LAW sign up as Foster/Adelson’s political bodyguards39
07/01/2018 by Ian
All yesterday’s LAW meeting proved is that the CPGB and the Greenstein crowd can currently mobilise approximately twice as many people as Socialist Fight on an issue like this.
It has no more significance that that. It does not give the witchhunters any hold on truth or any legitimacy for their behaviour, nor does it for one second hide the fact that they are in fact opportunist, anti-communist witchhunters.
We were thrown out of Labour Against The Witchhunt for criticising a form of racism that the dominant trend are politically soft on. It’s is now verboten, according to this trend on the left, to point out that the chief funder of Trump’s election campaign, one Sheldon Adelson, had a specific racist motive for funding Trump to unpick Obama’s deal with Iran to lay the basis for future US-Israeli war on Iran, and to secure US approval for the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem through ‘recognition’ of Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state.
Presumably it will also be verboten to point out that Michael Foster had a specific racist motive, as a wealthy Jewish-Zionist bourgeois, for taking the Labour Party to court during the 2016 leadership election, to try to get Jeremy Corbyn excluded from the ballot. That racist motive was quite simple. He sought the exclusion because Corbyn opposes on some level the oppression and disposession of the Palestinians. He did not want an ‘Arab lover’ to be Labour leader and therefore to be in a position to possibly become Prime Minister.
For the denizens of Labour Against The Witchhunt, whose name will in future have to be appended with the suffix “(sic)”, it is now a condition of membership that it is forbidden to attribute a racist motive to the likes of Adelson and Foster, and to point out that they are part of a like-minded layer of wealthy, specifically Jewish racists.
If will be forbidden to note that this layer of the ruling class see their mission in life in using their considerable wealth to ensure that the major Western powers give outright, open solidarity to Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
In effect, for reasons of attempted self-preservation at the hands of the JLM, LFI and other bodies who are attempting to purge Labour of enemies of the oppression and disposession of the Palestinians, the CPGB, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and other deluded people who followed them into this particular slaughterhouse, have signed up as political bodyguards for the likes of Adelson, Foster, Lord David Levy (one of the neocon architects of the Iraq War) and other Jewish magnates who, by virtue of their ethnic nationalist political programme, are responsible for driving a Western stance of open solidarity with all kinds of Israeli atrocities that go far beyond the parameters of any normal alliance.
Anyone who observes this obvious fact, and gives voice to it, is no longer allowed to support Labour Against the Witchhunt (sic!). Quite what this condition of membership has to do with fighting witchhunts against the left is not clear to anyone and it will become more and more absurd as it is seen in historical perspective.
What it now means is that LAW (sic) has adopted an anti-communist loyalty clause on behalf of Foster, Adelson and the like, that says that the specific racist politics of this layer of the UK-US-Israeli ruling class cannot be branded as the extra-territorial ethnic nationalism that it is. Under the misleadership of Greenstein, Conrad and Walker, LAW(sic) has declared itself protectors of the reputations of this layer of wealthy racist oppressors of the Palestinians from accurate Marxist criticism of their activities.
That is what today’s bizarre events signify in the real world, as opposed to the fantasy world of Tony Greenstein, Jack Conrad and Jackie Walker.
Oppressor peoples and feeble lies
It is notable that Greenstein’s hysterical polemic against Socialist Fight quotes several passages from our articles, addressing the current transformation of the self-selected majority of Jews who follow Israeli-Zionist leadership into a semi-national formation (not a fully-fledged nation) that oppresses the Palestinians. We reproduce them here, with the relevant words emphasised, in order to expose the mendacity and/or functional illiteracy of Tony Greenstein (probably an element of both), when he brazenly lies about us in his article.
SF passage one:
“‘the transformation of the Jewish Question into its opposite, from a question involving a people that suffered considerable, and at times enormous and genocidal, oppression in the early period of imperialist capitalism, to a question involving a people, who, insofar as they act in a collective manner under a quasi-nationalist leadership today, act as oppressors of another people, namely Arabs.” (emphasis added)
SF passage two:
“‘a pandering to the nationalism and communalism of an oppressor people, as Jews have become today insofar as under Zionist leadership they manage to act collectively.” (emphasis added)
SF passage three:
“‘This view of Jews as having escaped oppression and “become, insofar as they link themselves to Israel and give that state their support, an oppressor people, also gains Greenstein’s ire” (emphasis added).
As a sign of Greenstein’s mendacious ineptitude, and ability to believe his own lies, he uses these passages to state that:
“During the course of the debate Ian Donovan, who is the main theoretician behind SF’s anti-Semitic orientation denied that SF spoke of Jews as an ‘oppressor’ people. This was, as Moshe Machover has pointed out, quite clearly a lie.”
It is not true to say that SF accused Machover of lying about the simple assertion that we consider Zionist Jews in the imperialist countries constitute an oppressor people. What Machover actually said was that we considered every single Jew around the world, irrespective of their isolation or their views, to be part of an oppressor people. That is what he lied about.
When our comrade called out Machover on that, Greenstein, whose very position in the chair was an abuse of labour movement democracy, since he was chairing a session in which he was proposing a Stalinist purge and could not even be a nominally neutral chair, tried to shut our comrade up. But our comrade persisted, refused to be silenced, and made this point anyway. Greenstein again shows his utter contempt for labour movement democracy with both his chairing a meeting while proposing exclusions, as well as his lying about it it afterwards. His corruption is simply breathtaking. As is that of the CPGB, led by Jack Conrad, who supported this abuse of labour movement democracy.
The point is simple: the oppressor people we speak of, precisely because it is extra-territorial, is self-selected. Jews in the diapsora have a choice whether to join this formation, or not. This formation is distinguished by its support for Israel against the Palestinians. Those who support Israel, and support organisations that campaign for Western solidarity with Israel, including support for its crimes, vetoing UN Security Council resolutions critical of e.g settlement activities, are self-selected members of a social formation that oppresses the Palestinians. We call it a semi-national formation, whose material strength gives it some of the attributes of a nation without the territorial legitimacy that genuine nations possess. It is also a deeply reactionary formation that needs to be strategically defeated by the world proletariat as part of our overall struggle against imperialism.
Hear No Lenin, See No Lenin, Know No Lenin
Another example of Greenstein’s hysterical dishonesty is his screaming that Socialist Fight refuses to support the Jews-only groups such as Jews Against Zionism (JAZ) and Jews for Boycotting Israeli goods (JBig) that Greestein has used as his political vehicle in the Palestine solidarity movement, as political police to enforce his semi-Bundist politics and indirectly therefore, as a weapon of his own form of Jewish chauvinism. He also denounces us as anti-Semitic for our refusal to express fulsome approval for the politics of the Jewish Bund, the separatist Jewish socialist party in early-to-mid 20th Century Russia and Poland. Greenstein is hysterical about this opposition to special Jewish groups; he attributes it to our supposed affection for Gilad Atzmon, who has made sometimes correct, sometimes flawed and highly confused, criticisms of these groups.
But Greenstein’s dishonesty is exposed by a simple page search. Search for the word ‘Lenin’ on the page of his voluminous alphabet soup denunciation. You get zero results. The name does not appear. This exposes his mendacity and his anti-communism. For anyone who has read our polemics about Greenstein’s neo-Bundism can see our views are orthodox Marxism, and come from Lenin. We have quoted and referred to Lenin repeatedly. Lenin considered the Bund’s views as a form of semi-Zionism. In fact the proscription of criticism of Jews-only groups, in the guise of combatting a fictional ‘anti-semitism’, amounts to proscribing Leninism and Leninist criticisms of Jewish separatism and semi-separatism.
