No 1445 19th May 2014
Fascist coup provocations from Ukraine to Thailand show how deadly unravelling catastrophic crisis of monopoly capitalism is forcing the bourgeoisie to show its true face everywhere, the brutal dictatorship of capital hidden behind the hoodwinking fraud of “parliament”. Revolutionary understanding required to take power and end this degenerate warmongering system for good. But the fake-“left”s of all shades still fail to give any such leadership fostering illusions in bourgeois democracy as both the aim and method of struggle, bolstered by pacifist “Stop the War” and “stop austerity” fatuousness. Venezuela disruption and Egyptian counter-revolution underline the weakness of their posturing – while the failure of the latest poisonous Unionist bigotry to disrupt Sinn Féin shows the victorious Irish liberation war reality behind the current peaceful democratic progress. But a fight to rebuild Leninism remains crucial
Worldwide breakdown of the “freedom and democracy” pretence into increasingly open fascism is further confirming the underlying catastrophic reality of the capitalist system’s crisis and its laughably bogus economic “recovery”.
A desperate ruling class, facing escalating turmoil, “terrorism”, riots and mass rebelliousness everywhere, and knowing far more is to come when its Quantitative Easing money-printing confidence trick finally implodes and the full-on crisis hits again, is more and more being forced to abandon the pretence of “freedom and democracy”.
One properly elected government after another is being toppled and repressive reaction installed, while the “explanation” that each coup or “revolt” is “more democratic” or “more popular” becomes ever more offhand, the Goebbels Big Lie so stretched to the limit that the ruling class seems hardly to bother.
In the Ukraine, crude Nazi thuggery by the US-backed counter-revolutionary “government” is openly fostered with Nazi style torchlight parades in Kiev and burning and shooting down of workers in the east: obscene street massacres and mass death-sentence state intimidation are imposed by the populist-restored and US-funded Egyptian military dictatorship: gross monarchist Yellowshirt street violence and blatant legal manipulation in Thailand has just deposed the left-reformist Yingluck Shinawatra and her majority elected government; fascist attacks, gruesome murders and violent “demonstration” disruption by the rich and middle-class in Caracas is attempting to sabotages the popularly elected Nicolás Maduro Venezuelan reformists to the point of complete instability for potential coup attempts; in Ireland the outrageous backwoodsmen Unionist “arrest” stunt against republican leader Gerry Adams has tried to derail the storming Euro election momentum of Sinn Féin’s Irish re-unification progress and even threatens to break up the power-sharing peace settlement.
Honduras and Paraguay have seen a coup and judicial coup just previously openly welcomed by the West.
On top, the worldwide surveillance and secret state spying, infiltration of agents and police provocateurs has reached new levels of universality, domestically in the “metropolitan” countries and abroad, that would have made Hitler’s Gestapo green with envy.
Throughout Europe the ruling class is now deliberately sponsoring and publicising the foulest of neo-fascist or near fascist reactionary parties, (given endless TV airtime and newspaper space), playing to the most backward chauvinism and petty nationalism, laced with scapegoating bigotry against immigrants, outright racism and demonising of otherness, particularly Islamism.
All these specific counter-revolutionary manifestations have their own particular form with the “polite and jolly” British UKIP superficially different to the machismo of the Greek Golden Dawn fascist thuggery (though with the same backward politics); the legalism of the Thai coup different to the Cairo populist militarism; the Washington driven anti-Russian provocation in Ukraine different to the arrogant US Latin America “backyard” colonialist assumptions which are pushing and funding the bourgeois revolt in Venezuela.
Each needs far greater analysis and investigation by Marxist Leninist objective science and, potentially, rich lessons can be learned from all of them as things unfold at an accelerating pace.
A huge amount of Marxist debate and analytical work needs to be tackled and the party to do it built up.
But the first, and the overwhelmingly most important lesson to draw is that these upheavals and their increasingly crude repression reflect a common factor, that of worldwide capitalist domination and its historic disintegration as its private profit making mechanisms hit a brick wall of contradiction, unable to continue human progress forwards.
