No 1497 5th September 2016
World capitalism wallows in continuing stagnation, the 2008 Great Catastrophe staved off only with yet more Mickey Mouse QE dollars, like the desperate Bank of England injection after the Brexit vote. But oncoming collapse cannot be stopped; trade war and inter-imperialist tensions intensify (the real cause of the Brexit confusion and indecision in the British ruling class and its humiliation at the G20 in China). Need for class-war revolutionary politics grows rapidly but the fake-“left” pretenders (revisionist and Trotskyist) go the other way, abandoning Marxist postures to back hopeless “left” Corbynite Labourism. Such entryism is double treachery tying the working class back to parliamentary delusions and failing to warn them about the crisis and Allende style counter-revolution. Latin American skulduggery against left-reformist governments from Brazil to Bolivia underlines the crucial need for Leninist revolutionary perspectives but brain-dead revisionism goes the opposite way, suppressing the brilliant and heroic FARC armed struggle in Colombia for “peaceful road” illusions
Eight years on from the great global meltdown of 2008 the world capitalist economy continues to wallow in stagnation.
Worse, it teeters ever closer to total collapse again, riven by antagonisms and international currency and trade conflicts (the real basis and meaning of the Brexit breakup).
The “overproduction” which Marx explained was inevitable within the capitalist system, creating ever deepening oceans of “surplus” capital increasingly unable to make a profit (see Capital), is unsolvable except by destruction of capital (by bankruptcy but ultimately war) on a huge scale to “restore profitability” (for the brutal victors left standing at the end) – or by ending the insane distortion of directing human society for the sole purpose of making private profit for a tiny minority.
Modern monopoly capitalism always chooses the war path, including two gigantic and horrifying 20th century world wars.
It is heading towards even greater destruction to “solve” the biggest collapse in all history.
But the “endless war” begun by the Pentagon in Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan in advance of the Great Catastrophe, to pre-empt the world revolt against degenerating US domination and push back and intimidate all rival capitalist challenges, is itself a disaster (as even the ruling class has grudgingly conceded in its mealy-mouthed Chilcott report cover-up).
Horrific rampaging and neo-colonialist bullying destruction has solved nothing in country after blitzed and tortured country, failing completely to re-establish any stable stoogery for the effortless exploitation and strategic control established in post-war “boom” times. Even less has it re-asserted top-dog status for the US and its arrogant imperialist domination of world affairs (and lion’s share plunder).
Humiliating defeat and withdrawal has been endless, and worse, it has stirred up and hugely magnified the great Third World rebellion, long fermenting against centuries of grotesque and cruel exploitation imposed on it but growing far more ferocious and hate filled and ever more organised (for all its sometimes still backward and primitive religious and anti-Marxist ideology).
Its anarchic jihadism increasingly strikes into the heart of Western world, and outbreaks of mass revolt like the Cairo Arab Spring are shaking imperialist confidence to the core.
Not for nothing is the racist stridency of the Donald Trump presidential campaign pitched around the desperate call to “make America great again” – a loser’s plaint in the teeth of historic meltdown offering only a demented “kill them all” Nuremberg chant as a “solution”.
All this adds up to the biggest crisis collapse in all history.
Epochal failure of world capitalism is incontestable.
The contradiction ridden capitalist system can only continue spiralling downwards, heading into the all out warmongering that genuine revolutionaries have long warned the working class is the only outcome for as long as private profit and greed continues to rule the roost.
But nearly a decade after world banking failure, the entire fake-“left” circus still says nothing to the working class about the only possible way out of continuing stagnation, unemployment, collapsed living standards and welfare savaging and the war that lies beyond it, namely the revolutionary ending of the entire private profit system and the establishment of the firmest working class control (dictatorship of the proletariat) to build socialism.
Whatever lip service and pretences are made about being “revolutionary”, in the actual unfolding of the crisis they never state sharply and directly the need for mass class war to completely overthrow this ever more obviously moribund and degenerate war, torture and greed system.
Instead the “lefts” of all kinds retreat from such politics, wallowing in anti-communism, parliamentarianism and reformist nostrums, hostile to the workers states (past and current) and treacherously “condemning” the rising world tide of anti-imperialist struggle, which for all its confusions and sometime seeming backwardness, is ripping into the old order.
So they continue to divert attention with the Brexit issue (a consequence and symptom of the crisis and ruling class disorder, not its cause), wallow in distracting and individualistic single-issue politics from reactionary feminism (currently tangling them in confusion around “Burkini” subjectivism) to “gay rights”, and line themselves up with the ruling class over “jihadism”, playing into the nonsense “war on terror” excuses for capitalism’s deliberate drive to war.
Worse, even past posturing as “left revolutionaries” is now abandoned as most of the Trotskyists and Euro-revisionists liquidate themselves into the outright bourgeois politics of the Labour Party, or chase the hopeless and opportunist Corbynite “parliamentary” reformist “leftism”, laden with poisonous anti-communism and disarming lies about “democratic paths forwards” which have bamboozled and held back the working class for a century and a half.
The pretence is that suddenly the thoroughly bourgeois Labour Party is transformable into a “route to socialism”, the same old chorus that the fake-“left” has pumped out for decades about “left pressure” and steady gains and “steps forwards” for the working class (all of which have been looking sicker and sicker in reality since 2008 especially and the imposition of ever greater austerity, destruction of the “welfare” gains already made and the rise of continuous international war destruction imposed by the West).
It was garbage and deliberate misleadership in the past, heading the working class away from the only understanding that can change things, revolution, and it is garbage now.
Of course, on the surface the well-coordinated bourgeois press and Establishment campaign against Jeremy Corbyn is an interesting signal of the fearfulness of the ruling class as its unstoppable crisis catastrophe relentlessly deepens, driving the necessity for revolutionary change ever closer.
It provides further useful lessons too, if any were needed after 100+ years of Labour treachery, about the dirty dealing and manipulations of the entire parliamentary side of the “Labour Movement”, both from Blairite and “ordinary” class-collaborating careerist stoogery and most of its opportunist official trade unionist backing and class compromise treachery.
The self-fulfilling deliberate party indiscipline of the MPs’ “strike” and resignation stunts (the cause not the result of alleged “bad leadership” by the Corbynites), calibrated bourgeois press character assassination “leaks”, inflammatory and coordinated “Twitter storms”, procedural blocking, party vote gerrymandering and constitutional sabotage have all been cruder than even the backstabbing “spin” of Blair’s time, and surpass even the routine of fixed committees, “timed-out” agendas, “blind chairmen” and “point of order” blocking of left voices in union meetings, congresses, and public debates that makes up the day-to-day skulduggery of Labourism to belittle, isolate and silence any genuine working class voices.
But there is a more sinister agenda beneath this calculated bourgeois hysteria.
Deeper down, the “anti-Corbynism” is as much about boosting and adding credibility to the “left” Labourites and their Trotskyist and revisionist cheerleaders as it is about stopping them.
Like forbidden things to a teenager, it aims also to make them more attractive; if these fearful “lefts” are so bad perhaps they really mean business is the subliminal message.
