Comments on the article, The return of the Russian Revolution By Gerry Downing 24/7/14

 

Victor Serge reverted to his anti-Bolshivism in his later years, invoking Trotsky’s anger by supporting the Spanish Anarchists who betrayed the Spanish Revolution. This is the Serge the Praxis Centre is using, not the Serge who rejected Anarchism to become a Bolshevik after 1917

This article appears on the Moscow Praxis Centre’s website. [1] Kirill Buketov, who spoke in defence of the Euro Maidan and the Kiev government on John McDonnell’s invite on 9 July in the House of Commons is from the Praxis Centre in Moscow, an affiliate of the Global Labour Institute. It is a neo-liberal tract which is attempting to organise a “colour revolution” in Russia to assist US finance capital to overthrow the Putin government and allow Imperialism’s unhindered penetration into Russia. The article is replete with passages and sentences which reveal its true agenda, although always the author seeks to hide this behind a gloss of ‘peace and democracy’ type phrases. The author obvious has had a left political education, quoting Marx on Bonapartism and Trotsky’s Transitional Programme at the end ‘The laws of history are more powerful than any bureaucratic apparatus.’ We can assure our readers that this author is neither a Marxist nor a Trotskyist but objectively a spokesperson for the US State Department.

The Praxis Centre in Moscow is a section of the Global Labour Institute and their programme is:

  • To study left (anti-totalitarian) social and political thought as well as the historical experience of workers’ and other liberation movements;
  • To develop and disseminate radical humanist, internationalist, democratic socialist and libertarian ideas;
  • To assist social movements fighting for human rights and freedoms, social justice, popular self-government and self-management.

That locates it as a libertarian, anti-Marxist, anti-communist NGO. Very helpfully the Global Labour Institute provides a link to the British Labour party and the first thing we find on clicking there is an article by one Richard Fletcher. The introduction explains “The following article was commissioned by the Sunday Times Magazine in 1972 and was withdrawn from publication at the last minute, as it was already in print, by its editor, Harold Evans, who, having read it, exclaimed: “But these are the people (the CIA we assume – GD) we support!”.

 

sir harold evans

It describes just how the CIA did their dirty work in the Labour party. We can only assume it was posted by a radical or revolutionary mole to prompt us to examine the source of funding of the Praxis Centre in Moscow and the Global Labour Institute. Only an idiot would think, ‘that was then, they don’t do any of that stuff today, what they did in 1972 is not what they do now’ particularly as we know the USA has the biggest embassy and the most CIA agents in the world right here in London. Here are some of the best bits:

“The cloak and dagger operations of America’s Central Intelligence Agency are only a small part of its total activities. Most of its 2000 million-dollar budget and 80,000 personnel (any figures for today? GD) are devoted to the systematic collection of information – minute personal details about tens of thousands of politicians and political organisations in every country in the world, including Britain. And this data, stored in the world’s largest filing system at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, is used not only to aid Washington’s policy-machine, but in active political intervention overseas – shaping the policies of political parties, making and unmaking their leaders, boosting one internal faction against another and often establishing rival breakaway parties when other tactics fail.

“…The principal union official in these secret commando operations had been Jay Lovestone, a remarkable operator who had switched from being the leader of the American Communist Party to working secretly for the US Government. And as the Allied armies advanced, Lovestone’s men followed the soldiers as political commissars, trying to make sure that the liberated workers were provided with trade union and political leaders acceptable to Washington – many of these leaders being the émigrés of the Socialist Commentary group. In France, Germany, Italy and Austria the commissars provided lavish financial and material support for moderate Socialists who would draw the sting from Left-wing political movements and the beneficiaries from this assistance survive in European politics to this day – though that is another story.

“…The importance of this dramatically reborn publication for British and European Labour parties was that it now began openly to advocate the infiltration of foreign socialist parties, echoing the arguments of James Burnham who, in his book The Coming Defeat of Communism, proposed that “the Western World, led by the United States should go over to the offensive by using the same sort of methods – open and covert – that the Kremlin has so massively employed”. Allan Flanders contributed an article to the revamped magazine on the British Labour Movement, and in 1954 Denis Healey, who had entered Parliament as a Labour MP in 1952, became the New Leader’s London correspondent.

…The Congress seemed to have unlimited funds which were said to come from Jay Lovestone’s union in America, and CCF, as it came to be known, was soon organising political seminars and student exchanges, and publishing literature on a world-wide basis… “ [2]

Now does this not exactly describe the activities of the Praxis Centre Moscow and Global Labour Institute? And now look at the neo-liberal future the Praxis Centre in Moscow wants for its Russian revolution:

“The objective task of the democratic revolution in Russia consists in liberating civil society from the authoritarian and bureaucratic yoke, in creating a political space where all social forces can express their interests. In the long term, this will permit the void on the left wing of the political milieu in Russia to be filled. The absence of an organized left movement (outside of tiny Trotskyist and anarchist groups) cannot continue for a long time, and the different Stalinists and phoney ‘social democrats’ of ‘Just Russia’ party parading as Leftists are not up to filling the bill. Today already, 17% of the protesters identify with the non-Communist Left. Their position is not yet represented politically. But sooner or later, the consolidation of the democratic left forces that are anti-totalitarian, internationalist and defend human rights and the rights of the workers must begin.”

