Sunday, November 29, 2015

Why is Russia in Syria?

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 403 civilians, including more than 160 women and children, had died in Russian airstrikes. Other organisations have different estimates. – Reuters pic, November 25, 2015.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 403 civilians, including more than 160 women and children, have died in Russian airstrikes. Reuters, Nov 15, 2015.
Reuters pic, November 25, 2015.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 403 civilians, including more than 160 women and children, had died in Russian airstrikes. Other organisations have different estimates. – Reuters pic, November 25, 2015. - See more at:
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 403 civilians, including more than 160 women and children, had died in Russian airstrikes. Other organisations have different estimates. – Reuters pic, November 25, 2015. - See more at:

RT ‘socialists’ who back Russia and its allies against the insurgent masses of MENA are now openly exposed as enemies of the socialist revolution. The shooting down of a Russian plane by Turkey has opened people’s eyes to the bigger picture behind the dirty war against ISIS. There are much bigger dirty wars going on, and they are the proxy wars between the US and China/Russia imperialist blocs to back client regimes capable of smashing the workers revolutions. The Middle East is now a war zone in the growing confrontation between the two main imperialist blocs. It is high time for the Western left to break from its social imperialist legacy and fight for socialist revolution.

RT 'socialists' in bed with Russian imperialism

Meanwhile the RT (Russia Today) left that takes its world view from the Russia state media giant, is still pretending that the Syrian civil war is no more than a US sponsored war to remove Assad, while Russia is defending the ‘democratically’ elected Assad regime. Liberal John Pilger says that Assad is ‘independent’. From what? Today Assad is increasingly dependent on Iran and its allies, Russia and China, to put down a popular uprising. Since Russia started bombing Syria last month it has dropped most of its bombs on the anti-Assad rebels and civilians.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is standing up against the UK bombing ISIS. But he still looks to the UN to stop the civil war in Syria. Corbyn is taking a classic social democratic stand against the right wing Blairites who back imperialist war. He argues that a war under the aegis of the UN is somehow not imperialist. For him imperialism is not inscribed in the DNA of capitalism, rather it’s a disease that is “not nice to have”. By this reasoning, the 'social imperialist' (socialism at home and imperialism abroad) left rejects the reality that Russia and China are imperialist powers and defends them as ‘progressive’ regimes opposed to the world arch-enemy, US imperialism and its NATO allies.

Now that the frontlines between the two imperialist blocs are becoming clearly staked out, it’s obvious even to idiots that the Syrian revolution has for 5 years been suppressed by both imperialist blocs as part of the ‘great game’. We can see Russia’s dramatic upstaging of the US in the war on ISIS as evidence that Putin is no pawn of the US or EU. He has‘come out’ as an imperialist rival capable of breaking up NATO, dumping Turkey but drawing France and Germany closer to the orbit of the Russia/China bloc.

It is high time that the labour movement declared its independence from both imperialist blocs and stood for the class independence of the worlds workers. First it has to abandon it's Eurocentrist faith in 'good' capitalist regimes like that of Assad which has killed 400,000 and exiled millions. It must recognise the Syrian civil war as today’s Spanish civil war, and send volunteers and arms to defeat Assad and to reinforce the secular armed masses of MENA to advance the revolution and overthrow the reactionary pro-imperialist regimes and kick them and their imperialist masters out!

Imperialism screws MENA

The Syrian people, like all those of MENA (Middle East and North Africa) are pawns in a power game between the two rival imperialist blocs. The main imperialist proxies (leaving out Israel a US tool), SA on the US side and Iran on the Russia/China side, happen to be Sunni and Shia respectively, so the battle lines have increasingly taken a sectarian form to rally and discipline their forces. There is a history to this.

Since it was kicked out of Iran by the revolution in 1979 followed by the counter-revolutionary Shia Khomeini, the US, and its Israeli stooge, has aimed its ‘axis of evil’ policy at Iran. The US backed Saddam in the Iraq/Iran war which Iraq lost. Saddam began to challenge the US in Kuwait in 1991 leading to the first Gulf war that killed over a million Iraqis in that war or by starving them with sanctions. At the same time the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of the capitalist road in China made the US appear invincible.

