No 1423 18th April 2013
Desperate cult-of-the-personality deification of Thatcher-ism will not rescue the capitalist ruling class from the worst disintegration and catastrophic failure of all time. Nor will the increasingly demented scapegoating Goebbels campaigns lining up yet more victim states for bullying blitzkrieg and destruction as currently against Pyongyang’s attempts to stand up for itself. But if the world is to stop the slide into penury, starvation and Slump chaos facing tens of millions more day by day as entire countries are bankrupted and trade and currency war tensions escalate there needs to be a return to the grasp of revolutionary perspectives and scientific understanding. Above all the non-stop evasion of the polemics and argument to work out how the world first great socialist experiments gave up on revolution has to end and an open polemic be faced up to for building a scientific Leninist leadership for the great struggles coming
Fever pitch and almost hysterical insistence on virtual deification for Margaret Thatcher by the ruling class and nervous sectors of the petty bourgeoisie, is of course a further aggressive Nazi-style stepping up of the class-war now raging with vicious savagery against the working class because of the world economic disintegration.
But it also demonstrates an extraordinary weakness and uncertainty in ruling circles about the future, as the catastrophic failure of world monopoly capitalism continues to unfold.
(It is also a bit rich when at the same time yet another poisonous state-run-TV BBC Panorama brainwashing anti-communist demonisation is being poured out against the North Korean workers state, declared in best Goebbels assertion style by mysterious unidentified “dissidents” to be beyond the pale and ludicrously, “just like Nazi Germany” because it “treats its rulers like gods” in the “cult of the personality” etc etc. And Thatcher????).
More on that below but meanwhile the key point to make – and which the entire petty bourgeois defeatism of the fake-“left” fails to make or even grasp – is that building a myth of some “invincible ‘iron lady’ leader” is a desperate clinging on to a fantasy past of supposed certainties and “solidity” of re-established class rule in a world which is being dragged into the greatest disintegration and chaos in all history and a turmoil that can only end up in the complete ending of monopoly capitalist rule.
And this question of weakness, the failure and incompetence of all fascism, is the essential understanding to pull from the ludicrous “state funeral” and the deluge of media and press eulogies pouring out in all directions (most of all, for the benefit of those who sneer that “this is not fascism”, by the Daily Mail with its infamous “hurrah for the Blackshirts” petty bourgeois hate-headlines pedigree).
Weakness is precisely what is not being analysed and understood by all the ranks of fake-“lefts” from anarchists to sour Trotskyists and bland pacifist Stalinists however much they protest at the callousness and greed of the ruling class.
Their posturing “dance on her grave” demonstrations and likely disruptions of the funeral procession have superficially tapped the extremely deep running hatred for Thatcher, the Tories, and for the petty bourgeois opportunist mass which has supported the Tories (including, tragically, some layers of the working class, corrupted and misled by a century and a half of imperialist “British” chauvinism).
It is certainly the case that the extent of hatred and justified resentment, revealed just beneath the surface in the working class by the frenzy, has been an eye-opening feature of the stirred-up debate and protest of the past week (though ironically it further exposes the fake-“left” in their constant defeatist bewailing of alleged “lack of fightback” spirit and socialist response, in reality an excuse for their own failures, which lie in their own petty bourgeois inward turning and self-interested hopelessness which long-ago abandoned of any shreds of genuine revolutionary understanding. It is “lefts” who are collapsing, not the working class, as the comfortable “left” posing niche they have always found within capitalism (never truly challenging it) disappears along with any prospect for longterm continuation of capitalist rule).
Part of that lack of revolutionary spirit is shown by their inability to bring out and explain this total ruling class weakness, which is just like all the aggressive class war fascism of the past 100 years surfaced because of the failure and fears of the ruling class, most notably in 1930s Germany whose “1000 year Reich” (Empire) lasted just over a decade.
No amount of strident assertions and bullying “principles” by an alleged “strong personality” are going to save imperialist rule which has come to the end of the road historically and can now only drag the world into Slump and war disaster.
This is human historical development which is powered by the objective changes in society not “personality” and which is heading inexorably towards a new world, requiring only conscious scientific clarity about the material reality of world class struggle and forces, namely Leninist leadership – the exact opposite to the idealism expressed this week by Tory Matthew Parish asserting that “as Carlisle said, great people make history.”
Just the opposite – Marxism says the material world is primary and its laws inexorable.
Being determines consciousness and it is not the “will of strong leaders” which can change history (whatever transient impact this or that figure might have).
Only leadership which recognises the necessities of material forces which are changing history will now be able to go forwards.
It was Lenin’s unsurpassed capacity, using the party instrument for theoretical development, to recognise and distil objective reality into Bolshevik leadership grasp and confidence which made him and his party the overwhelmingly significant force which paved the way for world socialism early last century; it is the failure to sustain that revolutionary fight for objective living theoretical understanding, first by Stalinist revisionist leadership and ultimately all revisionism (and its distorted “opposition” in hate-filled petty bourgeois Trotskyist hostility to the workers states) which has temporarily set the world back from completing the transformation to socialism everywhere.
It will be rebuilt.
The “Moneybags” Tory world of privilege and exploitation is out of time, incompetent and incapable, and fit only to be overturned and replaced with a completely new society, namely world socialism and the cooperation and planning of human resources and production on a world scale.
In the real objective world events are driven above all by the crisis which burst through in the credit and bank failure of 2007-8 (despite decades of “regulation” and “control” imposed from the 1929 Crash onwards).
This was the ultimate confirmation and proof (against all sceptics and petty bourgeois anti-Marxist retreat) of the understanding which Leninist Marxism alone has been arguing for the past three decades – that the contradictions of the capitalist way of doing thing would always bring the world back to ever greater catastrophic meltdowns, exactly as Marx first understood (see quotes).