Take the following passages from the Praxis article:

“The collapse of the party-state and the formation of nation-states on the ruins of the Soviet empire marked the advent of a bourgeois-democratic revolution. But this revolution only partly carried out its work of radically democratizing the political system and expropriating its ruling class, the bureaucracy”

So Yeltsin’s counter-coup of 1991 was a real bourgeois-democratic revolution that went dreadfully wrong, was it? We strongly suggest it was a real counter-revolution that went right! It wasn’t successful, according to this fantastic scenario, because it “only partly carried out its work of radically democratizing the political system.” Yeltsin, the timid revolutionary, did not hand over the entire economy to the USA, just the majority and so he failed in his radical democratic tasks! It really is beyond comprehension to attempt to portray the drunken Mafia gangster Yeltsin who wrecked the entire USSR economy by robbing its assets and giving them to his mates, who was responsible for destroying the schools and health care system such that male life expectance dropped by ten years and who did everything he could to please the USA and the EU as a leader of a “bourgeois-democratic revolution”. He then demonstrates his lack of any Marxist understanding by referring to the “ruling class, the bureaucracy”. A bureaucracy is not a ruling class; bureaucrats are administrators, nor owners of private property. Classes are defined by their relationship to the mode of production – if they own it they are capitalists, if they have nothing to sell but their labour power they are working class.

It really is beyond comprehension to attempt to portray the drunken Mafia gangster Yeltsin who wrecked the entire USSR economy by robbing its assets and giving them to his mates, who was responsible for destroying the schools and health care system such that male life expectance dropped by ten years and who did everything he could to please the USA and the EU as a leader of a “bourgeois-democratic revolution”

 

And the next extract:

 

“Having completed the process of privatization toward the end of the ‘90s, the ruling class wanted a stable system, an ‘order’ that would guarantee the continuance, the ‘conservation,’ of the new status quo. So it no longer needed the liberal elements of the political regime which enabled the elite groups to express their positions and compete during the period of the redistribution of property.”

So the much admired Yeltsin, the defenders of “the liberal elements of the political regime” (including the shelling of the democratically-elected parliament), was abandoned and the dreadful Putin was advanced:

“So Putin became the unique centre of real power, elections to ruling institutions were de facto eliminated, the party system was replaced by a group of puppets subservient to the Kremlin, the media were transformed into a propaganda machine, etc.”

As opposed to a group of puppets subservient to Washington, the real basis of our scribe’s complaints. After the Golden Age of Boris things went from bad to worse, the article explains, omitting to tell us that this was when the CIA lost influence in the Kremlin and coincidentally when it all went wrong for Buketov and his mates. But help is at hand, the author assures us:

“This (splits in the ruling class – GD) was one of the important causes of the success of the Russian revolutions in February 1917 and August 1991, as well as the ‘velvet’ revolutions in East Europe and the ‘colour’ revolutions in the ex-USSR.”

So the great Russian Revolution, bitterly opposed by the entire capitalist class of the world, 14 invading armies on 23 fronts, remember? is just like the Yeltsin’s “revolution” and all the “colour” revolutions since although these were greeted enthusiastically by every reactionary Imperialist and reformist politician and by not a few bogus leftists groups and individuals like the author of this article. And let not the thought of socialist revolution or permanent revolution after that enter your heads, that stuff is just not on our sage commentator assures us:

“Objectively speaking, the nature of this revolution is determined in advance: today it can only be political and democratic. Russian society is not ready to go further; distinct social groups that are conscious of their own interests have not yet defined themselves within it, which is quite understandable given long decades of totalitarian atomization, a serious economic recession and then Bonapartism. Society is still not structured, so there is no reason to expect miracles. The revolution will not solve social-economic problems right away. But it can create the political and institutional conditions for their solution, more favourable to social struggles. Political freedom and democracy are not a panacea – but without them no serious improvement of the social order in the interest of the great majority of working people is possible.”

He has already referred approvingly to Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004 and is now obliged to distance himself from the ultra-reactionaries who support his own reactionary position:

“This is why the membership on the organizing committee of the protest demonstrations of individuals like Thor (Kralin) — the apologist for the assassins of Markelov and Baburova who is linked with Nazi underground structures – is a serious mistake on the part of the leaders of the democratic movement.”

Like in the Maidan he needs to ‘de-Nazify’ his ‘democracy’ to appeal to the masses. But if we overthrow Putin things might get worse than they are now? Not a chance the author assures us:

“Putinism is a natural result of Elitism, and its collapse would take away with it the whole political construction that it was based on. The ‘super-presidential’ Constitution of 1993 was the basis of today’s Bonapartism. There is little doubt that radical democratization would bend back the balance of powers in favour of the parliament. And even if Russia doesn’t become a parliamentary republic, in one manner or another, the people will have more influence on the formation of the government, so they will be able to block the road of discredited figures like Kassianov and of open spokesmen for the interests of big business like Prokhorov. The objective task of the democratic revolution in Russia consists in liberating civil society from the authoritarian and bureaucratic yoke, in creating a political space where all social forces can express their interests.”

