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.

Communist Fight issue no 2 out now!

Communist Fight issue no 2 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.

Particular attention is drawn to the article on page 17, titled The Death Spell by Humberto Rodriguez, a leading Latin American comrade of the LCFI, which contains a theoretical treatment of neoliberalism and the Covid-19 Pandemic, and how alienation and commodity fetishism is used to entice and pressure working class people to endanger their lives for capital.

Other articles, apart from the lead on Starmer’s New Labour, deal with the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey, the upsurge of anti-racist and Black struggles beginning in the United States, and a Zionist witchhunting attack on Black Lives Matter and anti-racist militants.

Solidarity with Lugansk Mineworkers Occupation and Victory!

Workers: Beware of NATO-fascist false ‘friends’

More than 100 coal Miners in the town of Antracita in the People’s Republic of Lugansk (RPL), workers who had been on strike at the Komsomolskaya mine for a week since June 6, have won their demands and the company will pay them backpay due to them. After the ‘crackdown’ last week by RPL authorities, with about 25 arrests of miners and left-wing activists, the government has pledged not to prosecute the strikers.

Komsomolskaya mine

This appears to be a considerable victory by miners in Eastern Ukraine against the oligarchs who own and control the mines.  This is a local instance of class struggle between workers and capitalists  that takes place within another international conflict between Russia and NATO imperialism (US – EU). The second conflict is permeated by the defense of national self-determination and resistance against the NATO-backed fascist elements who seized power in the 2014 Maidan coup.

The regime in the mainly Russian-speaking region has not hesitated to turn on its own working class with repression, from arrest and torture of some leading militants in the struggle, to interfering with social media and trying to block strike supporters from using it to organise support. The government of the Lugansk People’s Republic (RPL) used the excuse of the Covid-19 pandemic to try to prevent working class organisation and action.

We as Marxists and anti-imperialists obviously support the maximum international solidarity for workers in struggle against their capitalist oppressors everywhere that such resistance is waged, including in the Russian speaking regions that seceded from Ukraine in the aftermath of the pro-NATO, fascist dominated Maidan coup in 2014, that brought to power a regime in Kiev that sought to bring the whole of Ukraine, including its Russian-speaking population in the more industrial regions in the East of the country, into NATO and the European Union.

We note that while many of those who are making a big issue of supporting the Lugansk miners denounce the ‘separatism’ of the Russian-speaking republics, and therefore are implicitly supporting the regime in Kiev, formerly of Poroshenko, now of Zelensky, who appears to be Trump’s man, and are denouncing the Lugansk leadership for its repression of the miners. Well this repression certainly needs to be denounced. But  workers need to be alert against some wolves in sheep’s clothing, we referred to those who opposed the self-determination of all eastern Ukrainian people, including the Komsomolskaya miners, and who supported a NATO coup d’état that carried out a bloody massacre of trade unionists in May 2014, where 48 militants were burned to death when the Trade Union House in Odessa was torched by a fascist-led mob of supporters of the pro-NATO Maidan movement.

In the conflict between NATO imperialism and its puppets and satraps, the supporters of NATO expansion into the former USSR, we are militarily on the side of those resisting NATO and US-led imperialism. But we give no political support to those bourgeois forces resisting imperialism. Indeed as is shown by the job cuts, closures and wage cuts that provoked this strike and occupation, the capitalist forces in Russia that support Putin and his own nationalist project of building up a stronger Russian capitalism, also oppress their ‘own’ working class and do not embody any systemic alternative to the imperialists who would like to conquer and subjugate them.

Indeed one of the key reasons for the continued drive to expand NATO into the former USSR is the belief that the proletariat of Russia, which was the driving force of the October Revolution, has not been sufficiently deprived of its class consciousness as to make impossible a revival of the Communism that the Western ruling classes dread. The conservative Russian nationalism of Putin does not reassure them; they consider his sort too weak. They want direct rule by their outright agents and puppet to endure that the Communist spectre is fully exorcised from Russia and the proletariat remains servile and powerless.

We seek the exact opposite; we seek the political revival of Communism in the former USSR through international solidarity with workers’ struggles even when the immediate oppressor is bourgeois forces that are currently at odds with imperialism. Why is that?  Because the social force that materially and objectively has the real class interest in destroying imperialism is the class-conscious proletariat. We in Socialist Fight/Trotskyist Faction and the LCFI have been involved with anti-fascist and Communist groups since 2014 both internationally and in Ukraine itself, such as Borot’ba, and we call on these groups to organise a solidarity effort with this and future workers’ struggles that clearly opposes Maidan and  the NATO- expansionist social-imperialism that would seek to use workers struggles in Eastern Ukraine to try to garner support for the worst enemies of the working class.