Monopoly capitalism is collapsing into a vortex of Depression austerity, incoherence, societal breakdown, and poisonous antagonisms, sectarianism and conflict at all levels, essentially just as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels described long ago in the original Communist Manifesto, still a powerful foundation for understanding which they, and Lenin, elaborated in many later works, including, of course, Capital (see page 6 quotes).
Beyond the stagnancy and bankruptcy brought by every recurring and always deeper crisis, imperialism is now dragging the entire planet back towards total warmongering.
In the modern monopoly capitalist era the only “answer” the ruling class has to the clogging of its economic system with “surplus” capital is to destroy great swathes of industry, infrastructure, agriculture and all production, battling for supremacy the major capitalist rivals, and “surplus” workers too
Twice this has been done in horrific world war in the twentieth century, and it is now being warmed up once again on an even more potentially devastating scale, beginning with 15 non-stop years of devastating blitzkreig on Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria (by proxy) and possibly imminently the Ukraine.
On top there is endless increasing drone terrorising and invasion “punishments” against all rebellious forces and movements everywhere from Pakistan to Yemen, Lebanon to Mali (and probably Nigeria shortly).
These grow ever more numerous as the crisis drives more and more of the masses to the edge of survival and drives more and more recruits into the assorted insurgencies and revolts which express the growing intolerance of the mass of ever developing humanity for the tyrannical near-slave exploitation imposed on them .
Individualistic “terror” attacks like 9/11 have developed into unprecedented mass scale revolts like the initial Tahrir Square upheaval in Cairo which shook world imperialism to the core, and now to the astonishing anti-fascist street revolts in east Ukraine against the Kiev Nazis, even with parallel referendums challenging “official” Western-controlled elections and echoing the dual-power challenges of the revolutionary soviets in 1905 and 1917.
The panicky ruling class faces world upheaval that it is answering with ever more repressive measures, increasingly showing the real face of bourgeois dictatorship usually hidden behind the hoodwinking fraud of parliament and “freedom”.
The very heart of capitalism, Washington’s presidential “democracy”, increasingly shows the true colours of bourgeois rule in not only supporting open Hitler worshipping fascists in Kiev, but itself ranting and raging in best Hitlerite fashion against “enemies” (like Russia) to justify its own aggression and killings.
But the growing revolt everywhere still lacks a crucial element; exactly this overall perspective of capitalist crisis and the Marxist revolutionary understanding, leadership and organisation needed to end it by the working class taking power.
It will not get it from the multitude of fake-“left” parties who continue to analyse all these events completely separately, without any over-arching explanation of the crisis besetting the eight hundred year-old private profit system and its epochal failure.
It most cases they neither connect these events with capitalism’s economic disaster nor even in many cases even grasp or see the economic and social breakdown, let alone the complete unsolvability of the crisis other than by total revolutionary overturn of capitalism to establish socialism and a planned world economy.
Even if they formally write the odd article on these issues they avoid utterly the connection with the class war realities erupting everywhere.
They particularly evade the biggest question of all, the fight to understand the staggering achievements first great proletarian dictatorship, the USSR, and its liquidation by Stalinist revisionism, either writing it off along with capitalist anti-communism, or turning a blind eye to its philosophical retreats from the 1930s onwards.
None of these groups, made up from petty bourgeois elements, develop the Leninist debate to understand the world, and to lead the working class to the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
Instead even while capitalism is tearing up “democracy” they continue to promulgate its illusions, still declaring that socialism and progress for the working class can be achieved by “better candidates” or more “honest” ones, by this reformist regime or that.
So as the crisis deepens inexorably into open fascism throughout capitalism led by the US itself (Bush and Obama’s torture, surveillance and assassination equally) they continue to pump out the old social-pacifist and reformist “Stop the War” (or “Stop the austerity”) nostrums that have never stopped anything, and cannot.
