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.

Statement for May Day

On this first of May, the working class faces the terrible pandemic conditions of Covid-19 which has unleashed a latent world capitalist crisis. This situation has causes the worst death toll since World War 2.  Its causes are linked to the antagonistic relationship with nature that capitalism has imposed upon humanity through its drive for profit above all considerations of sustainability and rationality, which has so destabilised the climate as to threaten human existence. As well as the immediate danger of large numbers of the vulnerable, the sick, the disabled and the aged dying  or being incapacitated from the disease, workers and the oppressed  face an unprecedented danger of loss of livelihood and in many places even mass starvation from the huge economic crisis of capitalism that the pandemic has crystallised.

 In the imperialist countries, economies are being kept afloat by massive government borrowing which will be a source of acute economic convulsions even after the pandemic for many years to come. After the credit crunch and near financial collapse of 2007-2010, the poor were victimised by a decade of savage austerity and attacks on the social wage to an unprecedented degree.  After this crisis similar things will be posed and the ruling class will likely again come for the working class to make them pay for the crisis. Though this will be more dangerous for the ruling class as it is increasingly clear to the masses that the cause of the massive weakness in health systems that have made the pandemic so much worse for the population is rooted in the previous vicious austerity attacks. That gives hope that militant working class resistance can emerge to confront the entire logic of capitalist profit that stands behind this crisis.

In oppressed and semi-colonial countries the situation is much worse and more threatening, as the public health systems are much poorer, when they exist at all, than in the imperialist countries.  In Africa, in much of semi-colonial Asia, in Latin America and Oceania, quarantines and lockdowns have often been harsher and enormous numbers are suffering huge hunger and deprivation as the meagre benefits that many survive on in the imperialist countries simply do not exist.  Huge numbers of workers in the informal or black economy have no income at all during the quarantine and are struggling to avoid starvation. As well, semi-colonial countries face imperialist aggression which continues despite the pandemic, as with Trump’s continuing attacks and threats against Iran, the bombing of the population in Somalia, recently resumed, and the sending of US warships to threaten Venezuela amid phoney allegations of drug trafficking from the US narco-lords. A particularly frightening example is occupied Palestine, where the Israeli occupiers have brazenly attacked medical facilities set up to treat Palestinian victims of the pandemic. Thus the Israeli genocidal drive against the Palestinian people is intensified, exploiting the pandemic as a weapon.  

The Trump threats of aggression against China, the pretext being the preposterous lie that Covid-19 was produced in a Chinese laboratory, is another example of imperialist aggression against nations from the Global South that do not fit in with imperialisms world domination. We call for defence of underdeveloped and non-imperialist capitalist nations such as Iran, China, Venezuela, Somalia against imperialism as well as defending the remaining workers states of Cuba and North Korea against imperialism and counterrevolution.

Argentina

In Argentina, the “progressive” Peronist government of Alberto Fernández, who took a series of statist measures in the face of the pandemic. Today he is surrounded by right-wing governments, some directly of coup origin. In the name of its economic protectionism, the Alberto Fernandez government unilaterally distances Argentina from Mercosur, which is hegemonized by neoliberal economic trends, while seeking to negotiate the issue of debt inherited from Macrismo that the Alberto Fernandez government itself assumed. even without investigating it. This also includes the possibility that in the face of an unpayable debt, Argentina will definitely go into default. Today, in front of quarantine, workers face the blackmail of the employers on the reduction of wages to keep their jobs with the complicity of the union bureaucracy. It is in this context that Alberto Fernandez has managed to agree on governance – and in some cases co-opt – to the bureaucracy of the trade union centrals. All in a context where the pseudo-Trotskyist left is unable to advance in an independent regroupment of the working class.

Brazil

Bolsonaro’s neo-Nazi government leads the Brazilian population to their deaths. The coronavirus became an incidental ally in the class war. The phenomenon of Bolsonarism is a type of colonial Nazism, born in the country with the deepest slave tradition of the bourgeois era. The government is supported politically by generals and socially by bankers, benefiting them from positions and capital like no other in history. Bolsonaro will only fall if one of these two powerful social actors drops his thumb. But all fractions of capital agree with the economic policy inspired by the Pinochet dictatorship. Brazil’s military summit organizes, organically and officially, the Southern Command of the US Army. The government also relies on the police and police forces (militias), which are more numerous than the armed forces. The country has a long tradition of death squads that acted even during the PT governments against landless, homeless and indigenous people.

