No 1441 5th March 2014
Western threats over Ukraine reach Hitlerite levels of bluster and hypocrisy but only confirm the weakness and fragmentation of the capitalist ruling class as its intractable catastrophic world economic collapse continues to unfold. But world delight at the humiliation of the nasty little Nazi thugs in Kiev, and the Western intelligence agencies behind them, needs to be just as critical of Putin’s restored capitalist oligarch nationalism. Revisionist nostalgia celebrating Russian “steadfastness” is just as poisonous a betrayal of Marxist understanding as the Trotskyist philistine acceptance of the populist “Orange” revolution. Neither begins to grasp the depth of the crisis and certainly not the drive to WORLD war which Ukraine is a small part of and Venezuela too. Leninist revolutionary perspectives for dictatorship of the proletariat ever more urgently needed
The Russian military move to bolster up the Crimea is a welcome humiliation for the bunch of Western-backed fascist thugs who have violently installed themselves in Ukraine’s capital in a laughable if sinister parody of a “revolutionary democratic” government, but it is no solution for the working class to capitalism’s catastrophic failure and Washington’s stampeding of the world into World War Three.
Putin’s bravado show of strength may call the bluff of the nasty little Hitlerite provocation which has created the crisis though four months of violent intimidation and now open strutting through the centre of Kiev with its guns, hunting knives, Molotov cocktails and baseball bats, – with German intelligence and CIA manipulation behind them – but it makes little difference in the end to the onrushing crisis collapse that the world monopoly capitalist system is imposing on the world everywhere, – including Russia.
Without the solidity of a conscious workers state, no Russian Putinesque “national pride” will be sufficient to stop the constant subversive warmongering aimed at the remnants of the Soviet and former East European workers states, now mostly buried by the “new capitalism” which Putin coordinates, but whose spirit still lingers on here and there in the attitudes of the Russian working class and its titanic experiences of fighting for, and developing, socialism for 70 years,
Many of the capitalist ruling class want to completely break up and dismantle even further even the tatters of that historic coherence, Balkanising it fully, just as they have fragmented and torn up the Middle East and the Balkans (Yugoslavia) itself.
The transient populist surge in the Russian tabloid press caused by Putin’s cretinous and egotistical “Great Russian” ambitions will not help the working class get back to building the only possible way out the crisis for Russian workers or any others – the revolutionarily conscious movement to overthrow capitalism and its escalating world war.
Workers in Ukraine (and inside Russia too) hardly face a very inspiring choice when it comes down to choosing between being exploited by a bunch of Russian oligarch gangster “tycoons” compared to being ripped off by the European Union’s racketeering or the USA’s rapacious corporations trying desperately to find more profiteering opportunities as the world crisis escalates always vicious competition to even greater cutthroat levels.
Let everyone enjoy the ashen-faced panic on the faces of the gang of shysters and SS-loving stooges making up the sham new “parliament” in bankrupt Ukraine, and the floundering Goebbels bluster of the Western “diplomatic response”.
But while the intervention might temporarily have put a stop to this particular stunt going any further, it cannot stop the overall plunge into Slump and War disaster that capitalism is rushing towards, tearing the whole world apart including Russia, which will continue to be subverted from outside and be subject to the same economic contradictions inside anyway.
The real story of the events in Ukraine is the now utterly degenerate warmongering desperation and Goebbels lying of the capitalist ruling class, caused by the universal meltdown of the world profit system which began in 2008 and continues to develop and deepen just beneath the surface, hidden only by mountains of completely valueless paper and electronic dollars piled by the trillions into the markets ever since by America, Europe and Japan.
It has multiplied a hundredfold the already completely unsolvable inflationary pollution of the international dollar reserve system which began five decades ago, forcing Richard Nixon to take the dollar off its gold parity system (established in Bretton Woods in 1949 as a supposedly “permanently stable” currency system), and which has continued ever since.
It cannot stop, and will be driven into even greater frenzy as the world crisis slumps back into the domino debt collapses and bank failures which every serious economic commentator and analyst knows are just beneath the surface, as in the this piece for example:
According to the stock market, the UK economy is in a boom. Not just any old boom, but a historic one, breaching the level achieved before the 2008 global financial crisis.
It may soon surpass the highest ever level reached during the heady days of the dotcom bubble.
The levels are extraordinary considering the UK economy has not yet recovered ground lost since the 2008 crash; per capita income in the UK today is still lower than 2007... share prices in 2007 were in bubble territory of the first order.
The situation is even more worrying in the US. In March 2013, the Standard & Poor 500 stock market index reached the highest ever level, surpassing the 2007 peak despite the fact that the country’s per capita income had not yet recovered to its 2007 level. Since then, the index has risen about 20%, though the US per capita income has not increased even by 2% during the same period. This is definitely the biggest stock market bubble in modern history.
Even more extraordinary is that no one is offering a plausible narrative explaining why the evidently unsustainable levels of share prices are actually justified.
During the dotcom bubble, the predominant view was that the new information technology was about to completely revolutionise our economies for good. It was argued,stock markets would keep rising (possibly forever) and reach unprecedented levels. The Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market, published in autumn 1999 when the Dow Jones index was not even 10,000, sums up the spirit of the time.
Similarly, in the run-up to the 2008 crisis, inflated asset prices were justified in terms of the supposed progresses in financial innovation. It was argued the alphabet soup of derivatives and structured financial assets, such as MBS, CDO, and CDS had vastly improved the ability of financial markets to “price” risk correctly, eliminating the possibility of irrational bubbles. On this belief, at the height of the US housing market bubble in 2005, both Alan Greenspan (the then chairman of the Federal Reserve Board) and Ben Bernanke (the then chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President and later Greenspan’s successor) publicly denied the existence of a housing market bubble.