Which is particularly oppressive since the bulk of Jews, as noted earlier, under Zionist leadership, now play a definable role as material and ideological oppressors of the Palestinians. What we are dealing with from Greenstein and co. is Jewish paternalism, and the restriction of freedom of thought and analysis in the Palestine solidarity movement in the cause of a kind of Jewish communalism and social chauvinism. It is also bitterly ironic that the organisational muscle for running this purge comes from the CPGB, whose original publication was titled The Leninist. Clearly not any more!
Labour Against the Witchhunt (sic!), by proscribing these positions critical of Zionist racism and Jewish communalism, has just defined itself as an organisation that craps on the Palestinians by forbidding Marxist analysis of a key mechanism of their oppression. It has taken sides – with the Adelsons, Fosters, Levys etc, and their many rank-and-file Jewish-Zionist supporters against the Palestinians.
Is Greenstein a member of this self-selected oppressor people?
[As to my view, if Jews are a quasi-nation, then membership can’t be self-selected any more than membership in a nation is self-selected. Certainly not based on political opinion. (For one thing, as the Greenstein example indicates, it isn’t possible to draw the same sharp lines concerning politics that nationhood or peoplehood requires.)
[What’s really the objection to saying all Jews are members of an oppressor quasi-nation? It isn’t any more offensive to communist Jews than was, say, the claim that Russians, even Bolshevik Russians, were members of an oppressor nation.]
In my view he is not a member of this formation.
This semi-national formation is in my view an artificial creation of the Zionist movement and an extension of Israel. Therefore if you don’t support the Zionist movement and don’t regard Israel as your state, why would you be part of it? If you were born Jewish in Israel you would be part of it by default but not elsewhere. Why not? Because territory is decisive in forming nations. Without a common territory, no nation.
Its an anomaly, but its an anomaly with material force. What complicates it is that there are people who identify as Jewish politically, i.e. not in a religious sense, without without identifying with Israel. You could argue that they are living a contradiction and that accounts for the irrational hysteria. They are stranded in no-mans-land between Zionism and assimilation. It puts them within the gravitational field of this formation without being part of it, and political logic even makes them its unwitting defenders and chauvinists, albeit once removed. That is not a viable place.
Given the outright support for “Israel” preached in synagogues and the mass Jewish identification with the “right” to steal by murder, terrorism and tyranny the land of the Palestinians, then all Jews around the entire planet should be treated politically as Zionist dogs UNLESS they explicitly denounce “Israel” – every single bloody millimetre of it.
They are all total colonial fascists UNLESS they explicitly support the Palestinian struggle to recover their own land – ALL OF IT.
When the Palestinians and Arabs gain enough Leninist-like strength and guerrilla-war military force to end the occupation of their country and turf out the invaders (possibly assisted by the coming overall Egyptian-Arab socialist revolution), it will be a matter for the Palestinians to decide which Jews can remain in Palestine.
But would they even be Jews then? DEFEAT will transform many of them as people; defeat will shatter their vicious “chosen people” aggressive mystical fascist ideology too; defeat will chasten them and make many of them better people. Most will, of course, scuttle back to New York or elsewhere when the going gets really tough. That’s why many Zionists have two passports.
In the general context of defeat for all imperialism, starting with the disgusting “might is right” US Empire, the victory of the Palestinians will be a wonderful milestone.
Fake “Jewish socialists” who defend laughably impossible two-state solutions or say they see the land being shared more fairly in some way (other than the above-described END of Zionland) or defend Jewish rights in Palestine in any way at all should be treated with total contempt and driven out of the workers movement. They are total frauds.
The Zionist undercurrents to many self-preening fake “left-wing” groups are further confirmation of their shameful treachery to the workers movement and Marxism. Their sucking-up to Western colonial ideology goes hand-in-hand with their anti-Soviet anti-communism.
Those Trotskyists who sincerely want to fight Zionism need to question even more deeply every tenet of their existing understanding, looking again at what Lenin wrote against Trotsky’s subjective approach to politics and factionalising before and after the October revolution.
Roy Bull’s Workers Party (launched in 1979) had by 1980 to face up to the inadequacy and weaknesses of its own politics in confronting the anti-communist rabble rousing of the CIA and Vatican-inspired counter-revolutionary Solidarity movement in the Polish workers state and BROKE with Trotskyism to become much more deeply Leninist – it was a painful process for someone like me who had read Trotsky’s “In Defence of Marxism” about five times and “History of Russian Revolution” twice, etc.
But it had to be done. The ILWP and then EPSR became a lot, lot clearer and more Marxist-Leninist scientific.
Finally, surely the whole episode of battling against Labour party expulsion with a faction such as LAW says something?
This Labour party is utterly corrupt. It is a bourgeois-imperialist party for Western colonialism, capitalism and the Zionist occupation of Palestine.
Whether Jeremy Corbyn gets to be prime minister or not, the Marxist effort has to be to warn the working class that Labour party reformism is never going to work (as shown by Syriza in Greece or Podemos in Spain) and that only socialist revolution will end capitalist exploitation, slump and war. Leninism does not want to prop up the Labour party, it wants to destroy all its influence.
Rather than worrying about the disgusting pro-Zionism that is entrenched in the Labour party, instead have the CONFIDENCE in the rising revolution in Britain to EXPOSE and DENOUNCE this aspect of the Labour party and work away at BREAKING workers, youth and students from the Labour party. For example, by highlighting Corbyn’s wretched capitulation to the witch-hunting of anti-Zionists and his support for the “left-wing anti-Semitism” ideological con-trick.
Its good that comrade Chris is able to get his righteous revolutionary anger out in this way, but wouldn’t it be more productive to stand on a soap-box and make speeches along these lines to the assembled masses at Speakers Corner?
I’m opposed to judging anyone by their ethnic origin alone. Arab or Jew. Its counterproductive in terms of building a real movement, as well as backward and potentially reactionary.
There are still small groups of old fashioned anti-semitic fascists around. They are a minority: the anti-Muslim pro-Israel scumbags are the majority. But the minority still should not be given any encouragement.
You cannot prejudge in advance what will happen within Labour. But its a battleground, that has to be engaged with. We had far more impact politically on Saturday than all this ranting has had in 20 years. If you wanted to have an impact last week, all you had to do was turn up and vote. But no. Just a waste of space.
I explicitly didn’t say “judge someone by their ethnic origin alone”, I said it would depend on their political stance. But if someone is a Jew, if they want to be seen as non-Zionist and not supporting Zionland – the brutal tyranny over Palestine – then they have to explicitly say so.
Otherwise, it is entirely valid to assume that they, like the overwhelmingly vast, vast majority of Jews around the world support “Israel” and defend its right to exist.
Ian is NOT helping the cause of anti-Zionism by his remarks equating my forthright Leninist denunciation of Western imperialist colonialism in the form of the Zionist occupation of Palestine with “backward and potentially reactionary” notions. This is the very currency of the anti-communist pro-Zionist witch-hunters, is it not?
This is the snide and contemptible smear that if you despise “Israel” and all support for its existence then you must be overtly or secretly a racist anti-Semite, yes?
The snide remarks about going to Speakers Corner to argue are utterly illogical. This is Socialist Fight’s Comment section, which is presumably for comment and political discussion, which is what I’m doing. As my kids would say, duh??
Ian is recommending that I attend to vote against the witch-hunting in a faction of a party which I don’t support. I’m not a Labour or LAW member, and I couldn’t help in that regard if I wanted to. However, I am giving moral support to all true anti-Zionists, so I don’t see why anyone who was seriously against Zionism would get offended or cynical about what I said.
Apart from arguing for Leninism against Trotsky’s subjective anti-Sovietism (which always effectively amounts to exactly the same ideology as is taught in Western schools via George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 etc), I have been urging comrades to consider the realities of the “anti-austerity” Corbyn in the UK, Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece.
