capitalist crisis and its effects before the capitalist crisis launches any more war on US monopoly-imperialist domination.
It is the lessons of history forgotten by the international workers movement (thanks to a steady increase in theoretical mistakes by the CPSU Third International leadership from the 1920s onwards, mainly challenged only by Trotskyism's even worse Revisionist errors and treacherous Opportunism) which matter most in this crucial understanding of what happens next, — not the notorious ruling-class inability to avoid past pitfall patterns.
The bourgeoisie have not forgotten the lessons of how to fight slump and war.
The US ruling class are not fooled now. They know what nonsense it is to "wage war on terrorism", but they also know that ruthlessly putting the boot into all world developments henceforth will be the best way to prepare for the inter-imperialist trade-war and political conflicts to come, basically intimidating everything in sight and preparing for military adventures of the greatest destructiveness possible, the only 'cure' for worldwide 'surpluses' of investment capital in every industry which are steadily choking world trade profits by recession.
Little of this Marxist understanding appears in fake-'left' anti-war propaganda, from the Stalinists to the Trots, from the SWP to the SLP. All either still want to protect their own incorrect historical stance on the questions of war and revolution such as the "peaceful road to socialism" or the "neither Washington nor Moscow" Third-Camp academicism (turning into pro-Solidarnosc 'rank-and-file' counter-revolution at every opportunity); or else just wash their hands of all attempts to understand correctly the triumphs and failures of world revolutionary socialist history, and stick to routine 'left'-reformist electoral futility and 'No to war' endless social-pacifist protesting like the useless Socialist Alliance, (basically just yet another attempt to dig-up again the long-dead corpse of 'left Labourism', the worst fraud ever perpetrated on the working class).
But as the EPSR has insisted since its launch as a weekly paper 22 years ago, until the greatest ever polemical debate and theoretical rethink has challenged the ultimately negative results of Revisionism's and Trotskyism's long hold on the international workers movement, then every attempt at any new serious 'revolutionary' party' building is doomed to never get beyond the squabbling-sect stage.
The wretched farce of Scargill's SLP sums up the problem, deliberately driving out the EPSR's growing influence within the party's ranks with the openly cynical demand that the Review should cease discussing certain subjects (specifically, in that detailed charge, the history of Trotskyite delusions on the Irish Question (because some SLP leaders still adhered to them)) or its editor (the then SLP vice-president) would be expelled from the party.
This laughably trivial nonsense is of no importance in itself, but its symbolism is enormous, exactly capturing the quite ludicrous sectarianism (arrogantly contemptuous of, yet secretly fearful of, all discussion) inherited from the long rotten history of Stalinist cultism. Even more ridiculously and significantly, Scargill only managed to keep any life going in the SLP at all thanks to the typical traditional bureaucratic-opportunist 'loyalty' of the Lalkar museum-Stalinist faction of the Indian Workers Association, which dutifully feigned support for Scargill in every arbitrary outrage of party 'leadership'. Lalkar's museum-Stalinism notoriously 'solves' all the vexed questions of 20th century workers-state and Third International history by simply still continuing to believe that Stalin never got anything wrong, and bluntly just refusing to consider the irrefutable evidence from Stalin's theoretical works of the most crass mistakes in international analysis, and the most grotesque Revisionism of Marxist-Leninist scientific discoveries.
But now, most farcically of all, Lalkar itself (with Scargill's tacit approval, it would seem) has been forced to make the most withering open polemical attack on anti-communist delusions within the SLP leadership which has actually voted Scargill down (apparently) in order to publicly join the SLP to the West's bourgeois propaganda bandwagon (supported by all the fake-'left') of "condemning" the Sept 11 Third World attack on US imperialism.
Such are the sectarian imbecilities resulting from the attempt to build a 'real socialist' party not only without any worked-out revolutionary theory at all, but in undisguised contempt for all genuine polemical open struggle on questions of revolutionary-movement theory.
And everywhere else around all 57 varieties of Stalinist and Trotskyist sclerosis, the same bureaucratic manipulative nonsense prevails, all terrified of taking up the open polemic against all-comers.
Such is the rotten hold of Revisionist traditions that even the sect called Open Polemic just point-blank refused to discuss the broadest vexed questions of revolutionary history "because it was premature until the working class itself can do so once a new party is built".
This chicken-and-egg demented formalism is not so much the "inevitable result of too much aimless talking-shop discussion" as the final ludicrous thrust of precisely those Stalinist bureaucratic traditions of 'loyalty' (which killed off not just all ability to make discussing all new developments afresh and objectively the only possible starting point for every new daily political analysis of the world, confirming or rejecting what had already been 'understood' or predicted, — — but killed off even any capacity to understand what was meant by "only ever starting with actual world developments, always analysed in the light of ever-renewed and ever-reviewed existing theory").