At the same time, better economic theory – and thus better techniques of economic policy – was argued to have allowed policymakers to iron out those few wrinkles that markets themselves cannot eliminate. Robert Lucas, the leading free-market economist and winner of the 1995 Nobel prize in economics, proudly declared in 2003 that “the problem of depression prevention has been solved”. In 2004, Ben Bernanke (yes, it’s him again) argued that, probably thanks to better theory of monetary policy, the world had entered the era of “great moderation”, in which the volatility of prices and outputs is minimised.
This time around there isn’t any plausible story. Stories that are generated to encourage the share price to climb have been decidedly unambitious in scale and ephemeral in nature: higher-than-expected growth rates or number of new jobs created; brighter-than-expected outlook in Japan, China, or wherever; the arrival of the “super-dove” Janet Yellen as the new chair of the Fed; or, indeed, anything else that may suggest the world is not going to end tomorrow.
Few stock market investors really believe in these stories. Most investors know that current levels of share prices are unsustainable; it is said that George Soros has already started betting against the US stock market. They are aware that share prices are high mainly because of the huge amount of money sloshing around thanks to quantitative easing (QE), not because of the strength of the underlying real economy. This is why they react so nervously to any slight sign that QE may be wound down on a significant scale.
However, stock market investors pretend to believe – or even have to pretend to believe – in those feeble and ephemeral stories because they need those stories to justify (to themselves and their clients) staying in the stock market, given the low returns everywhere else.
The result, unfortunately, is that stock market bubbles of historic proportion are developing in the US and the UK, the two most important stock markets in the world, threatening to create yet another financial crash.
As with all bourgeois analysis, after spelling out this doom laden understanding of capitalism’s catastrophe, this tails off into some ineffectual call to change things, which simply re-states the problem:
In the longer run, however, the best way to deal with these bubbles is to revive the real economy; after all, “bubble” is a relative concept and even a very high price can be justified if it is based on a strong economy. This will require a more sustainable increase in consumption based on rising wages rather than debts, greater productive investments that will expand the economy’s ability to produce, and the introduction of financial regulation that will make banks lend more to productive enterprises than to consumers. Unfortunately, these are exactly the things that the current policymakers in the US and the UK don’t want to do.
As Karl Marx demonstrated in the three great volumes of Capital, it is the inability of capitalism to pay greater wages – because the system is based on extracting surplus value from workers, leaving them incapable “in the long run” of “consuming” more – which creates the gigantic crashes and slumps in the first place (see box).
The only way to “revive” the economy is to end the capitalist private profit making and take over so that production can be planned to match the needs of all, producing to serve real human needs and not the insane obesity and fashion chasing fatuousness of “capitalist consumption” in the rich countries and desperate starvation and sweat shops in the Third World.
Building the capabilities of workers everywhere, with the enormous wealth of the planet used for common good, will anyway release the huge genius of billions more humans, not simply solving the problems but lifting world science, culture and understanding to unprecedented levels orders of magnitude beyond the imposed ignorance and antagonism of capitalist society and its endless divisive unfairness, racism, persecution and conflict.
Capitalism’s only “solution” to this inexorable and periodic return of total bankrupt crisis failure has already been demonstrated in two world wars following intractable economic collapses before each of them.
All-out destruction to eliminate “surplus” capital clogging the system has torn the world apart, killed tens of millions and devastated entire countries.
It is all beginning again.
This upheaval in Ukraine is only part of endless fascist provocations and war by the monopoly capitalist order stirring up war and destruction for over two decades, beginning with the first Gulf war, the fragmentation of Yugoslavia and the final NATO-nazi blitzing of Serbia, all sold under the lying pretence and bluster of “popular movements” and specious “self-determination”, larded with accusations of unproven (because they didn’t happen) “massacres” like Recak in Yugoslavia).
The only real solution for mankind in other words is to end for good the private ownership of the means of production so that planned rational socialism can be built, achievable only by the working class taking and insisting on holding power by communist revolution.
Putin’s oligarchs are not about to advocate any such thing.
And while there are some interesting signals of renewed communist feelings in the Ukrainian upheavals with spontaneously forming defence squads going out to defend statures of Lenin and the Second World War monuments to the Red Army’s sacrifices in defeating German Nazism, there are few signs that this amounts yet to more than revisionist nostalgia.
Placing any faith in Putin, or following the gung-ho nationalist ecstasy of the Moscow tabloid newspapers would be to disarm the working class.
Holding off the outright fascist intimidation now on display in Kiev is useful only because it could give the working class a better chance for the vital revolutionary argument now urgently needed everywhere.
Lenin understood that there were no “aggressed and aggressors” in 1914, only a battle of imperialist gangsters on all sides to divvy up the world’s resources, the British, Russian and French empires looking to extend their colonialist exploitation, and the rising powerhouse of Germany, late developer Italy and the Austro-Hungarians to “get a share” of the plunder.
Only a policy of the working class turning its guns on its own ruling class was correct said the Bolsheviks, a tiny minority in 1914, wishing for their defeat, to open up the opportunity for revolution; and exactly that came about in 1917 with the gigantic upheaval of the February and October Russian Revolutions whose call for “peace, bread and land” overturned Tsarism first and then the new “democratic” bourgeoisie which had continued the war.
It is a moot point whether the residue of old communist tradition in Russian society, against which Putin’s Bonapartism tries to balance, despite his own philistine anti-communist ignorance, is sufficient to alter the need once again to call for a defeat on all sides of every ruling class, or whether the working class should first turn its energy on defeating the Nazi outrage in Kiev but without in any way trusting or accepting Putin’s oligarch rule.