Far from being “old hat”, “dogmatic”, “failed communist theory”, and “no longer relevant for the modern world” as the great swamp of fake-“lefts” and trendy middle class pretend-revolutionaries claimed (and still claim largely), the basic grasp of Karl Marx’s great volumes of Capital, and the huge body of brilliant revolutionary theory around it, further developed afterwards by Vladimir Lenin, first and foremost, and with contributions by multiple great, if flawed revolutionary figures like Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong, have never been more relevant and the historic disintegration of the production for private profit system more glaring.
Already shaken by decades of one partial and regional financial and economic collapse after another, including the whole of Latin America, south-east Asia, of newly “restored” Russian gangster capitalism and above all of Japan, the world’s second biggest economy and most advanced finance sector (with most of the biggest banks), the capitalist system has now been hammered in its very centre by disastrous and unstoppable failure.
Capitalist crisis has not gone away or “started to recover” since 2008.
Far from it, as again only the Leninist party has been constantly underlining and warning for the past five years, the “credit crunch” is ONLY THE BEGINNING.
The repeated shakings, sovereign debt defaults and endless further “downgraded” forecasts of economic growth from the IMF, OECD, Bank of England, Federal Reserve, European Bank etc etc etc are straws in the wind of even worse failure to come.
This is the greatest societal, economic, cultural and political failure and collapse of all time, an entire 800 year old class system now held together only by the total insanity of printing, not billions, but TRILLIONS of completely worthless electronic and paper dollars.
It is like “saving” an alcoholic by drowning him in brandy.
The unknown but devastating molecular impact of this super-inflationary madness (on top of the slower credit poisoning of the world dollar currency system anyway since the 1960s and the lifting of the “Gold standard” later by Nixon) is forcing the seven billion strong world population to grasp the nettle of total historical change.
The utter epochal disintegration (that QE is very temporarily masking) demands a revolutionary struggle on the greatest scale even seen in history – to finally end capitalism in other words.
The masses facing starvation, collapse, penury and war destruction, have no choice.
There is no “Stop Austerity Now” possible or “make the ruling class pay” defensive reformism that will take off the pressure.
There are no ineffectual social-pacifist “Stop the War” solutions, still clung to as an “answer” by the entire fake-“left” from “street savvy” Trots to “hard nut” Stalinists, all demonstrating thereby the total hollowness of their shallow pretences to be “revolutionaries”.
They are nothing but charlatans, opportunists – and reactionaries ultimately – in their hostility to Leninist efforts to build a body of revolutionary understanding by open polemic struggle to establish the best understanding of the objective class struggle.
Least of all do they point to the revolution which is already in train on an ever increasing scale throughout especially the brutally exploited Third World in a thousand forms of spontaneous revolt, “terrorism”, anti-US hatred, insurgency and discontent.
Nearly always confused, sometimes backward and even primitive in social attitudes, this is still a long way from conscious Leninist struggle (not least thanks to the dimwitted, deluded and opportunist misleadership and anti-communism of the Trots and revisionists) but is constantly pushing against the hated dominance and exploitation by the tiny numbers of rich Western monopoly capitalist powers who suck in virtually all the value and resources produced in the world for the indolent pleasure and power of the few who claim to “own” the world.
As the crisis deepens everywhere, now taking out whole countries at a time in economic wipe-out and debt “default” (meaning deliberately imposed bankruptcy by bigger and more ruthless capitalist powers) the rebellions can only increase.
They are coming ever closer to the heart of even the richest of nations, inflamed by the increasingly fascist repression, surveillance, police brutality, torture and warmongering surfacing as the ruling class in all of them is forced to try and impose the most draconian speed-ups, wage and conditions cuts, and workhouse conditions in a desperate bid to survive the cutthroat international competition for, not just shrinking, but wholesale collapsing markets.
Contrary to the superficial defeatism expressed by the ranks of fake-“left” that this vicious class war repression has somehow been manipulated by the ruling class “in order to impose austerity” and is all a plot driven by their insatiable greed to take ever more for themselves, (as pumped out by revisionist academics like Professor James Petras in the US or the shallow reformists anti-communists like Naomi Klein or the BBC’s Paul Mason lately) it is a necessity forced on them against their will.
The ruling class would much rather let sleeping dogs lie and get by on the old parliamentary democracy illusions, covering over the actual dictatorship of capital, with a few reformist sops thrown to the working class to keep them quiet.
They would far rather not see the potential for massive and destructive upheavals being stirred up as the wage slave and Slump ridden reality of capitalism is once more confirmed everywhere (the Third world needing fewer such lessons).
It is terrifying them.
Of course the ruling class is insatiably greedy and can hardly stop itself from filling its boots with ever more insanely pointless and wasteful luxury at the expense of ever greater squeezing of the working class, for the value it makes – even in the middle of desperate economic collapse – and it has been doing so more and more obviously since the “end of the Soviet Union” which took the brakes off any pretences it needed to make about fairness (because temporarily no longer having to counter the great attraction of communism for the vast majority).
But they are simultaneously in a blue funk at potential revolutionary upheavals that will be unstoppably unleashed everywhere in even most complacent and deluded “rich nation” states.
The “inexplicable” riots two summers ago, the poll tax upheavals which saw off the “great” Thatcher herself, and the gigantic street movements of the savaged economies of Europe are all early signals and minor symptoms of a gigantic building pressure which it is more and more obviously clear to any halfway thoughtful or even just sentient human, can only grow towards a volcanic eruption of world humanity.
The stirred-up working class hostility to the in-your-face ruling class contempt expressed in the grotesquely expensive Thatcher funeral is another signal.
In such a context the weird clinging to an old fantasy of leadership looks positively certifiable, a psychological derangement of an entire panicked ruling class.
They were already terrified in the 1970s when the class struggle was threatening to break out of the old trade union and Labour reformist channels of supposed “calm and steady parliamentary democratic progress” as the working class flexed its muscles and brought down the Heath government and came close to doing the same to the Labourite opportunists.
