Monthly Archives: February 2014

Join me if . . .

Internationally 

You unconditionally support the Arab Spring.

You do not think the votes by the US Congress and UK Parliament to abandon the Syrian people to the butcher Assad was some kind of victory for `peace’ or the `anti-war’ or `anti-imperialist’ movement but that it was in fact a cynical piece of realpolitik.

Geneva 2 is whitewashing Assad and putting the Syrian National Democratic Revolution in mortal danger both at the hands of the tyranny and the Islamofascists and Foreign Jihadis who benefit politically from it.

You support the right of the rebels to acquire arms to defend themselves.

You do not mourn the demise of the counter-revolutionary Muslim Brotherhood/Army government in Egypt but recognise that the victory of the masses over it has been partially stolen by an attempted military coup by the old tyranny.  You support the current mass wave of industrial action by Egyptian workers.

You support a unified (Israel, Gaza, West Bank), secular, revolutionary, socialist, democratic Palestine which takes cognisance of the right of the refugees to return to new jobs and homes and in which Muslims, Jews, Christians and those of no faith can live in harmony.

You support the BDS campaign against Israel and see the Zionist/Fatah peace process as entirely bogus.

You want the enormous US and EU grants paid to Israel to be re-directed away from the Zionists and in to making a one-state democratic solution possible.

You believe that the first step on this road and the road to Palestinian and Jewish working class unity is for the Palestinians to reject the peace process lie.  The next step will be the rejection of Zionism by the Jewish working class.

You support the popular uprising in Ukraine but realise that without a Bolshevik Party the Urkanian February will not become an October leaving it vulnerable to either a successful internal counter-revolution and/or external invasion.

You see the 2008 economic catastrophe as the death of capitalism as a system able to reproduce itself without the utmost barbarism confirming that this is indeed the epoch of war and revolution the final chapter of which will be written in the next period.

You think it is the job of the revolutionary left not to cheer lead the collapse of US-sponsored globalization and the return of inter-imperialist rivalry as the neo-Stalinists do but to seek, through world proletarian revolution, to transcend it.

You think Russia is once again an imperialist capitalist state but that China remains a deformed workers’ state which is in great danger from a greedy, cruel, corrupt usurping bureaucracy in league with imperialism to exploit its working masses and resources.

Domestically

You support the development of a programme of transitional demands that outlines an alternative vision of society for the immediate future by addressing the most immediate objective needs and interests of the working class and which points inexorably to socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

You believe that the following six demands would be central to such a programme:

https://davidellis987.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/six-kick-arse-policies-pointing-to-the-dictatorship-of-the-proletariat-that-i-know-you-are-going-to-love/

You think Labour is still a bourgeois workers’ party and whilst taking a ruthlessly critical attitude to its leaders take a non-sectarian approach to its members and the millions that vote for it.

You think revolutionary socialists have a duty to continue to work for influence in the trades unions.

You want a federation to replace the British union and therefore support a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum for Scottish independence but want Scottish socialists to turn it into a vote for Scottish socialism.

You think Left Unity is a hopeless lash up of opportunist career centrists and sectarians and that the People’s Assembly is a cynical neo-Stalinist front for the same forces that captured the Stop the War Coalition and turned it into a pro-Putin fan club.

You welcome the collapse of the bureaucratic-centrist SWP.

The CPGB is not the answer.

The Committee for a Unified British Section of the Fourth International is.

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Scotland, currency union, monetarism and hypocirsy

Last week Tory and Coalition Chancellor George Osborne attempted to pour cold water on the notion of Scottish independence by warning those who were thinking of voting Yes in the upcoming referendum that an independent Scotland would not be allowed to `keep the pound’.

There would, he assured the Scottish people, be no currency union between an independent Scotland and the Rump UK with dire but unspecified economic consequences for Scotland.  The reason for this was that the Bank of England could not control the taxing, borrowing and spending policies of an independent Scottish government.