These are movements of TENS OF THOUSANDS of left-wingers, Trots, trade unionists and museum-Stalinist revisionists – and they GET NOWHERE.
They even get into government, and they can do nothing to end capitalism. They are too miserably confused, anti-communist and DEFEATIST to even try.
So, surely, clarifying would-be socialists with Leninist polemics is the ONLY WAY to go.
I am well aware of how tiny the numbers are of those who are well-trained cadres capable of making the Leninist argument for world socialist revolution and looking at all the issues of the day and GETTING THEM RIGHT (and scientifically and honestly correcting any mistakes).
But Spain, Greece and the UK are crying out for forthright arguments for REVOLUTION as opposed to these futile reformist populist movements that ACHIEVE NOTHING but counter-revolutionary, leaderless confusion.
More good cadres need to be developed so that the working class can get far better and clearer revolutionary politics than they get from say Russell Brand (but consider the youth interest he provoked for a while), and by seeing revolutionary politics giving a CORRECT CLEAR LEAD on class issues a more widespread class response will follow.
And unity can only be achieved by CORRECTING all the old, bad historic anti-Marxist nonsense put out by both museum-Stalinist revisionists and Trotskyists. Leninism has to prevail.
But when it comes to CORRECTING errors, Socialist Fight hasn’t even yet broken with its pro-Catalan independence stance – even though it has been argued out to 11 comments.
Why not amend this ridiculous line – when SF itself correctly noted the petty-bourgeois and NON-anti-imperialist nature of the Catalan independence movement?
Is it a mystery to yourselves even why you feel the need to cling to this nonsensical stance? Why is it any skin off your nose to correct this line?
What petty-bourgeois breath on your necks are you feeling to not denounce Catalan independence struggles as a diversion from an all-Spain socialist revolution?
Why not be OUTSTANDING and start to CORRECT errors OBJECTIVELY???
The point I was making about ‘speakers corner’ is that your ferocious rants seem to be directed at a very small audience who don’t see posturing as a strategy. Pouring contempt on the Labour Party when a new layer of workers are looking to it to defend their interests is not a strategy for engaging with reality at all.
The remarks about judging Jewish people are not racist but they are OTT and unnecessary. There is enough provable bigotry around without needing to set ‘litmus tests’ for people who may not even be political.
We accuse this society of treating defenders of the Palestinians as ‘guilty until proven innocent’ of anti-Semitism. It does not help to try to redirect that against all Jews. This is just a ferocious piece of bombast, but it creates misunderstanding and can undercut debates.
By confronting people with something less strident, but coherent, not as an ultimatum but a challenging indictment of the Zionist diaspora bourgeoisie, we may be able to push some to revolt. This would be a good thing.
If this kind of verbiage was a strategy, we would use it. But it ain’t. Its third period Stalinist politics, complete with the obligatory anti-Trotskyism. Abstaining from being involved in any struggles in Labour in this period of ferment is nothing to boast about.
It reflects fear of capitulation, which may be justified because of the strategic weakness of those so afraid. But the cure for this is to study further Marxism and the objective situation, but certainly not bombastic, empty rhetoric like this.
The posturing is all on the part of those who write such phrases as: “All socialists, all workers’ organisations and principled democrats must defend Catalonia against the looming oppression of the Spanish state of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy” and under the headline “Defend Catalonia” when they know that the Catalan independence movement is selfish, petty-bourgeois, right-wing and not at all anti-imperialist.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a Spanish nationalist!
There should be an all-Spain socialist revolution against neo-Francoist Madrid, by all means. But why are ‘lefts’ and Trots arguing for workers to get their heads smashed in or risk prison for a right-wing middle-class Catalan independence movement?
“Defending Catalonia” is a typical Trotskyist REAL capitulation to a petty-bourgeois “street” movement – as with all the CIA-initiated campaigns against the workers states (which Trots always fell for, dreaming of the “political revolution”) and the later “colour revolutions” against the remnants (which to their credit, some Trots did NOT fall for – but a bit late really).
The best advice to workers in the Catalan region would be to build Leninist revolutionary politics, break with all middle-class Catalan independence diversions and fight for all-Spain revolution in the context of world imperialist slump and war crisis.
That’s being objective. The same as warning workers not to be sucked into believing that Corbyn really is going to bring socialism. It’s one thing to highlight the “left” surge within the Labour party, but are anti-communism and anti-Sovietism being fought? And how long would you be allowed to stay in Labour if you did fight these things?
Is it possible to make a revolution in the UK without confronting all the Cold War anti-communist lies about the true achievements and revisionist-leadership weaknesses of the USSR and the workers states?
Will the CIA, MI5, MI6, Special Branch, the BBC, the capitalist press, the mainstream parties, the Labour leadership etc all fail to notice as a convinced socialist revolutionary movement creeps up on them?
Trots who despise the history of the socialist states may be able to stay in the Labour party with its rotten history of collusion with all nazi-NATO and Western war crimes from Korean war to the British torture of Ireland to the destruction inflicted on the Middle East, but Leninists wanting to speak up and stay true to Marxism would be so hostile to everything that Labour stands for that they could only be OUTSIDE issuing the required warnings.
In my previous comment, I challenged SF and Ian to drop the pro-Catalan independence line, given the shoddy nature of that Catalan movement as described by SF itself, and asked why could they not even break with this obvious mistake.
It’s a really concrete matter and doesn’t strictly require them to break with all Trotskyism, but gets termed “bombastic, empty rhetoric”.
It’s not answering that question that leaves Ian’s and SF’s politics at the level of “posturing”.
Defence of the democratic rights of nations subjected to national oppression does not depend on the politics of those leading the oppressed nation being progressive. If it did, few would qualify. We do not advocate Catalan separation but defend their right to separate if they choose. It is clear that they did choose despite Spain’s attempt to stop the referendum. If the referendum were held freely we would have called for a ‘no’ vote as we did in Scotland. But given that the free choice was denied, Marxists have to stand with Catalonia. Failing to do so does indeed mean standing with Spanish nationalists.
This is Stalinist politics that does not care about democratic questions.
Incidentally the Comintern in Lenin’s day advocated that the early CPGB affiliate to Labour. They did not carry this out very well here. But that was Lenin’s policy. To engage with the mass of workers who support Labour. You simply fear that you will capitulate if you try that. That’s what all this nonsense is about.
This doesnt have much to do with the issues posed by LAW (sic) by the way!
Italy’s Northern League movement of near-fascism also advocated separation for selfish reasons of its richer part of Italy, to avoid its tax take being spent in Italy’s poor south. There was nothing progressive about it. Catalan independence is the same thing (see the Catalonia debate elsewhere on the SF website).
Scottish independence similarly – led by Scottish Tories – and when everyone in Scotland was convinced that Labour was utterly useless for socialism or anything that wasn’t corrupt and self-serving – has also had a big populist showing.
All these movements are counter-revolutionary in their effect and split mass working classes that were not previously split. From Welsh miners to Clydeside dockers, the UK’s working classes have come closest to mass, historic actions when united.
In the 1920s, Lenin did indeed advocate using united front tactics with the nascent Labour party. But to do what? To undermine and destroy its influence, to “support it as a rope supports a hanged man”. See Lenin’s “‘Left-wing Communism’, An Infantile Disorder” – probably the most misunderstood book in Marxist literature since it is all about fighting social-democracy into the ground, not propping it up.
In an earlier comment, Ian stated: “Pouring contempt on the Labour Party when a new layer of workers are looking to it to defend their interests is not a strategy for engaging with reality at all.”
Are workers right to believe that Labour will defend their interests in this global-historic warmongering crisis that is bankrupting countries and inflicting torment on the world’s masses?
What do you suggest doing with workers about the stinking pro-imperialist Labour party, Ian?
Encouraging illusions in it?
