The Transitional Programme its relevance and application today

By John Barry 20/1/2015

Leon Trotsky at work.

Introduction

The transitional programme is the method which was employed by the pioneers of scientific socialism Marx and Engels in the ‘Communist Manifesto’ and was used successfully by the Bolsheviks to become the method of the first four congresses of the Third International (AKA the Communist International). After the Third International suffered bureaucratic degeneration it abandoned the transitional program and regressed to the old minimum (day to day achievable reforms) and maximum (some vision of organization in an unspecified socialist future) demands of the Second International (AKA the Socialist International) expressed in reformism and sectarianism, just as social democracy had done decades previously.

The responsibility of building the revolutionary socialist consciousness rested upon the shoulders of the Left Opposition of the communist movement after this degeneration, and then later the Fourth International founded in 1938 when it was clear the Third was beyond salvation.
The transitional programme is the only method which can build a socialist consciousness in the working class and create a bridge, as Trotsky described it between the current consciousness of the majority of workers and the final conclusion of the class struggle, that a socialist revolution is necessary to save humanity from capitalism. It is of paramount importance for a revolutionary party to have a correct method to build a revolutionary socialist consciousness in the working class, otherwise there will be no overthrow of capitalism and the transformation to socialism.
Crisis does not result automatically to revolution. Imperialism (highest form of monopolistic capital) reached a most destructive phase in the 1930s and developed into the most murderous and bloody world slaughter which ended in the industrial extermination of an entire people and mass murder through the use of atomic weapons. Yet despite the huge desire among the masses in Europe and Asia for socialism, their misleaders helped prop up imperialism and throw consciousness backwards with a massive anti-communist propaganda onslaught.
Trotsky was clear that if capitalism survived the Second World War it would see a new lease of life for world imperialism and would eventually lead to the Third World War.[1] Today US imperialism dominates the planet, it has no equal and is entering its most predatory and destructive phase, as happened with German imperialism in the 1930s. The US has in its sights the semi-oppressed nations of Russia, China, Iran, Syria and North Korea.
The next world war could quickly escalate into a thermo-nuclear conflict and destroy humanity. Therefore the need for socialist revolution is paramount. The importance of developing transitional demands is precisely because the working class as a product of bourgeois society has a false consciousness when compared with the objective situation. Kautsky when he was the main theoretician of Marxism in the second international and Lenin following him explained that a socialist consciousness comes to workers from without, that is to say it is introduced and taught to workers from the intelligentsia, bourgeois intellectuals from outside the working class. [2]
These intellectuals such as Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky develop theory. The vanguard workers then learn, and develop as worker intellectuals and train other vanguard workers. Trotsky explained how revolutionaries are distinct to others in the workers movement In the final analysis, revolutionaries are made of the same social stuff as other people. But they must have had certain very different personal qualities to enable the historical process to separate them from the rest into a distinct group. Association with one another, theoretical work, the struggle under a definite banner, collective discipline, the hardening under the fire of danger, these things gradually shape the revolutionary type. [3]
Whole sections of the class however lag in consciousness in comparison to the objective conditions and hence the necessity for a transitional programme. We must however be patient explaining and helping to develop the consciousness of the workers to connect with the objective conditions. In no way should this mean however that we should appeal to the lowest common denominator of workers consciousness, tail ending populist petty bourgeois public opinion and jumping on the latest political bandwagon. Trotsky explained:

“The mentality in general is backward or delayed, in relation to the economic development….This delay can be short or long. In normal times when the development is slow, in a long line, this delay cannot produce catastrophic results. To a great extent this delay signifies that the workers are not equal to the tasks put before them by objective conditions; but in times of crisis this delay may be catastrophic.”[4]

There is common misconception of the transitional programme by left sects which operate in an opportunist fashion. Typically left organisations with no link to the labour movement move toward opportunism to increase their membership and influence, such as the Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW). In their hands the Transitional Programme is presented as a list of left reformist policies (relatively unchanged for the past 50 years originating when they were the Militant Tendency) which is also the program of the latest electoral reformist vehicle they are using to gain influence, such as No2EU or TUSC, creating illusions in new reformist fronts rather than challenging and breaking workers from the reformists they look toward for leadership. Then after the reformist demands they present description of how the world should be run under socialism, in other words a maximum programme. So the SPEW is back to the Second Internationals Minimum-Maximum programme! Let us look for example at their statement of ‘What we stand for’. The introductory paragraph is very vague for a self-professed revolutionary organization:

The Socialist 840
The Socialist Party fights for socialism – a democratic society run for the needs of all and not the profits of a few. We also oppose every cut, fighting in our day-to-day campaigning for every possible improvement for working class people.[5]

The brief description does not say who the democracy in this ‘democratic society’ is in the interests of, a workers democracy or bourgeois democracy? The statement goes on to say:

The organised working class has the potential power to stop the cuts and transform society.[6]

This gives no indication of what sort of organization the working class requires (a revolutionary Leninist party, directed by Marxism of which Trotskyism is the continuation) or what type of organisations already exist and the working class are led by (trade unions, social democratic parties, Stalinist parties) or rather misled by. The cuts, and apparently this is all the working class has to fight under capitalism, have only the potential to be stopped! Then transform society (to what? How?). The working class if it is led by a revolutionary party can overthrow capitalism, never mind just stopping the current public sector cuts. We then come to what the SPEW would call transitional demands, a list composed by their leadership in advance we assume, aimed at no one it appears and not giving any direction or inspiration for the working class to organize to take over society and begin the transformation to socialism. Here is one of their demands:

“No to privatisation and the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Renationalise all privatised utilities and services, with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need. [7]”

They are a bit late off the mark as privatization has taken place on a large scale for 30 years, and besides it transferred capitalist state direction over to stock ownership and direction, most of the economy was and banking was private capitalist ownership, they should not try to confuse state ownership in the past with socialism. Then the reformist call for renationalization, back to the ownership of the capitalist state? Just so as not to upset the bosses and big stock portfolio holders they are even going to compensate you by some means test! There are some demands which could be useful in campaigns but due to the poor reformist start of their ‘What we stand for’ would be taken for improvements of the current society and nothing more. It goes on:

● Tax the super-rich! For a socialist government to take into public ownership the top 150 companies and banks that dominate the British economy, and run them under democratic working-class control and management. Compensation to be paid only on the basis of proven need.
● A democratic socialist plan of production based on the interests of the overwhelming majority of people, and in a way that safeguards the environment [8]

So the same old call from Militant 50 years ago for taking over the top companies (only now its 150 not 200), running them under workers’ control and management, but they don’t indicate how, as if the ruling class will nationalise these companies anyway and grant workers the management of them. Even then it will be under capitalist state direction if it is just ‘renationalised’. The actual class nature of the state is never challenged in the statement. There will apparently be a ‘socialist government’ to do this.
Then thrown in at the end the ‘democratic socialist plan of production’ and all the other examples of a socialist system which is again vague, and an example of a finished maximum program without any bridge to it. They do not formulate demands to raise workers consciousness in stages of struggle. As the SPEW have abandoned work in the Labour Party and thus distanced itself from the working class with the exception of those in public sector unions, its demands are aimed at no one in particular. This obviously bore no results so now they aim their demands or rather tailor them to the demands of trade union bureaucrats, particularly in the public sector and even the repressive bodies of the state (Prison Officers Association, POA), but if, as in SPEW’s case, you’re not fighting to overthrow the capitalist state then why not support the employees who staff its repressive apparatus against the working class?

The Socialist Appeal group fares much better and does proclaim revolutionary intentions, they are also light years ahead in theory compared to SPEW. While this group professes to carry out entry work in the Labour Party they are actually standing on the side lines and refusing to get involved, their fingers still sore after being burnt in Kinnock’s witch hunt against the left in the 80s. They present a clear challenge to capitalism and for its replacement with socialism through class struggle, they also present demands which to start with are useful for raising class consciousness and explaining the action which workers should take to destroy the foundations of capitalist society. Unfortunately they then let themselves down by jumping straight into a Maximum style program of:

“A Socialist government to take over the “commanding heights” of the economy, the top 150 monopolies, banks and finance houses, which dominate our lives, without compensation and placed under democratic workers’ control and management. Establish broad committees of workers, students, pensioners, technicians and others to oversee the drawing up of a democratic socialist plan of production to answer the needs of society and protect our environment. We shall harness the wonders of modern science and technique, not to act as a burden as under capitalism, but instead to raise our living standards and oversee the abolition of class divisions.” [9]

Like the SPEW demands it places the emphasis on a ‘Socialist government’; does not France have a ‘Socialist government’? We assume, given Socialist Appeal’s focus on the Labour Party, that the Parliament with a Labour majority can form a Socialist government, not the working class. Similarly to the SPEW they say this government should ‘take over’ the top 150 monopolies and nothing else apparently. Then they usher in everything else which is included in a socialist society. Socialist Appeal have still not managed to throw off their reformist right centrist heritage, although they have done more so then SPEW. [10]

How should transitional demands be formulated?

