LCFI sections’ statements on Trump’s Washington Beer-Hall Coup

Trotskyist Faction

This article was originally agreed as a Liaison Committee For the Fourth International statement and published on 12 Jan. However since it was published, some differences have emerged with comrades in Latin America about the call for a military bloc with Biden and state forces defending the legitimacy of his election, and in particular the criticism of state forces for not using deadly force against the fascist attackers. So in keeping with our long-standing position of permitting the public expression of differences, two articles now have been published.

The political line of the other article, which is reproduced below ours and linked to in the original Portuguese, is not one that we have major differences with, indeed we would endorse many of the additional points included attacking the Obama/Biden administration about its imperialist wars in Syria. Libya and Ukraine, and its own record of deportations of immigrants. We also agree with its statement that the Trump attack on the Capitol was a danger to the working class and its call for the Trumpists’ defeat therefore. But in our view, this implies a military bloc, but no political support, for the existing Congressional/Parliamentary regime, whose forces are loyal to President-Elect Biden, against the Trump forces, which of course gives the possibility of criticising the forces you are blocking with for not supressing the Trumpists with sufficient deadly force.

We consider our position on this to be the same as that of the Trotskyist movement in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39l, which gave military support, but no political support, to the Spanish Republic against Franco’s fascist/military insurrection. Of course the whole issue was intertwined with the Spanish revolution that errupted, triggered off by Franco’s revolt, and in betraying the revolution, the Popular Front created the conditions for its own defeat by Franco. Unfortunately today, the US working class does not have the level of consciousness of the Spanish proletariat in 1936 and in particular has no mass working class parties. Nevertheless, key elements exist in common between the two conflicts. A fascist attack on a bourgeois parliamentary regime, in an imperialist country, such as Spain in 1936 or the US in 2021, has to be fought off in any situation of this type.

For those who have not yet recovered from the impact of 2020, a very striking year that began with the assassination of one of the most important military leaders of Iran by the USA in the heart of Iraq, a year that had an economic crisis and pandemic, 2021 began on the 6th January and this unprecedented event will be the hallmark of this convulsive year.

In the fiercely contested November 2020 Presidential election Donald Trump got 74 million votes. This exceeded the votes of winning presidential candidates in all previous elections in the US.  But it was far exceeded by his opponent, Joe Biden, the victorious Democratic challenger, who got 81 million votes. Biden’s margin of more than 7 million votes, in terms of US Presidential Elections, is a considerable margin of victory, close to landslide territory both in absolute and percentage terms, not quite up to the level of Barack Obama’s redoubtable landslide in 2008 let alone Ronald Reagan’s super-landslide in 1984, but not far behind those. And on both sides, the absolute numbers involved are far greater, a reflection of the political polarisation fuelled by Trump’s white nationalism and a greater popular resistance to it, that was channelled in the absence of a working- class political pole, into Biden’s Democratic Party campaign.

Trump’s attempted coup was motivated and agitated for based on fatuous allegations of electoral fraud, together with megalomania, and white supremacist politics. He pushed for the invasion of Congress, the parliamentary centre of imperialist democracy, to respond to the pressures of his radicalized base and not appear weak to them.

The race question is key to why Trump lost the 2020 election. In 2016 his semi-fluke victory was gained by mobilising a section of demoralised, mainly white workers from the former heavy industrial rustbelts against ‘globalism’ – immigrants, and jobs going overseas. It was tacit white supremacy and in part directed against Obama as the first black President. ‘Birtherism – the allegation that Obama was born outside the US and thereby ineligible to be President, was key to Trump’s appeal.

Part of Trump’s appeal in 2016 was to national isolationism and weariness of the neocon wars that have been waged by both Democrat and Republican administrations for decades. But the subtext of Trump’s programme was to replace them with trade wars, with China, or with the European Union. Which themselves bring the threat of future imperialist wars. But his supposed antipathy to armed interventionism was shown up for what it was by his attempts at coups in Venezuela, and most notoriously by the murder of Iran’s General Suleimani a year ago. This was personally ordered by Trump and even more brazen than Obama’s drone attacks on Al Qaeda and ISIS militants. It was driven by Trump’s hatred of the defeats Iran has inflicted on US clients in Syria and Iraq. He used Twitter to openly threaten both Iran and North Korea with nuclear attack. His policy towards Israel is an open endorsement of Zionist genocide without any attempt to smooth things over with ‘peace processes’. Its openly ultra-right.

The Trump movement is a reactionary response to neo-liberalism, not in any sense a class-conscious movement of working-class people. The MAGA people, even when proletarian, are not class-conscious workers. They still must learn some basic political lessons and lose their imperial, racial arrogance. They are the same layer that voted for Brexit in Britain. They are a jealous lumpen layer lamenting that the decline of US/UK imperialism has robbed them of a privileged labour aristocratic status. Hence the appeal of ‘Make America Great Again’ and Brexit.

This movement has considerable similarities in many ways to European fascism and Nazism in its objectives, though thankfully so far it lacks the cohesion and determined cadre that those movements had. This is because it has not been steeled in battle against a powerful workers movement; in the United States, as in Europe, over the last 40 years once powerful trade unions have been gutted by the internal collaboration of pro-capitalist labour bureaucracies that have acquiesced in the attacks of neo-liberalism.

This has led to social discontent, instead of being directed against the capitalist system, being channelled into nationalism and the identity politics of oppressor peoples, such as white US Americans, in some ways apeing the identity politics of the oppressed which has become widespread on the left as a despairing response to neoliberal attacks and the failure of the workers movement to fight them.

But the identity politics of the oppressor is qualitatively worse and more dangerous than the identity politics of oppressed groups, just as in general the nationalism of the oppressor is qualitatively different and more dangerous than the nationalism of the oppressed, and in today’s conditions such movements as Trump’s resemble fascism and contain many outright fascists and Nazis. This is why Zionism is so dangerous and played such an important role in Trump’s movement and his administration, which broke with the subservient but lukewarm attitude of previous US administrations towards Zionism and openly supported Zionist aspirations to simply destroy the Palestinian people.

Zionism is a prime example of the identity politics of oppressor peoples, trading on the history of oppression of Jews to justify racist crimes today.  It acts as a kind of junction box for the joining of older fascist-type nationalism with more modern kinds of identity politics. The fact that some of Trump’s prominent white supremacist supporters declared themselves to be ‘white Zionists’ is highly significant. It can also happily coexist with fascists and neo-Nazis who still espouse anti-Jewish hatred – the pro-Zionist Trump tweeted support for the Proud Boys far right group some of whom sported the acronym ‘6MWE’ (“6 million [Jews] were not enough”) at Trumpist demonstrations against Biden’s election victory in December. The aim of fascistic Zionism in such things is to prove to the old far right that other groups, not Jews, should be the target of their hatred, and that Jews are among the ‘superior races’ who should be doing the oppressing and massacring.

From the point of view of black US Americans, notwithstanding the fact that the Trump movement was not steeled in conflict with a strong militant workers movement, the overthrow of constitutional government in the US by Trump’s movement is a potentially deadly threat.  Which all leftists and class-conscious militants need to resist with all the military force they can muster. The fascistic intention was clearly there even if the execution was weak, precisely because Trump’s movement has not been steeled in struggle as Hitler’s was.

To all intents and purposes the events of 6 January should be regarded as a failed insurrection by something approximating to a ‘soft’ fascist movement. It is not likely to stay ‘soft’. The push by Congressional Democrats for Trump’s impeachment, which is obviously supportable, for inciting insurrection, is aimed at precluding his running again for the Presidency by banning him permanently from running for office. It does appear that Trump’s hold on the Republican Party itself may have burst, as some leading figures are supporting impeachment and when the question is put, those who do not may find themselves in an untenable position, defending a man who orchestrated an attack on the US political system from above.

A major split in the Republicans now looks highly likely since the hardened lumpen elements in Trump’s base will not disappear. Sarah Palin is calling for a right-wing split from the Republicans and this may well come to pass.  It could conceivably break up the two-party system in the US which may also advantage the left, though this situation also poses the danger of the emergence of a mass fascist movement or party. It could also conversely lead to the fragmentation and dispersal of Trump’s movement under fire. The consequences are not yet clear.

The bible of white supremacist fascism in the US is the 1970s novel The Turner Diaries, which envisages an armed assault on the Capitol, the terror bombing of government buildings, the hanging of politicians who resist, and the erection of a white dictatorship in the US seeking, and carrying out, a worldwide genocide against blacks. Many of the themes and activities of the supremacists who attacked the Capitol consciously evoked and mimicked that. Previous acts of white supremacist terrorism such as the 1995 bombing of the Municipal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, by Timothy McVeigh, were inspired by the Turner Diaries.

The left in America needs to be rearmed politically and physically. Politically it needs to break with the Democratic Party. Giving the thoroughly bourgeois Democrats political support when they have been responsible for many of the most egregious neoliberal attack over the past 30 years and have in fact been in power for more than half of those years, is an invitation for politics to radicalise to the right, not the left. As Trumpism shows.

The USA claims to be the guardians of bourgeois democracy on the planet and that would politically justify Yankee expansionism. However, today’s imperial “democracy”, indirect voting, electoral college as in various dictatorships, confused and invariably defrauded (as we saw several times, as in the Bush election and reelection) by the economic power of big capital, has nothing to do with the conquest of for each man a vote, obtained by the French bourgeois revolution. Revolutionaries should not be able to defend imperial democracy or the imperialist democratic party.  No political support for the Democrats does not however mean neutrality in situation like Jan 6th. Working class forces should have fought the Trumpists themselves: the campaigns initiated by various small leftist groups in the US for an anti-fascist united front were correct.

The bourgeoisie is usually quite condescending to the right-wing and uncompromising reaction to the oppressed and its left-wing fighters. This was what Marx noticed when he recorded in his work “The Civil War in France” (1871), about the bloodthirsty persecution against the fighters of the Paris Commune accused of arsonists. But, as Marx points out, the same bourgeoisie and its public opinion did not call British troops “incendiary” when “for fun, British troops set fire to the Capitol in Washington” in 1814, in the second war of independence, during the so -called Battle of Washington.  We should also condemn and expose the fact that sections of the state and the cops allowed the Capitol to be attacked and the forces engaged in an outright armed attack on the parliamentary centre of the United States took only token casualties. These people should have been subject to live fire and a shoot-to-kill response. They ought to have been massacred. If the insurgents were black, leftist, or anti-racist forces attacking the legislature, they WOULD have been massacred. There are legitimate grounds in terms of working-class interest for condemning the US state for NOT massacring these white fascists.

Trump’s action bore a resemblance to the Beer Hall Putsch launched by Hitler and Ludendorff in Munich in 1923. It was also possibly the most serious attack on a bourgeois parliament in an advanced capitalist country since the attack on the French Chamber of Deputies by Royalist and Fascist forces in February 1934. It would have been in the interest of the working class for these forces to have been massacred, and the leaders executed. This is a crucial point that the left should be making in terms of its propaganda: these types are capable of genocide and it would have likely saved the lives of millions if Hitler, for instance, had been executed after Munich. Making such a point about Trump will no doubt cause apoplexy among his supporters and apologists, and upset liberals, but the point is obvious. This is not about supporting the racist US death penalty, but a matter of civil war against its most ardent, far right advocates.

The question of liberation of the black population from the race-caste system is strategic in the US. It plays a determining role in every major political and social conflict and is the contradiction that is gnawing away at the stability of US capitalism. It is the black and immigrant proletariat, currently the social base of the Democrats mainly, who will be the layer in which political class consciousness comes to be embodied. We do have to take sides with this social base of the Democratic Party, without politically supporting the Democrats, precisely in order to split this potentially class-conscious force from the Democrats and build a mass party of Communism in the United States.

Statement from LCFI comrades in Latin America (translated here)

Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)

Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)

Trump’s “beer hall putch”

1. For those who have not yet recovered from the year 2020, 2021 started on January 6 with an unprecedented event, indicating how much can be a convulsive year. We recall that, from a geopolitical point of view, 2020 started with a US drone attack that murdered Iran’s top military chief in Iraq, Qasem Soleimani, an event of great regional repercussion that was followed by the global economic crisis and the pandemic.

2. In the November 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump won 74 million votes. This outpaced the votes of winning presidential candidates in all previous elections in the United States. But the Republican candidate was outnumbered by the  victorious Democrat,  Joe Biden, who won 81 million votes. On both sides, the absolute numbers involved are very large, a reflection of the deep political polarization fueled by Trump’s white nationalism and greater popular resistance to him after the immense march march against the assassination of George Floyd, which was channeled to the Democratic Party, in the absence of a political pole of the working class.

3. Trump’s coup attempt was motivated and agitated based on allegations of electoral fraud, along with megalomania and white supremacy policy. He encouraged the invasion of Congress, the parliamentary center of imperialist democracy, to respond to the pressures of its radicalized base and not to appear weak by peacefully surrendering the presidency after refusing to accept the electoral result.