Bolsonarism does not exist as a national, centralized and partisan force, but the militiaman leads a Nazi movement without a party, assisted by the Trump administration and strategists like Steve Bannon. The mass base of Bolsonarism, which articulates their social consensus, is the sectors linked to the informal economy, where petty bourgeois tendencies, even with consumption levels below the proletariat, are enhanced by individualization and entrepreneurship. There, the ideology of prosperity and neo-Pentecostalism, the Universal Church and other sects that are associated with the governing Bolsonarist sect develop from the ideological instance. But the aspirations of the governing nucleus have not yet converted the Brazilian state into a fascist state. Workers’ organizations have not been wiped out. The unions did not suffer state intervention. The proletariat has not been physically repressed on a large scale, mass arrests, tortures and deportations are not taking place as in times of classical fascism. A system of administration that is profoundly dominant of the masses has not yet been imposed to prevent independent action and organization by the proletariat.

Thus, the social force capable of overthrowing the militia president would be the numerous Brazilian working class. But the hegemonic political directions of the proletariat are deeply conciliatory and bourgeois for 15 years of class collaboration. The leaderships of the PT, PCdoB, PSOL, CUT, MST, MTST support their conciliation policy in the fact that the working class is on the defensive, due to the economic recession (unemployment) and now by the pandemic. Among these contradictions lies the strength of the Bolsonaro government. Without popular resistance at the height of the capital’s offensive, the Planalto Palace became the headquarters of a laboratory of the world extreme right. Not by chance, it was in Brazil and not in Mexico or Indonesia, equally populous semicolonies, where the coronavirus exploded with the greatest mortality among backward and dependent capitalist countries. All of this leads us to believe that in Brazil the government is not mistaken, but it would have already consciously assumed the massacre of the population. Against this government and this tragedy we defend an anti-fascist workers’ united front policy that brings together its mass organizations for the struggle. The immediate fight is in defense of broad labor rights, by guaranteeing jobs and wages in the quarantine that is economically guaranteed by the State and employers.

Bangladesh

In Bangladesh the working class are those minimally educated people who engage in “manual labor” with little or no prestige. Unskilled workers in the class— dishwashers, cashiers, maids, and waitresses— usually are underpaid and have no opportunity for career advancement. They are often called the working poor. Garment workers are often forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. During peak season, they may work until 2 or 3 am to meet the fashion brand’s deadline. Their basic wages are so low that they cannot refuse overtime – aside from the fact that many would be fired if they refused to work overtime.

Minimum Wages in Bangladesh is expected to reach 8000.00 BDT/Month by the end of 2020, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. In the long-term, the Bangladesh Minimum Wages is projected to trend around 10000.00 BDT/Month in 2021, according to our econometric models. on the other hand The tea garden workers of Bangladesh lead a poor life due to their low income (less than US$1 for a day’s work from sunrise to sunset), which is much lower than that of the Indian tea garden workers. As a result, the workers are not able to consume sufficient food and nutrition.

Health safety condition of labour class in Bangladesh is not so good It is estimated that over 11,000 workers suffer fatal accidents and a further 24,500 die from work related diseases across all sectors each year in Bangladesh. It is also estimated that a further 8 million workers suffer injuries at work – many of which result in permanent disability. Although little research has taken place in Bangladesh, it is internationally recognized that most occupational deaths and injuries are entirely preventable, and could be avoided if employers and workers took simple initiatives to reduce hazards and risks at the workplace.

 Britain

In Britain workers  are facing a right-wing populist Tory government, led by Trump-ally Boris Johnson that has become a byword for cavalier disregard of public health, initially boasting of a strategy of promoting ‘herd immunity’ through allowing the disease to rampage through the population. The Prime Minister even managed to infect himself as a result of this strategy. They have been forced to partially retreat by intense popular pressure, and to institute a widespread lockdown with school and shop closures and an incomplete state-funding of the wages of some laid off workers and underwriting of small businesses, though this was done reluctantly and is full of holes. The Labour Party’s former left social-democratic leadership was recently ousted after an election defeat that was in part engineered from within, by its own neo-liberal right-wing, and is now in practice an echo of the ruling Tory party over most issues. The workers movement needs to regroup around a revolutionary programme by means of political clarification within the large layer of disillusioned Labour supporters who may well regroup around expelled left figures like Chris Williamson, and to prepare to fight against a likely renewed austerity once the pandemic is over.