And while another fake-'left' group with pretensions to 'open polemical' dedication, the John Chamberlain sect which captured the CPGB title, — is not so daft that it cannot see the need to base its 'revolutionary programme' on a supposed analysis of contemporary world developments, its continuing Revisionist-tradition disease of bureaucratic manipulativeness and lying hypocrisy means that it will only 'openly' polemicise with selected safe, small targets, or provocatively abuse advantageous larger targets, but consciously tries all the time to ignore or deny the existence of the constant and weighty polemical challenge which the EPSR inevitably makes against this CPGB 'objective debate' posturing.
The obvious opportunist temptation is only ever to polemicise, if at all, within a larger amalgamation or with a larger party which might provide some recruitment advantages. But this all hopelessly misses the point of objective Leninist polemics which can only be to build a genuinely competent, all-round cadre party which could carry on the revolutionary communism fight, if necessary independently for a while in the worst conceivable most isolated circumstances.
With one or two honourable exceptions, the whole ex Third International virtually fell apart at the end of the Revisionist epoch which deliberately set out to kill all notion of polemical struggle(on all matters with all comers in order to develop an independent ability everywhere to grapple with the overdeveloping truths of Marxist-Leninist science.)
One of recent history's most tragic ironies is that all the split-offs from narrow-minded Stalinist complacency inherited exactly the same authoritarian philistinism as the sectarian' bureaucracy they were breaking with.
In every case, it was the complete failure to establish any kind of correct perspective on the world's future developments (different from Stalinism's warped vision) which skewered the endeavour.
The lack of a credible and defendable world view will always embarrass any sectarian 'revolutionary socialist' posture into stifling any real debate or polemic in due course:
The development of 57 varieties of even worse bureaucratic Revisionist authoritarianism than Stalinism itself, marked the essential petty-bourgeois opportunism of the intellectual or trade-union-bureaucrat-cadres (and their working-class followers), splitting for careerist reasons from the Soviet monolith in a decades-long intimidating atmosphere of relentless anti-communist propaganda and vilification. And the specifics of Stalinism's own failure to read world developments correctly contributed to all its critics getting their perspectives hopelessly wrong too.
The Trotskyite Fourth International came spectacularly to grief at the end of the 1930s after the 'Death Agony' manifesto predicted total Stalinist capitulation to fascist warmongering, and an easy 4th I[nternational] revolutionary triumph over imperialism's death throes via programmatic steadiness demanding little more than "a sliding scale of wages" and "opening the books of big business to union inspection", etc, etc.
Seven years later, after the Soviet workers states 1945 triumph over imperialism's fascist-aggression conspiracy (as great a triumph as 1917 itself), and as total US dollar hegemony started reviving monopoly-capitalism towards its most awe-inspiring world trade boom ever, — no Trot faction realistically had a perspective left to stand on; and so authoritarian stifling of all serious theoretical discussion was all that was left for all wannabee true Trot sects, and the splits inevitably began mushrooming faster than ever.
All subsequent sizable Trot sects imposed the same authoritarian dogmatism, — and all always broke into further smithereens as soon as a major theoretical difficulty was thrown up by further world developments.
The splits from Moscow's theoretical paralysis in a more nationalist or reformist direction but which equally failed to come up with a more convincing world perspective than Stalinism's Revisionist nonsense, fared no better.
Maoism (for understandable reasons) totally failed to get to the bottom of Stalin's theoretical mistakes because of Mao's own involvement in their perpetuation; and the resulting non-polemical bureaucratic authoritarianism then left the party prey to even wilder voluntaristic excesses (and the start of serious splits, inevitably sparking off even more dogmatism), from the lack of any polemical party mechanism to cope with the theoretical questions thrown up by the clash with Moscow.
The inevitable subsequent further entrenchment of unchallengeable theoretical authoritarianism by a less-and-less confident(because less-and-less polemically-trained)leadership, unavoidably plunged towards even worse Revisionism later on, a tragic decline which the confused Chinese workers state has yet to see the end of.
Eurocommunism was an even more shamefaced, tight-lipped retreat from Marxism-Leninism, almost abandoning the whole revolutionary idea itself of a role for theory, swamped by the urgent pragmatic business of 'realistic reforms'.
The eventual self-liquidation by Western 'communist' parties could not have provided a more fitting monument of shame to the long-threatened total collapse of any meaningful revolutionary theory, or of any understanding of its crucial role in party-building and the socialist revolution.
Anti-polemical bureaucratic authoritarianism, the total enemy of serious theoretical understanding, had finally proved the point in the most dramatic war possible, — by killing off the party.