For the moment the policy of “unite to defeat the worse enemy right now but no with faith in the bourgeoisie” which Bolshevism followed in August 1917 seems the right line.
At that point Tsarism under General Kornilov attempted to bring down the new bourgeois parliament of Oleg Kerensky which the February (bourgeois) revolution had created; the Bolsheviks agreed to stand alongside Kerensky but constantly warned the working class of his class’s treachery, and that they would need to bring him down too, as soon as the more urgent threat of Kornilov was dealt with.
So it proved with Kerensky revealed to be secretly dealing with the monarchists; in October the working class took power completely.
In the run of imperialist warmongering since Iraq and Serbia in the 1990s onwards this understanding has applied to much of Washington and NATO’s war rampaging, wanting to see imperialism defeated by the “rogue state” victims invaded or provoked into horrific bloodbaths and destruction by the West, but without giving the working class any illusions.
Defeat for imperialism but no support for Saddam Hussein’s thuggery, or the inadequacies of Assad and Gaddafi, is the grasp.
Russia is less of a “smaller victims” but in general Washington imperialism has been so overwhelmingly dominant since 1945 that it is the major enemy of the world working class.
Relying on nostalgic calls for a “return to the old Soviet times” by some in Crimea, and the appearance of defence squads created spontaneously to defend various Lenin statues throughout Ukraine is not enough; these may be an interesting sign of the old soviet legacy, but may be nothing more than that, and still hampered by past revisionist illusions, rather than any real signal of a return to necessary Bolshevik understanding, which needs to be consciously fought for by a party dedicated to that scientific battle.
And Putin still gives no signs of returning to the planned socialist ownership of the economy which is the only way out of international market collapse and slump.
His reinstating of the distasteful little opportunist president Viktor Yanukovych is not any kind of step forwards for workers either.
It is Yanukoych’s prevarications and vacillating wheeler-dealing and corruption – witness the sick and kitsch opulence of his oligarch-funded residence – which let the nasty little Nazi conspiracy in the centre of Kiev run out of control in the first place and gave the capitalist media propaganda machine the populist ammunition to run its vile Goebbels pretences about a “peoples revolution”.
Putin’s feeding of wider abstract illusions in a “democracy”, which is no different to the hoodwinking fraud of Western “democracy” (and apes many of its worst “war on terror” atrocities in Chechnya for example) does not help either, in Ukraine or Russia.
Or course the gross hypocrisy of the West over its “freedom and democracy” lies should be exposed, and its Goebbels pretences that this Western funded minority “mass movement” represents a “revolution” instead of fascist counter-revolution.
So, for what it is worth, (which is not much) exposing the hypocrisy of the West in bringing down the legally elected Yanukovych, and trampling over the 2010 result with violent demonstrations (still incredibly referred to as “peaceful demonstrations” by the cynical and knowing misrepresentations of the Western media) is a useful lesson – not to “reinstate” anyone but to expose the falsity of all “democracy” which will always be violently overridden if capitalism is in trouble or does not like the results.
The Venezuelans are being taught just the same lessons right now by the almost parallel fascist-minded “demonstrations” there.
(But the entire fake-“left” still feeds the nonsense of the “Bolivarian” revolution, which is nothing but reformism and always open and vulnerable to exactly this kind of subversion.)
Yanukovych was elected in much fairer and more decisive election in 2010 than the fraudulent “Coalition” in Britain, cobbled together because none of its mountebanks and opportunist “politicians” were able to win anything like a victory in the general election, for all their advertising and press manipulation etc, nor even to attract anything but hostile “keep them out” tactical voting where a few of the (rightly) disillusioned working class still bothered to turn out.
Even some of the more hesitant bourgeois elements in Britain can see that point, including the naval admiral Lord West who admitted Yanukovych was legally elected, on Sunday’s BBC Broadcasting House programme after the Russian action, and by the reactionary but intellectually straightforward Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail reflecting the fearfulness of the British middle-class at what could be unleashed.
With the usual unnecessary anti-Soviet black myths edited out, it reads:
A month ago I warned that simple-minded Western intervention in Ukraine risked provoking civil war in that dangerous, unstable region.
Now I repeat the warning. Our encouragement of this post-modern putsch now threatens the worst civil violence in Europe since similar lobbies sponsored the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Worse may be on the way. Ukraine is steeped in blood and carpeted with unquiet graves. Twice in the past century it has been the scene of terrible wars, and also the site of a hideous  famine . It is also a great strategic prize – fertile wheat fields, coal mines, the crucial warm-water naval port of Sevastopol.
Now it is the gateway for the colossal new gas and oil fields around the Caspian Sea.
Most Western politicians and commentators seem to assume that the Kiev mob are democrats. Are they? In what way?
They demanded the resignation of the Ukrainian government, because they said so. They wouldn’t go home until they got their way.
How is that democratic? President Yanukovych is certainly no saint. But he came to power legitimately
In 2010, Yanukovych won office for five years with 12.5 million votes (48.9 per cent) against 11.6 million votes (45.5 per cent) for Yulia Tymoshenko. That’s rather better than David Cameron (10.7 million, 36.1 per cent) did against Gordon Brown (8.6 million, 29.0 per cent) in our 2010 poll.
So what precisely is ‘democratic’ about demanding the immediate removal of a lawfully elected head of state, who has a year of his mandate still to run? It sounds more like mob rule to me.
And yet, on the BBC’s supposedly enlightened and thoughtful World Tonight radio programme, an academic was allowed to describe this government as a ‘regime’ without challenge, and a series of politicians from Eastern Europe were brought on to demand sanctions against Ukraine, while no voice was heard from the other side. Anyway, who are these demonstrators? There is no doubt that police have been injured by petrol bombs thrown from the crowd, and shot at with guns. Yet the reports seldom seem to ask who is doing the throwing and the shooting.