4. The proletarian vote of the so-called “Rust Belt” was essential for Trump’s victory in 2016. Frustration on the part of this electorate promoted Biden’s victory in these states in 2020. The racial issue is also key to explaining why Trump lost the 2020 election, after the country’s largest mass demonstrations in protest against racist police violence. In 2016, the Republican victory was achieved by mobilizing a fraction of workers impoverished and demoralized by the deindustrialization of the United States, as part of the financialization of the West and industrialization of the East in recent decades. The transfer of entire industrial parks to China by the Republican and Democratic governments fueled the recent reaction of workers, mainly whites, against ‘globalism’, 

5. Part of the Trump platform in 2016 relied on national isolationism and economic protectionism, on the tiredness of the wars unleashed by the neocons that were carried out by Democratic and Republican governments for decades. Within this programmatic platform was the replacement of military wars with trade wars, with China or the European Union, elements that in themselves bring the threat of future imperialist wars. But US imperialist state policy has often contradicted Trump’s dislike of armed interventionism. Despite his words, the White House promoted coup attempts in Venezuela, the assassination of Suleimani in 2020 and spurred Israel’s massive wave of air strikes against Syria and the Iranian military in January 2021. This was personally ordered by Trump and was even more blatant than Obama’s drone attacks on al Qaeda and ISIS militants. It was driven by Trump’s hatred for the defeats that Iran inflicted on the U.S. and its allies in Syria and Iraq. While he still had his Twitter account, he threatened Iran and North Korea with destruction by nuclear attack. His policy towards Israel is an open endorsement of the Zionist genocide, without any attempt to smooth things over with ‘peace processes’. 

6. The Trumpist extreme right movement is a reactionary response to neoliberalism as opposed to the evolution of working class consciousness. The MAGA (‘Make America Great Again’) movement, even when defended by proletarians, is not a class-conscious workers’ movement. They still need to learn some basic political lessons and lose their imperial and racial arrogance. They are the same class layer that voted for Brexit in Britain. They are an envious lumpen layer lamenting that the decline of US / UK imperialism has robbed them of an aristocratic status of privileged work. Hence the appeal of ‘Make America Great Again’ and Brexit.

7. This movement has considerable similarities in many respects to European fascism and Nazism in its objectives, although fortunately it has not yet had the cohesion and decisive frameworks that these movements possessed. This is because it was not hardened in the battle against a powerful labor movement. On the contrary, in the United States, as in Europe, over the past 40 years, powerful unions have been destroyed by the internal collaboration of pro-capitalist labor bureaucracies that capitulated to the attacks of neoliberalism.

8. This led to social discontent, instead of being directed against the capitalist system, it has been channeled to nationalism and to the politics of identity with oppressors, such as white Americans, is a discontent that mimics the struggle of the oppressed and which became widespread as a desperate response to neoliberal attacks due to the failure of the workers’ movement to fight them.

9. But the oppressor’s identity politics is qualitatively worse and more dangerous than the oppressive groups’ identity politics, just as in general the nationalism of the oppressor is qualitatively different and more dangerous than the nationalism of the oppressed and, under current conditions, movements how Trump’s resembles fascism and contains many self-proclaimed fascists and Nazis within it. That is why Zionism is so dangerous and played such an important role in the Trump movement and its administration that it broke with the servile but timid attitude of previous US administrations towards Zionism and openly supported Zionist aspirations to simply destroy the Palestinian people.

Trumpists: Proud Boy with 6MWE T-shirt (The death of 6 million Jews was not enough); neonazi with T-shirt in honor of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and invaders present as a trophy a piece of wood from Nancy Pelosi’s bureau.

10. Zionism is an excellent example of the oppressors’ identity policy, exploiting the history of Jewish oppression to justify today’s racist crimes. It acts as a kind of connector box for the junction of an old fascist-type nationalism with more modern types of identity politics. The fact that some of Trump’s prominent white supremacist supporters declare themselves to be ‘white Zionists’ is highly significant. It can also happily coexist with fascists and neo-Nazis who still espouse anti-Semitic hatred – pro-Zionist Trump tweeted support for the far-right group “ Proud Boys ”, some of whom sported the acronym ‘6MWE’ (“6 million [Jews] were not enough ”) in Trumpist demonstrations against Biden’s electoral victory in December.

11. From the point of view of US blacks, despite the fact that the Trump movement was not formed in conflict with a strong militant workers’ movement, the overthrow of the constitutional government in the US by the Trump movement is a potentially deadly threat, against which all left-wing and class-conscious militants must resist with all the military force they can muster. The fascist intent was clearly there, even if the execution was weak, precisely because the Trump movement was not enriched in the struggle like Hitler’s.

12. For all intents and purposes, the events of January 6 must be considered as a failed insurrection by something that resembles a contained fascist movement. It is not likely to remain contained. Congressional Democrats’ push to impeach Trump for inciting insurrection aims to prevent his running for president again in 2024 by permanently banning him from running for office. Trump’s control over the Republican Party itself has been compromised, as some key figures are supporting impeachment and when the question is posed, those who don’t can find themselves in an untenable position, defending a man who orchestrated a summit attack. of the US political system. The reprisals against Trump can make him a martyr to his movement, strengthen him,

13. A major internal disruption in Republicans now seems highly likely, as the radicalized elements and lumpens at Trump’s base will not go away. Sarah Palin is calling for a rupture of the Republicans’ right and that can happen. It can conceivably break the bipartisan system in the United States, which can also bring benefits to the left, although this situation also poses the danger of the emergence of a fascist mass party or movement. It could also lead to the fragmentation and dispersal of the Trump movement under pressure. The consequences are not yet clear.

14. The white supremacist fascism bible in the USA is the 1970s novel The Turner Diaries, which provides for an armed attack on the Capitol, the terrorist bombing of government buildings, the hanging of resisting politicians and the construction of a white dictatorship in the USA and a worldwide genocide against blacks. Many of the themes and activities of the supremacists who attacked the Capitol have consciously evoked and imitated this. Previous acts of white supremacist terrorism, such as the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City Municipal Building, which killed 168 people, by Timothy McVeigh, were inspired by The Turner Diaries.

15. The left in America needs to be rearmed politically and physically. Politically, he needs to break with the Democratic Party. Giving political support to the completely bourgeois Democrats, when they were responsible for many of the most egregious neoliberal attacks in the past 30 years and have been in power for more than half of those years. For decades, the communist left also renounced all work within the American proletariat movement, in order to privilege purely identity-based political actions, struggles against special / secondary oppressions, abandoning all class struggle against the exploitation of labor, which is very good for capital. This renunciation of the communist left to proletarian militancy in the USA, which has been in existence since the times of Stalin and Earl Browder, free of charge to the hard core of the US proletariat for the Democratic and Republican right. This policy is an invitation for the policy to be radicalized to the right, not the left, as Trumpism shows.

16. The USA claims to be the guardians of bourgeois democracy on the planet and this would politically justify Yankee expansionism. However, the current imperial “democracy”, the indirect election, through the electoral college as occurs in several dictatorships (including the Brazilian one from 1964-1985), confused and invariably defrauded (as we have seen several times, as in the Bush election and reelection) due to the economic power of big capital, it has nothing to do with winning one vote for each man, obtained by the French bourgeois revolution. Revolutionaries must not be able to unmask imperial democracy and the imperialist democratic party. No political support for Democrats, which does not mean, however, neutrality in relation to the January 6 putsch. The working class forces should have fought the Trumpists themselves:

17. The bourgeoisie is generally quite condescending to the reaction of the right and uncompromising to the oppressed and their left-wing fighters. This was what Marx realized when he recorded in his work “The Civil War in France” (1871), about the bloodthirsty persecution against the combatants of the Paris Commune accused of arsonists. But, as Marx points out, the same bourgeoisie and its public opinion did not call British troops “incendiary” when “for fun, British troops set fire to the Capitol in Washington” in 1814, in the Second War of Independence, during the so-called Battle of Washington. We must also condemn and expose the fact that sectors of the state and the police allowed the Capitol to be attacked and that the forces that participated in the direct armed attack on the United States parliamentary center suffered only symbolic damage. This fascist mob should have been subjected to a real fire response from shooting to killing, it should have been slaughtered. If the insurgents were black, leftists or anti-racist forces attacking the legislature, they would have been slaughtered.

18. Trump’s action was similar to Putsch at the Beer Hall launched by Hitler and Ludendorff in Munich on November 9, 1923. It was also possibly the most serious attack on a bourgeois parliament in an advanced capitalist country since the attack on the French Chamber of Deputies by monarchists and fascist armed forces in February 1934. It would be in the interest of the working class that MAGA be slaughtered and its white supremacist leaders, direct heirs to the KKK, executed by the working and black class. This is a crucial point that the left should make in terms of its propaganda: these types are capable of genocide and would probably have saved the lives of millions if Hitler, for example, had been executed after Munich. Making such a statement about Trump will undoubtedly cause apoplexy among his supporters and apologists, and irritate liberals, but the question is obvious.

19. As we said on a premeditated basis in the CLQI statement “ No political support for Biden / Harris! Break with the Democrats! ”Of October 13 on the US elections:

“If Trump tries to maintain power against his electoral defeat, the left and the workers’ movement must oppose street mobilizations equal to or greater than the current ones to defeat the coup and fight for their own exit in the midst of civil war, for a workers’ government. Workers must 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, although a large-scale civil war seems unlikely. In immediate terms, this would mean the tactical defeat of a reactionary and anti-democratic coup by a bourgeois figure whose views and actions are fascist and represent a serious threat to our class. The participation of the left and organized workers in such a battle,

20. The issue of liberating the black population from the racial caste system is a strategic one in the United States. It plays a determining role in all major political and social conflicts and it is the contradiction that is eating away at the stability of US capitalism. It is the black and immigrant proletariat, currently the social base mainly of the Democrats, that will be the layer in which the political class conscience will come to be incorporated. We have to take advantage of this social base of the Democratic Party, without politically supporting the Democrats, precisely to separate this potentially class-conscious force from the Democrats and build a mass communist party in the United States.

21. Racist politics is not exclusive to Trumpism. A review by Univisión Noticias of the numbers of deportations recorded over the past 30 years showed that Obama was the mandate that most people expelled from the country in recent decades, more than Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton or Bush Filho. According to data published by the Department of National Security (DHS), between the fiscal years of 2009 and 2015, the number of deportees was 2,571,860. Neither is neo-Nazism an exclusive feature of the Trump movement. In the Democratic governments that arose since January 2009 – of which Biden was an active vice president, the cycle of coups d’état in Latin America resumed, starting with Honduras in 2009, followed by coups in Paraguay, Guatemala, Brazil. In addition to Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in this cycle of government and Democrats, there were warmongering campaigns by imperialism in Libya and Syria. In 2014, a bloody neo-Nazi coup was dealt in Ukraine, followed by the massacre of dozens of trade unionists in Odessa in the service of imperialism and directly linked to the enrichment of the Biden family.

22. Because of the danger that the Trumpist coup poses to the workers and because all imperialist fractions are responsible for the crimes of imperialism itself, we call on the workers of the United States to defeat the Trumpist coup without putting expectations on the imperialist institutions, the Democratic Party or in any of the authentic imperialist factions, tormentors of the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples of the world. So the Vermont AFL-CIO comrades are correct in approving since November 22, 2020 the call for a general strike against any Trump coup threat and they are also correct in saying:

“In our times of social collapse, a Labor Party founded and controlled by the workers themselves is more necessary than ever. The two bosses ‘parties are conspiring to take everything we have. Move on to an independent workers’ party to confront them! “

Why did Trump lose? A materialistic analysis

Humberto Rodriguez

“The 2020 elections bury once and for all the mistaken notion that the 2016 elections were a historic accident, an American freak. Donald Trump won more than 70 million votes, the second largest vote in American history (behind only Joe Biden, who was elected). Nationally, he has more than 47% turnout in his votes and appears to have won 24 states, including his favorite Florida and Texas.” 

BBC, 9 November 2020

First, it should be noted that Trump got more votes now than four years ago. But the BBC explains Trump’s defeat by claiming that “people are tired of his aggressive style,” that is, from the political superstructure and superficially this result without being able to explain its concrete causes.

The election was the most polarized and had the highest participation of any in in U.S. history. 75 million votes for the Democratic nominee, 70 million for the Republican. Although the Democratic victory was inflated by the media, and the difference in delegates in the electoral college was more than 76 votes, in the number of voters the election was hotly contested. 3% was the amount of percentage votes difference. Pro-Biden polls were an instrument of the Democratic election campaign, supported by most of the financial capital and more than 90% of the world’s media monopolies.

Trump got more votes than four years ago, but lost the election because he lost in states with higher proletarian concentration, where he had won in 2016. Trump failed to repatriate industrial production to the country, as he had promised. During the current economic crisis, accentuated by the pandemic, Trump was no longer able to maintain full employment (supported by precarious jobs), which he had managed until 2019. This reflects the political turnaround in the Midwest and the Rust Belt in Biden’s favor. The Democrats recaptured most of the Rust Belt.

Historically loyal to the Democratic Party, or at least since the 1930s, the proletarian electorate of those states voted for Trump in 2016 in reaction to the deindustrialization policy promoted in recent decades by Democrats. Four years ago, the proletariat believed in the promises of the then-outsider tycoon to bring factories and jobs back to that region. The outsider found room to project himself onto the political scene after, in the eyes of the American proletariat, the Democratic and Republican establishment, associated with Wall Street’s financial capital and Silicon Valley’s “new economy,” promoted globalization and financialization.

