No 1563 5th September 2019
So will “left Brexiters” like Proletarian now vote for Boris Johnson and his ultra-reactionary crew of shysters, spivs and constitutional coup-mongers – or even the fascist Farage??? Or will they hide their “Leave” advice like the SWP Trots, shamed by the deadly chauvinism and jingoism they have helped stir up??? Will the left “Remainers” meanwhile now join Liberals and “left” Tories to form a “national government”??? Across the board the onrushing crisis of the capitalist system is exposing the 50 shades of fake-“left” for their class collaborating stupidities and total opportunism, taking sides on a purely ruling class issue and misleading the working class, punting out illusions in “democracy” and “left pressure” and avoiding the crucial question of revolutionary class war, and its central aspect the need to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. Revisionist retreat from revolutionary perspectives still undermining world understanding and helping imperialism’s dirty provocations like the Hong Kong anti-China “protests”. Leninism critical
The fake-“left” of all shades is shown up for its uselessness and treachery by the latest Boris-ite “constitutional coup” moves, and by its confused responses to the violently anarchic and reactionary Hong Kong anti-China counter-revolution attempt still being provoked by the West (see issues 1561 & 1562).
Street protest by Remainers against the dirty dealing manipulations of the unelected Boris Tory crew of mountebanks and political thugs is superficially more encouraging but immediately let down by its “defend democracy” sloganising.
Continuing illusion in bourgeois democracy across the board by the whole spectrum of the “left” is one of its greatest weaknesses, hampering the struggle against rapidly degenerating capitalism and holding back the working class.
That applies on both sides of the Brexit debate, whether it is in protesting the “validity of the referendum” as the idiot “Lexiters” have done, fostering dangerous chauvinism and jingoism as the world heads into crisis driven trade-war and ultimately world war, or by desperately trying to “save parliamentary democracy”.
The unfolding events around Brexit and the dirty dealings by the Tory cabinet should instead be providing rich material to further explain the reality of the bourgeois democracy fraud to the working class as the crisis paralysing the entire world capitalist order forces it tear up and trample over all the parliamentary racket (or what remains of its threadbare pretences after decades of sellout and betrayal).
Of course these twisted Tory manipulations are an unfolding coup, tearing up even the pretence of “democracy” (while pretending to be democratic).
But thereby they show more clearly than ever the weakness of the ruling class, forced to turn to open class rule.
What “democracy” has there ever been is the question that should be posed, but isn’t.
For most of the world, dominated by colonial exploitation or the rapacity of the multinationals in its modern neo-colonial variant, the answer is simple; none at all for the billions kept in thrall by local stoogery and tinpot fascist dictators from Egypt to Haiti, the Philippines and Indonesia to Bangladesh, or blasted blitzed and bombed in the Middle East and particularly occupied Palestine, under the genocidal oppression of the Zionist-Jewish landtheft occupation.
Even in the “great powers” who live off the superprofits plundered from Third World sweatshops and plantations and are consequently rich enough to make limited reformist concessions to their domestic populations, Parliament and/or presidential democracy is nothing but a hoodwinking lie.
Within capitalism it is only ever a cover for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the big capital it is in thrall to (as Leninism has always explained - see quotes below2).
The whole pretence of a “free choice” is dominated by a limited number of lavishly funded political parties, (out and out capitalist or class-collaborating second teams like Labour), full of self-serving and mostly highly bribable “representatives”, boosted and publicised by distorted billionaire press coverage, gerrymandered voting, vast slews of advertising and expensive public relations image building.
And they do not make the important decisions anyway which are taken behind the scenes through private meetings, ruling class instinct, and through the influence of big money and the capitalist monopolies, exercised both directly through revolving door personnel from government to corporations, bribes and threats and indirectly via the Stock Exchange and currency market power able to boost or sweep away whole economies.
And the ruling bourgeoisie will always slip and slide around the alleged “principles” and legalities of its system as Trump increasingly does in the US and as the Boris Johnson government already does, installed without any public vote at all, let alone the usual stitch-up election.
The British additionally have used the myth of an “unwritten” constitution as a convenient escape clause for the ruling class to twist and bend as it wishes, to impose its rule if the pretences of “democracy” start to get out of hand – (the minor changes and reforms always necessary for verisimilitude going too far, or coming at the wrong moment).
So it falls back on such thoroughly un-democratic hangovers from the feudal monarchical system of three hundred years ago as the Privy Council, the secretive, unelected and unchallengeable group with powers to override Parliament if necessary, and on the “loyalty oaths” of the armed forces, also “answerable to the Queen” and not Parliament, justifying them “stepping in” with a coup if things get “out of control” (for ruling class interests that is) as has brutally and bloodily been seen multiple times and notably in Indonesia in 1965, Chile in 1973, the Ukraine and Egypt in 2013 among many others.
So-called democracy is a racket covering up a system that needs bringing down.
The only real democracy attainable can come when the overwhelming power of capital has been overthrown.
It makes the need for revolutionary politics more urgent than ever.
But that will not be done by any of the fake-“left” however much they declare themselves “Marxist”.
The Remainer call to “defend democracy”, trying to uphold long discredited and despised parliamentary mechanisms, and seeing most of them bolstering the class-collaboration of the bourgeois Labourites reflects their hopeless misleadership.
The disquiet it voices is real enough but provides no counter at all to the stupidity of the “left” support for Brexit.
Its likely end in a “national government” is pure class collaboration, selling out workers' interests.
But so does the demented shouting in favour of “leaving Europe”, which sees the “left” leavers more clearly than ever lined up alongside the most reactionary section of the ruling class as it tramples across the “democratic procedures” of the parliamentary system – all their posturing that they have been “standing up to a ruling class conspiracy to block Brexit” now shot from under their feet (so much so that some of the Trot leavers like the SWP now hide away their support, turning out instead with the Remainer protests against the Boris coup).
They have all clearly played into the hands of the worst of reaction, helping encourage chauvinism and jingoistic backwardness, whatever moralising finger-wagging at the working class they might add in about being “against racism” and “for migrants” etc.
Certainly one component of the Brexit vote in 2016 was driven by a generalised two-fingers anti-establishment hostility from some sections of the working class, (though at least as much was backwardness and blinkered Little Englanderism from the most reactionary elements of the petty bourgeoisie and “shire-Tory”-dom).
But that hostility, reflecting a sound contempt mixed with despair growing from decades of Labourite and parliamentary betrayal, needs to be given an understanding of the crisis, and the gigantic economic implosions which make a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism ever more vital.
Without it, it becomes prey to the worst of reaction and its sham posturing against “the establishment” (when the Farages and Borises are in fact deeply embedded in the privileged ranks).
The capitulation by various groups – from the SWP Trots, and the direly misnamed “Communist Party of Britain” all the way to the Lalkar/Proletarian Stalinist revisionists – to the notion that a heavily manipulated plebiscite (Nazi-style but even more cleverly biased with modern Internet algorithm-selected advertising and manipulation), expresses the real interests of the working class is a million miles from the Marxism they posture and pretend.
It is disgusting opportunism.
Tailending such an alleged “will of the people” offers no leadership to the working class.
As the EPSR has said before (No 956 30-06-98):
Democracy is a form of state rule. Real ‘freedom’ cannot be said to be obviously seen to be happening until the democratic state is able to wither away, leaving vastly changed fully-socially-conscious people to always automatically ensure that CORRECT decisions are taken on everything, based on full knowledge and understanding, – everyone agreeing because the decisions are the right ones equally obvious to everyone because of their, by then, vastly advanced (compared to today’s even HIGHEST standards) scientific and social understanding and experience.
The problem that all present-day forms of ‘democracy’ suffer from, – all equally crude, – is their participants’ inevitably SERIOUS deficiencies in knowledge, understanding, and experience, – whoever they are.
That is why Marxism-Leninism is first and foremost a question of revolutionary LEADERSHIP and not a question of revolutionary ‘democracy’. It is why the actual record of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary achievement is basically one of non-stop correct leadership decisions rather than endless concentration on mere FORMS of ‘democratic’ decision-taking.
The working class voted overwhelmingly for the Blair government three times, but that did not make it a way forwards for their interests.
It left capitalism intact, as it plunged into the great credit meltdown of 2008, after years of pandering to the fatcat privatisers and selling off much of the economy, and before that instigated the monstrous and barbaric slaughter in the Middle East, with half a dozen countries still torn to shreds two decades later on the basis of its big lies about WMD.
A century ago the masses in every European country almost universally supported the plunge into the First World War behind the opportunist “lefts” of the day in the Second International (forerunners of modern Labour and social-democracy), ready to slaughter each other and die in their millions (as they did) in “defence of the Fatherland” in each country as the capitalist bosses slugged it out for the right to plunder the world.
That was not “in their interest” either, though it took three years of blood-and-mud horror to change their minds and finally turn to the “minority elitism” of Lenin’s Bolsheviks, once the correctness of their steadily fought for revolutionary theory became clear, to overturn the ruling class, stopping the war.
Nor did the success of the Hitler Nazis, and Mussolini, in winning elections and overwhelmingly carrying the day in calculated plebiscites indicate that communist leadership should declare any referendum result to be the way forwards for workers.
Plebiscites are even more manipulated than the normal “representative parliament” by their very narrowness, in the selection of the question (who decides that?), the time-limits and the propaganda deluge of lies around them.
As with all phenomena, each needs assessing concretely, and may be usable for clarifying the working class (as the Irish referendum on the Good Friday Agreement did, formally cementing the already agreed retreat of British imperialism from Ireland after decades of national liberation war).
But without a clear revolutionary perspective being put forwards, all the “left” support for the Leave vote has succeeded in doing is dragging the working class behind the chauvinism and hatred being fostered by the Nigel Farage Brexiters and the even more backward and fascist elements standing just behind them.
They stand glaringly exposed.
Are these “left” Brexiters now going to advocate a vote for the Boris Tories in the oncoming election??? Even the Farage fascism?
It would be the most reactionary parliamentary government since the 1930s.