The fact that the pound is Scotland’s property too and that therefore in the event of a Yes vote by rights new federal institutions around currency sharing should be negotiated or that an independent Scotland might be better off with its own currency never arose.  The whole purpose of the exercise being to spread fear amongst the `canny’ Scots.

But the rank hypocrisy of the heirs to Margaret Thatcher’s monetarist philosophy that run the neo-liberal UK government Coalition on the question of currency stability and sovereignty is truly breathtaking.

Thatcher, as we know, was famous for privatising everything including even money supply.  Other politicians, she and her monetarist friends reasoned, under democratic pressure were printing money for pay rises, hospitals and schools, infrastructure improvements of all kinds, welfare, pensions and so on and so forth, though nuclear bombs and prisons were not mentioned, so that the people would like and re-elect them.  The result was inflation, bureaucratisation and stagnation and an out-of-control working class.  The fix was to take money control out of the hands of the politicians, deregulate it and hand it lock, stock and barrel to the private sector who, due to `enlightened self-interest’, would make sure that the supply and demand for money were kept in a fortuitous equilibrium so as not to jeopardise the super-profits they would be making as a result of being in this privileged position.

Naturally, enlightened self-interest quickly gave way to rampant speculation and gambling and the private financiers created a global credit bubble turned Ponzi Scheme the scale of which in historic terms we can only marvel at.  When the whole thing collapsed 30-years after Thatcher’s Big Bang in 2008’s Big Crunch UK banks owed their creditors £6.7 trillion that we know of.  US banks are believed to have owed some $38 trillion from the sale of bonds backed by loans and mortgages to the poor that had no chance whatsoever of being repaid even if the world economy grew at 20% a year ad infinitum.

These laughable sums, which even the most demagogic and spendthrift bourgeois politician could not even have dreamed of, was necessarily guaranteed by the government in order to avoid the complete collapse of the financial system including the currency.  So much for sovereignty and so much for monetarism.  Our `monetarist’ politicians were now printing money to pay not for the hospitals and schools the people demanded but through billions of pounds of so-called Quantitative Easing to prop up the billionaire individual and corporate creditors of the bankrupt City of London.  At the same time and for the same end they have imposed a vicious austerity on working class targeted public spending, on wages and on welfare for the poor and vulnerable.  The result of all this has been simply to turn a catastrophic collapse into a slow motion disaster.  The banks remain bankrupt, the pound is being relentlessly debased and the real economy is being eradicated to bail them out through inflation and austerity not to mention the blatant monopoly profiteering by the same companies previously privatised by Thatcher and her heirs.

So when today’s monetarists insist that Scotland could not remain part of the pound because of the danger of free-loading by non-accountable actors just ask them why their predecessors handed the fate of the pound to a voraciously greedy and completely unaccountable private sector and why they are now bailing out these free-loaders at the expense of not just Scotland but every region of England and Wales, apart from the South East, but mainly of course at the expense of the UK working class wherever they live.

Workers’ globalization or imperialist barbarism

In May 1940 Trotsky reiterated in the Manifesto of the Fourth International on Imperialist War and the Proletarian World Revolution his long-held belief that the same problems that had pushed Germany in 1914 to seek to `organise Europe’, the need to re-divide an already divided world, would push the newest, most powerful and most dynamic imperialist player, the United States, to `organize’ the world.

And so it came to pass.  At the end of World War II an exhausted Europe was stripped of its colonies and subordinated via debt and military might to the will of Uncle Sam to be added to its Japanese and Asian conquests and its long-established Latin American monopoly.  The epoch of US-sponsored world domination began with a major war crime in Hiroshima and a plan for Europe.

But this epoch would never have got off the ground without first bringing the world proletarian revolution which stalked the European capitalists and their colonies to heal after being re-energised by the war.  That task, paid for by American dollars, fell to the counter-revolutionary and entirely self-serving Stalinist bureaucracy that had by the late 1920s grabbed control of the Soviet Union but which had emerged from the war hugely strengthened and with great prestige.