Until the mid-1970s, 62% of the working class in the U.S. was made up of the industrial proletariat. This huge mass of factory workers was mainly concentrated in the regions of the Great Lakes and Appalachian Mountains. The states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, were considered the industrial heart of the USA and so were called the Manufacturing Belt of the country. The imperialist bourgeoisie that had reshaped itself into an immense productive force, which drove the creation of Fordism, had also produced its own gravediggers in the Manufacturing Belt. For political and economic reasons this region was dismantled. Monopolies feared the dangerous heavy battalions of the American working class, which exerted strong pressure for wage increases. Monopolies, mainly automobiles such as GM and Ford, wanted to reduce production costs and increase profits. Imperialist capital chose to strangle the proletariat economically and socially, replacing the internal labor force with cheaper foreign labor, promoting two movements: the emigration of industrial production to the East, and the immigration of Latin workers and those from other regions, made legally vulnerable by their precarious condition as poor foreigners and forced to receive less than those who were there already, to work in non-manufacturing services. The rentier, parasitic imperialist bourgeoisie chose to deactivate its own productive region and when it went into decay the industrial belt of the country was renamed Rust Belt. This tragedy is portrayed in the film Roger and I, the documentary that launched the career of Democratic filmmaker Michael Moore. In Roger and I, the filmmaker tries to find Roger Smith, president of General Motors, the largest automaker on the planet, to explain the mass layoffs and closure of eleven factories in Flint, Michigan. GM’s decision contributed to the collapse of the city in the late 1980s.

“Trump’s base in the rust belt of the former working class, was won over by his right-wing populist program of banning Muslims from the U.S., attacking ‘foreigners’ and oppressed groups that “stole jobs,” by protectionism against China to which huge industrial parks were transferred, supposedly keeping the U.S. out of aggressive wars in the Middle East particularly, in part because of powerless disillusionment with 40 years of neoliberal attacks, givebacks to employers, and the prolonged decline in living standards since the days of Ronald Reagan.” (Communist Workers’ Front, the U.S. Election: The Threat of dictatorship, 2020)

Where did Biden’s 10 million more direct votes than Hillary’s vote, come from? As soon as the working class saw that Trump’s promises of reindustrialization were not realized, as early as 2018, they returned to vote for Democrats in so-called mid-term Congressional elections and for Governors, when all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 Senate seats are decided. In Michigan, the state that has the largest number of industrial workers, and in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Democrats won the race for the Senate and state governments and expanded their seats in the House, defeating Trump-backed Republicans at all levels in 2016 and 2020, re-voting for Democrats, ensuring Trump’s defeat.

Trump had gained popularity among a working class tired of being cannon-fodder in the bosses’ wars when he reduced the intensity of wars opened by his predecessors (Democrats and Republicans) in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya. But the little he gained by reducing casualties and exhaustion in the external wars of imperialism, Trump lost with internal casualties, with his criminal denialism of the pandemic, which made the richest country in the world the one with most infections and deaths in the world, and exposed his real nature by supporting barbaric murders of poor black workers by police forces. This, given the aridity of proletarian organizations, allowed a mass resurrection of Democrats, regaining their traditional electoral spaces and aborting Trump’s second term.

And, answering the question we asked at first, where did Biden’s 10 million more votes than Hillary come from? This was the reverse of Trump’s social polarization, a reaction to white supremacism, xenophobia, Latinophobia, Islamophobia, machismo. Anti-Trumpism, associated with the disillusionment of a part of the ‘native’ proletariat, mobilized 10 million more votes in these elections. All this was capitalised on by an imperialist party, deceiving with all kinds of illusions which were again deposited in it.

From the desperation to fight for socialism even through rascals like Bernie Sanders, to the biggest anti-racist demonstrations in history

During Trump’s white supremacist and anti-communist tenure, the working class and new generations of U.S. social fighters destroyed the myth that america’s working class would be chronically reactionary. In fact, by its deep contradictions, it has taken a major turn towards socialism in recent years, although it was the fraction of the world’s working class that is most ideologically bombarded by its bourgeoisie, which suffers the most anti-communist brainwashing, which is most persecuted in offensives such as McCarthyism, the hunt for the Black Panthers, and by governments like Reagan and Trump.

In 2008, Barack Obama won in all states of the Rust Belt and the Midwest. In 2010, Democrats suffered heavy defeats there, losing governor’s races in all three states and also in Ohio. In 2012, Obama recovered and won again in 2012 in those states. As it turns out, the proletariat experiments at all times, not hesitating to vote against those who betrayed it in the last term.

In the 2018 elections, the growing voter base formed primarily by younger, non-white people and women spoke strongly across the country. The Democrats managed to elect the first two Muslim women to Congress, Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib in Michigan. They elected the youngest member of the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley, the first African-American elected to Congress in Massachusetts.

Kamala Harris is part of a process stemming from a record number of women who increased their participation in Congress. However, Biden’s deputy, who is at serious risk of becoming president, the first black woman to become vice president, has built “her career within the imperialist policy staff for the Senate, and now the presidential ticket, through the office of California’s attorney, when she was responsible for a racist policy of mass incarceration of the poor and black population, condemning her to hellish U.S. arrests for petty crimes, so-called crimes without violence.” ((IDEM)

During Trump’s anti-communist administration was when the biggest wave of sympathy for socialism in the U.S. emerged. This wave adopted as father-figure a senator who presented himself as a socialist and supporter of “Medicare for all” in the U.S., but who was nothing more than a defender of imperialist military invasions against oppressed peoples. As soon as the wave grew enough to threaten control of the oligarchies over the party’s candidacies, Sanders allied himself with the leadership to sabotage his own candidacy and support Biden.

In the election was reflected the largest street struggles in the country’s history against racism. Trump represented the racist vote, which retreated when faced with these struggles. And that reflects the direct votes of the population. Trump also failed to meet the expectations of the ruling classes, Trump failed to regain the ground lost to China in control of world trade, despite the trade war he fiercely waged. He did not do so because it did not interest the parasitic imperialist bourgeoisie who fear the proletariat if there were a reindustrialization of the United States. This frustration is reflected in its way in the different states of the USA. Legally, the U.S. is the union of 50 sub imperialist states, some larger than countries like Italy and Spain in capital concentration. The frustration with Trump in the different states it was reflected in the setback he suffered in the number of votes in the Electoral College, from 304 in 2016 to 214 in 2020.  Given this trajectory whose early exhaustion widened after Sanders’ defeat in the primaries, the demand for a Party of workers independent of imperialism and employers becomes the main issue of the day for the Revolutionary Socialists of the United States. The illusions in any Democratic Party politician are substantially diminished, so now we clearly need a mass workers’ party, a Party supported by trade unions and popular organisations, a party fighting against racism, xenophobia, racism and homophobia. The potential is clearly there. We cannot let the right capitalize again on the discontent of the proletariat in the heart of the imperialist monster. It is necessary to give a revolutionary solution, with continuity, to the masses, otherwise their pendular condition dissipates very powerful struggles such as those of 2020. The Sanders phenomenon highlighted the potential of America’s working class. But they desperately need their own leadership and political party. And to this object the entire socialist left in the United States must be oriented. They all have to demand from all union leaders that they start forming an independent Proletarian Party in the US now. With no class alternatives to trust, the proletarian electorate zigzags to one of the wings of imperialism. For a workers’ party independent of its imperialist bosses, supported by trade unions, popular and multiethnic working-class organisations!

Johnson’s Covid Class-War Ravages the Working Class

The confrontation over Manchester between the Johnson Tory government and the Labour Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, has brought to the fore that the Tories are using the Covid pandemic and the results of their own deliberate negligence and duplicity, to further their class war against the working class, attacks on living standards, and ambitions to impoverish people and create a fearful, passive population who are just raw material for exploitation. Burnham’s refusal to endorse the Tories’ Tier 3 ‘very high’ partial lockdown measures and sign up for the impoverishment of the Manchester working class, while it has not defeated the Tories, has galvanised the hatred of much of the working class population in this country against Johnson’s government.

The real point of the Tory intransigence in Manchester was not so much the quarantine measures themselves, but cuts to furlough pay. It is of a piece with the Tories’ voting to deprive schoolkids of meal vouchers during the school holidays, which was a concession extracted in the early part of the pandemic because of popular outrage over the further impoverishment of poor children. This has created a wave of outrage and class sentiment that even seeped into parliament when Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner lost her temper with some particularly vile Tory specimen and called him “scum”.

Of course, she apologised for briefly speaking a fragment of that truth parliamentary procedures are expressly designed to suppress; that the interests of working class people require war to the death against the bourgeois scum whose political representatives sit in parliament. Rayner is less directly such a representative herself; but being part of Labour as a bourgeois workers party her kind come under potent pressure from below at times like this.

Andy Burnham, despite his refusal to endorse the government’s latest pretend strategy to supposedly combat Covid-19 with its illogical, half-baked and arbitrary three tier system of graduated restrictions, has no coherent demands to counterpose to the government. He was bid down from £90 million initial demands for funding a local furlough as good as the 80% original from the spring, to a mere £65 million but refused to allow himself to be bid down to the £60 million the Tories were prepared to agree to, and their much reduced furlough. So, no deal was reached by the 20 October deadline.

It has been suggested that Burnham, now dubbed “King of the North”, may be positioning himself as a future Labour Party leader, in the manner of Boris Johnson, hoping to jump from Mayor of a major city to potential PM, as Keir Starmer has been so craven and ineffectual that even in this enormous crisis the Tory government still manages to head most opinion polls. Burnham, to his credit, refused to join the 2016 ‘Chicken Coup’ against Jeremy Corbyn, which also gives him a semblance of clean hands. However, his own craven neoliberal support for austerity, reiterated when he stood for the Labour leadership in 2015, and complicity in NHS privatisation under Blair and Brown, make him not supportable by socialists.

It is notable that some of the concessions Johnson made in the early stages of the pandemic to working class people, through the furlough scheme and some increases in benefits, were a product of the fact that Jeremy Corbyn was still leader of the Labour Party until April and was in a position to make sharp criticisms of the Tory regime and act as a focus for working class discontent. Since Starmer became leader this has collapsed; he has grovelled in the most disgusting manner before the government, sacking ‘left’ shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey because she backed the Teachers Unions’ resistance to premature reopening of schools during the pandemic, with a smear about ‘anti-Semitism’. His sackings of other mildly leftist shadow ministers for voting against government measures like legalising murder and rape by ‘Spy Cops’, show what this was really about. Starmer is Johnson’s fag, Eton style.

One result of this is that the current tiered measures are much more geared to a bailout of big business than supporting workers than even the inadequate measures for the first wave. Starmer says virtually nothing about that, even though he has belatedly, along with SAGE, started calling for a two-to-three-week firebreak lockdown to arrest the current virus spread. And Burnham does not address this either.

As a former Blairite turned ‘soft left’ Burnham is not remotely capable of leading the kind of fightback the working class needs against this hard-right Brexiteer Tory government, though his observations about what is driving the regional lockdown policy of the government have often been quite sharp:

“Today we communicated our clear and unanimous view to the Government. It is wrong to place some of the poorest parts of England in a punishing lockdown without proper support for the people and businesses affected.

“To do so will result in certain hardship, job losses, business failure. It will cause harm in a different way to people’s mental health and is not certain to control the virus. People are fed up of being treated in this way, the North is fed up of being pushed around. We aren’t going to be pushed around any more.

“”The Government is not giving city regions like ours and the Liverpool City Region the necessary financial backing for full lockdowns of that kind. That is why we have unanimously opposed the Government’s plans for Tier 3. They are flawed and unfair.

“They are asking us to gamble our residents’ jobs, homes and businesses and a large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work. We would never sign up for that.

“While this is not necessarily Greater Manchester’s view, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer also told us last night that the only certain thing to work is a national lockdown. But the Government told us this morning it is unwilling to do that because of the damage it will do to the national economy. And yet that is what they want to impose on the North West.”

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1348229/manchester-lockdown-andy-burnham-tier-three-latest-coronavirus-boris-johnson

There is huge pressure building up on the Tory government about the likely death toll of many more tens or even hundreds of thousands from the escalating pandemic. Around 60,000 excess deaths have already resulted from the first wave, that is, on top of the 10,000 or so that generally die from ordinary flu in a ‘normal’ British winter. The campaign about free school meals is only a part of it, but celebrities such as football star Marcus Rashford, and the mass outrage behind them, have got the Tories running scared. They have good reason to be even more scared of the death toll from the pandemic that they have allowed to get out of control again.

Fighting the Working Class, Not the Virus

A comment in a recent Facebook discussion, by Martin Deane, a long-time election candidate for the Green Party, sums up where the UK under Johnson stands in the international scheme of things regarding Covid-19:

“The UK is one of 17 countries with over 10k Covid deaths. 195 are under 10k. Look it up on Worldometer. Most of the world has washed its hands of the virus! Of them 155 countries have under 1k deaths. The UK really is an outlier with its 65k spike, 50k Of which were Covid deaths. And now facing tens of thousands more…”

This is the result of a government stratagem of not fighting against the virus but fighting against the popular will and resolve to fight to eliminate the virus. The whole litany of behaviour of Johnson’s Tory regime since the pandemic emerged has been a more mendacious, camouflaged variant of Trumpism, extreme, demented neoliberal, free-market fundamentalism. This was prefigured by his bizarre speech in Greenwich in on February 2:

“…in that context, we were starting to hear some bizarre, autarchic rhetoric, when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases like Coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation, that go beyond what is medically rational, to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage, then at that moment, humanity needs some government somewhere, that is willing at least to make the case, powerfully, for freedom of exchange.