British imperialism, more rotten and decayed than most of the rest of capitalism, gone soft on the indolence of 150 years of arrogant world dominating Empire hubris was one of the earliest of the major powers to feel the impact of the already brewing catastrophe.
It staggered through on a mixture of brittle philistine middle class hostility, sheer good luck (North Sea oil, the chance failure of Argentine bombs which salvaged a “victory” from desperate adventurism in the Falklands etc, the milking of the City’s historic finance position to skim wealth from world trade).
Thatcher herself was a completely fraudulent construct even thirty years ago when the senile and ossified British ruling class was beginning to feel the competitive pressures of more powerful and less incapable bourgeois powers, like the giant dominant USA, constantly rising Germany and Japan and even other lesser capitalists.
Thatcherism’s supposed “thrifty” and “self-respecting” principles, forerunners of the starch-collar Duncan Smith Tory puritanical severities currently being used to justify callous workhouse brutalities being inflicted on the working class, inevitably disintegrated into ruling class splits reflecting the continued impotence, failure and indecision of British imperialism, along with increasingly sleazy corruption scandals.
It was only by the completely empty vacuum of New Labourite advertising spin and bullshit, declaring black to be white, and (declaring) further decline to constitute “improvements” which rescued the ruling class from the almost total collapse of its parliamentary “democracy” racket, only itself in turn to fall apart in disgrace over the manipulated warmongering against Iraq and even greater sleaziness and corruption scandal, because of the unstoppable and unrelenting reality of the capitalist crisis.
The foulness of the class collaborating Blairite rescue of the threadbare parliamentary democracy fraud has been underlined again now by the grotesque show of forelock tugging from the Labourites over the repellent and grotesque Thatcher funeral cultism, though interestingly this appalling obsequiousness has proved too much for some of them like the liberal capitalist guru Will Hutton. His criticisms are made from the deluded belief that Keynesian “boosts” to the economy would somehow rescue capitalism – ignoring the fact that decades of “Keynesian boosts” are all that has kept it staggering as far as the 21st century, wilfully unable to see the reality of unstoppable and unrescuable crisis collapse, and hostile to working class organisation – but still make some useful points about the sheer “in-denial” dream world being punted out about Thatcher. Read it with a peg on the nose for its middle class narrowness:
The empress has no clothes or, at least, not the clothes in which so many want to robe her. Despite all the praise, Mrs Thatcher did not arrest British economic decline, launch an economic transformation or save Britain. She did, it is true, re-establish the British state’s capacity to govern. But then, although she wanted to trigger a second industrial revolution and a surge of new British producers, she used the newly won state authority to worsen the very weaknesses that had plagued us for decades. The national conversation of the last six days has been based on a fraud. If the Thatcher revolution had been so transformatory, our situation today would not be so acute.
In the 20 years up to 1979, Britain’s growth rate averaged 2.75%, although it had been weakening during the ills of the mid-1970s. In the years before the banking crisis, there was a vexed debate about whether the Thatcher reforms, essentially unchallenged by Blair and Brown, had succeeded in restoring the long-run growth rate to earlier levels. Certainly, the gap in per capita incomes between Britain, France and Germany had narrowed, as, apparently, had the productivity gap.
The question is whether any of it was sustainable. Now, there is a growing and dismaying recognition that too much growth in the past 30 years has been built on an unsustainable credit, banking and property bubble and that Britain’s true long-run growth rate has fallen to around 2%. The productivity gap is widening. All that heightened inequality, the unbelievable executive remuneration, wholesale privatisation, taking “the shackles off business” and labour market flexibility has achieved nothing durable.
This bitter realisation has been sharpening in non-conservative circles for some months. The pound has fallen by 20% in real terms since 2008, yet the response of our export sector to the most sustained competitive advantage since we came off the gold standard has been disastrously weak. Britain’s trade deficit in goods climbed to 6.9% of GDP in 2012 – the highest since 1948 – and February’s numbers were cataclysmically bad. Britain simply does not have enough companies creating goods and even services that the rest of the world wants to buy, despite devaluation.
The legion of Mrs Thatcher’s apologists argues she can hardly be blamed for what is happening 23 years after leaving office. But economic transformations should be enduring, shouldn’t they? Thatcherism did not deliver because dynamic capitalism is achieved through a much more subtle interplay. She never understood that a complex ecosystem of public and private institutions is needed to support risk-taking, the creation of open innovation networks, sustained long-term investment and sophisticated human capital. Believing in the magic of markets and the inevitable destructiveness of the state, she never addressed these core issues. Instead, the demand for high financial returns steadily rose through her period of office, along with executive pay, even while investment and innovation sank. And the trends continued because none of her successors dared challenge what she had started.
Instead, her targets were trade unions and state-owned enterprise in the ideological project of brutally asserting the primacy of markets and the private sector, and thus a conservative hegemony, in the name of a fierce patriotism. This was real enough: she really did want to put Britain back on the map economically and politically and the task force sailing for the Falklands embodied the intensity of that impulse. But she did not pull it off, as even she acknowledged, in her more honest moments out of office.
Trade unions certainly needed the Thatcher treatment in terms of both accepting the rule of law and the need for responsibilities alongside their rights. But companies, shareholders, banks and wider finance also needed this treatment. But as “her people” and part of the hegemonic alliance she aimed to create, they would never get the same medicine. Instead, her Big Bang in 1986, allowing banks worldwide to combine investment and commercial banking in London, was a monster sweetheart deal to please her own constituency. Britain became the centre of a global financial boom, but at home this meant an intensification of the financial system’s dysfunctionality, helped by little regulation and a self-defeating credit boom, worsening the anti-investment, short-termist that needed to be reformed. This is now obvious to all. But for nearly 30 years, the apparent success of Thatcherism hid the need.