The tone taken by the Stalinist Lalkar/Proletarian in its arguments, calling for the “British people” to be listened to, is not encouraging; such chauvinism combined with alleged socialist principles has nothing to do with internationalist Marxism. People? Where has class analysis gone? “British” people - as opposed to German workers maybe or any others???
This all has sinister echoes of past “national socialism”.
Its willingness to stand alongside the opportunist George Galloway and his joint platforming with Nigel Farage is monstrous.
The supposed “52%” (actually much less after turnout is taken into account) has been the killer argument for the most demented of the ruling class Brexiters precisely because it can be challenged only by exposing the utter fraudulence and lies of all bourgeois democracy, by explaining the Catastrophic plunge of the monopoly capitalism system into slump and war and making it clear that only class war to overthrow capital can stop it.
And the possibility to raise the understanding has never been better.
All these tricks, are signs of just how weak and divided the ruling class is, losing confidence and being forced to show its true face – as do the moves to shut down dissent and debate with draconian censorship laws, against Islamists, anti-Zionists, protests against PCism etc. scapegoating and demonising minorities.
The real purpose of these moves is to stop socialist and communist ideas, developed by a purpose built party of constant open struggle for revolutionary theory.
That alone will provide a way forwards for the working class, however much it might be sneered at for “not listening” or high-handedly “telling the working class what to do”.
But history, the crisis and the collapse into devastating Depression “austerity”, trade war and war will eventually change minds as it did in 1917, and win the working class to such leadership, providing a correct analysis of the world is made.
Currently that starts with an explanation of the whole Brexit racket.
As Leninism has warned from the beginning, getting out from the Brussels “bosses club” of European monopolists (which it is) will not protect workers from oncoming crisis Catastrophe and worldwide breakdown.
It can only mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire; it leaves the working class prey to the just-as ruthless if not even-more rapacious monopolists of the world market and particularly the cutthroat “dealmaking” of the American corporations, demanding savage trade conditions and open access of the British economy for corporate plunder.
It is a complete nonsense to suggest that leaving Europe will “free British workers from the draconian conditions imposed by the European Union” - when the British bosses and more significantly the overseas owners they have mostly sold out to, will demand at least the same if not far more severe “freeing up of regulations” and stepped-up exploitation of the zero-hours kind.
This is an attitude born of craven subservience to the capitalist system suggesting that workers conditions can be improved only “within the rules” (supposedly imposed by the EU alone as if British bosses would not be just as draconian if they “had sovereignty”).
It is reformist class collaboration which even in the boom times “won” its gains only on the back of revolutionary movement in the world, most particularly after the Second World War when the Red Army had triumphantly swept away the Nazi onslaught and imperialism was in retreat from rising anti-imperialism.
Across Europe and worldwide there was a demand for socialism which threatened to tip into revolution everywhere, held back only by the concessions (NHS, welfarism, the pretence of nationalisation) it was given.
Nor is the case that leaving Europe can “hold back” globalisation and the power of the big corporations thereby “taking a step forwards for working class interests”.
The process of monopolisation is inexorable, built into capitalism itself and its relentless anarchic competition, in which the larger and more powerful corporations will always, and must always, outcompete and swallow up the smaller (as they have swallowed up virtually all of British bourgeois ownership in industry and finance).
In fact, outside Europe the British economy will be even more exposed to such ruthless competition, and as has become clearer by the day, will have to give way.
But the complacency of the hopeless pro-Europeans, on the other side, is not better and also ignores the real fears of the working class, already hammered by desperate austerity, which have left it open to backward anti-foreigner sentiment, tapped into by the reactionary Leave wing, pretending to “challenge the establishment”.
This pro-wing is now poleaxed by the ruthlessness and trickery of the constitutional sleight-of-hand being pulled by a desperate ruling class, first in the outrageous Boris Johnson non-”election” and its appointment of a spiv and wideboy Tory cabinet (see issue 1561), and now with the even more brazen prorogation (shutting down) of parliament and preparations for a railroading and heavily bribed election farce.
They are unable to give any kind of lead to the working class that can really stand up to this political thuggery.
To do so means lifting understanding far beyond Brexit and explaining that none of it on either side can remotely change things.
This is about the crisis collapse of the entire world capitalist system.
Brexit began with a long festering battle between different wings of the British ruling class, one of the weakest and most moribund of all the big powers, desperately and fearfully battling out whether to stay with the European monopoly capitalist bloc or in alliance with US domination of the financial and political imperialist system as the world plunges into catastrophic failure and heads for inter-imperialist conflict in the same way it did before the two great world wars of the twentieth century.
It is an argument about where best to stand in the conflicts to come to survive as a capitalist ruling class.
Taking sides with either section of the ruling class is to trap the working class in a giant diversion.
It avoids confronting the only possible future for the working class, the revolutionary overturn of the entire world capitalist system.
Nothing else can now rescue the world as it crashes into the most devastating economic and international political disaster, poverty and Slump, and the chaotic turmoil of societal breakdown and collapse which must result (as well as the environmental and ecological disasters now unfolding - also as a result of capitalism’s rapacious profiteering).
Things are going to get even more out of hand.
The chaos and conflict to come was manifest in the hopeless and empty posturing of the world leaders at the grotesquely expensive G7 pantomime in Biarritz in France, locked down and guarded by 13,000 tooled up French police to make sure no ordinary citizens could get anywhere near their “democratic” leaders for any “democratic protest”.
The hollow charade of the great and powerful meeting together to “sort out the world’s problems” was an even bigger joke than usual, characterised by empty and fatuous statements about the “need to stop trade war”, to rein in war provocations against Iran, and ludicrous eco-gestures such as the tiny $18M sum of money (relative to the huge economies in question) to buy firefighting equipment in Brazil as a means of stopping world threatening environmental collapse and global warming.
Even the bourgeois press was scathing:
The G7 summit in Biarritz, now thankfully concluded, told us a lot about the world we live in. Unfortunately, very little of it was useful or vaguely hopeful. As the presidents and premiers of the world’s wealthiest countries posed for back-slapping group photos, and their partners sampled croissants at a charming “traditional Basque bakery”, fierce fires raged untended and unquenched across the international landscape – not to mention in the Amazon rainforest. It was a low-yield meeting whose main achievement was avoiding a repeat of last year’s bust-up.
It was as though these summiteers, conflabbing while the world burned, belonged to a different, distant era when the US president, for example, was a figure commanding instant respect; when multilateral diplomacy worked; when the postwar internationalist vision was not obscured by nationalist demagoguery; when, if the western democracies decided to do something together, it actually had a good chance of getting done. But those times have passed.
The summit told us about leadership – or what passes for it these days. For Emmanuel Macron, the understandably frazzled maître d’, concentrating the minds of so many inflated political egos was more challenging than taming the domestic challenge of les gilets jaunes (yellow vests). France’s president abandoned the usual practice of issuing a joint communiqué. After Donald Trump trashed the last one in Quebec, insulting his hosts, that was probably wise.
Yet Trump is not the only black hole where a leader should be. It’s true Angela Merkel is counting down to retirement in 2021. But any hopes that she would pick up the baton where American leadership has failed since 2016, at least as a champion for Europe, have proved ill-founded. Her cautious, money-minded approach has too often focused instead on reining in Macron’s grander reformist ideas.
A German chancellor might at one time have confidently looked to Britain to add weight and mettle to Europe’s views on, say, Vladimir Putin’s war on domestic political opponents and unchecked disregard for international law in Ukraine and Syria. But Boris Johnson, while agreeing Russia’s president should not be readmitted to the G7, exhibits scant interest in, let alone leadership on, such difficult issues. His “keep Trump happy” policy shows how low, and how quickly, Britain is sinking.
Others gathered round the table at Biarritz are not much better. Where is the leader who will stand up and tell Trump, to his face, that his incendiary bid to bring Iran to its knees will not work – and cannot be supported? Who will tell Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, whose forces attacked no fewer than three regional neighbours – Iraq, Lebanon and Syria – at the weekend, to stop stoking regional fires in the hope of winning re-election next month?
What has the G7 got to say about the reduction of the UN security council to a state of feeble impotence, where Russian and Chinese (and sometimes US) vetoes prevent effective action to mitigate humanitarian disasters such as the Saudi-led war in Yemen or the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar? What about the atrocities daily visited upon besieged Syrian civilians in Idlib? And where is the G7 clubbers’ masterplan for rescuing the global economy from a trade war-driven recession? No China, no comment – while Trump shifts shiftily almost by the hour.
The shaming list of roads not travelled, of issues not tackled, of calamities ignored or dodged, is all but endless. To this must be added the accelerating US-China-Russia nuclear arms race and the environmental impact of great power rivalries in the Arctic. To his credit, and to the annoyance of Trump officials who deemed it a “niche issue”, Macron gained support for collective action on the Amazon. As with previous G7 pledges, follow-through is what matters now. Having outwardly responded to the public clamour, what will actually be done? The $20m aid package announced today to help Amazon countries fight wildfires appears, frankly, on the low side.
The summit inadvertently told us, too, about multilateralism and the fabled rules-based international order – and how these always flawed systems of global governance, symbolised by the G7 since the 1970s, may be on their last legs. That’s due in large part to the refusal of emerging 21st-century powers, principally China but also lesser states, to abide by other people’s rules ill-suited to their purposes.
It’s due to a broad upsurge, in Europe and elsewhere, of rightwing, populist nationalism that has shaken the centrist consensus and is typified by the rise and rise of Matteo Salvini in Italy – and by Brexit. It is due to a failure of confidence among post-2008 western democracies which are beset by austerity and widening wealth and trust gaps. Multilateralism’s atrophy is due, too, to multiple betrayals by Trump’s America.
Gratuitous anti-communist sniping at China and demonising blame for bonarpartist Russia are the usual Western bogeyman propaganda but the tone of contempt all round is unmistakable.
It reflects growing petty bourgeois dismay that the ruling class is falling apart.