Some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles, and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion of the right of populations, of the Earth, to buy and sell freely among each other. Here in Greenwich in the first week of February 2020, I can tell you with all humility, that the UK is ready for that role.”

https://www.facebook.com/185180654855189/videos/512321552989037

At the beginning of the pandemic, the likely toll was laid out for the government through SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) by scientists and epidemiologists from Imperial College, London:

“Unmitigated, the death number was 510,000… Mitigated we were told it was going to be 250,000. Once you see a figure of take no further action and a quarter of a million people die, the question you ask is, ‘What action?’”

Sunday Times, 22 March

These figures have been ridiculed by the many ‘Covid-deniers’ in part because one of the key scientists who warned of this scenario was Neil Ferguson, who later was caught out by the tabloid press as having been visited by a woman he did not live with as part of a personal relationship, in breach of the social distancing and lockdown rules at that time.

His projections were dismissed as rubbish, on grounds that he was a ‘hypocrite’ for not adhering completely to measures that he advocated, not only by Covid-deniers but also by those close to the Johnson government that embarked on a rapid and reckless winding down of precautionary measures beginning in June, ending up in early September with their public demand for most people to ‘go back to work’, to ‘save’ the city centres from economic regression.

But this is probably the sharpest expression ever of the logical fallacy of the ad hominem denunciation. Because his personal hypocrisy and his breach of the rules mean nothing in relation to whether his projections were correct, so not. They may well turn out to be correct. In this regard, Ferguson is now warning that it will be necessary to close at least secondary schools to control the currently resurgent virus. This is being ignored – for now, as was the call by Chris Whitty and SAGE for a 2-3 week ‘circuit-breaker’ national lockdown to slow the current ‘wave’ in mid-September, rejected by the Tories because it would damage the economy. ‘Herd immunity’ is still very much alive and kicking.

Johnson raised the possibility of a policy of allowing the SARS-2 Coronavirus to “move through the population” unrestricted, so the population would have to “take it on the chin” and thus develop “herd immunity” in a TV interview on 5th March. Having laid down this strategy as a possibility, he rowed back from openly endorsing it, saying it was necessary to “balance” this with other considerations.

In fact “herd immunity” was the government’s strategy to deal with the pandemic. Initially it was virtually open. As Dr David Halpern, a leading figure in the ‘Nudge Unit’ (‘Behavioural Insight Team’), a semi-privatised government body that looks for ways to manipulate the population to comply with Tory austerity, laid out in a BBC Interview:

“… and there’s going to be a point, assuming the epidemic flows and grows as we think it probably will do, where you’ll want to cocoon, you’ll want to protect those at-risk groups so that they basically don’t catch the disease, and by the time that they come out of their cocooning, herd immunity’s been achieved in the rest of the population.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1238097745971421184

Johnson’s ideological guru Dominic Cummings attended meetings of SAGE right from the early days of the pandemic: he is not a scientist or an epidemiologist.  He evidently had a major influence on Sir Patrick Vallance, one of the government’s two main scientific advisers to this day (the other being Chris Whitty). Unlike policy wonks like David Halpern, Cummings was well aware it would not be possible to cocoon elderly people from an epidemic that infected the bulk of the population, and laid out what the real attitude of central figures in the government is to the Covid pandemic:

“Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s senior aide, became convinced that Britain would be better able to resist a lethal second wave of the disease next winter if Whitty’s prediction that 60% to 80% of the population became infected was right, and the UK developed ‘herd immunity’

At a private engagement at the end of February, Cummings outlined the government’s strategy. Those present said it was ‘herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.”

Sunday Times, op-cit

This fits in very well with the incredible care homes scandal, with Covid patients discharged untested into care homes with the resulting carnage of many thousands, and the masks scandal, where billions were spent by privateers like Deloitte on substandard PPE, much of which went into the pockets of scammers.

And of course, Cummings’ own blatant undermining of the lockdown, driving from London to Durham, and to a local tourist spot, then back again, while he and his wife were infected in defiance of lockdown rules, getting away with it through a tissue of feeble lies, was designed to undermine popular support for public health measures by encouraging the view that they were all a racket to protect the privileged. This facet certainly was effective! In Britain, the first ‘wave’ was never defeated, because the measures taken to combat it were never remotely adequate. This was deliberate.

The battle to starve the virus of the chance to spread, driven by working class people from below from the beginning of the pandemic, was undertaken by the Johnson government only with great reluctance in late March, and by May they were already engaged in machinations to begin lifting it, even though there were still over hundreds of Covid daily deaths.

 The population refused to play ball: the attempt to reopen schools at the beginning of June was a flop, as more than half stayed away. But from then the quarantine measures were rapidly and prematurely lifted and undermined. And schools were re-opened on a compulsory basis in September even though teenagers at least are proven to spread the disease just as easily as adults.

The ‘NHS Test and Trace’ system that was put in place in June (after testing was scandalously abandoned by the Tories in March) is a privatised scam. It is nothing to do with the NHS: £12 billion was handed to Serco for not much in particular, to invest in obsolete spreadsheets for recording test results, so thousands of results were ‘mislaid’. Tests are slow and often unavailable: people are often told to travel as far as Cummings did just to get a test! And barely 60% of contacts of infected peopled are traced when to have an effective system it needs to be between 80 and 90%. Around £8 billion of the £12 billion given to Serco is unaccounted for, most likely having been set aside for dividends and/or salted away in tax havens.

Punctuated Herd Immunity

One serious attempt to deal with the effects of the government’s duplicity and the craven nature of the response to it has come from the Workers Party GB, led by George Galloway and Joti Brar. Their recent statement, published on the 17th October, is titled “Lockdowns are neither effective nor fair, but a further proof of government failure to manage the health emergency effectively”. This has given some people the impression that the WPGB is siding with the anti-lockdown, Covid-denying idiots and dupes of the far right, but this is not true, as you can see when you read the statement. It says of the government’s Three Tier policy:

“This policy is neither fish nor fowl; it is neither effective nor fair, and, by compounding increasing levels of hardship and poverty, it is taking a heavy toll on the British working class.

We have no confidence in the leadership of this government, and no confidence in the official Labour party opposition, to protect our interests and lead us through the crisis.”

https://workerspartybritain.org/2020/10/17/statement-lockdowns-ineffective-unfair-proof-government-failure-manage-health-emergency-effectively-covid-19/

It is clear that their view of how the pandemic could be fought was broadly correct:

“The Workers Party’s call for widespread testing, tracing and social isolation and care of covid patients – the public health measures that proved successful in eradicating the virus in China and elsewhere – was ignored. Travellers from the most affected parts of the globe (principally Europe and the USA) continued to fly into British airports throughout the worst months of the crisis, despite the supposed ‘lockdown’.”

ibid

And they have even come up with a sharp and synthetic characterisation of what the government’s real strategy is:

“It is increasingly clear that these lockdown measures simply represent a kind of ‘punctuated’ herd immunity, and that the government has no intention of taking the measures necessary really to safeguard the wellbeing of those unemployed, elderly or impoverished workers from whom it makes little money, and therefore sees only as a burden.

“For effective protective measures – including the reversal of NHS privatisation, investment in public services, the creation of decent jobs and livelihoods for working people – undermine the very essence of the government’s goal, which is to safeguard the interest of the billionaire class at all costs, and at workers’ expense.”

ibid
Johnson and Andy Burnham

Fight Covid! Human Need not Profits!

Unfortunately their demands for the crisis seem to somewhat passively accept that in losing confidence in Johnson’s mendacious government and its fake protective measures and lockdown, the whole idea of quarantine measures has “lost the confidence of a large section of British workers, who are tired of the fruitless hardships they have endured.”

Thus the mistaken emphasis of the headline, that “lockdowns” (apparently in general) “are neither effective nor fair” which despite the evident intention of the authors, does cause some confusion and can mislead honest militants into embracing the idiot Covid-deniers, despite the best of intentions.

The demands of the Workers Party in this situation are too modest. They demand

“… a free and comprehensive healthcare system. We want the NHS to be able to do what is expected of it, and for it not to be attacked at every opportunity by hostile governments.

“This is also why we are calling for a corona wealth tax – a 5% one-off tax on fortunes exceeding £10 million. Because the pandemic is just the tip of the inequality iceberg – for far too long now our nation’s problems have been socialised and the profits privatised.”

ibid

Even though these demands are correct as far as they go, what is missing is any immediate demands related to what is to be done about the pandemic itself. It appears that this is the result of despair and capitulation at the mood that they have noted in part of the working class, not necessarily the most advanced part, “who are tired of the fruitless hardships they have endured.“

This is not the most advanced layer of the working class; this is the layer that is most likely to be influenced by the right-wing populism that drove support for Brexit and Johnson in the first place, and maybe even by the Covid-denying right-wing idiots and the confused part of the left that is tailing them. The most advanced sections of the working class are very well aware that the discrediting of the government’s appalling duplicity and mendacity does not mean that Covid is any less dangerous. Without serious measures to suppress it, or without a vaccine to develop real herd immunity, many tens, even hundreds of thousands will die.

Whatever the mood in the working class, whatever the ‘concern’ about the economy, we must demand that all economic resources be devoted to protecting the health and lives of the population. We demand proper measures of social distancing/isolation to crush the virus and bring it down to manageable levels that can be handled by a proper testing and tracing system, be implemented and be paid for in its entirety by the capitalists. We demand full pay during this period for all workers, whether regular, casualised or self-employed, immigrant or non-immigrant, to ensure no one falls victim to destitution or starvation. We demand an end to all evictions and the housing of the homeless, not as a temporary, reversible stopgap, but securely and permanently. We demand a rise in benefits for all claimants to at least the level of a living wage, to be decided on by workers and claimants themselves, through them becoming organised in unions and similar bodies that may come into being in the struggle.

Above all, we demand that production and the economy be remodelled and re-organised to make its overarching purpose the preservation of life and considerations of human need, not private profit. The objective situation of the pandemic demands this, and in a sense, though fear of the disease in the short term makes it difficult to organise mass actions to force it, it can also act as a learning experience for the mass of the population as to the need for socialism, whose essence is production for human need instead of profit. The programme of any putative working-class party should be formulated as to make that more and more conscious among the most advanced layers of the working class.

Communist Fight issue no 3 out now!

Communist Fight issue no 3 is now available as a PDF. It is not currently available as a hard copy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we do plan to print and distribute our journal as hard copy as and when circumstances allow.

This journal is a product of our commitment to maintaining a high-quality Marxist journal based on the politics of Trotskyism and the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International.

There are a number of important articles in this issue including a treatment of the Trans question, which has become a subject of some controversy in parts of the left recently due to a certain dovetailing between a backward right-wing feminist trend and the ‘working class’ pretentions of right-wing populism, which have had a perverse impact on a weakened left.

We have major articles on the Tory government’s offensive against workers exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic, and the beginnings of class sentiment reasserting itself at the base of the labour movement because of theses outrages.

Also a crucial article on the US Elections and the threat to the working class and the oppressed from the atrophying of the US bourgeoisie’s pretence of democracy. And an important statement from the LCFI issued prior to the recent election in Bolivia, which was won by the leftist-populist MAS movement, by a very clear popular majority, in the face of the coup orchestrated by US imperialism.

And there is an important statement by the LCFI on the phenomenon of ‘hybrid war’, which has recently been seen in such diverse locations as Lebanon, Belarus and Argentina, the waging of irregular campaigns to destabilise halfway non-cooperative regimes by pro-imperialist forces as a currently more successful method than overt military interventions.

No political support for Biden / Harris! Break with the Democrats!

US ELECTION: THE THREAT OF DICTATORSHIP

Declaration of the Liaison Committee of the Fourth International

The 2020 US Presidential Elections is going to be the most dangerous and incendiary in many years, as the 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 appears to have got past Covid-19 and aspires to be a 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.

If Trump attempts to put his coup threats into practice, it is 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.

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 here ). 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.

Vigilante State Racism in the United States. 
Trump sent federal agents to assault Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon. 
In the minor highlight, sniper Vigilante in Kenosha, Wisconsin, defended by Trump, murdered Black Lives Matter protesters after the police brazenly shot an unarmed black man in the back.

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.

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.

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.

Bernie Sanders sacrifices his political chances in favour of Biden

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 are both Zionist and 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. 

Trump made many threats in Latin America, spurring moves to overthrow Chavez’s successor, Maduro in Venezuela, openly supporting the puppet ‘President’ Guaidó. Trump took advantage of the coup against the Workers’ Party in Brazil (orchestrated by the Obama administration) to project the rise to power of his Nazi puppet Bolsonaro.

We do not know in depth the secret coup plots of imperialism. The 2019 coup in Bolivia may have been the only coup articulated directly under Trump’s mandate. That may have been so, if that action was Trump’s favor with Elon Musk, owner of the Tesla electric car multinational. The White House may have done this to bring the owner of the $ 100 billion fortune closer, who has always been ambiguous to receive favors from both imperialist sides. However, our suspicions prevail that even the coup d’état in Bolivia, which occurred during Trump’s term, may also be the work of the Deep State, linked to the historic establishment and the Military Industrial Complex, most influenced by Democrats. Musk has much more political, ideological and strategic affinities with Democrats,

 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. Imperialism is the expansionist compulsion of finance capital. Trump has not been very effective in expanding imperialist dominions in the 21st century, nor has he been able to contain the expansion of opponents of that imperialist dominance, especially from China, Russia and Iran. That is why he is dysfunctional. 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’. 

