No 1440 20th February 2014
Ukrainian fascist killings and counter-revolutionary coup attempt expose the warmongering viciousness of monopoly capitalism, driven by desperate catastrophic crisis collapse. Workers can only wish a rout of this reactionary stunt but Putin and Yanukovitch Bonapartist stupidity and anti-communism (born of Moscow revisionist degeneracy originally) are little better and no inspiration for building the dictatorship of the proletariat whose first purpose is to defend against just such imperialist subversion and conspiracy. The fake - “left” not only equally fails to struggle for the urgent revolutionary perspectives needed worldwide – notably in Venezuela, also under siege,– but plays into capitalist Goebbels demonisation of “rogue states” to foster war and coups. Single issue politics, from feminism to “gay rights” long a deliberate diversion from revolutionary perspectives now shows its outright reactionary role whipping up Sochi hatred. Build Leninism
Western reaction and subversion has been constantly pushing the Nazi “protestors” in Kiev towards the outright killing violence which the carefully programmed and well-funded street riots partially achieved this week – provoking the state authorities to respond with a firm crackdown.
Of course this inevitable response to the anarchist stone throwers, petrol bombers (and worse) was immediately declared “violence against their own people” by hypocritical Western ruling class politicians despite a few token “condemn the violence on all sides” comments thrown in for “balance” by the US government spokesman.
But if anything the Ukrainian state response should have come far earlier and more firmly, clearing this minority reactionary provocation and its hidden Western backers from the centre of the capital.
The prevarication and compromising simply demonstrates the idiocy and uselessness of the Bonapartist state, (and the Putinite Russia allied with it), poisoned with anti-communism but trying to prevent the worsts excesses of gangster capitalism from driving the working class down any further.
Their idiot continuation of restored capitalism, however much the oligarchs are “kept reined in”, gives no basis for clarity and for inspiring the working class.
A Marxist understanding would have been clear months ago that the well-organised and deliberately violent “occupation” in the Ukrainian capital, pushing for “snap elections” is nothing but an outright coup attempt aiming to topple the legally elected Viktor Yanukovitch presidency.
In fact the EPSR did identify exactly that in 2004 when the first wave of the artificially stunted-up “Orange Revolution” was pushed by Western subversion.
It was already clear this was about installing some compliant stoogery for the European Union, to open the country more fully for EU corporate and American intervention, exploitation and plunder of its resources, and to further undermine and breakup the Russian Federation.
If it cannot achieve that, it will try see the Ukraine damned with a plunge into civil war destruction, just as has been manipulated against Libya and Syria in the Middle East.
Similar chaos is being created by the Yellow Shirts anti-democracy monarchist reactionaries in Thailand against the reformist Yingluck Shinawatra government and its concessions and (limited) economic changes in favour of the working class and rural poor, nastily killing and attacking both state forces and the mass government supporters (Redshirts); by the bourgeois minority owners and ruling class in Venezuela now organising and instigating murderous violence against the Madura “left” reformist socialist government and its supporters in the poorer working class districts; and being prepared against numerous other “rogue” states or even half way anti-imperialisms from Zimbabwe to Iran and, most viciously of all, against the North Korean revisionist communist workers state (to be further analysed next issue).
It is part and parcel of the now hysterical propaganda and subversion to drive the whole world towards blitzing destruction of every scrap of possible resistance to ruthlessly escalated exploitation by desperate monopoly capitalism, which is now facing hugely intensified to-the-death cutthroat trade, credit and currency war.
The worldwide meltdown of the production for private profit system continues to gather pace beneath the surface – ready to burst through the completely artificial and unsustainable hoodwinking fraud of the Quantitative Easing “recovery” at any moment.
Even the disaster of 2008 – the worst credit and finance catastrophe in the 800 years of capitalism, which caused the entire world capitalist ruling class to wet its pants – will look like a side show.
War is the way out for capitalism, its only “solution” exactly as the world banking crises of 1908 and 1914 and the struggle for re-division of exploitable colonies underlay the horrors of the First World War, and the 1929 Stock Exchange failure, subsequent Credit Anstalt bank failure and world bank runs and the following Great Depression triggered the Second World War.
The Third World war is already well in preparation, and partly underway, ever since the monstrous 1998 NATO blitz victimisation of Serbia, the devastation of Iraq, and Afghanistan, and now Libya and Syria in the Middle East, directly and by provoked civil war.
But it is not going well. Gigantic waves of revolt have stirred up by the aggressive and destructive non-stop Pentagon blitzing, torture, drone assassination and casual civilian killing of the “war on terror”.
“War weariness” has grown, even within the brainwashed “might is right” complacency of the “advanced nations” and the centuries long political corruption of “Great Nation” superiority notions inculcated in the petty bourgeoisie and through layers of the working class, fed by a (pathetically small), reformist share of the imperialist super-profits ripped out of the mercilessly exploited and tyrannised Third World.
Defeat in other words has hammered the thoughtless acceptance of colonialist near-slave exploitation and the swallowing of yet war blitzing.
The ruling class is turning to ever more fantastic and demented Big Lie Goebbels propaganda to try and keep its war momentum going against demonised states like North Korea, Syria and even, with the collusion of the fake- “left” gay-rights single issue diversions, the Russian Federation (see further on).
Official accusations of astonishing poisonousness appear almost weekly – all routinely attaching the description “just like in Hitler’s Germany” to almost every victim of the whatever the latest propaganda onslaught is to hit the airwaves.
