Monday, September 27, 2021


The arrival of AUKUS, the recent military alliance between the US, UK and Australia, is another fateful step towards World War 3. Why? Both previous World Wars resulted from the economic rivalry of the great powers to repartition the world in their interests. But capitalism in its imperialist epoch is in terminal decline and each world war brings it closer to total destruction. This time, a WW3 will arise from the outbreak of hostilities between the US bloc and the Russia/China bloc, driven by the laws of capital to take their economic rivalry to the political/military level. 

The emergence of Russia and China as new imperialist powers nearly two decades after capitalist restoration, can be tracked back to the Soviet Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent partition of the capitalist world from the soviet world over what we can call the ‘short Soviet Century’ from 1917 to1991. The threat of socialist revolution spreading to Europe explains the rise of fascism between the wars. That in turn, split the imperialist powers, freeing the Soviet Union to join the fight for ‘democracy’ against the fascist Axis, to extend its border into Eastern Europe and to sponsor a wave of decolonisation that culminated in the Chinese national revolution in 1949. 

The expansion of the soviet bloc was countered by the Atlantic Alliance between the US and Europe, and the formation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in the attempt to contain the ‘red menace’. The ‘cold war’ (from 1948 to 1991) was essentially the Atlantic Alliance raising political and economic blockades against the soviet bloc, driving the Stalinist leaderships towards capitalist restoration. Despite the defeat of the Soviet Union and opening up of China to foreign investment, China and Russia have emerged from these defeats resisting re-colonisation by the West. The relative independence from imperialism, achieved by permanent revolution in the USSR from 1917-91and China from 1949-92, afforded Russia and China the breathing room to avoid subordination as semi-colonies after the capitalist restoration and the tools to emerge as new imperialist powers in the subsequent decades. 

Far from the dismemberment of the soviet bloc and a return to imperialist exploitation, Russia and China retained control over most of Eurasia, and embarked on an imperialist course themselves, emerging around the new millennium as rivals to the US and EU powers. 

China and Russia become superpowers 

The arrival of QUAD and AUKUS signifies the US ramping up its military containment of China because it is losing the economic contest for Eurasia. China and Russia have both made big economic gains against the US bloc in Eurasia, penetrating the EU and challenging NATO members’ loyalty to the US. 

The defeat of the US in Afghanistan and the Middle East marks the failure of 20 years of US military intervention to win control of Eurasia. It has handed US, British and French influence over to Russia, China, Turkey and Iran. Russia has survived pressure from NATO to break-up the Russian Federation, annexing Crimea, reaching a stalemate in Donbass, and stabilising the Caspian region. Putin’s 2021 New Security Strategy spells out the need for a multilateral world in which Russia acts to ‘deter the US, ignore the EU, and partner with China and India.’ Turkey while still a member of NATO is also tied to Russia’s security reach into Syria against ‘terrorism’, in order to contain the Kurds. In the aftermath of the US defeat in Afghanistan, Russia, China, Turkey and Iran are poised to share the rewards of a new client state in the battle for Eurasia, and as a potential member of the SCO. The fissures in NATO are widened in spite of the NATO 2030 agenda, an out of touch plan that ignores the inter-imperialist competition among its own members. 

On the strength of a more self-reliant and self-confident Russia and an expanding China globally (BRICS and Road and Belt) China’s Xi ‘thought’ and Russia’s Putin ‘thought’ both see a multilateral world as the goal in which China and Russia are strong, independent, strategic partners, alongside the US and EU powers. SCO can be presented as defensive rather than offensive because they are winning the economic war. The weakness of the SCO is that India (also a member of BRICS), Pakistan and Iran (the new regime is expected to get full membership this month), do not share in the super-profits of the economic war. Clearly the Indian ruling class resents China and is hostile to Pakistan, and rejects sharing the defence of its neighbours in a war with the US. India, under Modi, has preferred the alternative of hanging onto the coat-tails of the fading Anglo-American alliance to boost the national ambitions of his clerical fascist regime. 

US in decline faces more defeats 

The US in decline is forced to meet this strategic defeat in Eurasia, by rallying its remaining allies and recruiting new ones to contain the Russia-China bloc. 

QUAD brings India, Japan and Australia into a closer political alliance with the US against China. It exploits India’s internal crisis and drives a wedge between it and Russia which regards it as a ‘special strategic partner, weakening the SCO. Including Japan escalates the provocation as Japan is an historic enemy of China. Australia has long played the role of a ‘deputy sheriff’ of US imperialism in the Pacific, and is engaged in a rowdy trade dispute with China over minerals, and an international debate about China’s agents of ‘soft power’ taking over Australia. 

AUKUS brings the historic Eurocentric, white supremacist Anglophile nations, the UK, US and Australia together in a military alliance targeting China in the Asia-Pacific, plugging Australia into the South China Seas with US supplied nuclear submarines, and a British Pacific fleet, to complete the steel ring from India to Japan to contain China. It ‘shares’ the pathetic Trumpite illusion of making the US great again, and reliving the memories of the glorious British Empire of Johnson and Morrison, with the Abe-ist project of reviving the Japanese ‘warrior greatness’ of the ‘Forever War’ (1895 to 1945) as a grotesque empire revivalist comic opera. 

‘Make America great again’ was a Bonapartist venture by Trump to rally the populace behind the flag while pulling back from engagement in Eurasia to face China in the Pacific. Biden’s pivot to the Asia Pacific is a feeble attempt to follow where Obama went, reconstituting the failing Atlantic alliance as an Asia-Pacific Alliance. But this time most of the EU don’t want to know, France is positively hostile at having its contract to build submarines for Australia cancelled, and Germany is far too dependent on Russian gas to play Oriental war games. Australia, the Wild South mining state owned by the US, is sucking up to Biden to police the South China Sea with the big boys’ toys – nuclear powered and conventionally armed submarines with stealth-like capabilities. These rag-tag states pulled along in the orbit of the US death star will all go down in history as a Quixotic gesture attempting to bully China into submission. 

China’s Response 

As the AUKUS military provocation was being announced, China formally applied to join the CPTPP, the trans Pacific trade pact between Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and New Zealand. China responded pointedly to the US Asia Pivot by seeking to advance its economic interests with countries that are increasingly dependent on trade with it. A few days later, Xi Jinping pointedly announced a halt to the financing of coal mining outside China. Australian mining could be the biggest casualty of this policy. No doubt this move is part of China’s strategic course plotted by the ‘President for life’. 

Xi’s ‘thought’ begins with China’s historic grandeur and its humiliation by imperialism. The members of the QUAD and AUKUS comprise China’s main historic enemies. Britain from the Opium Wars in the 1840s, Japan from 1895 to 1945, the US from 1949 to the present, and India under Modi. But his solution is to make China great again by out-capitalising and out-imperialising his rivals at their Great Game. Xi’s thought, seconded by Putin’s ‘thought’, is more than a match for the Trumpite remake of US, UK, Indian, Japanese and Australian ruling classes’ deluded dreams. 

The US, clearly failing to maintain its economic lead, allied to decaying crisis-ridden imperialist Britain, and its bankrupt former colonies India and Australia, are forced to adopt military provocations to disrupt such plans. The prospect of military flashpoints such as in the South China Sea and Taiwan escalating into wider regional wars, dragging many other states into a conflagration, is becoming more likely. 

World Revolution 

The imperialist epoch is that of wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions. As capitalism comes to the end of its life, facing a terminal crisis of falling profits, climate collapse and pandemics, destroying nature by exploiting it to death, it has no way out but counter-revolution. The declining imperialist states led by the US, is leading that counter-revolution inexorably to war against the Russia/China bloc. Revolutionaries need to make it clear that we reject imperialist wars between the two blocs in a fight to divide what is left of nature’s resources, and that the only alternative to total counter-revolution is socialist revolution. For that to happen, workers must be better organised than the global capitalist ruling classes, formed into armed workers’ councils and led by a revolutionary communist international party of class conscious workers to the seizure of power. 

In the imperialist countries revolutionary workers are for the defeat of both sides in the event of war, as the lesser evil. We are prepared for the defeat of our ‘own’ country because as workers we have no country that exists by super-exploiting and oppressing other countries. We turn our guns on our own ruling classes, to overthrow the state and to bring the working class to power. In the process we become part of a united international working class war against imperialist war, making the permanent revolution to prepare the conditions for world socialism. 