However, in one serious respect, trade unions were a proper target. By the late 1970s, a handful of trade union leaders in effect co-ran the country, the beneficiaries of the failure of successive governments to bring free collective bargaining into a legal framework. This despite the fact that they could not deliver their members to agreed policies, and the third year of an incomes policy had collapsed. On this question, the Labour party was intellectually exhausted and politically bankrupt; the Conservative government under Heath had been defeated too. It had become a first order crisis of governability, even of democracy.
This was her opportunity and she seized it . The early employment acts and the victory over Arthur Scargill’s NUM decisively reaffirmed that the fount of political power in the country is Parliament, at the time a crucial intervention. But she wildly overshot. Trade unions within a proper framework are a vital means of expressing employee voice and protecting worker interests. Labour market flexibility – code for deunionisation and removal of worker entitlements – has become another Thatcherite mantra that again hides the complexity of what is needed in the labour market: employee voice and engagement, skills and adaptability. When she left office, 64% of UK workers had no vocational qualifications.
The best thing that can be said about Thatcherism is that it may have been a necessary, if mistaken, staging post on the way to our economic reinvention. She resolved the crisis of governance but then demonstrated that simple anti-statism and pro-market solutions do not work. We need to do more sophisticated things than control inflation, reduce public debt, roll back the state and assert “market forces”.
The coalition government is developing new-look industrial strategies, reforming the banking system and reintroducing the state – as a vital partner – into areas such as energy. New thinking is emerging everywhere. For example, in the north-east of England an economic commission chaired by Lord Adonis, of which I was a member, recently recommended the de facto reintroduction of the metropolitan authority in Newcastle, abolished by Mrs Thatcher. It would co-ordinate a pan-north-east redoubling of investment in skills and transport, along with winning more investment. And it wants the local economic partnership to work in the same building as the proposed new combined authority, driving forward an innovation and investment revolution. This complex interaction of private and public the commission is trying to develop is a world away from Thatcher – and widely welcomed.
The empress really has no clothes. Wednesday’s funeral is a tribute to the myth and the conservative hegemony she created. If the royal family is concerned, as is reported, that the whole affair will be over the top, they are right. Mrs Thatcher capitalised on a moment of temporary ungovernability that, to her credit, she resolved, then sold her party and country an oversimple and false prospectus. The landslide Mr Blair won in 1997 was to challenge it, but he did not understand at the time, nor understand now, what his mandate meant. The force of events is at last moving us on. But Britain has been weakened, rather than strengthened, by the revolution she wreaked.
This vacillating liberalism, still in thrall to the supposed “strength” of the ruling class is all over the place in its fearfulness of the working class and just as fantastical as the pro-Thatcherites in its disingenuous assertions about “parliamentary democracy” but it does at least usefully point out the constant decline of British imperialism and all the more valuably for coming from a capitalist source.
No amount of “boosts” to industry etc etc are going to change that, and Hutton’s constant repetition of various formulas for ostensibly creating a “nice” and a “workable” capitalism are fatuous nonsense, no more than the same old reformist promises which delivered the alleged permanent improvements of the working class conditions via old-age pension provision, universal free university education and “National Health”, all inevitably now being stripped away by cuts or privatisation plundering and racketeering (by Labour as much as the Tories).
Oddly enough there is possibly a grain of truth in the notion that only through the discrediting of the cosy class collaborating relationship of the official TUC with capitalism can the full working class struggle for revolution break through – much as it might have been historically necessary for the Cold War “balance” between Revisionist complacency in the USSR and imperialism to break down finally in 1989 and the stifling impact of revisionist leadership to be seen to be the dead-end it is for the working class, needing to be cleared out of the way so that revolutionary Leninism can be rebuilt,
No one would call FOR such defeats (and even now would continue to unconditionally defend the remaining workers states (China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba) despite terrible continuing revisionist leadership blight in Beijing, Ho chi Minh city and to some extent Pyongyang and Havana) and Hutton’s Blairite sanctimoniousness is insufferable but it is also the case that only a complete shake-up in old bureaucratic TU opportunism will clear the decks for the real fight – to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Hutton needs to see the working class really ruling Britain via the total takeover of all its productive resources properly into the hands of the dictatorship of the proletariat so that they really can be organised for planned socialist development, unlike the preposterous notion that somehow the “unions had taken over” in the 1970s when capitalist ownership and its “rights” totally prevailed.
Capitalism still rules and ruled then and is the source of the crisis.
Another more consciously slippery opportunist the Labourites (when it suits his manoeuvring) war supporting Ken Livingstone, favourite of Trotskyists like the SWP, makes a few good points, knowing full well the belly-crawling exhibition by most of the Labourites is turning the stomachs of most workers:
It is a truism that history is written by the victors. As Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies were continued after she left office, culminating in economic catastrophe in 2008, it is necessary to throw out the myths peddled about her. The first is that she was popular. The second is that she delivered economic success.
Unlike previous governments, Thatcher’s never commanded anything close to a majority in a general election. The Tories’ biggest share of the vote under her was less than 44% in 1979, after which her vote fell. The false assertions about her popularity are used to insist that Labour can only succeed by carrying out Tory policies. But this is untrue.
The reason for the parliamentary landslide in 1983 was not Thatcher’s popularity – her share of the vote fell to 42% – but the loss of votes to the defectors of the SDP and their alliance with the Liberals. Labour’s voters did not defect to the Tories, whose long-term decline continued under Thatcher.
Nor did Thatcher deliver economic success, still less “save our country” in David Cameron’s silly and overblown phrase-mongering. In much more difficult circumstances in 1945, the Labour government, despite war debt, set itself the task of economic regeneration, introduced social security and pensions, built hundreds of thousands of homes and created the NHS. In the 31 years before Thatcher came to office the economy grew by about 150%; in the 31 years since, it’s grown by little more than 100%.