Even the already destroyed Libya has been subjected again to one of the lurid so-called “documentaries” to try and justify the foul mess of racism, gangster warlordism, anarchy and economic chaos that has been left by the NATO blitzing after the wilful destruction of the relatively socially equitable, prosperous and coherent society Gaddafi’s 1969 anti-colonial revolution had built, again painted as another supposed “Hitler’s Germany”.
This would be a ludicrous and laughably bloated exaggeration for each of these countries (and taken together even more so – we have at least four Hitlers now????) even if the supposed allegations were anything but the most glaring uncorroborated, unverified, untested and unproven fantasies or extreme exaggerations pumped out completely out of context by a string of degenerate axe-grinding anti-communist “dissidents” and stooge opportunist “witnesses” looking for an easy paid-off life in the West.
None of these countries, with the possible exception of the Russian Federation, comes remotely close to being the gigantic industrial powerhouse of German imperialism in the 1930s, already a main protagonist in the greatest war conflict ever seen by mankind to that date (the First World War) and bursting at the seams with frustrated imperialist ambitions because of being hemmed in by the other great power rivals who already had seized the world’s colonial opportunities.
Fascism is nothing but the real aggressive face of monopoly capitalism and a Hitler level of threat can arise only from the largest and most powerful of such nations.
Russia’s heavily distorted and plundered oil-sales dependent economy is nothing like Germany whatever its post-Soviet Putinite fantasies of standing alongside the world’s major powers.
This insane “Hitler” gibberish may get swallowed by some of the complacent anti-communist middle-class but its ludicrous exaggerated “crying wolf” by imperialism’s stooge instruments like the United Nations or the international “war-crimes” court in the Hague will eventually backfire.
Everyone knows that the Hague court completely ignores the real war criminals and massacring monsters from Zionism’s Ariel Sharon to the lying Blair and Bush, the still living Henry Kissinger or currently General Sisi in Egypt, responsible for cold blooded slaughter of at least 1000 if not many more innocent protestors, to pursue and persecute the leaders of various anti-imperialist movements.
It is capitalism in crisis which is the real fascism in the world.
The despairing middle-class nastiness in Kiev and Bangkok is proving it.
Even as the capitalist media machine continues to report the populist disruptions in favourable terms, gushing forth encouragement and support for what they laughably call a “revolution”, the fascist and Nazi nature of the demonstrators in Kiev has been admitted, as have the monarchist anti-democratic demands of the Thai revolt.
Now the bloody and violent nature of the movements which clearly are initiating the violence – killing nine of the Ukrainian police on Tuesday – is exposing the endless lying hypocrisy of Western “intervention to support the democratic way of life” etc etc.
Details keep emerging of the Western subversion and manipulation feeding this foulness.
Some stories are too difficult to suppress, without giving the game away completely that the “impartial media” description of the capitalist “free press” is sick joke, particularly while the Internet is not fully controlled:
An apparently bugged phone conversation in which a senior US diplomat disparages the EU over the Ukraine crisis has been posted online. The alleged conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, appeared on YouTube on Thursday. It is not clearly when the alleged conversation took place.
Here is a transcript, with analysis by BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus:
Warning: This transcript contains a graphic swear word.
Voice thought to be Nuland’s: What do you think?
Jonathan Marcus: At the outset it should be clear that this is a fragment of what may well be a larger phone conversation. But the US has not denied its veracity and has been quick to point a finger at the Russian authorities for being behind its interception and leak.
Voice thought to be Pyatt’s: I think we’re in play. The Klitschko [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk, another opposition leader]. And I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I’m very glad that he said what he said in response.
Jonathan Marcus: The US says that it is working with all sides in the crisis to reach a peaceful solution, noting that “ultimately it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide their future”. However this transcript suggests that the US has very clear ideas about what the outcome should be and is striving to achieve these goals. Russian spokesmen have insisted that the US is meddling in Ukraine’s affairs - no more than Moscow, the cynic might say - but Washington clearly has its own game-plan. The clear purpose in leaking this conversation is to embarrass Washington and for audiences susceptible to Moscow’s message to portray the US as interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.
Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Pyatt: Yeah. I guess... in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.
Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in... he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.
Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?
Nuland: My understanding from that call - but you tell me - was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was going to offer in that context a... three-plus-one conversation or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it?
Pyatt: No. I think... I mean that’s what he proposed but I think, just knowing the dynamic that’s been with them where Klitschko has been the top dog, he’s going to take a while to show up for whatever meeting they’ve got and he’s probably talking to his guys at this point, so I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn’t like it.
Nuland: OK, good. I’m happy. Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.
Pyatt: OK, will do. Thanks.
Nuland: OK... one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can’t remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?
Jonathan Marcus: An intriguing insight into the foreign policy process with work going on at a number of levels: Various officials attempting to marshal the Ukrainian opposition; efforts to get the UN to play an active role in bolstering a deal; and (as you can see below) the big guns waiting in the wings - US Vice-President Joe Biden clearly being lined up to give private words of encouragement at the appropriate moment.
Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.
Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.
Jonathan Marcus: Not for the first time in an international crisis, the US expresses frustration at the EU’s efforts. Washington and Brussels have not been completely in step during the Ukraine crisis. The EU is divided and to some extent hesitant about picking a fight with Moscow. It certainly cannot win a short-term battle for Ukraine’s affections with Moscow - it just does not have the cash inducements available. The EU has sought to play a longer game; banking on its attraction over time. But the US clearly is determined to take a much more activist role.
Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I’m still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there’s a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I’m sure there’s a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep... we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.
Nuland: So on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [US vice-president’s national security adviser Jake] Sullivan’s come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need [US Vice-President Joe] Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden’s willing.
Pyatt: OK. Great. Thanks.
Jonathan Marcus: Overall this is a damaging episode between Washington and Moscow. Nobody really emerges with any credit. The US is clearly much more involved in trying to broker a deal in Ukraine than it publicly lets on. There is some embarrassment too for the Americans given the ease with which their communications were hacked. But is the interception and leaking of communications really the way Russia wants to conduct its foreign policy ? Goodness - after Wikileaks, Edward Snowden and the like could the Russian government be joining the radical apostles of open government? I doubt it. Though given some of the comments from Vladimir Putin’s adviser on Ukraine Sergei Glazyev - for example his interview with the Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper the other day - you don’t need your own listening station to be clear about Russia’s intentions. Russia he said “must interfere in Ukraine” and the authorities there should use force against the demonstrators.
Such glaring evidence of outright Washington conspiracy and manipulation vanishes from sight again however.
Instead, as always, the BBC capitalist state-owned and run TV and radio was dutifully reporting the outrageous “calls for sanctions” by the reactionary European Union (in other words German first and general imperialist interests behind it) in the wake of the conflicts last Tuesday as if this was a balanced and reasonable response instead of grotesque reaction.
The media onslaught is all part of a Western campaign designed to further escalate the turmoil, loading the entire responsibility for the upheavals not on the heads of the provocateurs and Western inspired petty bourgeois nationalists and Nazi-worshippers who have set it all in train, but the legitimately elected government trying to keep control.
The usual round of mysterious “Chatham House experts”, “think-tank analysts” and suddenly emerging professors of conveniently appropriate “Ukrainian Conflict Studies” or whatever – (is Britain’s higher education entirely stuffed with such arcane and suitably anti-communist subjects?) - were wheeled out to pontificate,; though what they do is not an “objective assessment” but deliberate propaganda in favour of the rebels or whatever Western provocation is underway.
“Ah yes Yanukovitch is of course no longer popular” declared one such with a high-handed wave, entirely without foundation, to explain away why the usual rules of democracy which the West pretends to uphold, should be ignored. “He is now deeply reviled and discredited.”
Declaring the rebellion is “spreading East” (into the half of Ukraine with the stronger working class history and traditions) is not “analysis” but the same kind of disinformation which wildly hyped-up a few thousands into “millions of supporters” as the alleged popularity of Solidarnosc bogus “trade union” in Poland in the 1980s, the CIA and Vatican funded counter-revolution which the Trots supported to a man (including notoriously the Spartacists who later pretended the opposite when the true anti-communist nature of the movement emerged).
It is not surprising that the fascist Polish government (a staunch US imperialism supporter sending troops to Afghanistan eg), that this Pilsudski-loving movement led to in Warsaw, after the Gorbachevite liquidation of the Soviet Union, has been the first in line calling for EU “sanctions” against Ukraine.
Pilsudski was the pre-war fascist nationalist dictator in Poland.
There is a complete coordinated plan to depose the existing government or achieve the levels of bitter local antagonism and hatreds that Western imperialism has whipped up in the Middle East and elsewhere, inflamed into the most deadly and foul civil war destruction if possible.
A few martyrs on the way are part of it, just as they were in the violence provoked in China’s Tian an Men fraudulent student demonstrations, in the initial stages of the “democracy uprisings” against the China’s workers state in 1989, and as they have been more recently in the reactionary monarchist, racist and sectarian conflicts set running in Libya first of all and then Syria.
Once the call for vengeance has been got going events can catch into a fire of recriminations and terror - tearing apart a place like Syria with enough judicious pushing, subversive intervention and arms and money supplies (from the US stooge allies in the reactionary feudal Arab Gulf states).
The working class everywhere can only wish to see this foul Ukrainian stunt fall flat on its face and the reactionary elements be thoroughly defeated.
And this has nothing to do with any illusions in the Kiev government.
Just the opposite.
The working class needs to be warned that it is the dire revisionist illusions in “free market forces” which led to the Gorbachevite liquidation of the Soviet Union originally, and the abandonment of the dictatorship of the proletariat to defend the building of a socialist planned economy, which now leave it wide open to this frenzy of petty bourgeois despair and hatred.
No other mechanism is going to stop the rapid slide of the world capitalist system into the greatest collapse, slump and war depravity except the firmest working class revolutionary war to end the rule of capital and establish its own working class authority and power.
Nothing else will counter the dictatorship of the bourgeois exploiting class.
All illusions in “changing things by left pressure and struggle” or “winning the battle for democracy” are just that – utter delusions fed to the working class for two centuries by a cynical ruling class pulling off possibly the greatest confidence trick in all history.
Capitalist rule has nothing to do with “the wishes of the people” and nor will ever have but is a dictatorship of capital (big money) which is in sole and total charge of everything in its own interests.
Reforms and “gains” for the working class have only ever been won as by-products of revolutionary pressure, forced out of this ruling class by its fear of how far things will go otherwise.