To this all must be added the characteristics of candidates for president and vice president. Trump already knows who he is. His deputy, Michael Pence, has been described as the most powerful fundamentalist Christian supremacist in history. These being the beliefs of the members of the Republican ticket, the credentials of the Democratic ticket’s acts are no better. Biden is domestically associated with the Maidan coup and the imperialist parasitism of Ukraine, having profited from the coup orchestrated by the Obama administration, of which Biden was vice president, control of the main Ukrainian Gas company, Burisma, which after Maidan became administered directly by the hands of his son, Hunter Biden. In other words, Biden is a candidate for president who directly benefits from imperialism’s coup foreign policy. 

Fight Fascist Dangers through Independent Workers’ Actions!

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 tries to maintain power against his electoral defeat, the left and the labor movement must fight for street mobilizations equal to or greater than the current ones to defeat the coup and fight for a workers’ own solution in the midst of civil war, for a workers’ government. Workers must 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 in the struggle for a workers’ government in the US through the socialist revolution, which builds a Soviet Republic of North America.

BOLIVIA 2020 – ELECTIONS UNDER THE COUP

Statement of Liaison Committee For the Fourth International

Coupists unite around the right wing against the MAS

In 2019 Bolivia suffered the most violent coup d’état in Latin America in the new era of coups initiated by the Obama-Hillary Clinton administration (2009-2017), with the coups in Honduras (2009), Paraguay (2012) and Brazil (2016).

The Morales government nationalized the country’s oil, gas, and mineral resources, enabling unprecedented economic growth and the reduction of extreme poverty by nearly 20 percentage points.

In Bolivia, Evo Morales emerged victorious in his campaign for re-election, but was pressured to resign by a civic-police-military coup on a broad political front.

Fascist militiamen and police coupists, backed by the Bolivian Armed Forces (FFAA) threatened to go north, stoned houses and made political arrests against the Morales-led Movement for Socialism (MAS) and its allies. The city hall of Vinto was burned and its MAS mayor, Patricia Arce, was beaten and dragged through the streets, forced to walk barefoot, having her hair cut. Another fascist gang broke into and robbed Evo Morales’ own home. The fascists burned several flags of Whipala, of Andean origin, one of the symbols of the Plurinational State of Bolivia which represents recognition of the diversity of the indigenous peoples that inhabit that territory. 24 people were killed in the clashes, 715 were injured and 50 were arrested. In Cochabamba, police murdered nine Morales supporters during a protest organized by cocaleiros’ (coca-growers) leaders on the president’s return. The new coup government of Jeanine Añez issued a decree to exempt the FFAA and the Bolivian National Police from criminal responsibility in the repression against demonstrations and allow the use of firearms.

Leading the coup against Morales were right-wing anti-communist lackeys, military, police militias, evangelical sects, driven by their own interests and those of billionaires such as Elon Musk, the South African-Canadian-American owner of the multinational corporation Tesla, interested in appropriating the country’s lithium reserves. Lithium is an alkaline metal used in the manufacture of batteries, including for electric cars. Most of the world’s lithium reserves are in Bolivia, which concentrates about a third of the entire world’s supply.

In September 2019, Evo Morales drove the first electric car manufactured 100% in Bolivia, by the Quantum plant in Llajta, Cochabamba, which launched its first cars. The government and the Chinese Embassy in Bolivia have signed a nearly RMB13 billion ($2.3 billion) deal for industrialization of Bolivian lithium and announced that the country would become the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles. Negotiations between TBEA Group and China Machinery Engineering were cursed by industry competitors in the United States, including Tesla, who were left out of that partnership.

Bringing up the rear, justifying the coup as being part of a supposed popular mobilization and not of the right and imperialism was the Bolivian Revolutionary Workers’ Party (Partido Obrero Revolucionario or POR – Bolivia’s original mass ‘Trotskyist’ party that capitulated to radical-talking bourgeois nationalism in the 1950s). As defender of the doctrine of an Anti-Imperialist United Front, the POR became a make-up artist of a Pro-Imperialist United Front.

Threatened, Evo Morales and his deputy, Álvaro Garcia Linera, were forced to resign and went into exile in the Argentina of Fernandez. Evo was prevented by the coupist judiciary from standing in the elections and even running for Senator, with his candidacy challenged on grounds of not residing in Bolivia.

The coup regime faces the contradictions of needing to restrict representative democracy in the country, prevent the return of popular former rulers and at the same time legitimize itself through new elections so as not to seem what it is, a dictatorship of capital and imperialism that seeks to monopolise/steal water, gas, lithium and the labour of the Bolivian proletariat. It does not even tolerate coexistence with sectors that seek to reform the extreme inequality created by the semicolonial condition of the Bolivian proletariat, and the country itself.

After months trying to ‘wait out’ the call for new elections, relying on the pandemic, the coup government is struggling to censor and manipulate polls that do not favour it. Worse, after the September polls, which indicated a possible victory, already in the first round, of Luis Arce, the presidential candidate of the MAS and former economics minister under Morales, the right urgently tried gathering the coup forces behind the traditional right-wing candidate, Carlos Mesa. Arce appeared to have 40 % of intending voters; Mesa 26 %, the far-right candidate Luis Camacho, 14 % and Jeanine Áñez, fourth, with 10 %. This picture forced Añez, the original coupist president of the country with Evo Morales’ resignation, to resign her candidacy. To avoid a runoff, the winner of the election must obtain at least 40% of the votes in the first, and a lead of at least 10% over the runner-up. Other polls since then indicate a growth of growth of support for Mesa, and a second round.

The coup government of Áñez suspended operations and negotiations initiated by Evo on the exploitation of Lithium. The programmes for presidential government of Mesa, Camacho and Áñez (when she was a candidate) advocated the privatization of lithium, its subordination to prices in the international market as traded on the Stock Exchanges and, as if trying to take the exploitation of the ore out of focus, minimized its importance to Bolivia.

Arce, the MAS candidate declared:

“Companies that want to extract our lithium will be welcome as long as they provide employment and produce in Bolivia. We want to produce our Bolivian batteries so that we can export them, obtaining another source of income for the Bolivian economy.”

He intends to keep the additional 32% tax on hydrocarbons. In Arce’s assessment, foreign interest in Bolivian minerals is so great that any exemption would be unnecessary and would represent an affront to national sovereignty.

Most Latin American left-wing bourgeois governments believed that they would be allowed to govern quietly as long as they did not break international economic dependency agreements with imperialism or threaten private ownership of the means of production. Bad mistake. After the 2008 Financial Crisis and China’s expanding influence in the world market, becoming the main trading partner, buyer and exporter to Latin American countries, the U.S. countered by overthrowing governments on the continent that operated this approach to China.

What is MAS?

The MAS, or MAS-ISPS (Movimiento Al Socialismo – Political Instrument por la Soberanía de los Pueblos) defines itself as a “political instrument”, because it acts simultaneously as a political party and a federation of social movements. THE MAS-ISPS presents itself as different from traditional parties, including the left, such as the Workers’ Party of Brazil. Article 42 of its Statutes provided that candidates in national and local elections should be chosen by direct vote in assemblies. From 1999 to 2002 most MAS-IPSP candidates were chosen by this method. From the 2002 elections some candidates were nominated by Evo Morales. As a party of social movements and trade union confederations, THE MAS-IPSP aggregates CSUTCB (United Confederation of Unions of Worker Peasants of Bolivia), CSCB (Syndicalist Confederation of Bolivian Colonisers) and the Bartolina Sisa Federation, the National Confederation of Rural Teachers, the National Confederation of Rivers and Pensioners, the National Confederation of Micro and Small Enterprise (Conamype), the National Federation of Mining Cooperatives (Fencomin, which claims to have about 40,000 members) and the combative Regional Workers Center (COR) of El Alto. The Bolivian Center of The Work Unit (COB) and the National Council of Ayllus and Markas de Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ) are not part of the MAS-IPSP but have critically supported the government.

MAS-ISPS has its origins in the organization of coca-growing workers in the Chapare region, under the leadership of Evo Morales in 1987 as Movimiento al Socialismo-Unzaguista. Evo’s election victory and nearly 14 years in office were based on the struggle of poor workers and Bolivian indigenous populations. THE MAS claims to be heir to the Bolivian Socialist Phalanx (FSB) a party founded in 1937 by Oscar Unzaga, who proposed a Bolivian nationalism in opposition to foreign currents such as capitalism, Marxism, and fascism. By this trend, the MAS government promoted several nationalizations of hydrocarbons, especially gas, the country’s main source of foreign exchange.

Subsidiaries of Hispana YPF-Repsol, British Ashmore and British Petroleum and the Peruvian-German consortium CLBH were nationalised; the state-owned YPFB Petroleum company transformed into a corporation to direct the nationalization of oil and the Bolivian Hydrocarbon Industrialization Company (EBIH) created. The Bolivian state acquired 100% of Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos (in Peruvian and German hands) and the telephone company Entel, a subsidiary of Italian Telecom. It recovered the majority stake (50% + 1 stake) in Chaco oil companies, Panamerican Energy (British Petroleum group); It nationalized the Andean company, a subsidiary of Repsol YPF; and Transredes, a hydrocarbon carrier owned by British company Ahsmore and Anglo-Dutch Shell.

Evo Morales nationalized the Huanuni tin mine; the oil company Chaco, owned by British Petroleum (BP) and Argentina’s Bridas, whom it accused of taking $277 million out of the country in 2008. The Bolivian government expropriated 36,000 hectares of land from landowners (15,000 of the American larsen metenbrink family), accusing them of subjecting the Guarani Indians to servitude. It promoted the expropriation of the shares of four subsidiaries of the Spanish energy company Iberdrola; Air BP, a subsidiary of British Petroleum and dedicated to fuel distribution at Bolivian airports. Morales nationalized four electricity companies: Corani, 50% owned by Ecoenergy International, a subsidiary of France’s GDF Suez; Guaracachi, whose main shareholder (with 50%) was the British Rurelec PLC; Valle Hermoso, whose 50% of the capital was in the hands of the Bolivian Generator Group of the Pan American of Bolivia; and the distribution cooperative Empresa de Luis e Ferza Eléctrica de Cochabamba. Evo Morales has privately held the shares of Red Eléctrica Española (REEE) in the company Transportadora de Electricidad (TDE). [1]

Despite all these and other progressive measures, the MAS government is part of those governments that are not prepared to stand up to the reaction and resentment of imperialism, the bourgeoisie, and the local middle classes. The whole process has its particularities and singularities, in the Bolivian case, there is the historical racism of the bourgeoisie against the various indigenous ethnic groups, which turned against Morales and the majority of the population. THE MAS fell easily under pressure from the coup movement, after making concessions to pressure from the pro-imperialist right as in the surrender of the political refugee Cesare Batistte, former activist of the group Proletarians Armed by Communism, to life imprisonment by Italian imperialism.

The rejection of Marxism by MAS, its non-identification of imperialism and capitalism as enemies and its misunderstanding of class struggle took its toll. When the coup appeared, the resistance aimed at crushing coupists that had not been prepared for a decade and a half of government, favored the enemy.

Things happened differently in Maduro’s Venezuela, which prudently nullified the powers of the coup-majority Congress with a Constituent Assembly and armed part of the working population to defend the popular government in a political and military way, even though the conciliatory illusions of chavismo in Venezuela still keep it vulnerable by not advancing the social and economic expropriation of the coupist bourgeoisie.

By the time Morales and MAS recognized their mistake it was too late. In January 2020, a Bolivian radio station released a recording in which Morales reiterated that he had been the victim of a “coup d’état” during a meeting with supporters in Argentina. And ensuring that:

“I want you to know that in a short time, if I come back or anyone comes back, we have to organize the armed militias of the people like in Venezuela.”

However, under pressure from the coup government and bourgeois public opinion, Morales recanted in a letter saying:

A few days ago, my words were made public about the formation of militias. I retract them. My deepest conviction has always been the defense of life and peace. [2]

The workers, who are the biggest losers of the coup process, should have as a tactic an anti-imperialist united front in these elections, with a vote for the candidacy of MAS, but without feeding illusion that this victory will be respected by the coupists, and simultaneously must go beyond the limited program of MAS through strikes and battles in the streets, for the disarmament and expropriation of the coupists.

Notes

1.  https://www.lainformacion.com/economia-negocios-y-finanzas/empresas-nacionalizadas-durante-los-mandatos-de-evo-morales_MZ2g1pEpcncA9nan9xzzM7/

2. https://www.dw.com/pt-br/evo-recua-e-diz-que-n%C3%A3o-pretende-mais-criar-mil%C3%ADcias/a-52035045

Lebanon, Belarus, Argentina: LCFI Statement

Exposing the operations of the new hybrid war “spring” of American, European and Zionist imperialism!

Statement of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International

The economic crisis, aggravated by the recession derived from the coronavirus pandemic, produced a new intercontinental “spring” of colour Revolutions in the second half of 2020. This process is most advanced in three countries: Lebanon, Belarus and Argentina.

Class war does not cease during tragedies. On the contrary, when the living conditions of their victims worsen, the predators of big capital take advantage to deal heavier blows. Reduced wages and mass layoffs are almost a worldwide practice of companies during the pandemic.