The Transitional Programme is not therefore a list of reforms all at once aimed at nothing thought up by a small group running a sect, and is not policies handed down from an enlightened ‘Socialist’ government in response to left demands. It must be a fighting program, hitting the base and structure of capitalist society, directing workers to take control of the material world and destroy the capitalist state, they would then need a new program to guide them using the material they control and can then build socialism through the workers’ state, the transitional program ‘brings the reader only to the doorstep’ of socialism. [11] Hence the original ‘Transitional Programme’ was a draft for the period it was written in and not to be used as a Gospel as some sects do.
Class consciousness is not static and is not homogeneous in all sections of the working class at the same time. Only a minority will of course have a developed class consciousness of the Marxist understanding of human social relations. The majority of the working class will develop a common set of interests to fight for and overcome, they will not develop a socialist consciousness or a higher class consciousness as the vanguard of the class does which is expressed in the revolutionary party. It is therefore necessary to develop a set of demands they can fight around and which present to them a resolution of the problems faced under capitalism. So despite the diversity in consciousness and the many other differences between workers which are fostered by capitalist ideologues, the demands if they resonate with a desire and confidence of the class to fight for them can help to unite the working class. Trotsky in a polemic against a French leftist intellectual illustrated how the moods of the masses are varied and can change and only revolutionary strategy can develop their struggle:

“Victory is not at all the ripe fruit of the proletariat’s “maturity”. Victory is a strategical task. It is necessary to utilize in order to mobilise the masses; taking as a starting point the given level of their “maturity” it is necessary to propel them forward, teach them to understand that the enemy is by no means omnipotent, that it is torn asunder with contradictions,”[12]

The demands tackle the solutions to the objective circumstances with an embryo of socialist organization of society. The demands themselves while addressed as the solutions to the crisis of capitalism cannot be fully implemented through the capitalist state and therefore even if attempted partially can only finally be achieved through conquest of power by the working class. It encourages the working class to go further, even if the capitalists and the state are forced to give partial reform then further demands must be made especially as it becomes apparent that the capitalist state and the trade union and reformist labour leaders will not go further attacking the base of capitalism, a wall will be met.
That is how the bridge from today’s understanding by the working class and the revolutionary consciousness of tomorrow is built. As Trotsky described the program as ‘an instrument to vanquish and overcome the backwardness’ .[13] Knowing when and which demands to use at a particular time is important for revolutionaries. We do not present a whole list of demands all at once and always the same for years on end (as the SPEW does), the demands can change depending on circumstance, the symptoms of capitalist crisis at a given time and level of struggle by the working class. However the demands must always be addressed as a solution to the objective conditions under capitalism, after all the understanding of the working class can alter quickly ‘under the blows of objective crisis’.[14]
One way is to put the demands into easily memorable and understood slogans, which Trotsky described as ‘the program of socialism but in a very popular and simple form’.[15] As we have said we must build on the demands the more success and penetration of the demands among the masses is achieved and their implementation until the point is reached where the working class understands and follows the revolutionary leadership to overthrow the capitalist state.

TrotTrans

Slogans and Demands

When the original draft program was written in 1938 the situation in terms of symptomatic expressions of the capitalist crisis differ to that of today, some of course remain the same such as the threat of world war. We cannot therefore use the same slogans as were used then. Trotsky drew up a ‘Program of Action for France’ when he resided there. This is one of the best examples of transitional demands and included the following:

Forty-hour week, wage increases. Workers’ control will demonstrate that the level of productive forces permits the reduction of the working day. Wage increases at the expense of the magnates of the Comite des Forges, of the Comite des Houilleres, of the Finalys, the Schneiders and the Staviskys, and to the material and moral advantage of the labouring people.
Real social security and, first of all, unemployment insurance. Annual vacation of at least one month. Retirement pensions permitting one to live after fifty years of age.
Equal wages for equal work. Abolition of the super exploitation imposed on women, young people, aliens and colonials.
For working women, the same wages and same rights as for working men. Maternity protection with supplementary leaves of absence.
For young people, wages equal to adults. Extension of study and apprenticeship at the collective expense. Special hygienic measures.
Repeal of all special legislation applying to foreign and colonial workers.[ 16]

France was in the grips of the capitalist crisis at this time and sections of the capitalist ruling class had attempted a fascist coup, only social revolution could have bought these demands then. Instead there was world war and then the capitalist upturn as there had been in the late 19th century which meant social reforms could be introduced, but today we are in crisis once again and the gains are gone or being eroded in the imperialist countries.
Some of the basic demands are the same though. Observing current struggles is important to develop demands and slogans, as they must resonate with the masses. For example there are currently various movements based on occupations including among poorer sections of the working class such as the E15 Mothers which have taken on the problems created by capitalism which have impoverished them. Occupations have always been an important part of class struggle for workers under capitalism and is also in the original Transitional Programme concerning factory occupations.
Today we could raise the demand for the occupation of empty properties to be given to families who need them and become cooperatives with public funding, or something similar, the final demands must be reached through discussion. In the labour movement demands could find wide appeal on the left and be aimed at Labour leaders and especially Labour governments. This was the tactic of support for a Labour government which the Communist Party of Great Britain adopted during the early years of the third International before its degeneration. The CPGB placed the following demands on the Labour government:

  • Full maintenance for unemployed workers at trade union rates.
  • Nationalization of mines and railways with workers’ control over production
  • .Full freedom for Ireland, India and Egypt. Revocation of the policy of armaments. Credit for Soviet Russia. Scrapping of the shameful treaty of Versailles.
  • Workers of Great Britain, no government, even with the best intentions, will be able to better your positions, to break your chains, if you yourselves do not bring pressure to bear on the bourgeoisie and compel it to realize your growing power. [17]

In the present time demands for a return to union rights which have been eroded by Tory employment acts and taxing the rich to pay for public services would find wide support, and if the rich threaten to move their wealth abroad we should demand trade exchange controls and leading from that the demand for open and transparent accounting of all finance in the country and global trade and their wealth prevented from moving. The Labour leaders can no longer even promise to nationalize utilities, so even demanding this would run up against the capitalist state, however capitalist nationalization is not the answer, the demand should be the nationalization under committees of workers and consumers control and management without capitalists.
If a demand such as this were to take on mass support in the labour movement and it became clear the leaders would betray it, which even under a left wing leadership would be the case for the reformists, and then the call for occupation of the utilities could be made. The same would be made for the banks, the demand could be made for the total appropriation of the banks and finance institutions by the state under workers’ control, in contrast to Brown’s buying of the banks with tax payers money like he did with RBS and Northern Rock to bailout the capitalists in 2008.
There is a wide desire for decent public services even among more backward workers, but also distrust of government and big business of which public services are also seen as part of or under the influence of. Therefore demands for public services without unrepresentative governments and big capitalists, would find a hearing among workers and this could develop into the understanding that we could run public services if we occupy them and make them ours. This is transcending the capitalist state and property relations.
When a revolutionary situation does develop and dual power becomes a prospect we must call on the working class and their organisations to take power from the capitalist state, as the Bolsheviks did in 1917, which exposed the political cowardice and impotence of the other parties who claimed to lead the working class such a the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries. We would also expose the cowardice of the official labour and trade union leaders.
We must challenge the illusions in the capitalist state and the faith in bourgeois democracy especially by reformist workers, we must explain and expose how undemocratic it has become, which most workers know to a degree already. We could appeal to the memory of the Chartists and call for reforms that capitalism could never concede. Trotsky did this in the ‘Programme of Action for France’, in which he appealed to reformist socialists to be faithful to ‘the ideas and methods not of the Third Republic but of the Convention of 1793’[18] and called for ‘A single assembly’ to ‘combine the legislative and executive powers.’ [19]
A similar demand could be made for Britain today, with abolition of the Lords and the Monarchy and election of Prime Minister and cabinet by the chamber. We could add that MPs earn the average of their constituents, how many right wing Labour MPs would there be then? Also the defence of Human Rights which are currently being eroded will find wide understanding. The improvement and protection of unemployment, housing and disability benefits is also an important demand and links to the question of who controls the wealth, and how it should be spent to pick up the devastating effects of capitalism.

Internationalism: Challenging the social chauvinists

Socialism cannot be created in one country, it must be international; the struggle of workers against capitalism is worldwide. The defeat of world imperialism of the USA and the NATO block is of major importance. Therefore we must always agitate for solidarity with workers in struggle in other nations and national liberation struggles.
As we are close again to world war we must warn the masses of the danger and demand the dismantling of NATO and the other military alliances protecting the interests of the US dollar. In Britain the call for nuclear disarmament can also be linked to how public money is spent and how it can be put to socially useful projects if workers could have control of public finance. As can a call to withdraw all troops from foreign occupation, including Ireland and linked to this the freeing of all Irish political prisoners and prisoners. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq met with mass opposition. If such a situation were to develop ‘”””into a revolutionary crisis then we would begin calling for trade union rights for the ranks of the army we could raise the demand for the election of officers but only when the soldiers are mutinous during a revolutionary crisis, not in peacetime.