In the semi-colonies, dragged into war by their national bourgeoisies, we workers fight for national independence against imperialism, and against the national bourgeoisies that serve one or other imperialist bloc. We oppose our nations’ involvement in all imperialist wars, but at the same time defend ourselves from imperialist attacks, leading the permanent revolution to liberate our nation as a socialist republic that joins forces with others in a global union of socialist republics.

Our program against war is that the class enemy is at home. We demand the closing of all foreign military bases. We call on soldiers, sailors and air force personnel to organize a COME HOME NOW movement on every overseas base. We oppose forced conscription and the “economic draft” into the capitalist state. We refuse to fight workers in other countries, and call for mutinies in the ranks, that raise the question of power – which class shall rule, the class that destroys nature and can only survive by wars, or the class that can unite workers internationally to overthrow that ruling class and create a socialist world. 

For a new World Party of Socialist Revolution grounded in the method and program of the Fourth International. 

International Leninist Trotskyist Tendency 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Afghanistan and the US Imperialist Defeat



Placing the defeat of the US project in Afghanistan in the history of the current inter-imperialist conflict is essential to understand the world today and the unfolding realignment of world powers. What began as Carter’s bid to smash the USSR in a “Viet Nam” of their own, has ended six presidents later with a win for the China-Russia imperialist bloc; they have lost no time in recognizing the Taliban government.

The dynamic driving the current realignment is the long run struggle between the unfolding of the Permanent Revolution (PR) vs. the Permanent Counter-Revolution (PC-R). In short, the Permanent Revolution was first raised by Marx after the defeat of the 1848 revolutions in Europe. The bourgeoisie was no longer the revolutionary class. Henceforth the bourgeois revolution would be completed only by the proletarian revolution. Trotsky applied this concept in his theory/program of Permanent Revolution to Russia as a backward country. There the dynamic of combined and uneven development meant that the conquest of democracy, land reform and modernization of the forces of production, could not be accomplished by the  national bourgeoisie. It could only be won by the national revolution led by the proletariat asserting its class independence and rejection of political blocs with the bourgeoisie. Yet, Permanent Revolution would not be completed until it overcame national limits and became the full expression of a global communism. Against this prospect of Permanent Revolution the ruling class would unleash the full force of its Permanent Counter-Revolution.  

The Permanent Counter-Revolution includes retreats from historical materialism which accommodate capitalism both theoretically and practically. Marx and Engels challenged the PC-R in their critiques of the Paris Commune, Gotha and the Erfurt programs which bowdlerized Marx’s theories right out of Marxism. Luxembourg continued to challenge the PC-R in her struggle against the the Evolutionary Socialism (classic reformism) of Eduard Bernstein, and at the Zimmerwald and Kiental conferences revolutionary Marxism rejected the PC-R of the 2nd International as it collapsed in the face of inter-imperialist war. Then the revolutionary wing of the Bolsheviks (Lenin and Trotsky) had to fight for the 1917 October revolution against the PC-R  as it manifested inside their own central committee in Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev, whose retreat to Menshevik stageist theory has plagued the working class for over a century. The victory of the Stalinist bureaucracy made its accommodation with imperialism for its own interests, and as foreseen in The Revolution Betrayed has become the modern face of PC-R  restoring capitalism in Russia, China, Eastern Europe and Cuba. These restorations were counter-revolutions which gave imperialism the green light to conduct its endless war on terror against the masses of Eurasia – resuming the Great Game in the effort to contain Russia and China.

What was the course of the world socialist revolution during the imperialist epoch, and in particular the short 20th (Soviet) century 1917-1991? The advancing of Permanent Revolution has been stymied by bureaucratized Stalinist Communist Parties’ methodology which amounted to the revival of the Menshevik theory of revolution in stages based on a bloc with a ‘progressive bourgeoisie’ which limits the revolution to keep the ‘progressive’ bourgeoisie on board.   

During the pre-WWI period,  the first phase was the inter-Imperialist division of the world and the ongoing fight for Eurasia. Britain’s failure to take Afghanistan at the heart of Eurasia in 1880 was compensated by British and French finance capital takeover of Russia.  The Bolshevik revolution ended the British and French influence in Russia and carved out the Soviet. Then fascisms’ rise, the imperialist invasions of the USSR, along with the Stalinist theory of socialism in one country and the popular front with the “progressive” bourgeoisie, prevented the Permanent Revolution from becoming a world revolution. The Stalinised Soviet bloc survived the next war as the US replaced the UK as the leading imperialist power. Decolonisation tips the balance of the Permanent Revolution forward and races through Eurasia reaching China in 1949 and Vietnam in 1975. 

The end of the post-war boom and long crisis of the falling rate of profit (LTRPF) from the 1970’s onwards, tips the balance back back towards the PC-R as the Stalinist/Maoist bureaucracies’ ultimate trajectory arced toward stagnation and capitalist restoration. The US opens up China and Stalinism pushes both China and Russia towards restoration of capitalism. The end of 1989 marked a historic defeat as the US bloc finally brought the Soviet bloc to its knees. The defeat of Russia by the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan helped to bring an end to the ‘Bolshevik’ century. Capitalist counterrevolution engulfed the Eastern European deformed workers states and the Soviet bureaucratically degenerated workers states.  The deformed Chinese workers’ state followed shortly after. 

The “End of History” was declared yet the victory of capitalism was short lived as the mounting structural crisis of capitalism manifested as the ‘neoliberal’ counter revolution pushed the PR back. But it did not shift the scale decisively towards PC-R as the world historic victory of capitalism over socialism. Stalinism continued to play its counter-revolutionary role but its treachery in the face of neo-liberalism unleashed new waves of resistance to austerity. Notably, the rising Islamic movements which became objectively anti-imperialist; at least under the leadership of national bourgeois factions, as far as they needed to go to suppress the masses and collect their share of the super profits in client state deals with imperialism. But these client states did not always agree to imperialism’s terms. The US launched the Gulf War in 1990 against Iraq to replace Saddam Hussein and advance it’s aim to recolonize Russia and China and take Eurasia.  

The first war for Eurasia in MENA contributed to the fall of the Soviet bloc. The betrayal of the workers movement by both Stalinism and Pabloism left the anti-imperialist struggle to the leadership of radical Islam. After the brutal bombing of Iraq, the US could no longer use the Security Council to sanction its military adventures in MENA even though Russia and China feared radical Islam. Following the 9/11 attack on the Twin towers the invasion of Afghanistan defeated the Taliban and the ‘coalition of the willing’ occupied both Afghanistan and  Iraq as part of the encirclement and recolonization strategy aimed at Russia and China. But the US/NATO  failed to recolonize these former workers’ states which then emerged as new imperialist powers pushing them into an ‘endless War on Terror’ resulting in many defeats. Today Russia and China and its allies have much more influence in MENA and rule over Eurasia with the exception of India. So the fall of Kabul to the Taliban is the latest episode in the story of the imperialist wars for Eurasia. It reveals a resetting of the imperialist world pecking order in which the US bloc in relative decline refurbishes it’s NATO and QUAD alliances against the penetration of it’s sphere of influence, by the growing finance capital, Belt and Road initiatives, and military alliances of Russia and China. 

The USA falls into its own trap: 

The American war in Afghanistan, doomed from the beginning, has come to an end after 20 years of deployment at a human cost of approximately 155,000 killed directly in the armed conflict and 360,000 indirectly killed by disease, famine, and destroyed infrastructure. For the US taxpayer the financial cost of between two and four trillion has been spent during and/or committed for the aftermath. Your grandchildren can thank you for the taxes they will pay in debt service on loans rendered for the cost of the bloodletting, in an unnecessary criminal war.  

In matters of war and peace the CWG/ILTT seeks to organize the working class to take direct action to stop/defeat imperialist wars and interventions both overt and covert. We do not side with any imperialist power when they face off, we advocate dual defeatism. In imperialist aggression against semi-colonies we always advocate the defeat of the forces of imperialism.  In the aftermath of 9/11 we opposed the US interventions and have stood for the defeat of the US interventions for the duration. Despite finding ourselves in military blocs with a variety of objectively anti-imperialist forces on the ground we extend no political support to any forces other than those advancing workers socialist revolution. 

Despite massive mobilizations internationally, in over 600 cities in February, 2002, and an exemplary west coast port shutdown initiated by the ILWU on May Day 2008, in the main, the trade union bureaucracy and leadership kept  the labor movements’ tendencies against war in check. Tied to the pro-war imperialist Democratic party, labor was swept along in the nationalistic war fervor as freely distributed American flags were unfurled on lawns, flown from cars and windows everywhere and the perpetual re-run of media footage of the collapsing World Trade Center and its aftermath was etched on the consciousness of three generations.  