But even if this laughable G7 circus had been making heartfelt efforts to deal with the turmoil facing the world and not the most cynical and lazy of lies, pretences and diversions, – ignoring mass blitzing war in Yemen killing tens of thousands: the deadly buildup of imperialist and Zionist war provocations against Iran and its alleged allies in Lebanon and Syria: the invasion of Kashmir by Indian Hindu nationalism (no bourgeois press “outrage” there about the shut down Internet, military on the street, police violence etc - even as the hysterical lies pour out over Hong Kong), and the hair raising threat of war with Pakistan, (equally no outrage about their nuclear weapons, unlike Iran, North Korea etc powers); the vicious economic strangulation continuing against Venezuela and Cuba (and once again Iran too): the sabotage and violent counter-revolutionary turmoil in Hong Kong trying to undermine China’s workers state; the non-stop civil war killing in Libya; etc etc etc -––– these statements and political nostrums would have been entirely pointless.
There is no stopping the intensification of the vicious trade conflicts and aggressions building up in the world because they are the very substance and result of the anarchic capitalist “free market” as Marx showed in Capital (and Russian Bolshevik leader Lenin further elaborated for the imperialist epoch) and its relentless “competition” forcing all the great monopolies to produce ever greater output in a battle to control the entire world market.
It means swamping the world in far too much stuff (at least as far as selling it at a profit is concerned) even when consumption is pushed to the limit by non-stop advertising and consumerist culture (which is all that sustains the supposed “fourth industrial revolution” of social media etc, which far from producing “new value” simply parasites on the rest of production).
Clearing out the “surplus” production (because unprofitable, though far from an “excess” for the needs of the world’s desperate masses) and the huge pond of capital accumulating beneath, is the only way the ruling class knows to have its system reset itself while remaining as capitalism.
That means gigantic and shattering shutdowns, bankruptcies and closures, mass layoffs and stagnation, and suppression of all resistance to such shattering slump, as repeatedly seen in the nineteenth century and eventually, in the modern epoch, leading to the physical destruction of capacity in war and devastation, exactly as in two world wars and as is now building up again.
This is the underlying cause of growing inter-imperialist tensions and ultimately war destruction.
It is the only way that the monopoly capitalist system has to “clear the decks” (and clear away rivals) to allow space for re-investment in a new cycle of frenzied growth – until that too reaches the point where the system is against clogged with “too much” capital.
Market saturation has taken decades longer to reach total crisis in the latest long cycle because the worldwide extent of the capitalist system is greater than at any point in history and its penetration into every aspect of society deeper than ever before.
Along with the extraordinary development of ever-more sophisticated and extended credit mechanisms and financial technology it has all allowed the stretching of world production to insane levels, riding over a series of faltering hesitations and localised regional market failures and wars.
The post-war boom has been the longest and most dazzling in history, despite these repeated lurches into market meltdowns and collapses of various sectors of the world, such as the Mexican and other national credit collapses, the Asian currency turmoil, decades of stagnation for Japan, credit collapse in the capitalist restoration in Russia and the dotcom meltdown, all forced to take the heat by the greater financial firepower of primarily the USA and to some extent the other major imperialist powers.
It has gone hand in hand with the demented and non-stop campaign of anti-communist brainwashing which has saturated Western society ever since the first great Bolshevik revolution in 1917, to persuade and convince mass society that ultimately capitalism has all the answers and that “communism doesn’t work”, so effectively that the retreats and errors of Stalin’s revisionism finally ripened inside the Soviet Union’s bureaucratic leadership to produce the 1989-91 Gorbachev liquidation (seeming to prove the case, though in fact proving only the disastrous effect of complacency and retreat from revolution, since the USSR itself continued to make giant strides in societal fairness, science, music and other culture, education, and industry almost to the end, without a capitalist class at all, and was certainly still a going concern even when its revisionist addled leadership did finally and disastrously give way to illusions in the “free market” and “democracy”.)
But the chickens came home to roost in 2008 with the global credit meltdown and the failure of the biggest and most important banks in the heart of dominant American imperialism, threatening the domino collapse of the entire world trading system and its disintegration into an “economic nuclear winter” of bankruptcies.
Only demented money printing to extend dollar credit even further (bailing out the ultra-rich and increasing the obscene inequality of the world) salvaged things for the moment.
Even that has meant desperate times for much of the working class as one or two the more down-to-earth journalists in the otherwise relentlessly reactionary bourgeois press will occasionally point out:
When it works, infrastructure is invisible. Point out the crumbliness, by all means, and lament the dangerous compromises – but as long as the wretched system judders on, voters shrug and politicians look the other way. Until the day the bridges collapse, the trains seize up and the lights no longer come on. By which time it is too late for anything but blame in 24-point headlines.
Between these two extremes lies a much rarer phenomenon, which blights Britain today. We are right in the middle of an infrastructure breakdown – we just haven’t named it yet. You’ll know what I mean when we list the component parts. More than 760 youth clubs have shut across the UK since 2012. A pub closes every 12 hours. Nearly 130 libraries were scrapped last year, and those that survive in England have lopped off 230,000 opening hours.
Each of the above is a news story. Each stings a different group: the books trade, the real-ale aficionados, the trade unions. But knit them together and a far darker picture emerges. Britain is being stripped of its social infrastructure: the institutions that make up its daily life, the buildings and spaces that host friends and gently push strangers together. Public parks are disappearing. Playgrounds are being sold off. High streets are fast turning to desert. These trends are national, but their greatest force is felt in the poorest towns and suburbs, the most remote parts of the countryside, where there isn’t the footfall to lure in the businesses or household wealth to save the local boozer.
When I am out reporting it is not uncommon to go into a suburban postcode short of money yet still bustling with people – but the banks have nearly all cleared out, the church has gone and all that’s left of the last pub is an empty hulk. The private sector has buggered off, the state is a remote and vengeful god who dispenses benefits or sanctions, and the “big society” never made it out of the pages of a report from a Westminster thinktank. I’ve seen this in the suburbs of London and in the valleys of south Wales, and the word that most comes to mind is “abandoned”.
Politicians bemoan the loss of community, but that resonant word is not precise enough. A large part of what’s missing is social infrastructure. It can be public or private. It is often slightly dog-eared and usually overlooked. But when it vanishes, the social damage can be huge.
The American sociologist Eric Klinenberg lists some in his recent book, Palaces for the People: “People reduce the time they spend in public settings and hunker down in their safe houses. Social networks weaken. Crime rises. Older and sick people grow isolated. Younger people get addicted to drugs … Distrust rises and civic participation wanes.” A New York University professor, Klinenberg’s observations hold as true for Brexit Britain as they do for Trump’s America. How often have you read about a grandmother found dead in her own home, with no one popping by for days? How many news stories do you read about teenagers experiencing mental illness as they compare themselves to the images on their screens? And how many times have you complained that everyone is so stuck in their own bubble that politics is hopelessly polarised?
In ripping out our social infrastructure, we are outraging a wisdom that goes back centuries and spans countries. Millions of Britons will spend part of this summer on a plaza or a piazza or people-watching on the public square outside Paris’s Centre Pompidou. The architectural historian Shumi Bose points out that library designs proliferated during the Enlightenment, alongside blueprints for monuments “to the exercise of the sovereignty of the people”. During the second world war, the Mass Observation collective wrote of the British pub: “Once a man has bought or been bought his glass of beer, he has entered an environment in which he is participant, rather than spectator.”
When it comes to transport or energy or sewage, Britain has a National Infrastructure Commission that monitors the country’s needs and guides parliament on where to direct spending. After all, the quality of such hard infrastructure influences where multinationals set up shop: it is money-making. But parks and libraries don’t generate cash. Social infrastructure has no lobby, no registry of assets and certainly no government agency. No Whitehall official monitors how much of it has closed or withered away – that relies on civil society groups to file freedom of information requests or badger town halls with survey. Everyone knows we need it, yet just as our economic model prizes shareholder returns over investment in the National Grid, so our politics relies on drawing in the voters with unfeasibly low taxes. Until one day, something breaks and all hell breaks loose.
In fact the “hard infrastructure” is increasingly threatened too and everyone knows, despite the bare-faced lies from the Tories, that the NHS is being steadily fragmented, bureaucratised and plunderingly “outsourced” in preparation for selling it off.
Growing capitalist cynicism and wideboy profit plundering increasingly shatters community in other ways too, also expressing the total failure and decay of capitalism:
In these crisis-stricken months for Bury, a club founded in 1885, many people have rightly pointed with bewilderment to English football’s violent inequalities; to Manchester City and United 10 miles away, owned by overseas billionaires, making multimillionaires of their players and managers. Supporters have despaired at the gaping holes in football’s governance, its painfully limited “fit and proper persons test” for owners, so long campaigned for but that still fails to protect beloved clubs from needless ruination.
But the details of Bury’s crumbling expose an alarming, knacker’s-yard wreckage that is more broadly worrying for the economies of Britain’s old industrial places at this time of imminent national shock. Football, the national sport, has always reflected the country and its times. When Bury, Bolton, Blackburn, Preston and other north-west and Midlands towns formed the late-Victorian professional clubs, they were powerhouses of mills and manufacturing. The former public schoolboys who founded the Football Association in London in 1863 remained amateurs and opposed professionalism for years – partly because they did not need the money to compensate them for time off to train and play.
Today, the ruins of Bury FC expose the wider vulnerability of its surrounding town and many places like it around the country on the brink of Brexit: a disruption engineered by politicians who never took the bus to school, apparently incubating extreme ideologies for a country from which they were always kept detached.
Bury’s financial instability was evident for five years under the previous owner, Stewart Day, a Blackburn-based property developer specialising in accommodation blocks for students. In 2014 his company borrowed money secured on Gigg Lane at 10% interest a month, which compounded into 138% annual interest. That, sadly, did not clang enough alarm bells and Day continued building his flats, and loading borrowings on to Bury, until it all collapsed.