That passage means that the task of the revolution is to give a friendly welcome to US finance capital and if the country is carpet bombed and the land is devastated like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Eastern Ukraine it will be a small price to pay for that freedom to embrace liberal values (for the rich and powerful only, our author forgets to add). And coincidentally that is the message every CIA employee is obliged to give. But Putin might appeal to the working class to save him? No chance these contemptible “street sweepers” will get a look in our petty bourgeois reactionary assures us:

“The ruling group may well stage-manage demonstrations by street-sweepers under the slogan ’Fuck the Revolution!’– Such feeble ploys only indicate the febrile agitation that precedes death, the senile fear of the ineluctable end. ‘The laws of history are more powerful than any bureaucratic apparatus.’”

And mark the final flourish – a quote from Trotsky to bless this vile counterrevolutionary project. Just how stupid does this author think we all are?

Notes

[1] The return of the RUSSIAN revolution, Nature and Perspectives of the Wave of Social Protest in Russia, http://www.praxiscenter.ru/about_us/english//

[2] British Labour Party, Who Were They Travelling With? – by Richard Fletcher (1972)http://www.globallabour.info/en/2010/06/who_were_they_travelling_with.html

 

Eddie Dempsey’s account of the London Ukraine events of 9 July supplemented by Gerry Downing

 

The picket of the EU Commission in Smith Square, Westminister, London on 9 July

 

 

Eddie Dempsey, branch Secretary of Paddington No. 1 branch RMT made the following report of the Picket of the EU Commission on 9 July at 6pm and the intervention of supporters of the Solidarity with Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine in the House of Commons meeting at 7pm. I have added in names he did not know and expanded at the end as he had to leave early and missed some of the meeting.

Eddie’s report:

Following our successful protest outside the EU building in Smith Square (between 50 and 60 in attendance – GD) some of our party made our way over to parliament to attend the Socialist Solidarity with Ukraine’s meeting hosted by John McDonnell MP advertised as a discussion forum on ‘Ukraine – the alternative road ahead’. 30 of us arrived shortly after the meeting had started during a talk by Kirill Buketov of the Praxis Centre Moscow and the global labour institute. I didn’t hear enough of his speech to give a full appraisal though he did seem to be reaching the end of an argument that the euro-Maidan movement did not support IMF restructuring of the Ukrainian economy or austerity. He was also speaking about the Kiev government in terms of ‘the democratic will of the Ukrainian people’. Once he had finished John McDonnell opened up questions to the floor, I addressed John McDonnell directly, introducing myself as RMT Paddington No. 1 branch Secretary, saying: “You chair our (RMT) parliamentary group and should be aware our union is affiliated nationally to the SARU campaign following an AGM decision yet you are here with this campaign who are supportive of the euro-Maidan movement and the Kiev junta who have openly fascist MPs, have no democratic mandate, have banned the Communist Party, are responsible for the massacre at Odessa and are carrying out atrocities in a military campaign against a civilian population in the South and East of the country.”

He responded angrily by asking me to produce a single statement he had made in support of the Kiev Government and stated that the RMT had brought Kirill Buketov to the UK and that he is to address our political school. I have checked at Unity House and can confirm Mr. Bukatov has not been invited to speak at any RMT political education events nor has the RMT any involvement with him whatsoever. Another member of socialist solidarity with Ukraine spoke to say they do not support the Kiev government.

Gerry Downing then spoke to say that on founding statement of the socialist solidarity with Ukraine expressed support for the Kiev regime, he was shouted down and again was told that the campaign did not support the Kiev regime, Chris Ford read the aims of the campaign to the meeting and again asserted that the campaign does not support the Kiev regime. Gerry was adamant that the statement read out was not the one he had read on the internet, he made a further point about the campaign referring to the military onslaught on the South and East as an “anti-terrorist operation” one of our group, a woman from Donbas also took offence at the terminology. The statement Gerry was referring, which is in fact a report from their founding meeting can be accessed here: http://www.ukrainesolidarity.co.uk/#!about_us/cjg9 I believe the specific passages that give this impression are: “Participants noted that, while much attention has been focussed on the Anti-Terrorist Operation of the Kyiv Government and the the separatist movement in the eastern oblasts…” And “Protests will also be organised at the Russian Embassy and the offices of the European Union to demand cancellation of the Ukrainian government’s debt…”

A woman who I took to be Ukrainian then stood and asked our group “how many of us were Ukrainian?” to which a number of our group raised their hands. A member of our group then stood and announced he was from a new country, neither Ukraine nor Russia – but “Novorossiya” which seemed to cause a stir. The woman left soon afterwards. Another of their group from Lambeth left unity spoke (this was Stuart King – GD) to say the number of things our campaigns agree on outnumber those we don’t, and that perhaps we should agree a joint statement. They then went back to Kirill to answer some of the points where he sort of made a focus of Russian interference and that they were not supportive of the IMF or the proposed austerity measures. Kevin O’Hanrahan then made the point that “they should stop banging on about Russia, Russia are effectively out of it, they got what they want and now they aren’t the problem, we should be focusing on the fascists in power”

Another speaker (this was Chris Ford – GD) who said he’d been writing about Ukraine for a number of years made a lengthy speech on Russia’s interference in Ukraine and the presence of Pavel Gubarov a Neo Nazi he said was in the leadership of the Lughansk people’s republic. One of our Ukrainian women began to answer back and there was some to and fro and I left at that point.

