02/12/2020 by socialistfight
We have published this long piece because it is not about one individual who has completely bought into the conspiracy theories about the origin and seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic but because such conspiracy theories are becoming increasingly popular even in some former leftist circles.
The Australian group, the Workers League, have adopted some explicitly Strasserite red-brown conspiracy stuff endorsed by Speklin.
Speklin quotes Dan Bongino, the far rightist Fox News conspiracy theorist. In October 2020, Bongino published his third book, Follow the Money: The Shocking Deep State Connections of the Anti-Trump Cabal. The blurb tells all, “Follow the Money exposes the labyrinth of connections between D.C.’s slimiest swamp creatures—Democrat operatives, lying informants, desperate and destructive FBI agents, Obama power brokers, CIA renegade John Brennan, George Soros, and more—who conspired to attack Trump by manufacturing one bogus scandal after another.” The US SWP also endorse this.
In Britain conspiracy nut cases like Piers Corbyn and David Icke have held rallies in Trafalgar Square, which Speklin supported, against mask-wearing and social distancing, asserting against all scientific evidence that the pandemic is less harmful than ’flu.
The far right and outright fascists are capitalising on political disorientation on this level and Socialist Fight had no option but to break with him as soon as incontrovertible evidence emerged of his collaboration with these elements. ▲
As a consequence of several posts on Facebook and elsewhere Socialist Fight regrets that we are obliged to sever our political relations with our Netherlands comrade, Wilhelm Speklin. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in February this year he has become persuaded by conspiracy theories; it is all a ‘Plandemic’, that there is no need for lockdowns, for masks, for socialist distancing or for a vaccine to combat Covid-19. And he has proved impervious to all arguments against.
On 10 November, 2020 Gerry Downing received the following email from him, Subject: WS: COVID & the ‘Left’ – WL
“It is not that the lockdown left (self-proclaimed “socialists”), following the lead of the overpaid Union officialdom, are scientifically illiterate per se – though they currently demonstrate this in spades. The lockdown left have strongly advocated for lockdowns – and by extension, for a police state, for the elimination of civil and democratic rights for working people, for the abolition of freedom of movement, i.e., for capitalism and imperialism – due to the fact that the question of the lockdowns most immediately defines one’s class position. That is to say, those who oppose the lockdowns stand with the working and oppressed masses, while those who defend the lockdowns stand with big capital. This remains the case irrespective of the claimed or self-identifying political viewpoints of those on either side of the lockdown barricade.”
‘The Lockdown Left‘
This is a recent comment on Facebook by Wilhelm Speklin:
“Exactly, as in the case of the Plandemic, which class is attempting to impose these clearly undemocratic unscientific dictates for which purpose?” Formerly he has toyed and endorsed conspiracy notions like the pandemic was man-made, that Bill Gates had made it, that it was all a conspiracy to prepare for a police states, that ordinary ‘flu was far more dangerous and killed far more people so we should oppose the ‘lock-down left).
Wilhelm Speklin made the following comment of support for Donald Trump, ostensibly agreeing with Michael Blakey’s comment here below a post from the Workers League (Australia) shared in the Socialist Fight (Netherlands) Facebook group:
“the split of which I spoke of at least 4 years ago now stands at the point of total schism. Very hard to support Trump … he is as bad as every criticism of him, but the Democrats are as if not more vile whilst covered in a merkin (an artificial covering of hair for the pubic area- SFG) of left anti-racism whilst being as dangerous to the working class. In fact, more so as they preserve a tad of leftyness as opposed to Trumps outright bonapartist and rapidly becoming fascistic positions.”
And Wilhelm Speklin replied,
“Michael Blakey that’s a Leninist law etched in marble, no support to any bourgeois party, however there is nothing wrong with the recognition DT is somewhat of an ally taken he opposes much of the plandemic.”
This was in reply to a posting from the Workers League (Australia) which has a very Trotskyist orthodox-seeming programme but has a red-brown Strasserite position on Covid-19 which Wilhelm and Michael Blakey support.
Michael is not a Socialist Fight supporter. Of course, Socialist Fight did not call for a vote for either the Republicans or the Democrats but stood on the traditional Trotskyist position of calling for a labor movement party separate from both imperialist parties in the US. This in contrast to our position on the British Labour party, which remains a bourgeois-workers party and therefore merits our support and vote where no other revolutionary or credible centrist candidate is standing, despite the reactionary Blairite leadership of Kier Starmer.
The Workers League’s position
This is the WL’s position on to international lockdown movement.
“The anti-lockdown movement is gathering steam internationally, and Australia needs to emulate the hundreds of thousands who have mobilised recently in Germany, the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. It is possible that with an amalgamated movement which is prepared to mobilise again and again, government lockdowns could be rolled back. For this to come to pass, however, all wings of the anti-lockdown movement need to form a united front for common action. Currently the anti-lockdown movement is comprised of several detachments. Without pigeon-holing any individual, there is a moderate wing which favours lobbying parliamentarians, a President Trump supporting wing which includes QAnon followers, a wing concerned about forced vaccinations and the potential effects of 5G telecommunications infrastructure, and a wing rightly concerned about civil liberties and privacy.