In light of the above, the following revolutionary groups of the working class send greetings to the exploited classes and their organizations internationally, as well as to all the oppressed peoples and strata of the population on the occasion of May 1, on this international day workers of protest and resistance this year 2020, as part of the strategic struggle for the international socialist revolution.

Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)

Socialist Fight (Great Britain)

Socialist Party (Bangladesh)

Socialist Workers League (United States)

Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)

Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight (Great Britain)

Defend Steve Hedley, defend Trade Union democracy!

Steve Hedley

The Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight gives full support to Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), against the vicious attacks by the Tories and the Murdoch press propaganda machine.

Steve Hedley has been suspended from his position after he recently made ‘offensive’ remarks on Facebook. Replying to another comment on a Facebook post, he said: “I don’t want to offend you, but if Bojo pops his clogs, I’m throwing a party.” He later added: “I hope the whole Cabinet and higher echelons of the Tory party have been touching various bits of him.” These remarks followed Johnson’s admission into St. Thomas’s Hospital on 5th April after his Covid-19 symptoms worsened.

The Murdoch press, who have been fawning over themselves in their support for Johnson for years, described Steve Hedley’s comments as ‘vile’. These attacks from these gutter rags are not new. The propaganda against the RMT has been going on for years with attacks on Bob Crow who always confronted the government and its media lackeys, simply because the RMT is one of the last remaining militant trade unions representing its workers. As a direct result of this attack on him in the Murdoch Press, the bureaucrats in the RMT have capitulated to this right wing attack suspending Steve from his position pending a disciplinary investigation.

In a joint letter/statement on 10th April sent to  the RMT membership, President Michelle Rodgers and General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Steve Hedley’s comments do not represent the views of this trade union and are wholly unacceptable.” He added: “The comments have attracted widespread negative media coverage which has led to an extraordinarily large volume of complaints, from both RMT members and the public, through social media and also directly to the union and our staff with unprecedented levels of hostility.” A spokesman for the RMT said: “Following a meeting of the union’s National Executive a decision has been made to suspend senior assistant general secretary Steve Hedley with immediate effect while a formal investigation takes place into his conduct.” We suspect that the majority of members actually support Steve Hedley, and it is they alone who should democratically decide who represents them, not the right wing establishment and the union bosses kowtowing to pressure from Murdoch et al.

Some people may have mixed views on the remarks made by Steve Hedley, as to whether his personal remarks in a personal social media post were ‘offensive’ and in keeping with someone in his position as a representative of a trade union. What is offensive are the Tories attacks on the working class. Where is the outrage about someone who is homeless dying on the streets every 19 hours, the reliance on food banks and 4 million children languishing in poverty in the fifth richest nation, the cut in 17,000 hospital beds since 2010, or deliberately allowing people to succumb to COVID-19 with lack of testing and adequate provision of PPE to frontline NHS staff? These are the issues that should animate people, not this faux outrage against someone who expressing his personal views on someone that has been a champion for the ruling class with their attacks against the poorest in society.

The attacks on the working class in this country are integral to the class project of the Tories, this is not new. When Nye Bevan delivered his most famous speech, on the eve of the creation of the NHS at the Belle Vue Rally in Manchester on 4th July 1948, he said “So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin,” he went on. “They condemned millions of people to semi-starvation. I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying, do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton. They have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse.” His own bitter experiences growing up in Wales led him to have a deep hatred of the Tory party; a party that consistently objected to the forming of the NHS and the ‘Welfare State’ in the first place.  Bevan was not wrong then and Steve Hedley is not wrong now. We do not give sympathy to those that are waging war, an ideologically driven class war, against the workers and poor of this country.

These recent attacks from the right wing and the gutter press come on the back of a deliberate targeting of the RMT, which has been brewing for some time. It was no coincidence that Steve Hedley was violently attacked outside a London pub on 14th July 2018 by fascist Tommy Robinson supporters. Steve and his kind of union militancy represent organised labour, and also have a history of fighting racism and homophobia. These attacks from the right on the RMT have been drip fed in the media, whether it was Bob Crow going on holiday, which incidentally came from Boris Johnson himself when he wrote an article for the Telegraph in 2014, or the attack on Steve Hedley accusing him of anti-Semitism in November 2019 with calls for him to resign when a video surfaced of him berating Richard Millett – a hardened Zionist, in a speech attacking the oppression of the Palestinians in 2011.