Conclusion

The transitional programme is not and cannot be set in stone and used as a Gospel of some kind. It must be developed through as wide a discussion as possible, taking into account the struggles of the day and consider and the objective situation and how it develops. Demands stemming from these struggles can gain an immediate understanding among workers. They must be developed in the course of struggle, building from one to another. The demands must however be a solution to capitalist crisis which must in the final analysis pose to the working class that it can only be solved by the action of the class taking power and transcending capitalist property relations. The programme can then be a bridge from the struggle today to the socialist revolution of tomorrow.

Notes

[1] Leon Trotsky, “The World situation and Perspectives”, Writing of Leon Trotsky (1939-40) (Merit Publishers, 1969), pp 23-24
[2] V.I. Lenin, “Dogmatism and ‘Freedom of Criticism’”, What is to be done? Burning questions of our movement (New York, International Publishers, 1986), pp 39-41
[3] Leon Trotsky, “Lenin’s death and the shift of power”, My Life: An attempt at an autobiography , 1930, http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/ch41.htm
[4] Leon Trotsky, “Discussion on the Transitional Program”, Writings of Leon Trotsky (1939-1940), (Merit Publishers, 1969), p 43
[5] This introduction to ‘What we stand for’ appears on the back of every edition of ‘The Socialist’, newspaper of the SPEW.
[6] ibid
[7] ibid
[8] ibid
[9] http://www.socialist.net
[10] For more about the history of SPEW and Socialist Appeal see In Defence of Trotskyism No. 8, The CWI and IMT: Right Centrist Heirs of Ted Grant, published by Socialist Fight Group 2014
[11] Leon Trotsky, “More Discussion on the Transitional Program”, Writings of Leon Trotsky (1939-1940) (Merit Publishers, 1969), p49
[12] Leon Trotsky, The Class, the Party and the Leadership, (Cambridge Heath Press, 1982) p6
[13] Leon Trotsky, “Discussion on the Transitional Program”, Writings of Leon Trotsky (1939-1940) (Merit Publishers, 1969), p43
[14] Ibid, p44
[15] Ibid
[16] Leon Trotsky, “A Program of Action for France”,(1934), http://www.marxist.org/archive /Trotsky/1934/06/paf.htm#n22
[17] Ian Angus, “Communists and the British Labour Party”, Appendix: 1924 Statement on the Labour Government, Socialist History Project, Documenting the revolutionary socialist tradition in Canada, http://www.socialisthistory.ca/Docs/1961-/NDP/British_LP_4.h
[18] Leon Trotsky, “A Program of Action for France”,(1934), http://www.marxist.org/archive /Trotsky/1934/06/paf.htm#n22
[19] ibid

Socialist Fight Comment on the statement by the freed Borotba activists

The following statement by the freed Borotba activists raises several questions. If the Vostok Brigade are solely responsible for the kidnapping why did it take so long for the government of the Peoples Republic to free them? Under whose authority does Alexander Khodakovsky operate?
What gives him the authority to deport Borotba activists (all Borotba members?) from the ‘territory of the DNR and the Lugansk People’s Republic’ as they tell us in their statement. Surely if Khodakovsky was acting outside the authority of the governments at the very least they would be free to operate in those parts of the Donbass NOT controlled by him?
It has long been speculated that Khodakovsky is simply an agent of Putin and it is he that calls the shots in the Donbass. Did Putin ok the kidnapping and detentions? And why can senior government officials Denis Pushilin and Boris Litvinov not tell Khodakovsky who rules in the Donbass?
Instead of speculating on the machinations of Putin it would be better to begin to make a class analysis of the forces leading these Popular Front governments. “Apparently, there is a view that as representatives of the communist movement, we could start an opposition to the activities of the DNR leadership” they write and here we see the truth.
They carry a picture of Trotsky on their banner, they are young and uncorrupted militants, at some point they might reach the conclusion that the bourgeois nationalist forces leading the ‘Peoples Republics’ were not really interested in fighting this war in a way that could win. Only a revolutionary mobilisation can inspire the masses in the East, win the workers in the West and in Russia to their side.
That is only the organised working class has this political interest in expropriating the capitalists and running industries under workers control and spreading the revolution region wide and world-wide. But that’s Trotskyism, that’s Permanent Revolution, that’s modern day revolutionary Marxism itself. Afraid so! And clearly that movement has begun on the ground.

Statement by Maria Muratova, Maxim Firsov, Alexei Albu and Victor Shapinov about our detention in Donetsk

We — Borotba activists Muratova, Albu, Firsov and Shapinov — arrived in Donetsk on December 18 to establish contacts with representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and provide all possible assistance in the anti-fascist struggle of the people of Donbass. We also had information that at the end of December a prisoner exchange would take place, which would include our comrades trapped in the dungeons of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on charges of “creating a terrorist organization” — Vlad Wojciechowski and Nikolai Popov. We held a series of meetings with DNR activists, in particular with the Communists Alexander Smekalinym and Andriy Yakovenko. We were also scheduled to meet with DNR Foreign Minister Alexander Kofman, head of the Communist Party of Donbass Boris Litvinov and deputy chairman of the People’s Soviet of the DNR Denis Pushilin.
On Sunday, December 21, three of us — Muratova, Firsov and Shapinov – set off to see areas of Donetsk that suffered from the shelling of the Ukrainian army. In the district of Marshal Zhukov Boulevard, we were stopped by a car carrying soldiers of the “Essence of Time” division of the Vostok Brigade. Having checked our documents, they demanded we get into their car. Complying, we were taken to the headquarters of the Vostok Brigade in the vicinity of the Donetsk airport. There we were handed over to the commandant, who took us to the Special Division of the Vostok Brigade (4th base of Vostok in the area of St. Elevatornaya). The staff of the Special Division confiscated our mobile phones and personal belongings, and said that after checking we would be released.
In the Special Department we were not allowed to contact friends or relatives to inform them about where we were, and the staff also refused to inform them. As it turned out, the staff of the Special Division did not admit our detention even in response to direct requests from DNR officials. After a few days of detention, we managed to secretly inform our comrades of our whereabouts.
Learning about our arrest, Alexei Albu wrote to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Denis Pushilin and head of the parliamentary committee Boris Litvinov. Albu went to the Special Division with a letter written by Boris Litvinov to release the Borotba activists, but instead of releasing the detainees, Albu was arrested.
Requests to the Vostok Brigade leadership for the release of the Borotba activists came from DNR officials (Denis Pushilin, Boris Litvinov, “Gloomy”), well-known anti-junta public figures (Boris Rozhin (Colonel Cassad), Oleg Tsarev, Konstantin Dolgov, Igor Dimitrov, Alexander Vasilyev, Vladimir Rogov, Daria Mitin, Anatoly Baranov, Boris Kagarlitskiy, Victor Tyulkin and others), Russian left-wing politicians and social activists (Yulia Polukhina, members of the Communist Party Valery Rashkin, Kazbek Taisaev, etc.). But their testimony that we are activists in the resistance to the Kiev regime made no impression on the staff of the Special Division.
Throughout our detention, we were not shown any charges. The staff were limited to the bizarre claim that “we need to check.”
After two weeks of detention in the Special Division, members of the Ministry of State Security of the DNR came. They told us that we would be immediately taken to the Russian border and deported from the DNR. They also reported that we are forbidden to enter the territory of the DNR and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LC). In response to a question about the motives of deportation, Ministry officers said that “now you are with us for one thing, and then we do not know what you want to do.” Apparently, there is a view that as representatives of the communist movement, we could start an opposition to the activities of the DNR leadership.
At the moment we do not have enough information to make an unambiguous conclusion about what is behind our arrest and expulsion from the DNR — banal excessive vigilance of intelligence agencies of the Republic, political denunciation or some kind of political order. In any case, such actions with respect to sincere friends of the Donbass rebellion only harm the reputation of the People’s Republics.
Despite this unfortunate incident in which we were unwitting participants, we have not changed our attitude to the People’s Republics and the anti-fascist uprising in the Donbass. We remain bitter enemies of the Kiev regime of oligarchs and Nazis, and friends of all who oppose fascism. However, some recent developments, including our arrest and deportation, give rise to legitimate concerns — whether the original spirit of the anti-fascist and anti-oligarchic revolt will continue, or will it be buried in favour of commercial and political interests of various groups operating in the republics?
During the time of our arrest, members of the Special Division and militia showed us the best attitude. We did not witness any ill-treatment or force used against prisoners, including soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (APU) and punitive “territorial” battalions. We were fed three times a day, the same as the militias. We had the opportunity to bathe and wash our clothes. APU prisoners and militias who have committed offenses are held in the same conditions, and the prisoners are allowed to visit relatives. We saw them trying to educate APU soldiers about the aggressive nature of the war in Donbass and the regime in Kiev.
We are going to fight to lift the ban on entry of Borotba activists to the territory of People’s Republics.
We thank all the friends and comrades who sought our liberation.
Maria Muratova, Alexei Albu, Maxim Firsov, Victor Shapinov

http://borotba.su/held_captive_in_donetsk.html

What does it exactly mean to say that China is a communist country?