When he announced in December that he had sold the club to Dale, for £1, Day said he wanted to spend more time with his family, while Dale spoke of it as a philanthropic venture. Day’s financial difficulties were laid bare within weeks, as his companies fell into insolvency and administration.
Some people involved in new or expanding universities in northern former mill towns have described their growth as economic regeneration, but it has always seemed shaky to base a recovery on government-backed loans taken out by young people facing uncertain futures. Day’s property ventures were not even supported by banks; he had borrowed heavily from Lendy, a model based on attracting money from thousands of individual investors, which has itself collapsed and is now subject to a Financial Conduct Authority investigation. Day also pre-sold individual flats, promising guaranteed returns from students’ rent payments, and many investors are now distraught at seeing life savings lost.
At Bury itself, loans now up to £3.7m, secured on Gigg Lane, were taken from an outfit called Capital Bridging Finance Solutions, based in Crosby, with 40% commissions paid to still-unnamed third parties as introduction fees. The publicly filed documents state that Capital in turn mortgaged Bury’s ground to a company registered in Malta, whose own lenders for the deal were eight companies domiciled in the offshore tax haven of the British Virgin Islands. Perhaps you have to know and have been to Gigg Lane, a football haven amid terraced streets just off Manchester Road, to feel in your guts the ludicrous nature of such house-of-cards economics.
A further look at Dale’s business record revealed a trader in insolvent companies that had mostly been dissolved or liquidated. Any philanthropic intentions were overtaken by his voluble complaining at the financial hole vacated by Day. On the way to Bury’s own insolvency Dale laid off hardworking staff and failed to pay £4m of creditors including £1.1m to HMRC, as well as players who are still owed substantial back wages.
Bury’s council leader, David Jones, told the Guardian last week that losing the club would be a “nail in the coffin” for the town. Since David Cameron and Nick Clegg formed their coalition government in 2010, the council has suffered cuts of £85m, 61% of its annual budget, he said. Boris Johnson is now presenting a no-deal Brexit as easy to cope with, when the government’s own assessment is that the north-west’s already patchy and unequal economy will suffer a -12% hit.
And this sick and alienating despair can be contrasted with the grotesque indulgence and degeneracy of the ruling class everywhere, from the drug and orgy parties enjoyed by the “pious” Islamic holy guardian Saudi royals to the insane brash consumption of Russian oligarchs, US billionaires and the European “jet set” in their five storey yachts - including the depraved antics hinted at in the Jeffrey Epstein case, the full extent of which might never emerge after his convenient “suicide” (see subsequent story below).
All that is a prelude.
The ruling class knows that far worse austerity will have to be imposed soon, as soon as the Quantitative Easing credit trick implodes, and along with it, the dollar itself and the world trading system it sustains.
The world is heading for the greatest Slump collapse in history, riven with intensifying inter-imperialist trade war and conflict, and degenerating all the way into all-out war.
That will not be simply more of the current destruction being imposed on country after country in the Middle East, eastern Ukraine, and northern Africa, on Serbia before that (as a test-run for NATO) nor the siege strangulations of “rogue” and anti-imperialist countries like Venezuela, Iran and attempted against Russia and China, horrific though all this is and has been for two decades.
It will be all-out devastation, the only outcome that capitalism has ever had for its regular crises of overproduction, inevitably recurring on an increasingly wide scale, because of the contradictions built into the anarchic chaos of the greed driven production for private profit system.
Nothing but revolution will end its inevitable plunge into World War once more.
Such an overturn can only be achieved by dogged and bitter class war.
All aspects of the world economy must be taken out of private hands, - all farms and fisheries, factories and finance, land and property, taken into public ownership – so that can they be brought under rational and sensible planning and control, in harmony with nature and mankind’s real needs (i.e not the hyper-distortions of consumerism).
Socialism can then be the foundation for the steady development (over generations) of a rational world in which meeting the needs and development of every single individual becomes the condition for the freedom and development of all society.
It is that oncoming crisis on a world scale and not Brexit as such which is now driving the ruling class moves to cut across the democracy pretence (just as in the US where Trumpism’s US-style Mussolini bluster is well down the path into overt fascism).
In fact trampling across the “constitution” is not being done to put through Brexit; it is the other way round, Brexit confusion is being used as justification to trample across the constitution and tighten class rule in anticipation of this much wider collapse, consciously whipping up the chauvinist atmosphere at the same time to divide the working class further and to lull minds with the notion that such open dictatorship moves are in their interest, rather than being prepared in order to crack down on the inevitable riots, upheaval and other spontaneous turmoil that is coming - and explosively so once lives are facing the full hurricane force of the Catastrophe.
But all the “lefts” are trapped by their fear of, and refusal to advocate, the dictatorship of the proletariat (which does not mean “winning the battle of democracy” for the working class as some “lefts” slyly advocate, as a way of feigning some “Marxist” credentials, but the establishment of the firmest working class rule by the only way it is really achievable, the revolutionary overthrow of this degenerate system by all-out class war to bring it down.)
Only that can be a solution to the crisis, but their petty bourgeois class position paralyses the “left” deep down with a fear of revolutionary struggle and upheaval in general.
It is expressed over and over again in their “condemnations” of any stirrings of revolutionary conflict with imperialism, however crude, such as the jihadism and insurgencies of the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere, which for all their often backwardness, religious barminess and crude “ruthlessness” are stirrings of anti-imperialism that has and will inflict defeats on US and other powers’ domination.
They capitulate as well in one way or another to all the denunciations which have poured out of imperialism to justify its ludicrous “war on terror” - now the substitute bogeyman to blame for the ills of the world instead of the Cold War “communist threat” - to cover up the relentless degeneration of the imperialist world into belligerence and war.
That is expressed in their willingness to swallow every CIA-Zionist-MI6 counter-revolutionary stunt and gross propaganda LIE from Ukrainian Nazi populism and the brutal Egyptian military takeover against the Muslim Brotherhood (slaughtering thousands of men women and children in the street) to the latest reactionary anarchist upheavals “for freedom” in Hong Kong.
The still continuing anarchic violence in Hong Kong, is a desperate outrage by the better off and middle class elements in the city, poisoned by consumerist illusions and Western anti-communism and becoming fearful with despair and uncertainty as the capitalist crisis relentlessly deepens, a process deliberately exacerbation by US anti-Chinese trade war sanctions, and which is affecting the highly unstable finance economy there.
Even the protest at the extradition law which allegedly precipitated this upheaval, reflects a petty bourgeois hatred of workers state authority, inflamed by the non-stop propaganda of the Western media against the alleged “murky” legal system in China and “lack of justice”, the same bilious lies that have poured out against each and every state where the working class has taken power since 1917.
The reality in China, as it is in Cuba and other workers states, is a peoples court justice system for ordinary people better and fairer than anywhere in capitalism, and vastly more accessible than the stitched-up, property orientated and biased “rule of law” in Western “democracy”, which is anyway only available to those with the $1000s or £10,000s, even millions, needed for lawyers and procedures in all but the most trivial legal cases (and even hundreds of pounds are out of reach and beyond anyone on a normal wage, particularly as “legal aid” has been slashed to the bone by austerity), and which is used by the rich to safeguard their often ill-gotten gains, (or to illegally get such gains in the first place), suppress and rip off the poor, silence private and press criticism with “super-injunctions” etc (so much for free speech), get away with abuse, torture and murder, literally on occasion, and block off and prevent investigation of misdeeds etc etc etc.
It is fear of losing that kind of class-based property “justice” which precipitated the original petty bourgeois protests (which are mostly deluded anyway for most of the not-so-well-off petty bourgeois, for all the reasons above.)
Western criticism helping inflame this is deliberate anti-communist hate propaganda directed at the authority of the Chinese state, which is and remains a dictatorship of the proletariat as spelled out before (issue 956 as above):
Trot mindlessness makes its anti-communist points by admitting that imperialism may be bad at times but that ‘communist tyranny is ten times worse’ and pretends that a ‘proper’ socialist revolution will mean complete instant ‘freedom’ for everybody, and that class violence of any kind would disappear completely of its own accord if ‘real socialism’ was only given a chance.
Marxist-Leninist science has always made completely contrary assertions.
Contradiction in the source of all development, and all the time that class-society-influences survive on earth, class CONFLICT will be the only possible way forward.
The Chinese workers state is a class dictatorship, just like every other state in the world in the present epoch. Only far into the future will social consciousness have advanced so powerfully that coercive state structures will no longer be required of any kind. In the current period of history, it is only possible to have either a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or a dictatorship of the proletariat.
The many, many volumes of Marxist-Leninist science on this subject all ridicule all past (and present) attempts to invent alternative descriptions of stable power structures.
Proletarian revolution established its dictatorship in China in 1949 under an indispensable disciplined Leninist-party leadership, exactly as the Soviet Union had been established in 1917, and exactly as the only other overthrows of bourgeois-capitalist dictatorship (the only possible alternative essential power structure) have ever been established (Cuba, Vietnam, etc).
Now there can be many, comradely, criticisms made of China by communists, (and only by communists who will unconditionally support it for as long as it remains a workers state, but constantly seek to improve world revolutionary understanding as part of that support, and as the best way to provide support,) but that is nothing to do with bilious attacks from the world imperialist system and its hatred of workers states precisely because they have overturned western ruling class authority.
And certainly that might challenge bureaucratic distortions and misuse if it was proven, but certainly would not accept that anything poured out by the lying Western media constitutes anything other than pure poisonous fabrication or axe-grinding by the occasional “dissident” - which are few and far between given the hundreds of millions of Chinese to choose from.
And such criticism as it might make comes from the opposite direction entirely, taking up the revisionist weakness and failure to use its workers state authority quickly and firmly, allowing western provocations to become unnecessarily inflamed and playing into the hands of its lying upside-down distortions around the “democracy” lie.
There are constant and serious worries about China given the huge extent to which it has used capitalist economic methods to stimulate and drive development (as has been the pattern for virtually all societies climbing out of rural backwardness but done under overall state planned direction with less agony and brute exploitation than anywhere in the West and the colonised Third World and in far less time, pulling 600M people out of poverty).