Eddie’s account ends here.

On the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ now the clarity emerges. The first three paragraphs ARE the Founding Statement and the rest, the stuff where they revealed their political prejudices, is just an account of the meeting, an addendum to the statement and not the statement itself. No one signed up to this account but no one distanced themselves from it either until I brought it up in the Brent and Harrow LRC where Pete Firmin made the scholastic distinction, (scholastic thought is also known for rigorous conceptual analysis and the careful drawing of distinctions, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?) which I did not understand because I never imagined anyone would stoop to such chicanery. So the words complained of were there before the people reading out the statement but they chose to ignore them. And they ARE supporters of both the Maidan and the Kiev government because it is not just words but deeds that tell the tale. As Richard Brenner’s letter to John McDonnell MP demands:

As you have affirmed the USSC’s opposition to the Kiev government, we would now ask that you undertake some action in pursuit of these goals, namely that that you publicly denounce, without qualification, the Ukrainian army and National Guard’s offensive in Donestk and Lugansk, demand that the Right Sector paramilitary officers responsible for the Odessa murders be brought to justice, oppose the NATO manoeuvres in Ukraine this summer, and call on the British government and the EU to end its support for the Kiev regime.

We can be confident that there will be no favourable response to this challenge. Moreover strong support was expressed at the meeting for the Maidan movement itself, although its “contradictions” were acknowledged. In fact the government is not fascist, it is a US puppet junta which contains fascist minister but is to the left of the Maidan, which has now become an outright fascist movement. It demonstrated to end the ceasefire when the Southeast demonstrated for peace. It sends its forcers to commit White Terror atrocities against civilians and the left in the Southeast. They murdered the 48 anti-fascists in the trade union house in Odessa on 2 May. They are fascists.

Eddie’s ends his account where the most disgraceful incidents of the night began. The Ukrainian woman he referred to complained about the fighters in the Southeast being called terrorists, and another woman later spoke of the actions of the Kiev junta, they had banned the Russian language (not true, the pro-Maidan hecklers shouted at her, in fact the parliament had banned it but the President vetoed the law, no doubt on US instructions; the intention was clear), they were banning the use of Russian names and they were changing all the history books in the schools to reflect their bigotry (more heckling and derision). When the hecklers shouted at her that Gubarev, People’s Governor of the Donetsk Region, was a fascist she explained that he was fighting for the people there and she had to support him. This drew more hoots of derision for the pro-Maidan mob. In particular both Bridget Dunne and I were outraged at the derision that Simon Pirani was pouring on these courageous women and we let him know it – we had all been members of the WRP under Gerry Healy but he was one of the central leaders and we were rank and filers – “the working class have the shit on the outside but the middle class have it inside” Bridget remarked at his actions.

It is well known that Gubarev was once a neo-Nazi and he has recently become involved with the LaRouchies but we would question if he or they are fascists. Fascism is not simply a far right reactionary movement, it is an organisation dedicated to smashing the organised working class to restore the rate of profit of Imperialism. He is presenting himself now as an anti-fascist and in a certain sense he is; he does not pull down statues of Lenin, nor outlaw red flags or communist parties, as the Maidan fascists do, let alone seek to smash trade unions. He is forced to fight Imperialism with almost no assistance from Russia. One interview with him in the bourgeois press says his office is plastered with posters of Guevara and Hugo Chavez. That would be highly unusual for a fascist.

The derision of the pro-Maidan crew amounted to a demand that the population in the Southeast expel their leaders and surrender. In fact it is always the case that those whom US imperialism want to attack and murder must first be demonised by the capitalist mass media and by the chauvinist apologists for Imperialism within the workers movement, Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, Al-Maliki are just the recent examples. With no shortage of former leftists to parrot their propaganda and hail their bogus “revolutions”.

Bridget Dunne spoke just after Eddie left: Bombs dropping tonight in Palestine and Ukraine, both courtesy of US Imperialism which hasn’t been mentioned once here. Yet McCain and Nuland were in Maidan and Joe Biden sat in the Ukrainian President’s seat after the coup – what would the outrage be if Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was to be seen in say Mexico or Canada? Fascists have been used by US Imperialism in the same way they use Whabhi jihadist forces in other parts of the world they want to control. Why doesn’t the left call another Maidan but this time to stop the slaughter of their brothers and sisters and the children in the South and East?

Nina Potarskaya of the “Left Opposition” spoke via Skype in a very boring and uninspiring way. Duncan Chapel outlined some of her points in the Socialist Resistance website:

“Nina observed that social tensions are only increasing. In the confrontations, she explained, things have escalated into patriotic hysteria in both sides. This benefits only the oligarchs and the far right forces who have unprecedented support in society. She explained how the revolutionaries oppose the drawing of neo-Nazis into the Ukrainian government forces and also call on the citizens of Luhgansk to bring down the Russian ultra-nationalists.”