Even then they are transient and always under threat of being rescinded by the ruling class when it can no longer afford them, just as the welfare state, dole money, pensions, housing and education are all now being savaged by class war “austerity” by a desperate ruling class in the teeth of the greatest catastrophic economic disaster in history,
The reality of capitalism and its fascist suppression, surveillance and barbarous violent aggression, is becoming clearer as the crisis deepens (though no thanks to the long decades of confusion and soft-headed abstract “democracy” illusions pumped out by the fake-“left” of all shades, who will be rushing around supporting “real left candidates” all over again in a year, instead of exposing and denouncing the lying fraud democracy is (using the parliamentary platform itself to do it as well).
The constant subversion and sabotage of victim states worldwide can be fought only in the end by such revolutionary means.
None of this will be explained by Putin and Yanukovitch.
Neither of them are communist leaders.
Their leadership is not even on a par with the often dire revisionism of the Chinese workers state leadership in Beijing which after much prevarication and hesitancy finally stood firm against the counter-revolutionary anarchic and petty bourgeois forces whipped up by Western bourgeois influence (and almost certainly direct subversive intervention too) in 1989.
Putin in fact is overtly anti-communist, and has even told the West in the past that it should “thank him” for helping end communism.
But both are part of a political balancing act between the grotesque gangster oligarchs who now rule and exploit Russia (and merge into world capitalism generally) and the remnants of socialist society and the planned economy way of doing things.
This Bonapartism (the state standing astride two competing class forces which are relatively evenly matched for the time being) was made necessary after the Gorbachevite liquidation of the powerful Soviet Union in 1989-91 had led to unrestrained carpet-bagging gangsterism and the massive decline of ordinary living standards and conditions for the working class in Russia.
The raw face of modern mafia capitalism revealed was so ghastly (crashing living standards, unpaid wages, huge escalation in drugs and alcoholism, despair, deprivation, homelessness, massively reduced life expectancy) that a rapid rise in renewed communist sympathies was on the cards and with it the “danger” of revolutionary revival.
Using the state to restrain the oligarchs and to tap the miserable remnants of socialist society and its way of doing things (not entirely eliminated after 70 years of staggering historic Soviet progress and achievement) has managed to head off for a while the full savagery of world capitalist exploitation in Russia, using oil revenues to salvage shattered Russian “national pride” as with the Sochi Olympics jamboree, and with it to head off the inevitable growth of renewed revolutionary sentiment.
The delicate balancing act by the preposterous anti-communist and idiot nationalist egoist Putin has suited some Western ruling class figures because it firmly keeps down any serious revival of communism.
Putin’s apeing of big imperialism’s “war on terror firmness” blitzing the Chechen self-determination fight with the same barbarous “kill them all logic” used by the West – and doing the same now around the Olympics circus - has further helped convince some of the Western ruling class that this post-Soviet regime is safely keeping Russia openly capitalist and therefore available for Western plunder.
But other ruling class elements have been more doubtful, constantly putting shots across the Kremlin’s bows with “pro-democracy” populist movements etc, whipped up largely by assorted US “non-governmental organisations” (i.e. the CIA) ensconced in Moscow and some of the oligarchs, impatient at being reined in.
The Pussy Riot single-issue provocative “feminism” and the hysterical and reactionary “gay rights” lobbying from the likes of Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell are part and parcel of the constant sniping sabotage (of which more below) playing into the hands of the Western anti-Russian propaganda war and feeding the hate atmosphere now erupting with deadly seriousness in Kiev.
The fake-“left” elevation of such diversionary and reactionary politics has blood on its hands.
Bringing down an important Russian alliance and further eating away at the edges of the former USSR, is imperialism’s constant long term aim, just as it has levered and broken up the Yugoslavian Federation (and is trying to break apart and Balkanise much of the Middle East, particularly those sections which show the most resistance to imperialist diktat and to its arch-stooge regime, the Nazi Zionist occupation of Palestine.)
The relentless logic of the capitalist crisis underlies the latest onslaught.
Putin’s balancing act, like all Bonapartism, can only ever be a transient phenomenon for as long as the sides of the equation roughly equate.
But the crisis itself is already tipping things off balance.
US imperialism’s desperate efforts to keep its world warmongering going (its supposed way to ride out the crisis) and to suppress the revolutionary upheavals which have spontaneously burst out in Egypt because of the crisis, forced it into prematurely activating long laid plans against Libya and Syria.
Dressed up as more of the “Arab Spring” these were the exact opposite, counter-revolutionary stunts against two long hated “rogue” regimes with anti-imperialist form (if erratically so) unlike Egypt and Tunisia, both run by Western funded and approved stooge gangster dictators.
But the nazi-NATO blitzkrieg on Libya and the stirred up civil war in Syria fomented and funded by the backward and feudal-fascist Saudi and Arab Gulf sheikdoms directly eat away at the Russian fringes too, economically geographically and in its pattern of alliances.
It has forced the Putin regime to stand in the way of the American imperialist counter-revolution, as last summer when it blocked the Western Goebbels accusations of “chemical warfare” refusing to join the stampeding to set Syria up for more direct NATO-blitzkrieg destruction.
American ruling class elements are incensed.
But if this has helped push the Ukrainian agenda, that in turn will only tip the balance even further in the complexities of post-Soviet Russia.
The EPSR has long speculated that the relentlessly gathering pace of the crisis may eventually force all kinds of rethinking in the former workers states.