Violent upheavals and deliberate reactionary provocations in Venezuela underline the point - capitalism will never tolerate advances for the working class whatever “valid democratic procedures” are followed and whatever majority votes achieved.
The local bourgeoisie and its CIA colluders have already tried to bring down the government with a coup in 2002 and disruption in 2004 and Latin America has since seen “democratic left” presidents toppled by coups in Honduras and Paraguay.
The ruling class hate the left-nationalist reformism of firstly Hugo Chávez and now successor Nicolás Maduro which have made significant advances for the working class in re-distributing the oil wealth of the economy into education, housing and welfare, and hate the defiant anti-Yankee rhetoric putting two fingers up to US imperialism and its arrogant colonialist assumption of the right to exploit Latin America.
But for all its self-description as the “Bolivarian” revolution, Chávez’ ideology, and its continuation, is still only reformism. It remains completely vulnerable to the constant sabotage of a bourgeois class that will not stop subversion and disruption until it can break this reformism.
If its CIA allies have failed to pull off an overturn so far it is because of potential revolution, with US attention preoccupied with the wars and insurgency of the Middle East not because “there is a democratic path”. Plotting remains non-stop.
The crucial question for the working class there and here is build the deepest revolutionary perspective to understand what they are up against from an increasingly vicious imperialism and most of all to organise to take power.
Such a perspective has never been presented by Chávezism; nor has the internationally hailed “socialist progress” said a coherent word to the world working class about the crisis, the deadly slide into Third World War and the need for revolution.
Worse still, the demagogic declamations have never raised any of the critical notions of Marxist understanding – in fact have mocked and dismissed them.
Venezuela has never toppled its bourgeoisie who remain in control of the media and major industries and capable of organising as a deadly a disruption as that which toppled Salvador Allende in Chile in the 1973 Pinochet coup, leading to the slaughter of tens of thousands of workers.
Even so any Marxist would want to see the CIA and reactionary disruption defeated, and the Venezuelan workers not only hold onto their gains, but win much more, which is why it is all the more important to challenge this fatal philistine nonsense about “21st century socialism” which allegedly needs no working class seizure of power, nor firm class dictatorship to defend against counter-revolution (as advocated by the implicitly sneered-at old-style “20th century” Marxist-Leninism) .
Was Salvador Allende’s disastrous failure to arm the working class with a grasp of reality in Chile, and the brutal Pinochet torture and massacre of his Third International influenced “legally elected socialism” not warning enough????? Or the subsequent slaughter of left movement after movement in Latin America?? Or ultimately the liquidation of the Soviet Union by the same Stalin-originated revisionist disarming and liquidation of the workers state)???
At a special “support meeting” in London a week ago on the theme of defending Maduro, not a word was heard from assembled revisionists, “left” trade unionists, and Trotskyists about the world crisis background to the right-wing attacks stirred up by the CIA and local bourgeoisie, nor links drawn with the parallel fascist turmoil in Ukraine, in Europe, in Thailand.
Instead the old single-issue support group platitudes were indulged in, metaphorically patting the Venezuelan “democracy” on the head, smug middle-class do-gooding charity-style, complacently clueless about the onrushing crisis ready to hammer not only Venezuela but the entire world.
To discuss these issues is not “telling others how they should fight” as one posturing pretender “humbly” remarked, but aims to develop the objective revolutionary truth vital for every one of the billions on the planet who are exploited, suppressed and threatened with the most deadly world war in history already unrolling.
In fact with such unctuous praise for Venezuela’s regime, offered by the assembled fake-“lefts” along with a few glancing platitudes about “lessons for us all” they are themselves precisely “telling the Venezuelans how to fight”, by declaring they are doing the right thing and are “an inspiration for the working class everywhere”.
It is not humility but duplicity to “hold back” and with an opportunist purpose – to head off and block the revolutionary arguments.
In its place there was left the same soggy-brained Moscow-originated revisionist illusions in “democracy” and “peace struggle” that have poisoned the entire post-war working class communist grasp to the point of liquidating the great seventy year progress of the then still viable Soviet Union.
