Fight Anti-Trans Regression in the Labour Movement!

In the last couple of years there has been a retreat on the question of the rights of transsexuals in the labour movement in Britain, and mockery and contempt for trans people has become a real problem even among a layer of putative left activists. Somewhat strangely, a key inspirer of this has been Joanne (“JK”) Rowling, the celebrity author of Harry Potter children’s books and sometime novelist, and an ideologue of the Labour right. Rowling, a long time Blairite, was an outspoken opponent of the left in the recent witchhunts and Blairite/Zionist destabilisation campaign that brought down Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, yet remarkably she has gained kudos among some of the left for a campaign against transsexuals that bears considerable resemblance to her pro-Zionist activities. She tends to fictionalise her obsessions: during the Corbyn period she wrote a novel called Lethal White about an imaginary anti-Semitic anti-Zionist. Her latest rendering, Troubled Blood, is about a transvestite serial killer, again crudely serving a political agenda.

She has been particularly outspoken in her attacks on the policy the Labour Party adopted under Corbyn, for extending anti-discrimination protections under Equalities legislation to change the ‘protected characteristic’ of ‘gender reassignment’ in the current legislation to ‘gender identity’. Where previously a medical ‘diagnosis’ of ‘gender dysphoria’, if not actual surgery, was required for such recognition (implying that transsexuality is some kind of sickness) now ‘self-identification’ would be all that is required. This change would remove the legal justification, which exists in current law, for the exclusion of transsexuals from some ‘single sex services’, for instance in refuges and prisons.

JK Rowling as depicted by her detractors

In the past two years there had been a ‘consultation’ on the table from the Tory government, as part of their previous efforts, begun under David Cameron, to show that they are ‘enlightened’ and ‘modern’, to amend Equalities and Gender Recognition laws in a similar way, that would allow transsexuals who have not yet gone through the protracted and often painful process of  gender-reassignment, including that involving surgery, to be recognised legally as being of their changed gender/sex on the basis of self-identification. However, under Johnson the Tories have predictably retreated from these promises and Johnson’s government now echoes the transphobes in all parties who demand the exclusion of trans women from ‘women’s spaces’ in the name of supposedly protecting women against predatory male sex offenders who decide to ‘identify’ as women.

What is more odd is that her arguments have been accepted by quite a few on the left and have become a source of significant divisions among those who are otherwise opponents of the Labour right, its pro-NATO militarism, pro-Zionism and neoliberalism. In Labour there are groups like Women’s Place, and the LGB Alliance (with the ‘T’ – for ‘Trans’ – conspicuously missing) which contain left-wing people who have historically fought hard against Blairism. It is a tragic regression that such people find common cause with the likes of Rowling.

The origins of Rowling’s school of thought are in one of the most egregious and bigoted strands of the neoliberal politics that dominated Labour during the Blair period, epitomised by Julie Bindel. Whose tirades against transsexuals accompanied her campaign, along with Harriet Harman, and the crooked neocon Denis MacShane, for the hypocritically-disguised ‘feminist’ ‘Swedish’ position on sex work. This put a ‘feminist’ gloss on the project of Moral Majority religious bigots, defining sex work as ‘violence against women’ and trying to deprive sex workers of income by criminalising their clients, pretending to be acting for the benefit of the sex workers (by trying to starve them). Bindel saw her campaigns against sex workers, and transsexuals, as complementary.

This is one of many strands of what Blair’s government stood for that has long been in deep disrepute, but this transphobic trend seems to have revived as a result of the adaptation of part of the left to right-wing populism and its ‘working class’ pretentions – to Trump and Brexit. Though the positions of individuals may vary considerably on such things, there does seem to be considerable overlap between those on the left who backed Brexit and showed softness on Trump, and those echoing JK Rowling’s bigotry today.

Popular Fronts with Trump and Farage

Thus, George Galloway and his new Workers Party of Britain boast about their backwardness on this: not only did Galloway notoriously ally himself with Nigel Farage and call for votes to the Brexit Party in the 2019 General Election. His bloc partners in founding the new ‘Workers Party’, the Mao-Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), led now by Joti Brar, with its roots in the ‘radical’ fringe of Maoism in India via the Indian Workers Association (GB), proclaimed at the time Donald Trump was elected president in 2016:

“Coming as it does on the heels of the Brexit vote in June, Trump’s victory is another blow at the imperialist system and the so-called liberal order. As such, it should be greeted with enthusiasm by the revolutionary proletariat and progressive humanity everywhere.”

This bizarre variant of Stalinist Popular-Front politics should cause the left to rub their eyes in disbelief. Instead of a Popular Front seeking a bloc with the liberal bourgeoisie against fascism, as was the norm in the 1930s (except for the period of the Stalin-Hitler pact, to which this bears some resemblance), we now see a Popular Front with part of the ‘radical’ neoliberal right against the liberal bourgeoisie in the name of opposing neoliberalism. This phantasm has its own roots, which are not the subject of this article, but it does have relevance, as Trump’s position on transsexuals is finding an echo among some on the left. And the kind of adaptation Galloway is now known for has a broader influence also including on some who were involved with the Corbyn movement.

On August 17, a US Federal Judge temporarily stayed the Trump administration’s overturn of the Obama administration’s definition of sex/gender. Forbes (17 Aug) reported:

“The Trump administration policy rescinds the Obama administration’s 2016 gender discrimination rule which redefined sex discrimination to include termination of pregnancy and gender identity, which it defined as ‘one’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.’

Trump’s policy returns to the government’s previous interpretation of sex discrimination according to ‘the plain meaning of the word ,<<sex>> as male or female and as determined by biology.’”

We hear similar things on some of the left, including from Galloway:

“I stand with JK Rowling. People can wear what they like – even their dead mother’s clothes – and identify as Moon-landing astronauts if they like, and I will do my best to accommodate them. But not to the extent of signing in my blood that they actually ARE what they identify as. … the ‘self-identifying woman’s’ freedoms are impinging on the freedoms of girls and women to their own spaces, privacy and self-expression.”

So here we see a rather strange confluence between the “socially conservative, but economically radical”, Galloway, and a brand of feminism in the left and labour movement, that for all the rhetoric against ‘identity politics’ that we see from some of those denouncing the ‘delusion’ of transsexuals about having changed their gender/sex, exhibit a prime characteristic of identity politics – smears that anyone who does not share their particular form of chauvinist hostility to another group, is hostile to the group they identify with.

Transphobic Identity Politics: A Threat to Gays Also

Thus Trans-Exclusionist Feminists frequently accuse those who do not share their exclusionism, whether male or female, of ‘misogyny’ (hatred of women). It only takes a moment’s thought to deduce that there is no logical reason to believe that those who defend the rights of transsexuals should have any reason whatsoever to hate women. It is just as intellectually lazy and insulting as the canard that those who are critical of the oppressive behaviour and activities of Zionist Jews towards Palestinians, hate Jewish people in general.

A classic manifestation of identity politics, apart from clear cases of outright separatism by an oppressed stratum under capitalism (which is generally mistaken and counterproductive), is when strata that are not oppressed, accuse members of a stratum that does suffer oppression, of bigotry simply for demanding basic rights. So it is when Zionist Jews smear their Palestinian victims (and their sympathisers) as ‘anti-Semites’ for demanding their rights. So it is when the small, vulnerable minority of transsexuals (and their sympathisers), demanding equal treatment to members of the sex they have transitioned to, are smeared as sexual predators and misogynists.

The counter-argument from transphobes is that transsexuality is itself a form of ‘identity politics’, that the very idea that anyone’s psyche can be at odds with their original biology is a ‘delusion’ which should not be ‘indulged’, that such people are in effect mentally ill, and should be treated as such, or as in some other way as deviant. Such people can never be fully accepted as female, or male, no matter what they do, is the logic of this argument which is heard regularly from those on the left who have capitulated in this way.

This argument is bigoted and inhuman, and in its logic threatens homosexuals as well as transsexuals. For if biology is paramount, if the psyche counts for nothing and no one can ever have a sex-related psychological makeup that is at odds with their strict biology, then how can homosexuality be a sexual orientation at all? The biological function of sex, by the same logic (applied consistently) as the transphobes use, is reproduction, and therefore ‘sexual’ activities between those of the same sex are not really sexual. By this reasoning they can only be acts that signify a mental delusion, as with the ‘delusions’ of transsexuals, that need ‘treatment’, that even should be ‘cured’. Medical orthodoxy used to say this about gays, as recently as the 1980s. When this is said about transsexuals it can just as easily be said about homosexuals. And it will: if the left retreats on trans rights in this manner it will open the way for further retreats on gay rights.

The current anti-trans regression on the left needs to be rejected, on the grounds Lenin laid out in What Is To Be Done, as early as 1903, that the job of would-be socialists and communists is to act as the “tribune of the oppressed, who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression … no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects”. That unifying of the oppressed behind the banner of the working class as the universal emancipator, is the real negation of identity politics.

US Election: The Threat of Dictatorship

Break with the Democrats! No Political Support to Biden!