The signs are beginning to appear elsewhere too that illusions in the “consumerist heaven” of Western capitalism have gone sour:
Thousands of Bosnian protesters took to the streets in the centre of Sarajevo on Friday, setting fire to the presidency building and hurling rocks and stones at police as fury at the country’s political and economic stagnation spread rapidly around the country.
As many as 200 people were injured in protests that took place in about 20 towns and cities. Government buildings were set on fire in three of the largest centres – Sarajevo, Tuzla and Zenica.
At one point in the central Bosnian city of Tuzla, some of the 5,000-strong crowd stormed into a local government building and hurled furniture from the upper stories.
“The people entered the government building,” said Mirna Kovacevic, a student who witnessed the protests. “They climbed to the fourth floor and started to throw files, computers, chairs from buildings. They burned parts of the building …
“Four storeys are blackened. People have burned the stuff that was thrown outside … Some people are trying to put the fire out. It’s hectic.”
The scenes in Sarajevo were similarly fraught on Friday night, as fire raged through the presidency building and hundreds of people hurled stones, sticks and whatever else they could lay their hands on to feed the blaze. Police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon trying to disperse the crowd. Buildings and cars were also burning in downtown Sarajevo and riot police chased protesters.
“It is about time we did something,” said a woman in her 20s who gave her name only as Selma. “This is the result of years and years of not paying attention to the dissatisfaction of the people.”
The protests have bubbled up out of long-simmering discontent at a sluggish economy, mismanagement, corruption and unemployment, which is rising irresistibly towards 30%. Bosnia has been hamstrung by political infighting and deadlock between its three main ethnic groups – Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs – in the near 20 years since its three-year civil war ended in 1995. The economy has suffered as a result, and the population remains deeply sceptical of a political class widely believed to be ruling in the interests of the elite, not the people.
In Tuzla, the trigger this week was the sudden collapse of four formerly state-run companies that employ thousands in the city. The companies were privatised but the new owners sold the assets, sacked the staff and filed for bankruptcy.
“You have really hungry people who decided to do something,” said Dunja Tadic, a Bosnian woman from Tuzla. “People here are not living lives, they are simply surviving. Maybe 15% of the population lives well, mostly those who are stealing and their relatives. They destroyed the so-called middle class. All in all I don’t see how it can be any better here.”
In Sarajevo the mood was little better.
“Everyone is here because everyone has a problem with this government,” said a twentysomething male protester who did not want to be identified. “Young people don’t have jobs. Older people don’t have pensions. Everyone is fed up.”
In Zenica, another central Bosnia city, protesters set fire to part of the local government building.
The prime minister, Nermin Niksic, has said he was keen to differentiate between workers affected by economic reversals and “hooligans who used this situation to create chaos”, adding that police and prosecutors should take action against anyone damaging public property.
The protests were largely confined to the Croat-Muslim half of Bosnia but there was also a rally in Banja Luka, capital of the Serb half of the country. About 300 activists and citizens staged a peaceful march to call for unity among all Bosnia’s ethnicities.
Such spontaneous upheavals are a long way from a conscious and coherent return to the Marxist-Leninist understanding of the need for a revolutionary overturn of the capitalist order and the rebuilding of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Without such grasp and the constant development of the revolutionary perspective of the world crisis, there can be no effective sustainable fight against the degeneracy and viciousness of capitalism.
Driven by the unstoppable crisis this will continue to escalate, constantly pushing the world towards fascist depravity and eventual world war, on the way subverting and undermining all efforts to build any kind of socialism as the Venezuelan masses are currently re-learning:
Week-long protests in Venezuela turned violent on Wednesday leaving three people dead, more than 20 injured, and the president, Nicolás Maduro, struggling to restrain mounting discontent among opposition groups and radical elements of his Chavista movement.
Initially sparked by unrest over soaring inflation, rising crime and the arrests of student protesters, the demonstrations in Merida, Tachira and Anzoategui have escalated into deadly clashes between opposition activists and pro-government Chavista militias known as colectivos.
The president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, said the first killing was of a colectivo member in downtown Caracas during an opposition march.
Cabello blamed the opposition for the murder and assured the colectivos that those responsible would feel the full weight of the law. But tellingly, he also appealed to the armed groups not to take matters into their own hands. “Remain calm and sane,” he urged in a televised address. “We ask you to trust us.”
In the short term, the protests pose little threat to Maduro’s government, but analysts see increasing confusion as armed militias enter the fray. Any loss of control over armed supporters could pose a bigger threat than the fragmented opposition.
“The risk of protests escalating will increase if upcoming demonstrations result in new violent actions against dissidents and particularly if the government is unable to control the intimidation tactics employed by the collective groups,” said Diego Campos-Moya, an analyst at IHS Country Risk.
The colectivos, whose main turf is the 23 de Enero neighbourhood in western Caracas, were formed during the Chávez years to enforce the leftist ruler’s government programmes. They double as neighbourhood organisations that run community improvement projects but can also act as vigilante groups that intimidate political opponents.
Self-proclaimed defenders of the revolution, the colectivos radio each other from the top of neighbourhood buildings whenever an unknown face comes into their area. In 23 Enero, even the police and National Guard consider the territory off-limits.
In the past, colectivos showed staunch support for Chávez, appearing en masse at political rallies and even disrupting opposition gatherings.
During this week’s protests, thousands of Venezuelans took to Twitter to report disturbances across the country, many of which included clashes between colectivos and protesters.