This is an accurate account of the politics of the group which must be very careful not to take sides lest they offend their hosts, the Euro-Maidan fascists and the Kiev junta. This was further clarified when Gerry Downing quoted from the Left Opposition statement on the Odessa massacre which said: “We are unable at the present time to name the people responsible for these murders, their organisations or groups. However, we can see the political consequences of the Odessa massacre and we cannot but see that left wing political organisations are among those that carry political responsibility for it.” And he then asked if Nina had discovered by now who was responsible for the murder of 48 anti-fascists in the Trade Union House in Odessa? She took about five minutes to say no. Simon Pirani intervened to take even longer also to proclaim that the identity of the murderers was unknown. You can see from the extract that the Left Opposition is speculating that the anti-fascists may have killed themselves, presumably to make the Kiev government look bad.

Of course the Left Opposition cannot say that the Maidan fascists carried out the massacre, even though the fascists themselves openly boast about it online, because it is a legal party in Kiev precisely because of its pro-Maidan stance and its defence of the Kiev government whom it wants to transform into a socialist government by “de-Nazifying” it. This act of political alchemy is deemed possible so they can still appear as leftist but also get permission from the Maidan to stand their candidates in Kiev. The fascists would allow no genuine leftists to stand in any elections; they attacked the Communist party in the parliament itself and are intent on banning it. And what candidates the Left Opposition have: Pavlo Vezdenetsky, Zakhar Popovych, Mykola Vlasov and Nina Potarska

Pasha Vezdenetsky

 

And here is the emblem on the Facebook page of Pasha Vezdenetsky of the Left Opposition, it is clear that his pretentions to Trotskyism of any description are as bogus as that of Zakhar Popovych, the international fraudster who in 2003 ripped off between 12 and 20 far left groups in Britain and the US by claiming to be their Ukraine section, all at the same time!

 

Bridget Dunne comment on them:

As you may already know Nina Potarska’s ‘comrades’ in the LO include Zakhar Popovych, a well known fraudster and Pavlo Vezdenetsky. Pavlo (unlike the USSC) doesn’t bother to hide his US Imperialist motivations (a point I made when I spoke) nor his reactionary Nationalism on his FB page: [1] Note not only the icon (US-Ukrainian flag) – the first post today – “I’m going to Carpathians to learn experience of the Banderites” [2] The post of 5 July “Avakov [interior minister] and Filatov state that they didn’t eliminated the column of Slavyansk militia of Girkin and let it come out from Slavyansk because there were 200 women and children in the column. So, does it mean that a column with women and children can freely come towards Kiev?” – complains the ‘left candidate’ about the fact that column of refugees was not eliminated.

The “left” cover for the USSC is the Left Opposition, a gang of fraudsters who alibi the Maidan and Kiev fascists whilst hypocritically proposing to “de-Nazify” them. The SARU supports the leftist Borotba who are heroically fighting the fascists. We have no problem supporting these genuine leftist anti-fascists against these fraudsters of the Left Opposition.

Notes

[1] Pasha Vezdenetsky, https://www.facebook.com/pasha.vezdenetsky?fref=ufi

[2] Who Was Stepan Bandera?, by Norman J.W. Goda: “On January 22, 2010 Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko honoured Stepan Bandera by posthumously bestowing on him the state honour, “Hero of Ukraine… (President Viktor Yanukovych annulled the decree in January 2011 after a long legal and political struggle—GD)… Bandera, his deputies, and the Nazis shared a key obsession, namely the notion that the Jews in Ukraine were behind Communism and Stalinist imperialism and must be destroyed.  “The Jews of the Soviet Union,” read a Banderist statement, “are the most loyal supporters of the Bolshevik Regime and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in the Ukraine.”  When the Germans invaded the USSR in June 1941 and captured the East Galician capital of Lvov, Bandera’s lieutenants issued a declaration of independence in his name.  They further promised to work closely with Hitler, then helped to launch a pogrom that killed four thousand Lvov Jews in a few days, using weapons ranging from guns to metal poles.  “We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet,” a Banderist pamphlet proclaimed to Ukrainian Jews. But whatever their disappointment with the Germans, the Banderists never disagreed with their Jewish policy in Ukraine, which eventually killed over 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews.” http://hnn.us/article/122778

 

The Chile Coup of 1973 and the Communist Party’s “Historic Compromise” By Yao Wenyuan

Chilean Army troops positioned on a rooftop fire on the La Moneda Palace 11 September 1973 in Santiago, during the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet which overthrew Chilean constitutional president Salvador Allende, who died in the attack on the palace. AFP photo

Chilean Army troops positioned on a rooftop fire on the La Moneda Palace 11 September 1973 in Santiago, during the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet which overthrew Chilean constitutional president Salvador Allende, who died in the attack on the palace. AFP photo

 

It has been over 40 years since a coup d’état put an end to the Allende government in Chile. The main blow of the coup and its “raison d’être” (main reason), was aimed principally against the rise and embryonic (in its beginning) revolutionary consciousness of the working class, the peasantry and some low layers of the petit bourgeoisie. It was as savage and violent as to “cut every head that overpass” as the reactionaries and imperialism needed.