It was a job it could fulfil by heading to head off and by the use of much violence.  It rumbled into Eastern Europe and the poorer and more rebellious parts of Asia after having concluded a carve-up deal at Yalta with the Americans whilst its paid puppets in bankrupt Western Europe concluded sell-out deals with their capitalist governments.  The rest is Cold War history.  Without Stalinism’s counter-revolutionary role and imperialist capitalism’s need to contain the spread of the world revolution  America would never have been able to subordinate the whole capitalist world to its organizing project and the fate of either world imperialism or of human kind would have been settled some time ago.

The policy of world imperialism unified behind the US to contain the world revolution proved successful.  So successful in fact that in 1990 the Soviet Union, having already lost most of its East European buffers, completely collapsed leading to the restoration of imperialist capitalism in the benighted nation of Russia.  That was not before, however, the Vietnam debacle, the economic stagnation of the 70s and the fear that containment was in danger of becoming self-containment leading to a renewed aggressive determination in the West to bring the Cold War to an end led by the neo-liberal US President Ronald Reagan.

Now America really could organize the world.  In fact, however, more than `could’ it had to organize the world or face, in the absence of an external threat, the inevitable re-emergence of rival powers that may not be so content to `peacefully co-exist’ with it as the Stalinists of the Soviet Union had been and the potential reversal of the globalized economy it had so meticulously constructed and so successfully exploited.

By means of a real but exaggerated enemy,  Islamic Fundamentalism, it set about remaking the world in its own image with gusto and a great deal of violence culminating in the ill-fated 2003 invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan where it became hopelessly bogged-down and nearly bankrupted.  Actual bankruptcy would have to wait until the 2008 financial catastrophe.

The need to organize the world was actually creating the powerful opponents whose emergence America had wished to prevent.  The retreat from hubris and adventurism also came in 2008 with the election of Democratic President Barak Obama.

Whilst the credit crunch signalled the end of American-sponsored economic globalization Obama’s election in the same year signalled the political withdrawal from it.  Obama promised to end the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, close down the Guantanamo prison camp on Cuba and he soon arranged to have the bogeyman Osama Bin Laden shot.

Obama wanted to manage the return to multi-polarity by which five or six powers balance off each other to maintain peace.  He wanted to share the burden of policing the world with other major powers via the UN Security Council.  In this way, he and the imperialist US ruling elite, hoped the United States if it could not become the global hegemon could at least remain, by some distance, the first among equals.

But management has inevitably given way to chaos.  The epoch of war and revolution has re-announced itself in no uncertain terms beginning with the momentous Arab Spring.  Power-balancing is being replaced with inter-imperialist rivalry.

Any effort now to return to the policy of establishing the United States as the sole and only global hegemon, and if not overthrown to that policy it must eventually return, will require unprecedented violence and will be met with unprecedented violence by the emboldened rivals.

The film of US-sponsored globalization is being wound off backwards producing a most unedifying spectacle as old and new inter-imperialist rivalries assert themselves threatening a regime of global barbarism or a New Dark Ages but at the same time opening up once again the possibility of socialism.

Capitalism has taken globalization as far as it can be taken on the basis of private ownership of the means of production.  Its continued existence jeopardises the future.  Only proletarian world socialist revolution can go beyond capitalist globalization and arrange the world economy in a way that serves the whole of humanity.

Appeasement, imperialism and neo-Stalinism

Tyrannies says Guardian journo Jonathan Freedland are being appeased across the board.  From North Korea to Syria and he is of course correct.  Even the wretched Putin and his disgusting kleptocracy is being appeased as a valued partner in the so-called War on Terror and because there is not enough oil in Syria, unlike Libya, to warrant upsetting him just to prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of Arabs.