“I saw how the police stood aside to let the colectivos control the city. It is a method frequently used by this government to intimidate opponents. They operate almost in parallel to the police, neutralising protesters, either by intimidation or by actual force,” tweeted @Eurolobo, a journalist and blogger from Merida.
Other images and videos showed armed men on bikes tearing down gates and shooting at parked cars. The reports circulated through social networks and foreign broadcasters such as CNN Español, but were not shown on Venezuelan TV stations, because of what many here deem a self-imposed media blackout for fear of government retaliation.
The government denies accusations of censorship but has warned local and international media that it will punish organisations that release content likely to incite violence or be construed as “an apology for crime”. On Wednesday night the Colombian news channel NTN Noticias was taken off-air during a broadcast of that day’s street protests in Venezuela.
The protests, which started last Saturday in the state of Merida, were initially led by a group of students demanding the release of classmates who had been jailed after earlier protests and an attack on the governor’s residence in the neighbouring state of Tachira.
Since then, the street actions have mushroomed to include people from all walks of life who have seen their salaries evaporate under the heat of inflation. Others have joined in to express their anger at a spiralling murder rate, or over food shortages.
But supporters of the government, which recently won a majority of governorships in regional elections, see the demonstrations as a desperate push to oust Maduro by the most radical wing of the opposition.
Javier Corrales, a political science professor at Amherst College, said the protests were some way from toppling the government, but they highlighted how far the country was from social stability.
“The government received an unexpected shock. Following the December 2013 regional election, in which Maduro’s forces recovered some ground from the close presidential election in April 2013, the government came to think, erroneously, that the opposition was no longer a concern. The government has been reminded that it remains quite unpopular across a large sector of the country, and that they have no policy to deal with this discontent other than more threats.”
On Thursday the government issued a warrant for the arrest of Leopoldo López, the leader of Popular Will, a small offshoot opposition party that beat Chavista candidates in several contested mayoralties in December’s poll.
“I personally blame Leopoldo López for these vandalistic acts of violence. We have proof that he received both funds and training to carry these actions out,” said Jorge Rodríguez, mayor of the municipality of Libertador, where protesters were filmed destroying the windows of several public buildings, upturning benches and burning tyres.
The colectivos have issued a statement saying they will respect social order but demanding that López be judged for Wednesday’s acts of violence.
López, who has repeatedly asked his supporters to take to the streets in large numbers and to protest in “an irreverent manner”, has blamed Maduro, suggesting it was the government that infiltrated the peaceful marches and caused the deaths.
López has not been seen or heard from since his arrest was ordered on Wednesday night. In the past he has promised he will not relent in his efforts or street actions until “a way of out of Maduro’s government” is found.
Maduro has banned all forms of protest that have not been approved by the government. Close to 30 protesters have been detained for their part in Wednesday events, but such actions are unlikely to choke unrest.
Venezuelans are now bracing themselves for what seems likely to be a week of further tumult and polarisation. Some think this could work in Maduro’s favour. The ruling camp has looked rudderless and ineffectual in tackling the country’s dire economic woes, but the opposition demonstrations have unified support around the president.
“The protests turned Chavistas all the more entrenched in their convictions to defend this government at all costs, and this is good news for Maduro,” Corrales said.
The prospects for healing social divisions look remote, and tackling an economy in dire straits appears even more difficult, but if Maduro can rein in the hotheads among his supporters he may yet come out of this latest period of instability stronger.
Far from “reining in” the colectivos what is required is a much stronger development of a revolutionary understanding among them and of the need to build the struggle for a complete overturn of the capitalist ownership which still prevails in Venezuela and to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.
This right wing disruption has all the hallmarks of the CIA coordinated ruling class interventions that attempted to overthrow Chávez in 2002, and parallels the fascist disruption in Ukraine.
Washington has been plotting non-stop against the “democratic elected” reformist socialism of first Hugo Chávez and now his successor Maduro, hampered only by its pressing “war on terror” elsewhere from previously attempting to organise and provoke the right-wing populist counter-revolutionary movement now in train.
It is fatal illusions in abstract democracy and the “peaceful road”, fostered by the cretinous “imperialism is fatally wounded and cannot expand theories” of post-war Moscow’s Stalin-led revisionism which led to the previous disasters for the working class, most notably under the misleadership of Salvador Allende, who equally tried to hold back the arming of the working class and foster a faith in the “democratic state” to build communism.
It was total deadly garbage.
Far from asking the masses to “trust” the bourgeois state and “not to take matters into their own hands” it is the masses that should be trusted.
“Trusting” the bourgeois law and order forces in Chile in 1973 saw Allende invite General Augustus Pinochet into his cabinet, one of the most disastrous errors in all history for the working class resulting in the overthrow of Allende and the imposition of fascist dictatorship with the slaughter and torture of tens of thousands of workers.
If it is argued that the colectivos need discipline and order, then it should be communist discipline.
But the Marxist-Leninist leadership understanding for that has not been built – just the opposite, Chávez himself, for all his inspiring personality, was a non-Marxist philistine who fostered continuing illusions in bourgeois democracy, and so does Maduro.
These reformist politics are completely wrong and potentially will lead to fatal disaster for the working class.
They need challenging constantly.
But far from exposing these deadly illusions and battling for the Marxist grasp of the dictatorship, the fake-“left” spectrum across the world – Trotskyist and Revisionist Stalinist alike – has continued to feed working class illusions in Chávez-ism, with endless eulogies and uncritical hero worshipping.