Statement by revolutionary working class organisations on the anti-racist mass upsurge in the United States

LCFI on Black Lives Matter demonstration in New York

George Floyd was another worker murdered by the imperialist police state, the mortal enemy of blacks, workers and the oppressed of the world

The flagrantly racist May 25th murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has set off an enormous wave struggles in the United States, at least as big as those in the 1960s that were the culmination of the Civil Rights movement against Jim Crow segregation, the legacy of the defeat of reconstruction after the US Civil War abolished slavery. This struggle is against the results of decades of racist reaction that began at the end of the 1970s, with the rise of Reagan, neoliberalism, and the prolonged movement of American society to the right that carried on under Clinton, with its expanded death penalty and mass incarceration of blacks, deepening more under George W Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ militarisation of the cops, hardly dented by the first black Democratic President Obama, culminating with the openly racist Trump since 2016.

The murder of Floyd was captured in excruciating detail on a video as the white cop Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine whole minutes, so he died of asphyxiation. He narrated his own death, gasping “I can’t breathe” as the life was squeezed out of him. Two other cops participated in the murder by sitting on his legs as he was strangled; a fourth did lookout, menacing witnesses who protested. These thugs knew they were killing Floyd; there have been numerous similar murders by cops, infamously Eric Garner in July 2014 in New York, who was similarly throttled and also gasped “I can’t breathe” before he died.

This is common in the racist US; the ‘choke hold’ technique dates to the late 1970s when the post-Civil Rights racist offensive against US blacks gathered pace. The massive militarisation of US cops, giving them armoured vehicles and the like similar to those used by the US military, signify that the US bourgeoisie sees the US black, working class masses as enemies to be fought with similar methods as the wars it fights in the Middle East, Latin America etc. Trump’s ascendancy, fuelled by the support of backward white workers whose own defeats and impoverishment by neo-liberalism has thus far been successfully directed into scapegoating of minorities, posed this point blank.

He brazenly removed palliatives, such as ‘Community Policing’ investigations from the Obama period that gave some lip-service to trying to mitigate police racism. In doing so, he has finally torn off the sugar coating by which previous administrations have disguised their contempt for the black masses, and provoked what appears an even bigger anti-racist response than in the 1960s. One index of the sheer size and power of this movement is the response of many working class whites to it.

In the late 1960s, the black movement was part of the broader radicalisation triggered by the Vietnam War, and backward sections of the working class, for instance construction workers (‘hard hats’) were notorious for their hostility to it and their support for the reactionary demagogue Nixon. Hard hats got repeatedly into fights with anti-war protestors and black militants, whereas in the recent, much more racially integrated movement triggered by the George Floyd murder, many white youth and others have actively joined in the protests, and they have also been applauded by construction workers in New York.

Today’s civil rights movement is very powerful, but we can’t say it’s stronger than the 1960s. Even though the masses are ready and the struggle is real, the movement now lacks true leaders such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and others. The Black Lives Matter is a strong force, but the movement itself is still an organic cry that is manifested sometimes in 20 different protests in different parts of the same city, in NYC for example. Basically, it lacks leadership and organization. And because of that, their struggle, their fight ends up collaborating to demagogic political campaigns such as the Democratic Party. Joe Biden’s numbers are higher than Trump´s now. The big question is, what can African-Americans really expect from the establishment, if they win?

42 US cities have been put under curfew by State Governors, Mayors and the like and Trump has threatened to use the US military to crush protests, using the understandable looting, itself fuelled by racialised impoverishment, which has accompanied some of the protests. Trump has threatened he will send in troops if elected officials do not use National Guard troops to ‘dominate’ and crush the movement.This has raised the question of dictatorship and fascism in the US. But it does appear to have backfired and even split the army brass: most notably military insider and Trump’s former Defence Secretary James Mattis roundly denounced Trump’s threats, and his current Defence Secretary was at pains to distance himself from the idea. This after his participation in Trump’s bible-wielding photo-op at a Washington Church, clearing completely legal protesters forcibly out of the way, an action that has now given rise to a lawsuit against Trump by the American Civil Liberties Union and Washington Black Lives Matter.

The radicalisation has been fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, which in the United States, as elsewhere, has disproportionately caused death and severe illness among oppressed ethnic groups, including the US Black population. Blacks have also borne the brunt of the economic depression that the pandemic has precipitated. Blacks are being laid off driven into penury in disproportionate numbers, being forced back to work in unsafe conditions in Trump’s drive to ‘save’ the capitalist economy over their corpses, and brutalised by racist police on top of all that.