That is what Corbynism is all about. Putting off the day when workers get so clear about the futile reformist and pro-capitalist politics of Labour that they can break through to communist revolutionary politics.
Which of my quick run-through of Labour’s crimes do you think it would be “helpful” to keep quiet about, Ian? Troops in Ireland? Blairite warmongering? Nato Cold War subversion of the workers movement? Support for monopoly capitalism?
Is all that over, never to be repeated because Jeremy Corbyn is going to “fight for socialism”?
What a sick joke and deception of the masses!
And to bring it back to LAW (sic – agreed!), Corbyn’s opportunist kow-towing to the “left-wing anti-Semitism” con-trick is there for all to see.
As a recent SF/NCP/Posadist/Barratt etc meeting seemed to unanimously agree, defence of “Israel” using such ideological frauds is the very essence of Western colonialist imperialism.
John McDonnell is going to Davos to say that “the prevailing model of capitalism” is not working.
Should workers and students rally round this Labour deception and stick with illusions that their interests will be “defended” in this mass unemployment, gig economy, benefit slashing, NHS destroying international trade war monopoly-capitalist crisis?
Or should their eyes be opened to the revolutionary fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat?
Northern Italy is not a nation. Its the dominant part of Italy. It is more akin to South East England demanding separation from the more deindustrialised North. Catalonia is more like the Scottish question – a genuine national question. Which makes refusing to defend the right to secede a chauvinist position.
The rest is more ‘opportunism in fear of itself’.
So it is “opportunist” to argue for Leninism and socialist revolution, and “correct” to argue for supporting Labour? Have you even heard of Marxism???
Lenin was very much in favour of Communists actively involving themselves in the political life of Labour. That necessarily involves propaganda for socialism and internationalism. And active participation in the struggles of the left in Labour.
What you are advocating is not Leninism and not Marxism.
Support Labour “like a rope supports a hanged man” is what Lenin said. Surely being hanged by the neck is not a cosy kind of support?
Talk about “socialism and internationalism” is pretty cheap. The question as Lenin also stated again and again (see Lenin’s State and Revolution, and Against the Renegade Kautsky and scores of other works) is the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Plus as mentioned previously, you are grievously misunderstanding Lenin’s “‘Left-wing Communism’ – An Infantile Disorder” which is ALL about destroying Labour’s influence among workers – and that was talking about the 1920s BEFORE Labour had run a dozen stinking pro-capitalist, pro-Nato, anti-Soviet, warmongering governments.
Look, if you must and if you can, be INSIDE Labour to argue politics. The matter then is, same as it is for those talking to workers outside such meetings, what are you telling them?
That socialism can be won by supporting ‘left’ Labour?
Or that socialism can ONLY be won by breaking workers from social-democratic illusions and fighting for the communist revolution?
Which means concentrating attention on the world-historic slump-war crisis that global capitalism is in, and developing cadres who are very well-versed in Leninist science.
As a case in point, and back to the arguments about LAW (sic), just how hard will you be allowed to fight the fraud of the “left-wing anti-Semitism” nonsense inside Labour?
Corbyn backs this vile hogwash and today’s prevailing “politically-correct” politics for youth and students is a sucker for this nonsense.
Jews are not all in the same ethnic group (there are Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, American Jews, French Jews, Polish Jews etc) and their only “nationalities” stem from the countries they lived in before stealing the land of the Palestinians. So-called ‘Israel’ is an armed camp of fascist settlers on Arab-Palestinian land who use special pleading about the Holocaust (committed by Europeans – not Arabs – to justify their Nazi tyranny over the Arab peoples).
Those Jews that do have Biblical-era genetic ancestry connected to the Middle East show DNA that is all but identical to that of Arabs.
In other words, being Jewish is a religious freemasonry, not a “racially” ethnic type.
Being Jewish is a choice. Stealing the land of the Palestinians – or supporting that land-grab – is a choice too, the choice of being a Western colonial fascist.
I understand, Ian, that you want to argue that the Jews have some sort of nationality status??
Please explain that a bit, because it looks like giving ground, literally, to the apologists for the Western colonial theft of the Palestinians’ land.
No, I don’t argue Jews have a nationality status. I do argue that Zionism has made a material change and created a pan-imperialist bourgeois-led movement that has some of the attributes of a nation without actually being one. They lack legitimate territory. That means they cannot be a nation.
But this formation, which could be called a semi-nation, has the coherence to defend what it says is its state as a specific caste or faction within the ruling classes of the USA and also several European imperialist countries. It is a reactionary, artificially created formation which it is in the interest of the world proletariat to dissolve by defeating ‘its’ state and assimilation into the wider population.
There’s nothing pro-Zionist about this. Indeed recognition of this reality is what puts anti-Zionism where it belongs: at the centre of revolutionary world strategy.
Funnily enough by making this point you are putting yourself in the company of the Bundists who also deny the existence of this formation in order to avoid attacking it. By doing this, they are engaged in giving Zionism a ‘left’ cover.
Regarding the debate on whether critical support of Corbyn is Leninist. The CPGB’s basis for supporting Corbyn is not, to my understanding, a matter of exposing him, as Lenin advocated with respect to the Labor Party.They actually envision building a revolutionary movement in part by supporting left reformists. This also seems to be SF’s perspective.
The CPGB’s justification is that a revolutionary party will be built largely out of the material from the activist element around the labor party. (Whereas some of us might call them bureaucrats in waiting.) But rather than fighting for the Greensteins and Walkers, wouldn’t a Leninist approach to the labor party aim at the trade unions, which lie at the base of Labor? Not at the fringes of the labor bureaucracy?
I largely agree with comrade Stephen’s comment above, although winning trade unionists to Leninism is not exactly a piece of cake.
The really interesting possibility surely is that under the pressure of world imperialist war crisis that the Labour party BREAKS UP and a CENTRIST movement comes into being that is revolutionary in words but reformist in practice.
That would be worth joining (as Scargill’s SLP was, in its early, lively days before being crushed by Scargill’s Little Englander trade union bureaucrat anti-communism).
A large centrist movement offering membership and open political struggle would be an excellent possibility for broadening and deepening debate in the working class movement, and, as mentioned previously, the chance of finally reviving Leninism as a mass current and rebuilding a revolutionary communist party from the ashes of social democracy, anti-leadership anarchism, popular-frontist museum-Stalinism and wretched anti-Soviet Trotskyism.
And before all Trot readers nod wisely about the dunderheadedness of popular frontism, what is it that the vast majority of Trots do EXCEPT ACTUALLY SUPPORT ‘left’ Labourism or other varieties of social democracy?
So again I ask: whether you are inside or outside Labour – shouldn’t the point be to BREAK workers from social-democracy by HIGHLIGHTING the pro-colonial, pro-Zionist and pro-US Empire role of Labour imperialist-reformism and leading students and workers to support for proletarian dictatorship politics?
Oh, I should have added: comrade Ian’s above comment firstly correctly stating that the Jews are not a nation, then having said that calling them a semi-nation is not helpful.
Of course there is a truly massive factional and lobbying influence of world Zionism in the USA and Britain etc.
Why help it out by calling them a semi-nation? How does the Leninist description of Jewishness as being a religious freemasonry help Zionism?
The stuff about the Bund denying the existence of this semi-nation that isn’t a nation and pretending that what I said helps Zionism in any way is not at all helpful.
Surely the point to keep making, Ian, is that the Zionist case for ‘left anti-semitism’ existing is predicated on people falling for the Jewish special pleading that they are a “nation”, not a religious freemasonry, and that they have “cultural and national rights” to own the land of Palestine, after more than 1,500 years of it being Palestinian land (longer than the Anglo-Saxons have been in England).