Thatcher believed that the creation of 3 million unemployed was a price worth paying for a free market in everything except labour. Thatcher’s great friend Augusto Pinochet used machine guns to control labour, whereas Thatcher used the less drastic means of anti-union laws. But their goal was the same, to reduce the share of working class income in the economy. The economic results were the reason for Thatcher’s falling popularity. As the authors of The Spirit Level point out, the inequality created led to huge social ills, increases in crime, addictions of all kinds and health epidemics including mental health issues.
Thatcher’s destruction of industry, combined with financial deregulation and the “big bang”, began the decline of saving and accumulation of private- and public-sector debt that led directly to the banking crisis of 2008. The idea that bankers would rationally allocate resources for all our benefit was always a huge lie. Now the overwhelming majority are directly paying the price for this failed experiment through the bailout of bank shareholders.
Thatcher was sustained only by one extraordinary piece of luck. Almost the moment she stepped over the threshold of Downing Street the economy was engulfed in an oil bonanza. During her time in office, government oil receipts amounted to 16% of GDP. But instead of using this windfall to boost investment for longer-term prosperity, it was used for tax cuts. Public investment was slashed. By the end of her time in office the military budget vastly exceeded net public investment.
This slump in investment, and the associated destruction of manufacturing and jobs, is the disastrous economic and social legacy of Thatcherism. Production was replaced by banking. House-building gave way to estate agency. The substitute for decent jobs was welfare. Until there is a break with that legacy there can be no serious rebuilding of Britain’s economy.
The current economic crisis is already one year longer than the one Thatcher created in the early 1980s. In effect the policies are the same now, but there is no new oil to come to the rescue.
Labour will win the next election due to the decline in Tory support, which is even lower under Cameron than Thatcher. But Labour must come to office with an economic policy able to rebuild the British economy – which means a clean break with the economic policies of Thatcher. Labour can build an alliance of the overwhelming majority struggling under austerity: a political coalition to redirect resources towards investment and sustainable prosperity using all the available levers of government.
Good enough debunking of Thatcherism but the trickiness in this is to ascribe to Toryism the failings of capitalism, and like all Labourites pretending there is a way to “rebuild”.
The keeping of silence on the reality that it is capitalism itself, not this or that way of “running things” which is dragging the world down into Slump and war is a deliberate conspiracy by the entire circus of parliamentary mountebanks from far right to far “left”.
This is a complete lie, part of the game of tying the working class to parliament which has gone on nonstop for 150 years keeping the working class tied down to the actual dictatorship of capital which calls all the shots that really matter.
Declines in votes are not just for the Tories but express the contempt and hostility of the working class for the whole of parliament – and they were far greater than the figures Livingstone gives, who misses out the great proportion of people who did not vote at all, or are not even registered.
No-one votes positively any more anyway except a tiny minority of fearful middle class (the ones lining the streets for Thatcher) because the parliamentary game is historically bankrupted (Blairism was its last spasm effectively) and hangs on only because no clear revolutionary perspective has yet found a leadership voice.
Labour is not going to “win” anything except by being the last bit of wreckage left standing – and its support is equally lower now than ever before.
Only the continuing lobbying for alleged “left” parliamentary alternatives by the fake-“lefts” (including for Livingstone himself by assorted groups like the petty bourgeois dilettante Trot SWP - falling apart under the crisis contradictions which are exposing their anti-communism more and more) keeps any illusions going at all under the promise of “just get in a true socialist and everything will be different”.
It is a lying opportunist fraud perpetrated by ALL the fake-“lefts” even at the last election, including those who claim to overtly call for the “overthrow of capitalist rule” like the Lalkar/Proletarian Stalinists.
Not one of them advanced the ABC position of Lenin that the only reason to participate in bourgeois elections is to take advantage of the platform offered to denounce bourgeois rule including its parliamentary fraud, as he sets out in his book “Left-wing communism” which the fake-“lefts” always wilfully misunderstand and misquote as a supposed advocacy of parliamentary methods. Only for revolutionary purposes dear boy.
Livingstone’s advocacy of the Attlee government is also a giant “left” fraud.
Firstly, such economic growth as was achieved in 1945-50 came about because the world-clogging surplus capital which created the 1930s Depression and its associated Nazism, had just been utterly destroyed by six years of the greatest devastation ever seen to that point in mankind’s history, wiping out mines and factories, cities and workers too, restoring the chance to make profit.
This is entirely the basis on which capitalism “solved” its otherwise intractable crisis problems, as it always had done in the great cycles of crash and bankruptcy of the past centuries, which grew ever worse and deeper, culminating in the gigantic destructive international wars of the imperialist period, in 1870, 1914-18 and the Second World War.
There was temporarily room for the “victor” economies to grow after these orgies of crisis and collapse at the expense of workers and bankrupted or blitzkrieged rivals, in 1945 particularly at the expense of the wiped out “losers” in Germany and Japan.
It was nothing to do with Labour under Attlee.
Reactionary America also boomed. France grew etc etc and eventually the German and Japanese powerhouse economies did so too (stimulated by the anti-communist needs of world imperialism to hold back the influence of ever more successful and powerful socialist achievements in the USSR and the wave of revolutionary developments it inspired throughout East Europe, China, the anti-colonialist upheavals in Africa, India and south-east Asia in still unforgiven places like Burma, Vietnam, and North Korea etc).
Completely against the great revisions of economic understanding made by Stalin in his 1952 “Economic Problems of Socialism”, capitalism was rapidly expanding again.
But the capitalist “overproduction” was already beginning to stifle things by the 1960s and has got relentlessly and unsolvably worse since, culminating in 2008.
Secondly, the great supposed “nationalisations” carried through were a giant confidence trick of theatrical “socialist” change pretences, in actuality rescuing bankrupted railways and coal from the incompetence of “private enterprise” but not truly placing them in workers hands, instead keeping them under capitalist state control using workers’ tax payments to buy them out (on generous terms) and then run them to subsidise the rest of capitalist industry (just as the banks have now been “nationalised”).