'Deformed workers State'my arse!"

Answer by A Quora admin:

To say China is a communist country either means you are out-of-date, misinformed, or trying to maintain justification for your right to govern China by the continuation of a political and historical narrative.

The CCP still has a singular grip on power but this does not make it "communist," but authoritarian.

Outside my apartment at this very moment, tens of migrant Chinese workers are toiling to make repairs on the road while BMWs, Mercedes and Audis drive by, honking wildly.

The "Chinese Communist Party" rules the country, yes, but its policies have been less and less communistic since 1978, when Deng Xiaopeng took over after Mao's death and started liberalizing the economy as fast as he could starting by opening up several "Special Economic Zones."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Den…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spe…

Contemporary Chinese society would probably make Mao red with anger (pun intended!).  It could not be more opposite:

1) The wealth gap here is astounding.

To be "Chinese poor" beats the hell out of being "American poor," yet China still has 128 of the world's billionaires.  I've seen more luxury cars on the roads on Beijing than any city I've seen in the world.  Many of them are driven by government officials but just as many if not more are driven by business people.

http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/new…

The average monthly salary of a Beijing local is around $400 a month. Many rural Chinese who flock to the cities looking for work live in underground dorm-like bunkers where the air is so dirty and stale that you get a cough and a sore throat just from being in there for an afternoon nap (I say this from personal experience). The sad thing is, compared to the hard farm life they left they probably have it much better there.

2) The Market is everywhere.

Anyone who has never been to China before would be shocked by the sheer amount of storefronts, many even spilling out into the street.  Walk down a busy section of downtown and you are sure to be accosted by a number of Chinese selling watches, iPhones, socks, trinkets, belts or anything you can imagine.  They will follow you down the road as you try to get away from them, shouting lower and lower prices at you in an attempt to get your business.

Go to a market and haggle like you have never haggled before.  The famed Silk Market in Beijing probably holds the world record for most polyglots in one place. I've heard merchants speaking Spanish, German, Russian and even Hebrew to potential customers.  They are aggressive, smart, tough and sometimes downright nasty.  They won't hesitate to call you names if they think they can goad you into a sale.

3) Cash rules everything.

Bribery here is so commonplace that you'd think it's a protocol taught at business schools.  You don't just bribe someone here to get an "extra edge" or try to sway someone who isn't playing ball.  Bribery pretty much happens all the time, for everything.  For example, if you want the doctor who is about to perform surgery on you to not "slip," you'd better slip him a few hundreds.  I'm not joking.

http://www.danwei.org/front_page…

4) It just simply isn't by definition.

There are definite class divisions here.  Means of production are not collectivized. You have to pay for school…elementary school.  Lots of people don't have health insurance.  State owned enterprises do not distribute profits amongst the people. People work for wages.  Private property exists (although it does become property of the state after 70 years, however, again this is not really communist but rather authoritarian because that property isn't collectivized).

I want to point out that this is not a smear on China.  I am not saying China is bad; China has actually done a lot of good for their poverty problem and the average lot of the Chinese has improved tremendously.  I am merely saying China is no longer "communist" by definition and has been headed away from that direction for some time.

What does it exactly mean to say that China is a communist country?

DECLARAÇÃO DO CLQI SOBRE O CASO ‘CHARLIE HEBDO’

O estado da Califórnia quer afirmar na lei que a
liberdade de expressão é um privilégio, não um direito.
Se formos comparar o caso de Brandon Duncan e Charlie Hebdo
“hipocrisia” é a única frase que vem à mente.

terça-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2015

A Islamofobia é o racismo ‘de jour’*

10/1/15

English version – Socialist Fight

O Comitê de Ligação pela IV Internacional (CLQI) afirma que a raiz da causa dos assassinatos no escritório do Charlie Hebdo em Paris, no dia 7 de janeiro, está nas guerras imperialistas em terras muçulmanas – Afeganistão, Iraque, Líbia, Mali, Síria, etc. Os marxistas nunca devem igualar a violência do opressor com a dos oprimidos, não fazemos julgamentos morais sobre as pessoas que realizaram esses ataques e reconhecemos as mortes causadas pelo imperialismo nessas terras executando milhares de vítimas, senão milhões.

Em 12 de maio de 1996, em resposta à pergunta de Lesley Stahl, “Sabemos que meio milhão de crianças morreram no Iraque, ou seja, isso supera o número de crianças que morreram em Hiroshima; você acha que valeu a pena?”. Madeleine Albright, então embaixadora dos Estados Unidos nas Nações Unidas, respondeu: “Sim, nós achamos que valeu a pena”.

Nós não temos o direito de impor aos militantes que representam os oprimidos como eles devem conduzir suas lutas; nem ao IRA nem aos palestinos, nem àqueles que lutam hoje contra o imperialismo no Oriente Médio. Mas, como marxistas, nos opomos a métodos de terror individual por motivos políticos, posto que jamais conseguirão atingir seus objetivos em derrotar o imperialismo por tais métodos; na verdade, acabam fazendo o oposto: reforçam as garras do Estado contra si mesmos e alienam seus únicos e verdadeiros aliados potenciais, a classe operária francesa e internacional, como discutiremos a seguir.

Como disse Trotsky:

“Para nós o terror individual é inadmissível precisamente porque apequena o papel das massas em sua própria consciência, as faz aceitar sua impotência e volta seus olhos e esperanças para o grande vingador e libertador que algum dia virá cumprir sua missão. Os profetas anarquistas da ‘propaganda pelos fatos’ podem falar até pelos cotovelos sobre a influência estimulante que exercem os atos terroristas sobre as massas. As considerações teóricas e a experiência política demonstram o contrário. Quanto mais ‘efetivos’ forem os atos terroristas, quanto maior for seu impacto, quanto mais se concentra a atenção das massas sobre eles, mais se reduz o interesse das massas por eles, mais se reduz o interesse das massas em organizar-se e educar-se. Porém a fumaça da explosão se dissipa, o pânico desaparece, um sucessor ocupa o lugar do ministro assassinado, a vida volta à sua velha rotina, a roda da exploração capitalista gira como antes: só a repressão policial se torna mais selvagem e aberta. O resultado é que o lugar das esperanças renovadas e da excitação artificialmente provocada vem a ser ocupado pela desilusão e a apatia.” [1]

Ken Livingstone afirmou: “A mensagem da caricatura é clara: os irlandeses, como raça e comunidade, são assassinos, bandidos e estúpidos… Eu não acredito na liberdade de expressão para os racistas… Nós não vamos dar um único centavo para o Standart enquanto eles continuarem a difamar o povo irlandês”.

A LIBERDADE DE EXPRESSÃO E A HIPOCRISIA GROSSEIRA

O grande clamor do imperialismo neste momento é a “liberdade de expressão”. Não é permitido gritar “fogo” em um teatro lotado porque aparentemente todos estão sob a responsabilidade da liberdade de expressão; esta liberdade é limitada devido às responsabilidades sociais. Do mesmo modo, não se deve gritar ‘parasita’ para um grupo minoritário que sofre desproporcionalmente com o desemprego, pois isso causaria uma debandada social e alguém poderia ser espancando.