Johnson’s dislike of the RMT has been simmering since last November when there were calls for action to be taken against the union for its planned 27 day strike against South Western Railway in December over safety concerns in operating trains without guards with the imposition of driver only operations.  The government’s response after its December election win was to deliver a Queen’s speech that contained 30 bills, which included further anti-strike legislation. The proposed legislation will ensure a minimum level of service on various modes of public transport, including trains and buses, has to be maintained during strikes. The Tories have a majority of 80 MPs, which allows them to continue their full frontal attacks on the working class, an extension of where Thatcher and Major left off. The speech includes for the first time ever new legislation that effectively bans strike action. The upholding of the right of workers to withdraw their labour and the improvement of conditions in the workplace is an abomination for the Tories, who see it as something to be crushed. 

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, stated that “It is a basic right for workers to be able to get to work,”….. “The ability of a few people to prevent everyone from being able to earn a living has to come to an end. The new law will prevent London being brought to a standstill, with all the additional environmental damage done by people reverting to cars. There will be a bare-bones service provided, preventing ordinary workers being effectively held to ransom.” The safety of the public and workers is being used as a subterfuge to smash the union under a pretext of the environment and the rights of other workers. This attack on the last vestiges of union and worker militancy is in keeping with the  Tories’ drive towards the Singapore model come post Brexit, which this Queen’s speech was all about.

Support for Steve Hedley has been widespread amongst comrades on the left, who can see that this is another step on the journey by both the Tories and the neoliberal Blairites who have now reclaimed the Labour Party as their own. The attacks on Steve is part of a concerted attack on the left by Tories and Blairites, and their capitulators and agents in the unions. An open letter has been submitted to the Morning Star, which has been refused publication by its editor, Ben Chacko. This can only be interpreted as further capitulation to right wing pressures and shows how the trade union bureaucracy, even the ‘lefts’, act as agents of the bosses in the workers movement when the chips are down.  Indeed Steve Hedley is being punished by the ‘left’ bureaucracy – whose house organ is the Morning Star – not for the first time – for going further than worthies like Cash and Rodgers are prepared to go in opposing the bosses.

 The letter can be seen here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdvzYZoJnvfuNCqu42bQTYtQlbmcZqoHSc6cDWWlM_cPPY6Aw/viewform?fbclid=IwAR3sKHfE7oqT_XqIXr3hSM0KJdyZZEsKF0N7V1ewdavO0fauUsRBci8Eq4c

We demand the lifting of the RMT’s executive’s suspension of its Assistant General Secretary and the full reinstatement of Steve Hedley.

Solidarity with Donbass Anti-Fascists: Letter and Reply

We reprint below the response by Ukrainian Anti-Fascists and Communists to a 3 April letter of solidarity from Communists and and Anti-Fascists from the UK and elsewhere.

Below that we reproduce the joint letter itself. It was addressed to the Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Borotba as a jointly signed letter by all those who have supported the Solidarity with the Fascist Resistance in the Ukraine campaign in London in recent years

It was initiated by the New Communist Party through the umbrella campaign , and endorsed by our international tendency, the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International (LCFI). Our British LCFI Section, the Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight, signed this, together with our sister British LCFI section, also currently known as Socialist Fight, as well as three overseas sections of the LCFI, from Brazil, Argentina and the United States. Also signing were the UK Posadist group.

It is a source of pride that our small currents stand out as those who have kept the flame of solidarity alive on this important political struggle against reaction in this period.


From: Редакция сайта “Вперед”
Sent: 13 April 2020 06:02
To: New Worker
Subject: Re: Solidarity with Ukrainian anti-fascists 

Thank you comrades for your solidarity!  

http://wpered.su/2020/04/13/kommunisty-velikobritanii-latinskoj-ameriki-i-ssha-podderzhali-obrashhenie-kpdnr-v-svyazi-s-neprekrashhayushhimisya-boevymi-dejstviyami-na-donbasse/ — 

С уважением, редакция сайта “Вперед” 


Dear Comrades

We send solidarity greetings from the UK to all those living under a fascist-infested illegitimate government in Ukraine, defending and building the anti-fascist people’s republics in the Donbas, and to the hundreds of thousands forced into exile by political repression, attacks by fascist gangs and economic austerity.