Thirdly, the Attlee government so lauded by the “lefts” (including many of the Trots and revisionists) was a monster of anti-communism and colonialist repression, totally running British imperialism as “efficiently” as the Tories ever did, including two of the most depraved campaigns in history in Greece and Malaysia post-war against communist revolt (continuing the reactionary Winston Churchill’s policies in a straight line), overseeing the colonial administrations in Africa where the horrific torture and concentration camp methods used are increasingly coming to light in Kenya, Nigeria and elsewhere, and at the heart of the divide and rule legacies of India and Pakistan “granting of independence”, and many more where mysterious “self-determination” movements immediately sprang up after British colonial withdrawal was forced, as in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and more generally Somalia, Ethiopia etc).
Labourism has always proved itself the most “loyal” protagonist of imperialist policy and warmaking anti-communism in all the colonies and right into the oldest of all, Ireland where it was the first to send in the troops to suppress the heroic Irish IRA/Sinn Féin national liberation struggle of the late 1960 onwards.
Livingstone says not a work about this warmongering legacy, and despite a posturing “protest” at the Iraq war, made for sound opportunist reasons, has always gone along with NATO blitzkrieging, supporting the foul bombing of tiny Yugoslavia’s revisionist remnants in 1998 and keeping silent or supporting the current counter-revolutionary wars against Libya.
He always went along with the constant anti-communist stunts and propaganda poured out during the time of the Soviet Union (and continued to this day) and which is the fundamental brainwashing basis for holding the working class back.
“But communism doesn’t work” is the message – "so better stick with capitalist rule however bad it gets; we can always force the worst of it down onto a scapegoated minority - be it the disabled or unemployed or entire demonised populations like Cyprus while ‘I’m alright Jack’”.
Livingstone says nothing to expose the fascist Goebbels rubbishing currently underway by aggressive imperialist propaganda against the little country of North Korea for example, which has had the temerity to stand up for itself and make it clear that it will fight back whatever the odds.
This demented campaign has all the hallmarks of the strutting “outrage for the German people” by Adolf Hitler in full rant against little Czechoslovakia or the “threat” of Poland, of communists, gypsies or of course the Jews, complete with racist undertones and the inversion of reality to suggest that tiny struggling North Korea is the aggressor.
These ”lefts” of all kinds say nothing about the latest belligerent absurdity of the US denunciations of North Korea as “threatening the world”, when it is this little country which has been under permanent siege for 50 years after being virtually flattened by American blitzkrieg in the 1950s Korean War, and constantly intimidated with a gigantic US NUCLEAR armed military presence on its doorstep ever since, with its people routinely terrorised and harassed by B52 overflights and military “exercises” not even kilometres away but just hundreds of metres away from its borders.
Why should not any country have the right to develop and test its own defences including the same nuclear capacities that the whole of imperialism bristles with and has intimidated the world with for seventy years???
Along with the equally Goebbels-like denunciations by the fabulously rich bankers’ Tory party of the very poorest and most dispossessed as allegedly to blame for supposedly “scrounging all the resources” of society, the fascist character of failing capitalism is now unmistakable.
Livingstone says nothing of this.
The culmination of the demented propaganda was Monday night’s BBC Panorama “secret filming” of North Korea which turned out to be a single half-hour long sneer at the efforts to build a socialist society – with the same tone of contempt the middle class reserve for the poor and homeless when they ask “my God how could they live like that?" as if poverty were a choice – and the old style anti-communist propaganda trick of mobilising demented hate-filled figures to more or less declaim any nonsense they liked entirely without proof or verification about how allegedly awful life was “under grey communism”.
These assorted mysterious “dissidents” and alleged “refugees” now living in South Korea were wheeled out to say such absurdities as “if a doctor was to ask for more medicines in a hospital they would be KILLED immediately”(!!!), blurry footage of alleged prison camps was shown with voice overs dubbed from interviews with another mysterious “man in Seoul” dramatically declaring that “we only ever buried the bodies in Spring” (so leaving the viewing to conclude that the unidentifiable film somehow was showing “bodies being buried" (what bodies would they be anyway, what cause of death if there were any, how many, etc etc) simply left unanswered.
To which the only answer has to be Christine Keelers’ famous comment in court that "they would say that wouldn’t they?”
The reactionary reporter John Sweeney, as arch an anti-communist as ever walked this earth, was given full rein to simply gad about for half an hour sneering when there was a power cut as if this proved anything other than North Korea is still fighting its way out of the backwardness it was in fifty years ago and suffering from the economic siege imposed on it by the West (this is like kicking a cripple and then sneering at his efforts to stand up), interviewing more mysterious “American experts” (who are they then? might they not have an axe to grind?) who absurdly declared that because the latest parades did not have pictures of Lenin that North Korea was now a “fascist state”.
Not by any scientific definition of “fascism” is it.
Fascism is the warmongering and repressive face of capitalist dictatorship turning to openly violent suppression and warmongering chauvinism in times of crisis.
This topsy-turvy poisonous deluge in fact demonstrated the full panoply of fascist propaganda methods which have swamped the world in anti-communism for nearly 100 years.
Nothing in reality was shown or proven about a supposed “nightmare society” except innuendo.
The “awful” housing was no worse, and in fact a lot better than many Third World conditions.
The tired old lies about “constant brainwashing” were equally fatuous and absurdly contradicted by the report itself.
Look at the bright lights and great achievements of Western society in South Korea cried Sweeney in Seoul.
Apart from the fact that South Korean society has seen massive repression and police violence over the years, and near bankruptcy in the south east Asia currency meltdowns, all aspects of capitalist life Sweeney chose to ignore, the “great achievements” he lauded comprised “freedom of religion and the delights of neon advertising”.
And he accuses the North of brainwashing!!!!!!! It is the West which pumps out its insistent lies night and day, inescapably. spending billions of dollars to saturate every possible surface with its the non-stop and highly sophisticated “messages”.
The philistine says “I’m not influenced by adverts me, and it is insulting people to suggest they can’t think for themselves.”