The retreat from serious, objective, polemical theoretical struggle (and the start of ultimately terminal Revisionist sickness, unless checked) begins with Moscow's perplexed confusion at the failure of the world socialist revolution to spread further in the 1920s, a nervous paralysis made ten times worse by Trotsky's endless opportunist boat-rocking (against which Lenin had properly introduced the 10th Congress ban on organised factionalising, which tragically was later distorted into a virtual ban on all polemical theoretical struggle of any kind, the lifeblood of the revolution and of civilisation itself).
After much disputed zigging and zagging about the ending of NEP, collectivisation, China, and Germany, etc, (requiring full re-examination in due course), the kernel of Stalin's ultimately destructive world-perspective Revisionism appears in the Spanish Civil War policy of deluded 'support' for petty-bourgeois parliamentary Republicanism when the CP correctly joined the anti-Franco war of resistance. Connected to it was the delusion that 'good' imperialism could be shamed into helping the 'legitimate democracy' survive the outrageous subversion by 'bad' fascist imperialism.
Both were utterly false and misleading perspectives; all imperialism was encouraging reactionary fascist aggression; and the petty-bourgeois 'parliamentary democracy' fraud could never rally sufficient anti-Franco resistance.
The CP line was a disaster. Only a workers state could have been inspired to defeat Franco's coup-war, and might well have triumphed. The Soviet workers state did against far vaster fascist forces three years later. The CP should have called for joint anti-Franco resistance; no support for the petty-bourgeois government; and a proletarian revolution as the only serious way forward.
It was this idiot Revisionist theory of a 'good' imperialism which would help defeat a 'bad' imperialism (which was further boosted by the anti-German 'allies' aspects of world War II (which had entirely different chance causes)) which Stalin then embellished into the "Permanent peaceful coexistence" and "peaceful roads to socialism" imbecilities, embracing various anti-revolutionary put-downs, Spain-style, on the way.
It culminated in the monstrous theoretical nonsense of "Economic Problems of Socialism, 1952" which declared that the days of the imperialist system's economic expansion were over, and that the Marxist-Leninist science of capitalism always having growth potential, was no longer valid. 'Capitalist markets' could no longer be made even 'relatively stable'.
With this gibberish as the gospel Soviet faith over the next two generations, no wonder the CPSU Revisionist hack Gorbachev found himself by 1990 no longer believing in the Stalinist myths that planned socialist equitable production and distribution would by then have left capitalist living standards behind (impossible against the West's super-profits from the world-trade-exploitation's greatest boom in history).
Going with popular, opinion which no longer believed it either, Gorbachev insanely decided that the flaw in Stalin's perspectives was the sluggishness of steady planned non-exploitative Soviet economic development instead of the fact that of course imperialist world-domination still had endless TEMPORARY expansion-potential left in it, — all the way up until the next great slump and World War III.
Instead of tearing up the whole Stalinist Revisionist understanding of 'tamed imperialism' which was still the CPSU delusion, Gorbachev tore up the Soviet workers state and its planned economy, and called for the 'magic' of the market to transform the people's lives (with the fraud of 'parliamentary democracy' inevitably in tow).
Sept 11 and its alarming warmongering aftermath raises the question 'Where is the world heading' as never before; and the tortuous fake-'left' stumbling over the daft notion of joining bourgeois imperialism to "condemn" the tragic terrorist despair of a Middle East wish to fight back against humiliating domination, — shows what a huge theoretical re-education the socialist movement needs.
Stalin's wishful-thinking legacy about 'good' imperialism still lives on, totally deluding everyone's natural instinctive hope for a peaceful democratic solution to all the world's problems.
It is totally disarming dangerous gibberish, backed up by the combined efforts of Socialist Alliance fake-'lefts' to dismiss the blitzkrieg on Afghanistan as just more bombing, unconnected to any deeper imperialist-crisis warmongering, and solvable by diplomatic and democratic reformist pressure(SWP); or else as no concern at all because imperialism is doing the world a favour by wiping out such reactionaries as the Taleban Islamic fundamentalists, even distorting Lenin as being in favour (CPGB).
The massive reproduction of all the quotes from Lenin in recent EPSRs , proving conclusively that there was no Bolshevik objection in principle to terrorism, and nothing but the most careful approach to pan-Islamic developments which genuinely were prepared to fight aspects of imperialist reaction, — are all, of course, totally routinely ignored by such fake-'lefts' as the Socialist Alliance, in line with the whole rotten Revisionist-epoch development in the socialist movement of simply abandoning all serious polemical theoretical struggle.
But such silly opportunism is doomed to get absolutely nowhere against the impending titanic world imperialist crisis in which the working masses will demand and need the most comprehensive revival and further development of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory ever known.
The EPSR has never seen the point of this challenge — as insisting that all of the answers are here, right now.
The point is that without debate, without consistent serious polemical struggle, a new real revolutionary party will never be built to provide the answers workers have to develop.
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