That has obviously created a large and very well off set of capitalists and a middle class, all prone to develop “all the old shit” as Lenin expressed it, ie all the old ideological attitudes of capitalism, compounded by the inevitable lapses and failures (bribery and corruption) that any such developing society will encounter.
But there has not been a “reversion” to capitalism as the shallower petty bourgeois philistinism constantly asserts, alongside most bilious Trotskyism constantly seeking justification for its anti-communist hatred, while covering it up with a supposed “revolutionary” position - the same trickery which repeatedly declared that the Soviet and East European communist states needed to be toppled because they had been “taken over by Stalinist counter revolution” or had “reverted to capitalism” and which endlessly backed counter-revolutionary movements like the clerical/fascist “uprising” in Hungary 1956, the Prague Spring in 1968 and the bogus “trade union” Solidarnosc in Poland, heavily funded by the CIA and $100 millions of Vatican Catholic funds, and quickly revealing its out and out Pilsudski reactionary orientation now consolidated in the overtly reactionary jingoism in power today.
That “political revolution” bullshit was all proven to be total reaction after the 1989 liquidation of the Soviet Union and its rapid decline into oligarch plundering and profiteering gangsterism once capitalism was restored, (which clearly and definitively took place at that point, with world shattering impact, demonstrating that the Soviet Union and East Europe had remained workers states until then, though it does not stop the Trotskyists still endlessly and sterilely bickering over the timing of assorted alleged “counter-revolutions” and developing ever more convoluted and deranged academic nonsense such as the “counter-revolution within the revolution” knot-tying of the Weekly Worker CPGBers - all completely disconnected from reality and actual historical events).
The only counter-revolutionary attempt in China, the 1989 Tiananmen Square precursor on which the Hong Kong upheaval is obviously modelled, was firmly suppressed after some worrying Chinese CP hesitation, and without any of the alleged “thousands massacred” lies that are constantly repeated by the bourgeois media - the few hundred deaths which did occur, not in the square itself, cleared without incident (see ILWP Books Volume 16) but in the streets around over the next couple of days, were in many cases state officials from the police and army, lynched by the most violent of the anti-communists in ways that the Hong Kong anarchists have come close to doing in recent events such as the near killings at the airport,and the then necessary assertion of force to suppress that deliberate violence.
But the use of widespread capitalist economics within the political framework of a workers state needs constant oversight and the firmest Marxist control (one of the reasons why a proletarian dictatorship authority is needed for generations as a new kind of society is built) which in turn means a need for clearsighted ideological development and leadership constantly building and advancing the understanding of its cadres.
That is where the major criticism and doubts can be made of Beijing revisionism which in general does not offer even its own population let alone the world working class, any clear and decisive analysis of the world balance of class forces and particularly any perspective of the gigantic and unstoppable crisis in capitalism and its irreversible plunge towards crisis collapse and war which make its revolutionary overthrow ever more necessary.
Clearly it builds its defence forces and recent re-assertions of state authority, building of PLA loyalty and Marxist education, and anti-corruption drives by Xi Jinping, are encouraging.
China continues to stand up to imperialist bullying too over Taiwan, the South China Sea and to some extent with Hong Kong.
And clearly for tactical reasons any workers state will always seek to defuse and head off imperialist aggression using diplomatic methods where it can, initially.
But kid glove handling of Hong Kong, and apparent hesitation, particularly with attempts to placate the “demonstrators” by offering them “concessions”, most recently by fully withdrawing the original extradition bill, does not give the world working class the firm lead it needs.
Instead it feeds the grotesquely inverted propaganda lies of the Western press which have massively inflated the alleged numbers participating in the demonstrations week after week, – notable in the second blockade attempt at the airport for example which was no more than a few hundred of the most diehard and deliberately violent and vandalistic elements, – and turned on its head the responsibility for violence.
Beijing should be exposing the gobsmacking hypocrisy of the Western media in supportively reporting all the lying self-righteousness by the pampered middle class “rebels”, interviewed uncritically day-after-day as they “justify” their “right” to turn to violence because they did not get their way (while still pretending they are simply “peacefully protesting”!!!!) - yet ignoring or denouncing the year-long gilet jaunes protests in France for example, or the brutal takeover crackdown in Kashmir by the nationalist Indian invasion, or the Houthis’ cause in Yemen, barbarically blitzed for four years with huge slaughter by the highly undemocratic and murderous-thug Saudi Arabian tribal monarchy (with British and US “advice”, guidance and weaponry) driving the whole country into mass famine potentially (without one single interview from the “rebel” side appearing, ever).
Are they “justified” in turning to armed struggle??? Are the FARC in Bolivia, where the years since the “peace agreement” and turn to “democratic means” have seen hundreds of deaths by the fascist state and “paramilitaries”?????:
Two former commanders of the demobilised Colombian rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farc, have announced a that they are returning to war, nearly three years after a peace deal which sought to end South America’s longest guerrilla conflict.
The two men, known by their aliases, Iván Márquez and Jesús Santrich, released a video to YouTube early on Thursday morning in which they lambasted president Iván Duque and his government for not keeping its end of the deal, negotiated over four years of talks in Cuba.
Dressed in military fatigues and flanked by armed fighters, Márquez said: “This is the continuation of the rebel fight in answer to the betrayal of the state of the Havana peace accords. We were never beaten or defeated ideologically, so the struggle continues.”
The 2016 deal sought to formally end 52 years of war that killed over 260,000 people and forced 7 million from their homes, in a bitter conflict between left-wing rebels, government forces and state-aligned paramilitaries.
Márquez led the Farc’s negotiating team, assisted in part by Santrich – who is currently wanted by US authorities for trafficking cocaine.
The deal initially failed to pass a public referendum by the narrowest of margins. Many took umbrage at the accord’s guarantees of uncontested seats in congress for Farc leaders, and softer sentencing guidelines for those who committed atrocities.
Implementation of the process has been fraught with difficulties, and in many rural areas, the peace it promised has failed to materialise.
Seven thousand Farc fighters turned in their weapons to a UN monitoring body, but smaller rebel groups, Farc dissidents, and drug trafficking gangs have filled the void left behind. Mass displacements continue as rival groups contest territory.
Activists and social leaders, partly responsible for the grassroots implementation of the accords, are being murdered at alarming rates. Six hundred twenty-seven local activists have been murdered since the deal was signed, according to local watchdog Indepaz.
About 150 former Farc fighters have also been killed. Ex-combatants and critics of the government say Duque has not done enough to protect them.
In their announcement, Márquez and Santrich said they would be forming a “new guerrilla” to continue in arms against the government. Security forces estimate that they command up to 2,200 soldiers, according to Reuters. While the Farc depended on drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping to fund their political ambitions, but Márquez said the new faction will not use ransom money for income.
The move was welcomed by a commander from another leftist rebel group the National Liberation Army (or ELN). “Better late than never,” said the masked guerrilla known as Comandante Uriel in a video posted to Twitter.
Peace talks between the ELN and the government, collapsed in February after a rebel carbomb killed 22 people. Once overshadowed by Farc, the ELN has grown steadily stronger since the peace deal, extending its reach far into neighbouring Venezuela.
Reported concern that Beijing does not want to mar the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Chinese Revolution next month with “scenes of violence” fits entirely with the overall weakness of revisionism in constantly wanting to be “respected” by the West and with continuing illusions about showing itself to uphold abstract “democracy” – and with its own reluctance to assert the importance of the workers state as a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Firm statements that Western interference has been trying to make the protests into a “colour revolution” have been sound, but totally defensive, still tinged with the hope that the world will be rational and see the point, a disarming nonsense founded in the long term perspective of “staying calm and not rocking the boat” or “provoking imperialism”.
The underlying revisionist assumption continues to be that provided the “worst excesses” of capitalist disruption can be “contained” then “steady progress” can be made in transforming China itself and its impact on the world (all the way to socialism) - and it is total garbage, traceable all the way back to pre-WW2 retreats and confusions of Stalin’s Moscow (as analysed by the EPSR - see EPSR Book Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics).
The silence from Beijing on the obvious parallels with Tiananmen expresses this huge weakness; instead of such “embarrassment” the actions taken then need vigorously defending as the correct and sound assertion of proletarian authority, along with exposing the endlessly repeated Goebbels lies of the West about a “massacre” in 1989 (Book 16), as part of a an overall challenge to the bourgeois media lies now inflated daily about “totalitarianism” etc.
Such forceful and determined Leninist leadership would be the best way to take the wind out of the sails of this monstrous provocation; just as the 1989 events dispersed supposed “rebellion” at the time, which far from being intensified as a result of the brutal “crackdown” (as the West lyingly paints it) simply evaporated.
Hong Kong has clearly been far more than a simple protest from the beginning, consciously set going on the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen, with major western provocateur interventions to inflame a counter-revolutionary challenge to the authority of the Chinese workers state, which far from “morphing into political demands” as the lying Western media and politicians pretend, has asserted its violent anti-state intent from the beginning as the capitalist reports constantly give away:
Saturday’s clashes come after almost three months of mass protests, triggered by a bill that would allow extradition to mainland China. The demonstrations have plunged Hong Kong into its most serious political crisis in decades. The Hong Kong government, backed by Beijing, has ramped up their tactics on protesters who have also escalated their methods, throwing petrol bombs and bricks on Saturday.
Protesters clashed with police in various locations throughout the city as they took to the streets in defiance of a police ban and marked the anniversary of a decision by Beijing to limit democratic reforms in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Earlier in the day, thousands of protesters had surrounded government headquarters, shining lasers at the building, taunting police, and throwing objects into the complex.
Police fired multiple rounds of tear gas from inside the compound, shrouding a six-lane traffic artery in gas while protesters threw the canisters back. The police also deployed water cannons, spraying protesters with blue dye, a method of marking them for later arrests.
