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Category Archives: Communism

The Wicked Witch finally died of old age in a luxury hotel. She got away with her crimes. Not a good day for the working class

8101086349_438b3aed06_zThe famous tune from the “Wizard of Oz” has started appearing on socialist and left-wing website and blogs, after the death of Thatcher.

At one level this is understandable. I immediately thought of this little ditty as soon as I heard the news.

But on a political level, which is what matters, how is this good news?

Its pretty banal. She died of old age, in her sleep, in the lap of luxury in the Ritz Hotel.

Celebrating the fact that this terrible woman has died is foolish; no-one has yet cracked the secret of immortality.

If she had died a violent death at the hands of some avenger from the working class, that would have been something to celebrate. If she had died the sort of death that Ceaucescu, or Mussolini did, then likewise.

But why celebrate that one of the bitterest enemies of the working class finally died of old age in comfort and luxury?

That smacks of desperation.

Its actually a very human response, notwithstanding the pathetic accusations of ‘inhumanity’ that will be flung at those celebrating her death. Desperation and despair manifesting itself in an attempt to console for defeat by celebrating a banal event.

If Hitler had died of old age, that would not be anything to celebrate, because the bastard would have gotten away with his crimes.

Ditto – all proportions guarded – for her. She got away with the whole damned lot. And that’s why this is not a happy occasion, if we are to look the objective situation in the face.

We do not want our bitterest enemies to die in bed at the age of 87.

For that to happen is not a victory for us, but for those enemies. Since everyone, without exception, dies, this is from her point of view the ideal way to die.

And for the ruling class in general, it is pretty much ideal also. More than ever, she becomes an icon for the entire ruling class project of rolling back the gains working people have achieved over the last century or more..

Is this not obvious, if you stop and think about it for a few minutes?

Rather than facile and pointless celebrations of a biologically inevitable non-event, it would be worth more to reflect on the real situation that the British working class is in as a result of Thatcher’s taming of the trade union and labour movement through the medium of its treacherous, pro-capitalist bureaucracy.

We could do worse than engage in some serious examination of this history using the method advocated by a real class warrior from our side of the class divide, Leon Trotsky, writing about the principles of socialist politics around three-quarters of a century ago:

“To face reality squarely; not to seek the line of least resistance; to call things by their right names; to speak the truth to the masses, no matter how bitter it may be; not to fear obstacles; to be true in little things as in big ones; to base one’s program on the logic of the class struggle; to be bold when the hour for action arrives — these are the rules of the Fourth International”

The Transitional Programme, 1938.

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Euro-crisis – is this the anti-1989?

Greek masses on the move

1989 was the year that so-called ‘Communism’ in Eastern Europe reached the point of collapse. A collapse that subsequently, as everyone knows, spread to the USSR itself, as this whole bloc of anti-working class tyrannical dictatorships over the working class was swept into the historical dustbin. Unfortunately, it also seemed to have swept the socialist and communist project away with it.

1989 was also the year that Francis Fukuyama, a Japanese-American Professor of political science and ideologue of American imperialism, proclaimed that the ‘The End Of History‘ had arrived, in an audacious attempt to re-appropriate Hegel for the bourgeoisie and turn elements of Marx’s historical vision against Marxism. Fukuyama probably more than anyone else tried to give intellectual coherence to the totalitarian neo-liberal trend that in the past three decades or so has become known as ‘neo-conservatism’. His famous essay declared that all possibility of a systemic political alternative to capitalism and ‘liberal ‘bourgeois democracy had disappeared, and was effectively impossible in the future.

This was an exercise in what many have aptly called ‘bourgeois triumphalism’. It was not the abstract counterposition of political systems that was rendered impossible in Fukuyama’s pseudo-Hegelian scheme, but rather that capitalist class rule was deemed to have decisively won out. This was in fact an example of the bourgeoisie’s false-conciousness, its belief that communism is simply the conspiracy of a handful of malevolent and criminal fanatics, and that therefore the collapse and discredit of the Stalinist regimes, which claimed to speak in Communism’s name, necessarily meant the permanent eclipse and discredit of the very notion of replacing capitalism with socialism.

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Labour’s Electoral Rise – A Tepid Reformism Reconsolidates

Ed Miliband

The victory of the Labour Party in the local elections has consolidated Ed Miliband’s leadership of Labour and set the political direction of Labour for the next period. For the first time since the death of John Smith in 1994, Labour has a leadership whose politics can be broadly characterised as social democratic, albeit very tepidly and timidly so.

The first hesitant blow against the Blair/Brown legacy of aggressive privatisation at home and imperialist wars abroad was struck by trade union members in the autumn of 2010, when they overruled the purged, cowed and largely middle class ‘aspirational’ Labour Party membership and installed the Green-tinged soft-left former Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, as Labour leader, defeating his brother David whose entire political profile was as a clone of Tony Blair. David Miliband, as foreign secretary in the later New Labour years, is personally culpable in such crimes as ‘extraordinary rendition’ – i.e. illegal kidnapping (with torture) of Muslims suspected of Al Qaeda activities or even just sympathy, for transport to the United States or its then client regimes like Libya or Syria, in contradiction to even formal legal norms.