It is consciously hostile to the Marxist grasp.
But all means let Chávez’ be celebrated for such reforms as he made for the working class but the fatal Marxists flaws need exposing constantly.
First the crisis was always going to hammer the capitalist economy of Venezuela at some point, cutting away the ability to make such reforms and secondly, the endless subversion of the Langley-advised ruling class will constantly recur and the more so as general discontent arises.
The working class needs to understand all these questions to be prepared.
Tragically, among even the heroic and brilliant achievements of the Cuban workers state, which keeps in place the strong overriding authority of the working class dictatorship, dire Third International traditions continue to inform the leadership, which still declares Allende, and Chávez too, to be “socialist heroes”.
As the EPSR said before (Issue 1012 15th September 1999):
All political work is either the fight for Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory or it is rubbish. The haunting picture should never be forgotten of Fidel Castro, foully mis-educated by Moscow Revisionism, parading in Chile not just alongside Allende to celebrate the utterly illusory “victory for the peaceful road to socialism”, but actually parading alongside Pinochet himself...
The opportunist fake-“left”s most fundamental flaw – its illusions in “democracy” and “peace struggles” and petty bourgeois theoretical rejection of the discipline of the workers state (though Cuba sensibly maintains the proletarian dictatorship defences against Western subversion), – leads relentlessly back to reformist perspectives, but necessarily disguised under posturing pretences to be “for revolution”.
The single issue posturing of the last decades around feminism, environmentalism, black nationalist anti-racism and most of all currently “gay rights”, are the strongest manifestation, an endless posturing diversion from the need to hammer out the revolutionary questions and analysis of the history of the workers struggle of the twentieth century particularly, understanding the giant achievements of the USSR but also examining the Stalinist revisionist philosophical failings which undermined it and led directly to the Gorbachevite liquidation.
But beyond the diversionary role that this super-reformism and petty bourgeois individualism plays, the EPSR has long analysed that it would ultimate become completely reactionary, one of the last defences of imperialist ideology.
And this outright reactionary and dangerous role played by fake-“left” single-issue politics is sharply exposed by the latest demented “Gay rights” campaign against Russia, focused around the Winter Olympics and attempting to stampede the world into a boycott.
Ludicrous hyperbole from the likes of “gay rights campaigner” Peter Tatchell, the luvvie Steven Fry and assorted other “celeb” poseurs about a “new holocaust just like the 1930s” alleged to underway against homosexuals and transvestites in Russia “just like against the Jews in Nazi Germany” could be laughed off as deranged hysteria it is except for the deadly world crisis context in which it is taking place.
This high-pitched hyperbole has been too much for even some bourgeois “pro-gay” press commentaries:
criticism has far too often been both hysterical and hypocritical. Condemnation has also at times resembled hate speech, as in Hugh Laurie’s recent suggestion that Russians have nothing whatsoever of value to offer the world.
Laurie’s outburst was mild, however, compared to statements by Stephen Fry and the US chat show host Jay Reno, who have both likened the Kremlin’s law to Nazi persecution of Jews. I have no wish to defend Putin or the hateful anti-gay comments being made by Russian politicians and celebrities. Life in Russia for LGBT people is often deeply unpleasant, and they deserve the support of the international community. But a sense of perspective is in order, especially if critics want to claim the moral high ground.
Otherwise they play straight into the hands of the Kremlin-run media, whose raison d’être is increasingly founded on its gleeful willingness to highlight western inconsistencies. The new legislation is certainly not, as US-based gay rights activists have claimed, “one of the most draconian anti-gay laws on the planet”.
Amid the furore, it’s easy to overlook some simple facts. Homosexuality in Russia - unlike more than 40 countries in the Commonwealth and 70 worldwide- is not illegal. To date, over six months since the law came into force, fewer than a dozen people have been fined for “gay propaganda”. Not a single person has been jailed. Russian police do not have powers to detain they suspect of simply being gay or lesbian, as a New York Times leader erroneously stated last year. If this were so, then how do we explain the fact that gay clubs are able to advertise and operate in Moscow and other big cities?
And, no, gay people are not, as Fry claims, “being beaten to death while police stand idly by”. If this were the case, would police in Volgograd have arrested and charged three men with murder last year over what investigators called a homophobic hate crime? Would the men who carried out a brutal homophobic killing in the east of Russia this month nave been sent to penal colonies? Would the thug who attacked a gay rights activist for unfurling a rainbow flag during an Olympic torch relay in central Russia have been sentenced to corrective labour? The authorities should and must be far more vigilant in punishing perpetrators of hate crimes, but these are hardly the hallmarks of a campaign of state-sponsored terror.
If Putin is indeed waging war on Russia’s LGBT community then why has he not followed the example of Nigeria Africa’s most populous nation, which has just introduced a new law that stipulates jail sentences of up to 14 years for gay people? Or India, the world’s largest democracy, where the supreme court recently reinstated a colonial-era ban on gay sex? If he wants to get really harsh, of course, Putin could look to Saudi Arabia, whose habit of executing homosexuals has done little to break up “what Barack Obama has called the “long history of friendship between Washington and Riyadh. This of course, is the same Obama who has “no patience” for Russia’s gay propaganda law.