Nor do they often mention the Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), a nasty formation of violent football fans, prominent in the riots. These ‘democrats’ consider the larger Svoboda party as too namby-pamby. But you wouldn’t. Svoboda (Freedom) is led by Oleh Tyahnybok. He was once expelled from the Kiev parliament for claiming that a ‘Muscovite-Jewish Mafia’ controlled the country. Charming, eh? Kiev was the scene, in 1941, of the Babi Yar massacre of 30,000 Jews by German troops.
Many of the more fervent Ukrainian nationalists, especially those from the Western city of Lviv, are keen worshippers of the memory of a character called Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with the Nazis on and off between 1941 and 1945.
It is these people who have been receiving the support of the United States. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is famous for her ‘**** the EU!’ statement in a bugged phone conversation in which she discusses naked intervention by the USA in Ukraine’s affairs.**
But last December she trotted round the main square of Kiev with a little plastic bag, handing out biscuits and buns to demonstrators. Other outsiders who have sided with the anti-democratic mob have included German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton.
Didn’t these people realise what effect their endorsement might have? Do they know what ghosts they may raise? If they don’t, they are ignorant and rash. If they do, they should remember what happens to children who play with fire.
[** see EPSR 1440 last issue]
Of course the “people’s will” bullshit pumped out night and day by the Western politicians and the compliant Western media - with the allegedly “liberal” and/or Trotskyist dominated elements like the Guardian and Channel Four News in the forefront – is not merely a “mistaken assumption” or even irresponsible “playing with fire” as Hitchens paints it.
Outrageously for example, the great majority of TV and bourgeois press journalists have constantly described supposed “peaceful demonstrations” even as stories and facts have emerged, via one or two more principled or hesitant correspondents, of more and more details of the carefully trained and organised violence in the “movement” with demonstrators carrying knives, wooden staves and guns and well-coordinated military level stockpiles of heavy cobblestones, Molotov cocktails, as Hitchens correctly says.
Somewhat belatedly on the day after Russian troop movements began the BBC Newsnight was reporting on the fascists gangs which make up a large part of the Svoboda nationalist party, and their open Nazi worshipping, including four MPs in the new “parliament” displaying the notorious “88” symbol to the cameras, standing for Hitler’s initials (8 is the number of the letter H) and partially, though not completely, filming the guns and other lethal weaponry which has been used against the legal police and state authority long before it was forced to respond with force itself.
Newsnight is a minority late night programme and therefore “safe” for more uncomfortable admissions which are made now and then by the bourgeois media to keep up the gross fiction of “balanced reporting” and a “free press”; these highly significant facts will not be mentioned by the mainstream front pages, nor by the posturing pomposity of the reactionarily self-righteous little jerk William Hague, or the sinister Chancellor Merkel, whose German imperialism has had its eye on the Ukraine for more than a century, taking it by force from the Bolshevik revolution at the Brest-Litovsk negotiations in 1917 and again with the Hitler invasion (aided by the Nazi Western Ukrainians now lauded again by the Svoboda).
Just the opposite, the press reporting has been a deluge of lies and misrepresentation even more glaring than the war stampeding hate lies streamed out before the Libyan and Syrian destruction, even before Serbia, demonising the bourgeois anti-imperialism of Gaddafi and Assad or the useless revisionist nationalism of Slobodan Milosevic.
It takes a special kind of barefaced chutzpah to say as one Channel Four News reporter did that the demonstrators had stormed some building or another “armed only with baseball bats”.
The weapon of twentieth century fascist thuggery from Chicago to 1930s Berlin???
These are deliberate Goebbels BIG LIE misrepresentations, consciously and knowingly promulgated in the teeth of the obvious fascist and Nazi character of the “mass movement”.
The capitalist system WANTS war and chaos because it is heading for the rocks on a scale never before seen in history.
The astonishing allegations against the Russians since the coup, declaring them to be “committing acts of aggression and invasion” when it is the West and the Americans (what is the US doing concerning itself with affairs on the other side of the world anyway and pretending it is protecting its interests(??????)) have a tone no different to the wild rantings of Hitler himself, whipping up a giant rally into a frenzy of hate against the Jews or Gypsies, or because of the alleged “aggression” other countries like Poland or Czechoslovakia “against” Germany.
The hypocrisy is breathtaking from the Pentagon/Washington axis which has invaded and destroyed country after country, and which has been up to its neck in the Ukrainian subversion to push and prod the local Nazis, both in 2004 and again now.
This monstrous war hysteria underlines that the real source and cause of fascism, is not simply the adolescent fantasies of deranged fanatic nationalists in Lvov or Rotterdam or Marseilles or “the racist BNP or ELP” (disgusting as they are), who are somehow classified as different to, or separate from “normal capitalism”, but arises from the heart of the imperialist system itself from top to bottom, now openly revealing its true nature as the crisis bites, in lies, warmongering, constant surveillance, torture, blitzing and brutal “austerity” class war.
Obama’s “black” presidency is the fascism.
The events now unfolding in Ukraine result from a choreographed and deliberate provocation.
But all this will deliver massively useful lessons to the working class everywhere as the dialectical chain of push and shove driven by the relentless subversion and pressure of the crisis tearing at Western ruling class interests, forces increasingly demented exaggeration and obvious LIES to the surface, exposing the capitalist media machine even more and its direct responsibility for fanning the flames into the wars and civil wars that have already killed tens of thousands of deaths.