Ruling class fears of the popular movement which has floated Corbyn’s “left” posturing to the surface for the moment are real enough.
Particularly in current, potentially volatile, conditions of the ever-increasing crisis and the growing frustration of the working class at endless slump “austerity”, who knows if the popular mood might not go “out of control” and especially when perfectly reasonable demands for fairness and greater equality against the arrogance and greed of the capitalist order are driving even such unlikely rebels as professional class junior doctors to militant action.
Plenty of historical experience of riots, Poll Tax upheavals and other outbursts, adds to the fears, not to mention a centuries long history of much more profound class struggles from Peterloo and the near-revolutionary 19th century Chartist movement to the potentially communist conflict of the 1926 General Strike, mass support for the Soviet Union and especially the Red Army’s titanic battles to destroy 1930s Nazism (German-led but egged on by all imperialism), the great anti-war movement generated by the titanic Vietnam war defeat of the US, and the 1984 Great Miners’ Strike with its sharp near-civil war battles.
On a broader scale around it, the world ferment of anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism continues to grow, from the demonstrations and “left” populism which has emerged through slump hit southern Europe, and the vigorous “Black Lives Matter” manifestations in the US, to the dogged anti-fascist rebellion in eastern Ukraine against the Nazis installed in Kiev, and the ever expanding eruption of Western-hating, suicidally self-sacrificing “jihadism” and insurgency, inflicting defeats and blows on imperialist interests across the Middle East and Africa, the Philippines and Indonesia.
None of that and much more has gone away, and despite all kinds of petty bourgeois defeatist theories about the supposed “decline of the working class” or its capacity to fight, the history and spirit of class war remain embedded deep in working class culture, potentially to be tapped by a better leadership.
It just needs to be built, on firm Leninist foundations.
Meanwhile for all its nervousness the ruling class knows full well the “leftest” parliamentary opposition is ultimately perfectly safe, and will never and can never, end the rule of capital without which things cannot change.
So, much of the anti-Corbyn campaign is play-acting, throwing up the hands in mock horror to boost its image and to give credence to supposed radicalism where there is none.
Even if it came anywhere remotely near to seriously changing things for the working class it would be stopped.
Not for nothing does a stuffy-voiced, gold-braid laden senior general suddenly and unprecedentedly appear in a national television interview (in December) to warn that if Labour should even contemplate dismantling Trident, for example “there might have to be a coup”.
Or if it does anything else to threaten the interests of the rich, he could have added.
Such direct warnings by the usually discreet and carefully hidden networks of the ruling class and its state, are usually veiled behind the pretence of parliamentary “democracy”.
But lessons of just what violence, brutality and ruthlessness the ruling class is capable of against any “democratic progress” for socialism mostly can be derived from worldwide experience where endless coups, mass butchering takeovers and fascist suppressions - to whatever extent needed - have been the constant reality of colonialism and especially carried out post-war, from the slaughter of two million suspected communists in Indonesia in 1965 and multiple other coups and takeovers from Haiti to Argentina as well as the archetypal post-war example of Chile’s president Salvador Allende.
His revisionist backed “democratically elected socialism” was brutally butchered by the CIA-assisted General Augusto Pinochet coup in 1973, after three years of sabotage, deliberately induced social chaos and provoked strikes to create economic disruption.
Thousands were massacred in horrifying ways, and many more barbarically tortured, “disappeared” and imprisoned.
And in case anti-theory and anti-history philistinism should complacently declare that all “stale news” - despite its still resonating impact – there are constant new examples like Honduras in 2009, (hundreds of activists, journalist and peasants slaughtered since soft-left president Manuel Zelaya was deposed with Hilary Clinton’s approval), Paraguay’s similar judicial coup, and the brutal deposition of the Mohamed Morsi democratic presidency in Cairo in 2013 amid cold-blooded mass civilian street slaughter, just months after the Egyptians had been “granted” their new presidential “democratic” process, after decades of brutal pro-Western torturing stooge dictatorship.
A new domino cascade of CIA manipulated judicial coups and violently sabotaged economies is underway in Latin America now, from Argentina to Venezuela and Bolivia and, just this week, deposing left reformist president Dilma Rousseff in Brazil.
In case it is naïvely asserted that “yes but things are different here in Britain” (a smugness born of past imperialist corruption, and chauvinist “Great British” delusions in “our superior democratic ways”) it should be remembered that Allende said exactly that too about his “honourable generals” when – incredibly – appointing Pinochet to his cabinet “to stop the chaos”.
There is even more reason for an internationally powerful ruling class to be ruthless in an important economy like the UK than in a smaller power.
And such open or half-open dictatorship has “happened” here anyway (over and above the hidden dictatorship of the bourgeois which is always the reality of “parliamentary democracy”) in the wartime “emergency” suspensions of parliament, periods of “coalition” rule, and the 20 years of military rule, blanket censorship, Diplock courts, civilian intimidation, shoot-to-kill police and army operations and concentration camps imposed on “Northern Ireland” (supposedly part of the UK) – ended only because the armed national libration struggle of the IRA finally won its battle to force the long, glacially slow, withdrawal of British imperialism from its violently imposed 1921 Partition occupation “statelet”.
The ground is being prepared for an Allende in the UK, herding the working class behind a supposed “socialist” leadership that will do nothing to really challenge capitalist rule, the only solution to the dire catastrophe now unfolding worldwide, and which will lead it up the “democracy” garden path – to the slaughterhouse.
There is an even deeper layer of bamboozling going on, as parts of the bourgeois press play a game of hysterical fearfulness about “left infiltration” and Trotskyist “subversion”; on the one hard delivering a real enough warning to the nervous petty bourgeois (and ruling class) about rising potentially revolutionary sentiment, but on the other bolstering the very same fake-“lefts” who have poured into the Momentum campaign behind Corbyn, abandoning most of their usual “revolutionary Marxist” posturing to pretend that “new opportunities” have opened up for the working class.
This further deep level game is a double bluff in itself.
First it plays up the notion that the “Labour left movement” is in danger of being “won over to Trotskyite revolution” as the old Militant (now Socialist Party) entryist agenda has it, and others too, desperately trying to jump on the same bandwagon, like the one-time revisionist and now crypto-Trotskyist Weekly Worker CPGB group.
Secondly it plays up poisonous Trotskyism itself, in case the working class might not have heard of it, with even the rightwing Daily Telegraph spelling out, under the guise of a “warning”, all the key points of the Trotskyist agenda, and major TV news programmes calmly interviewing the likes of the Socialist Workers Party, and other poisonous anti-communist groups like the Trotskyist Alliance for Workers Liberty.
Such publicity bolsters this sour petty bourgeois posturing because of its hostility to the workers states and the achievements so far of the working class in the world.
It is not communism at all but posturing anti-communism, and is a longstop for capitalism against genuine communist grasp (which will never get such uncritical exposure).