But there is no doubt that the defeat of the radical neo-Cons by Obama in 2008 signified a move away from the hubristic and doomed attempt by the United States to remake the post-Cold War world in its own image and thereby establish itself once-and-for-all as the global hegemon.  Bogged down and bankrupted by the foolish Iraq adventure which killed a million Iraqis it is now more realistically trying to manage the transition to multi-polarity in such a way that it will remain if not the global hegemon at least the first amongst equals which indeed does make it a very good time for petty tyrants as Mr Freedland says but also for revolution as the Arab Spring has shown.  Of course, the neo-Stalinist `left’ welcome the return of multi-polarity ostensibly as a way of curbing the power of the US and keeping the peace through old-fashioned power-balancing which is why they are unconditional supporters of the mass murdering Assad in Syria and his homophobic international war criminal boss in Russia, Putin.  Their slogan is `Peace Through Mass Murder’ and they emphasise the need to oppose imperial intervention in Syria even whilst there is no sign of any except in the form of an arms embargo, the Geneva 2 peace lie and from Russia at the same time as calling Congress and Parliaments decisions to abandon the Syrian people to butchery a victory for `anti-imperialism’.

However, all of this is idealist crap none of which can be managed not even by the mighty US and is used mainly as an excuse to oppose the revolutionary struggle of the masses for freedom.  The real common denominator between neo-Stalinism and imperialism. The collapse of US-sponsored globalisation and the return of inter-imperialist rivalry do not signify a peaceful future for human kind but portend the arrival of a New Dark Ages.  Syria and N. Korea are but a local manifestation of what a global regime of barbarism will look like.  Real socialists do not cheer-lead the descent into barbarism caused by the bankruptcy and exhaustion of the United States but have always sought to transcend and go beyond imperialist-sponsored globalisation through proletarian world socialist revolution to create a properly integrated world economy that serves the people.  Those supporting the semi-colonial tyrant Assad and the Russian imperialist Putin in the name of peace have crossed from the side of socialism to the side of barbarism in this the 100th anniversary of the first great inter-imperialist slaughter.  We should not be surprised as these are the heirs of those who remained completely un-phased by Stalin’s gulags and famines.

What is a faction?

It is a temporary non-statutory and voluntary grouping of closest co-thinkers within a party, whose aim is to convince the party of the correctness of their viewpoint in the shortest possible period of time. The appearance of factions is unavoidable even in the most mature and harmonious party, owing to the extension of its influence upon new layers, the cropping up of new problems, sharp turns in the situation, errors of the leadership, and so on. From the standpoint of monolithism a factional struggle is an “evil”; but it is an unavoidable evil and, in any event, a far lesser evil than the prohibition of factions. True enough, attempts at the formation of factions lacking an adequate principled basis in consequence of political immaturity, personal ambition, careerism, etc. are frequently observable, especially in young parties. In all such cases it is the task of the leadership to expose, without recourse to police measures, the hollowness of these enterprises and in that way to discredit them before the party membership. Only in this way is it possible to create profound attachment for the party so that episodic conflicts, no matter how sharp, do not threaten its unity. The existence of factions, in the nature of things, provokes friction and involves an expenditure of energy, but this is the inevitable overhead expense of a democratic regime. A capable and authoritative leadership strives to reduce factional friction to a minimum. This is achieved by a correct policy tested by collective experience; by a loyal attitude toward the opposition; by the gradually increasing authority of the leadership; but never by prohibition of factions, something which cannot fail to invest the struggle with a hypocritical and poisonous character. Whoever prohibits factions thereby liquidates party democracy and takes the first step toward a totalitarian regime.

Six kick-arse policies pointing to the dictatorship of the proletariat that you are going to love!

1.  Banks

End the bailout of the bankrupt banks.  Nothing can be achieved without this. Let the bankrupts go bankrupt not the nation.  Take their staff, estates and deposits into administration to form a National Bank with a monopoly of credit to prevent privateers from ripping us off ever again.  This bank to lend at base rate to small business and facilitate social investment in accordance with a democratic and environmentally sustainable plan.