But if the Western journalists, willingly pumping out the ruling class and intelligence agency lies, have a lot to answer for, so too have the fake-“lefts” whose fatuous refusal to keep the working class aware of the catastrophic unstoppability of the crisis and its inevitable World War outcome is at a level of betrayal which parallels the Second International’s capitulation to imperialist war fever in 1914 (which Labourism has continued ever since, running imperialist lying warmongering for it over and over again from the post-war atrocity-filled Malaysian and Greek anti-communist wars to the WMD lies of Blairism prepared for the blitzing and destroying of Iraq).
After much anti-war bluster and anti-imperialist promises in the Basle Declaration of 1912, each of the various reformist parties then swung 180 degrees to support their own ruling class, each as the alleged “injured party”in 1914.
The Labourites were “backing Britain”, the huge German Social-Democrat party backed the German government, the Mensheviks in Russia the Tsar, and the Mussolini wing of the “communists” in Italy its bourgeois government etc etc (Mussolini began as a nationalist “left” it should never be forgotten, and that remains a major lessons too for the working class about the realities of posturing pretenders on the fake-“left” today),
The “left” side of Labour and Independent Labour Party, provided a cover for this vile capitulation, with ineffectual pacifism, again to head-off revolutionary understanding, which the tiny Leninist groups alone battled for.
The reformist encouraged the hundreds, and tens of hundreds, of thousands of workers to sign up for the trenches to fight each other into a morass of blood and mud horror the like of which had never been seen though the scale of death has now become routine in imperialist war after war.
This is one of the great lessons of the First World War, now being deliberately confused and twisted and lied about in a deluge of preposterous “re-thinking” TV programmes and articles and books poured out by the ruling class and the inheritors of that betrayal, the modern Labourites, still betraying the working class with lies and confusion as the hundred year anniversary approaches).
And the relevance of this propaganda war lies precisely in the events of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine and Venezuela shortly.
The drive to war is once more well underway.
But the “revolutionary” fake-”left” are to blame too with their confusions and anti-theory hostility.
Without the long decades of Trotskyist biliousness and poison against the Soviet Union and other workers states, repeating all the vile anti-communist “totalitarian” lies which have poured non-stop from capitalism since 1917 against the necessary dictatorship of the proletariat, all under the pretence of being for “real socialism” ( – a petty bourgeois fantasy of a “nice” revolution with none of the agonies, mistakes, hardships, problems and inevitable roughness that the real process of struggle against centuries of brutality and exploitation entails -) capitalism could not get away with the populist trickery of stirring up endless pseudo-revolts and street violence to destabilise and disrupt socialist construction or potential construction, from the notorious strikes against Chile’s “elected communism” which saw the ultimate fascist overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973 to the endless pretend “colour coordinated” revolutions in East Europe to put the boot into any potential revival of socialist society.
Without the elaborate theoretical fantasy construction of a supposed “political revolution” to allegedly re-establish “proper working class control” by “bringing down Stalinism” – a philosophical nonsense that in reality could only ever have meant counter-revolution and, in practice, turned out to be exactly that – without that long muddying of the waters with petty bourgeois sourness, the working class could much less easily be taken in by the kind of stunt now underway in Ukraine.
There is a direct line between the Western subversion which produced the 1956 Hungarian “uprising” against the post-WW2 workers state, and Ukraine.
Hungary was a counter-revolutionary attempt by the still very live Admiral Horthyite Arrow Cross fascists internally and the external Nazi influence form West Germany, and the newly developed CIA, all mixed with continuing Catholic clerical fascist influence (with a long record of nastiness).
It goes on through the “Prague Spring” petty bourgeois viciousness and violence of 1968 in Czechoslovakia which was equally ready to string communists from the lampposts (as was done in Budapest).
And it culminated in the Solidarnosc bogus “trade union movement” of 1980-89 in Poland, funded by hundreds of millions of CIA and Catholic Church dollars poured through Panama and the Bank Ambrosiano.
All of them were counter-revolutionary conspiracies with a similar reactionary, monarchist, backward religious, fervent anti-communist and ultra-nationalist hate character which is now so clearly revealed in Kiev.
All of them were hyped up far beyond their real strengths by the Western propaganda machine (World Service and Voice of America etc for external consumption and just about every paper, TV and radio station domestically).
But the propaganda onslaught was given extra credence by the Trots and their shallow reformist notions of “anti-totalitarianism”.
Stunningly many of the Trots continue to pour out their support for these movements, most particularly for the Solidarnosc sham “trade union”, long after their fascist character has become clear; and even now as the Solidarnosc based fascist Catholic restoration in Poland pitches in on the Nazi side in Kiev, celebrating the toppling of Lenin statues and other hate campaigning and intimidation for example.
The SWP is still pumping out its backward “rank and file” anti-theory, which lets itself be taken in by any tiny show of alleged “street rebellion” handed a “Freedom” banner by some faceless provocateur for tightly cropped filming by the TV crews pretending it is a “mass demonstration”, ignoring the most obvious signs of the class nature of the movement (as in Libya for example where they supported the thin bravado of the bourgeois opportunists and racists who toppled Gaddafi despite their obvious monarchic restorationism and pro-West intervention calls).
Their excuse that “the movement has been hijacked” by Nazis or racists once the obvious reactionary character of it emerges more fully is opportunist dishonesty on a grand scale.
The point of Marxist theory is to understand these vital class movement questions and guide the working class.
The petty bourgeois fake-“left” movements will always be “caught out” because every brain cell they have is saturated with middle-class fear and detestation of the working class and the abrasive rising struggle of the masses everywhere which erupts in all kinds of confused and violent outbursts, condemned immediately by imperialism as “terrorism” if it at all threatens capitalist interests, with the fake- “left” immediately joining the moralising chorus.
More than the spontaneous destructiveness of the masses which crisis is forcing out, they fear and detest the disciplined class rule of the majority which needs to be established in order to finish the rule of monopoly capitalism, and to hold down all counter-revolutionary subversion and plotting by the deposed ruling class minority to reestablish its exploitation and power.