After retreating from the government complex, hundreds of protesters surrounded the police headquarters where they built a barricade of plastic barriers, traffic cones, and other debris across a road and set it alight, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky until firefighters put the blaze out.
A march earlier in the day was peaceful, attended by families, middle-aged and elderly residents. The march had originally been called off by the organiser, Civil Human Rights Front, after police arrested prominent pro-democracy lawmakers and activists, including Joshua Wong, a student leader in the 2014 pro-democracy protests known as the umbrella movement.
Observers believe Beijing is anxious to stop the protests before 1 October, which marks 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic, a politically important anniversary.
“If we don’t stand up now, it’s going to be too late,” said Simon Chang, a protester in Wan Chai, where earlier in the day hundreds had filled a sports stadium, holding posters featuring Lam with a bloodied eye – a reference to a protester who was blinded in one eye.
Another protester, who asked not to give her name, said: “Even if they arrest more people, that won’t stop us. They keep arresting people, making us more angry. We will keep coming out.”
According to recent reports, Beijing has ordered Lam not to concede to any of the protesters’ demands, including more politically feasible ones such as the permanent withdrawal of the extradition bill, which officials have already announced dead, or an independent inquiry into police behaviour toward protesters.
Chan said he believed Beijing was holding Lam back because meeting any demands would “create a feeling that we are able to do something against the government”. He added: “And they don’t want this sentiment to spread.”
Ryan Lee, a 27-year-old computer engineer, only started taking part in Hong Kong’s demonstrations in June.
He has tackled a police officer to the ground to rescue another protester, tossed teargas canisters back at the police and covered the gas grenades with the metal dishes commonly used in Hong Kong for steaming fish.
Within weeks Lee has transformed into a militant “fighter” – one of the black-clad protesters in full protective gear who have faced off week after week with police behind makeshift barricades. Saturday was no exception – violent clashes between protesters and police erupted throughout the city as they marched to mark the fifth anniversary of a decision by Beijing to limit democratic reforms.
Since early June, Hong Kong has been embroiled in its worst political crisis in decades. The wave of protests, sparked by the controversial extradition bill under which individuals can be sent to mainland China for trial, has entered its 13th week. Over the past three months, the protests have become a broader and increasingly violent anti-government movement as the animosity between demonstrators and police reaches boiling point.
Last weekend, Lee was among those who threw teargas canisters back at the police in a violent confrontation that lasted about 40 minutes before the crowds dispersed and water cannon arrived. He said the protesters’ determination to fight against the police as long as they could was “a show of our stance and our beliefs”.
“When the police abuse their powers and face no consequences, a revolution is justified,” said Lee. “I accept revolution and bloodshed. Revolution is a war and no war is without violence … If our violence can bring about positive changes, I am willing to be involved.”
Lee’s anger had already been fuelled by the government’s refusal to fully withdraw the suspended extradition bill, the police’s use of violence, and the government’s failure to set up an independent body to investigate police wrongdoing.
But last week the arrests of a number of prominent pro-democracy figures – along with government hints that it was thinking about a draconian emergency law allowing it to make arrests and suppress communications – further enraged him. Some 900 people have been arrested since protests began.
Given the threat of the new law, and the possibility of China mobilising the People’s Liberation Army, wasn’t Lee worried that the protesters’ current tactics might actually lead to their existing rights being eroded? “But there is no other way out: we’ll have to burn together,” he said. “In a war, ordinary people always end up sacrificing.”
Rock Chan, a technician and former barman, shares the same outrage. He too has been on the frontline in recent protests, providing protective gear to fellow protesters and finding escape routes for them.
“The police did nothing to the white-clad men with sticks but said our umbrellas were weapons,” said the 33-year-old, referring to an incident in July when masked men rushed into a metro station to attack civilians indiscriminately. (The authorities took no immediate action but did subsequently make some arrests.)
Although the government had banned Saturday’s protests, has arrested pro-democracy figures and hinted at an emergency law, Chan said this would not dampen his resolve.
“The more restrictions they impose on us, the stronger the pushback is,” he said. “I want to tell them that we will not back down and we’re not afraid.”
Chan, who took part in the Umbrella movement in 2014, said he and others had learned from its mistakes. The 79-day protest, part of the Occupy movement, ended peacefully, after failing to pressurise the government into granting electoral reforms that would give ordinary people a free vote to elect their leader and legislature. People left the occupied thoroughfare voluntarily on the day the site was cleared. Leaders of the movement have since been jailed.
“The Umbrella movement was too peaceful. Having just a bunch of people sitting there didn’t pose any threat to the government,” Chan said. “We lost the battle completely.”
Every reasonsable concession made by Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong chief excecutive, has been tossed aside contemptuously and helped encourage the deliberate violence.
It is just revisionist muddleheadedness to rely on any “reasonableness” to be gained from imperialism which is hell bent on provocation and disruption – a permanent condition at the best of times but being escalated rapidly because of its crisis collapse as every action of the Trumpite White House indicates and Boris Johnson’s Tories too.
But without putting that Catastrophic breakdown at the centre of understanding and drawing the revolutionary conclusions that are needed, the West will continue to create mayhem and turmoil, heading all the way to world war.
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Jeffrey Epstein sex-slave degeneracy and human exploitation is the norm for capitalism and its arrogant ruling class network presumption of untouchable power and indulgence
The revelations of mass underage sexual abuse involving multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his connections to the capitalist world’s elite highlight the criminal degeneracy of the monopoly-capitalist ruling class and why they must be overthrown by socialist revolution.
Workers need to know that Epstein’s attitudes and behaviour are typical of the global ruling capitalist class and not that extraordinary at all. All their power over the planet’s children, peoples and economies needs taking from their hands and the corrupt network of judges, courts, officials and police needs smashing as shown by the foulness of the plea deal agreed to let off Epstein from child abuse charges in 2006 that allowed him to serve brief “jail time” (spent mostly in his own luxurious office) and then carry on his abusing for a further decade before a stepmother of one his victims insisted on a new investigation.
It is noticeable that the traditionally right-wing Daily Mail paints a suitably lurid picture of the goings on around Epstein and his vast network of powerful, rich and well connected friends and the guests at Paedo Island in the Caribbean, run by Epstein as his non-stop sex-with-underage women fun palace, but the Socialist Worker and Weekly Worker “revolutionary papers” do not call for revolution at all on the basis of the Epstein criminality, whereas the Mail at least makes some strong comments about what the rich think they can get away with and highlight Prince Andrew’s deep involvement in the scandal.
Instead, the Weekly Worker puts paedophilia in quote marks and comes out with this vile libertarian defence of child abuse:
We put ‘paedophilia’ in scare quotes because there is a reason for the official medical definition - sexual attraction to pre-pubescents. Nothing like that is alleged against Epstein or his friends. Sex between adults and teenagers has been taboo only relatively recently - in this country, the age of consent was 13 until 1885. (We find it faintly amusing that when an adolescent reads The Hunger Games, she is a ‘young adult’; when she has sex, she is a ‘child’.)
What is at issue here is rather the commodification of female sexuality - allegations against Epstein, proven and unproven, return repeatedly to his insistence that his ‘conquests’ be paid; and the present accusations against Prince Andrew hinge on Epstein’s effective assertion of ownership over the women.
The significance of this distinction lies in the fact that the problem is not the violation of a hypostatised image of ‘the child’, in a definition that includes the first stages of sexual maturity, but the sources of power, and the effects of power inequality on human individuals at both ends of the scale. Epstein’s aperçu on his sex offender status is apposite - to him, these women were basically bagels, inanimate wodges of organic matter with holes in them, fit to be bought, sold and consumed. (In this, he aligns with the wider history of sexual relationships between adult men and adolescent women, in that it typically represents in class society a property relationship between fathers and daughters.)
So the Weekly Worker wants to downplay the criminal aspects of the allegations against Epstein and his vast network of rich Paedo Island guests so that it can continue with its line of smart-arse cynicism about the world, rather than express any outrage at the bourgeoisie’s criminality that might be misconstrued as an incitement to socialist revolution.
The stinking “politically correct” Guardian has excelled itself by pretending that the revelations around Epstein are an indictment of men in general, rather than the criminal foulness and degeneracy of the mega-wealthy. The opinion piece by Moira Donegan, titled “Epstein’s death is a victory for misogyny: it denies accusers the justice they deserve” flies slap bang into the contradiction that Epstein’s chief co-conspirator was the socialite woman Ghislaine Maxwell, favourite daughter of the Mossad crook Robert Maxwell.
So this is a story of bigtime capitalist criminal exploitation and degeneracy and has nothing to do with “men” in general at all. Ordinary men have no such power to fly underage girls around between their luxury mansions in New York and their compounds on Caribbean islands, still less to get away with it for years by being protected by the “system” and by team after team of highly paid lawyers.
Epstein is expressly a representative of the mega-wealthy, with the morals and licence to get away with murder because of being a powerful member of the Establishment.
It was Epstein’s connections to princes and presidents that let him plea-bargain down federal charges for sex trafficking and underage sex to a minor state charge back in 2006 so that he could serve the most easy-going of “jail” time.
It is only the twisted ultra-feminist mentality of the sick minds at the Guardian that want to make Epstein’s criminal activities a matter of woman-hating by men in general.
The true story is that Epstein’s death is a hugely convenient part of the Establishment’s cover-up of the global scale of criminal sexual predation by the superrich, and their non-stop depraved partying at the expense of the world’s working class.
Chris Barratt [from Commentary on politics and economics]
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Lenin on the lying fraud of bourgeois “democracy” – only ever a cover for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie
(see EPSR 1065 07-11-090)
Kievsky has given no thought to that. We would remind him of the following words of Engels in reference to the democratic republic. Can wealth dominate under this form of government? The question concerns the “contradiction” between economics and politics.
Engels replies: “The democratic republic officially knows nothing any more of property distinctions [between citizens]. In it, wealth exercises its power indirectly, but all the more surely. On the one hand, in the form of the direct corruption of officials, of which America provides the classical example; on the other hand, in the form of an alliance between government and stock exchange ....”