This opportunist fraud evades the critical issue of overturning capitalism as the only possible way out of the crisis – not an “ultimate aim” in the far future as the pretend revolutionaries like Lindsay German of the Counterfire Trotskyists said at the meeting (to try and maintain some r-r-revolutionary credentials) while “in the meantime” pursuing the reformism which has misled workers for 150 years – but in the immediate present.
The crisis is rapidly and unstoppably unfolding, with no room for reformist “improvements” any more.
By all means let the major effort be made “at home” to build revolutionary understanding – that is the best way to show solidarity anyway, by challenging the imperialism which exploits Venezuela and the rest of the Third World, and has organised coup after coup, invasion after invasion to keep it under the thumb, even before the now accelerating crisis turn to fascist warmongering everywhere.
The comfortable complacency of the fake-“lefts” basking in reflected glory from transient reformist gains afforded by massive oil revenue in Venezuela is sickeningly irresponsible.
It is even more so over Egypt where the crisis-created spontaneous mass revolt which brought down the barbaric gangster dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011 has since been turned around and manipulated by Western influence (generally through ideological pressure and undoubted direct covert intervention on the ground – Zionist and CIA at least) to restore the military regime.
The shallow impressionism of the fake-“left” of all shades simply tail-ended alleged rank-and-file street and the Western promulgated demonisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, to swallow completely the supposed “secular” revolt last summer which brought down the newly elected President Morsi.
The giant 2011 Arab spring in Egypt was left wide open to subversion and manipulation because of its rejection of any struggle for Marxist theory by shallow “flat leadership” anarchist notions, hostile to leadership and philosophical class discipline or because it contented itself with the pursuit of abstract “democracy” all uncritically supported by the fake-“left” once more skitting along the surface of things.
Instead of focussing on the main enemy, imperialism and its stooge military regime under Mubarak, and recognising that any defeat for that, even by the Muslim Brotherhood, was a blow to imperialism’s plans, the superficiality of all the “left” groups was completely taken in.
The subsequent turnaround of the mass movement into a completely bogus extended Arab Spring, first in Libya and Syria, (used as a pretext for their total destruction by NATO bombing or heavily funded civil war) and then in Cairo itself to create further “popular revolt” and restore the military, is not only the fault of the fake-“lefts” but was greatly facilitated by their hostility to Leninist theory.
The Trotskyists, as always swallowed hook line and sinker every joke alleged “freedom” demonstration set going by Western provocations, ignoring the glaring signs of overt monarchist restorationism and calls for the “West to intervene” (some “anti-imperialists” these calling on NATO!!!) in Libya and Syria, and then playing into the hands of imperialism’s counter-revolutionary “street movement” in Cairo.
But it was clear, as the EPSR analysed, that circumstances and the class character of the hyped-up and grossly overestimated July revolt last year were very different to the spontaneous events of two years previously, made up this time by officials, middle class elements and the very state forces that were previously toppled.
Tony Blair’s gushing support for the “rebellion” was a huge clue as to its real reactionary nature, ignored by all the fake-“left” whose shallow capitulation to Western demonisation of the “Islamic revolt” and denunciations of “terrorism” (which they all “condemn” since 9/11) led them to denounce the Morsi-ites.
But while Islam is not the workers ultimate solution, the big immediate enemy was imperialism and defeat for its skulduggery the critical issue, whether by Morsi-ites or anyone else.
The battle for Marxist revolutionary understanding needs to go ahead, but it is weakened, not strengthened by allowing the military restoration.
But failing to see events within this overall perspective of world imperialism and crisis led all the fake-“lefts” to effectively support the July rebellion.
The revisionist Lalkar/Proletarian museum-Stalinists, woodenly bound into their own ponderous undialectical grasp of the world which fails to understand the clear Leninist overall perspective of “defeat for imperialism but no illusions in non-Marxist leaderships” – even if they are deemed “rogue states” by imperialism – have been some of the loudest voices cheering on the military, an astonish capitulation to imperialist pressure.