That dictatorship of the proletariat remains the key question for the future of mankind, the only way to overcome the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie which is the reality of capitalist “democracy”.
But the working class gets no understanding of that from the other, Stalinist revisionist, wing of fake-“leftism” either.
To the contrary, it is the mistakes and errors of the Stalin-led Third International which fostered the idea that capitalism had been fatally wounded by the Second World War and needed only to be “contained” by “peace struggles” from expressing its warmongering nature, to be slowly outgrown and outpaced by “more efficient” socialism.
This was the philosophical basis of post-war revisionist illusions in “peaceful roads” and “democratic paths” and “Stop the War” pacifism which has fatally mislead and undermined genuine revolutionary socialist understanding everywhere.
But Kiev demonstrates precisely what capitalism will do, and always does, when a “democratic” decision does not suit it, or the crisis is growing so deep that it becomes more and more desperate to force speed-up and intensified exploitation onto the working class.
Putin’s complacent and fatuous hobnobbing with the oligarchs – leaving them free to rip the wealth from the workers who create it, just as they do everywhere in capitalism – is the ultimate extension of the revisionist delusions about the “free market” which leave the working class wide open.
Venezuela too currently demonstrates just the same, with the soft-brained left reformism of Nicolás Maduro (and the preceding “left hero” Hugo Chávez) failing to arm the working class, above all with the revolutionary training and perspectives it needs to organise the revolutionary fight against subversion and fascist provocations and to take power.
The fake-“left” fails to see or explain the crisis and the revolutionary challenges is confronts the working class with in order to survive and take humanity forwards.
Its complacent smugness does not really believe there is a crisis, let alone a historic watershed for class rule.
The unctuous opportunist Trotskyist Tariq Ali managed to deliver an entire two hour talk at the end of February for the “Inaugural Hugo Chávez Lecture” in London without once mentioning the fascist turmoil underway in Kiev, the wave of turmoil in the middle East (particularly the ferment in Egypt) or capitalism’s collapse.
But that the lessons scream out to be learned is clear from Venezuela’s government as this Guardian letter hints:
The violent scenes in Venezuela in recent days follow the launching of a campaign by extremist elements of Venezuela’s opposition demanding the “ousting” of the democratically elected government. It is notable that even other sections of the opposition, including its recent presidential candidate, have distanced themselves from this (Venezuela braces for more violence – but it could work in Maduro’s favour, 14 February).
The tragic killing of three Venezuelans, including both supporters and opponents of the government, has worrying echoes of what has occurred before in Venezuela, notably the coup d’etat of 2002. Then, hidden snipers fired on crowds of people in order to create social conflict and the conditions to justify a military coup. In addition, President Nicolás Maduro’s announcement that the same pistol was used in the first two of the recent killings is thus deeply worrying.
Alvaro Sanchez – Charge d’affaires, Embassy of Venezuela
Ali’s opportunistic lauding of the gibberish notion of a “new kind of socialism” invented by Chávez, his so-called “21st century socialism” to be brought by the “Bolivarian revolution” was tediously and eulogistically spelled out, avoiding all the awkward issues and most of all never mentioning the crucial dictatorship of the proletariat question at all.
This is typical of the fake-“left” which always avoids and diverts attention from the genuine revolutionary issues, preferably behind some pretence or “new theory” which allows it to preen itself with some other alleged “revolutionary” credentials.
Every other “left” figure like Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Gramsci, etc (all flawed in their grasp) or even Stalin and Mao are variously elevated to first place, anyone instead of the great revolutionary theorists, namely Marx, Engels and Lenin.
In Ukraine the hoary old notions of abstract “self-determination” are being wheeled out again too.
The same sophistry has been apparent for decades as in the Yugoslavian NATO-onslaught and right through the barbaric destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria as the EPSR has constantly argued e.g. in issue 1070 (12-12-2000). Substitute Ukrainian for Albanian Kosovan, Putin for Milosevic, Left Unity for the Socialist alliance:
Passionate arguments are put forward for or against Kosovo Albanian self-determination rights versus Serbian self-determination rights, – to a background of Western imperialist subversion, intervention, and generally reactionary skulduggery which is going to continue to screw everybody, –– but little is ever said, if anything at all, about how the whole monstrous Balkanisation warmongering nonsense ends. How is any obvious way forward for socialism for mankind being illustrated by the steadily-growing mess in the Balkans? Or in Occupied Palestine? Or in Blairism’s crisis (petrol blockade; Peckham youth anarchy; European Union unending conflict; etc, etc)? Or in everything else that is happening and getting discussed? There is either zero inspiration for the working class towards socialist consciousness; or there is even only a reactionary education, when the only perspectives being worked into the debates are limited to ‘Get out of Europe’; or ‘Keep the pound’; or ‘Peaceful coexistence between a Zionist and a Palestinian state would be nicer’; or “Back ‘left’ Labour candidates or TUC office candidates if they accept a minimum ‘reformist’ programme”; etc, etc, etc.
None of this remotely addresses the crucial role that revolutionary theory is inevitably going to have to play before working class socialist consciousness shortly becomes the decisive political force on earth. Every variety of revisionism and Trotskyism spouts about its ‘Marxist-Leninist’ credentials ceaselessly; but every vital lesson is in reality ignored, especially the key understanding that without revolutionary theory, there will never be lasting successful revolutionary practice.
How, for example, is the defence of the abstract ‘right to self-determination’ for the Kosovo Albanian pro-American mafia-separatists going to help the cause of the international proletariat for defeating US imperialist domination worldwide??? The Trots simply ignore the question. So how or why is the confused and frustrated working class in Britain (or anywhere else) supposed to become passionately involved in this issue one way or the other?