The defeat of the US project in Afghanistan is proof of the decline of US hegemony, its fading ability to project its power internationally and a reminder of the setback to the world revolution caused by the inter-imperialist jostling for control of the semi-colonies.  The victory of the Taliban is not a victory for the world revolution. At best it exposes the US as a paper tiger, at worst it imposes sharia law, loyalty to Islamic capitalists and acts to crush workers’ actions, working class political independence, secular, women’s rights, let alone LGBTQI+ rights. 

The anti-imperialist characteristic of the Taliban victory does not otherwise invest it with any progressive content. Put the other way, the only victory for the oppressed is U.S. imperialism’s defeat! The Taliban were not anti-imperialists in their early 1990s origins in Wahhabi Madrassas  in Pakistan. Their anti-imperialism was accidental, in the sense that it was entirely a blessing of the U.S. invasion! The arrogance of the U.S. capitalist class required a subsequent, exaggerated mission creep to satisfy a will to do what no foreign power had ever done, not even Alexander the Great. And of course, deliver colossal profits and benefit the military’s promotion lists.

The fallacy of bringing democracy to the “backward and unenlightened” has been exposed as fanciful propaganda for the gullible and the persistently wannabe believers in the veracity and legitimacy of western parliamentary democracy-as supra class institutions that are deliberative, judicious and derive their authority from the consent of the governed. This mystique crumbles as questions of war and peace are examined and considered from the historic interest of the international working class, its natural allies and their universal quest for prosperity, security and peace. The fanciful propaganda is decimated by the actual history hidden in plain sight. The strategy and tactics of the Kissingers, Brzezinskis, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld were never secrets from those willing to read, or even just take in a movie about Charlie Wilson’s war. 

Even the CIA’s own web pages show that twenty years into this mess 71% of Afghan adults are functionally illiterate, that childbirth mortality rates for mothers and children rank second and third in the world respectively, illegal child labor hovers at 25%, 36% of the population (9 million) live in absolute poverty, half the population has unimproved water sources and with 0.21 of a doctor per 1000 people;  more people die each year of poverty than the armed conflict.  It is no wonder neither the 300,000 US trained troops nor the  population found reason to defend Ashraf Ghani or stop the advance of the Taliban. Like the ARVN in South Vietnam many of these alleged troops were  “ghost soldiers” who were never actually mobilized, just numbers padding the books with their salaries collected by corrupt commanders.[Economist 8/21/2021] They didn’t run away…they were never there!

In a country of 39 million this spending (2.3-4$Trillion) is the equivalent of $108,000 dollars per person. Considering the workforce, some 15 million with a median annual earning (salary) of $10,760, if the four trillion were equally distributed as direct aid it could easily have doubled the median income and gone a long way toward lifting the average Afghani out of misery and undercut much of the poverty-induced  recruiting to the Taliban and other zealot forces. But that is not how foreign spending or aid is meant to work. Most military spending never leaves the United States; rather it enriches the shareholders of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman and the banks that provide the loans for the expenditure. 

The criminal terror attacks on 9/11, by Saudi nationals, in NYC, Washington DC and over Pennsylvania was the excuse for entry into Afghanistan, yet, there was always more to the picture than meets the eye. Sold to the American people and rallied to by US imperialism’s allies as a “war against terror,” the actual world historic purpose of the wars in Afghanistan and  Iraq as well as the bombing of Libya, Syria and, even prior to 9/11, Bosnia, were preventative against the threat of ‘permanent revolution’– the emergence of an anti-imperialist united front composed of workers and poor peasant/farmers as an anti-capitalist force in the Islamic world (MENA). The Arab, Persian and African semi-colonies, controlled by comprador bourgeoisie and vestigial monarchies had not fully consolidated the bourgeois democratic revolutions and consequently had not accomplished meaningful/effective land reform, secured basic democratic rights or more than nominal national independence from imperialism; tasks revolutionary Marxism postulates can only be accomplished by revolutionary socialist  workers governments.   

The rightist ultra-conservative “Project for the New American Century” penned by the Kristol /Wolfowitz gang in 1997 projected endless wars to ensure ongoing US hegemony into the 21st century. This was a plan for how to spend the “peace dividend” after the fall of the USSR. Their project required what  9/11 provided, a “Pearl Harbor” like moment, their clueless puppet Bush the second  needed to put a final nail in the coffin of the Vietnam syndrome, a lingering undercurrent of anti-war sentiment  in the American consciousness, counter-culture and  particularly among the specially oppressed Black and Brown sectors of the working class.  Indeed, it did not take much for the Democrats to jump on board and provide bipartisan  consensus both in intent and action. Bipartisanship in the wars against terror gave the national imperial consensus some breathing room despite the objective decline in US power.  

The victory of the Vietnamese people over the US expeditionary forces in 1975 marked the end of Pax Americana and coincided with the end of the post war economic boom. For a decade  the US suffered growing balance of trade deficits and this led to the end of the gold standard,  the 1971 death of the Brenton Woods agreement, and the US leaking gold to Europe and Japan, which were both accumulating great dollar reserves. Keynesianism had reached its limits of affordability and was no longer effectively offsetting the consequences of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. To offset America’s relative hegemonic decline the era of neoliberalism, privatizations, monetarism, supply side and Laffer curve Reaganomics, Rogernomics, and Thatcherite offensives against organized labor presaged and coincided with the fall of the Soviet Union and the ascent of the “capitalist roaders” in China. France and Germany initiated the Euro as a counterweight to the dollar while Russia and China pushed to expand the IMF basket of currencies with the Renminbi added in 2016. 

The wave of decolonization spanning from the end of WWII until the victory of the National Liberation Front in Vietnam, ended outright direct “legal” colonialism in most countries of the  global south but kept them subordinated to western imperialism by renewed or newly forged alliances and deals with local comprador ruling capitalists. While often espousing anti-imperialist and even socialist ideologies they kept the workers, peasants, students and intellectuals under control, prevented socialist revolutions from emerging and allowed the under-development to continue as the industrialized “advanced” imperialist nations jockeyed for the rights to extract raw materials and super-profits from the former colonies–now their semi-colonies. 

Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, with a small working class, upwards of 12 distinct ethnic groups, sits on top of vast mineral wealth, valued between 1-3 trillion dollars, that advanced industry covets and is strategically landlocked in  between three former Soviet States to the north, China to the east via the Wakhan Corridor, Pakistan to the south and east and Iran to the west. Afghanistan does not have the capital, technology or infrastructure to exploit this wealth. It has long been understood that when the fighting dies down China will be the primary beneficiary and has figured this into the calculus of the Belt and Road Initiative since inception.  And while the declining hegemon USA and its allies wasted trillions in unwinnable military projects across MENA, China grew from an underdeveloped to an emergent imperialism and ultimately a great economic power in its own right. 

The petty bourgeois nationalist Taliban (“the students”), the Pakistani ISI-generated Pashtun successors to the Mujahedeen who allegedly “drove the Soviets” out of Afghanistan in 1989, harbored Al-Qaeda and Bin-Laden’s armed Sunni Islamist movement, committed to driving western imperialism out of Islamic countries and establishing Islamic states, while it prepared terror attacks against the west including 9/11. Like other Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, and Hamas,  al-Qaeda is deemed a terrorist organization by the UN security council as well as many nations including the USA, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Israel and on through to Vietnam.  While differences exist between and within the Islamist movement over emphasis on creating pan Arab Islamic states, a new Califate, and/or prioritizing sharia law, an unstable unity between Wahhabism and Salafism emerged around loyalty to the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, at least until some became republicans. This loyalty is shared by both Islamists and the US ruling class,  as demonstrated by regular obligatory visits of 13 US Presidents with the royalty of Riyadh. From FDR to Trump, Democrats and Republicans alike hosted and were feted by the House of Saud cementing and sanctioning its place in the global order despite their brutality, lack of democracy and institutionalized patriarchal subordination of women. 

The “socialist experiment in Afghanistan” that wasn’t

In 1973, Daoud Khan, the former Prime Minister of Afghanistan,  organized a bloodless coup, abolished the monarchy and set up a secular government. Khan sought closer ties to the Soviets for strategic reasons to get control of Pashtun lands in northwest Pakistan, something not wished by Moscow, and in any event not possible without Permanent Revolution. This is a lesson in the foreign policy objectives of states, which when objectively real, do not change. Only the possibility changes. Many national questions across this region are far from resolved, the maps largely reflecting the Raj era. 