The upcoming US Presidential Election is going to be the most dangerous and incendiary in many years, as US ‘democracy’ and its aspirations for social and political stability are acutely threatened by the prospect that even if defeated, Donald Trump will not accept that and will fight to hang onto power come what may. Trump’s infection with Covid-19 may have thrown a spanner in the works of his aspirations to be an US reprise of someone like Louis Bonaparte, able to subvert and manipulate a highly undemocratic ‘democratic’ system to obtain and maintain power without obtaining a majority, or even a plurality, of the popular vote.

Many of Trump’s supporters regarded it as a badge of honour to sneer at the pandemic and to refuse to carry out basic public health measures such as wearing masks: now a considerable and growing list of White House staff, Republican officials and even senior military officers have been infected, which promises to play havoc with his election effort and other Republican projects like packing the Supreme Court with anti-abortion fanatics.

But it is still possible that there could be a major confrontation between different bourgeois factions in the election aftermath, and given the different social and electoral bases of these factions, this could produce major polarisations and even conflict between different layers of the working class population in the US, as well as posing a major threat to democratic rights and social gains.

From the point of view of a rational policy for US imperialism, Trump’s administration is dysfunctional. But then again, even from the standpoint of formal democracy, the US Constitution itself is dysfunctional. This is not something to celebrate for the working class, however, whose interests are fundamentally at odds with those of US capitalism. For the irrationalities of the US constitution and political setup do not in any way benefit the working class and the overlapping doubly oppressed sections of our class that are particular targets of some of the political system’s worst features.

The United States is not a ‘normal’ bourgeois national state as can be seen most classically in Europe and Japan. It is a colonial settler state, founded through genocide of the native peoples of the various ‘Indian’ nations, which marks it as a society founded on racist barbarism at its very roots. The other foundation of US ‘democracy’ is the abduction and enslavement of its black population from Africa. Its entire history has been particularly marked by the struggles of the black population for basic rights and equality.

Initially against slavery in the 19th Century, then against the Jim Crow forcible segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror that succeeded it, a struggle that culminated with the achievement of formal legal equality as a result of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The Civil Rights movement stopped at that point, failing to go further and touch the huge economic inequality and impoverishment of the black population that centuries of racial oppression under capitalism have given rise to.

The end of the Civil Rights movement saw the black population of Northern ghettos rise up and fight racist cops alongside their brethren in the South, partly under the banner of Black Power, and the Rev. Martin Luther King’s liberal-pacifism challenged by the rise of Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and other quasi-revolutionary movements such as SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), DRUM (Detroit Revolutionary Union Movement) and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, to mention only a few. But this radicalisation failed to crystallise an authoritative, working class and revolutionary party and over time, this led to these movements falling prey to repression from the state, disillusionment, and demoralisation.

Neoliberal attacks and racist offensive hand-in-hand

The failure of the Civil Rights movement and its semi-nationalist ‘radical’ sequel to lead to a struggle against the capitalist double exploitation and oppression of the black masses led from the late 1970s to neo-liberalism taking the offensive against the black population through cuts in poverty programmes, crackdowns on so-called ‘law and order’, restoration of the death penalty in 1976, which particularly targeted blacks who were disproportionately driven into a life of poverty and degradation. Such intensified oppression breeds a degree of crime that can then be exploited by racists to further impoverish the black masses, while at the same time promoting a middle-class black layer of collaborators with the system.

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

This carried on through the Reagan and elder Bush administrations with the ‘War on Drugs’ which was actually a war on the black masses, then intensified under Clinton with the passage of various ‘omnibus’ anti-crime bills and ‘effective death penalty’ acts, continuing under the succeeding GW Bush administration. This gave rise to the situation today, where the United States has 2.3 million people in jail, around 40 per cent of whom are black. The imprisonment rate of blacks to whites in the US in 2018 was 1501 per 100,000, as opposed to 268 per 100,000 for whites – a rate nearly 6 times greater.

Over the period mainly covered by the Obama administration, and the conditions that gave rise to it, it appears that there was a certain decline in the degree of disproportionality of Black imprisonment, from over ninefold in 2006 to ‘only’ close to sixfold in 2018 (see But the response to such a relative lessening of the worst outrages under the first black President was determined effort by the neoliberal right to raise up Trump, an overt racist, to succeed Obama.

The campaign of gerrymandering and voter suppression that drove the white supremacist backlash against the Obama presidency was considerable, and led to Trump being able to win the Electoral College in 2016 despite in the national popular vote losing to the Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton, by nearly three million votes. Even though Hillary Clinton was an integral part of the Bill Clinton administration responsible for earlier appalling legal attacks, she paid the price for her party bringing forth a black President. This underlines why the obviously undemocratic Electoral College system, the legacy of incremental white settler expansion and many racist wars, has been preserved – as a firebreak against the multi-racial big city populations where the working class can be most potent and political.

This is the nature of the class struggle in the United States. The struggle against the double oppression of the black working class and poor suffuses the entire class struggle of the US working class and gives it a special character, in which race and class are closely linked and class questions are modified by considerations of racial oppression. It also is at the root of the ‘gun culture’ in the US: the Second Amendment – the Right to Bear Arms – always was about arming the white settler population to massacre the native nations of this part of North America, and to keep the Black population enslaved and segregated.

The epidemic of ‘mass shootings’ in the US is linked to the pathology of a society poisoned by lynch law and the suppression of social issues by violence. It is not the mere presence of arms that determines the killings: in other societies where arms are widespread, from rich countries like Switzerland to poor ones like the Philippines, such mass shootings are rare, as the deeply embedded racist pathology that pollutes this racist settler society is absent.

There are other questions that modify the US class struggle. The question of immigration is of considerable significance in US racism, as the entire white Anglo-derived population stands on the shoulders of violent white settlers who slaughtered the native tribes to the brink of non-existence; hence the complaints of white ‘nativists’ about Spanish-speaking immigrants from poorer semi-colonial countries to the South have an overtly racist and hypocritical character. This also overlaps with the US imperialist brutalisation of the peoples of the entire territory of the Americas.

The United States is the most dangerous imperialist power in history, with a truly global reach and the weaponry to destroy humanity many times over. Therefore, its defeat and disintegration are in the interests of the world proletariat and that of the great mass of humanity.

Trumpian Reaction and Imperialist Decline

The Trump administration and its irrationalities are a product of US imperialism’s decline and the ebbing of its power, getting involved in numerous wars that it has struggled with, most notably in the Middle East: Iraq, Afghanistan, and more covertly Syria. Two issues brought Trump to power: one being domestic racism, anti-immigration sentiment and support for white supremacy among parts of the former industrial, mainly white working class of the ‘rust belt’ states in the US interior, whose jobs have often been exported to lower wage developing countries by the US bourgeoisie, desperately seeking additional profits to offset the continuing decline of profit rates that are a crippling, fundamental contradiction of capitalism and endemic in this period of advanced capitalist decline and decay.

The other, linked element of Trumpism is a degree of reactionary, right-wing isolationism. This sentiment among ultra-reactionary sections of American business is not against imperialist militarism as such, but rather about their desire to ‘sort out’ uppity blacks, women and other oppressed groups who need to be ‘put in their place’ to re-establish unquestioned white, male supremacy at home. ‘Make America Great Again’ is about reimposing white supremacy as a path to a future imperialist offensive.

The abstract model of capitalism is that anyone’s money is as good as anyone else’s, the ethnic origin of those being exploited by capital being theoretically irrelevant.  ‘Actually existing’ capitalism, however, does not work like that, and the United States is a particularly extreme example. Its very foundation was bound up with racial supremacism, slavery, and genocide, whereas in Europe these things are often seen as external products of ‘empire’.  So much of its ruling class, and much of the majority Anglo-European population, are deeply embedded in supremacism. But demographic change, the decline of the industrial ‘aristocratic’ industrial working class in the rustbelt, and the continued expansion of the coastal cities through immigration have changed the demographic balance so that US residents of white European settler origin will cease to be a majority in the next two or three decades.

So you see major social tensions between different sections of the ruling class, one of which is ‘rolling with’ the demographic shifts and even basing itself to a degree on the black population and other oppressed populations, the other of which is either fighting against it, or at least seeking to exploit discontent among ‘left behind’ sections of the rust-belt lumpen semi-proletariat to promote a thinly-veiled white-male supremacist agenda.

The widespread involvement of Republicans in voter suppression is an indication of this, as is the overt support of Trump for paramilitary fascist/white supremacist groups like the ‘Proud Boys’, and the drive to appoint an ultra-reactionary anti-abortion Catholic fanatic,  Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court, obviously aiming at overturning the 1973 Roe v Wade judgement that prevented states from banning abortion, as well as possibly intervening on the side of Trump in any legal battle over a contested election defeat. Trump’s support for armed militia racist terrorists against the Black Lives Matter movement that has emerged over the past several years as a result of the unremitting terrorisation and promiscuous murdering of black people by the cops, is particularly ominous and indicates that he is quite prepared to support and incite fascist massacres to try to hold onto power. As indeed is his use of federal forces for similar purposes, particularly in Portland, Oregon over the last months.

No Political Support to Democrats!

The political conclusions that we draw from this analysis is that we can politically support neither side in this election. Both wings in terms of their programme and leadership are thoroughly bourgeois. Both parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are in no sense creations of the working class. They are ruling class parties that it is a matter of principle for those who stand for the class independence of the workers to refuse to advocate votes for or politically support in any way.