Its form was that of the overthrow of a reformist alliance of petit-bourgeois-workers parties named Unidad Popular (UP, Popular Unity) lead by the Chilean communist party and the right wing of the socialist party. This people lead an adventurous, albeit reformist policy that brought the masses and their militant leaders to the slaughterhouse.

Chile in 1970-73 was a country that had a fighting working class on the rise, but they followed the UP coalition. The socialist party, Allende’s party, was a conglomerate with a very “revolutionary” language but no internal discipline, full of factions and tendencies, useless to any other activity than winning and working for elections. It was the principal left party in terms of “loose” militancy, local authorities and MPs.

The Communist party, was totally subservient to the bureaucratic Soviet party, and developed first of all, since 1934, what was a form of the Euro communist policy, later adopted by almost every European communist party (Italy, Spain, France and Greece were the more important). But it has a large and disciplined militant following in unions, and other working organizations and suburbs.

During the 60s and later this Euro communist policy took the form of the “peaceful road to socialism”. In fact it has been the bloodiest ever in the long history of military massacres’ of the Chilean workers. This stubborn “Menshevik” policies has been put forward by the CP mainly because they don’t believe that in the conditions of Latin America it was possible a socialist revolution against US imperialism.

O. Millas was the theoretical leader of the party and was very close to the CPSU. On several occasion he wrote that at most it can be possible to make some reforms to “modernize Chile” if, and only if, it “could be possible to unite a large number of social classes to isolate the “momios” (reactionaries)” and to neutralize the imperialists. For this, his strategy was to achieve a “Historic Compromise” with the Christians Democrats, the big center-right party. This conception went through the whole government of Allende and the UP.

The problem of actually putting into action this policy was not only the opposition of US imperialism and the reactionaries, but also the working class which has begun to wake up and was fighting for what they thought was “socialism”. In fact the UP government enacted as many reforms as were possible, held back as they were by the compromises they had made with the state apparatus and the center right parties who had access to this government.

They were a number of very serious reforms but all within the framework of Chilean capitalism. A large agrarian reform, the nationalization of the mineral riches of the country, the passage to the state of the whole banking system were important achievements. These measures, undertaken at the beginning of the Allende government, raised the enthusiasm and support of the working class that also had seen its wages and pensions increased by 40% and more.

But, at the same time and in a very scientific way, reactionaries and imperialism begun to develop a full scale plan to oppose these reforms. Not only because it impinged very seriously on their interest but, for the imperialists, it signified an incursion into their “reserved back yard”. They moved then to put every possible obstacle in place against the “Historic Compromise” which they saw not only as an entrance of their arch foe, the “revisionist” or “bureaucratic” URSS, but also they feared “Chaos” or a social revolution.

They then organized every form of boycott of the Allende’s government, from refusing all credits, to maneuvers to lower the value of copper, the main resource of Chile, to supporting every reactionary newspaper, or a military putsch or the strike of the middle classes against Allende.

Allende won the first elections with more than a 50% majority but they refused to go and further forward, in opposition to its political supporters on the left of (mainly the left leader of the PS party, Altamirano). The MIR, a “focus” ultra-left group (mainly students and petit-bourgeois with some very small support amongst peasants and the lower layers of the sub-proletariat) conducted the same policy, not understanding that the real leaders of the PC and consequently of the UP didn’t want any “socialism” at all but a Historic Compromise. [1]

Only the “Marxist-Leninist” PCR understands this, but its tactics, and their dogmatism prevent them to have any significant development. Those three year were just a deepening on this same process. The masses pressing for more. The government trying to stop this movement and to compromise with the Christian Democrats. The imperialist and the reactionaries trying and succeeding in retaining the DC completely under the domination of the imperialists

Pinochet with Pope John Paul II in 1987

The DC and the National Party (the conservatives and liberal assembled together in one party) made every legal and illegal move to paralyze production, halt the investments, deprive the population of their daily requirements of the food by the controlling distribution, and by using every constituent body of the State (the judiciary, accounts, courts, police and parliament so that not a single law could be passed, etc.) and by promoting military uprisings as often as they could. There were at least six attempts in three years.

In 1972 they triggered a “lorry strike” that paralyzed Chile. Chile is a very narrow country with only one motorway and one railway line all the length of the country, more than 2,000 miles. That bosses’ strike was defeated by the spontaneous mobilization of the masses; the rank and file UP members, the MIR and the PCR.

The answer of the government, instead of pushing the advantage, was to set up a bureaucratic ministry compromising the military and the trade unions. Three months latter, in April 1973 , there were elections for parliament. The DC-right coalition believe they could win by a sufficient margin to depose Allende but the masses who at that moment didn’t want a fight because they didn’t have to and did not have organization nor the political direction to win, increased the vote for the UP coalition up to 44%. That was a “triumph” which the UP leaders didn’t expect, so big was the propaganda campaign of the reactionaries.

This “defeat” of the tactic of reaction make for the turn to the coup d’état. Every Chilean knew six months in advance that the coup was in the making and was expected…soon… This put a survival question to every union leader, every militant, even every sympathizer of the “left”.