Although we have had no recent Ukraine anti-fascist solidarity actions, we have by no means forgotten your struggle and the sacrifices you are making.

We were intending to begin organising another Ukraine anti-fascist solidarity protest in London in the near future, but unfortunately events in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic have overtaken us.

All of us have been working hard on other political issues, including helping to organise a very successful meeting attended by 400 people in central London on March 3rd which exposed the lies, tampered and falsified evidence being presented at the current MH17 trial in The Hague.

Ever since the February 22 2014 Ukraine coup we have been aware of the illiegal nature of that regime change, the open involvement of actual fascists in the government, police and armed forces, the complete suppression of democratic rights and freedoms in Ukraine, and the physical attacks on political parties, trade unions and even the courts.

We have not forgotten the heinous crime at the Odessa Trade Union House on 2nd May 2014 and the many other outrages perpetrated by the fascist bands, and we have not forgotten the criminal, barbaric ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ launched in April 2014, unleashing all-out war against civilian anti-fascist protestors in Donetsk and Lugansk.

We know that the fighters of the people’s Donbas and Lugansk People’s Militias are making daily sacrifices in the front-line trenches, and that civilians – women and men, children and the elderly – are being killed and injured every day in attacks by the Ukraine armed forces and the fascist brigades.

In our solidarity work for the anti-fascists in Ukraine we are also faced with confronting the lies and whipped up hysteria against the Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin, which have continued for almost a decade.

We have no illusions about the capitalist, oligargic nature of the Russian Federation, but we reject the attempts to portray it as totally undemocratic, and we call for an end to the trade sanctions the constant western interference designed to economic instability and provoke protests. And this coming from governments which kiss the feet of the reactionary fuedal monarchs of the Middle East, and instigate coups and regime change from Brazil and Bolivia to Hong Kong.

Above all we are aware of the vital support given by the Russian Federation to the Donbas people’s republics, the generous hospitality extended to large numbers of Ukrainian exiles, and its open condemnation of the fascists in Ukraine.

We also applaud the the sacrifices made by the Russian volunteer fighters in the Donbas, by the Russian Federation’s armed forces to defend the popular front government in Syria, and the strong support the Russian Federation has extended to Cuba and Venezuela.

This anti-Russian hysteria has created a poisonous atmosphere in which anyone challenging the lies and false flag operations of of US-EU-NATO imperialism risks being labelled as a Russian asset, in a repeat of the anti-communiist witch-hunts of the 1950s.

Unfortunately many progressives, social democrats, trade unionists, and even the anti-fascist and anti-racist organisations on Britain, have fallen for this demonisation, even though it is clearly a repeat of the lies and fake news used against Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gadaffi and Hafez al Assad. This has prevented them from even discussing the most dangerous revival of fascism in the whole of Europe.

Once again we renew our support and solidarity with your organisations, which will continue as long as it takes until democracy has been restored throughout Ukraine, and communists, socialists and anti-fascists are allowed to operate freely again.

Andy Brooks
New Communist Party of Britain

Ian Donovan
Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight

Gerry Downing
Socialist Fight

Bridget Dunne
Solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine (SARU)

George Shaw
Posadists in Britain

As well as:

Frente Comunista Dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)

Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)

Socialist Workers League (USA)

“A pro-imperialist twist of the ultra left”

A CONVERSATION WITH FRANK FITZMAURICE

We reproduce excerpts from the first conversation between comrade Humberto Rodrigues (FCT-Brasil) and Frank Fitzmaurice (SF-Great Britain) on 02/09/2017. Frank passed away on April 7, 2020. In the expression above, which headlines this piece, Frank summarizes the turn that affected the International Workers League, an international current of which the PSTU is the Brazilian section. The conversation also addresses the WRP, ISL, Nahuel Moreno, “democratic revolutions” in Libya and Syria, …

This is also published in Portuguese by our Brazilian comrades here

“That’s how I want to be 106 years old. I may not be so comely, but I wish I had the same attitude. This was an Armenian woman who guarded her home in 1990, at the age of 106 [the image is part of Frank’s mural on Facebook and was published by the same a few days before the conversation below]”

Humberto Rodrigues: Hi Comrade.

Frank Fitzmaurice: Hello Humberto.

Humberto Rodrigues: For a long time, I want to talk to you, we need to strengthen our bonds of friendship. Forgive me for my confused use of the English language.