Trapped by their black-and-white “support” for the likes of Assad, and Saddam, and Gaddafi before, which comes from a refusal to criticise any past revisionist Moscow alliance, for fear it might lead to a critical examination of the errors and mistakes of the past Soviet revisionist leadership (potentially unravelling all the way back to the philosophical source, namely Stalin’s period), they have elaborated a grotesquely simplistic “goats and sheep” view of the world.
Regimes declared “good” are uncritically defended and any opposition to them including “jihadists”, is to be opposed.
Hence they have ended up with an equally crude view of the Muslim Brotherhood as an “enemy”.
“Jihadists” are not understood as an expression of the gigantic crisis turmoil in the world driving rebelliousness and anti-imperialist hatred in the main, but as “bad”.
Apart from this view starting with complete subjectivism (Islamic fundamentalism deemed “reactionary” because of what is in peoples’ heads) this then tangles them in knots trying to explain why they simultaneously call for complete support for Assad’s regime AND for the Palestinian Hamas leadership, which happens to have taken a position against the Syrian government.
It also leaves them failing to see the real enemy in Egypt, imperialism, and unable to grasp the objectively reactionary character of last year’s Tahrir Square, declaring that it was a “step forwards” for the Egyptian revolution.
The gross counter-revolutionary violence now restored, gunning down in Cairo streets thousands of unarmed protesting Morsi supporters, (confused by the promise of “democracy” they had been given by the US backed military, to contain the 2011 revolt), has quickly shown the reality, and not least as even the naïve “secular” protestors have been imprisoned and tortured.
But all this is now quietly swept under the carpet, Stalinist-style by the Lalkar/Proletarian-ites (and by most of the other fake-“left” too) with nothing done to correct the “analysis” and the traditional sectarian suppression of debate used to avoid it being raised. There is a lot to explain away:
The newly formed cabinet of prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab sends a clear signal as to the future direction the country is taking: a dangerous mix of authoritarianism and state corruption, at best a re-run of deposed president Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
The sacking of former prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi’s cabinet after seven months came just a few months short of the anticipated presidential and parliamentary elections which would have led to the formation of a new cabinet. Analysts attribute El-Beblawi’s dismissal to coup leader Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s expected presidential candidacy, as well as to the government’s incompetence. But the latter argument is not convincing, since more than two-thirds of El-Beblawi’s ministers kept their portfolios in the new cabinet.
The composition of this cabinet dashed hopes for a democratic future or meaningful change. It reinforces the fears held by many that a counter-revolution is well underway, setting the country back on the path of another long autocratic rule.
Mahlab himself was a senior member of Mubarak’s regime; a close associate of Mubarak’s son, Gamal; and was strongly implicated in many alleged corruption cases. He has also already spoken of the “combative” mission of his new government, calling it a “cabinet of warriors” – a signal that the regime’s repressive policies against its political opponents will continue. According to human rights reports, since last July at least 3,000 people have been killed, 16,000 injured, and 22,000 imprisoned, including dozens of journalists.
As a long-time opponent of Mubarak’s despotic rule, and of the restoration of another authoritarian regime last year, I was targeted by the coup government for my vehement vocal opposition. I have never been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but I was lumped into a serious criminal case with the leaders of that group – which brought outrageous charges against me, including espionage and the attempt to overthrow the regime: charges that could bring the death penalty. If such reckless accusations could happen to me, an independent academic, then no one is immune in Sisi’s Egypt.
But the brutal crackdown has not succeeded in ending a growing wave of protests. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have been taking to the streets every week, and new protests led by young people have intensified, demanding the restoration of democracy. Regrettably, police brutality, mass arrests, torture and rape have become commonplace and are provoking counter violence. Several police cars have been torched and a dozen police officers killed by angry dissidents.