However, that is not the end of it. The social bases of the two parties are different even if the class nature of them are both bourgeois. The social base of the Democrats is in the big city, genuinely multi-racial elements of the working class where there is an element of anti-racist, working class radicalisation that ought to be the seedbed of a genuine workers movement. This was illustrated in the last presidential election campaign, as well as this one, by the two bids for the Democratic Party presidential nomination by the social democrat Bernie Sanders, who ran on a programme particularly focussed on the demand for free healthcare, or ‘Medicare for All’.

Sanders was bidding for the nomination for President on the ticket of a bourgeois party. Yet in a sense he was propelled toward that by a class-conscious element within the base of that party. To say that is not to politically support the Democratic Party or anyone within it, including Sanders. It would be unprincipled to support Sanders’ battle for the nomination of the ‘liberal’ magnates’ party but it would be correct to demand that his supporters break from the Democrats and fight openly for the creation of an independent working class party in the US. If they could have been pushed into that, then revolutionaries could have given Sanders, or someone like him, very critical support.

Bernie Sanders

Counterposed to that is Trump’s base in the rust belt ex-working class, who were won to his right-wing populist programme of banning Muslims from the US, bashing ‘foreigners’ and oppressed groups, protectionism against China, and supposedly keeping the US out of aggressive wars in the Middle East particularly, partly out of impotent disillusion with the 40 years of neoliberal attacks, givebacks to the bosses, and the prolonged decline of living standards since the days of Ronald Reagan.

Class-based disillusionment with Obama drove some parts of the working class towards Trump in 2016. It was mainly a reactionary vote but not exclusively so. Sanders might have won over a layer, though not the bulk, of Trump’s support if he had been able to run, some Trumpers who had previously supported Obama. Obama won a landslide victory in 2008 driven by sentiment particularly regarding his promises regarding healthcare and to get the US out of Iraq and Afghanistan, to close Guantanamo, etc. But while he delivered a healthcare reform that falls a long way short of universal free public healthcare, and while he signed a Deal with Iran that made a US attack on Iran less likely in the short term, he also launched new wars in Libya and Syria, that Trump was able to gain some support by criticising.

So while a section of Trump’s base were  driven to support him by his isolationist attacks on some recent US wars including Obama’s, and Trump has not been able to launch much in the way of any new wars in this presidency, the view of Trump as some sort of peacemaker are absurd. In recent decades more traditional US militarism has interlaced with the projects of the neoconservatives, a political trend in ruling class politics who regard support for Israel and Zionism as a sacred cause.

 There has been a faction based on Jewish ethnic politics within the US ruling class for over a century, but it has become qualitatively more powerful with the rises of the neoliberal offensive and this kind of reaction has increasingly interlaced with more traditional US right wing racism. It has devoted a great deal of effort to promoting its agenda in both parties, but its affinity for Trump has been particularly marked – for good reason. So we see leading ideologues around the Trump administration, alt-right figures like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller – who is both Jewish and a white supremacist –  and Richard Spencer proclaim their loud support for the most outrageous Israeli atrocities, and even calling themselves ‘white Zionists’.

Trump destroyed Obama’s Iran Deal, which originally had bipartisan support in the US, at the behest of Israel.  He made the Israel lobby rapture by implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, (which Clinton, Bush and Obama had paid lip service to but never implemented), moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and promoted his ‘deal of the Century’ which openly repudiates the very idea of a Palestinian state and tells Palestinians to accept and live with Israeli overlordship in perpetuity, encouraging Israeli plans to annex the West Bank.

Apart from that he has blown hot and cold in variety of conflicts, using his Twitter account to threaten North Korea and Iran with what sounded very much like nuclear war.  And then not doing much else. But he is also ratcheting up agitation against China, with threats, expansion of the military, trade war measures such as tariffs and abuse of China as supposedly responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. He has launched coups in Latin America, attempting to overthrow Chavez’ successor Maduro in Venezuela by overtly backing a stooge ‘President’ Guaido, inspiring and assisting the coup against the Workers Party in Brazil and rise of power of the Nazi Bolsonaro, and more recently the coup in Bolivia that overthrew Evo Morales.

 However, in many of these theatres the US is no longer in quite such a strong position, and Trump’s bluster, and often his excessive preoccupation with far right agitation and causes at home, have meant that he has been a somewhat dysfunctional and ineffective President abroad. Theodore Roosevelt’s motto was that US imperialism should ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’. You could say that Trump’s practice has sometimes been ‘shout loudly and be seen as a bag of wind’. It may well be that a Democratic party president such as Biden or Kamala Harris, repudiating Trump’s overtly racist and misogynistic preoccupations at home, could be more effective at defending the interests of US imperialism in the wider world. 

Fight Fascist Dangers through Independent Workers’ Actions!

But this is not clear: though at this point it appears remote, if Trump were to consolidate his position as Bush did by winning a clear second term on his overtly white supremacist programme, flirting with fascism as he does, it is quite conceivable that in his second term he could become a very dangerous militarist, particularly in an overtly racist war drive against China. The fictional events in the 2019 BBC/HBO drama Years and Years, set in the near future, that had a second-term Donald Trump launching a nuclear attack against an offshore Chinese island, are not at all far-fetched.

Though the twin bourgeois parties in US politics are both bourgeois, and in no sense politically or electorally supportable, there is a real difference in their social base at this point that does raise the question of which side the left should take in the event that Trump loses the election, but refuses to cede power and tries to hold onto it by force. With his overt support and incitement of white supremacist militias to attack anti-fascists, black militants and the left, such an event would constitute a fascistic danger to the black population and other minorities, and to the American working class movement in general. Trump’s armed supporters do not have the organisation and bourgeois support that was ranged behind Hitler and Mussolini, but they are not harmless either.

If Trump attempts to hold power against his election defeat the left and labour movement should demand the seating of the legitimately election winner, likely Biden, as President. They should take part in the front ranks of any struggle to defeat such a Trumpian coup, up to and including the use of large-scale armed actions and civil war, though a full-scale civil war seems unlikely. In immediate terms that would signify the tactical defeat of a reactionary, anti-democratic coup by a bourgeois figure whose views and actions are fascistic and pose a serious threat to our class. Participation by the left and organised labour in such a battle, while refusing any political support to the Democrats, has the potential to strengthen us considerably.

This will not solve the problem of the decline of US imperialism and the rise of barbaric forces out of that decline. Trump is not the cause, but a symptom of that and there will be worse to come if the US working class does not politically arm itself to struggle. The left needs to find ways to approach the large part of the US working class and oppressed populations that still look to the Democrats, to expose that bourgeois party to the vanguard, in order to make headway in rooting a revolutionary programme and party in the working class in the United States, in which black working class people, male and female, must play a crucial, leading role.

Defeat Zionist-imperialist terrorism against Iran!

A series of seemingly mysterious explosions and ‘accidents’ have rocked Iran in the last few weeks, including attacks on power supplies in Tehran. As Russia Today reported:

“Friday morning’s explosions are the latest in a string of mysterious incidents at industrial facilities, research laboratories, ammunition depots and even the Natanz nuclear research facility. While there has been rampant speculation that these might have resulted from Israeli sabotage or cyberattacks, Tehran has not openly assigned blame, while Tel Aviv has issued carefully worded statements neither confirming nor denying involvement.”
Natanz nuclear plant

The attack on the Natanz nuclear plant, in Isfahan Province, appears to have done significant damage to Iran’s nuclear programme.  The Financial Times commented on its significance that:

“In recent days, speculation has flourished about what exactly happened at Natanz, an assembly plant for centrifuges used to enrich uranium, and other facilities around Iran.

“Satellite images of Natanz show a 10-metre crater and destroyed roofing material, according to the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington DC. The explosion delivered ‘a major setback to Iran’s abilities to deploy advanced centrifuges on a mass scale for years to come,’ the institute said.

“Iran’s atomic energy organisation has confirmed that the level of damage was ‘considerable’.”

The FT themselves then speculate about the likely authorship of the attacks:

“The explosion definitely seems like an attack by the US or Israel or both like a warning that ‘we are too close to you,’ said an analyst close to reformist circles. ‘The act was big and caused significant [ financial] damage, making Iran’s tensions with the US even more complicated than before.’

“A group called the ‘Cheetahs of the Homeland’ has claimed responsibility. The group’s statement, sent by the Telegram messaging app, said they were former Iranian intelligence and security agents who want to overthrow the Islamic republic. It said more attacks similar to the one at Natanz were planned.”

Middle Eastern Eye noted that:

“A Middle Eastern intelligence official with knowledge of the incident told The New York Times that contrary to the Iranian government’s initial statement that it was an accident, a ‘powerful bomb’ caused Thursday’s fire.”

And Russia Today, again, has Israel not exactly straining to deny all involvement, undoubtedly as part of the psychological component of the Zionists’ ongoing war drive against Iran:

“’Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us,’ Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Sunday. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi went even further, saying that in seeking to block Iran from developing nuclear capability, ‘we take actions that are better left unsaid.’”