Or how, for example, is the ‘defence of Yugoslavia’ (when it amounted to a defence of the crooked, mercenary, anti-communist Milosevic regime) going to inspire an international fight to build dedicated workers-state regimes, building socialism??? The museum-Stalinists and other revisionists did not say when calling for support for the Belgrade regime; and delicately forget about the previous slogan now that these wretched mercenary Milosevic losers have halfway abandoned their joke ‘anti-imperialist’ fight altogether.
The working class is never going to respond in vast revolutionary-fighting numbers to this endless fence-sitting mealy-mouthed ‘left’ posturing by all 57 varieties of Trotskyism and revisionism, whether bogusly ‘united’ in phoney (anti-theory) ‘alliances’ or not. Only the serious perspectives for the eventually inevitably worldwide victory over the rapidly decaying imperialist market-anarchy system will inspire workers to the revolutionary front-line again, fighting for socialism.
Making a caricature of this (EPSR position - ed) as a demand for “instant revolution, now, immediately, on every issue”, etc, etc, will not make the problem go away. The working class will remain uninspired by just re-runs of electoral ‘left reformist promises’ nearly 100 years after they first failed with Labour, (as the ‘Socialist Alliances’ are trying). Or by re-runs of revisionism’s equally-vague ‘left pressure’ and ‘anti-monopoly fronts’ nearly 70 years after their first failure under the already-theoretically-bankrupt Stalinist Third International.
What the working class needs is to return to the fundamentals of socialism as discovered and fought for brilliantly by Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and later Vladimir Lenin, to be the core of constantly polemically developing revolutionary understanding, not the shallow opportunist substitute that dishing out a bit of the oil money in one of the few places that has got it, will suffice to change the world “Bolivarian style”.
Chávez and now Maduro’s reformist improvements in the Caracas slums and the education for the working class, combined with defiance for America imperialism can be and should be celebrated, but will ultimately prove totally hollow unless they are used to create the opportunity to build a deep revolutionary understanding in the working class, so that it can take the only action that will guarantee its future and prevent the counter-revolutionary subversion and fascism which is non-stop by capitalism.
Like Russia – also living on oil money – this reformism is highly vulnerable to capitalist crisis collapse; and the inflation pumped into the world economy by the Federal Reserve QE trillions, is already emerging to surface in these weaker economies, tearing their economies apart and helping create the conditions for provoked destabilisation.
The “lefts” most of all fail to bring out the gigantic epoch shattering nature of the crisis and the world scale of the warmongering underway.
Meanwhile over Ukraine one of the most significant aspects currently is the ruling class squabbling over what imperialism really is able to do about it anyway.
Firstly this reveals the impotence and feebleness of the ruling class, and particularly the British, whose parasitical financial “service” economy is in hock to virtually every gangster or mafia thug in the world.
All the bluster about “sanctions” or “military action” is so much hot air, from the pathetic Camerons and their crawlarsing “Liberal” stooges, and the “loyal” (ie grossly class collaborating) Labourites, “ready to back the Prime Minister in his actions” as they pompously and shamefully declared in the parliamentary circus this week.
What a joke the British ruling class has become, a pathetic non-entity shadow of the authority it ludicrously play-acts – as if anyone is listening!!!
But that does not mean the imperialist system will just evaporate.
Weakness is what leads to the overt fascism and warmongering, and the vicious Nazism which is the desperate last card of the ruling class.
Even more significant over Ukraine are the splits between the US aggressiveness and the EU (meaning Germany) revealed in Washington’s contemptuous dismissal of Berlin’s approach to Ukraine, in the recent leaked diplomatic phone calls (EPSR last issue).
These reflect the even greater tensions and divisions the world catastrophe is creating between the major powers, much along the lines of the conflicts which eventually created the First and Second World Wars.
The EPSR has long insisted that the inter-imperialist rivalries and battling for markets are the most explosive element of all and the core expression of the crisis.
US-European-Japanese war all a bit far fetched??
But it is not just over Ukraine that the signs are emerging as bourgeois press reports indicate. Past issues have detailed the moves to re-arm by Japan and now there is more:
Germany must stop using its past as a “shield” and use its armed forces more frequently and decisively, federal president Joachim Gauck has warned, in the clearest sign yet that country’s longstanding aversion to the use of its military may be beginning to crack.
“Germany can’t carry on as before,” Mr Gauck said on Friday, pulling few punches in a speech that cited German indifference and European navel-gazing amid “rapid” and “dramatic” new threats to the “open world order”.
“When the last resort – sending in the Bundeswehr – comes to be discussed, Germany should not say no on principle,” the president said.
Mr Gauck appeared as the keynote-speaker at the Munich Security Conference – the world’s largest annual gathering of defense chiefs and politicians.
In a 30-minute oration pitched as much to Germany’s domestic audience as to delegates in the cordoned-off precincts of the Bayerischer Hof hotel, Mr Gauck called for Germany to “do more to guarantee the security that others have provided it with for decades”.
Military engagement remains a particularly sensitive political and social issue in Germany decades after the second world war.
The country’s political establishment remains divided too. Both foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel remain cautious about expanding German military ambitions.
While Mr Gauck’s role within the Bundesrepublik is largely symbolic, his call to arms was backed up – albeit in more carefully couched terms – by German’s new minister of defence, Ursula von der Leyen..
Ms von der Leyen, who was appointed in December and is tipped as a potential successor to Ms Merkel, told delegates at the conference that “indifference” was no longer an option for Germany in the face of growing security crises on Europe’s borders.
“We have the responsibility to engage.”