The 9/11 blowback punctured this illusion and Bush launched the frenzied 'war on terror' to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The US smashed the Baathist regime because it began to swing towards Russia. Bush used the occupation to destroy the largely Sunni army leadership. It turns out that many of these leaders formed the beginning of what would become ISIS while in jail.

Born again Russia and China

The rise of China and Russia as new born imperialist powers in the 1990s and 2000s changed the balance of power in MENA and forced the US to compromise in tolerating regimes in Syria and Iraq that did not rock the boat. Israel, Saudia Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey, did not recognise this 'power sharing'. They opposed the Shia dominated regimes as extensions of Iran. When in 2011 the Arab Spring broke out and the popular masses threatened to revive the Arab Revolution, the reactionary regimes tried to steer any development of the revolution for democracy and socialism into sectarian regimes.

Behind the scenes NATO and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) lined up with their Islamic proxies to contest the control of oil in MENA, but their main enemy was now the Arab revolution picking up momentum and threatening to overthrow their client dictators. This created an opening for al Qaeda to re-emerge as the radical Sunni counterweight to the rival Shia sects sponsored by Iran and now backed by the China/Russia imperialist bloc. The Arab revolution would be declared dead and buried in a morass of sectarian infighting.

Instant repression such as in Bahrain, fake Muslim Brotherhood democracy followed by military dictatorship in Egypt, NATO intervention in Libya, or US/Saudi invasion of Yemen, have held the revolution at bay. Only in Syria did an armed popular revolution threaten to overthrow a dictator and look like winning. The US intervened mainly to starve the FSA of heavy weapons (as it had done to the rebels in Libya) in the hope that Assad and the FSA would fight to a bloody draw allowing a US/Israeli stooge to replace Assad.

After 4 years the FSA still looked capable of defeating Assad so Russia and Iran stepped up their military support. The US then tried to take over the popular revolution by arming and training 'moderate' militias without success. The long bloody stalemate in the civil war opened up a vacuum waiting to be filled by the radical Sunni sects like ISIS/Daesh willing to overthrow the Shia aligned regimes in Iraq and Syria. But Daesh was not prepared to act merely as a proxy for the US bloc, its origins in the former Baathist Iraqi regime meant it wanted to rewrite the old imperialist borders and exploit its Sunni backing to build an Islamic State.

All of this proves that all the lying rhetoric coming out of both imperialist blocs about a ‘war on terror’ is bullshit to mask their own rotten role in screwing over MENA for at least a century. Their power-grab today when the global crisis is pushing the US to aggressively challenge both Russia and China for control of the Earth's dwindling resources means that neither bloc will back down if their strategic interests are involved. 

Daesh threatens the strategic interests of both blocs because its rhetoric directly challenges the DNA of imperialism to invade and plunder with its own virulent DNA to create a world-wide Islamic State. Daesh is not a problem because it cuts throats and rapes women, but because it is not prepared to bow down to either US or Russia/China imperialist blocs. Therefore, those who defend either the US or Russia/China bloc in the name of 'democracy' in a 'war on terror' against ISIS are no more than apologists for the imperialism that dominates, invades, occupies and represses the Arab masses.

Survival Socialism!

How do we want to die? Ground down by a terminal crisis of global capitalism? In one or other of the proxy wars that fosters national, religious or tribal divisions to slaughter 100,000s of workers and smash their democratic and socialist revolutions? Surveilled and executed in our homes or streets in a mayhem of global terror? Or will we survive all these only to face a slow death by climate or nuclear meltdown? Of course these are not choices at all. They are all in the last analysis manifestations of the decline and collapse of global capitalism. Economic crisis makes wars necessary and the massive waste and destruction of war-torn capitalism makes climate collapse even more certain. It should by now be obvious that capitalism has to die for the working masses of the world to survive!

The question of whether this or that particular proxy war will blow up into a world war depends on how far the rival imperialist ruling classes will go to defeat their rivals. If history is any indication they will go all the way. At a certain point bluff and counter-bluff may lead to adventurist actions that spark a meltdown. For example, Erdogan shooting down a Russian plane has been met by Russian economic and trade sanctions on Turkey. Such sanctions are always a preparation for war.