But this Trot kibbutzing on the back of the left surge - (a real enough “austerity”-driven popular sentiment, though at this stage still essentially reflecting defensive reformism among mostly municipal and welfare service layers of the working class rather than the outright revolutionary proletarian hostility to capitalism that will eventually emerge) – is a giant opportunist fraud as the EPSR has many times spelled out.
However sincere it might be argued any of the Corbynites might be (in itself a highly dubious proposition after a stream of opportunist recantations, capitulations and denial of support to formerly “right on” causes like the Irish republican fight or the Palestinian Hamas, (including a craven bowing to the outrageous Zionist stunt that there is such a thing as “anti-semitism” on the “left”)), such “entryist” tactics only prop up the capitalist system (Issue No1095 26-06-01). Such figures as Corbyn:
are not acting as individuals in the role they are playing in society NOW. Collectively, they are a stage stooge army playing a CRUCIAL role in the great capitalist fraud called ‘democracy’.
Collectively, if the Labour Party were not there (or some historically-evolved equivalent), then there could be no effective fraud of “capitalist parliamentary democracy” at all.
And any occasional bits of ‘left’ rebelliousness not only do not make the slightest difference to this crucial reactionary performance that this ‘reformist’ collective carries out, it actually enhances the great delusion which permanently pulls the wool over the eyes of the working class. It is the ‘left’ Labourites who for a century have always kept the working class hanging on to Labour in the hope that one day, a programme of ‘real socialist’ policies would be introduced, etc.
It is ludicrous to be fooled by bits of maverick ‘left’ Labour behaviour now; and the worst imbecility of all would be the CPGB anti-communists proposal for the fake ‘Socialist Alliance’ to agitate for affiliation to Labour. The Labour Party needs only ever to be seen collectively as a very very serious component in the bourgeoisie’s subtle long-term class war against the proletariat. It was, and always has been, a deliberately-constructed vehicle for eliminating or overcoming all communist inspiration and Marxist understanding in the workers movement, and it will remain so, permanently. Any notion that ‘Marxist entryists’ were ever close to capturing the Labour Party is just the most obscene deception imaginable. A) none have ever come remotely close; and B) far worse and far more sinister, none of them were remotely ‘Marxist’ anyway.
It will be ten times worse now in any repeat of this entryist farce. If any real communist understanding ever did capture any existing party in Britain, either bourgeois (like Labour) or petty-bourgeois (like the ‘Alliance’, the SWP, the CPGB, etc), - the ostracism and isolation would be clamped down in an instant, - ferociously unmissable.
As for the supposed maverick ‘left’ Labour individuals, without exception they all remain as wedded to the bourgeois parliamentary system as any careerist in the Commons. They love the opulent lifestyle, they love the sense of importance, and they have no real problems with the fact that ALL government in Britain, whether Tory, Labour, Lib-Dem, or Nationalist, - is only ever going to play a marginally tinkering role on the fringes of the general Western imperialist state policy still largely prevailing for the moment throughout the major capitalist countries.
Without exception, these maverick ‘lefts’ are all Establishment figures, essentially. They will expose bits of wrongdoing here and there. And they will pretend to maintain overall ideological scepticism about capitalism. But when it matters, they will be disastrously ineffective in leading a working class revolt against serious degeneracy in the international imperialist crisis, and they would never ever totally denounce the ‘western democracy’ way of doing things in favour of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They would all serve the counter-revolution. The very ‘leftest’ of them is no better than a Kerensky or a Kautsky. Even the wretchedness of Scargill’s social chauvinism would be far too ‘left’ for most of them, such is the degeneracy of anti-Marxist philistinism in the British labour and trade-union movement.
It is the greatest illusion imaginable to think that any individual Labourites or guru-led sect can be ‘saved’ or ‘won over’ for a revolutionary communist role, either. Once a clear philistine agenda has been established and stuck to, then it is only the historical collapse of the ideas themselves which then releases people for further development.
Labour ‘leftism’ is a fixed class ideology, for example. Such petty-bourgeois ‘mavericks’ feel truly justified and rewarded, - deeply fulfilled - from hovering on the fake-‘left’ fringes of the Labour Party, waiting for nothing to happen. Only when the final nail is hammered into the coffin of Labour counter-revolutionism will such types finally accept that ‘something might be going wrong here’.
scientific socialism is indivisibly grounded on the equally tested Marxist understanding that winning the historic class war against the capitalist bourgeoisie and the remnants of feudal landowning via revolution is the only possible way that the existing set-up of monopoly-imperialist domination of the world can be overthrown.
The sole reason that the Labour Party exists in history is precisely to be set up as ‘the workers party’ in Britain (and similar ‘reformist’ parties in other countries) purely to ensure that this Marxist science of how the world really works and can be truly transformed, should NEVER get a grip in the working class.
These fake-’lefts’ have exactly the same petty bourgeois aims in life. Their ‘Marxist’ posturing is entirely calculated, and endlessly recalculated, to ensuring that any ‘communist’ leanings in workers should be recruited into these bogus ‘Marxist’ sects routinely, and there left to fester aimlessly and mis-educatedly towards gradual total demoralisation and Revisionist/Trotskyist confusion. This renewed gibberish from the fake ‘revolutionary’ wing of the fake ‘Socialist Alliance’ provides just another classic example of how this treacherous and disarming stunt is pulled off. The CPGB witter on about ‘recreating the National Left Wing Movement’ which practised a CP-inspired entryism into the Labour Party in the 1920s. But a) it totally failed; b) it only succeeded in corrupting the Communist Party further and further towards ‘left reformist illusions’ in Parliamentary roads to socialism, and further and further away from Marxist science which understands that revolution is the ultimate medium of all meaningful social change from class epoch to class epoch, and indeed the ultimate medium of all change in every phenomenon of nature; and c) now is a completely different epoch from the 1920s anyway, especially for collapsing British imperialist positions in the world, then still surviving (just about); now almost completely vanished, with colossally disastrous economic consequences to come when the coming imperialist markets collapse from the regular periodic ‘surplus’ or ‘over-production’ of monopoly-accumulated investment capital finally breaks, taking the world into another catastrophic 1930s slump, inevitably followed by something like inter-imperialist World War III.
A new NLWM period will not be the issue. Overthrowing the weakest link in the warmongering imperialist chain, as happened to the Russian ruling class in 1917, will be.
Now that is a revolutionary perspective, quite specific about how Labour and the ‘lefts’ will repeat the ‘defencist’ chauvinism exactly as the treacherous turncoats of the ‘Marxist’ Second International did in World War I, creating Leninism as the new world socialist science.
The “coming collapse” (which only the EPSR constantly warned of) has now broken of course hidden only by the demented printing of ever greater quantities of Quantitative Easing credit-creation valueless Monopoly Money and ever decreasing interest rates (and where is capitalism if capital does not attract more value?).
And despite the best efforts of capitalist propaganda to pretend that eventually the world economy can be sorted out and there will be an “upturn” if only everyone (meaning just the working class) “tightens their belts” and “stops being profligate”(!!!) the world market just continues to collapse and slide into stagnation everywhere, as bourgeois press reports grudgingly concede:
Britain has suffered a bigger fall in real wages since the financial crisis than any other advanced country apart from Greece, research shows.