In 1978 , the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) killed Khan and his family in the Saur revolution with the help of military officers who supported PDPA. The PDPA was a petty-bourgeois political party with some formal commitment to Marxism, although they disavowed being labelled as communist and called themselves “national democratic” instead.  The PDPA in power was composed of the urban intelligentsia and lacked a social base among the peasantry or the numerically small urban working class. Their politics in action were a  series of bourgeois democratic reforms: notably women’s rights (education, jobs, health, abolition of the bride price), cancellation of peasant debts and land reform. It was this which provoked Islamist reaction by the landowners and the mullahs against the PDPA government.  The mujahedeen rebels were supported by the CIA while the Soviet Union provided thousands of  military advisers to the PDPA government.  

The Soviet invasion in 1979 was part of Stalinist realpolitik, not the extension of the gains of 1917 to Afghanistan. The Stalinist bureaucracy had long ago abandoned any perspective of world socialist revolution…as they had decades earlier dissolved the Comintern as even a border guard for socialism in one country, after disarming it in the 1930’s as the world party of proletarian revolution. The Soviet bureaucracy had been alarmed at the petty-bourgeois nationalist PDPA and their (largely ineffective) reforms. The political goal in 1979 was to replace the then-prime minister Amin, (who had put out feelers to the US for support) of the PDPA Khalq faction and installing Karmal’s government.  Karmal was a leader of the more moderate PDPA Parcham faction.  

Soviet foreign policy did nothing ultimately, for the oppressed. Much like in Eastern Europe after WW2, the intention was not to carry out socialist revolution. Such social gains as became fruits of Kabul policy were either initiated by the Saur revolution or forced upon Stalinism by the dictates of battle. This is not to say the Russian intervention was either reactionary or imperialist. These characterizations are made by Stalinophobes, some of whom came into conflict with Trotsky during his lifetime over exactly these wrong, “3rd camp” conceptions. Trotskyism would have offered a military support bloc to the PDPA. As limited as its program was, exactly ‘national democratic’, we could not support more than some of its slogans and campaigns. It was a leash on the revolution, not a solution to the crisis of proletarian leadership. The problem was not the Stalinism of the PDPA’s new left ideas; or not nearly the problem of the necessity for Political Revolution in the U.S.S.R. Troops sent to Afghanistan ultimately fulfilled Brzezinski's wet dream of a Russian Viet Nam. Whereas we contend that even Afghanistan had the potential to spark this social revolt, beginning in independent trade unions and the formation of soviets! 

Instead of bringing massive industry, agricultural machinery and irrigation, roads, schools, medicine infrastructure to Afghanistan and expanding the industrial proletariat and winning over the peasantry, resolving the national questions, and carrying through a social revolution, the Soviets tried to resolve the crisis through military means. This was removed from the policies of the early Soviet workers state of Lenin and Trotsky when the gains of October were extended into Central Asia. The Stalinists ran away from the task.  Stalinism served as the gravedigger of the revolution yet again. 

Afghanistan is a perfect example of the validity of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution: that in the colonial/semi-colonial countries of combined and uneven development, the tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution can only be carried through by the working class as part of the socialist revolution. The national bourgeoisie is too weak and too tied to social backwardness on the one side and foreign imperialism on the other to carry through their historic tasks. Land reform; one person, one vote; formal bourgeois democratic rights for women; national independence and national self-determination for the ethnic nations could only come about in Afghanistan through socialist revolution. 

There could be no Stalinist two-stage revolution carried out by the native bourgeoisie in Afghanistan. This native bourgeoisie was largely a landowner class. The petty-bourgeois PDPA lacked a social base among the masses in a country with little industry and a numerically small urban proletariat. Even a revolutionary workers government in Afghanistan with a base in the working class and peasantry would have had to have quickly inspired workers revolutions throughout the region in order to survive for long. But that is the last thing the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union wanted, as socialist revolution in Afghanistan could very well have inspired workers’ political revolution in the Soviet Union.

US intervention begins with Zbigniew Brzezinski!

Brzezinski was Carter’s National Security Advisor. He saw the reactionary opposition, even as riven with warlordism divisions as it was, as an opportunity to cause big trouble on the Russian border. His theory was ‘Jihadism’ was a threat of a secondary order to the U.S., whereas Cold War prosecution was primary. U.S. covert support (which was perhaps intentionally not very covert), began BEFORE the dispatch of Soviet troops. This permitted Brzezinski to crow that he had sucked Russia into Afghanistan by design. As soon as this happened he went there and made a video with the mujahedeen praising them and saying the U.S. supported Jihad and praising them as “freedom fighters.”

Here was the U.S. completely captured by its own propaganda. The Russian movement across the border was inspired by Moscow’s own motives! Our opponents, Stalinophile and Stalinophobe  both get this wrong, giving Washington’s version undeserved credibility. This remains the position of the Spartacist League Stalinophiles, the impossible “Hail the Red Army” policy, while the RCIT buys Brzezinski's latter day narrative that U.S. support for the Mujahedin was a RESPONSE to the soviet incursion. Hint: Zbig was selling his idea of causing a “Russian Viet Nam” first. Even Trump and Putin retailed the idea in 2020 that Russia had to invade for the security of the USSR (a southern buffer against US encirclement, resistance to Pashtun nationalism).

Forty two years later, in a world without a USSR and with 20 years of mission creep, you can well ask the Democrat pro-imperialist girls and boys who are thrilled by Biden’s every move, with two weeks plus (8/17+) of the last days including rooftop helicopter evacuations, WHOSE Viet Nam is it now?!   

For Socialist Revolution Throughout Central Asia!

The future for the peoples of Afghanistan does not look bright in the near term. Women's rights, workers rights, unions, democratic rights, all will suffer Islamist reaction in the most brutal forms. The mostly foreign, super zealots of the IS-K will be plunging the country into renewed confessional civil war, as promised, the moment the last U.S. jet transports are gone. 

Soon we expect the country to be under the thumb of Chinese imperialism; This may be the result of the capital boycotts of the World Bank, IMF and European Union, and may take different and/or  combined forms, bringing industry, particularly mining. It is an open question whether China will export some of its unemployed there, even to the exclusion of hiring locals. But we believe the prevailing tendency in time must be an expansion of the proletariat. And with this the expansion of objective revolutionary potential. This is a bigger defeat for the U.S.-led bloc of imperialists than many realize, and not just a re-prioritizing to a pivot to the Pacific. We will see big strides by China to accomplish its ‘belt and road’ project all the way to Africa.

Champions of the workers’ revolution will fight for women’s rights to equality in every sphere,  unite with the peasantry by standing for land to the peasants, fight for right of self-determination for the Pashtuns, the Tajiks, the Hazaras, the Uzbeks and the other ethnic nationalities, demand one person, one vote, trade union rights, champion jobs for all and organize a revolutionary militant labor party to wage the  battles to secure these rights and all political power, so as to render international capital powerless to thwart the human future.. 

A workers revolution in Afghanistan would inspire the powerful Iranian, Pakistani and  South and central Asian working class to overthrow their own ruling classes and unite the workers in the region in a Socialist Federation of Central Asia..  

For Class Struggle Here At Home to Oppose US Imperialism Abroad!

The US working class has a role to play to achieve world peace. That role requires political independence from the capitalist parties that build and sustain the war industries, map inter-imperialist geo-strategies and launch wars and covert actions against workers’ rebellions and national liberation struggles.

Let the Afghan refugees into the United States!  

We call for mass mobilizations, strikes, and mass occupations of factories, ports, rail yards and air bases to shut down the armaments industry and hot-cargo their wares. The liberal call to put the escaping Afghans on Guam is UNACCEPTABLE, and is the version 3.0 of our bourgeoisie’s racist Muslim ban! LET THEM IN! we say.

We demand the closing of the 800 military bases U.S. imperialism maintains internationally in projecting its might against workers, national liberation struggles and preparing for inter-imperialist conflict and otherwise securing their geo-strategic goals.

We identify soldiers, sailors and air force personnel as workers in uniform. We call on workers in uniform to build rank and file “Come Home Now” movements on all bases here and abroad. We call on the workers in uniform to elect your own leaders, hold your own assemblies and fraternize with the so-called enemy. We support all workers in uniform who act as whistle blowers, refuse illegal orders, defend civilians and arrest officers.  We call for union organizing drives! We say turn the military peace movement into an enlisted service members’ union!  We say labor should control the armed forces, not the imperialist-controlled Pentagon. 