There you have an excellent example of economic analysis on the question of the “achievability” of democracy under capitalism. And the “achievability” of self-determination under imperialism is part of that question.
The democratic republic “logically” contradicts capitalism, because “officially” it puts the rich and the poor on an equal footing. That is a contradiction between the economic system and the political superstructure. There is the same contradiction between imperialism and the republic, deepened or aggravated by the fact that the change-over from free competition to monopoly makes the realisation of political freedoms even more “difficult”.
How, then, is capitalism reconciled with democracy? By indirect implementation of the omnipotence of capital. There are two economic means for that: (1) direct bribery; (2) alliance of government and stock exchange. (That is stated in our theses - under a bourgeois system finance capital “can freely bribe and buy any government and any official”.)
Once we have the dominance of commodity production, of the bourgeoisie, of the power of money - bribery (direct or through the stock exchange) is “achievable” under any form of government and under any kind of democracy.
What, it can be asked, is altered in this respect when capitalism gives way to imperialism, i.e., when pre-monopoly capitalism is replaced by monopoly capitalism?
Only that the power of the stock exchange increases. For finance capital is industrial capital at its highest, monopoly level which has merged with banking capital. The big banks merge with and absorb the stock exchange. (The literature on imperialism speaks of the declining role of the stock exchange, but only in the sense that every giant bank is itself virtually a stock exchange.)
Further. If “wealth” in general is fully capable of achieving domination over any democratic republic by bribery and through the stock exchange, then how can Kievsky maintain, without lapsing into a very curious “logical contradiction”, that the immense wealth of the trusts and the banks, which have thousands of millions at their command, cannot “achieve” the domination of finance capital over a foreign, i.e., politically independent, republic??
Well? Bribery of officials is “unachievable” in a foreign state? Or the “alliance of government and stock exchange” applies only to one’s own government?
The same applies to the democratic republic: our programme defines it as “government by the people”, though all Social-Democrats know perfectly well that under capitalism, even in the most democratic republic, there is bound to be bribery of officials by the bourgeoisie and an alliance of stock exchange and the government.
Only those who cannot think straight or have no knowledge of Marxism will conclude: so there is no point in having a republic, no point in freedom of divorce, no point in democracy, no point in self-determination of nations!
But Marxists know that democracy does not abolish class oppression. It only makes the class struggle more direct, wider, more open and pronounced, and that is what we need. The fuller the freedom of divorce, the clearer will women see that the source of their “domestic slavery” is capitalism, not lack of rights. The more democratic the system of government, the clearer will the workers see that the root evil is capitalism, not lack of rights. The fuller national equality (and it is not complete without freedom of secession), the clearer will the workers of the oppressed nations see that the cause of their oppression is capitalism, not lack of rights, - etc.
A CARICATURE OF MARXISM Oct. 1916
And is there such a great difference between Lloyd George and the Scheidemanns, Legiens, Hendersons and Hyndmans, Plekhanovs, Renaudels and Co.? Of the latter, it may be objected, some will return to the revolutionary socialism of Marx. This is possible, but it is an insignificant difference in degree, if the question is regarded from its political, ie., its mass aspect. Certain individuals among the present social-chauvinist leaders may return to the proletariat. But the social-chauvinist, or (what is the same thing) opportunist trend can neither disappear nor “return” to the revolutionary proletariat. Wherever Marxism is popular among the workers, this political trend, this “bourgeois labour party”, will swear by the name of Marx. It cannot be prohibited from doing this, just as a trading firm cannot be prohibited from using any particular label, sign or advertisement. It has always been the case in history that after the death of revolutionary leaders who were popular among the oppressed classes, their enemies have attempted to appropriate their names so as to deceive the oppressed classes.
The fact is that “bourgeois labour parties”, as a political phenomenon, have already been formed in all the foremost capitalist countries, and that unless a determined and relentless struggle is waged all along the line against these parties -- or groups, trends, etc., it is all the same there can be no question of a struggle against imperialism, or of Marxism, or of a socialist labour movement. The Chkheidze faction,58 Nashe Dyelo and Golos Trudo in Russia, and the 0.C. supporters abroad are nothing but varieties of one such party. There is not the slightest reason for thinking that these parties will disappear before the social revolution. On the contrary, the nearer the revolution approaches, the more strongly it flares up and the more sudden and violent the transitions and leaps in its progress, the greater will be the part the struggle of the revolutionary mass stream against the opportunist petty-bourgeois stream will play in the labour movement. Kautskyism is not an independent trend, because it has no roots either in the masses or in the privileged stratum which has deserted to the bourgeoisie. But the danger of Kautskyism lies in the fact that, utilising the ideology of the past, it endeavours to reconcile the proletariat with the “bourgeois labour party”, to preserve the unity of the proletariat with that party and thereby enhance the latter’s prestige.
One of the most common sophistries of Kautskyism is its reference to the “masses”. We do not want, they say, to break away from the masses and mass organisations! But just think how Engels put the question. In the nineteenth century the “mass organisations” of the English trade unions were on the side of the bourgeois labour party. Marx and Engels did not reconcile themselves to it on this ground; they exposed it. They did not forget, firstly, that the trade union organisations directly embraced a minority of the proletariat. In England then, as in Germany now, not more than one-fifth of the proletariat was organised. No one can seriously think it possible to organise the majority of the proletariat under capitalism. Secondly - and this is the main point - it is not so much a question of the size of an organisation, as of the real, objective significance of its policy: does its policy represent the masses, does it serve them, i.e., does it aim at their liberation from capitalism, or does it represent the interests of the minority, the minority’s reconciliation with capitalism? The latter was true of England in the nineteenth century, and it is true of Germany, etc., now.
Engels draws a distinction between the “bourgeois labour party” of the old trade unions - the privileged minority - and the “lowest mass”, the real majority, and appeals to the latter, who are not infected by “bourgeois respectability”. This is the essence of Marxist tactics!
Neither we nor anyone else can calculate precisely what portion of the proletariat is following and will follow the social-chauvinists and opportunists. This will be revealed only by the struggle, it will be definitely decided only by the socialist revolution. But we know for certain that the “defenders of the fatherland” in the imperialist war represent only a minority. And it is therefore our duty, if we wish to remain socialists, to go down lower and deeper, to the real masses; this is the whole meaning and the whole purport of the struggle against opportunism. By exposing the fact that the opportunists and social-chauvinists are in reality betraying and selling the interests of the masses, that they are defending the temporary privileges of a minority of the workers, that they are the vehicles of bourgeois ideas and influences, that they are really allies and agents of the bourgeoisie, we teach the masses to appreciate their true political interests, to fight for socialism and for the revolution through all the long and painful vicissitudes of imperialist wars and imperialist armistices.
The only Marxist line in the world labour movement is to explain to the masses the inevitability and necessity of breaking with opportunism, to educate them for revolution by waging a relentless struggle against opportunism, to utilise the experiences of the war to expose, not conceal, the utter vileness of national-liberal labour politics.
IMPERIALISM AND THE SPLIT IN SOCIALISM October 1916
Hobson, the social-liberal, fails to see that this “counteraction” can be offered only by the revolutionary proletariat and only in the form of a social revolution. But then he is a social-liberal! Nevertheless, as early as 1902 he had an excellent insight into the meaning and significance of a “United States of Europe” (be it said for the benefit of Trotsky the Kautskyite!) and of all that is now being glossed over by the hypocritical Kautskyites of various countries, namely, that the opportunists (social chauvinists) are working hand in glove with the imperialist bourgeoisie precisely towards creating an imperialist Europe on the backs of Asia and Africa, and that objectively the opportunists are a section of the petty bourgeoisie and of certain strata of the working class who have been bribed out of imperialist superprofits and converted into watchdogs of capitalism and corrupters of the labour movement.
Both in articles and in the resolutions of our Party, we have repeatedly pointed to this most profound connection, the economic connection, between the imperialist bourgeoisie and the opportunism which has triumphed (for long?) in the labour movement. And from this, incidentally, we concluded that a split with the social-chauvinists was inevitable. Our Kautskyites preferred to evade the question! Martov, for instance, uttered in his lectures a sophistry which in the Bulletin of the Organising Committee, Secretariat Abroad 53 (No.. 4, April 10, 1916) is expressed as follows:
“...The cause of revolutionary, Social-Democracy would be in a sad, indeed hopeless, plight if those groups of workers who in mental development approach most closely to the intelligentsia and who are the most highly skilled fatally drifted away from it towards opportunism ....”
By means of the silly word “fatally” and a certain sleight-of-hand, the fact is evaded that certain groups of workers have already drifted away to opportunism and to the imperialist bourgeoisie! And that is the very fact the sophists of the 0.C. want to evade! They confine themselves to the “official optimism” the Kautskyite Hilferding and many others now flaunt: objective conditions guarantee the unity of the proletariat and the victory of the revolutionary trend! We, forsooth, are “optimists” with regard to the proletariat!
But in reality all these Kautskyites-Hilferding, the 0.C. supporters, Martov and Co. are optimists... with regard to opportunism. That is the whole point!
The proletariat is the child of capitalism - of world capitalism, and not only of European capitalism, or of imperialist capitalism. On a world scale, fifty years sooner or fifty years later - measured on a world scale this is a minor point - the “proletariat” of course “will be” united, and revolutionary Social-Democracy will “inevitably” be victorious within it. But that is not the point, Messrs. Kautskyites. The point is that at the present time, in the imperialist countries of Europe, you are fawning on the opportunists, who are alien to the proletariat as a class; who are the servants, the agents of the bourgeoisie and the vehicles of its influence, and unless the labour movement rids itself of them, it will remain a bourgeois labour movement. By advocating “unity” with the opportunists, with the Legions and Davids, the Plekhanovs, the Chkhenkelis and Potresovs, etc., you are, objectively, defending the enslavement of the workers by the imperialist bourgeoisie with the aid of its best agents in the labour movement. The victory of revolutionary Social-Democracy on a world scale is absolutely inevitable, only it is moving and will move, is proceeding and will proceed, against you, it will be a victory over you.
