Italy and Afghanistan

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23/10/2021 by socialistfight

Whither Italy? Fascism again or revolution?

By Dov Winter

Milan strikers: Italians hold national strike in response to attacks on labor
Workers’ unions and progressive student groups in Italy have been protesting attacks on workers rights, government’s insensitive COVID-19 policies and fascist attacks on the workers.
October 11, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch

We should never forget the history of fascism in Italy. Italy is at a crossroad. The capitalist government is using the Covid crisis to savagely attack the working class. There have been massive layoffs in companies such as Ginetti Gomme, GKN and Whirpool as well as smaller companies. More than 900,000 workers were laid off or fired in recent months.

A major response against the capitalist attacks took place on October 11. A massive united front composed of trade unions, student and youth groups, leftist parties, and housing rights groups organized nationwide mobilizations and general strikes against the government’s attacks and the worsening of social and economic conditions. The workers have also protested the fascists’ attack on the headquarters of the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL). In Rome big protests were held in front of the Ministry of Public Services and Ministry of Education. It culminated with a march from the Piazza della Repubblica to the Piazza Santi Apostoli. With every protest the call for a general strike is growing and working class resistance to austerity measures is escalating.

Many demonstrations and mobilizations were held in the cities of Turin, Genoa, Milan, Bergamo, Naples, Parma, Brescia, Trento, Bologna, Mestre, Trieste, Florence, Pisa, Livorno, Perugia, Campobasso, Catanzaro, Ctania, Palermo, and Cagliari. The workers and youth received support and solidarity from workplaces such Whirlpool, Fedex, Gianetti, Teva, Logista, Alitalia, GKN, and UNES.

As strikes and protests are sweeping throughout Italy, they are taking place throughout diverse industries. In the past couple of months there have seen an increase in working class actions in industries such as aviation, textiles automobiles, and logistics in response to massive layoffs. Workers shut down the Amazon hub in Piacenza. Workers also interrupted freight traffic in the ports of Naples and Genoa. Many students joined the mobilizations across the country as they demand a safe return to schools. Italy is at a similar crossroad that it was in the 1930s

This is taken place as the fascists grow and they are trying to smash the unions. The fascists are using the government green pass as mandatory in all workplaces from 15 October, to create hysteria and mobilize the lumpenproletariat against the unions. Hundreds of fascists attacked and vandalized the national headquarters of the CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labor) in Rome. [1]

The main issues are not just the defence of the workers economic and political interests and rights. The workers in Italy should not organize just in defence against the fascists. To defend against capitalist attacks and the fascists, the workers must go on the offensive. The fascists attack on the CGIL is a clear warning. The workers must stop the fascists before they become too massive. Creating defence guards against the fascists is just a step in the right direction. The fascists ultimately must be crushed and thoroughly defeated.

The lessons from the 1930s must be fully grasped. Trotsky warning about fascism and the need to smash it before it gets out of control is as true today as it was over 60 years ago:

“At the moment that the “normal” police and military resources of the bourgeois dictatorship, together with their parliamentary screens, no longer suffice to hold society in a state of equilibrium—the turn of the fascist regime arrives. Through the fascist agency, capitalism sets in motion the masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie and the bands of declassed and demoralized lumpenproletariat—all the countless human beings whom finance capital itself has brought to desperation and frenzy.

“After fascism is victorious, finance capital directly and immediately gathers into its hands, as in a vice of steel, all the organs and institutions of sovereignty, the executive, administrative, and educational powers of the state: the entire state apparatus together with the army, the municipalities, the universities, the schools, the press, the trade unions, and the co-operatives. When a state turns fascist… it means first of all for the most part that the workers’ organizations are annihilated; that the proletariat is reduced to an amorphous state; and that a system of administration is created which penetrates deeply into the masses and which serves to frustrate the independent crystallization of the proletariat. Therein precisely is the gist of fascism…” [2]

As the workers militancy grows, so does the fascists’ brazenness. The working class must not only stop the fascists, but it must also defeat them on the road to power. The only way to defeat the fascists is through the unity of the workers via the united front. Such a united front should erect defence guards going on the attack, that is, capable to chase the fascists into the ugly holes that they came from.



[2]  ▲

US Imperialism defeated in Afghanistan

Kabul fell to the Taliban on 15 August 2021. Every serious Marxist must celebrate this humiliating defeat for global imperialism, without in any way seeking to excuse the reactionary, misogynist politics of the Taliban.

The US were defeated by a popular guerrilla army after 20 years of occupation, after spending $2.26 trillion and despite deploying a total of more than 775,000 troops since 2001. Imperialist coalition deaths in Afghanistan are less than 4,000, whereas more than 47,245 civilians, 66,000 to 69,000 Afghan military and police and more than 51,000 Taliban fighters have been killed as of April 2021. Overall, the war has killed 171,000 to 174,000 people in Afghanistan.

The great hullabaloo about the US invading to champion the rights of women is revealed as a total lie; only a small minority of women in urban centres benefited from freedom to work and education and a small percentage of those made it to third level.

UN figures from their Human Development Report on the situation of Afghan women from 2007 to 2019 shows Afghanistan ranked 154 out of 155 listed countries in 2007. And in 2019 it was placed 157 out of 162. Together with life expectancy and infant mortality the US invasion succeeded in keeping Afghanistan at the bottom of all these indices of human development.

The confusion in Iran that was so apparent to all serious Trotskyists who sought to find the road to the masses via the transitional method existed also in Afghanistan. In Iran all was still to play for in 1979 while revolutionary Marxist ideas, and literature, met a huge response and conflicted with Islamic reactionary ideas.

It was the task of revolutionaries to distinguish between, and separate, the religion of the oppressor from the religion of the oppressed by proving the worth of revolutionary Marxist leadership in practice. Only a small group of Trotskyists in Iran in 1979-81 within the USFI, the HKS, who broke from the official USFI section, the HKE, seriously attempted this.

 In Afghanistan the working class poor are the Hazaras, who perform the lowest and most menial tasks – being doubly oppressed as Shi’a Muslims and a Mongol race. Whether working in private or state jobs they are treated as the scum of the earth. No serious revolution can advance until the majority of the organised working class defends its most oppressed sections.

The so-called Glorious Saur Revolution of April 1978 led alternatively by Tajiks and Pashtuns tribalists did not alter this in any way.

The Hazaras were inspired by the revolution in Iran in 1979 and began a demonstration in Joda-I-Maiwand in June 23 1979.  The Taraki regime slaughtered at least 3,000; the firing went on for four hours before they managed to disperse the crowd. The wounded were refused treatment in the Kabul Hospital and then the mass purges of the Hazaras began: “All this month, a massive round-up took place of suspected opponents of the Taraki regime, troops filled lines of waiting trucks with the ‘flat noses’ i.e., the Mongol-race Hazaras.”

So much for the progressive character of the Stalinist regime later overthrown by the Mujahideen sponsored by the Saudis and Pakistan on behalf of the USA. The Taliban became a form of national liberation army, albeit with all their fundamentalist backwardness. They have promised some liberalism towards women and other things better than their previous regime.

Although imperialist spokespersons and their apologists on the left have pooh-poohed this, they will be obligated to implement at least some of them because of popular demands.

A defeat for civilization? 20 years of occupation with a puppet government and army, mass bombings and huge civilian casualties was a disaster which the general population opposed, resulting in the obvious popularity of the Taliban. The US-Afghan army melted away because they knew they had no popular support.▲

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