This has produced a social explosion in the US, different from the gilets jaunes explosion in France, but with some important common elements. Its trigger was the George Floyd murder, but it was fuelled by the pandemic and caused by decades of racist, neoliberal offensive that devastated many lives. This upsurge, and the support for it by working class people, has the potential to unite the whole working class, which has up to now been divided by racism. The morbid expression of this was the rise of Trump, white supremacism and the ‘alt-right’. This can blow all that away.

The upsurge in the United States has enormous revolutionary potential, both within the US itself, and in terms of its potential to inspire revolutionary struggles around the world. For the struggle of US American blacks for real equality today is squarely directed against strategic features of US capitalism itself, which is the hegemon of imperialist capitalism worldwide. US capitalism cannot do away with the oppression of the black masses; capitalism cannot do without the huge inequalities of the world order where most of humanity is enslaved and impoverished to benefit Western imperialist ruling classes whose wealth was obtained through centuries of plunder.

Covid-19 is a by-product of climate breakdown induced by the inability of capitalism to plan resources for human need in a sustainable way that works with nature, as opposed to tearing it apart in the quest for profit. It brought this to boiling point. This is organic and inherent to capital; the only solution is to tear down capitalism itself. For that we need a revolutionary leadership that is able to consciously, and openly, lead the masses in the US and worldwide to overthrow capitalism and replace it with socialism: rational economic planning for social need.

Such a leadership must be created though the intervention of socialists in these struggles, through revolutionary regroupment, and recruiting and training a new generation of Marxists to replace those lost through neoliberal reaction and the terminal betrayals of Stalinism. Such a party must be armed with a programme of transitional demands, addressing both economic grievances and the many democratic questions posed by racist oppression, aimed at uniting all working class and oppressed layers into one big fist under the leadership of a revolutionary party, both on the national and international planes , to take state power from capital.

A key demand today, both in terms of basic democracy and the rights of black people, and the class organisation of the workers, is for an anti-racist working class militia, that must have a substantial representation of black militants, to defend the victims of police and other racist oppression and brutality. In terms of US social reality today, a revolutionary organisation would undoubtedly have a large proportion of black and other oppressed-group militants, a reflection the dynamics of its struggle to overcome the subjugation of the most oppressed, and potentially the most revolutionary, parts of our class.

Building a revolutionary leadership is not a simple task but requires both the highest level of theory, and the ability to sink roots into mass struggles like that in the United States. For that a revolutionary cadre must be developed from among the participants and potential mass leaders that these struggles never fail to throw up. The revolutionary working class organisations are building a revolutionary leadership out of those engaged in this struggle and many others as the only way to achieve the final liberation of humanity from such ferocious oppression.

Organisations

Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores – Brazil

Tendencia Militante Bolchevique – Argentina

Socialist Worker League – United States

Socialist Fight – Great Britain

Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight – Great Britain

(all the above are sections of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International)

Grupo Fronteira Vermelha – Brazil

Akash Mirza, for Socialist Party – Bangladesh

Individuals

Anna Brogan, left militant and black activist, London – Great Britain

Luciano Filgueiras – MovLuta – Movimento Compromisso e Luta – Brazil

Nigel Singh, independent left militant, Oxford – Great Britain.

Alex Dillard, socialist activist, California – United States.

Curtis T, youth and socialist activist, Monrovia – Liberia

Mohammad Basir Ul Haq Sinha, President, Inter Press Network, Dhaka – Bangladesh

Fernando Gustavo Armas, militant of Revolutionary Socialism, Argentina.

Fernando Matos Rodrigues, Anthropologist and ICS Researcher, New University of Minho, Basic Housing Laboratory.

Frederico Costa, Professor and Director of the Teachers’ Union at Ceará State University – Brazil

Mário Maestri, Historian – Italy

Maurício de Oliveira, teacher of public education in Ceará – Brazil

Fernando Moyano – Socialist Militant – Uruguay

Emmanoel Lima Ferreira, professor at the Regional University of Cariri – Brazil

Trotskyist Faction Adopts Constitution

On 21 May the Trotskyist Faction formally adopted a constitution to guide our present and future political work. It is available as a separate page on this site here. Obviously it is based on the constitution of the now defunct unitary SF group that was wrecked in the early part of this year, but it has been adjusted to remove some rather grandiose features that were out of proportion to the modest size of that group.

We adopted it as a sign of our seriousness about building a revolutionary working class organisation with a dynamic, democratic method of functioning. We consider that revolutionaries should take pride in adhering to the norms that we advocate, of party democracy, and of full and reasoned political debate for the purpose of formulating effective revolutionary responses to the complex problems we face today.