U.S. Out of  South/Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa!

The CWG-USA calls on workers to build class struggle caucuses in all workplaces to remove the trade union bureaucrats tied to the Democrats and to pass resolutions in locals, district councils, national and international unions and federations to convene congresses of workers representatives to form a fighting Workers/Labor Party in the USA that fights for a Workers Government. 

Only a victorious socialist revolution in the USA can end US imperialist wars once and for all. A new revolutionary workers International is needed to organize the fight against all inter-imperialist wars as well as wars against the semi-colonial/colonial countries and peoples. Workers of the world unite!

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Pride before the Fall

                 Transgender Laurel Hubbard at Tokyo Olympics

Pride that once stood for defending the rights of gay people, has been queered into reactionary homophobic and sexist politics in the pay of the patriarchy. It is now an ideological and political attack on women. Sex is conflated with gender, biological fact is erased by cultural belief, sexism represses women in the struggle to end patriarchal capitalism. But has it won? Not at all. We are reaching peak trans where trans ideology becomes its own worst enemy. By separating itself from sex transgender ideology denies fact, history and science, for a cult that has no agency other than as the mercenary of the capitalocene. No social movement in the service of the capitalocene, which rejects material reality, and attacks  the only class that can restore humanity to nature, will survive. As part of patriarchal capitalism itself, trans Pride will destroy the conditions of its own existence and is heading for the Fall.  

By abandoning sex, gender identity deludes itself that ‘sex’ self-identification (ID) being proposed in the BDMRR Bill will replace biological and social determination with the postmodern delusion of self-determination. Sex self ID creates the legal right for people to change their gender identity by statutory declaration on the basis of a belief. Like all belief systems, far from being self-determination, self sex ID is validated only by law, the state, and ultimately the ruling class. Already its contrived agency is melting into nothingness. It comes in a package of new laws introducing ‘hate speech’ to include gender identity, and making gender transition/de-transition a form of gay conversion. These three law changes are transparently designed to empower the state to deny fundamental human rights, particularly of women and children. And they will not stand.   

Sex self ID conflates sex and gender as an attack on science and rationality. Sex is biological and immutable, gender historically the social relations between men and women. More important, since the origin of the first form of class society, the patriarchy, gender represents the subordination of women by men in order to control their reproductive and productive capacity. In this context, gender today is code for gender oppression of women, part of which entails their ideological and political domination as a sex-class. Women’s liberation therefore entails the defeat of gender as an ideology.

Since the conflation of sex and gender reduces women to an oppressed sex. State-ifying gender erases herstory of oppression, and worse, becomes part of the oppression of women. Sex self-ID, along with the other law changes, will allow men the legal status of women so that any attempt by women to criticise and resist this form of gender oppression will be outlawed as ‘hate speech’ or worse ‘gay conversion’.

If Self-ID becomes law it will be a license for men who identify as woman to invade women’s spaces, deny them jobs, get them imprisoned as transphobes, and most alarmingly as homophobes. Campaigning against this law change the SUFW group seems to have forced some rethinking on the part of Jan Tinetti, Minister of Women and of Internal Affairs. She has signaled that she will not agree to the replacement of sex by gender in the BDMRR Bill. If that is the case and she does not reverse her current position under pressure from trans activism, then this is a significant retreat from trans ideology. It would mean that trans would still be legally a protected group for the purposes of ‘hate speech’ on the grands of their belief rather than fact, and that gender critics would not be jailed for gay conversion when opposing puberty blockers for underage children, or supporting those who de-transition to their sex.

It remains to be seen if the rest of the Labour Government agrees with Jan Tinetti. The minister in charge of the law change on gay conversion, Kris Faafoi, has been won over by trans activists to equate criticism of gender transition with gay conversion. But if sex and gender are not conflated then gender reassignment and gay conversion cannot be treated as equally offensive. Sexual orientation is a fact while gender is a belief. A lot rests on whether the conflation of sex and gender is undone, and the objectional aspects of gay conversion and ‘hate speech’ remain, as these law changes go through parliament. Apart from the fact that the ‘hate speech’ law increases the power of the state to suppress free speech in general and should be opposed outright, if the homophobic sections are not thrown out, they will pose a danger to gays, women and children in particular.

To clarify, the Bill that outlaws gay conversion conflates any opposition to gender transition/de-transition with gay conversion. The purpose of the Bill is ostensibly to outlaw the old institutional homophobia of church and state which has been officially eliminated today. But it is shutting the door after the horse has bolted. Homophobia stayed underground and has been ‘re-converted’ to mean any attempt to question or advise against the right of any child, man or women to come out as their ‘true’ gender.

Yet gender dysphoria is not like sex orientation. Gender dysphoria, or being born in the wrong body, is a sort of creationism whereby the backlash against second wave feminism of the 1970s now takes the form of a postmodern belief that sex is replaced by gender self-determination. This is testified to by those who have de-transitioned, recognising that the purpose of their transition was to suppress their same sex gender orientation. Sex is replaced by gender, fact by belief. Fact:= forcing young people to give up their homosexuality is harmful. Belief: counselling against hasty gender re-assignment in young people is harmless.

Ironically, the new gay conversion is gender transition itself itself, now increasingly licensed by the state. The evidence is clear. The rapid uptake of gender conversion, especially of girls to boys, is this new form as it legally replaces homosexual attraction with the fiction of heterosexual attraction. The Gender Recognition Act of 2004 in UK was openly supported as an alternative to same sex marriage. Better the fiction of gender transition than legitimating gay marriage! This set the scene so that increasingly young lesbians meeting resistance to their same sex relations, found that gender ideology provided an alternative ‘gay conversion’ as boys, in other words, to “trans the gay away”.

Similarly, men who always thought that all lesbians needed was a good ‘f**k’, can with sex self ID, claim to be Lesbians and demand sex as their special ‘male pattern’ violent form of gay conversion. Lesbians who reject penises can, under a law that conflates gender with sex, be sent to prison for ‘hate speech’. There they will find themselves locked up with other predatory men. All of this shows why these law changes serve to perpetuate the historic male dominance of women and girls behind the façade of a progressive human rights narrative.

From the time of the first class society, the patriarchal mode of production, sex has been violently separated from nature, sexual reproduction controlled by men and enforced by gender oppression. Today, capitalism is dying. It is destroying nature that is the condition for its own existence. As capitalism’s terminal crisis intensifies this makes women the greatest threat to its survival. Those who side with capital giving it the kiss of life, are out to destroy women who, as part of nature, strive to resist it. The contradiction between sex (nature) and gender (society) reflects the class contradiction in capitalist society between exploited and exploiters. The class struggle encompasses economics, politics, culture and law. Gender self ID is the last gasp of patriachal capitalism to stop women representing humanity and nature and uniting with other men to overthrow patriarchal capitalism.

This is the patriarchy in drag (not butch girls or feminine boys) finding a new way to penetrate women’s spaces to defeat them in the gender war, and to divide the only class capable of overthrowing capitalism and restoring non-class society to nature. Yet identity politics backed by the state will never be enough to suppress the struggle to bring workers to power. Already we are reaching peak trans as gender ideology runs up against nature’s feedback loops. It’s grotesque effects are a symptom of capitalism’s desperate attempts to survive at all costs. Reactionary laws of sex self ID, hate speech and queering gay conversion in the name of gender re-assignment, are incapable of smoothing dying capitalism’s pillow, let alone destroying humanity’s fundamental unity with nature.

Shock Horror: Labour goes socialist under cover of Covid

                             Iwi checkpoint Northland, August 2020

In a recent NZ Herald article (behind a paywall) ‘Labour takes revolutionary road towards state control’, Fran O’Sullivan claims that the Labour Government is reverting to state control of the economy behind the “smokescreen of Covid”. Really? Behind the Covid smokescreen comes the biggest bailout of private business in New Zealand’s history; $50b to rescue falling profits and subsidise payrolls. And now we are back to business as usual where the Reserve Bank stops QE and starts to raise interest rates to prevent inflation.  O’Sullivan doesn’t acknowledge this bailout because business is naturally entitled to the huge boost to its corporate welfare under the cover of Covid. This ‘state control’ was OK because, while junking moral hazard and abusing Keynes, it was necessary to keep business and profits alive.  