There’s no ‘of course’ about the ‘lobbying’ of ‘world Zionism’ if you don’t explain in precise class terms what those things are. Just denouncing them as ‘fascists’ clarifies nothing and is worse than useless.’Religious freemasonry’ likewise as we are talking about peoples, not a secret society or conspiracy.
Its just abstentionism to say we cannot get involved in helping working class militants to reclaim what they see as their party back from the neoliberals and neocons. Waiting for a centrist splintering is no strategy. We have to help defeat the neolibs today to lay the basis for further leftward development.
Jeremy Corbyn is not the same as Labour leaders like Snowden, Henderson and MacDonald, whom Lenin branded ‘the worst kind of reactionaries’. His victory is the only time in Labour history that the oppositional left have won the leadership outright in an intact party in open contest against the very ‘worst kind of reactionaries’ that Lenin denounced.
Despite several chances to do so, his leadership over the past two years has not betrayed by supporting any imperialist wars. Corbyn was second only to Galloway in his profile as an opponent of the imperialist wars of the past 30 years or more.
So Marxists acting within Labour have to be sensitive to that to speak to Corbyn’s supporters in a way that is at all politically effective. We do not endorse reformism, we promote Trotskyism. We criticise any backsliding, but we are active supporters of struggles against the Blairites and Tories.
Surely though, the danger is that far from developing cadres to rebuild a communist revolutionary movement, Labour entrist tactics will PROP UP parliamentary democracy and Labour imperialist-reformism, the worst ideological enemy of the working class, whether under a Corbyn “pacifist” cover or not.
Then there is the Trotskyism, so here’s what Trotsky said in 1938 which displays his attitude to the USSR and workers states in the build-up to the Hitler onslaught on Russia:
Leon Trotsky: “The revolutionary elements within the bureaucracy, only a small minority, reflect, passively it is true, the socialist interests of the proletariat. The fascist, counter-revolutionary elements, growing uninterruptedly, express with even greater consistency the interests of world imperialism.”
As the EPSR’s Roy Bull wrote about this (in 2001, EPSR 1094, 19 June 2001): “Calling for the overthrow of the ‘bureaucratisation of a backward and isolated workers state’, Trotsky warns that this ‘new ruling layer’, this ‘all-powerful privileged caste’, would become ‘ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie’ if it was not overthrown.
“Just seven years before the dictatorship of the proletariat in the USSR achieved the greatest-ever working-class feat of arms over imperialism in 1945, and thereby ensuring the equally colossal military triumph of the Chinese Revolution replacing Western imperialist domination with the dictatorship of the proletariat too, here was Trotskyism urging active hatred and disruption of the USSR and the Comintern, exactly the supreme aim of world imperialism at that precise moment!”
Leon Trotsky in 1938: “As in fascist countries, from which Stalin’s political apparatus does not differ save in more unbridled savagery …. the impetus to the Soviet workers revolutionary upsurge will probably be given by events outside the country. The struggle against the Comintern on the world arena is the most important part today of the struggle against the Stalinist dictatorship…”
Stalinist bureaucratic mistakes and crimes there were, and any Leninists around in Moscow at the time would have had a very hard time arguing with the Stalin group it’s true; but there were also great triumphs of socialist construction and the world-shattering defeat of the Nazi war machine and Western imperialist plans for the ending of Bolshevism.
Comrades who still subscribe to Trotskyism, possibly without knowing the ramifications of what Leon Trotsky stood for and his subjective anti-communism and anti-Sovietism, would do themselves a favour by getting a lot more wise about his legacy.
See the various writings of Lenin against Trotsky (there are a lot! – for both before and after the October Revolution) and EPSR/ILWP books on Trotsky and Trotskyism.
This really is the politics of the living fossil. The fruit of Stalin’s political counterrevolution and the undermining of the social and political foundations of the 1917 revolution was not the imperative defence and victory of the USSR against Adolf Hitler, but the almost complete disappearance of bureaucratically deformed workers states at the end of the 1980s and the early 1990s. What briefly covered going on one-third of the world was reduced in a few short years to just Cuba and North Korea.
This was the inevitable result of destroying workers democracy and abandoning the perspective of world revolution in favour of supposedly creating bureaucratic dystopian ‘socialisms’ in a number of mainly backward capitalist countries. It proved unsustainable in the medium term. So this is a pointless recommendation of a defeated ideology that authored its own misfortune (and more to the point, ours).
I don’t see any strategy here for addressing Corbynism and revived left reformist radicalisation and combativity against neoliberlism.
Hang on a minute: firstly, none of that makes Trotsky’s villainous and treacherous urging for the overthrow of the Soviet workers state in “political revolution” JUST PRIOR to the Nazi invasion of the USSR smell any sweeter.
Look at those quotes from Leon Trotsky in 1938, effectively calling the USSR leadership “fascist”.
That is spreading international hatred of the USSR at the very moment of greatest danger to the Land of October.
Second, the “cure” for Soviet revisionist ills is “democracy”? But that is also the West’s greatest piece of ideological confusion-mongering!
The absolute only cure for revisionist politics getting things wrong, which then indeed did lead to the liquidation of the Soviet-led socialist states under Gorbachev, is GETTING IT RIGHT.
Meaning getting more Marxist-Leninist scientific and STRENGTHENING the socialist state, being more combatitive for party-led proletarian dictatorship.
See Lenin’s “State and Revolution” for the contempt that he, Marx and Engels had for “workers democracy”, “pure democracy” etc – all dismissed as bourgeois ideological red herrings that would amount to anarchism and be the death of socialist revolution.
What was needed then in the Soviet Union and what is needed now is well-trained Marxists who seek the strengthening of the Revolution and workers states to end crisis-ridden, warmongering imperialism, and all its lying electoral nonsense that leaves everybody prey to the petty-bourgeois parliamentary circus, total CIA disinformation and bourgeois ideological atomisation.
Lively internal communist party discussion is absolutely vital (and this was crushed to the great detriment of the USSR by the Stalin group) – but certainly not damaging and dangerous factionalising in a workers state when it is up against the wall of imminent fascist invasion (see Lenin’s “Better Fewer But Better” of 1923 about the dangers of splitting the workers state).
The EPSR is the only group that warned workers about what would happen to the socialist camp as Gorbachev’s idealist ideological brain-rot was first unleashed in the mid-1980s, and kept up a barrage of polemic about it (see epsr.org.uk)
And what was the heart of Gorbachev’s total ideological onslaught against the workers state? “Let’s all have elections, so everybody can be happy, in our common European home, full of lots of lovely democracy, decide development by the marvels of the marketplace, and isn’t Marks & Spencer wonderful too…”
But things now aren’t lovely. The ending of the Soviet socialist camp of workers STATES (party-led dictatorship, KGB, Red Army, socialist ideology etc) immediately saw “all the old shit reviving” in Marx’s and Lenin’s memorable phrasing.
Collapse of the economy, wars, diseases, Mafia gangsterism, stinking Russian nationalism and imperialism towards Chechnya etc all came back. Life expectancy in the ex-USSR plummeted.
And did Western imperialism suddenly drop all the nasty Cold War nuclear stuff and all that nasty crushing of workers rights, financing of death squads and suchlike around the planet, once it was saved having to worry about the “Soviet threat”?
Did it f**k.
This really is trite Stalinism. Stalin exterminated the entire founding cadre of the Soviet Communist Party in the late 1930s. Including the military cadre that defeated the Whites in the civil war. Stalin not only exterminated the Red Army’s cadre, he also bizarrely trusted Hitler right up to June 1941. Of course the Stalinist regime had to go. This was subordinate to the defence of the USSR. Indeed its purpose was to save the USSR, not least from the consequences of Stalin’s bloc with Hitler which unlike the lies about Trotsky and other Bolsheviks at the Moscow trials, was actually real. The USSR defeated Hitler despite Stalin’s misleadership, not because of it.