O WSWS comentou em 9 de janeiro:

“No uso de caricaturas grosseiras e vulgares que fornecem uma imagem sinistra e estereotipada dos muçulmanos, Charlie Hebdo recorda as publicações racistas baratas que desempenharam um papel expressivo incentivando a agitação antissemita que varreu a França durante o famoso Caso Dreyfus, ocorrido em 1894, depois que um oficial judeu foi falsamente acusado e condenado por espionagem a favor da Alemanha. Sob o chicote do ódio popular contra os judeus, La Libre Parole [“Liberdade de Expressão”], publicado pelo infame Edoard Adolfe Drumont, fez uso de modo altamente eficaz de caricaturas que empregavam os conhecidos instrumentos antissemitas. As caricaturas serviram para inflamar a opinião pública, incitando a turba contra Dreyfus e seus defensores – como Emile Zola, o grande romancista e autor de J’Accuse”. [2]

A liberdade de expressão não é algo abstrato, de livre flutuação, mas deve ser empregado em conjunto com, e devidamente situado entre, o contexto social, histórico e político. Naquele grande bastião da “liberdade de expressão”, Califórnia, de longe o Estado ‘liberal’ mais rico da união, um artista de rap, Brandon Duncan, também conhecido como Tiny Doo, sem antecedentes criminais, enfrenta a vida na prisão pelas letras de seu álbum. E aqui está a complexa “lógica” por trás da acusação:

“Nós não estamos falando apenas de um CD, de canções de amor. Estamos falando de um CD (capa)… onde há um revólver com balas”, disse o Vice-Procurador Distrital Anthony Campagna, justificando a acusação inconstitucional do músico. Duncan é acusado de “conspiração ganguista” porque sua “gang adquiriu status” ao fazer letras a favor do crime, e isso – argumentam os promotores – permitiu-lhe “vender mais álbuns“. [3]

O estado da Califórnia pretende afirmar na lei que a liberdade de expressão é um privilégio, e não um direito. Aparentemente, os promotores acreditam que escrever letras sobre crime é em si um crime – e punível com pena de prisão perpétua. Se formos comparar o caso de Brandon Duncan e Charlie Hebdo a “hipocrisia grosseira” é a única frase que vem à mente.

Ah, mas a ‘liberdade de expressão’ de Charlie Hebdo ataca a classe dominante cristã, judaica, etc. e isso não pode ser utilizado como justificativa para o assassinato em massa. Então agora qualquer um poderá defender o racismo contra os irlandeses por se tratar apenas de um pouco de diversão sem entender a justificativa dos assassinatos do exército britânico na Irlanda? E as charges antissemitas de 1920 e 1930; também foram apenas um pouco de diversão e não uma elaboração ideológica para o Holocausto?

LIBERDADE DE EXPRESSÃO E RACISMO

Charlie Hebdo é uma revista libertária de direita que promovia o racismo, a islamofobia, o sexismo e a homofobia. Quaisquer que sejam as origens desses jornalistas no esquerdismo de 1968, após o ataque de 11 de setembro de 2001 eles se tornaram cada vez mais porta-vozes do imperialismo francês.

No auge da guerra na Irlanda, piadas anti-irlandesas e caricaturas racistas encontravam-se por toda parte. O Evening Standard publicou um chamado ‘The Irish’, por JAK, em 29 de Outubro de 1982, e Ken Livingstone retirou toda a publicidade deles do Conselho da Grande Londres (GLC, nas siglas em inglês).

O cartaz era caracterizado por figuras grotescas que empunhavam uma variedade de armas terríveis e era parte de uma série mais ampla de imagens e escritos que apareceram no Reino Unido por mais de 100 anos, retratando os irlandeses como simiescos, estúpidos, violentos, etc.

A caricatura levou a protestos por parte da comunidade irlandesa britânica e resultou na proibição da publicidade (no valor de cerca de £ 100.000 por ano) do Evening Standard por parte da GLC, liderado por Ken Livingstone.

Ken Livingstone afirmou:

“A mensagem da caricatura é clara: os irlandeses, como raça e comunidade, são assassinos, bandidos e estúpidos… Eu não acredito na liberdade de expressão para os racistas… Nós não vamos dar um único centavo para o Standart enquanto eles continuarem a difamar o povo irlandês”.

O objetivo dos ataques era retratar os irlandeses como selvagens sub-humanos e assim tornar aceitável a matança deles pelo exército britânico. É realmente patético que esses esquerdistas que na época apoiaram a postura assumida por Livingstone não conseguem fazer o mesmo hoje contra o Charlie Hebdo.

 
Em 1930 nos EUA, quando os brancos queimavam negros em árvores, os brancos também poderia ter usado o argumento de que eles, como Charlie Hebdo, satirizam todas as religiões igualmente. Afinal, havia caricaturas até sobre o presidente americano! No entanto, fazer caricaturas insultantes sobre os brancos que controlavam as estruturas de poder não era o mesmo que demonizar pessoas negras,  uma subclasse sem qualquer direitos políticos.

Na América de 1930, quando os brancos estavam queimando e enforcando o povo negro em árvores, os brancos também poderiam ter utilizado o argumento de que eles, como o Charlie Hebdo, atacavam todas as religiões igualmente. Afinal, havia caricaturas até mesmo sobre o presidente! [e também sobre Roma, atacando o catolicismo, como pode ser visto nas caricaturas do jornal ‘Good Citizen’ da Ku Klux Klan]. No entanto, fazer caricaturas insultantes sobre os brancos que controlavam as estruturas de poder não era a mesma coisa que demonizar o povo negro – que pertenciam à classe-baixa e não possuíam o domínio do poder.

Assim como ocorreu com os irlandeses, as imagens de negros caracterizados como estúpidos, violentos, ladrões, preguiçosos e sendo comparados a símios confirmaram uma realidade política: tais imagens reforçaram os preconceitos dos que estavam no poder contra os negros subjugados. Até os anos de 1950, letreiros que diziam ‘Não é permitido a entrada de cães, negros e mexicanos’ eram marcas registradas das leis de segregação racial impostas legalmente nos Estados Unidos. A lei Franck contra mulheres muçulmanas de usarem o véu/hijab encontra-se nessas mesmas linhas.

O mesmo pode ser dito sobre os judeus na Alemanha nazista – imaginem o argumento espúrio e pretensioso de hoje sendo utilizado pelos nazistas; um jornal alemão poderia esconder-se por trás da reivindicação que também fez piada com os alemães brancos? É injustificável que somente os judeus tenham se queixado! Afinal de contas, os alemães não reclamaram quando foram ridicularizados – aqueles judeus atrasados e sua religião gananciosa não compreendem a liberdade de expressão!

Esta é a memória de um judeu que relata como era na época da Alemanha nazista:

“Meu primeiro encontro pessoal com o antissemitismo foi através das horríveis caricaturas de judeus nos jornais oficiais de propaganda nazista, ‘Das Schwarze Korps’, um jornal da SS, e ‘Der Völkische Beobachter’, exibidos em vitrines e nas paredes das esquinas. Eles mostravam os judeus como figuras horrendas, feias e com enormes narizes, vestidos com uniformes russo-bolcheviques ou com um chapéu do ‘Tio Sam’ e chamavam-nos de Plutocratas, os quais aparentemente queriam (ou estavam tentando) dominar o mundo, lucrando com a exploração dos alemães inocentes representados por uma boa aparência. Muito diferente da realidade!”. [4]

Os muçulmanos da França e de outros países europeus estão sofrendo esse mesmo tipo de ataque hoje. Milhares de muçulmanos do Oriente Médio e Afeganistão têm sido chacinados pelos exércitos imperialistas nas últimas décadas e o racismo contra os muçulmanos justifica essa matança em massa. Identificamos o racismo anti-muçulmano hoje, assim como o recrudescimento do massacre imperialista no Oriente Médio, aos materiais anti-cristão e antissemita, repulsivo e reacionário como realmente é.

A CLASSE OPERÁRIA FRANCESA DEVE DEFENDER OS MUÇULMANOS OPRIMIDOS

O blogueiro Asghar Bukhari coloca a questão do seguinte modo:

“Os brancos não gostam de admitir isso, mas essas caricaturas confirmam seu preconceito, o seu racismo, sua supremacia política, e fazem como querem – imagens que sustentam uma ordem política construída sobre discriminação. Os muçulmanos de hoje são uma subclasse demonizada na França. Um povo vilipendiado e atacado pelas estruturas do poder. Um povo pobre, com pouco ou nenhum poder, e essas caricaturas vis só fizeram piorar suas vidas e aumentaram ainda mais o preconceito racista contra eles. Até mesmo os brancos liberais têm agido da maneira ainda mais preconceituosa. É como se os brancos tivessem o direito de ofender os muçulmanos e os muçulmanos, em troca, não tivessem o direito de se sentirem ofendidos”. [5]

Não obstante, precisamos fazer de fato um “alerta de saúde” sobre essa abordagem. “As pessoas brancas” não são o problema, e sim o próprio imperialismo cuja ideologia atinge profundamente a classe trabalhadora francesa, essa é a verdade. No curso desta abordagem não-classista Asghar Bukhari frequentemente confunde ‘sionista’ com ‘judeu’ e, portanto, está aberto à acusação de antissemitismo. E, como um representante educado dos muçulmanos oprimidos, é inaceitável confundir as duas coisas. A tarefa dos marxistas é forjar um programa de ação para defender os muçulmanos da França e da Europa contra o Estado e a extrema-direita, forjando a unidade com a classe trabalhadora.