Ed Miliband, though not in parliament at the time, claims to have been opposed to the Iraq war as waged by Blair, Brown, his elder brother and the entire Labour leadership. It is typical of Ed Miliband’s vacuity that there seems to be no credible evidence that he ever said or did anything in opposition to that criminal invasion. Not a single speech or article can his supporters produce to substantiate this claim of opposition. His claims on this are not really credible at all – probably the most that can be said for Ed Miliband is that he wishes that he had had the courage of his claimed convictions and spoken out against the war waged by his own party leadership. But he didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Imperialism and human rights – on the Arab Spring

Growing out of the discussion on Syria in a previous thread, one fellow partisan of the Syrian revolution, using the name Voltairepaine, made series of criticisms of the perspective put forward in my article Imperialist Hands off the Syrian revolution. When composing the reply, I realised that to do the issues justice would require more than just another comment.

For those interested in following the debate, Voltairepaine’s full comment is here.

Voltairepaine says:

“Your definition of imperialism is ‘the West’.”

No, imperialism is the form of advanced capitalism that dominates the world today. The productive forces that it gives rise to are international in their social significance, and have a degree of social power that demands that they be subordinated to democratic social control, again on an international level. But in fact they are both largely privately owned and depend on particular very powerful nation states to defend the interests of the ruling classes that command these resources. That is, to defend their predatory interests against political developments in those countries which are its victims, which threaten its interests.

In that regard, Russia as I pointed out is hardly a world player, having a smaller GDP than India. China on the other hand has struggled very hard and by virtue of its natural resources and enormous population together with an state-owned economic system that in some ways has substituted quite effectively for its lack of a cohesive capitalist class (and more recently has been instrumental in developing such a class), appears to be on the verge of joining that exclusive club. But it is not there yet.

Voltairepaine continues his criticism with the following substantial point about Hizbullah and Lebanon:

Hezbollah was an Iranian project. Funds, arms and training from Iran’s revolutionary Guard corps filtered through to Lebanese Shiaa militants. It was a resistance to an extended Israeli occupation, yes, but equally, it was the empowerment of the Shiaa community and their status as a sect in Lebanon, backed by ‘Al Fakih’ (the Shiaa supreme leader and direct representative of God on earth). Hezbollah was a materialization of Ayatollah Khomeini’s dreams of exporting the Islamic Revolution. On a more grounded level, it was about expanding the re-born Shiaa empire. Lebanese Hezbollah members will tell you this themselves. They’re proud to be part of it. Khomeini’s war with Iraq was also about exporting the Islamic revolution. It failed back then, but Iran’s aims haven’t changed today. This spiritual concept of ‘exporting revolution’ in reality amounts to Iranian military expansion and the securing of a regional status-quo that is protecting the Assad regime.”

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Imperialist hands off the Syrian revolution

Syrian Demonstration 30

Mass Protests in Syria

The veto by Russia and China of a chapter 6 resolution at the United Nations calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to stand down has produced a loud ghashing of teeth by Hillary Clinton, William Hague and all kinds of other luminaries of the West. Syria seems to be heading for civil war. In fact arguably the civil war has already started with the formation of a rebel army from defectors from the official army and its engaging in sporadic armed conflict with the regime’s forces.

The fact that parts of the capital, Damascus, are also in a state of rebellion and mass popular protest, as well as the provinces, means the regime, which once was one of the most secure in the Middle East, now looks very vulnerable. Though it is not clear in what way the Syrian revolution is likely to reach its conclusion, it is now inconcievable that the Assad regime will be able to get the lid back on the situation. If it did not have the internal strength to prevent this situation from emerging in the first place, it is difficult to imagine where it is going to get the strength to overcome this protest movement and now (partially) armed revolt, with splits in the army as well, now that the genie is out of the bottle.

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Capitalist Crisis or Crisis of Neo-Liberalism?

Karl Marx

John Maynard Keynes

At a recent meeting of the Independent Socialist Network, which is a new grouping of independent socialists affiliated to TUSC (the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), there was the beginning of an important discussion on the nature of the economic crisis that we are now living through.

Specifically, in the context of a discussion on how we can hope to achieve unity on the socialist left and the creation of a new socialist movement, there was some discussion on what kind of economic analysis socialists should be putting forward, and why the left currently appears so ideologically on the defensive despite the major blows that have been inflicted by events on the previously dominant free-market ideology by the credit crunch and the serious capitalist crisis we are currently still embroiled in.

This article will sketch out some ideas based on my view of this discussion and the issues it raised. It does not claim to be a summary of this debate, which in any case is an ongoing process, but rather I hope it will play some role in furthering discussion about economics both in the ISN and on the wider left. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Miliband’s monumental Balls-up means a new left party is more essential than ever.

Ed Miliband

Len McCluskey

Ed Balls’ announcement at the end of last week that Labour now supports the coalition’s public sector wage-freeze (in fact pay cut, in the face of wages being whittled away by high inflation), and its intention to maintain it, and all the Tory/Lib Dem cuts, in the next parliament, has thrown the labour movement into a major crisis. Ed Miliband promptly went on Sunday morning televsion to back up Balls. These announcements totally rip apart the carefully maintained soft-left political profile that Miliband has maintained since he was elected leader last year promising to do something to address the ‘crisis of representation’ of Labour’s traditional working class ‘core’ vote.

Faced with a major, full frontal attack on working class living standards and vicious cuts consciously aimed at making the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society – the sick, the disabled, even those suffering from terminal cancer (!!) pay for the defecit resulting from a capitalist crisis caused by finance capital that has benefited for decades from low taxation (which as often as not they manage to avoid by ‘creative accounting’), and was bailed out with public funds when it faced ruin three years ago, Labour backs up the Tories on the fundamentals.

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