The MIR and Altamirano, leader of the PS, makes very “revolutionary” speeches…but nothing more. The MIR because they have neither the forces nor the ideas to do it, the PS because they were always talking very high but in the real world they followed the CP policy like lambs to the slaughter. Altamirano is a Chilean Largo Caballero. [2]

When the coup came, in many places workers asked for arms to fight. There were none and in the very rarest places where there were arms, the people fought valiantly only to find themselves without direction, without support and at the end of the day without ammunition. The dictatorship could boast they have “vanquished Marxism-Leninism”. In fact they have vanquished an irresponsible, adventurous, Menshevik, revisionist policy that had led the masses, the left militants and their membership to defeat, repression, torture and death.

The working classes lost 60% of its income but the agrarian reform was completed and the dictatorship finished the work of transforming Chilean agriculture from small peasant ownership into a capitalist agriculture. The mines were not sold by the Junta; it was the “Democratic Consultation” (a coalition of the DC, the far right of the PS and others) who gave it back to the US companies But the masses suffered 16 years of repression, the destruction of the labour movement, no bourgeois democracy, and the rule of terror.

The “Democratic Consultation” governed Chile for more than 20 years, but maintained all the counter reforms of Pinochet: The health system, the welfare system, pension provisions, the Pinochet Constitution, the anti-union laws, even his political repression against those who opposed capitalism arms in hand (some ultra-left groups who fought also the dictatorship). There are more than 99 extra-juridical murders by the police of the Consultation which has mounted “The Offensive” to persecute the same ones which the dictatorship had persecuted.

In fact, this “Consultation” which came to power after an agreement with Pinochet, the armed forces and the US embassy, continued in a milder way the same policy as Pinochet. There were more public liberties and no one was persecuted by their opinions, but everyone who really fights as the impressive student movement that has lasted more than two years now, as the “mapuches”, the native people who have fought for their lands, are still very much oppressed and their ancient territories are occupied by the military police.

 

Michelle Bachelet
Michelle Bachelet foto campaña.jpg
(2013)
President of Chile
Incumbent
Assumed office
11 March 2014
Preceded by Sebastián Piñera

General elections were held in Chile on 17 November 2013, including presidential, parliamentary and regional elections. Voters went to the polls to elect:

Today after a right wing government which people voted in four years ago because they were fed up with those “socialists” and “democrats”, lost the elections held on 17 November 2013.

The former Socialist party (PS) president Michelle Bachelet presidential election did not get the absolute majority in the first round but won 62% in the runoff election on 15 December defeating right winger Evelyn Matthei Independent Democratic Union.

In the parliamentary elections, the New Majority coalition (backing Bachelet’s candidacy) won back control of both chambers of Congress, winning 12 of the 20 contested seats in the Senate, for a total of 21 out of 38 total seats, and 67 of the 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. [3}

The PC, supported Michelle Bachelet , in a “new” form of their eternal and fatal Historic Compromise

Notes

[1] The Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) (Spanish Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria) is a Chilean political organization and former far-left guerrilla organization founded on October 12, 1965. At its height in 1973, the MIR numbered some 10,000 members and associates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Left_Movement_%28Chile%29

[2] Francisco Largo Caballero, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Francisco Largo Caballero (15 October 1869 – 23 March 1946) was a Spanish politician and trade unionist. He was one of the historic leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and of the Workers’ General Union (UGT). In 1936 and 1937 Caballero served as the Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War.”

He is blamed by Trotskyists for the defeat of the Civil War in Spain (1936-39) because he opposed revolution, the only way Franco could have been defeated., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Largo_Caballero

[3] Wikipedia, Chilean general election, 2013, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilean_general_election,_2013

 

Eight Indices of US-led World Imperialism Socialist Fight 23/7/14

 

 

Two Supercarriers Side By Side Look Awesome But It's Very Bad News

These are the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS John C. Stennis, two of the ten nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft supercarriers in service with the United States Navy

  1. The US Dollar: It is the trading currency for oil and almost every other commodity in the world. However there is a challenge now; Wiki: “the New Development Bank… is (a) multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as an alternative to the existing World Bank and International Monetary Fund. ” The position of the dollar has given the US an enormous economic and political advantage over its rivals. Wars against Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine today are primarily launched to protect this privileged position which enables it to rob every other nation. This is the main driving force towards WWIII.
  2. The world’s leading financial centres: New York tops the list with London very close behind in second-place followed by Hong Kong and Singapore. according the Global Financial Centres Index 15, March 2014. New York and London have dominated global finance for the past couple of centuries. http://www.longfinance.net/images/GFCI15_15March2014.pdf

Moscow is 73 in this index, although China has three at nos. 3, 18 and 49.