Comparisons with the anti-semitic laws of the Nazis are both insulting and inappropriate. How insulting? Well, Nikolai Alexeyev, a prominent LGBT activist who earlier this year became the first person to be fined £70 under the federal gay propaganda law, has hit out at western reporting of the issue as biased and hypocritical.
Any attempt to highlight such contradictions is routinely dismissed as “whataboutism” - the attempt to deflect criticism on to other issues. But this is an increasingly unsatisfactory comeback. The Kremlin has no intention of ignoring such double standards. Just look at the pleasure Putin took in pointing out that more than 10 US states still Have sodomy laws on the books. Had he been aware of it, he would also undoubtedly have seized upon a 2013 report by Stonewall which revealed that one in six lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in the UK had been the victim of a homophobic hate crime or incident in the previous three years. Gay people still suffer abuse in all areas of their life - from strangers, neighbours, workmates and even family,” the report read. “Many of those who engage with the criminal justice system come away dissatisfied as so many crimes and incidents are reported but not followed up.”
No country likes being lectured to, especially when that criticism is so often seen as disproportionate and ill-informed. Russians are no exception, and the all too common anti-Russia rhetoric coming from the west over issues from gay rights to Syria and Pussy Riot has fostered a sense of national persecution. It also allows Putin to position himself as Russia’s sole protector in the face of a vicious “information war” against Mother Russia. Little wonder that the ex-KGB officer’s electoral ratings have just shot up to their highest level for nearly 10 years.
In reality, there is little the west can do to influence Russia, on gay rights or anything else. But to stand even a chance, criticism needs to be measured, accurate and, above all, consistent. There are enough reasons to disapprove of Putin’s authoritarian regime without resorting to hyperbole and falsehoods.
Marc Bennetts is author of Kicking the Kremlin,
There is plenty to take up in this piece too, and not least its failure to tackle the basic question of the insistence that “gay is normal” which underpins the campaign against Russia and leads to the hyperbole. This has previously been analysed and needs further development but it is Russia’s correct refusal to declare homosexuality to be “no different except in style” to heterosexuality that drives the monomaniac hatred from the “gay lobby”, along with its refusal to allow this to be taught to children.
(The latter proscription is usually presented by the gays as one accusing homosexuals of paedophilia, but it is no such thing – its simply declares that homosexuality cannot be taught to children as “normal”).
The homosexual issue needs greater discussion and much deeper understanding – but all inquiries into it which do not capitulate to the “gay lobby” demand to preempt the question, by immediately declaring it “normal”, are labelled by the fake-“left” as “homophobia”, whipping up “Politically Correct“ hostility and thereby preventing rational and scientific inquiry.
Now that is reactionary.
And it is the reactionary role played by this lobbying which is the real question and especially around the Russian question, which is intimately bound to the Ukrainian upheavals and ultimately a target too for Western subversion .
It is deadly serious as dozens of deaths have already made clear in Kiev, or in other counties subjected to Western hate campaigns, tens of thousands.
All-out blitzing has now become part of accepted world politics and could be escalated any minute.
Ignoring such devastating realities is beyond irresponsible.
Such light-minded monomania of past “gay rights activism” has for years already put the boot into workers states like Cuba, their entire dogged struggle against imperialism at huge cost in lives, economic sacrifice and determination casually dismissed as of no importance when set against the obsessions of “gay” sexuality, helping Western anti-communism subvert and undermine them with hostile propaganda.
Because of the cultural and historical traditions of the Middle East “gay rights” has campaigned against and undermined the bitter struggle of the Palestinian nation against the Nazi-genocide repression from the Zionist occupation as when Peter Tatchell disrupted a London Palestinian march for example some years ago (EPSR 1242 20-07-04).
The endless blitzkrieged persecution of millions of the cultured and talented Arab population, suffering under 65 years of constant siege, terrorising, and ethnic cleansing designed to drive an entire people from their own lands and pin them down in desperate concentration camp conditions such as the Gaza Strip and dispersed refugee camps across the Middle East is ignored.
Constant Nazi harassment, apartheid racism, oppression and repeated massacring means nothing to the homosexual lobby, obsessed only with its narrow interests and ready to see the world go to the devil if it does not accept it.
They have helped set up Western demonisation of assorted scapegoated countries such as Iran, helping sustain their economic strangulation through sanctions and “justifying “ their potential blitzing and blasting in all out war attacks by the West (as on Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan etc - Syria by the Zionists) because they are deemed “beyond the pale” – their failure to accept the “homosexuality is normal” insistence of the gay lobby deemed to take priority over all other considerations.
The indifference to the struggles of entire populations because of their cultural and political attitudes on the homosexual question has been seen too in the Obama election campaigns, with the “gay” lobby willing to trade support for Obamaism and its drone-killing, Guantánamo torturing and Afghan war escalating presidency, more savage and fascist in its practice even than preceding Bush White House, against the minor social concession of “gay marriage rights” (which is a moot question anyway).
This casual trade-off was all that rescued the Obama campaign in 2012 after its complete betrayal of the aspirations of the black civil rights movement and the feminist lobby (themselves reformist campaigns which had been suckered into believing a “black man in the White House” and the Hilary Clinton presence “as a potential woman president” somehow meant a change).
There is no change possible without the working class taking power.
That means building a Leninist scientific perspective on all questions including these single issues.
None of the unfairness, persecution, or antagonisms of various differences can ever be dealt with while capitalism continues.
Single issue politics without a Marxist revolutionary perspective is diversion and increasingly reaction with deadly consequences.
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