The new government signals a shift in alliances from the anti-Brotherhood secularist opposition – those who provided the political cover for the coup – to allies of the Mubarak regime, its business cronies and oligarchs who will be needed to support Sisi’s expected presidential run
The wife of the policeman whose murder led to death sentences for 529 Egyptians on Monday has suggested that only two of them may be responsible for his killing.
The sentences caused global outcry on Monday after it emerged that the 529 had been convicted of the murder of officer Mostafa al-Attar last August in a case that lasted just two court sessions.
Al-Attar’s wife, Magda Abbas, inadvertently cast further doubt on the strength of the prosecution by saying that her joy at the sentences was tempered by the fact that the two men who killed him were still in hiding.
Al-Attar was wounded by a mob at a police station and later brought to hospital, where Abbas said two doctors killed him. “Those who killed Mostafa are not there [in prison],” said Abbas. “They are fugitives.”
Local lawyers protested against the death sentences by boycotting a second mass trial of 683 people on Tuesday, which was presided over by the same judge who ruled in the first case.
Judge Saeed Youssef Elgazar went ahead regardless – a decision defence lawyers said was illegal.
“I have never seen anything like this in all my life as a lawyer,” said Adel Aly, one of the defence counsel who chose not to attend Tuesday’s trial of defendants including the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie.
Ahmed Shabeeb, another lawyer involved in the boycott, said: “His [Elgazar’s] decision infringed all the procedures guaranteed by law and the constitution – as if he wanted to say that he’s the uppermost god.”
According to local media, Elgazar has a history of controversial judgments, most prominently in January last year when he acquitted policemen accused of murdering protesters during the 2011 revolution.
Further draconian sentences were avoided as Tuesday’s trial was adjourned until 28 April. But violence broke out in Minya, the southern city where both trials took place, as students clashed with police. The head of the local student union said some protesters had been hit by police shotgun pellets. Clashes were also reported in the northern city of Alexandria.
The death sentences sparked a global outcry, culminating in the UN’s human rights office judging that the case had breached international law.
“A mass trial of 529 people conducted over just two days cannot possibly have met even the most basic requirements for a fair trial,” said the UN’s human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville.
Nowhere in all the eulogising that Lalkar/Proletarian poured out about the return of the military is there any mention at all of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which its latest Lalkar paper academically purports to be in favour of, in a short article.
“Bold” polemics shooting down the Communist Party of Britain revisionists for their “dictatorship of the proletariat by parliamentary election” soft nonsense may be formally correct, but if the understanding is not applied where it matters – in Cairo or Venezuela or the Ukraine (where Putin’s Russia is uncritically declared to be standing up to imperialist plotting without any reference to the oligarch capitalism that Putin’s Bonapartist state supports there – a long way from being the dictatorship of the proletariat!!) – then the suspicion must be that either the Lalkar/Proletarian does not really understand a word of it, for all its (brief enough) Lenin quotes, or that the Brarites’ guru-ism is cynically trying to cover over yet further glaring mistakes and omissions.
Meanwhile more lessons about the contempt the bourgeoisie has in reality for its pretended “democracy” comes from a different direction in the continuing Irish nationalist struggle in the as-yet-still occupied artificial “North” (the six counties torn from the Irish nation by brute military force in 1921 despite the overwhelming democratic vote for an independent Ireland throughout).
This time a dirty piece of skulduggery by the more reactionary backwoods colonialist mentalities still inhabiting the ranks of the unionists has tried to re-criminalise the Sinn Féin and its IRA armed wing’s long and undefeatable liberation struggle by detaining Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams over a 40 year old incident, which was firstly part of the liberation war anyway, and secondly to which he specifically has consistently denied any connection.
Whatever the specifics of the Jean McConville case, and the personal tragedies of those caught in the physical and emotional crossfire (particularly the children) it was an event which happened in the middle of a war of liberation, forced onto the Irish nation by the fact of its endless colonial oppression.