Large corporations in high technology, online retail and the pharmaceutical industry have seen their sales and share-prices skyrocket: this is the case for Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, Tencent, Facebook, Nvidia, Alphabet (Google), Paypal, and TMobile, to list the top ten with the highest profitability. In the midst of a pandemic, the U.S. government orchestrated an attempted maritime invasion of Venezuela by mercenaries, accused Maduro of drug trafficking, and offered a $15 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Also, during this period, the Trump administration maintained or escalated sanctions against Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Russia and China. Israel attacked the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip mercilessly with air strikes and artillery fire. Domestically, bourgeois governments take advantage of the situation to remove democratic rights, carry out counter-reforms, reduce public investments.

In 2019, Evo Morales was re-elected with a large margin of votes. The pro-imperialist right’s candidacy did not admit the result and began a coup process with large demonstrations, fascist attacks, military-police blackmail until the coup d’état was consummated with the resignation of Evo Morales, who did not even finish his current term. On July 24, 2020, in response to a social media post that mentioned Elon Musk’s interests in preventing Morales from remaining in power, the billionaire, owner of the high-tech multinational carmaker, Tesla, and equipment supplier to the U.S. Air Force, wrote on his Twitter account: ” We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it. ” The largest lithium reserve in the world is in Bolivia. Lithium ion is the main component of Tesla electric vehicle batteries.

Lebanon

On August 4, a massive explosion occurred in the Port of Beirut. The attack destroyed much of the East of the Lebanese capital, killed approximately two hundred people, injured more than 6,000, and rendered 300,000 homeless. A large “mushroom” cloud was formed, very different from what can be seen in conventional explosions.

Mushroom cloud erupts in Beirut port explosion

Among the hypotheses raised for the explosion is that it was an attack of imperialist sabotage with a new weapon, similar to the explosion that was recorded in Syria in January 2020. It is no secret to anyone that Israel’s two main military defeats in the 21st century were directly influenced by the Lebanese guerrilla group and political party Hezbollah. In 2006, the Israeli infantry was humiliatingly defeated in their invasion of southern Lebanon to disarm and crush Hezbollah.

Since 2011, a hybrid war against Syria has been unleashed by the US and Israel as part of the “Arab Spring.” In this last war, Hezbollah was one of the main forces of the resistance, along with the Syrian Army itself, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Russian military. The hybrid war against Syria was defeated. Those allied with imperialism included the bloodthirsty ISIS, the so-called Islamic State. This was a great victory for the world proletariat against the expansionism of imperialist financial capital in the Middle East.

The Israeli right has long identified the Port of Beirut as an area controlled by Hezbollah. Benjamin Netanyahu had pointed to exactly the same location, and denounced it as Hezbollah’s weapons depot, at the UN Assembly on September 27, 2018. If Israel was behind the attack, it is very likely that Zionist military intelligence planned that a large-scale explosion in this port region depot, dumped in the Lebanese government’s lap could, with a single blow, impose political and military losses on Hezbollah.

Whether the explosion was the product of political irresponsibility or intentional sabotage of some secret service, is not yet known. That’s in the field of speculation. But it is a proven fact that the tragedy has provided supporters of Lebanon’s imperialist political agents, socially supported by fractions of the bourgeoisie and middle-class sectors, to reactivate protests against Hezbollah and the ruling coalition that houses it. The American and Zionist imperialisms set in motion their fake news machine to plant their versions of what happened.

Al-Arabiya TV news channel said the explosion occurred at an arms depot belonging to the ‘terrorist group’ Hezbollah. Fox News reported that many of the port’s operations are unofficially controlled by Hezbollah. Demonstrators took to the streets of Beirut with Lebanese flags and posters in English that said,

“Help! We are hostages to a corrupt government and an Iranian religious militia” (Lebanon, the Orange Counter-Revolution after the tragedy. https://frentecomunistatrabalhadores.blogspot.com/2020/08/libano-contra-revolucao-laranja-apos.html).

Under intense pressure, the entire government of the Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, was forced to resign. The first political battle of this hybrid war, initiated by means of this explosion, was won by imperialism.

Belarus

On August 9, an election took place in Belarus (formerly Byelorussia or White Russia). The results gave victory to former Stalinist bureaucrat Alexander Lukashenko against his rival, the “independent” candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, representative of a neoliberal and pro-NATO program. The result gave an overwhelming majority, 80% of the votes, to Lukashenko. It was probably tampered with and gave rise to a new protest movement in the country.

The Belarusian regime is an anomaly. Lukashenko’s local bureaucratic government came to power after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, but managed to avoid, through its declaration of independence, the massive neoliberal shock treatment and economic destruction that afflicted Russia under the Yeltin regime.

Belarus can perhaps be described as the only place in the former USSR where the old Stalinist oligarchy managed to cling to power after the August 1991 coup. Lukashenko came to personify this local bureaucratic faction. It cannot be argued that Belarus managed to remain a deformed workers’ state,but , as a local bureaucratic fiefdom, it slowed the process of capitalist restoration, more or less in the same way that ‘Gang of Eight’ directed by Yanayev wanted in August 1991 in the former USSR, keeping it under the control of sectors of bureaucracy. The Yanayev project was similar to that of Chinese bureaucracy, capitalist restoration, but in an organic way, planned and controlled by a state party whose origins were those of a degenerate/deformed workers state.

As Wikipedia noted:

“After the election of Alexander Lukashenko in 1994 as the first president of Belarus, he launched the country on the path of ‘market socialism’ (as opposed to what Lukashenko regarded as ‘savage capitalism’, chosen by Russia at the time). In line with this policy, administrative controls on prices and exchange rates have been introduced. In addition, the state’s right to intervene in the management of the private company was expanded, but on March 4, 2008, the president issued a decree abolishing the golden share rule in a clear move to improve Belarus’s international classification in relation to foreign investment. ” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Belarus)

We have no illusions in the Lukashenko regime, but the protest movement follows the modus operandi of all recent coups: it was orchestrated after the contestation of the election results, right-wing protesters, against corruption, national and Nazi flags, predominance of the middle class and a few disorganized workers. Something that is somewhat worrisome is the presence of red and white “Belarusian” flags, used by pro-Nazi elements in World War II, demonstrations, leaders’ links with Ukraine and the Baltic States, and the evocation of the Maidan movement in Ukraine as an example to be imitated.

Belarus Demo with pseudo-nationalist pro-Nazi flag

Unlike in Ukraine, under both Tsarism and Stalinism, a real national oppression in Belarus has not been historically true, as the national sentiment of Belarus was generally pro-Russian and emphasized Belarus’s affinity with Russia, even under Tsarism. Importantly, the use of symbols used by a fringe of Nazi collaborators in these demonstrations today has far less history behind it than Ukraine, and actually indicates that the inspiration of this movement comes from outside, from neoliberal tendencies, and not from something deeply rooted among the masses, despite Lukashenko’s despotism.

Behind the Nazi-neoliberal shock squad it is clear what the imperialists want. The World Bank’s prescription for the country is as follows:

“More urgently, Belarus’s state-owned business sector needs comprehensive restructuring. And what would that entail?

• First, keep for-profit state enterprises public or privatize them transparently at fair market prices.

• Second, keep public service providers and public regulators, but clearly define what they should provide in exchange for public funds.

• Third, restructure the loss-making state-owned companies that could quickly become profitable, providing a good return on any extra investment.

• And for everything else: closure or privatization.

The classification of companies in these categories should be made by independent experts in order to obtain objective assessments of which businesses are viable or not. “

(Why economic reforms in Belarus are now more urgent than ever, https://blogs.worldbank.org/europeandcentralasia/why-economic-reforms-belarus-are-now-more-urgent-ever-0)

Despite all Lukashenko’s corruption and undemocratic despotism, his government is the lesser evil. We saw the massive decline in life expectancy in Russia caused by Yeltsin’s economic shock in that country. The same will happen in Belarus if the neoliberals take power. We do not give him political support; in fact, the class-conscious proletariat in the former USSR needs to be rearmed politically through the creation of a new Bolshevik-Leninist Party in the region, but we defend the fragmentary social gains that have still been maintained in Belarus since the Soviet period, even if by bureaucratic inertia. We defend Belarus and Russia as relatively backward and non-imperialist capitalist countries. We consider Belarus as a semi-colonial country and Russia as a dependent country. We defend these two countries against imperialist representatives seeking “regime change” and “colour revolutions” like those now taking place in Belarus.

Against this offensive of our worst enemies, we call for a single anti-fascist and anti-imperialist front, with Lukashenko and Putin, against this revolution made by the CIA, to defend the social achievements still existing in Belarus, the nationalized property, against neoliberal privatization. This is one side of the objectives of our anti-fascist and anti-imperialist united front tactics. The other objective of this tactic is to struggle to overcome the illusions of the masses in Lukashenko and Putin. As in Ukraine, because of his bourgeois nature, Putin is not consistent in the anti-imperialist struggle or in supporting the fight against the fascist uprising inspired by NATO.

Argentina

Amid the decline of US hegemony, and divisions within US imperialism, sectors of the Republican political establishment itself are abandoning Trump.

Kichnerism and its allies take advantage of the crisis of US domination to deepen negotiations between the Peronist Justicalista Party and the Chinese Communst Party, boosting Argentina’s access to the ‘Silk Road’ and obtaining Chinese financing for infrastructure works in Argentina. In 2019, China became Argentina’s main buyer.

On August 6, 2020, 43% of the Argentine central bank’s reserves consisted of a swap in Yuan traded with China. In this swap financial operation, the Central Bank of China stepped in to pledge that it will invest billions of dollars to cover the devaluation of the Argentine currency, which may occur over the next three years.

Today, after Venezuela, Argentina is the closest country to the Russian/Chinese bloc in South America. That is why American imperialism uses hybrid warfare methods as embryonicly seen in the mobilization of August 17, to pressure and destabilize the government of Alberto Fernández.

Alberto Fernández also advanced measures such as freezing internet, mobile and cable television tariffs, declaring them public services. These measures harm the multimedia group Clarín, the main media consortium of Argentina.

Finally, since the formation of the official Frente De Todos (Front of Everyone) coalition, a judicial reform was instituted as a preventive measure against legal war, or  lawfare, which has been used in different countries by imperialism, such as the so-called Operation Lava Jato that began the coup process in Brazil in 2016.

In this context, the trends that have manifested since the mobilizations against the expropriation of Vicentin have taken a qualitative leap forward and demonstrate that in Argentina an incipient hybrid war driven by imperialism and its local agents is underway. Opposition sectors, mainly linked to former President Macri and his right-wing coalition Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) with an important element of the upper middle class that were supporters of the government, demonstrated against the Fernandez government. Macri supported the demonstration and his former Security Minister Patricia Bulrrich was one of the main drivers and participants in it.

Until the August 17 demonstration, the axis of the mobilisation was opposition to Fernandez’s judicial reform. In this war it is evident that the manipulation of online social networks, encouraged by all the opposition media, through disinformation: “news” that overestimates, nationally and internationally, the true magnitude of the opposition. In addition to this central political axis, the August 17 demonstration also incorporated the reactionary discontent of the merchant sectors, the small, medium and large bourgeoisie, against Covid-19 quarantine measures.

Argentina Demonstration against Judicial Changes

Under this same dynamic a new mobilization was called for August 26, when the Senate will vote on judicial reform.

Hybrid warfare is a weapon of imperialism that, ultimately, aims to consolidate parasitism on exploitation for surplus value suffered by workers. It aims to bring to power those who want political changes that represent their class interests, such as the end of social distancing.

Tactically, the working class require an anti-imperialist united front against the U.S. and its local Macrista agents because they oppose the rise of this parasitism. But it is necessary to organize in a politically independent way, criticizing the bourgeois limits of the Fernandez government in the struggle for national liberation against international big capital, including the social, economic and political costs of the Argentine debt to China.

The fight against the hybrid wars of imperialism, the national question and the Permanent Revolution

Imperialism lost almost all its colonial wars of military occupation. The US’s greatest trauma was Vietnam in 1975. So, it modified its methods of war against the oppressed, making use of internal agents, developing hybrid wars, false flag operations, lawfare, counterrevolutionary “popular uprisings”, etc.  So, the CIA and its arms around the world stimulate “revolutions” with anti-corruption programs, democracy and even trade-unionist programmes, like to some extent in Belarus now. These wars of position serve to divide oppressed nations, prevent unified national resistance of oppressed peoples, as has occurred with the heroic Palestinian resistance for more than seventy years.

Imperialism embarks on hybrid warfare campaigns with media and legal offensives to demonize its opponents for “corruption”, “electoral fraud”, “coups d’état” and “dictatorships”. But it is imperialism itself that exercises the dictatorship of capital on a planetary scale and is the greatest corruptor on the planet.  Strategically, imperialism seeks to privatize, loot, expand its parasitism when it is limited in some way by these immediate obstacles.

In the end, it is a struggle between imperialism and the proletariat of oppressed countries. In the fight against imperialism, the revolutionaries seek to overcome the limitations imposed on the struggle by bourgeois nationalist leaders, by Stalinist Parties, etc.