The fact that on the historical scale the Soviet bloc did not last is not the result of the failure of socialism, but of misleadership and the extermination of the genuine left. All the dreadful consequences flow from that.
So was Trotsky right to call the 1938 Soviet leadership “fascist”?
That’s not quite what was said though is it?
“As in fascist countries, the chief strength of the bureaucracy lies not in itself but in the disillusionment of the masses, in their lack of a new perspective. As in fascist countries, from which Stalin’s political apparatus does not differ, save in more unbridled savagery, only preparatory propagandistic work is possible today in the USSR.”
The Transitional Programme made very clear the distinction in social terms between the USSR and ‘democratic’ and fascist-led imperialism, and called for defence of the social foundations of the USSR. But what other comparisons are appropriate for a regime that exterminated an entire generation of Marxist cadre?
He did not actually say it was fascist, but that its methods resembled fascism and in some cases were even more brutal, e.g. confessions extracted through threats against loved ones, etc. You confuse defending crimes like that with defending the social foundations of the revolution. In fact this is exactly what undermined the revolution and eventually destroyed it.
But once you say things like that how does Trotsky’s position and Trotskyism differ from that of the CIA and Western propagandists against the revolution?
They are always calling states and movements “fascist” or “worse than Hitler” if they don’t like the regime and want to overthrow it.
This nonsense that Trotskyists want to “defend the social foundations” (what does that phrase even mean in practice?) but overthrow the (workers) state (“political revolution”) because the leadership is “worse than fascism in its savagery” even though the Soviet state had just WON the civil war against Tsarist and pro-petty bourgeois democracy counter-revolution is utterly damning of Trotskyism.
I am not denying that the Stalin ruling group’s misleadership through revisionist politics led to some stupid and nasty crimes against innocent parties; but they also had to beat down counter-revolutionary fifth columnists and splittists too.
As for the very nasty specifics of rough treatment for state enemies (not all guilty) and their loved ones, look at what Lenin urged when fighting counter-revolution during the Red terror vs White terror period.
Finally, Marxism knows nothing other than class natures for states, with Bonapartism being a particularly short-lived straddling of camps by a “strong man”, marked by crisis and instability.
The capitalist class was expropriated in the USSR under Lenin with the kulaks following in Stalin’s time. What was the only remaining class force SUPPORTING the state? It was the working class.
Try calling the Soviet bureaucracy an exploiting “ruling caste” or a “ruling class” and every Marxist should just laugh in your face.
For more than 70 years of history, the USSR under sometimes better, sometimes worse leadership was a socialist workers state. The state forces, “the bodies of armed men” (Engels), performed magnificently – Cheka, KGB, Red Army, state administrators, etc. They were let down by weak, defeatist non-Leninist revisionist leadership far too much of the time.
So even more vital is it for the WORKERS STATE to be defended in history from insults and slander. What went wrong was the slide in the ability of the Moscow leadership to correctly assess world events and revolutionary perspectives after Lenin’s death.
This is again trite nonsense. The working class is quite capable of noticing the foul nature of the Stalinist regimes for themselves. They did not need any alleged help from Trotsky to do that. What the Trotskyists had to to was to show the world proletariat why the USSR was worth defending. Because of the social foundation laid by the revolution, not the regime.
You sneer at the social foundations and defend the regime. That is fitting because the regime showed its counterrevolutionary nature by undermining and ultimately destroying the social foundations. The position you are arguing is therefore counterrevolutionary.
But I suspect you are not subjectively counterrevolutionary, just ideologically confused through the politics of Roy Bull’s group: a blend of Healyism and Third period Stalinism.
Its not that surprising that Healyism should have produced a splinter that embraced third period Stalinism, as its catastrophism somewhat resembled that anyway.
Roy Bull’s splinter group thus was a secondary weed product of Healyism, not any kind of left development. Not a good place to be.
If the working class could simply penetrate the mountain of lies about the nature of the world and come to objective revolutionary conclusions, just like that, we could all go home.
A further thought on comrade Ian’s “Jews are a semi-nation” formulation.
This would horribly imply the defeatist view that the Jews are going to hold on to the stolen land of Palestine and become “a nation”.
This isn’t going to happen. “Israel” is a fascist racist-colonialist armed camp on Arab-Palestinian land in the “epoch of wars and revolution” (Lenin) and post the Red Army victory in WW2 and in the long period of successful anti-colonial struggles, including communist victories in China and Vietnam, the ending of apartheid etc.
The Marxist-Leninist perspective of the worsening slide of decaying imperialism into fascist slump, trade war and warmongering, headed by the foul US Empire, and showing extraordinary brittleness in Brexit, Trumpism, bootboy fascism rising in Germany and Middle Europe etc, points to the necessity of socialist revolution to the working masses.
The Middle East is in turmoil, with rising rebellion in Saudi, Egypt, Tunisia etc.
The recognition by Trump of Jerusalem as Zionland’s “capital”, while being too chicken-shit to actually make the move, has provoked even more disgust and outrage at all the “two-state solution” impossible, lying nonsense from the Arab-Palestinian bourgeois compromisers. Developments suggest renewed Intifada, the need for Palestinian politics to break through that are closer in spirit to Leninism, the need for the Egyptian masses to rise again to help their brothers and sisters.
“Israel” will be wiped off the map at some glorious stage. The Jews will never be a “nation”. Eventually, in political defeat, they can go back to being Americans, Europeans, Ethiopians etc – with some, if the Palestinians permit, becoming Palestinian citizens.
This is incoherent. The use of ‘fascist’ as a term of abuse for any reactionary phenomemon solves nothing. Which is not to say that there is no fascism in Israel. But you cannot duck the political task of analysing the actual dynamics of movements just by denouncing them as ‘fascist’.
Its also a denial of reality. If someone can come up with a better term to describe the international Zionist movement that has acquired the ability to destroy the careers of even bourgeois politicians who seriously criticise Israel in the main imperialist countries, then fine. Zionist Jews loyal to the state of Israel have a common culture, a common psychological make-up, but lack a common territory and to a lesser extent a common language.
Territory is decisive. They do not have any territory that is not transparently stolen from others. That is the main thing that prevents a nation emerging. Unless there was a substantial genocide of the Palestinians to the extent that they were reduced to the level of Native Americans or Australians, no such nation could be born.
If such a genocide were to happen and were accompanied by millions more Jews migrating to settle the Palestinian land, then a Jewish nation could be born. That, however would be akin to Hitler’s project of ‘living space’ for expanded German colonists in Eastern Europe. The only way of creating such things is genocide on the scale of the Shoah.
Obviously that would involve the Middle East, and in reality the world, collapsing into barbarism. If that were to happen, future generations would have to deal with what came after that. Just as they might have had to do if Nazi Germany had prevailed in WWII.
But yes, the Zionist project does threaten the Arab peoples with genocide, ultimately. This semi-national formation exists in the US and West Europe as well as Israel and it does oppress the Palestinians. It is our task to defend the Palestinians and to defeat that barbaric project. But denying its power and its coherence will not help defeat it, let alone ‘wipe it off the map’. Easier said than done.
We need to defeat its political power in the West not least through a political assault on the racist communalism of its leading bourgeois caste.
Comrade Ian correctly points out that the alternative to Palestinian revolutionary victory is that the Zionists’ slow genocide directed against the Palestinians succeeds. It is worth saying that this is the ONLY alternative to successful national liberation.
The Marxist use of the term “fascist” correctly sums up the entire extremist racist-colonial Western excrescence that is the Jewish occupation of Palestine. Not using it, to my mind, would both be incorrect and appear to be making a concession to the Jews’ “special pleading” for the acceptance of “Israel” and not flinging maximum abuse at the Jewish occupiers on the grounds of Jewish suffering at the hands of the German Nazi fascists.