But at each point in this path to destruction, economic, military and ecological disaster can be stopped. They are man-made and more importantly, made by the capitalist ruling class. Whether we succumb to the implosion of global capitalism critically depends on how quickly we can build a mass anti-imperialist movement in both the West and the East that can unite our forces to halt the drive towards crisis, war and the sixth great extinction.

You can be sure that the only thing that will stop the imperialists and their client states from dragging the popular masses into a widening global war of terror is global resistance. That is why it is essential to oppose imperialist warmongering from the West and the East and not to be diverted by the ‘war on terror’. Only by stopping imperialism at home from intervening directly or indirectly in MENA and by backing the popular secular forces fighting for democracy against imperialist and Islamic reaction can the Arab revolution rise again with any prospect of victory.

A new international revolutionary party

For this to happen, the social imperialist left that holds back the revolution with parliamentary talk of reformist compromises with the capitalists has to be removed. These are the Corbyns, the Sanders, the Syrizas, the union bosses, the NGO bureaucracies and the left commentariat that covers for them. Since the First Imperialist war, the working class has been capable of overthrowing capitalism. The only thing missing was a revolutionary party able to defeat the treacherous social imperialist leaders that acted as the agents of the ruling classes. In Russia a Bolshevik Party existed and the revolution succeeded. Elsewhere social democracy prevailed and the revolutions were defeated and the epoch of fascism, and the 'short' 20th century began.

Today it is the lessons of that period that are most important. They are summarised in the 1938 Transitional Program of Trotsky and the Fourth International. It is necessary to build a new World Party of Socialism that can lead workers united fronts to defend the interests of workers and expose and replace the treacherous leaders of the unions and social democracy that are the agents of the capitalists in the working class, with many millions of revolutionary fighters. This is the revolutionary road to socialism, the only answer that humanity has to the evils of economic, military and climate destruction.

While the capitalist ruling class and its apologists defend the worst excesses of capitalism in the name of 'democracy', we have to say that bourgeois democracy is a sham reserved only for those who can buy it as a guarantee of their property rights. Parliaments are talkshops that divert us from the world of the workshops in which the working billions create the world's wealth. We are forced to work for a wage because we have no other means to survive. Now that our survival itself is threatened by the capitalist system facing a terminal crisis and ecological collapse it is necessary for the working class to take control of the global economy and get rid of the system that exploits both workers and nature.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Smash the TPP! For a Workers’ Government!

Image result for Stop the TPP

Aotearoa/NZ is a semi-colony that has been undergoing re-colonisation for years . This is how imperialists behave. Semi-colonies are ostensibly ‘independent’ but remain economically dependent. NZ has a long history of dependence which it moderated in the 1930s by a policy of economic nationalism. Deregulation by the Fourth Labour Government removed some of the barriers to free trade and NZ dropped most of its subsidies and tariffs. NZ became the US Deputy Dog in the South Pacific.

But that is not enough for US imperialism facing an historic decline rooted in a stagnating economy. It needs open access to trade and to investment to boost profits and increase market share to compete with its No 1 rival China. When Obama says the US not China must write the new trade laws, he really means that US monopoly capital wants to extend private property rights globally over all new ideas and technologies to exclude its big rival. This will subordinate all the partners of the TPP to the rule of US monopolies. This means reducing the NZ state to a neo-colonial puppet of the US. At stake is not only who governs NZ in whose interests but the fate of humanity.

Against US imperialist rule in the Pacific we are for the Socialist United States of the Pacific!
What’s wrong with the TPP?

Why does it need to be smashed? US imperialism is setting the rules to stop China setting them and at the expense of workers in the Pacific Rim countries. New Zealand is a semi-colony. Its economy is dominated by a few big imperialist powers – US, China, Britain and Japan. But in the last 30 years it is being recolonised as these big powers have exerted direct control of the NZ state.

The 4th Labour Government began the process. NZ dropped its economic nationalism and opened itself to the global monopolies. Removing import protection allowed the big powers to muscle into the economy. But their drive to own and control the NZ economy was still impeded so long as a sovereign state could impose any barriers to the monopolies freedom to invest in and take super profits out of NZ. These barriers to naked neo-liberalism became critical when China’s rise began to undercut US dominance of the Asia Pacific region. To survive the US has to impose its complete economic and political dominance of the Pacific.