This is a strange socialism in the air when the Labour Government is firmly committed to defending kiwi capitalism. Coming after nearly 40 years of the neo-liberal rollback of the state, any move in the other direction will create visions of reds under the bed. Yet the beneficiaries of settler colonisation have short memories. They substitute founding myths to navigate their greed.

The colonised don’t forget. They know from bloody experience that the state was always at the centre of all economic change, and its main purpose was to take the land, build the roads and bridges and create the fiction of parliamentary democracy to oversee the capitalist economy. They know that Labour government cannot make the revolution we need, because it must manage a fragile and failing economy at the expense of the workers and poor farmers. The question is: who will pay the price for this failure to make a revolution?

The left side of history explains why the Ardern Labour Government has adopted a liberal policy of national capitalist development within the world economy, very much like that of the first Liberal Government (the LibLabs) from 1891 to 1912. The major difference is that the Lib Lab settlement in which labour and capital coexisted, state arbitration was used to stabilize a fragile emerging market. Today’s Labour is returning to a new liberal settlement to manage the fragile economy in a period of the terminal crisis of capitalism as the market fails to stabilize the national economy within the global economy. Of course the right is blind to their fate and screams ‘state control’! locked in the inertia of rotting global capitalism as it takes the revolutionary road towards socialism.

Never mind, the revolution is in the beer and Phil Twyford the commissar of socialist planning is the leading suspect. He is reported to be working ‘behind the scenes’ on a plan to return to the centralised state planning of the 1930’s Labour Government. Far from revolutionary when public works were always a huge hand out to business ever since the settler wars. But then comes Minister of Communism Nanaia Mahuta to attack local democracy by appointing Maori representatives to local bodies who can no longer be sacked by ‘democratic’ majorities in a ‘one nation’ referendum.

Even more alarming was Mahuta’s announcment of government’s proposal to take control of water from incompetent local bodies under the 3 waters plan. Clearly, here was a central government grab of ratepayers water assets and the end of the pork barrel system of allocating water rights. Bankrupt influencers, Seymour, Goff and Prebble led the charge for National’s back-to-private-water-rights-plus-habitat-destruction.  Then we add the Health reforms which will replace the 26 DHBs with 4 regional centres serving a national bureaucracy alongside a Maori Health central body. So not only are Labour centralising power at an alarming rate they are handing a rising share of that power to the Treaty Partners.

National responded to these threats of socialism-by-stealth to property rights with the predictable charge of separatism reminiscent of Don Brash at large. But this move towards separatism had hardly been swallowed and spat out before the king hit -the He Puapua discussion document was leaked to the National Party. An alarmed Judith Collins immediately saw reds in the bed and accused the government of having a secret plan to introduce a socialist Aotearoa, the deadly enemy of bourgeois democracy.

The dream of He Puapua is Maori self-determination, the essence of tinorangatiratanga in Te Tiriti. But since there is no ground swell of Maori for national secession, self-determination means a negotiated settlement to put the partnership between Maori and non-Maori on a more equal footing. Of course this negotiation will be in the hands of Iwi elites looking for more co-management in government to develop their assets. It couldn’t be otherwise given the aftermath of colonisation.

Tinorangitiratanga before colonisation was the rule of chiefs in the interests of the iwi collective. Tribal leadership since has remained in the hands of leaders who have to deliver in the interests of capitalist incorporations. But leadership that fails is replaced. Recent examples in the North are the roadblocks set up to protect communities from Covid and the recent rebellion against environmental controls over the use of collectively owned land. These examples are self-determination in action testing the laws of the capitalist state to serve the people. In the context of a collapsing global capitalism, a burning planet, and an ongoing pandemic arising from the destruction of habitats, renegotiated settlements with the state will, like all the previous ones, be token, and throw up new leaderships.

Even so, the rabid right reflex to such limited attempts at self-determination is to scream separatism as if Aotearoa is going to split from New Zealand along the great ring of fire. Just as Donna Awatare discovered soon afer she wrote her liberation manifesto Maori Sovereignty in 1981, self-determination under colonial capitalism will be mingy and strung out like the dole.  A Maori ‘capitalist’ class at the top table will change nothing so long as capitalism rules the world. Maori leaders incorporated into capitalism is not the ethno-nationalism Rata claims, but one competing faction among others within the national bourgeoisie that are all ultimately subservient to foreign imperialist powers.

The alarm raised by the parliamentary left that ‘Maori capitalism’ is implicit in He Puapua, betrays their illusions in a peaceful, race, class and gender free South Pacific Paradise. The same applies to the fair sharing of Maori language and culture in schools and media. The proposition that navigating by the stars in the Pacific was not ‘science’ because it lacked an astrolabe is the grotesque over-reaction of an academic culture shaped by centuries of Eurocentric civilising missions posing as universal science. Ironically, the exaggerated fear of Maori knowledge destroying universal science is a contradiction in terms since all science proceeds by trial and error to serve social objectives. 

What all this amounts to is the panicked retreat of the dominant, far from post-colonial culture, facing the terminal crisis of capitalism, thrown back into ‘culture wars’ between races, sexes, genders and nations, to mask the underlying class war. It is the bankrupt intellectual angst of the urban intelligentsia that joins the chorus of the more robust ‘howling’ of the rural gentry before the spectre of the holocaust.

Yet science rules OK behind our backs so long as it serves the essential needs of humanity. Where science is perveted by the special interests of ruling classes it is always challenged by the science of revolution. Today we need the science that seeks solutions to a global pandemic, the climate emergency and a global economic meltdown.Whether we succeed or not depends on the victory of science over anti-science.

That is why Marxists argue that science is a universal pre-condition for social existence, throughout history, right up to the present, and in the future. Societies fail for lack of science, when anti-science superstition rules. That is why there is no more important science than that applied to our survival. For Marxists that is the testing of assumptions and actions by class conscious workers struggling to overcome the terminal crisis we face. There is only one way to escape the holocaust alive and that is to harness the knowledge of the people of the land, where self-determination means collective ownership, to advance science and technology socialised by the working people, and put to work democratically returning humanity to nature before nature unleashes the Sixth Great Extinction.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Cuba and the World Revolution


The mass demonstrations in Cuba for food, vaccines, medical care, electricity and democratic rights raise class questions on the island and internationally.  Is Cuba socialist, a deformed workers state, state capitalist, restored capitalist or in the process of capitalist restoration? These are the questions socialist and workers are asking.  In the restoration process, are competing factions of the new bourgeois class trying to consolidate their alliances with either the US/EU or the Russia/China imperialist bloc?  Is there a path forward to secure national liberation from these two imperialist blocs and to build socialism?  Is US imperialism still the hegemon or has its power been eclipsed?  Does the NATO 2030 recognition of the bi-polar world order reflect a deepening  cold war between imperialist and anti-imperialist forces or a pending hot war between two imperialist blocs, or between their proxies in the nearer term? The need to answer these questions is posed by Cuban developments, among others.

The generation that made the revolution and sacrificed for decades is dying off and the youth with internet access see how their conditions are more akin to a semi-colony than an independent socialist state. They can see that both in the US and China the vast middle class have better living conditions.  The major gains of the revolution, except healthcare (guaranteed jobs, food, housing) are gone, swept away by the restoration of the Law of Value in relations of production. The state is no longer committed to defending these gains, but is  instead committed to opening up Cuba as a semi-colony to Chinese imperialism. This means rank exploitation no matter who the boss is, and a generalized decline in the standards of living consistent with a defeat of the revolution. Communism, let alone socialism, could never be achieved in one country let alone one island. What gains the population enjoyed in the name of socialism, were the result of the revolution that went beyond the nationalist intentions of its leaders, by necessity of survival abolished capitalism  and assimilated into the Soviet bloc, have eroded after capitalist restorations in Russia and China and as the bureaucratized Castroist Communist Party charted the course to restoration. 

As everyone who attended high school in the US who was paying attention in 10th grade history class knows, the Monroe Doctrine expanded Manifest Destiny and the White Man’s Burden to the entire hemisphere and beyond into the Pacific. From nearby Cuba to Tierra del Fuego and as far as the Philippines, the expanding of the U.S. capitalist empire was secured by 1917 and with the postwar unrivalled economic dominance and nuclear monopoly  the “American Century” began with the victory in WW2. It meant US capitalist interests would be enforced by Capital flows, arms flows, cultivation of dictators, militaries and private armies. Invasions of Latin America by the US are far too many to be reviewed here but nary a year had gone by in the last 150 years when either US military overt and/or covert actions were launched from Washington.  