Revolutionaries fight for the strategy of the permanent revolution. Through the common struggle against imperialism, workers are helped to recognise, through experience, that the bourgeois or bourgeois-nationalist leaderships of oppressed peoples are incapable of consistently taking the necessary measures against imperialism. These traditional leaderships always seek agreements to coexist with the international big capital. Such agreements imply negotiations about the redivision of the surplus value created by the proletariat of oppressed nations between the bourgeoisie of the oppressed country and the oppressive monopolies of the imperialist metropolises. For this reason, Marxist revolutionaries maintain their complete political and organizational independence from the bourgeois and nationalist leaderships of oppressed countries, unmasking patriotism when it is used to conceal class exploitation by national exploiters

“The only ‘condition’ for any agreement with the bourgeoisie, because each separate, practical and convenient agreement must be adapted to each specific case, is not to allow both organizations and flags to mix directly or indirectly for a single day or even an hour; it consists in distinguishing between red and blue, and not believing for a moment in the capacity or will of the bourgeoisie to carry out a genuine struggle against imperialism or not to put obstacles to the political organization of workers and peasants.” (Leon Trotsky, The Third International after Lenin, Balance Sheet and Perspectives of the Chinese Revolution, his lessons for the countries of the East and for the whole of the Comintern, September 1928).

Today, organizations of the left globally, including many claiming to be revolutionaries and Trotskyists, give political support to the hybrid war maneuvers of imperialism, the colour revolutions, as if they did not know their results in Lebanon, Ukraine, Brazil, Bolivia. By this traitorous policy, such left-wing organizations help the war campaign of imperialism. These organizations, in addition to acting as a transmission belt of imperialism, renounce, within the semi-colonial or dependent nations, the struggle to bring consciousness to the oppressed peoples against the influence of the neo-Stalinist, bourgeois nationalists and theocrats.

As Lenin said, referring to the nationalist, chauvinistic, opportunistic leaderships of the labor movement within imperialist nations, “the fight against imperialism is a hollow and false phrase if it is not inextricably linked to the struggle against opportunism.” (V.I. Lenin. Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, 1916).

The nationalism of oppressor nations is reactionary, it is the “mask of world banditship”, as Trotsky said, referring to Japanese patriotism in the war against China,

“Chinese patriotism is legitimate and progressive. Whoever puts the two patriotisms on the same plane has not read anything of Lenin, who did not understand the attitude of the Bolsheviks during the imperialist war and who does nothing but compromise and prostitute the teachings of Marxism… Efeilists and Oehlerists oppose the ‘national and social-patriotic’ politics of class struggle. All his life, Lenin fought this abstract, sterile policy. The interest of the world proletariat dictates the duty to help the oppressed people against their oppressors in their national and patriotic struggle against imperialism. He who has not understood this to this day, almost a quarter of a century since the World War and twenty years after the October revolution, must be relentlessly departed from the revolutionary vanguard as his worst inner enemy.” (Ultraleftism on the national question, September 23, 1937).

Those leftists who in the name of “class struggle” support the colour revolutions made by the CIA are unconscious or conscious agents of imperialism. They are traitors and internal enemies of the struggle for the national liberation of oppressed peoples. After recent experience in Libya,  Syria, Ukraine, Brazil, Bolivia, such ultra-leftist “revolutionaries” are enemies who act within the workers’ organizations, which need to be treated by the current generation of fighters as they in fact are: part of the  coup offensive, in the service of imperialism and reaction.

No Extradition of Liam Campbell to Lithuania! Picket Irish Embassy!

Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group

Picket Irish Embassy , 17 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X

Saturday 15 August 2-3 pm

● No Extradition of Liam Campbell to Lithuania!

● Abolish the Diplock Courts in the North of Ireland!

● Abolish the Special Criminal Courts in the South!

● Free Brendan McConville and John Paul Wotton!

● Political Status for all Irish Republican POWs!

Liam Campbell

Liam Campbell was arrested in Dundalk on December 2, 2016 on a warrant issued by Lithuania and endorsed by the High Court in Dublin. Many Irish Republicans have been extradited from the Free State to the six counties in the recent past. When extradited they face the same inhuman torture, beatings and forced strip searches and anti-Irish bigotry from Loyalist screws endured by all Irish POWs there.

Liam Campbell is facing extradition to Lithuania pending an appeal against the 13th July order on 19th January 2021. If extradited and found guilty, he faces a sentence of 20 years. The IRPSG campaigned for Liam Campbell’s brother, Michael, in 2012 and 2013; we put a motion defending him to the 2013 Labour Representation Committee AGM.

In October 2013 Michael Campbell was acquitted of all charges in Lithuania because the court believed he was framed by MI5. His lawyer, Ingrida Botyriene, said:

“A person cannot be sentenced for a crime committed by state officials. He was acquitted because the court found that what he was accused of was a provocation. It was just an activity of the state security services. Michael Campbell was set up in a ‘sting’ operation by MI5, the Irish and Lithuanian intelligence agencies and jailed in Lithuania on 21 October 2011 for 12 years. The spooks had in fact initiated the arms deal on which he was convicted. He would never be involved in arms deals and would never go to Lithuania for such an affair if he had not been provoked by secret agents.”

The same judgement should apply to Liam now as the circumstances are exactly the same. Liam Campbell wrote to the IRPSG in 2011:

“I am held here in Maghaberry prison by the Brits. They want to extradite me to Lithuania, a country I was never in. So, I am here for two and a half now where I have no rights as an Irish man up in front of a Brit judge in my own country”.

This latest attempt to extradite Liam comes after a legal battle lasting nearly 12 years in the High Court in Dublin.

Abolish the Diplock Courts in the North and the Special Criminal Courts in the South

The Northern Ireland Emergency Provisions Act 1973 abolished the right to jury trial in many serious criminal cases, it authorized “preventive” incarceration without probable cause, abolished the right to silence, relaxed standards for admission of coerced confessions, and permitted reliance on the uncorroborated testimony of so-called “supergrasses”, anonymous witnesses who were allowed to testify from behind screens. This was the foundation of the infamous Diplock Courts, which sit today without a jury.

In 1993, the UN Human Rights Committee, a panel of experts established to monitor every country’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, said the Special Criminal Courts (SCC) established under the Offences Against the State Act of 1939 in the Republic of Ireland was not “justified”. In 2000, the committee repeated its concerns, and called for Ireland to “end the jurisdiction of the Special Criminal Court.” Amnesty International repeated its previous opposition to the courts in 1999 in its submission to the government initiated review of the Offences Against the State Acts, and the Special Criminal Court.

They urged that “the government make a proclamation to disestablish the Special Criminal Court, because the circumstances specified by international standards that might justify the operations of such a court are not apparent in Ireland. …Amnesty International considers that under international standards and the law of Ireland, the onus is upon the government to demonstrate that special courts are essential in current circumstances in the words of the law because “the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice, and the preservation of public peace and order”.

The Irish Council on Civil Liberties (which was co-founded by former Ireland President Mary Robinson in 1976) has repeatedly called for the abolition of the Special Criminal Court, and opposed its expansion in 2009, from a relatively narrow focus on state security-related trials to organised crime.

And it repeated its stance in June 23 2020; “The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), ahead of the mooted renewal of the Offences Against the State Act next week and the Dáil debate tomorrow, renews our call for repeal of the Act and with it the abolition of the non-jury Special Criminal Court.” They went on, “There is no jury at the Special Criminal Court and it accepts secret evidence from gardaí. This is in violation of our right to a fair trial, our right to trial by jury and our right to equality before the law. ICCL has opposed both the Act and the Courts since their introduction to deal with a terrorist threat in 1972. We continue to strongly oppose these emergency measures which have now become the norm in dealing with organised crime.” In February 2016 Fine Gael voted with the Fianna Fáil-led government in passing the bill retaining the SCCs, but Labour joined Sinn Féin in voting against it.

But on June 25 2020 Aine McMahon reported in the Belfast Telegraph that: “Sinn Fein has not opposed the renewal of Irish legislation that empowers the Special Criminal Court for the first time in its history. The legislation has been used in trials of dissident republicans and gangland criminals in a three-judge criminal court that has no jury in order to avoid any potential intimidation of members. The party have long been opponents of the non-jury court – similar to the Diplock-style courts in Northern Ireland – and have previously voted against the legislation.” The lure of office turns our former revolutionaries even further to the right, endorsing state repression against former comrades by a ‘justice’ system condemned by civil rights groups nationally and internationally, including the United Nations. The main focus of the IRPSG will continue to be campaigning for Irish Republican POWs in the North and South of Ireland.

LCFI Statement on the Israel/Trump Annexation Plans in the West Bank

The undersigned organizations condemn the threatened annexation of wide swathes of West Bank territory which was due to begin on July 1st, and to be finally announced on July 4th, but has now been delayed seemingly because of contradictions within the Netanyahu/Gantz unstable, uneasy coalition in power in Israel, and also apparently with their external partners-in-crime in the United States government. The various genocidal nationalist factions in power in the Zionist state, and the Trump administration are all in favour of this annexation as part of the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’. But they are still wrangling about the details behind closed doors, trying to produce some formula for the annexation that will not blow up in their faces in a new round of struggles waged by the masses of oppressed Palestinians.

The annexation project has continuity with the ‘peace process’ put together at Oslo under Clinton and the Labour Zionists Rabin and Peres in the early 1990s. The division of the West Bank into areas A, B, and C with the latter fully under control of the Israelis, with only ‘area A’ under the control of the stooge ‘Palestinian Authority’ under Arafat and now Abbas, and ‘area B’ as a buffer between them, was itself a salami-slicing of the West Bank and a preparation for future annexation. So far from the ‘Peace Process’ of the liberal Zionists and their helpmates in the West, the Clintons etc, being an alternative to the annexations and advocates of ‘transfer’ on the Zionist right, in reality the plans dovetailed with each other and Oslo paved the way for annexation. As was seen clearly by some of the most far-sighted Palestinian thinkers like the late Edward W. Said, who condemned the collaboration of Arafat with the Oslo process as comparable to the collaboration of the Vichy regime with the Nazi occupation of France in WWII.

The comparison is quite valid. Political Zionism always was a genocidal project, which modelled itself on the colonial-settler projects spawned by British expansionism in the early capitalist era, where the settlers took the country off the indigenous population of the territories they colonised, and subjected them to enslavement and extermination. The Zionist apologists who claim that the persecution and discrimination against Jews in the late Medieval period and the beginnings of anti-Semitism in the modern era somehow excuse that, overlook this affinity with the other colonial movements that drove that. This was always a movement, right from the start, that aspired to oppress and eliminate the Arab inhabitants of the territory it coveted.

They overlook the specifically Jewish chauvinism that drove the Zionist movement from its beginnings in the later 19th Century, when it went about seeking sponsors among archaic great powers and modern imperialists alike, finally managing to get the support of the British Empire. The 1917 Balfour Declaration; the handing over of Palestine to a third-party colonial movement ultimately to expel its native population was among British imperialism’s most insidious crimes.  Thus when we talk about the genocidal character of Zionism, we are talking about it in the same breath not only as National Socialism and the Hitler movement in Germany, of which it is like a mirror image, but also as the genocidal creation of the United States through the destruction of native Americans, of Australia through the destruction of black native Australians, and other such acts of barbarism.

In that regard, for us all of Israel is occupied territory; we, like the Palestinian people themselves, affirm that the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians in exile elsewhere, and the so-called Israeli Arabs, are all Palestinians, they are the majority native population and they unconditionally have the right to self-determination over the whole territory of historical Palestine. The Jewish settler population have no choice but to accept this basic democratic principle and learn to coexist on the basis of complete equality. In democratic terms, this logic is inescapable.

In a way the creeping annexation of more Palestinian territory involved here recognises the objective unity of Palestine and creates a situation where the Jewish majority in cleansed Israel becomes more and more tenuous. With that, the genocidal rage of much of the settler population becomes more and more severe.

This could erupt in monstrous atrocities against the Arab population and a renewal of the Nakba, the mass expulsion of the Palestinian people. Or conversely, it could result in renewed mass struggle for equality by the unified Palestinian people, across the 1967 Green Line and the various lines drawn by the Israelis and their collaborators across the occupied territories. In all these cases, what is needed is active solidarity from the working class in the Western countries, and throughout the Middle East, in that mainly Arab region also who will have a special role to play in uniting with the Palestinian working class.

The objective need is for a programme of permanent revolution across the Middle East, taking in hand the numerous democratic questions that are unresolved in that region, of which the question of Zionism, Israeli colonialism and the dispossession of the Palestinian people is obviously the most pressing. For it obvious that in its oppressed and dispossessed situation, the Palestinian working class and poor do not have the power to deal with the Zionist state on their own: they need the militant aid of the regional, centrally Arab, proletariat of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and also the Persian proletariat of Iran, among other oppressed peoples in the region. The question of democracy in general, over the whole region with its underdevelopment and long history of despotism can only be fully resolved with the proletariat in power on a regional, federal level, through a federation of revolutionary workers states, and the end of the Nazi-Zionist state through the struggle for a multi-ethnic Palestinian popular council of Arab and Hebrew workers.

The other crucial strand of this is the need for active solidarity from the workers movement in the West, in countries like the United States and Britain that arm Israel to the teeth against the Palestinians and against other forces in the region seeking liberation from Zionist aggression. This is an extremely difficult task right now because of the very powerful position of the Israel lobby in most of these countries. This was shown graphically by the massive Zionist-led campaign to destabilise and destroy the very moderately pro-Palestinian leadership of Jeremy Corbyn in the British Labour Party over the last several years.