All progressive people should utterly reject that.
And while we are on the subject of single words and whether they help the struggle, it is totally wrong to call Zionland “Israel” without the quote marks. It does not matter about what the Western world agrees about the nature of this foul formation; it does not matter about UN acceptance of “Israel” as a “state” in 1947-48. “Israel” is not a state, a nation or a country. It is an armed camp on Palestinian land.
For the same reason, the “semi-nation” description of Zionland and its influence around the world has to fall to my analysis above of its DEFEATIST implications (see above). This is not the epoch when barbarism is going to prevail, and no Marxist would be agnostic about that.
Furthermore, Leninism does not politically fight in the way Ian describes: “We need to defeat its political power in the West not least through a political assault on the racist communalism of its leading bourgeois caste.”
Instead, VI Lenin urges: “The best form of solidarity is to fight for the revolution in your own country, and for the revolutionary line in all countries, without exception”.
I’m not missing the fact that making strong jibes and commentary about Zionism that includes its foul racism is worthwhile; but I would want to stress that it is revolution that defeats imperialism; and in this epoch of decaying warmongering imperialism the Palestinians (perhaps aided strongly by the Egyptians) will find better, more Leninist leadership, better tactics and strategy and make the Zionists bleed so much that they pick up their American and Russian passports and leave.
“This is not the epoch when barbarism is going to prevail, and no Marxist would be agnostic about that.” says Chris. How does he know that? A crystal ball? It certainly is not Marxism that gives such certainty about future events. Marx considered that capitalism would either be overthrown by the working class, or “the common ruin of the contending classes” would result as capitalist society collapsed into barbarism.
Such blind faith in the future displayed by Chris contradicts Marxism. We are not fatalists. We fight to change consciousness, not to go along with existing bourgeois consciousness or to promote illusions. We formulate strategy and tactics to change the course of class struggle. We do not promote the kind of blind optimism evidenced above.
This is objectivism, not Marxism. It comes from Stalin, Pablo and Healy. Third period Stalinism was indifferent to Hitler taking power because they falsely believed that the Nazi regime would soon collapse and be followed by their victory. Inane politics.
The centrist Pablo had a similar schema, that the ‘objective dynamic’ of history would override subjective obstacles and thus non-revolutionary forces like Stalinsts and petty bourgeois nationalists could lead the revolution ‘unconciously’. Healy likewise with that ascribed a similar role to ‘the crisis’.
We do not falsely describe Zionists who are obviously not ‘fascists’ as such in some kind of consciousness raising, morale-boosting exercise. Fascism is a mass movement of the petty bourgeoisie and lumpens aimed at crushing workers organisations. Zionism simply does not fit this criteria. We analyse developments accurately, not to promote false optimism and the illusion that revolution is possible without conscious working class leadership. In the long run, without such leadership, barbarism is inevitable.
Likewise we don’t care if the characterisation of Zionist Jews as a ‘semi-nation’ gives rise to ‘defeatism’. What matters is whether it is accurate. ‘Revolutionary optimism’ built on illusions is phoney and doomed to collapse.
This objectivist belief in the duty to promote comforting visions of inevitable triumph is not Marxism. It comes from Stalin, Healy and Pablo.
Marxism starts with the premise that human alienation stemming from capitalism will lead to the exploited working masses rising up and seizing power in revolution. It is an inherently optimistic and determinist philosophy. But history occurs randomly, and women and men have to make it.
And consider this, from Lenin’s pretty much last major work, “Better Fewer, But Better” (1923):
VI Lenin – talking about what the USSR has to do: “I think the reply to this question should be that the issue depends upon too many factors, and that the outcome of the struggle as a whole can be forecast only because in the long run capitalism itself is educating and training the vast majority of the population of the globe for the struggle.
“In the last analysis, the outcome of the struggle will be determined by the fact that Russia, India, China, etc., account for the overwhelming majority of the population of the globe. And during the past few years it is this majority that has been drawn into the struggle for emancipation with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this respect there cannot be the slightest doubt what the final outcome of the world struggle will be. In this sense, the complete victory of socialism is fully and absolutely assured.
“But what interests us is not the inevitability of this complete victory of socialism, but the tactics which we, the Russian Communist Party, we the Russian Soviet Government, should pursue to prevent the West European counter-revolutionary states form crushing us. To ensure our existence until the next military conflict between the counter-revolutionary imperialist West and the revolutionary and nationalist East, between the most civilised countries of the world and the Orientally backward countries which, however, compromise the majority, this majority must become civilised. We, too, lack enough civilisation to enable us to pass straight on to socialism, although we do have the political requisites for it. We should adopt the following tactics, or pursue the following policy, to save ourselves.
“We must strive to build up a state in which the workers retain leadership of the peasants, in which they retain the confidence of the peasants, and by exercising the greatest economy remove every trace of extravagance from our social relations.”
Etc, etc, describing the need to strengthen the Soviet state.
And even though the Soviet Union is submerged under Putin’s oligarch capitalism (leaving Russia’s masses pining to return to Soviet power but being offered only dunderheaded museum-Stalinist leadership from the CPSU remnants), there is still the might of China, and its liberated 1.2 billion people (plus Indo-China etc).
And even if comrade Ian, as a Trotskyist, says “China isn’t socialist” (not my view, despite its use of capitalist methods alongside central planning), China is NOT being kicked around by the Western powers any longer, is it? Nor is Vietnam.
So, despite the loss of the USSR, as Lenin says: “In this sense, the complete victory of socialism is fully and absolutely assured.”
This is wrong. Marxism stems from the view that that development and decline of capitalism brings the possibility of the working class seizing power and consciously building socialism. The other possibility is that capital in decline will plunge the world into barbarism.
China and Vietnam are semi-colonial nations, but no longer even deformed workers states. The Iron Rice Bowl in China is long gone. Putin is copying the Chinese model of capitalist restoration, rejecting the Yeltsin method, but all these states are powerful semi-colonies using a statified bourgeois apparatus to protect their own native capital from imperialism. Defencible against imperialism yes, but not workers states any more.
A coherent account of this is to be found here:
Lenin’s remarks apply to the context in which they were written. They show he was aware of the pressures that led to degeneration of the Soviet state. He also had reason to hope that Russia’s isolation would be relieved in the medium term.
If you believe that socialism is inevitable and determined in advance, then why fight for it? Your efforts make no difference, its inevitable anyway, so why bother with serious thought and strategy? Just rant and welcome the inevitable. But that is objectivism. For genuine Marxism, the subjective factor is decisive.
The point is that socialist revolution is NECESSARY because of decaying monopoly-capitalism’s worsening over-production of surplus capital crisis putting it on the road to a new world war, via trade war. That will cause enough explosions of alienated labour for the world to make revolution several times over.
However, as I said above: “history occurs randomly, and women and men have to make it.” Hence there is a necessary struggle for Marxist understanding and leadership.
You will have to tell that tale of being “semi-colonial” to the Chinese. They will take that sign in Shanghai put up by the British that notoriously said “No dogs or Chinese” and wrap it round your head. 1.2 billion times.
You can tell the tale of being ‘semi-colonial’ to all manner of peoples. In pre-capitalist times, China was a great power. As were the Umayyad and Abassid Caliphates. Its so humiliating to be dominated by the West today, but that’s the capitalist order.
The deformed workers state unified China and when it was destroyed from above, the capitalism that resulted benefited from that unification. Prior to that, China’s warlordism resembled Somalia today.
This emotional response against characterising China as semi-colonial is un-Marxist. That is the programmatic basis for defending China against imperialism as it is no longer a deformed workers state. So go figure.
China dominated by the West? Really? You are kidding.
China is going to surpass the USA in its GDP in a matter of years. It will continue to lift 100s of millions of people out of poverty. It will even improve on Western environmental standards in many areas. It will shoot down US imperialist or Japanese planes that threaten it.