This outrageous attempt to turn the clock back on the peace settlement and the Good Friday Agreement (and subsequent extensions at St Andrews and on police reorganisation and local supervision) was made not because of the completely crocodile tear “concern for justice” and “closure for victims families” but to derail the Sinn Féin’s election prospects which are storming along the re-unification path, which has always been the aim and purpose of the republican struggle, now able to use the bourgeoisie's own democratic channels because it has won the dogged revolutionary battle.
That national liberation victory underlies the election in this case, not illusions in starting by “the democratic path” (which was anyway blocked for the republicans in the 1950s and 1960s).
Against all the Trotskyist sneering of either a “sellout” by Sinn Féin or defeatist notions that imperialism had “finally put a lid on the IRA struggle” and forced it to withdraw from the fight – or the Scargillite SLP sneer (unchallenged by the Lalkarites), that it “failed” by falling short of immediate full independence – the EPSR has always explained that the national liberation struggle has long been winning a titanic victory against ever-more moribund British imperialism.
Although this was hidden by a deliberately imposed “snail’s pace” for British withdrawal from Ireland (what could now be called the “Long Good Friday” Agreement), compounded by endless sour Unionist prevarications and obstructionism, the path was set for the eventual Irish reunification (even as far back as Thatcher’s time, as recently released 30-year rule cabinet documents have shown).
Using parliamentary means to take the reunification battle forwards was part of the tacit understandings in the British retreat, not because the republicans had “finally renounced armed struggle” but to allow the imperialist camp to hide and obscure the reality of its defeat by armed revolutionary struggle.
Now able to battle by peaceful means, which they have achieved, the republicans are set to win massively increased support in the imminent local and European elections, both in the North where they could potentially rival the “loyalists” in Stormont’s power sharing arrangements, and throughout Ireland, where they are the only significant cross-border political presence, symbolising the relentless movement towards a united Ireland and finally achieving the national rights denied for centuries by oppression and exploitation.
The diehard elements and the arrogance have not quite gone away but until now were able to console themselves that at least they had the lead role in the Stormont shared power arrangements. But history is on the side of the reunification and the Sinn Féin’s skilful and highly mature political struggle has gathered such momentum that the days of even such notional supremacy look numbered.
But the latest bullying fascist stunt was never going to seriously damage the nationalist cause, unless British imperialism is ready to reimpose its colonialist military rule.
It would mean tearing up the entire settlement with the nationalists, a key part of which was the tacit recognition of that the “Troubles” was a liberation war.
Labourites like former Ireland Secretary Peter Hain (who negotiated the final settlement with Sinn Féin on behalf of the British establishment and with full international bourgeois backing) made this quite clear in interviews, explaining that even if the “on-the-run” non-prosecution arrangements (which were agreed as part of the settlement with the republicans) were not formally an amnesty, it would be foolhardy to now start pursuing cases and “re-criminalising” the republican movement.
Diehard elements within the Unionists may be ready to jeopardise the agreement and try to pitch everything back into open warfare but there are few takers in the overall population in the occupied zone, or the rest of Britain, for a return to the conditions of the past, and not least because the national-liberation struggle has already proved its unbeatablility.
That did not stop the reactionary empire wing of the Tory establishment and its media sympathisers, particularly strong in the BBC, from pouring a stream of poison onto the heads of the republicans, virtually comparing them to some kind of mafia, and milking the pain of relatives in the specific incident for which Adams was “questioned”, to build up a hate campaign of extraordinary viciousness.
Not only was this entirely off balance in ignoring the stream of state-ordered or colluded killings and torture of the Irish nationalist community during the decades of the fighting but it is a monstrous hypocrisy anyway; if British imperialism is so concerned about the bereavement of families it has hundreds of wrongly murdered cases to deal with in Ireland alone, going all the way back to the Black and Tan state atrocities which created the artificial colonist enclave in the first place and led to the need for an armed liberation struggle.
Beyond that is the colonialist imperialist arrogance which prevailed over Ireland for 700 years (and over tens of millions of other little brown colonially dominated peoples too).
A notable element in the events was the detachment of the Cameron Tories, which specifically refused to step in to make clear the irresponsibility of this PSNI provocation (echoed by the Green Tories in Dublin).