“Revolutionaries are faced with the dual task of uniting all wings of the anti-lockdown movement, while simultaneously seeking to win the most pro-working class elements over to the side of socialism – despite prevalent suspicion as to its historical and current forms. Marxists must also be alert to the possibility of exploiting the differences amongst the ruling class, with some parts pushing for a one or two year lockdown, and others pushing to re-open the economy. While lockdowns may be partially lifted without systemic change, the “Great Reset” with its attendant political repression will not be defeated without the building of a workers’ party fighting for a workers’ government.” (our emphasis)
This is unbelievable, stomach-churning stuff. We have no hesitation in dubbing these statements red-brown fascism. The proposal to form a popular front with outright fascists which also consists of; “a moderate wing which favours lobbying parliamentarians, a President Trump supporting wing which includes QAnon followers, a wing concerned about forced vaccinations and the potential effects of 5G telecommunications infrastructure, and a wing rightly concerned about civil liberties and privacy”is shocking beyond belief. Only a fool would not know that the “President Trump supporting wing” contains not only QAnon followers but outright self-declared fascists like the Proud Boys and others whom Donald Trump has requested to “stand down, stand by”– in other words prepare for the fascist coup.
Stalinist Third Period
This goes much further than the Stalinist Third Period between 1928 and 1934 when they designated all other political parties as social-fascists, declared the main enemy was the ‘social-fascist’ German Social Democrats and the Nazis were only another form of fascism with whom it was possible to ally in certain circumstances. Under thus ultra-leftist cover they advocate a Popular Front with fascism itself against the working class and oppressed, combining Third Period ultraleftism with popular frontist rightism to sow the maximum possible confusion in the working class.
Thus, the path to power of Hitler was smoothed by Stalin who went on to assure the victory of Franco in 1939 by popular frontism against the Spanish revolution. Of course, the Workers League does not have the authority in the workers’ movement that Stalin had but the whole anti-lockdown movement globally promoted here is a dagger at the throat of the international working class.
To advocate state oppression like this against the poor and oppressed is the worst feature of that Workers League posting, where they strongly support Donald Trump and the main enemy is “Black Lives Matter (BLM), Antifa & the lockdown left”. Of course, we have strong political differences with these but give them unconditional but critical support against the capitalist state. Also, we understand why many voted for Biden to stop Trump, whilst strongly disagreeing with this tactic. This outright reactionary support for Donald Trump and his fascist followers is clear in these extracts from their statement here:
US Elections: Left-Wing or Right-Wing Coup? – WL 27 Oct. 2020
“The 2020 US Presidential Elections could well be the catalyst for more political violence, & some say a civil war. On the surface, it appears that both the “left” & the “right” are accusing each other of instigating mayhem. Yet if this year has demonstrated anything, it is that the so-called “left”, via Black Lives Matter (BLM), Antifa & the lockdown left (parties & groups which claim to be socialist while giving full backing to capitalist state enforcement of inhumane “Covid” lockdowns) are overwhelmingly the initiators & the perpetrators of verbal &/or physical violence against those who may have a different opinion to their own.
“Unfortunately, it does appear as though BLM/Antifa/lockdown left are being prepped to unleash mass rioting, looting and chaos should US President Donald Trump and the Republicans win the election on November 3.”
This pro-Trump reactionary nonsense repeats the stuff now churned out by the US SWP’s The Militant under Jack Barnes:
Violent course of antifa, Black Lives Matter threat to working class
“All summer, groups of antifa have carried out provocative nightly actions in Portland, including attacking police, setting fires and breaking windows. These actions are dangerous for working people looking for ways to resist bosses’ efforts to push the capitalist crisis onto our shoulders. They deal blows to fights by unionists, against cop brutality and for Black rights.
As they glorify violence, the embittered middle-class forces of antifa rail against “the elite,” elevate small group action above political struggle and remain deeply alienated from the working class.They have much in common with fascist groups they claim to oppose. Others have travelled this road previously, like Italian Socialist Party leader Benito Mussolini who went on to lead fascist forces to power in 1922.
“… The liberals are becoming more hysterical as each day passes, determined to use all means necessary to deny Trump a second term. Their course threatens the political rights working people have conquered in centuries of struggle.”
Socialist will immediately recognise these ‘law and order’ tirades as the property of the defenders of the capitalist establishment from right social democrats to Tories and Democrats. But right now it is Donald Trump’s appeal to the far right and fascists, the true ‘law and order’ people.
Trump sacked defence secretary Mark Esper on 9 November and replaced him with Christopher C Miller, the director of the National Counter-terrorism Center. Esper had opposed the use of troops against demonstrators, which angered Trump. He is replacing many other leaders in the Pentagon with far rightist, including Anthony Tata, who dubbed Barak Obama a “terrorist” and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, examines the possibility “that Trump wants a Pentagon chief who can order the military to take steps that might help keep him in power because of an election result that he claims is fraudulent.”
Speklin also once posted information criticising the lockdown response from Dan Bongino, an extreme right wing Fox News commentator and the person who called on Trump to declare Antifa a terrorist organisation. Almost everything the Workers League piece says could have been lifted right out of the Fox News fever swamp. It reads exactly like something Steve Bannon would write. Speklin has already demonstrated sympathy for conspiratorial rather than material factors and is certainly a direct contradiction of the history and principles of the Marxist left.
It is incompatible with membership of Socialist Fight to propagate these views and Wilhelm Speklin is therefore expelled from the group and we absolutely repudiate any responsibility for his deranged postings. He has changed the title of the Facebook Socialist Fight (Netherlands) to Workers League (Netherlands) to remove all doubt of his reactionary orientation to them. ▲