So it looks highly likely that this is a terrorist campaign waged by Israel, which has not so far managed, despite its frequent threats to attack Iran, to get the US support, green light and likely military assistance it needs to wage an all-out attack on Iran. A joint US/Israeli military attack on Iran, which Netanyahu has long touted for in Washington, would be considerably more dangerous than the Iraq War of 2003, since Iran is much more powerful nation, more than twice as populous as Iraq, with armed forces undefeated in any recent conflict, and it seems, at the very least, the backing of Russia and China against attempts by Israel’s quartermasters and bloc partners in the United States to extend UN sanctions. As the Eurasian Times reported (4 July):

“The US’s demand to extend the arms embargo against Iran, due to expire in four months, has been rejected by the members of the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) including China and Russia.

“China and Russia are the permanent members of the UNSC who rejected the motion. The other permanent members of the UNSC – the UK and France – also failed to support the extension of the embargo against Iran.

“US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that lifting the ban on the trade of conventional weapons would turn Iran into a ‘rogue weapons dealer,’ supplying advanced weapons to groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and fueling conflicts in Venezuela, Syria and Afghanistan.”

In this context, the seeming instigation of a terrorist campaign in Iran, probably by Mossad with the likely help of some element of US intelligence, seems a bit like desperation. Although Netanyahu appears to be trying to use the international distraction occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic as a cover to try to push through the annexation of most of the West Bank, getting US support for his longed-for joint attack on Iran seems to be proving rather difficult. Not only that, but Israel seems to be being plunged back into its own crisis with a second wave of Covid-19 building.

Any US intelligence involvement in this is likely to be particularly covert and factional; the CIA is probably not keen to get directly involved with what could be very risky indeed and potentially disastrous. Many remember Carter’s humiliating debacle in April 1980 when helicopters sent to rescue US prisoners held by student Islamic ‘radicals’ from the US Embassy in Tehran, instead collided with each other in the Iranian desert, collapsing the entire mission. That is an experience they have not been keen to repeat since. Indeed since then, the US has sponsored ‘home grown’ stooge movements like the Mujahedin-e-Khalq as its preferred method of seeking ‘regime change’ in Iran; there may well be an element of this with this ‘cheetahs’ movement, assuming it is not simply a Mossad pseudonym.

US covert activities carried our against Iran with Israel today are more likely to be on the model of the Iran-Contra affair in the late-1980s, when a separate, covert operation was run out of the White House, bypassing the normal  channels of Congress and the CIA, who can then deny all knowledge.

In any case, as Marxists and anti-imperialists, we condemn this terror campaign against Iran by Zionist imperialism and likely its US ally. UK complicity is undoubtedly not far behind. We call for the defence of Iran, an oppressed semi-colonial nation, and the defeat of imperialism and all its proxies.

Long-Bailey Sacking: Starmer’s ‘Fuck You’ to Unions Over Covid

The sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey (left) as Shadow Education Secretary by Keir Starmer, on the most transparent and absurd pretext about ‘anti-Semitism’, is driven by domestic politics, not by any even feeble opposition to Zionism by Long-Bailey. RLB not only signed up for the ’10 Commandments’ of the Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews during the leadership election in the spring, but she also declared herself a ‘Zionist’ at the Jewish Labour Movement’s hustings; even Starmer did not do that.

The reference in Maxine Peake’s article, which RLB shared, to Israel training US cops in methods of brutalising people, is simply true. There is much evidence of Israel using the knee-on-neck hold that was used to murder George Floyd. The Jewish Virtual Library has published a detailed account of collaboration between Israeli and US police since 9/11, including in the occupied territories. For example:

“A diverse group of 52 law enforcement officers from 12 U.S. states visited Israel and participated in joint training sessions with their Israeli counterparts during September 2017. This program, known as the Police Unity Tour, has been held periodically since 1997.”

 The idea that this is a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ trope is risible. A similar knee-on-neck technique is used by Israel, part of Krav Maga, an arsenal of physical techniques that are made for policing a subjugated population (photo).

Krav Maga is a salient issue: the 2017 Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby, which exposed Zionist activities in the witchhunt, showed Ella Rose, director of the Jewish Labour Movement, fantasising about using Krav Maga against Jackie Walker. George Floyd’s murder highlights her sociopathic fantasy of a murderous act against a black grandmother.

This is really about the Covid-19 Pandemic, with credible reports of a conflict between Long-Bailey, close to the teachers’ unions who have campaigned to defend health and safety by opposing the premature re-opening of schools,  and Starmer, competing with Johnson for the favour of the Tory media and backing the reckless reopening of schools to ‘get the economy moving again’.

Starmer is waging war on the left:  threats and reprimands against left-wing Black MP’s Diane Abbott and Bell Ribiero-Addy for attending a Zoom event at which purged Labour Party members, such as Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker, spoke ‘from the floor’. Its clear from the protests of numerous leading trade unionists that RLB’s sacking is seen as an attack on trade unions.

 Long-Bailey cravenly capitulated, but she was still seen as the ‘continuity Corbynite’ candidate by some. She got 135,218 votes for the leadership, slightly less than half of Starmer. But more did not vote than voted for Starmer; many correctly refused to support Long-Bailey as she had joined the witchhunt. Only a minority of left-wing members could bring themselves to vote for her.

A genuine left candidate could have defeated Starmer. But the process was rigged by the PLP who still largely control nominations. The one left-of-Corbyn MP, Chris Williamson, was hounded out, which made certain that there would be no genuine left candidate. Starmer wants to consolidate his position by driving out that membership.

There is talk of a leadership challenge from people like Ian Lavery who failed to challenge Starmer in the spring.  Others are talking about running Richard Burgon, who ran for deputy leader previously. He did not dare challenge for leader which is itself telling. Quite why they would succeed in getting the parliamentary support to do this now is not clear, particularly as the thresholds are more difficult to meet than where there is a vacancy for leader. 

If the unions were to seriously back a challenge Starmer might be under threat. But it is not wise to hold your breath since it was the trade union bureaucracy that played the decisive role in ramming the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ though the Labour Party’s structures. At this point, to overturn Starmer, it would be necessary to overturn the bureaucracy that put him there.

Realising the unlikelihood of a challenge, left wing members have been tearing up their cards and looking to found a new left-wing party. Chris Williamson’s Festival of Resistance does appear the most viable initiative in train to do this, though it has been projected cautiously as an attempt to build a grassroots socialist movement, leaving open becoming a party. A party is needed, to rally the disillusioned, angry forces that originally rallied behind Corbyn, build a genuine socialist movement that can really challenge capital, and not least to exert the kind of pressure on Labour from outside that could stop the right-wing running riot and bring about a decisive split of Labour’s working class base from the influence of the pro-capitalist bureaucracy.

Bangladesh: Tea Workers and Tea Workers Day

by Akash Mirza

Last season, Bangladesh set a record for the second highest production in the 175-year history of tea production. The target for tea production in the just-concluded season was 6 crore 23 lakh kg. And 6 crore 20 lakh kg has been produced which is 96 lakh kg more than the target. Although the tea industry has improved, the lives of tea workers have not changed.

After working all day, the income of a tea worker is 102 Taka, there is no own ethnic identity, no opportunity for education, no sanitation. There is a lack of treatment. Even if you are educated, you have to do 102 taka a day or you have to lose a place to keep your head. There is no help even if there is disability while going to work. In order not to be vocal about their rights, the workers are kept intoxicated with the help of the owners. There are liquor stores in each tea garden as planned.

One such unfortunate group is the tea workers. During the British rule, they were brought to different places including Bangladesh by showing greed for a better life, but from the very beginning, only negligence and torture have been inflicted on their foreheads. They are like today’s modern slaves.

Menka Santal, a tea worker at Zulekha Tea Garden, said that even after so many years of independence, the fate of tea garden workers has not changed. Development has not touched their lives. They are not even getting the opportunity to enjoy basic rights. This tea garden community has yet to break the shackles of British feudalism and local babu-sahebs.

According to the Tea Workers Union, the tea population in the country is about 6 lakh. Of these, about 94,000 are registered workers and another 40,000 are irregular workers. The weekly salary of a tea worker is 614 tk. 3 kg 280 gms of rice or flour is given per week (the price of the product is lower than the market price).

British Ghatual, a tea worker at Deorachhara Tea Garden, said there are many families of 5-6 members where one person gets a job for tk. 102 and the rest depend on this money to make ends meet. You have to stay in a small broken house with your children and cattle. Although the garden authorities were supposed to repair the house, it did not happen year after year. They have no place of their own. If you don’t work in the garden, you will lose your place of residence.

Sujit Baraik, general secretary of the Sylhet Tea Community Student Youth Welfare Council, said that according to the 2016 agreement, a worker should be given a pension as an average of one and a half months’ salary for the total number of years he has worked. But it’s just a pen on paper. In old age, they have to starve to death due to starvation and without treatment. Although only a few gardens provide nominal medical care, most gardens do not.

Debashish Yadav, vice-president of the Tea Students’ Union, said, “Even in the midst of so much suffering, we suffer the most when a large section of society considers us’ Indians’. When our ancestors came to Bengal, India was not divided. They just came from one place to another. ”

“Everyone has their own ethnic identity, but tea workers don’t,” he said. “Even though we have our own language and culture, we haven’t been able to get any recognition yet.”