The TPP posing as a free trade pact actually trades off NZs remaining national sovereignty for tiny gains in market access for exports. The TPP reduces national sovereignty to a total fiction and will convert NZ into an outright neo-colony. Just like Warner Bros imposed its own labour conditions on NZ film workers in the Hobbit movies, US monopolies will be free to buy up NZ assets and dictate labour conditions to pump out super-profits at the expense of the working people of NZ.

To guarantee this freedom to super-exploit us, the US will tighten its military and surveillance control of politics and culture to extend its war on ‘terror’ to all of us who resist its hegemonic rule. Serco is blatant example of the global world order that enables US corporates to take over state functions from jails to social welfare to divide and rule the regions workers. 

Social Democracy

Will any future capitalist government oppose the TPP or have the guts to repudiate it? No. They will say they cannot because of the terms of the TPP which legally binds the signatories! Little has ducked and dived over what to support and what not to support when Labour should have committed itself to condemning it. Why not?

The NZ Labour Party was founded as an anti-strike party in 1916. It promoted a hysterical hatred of the SU and painted all ideas of communism as evil. It was created to divert workers from class struggle like the general strike of 1913, and to go to war on behalf of the Empire to save capitalism from the threat of communism. The Labour Party was born out of the labour bureaucracy, the petty bourgeois layer of privileged workers who were paid by the bosses to con workers into believing that capitalism could be reformed. But reforms always put profits before workers. Labour’s WW2 anti-strike legislation and the 1984 neo-liberal Labour Government was proof it that.

The problem is that there is no parliamentary "winning strategy" in a tiny semi-colonial country where foreign capital dictates state policy. A Labour-Green-Mana-NZF etc. government would not 'flout' the TPP because they are capitalist parties that observe the rule of law, the rights of private property (even when concentrated in a few monopolies worldwide), and would not dare to advocate repudiating the debt and re/nationalising the key sectors of the economy.

Labour fakers like Chris Trotter blinded like possums in the twin headlights of US and Chinese imperialism try to rescue defunct Social Democracy as our saviour from the neo-liberal ‘deep state’. This argument is a variation on the right wing conspiracy theory that provides an alibi for the failure of bourgeois democracy. We have news for Trotter; bourgeois democracy is part of that ‘deep state’. It is the democratic face of the dictatorship of capital.

That is why it is useless to continue to sow illusions in parliamentary democracy to reform and regulate trade and investment. Gordon Campbell, Jane Kelsey etc., all focus on defending legal mechanisms and state regulation to challenge US global hegemony such as in the Investor State Disputes. Campbell points to the invasion of US corporates such as Serco in privatising provision of state services. Any further erosion of state regulation under the TPPA will make worse the already dismal regulatory regime, as in the lax border biosecurity. The question then is: how can resistance to the TPPA break out of the trap of bourgeois democracy and take to the streets as a mass movement?

Radical Activism

Trades Unions and Social Movements that are designed to pressure parliament are inherently conservative. Strikes and protests are co-opted into the parliamentary talkshop. This conservatism results from the ideology of bourgeois democracy and the official leadership of the labour movement that can only lead workers to defeat. 30 years after the neo-liberal counterrevolution began parliament has been bypassed by the Bonapartist Prime Minister who as the ‘money man’ personifies financed capital. For radical activism to advance it has to get out of the parliamentary dead end and organised the power of labour –to strike, occupy, and build a genuine working class party that mobilises outside parliament to build mass working class support for a Workers’ Government.

There is potential in the unions and the anti-TPP resistance to take on the state by organising the working class majority in NZ. For example, “Doctors for Healthy Trade” have broken with their conservative profession to speak up about the impact of the TPP on the cost of drugs. The PSA in the health sector in Auckland are fighting cuts in their penal rates from double time to time-and-a-half. Right across the social spectrum the cuts in social spending and attacks on labour relations of the NACTs will become much worse under the TPP. The job of the unions is to step up their opposition to political strike action that breaks the ERA legal limits to strikes and exposes the political leaders who stand in the way of strike action. The advocacy for jobs, wages, health, education, housing, social welfare etc., needs to build towards ‘one big union’ and a national strike coordinated with national strikes in other countries as an international strike to defeat the TPP.