Frank Fitzmaurice: Your English is fine. How are you? A lot better than my Portuguese, which is non-existent.

Humberto Rodrigues: No problem. What is your political origin?

Frank Fitzmaurice: I was in the WRP with Gerry [Downing, head of Socialist Fight]. After we expelled Healy, our group started talks with the LIT [International Workers League] and joined that organization in 1988 and became the English section, the ISL [International Socialist League, in Portuguese]. [After 2011] Some of us left after disagreements over the policy on Libya.

Humberto Rodrigues: Very progressive the rupture of you. It is truly a dialectical rupture. While the LIT followed a path, you went the opposite way.

Frank Fitzmaurice: It was more the way the debate was handled in our branch. Would have stayed in but could not debate properly

Humberto Rodrigues: Why?

Frank Fitzmaurice: Think the LIT has regressed really badly. Don’t think they got over the death of Moreno

Our branch was suffering because our leader, Bill Hunter was getting very old, in his nineties, and his faculties were declining, so differences came out.

Humberto Rodrigues: Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Brazil, … in all these countries, the LIT supported the policy of imperialism. In all the LIT supported the coup against the bourgeois ruler who was pro-BRICS.

Frank Fitzmaurice: they have fallen off a cliff.

Humberto Rodrigues: In my view, I believe that support for the “democratic counterrevolution” against the “Stalinist dictatorships” in the USSR and Eastern Europe had already pointed out the morenismo in favor of a pro-imperialist policy, but what happened after the crisis of 2008 was amazing. Stalinophobia of the 1980s and 1990s became “dictatorophobia” that followed the democratic public opinion of imperialism.

Frank Fitzmaurice: Yes, Bill [Hunter] wrote some good stuff against this view of “democratic revolutions”. We joined because we thought that their split with Unified Secretariat was based on principles and we liked Moreno’s anti- guerillaist platform. Above all, we agreed that we should join organizations in struggle and not be afraid to be in a minority.

Humberto Rodrigues: Undoubtedly, in the 1980s, Morenism was more progressive than Mandelism (and the USFI’s capitulations to foquismo, social democracy and, finally, Perestroika). But, from 1989 to 1991, Morenism evolved to increasingly pro-imperialist positions. Like supporting UN blue helmets in the Balkans.

Frank Fitzmaurice: Yes “an ultra-left pro-imperialist twist” sums them up. We gradually came to realise that the discussion had become one way. They sent some very good comrades over in the early days.

Humberto Rodrigues: Good. But, in any case, I consider it a non-materialistic stupidity to believe that the blame for any degeneration after Nahuel Moreno is to be attributed to NM and to his legacy. There was, without doubt, a leap in quality in the LIT program, particularly from Libya.

Frank Fitzmaurice: If Moreno had lived things may have turned out differently. We put into practice going into movements and we learned a lot and it certainly developed us.

Humberto Rodrigues: To assert that LIT’s current policy is NM’s fault is a spirited conception, of Allan Kardec and not of Karl Marx.

Frank Fitzmaurice: Yes there was a further degeneration, could not be blamed on Moreno

Will try to send some of Bill Hunters stuff to you, think you will like it.

Humberto Rodrigues: Okay … In Brazil, the PSTU lost more than half of its militants for supporting the coup against the PT.

Frank Fitzmaurice: That is a qualitative degeneration. The developement of the capitalist crisis, especially since the crash of 2008 has thrown all the left into turmoil. The LIT are by no means alone in giving in to the humanitarian interventionalism, in fact the majority have.

Humberto Rodrigues: Yes. I agree.

Frank Fitzmaurice: Off to bed now. Will write something for you tomorrow on that. Goodnight

Humberto Rodrigues: Good night, comrade.

Frank Fitzmaurice

We are sorry to announce the passing of Frank Fitzmaurice, a member of Socialist Fight and the LCFI, and formerly part of the originally pro-Moreno International Socialist League in Liverpool, a component of which fused with the old Socialist Fight in 2018. This grouping, of which Frank was a part, had its roots in the old Workers Revolutionary Party, and the grouping which Frank led was one of those that struggled out of that appallingly deformed organisation and attempted to re-found an authentic Trotskyist and Bolshevik tradition. We hope to publish more on Frank in due course but right now we express our condolences to all his family, friends and also all fellow comrades.