Why can’t they be protesters even after so much deprivation? – Dhana Baury, president of Manu Dhalai Valley of the Tea Workers Union, said, “We can’t end up talking about our hardships. The workers are being kept intoxicated by ensuring easy availability of liquor with the indirect cooperation of the employers so that they cannot unite by understanding their own good and bad”.

Vijay Pal, Founder President of a Social Welfare Organization, said that a tea worker is not allowed to stay in the garden if he does not work in the garden, while almost every garden has low quality liquor shops which are being given all kinds of opportunities by the garden owners. President of Bangladesh Tea Union, Sylhet Valley, said work was underway to improve the living standards of tea workers. Primary schools are being set up in every garden.

History of Tea Labor Day

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, tea was not introduced anywhere else in the world except China. In 1854, the East India Company started tea cultivation in the Malinichhara tea garden in Sylhet on an experimental basis. At that time workers from different parts of India including Assam, Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh were shifted to this land to make tea gardens. It did not take long for them to understand the temptation that had been shown to them, even though they were tempted to say, “The tree will move, the rupee will move.”

There is no accounting for how many workers lost their lives prematurely after falling into the clutches of wild animals while clearing huge hills and cultivating tea. Besides, there was the oppression of the British. In protest of their continued persecution, the then tea workers leader Pandit Gangacharan Dixit and Pandit Deosaran called for a ‘Mulluke Chal’ (return to motherland) movement. On May 20, 1921, about 30,000 tea workers from the Sylhet region reached the Meghna Steamer Ghat at Chandpur on foot from Sylhet.

When they tried to return to their homeland by ship, the British Gurkha soldiers indiscriminately shot and killed the tea worker and dumped his body in the Meghna River. Those who fled also had to be brutally tortured for the crime of protesting. They did not get the right to land. Since then, May 20 has been observed as Tea Workers’ Day every year.

Sunil Biswas, a drama personality in the tea garden, said, “We are still neglecting the recognition of the celebration of Tea Workers’ Day by the state.”

For the overall liberation of all other working classes, including tea workers There is no alternative for establishing a new society and an independent socialist society by abolishing the existing  capitalist social system to protect the health of all people, including the working class, eliminating unemployment, poverty, social unrest. To end the plunder of capitalism, the state system, imperialism, we have to build a society where there is no human dominance over human beings. People will not exploit people. They will manage themselves. Non-state, non-capitalist socialist self-managed social system. All production systems will be owned by people of the society, including mills, factories and agricultural farms. There will be no volatility of personal ownership. The word employment will disappear forever. People will be completely free.

 BASF- working with and for preparing people for changing existing society by organizing, educating and providing training. The society is working to establish a system where no unjust working period, no hierarchy, will be able to manage the entire production system, under mutual Aid.

Racist Zionist Gestapo try to police ‘Black Lives Matter’

Defend Jim Curran and Rosie Smith!

The recent Black Lives Matter protests in London, inspired by the struggles in the United States against racist police killers, have mobilised ordinary people and activists from a wide variety of political backgrounds and generations, and have played a unifying role in bringing such diverse people together in what promises a renewed struggle against racism and reaction. But this promising, spontaneous anti-racist movement has enemies, racist and far right elements including in the media who are looking for ways to derail it, to engage in provocation against it, and to divide it.

One manifestation, both of the inspiring character of the movement, and the attempts by racists to sabotage and divide it, is the affair of the widely-circulated photograph of two anti-racist activists: Rosie Grace Smith, a young black single mother who was attending her first demonstration in early June, and Jim Curran, veteran labour movement and Irish activist who is one of the most affable, well known figures who left-wing people invariably run into on a huge variety of anti-racist, anti-war political events.

Jim Curran and Rosie Smith, pictured on Black Lives Matter demo in London, June 2020

Once posted on social media, particularly Twitter the photograph ‘went viral’ rapidly and became almost an iconic symbol of the new anti-racist movement. But it soon drew the sinister attention of Zionist racists.

Another Zionist Witchhunt

Apparently Jim Curran was logged by Zionists as attending meetings of a group called ‘Keep Talking’, which organises events at which some left wing activists have hosted events with conspiracy theorists about such things as 9/11, questioning the truth of the Nazi holocaust of Jews, and similar topics. Apparently Gilad Atzmon has spoken at an event of this body; he spoke about the Balfour Declaration, not the Nazi genocide or 9/11 Trutherism so from that point of view his material might even be viewed as quite innocuous by comparison. Vanessa Beeley has also spoken to them about Syria, as well as other fringe elements, some from the more eccentric and fossilised elements of the old far right.

Jim Curran was denounced by the Jewish Chronicle as an ‘anti-Semite’ for having attended meetings of this group. This is the same Jewish Chronicle that has written articles defending one Michal Kaminski, a Polish right-wing extremist who happens to be an ally of the Conservative Party. In 2001, on the 60th Anniversary of a notorious 1941 massacre of Jews in the town of Jedwabne  by Polish collaborators with the Nazis, where 300 men, women and children were deliberately burned alive in a barn, the then-president of Poland, Alexander Kwasniewski, organised a special commemoration to make a ‘national apology’ for this vile crime. The Guardian then narratied Kaminski’s response:

“Beneath all the controversy, it is not difficult to establish basic truths about Kaminski’s past. The accounts of Polish journalists, historians and local people leave no doubt he was instrumental in urging Jedwabne residents to oppose the president’s apology and boycott the ceremonial event in 2001. He pressed his case at numerous meetings in Jedwabne during the first half of that year.

“’As a local MP, Kaminski played a key role in the campaign questioning the Polish responsibility for the Jedwabne massacre. The campaign had strongly antisemitic overtones,’ said Dr Rafal Pankowski, a member of the Never Again Association and author of The Populist Radical Right in Poland.

But the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, revealed very clearly why despite Kaminsky’s very clear genuine anti-Semitism, the JC defended him anyway:

“As Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, and founding chairman of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, I am more alive than most to the dangers of the newly resurgent antisemitism. But there is simply no evidence that Mr Kaminski is an antisemite, only a series of politically motivated assertions. It is not Kaminski who is odious; it is those using antisemitism as a tool for their own political ends who deserve contempt.

“I have no axe to grind on Mr Kaminski’s behalf. But I do have an axe to grind against false labels of antisemitism. Far from being an antisemite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israel an MEP as exists.”

And that is the bottom line. Kaminsky, the old-style anti-Semite, is given a clean bill of health because he is “about as pro-Israel an MP as exists”. For these Zionists, accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are purely instrumental, being turned on and off like a tap according to whether the alleged ‘anti-Semite’ supports Israel and Zionism or not.

Then we see the Daily Mail chiming in. This is now Britain’s biggest selling tabloid newspaper, having only recently overtaken Rupert Murdoch’s Sun. It also has a long history of real racism against Jews, in the period when Jews were an oppressed group in Western countries. It is most well-known for its notorious headline ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’ in January 1934, hailing Mosley’s pro-Hitler fascist party that tried to terrorise Jews in the East End of London. In 1938, in the middle of Hitler’s rising persecution of Jews in Germany, the Daily Mail headlined “German Jews pouring into this country” and highlighted a quote from a magistrate:

“The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage..,”

It is very clear that this rag historically supported fascism and again, genuine anti-Semitism. Today its apologists claim it has changed, its long-lasting Rothemere owning dynasty no longer hate Jews. No, they have changed their hatred to Black people and other immigrants and asylum seekers, you name it. Its modern rantings against migrants, so universally known as to not require quoting, are very similar to the quoted rant against Jews. But it no longer usually targets Jews as Zionism and Israel has led to a situation where Jews in general are regarded as part of the ‘civilised’ Western camp, and in fact Israel is regarded by the racist right as the very model of an ethnic state in much the same way as Nazi Germany was in the 1930s. And unlike Nazi Germany, Israel has so far not been defeated, which makes it even more attractive to the far right.

Thus instead of publishing the earlier Viscount Rothemere’s pro-Hitler material, today the Daily Mail publishes material by the ex-liberal, anti-Muslim racist Jewish-Zionist ideologue Melanie Philipps, author of Londonistan, which portrays London as a nest of Muslim terrorists the way pre-WWII anti-Semites in the US used to talk of Jew York: New York as the centre of supposed plots for ‘Jewish world domination’. The pro-Zionism of the Daily Mail is as central to what it stands for today as was the anti-Semitism and pro-Hitler politics of the Rothemeres in the 1930s.

Zionism today: A far right racist movement

 In fact, Zionism is now so popular on the far right that where at least covertly Nazi symbolism was often seen in the past, now Israelis flags are commonly seen at far-right events. It is this reversal and paradox that is at the core of some aspects of ideological confusion on parts of the left, often the part that is angriest and subjectively closest to revolutionary politics.  The soft left has much less trouble reconciling themselves to Zionism and are less bothered by such things.

The Zionist ‘Community Security Trust’ and their fake ‘anti-racist’ allied group, Hope not Hate (HnH) also denounced Jim Curran. These fake anti-fascist, fake anti-racist groups both exist to defend Zionist racism, not to campaign against racism of any kind.  HnH often target the Labour left, not the far right, as shown by their recent campaign against Chris Williamson, who was the only MP in the entire PLP who defied the Zionist/Blairite campaign to destroy Corbyn’s leadership.