Nisto nós concordamos inteiramente com a afirmação da RCIT:

“A principal tarefa para os socialistas na França e na Europa agora é organizar unidades de autodefesa, a fim de proteger as mesquitas e distritos migrantes contra ataques chauvinistas. É igualmente urgente construir uma ampla frente única contra o chauvinismo anti-muçulmano. Finalmente, é urgente construir um forte movimento anti-guerra contra a guerra imperialista que se alastra no Oriente Médio e na África.” [6]

Da mesma forma, concordamos com sua denúncia da esquerda francesa, como o PCF, cujo social-chauvinismo a levou a apoiar a “unidade nacional”, ou seja, os ataques da sua classe dominante aos muçulmanos. O NPA e a Lutte Ouvrière, mesmo defendendo os muçulmanos corajosamente, também erraram ao não colocar o ataque em seu contexto político e histórico:

“O RCIT condena severamente o Partido Comunista Francês (PCF) e muitos outros chamados grupos ‘esquerdistas’ por darem seu apoio ao chamado pró-imperialista de Hollande pela ‘Unidade Nacional’. Enquanto as forças centristas – o Novo Partido Anti-Capitalista (cujos líderes fazem parte da mandelista ‘Quarta Internacional’) e Lutte Ouvrière – que em suas declarações de 7 de janeiro não aderiram à reacionária proposta de Hollande de ‘Unidade Nacional’, ambos condenaram o ataque à Charlie Hebdo como um ataque à ‘liberdade de expressão’. Ao mesmo tempo, eles não mencionam sequer uma única palavra sobre a conexão entre este evento e as guerras imperialistas da França contra os povos muçulmanos, ou a opressão e super-exploração dos imigrantes. Em suas declarações, ambos os grupos centristas se referem às suas estreitas relações com os jornalistas da Charlie Hebdo e, assim, revelam a sua afiliação com o meio burguês-liberal.” [7]

Esta colaboração e silêncio da esquerda é ainda mais chocante, considerando a história da exploração do imperialismo francês do Norte da África e os massacres tanto contra os muçulmanos do Norte de África como da própria Paris.

Resumimos a citação do artigo de Mawuna Remarque Koutonin no Wiki:

Ainda hoje 14 países africanos são obrigados a pagar o imposto colonial para os benefícios da colonização e escravatura. Os confrontos foram cruciais para De Gaulle com a Guiné, Togo e Senegal, os restantes foram obrigados a seguir o exemplo. Em 1958, a França deixou a Guiné e destruiu toda a infra-estrutura quando saíram, esmagando carros e derrubando edifícios em uma orgia de destruição. O próximo alvo era o Togo, que foi obrigado a concordar em pagar uma dívida anual à França para os chamados “benefícios” que o Togo havia recebido da colonização francesa. O Senegal assustou-se com a consequência de escolher a independência da França; e então o primeiro presidente do país, Leopold Sédar Senghor, declarou: “A escolha do povo senegalês é pela independência; eles querem que ela ocorra somente através da amizade com a França, e não por meio da disputa”. A partir daí, a França só aceitou a “independência no papel” para suas colônias, assinando obrigatoriamente os “Acordos de Cooperação”, detalhando a natureza de suas relações com a França, em especial os laços com a moeda colonial francesa (o Franco), o sistema educacional francês, o exército e as preferências comerciais. [8]

Devemos recordar o massacre de 200 argelinos em Paris no dia 17 de outubro de 1961, durante a Guerra da Argélia (1954-1962). O artigo da Wiki nos dá uma imagem fiel da natureza do Estado francês e as forças policiais ainda hoje:

“Sob as ordens do chefe da polícia de Paris, Maurice Papon, a polícia francesa atacou uma manifestação proibida de aproximadamente 30.000 argelinos pró-FLN… Muitos manifestantes morreram quando foram violentamente arrebanhados pela polícia no Rio Sena, onde alguns foram jogados da ponte após uma sessão de espancamento até ficarem inconscientes. Outros manifestantes foram mortos dentro do pátio da sede da polícia de Paris depois de terem sido presos e levados em um ônibus da polícia.

(…) Maurice Papon, que morreu em 2007, foi o único oficial francês de Vichy a ser condenado por seu papel na deportação de judeus durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial. Segundo o historiador Jean-Luc Einaudi, um especialista do massacre de 17 de outubro de 1961, algumas das causas da repressão violenta da manifestação de 17 de outubro de 1961 podem ser compreendidas em termos da composição da própria força policial francesa, que ainda incluía muitos ex-membros que participaram do regime de Vichy durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, que haviam colaborado com a Gestapo para prender massivamente os judeus, como por exemplo, no episódio conhecido como Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup ocorrido em 16-17 de julho de 1942.

Incentivado pelo deputado da extrema-direita Jean-Marie Le Pen, (em março de 1958) 2.000 deles tentaram entrar no Palais Bourbon, sede da Assembleia Nacional, com gritos de “Sales Juifs! A la Seine! Mort aux fellaghas!” (Judeus sujos! Ao Rio Sena! Morte aos rebeldes argelinos!). Com a recomendação do Ministro do Interior Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, Maurice Papon foi nomeado prefeito da polícia no dia seguinte.” [9]

A CARNIFICINA DOS COVARDES

“A carnificina dos covardes” foi como denominaram o ataque a Charlie Hebdo em um post no Facebook. Mas “a carnificina dos covardes” está lançando bombas a 20.000 pés sobre civis indefesos, e nunca poderemos ver seus rostos ou saber sobre o trabalho que desempenhavam. Os maiores covardes e carniceiros estão na Casa Branca, em Downing Street, no Palácio do Eliseu e em Tel Aviv. Os parentes das vítimas ultrajadas muitas vezes não possuem a compreensão política sobre como extrair a justiça revolucionária desses assassinos em massa. E tomam como alvo trabalhadores que não têm nenhuma responsabilidade pelo que aconteceu com eles. E as agências de espionagem imperialistas da CIA, MI5, Mossad etc. estimulam e fomentam esses métodos por meio de operações de ‘falsa bandeira’, que são muito bem calculadas para inflamar as tensões sectárias e fortalecer o braço do Estado contra os oprimidos.

A causa da violência é o imperialismo e não o fundamentalismo religioso. É claro que um governo revolucionário terá de encarar esse problema real de sensibilidade para separar os opressores secundários de suas vítimas, defender os camponeses dos latifundiários, as mulheres da imposição do véu etc. Mas nunca, nunca como um aliado da ‘missão civilizadora’ do imperialismo, nunca se deixar levar por essa conversa fiada de paz e democracia que só coloca duplas cadeias sobre os oprimidos. Isso é imperdoável na Ucrânia, na Palestina, em todo o Oriente Médio e em todo o mundo semi-colonial. O contraste entre a abordagem burocrática/stalinista/liberal-imperialista à religião e a abordagem marxista colocada em prática no início do Comintern está delineado no documento de 1997:

Afeganistão: Método Marxista vs. Método Burocrático, por Gerry Downing 1997. A citação a seguir indica as tarefas que uma Quarta Internacional reconstruída deve enfrentar nessas terras e como lidar com eles:

“Demorou 15 anos de guerra para subjugar as revoltas nas repúblicas soviéticas da Ásia Central causadas pelos métodos menchevique e stalinista-burocrático. Alguns conflitos foram e serão inevitáveis se o poder dos mulás, khans e fundamentalistas for quebrado novamente nos países da Ásia Central Soviética e no Afeganistão, e o Irã através da Argélia. A humanidade pagará um preço terrível pela marginalização do método de transição dos bolcheviques e o triunfo dos métodos burocráticos contrarrevolucionários da reação de luta do stalinismo e do nacionalismo pequeno-burguês nesses estados.”

Desafiamos qualquer pessoa a dizer a caricatura das mulheres nigerianas sequestradas não é propaganda vil, racista, islamofóbica e sexista do imperialismo francês. Aqui há um duplo significado sugerindo que as jovens estão “finalmente” com raiva porque seus benefícios estão sendo retirados e não se importam de serem sequestradas e estupradas repetidamente.

A islamofobia é o “racismo du Jour” no clima político atual. E o Charlie Hebdo lançou uma publicação anti-russa sobre a Ucrânia para que ninguém duvidasse de suas verdadeiras lealdades as políticas pró-imperialistas.

NOTAS:
* Da tarde ou em tradução livre, de hoje.
[1] Trotsky, Leon. Por que os Marxistas se Opõem ao Terrorismo Individual (novembro de 1911), http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1911/11/tia09.htm

[2] WSWS, A hipocrisia da “Liberdade de Expressão” depois do ataque no Charlie Hebdo, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/09/pers-j09.html

[3] Artista de Rap sem Antecedentes Criminais Enfrenta a Vida na Prisão Pelas Letras de seu Álbum, 19 de novembro de 2014, http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/11/rap-artist-with-no-criminal-record-faces-life-in-prison-for-album-lyrics/

[4] A Família Brichta, http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/survivor/brichta1.html

View profile at Medium.com

[5] Declaração da Tendência Revolucionária Comunista Internacional (RCIT), 1/9/2015, http://www.thecommunists.net

[6] Ibid.