  1. Top 2,000 multi-nationals: We have abstracted these details from Forbes Global 2000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbes_Global_2000) for 2014: 1, United States 564, 2 Japan

225, 3 China 207, 4 United Kingdom, 91, 5 France, 66, 6 South Korea, 61, 7 Canada, 57, 08 India, 54, 9 Germany, 52, 10 Switzerland, 48, 11 Taiwan, 47, 12 Australia, 36, 13 Italy, 30, 14 Russia, 28, 15 Netherlands, 27, 15 Spain, 27, 17 Sweden, 26, 18 Brazil, 25, 19 Saudi Arabia, 20, 20 Ireland, 19

In 2004 when the list first appeared the US had almost 1,000 in the top 2,000. The decline is largely due to US transnationals locating their HQs abroad for tax avoidance purposes. Ireland’s 19 companies apparently place it in the same league as Saudi Arabia, a ridiculous comparison. In reality up to half of those ‘Irish’ companies are not really Irish at all except in name. Its top company in 2013 was Accenture plc; “engaged in providing management consulting, technology and outsourcing services”. It was 318th with a market capitalisation of $53.34 Billion. It had 257,000 employees in 120 countries, only 1,300 in Ireland. It is a US transnational, of course.

And not only does the US have all these companies located abroad but the US dominate many others by virtue of its stock holdings. Some statistics on this would reveal the true nature of US imperialism’s domination of almost every aspect of the trade, commerce and lives of the majority of population of the planet. And those it does not fully dominate it demonises, organises coups and internal wars against for regime change and/or it bombs and invades them.

Finance capital is interlinked in a global web of dominance spreading out from Wall Street and the City of London. If we take, for example, the role of Swiss banking is not a secret that it has strong links with the City of London. Also important are the so-called ‘tax havens’ and money laundering centres, Luxembourg, Jersey, Guernsey, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, etc.

Finance capital plays a major role in the Spanish banking sector for example – there is the curious phenomenon of its relations to the Basque and Catalan banks, which are not really Spanish and behind much of the separatist agitation. Finance capital of British origin plays a big role in maintaining Gibraltar as a tax haven.

  1. Top Stock Exchanges 2013: Here are the statistic for the top ten stock exchanges ($US billions) 1. NYSE Euronext, United States/Europe, $14,085. 2. NASDAQ OMX Group, United States/Europe, $4,582. 3. Tokyo Stock Exchange, Japan $3,478. 4. London Stock Exchange, $3,396. 5. Hong Kong Sock Exchange, $2,831. 6. Shanghai Stock Exchange, $2,547. 7. TMX Group, Canada, $2,058. 8. Deutsche Börse, Germany, $1,486. 9. Australian Securities Exchange, $1,386. 10. Bombay Stock Exchange, $1,263. Note the two US stock exchanges are as big as the next eight combined; with its allies it is absolutely dominant. (Moscow is not there at all. Although China is at nos. 5 and 6, but who owns these Chinese companies?).
  2. Ranking by Gross Domestic Product: The ranking of countries by Gross Domestic Product, this time the top 10: (Millions of $US), World $70,201,920. 1. United States $14,991,300, 2. China $7,203,784, 3. Japan $5,870,357. 4. Germany $3,604,061. 5. France $2,775,518. 6. Brazil $2,476,651. 7. United Kingdom, 2,429,184. 8. Italy $2,195,937. 9. India $1,897,608. 10 Russia $1,857,770.

Although China is No. 2 that must be seen in perspective of what is the per capita gross domestic product. China is 93 and Russia is 58 on that index.

  1. Biggest military expenditure 2013: The top 15 for military expenditure. ($US billions): 1. United States $682.0. 2. China $166.0. 3. Russia $90.7. 4. United Kingdom $60.8. 5. Japan $59.3. 6. France $58.9. 7. Saudi Arabia $56.7. 8. India $46.1. 9. Germany $45.8. 10. Italy $34.0. 11. Brazil $33.1. 12. South Korea $31.7. 13. Australia $26.2. 14. Canada $22.5. 15. Turkey $18.2. Note, US expenditure is equal to the combined total of all the other 14 on the list, all Nato or close US allies apart from Russia and China. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures.
  2. Fleets and aircraft carriers: The US has five battleship fleets, the Second Fleet in the Atlantic, the Third Fleet in the Eastern Pacific, the Fifth Fleet in the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean, the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and the Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific. No other nation gets a look in here. This is a list of the aircraft carriers in service in 2013: United States 10, Italy 2, United Kingdom, 1, France 1, Russia 1, Spain 1, India 1, Brazil 1, China 1 and Thailand 1.
  3. Military bases: “The US operates and/or controls between 700 and 800 military bases Worldwide… (there is a) presence of US military personnel in 156 countries. The US Military has bases in 63 countries. Brand new military bases have been built since September 11, 2001 in seven countries. In total, there are 255,065 US military personnel deployed Worldwide.” (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-worldwide-network-of-us-military-bases/5564). In addition, other NATO countries, such as France, the UK, etc. have a further 200 military locations within the network of global military control. The biggest “host” countries are those that once lost a major war in which the US was involved. Germany, Italy, Japan and Korea are the four biggest ‘hosts’. France and the UK mainly have bases in the remains of their colonial empires. (http://www.tni.org/primer/foreign-military-bases-and-global-campaign-close-them)

 

Russia currently has five military facilities in former Soviet republics (down from six since it incorporated the Crimea) and India has one in Tajikistan. China has no US-style overseas bases.