The CST, which is closely allied to HnH and the other gaggle of forces that howled about this, are indicative. They are not an anti-racist group at all. A key struggle that drives anti-racist militants today is the cause of the Palestinians, who have faced ethnic cleansing, pogroms, massacres and racial persecution by Israel for more than 70 years, and who now face a new round of atrocities and slow genocide as Israel plans to annex the West Bank and either expel, or subjugate the bulk of its population. Their leader, Dave Rich, made very clear in his 2016 book The Left’s Jewish Problem that he defends the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and considers it to be morally justified because of the crimes of the Nazis in Europe:

“Comparing the plight of the Palestinians with the Holocaust performs several functions. Its political goal is to undermine the idea that the Holocaust provided a moral justification and a practical need for the creation of a Jewish state.”

(The Left’s Jewish Problem, Biteback 2016, Kindle Edition, location 2875)

The Jewish state that Rich extols the virtue of was created by the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1947-8, , that drove out around three quarters of the Arab population of Palestine, an overwhelmingly Arab territory when the British occupied it in 1917, almost simultaneously with the Balfour Declaration where the British Foreign Secretary wrote to the chief Zionist representative, Lord Rothschild, promising a ‘national home’ for the Jews. The Nakba was the eventual outcome of the handing over of Palestine to a third-party: a massive pogrom accompanied by massacres such as Deir Yassin and Tantura, and even the use of germ warfare against the Arab population at Acre. According to the CST, this was morally justified.

This ‘moral justification’ is at the core of the IHRA psuedo-definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ that has been imposed on the Labour Party by the Zionists, which says that denying Jews’ alleged “right to self-determination” at the expense of the Palestinians, and saying that Israeli is a “racist endeavour” are both ‘anti-Semitic’ positions. Adhering to this vile, racist concept, which was conceived long before anyone had heard of Hitler, shows clearly that the CST and HnH are anti-Arab racist organisations, that are in principle no better than neo-Nazis. There is no difference in principle between ‘morally’ defending Zionism’s ongoing racist crime against the Palestinians and defending the gassing of Jews. And the Labour Party, which has not only adopted the racist, anti-Arab IHRA into its rules, but also elected a leader that says he supports Zionism ‘without qualification’ should also be regarded as an anti-Arab, racist party.

In response to the vilification of Jim Curran by the Zionists, Rosie Smith defended him, tweeting that “I spoke with Jim and judge him on our convo and from his vibe and work”, and concluded that “The Jews are not innocent, #israelisnotinnocent they deal with mad racism”. This was itself slammed as ‘anti-Semitic’ by various Zionist racist bullies, and Rosie felt compelled to apologise for her remarks, and made her Twitter account private. So the outcome of this is that this black, anti-racist young female activist has been bullied off Twitter by as vile a bunch of pogromists and racists as you will find anywhere, allied with the Nazi-loving, Arab-hating criminal hate-rag the Daily Mail, which even Microsoft’s Newsguard flags as an unreliable source that presents its own views as ‘news’.

Tarnishing the memory of Nazi crimes

We do not have to agree with everything Jim Curran does to defend him and denounce the witchhunt against him. The fact that the Nazi genocide has been instrumentalised to justify crimes against Arabs, for many decades, far longer than the 12 years that Hitler’s regime has lasted, has led to a certain shift in the appreciation of that historical event by some sincere opponents of racism. The Zionist instrumentalisation and abuse of the Nazi holocaust has led to it becoming tarnished to a degree among those whose gut impulse is to oppose racism in all its forms. Therefore leftists, anti-racists like Jim Curran, can at least give a hearing to conspiracy theorists about the Nazi genocide, like Nick Kollerstrom, even if they do not necessarily agree with them. Zionism is responsible for this paradox and Zionism alone.

Rosie Smith could better have said “The Jews are not collectively innocent”; rather than “the Jews are not innocent”. But then she has very little political experience, so slight misformulations are hardly surprising. And in fact, most of the left either does not understand the paradoxes involved in the Jewish question today, or are too cowardly politically to try to address them.

It is grossly hypocritical for Zionists to condemn Rosie Smith for verbally treating ‘the Jews’ as a collective when Zionists do the same thing. They treat “the Jews” collectively, promote that as an unambiguously good thing, and deny that Jewish people who dissent from Zionism are really Jews at all.

There is a tawdry assumption here, that anyone who says anything about ‘the Jews’ that is critical, is talking about every single Jewish person. Today, when most Jews support a racist movement and there are real questions of oppression carried out against ethnic groups who are oppressed by (mainstream) Jews, that assumption is malicious, and racist.

When Diane Abbot made her remarks several years ago about how “white people love to divide and rule” she was talking about the mainstream, not every single white person irrespective of their views. Only racists, only people completely unaware or uncaring of the enormous historical and current oppression that bears down upon Black people, could make such an assumption. The same is true today when someone talks about ‘the Jews”. This is not 1942. This is 2020, when the world’s only Jewish state is also the most openly racist state in the world.

The cowardly British left have taken a dive over the defence of Rosie Smith and Jim Curran from this witchhunt. No left organisation that we know of, apart from ourselves, has published anything in defence of comrade Curran, who has been a fixture at anti-racist, anti-war, labour movement and Irish events for many years. decades in fact. The only prominent figure that has any kind of left-wing reputation, albeit a contradictory one, who has denounced this witch-hunt, is Gilad Atzmon. This is to his credit, though he has himself been vilified, partly because he himself has long been caught up in the same paradoxes as comrade Cullen. He too is motivated by fervent anti-racism but has been driven by this into a similar situation. What is also important is that this phenomenon is deeply embedded in this historical period; it is not going to go away anytime soon, and addressing it properly is one of the left’s most crucial responsibilities today.

Solidarity with Anti-Fascist Struggle In Lugansk!

Lugansk People’s Republic Celebrates Six Years of Independence

We send solidarity greetings to the working people of the People’s Republic of Lugansk for their heroically achieved independence on May 12, 2014. A victory over the illegitimate and fascist-infested regime imposed by US, NATO and EU agents in Ukraine six years ago.

The People’s Republics of Lugansk and Donbass are today an example for the struggle of all the oppressed in the world against neo-fascism and the far-right bourgeois governments, such as Trump, Boris Johnson, Órban, Bolsonaro. We know that fighters from the popular militias in Donbas and Lugansk are making daily sacrifices against fascist brigades.

We have no illusions about the capitalist and oligarch nature of the Russian Federation, we defend the return of the revolutionary and anti-capitalist struggle in Lenin’s homeland. But we reject the anti-Russian hysteria, the provocations, sanctions and demonizations that imperialism imposes on Russia, our ally in the anti-imperialist front in struggle in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba.

All of our support for Lugansk and solidarity with its organizations, which will continue until neo-Nazism is crushed and communists, socialists, anti-fascists and all workers regain their rights again.

Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)

Socialist Party (Bangladesh)

Socialist Workers League (USA)

Tendência Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)

Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight (Great Britain)

Defeat Imperialism in Venezuela!

Defeated incursion of imperialist terrorism in Macuto

At dawn on Sunday, May 3, a pro-imperialist mercenary attempt to besiege Venezuela from the maritime border with Colombia failed. The Pentagon repeated, as a farce, the Bay of Pigs defeat before the Cuban workers’ state was created in 1961. Now, against the Bolivarian government of Maduro. Imperialism and the CIA attempt an armed mercenary maneuver to besiege a regime that bothers it.

The current mercenary incursion armed by imperialism from the border from Colombia was thwarted by Venezuelan forces, including by fishermen who were armed. The exact function of the provocation is not yet known, a skirmish to demoralize the Venezuelan government, create a justification for some future campaign to ’rescue’ the captives. The invasion of 30 imperialist mercenaries was in Macuto, on the coasts of the Caribbean state, of Venezuela, of La Guaira, about 20 kilometres north of Caracas. It is reported from Venezuela that some members of the terrorists were killed and others captured. Venezuelan security forces say that among the fallen was Robert Colina, alias “Pantera”, who was said to be in charge of a paramilitary camp in Colombia.

This incursion of mercenary forces armed by imperialism points to a qualitative leap in imperialism’s terrorist aggression against Venezuela. This confirms the tendency towards increasing imperialist terrorism in Latin America. We had already warned of this trend in “Imperialist terrorism is growing”.

For imperialism, economic sabotage and sanctions are no longer sufficient. With these means, it has not been able to displace the regime that most created contradictions with imperialism, in the regions, indeed in the continent today, after Cuba. Increasingly, imperialism will use terrorist methods against those same regimes. To which must be added the siege from decidedly pro-imperialist governments today like those of Duque Márquez, in Colombia, and Bolsonaro, in Brazil.

Right now with the claim that it is fighting drug trafficking, with its naval and air deployment, and the call to double the number of military ships and soldiers in the region made by Trump on April 1 (the pro-imperialist regimes being the main protectors of the drug trafficking),  imperialism in the Caribbean and Latin America is preparing for a leap in the interventionist maneuvers of terrorism against nations that represent some obstacle.