Following the Cuban revolution, prior to the ‘proclamation of Socialism in April, 1961, the CIA blew up the La Coubre cargo ship. Expropriation of US holdings quickly followed.    Cuba was never a terrorist threat, not even a military threat since Khrushchev blinked, and “Create 2,3 Many Vietnams” was never more than an anti-imperialist slogan. Having been adopted into the Soviet bloc, teaching and practicing Stalinist misinterpretations of Lenin, Cuba, — despite its limited forays into Africa— lacked a revolutionary socialist foreign policy and never became  a realistic threat to the world capitalist order. A dead Guevara sufficed for revolutionary credentials. As time went on the viva Che sentiments had more to do with bringing in the sugar harvest than pretensions to effective internationalism.

So why the near 60 year blockade following the Bay of Pigs, the missile crisis and the hundreds of assassinations attempts on Fidel? Because Cuban independence from the clutches of US imperialism represented proof and hope that US sponsored dictatorships could be overturned. Noam Chomsky, an anti-Leninist liberal anarchist professor even called Cuba the “threat of a good example,” an example that liberation movements of workers and peasants could free themselves from US domination.

Cuba, a small island country with monocrop agriculture, faced the tasks of the unfinished national democratic revolution against imperialism and for agrarian reform. This came up against the limits proven by the theory of permanent revolution that those tasks cannot be successfully completed unless the socialist revolution triumphs under the leadership of the working class. But 1960 Cuba existed in a bi-polar world, without an internationalist revolutionary workers leadership, without links to a powerful revolutionary workers’ international and/or a healthy industrialized workers state with a revolutionary foreign policy. 

Cuba would either succumb to the imperialist onslaught with mafia power restored, or as they did, list uneasily into the port of the Soviet bloc. This union of “revolutionary Cuba” and world Stalinism bolstered the Pabloists of the Fourth International, giving more reason to devolve theoretically from nominal Trotskyism. Pabloism took hold, as the Leninist International and orientation to the working class was replaced by sectoralism on the one side and orientation to continental guerilla warfare on the other. Trotskyism as embodied in its various organizational forms had lost its relevance and in many cases reduced itself to being cheerleaders for the best aspects of the Cuban revolution.

Because capitalism was overturned and the capitalists run off the island no social revolution was necessary.  Indeed if, as the Pabloists said, the Cuban Revolution was “healthy” then no political revolution was necessary; cheerleading and gentle nudges for expansion of workers’ democracy were all that was left to do. And even until today there is no lack of outfits to compete for their franchise.  Cuba cheerleaders would have you believe they proved that the working class was not the decisive force in the leadership of the socialist revolution, so the concept of multiple vanguards was adopted in the emerging New Left, among them Herbert Marcuse, who claimed the working class was “bought off.”   

The Pabloist revision of Trotskyism abandoned the permanent revolution, the critique of Stalinism as the foreclosure of the Marxist program for world revolution, and abdicated the fight for the leadership of the working class and a democratic centralist international.  Unable and unwilling to mount a fight for Che’s “2, 3, Many Vietnams,” the Fourth International lost the race Trotsky explained in “Revolution Betrayed”. Either the political revolution restores soviet democracy and defeats and controls the bureaucracy or the bureaucracy will restore capitalism if the fascists do not do so first. 

The Fourth International was plagued with two wings of Pabloists, the Stalinophile and the Stalinophobes. This was the basis of the 1953 split into the “entryist” Stalinophile Pabloists of the International Secretariat and the ostensible Stalinophobes of the International Committee. It was exactly the Cuban revolution that permitted their reunification in 1961. Each had adapted to Castroism and the factions became two models of Stalinophilia. This only explains the United Secretariat.

Still other would-be Trotskyists rejected this reunification. They style themselves as anti-Pabloist, but their own contradictory Stalinophilia led to their uncritical support of the repressions and military invasions meted out by the Stalinists. Likewise many of these defend the CCP regime in China and refuse to acknowledge capitalist restoration there. Their calls for political revolution ring hollow as they never find sufficiently revolutionary forces to support. 

While the Mandelites buried themselves in the Stalinist milieu earlier and the Barnesites in the Castroists-Guevarists milieu later, the latter day anti-Pabloists turned “unconditional defense of the USSR” into unconditional defense of the bureaucracy, They continue in the same pattern defending the Xi regime today against all the post Tien An Men upheavals.

The Marcy-led split from the SWP in 1956 were the original “tankies” who faced off over the Hungarian uprising.  Where the SWP/International Committee Cannonists and International Secretariat Pabloists saw workers’ political revolution, the Stalinists and those developing toward Stalinism in Marcy’s WWP saw counter-revolution and Horthyite fascism. 

Divisions in the workers movement would continue across events in Czechoslovakia 1968, Poland 1981, and Tiananmen 1989. The Trotskyist movement left the working class ill prepared to defeat Stalinism and incapable of advancing the political revolution in time to prevent the Stalinists from restoring capitalism– ergo counter-revolution prevailed across the so called communist bloc. We can say capitalist restorations have followed two models: the Chicago School of Business “Shock Therapy” fast road or the Chinese “slow road” restoration, where the party monopoly of political power is maintained. Cuba has followed the Chinese slow road model.

Today, with the Soviet workers’ state having long since collapsed and the Cuban Communist Party courting Foreign Direct Investment, China is winning the competition to make Cuba its semi-colony while the rest of the imperialist west remains restrained by the US sanctions against blockade breakers.

Miami Gusanos and Wall Streeters salivate at the prospect of subordinating Cuba to the USA again. In the face off in the Caribbean between two competing imperialisms, China and the US, the people of Cuba have no way out other than socialist revolution.   

The Restoration of Capitalism in Cuba

In Cuba For Sale (2011) we observed that,

 “…The 6th Cuban Communist Party Congress held in April, 2011 resolved to make major changes for the Cuban economy to overcome its stagnation. These changes represent a wholesale embrace of the capitalist market…..Cubans are now being encouraged to adopt market practices such as buying state property as private property and employing wage workers. Thus the capitalist market will replace state allocation of resources as the main mechanism of the economy. Marxists analyze this as a shift from state planning to the law of value, and hence a shift from a Workers State, albeit deformed from its birth in 1959, to a Capitalist State.

To avoid the fate of the USSR which opened itself up to capitalism by means of rapid “shock treatment,‟ Cuba looked towards China's gradual restoration of capitalism. It began to open a sector of the economy to foreign private investment and found that the new market relations with imperialism were much more lucrative for the bureaucracy than trying to defend the planned economy. So it now seeks to complete the process and turn itself into a new bourgeois class.

…Cuban bureaucracy, desperate to become a new bourgeoisie, has “sold‟ capitalist restoration using the same language as that used by the Chinese CP to cover its restoration of capitalism –(as) “market socialism.‟ 

We further developed our analysis in Cuba Sold Out (2013), which stresses the method which allows us to recognise that Cuba has restored capitalism without fully reverting to private ownership of the means of production. The Law of Value has been reinstalled as state capitalism. What Trotsky predicted as the most likely route to restoration has been confirmed in the ex-Soviet Union, and most clearly, China. Cuba follows China with its ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ i.e. state capitalism, behind the mask of Cuban state socialism. This is why we make the point that Cuba represents the future of ALBA, as all the Bolivarian states fall into line behind the international popular front with China. Cuba is the ideological flagbearer for the state capitalist Bolivarian regimes, notably Venezuela and Bolivia, in this global popular front. 

Thus, the current situation in Cuba is critical in determining the future of the socialist revolution not only in Latin America but globally. Opposition to US imperialism is widespread in Latin America, but while this opposition is subordinated to the Bolivarian popular front with China, there can be no break with the bureaucracy or bourgeoisie throughout the sub-continent. To smash the hold of the Bolivarians on the anti-imperialist struggle, our first task is to convince the workers, the unemployed and poor self-employed, that China is imperialist and that for the workers movement to be independent of imperialism they must fight to take the leadership of the socialist revolution from both the pro-China bourgeoisie and the Castroist/Bolivarian bourgeoisie. 

Here is the prediction we made in Cuba Sold Out:  

“Both private sector FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and Cuban expatriate capital are extremely impatient for the US to lift its economic embargo on Cuba. Neither is able to make a sufficient profit that justifies investing in a backward, closed economy where China’s influence is dominant. If the US drops the embargo will it be satisfied with investing in tightly managed export zones while China, having moved into the driver’s seat left vacant by the Soviet Union, is able to exploit Cuba’s best resources, or will it look for a neo-liberal faction in the Cuban bourgeoisie to remove the pro-China faction and push the usual demands of a FTA (Free Trade Agreements) to create an open economy that can be dominated by the US?” 