There is an additional level of complexity and difficulty for socialists and revolutionaries in many advanced countries, particularly in Europe and North America, in delivering solidarity with the Palestinians. Not only do they have to deal with the ‘normal’ attitude of ‘their’ bourgeoisies to a liberation struggle against one of its allies, but they also have to deal with a specific faction within the ruling class, which based on its Jewish origin and an ethnocentric Zionist variant of bourgeois politics, regards Israel as ‘its’ state and fights just as hard for the interest of Israel as it does for the interests of the imperialists country in which it resides.

This unique overlap of the ruling class of Israel with that of other imperialist countries creates a situation where it is doubly difficult, in current conditions, to deliver real, meaningful solidarity with the Palestinians in those countries as distinct from those engaged in ‘simpler’, more conventional struggles against one’s own ruling class, such as in Ireland or Vietnam in the past. Nevertheless, there is no evading this question, and the international movement has the right to insist that its sections in Israel’s imperialist allied countries address this difficult problem in their political material and agitational work.

Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores – Brazil

Socialist Equality Council – Bangladesh

Socialist Worker League – United States

Tendencia Militante Bolchevique – Argentina

Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight – Great Britain

The Death Spell

Pandemic and market pressure luring consumers to their death

By Humberto Rodriguez

Why are half of the planet’s deaths in the US, Britain, and Brazil? By the time we wrote these lines, the disease caused by the Coronavirus had already killed more than half a million people worldwide.  10.5 million people had contracted Covid-19, according to official statistics provided by governments.

Of those officially killed by Covid-19, the U.S. has 130,000; Brazil, 60,000; Britain has 44,000.  Officially, these three countries were where the greatest number of fatal victims of coronavirus occurred. Together, they are responsible for almost half of the planet’s dead. These three nations are not the most populous on the planet. But the three governments are among the main denialists of the severity of the health crisis.

If the pandemic ended now, which will not happen, a world historic tragedy would already have happened. But in three nations the tragedy is quantitatively and qualitatively greater.

Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro: neoliberal super-spreaders of Covid-19

In Great Britain, with just over 60 million inhabitants, less than 1% of the world’s population, it has almost 10% of the dead. Brazil has 210 million inhabitants, corresponding to 3% of the world’s population, has more than 10% of the dead on the planet. But that is just the visible tip of the iceberg.

Data provided by rigorous public universities in Brazil state that the actual numbers of infected and killed in this country would be seven times higher than the official statistics presented by the very suspected Bolsonaro government.  In some states of Brazil, such as Ceará, for example, the number of deaths due to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome increased 46 times compared to 2019.  This  margin of difference exists due to lack of testing, underreporting  of deaths and infections and the attempt of the government to minimize the problem. In the end, as every tragedy has its leaders, irresponsible governments consciously conduct few tests and try to hide bodies as Bolsonaro has been doing since the beginning of June.

Most dramatic is the case of the richest nation in the world. A certificate of multiple bankruptcy and the unrecoverable decay of American imperialism was given during the pandemic. The U.S. has less than 5% (328 million) of the world’s population and more than 20% of deaths from Covid-19 so far. The worst tragedy in the United States, after WWII and becoming the world imperialist hegemon, was the Vietnam War, lost humiliatingly to one of the poorest countries in Asia. The number of  U.S. deaths lost in the pandemic is already more than double the number of U.S. deaths in Vietnam (58,000). Trump knows it will cost him re-election. Perhaps it will engender a new war, internal or external, to save his political career.

Chile and India

The other two countries ruled by the right whose policies triggered the pandemic, Chile and India, with these three, account for half of the deaths officially computed on the planet.

Chile has one of the highest per capita infection rates.  She followed the model of rich countries, but realized most of her citizens are poor. “There are areas of Santiago where I was unaware of the magnitude of poverty and agglomeration,” said Jaime Mañalich, the Health Minister who had to resign.

In India, the fascistic government of Narendra  Modi took advantage of the pandemic to establish a rigid state of siege and a suspicious fund, PM  Cares, which he never accounted for, not of what he distributed and even less what he raised.

“On the day PM Cares was created, a huge humanitarian crisis began to occur in India – millions of migrant workers, some of India’s poorest people, began fleeing the cities after Modi imposed a sudden blockade across the country. For weeks, they walked hundreds of miles, hungry and thirsty, to reach their villages. Over a hundred died. It was thought that the government would spend at least some of the money helping those forced to travel, but that did not happen”

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-53151308

In the middle of the process, the Modi government even recreated a border dispute with China, apparently to distract from the tragedy and scandal. As Modi’s measures did not alleviate but accentuated popular suffering, making living conditions more precarious and increasing the pandemic’s spread, under pressure, Modi, as suddenly as he imposed the lockdown, announced the end of mandatory confinement in early June. As a result, overpopulated India has become the new epicenter of coronavirus in Asia. Confirmed infections, despite scandalous underreporting and almost no testing, have doubled every eighteen days, more than in the USA, Brazil and Russia. “If the speed of the outbreak persists, the country should pass U.S. statistics in six weeks,” predicts Ashish Jha, Professor of Global Health at Harvard University. In response, almost like he is copying the three musketeers of the Atlantic Right, Modi declared:  “Transmission is under control, recommending the practice of yoga as a strategy to increase immunity.” Read more at: https://veja.abril.com.br/mundo/india-o-novo-epicentro-do-coronavirus/

Criminal Denialists, Agents Of Capital

All health systems in capitalist countries have been put at risk or overwhelmed by the pandemic. Even, at first, also the health system of the Chinese State. However the Cuban workers state resisted, and also sent medical aid to 70 countries. In turn, it is not by chance that the USA, Brazil and  Great Britain are where the most catastrophic numbers are recorded.  Their rulers are uncompromising defenders of the capitalist market against social intervention by the state. Therefore, they deny the severity of the pandemic and the need for social distancing, the only measure capable of mitigating the lack of capacity of health systems to defend the population against the virus. The three rulers made several sneers at the seriousness of the problem that epitomise this genocidal policy. On March 5, asked how he would deal with the virus, Boris Johnson said:

“take it on the chin, take it all in one go and allow the disease, as it were, to move through the population, without taking as many draconian measures.” (https://fullfact.org/health/boris-johnson-coronavirus-this-morning/)) Days later, Johnson was severely ill in an ICU bed at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

On April 23, Trump recommended injections of disinfectant to kill the virus. On June 20, at his first re-election rally, he said:

“Testing is a double-edged sword. We’ve tested 25 million people so far. Probably 20 million more than any other country. Here’s the bad part: when you do so many tests, you find more people, you find more cases. So, said to my people: decrease the tests, please”

Bolsonaro has made so many scandalous statements:

“A lot of what they say is fantasy, this is not a crisis” (10/3); “What’s wrong is hysteria, as if it were the end of the world. A nation like Brazil will only be free when a certain number of people are infected and create antibodies” (17/3); “  “It’s not going to be a little flu that’s going to bring me down, okay?” (20/3); “The people were deceived all this time about the virus” (26/3); Are some going to die? Go, wow, I’m sorry. It’s life.” (27/3); [when Brazil already had 5,000 dead replied:] “So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?” (28/4). Since the country recorded 35,000 deaths by Covid-19, the Bolsonaro government has been hiding data on the pandemic.

During the pandemic, governments in Britain, the US and Brazil have shown contempt, negligence, and exploitation of the disease against their populations. It is clear that if these countries are responsible for almost half the pandemic dead, if the population of these countries suffer more than in others, this is due to governments of the far-right, radical defenders of capital against any protection of the lives of workers.

These governments are not, as they appear, just crazed. Their irrational and unscientific statements show that decaying capitalism renounces rationalism and science. Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro massacre with impunity because this is beneficial to their bourgeoisies: the masterminds of this crime. In the case of Bolsonaro, it serves the Brazilian ruling classes, but above all the great Anglo-Saxon and Zionist imperialist bourgeoisie.

Capital, the father of all modern tragedies

Strict social distancing until a vaccine comes is impossible under capitalism. But, unlike Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro, the majority of bourgeois governments did some social demagoguery. Many leaders declared life more important than profits. Some carried out, for a few weeks, proper quarantine. Some  used the justification of social distancing to attack strikes and protests, and stifle social and political resistance. But after a while, everyone tried to save profits at the expense of lives.

Online commerce has soared, but cannot meet the needs of the capitalist market. Shop reopening  was imposed at the pandemic peak, with hospitals collapsed, though it meant more infections and deaths, when the World Health Organization (WHO) said the worst was to come. In the USA, reopening trade was fatal for many. The New York Times records:

“The number of cases is increasing in much of the United States, including in several states that were the first to reopen. As the number of people hospitalized and the percentage of positive people are also increasing in many of these places, the increase in cases cannot be explained only by the increase of tests … And as some places reimpose restrictions, others continue to reopen their economies. ..  in some states that reopened early, case levels increased again. ” 

(Coronavirus in the USA: Latest Maps and Case Count)  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?te=1&nl=the-morning&emc=edit_nn_20200701

We do not refer to the vast majority of harassed wage earners returning to work, especially under the blackmail of unemployment multiplied by the crisis and pandemic. Nor do we require any parsimony of that feeling of reuniting with friends of those who were confined for months.  So little parsimony in relation to individual or family consumption itself. The workers created everything, everything, all consumer goods and dreams they are entitled to. There is also a good portion of conscientious workers who seek to preserve themselves by staying home as much as they can. To none of these cases we will refer here. In fact, on parsimony, we stand with Oscar Wilde who once said:

“Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But recommending them parsimony is as grotesque as it is insulting. It’s like advising a man who’s starving to eat less. For a field or city worker to use parsimony would be absolutely immoral. A man should not be ready to show himself capable of living like a poorly fed animal. ” (The Soul of Man under Socialism, 1891).

With the reopening, thousands of people went to the malls and the market to buy, or simulate the circuit of consumers putting themselves in contact, becoming infected, ill and dying. They were lured like fish to the hook, despite having some awareness of the risks. They go blindly to their deaths. Why? Common sense is often used to criticize consumerism.  In this concept, it is the victim’s, the consumer’s, fault. This criticism is moralistic. The blame is not on the workers, as duplicitous bourgeois morality says. Just as the drug addict is not to blame for addiction, but the drug trafficking system that seduced and stimulated addiction. Not even the most perverse capitalist escapes the fetish of capital. Governments are determined by the great capitalists who, in turn, are determined by capital.

“In a social formation in which the production process dominates men, and not men the production process, they are considered by their bourgeois conscience as a natural need as evident as the productive work itself.” (O Capital, p. 156, Editora Boitempo).

To understand this suicidal tendency, we must go to the root of the problem: the commodity fetish. In explaining the process of capitalist production, in chapter 1 of Capital, Marx clarifies that it is a mistake to believe that the commodity is use value and exchange value. In fact, the commodity is use value and “value”, a value born before exchange. The substance of value is work and its measure of magnitude is working time. The form of value of the product of labour is the most abstract but also the most general form of the bourgeois mode of production “[…] it is taken by the natural and eternal form of social production” (ibid, p. 155).

Deadly spell

Later, when he explains the fetishistic character of the commodity and its secret, Marx says that the mystical character of the commodity is not in its use value or in the content of the determinations of value. The enigmatic character of goods arises from the social relationship established between them as products of human labour. These products, when they take the form of goods, become sensitive things, suprasensitive, and assume for men a relationship between things. The commodity fetish is not a fantasy, superstition, illusions detached from reality, but illusions fabricated by reality. The  fetish of merchandise, money and capital are real illusions. The monetary fetish, for example, makes money bewitch men by acting as “a natural thing endowed with strange social properties”” (p. 157), as equivalent to the value of any and all socially produced goods.

In capitalism, the necessary objects of use become man-made goods. The producers of the goods are conditioned make social contact with each other by exchanging products from their respective jobs. The value form of the product of work is taken as natural and eternal.  The goods that own the way of life of men who are controlled by them ,”relate to each other only as exchange values”. And “the value is only realized in the exchange, that is, in a social process.” (ibid, page 158).  The cycle of capital is consummated with the exchange of goods. And people, as if obscured by clouds, move behind the goods. Even if this exchange is represented between the form of money and another commodity, commodities and money or capital, products of human labor, demand that men, putting their lives at risk, satisfy them, to complete the cycle. It is the way men produce their life that explains how they end up killing their lives. Much of the depression in quarantine during social isolation is due to the fact that  people cannot make this movement or do not have the money to perform this movement, they feel excluded, frustrated. In addition to having the object, having it, regardless of its use value to the consumer, it is important to carry out the practice of payment, in cash or credit,

Fetishism of merchandise is distinct from consumerism. Consumerism, the compulsion to acquire individual consumer goods, is often confused as being equal to the fetish. But these are different elements. The fetish to which Marx refers is the inability to suppose a society based on relationships beyond that established by capital, value, money and credit. Therefore, one can get rid of the consumerist compulsion and still remain bewitched by capital, without believing that a post-capitalist, communist world is possible.  So far beyond getting rid of this or that hated genocidal far-right government,  which must be done without a doubt, it  is  also  necessary to be disenchanted, to break the spell, in the revolutionary process of struggle for the seizure of political power by the workers , expropriation of private property and production control by popular councils. It is within this process that it can free itself from the phantasmagorical domain of the practical conditioning that capital exercises over humanity, leading it to barbarism and luring it to death. In other words, the social process of life will only get rid of this fatal spell, when men and women freely associate with each other, regain control of the product of their work in a conscious and planned way, eliminating the contradiction between social work and private appropriation, when the means of production are collectivized.