Marxists argue that the limit to the radical activism of trade unions and protest movements is the ideology of bourgeois democracy. They are trapped in the fetishized forms of capitalism that blames crises on the ‘abuse’ of power by the 1%. Reforming this ‘abuse’ is the objective of whistleblowers and hacktivists like Assange and Snowden. But this ‘abuse’ is not an aberration. It is endemic in capitalism struggling to survive. All the evidence is piling up that capitalism is driven by the worsening global crisis to attack and destroy all the historic gains won by workers over centuries and to the point of also destroying the ecosphere. Radicals must be convinced that capitalism can no longer be reformed but must be overthrown to save humanity and nature!

This means proving to radicals that the only way to fight the TPP is social revolution. The TPP is designed to abolish all national barriers to US monopoly capital. Logically, capital without borders must be fought by workers without borders. We won’t stop the TPP in our parliament because the NACTs have already signed away parliament’s sovereignty and the Labour Party is too gutless to stand up to US and Chinese imperialism to defend the interests of NZ workers. Opposition to the TPP demands the building of international social movements capable of mobilising mass working class power against US and Chinese imperialism. We have to fight all imperialist domination of NZ and refuse to become missile fodder for the US in a war against China. It’s not enough to ‘Keep NZ Nuclear Free’ we have to be ‘For a Nuclear Free Pacific’! But to achieve all this we will need a Workers’ Government that can socialise all the strategic sectors of the economy expropriating both big national as well as foreign capital! 

Marxist Revolution 

To recap, liberals are opposed to the working class joining forces with workers in other countries. They belong to a middle class that benefits from defending the nation state on behalf of capitalism. Radicals have to break out of this liberal trap and return to their historic militancy in staunchly resisting the bosses’ attacks. In fact the workers’ biggest fights in NZ history were international fights. In the period between the 1880s and the 1920s the struggle to unionise and to strike for basic gains were led by internationalists. The 1891 Maritime Strike was in solidarity with Australian workers. The Red Fed was led by recent migrants and many workers who shifted between jobs in NZ, Australia and the US, and were inspired by the IWW (Wobblies) militant struggles. Opposition to the war was led by those who united NZ workers with foreign workers to oppose an imperialist war that divided workers along national lines to kill one another for the profits of the bosses.

But working class opposition to world war was drowned in blood. The radicals and ‘socialists’ did not rise up en masse and mutiny against their imperialist bosses who drove them to the slaughter of the trenches to defend their profits. The Russian Bolsheviks overthrew the ruling class but elsewhere there were no mass Marxist parties capable of giving revolutionary leadership to the armed masses. Without a Marxist international to organise and guide their militancy, the radical masses remained trapped by reactionary bourgeois governments led by treacherous social democrats. Today, to avoid being dragged into World War 3 the spontaneous mass resistance that is breaking out around the world desperately needs a Marxist internationalist party and program that is capable of leading the masses to take power, to put Workers’ Governments in place, and build a world socialist society.

Like Greece today, there is no electoral way to stop NZ’s neo-colonial fate. We can no more legislate to stop the dominance of US and Chinese capital in NZ than we can stop the war in Syria. That rests in the hands of its working people backed by internationalist workers. The global recession we are in will soon become a depression and the trade wars between the US and Russia/China block of imperialist powers are becoming hot wars. Workers of Aotearoa must unite their tiny forces with the massive forces of China, the US and the rest of the world.

The only answer to the TPP as with all imperialist policy that reduces its "partners" to no more than flunkeys (Japan and Australia included) is the rebellion of the workers in these countries, united with the workers in the US and Japan, to throw out all capitalist governments and replace them with governments that represent the interests of the working masses to prevent the destruction of civilisation and nature.

Against monopoly capital’s TPPA we need a Pan Pacific labour United Front!
Build an international strike against the TPPA! 

For a World Party of Socialist Revolution!
For a Workers Government that implements a socialist program!
For a Socialist United States of the Pacific!

A Class Struggle Leaflet published by the Communist Workers Group (Aotearoa/NZ), member of the Liaison Committee of Communists. Mobile 064 0252800080