This, it became clear later, was also part of bourgeois “parliamentary” trickery driven by the Tories’ own desperation to manipulate the next full UK general election where they face disaster, reflecting an even greater breakdown of parliamentary illusions than ever before (which is what is causing the current shallow UKIP phenomenon). The bourgeois press reported:
David Cameron hosted a lavish reception in the Downing Street garden for Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists last week, prompting senior party figures to say the prime minister is wooing its MPs ahead of a possible hung parliament.
...if he fails to win an overall majority in next year’s general election, ...the party’s eight MPs, could hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.
Cameron invited the DUP MPs, who make up the fourth largest party at Westminster, for drinks in the No 10 garden on Wednesday evening last week.
That followed a meeting to discuss Britain’s efforts to persuade the Libyan authorities to offer information relating to shipments of weaponry by the Gaddafi regime to the IRA in the 1980s.
Peter Robinson, the Northern Ireland first minister who lost his East Belfast seat at the last general election, was joined at the Libya meeting by the DUP MPs Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey Donaldson.
The subsequent reception in the garden, attended by the DUP’s MPs and Robinson, was held on the evening that Gerry Adams was arrested by police investigating the disappearance of Jean McConville in 1972.
One senior DUP source told the Guardian: “It would be fair to say that a lot of wooing is going on. You don’t invite eight parliamentarians to such a reception and have the children playing round unless you are seriously interested.”
The DUP is drawing up the demands it would table as the price for supporting Cameron in the event of a hung parliament. The party is keen to use the opportunity to secure funding for pet projects.
Some DUP sources have raised the prospect of a “confidence and supply” arrangement with Cameron in a hung parliament – ensuring the Queen’s speech and the budget would be passed but offering support on everything else on a case-by-case basis. There would be no DUP Westminster government ministers.
Nationalists may accuse Cameron of playing the “Orange card” – the appeasement of Ulster unionism – if he relies on the DUP for his survival....John Major was hobbled in his response to the IRA ceasefire in 1994 as he became increasingly dependent on the Ulster Unionist party, .
The release of Adams without any charge after four days of police questioning, makes clear the British ruling class does not have any real stomach for a return to an open colonist domination and direct rule with the horrific implications of deadly revolutionary war it implies. Neither did the Unionists, waiting until after the event before blustering:
Northern Ireland’s first minister, Peter Robinson, would have risked breaking up the power-sharing government at Stormont if Sinn Féin had withdrawn support for policing over Gerry Adams’s arrest.
The Democratic Unionist (DUP) leader said that in the absence of Sinn Féin’s support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the DUP would have put forward a motion to exclude the republican party from the Northern Ireland Executive.
“We would not be slow in bringing forward a motion for their exclusion,” Robinson said. “Indeed, if Sinn Féin had not corrected their position, the motion would have gone down.”
Such a move would have triggered the collapse of the devolved administration because Sinn Féin – and possibly also the rival nationalist SDLP – would have been able to use a veto in the regional parliament to stop the exclusion motion.
Adams, the Sinn Féin leader, was released from Antrim police station on Sunday after almost five days of questioning about the 1972 murder of Belfast widow Jean McConville. At a rally to mark his release, Adams made it clear that Sinn Féin still supported the PSNI, despite earlier warnings from the deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and other party figures that they may review their support for the force.
“Would have” but did not because the nationalist victory is not about to be challenged; in fact this dirty dealing may even achieve the opposite by mobilising even more support for the republicans,as the cheers for Adam’s release indicated.
The crisis alone is the remaining uncertainty and it is on this question that the nationalist movement is weakest, because despite a strong socialist admixture it is not a Marxist party (and has shown its own flawed understanding in “condemning terrorism” over 9/11 and the Spanish bombings).
Its liberation victory is a great achievement but the world crisis means that Leninist perspectives are now needed too for the united Ireland, whether emerging from the nationalist struggle or built separately.
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