The imperialist defeat of the Bay of Pigs invasion fuelled the Cuban revolution. The farce in Macuto may not be strong enough to break the limitations of Maduro’s bourgeois government, but it is a small imperialist defeat that must be defended and celebrated by communists across the planet. It is the task of revolutionary workers of the continent to prepare for the growing offensives of imperialism in the region, organizing the workers independently while resorting to theanti-imperialist united front with all those forces that today in any way represent a challenge to imperialism.

WSWS (ICFI) ultimatism on the trade union question serves the US imperialist bourgeoisie

Produced as a collaboration with the FCT, Brazilian Section of the LCFI

The World Socialist Website (WSWS) is the portal of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). The WSWS is among the best left-wing Trotskyist sites on the planet. In fact, not all non-Trotskyist people who access the WSWS know that it is a website for a Trotskyist organization. And even less that this organization is called the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). By dedicating themselves to the virtual world, they bring good information and have become experts in it.

But, virtue turned into addiction. The ICFI became sectarian, ultimatist in relation to union struggles, completely capitulated to virtual militancy, on the internet, and rejected all union activity of the working class on principle.

The ICFI-WSWS is opposed to working in workers’ unions on the grounds that they are run by reactionary bureaucrats – which has been true for 200 years and worldwide, but does not justify resignation – as is very clear and wordy here in this anti-union “training course” of the organization’s leader:

1. Why are unions hostile to socialism? By David North, 15 June 2019

2. That same position is here:Postal worker must draw some immediate conclusions, and one of them must be to take this current action out of the hands of the union and form rank and file committees. This really is a life and death issue. (Communication Workers Union folds 48 hours after Royal Mail threatens 20,000 jobs, Thomas Scripps, 2 May 2020).

3. And also here where the workers’ unions, led by bureaucrats, equals the Democratic Party of the US imperialist bourgeoisie:But yesterday’s stunt constituted an effort by the Democratic Party, the unions, and their hangers-on to disrupt and gain control of this growing movement of workers against the efforts by the corporations to force them to continue working during the pandemic under unsafe conditions .. ..Workplace committees are also necessary for workers to defend themselves against the efforts of the Democratic Party and the unions to hijack and disrupt their struggles. (May 1 “general strike” at Amazon: A failed adventure by theDemocratic Party and the unions, The International Amazon Workers Voice, 2 May 2020).

Union activity is the basic working class par excellence, it is its first awareness of the political struggle against bosses, businessmen, police and the capitalist state. Without going through this school and without discovering the limits of that school, it is difficult for workers to acquire revolutionary consciousness, class consciousness as a class for themselves, communist consciousness.

The ICFI abandoned the working class and became useless for mobilising the masses in their place of work, study and housing. They believe that they can completely replace unions with “grassroots committees” as led by the ICFI itself. It is “take it or leave it”: they carry out militancy directly in the ranks of the ICFI, or nothing. They do not consider the level of understanding of the workers or their expectations on the subject.

We believe that Parties, Unions and the Grassroots Committees are all useful and that they fulfill different functions. We need to bring the masses to revolutionary conclusions, based on common experience with them. For ICFI, unions are instruments as evil as the Democratic Party, they are also bandits. And the reality is not like that, black or white, no matter how bad the union bureaucracies are anywhere in the world. They are very gangsterish and bourgeois in the USA, but they are also in South Africa, Argentina and Brazil. We cannot help workers to overcome their illusions in the union struggle through ultimatums. Trade unions are a historic achievement for the working class. They suffered degeneration, along with the degeneration of capitalism towards barbarism, but they are still an instrument that needs to be regained from the hands of union bureaucracies for workers in their daily political struggle. And even if this reconquest is not carried out, this struggle is important to advance the workers’ consciousness.

Lenin was outspoken in the aftermath of the Russia revolution against such ‘principled’ refusal to engage with mass trade unions:

“We are waging a struggle against the ‘labour aristocracy’ in the name of the masses of the workers and in order to win them over to our side; we are waging the struggle against the opportunist and social-chauvinist leaders in order to win the working class over to our side. It would be absurd to forget this most elementary and most self-evident truth. Yet it is this very absurdity that the German ‘Left’ Communists perpetrate when, because of the reactionary and counter-revolutionary character of the trade union top leadership, they jump to the conclusion that . . . we must withdraw from the trade unions, refuse to work in them, and create new and artificial forms of labour organisation! This is so unpardonable a blunder that it is tantamount to the greatest service Communists could render the bourgeoisie. Like all the opportunist, social-chauvinist, and Kautskyite trade union leaders, our Mensheviks are nothing but ‘agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement’ (as we have always said the Mensheviks are), or ‘labour lieutenants of the capitalist class’, to use the splendid and profoundly true expression of the followers of Daniel De Leon in America. To refuse to work in the reactionary trade unions means leaving the insufficiently developed or backward masses of workers under the influence of the reactionary leaders, the agents of the bourgeoisie, the labour aristocrats, or ‘workers who have become completely bourgeois’… ” (Lenin, Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder, May 1920)

As Comrade Trot 20 years later, Trotsky returned to the same point and was equally incisive:

 “From what has been said it follows quite clearly that, in spite of the progressive degeneration of trade unions and their growing together with the imperialist state, the work within the trade unions not only does not lose any of its importance but remains as before and becomes in a certain sense even more important work than ever for every revolutionary party. The matter at issue is essentially the struggle for influence over the working class. Every organization, every party, every faction which permits itself an ultimatistic position in relation to the trade union, i.e., in essence turns its back upon the working class, merely because of displeasure with its organizations, every such organization is destined to perish. And it must be said it deserves to perish. “

(Leon Trotsky, Trade Unions In the Epoch of Imperialist Decay, August 1940).

In this respect, ICFI’s anti-union sectarianism has made it become a functional grouping under the control of that wing of imperialism within the US Democratic Party which continues to control the majority of the hearts and minds of the proletariat in the heart of the imperialist monster, in the most powerful country To paraphrase Lenin, ICFI’s leftism “amounts to the greatest service that the communists could provide the bourgeoisie.” In this case, the ICFI has the aggravation against itself of providing this service to the US imperialist bourgeoisie, the most exploitative and oppressive of the world working class.

It is true that because there is no alternative to the left of the Democratic Party to fight for the consciousness of the American proletariat. In 2016, in the industrial belts of the USA, especially in the workers’ cities of the so-called rust belt, workers who felt threatened by competition from Chinese industrialists voted for Trump’s protectionism.

With the wearing down Trump’s influence, a fraction of the left of the Democratic Party has again seduced the workers, though the social-imperialist Bernie Sanders. At this time when Sanders betrayed the most recent and perhaps historically greatest wave of socialism in US history, despite Bernie Sanders, it would be important to have a revolutionary Trotskyist organization capitalizing on disillusion within the immediate struggles, the union struggles of the important American proletariat, but the WSWS is relatively good for information, but not for organizing the fight against imperialism. Now, with the pandemic destroying the main card in Trump’s sleeve, full employment, with growing disillusionment with the two wings of imperialism, class conscious and communist workers’ reorganization is the order of the day, so it is important to build a independent workers’ party.

Coronazism: What to do with the tragedy that capital has brought us?

The pandemic is expanding social control and generating a new cycle of capitalist accumulation

 April 29, 2020

 Humberto Rodrigues

We are in a transition to another cycle of capitalist accumulation, a relatively new phenomenon, a cycle that is being born through the greatest planetary catastrophe since the Second World War. Capitalism’s impotence in the face of Covid-19 has created expectations that the tragedy would be a moment of renewal; that a period of greater solidarity would open up, of Keynesian capitalism, of nationalization, and the universal basic income. These illusions in the regeneration of post-coronavirus capitalism are materially based on the emergency measures taken by a number of governments.

This was and continues to be the illusion of a broad spectrum of left-wing intellectuals. They believe that all this is possible without a tenacious struggle by the working class to defeat the bourgeois offensive, which has a series of extreme right and neoliberal-libertarian governments at its forefront.

 Work Intensification and Compression of Wages

 With the world pandemic established, the lumpenization of the most populous layers of the proletariat seems to have become the plan of the exploiting classes. The miserable economic aid packages for informal workers, for a few months, point to this. It is worth remembering that informalization is a predominant policy in the world. According to the International Labor Organization (2015), 60.7% of the world labour force has no permanent job. In many countries, such as Brazil, informality reaches half the workforce. In other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, informality is even greater.

During the pandemic, the Bolsonaro government’s aid to informal workers was $100. Bolsonaro initially considered paying $35. In other countries, such as Thailand, it reaches $170 dollars a month. This is still very little because it is much less than the average wages of the countries themselves. In turn, this average is often below the vital needs of a family of workers. According to the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (DIEESE) of Brazil, in March the minimum wage needed should be approximately $780.

The number of workers who signed up to be able to receive the miserable aid exceeds by two or three times the number expected by the government. $ 100 is little more than half the $ 183 minimum wage in Brazil for formal workers and almost eight times less than the necessary wage suggested by DIEESE. After quarantine, with unemployment and underemployment much higher than the current ones, which affect, respectively, 13 and 30 million workers, the working class is induced to get used to surviving on half or less of the salary they received before the pandemic.