IMPERIALISM AND THE SPLIT IN SOCIALISM
In the usual arguments about the state, the mistake is constantly made against which Engels warned and which we have in passing indicated above, namely, it is constantly forgotten that the abolition of the state means also the abolition of democracy: that the withering away of the state means the withering away of democracy.
At first sight this assertion seems exceedingly strange and incomprehensible; indeed, someone may even suspect us of expecting the advent of a system of society in which the principle of subordination of the minority to the majority will not be observed - for democracy means the recognition of this very principle.
No, - democracy is not identical with the subordination of the minority to the majority. Democracy is a state which recognises the subordination of the minority to the majority, i.e., an organisation for the systematic use of force by one class against another, by one section of the population against another.
We set ourselves the ultimate aim of abolishing the state, i.e., all organised and systematic violence, all use of violence against people in general. We do not expect the advent of a system of society in which the principle of subordination of the minority to the majority will not be observed. In striving for socialism, however, we are convinced that it will develop into communism and, therefore, that the need for violence against people in general, for the subordination of one man to another, and of one section of the population to another, will vanish altogether since, people will become accustomed to observing the elementary conditions of social life without violence and without subordination.
In order to emphasise this element of habit, Engels speaks of a new generation, “reared in new, free social conditions”, which will “be able to discard the entire lumber of the state’’ -- of any state, including the democratic-republican state.
THE STATE AND REVOLUTION
Furthermore, faith in “democracy” in general, as a universal panacea, and failure to understand that this democracy is bourgeois democracy, historically limited in its usefulness and its necessity, have for decades and centuries been particularly characteristic of the petty bourgeoisie of all countries. The big bourgeois is case-hardened; he knows that under capitalism a democratic republic, like every other form of state, is nothing but a machine for the suppression of the proletariat. The big bourgeois knows this from his most intimate acquaintance with the real leaders and with the most profound (and therefore frequently the most concealed) springs of every bourgeois state machine. The petty bourgeois, owing to his economic position and his conditions of life generally, is less able to appreciate this truth, and even cherishes the illusion that a democratic republic implies “pure democracy”, “a free people’s state”, the non-class or supra-class rule of the people, a pure manifestation of the will of the people, and so on and so forth. The tenacity of these prejudices of the petty-bourgeois democrat is inevitably due to the fact that he is farther removed from the acute class struggle, the stock exchange, and “real” politics; and it would be absolutely un-Marxist to expect these prejudices to be eradicated very rapidly by propaganda alone.
World history, however, is moving with such furious rapidity, is smashing everything customary and established with a hammer of such immense weight, by crises of such unparalleled intensity, that the most tenacious prejudices are giving way. The naïve belief in a Constituent Assembly and the naïve habit of contrasting “pure democracy” with “proletarian dictatorship” took shape naturally and inevitably in the mind of the “democrat in general”. But the experiences of the Constituent Assembly supporters in Archangel, Samara, Siberia and the South could not but destroy even the most tenacious of prejudices. The idealised democratic republic of Wilson proved in practice to be a form of the most rabid imperialism, of the most shameless oppression and suppression of weak and small nations. The average “democrat” in general, the Menshevik and the Socialist-Revolutionary, thought: “How can we even dream of some allegedly superior type of state, some Soviet government?
God grant us even an ordinary democratic republic!” And, of course, in “ordinary”, comparatively peaceful times he could have kept on cherishing this “hope” for many a long decade.
Now, however, the course of world events and the bitter lessons - derived from the alliance of all the Russian monarchists with Anglo-French and American imperialism are proving in practice that a democratic republic is a bourgeois-democratic republic, which is already out of date from the point of view of the problems which imperialism has placed before history. They show that there is no other alternative: either Soviet government triumphs in every advanced country in the world, or the most reactionary imperialism triumphs, the most savage imperialism, which is throttling the small and weak nations and reinstating reaction all over the world -Anglo-American imperialism, which has perfectly mastered the art of using the form of a democratic republic.
One or the other.
There is no middle course. Until quite recently this view was regarded as the blind fanaticism of the Bolsheviks.
But it turned out to be true.
20/11/18 VALUABLE ADMISSIONS OF PITIRIM SOROKIN
Not only the ancient and feudal, but also “the modern representative state is an instrument of exploitation of wage-labour by capital” (Engels, in his work on the state).101 “As, therefore, the state is only a transitional institution which is used in the struggle, in the revolution, to hold down one’s adversaries by force, it is sheer nonsense to talk of a ‘free people’s state’; so long as the proletariat still needs the state, it does not need it in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom the state as such ceases to exist” (Engels, in his letter to Bebel, March 28, 1875). “In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy” (Engels, Introduction to The Civil War in France by Marx).102 Universal suffrage is “the gauge of the maturity of the working class. It cannot and never will be anything more, in the present-day state”. (Engels, in his work on the state.103 Mr. Kautsky very tediously chews over the cud in the first part of this proposition, which is acceptable to the bourgeoisie. But the second part, which we have italicised and which is not acceptable to the bourgeoisie, the renegade Kautsky passes over in silence!)
“The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary, body, executive and legislative at the same time .... Instead of deciding once in three or six years which member of the ruling class was to represent and suppress (ver- and zertreten) the people in Parliament, universal suffrage was to serve the people, constituted in Communes, as individual suffrage serves every other employer in the search for workers, foremen and accountants for his business” (Marx, in his work on the Paris Commune, The Civil War in France).104
Every one of these propositions, which are excellently known to the most learned Mr: Kautsky, is a slap in his face and lays bare his apostasy. Nowhere in his pamphlet does Kautsky reveal the slightest understanding of these truths. His whole pamphlet is a sheer mockery of Marxism!
Take the fundamental laws of modern states, take their administration, take freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, or “equality of all citizens before the law”, and you will see at every turn evidence of the hypocrisy of bourgeois democracy with which every honest and class-conscious worker is familiar. There is not a single state, however democratic, which has no loopholes or reservations in its constitution guaranteeing the bourgeoisie the possibility of dispatching troops against the workers, of proclaiming martial law, and so forth, in case of a “violation of public order”, and actually in case the exploited class “violates” its position of slavery and tries to behave in a non-slavish manner. Kautsky shamelessly embellishes bourgeois democracy and omits to mention, for instance, how the most democratic and republican bourgeoisie in America or Switzerland deal with workers on strike.
The wise and learned Kautsky keeps silent about these things! That learned politician does not realise that to remain silent on this matter is despicable. He prefers to tell the workers nursery tales of the kind that democracy means “protecting the minority”. It is incredible, but it is a fact! In the year of our Lord 1918, in the fifth year of the world imperialist slaughter and the strangulation of internationalist minorities (i.e., those who have not despicably betrayed socialism; like the Renaudels and Longuets, the Scheidemanns and Kautskys, the Hendersons and Webbs et al.) in all “democracies” of the world, the learned Mr. Kautsky sweetly, very sweetly, sings the praises of “protection of the minority”. Those who are interested may read this on page 15 of Kautsky’s pamphlet. And on page 16 this learned ... individual tells you - about the Whigs and Tories in England in the eighteenth century!
What wonderful erudition! What refined servility to the bourgeoisie! What civilised belly-crawling before the capitalists and boot-licking! If I were Krupp or Scheidemann, or Clemenceau or Renaudel, I would pay Mr. Kautsky millions, reward him with Judas kisses, praise him before the workers and urge “socialist unity” with “honourable” men like him. To write pamphlets against the dictatorship of the proletariat, to talk about the Whigs and Tories in England in the eighteenth century, to assert that democracy means “protecting the minority”, and remain silent about pogroms against internationalists in the “democratic” republic of America - isn’t this rendering lackey service to the bourgeoisie?
The learned Mr. Kautsky has “forgotten” - accidentally forgotten, probably - a “trifle”, namely, that the ruling party in a bourgeois democracy extends the protection of the minority only to another bourgeois party, while the proletariat, on all serious, profound and fundamental issues, gets martial law or pogroms, instead of the “protection of the minority”. The more highly developed a democracy is, the more imminent are pogroms or civil war in connection with any profound political divergence which is dangerous to the bourgeoisie. The learned Mr. Kautsky could have studied this “law” of bourgeois democracy in connection with the Dreyfus - case105 in republican France, with the lynching of Negroes and internationalists in the democratic republic of America, with the case of Ireland and Ulster in ‘democratic’ Britain,106 with the baiting of the Bolsheviks and the staging of pogroms against them in April 1917 in the democratic republic of Russia. I have purposely chosen examples not only from wartime but also from pre-war time, peace-time. But mealy-mouthed Mr. Kautsky prefers to shut his eyes to these facts of the twentieth century, and instead, to tell the workers wonderfully new, remarkably interesting, unusually edifying and incredibly important things about the Whigs and Tories of the eighteenth century!
Take the bourgeois parliament. Can it be that the learned Kautsky has never heard that the more highly democracy is developed, the more the bourgeois parliaments are subjected by the stock exchange and the bankers? This does not mean that we must not make use of bourgeois parliament (the Bolsheviks made better use of it than probably any other party in the world, for in 1912-14 we won the entire workers’ curia in the Fourth Duma). But it does mean that only a liberal can forget the historical limitations and conventional nature of the bourgeois parliamentary system as Kautsky does. Even in the most democratic bourgeois state the oppressed people at every step encounter the crying contradiction between the formal equality proclaimed by the “democracy” of the capitalists and the thousands of real limitations and subterfuges which turn the proletarians into wage-slaves. It is precisely this contradiction that is opening the eyes of the people to the rottenness, mendacity, and hypocrisy of capitalism. It is this contradiction that the agitators and propagandists of socialism are constantly exposing to the people, in order to prepare them for revolution! And now that the era of revolution has begun, Kautsky turns his back upon it and begins to extol the charms of moribund bourgeois democracy.
PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION AND RENEGADE KAUTSKY
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