Just what shape the forthcoming conflicts take and which powers line up with which is still only hazily emerging. But that war destruction is the only future the lines are already sharp.
Revolutionary theory needs to be much more sharply delineated too. Build Leninism.
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Harman and Hewitt squirming over NCCL–PIE connections reflects fake-“left” fear “gay rights” single-issue PCism is exposed as a reactionary reformist fraud
The desperate wriggling and squirming of Labourites like Harriet Harmon and Patricia Hewitt, to try and disconnect themselves from the Paedophile Information Exchange, and its affiliation to the National Council for Civil Liberties in the 1970s is about far more than rescuing their own scummy opportunist New Labour political careers.
It is about the unravelling of the entire fake-“left” “gay rights” agenda and, beyond that, all single-issue reformist politics (black nationalism, feminism, environmentalism, animal rights etc etc) which has been used for decades as a block against revolutionary politics.
A central aspect of “gay” lobbying is the relentless insistence by obsessive homosexuality that “gay is normal”, and nothing but a “life-style choice”, with all questioning of this tenet declared to be “homophobia”.
Scientific psychological and sociological inquiry which says there are deeper issues to explore, around the nature of human sexuality, family, reproduction and child development, is not only proscribed by the “lefts” (a narrow mindedness more akin to fascist book-burning than Marxism) but deemed to be “offensive”, and used to whip up an atmosphere of hostility and even intimidation against anyone raising wider questions.
For example, the current “Left Unity” lowest common denominator attempt to force some agreement between the utterly incompatible individualisms of the fake-“left” (as useless as herding cats) has begun its work with a censorious “safe space” policy which allows the blocking of any arguments that are deemed “upsetting”, purely on the subjective “feelings” of the “upsetee”.
It is a recipe for total sectarianism and proscription more severe than the “totalitarianism” these lightweights profess to be against.
In general all querying of homosexuality is monstrously and lyingly equated with “persecution”, if the “gay” lobby’s account of itself is not unquestioningly accepted and promulgated.
But there are crucial issues to investigate – some about the nature of homosexuality itself and some about its use as a reactionary political tool, most notably in recent months to help whip up the anti-Russian atmosphere , which is part and parcel of capitalism’s crisis war agenda.
It is no trivial matter, as the fascist killings in Ukraine’s Nazi “revolt” indicate, and the subsequent demented Goebbels-level aggression against Moscow confirm.
Disruption of Palestinian marches is another case, where the massive and genocidal suffering over generations of an oppressed people, and their efforts to fight back and organise, are completely sabotaged because their society does not yet (and possibly never will) share the “gay agenda”.
It was the “gay” lobby which helped tip the balance on Obama’s re-election (ignoring his support for torture, surveillance, military occupation and drone-killing on a scale greater than the warmongering George Bush), trading its support for the relatively superficial right to “gay marriage”, utterly unconcerned by the devastation and oppression being wrought around the world.
In the sociological area there are major questions to be answered about the overlap between homosexuality and paedophilia as case after case has emerged of grotesque child abuse in boys homes, the Boy Scouts of America, the Glasgow paedophile ring, the Catholic orphan homes in Ireland and elsewhere, orphan refuges in Australia and more.
These were not simply paedophilia, but were homosexual paedophilia and while most homosexuals are not paedophiles and most paedophiles are not homosexual (as far as current psychology would indicate), it is a nonsense to ignore all such overlap.
Asking questions about such things has got nothing to do with a wish to oppress, ban, or persecute homosexuals, but is crucial for society.
The denial of any connection has been one of the critical “defences” of the gay lobby, with much citing of alleged science proving “no connection” – none of which holds up to serious scrutiny. Hence the banning of such scrutiny.
But the revelations about PIE and the NCCI reveal that such connections were accepted by the “left” in the recent past, and even campaigned for by some as part of the overall “political correctness” single-issue agenda.
Some section of the fake-“left”, notably the CPGB Weekly Worker are still discussing the possible abolition of the age of consent (WW998 20th Feb 2014).
And irrespective of the professed “abhorrence” for paedophilia which the Harmans and Hewitts pour out now, the “left” PC agenda has been so determined not to ask any objective questions that numerous scandals and crimes have been covered up around child care.
One of the most notorious was cited in reproduced capitalist press cuttings in the EPSR in 1997. The issues it raised still have not been dealt with by the fake-“left” (EPSR No 889 04-02-97):
Mark Trotter died of Aids-related pneumonia in July last year, aged 34. Had he lived, Merseyside police say they would have prosecuted him for sexually abusing five boys in 1980-81 when he was living and working in a children’s home in Liverpool.
Trotter left Liverpool for Hackney, east London, where he became a residential social worker at the Trowbridge House children’s home. He lived on the premises with his partner, Bob Barthram, until the home was closed in 1985 under the council’s policy of getting children out of institutions and into foster homes. He then became a field social worker - still with contact with children - until his death.
In December 1981, months after Trotter joined Hackney, and again in January 1982, he was investigated by the social services department following separate allegations of interference and indecent assault. In December 1984 and January 1989 there were more sexual allegations.
Nothing was proved and Trotter, a Labour Party activist well known to many councillors, was allowed to continue working with children. Some considered the charges no more than “gay-bashing”.
Much more needs to be analysed on this PIE case.
But the desperation to distance the “left” from it, reflects the real anti-revolutionary nature of all the “lefts” (all lining up with the New Labourites to condemn the Daily Mail etc despite the appalling opportunism of these Blairite mountebanks who continue to try and sell the capitalist system to the working class.
“Gay” rights and other single issue campaigns are a desperate effort to prop up the now completely discredited reformism, suggesting society can be improved without totally overturning the ruling class and its profiteering. But super-reformism will not work either to hold back revolution. DH
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