A report by the TUC, published on Wednesday, shows that real earnings have declined more than 10% since the credit crunch began in 2007, leaving the UK equal bottom in a league table of wages growth.
Using data from the OECD’s recent employment outlook, the TUC found that over the same 2007-2015 period, real wages grew in Poland by 23%, in Germany by 14%, and in France by 11%. Across the OECD, real wages increased by an average of 6.7%.
The TUC found that between 2007 and 2015 in the UK, real wages – income from work adjusted for inflation – fell by 10.4%. That drop was equalled only by Greece in a list of 29 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The UK, Greece and Portugal were the only three OECD countries that saw real wages fall.
The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, who was a vocal backer of the campaign to remain in the EU, said the figures highlighted the strains on household finances even before the vote for Brexit.
“Wages fell off the cliff after the financial crisis, and have barely begun to recover,” she said. “People cannot afford another hit to their pay packets. Working people must not foot the bill for a Brexit downturn in the way they did for the bankers’ crash.”
Earnings have been rising faster than prices since the sharp drop in inflation caused by the collapse in oil prices two years ago, but the TUC warned that households risked a fresh squeeze on their spending power after the vote to leave the EU unless the new government stepped up investment to create better-paid jobs.
However, the Treasury added: “There is more to do to build an economy and country that works for everyone not just a privileged few, and we are determined to do exactly that.”
The Institute for Fiscal Studies, which specialises in analysing living standards, said the prolonged period of depressed earnings had been one of the features that made both the recession of 2008-09 and the period since unusual.
Rob Joyce, an IFS researcher, said: “It is not just unusual in international terms but also unusual historically for the UK. Real wages have fallen and haven’t recovered. That’s striking.”
The UK’s relatively poor performance on wage growth was highlighted by the OECD in its annual employment report this month. Because of a squeeze since the global financial crisis, real hourly wages were more than 25% below where they would have been if wage growth had continued at the rate observed during 2000-07, the thinktank found.
The Paris-based thinktank said that more widely, across its 34 member countries employment had almost recovered to pre-crisis levels but weak wage growth had blighted living standards.
The pressure on UK households from weak wage growth and insecure work has also been highlighted by the Bank of England’s chief economist.
Conor D’Arcy, policy analyst for the Resolution Foundation thinktank said: “The UK experienced the most prolonged pay squeeze in over a century in wake of the financial crisis, with young people feeling the biggest pay squeeze of all. While pay has started to recover in recent years – boosted by historically low inflation – post-Brexit uncertainty is expected to put this much-needed recovery on hold.
Faced with the shock to the economy of the Brexit vote, the Bank of England had a choice. It could sit tight and hope the storm would quickly blow over, or it could assume the worst and act accordingly.
Perhaps understandably, Threadneedle Street has decided to go for the all-action approach. It was slow to react to the great recession of 2008 and 2009, and was not going to be accused of making the same mistake twice. The risks of doing nothing were higher than the risks of providing oodles of fresh stimulus.
To be sure, the Bank could have waited until it had more evidence of how the economy was doing post Brexit. But changes to policy take time to work, so the case for early and aggressive action is strong. As Mark Carney put it, there is a case for stimulus and there is a case for stimulus now.
The backdrop to the four-part package is the assumption that there is going to be a marked slowdown in activity as a result of the 23 June referendum. Recession is avoided, but only just and only because the Bank’s nine-strong monetary policy committee (MPC) assumes that lower interest rates, a new scheme to encourage commercial banks to pass on lower borrowing costs and £70bn of additional money creation will boost activity over coming months and years.
Even so, the Bank has cut its growth forecast for 2016 to 2018 by a cumulative 2.5% of GDP. That represents the biggest ever downgrade between any two quarterly inflation reports for the past 23 years.
Markets were expecting a cut in the bank rate to 0.25% and they duly got it. Nor did it come as a real surprise that the MPC agreed – albeit with some dissenting voices – to restart the Bank’s asset purchase programme. It will buy £60bn worth of government bonds and £10bn of corporate bonds in the hope that this will increase the money supply, drive down interest rates and discourage hoarding of cash.
Of the four elements of the package, the new “term lending scheme” was perhaps the most eye-catching and may prove to be the most effective. It is designed to deal with one of the problems caused by ultra-low interest rates - that banks find it harder to make money because the margin between their borrowing and lending rates is squeezed.
The Bank will provide up to £100bn of funding for commercial banks at interest rates close to the new 0.25% bank rate. If banks cut back on their lending, the funding will become slightly more expensive.
The MPC has also left something in reserve. A further cut in interest rates to 0.1% has been signalled for later in the year, and there is the option of buying even more gilts or corporate bonds.
...One group says that it is unrealistic to expect a shaving of official interest rates from an already-record low and a bit more quantitative easing to do all that much. Another says that if the Bank does stimulate more activity then it will be the wrong sort of debt-fuelled growth. A third warns that the measures could prove counter productive, because they lead to a weaker pound, higher inflation and lower living standards.
All these criticisms have merit, as does the argument that Britain’s real problems – poor productivity, under-investment, inadequate physical and human capital – cannot be cured by cheap money and QE.
It is not Brexit causing this collapse (or the “failure so far of Brexit”); it has been relentlessly developing since the Great Crash just as everywhere else and impacting particularly on the weakest economic powers forced by bigger imperialism to pay the price:
A year ago, the TV cameras were trained on the protesters thronging the streets of Athens because there were fears that a crisis that had been steadily becoming more acute in the first half of 2015 could result in the single currency splintering.
That threat was removed by a deal that involved a humiliating climbdown by the Syriza-led government. Greece received a bailout, but with harsh conditions attached.
There were three obvious problems. The new dose of austerity would make it more difficult for Greece to emerge from a slump just as severe as that which gripped the US in the 1930s. The second was that Greece’s creditors were making unrealistic assumptions for growth and deficit reduction. The third was that sooner or later the Greek crisis would flare up again.
It has not all been bad news over the past 12 months. Fears that yields on Greek bonds would soar after the UK’s Brexit vote did not materialise. Some of the tough capital controls that were imposed in the summer of 2015 to protect the banking system have been eased. There has been talk that by next summer it will be possible for the government in Athens to raise money in the world’s financial markets by selling government bonds.
All that said, though, the first two predictions have come true. By last summer, Greece had suffered a five-year slump that was on a par with the damage caused to the US economy in the Great Depression. Yet the country’s creditors thought it was a good idea to suck even more demand out of the economy through spending cuts and tax increases.
The result has been depressingly predictable. Far from there being a resumption of growth, the economy has continued to contract. Greece’s national output was 1.4% lower in the first three months of 2016 than it was a year earlier. Consumer spending was down by 1.3%. Nor, with confidence at rock bottom, is there much prospect of better times. Greece remains deep in recession.