2.  Jobs

A regime of full employment now!  All school and college leavers and unemployed who cannot find their own jobs must be bought into the workforce to share the available productive work with each paid the minimum of a trade union living wage.  The right to a job is the only serious right of the worker and must be enforced.

3.  Public Spending

Defend all necessary and desirable welfare and public spending and support the struggle of working people to do so.  This must be paid for by the collection of sufficient income tax and if necessary through the seizure of hoarded wealth.

4.  Profiteering and Workers’ Democracy

Socialise and democratise the profiteering, cash-hoarding corporations, cartels and monopolies and their enormous surpluses and renationalise all privatised industries and services.  They must be made public property and their shareholder and Old School Tie Network-imposed managers and fat cat executives must be replaced by those elected by their workforces. We will support the establishment of committees of all grades of workers in all workplaces to challenge for management and argue for public ownership.

5.  Defence and Rights

We will support and encourage the building of anti-fascist defences and other workers’ defence organisations that can protect meetings, demonstrations, picket lines and minority communities from state and fascist thugs.

6.  Constitution

We support the replacement of the United Kingdom with a federation of sovereign British nations and the North of Ireland.  We stand for the renegotiation of the founding treaties of the European Union in accordance with socialist principles (EU-wide living wage, full employment, etc).  In the meantime we will oppose the imposition of any anti-working class EU directives.  In the event of an ‘in-out’ referendum we of course will vote for ‘out’, no socialist could possibly vote positively for the neo-liberal principles underpinning the EU and which are in any case tearing it apart, but unlike the chauvinists we will explain that we are in fact in favour of reforming the EU along socialist lines.

Beware the neo-Stalinist sheep in the revolutionary wolf’s clothing

This Saturday 15 February a truly excellent array of speakers will address a teach-in titled Syria in the context of the Arab uprisings.

It is co-organised by Socialist Resistance, Anti-Capitalist Initiative, International Socialist Network, Hand in Hand for Syria, Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian Community in the UK.

It is a long over due event and should be welcomed by all with a sympathetic eye on the Middle East and the Arab Spring.

It should be noted however that the three British co-sponsors have not exactly been unconditional supporters of the Syrian national democratic revolution and I would hope that the Syrian contingent in the audience would be seeking full clarification on exactly where they stand with these people.

The three are all supporters of the UK Stop the War Coalition which has, in the name of anti-imperialism, organised demonstrations alongside Assad supporters on the streets of London demanding Hands Off Syria.  StWC supporters have been in the forefront of blackguarding the Syrian Revolution as a CIA/Islamist plot whilst backing the Assad tyranny against it and cheerleading Putin’s determination not just to block any UN resolution to allow military support for the rebels but also to openly supply arms to the Middle East’s Master Butcher.

Whilst the three UK sponsors of this event have not gone this far, as far as I know, preferring instead to ignore Syria as much as possible, their joint statement of 30 August espouses solidarity with the revolution against the Assad dictatorship, they have not exactly given full-throated support to the struggle against Assad.  The same joint statement makes it clear that their priority is not supporting the revolution but remaining within the neo-Stalinist parameters set for discussion by the leaders of StWC.

Demand one is:  `No to imperialist intervention.’  The statement begins by welcoming the `defeat’ of the `pro-war’ resolutions by the UK Parliament as `important’ being representative of the `anti-war mood in Britain’ but not enough because the threat of American intervention, possibly using bases in the UK, remained.  The rest of the statement it seems to me is all about disguising this priority.

There was, of course, never any chance that imperialism would assist a democratic revolution in the Middle East and in fact the West from an arms embargo to the bogus Geneva talks has done everything to isolate the Syrian uprising, but to make opposing such a possibility in principle is surely wrong.  The place of revolutionaries is with the revolution.

I wish the meeting on Saturday every success.  It is extremely important.  But I hope that perhaps in the course of this teach-in those who are usually regarded as the teachers can learn a lot more from those normally considered to be the pupils.

Victory to the Syrian National Democratic Revolution!
Victory to the Arab Spring!