So what we see on the streets of Cuba today is the predictable outcome of the restoration of capitalism in what is now a small, weak, semi-colony. One section of the bourgeoisie is loyal to China. Yet China is only interested in super-exploiting its ally in the name of ‘market socialism’. China has not provided aid to enable the working class to escape poverty. The other section of the bourgeoisie is based on the ‘Gusanos’ and new petty bourgeois that has been allowed to expand by the regime. Its interests are to eclipse China’s influence in the name of ‘democracy’ and open the country to the full force of US imperialism. Among these forces are the Miami fascists/revanchists who seek a war of reconquest to punish all associated with post-1958 political power on the island. Of course any one variety of this reaction would create even worse conditions for workers, such as we find in every US semi-colony or colony. We take no sides in this rivalry between bourgeois factions and call for socialist revolution based on the formation of a real Marxist revolutionary party based in the tradition of Lenin and Trotsky. 

Permanent Revolution vs. Stalinism 

Cuba was the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean that was victorious in the revolution and expropriated the bourgeoisie. Cuba became a Deformed Workers’ State; it had no soviets nor a Bolshevik party. Its petty bourgeois leadership led by Fidel Castro was pushed by the threat of American imperialism to expropriate the bourgeoisie and ally with the USSR to remain in power as a parasitic bureaucracy. The leaders of the Cuban revolution had no intention of completing the permanent revolution and internationalizing it. As Fidel said on the occasion of the Nicaraguan revolution, “we do not want Nicaragua to become a Cuba”.

The Cuban revolution challenged the Soviet Union’s credibility which was on the wane and it had to answer to the cries of revolutionaries in Algeria, Vietnam and Cuba where the popular movements expected (and rightly so!) internationalist support.  But the Stalinist movement worldwide abandoned the socialist revolution and made its peace with imperialism long ago, leaving the masses to suffer the effects of the stalled permanent revolution. 

The world Stalinist movement was caught, because they were not promoting socialist revolution, and as  Cuba’s nationalizations of imperialist property resulted in the blockade and the missile crisis, Cuba became dependent on the USSR, the east bloc and the non-aligned. 

With the collapse of the USSR, Cuba became even more isolated and strangled by the US which kept the smaller imperialists from trading with Cuba.  The Stalinists turn away from world revolution, their  accommodation to imperialism, the Khrushchev revelations, barricading the workers revolution behind the theory of  socialism in one country and the popular front exposed again  the crisis of the leadership of the working class as Socialist and Communist Parties  signed on to help administer capitalism in the west and in the semi-colonies,  breaking the hopes of workers that the “Soviet motherland” would lead us out of the nightmare of imperialism.

In turn the Castroists followed suit and abandoned any pretense of a revolutionary foreign policy, limiting their foreign interventions to aiding reformists and nationalists  and then they restored capitalism which they administer while waving the perfunctory red flag. No wonder the youth are out in force-the promise of socialism has been stolen by the fake Communist Party.  From Cuba to Nicaragua to South Africa, Venezuela and Hong Kong the Stalinists have failed to defeat capitalism and where it was defeated they restored it. So the left has no obligation to cover for the Stalinists, Castroists, Bolivarians and sellout Sandinistas.  

Despite being a deformed workers’ state, the gains of the revolution were undeniable. In a miserable, violent, illiterate and unemployed Latin America, Cuba has reached levels of social development unthinkable in other countries in the region. However, if the permanent revolution does not advance, the retreat is inevitable. The embargoes of American imperialism were a great attack against the revolution and its development, but the fall of the USSR and the workers’ states in Eastern Europe strongly shook the Caribbean country and measures to open up the economy began to be adopted for more than 20 years, having in the 2010’s completed the restoration of capitalism. In the last decade, hunger, unemployment and other capitalist ills are advancing on the island. The setback in working class consciousness caused by the Stalinists and fake Trotskyists is enormous and a great betrayal. In addition to pushing back the revolution and restoring capitalism with their own hands, they do it in the name of “socialism”.

All over the world, but in Latin America and the Caribbean in particular, activists and left-wing organizations have been divided over the July 11 demonstrations. The Stalinists (who have always defended bureaucracy and socialism in one country) and the fake Trotskyists are against the demonstrators, accusing them of being manipulated by the US and defending Cuba as a workers’ state, leaving only the imperialist embargo responsible for the setback of the revolution. These “Trotskyist” currents defend China as a workers’ state too. Clearly, these currents capitulate to Stalinism. Unlike Russia, the Communist Parties’ permanence in power and the one-party regime is crucial for analyzing the character of these states.

Other sectors of the left, such as the reformist currents of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) and the United Socialist Workers’ Party (PSTU) in Brazil, defend the demonstrations for “democracy”. Their positions are a capitulation to US “democratic” imperialism. For them, capitalism has been restored in Cuba, the Communist Party regime is a bourgeois dictatorship and the struggle for “democracy” is defended. The PSTU had a similar policy in the fall of the Eastern European and USSR regimes, instead of defending the workers’ state and the political revolution against the bureaucracy, it supported the end of the biggest victory of the working class to replace it with a bourgeois “democratic” regime. 

It is true that the Cuban people are proud of the revolution and have defended it a lot, but today they see the regression of the revolution and the restoration itself as a “socialist” measure, creating illusions with capitalism and bourgeois democracy. Defeating the reformist leaderships and the popular front is an urgent task for the revolutionary vanguard and the workers. Cuba today needs a new revolution that defeats both the imperialist blocs and the ruling bourgeoisie.

Revolutionary workers and the international labor movement  must oppose all imperialist intervention and the blockade and stand with the masses and advocate for popular assemblies, workers control and socialization of production, and the implementation of a worker-led central plan, the monopoly of foreign trade and expropriation of foreign capital. But first workers have to be convinced that Cuba has restored capitalism, and that China is an imperialist power and will not lead the anti-imperialist struggle. For actual anti-imperialism the permanent revolution is necessary. 

We demand the U.S. close and abandon the Guantanamo military base and prison. We are not looking for a Reiss Faction to save the day in a ‘political revolution’ led by an uprising exclusively led by Communist party members. We are for a Bolshevik-Leninist party of the authentic proletarian membership model with its revolutionary socialist program. The pretensions of the Castroists do not measure up, and behind those pretensions there is only the desire to maintain their exclusive political power by breaking the blockade. Socialist revolution is called for, in Cuba, throughout the Caribbean the Americas and beyond to world socialism! To prepare and lead this world revolution we call on workers in Cuba to build their democratic centralist Revolutionary Workers Party as part of a new Workers’ International based on the program and method of Trotsky’s 1938 Transitional Program. Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!

  • Defeat all  imperialist overt and covert  interventions. Defeat the Blockade!
  • For international workers’ defense of Cuba! 
  • For the return of Guantanamo to Cuba. 
  • For workers councils to take control of production and to coordinate and control a socialist central plan.
  • For workers democracy and free speech for workers and oppressed in all trade unions, workers committees, councils, public assemblies, in the press, the arts, on the internet, in academia and historic institutions of the revolution.
  • For workers and farmers  sliding scale of prices and wages.
  • End corrupt and bureaucratic control of resources
  • For socialist distribution of  Food, Jobs, Housing and Healthcare for all!
  • Form up workers committees and councils in every workplace and community!
  • Establish the right to immediate recall of workers  delegates. 
  • For workers committees to set prices  control food and medicine distribution!
  • For Socialist Revolution to smash the Stalinist bureaucracy that has restored  capitalism 
  • No to the capitalist restoration and the restorationist program of the PCC
  • Stop counter-revolutionary privatizations and special zones and deals with foreign capitalist profit takers.  
  • Build workers self defense guards that fight for socialism. Down with the PNR and CDR that defend the restorationist policies.
  • Down with the Dictatorship of Capital
  • No to fake bourgeois democracy. 
  • Expropriate Foreign Owned Means of Production
  • For a revolutionary foreign policy, turn all anti-imperialist uprisings socialist!
  • Form up workers councils to initiate workers democracy!
  • For a workers government  –the Dictatorship of the Proletariat! 
  • For the Construction of the World Party of Revolution.

August 1 2021

International Leninist-Trotskyist Tendency