Any US imperialist spies working in China are risking their necks; in the UK they can swan around with impunity.
With dozens of US bases operating on the mainland UK, Britain is more of a semi-colony than China (since the 1949 communist revolution) will ever be again.
Of course, the Chinese CP is revisionist and nationalist and likes to have its belly tickled by Washington. Its level of Leninism is feeble.
But China still is a workers state, despite the use of capitalism in its economy – because the Chinese CP still runs the state and central planning.
Nor is it a “deformed” workers state, which implies a “perfect socialist state” could exist. It is fundamental to Marxist materialist dialectics that things are always in a state of coming into being, changing, in development, in internal contradiction, in motion, and going out of existence.
Anything outside of this understanding belongs to the overthrown idealist logic of Aristotle or Hegel.
Perfect doesn’t exist.
Britain is imperialist. London is still the most important financial centre in the world. No way is Britain a semi-colony. The CCP uses its state power to promote capitalism and defend foreign economic investment, not for the welfare of the working class. China is a low wage country where imperialist monopolies have migrated capital to take advantage of cheap labour with few rights.
Read John Smith’s work on “Imperialism in the 21st Century” for some real detail. Chinese capitalism is booming to be sure. A boom in foreign investment and special economic zones, which are a sure sign of a semi-colonial economy. Similar zones exist in India. Labour rights and regulations sacrificed to lure in foreign capital.
At least the state is strong enough to make sure some of the gains from this boom remain in China. Unlike the pre-Mao situation where the state was a fragmented, warlord-ridden disaster. But today’s Chinese state defends capital against the workers, not the other way round.
Capitalism was restored from above by the petit bourgeois bureaucracy. That bureaucracy was only able to do that because it excluded the working class from political power for the whole period of existence of the deformed workers state.
If the bureaucracy is fully in charge in China (which it is) and was “petty bourgeois” with nobody above it then it would be a ruling class, a ruling capitalist class.
So that would mean the working class and peasantry winning the Communist Revolution in 1949, against the bourgeois nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek, expelling them to Taiwan, and the CP seizing power, expropriating the capitalist class and landlords only for the capitalist class to come back into power with nobody noticing. When did this happen?
Please supply some notable dates like in the 1989-91 Soviet Union, where this tragedy did happen, with plenty of personalities, dates, factional conflict getting into the Western news etc.
This did not and has not happened in China.
The counter-revolutionary attempt in China (influenced heavily by Gorbachevism) in June 1989 was totally defeated and the contras were hounded into the ground.
There are indeed huge concessions to capitalism in China to build its economy, and probably way beyond what Lenin would have thought was sensible or necessary when he allowed and promoted capitalist concessions in Russia in the NEP days.
But the Chinese CP remains in charge in China, and China carries out many policies that are totally for the benefit of the great mass of working people.
Aping the West in consumerism and modern metropolitan growth is probably pretty block-headed and is storing up class-conflict troubles ahead, where a growing petty-bourgeoisie will push for more political power.
As comrade Ian implies, low-wage economy led-growth is going to be problematic too. The more the proletariat’s needs develop, the more wages and social wages they will require.
But China has a great track record of sorting these things out.
China is reformable, precisely because it remains a workers state. There is no need for the working class of the world, as it rises in revolution against warmongering world capitalism, to come into antagonistic conflict with the Chinese workers state. Polemics and rows even with the dreadful non-Leninism of its leadership, yes. Factional struggles within the Chinese CP even.
But the only people who will want to fight the Chinese workers state will be contras or imperialist warmongers.
I’ve already highlighted that there are plenty of capitalist roaders within the Chinese CP and bureaucracy. But if they’d won the argument completely and China was fully capitalist would it look how it looks today?
Surely the country would be plunged into turmoil and economic misery as afflicted the Soviet people after the Gorbachev liquidation, the Yeltsin carpet-bagging, and the sick oligarch economics of Putinism, dressed up with stinking Russian chauvinism?
You’re forgetting: the chief ‘capitalist roader’ was Deng Xiaoping and he indeed was the victor in the factional struggles in the CCP. His regime restored capitalism after 1989, dismantled the state monopoly of foriegn trade and the welfare state system known as the ‘iron rice bowl’. 1989 was in fact a convenient cover for this, since there were undoubtedly elements of Gorvachev-style liberal Stalinism and proto-Yeltsinite neoliberal warriors among the student protesters. But most of victims of 1989 were workers who took advantage of the disarray in the ruling bureaucracy to try to fight for their own interests. The students were treated well; the workers were massacred. And then the regime was able to restore the rule of capital.
The Chinese state today uses residual state planning to defend native capitalism against too much imperialist domination. That is a classic role of semi-colonial capitalist states from De Valera’s Ireland to Saddam’s Iraq in the 1970s, to Indonesia, even to South Korea. The state power is used as a midwife to facilitate the birth of a stronger bourgeois class, not to suppress capitalism as it is in a deformed workers state, or more so while promoting world revolution as with a revolutionary workers state such as existed in Russia prior to around 1924.
There are two models of capitalist restoration, both seen in Russia, that of Yelstin and that of Putin. Yelstin simply means neo-liberal shock treatment and selling off the economy directly to the imperialist plunderers. Putin, and the oligarchs that support him, pulled Russia back from that to a model more like China. Except that in Russia, much of the damage had already been done, and so Russia is much more marked by Yelstinism than China is, for obvious reasons: in China the state was used to promote controlled capitalist restoration all along. This is what the Yanayev coup-mongers wanted to do in Russia in 1991. If they had won, capitalism would have been restored according to the Deng Xiaoping model, not the Yeltsin model.
There is a basis for a bloc with Yanayevits against Yelstinites, and indeed with the current Chinese regime against some kind of colour revolution aimed at putting some kind of Chinese Yeltsin types in power, but don’t dress this up as a bloc with socialists. This would be a bloc with a semi-colonial capitalist regime against an imperialist proxy force.
This wishful thinking of those who look to China as a force resisting capitalism is a sign of political retreat. First of all, you are idealising something that is very clearly and quite aggressively capitalist in a manner that looks to me a little bit Blairite in its logic. Secondly, China’s participation in BRICS, as a semi-colonial capitalist bloc against imperialist domination, is not the same as the bloc of deformed workers states that used to be known as the ‘socialist bloc’. BRICS is more akin to the non-aligned movement of Nehru and Tito than to the old Stalinist bloc. It is to be noted that even when it was still a deformed workers state, China broke from the Soviet bloc and participated in aggressive blocks with US imperialism and even apartheid South Africa against Soviet bloc forces in the 1970s and 1980s. If there are no such things as ‘deformed workers states’, how is such treachery even possible?
Because the working class is an oppressed and exploited class, its organisations are prone to bureaucratisation. This is obviously, visibly true of trade unions under capitalism. It has been also shown to be true of workers states, particularly where the proletariat takes power in a backward country where the majority of the population is peasant, not working class. A privileged labour bureaucracy can arise that tends to lean in varied ways on the peasant population against the working class, and can become the indirect political agency of imperialism within the workers state. This is the product of degeneration of the revolution in a backward, isolated country and involves the society beginning to slip backward towards capitalism.
More complex permutations are possible when you have a seriously degenerated workers state involved in deadly conflicts with imperialism as happened in WWII, where the regime both shows its treachery and it is compelled to belatedly fight for its survival. The result was a paradox, as the degenerated workers state in such struggles showed the ability, temporarily, to reproduce itself and influence revolutions in other backward countries to follow its degenerated regime as a kind of model, without, however, solving the problem of revolutionary leadership. The result of this latter failure was that the gains did not last, and ‘socialism’ was eventually buried by forces that came out of the bureaucracy itself.