Then a new minimum wage floor is created, lowered, formally or informally, because in times of calamity capitalist anarchy increases. Wages are compressed below their value, for the class as a whole and, in increasingly broad sectors, also for new technological applications.

Once again, the overexploitation of the working class, about which Ruy Mauro Marini had written, deepens when the wages paid are below the value of the labour force, preventing this class from reproducing in its normal conditions of life. It will also deepen the degree of exploitation of work by new technological tools that extend the journey and occupy the moments of the workers’ day and night to the maximum, now with work also at home. The intensification of work and the compression of wages below their value are two countervailing tendencies to the fall in the rate of profit, already pointed out by Marx in Capital, used by capitalists to avoid or get out of crises for more than 120 years. Since then, mediated by the social gains and defeats of the exploited majority, exploitation and its mechanisms have become more complex. Forced to survive and adapt with incomes well below the vital minimum, barbarism leads most human beings to live as a human sub-race.

Fatalism and Class Intent

This perverse element of overexploiting work is combined with suspected health procedures for SARS-CoV-2. For example, the so-called “herd immunity”, which was explicitly adopted by Great Britain until the moment when the Prime Minister himself also contracted the virus. Minimizing the severity of the problem, conscious neglect and fatalism with the loss of thousands of lives, especially of the working population, reveals a certain amount of intent. The pandemic, which victimizes social classes unequally, is used, objectively, as a weapon of class war. If it wants to survive and live, the working class can by no means accept the fatalistic predictions of its enemies as “normal”, “inevitable” the high number of deaths. The class cannot passively accept its suffering and extermination.

This is not based on reason, and illusions abound in those who hope that these governments and bourgeois states will take measures favourable to the majority of the population. These illusions become true hallucinations faced with the bailouts of those capitalists who can be rescued from the new financial crisis and competition among them for those who will take the lead in the new cycle of capital accumulation. It was these governments and states that made the living conditions of the working masses so vulnerable, with ultra-parasitic measures against the subaltern classes (euphemistically called neoliberalism). The greatest proof of this was the collapse of almost all national health systems within less than two months of the new virus.

Brutalism, Coronocracy, …

Achilles Mbembe, who coined the term “necropolitics”, already pointed out before the pandemic that we were moving towards regimes that he called “Brutalism”. This is the title of his work published in early 2020. According to the Cameroonian philosopher, the final project of “Brutalism” would be the transformation of humanity into matter and energy, when all spheres of existence are crossed by capital and the ordering of society it is defined by the same digital computing orientation. If it is correct, the pandemic represents a leap, or an acceleration in that state of affairs. Many analysts around the world, probably among the first, was the journalist Eshrat Mardi of the Tehran Times, who have used the term “Coronocracy” to refer to repressive and centralizing measures.

The government of Israel, in the state that already had a Nazi-Zionist character against the Palestinians, headed by the arch-corrupt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who would face trial for corruption, took advantage of the moment to establish measures that increase surveillance over citizens, opportunely closed the courts (the Israeli Federal Supreme Court), increased the repression of the Palestinians, without allowing any interference, instituted that the Zionist Army is the maximum sanitary authority, above the Ministry of Health.

In Hungary, Viktor Orbán gained the to govern by decree, creating an indefinite state of emergency and threatens with imprisonment of up to five years to anyone who publishes information that contradicts government guidelines, that “obstruct or prevent the effective protection of the population”.

In Peru, Congress passed a law that gives police and military personnel legal immunity for injuring or killing people on grounds of violating social isolation orders. Something similar to the “exclusion of illegality” for police officers, defended by ex-minister Sérgio Moro and Bolsonaro. Agents of repression would have full rights to execute the population under subjective justifications such as “surprise, fear or violent emotion”. Trump made a 180-degree turn, from disdain for the pandemic to definitions like: “absolutely critical”, “invisible, incredible enemy”. The President of the United States recommended an injection of disinfectant into the body would be beneficial in killing covid-19. Desperate and ignorant, dozens of people followed Trump’s recommendation. The New York poison control centre received 30 calls related to the use of disinfectant in the 18 hours following the president’s suggestion.

When workers are weakened, their class enemies, the bosses, ride roughshod over them. Without organized and victorious resistance from the oppressed peoples and the working class, the prospects point to a severe stage of barbarism that we are experiencing. The situation of the working class, which was already precarious, is now globally catastrophic. The “new great depression” (terminology of journalist Pepe Escobar) has been closing millions of companies. Unemployment soared. According to optimistic ILO estimates, 25 million jobs will be lost. But in the United States alone, whose Trump administration celebrated “full employment”, it now reaches almost 20% unemployment. If this is so in the richest country on the planet, how will it be in the rest? Even France, representative of the sixth world economic power, has been unable to defend its citizens from the virus, 23,000 French have died, 10% of all deaths in the world by the covid-19 so far.

In this desperate situation and with the over-supply of labour power, there is a brutal drop in the wages of formal workers and civil servants. However, the prospects of barbarism are much, much worse for precarious people of all kinds, immigrants, women.

Governments have been taking advantage of the pandemic to impose states of siege against the masses, to enslave them and to increase preventive social control in the face of latent rebellions. Everyone knows that the poor and exploited people are being dragged quickly into a situation of desperate struggle for life. Thus, populist measures do not regenerate health systems or rebuild the living conditions of the working class. In fact, capital is taking advantage of the brutal drop in working life conditions to exterminate part of the surplus unemployed army, militarize social life and expand the police state.

 The “Anti-Authoritarian” Manifesto of Neoliberals

In this scenario, about 150 neoliberal intellectuals, right-wing opportunists, in a list headed by former governors, aspiring to return to power in their countries in the Ibero-Latin American region launched the manifesto “Que la pandemica no sea un pretexto el autoritarismo ”, Organized by the” Fundación Internacional para la Libertad “(FIL), chaired by Mario Vargas Llosa, a former leftist writer who became a neoliberal politician in Peru. The manifesto was also signed by the former presidents of Spain (Aznar); Argentina (Macri), Mexico (Zedillo and Vicente Fox); Colombia (Uribe); Uruguay (Lacalle and Sanguinetti); El Salvador (Cristiani) and Paraguay (Franco). The following is a list of businessmen, economists, and coup institutions like the “Mises” Institute of Brazil or the Venezuelan “Vente”, an opposition party that has unsuccessfully tried to dissociate its image from drug trafficking.

The manifesto criticizes:

“In place of some understandable restrictions on liberation, in several countries there is a confinement with minimal exceptions, the impossibility of working and producing, and the informative manipulation […] has suspended the state of rights and, even, representative democracy and the justice system […] in the dictatorships of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua the pandemic serves as a pretext to increase political persecution and oppression ”.

Obviously this is a gamble and a long shot. Macri, for example, is a long way from returning to being president of Argentina. In this and the next presidency. But who knows? Much may change (for the worse) post-pandemic. In addition to the profile of the subscribers, the text leaves no doubt that it is nothing more than a manifesto of US foremen, and, more likely, the fraction of the imperialist bourgeoisie within the Democratic Party. In the text of the neoliberal manifesto, nationalist governments like Venezuela and Nicaragua, and the Cuban workers’ state are attacked as dictatorships. No mention is made of the true dictatorships, instituted by coups d’état on the Latin American continent, as recently occurred in Bolivia, where presidential elections were suspended indefinitely long before the start of the pandemic.

These lords, like Aznar, and their parties, like the PP, were driven out of power by political wear and tear by the population of their countries, due to their policies of neoliberal oppression and plundering of the State, privatizations and diverting of public resources to private mafias, of which they were political representatives. They were mainly responsible for making the health systems and living conditions of the working masses, who are now semi-defenseless, vulnerable to the pandemic. Now, these very same gentlemen, try to present themselves as an alternative to the current governments, taking advantage of popular dissatisfaction that they know will explode soon.

The traditional right reorganizes itself in the name of democratic and civil liberties and against authoritarianism. Increasing authoritarianism is in fact an opportunistic move by several governments to centralize political power. Bolsonaro mobilizes his neo-Nazi base and threatens the closure of the Supreme Court and parliament (as Benjamin Netanyahu did in Israel) but due to his political fragility he has not been taking all possible advantage of the moment for his dictatorial aspirations. Like the manifesto, Bolsonarism is against quarantine and accuses those who defend it of measures against the pandemic of “conspirators to impose a communist globalist dictatorship”. Bolsonaro could also quietly signed this neo-liberal manifesto headed by Vargas Losla. But, certainly, most subscribers would not want the Brazilian neo-Nazi to join because they do not want to be labelled authoritarian and because exactly when executing the manifesto’s political and economic program, it made Brazil the new world epicenter of the pandemic.

Different bourgeois fractions dispute the barbarism that results from the association pandemic-economic crisis. Each fraction relocates, elaborates the strategic program that is most convenient for them, moves, rearticulates and makes the agitation corresponding to its strategy. The majority of the world population, the main victims of this process, need to carry out similar movements, but in reverse, against the exterminating classes and for humanity.

The tragedy is already happening, we have no doubt about it. The question now is what to make of the tragedy that the world system of capital has brought upon us. On the one hand: death, overexploitation and brutal oppression. On the other hand, the revolutionary struggle for socialism, for survival and for a dignified life for the majority.