[7] 14 Países Africanos São Obrigados a Pagar Imposto Colonial à França para os Benefícios da Colonização e Escravatura, por Mawuna Remarque Koutonin http://www.siliconafrica.com/france-colonial-tax/

[8] O massacre de 1961, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_massacre_of_1961

[9] Afeganistão: Método Marxista vs. Método Burocrático, por Gerry Downing, 1997 https://www.scribd.com/doc/67406622/Afghanistan-Marxist-Method-vs-Bureaucratic-method-By-Gerry-Downing-1997

Artigos relacionados:

LIBERTAÇÃO DA MULHER, IMPERIALISMO E ISLAMOFOBIAO Véu, os tribunais, o imperialismo e o aumento da islamofobia: uma análise marxista

NEOATEISMO E ISLAMOFOBIALos ateos del imperialismo

LCFI statement on Charlie Hebdo: Islamophobia is the racism de jour 10/1/15

Charlie3

We defy anyone to say this is not a vile racist, Islamophobic, sexist piece of French imperialist propaganda. It has a double meaning which suggests that the young women are ‘finally’ angry because of their benefits being removed and did not mind being kidnapped and repeatedly raped.

The LCFI asserts that the roots cause of the deaths at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris on 7 January is imperialism’s wars on Muslim lands, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Syria, etc. Marxists never equate the violence of the oppressor with that of the oppressed, we make no moral judgements on the people who have carried out these attacks and recognise the deaths caused by imperialism in these lands run into the hundreds of thousands, if not the low millions.

Already by May 12, 1996, in response to the question from Lesley Stahl, “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Madeleine Albright, then United States Ambassador to the United Nations replied, “We think the price is worth it.”

We do not have the right to dictate to the militant representatives of the oppressed how they conduct their struggles, not the IRA or the Palestinians or those fighting imperialism in the Middle East today. But as Marxists we oppose individual acts of terror like this on the political grounds that it cannot achieve its aims of defeating imperialism by these methods and in fact only ends up doing the opposite; strengthening the hands of the state against them and alienation their only true potential allies, the French and international working class, as we discuss below.

As Trotsky said:

“In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission. The anarchist prophets of the ‘propaganda of the deed’ can argue all they want about the elevating and stimulating influence of terrorist acts on the masses. Theoretical considerations and political experience prove otherwise. The more ‘effective’ the terrorist acts, the greater their impact, the more they reduce the interest of the masses in self-organisation and self-education. But the smoke from the confusion clears away, the panic disappears, the successor of the murdered minister makes his appearance, life again settles into the old rut, the wheel of capitalist exploitation turns as before; only the police repression grows more savage and brazen. And as a result, in place of the kindled hopes and artificially aroused excitement comes disillusionment and apathy.” [1]

BrandonDuncan

The state of California wants to affirm in law that freedom of speech is a privilege, not a right. If we are to compare the case of Brandon Duncan and Charlie Hebdo ‘gross hypocrisy’ is the only phrase that springs to mind.

Free Speech and Gross Hypocrisy

The great cry of imperialism today is “freedom of speech”. One is not permitted to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre because although this would appear to fall under the remit of freedom of expression; this freedom is curtailed due to social responsibilities. As such one should not cry ‘scrounger’ at a minority group who suffer disproportionately from unemployment, and it may cause a social stampede and get someone beaten up in the street.

The WSWS commented on 9 January:

“In its use of crude and vulgar caricatures that purvey a sinister and stereotyped image of Muslims, Charlie Hebdo recalls the cheap racist publications that played a significant role in fostering the anti-Semitic agitation that swept France during the famous Dreyfus Affair, which erupted in 1894 after a Jewish officer was accused and falsely convicted of espionage on behalf of Germany. In whipping up popular hatred of Jews, La Libre Parole [“Free Speech”], published by the infamous Edoard Adolfe Drumont, made highly effective use of cartoons that employed the familiar anti-Semitic devices. The caricatures served to inflame public opinion, inciting mobs against Dreyfus and his defenders, such as Emile Zola, the great novelist and author of J’Accuse.” [2]

Freedom of expression is not an abstract, free-floating right, but rather should be employed in conjunction with, and properly situated amongst, the social, historical and political context of the day. In that great bastion of “free speech”, California, by far the wealthiest and most ‘liberal’ state of the union, a rap artist, Brandon Duncan, also known as Tiny Doo, with no criminal record faces life in prison for album lyrics. And here is the convoluted ‘logic’ behind the charge:

“We’re not just talking about a CD of anything, of love songs. We’re talking about a CD (cover) … there is a revolver with bullets,” Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna said, justifying his unconstitutional prosecution of the musician. Duncan is charged with “gang conspiracy” because his “gang gained in status” from crimes, and this – prosecutors argue – allowed him to “sell more albums.” [3]

The state of California wants to affirm in law that freedom of speech is a privilege, not a right. Apparently, prosecutors believe that writing lyrics about crime is a crime itself – and one punishable by a life sentence in prison. If we are to compare the case of Brandon Duncan and Charlie Hebdo ‘gross hypocrisy’ is the only phrase that springs to mind.

Of course the ‘free speech’ of Charlie Hebdo attacks the ruling class Christians, Jews etc but that is not used to justify the mass murder of hundreds of thousands. So you could defend the racism against Irish people because it was only a little fun and not understand how it justified the British army murders in Ireland? And those 1920s and 1930s anti Semitic cartoons; just a little fun and not ideological preparation for the Holocaust?

JakTheIrish

Ken Livingstone stated: “The clear message of the cartoon is that the Irish, as a race and as a community, are murderous, mindless thugs . . . I do not believe in free speech for racists . . . We will not put another penny into the Standard while they continue to vilify the Irish.”

Freedom of Expression and Racism

Charlie Hebdo is a right-wing libertarian magazine which promotes racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia. Whatever the origins of these journalists in the leftism 1968 and after since the 2001 9/11 attack they have become ever more the mouthpiece of French imperialism.

At the height of war in Ireland anti Irish jokes and racist cartoons were everywhere. The Evening Standard published one called, ‘The Irish’, by JAK, on 29 October 1982 and Ken Livingstone withdrew all GLC advertising from them.

The poster was featured with grotesque figures wielding a variety of gruesome weapons and was part of a wider series of images and writings that have appeared in the UK for over 100 years that have portrayed the Irish as apelike, stupid, violent etc.

The cartoon led to protests by the British Irish community and resulted in the GLC led by Ken Livingstone banning advertising (worth some £100,000 per year) in the Standard.

Ken Livingstone stated:

“The clear message of the cartoon is that the Irish, as a race and as a community, are murderous, mindless thugs . . . I do not believe in free speech for racists . . . We will not put another penny into the Standard while they continue to vilify the Irish.”

The purpose of the attacks was to portray the Irish as sub human savages and so make the British army killing of them acceptable. It is truly pathetic that those leftists who supported the stance taken by Livingstone then cannot do so now over Charlie Hebdo today.

NoNegros

In 1930s America when white people were burning black people on trees, whites could equally have used the argument that they, like Charlie Hebdo, attack all religions equally. After all, there were cartoons even about the American president! However, making insulting cartoons about white people who controlled the power structures was not the same as demonizing black people - a powerless underclass.

Imagery of black people being dumb, violent, lazy thieves who looked like monkeys - upheld a political reality, the very imagery re-enforced the prejudices of those in power and subjugated blacks. Until the 1950s, signs like no dogs, no Negros, no Mexicans were common markers of legally enforced laws of racial segregation in America. The Franck law against Muslim women wearing the veil/hijab is along those same lines.

The same with Jews in Nazi Germany — Imagine today’s spurious and conceited argument being used by the Nazi’s — could a German newspaper hide behind the claim it also made fun of white Germans? How unjustified that only the Jews complained so! After all, Germans didn’t complain when they were made fun of — those backward Jews and their greedy religion didn’t understand free speech!

This is the memory of a Jewish person of what it was like in Nazi Germany:

“My earliest personal encounter with anti-Semitism were the horrible cartoons of Jews in the official Nazi propaganda papers, “Das Schwarze Korps”, an SS paper, and “Der Vőlkische Beobachter”, displayed behind glass in showcases fixed at eye level to walls at street corners. They showed the most ugly Jews with the most enormous noses clad in either Russian-Bolshevik uniforms or with an “Uncle Sam” Stars and Stripes top hat and called Plutocrats, both apparently dominating the world, or trying to, profiting from exploiting good-looking innocent Germans. How unlike the truth!” [4]

NaziAntiSemitism

The Muslims of France and other European countries are suffering that same type of attacks today. As the Muslims of the Middle East and Afghanistan have been slaughtered in their hundreds of thousands by imperialist armies in the last few decades racism against Muslims justified this mass slaughter. We identify anti Muslim racism today as gelling with the imperialist slaughter in the Middle East and only superficially like the anti Christian and anti Semitic stuff, repulsive and reactionary as this is.