Perpetually weak growth has bedevilled attempts to tackle Greece’s chronic debt problem. Back in May 2010, when the European commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund organised the first bailout, it was assumed that a rapid recovery and tight budget controls would see Greek national debt as a share of gross domestic product fall steadily.
These forecasts proved to be wildly optimistic. As Greece sank deeper and deeper into recession, the debt ratio carried on rising, and now stands at about 180% of GDP.
Unfortunately, lessons have not been learned. The 2015 bailout package assumes that Greece will run a budget surplus, once debt interest payments are excluded, of 3.5% of GDP year in and year out. The IMF, which now has a more realistic assessment of Greece than the commission or the ECB, says few countries have managed to sustain budget surpluses of this size, and that Greece could do so only by further cutting wages and pensions. The IMF also thinks “it is no longer tenable” to imagine that Greece can move from having one of the eurozone’s weakest productivity growth rates to the highest.
The IMF says that without debt relief, Greece’s debt could hit 250% of GDP by the middle of the century. Germany would prefer those discussions to be delayed until after its election next year. But... Greece will be back in the headlines before then..
There is no way to stop this continuing crash by “regulating” or “rebuilding” or “controlling” or planning or restricting capitalism, as the “lefts” and Greens and others all declare, or imply in their railings against “neoliberalism” or “corruption, or “bankers” or “too much” austerity, or finger pointing at “Brexit”, or chauvinist attacks on “unfair trade and dumping” etc etc - all capitalism will crash whatever constraints are put on it.
The failure to warn the working class about this is one of the great black marks against all the fake-“left”.
They all doubt the crisis even when formally and academically describing it, and all fail to see the complete breakdown which is unfolding, in thrall to surface phenomena.
Even the supposed “recovery” of the great US economy under Obama is illusory, built on QE quicksand and bullying pressure on the rest of the world, and particularly on the other great imperialist blocs which threaten it.
The Brussels EU demand for Ireland to insist on billions in back tax payments from the giant Apple Corporation, challenging the “right” of the giant US corporations to wield their bullying monopoly power to force huge tax concessions, sucking world value into their coffers back home, brings out the underlying tensions as cutthroat international market competition reaches life and death levels. Just listen to this sinister tone:
The US has warned the European commission that it will consider retaliating if Brussels goes ahead with plans to demand billions of dollars in unpaid taxes from Apple and other US multinational companies.
The Obama administration warned the EU that investigations into alleged tax avoidance by US firms, including Apple, Amazon and Starbucks, could “create an unfortunate international tax policy precedent”.
In a white paper commissioned by US Treasury secretary Jack Lew, the US warned that Brussels was overstepping its powers and becoming a “supranational tax authority”.
The US warned that if Brussels pushes ahead with threatened plans to demand as much as $19bn (£14.4bn) from Apple for alleged unpaid taxes as a result of so-called sweetheart deals with Ireland the US Treasury will “consider potential responses”.
The EU has been investigating whether Apple’s tax deals with Ireland, which allowed the company to pay very little tax on income earned throughout Europe, amounted to state aid. The commission is expected next month to rule on the case, the biggest single corporate tax avoidance investigation.
Investment bank JP Morgan has warned that if the commission requires Apple to retroactively pay the Irish corporate tax rate of 12.5% on the pre-tax profits it collected via Ireland it could cost the company as much as $19bn.
A US Senate investigation in 2013 found that Apple paid little or no tax on profits of at least $74bn over four years by exploiting gaps in the Irish and American tax code. The investigation found no evidence of illegal activity and both Apple and Ireland deny any wrongdoing.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has called the investigations “political crap”. “There is no truth behind it,” he said. “Apple pays every tax dollar we owe.”
In its final warning to the EU before the expected ruling, the US Treasury accused Brussels of a “shift in approach [that] appears to expand the role of the Commission beyond enforcement of competition.
“The US Treasury Department continues to consider potential responses should the Commission continue its present course,” the white paper warned in the US’s strongest language to date.
The EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on “transatlantic cooperation” has already demanded €20m-€30m in back taxes from Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler after ruling the firms struck illegal tax deals with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The commission is also pursuing a similar investigation against Amazon.
Lew has accused the commission of “targeting US companies disproportionately”. The commission denied this on Wednesday, saying its investigation “applies to all companies operating in Europe – there is no bias against US companies”.
The EU estimates that corporate tax avoidance costs member states €50m-€70bn a year in lost taxes.
This is shaping up for gigantic conflicts as the great Crash continues and the battle for collapsing markets escalates into deadliest war conflict, the huge inter-imperialist rivalries coming more and more into the open.
While US-European antagonisms escalate, the other great capitalist bloc also stirs the warmongering atmosphere:
Japan’s ruling coalition secured a resounding victory in upper house elections on Sunday, with some exit polls predicting that prime minister Shinzo Abe’s party and its allies would achieve the legislative firepower they need to rewrite the country’s pacifist constitution.
Abe’s Liberal Democratic party (LDP) ..and junior coalition partner, the Buddhist-backed Komeito, ...with other minor conservative parties, [were] within reach ...to set in motion plans to change the US-authored constitution for the first time since 1947.
The most controversial move would be a revision of the war-renouncing article 9 to allow Japan’s self-defence forces to act more like a conventional army. The article forbids Japan from using force to settle international disputes and restricts the country’s land, air and naval forces to a strictly defensive role.
Abe’s coalition was [also] on the brink of securing a two-thirds majority in both houses of the national Diet.
Amending article 9 would require a two-thirds majority in both houses and a simple majority in a nationwide referendum.
With polls showing that voters are wary of boosting Japan’s military, Abe barely mentioned the constitution during the campaign, insisting the election was an opportunity to reaffirm public support for his economic policy, known as Abenomics.
Faced with criticism over his failure to meet inflation targets, flat consumer spending and a post-Brexit resurgent yen, Abe is expected to unveil a post-election stimulus package that could exceed 10tn yen (£76.7bn).
“We have a mandate from the public for our economic policy, so I want to focus my efforts on that.
“At this point, it’s meaningless to say yes or no [over potential revisions to the constitution],” Abe added. “I have two more years to my term (as LDP president) and this is a goal of the LDP, so I want to address it in a calm manner.”
But as soon as the polls closed, his party’s policy chief, Tomomi Inada, said constitutional reform was on the agenda.
Opposition parties warned that Abe was using the economy as a smokescreen for his long-held desire to loosen the constitutional shackles on Japan’s military.
Abe and other conservatives believe the war-renouncing constitution unfairly limits Japan’s ability to respond to new threats to regional security, such as international terrorism, an increasingly assertive China and a nuclear-armed North Korea.
And Japanese ingenuity, which has allowed it to outcompete even powerful American capitalism, can quickly escalate its armed power:
Japan will develop a new land-to-sea missile as part of plans to beef up its defence of remote southern islands, as tensions with China increase over the disputed territory, a report said Sunday.
The two countries are locked in a long-running dispute over the uninhabited islets known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
The report comes after repeated protests by Japanese foreign ministry officials over what Tokyo calls “intrusions” by Chinese ships in the territorial and contiguous waters of the rocky islands.