Oh no? - so who is influenced then, since it clearly works??
Why does capitalism believe it worthwhile to spend so much??? And to control the media with big money?? And to set the agenda for education? And the silence any attempts to get at and discuss the truth?
When did a genuine communist get the chance to go on TV and set out a case at prime time?
And how long would they subsequently keep their job if they did???
Sickest of all is the row over the secretive methods of going “undercover” and the pretence of “public interest” and the implication that the “secretive” society of North Korea is even more totalitarian because it does not allow in Western reporters to simply rubbish all its achievements (which are considerable despite the difficulties of building an economy when kept in isolation by the rest of the world.)
The simple question needs to be asked about what would happen if a North Korean sneaked into Britain on false pretences and then “investigated” and filmed a report which was a non-stop deluge of insults, imputations and hatred?
The answer is forty years in prison minimum since this would be taken as spying and the most savage penalties have been imposed on those alleged to be spies.
Forty years with no remission might be lenient if the same person was caught in the US.
What has happened to Bradley Manning???
In its Perspectives document of 2001 the EPSR examined some of this lurid rubbishing of alleged “workers state atrocities” which is a mainstay of capitalist anti-communism:
Another clue to the real issues which strike fear into the very heart of the bourgeoisie’s long rule on earth, and thereby instruct workers on what is the crucial essence of the whole class struggle question, is capitalist propaganda’s relentless campaigning on the matter of so-called ‘workers state violence’, (meaning the revolution’s audacity in establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat to replace the existing ‘capitalist democracy’ world of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (and there is no alternative replacement)); but dressed up by the philosophical individualism of the imperialists as questions of ‘human rights’. This complete fraud of supposed ‘totalitarianism’ versus supposed ‘humanitarianism’ has been used as a get-out clause by more millions of petty bourgeois minded people than anything else for escaping into anti-communism from the pressures in the West against loyalty to the workers states and to the socialist revolution.
Serious scientific research may one day be able to sort out the actual record of any mistakes, disasters, or wrong-headedness which workers states might have been responsible for, but a bloodcurdling worldwide torrent of lies, distortions, and rumours has been pouring out against the dictatorship of the proletariat from day 1 in 1917 and continues to this moment against China, Cuba, Korea, etc, and unceasing in retrospect against the USSR, constantly alleging ‘millions’ of deaths here, there, and everywhere.
If that same research were also to count up the totals allegedly killed by the revolution since October 1917, in all the newspaper, magazine, book, and broadcast hysteria of the whole bourgeois world, it would come to many, many hundreds of millions of dead bodies. Populations would have been decimated. As it happens, the population of Tsarist Russia/USSR went from 140 million in 1917 to nearly 280 million by 1989, despite having almost an entire generation of young men killed liberating Russia and Europe from imperialist war aggression in 1941-45 which killed more than 20 million Soviet citizens, a dramatic population increase for a European state. Over the same 72 years, the population of France, for example, which lost very few people in World War II, went from 50 million to 52 million. And the positive stability making possible that huge Soviet population increase, has disappeared completely following the destruction of the dictatorship of the proletariat in 1990, and life expectancy, plus population totals and projections, are now in serious decline.
What Western brainwashing has also never bothered to explain is why would any workers state regime, such as the USSR, which never had an unemployment problem, only labour shortages because of its planned economy, and which only became an ever greater power with its ever expanding highly educated and scientifically skilled mass population, ever want to just start killing all its own people for no reason?
The defence of the workers states against non-stop counter-revolutionary attempts or provocations by surrounding imperialism since 1917 is obviously a different subject entirely. After armies from 14 of the leading capitalist countries staged a counter-revolutionary invasion of the Soviet Union after 1917 and destroyed virtually the whole territory with bombing and scorched-earth terror, and then financed and armed a further two years devastating civil war, followed by endless sabotage against the young workers state, the tension in the USSR was enormous within the rush to build the country up before the next terrifying invasion threat from vastly stronger imperialism materialised just 12 years later when Nazi Germany began its colossal master-race rearmament programme, financed by Western bankers and politically turned a blind eye to, by the other Great Powers (despite its obvious fascist aggressive dangers, and despite being forbidden by the Versailles Treaty) because of Hitler’s determination to find more Lebensraum for a Greater Germany to the East, meaning the Soviet workers state would soon be invaded and put to the sword again. The notorious ‘Fifth Column’ of fascist traitors had already helped in the German financed destruction of the soft-left Spanish Republic from 1936-39. Bureaucratic paranoia in Moscow was regrettably high. The Stalinist Revisionist degeneration from the higher scientific grasp of international class struggle of Marxism-Leninism laid the rest of the USSR’s existence up to 1990 open to many mistakes of all kinds.
The same can be said of all the other workers states, in different ways and for different reasons. But with what conclusion? That workers revolutions should never attempt to build their own states because they may have to use the power of the dictatorship of the proletariat to survive, and that these new regimes in different countries (usually previously backward) might not always be able to run things perfectly, or avoid mistakes or wrong-headedness?? This is not a serious approach to history. Such philosophical idealist irrelevance can only fill the minds of the most academic ‘revolutionary’ posturers in the West, without exception, all in the anti-communist counter-revolutionary camp in reality.
Another interesting propaganda point is that made by the ‘Tiananmen Square massacres’ which the whole planet has a graphic grasp of and will unfailingly bring up whenever a communist world (as an alternative to capitalism) is spoken of. What is fascinating is that of some 30,000 days that workers states have existed since 1917 for massacring the hundreds of millions of murdered people supposedly to their credit, only Tiananmen is always confidently quoted as an ‘example’ of this happening. Other named ‘massacres’ confidently quoted might just include the Katyn Forest, or Hungary 1956, or the Ukraine famine, or the Moscow Trials, but not much else.