The French working class must defend the oppressed Muslims

The blogger Asghar Bukhari put it this way:

“White people don’t like to admit it, but those cartoons upheld their prejudice, their racism, their political supremacy, and cut it how you will — images like that upheld a political order built on discrimination. The Muslims today are a demonized underclass in France. A people vilified and attacked by the power structures. A poor people with little or no power and these vile cartoons made their lives worse and heightened the racist prejudice against them. Even white liberals have acted in the most prejudiced way. It was as if white people had a right to offend Muslims and Muslims had no right to be offended?” [5]

But we really do need a ‘health warning’ about this approach. “White people” are not the problem but Imperialism itself whose ideology does reach deep into the French working class, it is true. In line with this non-class approach Asghar Bukhari frequently confuses ‘Zionist’ with ‘Jew’ and therefore is open to the charge of anti-Semitism. And as an educated representative of the oppressed Muslims it really is not acceptable to confuse the two. The task of Marxists is to forge a programme of action to defend the Muslims of France and of Europe against the state and the far right by forging unity with the working class.

In this we concur entirely with the RCIT statement:

“A chief task for socialists in France and Europe now is to organize self-defense units in order to defend mosques and migrant districts against chauvinist attacks. It is equally urgent to build a broad united front against the anti-Muslim chauvinism. Finally, it is urgent to build a strong anti-war movement against the spreading imperialist war drive in the Middle East and in Africa.” [6]

Equally we concur with their condemnation of the French left like the French Communist party (PCF) whose national chauvinism has led them to support ‘national unity’ in effect that is their own ruling class attacks on Muslims. The NPA and Lutte Ouvrière, whilst couregeously defending the Muslims, were also wrong not to put the attack in its historical and political context:

“The RCIT severely condemns the French Communist Party (PCF) and many other so-called “leftist” groups for their support of Hollande’s pro-imperialist call for “national unity.” While the centrist forces – the NPA (whose leading forces are part of the Mandelite “Fourth International”) and Lutte Ouvrière – in their statements of January 7 have not joined Hollande’s reactionary “national unity,” they both condemn the attack on Charlie Hebdo as an attack on “freedom of expression.” At the same time, they fail to mention even in a single word the connection between this event and France’s imperialist wars against Muslim peoples, or its oppression and super-exploitation of migrants. In their statements, both of these centrist groups refer to their close relations with the journalists of Charlie Hebdo and thereby reveal their affiliation with the bourgeois-liberal milieu.” [7]

This collaboration and silence of the left is all the more appalling considering the history of French Imperialism’s exploitation of North Africa and the massacres both Muslim North Africa and Paris itself.

We summarise and quote from the article by Mawuna Remarque Koutonin in Wiki:

Still to this day fourteen African countries are forced to pay colonial tax for the benefits of slavery and colonization. The crucial confrontations were by De Gaulle with Guinea, Togo and Senegal, the rest were forced to follow suit. In 1958 the French left Guinea and destroyed all infrastructure when they left, crushing cars and leveling buildings in an orgy of destruction. The next up was Togo, who were forced to agree to pay an annual debt to France for the so called benefits Togo got from French colonization. Senegal scared about the consequence of choosing independence from France, Leopold Sédar Senghor the first president of Senegal declared: “The choice of the Senegalese people is independence; they want it to take place only in friendship with France, not in dispute.”From then on France accepted only an “independence on paper” for his colonies, but signed binding “Cooperation Accords”, detailing the nature of their relations with France, in particular ties to France colonial currency (the Franc), France educational system, military and commercial preferences. [8]

We recall the Paris massacre of up to 200 Algerians on 17 October 1961, during the Algerian War (1954–62). The Wiki article gives us a true picture of the nature of the French state and its police forces even today:

“Under orders from the head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, the French police attacked a forbidden demonstration of some 30,000 pro-FLN Algerians… Many demonstrators died when they were violently herded by police into the River Seine, with some thrown from bridges after being beaten unconscious. Other demonstrators were killed within the courtyard of the Paris police headquarters after being arrested and delivered there in police buses.

…Maurice Papon, who died in 2007, was the only Vichy France official to be convicted for his role in the deportation of Jews during World War Two. According to historian Jean-Luc Einaudi, a specialist in the 17 October 1961 massacre, some of the causes of the violent repression of the 17 October 1961 demonstration can best be understood in terms of the composition of the French police force itself, which still included many former members of the force in place during the World War II Vichy regime which had collaborated with the Gestapo to detain Jews, as for example in the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup of 16–17 July 1942.

…Encouraged by far-right deputy Jean-Marie Le Pen, (in March 1958) 2,000 of them attempted to enter the Palais Bourbon, seat of the National Assembly, with shouts of “Sales Juifs! A la Seine! Mort aux fellaghas!” (Dirty Jews! Into the Seine (river)! Death to the (Algerian) rebels!). With the recommendation of Minister of Interior Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, Maurice Papon was next day named prefect of the police.” [9]

Butchery by cowards

“Butchery by cowards” is what one Facebook post called the attack on Charlie Hebdo. But “Butchery by cowards” is dropping bombs from 20,000 feet on defenceless civilians because you never have to see their faces or look at what ‘doing your job’ does to built-up areas. The biggest cowards and butchers sit in the White House, Downing Street, the Élysée Palace and Tel Aviv. Their outraged victims’ relatives are often not very politically sussed on how to extract revolutionary justice from these mass murderers. They assassinate and target workers in imperialist countries who have no responsibility for what happened to them. And the imperialist spy agencies of the CIA, MI5, DGSE, Mossad etc. encourage and foster these methods by ‘false flag’ operations which are calculate to inflame sectarian tensions and strengthen the hand of the state against the oppressed.

The cause of the violence is imperialism not religious fundamentalism. Of course a revolutionary government would have to tackle this real problem sensitivity to separate the secondary oppressors from their victims, defend the peasants from the landlords, women from the imposition of the veil etc. But never, never as an ally of the ‘civilising mission’ of imperialism, never be taken in by that peace and democracy bullshit which only puts double chains on these oppressed people. That is unforgivable in Ukraine, in Palestine, in the whole of the Middle East and the whole semi-colonial world. The contrast between the bureaucratic/Stalinist/liberal imperialist approach to religion and the Marxist approach as practiced by the early Comintern is outline here in the 1997 document:

Afghanistan: Marxist Method vs. Bureaucratic method, By Gerry Downing 1997. The following quote indicates the tasks that a reforged Fourth International would face in these lands and how to tackle them:

“It took fifteen years of warfare to subdue the uprisings in the Soviet Central Asian republics caused in the main by Menshevik and Stalinist bureaucratic methods. Some conflict was and is inevitable if the power of the Mullahs, Khans and fundamentalists is again to be broken in the countries of Soviet Central Asia and in Afghanistan, Iran through to Algeria. What terrible price humanity must pay for the marginalisation of the transitional method of the Bolsheviks and the triumph of the counter-revolutionary bureaucratic methods of fighting reaction of Stalinism and petty-bourgeois nationalism in these states.” [10]

We defy anyone to say the cartoon of the kidnapped Nigerian women is not a vile racist, Islamophobic, sexist piece of French imperialist propaganda. It has a double meaning which suggests that the young women are ‘finally’ angry because of their benefits being removed and did not mind being kidnapped and repeatedly raped.

Islamophobia is the “racism du Jour” in the current political climate. And Charlie Hebdo lobbed in the anti Russian stuff on the Ukraine to make sure no one doubted where their true pro-Imperialist political loyalties lay.

Notes

[1] Trotsky, Leon. Why Marxists Oppose Individual Terrorism, (November 1911), http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1911/11/tia09.htm

[2] WSWS, “Free Speech” hypocrisy in the aftermath of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/09/pers-j09.html

[3] Rap Artist With No Criminal Record Faces Life In Prison For Album Lyrics, November 19, 2014, http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/11/rap-artist-with-no-criminal-record-faces-life-in-prison-for-album-lyrics/

[4] The Family Brichta, http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/survivor/brichta1.html

[5] https://medium.com/@asgharbukhari/charlie-hebdo-this-attack-was-nothing-to-do-with-free-speech-it-was-about-war-26aff1c3e998.

[6] Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 9.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net

[7] Ibid.

[8] 14 African Countries Forced by France to Pay Colonial Tax For the Benefits of Slavery and Colonization, By Mawuna Remarque Koutonin http://www.siliconafrica.com/france-colonial-tax/

[9] Paris massacre of 1961, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_massacre_of_1961

[10] Afghanistan: Marxist Method vs. Bureaucratic method, By Gerry Downing 1997, http://socialistfight.com/2014/08/15/afghanistan-marxist-method-vs-bureaucratic-method-by-gerry-downing-1997/