Tokyo plans to deploy the weapon, which reportedly will have a range of 300km (190 miles) on islands such as Miyako in Okinawa prefecture, the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said, without citing sources.
The range will cover the disputed island chain, the Yomiuri said, adding that the deployment is expected by 2023.
Officials at the Defence Ministry could not be reached for comment.
“In light of China’s repeated acts of provocation around the Senkaku islands, Japan aims to increase deterrence with improved long-range strike capability,” the newspaper stated.
The missile will be developed by Japan and will use solid fuel, the Yomiuri said, referring to the technology that allows for weapon’s long-term storage and capacity to be launched at short notice.
For the moment the ostensible direction of this revanchist aggression is towards China – and the huge success of the giant revisionist workers state in using capitalist methods to push development in its economy, (though still planned and directed overall by the Beijing bureaucracy), challenging the economic dominance of the imperialist powers clearly makes it a major target for aggression as the Western provocations around the South China Sea demonstrate and the US “pivot to Asia” military build-up.
But as the EPSR has long explained, it is the intractable conflicts within imperialism itself, which in the end override everything else, unstoppably pushing to war.
US and European hostility to Japan and its hugely successful penetration of world markets has not vanished and the seeming coordinated “allied” focus of Western aggression on China is not necessarily the entire story, any more than the build-up to WW2 was solely about anti-Sovietism, or in the end the actual content (which was inter-imperialist).
China has to play a careful game and how far its huge success in outcompeting Western capitalism draws it into the coming maelstrom remains an open question as the aggressive chauvinism about “American jobs” from both Donald Trump and “left” Bernie Sanders underlines.
But the key aspect to be grasped is the total breakdown of all world and international relations which is being driven by these contradictions as they intensify to the point of complete paralysis, heading for an explosive transformation of world history.
As discussed above, the entire perspective of controlling and containing capitalist crisis, and even reversing it with “left pressure” or by transforming the Labour Party, is utterly misleading, failing to grasp in any way the philosophical meaning of revolutionary change that the swamp of “lefts” and self-declared “Marxists” pretend to subscribe to.
They do not understand a word of it, nor dare to grasp the profound shattering shift it means (as seen in the great sea changes of the First and Second World Wars and the tearing up of all past certainties that their devastation wrought – including many of the “certainties” of how revolution would unfold which the Bolshevik Marxists themselves held, as Lenin had to battle to show in the rapidly shifting developments particularly in 1917).
Revolution is not a process of “a bit more leftism” or better coordinated activism or even general strikes, in a step by step transformation as imperialism is “contained” by “preventing war”.
It is total overturn requiring an utterly new perspective (albeit one long fought for by Marxist-Leninism) and scientific grasp of titanic dialectical shifts and seemingly sudden changes.
Labourism is the opposite and so too is the equally inadequate Stalin-worshipping revisionism of groups like the Lalkar/Proletarian Brarites who, while they also denounce Labourism and notionally “warn” the working class that more is needed, and who “defend” the workers states (though hopelessly inadequately only, by refusing to discuss any of their many mistakes and flaws), are still saturated with “democracy” notions and “step-by-step left moves” that are supposedly going to gradually erode capitalism’s position until - presumably - it crumbles quietly into the sea like some redstone cliff on the Jurassic coast.
But the only fossils being exposed are these hopeless wooden perspectives utterly unable to see the living reality of the gigantic historic crisis which is tearing the world apart and the great eruptions of world hatred for imperialism it has already generated and which have imposed defeat after defeat on its worldwide dominance.
Far from recognising the ever growing turmoil as the birth pangs of the greatest ever rebellion in history that world exploiting capitalism’s ever intensifying contradictions are leading to, (and one inflicting various defeats on imperialism, however confused and even primitively backward and shocking the current forms the struggle takes), all these “bold revolutionaries” recoil from these actual anarchic eruptions of revolt in the world.
Their shallow moralising declares it to be the “wrong way to fight”, “criminal”, “impermissible” or “even more reactionary than imperialism”, leaving the way open for imperialism to sell its ever-growing war and terrorising to public opinion as being just “necessary punishment and policing” to stop “a threat to the world” – covering up its own sole responsibility for world collapse and blitzkrieg and stampeding the world into the war atmosphere needed for the great crisis conflicts to come.
This capitulationary blind spot denial of growing rebellion is total treachery, and the form, as predicted in the quotes above, in which the fake-“left” now repeats the -
‘defencist’ chauvinism exactly as the treacherous turncoats of the ‘Marxist’ Second International did in WWI.
Not only does it help feed the warmongering atmosphere imperialism is desperate to continue inflaming for the great conflicts to come but this denial is a complete misrepresentation of the balance of class forces in the world.
Declaring the huge upheavals in the Middle East for example to be either a new additional kind of “Islamic” reactionariness (different to, but just as bad or even worse than imperialism) as many of the Trot and Labour movement “left” have done is first of all nothing to do with Marxism, which understands that there cannot be “two kinds of reaction” in the world; only capitalism and its class dominance is the real source of reaction in the world, and the fight to defeat it and open up its overturn is the only way to stop it.
But is also totally defeatist, presenting to the working class a view of the world where progressive forces are ever more diminished - reinforcing the doomladen pessimism that saturates all these groups, seeing only an imperialism which is still expanding its influence and power, pursuing “predatory wars” to “seize the world’s resources” etc.
Predatory it is, and its profit competition constantly and necessarily pushes it to expand, but that misses the nature of the current period of disastrous failure, economic meltdown and defeat, and the splits and paralysis of the ruling class (nowhere better typified than in the floundering humiliation of the British delegation at the great G20 economic summit, ridiculed and despised for its Brexit indecisiveness as the ossified British ruling class squirms and wriggles to escape the onrushing crisis collapse. Either way its weakness and lost influence is exposed, losing out to the powerful German core of Europe if it tries to stay, but losing out anyway if it leaves, because no longer of any use to more powerful imperialist forces like Japan and the US, its humiliating secondary status underlined by their offhand dismissals.)
Much the same emerges from the various permutations of the “all run by the CIA” or all “headbanging mercenary forces” conspiracy theories behind which some of the revisionist CPs and one or two oddball Trotskyists have slipped, allowing them to “deny” the obvious anti-imperialist and anarcho-revolutionary nature of the upheaval and instead join in its “condemnation”.
And of course there are all kinds of partial truths in both aspects; that the crude apocalyptic religious fanaticism of the jihadist revolt is not only nothing to do with socialism and actively hostile to communist atheism, but sometimes so crudely destructive in its sectarian terror methods against hapless communities that it seemingly “forfeits” all sympathy: and that it has often been manipulated and corralled by Western intelligence to serve its disruptive purposes against countries or regimes deemed sufficiently “rogue” or anti-imperialist.