Now although Western sources have subsequently admitted that not a single life was actually lost on Tiananmen Square itself (despite the terrifying pictures of tents, bicycles, and barricades crushed by tanks), nevertheless there was undoubtedly a civil war skirmish in Beijing in 1989, and up to 150 people lost their lives in total in that centre (and one or two others), as agreed by all slightly more responsible anti-communist Western hysterics. And at least 50 of these were state officials (soldiers, police, postmen, bus drivers, etc) murdered by the mob.
But if around 500 million is the total butchered by communism since 1917 after adding up every single Western horror story published or broadcast since then, then the accounting for them by Western anecdote, which never progresses spontaneously far beyond Tiananmen when proof is demanded, would still leave 499,999,900 butchered by communism unaccounted for. Throw in the most exaggerated anti-communist estimates of deaths due to ‘workers state responsibility’ the Ukraine famine, Moscow Trials, Katyn, and Hungary, and there are still more than 495 million dead at communism’s hands since 1917 that most people cannot remotely quote a source for, place, incident, struggle, or whatever.
Yet no one has difficulty in remembering Auschwitz and the holocaust which killed several million Jews, Gipsies, communists, trade unionists, Soviet prisoners of war, etc, etc (although never described as the victims of capitalist democracy (which voted Hitler into power in 1933) as opposed to everyone always bringing up the victims of communist rule). The Somme and other places of trench-war butchery of tens of thousands at a time are also easily remembered. Yet people cannot put a place or a time to at least 495 million people killed allegedly by communism since 1917. But the name Tiananmen, on the other hand, is never forgotten by anybody, a ‘massacre’ of just 100 people.
If ‘labour camps’ is the supposed answer, why are there no names to them? Without any research necessary, most people can name genuine labour death-camps from the same period of history, capitalist labour deathcamps: Auschwitz, Belsen, Birkenau, Treblinka, Dachau, Buchenwald, Maidanek, etc. Russian names too difficult? But everyone has heard of Lyubianka the KGB’s prison HQ. Actual historical records will one day disprove this ‘Soviet deathcamp’ nonsense.
Conclusion? That there have never been any ‘mass victims’ of workers states at all, any time, anywhere; that the entire 500 million are just the nonsensical fiction of relentless Western anti-communist brainwashing, prolonged to this day thanks to hordes of anti-communist fake-’left’ thronging the labour movements in the West.
But like the Thatcher funeral, this return to an old style of demented propaganda is also a sign of desperation by capitalism.
The crisis is exposing more and more its realities.
Only the revolutionary conclusions and with it the serious struggle for revolutionary theory are missing.
Pundit after pundit, the Polly Toynbees and other Guardianista types, bewail the now obvious rolling destruction of the Health Service, the shameless profiteering of the utilities monopolies and the simultaneous gross incompetences and failure of case after case of privatisation and “entrepreneurship”.
The ruthless tearing up of even the miserable safety net provisions left in Britain under the “welfare state” is now so far advanced that it seriously begins to parallel the Victorian workhouse ethos, as now expressed in the “make work pay” bullying Nazism of the Coalition, which means only “make poverty and unemployment even more degrading and insufferable than it already is".
Other liberal voices from lawyers, and civil rightists warn of the “erosion” of human rights, or to be more accurate the wholesale demolition of all supposed personal freedoms and legal rights expressed in the intensification of the “surveillance state” through a hundred different means from universal video watching to data trawling and snooping, the escalation of savage prosecutions for anyone speaking out against the establishment or “insulting” the police or authority, the increasingly violent suppression of demonstrations, occupations and sit-ins and savage “criminal” punishments meted out to protestors including teenagers, students and the like.
Propaganda lies have never been more upside down.
The reactionary little police fink George Orwell had it right in the dystopian world he fantasised about in the novel 1984, but not about the communist states he hated – he was right about capitalism.
Orwell’s sour petty bourgeois nastiness set out to rubbish communism, and so effectively that he was turned into an official icon and his books immediately adopted by capitalist culture and made compulsory reading in schools ever since as part of the universal anti-communist brainwashing which has swamped the world for the last century.
But the nasty vicious “double-speak” hate-campaign and twisted mind world he describes was always that of British imperialist capitalism.
Meanwhile story after story and revelation after revelation pour out of the dirty torturing warmongering savagery of the military “interventions” around the world which have already totally reduced five civilised and relatively advanced countries to backwardness and scorched earth chaos (including Afghanistan which was making huge strides in education, technology and social provision in the 1980s).
Death squad activities, coups and invasions continue everywhere, supplemented now with the sinister “Terminator” style devastation and terrorising by the constant drone warfare, and its endless “collateral damage” killing of civilians and any desperate people in the Third World who presume to fight back, however crudely.
Revelations from Iraq, Latin America, Afghanistan and Pakistan pour out.
The tirades continue against Assad in Syria, with twisted and lying assertions of “atrocities” when it is the Western armed and provoked forces which have created the latest war hellhole there.
Those lies and the monstrous Victorian workhouse atmosphere and anti-welfare hate campaign deliberately and consciously whipped up against the poor and unemployed (along with immigrants and foreigners) are every bit as foul and degenerate as the 1930 Nazi period demonisations and victimisations.
It is being done with the same deliberate and lying intent to distract attention from the greatest failure and catastrophic collapse in all history caused by the greed ridden private profit seeking structure of capitalist society.
The need to build a serious and organised revolutionary movement, to give the working class the firmest and clearest leadership in ending capitalism has never been sharper.
But still the ranks of the fake-“lefts” and pretend “revolutionaries” do not express the remotest grasp of the epochal failure and meltdown seriousness of the catastrophic crisis that has been imploding the entire world trading and finance system since the “credit crunch” started in 2007.
There is no solution to this disaster except the complete ending of an entire historic class rule system that has reached the end of the line and is dragging the world in a maelstrom of Depression agony and world war on an even greater scale than its two great twentieth century disasters.
What the world needs is revolution; what they offer is protest, pacifism and “pressure” from the left.
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