But even if that indicates there is a distance to go before the Third World revolt is directly on a path to overthrow capitalism and establish the kind of disciplined proletarian rule that alone can begin to pull the world out of the appalling mess it has been dragged into by bankrupted capitalism (and with much worse to come) it is still no basis for “condemning” such upheavals - just the opposite, to do so is to line up with the US special forces and drone assassinations and to completely mislead the working class.
First of all it is wilfully bending the facts to declare that all of the jihadist revolts serve imperialist interests: quite clearly there has been huge “blowback”, as it is known; groups like the ISIS have broken away from their intended role of bringing down the bourgeois nationalist Assad government in Syria and have taken a much more fundamental line against all the imperialist impositions on the region dating back to the WW1 division of spoils under the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot secret treaty, and including the Iraq war occupation and the current Baghdad stooge government put in place by US imperialism.
And are such groups as the Al-Shabaab in Somalia, constantly attacking the Western stoogery in Kenya, or the Boko Haram in Nigeria, or the ISIS supporting groups in the Philippines, or the Sinai jihadists, supporting the Palestinian struggle and attacking both Zionism and the brutal torturing General Sisi regime re-established in Cairo, all to be declared part of some CIA plot and “mercenary” plan???
What on earth is supposed to be their purpose then, and why does imperialism, including Britain and the US send hundreds of special forces troops, drone warfare etc against them?
One of the most deranged theories posted on the revisionist Marxism-Leninism Today (MLT) website even suggests that the Western “plan” is to displace all the secular Arab regimes with “reactionary Islamic terrorism”.
So why would the West have organised and supported (and now subsidises) the General Sisi coup in Egypt to topple the Muslim Brotherhood’s perfectly legitimately elected presidency (for what such democratic illusions are worth) stampeding a bogus “secular” popular revolt among the middle class with overwhelming Western media hype?
Such contradictory tangles beset all the “left” groups, - like the Lalkar/Proletarian which in its wooden outright support for the flaky bourgeois nationalist Assad regime in Syria, (supposedly a “step towards” world socialism!) accepts the Damascus blanket condemnation of the whole fight against it a just “terrorism” (swallowing the meaningless “war on terror” imperialist designation) and ends up cheering on the Sisi regime in Cairo.
Or it implies, by lack of a single word of criticism, that Putin’s oligarch capitalist serving regime and its crude blitzing interventions are somehow just an extension of the Soviet Union rather than the counter-revolutionary capitalist restoration it is (for all Putin’s Bonarpartist wobbling balancing act with past socialist traditions on occasion).
And what is then to be said about Hamas in Palestine, currently the militant leadership of the sharpest struggle of all against the monstrous Zionist occupation of its lands?
Is this Sunni sectarian militancy also a “headbanging mercenary tool of imperialism???”
Defeat for imperialism’s skulduggery and manipulation is crucial and a major focus is clearly the Syrian civil war where Washington has obviously created an assortment of quisling “rebel” groups constantly renamed with such obvious CIA labels as the “Syrian Democratic Army”, to topple the less than compliant nationalism of Damascus.
But defeat for imperialism alone is the crucial focus, not support for opportunist dictatorships which have to ride the Arab Street pressure for anti-Zionist and anti-Western policies but which are capable of all kinds of “deals” when it suits and certainly give no guidance whatsoever to the masses in developing the perspective of ending capitalism, and building socialism, either domestically or internationally.
And the focus on the “terrorist horrors” - once again the response to capitalist onslaught not the cause - takes the focus off the real war and terror devastation that capitalism has been creating on a scale far beyond the constantly hyped up ISIS conflict:
Saudi Arabia resumed its appalling war in Yemen last week and has already killed dozens more civilians, destroyed a school full of children and leveled a hospital full of sick and injured people. The campaign of indiscriminate killing – though let’s call it what it is: a war crime – has now been going on for almost a year and a half. And the United States bears a large part of the responsibility.
This US-backed war is not just a case of the Obama administration sitting idly by while its close ally goes on a destructive spree of historic proportions. The government is actively selling the Saudis billions of dollars of weaponry. They’re re-supplying planes engaged in the bombing runs and providing “intelligence” for the targets that Saudi Arabia is hitting.
Put simply, the US is quite literally funding a humanitarian catastrophe that, by some measures, is larger than the crisis in Syria. As the New York Times editorial board wrote this week: “Experts say the coalition would be grounded if Washington withheld its support.” Yet all we’ve heard is crickets.
High-ranking Obama administration officials are hardly ever asked about the crisis. Cable television news has almost universally ignored it. Both the Clinton and Trump presidential campaigns have been totally silent on this issue despite their constant arguing over who would be better at “stopping terrorism”. Beyond the grotesque killing of civilians, it’s clear at this point that the Saudis’ bombing campaign has also boosted al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) to a level which Reuters described as “stronger and richer” than anytime in its 20-year history.
Jake Tapper commendably broke the television news blackout about Yemen on his CNN show on Wednesday. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, one of the very few elected representatives talking about the crisis, told Tapper that “it’s wild to me” that the Congress isn’t debating the “unauthorized” war in Yemen. The Saudis “could not do it without the United States”, he said. “We have made the decision to go to war in Yemen” – against Saudi Arabia’s enemies, not ours – without any debate.
“If you talk to Yemenis, they will tell you that inside Yemen this is not perceived to be a Saudi bombing campaign, this is a US bombing campaign,” Murphy continued. “What’s happening is we are helping to radicalize the Yemeni population against the United States.” This statement was also backed up by longtime Yemen reporter Iona Craig this week, who emphasized to NPR that Yemenis blame the US for the carnage just as much as the Saudis.
The fact that the Obama administration has allowed the Saudis to continue committing war crimes should be a full-fledged scandal. Officials should be resigning over this and shouting from the rooftops. Instead, for months, we’ve heard almost nothing from the administration beyond a couple boilerplate, lukewarm expressions of “concern” as the death toll has mounted over a year and a half. Finally, after prodding from reporters last week, the US state department condemned the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (AKA Médecins sans Frontières) hospital that killed at least 15 people. But then, the state department spokesman refused to say whether the US would stop supplying the Saudis with the weapons they are using.
At the same time, the US military can’t even articulate why our government is helping at all. As Micah Zenko pointed out last year, Gen Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command, admitted in March 2015: “I don’t currently know the specific goals and objectives of the Saudi campaign, and I would have to know that to be able to assess the likelihood of success.” Yet that hasn’t stopped the military from helping the Saudis kill thousands of civilians since.
In Washington, pundit after pundit has spent years now writing ad nauseam about how the Obama administration should be bombing Syria more to stop the humanitarian crisis there, despite the fact no one can explain exactly how more bombs will curtail, rather than exacerbate, the situation.
Unlike in Syria, as the excellent foreign policy analyst Daniel Larison articulated last week, the US has the ability to step in and stop the disaster unfolding Yemen right now. Yet most of those same pundits remain disturbingly silent on the issue.
But I hope they understand: the White House’s continued facilitation of this awful crime against the people of Yemen will stain Obama’s legacy long after he leaves office.
Far greater awful crimes by imperialism are in train as the degeneration into Catastrophe heads for World War Three.
But they emerge not from a resurgence of imperialist strength but from weakness and collapse and defeat.
Writing off the spontaneous movement against imperialism as all part of a capitalist plot, is upside down, and a complete misrepresentation of the strength of a system that is bankrupt and out of time.
This is a disastrous misreading and failure to see the revolutionary movement in the world or understand its impact; it demoralises the working class everywhere.
Its miserable-ism finds expression currently in the wave of setbacks to the “Bolivarian Revolution” in Latin America, the continent wide reformist gains of the last two decades rocked back by (inevitable) imperialist intrigue, economic sabotage, subversion, instigated violence, parliamentary chicanery and judicial manoeuvres.
Only mobilising the full strength of the working class to topple the bourgeoisie, to take power, and holding it with the full strength of the dictatorship of the proletariat could ever provide an answer to the dirty dealing and counter-revolutionary chaos being instigated from Argentina to Bolivia and Venezuela.
But instead the brain dead influence of revisionism declared a “new way” forwards – Hugo Chávez’ so-called “21st century socialism” bypassing all that “old hat” Leninism.
Fake-“leftism” everywhere eulogised and “hailed” the “Bolivarian revolution” – let off the hook of revolutionary argument and the difficult and “embarrassing” need to support workers states and firm proletarian dictatorship.
Its gross opportunism has instead uncritically supported the supposed new “peaceful way forwards” and declared it to be a “lesson for the world”.
The real lesson for the world is that the setbacks now being met further confirm the disastrous influence of Stalinist revisionism and the even more pernicious effect of supposed Trot “anti-Stalinism” - none of which has the remotest grasp of, or intention to develop, the vital Leninist world perspective that alone can draw together the working class
The entire “Bolivarian struggle” despite huge sacrifices by the working class and poorer masses, has been founded on delusions in “democratic paths” and “left pressure”.
These are all traceable back to the disastrous misanalysis of the world which gradually overtook the Soviet leadership from the 1930s onwards (see EPSR Books Vol 21 Against Museum Stalinist Revisionism)*.
It culminated in the ostensibly optimistic 1952 revised analysis of imperialism by Stalin in Economic Problems which set an entire tone for post-war revisionist leadership – declaring that the world capitalist system was so fatally weakened by world war and hemmed in by the growth of the workers states (which followed from the titanic and essentially repeat revolutionary fight to defend the USSR and push back imperialist aggression), that it could no longer expand.
In fact it was a pessimistic view, losing all confidence in revolutionary struggles and advising against them.
A policy of “containing” imperialism’s aggressive tendencies was developed, no longer demanding full revolution everywhere but merely vigorous “peace struggle” which above all was to avoid “provoking” capitalism, while the steady expansion of socialist production would see the world gradually tip into sympathy for, and then change to, the socialist camp.
And this retreat from Lenin’s revolutionary grasp, which understands the inevitability of the collapse back into world war, was quickly transformed everywhere into “parliamentary roads” and delusions in “democratic paths”.
The latest lesson from Latin America - on top of decades of the most brutal subversion, massacres (tens and tens of thousands in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, Brazil, etc) - is that it does not only not work, but leaves the working masses wide open to subversion and repression.
But far from drawing the vital revolutionary lessons, the revisionist perspective has gone the opposite way, influencing the great armed struggle in Colombia by the heroic FARC to now give up its weapons and disarm after 50 years of inspirational struggle against the brutal death squads, repressive military and massive US intervention under the guise of a “war on drugs”.
Instead the FARC is to rely on “peaceful” and “constitutional” means of struggle in a country which still is subject to constant murderous suppression and intimidation of trade unionism and “left” activism under the rule of current president Juan Santos: according the maverick fake-“left” academic James Petras:
During his first 5 years in office, from 2011 to April 2015, more than 105 trade unionists have been murdered; 596 have been injured in attacks and 1,337 received death threats. Over half of the killings, which are officially labeled unattributed, have clearly been committed by the paramilitary hitmen
There is much to analyse about the “peace agreement” negotiated over four years under the mediating influence of Cuba’s revisionist leadership in Havana, and it remains to be established what gains are been achieved by the FARC, which declares it has negotiated from a position of strength.
But while the FARC has clearly forced concessions from the Colombia’s capitalist state, which is desperate to attract international corporate investment into the FARC controlled areas - virtually impossible while “instability” continues - it is not at all clear these constitute the kind of victory won by the Irish national liberation struggle in the occupied north of Ireland.
The heroic and dogged Sinn Féin-IRA began forcing out British imperialism into the long slow withdrawal from its colonial dominance even as far back as the Anglo-Irish Agreement under Margaret Thatcher, and saw its victory established with the Good Friday Agreement, by which time it was clear that it had won the ending of the crude sectarian Orange colonialist tyranny and was on a path towards an eventual united Ireland.
The “peaceful progress” now underway is the result of, and expression of, the victory of the armed struggle.
But the FARC is not fighting a simple national liberation struggle but one for the ending of capitalist oppression and exploitation by the barbaric death squad rightwing ruling class.
For all the “guarantees” of representation in the latest agreement why should a “peaceful” struggle through “constitutional means” as advocated by Havana’s influence prove any more able to take the working class and peasantry forwards than those in the other Latin American countries?
The statements from both Havana and FARC representatives seem to give way to the worst of revisionist illusions, not least in the declarations that the “armed struggle is not the way” and that success for the masses can be achieved by the peaceful advocacy.
In a country where even “left” reformism is still subject to murderous oppression?
This is truly nonsensical coming from a brilliant revolutionary regime such as Cuba’s which fought for power by the armed revolution and has held it firmly ever since with the strength and firmness of the proletarian dictatorship.
A statement from the Colombian Communist Party as the Peace Process was signed is pure revisionism, declaring it:
opens up horizons of democratic changes, of social reforms, and provide a stimulus to a future people’s intervention toward deciding a new direction for the country:
It says everything. So to does the “justification” given by one FARC journalist:
In 2008, the most recent financial global crisis took place, but despite its depth and scope, contrary to the provisions of the classics, it was far from representing the breakdown of the system. The old building still looks strong.
And that cannot be called defeatism. Revolutionaries have to recognize reality to accordingly draw the route to follow. We are not living a heyday of the revolutionary movement, as produced on the planet after World War II or the heyday of the Soviet Union after its victory, which meant a wave of struggles for the independence of peoples, for their democratization, for the revolution and socialism.
We live in the historical period that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union and socialism in Eastern Europe, which opened the door to the globalization of capital and its neoliberal policies. We live in a moment of absolute arrogance of imperialism. Its capacity and greediness it has shown in order to subjugate people cannot be ignored.
Not only can it be “called defeatism”, it is defeatism.
Capitalism has hit the rocks, not a new period of strength.
What helps keep it propped up is such revisionist and fake-“left” opportunist shyte, and the anti-communism that saturates everything.
What will be crucial to ending it is a return to Leninism.
[* Vol 21 obtainable by contacting EPSR]
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